I might have posted this Pat Condell video three years ago, when it first came out, but if I didn’t, it’s timeless and, if I did, it’s still worth watching again. If more of us had Condell’s passion for truth and individual liberty, the world would be a much better, safer place.
The Ebola story has temporarily drifted away from Obama’s bull-headed refusal to close the American border to flights origination in West Africa and, instead, focused on a doctor and a nurse. The doctor is Craig Spencer, who came back from volunteer work in West Africa and carried the Ebola virus all over New York. The nurse is Kaci Hickox, who has been fighting a quarantine imposed against her upon her return from volunteer work in West Africa. Spencer’s and Hickox’s stories reflect three very strong trends that emanated from the Left and that now dominate much of American culture: a sense of entitlement, demands for accommodation, and the arrogance of Prius syndrome. Underlying all three of those trends is the Leftists’ belief that, to the extent their actions may have a downside, those downsides should not be imposed upon them, but should be redistributed throughout society.
Please bear with me as I explain each of these societal syndromes, so that I can intelligibly apply them to Spencer, Hickox, and to Barack Obama as well.
Often, when we speak of “entitlements” we’re talking about demands for government money: For example, in America, welfare isn’t a form of charity that sees the rich give extra money to the government, which then functions in a managerial role, distributing funds to the needy. Instead, welfare is something that the middle class and rich owe to other people, thereby giving the government the right to strong-arm that money through an increasingly corrupt taxation process.
I’m not using the word “entitlement” in quite that technical, bureaucratic, Leftist political sense. Instead, I’m thinking of all those Gen Xers, Yers, Zers, and Millennials, all of whom think that the world owes them. If you want the poster child for this entitled attitude, Lena Dunham may well be it. In her own biography, she describes a lifestyle of obscene material wealth that came paired with a parenting style that gave her everything but discipline, self-awareness, compassion, and responsibility:
Lena Dunham is fond of lists. Here is a list of things in Lena Dunham’s life that do not strike Lena Dunham as being unusual: growing up in a $6.25 million Tribeca apartment; attending a selection of elite private schools; renting a home in Hollywood Hills well before having anything quite resembling a job and complaining that the home is insufficiently “chic”; the habitual education of the men in her family at Andover; the services of a string of foreign nannies; being referred to a homework therapist when she refused to do her homework and being referred to a relationship therapist when she fought with her mother; constant visits to homeopathic doctors, and visits to child psychologists three times a week; having a summer home on a lake in Connecticut, and complaining about it; writing a “voice of her generation” memoir in which ordinary life events among members of her generation, such as making student-loan payments or worrying about the rent or health insurance, never come up; making casual trips to Malibu; her grandparents’ having taken seven-week trips to Europe during her mother’s childhood; spending a summer at a camp at which the costs can total almost as much as the median American family’s annual rent; being histrionically miserable at said camp and demanding to be brought home early; demanding to be sent back to the same expensive camp the next year.
Despite her exceptionally privileged upbringing — if one defines “privilege” to mean excessive wealth — Dunham is very sure that the world owes her something, no matter how perverse and selfish her demands may be.
Dunham’s entitled attitude is spread throughout America’s more prestigious college campuses. I certainly don’t mean to malign all college students, but the evidence of the Occupy Wall Street protests cannot be ignored: She is part of a cadre of upper class American young people who feel entitled to everything, provided that someone else pays. Denying themselves things or working hard to be able to pay for things simply isn’t a part of their practical or moral lexicon. In their minds, everything is theirs for the demanding, because their education — simultaneously privileged and Leftist — has imbued them with a moral compass that cannot be questioned.
This sense of entitlement isn’t limited, of course, to America’s young elite. It’s also very prevalent amongst the Leftist’s anointed victim classes: women, gays, and Muslims. Women are entitled to have paychecks identical to men’s, regardless of the fact that they work fewer hours, have less training, or demand more flexibility in their workplace and work hours. Women are also entitled to have jobs identical to men’s, without regard to the fact that women’s smaller build and lesser musculature means that the standards for those jobs have to be lowered — and to hell with the risk that lowering standards for cops, firefighters, Marines, etc., imposes on fellow cops, firefighters, Marines, etc., or on the public.
Who cares that those petite female firefighters who got on the force only because of lowered standards are incapable of carrying people out of a burning building? Those people would undoubtedly have died happy knowing that their lives were sacrificed on the altar of complete gender equality. (I covered the “size matters” issue at greater length here.)
America’s gays and Muslim’s are also exceptionally entitled and their sense of entitlement leads me to the second strand in the Ebola story, which is the insistence that the mainstream majority must yield to the demands of the entitled. Gays are entitled to force religious Christians (who are following a moral and doctrinal tradition that was unquestioned for all of mankind, right up until about 5 years ago) to perform or otherwise participate in gay marriage ceremonies. Meanwhile, Muslim’s insist that they have a right to refuse to handle pork products despite working in a grocery store or to be one clerk wearing a headscarf in Abercrombie, a store notorious for using nearly-naked sex as its primary sales pitch. Now, I’m not defending Abercrombie, which I think is an awful place, but I am defending Abercrombie’s right to be awful — and not to be bullied by a religious into hiring people totally at odds with its marketing ethos.
Put another way, up until this current generation of entitled people, what minorities sought was the right to be left alone. Conservative Jews wouldn’t make you hang mezuzot in every doorway in New York provided that you didn’t prevent them from nailing those same mezuzot to their own doorways. Likewise, an Orthodox Jewish woman wouldn’t demand that all the teachers at her private school wear wigs, provided that you allowed her to wear hers. And if you insisted she give up a wig, rather than suing you, she’d seek a place more accommodating of her beliefs. That Jewish woman understood that part of being left alone in order to practice ones religion freely was to keep the state away from her. Letting the state get involved in your religious practices is letting that camel’s nose in the tent — the inevitable result of that first intrusion, even by invitation, is that the rest is damn sure to follow, and with very destructive effects too.
Those people who feel entitled and demand accommodation are not a very pretty sight. Despite clothing their demands in the rhetoric of civil rights, they’re actually terribly spoiled people who insist upon using the weight of the government to force a nation of 300 million souls to bow down before them. The thing that best illustrates this arrogance, and the accompanying disdain for less “enlightened” Americans, oozes out in something called Prius syndrome.
I have nothing against the Toyota Prius. It’s a snappy, well-designed little car that gets good fuel mileage. It’s also small and, at least when introduced, pricey, making it an unacceptable car for large families (which are so un-green, what with overpopulating the planet and everything); ranchers (so un-green with their flatulent cattle); farmers (so un-green, with their demands for water); and ordinary middle Americans with little money and long commutes so that they can manage to bring that small paycheck home (so un-green to have a long commute).
(For more on my sense that the whole electric and hybrid car scene is an appalling transfer of wealth from working class to upper class, go here; for an admittedly old study indicating that the Prius manufacturing process is so un-green it ranks environmentally near the Hummer, go here. The point of the latter article is that a lot of so-called “green” products simply transfer the pollution away from where the entitled classes, so that their environment is free from smoke, exhaust fumes, and environmental destruction.)
It turns out that having the money and “greenness” to afford a Prius has created a new class of arrogant drivers, fully equally to those Beemer drivers we all complained about back in the 1980s. It’s not just these people boast at parties that “Oh, I drive a Prius.” Just as has long been true for those Beemer drivers, Prius drivers bring their arrogance and entitlement to the road. Rather than being simple, humble people of the earth, as one would think a super greenie would be, they’re instead arrogant lawbreakers:
And in the San Francisco Bay Area, where the status-symbol Prius was marked down as a luxury vehicle, researchers found their drivers to have a higher tendency to commit traffic infractions than most.
We shouldn’t be surprised, of course. This is what happens if you’ve proven to yourself that you’re a better human being than the person in the car next to you. It doesn’t matter that you’re a “Herstory” major, living on your parents dime, and driving the car Grandpa Moneybags gave you when you graduated from boarding school, while the person in the old Plymouth is a decorated Iraq vet who works two jobs to support his family. Because you’re special, you can cut that gas guzzler off on the freeway or hog two parking places. Serves him right for polluting!
And now I’ll keep my promise and return to Dr. Spencer and Nurse Hickox, with a dollop of Obama to ice this particularly noxious entitled, demanding, arrogant cake.
It’s important to remember that both Spencer and Hickox did something decent and brave: They went to tend the sick and dying in West Africa. That’s admirable. But then they had to go spoil it all with their entitlement, arrogance, and Prius syndrome. Because of what they did, both of these medical professionals (and remember, that’s a “caring” field) believe that the ordinary rules of conduct or biology should not apply to them. They’re entitled and we should yield.
In their own minds, both Spencer and Hickox are morally superior people who are entitled to do whatever the heck they want and it is our responsibility to accommodate them. They are the living paradigm of a conflation of these unbelievable selfish, demanding, greedy, anti-social Leftist infections in American society.
Even worse, Spencer and Hickox are not unique. President Obama, using the bully pulpit of the White House, agrees with them wholeheartedly. To Obama, it’s perfectly acceptable to force our military to go to Ebola-stricken regions and then to force those same military personnel into a lengthy and uncomfortable quarantine. As he sees it, they deserve that risk and suffering because they’re, well, military, and we know what Obama thinks of our troops. However, in Obama’s Leftist world view, the corollary is that it’s unfair to quarantine people who volunteered to go to West Africa because they’re just better people than the troops:
Obama responded [to a question about different quarantine standards for the military and volunteers by saying] that the military is in a different situation from that of civilian volunteers because (1) they are not treating patients, and (2) they are not there voluntarily. Does this make any sense? While our soldiers might not be treating patients, they are still in the hot zone and have the potential to be exposed to individuals who might be infected. The Pentagon understandably doesn’t want its soldiers to hop on a plane when finished and return to wherever they are stationed with the potential to spread a deadly disease to co-workers and families. But here’s where this gets really convoluted: those who are treating patients – the civilian volunteers – are at an even higher risk of contracting Ebola than anyone else (over 200 health care workers, including doctors and nurses, have died treating Ebola), yet Obama doesn’t see the need to quarantine them upon their return, even though logic dictates otherwise.
What is so infuriating, aside from his twisted logic, is that Obama suggests that civilian volunteers are the only courageous ones taking time from their families to use their expertise for a noble cause, as if our military volunteers do not have families they are leaving behind, using their expertise for an equally noble cause, and courageously walking headfirst into the fire:
When we have volunteers who are taking time out from their families, from their loved ones and so forth, to go over there because they have very particular expertise to tackle a very difficult job, we want to make sure that when they come back, that we are prudent, that we are making sure that they are not at risk themselves or at risk of spreading the disease. But we don’t want to do things that aren’t based on science and best practices because, if we do, then we’re just putting another barrier on somebody who’s already doing really important work on our behalf.
In The World According to Obama, it’s okay to put up a barrier for someone in the military who might have been exposed to Ebola-infected individuals, but not for a civilian volunteer who most definitely was treating and therefore unequivocally exposed to Ebola-infected patients. In Obama’s world, the civilian volunteer is “doing really important work on our behalf.” And what about the soldiers? What are they – chopped liver? Aren’t they working on our behalf, too?
It’s Obama’s mindset that has left us with the spectacle of Ebola-infected Dr. Spencer “self-isolating” by trolling all over New York (dinners, taxis, bowling), and then lying about that fact to officials when it was apparent he was the infectious carrier of a deadly disease and of Nurse Hickox who thinks it’s a singular insult that she should be quarantined because she’s so special that society as a whole must yield her certainty that she’s not sick with a disease, never mind that scientists still aren’t quite sure how the disease is transmitted, how long it can last on surfaces outside the body, and how long the incubation period is.
Quite simply, both Dr. Spencer and Nurse Hickox are better people and more deserving than the rest of you. You should be worshiping at their altar rather than whining about the fact that they’re doing their best to be vectors for a disease with a 25% morality rate under the best circumstances and a 70% mortality rate under the worst.
I just have to share with you some of the reader comments (now totaling 85) to Danny Lemieux’s American Thinker article. A lot of them elaborate on or repeat the theme, or engage in long dialogues with each other. Some comments, though, give praise. Full, honest, rich praise:
SmallSherm Yes, yes, yes, and a thousand times YES! This is possibly the greatest article I have ever read on this site, and I have read many, many fantastic articles. This is the source of every problem we are facing as a nation, and therein lies every solution we would ever need: 1) EXPLAIN how our positions fit perfectly into the Judeo-Christian worldview (I’ve seen all too many try to explain them to secular masses and fail miserably) and 2) EXPOSE the Marxist-Progressive worldview for its imminent failures. Understanding the variances in worldview provide all of the insight necessary to convince the unliberated.
amerigal1 If ever there were a MUST READ article on AT, this one is IT!! Thank you Mr. Lemieux—outstanding job.
AmericanCitizen Excellent article, really shows the difference between our two sides, and I unfortunately think that this is a divide that cannot be breached.
ChristianWriter A fine, enlightening explication of our dire situation. Thank you, Mr. Lemieux.
johnnyrocks67 Fantastic article. Mr. Lemieux is correct in that our nation is like the aftermath of the Tower of Babel. We are not speaking the same language and simply can’t communicate. The difference between the right and left is that the conservatives are willing to learn the left’s language and try to reason with them while MarxProgs almost always refuse to even consider the conservative position and have virtually no interest in dialogue or healthy engagement with anyone who does not tow their line.
swampcat Excellent article, Mr. Lemieux. I appreciate that you laid out the irony of the marxprog with regard to materialism.
We do cultivate some truly fine talents here at the Bookworm Room. I’m always selfishly grateful that so many of you expend your talents here, rather than setting up your own sites. They would, I’m quite sure, be wonderful additions to the conservative blogosphere, but it’s nicer to have so much talented collected here, where I am! As for those of you who do blog at other sites (e.g., David Foster or Ymarsakar, to name just two), I’m still grateful that you come here and add so much to my site.
My daughter let loose this morning with a rant about the way in which political correctness stifles humor and free speech. She’s right, of course. No wonder Progressives want to silence conservatives. If conservatives are allowed talk, people — especially young people — will discover that they’re much more fun. Young people like fun, which is why Leftists keep telling them “sex, sex, sex.” Dig just a little past all that sex talk, though, and you realize that conservatives are actually having fun, while Progressives offer nothing more than a grim, puritanical slog through a Hobbesian life:
Progressives perpetually police their own and everyone else’s speech. Conservatives, outside of the boundaries of ordinary decency and manners, do not.
Progressive humor is predicated on demeaning and deceiving people (I’m talking to you Jon Stewart). Conservatives can laugh about most things.
Progressives live in perpetual fear that their world is in imminent danger of bursting into flames. Conservatives do not view the earth in darkly apocalyptic terms.
Progressives worry that every interaction with nature is an evil act destroying Gaia; Conservatives respect nature, but allow themselves both to enjoy it and benefit from it.
Progressives fear guns. Conservatives get to go out shooting for fun (although they do it safely).
Progressives hate the military. Conservatives get to enjoy all sorts of cool military stuff even if they’re not actually in the military (e.g., Fleet Week and Navy League events).
Progressives think pregnancy is a “punishment” and babies are Gaia-destroyers. Conservatives see babies as the promise of the future. And while we’re on the subject of babies, Leftists, with their abortion and euthanasia obsessions (not to mention medical “death panels,” are a death cult. Conservatives, by contrast, celebrate new life.
Progressives often don’t believe in either a God or an afterlife. Life on earth has no purpose (except to suck Gaia dry) and death means a rotting corpse (that pollutes Gaia). Conservatives often believe in both God and an afterlife, giving every day meaning and purpose.
Progressives, despite their endless obsession with sex, kill the pleasure. Girls who have sex too young (as Leftists encourage them to do), tend to have unhappy sex lives. Girls who hook up have unhappy sex lives. Boys who hook up aren’t that thrilled with meaningless sex either. People who dive into meaningless sex with strangers are more likely to have STDs. And once you get to university, oy! The boys are all rapists and the girls are all victims, and everyone is dead drunk because it’s the only way they can get past the fear and revulsion in order to reach out to each other. Conservatives, on the other hand, have respect, romance, love and commitment.
I can see the ad campaign now: Enjoy Life: Become a Conservative!
I believe I’ve spoken here before about “gaslighting,” because it’s a stock technique for malignant narcissists and other sociopaths, two personality disorders I think characterize the Left generally and Obama specifically. To gaslight someone is to. . . .
Never mind. Why should I explain it awkwardly, when Bill Whittle can explain it wonderfully?
Brilliant take on Paul Harvey’s “So God made a farmer….”
My neighbors are a different kind of liberal. They’re the kind who were brainwashed into thinking that Democrats are good and
Progressives Republicans are bad and, since they know they’re good, they must be Democrats. They live a conservative life (marriage, children, hard work), but are afraid to preach what they practice and refuse to believe in what they know from their own experience breeds success. They are riddled with guilt over being the product of their and their parents’ labors.
I said yesterday that we have to confront Leftists, because they will never go away. Today, though, I got a perfect example of why it’s so gosh darn difficult to deal with them. To understand this point, I need to take you back to the post I wrote about a killer who is about to be released from prison in Texas.
Here’s the brief run down: In 1996, Bernie Tiede shot and killed 81 year-old wealthy widow Marjorie Nugent. He hid her body in a freezer and spent the next few months running through her money before he was caught. He confessed to the murder and was sentenced to life in prison.
At this point, we need to be clear about a couple of things: First, Tiede is not facing the death penalty. Second, no one is arguing that any type of prejudice played a role in Tiede’s conviction. He was convicted the old-fashioned way: he confessed to a premeditated murder and got the time for doing the crime.
Since Tiede’s conviction, a few things have changed: Texas Monthly, a reliably Progressive publication, wrote about Tiede, saying he’d remembered that he’d been sexually molested as a child and that he revealed that he was a closeted gay man in East Texas. The magazine article led to a 2011 movie starring Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine, and other big name stars. And lastly, the prosecution and defense have agreed that Tiede’s recently-remembered childhood sexual abuse and the stress of being a closeted gay man in Texas were such that he couldn’t be held responsible for his well-organized murder and equally well-organized spending spree. Tiede is therefore set to walk free.
I think this is a travesty. It would be one thing if Tiede had been an innocent man railroaded because he was gay. It’s another thing entirely saying that childhood molestation and being gay are mitigating factors to a life sentence for cold-blooded murder. Mike Devx neatly parsed what happened:
“Stress made him do it”, is what this comes down to.
Well, the stress of being a soldier in war often leads to PTSD, and that stress must be worse than this stress. So the way I see it, every soldier who has been or will be diagnosed with PTSD is now free to kill anyone they want to, and take the dead person’s money and live on it. It’s only fair.
To get to my point about the difficulty of arguing with a Leftist, let me repeat the core matters at issue in the Tiede case: Tiede is a self-confessed murderer who got a life sentence, but is about to be set free because he has successfully proven himself to be a member of the official victim class of the 21st century, relieving him of any responsibility for his evil acts.
So what does one of my reliably Leftist friends say when I politely (very politely) pointed out on Facebook that a cold-blooded, self-confessed murderer will get released from a life sentence because he was stressed? My friend says this:
I don’t know what to think. The movie made me feel sympathy for him, but I also think he wouldn’t have been released from his life sentence if he was black. Since our system is inherently racist, we must abolish the death penalty.
Did you see anything in Tiede’s story about either race or the death penalty? I didn’t. But in response to my politely expressed surprise about a murderer walking because it’s tough to be gay in Texas, she makes a bizarrely disjointed statement about sympathy for Tiede because of a Hollywood film, which she somehow contrasts to the fact that black people would be treated differently. And then, having inserted race into the matter, she speeds ahead to announce that the death penalty is inherently unfair to blacks so the institution should be demolished. I’m dizzy and confused.
Because I pick my battles, I don’t feel inclined to waste my time pointing out to this “well-educated” Progressive that, not only is her statement confused, random, and illogical, but she’s also wrong when it comes to data about blacks and the death penalty. Because all of you care about facts, though, I’ll share the actual data with you:
2. [From ABC:] “Some states . . . for the same crime [are] three times more likely to sentence an African-American defendant to death. I think that’s very, very troubling. . . . Race is an issue.”
This is simply false. In murder cases, whites are executed much more frequently. Nationally, from 1977, when the death penalty was reinstituted, to 2011, the last year for which the FBI has compiled data, 64.7 percent of those executed were whites, but whites committed only 47 percent of the murders.
Nor do individual states stand out in the way this statement claimed. I went through the totals for each individual state over the seven years from 2005 to 2011, and none have the imbalance the ABC News panel complained about. Missouri was close, with five blacks and two whites executed. Only three other states, including heavily Democratic Maryland, executed more blacks than whites, and in each case only one more black was executed. (To see state-by-state data for a given year in this range, search for “capital punishment [insert year] statistical tables.”)
An honest evaluation has to start with explaining why white murderers are executed at a greater rate than black murderers.
Just like adolescents, Progressives won’t stick to the subject, ignore the facts, and are willing to repeat their unfounded statements ’til the cows come home. It makes for very difficult arguments, because you have to ignore the red herrings and resolutely and repeatedly bring your errant Leftist back to the main issue.
UPDATE 2: The twitter image below, in my original update is false, says Sturmtrooper. I got pwned. Bad me! I did buy into my own biases, since it so perfectly aligned with the actual Facebook comment that a genuine friend of mine actually made.
The twitter picture is fake. The real moms demand action handle is @momsdemand note the D at the end. The one in the picture is momsdeman without the D.
If you look on the actual momsdemand twitter page they even mention it.
UPDATE: Another example of Progressive “logic” in action:
The single most effective opposition to the movement to turn Israel into a pariah state is for people actually to go to Israel. Once there, they see that it is a free, dynamic, pluralist society, that is deeply respectful of human rights. This explains the newest outbreak of antisemitism in America’s universities and churches: marginalizing people who dare to see Israel for themselves. Over at Commentary Blog, there are two stories about just that, one coming out of UCLA, and the other coming out of the Presbyterian Church.
Traditionally, both Jews and conservatives have shied away from fights. The time to shy away is over. As Ben Shapiro showed when he decimated boycott/divest/sanction supporters at UCLA, every time the Left hits out, conservatives must hit back twice as hard and twice as often.
One of the things Charles Martel and I talked about yesterday at lunch was the fact that Leftist are perpetual adolescents. This is obvious in a lot of ways: they’re short-sighted, short-fused, emotional, deeply invested in shallow takes on serious issues, given to ill-conceived hero-worship, etc. The other thing that they have in common with adolescents is their laser-like focus on their personal needs.
I think I’ve mentioned here before a book I once read about parenting techniques to use on challenging teens. Eighteen years after the fact, what has stick with me is the author’s point about a teen’s focus versus an adult’s focus. Adults focus on lots of things: a job, a household, the children’s needs, an elderly parent’s needs, community work, and sometimes even their own needs. Teens, however, focus only on one thing, which is their emotional need at that specific moment. While you’re juggling myriad responsibilities, both temporal and intellectual, your teen is thinking “mall” or “party dress” or “Cancun.”
In the political world, conservatives, like adults, tend to think in terms of responsibilities, while Leftists, the adolescents, think in terms of emotional needs. Responsibilities place demands on you; emotional needs place demands on everything else.
What this means is that, if the Leftist’s emotional need is to destroy Israel, he will tackle it with the same ferocity and single-mindedness one sees in the teen demanding that trip to the mall. If one argument fails, he will shift effortlessly to the next one and then to the one after that. Meanwhile, if you, the adult/conservative, have won the first argument, you’re not automatically gearing up to defend against any subsequent arguments. Instead, you’re foolishly thinking that the issue is over and that you can move on to your next responsibility. Silly you.
In the battle between teen and parent, the book’s author suggested acknowledging the teen’s argument without ever engaging: “I understand that all your friends are going to the mall, but in our house, the rule is that you can’t go to the mall on a week night.” “I understand that you feel this is unfair, but the rule is that you can’t go to the mall on a week night.” You’re Teflon and, faced with this consistent, impregnable line of defense, the teen eventually runs out of arguments, especially because you won’t engage him substantively.
Unfortunately, in the real world, the mature conservative cannot use this Teflon approach with the adolescent Leftist. That’s because the battle isn’t just being fought between the two combatants; it’s being fought on the public stage, with the winner taking all in public opinion. Just as is the case in a trial against the lawyer from Hell, no matter how stupid or unprincipled his arguments are, you have to challenge every one of them on the merits because you’re not really arguing with him at all. Instead, you’re performing for the judge.
The same is true in politics. No matter how heated the argument between two individuals seem, they’re not really fighting each other. They are, instead, are performing for the American public.
The more we get contextual information about Cliven Bundy’s comments, the more it’s clear that he was making a valid argument, although doing so in the most painful, inarticulate way, and the way most likely to come back and bite his supporters in the butt. As best as I can tell, what Bundy was saying is that slavery is slavery, whether you’re enslaved to an individual or a nation.
He’s right, too. The difference between now and the antebellum era is that blacks have never been masters of their own destiny. For the vast majority, their status is remarkably indistinguishable from what it once was: marginal existences; dependency (in the past, they weren’t rewarded for their work; in the present, too many don’t work); and children without fathers.
Today, as an extra fillip to their drab dependency, they get the twin scourges of drugs and crime. Oh, and there’s one other big difference: today blacks are directly complicit in their own enslavement. In the past, starting in Africa, it was other blacks who were complicit in the enslavement process. Now they do it to themselves.
I’m done with the subject now. Caleb Howe, however, makes two points worthy of notice: the way that the RNC chair responded to Bundy versus the way the DNC chair didn’t respond to Pat Quinn’s racist tweets. The Right instantly tries to distance itself from anything that could smell of racism; the Left does not.
Incidentally, I’m beginning to think that, rather than looking at the RNC’s conduct as virtuous, it’s a huge problem the way conservatives reflexively distance themselves from these things without first investigating. Having thrown Bundy under the bus, the right cannot resurrect his principled arguments about the way in which government owns people, something antithetical to the principles set out in both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Rather than going into stupid panic mode, it would be infinitely better if the right would first stop and think for a minute — and, in the first instance, say something such as, “If Bundy indeed said what he’s accused of saying, and there’s no contextual excuse, we condemn it. However, we’re not going to indict someone without investigation, etc.” As it is, they’re constantly stupidly reactive, instead of intelligently proactive.
Part of the Left’s ongoing hunt for heretics arises for a simple, pragmatic reason: it ensures that people with opposing views keep their mouths shut. That pragmatic fact, though, doesn’t mean that there isn’t an additional emotional layer giving real satisfaction to the troops who carry out the elite’s marching orders. Jonah Goldberg, who has spent a lot of time thinking about liberal pieties, offers this interesting take on the Left’s recent escalation of its witchhunts:
But while I was prepping for the speech, I read some reviews of Jody [Joseph] Bottum’s new book (which I’ve now ordered). In, An Anxious Age: The Post-Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of America, Bottum argues that today’s liberal elites are the same liberal elites that we’ve always had. They come from the ranks of mainline Protestants that have run this country for generations (with some fellow-travelling Jews and Catholics, to be sure). But there’s a hitch. They champion a
social gospel, without the gospel. For all of them, the sole proof of redemption is the holding of a proper sense of social ills. The only available confidence about their salvation, as something superadded to experience, is the self-esteem that comes with feeling they oppose the social evils of bigotry and power and the groupthink of the mob.
This strikes me as pretty close to exactly right. They’re still elitist moralizers but without the religious doctrine. In place of religious experience, they take their spiritual sustenance from self-satisfaction, often smug self-satisfaction.
One problem with most (but not all) political religions is that they tend to convince themselves that their one true faith is simply the Truth. Marxists believed in “scientific socialism” and all that jazz. Liberalism is still convinced that it is the sole legitimate worldview of the “reality-based community.”
There’s a second problem with political religions, though. When reality stops cooperating with the faith, someone must get the blame, and it can never be the faith itself. And this is where the hunt for heretics within and without begins.
Think about what connects so many of the controversies today: Mozilla’s defenestration of Brendan Eich, Brandeis’ disinviting of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the IRS scandal, Hobby Lobby, Sisters of Mercy, the notion climate skeptics should be put in cages, the obsession with the Koch brothers, not to mention the metronomic succession of assclownery on college campuses. They’re all about either the hunting of heretics and dissidents or the desire to force adherence to the One True Faith.
It’s worth noting that the increase in these sorts of incidents is not necessarily a sign of liberalism’s strength. They’re arguably the result of a crisis of confidence.
To use a household analogy, I point out to my children that those of their peers who are happy and self-confident never bully people. Instead, they bring people in. Indeed, oone of my daughter’s friends is the perfect example of this, a sunny soul whose very real popularity rests on the fact that it’s a pleasure to be in his company. It’s only unhappy, self-doubting people who take it upon themselves to make other people’s lives miserable.
In the world of school, I tell my children (a) these kids are more to be pity than censured; but (b) to stay away from them. In the real world, I hope I’m still big enough to pity the anger, fear, and self-loathing that drives the Left but, to the extent they make it impossible to stay away from their reach, they need to be confronted and their policies destroyed.
I have mentioned before that I have the smartest readers. I got more proof of that today:
Recently Drudge and American Thinker had articles on the Jay Carney and Claire Shipman household having old Soviet propaganda posters displayed in their kitchen/great room.
That’s not what stunned me. What caught my eye was the amount of food displayed on the counter for breakfast for a family of four. Good Grief!! What a carb overload! and the amount of butter! I realized that this was a staged photo but still…….
According to the administration 1 in 6 are hungry, 50 million or so are on food stamps, etc,, etc, etc. Aren’t we told about starving Americans every day and how we must sacrifice to help them? Isn’t this picture insensitive to those who don’t have enough to eat? Or eat that well?
Not to mention Michelle O’s campaign to “persuade” Americans to eat natural and healthy. The only healthy things I see are the strawberries (pricey), the orange juice (pricey), and the egg (notice that it’s brown, ergo probably free range or otherwise organic, and pricey.)
If this picture featured a conservative couple instead of a liberal power couple, can you imagine the outrage that would ensue?
Well, now that you mention it….
I’m not a Bill Maher fan, but he occasionally shows an intellectual honesty that makes it worthwhile to keep an eye on him. Last week, he exposed Leftist hypocrisy about racism, when he got Leftist guests to denounce “racist” pronouncements from Paul Ryan, only to reveal that he was quoting Michelle Obama.
On Friday, in the wake of the Mozilla scandal (firing its brilliant and effective CEO for the fact that, in 2008, he supported the same view of marriage that Obama and the Clintons claimed to support), Maher once again went off the reservation. In discussing the furor against Eich, he came out with what must be, to the Left, an unpleasant truth about the strain of thuggery that runs through the gay professional class:
During the online-only post-show segment, Maher, 58, asked his panel of contributors about their thoughts on the tech wizard’s decision to step down as Mozilla’s CEO after facing backlash for supporting a California same-sex marriage ban effort in 2008.
“I think there is a gay mafia,” Maher said. “I think if you cross them, you do get whacked. I really do.”
Let me add some specificity to Maher’s thought. We already know that organized ideological thuggery took Eich down, but I’d like to focus on the mentality that drove the anti-heretic hunt. CNET, which covers the tech world, has a post about the Eich resignation. What struck me about the CNET article was a comment from the man who started it all — a man who said that, if only Eich had announced that the re-education had been successful and then kept his mouth shut, then everything would have been okay (emphasis mine):
The wildfire that brought Eich down was sparked in part by Rarebit developers Hampton Catlin and Michael Lintorn Catlin, who as married gay men took Eich’s politics very personally, removed their app from the Mozilla Marketplace, and called for Eich to apologize or resign.
Hampton Catlin on Thursday, though, called Eich’s resignation “the worst kind of victory.”
“We never expected this to get as big as it has, and we never expected that Brendan wouldn’t make a simple statement. I met with Brendan and asked him to just apologize for the discrimination under the law that we faced. He can still keep his personal beliefs, but I wanted him to recognize that we faced real issues with immigration [sic] and say that he never intended to cause people problems,” Catlin said in a blog post Thursday. “It’s heartbreaking to us that he was unwilling to say even that.”
Translated: If only Eich had recanted, publicly apologized for all gay suffering throughout America (because up until a decade ago, no one had even thought of gay marriage), and then kept his mouth shut , our kapos would have released him from the gulag and given him tacit permission to hold his beliefs, as long as he never acts on them in any way in the future.
Keep Catlin in mind as I walk you back about 70 years in time, to the mid-20th century in the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War. Boris Pasternak, a truly courageous intellectual (unlike America’s modern “intellectuals” who march in lockstep with the powers that be), lived his life with incredible bravery under Soviet tyranny. That bravery included writing Dr. Zhivago, an indictment of the Soviet system. The Soviets, naturally, refused to publish the book, but it did get published in Italy and, from there, spread throughout the West.
The CIA, in one of its more intelligent moves, decided to smuggle the book right back into the Soviet Union believing, correctly, that it would enable Soviet citizens to see what their government withheld from them, both in terms of reading material and in terms of a free society centered on the individual, not the state.
That’s a fascinating piece of Cold War history, isn’t it? I know about it because the WaPo has written an article about the CIA’s Zhivago operation. And in the WaPo article, I found this (emphasis mine):
In Washington, Soviet experts quickly saw why Moscow loathed “Doctor Zhivago.”
In a memo in July 1958, John Maury, the Soviet Russia Division chief, wrote that the book was a clear threat to the worldview the Kremlin was determined to present.
“Pasternak’s humanistic message — that every person is entitled to a private life and deserves respect as a human being, irrespective of the extent of his political loyalty or contribution to the state — poses a fundamental challenge to the Soviet ethic of sacrifice of the individual to the Communist system,” he wrote.
Once, we were a country that used its government to advance the notion that “that every person is entitled to a private life and deserves respect as a human being, irrespective of the extent of his political loyalty or contribution to the state.” Now, we’re a Soviet nation, in which private citizens are told that they must publicly recant their heresies or be destroyed.
So, while Maher’s on the right track, he picked the wrong organization. Yes, there’s thuggery involved, which is a mafia tactic. But unlike the mafia, which was just in it for the money, the new Soviet is in it to subordinate the individual and his beliefs entirely to the will of the Leftist state.
Nor is this thuggery a fringe movement. While I am very honored here at the Bookworm Room to have gay readers who understand that the safest place for all individuals (regardless of race, color, creed, gender indentification, sexual orientation, etc.) is in a nation that leaves the individual alone, I can tell you that every one of my Leftist friends on my “real me” Facebook, gay or straight, applauds the gay Soviet’s successful thuggery against Eich. These Facebook friends are, without exception, affluent, educated, successful, and vocal, and they think it’s a great thing that a productive man who has never once been accused of fomenting any discrimination in the workplace was the target of an attack aimed at destroying his livelihood.
This time, it was the non-governmental Leftist collective that acted, but you know they were thinking how much better it would be if they could just outlaw opposing thought. Why convince someone that your position has merit when you can more easily destroy them, which has the useful feature of sending a strong message to any other heretics out there?
Let me end this post as I always do: I think the state should get out of the marriage business, leaving it for religious and private organizations to determine what meshes with their doctrine and values. The state should recognize civil unions in whatever way the state believes will best suit its ends. And when I speak of the state, I don’t speak of a grand Soviet, centralized state, run by Barack Obama, Valerie Jarrett, and Eric Holder. I mean the state speaking through the ballot box, both in direct citizen initiatives and through elected representatives.
Traditionally, the state’s ends included children and economic stability. In a greenie run world, where humans are the devil, maybe the state would do best to encourage only those unions that are incapable of producing even more environmentally destructive children. Then, it’ll be the heterosexuals struggling for legal recognition of their evil child-producing mating.
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.)