Abortion became “choice,” now this:
Worried the term “female genital mutilation” might sharpen the divide between those who oppose brutally cutting away a little girl’s genitalia to deprive her of sexual pleasure and those who practice the “rite,” one New York Times editor instead refers to the ritual as “genital cutting.”
“There’s a gulf between the Western (and some African) advocates who campaign against the practice and the people who follow the rite, and I felt the language used widened that chasm,” NYT science and health editor Celia Dugger explained Friday. She also said the widely used term (FGM) is “culturally loaded” in the explanation, which came as a result of inquiries from The Daily Caller News Foundation regarding a reporter’s decision to use the term “cutting” in a recent story about a doctor in Michigan.
These monsters are hurting girls. Hurt them back until they stop. If that creates a “gulf,” too bad.
Posted at 10:14 AM | Permalink
About as much as you’d expect, as revealed by his take on shutting down an Ann Coulter speech:
Dean cites three court cases, and he mischaracterizes the decisions in all of them. The first case he references, Snyder v. Phelps, was an 8 to 1 decision in favor of the Westboro Baptist Church’s freedom to chant the horrible slogans and hold up the horrible banners it favors at a military funeral. If the church is free to protest at a military funeral, it makes no sense to argue that Ann Coulter is not free to give a speech at Berkeley. Dean is perhaps unknowingly citing a case that argues the reverse of his position.
The second case Dean cites, Virginia v. Black, struck down a state law that deemed cross-burning a prima facie attempt at intimidation. The decision was complicated, with multiple justices concurring in part and dissenting in part, but its upshot was that if prosecutors wanted to charge someone with a crime for burning a cross, they had to prove that the cross-burner intended his action as a threat.
“Criminal threats”, “intimidation” and criminal harassment are already crimes on the books in many states. If Ann Coulter explicitly threatens an individual in her speech, she can be charged with a crime for that. But whatever her flaws, Coulter is unlikely to make an explicit incitement to violence in a speech at Berkeley.
The third case Dean cites, Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire, has come up a bit more frequently as of late. Eugene Volokh points out that while the Chaplinsky precedent hasn’t yet been struck down, subsequent decisions have drastically narrowed its definition of “fighting words.” In 1971, the court ruled that a vulgar phrase on a jacket didn’t fall within said definition because it was unlikely that any “individual actually or likely to be present could reasonably have regarded the words” to be “a direct personal insult.” In R.A.V. v. City of St. Paul, the Court struck down a hate-crime statute, decreeing that the state can restrict speech to a certain “time, place, or manner,” but only if those restrictions were “justified without reference to the content of the regulated speech.” (I.e., the government can ban flag-burning by, say, banning all outdoor fires in certain areas, but not explicitly because it dishonors the U.S. flag.)
Posted at 03:44 PM | Permalink
Posted at 08:39 AM | Permalink
A good summary of what’s going on with Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his power grab from Daniel Pipes, with this conclusion:
Sadly, Western responses to Erdogan have been confused and weak-kneed. Angela Merkel agreed to hauling comedian Jan Böhmermann into court for ridiculing Erdogan. Donald Trump actually congratulated Erdogan on his tyrannic victory and rewarded him with a meeting next month. And Australians defer on account of the Gallipoli commemorations.
It’s time to see Recep Tayyip Erdogan for the dictatorial, Islamist, anti-Western egomaniac he is, and protect his neighbors and ourselves from the damage he is already causing and the greater problems to come. Removing U.S. nuclear weapons from the Incirlik air base would be one step in the right direction; even better would be to put Ankara on notice that its active NATO membership is in jeopardy pending a dramatic turnaround in behavior.
Posted at 06:54 PM | Permalink
Student thuggery against non-leftist viewpoints is in the news again. Agitators at Claremont McKenna College, Middlebury College, and the University of California’s Berkeley and Los Angeles campuses have used threats, brute force and sometimes criminal violence over the past two months in efforts to prevent Milo Yiannopoulos, Charles Murray, Ann Coulter and me from speaking. As commencement season approaches, expect “traumatized” students to try to disinvite any remotely conservative speaker, an effort already under way at Notre Dame with regard to Vice President Mike Pence.
This soft totalitarianism is routinely misdiagnosed as primarily a psychological disorder. Young “snowflakes,” the thinking goes, have been overprotected by helicopter parents, and now are unprepared for the trivial conflicts of ordinary life.
Campus intolerance is at root not a psychological phenomenon but an ideological one. At its center is a worldview that sees Western culture as endemically racist and sexist. The overriding goal of the educational establishment is to teach young people within the ever-growing list of official victim classifications to view themselves as existentially oppressed. One outcome of that teaching is the forceful silencing of contrarian speech.
Posted at 10:15 AM | Permalink
The man from Nebraska identifies the real problems:
The rise of suburbia and exurbia, and the hollowing out of mediating institutions, is an echo of the changing nature of work. In the 1970s, it was common for a primary breadwinner to spend his career at one company, but now workers switch jobs and industries at a more rapid pace. We are entering an era in which we’re going to have to create a society of lifelong learners. We’re going to have to create a culture in which people in their 40s and 50s, who see their industry disintermediated and their jobs evaporate, get retrained and have the will and the chutzpah and the tools and the social network to get another job. Right now that doesn’t happen enough.
For one thing, we don’t have a national-security strategy for the age of cyberwarfare and jihad. Since the 1640s and the Treaty of Westphalia, we’ve had a view of geopolitics and national security that is about state actors. There are lots of state-actor problems out there, including Russia and China. But of the 200 or so countries in the world, only about two-thirds really control all their territory.
The rest are more like Afghanistan, Syria or Libya. There may be some entity that has more power than anyone else—think of the Taliban on the eve of 9/11. But we weren’t attacked by the Taliban; we were attacked by al Qaeda, which exploited the vacuums of ungoverned spaces in the territorial borders of Afghanistan. A lot of the dangers and the threats we face are from jihadi-motivated people who are going to self-radicalize in place and create their own terror networks.
We also lack seriousness about tackling the entitlement crisis. The Republican Party appears almost as indifferent as the Democrats to telling the truth about entitlements. People talk about the national debt, which is approaching $20 trillion. But that’s just the total of intergovernmental transfers and publicly held bond debt. The number that matters is the unfunded obligations of the U.S. government, including future Social Security and Medicare payments. It’s more like $65 trillion to $75 trillion.
And what about the policy implications of the economic disruption? The cultural, societal, familial and social-network responses to a world of lifelong learning and job disruption are far more important. But there are many potential policy responses in education and job retraining. Are any of these conversations on our national agenda right now?
Posted at 08:46 PM | Permalink