Thursday, May 31, 2018
...and, it may rain tomorrow.
There’s a lot of “racism” in the news recently...this week, this month, this year. In fact it’s so pervasive (we are told) that talking about it has taken on the same significance as a weather forecast. Any weight that may have previously been given to the word “racist” is now gone. Overuse, misuse, and...stupid use, has made the word, ...useless.
Starbucks shut down thousands of its stores to school their staff in the wondrous world of self-reflection on unconscious racist thought crimes. A famous actress/comedian had her popular sitcom ended because she made a racist comment toward a person that doesn’t even resemble any specific ethnic group but does kind of resemble the animal she was compared to — race being irrelevant (though the intention may have been racist). I always thought that Valerie Jarrett bared a resemblance to Yoda in Star Wars (who — like Jarret — doesn’t even look vaguely African American).
Being rude, ill-mannered, or ignorant is certainly a bad thing but I’m not sure that it’s up there with inflicting physical harm or depriving one of equal opportunity.
If someone directs cruelty, aggression, or deprivation of opportunities to a person for being a member of a specific group, punish accordingly. Even if it’s not for being a member of a specific group. Cruelty is always a bad thing, ...isn’t it? If someone is course and uncouth and makes insulting remarks about someone else on account of their ethnicity or social status, deride them as pathetic and ill-mannered people or question their intelligence. But...
Many of us hold negative views of specific groups based on a generalized appraisal of how that group seems to behave compared to other groups. There are very few among us that are not guilty of that, most of all the leftist hypocrites who obsess upon such things.
There’s a joke that goes like this:
In heaven the police are British. The chefs Italian. The mechanics are German. The lovers are French. and it's all organised by the Swiss.
In hell, the police are German. The chefs are British. The mechanics are French. The lovers are Swiss. and it's all organised by the Italians.
Of course this is light prejudice...because it involves Europeans - fair game to the P.C. Police.
I’ve heard similar “jokes” to the effect that, “Why are blacks so money hungry and Jews so lazy?” — groups and statements that are off limits. The question is almost funny because the appraisals are the opposite of what discrimination typically sees or says. Everyone “gets it” right away. The intents are surly exaggerations but even softening such statements (“Jewish people have become skilled in business over time due to a variety of factors in their history.” / “Blacks have a more casual and relaxed approach to their efforts.”) doesn’t change the fact that group stereotypes exist because there is often an underlying truth to the observation. This puts individuals in a bad situation since they are pigeonholed into expectations that may or may not be true of them specifically. The issue ultimately boils down to the unfortunate philosophical point that we are individuals and part of larger social constructs — a conundrum.
In the end, one can justly note that not everyone in a given group fits the group stereotype but it doesn’t change the fact that there are characteristic images built up over time regarding group qualities. Pretending that the stereotype is groundless fools no one.
Valerie Jarrett, in responding to Roseanne Barr’s recent “racist” tweet, noted the injustice of those who hold their purse more tightly or walk to avoid encounter with a person from a certain ethnic group (she meant blacks). It’s actually a stupid statement. First of all, there are a variety of other factors that will determine a person’s behavior. Most middle class white people walking down a street will likely choose to avoid a white guy in grubby clothes, multiple piercings, and tattoos while being indifferent to a well-groomed black businessman. Most black people would no doubt have the same “prejudice” in such a case.
How bad is racism today — after the voting public elected an African-American to the presidency twice? Ironically, it could be legitimately argued that the noted former president was instrumental in fanning the flames of racial conflict that, prior to his administration, had simmered considerably.
Because real, notable, aggressive racism has declined from daily life so much, it has become necessary for the usual neo-Marxist opportunists to invent grievance over more subtle forms of “racism.” “Micro-aggressions,” “white privilege,” and “cultural appropriation” are the latest fads in the Jacobin’s tradecraft. Utter nonsense, and like so much in the “racism” game, no one outside of Marxist university enclaves is buying it, particularly in view of the fact that so much concern over “racism” is just another strategy d’ jour for political posturing.
A few decades ago there was a best selling book with the title, “All I really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.” The basic gist of the book is that the simple lessons learned in Kindergarten regarding being a decent responsible person are all one really needs to lead a responsible and decent life. ‘Maybe a tad bit simplistic but the points made are good ones.
Treating people badly is the wrong course of action for anyone who really hopes to be happy and successful. People — all people — have their views on others. Some of those views are narrow-minded, mean-spirited, or overly generalized. Oh well...
Screaming about real or imagined slights daily gets old really fast, especially when the rants continually come from a self-anointed group (college professors, journalists, and professional grievance hustlers) perpetually seeking to speak for others. Maybe it’s racist to think that...and maybe it’ll rain tomorrow but, who cares.
Wednesday, May 16, 2018
The Demise of Scholarly Inquiry and Insight
To narrow the focus of existence, I suggest to young people that the the goal of all strivings should be knowledge and beauty. That, of course, encompasses a lot of potential subject matter but I think it also encapsulates everything of substance and value. All the other worthy goals of existence (“be nice to others,” “work hard and honestly,” etc.) are offshoots to some degree of attempts to immerse one’s self in knowledge and beauty.
In my home, I have a “study.” I’m not wealthy by any means but I like having a room with fine art prints on the walls, book cases stocked well with books on the humanities and social sciences, and the air buoyantly graced with the thoughts of Bach or Beethoven. It’s just a personal choice in atmosphere but I hope it effectively conjures a course to knowledge and beauty.
An ambience like that of my “study” is a target of derision in the modern academy. It conjures images of “whiteness” and “western imperialism” to the feeble mind that is unable to see anything beyond strident political rhetoric in all of existence.
I contemplated this after seeing a cartoon recently that depicts the sad state of affairs in “scholarship” today. The gist of the cartoon is beyond accurate, only omitting the fact that the dumbing down and indoctrination occurs as early as elementary school. A youth needn’t attend a modern college to be filled with the stale drumbeat of neo-Marxist passion/envy.
These same issues come to my attention when I hear Jordan Peterson discuss a wide variety of issues from politics, to psychology, art, and mythology. He has become noteworthy among a youthful mass audience precisely because it is so refreshing to simply hear a smart person talk about smart things minus the patronizing gloss of politically correct dust and agitation. Old-fashioned scholarship and inquiry is a firm bedrock for a soul in ascent. What is passed off as “academic” today is a mere decent into chaos. The uglier they can make that path of decay, the more satisfied the Jacobin scowl becomes.
It’s no coincidence that “revolutionaries” across the ages immediately begin destroying the vestiges of a culture’s highest expressions of beauty and philosophical thought. Burning books is not just the pastime of Nazis. Any political worldview that hates life immediately feels the need to destroy it wherever it can.
There may be a self-indulgent quality to those who relish immersion in the higher learning of earlier times but somewhere along their journey, contemporary students will realize they’ve been conned by sleeping wizards and their potential to live a full life has been stolen from them by the charlatans of politically correct sophistry.
When a new generation looks behind the curtain and rejects the wizard’s bogus charade, they can once again know the joy of a peaceful walk on the path to knowledge and beauty.
Saturday, May 12, 2018
When will the nightmare ever end? ‘Good thing that the deep state and the Democrat’s Mueller slueths are working to put a stop to things like this.
Actually, this is what happens when a public official addresses practical issues in practical ways...as opposed to trying to impose ideological “transformation” upon a society.
The worthless socialist, Obama, did virtually nothing of practical value for his country. In fact he implemented policies that restricted freedom, growth, and practical success.
Like Reagan before him, Trump is demonstrating the value of applyng practical principles to problems instead of the continually flawed attempt to simply feed power to bureaucrats and philosopher kings.
...but, don’t forget,......Russia, Russia, Russia. And sleeping with a porn star ten years ago.
Tuesday, May 01, 2018
Free to be a Team Player...
There have been studies that address the issue of how societies orient themselves in relation to their affiliations and group identity vs. individuality and independence. Needless to say, The research seems to back up what everyone intuitively knows, “the east” — Asia — tends to have a more collectivist orientation. In the west, there is a more individualistic one. Not really rocket science. There are certainly times and places were either orientation would be beneficial to circumstance. Surviving off of a labor intensive crop like rice or being subject to a variety of natural disasters may indeed favor a strong “we’re in this together” mentality. At times, the West has had its circumstance too that required more solidarity than autonomy.
“No man is an island” often becomes a one-line argument as to why no one should dare think themselves a free-agent. Of course no one has argued that we should be left as isolated islands. In the lefts’s polemic war-chest is the cliche’ description of those who favor individuality, independence, the West, and capitalism. They are seen as caricatures of non-cooperation, indifference, selfishness, and even cruelty. This is B.S. and most sane people know it. One can be cooperative, friendly, kind, charitable, and altruistic while defending the right to act of one’s free will and to strive for the lifestyle and values one chooses. The Left’s argument really isn’t about “cooperation with others,” it’s about cooperation with a powerful punitive apparatus of state with the assumption that said state will be benevolent and guide society in a collective / cooperative endeavor. It never seems to occur to a leftist idealist that the benevolent socialist hierarchy often eats its own and once given unbridled power, will enforce some policies you won’t like.
In all my years of debating political principles I can say with certainty that the one thing that will rile the anger of a leftist more than anything is the proclamation that I wish to be free to choose my own path and allegiances. It is then that the attacks begin like clockwork. I will be accused of “selfishly” using public roads, built by the glorious state out of compassionate concern for the long-suffering roadless citizens. I’ll be chastised for renouncing my “fair share” of taxation, forcing other groveling peasants to pay more (of course, in the real world the groveling peasant pays nothing and may not even be a citizen but will unselfishly be drawing blood from the society assembled in their honor).
Like many who take interest in politics and world affairs, I often — stupidly — pull myself into the back and fourths of the comment section of YouTube or news websites. It gets pretty ridiculous at times and I just throw in the towel. Occasionally a person will comment who is fairly reasonable and knows a fair amount of history and holds opposite views from my own. Like me, their belief is an antecedent condition, born more of personality than revelation. I’ve always been “right-wing.” I’ve always had a gut disgust for ideologies that, in the end, want no more than to compel others to live in accordance with their dictates. I’ve experienced those who lay claim to my property because I have something they don’t and therefore feel justified in taking it. My property is a reflection of my values and choices as much as it is a reflection of my wealth (disclaimer - I’ve never had much “wealth”). Facts and information about poverty rates or health is not going to convince me that I should relinquish my freedom to a corrupt and inefficient mega-state. (By fortunate coincidence, the facts don’t back such propositions well anyway). I assume that the intelligent and informed person who passionately argues their case for collectivism has probably held those views long before they came across any facts that may have backed such a stance. The polarities on the political spectrum will always be with us no matter how actively one hopes for the eventual triumph of their “side.”
Alongside debates one may have with intelligent opponents in thought, one often confronts a member of the mob out there that will potentially do us all in. These are the clowns that repeat the cliche’s of the Marxist death cult. The violence, death, and tyranny of socialism “wasn’t real socialism” (I can’t believe people still say this). “The gulags and mass-murdered never happened. They were all capitalist propaganda forced on children in public schools.” (I was a public school teacher and I can assure that this was/is not the case - quite the contrary). And, of course, there’s the stupid debate point of equating public road building and schools to “socialism.” ...really?
Sometimes a debate just isn’t worth having. When someone starts to drone on the perpetual mantras about slavery in America’s history and the wealth generated by capitalism having been mere theft, I just roll my eyes up, yawn, and move on. There are only so many times one can have that debate before realizing there are better way to be spending one’s time.
The conflict in opinion is irreconcilable between those who favor the establishment of a powerful state and those who believe people should be free to affiliate as they chose — and have the option to be left alone to the degree they choose.
In defense of my position, I’d note that “leave me alone” is a passive stance, it’s not an active call to harm others. “Love and obey Big Brother” and “the people” ...we know where that goes.