On the snobbery of egalitarians 1

Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, the publisher of that scurrilous daily, the New York Times, is a white male.

So why does he appoint someone who declares that she hates whites and males to his editorial board?

It’s not a question that can be easily answered (except of course by psychologists and sociologists who know everything about the human mind and heart but can only explain what they know unintelligibly).

A similar question is: Why do Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May, Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, and the ladies who rule Sweden want to hand over their countries to Islam?

And another in the same genre is: Why do intellectuals who claim that their political mission and life-goal is to raise the folks at the bottom of the social hierarchy and sink the rich by robbing them until they are no richer than anybody else in order to achieve and establish an egalitarian society, despise and insult the working class?

At American Greatness, Victor Davis Hanson writes (in part – the whole thing is well worth reading):

Recently Politico reporter Marc Caputo was angered at rude hecklers at a Trump rally who booed beleaguered CNN correspondent Jim Acosta.


So Caputo tweeted of them, “If you put everyone’s mouths together in this video, you’d get a full set of teeth.”

Politico had not employed such a crass journalist since before it fired Julia Ioffe for tweeting, “Either Trump is f—ing his daughter or he’s shirking nepotism laws. Which is worse?” (Ioffe was then snatched up by the Atlantic …). 

I suppose Caputo meant that Trump voters intrinsically lacked either the money to fix their teeth or the knowledge of the hygiene required to take care of them or the aesthetic sensitivity of how awful their mouths looked. Or Caputo was simply rehashing the stereotypes that he had seen on reality TV shows like Duck Dynasty and The Deadliest Catch.

Or none of the above: the journalist grandee was just stupid.

That last alternative seems most likely since Caputo then escalated and called them collectively “garbage people”.  …

What did “garbage people” mean? That by birth or training such toothless, smelly people were subhuman, like refuse? And if Caputo had substituted any other racial minority for his slurs, would he still have his job according to the cannons of progressive censure and Internet lynching? Could he have said something similarly degrading about the attendees of after an open borders or Black Lives Matter rally and still have his job?

Last week, the New York Times named tech writer Sarah Jeong to its editorial board with apparent knowledge of her long history of racist tweets, as well as verbal attacks on police and males in general. Perhaps such gutter venom was proof of militant orthodoxy to be appreciated rather than medieval racism to be shunned. Her mostly empty résumé seems compensated by her identity and her politics—as the Times more or less confessed in its sad defense of her racist outbursts.

Jeong claimed that white people smelled like wet dogs. She had bragged that she hated them, and hoped that soon they would become childless and disappear. Her final solution of demographic extinction was, she said (in historically dense fashion), “my plan all along.”

One wonders whether she will canonize her collected tweets into something like My Struggle … 

(The translation  of the title of Adolf Hitler’s book, in German Mein Kampf …)

… replete with less abstract territorial theories how to reify her “plan” or add pseudo-scientific details explaining why and how whites, as she alleges, smell or have had no cultural or scientific achievements. …

Many whites smell. (Or “stink” as the great lexicographer Samuel Johnson told a lady he did when she complained to him that he “smelt”, while she, he said, was the one who “smelt” – transitive verb, meaning she smelt him). But (to state the obvious for the average American Lefty who may have some academic degrees but has learnt little and cannot even spell) whites are responsible for most of the scientific achievements that have made our lives longer and better and our civilization great. The old Greeks who launched science were white. Isaac Newton who relaunched science and so also the Enlightenment, was white. The Age of Science began then and is with us still.  As for other cultural achievements …

What’s that you say, Ms. Jeong? Shakespeare was black, and actually a woman? Einstein too? Good grief, we never knew!

In the text message trove of disgraced FBI operatives Lisa Page and Peter Strzok there was the same sort of barnyard contempt. Georgetown graduate Strzok claimed to Page that a local Virginia Walmart “smelled” of Trump voters—a progressive stereotype of white Neanderthals that is increasingly freely expressed.

In another government text, an unidentified FBI agent, assigned to the Hillary Clinton email investigation, had written of the Trump voters that they were “lazy POS that think we will magically grant them jobs for doing nothing.”

Again, demonizing the Trump voter as beyond cultural redemption is nothing new. During the 2016 campaign, Hillary Clinton infamously dismissed Trump supporters as “deplorables” who were“irredeemable” and were “not America”.

In some sense, the rebranded Clinton simply continued where Barack Obama had left off in his denunciations of the “bitter clingers” of Pennsylvania, who were prone to simplistic trust in their guns and religion and, out of insecurity, scapegoated others.

When Obama periodically wrote off Americans as “lazy” and ignorant of the world beyond them (this, from another Harvard law graduate who thought Hawaii was in Asia and Austrians spoke “Austrian”), he was, to use a progressive metaphor, dog whistling the themes of his clingers speech.

Elites are confident that there is nothing either ethically wrong or career-endangering in smearing middle-class Trump supporters with such crude stereotypes.

When pundits on television go after Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), they inevitably resort to attacking his Tulare roots, and his dairy-farm upbringing (“A former dairy farmer”; “way over his head”; “nothing in his résumé that would have qualified him for the post”, etc.) to claim that he is mismatched by Harvard-trained Adam Schiff. Again, how strange that egalitarians always revert to base snobbery and class stereotypes in lieu of an argument or an idea. …

Jeong is a Harvard Law graduate. Strzok has a master’s degree from Georgetown. The ridicule of the white working class by NeverTrump conservative pundits is read on the pages of the nation’s premier newspapers or voiced in hallowed symposia.

Is such ignorance of an entire class because of, or in spite of such, elite training?

Does the university-bred cursus honorarium have room for real-world experience beyond the campus and laptop?

Has Jeong ever worked welding alongside the grandchildren of Dust Bowl diaspora to adjudicate their actual skin-colored advantage? Did her class and gender studies work at Harvard Law constitute a tougher curriculum than a 12-hour shift at Denny’s? Is the soybean jack-of-all-trades farmer really denser than the Yale English major?

Which reminds us of this best of all satires ever. We cannot resist re-posting it:


A birth to celebrate on December 25 4

December 25 is a date that should be celebrated as the birthday of one of the greatest men who ever lived.  

Isaac Newton was born on December 25, 1642. He died on March 20, 1727.

The date of his birthday changed to January 4, 1643, when England adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1752, twenty-five years after Newton’s death.

As he celebrated his birthday on December 25, we do too.

The arms of Sir Isaac Newton

Posted under History, Science by Jillian Becker on Friday, December 21, 2012

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Man said, “let there be light” 0

Christianity brought a thousand years of darkness down on Europe. Historically it proved to be one of the three cruelest creeds ever to afflict poor suffering mankind (the other two being Islam and Socialism in all its ruinous forms.)

The best thing that ever happened to the human race was the Enlightenment.

Joel Mokyr, professor of Economics and History at Northwestern University, has an article in City Journal which reminds us what it did for us all.

Here are parts of it:

The most hardy and irreversible effect of the Enlightenment [is]: it made us rich. It is by now a cliché to note how much better twenty-first-century people live than even the kings of three centuries back. In thousands of large and small things, material life today is immeasurably better than ever before. …  And without sounding too cocky about how progressive history is, or too triumphalist about Western culture as the crowning achievement of human development, I would like to suggest that what generated all this prosperity was the growth of certain ideas in the century after the British Glorious Revolution of 1688. …

The writers and thinkers whose work we call the Enlightenment were a motley crew of philosophers, scientists, mathematicians, physicians, and other intellectuals. They differed on many topics, but most of them agreed that improvement of the human condition was both possible and desirable. This sounds trite to us, but it is worth pointing out that in 1700, few people on this planet had much reason to believe that their lives would ever get better. For most, life was not much less short, brutish, and nasty than it had been 1,000 years earlier. The vicious religious wars that Europe had suffered for many decades had not improved things, and though there had been a few advances — the wider availability of books, for instance … — their impact on the overall quality of life remained marginal. An average Briton born in 1700 could expect to live about 35 years, spending his days doing hard physical work and his nights in a cold, crowded, vermin-ridden home.

Against this grim backdrop, Enlightenment philosophers developed a belief in the capability of what they called “useful knowledge” to advance the state of humanity. The most influential proponent of this belief was the earlier English philosopher Francis Bacon, who had emphasized that knowledge of the physical environment was the key to material progress: “We cannot command Nature except by obeying her,” he wrote in 1620 in his New Organon. The agenda of what we would call “research and development” began to expand from the researcher’s interest alone … to include the hope that one day his knowledge could be put to good use. In 1671, one of the most eminent scientists of the age, Robert Boyle, wrote that “there is scarce any considerable physical truth, which is not, as it were, teeming with profitable inventions, and may not by human skill and industry, be made the fruitful mother of divers things useful.” The idea spread to other nations. …

To bring about the progress that they envisioned—to solve pragmatic problems of industry, agriculture, medicine, and navigation—European scientists realized that they needed to accumulate a solid body of knowledge and that this required, above all, reliable communications. They churned out encyclopedias, compendiums, dictionaries, and technical volumes—the search engines of their day—in which useful knowledge was organized, cataloged, classified, and made as available as possible. One of these tomes was Diderot’s Encyclopédie, perhaps the Enlightenment document par excellence. The age of Enlightenment was also the age of the “Republic of Science,” a transnational, informal community in which European scientists relied on an epistolary network to read, critique, translate, and sometimes plagiarize one another’s ideas and work.

The idea of material progress through the expansion of useful knowledge — what historians today call the Baconian program — slowly took root. The Royal Society, founded in London in 1660, was explicitly based on Bacon’s ideas. Its purpose, it claimed, was “to improve the knowledge of naturall things, and all useful Arts, Manufactures, Mechanick practises, Engines, and Inventions by Experiments.” But the movement experienced a veritable spurt during the eighteenth century, when private organizations were established throughout Britain to build bridges between those who knew things and those who made things. …

More and more manufacturers sought the advice of scientists and mathematicians …

The Baconian program proved unusually successful in Britain, and hence it led the world in industrial innovation. There were many reasons for this, not the least of them England’s union with Scotland in 1707. … The Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow were the Scottish Enlightenment’s versions of Harvard and MIT: rivals up to a point, but cooperating in generating the useful knowledge underlying new technology. They employed some of the greatest minds of the time—above all, Adam Smith. The philosopher David Hume, a friend of Smith’s, was twice denied a tenured professorship on account of his heterodox [ie atheist] beliefs. In an earlier age, he might have been in trouble with the law; but in enlightened Scotland, he lived a peaceful life as a librarian and civil servant. Another Scot and friend of Smith’s, Adam Ferguson, introduced the concept of civil society. Scotland did not just produce philosophers, either; it also exported to England many of its most talented engineers and chemists, above all James Watt. …

Optimism continued to abound about the potential of useful knowledge to improve the world. In 1780, one of the greatest figures of the Enlightenment, Benjamin Franklin, wrote in a letter that “the rapid progress true Science now makes, occasions my regretting sometimes that I was born so soon. It is impossible to imagine the Height to which may be carried, in a thousand years, the Power of Man over Matter…”

The age of Enlightenment, of course, was also the age of Newton, whose discoveries made it possible to understand the movement of heavenly bodies. …

Advances in medicine proved similarly sporadic. Enlightened physicians were passionate about progress. How could they not be? Twenty out of every 100 babies perished in their first year; many young and talented women and men died prematurely of dreaded disease; adult life was often a sequence of disfiguring and debilitating sicknesses. “I see no reason to doubt that, by taking advantage of various and continual accessions as they accrue to science, the same power will be acquired over living, as it is at present exercised over some inanimate bodies,” wrote Thomas Beddoes, a learned English medic, in 1793. And there was at least one major success story in his lifetime: Edward Jenner’s discovery of the smallpox vaccine three years later. …

The Enlightenment’s contributions to long-term economic growth were not merely scientific, moreover. Many economists … have begun to see Enlightenment economic and political ideas as central to the process. … The idea that trade normally benefits both sides led to the growth of free trade after 1815 and was central to the establishment of free-trade areas in Europe and elsewhere after 1950. That understanding grew out of the Enlightenment and the thinking of such intellectual giants as Smith and Hume.

Even more important was the Enlightenment notion of freedom of expression. In our age, we think of technological change as natural and obvious; indeed, we consider its absence a source of concern. Not so in the past: inventors were seen as disrespectful, rebelling against the existing order, threatening the stability of the regime and the Church, and jeopardizing employment. In the eighteenth century, this notion slowly began to give way to tolerance, to the belief that those with odd notions should be allowed to subject them to a market test. Many novel ideas were experimented with, especially in medicine, in which new ways to fight disease were constantly being proposed and tried … Words like “heretic” to describe innovators began to disappear.

The Enlightenment, sadly, did not end barbarism and violence. But it did end poverty in much of the world that embraced it. Once the dust settled after the upheavals and violence of the French Revolution, Europe entered a century of economic growth (known as the pax Britannica) punctuated by a few relatively short and local wars. By 1914, countries that had experienced some kind of Enlightenment had become rich and industrialized, while those that had not, or that had resisted it successfully (such as Spain and Russia), remained behind. The “club” of rich countries formed the core of the industrialized world for most of the twentieth century.

As unlikely as it may seem, then, a fairly small community of intellectuals in a small corner of eighteenth-century Europe changed world history. Not only did they agree on the desirability of progress; they wrote a detailed program of how to implement it and then, astoundingly, carried it through. Today, we enjoy material comforts, access to information and entertainment, better health, seeing practically all our children reach adulthood (even if we elect to have fewer of them), and a reasonable expectation of many years in leisurely and economically secure retirement. … Without the Enlightenment, they would not have happened.

As David Hume did, so also Baruch Spinoza (not mentioned by Mokyr, but hugely important to his theme) unlocked the chains of religion – Christianity, Judaism, and belief in the supernatural generally – that bound mankind in superstitious dread, for those who let them.

The ideas of freedom and tolerance that inspired, and are enshrined in, the Constitution of the United States are essentially Enlightenment ideas.

Now, countering the real progress that the Enlightenment launched, socialist “progressivism” is threatening freedom, the gift of the Enlightenment out of which all others proceed.

And even more threatening is the ideology of Islam: a darkness never penetrated by the Enlightenment.

Will we let either or both succeed in bringing back the darkness?