The Arrogance of Campus Crybullies: Evergreen Edition

In a post below about George Bridges, the feckless president of Evergreen State College, I embedded a video report by Michael Moynihan of VICE News. The report has been getting a lot of attention, and for good reason–it offers a revealing look at the student protestors creating havoc on campus. The image put forward by the protestors is not a pretty one. They come across as intolerant, unreasoning, arrogant, and entitled to a degree that almost defies credulity. It really has to be seen to be believed, and is worth examining in some detail. Washington State taxpayers in particular should look closely at the chaos depicted in the video and ask themselves if their tax dollars are being well spent at Evergreen.

Evergreen State College Controversy (HBO)

The object of the protestors’ ire is Professor Bret Weinstein, a liberal, who quite reasonably objected to their attempt to ban people from campus, at least for a day, on the basis of race. Student protestors accosted him and disrupted his class. When Professor Weinstein tried calmly to reason with students and to engage them in debate, they responded only with insults and vulgarity.

The students have every right to disagree with Weinstein and to challenge his views. But Weinstein doesn’t deserve this sort of abuse. Frankly, he deserves an apology from everyone involved; the students, and the administrators who allowed this to happen. Some people are wondering if Evergreen will fire Weinstein. I’m wondering when he gets his apology.

The first protestor the video identifies by name (2:22) is “Hadley” a tatted girl I prefer to call Mademoiselle Defarge. She thinks that Weinstein should be fired for disagreeing with her.

The only evidence of uncivil and unprofessional behavior, however, has not come from Weinstein but from the students. Weinstein should go on offense and demand that the disruptive students be suspended or expelled.

Why bring up the professors sex, race, and sexuality? How is any of that relevant to the argument? Who would believe so, other than some kind of bigot?

Weinstein, who I believe is Jewish, has ‘validated Nazis’?

Huddled in their lair, the crybullies then argue that free speech should not protect death threats.

But this is a straw man, because nobody is arguing that death threats are free speech. In fact, anybody who knows anything about the relevant case law knows that the First Amendment does not protect threats of violence. So thanks for that profound insight, snowflakes.

Who appointed Mademoiselle Defarge Grande Inquisidora with the power to ‘weed people out’? The fact is that the college has a great many stakeholders–taxpayers, alumni, donors, faculty, staff–many of whom have been affiliated with the college a lot longer, and have contributed a lot more, than has Mlle. Defarge. Yet she acts like she owns the place. The arrogance is breathtaking.

The crybullies pose as victims, but they’re actually the victimizers. The real victim is Bret Weinstein, along with the serious students on campus who had their education interrupted when the crybullies shut down the campus.

If the crybullies succeed in getting Bret Weinstein fired, he should hire a junkyard dog lawyer and sue the college for wrongful termination and sue the crybullies for defamation.

Generation Snowflake Discovers Violence

We’re seeing more and more instances of political violence being initiated by young leftists. This leftist violence started as a response to the political rise of Donald Trump, and reached a crescendo at Berkeley with a violent riot that shut down a talk by provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos. In just the latest incident, Evergreen State College in Washington is reportedly being terrorized by a roving gang of social justice warriors carrying baseball bats.

Young leftists are being seduced by violence, probably because they have so little prior experience with it. They’ve grown up basically supervised by adults 24/7, both in school and after school, and the adults never let things get out of hand. Bullying, which always existed in the society of children, is now actively suppressed.

Back when I was a kid, however, we were free range. Since kids were left to their own devices, things sometimes got out of hand and fights would break out. I can recall as early as first grade, shortly before the morning school bell, a couple of my classmates brawling on the grass in front of school. Nobody was hurt, since six-year-olds can’t do very much damage. I’m not even sure the teachers noticed or even cared. The fight was just boys being boys, and part of the vibrant tapestry of life. The school bell rang, and everybody reported to class like nothing had happened. Nowadays, school administrators might call the police, and there could be a lawsuit.

While today it might seem hard to believe, getting in fights and learning how to defend oneself was once a normal part of growing up. Personally, the last time I got into a fight was during a pick-up hockey match when I was 15.

In How Green Was My Valley, Richard Llewellyn’s classic story of growing up in Welsh coal country, the boy protagonist, Huw, is being abused by a bully at school. In order to deal with the bully, Huw’s father has him take lessons from a former boxer. After fighting the bully, Huw’s teacher beats him savagely with a stick. The boxer then avenges Huw by KO’ing the teacher right in front of the class.

Llewellyn’s novel won the 1940 National Book Award, and John Ford’s film adaptation won the best picture Oscar for 1941, beating out now-classic films such as Citizen Kane and The Maltese Falcon. The story itself is set in Victorian times, but the action seems so far removed from our own era that it may as well be medieval.

In any event, fighting probably does teach kids some valuable lessons. For one thing, it teaches that if you start a fight, you can expect your opponent to fight back. And then you learn what it’s like to be on the receiving end of violence. Bullying and initiating violence has always been a human temptation, but knowing that you might get hurt when your target fights back serves as a potent deterrent.

As so like little child bullies who have never learned their lesson, Generation Snowflake, since they’ve never been in a fight, think it’s fun to go around initiating political violence. They’re so narcissistic and solipsistic that the thought that their opponent might fight back probably doesn’t even occur to them. Still less do they stop to consider that their opponent might be more proficient at violence than they are. After all, your typical social justice warrior has zero fighting experience, and never lifts anything heavier than an iPhone. But as predicted by the Dunning-Kruger Effect (the most ignorant are the most confident) they imagine they can kick ass with impunity. Maybe they watched too many of those ridiculous go-girl movies where the 120 pound female heroine goes around beating up 200 pound guys. Or maybe they just had too much smoke blown up their asses by their parents, teachers, and coaches constantly telling them how special they are.

Just this week, Andrew Bolt, a prominent Australian conservative, got suckered on the street by two leftist twerps. Bolt fought them both off, but the video reveals that neither Bolt nor the twerps know how to throw a punch properly. The leftists seem totally disoriented by the sheer fact that Bolt fought back.

Leftist Protesters get more than they bargain for when Andrew Bolt

I know that every generation has always been somewhat disdainful of the younger generation, but what are we to make of a generation that embraces the novel concept of a ‘microaggression’, while simultaneously believing that sucker punching your political opponents is cool?

It so happens that the vast majority of the people in this country who are most proficient with fighting as well as the use of weapons are actually on the political right. If the left wants to continue on the path of political violence, it won’t end well for them. Here, for instance, is an androgynous commie getting decked by a right winger at a protest in Portland.

ANTIFA Member Gets Knocked Out By Conservative in Portland

I suppose we can be thankful that these leftists are not more proficient at violence. Here, for instance, is a pic of the baseball bat gang from Evergreen State.

I don’t think they could use those bats to beat open a bag of Cheetos. They think they’re cool because they’re fighting ‘Nazis.’ They think the reason Hitler came to power was insufficient leftist violence. Of course, the real reason Hitler came to power was…too much leftist violence.

The New Yorker Suddenly Frets about Competence

Yeah, I would have liked at some point to have seen a President Milton Friedman or a President Thomas Sowell, but in an electoral system of universal suffrage, that does not seem to be in the cards. And so instead of a Chicago economist we get a Chicago community organizer. Or we are offered a crooked Arkansas lawyer, and then, his wife.

Second look at Constitutional Monarchy?

Parents in Denial About Academic Achievement

More than 30 years have now past since the famous report “A Nation at Risk” sounded the alarm about America’s underperforming schools. Despite lavish spending and some attempts at reform, student achievement remains scandalously low.

According to the Nation’s Report Card, widely considered the gold standard of assessing students, only 40 percent of fourth-graders are proficient in math, and only 36 percent in reading, let alone both subjects. For eighth graders, the picture gets slightly worse: 33 percent are proficient in math, 34 percent are proficient in reading.

Maybe one out of four students is proficient in both subjects.

Why does student performance remain so stubbornly low? Part of the problem is the teachers’ unions, which oppose most useful reforms. But perhaps the more fundamental problem is that most parents just don’t realize that their children are not up to par.

According to a survey commissioned by Learning Heroes, 90 percent of parents with children in grades K-8 think their child is learning at grade level.

A shocking number of those parents are wrong.

This phenomenon of parents overrating their kids’ school performance exists in all socioeconomic and demographic groups.

The reason for parents’ misperception might be that they assume that a grade promotion means their child must be performing at grade level.

“Kids are getting passed on from grade to grade, a large percentage of kids graduate high school on time,” he explains. “So certainly parents have been getting the message for a long time that their kids are doing just fine.”

In fact, the high school graduation rate is over 80 percent, and fewer than 2 percent of students are held back a grade, so perhaps parents can’t be blamed for thinking their own kids are at least on par with their peers.

Well, by definition, most kids are on par with their peers. They just aren’t on par with objective standards.

And by the way, as college professors, we can report that the practice of students “getting passed on from grade to grade” doesn’t stop at high school.

Denial–it ain’t just a river in Egypt.

Bernie Sanders Doesn’t Know Shit about Economics: An Ongoing Series

Sanders-Tweet-copyThe state of Vermont sends a guy to the U.S. Senate who doesn’t even understand the difference between a secured and an unsecured loan. And he’s running for president.

As president, Bernie Sanders will apparently consider it his job to ensure that interest rates and other prices make ‘sense,’ and if he decides they don’t make sense he’ll…what…issue a decree from the White House fixing the rates, like late-Roman Emperor Diocletian dictating the price of flax from the imperial palace? History records that it did not work out so well.

Back in 2011, the price of iron ore was $170 per metric ton. Now it’s only $43. What sense does that make? Maybe we should just abolish market prices and set prices to whatever makes sense to Bernie Sanders.


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Blowhard Senator Gets Blowback

In the United States Senate last week, something happened that nobody can remember ever happening before. Panelists at a hearing, instead of merely fielding questions from senators, turned the tables and shot questions back at a senator. The hearing concerned the scam of climate alarmism, and the senator in question was Edward Markey of Massachusetts.

Before he worked his way up the ladder of Massachusetts politics, Markey was a truck driver, and it’s safe to say that he knows about as much about science as he does about Akkadian cuneiform. But ignorance being no impediment to a Boston Irishman, Markey launched a soliloquy in which he impugned the integrity of Dr. Judith Curry, a real climate scientist. When Curry asked to respond, Markey rebuffed her saying, “I did not ask you a question.” That’s when Curry and fellow-panelist Mark Steyn turned the tables on him.

We got a chuckle out of this bit:

Markey: If you want to ignore that these changes are taking place and that they are having a dramatic impact, then you are in the right place.

Steyn: Do you know what the winters were like at Plymouth Rock? Do you know what the winters were like at Plymouth Rock, senator?

Markey: Well, here is the thing. We…

Steyn: You don’t. How long has your family been in Massachusetts?

Markey: We are new arrivals and I have to admit…

Steyn: You should have been in there in 1750.

Markey: The Irish weren’t arriving in 1750, so I apologize for being late to the country and I’ll have to chastise my grandparents for not leaving until the economic conditions in 1902 forced them here, but that notwithstanding, there is as much consensus that man is causing climate change as there is in Galileo’s original theory.

Hard to believe that date in 1902 is still not celebrated as a national holiday.

We’re imagining a plot for a Hollywood movie–Donald Trump and Ann Coulter go back in time to 1902 to stop Edward Markey’s grandparents from immigrating into America.

Anyway, in a more perfect world Markey, a walking advertisement for the Dunning-Kruger effect, would emit his gaseous bloviations not in the chambers of the U.S. Senate, but only in the more suitable environment of a South Boston pub.

After Steyn and Curry dared to confront him, Senator Markey failed to return for his scheduled second round of questioning. He ran away! Brave Sir Edward ran away!

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Ignore the big-money managers’ predictions for 2015

Brett Roi at Marketwatch provides some good investing advice:

Buy Japan. Buy Europe. Buy technology. Avoid energy. Avoid Russia.

That’s what the Big Money is saying as we get ready for the new year. This is according to the latest in-depth survey of institutional money managers conducted by Bank of America Merrill Lynch. In total, the poll-takers interviewed over 150 professional investment managers around the world with nearly $450 billion in assets under management.

There’s only one problem with this. The Big Money folks are more likely to be utterly wrong than utterly right.

That isn’t just because they are subject to the usual factors like herd instinct and professional self-preservation. It’s also because even though they like to think they are trying to beat the market, they actually are the market they are trying to beat.

This insight makes a strong case for passive, low cost, index investing.  But for those of you who have a higher risk tolerance and an unclouded crystal ball, all you have to do is pick the asset class that will have the best return for the upcoming year. Also, don’t buy losing lottery tickets at the gas station, only buy winning ones.

CNBC host doesn’t know that Ireland isn’t part of the UK

Experience has proven time and again that you may not be able to reject the hypothesis that a person actually doesn’t know anything just because someone is a successful CEO, or a college professor with or without a PhD, or a host of a nationally syndicated television business show:

If you’re interviewing the head of Ireland’s foreign investment agency on American television there are two things you need to know: the Republic of Ireland is an independent country and has been using the euro for 15 years.

But a CNBC presenter was flabbergasted by the claim as he quizzed Martin Shanahan, the new chief executive of IDA Ireland, about the country’s economic recovery and its low tax regime. Unfortunately, things took a turn for the worse, when the discussion moved to the euro and the effects of a weaker currency on tourism in Ireland.

The show’s presenter, Joe Kernen, was shocked when he found out Ireland and Northern Ireland are two different countries: one is part of the UK, the other one isn’t. And, naturally, one uses sterling, while the other one uses the euro and is part of the euro zone. But not for Joe.

In a bizarre rant, the veteran American presenter insisted Ireland should use the pound because “it’s sort of the same island” and suggested “you guys gotta get it together” as Mr Shanahan tried, and failed, to explain Northern Ireland is a different country and Dublin is “very happy with the euro”.

The video below really starts to get embarrassing at the 6:55 mark.


So-called University Students Don’t Know Who Won the Civil War

Watch the video from Texas Tech, not the worst of undergraduate institutions. The video, unfortunately, comports with our own experience of teaching today’s undergraduates. We regularly observe students display ignorance of the most elementary material that anyone with a diploma would be expected to know. In a more perfect world, their high school diplomas would be revoked.

And it’s not just history. Students exhibit deficiency in pretty much all subjects across the board, including mathematics.

We recently observed two separate incidents in which students could not solve fairly elementary algebraic equations; the sort of math that might be taught at middle school, never mind high school. In particular, one student could not solve the following equation for X:

(200 – 105)/2 – X/2 = 5.

The other recent student who couldn’t do middle school math said to us, “But I’m good at math.”

Messrs. Dunning and Kruger, please call your office.

The student is obviously deficient in math, but hey, at least she feels good about herself! That’s what modern schooling values most.

We’re just hoping we can make it to retirement.

Oh and by the way, the voting age should be raised back up to 21, where it was before 1972.