Sunday, May 4, 2014

Odds and ends 5/4/2014

It’s been a bitter week in the news. Here’s a reminder of what God wills us to live for:


Only if Britons lost the will and the virtue to lead themselves would they submit to the tyranny of an ever greater and evermore foreign colossal government.

The UK Telegraph reports:

Under her [Viviane Reding, vice president of the European Commission] plan, the commission would have supremacy over governments and MEPs in the European Parliament would supersede the sovereignty of MPs in the House of Commons.

National leaders, meeting as the European Council, would be reduced to consultative, second chamber role similar to the House of Lords.

Nigel Farage, the leader of Ukip, said that Mrs Reding had revealed the true choice for British voters to make at polling stations.

“For people in power in Brussels that is the only choice on offer, no reform just a United States of Europe. On 22 May the British people must ask themselves if they want this and vote accordingly,” he said.

“I am sure people will say no to this centralist fanaticism.”

I am less than sure.


Hank Aaron laments baseball’s diversity.

“When I first started playing, you had a lot of black players in the major leagues. Now you don’t have any. (7.7 percent of big-leaguers last season). So what progress have we made? You try to understand, but we’re going backward.”

The MLB’s share of black players is regressing towards the mean after spiking in the ’80s, while the last 10 years have witnessed a surge in players from the Caribbean, Central America, South America, and Japan. White players are below 60 percent, less than their share of the population (72 percent).

Speaking of affirmative action, the Supreme Court recently reaffirmed the equal protection clause is optional. James Taranto summarizes:

Scalia and Thomas’s view, thus far joined by no other sitting justice, is that racial discrimination in public-university admissions is flatly unconstitutional. The prevailing view on the court is that such discrimination is permissible, but only for the purpose of realizing “the educational benefits” of a “diverse student body,” as Justice Sandra Day O’Connor put it in Grutter v. Bollinger (2003).

In every other instance, the courts have applied the equal protection clause to overturn state laws that discriminate on the basis of skin pigment. That was its intent. But when states explicitly discriminate to the benefit of minorities, the Court carves out an “educational benefits” exception. O’Connor’s reasoning is that sitting next to a black with a low IQ is going to make you smarter than sitting next to a white with a high IQ.


How could I miss this 2012 post-election Dennis Prager column?

The most widely offered explanation for Mitt Romney's defeat is that the Republican Party is disproportionately composed of—aging—white males.

That is, alas, true.

But the real question is what Republicans should do with this truth.

There are two responses.

The nearly universal response—meaning the response offered by the liberal media and liberal academics (and some Republicans)—is that the Republican Party needs to rethink its positions, moving away from conservatism and toward the political center.

The other response is for conservatives and the Republican Party to embark on a massive campaign to influence, and ultimately change, the values of those groups that voted Democrat.


Mark Steyn eviscerates Brandeis University:

At Brandeis University, we are learning the hierarchy of the new multiculti caste system. In theory, Ayaan Hirsi Ali is everything the identity-group fetishists dig: female, atheist, black, immigrant. If conservative white males were to silence a secular women’s rights campaigner from Somalia, it would be proof of the Republican party’s ‘war on women’, or the encroaching Christian fundamentalist theocracy, or just plain old Andrew Boltian racism breaking free of its redoubt at the Herald Sun to rampage as far as the eye can see. But when the snivelling white male who purports to be president of Brandeis (one Frederick Lawrence) does it out of deference to Islam, Miss Hirsi Ali’s blackness washes off her like a bad dye job on a telly news anchor. White feminist Germaine Greer can speak at Brandeis because, in one of the more whimsical ideological evolutions even by dear old Germaine’s standards, Ms Greer feels that clitoridectomies add to the rich tapestry of ‘cultural identity’: ‘One man’s beautification is another man’s mutilation,’ as she puts it. But black feminist Hirsi Ali, who was on the receiving end of ‘one man’s mutilation’ and lives under death threats because she was boorish enough to complain about it, is too ‘hateful’ to be permitted to speak. In the internal contradictions of multiculturalism, Islam trumps all: race, gender, secularism, everything. So, in the interests of multiculti sensitivity, pampered upper-middle-class trusty-fundy children of entitlement are pronouncing a Somali refugee beyond the pale and signing up to Islamic strictures on the role of women.

The secular powers’ complacency with Islam needs only this explanation: “The enemy (Islam) of my enemy (Christianity) is my friend.” Islam’s complacency with the secular powers is their desire to watch the enemy self-destruct. When post-Christian America is sufficiently weakened, Islam will devour it.


In a piece shaming single mothers (kidding), Robert Maranto and Michael Crouch identify single-parent families as a source of income inequality. They conclude:

Welfare reform beginning in the mid-1990s offered only modest marriage incentives and has been insufficient to change entrenched cultural practices. The change must come from long-term societal transformation on this subject, led by political, educational and entertainment elites, similar to the decades-long movements against racism, sexism—and smoking.

But the first step is to acknowledge the problem.

The second step is as important as the first: identifying the problem’s cause.


As I was researching my abortion article, I learned that nearly all of the fertility rate loss since 1960 occurred by the mid-’70s. As of 2012, there were 19 years with a fertility rate of 66 or lower: three occurred during the ’70s, four during the ’80s, six (consecutive) in the ’90s, three in the 2000s, and three in the 2010s. The ’90s were the worst decade for fertility, but they lagged behind the ’80s and 2000s by less than 1 birth per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44.


In the ’50s and ’60s, the income share of the top decile in America had bottomed out at 33 percent. Then in the ’70s it began a precipitous rise to 48 percent by 2010, abated slightly by the 2008 stock market crash.

The New York Sun editorializes:

Hmmm. What could account for that? Could it be the last broadcast of the “Lawrence Welk Show?” Or the blast off of the Apollo 14 mission to the Moon? Or could it have something to do with the mysterious D.B. Cooper, who bailed out of the plane he hijacked, never to be seen again? A timeline of 1971 offers so many possibilities. But, say, what about the possibility that it was in the middle of 1971, in August, that America closed the gold window at which it was supposed to redeem in specie dollars presented by foreign central banks. That was the default that ended the era of the Bretton Woods monetary system.

That’s the default that opened the age of fiat money. Or the era that President Nixon supposedly summed up in with Milton Friedman’s immortal words, “We’re all Keynesians now.” This is an age that has seen a sharp change in unemployment patterns. Before this date, unemployment was, by today’s standards, low. This was a pattern that held in Europe (these columns wrote about it in “George Soros’ Two Cents”) and in America (“Yellen’s Missing Jobs”). From 1947 to 1971, unemployment in America ran at the average rate of 4.7%; since 1971 the average unemployment rate has averaged 6.4%. Could this have been a factor in the soaring income inequality that also emerged in the age of fiat money?

This is the question the liberals don’t want to discuss, even acknowledge. They are never going to get it out of their heads that the gold standard is a barbarous relic. They have spent so much of their capital ridiculing the idea of honest money that they daren’t open up the question. It doesn’t take a Ph.D. from MIT or Princeton, however, to imagine that in an age of fiat money, the top decile would have an easier time making hay than would the denizens of the other nine deciles, who aren’t trained in the art of swaps and derivatives. We don’t belittle the skills of the top decile. We tend to view them the way we view great baseball players or violinists — heroic figures. Neither do we make a totem out of economic equality; in inequality, after all, are found incentives.

In terms of public policy, though, we favor honest money. It works out better for more people. And there is a moral dimension to the question of honest money. This was a matter that was understood — and keenly felt — by the Founders of America, who almost to a man (Benjamin Franklin, a printer of paper notes, was a holdout), cringed with humiliation at the thought of fiat paper money. They’d tried it in the revolution, and it had been the one embarrassment of the struggle. They eventually gave us a Constitution that they hoped would bar us from ever making the same mistake.


The reason for my instinct to defend Donald Sterling is the liberal mass media is never in total agreement on something unless they are all totally wrong. I don’t know this man. I don’t know Cliven Bundy, either. That doesn’t change that both men were wronged.

J. R. Dunn gives his take at the American Thinker:

In both cases laws were clearly broken to reveal the offending statements. With [Paula] Deen, it was the unauthorized opening of a sealed deposition, with Sterling an illegally acquired recording of himself laying down the law to his mistress. In neither case has any point of this been made by national media. Racism, it seems, is so horrible and unforgiveable that any crime is justified in rooting it out.

Which leads us to the third point: the fact that there is no longer a right to privacy where racism is concerned. Both Deen and Sterling had perfect expectations of privacy. These were violated without a second thought. No such expectation can now be held with regard to racism. As time passes this will be extended to sexism, heterosexism, and the entire politically-correct litany. Anybody who thinks this will not work its way down the ladder from billionaires and media empresses to John and Jane Doe has not yet encountered millennial political ideology in action. Thought control is coming in through the back door, by means of a totally unfettered media structure. Government agencies and departments will not be far behind.

The venal, putrid Jonathan Capehart writes:

The conversations on race we need to have are going to require more courage than what’s on display now. That’s because they will require trust, the ability to listen and an understanding of nuance.

That rule doesn’t apply to the benign comments by Cliven Bundy and Donald Sterling, only to grieving minorities. The proud sinner leaves no room for “understanding of nuance.”

The latest racial nightmares to sweep across the land are at once sickening and fantastic: sickening because of the bald racism expressed by Cliven Bundy and Donald Sterling, fantastic because of the instantaneous and near-universal condemnation of them both.

Maybe it’s the fact that Bundy and Sterling were so blatant that made it easier to see the horror in their words. Whatever the reason, I’m glad that our latest national conversation on race hasn’t slipped into its usual pattern of finger-pointing and excuse-making followed by nothing.

The usual pattern is knee-jerk reaction and politics of personal destruction. Thanks to the tireless work of Capehart et al., Eric Holder’s “nation of cowards” is more cowardly than ever before.

These bullies can’t be bargained with. They’re totalitarians. They won’t tolerate our differences. We must destroy them before they destroy us.

Because Sterling’s mistress kept going there, the cuckolded adulterer did try to explain to her why people would see Instagram pics of her cozying up with black male A-list celebrities in a sexual light. Ready? Here goes: There’s a perception that black men are more sexually aggressive than men of other skin pigments. Whether it’s true or not, it is the perception. On the tape, Sterling never explicitly says this, but it’s what he’s alluding to the whole time. Even this it is a big lie to call racism, which ESPN’s (surprise, surprise) Jason Whitlock does:

“We don’t evaluate what’s right and wrong,” Sterling is heard telling his black-and-Latina mistress when she asked if it was right to treat black as less than white. “We live in a society. We live in a culture. We have to live within that culture.”

Sterling adheres to a pervasive culture, the hierarchy established by global white supremacy.

“I don’t want to change the culture because I can’t,” Sterling says. “It’s too big.”

Burn, baby.

“Propaganda works best when those who are being manipulated are confident they are acting on their own free will.” –Joseph Goebbels

I finished ex-Communist Bella V. Dodd’s School of Darkness. It’s a short, terrific book. Excerpts:

Only recently I heard the chief of the New York public schools speak on television on juvenile delinquency. It was soon after the wrecking of a school by young vandals. He said that what was needed was more buildings, more teachers, better playgrounds. Those devoted to progressive education and to preparing youth to live in the “new socialist world” are abstractly sure of what they want, but they seem not to know that they work with human beings. Aside from teaching that children must learn to get along with other children, no moral or natural law standards are set. There is no word about how our children are to find the right order of harmonious living.

I, too, had to learn by hard experience that you cannot cure a sick soul with more buildings or more playgrounds. These are important, but they are not enough. Abraham Lincoln, schooled in a one-room log cabin, received from education what all the athletic fields and laboratories cannot give. All his speeches reflected his love for his Creator. He knew that God is the cure for godlessness. (Ch. 10)

...

Trachtenberg once said to me that when communism came to America it would come under the label of “progressive democracy.” “It will come,” he added, “in labels acceptable to the American people.”

...

This is the peculiar paradox of modern totalitarianism. This is the key to the mental enslavement of mankind: that the individual is made into nothing, that he operates as the physical part of what is considered a higher group intelligence and acts at the will of that higher intelligence, that he has no awareness of the plans the higher intelligence has for utilizing him. When a person conditioned by a totalitarian group talks about the right not to incriminate himself, he really means the right not to incriminate the communist group of which he is only a nerve end. When he talks of freedom of speech, he means freedom for the communist group to speak as a group through the mouth of the individual who has been selected by the higher intelligence.

The Bill of Rights of the American Constitution was written to protect individuals against centralized power. The Communists pervert this safeguard by first enslaving the individual so that he becomes the marionette of the centralized power. (Ch. 11)

...

I continued to move in a world of men who were determined to create new types of human beings who would conform to the blueprint of the world they confidently expected to control.

...

When the Yalta conference had ended, the Communists prepared to support the United Nations Charter which was to be adopted at the San Francisco conference to be held in May and June, 1945. For this I organized a corps of speakers and we took to the street corners and held open-air meetings in the millinery and clothing sections of New York where thousands of people congregate at the lunch hour. We spoke of the need for world unity and in support of the Yalta decisions. Yet at the same time the youth division of the Communists was circulating petitions for universal military training.

The two seemed contradictory. But Communists do not cross wires in careless fashion. The truth was that the two campaigns were geared to different purposes: the need to control the people in the postwar period, and the need to build a world-wide machine to preserve peace. Since the communist leaders were evidently not envisioning a peace mechanism without armies, the obvious question then was: for whom and to what end were the Communists urging the building of a permanent army? Did they not trust their own peace propaganda? (Ch. 12)

The American Communist Party went afoul of Soviet leadership in 1944, eschewing overthrow of the bourgeois system for cooperation with the Roosevelt administration. They even supported a Chamber of Commerce proposal of cooperation between labor and management. The American Communists did this in anticipation of a post-war peace with a socialist America and the Soviet Union aligned and standing athwart the world. Labor strikes were suppressed. Proletarian grievances were silenced. Dodd likened the new tone to Fabian socialism.

Earl Browder at the convention of 1944 had insisted on the elimination of a sense of difference among the foreign-born and had moved to have them treated as part of the American labor movement. To this Professors Berti and Donnini offered strenuous objections. They emphasized the importance of separate national organizations, of encouraging the foreign-born to use their languages, and of circulating foreign-language newspapers. They encouraged the organizing of the different national groups almost as if these were foreign colonies. It would strengthen the sense of nationalism among them, they asserted, a necessary thing for the building of world communism.

The Marxist-Leninists, like the Democrats of today, understood how to exploit racial tension.

The Party proposed to develop the national aspirations of the Negro people so they would rise up and establish themselves as a nation with the right to secede from the United States. It was a theory not for the benefit of the Negroes but to spur strife, and to use the American Negro in the world communist propaganda campaign to win over the colored people of the world. Ultimately, the Communists proposed to use them as instruments in the revolution to come in the United States. (Ch. 13)

The Communist Party expelled Dodd in 1949 after she rankled the new leadership, and she gradually returned to her Catholic faith. I bolded the best line in the book.

I smiled ruefully in recalling that I had thought the Communists the modern prototype of the early Christians, come to cast greed and selfishness from the world. The Communists too had promised an order and a harmony of life. I knew now that their promises were fraudulent, and that the harmony they promised brought only chaos and death. Yet I knew too that I had to get the difference between the two clear in my own mind before I took any further steps. I had to know, and for myself.

...

Now I saw in true perspective the contribution that the teachers and the schools of America have made to its progress, just as I was sadly aware of the darker picture some of the educators and the educated among us have presented. Justice Jackson has said that it is the paradox of our times that we in modern society need to fear only the educated man. It is very true that what a man does with his knowledge is that which, in one sense, justifies or indicts that education. A glance at the brilliant scientists who served the Hitler regime, and the Soviet scholars who serve the Kremlin, a look at the men indicted for subversion in our own country—all lead us to re-estimate the role of education. We are told that all problems will be solved by more education. But the time has come to ask: “What kind of education?” “Education for what?” One thing has become transparently clear to me: rounded education includes training of the will as much as training of the mind; and mere accumulation of information, without a sound philosophy, is not education.

I saw how meaningless had been my own education, how like a cafeteria of knowledge, without purpose or balance. I was moved by emotion and my education failed to guide me in making sound personal and public decisions. It was not until I met the Communists that I had a standard to live by, and it took me years to find out it was a false standard.

Now I know that a philosophy and movement that devotes itself to improving the condition of the masses of our industrial society cannot be successful if it attempts to force man into the mold of materialism and to despiritualize him by catering only to that part of him which is of this earth. For no matter how often man denies the spirit he will in an unaccountable manner turn and reach out to the Eternal. A longing for God is as natural a heritage of the soul as the heartbeat is of the body. When man tries to repress it, his thinking can only lapse into chaos.

I know that man alone cannot create a heaven on earth. But I am still deeply concerned about my fellow man, and I feel impelled to do what I can against the inhumanity and injustices that threaten his well-being and security. I am aware, too, that if good men fail to so love one another that they will strike vigorously to eliminate social ills, they must be prepared to see the conspirators of revolution seize power by using social maladjustments as a pretext.

I believe that the primary requisite for a sober appraisal of the present challenge of communism is to face it with a clear understanding of what it is. But it cannot be fought in a negative manner. Man must be willing to combat false doctrine with the Truth, and to organize active agency with active agency. Above all there must be a new birth of those moral values that for the past two thousand years have made our civilization a life-giving force.

...

I know that even if the Communists were sincere in the glittering promises they make, they would be incapable of fulfilling them for they cannot create the kind of men needed for the task. Whatever apparent good the Communists have achieved has come through human beings who despite the harsh materialism taught them still retained a memory of God and who, even without realizing it, drew on the eternal standards of truth and justice. But their store of such men is dwindling, and in spite of their apparent victories men schooled in darkness are doomed to defeat. (Ch. 17)

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