Sunday, September 8, 2019

More On Eve Fairbanks’ Stupid Confederate Analogy

Adam Rowe has another excellent rejoinder to Eve Fairbanks' dumb Washington Post column likening people like Jonathan Haidt to slavery apologists.
Free speech principles were often at stake in the antebellum controversy over slavery. In every case, proslavery advocates took the offensive in seeking to suppress the rights of their adversaries. Abolitionists attacked slavery as an institution, but they never seriously questioned the right to advocate on its behalf. Slaveholders, by contrast, fought to suppress free speech whenever they had a plausible chance of doing so. They fought to “gag” the reading of abolitionist petitions in Congress, and to prevent the postal system from circulating antislavery writings in the South.
The mechanism for enforcing this ideological conformity did not, contra Jonathan Marks in Commentary, mainly come from the state, but rather the power of the mob (emboldening mine):

It is true, however, that the violent reaction of Southerners to any criticism of slavery did not entail a flat repudiation of free expression in principle. The history of the antebellum South shows how a society ostensibly protected by the first amendment can suppress dissent. While traveling in the antebellum South, the journalist and Irish immigrant E.L. Godkin explained why Southerners preferred to rely on mobs rather than laws:
The fact is, I imagine, that while every man in the country feels it to be necessary to the safety of the existing state of things to prohibit, absolutely and completely, all discussion as to the right of the masters to their slaves, no one likes to establish a censorship of the press by statutable enactment. This would be rather too close an imitation of absolutism. As long as it is only ‘the mob’ or ‘the public’ that maltreat a man for free speech, the credit of the state is saved…
The emperor of Austria, Godkin continued, could only dream of angry mobs willing to do his dirty work for him, gratis. How that Emperor would have swooned at the glorious potential of Twitter!
 Moreover, the analogy of the social justice left taking the side of the south becomes even clearer once you factor in Lincoln's remarks from the debate at Alton, "You work and toil and earn bread, and I'll eat it." Demands for others' work products — medical care particularly, but also free tuition, the voiding of debt, etc., etc., etc. — are their stock in trade, as the early dialogue has proceeded. They do not oppose slavery, or even fractional slavery, so much as they object to its being racist.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

A Girl's Gotta Have Her Standards

These synthetic husbands have an average income that is about 58% higher than the actual unmarried men that are currently available to unmarried women. They also are 30% more likely to be employed (90% vs. 70%) and 19% more likely to have a college degree (30% vs. 25%). Racial and ethnic minorities, especially Black women, face serious shortages of potential marital partners, as do low socioeconomic status and high socioeconomic status unmarried women, both at the national and subnational levels.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Defenders Of Free Speech Must Be Confederates

Eve Fairbanks, apparently a moron, thinks that anyone defending free speech is using the same rhetorical strategy as Confederates. These days, anyone who crosses the left gets the treatment, and while she may indeed have found a live racist in law prof Amy Wax, the rest of her list is pretty weak (emboldening mine):
The reasonable right includes people like [Ben] Shapiro and the radio commentator Dave Rubin; legal scholar Amy Wax and Jordan Peterson, the Canadian academic who warns about identity politics; the social psychologist Jonathan Haidt; the New York Times columnist Bari Weiss and the American Enterprise Institute scholar Christina Hoff Sommers, self-described feminists who decry excesses in the feminist movement; the novelist Bret Easton Ellis and the podcaster Sam Harris, who believe that important subjects have needlessly been excluded from political discussions. They present their concerns as, principally, freedom of speech and diversity of thought. Weiss has called them “renegade” ideological explorers who venture into “dangerous” territory despite the “outrage and derision” directed their way by haughty social gatekeepers.
In these plaints, she hears echoes of the southern Civil War rhetorical style:
In Dave Rubin, who says that “if you have any spark of individualism in you, if you have anything about you that’s interesting or different, they” — the left — “will come to destroy that,” I hear the pro-Southern newspaper editor Duff Green: Abolitionists’ intent is “to drive the white man from the South.”
Following the link to a RedState interview with Rubin, we discover that Facebook refused to run certain political ads "because the school administrator’s refused to identify as partisan." So essentially, she sidesteps the issue of politically-motivated deplatforming by just calling Rubin a racist (or the next worst thing, a Confederate). But, you see, the real problem is that the left is a buncha patsies:
...[T]he reasonable right has recruited the left into serving its purpose. Media outlets and college campuses now go to extraordinary lengths to prove their “balance” and tolerance, bending over backward to give platforms to right-wing writers and speakers who already have huge exposure.
 Wow, one whole overblown incident where a thin-skinned Twitter blue-check causes some soul-searching? How about the FIRE disinvitation database, where two-thirds of the incidents are caused by liberal hecklers and/or gadflies? Jonathan Marks in Commentary had maybe the best response to this swill:
Neither Fairbanks nor the Post’s fact-checkers can be bothered even to verify that the objects of her smear are, you know, conservatives. For example, she gives us Jonathan Haidt, co-author of The Coddling of the American Mind. Haidt is a self-identified, and seemingly actual, centrist. Then there’s Sam Harris, the militant, and by no means conservative, atheist. But that doesn’t matter because Fairbanks is simply using the term “conservative” to apply to anyone with the gall to criticize left-wing intolerance. The individuals she names—from Haidt to Harris to Bari Weiss of the New York Times—have nothing in common apart from the opinion that freedoms of speech and thought should be defended against efforts to curtail them.

That’s the problem for Fairbanks, you see, because one of the arguments that Southern slaveholders made was that the North was infringing on their freedom of speech and thought. Advocates for slavery, she explains, “anointed themselves the defenders of ‘reason,’ ‘free speech’ and ‘civility.’” Get it? By her bizarre logic, while advocates of free speech and thought aren’t slaveholders, per se, they sure are slaveholderish.

There’s not much more to Fairbanks’s disgraceful argument than that, and in truth, it all goes the other way around. As Nadine Strossen has observed, the claim that certain speech should be suppressed because it inflicts “emotional injury” was made by slavery defender John C. Calhoun. Free speech advocates often point out that abolitionists like Frederick Douglass were on their side of the argument, whereas the proslavery crowd, where it could, made anti-slavery speech a crime.
The routine equating of anyone defending free speech with odious people in the past will eventually backfire ... won't it?