Disgraceful!

The National Association of Scholars is sponsoring a conference this upcoming weekend at Chapman University in Orange County, California on "disgrace as a tactic of the progressive left, and the real disgrace that falls on colleges and universities that countenance such tactics."

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

On Friday, January 11th and Saturday, January 12th, the National Association of Scholars is sponsoring a conference entitled "Disgrace: Shame, Punishment and Redemption in American Higher Education" at Chapman University in Orange, California. The theme of the conference is as follows:

At this conference, the National Association of Scholars intends to discuss "disgrace" in two ways: disgrace as a tactic of the progressive left, and the real disgrace that falls on colleges and universities that countenance such tactics. These tactics include attempting to destroy people through false accusation loudly repeated, and to shame people into resignation while using success at this to intimidate everyone else into silent, self-censoring conformity.

The Keynote will be by Heather Mac Donald. Other speakers include Peter Wood, Jay Nordlinger, John Tooby, Daniel Sznycer, Darel E. Paul, Edward Erwin, John Beahrs, James E. Enstrom, Christine Rosen, Keith Whitaker, Mark Bauerlein, Bruce Gilley, Rachel Fulton Brown, Matt Peterson, and Helen Andrews.

I hope to be there too. (I'm on the NAS Board of Directors.)

All are welcome. Register here.

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  1. “disgrace as a tactic of the progressive left, and the real disgrace that falls on colleges and universities that countenance such tactics.”

    How about “disgrace to organizations that pretend this particular tactic is somehow limited to one political faction”?

    1. I’m picturing two days of victimized conservatives giving each other reassurance hugs and chanting, “It’s not your fault, it’s not your fault, it’s not your fault.”

    2. How about “disgrace to organizations that pretend this particular tactic is somehow limited to one political faction”?

      Are you contending that this tactic is evenly distributed among political factions, and is not utilized more on the left than on the right?

      1. Yes. This tactic is used by all political factions, left, right, and center.

        1. Yes. This tactic is used by all political factions, left, right, and center.

          What are some examples of it on the canter and right?

  2. Disgrace is gaming the system by claiming not to be a Republican in an effort to evade statutory eligiblity provisions.

    Doing so for the purpose of promoting bigotry and backwardness kicks it up a notch.

    Carry on, clingers.

    1. Differences between the two major parties are immutable, you can’t shift from Republican to Democrat just because you *feel* like a Democrat. The order of nature is immutable.

      Wouldn’t you agree, rev?

      1. “you can’t shift from Republican to Democrat just because you *feel* like a Democrat.”

        Actually, I’m pretty sure you can, right up until the registration deadline (which varies from state to state.)

        Also, not being a Republican doesn’t make one a Democrat, Eddy.

        1. Glad to see somebody sticking up for Prof. Heriot.

          1. Your sarcasm meters need recalibration.

            1. Or yours does.

              1. Nuh-uh, *yours* does.

                1. OK, I’ll adjust MY sarcasm detector so that YOU notice sarcasm.

                  1. Then I’ll adjust *my* sarcasm meter so you notice sarcasm.

                    Want to go another round?

                    1. I’m sorry, you’re just too stupid for this.

                    2. Nuh-uh, *you’re* stupid!

  3. Heather “Cop Lover” MacDonald, the one who predicted that the abolition of “stop and frisk” in New York would lead to an explosion in crime, and then when that didn’t happen wrote a column in the National Review so bogus in its efforts to explain away the lack of said explosion that the NR followed it up with an article saying (literally) “We Were Wrong”? That Heather MacDonald? Okay, one rotten apple doesn’t ruin the barrel.

    1. Alan “Anal Venomous” Vanneman, the one who makes ad hominem attacks? That Alan Vanneman? Okay, one rotten apple confirms the existence of the species.

      1. That isn’t an ad hominem. It’s backed up by evidence.

      2. Not ad hominem at all.

        Just an attack on MacDonald’s “research.”

        This conference looks like a nice gathering of RWNJ welfare recipients.

    2. Heather MacDonald attributes the astonishing reduction in crime in New York City during the 1990’s to the adoption of such tactics. Some disagree but MacDonald seems to have some reasonable arguments.

  4. Interesting examples of disgrace as a tactic of the progressive left. Thanks, guys.

    1. You should be ashamed of yourself, making a comment like that.

  5. What exactly is the goal here?

    Simply to shut up progressives?

    Yeah…no.

    I wonder how it feels to be on the wrong side of history.

    1. I don’t want progressives shut up. I want them in graveyards.

      1. I guess you’ll have to sponsor your own conference for that.

        Or maybe it’s a separate workshop during the NAS conference (TBH, I didn’t check their schedule).

      2. You don’t need a whole conference on that. A single night of long knives should do the trick.

    2. As posted, this is pretty funny, if a bit on the nose – ‘Let us discuss how the left abuses the social opprobrium of disgrace. Now we will call things a disgrace, but when we do it it’s totally true and good.’

      1. Yup. The point seems to be that Heriot., and no one else, are the ones who decide what is and is not disgraceful.

      2. As posted, this is pretty funny, if a bit on the nose – ‘Let us discuss how the left abuses the social opprobrium of disgrace. Now we will call things a disgrace, but when we do it it’s totally true and good.’

        What are some examples of the right using this tactic?

        1. The OP.

          1. The OP.

            What did the OP say that abused the social opprobrium of disgrace?

  6. The Volokh Conspiracy seems to be running out of gas.

    Or, one might say, hitting a wall.

    Carry on, clingers.

    1. It is becoming as interesting for the topics it avoids as for the ones it discusses. It’s hard not to get the impression that there is some major reluctance to say much about the legal issues of the day.

      1. Perhaps the situation will change when judicial nominations are no longer available to movement conservatives?

        1. Then conservatives will employ the 2nd Amendment remedy.

          1. Suicide?

            1. For boxes ensure our freedom: the soap box, ballot box, the jury box, and the cartridge box.

              1. Realistically speaking, you should be able to do the job with one cartridge, two tops. If you need a whole box of cartridges to shoot yourself, you don’t really mean it.

  7. If I have done nothing disgraceful, your yelling ‘disgraceful!’ at me does not make it true.
    Like shame, disgrace has to come from inside.
    There is no such thing as slut shaming, because a slut has no shame.

    1. “There is no such thing as slut shaming, because a slut has no shame.”

      Let’s leave the President out of this.

    2. If I have done nothing disgraceful, your yelling ‘disgraceful!’ at me does not make it true.
      Like shame, disgrace has to come from inside.
      There is no such thing as slut shaming, because a slut has no shame.

      But they are not concerned about how you feel. They want others to realize that anyone expressing or defending what you expressed or defended will be ridiculed, demonized and shunned.

      1. ” They want others to realize that anyone expressing or defending what you expressed or defended will be ridiculed, demonized and shunned.”

        As is right and proper, if what you’ve expressed is wrongful, shameful, and/or disgraceful. Which is, of course, a decision that each of us makes alone or in concert with others.

        Is eating a bacon cheeseburger shameful? Depends on who you ask. Hebrews and Muslims will answer “yes” for one reason, vegans will answer “yes” for another.

        1. And the thundering herd of overweight red hat wearing individuals who use federal nutrition guidelines for toilet paper will scream in unison “NO!”
          And remain unashamed.

          (full disclosure; we mutter bad things about the rev as we gobble down the perfect food)

        2. As is right and proper, if what you’ve expressed is wrongful, shameful, and/or disgraceful. Which is, of course, a decision that each of us makes alone or in concert with others.

          The criticism of them is that they are abusing this. Take the controversy at Yale in 2015 over Halloween costumes. A faculty member, Erika Christakis, had written an email urging students to not be so easily offended by Halloween costumes. This was not well-received by the students and her husband, Nicholas, went out to a common area to explain their position and was subjected to over-the-top insulting treatment, calling him “disgusting” and shouting “who the f*ck hired you?”

          The students thought that the email was shameful and disgusting. Was it? Was it so if they thought it was so? Was their response “right and proper”?

  8. See Repressive Tolerance by Herbert Marcuse. The idea is that tolerance of evil or permitting free speech promoting ideas that bring harm to society are not desirable. He argued instead for “liberating tolerance,” which he said means “intolerance against movements from the Right and toleration of movements from the Left.”

    The attempts to shame and disgrace are examples of this intolerance. Also, skipping the reasoning and going straight to condemnation removes the possibility that one’s reasoning will not stand up to criticism.

    1. The Paradox of Tolerance is a real thing, whether you agree where to draw the line or not.

      Policing the methods is silly – shame is not a universally bad or good thing, and neither is disgrace. Feel free to evaluate their specific use, though I’d advise coming with better granularity than ‘the left is mean to the right by shaming them.’

      1. But the paradox of intolerance is not that there is a line of deviant opinion beyond which we will not tolerate, but rather that we should be intolerant of intolerance. So Popper was specifically denouncing the intolerant approach of Marcuse. He said that if we tolerate the intolerant “it may easily turn out that they are not prepared to meet us on the level of rational argument, but begin by denouncing all argument; they may forbid their followers to listen to rational argument, because it is deceptive, and teach them to answer arguments by the use of their fists or pistols.”

        1. That’s only half the discussion though. It would be quite a misreading of Popper to say he was arguing that the intolerant should always be debated and given a platform.
          To turn to another philosopher at about the same time writing about the same thing:

          “Never believe that anti? Semites are completely unaware of the absurdity of their replies. They know that their remarks are frivolous, open to challenge. But they are amusing themselves, for it is their adversary who is obliged to use words responsibly, since he believes in words. The anti?Semites have the right to play. They even like to play with discourse for, by giving ridiculous reasons, they discredit the seriousness of their interlocutors. They delight in acting in bad faith, since they seek not to persuade by sound argument but to intimidate and disconcert. If you press them too closely, they will abruptly fall silent, loftily indicating by some phrase that the time for argument is past. It is not that they are afraid of being convinced. They fear only to appear ridiculous or to prejudice by their embarrassment their hope of winning over some third person to their side.”

          As you can tell from my enjoyment of this site, I love me some discourse, even with those whose opinions I find quite rough at times. But there is a line below which engagement is actively harmful to broader discourse.

          1. There are different ways of defeating an idea. One way is to meet it head on in debate. But some people choose a different course because (a) rational debate is not their strength, (b) they don’t have answers to the arguments against them, (c) those they are appealing to cannot follow such a debate, (d) they believe that their opponents use sophistry and refuse to acknowledge the force of their arguments, (e) the issues are complex (or against them) and proving one’s point is difficult whereas ad hominem arguments vilifying the other side are often very effective and are much easier to come up with.

            But there is a line below which engagement is actively harmful to broader discourse.

            I look at it more as at some point engagement is useless because the other person is not engaging in good faith. I don’t really see the harm except that a person who refuses to actually engage with the argument may appear to potential supporters to have prevailed, and his position to have been vindicated or to at least be a respectable one.

            1. Take the issue of climate change, for example. Many people will refuse to debate a “sceptic” because the issues are too complex for most people to follow and because the sceptics are able to come up with points that appear to the layman to be convincing but that these people fervently believe are insubstantial. So they will not engage on the merits with the sceptic lest doing so make the sceptic position appear respectable. Name-calling and demonization are used instead.

            2. “But some people choose a different course because (a) rational debate is not their strength, (b) they don’t have answers to the arguments against them, (c) those they are appealing to cannot follow such a debate, (d) they believe that their opponents use sophistry and refuse to acknowledge the force of their arguments, (e) the issues are complex (or against them) and proving one’s point is difficult whereas ad hominem arguments vilifying the other side are often very effective and are much easier to come up with.”

              (f) because they face opponents who do not, can not, or will not respond rationally.

              Just try arguing, rationally, about an article of True Faith with a True Believer. Or just whack yourself in the side of the head with a brick. The results are similar.

              1. (f) because they face opponents who do not, can not, or will not respond rationally.

                Just try arguing, rationally, about an article of True Faith with a True Believer. Or just whack yourself in the side of the head with a brick. The results are similar.

                I guess I included that under (d) the use of sophistry, but I agree that some arguments do not seem even a little bit valid.

            3. Bad faith is one reason, but hardly the only one. As noted below, good faith zealotry is about as productive.
              And from my Sartre quote above, some views need to be shunned not for their proponent but for their substance. Not censored, mind you, but shunned.

              1. And from my Sartre quote above, some views need to be shunned not for their proponent but for their substance. Not censored, mind you, but shunned.

                What views need to be shunned? Let’s take those of the true Nazi. If such a person is convincing people of the correctness of his viewpoint he should engaged with and his views shown to be false. In addition to this he should be shunned as a person because others don’t enjoy his company and don’t want to hang out with him. There is nothing wrong with social disapprobation of a Nazi but not as a substitute for rationally showing his views to be erroneous.

                1. Your faith in the marketplace of ideas is naiive.
                  Nazis are a great historical example. Humans are not a people swayed only by sober, rational arguments.

                  If someone is making appeals that resonate towards a bad end, you are not obligated to give them a platform.
                  If someone really wants to debate you, sometimes they just want the chance to be seen at the same level as you.

                  Nazis’ appeal was never about rationality, and yet they appealed. Engaging Nazis helps Nazis by treating Naziism as a viewpoint worthy of engaging. They have no downside, you do.

                  1. “Your faith in the marketplace of ideas is naiive.”

                    Your faith in the mob is stupid.

      2. “The Paradox of Tolerance is a real thing”

        No it’s not.

        “Feel free to evaluate their specific use”

        Oh fuck off you sanctimonious douchebag.

        1. Luv to have such a fan.

    2. It’s impossible to find any (rational) reasoning with neo-nazis so it’s easy to go straight to the condemnation.

      1. No doubt true where there really is no rational reasoning but it seems that many people view disagreement with their fundamental premise as irrational, or are unable or unwilling to defend their fundamental premise. For example, there are those who believe that the desirability of affirmative action is not debatable and that those who insist on doing so can only have ignoble motives and are not to be engaged with or taken seriously, but only scorned, ridiculed and treated as an enemy.

        1. Just because some people’s refusal to engage is bad doesn’t mean all refusal to engage is bad…

          1. Just because some people’s refusal to engage is bad doesn’t mean all refusal to engage is bad…

            When is refusal to engage desirable?

            1. When engagement elevates by it’s mere fact.

            2. “When is refusal to engage desirable?”

              When it’s a waste of time all around.

              Everybody has some beliefs that are axiomatic… No evidence needed to support them, and any attempt to challenge them are doomed to failure.
              These range through a WIDE variety of topics… religion, politics, economics, conspiracy theory… and are mostly different from person to person. Sometimes the person recognizes them and sometimes even discloses them, but sometimes people honestly believe incorrect things about themselves. Other times… not so much.

              1. When it’s a waste of time all around.
                Everybody has some beliefs that are axiomatic… No evidence needed to support them, and any attempt to challenge them are doomed to failure.

                I think that there are few strongly held beliefs that are unsupported by evidence that the person finds sufficient. Take the question of affirmative action, for example. A committed liberal is for it and any attempt to change his mind is doomed to failure. Same on the other side. So a refusal to engage is desirable because it is a waste of time? If nothing else, doesn’t hearing the perspective of the other side have some value in pointing out that the other side’s position is not devoid of any rationale? Doesn’t the opponent make headway if he is able to demonstrate that he is not motivated by racism? If people don’t reason with each other how do these issues get resolved peacefully?

                Thomas Sowell was a committed Marxist when he entered his Ph.D. program in economics at the U. of Chicago. He continued to hold those views for some time. These were strongly held beliefs that nobody had been able to shake. He changed when he took a job with the Dept. of Labor and concluded that government bureaucrats were motived by what was in their own best interests over what was in the best interest of the people. People can change.

  9. I would think there would be an enormous difference between using “soft” means of socia control like shaming, on the one hand, and libeling people, on the other. To the extent these are being lumped together it strikes me as very messy, and not very appropriate.

    The National Association of Scholars was originally founded to help schools focus on research and teaching and to avoid professors’ using their jobs as platforms to fight political wars. It would have been nice if they had stuck to that agenda.

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