I cannot read Marxists — or, why I do not mourn Gabriel García Márquez’s passing

Karl MarxI was so naive when I went to Cal. I didn’t realize that, in my history and English classes, the material we read was either created in the first instance by Marxists or, if it predated Marxists, was first run through a Marxist analytical filter either before or immediately after we read it.  All I knew was that I thought the material was nonsensical and, because of their adulatory prosing about it, that my professors were idiots.

It says a lot about the quality of education at Cal that, simply by parroting the teachers’ stupidity back to them, I managed to graduate from Cal Magna Cum Laude.  I even still have my little Phi Beta Kappa key hanging from a nail on the wall in my office. I offer these snippets of academic accomplishment not to boast, but to denigrate both the material used and the quality of teaching at Cal. My academic accomplishments are an embarrassing symbol of Cal’s deficiencies as an educational institution. To the extent I consider myself an educated person, I attribute that to my being an autodidact, hungry for knowledge, not to being a high level graduate of one of the world’s top universities.

Law school, at least, had the virtue of being nothing more than a fancy trade school. I had decent professors, wonderful peers, and enjoyed myself there. I managed for the most part to avoid indoctrination. Interestingly, in a setting in which I actually had to learn stuff and think, as opposed to just parroting back cant, I was a good, solid graduate, rather than a top one. My sub-stellar performance also resulted from the fact that I was quite ill during part of my time there, which proved to be a drag on my GPA.  (And yes, my ego demands that caveat.)

When I left law school, I vowed never to go back to a formal education system, a promise I’ve kept to this day. I find it exhausting merely to attend Open Houses at my kids very fine public schools. I have to fight against the urge to run out screaming when I hear the nice teachers lecture the nice parents about the topics and methodology they use when lecturing our nice kids during the school day. As the old hippie would say, “That’s not my scene, man.”

A sport of natureAlthough I vowed never to return to school, I have been in a variety of book clubs over the years, purely for social reasons. All of them have been run by nice young or middle-aged women who trust in the New York Times, the New Yorker, and high-end fashion magazines to tell them what they ought to read. That’s how I ended up having to read two authors I’d successfully avoided during my formal education:  Gabriel García Márquez and Nadine Gordimer.

To say that I loathed the Márquez and Gordimer books is to speak in delicate understatement. I hated their writing style; I hated their topics; I hated their values — I hated everything from cover to cover. As my well-intentioned friends struggled to find meaning in the books, I kept saying that the books were poorly written, boring, and unreasonable, and that their principles and conclusions were wrong.

I did not say back then that Márquez and Gordimer were Marxist because, back in the 1980s, I did not know that they were. In any event, as a nicely indoctrinated party-line Democrat, it wouldn’t have occurred to me to criticize anything on that particular ground.

I just knew that I hated reading these much-lauded books in exactly the same way I hated reading Supreme Court opinions (this was back in the late 1980s) by the liberal wing of the Supreme Court. I knew that I ought to admire Marshall and Stevens and Brennan, and that I should hate Rehnquist and Burger, but the fact was that the former group wrote complex, unintelligible, illogical opinions, whereas the latter (as well as all other conservative justices but for the flopsy, wobbly Sandra Day O’Connor) wrote tight, well-reasoned, easy to follow opinions.  I eventually concluded that, because Marxism doesn’t work in the real world, any writing advancing Marxist principles must be muddled, vague, and unreasonable to hide that fact.

Now Márquez is dead and, while an individual’s death must always be a tragedy for his family and close friends, I feel no sense of loss. Instead, I agree entirely with the DiploMad, who has no problem speaking ill of the Marxist dead:

Love in the time of CholeraIn other good news, this time in Latin America, the Nobel-prize winning novelist Gabriel García Márquez is dead.

One of the great phonies and bootlickers of leftist dictators has passed from the scene. Those who love freedom can only be grateful.

I will speak ill of the dead. It is hard to exaggerate the damage that GGM has done to the image of Latin America and Latin Americans, portraying the region and the people as some sort of quasi-magical place, a place filled with ethereal, mystical beings without logic, common sense, and ordinary human emotions and foibles. For all his “magical realist” vision, he could not or would not see, for example, the horrors brought to Cuba and Cubans by the Castro brothers. On the contrary, he had an enormous house in Havana provided by the regime, with servants and cars at his beck-and-call, and a ready chummy access to the bloodstained brothers and their rule of terror. He convinced generations of gringo academic Latin American “specialists” that the region could not be understood in conventional terms; that supply-and-demand economics did not work there; and that ordinary people did not want individual liberty and political democracy. He helped perpetrate and perpetuate a horrid stereotype of Latin America, one in which the atrocities of leftist regimes could be ignored because the region operated on another level of consciousness, one beyond our poor powers to comprehend. Good riddance to this poseur and his unreadable sentences! An enemy of freedom is gone.

Hear! Hear! Yes! Absolutely. The DiploMad is correct in every respect. I knew then that I couldn’t stand Márquez’s loopy, unhinged prose, nor his loopy, unhinged ideas. Thirty years later, I not only understand the problem (Marxism), I have the pleasure of reading someone who gets it and states it better than I ever could.

Dems are troglodytes about women and self-defense, and they’re selling this as a virtue for the next election

Colorado State Rep. Joe Salazar’s ham-handed, even troglodyte, advice for campus women worried about rape came as no surprise to me.  My experiences at UC Berkeley thirty-odd years ago left me fully prepared for this Leftist approach to females and true self-defense, an approach that hides both misogyny and an overriding fear for the men involved in a potentially dangerous situation.

Long-ago, when I attended Cal, my economic situation  — too poor to afford on-campus housing, too middle-class to get meaningful financial aid — meant that I lived at home and commuted.  This was not an ideal way to attend college.  I spent an awful lot of time in transit and I had a hard time maintaining a social life (something made harder by the fact that I worked my way through college).

A significant chunk of my transit time was devoted to finding all-day parking and then walking to and from that parking.  The closer one got to campus, the more limited the parking options were:  there was resident-only parking, 30-minute parking, 1-hour parking, 2-hour parking, etc.  Since my job and my classes kept me on campus all day, I usually ended up parking between a mile and a mile-and-a-half away from my classes.  The walk, although time-consuming was pleasant, although less so if I had a lot of books to carry or it was raining.

In my senior year, however, things changed, because there was a rash of rapes and assaults on women near campus.  I was less than thrilled when, during winter’s early, dark afternoons, I had to walk to my car alone.

Since many women around this same time were unhappy about walking to their dorms, apartments, and cars alone, the campus police instituted an “escort service.”  With this service in place, women could go to the campus police office and an authorized man (I don’t know if they were employees or volunteers), armed with a walkie-talkie, would walk them to their destinations.

I immediately availed myself of the service — only to discover that it wasn’t a service at all. The deal was that these escorts were not allowed to exceed a half-mile radius.  The reason given was that their walkie-talkies didn’t work outside of that radius, so it was unsafe for them to go further. You got that, right?  It was unsafe for the men to exceed a half-mile radius but presumably more safe for the women to continue on their own.

The nice escorts would stand at their little boundary to listen in case they heard your screaming.  Frankly, I really didn’t feel that this auditory aid amounted to much.  You see, the reality of this so-called “escort service” was that I was left on my own on Berkeley’s dark and unfriendly streets.

Given the program’s manifest inadequacies, I rather quickly abandoned the whole notion of applying to the campus police for aid in getting to my car.  Not only was it unhelpful, it actually increased my risk.  Since there were only a few escorts available at any given time, I had to hang around the office waiting and waiting, even as the skies grew darker and the streets scarier.

This experience at UC Berkeley was the first time I ran headlong into the Progressive’s devotion to lip service over actual service.  They made lots of noise, but they cared more about men than about women, and more about image than reality.

Those unpleasant evenings on campus, when I felt alone and defenseless, returned to me in living color when I heard about Colorado State Rep. Joe Salazar’s bizarre advice to women facing a scary campus environment:

It’s why we have call boxes, it’s why we have safe zones, it’s why we have the whistles. Because you just don’t know who you’re gonna be shooting at. And you don’t know if you feel like you’re gonna be raped, or if you feel like someone’s been following you around or if you feel like you’re in trouble when you may actually not be, that you pop out that gun and you pop … pop around at somebody.

The gloss is that “he cares.”  The reality is that this ostensible “caring” is mere lip-service.  What Salazar carelessly let slip is the misogyny that underlies so much strident feminism (perfectly realized in this amalgam of this Koran and an anti-rape rally).  The Nanny state is built upon the elite’s belief that individuals cannot care for themselves, and nowhere is this more obvious than in the claim that women are incapable of recognizing danger or acting appropriate when they do recognize it.

Moreover, rather than worrying about high-risk women being hurt, Salazar is terribly worried that low-risk men will get hurt (“you just don’t know who you’re gonna be shooting at”).  Here’s the deal Rep. Salazar:  the good guys, the men who don’t rape, don’t stalk women and they don’t interview women (“Hey, babe, can you tell me the time?  No?  Too bad.  You’re cute.  You know you’re cute, don’t you?”).  What they do is to keep a respectful distance and attitude.  Do that, and you won’t get “popped.”

In other words, Salazar is my UC experience all over again:  lip-service and misogyny, wrapped up in a package of making sure that the men are safe.

It’s not just Salazar, of course.  Looking at this much-publicized advice from University of Colorado.  Apparently awed by the abilities its bulimic students have shown over the years, the university advises women who are threatened to vomit on demand (emphasis mine):

  1. Be realistic about your ability to protect yourself.
  2. Your instinct may be to scream, go ahead! It may startle your attacker and give you an opportunity to run away.
  3. Kick off your shoes if you have time and can’t run in them.
  4. Don’t take time to look back; just get away.
  5. If your life is in danger, passive resistance may be your best defense.
  6. Tell your attacker that you have a disease or are menstruating.
  7. Vomiting or urinating may also convince the attacker to leave you alone.
  8. Yelling, hitting or biting may give you a chance to escape, do it!
  9. Understand that some actions on your part might lead to more harm.
  10. Remember, every emergency situation is different. Only you can decide which action is most appropriate.

I especially like that first one:  “Be realistic about your ability to protect yourself.”  With that advice in mind, ask yourself this:  Am I more likely to protect myself against a power-hungry predator who may be hopped up on drugs by doing this?

Or by doing this?

By the way, don’t fall into the trap of thinking that Salazar’s going to be humiliated about this one.  Although the conservative blogosphere is pointing fingers, liberals who were outraged by Todd Akin’s stupid rape quote are perfectly fine with Salazar’s stupid and demeaning advice to women.

And why not?  They agree with it.  Moreover, their agreement matters because, just as the Dems used Akin and women to give Obama that last little push he needed to get into the White House, Dems are planning that same strategy with women and guns.  They’re already starting the “women who love their communities hate guns” trope, which we can expect to get worse with time.

Long-essays like mine are great at educating women about guns and warning conservatives about future gun attacks, right?  Oh, God no!  I wish.  In a short-attention span universe, I am a poison pill.  After the first paragraph, the average voter’s eyes are rolling back into her head, she’s reaching blindly for her TiVo clicker or her smart phone, and she’s totally tuned out.

The reality is that, in short-attention span America, we do not need long essays like mine.  I’m a pre-programmed essayist, though, and, sadly, I can’t seem to help myself.

What I’d love is to be more visual, so that I could create pithy posters or punchy videos that could easily be circulated on Twitter and Facebook, all of which drill home the same point:  guns make women safer, not less safe.

If you have photoshopped a poster that puts together gun statistics (such as these) in a clever, easy-to-see way, or you’ve created a video that does the same, let me know, and I’ll do my best to promote it.  Dems are already planning for the next election, so we need to as well.