American Elephants

The Least Diverse Place in America by The Elephant's Child

You have probably noticed, there have been enough riots and demonstrations to prevent the possibility of hearing someone with a differing opinion. They claim to champion diversity, but that’s a lie. They want everyone to hold the same leftist beliefs, and frankly be unaware that there are other ideas. They used to call it “brainwashing.”Does it only matter if it is your college student?

What the Heck is “Hate Speech” Anyway? by The Elephant's Child

I do worry rather a lot about language, perhaps because I was an English major. More correctly, because the Left attempts to control the dialogue by changing the meaning of words. Immigration or immigrant is one example, by conflating the term with illegal immigrant, illegal alien, (both perfectly acceptable and accurate terms) refugees (and how that word is defined). But I have posed this question before.

The more problematic case of language is much more difficult.  The words are “hate speech.” Exactly what is hate speech? From the current dialogue, it is apparently any speech that you don’t agree with. Clearly that is an impossible definition, yet that is the basic problem in college campuses all across the country.

Students have been taught that they do not have to listen to speech that offends their delicate sensibilities by not agreeing with their preconceived ideas. Enough professors have spoken out in the media to indicate their despair that the students they are expected to teach—simply don’t know anything. They are unfamiliar with the most basic history, geography, civics and science. Not the hard stuff. They don’t know who won the Civil War. They don’t know who we fought in the Revolution. I could go on at length, but just those two missing facts summarize the situation fairly well.

Headlines from the battle: “Student activists demand college ‘take action’ against conservative journalists.” American Thinker.  “Students claim Objective ‘Truth’ is a ‘White Supremacist Myth,”Breitbart. “Why Colleges Have a Right to Reject Hateful Speakers Like Ann Coulter” New Republic.  “It’s Time to Crush Campus Censorship” National Review, “Those ‘Snowflakes’ Have Chilling Effects Even Beyond the Campus” WSJ, “On Political Correctness” The American Scholar  “Report: Women’s and gender studies courses have increased 300% since 1990” The College Fix  “College makes it easier to graduate by requiring students to learn less: The College Fix.  Those are just a few of dozens.

Middlebury has become famous for rioting to refuse to listen to Dr. Charles Murray, a noted social scientist.  Claremont students refused to hear Heather MacDonald. It was very clear that the students had no idea whatsoever what the speakers represented, or what they might say. In the case of Dr. Murray, the Southern Poverty Law Center (a far-left fringe group made false claims about Dr. Murray). In the case of Heather MacDonald, it was “Black Lives Matter” giving a completely false impression of what she might say. Sad. The kids in both cases would have profited from and learned something valuable from the speeches.

The students are wrapped up in the idea that they should not have to listen to anyone with whom they might disagree, and completely ignorant of the facts. The fault lies with faculty and administration who should have packed up the offenders the following morning and sent them home to perhaps be admitted the following semester — if they had learned anything. That’s what happened to friends of mine for significantly lesser offenses, but that was a long time ago.

You see how the words “hate speech” have corrupted the situation. There is no such thing as hate speech. There are inflammatory words, there is incitement to riot,  there’s shouting ‘fire’ in a crowded theater, but I submit there is no such thing as hate speech. We are watching daily, people thrown in prison, sentenced to hard labor for 15 or 20 years, as the fat junior Kim just did to two Americans, as happens throughout the Middle East — and some people can’t get it through their heads that the Freedom of Speech guaranteed to us by the Constitution matters. There aren’t all that many places in the world where you can’t be jailed for speaking your mind. In a moment in time when the language out there (do you read the comments?) has been vile, insulting, vulgar, and just plain offensive. Well, we do live in interesting times.

ADDENDUM: Over at the Federalist, John Daniel Davidson also wrote about Hate Speech, and wrote even more thoroughly about what it is and isn’t, and it’s very well done. The photo at the top of his post is not of college students, but of older folks with pre-printed signs from the “antiwar committee” urging viewers to “Stop the War on Muslims at Home and Abroad,” “Unite Against Islamophobia,” “End Racism,” and “Stop Racism, Islamophobia and War!” It should be observed that there is no war on Muslims, no such thing as Islamophobia, our problems with radical Islam have to do with their war on the West, their habit of chopping off heads, throwing people off of tall buildings, or burning them alive if we don’t submit to their radical religion. We have not yet declared war, since Obama abruptly pulled the troops out of a hard-won peaceful Iraq, but he has left a nuclear North Korea and a nuclear Iran for his successor to deal with. Again the Federalist photo is a good example of using language inaccurately to make their point, which thanks to our Constitution, they are completely free to do. But we are also completely free to make fun of them.

Not “Earth Day” Anymore, Now It’s “The March for Science” by The Elephant's Child

This will be an interesting weekend. Today is Earth Day, so naturally there is a march somewhere.  Ah hah!: It is the March for (Political) Science in our nation’s capitol, described by the Washington Times:

Take the Women’s March on Washington, slash its attendance, throw in Bill Nye “the science guy,” and you have the formula for Saturday’s March for Science, the latest in this year’s series of anti-Trump protests.

Framed as a defense of scientific inquiry, the Earth Day march offered a lesson in political science as speakers urged thousands of rain-soaked attendees to fight President Trump’s “anti-science” agenda by advocating more federal funding for research.

“This is about last November’s election,” said Denis Hayes, coordinator of the first Earth Day in 1970. “Did America somehow vote to melt the polar ice caps and kill the coral reefs and acidify the oceans? Did we vote to reduce the EPA’s research budget by a whopping 42 percent? Did we vote to defund safe drinking water by one third?”

I don’t know who Denis Hayes is, but the polar ice caps have a habit of melting every summer and freezing up every winter, as it has done for centuries. Renowned Australian geologist Ian Plimer wrote in  Heaven and Earth:

Climate has always changed. It always has and it always will. Sea level has always changed. Ice sheets come and go. Life always changes. Extinctions of life are normal. Planet Earth is dynamic and evolving. Climate changes are cyclical and random. I would be really concerned if there were no changes to Earth over time. In the light of large rapid climate changes,  just how much do humans really change climate?

The Earth’s climate is driven by the receipt and  redistribution of solar energy. Without this, there would be no life on Earth. Despite well documented linkages between  climate and solar activity, the Sun tends to be brushed aside as the driver of climate  on Earth  in place of a trace gas (carbon dioxide – CO2), most of which derives from natural processes. The CO2 in the atmosphere is only 0.001% of the total CO2 held in the oceans, surface rocks, air, soils and life.

Although we are in one of the many warm periods between glacial stages in the current ice age, there is a significant amount of ice remaining in the polar regions. Polar ice has been present for less than 20% of geological time, life on Earth for more than 80% of time and liquid water on Earth for 90% of time. Planet Earth is a warm wet volcanic greenhouse planet, which is naturally recovering from glacial times and is naturally warming. Cooling has also occurred in the current interglacial times. Earth has warmed and cooled on all time scales, whether they be geological, archeological, historical or within our own lifetime. The key questions are: How much of this warming can be attributed to human activity?

If we humans are warming the planet now, how do we explain the alternating cool and warm periods during the current post-glacial warming?

Anthony Watts has a marvelous collection of pictures from the march. On the one pictured at the top here, he remarked: “Seems that the Union of Concerned Scientists has a lot of hate. This is from their Twitter feed, but note they are too timid to put their organization name on any of the posters.  Losers.”

You will notice that the pre-printed sign at the bottom of the picture says “Scientists for Racial Equity;, Climate Justice, Gender Equality, Economic Justice, Indigenous Rights and Environmental Justice” which does give some clues to the thought process of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

“Earth Day” has been losing it’s luster. Fewer and fewer people believe in the need for panic, so they tried changing Earth Day into a “March for Science.” Bill Nye ‘the science guy’ turned up in DC, along with the constantly publicity-seeking Michael Mann, and the current Dr. Who turned up in London.

There’s a major reason why the scientists who are insulted as being “anti-science” or “deniers” or “skeptics” write and speak more frequently when they retire and are free to speak out. Until there was suddenly panic about global warming, the rise of the oceans, arctic melting, departments like astrophysics, ocean geology, and climate science were quiet backwaters in the science buildings of universities. With panic, funding arrived. Departments expanded, super computers and expensive equipment were purchased, and grants became very available. Unfortunately many of those deeply interested in climate change thought they could model the climate of the Earth on more powerful computers, which is where most of the junk science comes from. The climate is too complex, there is too much we just don’t understand— like the action of clouds. The “March for Science”  is all about funding, and not about science at all. And in the current climate it’s mostly about the Left hating Trump.

“Global Warming” has always been a far left effort to destroy capitalism, as Christiana Figureres, the Executive Secretary of the United Nation’s Framework Convention on Climate Change confirmed that in Brussels in 2015. Steven Koonin, a theoretical physicist who served as undersecretary of energy for science during President Obama’s first term, wrote in the Wall Street Journal Thursday that “the general public is largely unaware of the intense debates within climate science. He advocates a “Red Team-Blue Team” process for climate science as the best practice for high-consequence situations.

A happy Earth Day to you all, and if you are a “skeptic” as I am, turn on lots of lights this evening to illuminate the night.  “I Speak For The Trees ” indeed! Can you possibly not realize how silly that statement is?

April is the cruelest month… by The Elephant's Child

I made a stupid mistake on my taxes and had to do them almost all over. One of my cats is sick, which calls for much mopping and cleaning, and a trip to the vet. Two separate cloudbursts yesterday with thunder and lightening. A trip to the emergency room. Several calls from friendly computer services in the far off Middle East who were eager to help with my computer problems. Other than that, April Fool’s Day seems somewhat ongoing. What is it about April anyway? Sorry about the light blogging. I will aim for more informative brilliance.

APRIL is the cruelest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
A little life with dried tubers.

Victor Davis Hanson’s Take on the Decline and Fall of the Left by The Elephant's Child

Professor Jordan B. Peterson Doesn’t Like the Social Justice Warriors Either. by The Elephant's Child

It’s encouraging to learn that there are professors out there who aren’t happy with the situation in academe either. Dr. Jordan is at the University of Toronto, and Canada’s probably a litter farther into the post-modern bit that we are, but it is a very discouraging state of affairs, especially if you have a kid to send off for higher education. 18 year-olds have never been adults, and their struggles to achieve adulthood have usually been messy and more often than not made parents wonder what they are spending all that money for.

But “post-modern” doesn’t even begin to cover the nonsense, and the faculties and administrations have a great deal to answer for. Starting with their own inability to act like grown-ups, and stop tolerating bad behavior.

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