Category Archive 'Left Think'
01 Nov 2019
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
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.
01 Oct 2019
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: â€œGood afternoon, everyone. I have an important announcement to make. In fact, one of historical significance.â€ Before the murmur in the room can die down, he declares, â€œRepublicans of both houses of Congress are officially launching an impeachment investigation of the next Democratic President of the United States.â€
After 10-15 seconds of stunned silence, the questions begin:
REPORTER 1: â€œBut, the next Democratic President hasnâ€™t even been inaugurated yet.â€
MCCONNELL: â€œNeither 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, itâ€™s all about the children.â€
REPORTER 2: â€œUmmmâ€¦ But shouldnâ€™t you at least wait until you find out.
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!
23 Sep 2019
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 Lampoonâ€™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 magazineâ€™s publication of offensive and culturally insensitive content and sympathize with the protestersâ€™ 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 â€œobscenity of the Nazis.â€ 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 Lampoonâ€™s actions have peddled in such morally reprehensible sentiments as humor. The magazine has â€” in the past â€” made sexist jokes, from comparing women to dogs to insensitive jokes about University President Lawrence S. Bacowâ€™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 â€œlacks sufficient editorial oversight.â€ 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 â€” through steps such as newly instated positions to their Accessibility Council and Office of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response training for new members â€” 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.
The spirit of Cotton Mather rides again!
14 Sep 2019
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 YagyÅ« school, the Tokugawa shoguns’ personal instructors in swordsmanship.
And those YagyÅ« 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.)
29 Aug 2019
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.
Schjeldahlâ€™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 â€” the more important point â€” about subjugating him to the strictures prevalent among the beautiful people circa 2019. What made Schjeldahlâ€™s essay notorious were not his particular judgments about Renoirâ€™s art or character but rather his imperative anachronism. â€˜An argument is often made that we shouldnâ€™t judge the past by the values of the present,â€™ Schjeldahl writes, â€˜but thatâ€™s a hard sell in a case as primordial as Renoirâ€™s.â€™
Is it? As Ed Driscoll pointed out at Instapundit, Schjeldahlâ€™s essay is sterling example of what C.S. Lewis described as â€˜chronological snobbery,â€™ the belief that â€˜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.â€™ If, Driscoll observes, we add the toxic codicil that those previous times were â€˜therefore wrong and also racistâ€™ we would have â€˜a perfect definition of todayâ€™s SJWs.â€™
Exactly. Driscoll goes on to quote Jon Gabriel, who has anatomized this process under the rubric of â€˜cancel culture,â€™ a culture of willful and barbaric diminishment.
â€˜Cancel culture,â€™ Gabriel notes, â€˜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.â€™ Itâ€™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 â€˜Human Resourcesâ€™ departments of many companies. Wander ever so slightly outside the herd of independent minds and, bang, itâ€™s ostracism or worse.
There are many ironies attendant on the spread of â€˜cancel culture.â€™ 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 â€˜there is a provinciality in time as well as in space.â€™
â€˜To feel ill-at-ease and out of place except in oneâ€™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.â€™
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 â€” schools and colleges, museums, many churches â€” 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.
23 Aug 2019
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 â€” from Jeffrey Epstein to the Dayton and El Paso mass shooters, to Miley Cyrusâ€™s separation and Julianne Houghâ€™s declaration that sheâ€™s â€œnot straightâ€ â€” 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 â€” 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 donâ€™t need heterosexuality, but that it also is often the bedrock of their global oppression.
Patriarchy is at its most potent when oppression doesnâ€™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 doesnâ€™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 â€” and if they fail to do so, they are condemned as not â€œreal,â€ 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 â€” and responsibility â€” back into their own hands.
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
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.”
31 Jul 2019
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 â€œunsanitary and potentially frighteningâ€ scene â€” one â€œthat reeks of urine and excrementâ€ â€” according to an article in the Seattle Times. Desperate for help with the disgusting environment, two of the courtâ€™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 â€œsaid he didnâ€™t like the idea of power-washing the sidewalks because it brought back images of the use of hoses against civil-rights activists.â€
17 Jul 2019
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, letâ€™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 heâ€™s a white supremacist. Karen tells her, first, you donâ€™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, â€œMy boss Karen is a Nazi.â€ 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, itâ€™s Jen, but no, people prove sympathetic to her and the other baristaâ€™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 â€¦ 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 â€œWhite-Owned Appropriative Restaurants in Portlandâ€ provides a whoâ€™s who of culinary white supremacy.
Iâ€™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, â€œThis Week in Appropriation: Kookâ€™s [sic] Burritos and Willamette Week.â€ It was not factually supported, and we regret the original publication of this story.â€”eds.
Too late to help the Kooksâ€™ girls, but, oh well. As for that restaurant list, thatâ€™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. Thatâ€™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.
30 Jun 2019
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] â€œLife of Washington,â€ does not show the clichÃ©d 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.
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