For whom death is fun and has a bright future 4

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee/ Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so” – John Donne.

No, Death, thou art FUN. Thou art COOL.

Thou art CHATTER. Thou art ART.

Nothing to be gloomy about.

Where else this revisionism but in the New York Times? By John Leland:

It was the party of a lifetime, and Shatzi Weisberger wouldn’t have missed it for the world. After all, it was her funeral. Or, as she pronounced it, her FUN-eral.

“Come on in,” she said. “There’s lots of food. And a coffin that people are decorating.”

And so it was that a hundred or so people gathered in the common room of an Upper West Side apartment building recently to eat, sing, mingle and hear Ms. Weisberger’s thoughts about death and dying.

“I hope we have fun,” she said.

A former nurse, Ms. Weisberger wore white slacks, white sneakers and a bright floral print blouse. A biodegradable cardboard coffin in one corner bore handwritten messages in colored marker: “Go Shatzi! (but not literally)”; “death is only the beginning”; “Shatzi, many happy returns … as trees, as bumble bees, as many happy memories.”

Ms. Weisberger worked the crowded room. “I have been studying and learning about death and dying, and I want to tell people what I’ve learned,” she said. “Some people are coming because they love me, and some people are coming because they’re curious about what the hell it’s about.”

Is there something to be learned about death other than it is the end of your existence? If Ms. Weisberger revealed something new about it, the NYT does not give it away.

At 88, Ms. Weisberger has found a second calling in what has been labeled the positive death movement — a scattering of mostly women who want to break the taboos around discussions of death.

Taboos? What taboos? How many characters get shot dead every minute on TV? In most Hollywood movies?

Some connect through blogs or YouTube channels; some gather at monthly death cafes; … 

Will you have death with your coffee?

… some find more institutional grounding at the DeathLab at Columbia University’s architecture school or the Art of Dying Institute at the Open Center, a six-month program touching on everything from green burials (bonus: they’re cheap) to certified training for end-of-life doulas.

“Doulas”? Women servants.

Nearly a million people have downloaded the starter kit for the Conversation Project, a guide to discussing plans for the end of life. Others use the popular WeCroak app, which sends five daily reminders that we are all going to die.

All share a common idea: that Western culture has become too squeamish about talking about death, and that the silence impoverishes the lives leading up to it.

Yet again, Western culture is at fault. In better cultures, death is nothing to be “squeamish” about.

So chat about it to enrich your life.

Ellen Goodman, a retired newspaper columnist who started the Conversation Project after caring for her mother at the end of life, likened the foment to the earlier movement for natural childbirth. “Birth was perceived as a medical event, and then in came the women’s movement and ‘Our Bodies, Ourselves,’” she said. “It wasn’t doctors who changed the way we give birth in America. It was women who said that giving birth was a human event. I think that we’re trying to do that now. Dying is a human experience. We’re trying to put the person back into the center of the experience.”

True, dying is a human experience – if it it isn’t too sudden to be experienced. If you experience your dying, is there any way you cannot be “at the center” of it?

Ms. Weisberger is by no means a morbid person. She sings in the Brooklyn Women’s Chorus and shops at the new Trader Joe’s in her neighborhood.

If you sing in a chorus and shop at Trader Joe’s, you cannot be a morbid person?

But a few years ago, after sitting with a friend who was dying of cancer, she realized that she was unsatisfied with the American way of death.

“She became terrified, so scared that she couldn’t even talk about it,” Ms. Weisberger said of her friend. “I kept urging her to talk about what was going on, but she wouldn’t. And then she died. So that was a problem. We had not dealt with the issue — myself, herself and the others.

For whom was it a problem that she did not talk about it? In what way? Would talking about it have changed anything? If so, what?

“So I started studying about it,” she said. Down the digital rabbit hole she went.

She Googled “death”? Wiki taught her all she sought to know about it? The NYT does not say.

If there is a germinal moment for the positive death movement, it is 2003, when a social worker at a New York hospice center became disillusioned by the care that the medical staff were able to give to dying patients and their families. The social worker, Henry Fersko-Weiss, saw what doulas did for women during and after childbirth. Why couldn’t dying people get the same level of attention and emotional support?

Having a doula around you when you’re dying makes a big difference? Dying isn’t anguish enough, you also need a doula chatting to you?

Using birth doulas as his model, he created a training program for end-of-life doulas, or midwives, to attend to patients’ non-medical needs — anything from helping them review their lives to sitting quietly in witness.

“There are tremendous similarities between birthing and dying,” he said. “There’s a great deal unknown, there’s a great deal of pain and a need for support for the people around the person who is going through the experience.”

For doulas in either setting, he said, “arranging the atmosphere, creating a special space around the event, is exactly the same.”

A little choreography? Costumes? Lighting? Jolly music?

As Mr. Fersko-Weiss was getting his program underway, Joanna Ebenstein, a graphic designer in Brooklyn, was thinking about death from a completely different angle.

“We just don’t know what to do with death anymore,” she said.

Used to know, but have forgotten?

“It’s this big, scary thing. We don’t have a set of rituals around it that contains it or gives it meaning. Ours is the first culture to pathologize an interest in death.

There is no mention of resurrection, a judgment day, heaven or hell.

No religion mentioned yet.

In 2007, Ms. Ebenstein started a blog called Morbid Anatomy, highlighting ways different cultures represented death. Only in the United States, she said, were images of death absent from art and daily life.

That’s apart from all the TV series, movies, novels; and, in daily life, the streets, if you live – say – in Chicago, Baltimore, or Oakland.

The blog opened conversations about death outside of the realm of hospice or advance health care directives.

From the first posts, she said, she started hearing from an audience she had not known was out there: people who felt isolated by their interest in death. Before then, the only people she knew who shared her interest in death had been in the goth subculture.

“We’re not supposed to be curious about death now,” she said. “But how can you not be? It’s a great human mystery. It’s the thing that defines our life, but we’re supposed to pretend it’s not interesting to us? It’s in horror movies and pop culture, but there was no high culture discourse around it.”

Ah! She has noticed that it is in horror movies and pop culture.

She withheld her name from the blog because she was afraid her design clients, especially Scholastic, would think she was creepy. This was the era when Sarah Palin warned that the Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act was trying to impose “death panels”.

Sarah Palin was right. Obamacare has to have death panels. A group (needles to say, diverse and inclusive) has to declare what treatment, what drugs you may be permitted to have. The panel’s job is cost-reckoning and death is always cheaper.

Ms. Ebenstein, 46, sees her work as resurrecting a lost strand of American culture.

This idea that we have now, that death is exotic and cannot be seen, is brand new,” she said. “Your grandparents tended to die in the house. They’d be laid out in the parlor when they died, which the Ladies’ Home Journal advocated changing to the ‘living room’ when the funeral parlor came around. The living room became the living room because it’s no longer the parlor for laying out the dead. And that’s around 1900.

Verily? From where did she get that piece of esoteric information?

All of these changes are happening, and now we think of death as something that happens offstage, that we don’t see and children certainly shouldn’t see. But that was not possible until so recently.

Doesn’t she own a TV?

In 2014, Ms. Ebenstein and another woman spun the blog into a small museum of the same name in Brooklyn, which closed in 2016 but has been succeeded by a pop-up residency [?] at Green-Wood Cemetery. By then, something had changed. “Now this stuff was cool,” she said.

Part of what changed was a funeral director in Los Angeles named Caitlin Doughty, who dressed like a lost member of the Addams Family and posted a series of plucky YouTube videos called “Ask a Mortician” that spoke frankly about corpses and decomposition and routinely topped 400,000 views. A typical opening line, from a video titled “All My Fave Graves,” went, “Something I’m always trying to get you to do is hang out with dead bodies.”

In April of 2013, Ms. Doughty tweeted, “Why are there a zillion websites and references for being sex positive but nothing for being death positive?”

With that, an inchoate curiosity had a brand name, a cachet and an internet presence. All it needed was an occasion to gather.

On a Monday evening at Bluestockings bookstore on the Lower East Side, Emily Leshner, a graduate student in visual media anthropology, had a question about the end of life. Specifically, she wanted to discuss the issue of digital immortality: is it right for people’s social media profiles to live on when they die? “Our digital presence exists beyond our biological life,” she said. “It made me think what kind of person I’d want to be my legacy.”

Meaning, what portrait of herself would she choose to leave? Beautiful? Rich? Successful? Admired? Smart? Happy?

It was the monthly gathering of the Lower East Side Death Cafe, one of a handful of death cafes that have formed in the last few years around the city. Jafar Al-Mondhiry, a resident in internal medicine, picked up Ms. Leshner’s question. He hoped to start a death-related podcast for other residents — a virtual death cafe. “Is social media a triumph over the body?” he asked.

Around two tables piled with carrots and other snacks, the conversations were lively and unstructured.

Melanie Nilsson described taking her father’s cremated remains to all of his favorite restaurants for a year.

Millet Israeli, a former corporate lawyer who changed careers to become a grief counselor, asked what sort of reactions the others got when they told friends they were attending a death café.

“They said, ‘Is that some sort of goth thing?’” Ms. Leshner said. “That it’s dark and trendy and cool.”

Death cafes, as a formal institution, began in East London in 2011, in the basement of a man named Jon Underwood, who quit his job as a business development director to create small gatherings where strangers could drink tea, eat cake and talk informally about death and dying. To encourage others to replicate his meetings, Mr. Underwood, who died at age 44 last year, published guidelines for discussions and a website for other death cafes to promote their meetings. The discussions have no leaders, are free or inexpensive, and are open to talk of all things death but are not support groups. The organization’s website claims to have initiated 6,503 death cafes in 56 countries.

Ms. Israeli, who facilitated the conversation at one table, met the women who started the Lower East Side group while they were all training as volunteer caregivers at the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care, which takes a Buddhist approach to the end of life.

Ah, so religion does come into it. Zen. Buddhism. Reincarnation?

The death cafe, she said, “is almost like my form of activism to create an atmosphere publicly that permits talking about death. If we can talk about death and dying, maybe that will spread to easier conversations about grief and terminal illness.”

Grief and terminal illness. All fun, all chatter, all of the time. With tea or coffee. And carrots.

Ms. Israeli recalled a guided meditation at the Zen Center imagining her own death: the mouth becoming dry, the body shutting down, the attention becoming more internal. Even with all her work as a grief counselor, Ms. Israeli said, she was nervous going into it. “It seemed scary,” she said. “But the experience was the opposite. As heavy as that sounds, it made it feel lighter. It felt safer than it did going in.”

This is the odd math of the positive death activities. Embracing mortality, practitioners say, helps them live with less fear, more life.

On a Saturday morning at the Art of Dying Institute at the Open Center, Amy Cunningham led a discussion of different ways to hold a funeral, including at home. Ms. Cunningham, 63, worked as a journalist until she decided to go to mortuary school at age 54. “I thought it was going to be like becoming a real estate agent,” she said.

Ms. Cunningham discussed alternatives to embalming — which involves toxic chemicals — and coffins made of wool or other materials that decompose easily.

Always consider what’s good for the environment.

The group included 24 women and two men.

“We’re part of a movement, and it’s really a return to a female presence at the time of death,” Ms. Cunningham said.

Several of those attending worked in hospice or in the funeral trade. Others had enrolled after the deaths of people close to them.

Hillary Spector, who attended, teaches art in primary school and directs and acts in theater. Ms. Spector recently trained to volunteer as a death doula and joined a synagogue to meet people who might use her services.

Judaism making an appearance now?

“It’s a bit macabre,” she said, “but I’ve always been superfascinated by dying — the physiological processes, but also this idea of what happens to our consciousness. I don’t believe in heaven or an afterlife.

But –

“I also feel that decomposition is deeply spiritual.”

Although –

“One of the things that draws people to this work is that we don’t have a basis in religion. That’s why a lot of people are becoming part of this death positive movement.”

The “spirit” is assuaged by entertaining death at a party.

Others offer different explanations for why all this is happening now. The AIDS crisis transformed grief and caregiving into expressions of community. The mass shootings on the news call for examination: What if today was your last day? The rising interest in Buddhism introduced alternative concepts of dying. And the aging population brought more urgency to questions of how people want to consider the last years.

Also, death has a bright future: the number of Americans dying annually is expected to rise by more than one-third in the next 20 years. In a social media landscape where fringe topics find large constituencies, death is a taboo that connects to everyone.

“We got so far removed from death even being an option that we finally got sick of it being closeted,” said Suzanne O’Brien, a former nurse who now trains end-of-life doulas and hosts a podcast called “Ask a Death Doula”. 

“The first step is recognizing that death is a natural part of life’s journey,” Ms. O’Brien said. “We can have it go well or have it go poorly. They say death and taxes are the only things guaranteed in life. But people don’t pay their taxes. So I’m saying death is the only one that’s for sure.”

Shatzi has already bought her after-death outfit. For the well-dressed cadaver.

At the FUN-eral, Ms. Weisberger showed off a burial shroud she plans to use when her time comes. She bought it online, from Amazon, she thinks. Three friends have agreed to wash her body according to Jewish tradition, and Ms. Cunningham — who supplied the cardboard coffin — will provide dry ice to preserve her body before burial, she said. …

I really want to experience my dying,” she told the crowd. “I don’t want to die in a car crash or be unconscious. I want to be home, I want to be in my bed, I want to share the experience with anybody who’s interested.”

Bring your cellphones and take a selfie with the dying Shatzi or her corpse. Or make a video, “A Real Dying Housewife of New York”. A new kind of snuff-film.

Even if it is a scene of pain and struggle for breath – or is that not to be thought of?

And could a picture or film, or a chat with a doula, “contain” death, or “give death meaning”?

No, ladies. Non-existence has no meaning.

Charles Krauthammer 4

This is very sad news.

Fox News reports:

Charles Krauthammer, the beloved and brilliant Fox News Channel personality who gave up a pioneering career in psychiatry to become a Pulitzer Prize-winning political analyst, on Friday revealed the heartbreaking news that he is in the final stages of a losing battle with cancer.

The 68-year-old’s incisive takes on politics of the day have been missing from Fox News Channel’s “Special Report” for nearly a year as he battled an abdominal tumor and subsequent complications, but colleagues and viewers alike had held out hope that he would return to the evening show he helped establish as must-viewing. But in an eloquent, yet unblinking letter to co-workers, friends and Fox News Channel viewers, Krauthammer disclosed that he has just weeks to live.

“I have been uncharacteristically silent these past ten months,” the letter began. “I had thought that silence would soon be coming to an end, but I’m afraid I must tell you now that fate has decided on a different course for me.”

Krauthammer, who graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1975 despite a first-year diving accident that left him a quadriplegic, explained that he had a malignant tumor removed from his abdomen last August. Although a series of setbacks left him in  the hospital in the ensuing months, he believed until recently that he was on the road to recovery.

“However, recent tests have revealed that the cancer has returned,” Krauthammer wrote. “There was no sign of it as recently as a month ago, which means it is aggressive and spreading rapidly. My doctors tell me their best estimate is that I have only a few weeks left to live. This is the final verdict. My fight is over.”

Fox News viewers will undoubtedly miss Krauthammer’s formidable intellect and ability to analyze politics and politicians with a cerebral wit and keen charm. As the dean of “The Fox News All Stars,” the panel of pundits who break down headlines and events nightly on Fox News Channel’s top-rated “Special Report,” Krauthammer could be counted on to make viewers think, question and even chuckle. Krauthammer was on his way to greatness in the medical field when he veered first into policy, and then into journalism. After medical school, he became chief psychiatry resident at Massachusetts General Hospital, where he studied depression and published ground-breaking findings in top medical journals. But in 1978, he took a job in the Carter administration directing planning in psychiatric research and later served as a speech writer for Vice President Walter Mondale.

It was in the nation’s capital that Krauthammer trained his mind and talents on political analysis and began penning columns for The New Republic, Time magazine and finally the Washington Post. In 1985, he won journalism’s top prize for his weekly political commentary. In his sobering farewell, Krauthammer said he is “grateful to have played a small role in the conversations that have helped guide this extraordinary nation’s destiny”.

“I leave this life with no regrets,” Krauthammer wrote. “It was a wonderful life – full and complete with the great loves and great endeavors that make it worth living. I am sad to leave, but I leave with the knowledge that I lived the life that I intended.”

Always a realist, always courageous, he is apparently accepting the approach of his death calmly. As he accepted his paralysis the moment it was caused in his youth.

We have much admired him for many decades. His eloquence, erudition, profundity, wisdom, and his wry, benevolent – often self-deprecating – sense of humor, displayed in his columns and on TV, have been for us among the joys and enrichments of life.

He is a great man.

Posted under Miscellaneous by Jillian Becker on Friday, June 8, 2018

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Facebook shuts us out 6

Our Facebook page has been shut down by the simple means of depriving us of a space to post something.

The space at the top of the page which normally carries the invitation to “Write something …” has been removed.

Perhaps we have only been suspended and not shut out.

We wait to see.

We have of course complained through the means the company provides. We have heard nothing back.

This follows a gradual shrinking of our “reach” (the number of Facebook subscribers they send our posts to) from thousands to tens – and the removal of many of our posts.

We are being treated by Facebook the way they treat all (?) conservative sites to some degree. But how many are completely silenced?

 

Later:

The space to write something on the page has been restored to us – whether in response to our complaint or not, we have no idea.

Posted under Miscellaneous by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, June 6, 2018

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On loneliness 22

The whole conviction of my life now rests upon the belief that loneliness, far from being a rare and curious phenomenon, peculiar to myself and to a few other solitary men, is the central and inevitable fact of human existence.  – Tom Wolfe

There was a time not very long ago when loneliness was mitigated for many individuals by their being a part of a family.

Now it is not the fashion among the peoples of the civilized (which is to say the Western) world to marry. And it is even less the “done thing” for people to have children.

In general, the childless are surely destined to be more lonely in their old age than parents and grandparents.

Yet to the president of the Family Division of the High Court of Justice for England and Wales, the end of traditional family life is a Good Thing.

Random relationships – parody “families” –  are better for individual happiness, he seems to think.

Jack Montgomery reports at Breitbart:

Sir James Munby, President of the Family Division of the High Court of Justice for England and Wales , has said society should “welcome and applaud” the collapse of traditional nuclear-family life.

“What is the family?” asked the wealthy 69-year-old in a lecture at the University of Liverpool. “Time was when most people probably thought the answer was not merely clear but obvious. Today it is more complex,” he suggested.

“In contemporary Britain the family takes an almost infinite variety of forms. Many marry according to the rites of non-Christian faiths. People live together as couples, married or not, and with partners who may not always be of the other sex. Children live in households where their parents may be married or unmarried. They may be brought up by a single parent, by two parents or even by three parents. Their parents may or may not be their natural parents. They may be children of parents with very different religious, ethnic or national backgrounds, and they may be the children of polygamous marriages,” he suggested — likely in reference to the explosion in Islamic polygamy in Britain, which is flourishing in spite of the country’s long-standing anti-bigamy laws.

So polygamy is okay with Munby. (Under sharia law, if parents are divorced, the father gets the sole custody of the children when they have passed their infancy.)

The fact is that many adults and children, whether through choice or circumstance, live in families more or less removed from what, until comparatively recently, would have been recognised as the typical nuclear family,” the judge continued. “This, I stress, is not merely the reality; it is, I believe, a reality which we should welcome and applaud.”

The shocking statement is not the first controversial commentary on the state of British family life by England’s most senior family judge.

In 2014, Sir James gave an equally charged speech in which he issued a damning and partisan indictment of “Victorian values” and railed against “the dominant influence wielded by the Christian churches” in the past.

We have no quarrel with him when he rails against the Christian churches. We do it too. But let’s get back to families.

To whom will the multitudes of the barren look for companionship and comfort in their old age? If they survive very long, their friends – if they had them – will have died; or if not, they will have have reached the years of dependence themselves.

Will the Lonely Old look to the cold comfort of the state?

Sir James Munby, who is strongly against begetting children, does not answer that question.

He also celebrated the role played by the contraceptive pill and abortion on demand in removing “the fear of unwanted pregnancy and the fear of the consequences of contraceptive failure” transforming sex into “something to be enjoyed, if one wished, for purposes having nothing to do with procreation” by the end of the 1960s.

“A fundamental link – the connection between sex and procreation – was irretrievably broken,” he gloated.

In the Munby mind, procreation is to be avoided.

We ask our readers: What are your thoughts on this?

Posted under Commentary, Miscellaneous, United Kingdom by Jillian Becker on Sunday, June 3, 2018

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New Year’s wishes 6

On December 31, 2014, in the midst of the second lurch of the terrible reign of the Community Organizer, we made some New Year wishes.

Have any of them come true? Have some of them begun to come true?

1.May Obama be hindered, hampered, frustrated and blocked in every political action he takes

He has gone. His horrible legacy is being undone. Obamacare has been semi-repealed. Taxes are down. Americans are becoming prosperous again. Illegal immigration is down.   

2.May the decline of America, that Obama has deliberately worked, be reversed. May the Republicans use their congressional majorities and all their positions of authority to effect that reversal.

American leadership in international affairs has been restored.The Iranian people are in uproar and riot against the ayatollahs’ dictatorship that Obama fawned over.

3.May religious belief start withering away, irreversibly, from the human psyche.

Religious belief is diminishing in the West at least.

4.May Islam be soundly defeated everywhere on earth and set on the road to rapid and total extinction.

The ISIS caliphate has been defeated, to a large extent by US military action in accordance with President Trump’s policy.

5.May the welfare state start being phased out, and genuine market economies be allowed to function in every nation-state.

Not started yet.

6.May the man-made global warming lobby give up.

It’s dying. The fatal blow was administered by President Trump when he withdrew the US from the absurd and ruinous Paris Agreement. Also, the US Environmenal Protection Agency (EPA) is being castrated and having all its teeth pulled at the same time. That’s worth a cup of cheer all on its own.

7.May the United Nations and all its agencies be destroyed.

The US has begun defunding the evil UN. It’s total demise begins to look like a real possibility.

*

On  the last day of 2014 we commented: “Okay – we’re being unrealistic. But while we’re wishing, we may as well wish big.”

As it transpires, we were not being unrealistic.

May 2018 bring further fulfillment of those same wishes – and the full granting of all the wishes of our readers, commenters, encouragers, and contributors.

A Happy New Year to all who see this page!

Posted under Climate, Environmentalism, Iran, Islam, Miscellaneous, Muslims, Religion general, United Nations, United States by Jillian Becker on Sunday, December 31, 2017

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Arrest George Soros! 4

Sign this petition to get George Soros arrested.

George Soros funds the violent rioting by numerous seditious groups all over America.

Read about him here.

And please go here and sign the petition.

And ask others to sign it too.

Issue an International Arrest Warrant for George Soros

Created by A.B. on January 21, 2017

Posted under Miscellaneous by Jillian Becker on Friday, February 10, 2017

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For the New Year 1

On this New Year’s Eve, we recycle a message from a past year because we like it:

“New Year’s Day: Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.”

– Mark Twain

 

A Happy New Year to all who see this page!

Posted under Miscellaneous by Jillian Becker on Saturday, December 31, 2016

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Thus spake Thomas Sowell 1

Thomas Sowell is one of the (rare) great thinkers of our time.

The Daily Caller reports:

Economist and conservative public intellectual Thomas Sowell announced his retirement in his final column Tuesday.

“Even the best things come to an end. After enjoying a quarter of a century of writing this column for Creators Syndicate, I have decided to stop. Age 86 is well past the usual retirement age, so the question is not why I am quitting, but why I kept at it so long,” Sowell wrote.

Fifty quotations follow. We relish them all – and emphasize our favorites:

“If you have always believed that everyone should play by the same rules and be judged by the same standards, that would have gotten you labeled a radical 60 years ago, a liberal 30 years ago and a racist today.”

It is amazing that people who think we cannot afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, and medication somehow think that we can afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, medication and a government bureaucracy to administer it.”

“The biggest and most deadly ‘tax’ rate on the poor comes from a loss of various welfare state benefits — food stamps, housing subsidies and the like — if their income goes up.”

The real minimum wage is zero.”

“Elections should be held on April 16th — the day after we pay our income taxes. That is one of the few things that might discourage politicians from being big spenders.”

“The black family survived centuries of slavery and generations of Jim Crow, but it has disintegrated in the wake of the liberals’ expansion of the welfare state.”

“Helping those who have been struck by unforeseeable misfortunes is fundamentally different from making dependency a way of life.”

“The most fundamental fact about the ideas of the political left is that they do not work. Therefore we should not be surprised to find the left concentrated in institutions where ideas do not have to work in order to survive.”

The next time some academics tell you how important diversity is, ask how many Republicans there are in their sociology department.”

“The more people who are dependent on government handouts, the more votes the left can depend on for an ever-expanding welfare state.”

I have never understood why it is ‘greed’ to want to keep the money you have earned but not greed to want to take somebody else’s money.”

“When you want to help people, you tell them the truth. When you want to help yourself, you tell them what they want to hear.”

“It’s amazing how much panic one honest man can spread among a multitude of hypocrites. ”

“People who pride themselves on their ‘complexity’ and deride others for being ‘simplistic’ should realize that the truth is often not very complicated. What gets complex is evading the truth.”

“Much of the social history of the Western world over the past three decades has involved replacing what worked with what sounded good.”

The first lesson of economics is scarcity: There is never enough of anything to satisfy all those who want it. The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics.”

“Some of the biggest cases of mistaken identity are among intellectuals who have trouble remembering that they are not God.”

“Racism does not have a good track record. It’s been tried out for a long time and you’d think by now we’d want to put an end to it instead of putting it under new management.”

Despite a voluminous and often fervent literature on ‘income distribution’, the cold fact is that most income is not distributed: It is earned.”

The fact that the market is not doing what we wish it would do is no reason to automatically assume that the government would do better.”

The problem isn’t that Johnny can’t read. The problem isn’t even that Johnny can’t think. The problem is that Johnny doesn’t know what thinking is; he confuses it with feeling.”

Socialism is a wonderful idea. It is only as a reality that it has been disastrous. Among people of every race, color, and creed, all around the world, socialism has led to hunger in countries that used to have surplus food to export. … Nevertheless, for many of those who deal primarily in ideas, socialism remains an attractive idea — in fact, seductive. Its every failure is explained away as due to the inadequacies of particular leaders. ”

“Intellect is not wisdom.”

“The old are not really smarter than the young, in terms of sheer brainpower. It is just that we have already made the kinds of mistakes that the young are about to make, and we have already suffered the consequences that the young are going to suffer if they disregard the record of the past.”

“Bailing out people who made ill-advised mortgages makes no more sense than bailing out people who lost their life savings in Las Vegas casinos.”

“Freedom has cost too much blood and agony to be relinquished at the cheap price of rhetoric.”

“There are only two ways of telling the complete truth – anonymously and posthumously.”

Socialism in general has a record of failure so blatant that only an intellectual could ignore or evade it.”

“Can you cite one speck of hard evidence of the benefits of ‘diversity’ that we have heard gushed about for years? Evidence of its harm can be seen — written in blood — from Iraq to India, from Serbia to Sudan, from Fiji to the Philippines. It is scary how easily so many people can be brainwashed by sheer repetition of a word.”

Since this is an era when many people are concerned about ‘fairness’ and ‘social justice,’ what is your ‘fair share’ of what someone else has worked for?”

“Unfortunately, the real minimum wage is always zero, regardless of the laws, and that is the wage that many workers receive in the wake of the creation or escalation of a government-mandated minimum wage, because they lose their jobs or fail to find jobs when they enter the labor force. Making it illegal to pay less than a given amount does not make a worker’s productivity worth that amount—and, if it is not, that worker is unlikely to be employed.”

“Competition does a much more effective job than government at protecting consumers.”

“The most basic question is not what is best, but who shall decide what is best.”

“What sense would it make to classify a man as handicapped because he is in a wheelchair today, if he is expected to be walking again in a month, and competing in track meets before the year is out? Yet Americans are generally given ‘class’ labels on the basis of their transient location in the income stream. If most Americans do not stay in the same broad income bracket for even a decade, their repeatedly changing ‘class’ makes class itself a nebulous concept. Yet the intelligentsia are habituated, if not addicted, to seeing the world in class terms.”

“Rhetoric is no substitute for reality.”

Virtually no idea is too ridiculous to be accepted, even by very intelligent and highly educated people, if it provides a way for them to feel special and important. Some confuse that feeling with idealism.”

“What is history but the story of how politicians have squandered the blood and treasure of the human race?”

“If politicians stopped meddling with things they don’t understand, there would be a more drastic reduction in the size of government than anyone in either party advocates.”

“One of the consequences of such notions as ‘entitlements’ is that people who have contributed nothing to society feel that society owes them something, apparently just for being nice enough to grace us with their presence.”

“Economics is a study of cause-and-effect relationships in an economy. It’s purpose is to discern the consequences of various ways of allocating resources which have alternative uses. It has nothing to say about philosophy or values, anymore than it has to say about music or literature.”

“Whenever someone refers to me as someone ‘who happens to be black’, I wonder if they realize that both my parents are black. If I had turned out to be Scandinavian or Chinese, people would have wondered what was going on.”

“Don’t you get tired of seeing so many ‘non-conformists’ with the same non-conformist look?”

“If you have been voting for politicians who promise to give you goodies at someone else’s expense, then you have no right to complain when they take your money and give it to someone else, including themselves.”

“Life does not ask what we want. It presents us with options.”

‘It doesn’t matter how smart you are unless you stop and think.”

“Everyone may be called ‘comrade’, but some comrades have the power of life and death over other comrades.”

If you are not prepared to use force to defend civilization, then be prepared to accept barbarism.”

“People who have time on their hands will inevitably waste the time of people who have work to do.”

“In an age of artificial intelligence, too many of our schools and colleges are producing artificial stupidity.”

“Many on the political left are so entranced by the beauty of their vision that they cannot see the ugly reality they are creating in the real world.”

These sayings are a small part of a rich gift to the world. There is much more of his wisdom to be found in his books

 

Here Thomas Sowell talks about “global warming”:

Posted under Miscellaneous by Jillian Becker on Thursday, December 29, 2016

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The birthday of the invincible sun 6

Dies natalis solis invicti  – the birthday of the invincible sun – was celebrated by the Romans on December 25, a few days after the winter solstice. In 336 C.E., five months before the death of Constantine the first Christian emperor of Rome, the “birth of Christ” was declared by the governing elite to have occurred on that date. It was an arbitrary choice, probably made in order to attach a Christian significance to the mid-winter celebrations.

Unlike many killjoy atheists on the Left, we enjoy Christmas, the jolliest annual festival of the West.

What’s not to like about feasting, carousing, being in good company on a day off from the daily round?

Happiness is in the air. More so than ever for us this year because our side won the 2016 elections.

Associations with Christianity and the birth of its Christ are ineluctable, but need be no more of an annoyance to atheists than that Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday are named after pagan gods. This  year Christmas Day falls on the day of the week named for the Sun.

And so, on this Christmas Eve, we wish all our readers, commenters, visitors, and critics

A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Posted under Miscellaneous by Jillian Becker on Saturday, December 24, 2016

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Thanksgiving 2

We repeat our Thanksgiving message from last year, with small alterations and a few additions:

On this Thanksgiving Day, we thank all our readers and commenters for their interest, support, critical appreciation and encouragement.

We specially thank one indispensable commenter, liz, on whose insightful, well-informed comments we have come to rely to reinforce and often expand our posts. We also thank our fiercest commenter Azgael for his frequent and stirring calls to arms.

Generally speaking – and disregarding occasional attacks by believers in the Supernatural or Big Government – we must have one of the most intelligent readerships of any blogs in the world.

Quite a large number of our regular readers do not live in the US. Most of those abroad are in Canada (where our valuable commenters, Cogito and Cassandra, dwell), Britain (where we have a like-thinker and contributor in Chauncey Tinker), France, Germany, the Czech Republic, Australia, South Africa and India – and this year we can add Hungary. But there are also a few who live in countries where it is dangerous for them even to let our title appear on their screens. They have our respectful admiration as well as our gratitude.

We wish you all long life, liberty, and success in the pursuit of happiness – made easier by America’s recent rescue from Leftist tyranny by the election of Donald Trump to the presidency.

Posted under Miscellaneous, United States by Jillian Becker on Thursday, November 24, 2016

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