Category Archive 'Liberals'
20 May 2020
â€œHalf the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They donâ€™t mean to do harm; but the harm does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves.â€
04 Feb 2020
The Guardian reports on the latest form of self improvement catching on among female cloud people.
Freshly made pasta is drying on the wooden bannisters lining the hall of a beautiful home in Denver, Colorado. Fox-hunting photos decorate the walls in a room full of books. A fire is burning. And downstairs, a group of liberal white women have gathered around a long wooden table to admit how racist they are.
â€œRecently, I have been driving around, seeing a black person, and having an assumption that they are up to no good,â€ says Alison Gubser. â€œImmediately after I am like, thatâ€™s no good! This is a human, just doing their thing. Why do I think that?â€
This is Race to Dinner. A white woman volunteers to host a dinner in her home for seven other white women â€“ often strangers, perhaps acquaintances. (Each dinner costs $2,500, which can be covered by a generous host or divided among guests.) A frank discussion is led by co-founders Regina Jackson, who is black, and Saira Rao, who identifies as Indian American. They started Race to Dinner to challenge liberal white women to accept their racism, however subconscious. â€œIf you did this in a conference room, theyâ€™d leave,â€ Rao says. â€œBut wealthy white women have been taught never to leave the dinner table.â€
Rao and Jackson believe white, liberal women are the most receptive audience because they are open to changing their behavior. They donâ€™t bother with the 53% of white women who voted for Trump. White men, they feel, are similarly a lost cause. â€œWhite men are never going to change anything. If they were, they would have done it by now,â€ Jackson says.
White women, on the other hand, are uniquely placed to challenge racism because of their proximity to power and wealth, Jackson says. â€œIf they donâ€™t hold these positions themselves, the white men in power are often their family, friends and partners.â€
It seems unlikely anyone would voluntarily go to a dinner party in which theyâ€™d be asked, one by one, â€œWhat was a racist thing you did recently?â€ by two women of color, before appetizers are served. But Jackson and Rao have hardly been able to take a break since they started these dinners in the spring of 2019. So far, 15 dinners have been held in big cities across the US.
The women who sign up for these dinners are not who most would see as racist. They are well-read and well-meaning. They are mostly Democrats. Some have adopted black children, many have partners who are people of color, some have been doing work towards inclusivity and diversity for decades. But they acknowledge they also have unchecked biases. They are there because they â€œknow [they] are part of the problem, and want to be part of the solution,â€ as host Jess Campbell-Swanson says before dinner starts.
I think we should have competing $3000 dinners (with better food) at which a couple of articulate conservatives tell them how stupid they are,.
28 Jul 2018
“Who’s the cool kid now?”
Walter Kirin, in Harper’s (of all places), describes discovering that today, all the cool people, the rebels and outsiders, are the Trump supporters, while the sanctimonious, preachy types, the annoying conformist scolds are the liberals!
Puritanism, Mencken said, is â€œthe haunting fear that someone, somewhere may be happy.â€ But liberal puritanism is slightly different. It fears that the wrong sort of people might be happy, or that their happiness might be of the wrong kind. Iâ€™d seen examples of it on Twitter, in snarling remarks about Trumpâ€™s porn-star mistress, his age difference with his wife, his multiple marriages, his rumored romps with Russian prostitutes. The ostensible charge was Trumpâ€™s hypocrisy and that of his evangelical supporters for pardoning such lewdness in their leader, but sometimes I sensed disgust in the attacks not only with Trump, but also with sex, in all its messiness. When Jimmy Kimmel recently referred to Trump as Pumpkin ÂMcPornHumper, the hint of sniffy distaste was unmistakable.
If Trumpâ€™s presidency is a national emergency and opposing it the equivalent of warâ€”though I prefer sticking with the political processâ€”then there isnâ€™t much room for liberals to be liberal in the ways I found so attractive as a boy. Indeed, I see evidence that certain liberal principles, the ones that impressed me in the Seventies, have eroded. Back then, for example, the CIA was understood to be a nest of liars and psychopaths who toppled democratically chosen leaders, lied to the public to start wars, and ran sick experiments on innocents using drugs and mind-control techniques. In Three Days of the Condor, a thriller from the period, Robert Redford plays a lowly CIA officer who discovers that the agency is nothing more than a crime ring. These days, however, with Trump playing the heavy, the CIA is revered by many liberals as a bulwark of integrity, its missions sacred, its conclusions unimpeachable, and its former director, John Brennan, worthy of a high-profile cable news job. The FBI draws similar adulation, never mind its history of spying on the likes of Ernest Hemingway, John Lennon, and Martin Luther King Jr.
This great liberal switch from skepticism to sanctimony about the most powerful arms of the Establishment is matched by a viral fear of Russia that reminds me of the John Birch Society pamphlets Iâ€™d come across now and then when I was young. Somehow, instinct told me then that they were crazy, exaggerating the cunning of the enemy, the depravity of the collaborators, and the vulnerability of America. The liberal comedians who lampooned such claims on shows such as Laugh-In were my idols. They dared to speak the most radical truth of all in a time of panic and paranoia: the sneakiest adversary is the mind. The Cold War was real, of course, and deadly serious, as are the tensions with Putinâ€™s Russia, but my liberal heroes of the Seventies discerned other dangers that were closer to home. Rigidity. Stridency. Shrillness. Self-righteousness. One way they answered the periodâ€™s harsh conservatism was to hang loose, not get uptight. Love, not war. Remember?
08 Jul 2018
House of Erathostenes:
You know what I find to be flawed with the US of A? The Number One fly in the soup.
We have an unfortunate tendency to direct very high levels of energy into making people happy who are never going to be happy.
13 May 2018
15 May 2017
Chenchen Zhang informs us that the educated Chinese despise “baizuo,” soft-headed and soft-hearted Western liberals. And who can blame them?
If you look at any thread about Trump, Islam or immigration on a Chinese social media platform these days, itâ€™s impossible to avoid encountering the term baizuo, or literally, the â€˜white leftâ€™. It first emerged about two years ago, and yet has quickly become one of the most popular derogatory descriptions for Chinese netizens to discredit their opponents in online debates.
So what does â€˜white leftâ€™ mean in the Chinese context, and whatâ€™s behind the rise of its (negative) popularity? It might not be an easy task to define the term, for as a social media buzzword and very often an instrument for ad hominem attack, it could mean different things for different people. A thread on â€œwhy well-educated elites in the west are seen as naÃ¯ve â€œwhite leftâ€ in Chinaâ€ on Zhihu, a question-and-answer website said to have a high percentage of active users who are professionals and intellectuals, might serve as a starting point.
The question has received more than 400 answers from Zhihu users, which include some of the most representative perceptions of the ‘white left’. Although the emphasis varies, baizuo is used generally to describe those who â€œonly care about topics such as immigration, minorities, LGBT and the environmentâ€ and â€œhave no sense of real problems in the real worldâ€; they are hypocritical humanitarians who advocate for peace and equality only to â€œsatisfy their own feeling of moral superiorityâ€; they are â€œobsessed with political correctnessâ€ to the extent that they â€œtolerate backwards Islamic values for the sake of multiculturalismâ€; they believe in the welfare state that â€œbenefits only the idle and the free ridersâ€; they are the â€œignorant and arrogant westernersâ€ who â€œpity the rest of the world and think they are savioursâ€. …
In fact, heated discussions about baizuo on Chinese social media websites rarely make reference to domestic issues, except for occasionally and unsurprisingly insulting Chinese Muslims for being â€œunintegratedâ€ or â€œcomplicit in the spread of Islam extremismâ€. The stigmatization of the â€˜white leftâ€™ is driven first and foremost by Chinese netizensâ€™ understanding of â€˜westernâ€™ problems. It is a symptom and weakness of the Other.
The term first became influential amidst the European refugee crisis, and Angela Merkel was the first western politician to be labelled as a baizuo for her open-door refugee policy. Hungary, on the other hand, was praised by Chinese netizens for its hard line on refugees, if not for its authoritarian leader. Around the same time another derogatory name that was often used alongside baizuo was shengmu â€“ literally the â€˜holy motherâ€™ â€“ which according to its users refers to those who are â€˜overemotionalâ€™, â€˜hypocriticalâ€™ and â€˜have too much empathyâ€™. The criticisms of baizuo and shengmu soon became an online smear campaign targeted at not only public figures such as J. K. Rowling and Emma Watson, but also volunteers, social workers and all other ordinary citizens, whether in Europe or China, who express any sympathy with international refugees. …
The anti-baizuo discourse in Chinese social media gained stronger momentum during the US presidential election campaign. If criticisms of the â€˜white leftâ€™ in the context of the refugee crisis were mainly about disapproval of â€˜moralist humanitarianismâ€™ mixed with Islamophobia, they became politically more elaborate as Chinese critics of the â€˜white leftâ€™ discovered Donald J. Trump, whom they both identify with and take inspirations from. Following the debates in the US, a number of other issues such as welfare reforms, affirmative action and minority rights were introduced into online discussions on the â€˜white leftâ€™. Baizuo critics now began to identify Obama and Clinton as the new epitome of the â€˜white leftâ€™, despite the fact that they were neither particularly humanitarian nor particularly kind to migrants. Trump was taken as the champion of everything the â€˜white leftâ€™ were against, and baizuo critics naturally became his enthusiastic supporters. …
From a domestic perspective, the proliferation of anti-baizuo sentiment is clearly in line with the dominance of a kind of brutal, demoralized pragmatism in post-socialist China. Many of the attacks on the welfare state and the idea that states have obligations towards international refugees appeal to the same social Darwinist logic of â€˜survival of the fittestâ€™. It is assumed that individuals should take responsibility for their own misery, whether it is war or poverty, and should not be helped by others. The rationale goes hand in hand with the view that inequality is inevitable in a market-economy-cum-Hobbesian-society. Although economic disparity in China has been worsening in recent years, sociologist Yu Xie found that most Chinese people regard it as an inevitable consequence of economic growth, and that inequality is unlikely to give rise to political or social unrest.
Pragmatism with an emphasis on self-responsibility seems to be the ideology of our post-ideological times. It is, in UK prime minister Theresa Mayâ€™s words, â€˜living within our meansâ€™. This is combined with a general indifference towards race issues, or even worth, with certain social Darwinist beliefs that some races are superior to others, leading many mainland Chinese netizens to dismiss struggles against structural discriminations as naÃ¯ve, pretentious or demanding undeserved privileges.
Seen from the perspective of international relations, the anti-baizuo discourse can be understood as part of what William A. Callahan calls â€˜negative soft powerâ€™, that is, constructing the Chinese self through â€˜the deliberate creation and then exclusionâ€™ of Others as â€˜barbariansâ€™ or otherwise inferior. Criticisms of the â€˜white leftâ€™ against the background of the European refugee crisis fit especially well with the â€˜rising Chinaâ€™ versus â€˜Europe in declineâ€™ narrative. According to Baidu Trends, one of the most related keywords to baizuo was huimie: â€œto destroyâ€. Articles with titles such as â€˜the white left are destroying Europeâ€™ were widely circulated.
In an academic-style essay that was retweeted more than 7000 times on Weibo, a user named â€˜fantasy lover Mr. Liuâ€™ â€˜reviewedâ€™ European philosophy from Voltaire and Marx to Adorno and Foucault, concluding that the â€˜white leftâ€™ as a ‘spiritual epidemic’ is on its way to self-destruction. He then stated that Trumpâ€™s win was only â€œa small victory over this spiritual epidemic of humankindâ€, but â€œwestern civilization is still far from its self-redemptionâ€. However ridiculous it may appear, the post is illustrative of how a demonized Other is projected onto seemingly objective or academic criticisms of the â€˜white leftâ€™. Ultimately, the more the â€˜white leftâ€™ â€“ whatever it means â€“ represent the fatal weakness of democracy, the more institutional and normative security the Chinese regime enjoys. The grassroots campaign against the â€˜white leftâ€™ thus echoes the officially-sanctioned campaign against â€˜universal valuesâ€™, providing a negative evidence for the superiority of the Chinese self.
06 Oct 2016
I still don’t like Trump, but as the residents of Savannah said when they heard that Sherman burned Atlanta: “Some things show that there’s good in everyone.”
The flood of Trump-fearing American liberals sneaking across the border into Canada has intensified in the past week, sparking calls for increased patrols to stop the illegal immigration. The Republican Presidential campaign is prompting an exodus among left-leaning citizens who fear theyâ€™ll soon be required to hunt, pray, and live according to conservative ideas about the Constitution.
Canadian border farmers say itâ€™s not uncommon to see dozens of sociology professors, global warming activists, and â€œgreenâ€ energy proponents crossing their fields at night. â€œI went out to milk the cows the other day, and there was a Hollywood producer huddled in the barn,â€ said Southern Manitoba farmer Red Greenfield, whose acreage borders North Dakota. â€œThe producer was cold, exhausted and hungry. He asked me if I could spare a latte and some free-range chicken. When I said I didnâ€™t have any, he left before I even got a chance to show him my screenplay, eh?â€ In an effort to stop the illegal aliens, Greenfield erected higher fences, but the liberals scaled them. He then installed loudspeakers that blared Rush Limbaugh across the fields, but they just keep coming.
Officials are particularly concerned about smugglers who meet liberals near the Canadian border, pack them into electric cars, and drive them across the border where they are simply left to fend for themselves after the battery dies.â€A lot of these people are not prepared for our rugged conditions,â€ an Ontario border patrolman said. â€œI found one carload without a single bottle of Perrier drinking water. They did have a nice little Napa Valley cabernet, though, and some kale chips.â€
When liberals are caught, theyâ€™re sent back across the border, often wailing loudly that they fear assassination from Trump high hairers. Rumors have been circulating about plans being made to build re-education camps where liberals will be forced to drink domestic beer and study the Constitution.
In recent days, liberals have turned to ingenious ways of crossing the border. Some have been disguised as senior citizens taking a bus trip to buy cheap Canadian prescription drugs. After catching a half- dozen young vegans in blue-hair wig disguises, Canadian immigration authorities began stopping buses and quizzing the supposed senior citizens about Perry Como and Rosemary Clooney to prove that they were alive in the â€™50s.
â€œIf they canâ€™t identify the accordion player on The Lawrence Welk Show, we become very suspicious about their age,â€ an official said.Canadian citizens have complained that the illegal immigrants are creating an organic-broccoli shortage, buying up all the Barbara Streisand c.d.â€™s, and renting all the Michael Moore movies. â€œI really feel sorry for American liberals, but the Canadian economy just canâ€™t support them,â€ an Ottawa resident said. â€œHow many art-history majors does one country need?â€
Hat tip to David Roth.
28 Dec 2015
Yale students confront Silliman College Master Nicholas Christakis
Victor Davis Hanson tends to chuckle when he sees the Revolution devouring its own.
The West is ablaze with protests not just because of the failure of the Left in the cities, on campuses, and across Europe to offer a workable paradigm, but also because of the Leftâ€™s canonic assurances that it could and would.
Deans and mayors promised utopia. When it did not arrive, the only concession they had left was more failed efforts to achieve the unachievable. People turn on their own more violently than they turn on others, as if a liberal, paternal dean should be able to snap his fingers and make liberal students happy. When he so promises, his ensuing failure only makes things worse.
All the banned micro-aggressions, all the safe spaces, all the trigger warnings, and all the fired deans will not make todayâ€™s postmodern students happy, much less appreciative, any more than would mandating authentic ethnic cooks and more year-round hot-tubs. Like addicts, they believe one more cheap fix from a compliant supplier will finally do the trick. Donâ€™t expect the addict to show gratitude to his dealer.
Leftist revolutionaries cannot be satisfied, because they have long ago been given all they asked for, and are now rebelling for the idea of rebelling against something, even if it is reduced to a micro-aggression or founded on a myth like â€œHands up, donâ€™t shoot.â€ Millions of inner-city youths are as furious as are elite students. They got the liberal city and the liberal university they wanted â€” only to rage that human nature is not liberal and that contentment cannot be found through mirror-image government, but only within themselves. How can you rebel against that age-old truth?
Read the whole thing.