The Rittenhouse

The Rittenhouse" | 2020 Kyle Rittenhouse Kenosha, Wisconsin Shootings |  Know Your Meme

[Update 13-Jan-2022: For some mysterious reason, the image had disappeared, and I had to re-upload it. I’ll chalk it up to miscellaneous technical bugs rather than woke mischief by wordpress interns.]

9 thoughts on “The Rittenhouse

  1. LOL! It’s good that Rittenhouse was acquitted. He killed a crazy person in justified self-defense. It’s a shame the police wouldn’t do their job and protect property.

    What does PTT think about the recent decision to deny Oded Goldreich the Israel Prize? I’m against this sort of interference of political views in science, whether it’s a campaign to deny Goldreich the Israel Prize or to deny Ullman the Turing Award. Awards should be given for scientific work, not political litmus tests, whether left or right.

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    1. I think a principled distinction can be made between the Turing and Israel prizes. The former is an international award and is rightly uncoupled from politics (at least for now — see here:
      https://cacm.acm.org/magazines/2021/6/252828-time-for-two-annual-turing-awards/fulltext
      )

      The Israel prize is, well, Israeli. While Goldreich’s research certainly warrants it, there is something perverse about giving it to an academic who actively labored to undermine and boycott other Israeli academic institutions. This is way beyond “voicing a political opinion”. Presumably, they wouldn’t award the prize to a sexual harasser or an avowed racist? Come to think of it, wasn’t there a case where a deserving right-leaning candidate was denied the prize for just such reasons?

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      1. I do think that what Yuval Peres did is a lot worse than Oded Goldreich did. But yes I would also be upset denying a math prize to Yuval Peres for the political reasons though, and I’m upset that his lecture got cancelled because of the Dinur/Friedgut/Goldreich letter and that he got cancelled. Anyway, I don’t buy your argument. Would you be in favor of denying the prize to some socialist Israeli academic who wanted to boycott Reichmann University because it was not public? Or to someone who boycotted Tel Aviv University because it was too leftist and had Omar Barghouti as a student? These are not different from boycotting Ariel University because it is not in the territory of sovereign Israel but rather in the settlements, and in fact was granted university status partly as a political statement. I don’t have a strong opinion on this issue of the settlement boycott and I have a strong opposition to actual BDS. But if you think that someone who supports a settlement boycott – Yael Dayan, Amos Oz, etcetera – is comparable to Yuval Peres, I think that’s not fair. As far as I know Goldreich just signed a few letters, he didn’t “actively labor to undermine and boycott” Ariel University.

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      2. I would not have been terribly upset if Goldreich had gotten the prize. But I also think appealing to foreign elements to boycott an Israeli institution is substantively different from arguing about what the Israeli public should fund, from within Israel. There is leeway here, and I think the government was within its rights to legitimately deny him the prize.

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      3. Anonymous Guy:

        Just how bad was the stuff that Yuval Peres did? I don’t think he raped anyone or used physical force against anyone. Maybe he made some women “uncomfortable” and maybe even sort-of propositioned some women who were subordinate to him. That’s not good, but not remotely as bad as Bill Clinton raping Juanita Broaddrick or whatever lots of prominent men (including, of course, Bill) almost certainly did on Epstein’s Pedo Island. Did he ever retaliate against a woman who spurned his advances? I’d guess he did not, but if he did I’d guess that the worst case was something like, “I’m not so interested anymore in that problem we were working on. How about you figure it out yourself?” I don’t know that he did anything that should reasonably result in him being unemployable.

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  2. I agree that the government was “within its rights” in that governments are sovereign and can give awards to whoever they want. But how would you feel if a right-leaning American professor (say, Ullman for the sake of the experiment) appealed to foreign elements to boycott Yale because of their nonsense like Traphouse, https://reason.com/volokh/2021/11/18/yale-law-school-deans-response-to-traphousegate-controversy/ their bullying of Amy Chua, their racial preferences in admissions, and administrative bloat, and then the US government denied them the National Medal of Science on this basis or some other award on that basis, after the award was approved based on his/her scientific work? One could make the case that for literal treason a prize should be withheld (I’d prefer a prize not be withheld for harassment, racism, treason, or any other non-scientific reason) but supporting an academic boycott of a specific university for a political reason does not rise to that level. That’s really not a precedent you want to set.

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    1. I don’t think the situation has a clear US analogue. In Israel, the prize is selected by a scientific body and approved by the government. I imagine that in the US the selection is done internally, in a confidential, opaque manner. I imagine that right-leaning scientists are already heavily discriminated against.

      For the record, while I appreciate Ullman’s Zionist impulse, I don’t think boycotting Iranian students did anything to further his cause.

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  3. Accepting a prize means accepting the entity awarding the prize, such as the state of Israel or the king of Sweden, as an arbiter of status (which means that, e.g., an Academy Award or Pulitzer should be viewed as a demeaning mark of shame and subservience). Someone who, whether inside or outside the state, presumes to lower its status through moral condemnation should not be considered for a state prize, has triggered a DOES NOT COMPUTE condition for any such award, and certainly should not be placed in a position to further attack the awarder’s status by refusing the offer.

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