The species known as “social justice warrior” (genus SWPL) is notoriously flippant about centuries-old individual rights (such as freedom of speech).  A question I wonder about is: are those accused of “racism” (I’ll explain the scare quotes in a moment) entitled to the traditional rights of the accused, such as due process, the right to face their accusers, and the presumption of innocence?  You would doubt it, if you had paid attention to any of the recent witch hunts (Donald Sterling being the recent example).

And why is this?  The obvious answer is that accused “racists” face mob justice, and the mob is never interested in due process.  But the deeper answer is that due process is simply impossible in these cases, because an accusation of being a racist is indefinite, and really no more provable than the accusation of being a witch.  What would a formal process look like for bringing trial against someone for “being a racist”?  How would you prove that beyond a reasonable doubt?  You can’t.  Hence, the sole determinant of guilt is what the various aggrieved parties are feeling, and mob-style justice is administered without giving the accused so much as the right to speak on his own behalf.

And, you will be amazed at the contortions that seemingly intelligent people will go through, in order to justify throwing out centuries of legal protections for the accused.  When one caller to a radio show objected that the tape of Sterling’s comments might have been faked or doctored, the host (I think it was Colin Cowherd) started screeching something along these lines.  “Then where has he been?  The tape was released 2 days ago, if he’s innocent, why hasn’t he come forward to defend himself.”  In other words, literally trial by (a hostile) media.  Someone else raised doubts about whether Sterling’s taped comments weren’t those of a jilted lover rather than a hater of black people.  The response he got was that Sterling is being punished because he is behind the times, and doesn’t understand our new racially sensitive society.  In other words: he is the wrong kind of person, an older white (well, Jewish) man who does not instinctively mouth PC platitudes.

Basically, what you mostly see from people — those who are thoughtful enough to see any problem with throwing out quaint notions like rights of the accused — is special pleading.  But of course, it’s easy to put over classic logical fallacies when you are on the bully pulpit at the head of a mob, rather than in an adversarial trial in a courtroom.  Maybe that’s why, is simpler times, such protections were enshrined into law.

But then again, as we infinitely-enlightened 21st century denizens now know, all the people that wrote those laws were racists.  So it’s probably for the best that we’re throwing them all out, right?

Steve Sailer posted a good Swiftian parody of the public theatrics around the Donald Sterling matter

The President previewed a variety of new NSA initiatives, such as data-mining the petabyte of private phone calls and emails stored in the Utah Data Center for evidence of Americans engaging in racial stereotyping, evincing a lack of personal enthusiasm for blacks, or being insufficiently outraged at Donald T. Sterling.

This parody is too close for comfort.  If you look past the frothing lunatics that form the majority of the “lynch Sterling” mob, to what its (relatively) intelligent enthusiasts are saying, you might conclude that Sterling’s real crime was indeed in his thoughts. I think it was Max Kellerman (ESPN LA radio) who said something along the lines of: the reason Sterling is being punished is because of “the evil that is in his heart”. I’ve heard this kind of sentiment more than once.

Part of the problem with America’s new Secular Puritans is that they are religious zealots, but without any tradition to reflect upon. Thus, there will be no voice of reason citing a holy figure from their scriptures, with aphorisms like “let he among you who is without sin cast the first stone”.

I grew up Protestant, and never much liked the church culture. But in comparison to the current deranged PC climate, those Christians seem like the height of civilization. I yearn for a simpler time when wisdom professed that only God can really know what’s in another man’s heart, let alone the heart of a stranger you know nothing about except a snippet of illicit recording of his responses to surreptitiously leading questions by his mistress.


Footnote: As is usually the case, those casually flinging around accusations of harboring “hatred in their hearts” are the very ones whose speech evince hatred the most clearly. Here’s the unflappably PC Bill Simmons opining on the features of Donald Sterling’s body, in between imputing a random slew of ugly thoughts to his mind:

We were in Section 101 by then, near the Clippers bench, with Sterling sullenly sitting across from us. His legs always straddled the center stripe at midcourt, like he was telling himself, I AM DEAD CENTER! I AM EXACTLY DEAD CENTER! He dressed like a potbellied grim reaper. His colorless skin always made me wonder if he spent his days sleeping in a coffin. Before games, he would hurriedly arrange the seating for everyone in his extended party, ordering them into various Section 111 seats and pointing around like a drill sergeant. From there, he’d stand in front of his seat and greet everyone around him. Eventually, he’d sit down and fold his arms and never, ever, ever, ever move. He’d just sit there, his arms folded across his massive stomach. I ran out of ways to make Weekend at Bernie’s jokes about him by 2011.

 

By now lots of people have heard that the Higgs field/particle has seemingly been discovered.  I’m skeptical about the efficacy of all our various institutions, including scientific ones, but this seems like a truly historic and amazing achievement.  But it’s so abstract, and requires knowledge of so many things, that how many people in the world can even understand this?  I’m not one of them.  All I have in my head is, the Standard Model of subatomic physics somehow predicts the existence of this massive particle (really massive, maybe 1000x heavier than a proton); and they went out and built a big-ass machine to find it.  And they found it.  Goddamn… good job dudes & dames!

Update

Woit confirms what you would figure: it’s the biggest physics discovery in ages. He says it’s the biggest in 30 years, since the discovery of the W and Z bosons. Well, I guess you would want that kind of vindication for all the time and resources that went into the LHC project.

Metta World Peace aka Ron Artest elbowed someone on a basketball court and was ejected, then suspended. Lots of people are disgusted with what they see as a malicious act, but it’s the media that I’m disgusted with. I watch the talking heads tripping all over themselves trying to come up with the most unhinged denunciation of the player; in the next breath they’ll be praising another player’s borderline-physical play, saying that it shows toughness, or whatever. Hypocrites.

Sports are sort of an atavistic ritual; do you see the irony in people sputtering red-faced in outrage about what they consider a “barbaric” act, even as they themselves engage in an act that might be even more retrograde, namely the witch hunt? Someone elbowed someone: burn the witch! It makes me think of parables in our culture like Jesus saying to the mob that’s out for blood: let him among us who is without sin cast the first stone. Or the Crucible, a play by Arthur Miller about an over-the-top witch-hunt (a literal one) in colonial America, but really about McCarthyism.

What is the real cause of these kinds of disproportionately intense, mass-outrage shaming rituals?

…when just contemplating some facts is enough to cause you psychic pain.  We rehearsed this a few times, but nothing can prepare you for it.  But maybe this is just another rehearsal?  Everything gets thrown into a different light, what seemed unforgivable seems lovable now.  I’m like a bad general in the fog of war, just cannot see the events that are sealing my fate.  So confused.Image

I choked on this phrase in Pravda’s story about some latest dust-up with one of our frenemies in the Persian gulf. So the United Arab Emirates shut down an, ahem, “American-financed organization that promotes Democracy”. This kind of US-owned pro-democracy advocacy organization (lol) — which is fairly common, I take it — this breed of non-profit that names itself the “National Democratic Institute” or “International Republican Institute and Freedom House” or some other Orwellian variation, is just a spook front for the US government … right? I can’t imagine what other purpose it might serve.

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