Friday, June 7, 2013

Odds and end 6/7/2013

Let’s begin with IRS scandal fallout. Ross Kaminsky of the American Spectator sounds off:

Money will find its way into politics as long as politicians involve themselves in money. While the federal government is picking winners and losers, crushing competitors, giving earmarks (even if just called stimulus spending), it will be in the interest of many to try to influence the process.

The answer to “too much money in politics” — and the answer to so many problems caused by the federal government — is to substantially reduce the federal government’s involvement in the private sector and in the lives of Americans.

James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal:

What we are witnessing now is not a crisis of democracy but a crisis of authority. The administrative state, in thrall to a decadent cultural elite, has lost the consent of the governed.

Mark T. Mitchell of Front Porch Republic:

How to tame a minotaur whose essence is to devour? How to redirect a force whose mass is orders of magnitude larger than any one person and whose momentum has been uni-directional for decades? On the one hand, our democratic republic is a system that is intended to be responsive to the people. The Founders placed checks on the process, but they believed that the will of the majority would eventually prevail. On the other hand, from the start, power began moving toward the center and despite the warnings of various writers along the way, the steady centralization of power has been the persistent theme of our history. We have not been attentive enough to the basic fact that power, itself, tends toward centralization and that, as Tocqueville put it, the longer a democracy endures, the more centralized its power will become.

Our feeling of impotence and anger in the face of such obvious and serious problems is a toxic combination that can lead to either complacency on the one hand or revolution on the other. Neither option is compatible with ordered self-government. A democracy can only thrive when people perceive themselves as citizens with real voices who can effect real change. I fear that many Americans today see themselves primarily as subjects or beneficiaries or even victims but not as citizens.

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Until the entire centralized, bureaucratized system is restructured to conform to the shape and scale of human affairs, all we have in our defense are lawyers threatening to sue. It’s some comfort. But not much.

Jonathan Turley in the Washington Post:

President Obama insisted he knew nothing about major decisions in the State Department, or the Justice Department, or the Internal Revenue Service. The heads of those agencies, in turn, insisted they knew nothing about major decisions by their subordinates. It was as if the government functioned by some hidden hand.

An invisible hand, you might say. The invisible hand of human instinct, of liberals defending their turf from small-government types.

“Do you think people willing to sacrifice lucrative private sector careers to work in tax administration...are genuinely going to support the party directed by Grover Norquist?” –IRS employee

John Eastman writes in USA Today:

For months before March 2012, the pro-gay marriage [Human Rights Campaign] had been demanding that my group, [National Organization for Marriage], publicly identify its major donors, something that NOM and many other non-profits refuse to do. The reason is simple. In the past, gay marriage advocates have used such information to launch campaigns of intimidation against traditional marriage supporters.

Just as gay marriage proponents were demanding the information, the IRS appears to have illegally given them exactly what they were looking for. The tax return released by the HRC contained the names and addresses of dozens of major donors to NOM. And there's little doubt where the documents came from. The tax returns contained internal coding added by the IRS after the returns were originally submitted.

This is a trend. I left this on the cutting room floor of “Internal Reconnaissance Service”:

In 2012, the Maryland Marriage Alliance started a petition to put the definition of marriage on the November ballot. The Maryland Board of Elections published the names and addresses of over 100,000 signatories. A faculty member at Galludet University found the name of Angela McCaskill, chief diversity officer at Galludet, on the petition and filed a complaint with the university. The university president placed McCaskill on paid leave while publicly condemning the petition’s goal of letting the people of Maryland decide—as opposed to the government—whether to redefine marriage. (She was reinstated 3 months later.)

John Stemberger of OnMyHonor.net writes about the Boy Scouts’ capitulation to the gay mafia:

The Boy Scouts of America has a logo that bears the phrase ‘Timeless Values.’ Today, the BSA can no longer use this phrase in good faith. It has demonstrated by its actions that the organization’s values are not timeless, and instead they are governed by changing tides of polls, politics and public opinion.

The saddest part of today’s decision is what the organization is teaching our children and young people in the program.

The BSA is teaching our kids that when your values become unpopular, just change them.

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The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to “prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Scout Law.”

BSA is teaching our kids through its new mission that we don’t make ethical and moral choices through the values of the Scout Oath and Scout Law but we make them like an unprincipled politician does, by putting your finger in the air and seeing which way the wind is blowing or by looking at the latest polling results.

Russell Moore of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission:

This change is more than this. It doesn’t speak in terms of temptations but in terms of the claiming of a sexually politicized identity as morally neutral.

Mark Tooley:

A male-only organization still steadfastly devoted to Victorian masculinity and Christian virtues could have become ruggedly countercultural and therefore appealing to many youth no doubt bored by their often emasculated schools and churches. Instead, the BSA corporate culture seems determined to echo the preening voice of the sort of nagging school guidance counselor whom every adolescent boy dreads and seeks to avoid.

Keith Pavlischek writes about just war at the Institute on Religion & Democracy:

[Vitoria] argues that although one can never intentionally kill the innocent in war, one may nevertheless engage in actions that will in all likelihood [emphasis mine] kill the innocent so long as those deaths are accidental in the sense of not being intended. He gives the example of besieging a city and attacking it with artillery and fire. Such actions, he asserts, will cause the death of innocents, but they are permissible so long as they are necessary to attain victory (recall the notion of “proportionality” mentioned above) and the death of the innocents is neither intended, nor or desired.

Joan C. Williams worries about workplace “inequality” in the Harvard Business Review:

This “long hours problem,” analyzed so insightfully by Robin Ely and Irene Padavic, is a key reason why the percentage of women in top jobs has stalled at about 14 percent, a number that has barely budged in the past decade. We can’t expect progress when the fast track that leads to top jobs requires a time commitment that excludes most mothers — and by extension, most women.

Curse you, biology!

Not only is work devotion a “class act” – a way of enacting class status – it’s also a certain way of being a “real” man. Working long hours is seen as a “heroic activity,” noted Cynthia Fuchs Epstein and her co-authors in their 1999 study of lawyers. Marianne Cooper’s study of engineers in Silicon Valley closely observes how working long hours turns pencil pushing or computer keyboarding into a manly test of physical endurance. “There’s a kind of machismo culture that you don’t sleep,” one father told her. “Successful enactment of this masculinity,” Cooper concludes, “involves displaying one’s exhaustion, physically and verbally, in order to convey the depth of one’s commitment, stamina, and virility.”

Alas. sexual capital.

Erick Erickson and Lou Dobbs dish out straight wisdom on this issue, and Megyn Kelly can’t handle it.

Defending Erickson, Neal Dewing opens up about his own marriage:

[Men and women] have different motivations, different priorities, and different ways of understanding and engaging with the world. Part of what makes a man different is an imperative, articulated or not, to provide for his own. The act of providing tells him that he is essential in a way that words cannot. Women derive satisfaction from the security a man provides and men derive satisfaction from the act of providing that security. At the very least a man likes to feel useful.

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The other day on Twitter I decided to share a bit of personal history in response to the near-universal denouncement of Erickson and his views.

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I remember that when I finally, finally earned more money than my wife there was an actual sensation of a weight being lifted.

It's a petty metric, who makes more. But what really made a difference to me was how my wife looked at me when I became the provider.


Concerned about the malaise of the modern man, Brett McKay writes:

There are five switches that every man must turn on in order to power his spiritedness and flip on the motivation that allows him to reach his full potential:
  • Legacy
  • Providing
  • Physicality
  • Nature
  • Challenge

“Please explain why your managers are ordering BUTTER!!!” the apparatchik roared.


Matt Purple flogs bipartisanship at the American Spectator:

Imagine a line with two poles at the end, one labeled “liberal” and the other labeled “conservative.” Simply because a law occupies a median point on the line doesn’t mean that it’s somehow more virtuous—or even remotely effective.

It’s also misleading to measure conservative and liberal principles on this sort of linear scale. Liberals believe that the federal government should tinker with society to make people’s lives better. Conservatives generally don’t think Congress has any business solving such problems. It’s difficult to argue that a federal law draws from both liberal and conservative principles when conservatives oppose federal intervention in the first place.


Jonah Goldberg reflects on Obama’s commencement address at Ohio State University:

Obama’s vision of America is one with only two meaningful institutions: The individual and the government.

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Self-government is not captured simply by working through the federal bureaucracy in Washington. It starts, to borrow a line from “America the Beautiful,” with the need to confirm thy soul with self-control. It builds from there, through local communities, businesses, congregations, associations etc.

But Obama constantly collapses all levels of civil society and all appeals to community in order to equate them with support for federal initiatives in Washington. Either you’re with the administrative state or you’re on your own. As he said in his push for gun control “government is us.”


Alan Jacobs of the American Conservative comments on subsidiarity:

I believe that almost all of our social evils and shortcomings can be handled better by small, local organizations and empowered persons than by national institutions or for that matter even state-level institutions. There is no question that local communities can be cruel and indifferent to sufferings in their midst, but they are also more subject to shame and other forms of correction than high-level political systems. They can be more easily altered, turned, reformed. A great deal of suffering in America today is caused by the evacuation of intermediary structures: the church, the family, voluntary organizations. These intermediary structures are in desperate need of renewal and that can only happen if there is a systematic shift of power, wealth, and influence from state and national governments to local units.

At Public Discourse, Julia Shaw revisits a dark time in American history: the 2012 presidential election. She quotes the book After Hope and Change:

Apart from his image problem, Romney’s strategy was incomplete. “It was not enough to point to unemployment figures, which were themselves improving,” the authors write. Romney “needed to offer an alternative explanation for the 2008 financial crises and make a case for why continuing economic troubles should be laid at Obama’s feet. This adaptation, however, would have forced him further into the uncomfortable terrain of ideas.”

For perspective, read my second debate review. Excerpt:

Elections aren’t just about winning, they’re also about changing people’s minds. Most Americans know we’re headed in the wrong direction. What many of them don’t know is why.

The presidential debates are Mitt Romney’s opportunity to tell them, but he is not up to the task. His debate strategy is to eschew points of contrast and just hammer away at President Obama’s record. For example, it’s not clear how Romney’s “all-of-the-above” energy policy differs from Obama’s, but Obama’s version is evidently worse because of the skyrocketing price of gas. Hey, the proof is in the pudding.

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Whether Romney wins or not, I’ll remember these debates as squandered opportunities. Never before have Republicans had such a large audience so eager to hear the truth. The town hall format in particular affords us a chance to connect our message personally, to describe the effects of conservative reforms on real people.


Also at Public Discourse, Valerie Huber and Greg Pfundstein take on negative reaction to abstinence education:

Each teen deserves the caring encouragement to wait for sex. They deserve to have their dignity affirmed, along with their lack of culpability if they were sexually victimized.

Sounds familiar:

When a woman is raped, does she lose her sexual purity?

Not if her sexual purity is a function of her consent, which I argue it is.

...

The rapist does not “steal” a girl’s virginity. Technically he is her first; the evidence is left on her wounded body. But he cannot steal what can only be given. He cannot steal her heart.


Marcus Brotherton writes on neighborliness:

Something changes between the days of being a guy and the days of being a man. When it comes to where he lives, an immature man tends to see his neighborhood only as a place to hang his hat. But a mature man sees his neighborhood as a place he helps create.

It’s in every man’s best interest to live in the best neighborhood he can. And by “best neighborhood,” I don’t mean a gated community filled with McMansions. I mean a neighborhood filled with belonging, identity, empathy, understanding, and a strong sense of community.


Over at the American Prospect, Paul Waldman tries to explain the liberal media’s ratings funk. Shorter version:

Fox News predictably enters Waldman’s crosshairs:

Fox’s continued success is a testament to the fact that anger is what keeps their audience coming back. As Palpatine says to Anakin, “I can feel your anger. It gives you focus. Makes you stronger.”

I prefer Jonas Hodges’ version: “Stress is the fertilizer of creativity.”

Doofus E.J. Dionne moans: “What is President Obama fighting for? What is the point of his second term?” The point is to administrate the Leviathan and hold the office for the next socialist.


Larry Thornberry of the American Spectator has the right take on the “Gang of 8” immigration bill:

There are only two sure consequences of the current 800-page immigration hairball before Congress. The first is that a minimum of 11 million citizens of other countries, more Mexicans than anyone else, will become permanent, undeportable residents of the U.S., and can immediately begin working to get all their relations here. Second, the bill, if we are foolish enough to pass it, would create a powerful incentive for millions more south of the border to come here once word gets around that if you can sneak into El Norte now, you’re here to stay.

None of the other stuff will happen – the sweeteners that open-borders advocates are buffaloing the marks with: border security, back taxes, fines, no welfare, English proficiency. These things won’t happen because we lack both the bureaucratic infrastructure and the political will to do them.

One party doesn’t want to do these things, or anything else that would staunch the flow of undocumented Democrats into El Norte and thereby into American voting booths. A disturbingly high fraction of the other party will not oppose this invasion and capitulation of sovereignty because they are terrified of being called anti-Hispanic. Of course, insisting on sovereignty, enforceable borders, and standards for citizenship is not anti-anyone. But that’s not the way it will be played by the media, Democrats, and various Hispanic indignation groups.


Boy genius Michael W. Hannon echoes “Paradigm of place” in this Public Discourse review of Rod Dreher’s biography of his sister:

Having cut the ties that bind us geographically, we have become in many ways a placeless people. We have lost what St. Benedict called “stability,” man’s permanent attachment to a particular home in this life. “St. Benedict considered the kinds of monks who moved from place to place all the time to be the worst of all,” Dreher recounts. “They refused the discipline of place and community, and because of that, they could never know humility. Without humility, they could never be happy.”

Dreher reminisces:

I was under the illusion that if only I could make it to the right place, All Would Be Well. Now I know that while some places are more conducive to happiness and harmony than others, there is no place in the world in which all will be well.

I realized that shortly after I moved back to Texas, and it was a big part of my turning to God.


I’m a big San Antonio Spurs fan. No, it’s not because I live in San Antonio. I grew up in Corpus Christi, and half my fandom has been endured in faraway Maryland, listening to Bill Schoening’s radio broadcasts between nationally televised games on ESPN and TNT. It’s because of the “boring” Tim Duncan. Following his quietly successful, Hall-of-Fame career has been a delight and an inspiration. He’s one of the constants in my life, like breathing and quality Chris Nolan movies.

At Pounding the Rock, Trey Felder, lifelong Spurs fan, basks in appreciation of his team:

Father Time, of course, will eventually finish the job on Old Man Riverwalk’s professional career on the hardwood, and perhaps we’ll yet see Timmy languish in the throes of a pedestrian finale to a glorious tenure. But right here, right now, is the time to admire the unqualified success of not only this season, but also of the career of the greatest legend to don the Silver and Black.

Taylor Young gets sentimental:

I've been forced to grow up a lot this past year, graduating college, starting to work, becoming a husband, and just this week I moved to a new town where I literally know nobody. But my first week in this new town has been met with an excitement and familiarity from my childhood. Not all that I grew up with is lost, even though the places and faces around me are different. Because my Spurs (yeah MY Spurs) are in the NBA Finals. I watched Avery Johnson bury a dagger in the hearth of the Knicks when I was nine years old and proceeded to dance with joy in my parents living room. And when this series against the Miami Heat concludes I will either dance with joy or feel like I've been stabbed in the heart. Because at 9, 13, 23, 33 and 73 I love this team, and they are one of the biggest familiarities in a life where everything changes.

At 48 Minutes of Hell, Andrew McNeil marvels at Duncan’s and Coach Gregg Popovich’s relationship:

Popovich sat Duncan, who looked like he was dragging in the second half, at a time when most coaches wouldn’t have the job security or the stones to do it.

I’ve been more nervous about how people would react to jokes I send out over Twitter.

“I just made that choice,” Pop said after the game with regards to if there was anything physically wrong with the Fundamental, indicating that the decision was based solely on how Duncan was playing.

And Duncan accepted it, trusting that Pop’s decision was what was best for the team. I can’t imagine Duncan was happy with it, he’s so competitive that I’m sure he wanted to be out there, and was likely angry he wasn’t. But not liking a decision is a totally different matter than not accepting it. Duncan accepted it, and the Spurs were better for it.


John Goodman (no, not the actor) predicts a two-tiered healthcare system:

We are about to see a huge increase in the demand for care and a major decrease in the supply. In any other market, that would cause prices to soar. But government plans to control costs (even more so than in the past) by vigorously suppressing provider fees and the private insurers are likely to resist fee increases as well. That means we are going to have a rationing problem. Just as in Canada or Britain, we are going to experience rationing by waiting.

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Those who can afford to will find a way to get to the head of the line. For a little less than $2,000 a year, for example, seniors on Medicare can contract with a concierge doctor. These doctors promise prompt access to care and usually talk with their patients by telephone and email. They serve as an advocate for their patients, in much the same way as an attorney is an advocate for his client.

But every time a doctor becomes a concierge doctor, he (or she) leaves an old practice serving about 2,500 patients and takes only about 500 patients into the concierge practice. (More attention means fewer patients.) That means about 2,000 patients now must find a new physician.

Because the two tiers of health care will compete with each other for resources, the growth of the first tier will make rationing by waiting even more pronounced in the second tier. As a result, waiting times in the second tier could easily exceed those in Canada.


The moral basis of law has been supplanted by a health basis. Thus does Starbucks advocate same-sex marriage while banning smoking within 25 feet of its stores. Health is the new morality. And morality is passé.

“I don’t think we’ve had a continuous problem with anybody, not being considerate. I mean...people are adults. And you know, they’re smart and courteous,” said Jake Paleschic.

Apparently not, Jake. If they were, we wouldn’t need nannies to tell us not to blow cigarette smoke in each others’ faces.


The Daily Caller runs down the examples of gun hysteria at schools across the country. Try to hold your breath from beginning to end.

A six-year-old boy was punished because he took a plastic Lego gun roughly the size of a quarter on a school bus headed to Old Mill Pond Elementary School in Palmer, Mass.

An eighth-grader in West Virginia was suspended and, astonishingly, arrested after he refused to remove a t-shirt supporting the National Rifle Association returned to school on Monday. The courageous 14-year-old then returned to school wearing exactly the same shirt, which depicts a hunting rifle with the statement “protect your right.”

Officials at an elementary school in small-town Michigan impounded a third-grader boy’s batch of 30 homemade birthday cupcakes because they were adorned with green plastic figurines representing World War Two soldiers. The school principal branded the military-themed cupcakes “insensitive” in light of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

At Genoa-Kingston Middle School in northeast Illinois, a teacher threatened an eighth-grader with suspension if he did not remove his t-shirt emblazoned with the interlocking rifles insignia of the United States Marines.

At Park Elementary School in Baltimore, Maryland, a student was suspended for two days because his teacher thought he shaped a strawberry, pre-baked toaster pastry into something resembling a gun.

At Poston Butte High School in Arizona, a high school freshman was suspended for setting a picture of a gun as the desktop background on his school-issued computer.

At D. Newlin Fell School in Philadelphia, school officials reportedly yelled at a student and then searched her in front of her class after she was found with a paper gun her grandfather had made for her.

In rural Pennsylvania, a kindergarten girl was suspended after she told another girl that she planned to shoot her with a pink Hello Kitty toy gun that bombards targets with soapy bubbles.

At Roscoe R. Nix Elementary School in Maryland, a six-year-old boy was suspended for making the universal kid sign for a gun, pointing at another student and saying “pow.” That boy’s suspension was later lifted and his name cleared.

Whew! Did you make it?


In the American Spectator, Lewis E. Lehrman goes Gilder (re: “Numbers on a screen”):

Along with the wheel, money joined parochial communities to one another, enlarging the fellowship of production by trade. In a mere 4,000 years, money transformed the closed economy of the tribe into the open and integrated economy of the whole world. Money became the permanent link among work, family, past, and future. It was no less than the lifeblood of an enduring culture, the hemoglobin of commercial civilization.

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Because money is based on trust, it entails moral obligation. Not all forms of money are equally acceptable to free men; those without real substance tend to break down, leading to depreciation of value, decline in long-term purchasing power, and ultimately disorder.

Inflation means the destruction of an essential instrument of the marketplace: the political institution of stable, trustworthy money—which is to say, money that preserves purchasing power over the long term. The endurance of civilization is linked to a stable monetary standard. Inflation or monetary depreciation entails a price revolution. It often precedes, and indeed it may cause, a more thoroughgoing political revolution.

Inflation prevails in America and the world today because of a breakdown of the institutions of trust that convertibility to gold once provided for the dollar.

What does it mean to “go Gilder,” you ask? It means to bathe in the shocking light of truth, appreciating the weightiness of inspired revelation, usually aided by an extended metaphor.


Hannah Rosin’s The End of Men continues to garner attention, this time from Elizabeth Scalia at First Things. The first two paragraphs quote Rosin.

“To put it crudely, feminist progress right now largely depends on the existence of the hookup culture. And to a surprising degree, it is women—not men—who are perpetuating the culture, especially in school, cannily manipulating it to make space for their success, always keeping their own ends in mind.

“For college girls these days, an overly serious suitor fills the same role an accidental pregnancy did in the 19th century: a danger to be avoided at all costs, lest it get in the way of a promising future.”

In other words, women have succeeded in becoming the men they hated.

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In her upcoming book Men on Strike, [Helen] Smith offers up statistics and her own research to suggest that men are consciously boycotting marriage, fatherhood, and the “American Dream” because they feel beaten down by politically correct preferences and practices—in school, in the workplace, and in society in general. If the women want the world and all the power, the thinking goes, they can have it; the men will simply retire to whatever man-caves they are permitted.


Ross Douthat touches on the paradigm of place:

It’s easy to assume that America’s current crisis of community — the fragmentation of family life, the retreat from civic and religious engagement — is related to people being too quick to pull up stakes and leave their existing communities behind. But the surprising reality is that the recent weakening of social ties has coincided with a decline in mobility.

“Nothing precedes God, but family does come before faith, at least from the standpoint of each new family member.” –Brad Miner

Lars Walker offers this nugget in an American Spectator piece on the Bible’s presence in the civil society:

As Paul Johnson notes in Modern Times, moral relativism always leads to Totalitarianism. Because in a morally relative age, power alone can settle any question.

In reaction to the Moore, Oklahoma, tornado strike, Dave Sterrett airs out the problem of evil in the Washington Post:

Natural disasters and so-called problems of evils, are not just something for the Christian to try to answer, but a reality that every worldview, whether atheist, Buddhist, Muslim or agnostic, should consider.

Christian Philosopher Norman Geisler points out that, “The infinite power and perfection of God guarantee the eventual defeat of evil. The fact that it is not yet accomplished in no way diminishes the certainty that it will be defeated. Even though evil cannot be destroyed without destroying free choice, nonetheless, it can be overcome.”

Human beings may not know all the answers of “why” God allows natural disasters or other evils in the universe. Although we personally would prefer that such disasters never occurred in the universe, we recognize intellectually that angry feelings towards tornadoes does not logically disprove God’s existence. Religious individuals who have rationale for affirming non-physical realities like “evil” also affirm non-physical realities of “hope” and “love.” Ethicists acknowledge that many of the virtues such as “helping” and “courage” would not exist unless there was evil and privation.

MaryAnn McKibben Dana writes in the Christian Century:

Who is this God who makes it all better? Who punishes the wicked and rewards the good with uncanny precision? Tell me, New Atheists, about the God you don’t believe in. I don’t believe in that God either.

And yet, like Wiman, I continue to wrestle in faith, even though conclusions are increasingly hard to come by. I continue because there is heart-wrenching beauty happening in Oklahoma—it’s in the caring efficiency of hospitals and shelters; it’s in the scrabbling through the rubble; it’s in embraces between neighbors. That beauty is not the work of God. That beauty is God. That’s all I can say for certain… and even that’s not very certain at all.


“Without a moral framework, there is nothing left but immediate self-indulgence by some and the path of least resistance by others. Neither can sustain a free society. Disruptive activists indulge their egos in the name of idealism and others cave rather than fight.” –Thomas Sowell

“There are really two choices before us as we think about the future of jobs in an age of information. Either most human beings are about to become economically obsolete, or the information economy can find a use for their talent and hard work. Much depends on which of these two pictures turns out to be the best description of the future.” –Walter Russell Mead

The latter, please.


George Friedman of Stratfor sounds the alarm from Spain:

To our 22-year-old in Spain, the debate has become irrelevant. He is broke, scared and bored – not something you want a mass of young men to be. That is the point at which history turns. Over time, they become men with nothing to lose; they become violent men, trying to reshape the order by any means necessary. Looking around the violent parts of the world, it is young men with nothing to lose and fantasies of glory, led by older men who understand them and their needs, who wage the civil wars that tear countries apart.

The same happened in Europe after World War I. Sometimes the disaffected youth turn to crime, sometimes they turn to political crime and sometimes they become a political party. In Europe, it was a generation that felt betrayed by World War I, then an older generation crushed by unemployment and inflation and finally a younger generation with nothing left to lose. Then came World War II and the stunned realization that there were indeed things left to lose.


There is a hint of “Hey, you dropped your bag” in Anthony Lane’s rundown of the Woolwich murder in the New Yorker:

As the speaker delivers his peroration, a middle-aged woman approaches from behind, pulling her cart, passing him, and carrying on by. She either does not notice what is happening, or prefers not to, or pretends not to, and who can blame her? We cling to the dictum voiced by W. H. Auden, that suffering “takes place / While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along.”

“One reason the idea of gay marriage, or ‘marriage equality,’ spread so fast is that it seems obvious once you think about it.” –Michael Kinsley

Support for same-sex marriage requires no thought. It requires unthought, a deconstruction of millennia of ethos.


The execrable Mayor Michael Bloomberg opines in the UK Guardian:

New York City embodies America’s commitment to freedom and opportunity, diversity and tolerance, and that is why we remain such a magnet for immigrants, visitors and investors. People want to live in places where they are free to be themselves – to practise their religion as they wish, to express their political views as they wish, and to love and marry whom they wish.

But if you want to drink a large soda, formula-feed your newborn child, or smoke a cigarette, New York City is not for you.

“Freedom” to live off the welfare state, “opportunity” to have the rules of your business dictated to you by middling bureaucrats, “diversity” without integration and shared love of country, and “tolerance” except for the traditional moral categories that make everyday life possible. Have I got that about right, Hizzoner?

I like Daniel Greenfield’s to describe Bloomberg’s vein of despotism: “nudgery.”


Jason Richwine acquits himself:

There is absolutely no racial or ethnic agenda in my dissertation. Nothing in it suggests that any groups are “inferior” to any others, nor is there any call to base immigration policy on ethnicity. In fact, I argue for individual IQ selection as a way to identify bright people who do not have access to a university education in their home countries.

To see how the furor over my dissertation is so inextricably linked to today’s heated debate over immigration, consider that no less a mainstream-media institution than the New York Times reported on some of my dissertation’s ideas in 2009. The newspaper’s Idea of the Day blog discussed my proposal for IQ selection in neutral terms. No moral panic ensued. What’s different now is that immigration reform is at stake, and the whole conversation is hopelessly politicized.

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A student petition is currently circulating that calls on the Harvard administration to reject all scholarship based on “doctrines” that the signers don’t like. The petition, which at last count had nearly 1,000 signatures, isn’t just shameful, it’s worrisome. Many of these students will come to positions of national leadership, yet they openly oppose intellectual freedom. Going forward, I wonder what other thoughts they will seek to ban.


You can’t make this up (hat tip College Insurrection):

A student’s bid to become associate vice president of diversity and inclusion at Northwestern University was derailed last Wednesday over accusations that his status as a white heterosexual male would make it impossible for him to perform the position’s duties.

The Wednesday hearing began with student senator Jesse Seitz reportedly asking the nominee, Stephen Piotrkowski, how he could possibly interact and serve a minority community as a white male.

Piotrkowski reportedly attempted to appeal to the Student Senate on the grounds that he identifies as a religious minority and has a lesbian sister, but it was to no avail.

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