Tuesday Search for Truth Open Comments

Diogenes by Jean-Leon Gerome

Adam J. MacLeod is an author, legal scholar and associate professor of law at Thomas Goode Jones School of Law at Faulkner University in Montgomery, Alabama.  He published the following at the New Boston Post a few days ago.

Undoing the Dis-Education of Millennials

I teach in a law school. For several years now my students have been mostly Millennials. Contrary to stereotype, I have found that the vast majority of them want to learn. But true to stereotype, I increasingly find that most of them cannot think, don’t know very much, and are enslaved to their appetites and feelings. Their minds are held hostage in a prison fashioned by elite culture and their undergraduate professors.

They cannot learn until their minds are freed from that prison. This year in my Foundations of Law course for first-year law students, I found my students especially impervious to the ancient wisdom of foundational texts, such as Plato’s Crito and the Code of Hammurabi. Many of them were quick to dismiss unfamiliar ideas as “classist” and “racist,” and thus unable to engage with those ideas on the merits. So, a couple of weeks into the semester, I decided to lay down some ground rules. I gave them these rules just before beginning our annual unit on legal reasoning.

Here is the speech I gave them.

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Before I can teach you how to reason, I must first teach you how to rid yourself of unreason. For many of you have not yet been educated. You have been dis-educated. To put it bluntly, you have been indoctrinated. Before you learn how to think you must first learn how to stop unthinking.

Reasoning requires you to understand truth claims, even truth claims that you think are false or bad or just icky. Most of you have been taught to label things with various “isms” which prevent you from understanding claims you find uncomfortable or difficult.

Reasoning requires correct judgment. Judgment involves making distinctions, discriminating. Most of you have been taught how to avoid critical, evaluative judgments by appealing to simplistic terms such as “diversity” and “equality.”

and,

First, except when describing an ideology, you are not to use a word that ends in “ism.” Communism, socialism, Nazism, and capitalism are established concepts in history and the social sciences, and those terms can often be used fruitfully to gain knowledge and promote understanding. “Classism,” “sexism,” “materialism,” “cisgenderism,” and (yes) even racism are generally not used as meaningful or productive terms, at least as you have been taught to use them. Most of the time, they do not promote understanding.

and this beautiful gem,

So, here are three ground rules for the rest of the semester.

1.  The only “ism” I ever want to come out your mouth is a syllogism. If I catch you using an “ism” or its analogous “ist” — racist, classist, etc. — then you will not be permitted to continue speaking until you have first identified which “ism” you are guilty of at that very moment. You are not allowed to fault others for being biased or privileged until you have first identified and examined your own biases and privileges.

2.  If I catch you this semester using the words “fair,” “diversity,” or “equality,” or a variation on those terms, and you do not stop immediately to explain what you mean, you will lose your privilege to express any further opinions in class until you first demonstrate that you understand three things about the view that you are criticizing.

3.  If you ever begin a statement with the words “I feel,” before continuing you must cluck like a chicken or make some other suitable animal sound.*

*Emphasis added by me.

As always, RTWDT.

Nota Bene: Earlier this year, I posted a great story by this same law professor about turning a red light camera ticket in Montgomery into a constitutional issue in traffic court.  He summarily won the case and it was dismissed.  He embarrassed the prosecutor and law officer involved and, subsequently, red light cameras were outlawed in the state of Alabama.

Wednesday Hotel Hell California Open Comments

Adios, California 

Former member of the California state legislature and House Minority Whip, Steve Baldwin, pens an elegy for his home state.  An interlude for a moment to introduce just who Baldwin is

After a few years with the College Republicans, he was asked by William F. Buckley and a group of prominent Young Americans for Freedom alumni to take over YAF as the once revered organization was on the verge of collapse. He agreed to serve a two-year term (January 2005- December 2006) as Executive Director of this historic group and was able to bring this organization back to life.

During this time he also raised funds for the Nicaraguan freedom fighters resisting the Soviet-backed Sandinista regime there.  When the Democrats in Washington decided to collaborate with the Soviet ambitions in Latin America by cutting off congressional funding to the freedom fighters, Baldwin, along with many others, raised private funds to keep their resistance alive.  They were successful, and for the first time in Cold War history, the Soviet empire experienced a setback when the resistance finally pressured the Sandinistas to agree to free elections, elections the Communists ultimately lost — at a decisive point in history.

And now on to his column for American Spectator:

Sure, the liberals like to claim California socialism is working by pointing to the much heralded statistic that “California’s economy is the 6th largest in the world” as calculated by the state’s Department of Finance. Indeed, California’s $2.62 trillion economy is larger than that of France, Canada, Brazil, Russia, and Italy. However, that GDP stat does not factor in California’s cost of living, which is 36.2% higher than the national cost of living. As Carson Bruno writes in Real Clear Markets, “using the cost of living adjusted data from the International Monetary Fund and adjusting California’s GDP data provides a better snapshot of California’s economic standing in the world. Doing so shows that California is actually the 12th largest economy — a drop of 6 spots — and actually puts the state below Mexico.”

and another myth busted,

But it’s not just Silicon Valley employees fleeing California; it’s productive — and job-creating — citizens from all over the state. As Joel Kotkin and Wendell Cox wrote in theMercury News last April, “the largest group of outmigrants tends to be middle-aged people making between $100,000 and $200,000 annually.”

San Diego city workers cleaning up endless streets of homeless encampments and daily pressure washing streets and sidewalks with disinfectant to try and stem a huge outbreak of hepatitis A in the city.

Weekend Veterans’ Day Open Thread

Pearl Harbor survivor Houston James of Dallas is overcome with emotion as he embraces former Marine SSgt Mark Graunke, Jr. of Flower Mound, Texas during the Dallas Veterans Day Commemoration at Dallas City Hall. SSgt Graunke, Jr., who was a member of a Marine ordnance-disposal team, lost a hand, leg, and eye while defusing a bomb in Iraq in July of 2003.

May God Bless All of Our Veterans.