May 29, 2017

Kendall Jenner

Kendall Jenner

Source: Bigstock

Enough! United owns the plane. If United says get off, you have to get off. You can complain about it, you can threaten a lawsuit, you can curse them on the internet, you can point out some of the obvious injustices, like the fact that the system is not random selection, as United said at one point. First-class passengers don”€™t get asked to deplane. Frequent fliers don”€™t get booted. It’s only the economy-fare people who are targeted for the Removal Lottery. You can crow loud and long about all of this and seek whatever consumer remedies are available.

What you can”€™t do is physically resist. There are broken noses, broken teeth, or worse anytime the police have to physically move an uncooperative person from place to place”€”it’s messy and unpredictable.

United may have lousy policies, but no employee made a mistake and no police officer was out of line. A true statement from United would have been “€œWe”€™re being crucified on social media because of videos that show a passenger being injured by police after an extensive prior altercation. Since we don”€™t want any more viral videos like this that might affect our stock price, we”€™re going to increase the payments we offer to volunteers so that we don”€™t have to ever use any kind of lottery system to decide who gets bumped.”€

Instead they chose to lie, causing both the flight attendants and the O”€™Hare airport police to look like thugs. They then settled a lawsuit with Dr. Dao, thereby legitimizing his refusal to leave the plane. I would like to talk to the cops who removed him”€”how much do they get for doing their dangerous jobs?

Numero three-o: The Middlebury College Riot.

The official legend: A racist conservative scholar named Charles Murray, author of a notorious anti-minority book called The Bell Curve, is invited to speak on campus, but he’s shouted down by a student mob that literally chases him out of the building, in the process injuring the professor who sponsored him and sending her to the hospital with a back injury. The college apologizes to Murray and comes out strongly in favor of academic freedom on campus.

Not as widely reported: Bert Johnson, chairman of Middlebury College’s political-science department, then apologized to the student body for inviting Murray to campus in the first place! He said it was “€œa closed decision-making process”€ that “€œcontributed to a feeling of voicelessness that many already experience on this campus, and it contributed to the very real pain that many people”€”particularly people of color”€”have felt as a result of this event.”€

In other words, the rioters were justified.

Message to Professor Johnson:

“€œVery real pain”€ = a back injury requiring hospitalization.

“€œNot very real pain”€ = hurt feelings.

The actual facts of the matter: Murray wasn”€™t even planning to talk about The Bell Curve, the book he wrote 25 years ago that so annoyed the students of color. Fortunately he was able to deliver his prepared remarks online, and so we know what he would have said if he hadn”€™t been shouted down. It was a speech about the white working class. Two social scientists at Cornell University transcribed those remarks and sent them to seventy college professors, asking them to rate the speech on a 1 to 9 scale, from liberal to conservative, with 5 as moderate. The average score was 5.05. They then sent the same remarks to seventy other professors, who were told the remarks came from Murray”€”those academics gave the speech a 5.77, still not very far right. Some of those professors would have known that The Bell Curve was a book based on data showing that IQ is based on both genetic and environmental factors. Like, why are so many great fiddle players from Appalachia? Why do Russians never win sprint races but do okay in distance races? He just applied this commonsense notion to IQ, or, as my grandpa used to say, “€œbook-learnin”€™.”€

A true official statement from the Middlebury political-science department would have been something like this: “€œWhen we invited Charles Murray to campus, we knew he was likely to be controversial and thought that was healthy for our students, but when it turned violent we realized that what we”€™ve been teaching for the past 30 years”€”namely, that verbal and written aggression perceived to be insensitive toward minorities is the same as physical violence”€”had been actually accepted as truthful by our students. Combined with the fact that none of them had been born when The Bell Curve was published, and none of them had time to read it in advance of Murray’s appearance, their profound ignorance and bias exploded in a way that should probably make us change all of our teaching policies.”€

But then again, it’s easier just to apologize. It’s easier just to lie.


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