Some of my earliest lessons in ethical behavior, as a child, came in the form of a question: “How would you feel if someone did that to you?” It was reasonably effective because it was simple. I could guess how I would feel, and I didn’t want to make anyone else feel that way. Although I couldn’t have spelled the word at the time, the theory underlying that lesson was reciprocity.There’s a lot going on in those two paragraphs. In that “How would you feel” is the basis for the first rule of interaction in the three Faiths of the Book. There’s an important corollary, as well: the precocious child might ask Mom or Dad “How would you like being put in time-out?” Kids don’t like being put in time-out, and the wise parent will note something to the effect that the grown-up version of time-out lasts for days, not minutes, in a place called “jail”. The concept of reciprocity, though, is a straightforward elaboration of the things that matter that are learned in kindergarten.
Reciprocity relies on an underlying sense of relevant equality. You and I may be different people in any number of ways, but we’re both fully human, and that entails some basic respect. There’s an implicit politics within the ethical norm of reciprocity, too. I’m no better than anyone else, but I’m no worse, either. Taken seriously, that ethical position tends to lead to a rough egalitarianism. There may be hierarchical roles for various reasons, but the people occupying those roles are just people. They have the same human flaws as everybody else. And the power they’re granted is both a grant—that is, removable—and for a limited purpose. It is not license. Nobody is entitled to abuse anyone else, and nobody deserves abuse.
The Manafort Case.
In the summer of 2016, just before the GOP convention, the Trump children hired Paul Manafort and fired Cory Lewandowski who had been the campaign manager since 2015 and all through the primaries.
The rationale for Manafort was that he knew how to round up delegate votes at the convention.
Mr. Manafort, 66, is among the few political hands in either party with direct experience managing nomination fights: As a young Republican operative, he helped manage the 1976 convention floor for Gerald Ford in his showdown with Ronald Reagan, the last time Republicans entered a convention with no candidate having clinched the nomination.
He performed a similar function for Mr. Reagan in 1980, and played leading roles in the 1988 and 1996 conventions, for George Bush and Bob Dole.
Mr. Manafort has drawn attention in recent years chiefly for his work as an international political consultant, most notably as a senior adviser to former President Viktor F. Yanukovych of Ukraine, who was driven from power in 2014.
His “experience” was 20 years in the past and he proved to be a rapacious employee, demanding $5 million dollars for “outreach” soon after being hired.
The Lewandowski book, “Let Trump be Trump” is a very good description of the campaign, written with David Bossie.
In August, after sidelining him for a month, Trump fired Manafort, and, according to Lewandowski, it was because he learned that Manafort was “a crook.”
Mueller, and his traveling road show, is now holding Manafort in prison awaiting trial which keeps getting postponed.
A Washington, D.C., judge on Wednesday set a trial date of Sept. 17 for Paul Manafort, just weeks before the 2018 midterm elections, a spokesperson for the former Trump campaign chairman confirmed.
Manafort has pleaded not guilty to numerous charges in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, including money laundering, tax fraud and bank fraud conspiracy.
Nowhere in the charges is there any allegation of contact between the Trump campaign and Russia. Manafort is being charged with financial crimes related to work he did for Ukraine a decade ago.
Now it seems, that serious misbehavior occurred with the DOJ and FBI in this case.
The gist of the story is that Andrew Weissmann was meeting with AP reporters in April of 2017, approximately a month prior to the formal construct of the Robert Mueller investigation. The information from the meeting, which was essentially based on research provided by the “reporters” about Paul Manafort, was then later used in the formation of the underlying evidence against Manafort to gain a search warrant.
I would not be terribly surprised to see the whole case thrown out for prosecutorial misbehavior.
What are black college students rioting about ?
Power line has a post today that seems to me to be right on the topic of what these students want, which is freedom from accountability. They are afraid they are overmatched against white colleagues. They can’t hack it and want a pass. It is called “Mismatch.”
The biggest change since Grutter, though, has nothing to do with Court membership. It is the mounting empirical evidence that race preferences are doing more harm than good?—even for their supposed beneficiaries. If this evidence is correct, we now have fewer African-American physicians, scientists, and engineers than we would have had using race-neutral admissions policies. We have fewer college professors and lawyers, too. Put more bluntly, affirmative action has backfired.
Why is this ? We know that the normal distribution of IQ is a standard deviation lower for blacks than whites.
This is the over all curve with the distribution around an average of 100, by definition.
The curve for blacks has a peak at IQ about 80. White peak at 100 to 104. Asians peak at around 106. What this means is that the average IQ is lower for blacks but this does not mean that all blacks are less intelligent than whites. At an IQ of 110 there is a large difference but the number of blacks who will do well in certain academic fields like Medicine is still significant. It would seem important to identify those blacks who will do well in fields requiring higher than average intelligence but the present system of affirmative action ignores this truth.
The Closing of the American Mind; and worse.
Some years ago, when it came out, I read Allan Bloom’s The Closing of the American Mind. It struck me as a profound commentary on the weakening of college education and about changes in college students that I did not like and which had occurred since I was one myself.
It seems to be getting worse now, according to this essay in Psychology Today.
Dan Jones, past president of the Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors, seems to agree with this assessment. In an interview for the Chronicle of Higher Education article, he said: “[Students] haven’t developed skills in how to soothe themselves, because their parents have solved all their problems and removed the obstacles. They don’t seem to have as much grit as previous generations.”
In my next essay in this series I’ll examine the research evidence suggesting that so-called “helicopter parenting” really is at the core of the problem. But I don’t blame parents, or certainly not just parents. Parents are in some ways victims of larger forces in the society—victims of the continuous exhortations from “experts” about the dangers of letting kids be, victims of the increased power of the school system and the schooling mentality that says kids develop best when carefully guided and supervised by adults, and victims of increased legal and social sanctions for allowing kids into public spaces without adult accompaniment. We have become, unfortunately, a “helicopter society.”
I think this is exceedingly dangerous and is behind the war on college age men. Some this can be seen in the hysteria of “Rape Culture” and various hoaxes perpetrated by magazines and by the Obama Administration’s Department of Education and its “Dear Colleague” letters.
In order to assist recipients, which include school districts, colleges, and universities (hereinafter “schools” or “recipients”) in meeting these obligations, this letter1 explains that the requirements of Title IX pertaining to sexual harassment also cover sexual violence, and lays out the specific Title IX requirements applicable to sexual violence.2 Sexual violence, as that term is used in this letter, refers to physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person’s will or where a person is incapable of giving consent due to the victim’s use of drugs or alcohol. An individual also may be unable to give consent due to an intellectual or other disability. A number of different acts fall into the category of sexual violence, including rape,
Those acts include many that an earlier generation would consider harmless and part of the normal male-female relationship.
From one reader review of Bloom’s book written years after its publication:
Bloom begins with the problem of liberal education at the end of the 20th century – in a world where students are taught from childhood that “values” are relative and that tolerance is the first virtue, too many students arrive at college without knowing what it means to really believe in anything. They think they are open-minded but their minds are closed to the one thing that really matters: the possibility of absolute truth, of absolute right and wrong. In explaining where we are and how we got here, Bloom presents a devastating critique of modern American education and its students, an intellectual history of the United States and its unique foundation in Enlightenment philosophy, and an assesment of the project of liberal education.
We are well past that stage of the deterioration of American culture.
Nature and Nurture.
I have long been a fan of Steven Pinker’s books.
I have read many of them, beginning probably with his books on speech as he is a linguist first. This was probably the first as I was intrigued by his theories about irregular verbs and how children learn language.
He points out, for example, how normal construction in archaic forms such as “Wend, went and wended” have become “Go, went, gone.”
The child makes an error he or she may not understand that “Goed” is not a used form for past tense, whereas “Wend” is an archaic form whose past tense has been substituted. The child is using language rules but they don’t account for irregular verbs. He continues with this thought in The Language Instinct, which came later. Here he makes explicit that this is how the mind works. One review on Amazon makes the point:
For the educated layperson, this book is the most fascinating and engaging introduction to linguistics I have come across. I know some college students who had received xeroxed handouts of one chapter from this book, and these were students who were just bored of reading handouts week after week… but after reading just a few paragraphs from The Language Instinct, they were hooked, fascinated, and really wanted to read the whole book (and did). I wish I had come across such a book years ago…
Now, this is interesting but Pinker has gotten into politics inadvertently by emphasizing the role of genetics in language and behavior. I read The Blank Slate when it came out ten years ago and loved it.