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….

“I disagree with you so shut up!” is not an argument; it’s tyranny

Kendall JonesYesterday, as we were driving along, my daughter asked me if I’d heard about the gal in Texas, a college student, who posts pictures of her African big game shots (some dead, some tranquilized) on Facebook. I’d heard about it vaguely, so my daughter elaborated.

“They’re trying to kick her off Facebook. I think she should be banned.”

“I don’t,” I replied.

She gave an outraged gasp!

“You support her going around and killing all those innocent animals? Some of them are endangered! That’s awful.”

I answered, “I don’t like big game hunting. It doesn’t make sense to me to kill for sport, but not everyone agrees with me. So let me ask you this: Is what she’s doing legal?”

“Yes,” said my daughter, “but it’s a horrible thing to do.”

I gave the only answer a good First Amendment libertarian could give: “Just because you don’t like it, that’s not a reason to ban her from speaking. Banning her from speaking is tyrannical. Saying ‘I disagree with you, so shut up’ is not a valid argument in a free society. A functional free society has to let people speak even if they disagree with each other. There are extremes where even the most free society should and will prevent speech, such as a gathering to talk about killing a president or the famous ‘shouting Fire! in a crowded theater’ type of talk. Otherwise, you have to be willing to accept that others don’t agree with you. If you don’t, you end up with a country in which everyone has to think the same thoughts and do, and say, the same things.”

“Okay, I get it,” she wearily replied. “Don’t get on the soapbox again. Anyway, this whole thing has been good for her. She says she got 600 new fans. [Pause.] Who would ever like her page?”

“That’s easy. People who believe in hunting or people who want to make a point that, in a free society, ‘free speech’ includes speech that not everyone supports.”