I could not resist posting this story, in honor of one of our great chroniclers, here in the lair of the Bookworm Oracle.
I enjoy reading my Liberal-Lefty friends’ Facebook posts because they are so insightful into the mindsets of the Left.
One insight that I have gained over time is that the differences between us conservatives and the Progressive/Left are so profound that they are unlikely to ever be bridged, barring some cataclysmic, life-changing events. What I have tried to do is understand why this is so. I share this with you because I greatly appreciate the insights that Bookworm group has to offer on such issues – be it “yay” or “nay”.
Our disagreements appear to come down to three levels of separation.
1) First, there are objective facts (OK, I am being deliberately redundant here). These are easy enough to resolve. Alvin Toffler’s Future Shock world has arrived: everybody is so overwhelmed with information that we can’t absorb and process all there is to know and we therefore choose our facts selectively.
As Ronald Reagan said, ““It isn’t so much that liberals are ignorant. It’s just that they know so many things that aren’t so.”
In discussions, factual disputes are easy enough to resolve: my typical response to Liberal /Lefties is simply tell them to “Google it”. Amazingly, many apparently don’t know that you can Google entire texts or sentences. A good example was the recent George Zimmerman trial…many people with whom I disagreed told me outright they were too busy to bother looking up facts. The Left operates on so many facts that just aren’t so.
2) The second level of separation involves our assumptions or premises. These are tougher to resolve, because we assume and presume events based on our past experiences. I suspect that we humans are hard-wired to build assumptions (true or false) as a defense mechanism: for example, my cave ancestors probably assumed that to allow a saber-tooth tiger to stand in their path was not a good thing and that such assumption is one reason why I stand here today.
We go through life building mental templates on how the world works in order to short-circuit decision making and evaluation. Otherwise, we would soon be overwhelmed with indecision. As long as our world templates work for us, we continue to hold onto them. Many formerly Liberals (e.g., David Horowitz, Bookworm) only became conservative when one or more events (e.g., 9/11) rendered their previously comfortable world views untenable. For me it was Reagan’s second term, when his policies led to the collapse of the Soviet Union and an economic resurgence. I, young man at the time, knew then that my Democrat world template had been very, very wrong.
I use the word “comfortable” deliberately, because our templates represent our comfort zones. Losing that comfort zone is terrifying. Imagine if all of a sudden nothing in the world made any sense to you; you would feel totally deracinated and quite possibly insane. You would also feel a deep sense of personal failure, as in “how in the world could I have been so deluded?”
And, the older you get, the more frightening that sense of loss, confusion and failure would be. So, the older we get, the more desperately we defend our mental templates, selecting and force-fitting “facts” to fit our own perceptions of reality. I believe this is where modern Liberalism and Progressivism are today (Google “Paul Krugman”). As Thomas Sowell put it, people of the Left expect the world to conform to their misperceptions. Eventually, however, reality hits like a 2 x 4 between the brow…as in “Detroit”.
I believe that this dynamic also explains the sheer viciousness expressed by many on the Left when the presumptions of their world templates are threatened (as by Sarah Palin or by black conservatives, for example). This is also the reason why I believe that world Islam will fail, because it doesn’t work and eventually people in Muslim worlds, aided by the internet, will eventually realize this (some of my Middle Eastern friends assure me that many already do). Reality is a harsh mistress.
This level of separation helps to explain why Liberals and Conservatives usually talk past each other. We try to rationalize our positions to each other, but our rationalizations only make sense if the other party shares the same assumptions and understandings of how the world works. We operate from completely different templates.
3) Faith. This the most difficult and potentially dangerous degree of separation, because it addresses fundamental values that are non-negotiable. Our “faith” defines how we perceive ourselves and our place in the world, irrespective of facts, logic and reason. I cannot, for example, “prove” the veracity of my Christian faith. Environmental extremists and atheists cannot “prove” the righteousness of their positions. We just “know” that what we believe to be true is true. There is no logical argument that I know of that can challenge faith-based values. Our values define who we are and how we perceive the world to be. Utopian fascist ideals (Progressivism, Nazism, communism, Islamism, etc.), for example, are defined by a faith in a future to come – they require no proof. Abortion is a similar issue of faith and values – there is no middle-of-the-road compromise if you believe abortion to be murder and that murder is wrong (a value proposition). Psychologists have claimed that only very powerful shocks to the system can challenge faith.
I have no dealing with the first degree of separation. I admit, however, that I am totally stumped on how to address (2) and (3). Any ideas?
I say “no”. Sad to say, the “people” voted for the Democrats who voted for Obamacare. It is now the law of the land. By trying to impede Obamacare, the Republicans are only setting themselves up to be blamed for its failings. As H.L. Mencken put it:
“Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.”
I have faith that the “people” will eventually rise up and demand change only when they realize just how damaging and unaffordable the “Affordable Care Act” Obamacare really is. At this time, I suspect that “the people” have inklings that it isn’t a good thing but the evidence has yet to slap them in the face. Only then should Republicans make their move.
I propose that Republicans would do much better by making sure that: a) nobody gets exempted (especially Congress) or subsidized; Republicans communicate over and over that Obamacare is a 100% Democrat program and c) (most importantly) that they have a credible alternate plan ready to be introduced at the right time.
Any thoughts on this?
Detroit’s inevitable bankruptcy is in the news today – yes, that very same city that President Obama “saved” just a short time ago.
But it isn’t just Detroit’s finances that have collapsed, as one of my favorite writers and analysts, Richard Fernandez (aka Wretchard the Cat) writes in his blog today.
CBS Detroit local writes: “Report: Nearly Half Of Detroiters Can’t Read”. Can’t read? In the 21st century? Detroit made the news today for being the largest American city to go bankrupt. If it is true that half of Detroiters can’t read it would go a long way to explaining the city’s collapse . They had spent billions on a school system that apparently accomplished nothing whatsoever.
DETROIT (WWJ) – According to a new report, 47 percent of Detroiters are ”functionally illiterate.” … Not able to fill out basic forms, for getting a job — those types of basic everyday (things). Reading a prescription; what’s on the bottle, how many you should take… just your basic everyday tasks,” she said.
“I don’t really know how they get by, but they do. Are they getting by well? Well, that’s another question,” Tyler-Ruiz said….
“For other major urban areas, we are a little bit on the high side… We compare, slightly higher, to Washington D.C.’s urban population, in certain ZIP codes in Washington D.C. and in Cleveland,” she said.
You can find the complete and highly recommended story at this link: http://pjmedia.com/richardfernandez/2013/07/19/million_dollar_bab/#more-30249
The fact is that no modern world nation can expect to live in prosperity with a mediocrely educated or skilled population. Detroit’s education system represents abject failure: how can any human being go through 12 years of schooling without picking up even basic communication, writing and math skills? As Fernandez points out, Detroit is hardly unique. Yesterday I had a long conversation with a top-drawer, highly educated Iranian-American professor in the sciences who lamented how far too-many incoming students did not have the rudimentary skills in communication, math and (more importantly) critical, logical thinking that should be expected of any college student. Apparently, many graduate programs at leading universities no longer require that students submit theses or published research in order to acquire advanced degrees. It used to be, not long ago, that the published thesis was the sine qua non of an advanced degree. As a nation, at all levels, our education is becoming mediocre.
When I was young, countries were defined as rich, rising, poor and destitute countries. In the 1950s, the term “Third World Countries” came to define generally poor and destitute countries that fell in between the alignments of Free World versus Communist World countries and economies. With the demise of the Soviet Union, the terms “developing” or “emerging” nations emerged, referencing poor countries with growth prospects.
All over the world, many former Third World countries are today exhibiting significant economic growth as capitalist principles take hold. Even perpetually turbulent Africa is showing signs of growth and stability. However, as the “First World” examples of Greece, Italy, France, Portugal, Detroit /United States illustrate, there is today a need for a new term that defines rich countries that pursue policies resulting in the devolution of their economies. These regressive countries, I propose, define “Devolving World” economies.
We know that Alinsky-inspired Lefty Democrat rhetoric is designed to smack down opponents and dominate discussion. These are rhetorical tools that were perfected by Communists and Nazis during the 1920s and 1930s. But, it can’t be denied that these tactics work! We need counter tactics.
It is embarrassing to see Republicans, conservatives and libertarians get all flustered, squishy and defensive when Libs hit them with the “racist”, “sexist” or “homophobe” retort. Well, there is a tactic in negotiation called “calling the gambit”. That is, shine light and expose what is going on by calling the tactic out. We need to be much, much better at this. This is why Iowahawk’s Twitter retort to the Trayvon Martin lynching frenzy was so pitch perfect:
“Of all the young black shooting victims in this country, you can name 1. Because you’ve been trained like a circus seal to bark on command”
I have some of my own:
Re. “ists”: Call me a racist, homophobe or sexist for my views, I will retort that “no, I am not that, but you (Sir, Ms or Madame) are a demagogue, so there is no point in my talking to you.”
Re. Pro-Life: “I oppose the killing of babies and old people, so you and I will just have to disagree”.
Re. Climate Change: “why don’t you get back to me if and when you get a clue as to how it works?”
Re. Trayvon Martin: “What is it about you Democrats’ historical infatuation with lynch mobs?”
Does anyone have others to offer?
Danny Lemieux, here. Watching the unfolding hysteria with regard to the Zimmerman trial in Florida, it is hard for me not to interpret the activities of the Obama Administration and the media as active provocation designed to induce riots and retribution against George Zimmerman. The mainstream media has already judged the man guilty and appears to have no compunctions about “fabricated” evidence to further inflame peoples’ passions: starting with NBC’s deliberate omissions in its replay of the Zimmerman non-emergency call to the police).
I credit Ann Coulter with calling out the Democrat /Progressive /Left for its historical associations with mob behavior and violence, as outlined in her excellent book Demonic: How the Liberal Mob is Endangering America.
In the U.S., it was Republican President U.S. Grant that shut down the budding KKK violence by Southern Democrats, stoked by former Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest and given legislative cover by Northern Democrats. Later, it was Republican Presidents like Teddy Roosevelt, Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge and Dwight Eisenhower that fought Democrat-stoked, resurgent-KKK agitation, violence and lynching against blacks, Catholics, Jews and Republicans. In contrast, resurgent KKK activity from the 1890s until the early 1960s was actively promoted by Democrat, Progressive luminaries such as: eugenicists Margaret Sanger and Madison Grant; President Woodrow Wilson; Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black, and Senate Leader Robert Byrd.
So, where are we today? Zimmerman hasn’t legally been found guilty of anything (yet) but he appears already to have been convicted by so many in our society today all-too willing to scream for retribution. As others have observed, had both George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin been black, this incident wouldn’t have merited a footnote.
Has anything really changed? And, if so, why isn’t anyone calling this out for what it is: a race-based lynching? Finally and more fundamentally, what is it that historically divides Democrats and Republicans so when it comes to violent, mob behavior?
Had an interesting conversation at Church today. One of my friends, a Polish immigrant and self-made millionaire was discussing the immigration issue with a upper-middle class, white-bread soccer mom (let’s call her “Nice Liberal Lady”. My entrepreneur friend and I both agreed that some form of legalized immigration was needed for people with low educational skills because, sadly, too many Americans are unwilling to do jobs that demand physical labor.
But, hold on, said Nice Liberal Lady. Her son, it seemed, lived at home with his unused college degree because working in a fast-food restaurant or other similar menial job would only distract him from his career path. Not so, responded my entrepreneurial friend – “when my father died when I was young, I worked any job that I could get – even two or three jobs at a time, just to get money on the table. We Polish people know that when times are bad, you work extra hard instead of preoccupying yourself with feeling sorry for yourself (I am paraphrasing, but that was pretty much the gist).
Whoa, said Nice Liberal Lady: “I have a problem with that, especially having grown up with a workaholic father. The fact is, I am too exhausted to be constantly looking for a job or working more-than one job.” She let it be known that she really resented the implication that she should be expected to go out and work hard to earn her own financial support. The proper solution, it appeared, was that is was therefore OK to let other people exhaust themselves to pay benefits to the members of our perpetually exhausted non-working classes.
I pointed out to my friend, afterwards, “the reason that you were able to rise up and take on all these jobs is because you did not begin with the assumption that you were owed a certain standard of living.”
We really do live in two very different and irreconcilable worlds.
Ironically, a headline article in today’s Chicago Tribune focused on Polish people in Chicago returning to Poland in search of better opportunities. ’nuff said.
Nobody seems to want to admit it, but it’s our culture!
School shootings aren’t new. But, Americans have owned guns aplenty for more-than 200 years of nationhood and it seems that we’ve never had school shootings as we have experienced in the past few years. Neither has the rest of the modern world, but school, church and shopping mall attacks have been occurring even in countries with the strictest gun controls (e.g., Scotland, Germany, Norway, Japan). What has changed?
How about “that which must not be named”?
The old-guard leftists of the Frankfurter and Antonio Gramsci (you can “wiki” those names) school knew that to fundamentally remake society, you first had to destroy the church, society and the family. I would say Gramsci and Frankfurter school alumnae have had a pretty good success record.
Ever since LBJ’s 1960s “War on Poverty”, families have been disintegrating. It started with the most vulnerable (inner city blacks, where now 70% of children have no fathers) and has now spread to white, non-Hispanic families (close-to 30% of children born out of wedlock). Often, children in such families are left largely unsupervised, grow up without good male role models and enjoy ready access to the most depraved pornography, graphic violence, weapons, drugs and other vices through the internet and their peers, starting at a very young and formative age. One can try to prevent their kids’ access to this at home, but how does one prevent them from going down the street to a friends’ house?
I couldn’t help but notice that the first media reports of the shooter (whom I refuse to name and help make more famous) mentioned a mother but didn’t mention a father. Sure enough, the latest reports by a British news outlet, The Daily Mail, are of a boy traumatized by a three-year old divorce. Why did he single out his mother as the first victim? We may never know, but I suspect that the divorce may have had something to do with it. We are also learning that (surprise!) the shooter was a compulsive violent-video gamer.
Youth and adolescence are a time when kids should be learning communication skills and how to interact with adults and peers. Instead, too many kids appear to be devolving into lonely social outcasts and losers (a non-PC term I use for emphasis only). Throw in mental illness, they can become dangerous (the source of much of this mental illness is a worthy topic in and of itself…but think about what hours and hours of sitting in front of a screen does to the developing brain of a young child?). These are the years when their neuro linkages are being formed.
The mass media and punditry immediately started talking about this shooter’s “obvious” mental problems, thereby anointing him a member of “victim” class and providing absolution for his sins. I don’t buy any of it. I can understand someone crazed with rage shooting their mother in the heat of the moment, but the premeditation and time the shooter needed took to travel to a school after killing his own mother and destroying young kids’ lives in psychopathic cold blood point not mental illness but a willing pact made with evil. It is evil, pure and simple, nothing less. At one point, this shooter was confronted with a choice and he chose evil. Why did he make that choice? Here’s a thought:
What are the cultural messages that get hammered into young kids’ brains today? There is no reward in elevation, but there is reward in depravity. Our mass media hammers into their developing brains, over and over again, that to be depraved is to be “famous”, a powerful siren’s song for lonely outcast kids. These kids know that the quickest way to fame and even fortune is to act depraved and to be guaranteed that their depravity will be broadcast widely over the internet and throughout the global media. Some of them grow into mega stars (I’m thinking of Rapper culture, Madonna, Lady Gaga and Jerry Springers as just a few examples), further amplifying the siren’s song. The mass media, vigilantly on the lookout for breaking news 24/7, is complicit in this, for it is the internet and mass media that provide monsters their 15 minutes of fame. Remember that the next time you look at how our TV screens extol depravity. Btw, if you doubt me about just how depraved our culture has become, then Google [game kindergarten killer].
Sorry to have to use the word “depraved” of course. In our Gramsci-Frankfurter culture, such terms are soooooo judgmental and we don’t dare to be judgmental, do we? Why, other people might not like us, a sentence worse than death for too many adults that never outgrew their adolescence.
So what do we do about it? We can start by focusing on our own kids, knowing that our obligation as parents is not just to love them but to build them spiritually into good citizens and to armor them against the bad influences in our imperfect world. We can extend support to single parents, especially those trying to work jobs simply to survive, and we help provide guidance to their kids. These are the days when wolves stalk a land in which too many people have forgotten how to recognize wolves for what they are. And, if you decide to have children, get married and stay married, so that you can nurture, protect and educate your children into solid citizens together. My very brilliant spouse, a middle-school teacher, tells me that she can tell right away when her students’ families are trouble by the way that the kids lash-out in school. She has already lost too many of her former students to drugs and suicide.
Rely on our churches? Maybe, but so many have become such weak tea. My own Episcopal church…part of the Anglican Communion that produced such great theological thinkers and moral stalwarts as C.S. Lewis (our patron saint, in my view)…has been complicit in this. It is so terrified of being perceived as “uncool” that it doesn’t dare attack popular culture or elevate its members above the culture…unless, of course, it is a soft target, such as those really uncool, nagging, square conservatives (a minority group of which I count myself a proud member). The sad fact is that my church, sadly dominated at the top by Frankfurter-Gramsci disciples, spends far too much of its time and effort huffing and puffing to keep up with the latest social trends in its frantic effort to appear cool and contemporary while pushing its “social justice” agenda. I don’t recall my church’s leadership ever raising a peep of protest against the depravity of contemporary culture. Excuses, yes. Protests, no. Quite the opposite.
One of my FB friends just shared an electronic ad from our church’s head bishop that includes scatological epiphets to get the message across. Soooo, soooo cool! So with it! Some churches are great builders of spiritual armor. Not this one. It prefers to be complicit with a depraved culture. It follows, it does not have the courage to lead. You may ask, of course, why I don’t leave this church, so I will answer that: because it is precisely there that I am needed. There are many good people there. I and others do speak out and try to nurture and strengthen our children with spiritual armor.
Is the solution to force honest citizens to surrender their weapons? That is thinking with the heart rather than the head. I am so, so totally against this. The solution to an outbreak of wolves is not to defang the guard dogs. In this age of the wolf, we need more guard dogs, not less.
The Connecticut school shooting could have been stopped right away had there been one or more people on premise with guns, a circumstance that today would land any would-be guard dog in jail without passing “go”. Chances are that, had the shooter known that the school was protected, he would never have dared go there. The only real defense against a gun…is a gun. Mass murderers tend to be cowards that seek out soft, undefended targets like schools and churches. Guns, like drugs, will always be available to psychopaths, criminals and terrorists. If not guns, there are always knives, automobiles, poison gas, molotov cocktails or fertilizer bombs. Taking guns away from civilians only creates a larger pool of defenseless sheep available for slaughter. One of my FB friends also suggested that only government and police should have weapons. Scary thought. Look around the world today: now, that is one very scary thought. Government and law enforcement magnets for wolves. But, then, this is how people who have never had to confront wolves perceive the world. Like the Hobbits of the Shire, content to eat, drink and be merry, free of cares. But, reality eventually intrudes and we cannot magically “wish” wolves away into oblivion.
Finally, there is one particular aspect of this that really, really bothers me: young kids for decades have been getting gunned down, knifed, beaten to death, suffocated and raped in our inner cities. But, other than perfunctory hand-wringing, we never saw an outcry against this compared to what occurred after this most recent shooting in a well-to-do middle class community. Gee, what could the reason for this be? Yup, you’re right.
We won’t change what appears to be happening with increasing frequency to our society until we decide that we will stand up and dare to speak out against the increased depravity of our culture. Definitely “uncool”, but we must do it…for all families, for the kids and for our future. Otherwise, it can only continue to get much, much worse. It is the age of the wolf.
For a bleak look at America’s future as the “New France” and a ray of sunshine called hope, a Frenchman comes a-blowing the clarion call to resistance against the Progressive barbarian Left. The key take-away:
“Once again, you don’t need a lecture from this Frenchman, but it seems to me that some of you, in the emotion of that unexpected electoral defeat, forgot this simple fact: America is always outnumbered.
This unique nation, founded not on feudal or religious fault lines but on a radical philosophy of individual freedom isn’t the norm in this world: it is an anomaly. If you needed a quick and simple reminder on the basis for American exceptionalism, there you go.
America is always outnumbered and, until the rest of the world sees the guiding light and builds shining cities on America’s model—if that day ever comes—America will always be outnumbered.
Yet it doesn’t matter: America’s strength isn’t in numbers, it’s in her soul.
Hear this final prophecy America: only one man can kill the Republic, and it isn’t Barack Obama. The one man who will kill your Republic is the one man who will last give up and renounce it.
Don’t you dare be that man.”
Vive la Resistance!
The inimitable Michael Ledeen notes that Obama’s coarsening language bespeaks a character crack-up as his narcissist ego is forced to confront the possibility that, not only may he not prevail, but he faces sound rejection.
Well, high fives all around: we Bookworm aficionados predicted these eruptions months ago. However, things are likely to get much, much worse! I am looking fo something dramatic, possibly extra-legal, bursting out over the next ten days as the party of mobs and demagogues anticipates it’s demise. Certainly, their continued descent into vulgarity, crudity, childishness, violence and vile antipathy toward their fellow citizens will expose these people for whom they truly are. We can hope, anyway.
Question: if Obama loses, will he show up for the inauguration?
I have recently had some interesting discussions with Liberal friends that got me to mulling a fundamental question of good versus evil. My thoughts on this did not crystallize until a recent [insert superlative, here] “French conversation” dinner with Book and Charles Martel that kept lapping up to the fringes of my swirling thoughts on this question. Here is what happened:
At my church recently (one wherein my parish spans the full political spectrum), I was voicing my opinion to some friends that, of all the people in the world deserving of my sympathies, “the Palestinians are probably last in line”. A woman burst out furiously from the church pantry and scolded me for not knowing anything about what I was talking about, that the Palestinians were oppressed victims of Israeli perfidy. A short conversation with her was enough to demonstrate that she really didn’t know anything about the Palestinian-Israeli situation other than typical Leftwing propaganda. She and others in the conversation, for example, did not know that Israel’s war of independence occurred in 1948, that there was no “Palestine” before 1948, that virtually all Jews were ethnically cleansed from Arab countries upon Israel’s creation, that more Palestinians have been killed by other Arab states than by Israel, that 20% of Israel’s citizens are Muslim, enjoying full political, economic and religious rights and serve in the military and government (the only Middle Eastern country that recognizes such minority rights, btw), etc. However, what shocked me was how incapable these good women were of seeing the evils represented and committed by the Palestinians. In their view, each act of violence and mayhem committed by the Palestinians and Arabs …against each other as much as against Israelis, was excusable as expressions of victimhood. Since then, I have noticed much of this same dynamic at work in many issues embraced by the Left.
Have Liberals (including religious Liberals) lost their capacity to distinguish between Good and Evil? If so, then we truly are living in a time of Biblical prophesy. What say you?