I’m not sure it’s anything new, so I’ll just say there’s a particular effective but pernicious ploy in popular argumentation that I’m going to call ‘code-calling’. For example, during the 2016 Presidential campaign Americans were told that accusing so-and-so of holding “New York values” is code for Jewish values, and so calling out one’s use … Continue reading CALLING OUT CODE-CALLING
Some university administrators, and a few of my colleagues, want to offer you a babysitting service, not for your children but for yourselves. And some of you got so used to it in high school that you want to be babysat. Good babysitters are not to be disparaged. They provide a very important service. But … Continue reading AN OPEN LETTER TO MY AS-YET-UNINITIATED STUDENTS
“I shot the sheriff, but I did not shoot the deputy.” In case you’re not old enough to remember, it’s an Eric Clapton song from 1974. “Yes we killed millions of Jews during the war, but not only Jews.” “Yes we killed millions of Jews, but it was spontaneous, not systematic.” “Yes we gassed them, … Continue reading WHAT IS HOLOCAUST DENIAL?
Definitive of the Millian liberalism to which most of us purport to subscribe is the view that a) all is permitted save what is prohibited, and that b) a necessary, albeit insufficient, condition of some behavior being justifiably prohibited is that it be demonstrably harmful to others. Not unlike any one of the Ten Commandments, … Continue reading OF CRIMES BY ASSOCIATION WITH CRIMES
Why is it that some truths have to be learned over and over and over again? I suppose it’s because they’re just too hard to believe. I learned about fifteen years ago that many of the people I work with don’t share what I thought were the values we all share, because, well, surely we … Continue reading DON QUIXOTE’S BLESSING
Social psychologist Jonathan Haidt has argued, quite convincingly, that a university can dedicate itself to the search for truth, or to the promotion of social justice, but not both. Truth and justice are seldom about the same thing. But when they are, what’s true may not be just, and what’s just may not be true. … Continue reading THE HAIDT HYPOTHESIS
Three score and eight years ago I landed on this planet, but I think it might have been from another one. I say this because I understand so little of why humans think as they do, and they seem to understand even less of why I think as I do. So that my cognitive apparatus … Continue reading AN ALIEN PERSPECTIVE
Monika Schaefer, a Jasper, Alberta woman, and daughter of post-war German immigrants, is currently in a German prison awaiting trial for Holocaust denial, a criminal offense in that and several other European countries, though not in Canada. The charge was triggered by a seven-minute video entitled “Sorry Mom, I was wrong about the Holocaust.” (I … Continue reading MONIKA’S MOM AND PIUS XII
Once you believe, as most of us do, that 9/11 was the work of nineteen perhaps guileless young men, sent on that mission by a few older and wiser men, you need to have a hold on their motivation, either from their own lips, or if not then from what you know about what would … Continue reading WHAT’S MY MOTIVATION?
There are a few things that I get that other people don’t. If this weren’t so I wouldn’t be of much use to them, now would I? So no, since it’s not hubris, no apology warranted, so none forthcoming. And then there are a few things other people get but I don’t. For example, I … Continue reading NECESSITATED HYPOCRISY