Archive for January, 2020

We’ve Been Called Much Worse

Friday, January 31st, 2020

Laugh it up, guys.

From the comments: “All three are angry hacks overflowing with venom.” I suppose it’s a picture of America, in a sense, or at least half of it. This is why we have something called “impeachment” which is, when you get right down to it, a confession of “I have no idea what to do about this problem I just don’t want this guy, or anyone chosen from out of those guys, solving it.”

Fewer words: “I/we can’t work with him/them.”

Well…good to know.

Laughing-boy in the middle there, apologized kinda sorta. He’d have been better off just saying nothing in my opinion.

Western Shaming

Friday, January 31st, 2020

Victor Davis Hanson takes a look at the selective outrage around the world about carbon emissions, human rights abuses, etc…notes that the rhetoric consistently seems to round up usual suspects, who do not overlap much with those the facts say are the worst offenders. Then he analyzes:

There are many reasons for Westerners’ selective outrage and pessimism toward their own culture. Cowardice explains some of the asymmetry. Blasting tiny democratic Israel will not result in any retaliation. Taking on a powerful China or a murderous Iran could earn retribution.

Guilt also explains some of the selectivity. European nations are still blamed for 19th century colonialism and imperialism. They will always seek absolution, as the citizens of former colonial and Third World nations act like perpetual victims — even well into the postmodern 21st century.

Virtual-signaling is increasingly common. Western elites often harangue about misdemeanors when they cannot address felonies — a strange sort of psychological penance that excuses their impotence.

Humans are stained, let’s just start with that. We were supposed to be “angelic” in ways that could be debated endlessly among theologians, and non-theologians who happen to be interested in the subject. But however you define that, we’re not there.

As the years began and ended while I continued to study humans myself, I’ve come to see our stain as one of excessive adaptability. An angelic being would behave as if he couldn’t afford to make any mistakes, even in situations in which he could. He would act as if he were operating under a stringent deadline even when he had all the time in the world, and he would spend money judiciously even if he were affluent. This is not the way we are. It is in our wiring to spend lavishly and without good judgment when we have lot, and to move a great deal more sluggishly and pursue fruitless distractions when we have more time. We also behave like wicked little ogres toward each other once we become familiar with each other, and calculate that a friendly or family relationship has afforded us the latitude to behave without the sense of restraint and good manners you’d grant a total stranger. Without the grace, without the camaraderie…and without the sense of justice. It is in our nature to spread blame around when we figure we can afford it; to direct it to places that, as VDH notes, “will not result in any retaliation.”

We’re built to calculate the level of error we can afford to make, and then make it. The First World, all chock full of its white-western-folk, can afford much.

The situation with the carbon emissions out of China and India consistently and quickly dissolves into some back-and-forth about whether “per capita” is the statistic that should be receiving all the attention, at the expense of “overall,” or whether it’s the other way around. That’s because the U.S. ranks much lower as a world polluter if you count the emissions overall, but higher if you count on a per capita basis. Both sides have good points to make about this, but it’s the wrong discussion to have. The ecological movement doesn’t scold western-white-people because of “per capita carbon emissions.” It scolds them because they’re/we’re an easy target. Half of us, maybe more, are the inner-urban latte-sipping self-loathing types continually self-flagellating over the 1619 Project and other such rot, and are eager to accept the blame — not on an individual basis, of course, but still. “Oh yes, we white people are awful. Not me. Just those other white people. I’m guilty by association but properly contrite, so I am owed my salvation. Go after those other guys, over there.”

But how does this compare to identifying actual problems that require an actual solution? Anyone who’s really solved problems in the past should be able to recognize, finding a scapegoat to properly hate and properly deplore, is just the first step and that’s at best. Making sure the scapegoat has the right skin color, has nothing to do with it at all.

Our Strategically Brilliant House Speaker

Saturday, January 11th, 2020

Speaker Pelosi has lately been lauded from both sides of the aisle for her “brilliance” and I haven’t been able to see it. I’m not getting how you could call her plan brilliant when you can’t define what exactly it is, what it’s supposed to do…whether she has the authority under the Constitution to withhold articles of impeachment from the Senate. I mean, I get the gist of it — the Constitution doesn’t specifically grant her the power to unilaterally decide whether President Trump really is impeached or not, but it doesn’t specifically deny her that power either (although this last is a matter of opinion). But she’s going to withhold something the Senate wants, darn it, and they’ll have to do it her way regardless.

Except the Senate doesn’t want what she’s threatening not to give them. Don’t brilliant people get this part?

And at the end of it, she blinked, without gaining a single concession from the Senate Republicans.

I never understood why Pelosi delayed sending the articles to the Senate in the first place, so I can’t explain why she has changed her mind now. It seems obvious that the delay of several weeks has implied a loss of both momentum and perception of seriousness, to the extent that anyone ever took the Democrats’ partisan impeachment seriously.

I think it all has to do with fundraising. There is a segment of the population out there that salivates, and I mean in a positive way, when it sees cantankerous like-minded persons refusing to do things. Context doesn’t matter to them.

Could it really be that simple? I used to think not…

“Lefty Lingo”

Saturday, January 11th, 2020

I realized this is so brilliantly written I had to save it. Found it off a link at Instapundit…somewhere.

Many of the cringe-inducers I grew up with in the 1960s conveyed enthusiasm: “Way to be!,” “Outta sight!,” “Far out!,” and “Dig that!” Subsequent generations have also latched onto effusive expressions, such as “Awesome!” and “That’s sick!” But the glossary particular to today’s left is joylessly accusatory: “fat shaming,” “victim blaming,” or “rape culture”…

Manchester PrepFront and center in overused progressive vocabulary is, of course, “privilege.” From Lyndon Johnson onward, we’ve expressed concern for the “underprivileged.” Shining a spotlight instead on the “privileged” fosters resentment in people who feel shafted and an impotent guilt in people at whom the label is hurled. The word functions something like a rotten tomato without the mess. I myself have been decried in the Independent as “dripping with privilege,” while the writer Ariel Levy was portrayed in The New Republic as “swaddled in privilege.” This is a shape-shifting substance in which one can bathe or nestle.

Whereas a privilege can be acquired through merit…privilege, sans the article, is implicitly unearned and undeserved. The designation neatly dispossesses those so stigmatized of any credit for their achievements while discounting as immaterial those hurdles an individual with a perceived leg up might still have had to overcome. For privilege is a static state into which you are born, stained by original sin. Just as you can’t earn yourself into privilege, you can’t earn yourself out of it, either.

[I]t isn’t clear what an admission of privilege calls you to do, aside from cower. That tired injunction “Check your privilege” translates simply to “S.T.F.U.” — and it’s telling that “Shut the fuck up” is now a sufficiently commonplace imperative to have lodged in text-speak. [bold emphasis mine]

Well…the end may be near. It’s a little out of fashion by now to say “groovy” or “far out,” and I would think — hope — the sunset period would be a bit more strict on a stylish outburst that’s supposed to put whole races of people down and silence them, compared to another one that’s just supposed to express approval of something.

Time will tell, I suppose.