Archive for November, 2008
30 Nov 2008

Slavoj Žižek: Deadly Jester

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Adam Kirsch, in the New Republic, warns of the rise of another philosophic defender of bad causes, one who has perfected the technique of using a soupçon of wit to disguise the real flavor of the Communism.

The curious thing about the Zizek phenomenon is that the louder he applauds violence and terror–especially the terror of Lenin, Stalin, and Mao, whose “lost causes” Zizek takes up in another new book, In Defense of Lost Causes–the more indulgently he is received by the academic left, which has elevated him into a celebrity and the center of a cult. A glance at the blurbs on his books provides a vivid illustration of the power of repressive tolerance. In Iraq: The Borrowed Kettle, Zizek claims, “Better the worst Stalinist terror than the most liberal capitalist democracy”; but on the back cover of the book we are told that Zizek is “a stimulating writer” who “will entertain and offend, but never bore.” In The Fragile Absolute, he writes that “the way to fight ethnic hatred effectively is not through its immediate counterpart, ethnic tolerance; on the contrary, what we need is even more hatred, but proper political hatred”; but this is an example of his “typical brio and boldness.” And In Defense of Lost Causes, where Zizek remarks that “Heidegger is ‘great’ not in spite of, but because of his Nazi engagement,” and that “crazy, tasteless even, as it may sound, the problem with Hitler was that he was not violent enough, that his violence was not ‘essential’ enough”; but this book, its publisher informs us, is “a witty, adrenalinfueled manifesto for universal values.”

In the same witty book Zizek laments that “this is how the establishment likes its ‘subversive’ theorists: harmless gadflies who sting us and thus awaken us to the inconsistencies and imperfections of our democratic enterprise–God forbid that they might take the project seriously and try to live it.” How is it, then, that Slavoj Zizek, who wants not to correct democracy but to destroy it, has been turned into one of the establishment’s pet subversives, who “tries to live” the revolution most completely as a jet-setting professor at the European Graduate School, a senior researcher at the University of Ljubljana’s Institute of Sociology, and the International Director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities?

A part of the answer has to do with Zizek’s enthusiasm for American popular culture. Despite the best attempts of critical theory to demystify American mass entertainment, to lay bare the political subtext of our movies and pulp fiction and television shows, pop culture remains for most Americans apolitical and anti-political–a frivolous zone of entertainment and distraction. So when the theory-drenched Zizek illustrates his arcane notions with examples from Nip/ Tuck and Titanic, he seems to be signaling a suspension of earnestness. The effect is quite deliberate. In The Metastases of Enjoyment, for instance, he writes that “Jurassic Park is a chamber drama about the trauma of fatherhood in the style of the early Antonioni or Bergman.” Elsewhere he asks, “Is Parsifal not a model for Keanu Reeves in The Matrix, with Laurence Fishburne in the role of Gurnemanz?” Those are laugh lines, and they cunningly disarm the anxious or baffled reader with their playfulness. They relieve his reader with an expectation of comic hyperbole, and this expectation is then carried over to Zizek’s political proclamations, which are certainly hyperbolic but not at all comic.

When, in 1994, during the siege of Sarajevo, Zizek wrote that “there is no difference” between life in that city and life in any American or Western European city, that “it is no longer possible to draw a clear and unambiguous line of separation between us who live in a ‘true’ peace and the residents of Sarajevo”–well, it was only natural for readers to think that he did not really mean it, just as he did not really mean that Jurassic Park is like a Bergman movie. This intellectual promiscuity is the privilege of the licensed jester, of the man whom The Chronicle of Higher Education dubbed “the Elvis of cultural theory.”

In person, too, Zizek plays the jester with practiced skill. Every journalist who sits down to interview him comes away with a smile on his face. Robert Boynton, writing in Lingua Franca in 1998, found Zizek “bearded, disheveled, and loud … like central casting’s pick for the role of Eastern European Intellectual.” Boynton was amused to see the manic, ranting philosopher order mint tea and sugar cookies: “‘Oh, I can’t drink anything stronger than herbal tea in the afternoon,’ he says meekly. ‘Caffeine makes me too nervous.'” The intellectual parallel is quite clear: in life, as in his writing, Zizek is all bark and no bite. Like a naughty child who flashes an irresistible grin, it is impossible to stay angry at him for long.

I witnessed the same deception a few weeks ago, when Zizek appeared with Bernard-Henri Lévy at the New York Public Library. The two philosopher-celebrities came on stage to the theme music from Superman, and their personae were so perfectly opposed that they did indeed nudge each other into cartoonishness: Lévy was all the more Gallic and debonair next to Zizek, who seemed all the more wild-eyed and Slavic next to Lévy. Thus it was perfectly natural for the audience to erupt in laughter when Zizek, at one point in the generally unacrimonious evening, told Lévy: “Don’t be afraid–when we take over you will not go to the Gulag, just two years of reeducation camp.” Solzhenitsyn had died only a few weeks earlier, but it would have been a kind of betise to identify Zizek’s Gulag with Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag. When the audience laughed, it was playing into his hands, and hewing to the standard line on Zizek, which Rebecca Mead laid down in a profile of him in The New Yorker a few years ago: “Always to take Slavoj Zizek seriously would be to make a category mistake.”

Whether or not it would be always a mistake to take Slavoj Zizek seriously, surely it would not be a mistake to take him seriously just once. He is, after all, a famous and influential thinker. So it might be worthwhile to consider Zizek’s work as if he means it–to ask what his ideas really are, and what sort of effects they are likely to have.

Zizek is a believer in the Revolution at a time when almost nobody, not even on the left, thinks that such a cataclysm is any longer possible or even desirable. This is his big problem, and also his big opportunity. While “socialism” remains a favorite hate-word for the Republican right, the prospect of communism overthrowing capitalism is now so remote, so fantastic, that nobody feels strongly moved to oppose it, as conservatives and liberal anticommunists opposed it in the 1930s, the 1950s, and even the 1980s. When Zizek turns up speaking the classical language of Marxism-Leninism, he profits from the assumption that the return of ideas that were once the cause of tragedy can now occur only in the form of farce. In the visual arts, the denaturing of what were once passionate and dangerous icons has become commonplace, so that emblems of evil are transformed into perverse fun, harmless but very profitable statements of post-ideological camp. …

30 Nov 2008

Obama Proposing Economic Suicide For USA

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Christopher Booker expresses well-justified alarm at President-Elect Obama’s continuing expressions of commitment to the Global Warming fantasy.

If the holder of the most powerful office in the world proposed a policy guaranteed to inflict untold damage on his own country and many others, on the basis of claims so demonstrably fallacious that they amount to a string of self-deluding lies, we might well be concerned. The relevance of this is not to President Bush, as some might imagine, but to a recent policy statement by President-elect Obama.

Tomorrow, delegates from 190 countries will meet in Poznan, Poland, to pave the way for next year’s UN conference in Copenhagen at which the world will agree a successor to the Kyoto Protocol on climate change. They will see a video of Mr Obama, in only his second major policy commitment, pledging that America is now about to play the leading role in the fight to “save the planet” from global warming.

Mr Obama begins by saying that “the science is beyond dispute and the facts are clear”. “Sea levels,” he claims, “are rising, coastlines are shrinking, we’ve seen record drought, spreading famine and storms that are growing stronger with each passing hurricane season.”

Far from the science being “beyond dispute”, we can only deduce from this that Mr Obama has believed all he was told by Al Gore’s wondrously batty film An Inconvenient Truth without bothering to check the facts. Each of these four statements is so wildly at odds with the truth that on this score alone we should be seriously worried. …

Alarming though it may be that the next US President should have fallen for all this claptrap, much more worrying is what he proposes to do on the basis of such grotesque misinformation. For a start he plans to introduce a “federal cap and trade system”, a massive “carbon tax”, designed to reduce America’s CO2 emissions “to their 1990 levels by 2020 and reduce them an additional 80 per cent by 2050”. Such a target, which would put America ahead of any other country in the world, could only be achieved by closing down a large part of the US economy.

Mr Obama floats off still further from reality when he proposes spending $15 billion a year to encourage “clean energy” sources, such as thousands more wind turbines. He is clearly unaware that wind energy is so hopelessly ineffective that the 10,000 turbines America already has, representing “18 gigawatts of installed capacity”, only generate 4.5GW of power, less than that supplied by a single giant coal-fired power station.

He talks blithely of allowing only “clean” coal-fired power plants, using “carbon capture” – burying the CO2 in holes in the ground – which would double the price of electricity, but the technology for which hasn’t even yet been developed. He then babbles on about “generating five million new green jobs”. This will presumably consist of hiring millions of Americans to generate power by running around on treadmills, to replace all those “dirty” coal-fired power stations which currently supply the US with half its electricity.

If this sounds like an elaborate economic suicide note, for what is still the earth’s richest nation, it is still not enough for many environmentalists. Positively foaming at the mouth in The Guardian last week, George Monbiot claimed that the plight of the planet is now so grave that even “sensible programmes of the kind Obama proposes are now irrelevant”. The only way to avert the “collapse of human civilisation”, according to the Great Moonbat, would be “the complete decarbonisation of the global economy soon after 2050”.

For 300 years science helped to turn Western civilisation into the richest and most comfortable the world has ever seen. Now it seems we have suddenly been plunged into a new age of superstition, where scientific evidence no longer counts for anything. The fact that America will soon be ruled by a man wholly under the spell of this post-scientific hysteria may leave us in wondering despair.

Read the whole thing.

30 Nov 2008

Bush Pardons Gun Aficionados

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The Wall Street Journal reports that a high percentage of the small number of pardons issued by George W. Bush so far have gone to ordinary people eager to regain the right to own firearms for sport or recreation.

On the surface, the list of the 14 people pardoned by the president this week shows few common denominators in terms of time served, geographic location or even type of crime, except that the felonies were non-violent. But a closer look at some of the newly pardoned shows many of them are church-going, blue-collar workers from rural areas (and ardent Bush supporters) who had little trouble finding jobs after their convictions. There is another common thread: the important role firearms once played in their lives.

President Bush has pardoned fewer people — 171 — than any president since World War II, with the exception of his father, who pardoned 74. Presidents don’t discuss their reasons for issuing pardons, with few exceptions. Nor do they tell petitioners why their wish was granted. The Justice Department’s “pardon attorney,” who reviews hundreds of petitions a year and recommends candidates to the president, had no comment.

Coincidentally or not, at least seven of the 14 pardoned on Monday are former hunters or shooting enthusiasts. In interviews, five of them said they wrote in their petitions to the government that a desire to win back the right to bear arms was a chief reason for wanting a pardon.

29 Nov 2008

Obama’s Valedictocracy

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Joseph Epstein has taught for too many years to believe that conspicuous success in today’s elite universities is commonly a testament to good character. Au contraire, Epstein argues: “Some of the worst people in the United States have gone to the Harvard or Yale Law Schools.”

Last week the excellent David Brooks, in one of his columns in the New York Times, exulted over the high quality of people President-elect Barack Obama was enlisting in his new cabinet and onto his staff. The chief evidence for these people being so impressive, it turns out, is they all went to what the world–“that ignorant ninny,” as Henry James called it–thinks superior schools. Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, the London School of Economics; like dead flies on flypaper, the names of the schools Obama’s new appointees attended dotted Brooks’s column.

Here is the column’s first paragraph:

    Jan. 20, 2009, will be a historic day. Barack Obama (Columbia, Harvard Law) will take the oath of office as his wife, Michelle (Princeton, Harvard Law), looks on proudly. Nearby, his foreign policy advisers will stand beaming, including perhaps Hillary Clinton (Wellesley, Yale Law), Jim Steinberg (Harvard, Yale Law) and Susan Rice (Stanford, Oxford D. Phil.).

This administration will be, as Brooks writes, “a valedictocracy.” The assumption here is that having all these good students–many of them possibly “toll-frees,” as high-school students who get 800s on their SATs used to be known in admissions offices–running the country is obviously a pretty good thing. Brooks’s one jokey line in the column has it that “if a foreign enemy attacks the United States during the Harvard-Yale game any time over the next four years, we’re screwed.” Since my appreciation of David Brooks is considerable, and since I agree with him on so many things, why don’t I agree with him here?

The reason is that, after teaching at a university for 30 years, I have come to distrust the type I think of as “the good student.” …

Read the whole thing.

29 Nov 2008

Cumberbund Heroes

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Staff members of the Taj Motel Palace Hotel saved the lives of many guests, sometimes shielding them from bullets with their own bodies.

London Times:

They were heroes in cummerbunds and overalls. The staff of the Taj Mahal Palace hotel saved hundreds of wealthy guests as heavily armed gunmen roamed the building, firing indiscriminately, leaving a trail of corpses behind them.

Among the workers there were some whose bravery and sense of duty led them to sacrifice their own lives, witnesses said.

Prashant Mangeshikar, a guest, said that a hotel worker, identified only as Mr Rajan, had put himself between one of the gunmen and Mr Mangeshikar, his wife and two daughters.

“The man in front of my wife shielded us,” Mr Mangeshikar said. “He was a maintenance section staff member. He took the bullets.” For the next 12 hours, before Mr Rajan was finally taken out of the hotel, guests battled to stop the bleeding from a gaping bullet wound in his abdomen. It is not known if he lived.

Read the whole thing.

29 Nov 2008

Culture, Not Race

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In the newly published Disrobing the Aboriginal Industry: The Deception Behind Indigenous Cultural Preservation, the authors argue that identifying cultural inferiority is not racism. Race and culture are not the same thing.

Joseph Quesnel, Winnipeg Sun:

Frances Widdowson, a political scientist, and Albert Howard, a former government and aboriginal group consultant, suggest that indigenous peoples did not exist at the same level of social and cultural development as Europeans when they first encountered each other. Even more controversially, they suggest many pre-modern characteristics of indigenous societies still exist in First Nation communities today and prevent them from integrating into modern society and succeeding.

This, they argue, is the problem confronting First Nations today: they need to catch up culturally.

Before one assumes this is a “racist” argument, one must understand there is a big difference between race and culture. All societies, including European ones, passed through periods of cultural evolution, which is determined by environmental factors, not biology. At one point, European societies were small, kinship-based societies just like indigenous peoples. Because they lacked surplus food production, First Nation societies did not enjoy the division of labour that European civilizations had at the time and did not have the sophisticated, literate society that grew out of that.

The failure to see obvious differences in civilizations, they argue, is part of the “post-modern” thinking dominating academia.

The problem as they see it is that well-intentioned academics, seeing the disadvantages First Nations face, feel guilty and as a result, never criticize First Nations, no matter how problematic some aspects of their cultures are for modern life.

29 Nov 2008

Mainstream Media Has No Enemies to the Left

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“Alleged gunman” holding perfectly visible gun

John Hinderaker of Power-Line loses patience with the mealy-mouthed political correctness of the mainstream media.

The very same media which gleefully lynches opponents to the right, like George W. Bush or Sarah Palin, on the basis of its own trumped up charges has no enemies to the left, so any terrorist (even one captured in a photograph holding an automatic weapon in the midst of a murderous mass attack) is always only a potential suspect, someone whose status requires a full-scale courtroom procedure, and a complete professional defense, before it can possibly be pejoratively characterized.

Reuters‘ caption for the photo begins: “A suspected gunman walks outside the premises of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus or Victoria Terminus railway station in Mumbai November 26, 2008.”

Notice the object the terrorist is holding in his hands. It’s a gun. He isn’t a “suspected gunman,” he’s a “gunman.”

28 Nov 2008

Mumbai Attacks

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José Guardia is blog-tracking events and has the best collected news links.

Day 3

First link collection

28 Nov 2008

A Christmas Bailout

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Everyone else is getting a bailout from Bushobama, why not Scrooge & Marley? The firm’s dramatic salary raises, benefit expansions, and a sudden wave of charitable contributions beginning just after the holidays last year have placed a serious strain on profitability just at the time mortgage securities came into question and world financial markets collapsed.

DOTPenn.com:

Officials from the Bush administration and members of president-elect Barack Obama’s economic team are finishing up a proposal to bail out the world’s biggest counting house, Scrooge & Marley.

Once a financial powerhouse with a sterling balance sheet, the firm has reportedly fallen into wasteful spending practices, heaping money on extra lumps of coal for the employee’s personal heater and providing a luxurious medical plan for the family of Scrooge & Marley’s number two man, Bob Cratchit.

Scrooge & Marley’s CEO and co-founder, Ebeneezer Scrooge, who oversaw a phenomenal runnup in the company’s worth, has seen his personal wealth and influence diminish following recent dismal business practices.

Derwood Umple, a financial analyst for CNBC’s Dickensian desk, said that while rents have lapsed, Scrooge also reportedly bet heavily in global sub-prime markets.

“He has several properties in the seedier sections of town,” Umple said. “Word on the street says his management practices have been minimal, at best, and he is either unable or unwilling to collect on loans and rents.”

In addition, Umple said federal authorities had been looking at Scrooge & Marley’s charitable contributions.

“It’s obviously a tax-reduction scam,” said Umple. “He was tossing money at every request from chubby charity men while government prisons and work houses have fallen into considerable state of disrepair.”

The top hat-wearing CEO hasn’t missed too much on the party scene, though. He was seen attending a holiday party at his nephew’s home shortly before the bailout announcement and making quite merry, paparazzi suggested.

27 Nov 2008

Thousands of Muslims Attack New Christian Church in Cairo

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Assyrian News Agency:

One thousand Christians were today (11/26) trapped inside the Coptic Orthodox Church of the Virgin Mary in West Ain Shams,Cairo, after more than twenty thousand Muslims attacked them with stones and butane gas cylinders. The Church’s priest Father Antonious said that the situation is extremely dangerous.

The Muslim mob that attacked the church blocked both sides of the street and encircled the church building, broke its doors and demolished its entire first floor. The mob were chanting Jihad verses as well as slogans saying “we will demolish the church” and “We sacrifice our blood and souls, we sacrifice ourselves for you, Islam”, while the entrapped Christians chanted “Lord have mercy”.

The incident started on the occasion of the inauguration of the Church today, when the Muslims hastily established a Mosque in the early hours of this morning, by taking over the first floor of a newly-built building facing the Church and started praying there.

When the security forces tried to disperse the mob, they went to nearby homes and shops owned by Christians, and were armed with sticks, butane, knives and other sharp objects. Witnesses said the mob included children from as young as 8-years old to men of over 50-years old, in addition to women.

The Church building was originally a factory that was adapted into its present state, the matter which took over five years to complete and to get the necessary permissions from the authorities to have a Church established.

Human rights organizations and lawyers were refused entry into the besieged Church.

2 videos

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In response to all this, the head of the Coptic Church ordered Christians to stop praying in the converted site.


Christian Post
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The Coptic Pope Shenuda III barred Egyptian Christians from praying in a church building in Cairo Tuesday after sectarian violence broke out this past weekend over the building’s use as a Christian prayer hall.

At least eight men were arrested on Sunday night when Muslims clashed with Coptic Christians in the neighborhood of Ein Shams to protest the use of the property for prayer, according to state news agency MENA.

Muslims reportedly threw stones and burned two cars during the riot.

In response to the clash, Pope Shenuda III ordered Copts to cease praying in the church-owned building that was previously an unused factory.

Following the clash, Copts complained about the unfair law that requires them to be granted presidential permission before building a church or expanding an existing church. The authorization is difficult to near impossible to get and many Christians feel the law exists only to oppress the Christian minority community in a country where 90 percent or more of the population is Muslim.

27 Nov 2008

The First Thanksgiving… Was in Virginia, Sir!

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A contemporary reenactment portrays Reverend Robert Hunt leading the first settlers in prayers after coming ashore on May 13, 1607.

The Christian Broadcasting Network relocates the holiday’s origin to a more deserving locale.

In 1619, two years before the colonists arrived in Massachusetts, a band of English settlers landed in Virginia, at what is now known as the Berkeley plantation. History says the travelers immediately fell to their knees to thank God for their safe arrival. Here is a closer look at the role these settlers had in shaping what we know today as Thanksgiving.

Most people think of the Pilgrims on Thanksgiving day: 1622, the Mayflower, Squanto and his tribe sharing a feast with the Puritans at Plymouth Rock.

But the children at Stonebridge School in Virginia present a different picture. With colonial hats and feathered headbands, these children re-enact what it must have been like back in the 1600s, marking the events surrounding the first Thanksgiving at a very different time and place.

It all began on the shores of Cape Henry in Virginia. In 1607, the first English colonists arrived: 105 English men and boys, and 39 sailors, among them the Reverend Robert Hunt. He was the first minister in America. According to Jamestown site historian, Dianne Stallings, he was instrumental in establishing the protestant faith in the new world.

Following a mandate from the king of England, Hunt pitched a cross and led the men in prayer on the beaches of Cape Henry.

“Reverend Hunt would have had the Book of Common Prayer as well as the Bible,” says Stallings. “And this would be a general prayer of thanksgiving that would have been read at that period of time.”

Titled simply, the “General Thanksgiving”, this prayer, in one of it’s various versions , reads as follows:

    “Almighty God, Father of all mercies, we thine unworthy servants do give thee most humble and hearty thanks for all thy goodness and loving-kindness to us and to all men.

    We bless thee for our creation, preservation, and all the blessings of this life; but above all for thine inestimable love in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ, for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory.”

For two weeks the men combed the shores of the James River, scouting out the perfect place for their new settlement. Finally they decided on Jamestown.

And according to Stallings, the settlers came for three reasons: God, glory, and gold.

“England was very concerned that the protestant faith be established in the new world, and, of course, they were dedicated to the fact that they wanted to Christianize the Indians,” she says.

Perhaps the most famous Indian at the settlement was Pocahontas. Through her the Powhatan Indians and the colonists made peace. She would bring the colonists food, and some historical accounts say she even saved Captain John Smith’s life from her own people. Eventually, Pocahontas was held hostage by the colonists. It was then that she converted to Christianity and married one of the Jamestown leaders, John Rolfe. She was baptized into the Christian name, Rebecca.

Through Pocahontas, the settlers saw their goal of spreading the protestant faith begin to come to fruition. Years later she returned to England with her husband. Sadly, at just 22 years old, she died. It was two years after Pocahontas’ death that another group of English colonists landed in Virginia. After ten weeks at sea, they finally landed here at the Berkeley Plantation. Virginia Historians claim that this is where the real first Thanksgiving took place. The plantation sits just a few miles from the original Jamestown settlement.

“The Virginia Company had directives given to the settlers and the directives were that upon landing, they were to give thanks and every year thereafter make it an annual celebration in thanks to the Lord for a safe passage,” says Barbara Awad, president of the Virginia Thanksgiving Festival.

This was about seventeen months before the pilgrims landed in Plymouth. And while the Pilgrims celebrated with a feast, much like the traditional meal Americans eat on Thanksgiving, the settlers at Berkeley Plantation had a meager meal.

“It wasn’t quite the abundant festival, the cornucopia that we usually see on Thanksgiving,” says Awad.

Historians say their feast included bacon, peas, cornmeal cakes, and cinnamon water. But regardless of the menu, to these settlers, the first Thanksgiving was much more than turkey and pumpkin pie. It was all about prayer.

27 Nov 2008

The Meaning of Thanksgiving

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Mike Franc, at Human Events in 2005, identified the real reason for celebration at the first Thanksgiving.

Writing in his diary of the dire economic straits and self-destructive behavior that consumed his fellow Puritans shortly after their arrival, Governor William Bradford painted a picture of destitute settlers selling their clothes and bed coverings for food while others “became servants to the Indians,” cutting wood and fetching water in exchange for “a capful of corn.” The most desperate among them starved, with Bradford recounting how one settler, in gathering shellfish along the shore, “was so weak … he stuck fast in the mud and was found dead in the place.”

The colony’s leaders identified the source of their problem as a particularly vile form of what Bradford called “communism.” Property in Plymouth Colony, he observed, was communally owned and cultivated. This system (“taking away of property and bringing [it] into a commonwealth”) bred “confusion and discontent” and “retarded much employment that would have been to [the settlers’] benefit and comfort.”

Just how did the Pilgrims solve the problem of famine? In addition to receiving help from the local Indians in farming, they decided allow the private ownership of individual plots of land.

On the brink of extermination, the Colony’s leaders changed course and allotted a parcel of land to each settler, hoping the private ownership of farmland would encourage self-sufficiency and lead to the cultivation of more corn and other foodstuffs.

As Adam Smith would have predicted, this new system worked famously. “This had very good success,” Bradford reported, “for it made all hands very industrious.” In fact, “much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been” and productivity increased. “Women,” for example, “went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them to set corn.”

The famine that nearly wiped out the Pilgrims in 1623 gave way to a period of agricultural abundance that enabled the Massachusetts settlers to set down permanent roots in the New World, prosper, and play an indispensable role in the ultimate success of the American experiment.

A profoundly religious man, Bradford saw the hand of God in the Pilgrims’ economic recovery. Their success, he observed, “may well evince the vanity of that conceit…that the taking away of property… would make [men] happy and flourishing; as if they were wiser than God.” Bradford surmised, “God in his wisdom saw another course fitter for them.”

The real story of Thanksgiving is the triumph of capitalism and individualism over collectivism and socialism, which is the summation of the story of America.

27 Nov 2008

Childrens’ Thanksgiving Day Indian Costumes Also Banned in California

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Where Massachusetts goes, California follows.

KABC-TV:

There is a costume controversy in Claremont. The school board changed a decades-long tradition of students dressing up to celebrate Thanksgiving, and some parents are outraged.

The tradition involves kindergarten students at Mountain View and Condit elementary schools. The kids usually dress up in costumes. Each school takes turns dressing up as pilgrims and Indians, and then join together for a Thanksgiving feast.

This year, however, there is a big change. The school board decided to continue holding the feast, but they are not allowing the students to dress up. The board is concerned the Indian costumes may have negative connotations.

“Out of respect for the native American heritage, we have made the decision to ask the children not to dress up,” said Devon Freitas, assistant superintendent for human services, Claremont Unified School District.

That decision has infuriated many parents. Some of them have ignored the school board and dressed their kids up anyway.

2:23 video

27 Nov 2008

Xmas Ban Reversed at FGCU

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Wilson Bradshaw, President of Florida Gulf Coast University, evidently did not like being the subject of nationwide negative news coverage, so he is explaining, that though the problem is that we misunderstood his noble purposes, he feels obliged to bow to our confusion and reverse his decision.

My Fox Tampa Bay

FGCU’s president reversed his decision to ban Christmas decorations.

In an e-mail message sent to the campus Wednesday, university president Wilson Bradshaw, Ph.D. acknowledged the “overwhelming negative response” to his original letter banning all holiday and seasonal decorations from the school’s common areas, citing “legal limitations.”

“It is now clear to me that we have erred in our attempt to find a balance between how best to observe the season in ways that honor all traditions – while also allowing employees to express their individual beliefs during the upcoming holiday season,” Dr. Bradshaw wrote. “As stated in my earlier message, there was no attempt to suppress expression of the holiday spirit. However, the message was received differently, and for this, I am sorry.”

Original story

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