Calumny, evidence, civil destruction

William Walker: Machiavelli, Calumny and Free Speech on Campus – “On Machiavelli’s view, the Romans rightly saw Capitolinus as a “calumniator”. A calumniator is a person who makes serious accusations against other citizens without providing sufficient evidence or witnesses to support those accusations.” This goes with AG Barr’s TLDR must read last week…

“Above all, the Romans understood how destructive calumny can be to the republic: they knew that calumnies not only exasperate those against whom they are made, but also incite them and their allies to hate the calumniators. They understood that if you permit calumniators to go unpunished, that hatred will result in a divided society that will curtail civil liberties and ultimately disintegrate.

First of all, I think that one of the main features of “discussion” of moral and political issues on campus and beyond is the high incidence of a certain kind of accusation (calling people names, attaching labels to them) as distinct from argumentation (asserting claims, providing evidence for them, reasoning about them and their relations to other claims).

The main accusations documented in studies such as these, and the ones I have observed over three decades of teaching at universities in Canada, New Zealand and Australia, are accusations of racism, sexism, misogyny, homophobia, imperialism and Eurocentrism.

So one of the dimensions of campus life and our society at large now is that people are free to make, informally, a certain kind of accusation against fellow students, teachers and others without being obliged to provide good evidence for it.

see also Mike LaChance: FIRE on Binghamton Protest of Art Laffer: “Latest in a Disturbing Trend of Protesters Silencing Others – The biggest threat to free speech at Binghamton Monday evening wasn’t the police or Art Laffer — but the vigilante censors 

J. Frank Bullitt: Sycophants Who Flatter Child Climate ‘Oracles’ Deserve Unrelenting Ridicule – “The Nobel Prize. Australian prime minister. The rapt attention of the United Nations. What has happened to Western civilization? How have we reached a place in which children, so clearly unlearned, are hailed as oracles who must be heeded?” Calumniators take many forms? “obliged to provide good evidence” is the key question.

Tyler Durden: Ukrainian MP Claims $7.4 Billion Obama-Linked Laundering, Puts Biden Group Take At $16.5 Million – “A Ukrainian MP says a document leaked from the Ukraine’s Office of the Prosecutor General contains claims against Burisma owner Nikolai Zlochevsky, as well as Hunter Biden and his partners ” – good evidence usually has legs.

Harry S Truman: “All the President is, is a glorified public relations man who spends his time flattering, kissing and kicking people to get them to do what they are supposed to do anyway.”

Scott Johnson: The sound of Sondland – “Sondland’s presumptions gave the Democrats what they wanted in the form of his “presumptions.” Sondland’s presented his presumptions in the form of a quid pro quo. The Democrats of course celebrated Sondland’s presumptions as the facts of the case. What a way to run a railroad (so to speak).” good evidence here ….

Mackubin Owens: President can’t ‘subvert’ foreign policy but not the way the Left proclaims as heroic – “There’s a major problem with this argument. It ignores Article II of the Constitution, which grants to the president, in conjunction with Congress — not unelected bureaucrats — the power to make U.S. foreign policy. Unelected bureaucrats do not have a right to undermine the policy of a duly elected president, simply because they disagree with it. But the denizens of the deep state think they do.

Jenny Beth Martin: American Bar Association’s evaluation of judicial nominees tarnished by liberal bias – “By engaging in partisan politics rather than providing accurate assessments of conservative-leaning nominees, the ABA raises questions about the need for its rating system. The ABA’s latest political hit job is Lawrence VanDyke” – It’s the case for the ABA as a “calumniator”.

OC: Trump’s Denials Turned into a Ramones Song: “I WANT NOTHING. I WANT NOTHING. I WANT NO QUID PRO QUO.” – “denial”? What a strange use of the term. It is distortion and deceit at OpenCulture. The AP had to squish an item like this because it was a direct quote of policy given to Sondland who had been badgering the president for a simplified expression of Trump’s position. It illustrates just how deep the calumniator ethos goes.

neo: “Shakespeare who?” ask Canadian students – “So instead of learning the pearls of the Western canon, students in these districts are to remain ignorant of those achievements in favor of the study of literature that I think we can safely predict will not stand the test of time but will nevertheless serve the new overriding pedagogical goal of making the majority of students feel guilty about themselves and their culture.

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