Studying or stoning? It’s no surprise which one leads to better grades.

Heather Long, who moved from CNN to The Washington Post’s WonkBlog, tweeted:

And the story:

These college students lost access to legal pot — and started getting better grades

By Patrick Reis | July 25, 2017 at 8:55 AM

The most rigorous study yet of the effects of marijuana legalization has identified a disturbing result: College students with access to recreational cannabis on average earn worse grades and fail classes at a higher rate.

Economists Olivier Marie and Ulf Zölitz took advantage of a decision by Maastricht, a city in the Netherlands, to change the rules for “cannabis cafes,” which legally sell recreational marijuana. Because Maastricht is very close to the border of multiple European countries (Belgium, France and Germany), drug tourism was posing difficulties for the city. Hoping to address this, the city barred noncitizens of the Netherlands to residents from buying from the cafes.

This policy change created an intriguing natural experiment at Maastricht University, because students there from neighboring countries suddenly were unable to access legal pot, while students from the Netherlands continued.

The research on more than 4,000 students, published in the Review of Economic Studies, found that those who lost access to legal marijuana showed substantial improvement in their grades. Specifically, those banned from cannabis cafes had a more than 5 percent increase in their odds of passing their courses. Low performing students benefited even more, which the researchers noted is particularly important because these students are at high-risk of dropping out. The researchers attribute their results to the students who were denied legal access to marijuana being less likely to use it and to suffer cognitive impairments (e.g., in concentration and memory) as a result.

There’s more at the original, but it shouldn’t be much of a surprise: getting stoned instead of studying isn’t a path toward success. This was already known when it came to alcohol use, but studies concerning marijuana use had been a bit more problematic.

Of course, plain old common sense — which seems to be less common than it used to be — told us that all along, ut I suppose, in this day and age, we need academic studies to confirm what anybody ought to know is true.

I am stunned that The New York Times published this


Why I Bring My Gun to School

by Antonia Okafor | July 24, 2017

It was my first year as a public policy graduate student at the University of Texas, Dallas, and I was taking all my classes at night so I could work during the day. Every evening, after class got out around 10, I had to walk through the sprawling parking lots to get to my car. I dreaded that time of day. I would pray that no one was lurking in dimly lit areas or behind cars, and I’d try not to think about the campus police alerts I’d seen about sexual assaults in the area.

I had survived such an assault myself when I was a child. The incident left me acutely aware of the realities of being preyed upon just because you are physically smaller and less likely to protect yourself. I know what it means to feel defenseless.

Now my only means of protection was a rape whistle. I would hold it in one hand and my phone in the other, the numbers 9-1-1 pre-dialed and my finger on the call button. As I neared my car, I would start to jog. It scared me to think that even if I dialed the number and blew the whistle, by the time anyone got to the scene it might be too late. When I got to my car, I’d get in, lock the doors and look behind me to make sure no one was in the back seat.

This was in 2015, around the time the Texas Legislature began debating, and ultimately passing, a so-called campus carry bill. I grew up in a Democratic, immigrant household in a suburb outside of Dallas, where guns and gun policy were never discussed, so I hadn’t paid much attention when similar bills failed in 2011 and 2013. But that year something changed. I was 25 years old, commuting alone, and as a minority woman, I felt particularly vulnerable.

I started fighting for students’ rights to carry concealed weapons for selfish reasons: I wanted to be able to protect myself. But I quickly found a network of women who felt the same way I did, and we began to advocate for our safety together. I eventually became the Southwest director of Students for Concealed Carry, and am now the founder of the self-defense nonprofit Empowered, which will open its first chapter this fall, at the University of North Texas. (I have also appeared in ads for the National Rifle Association, but I am not employed by the organization.)

There’s more at the original, but the second-to-last paragraph is hugely important:

The rights and values of gun-owning women aren’t being addressed by either political party. While conservatives aren’t paying enough attention to sexual assault, liberals are actively hurting women’s access to self-defense. Many liberals — including many female professors my organization approached as potential sponsors for Empowered — don’t support a woman’s “right to choose” when it comes to her own self-defense. They can’t get behind a vision of female empowerment that doesn’t match their own.

The left, as I have said before, are pro-choice on exactly one thing, and the right to keep and bear arms isn’t it.

Will Miss Okafor ever have to actually use the Ruger LC9 pistol she now carries, and has trained to use? We certainly hope not! If she does ever have cause to use it to defend herself, will she be able to use it effectively? That’s something that nobody can know until the situation arises. But, knowing that when seconds count, the police are only minutes away,1 she has decided to take her self-defense into her own hands, and feels safer for it.

Why I have to ask, would the left take away Miss Okafor’s right to self-defense? She is apparently a law-abiding citizen, who has no interest in weapons other than for her own defense. The people the left believe would be kept from having weapons if we had strict gun control are the people who have every intention of breaking the law; they will not eschew getting a firearm if they want one.

  1. The police exist to deter crime and solve crimes that have already been committed; they really aren’t there to stop crimes being committed.

Democrats support raising taxes, so let’s go ahead and raise taxes on Democrats!

From Newsmax:

GOP Favor Dropping Tax Beneficial to Blue States

(AP) – Monday, 24 July 2017 08:34 AM

Republicans aren’t usually big on raising taxes, but they’re really eager to eliminate the federal deduction for state and local taxes.

Why? A look at the states that benefit the most from the tax break helps explain it — they are all Democratic strongholds, or so-called blue states. New York, Connecticut, New Jersey and California top the list of states where taxpayers get the biggest deductions. Not a single Republican-leaning state ranks in the top 10.

“Although Republicans usually recoil at any type of tax increase, cutting this tax break would almost be fun for them,” said Martin Sullivan, chief economist for Tax Analysts. “It provides massively disproportionate deductions to high-tax states controlled by Democrats.”

Proposals by House Republican leaders and President Donald Trump would repeal the tax break as part of their packages to overhaul the American tax code. But they are getting a lot of pushback from Republican lawmakers in Democratic-controlled states.

The standoff illustrates how hard it is for Congress to eliminate any popular tax break, even one that primarily benefits the ruling party’s political opponents.

Almost 44 million people claimed the deduction in 2014, according to IRS statistics. That’s nearly every taxpayer who itemizes deductions, a little less than 30 percent of all taxpayers. Sullivan analyzed which states would be hit hardest by repealing the tax deduction. The Associated Press did a similar analysis and came to the same conclusion.

There’s more at the original, but, if we are to take their rhetoric at face value, the Democrats ought to be on board with this. After all, they believe that taxes should be raised on the top producers, and the state-and-local tax deduction is valuable only to those who have itemized deductions greater than the standard deduction. 1

The ‘blue states’ tend to have higher incomes, coupled with higher costs of living. The Associated Press article continued to note that, nationwide, the average state-and-local tax deduction is close to $11,800, but in New York, it’s more than $21,000, while Connecticut, New Jersey and California2 follow at approximately $18,900, $17,200 and $17,100, respectively.

I joked, many times, that the house I bought in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania for $87,500 in 2002 would have cost $287,500 in Conshohocken, the Philadelphia suburb in which I worked at the time. That not only kept my mortgage payments much lower, but it also kept my property taxes down.3 That’s an anecdote, of course, but it reflects another great truth: not only would this proposal have a greater impact on blue states, but a greater impact on the blue areas of both blue and red states.

There is another consideration, however. Many people who itemize deductions can only do so with the combination of both state and local taxes, plus the mortgage interest deduction; those two major deductions, by themselves, are lower than the standard deduction for many people who currently itemize. Elimination of the state-and-local tax deduction will push many working-class homeowners to the standard deduction, rather than being able to itemize.

The Democrats’ greatest strength is concentrated in urban areas, areas which have higher salaries and wages, but also higher costs of living. These are the areas voting for the higher taxes that Democrats propose, and it’s only right that they should pay those higher taxes! Unfortunately, some good Republicans will get hurt by this as well, but, overall, this could be a very good thing.
Cross-posted on RedState.

  1. Standard deduction, 2016 and 2017, depending upon filing status:

    • Single – $6,300 (2016); $6,350 (2017)
    • Married Filing Jointly – $12,600 (2016); $12,700 (2017)
    • Head of Household – $9,300 (2016): $9,350 (2017)
    • Married Filing Separately – $6,300 (2016); $6,350 (2017)
    • Qualifying Widow(er) – $12,600 (2016); $12,700 (2017)

  2. While California, by the Official Poverty Measure, had only the 17th highest poverty rate in the nation, when using the Census Bureau’s Supplemental Poverty Measure, which takes into account various factors including the costs of living, the Pyrite State has the nations’ highest poverty rate. Using the same measure, my new home state of Kentucky drops from a 20.7% poverty rate down to 16.0%, due to much lower costs of living.
  3. Pennsylvania’s state income tax is relatively low, at a 3.07% flat rate, but the Keystone State nickel-and-dimes you to death with fees on almost everything, along with the highest gasoline tax in the nation. You can deduct the state income tax and property taxes, or you can deduct sales taxes (if you’ve kept records), but the state gasoline tax is not deductible.

Everything Paul Krugman writes is a lie, including “and” and “the.” Apparently you don't have to be all that smart to win a Nobel Prize!

Nobel laureate and New York Times columnist Dr Paul Krugman tweeted:

This is a good thing, because the cat is smarter than he is!

Health Care in a Time of Sabotage

Paul Krugman | July 21, 2017

Is Trumpcare finally dead? Even now, it’s hard to be sure, especially given Republican moderates’ long track record of caving in to extremists at crucial moments. But it does look as if the frontal assault on the Affordable Care Act has failed.

And let’s be clear: The reason this assault failed wasn’t that Donald Trump did a poor selling job, or that Mitch McConnell mishandled the legislative strategy. Obamacare survived because it has worked — because it brought about a dramatic reduction in the number of Americans without health insurance, and voters didn’t and don’t want to lose those gains.

Unfortunately, some of those gains will probably be lost all the same: The number of uninsured Americans is likely to tick up over the next few years. So it’s important to say clearly, in advance, why this is about to happen. It won’t be because the Affordable Care Act is failing; it will be the result of Trump administration sabotage.

One wonders: if the Affordable Care Act was the rousing success that the esteemed Dr Krugman tells us that it is, why isn’t Hillary Clinton President? If the ACA has been so wonderful, why have the Democrats lost 1,041 congressional, gubernatorial and state legislative seats to Republicans campaigning against ‘Obamacare?’1

Some background here: Even the A.C.A.’s supporters have always acknowledged that it’s a bit of a Rube Goldberg device. The simplest way to ensure that people have access to essential health care is for the government to pay their bills directly, the way Medicare does for older Americans. But in 2010, when the A.C.A. was enacted, Medicare for all was politically out of reach.

It should be noted here that I have already written in support of a single-payer health care plan, one which generated a lot of comments in the RedState version, but Dr Krugman’s statement raises an obvious question: if he admits that the ACA is “a bit of a Rube Goldberg device,” how can he concomitantly state that the ACA failing “won’t be because the Affordable Care Act is failing; it will be the result of Trump administration sabotage?” It is failing because, in the long run, it couldn’t work, which is what conservatives had said all along.

The unfortunate fact is that the Republicans have been completely unable to repeal the ACA: the law remains as it was passed by Congress in 2010. If it was able to be successful the way it was passed, it would be successful now, because President Trump and the Republicans have been unable to change it.

What we got instead was a system with a number of moving parts. It’s not as complex as all that — once you understand the basic concept of the “three-legged stool” of regulations, mandates and subsidies, you’ve got most of it. But it has more failure points than, say, Medicare or Social Security.

Notably, people aren’t automatically signed up for coverage, so it matters a lot whether the officials running the system try to make it work, reaching out to potential beneficiaries to ensure that they know what’s available, while reminding currently healthy Americans that they are still legally required to sign up for coverage.

You can see this dependence on good intentions by looking at how health reform has played out at the state level. States that embraced the law fully, like California and Kentucky, made great progress in reducing the number of the uninsured; states that dragged their feet, like Tennessee, benefited far less. Or consider the problem of counties served by only one insurer; as a recent study noted, this problem is almost entirely limited to states with Republican governors.

If you follow Dr Krugman’s link to the “states which embraced the law,” and click on the Medicaid filter, you’ll see that good, liberal California dropped from 16% uninsured in 2013 (when the ACA took effect) to 9% uninsured in 2015 (the last year documented) also saw Medicaid rise from 23% to 28%; the majority of the drop in the uninsured was a result not of people getting private insurance, but of people getting on Medicaid. The percentages weren’t quite as bad in Kentucky, but the Bluegrass State saw its Medicaid roles jump from 22% to 25% in those two years.2

This isn’t a story about how more people are getting private insurance; this is a story of more people getting on a form of welfare!

But now the federal government itself is run by people who couldn’t repeal Obamacare, but would clearly still like to see it fail — if only to justify the repeated, dishonest claims, especially by the tweeter in chief himself, that it was already failing. Or to put it a bit differently, when Trump threatens to “let Obamacare fail,” what he’s really threatening is to make it fail.

On Wednesday The Times reported on three ways the Trump administration is, in effect, sabotaging the A.C.A. (my term, not The Times’s). First, the administration is weakening enforcement of the requirement that healthy people buy coverage. Second, it’s letting states impose onerous rules like work requirements on people seeking Medicaid. Third, it has backed off on advertising and outreach designed to let people know about options for coverage.

States “impos(ing) onerous rules like work requirements on people seeking Medicaid?”  How utterly horrid that we ask people on welfare to look for work to continue to receive welfare!  This is a good thing, not something bad.

Despite Dr Krugman’s claims, we noted, in October of 2016, before the election, that ACA premiums were rising by 25%,3 long before President Trump was able to ‘sabotage’ the ACA by doing anything other than campaigning against it.

And here is the worst of Dr Krugman’s idiocy:

And there may be worse to come: Insurance companies, which are required by law to limit out-of-pocket expenses of low-income customers, are already raising premiums sharply because they’re worried about a possible cutoff of the crucial federal “cost-sharing reduction” subsidies that help them meet that requirement.

The insurance companies were already raising premiums, dramatically, before Mr Trump was elected.  Insurance companies were pulling out of ACA insurance provider pools before the 2016 elections, leaving, as linked above, about 20% of all consumers served by only one ACA insurance provider.  The insurance companies thought that they’d make money on the ACA, with the law forcing the uninsured to buy coverage, that coverage subsidized by the government.  Some of that has happened, though much of the reduction in the uninsured is from Medicaid, but the insurance companies are losing money on the law, not making money, and that was happening while President Obama was still in office.

Virtually everything Dr Krugman has said has turned out to be wrong. To some of us, that isn’t a surprise.

Cross-posted on RedState.

  1. Dr Krugman would probably answer, “Gerrymandering!” but the twelve gubernatorial and twelve Senate seats lost were in statewide elections, where gerrymandered districts aren’t possible.
  2. Kentuckians were so happy with former Governor Steve Beshear’s (D-KY) ’embracing’ of the law that, in the 2015 elections, they rejected Democrat Jack Conway, who had a 45% to 40% lead in late polling, giving Republican Matt Bevin, the TEA party favorite who had previously lost the 2014 senatorial nomination to Mitch McConnell, a 53% to 44% over Mr Conway. A year later, the voters in the Bluegrass State flipped the state House of Representatives to Republican control with an overwhelming victory, flipping 17 seats in the 100-member chamber from Democrat to Republican.
  3. “When Obamacare open enrollment begins in 2017, the cost of mid-level plans will rise by an average of 25 percent in the 39 states served by the federal online exchanges. In addition, major providers like Humana, UnitedHealth, and Aetna have scaled back or dropped out of the Obamacare exchanges, leaving roughly 20 percent of consumers with only one insurer to choose from.”

It’s time to tell the truth to ourselves We will not get rid of the government guarantee of health care coverage

William Teach of The Pirate’s Cove concluded, in an article entitled CNN Poll: Fewer Want GOP To Repeal And Replace Obamacare:

The time to kill Obamacare was the 2012 election. With a President Romney, he could have slowed or even stopped the implementation of Obamacare, even without control of the Senate. All the rules and regulations could have been spiked. Once it was implemented, though, getting rid of it would be damned difficult. How many Big Big Big Government programs have been killed off? A handful at best? Instead, most become institutionalized, and, even when they are failing, even with miserable performance, they still stick around.

Of course they do: even the worst government program has some beneficiaries, people for whom maintaining the program is far more important to their economic well-being than the waste of money is to taxpayers in general.

Patterico is incensed:

This Means WAR: The ObamaCare Betrayal by Senators Capito and Murkowski Can Never Be Forgotten or Forgiven

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:00 am PDT

As I mentioned yesterday, I am astounded that so many people want to blame the GOP’s failure to repeal ObamaCare on those who are least to blame: folks like Rand Paul and Mike Lee. As I said, the real villains are the people who voted for the ObamaCare (partial) repeal bill in 2015 — but oppose it today.

Well, Mitch McConnell will soon call for a vote on a reanimated version of that same bill. And now we’re starting to learn who the scoundrels really are.

At the top of the list of giant hypocrites, you’ll find Senators Shelly Moore Capito of West Virginia and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska — who have both declared their intention to vote against the ObamaCare repeal bill that they both voted for in 2015. As Phil Kerpen said:

They have no excuse for this, and their betrayal will save ObamaCare.

This means war.

Capito and Murkowski are the most worthless type of hypocrites imaginable. They have postured as being against Obamacare, but they never really were. They voted in favor of the (partial) repeal in 2015 — and yet they claim they cannot vote for the same bill today, in 2017.

What is the difference between 2015 and 2017? Yesterday afternoon I sent emails to the press offices of Senators Capito and Murkowski, asking them why they would choose not to vote for the exact same bill they voted for in 2015. I received no response from Senator Capito, and a canned statement from Senator Murkowski that does not remotely begin to address the questions I had asked.

So what is the difference between 2015 and 2017? I’ll tell you what the difference is. The difference is that today, in 2017, we have a president who would sign that repeal bill into law. In 2015, we did not.

Senators Capito and Murkowski knew this. They lied to their voters, straight up.

More at the original. As I said yesterday, none of the Republican plans have been anything more than Obaminablecare Lite, because there are only so many ways you can utilize the private, for-profit insurance system to force coverage for everybody.

The plain fact is that about half of Republicans — including me — objects to Obysmalcare not due to the way in which it attempts to provide insurance coverage for everyone, but that the government is trying to provide health care coverage for those who cannot or will not pay for it themselves in the first place. The problem is that the other half of Republicans might hate Obumblecare1 but agree with the cockamamie notion that the government should be responsible for providing health care coverage, and the GOP’s electoral advantage depends in part on a significant number of people who would lose health insurance or Medicaid if the current law is repealed.

There are only two significant ways to change the laughably-named Affordable Care Act: either total repeal, with no replacement, or single-payer. Every Republican congressman and Senator knows that voting for repeal only will take away health care coverage from some of the voters who put them in office.

Conservatism lost when Mitt Romney was defeated in 2012. The ACA had been passed, but still wasn’t in force at that point, so it could have been repealed without actually taking anything away from anybody. The option to return to the government not guaranteeing health care died in that election, and the realistic person needs to admit that.

I’ve said it many times before: he ACA was never meant to actually work, but was simply meant to pass, in order to establish the principle that the federal government was ultimately responsible for seeing to it everyone had access to health care. That principle has been established, and it won’t be repealed.

I have previously supported some form of single-payer plan, not because I like the idea that the government would guarantee access to health care — I hate that idea, I despise that idea, I abominate that idea — but because, if the government is going to do that, single-payer is the most rational way to do it.2

Oh, I still think it will be a disaster: Sachi ab Hugh’s 2010 article about her father’s treatment under Japan’s single-payer system is the most telling one I have ever seen, and the Veterans Administration hospitals scandal was hardly surprising, given the need to cut costs; it’s qualitatively indistinguishable from the cost-cutting method of delaying care used by the United Kingdom and Canada. But with the principle established that the federal government will be ultimately responsible for providing health care coverage, there’s little else that can be done.

Mitch McConnell is the Republican’s point man on the repeal-and-replace program.  But the Distinguished Gentleman from Kentucky represents a poor state, one in which former Governor Steve Beshear’s (D-KY) Medicaid expansion reduced the uninsured rate from 19% to 7%. Current Governor Matt Bevin (R-KY), the TEA party challenger to Senator McConnell in 2014, who said he would reverse his predecessor’s order, backed off of that, and while he now has a plan to require some work for the able-bodied to retain Medicaid, it’s a tough sell.

The simple fact is that the Majority Leader’s home state is one of the greatest recipients of the ACA provisions expanding Medicaid! Does anyone really expect him to be the 51st vote to repeal the ACA?

He has to do what he has to do to remain Majority Leader, but, in the end, he will not let the Bluegrass State lose the Medicaid expansion. If we don’t get to single-payer in time, and the ACA isn’t replaced, count on Mr McConnell to try to retain the federal portion of Medicaid spending in the expansion, rather than let it fall back on the Commonwealth.

Serious question: how many Republicans could support the current Affordable Care Act if they hadn’t laden it with the name Obamacare? How much of the opposition is due to not wanting our loathsome 44th President to get the credit for it?

The very sad fact is that we will either have some form of health care coverage similar to the Affordable Care Act, or we will go to some form of single-payer, most probably an expansion of Medicare to cover everybody. We will not revert to the 2008 status quo ante, as much as I wish it were so, and I am not naïve enough, or stupid enough, to think otherwise. At least with a Medicare expansion, everyone will have to pay something, as the Medicare tax hits all paychecks, and a Medicare expansion will require a great expansion of the Medicare tax, currently pegged at 2.9% 3 Health care in this country being roughly 17.8% of gross domestic product, and the current Medicare tax rate of 2.9% paying almost exclusively for people no longer in the workforce, I come up with a 20.7% Medicare tax rate, which would (hopefully) be offset by no longer having to pay for health insurance.4

There are some quick improvements which could be made to a single-payer bill. A smart Republican could co-sponsor it with Senator Bernie Sanders (S-VT), a Medicare expansion which Mr Sanders already planned for in his 2016 primary campaign, one which limited coverage to American citizens and legal residents,5 and limited coverage to necessary procedures, excluding elective ‘treatments’ including abortion, ‘sex reassignment surgery’ and non-reconstructive plastic surgery. Such limitations would be attractive enough to conservatives to (perhaps) gain their (reluctant) support.

Again, I expect any single-payer plan to be ugly and messy; I simply don’t see it as any uglier or messier than the current ACA system.
Cross-posted on RedState.

  1. Sammy Finkelman asked me, “I like those terms Obysmalcare and Obumblecare. How come nobody ever came up with that before, or did you get them from somewhere?” Including Obaminablecare, while I came up with those myself, I can’t imagine that I’m the only one who did; it’s possible I heard one or more of them elsewhere, and it registered only subconsciously.
  2. Full disclosure: I will turn 65 in April of 2018, and thus become eligible for Medicare. I have previously said that, even if I had a billion dollars in the bank, which I do not, I would still take every last ruble of the Social Security and Medicare benefits to which I am entitled, because I have already paid for them.
  3. 1.45% for the individual taxpayer, and 1.45% for the employer; self-employed individuals must pay the full 2.9%. Even those on Medicare normally pay some premiums for additional coverage.
  4. The previously referenced article by Sachi ab Hugh noted that her family in Japan maintained three private health insurance policies, to insure good health care. I anticipate that any shift to single-payer in this country will lead to something similar for people of means in the United States.
  5. Excluding even those illegal immigrants who are working and paying Medicare taxes.

Kathy’s Country Kitchen

If any of our readers saw Fox & Friends this morning, with segments from Kathy’s Country Kitchen in Clay City, Kentucky, we’ve eaten there, and the place comes highly recommended by me for good, country food. Try the fried green tomatoes with your breakfast.

Kathy’s is cash only, but there’s an ATM at the gas station/minimart across the street.

Freedom of speech? What freedom of speech? The first step toward criminalizing speech

From The New York Times:

When Is Speech Violence?

By Lisa Feldman Barrett | July 14, 2017

Imagine that a bully threatens to punch you in the face. A week later, he walks up to you and breaks your nose with his fist. Which is more harmful: the punch or the threat?

The answer might seem obvious: Physical violence is physically damaging; verbal statements aren’t. “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

This is a pretty poor example, because the speech made constitutes a credible threat to do physical harm; that’s already a crime. It is not the words which are actionable, but the threat. What would make more sense is an example in which the speech was, “I hate your guts, and hope someone punches you out,” which is certainly hostile, but isn’t making an actual threat.

But the author, a professor of psychology at Northeastern University, continues, telling us that hostile speech can have a harmful physical impact:

But scientifically speaking, it’s not that simple. Words can have a powerful effect on your nervous system. Certain types of adversity, even those involving no physical contact, can make you sick, alter your brain — even kill neurons — and shorten your life.

Your body’s immune system includes little proteins called proinflammatory cytokines that cause inflammation when you’re physically injured. Under certain conditions, however, these cytokines themselves can cause physical illness. What are those conditions? One of them is chronic stress.

There’s more at the original. Dr Barrett tries to take the distinction between speech which is abusive as opposed to obnoxious, holding that abusive speech is physically harmful:

That’s why it’s reasonable, scientifically speaking, not to allow a provocateur and hatemonger like Milo Yiannopoulos to speak at your school. He is part of something noxious, a campaign of abuse. There is nothing to be gained from debating him, for debate is not what he is offering.

However, the good professor stated that an obnoxious position, using Dr Charles Murray’s contention that genetics accounts for at least some of the disparity between IQ test scores between the races as an example, can and should be debated.

Dr Barrett concluded:

By all means, we should have open conversations and vigorous debate about controversial or offensive topics. But we must also halt speech that bullies and torments. From the perspective of our brain cells, the latter is literally a form of violence.

Yet, to use her own example, how many people would contend that Dr Murray’s position is abusive as well as obnoxious? After all, couldn’t some black members of his audience take the position that he is not just making a scientific debating point, but calling them, individually, stupid? Couldn’t some people hold that his position actively harms blacks, because it might influence someone else to discriminate against blacks, holding blacks to be inferior candidates for whatever position is under consideration?

In effect, Dr Barrett is taking the position that mean words are the equivalent of physical violence, of ‘breaking your bones’ as it were. She may have taken a distinction between obnoxious and abusive, but others would take such distinctions differently, and her statement that “we must also halt speech that bullies and torments” is a call for the imposition of the police power of the state to do such, though she never states that explicitly. How else, I have to ask, do we ‘halt speech?’

Dr Barrett was defending not allowing Mr Yiannopoulos to speak on “your” campus, but what does that mean? Does it mean bullying a group which chooses to invite him into withdrawing the invitation, or does it mean the use of physical force to prevent such if the invitation is not withdrawn? And in her comparison of hostile speech — though she used a terrible example — as causing physical harm, isn’t she opening the door to criminalizing some cretin calling a coed fat in the same way a physical assault is illegal?


As my daughter, a Sergeant in the United States Army, is out working in 120º F head and sandstorms, why do we accept transexuals into the armed services, knowing that their medical ‘condition’ will both cost us many thousands of dollars and render them non-deployable for much of their service ‘careers?’