Clarissa's Blog

An academic's opinions on feminism, politics, literature, philosophy, teaching, academia, and a lot more.

Friday Link Encyclopedia

I swear I read this after writing my yesterday’s posts: “When cultural conservatives disengage from organized religion, they tend to redraw the boundaries of identity, de-emphasizing morality and religion and emphasizing race and nation. Trump is both a beneficiary and a driver of that shift.”

Criminals under the guise of doctors.

And on a similar subject, an article about the insanity of unhinged consumers who treat their own bodies as defective kitchen sinks.

The second case of wife-burning among Syrian refugees in Estonia in just a few months.

It’s shocking how many professors justify the disgusting assault on a female professor that took place at Middlebury. The disgust I feel towards these creatures is intense.

And here is another freak of nature trying to drown this heinous sexist crime in a torrent of dishonest words. Note how long both of these posts are. The vile jerks are aware of how disgusting their position is and are trying to drown out the shame with empty verbiage.

But there are good people in the world to balance out the existence of vicious freaks. J.D. Vance is moving back to Ohio to found an organization that will fight the opioid epidemic. What a great fellow.

Of course, there is no heroin epidemic, is there?

Worrying about A.I. becoming too smart right now is like worrying about overpopulation on Mars.” Absolutely.

An untenured professor at NYU lost his job because a bunch of rich, over fed brats started a vendetta against him.

The new class of jobs to substitute the ones that are disappearing.

What Democrats need to do to win. A great post! Read it and then reread the very first link in this encyclopedia.


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38 thoughts on “Friday Link Encyclopedia

  1. In this comment, I will put a few quotes and will react to them in my next comment on this post. This way people will understand what I am arguing with.


    \ Religion is dead … What’s left is nationalism and similarly scary things.

    \ There are three possibilities here:

    The Creator is the Creator (i.e. I have a role in life assigned to me by God. God is the measure of truth. What’s moral and acceptable is defined by God.)

    The collective is the Creator (i.e. I have a role in life decided collectively by us as a society or a group. What’s moral and acceptable is defined by all of us working together.)

    The individual is the Creator (i.e. I have a role in life assigned to me by me. I am the measure of truth. What’s moral and acceptable is defined by me.)

    FROM PETER BEINART’s ARTICLE (the first link in Clarissa’s post)

    Secularism is indeed correlated with greater tolerance of gay marriage and pot legalization. But it’s also making America’s partisan clashes more brutal. And it has contributed to the rise of both Donald Trump and the so-called alt-right movement

    The alt-right is ultra-conservatism for a more secular age. Its leaders like Christendom, an old-fashioned word for the West. But they’re suspicious of Christianity itself, because it crosses boundaries of blood and soil.

    Establishing causation is difficult, but we know that culturally conservative white Americans who are disengaged from church experience less economic success and more family breakdown than those who remain connected, and they grow more pessimistic and resentful.

    When conservatives disengage from organized religion, however, they don’t become more tolerant. They become intolerant in different ways. Research shows that evangelicals who don’t regularly attend church are less hostile to gay people than those who do. But they’re more hostile to African Americans, Latinos, and Muslims. In 2008, the University of Iowa’s Benjamin Knoll noted that among Catholics, mainline Protestants, and born-again Protestants, the less you attended church, the more anti-immigration you were. (This may be true in Europe as well.

    The decline of traditional religious authority is contributing to a more revolutionary mood within black politics as well.


  2. Shakti on said:

    Re: Middlebury

    To justify it implies they even mention it happened.

    Neither of those links even get to “yes but” with that attack. It’s all about Charles Murray and his “ideas.”

    Even her own editorial doesn’t have a clear separation between her ideas and the “ideas” of Charles Murray. She doesn’t spend any time distinguishing between her ideas and Charles Murray’s “ideas” which is a huge problem when you’ve been attacked simply for standing next to someone with terrible “ideas.” Apart from the quality of the ideas, this a huge blunder. How badly have you failed as a scholar and how badly has your institution failed if that simple distinction isn’t made or if you don’t attempt to do that? (“I am a [blank party member]” isn’t a statement of ideas from any self respecting scholar.)

    An idea is something you have to chew for more than two seconds to understand, and generates more interesting discussion, thought or followup questions than “Yes you’re right” or “No, you’re wrong.” It is simply ridiculous to talk about defending “ideas” or “intellectual discussion” when there is no “idea” or intellectual complexity in the works of Charles Murray. And I’ve read it, so I know. He is an object lesson in scientific bias, if that.


    • I’m an old-fashioned feminist. The moment I hear that woman was beaten in the workplace by a bunch of angry men, my brain shuts down and I don’t listen to anything else. I don’t care if she stood there yelling, “Long live Putin, Ukraine is a failed state, and hooray to drug cartels!” I don’t care about Murray or the damaged fee-fees of the spoiled freaks. A woman was beaten. I can’t get past that.


      • Shakti on said:

        Her views make no difference in whether that was even justified. (It’s not. At all.) But to just flatten her views into Murray’s into the AEI’s is just unacceptable when we’re talking about “ideas” or ideas or people’s willingness to consider ideas or say things like “these ‘ideas’ are the pretext for violence.” And regardless of intention, that’s the effect of these articles. It’s gross.
        “I am a separate person with separate ideas from other people” is step zero of an intellectual discussion.


  3. \ Religion is dead … What’s left is nationalism and similarly scary things.

    As an atheist who is happy to live in (mainly) an “old-time” nation state, I could not stop musing over this sentence, feeling vaguely insulted, and decided to defend my worldview.

    How is nationalism worse than organized religion?

    Leaving the real world implementations aside for a moment, on the most basic theoretical level, if God assigns your role, you must submit without a possibility of negotiation. In contrast, if “the collective is the Creator” and citizens “work together,” isn’t it the definition of Democracy in contrast to God’s dictatorship?

    On the practical level, societies believing in God-the-Creator have to function as collective-the-Creator anyway, with the added bonus of “God” (traditions of the collective) functioning as chains hindering progress and limiting the range of adaptations to new challenges. Using the pretext of God gives those already powerful traditions additional damaging stability.

    Most importantly, there is no inherent contradiction between religion and alt-right practices. In Israel, the most extreme Right is usually religious. How can one reason with “God gave us all Eretz (land) Israel and we are ordered to free all of it”? In the Muslim world, racism is flourishing and fundamentalist Islam seemingly serves only to support it.

    PETER BEINART talked of Christianity promoting tolerance since it crosses “boundaries of blood and soil.” I think we both know Jewish history well enough to understand why I cannot view the real-world practice of this religion via such rose-colored glasses.

    You embrace Enlightenment, feminism and a welfare state. You wouldn’t choose today’s Iran or medieval Europe over modern Europe or Trump’s America, so how can you say nationalism is a “scary thing,” implying religion was better?


    • By nationalism what’s meant here is not the kind of support for the nation-state model that I espouse. What’s meant is an unhinged, xenophobic, fascistic yelling and screeching of Marine Le Pen or Trump.


      • In Israel religion goes together with “unhinged, xenophobic, fascistic yelling” of the kind Le Pen and Trump may only dream of like bread and butter.

        Actually, fanatical religious( Rightists and others) don’t restrict themselves to yelling only.


        • If you took religion away from the people you describe, what makes you think they’d be better and not worse? .


          • \ If you took religion away from the people you describe, what makes you think they’d be better and not worse?

            Similar to your stance on burka-clad women, I do not care if they are better or worse.

            I want them to stop forcing religion down my throat and inside my body (abortion limitations and so on) until my dying day and even after it during burial rites.

            I also do not believe God exists, and cannot support the position of valuing supposed happiness over Truth. I thought academy was the place where Truth was supposed to be valued highest.

            I know you are a religious person, but do you believe in their version of God? Isn’t your belief of “the individual is the Creator” kind in practice?


            • I absolutely don’t have the kind of religion that would make me get up on Sunday and go to church, let alone do anything else. And I mourn that. I wish I did have it.

              My religion is what somebody called Moralistic Therapeutic Deism, a consumerist, self-serving swill of the Oprah Winfrey kind. I’m nothing if not self-aware.


    • Yes, absolutely, submission to the will of God is the center of monotheistic religions. The value of that (or the part that I’m discussing) is that it puts a limit on the hubris of consumers who think that the purpose of absolutely everything is to be consumed and excreted.

      Example: I read yesterday about successful experiments aimed at producing a child of 3 biological parents. Rich folks want to eat and excrete a baby, so they will. Tomorrow they will want a baby with a fox head or lion paws, and they’ll get one because there is nothing more important than the whims of paying customers.

      What can place a limit on unbridled consumption that is destroying the planet? What can make such people stop? I’m not seeing many options right now.

      You think these baby-eaters will get their baby and feel satisfied? Of course, not. Consumption never satisfies fully. They won’t stop because theirs is a void that cannot be filled with stuff, with objects.


      • \ Example: I read yesterday about successful experiments aimed at producing a child of 3 biological parents.

        Do you have enough knowledge to judge what is really being done? I tried to research “Mitochondrial replacement therapy” and understood that, as somebody w/o knowledge of biology, I could not judge it. You do not trust mainstream newspapers to inform you of political issues, why trust sensationalist reporting on this? Especially when a person on the street may easily understand what researchers say about the nation state, but is incapable of grasping the true meaning of complex biological procedures.

        One article said that:

        \ The mother carries DNA that could have given her child Leigh syndrome, a severe neurological disorder that usually kills within a few years of birth. Her two previous children died of the disease at 8 months and 6 years, the research summary said.

        The technique is sometimes said to produce “three-parent babies,” but the DNA contribution from the egg donor is very small.

        I do think having one’s own biological children is one of the most important things in life for most people. It has been like that long before the term “consumerism” appeared. If the child is biologically theirs (what is meant by “very small”?), I do not see a problem.

        I think you exaggerate the role of consumerism and judge those poor people too harshly. Btw, primitive tribes used to kill newborns in various ways, if they looked weak or were one too many girls in the family. People did treat children as “items of consumption” (using your terminology) since time immemorial.

        Do you view DNA manipulations as being against the will of God and nature? Why should not medicine advance and help people?


        • There is no such thing as a small DNA contribution. There are completely white parents who have black children because somebody somewhere in the family tree was black but it was such a long time ago that they don’t know about it.

          I see people who go on Dr Phil (a TV show) to say they want to return their children because the children disappoint. We are surrounded by objects all of which we will outlive. All of our relationships are dispensable. If a wife disappoints, ditch her for a better model. If family members are not up to specs, find better ones, and soon there’ll be an app for that. People feel lost in a world where nothing is stable, nobody is there for good, everybody is judged like a pack of kleenex. So they look for permanent bonds. If there’s no God then race and ethnicity can be that eternal presence.

          All that I’ve written right now is a,retelling of a book by Zygmunt Bauman that I’m currently reading. I don’t want to be a plagiarist.

          Bauman wrote all this 15 years ago, by the way.


          • It is worth noting, however, that mitochondrial DNA is not the same as genomic DNA. Mitochondrial DNA is only passed down by the mother. So if the mother has a mitochondrial disease, so will all her children. And mitochondrial diseases are incredibly nasty things. However, by transplanting mitochondrial DNA from another woman into the egg, you can ensure that the child will not have a mitochondrial disease (assuming this second person doesn’t have a major mitochondrial mutation as well). The only difference between this child and any other children the couple had will be that the child will not have a mitochondrial disease and will be far more likely to live past childhood. The genomic DNA is not being transferred–the child will still express phenotypes of the two parents. There isn’t a lot of genetic diversity in mitochondrial DNA, either, because of the nature of the mitochondria and how that set of DNA is inherited. To me, this is less about the parents and more about a healthy child. Especially if their previous two children passed away.


            • Yes, that’s what I’m saying, it’s all about getting high-quality goods. Problem is, if they are goods before they are born, there’s no chance they won’t be goods after.


              • Spiderbaby on said:

                Maybe I’m reading this all wrong, but I can’t see this things as solely negative. Would society if people felt obliged to stay in loveless, unsatisfying marriages, or be loyal to oppressive family members? Is it so wrong to wish a healty life for your child? “Choice” might be a consumerist tool, but it has freed people from rigid, castrating life paths.
                I’m not even sold on the goodness of religion; considering how many mafiosos in my country have deep religious ties, I doubt that religion makes men more moral.


              • Problem is, unsatisfying, empty merry-go-round of disposable partners didn’t prove to be much better than loveless, unsatisfying marriages. The compulsion to keep choosing isn’t all that liberating.


              • Spiderbaby on said:

                Sorry, I meant *would society be better if…


            • Dreidel on said:

              “it’s all about getting high-quality goods”

              No, it’s NOT! In the multiple-DNA technique discussed above, it’s about parents who have already lost two babies to a genetic disease and know that their third one would suffer the same fate without the DNA switch.

              I’m a doctor, not a parent. But I don’t understand being so cruelly dismissive of parents who simply want a healthy bological child.

              What in the word is wrong with that?


              • Are you seriously telling me that tomorrow it won’t be about buying a prestigious eye color or superior athletic abilities? If so, you are living on another planet.


              • Dreidel on said:

                “Are you seriously telling me that tomorrow it won’t be about buying a prestigious eye color or superior athletic abilities?”

                I am “seriously” telling you that the situation being discussed here simply involves using currently available scientific techniques to save a baby’s life.

                The “Tales of Tomorrow” science-fiction senario that you’re fantasizing about might make a reasonable pulp story plot, but that isn’t remotely what’s going on in this case.


              • There’s no tomorrow about it. My parents know a couple, fertility specialists both. They thought it would be cute to have 2 sets of boy-girl twins and they manufactured them. This is now a huge point of pride and a chance to show off.


              • Forgot to say, it’s also a great advertisement for their clinic.


    • I’m sorry, I’m at work and have to respond in small batches.

      Beinart demonstrates very convincingly that former Christians are worse without religion than they were with it. I find his evidence convincing. I don’t know if we can extrapolate that Muslims and Jews will be worse without religion, too. But it’s a question to ask.

      A holy place is never empty, as we say. Once you dethrone God, the deity of sacred purchasing is placed in that space. How is that a good tradeoff?


  4. Let’s say a couple did want a given trait. Let’s go with eye color, since that’s often used as a simple example of inheritance. Except even eye color is much more complicated than you’d think. There’s more than one gene at play, and there are epigenetic factors that work that can make eye color unpredictable. And eye color can also change over time, which gives further unpredictability. Not only is this not practical, it’s currently not possible. The same goes for even more unpredictable traits such as athletic ability or hair color.

    What’s happening here isn’t the creation of a designer child. The couple’s children both died of a really nasty illness that normally all their children will have and are likely to succumb to. This is about ensuring the child will not have this particular metabolic disease, and so will be far less likely to die in infancy or childhood. The fact that the child will have genomic DNA from the parents and mitochondrial DNA from the mitochondrial donor is completely incidental–this is really the only way a woman with such a mitochondrial mutation can have a healthy child. The deliberate embryonic development of twins you described is utterly unrelated to this case, since that is obviously not the only way that particular couple can have healthy children.


    • And who has made the determination that manufacturing suitable children is OK when the criterion is health but not OK if the criterion is marketing? It doesn’t look like there’s been any collective agreement on the subject. The practice of surrogacy that is cruel and inhuman is flourishing. Orphans from overseas are bought and then swapped online, like collectibles. Many of them are killed and the buyers never get any punishment. And all these situations share one thing: a rich consumer gets whatever s/he wants. Even if the whatever is a human being.


      • Dreidel on said:

        “And who has made the determination that manufacturing suitable children is OK when the criterion is health but not OK if the criterion is marketing?”

        The answer to the first part of your question is obvious: “Manufacturing” healthy outcomes that prevent death and disease is always okay. That’s what advancements in medical science are all about.

        What’s always unacceptable is any deliberate attempt to create babies with defects — I remember a situation some years ago where a deaf couple specifically wanted doctors to genetically create a deaf baby so they would “bond” with the child better because of shared physical difficulties.

        The answer to the second part of your question — whether it’s OK to “manufacture” traits like eye color — is still open to vigorous ehtical debate.


        • Who has decided what’s healthy? The people I’m talking about think it’s super healthy to design kids for marketing purposes. What is the likelihood that they will suddenly realize these children are humans and not props and when will it happen? When the kids are 50 and are needed to provide care for them?


  5. adrianaurelien on said:

    Excited for this anti-opiod organization! I’m in Ohio, I could get involved. Maybe they’ll have some ideas the rest of us haven’t thought of.


  6. After our conversation on religion-nationalism link in Israel, this link provides additional support and actually made me angry. Such naked Right-wing nationalistic double standard should have no place in school education:

    A high school girl who is one of the Amona evacuees received a special, personal date for her Bagrut (Israel’s high school matriculation examination) from Education Minister Naftali Bennett.

    Many teachers were surprised by the leniency shown to the girl, as many students face personal difficulties that hinder them from studying for the exam and yet do not receive preferential treatment. Having a personal examination date both permits more time for the student to study and requires that an entirely new exam be prepared for her to take.

    The 11th grader was active in the resistance against the Amona evacuation and was absent from many days of school for that reason.,7340,L-4937051,00.html

    In other news, Merkel’s immigration policy is bearing fruits. I know it’s not only that, but I think general atmosphere in Europe became uglier. Also, isn’t Sweden the country second only to Germany in its number of Muslim immigrants? The news:

    A neo-Nazi organization active in Sweden has been disrupting lectures from Holocaust survivors throughout the country, but the police are refusing to provide security at the locations of such talks, according to Israel’s top envoy to the Nordic country.

    Due to such talks having become targets for provocation, the schools that organize them have tried to obtain security from the police. So far, they have been unsuccessful. Bachman wrote that the police refuse to provide security at the events because the member of the Nordic Resistance Movement “do not yet appear to innately provoke violence.”,7340,L-4937176,00.html

    Should free speech protect the rights of those protesters? I do not understand why. They have full rights to speak at their own events and on their own blogs.


  7. About developing an Israeli brand:

    In the Supermarket of Nations, millennials aren’t buying what Israel is selling
    Op-ed: Israel’s current offering is focused too much on its policies, and not enough on what else it has to offer: a young and vibrant country, exciting business sector, a huge contributor to social causes and sustainability, and much more. This trend can and should be reversed.,7340,L-4936240,00.html

    I found the following quote very interesting:

    // [millenials] ranked Israel 7th in the “Power” category—strong army, politically influential, strong economy—all attributes millennials are turned off by (because they believe these can only exist on account of minority rights, compassion and social justice). //

    I understand strong army bit, but strong economy? Is the writer correct here in your opinion? The only “logical”explanation is that if you have strong economy, it’s a sign you refuse to accept millions of poor Muslim migrants who would weaken it, and thus are selfish? Oh, I found another good old explanation: If Jews are rich, it’s a sign of them robbing gentiles and being evil in general.


    • Strong economy here clearly means that liquid capital is eroding political institutions. I don’t know what it’s got to do with poor Muslim migrants.

      As for Israel, it clearly wasn’t weakened by crowds of poor Soviet migrants who were generationally unfamiliar with the concept of work, so what’s the problem?


      • Those Soviet immigrants came with cultural and educational capital, and have contributed a lot to Israeli economy and society. Their children are 100% Israeli Jews, not Russian / Soviet diaspora. The situation with current migrants to Europe could not have been more different.

        Also, my relatives were familiar with the concept of work, as were most other immigrants I know.


        • The cultural and educational capital of Soviet immigrants is the funniest joke I’ve heard this year. Let’s not waste any time reciting the Soviet immigrant mythology. I know it as well as you. I also know the truth.

          When I emigrated to Canada in 1998 I was a veritable savage in terms of culture, education and even basic manners. And I had been hard-core intelligentsia back home.


  8. \ The cultural and educational capital of Soviet immigrants is the funniest joke I’ve heard this year.

    Then, according to your interpretation, Israel is a successful first-world nation state despite immigrants to it having low initial capital. It was even founded by Jews mainly from Eastern Europe, whose capital wasn’t much higher than this of FSU immigrants of the 90ies, or was it?

    I do know that FSU Ashkenazi Jews tend to value giving their children university education more than many Jews from Arab countries, who tended to have small family businesses, or many Ethiopean Jews, who came with practically zero capital.

    As for being “a veritable savage,” the most important part is being raised in an environment attaching value to education, not knowing some set of facts.


    • “As for being “a veritable savage,” the most important part is being raised in an environment attaching value to education”

      I’d never seen such an environment nor heard of its existence until I emigrated. The Soviet culture was aggressively anti-intellectual ever since Lenin said that intellectuals are the shit of a nation.


  9. From wiki about 1990s Post-Soviet aliyah:

    \ The weakening of the Zionist ethos and disappearance of the melting pot perception brought more tolerance from the Israeli society to the attempts of the Russian immigrants to preserve their culture.

    [a distinct Russian-Israeli culture] is characterized to a great extent by the combination of characteristic elements from the Soviet Union and Israel. … Russian immigrants are much more likely to go to the theater or to classic music concerts than Israel-born people,[17] and in literature the Russian aliyah introduced the “fantasy” realism genre into Israeli literature, as opposed to “dry” realism.[18]

    While the immigrants themselves did not completely integrate into Israeli culture and hold on to part of their Russian identity, their children are entirely integrated into Israeli society, according to a 2011 study

    The immigrants integrated relatively successfully in the Israeli economy, and they are characterized as having a higher rate of participation in the work market. The Israeli high tech field went through a small revolution with inculcation of several business incubators which were set up to provide employment for the thousands of the scientists and the engineers which came through this immigration wave. The Israeli economist Shlomo Maoz said about the Russian aliyah: “The Russian saved Israel, big time. The aliyah improved our situation almost on every parameter”.[29]

    Since that time, the immigrants have succeeded in blending into Israeli society in different fields, and contribute greatly to Israel. In 2009, Science Minister Daniel Hershkowitz said the immigration wave helped the Israeli universities, where one of every four staff members is now a Russian-speaker.[32]

    What interests me greater is also the positive influence of our immigration as a force against religious extremism:

    \ FSU Jews are adamantly against religious involvement in government. About eight-in-ten say, generally, that religion should be kept separate from government policies (79%)

    And in the event of a hypothetical conflict between halakha and democratic principles, Israeli Jews who were born in former Soviet republics overwhelmingly say democracy should take precedence (72%, compared with 62% of all Israeli Jews).

    Only 60% of second-generation FSU Jews say they are Hiloni (secular), compared with 81% of FSU immigrants who say so. And while 4% of first-generation immigrants say they are Haredi (ultra-Orthodox), among the second generation, this proportion has climbed to 14%.

    The last bit is saddening to me, though. I understand successful integration into Israeli society leads to this, but not every trait of Israeli general society is a good thing to adopt.


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