Free speech is meaningless if the government can nevertheless force you to say things that conflict with your values. But Leftist governments persists…
Hurricanes are normal, but Trump Derangement Syndrome obscures that fact. Of course, those subject to TDS are deranged in other ways as well. Just look….
Before I get to the meat of this post — or, because it’s a round-up, the various meats of this post — I want to remind everyone that America has always been subject to ferocious hurricanes. They just seem worse today because we have more population in a hurricane’s path, especially when it’s an Irma-like hurricane, and because we have a 24 hour media that makes everything seem local.
In other ways, though, we’re better off when faced with hurricanes because we can prepare. In 1900, Galveston, Texas, residents did not see their Cat 4 hurricane coming. It killed 6,000 – 12,000 people, making it the deadliest natural disaster in American history. For a list of other major hurricanes in the last 400 years, the bulk of which predate “climate change” and struck out-of-the-blue, go here. You’ll see that America was especially hard hit in the 1700s, long before CO2 was an issue.
Obviously, I don’t mean to downplay our two latest hurricanes, Harvey and Irma, both of which are or will be responsible for staggering property damage and, always, the loss of too many lives. I just want to amp down the usual climate change hysteria that’s accompanying this latest display of Nature’s normal.
And with that, let me turn my attention to all the other interesting things I’ve gathered, many of which reflect poorly on those most deeply lost to TDS.
Hillary admits her incompetence. Hillary has been on the warpath with her new book, blaming everything and everybody for her loss. She’s also admitted that she was incapable of speech on election eve because she was so devastated and that it was male advisers who caused her to react less strongly to both Trump and Bernie than she thinks in retrospect that she ought to have done. (Oh, and Trump “creeped” her out.)
So Hillary has just admitted that she’s incompetent in a crisis and incapable of standing up to men. Most of Hillary’s opponents at home and abroad would have been men, men like Putin, Xi Jinping, Kim Jong-un, or Bashir al-Assad. Her latest book is just another reminder that we dodged a serious bullet when Trump won.
Europe’s Muslim future. Guy Millière, a professor at the University of Paris, sees which way the wind is blowing and he understands that, not only is Eurabia fast approaching, but that Western Europe leaders are hastening its inevitability:
Europe’s leaders seem to have neither the will nor the means to oppose the incoming waves of millions of Muslim migrants from Africa and the Middle East. They know that terrorists are hiding among the migrants, but still do not vet them. Instead, they resort to subterfuges and lies. They create “deradicalization” programs that do not work: the “radicals,” it seems, do not want to be “deradicalized.”
Europe’s leaders try to define “radicalization” as a symptom of “mental illness”; they consider asking psychiatrists to solve the mess. Then, they talk about creating a “European Islam“, totally different from the Islam elsewhere on Earth. They take on haughty postures to create the illusion of moral superiority, as Ada Colau and Carles Puigdemont did in Barcelona: they say they have high principles; that Barcelona will remain “open” to immigrants. Angela Merkel refuses to face the consequences of her policy to import countless migrants. She chastises countries in Central Europe that refuse to adopt her policies.
European leaders can see that a demographic disaster is taking place. They know that in two or three decades, Europe will be ruled by Islam. They try to anesthetize non-Muslim populations with dreams about an idyllic future that will never exist. They say that Europe will have to learn to live with terrorism, that there is nothing anyone can do about it.
Pat Condell is another prophet who is being ignored:
Meanwhile, Britain prepares its citizens for dhimmitude. Several of my gay Leftist Facebook friends proudly posted a WaPo op-ed announcing that all the grim prophecies preceding legalizing gay marriage failed to come true. It is true that heterosexual marriage is cratering at pretty much the same rate as before, so one can’t say that same-sex marriage killed it. The article also essentially claims that America is better than ever because Christian bakers are being put out of business.
It’s that last point, of course, that’s the giveaway about the real target of gay marriage. Gay marriage, as I’ve said over and over, was never about competing with straight marriage and it was unlikely to affect straight marriage. What it was about was undercutting traditional values, especially if those values came from the church. Kill the traditional church (and the synagogue) and you kill the West. It’s heart goes out of it.
(Before I go further, let me say again, that I have no trouble whatsoever with same-sex civil unions. If states want to legalize same sex partnerships, that’s fine with me. I support people who enter into stable relationships. It’s the way the whole issue was framed as gay “marriage” that disturbs me deeply. Doing that made these unions the basis for a concerted attack against traditional Western values as a whole.)
If you really want to see where gay marriage leads, check out this Australian Spectator article detailing the way in which gay marriage has been used to attack core Western values, not to mention to destroy the integrity of our biological selves. I’ll focus on the gender and children sections, but you should read the whole thing: [Read more…]
Google’s promise was that it would allow an unfettered platform for free speech and thought. Its college-grad employees, though, made it a fascism farm.
I stopped using Google’s search engine years ago, although I’m still chained to Gmail. I was one of the first Gmail users back when it was in beta and it would upset my life a great deal if I had to switch email addresses. Still, depending on how Google comports itself in the next couple of months, Gmail may have to go too. There’s no reason for my email use to advance its fascist agenda.
Did I say “fascist agenda”? Why, yes, I think I did. That’s because Google’s decision to fire an employee who dared to speak out against the Leftist lockstep that governs everything from its workplace to its search algorithm manipulations is entirely fascist. Google is its own little state, one governed by hardcore Leftist ideology, and anyone who speaks out against that must be purged.
I actually don’t have anything original to say on the subject, but there’s so much smart stuff out there, I thought I’d share it with you. Let me begin with a collection of employee self-written bios that Paul Joseph Watson found (click on image to enlarge):
With staff like this, I’m sure tolerance of conservative opinions is paramount at Google. pic.twitter.com/FqawBCilva
— Paul Joseph Watson (@PrisonPlanet) August 9, 2017
Robert Avrech takes a much-deserved swipe at the Stalinists on the Fainting Couch:
James Damore was fired for expressing his opinions. Google his name and you will find that the left-wing press is demonizing him relentlessly.
Ironically, the entire affair proves his conclusions. By firing him, Google has proven that it is an intolerant ideological echo chamber.
Several fragile female engineers stayed home from their jobs at Google because the memo made them feel uncomfortable, or unsafe, or whatever parlance these overgrown babies default to in order to impose their cultural fascism on the rest of us. Presumably, these female engineers took to their fainting couches for a few hours in order to get over the shock of a non-leftist opinion.
In Stalin’s Soviet Union, the gulags and graveyards were filled with people who expressed opinions that the leadership considered incorrect.
In America, the left does not build gulags… not yet, anyway. Instead, it resorts to shame and creates unemployment.
Read more here.
Daniel Greenfield points out that the problem isn’t limited to Google. As long as Google controls much of the internet, it’s a problem for all of us:
James Damore is an FIDE chess master who studied at Princeton, MIT and Harvard. He had been working as a software engineer at Google for four years.
Danielle Brown is the new Vice President of Diversity at Google. She has an MBA from the University of Michigan and campaigned for Hillary.
She had been working at Google for a few weeks.
Google is a search engine monopoly that makes its money from search ads. It began with a revolutionary idea from young engineers much like Damore. Then the engineers became billionaires. And the company that began in a garage hired a Vice President of Diversity to get rid of the brilliant young engineers.
Google has embedded partisan attacks on conservatives into its search and news territories under the guise of “fact checks”. It has fundamentally shifted results for terms such as “Jihad” to reflect Islamist propaganda rather than the work of counterterrorism researchers such as Robert Spencer. And it wasn’t the first time. Google had been previously accused of manipulating search results during Brexit.
Censorship has long been a problem on YouTube. And it will now officially be caging “controversial” videos using a method developed by Jigsaw. Formerly Google Ideas, Jigsaw is Google’s left-wing incubator developing social justice tech.
Damore, like so many of us, wasn’t thinking the way that Google thought he should be thinking. And so it dealt with the problem by getting rid of him. When users search for results that Google doesn’t like, it guides them to what it thinks they should be looking for. If they persist, then the results vanish. If they upload videos it doesn’t like, they get censored. That’s the totalitarian left-wing Google model in action.
Google is approaching the ecological dead end of its technological niche. There’s not much else to do except make fringe investments that are little more than disguised advertising and build more free apps to feed into its own ad business while driving traffic to them through its search and Android leverage.
If the business model ever fails or the government takes a closer look at its abuses, then it’s all over.
Yale Dean June Chu’s right to free, if offensive, speech trumps hurt feelings — and rednecks are tough enough to handle an academic’s silly insults.
On behalf of all fellow rednecks / white trash, if you believe in the First Amendment, then you should be defending Yale’s Dean June Chu from the PC Police at Yale. Prof. Stephen Davis, commander of Yale’s Special Snowflake Unit, is in epic meltdown over Prof. Chu’s private speech.
Prof. Chu (PhD, Social Psychology, UC Davis) is the Dean of Yale’s Pierson College. In that position, she “is responsible for advising about 500 students and fostering “a familiar, comfortable living environment” in keeping with the university’s residential college system. ” Ironically she was known for promoting ‘cultural sensitivity.’
Ahhhh, but now we learn that when she left the politically correct confines of the Yale campus each day, out came Ms. Hyde. Free of restraint, Dean Chu had, for years, let loose her acid tongue on Yelp reviews.
Before continuing, let me issue a TRIGGER WARNING for any of you out there that might need it. We are about to read Dean Chu’s Yelp reviews. If your mind balks at indelicate utterances and disparaging remarks about, let’s call them deplorables, . . . well, sack up, Buttercup. This from the NY Post: [Read more…]
This Bookworm Beat has all shades of Progressive insanity (fake data, attacks on free speech, Chelseamania), complete with links and my trenchant comments.
Keep circling that drain. Before I get into the meat of this post detailing the worst emanations from the Democrats and their fellow travelers on their Left, I want to lead off with Kurt Schlichter’s article begging the Democrats not to change their current trajectory and tactics:
Look, Democrats, speaking sincerely as your friend, understand that everyone who says you need to take a deep look at yourselves is a racist, sexist, homophobe who won’t even ask about your preferred pronoun. Whatever you do, don’t you ever change.
The problem isn’t you. It’s those stupid idiots who won’t obey you because they’re stupid idiots. How can those idiots be so stupid?
Who knows? But what’s clear is that it’s not your fault. It’s theirs. So when the going gets tough, and you aren’t making progress – in fact, when you’re moving backwards – what’s the smart play? Double down!
Hey, the dealer’s showing an ace in a face-heavy deck and you’ve got a six, what do you do? Double down!
Can I boast? I had the pleasure of meeting Kurt a couple of weeks ago and he’s every bit as smart, funny, and personable as his writing. Lord, but I do envy a brain like that.
Statistically illiterate accusation that Trump voters are racist. You know all about American colleges and universities by now. They’re the places in which self-regard exceeds accomplishments, feelings trump rational thought, antisemitism is great than that found anywhere else in America (except, probably in Dearborn and the DNC), and the First Amendment is subordinate to students’ feelings (provided, of course, that those feelings are consistent with the Democrat Party platform).
Thomas Wood, an assistant professor at Ohio State University, has emerged from this sewer to announce that Trump voters are racists. He thought perhaps they were mere Nazi-style authoritarians but it’s worse — they’re racists. He knows this because he’s got charts.
Why are Trump voters racist? Because Wood specifically defined racism in such a way as to apply to Trump voters. That’s how they do it at universities nowadays:
To test this, I use what is called the “symbolic racism scale” to compare whites who voted for the Democratic presidential candidate with those who voted for the Republican. This scale measures racial attitudes among respondents who know that it’s socially unacceptable to say things perceived as racially prejudiced. Rather than asking overtly prejudiced questions — “do you believe blacks are lazy” — we ask whether racial inequalities today are a result of social bias or personal lack of effort and irresponsibility.
In other words, if you believe that only government can save perpetually hapless and helpless minorities, you’re not a racist. However, if you believe that minorities are rational, sentient beings who respond to incentives and disincentives in the same way as everyone else, and that they therefore deserve to be respected as our equals and not demeaned as perpetual wards of state, you’re racist!
You always win the game if you get to write the rules after the play is already run. Woods is a perfect example of why I keep saying that the best way to get America back on a track dedicated to individual liberty, free enterprise, and constitutional governance is to take every bit of federal money out of American “higher” education.
Despite a small spark of rationality, Macalester College’s weekly paper displays the Progressive hate, ignorance, and nonsense at an American college.
Knowing my passion for free speech, someone sent me a small sign of hope: a link to a student-written opinion piece from the weekly student newspaper at Macalester University in Minnesota. To give a little context, in 2014 College Magazine ranked Macalester as the “Most Progressive Campus” in America. It’s also No. 10 on the Best Colleges’ “Most Liberal Colleges” list. In other words, it’s your average American college, right up there with some of the most prestigious, such as Yale, Harvard, or MIT, or some of the most embarrassing, such as Missouri or Pomona.
Unlike those other American colleges, however, Macalester is never in the news. I suspect this is because no student or faculty member would ever dream of inviting to the campus someone who doesn’t meet the Progressive purity scale. Without any opposing views, there is no call for violence.
It was therefore a great and pleasant surprise to discover that one young man is defending the free exchange of ideas. What moved Jacob Hill to write was the fact that the staff of the college radio station, perfectly emulating a Maoist re-education camp, grouped together to castigate a fellow employee for having dared to place on the college Facebook page a meme that “satirized the prevalence of white Adidas sneakers among women who claim not to conform to societal norms.” I’m having trouble envisioning how offensive such a meme could be but for the student’s cohorts at the radio station, it was a bridge too far. It was Mao time:
Less than 24 hours after the meme was posted, the original poster (a Mac Radio staff member) went to his WMCN staff meeting as usual. One of the commenters on the meme decided to make a speech calling him misogynistic, racist and homophobic. The speech was met with applause, and much of the WMCN staff agreed that his offensive behavior did not represent the culture of WMCN. He was not offered a chance to respond but rather asked to think about his actions for a week.
Showing a grasp of logic denied to most young Progressives, Hill points out that advancing feelings as the alpha and omega of all disputes ends rational discussion:
A later comment on the original post read: “you don’t get to decide what’s offensive to other people—if it’s offensive to them, that’s it. You don’t get to critique that fact.” This ‘fact’ is particularly what makes offense so messy. No one knows exactly what will offend others. It’s an ongoing dialogue. Macalester students, in their haste to eliminate every suggestion that may be perceived as offensive, missed the opportunity for this dialogue. I don’t personally believe that the poster had malintent, but even if he did, is calling him a racist/misogynist/homophobe really the best way to make your point? Too often, liberal Millennials believe they can end a conversation by calling out someone’s “isms.” Yes, these claims are powerful, but that is precisely why they must be backed by context, logic, and most of all, truth.
There’s more and Hill deserves kudos for every word he writes. This is a young man who, somehow, somewhere, was exposed to an intellectual world that transcends navel-gazing emotionalism that’s par for the course at an American college.
As of this writing, Hill’s short article had garnered three comments: The first agrees with and encourages respectful dialog; the third agrees with Hill and expresses surprise that The Weekly Mac published Hill’s piece; and the second . . . well, the second comment shows that the writer has embraced an authoritarian worldview that brooks no criticism:
I question the decision of the Mac Weekly to publish such a targeted opinion piece, especially as the author writes of the pitfalls of “isolating and humiliating” specific people in the name of a greater conversation. [The author did not name anybody, although it’s reasonable to assume that in a small community, most students could identify not only the daring Facebook transgressor but also his Maoist accusers.] Also: this idea of “listening politely” looks to be teetering quite close to the edge of a compulsory silence.
Hill, as I said, gave me hope. Scanning the rest of The Mac Weekly’s offerings depressed me. In just one week’s worth of writing, there are so many bad ideas. These are bad ideas arising from a solid basis of factual ignorance, unexamined bias, Marxism, Alinsky-esque thinking, self-loathing, third-wave feminism, misandry, and anti-Semitism. Here are just a couple of examples:
Milo didn’t do what he’s accused of doing — but he’s being punished nevertheless. That’s just wrong . . . and so ickily Leftist.
Sometimes the Lefties in this country get lucky. They have a truly dangerous adversary like Milo Yiannopoulos, someone who bravely and wades into the fight, and does so in such a way that he exposes to the maximum number of people how monstrous the ideological enemy really is — and then self-righteous “conservatives” take him down without the Left having to lift a finger. This is just so wrong. You’d think that people, especially those on the Right, would have learned something from the Trump “grab them by their…” debacle but, nooooo, they just fall into the same traps over and over.
Ask yourself what it was that Milo did to earn his banishment from the same halls and institutions that once welcomed him with open arms. You may be surprised by the answers. (I should state here that I’ve read the entire transcript of Milo’s more controversial remarks. You can too. Here is his defense and clarification.)
Did Milo confess that he molested a child? No. He never said he did. He has asserted steadfastly and strongly that he never has. And no one has crawled out of the woodwork claiming that Milo molested him. Lena Dunham confessed in her autobiography that she molested her little sister . . . but no one cared.
Did Milo actually molest a child? See above. He has not said he did so; he has said he never would do so; and no one has contested anything he said.
Did Milo say that he wanted to molest a child? No. Ne never said he did. Indeed, he’s consistently asserted that he finds the very idea repugnant. And again, no one has crawled out of the woodwork claiming that he and Milo had a great conversation once upon a time about their desire to molest a child.
Has Milo insisted that pedophilia isn’t really that bad, which is what one of Slate’s now-erased writers did? No. He has never advocated pedophilia, although he’s made it clear that an older gay man introduced him to gay sex (whether before or after puberty is not clear). Where Milo differs from Lefties when it comes to his having been victimized is that he doesn’t define himself by what happens to him. What Milo has done, though, is to be one of the loudest voices arguing about protecting children from sexual predators, starting with allowing predatory pedophile males into little girls’ bathrooms, which is something the Obama administration insisted was a sexually confused man’s civil right.
Has Milo tried to foist a gay agenda, with all of its bizarre behaviors on America and America’s children? No. Certainly Milo’s persona is all about being gay. He’s not the one, though, who’s advocating that we start teaching small children about gay sex or that we put books touting explicit gay sex in the library’s at America’s public schools. If that’s what you want, you have to go to Kevin Jennings, whom Obama appointed as his “Safe School Czar.” Part of Milo’s shtick is to stop pretending that gays are saints.
Did Milo talk about pedophilia in a podcast? Yes. Yes, he did, although not in the way the self-righteous crowd claims.
With two days having elapsed since rioters disrupted Milo Yiannopoulos’s planned speech at UC Berkeley, using fire, pepper spray, sticks, fists, and feet in a successful effort to silence Milo, I’ve now got a bit of the distance I need to comment on the event. My conclusion is a simple and obvious one: While it was career agitators who committed the worst mayhem, there can be no doubt that Progressive ideology — which reached hysteric pitch when it became apparent that President Trump really would end 8 years of Obama’s hard Progressivism and the preceding 12 years of soft Progressivism — drove the entire disgraceful, tyrannical event.
To make this case about the inherent violence in today’s anti-Trump Progressive ideology, I’ll begin with Zombie’s photo and video record of the event. And while I’m sure you’ve seen other photos and videos, do check out Zombie’s page, as it contains unique images and footage that add to our understanding about what happened in Berkeley.
What’s clear from watching videos such as the following is that, while the professional anarchists in their black clothes and concealing face masks (they call themselves “Antifa,” ostensibly because they are anti-fascist) are the leading edge of the violence, the large assembled crowd is at all relevant times enthusiastically applauding and egging them on. The crowd is open in appreciating Antifa’s destructive, dangerous, and determined efforts to silence speech with which they disagree. That is, while some Berkeley students and citizens are now trying to distance themselves from Antifa, that was not the case when mob rule was on the streets and the Progressives hadn’t yet realized that the whole thing looked remarkably Kristallnacht-like in subsequent media reports:
Prager U today posted a really superb video about a Muslim man from England who was raised an antisemite, who became even more radicalized as he got older, and who eventually put all that aside when he finally learned the truth about Israel and about Jews. It is a temperate, thoughtful, informed, and deeply humanist video. Here, see for yourself:
So what did YouTube do with this video? It banned it! — the same thing its done to almost twenty other informed, thoughtful, humanist, fact-based Prager U videos. Please sign this petition demanding that YouTube stop the ban against Prager U videos.
UPDATE: The petition worked! At least for this video. I don’t know about the other Prager U videos YouTube banned.
I wasn’t bored by the redundancy, though, because the panel members were unusually informed and witty. I did not take notes, but I will try to dredge up from the dim recesses of my memory some of the things that particularly struck me.
The first panel, which is the subject for this post, was on the First Amendment. James Lileks moderated a panel composed of David French, Charles Cooke, Jonah Goldberg, and Ramesh Ponnuru. They spent a quick hour looking at freedom of speech and freedom of religion.
The point that most struck me was one that Jonah Goldberg made about Citizens United. He explained that the Left is being disingenuous at best when it waffles on that corporations are not people, and therefore shouldn’t have speech rights. In fact, the Left loves corporations that have speech rights: the news media and Hollywood. When Saturday Night Live or Jon Stewart or the New York Times are speaking, that’s sacrosanct, because the speech is already inherent in the corporation — and it’s Leftist speech. What the Left actually opposes is competition. It’s that simple.
Jonah made another excellent point about the fragile flowers on college campuses (a point, I believe, that he attributes originally to Jonathan Haidt). The craziness we see now started after I finished my education in the mid-1980s. What the late 1980s and early 1990s saw were some horrible, high profile cases of child abductions and murders. Polly Klaas springs to my mind because, although I was not a parent then, it happened within 50 miles of my home.
When I cast my votes yesterday, I didn’t have a choice when it came to either my Senator or my Representative: It was Democrat-Dee versus Democrat-Dum in both cases, because open primaries in this Blue state had ensured that, by the time the election rolled around, Republicans had vanished entirely. It’s not only Republican candidates who are vanishing. As Kimberly Strassel explains, Democrats across America are repeating the strategies that Southern Democrats used in the old Jim Crow days: they’re harassing, prosecuting, and blackmailing conservatives into backing off from the free speech guaranteed them under the Constitution:
The American media suddenly discovers antisemitism in America. You know it’s not a coincidence when several mainstream media outlets that every non-conservative Jew reads suddenly announce that Donald Trump’s supporters are crazed antisemites. These are, of course, the same media outlets that have been silent for years about the antisemitism at the heart of the Democrat base. My friend JoshuaPundit has written an excellent post highlighting the Left’s despicable and manipulative hypocrisy when it comes to Jew hatred. He left out only one point, which I’ll illustrate with a poster:
In sum, a small, disfavored fringe of Trump voters are loathsome antisemites. Hillary’s antisemitism problem, however, starts at the top with the lady herself, and drips on down to the campuses, the Black Lives Matter activists, and the Muslims who are central to her constituency.
Is this a race between a crook and a monster? Scott Adams says that the race has been framed as one between a crook (Hillary) and a monster (Trump). Dropping for a moment his mask of complete neutrality, though, he points out that, while there is convincing evidence that Hillary is a crook, there’s no evidence that Trump is a monster — a not-very-nice-businessman, perhaps, but not a monster.
Hillary reiterates the Left’s assault on Free Speech. Kevin Williamson points out something that every American should fear: Hillary Clinton’s straightforward assault on free speech. Except that it’s only straightforward if you’re informed about the issues, something the Democrats avoid at all cost. You can change that as to yourself and any open-minded friends you have by reading, and having them read, Williamson’s article.
A new thing called cultural appropriation is suddenly in the news lately. Just yesterday, designer Marc Jacobs was in the news because the Social Justice Warriors were appalled that his runway models — mostly white — wore fake, multi-colored dreadlocks. (SJW’s have a real problem with white people wearing dreads.) That they said, speaking in English, which is probably not a “heritage tongue” for many of them, was impermissible cultural appropriation. To his credit, Jacobs had a great bitchy comeback and refused to apologize. Jacobs is not the only cultural icon pushing back against the totalitarian impulse behind the SJW’s attacks on so-called “cultural appropriation.”
Lionel Shriver, a well-known American novelist, got invited to give the keynote speech at the Brisbane [Australia] Writer’s Festival. Her speech was entitled “Fiction and Identity Politics.” However, she had a surprise for an audience expecting her to tell them that the only person who can write about American Blacks is an American Black, the only person who can write about gay men is a gay man, etc. Instead, she launched a polite and comprehensive attack against the stifling effect on fiction when an author stands accused of cultural appropriation. For those of us who value free speech, and who fear the totalitarian instincts behind the social justice warrior’s attacks on free speech through the vehicle of identity politics, it was a call to arms:
I hate to disappoint you folks, but unless we stretch the topic to breaking point this address will not be about “community and belonging.” In fact, you have to hand it to this festival’s organisers: inviting a renowned iconoclast to speak about “community and belonging” is like expecting a great white shark to balance a beach ball on its nose.
The topic I had submitted instead was “fiction and identity politics,” which may sound on its face equally dreary.
But I’m afraid the bramble of thorny issues that cluster around “identity politics” has got all too interesting, particularly for people pursuing the occupation I share with many gathered in this hall: fiction writing. Taken to their logical conclusion, ideologies recently come into vogue challenge our right to write fiction at all. Meanwhile, the kind of fiction we are “allowed” to write is in danger of becoming so hedged, so circumscribed, so tippy-toe, that we’d indeed be better off not writing the anodyne drivel to begin with.
A good start to a speech, right? It got better from there. Shriver’s factual starting point was an incident at Bowdoin College, a small, prestigious liberal arts college way up in Maine (annual tuition around $45,000). Bowdoin’s grammatically creative “purpose” statement promises that it offers incoming students an “intellectual challenge and personal growth in the context of an active and engaged learning community closely linked to the social and natural worlds”:
A liberal education cultivates the mind and the imagination; encourages seeking after truth, meaning, and beauty; awakens an appreciation of past traditions and present challenges; fosters joy in learning and sharing that learning with others; supports taking the intellectual risks required to explore the unknown, test new ideas and enter into constructive debate; and builds the foundation for making principled judgments. It hones the capacity for critical and open intellectual inquiry – the interest in asking questions, challenging assumptions, seeking answers, and reaching conclusions supported by logic and evidence. A liberal education rests fundamentally on the free exchange of ideas – on conversation and questioning – that thrives in classrooms, lecture halls, laboratories, studios, dining halls, playing fields, and dormitory rooms.Ultimately, a liberal education promotes independent thinking, individual action,and social responsibility. (Emphasis mine.)
Think of this self-praise when you think of the incident Shriver talks about: Two well-respected Bowdoin students threw a tequila party for a friend and, in keeping with the theme, gave guests little miniature sombreros:
Living in a free country means that Kaepernick and his imitators have the right to take a knee when they hear The Star Spangled Banner. Having a right, though, doesn’t mean that you are right.
When it comes to Kaepernick & Friends, those people who feel offended by their disrespectful gesture are right to feel that way: There’s nothing noble about virtue signaling, which is all that these highly paid athletes are doing. It’s a meaningless, painless activity that simply puffs up their profile in the drive-by media.
Things would be different, however, if they engaged in true acts of civil disobedience. Doing that might earn them respect even from those who disagree with them.
Back in the day, civil disobedience used to mean something very specific. Although long a recognized part of Anglo-Saxon and English culture (mostly through jury nullification), it was Henry David Thoreau, in the mid-19th Century, who best articulated the doctrine we now recognize. Thoreau objected to a poll tax because he felt the money was being improperly spent to support slavery and the war with Mexico. Rather than paying the tax, he took a principled stand, refused to pay the tax, and went to prison.
As it happened, Thoreau’s friends quickly bailed him out, so he did not have much time to glory in his martyrdom. Nevertheless, this single night in jail inspired Thoreau to write the definitive essay about a citizen’s obligation to strike out against unjust laws and practices — and to demonstrate the law’s invalidity through each citizen’s personal martyrdom. Significantly, Thoreau felt that such a principled stand gained weight from an attendant sacrifice, which is usually imprisonment:
Under a government which imprisons unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison. The proper place today, the only place which Massachusetts has provided for her freer and less despondent spirits, is in her prisons, to be put out and locked out of the State by her own act, as they have already put themselves out by their principles. It is there that the fugitive slave, and the Mexican prisoner on parole, and the Indian come to plead the wrongs of his race should find them; on that separate but more free and honorable ground, where the State places those who are not with her, but against her–the only house in a slave State in which a free man can abide with honor.
Part of taking a principled stand means a willingness to pay the price. Martin Luther King was willing to pay the price, as was Mohandas Gandhi. Rosa Parks, who knew she risked imprisonment when she refused to move to the back of the bus, was willing to pay the price. Nelson Mandela surely paid the price and then showed tremendous grace when he had in his hands the power to get revenge . . . but didn’t.
How things have changed in America. If you’re a Leftist, you get to break the law or with community norms . . . and receive only loud applause. I first realized that true, sacrificial civil disobedience is a dead letter for Lefties in February 2004, when San Francisco’s then-mayor, Gavin Newsom, suddenly announced that he was going to ignore California’s laws against same-sex marriage, and have the City issue marriage licenses to all gay couples desiring them. The Press oooh’ed and aaah’ed about his bravery, and gave him a platform he used to leverage himself to California’s Lieutenant Governorship and, he hopes, one day sees him seated in the governor’s office itself (helped by his current campaign to destroy the Second Amendment).
I like free speech. I like to use good ideas to challenge bad ideas. I think the whole point of political correctness is to erase our ability even to entertain thoughts about freedom, justice, and our inherent (not government-given, but inherent) rights as set forth in the Bill of Rights. I therefore have been untroubled by the Alt-Right movement, even though I know some nasty people have slipped in on the fringes.
I’m just grateful that, being a conservative, these racists and antisemites do live only on the fringes of a freedom-based political movement. If you’re on the Left, the racists and antisemites sit dead center.
From their perch at the top of the Democrat political heap, the Leftist racists demean blacks by saying that blacks are so stupid and helpless that they can function only with government support and guidance. From that same perch, they also offer unflinching support for genocidal Palestinians and for the BDS movement that aids the Palestinians in their genocidal goals. Indeed, this antisemitic rage has become a central pillar of the modern Democrat movement.
Meanwhile, even as Hillary was castigating a group that likes to tweak noses and yank chains, and most especially make a mockery of political correctness, she was receiving an endorsement from the Communist Party of the United States. A little historic reminder is useful here: The Communist Party of the United States actively seeks to bring about the same regimes that killed more than a 100 million people in the 20th century, and that are still going strong in various parts of the world.