Category Archive 'Left-wing Intolerance'

05 Oct 2018

Come Friendly Bombs and Fall on Madison

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Rod Dreher finds that the behavior of the Left has hit a new low in Madison, Wisconsin.

Matthew Schmitz posted this comment from Solzhenitsyn to Twitter just now:

Well. In Madison, Wisconsin, the city council has voted overwhelmingly to remove a cemetery marker noting the names of about 140 Confederates, most of whom died in a prisoner of war camp in the town. More:

“You don’t have discussion in a cemetery. You have reflection, and you have memories, and this (monument) brings up memories that are not so pleasant in our history,” said Council Vice President Sheri Carter.

These are Americans who died as prisoners of war. “They die off like rotten sheep,” said a Union soldier who worked at the camp, where conditions were bad. The “monument” is a tombstone large enough to feature the names of each of the dead. This is not a statue of a Confederate war hero. It is simply a grave marker noting the names of POWs who died far from home.

There is no longer equality before God of the fallen, not in Madison, Wisconsin. The city council spits on these dead men, who passed away not in combat, but in Union custody.

In Grace Church cemetery in my Louisiana hometown, you can visit the grave of Lt. Commander John Hart, US Navy, who captained a Union gunboat that was shelling the town and that very church in 1863. Cmdr Hart committed suicide on the boat during the battle. He was a Freemason, as many of the Confederates were. Hart’s men asked for a truce, and for the right to bury their commander in the Grace Church cemetery with full Masonic honors. The Confederate Masons agreed. So the war stopped while all the combatants gathered around the grave to commit Cmdr Hart to the earth.

Children in my hometown are often taken to Hart’s grave and told the story. His grave is treated with great respect locally, and always has been. That’s what decent people do for the dead. There is a brotherhood that defies mortal conflicts.

The leaders of Madison, Wisconsin, are manifestly not decent people.

26 Jun 2018

The Opposite of Southern Hospitality

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Sarah Huckabee Sanders at the 2018 White House Correspondents’ Dinner at Washington Hilton on April 28, 2018 in Washington, DC.

Virginia is a special place, home of Washington, Jefferson, Madison, birthplace of the nation really. And Lexington is a special little town, home of VMI. Stonewall Jackson lived there and taught both mathematics at VMI and the Bible at a black Sunday School he founded himself and where he promoted black literacy in defiance of state law. Robert E. Lee also lived there, serving as president of Washington College, now Washington and Lee.

Al Perrotta is justifiably indignant that a transplanted Yankee (the kind of specimen that old Ben Hardaway, long-time Master of the Midland Hunt, used to complain about: Northern migrants who “perch in our trees and shit on our ground”) made Lexington the focus of a national news story by refusing service to the President’s press secretary. This kind of behavior is un-Southern, and especially un-Virginian.

Imagine. You’ve had a rough week at the office. You’ve had a pressure-packed month that had you traveling halfway across the world for meetings that could decide the fate of millions. Your return has brought no rest. Every day you still have to stand in front of a bunch of people screaming the same questions at you — loaded questions, rude questions, “Let’s see if I can get trending on Twitter” questions. Questions where one wrong word from you can send markets crashing, foreign leaders vexing, to say nothing of sending talking heads into a frenzy. And you have to take this daily barrage with supernatural control and restraint, despite being genetically wired to be a wise-cracker.

Finally, it’s Friday. TGIF! Escape! You head out I-66 with the job and the nation’s Capitol in your rear view mirror. You head south down I-81. Way south. With each mile you lose the stench of the Swamp, the weight of your responsibility, the burden of a boss who works 17 hours a day and rarely on script. Up ahead is a nice dinner with some friends, a couple’s night.

You arrive in a quaint town tucked in the Shenandoah Mountains. A haven. You sit down at your table. You breathe. Perhaps for the first time in a month, you breathe.

The owner comes over. Not to say hi. Not even to discuss the night’s specials. She’s there to throw you out. Throw your whole party out. (literally and figuratively). Why? Because she hates your boss, and by extension hates you.

What happened to Sarah Sanders Friday night at the Red Hen in Lexington, Virginia is an abomination. It is a violation of all standards of decency and hospitality. Worse, it is the latest vile display of the unrepentant and unhinged spirit that says “Those I disagree with politically I must destroy.” (Actually, not the latest. Florida’s Attorney General got verbally assaulted inside a screening of the new Mr. Rogers documentary Saturday. It’s an ugly day in the neighborhood.)

What’s going on is nothing short of demonic.

RTWT

26 Mar 2018

Just in Case You Thought the United States Was Badly Off

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Journalist denied entry to UK to interview right-wing politician and to film her boyfriend, a founder of an Austrian right-wing group “Generation Identity,” giving a speech in Hyde Park, because “her planned activities.. bear a serious threat to the fundamental interests of society.”

Vox Day admires all the grammatical errors, which suggests to me that the person in authority and laying down the decision on who might or might not enter the country was someone not a native speaker of English, and then proceeds to quote John Derbyshire on the ironies of current British entry policy:

Young Ahmed sneaked into Britain hidden in a truck that brought him through the Channel Tunnel from France. British immigration officers intercepted him. Ahmed told the immigration officers he had trained with ISIS.

Let me just repeat that: He told the immigration officers he had trained with ISIS.

But Ahmed was not refused entry. Instead, he was given free accommodation, first in a charity shelter, then in a pleasant middle-class foster home. [Betrayed by the ‘shy and polite’ boy they took into their home: Iraqi asylum seeker, 18, is found guilty of trying to blow up 93 Parsons Green commuters with bomb built with his foster parents’ Tupperware while pair were on holiday, Daily Mail, March 16, 2018] He was sent to school, at British taxpayer expense of course. His teachers reported him telling them it was his duty as a Muslim to hate Britain.

Today, Friday, March 16, 2018, Ahmed was convicted of making a bomb and trying to detonate it in a London subway train last Fall. Fortunately, the thing didn’t explode properly; but it still left 51 subway passengers with serious burns.

Let me just repeat one more time: He told the immigration officers he had trained with ISIS.

Enoch Powell got it right: “Whom the Gods wish to destroy, they first make mad.”

02 Nov 2017

The American Mind Has Continued to Close

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Jonathan Kay reflects on the publication thirty years ago of Allan Bloom’s The Closing of the American Mind only to note sadly just how much worse things have gotten in the course of three more decades.

Much of Bloom’s success no doubt was owed to his book’s inspired title, The Closing of the American Mind. But the timing was perfect, too, arriving on shelves in the fall of 1987, when political correctness was just becoming an acute force for censorship. I was a college student at the time. And reading Bloom’s book helped convince me that, no, it wasn’t just me: something really was wrong with the way my generation was being educated and politically programmed.

Bloom was especially repelled by relativism, which he described as “the consciousness that one loves one’s own way because it is one’s own, not because it is good.” Though he was hardly the first postwar critic to abhor the fragmenting of cultural life and the marginalisation of the Western canon, Bloom went deeper with his analysis, showing how the emerging obsession with identity politics (as we now call it) left students glum and aimless — brimming with grievances, while lacking the sense of common purpose that once animated higher learning.

The author died in 1992, just before the advent of the world wide web exacerbated many of the problems he described. Social media, in particular, has reduced attention spans — making it difficult to teach students classic texts that are not immediately relevant to modern forms of self-identification. At the same time, these networks allow activists to shame heterodox ideas on a peer-to-peer basis.

If Bloom spent a single day on Facebook or Twitter today, he would instantly recognise the “mixture of egotism and high-mindedness” that he detected among his own undergraduates. But he also would be shocked by the rigid ideological conformity that now is demanded of students on matters relating to race, gender and sexuality. The speech codes Bloom saw metastasising in the late 1980s and early 1990s have become largely unnecessary: university administrators can now rely on students to police themselves.

RTWT

26 Mar 2017

Philosophy Professor Writes: “Tolerance Is Not the Goal”

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Alan Levinovitz is (God help America!) an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at James Madison University.

Rod Dreher was appalled.

that a Stanford and University of Chicago-trained philosophy and religion professor (who holds an M.Div) believes that the proper way to address Charles Murray’s arguments is by shouting them down. Let the record show that a Stanford-and-Chicago-trained philosophy and religion professor believes that we should not allow the arguments of C.S. Lewis — C.S. Lewis! — to be heard, because people might come to believe them. And let the record show that this did not appear in a magazine of the radical left, but in a center-left publication owned by Jeff Bezos, one of the richest and most powerful men in the world.

Alan Levinovitz declared in Slate that Tolerance is not the goal, “the truth” of which he personally happens to be in possession of is.

Progress today depends, as it always has, on the refusal to tolerate falsehood and immorality. In certain circumstances proper intolerance will demand reasoned discourse; in others it will demand shouting and breaking the law. We may disagree about how to fight for what’s right, but that disagreement should come in the context of recognizing our proud participation in a long, necessary history of virtuous intolerance. Only then can we hope to defend truth unfettered by hypocrisy and self-contradiction.

Back in the 1950s, when supporting Totalitarianism was looked upon as reprehensible by normal ordinary Americans, the Left cried out for Tolerance. We still hear constantly about the horrors of McCarthyism and the national reign of terror in which a small number of disloyal radicals faced social and professional disapproval for supporting an aggressive alien ideology that 37,000 Americans had recently laid down their lives to oppose in Korea. In those days, the University of California at Berkeley prohibited the on-campus distribution of Communist propaganda and used the laws of trespass to exclude outside agitators.

The Left responded with the so-called Free Speech Movement of 1964-1965 demanding Tolerance. The Left got its tolerance for political agitation, propagandizing, and on-campus organization and recruiting, and a half century later the Left owns all the campuses. Now, the necessity and desirability of Tolerance is over. All of which proves that the fainting liberals of the 1950s and ’60s who were moved by the Left’s hypocritical please for tolerance were simply suckers.

23 Mar 2017

“What Has Yale Become?”

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“My students who are most intellectually engaged, most intellectually thirsty, they would tell me that they feel that there’s no place for them at Yale.”

— William Deresiewicz.

Hat tip to Intellectual Takeout.

12 Jun 2015

Mencius Moldbug Booted From Programming Conference

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Moldbug
Curtis Yarvon aka Mencius Moldbug

The true extent of left-wing censorship in American society today can be perceived by the fact that über-nerd Curtis Yarvon had a software presentation cancelled by a programming conference because some attendees objected to the highly eccentric conservative philosophy expressed learnedly, and at astonishing length, on a relatively obscure (and infrequently updated) blog, titled Unqualified Reservations, writing under the pen-name “Mencius Moldbug.”

David Auerbach, at Slate, considers Moldbug’s political philosophy “odious”, but thinks it is not appropriate to boot him out unless he actually says something casually racist.

What does a bizarre project to reinvent software from the ground up have in common with 19th-century reactionary political philosophy? That question has become the unlikely heart of a computing controversy involving this September’s Strange Loop programming conference in St. Louis, Missouri. Founded in 2009, Strange Loop is a yearly three-day conference with talks and workshops on new computer science technologies. The conference had accepted an apolitical presentation on a fairly obscure project by a software engineer named Curtis Yarvin, only to reject it last week after it received complaints about political views Yarvin espoused on his blog.

Yarvin’s canceled presentation centered on Urbit, an idiosyncratic software platform he created, and an associated virtual machine called Nock. I’ve read the specifications, and Yarvin’s project is an intriguing attempt to create an entirely new, universal computation framework based around a virtual machine that is truly distributed from the ground up, so that even tiny amounts of computation can be apportioned across multiple machines. It may, as I suspect, be utterly impractical, but it’s undoubtedly different and a worthy experiment. I would attend a talk on it. But I wouldn’t be able to at Strange Loop now, thanks to a strange figure named Mencius Moldbug.

That’s the nom de Web under which Yarvin writes mind-numbing political tracts. Yarvin/Moldbug is a self-proclaimed “neoreactionary,” an unabashed elitist and inegalitarian in the tradition of Thomas Carlyle, one of his heroes. (He fits neatly into the “Natural-Order Conservative” category of a conservative taxonomy.) His worldview: Democracy sucks, the strong should rule the weak, and we could use a good old-fashioned dictator to clean up this mess. That, and he believes that “human biodiversity”—as in the “science” of racial differences, à la The Bell Curve—is real, valid, and very important. Neoreactionary thinking is far more complicated and far more verbose than this—which is in part a deliberate attempt to keep the great unwashed from paying too much attention to such Important Thought. If you’re curious, the tireless Scott Alexander of Slate Star Codex has written extensive rebuttals of neoreactionary theory, which go to prove Brandolini’s Law: “The amount of energy necessary to refute bullshit is an order of magnitude bigger than to produce it.” The neoreactionaries make up a small and mostly ignorable corner of the Internet, but because they include a number of techies and wonks, they have drawn attention and criticism from outlets like the Baffler and the Daily Beast, all of which served to raise the neoreactionary profile far higher than it ever would have made it on its own. If you want serious reactionary activity, look to Congress.
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Normally I would have no cause to write about neoreactionary politics—it is eminently inconsequential—except that Yarvin was tossed out of Strange Loop because of his writings. Strange Loop creator and organizer Alex Miller made this public statement regarding his decision to rescind Yarvin’s invitation:

    A large number of current and former speakers and attendees contacted me to say that they found Curtis’s writings objectionable. I have not personally read them. … If Curtis was part of the program, his mere inclusion and/or presence would overshadow the content of his talk and become the focus.

The decision to toss Yarvin is foolish but not because it’s censorship. By making the issue about Yarvin being a “distraction,” Miller has created a perverse incentive. By that logic, anyone could get tossed from the conference if enough people object for any reason at all. Miller admits as much when he says he hasn’t even read Yarvin’s political writing.

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NYM has occasional quoted some of the Moldbug’s good lines.

Here is a good example:

Whatever you make of the left-right axis, you have to admit that there exists some force which has been pulling the Anglo-American political system leftward for at least the last three centuries. Whatever this unfathomable stellar emanation may be, it has gotten us from the Stuarts to Barack Obama. Personally, I would like a refund. But that’s just me. …

intellectuals cluster to the left, generally adopting as a social norm the principle of pas d’ennemis a gauche, pas d’amis a droit, because like everyone else they are drawn to power. The left is chaos and anarchy, and the more anarchy you have, the more power there is to go around. The more orderly a system is, the fewer people get to issue orders. The same asymmetry is why corporations and the military, whose system of hierarchical executive authority is inherently orderly, cluster to the right.

Once the cluster exists, however, it works by any means necessary. The reverence of anarchy is a mindset in which an essentially Machiavellian, tribal model of power flourishes. To the bishops of the Cathedral, anything that strengthens their influence is a good thing, and vice versa. The analysis is completely reflexive, far below the conscious level. Consider this comparison of the coverage between the regime of Pinochet and that of Castro. Despite atrocities that are comparable at most – not to mention a much better record in providing responsible and effective government – Pinochet receives the full-out two-minute hate, whereas the treatment of Castro tends to have, at most, a gentle and wistful disapproval. …

[T]he problem is not just that our present system of government – which might be described succinctly as an atheistic theocracy – is accidentally similar to Puritan Massachusetts. As anatomists put it, these structures are not just analogous. They are homologous. This architecture of government – theocracy secured through democratic means – is a single continuous thread in American history.

01 May 2015

“The Paradox of Dogma”

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LeftwingAcademic

Robert Tracinski argues that all the talk in contemporary universities controlled by the left about “safe spaces” and “trigger warnings” demonstrates the kind of alarm among herds of herbivores manifested in the immediate build up to an extinction event.

At the beginning of the year, I speculated that we may have reached “Peak Leftism,” the point at which the left has achieved such uniform control of the commanding heights of the culture that they have no place to go but down. Their mania for soft ideological conformity suggests a mechanism for this decline. They are growing so accustomed to living in an ideological “safe space” that they will no longer understand what it means to debate their positions, much less how to win the debate.

The most powerful historical precedent for this is the totalitarian creed of the Soviet Union—a dogma imposed, not just by campus censors or a Twitter mob, but by gulags and secret police. Yet one of the lessons of the Soviet collapse is that the ideological uniformity of a dictatorship seems totally solid and impenetrable—right up to the moment it cracks apart. The imposition of dogma succeeds in getting everyone to mouth the right slogans, even as fewer and fewer of them understand or believe the ideology behind it.

This is the Paradox of Dogma. To return to the question we started with: if you try to shut down public debate, is this a way of ensuring that you win—or an admission that you have already lost? The answer is: both. It might ensure that you win in the short term. But over the long term, it abandons the field to those who do believe in ideological debate.


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