The underlying thread in most of the following posters is that Stupid Leftists are having way too much of a say in politics and culture.
The wonders of a newly installed kitchen sink remind me how I learned that socialism is an irredeemably corrupt system that will always fail.
One of the things that I haven’t blogged in 2017 about is the fact that, owing to storm damage in January, I’ve been without a functioning kitchen this year. Six and a half months is a long time, which can only be explained by a lot of “becauses”: Because I’m not the only one who suffered from this, because Marin has very low unemployment, and because a lot of contractors closed up shop and moved away during the height of the recession, finding skilled labor to rebuild the kitchen has been difficult.
Things are finally starting to come together, though. I got my new counter two weeks ago. I got the new floor one week ago but it was installed wrong, so I need a new new floor. Last week, my stove and oven were reconnected. That’s all been exciting and, occasionally, frustrating.
But today! Today is a special day. Today I have running water in my kitchen.
Please understand that I’ve had running water in my house all along. With two bathrooms, there’s been water upstairs from the kitchen and downstairs from the kitchen. (Our house is built on a hill, so what would ordinarily be a two-story house is a sprawling two-and-a-half story house.) There just hasn’t been water in the kitchen.
It’s not until you don’t have water in the kitchen that you realize how much you depend upon that kitchen sink. Everything from quickly rinsing your hands after eating something greasy or sticky, to washing fruits, to cleaning dishes, is easier — much easier — when you have a kitchen sink.
But you know what the most important thing is about a kitchen sink? A kitchen sink explains why communism stinks. Yes, that sounds like a non-sequitur, but it isn’t. Instead, the case of the missing kitchen sink in East Berlin explains why, when Democrats moved hard Left, I baulked and, instead, moved right. This story begins in the 1920s in Berlin…. [Read more…]
Not all the lessons kids learn at college happen in the classroom. One young man is learning about socialism thanks to the dorm food policy.
The neighborhood kids are returning from college for the summer. Most of them have spent a happy year at their respective colleges and therefore what they have to say when asked is positive. Those in the STEM programs seem to have learned a lot; those in the liberal arts . . . well, they think they’ve learned something.
Not all the lessons they’ve learned have been in the classroom. One young man was complaining about the dorm food system at one of the University of California campuses. According to him, the food is really, really bad and it’s also expensive when compared to food available in restaurants near the campus.
Given how bad and overpriced the dorm food is, this young man’s preference would be to have his food delivered via UberEats. According to him, if three or more kids get together on a delivery, the cost per person for delivery is minimal. In addition, they get to enjoy good restaurant food of their choice.
Unfortunately, our young students don’t have a choice. If they live in campus housing, they are required to buy dorm food in order to create subsidies for less affluent students.
Yes, you heard that right: At least one UC campus has the equivalent of Obamacare for food. Buying the product is mandatory, even though the quality is poor and the price is high.
Those with means often end up spending twice on food. That is, they pay for the mandatory vouchers and then order in. Those without means are stuck eating poorly made, uninspiring food, stuck in a captive market that has no incentive to compete for price, quality, or convenience.
The kid who told me this story was just a little taken aback when I told him, in an appropriate low-key, smiling way, that he was seeing socialism in action. I hope that planted a seed. He’s a tremendously bright, logical kid and this might be the experience that leads him to appreciate the free market.
Photo credit: Cafeteria, by Shihmei Barger. Creative Commons license; some rights reserved.
Looking at this grab-bag post, I can see the common thread: valuing tight-knit communities, nuclear families, and each individual’s worth.
I know why Utah’s welfare is working. Megan McArdle wrote a much-talked-about article in which she looked at Utah, which has extremely good and affordable social services. The key to Utah’s successful welfare system, although I’m not sure she realizes it, lies in this paragraph:
The volunteering starts in the church wards, where bishops keep a close eye on what’s going on in the congregation, and tap members as needed to help each other. If you’re out of work, they may reach out to small business people to find out who’s hiring. If your marriage is in trouble, they’ll find a couple who went through a hard time themselves to offer advice.
With a system like that, you’re not going to have the type of fraud that occurred in Minnesota. There, none of the bureaucrats who cut $118,000 in checks knew that the woman claiming an absent husband had, in fact, a gainfully employed husband living with her and their children. In Utah, where charity begins at the ward level, everyone would have known the woman’s marital situation and the fraud could not have happened.
Fraud is expensive. Fraud is also easy when far-away governments manage essentially anonymous programs.
All of this made me think of a fascinating talk I heard a few years ago. I learned that, before government welfare, America was not a cold, cruel place in which widows and orphans routinely died. Instead, America had a vast network of fraternal organizations that functioned as welfare organizations. As with the Mormon wards, these “welfare” agencies worked extremely well because they took place at the community level. That meant that those responsible for administering an organization’s funds knew if Joe Shmo was a layabout or a hard worker on hard times.
Utah’s hands-on approach has managed to run counter to the prevailing American system that separates the needy from the check-writers. Until we return to community-based charitable organizations, fraud and waste will be the rule of the day.
I don’t see us making that U-turn. Having passed the baton to the government, Americans are not suddenly going to enlist en masse in the Kiwanis or the Shriners (more’s the pity).
Mike Pence’s “wife” policy shows that he’s a decent and smart man. Progressives are having a field day with the fact that, if Mike Pence is have a dinner tête-à-tête with a woman, that woman will always be his wife. Here’s a tweet perfectly summarizing the hysteria:
Many years ago, I wrote one of my favorite American Thinker articles, in which I addressed the Left’s endless obsession with sexuality, especially sexuality in young children and teenagers. You’ll pardon me if I quote myself a little bit here:
Those of us who came of age before the 1980s, when the Judeo-Christian, Western tradition, though battered, was still ascendant, view our sexuality as a private matter. We believe that our bodies are our own property, which means that we should not be touched or controlled sexually without our consent. A person raised with this worldview inevitably believes as well that his ability to control his body is the essence of his individuality. This physical individuality is the antithesis of slavery, which represents a person’s ultimate lack of control over his body.
Statist regimes, of course, cannot tolerate self-ownership, which is the natural enemy of government control over the individual.
What’s interesting is that, because the Left expresses itself in terms of “freeing” people’s sexuality, many people miss the fact that it is every bit as sexually controlling in its own way as Islam is. This control comes about because the Left works assiduously to decouple sex from a person’s own sense of bodily privacy and, by extension, self-ownership. If a person has no sense of autonomy, that person is a ready-made cog for the statist machinery.
The practical problem for the Left when it tries to attack individuality as expressed through sexuality is the fact that a person’s sense of an inviolate physical self develops quite early, during childhood
Once a child individuates, he becomes aware of being his own self. … The most basic thing one can own is one’s own self, and not letting others touch that self in ways you don’t like is an exercise in self-ownership. (Emphasis mine.)
The Left, therefore, needs to decouple self and body as early as possible in a person’s development — and it does this by bringing its own peculiar notions of sexuality into the realms of child-rearing and education.
While the overheated Marxist rhetoric of the 1960s has died away, the Leftist preoccupation with childhood sexuality, and its relentless desire to have the state control a child’s sexual development — and, by extension, to deny the child self-ownership — is still alive and well.
While the gay agenda, which is cloaked in civil rights language that makes it hard to challenge, is the leading edge of the state’s desire to control children’s sexuality, Leftists also use the schools to manipulate heterosexual behaviors so as to destroy a child’s physical boundaries. In England, parents were aghast to learn that a school was requiring its first-grade pupils to massage each other. In Iowa (Iowa!), one middle school has abandoned any pretense of traditional morality and, instead, is teaching its eighth-graders “how to perform female exams and to put a condom on a 3-D, anatomically correct male sex organ.” The body is a tool, and nothing more.
Freud was right when he speculated that sex, perhaps because it is the least easily satisfied human need, may also be the most powerful physical need driving human beings. Freud, however, viewed sexuality through the spectrum of a given individual’s desires. What the statists understand — and have always understood — is that our bodies are the first line in the battle between statism and individualism. If a person is allowed to develop a sense that his body is his own to control, he will never willingly yield to the demands of the state. Only by convincing its citizens that they have no personal autonomy, beginning with control over their own bodies, can a state completely subsume the individual to the bureaucracy.
I wrote those words seven years ago. I think they have withstood the test of time. The sexual insanity of the Obama years, not to mention the genitally-obsessed Women’s Marches last month, bear out my contention that, to exert ultimate control over citizens, Leftists need to start with women’s bodies.
I had the privilege of hearing Charlie Kirk speak today. Oh. My. God. Charlie is a human dynamo: incredible intelligence and moral decency wrapped up in pure energy and passion, presented through the medium of a riveting presence.
Some of you may already have gotten a taste of what Charlie offers if you saw him speak at the Republican National Convention or have caught him on Fox. Here’s a video of him speaking at the Western Conservative Summit this past summer:
That video is only 10 minutes long. We got to hear Charlie speak for almost an hour. Much of that time was spent with him speaking off the cuff, answering questions like the most seasoned speaker on the circuit. It’s hard to believe that this dynamic, focused, poised young man is only 22 years old. He’s an old soul, that’s for sure.
Charlie’s passion for getting America’s youth to embrace such traditional values as free speech and the free market began when he was in high school, looking at American colleges. After touring several of them, he was so dismayed by what he found there that, rather than entering college himself, he elected to dedicate six months challenging the hard Left mindset that dominates America’s institutes of higher education, after which he would begin college himself. (I’ve written several posts about the insanity on America’s campuses, with my agonies at my child’s Obscenely Expensive Liberal Arts College described here and here. I also did some disheartening forays into college course catalogs from Smith, Macalester, Oberlin, Scripps, and Williams. The only moment of light was Hillsdale.)
Charlie’s six-month experiment turned into an organization called Turning Point USA which, four years later, has an impressive operating budget (all from donations, which you can make here) and is present on 1,100 high schools and college campuses nationwide, with over 75 full-time field staffers. Moreover, Charlie just hit the Amazon best seller lists for political freedom and economy with his new book, Time for a Turning Point: Setting a Course Toward Free Markets and Limited Government for Future Generations. Although the hard copies are currently sold out, you can pre-order one for shipping. You can also order the Kindle version of Charlie’s book.
I didn’t take notes (I was too busy listening), but I think I can remember a few of the high points from Charlie’s speech, which I present here in no particular order.
I have a hefty batch of links related to the election and the culture wars raging in America. I’ll try to write just enough to pique your interest so that you follow those links or watch the videos:
The reason the Left opposes photo ID for voting. James O’Keefe, who is Andrew Breitbart’s true heir, has a horrifying video showing a surprisingly honest, indeed decent, New York Democratic election commissioner bemoaning the terrible corruption that plagues New York voting, speaking of van loads of people being driven from precinct to precinct on election day to cast multiple votes, and admitting that it’s pure politics that blocks the reasonable use of voter IDs.
Hillary treats people like dirt. Hillary put on her saintly face during the second debate to talk about treating people well. One of the Deplorables has taken issue with Hillary’s pious, and hypocritical, stance. She reminds Hillary of the reprehensible way Hillary treated our troops way back in 2003 — because their hard work savings lives left them dirty.
The Left constantly manufactures crises. Dennis Prager takes the occasion of Trump’s decade-old crude postings to point out that this is yet another in the Left’s endless series of crises that only it can fix through its leadership, its laws, its taxes, its regulations, and its censorship. This type of headline hysteria, especially before a major election, allows the Left to sell falsehoods to Americans through the vehicle of emotion (and we all know how that works now thanks to Scott Adams’ tutelage).
GOP leadership has Stockholm Syndrome. Ace doesn’t use the phrase Stockholm Syndrome but, as he describes the way in which the GOP has bought into all of the Left’s Social Justice Warrior tropes, it’s hard to think of a better description. Republicans are trapped in Washington, D.C., and if they want to survive, they have to adopt their captors’ mindset — something incomprehensible to those Americans still managing to live relatively free, ordinary lives in an increasingly Orwellian America.
Trump is an amateur compared to the Clintons and their Democrat cohorts. I’m seeing Lefty posters going around on Facebook that talk about the fact that Hillary shouldn’t be held responsible for her husband’s actions (rape, assault, regular and workplace harassment) — which would be fine if Hillary hadn’t come out swinging on Bill’s behalf, lying hard and destroying any women between her and ultimate power.
If you take the time, you can look up awful stories about Kennedy orgies (and the possibility that Bobby ordered a hit on Marilyn), Al Gore’s “sex-crazed poodle” attack on a masseuse, Teddy Kennedy’s cold-blooded murder (not the original car accident, but deliberately leaving Mary Jo to drown), LBJ’s filthy language and penile boasting, Anthony Weiner’s sex texts with teens, and on and on. Given that Democrat history, James T. Harris is not about to let dirty words be compared to dirty acts. (Plus, he makes a nice little point about the inherent racism of calling Bill — poor, Southern, sax-playing sex machine — the “first black president.”)
I’m making a slight change to how I present political cartoons in future. Some of my blog friends have reported expensive, losing fights because they published political cartoons or other images that were obviously, or not so obviously, subject to copyright claims. To prevent that, I will no longer publish proprietorial political cartoons. Instead, you’ll just find here endless and wonderful political cartoons and social issue posters that creative people have freely released into the world.
True confession: I didn’t watch the convention last night. Mr. Bookworm, whose politics don’t align with mine, got to the TV first.
I did read about it, however, and I came away with the impression that it was a blessing that so many turncoat GOP operatives stayed away. Frankly, operatives are dull. Instead, this convention put up real people, with real concerns.
Also, the Melania “plagiarism” is a tempest in a teapot. The only thing it’s good for is giving Leftist something to say. Their problem with last night’s convention is that, other than Melania’s borrowed phrases (something everyone in politics does, Joe Biden more than most), there’s nothing they can point out without making themselves look like racists, cop haters, law-breakers, or America haters. Put another way, if the only thing that Lefties can pick on is five or six borrowed phrases, it was a staggeringly successful first night.
You’re not a fascist demagogue if you’re arguing for a return to the status quo of 2006 or so. Victor Davis Hanson made an excellent point at the top of his list at National Review (a #NeverTrump bastion) detailing the ten reasons Trump might win:
Blacks and Muslims should be angry at their criminal cohorts, not at us. In the context of an article about political correctness, Andrew Klavan said something I’ve been struggling to say for some time. He acknowledges that blacks are on the receiving end of much more police activity, something frustrating and insulting to law-abiding blacks, but that’s because the black community’s bad eggs commit a disproportionate amount of American crime. Likewise, because children have big mouths, perfectly nice Muslim kids in school find themselves being called terrorists, reflecting the fact that acts of mass violence all over the world come primarily from their co-religionists. That’s certainly not nice, but Klavan says that law-abiding blacks and Muslims are putting blame in the wrong place:
It seems to me if you are an innocent black person being troubled by the cops, if you are an innocent Muslim under suspicion from your neighbors, the people you should be angry at, the people to blame, are not the people acting on rational suspicion. The people at fault are the bad guys who have drawn that suspicion unfairly onto you.
A black man targeted by the police shouldn’t be angry at the police. He should be angry at the thugs and criminals who look like him and make his race a target. And before Muslims blame non-Muslims for the prejudice against them, maybe they ought to look to — and openly condemn — those Muslims who have given their religion a very bad name indeed.
The problem is prejudice, yes. But it’s the tribal prejudice that says we should blame others before we blame “our own.” “Our own” are the good guys, no matter what race or religion we are.
Someone should read those words out loud at the Republican Party Convention. They’re very important.
I’ve been struggling to come up with a down-and-dirty definition of modern Progressivism. I know that we can just call it socialism with an American accent, but that’s inaccurate. We need to define it correctly because doing so allows us to see and address Ground Zero — the creation point — of this toxic ideology.
As any good conservative knows — especially those who have read Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Change — American Progressivism was a political movement that originated more than a hundred years ago. Some early Progressives liked to borrow some ideas and words from socialism, as was the case in Jean Webster’s 1912 classic Daddy-Long-Legs. In that quite charming book, the heroine, Judy Abbott, is a foundling sent to a posh college modeled on Vassar. Once there, she pronounces herself a Fabian, meaning (to her) a socialist who wants to bring about change slowly, without an actual revolution.
Despite borrowing a few linguistic trappings, though, American Progressives were never European-style socialists. The difference between American Leftists and their European counterparts was a matter of class — the Europeans had classes and, technically speaking, Americans did not. Sure, America had her rich and her poor, and some families who could trace their wealth back a few decades, but Progressivism arose in a time when America was still an economically dynamic country, one in which people’s status was based on wealth, not birth, and they could rise and fall depending on their luck, hard work, and financial acumen.
In this, Americans were unlike Europeans who had ancient, deeply stratified, practically immobile classes. As Alan J. Lerner wrote for My Fair Lady, “An Englishman’s way of speaking absolutely classifies him. The moment he talks he makes some other Englishman despise him.” England was not alone, of course. Lerner could have written the same words about every European country, and indeed just about every other country in the world.
This is a good, long post. Mix a martini or make yourself some hot chocolate, find a quiet place, settle back, and read away!
Trump woos conservatives. The big news today is Donald Trump’s list of proposed Supreme Court nominees, all of whom of are, in John Yoo’s words “outstanding conservatives.” As regular readers know, this list means a lot to me. I have four hot-button issues which drive my candidate choices and Supreme Court nominees are my top concern.
Although I was a Ted Cruz gal, and truly believed I was a #NeverTrump voter, once Trump became the presumptive nominee, I rediscovered my motto that “the perfect is the enemy of the good.” That notion forced me to look at Hillary and conclude that, on the issues nearest to my heart, she will cause lasting, possibly irreparable damage.
These key issues are: (1) The Supreme Court, which Hillary will pack with Leftists; (2) our Second Amendment rights, which she has vowed to destroy (with the help of a Leftist Supreme Court); (3) Israel, which mirrors our own security situation and which Hillary will destroy; and (4) Islamic terrorism, something that Hillary will probably treat in the same way Obama does, given her history of making nice to people with terrorist connections (e.g., Huma, her Muslim Brotherhood gal pal; Yassir and Suha Arafat; and the Saudis).
On each of those issues, Trump promises the possibility of something better. And no, I’m not a fool. I know that Trump promises everything to everybody but, as I said, he still had the possibility of doing better than Hillary.
With today’s list of Supreme Court nominees, Trump assuaged my concerns on both Issue 1 (Supreme Court makeup) and Issue 2 (Second Amendment). I recognize that Trump can still do a bait-and-switch (something that the pundits to whom I’ve linked also fear), but he might not — unlike Hillary, who will definitely seek more Sotomayors, Ginsburgs, and Kagans.
Anyway, in addition to the Yoo reaction to Donald’s list, linked above, here are more reactions:
My take on the decision to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 in place of Andrew Jackson? I find all this change and revisionism both silly and expensive but, having said that, here’s my position: They’re replacing the racist, slave-supporting, Indian-killing founder of the Democrat party with a gun-toting, Republican black woman — what’s to dislike? I think it’s great. And now on to the collected news of the day.
Blame Democrats for today’s nasty politics. Politics has always been a rough-and-tumble business. After all, the people playing aren’t just winning cupcakes; they’re winning power. Nevertheless, for most of America’s history, there’s been a tacit agreement to conduct politics in a civil manner — fight hard, but attack your opponent’s politics, not his person. This year, that unwritten rule has vanished. One can point fingers at specifically nasty politicians, but the real story isn’t that nasty people do nasty things; instead, it’s that the American public is willing to accept that behavior. Andrew Klavan blames the Left for this cultural degradation:
As a proud right-winger, I’m appalled and disgusted by Donald Trump. Nonetheless, I feel a certain schadenfreudean glee at watching leftists reel in horror at his unbridled incivility. They truly don’t seem to realize: he is only the loud and manifest avatar of their own silent and invisible nastiness. In a veiled reference to Trump at a recent lunch on Capitol Hill, President Obama declared he was “dismayed” at the “vulgar and divisive rhetoric” being heard on the campaign trail. “In America, there is no law that says we have to be nice to each other, or courteous, or treat each other with respect,” the president said. “But there are norms. There are customs.”
Are there? When I hear this sort of thing from Obama and his fellow leftists, what I wonder is: Have they not listened to themselves for the past 50 years? Do they really have no idea how vicious, how low, how cruel, and how dishonest their attacks on the Right have been?
No, they haven’t; and, no, they don’t. The Democrat-monopolized media, which explodes with rage at any minor unmannerliness on the right, falls so silent at the Left’s almost ceaseless acrimony that leftists are never forced to confront what despicable little Trumps they often are.
American immobility. I’ve commented multiple times about the fact that Americans are less willing to relocate than they once were. The entire essence of America for several hundred years was people’s willingness to leave their homes, whether in the old country or the new, and to head south, east, north, or west in search of better opportunities.
Today, though, the combination of being weighted down by possessions (even the poor today own more than all but the rich owned in the past) and having welfare to turn to (no matter how minimal that welfare is) means that people in economically dead areas can stick around. It’s not a nice life, but it’s the life they know, and they can always make themselves feel better about things with a bit of meth or heroin.
Kevin Williamson got a lot of flak for saying that we as a nation need to stop expending energy and money on dying communities and should, instead, focus on the vital communities. Obviously, I agree. Now, Williamson, in the face of that flak, has doubled down and I still agree:
My answer is that if there’s nothing for you in Garbutt but penury, dysfunction, and addiction, then get the hell out. If that means that communities in upstate New York or eastern Kentucky or west Texas die, so what? If that’s all they have to offer, then they have it coming.
Mixed in with that common sense you’ll find some hard-hitting attacks on those who challenged Williamson. And I still agree with him.
The bottom line is that,while dying towns are sad and forcing people to leave their roots is sad too, at a societal level, that’s not a reason to keep functionally dead towns on taxpayer-funded life support.
(Incidentally, the same goes for Europe, which in its effort to preserve its past has calcified, making it less of a charming place, and more of a bizarre and frequently unpleasant place. I totally understood what Robert Avrech’s friend was talking about when he said that Eastern Europe, even without the Soviets, is “oppressive.”)
If there were a speed-blogging competition, my goal would be to win it with this round-up post. I’d meant to blog at length and at leisure today, but life caught up, including a glitch with the bank, which lost the signatures that would enable me to liquidate my mother’s trust. Aaargh! Now I have to go through probate. Aaargh! Aaargh!
Thomas Sowell agrees with me that Obama is a classic fascist. “What President Obama has been pushing for, and moving toward, is more insidious: government control of the economy, while leaving ownership in private hands.”
Obama lied about every aspect of Obamacare. No, really, he did. Every one of the promises he made to public has proven false.
“How hard is it to understand that radical Islamist jihadis have declared war on the West? In simple English this means: they will find you and kill you wherever and whenever they can.”
Da Nile isn’t just a river in Egypt. It’s also a state of mind in Europe, which refuses to acknowledge, despite the Islamists’ best efforts, that there’s a war going on.
England is a dhimmi nation that sold out its youth. In Peter McLoughlin’s Easy Meat: Inside Britain’s Grooming Gang Scandal, he tells precisely how Britain’s dhimmi-fied laws, which were directly intended to silence any criticism of Islam or Muslims, resulted in England officially turning her children over to Muslim pedophiles. Janet Levy reviews the book and it’s a horrifying tale of Britain’s attacks on girls and their families for attempting to get protection and redress.
Obama’s administration isn’t in denial; it just lies. If you didn’t already read or hear about it, when the French President acknowledged the Islamic aspect of the terrorism ripping apart bits and pieces of Europe, the White House, in true Stalin fashion, erased those words from Hollande’s speech.
Islam and crime. You’re not imagining that prisons are incubators for Islamism. An expert says that violent prisoners are ripe for any type of extremist ideology. My cousin, the former prisoner minister, understands that Islam is a particularly attractive belief system:
It is not a contradiction to be a Muslim and a murderer, even a mass murderer. That is one reason why criminals “convert” to Islam in prison. They don’t convert at all; they remain the angry judgmental vicious beings they always have been. They simply add “religious” diatribes to their personal invective. Islam does not inspire a crisis of conscience, just inspirations to outrage.
Andrew Klavan likes Ted Cruz. Klavan lists Cruz’s objective accomplishments and abilities, likes what he sees, and struggles to understand how people can say Cruz — a lifelong constitutional conservative — is no different from Trump — a sort-of conservative as of last July. I agree with Klavan, of course.