Logic 090

Want to get docked a letter grade on your argument?

Call it “evidence-based”.

Seriouslly.

We are seeing this phrase from an awful lot of groups, especially media, to try and market themselves as authoritative, objective, and “not fake“.

(Dishonorable mention to Minnesota and National Public Radio who’ve been leading with the equally-dumb “fact-based”).

The phrase isn’t “meaningless”, per se – but it does prey on the gullibility of the audience.

Virtually every argument that goes past the level of the thesis statement is based on some kind of “evidence“ or another, including every single conspiracy theory that more than three people share.

The flat earth theory is “evidence-based“: the evidence is too narrow in scope, obsolete or just plain wrong, but it is in fact evidence.

Phrenology – the practice of medicine based around measuring bumps on peoples heads – what evidence-based. It turned out the evidence led to a faulty conclusion.

Hair strand analysis -= the story of the structure of hair – was considered as infallible as DNA is today, for purposes of evidence in criminal proceedings. The “evidence-based” study of hair strands was considered so authoritative it sent many people to death row over the years.

But it turned out that the interpretation of the evidence, as knowledge of other ividence grew, meant that hair strand analysis turned out to be completely useless for establishing identity, and is today not a whole not more respected than phrenology or the flat earth theroy.

Evidence is not a conclusioni. It’s not distilled truth, in and of itself.

Evidence is the “table stakes” in a rational, informed debate that gets us, eventually, to the truth.

Anyone who treats that phrase otherwise deserves a sound mocking.

Definitions

SCENE: Mitch BERG is eating a skewer of souvlaki at a local greek joint when Avery LIBRELLE walks in. BERG tries to hide behind a menu, but LIBRELLE sees him, walks over.

LIBRELLE: Merg!

BERG: Oh, hey, Avery…

LIBRELLE: You people are so paranoid!

BERG: OK, I”ll bite. How, this time?

LIBRELLE: They’re not teaching Critical Race Theory in schools.

BERG: Do tell.

LIBRELLE: Critical race theory is taught in law schools and sociology programs.

BERG: Y’know, this reminds me of the conversation I have with anti-gunners, condescendingly cooing “nobody’s coming for your guns.

LIBRELLE: More paranoia. Nobody’s coming for your guns

BERG: Right. So I point out that politicians say that that’s exactly what they’re going to do – Joe Biden said it himself on is campaign website…

LIBRELLE: That’s just talk, not policy…

BERG: Right. That’s the inevitable next line. So I point to gun control legislation jammed down in New York, Colorado and Virginia in the past few years, and they say…(motions toward LIBRELLE)

LIBRELLE: They’re not coming for your guns right this moment.

BERG: Right. According to you all, I can’t be concerned about gun control until there’s a BATFE agent beating down my door with a photocopied warrant.

But let’s get back on subject. CRT…

LIBRELLE: Isn’t being taught.

BERG: The VIrginia Department of Education says it is.

LIBRELLE: But you can’t prove that it’s being taught in classrooms!

BERG: Teachers are most definitely teaching students that America is inseparably and irredeemably rooted in racism, that “whiteness” and racism are inseparable, that the police were originally an extension of Slave Patrols, and that the Second Amendment was framed to defend slavery and nothing more. All of which are part and parcel of CRT.

LIBRELLE: Again, CRT is taught in law schools and post-secondary education.

BERG: So none of those things are taught in schools.

LIBRELLE: Of course they are.

BERG: And they are all inseparable from CRT.

LIBRELLE: No. Its not CRT.

BERG: What is it, then?

LIBRELLE: It’s a theory about race, that criticizes.

BERG: But not CRT?

LIBRELLE: Of course not.

BERG: (looks down at menu). Look at how the price of pita has gone up…

LIBRELLE: (Looks down) Huh?

But BERG has slipped away.

And SCENE

White Progressive Hipster Affectation #2

I more or less figured that the “Defund” initiative in Minneapolis was going to be a white progressive thing (along with “people of color” who work in the non-profit/industrial complex).

It’s been a long-time narrative-busting truism that people who actually live in crime-ridden neighborhoods want more police presence.

They’d like that presence to act fairly, to treat the locals with the respect due taxpayers in a free society, and to not get treated like criminals until proven otherwise – but they want law and order. Becuase while they may or may not put it in as many words, they understand something I razz libertarians for not getting; without some sense of order, prosperity is impossible; without prosperity, liberty is academic. (And, of course, order without liberty is onerous and tyrannical; that part, they get).

With that in mind, here are the result from Tuesday on the Defund the Police initiative:

I’m not in the least surprised of the intensity of support in the tony, boho Southeast (perversely, the darkest-green blob on the Northeast of the map), or hipster-plagued Northeast (again, perversely, the north central part of the map, and least of all Longfellow and the near South Side and the Wedge (the green splotches around the middle of the city); this is the home of the non-profiteers, the recent college grads and the like.

I’m a little shocked that the far Southwest, and the western border, were such strong “no” votes, though. Ward 11 – along the south dentral border – ejected Councilman Schroeder over this initiative. Democrats with money apparently believe they have something to lose after all.

Not surprising in the least? The North Side (actually the Northwest qjuadrant of the map) where the actual crime is curbstomped the initiative, taking down Philippe Cunningham (the far northwest part of the city) and almost Jeremiah Ellison in the process (just south of him).

When Don Samuels came out sounding like a Montana state legislator on the law-and-order subjects, I knew something was up. I had no idea it’d be this decisive.

Strib Editorial, 2041

“So, why are Minneapolis and Saint Paul simultaneously gentrified to the hilt, plagued with blight, and devoid of “affordable housing” in 2041?”

Do you suppose anyone will make the connection?

I mean, the odds of people getting smarter between now and then don’t look great…

Even Odds

When President Brandon talked about the rising price of fuel and the hob that’s playing on the world economy at the big “climate” summit in Scotland…

…I asked myself – has he forgotten that his administration canceled Keystone XL and revoked exploration permits on federal land?

Or is he just assuming that Democrat voters aren’t bright enough to remember it?

Remediation

To: Democrat Strategists
From: Mitch Berg, Obstreporous Peasant
Re: Election results

Dear Dem Strategists:

How to rebuild? Here’s a thought:

And more riot talk. Lots more talk about riots.

Keep up the good work.

That is all.

Radical Racism

Virginia is so racist, it just elected its first black woman as Lieutenant Governor.

Jamaican-born Winsome Sears, a former Marine and assemblywoman…

…is the new black face of white supremacy, I guess:

Off To A Bad Start

Not sure this was foreshadowing the evening’s vote in Minneapolis, but when Angela Conley, a Hennepin County commissioner who favors banning the police reported a carjacking…maybe…

…it may not have ended well.

No worse than the evening ended up for Philippe Cunningham and Jeremy Schroeder , two city council bots who had strongly favored defunding the MPD.

Minneapolis rejected the “public safety” amendment. Which prompted a bit of pique:

While some white progressives were upset, it was interesting reading the results of the police question broken down by precinct. In the upset wards – Cunningham’s Ward Four, far north Minneapolis, where the people who actually need to worry about crime live, and Schroder’s Ward 11, the far south, where people who have something to lose live, the charter amendment got clobbered.

Jacob Frey appears on his way to re-election once IRV wends its mysterious ways – Kate Knuth and Sheila Nezhad were unable to play the IRV game well enough to trick enough votes into their various columns.

Now, to settle in and see what’s happening in Virginia and New Jersey…

Grift And Counter-Grift

So Ibram X. Kendo has built an entire (lucrative) career out of claiming “whiteness” is an innate advantage in our society.

And to prove it, he shows white applicants…

Not sure where Kendi gets his numbers. Either, I’m sure, is Kendi.

…renouncing their race?

The Why We War

I write a blog, and do a talk show, that covers a fair amount of politics.

People jump from that to assuming I looooove politics.

It’s not true. Truth be told, I hate ’em.

But just because you’re not interested in politics doesn’t mean they’re not interested in you.

Charles Cook lays it out as well as anyone in this bit here.

Pullquote:

If, like me, you believe without irony, exaggeration, or caveat, that the United States of America remains the last, great hope of mankind, then you have no choice but to fight those who would “transform” it. If, like me, you believe that America was exceptional before its Founding, was exceptional at the time of its Founding, has been exceptional throughout its 250-year history, and remains exceptional to this day, then you have no choice but to resist the entreaties of those who consider its run thus far to have been a pernicious lie. If, like me, you believe that the world benefits enormously from American leadership — and that, if and when we reach the point at which another nation is in the driving seat, we will regret it enormously — then you have no choice but to try to keep it on top. And if, like me, you believe that the American system of government — which represents the only remaining ossification of core Anglo-American ideals in the world — is a work of astonishing genius that must not be tinkered with for temporary political gain, then you have no choice but to defend it to the hilt. I cannot prove this, but I suspect somewhere in my bones that we will get just one shot at America — one — and that if it goes, then so does the classically liberal order that has done wonders for the world.

And in my little, D-lister way, I feel the same. .

Central Casting

Last Friday, heading into the closing weekend of the Virginia Gubernatorial contest, a group of ‘white supremacists” showed up “in support” of GOP challenger Glenn Younkin, in full Charlottesville regalia, lest anyone miss the reference. .

There was something a little fishy, though:

After they were thoroughly busted, the “Lincoln Project” – the group of “never-Trump” “republicans” that seems to always work toward Democrat Party interests [1] – admitted they were behind the stunt:

“But wait! Macauliffe and/or his staff weren’t involved!”

Yes they were.

Ben Shapiro noted last week that Macauliffe’s campaign has boiled down to “Trump!”, which is odd considering Trump isn’t in the race.

Is it a stupid, desperate stunt, intended to deflect attention away from Macauliffe’s catastrophic performance this past few weeks, along with the fact that he’s tied to the coverup of sexual abuse claims in Loudon County?

Sure.

But it’s worse than that.

This is a less-polished episode from a campaign that’s been going on since 2009 at the very least, from Obama and Biden’s cabinets (ptr) all the way down to failed “fact-checker” Dog Gone, who used to promise in this comment section that there was a wave of white supremacist terror that’d dwarf 9/11 coming up, any day now.

Tne notion that, notwithstanding the fact that actual “white supremacist” groups have been shrinking by roughly an order of magnitude roughly every generation, that white American society is building a militant arm that is just acheing to go out and take over. Every event of recent history, and even distant history, is bent to support that narrative – from the very founding of this nation to the Minneapolis riots to Emmanuel Goldstein…

…schwoops. I skipped narratives, there.

I mean, not like the narrative was ever subtle, but how stupid do you have to be to miss it?

This is just another chapter in the left’s attempt to slander half of our nation.

The fact is was.a flailing and incompetent attempt doesn’t make things better.

[1] Perhaps it should be called the Tom Horner Project?

“People…”

…who referred to Trump, Mitt Romney, John McCain, Dubya, 41 and Ronald Reagan “Hitler”…

…and who called Sarah Palin a “c*nt” who faked her own kid’s birth, and called her daughter a “slut”…

… and who thought alleged comedian Kathy Griffin waving around a “Trump head“ was, you know, humor…

…and who giggled like schoolgirls who’ve just had their first joint when Rush Limbaugh, Antonin Scalia and even Tony Snow died…

…are shocked, shocked at people saying “Let’s Go Brandon”:

In this case, failed radical congressional candidate Regina Marston:

Hey, at least there’s such a thing as “too far”. 

Thing is, in a world run by people like Ronald Reagan or even John F Kennedy, this would be no big thing:

 

Is BIden too stupid or brittle?

Or does Big Left realize its market thrives on grievance, no matter how stupid or contrived?

Why choose?

Urban Progressive Privilege: Chicago On The Mississippi

A friend of the blog emails:

On Tuesday, St Paul voters will vote on rent control.

Several council members are surprisingly against it. Of course, no surprise that CM Jalali is in favor of it. She tweets about how much she has supported development, and how even that development has not been enough to help tenets who continue to face high rent increases.


If she were really honest, she has mostly supported the tear down of single family houses in order for one developer to build apartments on Marshall Avenue. That particular developer was identified in The Villager as someone who donates to Jalali’s campaigns. She has opposed developments of decades long vacant lots elsewhere.

As for the rent control measure on the ballot, I don’t see how it turns out any differently than the garbage collection- small, local landlords bought out by bigger, corporate landlords. They would be the only ones able to afford the rent control. And Jalali probably won’t stop until all the privately owned homes are bought out by corporate landlords so we all become renters, so we can all feel like one, you know. (So we can all be indebted to the whims of our overlords).

Like most everything in Saint Paul politics, this is a group of upper-middle-class progressives in Crocus Hill and Merriam Park playing “let’s build a utopia” with a real city – more or less – as their lab. Just like the indoor smoking ban, or the Tony Soprano Trash Collection “system” [1], or Minneapolis’s “Public Safety” charter referendum, there is no thought to unintended consequences, and plenty of reason to believe it’ll just be another money transfer to the city’s political class.

Given that the inevitable result of “rent control” is rent becoming inexorably less affordable, the developer class – which is finaincially joined at the. hip with the political class. – stands to benefit handsomely.

Saint Paul. Chicago on the Mississippi.

Not Invented Here

One of the great, largely untold, stories of World War 2 was that in the post-war era, the American occupation made such an impression on German society that they ended up taking Federalism to heart to a degree that Americans would feel jealous of, if most of them knew better.

And while it’s not a specific point in the article I’m linking, I’m going to go out on a short, sturdy limb and say that their relatively strict observance of federalism has helped them keep a pragmatic approach to Covid that has largely eluded our centralized public health bureaucracies.

Untrammeled central government hurt Germany terribly, 80 years ago – far worse than Covid has harmed the US. So far.

The power of federalism, not only to help people who don’t like each other much to co-exist politically, but to sand down the rougher edges of government stupidity, is a lesson this country would be blessed to learn, while we can.

Third Amendment

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

The Lesko Brandon administration has a new idea: private sponsors. The State Department announced that individuals can sponsor people evacuated from Afghanistan during the rout. The evacuees are currently held in military installation waiting to be re-homed in America. It costs less than $2,500 but the sponsor must also find them housing, furniture, food, clothing, get them signed up for welfare, get Afghan children enrolled in schools, help Afghan parents and adults find jobs, and teach them English.

Doesn’t sound like a bargain to me. The administration’s stagflation policies already are impacting my family, without taking on responsibility another. And doesn’t the Third Amendment prohibit the government forcing citizens to provide room and board for soldiers (or maybe it doesn’t apply because they’re not US soldiers, they’re Taliban soldiers, so that makes everything better)? If the government can’t take care of the millions of immigrants it’s letting into the country, perhaps stop letting them in? Maybe even – dare I say – send them back?

This isn’t like Sally Struthers asking me to sponsor little Maria for less than the price of a cup of coffee every day. This is a big commitment and I don’t even get a letter every month. Who do they think will participate? Who is this program intended for? Liberals eager to signal their virtue by writing a one-time check then dumping the load on taxpayers? A pimp running a child sex ring who gets to pick-and-choose the young, pretty ones? A factory owner who needs to fill dangerous jobs on the cheap? A landscaper who gets free labor for life?

$2,500 is a pretty steep buy-in for such speculative return. Anybody want to go halves on one?

Joe Doakes

I wonder if there’s any possible way to turn this particular “commodity“ into a market, with an exchange, perhaps is the basis for a cryptocurrency?

Don’t mind me. It’s late.

Customer Service

 A recent experience (last night, actually) in the northern suburbs, but repeated elsewhere with alarming frequency.

My family traveled to our friendly local neighborhood Culver’s for dinner. We arrived at 6 p.m. We could see people sitting in the dining room and customers at the counter, so we assumed the restaurant was open for dine-in.

We got to the door and saw a sign mentioning that the restaurant would be closing at 8. This is a typical scenario — we are all getting used to labor shortages causing a variety of businesses to curtail their hours or even close on certain days. But as we attempted to enter the restaurant, the door was locked.

At the time of our arrival, four other groups were converging on the location. I knocked on the door, hoping one of the workers would hear it. They didn’t, but a customer did and came to the door to talk with us. “I think they’re closing the dining room,” the customer said.

A woman on the outside said, “but the sign on the door says they are closing at 8. It’s 6. Why are they closing?”

Another potential customer said, “this is ridiculous. It’s not 8. They should change the sign.”

“Perhaps they think they’re in Nova Scotia. It’s 8 there,” I offered. That got a chuckle out of yet another customer.

After a moment, a manager who appeared to be a year out of high school appeared at the door. “We’re very short staffed so we’re closing the dining room because we can’t provide the expected level of customer service.”

The woman who had noted the sign on the door said, “well, if you aren’t open, you should have a sign on the door.”

“I’ll go get a sign for the door,” the manager said. Then, reading the faces of the customers he was turning away, said “do you want me to get the general manager? I’ll go get the general manager.” He walked back in to the restaurant, but by then all of us decided to take our business elsewhere.

A few observations:

  • As a rule, it’s never optimal to maintain a level of service by providing no service at all. I would guess the people who departed without a meal last night would have spent between $150-200 at the restaurant. Turning away customers is always a bad idea.
  • At the same time, what could the manager do? He was trying to protect his workers, who were clearly getting swamped. If the workers who are willing to show up get abused, they will quit. The poor kid was caught between Scylla and Charybdis. 
  • I have never worked in a restaurant — a desultory semester of work-study in the college cafeteria is my closest experience to that. I have family members who have spent many years in the hospitality industry and they have many, many stories to tell.
  • Many restaurant jobs are entry-level work and the pay is generally not great. I see plenty of signs around town with fast fooders offering $15/hour or more, but most locations find themselves short-staffed anyway. People respond to incentives, and most of the incentives are pointing away from the hospitality industry. That could be changed, but the folks who could drive that change are responding to different incentives.
  • Our MSM supremos are trying to spray paint the turd. A WaPo columnist tells us to lower our expectations. It’s just this pandemic and that lying son of a bitch, Trump! They would never hurt you. You know that.

Let’s Go Brandon, You Logistics Whiz

There are so many potential ways to begin to address resolving the logistics bottleneck on the West Coast.

Overriding city rules about stacking cargo containers (the biggest part of the bottleneck right now is, literally, no place to put more of them).

Or maybe barring the port facilities from barring nonunion truckers.

Or, girl, I suppose you could just impose fines on ships that are waiting in line, so they go… Elsewhere?

A Long Train Of Abuses And Usurpations

If society can’t trust its public institutions to do their jobs fairly and impartially, self-government is impossible.

We’ll come back to that.


In the generally outstanding Danish TV program Rita – about a middle school teacher fighting burnout – there was one particularly jarring moment, if you were an American parent; the eponymous teacher was discussing problems with a particular student, and reacted with derision and a little muted disgust to the idea that the kid’s parents knew better about how to deal with the situation than her and the rest of the school staff.

It’s not an uncommon view in Europe; German schools have a similar point of view, but the Scandinavians have taken it to what seems to libertarian Americans an absurd extreme.

I say libertarian Americans, with a small “L”, as opposed to more-communitarian Americans. I once ran into an American – a DFL ward heeler from Saint Paul – who said loudly and proudly in public that he was happy to leave his kids education to “the experts”. I was never sure if that was entirely because that’s what he believed, or if he knew he’s get thrown in the stocks by the teachers unions that control so much of the DFL.

But it’s worth a reminder that the sentiment – not just of my DFL friend, but of a good chunk of America – probably jibes more with “Rita” than with most of the people reading this blog.

This particular op-ed in the WaPo, written by a couple of teachers union shills, titled “Parents claim they have the right to shape their kids’ school curriculum. They don’t“, has been drawing a lot of ire on the cultural right.

The thesis of the article shows us part of the problem:

In their search for issues that will deliver Congress in 2022, conservatives have begun to circle around the cause of “parents’ rights.” …curtail the established rights that Americans have over the educational sphere. Yet what’s actually radical here is the assertion of parental powers that have never previously existed. This is not to say that parents should have no influence over how their children are taught. But common law and case law in the United States have long supported the idea that education should prepare young people to think for themselves, even if that runs counter to the wishes of parents.

And there’s a decent point in there, actually. To be educated is, in fact, to have the basis to think for oneself, to stake out one’s own beliefs in the world, to figure out who one actually is and what one really believes. By historical accident or design, my own education more or less fit the bill; I’m sure if my parents had had full sway over everything I learned and how I learned it, I may have become a conservative much later, if ever.

So. yeah – “education” in the classical sense of the term is one of the things that enables a child to become a separate, autonomous adult…

provided that the schools actually teach critical thinking.

And that’s a big caveat:

 When do the interests of parents and children diverge? Generally, it occurs when a parent’s desire to inculcate a particular worldview denies the child exposure to other ideas and values that an independent young person might wish to embrace or at least entertain. To turn over all decisions to parents, then, would risk inhibiting the ability of young people to think independently. As the political scientist Rob Reich has argued, “Minimal autonomy requires, especially for its civic importance, that a child be able to examine his or her own political values and beliefs, and those of others, with a critical eye.” If we value that end, “the structure of schooling cannot simply replicate in every particularity the values and beliefs of a child’s home.”

Which would be a perfectly legitimate idea…

provided the schools weren’t doing exactly what they “worry” about the parents doing.

Can you honestly say modern state schools teach critical thought?

The authors of the piece seem to think so – but I suggest they are describing an education system that has existed since the 1980s only in their fantasy.


If society can’t trust its institutions do do their job, fairly and impartially, self-government is impossible.

Can we trust public education to do the mission the authors claim it has?

I think you know my vote.

Either Way…

If this sign is a Democrat campaign sign…

…(and it’s likely not, since it includes none of the mandatory “Paid For By…” subtitles) then I’d love the DFL to get honest and bring it here.

And if it’s a false flag GOP parody?

Then I hope someone brings it here even more