Category Archive 'Left Think'
16 Jun 2020

The Thomas Piketty of Milwaukee

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17 Dec 2019

Collectivist Statism Rejected in British Election

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Jeffrey Tucker sees the recent Tory landslide victory as strong evidence that the main portion of the voting public has had it with the Progressive Left.

Voters throughout the developed world have been getting wiser through the decades. When politicians attack the rich, decry the holes in the safety net, demand controls on business, rail against financial markets, and demand more free things for everyone, there is a missing piece in the rhetoric: enacting all these things puts more power in the hands of the state. Here is the fundamental choice that no amount of fancy language can change: we either trust society and markets to manage themselves or we give more power to the state to use compulsion against the population. This is finally the reality that unmasks every proponent of socialism. Left-wing collectivism is not, in the end, about making society better off; it is about transferring power from the people outside of government to those inside of government.

RTWT

Let’s hope he’s right. All this “progressive” infatuation with Statism, Collectivism, and the supposed superiority of decision-making by scientific experts is a 19th Century fantasy that really hit its peak influence a century ago. Thereafter, it left a spectacular record of economic failure and atrocity. The mystery is: why is it taking the pseudo-intelligentsia so long to recognize the obvious?

01 Nov 2019

Arguing With Liberals Doesn’t Work

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Facebook political arguments with liberals prove, again and again, that the consensus of the community of fashion is built largely upon class marker signifying. In democratic society, the stupid and inferior eagerly adopt establishment-sanctioned opinions in order to identify themselves as “superior and intelligent.” They are too dumb to realize that intellectual conformism is anything but a sign of high intelligence.

And, of course, these educational failures simply do not recognize that the consensus they value so highly is nothing other than the mass culture of our time, and they have never learned enough to understand that mass culture consists primarily of popular delusions, fads, and temporary bouts of mass insanity.

13 Oct 2019

Third World Nation Needs American Assistance

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Don Surber alerts us to the human tragedy:

Last month, American missionaries went to clean up a village in a Third World nation. The volunteers picked up 50 tons of garbage in this backward land. Nowhere is the gap between the rich and the poor greater. The poor live in tents, while the rich reside in the most expensive houses in the world.

The poor face typhoid and other debilitating diseases that were eliminated in civilized nations. People poop in the street for lack of indoor plumbing.

Instead of meeting the basic sanitation needs of its cities, the corrupt, one-party government squanders billions on an unneeded high-speed train. It will never be built but contracts are awarded to political insiders for work that will never be done. Because of this corruption, President Donald John Trump wants to curtail U.S. aid to the land.

Elsewhere in this nation state, electricity is a luxury as the power has been cut off to hundreds of thousands of citizens in preparation for a natural disaster.

What is maddening is this land has the world’s fifth largest economy. It could easily take care of its needs without outsiders coming in to save them out of pity.

And sadly, the 50 tons of trash are small compared to the 22 million pounds of trash in one pile alone.

Something must be done to save this land from itself. Taking over this backward Third World nation would be easy. We already have troops stationed there. Its army consists of a national guard and police.

But that would mean spending trillions on another foray into nation building.

California sadly has very little hope.

RTWT

01 Oct 2019

Inevitably

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Dr. Bastiat pictures the scene, immediately after Republicans win control of the House of Representatives.

Mitch McConnell strides into the press conference, exuding that air of masculine confidence that made him, inevitably, a leader of men. He taps the microphone, clears his throat, and begins his presentation to the assembled reporters: “Good afternoon, everyone. I have an important announcement to make. In fact, one of historical significance.” Before the murmur in the room can die down, he declares, “Republicans of both houses of Congress are officially launching an impeachment investigation of the next Democratic President of the United States.”

After 10-15 seconds of stunned silence, the questions begin:

REPORTER 1: “But, the next Democratic President hasn’t even been inaugurated yet.”

MCCONNELL: “Neither had President Trump, when his impeachment investigation started. One example of the bipartisan nature of this investigation is how closely we are modeling it on the admirably effective techniques of our esteemed Democratic colleagues. After all, it’s all about the children.”

REPORTER 2: “Ummm… But shouldn’t you at least wait until you find out.

RTWT

Liberal politics is invariably accompanied by an infantile sense of self-entitlement that immunizes its possessor from any fear of establishing a precedent that could be injurious later on to himself. Liberals, Sha-la-la-la-la-la, live for today!

25 Sep 2019

Left Think

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23 Sep 2019

Woke Snowflakes to the Harvard Lampoon: “That’s Not Funny!”

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The Harvard Lampoon today is a sinner in the hand of an angry Harvard Crimson Editorial Board.

Ten students recently protested one of the Harvard Lampoon’s comp meetings, condemning the undergraduate humor magazine for its insensitive content, and what they claim is a hostile and exclusive institutional culture.

As a Board, we applaud the protesters for standing up to the Lampoon. We condemn the magazine’s publication of offensive and culturally insensitive content and sympathize with the protesters’ claims that the organization has a hostile internal culture. We hope the Lampoon views the protests as impetus to work harder to build a better culture and better institutional pathways to screen their content before publication.

Last May, the Lampoon published an inappropriate, sexualized image of Holocaust victim Anne Frank, which Director of Harvard Hillel Rabbi Jonah C. Steinberg compared to the “obscenity of the Nazis.” This abhorrent incident was a striking dispay of hypersexualization and anti-Semitism, but must be understood as only one of many instances in which the Lampoon’s actions have peddled in such morally reprehensible sentiments as humor. The magazine has — in the past — made sexist jokes, from comparing women to dogs to insensitive jokes about University President Lawrence S. Bacow’s wife. And its insensitive content extends beyond the Anne Frank image as well, including an inappropriate joke about ISIS and minorities in final clubs. As if this smorgasbord of poor taste were not harmful enough, the Lampoon has also put out content trivializing a number of delicate issues such as suicide and fat-shaming.

The editors of the Lampoon said in a statement that their publishing process “lacks sufficient editorial oversight.” We believe this lack of oversight can lead to an inability to discern what kinds of humor are in poor taste.

We sympathize with the protesters and believe the Lampoon must take steps to address their concerns. And although the Lampoon has tried to take steps toward increasing diversity and accessibility — through steps such as newly instated positions to their Accessibility Council and Office of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response training for new members — we believe these efforts are insufficient. The Lampoon should, in addition to OSAPR training for its members, require implicit bias training and should be more explicit about the ways their comp and internal culture have improved to avoid this in the future.

In seeking change at the Lampoon, we believe the student body has a huge amount of power. We call on students who are considering comping the Lampoon to consider the culture that has enabled the systemic production and amplification of offensive and culturally insensitive content. In so doing, we hope they either choose not to comp the Lampoon, or, in comping it, to demand change.

RTWT

The spirit of Cotton Mather rides again!

14 Sep 2019

Katsujin-ken Satsujin-to

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In dojos offering training in kendo and aikido, the above phrase written in the grass script on a scroll is commonly hung for purposes of admonition and inspiration.

These Japanese radicals are pronounced Katsujin-ken Satsujin-to (sometimes, Katsujinken satsujinken) meaning “The sword which kills is the sword which gives life.”

They are often rendered more explicitly in English as “The sword which cuts down evil is the sword which preserves life.”

This adage is attributed to the masters of Yagyū school, the Tokugawa shoguns’ personal instructors in swordsmanship.

And those Yagyū school sword sensei-s were right. The rightful use of weapons is essential in an imperfect world to defend innocent lives against unjust violence.

A wider commitment to skill at arms and a more common readiness to defend the innocent would be infinitely more effective at saving the lives of victims of attacks by madmen and criminals than a totalitarian program attempting to enforce universal disarmament.

Katsu-tempo satsu-tempo.

In case after mass shooting case, a gun in the hands of the right bystander could have been the gun which destroyed evil and the gun which preserved life.

The latest couple of manifestations of a trend fostered by devoted media coverage and attention resulted again in all the typical expressions of the phobic attitudes of members of our over-domesticated, metrosexual intelligentsia toward firearms.

Guns are regarded as detestable and intrinsically dangerous objects which need to be kept under official control at all times, ideally in bank vaults. Their complete removal from American society is so unquestionably desirable that even house-to-house searches, and the shredding of the Bill of Rights, would be a perfectly acceptable price.

Obviously, this kind of policy proposal represents not a practical response to a real problem, but rather an irrational and emotional outburst, indifferent to benefits and costs, oblivious to process and law, expressive of an overwhelming combination of fear and aversion so profound as to dispense completely with practicality, proportionality, and cause and effect.

This kind of hostility toward firearms, this hoplophobia, needs to be recognized as the kind of irrationalism that it is.

In a sane society, familiarity and skill with arms, possession of the ability to defend oneself and others would be looked upon as essential components of every man’s education.

(A revised posting from 2007.)

29 Aug 2019

New Yorker Critic Condemns Renoir as a Sexist Dirty Old Man

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Pierre-Auguste Renoir, La baigneuse endormie [The Sleeping Bather], 1897, Winterthur.

The New Yorker rather outdid itself in the “PC Assaults on Civilization” Sweepstakes this week with Peter Schjedahl‘s smackdown of Renoir.

Targeting Renoir as problematic, sexist, and prurient seems not only Philistine, Puritanical, and just plain unkind, it seems to constitute a downright fascistic rejection of la douceur de vivre.

Roger Kimball identifies precisely what is so fundamentally wrong here in the Spectator.

Schjeldahl’s judgments about Renoir are a fastidiously composed congeries of up-to-the-minute elite opinion. There at The New Yorker, everyone will agree with Schjeldahl about Renoir or — the more important point — about subjugating him to the strictures prevalent among the beautiful people circa 2019. What made Schjeldahl’s essay notorious were not his particular judgments about Renoir’s art or character but rather his imperative anachronism. ‘An argument is often made that we shouldn’t judge the past by the values of the present,’ Schjeldahl writes, ‘but that’s a hard sell in a case as primordial as Renoir’s.’

Is it? As Ed Driscoll pointed out at Instapundit, Schjeldahl’s essay is sterling example of what C.S. Lewis described as ‘chronological snobbery,’ the belief that ‘the thinking, art, or science of an earlier time is inherently inferior to that of the present, simply by virtue of its temporal priority or the belief that since civilization has advanced in certain areas, people of earlier time periods were less intelligent.’ If, Driscoll observes, we add the toxic codicil that those previous times were ‘therefore wrong and also racist’ we would have ‘a perfect definition of today’s SJWs.’

Exactly. Driscoll goes on to quote Jon Gabriel, who has anatomized this process under the rubric of ‘cancel culture,’ a culture of willful and barbaric diminishment.

‘Cancel culture,’ Gabriel notes, ‘is spreading for one simple reason: it works. Instead of debating ideas or competing for entertainment dollars, you can just demand anyone who annoys you to be cast out of polite society.’ It’s already come to a college campus near you, and is epidemic on social and other sorts of media. not to mention through the so-called ‘Human Resources’ departments of many companies. Wander ever so slightly outside the herd of independent minds and, bang, it’s ostracism or worse.

There are many ironies attendant on the spread of ‘cancel culture.’ One irony is that, despite its origins in the effete eyries of elite culture, the new ethic of conformity exhibits an extraordinary and intolerant provincialism. The British man of letters David Cecil got to the nub of this irony when, in his book Library Looking-Glass, he noted that ‘there is a provinciality in time as well as in space.’

    ‘To feel ill-at-ease and out of place except in one’s own period is to be a provincial in time. But he who has learned to look at life through the eyes of Chaucer, of Donne, of Pope and of Thomas Hardy is freed from this limitation. He has become a cosmopolitan of the ages, and can regard his own period with the detachment which is a necessary foundation of wisdom.’

It has become increasingly clear as the imperatives of political correctness make ever greater inroads against free speech and the perquisites of dispassionate inquiry that the battle against this provinciality of time is one of the central cultural tasks of our age. It is a battle from which the traditional trustees of civilization — schools and colleges, museums, many churches — have fled. Increasingly, the responsibility for defending the intellectual and spiritual foundations of Western civilization has fallen to individuals and institutions that are largely distant from, when they are not indeed explicitly disenfranchised from, the dominant cultural establishment.

Leading universities today command tax-exempt endowments in the tens of billions of dollars. Leading cultural organs like The New Yorker and The New York Times parrot the ethos of the academy and exert a virtual monopoly on elite opinion.

But it is by no means clear, notwithstanding their prestige and influence, whether they do anything to challenge the temporal provinciality of their clients. No, let me amend that: it is blindingly clear that they do everything in their considerable power to reinforce that provinciality, not least by their slavish capitulation to the dictates of the enslaving presentism of political correctness.

RTWT

23 Aug 2019

NBC News Editorial Opines: “Heterosexuality Is Just Not Working”

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These days, I seem to keep stumbling upon items which astound and boggle the mind, provoking the thoroughly depressing reflection that the establishment of the last mid-century, so commonly criticized for materialism, conformity, and anti-intellectualism, today looking backward seemed so optimistic and healthy and rational when compared to its totally-deranged contemporary replacement.

When you read this item blithely celebrating the implausible notion that women can separate themselves from Nature and Biology by a simple exercise of existential choice, you might think that NBC News these days is recruiting its editorial talent straight out of the looney bin, but no! Dr. Marcie Bianco is “an associate editor at the Stanford Social Innovation Review. She was formerly the Editorial & Communications Manager at the Clayman Institute for Gender Research at Stanford University, where she served as editor-in-chief of the monthly newsletter, Gender News, and the annual print publication, upRising, in addition to being the founder of the Clayman Institute Feminist Journalism Writing Fellowship.”

It’s not just NBC News, the crazies are running Harvard, Yale, and Stanford.

Over the past week, an assortment of trending stories — from Jeffrey Epstein to the Dayton and El Paso mass shooters, to Miley Cyrus’s separation and Julianne Hough’s declaration that she’s “not straight” — together have laid bare the strictures of an American patriarchy on the edge of a nervous breakdown. As the status quo, heterosexuality is just not working.

As a snapshot of 2019 America, these stories present a startling picture: Men continue to coerce, harass, rape and kill girls and women — and go to extreme lengths to avoid responsibility for their actions. On the other side of the issue, girls and women are challenging heterosexuality, and even absconding from it altogether.

Framed differently, the picture is this: Men need heterosexuality to maintain their societal dominance over women. Women, on the other hand, are increasingly realizing not only that they don’t need heterosexuality, but that it also is often the bedrock of their global oppression.

Patriarchy is at its most potent when oppression doesn’t feel like oppression, or when it is packaged in terms of biology, religion, or basic social needs.

Patriarchy is at its most potent when oppression doesn’t feel like oppression, or when it is packaged in terms of biology, religion or basic social needs like security comfort, acceptance and success. Heterosexuality offers women all these things as selling points to their consensual subjection.

Historically, women have been conditioned to believe that heterosexuality is natural or innate, just as they have been conditioned to believe that their main purpose is to make babies — and if they fail to do so, they are condemned as not “real,” or as bad, women.

Celebrities are not always at the vanguard of feminist thought, but both Julianne Hough and Miley Cyrus have recently spoken out about sexuality in ways that puts the power — and responsibility — back into their own hands.

RTWT

What can one possibly say? If heterosexuality has really stopped working, we obviously don’t have much to worry about, since in ten decades or so, there will simply be no more people at all.

03 Aug 2019

Exquisite Irony: “2020 Democrat Candidates Too Left For Obama

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CNN:

CNN reporter Rebecca Buck on Friday said former president Barack Obama is “expressing exasperation” over the Democratic Party’s movement to the left.

CNN’s Newsroom co-host Jim Sciutto mentioned Obama wasn’t pleased by criticism from Democratic presidential candidates and asked Buck what she was learning behind the scenes.

“As you know, Obama has been trying to stay out of this primary as much as possible, keeping quiet, and not making any endorsements even with his former vice president Joe Biden in the race,” Buck said. “But privately Obama, our CNN colleagues are reporting, is expressing exasperation at how far left the party is moving on some policy issues and of course breaking with some of the things he did when he was president.”

RTWT

31 Jul 2019

Mustn’t Clean Those Sidewalks, It’s Racially Insensitive!

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Katherine Timpf, in NR,

RTWT has our daily dose of liberal insanity.

A councilman in Seattle is reportedly opposed to hosing sidewalks that reek of excrement near a local courthouse because he fears that it might be racially insensitive.

No, this is not a joke.

The area surrounding King County Superior Court includes a homeless shelter and other social-services organizations and has become an “unsanitary and potentially frightening” scene — one “that reeks of urine and excrement” — according to an article in the Seattle Times. Desperate for help with the disgusting environment, two of the court’s judges have asked the city to please power-wash the poop-covered sidewalks. That seems like a pretty reasonable request, but apparently, one councilman is worried that doing so might be a form of microaggression.

According to the Times, Councilmember Larry Gossett “said he didn’t like the idea of power-washing the sidewalks because it brought back images of the use of hoses against civil-rights activists.”

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