Category Archive 'Left Think'
21 Oct 2018

For Some People, It Is Always 1968…

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Gerard van der Leun is fed up with our generation’s, his and mine, members of the elite community of fashion.

In the past few decades, self-loathing has drenched many Americans of the Left. …. A self-loathing that has reached its apotheosis in those “Americans” that love the hallucinogenic fantasy of an Islamic mosque at Ground Zero, a sanctuary California, a Hillary forcefully installed as Big Granny President for Life, and Donald Trump’s head on a stake over the main gate to DC. All so they can get back to sitting in their dark cave and watch their dream-world socialist vision screened on the back wall.

After the rise of Obama, the most anti-American American president in history, the vision became joyfully anti-American. It is now self-evident what their “path to success” is in the minds of those who have embraced and live the progressive vision. It is a vision very much alive, kicking and in residence in the DNC, the Obama mansions, the Clinton Crew, the Groves of Academe, and the dark, Satanic propaganda mills of the media, news as well as advertisements and “entertainment”.

Millions of Americans, unknowing, uncaring, or ungulled by the Left cannot see this vision. This vision, as far as the masses are concerned, is unknown and unknowable. It is very much a secret.

It is “the vision that dare not speak its name.”

What is no secret is that classical liberalism, in the mold of FDR, JFK, and LBJ that reached its apotheosis in Hubert Humphrey, has long been consigned to the bone-yard. What has taken its place hates to be tarred with the brush of liberalism because, frankly, it isn’t. It prefers to be called “progressivism” even though “a sociopathic political and social recidivism” more accurately describes it.

What now stands in the place one occupied by classical liberalism is a kind of perverted one-world idealism in which “the world as it is” is constantly measured against “the world as it should be.” Classic liberalism at least had the argument that it was being done for the greater good. The new perverted progressive liberalism variant is one in which policy and plans are made because it makes the initiators yearn to “feel good” in the manner that compulsive masturbators obsess over fantasies implanted before puberty. Those that make and support these measures hold themselves in high regard, seeing each other as, in the French phrase popular when many of them were young, citoyens du monde.
The donations come in the front door and the Creches go out the back. All done with a nudge and a wink to “the protection of liberty and diversity”

Typically these are people who have “gone beyond” nation-states in their own minds and, if they can afford it (and many can), in their personal lives as well. These are people with access to enough money to afford private jets or enough money to pay the premium prices of a hybrid car. They do not dwell in the same nation as their fellow, less-fortunate citizens. Instead, they can afford to spend their time spreading a gospel whose high costs and marginal benefits are always carefully hidden from the middle middle class and those below. But this is never seen by those spreading the gospel as a kind of noblesse oblige, only as something that is “good for them.” …

[W]e see thousands of continuing efforts to spread “correct thinking and correct behavior and correct belief” in the endless bullying of small organizations by larger “clear headed” organizations such as the ACLU. It is all their way or the lawsuit highway; a kind of fiscal extortion racket. The donations come in the front door and the Creches go out the back. All done with a nudge and a wink to “the protection of liberty and diversity” at the same time that diversity of the “bad” kind is reduced. Like latter-day Leona Helmsleys, these visionaries are always at pains to “thank the little people” for letting them have it their way.

These erstwhile American citizens do not think of themselves as actual Americans (although they play them easily and glibly on TV), but as a new and better breed that only retain their “American” status for the clear and present benefits. Instead, they prefer to think of themselves as inhabiting a rarer, more personally fragrant realm of ideals that the rest of us do not see and cannot aspire to.

RTWT

I have loads of Yale classmates (all white, mind you) eagerly looking forward to the elimination of the white American majority and the country’s transformation into a more-northerly Brazil. They manage to ignore the differences in economic productivity, cultural and technological creativity, and political order and stability between the United States and Brazil. And they are, alas! completely ignorant of the overwhelmingly social importance of differing shades of color in Brazil. But, if you disagree with them, you are a racist and doomed reactionary.

20 Oct 2018

Spoiled Liberals Expect to Win Every Time

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Peter Spiliakos marvels at the self-entitlement of our liberal friends.

The response of these white liberals is not to blame themselves. If they lost a presidential election, then it is the fault of the illegitimate Electoral College. If Kavanaugh is confirmed and Mitch McConnell remains majority leader, the Senate is illegitimate. If there is a fifth conservative justice, then the Supreme Court is illegitimate. Obama told liberals that “given population distribution across the country, we have to compete everywhere.” Instead, liberals chose to compete in ever fewer places, and then cry twice as hard when they lost.

The experience of white liberals with corrupt and partisan authority influences how they deal with their disappointments and defeats. They are used to authority stepping in to change the rules in their favor. They don’t want constitutional change, because if they lost under new rules, those rules would then become just as illegitimate.

They want — they expect — a Jimmy Fallon or a George Bridges or a Jeffrey Goldberg to step in make everything better. Attendees of Trump rallies might chant “Lock her up.” Black Lives Matters protestors might chant “No justice, no peace.” But if you hear a protester issue a long, piercing screech, it is probably a college-educated white liberal. There is a reason for that. The theorists of intersectionality teach us that for the privileged, equality can feel like oppression.

In The Atlantic, Adam Cohen brilliantly captured the entitlement and power hunger of elite white liberalism. Cohen writes of how Brett Kavanaugh can “minimize” the damage his presence does on the Supreme Court by recusing himself from a large number of cases (and thereby giving the four liberal justices an effective veto over any rulings) and otherwise voting with liberals Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan.

RTWT

16 Oct 2018

Pre-Columbian America According to the Left

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14 Sep 2018

I Hope All Sociology Professors Will Do Likewise

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Disclose.TV:

An anti-Trump sociology professor at the College of Southern Nevada shot himself on campus last month as way to protest the president, police said.

Mark J. Bird, 69, was found bloodied outside a bathroom in the Charleston campus K building with a self-inflicted gunshot wound the morning of the second day of classes August 28.

He was treated for his wound and later charged with possessing a dangerous weapon on school property, discharging a gun within a prohibited structure and carrying a concealed weapon without a permit.

Not to mention Google executives…

11 Aug 2018

Death by Fuzzy Thinking

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Jay Austin and Lauren Geoghegan. On July 29, in Tajikistan, five ISIS members deliberately plowed their car into the American couple and their two temporary cycling companions, one from Switzerland and the other from the Netherlands.

Bruce Bawer is less than sympathetic.

Jay Austin and Lauren Geoghegan, a young American couple, both graduates of Georgetown University, who decided to quit their humdrum office jobs and go on an epic bike ride and camping trip that would take them all over the world. …

Austin, a vegan who worked at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Geoghegan, a vegetarian who worked in a college admissions office, were both 29 years old – old enough, one would think, to have some idea of just how dangerous a route they had mapped out. …

Both Austin and Geoghegan were seasoned travelers, who had separately gone on backpacking adventures in exotic lands and, together, had recently biked across Iceland as a sort of prelude to their odyssey through Africa, Europe, and Asia. …

[T]o read Austin’s blog is to see no hint of hesitation, on the part of either of them, to keep on cycling – no sign of fear that their luck might run out at any moment. Their naivete is nothing less than breathtaking. “You watch the news and you read the papers and you’re led to believe that the world is a big, scary place,” wrote Austin during their trek. “People, the narrative goes, are not to be trusted….I don’t buy it. Evil is a make-believe concept we’ve invented to deal with the complexities of fellow humans holding values and beliefs and perspectives different than our own.” This rosy view of humanity suffuses Austin’s blog. …

Austin’s blog also provides a window on his (and presumably her) hippie-dippy worldview and ultra-PC politics. Elephants, writes Austin, “may very well be a smarter, wiser, more thoughtful being than homo sapiens sapiens.” When white South Africans tell them “that the nation and its redistributionist government are making poor, ignorant choices,” Austin sneers at their “Eurocentric values” and their failure to realize that “[n]otions like private property” are culturally relative. This is apparently a comment on the South African government’s current expropriation of white farmers’ land without compensation. …

Austin also sneers at Thanksgiving, “a strange tradition built upon a glossy, guiltless retelling of a genocide, in which we show our appreciation for what we have by killing a quarter-billion turkeys, eating to the point of discomfort, queueing up outside shopping malls to buy electronics at reduced rates, and otherwise yearning for that which we do not have.” When President Trump announces his plans to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, Austin and Geoghegan are in Morocco, where the people are outraged. Yes, because they hate Jews. But Austin’s response is to be so ashamed of his American identity that he tries “to disappear into the soft plush” of a couch cushion. …

The [August 7] Times article about Austin and Geoghegan drew hundreds of reader comments. A surprising number were by other people who’d bicycled or backpacked in far-off, dangerous places. Most saw Austin and Geoghegan as “heroic,” “authentic,” “idealistic,” “inspiring,” “a Beautiful example of Purity and Light.” Sample reactions: “Their candle burned brightly before it was extinguished.” And: “Good for them! They followed their dream.” Then there’s this: “I only see the beauty of two people taking steps to live the life they envision….The good experienced in their journey far far outweighs any negative.” Easy to say when you’re not the one in the body bag. “What is more dangerous,” asked yet another reader, “exposing yourself to the world and its dangers, and living a full vivid life, or insulating yourself in a safe box, in front of screens, where the world and its marvels and dangers cannot touch you? Jay and Lauren understood that safety is its own danger. They are awesome people.” No, they’re mangled, decaying corpses. “Safe boxes”? That’s what they’re both in now: boxes.

RTWT

I’m just waiting for the admiring article in Outside Magazine.

HT: Stephen Green.

23 Jun 2018

You Woke?

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22 Jun 2018

Exeter Prof: “Mathematics to Blame for Global Disparities in Wealth”

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Campus Reform shares the latest breakthrough in thought from today’s Academy.

In a chapter for a new textbook, University of Exeter professor Paul Ernest warns that mathematics education can cause “collateral damage” to society by training students in “ethics-free thought.”

He even argues that since money involves mathematics, math is “implicated in the global disparities of wealth” because math students are taught to value “detached” and “calculative” reasoning.

RTWT

22 Jun 2018

Leaked Memo Reveals ACLU Retreating on Free Speech

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Wendy Kaminer, in the Wall Street Journal, also reveals that the ACLU is now accepting the Hard Left notion that mere speech can inflict harm, even if one does not call someone pigeon pie and eat him up.

The American Civil Liberties Union has explicitly endorsed the view that free speech can harm “marginalized” groups by undermining their civil rights. “Speech that denigrates such groups can inflict serious harms and is intended to and often will impede progress toward equality,” the ACLU declares in new guidelines governing case selection and “Conflicts Between Competing Values or Priorities.”

This is presented as an explanation rather than a change of policy, and free-speech advocates know the ACLU has already lost its zeal for vigorously defending the speech it hates. ACLU leaders previously avoided acknowledging that retreat, however, in the apparent hope of preserving its reputation as the nation’s premier champion of the First Amendment.

But traditional free-speech values do not appeal to the ACLU’s increasingly partisan progressive constituency—especially after the 2017 white-supremacist rally in Charlottesville. The Virginia ACLU affiliate rightly represented the rally’s organizers when the city attempted to deny them a permit to assemble. Responding to intense post-Charlottesville criticism, last year the ACLU reconsidered its obligation to represent white-supremacist protesters.

The 2018 guidelines claim that “the ACLU is committed to defending speech rights without regard to whether the views expressed are consistent with or opposed to the ACLU’s core values, priorities and goals.” But directly contradicting that assertion, they also cite as a reason to decline taking a free-speech case “the extent to which the speech may assist in advancing the goals of white supremacists or others whose views are contrary to our values.”

In selecting speech cases to defend, the ACLU will now balance the “impact of the proposed speech and the impact of its suppression.” Factors like the potential effect of the speech on “marginalized communities” and even on “the ACLU’s credibility” could militate against taking a case. Fundraising and communications officials helped formulate the new guidelines.

RTWT

04 Jun 2018

If You Were Wondering Why Trump Won…

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03 May 2018

“The Most Successful Society in Human History” (If You are a Leftist)

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Ju/’hoansi Bushmen of the Kalahari, from the viewpoint of the Left: “the most successful society in human history.” Too bad for Athens, Rome, and Renaissance Italy!

Equality is the unquestionable, unexaminable Sumuum Bonum and absolute endpoint goal for the contemporary Left. James Suzman, in an essay in Aeon, lauds the “fierce egalitarianism” of the Stone Age Hunter-Gatherer Ju/’hoansi Bushmen, and identifies the key principle that makes their society what it is: Envy!

[R]esearch conducted among the Ju/’hoansi in the 1950s and ’60s when they could still hunt and gather freely turned established views of social evolution on their head. Up until then, it was widely believed that hunter-gatherers endured a near-constant battle against starvation, and that it was only with the advent of agriculture that we began to free ourselves from the capricious tyranny of nature. When in 1964 a young Canadian anthropologist, Richard Borshay Lee, conducted a series of simple economic input/output analyses of the Ju/’hoansi as they went about their daily lives, he revealed that not only did they make a good living from hunting and gathering, but that they were also well-nourished and content. Most remarkably, his research revealed that the Ju/’hoansi managed this on the basis of little more than 15 hours’ work per week. On the strength of this finding, the anthropologist Marshall Sahlins in Stone Age Economics (1972) renamed hunter-gatherers ‘the original affluent society’.

If a society is judged by its endurance, then this was the most successful society in human history

This research also revealed that the Ju/’hoansi were able to make a good living from a sparse environment because they cared little for private property and, above all, were ‘fiercely egalitarian’, as Lee put it. It showed that the Ju/’hoansi had no formalised leadership institutions, no formal hierarchies; men and women enjoyed equal decision-making powers; children played largely noncompetitive games in mixed age groups; and the elderly, while treated with great affection, were not afforded any special status or privileges. This research also demonstrated how the Ju/’hoansi’s ‘fierce egalitarianism’ underwrote their affluence. For it was their egalitarianism that ensured that no-one bothered accumulating wealth and simultaneously enabled limited resources to flow organically through communities, helping to ensure that even in times of episodic scarcity everyone got more or less enough.

There is no question that this dynamic was very effective. If a society is judged by its endurance over time, then this was almost certainly the most successful society in human history – and by a considerable margin. New genomic analyses suggest that the Ju/’hoansi and their ancestors lived continuously in southern Africa from soon after modern H sapiens settled there, most likely around 200,000 years ago. Recent archaeological finds across southern Africa also indicate that key elements of the Ju/’hoansi’s material culture extend back at least 70,000 years and possibly long before. As importantly, genome mutation-rate analyses suggest that the broader population group from which the Ju/’hoansi descended, the Khoisan, were not only the largest population of H sapiens, but also did not suffer population declines to the same extent as other populations over the past 100,000 years.

Taken in tandem with the fact that other well-documented hunting and gathering societies, from the Mbendjele BaYaka of Congo to the Agta in the Philippines (whose most recent common ancestor with the Ju/’hoansi was around 150,000 years ago), were similarly egalitarian, this suggests that the Ju/’hoansi’s direct ancestors were almost certainly ‘fiercely egalitarian’ too.

Ju/’hoansi egalitarianism was not born of the ideological dogmatism that we associate with 20th-century Marxism or the starry-eyed idealism of New Age ‘communalism’. There was no manifesto of ‘primitive communism’. Rather, it was the organic outcome of interactions between people acting explicitly in their own self-interest in a highly individualistic society. This was because, among foraging Ju/’hoansi, self-interest was always policed by its shadow, envy – which, in turn, ensured that everyone always got a fair share, and that those with the natural charisma and authority to ‘lead’ exercised it with great circumspection. This was best exemplified in the customary ‘insulting’ of the hunter’s meat.

Skilled Ju/’hoansi hunters needed a thick skin. For while a particularly spectacular kill was always cause for celebration, the hunter responsible was insulted rather than flattered. Regardless of the size or condition of the carcass, those due a share of the meat would complain that the kill was trifling, that it was barely worth the effort of carrying it back to camp, or that there wouldn’t be enough meat to go round. For his part, the hunter was expected to be almost apologetic when he presented the carcass.

Of course, everyone knew the difference between a scrawny kill and a good one but continued to pass insults even while they were busy filling their bellies. Hunters rarely took the insults to heart, and those dishing them out often did so through broad grins. This was a performance in which everyone played well-rehearsed roles. But it was also a performance with a clear purpose, as beneath the light-hearted insults lay a sharp and potentially vicious edge.

More than any other food, meat was capable of making the Ju/’hoansi forget their customary good manners, so it required extra diligence in distribution. It also meant that there was a risk that particularly skilled and energetic hunters might begin to consider others to be in their debt, so fracturing the delicate egalitarian balance that sustained band (or small kin-group) life. The insults ensured that individual hunters took care not to be so successful that they stood out or, worse still, began to imagine themselves to be more important than others.

There you have the essence of what Leftism stands for and has to offer: Envy and Stone Age equality.

RTWT

15 Apr 2018

“Civilizations”

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The late Kenneth Clark.

The BBC has decided to attempt to rebut Kenneth Clark’s magisterial tour d’horizon of Western Art, the 13-part 1969 television series “Civilization.” This rejoinder on behalf of our contemporary Woke Multicultural Establishment begins appearing Tuesday evening in the United States on PBS.

Kenneth Clark singlehandedly took viewers from Greek Antiquity to the 20th Century, but correcting Clark’s Eurocentric emphasis on Dead White Great Men apparently requires three presenters: Classicist Mary Beard, the talented (but respectably progressive) historian Simon Schama, and (the Nigerian and therefore full-fledged representative of the viewpoint of persons and cultures of Color) David Olusoga.

Andrew Ferguson, at the Weekly Standard, has seen the series, and warns us what to expect:

[Civilizations] is kind of Clark-like —a catalogue of glorious creations followed by a vision of an art form in an advanced state of spiritual exhaustion. The difference is that the decline of an art form saddened Clark. Each of the episodes of Civilisations that I’ve seen ends with a celebratory profile of a contemporary artist. Invariably their work suffers in comparison with what’s gone before—how could it not?—but the moments serve a summary purpose.

The episode called “How Do We Look?” closes with Kehinde Wiley, the artist who recently completed the official presidential portrait of Barack Obama. The narrator describes Wiley as a practitioner of “the modern art of the body,” which “draws its power” from “challenging the tradition of classical art.” Of course he lives in Brooklyn but “he has traveled all over the world to explore the legacy of colonialism and the different ways we see.” Suddenly we see him in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, moving from masterpiece to masterpiece. A tinny ensemble plays Vivaldi—a fusty reminder of the distant past. “I love the history of art,” he tells the camera. “I love looking at these beautiful images. But I also recognize that there’s something quite sinister about their past.”

“Sinister” sounds judgmental, doesn’t it? So judgmental indeed that I don’t think even Clark used it at all in his Civilisation. But it nicely summarizes the attitude toward the West that viewers of the new Civilisations will find unavoidable, even if they’re confident enough to find it unpersuasive.

Next to life-enhancing, the most important word in Clark’s account of civilization was confidence. Several things came together to make a civilization, Clark said: a measure of material prosperity, a sense of history, a range of vision, and a feeling of permanence, of being situated in a particular moment between past and future, that makes it worthwhile to construct things meant to last.

“But far more,” he said, “it requires confidence—confidence in the society in which one lives, belief in its philosophy, belief in its laws, confidence in one’s own mental powers.” His program was an effort to persuade his audience that confidence in their inherited civilization was well-earned.

In the closing moments of the final episode of Civilisation, Clark intended to strike a note of optimism. “When I look at the world about me in the light of these programs, I don’t at all feel as though we are entering on a new period of barbarism,” he said. He shows us the campus of the then-new University of East Anglia. Apple-cheeked college students pop in and out of classrooms, labor over books—the baby boomers as Clark hoped they were in 1969. “These inheritors of all our catastrophes look cheerful enough. . . . In fact, I should doubt if so many people have ever been as well-fed, as well-read, as bright-minded, as curious, and as critical as the young are today.”

Watching at home, we can assume, was the 14-year-old Mary Beard, all a-tingle and raring to go to college herself, where she could use her curiosity and reading and bright-mindedness to prove the great man and his theory wrong.

RTWT

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A recent biography of Kenneth Clark and his “Civilization” series was recently discussed here.

07 Apr 2018

I’d Never Live in Britain

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Richard Osborn-Brooks

The Telegraph has another one of those stories which amazes and appalls.

A pensioner has been arrested after a suspected burglar was killed during a violent tussle at his home.

The 78-year-old was held on suspicion of murder after the 38-year-old died of his wounds in hospital in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Police said the struggle broke out after the pensioner, named locally as Richard Osborn-Brooks, found two men inside his home in South Park, Hither Green, south London shortly after midnight.

One of the burglars, who was armed with a screwdriver, forced the homeowner into his kitchen while his accomplice went upstairs.

Detectives believe a struggle then took place between “one of the males and the homeowner” and the 38-year-old intruder was stabbed in the upper body.

He was later found collapsed in nearby Further Green Road by paramedics from London Ambulance Service, who took him to a central London hospital where he died at 3.37am. Police were unable to confirm whether the suspect had been stabbed with the screwdriver.

The second suspect fled the scene before police arrived and is now being hunted by the Met’s Homicide and Major Crime Command.

Gordon Williams, a local resident, said: “I could hear people moaning in the street and just thought it was someone drunk. I saw the body laid in the street and another guy jump in a van and leave.

“I leaned over him and tried to reassure him. There was a lot of blood.”

In a statement Scotland Yard said: “At 00:45hrs on Wednesday, 4 April, police were called by a homeowner to reports of a burglary in progress at an address in South Park Crescent, Hither Green SE6, and a man injured.

“The 78-year-old resident found two males inside the address. A struggle ensued between one of the males and the homeowner. The man, aged 37, sustained a stab wound to the upper body.”

The home owner suffered bruising to his arms and his injuries are not life threatening.

Police arrested him on suspicion of grievous bodily harm before then arresting him on suspicion of murder.

He was taken to a south London police station where he remains at this time.

RTWT

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