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August 26, 2016

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Sig, California has pretty much institutionalized the advantage of Democrats over Republicans in their districting and pretty much every other voting rule. I suppose some of that is disenfranchising white voters if we discussed it that way. But we don't, we call it politics.

Voter ID is ubiquitous outside the US, but here it is racist. I love the "prove there is widespread fraud" argument because , of course, the other side of that is "prove there is widespread disenfranchising of legitimate voters". The difference is of course that the list of things we require an ID for wont fit in a comment, but requiring it for voting is racist. That's BS.

All that said, in the nuanced discussion of "privilege", there is no white male conspiracy to deny privilege to others. That there are white males that do things that are obviously against the law does not indict "white males".

Ailes is an ass and a criminal, I cant imagine who is surprised by that, so is Bill Clinton for the same reasons. They broke the law, the law protects the rights of the women involved.

Should I start naming black males that have broken the law, or used their political sway to maintain power?

Your anecdotal criminal activities actually support my view, because they are now crimes.

California has pretty much institutionalized the advantage of Democrats over Republicans in their districting

Marty, I realize that news sometimes travels slowly across the entire width of the country. But several years back (in 2008) California voters circumvented the legislature by passing an initiative which took redistricting away from the legislature. It now gets done by a non-partisan Citizens Redistricting Commission -- that's who drew the current districts.

The Commission consists of 5 Democrats, 5 Republicans, and 4 members who do not belong to either party. It was designed that way explicitly to prevent redistricting for partisan ends. And it works.

Of course, California' Congressional delegation, and both houses of the state legislature, are overwhelmingly Democratic. But that is just a reflection of the self-destruction of the California GOP over the past couple of decades. Gone are the days when Republicans routinely won elections for Governor. Currently (June 2016) 62% of registerede voters are registered as Democrats, vs 37% registered as Republicans.

The commission was what I was referring to.

but here it is racist

indeed: by the GOP's own admission, in state after state.

the other side of that is "prove there is widespread disenfranchising of legitimate voters"

study after study proves there is.

And how does that institutionalized the advantage of Democrats? They get exactly the same number of commissioners as the Republicans. No more; no less.

If anything, it would appear to institutionalize greater influence for Republicans than their portion of the electorate would warrant. (And note that, for example, if commissioners were allocated in proportion to the fraction of voters, the Libertarians would get one as well.)

You would think there were no court cases on voter-ID laws where facts were presented and the courts determined that said laws were racially discriminatory. It's all just pure conjecture and speculation. It's all "Hoocoodanode?"

"study after study proves there is."

No, and btw, no. There are all kinds of assumptions, just like voter fraud, but there is no documented widespread voter disenfranchisement since Jim Crow.

Marty, have you read the court decision tossing out North Carolina's new voting law? The court was pretty explicit on the subject.

Or does that one not count because it got tossed before it could actually be implemented?

wj, I haven't read the particular law, maybe there is an issue with that law, or the court is assuming facts that don't exist. You have to have a picture ID for almost everything in our society, the number of people it could possibly effect is miniscule.

"The commission was what I was referring to."

And? Is someone lying? You have one "suppose" versus the facts of the bipartisan conspiratorial Commission.

Is it a hoax, like, I don't know, global warming science, which is endangering our military readiness along the coasts, but our stinking Republican Congress won't permit the military to do a thing about it. Yet another problem that will be tackled via savage violence, since all civilized actionable options are verboten by malign dumbass filth.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/04/science/flooding-of-coast-caused-by-global-warming-has-already-begun.html?_r=0

But regarding the conspiracy at hand:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2016/09/02/where-did-donald-trump-get-his-racialized-rhetoric-from-libertarians/?utm_term=.12be1eef3a69

http://www.politico.com/story/2016/09/trump-white-nationalists-nazi-social-media-227673#ixzz4JDtv0OON

It is true that you and I, Marty, were passed over when the white male conservative conspiracy was hatched, though I remember being asked to join both Ron Paul's cause via conspiratorial mailers and more recently, Donald Trump's. And I've seen a few mailers exhorting me to conspire with the rotten racists at the Cato Institute as a source of all racist wisdom come over the transom too over the years.

It's also true that the white males who run the thing have opened their ranks to filthy, racist, homophobic, nationalistic white females and those wacko shitheads of a different color who would regulate taco trucks out of existence and fake brain surgery as a path to grifting success.

So, true, not all white males. But enough, so that if I were you and drove a taxi, I don't think I'd pick up white male hailing a ride at night, even in a tony part of town, because the weight of the evidence of their scumhood is reason to generalize about the danger they pose to the country and our persons.

Here's another facet of the conspiracy, but that you also deny, but testified to by a center-right conservative think tank somebody:

http://www.sltrib.com/opinion/4314395-155/norman-ornstein-republicans-need-to-realize

They're gearing up for an even more ferocious round of the conspiracy if Clinton is elected, but if the country wishes to forgo that bullshit this time around, then the conspirators should have hails of automatic gunfire following them and their families every conspiratorial step of the way.

Regarding IDs for voting, issue National ID cards at birth to every citizen, including the 11 million new ones who are not going to be deported, unless it's over my and their dead bodies, to paraphrase George W. Bush.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_national_identity_card_policies_by_country

"maybe there is an issue with that law, or the court is assuming facts that don't exist."

Well, c'mon, out with it!

I think the aggrieved parties should have foregone the courts altogether (the Court was one Scalia short of armed insurrection) and remedied the problem by taking Second Amendment measures directly to the conservative Art Pope f*cks in North Carolina.

When Art Pope et al are dead, then they will be eligible to vote for Democrats, which is at it should be.

Go ahead, fuck with voting rights by race. See what happens.

Marty, try Googling
north carolina voter law ruling

From the 4th Circuit's unanimous decision: “The new provisions target African Americans with almost surgical precision” and “impose cures for problems that did not exist. Thus the asserted justifications cannot and do not conceal the State’s true motivation.”

The bill selectively chose voter-ID requirements -- driver's licenses are acceptable, but state-issued public assistance IDs are not. It also reduced the number of early-voting days and changed registration procedures.

All these after state legislators (in the days immediately after the Shelby County ruling freed them from Justice Department oversight) wrote numerous requests to the NC Secretary of State for data on the racial composition of various aspects of state voting. There wasn't anything subtle about it. (I also like the NC Republican legislator who said that it was "just politics" because, "if African American voters voted Republican, they wouldn't have been targetted.")

You talk about the 'intersectionality crew', but why is something that comes from the academy counterbalanced by something that seems to have no academic pedigree or standing? If you think that what separates the West in terms of civilization is the academy, why is the vehicle that supposedly indicates our superiority so wrong? It's the same dynamic as climate change deniers, the academy is wrong, the academy is lying, they have been bought off. Intersectionality discusses identity and acknowledging the context as a way of trying to explain why disparities are nuanced and it is not simply that one group is being oppressed and another is not. Blanket dismissal sounds like you feel threatened by it. (and before you complain about mind-reading, recall you wrote this "First, this is a comparatively benign view of the common intent behind privilege sensitive people.")

Ok, at the risk of putting words in your mouth, I think a shorter version would be: 'intersectionality' and climate change emanate from the academy, an institution that sets the west apart. The subtext I'm reading here is "and, the academy knows what it is doing."

First of all, the academy is the least ideologically diverse institution in middle or higher education there is. That man's presence contributes to climate change isn't so much at issue as are the myriad remedies that emanate from the academy and elsewhere that don't hold up under reasoned analysis. The academy is intolerant of dissent and in its worst aspects stands by while its pseudo-intellectual brown-shirts prevent dissenting speakers from appearing on campus or engage in mob twitter assaults and protests of any deviation from academy orthodoxy.

Getting around to the issue at hand, privilege, in its current iteration appears to have arrived on the academic scene in 1987. It is an accepted truth within the very limited circle that concerns itself with this kind of thing, but has yet to be tested in any remotely scientific manner, and that is no surprise because even questioning the premise is racist and a sure way to end one's academic career.

It is intellectual and academic fraud to posit a theory and then declare all criticism or questioning of the theory to be beyond the pale. Yet, that is exactly what we see.

Last observation on this point: this is an appeal to authority, nothing less. The academy's history for solving society's problems is not good and it's record for being right over the course of history is poor. To say the least. The academy has not, in the last three decades arrived at the level of infallibility. Just the opposite if the kind of silliness we are talking about here is its best product.

Privilege is the refracted image of the racism and sexism that we see when some of these arguments are deployed. I would be much more willing to restrict addressing privilege in the way that McT and Marty say if we didn't see the root cause bubbling up all the time.

Sweet Jesus. Who thinks like this? At at time when progress is greater than anytime in history in the only truly diverse country on the planet, and we get this?

BP--education is a program. The subject matter being taught is a program. Telling kids, hammering home relentlessly, that drugs, pregnancy, etc are almost a sure fire guarantee to an unhappy life is a program. It just doesn't involve a ton of money. Money isn't working.

Anyone who has raised children with a reasonable degree of success has done so by setting a reasonably good example and by guiding and teaching and coaching. THAT is how you break the cycle, white or black or Hispanic. Change the mind, change the behaviors. Not complicated. And it ought to be tried and tried with sustained conviction and not dismissed or mocked out of hand.

In recent days, I've been picking up Marty's voice through those new dental fillings I had installed last year.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/09/04/they-say-government-mind-control-is-real-and-that-they-re-part-of-it.html?via=newsletter&source=WeekendDigest

The voice, if it is Marty's, keeps repeating the mantra: "Don't believe what your lying eyes are telling you is right in front of your face."

I nearly got run over by a bus yesterday.

I was going to respond to Marty in the same vein as our dear Count. In most countries with voter-ID requirements, having ID is mandatory.

In my own country, having ID at voting is mandatory, but the police will issue you a separate voter ID for free if you don't have one. In addition, the poll workers don't need to ask for ID if they know the voter. I remember the pride in being part of community after I had lived a few years in my rural municipality, went to vote, started fumbling for my ID, but was stopped by the poll worker simply saying that naturally she knew me. I was not really surprised, I had ministered the wine of the holy communion to her several times.

However, the compulsory ID is offset by an important facet: There is no voter registration as such. The national population database, which has an accuracy better than 99%, is run into voter registry. Everyone is automatically registered as a voter of their domicile. A few weeks before the election, every voter then receives a letter reminding them that they are registered, tells them their polling station address and opening hours, informs about the absentee ballot and aids for the disabled and also includes a short piece of information on the purpose of that particular election, particularly the duties of the body being elected.

"Who thinks like this? At at time when progress is greater than anytime in history in the only truly diverse country on the planet, and we get this?"

This what? The bubbling Trump campaign?

" the academy is the least ideologically diverse institution in middle or higher education there is"

I blame the overwhelming majority of hard-leftists in the fields of Engineering and Business. Commie pinkos, one and all.

McT loves going on about how un-diverse and monolithic "the academy" is as if everyone in the academy, driven by some common ideology, automatically supports each other on the salient points where they concern race, gender, scientific models, economic models, medical practices, etc..

Meanwhile...

All but a few white men are free from prejudice and eager to help out everyone who is willing to quit being whatever it is they identify as and the pathologies that keep them down and start practicing the superior methods of successful citizens. There's no conspiracy. It's all Open Source Civilization.

But the academy, and any group that dares brand themselves as something other than "ungendered generic American"? Cabals, every one.

Because they mostly vote Democrat.

Helluva set of filters there.

I'm fine with providing free id's. If you lose it is the replacement free? How often does the picture get changed? I also am fine with striking down a law that is overly zealous in restricting what kind of ID is used. None of that nor the reality that local poll workers won't check ID if they know who you are make voter ID laws racist.

"Should I start naming black males that have broken the law, or used their political sway to maintain power?"

I don't know, should you? What would the point be? Can you just spit out what you're hinting at so we don't have to grope after it?

"All that said, in the nuanced discussion of "privilege", there is no white male conspiracy to deny privilege to others. That there are white males that do things that are obviously against the law does not indict "white males"."

I named the white male conspiracy to deny privilege to others. It was called the Jim Crow South, the Ku Klux Klan, the White Citizen's Councils. And my supplementary point is that the human beings behind those efforts did not pack their bags and call it quits after 1964. They stuck around and taught their children to believe the same things they did. They used their political power to continue de facto segregation as best they could.

Do you even have anything responsive to say to any of this?

"Ailes is an ass and a criminal, I cant imagine who is surprised by that, so is Bill Clinton for the same reasons. They broke the law, the law protects the rights of the women involved."

So the head of one of the most powerful organizations in modern american politics was in charge of an organized campaign to sexually assault and blackmail dozens of women who worked for him. His numerous subordinates helped perpetuate that campaign and protect him.

I cited this as proof of male efforts to systematically keep women down.

Your response is that Bill Clinton did it too!

If you think that Bill Clinton's offenses are somehow proof that Roger Ailes' misogyny is not indicative of a larger social problem, then I am wasting my breath on you.

"did you see the part where I mentioned prosecuting, litigating etc as the case may be for invidious discrimination?"

I like this idea best of all.

Discriminate based on race, gender, religious affiliation or the lack thereof, etc etc etc, and you will pay.

Not a fine. You go to jail.

Plus, if you're a banker who refuses credit, you can no longer work as a banker. If you are a real estate professional who won't sho black people certain homes, you lose your license.

And so on.

It's a denial of basic civil and constitutional law. It shouldn't be tolerated.

Go to jail for a year, and if the discrimination occurred in some professional capacity, you will no longer be working in that profession.

You can't change bigots, but you can get them the hell out of the way.

"If you lose it is the replacement free? How often does the picture get changed?"

I suspect the DMVs at the state level have turnkey solutions to those formidable problems. But I also suspect (it's a conspiracy, thus I can't be sure) the States with red legislatures will shut those DMV offices down who do it best, or at least provide the following hours for the replacement ID queue, which oddly, leads into the men's porta-potty (the sign will say: closed for repairs) in the parking lot: The third Thursday in months with the letter "X" in their names, between the minutes of 4:31 am and 4:33 am.

The line item for providing this service conveniently via the internet will be struck from the budget, probably at 4:32 am, Confederate Standard Time.

As to specifics, The Koch Brothers may use the same ID they were provided at birth for their naturally cursed lives, the one with Grover Cleveland's mug on the front. The rest of us will be required to get a photo update weekly from birth to death on a sliding scale.

Those in Ferguson, Missouri, the Carolinas. Louisiana, Wisconsin, Texas, and all points right (in Chicago, those without a pulse move to the head of the line) will be arrested promptly merely by virtue of showing up and admitting they need a new ID, jailed, and then fined hourly for never having seen Grover Cleveland's face.

Sig,

To quote myself,"..., but there is no documented widespread voter disenfranchisement since Jim Crow" so you are arguing with yourself I guess. I never said there weren't men who abused there positions of power, or abused privilege to maintain power.

What I said was there isn't a "white male" conspiracy to deny privilege to others.

You do grasp the difference right?

"I cited this as proof of male efforts to systematically keep women down."

Men, women, and people of all backgrounds use power to take advantage of other people and retain power. Your examples of a white man doing it doesn't justify the indictment of "white males" as co-conspirators.

And yes, I am being purposefully and staunchly defensive. I am neither Roger Ailes, nor Bill Clinton and I don't support, condone or do what they did. Most of my white male friends and acquaintances don't. My experience tells me that white males in general are as appalled as anyone else when these things happen.

None of that nor the reality that local poll workers won't check ID if they know who you are make voter ID laws racist.

No, of course not. What makes a voter ID law racist is when the types of ID which are accepted at the polls are carefully chosen to have maximum impact on certain racial groups. As in North Carolina's recent law.

I never said there weren't men who abused there positions of power, or abused privilege to maintain power.

What I said was there isn't a "white male" conspiracy to deny privilege to others.

OK, let's parse this a different way. There is a conspriacy to do this. Those involved in the conspiracy are, overwhelmingly, white males in positions of power. The conspiracy does not, admittedly involved all white males. These days, not even anywhere near "most" -- at least in the country as a whole.

So if, by "white male conspiracy" you mean a conspiracy of all (or at least most) white males, then no, there isn't one. But if by "white male conspiracy" you mean a conspiracy, all of the members of which are white males in positions of power, then yes there is one.

Does that work for everybody?

"Your examples of a white man doing it doesn't justify the indictment of "white males" as co-conspirators."

I've downgraded myself from co-conspirator to passive beneficiary, though I've managed to lay waste to any advantages that were conferred at birth.

Money isn't working.

Please be so kind as to actually back up this absurd claim with even ONE fact. The problem is we are not spending much, if any, money here.

McT, You are right, it is an appeal to authority, but given that you don't seem to have any understanding of what intersectionality is, so my appeal is less 'shut up and agree with them' and more 'prove to me that you can talk about intersectionality intelligently'. And trying to turn the tables by talking about the lack of diversity in the academy is like saying there were no Republican slaveholders. It's diversion, plain and simple. If you don't like to talk about it, no problem, but until you show some minimal understanding of the term, you really shouldn't try and use it to make a point, cause you'll just whack yourself on the back of the head with it.

Sweet Jesus. Who thinks like this?

Obviously, I do. Perhaps it might do to think of this as the last 100 yards. It's fantastic that we aren't enslaving African Americans, preventing women from voting, rounding up Japanese-Americans and interning them, of having Texas Rangers kill Latinos. But granting the last measure of equality seems to be beyond us. (though granting it is the last 100 yards seems to be granting people who don't understand things outside of their own shell a lot more leeway than one should)

But you've got your diverse crew happily nodding their head when you give them the pep talk while they bring you your coffee (why is it that no one _above_ you seems to be diverse?), so move along, there's nothing to see. And of course, you support those strong measures. Why, invidious racism or sexism, you would throw the book at them! So go off and assure yourself that privilege is bullshit, cause it just can't be true, it is just made up by an undiverse bunch of pointy headed academic liberals who don't know what real muricans think.

Doc puts up a post saying how she thinks that a different word to privilege might be more useful because she understands how it gets peoples' backs up. You reply with a drunken privilege=bullshit comment. You assume that privilege means that you are being accused of actively oppressing people. Any number of people try to patiently and carefully explain this, pointing out that there is a difference between talking about privilege and accusing someone of racism. But you insist on sticking your pointy little head in that cap.

As Nous said, helluva set of filters there.

so many issues raised in this thread.

When people bring up the whole family and general social dysfunction thing, I'm never clear about whether that should be considered an effect or a cause.

Do people achieve less and have generally worse outcomes in life because they came from broken families? Or do families break up because people haven't been able to find a stable and secure place for themselves in a given culture and society?

Charles Murray, not really my favorite guy, is amazed to discover that white people who are systematically excluded from a position of respect and stability in society act very very badly indeed. Divorce, absentee parents, substance abuse, etc. He even writes a book about it

Who is excluding these white people who now find themselves living out the stereotype of white trash? Who among us wishes them any ill?

Certainly nobody here. We're all nice people.

But, it seems, circumstances have a will of their own, and most of the non-white-collar and non-professional paths to a respectable place at the social and cultural table are going the hell away.

If I were to say that white collar and professional workers in this country occupy a position of privilege, would that seem unfair? Would folks take offense? Would I be accusing people holding those white collar and professional jobs of classicism?

No, I would simply be pointing out that white collar professionals in the US enjoy a position of privilege relative to other folks.

If "privilege" bugs you, think "advantage". They are at an advantage, relative to other people.

Their jobs are less likely to be outsourced or automated away. They are accorded a degree of social respect that is not generally accorded to, for example, plumbers. All other things being equal, it's probably easier for them to get credit, or join prestigious or influential cultural institutions, or enjoy the acquaintance of and access to people who are in positions of influence.

White collar and professional people are, socially culturally and most other ways, at an advantage.

Right?

The stuff we are talking about here is kind of like that.

If stuff like trigger warning policies at Oberlin, or the social jihads of intersectionalists, whatever the hell an "intersectionalist" is, make it impossible for you to hear simple, basic, obvious stuff like this, I think maybe your skin is too thin.

Some people have a higher hill to climb than others. Not because of who they are or anything they've done, but because of crap like their skin color, or their gender (biological or otherwise), or any number of other things that just really shouldn't matter to anybody other than them.

They have a higher hill to climb. They are at a relative disadvantage.

Folks who don't have such a high hill to climb are in a position of relative privilege.

That's all.

Actually, that's not quite all. Because if it were as possible as it was in the mid-20th century for people to climb that hill we would be having a somewhat different discussion. (And, I suspect, one rather closer to the topic Dr S raised initially.) Because one of the significant differences today is how difficult it has become to climb that hill.

Yes, it is harder if you have the "wrong" plumbing, or a permanent suntan, or other disadvantageous features. But it has arguably worsened less (if that makes sense) for them than for poor whites. Which contributes to the sense of reverse discrimination that poor whites feel. If you feel like you have a real chance to move up, or at least see your children move up, you can tolerate a lot more efforts to help others move up as well.

You are going to hate hearing about "white privilege", no matter how accurate it is, if you aren't seeing any signs of you getting some of it for yourself.

"Because if it were as possible as it was in the mid-20th century for people to climb that hill we would be having a somewhat different discussion"

How is this a zero sum thing? How does the fact that things have gotten worse for blue collar white people make the complaints of blacks, or latinos, or women, or whoever, any less legitimate?

Does the fact that blue collar whites are getting screwed somehow mean that white skin no longer confers any advantage in American society?

I am more than sympathetic to folks who have been screwed over by this country's cult-like mania for the free market.

I'm way, way, way less sympathetic to people who respond to that by nurturing resentments toward black and brown people.

How is this a zero sum thing? How does the fact that things have gotten worse for blue collar white people make the complaints of blacks, or latinos, or women, or whoever, any less legitimate?

Especially since the blue collar white people most affected by the "getting worse" are women?

It occurs to me that this sort of discussion is normally meat and drink to Nombrilisme Vide, and that now I think of it s/he hasn't shown up here recently. Anybody know why?

GftNC i may have been too disagreeable.

just that one time.

Cleek, you're never too disagreeable! Plus, you've taught me all I know about HTML formatting, so I am undyingly grateful.

"How is this a zero sum thing?"

It's not, but those who perceive it as such will have a different, more hostile and resentful, reaction.

Or perhaps the "hostile and resentful" leads to the "zero sum perception" to justify themselves.

How is this a zero sum thing? How does the fact that things have gotten worse for blue collar white people make the complaints of blacks, or latinos, or women, or whoever, any less legitimate?

Obviously, it doesn't.

But the subject was "priviledge". And became a discussionn of why various people might dislike the word. What I was giving was one possible reason why that resentment might exist. Specifically, why the resentment for government helping others might be larger than it once was.

I'm way, way, way less sympathetic to people who respond to that by nurturing resentments toward black and brown people.

If we are talking about those nurturing those resentments, as opposed to those merely feeling them, I am completely with you. Especially since those doing the nurturing are frequently also among those causing the lack of mobility which is fostering those resentments in the first place.

Wait until Trump and the Republican Party, those nurturers of the sadistic race to the bottom, get done with their no-union, low-wage renaissance.

All of the American men and women of all races spavined by these filth will kill the people who did this to them:

http://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2016/09/donald-trump-on-falling-wages-people.html

Wait until these filth get done with no union, low-wage Americans of all races and gender:

http://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2016/09/donald-trump-on-falling-wages-people.html

Trump and the Republican Party are going to be very sorry about that Second Amendment fetish of theirs.

Oh yeah, and Happy Fucking Veterans Day to all of you:

http://juanitajean.com/and-when-the-easter-bunny-brings-a-pumpkin-to-christmas-dinner-greg-abbott-will-be-ready/

Too bad the conservative vermin who have ruined our country and brought us to this pass can't die all at once:

http://www.courant.com/nation-world/ct-phyllis-schlafly-dead-20160905-story.html

We have to settle for one at a time.

I demand the open carry of loaded automatic weaponry on the floor of the House of Reprimandibles, with hair triggers:

https://www.balloon-juice.com/2016/09/05/open-thread-paul-ryan-sucking-up-to-the-nra-again/

Somewhat related--

http://thewire.in/64132/liberal-academics-are-open-but-are-they-truly-tolerant/

I'm on the liberal side in this perennial argument, but the link supports to some debatable degree McT's distrust of the social sciences.

There is very good reason to distrust the social "sciences", independent of politics.

To put it simply: Humans make shitty data points.

BTW, "economics" is included in those social "sciences", but has far more potential for doing harm than most of the others.
To wit: http://www.smbc-comics.com/comic/2013-04-04

The social science blues.

Here's to the ever so liberal economics profession.

Donald, I think that is granting people who don't want to deal with intersectionality too much slack. Ironically, intersectionality has made the biggest impact in feminism, especially for people of color and the fact that Kimberlé Crenshaw, a black feminist scholar, first came up with it, should be a prima facie argument against McT'S claim that we can't really give it much credence because academy that it comes from is not diverse.

McTx's diversity complaint seems to be that there isn't enough 'ideological' diversity in the 'academy'. specifically, he wants "conservative" ideas to have equal representation.

it is an appeal to authority, but given that you don't seem to have any understanding of what intersectionality is,

You may be right. I read about it and it seems to be a fancy way of saying that everyone is the sum of a series of related and unrelated parts which produces an unique perspective for each individual and then--and here's the fun part--it all ties into "oppression, domination and racism". Bingo!

And trying to turn the tables by talking about the lack of diversity in the academy is like saying there were no Republican slaveholders. It's diversion, plain and simple. If you don't like to talk about it, no problem, but until you show some minimal understanding of the term, you really shouldn't try and use it to make a point, cause you'll just whack yourself on the back of the head with it.

There is no meaningful intellectual/political/philosophical diversity in the academy, particularly in the social sciences and even more particularly in that quarter of social science that comes up with ideas like 'intersectionality'. You can say otherwise but that doesn't make it so.

Indeed, any substantive pushback is racist, oppressive domination. Or, ignorance. Either way, the veracity/efficacy of privelege/intersectionality is self-evident, self-proving and indisputable. Anyone who says otherwise is either ignorant or racist or both.

Not a bad gig--making shit up that no one can contest and remain in polite company.

I read the entire Wikipedia pieces on diversity and intersectionality. If I wanted to force Jihadists terror suspects to fess up, I'd read to them extensively from this subset of alleged academia. It is a complete mish-mash of socio-babble that, but for taxpayer and alumni-funded chairs, would gain zero traction in the marketplace of ideas.

The problem with getting on the really high moral ground is that the air thins out and impairs the thought processes.

So much that coddled black students on campus are demanding and getting segregated housing. Because young white and others are presumably so insensitive to young black needs that these poor little hothouse flowers just can't live in an integrated community.

Has it occurred to anyone that when it hits the fan in someplace like Ferguson or the University of Missouri, the number of protesters is a small fraction of the (almost always) African American population. Does it ever occur to anyone that this small slice of the community is actually not representative? Does it make sense that most African American students get by pretty much ok, that they are uncomfortable making "demands" (because people who make demands sound like entitled assholes) and that they'd just like to get through the week, pass their tests, get their papers written and have some fun on the weekend?

And on this happy topic, anyone who thinks huge progress hasn't been made has their head in the sand. However, that hasn't prevented the racial grievance industry from being a growth industry on campus. The problem with people whose livelihood depends on fighting prejudice is, if they can't find any prejudice, they are out of work. So, we have microaggressions and safe spaces and all of the other guacamole that goes with the stupidity that is extreme campus PC.

But you've got your diverse crew happily nodding their head when you give them the pep talk while they bring you your coffee (why is it that no one _above_ you seems to be diverse?), so move along, there's nothing to see.

Hmm, a bit of rewriting going on here. Actually, we had lunch and I paid. I get my own coffee and no one is above me, been that way since 1995 or thereabouts, certainly since 2000. Since 2000, I've either owned my own shop or, as is the case today, I am one of 30 or so owners and--since you brought it up--probably somewhere between first and third on the combined metrics of personal collections, business origination and number of files managed and I'm on the firm's executive committee. I'm definitely first out of 200 plus lawyers in number of cases tried to verdict and I'm probably first in number of appeals. I got all of that at the White Boy Club, where they hand that shit out as door prizes. It's a gift. Don't ever let anyone tell you it is earned. That is a big myth.


LJ on 9/4 at 8:03 pm.

Any number of people try to patiently and carefully explain this, pointing out that there is a difference between talking about privilege and accusing someone of racism.

LJ on 9/2 at 7:35 pm.

Privilege is the refracted image of the racism and sexism that we see when some of these arguments are deployed. I would be much more willing to restrict addressing privilege in the way that McT and Marty say if we didn't see the root cause bubbling up all the time.

So, it's kind of a moving target.

Ironically, intersectionality has made the biggest impact in feminism, especially for people of color and the fact that Kimberlé Crenshaw, a black feminist scholar, first came up with it, should be a prima facie argument against McT'S claim that we can't really give it much credence because academy that it comes from is not diverse.

LJ, do you get the difference between intellectual diversity and ethnic/gender diversity? Did you read Donald's link? Did you see the Kristoff quote? Seriously, this is why holding the 'academy' out as some kind of self-authenticating, self-credentialing entity is crap. The academy you are talking about will not tolerate and in fact marginalizes dissent. It will not submit to rigorous cross examination, testing etc in the manner of the scientific method.

Your academy is most like the medieval Catholic Church. It deals in received wisdom, inferred or derived from inviolate precepts and hands down dogma, anathematizing the heretics.

In summary, the word Doc S is looking for is advantage. It isn't fair and it will be around a while longer, but it is and has been diminishing. The demographic trends, if nothing else, tell us this will most certainly continue.

But the real problem with *privilege* as a concept is that it means different things to different people. It can be presented in a relatively mild, non-judgmental way, or it can be an intellectual club used to silence contrary views. I am grateful to LJ for making the point I tried to make initially. The privilege that dominates PC progressivism is most like that oozing out of the academy. And *that* privilege is bullshit.

Interesting link, bobby, but I do wish left of centre critics would actually read a bit of Adam Smith...
The great nineteenth century economist, John Stuart Mill, writing well after Adam Smith, was skeptical that competition alone was the great regulator as Smith insisted it was in his invisible hand...
Smith was equally sceptical:
“People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.”

As russell has pointed out here on many occasions, it is not Adam Smith who is the problem. It is those who have perverted his writing, distilling it down to a simplistic, absolutist, rule-based system without context, nuance or conditionality.

For those of you outside the US, is there a particular ideological makeup of the Academy in the "social sciences" in the Universities in your country? If so, in what direction?

There is very good reason to distrust the social "sciences", independent of politics.

To put it simply: Humans make shitty data points.

Which is true, but the implications you seem to be taking are not necessarily true.

No, you can't do well trying to predict what *a* human being will do. At least, not without a lot of study of that particular individual.

But social sciences are not the only place where that can be a problem. Try figuring out the path of a specific individual air molecule some time. And you definitely can't just take that and scale up by billions and reach a sensible conclusion.**

But, by using a large mass of air molecules, fluid dynamics (and things like aeronautical engineering) become possible. The same approach, using human beings in large numbers (statistics, not just aggregate multiple data points), starts to get you something that starts to work.

** Note that it still isn't particularly simple. Read up on the Navier Stokes equations some time. In engineering school, we would have an entire quarter on each different topic, which was addressed with a particular set of massive simplifying assumptions -- frictionless flows, boundary layers, etc., etc., etc.

You people write faster than I can read, but I have learned at least one thing from this thread:

"Privilege" is a trigger word for some people.

There ought to be a policy about it.

--TP

There is no meaningful intellectual/political/philosophical diversity in the academy, particularly in the social sciences

Just out of curiosity, when was the last time you spent any time at a university, hanging out with social science faculty? Because my own experience (admittedly quite a while ago) was that there was a range of views there.

The far left views got a lot more press. Not least because they were so different from the views of society as a whole. But they were not the whole story, or even anywhere near the majority opinion. They just were the most visible -- in fact, at the time you could easily have concluded from what you read in the news that the social science (and other) faculty were universally radical extremists. They weren't.

Things might have changed, I don't know. But unless you spend several weeks sitting in a variety of classes, or hanging out in the faculty lounge, you don't know either. And even then, unless you assume quite a bit of uniformity across all colleges and universities, saying "the academy" is all of one ideology is, to be kind, a real stretch.

There is no meaningful intellectual/political/philosophical diversity in the academy

troll.

The ideas that governed the mainstream economics profession since the 1980s were turned into rules when they were at best only hypotheses. Rules are easier to deal with; ambiguity and uncertainty are shunted aside. But the world is not so simple, and good policy is scarce when a profession once dedicated to brilliant thinking and extemporaneous judgment to fit changing times turns to formula and ultimately cliché.

I wonder if this is true also for the mainstream of LJ's academy? And for the thought process underlying the regulatory state?

On the merits, is the author saying inflation is good because it makes wages go up? Don't prices go up too, offsetting the wage gain? Wouldn't there be less inequality today if those 1% bastards weren't hoarding all the gold? If inequality is the concern, can it be demonstrated that inflating wages and prices across the board would materially affect the upper part of the 1%?

McTx's diversity complaint seems to be that there isn't enough 'ideological' diversity in the 'academy'. specifically, he wants "conservative" ideas to have equal representation.

Sort of. I'd settle for--hell, I'd prefer--a broad range of intellectual thought with the express understanding that any idea one puts forth is subject to rigorous proof and testing.

troll.

Yep, I'm making it up: https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/ps-political-science-and-politics/article/diversifying-the-academy-how-conservative-academics-can-thrive-in-liberal-academia/EBDEEC82C4D7EA1AEB876D44E8772333

This article attempts to make the case that it really isn't just prejudice against conservative thought that produces such political lopsidedness in academia, but rather "it is more complex". Hmmm, sound familiar--we're not bigots, it's more complicated than that!?!?!?

The article also usefully offers guidance to conservative scholars on how they can prosper in the liberal academic environment. Imagine someone writing an article for black college bound students with the same theme.

is the author saying inflation is good because it makes wages go up? Don't prices go up too, offsetting the wage gain?

Yes, prices go up some. Albeit usually not as much. More to the point, for most of the population, which has debt (mortages, as well as credit cards, etc.), their expenses relative to income for things like interest go down because the value (as opposed to the absolute number) of their debt goes down.

The down side is for those who are creditors, rather than debtors. Because our savings is worth less, and our interest payments smaller, than it would have been without inflation.

Since the wealthy tend to have more assets, and the poor more debt, it's basically a method of wealth equalization that doesn't require government legislative action. Of course, if you would rather the poor stay poor, that's a bad thing....

Just out of curiosity, when was the last time you spent any time at a university, hanging out with social science faculty? Because my own experience (admittedly quite a while ago) was that there was a range of views there.

When I got my history degree in 1977, there was one Rockefeller Republican and 20 plus Democrats on the history faculty. One Republican and 20 or so Democrats on the Poli Sci faculty. Ditto sociology. I didn't hang out in anthropology or econ departments (which is less lefty). Google the topic (intellectual diversity in US academia) and see if you can find a piece that claims there is balance. Good luck. The imbalance is a documented, well known phenomena.

Yep, I'm making it up:

you're trolling.

because this "There is no meaningful intellectual/political/philosophical diversity in the academy" is either trivially easy to disprove or entirely dependent on your own personal definitions of "meaningful" and "academy".

because this "There is no meaningful intellectual/political/philosophical diversity in the academy" is either trivially easy to disprove or entirely dependent on your own personal definitions of "meaningful" and "academy".

Fine. Disprove it.

I'd settle for--hell, I'd prefer--a broad range of intellectual thought with the express understanding that any idea one puts forth is subject to rigorous proof and testing.

do you actually know any academics?

The imbalance is a documented, well known phenomena.

I'm pretty sure that if the imbalance exists, it's because facts have a liberal bias.

For those of you outside the US, is there a particular ideological makeup of the Academy in the "social sciences" in the Universities in your country? If so, in what direction?

The only serious academics I know these days are a) very right wing and b) in the humanities (literature, history etc) rather than the social sciences. They certainly claim that there is a strong liberal/left wing bias in a) the media, and b) their part of the academy (and presumably would say it was even worse in the social sciences). I cannot say to what extent it is true in the academy, but I believe (I wonder if Nigel or our other UK residents concur?) it is generally untrue about the media in this country, except in the case of newspapers, who make their allegiance explicit (Guardian, Independent, Mirror, Observer: liberal/lefty, all the rest, who have generally much higher circulations, the Times, Sunday Times, Sun, Mail, Mail on Sunday, Express and Sunday Express: conservative/right wing). The BBC, unfortunately and unfairly I believe, has been somewhat intimidated by these kinds of accusations of liberal bias, however, so that they now often adhere to the kind of "evenhandedness" so well satirised by John Oliver in his piece about climate change: i.e. in studio discussions on the subject, they often have one exponent of climate change versus one climate change denier, rather than a properly evenhanded discussion, reflective of the views of actual scientific experts, which would have one climate change denier versus ninety nine supporters of it.

"There is no meaningful intellectual/political/philosophical diversity in the academy"

if there wasn't, academics would always agree on everything. they don't.

"As russell has pointed out here on many occasions, it is not Adam Smith who is the problem. It is those who have perverted his writing, distilling it down to a simplistic, absolutist, rule-based system without context, nuance or conditionality."

Actually, some conservatives admit that Smith provides context, nuance, and conditionality, but take him to task for those very qualities because it has provided fodder for those who criticize free market excesses, failures, and shortcomings.

Better that he was an absolutist:

Behind a subscription wall (see, there's a failure right there; mere mortals can't read it) but the opinion piece from a couple of issues ago can be had in the Barrons at your local socialist library.

http://www.barrons.com/articles/the-trouble-with-adam-smith-1471670360

Epstein, in the issue not a week or two later, cites Adam Smith in support of free trade, where Epstein concludes, I guess, that Smith is suitably absolutist, which I would have to go back and re-read Smith to confirm.

In other trivia, I'd be curious to know the conservative/liberal makeup of academia say, pre-1965, and people's opinions about whether or not social science academia since then, was sort of the FOX News of the Left (We teach and research, you decide), as a severe reaction to what was perceived to have gone before, such as the strict (varying from here to there) adherence to religious affiliation and the segregationist/sexual/gender policies of so many private universities and colleges pre-1975.

I have a acquaintance who attended Baylor University, pretty darned Baptist back then) in the late 1970s and claims he was brainwashed ... I say, brainwashed! by the liberal faculty and curriculum, (much later to be brainwashed by Rush Limbaugh). He is usually five sheets to the wind alcohol-wise when he vomits this stuff from his mouth, which I'm certain is against Baylor's alcohol policy, then and now, but maybe alcoholism is a conservative value (I kid; it's not. The alcohol content of conservative and liberal bloodstreams when I attended school was very well balanced at the high end of the scale).

I'd be more convinced if conservative (not McKinney - he says right above he wants a broad range of intellectual thought) social science departments in academia -- George Mason University, Claremont etc, showed the way by opening their academia to more liberal thought as well, but they won't, even if so-called liberal academia becomes more fair and balanced.

I demand that right-wing religious schools air out their strict academic biases as well, but see, that would be an attack on religious freedom.

"a(n) acquaintance"

Never attend English Grammar 101 while shitfaced.

Even if there's a lack of diversity in academia along the right-left political axis, particularly within the social sciences (other than economics, at least), that's not the same thing as a general lack of diversity in other areas.

It seems that most engineering professors are fairly conservative based on my experience, but I don't worry about that. Ohm's Law applies, regardless.

I'm pretty sure that if the imbalance exists, it's because facts have a liberal bias.

Of course they do.

"McTx's diversity complaint seems to be that there isn't enough 'ideological' diversity in the 'academy'. specifically, he wants "conservative" ideas to have equal representation."

So, affirmative action, then? What a shock. I guess the free market must be wrong.

Wanting something (respect) does not make it a "right". Most have to do the work of earning what they want.

do you actually know any academics?

Not since law school. I don't know any sitting senators or congressional representatives, either; however, I know a bunch of judges. So, am I only qualified to address the judiciary?

I'm concerned that some very prominent religious and very Republican colleges teach that man rode the dinosaurs to the stegosaurus rodeos not 5000 years ago, and no other "theory" is taught.

Actually, what really bothers me that it is taught that women were forced to ride sidesaddle to maintain their virginity.

See, I think we're beyond the point in journalism and academia, and certainly in politics, where real balance, of the sort that never existed, even 5000 years ago, can be achieved.

We're all gonna fight.

if there wasn't, academics would always agree on everything. they don't.

This is your proof?

You might want to rethink the name-calling. Seriously.

Let's take the general leftward lean of academia as a given. How did it get to be that way? Is this the result of a conspiracy? Do conservatives, generally, think that a lot of what gets studied is bunk and not worth their time?

So, affirmative action, then? What a shock. I guess the free market must be wrong.

No, just the opposite--equality of opportunity, not outcome; although outcome is *some* evidence of inequality of opportunity ("some evidence" is a legal term of art applicable in reviewing a fact finding on appeal and it means, generally, 'more than a scintilla of evidence'). You're ok with that, yes? Across the board?

You're ok with that, yes? Across the board?

With what? Equality of opportunity? If so, yes. But, if you look at the Count's comment, would you consider it evidence of a lack of equal opportunity that the theory that the earth is 5000 years old hasn't gained much traction in academic circles?

Donald Trump has brought diversity, in the person of real live white supremacists, to the fore in the debate over all of this stuff.

And, it looks from the latest polls, that this sort of racist diversity in the Republican Party is running neck and neck in support against its opponents.

I look forward to the Departments of and Chairs in Phrenology funded in our public universities under a Trump Administration.

David Duke could be on the fast track to academia.

"So, affirmative action, then? What a shock. I guess the free market must be wrong."

Or just good makeup:

http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/white-like-me/n9308

Even if there's a lack of diversity in academia along the right-left political axis, particularly within the social sciences (other than economics, at least), that's not the same thing as a general lack of diversity in other areas.

It seems that most engineering professors are fairly conservative based on my experience, but I don't worry about that. Ohm's Law applies, regardless.

I agree for the most part, and this is not inconsistent with my point regarding LJ's reference to *the academy*, which is not inclusive of the Business School or the Econ Faculty, which do not make the study of intersectionality or privilege a part of the curriculum, at least in any meaningful way.

Further, traditional engineering is, compared to *social engineering*, a completely objective undertaking.

Cleek et al--my use of the phrase *social engineering* is a play on words.

While we're debating the left/right bias (if any) of academia, we might want to spend a few minutes on what we are taking to be the center.

It's pretty clear that the political "center" has shifted to the right over the past few decades. (Not, clearly, relative to opinions on homosexuality. But overall.) Does that mean that the definition should change everywhere -- so even if there is no change in the specific opinions of an academic, he becomes more liberal over time because the center has moved?

This is your proof?

indeed it is.

but, go ahead and give us your definitions of: diversity, meaningful, and academy.

But, even within the non-economics social sciences, where there may be a lack of left-right political diversity, that's not the same thing as there being a general lack of diversity. Even within the realm of politics, there may be diversity of opinion among faculty who could be considered entirely on the left. Then there are however many other areas of thought in which academics could still be very diverse.

It seems you are making a particular case for some sort of regime targeting not just political diversity, but left-right political diversity. Why? What particular societal benefit do you propose there is to promoting left-right political diversity in particular subsets of university faculties?

we just need to "teach the controversy" and let students sort it out.

Let's take the general leftward lean of academia as a given. How did it get to be that way? Is this the result of a conspiracy? Do conservatives, generally, think that a lot of what gets studied is bunk and not worth their time?

There is some evidence--not a proven fact--of bias in who is admitted for graduate and post graduate positions. A vague form of 'promoting from within'.

Another school of thought is that the liberal dominance in academia is because because liberals are intellectually more advanced (to put it nicely). Kind of like Sapient's remark above.

I think it's a matter of disinclination.

The social sciences--as opposed to STEM, law and business (where it is less clear)--are left wing dominated. It isn't intellectual heft that produces this result. Law is not easier than history or poli sci or, God help me, sociology. And practicing law as an adversary going up against people who know their stuff every day is not a walk in the park either. It is at least as challenging as giving 3 lectures a week and writing a couple of papers a year.

And, for sure, STEM and medicine require at least as much intellectual horsepower as any of the social sciences.

So, my sense is that *soft* academia attracts the kind of person who is smart, often somewhat introverted, not interested or predisposed to the rough and tumble of practicing law or business or private sector competition *and* who *may* either resent or be somewhat jealous (or both) of those who do well in life outside academia. As in most other callings, the higher up the food chain one goes, the larger the egos. Make of that what you will.

IOW, it isn't that all the the really smart people are hiding out in sociology and history departments around the country. Most are out making a living without the tenure safety net.

FFS

IOW, it isn't that all the the really smart people are hiding out in sociology and history departments around the country. Most are out making a living without the tenure safety net.

So liberals retreat to the safety of "soft academia" because they're p*ssies?

There is some evidence--not a proven fact--of bias in who is admitted for graduate and post graduate positions.

I would mention, strictly informationally, that the social sciences already had a serious left-wing reputation when I was in school (late 1960s). But there I was, a conservative with a newly-minted commission in the US Air Force, admitted to the graduate program in Anthropology in that famously conservative bastion, UC Berkeley.

Strictly anectdotal, I admit. And a single data point at that. But it does seem interesting.

"*may* either resent or be somewhat jealous (or both) of those who do well in life outside academia."

Sounds like it goes the other way sometimes, too:

"Most are out making a living without the tenure safety net."

GFTNC wrote:

"they often have one exponent of climate change versus one climate change denier, rather than a properly evenhanded discussion, reflective of the views of actual scientific experts, which would have one climate change denier versus ninety nine supporters of it."

Excellent point.

"IOW, it isn't that all the the really smart people are hiding out in sociology and history departments around the country. Most are out making a living without the tenure safety net."

Are the "most" out making that living, to their credit, evenly divided between liberals and conservatives pretty much. If so, what would account for that balance given the liberal predilections of half of them, that they are out there?

I wonder if a politically conservative professional civil engineer or attorney is jealous or critical is jealous of the tenure of his or her (there's some sociological guacamole shoved down our throats) civil engineering professors who taught them to build bridges that don't collapse, or if a successful attorney is resentful of the tenure granted to the successful professor who taught the former tort law?

Or is it just the soft subjects that just so much finger painting? Not that I'm a big fan of the social sciences.

How much softer is a course in Women's Studies in 2016 that speaks to achievement by women than a course named A Survey of Executive Power in Western Civilization that speaks only to we guys and our achievements in 1907.

Interesting link, bobby, but I do wish left of centre critics would actually read a bit of Adam Smith...

Hi Nigel,

I get the impression that most of them haven't read Marx, either, but in all fairness, they are mostly responding to the intellectual perversion commonly referred to as social Darwinism, not the moralism of The Theory of Moral Sentiments (which I haven't read either).

:)

"There is no meaningful intellectual/political/philosophical diversity in the academy"

"Meaningful" is carrying a lot of weight there, tex. But all in all, it would appear that "conservative" ideas have lost out in this marketplace, one of the really freest there is.

Win some. Lose some. Pack the hanky, staunch the tears, suck it up, and move on.

Rest assured that revanchist, reactionary, racist, and idolatrous free market fundamentalism still hold sway in may other idea marketplaces.

What is this "tenure" of which McT speaks? 60% of college classes are taught by non-tenure track faculty. Many of those contingent faculty are also researching and publishing. Only about 8% of people with graduate degrees in a non-professional field end up as tenured faculty.

And as far as academia goes, are you including the think tanks, policy institutes, and such in your discussion? My experience is that a lot of conservative thinkers end up working for those, rather than opting to play tenure roulette. And they publish in peer-reviewed journals as well and have their work cited as part of the general give-and-take.

And what are the tenets of ideological purity that you imagine drive the academic departments in the social sciences and the humanities? I will admit to a general low opinion of the rigor and explanatory power of the Moynihan Report, which may strike you as ideological, but most of what counts as diversity of approach and opinion does not map well onto simplistic political binaries of US politics. Where might, say, a communitarian like Amitai Etzioni fall on your spectrum? What about Walter Benn Michaels?

I'm not planning on generalizing from the particular about conservative politicians regarding the weird rape-wish fantasies/denials that so many seem to harbor for their enemies, but I do think this hard guy needs some serious time cooped up with some female and LGBT for the year-long softy gender studies brainwashing, and then his face punched in:

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/mike-krawitz-new-jersey-gop-rape-threat-journalist

Wonderfully enough, the charming Mr. Krawitz is running in my town. He had a snowball's chance in hell, anyway, but still....

"this is not inconsistent with my point regarding LJ's reference to *the academy*, which is not inclusive of the Business School or the Econ Faculty,"

as long as you define "the academy" to be JUST the fraction that you can use to support your thesis, then your thesis is proven. QED.

But it's a near-textbook definition of disingenuous.

There are liberal engineers. I happen to work for one. Even though we disagree on politics, we rarely disagree on things more concrete. And if we do? One of us is going to turn out to be wrong, or one (or both) of us will turn out to be bullshitting. That's the nature of reality. It's neither leftist nor rightist; it just is.

Politics is kind of perpendicular to engineering, though. It's composed mostly of opinion, and although people tend to keep a firm grip on their opinions, they're by and large not provably right or wrong.

Whether social sciences are or are not largely infiltrated and staunchly defended by liberals isn't of much interest to me. People will study what interests them. What interests me is optics and inertial sensors and the math behind it, and how to make fairly complex optomechanical systems work, so that's what I study.

Some people have secondary careers such as writing about their opinions in exchange for money. To the extent that their ideas have a receptive market, bully for them.

Doesn't make their opinions correct, though, just because they sell well.

Popular != correct. Or good. Let's take Donald Trump as a for-instance.

On second thought, you take him.

Already claimed by the GOP, thanks.

Hugh O'Brien, the actor who played Wyatt Earp, the gay, gun-grabbing gummint regulator and well known sociologist, on TV when I was a kid, died today at age 91.

The NRA is going to hold a week-long celebration to besmirch his memory by secretly designating a dozen of their members across the nation to randomly (so it can't be counted against the Second Amendment) either shoot themselves in the groin, let their toddlers shoot them in the groin, shoot up a saloon to protest cheating at cards, or accidentally shoot their toddler while aiming at Hillary Clinton.

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