Thursday, 10/29/15

  1. A matter of perspective
  2. Homogenous diversity
  3. Deconstructing diversity
  4. Theology white people like
  5. What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
  6. Biggest Deal Ever
  7. Conservatism’s off-key mantra
  8. Do-gooder contempt

1

2

Ohio State University rewrote its student organization registration guidelines to read, “A student organization formed to foster or affirm the sincerely held religious beliefs of its members may adopt eligibility criteria for its Student Officers that are consistent with those beliefs.”

Shocking! How dare Ohio State allow a Christian group to be Christian, an Islamic group to be Islamic, Jews to be Jewish? Where will it end, this refusal to homogenize diversity?

Do you think students compensate for enforced pseudo-diversity by hanging out in internet echo chambers? A modest proposal: free internet on campus only if you visit diverse sites.

3

[N]obody is really interested in pursuing diversity in its most full, extreme form. Few people would want a campus where unapologetic underachievers are recruited equally with academic superstars, or where professors promote Nazi ideology. Even at the most secular campuses, certain moral goods—such as honesty, hard work, and achievement—are held in common. And diversity is never understood as mere variety for its own sake but as something that facilitates other goods: the advancement of knowledge, social equality, fairness, openness to difference, compensation for past underrepresentation, and so on.

In practice, diversity is understood—by both its supporters and detractors—as a code word, a means of smuggling certain unspoken values into institutions. For those who support these values, it is a way of effecting positive and much-needed change in recruitment and hiring. The aim is to transform the university so that its faculty, staff, and administration more accurately mirror the demographic characteristics of society as a whole. In this way, people who have not typically been heard can be given a voice.

The diversity trope makes reforms possible by appealing to social norms that, in principle, nobody would oppose. Would you really argue against having more African-Americans or women in your department? No? Then you must support diversity initiatives! But this question is always asked in the abstract—not in a situation where an honest answer would require weighing the benefits of a minority hire against other legitimate goods, such as a particular candidate’s academic merit, pedagogical experience, or fit with a university’s mission.

(Elizabeth Corey) Corey provides counterpoint to the channelling of University press releases.

4

Being a liberal theologian is like having a Ph.D. in Stuff White People Like.

(Rod Dreher’s reader Andrew W) A nice wrap for a bunch of Dreher blogs on liberal theologians trying to get Ross Douthat ousted from the New York Times (see here, herehere, and here).

I don’t think Dreher’s exaggerating that these folks are making themselves absurd in response to the micro-est of microaggressions.

Still, some scientists are even worse. RICO?! Really?!

5

On May 9, 2003, President Bush appointed Bremer to the top civilian post in Iraq. A career diplomat who was recruited for this job by Wolfowitz and Libby, despite the fact that he had minimal experience of the region and didn’t speak Arabic, Bremer arrived in Baghdad on May 12 to take charge of the Coalition Provisional Authority, or CPA. In his first two weeks at his post, Bremer issued two orders that would turn out to be momentous. Enacted on May 16, CPA Order Number 1 “de-Baathified” the Iraqi government; on May 23, CPA Order Number 2 disbanded the Iraqi army. In short, Baath party members were barred from participation in Iraq’s new government and Saddam Hussein’s soldiers lost their jobs, taking their weapons with them.

(The Deciders at The American Conservative)

All together now: “What Could Possibly Go Wrong!?”

The results of these policies become clear as we learn about the leadership of ISIS. The Washington Post, for example, reported in April that “almost all of the leaders of the Islamic State are former Iraqi officers.”

6

About the time Scott Adams (yeah, that one) decided that The Donald is a genius with deep hypnotic abilities, I began to think he’s not so much campaigning to win people’s approval as negotiating the biggest deal ever.

7

[A] great deal of American conservatism in 2015 rings false. It continues to insist that in some way or another, we face a socialist, collectivist threat. The Wall Street Journal editorial page warns us of the perils of higher tax rates. There’s no doubt that tax policy affects behavior by creating incentives and disincentives, and bad policies can have bad consequences for the economy. But a pro-capitalist consensus in America encompasses both parties. Debate about taxes operates within a narrow range. Are we going to ding top earners at 35 percent or 39 percent? This is hardly a culture-defining question of the sort that concerned Hayek.

(R.R. Reno, likely pay wall)

8

Malcolm Rivers, after a stint in Teach for America, recounts common remarks of his peers:

There’s a lot they don’t get because they don’t get out of their neighborhoods enough. I think we need to teach them how to be tolerant. Like, I heard one of my kids talking about how being gay is, like, wrong. I explained to him that families look a lot of different ways and that none of them are better or worse than any others.

A lot of them think that there’s something wrong with being gay and when I asked them about how they could think something like that, they try and say something about God or religion or something, it’s backward and …

I have to teach them that they can’t talk to people about people like that. They have to learn tolerance. Like, you can’t just tell someone that they can’t be gay or that being gay isn’t okay, that’s intolerant. That’s what I want my kids to learn.

This wasn’t just laments over drinks at the end of a hard and honest day’s work. It was the hard day’s work:

It’s not that my fellow corps members were completely wrong about the people they encountered. I saw those problems firsthand. Families ignored bad behaviors. Parents had fist fights in parking lots. Students adopted gang affiliations and brought weapons to school, while mothers did nothing to stop it. Fathers smoked marijuana outside classrooms after parent-teacher conferences.

But it was hard to see why my colleagues seemed more concerned with correcting the flaws they perceived in students’ outlooks than they were with preparing them for secondary and higher education. The kids’ intolerance bothered them far more than their academic deficits. Our primary responsibility was to teach students the intellectual skills and attitudes to earn high grades, not to correct social taboos or endorse political viewpoints.

I talked to my fellow teachers about the academic progress of the kids, but more often than not they told me how badly they’d love to change who the students were, not what the students knew. Over the months, I watched their perspectives evolve from sympathy and concern to disgust and condescension.

His title? “Re-Educate for America.” (Likely paywall)

* * * * *

“In learning as in traveling and, of course, in lovemaking, all the charm lies in not coming too quickly to the point, but in meandering around for a while.” (Eva Brann)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.