My take on the decision to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 in place of Andrew Jackson? I find all this change and revisionism both silly and expensive but, having said that, here’s my position: They’re replacing the racist, slave-supporting, Indian-killing founder of the Democrat party with a gun-toting, Republican black woman — what’s to dislike? I think it’s great. And now on to the collected news of the day.
Blame Democrats for today’s nasty politics. Politics has always been a rough-and-tumble business. After all, the people playing aren’t just winning cupcakes; they’re winning power. Nevertheless, for most of America’s history, there’s been a tacit agreement to conduct politics in a civil manner — fight hard, but attack your opponent’s politics, not his person. This year, that unwritten rule has vanished. One can point fingers at specifically nasty politicians, but the real story isn’t that nasty people do nasty things; instead, it’s that the American public is willing to accept that behavior. Andrew Klavan blames the Left for this cultural degradation:
As a proud right-winger, I’m appalled and disgusted by Donald Trump. Nonetheless, I feel a certain schadenfreudean glee at watching leftists reel in horror at his unbridled incivility. They truly don’t seem to realize: he is only the loud and manifest avatar of their own silent and invisible nastiness. In a veiled reference to Trump at a recent lunch on Capitol Hill, President Obama declared he was “dismayed” at the “vulgar and divisive rhetoric” being heard on the campaign trail. “In America, there is no law that says we have to be nice to each other, or courteous, or treat each other with respect,” the president said. “But there are norms. There are customs.”
Are there? When I hear this sort of thing from Obama and his fellow leftists, what I wonder is: Have they not listened to themselves for the past 50 years? Do they really have no idea how vicious, how low, how cruel, and how dishonest their attacks on the Right have been?
No, they haven’t; and, no, they don’t. The Democrat-monopolized media, which explodes with rage at any minor unmannerliness on the right, falls so silent at the Left’s almost ceaseless acrimony that leftists are never forced to confront what despicable little Trumps they often are.
American immobility. I’ve commented multiple times about the fact that Americans are less willing to relocate than they once were. The entire essence of America for several hundred years was people’s willingness to leave their homes, whether in the old country or the new, and to head south, east, north, or west in search of better opportunities.
Today, though, the combination of being weighted down by possessions (even the poor today own more than all but the rich owned in the past) and having welfare to turn to (no matter how minimal that welfare is) means that people in economically dead areas can stick around. It’s not a nice life, but it’s the life they know, and they can always make themselves feel better about things with a bit of meth or heroin.
Kevin Williamson got a lot of flak for saying that we as a nation need to stop expending energy and money on dying communities and should, instead, focus on the vital communities. Obviously, I agree. Now, Williamson, in the face of that flak, has doubled down and I still agree:
My answer is that if there’s nothing for you in Garbutt but penury, dysfunction, and addiction, then get the hell out. If that means that communities in upstate New York or eastern Kentucky or west Texas die, so what? If that’s all they have to offer, then they have it coming.
Mixed in with that common sense you’ll find some hard-hitting attacks on those who challenged Williamson. And I still agree with him.
The bottom line is that,while dying towns are sad and forcing people to leave their roots is sad too, at a societal level, that’s not a reason to keep functionally dead towns on taxpayer-funded life support.
(Incidentally, the same goes for Europe, which in its effort to preserve its past has calcified, making it less of a charming place, and more of a bizarre and frequently unpleasant place. I totally understood what Robert Avrech’s friend was talking about when he said that Eastern Europe, even without the Soviets, is “oppressive.”)