This is a useful account of why she is in trouble. Even Senator Murkowski (R-Alaska) was hearing from constituents alarmed about her! She knows nothing about public schools, indeed, is bent on destroying them quite clearly--which doesn't pay well in states with large rural populations. If you're in one of those states, call your Republican Senator's office to express your concern that the nominee is ignorant about and appears hostile to public schools! (Earlier post on this topic.)
...plus pathetic sexist tripe, but it also has its own resident raving anti-Semite, one "Jacques," whom no other contributor to that blog appears to have criticized for his insane bigotry. Some quotes from comments he's posted on that sorry blog:
Since the time of Marx through the many Bolshevik mass murderers like Kaganovich through to the present era of “whiteness studies” (i.e., anti-white-gentile studies) rammed with ethnocentric anti-white Jews, there is no group of people on earth who have been more venomously effective in the propagation of anti-Christian bigotry than leftist Jews. No group is more privileged or powerful or tribalistic...Jews enabled the Moors to take Spain. Jews traded in Christian slaves in huge numbers through the middle ages. Jewish wealth funded the rabidly Christophobic Bolsheviks. The Talmud tells us Christ is in hell boiling in excrement. All major Jewish organizations righteously demand that we flood Christian lands with unvetted limitless numbers of Muslims while making no similar demands on Israel.
Is it anti-semitic to believe on solid evidence the true proposition that...“leftist Jews” have been vastly over-represented among haters, oppressors and mass murderers of Christians, and in anti-Christian anti-European movements, and notably under-represented in the defense of the interests of Christians and non-Jewish Europeans
That the blog let this stuff stand defies belief. RightlyConsidered is operating at about the level of Breitbart, though trending towards StormFront! If right-wing philosophers want to be taken seriously, this blog is not the way to do it! But if they simply want to have their own cyber-circle of self-congratulation plus unabashed sexism and racism, then they're doing a great job!
We touched on this briefly last week, but as so often happens, it's taken on a life of its own on various right-wing websites. Briefly, the usual "high-school-with-tenure" crowd on Facebook was reacting to the brouhaha about Richard Swinburne's anti-gay bigotry (discussed here). Jason Stanley (Yale), on his Facebook-page-cum-blog responded with a "fuck off" and then a reaffirmation and, shall we say, "elaboration" of the "fuck off" aimed at Swinburne and his ilk. Rebecca Kukla (Georgetown) (another regular in this crowd, whose FB "tough talk" we've encountered before), chimed in with the suggestion that the anti-gay bigots "suck my giant queer cock." There are two reasonably calm accounts of events here and here, both of which include slightly different (and somewhat odd) explanations from Stanley about what transpired. Meanwhile, a right-wing website called "Georgetown Academy" has been pursuing Kukla, claiming that her "message to Catholics" was "suck my giant queer cock." That isn't quite right: at best, that was her "message" to Catholics who are anti-gay bigots. Meanwhile, Jason has, wisely I suspect, removed his Facebook account, to deprive the enemy of further ammunition (though my recollection of his FB page was that it was mostly an extended exercise in "enough about me, what do you think about me?").
I will note that my own comments on L'Affaire Swinburne--"Swinburne offered the usual awful arguments for anti-gay bigotry that "natural law" theorists and Christian philosophers usually trot out. No one outside the sect takes the arguments seriously, because they aren't serious arguments, but put that to one side. This talk was given inside the "sect": should anyone have been surprised that a keynote address at a Christian philosophy conference included familiar arguments rationalizing anti-gay bigotry? Many self-identified Christian philosophers reject such arguments, but many others plainly do not"--didn't provoke nearly as strong a reaction, no doubt due to the absence of vulgar abuse aimed at Swinburne. It's testimony to the power of vulgar words that they can provoke such a strong reaction by contrast. My suggestion, were either Professors Stanley or Kukla taking my advice, would be to apologize for the unfortunate choice of language (everyone, after all, is allowed to have a visceral reaction, and there's nothing wrong with harsh language), but reaffirm the substance of their opposition to anti-gay bigotry, even when it masquerades as philosophy. (You know things are getting weird in philosophy cyberspace when I'm the one giving cyber-etiquette advice! But seriously, having been through right-wing cyber-shitstorms, I think this is a good way to defuse them.)
As readers know, I'm no fan of The Stone blog at the New York Times, which too often features lightweights and hacks (usually "friends of Simon"), and in which even good philosophers don't always come off too well, with occasional exceptions. But one steady exception has been regular contributor Gary Gutting (Notre Dame), and I want to especially commend to the attention of readers this recent piece. The Catholic Church was a horror for much of its existence, but intra-religious slaughter and then the Enlightenment, cured Christianity. In significant parts of the Islamic world, this transformation has not occurred as Prof. Gutting discusses.
(1) Over the last year, the gender breakdown of academics criticized on this blog was nearly 75% male, about 25% female. This fact (which is what it is) won't stop, however, some benighted souls from asserting otherwise. Why? Group polarization: when some malevolent dope says on Facebook that I criticize more women than men, other malevolent dopes concur, thus reinforcing the false belief.
(2) Those who make the most outrageous assertions about me, including contradicting the facts in #1, are, it turns out, overwhelmingly from religious Christian backgrounds, especially Catholic and various Southern Protestant denominations. This is true of the most extreme cases, as well as the more run-of-the-mill casual defamers. I hadn't really registered this until a reader pointed it out, and some checking confirmed many cases. I'm not sure what to make of this fact; possibilities are (a) they are already ill-disposed towards me because of my critical comments about religion; (b) they're (explicit or implicit) anti-semites; (c) they are simply timid and fearful people, perhaps drawn to their religion because of that, but in any case easily frightened by pugnacious criticism directed at anyone. Of course, all of this may simply be an accidental correlation: the numbers are small (a dozen or so diehard obsessives) and of course most philosophers with Christian upbringings do not engage in the ugly distortions and casual defamation characteristic of my special small "anti-fan" club.
That was the title of a lunchtime talk I gave today for law students here, organized by our OUTLAW* chapter, and also sponsored by the Labor & Employment Law society. There was a lot of talk about some themes from my book, as well as constitutional doctrine, the federal RFRA, state RFRAs, Kim Davis, Title VII, Hobby Lobby (basically following my discussion in this paper), and a few other things. But the main theme was that we are on the verge of a ton of litigation in which the new anti-discrimination norms against LGBT people, reflected in the gay marriage decision of the Supreme Court, as well as many state laws, are going to come up against claims of "religious liberty," the liberty in question being the liberty to discriminate on the basis of LGBT status. We no longer have that kind of litigation seeking religious exemptions from laws prohibiting race discrimination, and my expectation is that in a generation, norms against anti-LGBT discrimination will be sufficiently entrenched to make such litigation unviable in that context too. But until then, or until an authoritative resolution by higher courts, we are going to see lots of anti-gay bigotry seeking validation through America's (generally misguided, in my view) scheme for "protecting" religious liberty. The important case out of New Mexico a few years ago illustrates what's in store; the New Mexico High Court reached the sensible result on behalf of equality values, but I'm sure other courts will not do as well.
*"OUTLAW" is the usual name of the LGBT student group at American law schools.
Continental Philosophy Farhang Erfani, a philosopher at American University, provides a useful set of links to news, events, interviews, reviews, videos, etc. related to "Continental philosophy" (broadly construed)