My recent DREAD-ful blog anniversary post had a good response in the comment section, and also generated numerous emails. I appreciate the feedback and support, it truly lifted my spirits.
So let me clarify that, to the extent some people read into my post an intent to close down Legal Insurrection, that is not in the cards.
There are some struggles and challenges, but we’re not turning off the lights. There even is the possibility, which is premature to announce but which I’m happy to tease, of some exciting new developments.
Also, I don’t underestimate how Trump has the potential to make some difference.
But the rot is so deep in so many institutions, it will be a generational project, not something that can be fixed in 4 or 8 years. Higher Ed is a perfect example. Many departments are hanging onto sanity by the slender thread that many “old school” professors have not yet retired so the younger radicalized tenured faculty are not yet fully in control. In 5-10 years that will change, and those younger radical faculty have spent the past 20 years only hiring their own.
I offer these anecdotes from the past couple of days as examples of how the topics highlighted in my post are happening:
1. There goes STEM
On the issue of how, “[i]n 3-5 years, if we’re still here, we’ll be writing about how the social justice warriors have corrupted the STEM fields,” I give you Scientific American, How Men Can Help Women in STEM: Shut Up, Sit Back and Listen
Why is it that I, a man in STEM, am writing about this? Because to me these statistics also show another thing: men, who are dominating these fields, have an obligation to support women in STEM and help level the playing field. But how can men help to facilitate change and support women in STEM? All the things I try to implement are the result of listening to women—who sacrificed their spare time to educate me—and taking their advice. Thus, maybe the single best, most actionable thing is this: step back, shut up, give women space, and listen to them.
2. He who controls the language …
On the manipulation of language for political purposes, I give you the an article by Sohrab Ahmari in Commentary, The Associated Press and the Pronoun Wars:
The transgender movement is at war with the English language. With a new set of style guidelines, the Associated Press has joined the trenches—on the transgender side….
Now comes the AP’s gender rewrite. In a series of tweets on Tuesday explaining the changes first promulgated earlier this year, the AP’s editors contended that “gender refers to a person’s social identity, while sex refers to biological characteristics” and admonished writers to “avoid references to being born a boy or girl.” The venerable news agency also endorsed the language- and
prose-disfiguring use of “they/them” as a singular pronoun. It even left open the door to more exotic made-up pronouns such as “ze” and “zir.”
Tuesday also saw the AP introduce a new rule: Instead of the expressions “sex change” or “transition,” writers are to use “gender
confirmation.” This was a deep kowtow to the transgender movement, which believes that physicians don’t alter anything essential or fundamental when they perform a sex-change operation: Caitlyn Jenner was always Caitlyn Jenner. The operation merely confirmed this ontological fact.
You needn’t agree with social conservatives on transgender ideology to see that this is wrongheaded. The editors are using the AP’s style authority to declare the transgender debate over….
3. Nice social media account you have there, shame if something happened to it
On the “concentration of power in a small number of social media and internet companies who have been weaponized to shut down speech and expression,” Twitter is about to roll out new guidelines in response to the #womenboycotttwitter day protesting Harvey Weinstein:
We know from experience that these rules will not be evenly applied. What are “hate symbols”? Will they use the politically-biased SPLC hate lists? “Violent groups”? What’s the chance Antifa or that Black Lives Matter groups that advocate physical attacks on speakers will be kicked off Twitter? Glorifying violence? The left claims the NRA glorifies violence.
4. Salon-approved conservatives
On the “cottage industry of self-appointed guardians of conservatism whose main job is to delegitimize the vote, and to encourage a soft coup because they didn’t get their way in the primaries,” I give you Salon, The 25 conservatives actually worth following on Twitter. There are many on this list I like and probably shouldn’t be on it, but there also is a core group of people whose career is being the Conservative who hates Trump and who liberals love for it:
5. Was nice knowing ya, ACLU defenders of free speech
On the “rising tide of absolutism in ideas and enforcement of ideological uniformity that is palpable,” I give you the shrinking commitment of ACLU staff to freedom of speech:
What will it do the next time the alt-right seeks the A.C.L.U.’s help?
That question that has cut fault lines though the A.C.L.U., with a group of staff members sending an open letter taking issue with the organization’s longstanding work of defending white supremacists in free speech cases. “Our broader mission — which includes advancing the racial justice guarantees in the Constitution and elsewhere, not just the First Amendment — continues to be undermined by our rigid stance,” says the letter, which a former member of the A.C.L.U.’s board, Michael Meyers, provided to The Times. About 200 staff members — the A.C.L.U. has about 1,300 full-time employees — signed onto the letter, according to a spokeswoman.
“This letter has to be seen for what it is — a repudiation of free-speech principles,” Mr. Meyers said.
The A.C.L.U.’s executive director, Anthony Romero, said in an interview that the organization was not, after Charlottesville, retreating from its longstanding defense of free speech, even hate speech — a tradition that goes back to the organization’s earliest years.
It is in the A.C.L.U.’s “DNA to defend speech from government censorship including, and especially, hateful speech in times when it is being shut down,” he said.
Still, after Charlottesville, the organization has been evaluating its criteria for accepting new free speech cases, Mr. Romero said.
6. The End
All is proceeding as planned.
Or should I say, as dreaded.
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