Category Archive 'Left Think'
17 Nov 2022
Peter van Buren notes some of the pathologies.
As with the suspension of Trump (and on a much, much lesser scale, me) progressives cheered the deplatformings the way public lynchings used to attract a picnicking crowd. The left controls social media (as well as most mainstream media) and so day by day their unreal world becomes ethically more cleansed, more free of things they do not like, and with all the bad news (Hunter Biden) made to go away. The world online is the way they want it to be, with the real world held at bay behind the screen. Like living in The Villages in Florida, or maybe in the Matrix.
It is very much the same for what we’ll call social media 3D, things like renaming high schools and tearing down statues. Those acts are the equivalent of tweets. Nothing changes because of them, but everyone feels more righteous. Might as well send the 45 cents a day to one of those TV charities and think you are solving hunger in Africa. Or posting on Facebook that everyone should get vaccinated. Or, at least when gays were still performing as victims, changing your photo to a rainbow flag.
You see it also in the blurred lines between fiction and reality. A touchpoint for understanding Trump was the dismal novel The Handmaid’s Tale. Black empowerment? Wakanda. Economic equality is fictionalized by replacing every white person in a TV commercial with a black actor, and every other Hallmark romance with a same-sex couple. Same thing when our society over-celebrates the first transgender Jeopardy! winner or another children’s book where the cuddly caterpillar who does good deeds is nonbinary. NYC’s Shakespeare in the Park this year featured Richard III with the lead played by a black woman, no doubt as some imagine the Bard secretly intended.
But this detachment from reality, the appearance of action instead of action, is why progressives continue to have to “raise awareness” for the same old things over and over. In the end, nothing that happens online matters. Online is just propaganda of unknown real-world effectiveness. The left celebrates the deplatforming of Marjorie Taylor Greene, forgetting she is still a sitting congresswoman. Votes count, “likes” do not. Joe Rogan talks to 11 million people a week; Neil Young, his one-time media nemesis, not so many.
The danger of all this, as every purple-haired undergrad eventually realizes, is it creates learned helplessness. …
12 Nov 2022
David Spicer, MIT Undergraduate Association President.
The Babbling Beaver (MIT’s conservative satire site) published a real news item, linking a student paper editorial vociferously denouncing a recent Administration report supporting Free Expression.
Its author, the current president of the MIT undergraduate student body is a spectacular specimen of avidly ambitious, power-seeking leftism, like a baby rattlesnake, already fully-equipped with potentially lethal levels of poisonous ressentiment.
This kid, unfortunately, will be heard from in larger contexts in years to come.
[T]he Freedom of Expression report fails to properly consider, let alone assign weight to, the many places speech can occur. Should speech look different in an academic versus residential setting, considering the primary purposes of such places differ? Residential settings serve as students’ ultimate retreat. Unlike speech in the classroom or on the campus grounds where students can stay or exit as they see fit, speech in residential settings inherently has a captive audience. I would not expect it to be acceptable to barge into President Reif’s Gray House anytime I wish to voice my speech, nor should students be expected to have their homes violated in the same manner. More work and discussion is imperative to understand the implications of free speech in different scenarios, taking into account the time, place, and manner of the speech.
Second, the Freedom of Expression report fails to safeguard students against the harms of power differentials. The report believes “empowering our students to be confident advocates who refuse to be silenced” is the appropriate response to speech that chills or silences the voices of marginalized minority groups. I will offer one personal example to illustrate my argument. In spring 2022, I took a required Course 17 class where my teaching assistant said hurtful things to my classmates and me. For example, when I spoke about my queer identity, said TA berated me, asking,“What makes you a minority?” Never in my Latinx, immigrant, genderqueer, gay, disabled, low-income life would I imagine having to defend myself against such an invalidating question. I did not feel comfortable with the remarks of this TA, so I reported the behavior to my professor and department chair and filed a report through the Institute Discrimination and Harassment Response Office (IDHR). The result? My department chair never followed up on the matter. My professor leaked the contents of my email to the TA without my consent. IDHR told me they could not take action on the case. As a student, I could not continue with the class. What protections would I, as a student, have in a scenario like this? Is this the new hallmark of a MIT education?
Real or not, I had a sincerely held perception that I was not and could not be treated fairly in this class. I use this example to show that this Freedom of Expression report would allow my TA to say such harmful comments and to create a hostile academic environment and fails to protect a student like me from the harms of power differentials. While I would like to consider myself an okay exemplar of a “confident advocate,” I did not achieve an acceptable outcome to my situation. I can only imagine how students without my level of comfort in advocating for myself would fare in such a situation. A belief that students should simply advocate in the face of such situations negligently fails to wrestle with the unsettling realities behind power differentials. Such a belief fails students.
31 Oct 2022
Eratosthenes explains the urban liberal elite.
It’s got to do with living location and population density. Some of us congregate in tightly packed cities, others of us spread out over the sparsely populated farmland. A high population density offers an option of hiding behind others, to those who need such a thing. To the substandard performers. The softies.
The blue-state fantasy is that wisdom should proliferate outward, from the tightly packed cities, invading the sparsely populated farmland. This isn’t evident to the casual observer, because there’s too much emphasis placed on what should be taught. The truth is that the liberals don’t care. They want to do the teaching, they want us rubes to do the learning. That’s their wish. It’s a wish that can never come to fruition, and that’s because of the way people are made. When the population density is high, and it becomes possible to play piss-poor because you didn’t practice enough, hiding behind others, pretending you know what you’re doing when you really don’t — that’s what people will do. You can’t do that out in the farmland. It’s not merely a matter of being happy alone, or being tough or big or strong. You have to know what you’re doing so you don’t need to hide behind anyone else. It’s a process of gestation. An organism that gestates in a tough environment, reaches maturity with a hardness that’s missing from things that grow up in kinder, more forgiving environments. Since this attribute of kindness to the growing organism and forgiveness of any missteps, is linked to pretending, there is a truth-fiction dichotomy linked to the hard-soft dichotomy.
They’re soft. They hide behind each other.
We’re hard. There are consequences involved in our mistakes, so if we don’t know what we’re doing, we go get help. And then we figure out what we’re doing before we do anymore.
They pretend. They recite talking points they don’t really understand, like “Sure there was fraud, but not enough to change the results,” or “No human is illegal” or “We’re here. We’re queer. Get used to it.”
We don’t pretend. We can’t. And we can’t compress the work we do into a slogan.
They don’t define…really, anything.
We have to define everything. If we don’t, someone gets hurt.
Big-city-center denizens who pretend to know what they’re doing when they really don’t, hiding behind others, can’t invade the prairie, orchard or farmland. They may want to, but they’re not suited. It’s not because they’re stupid and we’re smart, or because they quit too easily and we’re stubborn. It’s the hard-and-soft thing, period, full stop. It would be talcum penetrating diamond. The softer material is going to have to yield. It’s physics. How do you argue with physics?
That’s the inherent futility of liberalism, in America, in a nutshell. Soft people who don’t know what they’re doing, pretending to know everything, seeking to impose their way of doing things on others who know what they’re doing. Softness trying to invade hardness. Every time it doesn’t work, and it never will, they get more and more grumpy and upset. Then they try to use their anger as an ancillary tool, to do the invading they’ve already learned they can’t do. Now you understand American politics. This is why we’re being told, with some legitimacy, every two years that “This election is the most important one of our lifetime.” It’s the liberals trying, once again, to invade the hardness with their softness, just like Sisyphus in the afterlife struggling to push his boulder up the mountain, only to see it roll back down again. That’s their struggle, and ours. It lacks even the faintest prospect of success, but they lack the understanding to realize this, so around and around we go.
Their champion is a senile old man who doesn’t know where he is, who likes to eat ice cream.
I know what he means. I grew up in a working class coal town. Years later, as an adult, I was arguing Foreign Policy with an Amherst grad who’d grown up in cushy Ridgefield, CT. “You have to stand up to bullies!” I argued, “Bullies are always cowards, and crumble when faced with opposition. And, if you don’t stop them, they will just go on and on and do worse and worse. The world is just like your boyhood schoolyard. ” “There were no bullies at our school.” he replied.
I was nonplussed. I couldn’t imagine a childhood with no bullies. But it was obvious that, if such a thing actually existed, a childhood that sheltered would certainly lead to a warped and naive view of life.
Maybe he’s right. Maybe they never met any bullies because they were successfully hiding behind one another.
10 Oct 2022
22 Jul 2022
Also via Nellie Bowles:
We need to help our communist bakeries: Another week and another funny investigative report from Libs of TikTok, this time about a Portland lesbian bar, Doc Marie’s, that closed a week after opening. Why? The employees canceled the owners of course! Doc Marie’s staff “felt misled about the space being safe and welcoming,” and demanded that the bar be turned over to them within 24 hours.
Earlier this month, it was Mina’s World in Philadelphia, now this. Perhaps Libs of TikTok thinks this is all good riddance. For me, this is yet another tragedy! It is simply the truth in Blue states that socialists make the best baked goods and open the best gay bars, and I desperately need those socialists to be getting along among themselves. It’s a delicate balance: They do need to be crazy enough to nurture and name sourdough starters, but then we have to stop them right before they collapse into self-hate and Instagram posts declaring harm has been done. Please send a thought to their god (tarot cards) for balance to return.
Don’t miss the Libs of Tiktok story!
22 Jul 2022
Via Nellie Bowles:
Protestors gathered to express their rage that police shot Andrew “Tekle” Sundberg, a black man who was shooting into his neighbors apartment where Arabella Yarbrough and her children live, leaving bullet holes in their kitchen. As Yarbrough stands outside trying to get the crowd to disperse, protestors scream at her: “You’re alive, shut up!” When she says, “there’s bullet holes in my kitchen,” a protester shouts back: “Not in you, though!”
29 May 2022
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 Yagyu school, the Tokugawa shoguns’ personal instructors in swordsmanship.
And those Yagyu 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.
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.)
Last Wednesday: Police said a woman who was lawfully carrying a pistol shot and killed a man who began shooting at a crowd of people Wednesday night in Charleston, West Virginia.
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