It’s been interesting watching the commentary about the British electorate’s choice to Leave the European Union. In many ways it reflects the pre-Brexit arguments of the Remain camp, which was essentially that all right-thinking people should vote remain and that those who didn’t were just racists and nationalists. That sort of analysis has even leaked into supposedly non-political outlets like Jalopnik, one of whose stories about Boris Johnson’s checkered career as an automotive journalist began with this:
Boris Johnson, the flop-haired ex-mayor of London, has been an outspoken supporter of Brexit, or however you call the thing where old scared racist people in the UK want to keep brown people out of their country and think that ditching the shitshow that is the EU is going to help them with that.
Well, there you go. A perfectly condescending dismissal of any idea that leaving the European Union had any intellectual support at all.
Less blunt was the New York Times, who began an article about the residents of Sunderland, a strongly Labour constituency in northern England that voted overwhelmingly for Leave, thusly:
Sunderland stunned the country when voters overwhelmingly opted to leave Europe in Thursday’s referendum, by 61 percent to 39 percent. It was a far higher vote for Britain’s exit than pollsters had predicted, and it was the first sign that Prime Minister David Cameron’s gamble on staying in the bloc had lost.
Sunderland’s citizens seem to have voted against their own interests. Not only has the city been a big recipient of European money, it is also the home of a Nissan car factory, Britain’s largest, and automobiles produced there are exported, duty free, to Europe.
The citizens of Sunderland seemed not to have been impressed by this or other advantages, such as:
They can swim at the Sunderland Aquatic Center, a £20 million project with an Olympic-size pool that the European Union helped finance. They can send their children to the sleek, modern Sunderland University campus, which also received union financing.
European Union money also helped establish Sunderland Software City, a business center that offers support and advice to aspiring software entrepreneurs.
Sounds great, except…
However splashy these projects may be, they remain largely inaccessible to Sunderland’s working class. Many cannot afford the £30 monthly fees at the Aquatic Center, and people in the nearby Washington neighborhood said they had never set foot inside.
As for Sunderland University, the tuition, which the government recently raised, is too much for many young people.
The article goes on to note that Sunderland has one of the highest unemployment rates in the UK.
So, how is voting Leave a vote against their interests? Well, let’s hand wave our way past that question, which, really, no right-thinking person would ask.
No, on second thought, let’s not, though to properly unpack this, we have to consider many things.
There’s a growing sense, not only in Great Britain, but in the US as well, that the elites, or the political class, or whatever you’d like to call them, are incompetent and have been leading us astray. And the response from elites is to call those criticisms illegitimate. Those doing the carping are assumed to be racists or nationalists, both of which, of course, are unpleasant, dirty types of people. Both the UK’s Leavers and the US’s Trumpers share some commonalities. Among them are skepticism over free trade and free immigration; concerns that elites dismiss as foolish and uneducated. And, of course racist.
But perhaps the Leavers weren’t so concerned with brown people because they were brown, but because they were concerned at seeing buses being blown up in London, British soldiers being beheaded in broad daylight in the High Street, and dozens of children being raped for years in Rotherham. Perhaps, the British people have come to wonder about immigration because many immigrants seem less interested in becoming British than they are in making Britain more like the Middle East. And, maybe, just maybe, the Leavers prefer to live in Britain, in the free and modern culture that has developed over the last 1,500 years, rather than go back to live in the year 692. Maybe they wouldn’t be any more interested in living in the 13th-century culture of Richard the Lion-Hearted any more than they are in living in the Dark Age culture of Middle Eastern immigrants.
When people come into your country from elsewhere, they don’t do so simply as fungible economic units, but as real people, who bring along cultural and political ideas that may conflict those that are traditional in your country. It is almost at the point where elites cannot even conceive of an argument that implies the superiority of one culture over another, so they dismiss this argument as nationalism and nativism. But, the thing is, a free society that continually imports immigrants who have no interest in individual liberty, religious freedom, and political pluralism, will eventually have none of those things. The problem isn’t race. It’s culture.
National sovereignty means something. At the very least, it means that the people of a country have the absolute right to restrict immigration to the sort of people that will, in their judgement, benefit the country, and, once the immigrants arrive, to force them to assimilate to the country’s national culture more than the country accommodates the culture of the immigrant. No obligation exists, in any sense whatsoever, that requires the people of a country to allow entry to immigrants who desire to transform the country into something different. It is entirely legitimate to reject calls for sharia in the UK, just as it’s entirely legitimate to be upset by seeing political protestors in the US waving Mexican flags or wearing “Make America Mexico Again” hats, explicitly letting us know where their primary political allegiance lies. Nor is it illegitimate to wonder why such people are in this country, and not in the corrupt shithole of a country that they so obviously prefer, yet so oddly fled.
Even on an economic level, questions of culture and country aside, people know whether they are better off today than they were 20 years ago. That’s true whether you’re an unemployed shipbuilder in Sunderland, or a textile worker in North Carolina, where about 650 textile plants closed between 1997 and 2009. A carpenter in Norwalk, CA, where low wages due to nearly uncontrolled immigration from Mexico and points south have made it impossible to raise a family on a tradesman’s salary, can see it happening, just as a plumber in Lincolnshire can see his wages drop as an influx of Polish tradesmen pour in.
One of the interesting demographic results of the Brexit vote was that people over 50 years of age were overwhelmingly in favor of Leave, while people under 30 just as keenly supported Remain. The standard explanation, as Jalopnik presented it, is simply that older people are reflexively racist against “the brown people”. Conversely, I submit that the older people have a breadth of perspective that enables them to judge what the country was like prior to submitting to the EU, compare it to the country’s situation today, and determine whether the result is an improvement. They’ve seen industry leave the north of England and an influx of immigrants who either don’t seem all that interested in becoming British or whose arrival has depressed wages for working people. Apparently, they’ve decided that’s not the Britain they were promised in 1975 or the one they want to leave to their children. Perhaps their children disagree, but those children have never had the opportunity to learn that things could be different. Indeed, they’ve been constantly taught the opposite by an education system and popular culture that characterizes Euroskepticism, as well as skepticism about free trade and unrestricted immigration, as aberrant and racist.
Now, it may be true that free trade is a net benefit. But even in the best of circumstances, such as assuming that NAFTA and the WTO are actually free trade agreements—a dubious assumption1—the benefits of free trade are widespread and diffuse, while the closure of textile plants and steel mills leave highly visible victims and long-term job losses for certain communities. That’s a political problem, not an economic one, and it’s one that elites haven’t addressed well. As a result, it’s biting them in the ass, whether it’s an unexpected Leave win for Brexit or an unexpected presidential nomination for Donald Trump. Remember, the Leave vote won even in the traditionally Labour-voting constituencies of northern England. Either working people don’t understand what’s going on in their own lives, or the promises of the elites haven’t been born out by their actual experience. Which is more likely?
But let’s go even further. Even if you could prove that, on balance, free trade is an unquestionable economic benefit, people might still prefer to be measurably poorer if that’s the price that must be paid to maintain their traditional social and political cultures. (This has even more relevance in the case of the EU, because the EU actually has power. Imagine if NAFTA had an unelected Commission in Ottowa or Mexico City that could impose laws on the United States.) Perhaps people don’t regard their economic interests as important as their national or cultural interests. It doesn’t matter what elite opinion thinks the people’s most important interests are. In a democratic society, ultimately, it only matters what the people think they are. People get to determine their own priorities, and not have them dictated by elites. The people get to answer for themselves the question, “In what kind of country do I want to live?”
Of course, I would argue that we don’t have truly free trade or, increasingly, a free economy in the United States. The Progressives always look at the rising income inequality and maintain that it’s the inevitable result of capitalism. That’s hogwash, of course, and Proggies believe it because they’re dolts. But the problem in this country isn’t free trade—we have precious little of it—or unrestricted capitalism, since we have precious little of that as well. The issue behind rising income inequality isn’t capitalism, it’s cronyism. Income isn’t being redirected to the 1% because capitalism has failed, it’s happening because we abandoned capitalism in favor of the regulatory crony state and its de facto collusion between big business/banking interests and a government that directs capital to favored political clients, who become “too big to fail”. It doesn’t matter, for instance, whether the president is a Democrat or Republican, because we know the Treasury Secretary will be a former—and future—Goldman Sachs executive.
Indeed, what we call “free trade” nowadays isn’t the Theory of Comparative Advantage in action. It’s corporations being allowed to ship jobs to low wage countries overseas to offset the cost of regulatory burdens in the US that restrict competition from new entrants to the market. That works great for large corporations. Not only do they get to offset the regulatory costs by overseas production, but slower job growth in the US flattens domestic wages, too, and sends millions out of the labor force altogether. For working people, the biggest financial rewards from the current “free trade” regime seem mainly reaped by large business and banking interests. Again, people know if their own lives are better or worse than they used to be, and if the promises of elites have been born out by their own experience.
The game is increasingly stacked against small business. We’ve made it harder and harder for working people to start or stay in business, restricted their access to finance and capital, and forced them to knuckle under to onerous regulatory burdens. Even with flat middle class wages keeping labor costs in check, the regulatory burden restricts small business formation. As a result, working people have begun begin to feel trapped. They see no way to improve their lives and they can see their own incomes stagnating—as middle class incomes have, in fact, been stagnating for at least 20 years.
Add to that the additional downward wage pressure that everyone agrees is the inevitable result of increasing the supply of labor through large-scale immigration. Then top it off with immigrants refusing to assimilate to culture of the host country in seemingly greater numbers. Now you have all of the necessary elements for a political revolt by the people the elite see as the rubes and hayseeds in flyover country. Rather than foreseeing and trying to ameliorate the results of these trends, the elite have chosen to ignore them at very least, or dismiss them with contempt at worst.
Most people, most of the time, are perfectly happy to let elites run the country. After all, it seems to make the elites happy to run run things, and as long as they’re reasonably competent at it, and do it reasonably unobtrusively, no one much seems to care. But when elite competence is compromised by faulty ideology and cronyism, people become unhappy. And when the elite response to complaints is dismissal or insult, political problems begin to bloom. People begin to think about politics. They begin to do things. It is no coincidence, as our Soviet friends used to say, that the last decade has seen the rise of the TEA Party, the Occupy Movement, and the Trump phenomenon. People of all political stripes are becoming unhappy.
I think we’re about to watch the elites start paying a price for their incompetence, inattention and contempt. Euroskepticism is on the rise elsewhere in Europe. If EU membership were put to a popular vote in the Netherlands, Spain, or Sweden, there is a good chance that Leave would win there, too. Indeed, it’s possible that a vote to leave the EU might even win in France, the nation for whom creating and strengthening the EU has been the primary policy goal for 60 years.
Perhaps the “Vote Remain, you virulent racist!” PR campaign for staying in the EU needs a bit more thought.
So, too, does the idea that Donald Trump supporters are all rubes and hayseeds. However much we might dislike the messenger, and Trump is certainly dislikable, and however slim his personal characteristics make his chance of winning the current election, the fact is that his message has gained much more ground than most thought possible a year ago. The key elements of that message are the same ones that resulted in a Leave vote in the UK. In the hands of a more astute politician, how much more effective would that message be?
I leave it to you to ponder the answer to that question.
1 By the way, free trade doesn’t require agreements and treaties. It just requires that government not interfere with trade. If there’s a treaty involved, you can be virtually certain that some industry is being protected.
Resolute is a forest products company. It is one of the largest manufacturers of newsprint in the world. It has also been the target of a lengthy campaign by Environmental Non Government Organizations (ENGO), like Greenpeace. At first, when approached by the ENGOs, Resolute cooperated and thought it was part of a cooperative effort. But, like all good shakedown artists, the ENGOs continued to defame Resolute while insisting on more and more draconian measures be met by the company as new provisos in their “agreement”.
On May 31, Resolute took a page from the ENGO’s playbook and, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Georgia, filed a civil RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) suit against Greenpeace and a number of its associates who, though they claim to be independent, act cooperatively. The RICO Act intended to deal with the mob as a loose organization, or “enterprise,” with a pattern of activity and common nefarious purposes, such as extortion. (Greenpeace has asked the Justice Department to use the RICO Act to investigate oil companies and organizations that sow doubts about the risks of climate change.)
The 100-page complaint alleges that Greenpeace and its affiliates are a RICO “enterprise.” According to the Resolute news release, it describes the deliberate falsity of the malicious and defamatory accusations the enterprise has made and details how, to support its false accusations, “Greenpeace has fabricated evidence and events, including, for example, staged photos falsely purporting to show Resolute logging in prohibited areas.” The suit also calls Greenpeace a “global fraud” out to line its pockets with money from donors and says that “maximizing donations, not saving the environment, is Greenpeace’s true objective.” Additionally, it cites admissions by Greenpeace’s leadership that it “emotionalizes” issues to manipulate audiences.
In the U.S. lawsuit, Resolute is seeking compensatory damages in an amount to be proven at trial, as well as treble and punitive damages.
I’ve got to say I’m really glad to see this. This ENGO scam has gone on far too long and in many cases has had the tacit backing of the government, or elements of the government. As the article notes, the discovery portion of this suit will be interesting since it will likely uncover many things the ENGOs would prefer stayed unknown to the general and easily duped public – well, at least the part of the public they’re able to dupe into contributing to their “cause”. Their “cause”, it seems, has become shaking down companies. Even one of the original founders of Greenpeace acknowledges what they’ve become and he minces no words doing so:
Patrick Moore, one of the original founders of Greenpeace, is disappointed that the group that originally wanted to help, is now an extortion racket. He told me: “I am very proud to have played a small role in helping Resolute deal with these lying blackmailers and extortionists.”
We’ll follow and report. Hopefully this is the beginning of a large and needed pushback.
Megan McArdle touches on one of the great political truths of today:
Ask a Washington dinner party full of moderately well informed people what will happen with Iran over the next five years, and you’ll end up with a consensus that gee, that’s tough. Ask them what GDP growth will be in fall 2019, and they’ll probably converge on a hesitant “2 or 3 percent, I guess?” On the other hand, ask them what’s going to happen to the climate over the next 100 years, and what you’re likely to hear is angry.
How can one be certain about outcomes in a complex system that we’re not really all that good at modeling? Anyone who’s familiar with the history of macroeconomic modeling in the 1960s and 1970s will be tempted to answer “Umm, we can’t.”
And that’s sort of the root of the problem, isn’ t it? The “science” of “climate change” is based in modeling “a complex system that we’re not really all that good at modeling”, just as in years past economists attempted the same thing with similar results.
So, how is the inability to capture all the variables, even variables of which little is known at present (and, dare I say it, some unknown) and put them in a model and claim … “science”. Seems to me its a guess at best. That’s certainly what economists found when they tried to model economies or even parts of economies. The number of variables is just too vast and the knowledge of those variables is imprecise at best.
McArdle goes on to talk about the experience of economists and how models have pretty much been put in their place in the “dismal science”. They’re aids, but they’re certainly nothing to bet your career or economic policy on.
Somehow, however, that’s not been the case with climate models – even when they’ve been shown to be horribly inaccurate time after time (in fact, not even close and have such a tenuous grasp on the mechanics of climate they can’t even reproduce the past).
That’s not stopped those who proclaim the “science is settled” from attempting to vilify and condemn those who disagree. Money grafs from McArdle:
This lesson from economics is essentially what the “lukewarmists” bring to discussions about climate change. They concede that all else equal, more carbon dioxide will cause the climate to warm. But, they say that warming is likely to be mild unless you use a model which assumes large positive feedback effects. Because climate scientists, like the macroeconomists, can’t run experiments where they test one variable at a time, predictions of feedback effects involve a lot of theory and guesswork. I do not denigrate theory and guesswork; they are a vital part of advancing the sum of human knowledge. But when you’re relying on theory and guesswork, you always want to leave plenty of room for the possibility that your model’s output is (how shall I put this?) … wrong.
Naturally, proponents of climate-change models have welcomed the lukewarmists’ constructive input by carefully considering their points and by advancing counterarguments firmly couched in the scientific method.
No, of course I’m just kidding. The reaction to these mild assertions is often to brand the lukewarmists “deniers” and treat them as if what they were saying was morally and logically equivalent to suggesting that the Holocaust never happened.
And that’s where we are. McArdle ends with a plea for sane and objective discussion but in my opinion, that ship sailed when we saw state Attorney Generals band together to prosecute “deniers” under the RICO statutes. Of course that doesn’t change the science or “science” but it does make it much more difficult to dial back the rhetoric. There is a reason for that:
The arguments about global warming too often sound more like theology than science. Oh, the word “science” gets thrown around a great deal, but it’s cited as a sacred authority, not a fallible process that staggers only awkwardly and unevenly toward the truth, with frequent lurches in the wrong direction. I cannot count the number of times someone has told me that they believe in “the science,” as if that were the name of some omniscient god who had delivered us final answers written in stone. For those people, there can be only two categories in the debate: believers and unbelievers. Apostles and heretics.
This I wholeheartedly agree with and the actions of those who believe in man-made climate change constantly validate my position. This has moved well beyond objectivity and rational discourse. It is into the realm of religious belief. It is interesting which side of the ideological curve tends to believe the “science” presented and to agree with the oppressive sanctions offered to silence those who disagree. The same ones who will tell you they’re “progressive”. For those of us who read a bit, we know the history of “progressivism” and what is happening on the “progressive” side of this issue is exactly what you’d expect from them.
Now apply that knowledge to other “progressive” ideas and policies and you’ll soon understand what their end game looks like.
Seems college isn’t about college anymore – at least at Oberlin. The shot:
A recent piece in The New Yorker examines the effects of a new wave of student activism at Oberlin College, a small, private liberal arts institution in Ohio, and it’s pretty eye-opening.
According to writer Nathan Heller, Oberlin is “at the center of the current storm” of activism on college campuses, with students heavily involved in issues including classroom diversity, safe spaces, racial inequality and social injustice.
Due to the intense focus on those issues, many progressive students are dropping out.
They claim that their activism is getting in the way of their studies, and other students, the faculty and the administration have made it impossible to live on campus.
Heller spoke to self-identified “Afro-Latinx” student Megan Bautista, who said that she was upset that the school refused her demand to erase any grades below Cs.
“A lot of us worked alongside community members in Cleveland who were protesting (the death of Tamir Rice in the fall of 2014 – ed.). But we needed to organize on campus as well—it wasn’t sustainable to keep driving forty minutes away. A lot of us started suffering academically.” In 1970, Oberlin had modified its grading standards to accommodate activism around the Vietnam War and the Kent State shootings, and Bautista had hoped for something similar. More than thirteen hundred students signed a petition calling for the college to eliminate any grade lower than a C for the semester, but to no avail. “Students felt really unsupported in their endeavors to engage with the world outside Oberlin,” she told me.
But that’s not the real world even if it is the world the students feel they need to embrace.
It’s funny to me. You go to college and you essentially make a commitment to that college to take classes you choose and to perform well enough to get a good grade. Then … squirrel! Suddenly that commitment is put on the back burner as you discover a new and more important one. Well, more important to you. The old, “I want my cake and I want to eat it too” selfishness of a child who has always gotten their spoiled way.
And who is supposed to suddenly change the rules because you’ve decided on this new commitment and thrown over the old one? Oh, yeah, the institution you made the previous commitment too.
Students should feel “really unsupported” by the school because they’ve reneged on their commitment to the school. Why should the school feel obligated to support them if they don’t feel obligated to their commitment to the school?
Mature folk actually know the right answer to that question. The immature? See above.
Maybe they should offer a Maturity 101 course for these children.
It seems, this week, that I’m all about proving Shark’s point that “every time I think we’ve reached peak stupid, something new comes along to prove me wrong.” Well here you go, Shark, the shot:
Bringing my adopted cat, Jameson, home with me in 2014 was one of the happiest days of my life.
Having to go back to work two days later was one of the worst.
While the rest of the country is hung up on the necessity of maternity leave — or even the newly coined “meternity” — one group continues to be overlooked when it comes to paid time off from work: new pet owners.
Still fascinated by all of this. This mossy little sub-culture that suddenly sprouted all these oversensitive and whiny little crybabies in the one institution where they ought to be trying on their big boy and girl pants fascinates me. Kind of like a bacteria culture fascinates a bacteriologist. And besides, what’s to say about Trump and Clinton? A con man and a crook are likely to be the nominees, brought to you by … “democracy”.
Anyway, now, apparently, there is hell to be paid at the University of Washington because the “cheer team” (what we used to call “cheerleaders”) offended some of the overweight and pasty womyn who populate gender and feminist studies. They apparently had the gall to notify those who were interested in the “cheer team” what was expected.
Cheerleaders, it turns out, are expected to have a certain look.
“U-Dub” students (hey, that’s just one letter away from U Dumb!) were unloading on social media, crying to counselors and fleeing to safe spaces after the cheer team posted an infographic describing the look to strive for if you’re planning to try out for the squad. (In the routinely craven manner of all universities, the UW spirit program ordered the graphic removed and called in nine tons of smelling salts for those affected.)
I repeat: The graphic was aimed only at young women seeking to be cheerleaders. Pasty-faced Womyn’s Struggles majors attending rallies in shapeless sweatshirts, and black-clad Emily Dickinson fans emoting agonized coffeehouse verse were not the target audience.
So, the graphic apparently “offended” the “uninterested” (i.e. those who had no intention of joining the cheer team but had no problem whatsoever passing judgement on their methods) to the point that they became interested because …
“I can’t believe this is real,” Jazmine Perez, the student government’s director of programming told the Seattle Times. “One of the first things that comes to mind is objectification and idealization of Western beauty,” she harrumphed.
Signe Burchim, a UW senior, added, “I think it’s really upsetting and kind of disheartening the way it’s basically asking these women who want to try out to perform their femininity — but not too much.” She said men would never be subjected to such a message while trying out for a sport.
The worldly Signe Burchim, UW senior, and person with so much knowledge of what goes on out in the real world absolutely and positively knows this to be a fact … well, according to her woman studies prof. Men are never asked to meet the standards of some group or team they would like to join (I assume there are men on the “cheer team”). Ever.
As for Ms. Perez and her attempt to make this about race, sorry, a swing and a miss. As the NY Post points out:
Contrary to Ms. Perez — who reminds us that college is a place where you pay $50,000 a year to unlearn the obvious — female beauty standards like facial symmetry and waist-hip ratio are pretty much universal. But here’s the thing she missed: The graphic made no demand that cheerleaders be pretty. Everything illustrated has to do with styling and presentation, not your actual attractiveness. And no, it isn’t racist: Race is nowhere mentioned or implied.
Tailoring your look to a group’s standards is how almost everything works. You don’t show up to play baseball in a scuba suit. You don’t show up for a business meeting in board shorts and flip-flops, unless you work in Silicon Valley, in which case you don’t show up in a tie and wingtips. And you don’t wear Goth makeup, “Born To Be Bad” tats and fishnet tights to a cheerleading tryout — unless you’re doing a performance art piece, which might actually be funny.
If you want to be a cheerleader, your hair should have “volume” and your eyelashes should be “false,” because that’s how cheerleaders roll. You don’t like it? Fine, do what everyone who feels the same way has been doing for decades: Sit in the bleachers, roll your eyes, make snarky jokes and stew in your jealousy.
But hey, these precious snowflakes have learned that almost anything that doesn’t make them feel happy is likely to have something to do with the patriarchy, racism, sexism, miscegenation, white privilege or some other yet to be identified shortcoming of the dominant culture. Don’t believe they learn it at school? Check out this email from a professor at the University of Missouri before it all went in the ditch:
Dr. Tim Evans, an associate professor in the Department of Veterinary Pathology, writes to his colleagues: “I applaud the support provided to our protesting students who, regardless of whether you agree or disagree with them, are using what they have learned in the classroom and putting it to practice.”
If what Dr. Evans says is true, what a profound disservice the faculties of these schools are doing to their students. As I’ve said any number of times, they’re letting the inmates run the asylum, and make no mistake, given the level of this sort of nonsense now ongoing at various schools, they more closely resemble asylums than they do institutions of higher learning.
But there’s a backlash building and the University of Missouri is only the tip of that iceberg. Parents recognized the inmates were in charge and pulled their kids or decided against sending them to that university. Money talks, SJW BS walks.
It is indeed going to be both fascinating and entertaining watching how this all finally sorts itself out. But I can’t at all help observe it all with glee as the very people who taught and enabled this generation of whiners and crybabies are the first it consumes.
Yes, I’m fascinated by this incident primarily because of the outcome or consequences. As more and more information comes out about the background, the more one sees that it wasn’t the administration (although it had a big role in the failure there) or whites who were the problem there (and yes, I’m sure that makes me a “racist” to the SJWs). It was the activists. There was a culture of fear all right, but it wasn’t white students who were responsible. You can sum up the problem with this Tweet:
Now whether or not this person was a Mizzou student or not, the fact that the tweet got 16 retweets and 3 likes speaks volumes. It is an attitude and how that attitude is represented on campus. For instance, a white student wrote to the Chancellor that he attempted to engage in a dialogue with some of his peers who apparently were black. The result?
I tried to foster peaceful, civilized discussion with a few peers. What I received was a combination of personal and racial attacks, with direct quotes such as “You can’t have an opinion on this because you are white,” “You have no right to speak,” and “Get the f*** out of the lounge.” I will not fill out a bias report on this because it has been made perfectly clear to me by both faculty and students that my skin color apparently gives me immunity from racial harassment, and I can only be treated as the aggressor in these situations.”
Note where he points out that his belief about his inability to get redress via a “bias report” has been fostered not only by students, but by a faculty which apparently has wholly bought into the myth that only whites can exhibit bias.
That sort of non-support translated into other problems. Increasing problems. Can anyone guess what they were? Here’s what a mother wrote to the administration out of concern for her daughter’s safety.
My white female student is being mobbed on her way to class and shouted at while being pushed claiming she’s a racist solely because of the color of her skin. . . . In the last 2 days she’s had 3 cancelled classes so her teachers could participate in this nonsense. So we’re paying for our child’s teachers to protest instead of educate?
Instead of standing up to what they supposedly hate and won’t tolerate – namely pure old racism – they ignored it and allowed it to continue because, apparently, they’re more afraid of a word than doing their jobs. As a result, their mission – education – suffered at the hands of out-of-control racist students. And yes, I’m more than happy to call them precisely what they are.
Additionally, their not addressing the intolerance of the activists only encouraged more of it.
So there is one reason students decided not to attend the University of Missouri this fall. There are many more. For instance:
On November 9, the vice president for human resources, Betsy Rodriguez, wrote to Missouri’s president, Tim Wolfe, saying that she thought he needed to see some videos being circulated on Twitter under the hashtag #ConcernedStudent1950. One video posted under that hashtag portrays a protester singling out people on campus, shouting, “If you’re uncomfortable, I did my job.” In the background, other protestors shout “power,” raising their fists.
“There are at least 2 [such Twitter videos] from Griffiths society today, and 2 from the dining halls (one of those — Plaza 900) included visiting high school students,” Rodriguez wrote. “The protestors are increasing in aggression and disruption. These are pretty scarey [sic].”
That’s right … visiting high school seniors were treated to the spectacle as well and made to feel unwelcome, especially if they were white. You can see the videos at the above link. Instead of being “oppressed” and “silenced”, it appears the protesters pretty much had the run of the place.
But had the administration grown a pair and stepped in to stop the nonsense, they might of avoided what happened in the near term and what has now happened as a consequence. But they didn’t. A day after the videos above surfaced, this discussion took place between two high ranking members of the administration:
A conversation later that day between Rodriguez and Michael Kateman, the university’s director of internal communications, raised other “collective thoughts” on the protesters’ behavior. “Even students not involved in the protests are getting agitated, fearful, and concerned,” their notes said, pointing out an incident where outsiders drove two hours to join the protests on the University of Missouri’s campus. “The protestors are willing to interrupt non-related events to protest. . . . Our concern is that the longer we wait to have mtg [to address the situation], the more we risk violence. The longer we wait, the greater the risk of violence.”
As you’re most likely aware, they waited too long. They let outside agitators establish themselves, and they had sympathetic faculty who made it worse while making fools of themselves. And the leadership? Absent.
It’s not like they couldn’t see this coming. Well before the events which caused all the consequences, they were made aware of the problem. A student wrote the former chancellor describing an encounter with this movement:
“Everyone has freedom of speech and expression,” she wrote. “But this was a large group of people. I know I’m not alone in saying that I felt very unsafe and targeted when I encountered them. . . . people screaming at me from the sidewalk.” She wrote that “all lives matter and discrimination should be fought against,” but she feared “that group brought more division, hostility, and discrimination than that one man [yelling racial slurs] could have.
But the immediate problem was ignored and allowed to grow. And instead of taking charge of the campus and it’s environment, the administration allowed it to become a place which people feared others simply because of the color of their skin. Here an employee of the University writes the former Chancellor:
My fear is that things are going to get out of hand and something very bad is going to happen,” she wrote. “My husband is a Sgt. for the University Police and he is having to be in the middle of this mess and having someone like Melissa Click do everything in her power to incite a riot will make things go from bad to worse. I normally take walks around the campus a couple of times a day but currently am afraid to do so because I am white. My daughter goes to school at Mizzou, has some night classes, and she is now afraid to walk around campus and go to class because she is white.
Racism … pure and simple. The protesters and activists were what they denounced. And they had created a climate of oppression and fear.
They must have been very proud of themselves.
The good news is the institution that ignored it and allowed it to happen is suffering the consequences of its inaction (or in many cases, its enabling). It is well deserved. And, hopefully, other academic institutions will learn from the experience, heed any warning signs and take appropriate action. The fact that a relatively small population of students and activists were able to make this sort of impact on a major university because they weren’t confronted immediately certainly should teach a lesson.
But then it seems in this age and time, lessons aren’t heeded and history repeats. I fully expect to see this happen again at least once, if not numerous times, in the not too distant future.
I guess what strikes me as so interesting is the sense of entitlement in the following as well as demanding someone else pay for their demands, both monetarily and with their time. It begins like this:
Just days after protesting students defenestrated the University of Missouri’s president and chancellor late last year, interim leadership issued a statement lauding “our brave students who sacrificed their own needs to do the work that should have been done long before they joined our community.”
“The students tenting/demonstrating are asking for a generator for their campsite,” wrote Chief Diversity Officer Noor Azizan-Gardner on the morning of Nov. 6, four days into Jonathan Butler’s hunger strike. “Is there any way that we can help with this? Let me know if this is even possible.”
“We got them power this morning,” wrote Gary Ward, the vice chancellor for operations and chief operating officer at MU, two minutes later.
So power provided as requested even though no generator was put out there. Result? Sorry, not good enough. Less than 4 hours later:
“I just heard from the students that they have one power strip with 8 outlets on it and it’s connected to one of the power sources on the quad,” writes Azizan-Gardner, copying Chancellor Bowen Loftin, in addition to Ward. “The students are concerned that they may trip the circuitry if they overload it. So, they have texted me that they need to have more power outlets and/or a small generator so that they can have heat and refrigeration this weekend. Please let me know how we can provide this for them.”
Heat and refrigeration. Because, you know, protesting should have all the comforts of home paid for by the institution against which they’re protesting. No wonder there are so many feeling the “Bern” on campus.
This time, Gary Ward wasn’t quite as into helping:
Ward responded less than enthusiastically: “That is all we have and I had folks come in first thing to get that. I am very concerned with providing a gas generator for safety concerns. That also requires us to have a person come in and keep them in gas. I very much appreciate our students and their right to protest but they are right now killing grass and putting stakes in the ground where we have underground sprinkler system. No other group or individual have been allowed to set up home on our quad. Typically when a tent request comes in the request needs a [procurement code] to pay for all the associated expenses. I request they move off our quad that many of our folks have worked very hard to make enjoyable for the entire university community. It really was not designed for a campsite.”
Sanity! Hey, the quad does not belong to them, they’re making demands that no one has ever made and they should be moved off. And oh, by the way, those that do set up tent camps usually pay “for all the associated expenses”.
The answer from the administration? A giant cave:
The administration then briefly deliberated whether a resolution could be reached with the protestors soon. After one notes the enormous national news coverage, Chancellor Loftin recommends “that we handle power by providing a generator of our own or access to more power from campus.”
“Will do,” Ward responds.
Ward is being the “good soldier”, but the administration simply ignored their own rules and took the easy way out because they didn’t have the stomach to facedown the protesters like the administration at Ohio State did recently. Result? Well, when you give an inch, you can expect them to ask for a mile … especially if they’re not paying for it:
About an hour later, Ward writes back: “The generator is set up. They want a fire pit.”
Freakin’ hilarious if it wasn’t so sad a statement on many students and the administrations of many academic institutions. Protest and demand that others not only heed your demands but pay for the amenities of your protest as you imagine them.
And on the other side, just lay down and let these people run over the rules of the institution and cave into their absurd demands.
What kind of life lesson is that? While this may work at Mizzou, they’ll be standing in an unemployment like faster than you can say SJW if they tried to pull this nonsense at work. Of course there are many corporations out there caving in to racial extortion, so that’s not quite as true a statement as it once was. But you get the point.
No wonder Mizzou is closing dorms this coming fall semester. The administration there deserves everything they’ve gotten … and frankly should have suffered even more for their wormy conduct.
That’s no way to run a University.
First, the University of Missouri, where the SJWs, with the help of a professor who didn’t think much of the 1st Amendment and was fine with committing battery to deny it, is having a rough year. Consequences from this bit of nonsense have really hit the bottom line:
Following a drop in students applying for housing, the University of Missouri will not be placing students in two dorms for the fall 2016 semester.
Mizzou will be closing the Respect and Excellence halls (ironic names, given the circumstances) in order to utilize dorm space “in the most efficient manner” to keep costs down.
In March, the university announced that it saw a sharp drop in admissions for the coming school year, and will have 1,500 fewer students. This will lead to a $32 million budget shortfall for the school, prompting the need to close the dorms in order to save money.
“Dear university community,” wrote interim chancellor Hank Foley in an email to the school back in March. “I am writing to you today to confirm that we project a very significant budget shortfall due to an unexpected sharp decline in first-year enrollments and student retention this coming fall. I wish I had better news.”
You see, those who are looking for a college have alternatives. And when they see a college or university that they perceive, right or wrong, to be out of control, they are likely to take their business elsewhere. Afterall, they’re paying the bill. So, take note all you institutions of higher learning who tend to fold like a wet paper box when a few students protest, you too may end up closing a couple of dorms if it goes the way of Mizzou. Fair warning.
Oh, and speaking of alternatives, New York government has decided to be “wonderful” with other people’s money and has hiked the minimum wage to $15 (over a time period). That’s double the wage of today. White Castle, an NY institution, isn’t taking that well since it will have a very heavy impact on their profitability (they make a 1 to 2% profit after expenses, including labor). White Castle’s CEO says there are few alternatives. If it was about price increases only, they’d have to increase their prices by 50%. He’s pretty sure that’s a no-go because of competition for dining out dollars. So, what’s he left with?
In the hyper-competitive restaurant industry, margins are slim — Richardson says that, in a typical year, White Castle hopes to achieve a net profit of between 1 and 2 percent — and if labor costs go up, many restaurants will turn toward labor-cost-cutting automation or business models that don’t require many employees. That means a lot of kids won’t get that first job. After decades of baggage check-in kiosks at airports, ATMs, and self-check-out lines at the supermarket, is it really so hard to imagine automation replacing the kid behind the counter at burger joints?
And what is lost to more young, inexperienced and thereby low-wage workers?
“We know that Millennials aren’t thinking they’ll stay at White Castle for 30 years,” Richardson says. “We view it as the start of the path. That’s true if you stay at White Castle or move on to something else. The skills you gain, you can take to the next role: learning how to apply for and get a job, learning how to show up, learning a work ethic, making a paycheck, and having fun.”
But this is about more than wages — White Castle has offered benefits and retirement programs for decades. It’s about the opportunity to work, to take the first step up the ladder of life, to get started.
“Out-of-work kids who don’t have an opportunity to work get in trouble. We want to offer kids jobs, offer kids work,” Richardson says. “There’s dignity in that.”
Somehow, though, the concept of starter jobs that pay low wages (and with the minimum wage, it’s usually more than they are worth) has become lost in all of this and we see government stepping in to make them “career” jobs for some idiotic and economically unsound reason. The result is predictable, although it will likely be hidden. You won’t see numbers because the numbers in question are those who are never hired because the wage floor is too high. And they’re going to be the “out-of-work” kids who don’t get that first chance to experience a job and what it takes to succeed.
Instead an alternative will do the work. A kiosk will greet the customer, takes his order and money and do so at a price point well below a $15 an hour worker. This isn’t rocket science and the math isn’t hard at all – $15 times 0 hours equals what?
Under the banner, “you can’t make this stuff up”, enjoy the following bit of idiocy:
Southwestern University in Texas has canceled its annual production of “The Vagina Monologues” because its author, Eve Ensler, is white — and featuring a performance written by a white lady would just not be inclusive to women of other races.
Instead, the school will host a performance of “We are Women,” which promises to “address similar experiences while emphasizing women of color,” according an article in the Megaphone, the school’s official newspaper.
Well, it promotes “similar experiences” except for white women I guess. Who knew “women of color” didn’t have vaginas?
Yes, this is indeed patently absurd. The Vagina Monologues was written as a feminist play to emphasize the supposed problems of women. Thus it was totally inclusive of … women. But not inclusive enough for The New Red Guard.
Cancelling performances of “The Vagina Monologues” has become a bit of a trend on college campuses these days. For example, just last year, all-women’s Mount Holyoke College canceled its own performance on the grounds that the production was not “inclusive” enough to people who identify as women but do not have actual vaginas.
No, really … it’s all about their definition of “inclusivity” and a feminist play, if written by a white woman, just doesn’t make the grade anymore.
You have to laugh at this sort of nonsense to remain sane. The one sterling good coming out of all of this is at whom many of these attacks are aimed. Leftists. Old Guard leftists. And a more deserving group I cannot imagine.
But the real point here is the implied claim that whites, no matter their gender, have nothing of value to say or add. This isn’t new by any stretch, it’s just become more common. For instance, this from early last year from The New Red Guard at, yeah, Berkeley:
We are calling for an occupation of syllabi in the social sciences and humanities. This call to action was instigated by our experience last semester as students in an upper-division course on classical social theory. Grades were based primarily on multiple-choice quizzes on assigned readings. The course syllabus employed a standardized canon of theory that began with Plato and Aristotle, then jumped to modern philosophers: Hobbes, Locke, Hegel, Marx, Weber and Foucault, all of whom are white men. The syllabus did not include a single woman or person of color.
Of course, if you look closely, it’s not just “white men” they’re shooting at, it is the foundational philosophies of the West. Apparently they believe that if there were women and persons of color writing philosophy during the same eras, they must have had something just as important to say, seeing as how their cultures matured equally with that of the West (and yeah, I know that some of the dead white dudes were not especially enamored of the West’s culture at the time). What the TNRG don’t seem to understand is they live in Western culture and the class is about “classical social theory” and thus likely wouldn’t include philosophers who had no impact on that “classical society” or those who lived outside of it and had no impact.
But this is all about gender and skin color … not context or logic.
Speaking of context and logic, James Lileks adds them:
College, apparently, is now a place where the notions of people freshly matriculated from high school must be handled with oven mitts and lightly buffed with soft cloth lest their orthodoxies suffer the slightest abrasion. Like the school that canceled the annual performance of The Vagina Monologues because it othered non-traditional women who lacked the titular orifice, it’s a delightful example of leftist autophagy. Marx is in foul order in Berkeley not for his ideas, or the heaps of corpses accumulated in his name, but because he had a prostate.
Yes, indeed. Oh, and because he was white.