Wednesday, September 9, 2015

September Tuber

198 comments:

  1. Repost from previous thread. Important discussion of "culture of victimhood" by Jonathan Haidt, Where micoraggressions really come from,

    "Campbell and Manning describe how this culture of dignity is now giving way to a new culture of victimhood in which people are encouraged to respond to even the slightest unintentional offense, as in an honor culture. But they must not obtain redress on their own; they must appeal for help to powerful others or administrative bodies, to whom they must make the case that they have been victimized. It is the very presence of such administrative bodies, within a culture that is highly egalitarian and diverse (i.e., many college campuses) that gives rise to intense efforts to identify oneself as a fragile and aggrieved victim. This is why we have seen the recent explosion of concerns about microaggressions, combined with demands for trigger warnings and safe spaces, that Greg Lukianoff and I wrote about in The Coddling of the American Mind."

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    1. Yup, the New Infantilists are using the bureaucratic machinery of the neoliberal university to paint themselves and their minions as victims in order to secure increasingly many spoils.

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    2. Why would a neoliberal organization behave like this? No corporation behaves like this. Businesses and corporations do not have "safe spaces", speech codes, rampant complaints. They also do not have inflated administration and bureaucracy, as it wastes money. The financial world is the opposite of this rising University culture of victimology. So it is not "neoliberalism". If anything, it's the opposite. It is protectionist.

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    3. I don't know, I hear from friends in corporate jobs all the time that they would be fired for all sorts of things. Some of them cannot even be on social media (if they are high up). I remember asking what would happen to them if they wrote, like Kipnis did, their feelings about an ongoing suit: fired. Are you sure you know what it is like in a corporation? (Asking sincerely.)

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    4. Yes, I have many friends who work for corporations, the financial sector and law firms. They can write what they please; and so do write what they please, on social media. Many know of the manner Kipnis was attacked, and find it a bizarre reflection of the growing totalitarian mentality of universities. If a lawyer wrote that, it would be read and forgotten. I know several lawyers who do write such things, and they're not "fired". Only in a university could it lead to an outbreak of outrage.

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    5. I mean GM, Apple, Hewlett Packard, Bank of America, etc. and clearly you are not thinking of workplaces like that. I certainly did not mean a law firm.

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    6. I also know people at Apple, GM etc. that have to be very careful about their web presence.

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    7. Yes, I mean corporations, private businesses, the financial world and law firms, as well as the medical profession. Unlike the cocoon many philosophers live inside, I know people who work in the real world, including high-up for very big corporations, including Microsoft, in fact. No one would be subjected to the mistreatment that Kipnis was subjected to for merely writing an article in a journal; there is no example of anything similar in any other profession; and it is why opposition to the abuse is uniform, across all sectors, and from left to right.

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    8. So those "high-up for very big corporations" don't have to monitor their speech? Shocker. They might not be subject to the same mistreatment as Kipnis because they would be instantly fired with no warning. At will employment.

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    9. Ok, I see. You're a loony.

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    10. I think 4:19 is right.
      I have no Apple or GM friends. I do know a jr exec at a prominent food-related multinational. He most definitely has to be careful what he says on social media. Although I doubt he would be "fired immediately" for most transgressions. But, I dunno, I only know he's very careful.

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    11. "He most definitely has to be careful what he says on social media".

      And nobody has suggested otherwise. What is being suggested by 4:19 is that a cultural critic deserves to be fired for merely writing an essay of cultural criticism. Many people keep blogs, use Twitter, etc., and are actually not "fired", even when what they say is controversial. Some have been. But that simply is not the point here, and no one has said otherwise.

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    12. "What is being suggested by 4:19 is that a cultural critic deserves to be fired for merely writing an essay of cultural criticism."

      Uh, no. It definitely doesn't say or suggest that.

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    13. ARG needs to go back to kindergarten and learn reading.

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  2. Related, Fredrik deBoer, Why we should fear university, inc", New York Times. Discusses the abuse of Laura Kipnis.

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  3. Why is New APPS irrelevant?

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    1. Why do farts stink?

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    2. More seriously: have you looked at it recently (like in the last year or so)?
      Nobody comments, I doubt more than a few people read it, the handful of posts I've started to read are abysmally bad.

      Oh, wait, is that what you meant, or were you asking how it turned into an irrelevant backwater blog?

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    3. How did it become an irrelevant backwater blog? Posts there used to get a healthy amount of comments, but no it seems no one cares.

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    4. Farts stink because they're composed of small particles of shit. Next question.

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    5. Why do some farts stink worse than others?

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    6. 8:45, a mini history:
      https://feministphilosophers.wordpress.com/2014/03/06/on-ludlow-northwestern-and-the-ethics-of-teaching/#comments
      http://leiterreports.typepad.com/blog/2014/03/ive-withdrawn-my-post-from-earlier-today-in-response-to-some-helpful-comments.html
      https://feministphilosophers.wordpress.com/2014/03/10/if-not-allied-at-least-attending/
      https://feministphilosophers.wordpress.com/2014/03/08/welcome-to-the-blogosphere-dailynous/
      http://www.newappsblog.com/2014/03/this-is-too-little-too-late-but-here-it-is-anyway.html
      http://www.newappsblog.com/2014/03/reporting-tenure-track-postdoctoral-and-vap-hires.html
      http://www.newappsblog.com/2014/03/please-do-not-revise-your-tone.html
      http://www.newappsblog.com/2014/03/new-location-for-links-to-hiring-forms.html
      http://www.newappsblog.com/2014/03/supplemental-discussion-thread-for-please-do-not-revise-your-tone-comments.html
      ...
      http://www.newappsblog.com/2014/03/highly-adequate-women.html
      http://lemmingsblog.blogspot.com/2014/03/i-left-new-apps-when-blog-post-of-mine.html
      http://leiterreports.typepad.com/blog/2014/03/newapps-implosion-continues.html
      ...basically, the kitchen got too hot for some prominent nudists.

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    7. Oh, right. (I first thought you meant, "What are the reasons for thinking it's irrelevant?")
      One reason is that most of the newer bloggers are really bad, whereas the original crew had some good, serious writers.
      I think another reason is that they had a series of embarrassing incidents in which the more authoritarian tendencies of the NewApps culture won out.

      It may also be that most blogs in that genre just fizzle out eventually. But Crooked Timber is certainly going strong.


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  4. Has anyone met Rachel McKinnon, Matt Drabek, or earlier trolls like John Protevi or Mark Lance in real life? Are these people as sad and ridiculous as they come across on-line?

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    1. No they do 4:19, 4:04 is obviously lying. Lying to try to prove some point.
      3: 55 is right.

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    2. Oops, I meant that above. I've met three of them, they seemed great. Pleasant, charming, smart, nice.

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    3. i've never met any of them but i know online trolls from other contexts and often am one myself, and it is quite possible to be completely unbearable online (as i often am) and remain thoroughly pleasant to interact with in person (as i hope i do).

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    4. I met Protevi years ago, in the early aughts I think. He was a totally nice and interesting guy.

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    5. I've met Mark Lance. Great guy. Really smart, doesn't hold back, but is careful and kind. I wish I were as willing to act on my beliefs in the face of potential consequences as he was and is. No duplicity in that guy at all.

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    6. 8:26: Although I trust your report, I can't help but think that stridency about politics is unbecoming of a philosopher. I'm as Moorean as they come and I still think most of my political beliefs are highly defeasible and probably false. That's not surprising, since many of them are about poorly understood, complex, and volatile phenomena like global markets, voter behavior, the social implications of austerity measures, and so on. I'm not saying we should disengage and retreat from the political world, but maybe we should refrain letting our political beliefs give rise to self-righteousness.

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  5. I met Lance once. I liked him.

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    1. Yeah, same here.
      Interesting -- I was going to add, "But the other three mentioned seem much more annoying." But maybe they don't, actually -- it's possible I've discounted Lance's online annoyingness precisely because I'd already met him.

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    2. I met Lance and Protevi (not at the same time). Both are interesting, warm, funny people. Online and offline personalities can be so different.

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    3. It's good that Lance and Protevi are active here. I've met only Lance. A bit weird, not as "sad and ridiculous" as on the internet though, I can agree with that.

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  6. justice whineberg writes: “Is erotic longing between professors and students unavoidable?” Take a moment to imagine the bizarre world in which the answer to that question is yes.

    that bizarre world is this world. we are mammals, whineberg. throwing lit-crit-lite new consensus/new infantilism at us won't destroy our most basic and important instincts, it'll only drive them under the surface and make us ashamed. you fucking cocksucker.

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    1. I think he was just responding to the hyperbole of the question. Certainly it's avoidable. Lots of people seem to avoid it.

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    2. that doesn't mean the phenomenon is avoidable

      compare: "is clinical depression avoidable? sure. i'm not depressed."

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    3. I agree with 5:54. One thing I try to do, and sometimes with success, is not sexualize my students. It makes my teaching better, I think.

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    4. what exactly does "not sexualize" mean in this context? "not fantasize about"? that doesn't seem like an immense task, but active fantasy is only a small component of "erotic longing"

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    5. 6:00pm here

      In my own case, it means to not fantasize about, not flirt with, not complain to myself if there aren't many cute people in my classes that term, not make myself seem available just because it's fun to have that possibility open, etc.

      I agree that there are things I can't control. If someone is really attractive, I'm not going to fail to notice that. But I think there are attitudes that one can take to students that occupy positions that are between being asexual/feeling nothing and fantasying about them. My effort not to sexualize my students is my attempt to stop short of some of those intermediate attitudes, while knowing that I can't be entirely asexual.

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    6. Yeah, I think it is pretty simple. Imagine a good friend introduces you to a girl you find very attractive. How are you going to behave around the girl? Well, one factor that should make a difference is whether the girl is your friend's single cousin, or the girl is your friend's new girlfriend. If she's a cousin, it's perfectly permissible to treat her as a potential romantic interest - if you think she's attractive, you might flirt a little, etc. If she's your friend's girlfriend, you shouldn't treat her as a potential romantic interest. It's not that is wrong to notice that she's attractive, or to feel attraction to her - it might no even be wrong to mention this in an appropriate way: "dude, your new girlfriend's really hot!" is probably fine, in certain circumstances. But you shouldn't treat her as a potential romantic partner.

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    7. Good God,

      Are there any philosophers in the house?

      If the question is, “Is erotic longing between professors and students unavoidable?”, then how is the answer that, no, professors and students shouldn't treat each other as potential romantic partners?

      The original question was about "erotic longing", not how one individual treats another individual.

      Of course, the original question is pretty unclear as it stands. Does it mean that such erotic longing can, between most such pairs, be avoided, or that it can pretty much always be avoided?

      I'm sure that there are professors and students who can, or at least do, always avoid such longings. But I'm also sure that there are professors who have particular students who simply can't avoid such longings toward them -- and I''m sure that there are students who have particular professors who simply can't avoid such longings. Whether they can restrain themselves from acting on these longings is of course another question.

      Are we now obliged to be as naive as children? Do we have to pretend that it never happens that people develop feelings for others when they would rather not for all kinds of good reasons?

      Have any of the people who imagine this never happens ever themselves experienced a genuinely human feeling? They've never been drawn to something they know it's best to avoid?

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    8. "if the question is " “Is erotic longing between professors and students unavoidable?”, then how is the answer that, no, professors and students shouldn't treat each other as potential romantic partners?"

      Well, because pretty obviously, what is implied by an answer like that is something like "sure, erotic longing is probably unavoidable. But that's not the relevant question. The relevant question is about how we ought to treat each other. And the answer to that question is that professors and students shouldn't (in general) treat each other as potential romantic partners."

      Was it not obvious to you that this was what was going on?

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    9. no, that doesn't seem "obvious"ly what's going on, nor does it seem like what's going on at all, to me or many other commenters, including there at DN. i would suggest you are being overly "charitable": you see that whineberg's view is ridiculous, but think this means that he must not hold it. no: he does.

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    10. That wasn't *obvious* to me, but that's how I read it.

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    11. I read the post at DN. Three sentences (at most) are about whether 'erotic longing between students and professors are unavoidable.' And those sentences make it clear that JW neither thinks it is a serious question, nor that he thinks it is likely that Miller thinks it is the relevant question, given that authors don't usually write headlines and the rest of her article is about discussing whether relationships - as opposed to feelings - are a good idea. The rest of the post on DN is dedicated to discussing exactly these kinds of points, and in fact states that JW thinks the 'real question' of her essay is what stance universities should take towards faculty student relationships.

      So, given that the article itself is about relationships rather than feelings, and given that on the post at DN, Weinberg explicitly states that he thinks the real question is about relationships rather than feelings, and is clearly not taking the question about longings to be a serious question, I do think it is pretty obvious that what's going on is that when people respond to the question about longing by mocking it and saying "no, professors and students shouldn't treat each other as potential romantic partners" what they mean is that the relevant question is about relationships rather than longings.

      It's about an essay by MIller. JW "the real question of Miller’s essay, which is what stance universities should take towards faculty-student relationships." I don't see how it could be much clearer - JW thinks the relevant question here is the one about relationships, rather than longings. Hence the focus on relationships.

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    12. okay, thanks. i see now how that reading is possible, and the "bizarre" comment could be a joke about how that is the actual situation. my bad!

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    13. So we are supposed to think it's OK to interpret the question in the bizarre reading JW may put on it, just because JW eventually gets around to the other question about actual relationships?

      Do any of you understand yourselves the distinction between "longing" and acting on that longing? You're philosophers? Really?

      Any philosopher worthy of the name would take that original question, and, if he thought it didn't capture the real point of the article, would express the precise point that it did not before proceeding. He would then make the obvious distinction to be made here, and would point out that it isn't longing that's at issue, per se, but acting upon any longing -- or perhaps not doing what one can to prevent that longing in oneself from coming about.

      Instead, JW goes on as if the two questions are identical. How can that be what a philosopher would do?

      Remember, JW acts as if the original question is almost absurd to entertain as being true. How can he not realize that on the absolutely straightforward interpretation of the language of the question, it obviously can be be true? How can he despair of a world in which it might be true, given the straightforward interpretation of it upon which it is?

      But here is my guess as to why he wanted to pretend that the question could only have some other interpretation: because, for all the usual ideological reasons, he just doesn't want to deal with the complexity involved when such longing does in fact occur. He -- as do apparently many others -- wants to pretend that professors and students don't develop feelings for one another despite themselves. Why not? Because then the simple, Puritanical solution that professors and students can under no circumstances have relationships with each other is easy to advocate for. In that case, no natural human feelings need to be relentlessly suppressed. And if anyone ever crosses the bright line between professors and students, then they are simply evil.

      This is just one more way in which ideology makes one stupid: the very concept of longing is no longer understood.

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    14. Just to continue my point, it is breathtaking how much JW studiously avoids the very point of the article he is supposedly writing about, which mentions such examples as Abelard and Héloïse.

      It seems not occur to him that Abelard and Héloïse couldn't have had a better set of reasons not to fall in love with each other -- namely the enormous risk of scandal and consequent damage to their lives -- yet they did fall in love with each other. Sometimes, in the natural course of teacher student interactions, powerful feelings develop.

      Our new Puritan overlords can have none of this. So they will whistle up a storm when such examples are brought up. Longing? What's longing?

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    15. 10:28, what about ". It's not that is wrong to notice that she's attractive, or to feel attraction to her - it might not even be wrong to mention this in an appropriate way: "dude, your new girlfriend's really hot!" is probably fine, in certain circumstances. But you shouldn't treat her as a potential romantic partner." leads you to believe that I do not understand the distinction between longing and acting on that longing? That is precisely the distinction I was drawing.

      And what about the fact that in reference to the longing question, JW says "Authors are sometimes not responsible for how their articles are titled, so I’ll give Miller the benefit of the doubt that she doesn’t think that’s a serious question." and the fact that he then goes on to refer to a question about action "what stance universities should take towards faculty-student relationships?" as the 'real' question of her essay, and then clearly addresses that as a serious question, leads you to believe that he is 'going on as though he two questions are identical"? He's just not. It's really clear that he thinks one is not a serious question, and the other is a serious question worthy of discussion.

      Furthermore, if you read the article by Miller, it is really clear that she is interested in the question of how people should act rather than how people should feel. So it is not clear why you seem to think JW ought to focus on the 'longing' question - which only appears on the subheading, and is unlikely to have been written by Miller - rather than focussing on the actual content of her essay.

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    16. 730 says:

      "Good God,

      Are there any philosophers in the house?

      If the question is, “Is erotic longing between professors and students unavoidable?”, then how is the answer that, no, professors and students shouldn't treat each other as potential romantic partners?

      The original question was about "erotic longing", not how one individual treats another individual."

      I just wanted to point out that there a lot of philosophers--dead and alive--who think that we can affect our attitudes indirectly through how we act, including how we treat people. Aristotle comes to mind, for instance. So there's some irony in accusing people of not being philosophers for thinking such things.

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  7. I try not to dress my female students in short skirts and halter tops. So far I have been successful!

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    1. Do you teach at a school for dolls?

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    2. Yeah, I do. It's a Cal State.

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  8. You know what day it is: http://dsq-sds.org/article/view/1729/1777

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  9. I hope this question stimulates some interesting conversation:

    In terms of career decisions, what are your greatest regrets and whatever-are-the-opposite-of-regrets? It might be interesting to accompany answers with a note of where you are in your career (graduate student, postdoc, assistant professor, full professor, etc.).

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    1. I'm an assistant professor at a 4-year school with a small doctoral program. My biggest regret: Not applying to any Leiter-ranked schools for graduate school - no matter what I publish, that lack of pedigree is going to be a stain on my CV forever. I was, unfortunately, totally ignorant of the fact that pedigree matters so much in academia. I'm the first in my extended family(ies) to get an undergraduate diploma, let alone go to graduate school.
      My second biggest regret: I've worked very hard to overcome the pedigree bias and as a result have neglected friendships, hobbies, I could have spent more time with my kids. But I needed all that time to scrape together a publication record that would make me competitive in the horrible market it is now. Not sure what I would do if I had to do it all over again (def try for an elite grad school, see regret 1).
      My first opposite-of-regrets: Writing a monograph during my postdoc. It is satisfying to have a monograph out, and it is a rewarding experience - one has so much more freedom (in terms of space, topic etc) compared to a journal article. I have no idea how I will find the time with my heavy teaching load and all the committee work I have now as an assistant professor to write a second one. I hope to write a second one though. My second-opposite-of-regrets: I have two children. One was born when I was in grad school, the other when I was a postdoc. I'm in my late 30s - and landed my present position in my mid-30s. I definitely would recommend having children (if you want them, obviously) when you're a grad student or a postdoc, not while on the tenure-track. One of my children is a toddler and I wish he were a bit older and more self-sufficient - my life right now is a haze of work and childcare. On the plus side, at least he is not a baby anymore and the whole breastfeeding, night wakings etc are behind us.

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    2. I am an assistant professor at a selective liberal arts college.

      In graduate school, I drank deep from "research first" culture, and I think it skewed my priorities in an unhealthy direction. I regret that it took me this long to really learn how joyful undergraduate teaching can be (for me; but I suspect a lot of other people will be like me in this respect). I always liked teaching and enjoyed it, but it's now a central element in the mosaic of events that comprise what is good in my life.

      Some of the best choices I ever made involve sending papers to good journals, despite discouraging rejections along the way. Mostly people -- referees and journal editors, I mean -- say "no. this is not good enough." But every once in a while, someone says "yes. this is good", and racking up just a few of those every once in a while has basically gotten me to where I am in terms of research success.

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    3. Postdoc here, actually on my Nth postdoc. I regret not going to a better undergrad school, and then a better-ranked grad school department. Just like 5:10 says, that "lack of pedigree is going to be a stain on my CV forever".

      No whatever-are-the-opposite-of-regrets to share until I get a stable job.

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    4. Recently tenured at a research school. Biggest regret: I went to a well-Leitered school which was, however, weak (unranked) in my AOS. I underestimated the importance of a powerful advisor in my field. General pedigree helped me a lot, but very comparable people with a prominent advisor in their AOS did a lot better than me.

      Non-regret: publishing a lot and quickly, even if in so-so venues. It gets you noticed.

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    5. Regret: I shouldn't have gone up for tenure and promotion as fast as I did. It's harder to move institutions when you're tenured.

      I've never ever regretted putting my family ahead of my work. Grading and writing can always wait.

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    6. Regret taking so long to finish grad school. In retrospect, I could have finished in five or six years and just gotten on with my life.

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    7. +1 to 6:20's regret. My antiregret is working on an applied research program that is personally significant to me.

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    8. Interesting comments, all. Keep them coming!

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    9. Regrets: going to grad school; picking an AOS I find fun rather than especially meaningful.

      Anti-regrets: surviving a Ph.D. program and being somewhat marketable without tying my identity to philosophy, esp. not to academic philosophy.

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    10. Regrets: studying under a famous advisor instead of someone less famous who would actually have spent more time with me

      Anti-regrets: being open to taking a job in a place I never thought I'd live

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    11. Regret: feeling competitive rather than cooperative with my grad school cohort. Could have learned a lot more from them than I did.

      Non-regret: sending tons of stuff out for publication. 40 rejections and 3 acceptances, but all most people know about are the 3!

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    12. My biggest regret was listening to advice that went against my own judgment. I should have trusted myself more about a few things.

      My biggest non-regret was taking adjuncting jobs while on a break from grad school- I got some valuable teaching experience that I wouldn't have otherwise gotten.

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    13. Biggest regret: starting Leiter Reports.

      Biggest anti-regret: starting the Philosophy Metametablog.

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    14. I don't get it, is 12:46 Brian Leiter?

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    15. Thanks for sharing these stories, they're really useful for someone like me. I'm a recent graduate thinking about getting my PhD in philosophy and becoming a professor. Really glad I found this blog!

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    16. Well, it's sort of the good, the bad, and the ugly here. So if some of the content here doesn't deter you, then cool?

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    17. Full prof, handful of years near retirement at a campus whose city's name will win you Final Jeopardy at the very best, but that I must admit Terry Crews pronounced correctly this season on Millionaire.

      Regrets: I have a few, but then again too few to mention. Sorry--that was some sort of fugue due to age and survivable alcoholism.

      I regret that I did not study harder in my later-not-Leiterific-at-all PhD program. As well as things turned out, I spent too many nights at the Europa and the Carousel instead of really getting why S5 was an improvement over Lewis (C.I., not David, whom I had not read yet), or finishing my translation of the Apology to prepare for my language requirements. I really regret barfing into a busing tray held by one of my dissertation professors, who had paid for all my drinks that night celebrating the fact that it was, after all, Tuesday, and our seminar was done for the week. I regret not trusting the Force and fucking someone who later really, really fucked me back with a vengeance that continues its lingering double-fucked-effects today. I regret my cluelessness in having read the APA 70s warning about the turndown in the profession and confidently thinking it would not apply to me because I was so dedicated that of course I could not fail to get a TT appointment because there was some guiding hand of meritocracy recognizing not just brilliance but good-enoughs too.

      Biggest anti-regret: surviving long enough to learn that luck rules where privilege and even my own idiocy leaves off and turned my way just barely and often enough to give me a fulfilling life of having taught thousands of students and even getting a publication that I'm not totally ashamed of here and there. And meeting people like Gary Watson and Manuel Vargas. There you're talking good philosophers, inside and out.

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    18. You trusted the Force?

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    19. That shit is epic, 5:40!

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  10. I am a tt assistant professor at a non-selective institution. My PhD is from a school ranked in the middle of the pack on the PGR and my AOS is very mainstream.

    Regrets:

    I took way too long to finish my dissertation. It's genuinely book length and some committee members suggested it was book quality, but, unfortunately, I just don't think it's original enough. I can mine it for papers, but its not fun writing intros and set-up material . I wish I had just done the "Three papers on topic Z" style dissertation. Those of you reading this should seriously consider taking that opportunity if it's available to you.

    Anti-regrets

    I did almost everything wrong in grad school--took forever to finish, took a year off to tour in a band, chose an non-rockstar adviser because I like working with them, refused to network or play weird professional games--and still managed to find employment as a philosopher.

    Like 7:03, I'm glad I haven't tied my identity to academic philosophy and glad I will never have to write papers like "Why Pritchard is wrong about Williamson's critique of Peacocke" to get tenure (pro tip: if your job is at a shitty school and you are nice to people you can do whatever you want and still expected to get tenure).

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  11. Article discussing campus rape culture hysteria, abuse of due process and the damage caused.

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    1. Hysterical uteri?

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    2. > an overwhelming majority of women think it's better that innocent young men be punished for offenses they didn't commit than to allow a guilty man to go free. (Question 32)

      This basically means that an overwhelming majority of women are evil. I hope this isn't true.

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    3. It's true. Most of us are evil. In the good old days, they'd just burn us at the stake. But now with the new infantilism and everything, that's not allowed anymore.

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    4. Another example involved the journalist Jessica Valenti mocking families of victims of injustice, who have started this group, FACE.

      People like Valenti are full of hate and deeply immoral.

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    5. 10:04, you forget to answer the question. Is that actually what an overwhelming majority of women believe? Because that would be evil.

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    6. "Most of us are evil."

      If you approve of innocent people being lynched, then that is evil, yes.

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    7. Correction: not an overwhelming majority of women, but of college-attending women aged 17-26 in a sample of 1,053 people.

      "This basically means that an overwhelming majority of women are evil. I hope this isn't true."

      I think that's an exaggeration. I agree that it's a troubling statistic and I also hope it's not true.

      But believing its sometimes better to punish innocents in order to reduce the chance of the guilty going free is, while a morally questionable belief, hardly as rare or as extreme as you make it out to be.

      1. To believe any justice system at all is better than none, while knowing it's inevitable innocent people will be convicted is an example of a much more modest version of that consequentialist trade-off.

      2. To believe warfare is ever just or, more narrowly, that bombing campaigns in war are ever just, is an another example.

      3. To believe that the argued benefits of free market economies--such as social economic benefits and protection of private liberties--are worth the inevitable unjust economic harms they will do to some (i.e., at least some will make rational economic choices and work hard and still fail), is another example.

      Of course, each of these examples is arguably more modest in degree: they favor a much greater gain for a much weaker risk of harm to the innocent. That's why the statistic truly is troubling.

      But since it's a difference of degree, it's a stretch to say people are "evil" to believe it. We all accept some degree of such reasoning, and we're probably all prone to accept unreasonable degrees when its our interest being protected and we're unlikely to be the innocent harmed.

      Delete
    8. You are mistaken on the bombing issue. To be in accord with the laws of war, bombing must target combatants, never non-combatants; and must be constrained by proportionality.

      However, the claim above is different: it is analogous to believing that it is better to kill civilians than allow a combatant to go free. This is, technically, a war crime.

      Delete
    9. The Blackstone formulation is: "It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer". This principle has been built in to the law for centuries. The only people of any note disputing this have been
      - the Bush administration,
      - and contemporary "feminists", like Valenti et al.

      Delete
    10. 11:16, it's not analogous to targeting non-combatants. Instead, it's analogous to targeting combatants while knowing non-combatants will be killed.

      It's a classic case of the "doctrine of double effect" where good intentions supposedly make a known outcome non-intentional. The argument is that if I accept civilian casualties only because they're a necessary side effect of attacking a military target, then I'm not directly intending them and not morally responsible.

      Likewise, the surveyed women are saying that if they accept innocent people being punished only because it's a necessary side effect of punishing the guilty, then they're not directly intending them and not morally responsible.

      The test of "double effect" is that if we *had* the option of avoiding it while fulfilling the true intention, we'd take it. The bomber would choose not to kill civilians if that were possible, while achieving his intention of hitting the military target. Likewise, the women surveyed would choose not to punish innocents if they thought it were possible to do so while still punishing all of the guilty.

      (Personally, I think DDE is rubbish, but it's a commonly held view.)

      Delete
    11. 11:50,

      It's simply not true that "The only people of any note disputing this have been - the Bush administration, - and contemporary "feminists", like Valenti et al."

      As I pointed out in 11:01, almost everyone accepts it to some minimal degree.

      Another obvious example is that many people support the death penalty, even though we know it has and will continue to execute innocent people.

      Again, it's bad that such a large percentage of this tiny survey of a small subgroup of women hold such a view. But it's not that rare, and "evil" is overstatement.

      Delete
    12. "it's not analogous to targeting non-combatants."

      No one said it is, and it has nothing to do with DDE.

      It is analogous to assigning no weight to the innocence of non-combatants. And this is quite different. Valenti et al attach no weight to innocence - hence their mockery of the families organizing around injustices.

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    13. 11:59, can you please focus on the relevant issue. The issue is assigning no weight to innocence. It has nothing whatsoever to do with what you are claiming it is about.

      Valenti et al assign no weight to innocence. Indeed, Valenti mocks the families of the innocents harmed. Do you agree with this principle or not?

      Delete
    14. "No one said it is, and it has nothing to do with DDE."

      11:16 very clearly implied it: "To be in accord with the laws of war, bombing must target combatants, never non-combatants."

      11:16 then changes it to "analogous to believing that it is better to kill civilians than allow a combatant to go free." But if we take the revised version, it supports my view, since the second version is a perfect case of DDE. Every state that goes to war, every bomber that drops a bomb, knows innocent people will be killed, but believes it's worth doing to get the proper target.

      To say it's analogous to "assigning no weight" to innocence is adding overstatement to overstatement. To assign no weight would be to believe every living man should automatically be convicted of sexual assault, just in case.

      Obviously the survey respondents are assuming--rightly or wrongly--that instances of innocents being punished are rare, and so they are according weight to the protection of innocence, but not enough to *always* protect them.

      For the record, this is about the survey, not about Valenti. So that's not relevant to my claim.

      Delete
    15. I really am not sure where you are getting this "DDE" stuff from. You may agree with it, disagree with it, or be indifferent. It is irrelevant.

      The statement you quote refers to the standard laws of war encoded in, e.g., the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

      Delete
    16. When Valenti mocks the families, does she assign non-zero weight to the innocence of those involved?

      Delete
    17. 1:17, the question is about whether the survey respondents are "evil"--so the issue is moral, not legal.

      Look at it this way: the doctrine of double effect is an attempt by moral philosophers to justify the legal view that it's sometimes permissible to knowingly kill non-combatants.

      So, if you accept the moral premise of such laws, you accept that sometimes it's permissible to allow the innocent to be harmed.

      Specifically, you accept it's permissible if 1) harming the innocent isn't part of one's goal (not directly intended) and 2) risking harm to the innocent is necessary to a just goal (in this case, just warfare).

      Now, if you accept that, then you accept the principle of the survey respondents, who think it's permissible to allow innocent men to be punished because 1) punishing the innocent isn't directly intended as part of their goal and 2) they believe risking punishing innocents is necessary for the just end of catching the guilty.

      I suspect (2) is a false belief by the respondents. We can catch most real offenders with a preponderance of evidence without accepting every charge of sexual assault as true absent proof to the contrary.

      But (2) is usually false in such cases.

      For example, many think the use of the atomic bomb was necessary for a just resolution of the war, therefore knowing killing hundreds of thousands of non-combatants was justified.

      Leaving aside that DDE is bullshit, even given DDE, it's far from obvious that (2) holds. There was evidence at the time that a surrender could be achieved without a land invasion, as well as that it could be achieved with an atomic demonstration in less populated areas, and of course that it could be achieved with one, rather than two, bombs.

      Another example of how this kind of "evil", if that's what it is--as opposed, I'm inclined to think, to moral stupidity--is very banal.

      Delete
    18. 1:34, stop changing the subject. My post was a response to 9:50. It wasn't in any way, shape, or form, about Valenti.

      Delete
    19. Does Valenti assign zero weight to innocence or not?

      Delete
    20. 1:57, your rhetorical techniques are so formulaic and repetitive. Do you get them out of a book? Sophistry for Dummies, maybe? Introductory Douchebaggery: A Beginner's Course?

      Delete
  12. Some days I really like the community (such as it is) on this blog. Today with the regrets thread is one of those days.

    ReplyDelete
  13. After seven years of grad school at two top-ten departments (ABD twice) and two years of independent teaching, I found something else to do that actually involved skills I had acquired at the university, that eventually led to a teaching job (a personally rewarding sideline as an adjunct at a local graduate institution), and that paid all the bills in the meantime and gave me freedom to determine my own fate as a freelancer. I took that path 35 years ago and am now steering towards full retirement. I don't regret anything except not finishing the dissertation to please myself and my adviser (not a big regret, though). My "antiregret" is that I missed all those years of department "politics" (I could use more colorful language) and having my financial and personal life determined by it.

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  14. It looks like humanity has been on a break from Puritan insanity from 1960 to 2010 and now we're going back to the nineteenth century.

    Why are people doing this? I can understand Eric Schliesser because he is probably a repressed pedophile or something like that. But what about everybody else?

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    Replies
    1. "Why are people doing this?"

      Read Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt's Sept 2015 article, The Coddling of the American Mind in The Atlantic.

      Also, as posted above, read Jonathan Haidt, discussing the recent article by Campbell & Manning (2014), "Microaggression and moral cultures" (Comparative sociology), about the "culture of victimhood", here,

      "The key idea is that the new moral culture of victimhood fosters “moral dependence” and an atrophying of the ability to handle small interpersonal matters on one’s own. At the same time that it weakens individuals, it creates a society of constant and intense moral conflict as people compete for status as victims or as defenders of victims".

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  15. A few people upstream have gestured toward this point, with regard to the erotic longing / acting on erotic desires distinction, and I think it's worth drawing out a bit more.

    If you want to reflect on the "human condition", particularly on the complex and sometimes chaotic aspects of the human psyche, the last place you'll want to turn is contemporary "moral" philosophy. Of course, there are a few exceptions, namely, cases where a moral philosopher leans on some empirical literature. (Though to my mind too much of this stuff is shallow and unsophisticated, e.g. here's one study suggesting perhaps that disgust drives at least some purported moral judgment, now let's draw some overarching conclusions about morality as a whole.)

    But all too much contemporary work, blog posting, professional demeanor, etc., demands that these other facets of our inner lives don't exist; or that, if they do, we can't talk about them or depict them; or if we do talk about or depict them, we do so only to condemn and denounce them, perhaps to fit them into our own (very public) conversion story.

    Clearly part of becoming an adult is figuring out how to regulate our inner and outer lives. Denying and prudishly denouncing the former isn't a good means to that end, nor is it a good means to another important end, namely, learning the truth about ourselves.

    If you want to learn about these things, I think your time is better spent watching films, reading novels, etc. But best not to tell your peers - one of mine denounced a Louis CK routine for including some joke that wasn't in line with "proper" attitudes about global distributive justice. I've also heard things here and there about aesthetic aspects of artwork that we "shouldn't like," because, you know, they might not be morally appropriate.

    I've also encountered the same problem, but in reverse, that is, people who seem to think that if your paper is advancing global justice, then surely you shouldn't criticize it, or reject the argument entirely.


    It's hard to push back on this type of mindset, however, because who wants to be that guy/girl in the room saying, yeah that joke is offensive, but its apt, and its funny, and maybe you should just chill the fuck out? Or saying: yes, your paper is (heroically!) opposed to racism, but it's also incoherent. You don't want to be that person in the room, especially given that disagreement is now taken as a sign of being less than fully committed to, e.g., anti-racism, or erasing sexual harassment from the profession, or whatever.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. i think you do want to be that person. problem is, it usually ends up in you being in a "room" by yourself.

      Delete
    2. Actually, my experience has been that more and more people are receptive to calling bs on this behavior. I get the sense that there is something of a silent majority opposed to a lot of what passes as 'social justice' today. Time will tell whether there's anything like a critical mass that will do something about it.

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    3. well, that's heartening, 5:08. i have definitely found some surprising receptivity to anti-social justice privately even among people who are very pro-social justice publicly.

      i'm interested in the start of 12:31 about what focusing on action leaves out. i do think art is a more apt place to look for insight on the human condition, but i don't think philosophy is completely silent on the matter.

      Delete
  16. What is this blog, exactly? I came here from a Facebook post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Most other professional blogs have censored/moderated comments, 6:20. This one doesn't, which means it attracts the good the bad and the ugly. The "meta" in the title means that most of the comments here are about things that happen at other philosophy blogs. So if you decide to stick around, expect a lot of inside baseball.

      Welcome to the party.

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    2. You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy, and some really insightful and funny comments about academic philosophy and academic philosophers.

      Delete
    3. This isn't a blog, really, since there are no blog posts, only comments. Philosophers come here to vent.

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    4. Let me guess, as soon as a link to PMMB was posted, a SJW stepped in with a call for censorship...

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    5. and non-philosophers, unfortunately, 6:31, who are primarily interested in politics or "cultural politics" or whatever.

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    6. Ya the identity politics police show up here too

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    7. Yes, some of the most frequent commenters here are the ones who complain the most about it. And they say many of the things they complain about, just so they can complain about them. It's a very interesting mindset.

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    8. It's 4chan if you weren't allowed to post images and every user were a philosopher.

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    9. I just went on 4Chan. Now I know what vacbeds are. :(

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    10. 8:40: oh god. me too.

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    11. What's up with that? Ftw.

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  17. Replies
    1. Isn't it past your bedtime?

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    2. Yeah. But I don't wanna go to bed!!!!

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  18. Let me guess, as soon as a link to PMMB was posted, a SJW stepped in with a call for censorship...

    Ding ding ding... the usual suspects are already expressing their disgust that anyone mentioned the PMMB in polite company.

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    Replies
    1. I usually think posters here are exaggerating about censorship and heavy moderating. But holy crap, a link to the "what are your biggest regrets" thread was deleted from that huge "Academic Philosophers" Facebook group. And now other philosophers in my FB feed are warning their friends not to tell others about "unmoderated" philosophy blogs that are "not safe spaces"?

      Disgusting.

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    2. I don't blame the moderators for that kind of action, 7:54. The big FB group you're talking about has something like 1700 members, many of them students. In fact, I think it was a student who posted the link you're talking about. This isn't really a place for random students, and I don't think it's a positive face for the profession.

      Delete
    3. SJW = "social justice warrior", a somewhat pejorative term for slacktivism on Tumblr and Facebook.

      Delete
    4. It's not the most positive face, no. But polisci rumors sounds worse.

      Delete
    5. The comments before the thread was deleted (I happened to have it open in a tab):

      Aidan McGlynn This thread (unsurprisingly) features a bunch of anonymous nastiness about some of our colleagues. I'm not sure it's something that merits being shared to a wider audience.

      Kathryn Pogin I feel pretty comfortable saying that I'm sure it's not.

      Aidan McGlynn Kathryn Pogin British understatement, possibly not wisely used in this instance.

      Rachel V McKinnon Cesspool of hate...best to be avoided.

      Shane Nicholas Glackin Yep. Isn't the whole point of the PMMB that these people can just be cordoned off from civilization like some sort of island asshole colony, so the rest of the profession doesn't have to pay them any attention?

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    6. What "anonymous nastiness" is McGlynn talking about? On a Facebook group? Here? In the "regrets" thread?

      I need context.

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    7. pogin and mckinnon... good stuff

      Delete
    8. KP and RM doin what they do best - trolls gonna troll, bullies gonna bully.

      Delete
    9. Eli Roth, proud inhabitant of the "island asshole colony", imagines these SJW clowns "being eaten alive by cannibals".

      [Disclaimer: no SJWs were hurt during the making of this comment.]

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    10. I wonder whether Pogin will file a Title IX suit now, like she did the last time that someone said something she didn't like.

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    11. Oh that is funny, 12:09... mean... but funny.

      Delete
    12. What is McGlynn moaning about? Didn't Pogin try to get a female colleague fired?

      Delete
    13. I just woke up from a dream where I got into an argument with some SJW characters on Facebook who made it known that I was a PMMB reader/poster, and that a mass of people from here went to defend me there, but that this just fueled the social justice fire. I need to go outside more.

      Delete
    14. Surely one is not to be faulted just for reading and posting on the PMMB, since even the SJWs read and post here a lot. It matters, instead, what your posts actually say. Yes?

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    15. That's a crazy suggestion, 2:59 AM...so crazy that it just might be true.

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    16. I am micrroaggressed by 314's ableism.

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    17. and doesn't mckinnon come here to post transphobic comments about herself.......

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    18. RM has publicly denied ever doing this: "For the record, I have never once anonymously (or pseudonymously) attacked myself on a blog. That's stupid. You're stupid for believing that"

      Delete
    19. Thanks for making it that much harder to deny anonymous nastiness, 6:08. Do you have any evidence for that whatsoever? Unless you are somehow tracking people's IP addresses, I doubt it.

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    20. 6:16: since by my estimation P ( RM publicly admitting to attacking herself anonymously | RM attacking herself anonymously) = approximately 0, it's hard to see how this is evidence in her support.

      Delete
    21. The proprietor of the previous incarnation of metablog was tracking IPs and was the source of this claim. Given RM's wild non-anonymous toxicity, this isn't hard to believe.

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    22. The mods here rarely mod or post, but one of the few statements they've made strongly suggests that something like this was going on:

      "Sockpuppetry was rampant, which we know because we tracked IP addresses. (Contrary to speculation, the Blogger platform can be modified to accommodate this.) Some commentators would post incendiary (mean-spirited, misogynistic, racist, homophobic, transmisogynistic) remarks about Philosopher X, only to reply in the next comment with a spirited defense of Philosopher X. Comments of this sort often originated from the home institution or city of Philosopher X."

      I conclude from this note that for some X, either X or someone close to X (same institution) was involved with both attacks and defenses of X, which is in the same ballpark as what 6:08 was talking about.

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    23. Somebody needs to set up a FB account with a fake name and start posting links to interesting PMMB threads to the relevant FB groups.

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    24. Choosing to be at the center of this kind of shitstorm can't possibly be good for your career, can it?

      Can it? God I sure hope not.

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    25. ballpark, maybe. but it is very, very weak evidence on which to base not just an accusation or speculation but a straight out assertion that a particular person was doing this. For a start, even if that quote was taken as a particular reference to RM (when there are plenty of other people about whom incendiary remarks were made), there are plenty of people who (I'm sure) a. know her and b. work/study at the same institution or live in the same city.

      Delete
    26. Nah, lots of people support those who are under attack here. It's very likely that posers like Drabek or Schliesser have attacked themselves here. There were ridiculous, content-less posts against them, stating intentions to split their heads open (Drabek) or saying they look like a pedophile (Schliesser). Usually when PMMBers attack they hit where it hurts. So I think those angry, deranged posts are the work of people trying to pose as victims of the evil metabros.

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    27. 6:26, i've been reading this blog for a while, and i have never seen the mods make a particular claim about RM. If you meant the thing that 6:27 said, then your representation of it looks seriously (and deliberately) misleading.

      Delete
    28. because no true scotsman would spread those kinds of rumours, right, 6:39?

      Delete
    29. 6:47, are you seriously asserting that an empirical claim is an instance of the no true scotsman fallacy? do you understand what the no true scotsman fallacy is and the contexts in which it tends to be employed? i believe you should demonstrate this to an objective third party before you allow yourself to make another post.

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    30. 6:39 stated as evidence for the claim that certain posts were by drabek or schliesser a claim about what PMMBers usually do. But the whole question is whether those posts were by PMMBers or people posing as them in order to make themselves out to be victims. So asserting that those kinds of posts must be the work of the people being attacked because the content wasn't what PMMBers usually say *is* an example of the fallacy.

      Delete
    31. no it isn't. my god lol. please forward us a copy of your CV so we can accordingly downrate the institutions mentioned therein.

      a no true scotsman is not an empirical claim that someone is not actually a member of the group by reasonable standards. it is an imposition of unreasonable standards of group membership to exclude the offending party. e.g., it is not "jessica valenti didn't REALLY say those things, it must have been some MRA trying to discredit feminists" (that's called a "false flag"), it's "jessica valenti isn't REALLY a feminist, since no feminist would say those things" (or something of roughly that form).

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    32. RM is definitely a "PMMBer", if that means "someone who regularly reads and posts here". She was religiously linking to all the threads last year.

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    33. 7:03, way to miss the point. Reflect on the adverb 'usually' (given the reasonable assumption that most posts here are indeed by bona fide PMMBers).

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    34. 7::09, seeing as you are still not understanding:

      1.usually PPMBers hit where it hurts.
      2. those posts were contentless, deranged etc (so, didn't hit where it hurts)
      3. Those posts were not by PMMBers
      C. They were by people trying to pose as victims of PMMBers

      That's the argument. Now think about what's happening, The argument depends on a claim about what PMMBers usually do a person who disagreed with that claim would point to the posts that are deranged, contentless etc as a counterexample about the claim about what PMMBers usually do. But that argument claims that those posts are not what 'true' PMMBers usually do Get it now? I know it's difficult in real life when arguments don't mirror perfectly the forms of the stock examples you memorized.

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    35. so is the argument "usually cats have tails. that thing doesn't have a tail. so that's not a cat" also an example of the "no true scotsman fallacy"? please leave this sort of stuff to the serious people in the room.

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    36. you mean like people who bother to read posts? because you clearly didn't read mine if you think your cat example is a good response to what i was saying. So fuck off with all your patronizing bullshit about 'posting my cv' or 'leaving stuff to the serious people in the room'.

      Delete
    37. I don't know whether they post here anonymously, but I *do* know that a whole bunch of prominent progressive/feminist philosophers follow this blog obsessively. Hatereading or whatever.

      As for the 'best face of the profession', I think the PMMB is just as good a face as some obsessively curated blog where people only post politically correct views...at least free discussion is going on even if it occasionally it gets rough.

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    38. 8:06 kindly show me the disanalogy between that argument and 1-3 in what you posted directly above. you deserve to be patronized to because you are making egregious errors and don't seem to realize it. i can even add "those things are pretending to be cats" to look like C and it's still nothing like no true scotsman.

      Delete
  19. Replies
    1. TL;DR: a lot of people are getting sick and tired of censorious and controlling activists from the left and the right. These people can be called "cultural libertarians". Here is what they believe:

      "Free expression. No idea is too dangerous for cultural libertarians, who want total artistic and intellectual freedom. They often indulge in deliberately outrageous jokes and wacky opinions to test the boundaries of acceptability. Little wonder that the movement’s leaders often attract large followings from the the chaotic, politically incorrect world of anonymous imageboards like 4chan.

      Resisting identity politics and public shaming. The movement can also be seen criticising modern methods of cultural control and the neo-puritanism they say has infected modern cultural criticism. The newest of these is a rash of social justice-inspired online vigilantism where professional offence-takers use the power of social media to destroy the reputations and careers of their targets. Justine Sacco, who faced global outrage and the loss of her job over a single politically-incorrect joke, is one well-known victim. Astrophysicist Dr. Matt Taylor and biochemist Sir Tim Hunt were also victims of this modern form of thuggery.

      A sense of humour. Cultural libertarians combat anger with ridicule. There is a certain preposterousness to bloggers and social media addicts setting themselves up as a new priesthood, which makes them easy targets for comedy. As MIT Technology Review editor Jason Pontin puts it: “Tyrants, authoritarians and activists all hate the sound of laughter.” Cultural libertarians understand this instinctively.

      An end to nannying and “safe space” culture. Arrayed against the cultural libertarians is the control freakery of the establishment, left and right, and the second coming of political correctness as embodied in campus safe space movements. This latter movement claims that students are too fragile to be exposed to dangerous ideas, and that even mildly offensive speech can cause permanent emotional damage. On the internet, these activists enjoy the support of outlets like Vox and Buzzfeed.

      Defending personal freedom. Cultural libertarians may have their own opinions about how people should live their lives, or have low tolerance for offensive speech. But what distinguishes them from their opponents is their rejection of attempts to impose personal standards on others.

      Defending spaces for uncomfortable opinions. Reason columnist Cathy Young is a critic of the “misogynistic rhetoric” of masculinist bloggers like Daryush Valizadeh, but nonetheless defended Valizadeh’s right to speak after activists launched a campaign to ban him from Canada. Cultural libertarians are serious about protecting the the freedoms of people they despise.

      Fact over feelings. Hand in hand with their commitment to free speech goes a loathing for narrative-led journalism. Cultural libertarians are highly critical of “feelings over facts” in general, but particularly where it gives rise to failures in reporting such as the Duke Lacrosse case, the Rolling Stone debacle, “Mattress Girl” Emma Sulkowicz and GamerGate.

      Standing up for consumers and producers over hand-wringing middle-class panic merchants. Cultural libertarians are the natural allies of consumers and want fandoms to have access to a wide variety of culture and ideas. They also stand up for the right of publishers and content creators to experiment wildly with art and believe that nothing should be “off-limits” however uncomfortable it may make some people.

      Celebrating culture in all its forms. Cultural libertarians can be divided into three broad categories: vanguard hell-raisers who generate headlines by provoking social justice warriors, followed by a loose coalition of academics, journalists and social commentators who provide intellectual substance to the movement."

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    2. This article will read like a manifesto for a bunch of the philosophers who like PMMB.

      Delete
    3. That seems right to some extent, 8:25, but I was a little put off by emphases on "conservative" or "libertarian" angles in the article (not shocking from the source though). Where are the straight up and old-fashioned **liberals** who are against censorship and word policing? This should be blasted from the NYT, not Breitbart.

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    4. <3 this article! Thanks for linking.

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    5. Wow, this is great.

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    6. People should distinguish between libertarians, and civil libertarians by using the terms "libertarian" and "civil libertarian" imvho. People like the author of that (otherwise terrific) article.

      Delete
    7. 8:43 asks an interesting question about where the old-fashioned "liberals" - presumably meaning leftwing socialistic folks - are and why they aren't associated with the pushback against politically correct authoritarianism. I've wondered about this too. Especially given that some, especially it seems older, leftists seem very put off by the PC authoritarianism.

      But I have come to think that there is a good reason why PC authoritarianism is clearly, in a broad sense, a product of the left and there is a real tension here for leftists, I think. Here is the reason: the left is deeply mired in viewing social relations as products of oppression and manipulation. Economic oppression is a fundamental idea for the left. Racial oppression is something that has also become central. Sexual oppression was a natural addition to the list. The left sees people as groups of victims and oppressors. The problem now is that virtually everyone is claiming that he or she is a victim and oppressed and criticism is now being classified as oppression from the "privileged", the "patriarchy", etc. These claims have the trade-mark left structure. Of course, these claims have passed the point of any credibility. But I think the problem for the left is that they heartily endorse the victim/oppressor explanatory framework so forcefully that it becomes very hard for them to draw the line between legitimate/non-legitimate cases of victimhood and oppression. And given that their rhetorical bludgeon is the claim that their opponents are heartless, cruel dicks who don't care about the suffering of the victims it's going to be very hard for the sensible left to stand up against their out-of-control fellow leftists.

      In contrast, the right has never put any sort of central focus on the victim/oppressor conceptual structure. In fact, personal responsibility is a centerpiece. So, the right is naturally a foe of this politically correct authoritarianism madness.

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    8. That's a fine diagnosis, 7:03. I consider myself a liberal, and I think the "victim/oppressor" framework is useful and applicable to the real world. I just think the framework only applies, really, in cases of coercion. It applies for some cases of sexism and racism (slavery comes to mind), but not to others. It certainly doesn't apply to someone saying a word someone else finds distasteful or offensive.

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    9. 7:03,

      I think your account is pretty much on track, but there's more to add to it.

      One thing that has also been basic to the left belief system is the idea that perceived injustices or inequities can always be corrected by directed and aggressive social or political change. Conservatives, almost by definition, do not believe that is always or even usually possible.

      Now there are two broad categories of Conservatives. One believes that a kind of cultural change can indeed bring about better outcomes, namely, adoption of a philosophy of personal responsibility and of a fairly rigid moral and/or religious framework. The other believes that inalterable aspects of human nature lie behind most perceived injustices and inequities in society, and so hope for change is futile and destructive.

      Of course, intelligent leftists have always allowed themselves room for the constraints of human nature. Rawls, for example, made an important point of working his system of justice around the different genetic propensities individuals may display.

      But there a very few (any?) intelligent leftists among us today. Leftists today can't seem to stop themselves from insisting that all human beings -- or, most importantly, all human groups and both genders -- display the exact same distribution of traits from a genetic point of view.

      But what if there are such differences on average between some human groups, or between the two genders?

      Well, this finding would be pretty easy for the second kind of Conservative (the sort who holds human nature to be the cause of many inequities) to deal with, or for the intelligent leftist. But there aren't so many of the second kind of Conservative -- most Conservatives today are every bit as much on the "we have the wrong kind of culture" bandwagon as their leftist counterparts, differing only on what the right kind of culture might be. And there are essentially NO intelligent leftists of the Rawlsian stripe (or at least none who really embrace the possibility of very consequential genetic differences).

      The leftists of today are one and all identity politicians. And identity politics almost inherently is based on the idea that groups and genders are the same at a basic, genetic level.

      It is really this belief that drives today's left to the extremes it goes: the inequities are great; the only account of it is cultural; therefore, only radical change of culture can remedy those inequities.

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    10. 7:03 & 7:13: My sense is that although standard issue liberals accept something roughly like the victim/oppressor framework, they think it is primarily applicable to economic activity. There are "capitalists" oppressing "workers" and "corporations" oppressing "the people" and most other forms of oppression are secondary. They directly or indirectly result from the primary source of oppression: economic oppression. Which makes prima facie sense; if, say, black people as a group had more economic power they would stand a better chance of influencing policy so as to reign in police abuse and, absent that, could more easily move to places police are less likely to be abusive. Anyway, friends of mine who accept this sort of framework--personally I'm more libertarian leaning--seem to be just as fed up with PC nonsense because, at the end of the day, they don't think "checking your privilege" does anything to address economic oppression.

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    11. It's not surprising that there are sex differences since sexual differentiation has been present for the entire evolutionary line of homo sapiens; indeed, even since before homo sapiens.

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    12. Jacobin has published some anti-identity politics pieces, i think.

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    13. 9:37 writes:

      "7:03 & 7:13: My sense is that although standard issue liberals accept something roughly like the victim/oppressor framework, they think it is primarily applicable to economic activity. There are "capitalists" oppressing "workers" and "corporations" oppressing "the people" and most other forms of oppression are secondary. They directly or indirectly result from the primary source of oppression: economic oppression. Which makes prima facie sense; if, say, black people as a group had more economic power they would stand a better chance of influencing policy so as to reign in police abuse and, absent that, could more easily move to places police are less likely to be abusive. Anyway, friends of mine who accept this sort of framework--personally I'm more libertarian leaning--seem to be just as fed up with PC nonsense because, at the end of the day, they don't think "checking your privilege" does anything to address economic oppression."

      I don't doubt that your friends voice repugnance at PC nonsense, nor do I question their convictions about justice. But I want to voice skepticism concerning the claim that 'standard issue liberals' believe that economic injustice is the source of the oppression they are interested in. Without knowing what you mean by 'standard issue', let's consider the leftists we see touting the identity-politics line in academia today. These people seem to be almost totally focused on the plight of some gender or race, and concern with economics has little to do with it. Not for nothing, these people often belong to the gender or race they are interested in, and they are themselves children of privilege.

      Consider all the consternation over the need to give women in philosophy a 'market boost' of one form or another. Where is the concern with economic injustice in any of that? Or look at the assimilation of Boko Haram to the 'plight' of women in STEM we read about on Feminist Philosophers:

      "WOMEN ARE MISSING. From the missing and murdered aboriginal women in Canada, to the schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram in Nigeria, to the women who are missing from the Chinese population due to the One Child policy, the vulnerability and expendability of women is an international scandal. Less tragic but just as ubiquitous is the absence of women internationally from political leadership and from full participation in economic life. Within academe too, women are starkly underrepresented in the STEM disciplines and in senior academic administration."

      When in the comment section it was pointed out that Boko Haram is killing young boys, we were treated to an offended response meant to keep the focus on the identity in question, coupled with a moral condemnation of those questioning the relevance of that identity to the problem at hand.

      The identity politicking of today's left is, in practice, a parlor game of the sons and daughters of privilege. It is very little interested in genuine injustice, and wherever the party-line is questioned, it positively suppresses discussion of the matters of fact that surround these injustices.

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    14. The three main political philosophies which emerged in the early Enlightenment through to, say, the revolutions of 1848, are,
      - Liberalism (Locke, the Whigs, Montesquieu, Voltaire,...),
      - Conservativism (Hume, Burke, the Tories),
      - Socialism (Rousseau, Owen, Fourier, Marx).

      It is better to discuss the trend towards "identity politics' by bearing these in mind. For liberalism and socialism were always universalist. "Identity politics" is anti-universalist - i.e., particularist.

      Liberals, socialists and conservatives are all fully aware of economic oppression or inequalities, but tend to have different, often sharply disagreeing, ways of dealing with it.

      "Identity politics" is not something consistent with the usual universalist ideas of either liberalism or socialism. It is, in fact, ideologically closer to conservatism, since conservatives have always stressed the particular, the social significance of traditions, and the variation of culture.

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    15. 10:39, you're missing the role that universalism plays in motivating identity politics. You need to add a premise of pretty strong universal equality in order to validate the standard inference from underperformance to oppression, which is precisely what it provides.

      (On which: http://malcolmpollack.com/2015/07/21/a-respectful-whistle/)

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    16. Univeralism is a doctrine about rights, not performance.

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    17. I'm 10:39/11:03. To be clear. I understand universalism to be what various declarations of "Universal Rights of the Citizen" have said, going back to the English Bill of Rights (1689) and forward to the UN Declaration of Human Rights (1948). This involves no claims about outcomes or performance. These declarations of rights concern legal and moral issues and are silent about empirical correlations.

      I am saying that "identity politics" is inconsistent with this, by replacing universal rights with particularist, identity-based, rights.

      Yes, indeed, there is an empirical inference from performance to oppression. This is a mysterious inference. It needs to be proved, and not merely asserted by advocates of "identity politics".

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    18. I am saying that "identity politics" is inconsistent with this, by replacing universal rights with particularist, identity-based, rights.

      I don't see how. Suppose I think that everyone has a right to respond in some aggrieved way if they're being oppressed, or on behalf of oppressed groups, etc etc. That (plus a bunch of empirical claims about who is oppressed) seems like a non-terrible rational reconstruction of the views of some identity-politickers. In what way is that position inconsistent with universalism? (Think of the "right" operator as taking wide scope over the conditional, if you think that makes a difference).

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    19. "Identity politics" is a particularist outlook. It invents various "oppressor/oppressed" binaries, assigning them to collective groups (as opposed to individuals). With these come particularist rights, as opposed to universalist rights, which hold of all individuals, irrespective of identity status.

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    20. not trying to be a jerk but surely reference to pro-identity politics works themselves will be illuminating here? i have a vague sense that some of them reject universalism and some of them try as 11:59 did to locate identity politics within it

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    21. I think it's more illuminating to look at how identity politicians behave rather than at what they say. The cases 10:19 discusses seem emblematic.

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    22. I think it's more illuminating to look at how identity politicians behave in actual cases rather than at what they say about the abstract cases. The situations 10:19 discusses seem typical.

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  20. https://www.thefire.org/guilty-until-proven-innocent-receives-support-at-congressional-sex-assault-hearing/

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    1. This is stupid.

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    2. polis's comments or the article, 5:48?

      here's a question: do some forms of consequentialism require this? what about with more serious crimes? surely there is a kind of aggregated anti-trolley problem for mass murder, for instance: if God is going to roll a die and, based on the roll, one of six people will kill a hundred, killing all six seems fairly reasonable

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    3. If you're a consequentialist you might just not give a shit about guilt or innocence at all. Lonesome Stranger case and all that.

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  21. When I try to post here with TOR browser my posts just disappear. Anyone else had this problem?

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    1. You have to do something special to the Tor client settings to make it work with Blogger, and someone linked to a guide for doing that way back when. I don't remember the trick. Anyone have the link handy?

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    2. You have to enable cookies in settings

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  22. This is the most interesting discussion of tubers I've ever read!

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  23. http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/09/the-rise-of-victimhood-culture/404794/

    Bring back dueling, I say...

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