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Friday, January 04, 2019

Links - 4th January 2019 (2)

Kamala Harris Draws Parallels between ICE & KKK
The liberal bubble is strong

Why Nationalism Is Better Than Cultural Pluralism - "Critics of nationalism often point to the fact that it is a relatively novel doctrine, and they’re not wrong to do so. What they tend to neglect, however, is that the same can be said of nationalism’s chief rival: the ideal of a cultural pluralism that is bereft of hierarchy. In liberal circles, “nationalism” is typically understood as a divisive, exclusionary force, usually in implicit contrast with some form of cultural pluralism, and so to identify as a nationalist is to declare oneself a chauvinist. But as McNeill suggests, nationalism can be understood as a unifying alternative to a society built on polyethnic hierarchy, in which a series of hereditary ethnic castes live together in uneasy peace, usually with some dominating the others. It is polyethnic hierarchy that has been the norm throughout modern history, not national unity or egalitarian pluralism. One could argue that the dream of pluralism without hierarchy is at least as chimerical as that of an egalitarian nationalism built on the melting and fusing together of once-distinct groups, if not far more so. McNeill’s stylized history gives us a sense of what we’re up against as we try to build decent and humane societies amidst entrenched ethnic divisions, and why so many modern thinkers have embraced the politics of national unity... McNeill concluded his argument with a prediction that is darkly relevant to the present day: “Social strains and frictions are almost sure to increase within nations playing host to different ethnic groups; and sporadic resort to riot and even wholesale murder is likely.”He also pointed to the fundamental challenge of polyethnicity throughout world history: “Efforts to sustain equality in face of actual differences in skill and custom have met with very limited success … Other civilized societies have almost always accepted and enforced inequality among the diverse ethnic groups of which they were composed.”"

No, nationalism is not a dirty word or Trump property - "While commemorating World War I’s armistice, France’s Emmanuel Macron just claimed, incorrectly: “Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism by saying ‘Our interest first. Who cares about the others?’”That’s xenophobia, not nationalism. Europe illustrates the dangers of delegitimizing nationalism as group bigotry: governments fail to protect their own national interests and borders, triggering fanatic overreactions, further giving nationalism a bad name.After Trump used that n-word, The New York Times reported wrongly that “as a general rule, presidents do not refer to themselves as a ‘nationalist,’” as it’s only associated “with racist movements.” No liberal, no proud, patriotic American should allow Trump or anyone else to hijack the term “nationalism” and seize it for one party.Actually, most presidents use adjectives to distinguish constructive liberal nationalism from its evil twin. Since 1715, “nationalist” means “one characterized by national tendencies or sympathies.” Macron should know that “nationalism,” from the French “nationalisme,” emerged in 1844... Countries without nationalism are like people without souls, unable to stretch, soar, mobilize. People say “find a better word”; I say “take back the night.”"

‘We must never take free speech for granted’ - "I grew up in one of the most liberal, tolerant societies in the world: Denmark. No one ever thought about free speech because it was just as natural as breathing the air. And then we had the cartoon crisis, which was the wake-up call for me. It has shaped both my interest in and understanding of free speech, not only because it was such a dramatic event but also because it dawned on me how vulnerable free speech is... Denmark is a secular, liberal democracy, among the most liberal in the world. But it wasn’t always so. If you go back to the Enlightenment, Denmark was the horror story that people like Thomas Paine and earlier Whigs like Robert Molesworth wrote about to warn about the dangers of absolutist rule and what happens when you mix religion and politics. Lutheranism had become the state church and it suppressed everyone in Denmark. From a historical point of view, that’s the recent past, so we should really not take for granted that we are a secular, liberal democracy that has free speech... You can have your ideas – freedom of religion is protected. But freedom of religion does not give you the right to tell others to stop offending your beliefs.
spiked: Throughout Europe there also seems to be an unofficial, cultural pressure that acts as an informal blasphemy law. Is that just as significant?
Mchangama: It is very significant. If you read George Orwell or John Stuart Mill, they make it very clear that the prevailing orthodoxy among the elites about what you can and cannot say acts as at least as big a barrier to free speech as the law. Particularly, in democratic societies that don’t formally prosecute lots of speech. But I would say that when it comes to Islam, fear plays an important role. You cannot blame journalists and people in the arts for being afraid and having to take their security into account. But I think it is absolutely crucial that they are honest about it. Rather than say, ‘we did this out of respect’, they should come out and say, ‘we would have liked to publish a cartoon of Muhammad, but we were afraid of doing it’. That then shows us where the red lines are... The current Danish centre-right government has introduced more restrictions on free speech than any other since the Second World War"

When it comes to life-saving CPR, men are too worried about touching women: Teitel - "According to a new study published by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, women suffering cardiac arrest are less likely than men to receive CPR from bystanders in public spaces. The study looked at more than 19,000 cases around the United States in which people suffered cardiac arrest in public, and researchers determined that while 45 per cent of men were given CPR by bystanders, only 39 per cent of women received the procedure. One possible reason for this discrepancy? Researchers believe that some male bystanders may be hesitant to perform CPR on women because they don’t want to touch their chests. After all, CPR requires that a rescuer press down on the chest of the person who needs saving... I spoke to two CPR professionals who told me that though they hope men don’t walk away from CPR instruction afraid to perform the procedure on women, many students begin first-aid class harbouring a host of fears about performing CPR — from getting sued, to contracting a disease, to being accused of sexual misconduct"
Of course she blames sexism

Why are black poor Americans more optimistic than white ones? - "black and Hispanic people are much less likely than white people to report depression or commit suicide.Some of this may be due to resilience built up over generations of hardship - as seen in many poor countries.Informal safety nets may also play a role - such as the community surrounding black churches and extended Hispanic families... they also have a strong sense of black culture and community: factors that are difficult to measure but undoubtedly important.It is a picture similar to the strong sense of community and culture that helps explain why Latin Americans report higher levels of happiness than those in regions with comparable or higher incomes."

Australians love Asian food, so why doesn't it win as many awards as Italian?
Apparently an emphasis on fresh and good quality ingredients, a large wine list, good service, the focus being on big pieces of meat instead of cheap carbs and plating have nothing to do with it with why expensive 'white' food is seen as more elevated than cheap Asian (or why Japanese is the most accepted Asian cuisine in fine dining)
Presumably due to cultural expectations, people think a burger made from chuck and fries is more high class than Chinese aristocrat cuisine

Supporters raise $135,000 for teacher who pummeled 14-year-old student who called him the n-word - "A racial taunt turned a California classroom into the site of a brawl between two unlikely participants last week: a 64-year-old music teacher and a 14-year-old student. Days later, thousands of supporters have flooded a GoFundMe account, raising more than $135,000.The altercation began at Maywood Academy High School in Maywood, California, when Marston Riley asked a male student, who was improperly dressed and in violation of the school uniform rules, to leave the room, the Sacramento Bee reported. A cellphone video shows the teenager refusing, then throwing a basketball at the teacher, who is black, and saying, “Why you wisecracking, my n—–?”... students gathered outside the school holding posters lined with music notes that read: “Riley deserves better” and “Justice for Riley.”"
Words speak louder than actions - why is why a teacher gets so much money for beating up a student

Peter Beinart: Will the Democratic Party Go Too Far? - "The Democrats aren’t just changing their rhetoric and campaign-finance model. They are embracing Big Government policies dismissed as utopian or irresponsible only a year or two ago. During the 2016 campaign, Hillary Clinton criticized Sanders’s plan for making tuition free at public colleges. By January 2017, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo—long known as an ally of Wall Street and a critic of excessive government spending—was onstage with Sanders announcing that New York would institute its own free-college plan. In the spring of 2018, Booker—once considered so centrist that in 2013 The Atlantic published an article titled “Why Do Liberals Hate Cory Booker?”—introduced legislation to help localities with high unemployment rates offer guaranteed federal jobs, an expansion of government so dramatic that even Sanders had not proposed it during his campaign.One reason for this shift is the growing influence that activists now enjoy within the party... In ways that would have been hard to imagine in the Clinton and Obama eras, Democratic politicians are themselves crossing back and forth between participation in the political system and agitation outside it... In 2015, Sanders hired as chief economist for the Democrats on the Senate Budget Committee an academic who believes that federal deficits generally don’t matter. Progressive commentators now routinely publish articles with headlines like “Stop Trying to Be ‘Responsible’ on the Budget, Democrats” (The Washington Post) and “Yes, Democrats Are the Party of Fiscal Responsibility. But That Will (and Should) Change” (Vox)... That will leave future Democrats with a choice. They can limit their ambitions to whatever Republicans won’t block. They can dramatically expand the use of reconciliation, which might require replacing the Senate parliamentarian. Or they can make it harder—or even impossible—to filibuster legislation. These latter steps would not violate the law. But they would enrage Republicans and fuel the sense that, post-Trump, anything goes.Finally, and most radically, Democrats could follow Roosevelt’s example and try to pack a recalcitrant Supreme Court. The idea, which Democrats barely discussed before Trump’s election, is gaining steam. In recent months, writers for The Washington Post, Vox, The Intercept, the Los Angeles Times, The New Republic, and The American Prospect have either endorsed it or declared it worthy of serious debate. Advocates for overturning the filibuster and packing the Supreme Court argue that both institutions flout the popular will. Republican senators disproportionately hail from less populous states. Four of the five conservative justices were appointed by Republican presidents who’d lost the popular vote. As an article in the influential socialist journal Jacobin recently argued, “Sometimes you have to break the rules to create a more democratic system.”In the short term, this strategy could work... [a] lesson of the 1930s and the 1960s is that threatening entrenched norms and disrupting public order—although effective for a while—can eventually provoke a fierce backlash"
Democratic safeguards are bad when they inhibit the Democratic agenda

Prof sues over gender pronoun usage - "A professor at a public university in Ohio is suing the school, claiming he was punished for not calling a student by their preferred pronoun... when Meriwether declined to address the student as a female, the student allegedly told the professor, “then I guess this means I can call you a c**t.”"
So much for compelled speech being a paranoid right wing conservative fantasy

Professor who assaulted pro-life student will speak at U. Oregon black feminist series - "a professor at the University of California-Santa Barbara stole a sign from a pro-life campus demonstration and physically attacked a teenager who tried to retrieve it, drawing her blood.Mireille Miller-Young not only got to keep her job, but she’s being honored by the University of Oregon this week.The taxpayer-funded university’s Department of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies is featuring Miller-Young as the first presenter in its “black feminist speaker series.” The professor of feminist studies will “discuss her work on black feminism, labor and sex work.”The series will tackle “the radical potential of black feminism in the work that we do on campus and in our everyday lives”... After her altercation with pro-life students in 2014, she told police she had set a good moral example for her students by stealing the property of a group that “triggered” her... Supportive professors from across the country sent letters to the judge, defending Miller-Young as a victim of the “cultural legacy of slavery” and of “violent images … meant to traumatize,” referring to the graphic abortion images the student group was using."
Yet we only hear about "far right" violence
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