You can't define an appropriate environment as whatever the most easily offended person wants. Jezebel thinks you can, ought and must do it that way. But I know they're wrong. You know why? Because Jezebel itself thinks it's absurd. They're totally cool with using that standard when it comes to dick jokes, but when it comes to breast feeding suddenly it's outrageous (eg one, two). Mothers can't be expected to make decisions based on the whims of whoever is most repulsed by strangers' breasts. Well guess what? That means I shouldn't be expected to conform my behavior to whoever leasts wants to overhear terrible puns about dongles.
Posts tagged ‘South Bend’
From South Bend Seven come a couple of comments I liked today. The first was on the Left and current budget plans:
If I was on the Left I would look at these figures and then begin to think long and hard about whether knee-jerk opposition to things like Medicare block grants or defined-contribution public pensions is such a good idea. The biggest threat to redistribution to the poor is existing redistribution to the old.
To the last sentence, I would add "and redistribution to upper middle class public sector workers." I am constantly amazed at the Left's drop-dead defense of above-market pay and benefits for public sector workers. This already reduces funding for things like actual classroom instruction and infrastructure improvements, and almost certainly the looming public pension crisis will reduce resources for an array of programs much loved by the Left.
The second observation relates to a favorite topic of mine, on technocracy:
Often enough I think "you know, we need more scientists in charge of things." Then I remember that the scientists we get are Steven Chu and I think "yeah, maybe not so much."
Then I think about all the abominable committee meetings and discussion sessions I've been in with scientists and I think "perhaps best not to put scientists in charge."
Then I look over at my bookshelf, notice my cope of The Machinery of Freedom, and think "why are we putting anybody in charge at all?"
If this Administration has any one theme, it is a total confidence that a few people imposing solutions and optimizations top-down is superior to bottom-up or emergent solutions. Even the recent memo on targeted killings reflects this same philosophy, that one man with a few smart people in the White House can make better life-or-death decisions than all that messy stuff with courts and lawyers. Those of us who understand our Hayek know that superior top-down decision-making is impossible, given that the decision-makers can never have the information or incentives to make the best decisions for complex systems, and because they tend to impose one single objective function when in fact we are a nation of individuals with 300 million different objective functions. But the drone war / targeted killing memo demonstrates another problem: technocrats hate due process. Due process for them is just time-wasting review by lesser mortals of their decisions. Just look at how Obama views Congress, or the courts.
South Bend Seven helped me think through the more general point I was trying to get at in this post. I am simply sick of the incessant whining from this administration that it's too hard to get legislation through Congress and that difficulty justifies the Administration to start unilaterally exercising legislative powers via executive decree and the stretching of numerous regulatory authorities.
But here is the deal - its supposed to be hard to add new laws and, particularly, to expand the power of the government. Hard, but not impossible. Even when something is ruled unconstitutional, there is a mechanism to amend the Constitution. In fact, we have actually done it 27 times. But nowadays we don't even want to bother. We have Presidents of both parties that just invent new executive powers and who put pressure on the Courts to agree to broader and broader Federal powers.
I am not sure we will ever have another Constitutional Amendment in my lifetime. Already at 41 years since the last one (not counting the odd 27th amendment) this is the longest span in history without an Amendment being passed. We just can't be bothered to do things the right way. Don't believe me? Does anyone believe that if the income tax was invented today, anyone would bother with its Constitutional issues and decide an amendment is necessary. Or even more telling, in 1917 we honestly believed a Constitutional Amendment was needed for the federal government to regulate and ban alcoholic beverages. If that's true, where is the amendment that is required to ban marijuana, cocaine, or heroin? We dond't bother with one, because by the time we regulated these substances we had pretty much abandoned the concept (written into the document in several places and reiterated in the 9th and 10th amendment) that the Constitution conferred enumerated powers. Because that just made it too dang hard for politicians to exercise more and more power over us.
Three trends on college campuses all came together in the case of Keith Sampson:
- Rampant political correctness
- A newfound "right" for protected groups to be free from being offended, a right that now seems to trump free speech
- The fetishization of symbolism over substance, and the belief that other people's reactions to an act is more important than the nature of that act itself.
IN November, I was found guilty of "racial harassment" for reading a public-li brary book on a university campus.
The book was Todd Tucker's "Notre Dame vs. the Klan: How the Fighting
Irish Defeated the Ku Klux Klan I was reading it on break from my
campus job as a janitor. The same book is in the university library.
Tucker recounts events of 1924, when the loathsome Klan was a dominant
force in Indiana - until it went to South Bend to taunt the Irish
Catholic students at the University of Notre Dame.
KKK tried to rally, the students confronted them. They stole Klan robes
and destroyed their crosses, driving the KKK out of town in a downpour.
I read the historic encounter and imagined myself with these
brave Irish Catholics, as they street-fought the Klan. (I'm part-Irish,
and was raised Catholic.)
But that didn't stop the Affirmative
Action Office of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis from
branding me as a detestable Klansman.
They didn't want to hear
the truth. The office ruled that my "repeatedly reading the book . . .
constitutes racial harassment in that you demonstrated disdain and
insensitivity to your co-workers."
A friend reacted to the finding with, "That's impossible!" He's right. You can't commit racial harassment by reading an anti-Klan history....
But the $106,000-a-year
affirmative-action officer who declared me guilty of "racial
harassment" never spoke to me or examined the book. My own union - the
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees - sent an
obtuse shop steward to stifle my freedom to read. He told me, "You
could be fired," that reading the book was "like bringing pornography