French folly

Writing for First Things, Sohrab Ahmari launched a mordant attack on all-around nice guy David French and his eponymous “ism”. In one sense, this is yet another round in the Alt-Right vs. Conservatism, Inc wars. Kurt Schlichter refers to the latter folks as “Fredocons“, but “cuckservatives” packs a lot more bite and is overall a better fit. It might seem unfair to single out French, but recall that this die-hard never-Trumper actually embarked on a short-lived a presidential run to challenge Trump’s candidacy (what tactical genius put him up to that?). David French has come to exemplify the cuck phenomenon, and his adopting a black child is completely beside the point (the usual dim-witted provocateurs notwithstanding). What makes him a cuck, in our eyes, is quite simply this: In gross violation of the Buckley doctrine, he actively tried to undermine Donald Trump’s candidacy, thereby lending support to Hillary Clinton.

All that is by way of background; Ahmari’s target is not so much David French himself but rather “David French-ism” as a strategy in the culture wars. The point of contention boils down to this: Do we prevail against the Left by sticking to our principles of decency, honesty and high-brow rationality? Or do we fight dirty like they do? French offers a cheery rebuttal to Ahmari, calling him out on various inaccuracies and reminding us of his admittedly impressive list of courtroom victories on behalf of conservative causes. The libertarians weighed in on French’s side, and the lefties are rooting for injuries.

PTT will refrain from making a hasty call here; we readily concede the importance of principles and decency. We have, however, identified a major flaw in French’s reasoning — one that his side has repeated several times and the other side has not explicitly rebutted. French:

Here’s what Ahmari doesn’t recognize: Time and again, I and lawyers I was proud to work with didn’t just win these court cases, we persuaded left-dominated institutions to turn back from repressive illiberalism and recommit to religious pluralism. I’ve spent more time in conference rooms and meeting halls persuading the libs than I’ve spent in court owning the libs, and I’ve found that persuasion works. Not always, of course — nothing always works — but far more often than you might think. [Emphasis his.]

The notion of persuading the other side in rational debate is what makes Western civilization superior to the various shit-holes. PSA to French and his cronies: In order to have a debate, you need a working mic. When the other side resorts to cutting you off (say, by getting you kicked off of facebook, twitter, and youtube), you’ve lost the debate before it even got started. It doesn’t matter how persuasive your arguments are if no-one is allowed to hear them. Again and again, French’s side pig-headedly insists on disregarding the zeroth rule of chess: Making your opponent play by the rules.

PTT is all for persuasion by rational debate. When the Left begins to use the phrase “Let’s have a conversation” in earnest — rather than to mean shut up and listen, racist! — we will fully endorse David French’s approach. Until then, we find his tactics woefully inadequate and reluctantly call this one for his alt-right critics.


The Occidental Mathematician

is a clever riff (if I do say so myself) on Izabella Laba’s seemingly inactive blog, The Accidental Mathematician. This post is mainly to claim priority on the pun, but while we’re here, we might as well come clean: We miss having Queen Izabella to kick around. C’mon, Prof. Laba — surely you have more angry feminist rants to unbosom yourself of(*,**)? And whatever happened to leadership? Other aspiring young women scholars have also been derelict in their woke WOC blogging duties. Come back, ladies! We appreciate your unpaid emotional labor.


(*) I hope the word choice doesn’t land me in trouble.
(**) On a serious note, I’d actually be really curious where Laba falls on the TERF wars.

Multiply triggered

In case you’re having trouble parsing the post title, that‘s \ˈməl-tə-plē\ (adverb), as opposed to \ˈməl-tə-ˌplī\ (verb). We’re triggered by the renaming of NIPS to Neurips; the constant association with Neuritis makes us begin to wish the ailment upon those who executed this power-grab. And really, a conference that just changed its name out of sensitivity to lady-parts could do better than to throw male parts around with such wanton abandon — what’s this talk of SACs? And don’t even get me started on COLT — is that some kind of sick triggering joke?

The Toni Morrison full stop

Andrew Kay writes entertainingly for the Chronicle of Higher Education, a topic dear to our tenured heart. A typical victim survivor of the humanities PhD pyramid scheme (or was it drug cartel?), Kay infuses just enough bitterness into his writing to lightly tug on empathy, but not so much as to evoke downright pity. He’s made out more or less ok, all things considered.

In “Fanning the Flames While the Humanities Burn“, he channels the PTT insight that the humanities could reasonably expect broad and enthusiastic societal support only so long as they kept their end of the bargain. Predictably, the piece drew shrill pushback from the usual suspects, which is why we can’t have nice things. His more recent piece looked promising, and we would have read it to the end, had we not encountered

In 40 years, English departments, if they existed at all, might manage to cover the grandest specimens — Morrison and Milton, say.

MLK full stop, meet your cousin — the Toni Morrison full stop. I’ve read John Milton. I’ve (been forced to) read Toni Morrison. It’s not exactly a Newton/motha functor equivalence, but it’s enough to make you spit whatever you were drinking. (And the fact that Morrison got every literary award possible while D’Neil has yet to get Nobel might have something to do with the humanities’ rapidly waning relevance — though STEM might not be far behind.)

Seriously, Kay, did you really think that this over-the-top groveling homage to a plainly inferior writer would inoculate you against charges of racism? It didn’t. When the cure gets rolled out, you might not be the first in line to get the treatment, but you’ll be far from last.

Abortion as a social filter

This blog has been staunchly proabortion — though, admittedly, of the for-thee-not-for-me variety. But this piece by Rod Dreher makes us think we might actually enjoy living in an abortion-free enclave, within a larger sea of abortions-for-all. Quote:

how much economically meaningful talent is driven away from NYC (or declines to relocate there) because the city can impose ruinous fines on employers who refuse to use whatever pronoun an employee wants? Are there young newcomers to NYC who want to start families, but who are now thinking that it might not be a good idea to settle down in a city whose public school system appears to be run by flat-out racists who despise whites, in ways that are approved by progressives?

I concede that it’s interesting to talk to progressive Northerners who moved South, thinking that the Grand March of Progress would inevitably make the benighted (but cheap) metropolises of Dixie into non-deplorable locales — but who are learning that they, in fact, live in the South.

What chaps my butt about the piece is the assumption by the author (and those she writes about) that the South ought to assimilate to the dominant progressive culture. The message of this piece is, If you Christianist troglodytes don’t let us progressives have our abortions, we’re not going to move there and contribute to your economies. 

I have an idea! All y’all could pack up your progressive colonialism ethic and go the hell back home.

The point is that abortion bans keep the wokeness away — and for that, PTT will consider bucking its iron-clad principles.

[Some European countries are considering banning circumcision and ritual slaughter — ostensibly to virtue-signal but really as a social filter against Jews and Muslims. If this comes to pass, the Jews will continue to emigrate in higher numbers while the Muslims will defiantly call the Europeans’ bluff. Europe will deserve every bit of what it’ll get.]


motto is veritas, though I doubt they’ll be signing on to the praevalebit declaration anytime soon. Really, all you need to know about the dhimmi simpering cowards who run the place is that they installed Muslim foot-washing stations way back in 2007.

Now the glory of having an overprivileged black girl scream obscenities at a distinguished professor — consequence-free — belongs to Yale, so the folks at Harvard must have felt insufficiently woke. Well, they are now racking up massive wokeness points in the news — for demoting a black law professor from the position of a dean, for the crime of legally defending an accused man. Now Harvey Weinstein is a monster by all accounts, but given that he’s a Hillary supporter, we actually don’t see why he’s reviled rather than championed like, say, Bill Clinton. Oh wait, we might have a clue: bad-boy Bill was as rapey as they come, but likeable alpha-males get better treatment than repulsive omega losers.

What got our attention in that NYT piece was a reader (Rudy Breteler)’s comment:

Imagine […] this happened in the medical school. Harvey Weinstein was diagnosed with cancer, and an oncologist who also happened to be a dean agreed to provide treatment. Would you say that the oncologist was unqualified to be a dean because he was involved in providing medical care to Harvey Weinstein?

Actually, Rudy, I’m afraid that in the present climate, a Harvard oncologist would face a similar backlash for treating Weinstein. This is not apartheid Israel, where terror victims could be made to wait while an injured terrorist is receiving treatment. The commies and Nazis were equally pragmatic in denying their enemies medical treatment, and I have little doubt regarding where the Harvard administration falls on this issue.


Update (26-May-2019). Despite the Instalanche (thanks, Glenn!), it was only now that a reader brought it to my attention that the “overprivileged” link above leads to a rather unsavory site. My bad, folks — it was a careless oversight, we shall be more circumspect in the future.

nazi miscellanea

Our recent post Dark Thoughts had juxtaposed the communists vs. the nazis vis-a-vis their pragmatism. It’s pretty clear that the commies (at least of the Soviet variety) were perfectly willing to set aside communist ideological purity in pursuit of power. Left unsaid was the implication that the nazis were not acting pragmatically. To make that argument, one needs to assume that their primary goal was world (or at least European) domination. For that purpose, surely co-opting the Jews would have been far more pragmatic than killing them. How many Fritz Habers did Germany forgo? How many Einsteins? Of course, if the primary goal was genocide, then I guess their actions more or less aligned with that…

Speaking of nazis, it appears that heartiste has been deplatformed by wordpress. While shedding no tears for that blog — which started out informative and entertaining but in recent years descended into stormfront territory — we find the deplatforming phenomenon quite disturbing. Yeah yeah, private company, free market, and all that. Roissy can set up his own version of wordpress — or maybe the actual stormfront website will now host him. Who says tomorrow PTT won’t run afoul of the censors at wordpress? We don’t think we’ve said anything all that inflammatory, but milder-mannered folks have been fired from (ostensibly) right-wing organizations for less.