“A People’s History of the United States” by Howard Zinn is not so much a history, more a compendium of complaint. And (therefore) of every Leftist issue you could think of.
(We have written about Zinn before. See our post Zinn writes histories, December 11, 2009.)
The “People” in Zinn’s mind are a totally different species from the “fifty-five privileged white males whose class interest required a strong central government” and so wrote the Constitution and founded the Union. Those same fifty-five privileged white males of a species different from the People have continued to pursue their selfish material interests ever since at the expense of downtrodden masses. These masses, this vast victimized majority (he quotes Shelley at them: “Ye are many; they are few!”), consists of subordinated races, females, persons of minority sexual preferences (he doesn’t call them that), and people who would like to be rich but do not manage to become so (he doesn’t call them that).
Zinn milks pity from his readers (or tries to). He would have you feel bad if you are white, if you are male, if you are “privileged” (ie not poor), and if you are American; but implies over some 700 pages that you can redeem yourself from your badness if you will beat your breast frequently, cry ‘Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa!” every day of your life, and join with the complainers in bringing down those fifty-five imperial villains by becoming a violent radical socialist revolutionary or, more comfortably – well, he doesn’t say so in the book because it was published before the Occupy Wall Street movement emerged, but he would have said, by joining it.
Thomas Sowell writes at Townhall:
Schools were once thought of as places where a society’s knowledge and experience were passed on to the younger generation. But, about a hundred years ago, Professor John Dewey of Columbia University came up with a very different conception of education — one that has spread through American schools of education, and even influenced education in countries overseas.
John Dewey saw the role of the teacher, not as a transmitter of a society’s culture to the young, but as an agent of change — someone strategically placed, with an opportunity to condition students to want a different kind of society.
Or to put it another way: indoctrinate students to believe that a much better society – even a perfect one – could be planned and is only not being planned because “corporate interests” (a euphemism for the fifty-five immortals who founded the USA) will not allow it.
A century later, we are seeing schools across America indoctrinating students to believe in all sorts of politically correct notions. The history that is taught in too many of our schools is a history that emphasizes everything that has gone bad, or can be made to look bad, in America — and that gives little, if any, attention to the great achievements of this country.
If you think that is an exaggeration, get a copy of “A People’s History of the United States” by Howard Zinn and read it. As someone who used to read translations of official Communist newspapers in the days of the Soviet Union, I know that those papers’ attempts to degrade the United States did not sink quite as low as Howard Zinn’s book.
That book has sold millions of copies, poisoning the minds of millions of students in schools and colleges against their own country. But this book is one of many things that enable teachers to think of themselves as “agents of change,” without having the slightest accountability for whether that change turns out to be for the better or for the worse — or, indeed, utterly catastrophic.
This misuse of schools to undermine one’s own society is not something confined to the United States or even to our own time. It is common in Western countries for educators, the media and the intelligentsia in general, to single out Western civilization for special condemnation for sins that have been common to the human race, in all parts of the world, for thousands of years.
Meanwhile, all sorts of fictitious virtues are attributed to non-Western societies, and their worst crimes are often passed over in silence, or at least shrugged off by saying some such thing as “Who are we to judge?”
Even in the face of mortal dangers, political correctness forbids us to use words like “terrorist” when the approved euphemism is “militant.” Milder terms such as “illegal alien” likewise cannot pass the political correctness test, so it must be replaced by another euphemism, “undocumented worker.”
Some think that we must tiptoe around in our own country, lest some foreigners living here or visiting here be offended by the sight of an American flag or a Christmas tree in some institutions. …
American schools today are … undermining American society as one unworthy of defending, either domestically or internationally.
Which reminds us of what happened to Rome when it took on Christianity, the first Mea Culpa creed in history.
Yesterday, by a majority of 1,057,148* (a figure we have just derived from the Drudge Report), Americans chose to give up liberty by re-electing the socialist Islam-lover Barack Obama to the presidency.
And so “government of the people, by the people, for the people” is perishing, contrary to President Lincoln’s hope.
It is no wild exaggeration but a sober truth that Obama prefers to govern in the manner of a tyrant, against liberty in principle, and destructive of it in practice.
Thomas Sowell gives a few of many possible examples of Obama’s contempt for American Constitutional democracy:
The checks and balances of the Constitution have been evaded time and time again by the Obama administration, undermining the fundamental right of the people to determine the laws that govern them, through their elected representatives.
You do not have a self-governing people when huge laws are passed too fast for the public to even know what is in them.
You do not have a self-governing people when “czars” are created by Executive Orders, so that individuals wielding vast powers equal to, or greater than, the powers of Cabinet members do not have to be vetted and confirmed by the people’s elected representatives in the Senate, as Cabinet members must be.
You do not have a self-governing people when decisions to take military action are referred to the United Nations and the Arab League, but not to the Congress of the United States, elected by the American people, whose blood and treasure are squandered.You do not have a self-governing people when a so-called “consumer protection” agency is created to be financed by the unelected officials of the Federal Reserve System, which can create its own money out of thin air, instead of being financed by appropriations voted by elected members of Congress who have to justify their priorities and trade-offs to the taxpaying public.
You do not have a self-governing people when laws passed by the Congress, signed by previous Presidents, and approved by the federal courts, can have the current President waive whatever sections he does not like, and refuse to enforce those sections, despite his oath to see that the laws are faithfully executed.
Barack Obama … has refused to carry out sections of the immigration laws that he does not like, unilaterally creating de facto amnesty for those illegal immigrants he has chosen to be exempt from the law. The issue is not — repeat, NOT — the wisdom or justice of this President’s immigration policy, but the seizing of arbitrary powers not granted to any President by the Constitution of the United States.
You do not have a self-governing people if President Obama succeeds in having international treaties under United Nations auspices govern the way Americans live their lives, whether with gun control laws or other laws. …
The desire to circumvent the will of the American people was revealed even more ominously when Barack Obama said to Russian President Medvedev – when he thought the microphone was off – that, after he is reelected and need never face the voters again, he can be more “flexible” with the Russians about missile defense.
There are other signs of Obama’s contempt for American Constitutional democracy, but these should be more than enough. Dare we risk how far he will go when he never has to face the voters again, and can appoint Supreme Court justices who can rubber stamp his power grabs?
A majority of 1,057,148 chose to force the nation to risk it.
America is no longer the political embodiment of the idea of liberty.
Thomas Sowell ends by asking rhetorically –
Will this still be America in 2016?
* Later numbers of popular and electoral college votes may be found here.
Environmentalists “refuse to look at or admit the existence of the carnage they have created and continue to perpetuate worldwide.”
So writes Robert Zubrin in an article at PJ Media.
He contends that more people have died as a result of the environmental movement than at the hands of the most extreme mass-murdering dictators. In fact, he argues, millions of those deaths in the dictatorships have been caused, indirectly, by the environmental movement.
How good is his case?
Let’s look at the record.
Some of the worst atrocities can be laid at the feet of the population control ideologues such as Paul Ehrlich and his co-thinkers who argued — in direct contradiction to historical fact — that human well-being is inversely proportional to human numbers. As a result of their agitation, since 1966 U.S. foreign aid and World Bank loans to Third World countries have been made contingent upon those nations implementing population control programs. In consequence, over the past four decades, in scores of countries spanning the globe from India to Peru, tens of millions of women have been … subjected to involuntary sterilizations or abortions, often under very unsafe conditions, with innumerable victims suffering severe health effects or dying afterwards.
We are against foreign aid. But we are even more against the forced reduction of populations by “population control programs” including compulsory abortion and sterilization.
Ehrlich also called for the United States to create a Bureau of Population and Environment which would have the power to issue or deny permits to Americans to have children. While rejected here, this idea was adopted by the leaders of the Chinese Communist Party, who were convinced of the necessity of such measures by the writings of the Club of Rome* after these were plagiarized and republished in China under the name of one of its top officials. Thus was born China’s infamous “one-child policy,” which has involved not only hundreds of millions of involuntary abortions and forced sterilizations, but infanticide and the killing of “illegal children” on a mass scale.
There have been tens of millions of cases of murder-by-default: people being allowed to die by keeping from them a remedy for fatal disease:
The anti-technology wing of the antihuman movement also has its share of human extermination to account for. …
… by getting governments to ban the highly effective pesticide DDT – not always for scientific reasons, but precisely because it saves lives:
To only a few chemicals does man owe as great a debt as to DDT. It has contributed to the great increase of agricultural productivity, while sparing countless humanity from a host of diseases, most notably perhaps, scrub typhus and malaria. Indeed, it is estimated that in little more than two decades, DDT has prevented 500 million deaths due to malaria that would otherwise have been inevitable. But the role of DDT in saving half a billion lives did not positively impress everyone. On the contrary, as Alexander King, the co-founder of the Club of Rome put it in his 1990 biography, “my chief quarrel with DDT … is that it has greatly added to the population problem.” …
Scientific arguments were also used, for instance that DDT endangered birds. To these lunatics (what else can one call them?), the preservation of bird life was more important than the preservation of human life.
Rachel Carson … in her 1962 book, Silent Spring, … made an eloquent case that DDT was endangering bird populations.
Which wasn’t even true:
This was false. In fact, by eliminating their insect parasites and infection agents, DDT was helping bird numbers to grow significantly. No matter. Using Carson’s book and even more wild writing by Ehrlich (who in a 1969 Ramparts article predicted that pesticides would cause all life in the Earth’s oceans to die by 1979), a massive propaganda campaign was launched [in the US] to ban DDT.
The EPA – not yet the storm-trooper arm of a dictatorial administration as it has now become – carried out an investigation into the effects of the pesticide:
In 1971, the newly formed Environmental Protection Agency responded by holding seven months of investigative hearings on the subject, gathering testimony from 125 witnesses. At the end of this process, Judge Edmund Sweeney issued his verdict: “The uses of DDT under the registration involved here do not have a deleterious effect on freshwater fish, estuarine organisms, wild birds, or other wildlife. … DDT is not a carcinogenic hazard to man.”
But dedicated environmentalists are never put off by facts:
No matter. EPA administrator William Ruckelshaus (who would later go on to be a board member of the Draper Fund, a leading population control group), chose to overrule Sweeney and ban the use of DDT in the United States.
Subsequently, the U.S. Agency for International Development adopted regulations preventing it from funding international projects that used DDT. Together with similar decisions enacted in Europe, this effectively banned the use of DDT in many Third World countries. By some estimates, the malaria death toll in Africa alone resulting from these restrictions has exceeded 100 million people, with 3 million additional deaths added to the toll every year.
The harm done by the EPA, itself a creation of the environmental movement, has not been limited to stopping DDT. It is no coincidence that U.S. oil production, which had been growing at a rate of 3 percent per year through the 1940s, 50s, and 60s, peaked in 1971, immediately after the EPA’s creation, and has been declining ever since. In 1971, the U.S. produced 9.6 million barrels of oil per day (mpd). Today we are down to 5.6 mpd. Had we continued without environmentalist interference with our previous 3 percent per year growth in the period since — as the rest of the non-OPEC world actually did — we would today be producing 35 mpd, and the world economy would not be groaning under the extremely regressive tax represented by $100 per barrel oil prices. The environmentalist campaign against nuclear power has made its promise for plentiful, cheap electricity impossible as well.
The genocidal effect of such support for energy price-rigging should not be underestimated. Increasing the price of energy increases the price of all other products. It is one thing to pay $100 per barrel for oil in a nation like the USA which has an average income of $45,000 per year. It is quite another to pay it in a Third World country with an average income of $1500 per year. An oil price stiff enough to cause recession in the advanced sector can cause mass starvation among the world’s poor.
While we think the phrase “genocidal effect” is not well chosen, we follow Dr. Zubrin’s argument.
Again, the evil that he accuses environmentalists of is choosing not to allow the saving of lives that could be saved:
European greens also have much horror to account for, notably through their campaign against genetically modified crops. Hundreds of millions of people in the Third World today suffer from nutritional deficiencies resulting from their cereal-dominated diets. This can now readily be rectified by employing genetically enhanced plants, such as golden rice, which is rich in vitamin A. Other genetically modified crops offer protection against iron or other vitamin deficiency diseases, dramatically increased yields, self-fertilization, and drought or insect resistance. But as a result of political pressure from the green parties, the European Union has banned the import of crops from countries that employ such strains, thereby blackmailing many governments into forbidding their use. In consequence, millions of people are being unnecessarily blinded, crippled, starved, or killed every year.
Taken together, these campaigns to deny billions of people the means to a decent existence have racked up a death toll exceeding that achieved by Hitler, Stalin, Mao, or any of the other tyrants whose crimes fill the sordid pages of human history.
*And here is a very important footnote that explains how and why environmentalists decided to exploit pollution, global warming, and famine in order to make a case for global unification [ie for world government] as long as the earth is peopled, but also against the human race, which they perceive as the planet’s enemy. What their ultimate aim is – whether absolute power over the human species or its total annihilation – is not clear. Is preservation of the environment the pretext for, or the goal of world government? Perhaps they are not sure themselves.
The Club of Rome raised considerable public attention with its report Limits to Growth … It predicted that economic growth could not continue indefinitely because of the limited availability of natural resources, particularly oil. …
Mankind at the Turning Point was accepted as the official Second Report to the Club of Rome in 1974. … [It claimed] that many of the factors [affecting the environment] were within human control and therefore that environmental and economic catastrophe were preventable or avoidable. …
In 1993, the Club published The First Global Revolution. According to this book, divided nations require common enemies to unite them, “either a real one or else one invented for the purpose.” Because of the sudden absence of traditional enemies, “new enemies must be identified. In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill. … All these dangers [to the planet] are caused by human intervention, and it is only through changed attitudes and behavior that they can be overcome. The real enemy then, is humanity itself.”
… for they, the International Communist Dictators of the United Nations, shall inherit the earth.
They, the ICDs of the UN, and their collaborator-in-chief Barack Obama, plan to bring about world-government through environment and species protection.
In fact, the appearance and disappearance of species can no more be controlled by human beings – even such super-beings as the ICDs of the UN – than can climate and the weather.
According to Wikipedia, “A typical species becomes extinct within 10 million years of its first appearance although some species, called living fossils survive virtually unchanged for hundreds of millions of years. Most extinctions have occurred naturally, prior to Homo sapiens walking on Earth: it is estimated that 99.9% of all species that have ever existed are now extinct.”
Alan Caruba writes at Canada Free Press:
The Endangered Species Act (ESA) was passed in 1973 at the height of the period in which Congress became enthralled with any legislation purported to save the planet and to regulate anything and everything that had to do with the environment. It is a complete failure.
In 1999, Jamie Rappaport Clark, then the director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), told a congressional committee that “… in 25 years of implementing the ESA, we have found that designation of ‘official’ critical habitat provides little additional protection to most listed species … ”
Why then did the Associated Press report in September 2011 that “The Obama administration is taking steps to extend new federal protections to a list of imperiled animals … from the melodic golden-winged warbler and slow-moving gopher tortoise, to the slimy American eel and tiny Texas kangaroo rat”?
The Obama FDS “… issued decisions advancing more than 500 species toward … new protections under the Endangered Species Act.” Among the species selected for protection were 35 snails from Nevada’s Great Basin, 82 crawfish from the Southeast, 99 Hawaiian plants and “a motley cast of butterflies, birds, fish, beetles, frogs, lizards, mussels and more from every corner of the country.”
The answer is that the ESA was never about endangered species. It is a blunt instrument of environmental groups and those within the federal government to delay development anywhere in the nation. Almost 1,400 species on the government’s list are listed as “threatened” and none of them can be expected to avoid extinction, a natural process that cannot be impeded by human intervention. …
Recall the outcry two decades ago that spotted owls were on the brink of extinction. The resulting action to protect them shut down a great swath of the timber industry in the northwest. It turned out that barred owls were preying on their cousins, again a natural competition between species. The Obama administration wants to set aside millions of acres to protect the spotted owl and to authorize the killing of barred owls!
The plan … has nothing to do with spotted or barred owls and everything to do with attacking the timber industry in the same fashion it is attacking the coal and oil industry. It is an attack on the nation’s economic maintenance and growth.
Little known is the fact that the government compensates the legal fees of environmental groups that bring action to get a particular species designated as “threatened” or “endangered.” It is a scheme … that has nothing to do with the question of extinction and everything to do with setting aside vast parts of the nation from any development or use.
Which greatly assists the implementation of the UN’s “Agenda 21″. This collectivist, world-government program, already being put into practice by left-dominated local authorities all over the US, aims to herd people into small living-units in cities and return as much of the developed countryside as possible to wilderness. Watch out for the surreptitious advance of the scheme in your own area.
See our posts: Beware “Agenda 21″, June 24, 2011; The once and new religion of earth-worship, October 27, 2011; Agenda 21: the “smart growth” conspiracy, November 21, 2011; Three eees for environmental equalizing economics, December 4, 2011; Prepare to be DICED, March 23, 2012.
In 2006, California had the second-highest number of endangered species — from the California condor to the Delhi sands fly. It led the lower 48 states in acres of officially designated critical habitat with nearly twenty percent of approximately 100 million acres in the regulatory clutches of the FWS. It will cost California millions in lost revenue, particularly from its agriculture sector which feeds much of the rest of the nation.
In 2006, a federal judge halted a $320 million irrigation project in Arkansas for fear it might disturb the habitat of the ivory-billed woodpecker that many believed had already gone extinct. The National Wildlife Federation and the Arkansas Wildlife Federation had sued the Army Corps of Engineers, to stop a project to build a pumping station that would draw water from the White River. Among their claims was that the noise from the station would cause the woodpeckers stress!
The author rightly concludes:
The only species that is endangered is the human species as environmental organizations continue to deny access and use of American land needed for growing crops, raising livestock, and building any new improvements … that would contribute to the welfare of the human inhabitants of planet Earth.
Not only is the ESA a huge bureaucratic failure, it is testimony to the arrogance and evil intent of the environmental movement to harm any form of economic activity and growth in America.
The UN must be destroyed.
This video is an overview of an excellent course in 10 parts. It teaches how the Muslim Brotherhood is pursuing its agenda in the US, which is to infiltrate the institutions of American democracy and penetrate the highest echelons of government, in order to spread totalitarian sharia law, and advance towards the establishment of a caliphate as a dominating global power.
It shows that even the Republican Party is being subverted by Muslim Brotherhood agents, most notably Grover Norquist, whose tax-cutting ideas are good, but whose affiliation to America’s worst enemy is evil and needs to be exposed.
It shows how “useful idiots” in the military and security services are helping the Muslim Brotherhood achieve its aims.
Learn more about it, or take the whole course free of charge, here.
Sex Aversion 35
Following on from our post Childlessness (April 30, 2012), we quote today from an article about a spreading aversion to sex. It is by Spengler, writing in the Asia Times:
A Japanese government study [shows that] almost a third of Japanese boys aged 16-19 and three-fifths of girls say that they have no interest in sex. …
The hormones of late adolescence evidently rage in vain against some cultural barrier that makes young Japanese “despise” sexual relations. …
For 60 years, the sexual revolution insisted that repressed desire is the root of all evil. It turns out that the ultimate victim of the sexual revolution is sex itself.
What makes the Japanese hate sex? The same things that make a growing proportion of Americans hate sex. Joan Sewell’s 2007 book I’d Rather Eat Chocolate became the manifesto of American women who don’t like sex …
Pharmaceutical companies are racing to market a pill to revive fading female libido, to no avail: women do not want to be sex objects, and a culture that objectifies women will make them hate sex …
Japan is a step ahead of the United States, as the first industrial country to bring sadism and pedophilia into the mainstream. … A streak of cruelty pervades Japanese culture … But the West has begun to embrace cruelty in sexual relations on a scale comparable to Japan, and the consequences most likely will be identical.
For example: Fifty Shades of Grey [by E L James], the adult version of the Twilight vampire-and-werewolf series, has become a soccer-mom bestseller. Now we know what the original, adolescent version was about, namely sadism and submission. What is it that makes adolescent girls crave sexual control and degradation? Evidently, it is the same thing that prompts their mothers to buy heavy-breathing pulp versions of the same thing in more explicit form.
After half a century of sexual revolution – otherwise known as objectification – women suffer en masse from the sexual equivalent of Stockholm Syndrome, identification with their tormentors, as a number of popular commentators observe. After a quarter-million e-book downloads, Viking Press has just paid a seven-figure advance to … E L James, an Englishwoman who initially posted the manuscript as bondage porn on a Twilight fan fiction site under the screen-name “SnowqueensIcedragon”. In the original, still available online, little Bella of the Twilight books is deflowered not by her vampire boyfriend, but by a billionaire sadist instead, and becomes his adoring sex slave. …
The Austrian novelist Elfriede Jelinek … got the 2004 Nobel Prize in literature for explicit portrayals of sexual violence, but with literary pretensions. Jelinek … is an Austrian communist who politicizes domination. …
Why are so many American women fascinated by sexual cruelty? The answer is that the prevailing regime of sexual objectification already carries with it the experience of cruelty. For adolescent girls, the replacement of courtship by “hooking up” with “friends with benefits” is a cruel prospect.
Somehow that doesn’t seem an adequate explanation. Cruel prospects might be expected to invoke a yearning for happier ones, not an appetite for reading about cruelty.
Even though only three out of ten American teenagers aged 13 to 16 are sexually active, the options available to adolescent girls are narrowly defined. Adolescent boys are monsters, as anyone who has been one, or known one, can attest, and to require adolescent girls to engage in sexual activity of any kind with such creatures is horrifying. The considerate and courteous young vampire of the Twilight books is a cavalier by comparison.
Freud’s question, “What do women want?,” showed what an ideologically-driven fanatic he was. Women want what every human being wants, which is to be unique, and to be loved for their uniqueness. With rare exceptions, human beings become unique by bearing and raising children: a child can have only one mother. Women are unique as mothers, and men are lifted above their animal instincts by their attachment to the mother of their children.
The moment we separate sexuality from child-bearing, we turn women into generic sexual objects, which makes it impossible for them to obtain what they want, because sexual objects are generic. The one thing you know with 100% certainty about any woman you see, supermodels included, is that some man, somewhere, is tired of sleeping with her. If women cannot control men by bearing their children, what other means to they have to control them? We find the answer in the sudden popularity of dominant-submissive fantasies.
The dominant “master of the universe” in EL James’ story can be controlled by his own need to dominate, for the submissive female heroine has something that he needs in addition to generic sexuality. …
The controller is controlled by the woman he controls? Control, control. Women liberationists, are you listening?
The stylized sexual games that EL James recounts become a creepy substitute for actual courtship. Like the romance novel hero, who must pay court to the female lead, the “master of the universe” must pay prolonged attention to the female lead in preparation for sexual acts. Romance fiction requires a suspension of disbelief that is increasingly precarious in a culture of sexual exploitation. The dominant-submissive fantasy is more credible.
The sudden popularity of Fifty Shades of Grey portends the death of America’s libido. I cannot speak from personal experience, but the paradox of domination … surely applies to the ritualistic cruelty described in this silly book and its sequels. After the initial frisson has passed, repetition of the same handcuffs-and-riding-crop routine must become unspeakably boring over time. …
And when perversion fails to titillate, nothing at all will. Like Japanese women, who encountered mainstream sexual violence and now eschew sex altogether, American women will have a great deal less sex and a great deal more chocolate.
All the signs are there. … American women will follow their Japanese sisters into asexuality, and if women become sufficiently disgusted with men, men will become disgusted with themselves.
But then again, much of that diagnosis may be just psychobabble. The ingestion of chemicals could be to blame:
There might be a simpler explanation for the disappearance of Japan’s libido. Between 1998 and 2003, sales of anti-depressants in Japan quintupled …
Prozac is well known to cause sexual dysfunction, along with general calming. Maybe the attack on depression and hyperactivity is affecting aggression, violence, crime, and many other antisocial behaviors. … Maybe America and other nations are prescribing themselves a gradual but gigantic and deadly loss of libido.
Whether it is due to disgust at the misery of their circumstances, or the side-effect of drugs intended to dull the misery of their circumstances, women are abandoning sexuality.
When human beings cease to desire each other physically, it is because they have ceased to desire each other at all. The things that motivate human beings to unite in intimate and permanent union, procreating and acculturating another generation, give way to the pure exercise of ego.
No, no: “pure ego” is being denied. What is the evolutionary use of sexual desire? The only discernible purpose our biology provides for us is to reproduce. As a biologist once put it: “The only reason an egg gives birth to a chicken is to ensure that there will be another egg.”
But we agree with the main point: promiscuous sex is lonely, sterile, boring, purposeless, destructive of dignity and self-respect, and terminally bad for human beings both individually and as the human race.
The typical [not quite - JB] American household no longer harbors a family but a person living alone. As Eric Klinenberg reports in his much-commented new book Going Solo, 28% of all American households now contain a single person, compared to just 9% in 1950.
Klinenberg, to be sure, thinks this is wonderful; his typical “Singleton” lives in Manhattan, hangs out at the local sushi bar and coffee shop, swims in a rich cultural current, and devotes himself to the grand diversion of the age, namely “self-realization”, which is easier to pursue in the absence of another self that might make competing demands.
In another 20 years or so, though, the self-sufficient singles of American cities will emulate the kodokushi (“lonely death”) victims of Japan, another much-commented 21st-century phenomenon. … Kodokushi clean-up has become a minor industry:
In the 1990s … the owner of a small moving company in Osaka, Japan, began noticing that many of his jobs involved people who had just died. Families of the deceased were either too squeamish to pack up for their dead relatives, or there wasn’t any family to call on. So [he] started a new business cleaning out the homes of the dead. Then he started noticing something else: thick, dark stains shaped like a human body, the residue of liquids excreted by a decomposing corpse.
That is the end that enlightened secular culture has prefigured for us …: to leave no trace of our mortal existence except for a grease-stain on the carpet.
A sickening image, a pathetic fate.
But we don’t like his putting in the word “secular”. His implication is that lack of religious belief underlies or directly causes this vast disillusionment and lapse into hopeless futility. What does religion offer as a counter? A purpose beyond this world, this life? It is in this world, this life that we need happiness and fulfillment. There is no other.
(Hat tip for the link, reader and commenter rogerinflorida.)
Under daily observation from thousands of surveillance cameras mounted everywhere from street corners to taxicabs to public parks, Britons rank among the most-watched people on earth. But a new government plan is poised to take the gaze of this nation’s security services dramatically deeper: letting them examine the text messages, phone calls, e-mails and Web browsing habits of every person in the country.
According to the Washington Post report that we are quoting -
Britain generates more than 2 million e-mails a minute, and observers say the government may face technical challenges in capturing and storing such vast amounts of data. Currently, firms are required to store some communications data, such as phone calls, for one year. But the proposed law could compel them to store far more varied forms — such as Skype calls or online video game data — for at least twice as long.
Even with massive electronic help in selecting words and phrases to reduce the millions of messages, how many people working how many hours would be needed to investigate the (surely still enormous) residue? And if they do come upon evidence of crime being plotted or committed, what will they do about it?
It’s not as if the police are really working to reduce crime (except maybe drug related crimes). For years now in Britain, if a crime is reported the police routinely issue the victim with a number but seldom investigate it. If the police investigate a crime, they seldom make an arrest; if they make an arrest, the case seldom comes to court; if it comes to court the accused is seldom found guilty; if the accused is found guilty, he is seldom convicted; if he is convicted he is seldom sentenced; if he is sentenced he seldom goes to prison; if he goes to prison he is seldom – no, he is never kept there even for the inadequately punitive time he is sentenced to serve.
Terrorists? If they are Muslim – and are there any terrorists other than Muslims now? – they are unlikely to be charged; if charged they are unlikely to be tried; if tried they are unlikely to be convicted; if convicted they are unlikely to be punished. Instead they are likely to be luxuriously housed and granted lavish incomes at tax-payers’ expense. (See our posts The tale of a Muslim terrorist parasite January 18, 2012, and A model citizen December 17, 2010.)
So what would the watching and listening really be for?
The only plausible answer is: for government power and control. But what is the feeble feckless government doing with its power? What is it controlling and to what end? Britain aims for nothing, has no vision of its future, and is unlikely to become an Iran-like or Afghanistan-like totalitarian state until Islam comes to power. Of course that won’t take long now, and Islam knows exactly what it will compel everyone to do. It will be nice for the Islamic Enforcers to find efficient means of surveillance already in place for them.
Let’s read on.
The “snooping” proposal set to be presented in Parliament later this year is sparking an uproar over privacy in Britain, fueling a debate over the lengths to which intelligence agencies should go in monitoring citizens — a debate that has resonance on both sides of the Atlantic.
Government officials say the new powers are critical to countering terrorism and other threats in an era of fast-changing social media, with criminals using even seemingly innocent venues such as Facebook and online games as means of communication. But furious citizen groups and some members of Parliament see the push as a part of Britain’s evolution into a “surveillance society” in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States and the 2005 London bombings.
Although the plan is yet to be fully outlined by the Conservative-led government, observers say parts of it may go beyond even the ability of officials in the United States to quickly access private data. Critics say the sheer breadth and scope of the plan also could put Britain out in front of other European countries such as Germany, where the government acts to block some Web sites deemed objectionable, and Sweden, where a law passed in 2008 allows the government to intercept international communications conducted via phones or the Internet.
“I’m afraid that if this program gets introduced, the U.K. will be leapfrogging Iran in the business of surveilling its citizens,” said Eric King, head of research at Privacy International. “This program is so broad that no other country has even yet to try it, and I am dumbfounded they are even considering it here.”
The plan may authorize the national surveillance agency — which is known as GCHQ and whose Web site describes its mission as keeping “our society safe and successful in the Internet age” — to order the installation of thousands of devices linked to the networks of Internet service providers, giving agents broader access to everyday communications. The examination of the contents of those exchanges — such as the text or images contained in an e-mail — would still require special warrants. But for the first time, intelligence agencies might, for instance, access information such as the times, destinations and frequencies of phone calls, texts and e-mails without a warrant…
The measure reportedly would compel communications companies to grant intelligence agents instant access to real-time information in certain circumstances, such as data that could be used to target the location of a user’s mobile phone or computer if authorities suspected a crime was in progress. It remained unclear whether British authorities would need judicial or other authority before accessing such data.
“It is vital that police and security services are able to obtain communications data in certain circumstances to investigate serious crime and terrorism and to protect the public,” Britain’s Home Office — a rough equivalent to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security — said in a statement.
Privacy advocates reacted swiftly Monday, saying the move would intrude so deeply into the lives of British citizens that it would rival or exceed measures used by totalitarian governments. They say it marks another of many steps that have curtailed privacy rights here in the post-Sept. 11 world, with one study by British police officials, for instance, indicating that a person strolling around London is captured on film by at least 68 cameras on any given day …
As it stands, key aspects of the proposal may go beyond the kind of surveillance now authorized in the United States, where privacy advocates were quick to raise concerns about the plan — especially given the heavy traffic of transatlantic communication. …
How does America do its watching?
Access in the United States to “metadata” — such as the time, who e-mailed whom and how often — depends on the kind of data and type of case. For example, authorities have to obtain court orders before accessing real-time data in both criminal and national security cases.
In criminal cases, authorities need a subpoena to get stored metadata on phone numbers dialed but a court order for e-mail information. In contrast, federal agents seeking stored e-mail header information in national security cases have contended that they may use a national security letter, which is an administrative subpoena that can be issued by an FBI field office. But some providers have refused access to such data without a court order.
Only some? And should that make us less worried?
Is it possible that sheer overreach could render government impotent? That freedom will be recovered because government has too big a body for its tiny brain, like dinosaurs, and will perish by taking on far more than it can ever accomplish, losing sight of what it means to accomplish and why?
Or would anarchy result? And would that make it easier or harder for Islam to take over?
(Hat tip to our reader True Freethinker for the link to the video)
We breed at the planet’s peril. They say.
The Daily Caller reports:
During a discussion series … at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., speaker and activist Kavita Ramdas argued that contraceptives should be part of a strategy to save the planet, calling lower birth rates a “common sense” part of a climate-change reduction strategy.
Kavita Ramdas is “executive director of the Program on Social Entrepreneurship at Stanford University”.
“Social Entrepreneurship”. Another pseudo-science to entice kids into dead-end courses at universities?
At the event, titled “Women’s Health: Key to Climate Adaptation Strategies,” Ramdas pointed to studies conducted by health consultants at the for-profit Futures Group, the government-funded National Center for Atmospheric Research and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, in Austria, to connect contraception with climate change.
Ramdas told The Daily Caller that the research shows “empowering women to time their pregnancies” and avoid unwanted births would reduce carbon emissions between 8 to 15 percent globally.
8 to 15 percent? Wonderful what they can calculate, these mathematical geniuses of the global warming lobby!
“It is common sense that when women are able to plan their pregnancies, populations grow more slowly and as a result so do greenhouse gas emissions,” she explained. “Providing access to contraception and preventative health should be one of the many effective strategies used to fight climate change.” …
Global warming activists argue increasing greenhouse gas emissions, partly resulting from unsustainable population growth, is resulting in “environmental devastation” such as frequent severe weather events and rising sea levels.
There it is. Doom. You go and have babies and what happens? Tornados whip up, seas rise, the earth heats, deserts spread.
The United States and other countries with high levels of emissions, Ramdas [said], have the potential to make the biggest impact by making contraception more accessible.
So it’s not the ignorant Third World that’s breeding too much; its the First World, and in particular the USA.
She said every child in America absorbs, on average, 40 percent more of the earth’s resources than children in other countries.
Greedy little imperialist pigs!
Ramdas isn’t the first activist to suggest a connection between global warming and birth rates.
At a January “Climate Change, Population and Sustainability” event organized by Aspen Global Health and Development, International Planned Parenthood Federation regional director Carmen Barroso said limiting population growth may reduce carbon emissions significantly. …
“It’s about the facts,” said Barroso. … “Recent research shows that meeting this need, and thereby slowing population growth, could reduce carbon emissions by 16 to 29 percent of the emission reductions necessary to avoid dangerous climate change.”
16 to 29 percent now, not 8 to 15? Or is it just fluffy math?
The anti-human ethos is not without its critics in the profession:
Myron Ebell, director of the Center for Energy and Environment, said the “population issue” has been underneath the surface of the global warming debate since it began. Activists’ solution to that particular problem, he explained, has always been to decrease the human population somehow.
“It is the case that less people [fewer people, please Myron - JB] means less carbon emissions [emission],” Ebell told TheDC. [About grammar none of them gives a damn.] “But we fundamentally disagree with the effect that it is having on the planet. We believe that people are an asset, not a burden, to the world.”
To the world? What world is there to be benefited or harmed if there are no people?
Kavita Ramdas confesses that her big concern is not after all the saving of the earth but the prevention of births as a cause in itself.
In her address … Ramdas said there was a growing global consensus about putting “population development and women’s rights” in the same argument. [She] later told The Daily Caller, however, that her contraception advocacy isn’t about population control, but rather supporting a woman’s right to decide when to get pregnant. The two causes, she insisted, just happened to complement one another.
And besides, if you say you’re working on population/carbon control, you get the big bucks.
President Obama is an anti-birth enthusiast:
The president’s proposed 2013 budget, which calls for $296.8 million in funding for the Title X Family Planning Progress, $104.8 million for the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program and $530 million for USAID family planning and reproductive health programs.
And of course wherever there’s interference in private lives, a plan to redistribute your property, accusation that you’re guilty because you’re a prosperous Westerner (extra so if you’re American), you can be certain the United Nations is involved.
The United Nations Population Fund would also receive $39 million, a $4 million increase over 2011 funding. It supports family planning, population development and climate change mitigation work, among other causes.
A publication by the U.N. agency called “Population Dynamics and Climate Change” argues that “the lack of consideration of population dynamics hampers the development of stronger, more effective solutions to the challenges climate change poses.”
In other words: people are bad for the earth.
The UN’s number two obsession (after the need to excoriate Israel) is to save the earth from people. That’s where the two causes – climate control and population control – connect.
So let fewer babies be born. Eventually, with enough US funding, perhaps none at all. Free of the burden of raising the next generation, existing adult populations will age delightfully and live longer. Until the last generation, coming quite soon.
But … wait a moment. Who will work to support the carefree life of the old?
In Russia, in Japan, in Italy, Portugal and Spain, and many another country where the professors’ writ runs, the population is just about halving with each generation.
A world without children is a dying world.
Once cleansed of people, it may become a “healthy” planet spinning round the sun, but who will know it?
Yes, the culture of the West is superior to all the rest in every way that affects life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Here’s part of what Daniel Greenfield writes at his website Sultan Knish, thoroughly endorsing our boast on behalf of a maddeningly diffident and self-deprecating Western world, specifically America:
We are better than them. When all the other arguments for why we can’t fight back have been exhausted this is the one that remains in the background presenting our moral exceptionalism as the reason we shouldn’t fight to protect ourselves.
“Fight back? But then we’d be no better than them?” If we waterboard then we are no better than the headchoppers and mutilators. If we profile then we are no better than the genocidal jihadists. …
But is that really the difference between us, that we treat everyone equally even when they are cutting our throats, and the moment we deviate from the standards of the Trial Lawyers Association then we’re no better than the Taliban or Al-Qaeda? Does our exceptionalism derive from our laws, in which case if we compromise our laws then we [have] given up the only worthwhile thing about us and there is nothing more to fight for – or are our laws the means by which we protect our individual and national exceptionalism?
We are better than they are, is the argument put forward so often by those who do not truly believe that we are, and even when they do they don’t understand why we are. The Bill of Rights did not spring full-grown out of a barbaric culture …
We are not better than they are because we guarantee civil rights to our enemies – we are better than they are because of Michelangelo, the microchip and universal education. We are better than they are because of Shakespeare, the space shuttle and the World Trade Center. We are better for all the reasons around us, the accomplishments, the achievements, the knowledge we have gained and the society we have built.
Our laws were crafted to protect these achievements, the exceptionalism of the individual from the government, and that of the nation from internal and external enemies. The laws have no individual life apart from the culture of the nation that created them and maintains them. It would be possible to transpose the United States Constitution to Indonesia, Libya or Pakistan and it wouldn’t last a single day there. No mere document can safeguard rights and freedoms that a culture does not value, and no culture that does not value them is deserving of their protection if such protection has the cumulative effect of destroying those same rights and freedoms.
Freedom isn’t just defended on the battlefield, by the time things get that bad then the damage will be hard to contain. We defend it every day by defending the culture that makes it possible. Against external enemies there is the war of armed conflict, economic competition and geographic positioning. Against the internal enemy there is the culture war, the war of ideas and institutions. …
Governments are instituted to keep laws and laws are implemented to keep the people. Governments serve the law, but the law serves the people. And the people are not some random mass, they are not defined by passports and identity cards or place of birth – the people are the keepers of the flame of their culture. This need not be a matter of birth, immigrants can be among the greatest heroes and natives among the greatest traitors. But no one who is committed to the destruction of the culture, in concrete or abstract terms, in the immediate present or the indefinite future, can enjoy the protection of legal codes that exist to protect the freedom of the individual within the integrity of a free culture.
The more sophisticated a culture becomes the less it is concerned with survival. Bubbles grow in its centers of government and learning within which philosophies and ideas seem more real than reality. Opposing philosophies struggle to lobotomize the culture with revisionist histories and social philosophies that place their own ideal at the center of all human striving. But ideas are sterile without a culture to carry them forward. Kill the culture and the ideas become orphans that [are] adopted in an altered form by some other culture – if they are lucky.
Tolerance and civil rights are worthless unless the countries and cultures where they are expressed are also defended. Any form of tolerance which leads to its own destruction is not only poisonous to a host culture, but is also literarily self-destructive. All healthy entities whether biological, organizational or intellectual contain the means for their own continuance and self-perpetuation. Any entity which does not is poisonous and must be treated as such, and to defend any idea or code above the survival of the culture that carries it is a homicidal act.
When conflict comes, two questions are asked. Is the threat real and is our culture worth fighting for. The latter question is most often asked by elites whose bubble ideals no real culture can ever measure up to, and by outsiders who have the least invested in the survival of the culture.
“If we do this how are we any better than they are?” is the question of the bubble elite whose abstract ideals exist apart from flesh and blood people, who do not measure their ideals by the culture, but measure the culture by their ideals, and always find it wanting, who think that the culture with its millions of people and centuries of history exist to shepherd their ideals and die for them – and ought to be grateful for the privilege of dying so that no Muslim is ever profiled at an airport.
The bubble elites distrust nationalism and patriotism because they center not around ideas, but the people’s sense of solidarity. The only exceptionalism that they will accept is the exceptionalism of ideals, and if the nation does not represent its ideals then it does not deserve to live.
In the face of such reasoning it is important to remember that we are not better than our enemies because we represent ideals, but because we create ideals along with skyscrapers, paintings, high powered microscopes, novels, better mousetraps, systems of philosophy, muscle cars, musical styles, theorems, charities and sandwiches.
Of course a comprehensive list would be immensely long, but we’d like to add computers and the internet to Greenfield’s samples. How did people endure existence before they came into common use?
We are makers and shapers, movers and thinkers, seers and doers. We reach for the stars and find ways to keep premature babies alive. We are imperfect, dynamic and changing – and the world would be a much poorer place without us in it.
Whatever we do to protect ourselves against outside enemies in thrall to a hostile ideology, regardless of where they were born is fully justified by our accomplishments, our past, our present and our future – and even if all these things were not present by our right to individual, national and cultural survival.
It is not by becoming pacifists that we will be better than them, but by fighting for what we have and who we are. And if we do not stand up for our countries, our peoples and our cultures then we will not inherit the moral high ground, but the low killing pits of the victims of the thousand year spree of terror. There is no moral high ground to be gained in refusing to struggle to your utmost for the things that you hold dear, only through the struggle to protect our individual and national exceptionalism, can we gain the high ground and justify the assertion that we are better than them.
The Europeans are discarding the rich Western culture built and paid for with blood and tears by their forefathers through hundreds of years, as though it were trash. Will Americans, who so enormously augmented and enhanced it, preserve it now that it’s under severe threat? Not if Obama, the Democratic Party, the Occupy Wall Street protestors, academia and the mass media have their way.
If there must be a culture war, dulce et decorum est to become warriors on the side of our inherited, enlightened, culture.
You might consider this post to be a recuiting ad. We want YOU!