Sunday, December 30, 2012

Thoughts on a second viewing of The Hobbit

1) The 2D, 24 FPS is much, much, much better than the 3D, 48 FPS.  This time I was visually taken in; the first time, I wasn't.

2) Glamdring and Orcrist only occasionally remember to glow.

3) Which is OK, since "glows brightly when orcs are around" isn't actually Tolkien's best idea; it makes the bearer awfully visible at inconvenient times.

4) Dwarves have 10,000 HP each, or else the Misty Mountains are made of cotton airbags.

5) If I ever build my whole civilization over bottomless chasms, I'll build sturdy bridges with real handrails that are supported by redundant ropes and knots.

6) Christopher Lee has gotten really, really old.  It's tough to pretend that he's 60 years younger.

7) I've decided that it's lichen on the side of Jar Jar's Radagast's face.  That makes me much happier than what I thought it was the first time I saw the movie.  If I'm wrong, don't tell me.

8) The Battle of Five Armies is going to feel kind of anticlimactic after we've seen Thorigorn and his adventuring party kill orcs and goblins by the hundreds time after time.

9) How does the Great Goblin recognize Orcrist and Glamdring?  Even Gandalf didn't know which particular Elvish swords they were.  Orcs don't live for thousands of years...

10) Trailers: Man of Steel looks terrible.  Whose idea was Kevin Costner?  Even Amy Adams, whom I really like, looks hopelessly out of place.  Jurassic Park 3D: we've now moved beyond sequels and remakes; we're just getting the same movies rereleased with the latest whizbangs.  Pop culture devours its tail.

11) I actually liked Cate Blanchett's Galadriel better in the invented White Council scene here than in LOTR.

12) I of course like that Gandalf is never a 20th-level D&D wizard throwing fireballs and meteor swarms all over the place, nor a even a flashy Dumbledore.  A flare in Goblintown is as showy as his magic gets in The Hobbit; his offensive magic is largely limited to setting pine cones on fire.  I even like that, in the movie, there's some teasing about this: "How many dragons have you killed?"  "Is he a great wizard, or is he more like, well, you?"  But this all sits strangely with the Aragorning of Thorin and the Indiana Jonesing of all the dwarves.  If everyone else gets turned into a 10,000 HP action hero while Gandalf stays the same, he starts to look pretty unimpressive.

13) Overall: not remotely as good as FOTR or Two Towers, and overall I'd still rather have the smaller Bilbo's-eye story.  But I did like it better the second time around.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

2013 Montreal Political Theory Manuscript Award / Prix de l'atelier de manuscrit de philosophie politique de Montréal


THE ANNUAL MONTREAL POLITICAL THEORY MANUSCRIPT WORKSHOP AWARD
Call for applications: The Groupe de recherche interuniversitaire en philosophie politique de Montréal (GRIPP), spanning the departments of political science and philosophy at McGill University, l'Université de Montréal, Concordia University, and l'Université du Québec à Montréal, invites applications for its 2013 manuscript workshop award. The recipient of the award will be invited to Montreal  for a day-long workshop in April/May 2013 dedicated to his or her book manuscript. This "author meets critics" workshop will comprise four to five sessions dedicated to critical discussion of the manuscript; each session will begin with a critical commentary on a section of the manuscript by a political theorist or philosopher who is part of Montreal's GRIPP community. The format is designed to maximize feedback for a book-in-progress. The award covers the costs of travel, accommodation, and meals.

Eligibility:

A. Topic: The manuscript topic is open within political theory and political philosophy, but we are especially interested in manuscripts related to at least one of these GRIPP research themes: 1) the history of liberal and democratic thought, especially early modern thought; 2) moral psychology and political agency, or politics and affect or emotions or rhetoric; 3) democracy, diversity, and pluralism. 4) democracy, justice, and transnational institutions.

B. Manuscript: Book manuscripts in English or French, not yet in a version accepted for publication, by applicants with PhD in hand by 1 August 2012, are eligible. Applicants must have a complete or nearly complete draft (at least 4/5 of final draft) ready to present at the workshop. In the case of co-authored manuscripts, only one of the co-authors is eligible to apply. (Only works in progress by the workshop date are eligible; authors with a preliminary book contract are eligible only if no version has been already accepted for publication).

C. Application
: Please submit the following materials electronically, compiled as a single PDF file: 1) a curriculum vitae; 2) a table of contents; 3) a short abstract of the book project, up to 200 words; 4) a longer book abstract up to 2500 words; and, in the case of applicants with previous book publication(s), (5) three reviews, from established journals in the field, of the applicant's most recently published monograph. Candidates are not required to, but may if they wish, submit two letters of recommendation speaking to the merits of the book project. Please do not send writing samples. Send materials by email, with the subject heading “2013 GRIPP Manuscript Workshop Award” to Arash Abizadeh mcgill.ca
>. Review of applications begins 10 January 2013. Contact Arash Abizadeh mcgill.ca> with questions.

Evaluation Process: The final decision for choosing the winner of the GRIPP manuscript award lies with the GRIPP Jury. The Jury will seek to meet within the first two weeks of the rolling deadline for submissions. All bilingual regular faculty members of GRIPP have the right to participate as members of the Jury. Each regular faculty member of GRIPP has the right to suggest a short-list of up to five proposals for consideration by the Jury, but the final decision rests with the Jury itself. All elements of the Jury's deliberations are confidential; unfortunately it is not possible for the Jury or its members to provide any feedback to applicants concerning the merits of their proposal. A full list of the regular GRIPP faculty membership is available at <http://www.mcgill.ca/rgcs/gripp/faculty>

Previous GRIPP Manuscript Workshops:
May 2012: Daniel Viehoff (Sheffield), The Authority of DemocracyMay 2011: James Ingram (McMaster), Radical Cosmopolitics: The Ethics and Politics of Democratic UniversalismApril 2010: Hélène Landemore (Yale), Democratic Reason: Politics, Collective Intelligence, and the Rule of the ManyApril 2009: Alan Patten (Princeton), Equal Recognition: The Moral Foundations of Minority Cultural RightsMarch 2009: Kinch Hoekstra (UC Berkeley), Thomas Hobbes and the Creation of Order
<
http://www.mcgill.ca/rgcs/gripp/fellowships>
------------------------------------------------
LE PRIX ANNUEL DE L’ATELIER DE MANUSCRIT DE PHILOSOPHIE POLITIQUE DE MONTRÉAL
Appel à candidature: Le groupe de recherche interuniversitaire en philosophie politique de Montréal (GRIPP), qui réunit des chercheurs des départements de science politique et de philosophie de l’Université McGill, de l’Université de Montréal, de l’Université Concordia et de l’Université du Québec à Montréal, fait un appel à candidature pour son prix 2013 de l’atelier de manuscrit. Le lauréat sera invité à Montréal en avril ou mai 2013 pour un atelier d’une journée complète consacré au manuscrit de son livre. Cet atelier du type « l’auteur rencontre ses critiques » comprendra quatre ou cinq séances de discussions critiques sur le manuscrit ; pour chacune d’entre elles, un spécialiste de théorie politique ou un philosophe membre de la communauté montréalaise du GRIPP lancera la discussion par un commentaire critique d’une des sections du manuscrit.  Ceci a pour but de faciliter les échanges sur un livre en chantier. Le prix couvre les dépenses de voyage, d’hébergement et de repas.

Éligibilité :
A- Sujet : De façon générale, le manuscrit doit traiter de théorie politique ou de philosophie politique, mais nous sommes tout particulièrement intéressés aux manuscrits qui correspondent à l’une des thématiques de recherche du GRIPP : 1) l’histoire de la pensée libérale et démocratique, et notamment du début de la pensée moderne; 2) la psychologie morale du sujet (ou encore de l’agent) politique, ainsi que la politique et les affects, les émotions ou la rhétorique; 3) la démocratie, la diversité et le pluralisme; 4) la démocratie, la justice et les institutions transnationales.
B- Manuscrit : Sont éligibles tous les manuscrits de livres en français ou en anglais non encore publiés dont l’auteur est détenteur d’un doctorat au 1er août 2012. Les candidats devront avoir une version complète ou presque de leur manuscrit (au moins 4/5e de la version finale) pour présentation à l’atelier. Dans le cas de manuscrits ayant plus d’un auteur, seul l’un des coauteurs est éligible. (Seuls les manuscrits non encore terminés à la date prévue de l’atelier seront considérés ; les auteurs disposant d’un contrat préliminaire de publication ne sont éligibles que si aucune version n’a été encore acceptée pour publication).

C- Soumission 
: Vous voudrez bien fournir les documents suivants, en format électronique, dans un seul fichier PDF : 1) un curriculum vitae; 2) une table des matières; 3) un court résumé du projet du livre de moins de 200 mots; 4) un résumé plus long, de moins de 2 500 mots; et, dans le cas de candidats ayant déjà publié, 5) trois recensions parues dans des revues spécialisées et reconnues dans le domaine de la plus récente monographie publiée. Les candidats peuvent, s’ils le souhaitent, joindre deux lettres de recommandation présentant l’intérêt de leur projet de livre. Nous vous prions de ne pas envoyer d’extraits de manuscrit. Envoyez ces documents par courriel, avec le sujet « 2013 GRIPP Manuscript Workshop Award » à Arash Abizadeh mcgill.ca
>. L’examen des candidatures commencera le 10 janvier 2013. Pour toute information supplémentaire, veuillez contacter Dominique Leydet uqam.ca>
 
Processus d’évaluation :
La décision finale pour la sélection du lauréat du prix du manuscrit du GRIPP est prise par le jury du GRIPP. Le jury tentera de se rencontrer dans les premières deux semaines suivant la date limite de soumission des manuscrits. Tous les professeurs qui sont bilingues et membres réguliers du GRIPP ont le droit de participer au processus de sélection à titre de membres du jury. Tout professeur membre régulier du GRIPP a le droit de suggérer une liste courte de cinq titres au maximum pour considération par le jury. La décision finale demeure du seul ressort du jury lui-même. Les délibérations du jury sont confidentielles ; il n’est malheureusement pas possible pour le jury ou ses membres de donner aux candidats des informations concernant l’évaluation qui a été faite de leur proposition. Une liste complète des professeurs membres réguliers du GRIPP est disponible au <http://www.mcgill.ca/rgcs/gripp/faculty>

Ateliers de manuscrit précédents:
Mai 2012: Daniel Viehoff (Sheffield), The Authority of Democracy
Mai 2011: James Ingram (McMaster), Radical Cosmopolitics: The Ethics and Politics of Democratic UniversalismAvril 2010: Hélène Landemore (Yale), Democratic Reason: Politics, Collective Intelligence, and the Rule of the ManyAvril 2009: Alan Patten (Princeton), Equal Recognition: The Moral Foundations of Minority Cultural RightsMars 2009: Kinch Hoekstra (UC Berkeley), Thomas Hobbes and the Creation of Order

Saturday, December 22, 2012

ASPLP at AALS: Immigration, Emigration and Migration, January 4th, 2013


Annual meeting of the American Society for Political and Legal Philosophy:"Immigration, Emigration and Migration"January 4th, 2013Crescent Room 11th Floor, Westin, New Orleans Canal Place, 100 Rue Iberville, New Orleans,

8:00 AM-9:45 AM: Panel 1.

Chair:  Nancy Rosenblum, Political Science, Harvard University
Principal Paper: “Law’s Migrations, Mobilities and Borders”
Author: Judith Resnik, Law, Yale.
Commentaries:
James Bohman, Philosophy, Saint Louis University
Jennifer Hochschild, Political Science, Harvard

10AM-11:45  Panel 2
Chair: Robin West, Law, Georgetown University
Principal Paper: “Why Do States Have the Right to Control Immigration?"
Author: Sarah Song, Political Science and Law, Berkeley

Commentaries:
Adam Cox, Law, NYU
Michael Blake, Philosophy, University of Washington

11:45: Box lunches and drinks available
12:00 Business Meeting


12:15-2:00 PM  Panel 3
Chair: Jeremy Waldron, Law and Political Science, Oxford and NYU
Principal Paper:  “Immigration and Legitimate International Institutions”
Author: Tom Christiano, Philosophy,  University of Arizona

Commentaries:
Arash Abizadeh, Political Science, McGill
        Cristina Rodriguez, Law, NYU

For information on attending, please e-mail azakaras@uvm.edu


Please don't do that, HAL.

I've stuck with facebook through 493 format changes, 3,268 changes to the privacy settings and options, and the horrors of Zynga. But these new status update prompts might well be the end. The idea of having one of my browser tabs constantly ask me "what's happening," "what's going on," "how's it going," "how are you doing," or, fercryinouloud, "how are you feeling" is shudder-inducing. At best, it makes me think I'm interacting with ELIZA circa 1978. At worst, it turns facebook into a hellish dystopian nightmare.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

APT CFP 2013

Association for Political Theory Call for Papers


Association for Political Theory Annual Conference, October 10-12, 2013

Proposal deadline: Monday, February 18, 2013

Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee
Program Co-Chairs: Eric MacGilvray (Ohio State University) and Jennifer Rubenstein (University of Virginia)
The Association for Political Theory (APT) invites proposals for its eleventh annual conference, to be held October 10-12, 2013 at Vanderbilt University.  We welcome proposals from faculty, independent scholars, and graduate students who have completed all requirements except for the dissertation.  Proposals will be considered on all topics in the fields of political theory, political philosophy, the history of political thought, and cognate disciplines.  We also encourage faculty to volunteer to serve as chairs and/or discussants.
How to apply: Abstracts of 300-400 words are due by midnight PST on Monday, February 18, 2013.  To apply online, click on the following link.  Please review the guidelines listed below before completing a proposal form.  Each participant may submit one paper proposal and one co‐authored paper proposal.  Please note that the APT conference does not accept panel or roundtable proposals.  Each participant is required to submit a proposal form, even if the proposal is for a co‐authored paper.
Chairs/Discussants: If you wish to participate as a chair and/or discussant, please indicate your areas of expertise in the relevant box on the proposal form.  Serving as a chair or a discussant does not preclude you from presenting a paper on another panel.  Chairs and discussants must have a Ph.D.
Pre‐circulation requirement: All papers accepted for the conference must be submitted electronically to the archive on the APT website no later than October 1, 2013.  Papers should be no more than 30 double‐spaced pages in length so that discussants may provide suitable feedback.  The archive will be password‐protected so that access is limited to members of APT.  Participants who fail to submit their paper to the archive by October 1, 2013 will be removed from the program.
Conference participants must be members of the Association.  Membership is free.  The paper archive is available to APT members only, so conference participants will need to join the Association in order to gain access to the archive.  Click here to submit a membership application.
Questions and assistance: For questions about the program or proposal guidelines, or if you have difficulty submitting a proposal, please contact one of the Program Committee Co‐Chairs, Eric MacGilvray (macgilvray.2@osu.edu) or Jennifer Rubenstein  (rubenstein@virginia.edu).
To learn more about the Association and its annual conference please visit the APT website athttp://www.apt-us.org.

APT Initiative for 2013: Themed Panel Series on Emotion, Imagination and Experience in Politics

In recent years, political theorists and philosophers working in a wide range of areas have produced an explosion of exciting work about the role of emotion, imagination, and lived experience (including perception) in politics.  Examples include studies of the relationship between reason and the passions in the cultivation of civic virtue; the revival of interest in the sentimentalist moral philosophy of David Hume, Adam Smith, and others; attention to the role that affective concerns play in political deliberation; attention to the ways in which sensory perception shapes political participation; the use of empirical insights from social and political psychology to inform the design of political institutions; and the appeal to the imagination as a way of fostering cosmopolitan political commitments.
Although these diverse areas of study address a common set of concerns, they are too often pursued in isolation from each other.  The Program Co-Chairs therefore plan to organize an interdisciplinary series of panels on the theme of emotion, imagination and experience in politics.  The panels will be scheduled consecutively, with the exact content and mix of presentations to be determined by the proposals that we receive.  We hope to assemble panels that are coherent enough to foster discussion, but dissonant enough to enable participants to make new and fertile connections.  Although each panel will function as a stand-alone event, we hope that interested participants will attend the entire series, and that fruitful conversations will extend over the course of the conference.
If you would like your paper to be considered for the themed panel series, simply indicate this on the proposal form.  All proposals will automatically be considered for the general APT program as well.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Freedom of, or in, universities watch

Whither Goes Free Speech at Harvard?

Ivy League Cracks Down as Students Spiral Out of Control

Note the different framings, even though there are speech cases mixed in with the other examples in the second article.

It's not the case that residential colleges and universities face a choice between in loco parentis and internal rulelessness, standardlessness, normlessness.  Universities are associations; associations normally have the right to set domestic rules of conduct.  There are standards of liberty within universities that are different from, and more demanding than, the standards that govern the civil state: "academic freedom" is not the same as constitutional freedom of speech.  But associational freedom means that universities-- like churches, like the Boy Scouts-- have the authority to set rules of membership, and that the norms of constitutional law are not only legally but conceptually somewhat out of place in evaluating them.

And associational freedom is part of freedom.  Those choosing which residential college or university to attend are free to choose one whose domestic rules suit their tastes, values, and norms, from Brigham Young to Notre Dame to Reed.  Internal norms of behavior are an important part of how one collegiate experience differs from another; and it's no violation of liberty to offer the choice of a college life that expects civility and decency in recreational speech, or that limits or prohibits Greek life.

I would also note, though, that lurid stories about alcoholic excesses on college campuses should always be accompanied with an explanation of how the 21-year drinking age encourages concentrated binge drinking.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The pander umbrella



  • You know, in asking the following question:
    "Would either of you — and you’ll have two minutes, and President Obama, you have the first go at this one. Would either of you be willing to declare that an attack on Israel is an attack on the United States, which of course is the same promise that we give to our close allies like Japan? And if you made such a declaration, would not that deter Iran? It’s certainly deterred the Soviet Union for a long, long time when we made that — when we made that promise to our allies."
     Bob Schieffer did something really quite terrible. He deliberately tried to tempt the next President of the United States (whoever he might be) into a pander that would have changed American foreign policy for the worse, and the more dangerous. The differences between the US alliance with Israel on one hand and NATO Article V or the security guarantee of Japan on the other are there for a reason, but it would have been very easy for one candidate or the other to decide in the heat of the moment "I need to tell voters what they want to hear on this one, not sound like I'm splitting hairs, and Schieffer has asked the question in such a precisely-worded way that the only way to avoid sounding like I'm splitting hairs is to extend the full umbrella to Israel."

    I haven't thought that many moments in this campaign were to either Obama's or Romney's credit, but it is to both their credit that they didn't take the bait.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Inaugural Research Group on Constitutional Studies Lecture: Jeremy Waldron, "Constitutionalism: A Skeptical View"


The Inaugural Lecture of the McGill University Research Group on Constitutional Studies lecture series will be given by

Jeremy Waldron

Chichele Professor of Social and Political Theory, All Souls College, Oxford, and Professor of Law and University Professor, New York University


"Constitutionalism: A Skeptical 
View"



Thursday, October 4th, 2012
4:30 - 6 pm, with reception to follow
Leacock 232

Introduction by Christopher Manfredi, Dean of Arts
reception to follow

 Cosponsored by the Department of Political Science. This lecture has received additional support from the Beatty Memorial Lectures Committee.

http://www.facebook.com/events/355116954575456/?fref=ts


Upcoming:
The Annual John and Eileen Marrett Memorial Lecture/ RGCS Lecture: Leif Wenar, Chair of Ethics, King's College London, October 11 2012, 4:30-6 pm, Ferrier 456:"Oil, Dictators & Civil Wars: Our Contributions, Our Solutions"

RGCS Lecture: John Tomasi, Professor of Political Science, Brown University, November 1 2012, 5-6:30 pm, Thomson House Ballroom: "Free Market Fairness"

RGCS Lecture: James Gardner, Joseph W. Belluck and Laura L. Aswad Professor of Civil Justice, SUNY-Buffalo School of Law, November 15 2012, 4:30- 6 pm


THE ANNUAL MONTREAL POLITICAL THEORY MANUSCRIPT WORKSHOP AWARD



Call for applications: The Groupe de recherche interuniversitaire en philosophie politique de Montréal (GRIPP), spanning the departments of political science and philosophy at McGill University, l'Université de Montréal, Concordia University, and l'Université du Québec à Montréal, invites applications for its 2013 manuscript workshop award. The recipient of the award will be invited to Montreal  for a day-long workshop in April/May 2013 dedicated to his or her book manuscript. This "author meets critics" workshop will comprise four to five sessions dedicated to critical discussion of the manuscript; each session will begin with a critical commentary on a section of the manuscript by a political theorist or philosopher who is part of Montreal's GRIPP community. The format is designed to maximize feedback for a book-in-progress. The award covers the costs of travel, accommodation, and meals.

Eligibility:

A. Topic: The manuscript topic is open within political theory and political philosophy, but we are especially interested in manuscripts related to at least one of these GRIPP research themes: 1) the history of liberal and democratic thought, especially early modern thought; 2) moral psychology and political agency, or politics and affect or emotions or rhetoric; 3) democracy, diversity, and pluralism. 4) democracy, justice, and transnational institutions.

B. Manuscript: Book manuscripts in English or French, not yet in a version accepted for publication, by applicants with PhD in hand by 1 August 2012, are eligible. Applicants must have a complete or nearly complete draft (at least 4/5 of final draft) ready to present at the workshop. In the case of co-authored manuscripts, only one of the co-authors is eligible to apply. (Only works in progress by the workshop date are eligible; authors with a preliminary book contract are eligible only if no version has been already accepted for publication).

C. Application
: Please submit the following materials electronically, compiled as a single PDF file: 1) a curriculum vitae; 2) a table of contents; 3) a short abstract of the book project, up to 200 words; 4) a longer book abstract up to 2500 words; and, in the case of applicants with previous book publication(s), (5) three reviews, from established journals in the field, of the applicant's most recently published monograph. Candidates are not required to, but may if they wish, submit two letters of recommendation speaking to the merits of the book project. Please do not send writing samples. Send materials by email, with the subject heading “2013 GRIPP Manuscript Workshop Award” to Arash Abizadeh mcgill.ca>. Review of applications begins 10 January 2013. Contact Arash Abizadeh mcgill.ca> with questions.

Previous GRIPP Manuscript Workshops:
May 2012: Daniel Viehoff (Sheffield), The Authority of Democracy
May 2011: James Ingram (McMaster), Radical Cosmopolitics: The Ethics and Politics of Democratic UniversalismApril 2010: Hélène Landemore (Yale), Democratic Reason: Politics, Collective Intelligence, and the Rule of the Many
April 2009: Alan Patten (Princeton), Equal Recognition: The Moral Foundations of Minority Cultural Rights
March 2009: Kinch Hoekstra (UC Berkeley), Thomas Hobbes and the Creation of Order

------------------------------------------------

LE PRIX ANNUEL DE L’ATELIER DE MANUSCRIT DE PHILOSOPHIE POLITIQUE DE MONTRÉAL
Appel à candidature: Le groupe de recherche interuniversitaire en philosophie politique de Montréal (GRIPP), qui réunit des chercheurs des départements de science politique et de philosophie de l’Université McGill, de l’Université de Montréal, de l’Université Concordia et de l’Université du Québec à Montréal, fait un appel à candidature pour son prix 2013 de l’atelier de manuscrit. Le lauréat sera invité à Montréal en avril ou mai 2013 pour un atelier d’une journée complète consacré au manuscrit de son livre. Cet atelier du type « l’auteur rencontre ses critiques » comprendra quatre ou cinq séances de discussions critiques sur le manuscrit ; pour chacune d’entre elles, un spécialiste de théorie politique ou un philosophe membre de la communauté montréalaise du GRIPP lancera la discussion par un commentaire critique d’une des sections du manuscrit.  Ceci a pour but de faciliter les échanges sur un livre en chantier. Le prix couvre les dépenses de voyage, d’hébergement et de repas.

Éligibilité :
A- Sujet : De façon générale, le manuscrit doit traiter de théorie politique ou de philosophie politique, mais nous sommes tout particulièrement intéressés aux manuscrits qui correspondent à l’une des thématiques de recherche du GRIPP : 1) l’histoire de la pensée libérale et démocratique, et notamment du début de la pensée moderne; 2) la psychologie morale du sujet (ou encore de l’agent) politique, ainsi que la politique et les affects, les émotions ou la rhétorique; 3) la démocratie, la diversité et le pluralisme; 4) la démocratie, la justice et les institutions transnationales.

B- Manuscrit : Sont éligibles tous les manuscrits de livres en français ou en anglais, non encore publiés et non en version acceptée par une maison de presses, et dont l’auteur a reçu un doctorat avant le 1er août 2012. Les candidats devront avoir une version complète, ou presque (au moins 4/5e de la version finale), à présenter à l’atelier. Pour ce qui concerne les manuscrits coécrits, seul l’un des coauteurs est éligible.

C- Soumission 
: Vous voudrez bien fournir les documents suivants, en format électronique, dans un seul fichier PDF : 1) un curriculum vitae; 2) une table des matières; 3) un court résumé du projet du livre de moins de 200 mots; 4) un résumé plus long, de moins de 2 500 mots; et, dans le cas de candidats ayant déjà publié, 5) trois recensions parues dans des revues spécialisées et reconnues dans le domaine de la plus récente monographie publiée. Les candidats peuvent, s’ils le souhaitent, joindre deux lettres de recommandation présentant l’intérêt de leur projet de livre. Nous vous prions de ne pas envoyer d’extraits de manuscrit. Envoyez ces documents par courriel, avec le sujet « 2013 GRIPP Manuscript Workshop Award » à Arash Abizadeh mcgill.ca>. L’examen des candidatures commencera le 10 janvier 2013. Pour toute information supplémentaire, veuillez contacter Dominique Leydet uqam.ca>
 
Ateliers de manuscrit précédents:
Mai 2012: Daniel Viehoff (Sheffield), The Authority of Democracy
Mai 2011: James Ingram (McMaster), Radical Cosmopolitics: The Ethics and Politics of Democratic Universalism
Avril 2010: Hélène Landemore (Yale), Democratic Reason: Politics, Collective Intelligence, and the Rule of the Many
Avril 2009: Alan Patten (Princeton), Equal Recognition: The Moral Foundations of Minority Cultural Rights
Mars 2009: Kinch Hoekstra (UC Berkeley), Thomas Hobbes and the Creation of Order

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Cheap tuition and mobility

Remember what I was saying before about the problematic relationship between cheap tuition and education that enables professional mobility?

http://www.ledevoir.com/politique/elections-2012/357986/les-medecins-qui-quittent-le-quebec-doivent-rembourser-l-etat-dit-legault".>Yeah.

The system works fine if the education you offer doesn't enable high emigration to better professional opportunities.  (Or if you offer sufficient professional opportunities at home-- say, by licensing doctors who want to practice in under-served Montreal.)  But if you accidentally allow some part of the system to provide taxpayer-funded training to people who then emigrate in large numbers, then little things like freedom of movement become unattractive, notwithstanding (so to speak) any constitutional worries.

Friday, August 17, 2012

"Office and Responsibility" A symposium in honor of the career and contributions of Dennis F. Thompson.

October 11-12, 2012
"Office and Responsibility"
A symposium in honor of the career and contributions of Dennis F. Thompson.

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS/SPEAKERS 
Thursday, October 11, 2012
Location: Milstein East B, Wasserstein Hall, Harvard Law School, 1585 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge

4:30 PM – Opening Remarks
Nancy Rosenblum, Senator Joseph Clark Professor of Ethics in Politics and Government, Harvard University
Michael Rosen, Professor of Government, Harvard University

4:45 PM – "Institutional Corruptions"
Speaker: Lawrence Lessig, Director, Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, Harvard University; Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership, Harvard Law School

Chair: Michael Sandel, Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Government, Harvard University

Respondents:
Jane Mansbridge, Adams Professor of Political Leadership and Democratic Values, Harvard Kennedy School
Kenneth Shepsle, George D. Markham Professor of Government, Harvard University

Friday, October 12, 2012
Location: Tsai Auditorium, Center for Government and International Studies (CGIS), 1730 Cambridge Street, Cambridge

9:00 AM – Light Breakfast (CGIS S030)

9:45 AM – Introductions: Nancy Rosenblum and Michael Rosen

10:00 AM – PANEL 1: "Dirtying One's Hands by Working With Others"
Speaker: Jeremy Waldron, University Professor, New York University School of Law; Chichele Professor of Social and Political Theory, All Souls College, University of Oxford

Chair: Harvey C. Mansfield, William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of Government, Harvard University

Respondents:
Frances Kamm, Lucius Littauer Professor of Philosophy and Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School; Professor of Philosophy, Faculty of Arts & Sciences, Harvard University
Eric Nelson, Professor of Government, Harvard University

12:00 - 1:30 PM – Lunch (CGIS S030)

1:30 PM – PANEL 2: "An Honorable Profession"
Speaker: Kwame Anthony Appiah, Professor of Philosophy, Princeton University

Chair: Amy Gutmann, President, University of Pennsylvania

Respondents:
Thomas Scanlon, Alford Professor of Natural Religion, Moral Philosophy, and Civil Polity, Harvard University
Michael Frazer, Associate Professor of Government and Social Studies, Harvard University

3:15 PM – Coffee Break

3:30 PM – PANEL 3: "Deliberative Ethics"
Speaker: John Ferejohn, The Samuel Tilden Professor of Law, New York University School of Law

Chair: Richard Tuck, Frank G. Thomson Professor of Government, Harvard University

Respondents:
Eric Beerbohm, Associate Professor of Government and Social Studies, Harvard University
Charles Beitz, Edwards S. Sanford Professor of Politics; Director, University Center for Human Values, Princeton University

5:15 PM – Response by Dennis F. Thompson, Alfred North Whitehead Professor of Political Philosophy, Harvard University

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

CFP: The Foucault Circle at McGill

CALL FOR PAPERS

The thirteenth annual meeting of the Foucault Circle at
McGill University
Montreal, Canada
April 18-20, 2013

Papers on any aspect of Foucault’s work, as well as studies, critiques, and applications of Foucauldian thinking, are welcome. This year's conference also includes two special sessions: 

a discussion of Foucault’s text I, Pierre Rivière;

a session on Foucault and the family for which we are seeking individual paper submissions.

Please send an ABSTRACT (as a “.doc” attachment) of no more than 750 words by 
e-mail to program committee chair Erinn Gilson (e.gilson@unf.edu) on or before Friday, November 16th, 2012. Indicate “Foucault Circle submission” in the subject heading.

Program decisions will be announced in mid-December.

The meeting will begin with a Thursday afternoon screening and discussion of René Allio’s film, “Moi, Pierre Rivière…” (English subtitles), followed by an informal welcome session and dinner. There will be morning and afternoon paper sessions on Friday, followed by a business meeting and dinner. The conference will conclude with paper sessions on Saturday morning. Each speaker will have approximately 35 minutes for paper presentation and discussion combined—papers should be a maximum of 3000 words (15-20 minutes, preferably 15). 

Logistical information about lodging, transportation, and other arrangements will be available after the program has been announced.

For more information about the Foucault Circle, please see our website

Monday, July 16, 2012

Values In Transition

Arrived in today's mail:

Galit Sarfaty, Values In Translation: Human Rights and the Culture of the World Bank (Stanford Studies in Human Rights)

The World Bank is the largest lender to developing countries, making loans worth over $20 billion per year to finance development projects around the globe. To guide its investments, the Bank has adopted a number of social and environmental policies, yet it has never instituted any overarching policy on human rights. Despite the potential human rights impact of Bank projects—the forced displacement of indigenous peoples resulting from a Bank-financed dam project, for example—the issue of human rights remains marginal in the Bank's operational practices.

Values in Translation analyzes the organizational culture of the World Bank and addresses the question of why it has not adopted a human rights framework. Academics and social advocates have typically focused on legal restrictions in the Bank's Articles of Agreement. This work's anthropological analysis sheds light on internal obstacles including the employee incentive system and a clash of expertise between lawyers and economists over how to define human rights and justify their relevance to the Bank's mission.

Monday, June 25, 2012

I'm going to live forever: part CLVII in a continuing series

Having your coffee and enjoying it too




When smoking and many other factors known to influence health and longevity were taken into account, coffee drinkers in the study were found to be living somewhat longer than abstainers. Further, the more coffee consumed each day — up to a point, at least — the greater the benefit to longevity.
The observed benefit of coffee drinking was not enormous — a death rate among coffee drinkers that was 10 percent to 15 percent lower than among abstainers. But the findings are certainly reassuring, and given how many Americans drink coffee, the numbers of lives affected may be quite large.

...
Coffee drinkers who were relatively healthy when the study began were less likely than nondrinkers to die of heart disease, respiratory disease, stroke, diabetes, infections, injuries and accidents.
...
The risk of death gradually dropped as the number of cups the participants drank increased to four or five. At six cups or more each day, there was a slight rise in death risk, compared with that at four or five cups. But the chances of death remained lower than among people who drank no coffee.
...

Even though coffee can cause a temporary rise in blood pressure, the new study, like those before it, found the risk of heart disease to be lower among otherwise healthy coffee drinkers. Other benefits suggested by recent studies include a reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes, liver disease andParkinson’s disease. Some research has found a reduced risk of depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease among coffee drinkers.
People who engage in strenuous physical activities can also benefit, but only if their coffee contains caffeine, which helps muscles use fatty acids for energy and blunts the effect of adenosine, extending the time before muscles fatigue. Post-exercise soreness is also reduced and recovery time shortened.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Job posting, CREUM


Le Centre de recherche en éthique de l'Université de Montréal ouvre son poste
de Coordinatrice / Coordonnateur scientifique pour une embauche au 15 août
2012.

Parmi ses tâches les plus importantes, le coordonnateur scientifique supervise
l'administration budgétaire du Centre ; il prend en charge et/ou supervise les
demandes de subvention supportant les activités et les groupes de recherche du
Centre ; il voit à l'accueil et à l'inscription administrative des chercheurs
en séjour au Centre ; il coordonne l'ensemble des activités scientifiques du
Centre ; il rédige un rapport annuel et diffuse les activités du Centre à
travers un site web et des outils électroniques de diffusion. Il travaille en
étroite collaboration avec le directeur et avec les chercheurs et professeurs
membres du Centre dans une atmosphère collégiale, en accord avec les
meilleures normes de travail dans un centre de recherche universitaire.

La description du poste et les coordonnées pour faire parvenir les documents
nécessaires se retrouvent au bas de cette page.

Date limite d'envoi : Le 20 juin 2012 à 17 h.

Suivez ce lien pour plus d'information:
http://www.creum.umontreal.ca/spip.php?article1305

Friday, June 01, 2012

Hither and yon: CEU, Budapest

 The 20th Annual Individual vs. the State conference 
June 8 – 9, 2012 
Central European University, Budapest (Auditorium) The Tragedy of Liberty?: From Liberation to Self-Destruction and Irrelevance

Friday, June 8,

 9.30 a.m. – 11.00 a.m.
Panel 1. Is a Liberty-Based State Still Possible?
Chair: Renata Uitz (CEU, Legal Studies Department)

A Non-Utopian Plea for Liberal Democracy and Against Social Engineering
 Shlomo Avineri (Hebrew University, Jerusalem)

Republican Liberty, Global Constitutionalism, and the Obsolescence of the State
José Luis Marti (Universitat Pompeu Fabra)

 Commentator: Daniel Smilov (University of Sofia, Bulgaria)

 11.30 a.m. – 1.00 p.m.
 Panel 2: Liberty to Whom?
Chair: Nenad Dimitrijevic (CEU Political Science)

 Political liberty: three theories of liberalism for three theories of federalism. A Hegelian turn
Lluís-Ferran Requejo (Universitat Pompeu Fabra)

No Longer a Slave But Not Yet Free: Freedom and Social Dislocation
John Christman (Penn State University)

 Commentator: János Kis (CEU, Political Science and Philosophy)

2.30 p.m. – 4.00 p.m.
Panel 3: The Demise of Freedom
 Chair: Judit Sandor (CEU Departments of Political Science, Legal Studies and Gender Studies, and CELAB, Director)

Liberty and its Competitors
 András Sajó (European Court of Human Rights)

Victims’ Rights and Due Process
Károly Bárd (CEU Legal Studies Department)

Commentator: Lech Garlicki (European Court of Human Rights)

 5.00 p.m. – 6.30 p.m. Panel 4: Is Security a Pretext? The Possibilities of Freedom in a Genuine Risk Society
 Chair: Petra Bárd (National Institute for Criminology, Budapest)

 Liberty and Security Revisited: Towards a Liberalism after Neoliberalism
Jan-Werner Muller (Princeton University)

Freedom under a System of Public Laws: From Hobbes through Hayek to Republicanism
David Dyzenhaus (University of Toronto)

 Commentor: Miroslaw Wyrzykowski (Warsaw University)

 Saturday, June 9, CEU Auditorium
 9.30 a.m. – 11.00 a.m.

Panel 5: Liberty to All or Pluralistic Freedoms: The Conflict of Values

 Chair: Susanna Mancini (University of Bologna)

 Liberty and the Conflict of Values
 Matthias Mahlmann (University of Zurich)

Rationalism Pluralism and Freedom

Jacob T. Levy (McGill University)

Commentator: Michel Rosenfeld (Cardozo Law School)

 11.30 a.m. – 1.00 p.m.
 Panel 6: Dignity as a Challenge to the Liberal Order

 Chair: Patrick Macklem (University of Toronto)

 Expressivism, Dignity and the Challenge to Liberty
 Christopher McCrudden (Queen’s University, Belfast)

 Waldron on Dignity and Responsibility-rights: Can the Tragedy of Liberty be Avoided?
 Ruzha Smilova (University of Sofia)

Commentator: Wojciech Sadurski (University of Sydney)

2.30 p.m. – 4.30 p.m.
Panel 7: What Would a Liberty-Based Constitutional Order Look Like?

 Chair: Michael Hamilton (CEU Legal Studies Department)

What Would a Liberty-Respecting Criminal Justice System Look Like?
Eric Blumenson (Suffolk University Law School)

Room for Religious Pluralism? Freedom of Religion Replaced by Institutional Considerations
 Renáta Uitz (CEU Legal Studies Department)

 Commentator: Anna Sledzinska-Simon (University of Wroclaw)

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Public opinion watch

New polls here and here. Both show the median respondent supporting tuition increases rather than a freeze-- albeit in one case preferring inflation indexing to the government's proposal. And Bill 78 is less unpopular than one would like, and less unpopular than I think Montrealers are convincing ourselves it is. The Quebec City area has very different politics, and a lot of voters.

Tuition and language politics

Maybe all of the following is obvious and widely-known; I haven't seen it discussed, though.

The "distinct society" portion of the tuition conversation has been mostly about the transfer of authority over higher education from the Catholic Church to the Quebec state in the wake of the Quiet Revolution, and the conscious commitment to work toward a social-democratic model of tuition-free higher education. But it seems to me that there's also a strong relationship with language-population politics.

The Quebec higher education system has several relevant distinct features:

1. CEGEP/ college education going to grade 13
2. Following directly from that, a 3-year university BA
3. A differentiation between tuition for in-province and out-of-province Canadian students-- standard in the US but, I believe, unique in Canada Update: not unique, I'm told in comments, but I'm having trouble coming up with general information. So far it looks to me as if Ontario, BC, Alberta, and Calgary all have uniform Canadian tuition rates, without provincial differentiation. More information, please!)
4. Very, very low in-province tuition-- not 0, but much closer to 0 than to tuition in Ontario or California.
5. Unusually high provincial levels of taxation

I treat (5) as part of higher education policy because defenders of low tuition insist that students aren't trying to avoid paying for their educations; they'll just pay for them later through taxes rather than up-front through tuition; and that this moreover prevents low tuition from being a regressive subsidy to the middle- and upper-class students who are most likely to attend university. And of course it's importantly connected to (4).

Now, the first thought I had in looking at all of this was, "anomalously low tuition and anomalously high taxes to pay for it can go together in a closed society where the same people spend their whole life cycle in the same tax-and-spend system, and the closed society is a convenient assumption for some social democratic modeling, but its empirical falseness means that the micro-level fairness story fails. You'll get people getting their cheap educations and then leaving, while others who have paid full price for a university education elsewhere, or even out-of-province tuition here, migrate here and then pay again through the tax system." Now, one unattractive feature about that from my perspective is that it creates a possible sense that people are doing something wrong, shirking their fair share of the burden for their own education, by out-migrating; I think that's an illiberal norm to run a society on. But on its face it also looks fiscally unsustainable: everyone's incentive is to get the education and then get out. And then I thought to myself, "discouraging out-migration is an important part of the preservation of The french Fact. So I'm missing something."

Separate the population into three groups, and look at how the system works for each.

1) Out-of-province students have roughly neutral incentives to come to university here, but a disincentive to come to university and stay. Out-of-province tuition is roughly comparable to tuition elsewhere in the country (though still lower than Ontario), and out-of-province students get the standard 4-year degree since they didn't go to CEGEP, so if they just come get a BA and leave again they're neither getting any special discount nor paying any special price. But if they come and stay, then they've paid 4 years of normal tuition rather than 3 years of cheap tuition, and then they spend the rest of their lives paying taxes as if they had benefitted from the discount rate. (The same is true-but-moreso for international students.)

2. In-province anglophones have an incentive to do what I described above: get a BA on the cheap by paying three years of low tuition, then migrate out to anywhere else in North America where their taxes will be lower. The incentive to stay local for the BA is very steep.

3. In-province francophones face the same financial incentives as in-province anglophones: a huge incentive to stay local for the BA, since the three-year low tuition degree is vastly cheaper than a four-year normal-tuition degree elsewhere. Then-- here's the part that puzzled me-- they have an incentive at the margin to leave when the high taxes kick in.

But exit in post-collegiate early adulthood is a lot easier for anglophones. They've got, roughly, the whole Canadian and American college-educated labor market open to them, and they enter it on an equal footing with those whose educations were anywhere else in North America.

If English is neither your first language nor the language of your university education, it's a lot harder to suddenly jump into the educated-labor market of anglophone North America at age 22 or 25. You're starting at a disadvantage in that market that doesn't apply if you stay close to home. If, by contrast, you had left home for an English-language four-year education, you'd be a lot more likely to, as it were, defect, and take advantage of the economic opportunities open to anglophone university graduates in other parts of the continent.

So the system as a whole acts as a financial disincentive to permanent in-migration from the rest of North America (and NB that French citizens pay in-province tuition rates, not international tuition rates) and as a marginal incentive to out-migration for anglophones once they've gotten their college educations. But for francophones from Quebec, it acts as a strong incentive to stay at home for university education, a moment when there might otherwise be an especially high risk of permanent out-migration, and a marginal reduction in their ability to out-migrate later.

In other words, even if some number of high-earning francophones leave (and therefore never "pay back" the cheap university educations they receive) the system broadly tends toward making francophone Quebec a more self-contained economic world in which people do spend their whole life cycles, while simultaneously subtly encouraging anglophone out-migration and discouraging anglophone in-migration.

This, perhaps oddly, makes me slightly more sympathetic to the system than I would otherwise be. (It also, of course, makes it more sustainable than it would otherwise be; it significantly retards the get-your-cheap-degree-then-get-out dynamic.) Francophone Quebec does need to be a partly self-contained economic world to be sustainable; a large steady outflow of 18-year olds who never came back could be the beginning of a downward spiral in the viability of the French Fact. (Note, too that a bloated civil service is often a part of this kind of system in postcolonial societies; it provides jobs for a surplus of locally-highly-educated workers.) Of all the possible policies to sustain the French Fact on a population basis, this tax-and-subsidize policy is on the low-coercion side. (It might, probably does, depress the overall prosperity of Quebec, and that has to go into the calculations too; in the long term, la survivance will depend on an economy that is successful, competitive, and attractive, not just one that is self-contained enough to discourage emigration.)

But-- if I'm right about all this-- I do think it's worth acknowledging the uncomfortable truths that the system operates to diminish the mobility of local francophones, indeed depends on doing so, while simultaneously greasing the slide out of town for local anglophones.

This is all back-of-the-envelope modeling, and I'm entirely open to correction and instruction in the comments. See also: Kymlicka and Patten, eds., Language Rights and Political Theory; and an article of mine defending the compatibility of ethnocultural federalism geared with an emphasis on preserving the national minority's culture with liberalism.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Link of the day Theo McLaughlin in the Gazette on Bill 78.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Banana republicanism

‎"Special law" is every bit the contradiction in terms that "student strike" is. Emergency decrees and bills of attainder aren't laws, and I won't be referring to Bill 78 as a law except in scare quotes.

On the other hand, my patience for playing along with the phrase "student strike" ran out as of the UQAM protests this week, when the protesters prevented students and professors from meeting together for educational purposes, screaming "scab" at the students who wanted to attend class. Calling it a strike means calling the students who want to attend class scabs, and calling their attempts to attend class illegitimate, so I won't be doing that either.

So, that said, some first impressions of the proposed decree.

1. Section III is entirely illegitimate. I don't know whether it passes Charter review; I am not a Canadian lawyer. But it is an absurdly draconian violation of freedom of assembly and indeed freedom of movement. It's police state stuff, unworthy of a free society.

2. Section V.29 multiplies the reach of every other punitive and prohibitionist part of the act, so much so that it renders Sections III IV, and V as wholes illegitimate. It amounts to the category of conspiracy-by-omission. It means that not only anyone who talks to student protesters or protest leaders over the next several months is vulnerable to prosecution, but that even avoiding them won't keep you safe. Again, police state stuff.

3. If one were to detach V.29, Section IV and the rest of Section V start to look more complicated. They skirt awfully close to the line of being a bill of attainder; they're certainly not a normal case of lawful governance. But the boycott has created a legally strange situation. The boycotters, calling what they're doing a "strike," assert a collective democratic right to prevent students and professors from carrying on classes. But the concept of a student strike is unknown to Quebec law. That doesn't mean that it's illegal; it's not prohibited, and in a a free society that which is not prohibited is allowed. But striking is not only a refusal to do something; it is also an assertion of the authority to prevent others-- "scabs"-- from doing it. That makes it less like "assembly" and "speech" and more like "contract" or "will," come the moment when the beneficiary of a contract or a will seeks to take possession. In order to maintain peace and keep clear on what everyone's rights are, we normally rule out self-help and don't treat "contract" or "will" as things that one can just be left alone to do. They're powers partly constituted by law, exercisable in ways described and prescribed by law.

If I say that you and I had a contract, but it was oral and unwitnessed, and I try to seize the goods to which our supposed contract entitled me, you call the police to protect yourself and your goods. To that, it is insufficient on my part to say "unwitnessed oral contracts aren't prohibited." What I say is true, but it's also true that an unwitnessed oral promise does not rise to the level of "contract" that legitimizes coerced performance. Your right to carry on unmolested by me is something about which the law can't just be agnostic.

In a strike-as-constituted-by-the-labour-code, employers and would-be replacement workers have their freedom of action limited. The strike isn't just an action by the workers; it's an authorized limitation on others. The student unions, purporting to strike, have tried to self-help their way into that same ability to limit the actions of others. The law can't just be agnostic about whether students who don't wish to boycott may attend class unmolested, whether universities may protect their classrooms from disruption and protect access to them. And since this is not a legally-constituted strike, the legal answer is that those who wish to carry on with their educational activities are free to do so. Injunctions to protect their access, like legal action to prevent me from carrying off your stuff that I say you promised me, look aggressive but are legally defensive, defending the legal freedom of those the protesters want to characterize as "scabs" but who are not in a legal position like the would-be replacement workers during a labour strike.

The injunctions have been flouted; and protesters have repeatedly created situations where police have to choose between not protecting the rights of universities, professors, and dissenting students or trying to coerce large determined crowds of protesters. When they opt for the latter, they use the ugly and abusive tools of riot control against people who were not rioting but who were obstructing the legal rights of others, en masse. There is no peaceful way to move hundreds or thousands of people who do not wish to be moved. And there is also no rule that whatever hundreds or thousands of people together want to do must be legitimate. This has been the paradoxical situation of the last several weeks in particular. The police have been first to use violence, at least large-scale violence, over and over again; but that doesn't mean that the injunction-flouting protests were legitimate.

I don't know enough about Canadian civil procedure to know why contempt of court proceedings couldn't be used to do what Section IV of the emergency decree tries to do: coerce the unions through crippling financial penalties in order to try to stop having to violently coerce the bodies of protesters. That would be preferable to this kind of legislative action. But some attempt to hold unions responsible for protests that flout injunctions and disrupt the legal freedom of others does seem legitimate, and preferable to constant situations that can be resolved only through police violence or through abandoning the freedom of third parties to the whims of the protesters. The unions are creatures of Quebec law, with power granted by law to compel dues payment from students; but they have helped themselves to an authority that isn't granted by the law that creates them, and when others have ignored that supposed authority have freely encouraged lawless response. It's awfully late in the day for their leaders to discover that "social peace" is at risk. Their attitude toward injunctions and toward the rights of universities, professors, and dissenting students has been one of "contempt for the rule of law," as Bernard Amyot, former president of the Canadian Bar Association put it. That doesn't excuse the government from blame for its own abandonment of the rule of law in the new emergency decree.

As with the ban on masks, illegitimate behavior by the protesters is going to met by an illegitimate response, deeply restricting what should be protected freedom of expression. Section III and Section V.29, like the ban on masks, are opportunistic expansions of state and police power far beyond what is needed, or what is compatible with liberal freedom. And Section V.29's multiplier effect on the rest of the act pushes all of Sections IV and V into that category. But for the student unions to suddenly appeal to the rule of law and freedom of assembly when they've scorned those for everyone else is a bit much. The upshot is a lot of damage all around to Quebec's ability to function as a free society.

Update: While I was writing this post, the Montreal city council unsurprisingly passed the awful ban on masks. Kafka-esque question-begging of the day:
The leader of one of the city's opposition parties, Louise Harel, asked for clarification on whether scarves or bandanas worn by protesters protecting themselves against chemical irritants or tear gas would be included in the ban.

A lawyer for the police insisted those scarves are considered masks under the bylaw. The reasoning is, according to the lawyer, that if tear gas is being deployed, the demonstration has already been declared illegal.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A grammar lesson

The grammar of apologies is "I'm sorry for" plus a progressive or past progressive verb, or "I'm sorry that" followed by a dependent clause that has "I" as the subject. In either case, preferably using a verb specifically describing what was done, and not a vague "hurt" or "offended." The grammar of non-apologies is "I'm sorry if," and/or a dependent clause that is in the passive, and/or a dependent clause that has "you" as the subject, often with any of these combined with vague "hurt" or "offended" verbs, or verbs about understanding or comprehension.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Perspective

Two days ago I sent a grumpy note to a Canadian granting agency about some isues in the grant adjudication process. Yesterday I griped all day about FQRSC/ SSHRC/ Common CV forms. Nothing quite like having the US House of Representatives vote to defund NSF funding to one's whole discipline to put the Canadian annoyances into perspective.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Masks

I talked with CBC Radio One about the problems with banning masks during protests. I think there are exceptional cases in which such bans can be temporarily and locally legitimate; but they need to be constructed a lot more narrowly and carefully than either the proposed Montreal or the Canadian federal bans have been. I managed to avoid talking about masked characters in comics, whether The Avengers (though that might have boosted my ratings) or V for Vendetta. Update: See also this CTV clip.