The Bookworm Beat 5-2-15 — the “I’ve got things to say, dammit!” edition and open thread

Woman writingI spend so much of my life starting things, but never finishing them. Part of that is my core inefficiency and part of it is the fact that, although it goes sorely against my nature, my life is lived in the service of others. Even worse, those others aren’t interested in my having time to blog. Shame on them! They’ve been fed now, though, and should be pacified for a while. 😉

The registration form doesn’t require proof of life either

Everybody who’s surprised to learn that the Obama administration is trying to block any state efforts to require immigrants to prove citizenship when registering to vote, please raise your hands. Those with their hands raised, how have you managed to remain so naive after six Obama years?

A short rant about American blacks

Watching how the Democrats (led by whites, fueled by blacks) have destroyed cities across America, with special attention given to the destruction of America’s black communities, I have a rant:

“Fine, we, the white collective, screwed you. We screwed you 200 years ago, and 100 years ago, and 50 years, and last week. We seem incapable of not screwing you. So why do you keep looking to us for help? Look to yourselves. Fix your own communities because, according to you, whatever we touch, we turn to dross. The fact is, you can’t grow up until you cut the apron strings, especially because, by your own definition, your white American Mommy is toxic.”

Of course, once one says that, rather than the black community pulling itself up by its own bootstraps, all that happens is a renewed press for reparations.  But still, the reality in communities is exactly the same as it is when you sit in the therapist’s office and he intones (usually to your irritation), “Only you can help yourself.  You have to want to change.”

Good news: Arab young people are becoming surprisingly pro-Israel

During Operation Protective Edge last year, several pro-Israel Facebook groups started posting pictures of people’s hands (no faces). In one hand was a passport, with the cover showing the country of origin; on the other hand, the inked words “I support you Israel,” or something similar. An amazing number of those passports were from Muslim countries. The following article, therefore, wasn’t completely surprising, but it did make me smile:

It all began as a personal project by a young Israeli Arab who lives in northern Israel. He wanted to use social networking to convince other Israeli Arabs that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) are not some “army of evil” and that its soldiers are not as bloodthirsty as they tend to be portrayed in Arab propaganda films. He soon learned, however, that in the digital age, there is no end to surprises. Instead of messages and responses from the Israeli Arab audience he was targeting, he began receiving messages of peace and love from young Arab men and women from across the Arab world.

Read the rest here. George Dubya may have been right about the yearning for freedom within the Muslim world — especially as they see ISIS’s depredations.

Socialism hasn’t served Scandinavia well

I’ve told you before about my polite remainders to a Scandinavian friend that his belief that his is a successful socialist country is a delusion. The money for socialism has come from American defense during the Cold War (“We’ll pay for your military so that you can socialize your medicine.”), while the Scandinavian collective (“Ja, ja! We agree about everything.”) means that they haven’t had to rely on the coercion that is the real socialist deal in governance. The end of the Cold War, combined with the influx of uncooperative Muslims into Scandinavian countries, is revealing what a big fake Scandinavian “socialism” always was.

It turns out that there’s a book expanding on what I’ve gathered just using a few news stories, some glowing PBS documentaries about Scandinavian wonders, a short visit to the Scandinavian countries, and some common sense: Michael Booth’s The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia. This is definitely a book I have to read.

A review at Reason gives you a taste of why I’ll like it — and a taste of how much worse the Scandinavian reality is than I ever realized:

The book, which has just been published in the U.S., is especially powerful in its dissection of the culturally corrosive effects of Scandinavia’s expansive state power, which seems to “smother its people’s motivation, ambition, and spirit.”

A full fifth of Danish adults don’t work and live exclusively on public benefits. Norwegian media is so deeply dull that one of its most popular television shows ever is—this is for real—a seven-hour real-time feed from a camera mounted on a train traversing mountains. Booth calls the prevailing Swedish political norms “benign totalitarianism.”

[snip]

In other cultures, you have “tall poppy syndrome,” where if a reality star makes a record or buys a Lamborghini, they’ll get pilloried in the media. The difference in Scandinavia is that tall poppy syndrome applies to everyone all the time. So if you show naked ambition or arrogance, you will get cut down to size. “Don’t think you are that special, don’t show off, don’t boast.” No one wears a suit and tie in parliament. It’s extraordinary.

If you want an incredibly equal, socially cohesive society, you definitely lose something by way of individuality, eccentricity, diversity. Often I’m asked, “Could the Nordic template be applied to Britain or America?” And the answer is no. You can’t just hope that people will suddenly become conformist and driven by equality. It doesn’t work that way.

Media brings about its worst fear — guns for self-defense

The media, in its efforts to have Americans join its anti-gun fervor, has been plugging stories for several years telling people about America’s gun violence epidemic. Rather than making Americans insist that we ban guns, however, the opposite happened: more and more Americans decided to arm themselves. I think we call this a Massive Media Fail.

Free speech for me (if I’m antisemitic), but not for thee (if you’re pro-Israel) at Connecticut College

Professor Andrew Pessin, at Connecticut College, was branded a racist for daring to support Israel — with all the attendant stalking and harassment that comes with that label:

Professor Pessin is the latest casualty of what might be described as a “killer bee swarm” on the local and global internet. It took only one student, Lamiya Khandaker, who defamed Pessin in a student newspaper, to launch a university-wide and global campaign against Pessin defending last summer’s military campaign against the terrorist group Hamas by the Israeli government.

Pessin has been fighting a campaign to brand him as racist for his support of Israel’s Operation Protective Edge in summer 2014, based on a remark posted to Facebook in which he compared Hamas to ““a rabid pit bull is chained in a cage, regularly making mass efforts to escape.”

Khandaker’s use of certain key words and concepts regarding Pessin—“I feel unsafe as a Muslim;” there is “subtle institutional racism;” Pessin is a “racist” because he allegedly compared Palestinians to “rabid pit bulls”—all functioned as zeitgeist signals to a previously conditioned mob and they lit out after him.

Pessin began receiving hate mail and death threats following her allegations, and wasforced to take a medical leave due to the level of stress this incident placed on him.

In point of fact, and contrary to what Khandaker alleged, Pessin was referring to the terrorist Hamas leadership when he made the “pit bull” comment, not to Palestinian people.

You can sign the petition here (which is still stuck at a little fewer than 10,000 signatures).

Sexism rears its ugly head in attacks on female hunters

David Reeder noticed something interesting — the animal rights/anti-gun crowd is sexist, very, very sexist (language warning):

You can think what you want about hunting, that’s your prerogative. But when you conflate hunting with poaching, when your disapproval translates into misogyny, vile torrents of profanity and threats of violence, that just proves what many people think already: you’re a pretentious asshole. It certainly doesn’t do much for your credibility or strength of your argument either, but why let a little rational discourse get in the way of your most recent excuse to be outraged?

Here’s an idea! As long as you (and by you I mean any of the many thousands of people wishing hunters ill) are engaging in such smarmy tomfuckery, why don’t you go ahead and be even more outraged when it’s a pretty girl perpetrating such wanton carnage. It’s bad enough when a Mossy Oak-clad quinquagenarian harvests an animal, but God forbid it’s a hawt white girl with bewbs posing next to that hapless, slaughtered beast. She should be reviled publicly — in fact, let’s revoke her right to vote and stick her back in front of the stove while we’re at it.

Bloodthirsty sluts.

I’m not a fan of trophy hunting. It makes no sense to me to kill something if you’re not going to eat it. Having said that, it’s legal in many places and useful in many others, culling animals that would otherwise upset the balance in the ecosystem. And God knows, if I were going to attack it, I wouldn’t do so on sexist grounds.

More tomorrow….

The Bookworm Beat (11/13/14) — Morality edition (and Open Thread)

Woman writingAs you’ve probably noticed, I’ve spent a bit of the past two days doing housecleaning at my site: I’ve upgraded the comments feature (for the better, I hope) and I’ve rebooted the “read more” feature so that posts are truncated, requiring less vertical scrolling, but can easily be expanded and contracted without having to leave the home page. I’ve also done housecleaning in my house, with a much-needed pantry clear-out. Now, I’m cleaning out my inbox, ’cause there’s a lot of stuff in there that’s interesting. Who says spring cleaning can only take place in spring?

So, if you’re interested in this portmanteau post, click “read more” and you’ll see it unfold before you.

[Read more…]

It’s the culture

Nobody seems to want to admit it, but it’s our culture!

School shootings aren’t new. But, Americans have owned guns aplenty for more-than 200 years of nationhood and it seems that we’ve never had school shootings as we have experienced in the past few years. Neither has the rest of the modern world, but school, church and shopping mall attacks have been occurring even in countries with the strictest gun controls (e.g., Scotland, Germany, Norway, Japan). What has changed?

How about “that which must not be named”?

The old-guard leftists of the Frankfurter and Antonio Gramsci (you can “wiki” those names) school knew that to fundamentally remake society, you first had to destroy the church, society and the family. I would say Gramsci and Frankfurter school alumnae have had a pretty good success record.

Ever since LBJ’s 1960s “War on Poverty”, families have been disintegrating. It started with the most vulnerable (inner city blacks, where now 70% of children have no fathers) and has now spread to white, non-Hispanic families (close-to 30% of children born out of wedlock). Often, children in such families are left largely unsupervised, grow up without good male role models and enjoy ready access to the most depraved pornography, graphic violence, weapons, drugs and other vices through the internet and their peers, starting at a very young and formative age. One can try to prevent their kids’ access to this at home, but how does one prevent them from going down the street to a friends’ house?

I couldn’t help but notice that the first media reports of the shooter (whom I refuse to name and help make more famous) mentioned a mother but didn’t mention a father. Sure enough, the latest reports by a British news outlet, The Daily Mail, are of a boy traumatized by a three-year old divorce. Why did he single out his mother as the first victim? We may never know, but I suspect that the divorce may have had something to do with it. We are also learning that (surprise!) the shooter was a compulsive violent-video gamer.

Youth and adolescence are a time when kids should be learning communication skills and how to interact with adults and peers. Instead, too many kids appear to be devolving into lonely social outcasts and losers (a non-PC term I use for emphasis only). Throw in mental illness, they can become dangerous (the source of much of this mental illness is a worthy topic in and of itself…but think about what hours and hours of sitting in front of a screen does to the developing brain of a young child?). These are the years when their neuro linkages are being formed.

The mass media and punditry immediately started talking about this shooter’s “obvious” mental problems, thereby anointing him a member of “victim” class and providing absolution for his sins. I don’t buy any of it. I can understand someone crazed with rage shooting their mother in the heat of the moment, but the premeditation and time the shooter needed took to travel to a school after killing his own mother and destroying young kids’ lives in psychopathic cold blood point not mental illness but a willing pact made with evil. It is evil, pure and simple, nothing less. At one point, this shooter was confronted with a choice and he chose evil. Why did he make that choice? Here’s a thought:

What are the cultural messages that get hammered into young kids’ brains today? There is no reward in elevation, but there is reward in depravity. Our mass media hammers into their developing brains, over and over again, that to be depraved is to be “famous”, a powerful siren’s song for lonely outcast kids. These kids know that the quickest way to fame and even fortune is to act depraved and to be guaranteed that their depravity will be broadcast widely over the internet and throughout the global media. Some of them grow into mega stars (I’m thinking of Rapper culture, Madonna, Lady Gaga and Jerry Springers as just a few examples), further amplifying the siren’s song. The mass media, vigilantly on the lookout for breaking news 24/7, is complicit in this, for it is the internet and mass media that provide monsters their 15 minutes of fame. Remember that the next time you look at how our TV screens extol depravity. Btw, if you doubt me about just how depraved our culture has become, then Google [game kindergarten killer].

Sorry to have to use the word “depraved” of course. In our Gramsci-Frankfurter culture, such terms are soooooo judgmental and we don’t dare to be judgmental, do we? Why, other people might not like us, a sentence worse than death for too many adults that never outgrew their adolescence.

So what do we do about it? We can start by focusing on our own kids, knowing that our obligation as parents is not just to love them but to build them spiritually into good citizens and to armor them against the bad influences in our imperfect world. We can extend support to single parents, especially those trying to work jobs simply to survive, and we help provide guidance to their kids. These are the days when wolves stalk a land in which too many people have forgotten how to recognize wolves for what they are. And, if you decide to have children, get married and stay married, so that you can nurture, protect and educate your children into solid citizens together. My very brilliant spouse, a middle-school teacher, tells me that she can tell right away when her students’ families are trouble by the way that the kids lash-out in school. She has already lost too many of her former students to drugs and suicide.

Rely on our churches? Maybe, but so many have become such weak tea. My own Episcopal church…part of the Anglican Communion that produced such great theological thinkers and moral stalwarts as C.S. Lewis (our patron saint, in my view)…has been complicit in this. It is so terrified of being perceived as “uncool” that it doesn’t dare attack popular culture or elevate its members above the culture…unless, of course, it is a soft target, such as those really uncool, nagging, square conservatives (a minority group of which I count myself a proud member). The sad fact is that my church, sadly dominated at the top by Frankfurter-Gramsci disciples, spends far too much of its time and effort huffing and puffing to keep up with the latest social trends in its frantic effort to appear cool and contemporary while pushing its “social justice” agenda. I don’t recall my church’s leadership ever raising a peep of protest against the depravity of contemporary culture. Excuses, yes. Protests, no. Quite the opposite.

One of my FB friends just shared an electronic ad from our church’s head bishop that includes scatological epiphets to get the message across. Soooo, soooo cool! So with it! Some churches are great builders of spiritual armor. Not this one. It prefers to be complicit with a depraved culture. It follows, it does not have the courage to lead. You may ask, of course, why I don’t leave this church, so I will answer that: because it is precisely there that I am needed. There are many good people there. I and others do speak out and try to nurture and strengthen our children with spiritual armor.

Is the solution to force honest citizens to surrender their weapons? That is thinking with the heart rather than the head. I am so, so totally against this. The solution to an outbreak of wolves is not to defang the guard dogs. In this age of the wolf, we need more guard dogs, not less.

The Connecticut school shooting could have been stopped right away had there been one or more people on premise with guns, a circumstance that today would land any would-be guard dog in jail without passing “go”. Chances are that, had the shooter known that the school was protected, he would never have dared go there. The only real defense against a gun…is a gun. Mass murderers tend to be cowards that seek out soft, undefended targets like schools and churches. Guns, like drugs, will always be available to psychopaths, criminals and terrorists. If not guns, there are always knives, automobiles, poison gas, molotov cocktails or fertilizer bombs. Taking guns away from civilians only creates a larger pool of defenseless sheep available for slaughter. One of my FB friends also suggested that only government and police should have weapons. Scary thought. Look around the world today: now, that is one very scary thought. Government and law enforcement magnets for wolves. But, then, this is how people who have never had to confront wolves perceive the world. Like the Hobbits of the Shire, content to eat, drink and be merry, free of cares. But, reality eventually intrudes and we cannot magically “wish” wolves away into oblivion.

Finally, there is one particular aspect of this that really, really bothers me: young kids for decades have been getting gunned down, knifed, beaten to death, suffocated and raped in our inner cities. But, other than perfunctory hand-wringing, we never saw an outcry against this compared to what occurred after this most recent shooting in a well-to-do middle class community. Gee, what could the reason for this be? Yup, you’re right.

We won’t change what appears to be happening with increasing frequency to our society until we decide that we will stand up and dare to speak out against the increased depravity of our culture. Definitely “uncool”, but we must do it…for all families, for the kids and for our future. Otherwise, it can only continue to get much, much worse. It is the age of the wolf.

Quisling continues

Norway's government earned an ugly name for itself during WWII because of the conduct of one Vidkun Quisling. He was the leader of Norway's Nazi party and, after the Germans invaded Norway, he was the Government's first leader. For the remainder of the War, Norway had a collaborationist government. Unlike their leaders, most ordinary Norwegians acquitted themselves fairly well during the war.

Norway is again making decisions about dealing with murderous fascists, since its government just announced that it is planning on opening negotiations with Hamas. This would be the same Hamas that loudly cheered the murder of 9 people in Tel Aviv yesterday, and the brutal injuries inflicted on almost 70 others:

The Norwegian government says it is considering meeting representatives of Hamas during their visit to Oslo in May even though some countries have refused to recognize the new Palestinian government.

"The government believes in dialogue, including with groups whose actions we do not agree with," Norwegian Aid Minister Erik Solheim told public radio NRK.

Solheim did not specify at what level a meeting could be held, saying only that Norwegian high-ranking civil servants or members of parliament could take part.

The spokesman for Hamas' parliamentary group, Salah Bardawil, and Mohammed al-Rantissi are scheduled to visit Oslo on May 15 at the invitation of the Norwegian Palestine Committee, according to Norwegian news agency NTB.

Solheim said Tuesday: "Dialogue is the best way to stress that we cannot accept violence against civilian targets."

"The goal of a dialogue with Hamas must of course be to obtain a progressive change in Hamas' point of view when it comes to resorting to violence and recognizing the state of Israel," he said.

In post-Cold War politics, dialogue is everything; morals, values, and integrity are nothing. I have my doubts, by the way, that the ordinary people of Norway will replicate their WWII conduct and separate themselves from their government's newest Quisling act. Despite the damage Islamic immigrants inflict on ordinary Norwegians, Muslims can proudly announce that Norway as a whole sides resolutely with the fascists in the Middle East, and turns its back on the only Democratic government out there.

Interestingly, on the same day that Norway abandoned any semblance of decency, Japan announced that, while it will continue to honor prior commitments to the Palestinian people, it will not have any future dealings with Hamas. I'd prefer it, of course, if Japan would cut that entire rotten edifice off at the knees (since Hamas is controlling the Palestianians now and will benefit from all funds already promised), but it is still a step in the right direction, and shows Japan acting with a wisdom and integrity utterly absent from most of Europe. I don't know if this represents a Japanese cultural trait, the fact that Japan doesn't have any Islamists within its midsts (so it's not running so scared), or Japan's still close relationship with the US. Regardless of the reason, I'm grateful.

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