Category Archive 'Left Think'
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.”

17 Jul 2019

Portlandization: An Especially Annoying Version of Communism

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Nancy Rommelman notes how, in Portland hipster culture has turned downright totalitarian and urges caution, lest Portalandization come to your own neighborhood.

I have a friend, let’s call her Karen. Karen bootstrapped several Portland businesses, including a coffee shop. She walks in one day and the barista, who is trans, says she had a man come in earlier wearing a MAGA cap and is she obliged to serve people like him? Karen asks, did he say something to you? No, says the barista, but he’s a white supremacist. Karen tells her, first, you don’t know that, and second, you cannot discriminate based on the way someone is dressed. And that, Karen thinks, is that, but no, the barista relays the story to another barista we will call Jen, who goes onto Facebook and posts, “My boss Karen is a Nazi.” Karen learns of this while she is on vacation. She calls her manager and tells her to get Jen into the office. Jen may intuit as much, as when the manager says she needs to speak with her, Jen gets on the floor behind the espresso bar and curls into a fetal position. And you might think, if anyone should maybe not be in customer service, it’s Jen, but no, people prove sympathetic to her and the other barista’s fears and start an online inquisition and can Karen prove she is not a Nazi? And should she not be more concerned with the safety of her employees than some random Republican wanting a cup of coffee?

By 2017, some defenders of diversity and safety were learning how variously those concepts could be construed, could bring the future they wanted a little closer; could be fashioned into tools that got the job done. Sharp tools would be used to cut out those deemed a threat to inclusivity, including two girls who during a road trip in Mexico fell in love with the tortillas made by local cooks. The girls were young, and snoopy, and hung around the cooks until they learned the techniques. Once back in Portland, the girls told the paper Willamette Week, they scraped together enough money to open Kooks Burritos, a food cart they shut for good later that week after receiving multiple death threats due to their not being Mexican and thus, according to the alt-weekly blog post that incited a campaign against them, having no right to make Mexican food.

    Week after week people of color in Portland bear witness to the hijacking of their cultures, and an identifiable pattern of appropriation has been created … After the fury continued online, a different resource emerged and quickly went viral: a Google doc showing exactly how prevalent this epidemic is. The list titled “White-Owned Appropriative Restaurants in Portland” provides a who’s who of culinary white supremacy.

I’d cite more of that post, clipped here from a Willamette Week follow-up, but when you go to the Portland Mercury website, you get the following message:

    Dear readers: Due to new information that has recently come to light, we have taken down our blog post, “This Week in Appropriation: Kook’s [sic] Burritos and Willamette Week.” It was not factually supported, and we regret the original publication of this story.—eds.

Too late to help the Kooks’ girls, but, oh well. As for that restaurant list, that’s been deleted, too, which shows me people are not willing to stand by their weapons of destruction, and also, that Portland is pulling off the pretty slick trick of beaming to the world an image of tolerance and inclusion, while concurrently denying certain of its citizens a place at the table. That’s some scary-strong juju, and maybe one best kept in check lest exclusionary tactics be taken for progress, be enshrined by some centralized authority.

RTWT

30 Jun 2019

The Irony is Exquisite

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Washington with slaves picking cotton.

At the height of the New Deal, government contracts for “works of art” by Bohemian radicals to decorate public buldings were passed out like salted peanuts.

One prominent beneficiary of all this public largesse was the very left-wing Russian muralist Victor Arnautoff who got to paint an endless series of “socially conscious” works taking pokes at both American history and the contemporary American scene all over the San Francisco Bay area.

Arnautoff started off as a Tsarist officer and fought for the Whites before fleeing into exile in the United States, but once in the New World, he fell in with the Mexican communist painter Diego Rivera, became Rivera’s assistant, and converted to Communism himself. He was investigated by HUAC in the 1950s in connection with a caricature he drew of Richard Nixon. Arnautoff in retirement returned to Russia to live out the end of his life, happily, under Communism.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s WPA naturally chose Arnautoff to decorate San Francisco’s George Washington High School. Araunoff’s series of Washington murals came out precisely as everything the left-wing heart could desire. Bari Weiss describes it, in the New York Times:

    [His] “Life of Washington,” does not show the clichéd image of our first president kneeling in prayer at Valley Forge. Instead, the 13-panel, 1,600-square-foot mural, which was painted in 1936 in the just-built George Washington High School, depicts his slaves picking cotton in the fields of Mount Vernon and a group of colonizers walking past the corpse of a Native American.

There is a happy ending though. The ultra-leftwing SF School Board is so stupid that they have voted to spend $600,000 of the tax-payer’s dollars, not to cover up, but actually to destroy the communist series of paintings. Not because they are pretty crappy paintings abusing the Father of Our Country and treasonously siding with Stone Age Savages against the pioneers, but because the left-wing dimbulbs out there feel threatened and offended by these dreadful images which they interpret (erroneously) as glorifying Colonialism.

Here we have a case of Life not resembling Art, but rather approximating with perfection a satire based on extreme exaggeration.

You go, SF School Board! Trash that obnoxious Communist Colonialist bunch of paintings!


Evil, ruthless white settlers (one equipped with a pick to violate the landscape) advance past the body of the noble Indian they killed.

11 Jun 2019

A Visual Demonstration of How Fast the NYT Got Woke

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18 May 2019

That’ll Teach Them!

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Actress and Model Emily Ratajkowski certainly showed those “25 old white men” in the Alabama State Senate who voted for the new Anti-Abortion Law. She punished them, and the rest of the male reactionaries in America, by posting the above photograph of herself on Instagram.

We’re bad. We deserve it. She needs to punish all of us some more.

24 Apr 2019

Life in Leftlandia

Deana Chadwell points out that liberals are spoiled children living in their own self-indulgent fantasy land.

Leftlandians actually believe that the world’s climate is something they can control, that man is so much greater than the God Who created the world that humans can use so much toilet paper, or so much gasoline that they can undo creation. They also believe that using fossil fuels to generate electricity with which to run our cars is somehow more environmentally sensible than just using the fossil fuels directly. When someone points out the damage –- both human and environmental –- done by building all those lithium batteries, the Leftlandians just cover their eyes and holler La-La-La-La.

In their unicorn-inhabited world they can pass laws forbidding plastic straws and shampoo bottles and assume that this terrible sacrifice will clean the oceans of the trash dumped into it by billions of people in the third world.

They actually believe they can impose tax hikes on the wealthy and on corporations and said entities will just sit and take it. It doesn’t occur to the left that anyone smart enough to get rich in the first place will be smart enough to hide their money offshore, or move their business to a less onerous tax environment. Remember the little girl in your neighborhood who always wanted to boss everyone around and how mad she’d get when no one would obey her? That’s the left. “I’m the boss!”

They continue to pretend that Marxism is a useful worldview. Evidence, preserved in gruesome history (and the current starvation of the Venezuelan and North Korean people) notwithstanding, they insist on the efficacy of the destruction of capitalism. And they do this while eating food produced by businessmen-farmers, driving cars manufactured by corporations, and wearing clothes created by designer-entrepreneurs. They fail to see the contradiction. Bernie Sanders, the consummate socialist, just declared that, “If you write a bestselling book, you can be a millionaire, too,” evidently unaware of the about-face he had just committed.

They believe they can tell doctors that they now work for the state and can only earn a state-approved salary. It never occurs to them that many of our doctors will just quit being doctors. Free healthcare is a delicious fable, but not if there is no healthcare to be found at any price. It’s not a magic bean.

They believe they can pretend to be a gender other than what they were born with and that if they can browbeat the rest of us into playing their game, that it will be true. They even believe they can make up new genders no one’s ever heard of before. They might as well imagine themselves to be unicorns as far as reality is concerned, but they’re not concerned with reality. It’s all play-acting.

They believe that they can fake their way into college, go there and spend four years sitting in classes like “Vegan Studies,” smoking dope and drinking beer at frat parties, then walk into the real world and get rich. They think they can do this with college loan debt in six figures and no practical skills. And they think that their plan to soak the rich won’t apply to them.

In Leftlandia, folks are comfortable with declaring women’s rights with half their words and supporting Islam, with its wife-beating, woman-hating, girl-mutilating way of life, with the other. They don’t find it weird that Linda Sarsour, outspoken proponent of Sharia law, should be leading a women’s rally.

They do have trolls and goblins in their world, but they aren’t real. Leftists are afraid of Christians, but not of Muslims — who clearly state they want to kill us all. They are scared of Jews, and white people and men. They evidently see infants as dangerous as well since they seem so comfortable about killing them.

They believe, all evidence to the contrary, that humans are all basically good — not including Christians, Jews, white people, and men. Therefore any failings they’re faced with are the fault of “society” or, in other words, the aforementioned groups –- and the NRA. Can’t forget that. As a corollary, they believe that war and crime can be erased by everyone “just getting along, “ which somehow doesn’t mean that they have to be kind to Christians, Jews, white people or men – especially men who belong to the NRA.

They are staunch defenders of license (not liberty), but even more staunch believers in equality, for which they are willing to ditch freedom –- especially freedom of speech. Speech is dangerous and can pop their balloons, so that’s got to go.

Speaking of language, in their postmodern, deconstructionist, intersectional world, words aren’t important. They can mean whatever a leftist wants them to mean. A white nationalist used to be a neo-Nazi skinhead, but now it refers to conservatives in general. A racist used to a person who based his opinion of people on the color of their skin. Now it means anyone who would write an essay like this. Words are bludgeons and no good leftist has any reverence for the sacred contract of language. In their fairytale world no actual truth exists and no moral code either, so there is no needs for honesty.

They believe that the color of their skin matters. They believe their country of origin is important and should be worn like a battle scar.

Which brings up another whole facet of their narrative –- they pretend that they aren’t really individuals, that they are nothing more than cogs in whatever gear they think they’ve been “oppressed” into. I suppose this saves the trouble of actually having to take responsibility for their own lives, but it also makes them slaves and they don’t seem to notice. They also think they can right the wrongs done to one group of long-dead people by taking from modern-day people who had nothing to do with the original transgression.

And they believe they can’t lose. The Trump win in 2016 cracked the magical snow-globe they live in and now the emptiness of the Mueller report has dealt it another terrible blow. Not to worry, though. The fantasy must go on. They are sure that if they yell, “Collusion!” loud enough, Trump will dissolve into a flurry of fairy dust and be gone.

RTWT

23 Apr 2019

22 April 1519: Hernan Cortes Lands in Mexico

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Yesterday was the 500th Anniversary of the arrival of the Spanish conqueror of Mexico, the man who overthrew the Aztec Empire, bringing Christianity and European civilization to Mexico and putting an end to cannibalism and large scale human sacrifice.

It is typical of our insane and twisted times that no celebration of this hugely important anniversary has been scheduled, and that, last month, the president of Mexico sent letters to the Vatican and the King of Spain demanding apologies for Cortes’ Conquest of the Aztecs and the Conversion of Mexico to Christianity. (BBC — March 26)

The current Marxist lie is that the harmless and peaceful Aztecs were brutally conquered by avaricious and rapacious Europeans, out only for power and gold. The truth of the matter is that the Aztecs themselves were the brutal and tyrannical conquerors. They built an empire covering roughly a quarter of modern Spain, fueled by a faith in their own superiority based on a special relationship with Huitzilopochtli, the hummingbird god of war, who required frequent, and abundant human sacrifices.

The conquered and subjugated tribes living under Aztec rule provided the sacrificial victims as well as slaves. The conquistador Bernal Diaz relates what the chief of the Totonacs told the Spaniards about Aztec rule.

He related so much of the cruelties and oppression they had to suffer, and thereby sobbed and sighed so bitterly that we could not help being affected. At the time when they were subdued, they had already been greatly ill-used; Montezuma then demanded annually a great number of their sons and daughters, a portion of whom were sacrificed to the idols, and the rest were employed in his household and for tilling his grounds. His tax-gatherers took their wives and daughters without any ceremony if they were handsome, merely to satisfy their lusts. The Totonaques, whose territory consisted of upwards of thirty townships, suffered like violence.

Hernan Cortez with only 600 soldiers, 15 horsemen, and 15 cannons was able to overthrow an empire with an estimated population of 5 million precisely because large numbers of warriors from the oppressed subject tribes eagerly joined him in the fight against their Aztec rulers.

William H. Prescott, in his 1843 History of the Conquest of Mexico, observed:

a government, which does not rest on the sympathies of its subjects, cannot long abide; that human institutions, when not connected with human prosperity and progress, must fall, if not before the increasing light of civilisation, by the hand of violence; by violence from within, if not from without. And who shall lament their fall?”

Obviously, today’s Woke Marxist Social Justice Warriors will lament their fall, cover up their crimes, and vilify the liberators.

20 Apr 2019

“The Injustices of Capitalism”

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Alyssa Ahlgren has some choice words for complaining leftists.

I’m sitting in a small coffee shop near Nokomis trying to think of what to write about. I scroll through my newsfeed on my phone looking at the latest headlines of Democratic candidates calling for policies to “fix” the so-called injustices of capitalism. I put my phone down and continue to look around. I see people talking freely, working on their MacBook’s, ordering food they get in an instant, seeing cars go by outside, and it dawned on me. We live in the most privileged time in the most prosperous nation and we’ve become completely blind to it. Vehicles, food, technology, freedom to associate with whom we choose. These things are so ingrained in our American way of life we don’t give them a second thought. We are so well off here in the United States that our poverty line begins 31 times above the global average. Thirty. One. Times. Virtually no one in the United States is considered poor by global standards. Yet, in a time where we can order a product off Amazon with one click and have it at our doorstep the next day, we are unappreciative, unsatisfied, and ungrateful.

RTWT

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