No Minister

Posts Tagged ‘Education

The New English Language

with one comment

Adolf scans the part time job ads each morning. See what you make of this one, from an insitutions of tertiary education, no less.

The Administration and Student Support Officer will provide administrative support to the Campus. The position is responsible for the efficient and effective day-to-day co-ordination of the administrative support function which contributes to the service for campus staff and students. The position ensures effective communication is established and maintained with other college and local work teams and functions and that College business practice requirements are able to be met.

Written by adolffinkensen

June 19, 2021 at 12:17 pm

Posted in New Zealand

Tagged with

Answers to Bad Anti-Free Speech Arguments

Aeromagazine has a superb article that deals with twelve such arguments that are commonly heard.

While the whole thing is worth your time to read I wanted to extract two in particular.

First up is the classic one about shouting fire! in a crowded theatre;

Answer: Anyone who says “you can’t shout fire! in a crowded theatre” is showing that they don’t know much about the principles of free speech, or free speech law—or history. 

This old canard, a favourite reference of censorship apologists, needs to be retired. It’s repeatedly and inappropriately used to justify speech limitations. People have been using this cliché as if it had some legal meaning, while First Amendment lawyers roll their eyes and point out that it is, in fact, as Alan Dershowitz puts it, “a caricature of logical argumentation.” Ken White has already penned a brilliant and thorough takedown of this misconception. Please read it before proclaiming that your least favourite language is analogous to shouting fire in a crowded theatre.

The phrase is a misquotation of an analogy made in 1919 Supreme Court opinion that upheld the imprisonment of three people—a newspaper editor, a pamphlet publisher and a public speaker—who argued that military conscription was wrong. The court said that anti-war speech in wartime is like “falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic,” and it justified the ban with a dubious analogy to the longstanding principle that the First Amendment doesn’t protect speech that incites people to physical violence. But the Supreme Court abandoned the logic of that case more than 50 years ago. That this trope originated as a justification for what has long since been deemed unconstitutional censorship reveals how useless it is as a measure of the limitations of rights. And yet, the crowded theatre cliché endures, as if it were some venerable legal principle.

Oh, and notice that the court’s objection was only to “falsely shouting fire!”: if there is, in fact, a fire in a crowded theatre, please let everyone know.

But I also appreciate the response to this more modern one that I often see on social media because it’s a cartoon.

Assertion: The right to free speech means the government can’t arrest you for what you say; it still leaves other people free to kick you out.

Answer: No, the popular xkcd cartoon below is wrong. The First Amendment limits what the government can do, but freedom of speech is something much bigger than that.

This cartoon is often used to dismiss free speech arguments, but it is wrong: it not only confuses First Amendment law with freedom of speech, it doesn’t even get the First Amendment right.

The concept of freedom of speech is a bigger, older and more expansive idea than its particular application in the First Amendment. A belief in the importance of freedom of speech is what inspired the First Amendment; it’s what gave the First Amendment meaning, and what sustains it in the law. But a strong cultural commitment to freedom of speech is what maintains its practice in our institutions—from higher education, to reality TV, to pluralistic democracy itself. Freedom of speech includes small l liberal values that were once expressed in common American idioms like to each his owneveryone’s entitled to their opinion and it’s a free country. These cultural values appear in legal opinions too; as Justice Robert H. Jackson noted in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, “Compulsory unification of opinion achieves only the unanimity of the graveyard.”

While the United States Constitution limits only governmental behaviour on its face, its application sometimes requires the government to protect you from being censored by other citizens. For example, the government has a duty to protect you from being attacked by a hostile mob that doesn’t like your ideas or having your public speech disrupted by a heckler’s veto.

The First Amendment also bars government officials from punishing your speech in many ways that don’t rise to the level of arresting you. To give just one example, since administrators at state colleges are government actors, they can’t tear your flyer from a public message board because they don’t like what it says.

A belief in free speech means you should be slow to label someone as utterly dismissible for their opinions. Of course you can kick an asshole out of your own house, but that’s very different from kicking a person out of an open society or a public forum. The xkcd cartoon is often used to let people off the hook from practicing the small d democratic value of listening.

Related to this is an excellent article by the American essayist, Roger Kimball, which looks at what he calls “crybullies” and their lousy impact on education:

There are two central tenets of the woke philosophy. The first is feigned fragility. The second is angry intolerance. The union of fragility and intolerance has given us that curious and malevolent hybrid I have called the crybully, a delicate yet venomous species that thrives chiefly in lush, pampered environments.

His plea on “systemic racism” will be ignored

John McWhorter’s that is. He’s pictured here. He’s a linguist professor at Columbia University, where he also teaches philosophy and music history. His research speciality is creole languages.

Like most linguists he hates the sloppy use of words and grammar, but in this article he goes after the recent term “systemic racism” because he thinks it’s useless, unhelpful and racist itself.

But if the mantra is that what we need to do to solve black America’s problems is “get rid of systemic racism,” we’re in trouble. That analysis, be it explicit or tacit, is based on a third-grader’s understanding of how a society works. More importantly, that analysis does not help black people and often hurts us.

I’m always amused by academics who can’t see the political aspects of what they’re discussing, in this case the simple fact that “systemic racism” is far too politically useful to the Left at the moment to stop being used.

It’s useful in two ways.

First, it puts opponents on the back foot in the same way that hurling the simple word, “racism” does, but with the added benefit of not sounding like a direct attack. The Leftist is not actually calling you a racist – just the system in which we all live; the implication being that if you don’t want to radically change the system it’s likely because you’re privileged by it and… well, you know… You’re a….

McWhorter actually does get this visceral aspect and argues that it’s one of the reasons why the approach is so useless in solving real problems – but he still grants good faith to the people using the term.

The second reason is that it can be used to explain away a multitude of failures in Left-wing institutions that have been built over the last hundred years. Are Blacks and other “People of Colour” (POC) falling behind in education, healthcare and social welfare stats? Well, the explanation is not that Public Health, Public Education and Public Welfare are shoddy structures with poor incentives, or even counter-productive ones built in. No, the explanation is that they’re systemically racist.

Where will it get us, beyond thrilling rhetoric, to pretend that with racism, the difference between past and present doesn’t matter? Most of us get that this is, in the present tense, “racism without racists.”

I can see real problems for the Left in pushing this theory, since the initial proposed solution is a basic re-programming of the minds of all the White people in those institutions. Such brainwashing strategies have a bad history of cruelty and failure. As it fails the next logical step will be to create separate entities for POC: a separate healthcare, education and welfare system.

Is this sounding familiar to you as a New Zealander? It should as He Puapua hoves into view. Ye Olde Tyme Leftie Chris Trotter is already shitting bricks about the implications for his beloved Public world, as he should be.

But back to McWhorter’s critique of “systemic racism” in the US. The article specifically looks at the failure of Black kids in US education – but the argument used there is used in all the other areas of society; that the discrepancies between Black kids education and other American groups is due to systemic racism. This theory has the official stamp of the US government and legal system with the approved term being “Disparate Impact”: if there is disparate impact then it means that racism is present, even when explicitly non-racist practices are used.

McWhorter lists the usual reasons for Black school failure: lousy schools and Black families that perhaps don’t have the “cultural capital” to invest in their kids (unlike Asian families especially). But he points out that the gap exists in good schools and that “hard-pressed, semi-educated” Caribbean and African immigrant families get their kids into top schools.

He then references a detailed study done in 1997 of the attitudes that Black kids have to schools and education:

I know of no study that more elegantly gets across a subtle but determinative difference between how black and white kids tend to process the school thing. For the black kids, school is something “else,” something for “them,” beyond the comfort zone; for the white kids, it is part of the comfort zone.

Casteel’s study pointed up a quieter aspect of something richly documented nationwide – a sense among black teens that school is “white” and that real black kids don’t hit the books. 

But precisely because Casteel’s study did not blame racism the study is argued against by Black academics, even though:

a) Note that our issue here is not assailing black kids for being lazy students.

b) We cannot fall back on the idea that the kids’ white teachers were “racisming” them, because the black kids said they did their work for the teacher, just not their parents.

c) Casteel was not a white Republican or anything close. He is a black man, having been a career educator among many things, deeply devoted to helping the black community.

But what would such a man know compared to someone with a PhD in some aspect of Critical Race Theory?

McWhorter tackles the non-solution of “Systemic Racism” head on:

“Undoing the racism in the system,” in this light, is word magic, not an intelligent prescription for change in the real world.

If our only approach must be to show that we aren’t racists by “eliminating the racism” embedded in societal procedures, then of course the new idea is that we should eliminate whatever it is that is challenging black students. Just tear it down.

But here is where we get whites smiling nervously and pretending to think that actually getting the answer is white, that being competitively tested is white (unless, I guess, it’s on a basketball court or in a rap battle?), that being expected to raise your hand and give an answer is white.

Which leads to this killer point:

And anyone who misses that this is exactly the way Strom Thurmond wanted it is all but working to be ignorant.

Of course that’s “anti-racism” in a nutshell.

A different solution is proposed:

It would seem that our solution to the kind of thing Casteel identified is putting extra effort into training black kids for tests, getting the word out among them about the value of collaboration in studying (which blunts the idea that studying is not what “we” do), valuing black kids learning next to each other in solid charter schools over the idea that they are better off learning next to middle class white kids (despite some evidence of slightly better performance in such cases – priorities will differ), and other things.

But of all of our strategies, “get rid of the racism” is the goofiest, most unreasoning and ultimately most harmful.

Well sure, but that’s the academic in him. Politically “systemic racism” is incredibly useful for the Left, so the harm does not matter, but read the whole thing anyway.

UPDATE:

Well looky here –White privilege’ is infecting the education system – H/T Homepaddock:

“Teachers are being shown videos that instruct them to list their ‘privileges’ and view their students in terms of racial groupings. The training modules we have seen state that ‘education is a form of symbolic violence’ and that the structure of school day doesn’t work for Pacific learners who ‘are not tuned into the different parts of the day’.

As I keep saying, focusing on the USA is worthwhile because almost all of what develops there turns up in New Zealand sooner or later. Also keep note of the “Right-Wing” politicians and activists of the National Party as they mindlessly repeat the term “systemic racism”.

Written by Tom Hunter

May 28, 2021 at 10:48 am

DPF AUTHORED THIS POST OVER AT KIWIBLOG AND THE COMMENT BY ROSEGAL SEZ IT ALL

The post ….

This explains a lot of the disparities

The Ministry of Education has released the latest attendance data. This is the proportion of students who are absent more than 30% (so more than 11 weeks absent):

  • Asians 4.2%
  • Europeans 6.2%
  • Maori 16.2%
  • Pacific 16.5%

If kids are not in school then yes they will end up earning less income, being more likely to face the criminal justice system, having worse health outcomes etc. Kids absent more than 30% are not going to leave school with adequate literacy and numeracy.

And don’t try and blame it all on colonisation. That won’t explain the huge difference between Asian and Pacific attendance rates.

Setting up quangos and authorities will do stuff all in terms of closing the gaps. Following up on kids not in school, will.

The comment ….

The figures reflect the value placed on education by the different cultures/races. Asians value education highly and understand that what’s provided here (up until the past few years at least) is some of the best education in the world, period. Colonisation is completely irrelevant other than as the means by which such an education has been made available to those that otherwise wouldn’t have got a look in. So sad that apparently so many Māori and Pacific Islanders don’t seem to be able to grasp the opportunity that they are letting slip away.

In any case, the important question is, what’s the Ministry of Education doing about the problem? Never mind culture/race. Why aren’t they following-up on non attendees and sorting them out? No excuses. Just get on with it.

Me

and just where are the parents in the equation?

Written by The Veteran

May 9, 2021 at 5:22 pm

Posted in New Zealand

Tagged with

Rain and Newton’s Laws

After two relentless weeks of sixteen hour days the rain has finally given me a day off, a brief respite before our teams plunge into the fields of maize once more.

I was lucky enough to grab the controls of a maize chopper the other night as I helped the young driver detach the head for a well-deserved cleaning of Ole Sassy Pants as he calls her. It took us many minutes and he told me that the latest John Deere models can detach the head in less than a minute.

The chopper head alone weighs several tons, and yet it is controlled from the now-standard “joy-stick” on the side of the chair armrest. Thumbing a smallish button “up” lifts the thing with a precision of centimetres: no levers to the hydraulics now. Similarly with moving forward or back as twenty tons of machinery can move as slowly as a snail – or at 40km/h – with just slight pressure on the stick. It really is like flying a plane.

The energy required to perform all these feats is also incredible; at the end of the day we refill her with hundreds of litres of diesel fuel. I’m sure Elon Musk would welcome the challenge of running this thing on batteries, but they’re going to have to be something much better than lithium-ion. Graphene batteries perhaps, packing up to 1,000Wh per kilogram compared to 180Wh of energy per kilogram for Lithium-ion.

Unfortunately diesel fuel powers in at almost 13,000Wh per kilogram.

It’s going to be interesting to see what the next generation of engineers can produce – assuming they can still do physics and math, which is not as much of joke as you might think:

The science program at Fieldston would make any parent swoon. The electives for 11th- and 12th-graders, according to the school’s website, include immunology, astronomy, neuroscience, and pharmacology.

But physics looks different these days. “We don’t call them Newton’s laws anymore,” an upperclassman at the school informs me. “We call them the three fundamental laws of physics. They say we need to ‘decenter whiteness,’ and we need to acknowledge that there’s more than just Newton in physics.”

That’s a quote from an article by Bari Weiss, The Miseducation of America’s Elites. Weiss was fired from the NYT some months ago for the crime of speaking some non-Leftist-approved ideas and, like fellow Leftists Matt Tabbi and Glenn Greenwald, has taken to writing articles on substack, a place where increasingly you find real journalists, people who actually investigate claims and news before writing about them, as opposed to the poorly educated, ignorant political and ideological hacks of the MSM who increasingly act as little more than stenographers for Leftist governments and ideas.

In this particular article you might not feel sorry for the parents who appear in it since they’re wealthy and determined to pour as much money as possible into getting their little darlings off to a good start in life:

These are America’s elites—the families who can afford to pay some $50,000 a year for their children to be groomed for the eating clubs of Princeton and the secret societies of Yale, the glide path to becoming masters—sorry, masterx—of the universe. The ideas and values instilled in them influence the rest of us.

“These schools are the privilege of the privilege of the privilege. They say nonstop that they are all about inclusion. But they are by definition exclusive. These schools are for the tippity top of society,” a young mother in Manhattan tells me.

What’s happening is that these parents, most of them “Liberal” upper-income folks rather than Bezo’s level billionaires, people who undoubtedly voted for Joe Biden, have only just begun to realise what’s happening to their kids and it’s scaring the shit out of them:

“I grew up in L.A., and the Harvard School definitely struggled with diversity issues. The stories some have expressed since the summer seem totally legitimate,” says one of the fathers. He says he doesn’t have a problem with the school making greater efforts to redress past wrongs, including by bringing more minority voices into the curriculum. What he has a problem with is a movement that tells his children that America is a bad country and that they bear collective racial guilt.

“They are making my son feel like a racist because of the pigmentation of his skin,” one mother says.

The teachers also, at least some of them:

“I am in a cult. Well, that’s not exactly right. It’s that the cult is all around me and I am trying to save kids from becoming members.” He sounds like a Scientology defector, but he is a math teacher at one of the most elite high schools in New York City. He is not politically conservative. “I studied critical theory; I saw Derrida speak when I was in college,” he says, “so when this ideology arrived at our school over the past few years, I recognized the language and I knew what it was. But it was in a mutated form.”

This teacher is talking with me because he is alarmed by the toll this ideology is taking on his students. “I started seeing what was happening to the kids. And that’s what I couldn’t take. They are being educated in resentment and fear. It’s extremely dangerous.”

Three thousand miles away, in Los Angeles, another prep-school teacher says something similar. “It teaches people who have so much to see themselves as victims. They think they are suffering oppression at one of the poshest schools in the country.”

Sure. But it’s working, as the kids themselves know:

One Los Angeles mother tells me that her son was recently told by his friend, who is black, that he is “inherently oppressed.” She was incredulous. “This kid is a multimillionaire,” she said. “My son said to his friend: ‘Explain it to me. Why do you feel oppressed? What has anyone done to make you feel less?’ And the friend said: ‘The color of my skin.’ This blew my mind.”

I’ll bet she still voted Democrat and Biden in the 2020 election though, and probably all the way down to Mayor.

Woe betide the working-class kid who arrives in college and uses Latino instead of “Latinx,” or who stumbles conjugating verbs because a classmate prefers to use the pronouns they/them. Fluency in woke is an effective class marker and key for these princelings to retain status in university and beyond.

For them, it’s not just the fear of getting a bad grade or getting turned down for a college recommendation, though that fear is potent. It’s the fear of social shaming. “If you publish my name, it would ruin my life. People would attack me for even questioning this ideology. I don’t even want people knowing I’m a capitalist,” a student at the Fieldston School in New York City told me, in a comment echoed by other students I spoke with. 

“The kids are scared of other kids,” says one Harvard-Westlake mother. The atmosphere is making their children anxious, paranoid, and insecure—and closed off from even their close friends. “My son knew I was talking to you and he begged me not to,” another Harvard-Westlake mother told me. “He wants to go to a great university, and he told me that one bad statement from me will ruin us. This is the United States of America. Are you freaking kidding me?”

Heh. It was the United States of America. Now it’s a Beatles song, only it’s not a parody. But that first statement is also what’s driving the fear in trying to fight back against this racist, totalitarian ideology:

The parents in this story are not parents with no other options. Most have the capital—social and literal—to pull their kids out and hire private tutors. That they weren’t speaking out seemed to me cowardly, or worse. The cynical answer for their silence is two words: Ivy League. “There are definitively rumors that the school has like, say, three picks for Duke and that if you stand up against this your kid will get blackballed,” says one mother.

And their own social networks of course:

To question any of the curricular changes, parents say, is to make yourself suspect: “Every group chat I’m on with school parents, with the exception of my concerned parents’ group, they have a pattern of shaming anyone who shares anything remotely political or dissents from the group narrative,” one Brentwood mother wrote to me. “Once someone shames one person, many chime in agreement. The times I speak up to defend those they shame, they attempt to shame me.”

Well shaming was always a key part of the struggle sessions, which makes the following quote a keeper:

One private school parent, born in a Communist nation, tells me: “I came to this country escaping the very same fear of retaliation that now my own child feels.”

As I often say to people when I talk about the insanities of the USA; don’t kid yourselves that this crap is not heading for New Zealand as well. In fact it’s already here. But read the whole thing and understand that this is happening in US public schools also.

About the only consolation I have is that even if this system fails to produce the engineers needed to build machines like the John Deere chopper, there is no way such education will stop the rain falling, or Newton’s Laws of Physics.

Written by Tom Hunter

February 25, 2021 at 12:09 pm

The Struggle Sessions – Everyday Life

So far in the Struggle Sessions I’ve looked at where it came from, its effects in Academia, MSM, and even Science.

But it’s beginning to hit home to everyday people as well.

Some of this is obvious, as shown by Matt Taibbi’s article on the MSM:

Minneapolis mayor Jacob Frey, who argued for police reform and attempted to show solidarity with protesters in his city, was shouted down after he refused to commit to defunding the police. Protesters shouted “Get the fuck out!” at him, then chanted “Shame!” and threw refuse, Game of Thrones-style, as he skulked out of the gathering. Frey’s “shame” was refusing to endorse a position polls show 65% of Americans oppose, including 62% of Democrats, with just 15% of all people, and only 33% of African-Americans, in support.

Each passing day sees more scenes that recall something closer to cult religion than politics. White protesters in Floyd’s Houston hometown kneeling and praying to black residents for “forgiveness… for years and years of racism” are one thing, but what are we to make of white police in Cary, North Carolina, kneeling and washing the feet of Black pastors? What about Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer kneeling while dressed in “African kente cloth scarves”? 

There is symbolism here that goes beyond frustration with police or even with racism: these are orgiastic, quasi-religious, and most of all, deeply weird scenes,

Heh. What is not deeply weird is the classic feature of Nineteen Eighty Four, in which history is constantly updated, and woe betide anybody who does not keep up:

Even people who try to keep up with protest goals find themselves denounced the moment they fail to submit to some new tenet of ever-evolving doctrine, via a surprisingly consistent stream of retorts: fuck you, shut up, send money, do better, check yourself, I’m tired and racist.

I’ve referred before to Andrew Sullivan’s 2018 piece, We All Live on Campus Now, which pointed out that campus insanity was going to spread beyond universities as people graduated:

Why does it matter? These are students, after all. They’ll grow up once they leave their cloistered, neo-Marxist safe spaces. The real world isn’t like that. You’re exaggerating anyway. And so on…

The reason I don’t agree with this is because I believe ideas matter. When elite universities shift their entire worldview away from liberal education as we have long known it toward the imperatives of an identity-based “social justice” movement, the broader culture is in danger of drifting away from liberal democracy as well. 

To put it another way: the Culture Wars in the USA matter because their impacts are real and spreading not just across the USA but across the Western world. Sullivan has followed that article up with this one in 2020, Is there still room for debate?:

In the last couple of weeks, as the purges of alleged racists have intensified in every sphere, and as so many corporations, associations, and all manner of civic institutions have openly pledged allegiance to anti-racism, with all the workshops, books, and lectures that come with it, I’m reminded of a Václav Havel essay, “The Power of the Powerless.”

Short answer: NO! With regard to Havel, I thought I’d coined that phrase in 2007 on Kiwiblog. Nuts!

A lot of the crap that’s hitting the corporate world outside of the MSM places Sullivan is writing about, is a nasty little polemic called White Fragility. Back to Taibbi again as he reviews this ludicrous best selling book, Taibbi is not gentle. The book is actually being used as a basis for “training” in the Human Resource departments of US corporations and government departments, hardly surprising given that its author, Robin DiAngelo, is a former corporate consultant. She certainly landed on the gravy train with this one.

DiAngelo isn’t the first person to make a buck pushing tricked-up pseudo-intellectual horseshit as corporate wisdom, but she might be the first to do it selling Hitlerian race theory…

DiAngelo’s writing style is pure pain. The lexicon favored by intersectional theorists of this type is built around the same principles as Orwell’s Newspeak: it banishes ambiguity, nuance, and feeling and structures itself around sterile word pairs…

Writers like DiAngelo like to make ugly verbs out of ugly nouns and ugly nouns out of ugly verbs (there are countless permutations on centering and privileging alone)…

Put simply, the book is dumber than the average business book of the last forty years, and is certainly having worse consequences than something like the hideous 1980’s tome, In Search of Excellence, which, as just one example, highlighted IBM just before it started going down the crapper. It’s not surprising that White Fragility manages to twist the story of Jackie Robinson completely inside out, arguing that people back in the 1940’s believed that “Robinson finally had what it took to play with whites”. Taibbi really takes issue with this:

There is not a single baseball fan anywhere – literally not one, except perhaps Robin DiAngelo, I guess – who believes Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier because he “finally had what it took to play with whites.” Everyone familiar with this story understands that Robinson had to be exceptional, both as a player and as a human being, to confront the racist institution known as Major League Baseball….

Robinson’s story moreover did not render “whites, white privilege, and racist institutions invisible.” It did the opposite. … Robinson’s story, on every level, exposed and evangelized the truth about the very forces DiAngelo argues it rendered “invisible.” 

It takes a special kind of ignorant for an author to choose an example that illustrates the mathematical opposite of one’s intended point, but this isn’t uncommon in White Fragility, which may be the dumbest book ever written. It makes The Art of the Deal read like Anna Karenina.

Heh! But that’s what you get when dumb theories are applied to the real world, which is the story of Critical Race Theory. Because of his grounding in Old Fashioned Socialism Taibbi spends more time sticking it to the Capitalist Masters using this shite…

For corporate America the calculation is simple. What’s easier, giving up business models based on war, slave labor, and regulatory arbitrage, or benching Aunt Jemima? There’s a deal to be made here, greased by the fact that the “antiracism” prophets promoted in books like White Fragility share corporate Americas instinctive hostility to privacy, individual rights, freedom of speech, etc.

… than he does sticking it to his fellow Lefties who have pushed it for twenty years now. Still, I appreciated this bit:

White Fragility has a simple message: there is no such thing as a universal human experience, and we are defined not by our individual personalities or moral choices, but only by our racial category. If your category is “white,” bad news: you have no identity apart from your participation in white supremacy (“Anti-blackness is foundational to our very identities… Whiteness has always been predicated on blackness”), which naturally means “a positive white identity is an impossible goal.” 

DiAngelo instructs us there is nothing to be done here, except “strive to be less white.” To deny this theory, or to have the effrontery to sneak away from the tedium of DiAngelo’s lecturing – what she describes as “leaving the stress-inducing situation” – is to affirm her conception of white supremacy. This intellectual equivalent of the “ordeal by water” (if you float, you’re a witch) is orthodoxy across much of academia.

Read the whole thing.

And the real-world impacts on people are here, as a former HR person describes how she saw the shift when VP of Diversity and Inclusion for Apple, Denise Young-Smith was forced to resign for saying the following at a conference:

“Diversity is the human experience. I get a little bit frustrated when diversity or the term diversity is tagged to the people of color, or the women, or the LGBT.” Her answer was met with a round of applause at the session. Young Smith went on to add that “there can be 12 white, blue-eyed, blonde men in a room and they’re going to be diverse too because they’re going to bring a different life experience and life perspective to the conversation.”

Ms Young-Smith is Black and that was in 2015, before the whole White Fragility and Critical Race Theory really got started in the HR departments, as witnessed by the city of Seattle:

In the US this is happening in Federal Departments as well:

The “HR” components in various offices are not run by “political appointees”.  These offices are run by career officials who carry over from one administration to the next.  In my experiences over 22+ years, EVERY such office was stocked by raging left-wing liberals.  Political leadership was largely powerless to “rein them in” because any such action would be seen as being based on the “content” of their HR advocacy, and itself the subject on HR complaint.  The people in those positions are pretty much “independent operators” within the agencies where they work, and the greater workforce is compelled to be silent about their pushing left-wing social policies under the guise of “HR” compliance.

Including – I shit you not – Sandia National Laboratories, a nuclear weapons lab, where it was found that expectations of competence are “devastating” to lesbians and “people of colour.” And where white male employees found themselves subjected to psychological abuse, before being told to issue hand-written apologies, atoning for their maleness and the colour of their skin. I don’t know about you but I very much like people working around nuclear weapons to be competent, although perhaps this is just another Leftie angle at eliminating such weapons?

All of which was why Trump issued an Executive Order to refrain from teaching this racist crap in Federal areas:

The President has directed me to ensure that Federal agencies cease and desist from using taxpayer dollars to fund these divisive, un-American propaganda training sessions…. [A]ll agencies are directed to begin to identify all contracts or other agency spending related to any training on “critical race theory/”white privilege,” or any other training or propaganda effort that teaches or suggests either (1) that the United States is an inherently racist or evil country or (2) that any race or ethnicity is inherently racist or evil. In addition, all agencies should begin to identify all available avenues within the law to cancel any such contracts and/or to divert Federal dollars away from these un-American propaganda training sessions.

Naturally this was categorised by helpful propagandists like Chris Wallace of Fox News as merely “teaching racial sensitivity“, and he did that in one of the Presidential debates. Awww…. who could be against something so moderate? The incoming Harris-Biden administration will reverse that EO and put CRT training on steroids. But the same shit is happening in private sector corporations and their “training sessions” as well.

But here is just one of many examples of this how horror is hitting ordinary people outside of HR departments – as it is ultimately intended to:

Last night I talked to a mother who described how her 11-year-old daughter is at a loss to know how to respond to the pressure she faces from her peers and others on Instagram to include a BLM hashtag on her posts. ‘Can I just post a cake that I baked on Instagram?’, she asked. When young children are faced with the demand to conform or else, it is clear that a powerful mood of illiberal intolerance is sweeping our societies. Threatened with being ostracised, children as young as 11 and 12 now feel compelled to fall in line. Suddenly, the term ‘peer pressure’ has acquired a whole new dimension.

Of course even your innocent little kids can’t escape. That’s one of the core aspects of totalitarian ideas. But I’ll leave the last word to Tatinia McGrath:

USA: Riots, Lockdowns and the Damage Done

While it’s the bigger cities like Portland, Seattle, Minneapolis and Chicago that have been the focus of the Burn Loot Murder crowd, smaller places have been hit. The worst being the town of Kenosha, Wisconsin, just a little further up the Western shores of Lake Michigan from Chicago.

But there have been plenty of much smaller places that also got some of the same treatment without the media attention, and the following link is to a guy who decided to travel through some of those places to see the damage. It’s a sad journey.

To take just a small sampling: Atlantic City, NJ, Fort Wayne, IN, Green Bay, WI, and Olympia, WA all underwent significant riots, at least per the normal expectations of life in these relatively low-key cities. Did you hear anything about them? Because I hadn’t, and I’m abnormally attuned to daily media coverage. Only because I personally visited did I learn of the damage.

The “article” is long but worth your time to read as he tours through these forgotten places and talks to forgotten people like Flora Westbrooks, whose salon was burned to the ground in Minneapolis, and Long Her, whose clothing store was looted.

Long Her (L) and Flora Westbrooks (R)

In almost every case these people are not White. Many of them are immigrants from places like Mexico, India, Ethiopia, Somalia…

Maybe the media commentators who reflexively glamorized these riots don’t know or don’t care, but the primary victims — meaning those who feared for their safety, suffered severe material losses, and whose lives were upended — are themselves minorities, and were targeted by activist whites.

He finishes on a sombre note, which is also a poor reflection on the MSM:

The man, an immigrant from Sierra Leone, said the following: “I grew up in a war zone, and I’ve never seen anything like it.” What does it say that these kinds of experiences have barely impinged on the national consciousness? Despite the incredible amount of destruction that I’ve personally witnessed, it’s only a tiny fraction. If I hadn’t made a point to spend six weeks traveling around the country, I never would’ve gotten this information.

Then there is this link to a substack article (these are becoming more common for journalists), Tales from America’s COVID college campuses, which contains a long list of testimonials about the insane conditions of American universities as they open for the start of their year. Here are just a three.

Southern Methodist University: “Students must wear masks outside dorm rooms, cannot visit another dorm, etc. Threatened with draconian honor code violations if they violate the rules and orientation was declared all virtual at the last minute.  Yet today, the athletes, with permission of and active participation by the University, were permitted to organize a BLM march through campus.”

Colorado State University: “My daughter … was there not even 24 hours and was sent to quarantine because she ‘might’ have come into contact with someone who was in contact with someone who tested positive for the virus. They made the students leave their own rooms and moved them into a room and they couldn’t bring their own bedding. The food they drop off is a frozen sandwich, orange, chips and soda. They have to stay there for 14 days and won’t even test them. No outside testing is even allowed. The admin don’t know what they’re doing nor do they let them outside. They make the locks not work.”

Boston College: “This is a horrible way to go to college.  [Daughter] was in tears last night about the prospect of the mandatory immediate quarantine while waiting for the test,… As far as why parents would send their kids back, my daughter has a really good scholarship – [most] of her tuition is paid.  We can’t risk losing it because we don’t have the means to pay for college without good financial aid. What we are doing to this generation of kids is awful … common sense has been missing from this debate for months.”

And in every case classes are being conducted via the now ubiquitous Zoom, even as the students get hit with all the normal charges. I can’t see how they will get away with this for much longer and it is no surprise to see predictions that half of all American universities may close in the next decade.

As awful as the stories about student conditions in 2020 are, the virus has been merely the tipping point for a system whose traditional business model had already broken and which is facing declining numbers of 18 year olds eager to rack up $100,000+ debts for increasingly useless degrees. Like radar and rockets, the disruptive technology of online learning was already here and merely needed a “war” to take off.

Finally there’s this article, A Nation Falling Apart, whose points I fear should be taken note of, even by American optimists like me, although the author seems to be maintaining a sense of humour about it all:

First they came for the toilet paper and kitchen towels, then they came for flour and now they are taking your coins. Yes, the American public sitting out the COVID-19 virus is now having to deal with what is referred as a “small change shortage.”caused apparently by hoarding…

The Federal Reserve has created a U.S. Coin Task Force to address the problem.

Cops have figured out that they have no one on their side and are best served by doing as little as possible when the shooting starts. Policemen have, in fact, been on the receiving end of much of the recent violence.

Predictably as the cops withdraw, whether by choice or by order, gun sales in the USA are through the roof, with millions of them being first-time owners, and with big increases among woman and Blacks.

I knew how to shoot from my time in the Army and CIA but have not actually fired a weapon since 1978 … The first thing we learned was that it was hard to get an appointment with a trainer at a licensed range. It took us weeks to make an appointment and we only got one when there was a cancellation.

And then there’s the booze problem:

I live in Virginia and our state store is constantly running out of everything. A cashier told me that they are selling 300% more booze than normal for this time of year.

If you’re well-stocked on booze and ammo you only need one more thing:

Finally, a family member owns a construction company. He recently said that business is unexpectedly booming, in part because people are building panic rooms, safe havens and even 1960s style fallout shelters in and behind their houses. Most of the construction work is being done as unobtrusively as possible because the clients don’t want their neighbors to know how scared they are.

I don’t think it’s nuclear war they’re scared of!

Arse About Face?

Adolf saw the headline and assumed someone was complaining about letting people enroll at Medical School based on their race or their parents penury but, to my surprise, found the complaint was about a move to limit such admissions.

Two documents were presented at a Medical Admissions Committee meeting last month suggesting a limit of 56 students a year through the Māori Entry Pathway, and just 20 students through the Pacific and low socioeconomic pathways.

The pathways currently have no limit and were designed to create a health workforce that better reflected New Zealand’s diverse communities, particularly Māori and Pasifika.

The unasked and unanswered question must be:-

Do they cook the books in the same way when it comes to deciding who will graduate?

If I have to go to hospital in NZ I might have to make sure the doctor is a Pakeha but how will I know whether his parents were down and outers?

BTW did you know the contractors in charge of supervising Victoria’s quarantine hotels were given no training in quarantine management but they received a thorough briefing on inclusiveness and diversity.

Written by adolffinkensen

September 14, 2020 at 1:49 pm

Posted in New Zealand

Tagged with ,

The Crazy Goes Faster

Ideas that germinated slowly in academia for a couple of decades are now physically rampaging through the streets of the USA.

And that includes a whole bunch of Year Zero shite, courtesy of the Marxists of BLM and the pig-ignorant young morons following them. Supposedly it was the statues of Confederate Generals and the like that were going to be toppled, but as is usual with revolutions, the mobs could not be reined in and they’ve openly declared that everything about the USA now needs to be torn down.

It does make logical sense; if the problem you’re trying to solve – racism, oppression and so forth – is “systemic” then there’s no hope of fixing it up bit-by-bit in the incremental fashion of a democracy. No, the whole thing has to be ripped out “by the roots” (Joe Biden): Slow Joe just thinks he’s talking about the thing itself, but the BLM Marxists and their fellow Democrat politician travellers mean everything because it’s all oppressive.

And so we come to an event that occurred the other day, with the most recent toppling of statues that will end systemic … something…

Screen Shot 2020-07-08 at 11.27.30 AM


The cartoon is referring to the destruction of a statue put up in Madison, Wisconsin, to a Norwegian immigrant, Hans Christian Heg, who was an abolitionist who literally put his life on the line for the cause and paid for it. He died in the ranks of the Union Army at the horrific Battle of Chickamauga in 1863.

Madison-based blogger and retired law professor Ann Althouse went to look the next day. Somebody had put up a small sign telling some truths about the man, but you’ll note the additional scrawl at the bottom which dismisses all that.

Naturally they’ve also gone after the famous Emancipation Memorial in Washington D.C., which lead to this amusing yet awful scene in which a BLM protestor (White) confronts an older Black gentleman who appears to be a tour guide, is protecting the statue, and asks her a simple question: “Who paid for it?“. Her response is to scream endlessly. Anybody who has ever seen the famous TrigglyPuff video will recognise the debating style taught at American universities today.

 

But perhaps the crowning glory of stupidity was when these “protestors” attacked a statue of Frederick Douglass in the little town of Rochester in upstate New York on the July 4th weekend, dragging it off it’s plinth and damaging it so badly it will probably have to be replaced.

And who was Frederick Douglass?

A man who escaped slavery in 1838, he became one of the leading abolitionists and advisor to countless others, including politicians up to Abraham Lincoln, with whom had many discussions and interactions via letters and meetings, always urging him on – sometimes harshly – toward goals like the Emancipation Proclamation and putting Black soldiers into the field with the Union Army. He was, of course, a Republican.

Frederick Douglass

Incidentally the most famous such unit was the 54th Massachusetts and its famous Boston monument was recently spray-painted with BLM-themed graffiti as well.

An éloquent and powerful speaker, Douglass gave one of his most famous speeches on July 5, 1852 to The Ladies’ Anti-Slavery Society at Corinthian Hall in Rochester, where he had settled down to live. He titled the speech, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July“, and he did not hold back on his audience:

I am not included within the pale of this glorious anniversary! Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us. The blessings in which you, this day, rejoice, are not enjoyed in common. The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity and independence, bequeathed by your fathers, is shared by you, not by me. The sunlight that brought life and healing to you, has brought stripes and death to me. This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn.

It sounds familiar, but what preceded it does not, as he praised the likes of Washington and Jefferson, even knowing that they had owned slaves like him:

The point from which I am compelled to view them is not, certainly, the most favorable; and yet I cannot contemplate their great deeds with less than admiration. They were statesmen, patriots and heroes, and for the good they did, and the principles they contended for, I will unite with you to honor their memory. They loved their country better than their own private interests…

I cannot imagine any member of BLM saying that now, or the rest of the American Left, including any member of the Democrat Party. Douglass was also specific about the Constitution and its role in slavery:

… take the Constitution according to its plain reading, and I defy the presentation of a single pro-slavery clause in it. On the other hand it will be found to contain principles and purposes, entirely hostile to the existence of slavery…

And he wrapped it up in a message that Martin Luther King would surely have recognised:

Allow me to say, in conclusion, notwithstanding the dark picture I have this day presented of the state of the nation, I do not despair of this country. There are forces in operation, which must inevitably work the downfall of slavery. “The arm of the Lord is not shortened,” and the doom of slavery is certain. I, therefore, leave off where I began, with hope.

Those words were spoken by a man who had actually known slavery and real terror, who surely had vastly greater reasons to hate the USA than any living member of BLM does today. But unlike them, Douglass wanted to build America up, not tear it down. In that respect, the likes of BLM and Antifa have more in common with the Confederate slave holders than with Douglass. Perhaps it does make sense that they want to tear down his statue as well.
 

Written by Tom Hunter

July 9, 2020 at 1:16 am

I’m shocked, shocked to find these opinions here

But you’ll still take the money
 

It’s always both funny and sad when a Lefty’s certainties are blasted aside by reality. Sad because you can usually feel sorry for them having believed such things in the first place. Funny because of their iron-clad certainty that all right-thinking people must think like them, and very funny when it turns out that the people providing the shock are the great “Other” on whose behalf said Lefty has laboured so hard to think on behalf of.

So it is with a American, Heather M. Edwards, who has written an article about teaching in Mexico:

Like a lot of American idiots abroad I took a job teaching English.

Got to get that self-deprecation in first, just in case people might think she’s one of “those” Americans (wink).

I’m working for a private company in a big city that prepares students for university admission exams. Much of the material is designed to generate conversation so that students are thinking and then speaking in their second language. New vocabulary words and precise pronunciation are the framework for discussion.

Sounds helpful. She finds that her students are not at all shy in talking about almost anything. So she decides to push the boundaries:

As comfortable as they were sharing their dreams of perfect love, I wondered how comfortable they would be telling their American teacher what they really think about the current American president. The curriculum this week called for me to ask them, “What do you think about Donald Trump?”

The tension rises. But she’s ready for this:

The lesson plan was a discordant combination of current US deportation policy and the economic impacts of deporting immigrants

I had braced myself for the questions they might ask me. I pre-scripted responses that would keep my impassioned politics diplomatic while unequivocally standing against his racism, sexism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, sexual assault charges, fraud and collusion.

Got to get those little minds primed just right for The Big Question. But things don’t go as planned:

The kids mumbled along dutifully though visibly bored.

My first chuckle.

…my prep work and all my paroxysms of outraged political heartbreak turned out to be completely unnecessary.
They didn’t ask a single question. Not, “Teacher, did you vote for him?” Not, “Teacher, why is he so racist?”

Awwwww. And she was so prepped for that. Anyway, she recovers from this setback and sets up a new angle where she asks them questions.

I wrote their answers on the board hoping each student’s perspective would prompt the next student to discuss the topic in more detail. To create a conversation exploring fear-based xenophobia and corrupt power structures that systematically insulate the wealthy at the expense of the greater good.

See, by now I’m laughing openly. What could be next?

What I got instead were succinct and shockingly positive answers.

  • He’s a good person.
  • He’s trying to protect his country just like how we protect our homes.
  • He’s trying to protect his people the way we protect our families.
  • He’s a good politician.
  • Sometimes he’s racist.
  • He can be mean
  • He is really strict with rules but that’s only because he has to be.
President Trump: even Mexican kids like him

.

Oh dear. On number 5 she had more problems than just that word “sometimes“:

They mentioned his racism parenthetically and with a shrugging matter-of-factness I’m still trying to wrap my mind around.


Never mind. They’ll be other students she can browbeat when she gets back to the USA, where they’ll already be primed with guilt and shame to provide the answers she’s looking for.

Hell, perhaps she should come teach in New Zealand. She’d be overjoyed at the likely response. As she says in her final burst of un-self awareness:

Saturday mornings aren’t for preaching. Teaching is about the students, not the teacher.

Providing laughter to the last line.

Written by Tom Hunter

March 17, 2020 at 5:08 am