The Bookworm Beat 7/27/16 — the “random stuff” edition and open thread

Woman-writing-300x265Everything that’s wrong with the Left in one website. At City Journal, Oren Cass has written a short article that looks at modern Progressivism through the filter of Hillary’s campaign website. In some ways, the article says something we all know, which is that the modern Democrat party is not concerned about America’s well-being but, instead, is concerned only about its only survival, something it achieves by getting special interest groups to vote for it:

Framing issues as who instead of what leads to a governing model that would divide society by race, gender, sexuality, profession, and location, targeting policies to each defined demographic. A divide-and-conquer strategy may achieve electoral success, but it is toxic to good government. When politicians treat elections as exercises in log-rolling, each policy becomes tailored toward the special interest that cares about it most. Thus Clinton’s crime policy emphasizes a friendlier attitude toward criminals. Her immigration policy concerns itself primarily with helping those who have violated immigration law. Her education policy explicitly endorses the status quo for most students but promises to “listen to teachers.”

In a world of fixed resources, such a model inevitably undermines the idea of equal protection under the law, pits groups against one another, and leaves some explicitly favored by government as winners. It also normalizes subjective standards for government action. Clinton promises to extend President Obama’s executive actions on immigration to “additional persons with sympathetic cases.” Whatever one thinks of our immigration policies, tilting them toward “persons with sympathetic cases” does not suggest rigorous application of the law.

When it comes to blacks, which are the group most harmed by the Progressives’ “divide and control” strategy, Thomas Sowell has the right of it:

Black votes matter to many politicians — more so than black lives. That is why such politicians must try to keep black voters fearful, angry, and resentful. Racial harmony would be a political disaster for such politicians.

Racial polarization makes both the black population and the white population worse off, but it makes politicians who depend on black votes better off.

Hillary Clinton desperately needs black votes in this year’s close election. Promoting fear, anger, and resentment among blacks — and, if possible, paranoia — serves her political interest. Barack Obama has mastered the art of keeping black voters aroused while keeping white voters soothed — thanks in part to the gullibility of much of the public, who mistake geniality and glib rhetoric for honesty and good will.

Even paranoid people can find themselves living in failing nation states. As you know, despite the quaintly dated dystopianism on display at the Democrat convention, which is showcasing an America perpetually in the grip of 1950s’ style Jim Crow racism, back alley abortions, and gays firmly locked in closets (where they’re presumably regularly beaten), it was Trump’s acceptance speech that had the usual suspects pile on with their new key-word “dark”:

The media's dark meme

Even before the convention foolishness, though, Mike McDaniel was pointing out that Americans are not behaving unreasonably when they look around and, in answer to the question, “Are you better off now than you were eight years ago,” answer “No.” America is definitely a darker, scarier place, not 1950s-style scary, but 21st-century, Progressive governance style scary.

In Germany, the deadly beat goes on.  Daniel Greenfield wrote an appropriately scathing piece about the mass sexual assaults in Germany and the German government’s unwillingness to address that there’s a cancer in its country. Just yesterday, a gang of German-speaking Muslims (i.e., not recent immigrants), threatened nude bathers in a country in which nude bathing is the norm. In the last ten days, Muslims in Germany have also blown themselves up, slaughtered children, stabbed a woman and her daughters for wearing scanty clothes, massacred a pregnant woman over unrequited love, and otherwise run counter to German culture, law, and order.

Some of these acts were decidedly political. Others seem to have been based upon personal issues. Many involved guns, in a country that has extremely strict gun control. One can draw a few conclusions:  Gun control doesn’t keep guns out of criminal hands. It only worked in Europe for 70 years in Europe because Europe had a stable, homogeneous culture from which violent individuals had long been purged, whether because they were killed, disfavored when it came to passing down their genetic code, or immigrated to other, younger countries, such as America.

Now, though, Europe is suddenly dealing with an American problem — immigrants who come from more violent countries and bring their violence with them. It’s even worse with Islam, because Muslims arrive, not as immigrants, but as colonists, and are not shy about their efforts to change the dominant culture. They don’t believe in our self-defeating multiculturalism. To them, pluralism is a bug to exploit, not a desired state. In addition, because of inbreeding, an unusually large percent of any Muslim population is mentally disabled, something that plays itself out as stupid and/or vicious behavior.

Turkey’s not the only place where we need to worry about a non-independent military. In light of Erdogan’s extreme and brutal crackdown following the coup, it’s becoming more likely that this was indeed a Reichstags’ fire event — something the government fomented in order to justify seizing total control over all of Turkey’s institutions. The real surprise factor was that the military, which has preserved secular government in Turkey since the 1920s, supported Erdogan. Or maybe it’s not a surprise:

Since Erdogan and his Islamist APK Party were swept into power in decisive 2002 elections, he has been on a mission to effectively neuter the Turkish military leadership to insulate himself from ouster by secularist generals, colonels, and admirals. And he has been quite successful in his mission, not harboring warm memories of 1997 when the last Turkish military coup ejected his previous Islamist party’s rule. Top military brass saw it as their duty to end yet another political party’s march toward squeezing the Ataturk principle of secularism from Turkish government.

In turn, Erdogan has made it his duty for the past 14 years to squeeze the Ataturk principle of secularism from the military leadership. Many generals and admirals have chosen early retirement over the specter of being frog-marched to a Turkish prison to await a loaded trial. At one point half of Turkey’s admirals were imprisoned, and fully 15% or more of its army and air force generals as well.

Barack Obama is not imprisoning America’s top military leadership, although it was interesting to see Petraeus hunted down (and please don’t mention that Hillary did worse and walked). Obama has, however, been steadily firing top brass.

It’s entirely possible, of course, that the top brass deserves firing, having gotten corrupt and sclerotic.  However, it’s equally possible that the firings have a larger purpose, and that it’s no coincidence that they occur at a time that the military increasingly focuses, not on defending America against external enemies, but on climate change, women’s issues, and the LGBTQ stuff, none of which appears to have improved military readiness, and much of which seems to have left the military weaker and more vulnerable.

Glenn Reynolds points out Turkey’s regression.  You know that Turkey is regressing and I know that Turkey is regressing, which is very dangerous for world stability, but Glenn Reynolds just says it so beautifully:

It seems paranoid. But what Erdogan is really doing is eradicating the last remnants of the secular Turkish state, as he proceeds to turn Turkey into, instead, an Islamic State. As he builds an enormous palace, consolidates power, and elevates Islamists over secular types, it almost looks as if he’s trying to restore the Ottoman Empire with himself in the role of Sultan. In fact, Erdogan has made that comparison himself.

Back when he was mayor of Istanbul, Erdogan said that “Democracy is like a streetcar. When you come to your stop, you get off.” By all appearances, he has reached his stop.

This is, needless to say, bad news for Europe and the West. For many decades, Turkey was a staunch NATO ally, guarding the southern flank against the Soviet Union. Turkey still has the second-largest army in NATO. But how much longer can Turkey remain in NATO if it becomes an Islamic state with a politics, and a foreign policy, that are inconsistent with the peace and security of Europe?

The stain of slavery extends far beyond America.  In the modern world, America and slavery are inextricably intertwined. Part of that is because America showed epic hypocrisy by advocating freedom while allowing slavery. Part of that is because America fought a terrible civil war to end slavery. And part of that his because the Progressive Left won’t let go of slavery, which is an endlessly useful cudgel with which to beat up on America and the Republican Party (never mind that the Republican party was the party of abolition, while the Democrat party was the party of slavery and Jim Crow).

What the Left refuses to acknowledge is that slavery has been around at all places in all times in human history, that blacks were aggressively complicit in the slave trade, and that in the years since the 7th century, the driving force behind slavery — both the enslavement of blacks and whites — has been Islam. Get your actual history refresher course here.

In our open-minded world, you will be made to obey.  I’ve lost track of which website put me on to this beautifully oxymonoric Orwellian statement from the New York Times’ article about Peter Thiel:

Though Silicon Valley has well-known problems with diversity in its work force, people here pride themselves on a kind of militant open-mindedness. It is the kind of place that will severely punish any deviations from accepted schools of thought — see how Brendan Eich, the former chief executive of Mozilla, was run out of his job after it became public that he had donated to a campaign opposed to gay marriage. (Emphasis added.)

First man:  Come the revolution, we’ll all be driving Teslas.

Second man:  But what if I don’t want to drive a Tesla.

First man: Come the revolution, you’ll have to drivea Tesla.

“Hollywood’s hottest Jewish sex symbol risks her lives for American troops.”  That could have been the headline back in 1917, if Theda Bara had been allowed to admit her Jewish background. Instead, she was known was one of the hottest Hollywood vamps around. Robert Avrech, who is an incredible repository of the lore of old Hollywood, has a charming post about Theda Bara, nee Theodosia Goodman.

Academic writing reveals the naked emperor at the heart of modern education.  Young people are always convinced that when it comes to essays big words and long sentences make them look smart. They’re wrong. What makes a writer look smart is clear writing, that lets the reader see into the heart of the argument.

Most unclear writing is merely boring because you have to disentangle it to get to what might be a good, or not bad, point.  Some horrible writing, though, is intended to create something out of nothing — as is the case with this paragraph from an apparently tenured gender studies professor at one of the pricey liberal arts colleges dotted throughout America:

This article interrogates a psychoanalytically inflected strain of anti-social queer theory that in privileging refusal and negation, views as paradigmatic of ‘queerness’ the destructive, annihilative aspects in (queer) sex. In this view, sexuality is a product of the unconscious, thus irreducible to gender, such that gender is irrelevant to (and indeed hinders) understandings of desire. Informed by feminism, which views gender as crucial to any theory on sexuality, I expose that which ‘sexual negation’ masks through this very disavowal – that of gender and the body itself. I argue that subtending the figural representation of queer/ness is a deep-seated, albeit disguised, masculinism that, through negation, works to re-centre and re-virilise (gay) men’s sexual economies. I take up Butler’s lesbian phallus to de-idealise and thus challenge this privileging of the penis operating within this strain of queer – as only phallic sexual economies can, it seems, deliver the very annihilation we (all) seek.

Dig down into this summary and you’ll quickly discover that the above bit of word soup means nothing. It is intended to confuse so as to obscure this core problem — which is that someone is getting paid an excellent sum of money to teach your and my children . . . nothing.

Well, not quite nothing. I can almost guarantee, based on nothing more than the above paragraph, that in this woman’s class, her students can get a PhD in hatred for America, for heterosexuals (especially men), and for white people (unless as, in her case, they’re gay, female white people).

I mention this because of Hillary’s promise that she’s going to make the American taxpayer pony up full tuition for every student who wants to attend college. Hillary doesn’t do this because she wants a more educated population; she does it because she wants a more indoctrinated population.

However, if we’re going to pay for everyone to go on to college, I have a proposal. First, pull every single penny of federal and state money out of America’s institutes of higher education. Second, put the cash in kids’ hands. That is, tell college-bound kids that, if they can prove that they are attending college, they will get a voucher that can be applied to any college the kids attend. This voucher system will be a tax rebate to highly taxed families who can pay for college and a fairly non-intrusive form of redistribution to people who cannot pay for college or cannot make the difference between a college that fits their child and one that doesn’t.

I’m thinking maybe $10,000 per year, per child — which is what hyperinflated college tuition will end up being once the feds get out of colleges causing all of those liberal arts departments that hinge on gender, race, anti-Americanism, and misanthropy, and which turn out useless, uneducated drones, to vanish from the landscape.