The Bookworm Beat 6/27/16 — the “post-Brexit world” edition and open thread

Woman-writing-300x265I have lots — and I do mean lots — of interesting links for you today. Before I start, though, I want to address a point I read from someone worried about what Brexit and Trump mean. In an age of anti-intellectualism, he said, bigotry is inevitable.

Believe it or not, considering that I wholeheartedly support Brexit and grudgingly support Trump, I agree with that sentiment. Where I probably differ from the person voicing the idea is that I don’t see the anti-intellectualism and resulting bigotry amongst the Trump and Brexit voters. Instead, I see it on the Left — in the universities, in the media, and in the offices of politicians and financiers.

You see, I’m a little old-fashioned in the way in which I define an “intellectual.” You don’t get to denominate yourself an intellectual simply because you attended or teach at a university, or have a white-collar job that first required one of those university degrees. Instead, when I think of an intellectual, I think of someone with a very broad, and often very deep, fund of knowledge about myriad things, ranging from history to literature to science. This person has read widely, has been exposed to the great thinkers of the Judeo-Christian, Western intellectual tradition, and is as open to true knowledge as a dry sponge is to water.

In today’s world, you will not find this broad-minded, rich intellectual in any of the universities, whether among students or faculty, nor will you find this kind of mind in the post-university white-collar professions. These academics and professionals may style themselves as an intellectual elite, but the evidence on the ground shows that universities no longer teach, they propagandize. Students are no longer exposed to broad swathes of history, literature, and science. Instead, they drill down endlessly into victim studies, victim literature, and climate change “science.” They come out of college less educated than when they went in. To the extent they might have entered with open minds and a basic grasp of logic, they emerge with tightly-closed minds and a ferocious bigotry, one that is based entirely on skin color, sex, and sexual orientation.

This bigotry holds that the only white people who aren’t evil are women and people from the LGBT spectrum. All other white people (i.e., straight men) must constantly virtue signal that they have accepted that they were born sinners and must spend their lives expiating that sin. This same bigotry holds that persons of color, any color, are weak and childlike, and must be protected from white males who fail to do constant obeisance to the victim hierarchy. “Good” whites, of course, understand how delicate persons of color are and treat them with the appropriate combination of reverence and condescension.

It is these anti-intellectual bigots who support a transnational elite that exists without regard to national boundaries or national values. The problem for these self-styled elites is that, while they benefitted from their transnational Progressivism, those over whom they’ve had power have suffered as the masses always do when an elite group parts ways with democracy and looks out for itself. This is why Trump and Brexit represent the triumph of democracy over the elite class’s anti-intellectualism and bigotry.

And now to the links, of which I have many:

No, Obama has not kept America safe from terrorist attacks.  While we haven’t had another 9/11, there have been serious terrorist attacks in America every year since Obama took office.  I would add that they’ve recently started escalating in both scope and the speed with which one attack follows another.

Islam’s inherent instability. An old-fashioned spinning top stays upright because its motion creates a delicate equilibrium that offsets angular rotation. Because the top lacks inherent stability, the slightest interference with its motion will cause it to fall. Much the same can be said for Islamic society. Daniel Greenfield explains that Mohamed intentionally created endless warfare within Islam to give it a sustaining perpetual motion. Mess with the balance and, unlike our expectations for Western culture, Muslim societies not self-correct. Instead, they end in chaos. In today’s world, a whole lot of things are messing with the Muslim world’s delicate balance.

Islam is making converts of us all. Tarek Fatah once denigrated Mark Steyn’s contention that the West was bowing down to Islam. Fatah has since converted:

There was an outcry among Canada’s Islamists, who took Steyn and Maclean’s to the Ontario and British Columbia Human Rights Commissions.

My fellow Sun columnist, Farzana Hassan, and I wrote a rejoinder in Maclean’s titled, “Mark Steyn has a right to be wrong.”

Today, I recognize, Steyn was right and I was wrong.

If there were any doubts the West is abdicating its responsibility to stand up for Western values, the amateur attempts by the FBI to cover up the Islamist nature of the Orlando attack, removed them.

Sadly, weak-kneed and weak-minded Progressives are following the Islamic path, rather than Fatah’s path. The Brexit and Trump revolutions make me hopeful that, while our internationalist self-styled “elites” are willing to go the path of appeasement to preserve their perks (and, indeed, are already doubling down on their determination to thwart the will of the people), ordinary people in the Western world are waking up to the ravening wolf already crossing their doorstep.

But of course, given how much the Left is drowning in self-loathing, maybe it’s not surprising how willing it is to abandon Western values to Islamic savagery.

Transgender bathroom edicts help Muslims.  I don’t know whether the author of this post is correct that Obama intended the transgender bathroom edict to make pedophilia easier for those Islamists who take literally the Muslim rules allowing sex with prepubescent boys and girls, but it’s certain that the practical effect of the edict makes things easier for those religious pedophiles.

Shooting back at terrorists.  It seems intuitively correct to me that, if your government deliberately disables itself from preventing terrorist attacks, you, the citizen, should position yourself so that you can defend yourself and your loved ones in case there is a terrorist attack. That self-defense, of course, means either open or concealed carry. Given that this is just common sense and intuition on my part, it truly gratified me that Babatim, a very experienced former military man, also supports the wisdom of self-defense. Even better, when you read his post, you’ll see that he has actual facts, while I just have gut instinct.

Harvard turns its back on a hallmark of Western jurisprudence. One of the hallmarks of our Western jurisprudence is the legal presumption that a person is innocent of a crime until proven guilty in a court of law. That court of law, in turn, is hedged about with evidentiary and procedural rules, many of which go back centuries, all of which are intended to ensure that only the most reliable evidence gets admitted and that only the best procedural devices are used to reach a verdict.

Our criminal court system isn’t always perfect in practice, but it’s still immensely better than prior systems that were based upon torture, reading entrails, or unreliable evidence. We have this system to offset the fact that we, a free people with inherent rights, have given our government the power to exact punishment on wrongdoers. To offset that power, we protect citizens by ensuring that the government act with exquisite caution before unleashing its power.

For the same reason, we allow every defendant, no matter how awful the crime of which he stands accused or how manifest his guilt may be, the right to counsel. No one should have to stand alone before the awesome power of the government, which has complete control over the arresting, prosecuting, and punishing phases of the justice system.

Given the wonders of our sometimes unwieldy justice system, it’s appalling to read that Harvard has decided that the “presumption of innocence” is bad:

Administrators at Harvard University argue that the criminal justice system’s principle of the presumption of innocence is sometimes invoked to silence rape survivors.

Harvard’s Office of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response offers a slew of definitions for vocabulary related to sexual assault on its website. One definition explains that the phrase “innocent until proven guilty” can be used to “silence” survivors of rape.

“This principle ideally protects those who are innocent and is of particular significance to minority populations disproportionately targeted for arrest, prosecution, and imprisonment or other consequences,” the website reads, as first reported by Campus Reform.

“In the context of sexual assault, ‘innocent until proven guilty’ is sometimes invoked to silence survivors; when a survivor’s experience is validated through measures that either protect or provide care, it is assumed that there is an infringement on the liberties of the person who has caused harm, as well as a presumption of their guilt.”

If you were wondering what I was talking about in the introductory paragraphs to this post — that is, about the anti-intellectualism, bigotry, and ignorance of the campus crowd — I think the above quotation makes my point.

Sadly, Harvard isn’t the only bastion of Ivy League stupidity.  The dean — the dean!!!! — of Yale Law School came out firmly against the First Amendment. If you want to sue an educational institution for failing to live up to its promises, stop looking at Trump University, which is a penny ante trade school, that probably did well by some and poorly by others, and turn the big legal guns on the Ivies. These fraud factories charge hundreds of thousands of dollars and teach their students . . . nothing. Any school with that kind of vicious, moronic idiocy floating down from the top isn’t worth a wooden nickel.

A rousing attack on the MSM.  If you hate the manifestly biased, cheating, lying, sleazy mainstream media, you are going to love Kurt Schlichter’s attack on that same media.

Actually listening to Donald Trump. Over at the Watcher’s Council, there is a forum addressing the virtues of Trump’s speech about Hillary and foreign policy — and the things Trump needs to do going forward in order to live up to his promises and his potential. The Council stuff is good, but if you want the best reaction to one of Trump’s speeches, you have to read Ann Coulter’s column about the MSM’s feigned inability to understand what Trump said after the Orlando shooting, which underpins their clear message to their readers — “Whatever you do, do not read or listen to what Trump actually says.”

Trump probably has some cards still up his sleeves.  Putting aside the fact that it appears that most of the major polls coming out significantly oversample likely Democrat turnout in the coming election, it has seemed lately as if Trump’s candidacy has stalled.  I’m not worried about the TV commercials he’s not making, because I have read — and believe — that commercials make little difference to voter decisions (probably because TiVo and other DVRS mean few people watch commercials). The only ones obsessing about the missing ads are the only ones who benefit from them; namely, the TV outlets.

It’s just that Trump hasn’t seemed that interested in making nice with necessary political allies, creating disciplined messages to the larger American electorate, or creating a campaign structure to get out the vote. Scott Adams is not worried, though. The same man who was remarkably prescient about the Trump primaries promises that Trump will have an impressive third act.

Trump got off to a good start when he attacked Hillary.  We conservatives all appreciated Trump’s attack on Hillary, who is the most corrupt person in American politics in several generations . . . or maybe ever. Leftists didn’t appreciate the speech, but it scared the smart ones, even those who insist on pretending that her financial depredations are on a lesser scale than they actually are:

Donald Trump’s Wednesday morning speech about Hillary Clinton’s record is probably the most unnervingly effective one he has ever given.


Like all skillful demagoguery, Trump’s speech on Wednesday interwove truth and falsehood into a plausible-seeming picture meant to reinforce listeners’ underlying beliefs. In May, Morning Consult polled people with an unfavorable view of Hillary Clinton about why they didn’t like her. Fifty-eight percent said she was too liberal, while 22 percent said she was too conservative. But 82 percent of Hillary-averse voters said she was corrupt, and 88 percent said she was untrustworthy. These are the beliefs that unite her foes across the political spectrum. It’s why Trump, with hisdevious talent for derisive nicknames, was smart to dub her “Crooked Hillary.”

Some of the examples Trump chose to reinforce this caricature are true. Describing Clinton as “a world-class liar,” he said, “Just look at her pathetic email and server statements, or her phony landing in Bosnia where she said she was under attack but the attack turned out to be young girls handing her flowers, a total self-serving lie. Brian Williams’ career was destroyed for saying far less.” One could quibble about whose exaggerations have been greater, but Clinton’s Bosnia tale really was mostly made up, and it will likely haunt her throughout the campaign.

Two corrupt women, arm in arm.  I don’t like Elizabeth Warren because she was a lousy professor who lied when she said, “Don’t worry. That won’t be on the test.” I don’t like her because she’s a dishonest woman who lied about her racial make-up in order to take her mediocre self to a lousy law school, albeit one with an undeservedly stellar reputation (that would be Hah-vahd). I don’t like her because she shrieks imprecations against the financial class all the while hiding that she flipped seized houses to make money for herself, that she gets a huge salary for teaching a single class, and that she got a very low-interest loan from her employer to help her buy a multimillion dollar house.

Given that everything I don’t like about Warren goes to hypocrisy and dishonesty, it seems strikingly appropriate that she should have hitched her wagon to Hillary’s star, never mind that “crooked” Hillary is the ultimate Wall Street insider when it comes to the financial interests Warren routinely attacks. If they run as a duo, I look forward to Trump crudely making mincemeat of them.

If you want to know why you have to vote for Trump, look no further than today’s Supreme Court ruling on abortion.  Or rather, don’t look at the ruling, look at the dissents. Here’s Justice Thomas, speaking truth to illegitimate court power:

If our recent cases illustrate anything, it is how easily the Court tinkers with levels of scrutiny to achieve its desired result. This Term, it is easier for a State to survive strict scrutiny despite discriminating on the basis of race in college admissions than it is for the same State to regulate how abortion doctors and clinics operate under the putatively less stringent undue-burden test. All the State apparently needs to show to survive strict scrutiny is a list of aspirational educational goals (such as the “cultivat[ion of] a set of leaders with legitimacy in the eyes of the citizenry”) and a “reasoned, principled explanation” for why it is pursuing them—then this Court defers. [Citation omitted.] Yet the same State gets no deference under the undue-burden test, despite producing evidence that abortion safety, one rationale for Texas’ law, is medically debated. [Citation omitted.] Likewise, it is now easier for the government to restrict judicial candidates’ campaign speech than for the Government to define marriage—even though the former is subject to strict scrutiny and the latter was supposedly subject to some form of rational-basis review. [Citation omitted.]

These more recent decisions reflect the Court’s tendency to relax purportedly higher standards of review for less preferred rights. [Citation omitted.] Meanwhile, the Court selectively applies rational-basis review— under which the question is supposed to be whether “any state of facts reasonably may be conceived to justify” the law, [Citation omitted.]— with formidable toughness. [Citations omitted.]

These labels now mean little. Whatever the Court claims to be doing, in practice it is treating its “doctrine referring to tiers of scrutiny as guidelines informing our approach to the case at hand, not tests to be mechanically applied.” [Citation omitted.] The Court should abandon the pretense that anything other than policy preferences underlies its balancing of constitutional rights and interests in any given case.

Or look at Justice Alito’s dissent:

If anything, when a case involves a controversial issue, we should be especially careful to be scrupulously neutral in applying such rules. The Court has not done so here. On the contrary, determined to strike down two provisions of a new Texas abortion statute in all of their applications, the Court simply disregards basic rules that apply in all other cases. …

Under the rules that apply in regular cases, petitioners could not relitigate the exact same claim in a second suit. As we have said, “a losing litigant deserves no rematch after a defeat fairly suffered, in adversarial proceedings, on an issue identical in substance to the one he subsequently seeks to raise.” [Citation omitted.]

In this abortion case, however, that rule is disregarded. The Court awards a victory to petitioners on the very claim that they unsuccessfully pressed in the earlier case. The Court does this even though petitioners, undoubtedly realizing that a rematch would not be allowed, did not presume to include such a claim in their complaint. The Court favors petitioners with a victory that they did not have the audacity to seek.

Those two justices are sending out loud, clear SOS signals. What you’re seeing today is only a preview of the attractions to come when Hillary has packed the court with hard Left justices. Trump cannot possibly appoint justices who are worse than the ones Hillary selects and he has already indicated that he will appoint justices who are better.

Immigration — especially uncontrolled immigration — is not making us safer.  The Lefties assure us that the more Muslims we bring in from totally destabilized Islamic countries, the safer we are. Trump made his name in this election by shouting out “you’re naked” to those same preening Lefties. Ann Coulter takes it one wonderfully sarcastic step further, showing that the Islamic immigrants, not to mention a few other immigrants, that we’re taking into America, as well as their children, are killing us:

To hide the epidemic of immigrant mass murders, all the lists have to include massacres from a time when there weren’t many immigrants here — before Kennedy’s Immigration Act had fully kicked in and overwhelmed our country with the Third World. Fox News ran a chart compiled by Mother Jones magazine that includes mass shootings from the 1980s. Why not the 1960s? Why not include Bonnie and Clyde?

Could we look at mass murders from the last decade?

Those include:

2016: Orlando, Florida, second-generation Afghan immigrant Omar Mateen — 49 dead;

2015: San Bernardino, California, first- and second-generation Pakistani immigrants Tashfeen Malik and Syed Farook — 14 dead;

2015: Chattanooga, Tennessee, Kuwaiti immigrant Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez — 5 dead;

2014: Isla Vista, California, half-Malaysian immigrant from England, Elliot Rodger — 6 dead;

2013: The Boston Marathon, Chechen immigrants Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev — 4 dead;

2009: Fort Hood, Texas, Palestinian second-generation immigrant Nidal Hasan — 13 dead;

2009: Binghamton, New York, Vietnamese immigrant Jiverly Wong — 13 dead;

2007: Virginia Tech, South Korean immigrant Seung-Hui Cho — 32 dead.

In the same time period, about a half-dozen mass murders were committed by American white men in their own country, where — despite Teddy Kennedy’s best efforts — they far outnumber Vietnamese, Pakistanis and Afghans.

I would never argue for a ban on immigration. I do think, though, that we need to (a) make illegal immigration such an unpleasant proposition that people stop coming here illegally; and (b) sit down and make serious decisions about how to protect ourselves from immigrants with a propensity towards violence.

Frankly, with the Asian immigrants, I’m not sure how to do that. They don’t come from cultures that preach violence. They just seem to be mentally ill men who are made worse by their outsider status. The Muslims, though — we need to have a serious national conversation about bringing people in whose basic belief system is that we need to be killed or subdued.

Even Trevor Noah gets that the terrorist watch list is a bad idea.  I think that the immediately preceding bolded paragraph title says it all.  Go here to learn more.

A reminder that the Palestinians aren’t occupied.  Both the BDS movement and the general swelling of antisemitism worldwide are predicated upon the claim that Israel is occupying Palestinian territory. In fact, though, Israel is only “occupying” about 1% of Palestinian living space. In recent years, Israel has pulled out of the whole region, leaving 99% of Palestinians to the joys of their own brutal, hate-filled rule.

What these actual facts, as opposed to made-up facts mean is that, when these antisemites talk about “the Jewish occupation,” they’re really talking about Jews living in Israel itself. Antisemites everywhere, whether on American college campuses, on London streets, in Gaza malls, or anywhere else, dream of a completely Judenrein Palestine.

Weird: I agree (sort of) with Glenn Greenwald.  I don’t often agree with Glenn Greenwald, and I don’t even agree with everything in his endless article about Brexit. Still, unlike many of his fellow travelers, he’s figured out that what Brexit represents is a revolution against failed, arrogant, self-serving, elitist government institutions. (And of course, as I mentioned earlier, these institutions are doubling down on the failure, arrogance, self-adulation, and elitism in the wake of this uprising. Stupid dogs can’t learn new tricks.)

Disney’s anti-family values.  I love the old Disney catalog. Anything from the early 60s and before makes me happy. I grew up watching The Wonderful World of Disney every Sunday and, when I was very little, sometimes confused Walt with my own Dad. Thinking back on that old catalog of Disney, I don’t see in it any hostility to the traditional family. Certainly, many of its heroes and heroines had no traditional family — that created the one-down situation they had to overcome in order to succeed.

Starting with its cable television channel, however, Disney turned hostile to the family. In its shows, parents — especially dads — are dodos.  They may be loving and sometimes well-meaning, but they’re no Father Knows Best. I can understand the reason behind this programming because kids like to imagine a world in which they are the boss of their parents, but at a societal level, denigrating parents, especially dads, is a very dangerous thing to do. Naomi Schaefer Riley has more on this negative family programming.

The government refuses to let parents parent. Many years ago, I wrote a post about Child Protective Services, a government collective that spans all 50 states and that too often goes after soft targets, rather than protecting children who are genuinely at risk.  I wrote then:

A mom got into a fight with her 10 year old son about household chores. The 10 year old went to school and, aided by his friends, told the teacher he was being abused. The teacher called CPS. CPS arrived, and the 10 year old son, when pressed, stated that the abuse consisted of the fact that his mother sometimes forgot to buy milk. There were no other allegations against her and, again, every indication was that she was an attentive, loving mother (as attested by her other three children). CPS required her to go to child-rearing classes and kept up surprise inspections for over a year. She was told “comply or lose your child.”

The woman who told me that story was a black woman, a single mother, trying to raise a son in a marginal neighborhood, one filled with older boys ready to entice her little boy into a world of petty crime. She was a charming, dignified, hard-working woman, and was in tears that CPS had made it impossible for her to protect her son from the bad elements in her neighborhood.  I lost contact with her when she moved back to the South, where she thought the community would support, rather than undermine her efforts to discipline her son to keep him safe and honest, so I don’t know how her boy ended up.

A decade later, even the South isn’t safe anymore as one Baton Rouge mother discovered when she disciplined her son for getting involved in the small crimes that too often lead to bigger ones. I do understand that hitting with a belt can veer close to beating, rather than disciplining, a child. Nevertheless, that mother has a tough fight on her hands raising her child counter to a criminal society and, if she wasn’t sadistically beating her child, she needs to get leeway and community support, not an arrest and government oversight.

Self-driving cars and the Second Amendment.  An unexpected problem for those designing self-driving cars is the moral question of whom to save if a situation arises in which someone must die. For example, if a baby stroller rolls into the street and the only way not to hit it is to crash into a barrier, killing the car’s occupant[s], what’s a self-driving car to do?  It turns out that, while most people believe in altruism in theory (save the baby), in fact, they want cars that protect themselves.

It’s an interesting dilemma, but what really struck me when I read the article about this car design issue was the paragraph about societal choices:

When considering these thorny questions about whom self-driving cars should and should not kill, it’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture, which is that autonomous vehicles have the potential to drastically reduce the number of car accidents and traffic-related deaths by eliminating human error, be it drunk drivers, distracted drivers, or good drivers who just make a mistake.”Just in the United States last year, there were nearly 40,000 traffic fatalities and about 4.5 million with serious injuries,” says Chariff at the University of Oregon. “Depending on how you calculate it, the dollar cost of those accidents approaches $1 trillion a year.”

Precisely the same can be said for guns. They’re used defensively 2.5 million times a year, but result in only 30,000 gun deaths annually.  That balance is the same as that described with respect to the self-driving cars. The difference is that Lefties forgive cars, which are not in the Constitution, but will ignore any benefits from guns, which do have constitutional protection. Lefties don’t want a dis-car’d society, they just want a disarmed one.

Gays hate Christians, but Christians don’t hate gays. When gays are not busy hating on Republicans, they hate Christians.  Judging by the gays on my real-me Facebook feed (populated by the Progressive friends of my youth, young adulthood, and present life), they don’t just hate Christians, they really hate Christians. Dean Esmay, however, writes a timely reminder that it’s only thanks to American Christians not hating gays that gays enjoy the full civil rights that they do.

Snopes — Leftist outlet. All of us do it:  When someone sends us an email that contains alleged facts that don’t sound so factual, we check out Snopes, which bills itself as “the definitive Internet reference source for urban legends, folklore, myths, rumors, and misinformation.”  That self-billing may be true for testing the truth of that the email that’s been circulating since 1996 warning about weird animals in some company’s food product, but it’s not true when it comes to politics. The Daily Caller just busted Snopes’ new political “fact checker” as a hard-Left activist who makes sure that all her fact checking follows a single pattern:  Republicans bad; Democrats good — and that’s true regardless of the actual facts.

Narcissists get more dates.  Does this article about narcissists and dating explain why Obama won and predict that Trump will win?  Hillary, whatever her other sins, isn’t a narcissist; Trump is.

A fun economic blog.  I met Tony Lima and his wife at PRI’s luncheon with guests Steven Hayward and James Taranto.  Tony is a retired economics professor and has a blog that addresses both economics and politics. It’s an enjoyable read and has the advantage of presenting economic issues in ordinary English.