Andrew Klavan

Science Fakers

 

Law Professor Elizabeth Foley nails it at Instapundit:

THEY’RE NOT SCIENCE DENIERS, THEY’RE SCIENCE FAKERS: What is it about progressives and their manipulation of scientific data?  It’s not just global warming climate change; now it’s social science on gay marriage.

According to the study, people from communities hostile to gay marriage could have their opinions shift dramatically after spending just a few minutes speaking with a gay person who canvassed their neighborhood promoting gay marriage. . . .

The study, among other things, lent support to the notion that those opposed to gay marriage simply don’t know or interact with open homosexuals. More broadly, it was seen as an important development in the science of how people can be convinced to change their minds on ideologically-charged issues.

The study began to fall apart when students at the University of California at Berkeley sought to conduct additional research building off of it, only to find major irregularities in how its research was apparently conducted. . . . 

Donald Green, a professor at Columbia University and a co-author of the paper, made the decision to retract it after having a confrontation with co-author Michael LaCour, a graduate student at UCLA. While LaCour maintained that he hadn’t fabricated the data, he was also unable to produce the original source files supposedly used to produce it. When he failed to write-up a retraction, Green took the initiative and did so himself.

Guess some folks think they can fake it ’til they make it.  Or maybe it’s just Alinsky’s “the ends justify the means. Continue reading

Of Magical Thinking and Leftist Economics

I have often thought that Leftists must believe that unicorns or good fairies bring wealth, because their approach to economics always requires magical thinking.  Seattle has mandated a $15.00 an hour minimum wage.  Predictably businesses unable to pay the increase are going out of business.   That this takes many erst-while supporters of this exercise in prosperity through fiat by surprise is very amusing.  Ian Tuttle at National Review Online gives us a case in point:
I’m hearing from a lot of customers, ‘I voted for that, and I didn’t realize it would affect you.
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Hibbs opened Comix Experience on April Fools’ Day, 1989, when he was just 21 years old. Over two-and-a-half decades, the store has become a must-visit location for premier comic-book artists and graphic novelists, and Hibbs has become a leading figure in the industry, serving as a judge for the prestigious Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards and as a member of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund’s board of directors. He notes with pride that his store has turned a profit each year — no small task — since its very first year.
 But that may not last. Hibbs says that the $15-an-hour minimum wage will require a staggering $80,000 in extra revenue annually. “I was appalled!” he says. “My jaw dropped. Eighty-thousand a year! I didn’t know that. I thought we were talking a small amount of money, something I could absorb.” He runs a tight operation already, he says. Comix Experience is open ten hours a day, seven days a week, with usually just one employee at each store at a time. It’s not viable to cut hours, he says, because his slowest hours are in the middle of the day. And he can’t raise prices, because comic books and graphic novels have their retail prices printed on the cover. What is a small-businessman to do?

Continue reading

50 Shades of Barack Obama

 

As in most abusive relationships between adults, the abuser is the chief villain while the abused shows a severe deficit of common sense.  That basically sums up American history since 2008.

Hey, You’re So Welcome!

A nice spoof by Andrew Klavan of the demonization of white Christian men that seems to be an essential feature of the contemporary left in this country.  What was started by the Founding Fathers, as pointed out by Lincoln in the stirring quote below, was to free us from looking at people as groups instead of as what we truly are:  children of a loving God who endowed each of us with unalienable rights:

 

These communities, by their representatives in old  Independence Hall, said to the whole world of men: “We  hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are  created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with  certain unalienable rights; that among these are life,  liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” This was their majestic  interpretation of the economy of the Universe. This was their  lofty, and wise, and noble understanding of the justice of  the Creator to His creatures. [Applause.] Yes, gentlemen, to  all His creatures, to the whole great family of man. In their  enlightened belief, nothing stamped with the Divine image and  likeness was sent into the world to be trodden on, and degraded,  and imbruted by its fellows. They grasped not only the whole  race of man then living, but they reached forward and seized  upon the farthest posterity. They erected a beacon to guide  their children and their children’s children, and the countless  myriads who should inhabit the earth in other ages. Wise  statesmen as they were, they knew the tendency of prosperity  to breed tyrants, and so they established these great  self-evident truths, that when in the distant future some man,  some faction, some interest, should set up the doctrine that  none but rich men, or none but white men, were entitled to life,  liberty and the pursuit of happiness, their posterity might look  up again to the Declaration of Independence and take courage to  renew the battle which their fathers began — so that truth,  and justice, and mercy, and all the humane and Christian virtues  might not be extinguished from the land; so that no man would  hereafter dare to limit and circumscribe the great principles  on which the temple of liberty was being built.

Abraham Lincoln, August 17, 1858

 

Klavan Explains Racism as Epithet

The absolute worst I have ever been treated, the worst things that have been done to me, the worst things that have been said about me, are by northern liberal elites, not by the people of Savannah, Georgia.

Justice Clarence Thomas

The End of Debate

 

 

A popular tactic on the left today, and for the past several decades in this country for that matter, is to strong arm adversaries and shout them down.  Faithful readers of this blog will recall the “feminist studies” professor Miller-Young who went berserk when confronted with a group of young pro-life women peacefully presenting  information on abortion at the University of California at Santa Barbara.  Go here, here and here to read about it.  The following is an account by one of the pro-lifers present, Mairead McArdle, a student at Saint Thomas Aquinas College:

 

 

One part of the story that is not as widely known is what happened prior to the professor’s theft and assault. I can tell you about it. I was there.

I was among 13 pro-life students who exercised our right to free speech on that sunny afternoon in March. I was actually the first one to speak with Professor Young.

When the incident began I was using the sign in the “free-speech zone” to start conversations with people passing by. I began a calm, rational conversation with Professor Young, asking her what her thoughts were on our position and our sign.

She immediately raised her voice and spoke condescendingly, accusing me of using “fear tactics” to coerce women.

“I have a PhD, three degrees more than you do!” she yelled, smiling. At one point, she threw the pamphlet I had handed her at me.

“Do you even go here?” she asked me. “There’s no way you have the right to be here.”

I told Miller-Young that she could ask the administration whether we had the right to promote our cause on campus. She refused, saying she knew we had no right to remain.

After about 10 minutes of Miller-Young talking over me and yelling obscenities, a group of about 15 students gathered around us and watched the spectacle, as the professor continued her rant.

Before Miller-Young had begun, some of the students had been having reasonable discussions with us, but now they joined the professor and, following her example, mocked us and our work.

Professor Young started waving her arms, and walked back and forth between us and the students, insisting to them that we were liars.

Each time I tried to speak to Miller-Young, she would interrupt to yell at me. I also talked to at least three of the students who had gathered around. Because the situation was already hostile, however, and they threw insults me. Continue reading

International Men’s Day

Fine Klavan, just so long as it doesn’t involve beating on drums and eating half done steaks prepared by other men!  My sainted Mother, and what a formidable lady she was, had an interesting response to feminism:  “Why on Earth would I want to lower myself to equality with men!”

Klavan on Pope Benedict

Andrew Klavan, the mystery writer and humorist I have often quoted on this blog, is a big fan of the Pope:

Pope Benedict, as I’ve said before, is the Last European, by which I mean the last great man and mind who fully comprehends the beautiful but now dying culture that produced him.  It’s appalling to me–though not surprising–that the only thing the mainstream media ever covers about him is how often he apologizes for the abuses of some priests or how politically incorrect his view of gay people is or whatever.  I have now read a good selection of his writings and when the work of Foucault and Derridas and de Man and the rest of that benighted lot has toddled off to the obscurity it so dearly deserves, Benedict’s writings will stand.  They may be the final flares of genius to fly up from the continent he loves before darkness closes over it.

I’m not a Catholic.  My views on authority and sexual morality are too individualistic.  But when I see the level of thought coming out of Anglicanism  – especially the low and despicable crypto anti-semitism in the cowardly guise of anti-Zionism – and then read the grace-filled, spirit-inspired work of Big Ben, well, I’m embarrassed.

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B-16′s greatness doesn’t lie in his papacy. Or that is, if it does, I wouldn’t know. It’s his writing, his theology, his thought that elevate him in my mind. When I was but a youngish dude, pounding my way through the great works, it seemed to me that the wisdom of many of the great German thinkers of the 18th and 19th centuries had been thrown aside for no good reason. Kant and Hegel had philosophically rescued the essence of Christianity for the scientific age, and had been ultimately left behind by mainstream thinkers not because they were wrong, but because they were just sort of out of keeping with the atheistic spirit of the day.

As Nietzsche understood, that God-is-dead zeitgeist would perforce lead to moral relativism. And so it has. But Ratzinger, shrugging off the zeitgeist like the cheap suit it is, humbly went on tilling the Kantian and Hegelian fields, making his way back not just to the essentials of Christianity but to the sacred person of Christ himself. Continue reading

Klavan: Gloom Begone!

 

 

Andrew Klavan writes a column and notes reasons for optimism in our winter of discontent:

1. Fracking. As I’ve said before, Obama and the EPA will ultimately be splatter on the windshield of this progress. There’s energy in them thar hills and eventually we’re going to get at it, whether these luddite environmental knuckleheads like it or not. That means wealth, energy independence, jobs, power and a reboot of Dallas. Obama may be choosing decline, but the rest of the country may well choose prosperity and growth in spite of him.

2. Federalism. Around the country, conservative governors are taking action that could galvanize reform nationwide. Right-to-work laws, state budget cuts, reduced property taxes and creative approaches to education. As prosperity follows these practices — and abandons California and Illinois and other lagging states — they will gain credence with the general population and make political stars of the governors who supported them.

3. Reality is on our side. When I call Obama a reactionary, what I mean is that he adheres to a grievance-based socialist ideology he learned in college from professors who were probably old even then. As these academics die and go to hell for all eternity, up-and-comers may begin to notice that the poor suffer under left-wing programs and rise under the free market, that education improves under conservative guidance and gets worse under liberals, and that big business actually gets more entrenched and powerful under the left while the right helps the little guy thrive. That, after all, will be the off-beat, radical position, and academics love to be off-beat and radical as long as everyone around them is being off-beat and radical too. A new generation is already on the rise that understands entitlements are unsustainable and that freedom works. It won’t be long at all before we begin to hear their voices in the mainstream. I hope. Continue reading

Klavan, Smith and Friedman On Crony Capitalism

Ah the next four years are going to be so enjoyable.  When it comes to crony capitalism Adam Smith said it well:

“The proposal of any new law or regulation of commerce which comes from this order [that is, ‘those who live by profit’], ought always to be listened to with great precaution, and ought never to be adopted till after having been long and carefully examined, not only with the most scrupulous, but with the most suspicious attention. It comes from an order of men, whose interest is never exactly the same with that of the public, who have generally an interest to deceive and even to oppress the public, and who accordingly have, upon many occasions, both deceived and oppressed it.”

Milton Friedman was eloquent on the subject of government supporting private enterprises:

Continue reading

Klavan: Obama Fantasy Ending

Andrew Klavan at City Journal explains how the media creation Obama ended with the debate this week:

The Obama of the imagination is the media’s Obama. Out of their fascination with the color of his skin and their mindless awe at his windy teleprompted rhetoric, they constructed a man of stature and accomplishment. Now, with the White House on the line, they’re waging an ongoing battle against the undeniable evidence that he has never been, in fact, that man. The result in these quadrennial autumn days has been media coverage of a fantasy election, an election in the news that may bear no relation whatsoever to the election as it is. Polls consistently skewed to favor Democrats in percentages beyond any reasonable construct of reality have left us virtually ignorant of the state of the race. Orchestrated frenzies over alleged gaffes by Mitt Romney have camouflaged an imploding Obama foreign policy, an Obama economy threatened by a new recession, and an Obama campaign filled with vicious personal attacks and lies.

Governor Romney’s unprecedented dismantling of the president in their first debate—an encounter so one-sided it reminded me of the famous cartoon in which Godzilla meets Bambi, with predictable results—was surprising only for Romney’s warmth and clarity. Obama’s hapless fumbling, bad temper, and inarticulate inability to defend his record were actually thoroughly predictable. They were simply facets of the man as he truly is, unfiltered by the imagination of his media supporters: a man who has succeeded, really, at almost nothing but the winning of elections; a man who cannot distinguish between his ideology and life; a man who does not seem to know how the machinery of the world actually works.

Fantasy is a powerful thing, but reality will out. Perhaps by Election Day, the public will have awakened from the media’s dream. Continue reading

The New York Times and the Hive Mind

 

 

 

 

Arthur Brisbane was the Public Editor (ombudsman) for The New York Times.  In his last column he made this observation:

 

I also noted two years ago that I had taken up the public editor duties believing “there is no conspiracy” and that The Times’s output was too vast and complex to be dictated by any Wizard of Oz-like individual or cabal. I still believe that, but also see that the hive on Eighth Avenue is powerfully shaped by a culture of like minds — a phenomenon, I believe, that is more easily recognized from without than from within.       

When The Times covers a national presidential campaign, I have found that the lead editors and reporters are disciplined about enforcing fairness and balance, and usually succeed in doing so. Across the paper’s many departments, though, so many share a kind of political and cultural progressivism — for lack of a better term — that this worldview virtually bleeds through the fabric of The Times.       

As a result, developments like the Occupy movement and gay marriage seem almost to erupt in The Times, overloved and undermanaged, more like causes than news subjects.

In the same column Brisbane made the startling revelations that fire burns and water is wet.  Not really, but that would be on the same level of stating the bloody obvious. Continue reading

The Dark Knight Rises: A Film for the Age of Obama

I saw the film The Dark Knight Rises with my family last week.  I thought it went on too long, some of the various plot threads were confusing and the film required too much suspension of disbelief, above and beyond what is usually required in a superhero film.  It will not make my top ten list of favorite films for the year.  However, what is stunning about the film is that it conveyed fundamentally conservative messages.  Andrew Klavan tells us how, and the usual spoiler alerts apply: Continue reading

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