Boomerangs and unintended consequences

What it’s like to be a conservative talking to progressives by John Sexton – “At the Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf has a piece titled “Why Can’t People Hear What Jordan Peterson Is Saying?” It’s all based on one interview that Professor Jordan Peterson gave last month to a British journalist named Cathy Newman”

“The point of Friedersdorf’s piece is not to agree or disagree with each statement made by Peterson, but to look at the nature of the conversation they are having. And that nature is almost laughably absurd. Interviewer Cathy Newman comes to the interview with an ax to grind. That in itself isn’t necessarily bad. Interviewers should be prepared to challenge their subjects. The real problem here, demonstrated over and over, is that Newman isn’t really listening to what Peterson is saying. Instead, she takes each statement and leaps to a new conclusion about what Peterson really means. It’s not an exaggeration to say that Peterson spends the entire interview defending himself from one misleading claim after another. Friedersdorf offers several examples, starting with this “discussion” of the gender wage gap:

Newman just keeps putting words in Peterson’s mouth, forcing him to walk back things he never said. And it keeps going like this for nearly 30 minutes.

the point here is not what it’s like to be Jordan Peterson giving an interview, it’s that this same interview technique gets used on conservatives fairly often.

And of course, this form of attack interview becomes a kind of parody of itself on the faux news shows popularized by Jon Stewart, Samantha Bee, Trevor Noah, etc. In those cases, the host literally spends hours trying to set up the target for one bit of video which can be manipulated into a caricature of their actual position. The goal isn’t to understand but to ridicule. They get away with it because those shows are “comedy,” not news. But looking at some of the questions in this interview (“You’re saying that we should organize our societies along the lines of the lobsters?”) it’s often a fairly thin line between comedy and news for conservatives.

The FISA-Gate Boomerangs by Victor Davis Hanson – “Some things still do not add up about the so-called Steele dossier, FISA warrants, the Nunes memo, and the hysterical Democratic reaction to it.”

“We are at the very beginning of the exposure of wronging by Obama-era DOJ and FBI officials — and their superiors — and have not begun to learn exactly why and how American citizens were improperly monitored, and by whom. In one of the strangest moments in the history of American journalism, Washington reporters and agencies, known for their loud interests in protecting civil liberties, are either silent or working to suppress news of these scandals, and they may well soon rue their own complacency.

Nor have we learned the full nature of why and how Obama-era investigative agencies departed from normal protocol in exonerating Hillary Clinton from criminal liability during a number of 2015–16 controversies. Presumably there are records, official and otherwise, of these matters; they should come to light as soon as possible.

What seems clear is that the present hysteria about the Trump administration was already deeply seeded in the federal government throughout the 2016 campaign and the 2016–17 transition. A number of powerful Obama officials thought they had both moral right and the administrative means to nullify Trump. And they were not shy in breaking the law to exercise them.

Inside The Fbi Circle Of Love: Sources by Scott Johnson – “Homeland Security Chairman Ron Johnson has just released The Clinton Email Scandal and the FBI Investigation of It: An Interim Report.

“The committee has posted primary documents separately in Appendix C. It comes to 502 pages. Senator Johnson is advancing the cause of transparency by getting this material up and out. I am working my way through the material today. In the meantime, I want readers to have access to these documents in case they are interested.

Glen Reynolds on IRA STOLL: A Tale of Two Memos: Mulvaney, Nunes Missives Both Press Rule of Law.

“In the end the Nunes Memo and the Mulvaney Memo both get at a similar theme — that government officials, whether FBI agents or consumer financial protection bureaucrats, need to follow the law, and that the law should be known in advance and applied impartially. More than 300 years after Locke’s Second Treatise, you’d think this would not be such an intensely controversial point. Perhaps Professor Epstein was right when he called it wishful thinking. Good for Mr. Mulvaney, though, for giving it a try.”

Heather Mac Donald: The persistent claims of gender bias are ideological, not empirical – Just this week there have been stories about Uber trying to figure out why its female drivers earn less than its male drivers (re The Verge) or a gender sleep gap (FitBit). Now the matter of SAT math and AP test results showing a gender bias is put on the table.

“As the #MeToo moment swells the demand for ever more draconian diversity mandates, a finding in the Pew Research Center poll on workplace equity is worth noting: the perception of bias is directly proportional to the number of years the perceiver has spent in an American university. Females in STEM businesses who have a postgraduate degree are over three times as likely as STEM females without a college degree to say that their gender has impeded their success. It is doubtful that those highly educated female STEM workers are actually more subject to chauvinism than their less-educated counterparts. Their workplaces are likely composed of other highly educated products of the academy, marinated for years in an environment dominated by feminist thinking. Those are also the workplaces most subject to external pressures to achieve gender parity. All the incentives run in the opposite direction: away from chauvinism and toward favoring females over males at every possible opportunity. The persistent claim of gender bias is ideological, not empirical. But after #MeToo, it will have an even more disruptive effect.

There are also stories about how the #MeToo phenomena is inhibiting men when it comes to any interaction with women. Since such interactions are often important in professional growth and advancement, the kickback is a concern as it will make it more difficult for women to rise through the business ranks.

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