Category Archive 'Overton Window'

07 Sep 2019

Breitbart Ousts Radical Dean, Reason Magazine Condemns Conservative Victory

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Breitbart revealed a number of previous expressions of radical left-wing racial chauvinist, anti-White, Anti-American opinions by Jamie Riley, recently appointed (last February) Assistant Vice President and Dean of Students of the University of Alabama.

Alabama is a conservative state and, despite the fact that hiring people with these kinds of deranged, pathological opinions is practically de riguer for prestigious establishment institutions these days, the powers that be at University of Alabama hastily repented, and did their best to sweep the whole business under the rug. Score one for Breitbart!

    Jackson Fuentes, press secretary for the UA Student Government Association, confirmed at 4:15 p.m. that Riley is no longer working at the University.

    “For us right now, basically all I can tell you is that the University and Dr. Riley have mutually agreed to part ways,” Fuentes said. “So yeah, that’s true, and we do wish him the best.”

    In an email at 5:03 p.m., assistant director of the Division of Strategic Communications Chris Bryant released an official statement on behalf of the University confirming Riley’s resignation.

    “Dr. Jamie Riley has resigned his position at The University of Alabama by mutual agreement,” Bryant said in the email. “Neither party will have any further comments.”

Poor oppressed Jamie Riley will have to find a new job. Perhaps, he can help Ta-Nehisi Coates abuse America in the Atlantic, or join the editorial board of the New York Times. He’d be right at home in either one.

It should be obvious to any rational person that you do not put someone whose core philosophy is racially-based prejudice in a position of power over large numbers of people he hates. It should also go without saying that you don’t appoint a crackpot with a radical extremist paranoid view of History, who hates America, to a position in which he is supposed to be an example and a role model.

But, in a hilarious footnote to all of this, (T)Reason Magazine clocked in with a spectacular Liberaltarian editorial by Robby Soave lamenting the premature departure of the good Dr. Riley via Breitbart’s politically partisan agency as a regrettable instance of “Cancel Culture.”

(T)Reason and young Master Soave are obviously afflicted with a terminal case of theory-induced sanctimony. There is a Political and Culture War on. The Left is playing to win, and without regard to Marquess of Queensbury Rules. On the other hand, the Liberaltarian whatevers are playing to win virtue points in their own eyes and to strike poses of piety they can admire in the mirror.

In a state of affairs in which the Left gets to mau-mau out of Dodge anyone who crosses the PC line, but the Other Side defends the Rights of Speech and Opinion of the most rancid variety and encourages the retention of offices of trust and responsibility by avowed enemies of America and of the majority of Americans, the Left certainly gets to enjoy a tactical advantage, to say the least.

20 Aug 2019

“Welcome to the Land of the Perpetually Whiny and Offended”

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Jon Gabriel wrote an excellent column last Saturday in Arizona Central.

One normally only quotes some key bits with the intention of persuading readers to click on the link and read the whole thing at the original published location, but, Good God! the AzCentral page is so loaded with pop-up ads redirecting you elsewhither and, unaccountably, tosses you off the relevant page and on to later stuff with the touch sensitivity of (dry) Nitrogen Triiodide that I reluctantly came to the conclusion that this fine editorial has a very poor life expectancy and will very soon be completely inaccessible, so I’ve quoted the whole bloody thing.

Welcome to America, the land of the perpetually whiny and offended

Opinion: Instead of debating ideas, the left and right are demanding that anyone who annoys them be cast out of polite society.

Sarah Silverman has been canceled. A Hollywood director fired the progressive comedian because of a sketch she performed a dozen years ago.

“I recently was going to do a movie, a sweet part,” Silverman said on a recent podcast. “Then, at 11 p.m. the night before, they fired me because they saw a picture of me in blackface from that episode.”

The Comedy Central sketch lampooned a well-intentioned liberal who stupidly wore blackface to better empathize with African Americans.

“I was doing an episode about race,” she explained. “It was like, I’m playing a character, and I know this is wrong, so I can say it. I’m clearly liberal. That was such liberal-bubble stuff, where I actually thought it was dealing with racism by using racism.”

Silverman may have lost a movie role, but at least she still has a career. Not everyone targeted by the “cancel culture” has been so lucky. Just look at Roseanne Barr, who was fired from her TV show for a bad tweet.
No one is immune from the Cancel Culture

All comedians are watching their backs these days. Kevin Hart was fired as an Oscars host because of decade-old jokes, and Aziz Ansari spent a year in professional hiding after a date gone wrong got him lumped in with the #MeToo backlash.

Silverman now regrets the blackface skit but fears more fallout. “I think it’s really scary and it’s a very odd thing that it’s invaded the left primarily and the right will mimic it.”

She didn’t have to wait long for conservatives to join cancel culture.

Want more opinions? Subscribe to azcentral.com.

A trailer for upcoming film “The Hunt” was released online and controversy followed. The horror film shows wealthy liberal elites hunting a ragtag group of red-state “deplorables” before the backwoods heroes start fighting back.

Despite its portrayal of rural conservatives taking down villainous progressives, several right-wing media stars were outraged.

Even the president joined the backlash. “Liberal Hollywood is Racist at the highest level, and with great Anger and Hate!” Trump said on Twitter. “They like to call themselves ‘Elite,’ but they are not Elite. In fact, it is often the people that they so strongly oppose that are actually the Elite. The movie coming out is made in order to inflame and cause chaos.”

The movie didn’t seem to deal with race one way or the other, but the studio took the hint. Within a day, they pulled the film.

Cancel culture 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.

Way back in the mists of time, say five years ago, if you didn’t like a TV show or movie, you wouldn’t watch it. Now you can ensure that no one watches it, just by slinging some outrage on social media.

Our woke mentality is America’s new Puritanism. Instead of a handy list of sins written thousands of years ago, modern sins are ever-changing. A joke that was deemed progressive a decade ago is retroactively condemned as hate speech.

“If you say the wrong thing,” Silverman said, “everyone is, like, throwing the first stone. It’s a perversion. It’s really, ‘Look how righteous I am and now I’m going to press refresh all day long to see how many likes I get in my righteousness.’ ”

When the mob has burned one witch, they tighten the buckles on their hats and pore through old YouTube videos for their next victim.

It’s time for the perpetually offended on the left and right to bring back two concepts the Puritans were at least familiar with: grace and forgiveness.

07 Apr 2018

The Atlantic Narrows the Overton Window to an Arrow Slit (For Conservatives)

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I think Jonah Goldberg did the best job of putting Kevin Williamson’s rapid firing by The Atlantic (after a single editorial) in the appropriate perspective.

Michael Anton, who penned “The Flight 93 Election” back when he was hiding behind a pen-name, articulated very well in an exchange with me what millions of conservatives believe to be true:

    The old American ideal of judging individuals and not groups, content-of-character-not-color-of-skin, is dead, dead, dead. Dead as a matter of politics, policy and culture. The left plays by new rules. The right still plays by the old rules. The left laughs at us for it — but also demands that we keep to that rulebook. They don’t even bother to cheat. They proclaim outright that “these rules don’t apply to our side.”

I disagree with Anton’s prescription — to surrender to identity politics and cheat the way our “enemies” do — but I cannot argue much with this description of a widespread mindset. Many on the right are surrendering to the logic of the mob because they are sick of double standards. Again, I disagree with the decision to surrender, but I certainly empathize with the temptation. The Left and the mainstream media can’t even see how they don’t want to simply win, they want to force people to celebrate their victories (“You will be made to care!”). It isn’t forced conversion at the tip of a sword, but at the blunt edge of a virtual mob.

I could go on for another 2,000 words about all of the double standards I have in mind. But let’s stick with the subject at hand: Kevin Williamson’s views on abortion put him outside the mainstream. And he was fired from The Atlantic merely for refusing to recant them.

Meanwhile, extreme views on the left are simply hot takes or even signs of genius. Take the philosopher Peter Singer. He has at least as extreme views on a host of issues, and he is feted and celebrated for them. He is the author of the Encyclopedia Britannica’s entry on “Ethics.” He holds an endowed chair at Princeton. He writes regularly for leading publications. And he argues that sometimes it’s okay to kill babies, as in his essay “Killing Babies Isn’t Always Wrong.” “Newborn human babies,” he writes, “have no sense of their own existence over time. So killing a newborn baby is never equivalent to killing a person, that is, a being who wants to go on living.” He cutely asks whether people should cease to exist. (He ultimately and grudgingly answers “No.”) Oh, he also argues in favor of bestiality.

And he’s been profiled favorably in the pages of The Atlantic.

And that’s okay. I can’t stand his utilitarian logic-chopping and nihilistic view of humanity, but at least going by Nock’s Ark of the Covenant rules, he should be free to make his arguments anywhere willing editors want to publish them. We have a right to be wrong.

But that’s not the point: Singer’s work does not render him anathema in elite circles, it earns awards, praise, and celebration for its ruthless consistency and edgy provocation. He is not fired for what he writes never mind what he thinks. I have no doubt some people don’t think this is a perfect example of a double standard, and I could come up with some objections to it myself. But if you can’t see why some people — fellow American citizens — see it as a glaring double standard, you are part of the problem.

Kevin was hired by The Atlantic because he is among the best of the homeless conservatives in the Trump Era. That’s why Bret Stephens went to the New York Times, and it’s probably why I’ve gotten my share of strange new respect from some liberals. But what Goldberg — or his boss — and countless others fail to appreciate, I think, is that the Trump Era is merely one facet of the larger age of tribalism that we live in. In an age when evangelical Christians and constitutional conservatives can overlook the sins of a Roy Moore, it’s easy to see how people could mistake a Trump critic as a useful voice in their chorus. But Kevin isn’t one of them. He sings from his own hymnal and he stands athwart the tribalisms of Trumpism and the tribalisms that gave us Trump. He is in The Remnant (which Nock described in, of all places, The Atlantic). And I am honored to be a happy warrior by his side, hopefully at National Review once again.

RTWT

It seems to me that The Atlantic disgraced and embarrassed itself so badly that it really did far more damage to itself than to Kevin Williamson.


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