Iowa: A Recap

IowaCaucusLogo Some thoughts on last night’s results: [Read more…]

Prepare to Despair

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So, we are a little over twenty four hours away from the Iowa caucuses, and it would appear that Donald Trump is set to win in my former home state; the Real Clear Politics average of polls shows Trump ahead, and shows that he has held a consistent lead. I suppose this means more cause for me to despair. It may well be that Trump will not be the Republican nominee, but for now, he is doing an excellent job of muddling any appealing Republican general election message, and helping set up the GOP to lose what should be a winnable contest against Hillary Clinton in the fall. Everyone who said “don’t worry, Trump will collapse eventually. He’s just the flavor of the month. It’s too early to anoint a frontrunner, etc.” is curiously silent now. [Read more…]

Satirist of New Yorker Hospitalized for Being Tiresome, Insufferable and, Above All Else, Not Funny

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NEW YORK (PejmanYousefzadeh.net)–The satirist for the New Yorker was hospitalized for a congenital inability to produce funny and interesting satirical material. [Read more…]

Why Donald Trump Causes Me to Despair

Trump Dan McLaughlin tells us that we should not despair over the continued potency of the Trump for Dictator President campaign, because there is no way that Donald Trump will actually become the presidential nominee of the Republican party. I agree that Trump will not be the Republican nominee, but there continues to be a case for despair. [Read more…]

The New York Times: In the Tank for the Obama Administration

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No one should really be surprised, of course, by the fact that the New York Times seems to go out of its way to offer political support to the Obama administration. But still, this is quite extraordinary: [Read more…]

Quote of the Day

In the past few weeks, the pendulum swing of political correctness–a movement that began decades ago as a backlash against entrenched prejudice and general power-hogging–seems to have achieved a sort of terminal velocity on American university campuses. This has resulted in events that many find dismaying, but not terribly surprising. I’m referring specifically to two well-known incidents that have already been heavily commented upon: the fight over Halloween costumes at Yale, in which a professor named Erika Christakis was pilloried for suggesting that students should be encouraged to use their own best judgment about what kinds of costumes are offensive, and the protests at the University of Missouri, during which a communications professor encouraged students to deny media access to their safe space–and to the very event that was designed to draw attention to their cause.

On both campuses, the idea of a “safe space” for students is generating the most discussion. It’s an idea that intrigues me, if only because it would never have survived a moment at my alma mater, St. John’s College.

[. . .]

St. John’s is a Great Books school, and it’s a curious mixture of a Very Safe Space and a completely un-“safe space”. It was a Very Safe Space in the sense that you could explore, out loud and in great depth, pretty much any idea you could think of, in one of the two-hour philosophy seminars on seminal works of Western Civilization that are held each week, or in any of the required tutorials in language, mathematics, the sciences, art, and music. It is an environment totally dedicated to nurturing intellectual curiosity, problem-solving, and general growth. I had never before, and have never since, encountered so many brilliant people in one place. Because it is a Liberal Arts college in the truest sense of the phrase, we all had to take every course on the syllabus, in every subject. And because our sources were not textbooks, but original sources–think Einstein, Newton, Galileo, Kepler, Freud, Euclid, Hegel, Kant–we were, all of us, pushed well beyond any concept of a comfort zone we might have had, and out onto the heaving ocean of our ignorance, which was where I seemed to spend most of my time. It’s not until one has delved deep into conversation with the authors of the Great Books, and with one or two dozen other hungry minds, that one realizes how very little one actually knows about anything. One needs a sense of safety just to inhabit that place for any length of time, and to navigate the feeling of instability that comes with balancing on something no more substantial than the head of a pin, until the ground grows slightly more substantial and ones’ footing becomes more assured.

[. . .]

I am not one to criticize those who find it frightening to have the intellectual ground yanked away from under one’s feet. I know first-hand how difficult it is to realize the things you “believe” are actually without foundation until they are examined, parsed, and tested. But this is what universities are supposed to be for. They are not–again, this has already been heavily written about and commented upon–for protecting and coddling. I was fortunate enough to spend four years in a place that to many might sound like a paradise, but which was actually a relentless testing chamber. As long as our students are lectured to instead of conversed with, as long as they are forced to digest packaged textbook versions of ideas instead of original sources, as long as they are told that true strength means clinging to one’s ideas rather than examining and questioning them, and–most of all–as long as they are allowed to resist solving problems for themselves, the pursuit of true understanding may be safely said to be gone in America. It is that concept, and no other, for which we should be providing a safe space. Everything else is wind.

William Kowalski. More such denunciations of “safe spaces” and other euphemisms for intellectual cowardice are needed in order to restore our universities–not to mention other locations where ideas are supposed to be exchanged and debates are supposed to be had–to something resembling sanity. Incidentally, the reading list at St. John’s makes one weep for joy; clearly, there is at least one spot on the planet where ideas and great thought are allowed to spread and flourish, enlightening minds young and old in the process. Would that more of the world were as willing to embrace the contemplative life, instead of meaningless and coward-coddling “safe spaces.”

(Cross-posted.)

More Problems with Obamacare, Which Supposedly No Longer Suffers from Any Problems Whatsoever

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Despite the fact that we have been assured that any and all problems with Obamacare’s implementation are hereby a thing of the past, and that we were foolish to have ever thought otherwise, the fact of the matter is that problems with the health care system exist, and are growing.

Evidence for this was cited in my previous blog post. And more evidence exists, courtesy of this article by Shikha Kalmia: [Read more…]

Obamacare Is Slowly Dying, and No One Should Be Surprised

15deductibles-master675 For quite a while now, we have been assured that we as a nation are well past the early hiccups and rough patches that attended the implementation of Obamacare. From here on out, we have been promised relatively smooth sailing. Everything is fine, everyone is happy, there is nothing bad or unpleasant to see, and we can all move along. Or so we are regularly told by the president of the United States, his political allies, and fans of Obamacare in general. [Read more…]

Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Insults the Very Nation She Wishes to Lead

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The putative next president of the United States has been trying recently to seem more approachable, more warm, more friendly, more of a kind-of-person-you-and-I-would-want-to-have-a-beer-with kind of politician. Presumably, achieving all of this would cause the rest of us to want to give her the keys to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

But when one looks beyond the charm offensive, one continues to find little charm, and much that is offensive. [Read more…]

Gun Policy and Intellectual Honesty

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If we are going, to have ourselves a serious debate regarding guns and gun policy, it would behoove us to get the facts right. I recognize that this is a revolutionary thought in some circles, but the hardworking staff here at PejmanYousefzadeh.net does believe that certain idiosyncrasies and departures from the norm can be beneficial. And who am I to disagree with my hardworking staff? [Read more…]

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