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Recent articles of note

"The demise of the white Democratic voter," New York Times, by Thomas Edsall

"Liberals are killing the liberal arts," Wall Street Journal, by Harvey Silvergate

"Julia lost," National Review, by Kevin Williamson

"25 years after the wall fell, challenges remain," Real Clear Politics, by Cathy Young

"America's long holiday: When narcissism attacks," The Baffler, by Suzy Hansen [Review of The Americanization of Narcissism, by Elizabeth Lunbeck]

"Callow, grating and glib: The first-person fodder of Lena Dunham Inc.," New Republic, by James Wolcott [Review of Not That Kind of Girl, by Lena Dunham]

The Democrats are running on empty


The US midterms exposed the Obama administration’s utter exhaustion.

Read my spiked article in full here.

Berkeley vs Bill: FSM turns in its grave

bill_maher (1)

After the Bill Maher debacle, Berkeley needs a new Free Speech Movement.

Read my spiked article in full here.

Recent articles of note

"An election about rejection," Washington Post, by Dan Balz

"Why partyism is wrong," New York Times, by David Brooks

"Hussman: I think the stock market is crashing," Business Insider, by Henry Blodget

"Why middle-class Americans can't afford to live in liberal cities," The Atlantic, by Derek Thompson

"The climate change solution no one will talk about," The Atlantic, by Jason Plautz [promotes population control]

"Pathetic privilege," National Review, by Kevin Williamson [on Lena Dunham]

"3 reasons President Obama is wrong about stay-at-home moms," The Federalist, by Mollie Hemingway

"Against the grain: should you go anti-gluten?" New Yorker, by Michael Specter

"The last anti-fat crusaders," Wall Street Journal, by Nina Teicholz

“Free Speech, Not Hate Speech”: Censoring Bill Maher at Berkeley

2 seat interview: Bill Maher and Pres. Jimmy Carter- Founder, The Carter Center, Author, "A Call To Action" ; Panel left to right: W. Kamau Bell - Comedian,; Neera Tanden - President, Center for American Progress; Rick Lazio - Fmr. Congress

Students at the University of California, Berkeley, are demanding that the administration “disinvite” comedian Bill Maher as the commencement ceremony speaker in December. An online petition from the Middle Eastern, Muslim and South Asian Coalition (MEMSA) declares that Maher “has made statements that are blatantly bigoted and racist,” in particular about Islam. Examples of “hate speech” cited by the petitioners include Maher’s recent statement that “Islam is the only religion that acts like the mafia, that will fucking kill you if you say the wrong thing.”

In response to the clamor, the undergraduate committee at UC Berkeley that selects speakers voted to rescind the invitation to Maher. But the administration announced the invitation will stand. The controversy resonates historically at Berkeley, as the university celebrates the 50th anniversary of the birth of the free speech movement on its campus. “I guess they don’t teach irony in college any more,” quipped Maher.

Maher does not have a “right” to speak at Berkeley’s ceremony, and this is not a First Amendment issue. But the campaign to remove him as the speaker at the graduation event is thoroughly censorious and antithetical to the free exchange of ideas. Trying to silence certain views is especially problematic at universities, which were established to engage with a variety of ideas. The attempt to oust Maher is part of a regressive anti-intellectual trend, as in the past year alone there have been a wave of speakers – including Condoleezza Rice, Christine Lagarde, Ayann Hirsi Ali and George Will - who have had invitations rescinded or who decided to decline following protests.

The slogan used by UC Berkeley campaign against Maher is “Free Speech, Not Hate Speech”. This formulation is a contradiction in terms: if you seek to prevent certain speech – say on the grounds of being “hateful” – then you do not support free speech. Alongside 1984’s “Freedom is Slavery” we can now add “Censorship is Free Speech”.

Marium Navid, co-author of the petition against Maher, claims “It’s not a matter of freedom of speech, it’s a matter of campus climate.” Her petition presents Maher as a threat to safety: “We cannot invite an individual who himself perpetuates a dangerous learning environment”; “his dangerous rhetoric has found its way into campus communities.” In other words, safety trumps freedom of expression. But it is not like Maher is calling for violence; he brings no real “danger” to Berkeley. Continue reading→

The tyranny of the new secular priesthood

kotkin_fullJoel Kotkin nails the anti-masses Clerisy that now dominates the US.

Read my review of Kotkin's The New Class Conflict, in the spiked review of books, here.

Recent articles of note

"Why the Ukraine crisis is the West's fault: The liberal delusions that provoked Putin," Foreign Affairs, by John Mearsheimer

"America's dangerous aversion to conflict," Wall Street Journal, by Robert Kagan

"It's still not the end of history," The Atlantic, by Timothy Stanley and Alexander Lee

"Peter Thiel disagrees with you," Fortune, by Roger Parloff

"Why some Americans are more equal than others," The Daily Beast, by Jedediah Purdy

"'I've been a pariah for so long,'" Politico, by Peg Tyre [Profile of E.D. Hirsch]

"The trouble with Harvard," New Republic, by Steven Pinker

"The College Board distorts US history," Minding the Campus, by K.C. Johnson

"Why walking helps us think," The New Yorker, by Ferris Jabr

Why we should all hail the Redskins


The campaign against the Redskins’ name is an insult to fans.

Read my spiked article in full here.

Recent articles of note

"Liberals are killing art: How the left became obsessed with ideology over beauty," The New Republic, by Jed Perl

"Seeds of doubt: An activist's controversial crusade against genetically modified crops," The New Yorker, by Michael Specter [Profile of Vandana Shiva]

"Revved up: How Al Sharpton became Obama's go-to man on race," Politico, by Glenn Thrush

"America in decay: The sources of political dysfunction," Foreign Affairs, by Francis Fukuyama

"How plagues really work," Aeon, by Wendy Orent

"'It's only a matter of time': Scientists consider geoengineering a cooler planet," Motherboard, by Brian Merchant

"Poll: Most Americans want to criminalize pre-teens playing unsupervised," Reason, by Lenore Skenazy


Washington Post joins campaign to de-legitimize Redskins name

Thumbnail : Washington Post joins campaign to de-legitimize Redskins name

This week the Washington Post editorial board decided that it will no longer use the word “Redskins” when referring to the Washington football team that has used the name for the past 80 years. The team name ...

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