Israel and Soccer
As a soccer fan, I suppose I ought to be blogging about the kerfuffle concerning Israel and soccer (especially since I’ve actually been to soccer games in Israel). This kind of thing bubbles up every now and then. Back in the 1980s, I think, the Asian division of FIFA (the international soccer organization) ejected Israel, and so the European division (UEFA) took them in. It seemed a bit strange at the time since Israel is not part of Europe, but now UEFA includes countries like Armenia, Azerbaijan, and even Kazakhstan, all of which seem like they ought to be in the Asian division. Anyway, there is now some spot of bother about Israel and the Palestinians, and I’m not even going to bother trying to figure it out. I think they want to eject Israel permanently from FIFA, which would make them ineligible for the World Cup. Since Israel hasn’t qualified in years, or maybe ever, I don’t know that this is going to hurt them a lot. The people it is going to hurt are those Israeli Arabs who play for Israel (though no doubt they can get some kind of special release to play for Palestine, which hasn’t impressed anyone internationally, either). Anyway, Israel could then join that World Cup of the “Other.” I don’t think that’s what they call it, but it’s for all the states that aren’t states, like Kurdistan and Northern Cyprus. They might be able to win that competition.
More on Analytic Philosophy and Identity Politics
I’ve been suggesting for some time (here, here, and here) that had people in analytic philosophy decided to engage with issues of racism, sexism, and so on, they would have been more sensible about it than other people have been. See here for an actual article along these lines whose link Keith Burgess-Jackson sent to me. It does a great job of arguing that the idea that only blacks can teach about blacks is ridiculous.
Racism versus Culturism
Along the same lines, here is an article about how non-white immigrants in Holland don’t like the way that white students are abandoning the schools they go to. Naturally, these whites (or their parents) are called racist. And this is another example of what happens when people who aren’t in analytic philosophy deal with concepts like racism. They keep expanding the concept to encompass just about everything a white person says or does. In fact, though, nothing in the article suggested that these people were racist. Instead, what was suggested was that they were “culturist” (or maybe "culturalist"), which means that they view their own culture as superior to that of others. Leftists argue that this is tantamount to racism, which is why they don’t bother with the word “culturism” and simply call them racists. But just because they hold such a belief, that doesn’t mean the rest of us have to follow in their footsteps. There are obvious problems with identifying the two concepts. What about the white person who has no trouble with the skin color of other people, so long as they accept his culture? Surely such a person should be distinguished from people who do have a problem with others’ skin color. And it seems to tie a person to a culture even when they don’t want to be tied to it.
Progressives and Academic Culture
Progressives dominate in academia these days, but it seems strange that their major battles don’t ever involve the structure of academia. It is always about identity politics. This post (hat tip: Mark Spahn) tells about the horrors of being on a postdoctoral fellowship as one moves up the ladder to being a full-fledged scientist (except that lots of people don’t ever get there). Obviously, this system needs drastic reform. The people are poorly paid (though they are paid better than adjuncts in the humanities), they don’t get benefits, they may not get unemployment if they get fired, they might not get credit for the brilliant work they do, and so on. Back when I was young, leftists wanted to reform everything in sight, but that spirit no longer seems to be part of the leftist milieu. Instead, they get into silly crusades about the rape culture on campus, or why certain people like Ayaan Hirsi Ali should never be invited to speak, or why diversity is so important. Where are the Social Justice Warriors when it comes to reforming the system?
Argentina Demands That Cuba Repay Its Loan
I read an article recently that said that Argentina wants Cuba to repay a loan that Argentina made to them a number of years ago. What is funny about this is that Argentina itself balks at paying back loans they received from others. Consistency has never been a virtue for leftists, apparently. It reminds me of the situation a number of years ago when Bolivia nationalized their oil industry. Maybe they thought they were sticking it to capitalists, but the fact is that some of the owners of their oil industry included the already nationalized oil industries of Spain and Brazil. Heh.
The Rich Get Richer: University Endowment Edition
The rich get richer when it comes to university endowments, as this article shows. Harvard lost $10 billion in the recession back in 2008, but it has more than made back that loss. Do all those leftists demanding a redistribution from the rich to the poor have this in mind? No, of course not. Take a look at the progressive contract that Bill de Blasio and others drafted (here). There is nothing in it that talks about taking money from rich universities, though two of the four proposals for making the rich pay more in taxes are directed at companies. Keep in mind that these rich universities generally cater to rich students, too:
And while many of the wealthiest colleges offer need-based scholarships for their poorest students, they enroll a relatively small percentage of low-income students compared to their less wealthy peers.
Why is there nary a peep from leftists about this? It seems to be people on the right who are complaining. Apparently, Social Darwinism has taken over the left: if you can’t get admitted to these elite schools, then you deserve to be at the bottom.
Asians and Harvard
Well, at least one group is fighting against the automatic assumption that anyone who can’t get into Harvard deserves to be at the bottom. A bunch of Asian-American groups are now suing Harvard because they believe that they are being discriminated against, just as Harvard and other places discriminated against Jews a number of decades ago. And I say to them, Go for it. If you work hard and get top grades, then places like Harvard should be screaming for you.