The Left’s War on Science

(Posted almost a year ago… added Heather Mac Donald’s comments/interview in my re-posting this) Many in the media say there’s a conservative war on science. Is this true? No, says John Tierney, Contributing Editor at the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal. Tierney says “the real war on science is the one from the left.”

Here is a long excerpt from the article by Tierney at THE CITY JOURNAL:


….Some genetic differences are politically acceptable on the left, such as the biological basis for homosexuality, which was deemed plausible by 70 percent of sociologists in a recent survey. But that same survey found that only 43 percent accepted a biological explanation for male-female differences in spatial skills and communication. How could the rest of the sociologists deny the role of biology? It was no coincidence that these doubters espoused the most extreme left-wing political views and the strongest commitment to a feminist perspective. To dedicated leftists and feminists, it doesn’t matter how much evidence of sexual differences is produced by developmental psychologists, primatologists, neuroscientists, and other researchers. Any disparity between the sexes—or, at least, any disparity unfavorable to women—must be blamed on discrimination and other cultural factors.

Former Harvard president Lawrence Summers found this out the hard way at an academic conference where he dared to discuss the preponderance of men among professors of mathematics and physical sciences at elite universities. While acknowledging that women faced cultural barriers, like discrimination and the pressures of family responsibilities, Summers hypothesized that there might be other factors, too, such as the greater number of men at the extreme high end in tests measuring mathematical ability and other traits. Males’ greater variability in aptitude is well established—it’s why there are more male dunces as well as geniuses—but scientific accuracy was no defense against the feminist outcry. The controversy forced Summers to apologize and ultimately contributed to his resignation. Besides violating the Blank Slate taboo, Summers had threatened an academic cottage industry kept alive by the myth that gender disparities in science are due to discrimination.

This industry, supported by more than $200 million from the National Science Foundation, persists despite overwhelming evidence—from experiments as well as extensive studies of who gets academic jobs and research grants—that a female scientist is treated as well as or better than an equally qualified male. In a rigorous set of five experiments published last year, the female candidate was preferred two-to-one over an equivalent male. The main reason for sexual disparities in some fields is a difference in interests: from an early age, more males are more interested in fields like physics and engineering, while more females are interested in fields like biology and psychology (where most doctorates go to women).

On the whole, American women are doing much better than men academically—they receive the majority of undergraduate and graduate degrees—yet education researchers and federal funders have focused for decades on the few fields in science where men predominate. It was bad enough that the National Science Foundation’s grants paid for workshops featuring a game called Gender Bias Bingo and skits in which arrogant male scientists mistreat smarter female colleagues. But then, these workshops nearly became mandatory when Democrats controlled Congress in 2010. In response to feminist lobbying, the House passed a bill (which fortunately died in the Senate) requiring federal science agencies to hold “gender equity” workshops for the recipients of research grants.

It might seem odd that the “party of science” would be dragging researchers out of the lab to be reeducated in games of Gender Bias Bingo. But politicians will always care more about pleasing constituencies than advancing science.

And that brings us to the second great threat from the Left: its long tradition of mixing science and politics. To conservatives, the fundamental problem with the Left is what Friedrich Hayek called the fatal conceit: the delusion that experts are wise enough to redesign society. Conservatives distrust central planners, preferring to rely on traditional institutions that protect individuals’ “natural rights” against the power of the state. Leftists have much more confidence in experts and the state. Engels argued for “scientific socialism,” a redesign of society supposedly based on the scientific method. Communist intellectuals planned to mold the New Soviet Man. Progressives yearned for a society guided by impartial agencies unconstrained by old-fashioned politics and religion. Herbert Croly, founder of the New Republic and a leading light of progressivism, predicted that a “better future would derive from the beneficent activities of expert social engineers who would bring to the service of social ideals all the technical resources which research could discover.”

This was all very flattering to scientists, one reason that so many of them leaned left. The Right cited scientific work when useful, but it didn’t enlist science to remake society—it still preferred guidance from traditional moralists and clerics. The Left saw scientists as the new high priests, offering them prestige, money, and power. The power too often corrupted. Over and over, scientists yielded to the temptation to exaggerate their expertise and moral authority, sometimes for horrendous purposes.

Drawing on research into genetics and animal breeding from scientists at Harvard, Yale, Johns Hopkins, and other leading universities, the eugenics movement of the 1920s made plans for improving the human population. Professors taught eugenics to their students and worked with Croly and other progressives eager to breed a smarter society, including Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and Margaret Sanger. Eventually, other scientists—notably, in England—exposed the shoddy research and assumptions of the eugenicists, but not before the involuntary sterilization or castration of more than 35,000 Americans. Even after Hitler used eugenics to justify killing millions, the Left didn’t lose its interest in controlling human breeding.

Eugenicist thinking was revived by scientists convinced that the human species had exceeded the “carrying capacity” of its ecosystem. The most prominent was Paul Ehrlich, whose scientific specialty was the study of butterflies. Undeterred by his ignorance of agriculture and economics, he published confident predictions of imminent global famine in The Population Bomb (1968). Agricultural economists dismissed his ideas, but the press reverently quoted Ehrlich and other academics who claimed to have scientifically determined that the Earth was “overpopulated.” In the journal Science, ecologist Garrett Hardin argued that “freedom to breed will bring ruin to all.” Ehrlich, who, at one point, advocated supplying American helicopters and doctors to a proposed program of compulsory sterilization in India, joined with physicist John Holdren in arguing that the U.S. Constitution would permit population control, including limits on family size and forced abortions. Ehrlich and Holdren calmly analyzed the merits of various technologies, such as adding sterilants to public drinking water, and called for a “planetary regime” to control population and natural resources around the world.

Their ideas went nowhere in the United States, but they inspired one of the worst human rights violations of the twentieth century, in China: the one-child policy, resulting in coerced abortion and female infanticide. China struggles today with a dangerously small number of workers to support its aging population. The intellectual godfathers of this atrocity, had they been conservatives, surely would have been ostracized. But even after his predictions turned out to be wildly wrong, Ehrlich went on collecting honors.

For his part, Holdren has served for the past eight years as the science advisor to President Obama, a position from which he laments that Americans don’t take his warnings on climate change seriously. He doesn’t seem to realize that public skepticism has a lot to do with the dismal track record of himself and his fellow environmentalists. There’s always an apocalypse requiring the expansion of state power. The visions of global famine were followed by more failed predictions, such as an “age of scarcity” due to vanishing supplies of energy and natural resources and epidemics of cancer and infertility caused by synthetic chemicals. In a 1976 book, The Genesis Strategy, the climatologist Stephen Schneider advocated a new fourth branch of the federal government (with experts like himself serving 20-year terms) to deal with the imminent crisis of global cooling. He later switched to become a leader in the global-warming debate.

Environmental science has become so politicized that its myths endure even after they’ve been disproved. Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring set off decades of chemophobia with its scary anecdotes and bad science, like her baseless claim that DDT was causing cancer in humans and her vision of a mass avian die-off (the bird population was actually increasing as she wrote). Yet Silent Spring is taught in high school and college courses as a model of science writing, with no mention of the increased death tolls from malaria in countries that restricted DDT, or of other problems—like the spread of dengue and the Zika virus—exacerbated by needless fears of insecticides. Similarly, the Left’s zeal to find new reasons to regulate has led to pseudoscientific scaremongering about “Frankenfoods,” transfats, BPA in plastic, mobile phones, electronic cigarettes, power lines, fracking, and nuclear energy.

The health establishment spent decades advocating a low-salt diet for everyone (and pressuring the food industry to reduce salt) without any proof that it prolonged lives. When researchers finally got around to doing small clinical trials, they found that the low-salt diet did not prolong lives. If anything, it was associated with higher mortality. The worst debacle in health science involved dietary fat, which became an official public enemy in the 1970s, thanks to a few self-promoting scientists and politically savvy activists who allied with Democrats in Congress led by George McGovern and Henry Waxman. The supposed link between high-fat diets and heart disease was based on cherry-picked epidemiology, but the federal government endorsed it by publishing formal “dietary goals for the United States” and creating the now-infamous food pyramid that encouraged Americans to replace fat in their diets with carbohydrates. The public-health establishment devoted its efforts and funding to demonstrating the benefits of low-fat diets. But the low-fat diet repeatedly flunked clinical trials, and the government’s encouragement of carbohydrates probably contributed to rising rates of obesity and diabetes, as journalists Gary Taubes and Nina Teicholz have chronicled in their books. (See “The Washington Diet,” Spring 2011.)

The dietary-fat debate is a case study in scientific groupthink—and in the Left’s techniques for enforcing political orthodoxy. From the start, prominent nutrition researchers disputed fat’s link to heart disease and criticized Washington for running a dietary experiment on the entire population. But they were dismissed as outliers who’d been corrupted by corporate money. At one hearing, Senator McGovern rebutted the skeptics by citing a survey showing that low-fat diet recommendations were endorsed by 92 percent of “the world’s leading doctors.” Federal bureaucrats and activists smeared skeptics by leaking information to the press about their consulting work with the food industry. One skeptic, Robert Olson of Washington University, protested that during his career, he had received $250,000 from the food industry versus more than $10 million from federal agencies, including ones promoting low-fat diets. If he could be bought, he said, it would be more accurate to call him “a tool of government.” As usual, though, the liberal press focused only on corporate money.

These same sneer-and-smear techniques predominate in the debate over climate change. President Obama promotes his green agenda by announcing that “the debate is settled,” and he denounces “climate deniers” by claiming that 97 percent of scientists believe that global warming is dangerous. His statements are false. While the greenhouse effect is undeniably real, and while most scientists agree that there has been a rise in global temperatures caused in some part by human emissions of carbon dioxide, no one knows how much more warming will occur this century or whether it will be dangerous. How could the science be settled when there have been dozens of computer models of how carbon dioxide affects the climate? And when most of the models overestimatedhow much warming should have occurred by now? These failed predictions, as well as recent research into the effects of water vapor on temperatures, have caused many scientists to lower their projections of future warming. Some “luke-warmists” suggest that future temperature increases will be relatively modest and prove to be a net benefit, at least in the short term.

The long-term risks are certainly worth studying, but no matter whose predictions you trust, climate science provides no justification for Obama’s green agenda—or anyone else’s agenda. Even if it were somehow proved that high-end estimates for future global warming are accurate, that wouldn’t imply that Greens have the right practical solution for reducing carbon emissions—or that we even need to reduce those emissions. Policies for dealing with global warming vary according to political beliefs, economic assumptions, social priorities, and moral principles. Would regulating carbon dioxide stifle economic growth and give too much power to the state? Is it moral to impose sacrifices on poor people to keep temperatures a little cooler for their descendants, who will presumably be many times richer? Are there more important problems to address first? These aren’t questions with scientifically correct answers.

Yet many climate researchers are passing off their political opinions as science, just as Obama does, and they’re even using that absurdly unscientific term “denier” as if they were priests guarding some eternal truth. Science advances by continually challenging and testing hypotheses, but the modern Left has become obsessed with silencing heretics. In a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch last year, 20 climate scientists urged her to use federal racketeering laws to prosecute corporations and think tanks that have “deceived the American people about the risks of climate change.” Similar assaults on free speech are endorsed in the Democratic Party’s 2016 platform, which calls for prosecution of companies that make “misleading” statements about “the scientific reality of climate change.” A group of Democratic state attorneys general coordinated an assault on climate skeptics by subpoenaing records from fossil-fuel companies and free-market think tanks, supposedly as part of investigations to prosecute corporate fraud. Such prosecutions may go nowhere in court—they’re blatant violations of the First Amendment—but that’s not their purpose. By demanding a decade’s worth of e-mail and other records, the Democratic inquisitors and their scientist allies want to harass climate dissidents and intimidate their donors.

Just as in the debate over dietary fat, these dissidents get smeared in the press as corporate shills—but once again, the money flows almost entirely the other way. The most vocal critics of climate dogma are a half-dozen think tanks that together spend less than $15 million annually on environmental issues. The half-dozen major green groups spend more than $500 million, and the federal government spends $10 billion on climate research and technology to reduce emissions. Add it up, and it’s clear that scientists face tremendous pressure to support the “consensus” on reducing carbon emissions, as Judith Curry, a climatologist at Georgia Tech, testified last year at a Senate hearing.

“This pressure comes not only from politicians but also from federal funding agencies, universities and professional societies, and scientists themselves who are green activists,” Curry said. “This advocacy extends to the professional societies that publish journals and organize conferences. Policy advocacy, combined with understating the uncertainties, risks destroying science’s reputation for honesty and objectivity—without which scientists become regarded as merely another lobbyist group.”

That’s the ultimate casualty in the Left’s war: scientists’ reputations. Bad research can be exposed and discarded, but bad reputations endure. Social scientists are already regarded in Washington as an arm of the Democratic Party, so their research is dismissed as partisan even when it’s not, and some Republicans have tried (unsuccessfully) to cut off all social-science funding. The physical sciences still enjoy bipartisan support, but that’s being eroded by the green politicking, and climate scientists’ standing will plummet if the proclaimed consensus turns out to be wrong………

Heather Mac (Heather Mac Donald) was on the Dennis Prager Show discussing her new addition to Prager University: “What Does Diversity Have to Do with Science?” (Video after interview, below). Some deeper discussion happens in this interview that compliment the video. BTW, her book, “The Diversity Delusion: How Race and Gender Pandering Corrupt the University and Undermine Our Culture,” was the best book I read in 2018.

Do you care about the race of your doctor, or the gender of the person who built the bridge you drive across? The latest trend across STEM fields claims you should. Heather Mac Donald, Fellow at the Manhattan Institute and author of The Diversity Delusion, explains where these destructive ideas are coming from.

What Does Diversity Have to Do with Science? (Interview Added)

Heather Mac (Heather Mac Donald) was on the Dennis Prager Show discussing her new addition to Prager University: “What Does Diversity Have to Do with Science?” (Video after interview, below). Some deeper discussion happens in this interview that compliment the video. BTW, her book, “The Diversity Delusion: How Race and Gender Pandering Corrupt the University and Undermine Our Culture,” was the best book I read in 2018.

Do you care about the race of your doctor, or the gender of the person who built the bridge you drive across? The latest trend across STEM fields claims you should. Heather Mac Donald, Fellow at the Manhattan Institute and author of The Diversity Delusion, explains where these destructive ideas are coming from.

No Free Speech at College |John Stossel|

Are conservative ideas allowed at American colleges? Protestors routinely try to shut down speeches by conservatives, like Heather Mac Donald, a Contributing Editor of the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal. She also wrote the book “The War on Cops,” which argues that Americans are less safe because police, for fear of being called racist, back off.

A Return To The 1940’s To Mid-1960’s “Bourgeois” Norms?

Here is an excerpt from the article mentioned on the show:

Paying The Price For Breakdown Of The Country’S Bourgeois Culture

….That culture laid out the script we all were supposed to follow: Get married before you have children and strive to stay married for their sake. Get the education you need for gainful employment, work hard, and avoid idleness. Go the extra mile for your employer or client. Be a patriot, ready to serve the country. Be neighborly, civic-minded, and charitable. Avoid coarse language in public. Be respectful of authority. Eschew substance abuse and crime.

These basic cultural precepts reigned from the late 1940s to the mid-1960s. They could be followed by people of all backgrounds and abilities, especially when backed up by almost universal endorsement. Adherence was a major contributor to the productivity, educational gains, and social coherence of that period.

Did everyone abide by those precepts? Of course not. There are always rebels — and hypocrites, those who publicly endorse the norms but transgress them. But as the saying goes, hypocrisy is the homage vice pays to virtue. Even the deviants rarely disavowed or openly disparaged the prevailing expectations.

Was everything perfect during the period of bourgeois cultural hegemony? Of course not. There was racial discrimination, limited sex roles, and pockets of anti-Semitism. However, steady improvements for women and minorities were underway even when bourgeois norms reigned. Banishing discrimination and expanding opportunity does not require the demise of bourgeois culture. Quite the opposite: The loss of bourgeois habits seriously impeded the progress of disadvantaged groups. That trend also accelerated the destructive consequences of the growing welfare state, which, by taking over financial support of families, reduced the need for two parents. A strong pro-marriage norm might have blunted this effect. Instead, the number of single parents grew astronomically, producing children more prone to academic failure, addiction, idleness, crime, and poverty.

This cultural script began to break down in the late 1960s. A combination of factors — prosperity, the Pill, the expansion of higher education, and the doubts surrounding the Vietnam War — encouraged an antiauthoritarian, adolescent, wish-fulfillment ideal — sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll — that was unworthy of, and unworkable for, a mature, prosperous adult society. This era saw the beginnings of an identity politics that inverted the color-blind aspirations of civil rights leaders like the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. into an obsession with race, ethnicity, gender, and now sexual preference.

And those adults with influence over the culture, for a variety of reasons, abandoned their role as advocates for respectability, civility, and adult values. As a consequence, the counterculture made great headway, particularly among the chattering classes — academics, writers, artists, actors, and journalists — who relished liberation from conventional constraints and turned condemning America and reviewing its crimes into a class marker of virtue and sophistication.

All cultures are not equal. Or at least they are not equal in preparing people to be productive in an advanced economy. The culture of the Plains Indians was designed for nomadic hunters, but is not suited to a First World, 21st-century environment. Nor are the single-parent, antisocial habits, prevalent among some working-class whites; the anti-“acting white” rap culture of inner-city blacks; the anti-assimilation ideas gaining ground among some Hispanic immigrants. These cultural orientations are not only incompatible with what an advanced free-market economy and a viable democracy require, they are also destructive of a sense of solidarity and reciprocity among Americans. If the bourgeois cultural script — which the upper-middle class still largely observes but now hesitates to preach — cannot be widely reinstated, things are likely to get worse for us all.

See also the interview at the NEW YORK MAGAZINE’S wonderful piece. JONATHAN HAIDT also has a fine piece defending the freedom of thought in such a piece… and those that wish to censor anything that disagrees with Leftism. Here is a snippet of it:

….The letter includes a call to action:

This is the time for members of the University of Pennsylvania community who claim to fight systemic inequality to speak up, especially those anthropologists and scholars who claim an understanding of culture and who recognize culture talk’s deleterious potential as a vehicle for racism and sexism… We call for the denunciation, not of racism as some abstract concept “out there” — in Charlottesville, in America, by the poor uneducated white or by an individual racist ideologue — but for a denunciation of racism at the University of Pennsylvania. In particular we must denounce faculty members that are complicit in and uphold white supremacy, normalizing it as if it were just another viable opinion in our educational tenures at the University. We call for the University of Pennsylvania administration — Penn President Gutmann and the deans of each school — as well as faculty to directly confront Wax and Alexander’s op-ed as racist and white supremacist discourse and to push for an investigation into Wax’s advocacy for white supremacy.

This call to denounce Wax was answered by 33 of her colleagues at the law school—nearly half the faculty—who signed and published an Open Letter to the University of Pennsylvania Community. In it, the law professors affirmed Wax’s right to express her opinions, but said:

We write to condemn recent statements our colleague Amy Wax, the Robert Mundheim Professor of Law at Penn Law School, has made in popular media pieces. In an op-ed published recently at Philly.com, Wax and a coauthor wrote that “All cultures are not equal,” going on to claim that various social problems would be “significantly reduce[d]” if “the academics, media, and Hollywood” would stop the “preening pretense of defending the downtrodden,” because that would lead to “restoring the hegemony of the bourgeois culture.” In an interview with The Daily Pennsylvanian about the op-ed, Wax was quoted as saying that “Everyone wants to go to countries ruled by white Europeans,” because, in the phrasing of the DP article’s author, “Anglo-Protestant cultural norms are superior.” … [they then affirm Wax’s right to express her opinions, then say:] We categorically reject Wax’s claims.

Those are the basic facts.

I think it is important for the academic community to reflect on this case. In the wake of Charlottesville, all of us on campus might encounter passions among our students beyond even what we saw in the previous academic year, a year in which violence and the justification of violence became more common on campus. This year, we are likely to find many more professors accused of “white supremacy.” Professors and administrators may face many more campaigns designed to get them to sign open letters and collectively denounce colleagues. It is important, therefore, that we think about this case carefully and draw the right lessons. When and why should professors come together to denounce and condemn other professors? Of course we are always free to dispute each other; Wax’s colleagues could certainly have written essays or a collective essay debating her claims and pointing out flaws in her reasoning, but when is it morally and professionally appropriate to issue a collective public condemnation of a colleague?

I think such collective actions are only appropriate when colleagues have clearly and flagrantly violated their professional duties. I mean things like data fabrication or taking bribes to produce dishonest academic papers desired by a trade association. I would include writing a racist and hate-filled diatribe in that list, but is that what Wax did? She wrote an essay on the importance of culture for poverty-related outcomes, and the Penn students asserted, in their open letter, that such “culture talk” has “deleterious potential as a vehicle for racism and sexism.” The students are certainly correct that claims by a professor about the value of bourgeois culture could be misused by racists to say that one race is inherently superior to another. But does that make any discussion of cultural differences taboo? Does that make Wax a white supremacist for saying that culture matters for poverty-related outcomes, that not all cultures are equally good for escaping poverty, and that the 1950s American “bourgeois cultural script” was particularly good for that purpose? No…….

(read it all)

NATIONAL REVIEW gets into the weeds as well, via, Heather Mac Donald. Why? Because of the uproar from such an article. Someone stepped out of line and needs to be corrected… sent to re-education camps!

Were you planning to instruct your child about the value of hard work and civility? Not so fast! According to a current uproar at the University of Pennsylvania, advocacy of such bourgeois virtues is “hate speech.” The controversy, sparked by an op-ed written by two law professors, illustrates the rapidly shrinking boundaries of acceptable thought on college campuses and the use of racial victimology to police those boundaries.

On August 9, University of Pennsylvania law professor Amy Wax and University of San Diego law professor Larry Alexander published an op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer calling for a revival of the bourgeois values that characterized mid-century American life, including child-rearing within marriage, hard work, self-discipline on and off the job, and respect for authority. The late 1960s took aim at the bourgeois ethic, they say, encouraging an “antiauthoritarian, adolescent, wish-fulfillment ideal [of] sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll that was unworthy of, and unworkable for, a mature, prosperous adult society.”

Today, the consequences of that cultural revolution are all around us: lagging education levels, the lowest male work-force participation rate since the Great Depression, opioid abuse, and high illegitimacy rates. Wax and Alexander catalogue the self-defeating behaviors that leave too many Americans idle, addicted, or in prison: “the single-parent, antisocial habits, prevalent among some working-class whites; the anti-‘acting white’ rap culture of inner-city blacks; the anti-assimilation ideas gaining ground among some Hispanic immigrants.”

[…..]

The fuse was lit. The rules of the game were the following: Ignore what Wax and Alexander had actually said; avoid providing any counterevidence; and play the race card to the hilt as a substitute for engaging with their arguments.

First out of the gate was the Penn graduate students’ union, GET-UP. On August 11, a day after the Daily Pennsylvanian article, GET-UP issued a “Statement about Wax Op-Ed,” condemning the “presence of toxic racist, sexist, homophobic attitudes on campus.” The “superiority of one race over others is not an academic debate we have in the 21st century,” GET-UP wrote. “It is racism masquerading as science.”

But the Wax-Alexander op-ed and the Wax interview said nothing about racial superiority (much less about sex or homosexuality). It argued for a set of behavioral norms that are available to all peoples but that had found their strongest expression over the course of a particular culture. As the Daily Pennsylvanian itself acknowledged, Wax had emphasized to them that she was not implying the superiority of whites. “Bourgeois values aren’t just for white people,” she had said. “The irony is: Bourgeois values can help minorities get ahead.”

Finally, of course, comes the demand for booty and bureaucracy: a “formal, centralized Diversity & Inclusion office with staff that are charged directly with . . . providing resources for students experiencing marginalized [sic] or discrimination at Penn.” Never mind that Penn has been cranking out “Action Plans for Faculty Diversity and Excellence,” “Faculty Inclusion Reports,” “Gender Equity Reports,” and “Minority Equity Progress Reports” for two decades…..

(read it all)

Stop-n-Frisk The Truth

Some must read articles…

STOP & FRISK FACTS (New York Post);

There are too many stops.

Compared to what? In 2011, the police made 685,000 stops. They also arrested or issued summonses to 900,000 individuals, under the much more demanding “probable-cause” standard. There is easily as much behavior in New York that meets the lower “reasonable suspicion” standard for a stop as there is behavior that justifies an arrest.

If the department’s roughly 25,000 patrol officers and detectives made just one stop a week, they’d tally 1.1 million stops.

COURTS V. COPS: The Legal War On The War On Crime (The City Journal);

A central claim in the anti-stop-and-frisk crusade is that NYPD officers regularly accost countless squeaky-clean New Yorkers without cause. It should be easy, then, to assemble an army of Eagle Scout–like victims of police aggression. But four of the nine named plaintiffs in Ligon had criminal histories, not even counting their juvenile records; the plaintiffs’ nonparty witnesses had similarly troubled stories. A tenth plaintiff, named in the original complaint but dropped from the preliminary-injunction motion, was well known in his precinct for gang involvement and was arrested in connection with a shooting this December.

The Ledan family is typical of the Ligon plaintiffs and witnesses. Forty-one-year-old Letitia Ledan, a named plaintiff who lived in the crime-plagued River Park Towers, has been arrested about 15 times. In the early 1990s, she pled guilty to the attempted sale of crack; in the late 1990s, she was convicted of narcotics possession. In 2000, she pled guilty to loitering for purposes of prostitution and to using an alias in connection with that arrest. In the early 2000s, she pled guilty to the criminal possession of a weapon. In December 2003, she pled guilty to the possession of burglary tools. In 2007, she was convicted of aiding in the commission of a felony. Her sometime husband, Antoine Ledan, a nonparty witness, has had between ten and 20 criminal convictions over the last 15 years. Antoine was supposed to testify about an incident in which police stopped him and Letitia at River Park Towers, but the NYCLU never called him, claiming without explanation that he was “unavailable.” Letitia’s brother—36-year-old Roshea Johnson, another plaintiff in the case—has been arrested 21 times. He served six months in prison in the early 1990s for robbery; in the mid-1990s, he was convicted of assault, robbery, and using an illegal alias and served about five years in prison. In July 2003, he was convicted of evading the cigarette tax; in 2011, of cocaine possession; and in 2012, of menacing.

HILLARY’S DEBATE LIES: With her comments about crime, policing, and race, the candidate helps push a false—and dangerous—narrative (The City Journal):

Clinton claimed that “stop-and-frisk was found to be unconstitutional.” No federal judge would have the power to declare pedestrian stops unconstitutional, because the Supreme Court put its constitutional imprimatur on the practice in 1965. Stop-and-frisk remains a lawful and essential police tactic. Criminologist David Weisburd examined the practice in New York City and found that it reduced crime in shooting hot spots. Federal district court judge Shira Scheindlin did rule that the New York Police Department’s practice of stops was racially biased, but her ruling applied only to the New York Police Department. That ruling was wholly unjustified and would likely have been reversed on appeal, had newly elected New York City mayor Bill de Blasio not dropped the appeal. Judge Scheindlin used a population benchmark for measuring the lawfulness of police actions: if police stops didn’t match population ratios, they were unconstitutional, in Scheindlin’s view. Such a methodology ignores the massive disparities in criminal offending in New York City. Blacks commit over three-quarters of all shootings, though they are 23 percent of the city’s population. Add Hispanic shootings to black shootings and you account for 98 percent of all shootings in New York City. Whites are 34 percent of the city’s population; they commit less than 2 percent of all shootings. Such disparities in gun violence mean that virtually every time the police are called out on a gun run—meaning that someone has been shot—they are called to minority neighborhoods on behalf of minority victims, and, if any witness or victim is cooperating with the police, being given a description of a minority suspect. The reality of crime, not phantom police racism, determines the incidence of police activity, including pedestrian stops.

HOW TO INCREASE THE CRIME RATE NATIONWIDE: A ruling against the NYPD’s successful ‘stop, question and frisk’ policy would be sure to inspire lawsuits in other cities (Wall Street Journal);

The irony is that Floyd itself, once it came to trial after five years of preparation, was even weaker than the illogic of its underlying argument would have predicted. The suit’s 12 named complainants, standing in for a class of potentially millions, alleged that they had been accosted simply because of their race, yet many either fit a description of a criminal suspect or were engaged in behavior—such as trying to jostle open a house door in a burglary-plagued area—that clearly should have drawn an officer’s attention.

The Obama Justice Department, which has launched multiple civil-rights actions against police departments across the country, declined a 2012 request from some New York City Council members to investigate the NYPD for its stop practices. Yet Judge Scheindlin is unlikely to be so circumspect in her ruling. It was Judge Scheindlin, after all, who invited the Center for Constitutional Rights to file Floyd in the first place, after the center missed a deadline to extend an earlier stop, question and frisk ruling of hers that required the collection of the racial stop data now fueling Floyd. If she rules against the NYPD again, the city would most likely be saddled with a costly consent decree like Oakland’s, which puts a federal judge in ultimate control of police policy.

5 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT “STOP-AND-FRISK” (The Daily Wire).

A U.S. district judge declared stop-and-frisk to be unconstitutional in 2013. The judge, Shira Scheindlin, ruled in Floyd v. City of New York and Ligon v. New York that stop-and-frisk discriminated against minorities, and was therefore unconstitutional.

But as Mac Donald explains in her book The War On Cops: How the New Attack On Law and Order Makes Everyone Less Safe, Schendlin based her ruling off the research of Professor Jeffrey Fagan, which was flawed for the following reasons:

  • Fagan did not include the race of criminal suspects in his analysis.
  • His own research found that only six percent of police stops were unlawful.
  • Fagan did not distinguish between gang homicides and domestic homicides, which is important because domestic homicides are not usually the cause of street stops. Most homicides committed by whites fall in the former category, so by not distinguishing between the two, Fagan’s data model creates the impression of an anti-black bias.
  • Fagan also didn’t understand the purpose of Impact Zones, where the city would put in high numbers of rookie cops in high-crime neighborhoods, which typically were minority-dominated communities.

Therefore, Fagan’s data models purportedly showing discrimination against minorities as a result of stop-and-frisk can’t be taken seriously, and yet Judge Scheindlin used it to strike down stop-and-frisk.

This is a part from the Judges brief in the Floyd v. City of New York case, and you can see the flawed thinking in it… as will be expanded on as we proceed in the post:

Based on the expert testimony I find the following: (1) The NYPD carries out more stops where there are more black and Hispanic residents, even when other relevant variables are held constant. The racial composition of a precinct or census tract predicts the stop rate above and beyond the crime rate. (2) Blacks and Hispanics are more likely than whites to be stopped within precincts and census tracts, even after controlling for other relevant variables. This is so even in areas with low crime rates, racially heterogenous populations, or predominately white populations. (3) For the period 2004 through 2009, when any law enforcement action was taken following a stop, blacks were 30% more likely to be arrested (as opposed to receiving a summons) than whites, for the same suspected crime. (4) For the period 2004 through 2009, after controlling for suspected crime and precinct characteristics, blacks who were stopped were about 14% more likely — and Hispanics 9% more likely — than whites to be subjected to the use of force. (5) For the period 2004 through 2009, all else being equal, the odds of a stop resulting in any further enforcement action were 8% lower if the person stopped was black than if the person stopped was white. In addition, the greater the black population in a precinct, the less likely that a stop would result in a sanction. Together, these results show that blacks are likely targeted for stops based on a lesser degree of objectively founded suspicion than whites.

She notes elsewhere that the case she argued for — based on the 4th and 14th amendment — was this targeting minorities unlawfully: Judge Scheindlin ruled that stop and frisk, in practice, had a discriminatory effect on blacks and Hispanics, violating the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments.

  • “The Equal Protection Clause’s prohibition on selective enforcement means that suspicious blacks and Hispanics may not be treated differently by the police than equally suspicious whites…”.

She ruled against the city, declaring, among other things, that the idea that blacks have a higher crime rate than other groups is a “stereotype.” Please! In fact, her conduct on the bench [not just in this case] have been so egregious, that the Judge has “been repeatedly reversed—unanimously—by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on cases involving police authority, and even terrorism.” Continuing, BREITBART notes:

She has demonstrated such extraordinary bias as a judicial activist on this issue that the federal appeals court took the extremely rare action of ordering her removed from the case.

But her removal was not before she issued a decision declaring that stop-and-frisk was unconstitutional the way it was being implemented. Note that even Scheindlin would not say it was unconstitutional. The Supreme Court’s Terry case would make her a laughingstock if she took that position (which is the position that Hillary Clinton took in the debate). But Scheindlin said it was being applied in an unconstitutional manner that focused too heavily on blacks and Hispanics.

Many legal experts expected the Second Circuit to smack down Scheindlin yet again. But then de Blasio was elected, and he withdrew the appeal from the Second Circuit before they could rule on the case and announced he was ending stop-and-frisk.

THE DAILY CALLER likewise references her horrible case precedence…

…Scheindlin’s behavior was so egregious that a few months later the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals removed her from the case and ordered it to be assigned to a different judge, saying her behavior had given the appearance of impropriety to the case. Such a move is very rare, happening just one or two times per year. The Court was also poised to hear an appeal of the decision, which could have completely reversed it.

But as it happens, the Second Circuit never ruled on Scheindlin’s decision, and it remains in force. This isn’t because it was determined by any other judge to be correct. Instead, it remains in force solely because of the election of Mayor Bill de Blasio….

Here are two examples of the bad thinking the Judge used:

 

Black Prison Population and the War on Drugs ~ Heather Mac Donald

Jason Riley (http://tinyurl.com/z25my2p) asks Heather Mac Donald (http://tinyurl.com/zo4n4ek) a question in regards to the War on Drugs and black men’s prison populations. (Larry Elder in on vacation and Jason Riley is filling in.)

Follow Jason on Twitter: https://twitter.com/jasonrileywsj

The THREE BIG LIES of 2015

Gay Patriot lists the three BIG LIES he thinks was most pushed by the media establishment and most referenced by Democrats and their lackeys. The entire article should be read, but here are the three (with some YouTube additions):

  • …In 2015, the Democratic Party and its Media Operation collaborated on an unprecdented scale to advance a number of Big Lies in order to advance a sweeping socio-political agenda. Just to name a few:

ONE: The Big Lie of ‘Rape Culture’ – In order to advance the Feminist Transformation, there was a huge push to advance a Narrative that all universities and colleges were essentially Rape Zones where privileged white males raped women at will with no consequences. This lie was advanced by Rolling Stone’s discredited Virginia Tech Gang Rape story, by the completely discredited claim that 1 in 5 college women are raped, and by lying drama queens like Emma “Mattress Girl” Sulkowicz and Lena Dunham. The left advanced this Big Lie in order to advance a comprehensive feminist indoctrination agenda beginning in kindergarten, to shut down criticisms of the radical feminist agenda, and, of course, to label political opponents of the radical feminist agenda as anti-woman. Also, the Rape Culture myth requires universities to create phony-baloney jobs for otherwise unemployable ‘Womyn’s Studies’ majors.

Here the Factual Feminist (one of my favorite authors on feminism) wieghs in:

Dennis Prager reads from Heather Mac Donald’s article in from The City Journal about the “rape culture.” As usual, the left over-exaggerates… and what parent would put their daughter in AP classes to prepare them for the worse crime wave in human history, which is: one-in-five women are rapped at college. OBVIOUSLY the definition is the issue.

As society gets further away from Judeo-Christian norms… more-and-more regret will rear its head from drunken hook-ups.

TWO: Another Big Lie that dominated the culture was the narrative of ‘Racist Cops Gunning Down Innocent Black Men with Impunity.’ This is a useful Big Lie to an administration that seeks to radically alter American society. It advances the myth that the only reason some people don’t achieve as much as other people is because of racism, and the only way to solve that problem is for a massive, all-powerful Government to redistribute wealth from those who have it to those who have been denied it because of racism. This Big Lie was promulgated through the ‘Hands Up, Don’t Shoot myth after the shooting of violent, drug-addled thug Michael Brown and fueled the rise of the violent hate group ‘Black Lives Matter.’ It also allows racial con artists like Shaun King, Ta-Nehisi Coates and DeRay McKesson to become rich.

In pursuit of the leftist agenda to prohibit the private ownership of firearms, the Democrat Media Complex (DMC) has promulgated a mythology worthy of the Church of Scientology. The anti-gun left falsely claimed that mass shootings were a daily occurrence in the USA. Democrat politicians at the highest level repeat the discredited myths such as that gun manufacturers are uniquely immune from liability laws or that 40% of gun sales occur without a background check. The policies intended to be advanced by this mythology have nothing to do with stopping the criminal use of firearms, and everything to do with inhibiting the lawful ownership of firearms by law-abiding citizens. The Democrat Party has rallied to the cause of suspending Due Process and using a secret Government List to deny citizens the Right to Self-Defense, along with other laws that have repeatedly been shown to have no effect on the criminal abuse of firearms.

A magic 50-minutes with Larry Elder. He weaves the reality that the Left can only weave — and that is this:

  • the bankruptcy of and the consequences of the “state” [statist ideology] that came to fruition in Ferguson in the micro via the MACRO application of failed leftist policies! (e.g., the welfare state, subsidizing fatherless-ness, and the funding of programs and pensions via unions and it’s city/state employees.

This third lie is fleshed out well in this article at WUWT, “There Is No Climate Change Disaster Except The One Governments Created.”

Political Correctness Devastates UCLA ~ Who Killed the Liberal Arts?

What in the world happened to the liberal arts? A degree in the humanities used to transmit the knowledge and wisdom imbued in the works of great Western artists, writers, musicians and thinkers like Shakespeare and Mozart. But today, that same degree stresses Western racism, sexism, imperialism, and other ills and sins that reinforce a sense of victimhood and narcissism. So, what happened? Heather Mac Donald of the Manhattan Institute explains.

UCLA now is about as worthwhile as a local community college. You no longer go to these institutions to learn about great ideas, but now must listen to the static of EVERYTHING being made equally great by the magic wand of the left. Dennis Prager read from — and commented on — Heather Mac Donald’s Wall Street Journal article about UCLA nixing classical studies as mandatory for English lit majors. Here is some of that article as read above:

The Humanities Have Forgotten Their Humanity
When Shakespeare lost out to ‘rubrics of gender, sexuality, race, and class’ at UCLA, something vital was harmed.

Until 2011, students majoring in English at UCLA had to take one course in Chaucer, two in Shakespeare, and one in Milton—the cornerstones of English literature. Following a revolt of the junior faculty, however, during which it was announced that Shakespeare was part of the “Empire,” UCLA junked these individual author requirements. It replaced them with a mandate that all English majors take a total of three courses in the following four areas: Gender, Race, Ethnicity, Disability and Sexuality Studies; Imperial, Transnational, and Postcolonial Studies; genre studies, interdisciplinary studies, and critical theory; or creative writing.

In other words, the UCLA faculty was now officially indifferent to whether an English major had ever read a word of Chaucer, Milton or Shakespeare, but the department was determined to expose students, according to the course catalog, to “alternative rubrics of gender, sexuality, race, and class.”

Such defenestrations have happened elsewhere, and long before 2011. But the UCLA coup was particularly significant because the school’s English department was one of the last champions of the historically informed study of great literature, uncorrupted by an ideological overlay. Precisely for that reason, it was the most popular English major in the country, enrolling a whopping 1,400 undergraduates.

The UCLA coup represents the characteristic academic traits of our time: narcissism, an obsession with victimhood, and a relentless determination to reduce the stunning complexity of the past to the shallow categories of identity and class politics. Sitting atop an entire civilization of aesthetic wonders, the contemporary academic wants only to study oppression, preferably his or her own, defined reductively according to gonads and melanin.

Course catalogs today babble monotonously of group identity. UCLA’s undergraduates can take courses in Women of Color in the U.S.; Women and Gender in the Caribbean; Chicana Feminism; Studies in Queer Literatures and Cultures; and Feminist and Queer Theory.

[….]

Compare the humanists’ hunger for learning with the resentment of a Columbia University undergraduate, who had been required by the school’s core curriculum to study Mozart. She happens to be black, but her views are widely shared, to borrow a phrase, “across gender, sexuality, race and class.”

“Why did I have to listen in music humanities to this Mozart?” she groused in a discussion of the curriculum reported by David Denby in “Great Books,” his 1997 account of re-enrolling in Columbia’s core curriculum. “My problem with the core is that it upholds the premises of white supremacy and racism. It’s a racist core. Who is this Mozart, this Haydn, these superior white men? There are no women, no people of color.” These are not the idiosyncratic thoughts of one disgruntled student; they represent the dominant ideology in the humanities today.

W.E.B. Du Bois would have been stunned to learn how narrow is the contemporary multiculturalist’s self-definition and sphere of interest. Du Bois, living during America’s darkest period of hate, nevertheless heartbreakingly affirmed in 1903 his intellectual and spiritual affinity with all of Western civilization: “I sit with Shakespeare and he winces not. Across the color line I move arm in arm with Balzac and Dumas. . . . I summon Aristotle and Aurelius and what soul I will, and they come all graciously with no scorn nor condescension.”

It is no wonder, then, that we have been hearing of late that the humanities are in crisis. A recent Harvard report from a committee co-chaired by the school’s premier postcolonial studies theorist, Homi Bhabha, lamented that 57% of incoming Harvard students who initially declare interest in a humanities major eventually change concentrations. Why may that be? Imagine an intending lit major who is assigned something by Professor Bhabha: “If the problematic ‘closure’ of textuality questions the totalization of national culture. . . .” How soon before that student concludes that a psychology major is more up his alley?

No, the only true justification for the humanities is that they provide the thing that Faust sold his soul for: knowledge. It is knowledge of a particular kind, concerning what men have done and created over the ages.

…read more…

What is the University Diversity Scam? (Heather Mac Donald)

America’s campuses, particularly those in California, spend tens of millions of dollars on administrators and programs to combat issues like sexism, homophobia, and racism on campus. But are these problems in any way prevalent at our universities? Or is this diversity bureaucracy a big waste of money? Heather Mac Donald of the Manhattan Institute explains.

The “Rape Culture” Myth (George Will and Heather Mac Donald)

Lies of the Left

Dennis Prager reads from Heather Mac Donald’s article in from The City Journal about the “rape culture.” As usual, the left over-exaggerates… and what parent would put their daughter in AP classes to prepare them for the worse crime wave in human history, which is: one-in-five women are rapped at college. OBVIOUSLY the definition is the issue.

As society gets further away from Judeo-Christian norms… more-and-more regret will rear its head from drunken hook-ups.

For more clear thinking like this from Dennis Prager… I invite you to visit: http://www.dennisprager.com/

A great back-and-forth between George Will and some Democrat Senators who — as HotAir points out in George’s response to their asinine letter, these “Senators were likely faced with the difficult task of flipping back and forth to dictionary.com to translate Will’s writing, so we should probably have some sympathy.” HotAir continues:

  • For the entire time I have been writing I have cited George Will as one of the top five wordsmiths of our generation. Whether you agree with him or not… whether you think he leans too far in one philosophical direction or the other… there is no denying that Will is a master of the English language and flexes it like Mr. Olympia in the final pose-off. 

Here is more from HotAir on the fun tiff:

In case you missed the origins of this story earlier in the week, George Will took to his usual platform at the Washington Post with some words of caution regarding federal government intervention regarding sexual assaults on the nation’s college campuses. In it, he attempted to inject corrective remedies into some of the hyperbole currently engulfing the topic. Of course, in his usual fashion, Will led off with a paragraph which seemed designed to poke a stick in a few wasp nests.

Colleges and universities are being educated by Washington and are finding the experience excruciating. They are learning that when they say campus victimizations are ubiquitous (“micro-aggressions,” often not discernible to the untutored eye, are everywhere), and that when they make victimhood a coveted status that confers privileges, victims proliferate. And academia’s progressivism has rendered it intellectually defenseless now that progressivism’s achievement, the regulatory state, has decided it is academia’s turn to be broken to government’s saddle.

A careful reading of Will’s full editorial would show that he was essentially making two points. First, the “math” being cited to define the number of sexual assaults taking place was unfit for a 3rd grade Common Core tutorial. Second, Will noted that expanding and inflating the definition of sexual assaults to include micro-agressions – such as a boy staring for too long at a young coed with a low cut blouse – would tend to dilute the pool of actual assaults and diminish the seriousness of the real problem.

Such a stance brought the usual list of suspects up on their hind legs and into an immediate attack posture. This culminated in a coalition of Democratic Senators (Feinstein, Blumenthal, Tammy Baldwin and Robert Casey) penning a letter to the WaPo, chastising them for allowing Will to breath the same air as the rest of us.

After running their letter and litany of complaints, this weekend the Post ran a rare response from George Will….

Here is a larger portion of George Will’s response from the Washington Post:

The administration asserts that only 12 percent of college sexual assaults are reported. Note well: I did not question this statistic. Rather, I used it.

I cited one of the calculations based on it that Mark Perry of the American Enterprise Institute has performed {link}. So, I think your complaint is with the conclusion that arithmetic dictates, based on the administration’s statistic. The inescapable conclusion is that another administration statistic that one in five women is sexually assaulted while in college is insupportable and might call for tempering your rhetoric about “the scourge of sexual assault.”

As for what you call my “ancient beliefs,” which you think derive from an “antiquated” and “counterintuitive” culture, allow me to tell you something really counterintuitive: I think I take sexual assault much more seriously than you do. Which is why I worry about definitions of that category of crime that might, by their breadth, tend to trivialize it. And why I think sexual assault is a felony that should be dealt with by the criminal justice system, and not be adjudicated by improvised campus processes.

Read the senators’ letter here, and Will’s response in full here.

After laying out a detailed case of what by Julia Pollak experienced in the military as a woman, she goes on to compare this experinece to her experience at Harvard. A MUST read, great article! I pick up as she enters the comparison: 

…Compare all this to the model for sexual assault prevention and response at the institution I belonged to before the military—Harvard College. There, complaints of sexual assault are filed with the Administrative Board, or “Ad Board,” comprised of deans and faculty members. The written policies regarding sexual assault are far less favorable to victims, requiring non-consent to be expressed “verbally or physically” and requiring the Ad Board members to be “sufficiently persuaded” that an assault occurred.

In stark contrast to the stories I’ve heard about military perpetrators landing up in Leavenworth Prison, Harvard’s history of dealing with sexual assault cases might easily give more encouragement to perpetrators than victims.

During my time at Harvard College, between 2005 and 2009, I had one friend who was sexually assaulted by a fellow student, another who was beaten by her boyfriend (a fellow student), and another who was involved in a highly improper and abusive relationship with a professor. Not one of these incidents was ever reported.

In the five years from 2005 to 2010, according to the Harvard Crimson, eight cases of sexual misconduct were brought before Harvard’s Ad Board. Only three perpetrators were required to withdraw from Harvard College for at least six months, and none received a permanent expulsion.

So perhaps, instead of being a punching bag on Capitol Hill, the military should be studied as a model for sexual assault awareness, prevention, and response policy, especially among young people aged 18 to 24.

To place the military’s sexual assault problem in a wider context, here are some illustrative numbers. According to an anonymous survey, service members may have experienced as many as 26,000 instances of “unwanted sexual contact” in 2012. In other words, about 6.1% of female service members and 1.2% of male service members experienced unwanted sexual contact that year. Note that this number includes a substantial number of cases that occurred before the victim entered the military, as well as cases involving civilian perpetrators.

Although it is difficult to make direct comparisons due to differences in the way survey questions are asked, rates of sexual assault outside the military appear to be similar—if not higher. A 2010 study by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found that 6.7% of all women had experienced sexual violence, rape, or attempted rape in the 12-month period preceding the study. Since sexual assault rates are highest among the young, the CDC finding implies that the incidence of sexual assault is even higher than 6.7% among military-aged women. The CDC also found that between 20 and 25 percent of women, and approximately 6.1 percent of men, are victims of an attempted or completed sexual assault while they are in college.

And perhaps that model should be exported to the nation’s college campuses, where sexual assault is equally prevalent but far more hidden; where sexual assault policies and practices are outdated; and where the fear of litigation or falling rankings makes university administrations reluctant to expel offenders and eager to brush the problem under the carpet.

…read it all…