BRIAN LEITER (Ladderman)

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Keith Burgess-Jackson has now reduced his Leiter blog to just one brief permanent post. He has ceased posting regularly. So the material on this site will have to stand as the only concentrated exposure of Leiter's hate-speech. I reproduce below an article that could almost be written as a commentary on Leiter:

Liberal Hatemongers


A politically progressive friend of mine always seemed to root against baseball teams from the South. The Braves, the Rangers, the Astros -- he hated them all. I asked him why, to which he replied, "Southerners are prejudiced."

The same logic is evident in the complaint the American political left has with conservative voters. According to the political analysis of filmmaker Michael Moore, whose perception of irony apparently does not extend to his own words, "The right wing, that is not where America's at . . . It's just a small minority of people who hate. They hate. They exist in the politics of hate . . . They are hate-triots."

What about liberals? According to University of Chicago law professor Geoffrey Stone, "Liberals believe individuals should doubt their own truths and consider fairly and open-mindedly the truths of others." They also "believe individuals should be tolerant and respectful of difference." Indeed, generations of academic scholars have assumed that the "natural personality" of political conservatives is characterized by hostile intolerance towards those with opposing viewpoints and lifestyles, while political liberals inherently embrace diversity.

As we are dragged through another election season, it is worth critically reviewing these stereotypes. Do the data support the claim that conservatives are haters, while liberals are tolerant of others? A handy way to answer this question is with what political analysts call "feeling thermometers," in which people are asked on a survey to rate others on a scale of 0-100. A zero is complete hatred, while 100 means adoration. In general, when presented with people or groups about which they have neutral feelings, respondents give temperatures of about 70. Forty is a cold temperature, and 20 is absolutely freezing.

In 2004, the University of Michigan's American National Election Studies (ANES) survey asked about 1,200 American adults to give their thermometer scores of various groups. People in this survey who called themselves "conservative" or "very conservative" did have a fairly low opinion of liberals -- they gave them an average thermometer score of 39. The score that liberals give conservatives: 38. Looking only at people who said they are "extremely conservative" or "extremely liberal," the right gave the left a score of 27; the left gives the right an icy 23. So much for the liberal tolerance edge.

Some might argue that this is simply a reflection of the current political climate, which is influenced by strong feelings about the current occupants of the White House. And sure enough, those on the extreme left give President Bush an average temperature of 15 and Vice President Cheney a 16. Sixty percent of this group gives both men the absolute lowest score: zero.

To put this into perspective, note that even Saddam Hussein (when he was still among the living) got an average score of eight from Americans. The data tell us that, for six in ten on the hard left in America today, literally nobody in the entire world can be worse than George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.

This doesn't sound very tolerant to me -- nor especially rational, for that matter. To be fair, though, let's roll back to a time when the far right was accused of temporary insanity: the late Clinton years, when right-wing pundits practically proclaimed the end of Western civilization each night on cable television because President Clinton had been exposed as a perjurious adulterer.

In 1998, Bill Clinton and Al Gore were hardly popular among conservatives. Still, in the 1998 ANES survey, Messrs. Clinton and Gore both received a perfectly-respectable average temperature of 45 from those who called themselves extremely conservative. While 28% of the far right gave Clinton a temperature of zero, Gore got a zero from just 10%. The bottom line is that there is simply no comparison between the current hatred the extreme left has for Messrs. Bush and Cheney, and the hostility the extreme right had for Messrs. Clinton and Gore in the late 1990s.

Does this refute the stereotype that right-wingers are "haters" while left-wingers are not? Liberals will say that the comparison is unfair, because Mr. Bush is so much worse than Mr. Clinton ever was. Yes, Mr. Clinton may have been imperfect, but Mr. Bush -- whom people on the far left routinely compare to Hitler -- is evil. This of course destroys the liberal stereotype even more eloquently than the data. The very essence of intolerance is to dehumanize the people with whom you disagree by asserting that they are not just wrong, but wicked.

In the end, we have to face the fact that political intolerance in America -- ugly and unfortunate on either side of the political aisle -- is to be found more on the left than it is on the right. This may not square with the moral vanity of progressive political stereotypes, but it's true.

Article from the WSJ

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

(I am putting this short essay up here because "Conservatives are dumb" is one of Leiter's themes)

Leftists are great projectors (tending to see their own faults in others) so to know what is true of them, you just have to look at what they say about conservatives. They even accuse conservatives of projection! So they are always trawling for utterances by conservatives that they can characterize as "hate speech", even though they themselves can hardly open their mouths without pouring out hatred of all those who oppose them.

One of their most constant ploys is to accuse conservatives of being stupid and they have done it so often that conservatives seem to be somewhat abashed by it and rarely treat it as the projection it is. For the record, the ONLY adult general population survey I know of that obtained both IQ scores and a record of political attitudes was Martin's study (which I helped write up for the academic journals). And that study showed that it was LEFTISTS who were most likely to be dumb.

One reason why the accusation that conservatives are dumb gains some weight is the great preponderance of Leftists among professors. That overlooks, however, that the situation was not always thus. Up until the 1960s, the professoriate was in general politically moderate. There were of course exceptions. The elite universities have always tended Left. The best known examples of that are England's two great universities, Oxford and Cambridge. We have all I think heard of the Cambridge spies (Philby et al.), and the Bloomsberries were far Left too. Such leftism can perhaps most economically be described as a "spoilt brat" syndrome. Less well known is the prewar fascination of Harvard with Nazism -- which was a popular form of socialism in its day.

The general moderation of the pre-1960s professoriate was however its undoing. Precisely because of its moderation, it came under ferocious attack from the 1960s student radicals and it responded in a typically moderate way -- apologetically. Curricula were revised in response to the radical demands and more and more Leftists were hired and promoted. And when in the course of time the radical academics so appointed rose in seniority and power, they behaved in a typically unscrupulous way and used their power to squeeze out as many conservatives from academe as they could. So smart conservatives these days go on to get rich in business while the Leftist academics fume away in their ivory towers!

Perhaps most amusingly, however, it should be noted that the Dems and the GOP split the college-educated vote about equally in the last Presidential election. In other words, about half of the people whom the Leftist professors themselves have certified as academically able in fact vote GOP!

The intellectual poverty of the Left shows itself very clearly in their lack of ideas. The only way that they can ever think of for bringing about their desired utopias is the brutishly simply one of FORCING people to behave in the "right" way, by way of legislation in democatic societies or on pain of death in Communist societies.

We have an excellent example of such brainlessness in a recent article which argues that the U.S. Left needs to become more socialist. The article consists of nothing but one long wail about the injustices of the world and simply ASSERTS that socialism is the answer -- with no supportive reasoning at all about HOW socialism might fix things -- which is all the more remarkable given the known FAILURES of socialism to fix anything. A few illustrative quotes:
"With corporate capitalism everywhere in command, the outlook is for increased poverty, more environmental degradation, ever more uneven distribution of resources and the undermining of traditional societies and ways of life... Doing battle against the prevailing inequality means invoking the idea that we all belong to a community, as opposed to the illusion, voiced famously by Thatcher, that "there is no society, only individuals." ... On the road to shaping an alternative, the left might respond with a time-honored socialist insight, namely that "I" only exists within a "we," and that unless we look out for everyone, no one is secure.

Note the non sequitur in the last sentence. It is reasonable enough to say that "I" only exists within a "we" but such a statement is only trivially true. Our socialist friend, however seems to think that the truth concerned also implies that "unless we look out for everyone, no one is secure". But England and early America existed in excellent security long before there was any welfare legislation! It is true that private charity at that time looked after the less fortunate but I don't think that private charity is what our socialist friend is advocating!

And another counterfactual assertion above is that capitalism will increase poverty. Since capitalism is provably the the best and surest way of increasing wealth, the statement is deliberately wrongheaded. And it is of course the advanced capitalist societies that have done most to clean up their environment and prevent further degradation of it. You have to be devoid of all knowledge and understanding of how the world actually works (and has worked) to spout the nonsense that our brainless socialist does.

Sunday, April 02, 2006
This blog is to replace one recently taken down by Keith Burgess Jackson.

See HERE for Keith's new site

So that your visit here is not wasted, however, I reproduce below a selection of brief comments about Brian Leiter that can be found on the net. There is also a scorching takedown of Leiter here, including a picture of the great man.

12 November 2005

A mindless bigot speaks. Brian Leiter calls Texans mindless bigots because they prefer a traditional definition of marriage. But since he gives no reasoning for his assertion, who is the mindless bigot? Both Keith Burgess-Jackson and Right Reason have given the poisonous old bigot more attention than he deserves -- and I guess I am too.

30 October 2005

The utter intellectual dishonesty and pure hatred that characterize that mini-Chomsky, Brian Leiter, has once again been exposed for what it is -- this time by Will Wilkinson

20 October, 2005


("Leiter" is Yiddish for "ladder")

There were a few shots at Brian Leiter on this blog last year but it would be optimistic to think that they had any effect on anything. So I am pleased to see that one of Leiter's fellow philosphers has just declared (verbal) war on him. Keith Burgess-Jackson is steadily taking him apart these days. Fun to watch!

Just to remind readers, I reproduce below the last post on this blog about Leiter:

I enjoy my occasional visits to Ladderman's site -- as you can see from my previous posts about him. I think Ladderman might have had a good brain once but he is tired! tired! tired! these days. Take this post about the Leftist dominance of the universities. All Ladderman can come up with is the tired old Leftist claim that the imbalance arises because there are so few intelligent conservatives. He claims that if there were as many able conservatives applying for university jobs as there are able leftist candidates, then equal numbers of leftist and rightist professors would be appointed. Since only around one in ten professors are in fact conservative, the claim then is that only one in ten conservatives are academically able.

The big problem with that however is that the Dems and the GOP split the college-educated vote about equally in the last Presidential election. In other words, about half of the people whom the Leftist professors themselves have certified as academically able in fact vote GOP!

So THE LEFTIST ACADEMY ITSELF has certified that academic ability is distributed equally between the parties! Which is exactly what Leiter and his ilk deny! Hilarious!

26 August 2005

Dr Weevil has a nice put-down of that vast ego known as Brian Leiter. In case anybody misses it, the curculionidaceous one (Weevil) heads his post "Hybris in action". "Hybris" (more usually rendered in English as "hubris") is ancient Greek for "overweening pride" or "the pride that comes before a fall" -- pretty apt for Leiter. Keith Burgess-Jackson generally describes Leiter more simply -- as "nuts". Both descriptions have much truth in them.

12 July 2005

That abuse expert and mini-Chomsky, Brian Leiter, has just copped another well-deserved blast for his anti-intellectualism. Leiter's highly intellectual response was to "out" his critic as homosexual. Charming!

2 July 2005

There is a big comment thread here about that sad mini-Chomsky, Brian Leiter. Leiter admits that his blog is just a Leftist rant that makes no attempt at rational persuasion on political matters. I am actually quite amused by Leiter's far-Left dogmatism. It means he has despaired of persuading anybody. All he can do is preach to the choir. It is a confession of defeat. And it is no good saying that nobody can be persuaded. There are heaps of libertarians in the blogosphere who could (and do) go either way on Left/Right issues. But I am sure that Leiter is getting his rocks off over just the fact that people are discussing him -- no matter how derisive the comments might be (and generally are). [Links from Keith Burgess-Jackson]

26 May 2005

Just for fun, this is the highly intellectual objection that the mini-Chomsky, Brian Leiter, has to the appointment of judges who aim to apply the law rather than make it: "This is not the only time in American history that the independence of the judiciary has been under attack. Roosevelt, too, wanted to pack the Supreme Court with ideological compatriots, but his plan failed. But we also shouldn't lose sight of the fact that Roosevelt's "ideological compatriots" were on the side of justice, not evil. While the independence of the judiciary is a good in its own right, it is an especially important good when its independence is to be sacrificed to the forces of evil. And that is what is to be decided in Washington, D.C. in the next 48 hours." [Comment would be superfluous but I would like to ask the philosophical professor Leiter how come there is all that evil if there is no such thing as right and wrong?] Link via Conservative Philosopher

26 November 04


I enjoy my occasional visits to Ladderman's site -- as you can see from my previous posts about him. I think Ladderman might have had a good brain once but he is tired! tired! tired! these days. Take this post about the Leftist dominance of the universities. All Ladderman can come up with is the tired old Leftist claim that the imbalance arises because there are so few intelligent conservatives. He claims that if there were as many able conservatives applying for university jobs as there are able leftist candidates, then equal numbers of leftist and rightist professors would be appointed. Since only around one in ten professors are in fact conservative, the claim then is that only one in ten conservatives are academically able.

The big problem with that however is that the Dems and the GOP split the college-educated vote about equally in the last Presidential election. In other words, about half of the people whom the Leftist professors themselves have certified as academically able in fact vote GOP!

So THE LEFTIST ACADEMY ITSELF has certified that academic ability is distributed equally between the parties! Which is exactly what Leiter and his ilk deny! Hilarious!

18 November 2004


In his post of 14th., Ladderman complains about "the marginalization in the U.S. of serious and honest people like Noam Chomsky". CHOMSKY! The court jester of the Leftists! See here for just one comment on the distortions and dishonesty of "Dear Leader" Noam. If that is Ladderman's standard of argument, it does not say much for the standard of argument in U.S. courts. Still, the way SCOTUS decided the most recent affirmative action case was pretty Chomskyan.

17 Nov 04


(My previous post about Ladderman was on 12th.)

Maverick Philosopher posted a short sharp reply to the now common leftist claim that America is becoming a "theocracy" under President Bush. Excerpt:
"Hostility to religion, especially institutionalized religion, is a defining characteristic of the Left. We've known that since 1789. What is surprising, and truly bizarre, is the Left's going soft on militant Islam, the most virulent strain of religious bigotry ever to appear. It threatens all of their values. But their obsession with dissent is so great, dissent at all costs and against everything established, that they simply must denounce Bush and Co. as potential theocrats, all the while cozying up to militant Islam."

That must have had an awful lot of truth in it as it even got a bite from Ladderman, who was paranoid (or egotistical) enough to think that the post referred to him, even though he was not mentioned in it.

Ladderman's only substantial point in reply, however, is that some Christians WANT to have their values (such as opposition to abortion) enshrined in legislation. Wow! What news! You can certainly rely on Ladderman for the scoops! Many Christians have wanted that from the year dot but it does NOT mean that they are getting it or are going to get it. Wanting isn't getting and Bush's policy as given in the Presidential debates is thoroughly centrist: He wants to make alternatives to abortion more attractive but he certainly has no policy of getting abortion banned.

And in fact American law generally has undoubtedly been becoming more secular with every passing year. The Christian fundamentalists have LOST the battle on things like abortion, public prayer, public display of religious symbols and prohibition of homosexuality. But Ladderman (Leiter) is only a Law professor so I guess he hasn't noticed.

If he went to Saudi Arabia or Iran he would find out what a real theocracy is like. Ladderman's bile has totally cut him off from reality.

12 Nov 04


("Leiter" is German/Yiddish for "ladder")

It always amuses me that Leftists claim to be "nuanced". From what I can see they are in fact chronically simplistic in their arguments. Take as an example a Leftist who OUGHT to be nuanced if anyone is -- a prominent Professor of Law, Brian Leiter. In this post he refers to Christian advocacy as a "Fascist Theocracy", creating the impression that he knows nothing of what historical Fascism was like. Yet he must know. World War II is too big an event for him to have missed. So do Christians advocate the worship of pre-Christian gods, the way Hitler and Mussolini did? No. Do Christians lock up and torture those who disagree with them the way Hitler and Mussolini did? No. Do Christians persecute Jews the way Hitler and Mussolini did? No. So clearly Christians and Fascists are very different. Yet Leiter lumps them all in together. Why does he do it? Presumably he knows as well as I do the things that I have just set out but nuance just does not suit him. His limited world-view seems to require him to oversimplify in order to make himself feel good about those whom he sees as his enemies. How pathetic! He can only cope by way of a grossly oversimplifeid view of the world. His categorization of his world is as crude as that of the antisemites who say, "It's all a Jewish plot".

And the Christian newspaper article that provoked the Leiter sneers was addressed to other Christians. It was not telling the rest of the world what to do the way Hitler and Mussolini did. So presumably if a Leftist wrote to other Leftists things like "Leftists must not compromise with conservatives" and "we must help those Republicans who truly want to be free to actually break free of this evil ideology" that would be Fascist too? On Leiter's logic it would have to be. But I don't think Leiter would agree. If he does agree it would certainly condemn 90% of what appears on Leftist blogs.

And such a distorted mental world is to be seen in many of Leiter's posts. In this post, for instance, he refers to evangelical Christians as the "American Taliban". How desperate to denigrate can you get? Are Christian women denied all education and forced to walk around in all-enveloping garments? Are Christians forced to pray five times a day? Are Christians not allowed to watch TV? Do Christians give other people the option of death or conversion to their faith? Clearly what Leiter is doing goes beyond even oversimplification. He is evidently taking the fact that both groups are ardent practitioners of their faith and totally ignoring the great differences between the two faiths concerned. He is saying that two groups who believe and practice entirely different things are the same. At some level he must know that he is doing that of course but his view of the world is obviously so badly in need of propping up that he needs to make such extravagant identifications. How sad that reality denial is his only way of coping. How sad that he mistakes gross oversimplification for cleverness. His need for self-vindication seems to submerge whatever there is of the scholar in him.

Such oversimplifications are of course common among Leftists but the fact that Leiter engages in them shows that he likes the fellowship of such people. Only in the company of other reality-deniers does he feel at home. And he is supposed to be a scholar! Any scholarship in him clearly flies out the window when his view of politics needs propping up. He in effect takes comfort from drinking mental poison. He must feel very threatened by a world that does not co-operate with his every wish. He seems locked into a permanent tantrum.

26 October 2004

In academe, Brian Leiter is probably second only to Noam Chomsky for half-truths and twisted reasoning. Because he seems to be widely-read, it is probably time someone took on the job of shooting him down regularly -- as various people do for Chomsky. Being a humble psychologist rather than a high-flying lawyer, I am not the man for the job but even I am tempted to point out the odd bit of shallow rhetoric emanating from him. Take this post. He says the very name "Constitution Restoration Act" is Orwellian. The U.S. constitution is Orwellian? How twisted can thinking be? The provisions of U.S. constitution are about as opposite to a socialist dictatorship (which is what Orwell describes) as you can get! And restoring elements and assumptions of that constitution that have been eroded by an arbitrary "progressive" judiciary must surely be similarly anti-Orwellian. So it is Leiter who is Orwellian. He is calling black white. Once again we note that familiar Leftist "projection" -- seeing your own faults in others. Leiter also heads up his discussion of the Act as "Theocracy anyone?" -- implying (apparently) that the Act concerned is designed to introduce some sort of Christian dictatorship. The whole point of the Act, however, is simply to protect people from being harassed in the courts just because they are Christians. So in Leiter's strange world protecting people from official harassment is equivalent to setting up a dictatorship! Again, he claims something is the opposite of what it is. With scholarship as atrocious as that, it is clear that Leiter's popularity derives from his Leftist ideological correctness rather than any intellectual stature. His reasoning is such garbage that I suppose it is no wonder that nobody bothers to critique it regularly.

24 June 2004

Mr Giacometti is not the only one to engage in low-quality debate. I see that Stuart Buck is having the same problems with Leftist law professor Brian Leiter that I had. Leiter makes sweeping and imprecise generalizations that turn out to be arrant nonsense however you interpret them. I think Stuart is wasting time on the ladder-man, though ("Leiter" is German for ladder). Leiter writes to make Leftists feel good, not to engage in the careful argument that one would expect of a lawyer. He is to law what the Jug Man (Krugman -- "Krug" is German for Jug) is to economics: He tries, however irrationally, to find bits that comfort Leftists.

5 June 2004

In connection with my comment yesterday about a post on the blog of Leftist law professor Brian Leiter, it has been drawn to my attention that there is another way one can interpret Leiter's Delphic words. He is probably in fact arguing that because Americans have moved to the Right in recent years (itself a proposition in need of proof) THEREFORE the universities cannot have been preaching Leftism. The unstated but highly amusing premise in that being that all preaching must be influential! That other influences (9/11 anyone?) might more than cancel out any influence from Leftist preaching is just not allowed for in that particular parody of logic! I had not considered that he might be putting forward an argument quite as ridiculous as that but he is a Leftist after all.

4 June, 2004


I have just come across a bit of "sophisticated" debate on the blog of a Leftist academic. Get this from Brian Leiter: "Yes, it's true that when you raise the intellectual bar high, as serious universities do, you get fewer right-wing kooks, but that simply doesn't mean there is political indoctrination going on at universities. The fact that the U.S. has moved farther to the right during the same time period when the universities have allegedly moved to the left ought to be taken as empirical confirmation of that point." I guess that as a dumb psychologist I may have missed the point of this clever bit of legal reasoning but he seems to be saying that if more people are conservative and the universities are more leftist, the universities can only have got that way by raising their academic standards. But does not that equate higher intellectual standards with greater Leftism? So is he not assuming what he has to prove?

And it is presumably true by definition that "kooks" will be excluded by a higher intellectual standards but why does a higher intellectual standard exclude right-wing kooks only? Are we again asserting that only rightists are kooks? It appears that we are. Otherwise, why put "right-wing" in front of kooks? In Leiter's case, it would appear that abuse and assertion has taken the place of evidence and reasoning. I feel sorry for the law students he is allegedly teaching at the University of Texas. Or maybe my studies in analytical philosophy have just not equipped me for Leiter's version of logic. Maybe I am just a "kook".