More college diversity and tolerance

From Amherst College, as noted by the left-leaning journal Commonweal:

‘Despite the sentiment expressed in its introduction, such a document will not serve to encourage discussion, but to stifle it; the goal is not intellectual diversity, but conformity. A professor friend of mine at another college notes ruefully that colleagues who oppose the ideas and language put forth in the Amherst document don’t dare say so publicly. “They’d be ostracized and shamed,” he told me. “You just can’t disagree with this kind of thing.”’

My review of Kirzner,

Competition, Economic Planning, and the Knowledge Problem, has been published at Review of Political Economy, and is available here, for a limited time.

"Chance" is not an explanation of anything

I'm currently reviewing John McWhorter's The Language Hoax for The University Bookman. Here is my commentary on McWhorter's use of "chance" as an explanation for some language feature:

McWhorter commits a serious error in assigning the cause of this multitude of bewildering variety in human language. He writes, "In fact, there is a coherent explanation... That explanation is, quite simply, chance" (43). This is nonsense, albeit common nonsense. "Chance" is not an explanation for anything: chance is the word we use for happenings we can't explain. In cases such as the presence of evidential markers in the Tuyuca language, McWhorter is fighting against the Whorfian view that there is always a macro-level, cultural/environmental explanation for the features of a language. And he makes a strong case, throughout the book, that that is not so.

But there is certainly some explanation for how they arose: perhaps a long-lived Tuyuca chief was an …

Yak shaving squared

It occurs to me that pretty much every time I tell the yak shaving story, it is because I have already begun yak shaving, and so telling the story is actually second order yak shaving.

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“Kerr [praised] the performance of Andre Iguodala, who made six 3-pointers and had 17 points...” — ESPNAnd was apparently -1 for 4 from the free throw line.

Well, So What?

Various readers have at times dismissed the idea that the pervasive and incessant use of smartphones is really something radically new in human history. David Samuels at Wired knows they are wrong:

"The machines and systems that the techno-monopolists have built are changing us faster than they or we understand. The scale of this change is so vast and systemic that we simple humans can’t do the math—perhaps in part because of the way that incessant smartphone use has affected our ability to pay attention to anything longer than 140 or 280 characters."

Now THAT’S out of touch!

A female hiring manager at Microsoft has posted, on an internal discussion board:
“Does Microsoft have any plans to end the current policy that financially incentivizes discriminatory hiring practices? To be clear, I am referring to the fact that senior leadership is awarded more money if they discriminate against Asians and white men...”