Sunday, March 11, 2018

The Parkland, Florida Red Guards

Empowered youth… the phrase has a certain ring to it. Mass murder in Parkland, Florida has produced something of a youth movement… hordes of high school students are marching to shift the blame for the shooting to the NRA. Where the institutions of government, from the FBI to the Sheriff’s department to the state social services failed to do anything to stop Nikolas Cruz, why not blame the NRA… or better, why not blame men, or toxic masculinity, because, as you know, guns are a guy thing. 

Let’s not forget the high school did nothing about Nikolas Cruz because it instituted a policy promoted by the Obama administration… of not expelling children from school for being crazy and dangerous. Aren’t you comforted by the fact that the Obama approach to minority crime was to erase portions of the criminal code? It did not help the children who were massacred but it did help the statistics… and it allowed the government to present some false facts in order to sustain its narrative.

Yesterday, President Trump was pointing out that China had an opium crisis in the nineteen century. The Chinese empire fought wars to keep Indian opium out of the country. It lost… to the British… but it has no tolerance for opioids. So much so that it routinely executes drug dealers. 

Trump is considering this fact and everyone is horrified. After all, large quantities of the opioids being distributed are being pushed by physicians. The drugs themselves are produced by legitimate pharmaceutical companies. We cannot take these people out and shoot them, can we?

Anyway, the Chinese are watching America destroy itself with opioids and they say to themselves that they need to inoculate themselves against toxic American culture. Is this the same a toxic masculinity? Not at all, America’s cultural toxin involves its weakness and decadence.

Let’s ignore the question of whether Americans need all 300 million of their guns. Consider the symbolism of the current wave of gunophobia— guns symbolize male strength. And, as you know, our leftist culture abhors anything that bespeaks male power and authority. It prefers the soft power of weeping, whiny, complaining empathetic souls. 

When the marauding invaders come over the border we can feel their pain… as soon as we stop feeling ours. We have noted, with chagrin, that the European nations that have especially empowered women are now being overrun by invading migrants… who rob, murder, pillage and rape. The Europeans are naturally doing their best to skew the statistics so the situation does not look as bad as it is. Soft power… lets your daughter be raped by a migrant, fails to file a police report and excuses it all on the grounds that we are multiculturally woke.

So, our friends in the Middle Kingdom must also be watching the young people who have been manipulated by political activists into marching against gun rights… that is, marching to promote weakness. They must feel nostalgia for the Obama years.

As it happened, the Chinese government has had its own experience of empowered youth. It began in the 1960s during Mao’s Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. Marauding bands of Red Guard student revolutionaries terrorized all authority figures, humiliating, murdering and even cannibalizing them. They killed well over a million people and destroyed what was left of the country. Eventually, the Great Helmsman had to call in the People’s Liberation Army to suppress the overly zealous student revolutionaries.

Why did Mao empower the Red Guards. Simply put, because his authority was being questioned by Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping. They understood that Mao's Great Leap Forward had produced a massive famine, in which some 35 million people starved to death and they wanted to move China toward capitalism. But, this would have meant disempowering  Mao and killing the Communist dream.

Thus, China does not plan to empower students any time soon. It is terrified about the possibility of electing another charismatic leader, a leader who has no real competence but who seduces the nation.

You understand their feelings. In fact, the last time it seemed that students would gain power… during the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989... the highly enlightened Chinese leadership ran them down with tanks. We were horrified. We do not know how many students were killed, but we suspect that it was a significant number.

Naturally, we do not understand how anyone can murder innocent children, but then again, what looked to us like Woodstock looked to the Chinese leadership, survivors of the Cultural Revolution, like incipient Red Guards. It takes a minimum of empathy to see the point.

Anyway, Jonah Goldberg caused a bit of a firestorm by writing a USA Today column about the Parkland student protesters. They are not old enough to vote and are ill informed about nearly all matters. And yet, people who should know better are claiming that these high school students possess a fount of wisdom that we older souls have missed. Age corrupts. Old age corrupts absolutely. Innocent youth sees the truth.

In truth, it’s a natural consequence of our youth culture. Goldberg suggests that we idolize youth because we believe that adult responsibility and the aging process make us jaded.

He writes:

My problem is with the resurgence of an old American tradition of celebrating young people as inherently wiser and more moral than adults. There are really three problems with the fetishization of youth in politics. First, it’s based on a faulty premise: that young people have a radically or uniquely superior insight into political affairs.

This is an ancient confusion. It usually hinges on misinterpreting the fact that young people see the world with fresh eyes, as it were.

We think that young people are more energetic, more spontaneous, and more vital than we older folks are. Does that mean that they have a better understand of world affairs? Unlikely.

Goldberg argues the point:

But the simple fact is that young people are not, as a group, better informed, wiser, smarter or even more enlightened than older people. This is a fact of science and social science alike. We are born ignorant of the world we live in and only lose that ignorance over time.

Think about what you knew and understood at half your current age. Were you smarter then? Wiser? Why assume it works differently for anyone else?

“To all the generations before us,” Cameron Kasky, one of the Parkland survivors recently said on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, “we sincerely accept your apology. And we appreciate that you are willing to let us rebuild the world that you f---ed up.”

I get the passion. I get the rage and trauma behind it. But this nonsense is as pernicious as it is obnoxious (I’ve apologized for nothing, by the way, have you?). It’s also not true. 

Actually, if you were to believe Steven Pinker, we’ve never had it so good. I have joined those who have taken exception to Pinker’s polemic, because it is so unbalanced, but nothing is gained by young people who disrespect their elders and who think that they have nothing to learn from them. The solution to Pinker's polemic is not rank pessimism, but a balanced judgment.

Better yet, Goldberg continues, these young people, for all their naïve innocence, are being manipulated by those older and wiser than them. Remember, Chairman Mao and his wife empowered the Red Guards and let them loose to rampage. Among the objects destroyed in their rampage were books and cultural artifacts. It ended up with children only allowed to read one book... the Little Red Book of the thoughts of Chairman Mao.

In Goldberg’s words:

And that brings me to the second problem with the glorification of youth: It invariably involves powerful adults finding kids who agree with them on some issue and then claiming that all young people think this way (and then hiding behind the myth that we must listen to “the children”). If these Parkland kids came out for concealed-carry or arming teachers, you can be sure MSNBC would not be touting them in commercials. 

Children are worshipped and used when they are a useful instrument for those who want to advance their political and cultural agenda.

If you think it’s just about guns, you are as naïve and innocent as the Parkland Red Guards.


Anonymous said...

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

The Left hates wisdom. Wisdom is an impediment to their grandiose plans. Leftist leaders need ignorant and dependent people who cling to a fantasy world, who think John Lennon’s song “Imagine” represents the sum total of all great thinking.

The premise of Obama and Holder’s PROMISE program is that there are too many black youths in the criminal justice system and/or imprisoned. So the best way to correct the problem is to fraudulently adjust the statistics. But reality has a way of creeping in, and that’s why 17 people are dead. Understanding that requires too much thinking. Better to blame the NRA.

Sam L. said...

"...and it allowed the government to present some false facts in order to sustain its narrative." That should be "...false "facts"..."

That Obama/Holder PROMISE program is rather like the response of the Rotherham and Telford police/governments--let's ignore it.

Jack Fisher said...

Those high skool kids are just tools with a script. They're not "empowered", someone's letting them squawk and giving them a mic.

Empowerment means picking up a gun, and that won't happen because they're too busy with instabook and myface.

whitney said...

No one can hold the two contradictory ideas in their head at the same time, one that they know everything and two that they don't. Wisdom is knowing you don't know everything

Ares Olympus said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ares Olympus said...

I'm trying to decode Whitney's wisdom. I do think a person can hold contradictory ideas in their head at the same time, especially if both ideas are incomplete representations of reality, which is usually the case. And then the contradictions show something of the limits of both ideas.

But the other side of uncertainty is if you confess you don't have enough information to guarantee improvement, and there are always unintended consequences, and wise people might desire avoid all hard decisions, and prefer to sit back and criticize all sides for letting the potential good be the enemy of the perfect.

Sam L. said...

Just found this:

Exposed Hogg

David Hogg graduated from Redondo Shores High School in California in 2015. My, how interesting. He's actually in his early 20s now, and never attended the school in Florida that was the site of the most recent mass murders.

From here:
Which links to

Cannot vouch for it, of course.

Jack Fisher said...

Sam, ‘crisis actor’ used in the article is code for "conspiracy lunatic source".

Anonymous said...


True wisdom does not start until one realizes that there are far more things one does not know than what one does know. Well said and we will let AO struggle with that for a while because one must be possessed of wisdom, not education for they are NOT the same thing, to truly understand. Education is not the real goal, wisdom to use what one has learned in life to be a better soul is the goal of a well lived life.

whitney said...

And paradoxically, what you don't know grows exponentially the more you know

Anonymous said...

Should AO trip over Whitney's posts in this thread, his own would (one hopes), become much shorter.

"He who knows, does not speak. He who speaks, does not know."
Lao Tzu

A bit extreme...but paints a useful picture.