Free Markets, Free People

Culture

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This isn’t America anymore

VDH has had enough of the whiners too.  Since the football season has started he has chosen to highlight Brandon Marshall, the New York Jets wide receiver and occasional sports commentator’s remarks that the NFL is, apparently, racist.

He claims that the NFL favors white players over black players, especially white quarterbacks.  Never mind the fact that while blacks make up approximately 12% of the population, they hold 67% of the positions on NFL teams.  Never mind the fact that Marshall just signed a 3 year contract for $27 million.  Never mind that blacks make up 16% of the coaches and 24% of the general managers … the league is just “racist.”

For whatever reason, Marshall just has to lay racism as a charge.  His “reasoning?”

Tuesday, on Showtime’s Inside the NFL, the talented New York Jets receiver said about the reversal of Tom Brady’s four-game suspension, “The race card. There are a lot of players out there that believe that white players—specifically, at the quarterback position—are treated differently.”

If Marshall is accusing the NFL of racism, this is a pretty poor example. The NFL threw the book at Brady for his alleged role in the football deflation scandal. Federal Judge Richard Berman reversed the four-game suspension. Roger Goodell upheld it.

Well, it’s the best Marshall can come up with to illustrate his ill founded charge.  He has become another of a legion out there that want to blame every little grievance, substantiated or not, on race, or gender, or men, or whatever.  And he’s obviously ignorant of the facts.  But in the era of the victim (thanks Obama), none of that matters.  It’s the grievance and the narrative that accompanies it that are important.

The cult of the whining victim is now ubiquitous. Two high-school football players in Texas, angry that their team is losing and galvanized by their whining coach, decide to take out a referee and smash him with two cowardly hits. The reason? They claim the flattened ref got what he deserved — because of course he was a racist. The Marine Corps has discovered, as Nature might have advised it, that male ground troops on average perform more muscularly and effectively in rough combat-simulated training than do women. They apparently prove stronger, more combative, blood-thirsty, and aggressive, and fight with greater stamina. One reaction is not to accept the data, but, of course, by whining how the data has been improperly — and no doubt — socially constructed in sexist fashion, or is irrelevant altogether, maybe the standards can be lowered a bit.

This cult has, unfortunately, infected a large portion of our population.  And, as pointed out about the Marine Corps test, if the results don’t measure up to the predetermined solution, someone will whine, and they have.  The narrative will win out, regardless of reality or the consequences of ignoring it in the real world.  And frankly, I agree wholeheartedly with this:

The 21st century has become a cowardly era in which we point to collective race, class, or gender rather than own up to our record of behavior and performance when our exalted expectations are not met.

This was inevitable.  It is no longer about equal opportunity that it is your responsibility to take charge of, it is about equal outcomes that is someone else’s job to ensure:

The culprits are not just our obsessions with race, class, and gender, or the careerist aspirations of elites. We also live in the most affluent and leisured era in the history of Western civilization. But given human nature, our bounty has not given us pause for appreciation, but rather increased our appetites in geometric fashion. The more we have, the more we think we deserve — or else. In an affluent society, society can afford now to have no losers. There is enough stuff and praise to be shared by all. In T-ball everyone is a winner; so is today’s student who feels A’s are his birthright. The poor man in the inner city has more computing power in his palm with an Apple smartphone than did the billionaire twenty years ago in his study — but, of course, not as versatile a phone perhaps as that of today’s billionaire, and thus he can legitimately whine that life is not fair due to the machinations of someone else.

And so, as we’re seeing in our colleges and universities, we’re raising a generation of hot house flowers who will never survive in “Hard America”, but will have a thousand and one excuses for their failures and a thousand and one lawsuits presented by lawyers happy to take their (parent’s) money.

This isn’t America anymore.

~McQ

 

Our society of victims

Anyone who has read QandO for any time at all knows I am fascinated by these sorts of topics.  This comes out of Reason’s “Hit & Run” blog.  It offers an explanation concerning what we’ve been watching happen over the last 20 to 30 years.  The change from a more self-reliant people who tried to be better to a growing culture of “victimhood”.

Some background first:

In honor cultures, people (men) maintained their honor by responding to insults, slights, violations of rights by self-help violence. Generally honor cultures exist where the rule of law is weak. In honor cultures, people protected themselves, their families, and property through having a reputation for swift violence. During the 19th century, most Western societies began the moral transition toward dignity cultures in which all citizens were legally endowed with equal rights. In such societies, persons, property, and rights are defended by recourse to third parties, usually courts, police, and so forth, that, if necessary, wield violence on their behalf. Dignity cultures practice tolerance and are much more peaceful than honor cultures.

However:

Sociologists Bradley Campbell and Jason Manning are arguing that the U.S. is now transitioning to a victimhood culture that combines both the honor culture’s quickness to take offense with the dignity culture’s use of third parties to police and punish transgressions. The result is people are encouraged to think of themselves as weak, marginalized, and oppressed. This is nothing less than demoralizing and polarizing as everybody seeks to become a “victim.”

Indeed.  I’ve seen it any number of times personally over the years.  And, as you might imagine, this transition into the victimhood culture is becoming both extensive and actually supported by, well “victims” and those with some sort of pseudo-guilt.  The “white privilege” nonsense is a perfect example.  Cultural “appropriation” is another victimhood scam.

With that background, this is a very interesting explanation of what we have going on and where it is likely to lead (and, of course, note where the impact, at this moment in time, is the strongest and how well that’s going):

A) Microaggression as Overstratification
According to Black (2011), as noted above, changes in stratification, intimacy, and diversity cause conflict. Microaggression complaints are largely about changes in stratification. They document actions said to increase the level of inequality in a social relationship – actions Black refers to as “overstratification.” Overstratification offenses occur whenever anyone rises above or falls below others in status. [Therefore…] a morality that privileges equality and condemns oppression is most likely to arise precisely in settings that already have relatively high degrees of equality… In modern Western societies, egalitarian ethics have developed alongside actual political and economic equality.As women moved into the workforce in large numbers, became increasingly educated, made inroads into highly paid professions such as law and medicine, and became increasingly prominent in local, state, and national politics, sexism became increasingly deviant. The taboo has grown so strong that making racist statements, even in private, might jeopardize the careers of celebrities or the assets of businessmen (e.g., Fenno, Christensen, and Rainey 2014; Lynch 2013). [p.706-707] [In other words, as progress is made toward a more equal and humane society, it takes a smaller and smaller offense to trigger a high level of outrage. The goalposts shift, allowing participants to maintain a constant level of anger and constant level of perceived victimization.]

B) Microaggression as underdiversity
Microaggression offenses also tend to involve what Black calls “underdiversity” – the rejection of a culture. Large acts of underdiversity include things like genocide or political oppression, while smaller acts include ethnic jokes or insults. The publicizers of microaggressions are concerned with the latter, as well as more subtle, perhaps inadvertent, cultural slights…. Just as overstratification conflict varies inversely with stratification, underdiversity conflict varies directly with diversity (Black 2011:139). Attempts to increase stratification, we saw, are more deviant where stratification is at a minimum; likewise, attempts to decrease diversity are more deviant where diversity is at a maximum. In modern Western societies, an ethic of cultural tolerance – and often incompatibly, intolerance of intolerance – has developed in tandem with increasing diversity. Since microaggression offenses normally involve overstratification and underdiversity, intense concern about such offenses occurs at the intersection of the social conditions conducive to the seriousness of each. It is in egalitarian and diverse settings – such as at modern American universities – that equality and diversity are most valued, and it is in these settings that perceived offenses against these values are most deviant. [p.707]. [Again, the paradox: places that make the most progress toward equality and diversity can expect to have the “lowest bar” for what counts as an offense against equality and inclusivity. Some colleges have lowered the bar so far that an innocent question, motivated by curiosity, such as “where are you from” is now branded as an act of aggression.]

C) Victimhood as Virtue
When the victims publicize microaggressions they call attention to what they see as the deviant behavior of the offenders. In doing so they also call attention to their own victimization. Indeed, many ways of attracting the attention and sympathy of third parties emphasize or exacerbate the low status of the aggrieved. People portray themselves as oppressed by the powerful – as damaged, disadvantaged, and needy. [They describe such practices going back to ancient Rome and India] … But why emphasize one’s victimization? Certainly the distinction between offender and victim always has moral significance, lowering the offender’s moral status. In the settings such as those that generate microaggression catalogs, though, where offenders are oppressors and victims are the oppressed, it also raises the moral status of the victims. This only increases the incentive to publicize grievances, and it means aggrieved parties are especially likely to highlight their identity as victims, emphasizing their own suffering and innocence. Their adversaries are privileged and blameworthy, but they themselves are pitiable and blameless. [p.707-708] [This is the great tragedy: the culture of victimization rewards people for taking on a personal identity as one who is damaged, weak, and aggrieved. This is a recipe for failure — and constant litigation — after students graduate from college and attempt to enter the workforce].

Fascinating, frightning and enlightening.

Discuss.

~McQ

 

All lives matter … except to the media

Unfortunately, the broader point expressed below is dead on right:

Who gets believed, in our age of ever-present media, is who talks the loudest. Donald Trump, for example.

Then there’s the Black Lives Matter movement, with its clamorous dedication to the idea that white racism is behind the killing of black men around the country, nothing else — not circumstance, not misjudgment, not fear — just out-and-out racism, end of discussion, period, shut up.

And so, because they interrupt Democratic party candidate rallies and shout down speakers, they’re suddenly “believed” to be a potent and credible group.

But they’re not. They’re just loud.  And rude. Kanye West rude.  They may represent a good portion of the black population, at least in some form or fashion (i.e. the general belief that, in fact, black lives do matter), but any group that chants,  “Pigs in a blanket! Fry ’em like bacon” pointed at the police isn’t about saving black lives.  And the various factions which have taken leadership in this group have made that very clear its not really about black lives.  One even challenged blacks to kill a white, take a picture and send it to them. Yeah, that’ll ensure black lives matter won’t it?  A couple of days later, an officer is gunned down in cold blood refilling his patrol car by a cowardly murderer who happens to be black.

And if you say “all lives matter”?  Well, this vocal minority will boo you and try to shut you down.

There’s a larger point here though:

The media, which lean overwhelmingly left, and the political fraternity, with its own leftist component, don’t fool around much with narratives that contradict left-wing (aka “progressive”) essentials. Among these essentials: the conviction that American whites, having racked up a record of racial oppression, are due for a comeuppance. On such terms, a dead white cop, shot by an inner-city (or in the Harris County case, a suburban) black man isn’t half so interesting a story as an inner-city black man shot by a white cop.

That’s right, the media and the narrative they unwaveringly carry and push has culpability in the violence and unrest we suffer today.  It also has culpability in setting race relations back 30 years in favor of this false narrative.  Advocacy journalism has now replaced fact and research based journalism, much to everyone’s detriment.

The narrative and support of the narrative helps paper over the real problems and shift the blame on the less favored:

Excluding racism as a grievance causes you to fall back on more embarrassing factors: e.g., the country’s moral/cultural climate, wherein Doing Whatever You Feel Like Doing is the normal expectation; when “guilt” for the past can be made to compensate emotionally for present-day failures and shortcomings; when government remedies (gun control, more spending, etc.) can be represented as more urgent than any morally reparative work likely to come out of home or school or church.

It becomes more important, on these paltry terms, to haul away a statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis from the University of Texas main mall (as happened over the weekend of the Minnesota fair demonstrations and the Harris County execution) than, say, to pray for human reconciliation on terms profounder than modern academic leaders are likely to understand or commend.

And we suffer because of it.

This is what decades of progressivism have wrought.  A morally rudderless nation, becoming less and less free and led by incompetent politicians who kowtow to vulgar and racist tribes by trying to make common cause with them … for their “votes”.

What a world we live in.

~McQ

When you shift blame to others, problems never get solved

Problem:

“Here is what I would like for you to know,” writes Ta-Nehisi Coates in his new book, which is addressed to his 14-year-old son. “In America, it is traditional to destroy the black body – it is heritage.”

Mr. Coates is being widely described as the heir to James Baldwin, the novelist and social critic whose powerful work on the brutal realities of race galvanized an earlier generation of Americans. Much of the nation remained segregated then. Black people were denied their voting rights, and racists blew up little girls in churches.

As Mr. Coates tells it, nothing has changed. Instead of being gunned down by the Klan, black men are gunned down by the cops. Racism is still the essence of America. White prosperity was built on black suffering, which created the privileges that white people enjoy today. Black-on-black carnage (as in Chicago, where gun crime is epidemic ) is the poisoned fruit of white supremacy, and is embedded in a structure that is dominated by whites. If you are white, you have an unfair advantage based solely on your skin colour. You are part of the problem.

Emperor Has No Clothes problem:

Mr. Coates’s book, Between the World and Me, has been lionized by the white intelligentsia. “Extraordinary,” said The New Yorker’s David Remnick. David Brooks, the usually level-headed New York Times columnist, sincerely asked if he, as a white man, has the moral standing to question any part of it. The Times’s film critic, A.O. Scott, called his writing “essential, like water or air.”

But some are skeptical of all this rapture. “This is more than admiration. It is an affirmation of enlightenment,” observed Carlos Lozada, the Washington Post’s book critic. “The more radical Coates’s critique of America, the more tightly America embraces him.”

Reality:

The racial horrors of the past are undeniable. But the reality of black life has changed immensely since the ’50s. Black governors, mayors, and a president are the new normal. Black families are far more prosperous. Although discrimination has by no means disappeared, social attitudes have undergone a revolution. Yet even as racial attitudes and racial equality evolve, enlightened people rush to don the shroud of guilt.

Yes they do, and for what reason I have yet to fathom.  I feel none of the supposed “guilt”, but then I’m conversant with history and understand that while blacks did suffer slavery in this country it was whites who stopped it and whites who’ve ensured that blacks are accepted as equals in today’s society.

Now I understand that’s heresy to the progressive mind.  And that it is my “white privilege” that allows me to believe that.  Except I grew up when Jim Crow was alive and I lived in the segregated South and I happen to know what it was like and how very far we’ve come since then.  So, unlike most of those today who parrot the grievance line, I actually know what it was like then.  And the statement above is completely true – “the reality of black life has changed immensely since the ’50s” – but you wouldn’t know it to listen to the left today.

Denial of reality and the result:

Much of the liberal establishment today is obsessed with white supremacy, and what to do about it. Schoolteachers are required to take “cultural proficiency training,” so that they can “recognize the impact of systemic oppression of people in America who are not heterosexual white men.” The New York Times is currently publishing an exhaustive series on white privilege that features interviews with intellectuals such as Joe Feagin, a (white) sociologist who claims that Americans are no less racist than they ever were (they just disguise it better), and that children are indoctrinated into racism from the time they’re babies. When Mr. Coates published an article in The Atlantic last year calling for trillions in reparations, it was received with widespread enthusiasm.

And, of course, guys like Feagin have absolutely no scientific proof of anything.  It’s pure poppycock pop science.  This drive by the progressive left to don the mantle of “white guilt” is one thing – if they want to feel guilty, let them.  But when they talk about messing with my life because they’ve chosen to feel this guilt, the ball game changes.  While they’re entitled to their fantasy, they’re not entitled, through the force of law, to fund their fantasy (i.e. reparations in payment for “white guilt”) with my money.

The problem with the fantasy:

The political commentator John McWhorter argues that the doctrine of structural racism according to Mr. Coates has become a new form of liberal religion. His book is not so much an intellectual argument as a fiery testament from the pulpit. White progressives have embraced the gospel because it allows them to feel absolved from the charge of racism. By professing their guilt, they can also display their virtue to their peers. “You have original sin, you have this guilt, you acknowledge your guilt,” Mr. McWhorter said in a recent podcast. “What you’re doing is being religious – eating the wafer and life goes on.”

Mr. McWorter calls this a form of social signalling. Whether it really helps to ease racial tensions in America – or advance the cause of black people – is beside the point. “When you acknowledge your white privilege it doesn’t do anything for us,” he said. “It has nothing to do with creating change.”

The religion of structural racism allows everyone to duck the profound challenges still faced by the black community. It disempowers people and absolves them of responsibility. If structural racism is to blame for black violence, then communities will never be able to heal themselves. Mr. McWhorter argues that blaming white racism for the existential crisis in black communities like Chicago’s is a monstrous evasion.

Indeed it is.  As long as one group is able to shift the blame for that group’s problems on another group, the first group will never face or solve their problems.  And that’s precisely what is happening.  Aided and abetted by progressives.

Secondly, McWorter is right …. “structural racism” has become a religion, primarily because one has to take it on faith it exists since no one can point it in reality.

Sad but true note:

Where is today’s equivalent of Martin Luther King? Tragically, he doesn’t exist. And if he did, nobody would listen to him. He’d be booed off the stage as an Uncle Tom. The tragedy of race relations in America today is that nihilism and rage are a bigger draw.

Obama had a chance and he chose to go in the opposite direction.

We now live with the result.

~McQ

Absurdity, thy name is UT

The freaking world is going off the rails at a faster rate than I thought. Now this silliness:

The University of Tennessee is asking students to use “ze, hir, hirs, and xe, xem, xyr.”

No, those words are not another language. They’re actually the gender-neutral singular versions of pronouns.

Oh, how … nice. And their purpose?

The University of Tennessee Office for Diversity and Inclusion is asking students and faculty to use the pronouns in order to create a more inclusive campus. They say it alleviates a heavy burden for people expressing different genders or identities.

A more inclusive campus?  Really?  Given the SWJs and their vendettas, how inclusive will the campus be if you happen to forget to use these idiotic affectations?

“These may sound a little funny at first, but only because they are new,” Braquet said. “The she and he pronouns would sound strange too if we had been taught ze when growing up.”

Braquet said if students and faculty cannot use ze, hir, hirs, xe, xem or xyr, they can also politely ask. “’Oh, nice to meet you, [insert name]. What pronouns should I use?’ is a perfectly fine question to ask,” ze said.

Talk about infantile nonsense.  Would you ask [insert name] what “pronouns” to use to address them, or would you operate off of your ability to discriminate and choose the proper one all by your stupid little lonesome?

Yes, Ms. Braquet, the do sound a “little funny”, not to mention a little stupid and frankly totally unnecessary.  You, madam, have too much time on your hands as well as an unnecessary “job” that is one of the reasons college tuitions are higher (more admin than professors).

Please treat this woman and her silliness as the absurdity it is, students at UT.  If not, try using these “pronouns” when you graduate and apply for a job.  I can’t wait to here about the results when you do.

gender-pronouns

Oh, and irony of all … they still seem to identify someone by their … gender!  “Hir” is female and “Zir” is male – or so it seems.  “Gender neutral” would make no distinction.

Idiots!

~McQ

“Cultural libertarians” v. “Social Justice Warriors”

Or said another way, anti-authoritarians v. authoritarians.  Although the author of the cited article would like you to believe his “coined phrase’ describes a new movement, yeah, not so much.  Some of us have been fighting this battle for over 25 years.  That said, it’s an interesting article.  Here’s the intro (read the whole thing):

A new force is emerging in the culture wars. Authoritarians of all stripes, from religious reactionaries to left-wing “social justice warriors,” are coming under fire from a new wave of thinkers, commentators, and new media stars who reject virtually all of their political values.

From the banning of Charlie Hebdo magazine across British university campuses on the grounds that it promoted islamophobia, to the removal of the video game Grand Theft Auto V from major retailers in Australia on the grounds that it promoted sexism, threats to cultural freedom proliferate.

But a growing number of commentators, media personalities and academics reject the arguments that underpin these assaults on free expression, in particular the idea that people are either too emotionally fragile to deal with “offence” or too corruptible to be exposed to dangerous ideas.

In a recent co-authored feature for BreitbartI coined a term to describe this new trend: cultural libertarianism. The concept was critically discussed by Daniel Pryor at the Centre for a Stateless Society, who drew attention to the increasing viciousness of cultural politics in the internet age.

There is a reason for the sound and fury. Like all insurgent movements, the emergence of cultural libertarianism is creating tensions, border skirmishes, and even the occasional war with lazy incumbent elites. Some of these rows can be breathtakingly vitriolic, as self-righteous anger from social justice types collides with mocking and occasionally caustic humour from cultural libertarians.

It’s not a new trend, folks.  It is as old as anti-authoritarianism – and that’s hardly new.  But it seems, given the nature of man, that opposition to authoritarianism has always been an “insurgent movement”.  For whatever reason, but primarily false “security”, we, as human beings seem to tend toward various aspects of authoritarianism.  My guess is because freedom is hard and it allows a lot of things many of us find a bit hard to tolerate (which is part of the irony, since SJW claim to be “tolerant” but are mostly intolerant of any ideas but their own – and don’t mind looking for ways to stifle those they don’t agree with).

Anyway, I’ve been fighting that battle in this format (blog) for 12 years.  Before that, a few years on usenet, and before the internet, on multiple BBS sites (you remember BBS’s where you used your dial up and nifty PK zip and PK unzip to send message packets).  Authoritarianism didn’t begin when the internet was invented nor has resistance to it been a recent phenomenon.

That said, it’s good that it continues and, in the age of the internet, is growing even more than it was prior to the internet.  That’s because people can find each other no matter where they may be.  And, it seems, they’re doing so.  That’s a very good thing.  It allows “calls to arms” and those of a like mind to rally in opposition.  Of course, that works for the other side as well, but, as has been my experience, when confronted with their own words, especially as they’ve tried to redefine them (especially when you deconstruct them), well, they are rarely ever able to explain the hypocrisy. The phrase “I don’t think that word means what you think it means” has never been more true with confronting SJWs.

The other important thing that happens is the anti-authoritarian arguments are now broadcast more widely, so for those who are interested, they’re readily available.  Some folks know that what they’re hearing from the SJWs isn’t quite right, but they can’t put their finger on the explanation or counter argument.  With the number of well written arguments now published on line in opposition to the authoritarian/SJW arguments, that’s no longer a problem.

Because of the internet, that formerly insurgent movement isn’t necessarily isolated to a geographic region or cultural group.  It’s no longer necessarily “insurgent”.  It now has the ability to spread and spread quickly.  I find that to be a consummate “good thing”, even if some guy at Breitbart who is likely in his mid 20s, thinks this is all “new”.

~McQ

Stray Voltage

As Venezuela slowly starves and the economy has all but shut down, guess who the richest person in the country might be?

The daughter of Hugo Chavez, the former president who once declared ‘being rich is bad,’ may be the wealthiest woman in Venezuela, according to evidence reportedly in the hands of Venezuelan media outlets.

Maria Gabriela Chavez, 35, the late president’s second-oldest daughter, holds assets in American and Andorran banks totaling almost $4.2billion, Diario las Americas reports.

The figure would make Gabriela Chavez wealthier than media mogul Gustavo Cisneros, whom Forbes named the wealthiest Venezuelan earlier this year with $3.6billion in assets.

I know … purely a coincidence.  But it does prove, if true, that socialism does pay … those in charge (I’m sure this wasn’t something he saved up from his army pay).  The rest?  They get stores with nothing on the shelves and hyper-inflation.  Brilliant.

Jazz Shaw is thinking Hillary may shrug off email flap (he’s speaking purely in a political sense, not if someone grows a pair and actually arrests and indicts her):

The bottom line is that there are a significant number of Americans out there – mostly Democrats, but not all – who seem to be telling us, yes, you’ve made your point. Hillary is all those things you said she was. But what the heck. I’ll vote for her. And one of the major reasons for this is that this email server story simply isn’t resonating with people.

Well, to be fair, it’s not resonating with those people.  The reason it isn’t resonating with other people is they really haven’t heard much about it thanks to the media.  But for those that have, they want the allegations investigated.  Look, yellow dog Democrats are going to vote for their particular yellow dog – regardless of the cur’s pedigree, problems or evidence against it.  In this case I think Clinton will find a minion to take the fall, and, in effect, will shrug it off.  But that doesn’t change Shaw’s point … even if she’s in prison orange, those people will vote for her.

Megan McArdle talks about the nonsense that is going on at colleges everywhere.  That is the cosseting of the student body who have become so fearful of ideas that they don’t like that they invoke “safety” as their concern.

Students demanding that campus life be bowdlerized to preserve their peace of mind seem to believe that the best way to deal with trauma is to avoid any mention of it. But Lukianoff and Haidt argue that this is exactly backward; chronic avoidance breeds terror. The current climate on campus is a recipe for producing fearful adults who are going to have difficulty coping in an adult world. It’s as if we were trying to prepare the next generation of American citizens by keeping them in kindergarten until the age of 23.

I’m not sure that anyone should be surprised.  These are the kids who come from the era of everyone gets a trophy and we don’t keep score so the other team won’t feel bad.  Why in the world would any one expect anything else from them.  When they finally gain the halls of ivy, they’re conditioned to eschew competition.  So the idea of competing ideas, especially ideas they’re not comfortable with, is terrifying.

They’ll do great in the real world, won’t they?

Meanwhile, on another planet:

If Vice President Joe Biden makes the leap into the Democratic presidential race, he could promise that he would serve just one term in the White House, journalist and author Carl Bernstein said Friday.

“And one thing that I keep hearing about Biden is that if he were to declare and say, because age is such a problem for him if he does, I want to be a one-term president. I want to serve for four years, unite Washington. I’ve dealt with the Republicans in Congress all my public life,” Bernstein told CNN’s “New Day.”

“I think there’s a conversation going on to that effect among his aides and friends,” he said. “It could light fire to the current political environment.”

It would be a back-fire, if anything.  Anyway, the circus could use one more clown.

~McQ

Culture War 4.0 – the “overreach” cycle

Benjamin Domenech and Robert Tracinski have an intriguing article up at The Federalist in which they opine the left in general, and Social Justice Warriors in particular, are setting up a huge cultural backlash by their triumphalism and overreach following the SCOTUS finding in favor of gay marriage.  They site the “iron law of the cultures wars” as their premise.

The iron law of the culture wars is that the public hates overreach—and each side will always overreach.

Domenech and Tracinski take us through the history of our recent culture wars.  1.0 was the ’60s and 70’s “counterculture”.

[C]onsisted of a combination of two things: a promise of “liberation” from restrictions that seemed overly Puritanical and outmoded, combined with an ideological goal of the destruction of existing social institutions such as church, family, and capitalism.

The first aim had a broad appeal, promising freedom from blue-nosed moral scolds and a liberating revolution in human behavior. But the second was a more aggressive and provocative attack on institutions that had endured since before the country existed. By the late 1970s, the effects of the Counterculture were hitting with full force, and people didn’t like what they saw.

Which led to the backlash of 2.0.  The birth of the “Religious Right” which became the “Moral Majority” and a move back toward more traditional values.

Reagan Democrats partnered with Republicans to pursue a law-and-order agenda. Overwhelming bipartisan majorities passed religious freedom laws, which Bill Clinton dutifully signed.

Then came the overreach:

Political wives started a crusade against violent and sexually explicit television, movies, and popular music.

The desire to “ban” what isn’t “acceptable” by the culture driving the train at the moment seems overwhelming, regardless of the side.

On to 3.0 which is a bit more complex.  Clinton was impeached, which much of the country saw as overreach (it was none of the business of politicians, they figured), especially in light of those condemning him (remember Jimmy Swaggart and the Bakkers?).  But again, what it primarily did was put the “counterculture” kids back on the offensive and the more traditional side, guilty of the overreach, on the defensive again:

The Counterculture kids from the 1960s and 70s were now ensconced in positions of power. They had taken over the universities in the 1990s and began to assert a campus culture of conformity on issues involving religion and sex. They had established themselves as the leaders in entertainment and popular culture. The nostalgic and implicitly conservative pop culture of the 1980s and 1990s, where villains were Nazis, Communists, feckless bureaucrats, and irresponsible reporters—gave way to influential depictions designed to press a change in social norms. 1998 brought Bill Clinton’s impeachment, but it also brought “Will & Grace” and a push for greater tolerance and acceptance of homosexuality. The crusade for gay marriage—a key change in goals for the gay-rights movement—threw religious conservatives into a defensive posture, causing them to fight to maintain their mores as public policy via gay-marriage bans.

Boom – here we are, and we’ve entered 4.0 and the beginnings of overreach by the left:

Today we live in the early stages of that triumph, and as a small number of public intellectuals and media commentators predicted, it is a bloody triumph indeed. Culture War 4.0 brings the Counterculture full circle: now they have become the blue-nosed, Puritanical establishment. Once they began to achieve their goals and saw the culture moving their way, they moved from making a plea for tolerance and freedom to demanding persecution of anyone who dissents against the new orthodoxy in even the smallest way.

Whichever side believes it is winning will tend to overreach, pushing too far, too fast, and alienating the public.

In just the past two years, the Counterculture’s neo-Puritanical reign has made things political that were never thought to be: Shirtstorms and Gamergate, Chik-fil-A and Brandon Eich, Indiana and Sad Puppies, and don’t you dare say Caitlyn Jenner isn’t a hero.

Instead of being content and modest in their victory for gay rights, the left has chosen instead to be aggressive and intolerant.  Overreach begins:

Within hours of the Supreme Court’s resolution of the battle over same-sex marriage—the triumph of a generation of gay-rights activists—some were already calling for further steps to take tax exemptions away from churches, use anti-discrimination laws to target religious non-profits, and crack down on religious schools’ access to voucher programs. We learned media entities would no longer publish the views of those opposed to gay marriage or treat it as an issue with two sides, and the American Civil Liberties Union announced it would no longer support bipartisan religious-freedom measures it once backed wholeheartedly. A reality TV star pushed the transgender rights movement into the center of the national dialogue even as Barack Obama’s administration used its interpretation of Title IX to push its genderless bathroom policies into public schools. And we learned that pulling Confederate merchandise off the shelves isn’t enough to mitigate the racism of the past—we must bring down statues and street signs, too, destroying reminders of history now deemed inconvenient and unsafe.

On college campuses and in the workplace, across mass media and social media, for American celebrities and private citizens, every comment, act, or joke can make you the next target for a ritual of daily attack by outraged Twitter mobs. It is now an unavoidable fact of life that giving money to the wrong cause, making a “clumsy attempt at humor,” or taking the wrong side on a celebrity, religious debate, or magazine cover can lead to threats of violent death, end your career in an instant, or make you the most hated person in America for 15 minutes—longer if you bungle the apology.

American society is, for the most part, an incredibly tolerant society.  However, there is a point beyond which it won’t be pushed.  It reacts, sometimes subtly and sometimes more forcefully.  It is that innate tolerance that drives this reaction.  Tolerance cannot abide the intolerance of those who would impose their cultural values on others by force – i.e. the force of law, bans, infringement on rights, etc.  There are lines drawn by society at large and it doesn’t care what side the culture warriors are on, it refuses to let them cross those lines.

We’re again seeing a coalition forming in opposition to the current “victors” of the culture wars, interestingly including many on the left.  We’re also beginning to see the SJWs and their like begin to “eat their own” as their rigid orthodoxy is applied to their own kind.  It was inevitable and it is somewhat humorous to watch.  But the bottom line is they’ve overreached and are now beginning to reap the backlash they have sown.

Frankly, that is long overdue.  As Domenech and Traciski conclude:

This is the hopeful side of the culture wars—a call for engagement, not retreat. Religious believers weighing the option of withdrawing from a culture increasingly hostile to their values should redouble their efforts to cultivate their ideas within active subcultures that influence the nation and the next generation of Americans. Those who share a commitment to the freedom to think, speak, associate, publish, and express their beliefs may not have the American Civil Liberties Union in our corner any more—but that just means that we get to take up the noble cause, and the moral authority, they have abandoned.

Yes, this can be a dangerous time to be active in the culture. But it’s very hard to make speech codes, safe spaces, and other anti-thoughtcrime measures work in the long term. Sometimes all it takes for the whole apparatus to come crashing down is a handful of people brave enough to speak their minds without fear.

~McQ

 

Let’s dump the Confederate flag. And let’s also dump the “Congressional Black Caucus, La Raza, etc.

Victor Davis Hanson makes the point that what once began as an exceptional experiment in unity and was often dubbed “a melting pot”, has now become a grouping of humorless and easily offended factions always trying to claim the mantle of victimhood:

In the last half-century, Americans have increasingly tended to emphasize race and tribe in promoting “diversity,” rather than seeking to strengthen the more tenuous notion of unity with their fellow citizens. We have forgotten that human nature is fond of division and must work at setting aside superficial tribal affinities to unite on the basis of core values and ideas. Symbols, flags, organizations, and phrases that emphasize racial difference and ethnic pride are no longer just fossilized notions from the 1960s; they are growing fissures in the American mosaic that now threaten to split the country apart — fueling the suspicion of less liberal and more homogeneous nations that the great American experiment will finally unwind as expected.

Symbols, flags, organizations, and phrases that emphasize racial difference and ethnic pride are no longer just fossilized notions from the 1960s; they are growing fissures in the American mosaic that now threaten to split the country apart — fueling the suspicion of less liberal and more homogeneous nations that the great American experiment will finally unwind as expected.

So the answer?  Dump all the symbols and organizations that divide.  Drop the race exclusive organizations like La Raza and the Congressional Black Caucus.  Either that or keep your mouth shut when someone starts the National Association of White People.

You can’t have it both ways.  And remember something that is indeed unique about this land:

In an America that was originally founded by mostly Northern European immigrants, a Juan Lopez from Oaxaca is freely accepted as a U.S. citizen in a way that a white Bob Jones would never fully be embraced as a citizen of Mexico, a country whose constitution still expressly sets out racially chauvinistic guidelines that govern immigration law. Someone who appears African or European would have a hard time fully integrating as a citizen in Chinese, Korean, or Japanese society, in a way not true of Chinese, Koreans, and Japanese in America. The world assumes that in America a president, attorney general, secretary of state, or Supreme Court justice can be black; but it would be as surprised to find whites as high public officials in Zimbabwe as to find a black as prime minister or foreign minister in Sweden or Germany.

We are Americans and we come from all sorts of places and backgrounds, but when we come here we do indeed assimilate into the dominant culture?

Why?  Because it is that culture (which, by the way, is borrowed from some of the best of many different cultures) that has made this country both exceptional and great.  It’s is the “go to” place for those looking for a better life.  Our illegal immigration problem points to that.

But if the left has its way, we’ll all hyphenate our “american” identity, claim victim status and work to divide the polity into bickering hate groups who find everyone else (to include those back through the centuries) at fault for their status.

Were there wrongs committed in history against various races and ethnic groups?  Of course there were.  But we don’t live in that era.   What counts is where we are today.  If those wrongs no longer exist then any progressive worth their salt should be claiming … progress.  If you’re as old as I am, you don’t have to claim it – you’ve seen it up close and personal. But instead of touting the progress, progressives are the ones leading the charge to divide and weaken.  To make us all “victims”.

Quite being victims.  Victimhood is a choice. Grow a backbone and say no to the negativity of that nonsense. Drop the symbols and groups that emphasize race and/or victimhood.  Become Americans.  Work together.

See Charleston for how it is done.

~McQ

It is what it is and we should have no fear denouncing it

Dr. Ben Carson writes the following about the murderer of the 9 in Charleston:

Not everything is about race in this country. But when it is about race, then it just is. So when a guy who has been depicted wearing a jacket featuring an apartheid-era Rhodesian flag allegedly walks into a historic black church and guns down nine African-American worshipers at a Bible study meeting, common sense leads one to believe his motivations are based in racism. When the sole adult survivor of the ordeal reports that the killer shouted before opening fire, “You rape our women and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go” — well, that sounds to me a lot like racial hatred.

Let’s call this sickness what it is, so we can get on with the healing. If this were a medical disease, and all the doctors recognized the symptoms but refused to make the diagnosis for fear of offending the patient, we could call it madness. But there are people who are claiming that they can lead this country who dare not call this tragedy an act of racism, a hate crime, for fear of offending a particular segment of the electorate.

It is and was an act of racism.  Anyone with a tepid IQ should know that and why anyone would deny it is beyond me.  Racism is not dead in this country.  Plenty of racists still exist.  But here’s a news flash … they’re not just confined to the white race.

That said, Carson is right.  Face what it is, call it what it is and then deal with the aftermath.  The fact that this yahoo was a racist, however, doesn’t allow anyone the broad brush they’d like to have and we’ve seen waved about in the wake of this tragedy.

Oh, and by the way, the citizens of Charleston, much better than our leadership (political, cultural and opinion leaders included) have shown the world how a town handles such a crime.  They know it was an act of racism.  They also know that not everyone is racist.  And they’re uniting not dividing. The families have forgiven the slug who killed their loved ones – something I’d likely have difficulty doing.  But when all is said and done, the citizens of Charleston are acting like the adults in this tragedy.  Too bad our president hasn’t acted that way.

~McQ

 

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