A cold civil war 12

If you vote Republican now, you are voting for the USA to continue as the sort of state it was founded to be: a constitutional republic.

If you vote Democratic, you are voting for the USA to become a dictatorship.

There is a cold civil war being waged over whether the USA is to be a free country or a tyranny.

The following article was sent to us by Don L. With the help of our commenter bobbyvon, we have learnt that it is an abridged version of a speech by Daniel Greenfield (aka Sultan Knish).

How do civil wars happen?

Two or more sides disagree on who runs the country. And they can’t settle the question through elections because they don’t even agree that elections are how you decide who’s in charge. That’s the basic issue here. Who decides who runs the country? When you hate each other but accept the election results, you have a country. When you stop accepting election results, you have a countdown to a civil war.

The Mueller investigation is about removing President Trump from office and overturning the results of an election. We all know that. But it’s not the first time they’ve done this. The first time a Republican president was elected this century, they said he didn’t really win. The Supreme Court gave him the election. There’s a pattern here.

What do sure odds of the Democrats rejecting the next Republican president really mean? It means they don’t accept the results of any election that they don’t win. It means they don’t believe that transfers of power in this country are determined by elections.

That’s a civil war.

There’s no shooting. At least not unless you count the attempt to kill a bunch of Republicans at a charity baseball game practice. But the Democrats have rejected our system of government.

This isn’t dissent. It’s not disagreement. You can hate the other party. You can think they’re the worst thing that ever happened to the country. But then you work harder to win the next election. When you consistently reject the results of elections that you don’t win, what you want is a dictatorship. Your very own dictatorship.

The only legitimate exercise of power in this country, according to Democrats, is its own. Whenever Republicans exercise power, it’s inherently illegitimate. The Democrats lost Congress. They lost the White House. So what did they do? They began trying to run the country through Federal judges and bureaucrats. Every time that a Federal judge issues an order saying that the President of the United States can’t scratch his own back without the judge’s say so, that’s the civil war.

Our system of government is based on the constitution, but that’s not the system that runs this country. The Democrats’ system is that any part of government that it runs gets total and unlimited power over the country.

If the Democrats are in the White House, then the president can do anything. And I mean anything. He can have his own amnesty for illegal aliens. He can fine you for not having health insurance. His power is unlimited. He’s a dictator.

But when Republicans get into the White House, suddenly the President can’t do anything. He isn’t even allowed to undo the illegal alien amnesty that his predecessor illegally invented. A Democrat in the White House has ‘discretion’ to completely decide every aspect of immigration policy. A Republican doesn’t even have the ‘discretion’ to reverse him. That’s how the game is played.  That’s how our country is run. Sad but true, although the left hasn’t yet won that particular fight.

When a Democrat is in the White House, states aren’t even allowed to enforce immigration law. But when a Republican is in the White House, states can create their own immigration laws. Under Obama, a state wasn’t allowed to go to the bathroom without asking permission. But under Trump, Jerry Brown can go around saying that California is an independent republic and sign treaties with other countries.

The Constitution has something to say about that.

Whether it’s Federal or State, Executive, Legislative or Judiciary, the left moves power around to run the country. If it controls an institution, then that institution is suddenly the supreme power in the land. This is what I call a moving dictatorship.

Donald Trump has caused the Shadow Government to come out of hiding: Professional government is a guild. Like medieval guilds. You can’t serve in it if you’re not a member. If you haven’t been indoctrinated into its arcane rituals. If you aren’t in the club. And Trump isn’t in the club. He brought in a bunch of people who aren’t in the club with him.

Now we’re seeing what the pros do when amateurs try to walk in on them. They spy on them, they investigate them and they send them to jail. They use the tools of power to bring them down.

That’s not a free country.

It’s not a free country when FBI agents who support Hillary take out an “insurance policy” against Trump winning the election. It’s not a free country when Obama officials engage in massive unmasking of the opposition. It’s not a free country when the media responds to the other guy winning by trying to ban the conservative media that supported him from social media. It’s not a free country when all of the above collude together to overturn an election because the guy who wasn’t supposed to win did.

Have no doubt, we’re in a civil war between conservative volunteer government and a leftist Democrat professional government.

Which is another way of saying it is a war for and against individual freedom.

Posted under Leftism, liberty, tyranny, United States by Jillian Becker on Thursday, March 29, 2018

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Blackwards to tribalism 4

Those glorious Greeks of old conceived and implemented an Idea that took civilization thousands of thought-miles forward: individuals from any country, any nation, any tribe, could live together under the same rule of law.

What bound them, what commanded their loyalty, would be the Law rather than the Land: the Ius not the Rus – in the language of the grand old Romans who adopted the same idea. 

In the Roman Empire, at first, all the religions of all nations and tribes were tolerated, though tolerance and respect were demanded also for the gods of Rome.

It was a demand that the Judeans, who worshiped one god only, objected to. Their obstinacy on that score did not serve them well.

The Judeans became actively rebellious against Rome, whose protection they had originally invited. The Romans put down the rebellions, finally abolishing the province of Judea entirely. The Judeans turned into the wandering tribe of the Jews.

Before the first of the two great insurrections that ended in the dispersion of the Jews, an energetic Roman citizen of vast ambition came to the Judean capital, Jerusalem, from Tarsus in the Roman province of Cilicia in Asia Minor, and started a movement that was ultimately to destroy and replace the Roman Empire.

He called himself by the Hebrew name Saul (later changing it to Paul). He took the idea of the One  God and mixed it up with mythologies of Roman gods, claiming that the One God had a Son who was killed and rose again from the dead. He named the Son by the Greek name Jesus. His Jesus had been a living person, a Judean who had led a small weak rebellion and was executed for it. His followers maintained that he had “risen in the flesh”, and Saul/Paul was so excited by the tale – enhanced by the claim that the resurrected man was the long hoped-for Jewish Messiah (“Christos” in Greek) – that he invented a new religion. It came to be called Christianity. He moved about the Greek-speaking Eastern Roman Empire from whence he’d come, preaching it; finally taking it to Rome itself, where he died. He won converts. No one knows how many in his lifetime. Some of them reverted to their old polytheism or Judaism, but a fair number remained faithful to the new two-in-one divinity. Some converts composed books about the life of “Christ Jesus” – which Paul himself had not been interested in. The books, and Paul’s letters, eventually provided the mythology of the new religion.Through them the two-in-one divinity became a three-in-one divinity, a “Holy Spirit” being added to God-the-Father and God-the-Son.  The Son was chronicled as being begotten by the Jewish God upon a virgin mother (a concept familiar to the polytheists of classical times).

By this means and that means, the religion spread; through Paul the wandering preacher, the books of the myths, and the appeal that the religion itself had (with its promise of a blissful everlasting afterlife for the obedient faithful, and despite the threat of an eternity of torture for the disobedient unfaithful, the judgment being made by the Triple God alone). It became the Catholic Church, highly organized everywhere, headed and led by the the Church in Rome. More than a hundred years after Paul’s death, a Roman Emperor embraced Paul’s religion, and a few decades later Christianity was imposed on the whole Empire as its the official religion. Gone was the tolerance of earlier years. A few decades more, and Rome itself, weakened by Christianity, fell to the barbarians. The Church slowly took the place of the old order. The Church became the Roman power throughout western Europe. (The Eastern Empire, with the Emperor seated in Constantinople, is another story.)

Paul of Tarsus, though he never knew it, sustained and extended the power of Rome through his invention. But the Great Idea of the Greeks in the days of their glory, and of the Romans in the days of their grandeur, was changed.  Sure, individuals from any country, any nation, any tribe, could live as a “community” under the same rule – but it was the rule of the Roman Catholic Church, and that law was a different kind of law. It was the imposition of dogma: an orthodoxy, a uniformity of belief, essentially intolerant. 

Darkness descended. The Great Idea died.

It rose again after many hundreds of years. It was resurrected as the Idea on which the United States of America was founded.  

For two hundred and twenty-two years the Great Idea has made the United States of America, with a population of individuals deriving from many lands united as one nation under the law, free, prosperous, and powerful. United by Ius not Rus. Geographical origin, ethnicity, physical appearance, religion had no bearing on the rights the law gave all who lived under it. The unifying rule of law insisted on tolerance. By doing so, it guaranteed liberty. 

Now, it seems, that is changing. The Great Idea is under attack in the USA.

Tribes are being formed; some friendly to each other, some inimical to each other. Political cliques and cults, secessionists, states’ governments, defy the federal law. Many prefer to think of themselves as Blacks rather than as Americans, and their enemy as Whites. They actively seek to return to the savage ways of inter-tribal strife. It is atavism. It is a drawing down of darkness as intolerance spreads.

A good description of the disintegration is given by Sultan Knish. He writes (in part) at his website:

The Nation of Islam [NOI] preaches that black people are the master race. It doesn’t just hate white people, Jews and a whole bunch of other folks. It hates them out of a conviction in its own superiority. According to its teachings, “the Blackman is the original man” and lighter skinned people were “devils” created by an evil mad scientist to rule over black people until they are destroyed by UFOs.

It even teaches that monkeys are descended from white people.

Progressive media essays defending Obama, Rep. Keith Ellison, Rep. Danny Davis, Mallory and other black leaders for their Farrakhan links have urged concerned liberals to look at the positive aspects of the Nation of Islam, its love for black people, not the negative, its hatred for white people.

But it is the “positive” that is the problem.

Intersectionality promises to package tribal identity politics into a utopia of social justice. But the essence of tribalism is the superiority of your people and the inferiority of all other groups. …

The clown car of identity politics runs smoothest when it has a common enemy: white people. Coalitions like the Women’s March assemble an array of groups who are united by their hatred of Trump, white people, Israel and root beer. And it works as long as no one lifts up the hood and looks at the engine.

Black nationalism is racist, sexist, anti-Semitic and homophobic. The Nation of Islam isn’t an exception. From Jeremiah Wright, “Italians… looked down their garlic noses”, to Eldridge Cleaver, “rape was an insurrectionary act” to Amiri Baraka, the ugliest possible supremacist bigotry is its natural state.

“We are all beautiful (except white people, they are full of, and made of s___),” Amiri Baraka wrote. “The fag’s death they gave us on a cross… they give us to worship a dead jew and not ourselves.”

“I got the extermination blues, jew-boys. I got the Hitler syndrome figured… So come for the rent, jewboys,” the Guggenheim fellowship, PEN and American Book Award winner, and former Poet Laureate of New Jersey ranted.

Baraka was one of the country’s most celebrated black nationalist poets and he was a former member of the Nation of Islam. Baraka’s Black Mass circulated the NOI’s racist creation myth.

It was the NOI’s conviction of black superiority and white inferiority that attracted Baraka and so many other black nationalists. The NOI is one of a variety of black supremacist religious groups, from the similarly exotic Moorish and Black Hebrew churches, to NOI splinter groups such as Five-Percent Nation and black nationalist churches like the one attended by the Obamas and presided over by Jeremiah Wright.

But religious black supremacism is only a component of a larger cultural movement that lies at the heart of black nationalism and mingles historical conspiracy theories with racial supremacism.

The comingling of black nationalism with intersectional politics has produced a new generation (often of second-generation radicals) that dresses up its racism not only in the lyricism of the old black nationalism of Wright and Baraka, but in the obtuse academic jargon of intersectionality.

That’s where Tamika Mallory and Ta-Nehisi Coates come from. But political word salads and poetry only conceal what you choose not to pay attention to. And that’s why we’re talking about Louis Farrakhan.

The mass of progressive media articles, essays and explainers deployed to protect the Women’s March can be summed up as, “Stop paying attention.” And what we’re not supposed to be paying attention to is the slow death of liberalism and its substitution by the intolerant tribal extremism of identity politics.

Intersectionality is a lie. Like the Nation of Islam, it’s not just a lie in its negative hateful aspects, but in its promise of a utopia once the “white devils” and their “white privilege” are out of the way.

Groups of identity politics extremists and their white cishet [pronounced “sis-het”, meaning heterosexual and “not transgendered”, ie. normal. – ed.] lefty allies can only be briefly united by the negative, not the positive. The “call-out culture” meant to spread social justice through the movement isn’t just a form of political terror; it fails to reach the innate bigotry of each identity politics group. …

Identity politics movements can’t fight bigotry, because they are naturally bigoted. Instead of actually rejecting bigotry, they project it on a convenient target like Trump, and then pretend that by destroying him, they can cleanse society. The more targets they destroy, the more they need to find to maintain an alliance whose only true unifying principle is a mutual denial of each other’s supremacist bigotries. And so the battle against racism becomes a war against microaggressions and structural white supremacy.

The whole thing is a ticking time bomb. And it keeps going off every few years. When it blows up, lefty activists rush out, as they are doing now, to plead, wheedle and warn that the real enemy is “white supremacy” and everyone needs to stop paying attention to the racist or sexist views of their own allies.

These “rainbow coalitions” of racist radicals don’t fight bigotry; they mobilize bigots for racial wars.

Tamika Mallory praising Farrakhan isn’t shocking. It would be more shocking if she didn’t. It’s hard to find major black figures in politics and the entertainment industry who don’t hang out with him.

Both Jesse Jackson and Barack Obama, the first two serious black presidential candidates, did. The Congressional Black Caucus hosted him. London Mayor Sadiq Khan acted as his lawyer. The list of black entertainers is all but endless. Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube (both members), Michael Jackson, Eddie Murphy, Spike Lee, Arsenio Hall, Common, Kanye West, Mos Def, Young Jeezy and Erykah Badu to name a few.

Not every individual who meets up with Farrakhan necessarily shares all his bigoted views, but many find his tribal affirmation of black superiority appealing and they value that more than they do any kind of tolerant society. That’s what Tamika Mallory, in her own awkward way, was trying to tell us.

Black nationalism is a tribal cause. It will always put its people first. The same is true of the rest of the hodgepodge of political identity groups that form up the intersectional chorus. No amount of calling out will change that. That’s why the calling out is mostly directed at safe targets, preferably white.

There is no larger unity at the end of the rainbow. Only smoother versions of Farrakhan. Barack instead of Baraka. Rants about “white devils” and “satanic Jews” filtered through academic jargon.

A movement of bigotries can only divide us. And that’s all identity politics has to offer America. Instead of equal rights in a united nation, we will be members of quarreling tribes. And those tribes, like Farrakhan’s fans, will be incapable of seeing members of other tribes as having the same worth they do. …

The left claims that it’s fighting for equality. What it’s actually fighting for is a tribal society where the notion of equal rights for all is as alien as it is in Iraq, Rwanda and Afghanistan, where democracy means tribal bloc votes and where the despotism of majority rule invariably ends in terror and death.

A market for the protection of schools 12

A few days ago, a nineteen year old psychopath shot and killed seventeen people at the school in Florida that he had been expelled from. He entered the school, set off a fire alarm, and shot randomly into crowd streaming out of the classrooms.

How to prevent such a crime?

The Left’s solutions are not solutions at all:

Pass a law making it harder to obtain guns? Criminals by definition do not obey laws.

Confiscate all privately owned automatic and semiautomatic guns and shotguns? A gift to criminals.

Defy or change the second amendment to the constitution so no citizen who is not in the armed forces or the police is allowed to carry a gun? A help to would-be tyrants, most notably and threateningly those of the “community organizing” kind.

What then?

Let’s start with the proposition that central planning is always a bad idea.

What non-governmental action might work?

Jeff Deist writes (in part) at the website of the (libertarian) von Mises Institute:

There are no top-down political solutions available from Washington. Gun control doesn’t actually prevent crime, but it does provide the political class and media with another diversionary bitter cultural debate. Americans are deeply divided on guns, just as they are deeply divided on abortion and climate change and scores of other issues. …

Contrary to popular belief, the Second Amendment neither “federalized” gun laws nor created a right to private ownership of firearms. It simply enshrined the notion that “the people” need to be armed to defend themselves potentially against the state itself. …

The libertarian response to mass shootings, in particular school shootings, is to allow teachers and other personnel to carry weapons on campus. In fact, the broader libertarian program is to have most people armed, or at least potentially armed, to create a safer (not to mention more polite) society. If we cannot snap our fingers and produce crime-free cities and neighborhoods where nobody needs to carry a gun, then at least we allow everyone the ability to dissuade or defend against criminal shooters.

This is all well and good, but ignores the market impulse to outsource services to specialists. This is why neighborhoods hire private security patrols, and why celebrities hire professional bodyguards. Not everyone wants to carry a gun or train themselves in gun proficiency. And there is the issue of scale, where individuals might find themselves arrayed against organized criminal gangs.

Rather than endlessly debate the fraught political process of crafting illiberal gun control laws, we ought to think about private-market solutions that focus on controlling crime.We should think in terms of market economics, where private property and correct incentives give us what government and laws cannot: a mechanism to determine possible harms and the cost of protecting against or preventing those harms. People want safe neighborhoods and schools, which is just another way to say there is a market for them.

Generally speaking, the US legal system imposes premises liability on property owners whose negligence (or willful conduct) results in someone getting injured on that property. This arose conceptually through common law courts and juries applying general negligence concepts.

We accord different degrees of legal responsibility (“duty”) to landowners based on the identity of the injured party: a trespasser, for example, has less recourse to sue for injury than a business invitee (i.e., a customer). The law considers whether the injured party had a legitimate purpose being there, and in some cases whether they contributed to their injury through their own negligence.

The duty to make one’s property safe from a particular harm relates to, and in a sense hinges on, the foreseeability of that harm. Leaving spilled milk in a grocery aisle too long could well subject the owner to paying damages for a shopper who suffers a fall — a fall that was quite predictable and clearly caused by the wet floor. But intentional criminal acts by a third party … generally absolve the property owner of liability. After all, no shooter ever entered the grocery before, so why must the owner guard against this most unlikely event?

But should a public school district have a higher duty to keep students safe than the grocer has for shoppers? Arguably yes, in that society values children’s lives, well-being, and innocence perhaps more than adults’. And we force children into school attendance via truancy laws and meddling protective services agencies.

Furthermore, are school shootings now foreseeable even though they remain exceedingly rare? Does the media attention and notoriety given to such shootings change the calculus? At some point, perhaps today, school shootings could become foreseeable in the eyes of a jury.

We can’t necessarily draw conclusions here, but the question is whether the owners of public schools — generally municipal or county school districts — should be immune from lawsuits for school shootings simply because they are political subdivisions of states? Should sovereign immunity apply to them, or should they be forced to consider security measures just as private owners must? After all, it seems clear that a mass shooting at a prestigious private school would result in litigation.

It seems clear that imposing tort liability on school owners and operators, even government owners, would both improve security and provide a ready source of compensation for the families of victims. Private security agencies, which have a market reputation to develop or protect, almost certainly would provide more efficient service than government police — for the simple reason that more crime punishes their bottom line, while it often creates calls for increased police budgets.

To put it another way: Private security businesses must maintain a good record of keeping their clients safe, or they lose business and lose money; whereas government agencies such as the police can blame their failures on insufficient funding, so the more they fail the more money they get.

And private security models like Disneyland benefit from wanting to create a peaceful and happy environment, where security forces have every incentive not to escalate situations or incur liability.

Furthermore, private insurance models could help schools rationally allocate funds relative to the risks involved. Since school shootings are rare, premiums to cover such an event should be constrained. But other lesser types of crime in schools could be insured against as well, helping administrators better understand what they’re up against. And insurance companies would bend over backward to offer advice on avoiding shootings, since they would bear the cost of liability payments.

Admittedly, public schools using taxpayer funds to hire private security and pay insurance premiums muddies the waters. But at least it moves all of the parties involved — school districts, administrators, teachers, security providers, and parents — toward a market-based approach to safer schools. Tort liability, however imperfectly administered by government courts, offers one way to align the interests of parents and school owners in preventing further horrific events.

To sum up the message: Let school administrations choose to buy protection, the best the market can provide, at a price a competitive market puts on it.

 

(Hat-tip to Don L for the link to the Jeff Deist article)

Posted under Law, liberty, United States by Jillian Becker on Thursday, February 22, 2018

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Rights or Liberty? 26

Which would you rather be able truthfully to claim:

“I have a right to …”

or

“I am free to …” ?

There has been some discussion in the comments section of our post The Colossus … and the enriching of America (29 January, 2018) about whether government is necessary for the protection of a citizen’s rights or the protection of his liberty. I say, for the protection of his liberty. That is what defines “a free country”. In the United States of America, there are certain “rights” granted in law that are themselves protective of the individual’s freedom. The ultimate aim of the Founders in granting those rights was the protection of liberty.

*

Freedom is not a state of nature but an artifact of civilization

– Friedrich Hayek, The Constitution of Liberty, Chapter Four.

To be for freedom to do what one wants to do is not to be for unbounded liberty. (I use the words “liberty” and “freedom” interchangeably, as they are synonyms.)

What then are the bounds of liberty?

Ideally, my liberty is limited by nothing except everyone else’s liberty.

Sane, sober, sensible self-interest tells me that if I don’t want to be bonked on the nose by my neighbor, I would do well not to bonk him on his nose. But I cannot trust everyone else – or even myself – to be always sane, sober, and sensible.

If I live in a time and place when and where I have to fear continually that I will very likely be assaulted, injured, killed, and that the things I have acquired to sustain my existence, comfort, safety, and pleasure may be forcefully taken from me, I am not free. I am constrained to be perpetually on my guard against attack. I must never venture abroad unarmed. I must carry my possessions with me or stay with them. I am burdened with anxiety. I am severely hampered.

But if my freedom is protected by law and the apparatus of law-enforcement – police, judicial courts, prisons, gallows – I can take the safety of my person and my things for granted, and go lightly about my business among my fellow citizens. (Which is not to argue that it’s unnecessary to insure my house and its contents, or register my intellectual property. These are, it is true, private protections taken on by personal choice, but available to me only in a society governed by the rule of law.)

The city-states of ancient Greece embodied the idea of a society made up of people from many different countries, nations and tribes, all governed by the same rule of law. Your willingness to obey the law made you a worthy citizen, regardless of what region of the earth you derived from. The idea that people of many different nations could melt together into one nation ruled by law (“e pluribus unum”) was lost and forgotten for centuries and was not applied again until the eighteenth century with the founding of the United States of America.

However, the idea of a nation governed by the rule of law rather than by a monarch, re-emerged earlier than that, in England, with the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215. By signing it, King John conceded the principle: “Be you ever so high, the law is above you.” It was intended to be a “charter of liberties”, not a bestowal of “rights” on his subjects or on any one class of his subjects such as the barons. Clause 60 declared: “all the customs and liberties which we have granted to our own men shall be observed by all of our men, both lay and clerk [cleric], to their own men”. In other words, just as the king pledged liberty to the barons, so the barons, by the same token (the Charter) pledged liberty to their tenants.

Magna Carta affirmed the vital principle of freedom under the law. Clause 39 of the Charter said: ‘no free man shall be imprisoned or deprived of his lands except by judgement of his peers or by the law of the land’.  Clause 40 said: ‘To no one shall we sell, delay or deny right or justice’ (“right” in the sense of what is right, not “a right”).  Before Magna Carta, the king had been able to do pretty well whatever he liked – and did.  After the making of the charter of liberties, the king was as firmly subject to the law as everyone else.

(It is true that the monarchs of England nevertheless went on for centuries having too much arbitrary power. But it would be a mistake to believe that the continuing existence of an English monarch now means that the people are not as free as the American people. [The British have recently become less free, but not for that reason.] Since the Glorious Revolution of 1688, when William of Orange and his wife Mary became the constitutional monarchs of the United Kingdom, the reigning king or queen is the nominal and ceremonial head of state, not the power of the state. The present Queen has no choice but to sign the acts of law that Parliament passes. The people are “subjects” in name only.)

A free country is one in which the people are free to do anything that is not specifically prohibited by law. Most of its laws proscribe rather than prescribe. They say you must not do this and that, such as murder, steal, perjure yourself. While there  are some that say you must do – for instance, the laws of the fisc: you must pay your taxes – the fewer “must” laws there are, the freer the people.

Now let us suppose that legislators decide that the law should specify everything you may do. Those would be your rights. It would be an infinitely long list, never exhaustive. So the enterprise would be impossible.

Does that mean that there can be no such thing as a “right” granted by law? No, it does not mean that. The law, and only the law, can grant a right. Even if one believes in a god, and makes the claim that the god bestowed certain rights on every human being ever born – the right to life, say – it would be meaningless if it were not recognized as a right, and protected, by the law.

Only the law can grant a right. The rights the laws of a free country can grant are very few. And there is a danger in granting any: that some governments, having granted a few, may claim that what those few permit you is all that you are permitted.

Why can governments only grant a few rights? Because no one can have a right that puts an obligation on someone else.

That is why it is nonsense to speak of a “right” to health care; a “right” to an education, a “right” to a house, a “right” to a minimum income, a “right” to equality of pay; a “right” to social security; a “right” to an abortion; a “right” to contraception; a “right” to a sex-change operation; or, the crowning stupidity, a “right not to be offended”. That takes away the essential freedom on which all the rest depend – the freedom to speak. And it is in itself a deeply offensive notion.

If your “right” compels the labor of someone else, it is not a “right” but a privilege – and what is worse, the indefensible privilege of the parasite.

What of your “unalienable”[1] rights named in the Declaration of Independence as “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness”? They do not put an obligation on someone else, so aren’t they good rights? You are declared to be endowed with them by your “Creator”, “Nature’s God” – which is a way of saying that they are yours simply because you exist. And many there are who believe that because they exist, they have a right to exist.

If you believe that God or Nature granted you the right to live, to be free, and to pursue happiness, you may also believe that God or Nature will protect those rights of yours. But in fact Nature guarantees you nothing. You have no natural rights. You can call them natural, you can call them God-given, but unless they are recognized and supported by the law, you may find that they are not dependable.

So what rights can the law grant – and sufficiently protect to make the granting of them more than just the wistful thought of a somnolent parliament?

These: The right to speak freely. The right to a trial if you are accused of breaking the law. The right to safeguard yourself, your property, your reputation. They are among the rights granted by the US Constitution in the first ten amendments (the Bill of Rights), and all of them can be, and are, protected by the law. By protecting them, the law – or say the government – is protecting your freedom.

That is what the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are all about: realizing the idea on which the USA was founded – the idea of liberty.

 

Jillian Becker   January 31, 2018

 

[1] “Unalienable” means the same as “inalienable”: that which cannot be taken away.

A great man, a great president 4

It is time to sing the praises of a great president who has accomplished wonders in just one year of his presidency – while being opposed, impeded, maligned, frustrated, denigrated and threatened  by his political opponents, most of the media, and a large contingent of snobby Republicans.

Karin McQuillan does the singing beautifully. She understands that great accomplishment is possible only to those who possess the character and talent for it.

She writes at American Thinker:

As more and more people who hate Trump are forced to admit his achievements as president, they are doubling down on character assassination. Even Trump voters often preface their satisfaction with Trump’s actions by criticizing his tweets or his personality.

Here’s an alternate take on things: Trump’s character is responsible for his outstanding performance in his first year as president. If you want to know who someone is, you look at what he does. What we have: a booming economy, growing jobs, more lawful governance, fewer regulations, more global security. What character traits this took: hard work, focus, commitment, courage, honesty, independence, incorruptibility, self-confidence, love of excellence. The list of Trump’s positive character traits goes on and on. You don’t get achievements independent of character.

I think Trump’s character is excellent.

Trump’s integrity in office is outstanding – the first politician in my memory who is sticking to his promises to voters. We are hugely benefiting from his promise-keeping.

His primary promise was to focus on jobs. Wow, has he delivered. Jobless claims have dropped to the lowest level in 44 years – last seen in 1973, under Nixon. Record-breaking low unemployment in 13 states. Investment reinvigorating the Rust Belt. More high-paying jobs in mining, oil, and industry – another promise kept, as President Trump has unleashed the energy sector and boosted capital investment.

Lazy, leftist, passive President Obama lectured us to accept the new normal of a stagnant economy, which was what his policies delivered. GDP growth was 1.6 percent in 2016.

Passivity and defeatism are not in Trump’s nature. He is a fighter who thinks big. He believes in free enterprise in his gut, because he is himself a go-getter. He thought big for the American economy, because he believes in Americans. Trump likes to say he completed his projects on time and under budget. It was a matter of pride for him. Pride can be a good thing.

Trump was scoffed at as a braggart and buffoon for promising 3-percent growth. He has already over-delivered.

The unemployment gap between blacks and whites has fallen to a record low. Trump promised the black community a better life in a better economy, and he has come through.

Unemployment for Hispanic Americans is the lowest in history. Another promise kept, as our Hispanic citizens have benefited from Trump enforcing our border laws and driving farm wages up. …

Trump boosted the economy through vigorous action: cutting regs, boosting the energy sector, restoring business confidence, dramatic corporate tax cuts, bringing back investments from overseas, and cutting job competition from illegal aliens. We now have a tight labor market, and wages are rising.

For much of the year, Trump was doing a lot of jaw-boning and executive actions, with no legislative back-up. These economic achievements came from President Trump’s character strengths. He is a high-focus, driven bulldozer of a man who gets things done. He’s a practical man. He’s a hard worker. These are not sophisticated or cultured or warm, fuzzy traits; they are traits of a strong man.

We have forgotten to honor masculinity in our culture.

President Trump did more than any president in history in his first year to relieve the regulatory burden on Americans. Complying with useless government regulations costs the economy $2 trillion a year, or 21% of the average payroll per American company. Estimates are that the Obama regs slowed the economy by 0.8%. Trump’s regulatory cuts, in which his administration removed 22 outdated regulations for each new one, is a big part of his doubling our economic growth in one year.

What did it take to cut the size of government and unleash the power of capitalism in this way? It was motivated not by conservative principles of small government. It was based in Trump’s character. He is one hundred percent practical. He has a strong sense of fairness. He is fearless. He thrives on opposition. He has incredible guts and stubbornness, necessary to take on the federal bureaucracy. He doesn’t give in when opponents fight dirty, and boy, does the Deep State fight dirty. He is not scared of the media’s attacks on him as a monster destroying the planet and abandoning the poor.

He is a creative and master fighter, as we see in the his effective use of tweets and branding to encourage his supporters and sow confusion among the enemy. …

He does not flout the law … like the underhanded Barack Obama. Obama’s DOJ and EPA created secret and illegal slush funds. The Democrat DOJ blackmailed the industries it was regulating in order to provide half a billion dollars to left-wing groups. The EPA used phony sue-and-settle tactics to hand undemocratic power to privileged leftist groups.

In sharp contrast, Trump … respects the rule of law. He honors the presidency. He is open and forthright. His administration has turned the DOJ and EPA back to following the laws as written.

Obama was an unhealthy narcissist who had never accomplished anything in the real world, yet he boasted that he knew more about every topic than his top advisers. … The mediocre surround themselves with lesser mediocrities. Obama undoubtedly did know more about foreign affairs than his right-hand national security adviser, Ben Rhodes, a speechwriter with a degree in creative writing.

Trump … is not afraid of being surrounded by top experts. He expects them to know far more in their fields than he does. Trump’s pride makes him seek excellence in others. He has created an impressive Cabinet and White House staff of brilliant achievers. You don’t get effective results on the economy and foreign affairs without a high-quality leader.

The importance of character to effectiveness cannot be overstated. … He is not discouraged by failures and mistakes; he learns from them. He doesn’t just set goals; he follows up on results. He faces reality.

Trump does not see Americans in different categories.  He cares about all Americans, black, white and brown; rich, middle-class, and poor; city-dwellers and country-dwellers; New York sophisticates and Evangelicals. He values freedom and prosperity for himself and for the rest of us. He wants to do what is best for the country, not what is best for only some identity groups or some regions at the expense of others, as in Obama and Hillary’s zero-sum game of identity politics.

We barely survived eight years of a bigot in the White House: the resentful, racially obsessed President Obama, who disliked Evangelicals, rural Americans, working-class whites, white small businessmen, and Jews. At home, Obama purposefully stirred up racial hatred and violence for political gain. Abroad, Obama tried to hand over the Middle East to the Muslim Brotherhood and facilitate nuclear weapons for the mullahs as payback to America. Obama’s race-baiting led to Americans dying – assassinations of our men in blue and innocent black victims of the resulting crime spree. He chose to destabilize Iraq, Syria, Egypt, and Libya, setting off an unprecedented war on Christians and a Muslim migrant invasion of Europe. Maybe I missed it, but I don’t remember NeverTrumps criticizing Obama on character flaws.

Unlike our last president, President Trump is who he is. What you see is what you get. His candor is blunt and refreshing.  e is not an ideologue, not a secret schemer, not a race-baiter, not a bitter person seeking payback. …  [He] is a happy warrior.

Trump is honest in another sense, also: he is not corrupt.  Indeed, he seems incorruptible. Trump does not sell himself to certain industries or lobbying groups (think the Clinton Foundation; think Obama’s wasting the trillion-dollar economic stimulus on Solyndra green schemes and payoffs to Democrat voting blocs).

President Trump is a unique politician – a free man.

There’s another set of admirable traits responsible for Trump’s economic achievements. … Trump actually notices and cares about other people.  His voters are real people to him, as he is real to them. …  His priority on growing the economy and job promotion comes from his love of ordinary people, working-class people of all colors and all regions, whom he sees as real human beings and treats with respect. What a relief after the cold and contemptuous President Obama, who cared about power, not people. Trump’s compassion and insight into working people’s lives are wonderful character traits, shared by few in his class.

The president is also our commander in chief. How has Trump’s character served him in this role?

Trump’s love of country and patriotism are dominant character traits. … [His] personal qualities have resulted in the defeat of ISIS, our improved relations with the Saudis (now on board fighting terrorism and cooperating with Israel), restoration of our warm alliance with Israel, decertifying the odious Iran deal, and supporting the Iranian demonstrators against the mullahs. European countries are finally paying their NATO dues, illegal aliens invading our country are being stopped at the border, the H-1B visa system is being applied lawfully to protect American jobs, and terrorists are no longer welcome into the country. Trump is in the process of bullying the Chinese and the U.N. and South Korea into more effective action against North Korea … The ability to bully opponents is something you want in a president.

Thanks to his fearless and clear-sighted character, we finally have a president who will not allow North Korea or Iran to have nuclear weapons.  Those of us who see that this is vital for national security are deeply grateful … 

Trump has an abundance of character strengths as a tough guy – he is brave, he is assertive, he is an experienced fighter, and he always goes on offense. He uses punishments and threats and intimidation, as well as cooperation and rewards, to get things done, because that is what it takes to win, and he wants to win. He is unpredictable and keeps his opponents off balance. He is impervious to their outrage. He is a fierce fighter against all who attack him or his family or his country.

NeverTrumps are allergic to Trump’s aggressive masculinity. … His commonsense thinking, bold methods, and blunt personality are toxic to them – never smart, never constructive, never heroic, never associated with his achievements. They are so blinded by their own hatred that they see Trump as a dangerous monster. They accept outright lies and miss the real man entirely.

In a mere 800-word column, Bret Stephens, conservative columnist for the New York Times, managed to call Trump, in Stephens’s own words, a lying, bullying, bigoted, ignorant, crass, petty, paranoid incompetent; a disgrace; an intemperate, dishonest demagogue who requires debased toadyism from his White House and Cabinet; a man who humiliates, denigrates, and insults his own officers and agencies, who is comparable to Juan Perón and Hugo Chávez and a deviant. Stephens talks of the irremediable “stain of [Trump’s] person,” Trump’s violence, his cult of strength (as in dictatorship), his disdain for truth, his hostility toward high culture, his conspiratorial thinking, and his white identity politics. In the midst of the hysterical name-calling, Stephens doesn’t point to a single bigoted word or action by Trump. He can’t. There is none. The accusations are partisan nonsense. In Stephens’s alternate universe, Trump’s evident competence, his love, respect, and commitment to help his fellow Americans, goes invisible, and we are left with a racist, fascist caricature born of leftist agitprop.

It is a sorry reflection on our polite society that they are having conniption fits over Trump’s character. They want to divide the man from his achievements, just as they successfully divided Obama from his failures. Can they succeed in besmirching Trump’s character as they succeeded in sanitizing Obama’s? Their megaphone is large, and their self-interest in supporting the status quo ante is strong. They have a ready-built audience. They have enlisted enemies within our own Republican camp.

We have Trump.  We are winning.

President Trump wants everything he works on to be as good, as well made, as fit for its purpose, as it can possibly be. He achieves it because he works for it. He is not satisfied by anything less than the best. How lucky is America that it has such a person willing and able to come to its rescue, not only to save it but to make it even better than it has ever been, after the eight-year battering it took under the former administration led by the Communist, Islam-loving, America-hating nonentity, Barack Obama!

 

(Hat-tip to Cogito for the link to Karin McQuillan’s fine article)

Posted under Commentary, Conservatism, Defense, Economics, Ethics, Law, liberty, United States by Jillian Becker on Saturday, January 6, 2018

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Winning 17

We had a commenter recently on our Facebook page who said that President Trump should “get off his ass” and do something. When we replied that he had achieved more in his first year than any other president in living memory, and against more deliberate hampering, blocking and resistance than any other president – and that he, the commenter,  only did not know this because he read the mainstream media which refused to report President Trump’s accomplishments – his further comment was a long string of hahahas.

As there must be millions who would also laugh at our assertion, it is time to list those accomplishments. And it is also time to name the conservatives who joined the hamperers, blockers and resisters in making it as hard for the president to achieve anything as they possibly could – out of sheer prejudice.

John Nolte has made such a list and named some of the most prominent guilty conservatives.

He writes at Breitbart:

Remember these names: Jonah Goldberg, David Frum, Bill Kristol, Rich Lowry, Max Boot, Mitt Romney, John Kasich, Joe Scarborough, Jeff Flake, Ben Sasse, Jennifer Rubin, George Will, Josh Jordan, Tom Nichols, Charles Cooke, Stephen Hayes, Tim Miller, John Podhoretz, Nicole Wallace, Steven Schmidt, Bret Stephens, Ross Douthat, Leon Wolf, David Brooks, Rick Wilson, Evan McMullin, Stuart Stevens, Red State, National Review, the Weekly Standard 

These are the so-called conservative men, women, and institutions who (among others) fought the hardest to sabotage Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, all in the unforgivable hope that Hillary Clinton would become president.

These are so-called conservatives who have, for nearly two years now, been promoting themselves and fundraising by smearing Trump as incompetent and “not a real conservative,” as a “Democrat in sheep’s clothing” — when, in fact, all of that best describes #NeverTrump.

These are the so-called conservatives who — after Trump’s first year in office — have now been proven as wrong as wrong can be. If their conservative credentials lost all credibility during a 2016 campaign during which they used whatever residual influence they had to hand the Oval Office to Clinton, the proven results of the past year should mean that they are written off forever as idiots, quacks, mercenaries, and con men.

Trump has had, in my opinion, the most successful first year of any president since Ronald Reagan. And not just a consequential first year that has already built a legacy, but conservative first year. Below, I do my best to list these accomplishments, but there are so many, forgive me if a few are missed:

  • Real, honest-to-goodness tax reform and cuts — the most consequential in 30 years.
  • Opening ANWR for oil exploration, an accomplishment few can appreciate who do not remember the 90s and what a sacred cow this is for the left.
  • Killing the Obamacare mandate that brutalized those making less than $50,000 a year.
  • The Islamic State (ISIS) has been decimated. [We would say obliterated– ed]
  • After a 2016 of just 1.9 percent GDP growth, we have now had two quarters in a row of growth over three percent; predictions for the final quarter of 2017 are as high as four percent.
  • [The appointment of] Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, who has already proven himself the perfect replacement for Justice Antonin Scalia.
  • The Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines are a go — which means tens of thousands of jobs.
  • A record number of judicial appointments on the appeals courts.
  • The end of the War on Coal.
  • A surge in coal mining after 2016’s decline.
  • The end of the federal government’s violating the religious conscience through indefensible Obamacare mandates involving birth control and abortion pills.
  • The civil rights movement for school choice is getting the green light throughout the country.
  • Illegal immigration is way down.
  • The stock market hit record highs 70 times in 2017, rising 5,000 points for the first time ever.
  • The long-overdue recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
  • We are free of the awful Paris climate treaty.
  • Regulatory reform that is just getting started, but it has already had a hugely positive effect on our economy.
  • Withdrawal from the Global Compact on Migration, which undercut American sovereignty.
  • Return of nearly two million acres to the state Utah that the federal government had stolen.
  • A $250 billion trade deal with China.
  • Many of our NATO allies are finally paying their dues.
  • Consumer confidence is the best we have seen in more than a decade.
  • Pulled us out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in favor of the American worker and sovereignty.
  • Trump has managed to get China to help rein in North Korea. [To some extent – ed]
  • Black unemployment is at a 17-year low.
  • Hispanic unemployment is at an all-time low.
  • Overall unemployment is at [four point] one percent.
  • Manufacturing jobs boom.
  • Standing up for persecuted Christian minorities in the Middle East. [More needs to be done, but it’s a start – ed]
  • Promoting Christmas.
  • Banning [immigration] or demanding stronger vetting [of immigrants] from [predominantly Muslim] countries most likely to [export] terrorists.
  • Housing sales are at an 11-year high.
  • Ban on transgender military recruits.

Now, you need to close your eyes and imagine what the list above would look like had #NeverTrump won the day and made Hillary Clinton president.

Now, try to imagine any one of the 16 Republicans who competed [with Trump] for the 2016 nomination accomplishing all of this, or even having the courage to stand up to a media onslaught to accomplish all of this, or even being, yes, conservative enough to do things like pull us out of the Paris climate agreement (something the Republican establishment’s failed 2012 nominee, Mitt Romney, opposes).

Trump’s conservatism, his competence, his willingness to stand up to gale force media hate to keep his promises, is unlike anything we have seen since 1981.

In the pursuit of only their own grift, personal fame, the gratification of bottomless egos, and a soft place to land among the Beautiful People, #NeverTrump lied to us, took our money, and fought tooth and nail to extend the disastrous Obama presidency into a third term.

And now, just one year into Trump’s presidency, #NeverTrump has once again been exposed for who they truly are — bitter, dishonest saboteurs more interested in their lofty place at the trough than the future of their own country.

All these bitter clingers have left now is to further degrade outlets such as the once-necessary National Review, a once-cherished laboratory of vibrant conservative ideas and thought, which is now a hangout for sore losers to keep rewriting the same column over and over and over again about how pure and virtuous they are, as they scold the rest of us for fighting for and sticking with a president who has delivered in ways they told us was not even within the realm of possibility.

So now the real conservatives can laugh – the longest string of triumphant hahahas they can manage while their breath lasts.

*

Later: WND provides an even longer list: 168 accomplishments.

Invasion of the Infinite Realm 9

The brilliant researcher – and self-declared atheist and conservative – Heather Mac Donald writes:

Another academic year, another fattening of campus diversity bureaucracies. Most worrisomely, the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields are now prime targets for administrative diversity encroachment, with the commercial tech sector rapidly following suit.

The pursuit of discovery and understanding in the Infinite Realm of the mind is a venture in liberation. It does not matter there whether your body is strong or weak, what color your skin is, or what you feel. You hunger for nothing but knowledge. No other appetites – alimentary, sexual, hubristic – vex you there.

To enter it, you turn to the study of science, technology, engineering, mathematics. The study of the humanities will not get you through the door.

There are people – most perhaps – who do not want to leave bodily hungers, emotion, the self and its desires behind. If they visit the Infinite Realm at all, it is to view it from the deck of a cruise ship of the Studies Line, named Women Studies, Black Studies, Latino Studies, Diversity Studies, Gender Studies, Protest Studies, Oppression Studies, Peace Studies, Studies Without Borders.

And the glimpse they have of the Infinite Realm disturbs them. They see who goes in. For whom the door opens. The privileged.

And look – they are almost all men, too many of them white. You can tell they are unfeeling. They do not cast a compassionate glance at the tourist crowds leaning on the rails of the Studies ships, victims of exclusion oppression, yearning to be let in.

Oh, that unassailable citadel! Oh, that locked door! However many voyagers on the Studies ships were to batter it, it would not yield.

But the will of so many people, documented and undocumented, must not be frustrated.  If more women and “people of color” are not admitted in equal numbers to the white men, then the Infinite Realm must be changed. It can still be called the realm of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, but it must become a place where your body, your color, your sex, and above all your feelings matter. It must be feminized, diversified, gendered. It must become a temple where the new gods Diversity, Inclusion, Compassion preside.

The most significant new diversity sinecure has been established at the University of California, Los Angeles, where the engineering school just minted its first associate dean of diversity and inclusion. The purpose of this new position is to encourage engineering faculty to hire more females and underrepresented minorities, reports the Daily Bruin, UCLA’s student newspaper. “One of my jobs,” the new dean, Scott Brandenberg, told the paper, is “to avoid implicit bias in the hiring process.”

The new engineering-diversity deanship supplements the work of UCLA’s lavishly paid, campus-wide Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, Jerry Kang, whose 2016 salary was $444,000. Kang, one of the most influential proponents of the “implicit-bias” concept, already exerts enormous pressure throughout the university to hire for “diversity”. Even before his vice chancellorship was created, any UCLA professor hoping for the top rank of tenure had to write a “contributions to diversity” essay detailing his efforts to rectify any racial and gender imbalances in his department.

The addition of a localized diversity bureaucrat within the engineering school can only increase the focus on gender and race in hiring and admissions decisions. (Brandenberg, of course, expresses fealty to California’s beleaguered ban on racial and gender preferences in government. But it would be naive to think that the ubiquitous mandate to increase “diversity” does not inevitably tip the scale in favor of alleged victim groups.)

No evidence exists that implicit bias is a factor in the engineering school’s gender and racial composition. Its percentage of female undergraduate and graduate students – about one quarter – matches the national percentage reported by the American Society for Engineering Education. I asked the school’s spokesman, Amy Akmal, if UCLA Engineering was aware of any examples of the most qualified candidate being overlooked or rejected in a hiring search because of implicit bias; she ignored this fundamental question. (She also ignored a question about the new dean’s salary.)

Every science department in the country relentlessly strives to improve its national ranking through hiring the most prestigious researchers. It would be deeply contrary to their interests to reject a superior candidate because of gender or race. And given the pools of federal and private science funding available on the basis of gender and race, hiring managers have added incentive to favor “diverse” applicants. Contrary to the idea that females are being discriminated against in hiring, Wendy Williams and Stephen Ceci found that female applicants for STEM tenure-track positions enjoyed a two-to-one advantage over similarly qualified males in paired resume experiments.

The director of UCLA’s Women in Engineering program trotted out the usual role model argument for gender-and race-conscious decision-making. Audrey Pool O’Neal told the Daily Bruin that she never saw anyone who looked like her (black and female) when she was an undergraduate and graduate student. “When I do teach classes, the female students let me know how much they appreciate seeing a woman in front of their classroom,” O’Neal said.

Why not appreciate seeing the best-trained scholar in front of your classroom? Any female who thinks that she needs a female in front of her in order to learn as much as she can, or to envision a career in a particular field, has declared herself a follower rather than a pioneer – and a follower based on a characteristic irrelevant to intellectual achievement. If it were really the case that a role model of the same gender is important to moving ahead, it would be impossible to alter the gender balance of a field, assuming such a mission to be worthwhile, which – absent a finding of actual discrimination – it is not. Marie Curie did not need female role models to investigate radioactivity; she was motivated by a passion to understand the world. That should be reason enough to plunge headlong into the search for knowledge.

The Columbia University Medical Center has just pledged $50 million to diversify its faculty and student body, reports the Wall Street Journal, part of a new $100 million diversity drive across the entire university. Never mind that Columbia University has already fruitlessly spent $85 million since 2005 toward the same end. Never mind that there is a huge gap between the MCAT scores of blacks and whites, which will affect the quality of subsequent hiring pools. Columbia’s vice provost for faculty diversity and inclusion regurgitates another classic of diversity boilerplate to justify this enormous waste of funds. “The reality is that you can’t really achieve excellence without diversity. It requires diverse thought to solve complex problems,” says vice provost Dennis Mitchell.

Mitchell’s statement is ludicrous on multiple fronts.Aside from the fact that the one thing never sought in the academic diversity hustle is “diverse thought”,  do Mitchell and his compatriots in the diversity industry believe that females and underrepresented minorities solve analytical problems differently from males, whites, and Asians? A core plank of left-wing academic thought is that gender and race are “socially constructed”. Why then would females and underrepresented minorities think differently if their alleged differences are simply a result of oppressive social categories?

Columbia’s science departments do not have 50/50 parity between males and females, which, according to Mitchell, keeps them from achieving “excellence”. Since 1903, Columbia faculty members have won 78 Nobel Prizes in the sciences and economics. The recipients were overwhelmingly male (and white and Asian); somehow, they managed to do groundbreaking work in science despite the relatively non-diverse composition of their departments.

The only thing that the academic diversity racket achieves is to bid up the salaries of plausibly qualified candidates, and redistribute those candidates to universities that can muster the most resources for diversity poaching. The dean of UCLA Engineering, Jayathi Murthy, laments that of the 900 females admitted to the undergraduate engineering program in 2016, only about 240 accepted the offer. “There are (about) 660 women there that are going somewhere else and the question is . . . is there an opportunity for us to do something differently,” she told the Daily Bruin.

Presumably, those 660 non-matriculants are getting engineering degrees at other institutions. If the goal (a dubious one) is to increase the number of female engineers overall, then it doesn’t matter where they graduate from. But every college wants its own set of “diverse” students and faculty, though one institution’s gain is another’s presumed loss.

The pressure to take irrelevant characteristics like race and sex into account in academic science is dangerous enough. But Silicon Valley continues to remake itself in the image of the campus diversity bureaucracy. Dell Technologies announced in September a new “chief diversity and inclusion officer” position. Per the usual administrator shuffle, the occupant of this new position, Brian Reaves, previously served as head of diversity and inclusion for software company SAP. Reaves will engage the company’s “leaders” in “candid conversations about the role of gender and diversity in the workplace,” said Dell chief customer officer Karen Quintos in a press statement. “Candid” means: you are free to confess your white cis-male privilege. “Candid” does not mean questioning Dell’s diversity assumptions, as this summer’s firing of computer engineer James Damore from Google made terrifyingly clear to any other potential heretics. …

Official scientific organizations have all turned obsessively to the diversity agenda. Any academic scientist who wants to move up in administration – or apply for grants, leave, or access to the conference circuit – must be on a crusade against his fellow scientists’ microaggressions and implicit bias. This is good news for the diversity industry, but bad news for America’s scientific competitiveness.

So why are scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians laughing?

Because, fortunately, university faculties of the STEM fields are not the Infinite Realm itself. Nor are the campuses of the Silicon Valley technology giants.

Funny that. The army of diversity administrators grows and grows. More and more STEM faculties in more and more universities appoint more and more diversity officers. But the frustration remains. Because that castle, which the people on the Studies cruises were told was the Infinite Realm, and which has been commandeered by the diversity police, and now has a day care annex, a free clinic, a gym, a safe place with coloring-in books and stuffed animal toys, a diner, unisex bathrooms, and 50 offices for diversity administrators (none for scientists, technologists, engineers or mathematicians), was not the real thing.

Truth is, the Infinite Realm is abstract. No matter who you are, of what tribe or caste or clan or breed or birth, if you can think you can enter. For the Infinite Realm is in your own head or else it does not exist for you at all. And no diversity officer, or law, or politically correct opinion, or Antifa riot, or grant from George Soros, can make any difference to that immutable fact.

Posted under education, liberty, Race, Sex by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, November 15, 2017

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Censoring the internet 26

The internet was a revolutionary environment that liberated individuals to make their own choices. Bloggers could compete with big media. Leaked emails could bring down a government. But the internet is becoming less free. Access is controlled by a handful of tech companies that keep getting bigger and bigger. The survivors of the scale wars will combine cable, content and commerce in new ways. And in a politicized culture, they won’t just signal their political views, they will enforce them.

So Sultan Knish writes at his website on the subject of internet censoring by those who control the technology:

How can you tell that internet censorship is really taking off? Easy. It’s becoming a business model.

Steven Brill is raising $6 million to launch News Guard. This new service will rate news sites on their trustworthiness from green to red. Forget politically unbiased algorithms. The ratings will be conducted by “qualified, accountable human beings” from teams of “40 to 60 journalists”.

Once upon a time, journalism meant original writing. Now it means deciding which original writing to censor.

“Can trust be monetized?” The Street’s article on News Guard asks. But it isn’t really trust that’s being monetized. It’s censorship. It’s doing the dirty work that Google and Facebook don’t want to do.

But nevertheless do, as we know from experience. We will come to that.

The Dems and their media allies have been pressuring Google and Facebook to do something about the “fake news” that they blame for Trump’s win. The big sites outsourced the censorship to media fact checkers. The message was, “Don’t blame us, now you’re in charge.”

Facebook made a deal with ABC News and the AP, along with Politifact, FactCheck and Snopes, to outsource the censoring for $100K. When two of these left-wing groups declare that an article is fake, Facebook marks it up and viewership drops by 80%.

Eighty percent!

Not only does the roster of fact checkers lean to the left, but so do its notions of what’s true and false. For example, Snopes and Politifact both insist that General Pershing’s forces never buried the bodies of Muslim terrorists with pigs. But General Pershing specifically stated in his autobiography, “These Juramentado attacks were materially reduced in number by a practice that the Mohamedans held in abhorrence. The bodies were publicly buried in the same grave with a dead pig.”

Both the New York Times and the Scientific American reported on it at the time. Despite that Snopes rated this widely accepted historical fact as “False” and Politifact marked it as “Pants on Fire”.

Snopes also recently marked a story that Christ Church in Virginia is removing a George Washington plaque as false even though the church publicly announced that it was doing so.

Politifact and Snopes are entitled to their incorrect opinions. The trouble is that they don’t extend the same privilege to those they disagree with. And Google and Facebook promote fake fact checks while burying sites that discuss actual historical facts. The big internet companies don’t want to get involved in all these arguments. But nor are they willing to let their users decide for themselves anymore.

And so Net Nanny for news has become an actual business model. Instead of protecting children from pornography, News Nanny protects adults from news. And from views outside the left’s bubble.

By adopting the News Nanny model, Google and Facebook are treating their users like children.

The News Guard model is in some ways even more insidious than biased fact checking because it sets up lists of approved and disapproved sites. Google is rolling out something similar with its “knowledge panels” for publishers. Search for the New York Times and the panels will tell you how many Pulitzers the paper has won. Search for Front Page Magazine and the panel note describes it as, “Political alignment: Right-wing politics”. No note listing a left-wing political alignment appears in the panel for the New York Times despite its recent laudatory series about the Soviet Union and Communism.

The media never has an official political orientation. Not even when it’s cheering Communism. But its opponents and critics always have one. Follow Google’s link for Front Page’s political alignment and the top entry states, “Right-wing politics hold that certain social orders and hierarchies are inevitable.” 

That’s a wholly inaccurate description of either Front Page Magazine or conservative politics in America. And it’s another example of how the fight against “fake news” by the left actually ends up producing it.

Fact checking has become a pipeline to censorship. The big social and search companies outsource fact checking to third parties and then demonetize, marginalize and outright ban views and publishers that those third parties disagree with. Fact checks are no longer an argument. They’re the prelude to a ban.

Google and Facebook respectively dominate search and social media. When they appoint official censors for their services, those left-wing fact checkers become the gatekeepers of the internet.

And the internet isn’t supposed to have gatekeepers.

Senator Al Franken, of all people, made that point at the Open Markets Institute. OMI’s people have emerged as the leading opponents of big tech monopolies on the left.

“No one company should have the power to pick and choose which content reaches consumers and which doesn’t,” Franken said. “And Facebook, Google and Amazon, like ISPs, should be neutral in their treatment of the flow of lawful information and commerce on their platform.”

We never thought we’d have a good word to say about Al Franken. But this time we like what he said.

There is no more obvious example of the lack of neutrality than Facebook and Google’s partnership with “fact checkers”. If Net Neutrality means anything, it should strike down Google’s partnership with Poynter’s International Fact-Checking Network and Facebook’s use of Snopes to silence conservatives.

When sites picked and chose content based on algorithms, they were deciding which content reached users based on what was likely to be popular. And, occasionally, based on their own agendas. Now they are picking and choosing which content reaches users based on political orientation.

While the advocates for Net Neutrality rage against cable companies, Comcast and Charter aren’t engaging in political censorship. No matter how they disguise it, Google and Facebook’s news nannies are. …

Trust in the mainstream media has never been lower. Yet the big tech companies insist that mainstream media sources are the only trustworthy ones. They want us to trust them, because they don’t trust us.

We do not want our posts to be “about us”. But this time we make an exception. Our Facebook page is being subjected to what is called “shadow-banning”. Fewer and fewer people are “reached”. Day by day the number of “likes” is decreased, stripped away, usually by twos and threes, but now and then by larger numbers. Last week we lost 30 in a few days. (The “likes” at the moment of this writing stand at 10,779; the number of our followers at 10,425.) Sometimes  when we have asked to “boost” a particular post (for which a charge is made), our request has been denied. We posted a complaint about being stripped of “likes” and having ever fewer readers, and sent it directly to Facebook, asking them why this was happening. We received no reply. But a regular long-time reader of our page sent us this information:

Well I just found out it’s worse than you know – I’ve been relying on my “feed” using the FB app for Android to see your posts since I both “like” and follow TAC. However, I just explicitly went to your page and encountered hundreds (yes, literally hundreds, going back many months) of TAC posts that have never appeared in my feed! What the hell can we do about this blatant censorship?

The discouraging answer is – nothing.

The Left, though politically weak, owns the culture. Owns the mainstream media. And owns the internet.

It is not our Atheism which offends our Facebook censors, it is our Conservatism.

The racist party and its war against America 5

The David Horowitz Freedom Center has published a new booklet by David Horowitz himself titled The Left’s Racist War Against Trump and America.

Here are some extracts which we have selected because they provide the gist of his argument – with which we completely agree:

[The] creed of the Democratic Party – “identity politics’ – is … the antithesis of the American idea. It regards diverse origins – color, ethnicities, genders and classes – as primary, and proposes a hierarchy of privilege based on them, which it justifies as a reversal of past oppressions. …

For the second time in its history, the Democratic Party has opted to secede from the Union and its social contract. The first time was over the issue of slavery [the Democrats were for it]; this time it is over the issue of whether Americans are to be divided by race, gender, sexual orientation and class.

But chiefly RACE.

This time there will be no actual civil war … The passions of an irreconcilable conflict are still present but they are channeled into a political confrontation over the executive power. …

[T]he animus behind Democratic assaults on Republicans and their support for law and order as “racist” is the direct consequences of viewing all social disparities through the distorted lens of oppression politics. Thus, the “over-representation” of African –Americans in the prison system is not because of systemic racism. Police forces have been integrated for decades, as has the entire criminal justice system. African-American are “over-represented” in the prison population because they are “over-represented” in the commission of actual crimes. Democrats’ embrace of the Black Lives Matter movement and its efforts to cast career criminals as civil rights victims and law enforcement officials as villains is an inevitable consequence of ignoring the specifics of cases and forcing them into the melodramatic framework of “racism” and “oppression”. …

The ideology that drives the left and divides our country is “identity politics” – the idea that the world consists of two groups – “people of color” who are guiltless and oppressed, and white people who are guilty and oppressors. This is the real race war. Its noxious themes inform the mindless, hysterical hatred for President Trump, and the equally mindless support for racist mobs like Black Lives Matter and Antifa. It is a war from which no good can come. …

In a nation which for eight years was headed by a black president, had two chief law enforcement officers who were black, has recently had two black secretaries of state and three black national security advisers, and has elected more than 10,000 black government officials; in a nation that has been governed for fifty years by statutes that outlaw discrimination by race and whose national culture is saturated with non-white heroes and icons – in such a nation, people who refer to America as “white supremacist” would normally be dismissed as an oddball fringe …

In contrast to the trivial representatives of organized Nazism, there are … tens of thousands of members of the American Communist Party, also a defeated totalitarian foe. Yet no one seems alarmed. There have been “Million Man” marches led by black racists Farrakhan and Sharpton. But “white nationalists” and Klan members can’t attract a sufficient number of supporters to even constitute a “march”. Black Lives Matter is an overly racist and violent group that is led by avowed communists and has allied itself with Hamas terrorists. It is an organization officially endorsed by the Democratic Party and lavishly funded by tens of millions of dollars contributed by Democratic donors like George Soros. But the self-congratulating denouncers of Nazism and white racism find nothing wrong with them. …

Democrats not Republicans were the principal resistors to the Civil Rights Acts. …

Who is oppressed in America? There are an estimated 65 million refugees in the world today fleeing oppression, but none of them are fleeing oppression in the United States. Why do Haitians and Mexicans risk life and limb to come to America? To be oppressed? They come because in America they have more rights, more privileges and more opportunities than they would in Mexico or Haiti, which have been governed by Hispanics and blacks for a hundred years and more. … America is the least racist most tolerant multi-ethnic, multi-racial society in the history of the world. America has outlawed racial supremacies of any kind. …

[W]hat the anti-Trump movement comes down to [is] the racist accusation that white supremacists, backed by 63 million American voters, have seized control of the American government and need to be overthrown.

But this is not really about Trump. It is about America, and beyond that it is the central theme of the attack on the democratic societies of the West, in particular their foundations in individual rights rather than group identities. This was evident in the reactions to the major foreign policy address Trump delivered in Poland on July 6 [2017]. His speech was a … defense of the West and its values … above all [the value] of individual freedom – that the wars against Nazism and Communism had been fought to defend. …

Trump issued a call to the people of the West to rally again to the defense of these values in the face of the new totalitarianism that confronts us: “The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive. Do we have the confidence in our values to defend them at any cost? … Do we have the desire and the courage to preserve our civilization in the face of those who would subvert and destroy it?” …

Trump’s speech was immediately attacked by the political left. The common theme of these attacks was once again the left’s race war against Trump and the country he leads.. …

The left is simply relentless in its commitment to identity politics … This animus is rooted in a racial and gender collectivism that is antagonistic to the fundamental American idea of individual rights applied universally and without regard to origins – to race, ethnicity or gender. The war to defend this idea is what created Trump’s candidacy and has shaped his political persona.

An American patriotism – which is precisely not about blood and soil, [and] which is the antithesis of racism and collectivism – is what drives Trump and his presidency. … Patriotism – a specifically American patriotism – is the loyalty that unites us and makes us equal. It is this patriotism with which the political left is at war, and the reason they hate this president and are determined to destroy him.

The Democratic Party is a racist party – now, still, as it always has been. And it is increasingly collectivist and totalitarian. 

It also aids and abets the advance of militant Islam, which is supremacist, totalitarian, homophobic, misogynist, anti-Semitic, savagely cruel and  murderous – and totally intolerant of all ideas that are not part of its primitive ideology. 

The evolution of liberty 1

Much as we respect The Declaration of Independence and honor its purpose, we do not agree with its great authors that the “Rights” of “all Men”, including Liberty, are “endowed by their Creator”.

And our disagreement is not simply because we do not believe in a Creator of the universe.

As to how Liberty arose in our civilization, we agree with this: :

Though Freedom is not a state of nature but an artifact of civilization, it did not arise from design. … This development of a theory of liberty took place mainly in the eighteenth century. It began in two countries, England and France. The first of these knew liberty, the second did not.

As a result, we have had to the present day two different traditions in the theory of liberty … the first based on an interpretation of traditions and institutions which had spontaneously grown up … , the second aiming at the construction of a utopia, which has often been tried but never successfully. …

What we have called the “British tradition” was made explicit by a group of Scottish moral philosophers led by David Hume, Adam Smith and Adam Ferguson, seconded by their English contemporaries Josiah Tucker, Edmund Burke, and William Paley, and drawing largely on a tradition rooted in the jurisprudence of the common law. Opposed to them was the tradition of the French Enlightenment, deeply imbued with Cartesian rationalism: the Encyclopedists and Rousseau, the Physiocrats and Condorcet, are their best-known representatives. …

[T]here is hardly a greater contrast imaginable between their respective conceptions of the evolution and functioning of a social order and the role played in it by liberty. … The British philosophers laid the foundations of a profound and essentially valid theory, while the French school was simply and completely wrong.

Those British philosophers have given us an interpretation of the growth of civilization that is still the indispensable foundation of the argument for liberty. They find the origin of institutions, not in contrivance or design, but in the survival of the successful. …

This demonstration … represented … an even greater challenge to all design theories than even the later theory of biological evolution. For the first time it was shown that an evident order which was not the product of a designing human intelligence need not therefore be ascribed to the design of a higher, supernatural intelligence, but that there was a third possibility – the emergence of order as the result of adaptive evolution.

– From The Constitution of Liberty by F. A. Hayek, Part One Chapter Four: Freedom, Reason, and Tradition.

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