Though there’s room to quibble about its exact definition, on some conception of it, almost everyone agrees that pedophilia is wrong–very wrong. When the acts in question involve very young children, and involve obvious reliance on violence or coercion, the issues left to quibble about rapidly diminish to zero. In such cases, we’re just left to stare pure evil in the face. I don’t think it much matters whether the incentives involved include pecuniary ones. Whether you monetarily profit off of pedophilia or not, it remains wrong. Continue reading
The following is an open letter by Professor Nathan Jun, Associate Professor of Philosophy at Midwestern State University Texas (ht: Roderick Long). Please distribute widely.
As many if not most of you are already aware, I was subjected to an intense campaign of doxing, harassment, threats, and vandalism this past summer owing to comments I had posted on social media in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder. Although this campaign had waned significantly by August, it has since resumed with a vengeance this past week following a speech I delivered at a campus rally for Breonna Taylor on Thursday, 24 September. Within 24 hours of that event I had already received several death threats. The situation quickly escalated after fascists (acting in concert with local media) disseminated a comment I posted on a friend’s Facebook page.
Apologies for deluging you all with posts; I’ll try to keep these to a maximum of two a day. But the situation here in the New York/New Jersey metro area is getting increasingly critical. As I said in my very first post in this series, our situation is closer to Italy’s right now than most people realize. That outcome isn’t inevitable, but it can only be averted if we act. There’s no need to be sitting at home “bored” with the lockdown. There’s more than enough to be done even within its constraints. (If Gazans can do it, so can you.) I can’t publicize every plea for assistance I see, no matter how legitimate; I can only ask concerned readers to be on the lookout for them, and please consider responding to some. Continue reading
Life is not a TV dinner.
I’m generally in favor of the so-called “lockdown” policies that have been adopted in New York and New Jersey, but I also think that the policies have been slightly misconceptualized in the abstract, and are now starting to go somewhat off the rails in practice. Here are a couple of simple suggestions. Continue reading
I drove through the “epicenter of the global pandemic today.” What was it like? Nothing in particular.
Colleagues in the Department of Art at my university answered my earlier plea for medical supplies by offering up their hidden stash of nitrile gloves. So I drove from my home in Readington, New Jersey to the university in Lodi (Bergen County), and called security to let me in. The security guard, who’s seen me hundreds of times before over more than a decade, professed for the nth time not to know who I was. After some pro forma wrangling, interrogation, and perusing of my ID from-a-distance, he let me in. Continue reading
I just had an hour-long conversation with my brother Suleman, a doctor on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19 at Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, New Jersey. Ridgewood is located in Bergen County, the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in New Jersey. Bergen County is also where my university happens to be located. Continue reading
Readers of this blog are well aware of my (some would say quixotic) support for Tulsi Gabbard in the 2020 presidential election. Below the video is an announcement for New Jersey residents from Paul Surovell, a volunteer for the Tulsi 2020 campaign in New Jersey. And yes, I’m going to keep posting Paul’s announcement here every week until we get Tulsi Gabbard on the ballot. Fight me. Or better yet, just sign the petition and you won’t have to.
The conventional wisdom has it that “for now,” the war with Iran is over. According to this supposed wisdom, Iran followed up our assassination of Suleimani with a lot of rhetorical bluster but an oddly anti-climactic and hapless missile strike on US bases in Iraq. The strike caused no casualties, and did no “serious” damage. Meanwhile, Trump, in his magnanimity, seems not to want to “escalate.” And so, war has been averted, and we can all emit a collective sigh of relief over everything’s having ended so well. I don’t claim to be an expert on military affairs, but to state my verdict on the conventional wisdom in a word: bullshit. The war isn’t over. It’s just begun. Continue reading
An excellent (and for me, live) question on Facebook care of Mark LeVine, Professor of Modern Middle Eastern History at UC Irvine:
So, fellow academics — The new quarter/semester starts, you get an active duty or reserve service member in your class who might be deployed because of this nightmare Trump is so gleefully creating for us. Do you reach out to her/him and advise/urge/suggest that s/he refuse to deploy for anything related to a war with Iran, explaining that such a war would be a crime against humanity? Or do you wait for them to come to you if they so choose?
The Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.
While you’re at it, why not do something practical to end U.S. support for the Israeli occupation, now in its 52nd year? I feel safer in the average synagogue or mosque in New Jersey (and I spend time in both) than I do when I visit the West Bank (as I also do) and face Israeli soldiers who come into the town where I’m living or the university campus where I’m teaching, engaging in gratuitous violence on flimsy pretexts. Your support for Israel is “unbreakable,” but your support for its occupation seems about as stable. It’s hard to see your condemnations of “hate” as anything more than empty rhetoric considering where you stand on the Israeli occupation.
We live in a country that started a war over a 2-year-long military occupation much milder than the Israeli one. Palestinians have shown amazing forbearance in putting up with the Israeli one for decades longer than that. The least we could do is to acknowledge its existence, acknowledge its significance, and speak and act accordingly. I don’t see even that minimal response to reality from any legislator in New Jersey and haven’t, for decades. I regret to say that you’re not an exception to that rule. Consider this note an invitation to become one.
Readington, New Jersey