The round-up I meant to do yesterday

Victorian posy of pansiesI got so taken up yesterday with my post asking if Obama is truly deranged that I never got around to sharing with you all the great material I found. Some things, however, only improve with age, so here they are.

** 1 **

When I was in Norway last summer, part of me really liked it, because it’s exquisitely beautiful and has fascinating museums commemorating its history (especially the Viking museum and the Open Air Museum). The other part of me, though, couldn’t forget that a stroll through Norway is kind of like a stroll through Nazi Germany in 1935 — not everyone’s a vile anti-Semite, but enough are to make it reasonable for you to view all with suspicion.

** 2 **

JoshuaPundit noticed something missing from Pew’s poll about American’s attitudes towards other religions: It conveniently “forgot” to ask Muslims how they feel about other religions. Could it be that Pew didn’t want the ugly truth about Muslim intolerance to leak out?

** 3 **

A 42-year-old, single, working man is at his peak: Physically and mentally mature, earning money (in theory), and still capable of fathering children. A 42-year-old, single, working woman is staring at the end of the line: She’s old in a youth-obsessed culture (when it comes to women), her career is her whole life, and she is unlikely ever to be a parent. Feminist promises about men and fish and bicycles were lies. No wonder she’s unhappy.

** 4 **

Brandeis doesn’t want Ayaan Hirsi Ali to say mean things about the Muslims who mutilated her, brutally murdered her friend and colleague, and continue to hunt her down.  It’s not always so sensitive, though.  The university named after the first Jewish Supreme Court justice is all good with having rabid anti-Semites on its faculty. More on the subject here.

** 5 **

While the world is weeping for the Gaza residents that Hamas has turned into cannon fodder, Gaza residents are actually fine with the whole thing. They’re especially sanguine when their own bombs kill them. It’s all part of the “glorious martyrdom for TV package.”

** 6 **

If you read only one thing about the evil that is Gaza and Hamas, and the complicity of a Western world that sides with terrorist monsters, read Charles Krauthammer’s latest opinion piece. It could easily be titled “Here Be Evil.”

** 7 **

“It’s for the children” is the Leftist cry . . . except when the mother of two young children is a law-abiding citizen who owns a perfectly legal gun to protect her safety in dangerous situations. In that case, “throw her butt in jail” becomes the cry from the anti-gun cadre.

** 8 **

In Detroit, though, at least one person is wising up. The Police Chief there credits gun-owning homeowners with a substantial reduction in that broken city’s crime rate. God bless the man!

** 9 **

It appears possible that the Left overreached itself with the border invasion. Of course, that doesn’t mean that America’s demographics haven’t been permanently changed in Democrats’ favor. Or . . . maybe not.  It turns out that Obama’s own Democrat politicians (outside of the Pelosi/Reid claque) aren’t so happy with what’s happening at the border either.

** 10 **

My mother’s San Francisco Jewish friends all raved about Ari Shavit’s book The Promised Land : The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel. My Mom therefore read the book, which described many events she personally experienced or that her friends personally experienced.  She concluded that the book’s view of events before and during the Israeli War of Independence was a lie.

Martin Kramer looks at just one of those events — the claimed Lydda massacre — and clarifies just how much of a lie it was. Everything is explained when you learn that Shavit was a Ha’aretz writer. Ha’aretz is Israel’s Leftist paper, which is dying on the vine as Israelis realize how greatly the Left betrayed them.

** 11 **

Two videos from two brilliant political and cultural commentators:

Monday morning round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesFamily took precedence this weekend. I was able to read stuff while I waited here and there for various family members, but I never got to my computer to post anything. I therefore have a huge backlog of articles and posts that I found interesting and would like to share with you:

One of the most toxic parts of the ongoing Israeli/Palestinian conflict is the United Nation’s insistence that Palestinians should be unlike all other refugees.  Ordinarily, refugee status is given only to the actual refugee.  For Palestinians, however, the UN extends refugee status to descendants too. A Jewish lawyers and judges group would like to change this. I doubt the UN will change anything (it’s too controlled infested with antisemites), but if we promote this cause, we might be able to educate the public about this travesty.

***

One of the worst things that’s been happening this spring is the rise of the heckler’s veto at college campuses across America. In each case — with the most famous being Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a black woman who speaks out against toxic aspects of Islam, and Condoleeza Rice, a black woman who was Secretary of State during the Iraq War — only a very small cadre of protesters (sometimes numbering in the two digits, just like their IQs) was sufficient to cause college administrators to rescind invitations to commencement speakers. One of the replacement speakers used his time at the podium to lash out at “immature” and “arrogant” protesters, words that got him a standing ovation.

I have a couple of comments to make. First, I would do away with commencement speakers altogether. Graduation ceremonies are long and boring enough without larding them with yet another speaker. Of course, I skipped my Berkeley graduation, so I’m not terribly invested in those ceremonies.

Second, this is one of those rare occasions where I think it’s important for conservatives to behave as badly as Leftists. Writing at DartBlog, Joseph Asch (class of ’79) says that conservatives should politely let Angela Davis speak. For the youngsters reading this blog, during the 1960s, Davis was a hard Left radical. Among other things, she arranged to get a gun into a Marin County court room, resulting in a judge and three other men being murdered. Davis, like Bill Ayers and Bernadette Dohrn, has since become an establishment figure. She has never backed off from her hard Left views, nor has she shown any remorse for her active complicity in the murder of four people.

In theory, Asch is right that we should demonstrate tolerance to the hard Left and let Davis speak. The problem, though, is what flows from that tolerance. The Left demonstrates intolerance, and no one gets to listen to an accomplished conservative. Conservatives demonstrate tolerance, and hundreds of malleable students get to listen to a murderous Lefty. We have to shut off the Leftie spigot — if students don’t get access to conservative speakers, they shouldn’t get access to Leftist speakers either.

***

The Anne Frank Museum has a gift shop. There, one can buy copies of her diary in various languages, books about her life, and other limited written materials about tolerance. I’ve noted that I think the Anne Frank Museum suffers too much from moral relativism and says too little about the Holocaust, but it’s classy. The newly opened 9/11 museum in New York is unhindered by classiness. In a store directly on top of the display about a murderous attack on American soil, as well as over the last remains of hundreds who died there, there is a cheesy gift shop, complete with myriad stupid, disrespectful tschotkes. What were they thinking?

***

Every day, it becomes more clear that bureaucracy is the last refuge of the stupid, the cowardly, and the morally infirm. In Germany, bureaucrats are insisting that a house that a German Jewish woman built in 1939 as a refuge (it failed her), and that a German woman recently remodeled, must be torn down entirely because, back in 1939, the Jewish woman didn’t fill out the proper paperwork. I don’t ascribe this rank bureaucratic stupidity to antisemitism. As far as I can tell, it is what it seems: rank bureaucratic stupidity. (Hat tip: Earl.)

***

A group called the Explorers, which is affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America, is teaching teenagers what the Explorers thinks will be a useful skill in the coming decades: armed warfare against terrorists, illegal immigrants, and increasing border violence. Looking at today’s headlines, who can argue with that?

***

When it comes to the Boy Scouts, that organization daily is forced to move further and further away from its origins. Having successfully forced the group to admit gay scouts, the same agitators are now pressing for gay scout masters. In a masterful example of logic, Selwyn Duke explains why, if we allow that, there’s nothing stopping us from having men in charge of Girl Scouts, or boys in Girl Scout tents.  In other words, pretty soon the Boy and Girl Scouts of America will resemble college dorms, with no distinction between the sexes (including in the shower room), and all of the resulting licentiousness that flows from that — except this time, it will involve children and young adolescents, not young “adults.”

***

Michael Oren uses facts to excoriate and destroy those who claim that Israel is an apartheid nation.

***

This is what happens when you read only the New York Times: The incoming FBI director is surprised to learn that terrorism against America and Americans is still an issue. I guess he believed it when Hillary and Barack tried to define Islamic terrorism away by claiming that all sorts of self-proclaimed Islamic terrorist groups weren’t actually Islamic and that they weren’t really terrorists at all, but were, instead, misunderstood people suffering from the root cause problem of 1st-world-induced poverty.

***

The meme is building when it comes to the Obama administration: With Obama’s second term nearing the halfway mark, more people are realizing what you and I already figured out, which is that this is a shockingly immature, narcissistic administration, supported by a Democrat party that’s just as bad. Kevin Williamson puts it beautifully:

Imagine, if you can, the abjectly juvenile state of mind necessary to contemplate the hundreds of Nigerian girls taken into slavery by a fanatical Muslim anti-education militia — whose characteristic activity beyond slave-taking is setting fire to children — and, in the face of all that horror, concluding: “You know what this situation really calls for? A cutesy picture of . . . me!”

Keep in mind, please, that we’re not talking about selfies from people in quiet suburban homes or walking down city streets. We are talking about selfies from people at the heart of power, everyone from the First Lady to the State Department.

***

The Democrat party is grooming a new Vice Presidential candidate for 2016.   By that time, he will have had two jobs:  a stint as the mayor of San Antonio (a ceremonial position) and two years heading HUD (if his nomination to that post is successful). Remember when they said that Sarah Palin was too inexperienced to be vice president? Back in 2008, a few of us also pointed out that, if Palin was too inexperienced for vice president, then Obama was certainly too inexperienced to be president. Leftists are untroubled by hypocrisy and cognitive dissonance, though.

***

The push for raising the minimum wage isn’t limited to the U.S. The Swiss recently were smart enough to vote down a $25/hour minimum wage. Teenagers in Switzerland should be very, very grateful — at least if those teenagers are looking for a job.

***

I’ve been saying these things forever (about books and studies and education generally being boring for boys), but they sound better when Christina Hoff Sommers says them, especially because she’s got the data to back herself up:

Jonah Goldberg offers an interesting take on the Left’s escalating hunt for heretics

People_burned_as_hereticsPart 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.