Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Letter to Google's Director of Litigation Concerning Removal of Material from This Blog

PO Box 130
West Shokan, NY 12494
July 21, 2020

Catherine Lacavera, Director
IP and Litigation
Google LLC
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, CA 94043

Sent via Certified Mail

Dear Ms. Lacavera:

I have been using Google’s Blogger for more than ten years. On July 20, the posts  I wrote from January 31 to July 20 were removed from the blog. I would like an explanation as to whether Google removed the material; if so, why Google removed the material; and of Google’s position on its right to remove the material. 

On July 20, I posted the name and address of a New York Times editor whom Tucker Carlson had named as having revealed or having been about to reveal Carlson’s name and address.  I would like to know whether Google views publication of this information as a violation of its terms of service, why, and whether you see a distinction between the Times’s revealing Carlson’s information and my revealing a Times editor’s information.  Also, I would appreciate your comment on the Times’s policy and why you think Google’s is better.

As well, I would appreciate confirmation that Google rather than an outside hacker removed the material from my blog, which is at http://mitchell-langbert.blogspot.com/ .


Mitchell Langbert, Ph.D.

Friday, January 31, 2020

Freda Bernstein Langbert, RIP

My wife of almost 24 years, Freda, died on January 26. My love for her will never die. The funeral will be today, Friday, January 31, at the Gromley Funeral Home in Phoenicia, NY.  Her obituary appears in the Kingston Daily Freeman. A number of local poets and one of her family members have expressed an interest in  collecting her poems and turning them into a book. I have begun putting them in touch with each other and planning the project.

There are stars whose light reaches the earth only after they themselves have disintegrated and are no more. And there are people whose scintillating memory lights the world after they have passed from it.  These lights--which shine in the darkest night--are those which illuminate for us the path.

--Hannah Senesh

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Shakespeare on Dershowitz

Toward the end of  Shakespeare's Henry V, Fluellen, King Harry's self-appointed mentor, remarks on the king's glorious victory at Agincourt:

By Jeshu, I am your majesty's countryman, I care not
who know it; I will confess it to all the 'orld:  I
need not to be ashamed of your majesty, praised be
God, so long as your majesty is an honest man.
What Dershowitz did in his speech yesterday is outline in vivid terms the contours of duties of public officials to the public and to the nation, both in economic and in democratic terms.  No one has fashioned a regime of fiduciary duty of elected officials, but it needs to balance these concerns.  Dershowitz is not only resolving the impeachment debate but also outlining a doctrine of what the public ought to require of democratically elected politicians.

Dershowitz is now the most illustrious alum of Brooklyn College. I need not be ashamed, praised be G-d.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Didion on Conformity

"I am still committed to the idea that the ability to think for one's self depends on one's mastery of the language."

--Joan Didion

Friday, January 24, 2020

The Virginia Democratic Party Proposes Bill That Attacks Freedom of Speech

The Democratic Party in Virginia proposes a Virginia law that can be used to attack free speech.  House Bill 1627 says:

If any person, with the intent to coerce, intimidate, or harass any person, shall use a computer or computer network to communicate obscene, vulgar, profane, lewd, lascivious, or indecent language, or make any suggestion or proposal of an obscene nature, or threaten any illegal or immoral act, he shall be is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. A violation of this section may be prosecuted in the jurisdiction in which the communication was made or received or in the City of Richmond if the person subjected to the act is one of the following officials or employees of the Commonwealth: the Governor, Governor-elect, Lieutenant Governor, Lieutenant Governor-elect, Attorney General, or Attorney General-elect, a member or employee of the General Assembly, a justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia, or a judge of the Court of Appeals of Virginia.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Partisan Registration and Contributions of Faculty in Flagship Colleges

Sean Stevens and I have been working on a study of 12,372 professors in the two leading private and two leading public colleges in 31 states that make registration public (mostly closed-primary states).  The National Association of Scholars has posted our findings on their blog. We cross-checked each registration against the political donations.  For party registration, we find a D:R ratio of 8.5:1, which varies by rank of institution and region.  For federal donations (from the FEC data base) we find a D:R ratio of 95:1, with only 22 Republican donors(compared to 2,081 Democratic donors) out of 12,372 professors.  Federal donations among all categories of party registration, including Republican, favor the Democrats: D:R donation ratios for Democratic-registered professors are 251:1; for Republican-registered professors 4.6:1; for minor-party-registered professors 10:0; for unaffiliated professors 50:1; for non-registered professors 105:1. We include a school-by-school table that facilitates comparisons. 

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Senator McSally: You Said the Right Thing

Dear Senator McSally:

I've sent you a $100 contribution to thank you for standing up to CNN reporter Manu Raju.   The American media has deteriorated to the point at which treating them with contempt or ignoring them are the best options for those who are not antagonistic toward the United States, freedom of speech, and freedom of enterprise.

The American media does not serve an informational purpose but rather is a state-supported publicity industry for the Democratic Party and the Deep State, including both RINOs and Democrats.  To restore the possibility of progress and of freedom, there needs to be a rethinking as to the monopoly privileges the state has bestowed on the tech industry, on the air-wave networks, and on the cable networks. 

The New Deal marked the beginning of Deep State subsidization of the media through litmus tests concerning support of treaty-globalization, state-subsidized finance, and big government in exchange for monopoly privileges. Those subsidies need to end, and the media needs to be rebalanced.


Mitchell Langbert

Friday, January 17, 2020

Should You Have to Be 21 to Smoke?

Dan Klein raises this question at Econlib.org:   Does the recent federal law increasing the smoking age to 21 make sense?  He turns to the great observer of 1830s America, Alexis De Tocqueville,  for clues. 

A couple of times, back in early Millennium days, I asked my classes of 65  NYU MBA students, who were graduates of elite colleges around the country, whether they were familiar with de Tocqueville, and no more than two or three percent had heard of him (one or two per class of 65). The state of the higher education system, which on average spent $27,000 per student in 2018, is that students who graduate are unfamiliar with the rudiments of history, culture, and literature.  They are likely worse educated than the elementary-school-educated Americans of de Tocqueville's day, who read the classics as well as the Bible. 

Klein recounts that the America de Tocqueville saw was one where boys and girls became men and women at the beginning of adolescence;  Americans could think for themselves at the onset of adulthood; girls were the most self-reliant and self-confident in the world; boys became land speculators and entrepreneurs before they were what we would call men. Moreover, business people never dreamt of relying on government because they were self-reliant. People voluntarily helped each other. Crimes were rapidly punished.

Klein notes this quote from de Tocqueville: “Americans believe their freedom to be the best instrument and surest safeguard of their welfare.”  

How sharply the observations of de Tocqueville differ from those of John Dewey, the early twentieth century philosopher of education.  Dewey believed that schools need to provide a plastic, manipulated environment that provides learning through experience.  Experiential learning is not to involve the real world of profit and loss, and it is to be guided by omniscient teachers.  

The Antifa students of today have so internalized the rules of America's left-wing schoolmarms that they often have trouble making a living and instead spend their lives attacking those who do not conform to the left-wing rituals of the academic Temples of Political Correctness.   

I wonder about the degree to which American education has not only debilitated most Americans intellectually but also made them more immature by encouraging a culture of dependency cloaked in experiential learning.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Letter to Babson College's President Stephen Spinelli in Defense of Prof. Asheen Phansey

Dear President Spinelli:

I urge you to reconsider the firing of Asheen Phansey.  I hold diametrically opposite views to Prof. Phansey’s, but more important considerations of freedom of speech and academic freedom should be given priority over matters of taste and opinion.  Even if Prof. Phansey hadn’t been joking, firing him for his views would still have been a mistake.  Recall John Stuart Mill: “If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind.” Mill’s position is central to anything resembling a free society, but it is even more important to academic culture because without freedom of speech and the freedom to make mistakes, innovation and creativity die. 


Mitchell Langbert, Ph.D.

Postscript: See FIRE's piece on Professor Phansey here.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

My Panel Talk at the Queens Village Republican Club

The Queens Village Republican Club, the country's oldest Republican club, invited me to participate in a three-professor panel about higher education reform.  The chair of the club, Phil Orenstein, is an old friend.  The meeting was on January 2, 2020.  There were about 100 members in the audience--an enthusiastic group of strong Trump supporters--an oasis in the authoritarian wasteland that was New York City. Phil told me that the club has about 200 dues-paying members. The talk went well, and I made many new friends.