I was cruising through Google+ and saw this great poster. It’s a little out of date, since the Phil Robertson kerfuffle was a few months ago, and Ahmadinejad is yesterday’s news, but it makes its point so perfectly, I had to include it here:
My point: I view my fellow human beings as . . . well . . . how best to put this? I view them as fellow human beings, capable of all things base and sublime. Once people attain maturity, I believe that all of them are capable of making decisions about how they wish to live their lives. True, not all of them start off with the same advantages, whether those are physical skills, mental abilities, or economically solid upbringing. All, however, can decide to follow the paths of virtue or of vice. Unlike dogs or cows or lizards, they are not bound by blind instinct. Subject to limitations on either side of the bell curve, the vast majority of human beings, of all races, colors, sexes, creeds, and sexual orientations, are rational, conscious beings blessed with will power and the ability to engage in moral analysis.
Leftists, however, invariably view all people but for straight white man as objects of pity. This is true no matter how often they apply adjectives such as “empowerment” or “pride” to these non-white male groups. Without exception, Leftists make it very clear that their preferred victim classes are incapable of standing on their own two feet. That are not fully fledged human beings who are masters of their fate or captains of their souls but, are instead pathetically needy, helpless beings.
Reverend Martin Luther King: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
And my favorite poem, of course:
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
(Leftist addendum: Unless I’m a victim.)
1. British Christians are slowly being banned from advocating traditional Christian views . . . such as the belief that marriage should involve one man and one woman. The only allowable morality is that which does not align with traditional Judeo-Christian doctrines.
2. A well-known Hispanic actress was fired from play because she supports a Tea Party candidate. “‘Of course she has the right to say whatever she wants. But we’re in the middle of the Mission [District in San Francisco]. Doing what she is doing is against what we believe,’ Lopez [wife of far Left S.F. Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi] said.” In other words, Hispanics are not allowed not hold any views inconsistent with the Democrat party platform.
3. Andrew Cuomo, governor of New York: “The Republican Party candidates are running against the SAFE Act — it was voted for by moderate Republicans who run the Senate! Their problem is not me and the Democrats; their problem is themselves. Who are they? Are they these extreme conservatives who are right-to-life, pro-assault-weapon, anti-gay? Is that who they are? Because if that’s who they are and they’re the extreme conservatives, they have no place in the state of New York, because that’s not who New Yorkers are.” Support the Second Amendment? New York is not the place for you. Agree with roughly half the country that pregnant women aren’t the ones making a “sacrifice” when they abort a fetus? Leave New York. Now!!
That’s just from the past couple of days. Please feel free to add any I missed.
I’ve noticed a trend on my “real me” Facebook page. More and more of my liberal friends (and that means almost all of my real world, as opposed to cyber world, friends) are regularly linking to Upworthy and the Good Men Project. Conservatives should heed the rise of these two sites they market themselves to knee-jerk liberals who cast votes as a way of saving their (non-religious) souls.
Upworthy is a site that posts made-for-Facebook (i.e., made-for-easy-distribution) videos showing people striking blows against racism, sexism (i.e., male chauvinism), hetereronomativism, homophobia, Islamophobia, etc. Here’s just a sampling of the videos of the moment (sans hyperlinks):
- “Her Husband’s Abuse Once Kept Her Behind Closed Doors. Now She’s Speaking Out, Loud And Clear.” (Evil male hegemony)
- “They’re Harassed And Criminalized. But Could They Be The Solution To A Big Sex Industry Problem?”(Fighting prostitutophobia)
- “Bully Calls News Anchor Fat, News Anchor Destroys Him On Live TV” (Beating back weight-ism)
- “Meet The 17-Year-Old Who Blew The Lid Off Racial Profiling With His iPod” (The war on racism)
- “You Might See Tattoos In A New Light After You See Them On This Woman” (Don’t judge a woman by her tramp-stamp)
- “Good military men who support gay marriage” (Even baby killers can be good if they like gays)
- “Nearly 1/3 Of All Campaign Dollars in 2013 Came From A Tiny Group Of People. Care To Guess Who?” (Rich people are evil, a video made by the AFL-CIO. Interestingly, the AFL-CIO forget to say that unions are the nation’s top political donors, and that these donations only go Democrat.)
- “9 Out Of 10 Americans Are Completely Wrong About This Mind-Blowing Fact” (Income inequality, brought to you by the corporate branch of the Occupy movement)
- “A Boy Makes Anti-Muslim Comments In Front Of An American Soldier. The Soldier’s Reply: Priceless.” (Islamophobia is irrational)
For a website devoted to victim-hood, I find it interesting that I can’t find any videos at Upworthy in which people strike self-righteous blows against antisemitism, which is rearing its hydra-head in virulent form around the world. A quick search reveals that neither the word “antisemitism” nor the word “anti-semitism” has ever appeared at Upworthy. There also don’t seem to be any videos exposing the deadly anti-Christian ideology that’s rapidly stripping the Middle East and parts of Africa of their Christian citizens. Instead, I found only videos attacking Christians for being homophobic (such as this one). Also lacking are videos striking self-righteous blows against the misogyny and homophobia in the Middle East and Africa, that deprives women and gays of any rights whatsoever, and that routinely sees them hanged or stoned for imaginary crimes of adultery or for real or imagined acts of sodomy.
It’s entirely possible that Upworthy’s contributors support Jews, Christians, women, and gays at the mercy of Islamists, and are simply too scared to say anything, just as the Monty Python guys are now too scared to touch Islam. Or it could be — which I think is the truth — that they don’t give a flying whatsit for these truly persecuted (i.e., real victim) groups.
It’s telling that, if you search “Islam” at Upworthy, you only get dozens of variations on “Islam is a religion of peace — honest.” The Upworthy people apparently weren’t paying attention to 9/11, the Fort Hood shooting, the Madrid train bombing, the London subway and bus bombings, the Mumbai massacre, the Bali disco bombing, the London soldier beheading, the attempted Times Square Bombing, the Boston Marathon massacre, the Kenya mall massacre, and all of the other mass murders with perpetrators who made explicit the fact that they were acting in Islam’s name. Alternatively, the Upworthy crew defines “peace” this way: “If I appease them, they’ll leave me alone, which is very peaceful.” Thinking about it, Upworthy’s contributors probably aren’t that familiar with Churchill either (“An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.”)
As for the Good Men Project, I’ll let Kevin Williamson describe it, as well as describing one of its latest offerings, which is a gender-neutral dating guide:
“It’s not possible to have a completely gender neutral date,” writes therapist Andrew Smiler in a head-clutchingly asinine essay for the Good Men Project, a repository of painfully navel-gazing male-feminist apologetics that describes itself as “not so much a magazine as a social movement.” While acknowledging the impossibility of his daunting task, Mr. Smiler goes on to offer a great many helpful tips in his “Guy’s Guide to the Gender-Minimized First Date.” But not before making a full and frank apology in advance: “I’m trying to write this guide to apply across all genders, masculine, feminine, trans*, etc. If I’ve missed or something is very wrong, I have faith someone will let me know in the comments. I’m also writing based on my own American background and referring primarily to gender roles as they currently exist in the U.S. Depending on where you’re from, you may have grown up with this approach or you may find it completely foreign.” An asterisk on that asterisk: “Trans*” I am reliably informed, is the new, more inclusive way of referring in writing to the phenomenon of transsexualism, or as the ever-helpful FAQ at “Ask a Trans Woman” explains: “Trans, sans asterisk, has a tendency to mean gender-binary folk (trans men and trans women, often by the DSM-IV, GID definition of the words.) Trans* is more inclusive.” It is getting difficult to keep up.
Mr. Smiler’s advice, almost all of which is catastrophically bad, consists in the main of pre-cooking evasive strategies for such potentially fraught issues as deciding who pays for dinner or whether to split the check in the name of sexual egalitarianism. His guidance: The party proffering the invitation pays for the party accepting it. This is the sole area in which Mr. Smiler, otherwise a celebrant of sexual fluidity, concedes that expectations may be fixed by circumstance. “You can maintain one roll [sic] . . . or you can switch around,” except when the bill comes, which is to say you can pass the rolls but not the check. Not my own style, though fair enough. (But who says you get to make the rules, Mr. Man?)
You can read the rest of Williamson’s exposé here, but I’d definitely recommend having an emesis basin at your side while you read.
Moving beyond Williamson’s “general neutral dating” focus, today’s Good Men Project offerings include the following:
- “Be Honest With Yourself – How Racist Are You?” (More than you know, my friend. More than you know.)
- “My Daughter’s Room is Grey for a Reason” (What could be more gender neutral than gray?)
- “The Most Dangerous Four-Letter Word (Dick Simon has found a single word that marginalizes, isolate and insult. That word is THEM.)” (You need to know that not all Muslims are terrorists. To which I reply that I totally agree with that statement. I’m just troubled by the fact that the vast majority of terrorists are Muslims — and, worse, they you refuse to acknowledge that reality.)
- “Explaining White Privilege to a Broke White Person” (Believe it or not, it can be done. All white people are guilty.)
- “What’s Law Got to Do With It? A Straight Married Guy’s Perspective on Marriage Know Thyself: An Open Letter to My Transgender Child” (I’m glad you love your child. Now stop politicizing it.)
If you like your men gender-neutral, and that’s how you want to raise your own sons, Good Men Project is definitely the site for you. Me? I like my men a little more . . . you know, manly, so the site doesn’t just leave me cold, it leaves me with a creepy, crawly, itchy feeling on my skin.
What both these sites offer are huge, gushy, pillowy mountains of soul-saving emotion. Their implicit promise is that if you are a gender-neutral, non-heteronormative person who is in touch with your feelings; if you provide unswerving, unquestioning support for blacks, lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transsexuals, other sexuals, hefty people, tattooed people, prostitutes, beaten wives, and all of the other officially sanctioned victim classes; and, most importantly, if you revile Republicans and vote Democrat . . . you will be saved. Hallelujah!!
It’s easy to laugh at Upworthy and the Good Men Project, since they seem more like parodies than anything else. I can easily imagine Greg Gutfeld and crew laughingly brainstorming “dumb websites for Leftists” and coming up with imaginary sites that are indistinguishable from these two sites.
The reality is, though, that not only aren’t these websites parodies, there’s nothing funny about them. They’re emotional soul-saving candy for people who have abandoned traditional faiths but still worry about their eternal salvation. To them, a vote isn’t about what’s best for the country, as a whole; it’s about what’s most likely to make them feel virtuous. In the absence of a traditional God, spiritual redemption can be found in feel-good Progressivism.
It’s these salvation-seekers who, when asked say that they’re liberals. Right now, they’re at 23% of the population, which seems like an insignificant number. It’s not. For those seeking a return to constitutional government, individual freedom, and a sturdy sense of self-reliance, that 23% is scary because it’s really “23% and counting.” Part of why this number is rising, even as Obama’s poll numbers and policies are falling, is that sites such as Upworthy and Good Men Project promise eternal salvation in a non-religious world. If you side with the Progressive’s carefully identified victim-classes, your non-religious soul will be saved from eternal Republican damnation.
All of which gets me back to a point I made a long time ago: To win this fight, conservatives too must offer the American people a vision that allows them to save their souls. There’s actually nothing new about this. In a country that hasn’t stood still since the first European set foot on its shores, Americans, feeling adrift, have always sought salvation, whether it was 18th and 19th century religious revivals, Aimee Semple McPherson hucksterism, or (as is the case now) redemption through voting Democrat. Conservatives have allowed a status quo to exist in which Democrats point to conservatives as the devil incarnate (which is ironic given that are more likely than Progressives to espouse traditional religious views), while promising a baptism and rebirth at the altar of government.
I’ve mentioned before that conservatives with money and style should create a series of widely promoted commercials showing someone doing something wonderful — helping the poor, being an awesome athlete, growing a business out of a home that employs hundreds of people, being an artist, etc. — and all ending with the tag line “and I’m a conservative.” These people should be Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Muslims, White, Black, Asian, Hispanic, Male, Female, Gay, Straight, Young, and Old (and anything else I’ve forgotten). What’s important is that conservatives must deprive Progressives of their self-anointed status as the group that determines who in America is saved and who is damned.
We keep trying to give intellectual food to people who want only emotional and spiritual reassurance. It’s fine for us to say that ours are the better ideas, but ideas, no matter how good, are useless if one continuously loses at the ballot box, in the court houses, and, worst of all, in the court of public opinion. Our first and biggest job is to show that conservatives are nice and that, if you’re looking to save your soul, conservativism is at least as good as, and quite possibly much better than, the Progressivism so relentlessly foisted on them. Everything else flows from that.
I found incredibly amusing the Facebook post a very Progressive friend of mine wrote about her daughter. During her gap year (a break between high school and college), the daughter wanted to do the very Marin thing of going to work on an organic farm natural habitats in Africa. When the gal ran the numbers, though, she discovered that this type of charitable work would cost her a fortune. She therefore abandoned the plan (apparently charity’s only worthwhile if it’s free and fun) and, instead, is leaving soon for a “birthright” trip to Israel.
A trip to Israel is a wonderful thing. Unless they’re dumb as posts, the Progressive kids who go on it come back realizing a couple of things — (1) that Israelis are not evil Nazis and (2) that Israel is a vulnerable in a teeny country surrounded by haters. I therefore think it’s great that the girl is going to Israel.
Moreover, a “birthright” trip to Israel is a wonderful way to go. It’s a free trip that introduces young American Jews to the Jewish nation. They tour all over and meet fascinating Israelis who help them understand that dynamic little liberal democracy buried in a theocratic, totalitarian region.
In other words, there’s nothing funny about the gal going to Israel. What is funny is that the biggest funder (or one of the biggest funders) behind the “birthright” program is Sheldon Adelson. Adelson, whom I greatly admire, is a conservative/libertarian. He is the antithesis of everything this young woman has been raised to believe. Nevertheless, she’d rather take his money for a free trip than spend her own money to help out a Progressive-approved charitable endeavor.
* It’s important to note here that the young woman’s parents staunchly support Israel. It’s just that they also support a president who is doing everything he can to empower Iran while destroying Israel, and a political party that is becoming increasingly open about its old-fashioned antisemitism. In other words, they are both perfect representatives of the kind of “thinkers” that the modern Ivy League (both went to Harvard) is churning out.
One of the striking paradoxes in Marin is that the same people who reliably vote for Democrat candidates actually have quite conservative values. In my Marin world, people are educated, ambitious, hard-working, married, and family-oriented, and they happily live in almost entirely white communities. As to that last, it’s not that they would object if a black family moved it. It would simply have to be a black family that was “one of us,” meaning educated, ambitious, etc. Despite their essentially conservative values, these hard-working people support endless welfare; these family-oriented, helicopter parents happily consign poor children to the tender mercies of the state; and these married parents, who have the luxury of a stay-at-home mom, support any policy that advances single motherhood. The Marin dwellers I know are the living embodiment of Charles Murray’s wonderful observation that elite Democrats don’t preach what they practice.
On the rare occasions when I’m able to speak with my friends without using political labels, they invariably agree with me about the benefits of hard work and marriage, about the social and economic virtues of two-parent families, about the problem with the hypersexualization of young children, and about the fact that the best defense against bullies is projecting a strong attitude of self-defense. Point out, though, that these values align them with Ted Cruz or Mitt Romney, who support profiting from ones own labor, being married as a predicate to children, encouraging (although not legislating) a more wholesome popular culture, and projecting American strength abroad, and they’ll back away from you as if you’ve suddenly sprouted horns.
It’s that last phrase that explains why these Democrats, even if their values are completely at odds with their own party, would never, never vote Republican. In their minds, it’s not that
Democrats Republicans have bad ideas; it’s that they’re eeeevvviiiilll. Not just “evil,” but eeeevvviiiilll. To them, Republicans haven’t merely sold their souls to the Devil, which implies that it’s possible to regain those lost souls. Instead, it’s that Republicans have no souls. To the Marin liberal, politics are controlled by a simple syllogism:
Republicans/conservatives are evil.
I am not evil.
Therefore I can never be a Republican/conservative.
But I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know, right? For years, conservatives have wryly observed that, while conservative think liberals are misguided, liberals think conservatives are evil. So why am I dragging this old issue to the table? Because now is the time to change this paradigm.
We know from a Harvard study that the young generation is turning against Obama because he betrayed them. Unfortunately, though, despite their disenchantment with Obama, these youngsters aren’t turning to Republicans. Given the fact that Democrats lied and Republicans spoke the truth, these youth voters aren’t making a U-turn and heading for the Republican party. Instead, they’ve opted for a “plague on both your houses” approach to politics.
Their refusal even to contemplate conservativism stems from their constant indoctrination: Republicans are eeeevvviiiilll. In any Hollywood film that touches upon politics (and even in those that don’t), Republicans are evil. In any MSM news story, Republicans are evil. In songs, at award shows, on Twitter, and Facebook, the cascade of obscene, profane, and scatalogical remarks from those on the Left are uniform: Republicans are eeeevvviiiilll.
With Obamacare cratering and Obama being revealed as both incompetent and dishonest, Republicans are trying to figure out how to position themselves as the obvious political alternative. Sadly, the state of American political debate and thinking is not such that conservatives can gain voters by explaining that conservative ideas are better. We take the world as we’re given, though, and that world demands that we suit our argument to our audience. Before they listen to us, they need to like us — or at least they need to stop fearing us. The answer is to run a personality campaign.
When I speak of a “personality campaign,” I refer to gauzy photographs of Republican politicians with their spouses and children. Although that seems to play well to the base, it does nothing to convert the people who think we’re eeeevvviiiilll. Democrats have been trained to view those photographs — when they come from conservatives — as the equivalent of photographs showing Nazi camp guards having tea parties in their homes.
What the RNC and other conservative groups should be producing, instead, are gazillions of one-minute-long commercials and YouTube videos, as well as easy-to-share posters for Facebook and Twitter, all of which focus on ordinary whites, Asians, Blacks, and Hispanics engaging in good acts of the type that thoughtless, but disenchanted, Democrats can understand. Each video or poster should end with the tag line “I’m [fill in the name] and I’m a Republican.”
For example, you might have a video showing an Asian woman working at a homeless shelter, and have it end with her saying “I’m [fill in the name] and I’m a Republican.” Or you have a poster of a black volunteer hard at work for Habitat for Humanity, over the tag line “I’m [fill in the name] and I’m a Republican.” Another video might show someone getting out of a Prius and into a wheelchair, again with the tag line “I’m [fill in the name] and I’m a Republican.
The possibilities are endless, because Republicans are good people, and they actually do many things that make Democrats happy. Posters and videos of beach clean-ups, animal shelter work, homeless shelter work, Big Brother/Big Sister work, tutoring kids at inner city schools, and raising money for African orphanages, would humanize a group of people who have been demonized simply because they believe in the worth of the individual and in maximum individual freedom. When it comes to speaking out to Americans, we need to stop focusing on the politicians, whom the media finds it easy to ridicule and denigrate, and start looking into the Republican community, which is brimful of wonderful, caring, people, for whom being wonderful and ordinary is just a part of their lives.
We cannot convert people to our ideas unless we can convince them that their “conservatives are evil” syllogism is utterly false. The new syllogism should go like this:
Republicans/conservatives are good people.
I share most of their values.
Since the Democrat party has lied and broken its promises, and its ideas have failed, I should vote Republican.
[For those of you who find the ideas in here vaguely familiar, my dear friend Don Quixote made precisely this point many years ago. He was, as is often the case, a clear-sighted visionary.]
Hat tip: Caped Crusader
“Six By Sondheim” is a new, well-produced HBO documentary that stitches together the many interviews Stephen Sondheim has given over the years since the late 1950s and then ties those interviews in with six of his best-known or (to him) most important songs. NPR enthused that the show leaves viewers wanting more but, as I am not a Sondheim fan, I wanted less — or at least less of the music. The interviews, however, were interesting.
My takeaway is that Sondheim is a decent, articulate, intelligent man, who thinks deeply about his craft. I may not like his end product, finding the endless word play emotionally distancing and the music discordant, but there’s serious hard work and lots of talent behind it.
Sondheim has made a living out of thumbing his nose at critics who complain rightly that his songs are not “hummable.” Certainly that’s part of why I don’t like his music. I’m simplistic enough to like pop songs that I can sing later. Although maybe “simplistic” isn’t the right word. When Irving Berlin rhymes “farmer” with “potato embalmer,” there’s nothing simplistic about that. It’s a delightful rhyme scheme that captures in three words one aspect of a farmer’s work. Likewise, there’s nothing embarrassing about Johnny Mercer’s exquisite lyrics to I Remember You. “When my life is through, and the angels ask me to recall the thrill of it all, then I will tell them I remember you.” My primary reasoning for disliking Sondheim’s music isn’t that it’s not hummable; it’s that, to my ears, it’s not attractive.
Certainly Sondheim’s subject matter is seldom attractive consisting as it does of strippers, burlesque, broken homes, and psychopathic moms (Gypsy); deadly street gangs (West Side Story); serial killers (Sweeney Todd); a dystopian view of fairy tales (Into The Woods); attempted presidential murderers (Assassins); a man’s throwing away his life’s talent (Merrily We Roll Along); or broken down marriages (Follies). Listening to Sondheim describe his life, this deeply negative view about relationships and people in general isn’t particularly surprising.
Sondheim’s parents had an unhappy marriage that ended when he was 10. Before, during, and after the divorce, he was a pawn in his parents drama and, most especially in his mother’s obsession with his father and her manifest dislike for being a parent. She hated her son and he knew it. Indeed, when Sondheim was 40, right before his mother went into surgery, she wrote him a letter saying that the worst thing that ever happened to her was to have him.
Sondheim was also a homosexual who came of age during a time when his sexual orientation was unpopular, to say the least. There’s no doubt that, in the Broadway world, he could easily have found sufficient numbers of like-minded people to form a relationship that went beyond casual sex. He didn’t, though. It appears that his upbringing left him so emotionally constipated that, as he confesses, he was only able to fall in love when he was 60.
Blessedly, Sondheim seems to keep his politics to himself, but he’s certainly part of the zeitgeist on the Lefter side of the political spectrum. Those who like him are often the same people who sneer at traditional musical theater, with its bright songs and happy endings.
After watching the documentary, I realized that American art and entertainment present a funny paradox. Leftists tend to create and to prefer art and entertainment that focuses on the sleazy, irredeemable side of human nature. Many of Sondheim’s plays exemplify this fact, but the list of gutter-gazing art from Leftists is endless. Hollywood and Broadway Leftists like, and endlessly produce, movies and shows that focus on the bad guys (Tony Soprano, Walter White), depressing situations (Precious, American Beauty), or sordid behavior (just about every movie out of Hollywood lately).
Conservatives tend to yearn for the type of wholesome fare that Hollywood churned out from the time of the Code through the late 1960s. These shows involve happy people muddling through to happy endings, bad people getting their comeuppances in morally satisfying ways, suffering people rewarded at the end, etc. The tear-jerkers involved deeply sympathetic characters who tried to do good and failed, not creepy psychopaths who worked hard at being evil and, even when they got their comeuppance, never repented.
Looking at the differing artistic fare the two political cultures generate, you’d think that it was the conservatives who were the utopians and the Leftists who were the harsh realists. In fact, though, Leftists are the utopians who fervently believe that, if they can just figure out the correct political coercion, they will perfect human kind, turning each man into someone who joyfully, and without greed, rancor, or violence, gives of his labors to support everyone else in the world. Conservatives, on the other hand, recognize that humankind is inherently greedy, rancorous, and violent, and seek to create voluntarily enforced social, moral, and economic systems that harness and control these innate tendencies in a way that’s simultaneously beneficial to the individual and to society at large.
Presumably, this paradox can be resolved as follows: Leftists use art to establish that the world, especially the American world, is a terrible place because it lacks the guiding hand of a loving police state. Meanwhile, conservatives use their art aspirationally, to encourage all people to cultivate voluntarily their better selves, or to put their “baser” instincts (i.e., greed) to a use that lifts up their own lives while improving and enriching the world.
Two stories today about internecine warfare on the Left:
I am gleefully wallowing in schadenfreude.
Long-time readers know that I’m hostile to bicyclists. In 2007, I devoted an entire post to mob bicyclists. Although I didn’t blog about bikes after my trip to Amsterdam, one of the things I just hated about the city was the bicyclists. Collectively, the bicyclists make up a brutish mob that controls the streets. Woe betide the unlucky pedestrian or car that tries to cross an intersection when any bicyclists are near. Indeed, even a single cyclist, without the comfort of the mob at his street will take aim at any pedestrian foolish enough to try to cross when a bicyclist is near. They are terrifying in their arrogance and entitlement.
I live near a scenic street that, every weekend throughout the year, and every week day when the sun is shining, is a bike route. There is no bike lane, so the bikes just ride down the middle of the road. The road is extremely curvy so, as I round every curve, I recite to myself “Bicycle, bicycle, bicycle,” so that I don’t get careless and run one down. The speed limit on the road is between 20-25 MPH, depending on how curvy the road is. The speed limit is irrelevant. We drivers go bike speed: 5-10 MPH.
In other parts of Marin, bikes run red lights and stop signs, dart into traffic, block roads, and move in large packs. A few months ago, a bicyclist almost hit my car. I don’t know why. I was in my lane, on a multi-lane road, driving along at the speed limit, and he just swerved into me.
Lucky for the bicyclists, although they arouse anger in me, my dominant emotion is fear. I’m absolutely terrified that, in a run-in between my two-ton car and their bike, even if they’re at fault, I’ll walk away and they’ll be dead. For that reason, I give them an especially wide berth whenever I see them. Some drivers don’t. They act on their anger and come dangerously close to bicyclists, putting those frail bodies at risk — and putting the driver at risk of a lengthy prison sentence and the end of his life as he knows it.
My thinking has always been that the bicyclists believe that their environmental chops mean that they are wrapped in an invincibility cloak, one that allows them to ignore the law of physics. That is, I’ve thought that, in their overweening bicyclist arrogance, they truly believe that, even as they break all known traffic rules, they cannot be hurt because they’re on the side of angels.
How naive I was. They know they can be hurt. But rather than following the rules of the road, they have a different plan: to make cars illegal. More frighteningly, they seem to be succeeding in many communities.
Drivers should strike back. The reason the car took over the road shortly after Henry Ford brought mass production to manufacturing is because they are better than bikes: they’re safer, they carry more people and goods, they’re faster, they protect people from the elements, they bring more traffic to commercial areas, and they more comfortable. Certainly it’s nice if they burn fuel more cleanly, or if drivers make time in their lives to exercise so as to offset sitting, rather than walking, but they’re still better. Bicyclists, however, would have us revert to a pre-industrial time when transportation was limit to a person’s own two feet — whether without wheels, or augmented by two slender ones.
Arne Duncan defended common core by verbally assaulting “white suburban moms.” He’s now issued the standard Obama-era apology, which is to say that he’s not sorry for what he said, he’s just sorry that he got caught saying it: “I used some clumsy phrasing that I regret.”
I was going to ask, “How dumb does Duncan think the American people are?” That’s a stupid question. The American people are dumb enough to have given people like Duncan virtually unfettered power in the halls of academia for upwards of 40 years now.
Dunca is right — he doesn’t owe us a real apology. We had it coming. Americans have had ample evidence that he’s a scorpion and they still held out their arms and said “Sting me.”
It’s we who owe the youth of America a real apology for inflicting these monsters on them.
If you’re looking for a unifying principle of everything, at least everything Democrat, Victor Davis Hanson has it:
What is the common denominator of the Obama administration’s serial scandals — the Justice Department’s spying on AP, the IRS targeting of conservative groups, the NSA surveillance, the lies about Benghazi and the ACA — and much of the White House damage-control rhetoric? In a word: the advancement of postmodern notions of justice at the expense of traditional truth.
By the 1980s, in law schools, university social-science departments, and the humanities in general, the old relativist idea of Plato’s noble lies was given a new French facelift. Traditional morality and ethics were dismissed as arbitrary constructs, predicated on privileged notions of race, class, and gender. The new moral architecture did not rely on archaic abidance by the niceties of “truth,” which simply reinforced traditional oppressive hierarchies.
Instead, social justice by definition transcended the sham of traditional ideas of truth and falsity. The true became the advocacy of fairness, while the real lie was the reactionary adherence to a set of oppressive norms. All this was faculty-lounge fluff, but soon it filtered out into the larger culture.
Read the rest here.
In other words, everything Jonah Goldberg said in Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Change was true.