Category Archive 'The Left'
21 Oct 2017

Andrew Sullivan Gets One Right

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Andrew is a very mixed bag. He can be brilliantly perceptive, hitting the nail right on the head. And he can be an intellectually conformist sheep, swallowing the current leftist spin hook, line, and sinker. And Andrew can go both ways in the very same editorial.

For example, this week, Andrew correctly identifies the democrats’ huge political vulnerability.

For me, as regular readers know, few things seem as ominous as the fate of free speech in the West. In democratic countries without a First Amendment, writers and speakers are now routinely hauled into court for hurting someone’s feelings or violating some new PC edict. In Canada, it is now a crime to use pronouns that have served the English language well enough for centuries, if you are not careful. You are compelled by law to say “ze” or “xe” or “ve” or an endlessly proliferating litany of gobbledygook — “(f)aer,” “e/ey,” “perself” — invented out of thin air by postmodern transgenderists. Justin Trudeau doesn’t just want you to be criminalized for saying things he regards as “hate,” he wants to use the criminal law to force you to say things you don’t believe in and can’t even remember.

In Britain, meanwhile, it is now a criminal offense to post something on social media that “is perceived by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice.” “Hostility” is defined thus: “ill-will, spite, contempt, prejudice, unfriendliness, antagonism, resentment and dislike.” In other words, if you “dislike” some idea, and someone else asserts your view is driven by “unfriendliness” to a member of a minority, you are breaking the law. There is effectively no free speech left in the U.K. that isn’t subject to a criminal veto by someone seeking to make trouble or permanently primed to take offense. And that is not to speak of the chilling effect such laws have on others too intimidated to open their mouths at all.

In America, thanks to Thomas Jefferson et al., such policing of minds and thoughts by the government is forbidden. So the illiberal left and reactionary right find other ways. Our president believes “it’s frankly disgusting the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write.” He also thinks he can coerce people into saying “Merry Christmas” or standing for the national anthem. (I’ve decided to reverse my previous custom and always say “Happy Holidays” and always kneel for the anthem.) The GOP candidate for the Senate from Alabama — supported by every other GOP senator — believes that NFL players are actually breaking the law by using their First Amendment rights, and that Muslims should be barred from public office. And then the worst news on this front all year: “Nearly half of voters, 46 percent, believe the news media fabricate news stories about President Donald Trump and his administration.” That rises to 76 percent of Republicans. Twenty-eight percent of all voters — and 46 percent of Republicans — believe that the government should be able to remove the licenses from outlets that criticize the president. The First Amendment lives; but the beliefs and practices and norms that buttress it are atrophying very fast.

Many now demand, for example, that young-adult fiction conform to their ideology … or they will destroy a book before it is even published and before they have even read it. That just happened to a book written by Laura Moriarty, called American Heart, which was subjected to a social-media version of book-burning. Kirkus originally gave the book a glowing review, and then retracted it under pressure, then got the reviewer to rewrite it. Vulture interviewed the editor of Kirkus Reviews about the flap. Money quote:

    “Obviously we don’t like having to make corrections after the publication of a review,” [Kirkus’s editor-in-chief Claiborne Smith] adds. “The plan is to beef up our editing of reviews in this section, to have further eyes before it goes to print.”

    In the future, I ask, is the goal that no problematic book will escape un-called-out?

    “That’s certainly the goal!” Smith says, with the caveat that Kirkus’s critics aren’t infallible. “I mean, we’re human beings.”

Or look at what happened to a speaker from the ACLU at the College of William & Mary in Virginia a couple of weeks back. She came to give a talk about — yes! — free speech, only to be shouted down by the usual mob, who were at least honest enough to chant: “Liberalism Is White Supremacy,” and “The Revolution Will Not Uphold Your Constitution.” They physically prevented the speaker from even talking one-on-one with those who were interested in a dialogue.

The unity of the far left and the Trump right on this is as striking as it is depressing. What they share is a contempt for liberal democracy. Truth to both of them is merely an instrument of power. Instead of relying on an open exchange of ideas in order to determine the always-provisional truth, both sides (yes, both sides) insist that they already know the truth and need simply to acquire the power to impose it on everyone else. Somewhere, Thomas Jefferson weeps.

And then Andrew proceeds to tell us just how wonderful and enlightening the Ken Burns and Lynn Novick Vietnam War Documentary is. (Sigh!)

Try Mackubin Thomas Owens on that subject.

20 Oct 2017

Virtue Signalling

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Matt Ridley believes the left awards itself far too much credit for mere intentions, regardless of results.

The curse of modern politics is an epidemic of good intentions and bad outcomes. Policy after policy is chosen and voted on according to whether it means well, not whether it works. And the most frustrated politicians are those who keep trying to sell policies based on their efficacy, rather than their motives. It used to be possible to approach politics as a conversation between adults, and argue for unfashionable but effective medicine. In the 140-character world this is tricky (I speak from experience).

The fact that it was Milton Friedman who said “one of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programmes by their intentions rather than their results” rather proves the point. He was one of the most successful of all economists in getting results in terms of raising living standards, yet is widely despised today by both the left and centre as evil because he did not bother to do much virtue signalling.

The commentator James Bartholomew popularised the term “virtue signalling” for those who posture empathetically but emptily. “Je suis Charlie” (but I won’t show cartoons of the prophet), “Refugees welcome” (but not in my home) or “Ban fossil fuels” (let’s not talk about my private jet). You see it everywhere.

RTWT

HT: Seattle Sam.

20 Oct 2017

Offended

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“It’s now very common to hear people say, ‘I’m rather offended by that.’ As if that gives them certain rights. It’s actually nothing more… than a whine. ‘I find that offensive.’ It has no meaning; it has no purpose; it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. ‘I am offended by that.’ Well, so fucking what.“

– Stephen Fry, [I saw hate in a graveyard – Stephen Fry, The Guardian, 5 June 2005]”

12 Oct 2017

The Courage of Hollywood Feminists

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Dov Fisher is not impressed by the courage of female Hollywood celebrities suddenly now willing to come forward and testify against Harvey Weinstein, after he has already been exposed and defanged.

[M]y mind is struck — not by Weinstein but by the extraordinary cowardice that permeates and oozes through every pore of the slime that we call Hollywood. The revelation that Weinstein is a pig is no surprise. Just look at his donations to Democrats, to liberals, to feminists up-and-down the left. It is like listening to Bill Clinton preaching about treating women respectfully or Hillary Clinton, after getting a child rapist off the hook and giggling about it, rebounding to preach about how she deserves to run the country because she is a woman.

What hits home the sharpest amid this Harvey Weinstein scandal is the duality between the leftist feminist, on the one hand, publicly attacking Donald Trump — or George Bush (either) or Ronald Reagan or any decent conservative voice or judge or lawmaker — and, on the other hand, standing up to a true pig like Harvey Weinstein, albeit a liberal pig whose grease funds liberals and Democrats, first and foremost among them the Clintons.

There was Ashley Judd, less than a year ago, at a “Women’s March.” It was a “Women’s March” that barred and disenfranchised the whole huge swath of American women who do not share the radicals’ leftist agenda. Speaking to those attending, Ashley Judd ripped into President Donald Trump. She became profoundly obscene, reciting a “poem” that bore fantasized intimations of perversion and incest. Oh how brave she was — “speaking truth to power” — by regaling a leftist crowd, whining men and women and whatever pronouns now are persondated (not “mandated”) in California — with a hateful radicalized leftist attack on the Republican President.

That is not “courageous.” That is not “brave.” There is no downside for a Hollywood figure to attack conservatives, Republicans, Christians, the Catholic Church, or Orthodox Jews before one of their hooting echo audiences. Those audiences lap it up. They love it. They reward such attacks with adulation and iconization. It is the “courage” of late-night talk hosts lambasting the President or the Republicans to their self-selecting echo chambers of leftists, while knowing full well that the conservatives and the Republicans are not in the Stephen Colbert audience or viewing on television when they instead can be watching Fox News or reruns of Last Man Standing or Quick Pitch on MLB or the cooking or other food channel or a movie on Netflix or Amazon Prime or Hulu or reading a book or even going to sleep at 11:30 p.m. because, as many conservatives do, those people have to get up in the morning the next day to go to work for a living.

There is no courage in attacking the President or the conservative justices of the United States Supreme Court or Republicans in Congress at Academy Awards night or Emmy night or Tony Awards night or Grammy night. There is no courage in mocking the traditionalists on Saturday Night Live. When a person arises amid an echo chamber of same-minded Eloi in a time machine that is stuck in an Obama era that has passed, and sneeringly feeds the clods who get their news from Comedy Central their liberal mantras, he or she simply is feeding fish to clapping seals. That is not courage. That is pandering.

Instead, courage is when an Ashley Judd is pawed by a Harvey Weinstein who has power over her career — and she decides that, whatever may be the price to be paid, she will stop this pig here and now by blowing the whistle. And that is the kind of courage that a coward like Ashley Judd lacks. Courage is not when Meryl Streep at a Hollywood Awards ceremony mocks President Trump’s perceived approach to women, based on the brash person he was decades earlier, while she extols Roman Polanski as an artist who has suffered far too long, even as she calls Harvey Weinstein “God.” Rather, courage is when the same Meryl Streep wins the confidence of women in her field who can go to her, as women came to me in my less famous role, to tell their horrific reports of sexual assault and violation, knowing that she will leverage her voice in Hollywood to extirpate the pig from the public arena. And the coward Meryl Streep does not have that courage — not unless it is printed out for her in dummy cards for her to read emotively into a camera.

In all these cases — the phony cowards like the Ashley Judds, the Meryl Streeps, the Hillary Clintons whose political races and foundations have been greased by pigs like Harvey Weinstein whose identification with Bill Clinton is all-too-comprehensible — the cowardice is overwhelming. Shivering, sniveling, gutless cowards who actually have been positioned for years and years to take down this pig. Had they done so, they could have spared dozens more women the shame and trauma of subsequent Weinstein assaults and outrages. But they were too cowardly to endanger their stations in Hollywood. Dared not speak out against a mogul, a “God.” Shivered, kept silent, perhaps endured silent nightmares and cold sweats. But nary a word. Because, while safely “speaking truth to power” from safe distances, they never would risk their own tuxedoes and glittering dinner gowns, their jewels and diamonds, and their access to invitations to the next Hollywood gala. Too dangerous. Too risky. Better to tweet a dismembered bloody head depicting the duly, lawfully, and democratically elected President of the United States.

RTWT

10 Oct 2017

The Slow-Motion Theft of American Culture

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Jack Cashill observes that, over the course of his lifetime, the Left has politicized more and more of everything, at the same time marginalizing dissenters like himself.

As recently as 1980, for instance, almost no one in the media openly disrespected people like me. As a young Reagan fan, I had come to that enthusiasm almost entirely through the mainstream media. There was no conservative talk radio to speak of, no Fox News, no Internet, and I caught up with National Review only occasionally at the public library. I watched the evening news and the Sunday morning shows without feeling aggrieved or abused, and I listened to NPR all day long.

Fresh out of graduate school, I worked as Director of Management at the Kansas City Housing Authority. NPR helped me keep my sanity. I was one of only a handful of conservatives working at this place, but no one mistreated me because of it.

Being a witness to the left’s stealthy corruption of the black community, I wrote several articles on what I saw. My African-American boss advised me to use a pseudonym but otherwise had no objection. The Kansas City Star, then still a nonpartisan enterprise, welcomed my insider perspective. Up until about ten years ago, the Star even reviewed my books.

At the time, I served on the board of a local professional theater, had a play of mine produced, and wrote and directed a couple of fundraising mystery spectacles for the theater. Today, like the editors of the Star, the theater’s decision makers will not even read what I submit.

Throughout the 1990s, I produced a series of historical documentaries for the local PBS station. In that the audiences supported my work, I kept getting asked back. For years, I appeared periodically on the station’s weekly news program. That has dwindled away to nothing. The Star reporters will not be on the show if I am. The station needs the Star more than it needs me. Nor have I been on the area’s NPR station in a decade. Like its mothership, the station no longer even feigns an interest in the sixty percent of its red state market that voted for Donald Trump.

In that my wife is a university professor, so were many of our friends. Although they knew my politics, they did not hesitate to welcome us into their world. Although my politics have not changed, we have not been invited to an academic dinner party in at least a decade. Nor have we gone to see a speaker or see a play at the university three blocks from our house in twenty or so years. Chelsea Clinton? Angela Davis? The Vagina Monologues? No, thanks.

RTWT

15 Aug 2017

Teddy Roosevelt Already on the List

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The Guardian reported last Fall that they were already protesting in New York to get rid of Teddy Roosevelt (and to rename Columbus Day).

Hundreds of activists gathered at the American Museum of Natural History on Monday to take down the “racist” statue of Theodore Roosevelt and an urgent call to rename Columbus Day.

More than 200 people cheered outside the museum as activists covered the statue of Roosevelt on horseback flanked by an African American and Native American on either side and demanded it be ultimately removed.

“A stark embodiment of the white supremacy that Roosevelt himself espoused and promoted,” the group explained in a statement. “The statue is seen as an affront to all who pass it on entering the museum, but especially to African and Native Americans.”

Activists from the groups NYC Stands with Standing Rock and Decolonize This Place organized the protest to draw attention to the museum’s encouragement of racist tropes, and implored New York City to rename Columbus Day to Indigenous People’s Day.

RTWT

15 Aug 2017

Tearing Down History

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14 Aug 2017

Removing Confederate Monuments in 2017

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Why would anyone want to attack the political choices and public careers of people who lived a century and a half ago? The Civil War is over. The cause of Southern Independence was defeated. Slavery was extinguished. The actual Northern soldiers who fought the Confederates on the field met with them amicably at reunions years later and shook hands. There is a video of a Gettysburg Reunion that shows elderly Yankees atop Cemetery Ridge cheering old white-haired Confederate veterans re-enacting Pickett’s Charge. A national consensus emerged after the war, that recognized that Southerners had their own honestly-held, honorable point of view in the conflict, and that their bravery and sacrifices deserved the respect of their opponents. Recently, the rancid radical Left has decided to try to overturn that consensus, as a grand masturbatory exercise in historical self-righteousness and to flatter the amour propre and fan the grievances of its dependent black clientele. This is a shoddy and divisive game, dishonorable and violative of our shared American history.

28 Jul 2017

Where Did the Alt-Right Come From?

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Phantom accurately describes the process.

Imagine you lived your whole life in a quiet suburb that was just far enough away from the metro area where no one bothered you. It’s full of upper middle class homes, very low crime rate and you’re generally afforded a peaceful life. You don’t notice at first, but soon your way of life is getting chipped away at. The people from neighboring towns, whom you have no quarrel with and have rarely interacted with, start trash talking your town. Sure, you can ignore it. Maybe it’s just petty jealousy and there is no advantage for you to get involved at all; let them say what they want.

As time goes on, the anger from the towns around you grows, the rhetoric gets dialed up and soon you’re being painted as evil just for living in your town. People from the other towns start coming through your town, holding demonstrations and demanding that you apologize for being a resident of that town and demanding that you give in to other demands from the towns around you. They demand payouts from businesses who face boycotts if they don’t relent. You find that you’re just not as comfortable being out in public anymore because your quiet life has been disturbed. Even so, you tell yourself that if you keep your head down, this will all blow over because there’s nothing to it and you’re not one of the bad guys. You’re not even sure who the bad guys are really supposed to be.

You’ve never had a reason to look down on the people from the towns around you. You’ve been more than content to let them leads the lives they see as most beneficial to them and you pay them no mind at all. You have no hatred or resentment, nor feelings or superiority either. But now you’re being pushed. You’re being encroached on. Your way of life is threatened by people that have no business telling you how to live your life, but they’re doing it anyway. They’ve painted you as a hater, a terrorist, and any other negative label they can pin on you. They get control of the media. They shame people relentlessly for not conforming to their way of doing things. At what point do you get fed up and start fighting back?

Welcome to identity politics in America. When your way of life and your culture comes under constant assault with no sign of relenting, you have to do something about it. You only have three choices: capitulate, fight back, or run and hide somewhere else and wait for it to catch up to you there.

RTWT

Via: Vox Day.

09 Jul 2017

The Left Wins Every Battle, But Loses the War

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Richard Fernandez finds cause for ultimate optimism.

David Gerlenter writing in the Wall Street Journal says something self-evidently true. The Left seems to have won every single culture battle fought.

    Although the right reads the left, the left rarely reads the right. Why should it, when the left owns American culture? Nearly every university, newspaper, TV network, Hollywood studio, publisher, education school and museum in the nation. The left wrapped up the culture war two generations ago. Throughout my own adult lifetime, the right has never made one significant move against the liberal culture machine.

The late Andrew Breitbart noticed the same thing. Observing that “politics is downstream from culture,” he argued the Left has made us the villains of our own stories.

    Our lives — indeed, our very species — has storytelling wound into our DNA. … Popular culture is delivered to us in the form of story via books, TV, film, music, video games, and new media. …

    Thus we come to politics … the vast majority of those with the power of content creation are Liberals. … Liberals control story. …What is some of that messaging? Think about movies and TV. Corporations are evil — using unwitting poor Africans for pharmaceutical testing (Constant Gardener) or dumping toxic chemicals into nature (Erin Brockovich, A Civil Action) or responsible for the end of mankind (Rise of the Planet of the Apes). American soldiers are bloodthirsty lawbreaking maniacs (Any military film). The CIA conducts illegal, secret operations that have nothing to do with protecting America. Radical Muslim terrorists are never villains. Trial lawyers are crusading do-gooders. David Letterman and Saturday Night Live ridicule the Right 95% of the time. Jon Stewart pretends to be centrist, but in fact jumps all over the Right far more often than the Left.

    Liberal political candidates are the embodiments of those Liberal tenets. The goal is to associate them in voter minds via the vehicle of popular culture.

Even before Breitbart’s warning there was Orwell, who understood that the Left’s ultimate ability was to uproot the past and plant their chosen seed for the future. His famous dictum “he who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past” is an unsurpassed indictment of groupthink totalitarianism. There seemed no doubt they would succeed. Within its bubble, the Left’s control of culture is so absolute they can watch 1984 without realizing it’s about them.

Yet the real mystery — one which even Orwell himself did not anticipate — is why,

Look around you. Every single country that adopted socialism as an economic system went bankrupt. The Soviet Union collapsed. Now the Western Gramscian project is self-immolating in the fires of its own absurdity. The current political crisis is the collective shudder of mortality passing through “every university, newspaper, TV network, Hollywood studio, publisher, education school and museum in the nation.” The left may have “wrapped up the culture war two generations ago,” but it is rotting inside the wrapping.

RTWT

24 Jun 2017

Leftism Dead, But Refusing to Lie Down

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Bret Stevens contends that we are living in a time of broken politics because the Left petulantly refuses to face the reality that its ideas have all failed.

[T]he Left is playing a new game which involves trying to mentally separate the concepts of “neoliberalism” from the rest of the Left. They do not want to own the disaster they created, so they came up with a scapegoat: capitalism. In Leftist symbolic reality, capitalism took over the Left and created “neoliberalism,” where True Leftists resisted.

Perhaps the bigger story is that they do not want to point out that they created a managerial society, applying the tactics of business and the military toward ordering people around. This is what the Left do, because they are oriented toward control, or everyone doing the same things all the time so that those in power are secure.

This is typical of the one-dimensional categorical order in which Leftists think. To them, there are the True Believers who know what is right and must be done, and then the masses who must be ordered around. Instead of a hierarchy with multiple levels, for them there are only the controllers and the controlled.

Their strategy is utilitarianism, which is the opposite of having purpose. Utilitarians ask people what will make them happy, and people respond with short-term answers, scapegoats, justifications and the other products of the usual flow of neurotic insanity. They never connect the dots and see that having a thriving, stable civilization is what they need, and everything else are personal problems that they as individuals need to fix. Government cannot do that.

09 Jun 2017

Portrait of a Generation

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Partisan hipsters watching Comey hearing in Brooklyn bar. More here.

22 May 2017

“What Has Yale Become?”

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21 May 2017

WhateverGate

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John Derbyshire has found a word for it.

One of Steve Sailer’s many clever commenters has brilliantly named it WhateverGate—the frantic legalistic churning about who said what to whom in President Trump’s circle, and whether the thing that was or was not said warrants impeachment. Or whatever. But impeachment. Every week, I think things can’t get any crazier—the hysteria has to burn itself out, the temperature can’t get any higher, the fever has to break—and every week it’s worse. Boy, they really want to get this guy. That just gives us more reasons to defend him.

I don’t even bother much any more to focus on the actual thing that President Trump or one of his colleagues is supposed to have said or done. Every time, when you look closely, it’s basically nothing.

I’ve been reading news and memoirs about American presidents since the Kennedy administration. I swear that every single damn thing Trump is accused of, warranting special counsels, congressional enquiries, impeachment—every single thing has been done by other recent presidents, often to a much greater degree, with little or no comment.

Read the whole thing.

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