Alain Tolhurst writes: Living under communism makes countries poorer and less healthy for decades, according to a landmark new study.
Researchers testing historical connections between cultures found that whether a country had been under communism was the biggest factor for those with lower health, income and educational levels.
In the first undertaking of its kind, they analyzed the fortunes of 44 countries across Europe and Asia and looked at geography, religion, systems of government and a more intangible quality called “deep cultural ancestry.”
Writing in the journal Royal Society Open Science, they matched these factors against where they ranked on the United Nations Human Development Index, which measures per-capita income, life expectancy at birth and the number of years its citizens spend in education.
Most of the issues they looked at appeared to have little or no effect on the disparities between the countries, except for Islamic countries scoring a little worse on education. Read the rest of this entry »
There are several great things about living in a non-democratic society. Here’s my top-ten list.
- You’re not responsible for what happens to your country. Your kids won’t be asking you, “How did you guys allow these morons to ruin our health care/ education /defence?” Your conscience is pristine.
- You spare lot of time and effort consumed by civil activity and the fight for your interests. Why did China become so strong and wealthy in so short time? Because they were busy making money, not rallying in the streets, or shouting slogans at each other.
- If the regime gets repressive, you can make a few good career moves snitching on your colleagues and neighbors, doing little else.
- Noisy minorities, bums and panhandlers disappear from the streets, which visibly enhances the urban environment.
- Police violence and corruption disappear for good. Effective order maintenance takes its place.
- There is much more stability in the corridors of power. It makes relationship-building much more predictable, if you know who you want to make friends with, and how to do it.
- The yoke of political correctness is gone. Your rulers, your boss, and the police are the only ones who you might offend, and you always know what they do like to hear, and what not. Read the rest of this entry »
Advocates of greater diversity at Google say they are being harassed and targeted on right-wing websites.
Nitasha Tiku reports: Fired Google engineer James Damore says he was vilified and harassed for questioning what he calls the company’s liberal political orthodoxy, particularly around the merits of diversity.
Now outspoken diversity advocates at Google say that they are being targeted by a small group of their coworkers in an effort to silence discussions about racial and gender diversity.
In interviews with WIRED, 15 current Google employees accuse coworkers of inciting outsiders to harass rank-and-file employees who are minority advocates, including queer and transgender employees. Since August, screenshots from Google’s internal discussion forums, including personal information, have been displayed on sites including Breitbart and Vox Popoli, a blog run by alt-right author Theodore Beale, who goes by the name Vox Day. Other screenshots were included in a 161-page lawsuit that Damore filed in January, alleging that Google discriminates against whites, males, and conservatives.
What followed, the employees say, was a wave of harassment. On forums like 4chan, members linked advocates’ names with their social-media accounts. At least three employees had their phone numbers, addresses, and deadnames (a transgender person’s name prior to transitioning) exposed. Google site reliability engineer Liz Fong-Jones, a trans woman, says she was the target of harassment, including violent threats and degrading slurs based on gender identity, race, and sexual orientation. More than a dozen pages of personal information about another employee were posted to Kiwi Farms, which New York has called “the web’s biggest community of stalkers.”
Meanwhile, inside Google, the diversity advocates say some employees have “weaponized human resources” by goading them into inflammatory statements, which are then captured and reported to HR for violating Google’s mores around civility or for offending white men.
Engineer Colin McMillen says the tactics have unnerved diversity advocates and chilled internal discussion. “Now it’s like basically anything you say about yourself may end up getting leaked to score political points in a lawsuit,” he says. “I have to be very careful about choosing my words because of the low-grade threat of doxing. But let’s face it, I’m not visibly queer or trans or non-white and a lot of these people are keying off their own white supremacy.”
Targeted employees say they have complained to Google executives about the harassment. They say Google’s security team is vigilant about physical threats and that Danielle Brown, Google’s chief diversity and inclusion officer, who has also been targeted by harassers, has been supportive and reassuring. But, they say they have not been told the outcome of complaints they filed against coworkers they believe are harassing them, and that top executives have not responded assertively to concerns about harassment and doxing. As a result, some employees now check hate sites for attempts at doxing Google employees, which they then report to Google security.
Google declined to respond to questions due to ongoing litigation, but a Google spokesperson said the company has met with every employee who expressed concern.
The complaints underscore how Google’s freewheeling workplace culture, where employees are encouraged to “bring your whole self to work” and exchange views on internal discussion boards, has turned as polarized and toxic as the national political debate. Read the rest of this entry »
Communism Through Rose-Colored Glasses.
Bret Stephens writes: “In the spring of 1932 desperate officials, anxious for their jobs and even their lives, aware that a new famine might be on its way, began to collect grain wherever and however they could. Mass confiscations occurred all across the U.S.S.R. In Ukraine they took on an almost fanatical intensity.”
I am quoting a few lines from “Red Famine,” Anne Applebaum’s brilliant new history of the deliberate policy of mass starvation inflicted on Ukraine by Joseph Stalin in the early 1930s. An estimated five million or more people perished in just a few years. Walter Duranty, The Times’s correspondent in the Soviet Union, insisted the stories of famine were false. He won a Pulitzer Prize in 1932 for reportage the paper later called “completely misleading.”
How many readers, I wonder, are familiar with this history of atrocity and denial, except in a vague way? How many know the name of Lazar Kaganovich, one of Stalin’s principal henchmen in the famine? What about other chapters large and small in the history of Communist horror, from the deportation of the Crimean Tatars to the depredations of Peru’s Shining Path to the Brezhnev-era psychiatric wards that were used to torture and imprison political dissidents?
Why is it that people who know all about the infamous prison on Robben Island in South Africa have never heard of the prison on Cuba’s Isle of Pines? Why is Marxism still taken seriously on college campuses and in the progressive press? Do the same people who
rightly demand the removal of Confederate statues ever feel even a shiver of inner revulsion at hipsters in Lenin or Mao T-shirts?
These aren’t original questions. But they’re worth asking because so many of today’s progressives remain in a permanent and dangerous state of semi-denial about the legacy of Communism a century after its birth in Russia.
No, they are not true-believing Communists. No, they are not unaware of the toll of the Great Leap Forward or the Killing Fields. No, they are not plotting to undermine democracy. Read the rest of this entry »
On March 16, 2017, the Seattle Times reported that Seattle city officials were reluctant to release data on the revenue generated by the city’s firearms and ammunition tax, citing taxpayer confidentiality concerns. Less than a week later, we now know the more likely reason that Seattle failed to disclose this tax revenue; because the money raised fell woefully short of the figure projected by supporters of the tax.
In July 2015, Seattle City Council President Tim Burgess proposed legislation he dubbed a “Gun Violence Tax,” contending that “It’s time for the gun industry to help defray” the cost of criminal violence perpetrated with guns. Burgess’s proposal was unanimously passed by the city council on August 10, 2015. The legislation imposed a $25 tax on firearm sales, a $.02 per round tax on .22 and smaller caliber ammunition, and a $.05 per round tax on ammunition greater than .22 caliber. The revenue was intended to be used to fund anti-gun research at the Harborview Medical Center.
On August 24, 2015, NRA, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, and the Second Amendment Foundation filed suit in King County Superior Court to prevent the city from enforcing the new tax. NRA’s complaint pointed out that the tax violates the Second Amendment and is also impermissible under Washington law.
The U.S. Supreme Court has made clear that governments are not permitted to attack constitutionally-protected conduct through taxation. In the First Amendment context, the Court struck down a Minnesota use tax on ink and paper used in publishing. In that case – Minneapolis Star Tribune Co. v. Minnesota Commissioner of Revenue – the Court warned that “A power to tax differentially, as opposed to a power to tax generally, gives a government a powerful weapon against the taxpayer selected.”
Washington’s firearms preemption statute also bars Seattle’s tax. Section 9.41.290 of the Revised Code of Washington states,
The state of Washington hereby fully occupies and preempts the entire field of firearms regulation within the boundaries of the state, including the registration, licensing, possession, purchase, sale, acquisition, transfer, discharge, and transportation of firearms, or any other element relating to firearms or parts thereof, including ammunition and reloader components.
Local laws and ordinances that are inconsistent with, more restrictive than, or exceed the requirements of state law shall not be enacted and are preempted and repealed, regardless of the nature of the code, charter, or home rule status of such city, town, county, or municipality.
Washington law does provide a small number of specific exemptions to the state firearm preemption statute, but these concern local zoning in relating to firearms dealers, carry in certain municipal buildings, and the discharge of firearms.
Despite the plain language of Washington’s preemption statute, in December 2015 King County Superior Court Judge Palmer Robinson upheld Seattle’s tax. NRA and our allies have appealed the court’s decision, and the case now sits with the Washington State Supreme Court.
In advocating for the tax, Burgess and other supporters of the legislation repeatedly cited figures from the City Budget Office that claimed the tax would raise between $300,000 and $500,000 a year. In an email to the Times this week, Burgess confessed, “During its first year, the firearms and ammunition tax payments received by the City were less than $200,000.” It is not clear how much less than $200,000 the city collected.
According to the Times, to come up with the outlandish $300,000-$500,000 figure, the City Budget Office “obtained the annual number of background checks for gun sales in Washington. Then they looked up what percentage of Washington’s licensed gun dealers were in Seattle and used that to guess the number of firearms sales in the city.” In addition to the fact that its analysis was too rudimentary to offer an accurate estimate of gun sales in Seattle, the budget office appears to have made no attempt to predict the impact the significant tax would have on the behavior of gun dealers and buyers.
Making this projection appear even more ridiculous is that the 2016 tax shortfall occurred in a year that witnessed record gun sales nationally and in the Evergreen State. In 2016, there were 713,996 NICS background checks conducted in Washington, whereas the 2015 total was 502,280. Washingtonians were buying plenty of guns in 2016, but as many predicted when the tax was proposed, not in Seattle. Read the rest of this entry »
“Comrade, your statement is factually incorrect.”
“Yes, it is. But it is politically correct.”
Angelo M. Codevilla writes: The notion of political correctness came into use among Communists in the 1930s as a semi-humorous reminder that the Party’s interest is to be treated as a reality that ranks above reality itself. Because all progressives, Communists included, claim to be about creating new human realities, they are perpetually at war against nature’s laws and limits. But since reality does not yield, progressives end up pretending that they themselves embody those new realities. Hence, any progressive movement’s nominal goal eventually ends up being subordinated to the urgent, all-important question of the movement’s own power. Because that power is insecure as long as others are able to question the truth of what the progressives say about themselves and the world, progressive movements end up struggling not so much to create the promised new realities as to force people to speak and act as if these were real: as if what is correct politically—i.e., what thoughts serve the party’s interest—were correct factually.
Communist states furnish only the most prominent examples of such attempted groupthink. Progressive parties everywhere have sought to monopolize educational and cultural institutions in order to force those under their thumbs to sing their tunes or to shut up. But having brought about the opposite of the prosperity, health, wisdom, or happiness that their ideology advertised, they have been unable to force folks to ignore the gap between political correctness and reality.
Especially since the Soviet Empire’s implosion, leftists have argued that Communism failed to create utopia not because of any shortage of military or economic power but rather because it could not overcome this gap. Is the lesson for today’s progressives, therefore, to push P.C. even harder, to place even harsher penalties on dissenters? Many of today’s more discerning European and American progressives, in possession of government’s and society’s commanding heights, knowing that they cannot wield Soviet-style repression and yet intent on beating down increasing popular resistance to their projects, look for another approach to crushing cultural resistance. Increasingly they cite the name of Antonio Gramsci (1891–1937), a brilliant Communist theoretician for whom “cultural hegemony” is the very purpose of the struggle as well as its principal instrument. His writings envisage a totalitarianism that eliminates the very possibility of cultural resistance to progressivism. But owing more to Machiavelli than to Marx or Lenin, they are more than a little complex about the means and are far from identical with the raw sort of power over culture enforced by the Soviet Empire or, for that matter, that is rife among us today.
My purpose here is to explain how progressives have understood and conducted their cultural war from the days of Lenin, and how Gramsci’s own ambiguous writings illustrate the choices they face in conducting that war in our time and circumstances—especially with regard to political correctness in our present culture war.
Every form of progressivism bases itself on the claim of a special, “scientific,” knowledge of what is wrong with humanity and how to fix it. The formula is straightforward: the world is not as it should be because society’s basic, “structural” feature is ordered badly. Everything else is “superstructural,” meaning that it merely reflects society’s fundamental feature. For Marx and his followers that feature is conflict over the means of production in “present-day society.” From the dawn of time, this class warfare has led to “contradictions”: between types of work, town and country, oppressors or oppressed, and so on. The proletariat’s victory in that conflict will establish a new reality by crushing all contradictions out of existence. Other branches of progressivism point to a different structural problem. For Freudians it’s sexual maladjustment, for followers of Rousseau it’s social constraint, for positivists it is the insufficient application of scientific method, for others it is oppression of one race by another. Once control of society passes exclusively into the hands of the proper set of progressives, each sect’s contradictions must disappear as the basic structural problem is straightened out.
But wherever progressives have gained power, all manner of contradictions have remained and new ones have arisen. Progressive movements have reacted to this failure by becoming their own reason for being. Theoretically, the Revolution is about the power and necessity to recreate mankind. In practice, for almost all progressive movements it is about gaining power for the revolutionaries and making war on those who stand in their way. For example, transcending private property, the division of labor, and political oppression was never Marxism-Leninism’s core motive any more than worker/peasant proletarians were ever its core protagonists. In fact, Communism is an ideology by, of, and for ideologues, that ends up empowering and celebrating those very ideologues. This is as true of progressivism’s other branches as it is of Marxism.
Lenin’s seminal contribution was explicitly to recognize the revolutionary party’s paramount primacy, and to turn the party’s power and prestige from a means to revolution into the Revolution’s candid end. Lenin’s writings, like Marx’s, contain no positive description of future economic arrangements. The Soviet economy, for all its inefficiencies, functioned with Swiss precision as an engine of privilege for some and of murderous deprivation for others. The Communist Party had transcended communism. The key to understanding what progressive parties in power do is the insight, emphasized by “elite theorists” like Vilfredo Pareto and Gaetano Mosca, that any organization’s practical objectives turn out to be what serves the interests and proclivities of its leaders.
What serves progressive revolutionaries’ interests is not in doubt. Although each of progressivism’s branches differs in how it defines society’s “structural” fault, in its own name for the human reality that it seeks to overcome, and in the means by which to achieve its ends, progressives from the 19th century to our time are well nigh identical in their personal predilections—in what and whom they hate even more than in what they love. They see the culture of what Marxists call “bourgeois morality” as the negation of their identity and authority. That identity, their identity, is to be promoted, endlessly, by endless warfare against that culture. That is why the cultural campaigns of otherwise dissimilar progressives have been so similar. Leninist Russia no less than various Western democrats have tried to eradicate religion, to make it difficult for men, women, and children to exist as families, and to demand that their subjects join them in celebrating the new order that reflects their identity. Note well: cultural warfare’s substantive goal is less important than the affirmation of the warriors’ own identity. This is what explains the animus with which progressives have waged their culture wars.
Yet, notwithstanding progressivism’s premise that individual minds merely reflect society’s basic structure and hence are incapable of reasoning independently about true and false, better and worse, reality forces progressives to admit that individuals often choose how they think or act despite lacking the “structural” basis for doing so, or that they act contrary to the economic, social, or racial “classes” into which progressive theories divide mankind. They call this freedom of the human mind “false consciousness.”
Fighting against false consciousness is one reason why Communists and other progressives end up treating cultural matters supposedly “superstructural” as if they were structural and basic. They do so by pressuring people constantly to validate progressivism’s theories, to concelebrate victories over those on the “wrong” side of history by exerting control over who says what to whom. Read the rest of this entry »
Interviewer: ‘In 2011 President Obama banned people from Iraq—did that not concern you?’ Protester: ‘No because I loved President Obama’Posted: February 6, 2017 | |
The Soviet Union bombarded its citizens with such facts in the seventies and eighties. No one was fooled.
Mikhail Iossel writes: There was no real cognitive dissonance existing in the minds of most people in the Soviet Union of the nineteen-seventies and eighties. Everyone knew that everything said on the radio or on television, everything (with the exception of weather reports or sports results) was a blatant lie, spoken pro forma, just because that’s the way things were and had to be: outside, it was dark or light or drizzly or sunny or cold and snowy or pleasantly warm or too hot for comfort—and on the radio and on TV and in newspapers and magazines the untold legions of official-propaganda folks talked about the kind of reality which did not remotely exist in the reality of Soviet people’s lives.
“Everyone knew that they, the Soviet people, lived in a veritable funhouse of a giant isolated world unto itself, in the parallel reality of that endless hall of crazily distorted mirrors.”
Just because from dawn to dusk everyone was forced to hear on the radio and read in newspapers that everyone’s life in the Soviet land was wonderful and was going to be infinitely better still, and that everyone else out in the capitalist world envied the happiness of Soviet people’s lives, no one was duped into thinking this was actually how things were, neither in their own lives or in the lives of people all around them, in their cities and villages.
[Read the full story here, at The New Yorker]
Everyone knew the truth, even in the absence of any alternative, more reality-bound source of information. Everyone knew how things were in reality. How could one not? One had one’s eyes and ears and one’s own life to live. Read the rest of this entry »
“Who’s protecting NYU from this bullshit? Why are you here? You’re not here to protect these students from Nazis? No, you’re not! I’m a professor!”
Alex Griswold reports:
…Vice co-founder Gavin McInnes‘ lecture at NYU was cancelled halfway through amid protests and violence. McInnes has a history of controversial and intentionally provocative statements, saying in the past that transphobia should be encouraged and that feminism makes women unhappy.
Several disruptive students were arrested by police after McInnes was reportedly pepper-sprayed by a critic. But in video taken at the scene that went viral, the professor denounced police for arresting the students and demanded they attack McInnes.
Watch above, via YouTube (starting at around 10:07)
“Who’s protecting NYU from this bullshit?” she shouted. “Why are you here? You’re not here to protect these students from Nazis? No, you’re not!”
“How dare you assholes protect Neo-Nazis? Fuck you! Fuck you!” she shouted. “They’re trying to learn about human rights and against racism and xenophobia and LGBTQ rights and you’re letting these fucking Neo-Nazis near here!” Read the rest of this entry »
‘No borders. No nations. F**k deportations!’ sends a clear message to America.
Scott Greer writes: That was the rallying cry of protesters demonstrating at San Francisco International Airport Saturday against President Donald Trump restricting immigration from seven Muslim-majority nations.
— Dieter Bohn (@backlon) January 29, 2017
All across America, protests have erupted at airports — already notorious centers for human misery — to show disgust for Trump’s executive order, which has earned the false title of a Muslim ban. Whether in New York or in Chicago, demonstrators made it clear that they thought Trump’s move to temporarily block migration from these nations went against American principles and laws.
According to these demonstrators, preventing anyone from coming to this country based on their nation of origin or their religion was prohibited by both the Constitution and “our American values.”
Obviously, there are issues that arise with Trump’s order. Travelers with citizenship in one of the seven banned nations but permanent green cards in the U.S. were detained, which was one of the reasons a New York judge halted the president’s action. That measure may be beyond the original intent of the executive order and the White House has already indicated that they are changing course on stopping green card holders from entering the country.
There’s also the perception that the law unfairly targets an entire religion and bans its adherents from America. However, the order only affects — temporarily to boot — a small percentage of the world’s Muslims and is based on national origin, not religion. In many ways, it’s only an expansion of Barack Obama’s 2011 executive order banning Iraqi refugees from the U.S. for six months over terror concerns.
Shockingly, there were no hysterical airport protests then.
While concerns over green card holders and targeting a religion were aired amid the demonstrations, the San Francisco protesters took it a step further by explicitly calling for open borders, the eradication of the nation-state and, needless to say, the total non-enforcement of immigration law. (On Sunday, they had toned down “fuck deportations” to “stop the deportations.”)
It seems that the West Coast demonstrators were more blunt in expressing the moral thrust of those gathering at America’s transportation hubs. Rather than a squabble over the semantics of immigration law, the guiding principles of the protest apparently see open borders as morally desirable and that no person should be refused entry to the U.S. Read the rest of this entry »
Victor Davis Hanson writes: After the election, Democrats could not explain the inexplicable defeat of Hillary Clinton, who would be, they thought, the shoo-in winner in November. Over the next three months until Inauguration Day, progressives floated a variety of explanations for the Trump win—none of them, though, mentioned that the Clinton campaign had proven uninspired, tactically inept, and never voiced a message designed to appeal to the working classes.
When a particular exegesis of defeat failed to catch on, it was mostly dropped—and then replaced by a new narrative. We were told that the Electoral College wrongly nullified the popular vote—and that electors had a duty to renege on their obligations to vote for their respective state’s presidential winner.
“Fake news is something quite different. It is not merely a public figure’s spinning of half-truths. It is largely a media-driven, and deliberate attempt to spread a false narrative to advance a political agenda that otherwise would be rejected by a common-sense public.”
Then followed the narrative of Trump’s racist dog-whistle appeals to the white working classes. When it was reported that Barack Obama had received a greater percentage of the white votes than did either John Kerry in 2004 or Hillary Clinton in 2016, the complaint of white chauvinism too faded.
“The methodology is to manufacture a narrative attractive to a herd-like progressive media that will then devour and brand it as fact—and even lobby for government redress.”
Then came the allegation that FBI Director James Comey had given the election to Trump by reopening the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s emails just days before Election Day. That fable too evaporated when it was acknowledged that Comey had earlier intervened to declare Clinton without culpability and would so again before November 8.
Then came the trope that Vladimir Putin’s hackers stole the election—on the theory that the Wikileaks revelations had turned off the electorate in a way the Clinton candidacy otherwise would not have. That storyline then evolved into the idea of Russian propagandists and Trump supporters variously peddling “fake news” to websites to promulgate myths and distortions—as a grand plan to Hillary Clinton and give Trump the election.
More specifically, it was alleged that Trump’s exaggerations and fabrications—from his allegations about Barack Obama’s birth certificate to rumor-mongering about Ted Cruz’s father—had so imperiled journalism that the media in general was forced to pronounce there was no longer a need to adhere to disinterested reporting in the traditional sense.
“No one has described the methodology of fake news better than Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security advisor for Barack Obama and brother of the president of CBS News, David Rhodes.”
The New York Times’ Jim Rutenberg and CNN’s Christiane Amanpour confessed that they could not be fair in reporting the news in the era of Donald Trump. Apparently, being fair had become tantamount to being a co-conspirator in Trump falsity. The New York Times in a post-election op-ed explained why it had missed the Trump phenomenon, admitting, but not necessarily lamenting, that its own coverage of the election had not been fair and balanced.
“Ben Rhodes cynically bragged about how the Obama administration had sold the dubious Iran deal through misinformation picked up by an adolescent but sympathetic media (for which Rhodes had only contempt).
Yet all politicians fib and distort the truth—and they’ve been doing so since the freewheeling days of the Athenian ekklesia. Trump’s various bombastic allegations and claims fall into the same realm of truthfulness as Obama’s statement “if you like your health plan, you can keep it”—and were thus similarly cross-examined by the media.
“As Rhodes put it, ‘The average reporter we talk to is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns. That’s a sea change. They literally know nothing.’”
Yet fake news is something quite different. It is not merely a public figure’s spinning of half-truths. It is largely a media-driven, and deliberate attempt to spread a false narrative to advance a political agenda that otherwise would be rejected by a common-sense public. The methodology is to manufacture a narrative attractive to a herd-like progressive media that will then devour and brand it as fact—and even lobby for government redress.
Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen has never been to Prague to negotiate quid pro quo deals with the Russians. Trump did not watch Russian strippers perform pornographic acts in the bedroom that Barack Obama once stayed in during a visit to Moscow. Yet political operatives, journalists, and even intelligence officers, in their respective shared antipathy to Trump, managed to lodge these narratives into the public consciousness and thereby establish the “truth” that a degenerate Trump was also a Russian patsy.
No one has described the methodology of fake news better than Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security advisor for Barack Obama and brother of the president of CBS News, David Rhodes. Read the rest of this entry »
Katherine Long and Lynn Thompson report: One man was shot and wounded, several people were hit with paint and officers avoided flying bricks outside the University of Washington’s Kane Hall on Friday night, where Breitbart News editor and provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos addressed a crowd on President Trump’s Inauguration Day.
A chaotic confrontation between ticket-holders and protesters started early in the evening in Red Square with shouts and fights. Authorities reported a man in the crowd had been shot in the abdomen. Medics took him to Harborview Medical Center with potentially life-threatening injuries, the Seattle Fire Department said.
Yiannopoulos, who came at the invitation of the university’s student College Republicans club, briefly left the stage to confirm the shooting. Minutes later, he returned, saying, “If we don’t continue, they have won.” The crowd cheered.
The event was free but was sold out by reservation. His talk, which mocked liberals to big laughs and was greeted with a standing ovation, began just after 8 p.m.
Once the speech ended, police told the audience to remove their pro-Trump hats and other gear before leaving the lecture hall. Officers escorted the crowd out through an underground parking garage as a crowd of about 250 people remained outside the building.
Gayle Hammersley, a UW student, stood with friends in the middle of Red Square holding a sign that displayed her
opposition to the speech. “We’re not OK with fascism and racism,” she said. “I don’t think this should be allowed.”
Jimmy Michalee came up from Auburn with friends to hear the speech. He was wearing a red “Make America Great Again” hat, but he said he was a libertarian, and voted for Gary Johnson. He said he didn’t agree with the crowd’s tactics to try to shut down the speech, and believed everyone had a right to speak his or her mind.
Ava Meier, a Pierce College student, called Yiannopoulos “the most fabulous villain on the internet.”
“We’re so politically correct, he’s a breath of fresh air,” she said.
The provocative far-right editor’s controversial tweets resulted in his being banned for life from using Twitter.
People began lining up for the speech late in the afternoon. The crowd began clashing about two hours later, when a group of people dressed in black showed up and forced its way to the front of the line. One man waved a black-and-red anti-fascist flag, and another shouted to the people in line: “Go back to Bellevue, rich kids!”
“White power,” one side shouted.
“Nazi scum,” the other side responded.
Some officers wore riot gear and carried batons. Crowds outside started throwing bricks and other items at officers, and several people were hit with blue paint.
Mara Kage, a University of Washington student from Brazil, held a sign with the word “respect” on it. She said Yiannopoulos, like Trump, was inciting hateful speech. Read the rest of this entry »
Left Wing Violence Erupts at UW’s Red Square
Seattle Fire Department said that the man has possible life threatening injuries.
“Adult male transported to HMC with possible life threatening injury from a gun shot wound. Pt transported from area near Spokane Ln NE”
— Seattle Fire Dept (@SeattleFire) January 21, 2017
The University of Washington College Republicans invited Yiannopoulos to speak on Friday. People have been waiting outside for the event since around 5 p.m.
— Nick Jacob (@nicktjacob) January 21, 2017
Protesters showed up on campus around 6 p.m. and began clashing with police….(more)
— Walk Toward The Fire (@RichardRSmithJr) January 21, 2017
…An online petition asked UW president Ana Mari Cauce to ban Yiannopoulos from the event.
“Please make the right choice President Ana Mari Cauce and stand up for student safety and tolerance on campus. Please stand with us – your students, faculty, staff, workers, and community members in opposing this hatred from being spread on our campus,” the petition said.
The group behind the petition said that Yiannopoulos’ visit would violate the university’s
student conduct official censorship code. They specifically pointed to the following section:
Discriminatory harassment. Official Censorship policy: “Discriminatory harassment” (censored speech) is language or conduct directed at a person because of the person’s race, color, creed, religion, national origin, citizenship, sex, age, pregnancy, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, or veteran status that is unwelcome and sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive such that it could reasonably be expected to create an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment, or has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with a person’s academic or work performance, or the person’s ability to participate in or benefit from the university’s programs, services, opportunities, or activities.
Protesters threw rocks, fireworks, and other items at officers. They blocked the entrance to Kane Hall, but Yiannopoulos’ speech still started around 8 p.m.
“Seattle officers at the park had confiscated wooden poles, heavy pipes and hammers.”
A KIRO chopper caught video of bike officers rushing to a crowd of people at 8:30 p.m. Moments later they started responding to a man on the ground.
UW alert went out to students, telling them to stay out of the area. Read the rest of this entry »
From the president’s speech, you wouldn’t know the administration’s biggest policy failures.
Me neither. It’s because it’s not real. It’s a parody.
But you know what the Huffington Post actually did run this week?
Thomas Sowell writes: Biologists explain how organisms adapt to their physical environment, but ideologues also adapt to their social environment. The most fundamental fact about the ideas of the political left is that they do not work. Therefore we should not be surprised to find the left concentrated in institutions where ideas do not have to work in order to survive.
“The academic world is the natural habitat of half-baked ideas, except for those fields in which there are decisive tests, such as science, mathematics, engineering, medicine;and athletics. In all these fields, in their differing ways, there comes a time when you must either put up or shut up. It should not be surprising that all of these fields are notable exceptions to the complete domination by the left on campuses across the country.”
The academic world is the natural habitat of half-baked ideas, except for those fields in which there are decisive tests, such as science, mathematics, engineering, medicine;and athletics. In all these fields, in their differing ways, there comes a time when you must either put up or shut up. It should not be surprising that all of these fields are notable exceptions to the complete domination by the left on campuses across the country.
“You might think that the collapse of communism throughout Eastern Europe would be considered a decisive failure for Marxism, but academic Marxists in America are utterly undaunted. Their paychecks and their tenure are unaffected. Their theories continue to flourish in the classrooms and their journals continue to litter the library shelves.”
In the humanities, for example, the test of deconstructionism is not whether it can produce any tangible results but whether it remains in vogue. So long as it does, professors skilled in its verbal sleight-of-hand can expect to continue to receive six-figure salaries.
“Socialism in general has a record of failure so blatant that only an intellectual could ignore or evade it. Even countries that were once more prosperous than their neighbors have found themselves much poorer than their neighbors after just one generation of socialistic policies. Whether these neighboring countries were Ghana and the Ivory Coast or Burma and Thailand, it has been the same story around the world.”
You might think that the collapse of communism throughout Eastern Europe would be considered a decisive failure for Marxism, but academic Marxists in America are utterly undaunted. Their paychecks and their tenure are unaffected. Their theories continue to flourish in the classrooms and their journals continue to litter the library shelves.
Socialism in general has a record of failure so blatant that only an intellectual could ignore or evade it. Even countries that were once more prosperous than their neighbors have found themselves much poorer than their neighbors after just one generation of socialistic policies. Whether these neighboring countries were Ghana and the Ivory Coast or Burma and Thailand, it has been the same story around the world.
Discredited elsewhere, the nostrums of the left live on in public television.
Nor is economic failure the worst of it. The millions slaughtered by Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot for political reasons are an even grimmer reality.
People who live and work in a world where there is a business bottom line, an athletic scoreboard, a military battlefield or life-and-death surgery may find it hard to fully appreciate the difference between that kind of world and one in which the only decisive test is whether your colleagues like what you are saying.
“These endowed and insulated institutions, often full of contempt for the values of American society and Western civilization, are not the only bastions of the left counter-culture. So are Hollywood and Broadway.”
Academia is only one of the places where wholly subjective criteria rule;and where leftists predominate. Endowed institutions such as foundations and museums likewise often face no test other than what like-minded people find “exciting” and what enables those who run these institutions to get the heady feeling that they are “making a difference.” The same is true of cultural institutions supported involuntarily by the taxpayers, such as the Smithsonian or the National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities.
Taxpayer-supported “public” radio and television are similarly insulated from reality and similarly dominated by the left, not only in the United States but in other countries as well. All the nostrums of the left that have brought hunger to millions in countries which used to have surplus food to export, all the pretty words and ugly realities that have caused millions more to flee the lands of their birth, these nostrums live on in public television;much like old classic movies with familiar lines that the audience of aficionados can recite along with the characters on the screen.
These endowed and insulated institutions, often full of contempt for the values of American society and Western civilization, are not the only bastions of the left counter-culture. So are Hollywood and Broadway. Although show biz faces the financial need to get an audience, the truth of what they portray is hardly crucial. Read the rest of this entry »
The Intimidation Game: How the Left is Silencing Free Speech, by Kimberly Strassel (Twelve Press, 396 pp., $30)
Fred Siegel writes:
…Strassel’s chapters on the politicization of the IRS in Obama’s hands make for a striking summary of Chicago skullduggery. In 2012, an election year, the IRS, led by liberal operative Lois Lerner, systematically sidelined conservative (often Tea Party) organizations. The broadest and deepest scandal in IRS history is more than three years old, but there is little chance that Obama’s Chicago-ized Justice Department will hold anyone accountable. Strassel also discusses the attempts led by Senators Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Dick Durbin of Illinois to criminalize criticism of the standard-issue UN position on climate change. The senators insist that manmade climate change is a matter of “settled science.” But climate is always changing, and science is never settled.
In late 2008, after Democrats took control of all three branches of government, the Left realized, writes Strassel, that it could use the federal bureaucracy to deploy campaign finance laws selectively against its opponents. The Left could also call upon “the extraordinary new power of the Internet and social media” to convince “a credulous public” that its assaults on opposition political activity “were aimed at ‘cleaner’ and ‘more open’ elections.” This dynamic constitutes what Strassel calls “the modern intimidation game” that “now defines American politics.”
[Read the full review here, at City Journal]
In Wisconsin, Democrats enraged by Governor Scott Walker’s successful effort to limit the collective bargaining rights of public employees played the intimidation game even while out of power. The state’s Progressive-era laws, designed to ensure fair elections, and its unique Government Accountability Board were turned against conservative activists who supported Walker. Democratic Party county prosecutors pressed an array of lawsuits and used armed sheriffs’ deputies to stage early-morning raids, guns drawn, on the homes of conservative activists suspected of having marginally violated state campaign finance laws—in this case, the heinous crime of having outside committees coordinate campaign expenditures with Governor Walker’s electoral efforts. Further, the accused were forbidden by state law of telling anyone, except their lawyers, about the raids. Most of this, as Strassel accurately notes, was “simple harassment.”
As for real wrongdoing, the Obama administration, as Strassel explains, has slow-walked documents required for the investigation into the IRS scandals and the Justice Department’s Fast and Furious fiasco, in which the federal government inadvertently armed Mexican drug cartels. Moreover, the House committee examining the Benghazi debacle still doesn’t have tens of thousands of Hillary Clinton emails. But the investigation did inadvertently expose the former secretary of state’s home-brewed email server. Read the rest of this entry »
“History is not a moral force in and of itself, and it has no set course.”
— David A. Graham
‘The phrase is utterly lacking in feck because it outsources the bulk of the punishment to an abstract future rather than the concrete here and now.’
— Jonah Goldberg
“..Obama’s own fresh contribution to the genre is his invocation of “the arc of history.” It’s his adaptation of an older phrase, “The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice,” which was popularized by Martin Luther King Jr. but coined (evidently) a century earlier by Theodore Parker. Obama has mentioned “the arc of history” a dozen times since his election.
“Forget that history doesn’t tell such simple stories and you end up employing this seemingly inexorable progression as evidence that humanity will continue to improve inexorably in the future. Butterfield warned in particular about the temptation to read moral judgments into history, to assume the thrust of events was determined by or proved the validity of reality over alternative possibilities that had not come to pass.”
The problem with this kind of thinking is that it imputes an agency to history that doesn’t exist. Worse, it assumes that progress is unidirectional. But history is not a moral force in and of itself, and it has no set course. Presuming otherwise embraces the dangerous tendency that the great English historian Herbert Butterfield dissected in his 1931 essay, The Whig Interpretation of History. Butterfield was writing about the inclination among certain historians to see the Reformation as a unalloyedly positive force—a secularizing, liberalizing movement that led inexorably to liberal democracy in the 20th century. Butterfield objected that this wasn’t at all how things worked. It was just a retrospective reading.
“The total result of this method is to impose a certain form upon the whole historical story, and to produce a scheme of general history which is bound to converge beautifully upon the present,” he wrote. In fact, “the more we examine the way in which things happen, the more we are driven from the simple to the complex.”
“The problem with this kind of thinking is that it imputes an agency to history that doesn’t exist. Worse, it assumes that progress is unidirectional.”
Viewing history from the standpoint of the present not only misrepresented the complexity of events, he wrote, but also risked framing history as a natural progression wherein humans improved over time, going from darker, less intelligent and moral times to an ever-improving present. Butterfield warned against that:
History is all things to all men. She is at the service of good causes and bad. In other words she is a harlot and a hireling, and for this reason she best serves those who suspect her most. Therefore, we must beware even of saying, “History says […]” or “History proves […]”, as though she herself were the oracle; as though indeed history, once she spoken, had put the matter beyond the range of mere human inquiry. Rather we must say to ourselves: “She will lie to us till the very end of the last cross-examination.”
Forget that history doesn’t tell such simple stories and you end up employing this seemingly inexorable progression as evidence that humanity will continue to improve inexorably in the future. Butterfield warned in particular about the temptation to read moral judgments into history, to assume the thrust of events was determined by or proved the validity of reality over alternative possibilities that had not come to pass.
Within a decade of The Whig Interpretation, World War II broke out, providing a visceral example of how the passage of time didn’t necessarily result in progress. But the fallacy recurs occasionally, and Obama seems to have fallen into it. If history is on a trajectory toward perfection, it follows that there can be a right and a wrong side of history…(read more)
Source: The Atlantic
In March 2014, Jonah Goldberg writes:
“…The progression of history is scientifically knowable, quoth the Marxists, and so we need not listen to those who object to our program. Later, Lenin, Stalin, Mao and others would use this reasoning to justify murdering millions of inconvenient people. It was a “God is on our side” argument, minus God.
In fairness, I doubt Barack Obama and John Kerry have Marx or Hegel on the brain when they prattle on about the right and wrong sides of history. They more properly belong in what some call the “Whig school” of history, coined in 1931 by historian Herbert Butterfield. The Whiggish tendency in history says that the world progresses toward the inevitable victory of liberal democracy and social enlightenment. Again, I doubt Obama and Kerry have ever cracked the spine of Butterfield’s book.
Still, this administration has used the “wrong side of history” phrase more than any I can remember. They particularly like to use it in foreign policy. In his first inaugural, Obama declared, “To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history, but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.” Ever since, whenever things haven’t gone his way on the international scene — i.e., on days that end with a “y” — he or his spokespeople have wagged their fingers from the right side of history. Read the rest of this entry »
“The universities are an absolute wreck right now,” said Camille Paglia. “For decades any graduate student in the humanities who had independent thinking was driven out.”
“Watch as the students struggle to explain why an adult male shouldn’t enroll in a first-grade class, why he’s not a woman, why he’s not substantially taller, or why he’s not Asian.”
At The Corner, David French writes: From the Family Policy Institute of Washington comes this amusing video, where a conversation about gender-neutral bathrooms turns into something a bit more interesting: Watch as the students struggle to explain why an adult male shouldn’t enroll in a first-grade class, why he’s not a woman, why he’s not substantially taller, or why he’s not Asian.
“Essentially the new morality is ‘you do you — so long as it doesn’t hurt me or someone else in a way that I immediately recognize.’ The new immorality is any act of ‘intolerance’ that purports to interfere with this radical autonomy.”
This isn’t moral relativism, it’s a completely fact-free new moral code, one based entirely on consent and harm. Or, I should say, immediate harm. Essentially the new morality is “you do you — so long as it doesn’t hurt me or someone else in a way that I immediately recognize.” The new immorality is any act of “intolerance” that purports to interfere with this radical autonomy.
The fascinating and disturbing thing is that a generation that so prizes its alleged love of “science” continues to hold to this primitive harm-based morality in spite of oceans of evidence that…(read more)
Is there a point where the “P.C. Police” are satisfied? Are there ever “enough” rules governing the jokes we tell, the mascots of sports teams, or the symbols on city seals? Or should we want a society as non-offensive as the American college campus? George Will, Washington Post Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist, imagines what an idyllic politically correct universe would look like.
“To suggest that there is only one view on each of these issues runs counter to our educational goals.”
Donald Trump is not a conservative—he’s a reality TV star thoroughly in tune with the passions and dynamics of mass publicity and social media. No matter how much he denounces them, he’s still a product of victim-based identity politics.
Kim R. Holmes writes: A lot of people think Donald Trump is a throwback to an earlier time in American history. He’s seen as a nativist who wants to go back to the days of pre-multicultural America, to a time before identity politics and political correctness. But this interpretation misses something very important about the Trump phenomenon.
“Welcome to a whole new image of Donald Trump, the man perfectly at home in the postmodern culture of America.”
The Donald is very much a child of contemporary American culture, including its multicultural offshoot, identity politics. Although he rejects the leftist ideology of multiculturalism, especially the hypersensitivity of political correctness, he is operating well within its value system. He actually represents a new hybrid version of it—a mirror image, if you will, of the very culture he claims to despise.
“Trump is guilty of this deceit in spades. He can make all sorts of erroneous statements knowing full well that his supporters will come to his defense no matter how inaccurate his assertions may be. Who cares, they insist, that he exaggerates the number of Muslims celebrating in New Jersey on September 11, 2001? What matters is the underlying “truth” that all Muslims supposedly hate Americans. “
Trump is a champion of identity politics, which in case we should forget, was invented by the left. He advances without apology or qualification the interests and values of his supporters. As a group, they possess the identity of people put-upon by their opponents. It may not be correct to say they are all one ethnic group, although many are indeed white; but it is true that Trump’s “tribe,” regardless of its demography, identifies with him as one of their own because of his unique political style.
“But lest we think this is only a right-wing phenomenon, remember this: the embrace of the narrative-is-truth paradigm by Trump is no different from the one used by ‘black lives matter’ activists who to this day, despite all the facts to the contrary, believe Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson was guilty of murder. This metanarrative line of reasoning was invented and popularized by the postmodern left, not by conservatives.”
Like members of the politically correct left, Trump and his supporters see themselves as immune from criticism not because of the strength of their arguments, but because of the distinctive characteristics of “who they are.” They are defined by their grievances. Although their identity politics exists on the opposite end of the political spectrum from the left, they do make a claim to victimhood, the same as “black lives matter” activists do to assert their immunity from criticism.
Opinion polls show that Trump’s supporters are by no means the most conservative; indeed, they even include some self-described moderates. What unites them is not ideology but feelings of marginalization, which pertain not only to their political views but to the fact that many of Trump’s backers are not faring well economically.
Financially stressed and ostracized by the ruling liberal class, they are behaving more like an alienated class of Marxist imagination than as social agents of stability and tradition. They are indeed thinking like revolutionaries, only now their ire is aimed at their progressive masters and the institutions they control.
Authenticity or Narcissism? Facts or Narrative?
Trump also is a purveyor of the extreme narcissism of what used to be called the “me generation.” First arising in the 1970s, the mainstreaming of infantile self-centeredness has today morphed into the childish antics of political correctness on college campuses. There is precious little that cannot be justified in our culture today by referring to feelings.
[Also see Kim R. Holmes upcoming book “The Closing of the Liberal Mind: How Groupthink and Intolerance Define the Left“ at Amazon.com]
This attitude has been called the culture of authenticity, and there can be no doubt that Trump is a master of it. Why? People love him precisely because he’s “unfiltered” and doesn’t “lie,” which has become another word for using carefully constructed words and phrases. In this worldview, anything well-considered is thought to be false. The only “truth” is whatever emotion happens to erupt from the unconstrained Id, that source of instinctive impulses residing in the unconscious. Once the intellectual property of Sigmund Freud and other champions of sexual liberation, the “let it all hang out” authenticity of Trump is now as commonplace as an Oprah Winfrey show.
“And then there is multiculturalism’s favorite shibboleth—the infamous ‘metanarrative.’ Invented by a host of obscure philosophers of postmodernism, most of whom saw themselves as leftists, this idea is most familiar as the ideological justification for made-up rape stories and accusing white cops of crimes they did not commit. Its calling card is that a larger idea—the narrative—is somehow truer than actual facts.”
And then there is multiculturalism’s favorite shibboleth—the infamous “metanarrative.” Invented by a host of obscure philosophers of postmodernism, most of whom saw themselves as leftists, this idea is most familiar as the ideological justification for made-up rape stories and accusing white cops of crimes they did not commit. Its calling card is that a larger idea—the narrative—is somehow truer than actual facts.
Trump is guilty of this deceit in spades. He can make all sorts of erroneous statements knowing full well that his supporters will come to his defense no matter how inaccurate his assertions may be. Who cares, they insist, that he exaggerates the number of Muslims celebrating in New Jersey on September 11, 2001? Read the rest of this entry »
Mere mention of the Paris climate talks is enough to make James Hansen grumpy. The former Nasa scientist, considered the father of global awareness of climate change, is a soft-spoken, almost diffident Iowan. But when he talks about the gathering of nearly 200 nations, his demeanor changes.
“It’s a fraud really, a fake. It’s just bullshit for them to say: ‘We’ll have a 2C warming target and then try to do a little better every five years.’”
“It’s a fraud really, a fake,” he says, rubbing his head. “It’s just bullshit for them to say: ‘We’ll have a 2C warming target and then try to do a little better every five years.’ It’s just worthless words. There is no action, just promises. As long as fossil fuels appear to be the cheapest fuels out there, they will be continued to be burned.”
“It’s just worthless words. There is no action, just promises. As long as fossil fuels appear to be the cheapest fuels out there, they will be continued to be burned.”
The talks, intended to reach a new global deal on cutting carbon emissions beyond 2020, have spent much time and energy on two major issues: whether the world should aim to contain the temperature rise to 1.5C or 2C above preindustrial levels, and how much funding should be doled out by wealthy countries to developing nations that risk being swamped by rising seas and bashed by escalating extreme weather events.
But, according to Hansen, the international jamboree is pointless unless greenhouse gas emissions aren’t taxed across the board. He argues that only this will force down emissions quickly enough to avoid the worst ravages of climate change.
Hansen, 74, has just returned from Paris where he again called for a price to be placed on each tonne of carbon from major emitters (he’s suggested a “fee” – because “taxes scare people off” – of $15 a tonne that would rise $10 a year and bring in $600bn in the US alone). There aren’t many takers, even among “big green” as Hansen labels environment groups.
Hansen has been a nagging yet respected voice on climate change since he shot to prominence in the summer of 1988. The Nasa scientists, who had been analyzing changes in the Earth’s climate since the 1970s, told a congressional committee that something called the “greenhouse effect” where heat-trapped gases are released into the atmosphere was causing global warming with a 99% certainty.
A New York Times report of the 1988 testimony includes the radical suggestion that there should be a “sharp reduction in the burning of coal, oil and other fossil fuels that release carbon dioxide”, a plea familiar to those who have watched politicians who have traipsed up to the lectern or interviewer’s microphone in Paris over the past two weeks.
After that, things started to get a little difficult for Hansen. He claims the White House altered subsequent testimony, given in 1989, and that Nasa appointed a media overseer who vetted what he said to the press. They held practice press conferences where any suggestion that fossil fuels be reduced was considered political and unscientific, and therefore should not be uttered. Read the rest of this entry »
D’Souza gets accosted by a freshman, and a reasonably intelligent one, with a pair of questions about white privilege and Islamic militancy arising as a reaction to American imperialism. You won’t believe his response…