I always enjoy Andrew Klavan’s videos, but this may well be one of the best he’s ever done. With sly sarcasm and wit, he quickly and neatly exposes the rank hypocrisy and disdain for blacks that has animated the Democrat party for more than 150 years:
A friend asked me what I thought of an Atlantic article pointing to the fact that, sixty years after Brown v. Board of Education, America’s schools are once again becoming segregated, as whites (and Asians and East Indians) do whatever they can to flee predominantly black schools. Black schools are academically much, much weaker than white schools and, as the whites flee, the infrastructure of the schools declines.
The article focuses heavily on the fact that academically-oriented black children suffer badly from this de facto segregation, and strongly implies that white racism is at fault. I readily concede that this re-segregation is happening and that the tragic result is that bright black kids are having their futures destroyed. I don’t believe, though, that whites (and Asians and East Indians) are motivated by racism when they abandon previously integrated schools.
The problem isn’t race, it’s culture. (Call it “culturism,” if you will.) Thus, white parents aren’t saying “I can’t let my little precious go to school with those black people because they are an inferior race who will taint her through contact.” Instead, what they’re saying is “I want my precious to have the best education possible and that requires, among other things, that the other families at the school have the same goal.”
What these white (and East Indian and Asian) parents know is that black culture is not education-oriented. Indeed, for some time, among the children at least, it’s been anti-education, with black children who work hard at school castigated by their black peers for “selling out” or being “Oreos.”
Hispanic culture is also resistant to education. As to that, I actually have some first hand anecdotal data from people who have worked closely with the Hispanic community in the education context. In the late 1980s, very upper crust Hispanic friends of my family had set up an institution to try to teach Hispanic parents to encourage their children at school. These friends told me that the parents, most from rural areas, had the farmer’s mindset, which is to get the kids out of school and to work as soon as possible. Even though the parents came to America for economic opportunity, they couldn’t wrap their minds around the idea that, subject to some exceptions, education is the key to economic success in America. Children old enough to work were actively discouraged from seeking an education.
Twenty-five years later, my sister-in-law, who works in the Los Angeles school district, tells me the same story: Many Hispanic parents prefer their kids to earn some money sooner, rather than more money later. Sure, there’s a bell curve, with certain black or Hispanic kids and their families focused hungrily on an educational goal but, for the most part, neither the children nor their parents focus their energy on education.
White, Asian, and East Indian cultures, for the most part, are obsessed about education as a necessity for thriving in America. Parents in these cultures understand that the school’s intellectual environment matters. If the school culture sees every parent in the community demanding hard work and high grades, that will trickle down to the children, who will create a competitive, exciting academic culture. So yes, white parents are fleeing predominantly black schools (and doing so in whatever way possible), but they’re not doing so for the old-fashioned racial reasons. It’s all about education cultures versus anti-education cultures. Culturism, right?
I anticipate that someone will point out that the same article says that, when the schools were first integrated, the integration was successful. I don’t doubt that. Back then, integrated schools were thrilling, shiny, new toys. As the toys lost their gloss, though, people made less of an effort.
More importantly, though, the integration happened thirty-five years ago. That’s an important date, because it was before political correctness came along to poison things. In the late 1970s and throughout most of the 1980s, teachers could reasonably expect equal effort from Joe Black and Moe White.
Thanks to the scourge of political correctness, however, it’s now racist to expect black students to work as hard and perform as well as white students. Heck, with microaggression, a new twist on political correctness, it’s even racist if the teacher, when he walks into the classroom, says good morning to Moe White before he says it to Joe Black — never mind that Moe White sits next to the door, while Joe Black sits on the opposite site of the classroom.
Culture, not race. Culture, not race. Culture, not race…. Although that’s not quite true.
There is a horrible racism pervading the American education system, but it comes from the Left. The Left has successfully argued that blacks are so mentally inferior to other races that they are incapable of elevating their culture to include good behavior, hard work, and ambition. Until that grotesque Leftist racism is killed, and blacks are recognized as fully equal to other races, and therefore capable of academic rigor, whites, Asians, and East Indians will do anything they can to insulate their children from black (and Hispanic) culture in America’s public schools.
Wag The Dog was a clever black comedy about a president hiring a Hollywood producer to trick the public into believing there was a war in Albania in order to distract the public from a sex scandal right before an election. The movie came out in 1997, and became forever cemented in the public’s consciousness when, in 1998, Bill Clinton bombed a few pharmaceutical factories right around the time Monica Lewinsky and blue dresses were becoming a big deal. Donald Sterling is the Left’s new “wag the dog” moment — a racial one, this time, not a martial one, because we live in the age of Obama.
If you think about the Sterling scandal without the attendant hysteria it’s pretty pathetic: desiccated, insecure, ugly, rich, old man fears that his black/Latina girlfriend’s palling around with handsome, successful, young(ish), black men will make him look like what he really is: a eunuch with a gold digger on his arms.
“It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people. Do you have to?” (3:30)
– “You can sleep with [black people]. You can bring them in, you can do whatever you want. The little I ask you is not to promote it on that … and not to bring them to my games.” (5:15)
– “I’m just saying, in your lousy f******* Instagrams, you don’t have to have yourself with, walking with black people.” (7:45)
– “…Don’t put him [Magic] on an Instagram for the world to have to see so they have to call me. And don’t bring him to my games.” (9:13)
But for the fact that there are a few other racist incidents in Sterling’s past (refusing to rent apartments to blacks or Latinos, and making nasty comments), what you really see here is enormous sexual insecurity. Sterling doesn’t view these black men as inferiors. Instead, he sees them as a threat to his virility and his relationship with a young woman who, because of her own background, could easily be seen as preferring them to this desiccated, pot-bellied, mean-spirited little man.
Nevertheless, the story overnight mushroomed in an hysteric denouncement of racism, with special emphasis on the fact that Sterling, being old, rich, and white, must be a Republican, a fact that makes him representative of all Republicans. It was irrelevant that, while Donald Sterling’s official political affiliation is the subject of much debate, it’s pretty clear that he’s been pouring money into Democrat causes, including making very nice with the NAACP for years, resulting in his receiving an NAACP lifetime achievement award in 2009. It’s also irrelevant that the vast majority of America’s Republicans and conservatives are neither rich nor old, that many aren’t white, and that Sterling’s closest demographic relatives (rich, white, and racist) live in the Democrat party. (I’m talking to you, Harry Reid.)
I’m not denying that Sterling’s remarks were couched in racial terms, are nasty, and are therefore racist. But let’s get serious here: Are the privately-stated rantings of an old, insecure man so important that they should result in thousands of news stories, headlines, tweets, Facebook posts, magazine articles, analyses, etc.?
No, his rantings aren’t important at all. Contrary to what many Americans are being made to believe, this isn’t really about a rich, powerful sports team owner saying mean things about black people. Instead, the Donald Sterling story is about sucking the oxygen out of the news cycle so that people who don’t pour over it as obsessively as you and I do aren’t paying attention to a few other important stories.
What’s important to know is that most people can’t hold that many thoughts or sensations simultaneously. That’s why, with a few exceptions, multitasking is an illusion and, quite often, especially when cars are involved, a very dangerous one. A million years ago, my Lamaze teacher told me the human mind’s inability to process more than three, maybe four, disparate bits of information at the same time is the real secret behind Lamaze. The breathing doesn’t change anything in the birth process. What’s important is to drag the woman’s focus away from the pain and put it somewhere else.
In today’s political world, if you’re busy fulminating about a pathetic 80-year-old gnome, you’re not going to have room in your brain or your emotions for myriad news stories that are infinitely more important. These stories include:
1. The revelation that there is concrete evidence proving that the lies about the Benghazi attack originated in the White House and were a deliberate effort before an election to hide the fact that the administration knew that Al Qaeda was resurgent and that, despite this knowledge, it failed to protect Americans before and during the attack, leaving four Americans quite horribly dead. Apparently the administrations fraudulent lies to the American public weren’t limited to Obamacare.
2. The fact that Secretary of State John Kerry botched the Middle East peace talks so terribly that the Palestinians threw themselves into Hamas’s arms, with Kerry blaming Israel for this failure, before using PLO-esque language to announce that Israel is turning into an apartheid nation. Kerry is either evil or a fool. Who knows? What we do know is that Kerry’s never been either an honest or unbiased broker in the peace talks, and he’s certainly been an incompetent negotiator.
3. The embarrassing reality that what was once the most powerful nation in the world is now so manifestly weak that, from Russia to Venezuela, with stops at all points in between, including Syria and Afghanistan, every bad actor in the world thumbs his nose at Obama, even as that actor cuts a bloody swath in his wake. I’m not saying that Obama has any ability now to remedy the situation in Ukraine, Syria, Venezuela, the West Bank, etc. He doesn’t. He knows, the American people know, and the bad guys know that America will not, and therefore cannot, fight. The problem is that Obama got us into this situation in the first place. He radiated weakness like a badly wounded Wildebeest lying in the noonday sun on the African plain. He turned America into hyena bait.
4. The recent admission that America had another “unexpectedly” slow growth in the first quarter of 2014 (a mere 0.1%), something the MSM-Pravda media immediately blamed on the weather. As Sadie helpfully pointed out to me, the extreme winter, although it hit China too, didn’t slow China’s economy at all. (But do keep in mind that China’s supposedly glowing economic numbers are probably on the extreme end of lies, damn lies, and statistics. The rule of thumb is that data from leftists always lies.)
5. The ongoing, extreme, exponentially growing disaster that is Obamacare. At the end of the day, Obamacare’s only success will have been that it managed to use government coercion, threats, and penalties to force 8 million people to sign up for insurance through government exchanges. Wow! Government bullying works. What government bullying couldn’t do was make 20-30% of the new enrollees pay for this insurance; make the enrollment balanced, rather than weighted in favor of the old and sick; get doctors and hospitals to agree to sign onto low-paying networks; lower costs for the middle class people forced off of their good policies; keep deductibles low, etc. Those of us who never drank the Kool-Aid knew in 2009 that only delusional people could believe that you could mandate more coverage and sweep in more people who can’t pay, all the while lowering costs all around.
6. America’s vanishing privacy. Sterling may be a stinker, but he thought he was having a private conversation. Americans should be outraged that they no longer have zones of privacy. (Although if these zones of privacy really are gone, let’s just banish birth control too. After all, the main reason the Supreme Court used to justify striking down laws banning birth control was that Americans have an inherent right to privacy.)
All of which gets us back to the ginned-up national outrage about Donald Sterling. Donald Sterling is a nothing. He may be rich and own a sports team, but the fundamental truth is that he’s a creepy old nebbish whose world views were formed in 1940-something. He’s a relic. He’s meaningless. He’s every old Leftist who goes around mouthing stupid things about black people. (Like Harry Reid, for example.)
Sterling matters only as cover. He’s the fake war in Albania from the movie “Wag the Dog.” He’s the bombed pharmaceutical factories when people were getting too close to the Lewinsky’s blue dress. America! Forget Sterling. Pay attention to the real stuff!
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.
The best thing that happened to the Left in the last few days was the fact that Cliven Bundy couldn’t keep race out of the conversation. It really doesn’t matter whether he was making a valid point about slavery by any other name or if he was making as invalid a point about race as the MSNBC crowd does on a daily basis. What matters is that his stand against the government correctly brought to people’s attention the fact that our federal government has completely forgotten that it is the people’s servant, not their master.
To use an extreme example, the fact that Hitler was a vegetarian doesn’t discredit vegetarianism. There may be other, nutrition-based or resource-based, grounds to discredit it, but Hitler’s food predilection says nothing about the merits of vegetarianism or vegetarians.
The same is true for Bundy’s stand against the federal government’s overreach. There may be reasons to complain about his stand (e.g., “even though the federal government stole from him, the law is still the law, at least if you’re not President Obama”), but Bundy’s inept racial observations have nothing to do with the practical merits of the government’s conduct.
Yesterday, Sonia Sotomayor announced that she is absolutely horrified that the 14th Amendment can be used to prevent state government from engaging in race-based discrimination. Some may be a little confused by her argument, given that the 14th Amendment explicitly states that ” No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” In ordinary parlance, that means that all laws must apply equally to all American citizens, regardless of anything that distinguishes one citizen from another (such as race, color, creed, sex, etc.).
For sensible people who believe that all humans are created equal, the 14th Amendment is a good rule. But it’s not good enough for Ms. Sotomayor (and yes, I mean “Ms.” because, really, after what she just did, it seems so wrong to give her the honorific “justice”). What did Sotomayor do? She abandoned legal reasoning in favor of ill-informed, racist navel-gazing, and she used the most august court in the land for her platform in feminist, racist idiocy. (I say “feminist” because, even though the case was about race, Ms. Sotomayor promised from the beginning that, rather than following the law, she’d offer ruminations from a “wise Latina.” So all her stuff is a “girl thing,” you know?)
Anyway, in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Sonia (I’m so disgusted by her right now, I don’t even feel like using the generic honorific of “Ms”), wrote a 52 page pile of touchy feely goop about the fact that minorities are inferior beings. Moreover, she felt so strongly about innate minority inadequacies that she felt compelled to read all 52 pages from the bench — clearly, part of the punishment she wished to impose on dead, or still living, evil white males the world over.
I’m not trying to be mean, or anything, but the woman is a walking, talking argument against affirmative action, which advances women, minorities, and other non-white, non-straight, non-Asian, non-Jewish people simply because they weren’t born white, straight, Asian, or Jewish. Here’s the heart of Sonia’s insanely racist (and non-legal, non-factual, highly navel-based) rant. Sonia starts by attacking the US’s bad history:
For much of its history, our Nation has denied to many of its citizens the right to participate meaningfully and equally in its politics. This is a history we strive to put behind us. But it is a history that still informs the society we live in, and so it is one we must address with candor. Because the political-process doctrine is best understood against the backdrop of this history, I will briefly trace its course.
She’s right, of course. Italians, Irish, Germans, Jews, Russians, Chinese, Japanese, East Asian, etc., all faced horrific discrimination. Peculiarly enough, once the discrimination ended as to these disparate groups, all were able, without any further effort on the government’s part, to ascend to the halls of wealth and power. Sonny’s problem (yeah, I’m at the point where even calling her by the pretty name “Sonia” irks me) is that she firmly believes that what worked for every other minority — just to be left alone — won’t work for blacks and Hispanics.
Before Sonny gets to her conclusion that blacks and Hispanics are inherent deficient (her thoughts, not mine), she takes us on an endlessly boring journey of efforts to discriminate which have all been done away with. Even as she tries to paint America as racially evil, she inadvertently keeps pointing to its self-correct mechanisms.
I sort of fell asleep somewhere when reading her tripe, but when I awoke, I found her claiming that there’s nothing in the 14th amendment that prohibits discriminating on the basis of race, because America’s educational institutions are improved by racial discrimination. No, really. That’s what she said:
Rather, race-sensitive admissions policies further a compelling state interest in achieving a diverse student body precisely because they increase minority enrollment, which necessarily benefits minority groups. In other words, constitutionally permissible race-sensitive admissions policies can both serve the compelling interest of obtaining the educational benefits that flow from a diverse student body, and inure to the benefit of racial minorities.
The above stunning quotation is followed by a lot more soporific stuff. Considering how plagued I am by insomnia, I really should have a copy of Sonny’s dissent by my bedside. It makes for exhausting reading. The only downside, of course, would be the inevitable nightmares flowing from her racially carved up universe.
So, anyway…. Blah, blah, blah. And then this, the moment at which she states that the only way to make effective the 14th Amendments constitutional guarantee not to discriminate is to . . . wait for it . . . discriminate:
That view [that the 14th amendment means that the law applies equally to everybody] drains the Fourteenth Amendment of one of its core teachings. Contrary to today’s decision, protecting the right to meaningful participation in the political process must mean more than simply removing barriers to participation. It must mean vigilantly policing the political process to ensure that the majority does not use other methods to prevent minority groups from partaking in that process on equal footing. Why?
Did she just end that deconstructionist, magical thinking rant by asking “Why?” Well, I’ve got the answer, so you can ignore Sonny’s new-Age, victim-based, PC bibble-babble version of an answer. The obvious reason Sonny believes that the government must discriminate, world without end, on behalf of blacks and Hispanics is that, in her mind, these two racial groups are congenitally incapable of partaking in the political process without Mommy and Daddy government holding their hands. Unlike all other minorities who pulled themselves up by their own bootstraps, her posse can’t do it. And if that isn’t the most vile racism you ever heard — a Supreme Court justice saying that blacks and Hispanics are defective and will always need government help just to get back — I don’t know what is.
I’m now bored with Sonny. Sonny is pathetically burdened by an unpleasant reality: she got into college and law school and government work and the Supreme Court thanks to affirmative action. She had neither the brains nor the self-discipline to make it on her own (unlike the legions of Jews, Italians, Irish, Asian, and East Asian immigrant kids who looked at their often squalid surroundings and made the decision to be the best and, without either government discrimination or aid, rose to the heights. This painful knowledge goes some way to explaining her embarrassingly self-referential opinion. She knows that she’s inadequate and, rather than admitting to her own mental infirmities, makes herself feel better by telling the American people that all blacks and Hispanics are just as mentally deficient as she is.
Let me say this again: for every other group in America that suffered government sponsored discrimination, after the government stopped discriminating (either against or for them) that group was able to achieve social, economic, and political success within one generation. Sonny is too scared to give blacks and Hispanics that same chance. In order to justify in her own eyes the unfair advantage she got at every stage in her career, she wants to ensure that no black or Hispanic ever has to compete on a level playing field.
Part of Sonny’s decision is her racism, a disdain for blacks and Hispanics that would fit comfortably on a KKK Imperial Wizard’s lips. And the other part of it is her fear that, if they succeed, she’ll have to acknowledge the failure that lies under all the undeserved accolades and professional advancements that came her way.
Words have always changed their meaning over time. Some of the ones that used to have neutral, descriptive meanings came to be seen as insults because of their association with disfavored people in society. For example, a spinster used to mean a woman (usually single) who spun wool or flax into thread. It came to mean a desiccated, embittered, lonely single woman. A bel dam was the French phrase for a beautiful mother. It eventually devolved into “beldame,” meaning an ugly old hag.
Words for people who originated in non-Northern Africa (notice my carefully non-racial phrasing) have long had a similar problem. Southern whites used to call them “colored” or used the “N-word.” People who were not racist came to reject both those words. The former pretty much vanished; the latter has now become more toxic than the formerly toxic F-word. (While “nice” people once used the “N” word in polite company but not the “F” word, that distinction has been turned upside down.)
The next descriptive word to come along was “Negro” (from the Spanish word for the color black), a word that was considered polite and respectful. It too was eventually seen as being a demeaning insult, so the word “black” cropped up. After that, I kind of lost track. There was African-American, which confused my kids who thought it referred to all people with dark skin. They’d see a Ugandan or Nigerian on television, shown in his home village, and lisp “Look, it’s an African-American.” Then there was the phrase “person of color,” which I’ve always thought is unpleasantly close to the Jim Crow appellation “colored person.” In any event, I avoid it, because it’s too non-specific, applying almost randomly to blacks (my preferred word), Asians, Hispanics, Polynesians, East Indians, etc. As a person of pallor myself, I find that vague appellation confusing.
The one constant in the past when it came to blacks and neutral/respectful appellations, was that, as time went by, blacks, supported by Leftist whites (usually in the media and academia) would tell the rest of us that words once used to describe blacks were verboten, and then offer up a new word they preferred. This cycle played out every ten years or so.
In Obama’s America, however, we’re seeing something new. Blacks are now taking any negative word and saying “You can’t use that word any more, ever, because to the extent it’s a negative word, you must be applying it to us.” The latest example of this involves the kerfuffle about Richard Sherman, who voiced a short, boorish tirade against Michael Crabtree. People looked at Sherman’s behavior and sought adjectives to define it. Words such as “gracious,” “thoughtful,” “kind,” and “clever,” just didn’t seem right. Instead, looking at his foam-flecked, maniacal rant, people who cared enough to comment decided that the noun “thug” and its adjective version “thuggish” were more accurate. I would have used “boorish” (as I did above) or “ill-mannered” if I’d been asked.
By using the words boorish or ill-mannered, I would have been commenting on verbal behavior that was the antithesis of gracious, thoughtful, kind, or clever. The same presumably holds true for those who thought “thuggish” more accurate than “gracious.” I doubt it occurred to any of us — it certainly didn’t occur to me — that, by accurately labeling Sherman’s conduct, we were all engaging in dog whistle racism. It’s amazing that we’re all so naive.
You see, it turns out that all of the people who thought that Sherman, an African-American, verbally misbehaved when he shouted out maddened insults at Michael Crabtree, who is also an African-American, are racist. So, if I get this right, people who reasonably expect a well-paid, professionally successful black man to conform to ordinary social standards, and who therefore express surprise when he doesn’t, are racist. From which one can reasonably conclude the opposite, which is that the non-racist approach is to look at Sherman’s hysterical rant and say, “Yup, that’s totally normal behavior for one of those black-toned people of color.”
I am not making this up. According to everyone from Charles Barkley to Bill Maher, being surprised when blacks behave badly means we’re racists. Well, Messrs. Barkley and Maher, I have news for you: You’re the racists and, to put it bluntly, you’re disgusting, low-down, dirty, thuggish, debased racists. My expectations are that people of all races, color, creeds, countries of national origin, genders, and sexual orientations can behave graciously, even when under pressure. I look at content of character. You revolting race-mongers have made it painfully clear that you believe that color is destiny, and that the darker the skin color the more people are destined to behave badly. You ought to be ashamed of yourselves! There is absolutely nothing to distinguish your views from the views expressed by the mid-19th century trader auctioning slaves off under the broiling Southern sun.
It’s already old news now that Eric Holder has announced that schools must stop disciplining minority students because he feels they are disproportionately the subject of school discipline. Many who read his edict thought, first, that a ukase against discipline based upon skin color, rather than conduct, was just about the most racist thing they’d ever seen; second, that this will be a disaster for minority children who are seeking some structure in their lives; and, third, that it marks the end of any discipline at all in schools, as each school drops to the lowest common denominator of possible behavior.
Robert Arvanitis has suggested that there is a different way to achieve racial parity — a way that would also expose how appalling Holder’s ideas are without turning schools into out-of-control war zones:
Holder now complains that valid, objective standards for school discipline are nonetheless racist if the results fall disproportionately on minorities.
Forget the rational rebuttals — it is unfair to all the other kids who are deprived of education; it ignores the root causes such as fatherless homes, causes engendered in turn by failed left policies.
Time to fight back in a smarter way. Let’s frustrate the left’s feedback mechanisms just as they themselves try to hijack and distort the real metrics of society.
For every “favored-minority” student disciplined for real cause, we report the required multiple of non-favored kids on comparable status. I don’t mean lie, I mean we actually do things like “in-school suspension.” No harm to records, which are all sealed for college applications and recorded in aggregate anyway.
Now if Holder catches on and seeks separate categories like in and out of school suspension, then we refine it a bit. Everyone is on “in-school” suspension,” and held in separate classrooms. We spend some extra for dedicated tutors for such separate classrooms. And when the real troublemakers fail to show up, then hey, they’re marked delinquent as well.
My point is that there is no rigid rule system the statists can impose, that we cannot game. I have long experience with such things as tax, accounting, and regulatory frameworks. They all fall because of the algebra — it’s called “over-determined equations.” When there are more constraints than free variables, there will necessarily be contradictions and inconsistencies in the system for us to exploit.
So rule away Eric; check, and mate.
I had the opportunity the other day to dine with a collection of Blue State liberals. It was enlightening, not because I actually learned anything from them, but because I learned about them. It was also a reminder of how far I’ve traveled ideologically, because I used to be one of them. Looking at them, I don’t regret my journey.
Most of the evening, of course, was idle chitchat, without any political ramifications. Inevitably, though, politics and ideological issues cropped up. I’ll just run down a few topics.
Antisemitism in higher education:
I was told in no uncertain terms that Columbia University cannot be antisemitic because it’s in New York. My offer to produce evidence to support my thesis was rebuffed. For those of you who, unlike Blue State liberals, feel that facts are valuable, these links support my contention that, New York address notwithstanding, Columbia is in thrall to Palestinian activists and BDS derangement:
And of course, there’s simply the fact that Columbia is one of the more ideologically Left schools, although that wouldn’t have bothered my dinner companions.
The effect of taxes on investment:
One of my dinner companions is a successful investment analyst. I asked him if he’d been hearing about any effects flowing from the Obamacare medical device tax. “No, of course not. It’s — what? — a two percent tax. That’s not going to make a difference to anybody.” Again, my offer of contrary data was rejected, because it was obviously Fox News propaganda, never mind that it’s not from Fox News. Stephen Hay, at Power Line, neatly summarizes a Wall Street Journal article predicated on actual investment data:
Today in my Constitutional Law class I’ll be taking up the famous case of McCulloch v. Maryland, the bank case from 1819 in which Chief Justice John Marshall observed that “the power to tax involves the power to destroy,” which immediately set my mind to thinking about . . . Obamacare. Obamacare’s medical device tax—a tax not on profits remember, but on revenues—is doing its destructive work already.
The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that “Funding Dries Up for Medical Startups,” noting that “Investment in the medical-device and equipment industry is on pace to fall to $2.14 billion this year, down more than 40% from 2007 and the sharpest drop among the top five industry recipients of venture funding.” It seems we have to relearn every few years (such as the luxury boat tax of 1990, swiftly repealed when it killed the boat-building industry) the basic lesson that Jack Kemp and Ronald Reagan taught us: tax something and you get less of it. Especially when you tax it like Obamacare, where the tax significantly reduces the after-tax return to investors.
When a 2% tax is on after-tax returns, and it targets a specific industry, surprisingly it does make a big difference to people. Right now, the difference is at the investment level, but soon it will be at the consumer level, as consumers are less likely than ever before to see life-changing inventions such as the insulin pump or the cochlear implant.
American healthcare compared to other Western countries: Everybody agreed that America has the worst health care compared to those countries with socialized medicine. Britain doesn’t count, my fellow dinners told me, because it’s “chosen” to offer bad health care. My attempts to talk about freedom of choice, market competition, declining government revenue, cost-based decisions to deny treatment to whole classes of patients, etc., were rudely brushed aside. “That’s just Fox News propaganda.” Likewise, the liberals also dismissed as “Fox News propaganda” my statement that the studies they’re relying on have as their metric availability of coverage, rather than quality of outcome. I therefore wasn’t surprised when they equally rudely dismissed me when I said that a recent study showed that America has some of the best cancer survival rates in the world.
Since I know that you’d never be that rude, let me just quote Avik Roy, who actually studies the numbers:
It’s one of the most oft-repeated justifications for socialized medicine: Americans spend more money than other developed countries on health care, but don’t live as long. If we would just hop on the European health-care bandwagon, we’d live longer and healthier lives. The only problem is it’s not true.
The problem, of course, is that there are many factors that affect life expectancy. One is wealth. It’s gross domestic product per capita, and not health-care policy, that correlates most strongly to life expectancy. Gapminder has produced many colorful charts that show the strong correlation between wealth and health.
If you really want to measure health outcomes, the best way to do it is at the point of medical intervention. If you have a heart attack, how long do you live in the U.S. vs. another country? If you’re diagnosed with breast cancer? In 2008, a group of investigators conducted a worldwide study of cancer survival rates, called CONCORD. They looked at 5-year survival rates for breast cancer, colon and rectal cancer, and prostate cancer. I compiled their data for the U.S., Canada, Australia, Japan, and western Europe. Guess who came out number one?
U-S-A! U-S-A! What’s just as interesting is that Japan, the country that tops the overall life expectancy tables, finished in the middle of the pack on cancer survival.
I’m not doing justice Roy’s article with these snippets, so I urge you to read the whole thing. Suffice to say that my companions were uninterested in data that ran counter to their narrative.
The racist inside every liberal: My dinner companions did concede that culture is a factor in health care, although they stopped short of admitting (as they should have) that a country as diverse as America will never be able to counter cultural differences with socialized medicine. (Or, rather, they couldn’t admit that it would take overwhelming government coercion to do so.)
One of the guests described a patient with a treatable disorder — i.e., one that could be controlled with a carefully regimented plan of medicine and treatment — who was too disorganized to follow the treatment. As a result, this person ended up in the emergency room one to two times a month, at great cost to the system. The healthcare provider finally hired a minimum wage worker to remind the patient to take the medicines and to drive the patient to the hospital. Another guests said, “Black, right?” The person who told the story said, “I can’t tell you that, but probably.” They snickered companionably over the fact that blacks are just too dumb to care for themselves.
Another way of looking at it, though, was that this patient did fine: The patient didn’t have to fuss with drugs (and their side-effects), got emergency treatment on an as-needed basis, and ended up having a dedicated employee to detail with the finicky little details of disease maintenance. Who’s snickering now?
The power that maintains slavery: One of the people at the dinner was a student studying American history. The curriculum had reached the Civil War. The student asked a good question: “I don’t get how the slaves let themselves stay that way. After all, they outnumbered the whites.” Good point. The liberal dinner guests started mumbling about systems, and complexity, and psychology. And I do mean mumbling. They didn’t offer data. They just mouthed buzzwords such as “it’s complex,” or “you have to understand the system,” or “well, there’s a psychology there.” I interrupted: “The slave owners were armed. The slaves were denied arms. The side with weapons, even if it’s smaller in number, wins.” To my surprise, none of the liberals in the room had anything to add.
The food was good and my dinner companions were periodically interesting and charming, so the dinner wasn’t a total loss. Nevertheless, I found dismaying the arrogant ignorance that powers their engines. All I could think of was my own blog’s motto: “Conservatives deal with facts and reach conclusions; liberals have conclusions and sell them as facts.” That was my dinner in a nutshell.
We don’t know who HuffPo contributor and Obama apologist Jason Linkins is, but HuffPo had better get rid of him pretty quickly. An online publication with HuffPo’s impressive Progressive credentials can’t afford to have racists on its writing staff, and Linkins’ sin was pretty egregious.
Linkins’ racist attack on Asians comes early in a 1,900 word long article explaining that Obama didn’t really, actually, totally lie when he said 24 times that, if you like your insurance, you can keep it. Given the fact that millions of Americans have already been told that they’ve lost their policies and tens of millions more (both those with individual and those with group coverage) will soon hear the same message, Linkins’ really has to sweat to achieve this equivocal, but still Obama-friendly, conclusion. Ultimately, what Linkins seems to say is that Obama and his minions just sort of lied, rather than really lied, but they did it for your own good, to get you out of that horrible ghetto of people who own cheap plans that contain only provisions they actually want. Talk about being damned with faint praise.
This type of prevarication — which Linkins honestly terms “spin” — is not newsworthy. What’s noteworthy is Linkins’ use of demeaning pidgin English (emphasis added):
Well, the news today is that lots of people aren’t going to keep the plans that they are on, and are receiving notice from their health insurance providers that they will be shunted onto different, perhaps more expensive plans. And they no likey.
Wow! What’s with that dig at Asians? I mean, who can forget 1935′s Charlie Chan in Paris, when the nefarious Max Corday insults the sophisticated Chan by speaking to him in pidgin:
Max Corday: [in a condescending pidgin English/Chinese accent] Me happy know you. Mebbe you likee havee little drinkee?
Charlie Chan: Very happy to make acquaintance of charming gentleman.
Charlie Chan: Me no likeee drinkee now – perhaps later.
Think about that: Even in 1935, when Hollywood was still creating segregated movies and engaging in the worst types of stereotyping regarding blacks, Asians, Hispanics, etc., Hollywood and America understood that the pidgin phrase “me likee” or “you likee” was deeply disrespectful and demeaning.
I think it’s pretty disgusting that Linkins sends out a dog whistle to HuffPo readers tying discontent with Obamacare to Asians. This is especially suspect when one realizes the growing number of Asian Americans practicing medicine and attending medical schools. Is Linkins trying to blame Asian doctors for Obamacare woes? We won’t speculate further, because we can’t pretend to know what Linkins was thinking. All we know is that this kind of despicable subliminal racism taints everything it touches. Linkins needs to be disciplined immediately, both as a punishment and an example.
For those unfamiliar with my sense of humor, the above is, of course, satire. It’s true that Linkins used the phrase “they no likey,” and it’s true that this phrase is associated with the worst kind of anti-Asian racism. I strongly suspect, though, that Linkins’, typical of his political class, is completely oblivious to the linguistic history behind that distasteful phrase. I’m therefore equally certain that Linkins didn’t intend in any way to be racist.
My point in writing this post has nothing to do with Linkins. It is, instead, to heighten awareness of the fact that, for malevolently-minded people, as I just pretended to be, finding and attacking these “dog whistles” in good Alinsky fashion is easy. It’s a cheap, down-and-dirty way to smear ones political opponent. I didn’t have to bother reading what Linkins wrote, so I didn’t need to challenge it on the merits. Instead, I called him a racist and considered my job done. Were I actually to write this way seriously, rather than as satire, my real theory would have been that people who are racists can’t make good arguments and they certainly cannot make arguments that deserve to be considered on their merits. (If you’d like to see an intelligent, substantive challenge on the merits to Linkins’ argument, check out James Taranto.)
When I hear about blacks complaining that Lordes’ The Royals is a racist insult to black people because she talks about “Cristal (champagne) and Maybachs”; or that Blurred Lines is “rapey” (making Robin Thicke a rapey-ist) because it takes a fairly honest look at today’s hypersexualized club scene; or that any negative remarks about Obama’s politics are an unerring indicator that a critic is racist, I can only say that we’ve crossed a line.
Indeed, it’s something of a time line, because we’ve effectively returned ourselves to the Middle Ages, where small cadres of scholars tainted intellectual discourse by wasting their time debating the numbers of angels that could fit on the head of a pin. While these arguments were always reserved to a minority, they bespoke an intellectual narcissism, frivolity, and incestuousness that makes intellectual growth impossible. It’s as if the whole world has fallen prey of Wallace Stanley Sayre’s dictum that “Academic politics is the most vicious and bitter form of politics, because the stakes are so low.”
In terms of cries of racism, the stakes are certainly low as to each individual combatant. Linkins doesn’t care about me and I don’t care about him. Were he to call me a “right wing wacko,” I would sneer right back at him that he’s a “delusional Marxist.” We’d then retire to our corners in the proud consciousness of duty done, at least when it comes to the battle of ad hominem attacks. But while we’re congratulating ourselves on the quality of our insults, ordinary Americans are tuning out. They know I’m not a right-wing wacko, but am instead, a nice neighborhood soccer mom, who believes “that government is best that governs least”; just as they know that Linkins is an ordinary working stiff who truly believes that redistribution of wealth, if it’s only done right, could work. Their verdict as to both of us is “They’re mean and stupid, and I’m not going to listen anymore.”
Dog whistles are for dogs. Most people are poor communicators at best, which means that we should give them the benefit of the doubt before rushing to the worst conclusions. Failing that, the marketplace of ideas is effectively dead.
Back in the early 1990s, it was funny when American whites were told “White Men Can’t Jump.” We’re also told on a regular basis that we can’t dance and that we’ve got no rhythm.
I always assumed all of these were gentle cultural jokes. It turns out that, even if they started out that way, now that we have been thoroughly marinated in twenty-plus years of intensive political correctness, all jokes are over. Now we’re getting to the serious part of our re-education.
Gawker, which is hardly a conservative hotbed, is reporting that Hampshire College booted a band because, while it played “Afrobeat” music, its performers are actually white. The band announced its firing by saying it was told “that we were too white to play Afro-beat.”
The college, rather than issuing a statement saying that the band totally misunderstood, blah, blah, blah, made it worse. It proudly announced dismissing the white-staffed Afrobeat band on the basis that its students were concerned “about cultural appropriation and the need to respect marginalized cultures.”
One is tempted, of course, to say that no black person should ever act in Shakespeare or perform Beethoven. Fortunately we, unlike Hampshire College, do not judge people by the color of their skin but, instead, look to the content of their character and their innate skills and passions.
Hampton College’s obsessive, racist, demeaning sensibilities are scarcely unique. In the same vein, in deference to the pathetic and stupid non-white students in their midst, the patriarchal, Progressive students in the University of Georgia’s Student Government Association are planning to honor mediocrity, which they obviously believe is the best to which non-whites (and gays, and women) can aspire. According to them, success is simply too overrated when it comes to non-white, non-male, non-straight people. From the UGSGA’s announcement:
It seems like whenever a minority identifying individual “succeeds”, he or she is identified as a “success story.” We will be featuring successful members of different minorities speaking of their own story and success, with a focus on how this idea of “success story” shouldn’t exist. The idea that minority success is “outstanding” means it’s not the norm–we don’t want “success stories.” We just want stories.
This event will feature different success stories from UGA, Athens, and Georgia, because we believe that hearing stories from our neighbors and friends is truly the most impactful way to humanize these issues.
For however many thousands of dollars their parents (and the taxpayers) spend annually to fund the University of Georgia, the kids have managed not to learn that “impactful” is not a word. They have learned, however, the cool trick of simultaneously demeaning their culture’s accomplishments and looking down on minorities for even aspiring to achieve in this culture.
Remember, please, that there is no one — absolutely no one — more racist than a Leftist.