Yesterday, I wrote a post arguing that the supposedly woke slogan “Believe Women” has some odd implications for the recent Sanders-Warren controversy. It implies that we should believe Elizabeth Warren’s accusation that Sanders is a sexist, or at least presume his guilt until he can conclusively prove his innocence. Because I take this consequence to be a reductio, I take “Believe Women” to be an absurdity. Put charitably, the original, unqualified version of the slogan has to be modified. Put uncharitably, it has to be rejected. To split the difference, it requires a bit of both. Continue reading
So whatever happened to the “Believe Women” mantra, brought to us care of #MeToo? Yesterday’s unqualified axiom seems to have been washed away by today’s intra-progressive controversy. The reasoning here seems to be: Elizabeth Warren accused Bernie Sanders of sexism. But Bernie is more progressive than Liz. So the accusation can’t possibly be true, because if it were true, its truth would ruin the most progressive mainstream candidate’s shot at the presidency. Hence the accusation must be false, and Elizabeth Warren is a bit of a bitch for making it. From which it follows that the “Believe Women” axiom must also be false, though we’re not to say so out loud.
Gee, that was easy. Who knew that moralized axioms could so lightly be adopted, and so lightly be cast aside? Continue reading
Just happened on news of the untimely death of Asma Jahangir, the Pakistani human rights activist–a familiar face in Pakistan, but essentially unknown in the United States: telling, somehow, that we all know Malala Yousafzai, the Nobel Prize winner who fled Pakistan, but tend not to know Jahangir, the unsung hero who made the choice to remain. The vocabulary of “heroism” is probably overused, but genuinely applies here.
The truth is, though I followed Jahangir’s work in a sporadic way, and admired her from afar–in part because a cousin of mine worked for her organization–her death shocks me into the realization of how little I know the details. But I guess it also gives me the impetus to learn. I’ll use this space for the best material I encounter on her life and work.
Most of the news we’ve recently been hearing about immigration in the United States has been bad, but every now and then a bit of good news emerges. Here’s an instance of the latter.
About a year ago, a journalist told me the story of a young Pakistani immigrant in a terrible situation, asking me to write a letter of support that might help her get out of it. I contacted the person in question, heard her out, sat down to write her a letter of support, and sent it off to her lawyer. A few weeks ago, the woman told me that her application to remain in the United States had been accepted, and the orders to deport her had been lifted. With her permission, I’ve reproduced the letter I wrote for her, one of several she used to make her case to the immigration authorities. In the interests of privacy, I’ve changed her name.