Jonathan Adler points to a NY Times piece by Judith Shulevitz about the “infantilizing” of college students, enabled, of course, by the administrations of various colleges and universities. Shulevitz:
Safe spaces are an expression of the conviction, increasingly prevalent among college students, that their schools should keep them from being “bombarded” by discomfiting or distressing viewpoints. Think of the safe space as the live-action version of the better-known trigger warning, a notice put on top of a syllabus or an assigned reading to alert students to the presence of potentially disturbing material. . . . the notion that ticklish conversations must be scrubbed clean of controversy has a way of leaking out and spreading. Once you designate some spaces as safe, you imply that the rest are unsafe. It follows that they should be made safer. . . . while keeping college-level discussions “safe” may feel good to the hypersensitive, it’s bad for them and for everyone else. People ought to go to college to sharpen their wits and broaden their field of vision. Shield them from unfamiliar ideas, and they’ll never learn the discipline of seeing the world as other people see it. They’ll be unprepared for the social and intellectual headwinds that will hit them as soon as they step off the campuses whose climates they have so carefully controlled. What will they do when they hear opinions they’ve learned to shrink from? If they want to change the world, how will they learn to persuade people to join them?
We’ve talked about this in the past – this escape from reality which, in many cases, is simply an extension of many students life to that point. That has been enabled most times by parents who see their role as protectors rather than teachers. And they hand that responsibility off to college administrations who seem eager to continue the escape from reality.
What that has begotten is, ironically, a huge dollop of intolerance. These children don’t feels safe unless everyone “conforms” to a comfortable set of norms and beliefs. Those norms and beliefs are never to be challenged or argued because somewhere along the line they were graced with a pseudo right to never be offended or “uncomfortable” about anything.
Wow … a completely different world than I grew up in.
Addler adds these comments that I think are both appropriate and pertinant:
1) It’s not entirely clear how prevalent this phenomenon is. The demand for insulating students from potentially upsetting ideas does, for the moment, appears to come from a vocal minority and does not appear to have widespread support. Yet isn’t that always how these sorts of things start? And isn’t it well established that a vocal and highly motivated minority interest group can have an outsized influence on institutional policies?
2) Efforts to insulate students from challenging and even potentially offensive ideas cuts them off from the world and compromises much of the value of a traditional “liberal” education. It’s like some want to turn universities into the secular equivalents of Ave Maria Town.
3) One of the benefits of having been right-of-center in college was that my political and philosophical views were constantly challenged. There was no “safe space” — and I was better for it. I often felt that I received a better education than many of my peers precisely because I was not able to hold unchallenged assumptions or adopt unquestioned premises.
Point number one is important. We know it goes on, you just have to read Tanya Cohen’s piece to understand that was incubated somewhere and if you bother looking her up, she has connected with a good number of people who agree with her screed on “hate speech”. That sort of intolerance to other ideas came from somewhere. But as Addler points out, she’s hardly a majority, but certainly a part of a vocal minority. Here’s the difference though – while we may point and laugh at her premise, in the society we prefer, she has every right to express her absurd opinion. However, if she were in charge, we’d be in jail … or worse.
Point two is what it is all about. How does one become educated when any “offensive ideas” are excluded from the learning. How does one compare and contrast? How does one learn to reason? Well, “one” doesn’t. They learn only what they’re comfortable with and of course, that will be whatever plays well to their biases and preconceptions. Then they step out into the real world and reality flattens them like a freight train. Naturally they’re totally unprepared for the event.
Finally, point three makes the case for ignoring this “vocal minority” and welcoming dissenting and potentially offensive and upsetting ideas on campus. It goes back to the two questions I asked in the paragraph above. The marketplace of ideas is a powerful place and it winnows away ideas and premises that can’t stand the light of true scrutiny. But if you’re never exposed to it, you have no way to test your premise or challenge your assumptions. And if that is the case at a college or university, you’re not being educated, you’re being indoctrinated.
The short answer is “yes”. Megan McArdle makes the point :
Higher education is becoming the ginseng of the policy world: a sort of all-purpose snake oil for solving any problem you’d care to name, as long as we consume enough of it. Education is a very good thing, but it is not the only good thing. An indiscriminate focus on pushing more people into the system is no cure for society’s ills–and indeed, often functions as a substitute for helping the people who are struggling in the current system.
In fact (beside the fact we can’t afford “ObamaCare for colleges”):
What if people in the policy elite stopped assuming that the ideal was to make everyone more like them, and started thinking about making society more hospitable to those who aren’t? My grandfather graduated into a world where a man with a high-school diploma could reasonably hope to own his own business, or become someone else’s highly valued employee, a successful pillar of a supportive community. His grandchildren graduated into a world where a college diploma was almost the bare necessity to get any kind of a decent job. Why aren’t we at least asking ourselves if there’s something we can do to create more opportunity for people without diplomas, instead of asking how many more years we can keep everyone in school? Why do all of our proposed solutions essentially ratify the structure that excludes so many people, instead of questioning it?
Indeed. For too long our policies have been driven by an elite. And for the most part, the elite have made an awful mess of things. Now they want to take on “community colleges”.
Anyone? How long before they start looking at 4 year colleges?
McArdle suggests the following probable effects of any program like Obama has proposed:
1. Offer a subsidy to middle-class kids who don’t really need the money?
2. Encourage middle-class families to transfer their kids to community college for the first two years of school, and thus help to moderate college costs?
3. Encourage financially constrained students who might not have gone to college to enter the system en route to a degree?
4. Encourage marginal students with a low chance of completing a career-enhancing degree to attend school, mostly wasting government money and their own time?
As she points out 2 and 3 are actually not bad policy goals in and of themselves. However, the much more likely effect will be 1 and 4. Another government sponsored and taxpayer funded boondoggle that will essentially give community colleges a subsidy (it’ll be all about headcount – no one will really care if the student’s succeed) and create bureaucratic jobs while doing little or nothing in terms of “education advancement”.
Oh, yeah, did I mention we can’t afford it?
I thought I did.
So I’m reading Kevin Williams National Review article about the state of Connecticut wanting to pass a law that requires homeschooling parents “to present their children to the local authorities periodically for inspection, to see to it that their psychological and social growth is proceeding in the desired direction.” This is in the wake of the Sandy Hook killings and implies that the problem was centered in “homeschooling” and not the fact that the killer was a mental case. Not only that he was a well-known mental case having been in public schools until, as a last resort, he was home schooled. Williamson then goes on to put forward the real reason the Sandy Hook excuse is being used. And it is something any life long observer of the “progressive left” figured out years and years ago:
The Left’s model of society is still the model of Marx and Bismarck: one big factory to be managed by experts. The government schools are an assembly line for human widgets, who are in theory there to be taught what the state requires them to know in order to fulfill their roles as workers, administrators, and other bits of human machinery. That is the assumption behind President Obama’s insistence that “if you quit on school, you’re not just quitting on yourself — you’re quitting on your country.” Students are also there to be instructed in the official, unspoken state ideology: submission to official power.
The Left’s organizing principle is control, and the possibility that children might commonly be raised outside of its control matrix is an existential threat from the progressive point of view. Institutions such as free markets and free speech terrify progressives, because they are the result of arrangements in which nobody is in control.
This is just another attempt at exerting control over a segment of society which eschews that control and the indoctrination it entails. And the thin gruel provided by the Sandy Hook tragedy was all the excuse necessary to try to exert control over this segment. It also sends a message – “we believe homeschooling may be the bastion of extremists”.
More than anything exerting such control serves both a constituency and an ideology which identified education decades ago as the road to political success.
If you have not followed the issue closely, it is probably impossible for you to understand how intensely the Left and the government-school monopoly hate, loathe, and distrust home-schooling and home-school families. Purportedly serious scholars such as Robin West of Georgetown denounce them as trailer trash living “on tarps in fields or parking lots” and write wistfully of the day when home-schooling was properly understood: “Parents who did so were criminals, and their kids were truants.” The implicit rationale for the heavy regulation of home-schooling — that your children are yours only at the sufferance of the state — is creepy enough; in fact, it is unambiguously totalitarian and reduces children to the status of chattel. That this is now being framed in mental-health terms, under the theory that Lanza might not have committed his crimes if he had had the benefit of the tender attentions of his local school authorities, is yet another reminder of the Left’s long and grotesque history of using corrupt psychiatry as a tool of politics.
But take a moment to fully appreciate the absurdity of the Malloy gang’s assumption. Our public schools are dysfunctional, depressing, frequently dangerous places. Their architecture is generally penal, incorporating precisely the same sort of perimeter control as one sees in a low-security prison, with dogs, metal detectors, and the whole apparatus of control at hand. They are frequently run bynakedly corrupt, self-serving men and women who are not above rigging test scores to pad out their bonuses and who will fight to the end to keep pedophiles on the payroll if doing so serves their political interests, as in the case of California. They cannot even keep their teachers from raping their students, but they feel competent issuing orders that every family present its children for regular inspection in the name of the children’s “social and emotional learning needs.”
Contrary to all of the sanctimony surrounding them, the government schools are in fact the single most destructive institution in American public life, and they are the bedrock of the Left’s power, providing billions of dollars in campaign contributions and millions of man-hours for Democratic campaigns. But they do more than that: They are the real-life version of those nightmarish incubator pods from The Matrix, and home-schooling is a red pill. We entrust our children to the state for twelve or thirteen years, during which time they are subjected to a daily regimen that is, like the school buildings themselves, more than a little reminiscent of the penitentiary: “bells and cells,” as one of my teachers used to call it. They are instructed in obedience and compliance, as though the most important skill in life were the ability to sit quietly and follow instructions; those children who are more energetic than the authorities care for are given psychiatric diagnoses and very often put on psychiatric drugs: Since the 1980s, the rate of antidepressant prescription for children has increased five-fold, while the rate of antipsychotic prescription has increased six-fold. Locking children up for the largest part of the day, in a dreary room with 20 to 30 other children all born within nine or ten months of each other, is a model that make sense — that is something other than insane — only if you think of children as batches — if you believe, as our president and those who share his views believe, that the children are the government schools’ product rather than their customers.
And that “product” is trained and expected to follow its indoctrination – you know, things like this:
A Nebraska school district has instructed its teachers to stop referring to students by “gendered expressions” such as “boys and girls,” and use “gender inclusive” ones such as “purple penguins” instead.
“Don’t use phrases such as ‘boys and girls,’ ‘you guys,’ ‘ladies and gentlemen,’ and similarly gendered expressions to get kids’ attention,” instructs a training document given to middle-school teachers at the Lincoln Public Schools.
“Create classroom names and then ask all of the ‘purple penguins’ to meet on the rug,” it advises.
The document also warns against asking students to “line up as boys or girls,” and suggests asking them to line up by whether they prefer “skateboards or bikes/milk or juice/dogs or cats/summer or winter/talking or listening.”
“Always ask yourself . . . ‘Will this configuration create a gendered space?’” the document says.
The instructions were part of a list called “12 steps on the way to gender inclusiveness” developed by Gender Spectrum, an organization that “provides education, training and support to help create a gender sensitive and inclusive environment for children of all ages.”
Other items on the list include asking all students about their preferred pronouns and decorating the classroom with “all genders welcome” door hangers.
If teachers still find it “necessary” to mention that genders exist at all, the document states, they must list them as “boy, girl, both or neither.”
Furthermore, it instructs teachers to interfere and interrupt if they ever hear a student talking about gender in terms of “boys and girls” so the student can learn that this is wrong.
“Point out and inquire when you hear others referencing gender in a binary manner,” it states. “Ask things like . . . ‘What makes you say that? I think of it a little differently.’ Provide counter-narratives that challenge students to think more expansively about their notions of gender.”
The teachers were also given a handout created by the Center for Gender Sanity, which explains to them that “Gender identity . . . can’t be observed or measured, only reported by the individual,” and an infographic called “The Genderbred Person,” which was produced by www.ItsPronouncedMetroSexual.com.
But the real problem and danger is among the homeschooled. Meanwhile, in the public schools, the enculturation continues unabated. The product, if metaphorically beaten over the head with nonsense like “purple penguins” will learn to eventually pretend reality doesn’t exist and that “gender” is actually a figment of the oppressor’s imagination. What they can’t risk is individualism – those who will pull the curtain back and reintroduce reality into the world. Homeschoolers are one segment that threaten that exposure because they reject the indoctrination. Time to get them under control. Time to make it more and more difficult for homeschoolers to continue to do what they do. Because as far as the left is concerned, the future belongs to “purple penguins” – as determined by their betters, of course.
It is in that benighted land that irony, reason and hypocrisy are unknown concepts:
In California, Ventura High School Principal Val Wyatt barred the football booster club from selling meals donated by Chick-fil-A at back-to-school night to raise money. Wyatt cited company President Dan Cathy’s opposition to gay marriage as the reason for the ban. Superintendent Trudy Tuttle Arriaga backed up Wyatt. “We value inclusivity and diversity on our campus and all of our events and activities are going to adhere to our mission,” she said.
What could be more “inclusive” than allowing opinion that doesn’t agree with you to “coexist” without forcing everyone to suffer your biases because you have the power? I mean if you’re really, honestly and truly interested in “inclusiveness”. Oh, and what happened to tolerance, Arriaga and Wyatt? What could be more diverse than a community that welcomes all opinions as long as they don’t advocate violence or other forms of coercion? Is there something wrong with having a differing opinion about a subject based on principles that may be different than yours but are certainly shared by much of the mainstream (such as students at this school)? Apparently. Conformity with the opinion in power is the rule there it seems. The irony? This sort of action is blatantly exclusive and it makes a laughing stock of the word “diversity”. It says diverse opinion certainly isn’t welcome if it doesn’t conform with the people in power’s opinion.
Mouthing of platitudes doesn’t change that. Their “mission” has nothing to do with “inclusivity and diversity”. It has to do with ideology. A particular ideology. One that abuses the english language daily as well as our freedoms.
And I’m not talking about Putin’s attempt to resurrect it – I’m instead talking about this horrific overreaction by state of Maryland to … a book set in the future:
A 23-year-old teacher at a Cambridge, Md. middle school has been placed on leave and—in the words of a local news report—”taken in for an emergency medical evaluation” for publishing, under a pseudonym, a novel about a school shooting. The novelist, Patrick McLaw, an eighth-grade language-arts teacher at the Mace’s Lane Middle School, was placed on leave by the Dorchester County Board of Education, and is being investigated by the Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office, according to news reports from Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The novel, by the way, is set 900 years in the future. . . .
Imagine that—a novelist who didn’t store bombs and guns at the school at which he taught. How improbable! Especially considering that he uses an “alias,” which is apparently the law-enforcement term for “nom de plume.” (Here is the Amazon page for The Insurrectionist, by the way. Please note that the book was published in 2011, before McLaw was hired.)
According to an equally credulous and breathless report in the Star-Democrat, which is published in Easton, Md., the combined efforts of multiple law-enforcement agencies have made area children safe from fiction. Sheriff Phillips told the newspaper that, in addition to a K-9 sweep of the school (!), investigators also raided McLaw’s home. “The residence of the teacher in Wicomico County was searched by personnel,” Phillips said, with no weapons found. “A further check of Maryland State Police databases also proved to be negative as to any weapons registered to him. McLaw was suspended by the Dorchester County Board of Education pending an investigation and is no longer in the area. He is currently at a location known to law enforcement and does not currently have the ability to travel anywhere.”
As I find and read more stories like this on a much more frequent basis, I have to wonder what happened to America. Where did it go? And when?
The fact that anyone would find this supportable is phenomenal in and of itself, yet here we have the report … McLaw was obviously taken as a credible threat because he wrote … fiction to sell books.
Jeffery Goldberg goes on:
It is somewhat amazing that local news reports on this case don’t make clear whether McLaw is under arrest, and if so, on what charge. It is equally astonishing that the reporters on this story don’t seem to have used the words “First Amendment” in their questioning of law-enforcement officials, and also astonishing they don’t question the Soviet-sounding practice of ordering an apparently sane person who has been deemed unacceptable by state authorities to undergo a psychological evaluation.
It would be useful to know if McLaw is under investigation for behavior other than writing two novels—and perhaps he will be shown to be a miscreant of some sort—but so far, there is no indication that he is guilty of anything other than having an imagination, although on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, as news reports make clear, his imagination is considered an active threat.
Dorchester County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Henry Wagner told WBO that police will be present at the middle school “for as long as we deem it necessary,” and the sheriff said that law-enforcement officials across the Delmarva peninsula have been given McLaw’s photo in case he shows up in their jurisdictions—though again, it is not clear if he is, in fact, in police custody at the moment.
This is what happens when people quit thinking and only do “their duty”. When rules like “zero tolerance” replace common sense.
What happened to McLaw is an outrage. It is unacceptable. It should be condemned in the very strongest of terms.
Yet, at least by the media there, it seems all perfectly sane and normal. And, apparently, the police force as well. School. Etc.
Maryland (and Cambridge in particular) should be utterly ashamed.
Dr. Thomas Sowell thinks he knows:
In an age when scientists are creating artificial intelligence, too many of our educational institutions seem to be creating artificial stupidity.
Critical thinking seems, in many cases, to be a thing of the past. Ideology seems to be replacing it.
Many people in Europe and the Western Hemisphere are staging angry protests against Israel’s military action in Gaza. One of the talking points against Israel is that far more Palestinian civilians have been killed by Israeli military attacks than the number of Israeli civilians killed by the Hamas rocket attacks on Israel that started this latest military conflict.
Are these protesters aware that vastly more German civilians were killed by American bombers attacking Nazi Germany during World War II than American civilians killed in the United States by Hitler’s forces?
Not only that, are they aware that the intent of the Hamas terrorists is to kill as many Israeli civilians as they can? They’re just not very good at it. And, Israel has taken steps to safeguard its civilians while Hamas repeatedly and purposely puts their civilians at risk by launching rockets from populated areas near schools etc.
This isn’t something that’s hard to figure out … unless you’ve turned thinking off and ideology (which only allows one to accept “facts” that fit the narrative”) on.
Another example involving Jerry Rivers:
Geraldo Rivera has denounced the Drudge Report for carrying news stories that show some of the negative consequences and dangers from allowing vast numbers of youngsters to enter the country illegally and be spread across the country by the Obama administration.
Some of these youngsters are already known to be carrying lice and suffering from disease. Since there have been no thorough medical examinations of most of them, we have no way of knowing whether they, or how many, are carrying deadly diseases that will spread to American children when these unexamined young immigrants enter schools across the country.
The attack against Matt Drudge has been in the classic tradition of demagogues. It turns questions of fact into questions of motive. Geraldo accuses Drudge of trying to start a “civil war.”
However, history reminds us:
Back when masses of immigrants from Europe were entering this country, those with dangerous diseases were turned back from Ellis Island. Nobody thought they had a legal or a moral “right” to be in America or that it was mean or racist not to want our children to catch their diseases.
Perfectly acceptable precautions. Perfectly sound reasoning. Something we understood well even back then. But that doesn’t fit the ideological narrative today. The fact that the illegals are “children” is what the ideologues want to emphasize in order to shut others up and have them enter freely and be placed within our system. They appeal to emotion, not reason. Reason tells you that you take prudent precautions instead of openly exposing your children to the communicable diseases, etc. that are being brought in by illegals, children or not. Who do we have a greater responsibility toward and why should we risk their lives and health in order to satisfy an ideology? A thinking person would conclude we have a greater responsibility to our own children.
Although liberals are usually gung ho for increasing the minimum wage, there was a sympathetic front-page story in the July 29 San Francisco Chronicle about the plight of a local non-profit organization that will not be able to serve as many low-income minority youths if it has to pay a higher minimum wage. They are seeking some kind of exemption.
Does it not occur to these people that the very same thing happens when a minimum-wage increase applies to profit-based employers? They, too, tend to hire fewer inexperienced young people when there is a minimum-wage law.
No it doesn’t “occur” to them because they don’t think it through. They simply parrot the emotional buzz-words and phrases their ideology teaches them. The consequences are far less important than getting their way and feeling good about it. But critical thought never enters the picture.
If it did, we’d not be hearing the nonsense these examples present, would we?
So Eric Cantor went down in flames in the Virginia Republican primary I see. I can’t say I’m the least bit chagrined. Cantor is the quintessential establishment Republican. And like most of that ilk, he was more worried about what the press thought of him than doing what was right by his principles. I notice the media spin doctors are immediately claiming that he really didn’t lose because of his stand on immigration (i.e. a hard lean toward “amnesty” for illegals although he tried to deny it). After all if they admit that immigration reform was a reason for his defeat, then they have to admit that its dead for this year (as, given this lesson, no Republican running for reelection in the House – that would be all of them – is going to touch it with a 10 foot pole). The spin doctors also know that if it is dead for this year, it may be dead, at least in its present form, for good, if Republicans win the Senate. One also assumes that Republicans are aware of the polls out there that place immigration reform as a low priority issue for voters right now (yeah, surprise, they’re much more interested in jobs and economic growth than illegal aliens).
I think another reason for Cantor’s loss is a deep dissatisfaction with Republican House leadership – such that it is. Add his lack of popularity within his own district and an acceptable alternative candidate and you have the prefect electoral storm. Finally, Tea Party candidate Dave Brat’s win signaled, much to the annoyance of the left, that the Tea Party is hardly “dead”. It’ll be interesting to see how the establishment Republicans react to this upset.
On another subject, yesterday we saw where the FDA had unilaterally decided that it might be necessary to ban the centuries old tradition of aging cheese on wooden shelves. Because, you know, there’s been such an epidemic of sickness from such practices here lately and over the ages. What? There hasn’t? There hasn’t been any real problem at all? However:
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued an executive decree banning the centuries old practice of aging cheese on wooden boards. One bureaucrat within the FDA, without surveying all of the scientific literature, and without public commentary, has rattled hundreds of small businesses across the United States. Consumers who eat any kind of aged cheese should prepare for a potentially catastrophic disruption in the market for artisan, non-processed cheese.
Now that was yesterday. Today, yeah, its cave in time. There has been such an outcry from cheese makers, the public and just about anyone else that could find a forum that the FDA is hastily backing down. Overlawyered brings us up to date:
Following an enormous outcry from cheese makers, commentators, and the general public, the agency beats a hasty retreat. Commentator/ Pepperdine lawprof Greg McNeil has the details at Forbes (and his earlier commentary on the legalities of the agency’s action is also informative). Earlier here.
In a classic bureaucratic move, the agency denied it had actually issued a new policy (technically true, if you accept the premise that a policy letter from its chief person in charge of cheese regulation is not the same as a formally adopted new policy) and left itself the discretion to adopt such a policy in future if it wishes (merely declaring itself open to persuasion that wood shelving might prove compatible with the FSMA).
This is also a lesson for people in other regulated industries. When government officials make pronouncements that don’t seem grounded in law or policy, and threaten your livelihood with an enforcement action, you must organize and fight back. While specialized industries may think that nobody cares, the fight over aged cheese proves that people’s voices can be heard…
Yes, true. But … there’s always a ‘but’, Overlawyered points out something that is true and often overlooked. You have to be willing to fight for it all, not just the popular stuff. You have to be willing the challenge all the nonsense bureaucrats put out there:
There is a less optimistic version, however. It happens that a large number of editors, commentators, and others among the chattering classes are both personally interested in the availability of fine cheese and familiar enough with the process by which it is made to be un-cowed by claims of superior agency expertise. That might also be true of a few other issues here and there — cottage food sold at farmer’s markets, artisanal brewing practices — but it’s inevitably not going to be true of hundreds of other issues that arise under the new Food Safety Modernization Act. In a similar way, the outcry againstCPSIA, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, rose to a politically effective level only on a selected few issues (publishers and libraries got a fix so that older children’s books would not have to be trashed; youthmotorsports eventually obtained an exemption, and so forth) but large numbers of smaller children’s products and specialties whose makers had less of a political voice simply disappeared.
Absolutely true. I think of those who want to drink raw milk for instance. Where does the government get off saying you can’t drink something you choose to drink if you’re willing to take the risk and suffer any consequences? Something that, until pasteurization, everyone drank? But since those who prefer raw milk don’t have a large lobby, they’re subjected to government bullying and laws prohibiting them from making that choice.
Choice is freedom. Limiting of choice is limiting freedom and government is in the freedom limiting business. The premise is you’re not able to make good choices yourself, so government must keep you from doing so. Question? If aging cheese on wood was dangerous to our health and it had been the reason from many deaths over the centuries, how do you suppose the market for such cheeses might have been effected by now? Right. It certainly wouldn’t have come down to some government bureaucrat making a unilateral decision in 2014, that’s for sure.
In Iraq, Mosul has fallen to terrorists. Nightwatch brings us up to date:
ISIL has been trying to take Mosul since earlier in June, but only lately assembled enough forces to rout the security forces and overrun the city.
ISIL now controls two major cities in the Sunni region of Iraq: Fallujah and Mosul. Its fighters tried to overrun several other cities, but failed. Its aim is to create an Islamic emirate that joins Iraq and Syria.
The group had been affiliated with al Qaida for many years, since the time of Abu Musab Zarqawi, according to the National Counter Terrorism Center. In February al Qaida disavowed all links with ISIL because its actions were more extreme than al Qaida and it would not follow orders to stop fighting the al Nusrah Front in Syria, which al-Qaida supports.
On Sunday in Syria, ISIL fighters clashed with the al-Qaida-affiliated al Nusrah Front in eastern Syria, while its Iraq wing fought to capture Mosul in Iraq. This is a formidable group. Only the Syrian Kurds stand in the way of ISIL consolidating large areas in Iraq and Syria under its control.
Mosul’s capture reinforces the judgment that Iraq has re-entered civil war. ISIL is more than an insurgency because it has an effective organization and is conquering territory. By force of arms, it has created a power-sharing arrangement with the government in Baghdad and fragmented the country. A statement by the Muslim scholars association today encouraged ISIL to hold Mosul and to set up an administration. It urged the youth of the city to defend it against the Baghdad government.
ISIL’s control in Syria seems tenuous and contested by other opposition groups. In Iraq, it is the dominant anti-government force and it has broken Iraq, for now.
My position? If Iraqi’s want a free Iraq, they’d better fight for it. They’ve been given the time, the equipment and the training. Now, it’s up to them.
Finally, yesterday I literally had to laugh out loud when I read something Robert Reich, a former Secretary of Labor, had written on his Facebook page. It simply demonstrates how effing silly – and dangerous to your freedoms – these people are:
President Obama announced steps yesterday he said will make student loans more affordable. It’s probably all he can manage with a grid-locked Congress, but it’s still tinkering with a system of college financing that’s spinning out of control. What’s really needed is to make college free of charge and require all graduates to pay 10 percent of their earnings for the first 10 years of full-time work into a fund that pays the costs (additional years of graduate school means added years of payments). That way, nobody graduates with debts; young people from lower-income families can afford to attend; graduates who go into high-wage occupations in effect subsidize those who go into lower-wage work; and we move toward a system of genuinely equal opportunity. What do you think?
Right … free college for all. Graduate with no debt!
Question: How in the world does this dolt think that making all graduates pay “10 percent of their earnings for the first 10 years” to fund “free college” doesn’t equal being in debt? Oh, and who would keep track of all this? Why the IRS of course – another in a long line of ideas to further centralize control of all aspects of your life at the federal level and add to the federal bureaucracy’s reach and power.
Then add the scam value of this. Ride the gravy train for 3 or 4 years of free college and then walk away as a non-graduate. Nothing to pay, right? I mean the stipulation is that “graduates” pay, so why not hang out in a college dorm, eat in the chow hall, do your own thing while also doing barely enough to stay in school. That way you can let these other dopes subsidize those years for you. Then, move, apply to a new school and repeat. Trust me, there are enough “professional students” in this world that I can promise that would be done.
Oh … and read the comments to the Reich post. They’ll make you weep.
I’m sure by now you’ve at least heard of the female Duke freshman who is paying for her college tuition by being a porn star.
She apparently wants to be a lawyer some day. She’s a woman’s studies major. She says she can’t afford the financial aid she needs to study at Duke and so she’s decided to do porn.
So what’s my beef with her? Well it is not that she is okay with being in porno. Its not illegal, and if there is no force or fraud involved, I have no problem with her choice even if I disagree.
The beef? Read this first:
I was offered scholarships at a lot of places. I was offered full tuition at Vanderbilt, for example, and was accepted into USC, Wellesley, Barnard, Pepperdine, some others. But I visited Duke last year on Blue Devil Days [Duke’s programmed weekend for admitted freshmen], and I remember walking into the Duke Chapel — I’m a very spiritual person — and just feeling an energy that told me, “This is the place you need to be.” And I felt something in the chapel in that moment that told me that I needed to be here and go to Duke and it was something that would be an amazing experience for me.
Yup … apparently something “spiritual” happened and she just had to choose Duke. Had too. That is the place for her, even though she couldn’t afford it. Even with a “full ride” at Vandy, she wanted to go to Duke instead.
Would you still do porn if Duke cost less?
No. If Duke had given me sufficient financial aid, if they had given me the proper resources and made college affordable for my family, I would not have done porn. I would’ve just gotten through college and been fine. The financial burden that Duke put on me was absolutely enormous and insurmountable with the resources that I had.
And it’s Duke’s fault she’s doing porn because, apparently, it was Duke’s job to realize what a catch they had in her and make college more affordable for her family and herself.
So, instead of going to a very good college which had offered her full tuition (which I’m sure has “womens studies” major as well), she selfishly chose to go to one she couldn’t afford because, you know, something happened in the chapel at Duke or whatever. She’s now doing porn to pay for it. And it’s all Duke’s fault or at least Duke is the reason she had to make that choice.
You know, I think college has gotten outrageously expensive and I hope the bubble pops very soon. ROI for the money has been shown to be not so good. And the debt load one has to take on to get a degree is outrageous.
But seriously, her justification is just so pathetic I couldn’t pass up commenting on it. Btw, she says she loves doing porn, so who cares? But to lay it off on the school when it was completely a result of her choice of schools – is just the ultimate in BS reasoning.
Yeah, if she ever gets a law degree, I’d say avoid her like the plague.
Walter Russell Mead points to something that is a good indicator of our “favored victim” form of politics. If you’re not among the favored victims, well, no one really gives a crap:
Since 1979, inflation-adjusted hourly wages fell 20 percent for men ages 25–39 with only a high school diploma, while wages for their female counterparts rose by one percent. In the same timeframe, the number of male high school graduates with jobs fell by nine percent and rose for women by nine percent.
Part of this is due to the evaporation of jobs in industries that were previously filled by less educated men, like manufacturing and construction. But women have adapted much more quickly to a world in which a bachelor’s degree is increasingly important for landing a job. In 2010, among 35 year olds, women were 17 percent more likely than men to have attended college. Lower- and middle-class men lag behind women in their social class in education, employment, and wages.
If the gender roles were reversed here and a generation of women has suffered huge setbacks, we would have a great hue and cry with blue-ribbon panels, academic roundtables, and a lot of national soul-searching. But men’s problems don’t seem to interest anyone much, not even men.
Because, you know, men are brutes and white men, well they’re the worst kind (you see they “enjoy” white privilege – never heard of it? It’s on all the liberal websites).
The point, of course, is the media nor the left (but I repeat myself) has any real interest in the struggles of men, because it is a article of faith among the left that all the ills of the world can be traced to a single source. Men.
A caveat – if you are a “less educated” man, that’s your freaking fault. And if that lack of education has you in this situation, unless the problem of getting such an education was beyond your control, I have no sympathy for you.
That said, while I agree with Mead’s point, I’m thankful that we aren’t involved with costly “blue-ribbon” panels, etc. We’ve seen how effective government has been in the economy for the last 5 years. Lord knows we don’t need to give them any excuses to meddle even more. That could actually cause women’s job rates to drop and there we’d be, knee deep in “blue-ribbon panels, academic roundtables, and a lot of national soul-searching.”
And we know who’d be paying for it, don’t we?
I tend to be more optimistic than Dale about the near-to-intermediate future for the economy and for the culture. This may be unusual for a libertarian, but I’m heartened by many of the ways in which our opponents’ system is unsustainable.
Let me start by saying that, given a certain size of central government, libertarians could do worse than spending almost two-thirds of the budget on a few wealth transfer programs (Social Security and Medicare, both mostly funded by flat taxes, plus Medicaid, which gets much of its funding from the states) and a military like ours. Imagine if that money was spent employing domestic police and busybodies.
But even that government is fiscally unsustainable, so we expect our government to eventually be forced to give up some of its “responsibilities.” Assuming the country avoids a sovereign debt crisis, that adjustment might not be so bad for libertarians. Continue reading