Several examples of talking about the weather but really talking about something else, too.
1 On the academic freedom front, a glimmer of reason and from a somewhat unexpected source. The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) has issued a lengthy report critical of the uses and misuses of Title IX. Here’s the long report and a short article.
The report argues that in the haste to see gender justice done on campuses there has been something of a rush to judgment, with academic freedom and due process suffering as a result.
I expect this line of argument from, say, the lefty-rightie-free speechie FIRE, or the conservative leaning National Association of Scholars. That it comes from the AAUP–the broad-based voice of the faculty–is, as Martha Stewart would say, a good thing.
But is there any Widean misdirection here? Hmmm . . . . Note that the report seems to aim its charge against the feds and college administrators–especially those administrators who, as part of the “corporatization” of the university the faculty decry, are petrified of lawsuits and their consequences, and who solve academic questions as though there were merely management ones.
True all that. But as one skeptic in the attached article notes–is that all there is? Might it not also be the case that the culture of the institution–a culture in which many faculty are deeply complicit–is also part of the problem?
Since the AAUP is an association of, by and for the faculty it is perhaps not surprising that it directs its aim outward. A little disingenuous perhaps. But verily: there is no progress without hypocrisy.
2 On a different matter altogether, here’s Eli Lake, who I think it is fair to describe as a journalist of neoconservative persuasion, on France as a police state. On the top level, Lake has a high road argument: France is now suspending civil liberties in its zeal to stop Muslim terrorism. We should resist that, and should resist calls from folks like Trump and Cruz for heightened Muslim surveillance. After all, our experience with Muslim immigration is different. We do not have the Muslim neighborhood problem of Europe and should leverage our privileged position in that regard to ensure civil liberties at home.
I am fine with that, more than fine with that. Also with his sad truth that “(w)hen advanced democracies are terrorized, our freedoms are often the first casualty”. And I also can’t quibble with the surface of his conclusion: “it’s better to fight terrorists over there than over here.” But is that all Lake is up to?
The point is to avoid the need for putting our freedoms at risk at all. Europe is now having to grapple with an unfortunate state of affairs that is the product of, among other things, inattention to immigration policy and the excesses of neoconservatism in foreign policy. Better perhaps not arrive at this pass in the first place?
Lake seems to suggest at the end of his article that “invade the world” still works, and is not disconnected from other things. He does not mention the “invite the world” corollary that Steve Sailer is fond of pointing out. Lake is critical of Trump but it is Trump, not Lake, who is questioning “invite the world”. And if you do too much of “invade the world, invite the world” you inevitably end up with “investigate the citizenry.” Lake should sort out his causes and effects, and maybe his agenda.
3 On a different matter altogether, here’s the eminent graybearded historian of Repubicanism, Karl Rove, on why Trump should not be coddled in the convention. Darn it, it took Rutherford B. Hayes seven ballots to finish off James Blaine in 1876 so Trump should man up and expect a fair convention fight. Tradition!
I agree that a fair fight can be a good thing. And that politics ain’t beanbag, with the consequence that the term “fair” can be highly elastic.
But that’s just it. Rove is no graybearded historian, really, but a partisan himself engaged in spin to accomplish political ends. Spin is bad enough but spin posing as a history lesson at the feet of a wise old sage tends to grate. If the circumstances were different I expect Rove’s argument would be different. And if Trump looks like he will assemble the delegates I would not be surprised if Rove favored tactics that bent or broke the rules–history be damned!
Also, while we are free to create any new history we want, entirely lacking in Rove’s article is any reference at all to the shift from a convention-based method for presidential selection to one based much more clearly on voter preference through a primary system. That does not mean the convention is irrelevant, as we have heard over and over. But one would think an eminent historian might reference that historic shift in any analysis, in that it tends to have some bearing on the question of legitimacy on which the whole enterprise depends.