On a street not far from here lives a man. I do not know him, but I have waved and said hello. He is salubrious in a way I admire. He has lived here forever and a day, I imagine, and watched his town disintegrate. He refuses to go along. His house is conspicuous. It is so yellow that Van Gogh would throw in the towel and go back to the store and start shopping for raw umber. He crawls up and down it, and all around it, and it is as neat as a pin. He does everything himself. He put up a big fence around his yard, an enormous undertaking, and never flagged until he was done. Every surface is clean and bright and in good repair, everywhere you can see. It is the only structure in this town I can describe in that way.
We stopped walking down his street a while back because his neighbors were disreputable. On one side was a house gone to seed for forty years or more. The denizens had approximately 150 snot-nosed urchins who played in the street, which I rather enjoyed seeing, but they kept two, hair-trigger pitbulls the size of donkeys, and you could never tell if they were tied up or not. These animals represented a desire to publicly contract ebola so you could get your own seat on the subway of life. Fine by me.
On the other side of the neat house was a two-family affair that looked in rather better shape, but that’s not to say good. There were no obvious structural issues visible to my eye at two hundred yards, which is more than I can say about my house. The house had been occupied by a series of Hatfields and McCoys, cars by the dozens, but somehow never with an even number of tires, abandoned toys everywhere, stray cats outside and stray people inside. I never saw an actual person who lived there outside, a mark of the breed. One minute the window curtain would be a confederate flag, then the rental merry-go-round would spin and a Sponge-Bob beach towel would take its place. The stray cats were the only constant.
The man in the perfect yellow house persevered. He painted his driveway and waxed his lawn and dusted his roof shingles. He polished his trees and chromed the inside of his mailbox. He was adamantine. He was, and is, a species of wonderful.
He must have gotten weary of the noise, and the trouble, and the endless low-rent hubbub. I testify to you, with God as my witness, that when the houses on both sides of him decided to spin the wheel of occupancy one more time, he bought them both, and he gave them the delenda est. Flattened them. There was a pile of lead-painted pickup sticks on one side, waiting for the next round of dumpsters, and the one on the other side was nothing but a patch of straw with the first hint of grass yet to poke through.
That man knows something. Something important. It’s not that he knows exactly what would show up in the two houses when the For Sale or For Rent signs came down. He’s not pretending to tell fortunes at the fair. What he knew, for a dead cert, was that there was no chance of any change bringing anything but: Worse.
Is there really something terrible about the rich getting much richer, as long as the less rich are not getting any poorer, and indeed are seeing their standards of living rising over the long term, thanks to such things as Walmart, Amazon, iPhones, GPS, etc.?) …
[Kristof, in the end,] comes up with a list of possible ways to correct what might very well not need correcting, but would definitely put more money into the hands of the political class that Kristof represents (to be used, of course, strictly for the good of the poor and the downtrodden). Among these are: More government vigilance regarding monopolies and competition, strong trade unions, public-sector jobs at the minimum wage for such things as elderly care (has he checked with the unions for their opinion on this?), restrain pay at the highest levels (i.e. maximum-wage legislation), and a personal income tax that tops out at 65 percent.
Is there a single idea in there that post dates FDR, who died 70 years ago in a completely different economic universe? Indeed, most of them antedate the 20th century. Steeply progressive income taxes are straight out of the Communist Manifesto, published in 1848.
So here’s my list of ideas to lower the income inequality between rich and poor. They would actually help everyone except the political class:
Break up government monopolies, such as Medicare, the Veterans Administration, and, most important public school systems. Introducing competition into these areas of the economy is vital to improving them, because competition, and competition alone, produces hard work and innovation. Monopolies—private and governmental—are always fat, dumb, lazy, and devoted to maintaining the monopoly. The shortest route to prosperity for the poor and downtrodden is a good education and the inculcation of good work habits. They don’t get that today and liberals don’t give a damn. (One of the first things President Obama tried to do as president was end the school voucher program in Washington, D.C., as a thank you to the teachers unions, while sending his two daughters to a very expensive, and very good, private school: welcome to modern-day liberalism).
Introduce a flat tax, so that the private jet owners of the world can’t finagle special deals with their congressional pals.
Abolish the corporate income tax. I wrote about the extraordinary benefits of doing this in the Wall Street Journal a few months ago. At least 90 percent of the tax fiddles and crony-capitalism government favors are hidden in the corporate income tax. Get rid of it and 60,000 lobbyists in Washington would need to go out and get wealth-creating jobs. Do you think private jet owners own their private jets personally? Of course not, their corporations own them and get a slew of deductions thereby.
Modern-day liberalism is about talking about helping the poor and downtrodden, while espousing policies that will only help the narrow and ever-more privileged elite of which liberals are the most vocal supporters.
What is the real purpose of “Black History Month”? Apologists for the cultural left (Republicans and Democrats alike) would have us believe that its purpose is entirely-benign – i.e., education, inclusion, diversity of thought, the elevation of a people whose history has in the past been neglected, etc. – the standard rationale offered up by the left for so many of its initiatives and programs. The real purpose of “Black History Month” isn’t racial healing or education; instead, it is to keep the grievances and resentments of black people (and their supporters, whatever their race) simmering and ready at a moment’s notice to come to a boil in places like Ferguson and Baltimore.
There is a vast and profitable racket based upon the narrative that black folks are victims of white oppression – and the continued success/profitability of the racial grievance industry depends on keeping blacks not only angry, but feeling alienated from mainstream culture to the extent possible. Booker T. Washington, himself a black man, foresaw this over a century ago when he said,
“There is a class of colored people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs. There is a certain class of race-problem solvers who don’t want the patient to get well.”…
Of course, one of the most-interesting and disturbing aspects of the whole phenomenon is that present-day blacks are angry about injustices committed not against them, but acts which may (or may not) have been committed against their ancestors. Whites and others who aren’t black are expected to feel guilt for acts they did not even commit. Inherited anger and/or guilt for acts in which one did not even participate is obviously a logical fallacy, but that doesn’t seem to matter to the race-hustlers and their enablers. Over the last half-century, the nation has spent billions in taxpayer funds on redressing racial grievances and blacks – as a demographic cohort – have been the beneficiaries of a vast menu of privileges and special programs available to no one else. None of this seems to have mattered – race-relations are at an very low ebb, and militant blacks are angrier than ever.
Not because the model is too scantily-clad, but because she is too slender and attractive. Daily Beast:
Sharpie-wielding political activists have overtaken London Underground, writing outraged slogans on posters featuring a svelte, bikini-clad model next to an innocuous question: “Are you beach body ready?”
They’ve scribbled “NOT OKAY” and “Fuck Your Sexist Shit” over the model’s cleavage, signing their work with a now-viral hashtag, #eachbodysready.
A Change.Org petition calling for the removal of Protein World’s campaign on the grounds that it aims “to make [people] feel physically inferior to the unrealistic body image of the bronzed model” has received nearly 60,000 signatures.
And on Saturday, 750 people (and counting) will attend a “Take Back the Bikini” rally in Hyde Park to protest Protein World’s body-shaming ad campaign.
Well, good on them! Their vandalism, hashtag activism, and protests have made international headlines and prompted the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) to scrub the weight loss supplement campaign from Underground stations and ban it from appearing again “in its current form.”
The advertising watchdog has been investigating the “beach body ready” campaign, responding to some 360 complaints that it objectifies women and promotes unhealthy body standards.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, the ASA said they are pulling the ads “in the next three days.” (Protein World told The Daily Beast that the campaign’s three-week run in tube stations was already scheduled to end next week.)
The ASA will now determine if the campaign “breaks harm and offense rules or is socially irresponsible.”
So the feminist and body-image activists triumphed over the evil, patriarchal corporation, effectively censoring what they deemed an “unrealistic” and “unhealthy” body standard. …
Protein World’s ad campaign went up in London’s tube stations several weeks ago, prompting a scathing, widely-shared editorial in The Guardian.
Writer and co-founder of the Vagenda blog, Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett, had returned from Cuba to jarring reverse-culture shock in the “dark, putrid bowels of London’s underground system.”
It was only after visiting Cuba, a totalitarian country where there are no advertisements, that she realized “how much my field of vision is occupied without my consent by images and messages that want to sell me stuff (and, being a woman, it’s usually based on claims that it will make me look better).”
Robert Tracinski argues that all the talk in contemporary universities controlled by the left about “safe spaces” and “trigger warnings” demonstrates the kind of alarm among herds of herbivores manifested in the immediate build up to an extinction event.
At the beginning of the year, I speculated that we may have reached “Peak Leftism,” the point at which the left has achieved such uniform control of the commanding heights of the culture that they have no place to go but down. Their mania for soft ideological conformity suggests a mechanism for this decline. They are growing so accustomed to living in an ideological “safe space” that they will no longer understand what it means to debate their positions, much less how to win the debate.
The most powerful historical precedent for this is the totalitarian creed of the Soviet Union—a dogma imposed, not just by campus censors or a Twitter mob, but by gulags and secret police. Yet one of the lessons of the Soviet collapse is that the ideological uniformity of a dictatorship seems totally solid and impenetrable—right up to the moment it cracks apart. The imposition of dogma succeeds in getting everyone to mouth the right slogans, even as fewer and fewer of them understand or believe the ideology behind it.
This is the Paradox of Dogma. To return to the question we started with: if you try to shut down public debate, is this a way of ensuring that you win—or an admission that you have already lost? The answer is: both. It might ensure that you win in the short term. But over the long term, it abandons the field to those who do believe in ideological debate.
Lindsay Bruce shares a black comedian’s critical take on the rioters.
There isn’t a white person on the planet who could get away with saying what this man said without being called a racist, but it is a powerful message nonetheless. It does a huge disservice to your message when protesters act like this. I know there are going to be people who complain to me and say the people rioting were not protesters, but yes they were. They were there for the same reason everyone else was there, they are angry with “the system”.
One thing that this speaker doesn’t address, however, is that those people protesting created the system. They are the ones who voted for failed democrat policies. None of these protesters, violent or calm, want to take any personal responsibility. This isn’t about a racist system. Let’s look at some of the facts shall we?
9 of the 15 council members are black, and the mayor is black. The police chief is black along with 50% of the police force. Every single member of the Baltimore City Council is a Democrat. The mayor is a Democrat. Baltimore has not had a Republican mayor since 1967. Baltimore carries the fourth highest tax rate of any city in the nation. The poverty rate within the city is nearly 25 percent. Households in Baltimore earn approximately 56 percent of the overall state average. President Obama won a whopping 87.4% of the Baltimore City vote. Democrats run the city of Baltimore, the unions, the schools, and, yes, the police force.
These protesters have no one to blame but themselves.
Maybe things are beginning to change. We do seem to be getting more African-Americans who do not automatically support rioters.
Panama hats are popular in Ecuador. Prostitution is of interest in Brazil and Uruguay. And in Chile, the price of coke is of prime importance … we’re not sure which kind.
Some quirky search results for Europe include Rolexes in Switzerland, mooring a yacht in Monaco, nose jobs in Albania, and flying a MiG (a Russian fighter aircraft) in Russia.
For Asia there is a wide range of results, reflecting the diversity of cultures within the continent. The biggest financial concern for people searching about Lebanon appears to be the cost of a PS3; for Kuwait it is Lamborghinis, carpets for Armenia, and watermelons for Japan.
Google users are mostly concerned about the necessities of life in Africa. But apparently in the case of Sierra Leone people are more concerned about buying diamonds, and for Mauritania they are more concerned about purchasing slaves.