Friday, September 30, 2022

The Decline and Fall of American Medical Education

One would like to think that science is inviolate. You can wokeify the humanities and the social sciences; you can wokeify the arts; but it is far more difficult to practice diversity, equity and inclusion when your discipline has objective standards.

After all, we remember that MIT opened its admissions to more underqualified students a couple of years ago. The school discovered that the less qualified students could not do freshman math and thus could not advance to sophomore year. They were too far behind and could not catch up in time. So, good-bye diversity quotas.

It feels fair.

And yet, the medical profession has been moving toward diversity quotas, and has been systematically lowering standards for minority applicants. The American Medical Association is all-in with it, and is encouraging medical schools to choose candidates according to skin color.

Among those who are standing up against the madness is retired physician Dr. Stanley Goldfarb. Naturally, in this and in many other cases, those who are objecting are retired. As you know, free and open discussion of this and many other issues has been banned. Those who raise such issues, pointing out obvious problems, will be fired, canceled or ostracized. 

If you think that this is going to improve the quality of medical education, you should, as Dr. Goldfarb entitled his book: Take Two Aspirin and Call Me by My Pronouns. 

In Goldfarb’s words:

This focus on diversity means we’re going to take someone with a certain skin color because we think they’re OK, that they can do the work. But we’re not going to look for the best and the brightest. We’re going to look for people who are just OK to make sure we have the right mixture of ethnic groups in our medical schools.”

The edicts are being imposed from the top, from the AMA and the Association of American Medical Colleges. They have just jumped on the systemic racism bandwagon, blaming minority underperformance on something that white people think:

After the May 2020 murder of George Floyd, the powerful American Medical Association (AMA) and Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) claimed that systemic racism was to blame for racial disparities between white and black patients.

Last year, the AMA announced a three-year strategic plan to “aggressively push forward” new policies that encourage people of color to enter the medical profession, in order to help eliminate the disparities between white and minority patients.

In Jan. 2022, Step One of the US Medical Licensing Exam, which for years gauged the progress of medical school students and assessed their suitability for prestigious residency programs, was changed from numerical grades to a pass/fail, giving students more time to “authentically develop” their interests in such things as “community engagement.”

One hates to be persnickety here, but why will more minority physicians reduce disparities between white and black patients? If the minority physicians are underqualified, and if they know more about community engagement than about illness, they are more likely to provide substandard medical care to minority patients.

And of course, the new standards entail discrimination against better white and Asian applicants. So, the best people are no longer allowed to become physicians and this will generally dumb down the profession. Moreover, how do these new policies impact research? Are they being applied in graduate biochemistry programs? Clearly, the best research is going to be conducted by the smartest people, not by the people who understand community engagement:

Goldfarb said this new push for diversity and equity has meant that some high-performing white — and often Asian — students can’t get into medical school because those slots are being given to black and Hispanic students who don’t have to show such high grades or test scores.

“It’s manyfold harder for a white medical student who has average grades to get accepted into medical school, maybe 30 or 40 times harder than a minority student with the same grades,” Goldfarb said, adding that the parents of a young white man with a 4.0 GPA in college recently reached out to him when their son’s applications to US medical schools were rejected.

And, the diversity quotas will necessarily diminish the reputations of black physicians. Shelby Steele made this point some two decades ago, and it has not sunk in yet. Clearly, if an individual is looking for a doctor and can choose between one who knows medicine and one who knows community engagement, which one do you think he will choose?

“This is the downside of affirmative action,” Goldfarb added. 

“The brilliant black doctors of the future like a Ben Carson, who was considered one of the premier pediatric neurosurgeons in the world, may be looked at by someone who says, ‘Hey this person doesn’t belong at Johns Hopkins — he’s only here because they wanted more diversity in the neurosurgery department.’”

For black physicians, systemic racism seems to be the all-purpose excuse for underachievement and underperformance. We have it on the authority of minority physician Dr. Ashley Denmark:

“Goldfarb represents the privilege that a lot of white male doctors enjoy, which is the ability to express themselves freely without recourse,” Denmark told The Post, adding that she was abruptly fired from her last position as a doctor in Missouri because of her work with Project Diversify Medicine and for filing a complaint alleging discrimination.

She continues:

“Doctors like me don’t get the support a white doctor like Goldfarb does. Racism ends in a funeral for a lot of black and brown patients. All we want is more doctors who look like our community. And he is wrong about how changing standards will impact medical education. We still have to pass the same boards and same rotations after we graduate.”

One ought to notice that the grading system has been distorted in order to allow more minority physicians. And, ought we not to challenge the notion that white doctors are unqualified to deal with minority patients because they lack sufficient empathy.

At Penn, a senior vice dean for medical education set about destroying the medical curriculum several years ago:

Goldfarb, who began at UPenn in 1969, said the change at the medical school began in 2018 when Dr. Suzanne Rose arrived on campus and was named senior vice dean for medical education.

“We’d had a very stable leadership for quite a while and resisted going the way some other medical schools were going but she brought in this new ideology,” Goldfarb said. “She wanted to link up to what the American Medical Association was doing in education, which was promoting woke ideas, and there was a phrase that she told me that always stuck with me. She said we have too much science in the curriculum — which meant physicians should be more akin to social workers in their activities, particularly primary care physicians, rather than learning hard science that relates to patient care.”

Again, this feels like a caricature. She thought that the medical school was teaching too much hard science. The physicians needed to be more empathetic, have more feeling, and know less about medicine. Is it not strange that a female sub-dean would militate for feminine values, to the detriment of masculine values?

If you think that this is going to end well, for anyone, think again.

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Our Age of Anxiety

Now that the Covid-19 pandemic taught public health authorities the joys of subjecting the population to involuntary screening, why not expand the process to include something everyday, like anxiety. 

Dan Henninger examines the issue in the Wall Street Journal this morning (via Maggie's Farm):

The Covid-19 pandemic is winding down amid a broad reckoning about the restrictive policy recommendations scientific authorities made and imposed on the public. This striking headline appeared recently in the publication Education Week: “The Pandemic Was a ‘Wrecking Ball’ for K-12, and We’re Still Tallying the Damage.” Including anxiety.

It comes to us from the federal government, so you might be disinclined to have much confidence in the recommendation:

A medical advisory group to the federal government has just recommended that all adult Americans age 19 to 64 be screened for anxiety. Earlier this year, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force—which advises both the Department of Health and Human Services and Congress—recommended anxiety screening for children 8 to 18.

So, the government is getting into the business of producing customers for mental health professionals. 

The task force’s recommendation that virtually all adults be screened for anxiety will be significant if support builds for its adoption as standard care. That would move what most people consider a recurring condition of life—such as happiness or sadness—closer to something that would be submissible for control by formal institutions, including the state. 

And, not just for mental health professionals:

It’s already clear that a post-Covid care industry is emerging. Anxiety mitigation would provide lifetime work in schools, medicine and the media.

Not to be overly cynical, but our nation has been churning out mental health professionals. Now, it has to find something for them to do. It needs to provide them with a steady flow of patients. One needs to mention that most of these professionals today are female and that, whether male or female, their track record treating mental illness is shabby, at best.

To be clear, these recommendations are only indirectly about the disease of depression. They focus explicitly on generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, separation anxiety disorder and phobias.

Of course, depression and anxiety are not the same thing. But, Henninger does not distinguish them well enough. Depression involves self-deprecating thoughts-- as in I am worthless; I never get anything right. Anxiety involves the anticipation or even the dread of future events. In psychoanalytic literature it has been associated with guilt, which is anxiety about being punished for having committed a crime. Or even a sin. Religions treat anxiety by requiring confession and offering penance.

Anyway, for the record, Freudian treatment is largely designed around the primacy of anxiety, and not of depression. That it has systematically failed in this task should have been taken into account.

In today’s practice, mental health professionals treat depression either with SSRI medication or with cognitive treatment. One suspects that medication is more common than cognitive therapy, and one understands that both are somewhat helpful, though it depends on the practitioner. For a nation that is afloat in antidepressant medication, much of it prescribed by primary care physicians, one thing it does not need is more pills. 

As for anxiety, it may be treated by some cognitive techniques, though, rumor has it, yoga and mindfulness exercises are also effective. And one notes that phobias, a class of anxiety, is often treated through behavioral deconditioning, or perhaps with some medications. 

The government report does suggest that these treatments are of limited value. Why that would lead them to try to produce more anxiety and to get more people hooked on psychiatric medication, I do not know:

The panel “concludes with moderate certainty that screening for anxiety in adults, including pregnant and postpartum persons, has a moderate net benefit.”

As to therapies and treatments, psychological intervention produces “a small but statistically significant reduction” in anxiety symptoms. Psychopharmacologic drugs—mainly antidepressants and benzodiazepines—benefit some people. But that raises an age-old question similar to administering drugs for ostensibly hyperactive boys in grade school: Would anxiety screening put many more millions on a lifetime regimen of pharmaceuticals?

Small but statistically relevant means-- for the most part it does not work. As happens with talk therapies, it depends in large part on the practitioner. The result of the screening process will be to put more and more people on a lifetime diet of medication. 

By the way, the task force notes that a positive screen for anxiety would then require a fuller, confirming diagnosis. The screenings themselves, especially in schools, could become a source of dread.

Yes, of course. Won’t children and even adults feel anxious about being screened for anxiety? The government bureaucrats running this study seem not to care:

 We saw a great shift occurring away from calmer, more outward-looking lives toward predominantly self-directed obsessions when campuses created “safe spaces” for students who couldn’t cope. The Preventive Services Task Force provides 30 footnotes of research behind its recommendations but makes no attempt to explain how we arrived at a state of mass anxiety or what did this to us. 

Aside from blaming it on social media-- which is too easy-- or showing how childhood emotional distress was compounded by school lockdowns, why would you not be anxious for living a country whose leader suffers from senile dementia and whose backup is a moron. Does that inspire confidence?

Moreover, the massive national campaign of thought reform, the systematic effort to undermine institutions and even social  identities, has certainly contributed mightily to the dislocations and anomie that we are seeing as anxiety.

You are no longer a mother or a father; you are a parent. You are no longer a husband or a wife; you are a partner. You are no longer a man or a woman; you are a person. And besides, your country, in which you normally feel pride, has been trashed beyond recognition as an organized criminal conspiracy. You are no longer a proud American; you are a co-conspirator in a massive manifestation of criminality.

Why would you not feel anxious?

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Virgin Atlantic Airlines Goes Woke

If you thought that the madness had merely infected a slew of brain dead kindergarten teachers-- well documented on the Twitter of Libs of TikTok-- you were wrong.

The corporate world is going full woke. The fools who run Virgin Atlantic airlines have decided to take a step toward idiocy by becoming gender woke. They are going to subject their passengers to drag queen hosts and hostesses. They are going to hand out pronoun badges. Will the madness never cease.

Obviously, we should all call on the free market to rectify the situation, by encouraging people to stop flying Virgin Atlantic. One trusts that there are other alternatives available, ones where a company does not grant itself the license to impose its woke ideologies on its customers.

One understands that the new policy is wrapped in the most vapid psychobabble. Because, if you are a corporate director these days, what matters is your command of psychobabble and woke idiocy.

The Daily Mail has the story:

Virgin Atlantic has today updated its uniform policy to remove gendered clothing requirements and introduce pronoun badges in a bid to allow staff to 'wear uniforms that express their true identity'.

Precisely how stupid do you have to be to believe that your true identity is what you believe it to be? How stupid do you have to be to imagine that people should choose uniforms that express said true identity? Were it not for the fact that the venerable Air Force academy is heading down the same path, we would say that there is something in the water, that these people are being drugged.

So, under the aegis of corporate morons, your true identity is whatever you think it is, 

Staff including plane crew and pilots will be able to choose which uniform they wear: the company's 'red' option, previously most commonly worn by female flight attendants, or the 'burgundy' option, previously worn by male flight attendants.

This includes allowing men to wear skirts and women to wear trousers, as well as increasing the uniform options available to non-binary staff members. 

And then there is the mandatory brainwashing, which is now called inclusivity training. It’s all being run by Drag Queens, because nothing is quite so inclusive as drag. Seriously, what is the matter with these people?

Virgin is also introducing mandatory inclusivity training for all its staff at Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Atlantic Holidays, as well as inclusivity learning for tourism partners. 

The airline has teamed up with RuPaul's Drag Race star Michelle Visage in a bid to 'reflect the diversity of its workforce' and 'offer its people a fluid approach to its red and burgundy uniforms, meaning LGBTQ+ colleagues will be able to choose either the red or the burgundy uniform, depending on which best reflects themselves.'

And, of course, everyone will be able to have their own pronouns. The company is going to be handing out pronoun badges, to staff and customers, because otherwise you might cause grievous offense by addressing a he as a she or a they as an it.

The company will also roll out optional pronoun badges which enable staff and customers to display which pronouns they wish to be referred to by. The badges, available from today, can be requested at check-in. 

Virgin describes today's announcement as part of 'an on-going drive to champion the individuality of its people and customers' which includes allowing more customers to choose the gender-neutral 'Mx', 'U' or 'X' markers when booking their flights.

Again, note well the abuse of the notion of individuality. The company thinks that it is now allowing everyone to be whoever they want to be. The company imagines that this is not offensive because straight men and women can still be straight men and women. 

And yet, the assault on sensibility, by forcing people to accept that a man who thinks he is a woman is really a woman, and by forcing people to check everyone’s pronouns before addressing anyone,  turns the airline into theatrical entertainment. How this can be good for business is beyond me.

Tyreece Nye, a non-binary performer and activist who also participated in the campaign, said: 'This policy allows everyone to have a seat at the table. It's not taking away from anyone, it's just allowing everyone from the community to just have a voice.' 

First Officer Alison Porte added: 'It's not about cancelling anyone.

'It's not about removing women or removing men. It's just about more inclusive language.'

Again, note the psychobabble. It’s all about individuality and your true self. And yet, it is also about forcing people to accept others according to who they believe they are. Don't the young people call this cosplay? To say that this is not coercive is just plain stupid.

Juha Jarvinen, Virgin Atlantic's Chief Commercial Officer says, 'At Virgin Atlantic, we believe that everyone can take on the world, no matter who they are. 

'That's why it's so important that we enable our people to embrace their individuality and be their true selves at work. 

'It is for that reason that we want to allow our people to wear the uniform that best suits them and how they identify and ensure our customers are addressed by their preferred pronouns.' 

It gets worse. The company thinks that this is all good for business. Or, at least, it’s good for recruitment.

Estelle Hollingsworth, Chief People Officer, at Virgin Atlantic said at the time: 'It's the best jobs that make people fly, and we couldn't be more excited to be welcoming so many new cabin crew members to the skies with our recruitment drive.

'We're committed to supporting diversity both on the ground and on board, so are seeking people from all backgrounds who aspire to be the friendly, smiling and professional face that is the airline – with the iconic Virgin Atlantic style and flair. 

'We champion difference and individuality, and it's by encouraging all of our people to truly be themselves at work that we uphold an inclusive environment where they each can thrive.'

If the airline can thrive by insulting and offending most passengers, we are effectively screwed. One can only hope that travelers will cancel their Virgin Atlantic reservations and effect a boycott of everything that bespeaks Virgin-- exception given for true virgins.

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Should You Bring Your Whole Self to Work?

Back in the day feminists told people to bring their daughters to work. Doing so one day a year would naturally mold young female minds into careerist contortions. Then, of course, someone discovered that bringing your daughter to work excluded your sons. So now, we have-- bring your son and daughter to work. 

Obviously, this may or may not be appropriate to your child’s age, but still, why not waste a day thinking you are being politically correct?

Anyway, I have recently discovered yet another mindless corporate fad. It was conjured by some very serious consultants, people who have no idea how to think. It has been around for a few years now. It has been blessed by business schools. It is called-- Bring your whole Self to work.

Any time you see phrases like “whole Self” you ought immediately to recognize that you are dealing with utter inanity. Did you ever ask yourself what it means to bring your whole self, or  half of your self, or nine-tenths of your self to work.

As for wholeness, it is wholesome, to say the least, but the inane phrasing does not prevent you from bring your sexual needs to the workplace. Did the conjurers who dreamt up this phrase consider that we need far less, not more sexual harassment. In truth, there is nothing about the phrase that tells you not to make a fulsome display of your sexual proclivities and declivities in the office. 

This shows clearly that those who invented the concept did not know how to invent a concept.

Anyway, over at the New York Times, Pamela Paul has explained that bringing your whole self to work is a genuinely bad idea. Kudos to her for arguing the point effectively and cogently. Hers is a welcome antidote to the whiners who are telling people to expose their vulnerability in the office and on the assembly line. Nothing is quite so mindless as showing how vulnerable you are. Nothing will more quickly cause you to lose everyone’s respect than to start whining and complaining, not to mention, exposing your weakness.

So, Paul explains that you should keep your personal preferences, your emotional core and your deepest feelings out of the workplace:

Do not “bring your whole self” to work.

That’s right! Defy the latest catchphrase of human resources and leave a good portion of you back home. Maybe it’s the part of you that’s grown overly attached to athleisure. The side that needs to talk about candy (guilty). It could be the getting-married part of you still agonizing over whether a destination wedding is morally defensible in These Times.

If you start sharing personal information that is irrelevant to the job people are going to lose respect for you. They are going to conclude that you are not there to do a job, but to get some free therapy or maybe even some free love:

Anyone worth sharing a flex desk with is not someone you want to see every last ounce of either. They, too, can reserve their aches, grievances, flimsy excuses and noisy opinions for the roommate, the pandemic puppy and the houseplants.

How pervasive is this notion? Paul explains:

According to TED talker and corporate consultant Mike Robbins, author of a book called — that’s right — “Bring Your Whole Self to Work,” it means being able “to fully show up” and “allow ourselves to be truly seen” in the workplace. Per Robbins, it’s “essential” to create a work environment “where people feel safe enough to bring all of who they are to work.” Bringing the whole self is a certified buzzphrase at Google and encouraged at Experian. An entire issue of the Harvard Business Review has been devoted to the subject. In this new workplace, you don’t have to keep your head down and do your job. Instead, you “bring your whole self to work” — personality flaws, vulnerabilities, idiosyncratic mantras and all.

She continues:

According to BetterUp, which bills itself as the first Whole Person™ platform, “That means acknowledging your personality, including the quirky bits, and bringing your interests, hopes, dreams, and even fears with you, even if they don’t seem relevant to your work.”

Now, Paul aptly explains that if you do all of this, if you bring your whole self to work, your co-workers will want to vomit. Not only will you be wasting their time and distracting them from the task at hand, but, why would you assume that they care about your hemorrhoids: 

In other words, for the world outside the H.R. department, the phrase “bringing your whole self to work” is almost guaranteed to induce a vomit emoji. Rarely has a phrase of corporate jargon raised so much ire and rolled as many eyeballs with everyone I’ve talked to about the subject.

Now, Paul suggests that the whole self movement connects somehow with diversity and equity programs. How might that be? Well, how many of these diversity  hires are incompetent? How many of them would be happy to hide their incompetence? How better to do so than by rattling on about your child’s efforts to master the art of the bicycle:

And yet. In recent years, the “whole self” movement has gained momentum in part because it dovetails with fortified corporate diversity, equity and inclusion (D.E.I.) programs. Both purport to make employees feel comfortable expressing aspects of their identity in the workplace, even when irrelevant to the work at hand.

The truth is, private life has no business being part of the workplace:

The problem is for many people, it’s no more comfortable dragging the whole kit and caboodle into the workplace than it is showing up every day on a relentless basis. Nor is it necessarily productive. Not everyone wants their romantic life, their politics, their values or their identity viewed by their colleagues as pertinent to their performance. For some people, a private life is actually best when it’s private.

As we have occasionally noted, in contradistinction to mega-TED-talker, Brene Brown, you should keep your vulnerability out of the workplace. It will give people the wrong idea:

Nobody is asking a line worker or customer service representative to add more personal vulnerability to the enterprise. For most gainfully employed people, it’s not work’s job to provide self-fulfillment or self-actualization. It’s to put food on the table.

Obviously, the goal is to make work more like therapy. Would it not be better to make therapy more like work:

Nor is it fair to ask the workplace to deal with all your hopes, dreams and problems. “A lot of staff that work for me, they expect the organization to be all the things: a movement, OK, get out the vote, OK, healing, OK, take care of you when you’re sick, OK. It’s all the things,” an executive director for an advocacy organization recently told The Intercept. “Can you get your love and healing at home, please?”

Monday, September 26, 2022

A Daily Dose of Depravity

Have you gotten your daily dose of depravity yet? If you live in certain Manhattan neighborhoods, you will certainly get it. And so will your children.

This means, to be more precise, that the problem with homelessness is not merely a problem for local businesses. It affects children who live in neighborhoods that are riddled with homeless encampments, with aggressive vagrants, with degenerate behaviors-- all of which damage children.

According to the New York Post, children in these neighborhoods are now going to therapy, because they cannot handle exposure to that much depravity.

New York City is not alone in being soft on crime, in refusing to hold criminals in jail, in refusing to police neighborhoods for quality of life crimes. Drug addiction, public drug use, public sexual activity, making the streets open air toilets-- none of it matters to those who are responsible for public order.

As always, the children are suffering. Since no one makes the point, it is worth emphasizing it:

New York City school kids are losing their minds over the zonked-out drug addicts and raving vagrants they encounter every day – and are flocking to therapists to find ways to cope with the stress, The Post has learned.

In neighborhoods such as Hell’s Kitchen “a lot” of kids are now in therapy, according to mom Katie Hamill, 43, whose 7-year-old daughter is being treated for anxiety.

“My daughter has seen everything from fornication, masturbation, defecation, urination, you name it, she has seen it. … consistently and constantly. She is in this constant state of panic,” said Hamill, who works in real estate.

The little girl gets upset when she sees “the dying people” — the junkies who look dead whom she thinks no one is helping, the mom said. And she sees far too much vile behavior from adults, including one addict trying to rip out his hair after getting high at a West 42nd Street playground.

“My kid asks me to move,” Hamill said. “We have considered leaving the city. It’s hard.”

A truly great city in a truly great country would never allow this to happen. New York City turns away and leaves dealing with it to the children. Keep in mind, the Democratic politicians who have a monopoly on power in the city care about children. They have already colluded with teachers’ unions in assuring that small children will suffer from learning deficits. Now, their inability to clean up the streets leaves children open to constant abuse, assault and harassment. Because, forcing a child to witness this depravity is a violation-- what else would you call it? 

The neighborhood is called Hell’s Kitchen. It exists in Midtown West. During the pandemic, the De Blasio administration sent homeless people to hotels in that neighborhood.

Our unenlightened leaders have contributed mightily to the problem:

Exacerbating the qualify-of-life decline is state bail reform, which has caused the release of scores of dangerous accused criminals, as well as the decriminalization of drug paraphernalia which prompted the NYPD to stop detaining junkies shooting up in public.

This is what enlightened leftist policies get you. 

By the numbers, this is how it looks:

Major crimes in all three precincts that cover Hell’s Kitchen are up this year, with the surge nearing 60 percent in Midtown North and South. Robberies are up 57% in Midtown South and 20% in Midtown North. There have been 10 murders so far this year in the three precincts, double the number during the same period in 2021.

And, that’s not all folks:

Christine Capolupo, 38, a stay-at-home mom who lives in Hell’s Kitchen, and her father, Alex Vado, called police Wednesday when they saw a vagrant asleep on a bench at the Ramon Aponte Playground on West 47th Street near Ninth Avenue.

“It’s terrible especially like this street, in this vicinity, it’s gotten so freaking bad,” Capolupo said. “It’s like in broad daylight you see them shooting up and crazy stuff. It wasn’t like that. It was pretty decent, the neighborhood. I don’t know what’s going on.”

The neighborhood’s current state of affairs is worse than the bad old days, said one lifelong resident and mom whose two daughters are also in therapy.

“My kid is like lunging and attached to me like she wants me to carry her and she is 8 years old. It’s not a way for anybody to live, especially kids,” said the stressed mama, who said her children don’t want to go outside.

The 43-year-old woman recalled, “a lot of acts of violence when grew I up here.”

“But it was murderers murdering each other. They weren’t attacking innocent people walking in the street – women, kids, elderly,” she said. “It felt safer then.”

Sure, bring back organized crime. They would never allow their own neighborhoods to deteriorate at this level.

Of course, the real solution, while awaiting a political revolution, is simply to leave. Those who are leaving Hell’s Kitchen are not rich. They are not the tax base, but still:

Some families are coping by picking up and leaving.

One study found that families with young kids led the flight from major US cities in the first two years of the pandemic.

Manhattan saw a 9.5% decline in children under 5 since 2019. Total New York City public school enrollment has dropped by 73,000 since the start of the pandemic.

Justin McShane, 38, who works in finance and development, left Hell’s Kitchen for New Jersey in February after a rent increase and the surge in violence and drug use in the neighborhood.

“There’s almost like a blissful ignorance within the leadership. It starts with the mayor obviously and no one wants to prosecute anybody. So, you know, everyone feels like they can just run amok without any disincentives,” McShane said.

And, always remember, the politicians in charge are chock full of empathy for children. They are strongly opposed to all forms of child abuse, even the sexualization of children. Unfortunately, their radical leftist politics, what with their insistence on grooming kindergartners, must go hand in hand with their rendering the streets unsafe, at any speed.

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Ken Burns on FDR and the Holocaust

Last week famed documentarian Ken Burns offered up a few words about Gov. Ron DeSantis and Martha’s Vineyard.  He opined that sending Venezuelan migrants to the Vineyard was somehow equivalent to the Holocaust. 

Obviously enough, a man who cannot distinguish between Martha’s Vineyard and Treblinka is not a documentarian. He is a propagandist. His goal is not to expose the truth but to distort history in order to shore up the reputation of the great liberal idol, Franklin Roosevelt.

You see, the leftist narrative, the one that has been pushed on us for decades now, is that FDR did everything imaginable to save European Jews, and that he was stymied by the Republican Party, especially the American First isolationist movement. 

This means, FDR was in charge of the government, but Republicans were at fault. Where have we heard that before?

One recalls here a concept introduced by Winston Churchill, regarding the World Wars. I do not recall when and where he said it, but Churchill explained that there was only one man who could have stopped these wars before they became world consuming conflagrations.

And that means, feckless leadership by Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt contributed mightily to the horrors that these wars visited on the world. Neither liberal leader was especially concerned by any of it, and FDR, we must mention, did nearly nothing to stop Hitler for eight years-- until Germany declared war on us. 

The issue, in other words, goes beyond the Holocaust. Obviously, anti-Semitism was ongoing from the time that Hitler took over Germany in 1933. It was ongoing at different levels, but it was not being hidden. During the first eight years of Nazi rule, FDR essentially did nothing to stop it. He did nothing to stop the Third Reich when it could more easily have been stopped.

So, if war is diplomacy by another name and if the world wars were produced by failed diplomacy, performed by liberal Democratic presidents, then perhaps we will understand that the propaganda machine of the American media has gone all-in defending FDR. Liberalism depends on his glorification.

As for the Ken Burns propaganda effort, the Times of Israel consulted with Rafael Medoff to set the record straight:

Medoff is an American professor of Jewish history and the founding director of The David Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, which is based in Washington, DC. He is the author of “FDR and the Holocaust: A Breach of Faith,” among other works on the Holocaust and Zionist history.

Apparently, the documentary traffics in the lie that America admitted more Jewish refugees than anyone else. And that it could not do more because public opinion did not want it to. For the record, public opinion is a euphemism for FDR’s labor union supporters. 

Medoff makes the salient point, FDR was the man in charge and the man in charge is responsible:

Public opinion was not in charge of US immigration policy; President Roosevelt was. It was the Roosevelt administration, not the public, that decided to suppress immigration below what the existing law permitted, by searching high and low for reasons to disqualify visa applicants. One of the main reasons the waiting list was long was because the German quota was kept unfilled in 11 of Roosevelt’s 12 years as president. More than 190,000 quota places that could have been used for Jewish refugees instead sat unused. The year that the Frank family tried to immigrate, 1941, the quota was only 47% filled; there was plenty of room for Anne and her family — if the administration had not been trying so hard to keep Jews out.

In other words, Anne Frank and her family, which applied for immigration status, was kept out because the administration did not use all of the allotted the quota spaces.

And you will recall the time when Hitler filled a ship called the St. Louis with nearly a thousand Jewish refugees and sent it to America. Hitler declared that FDR would not allow them to debark in America because he was just as anti-Semitic as everyone else.

Of course, admitting refugees to America was one thing. In fact, as Medoff remarks, the administration had been given a green light to land in the Virgin Islands. FDR choose otherwise and sent the refugees back, where they were admitted by several European countries, eventually to be slaughtered:

After the Kristallnacht pogrom, the governor and legislative assembly of the US Virgin Islands offered to open their doors to Jewish refugees. So when the St. Louis was hovering off the coast of Florida six months later, Morgenthau asked Secretary of State Cordell Hull about letting the passengers stay in the Virgin Islands, on tourist visas. Hull consulted with the president, then told Morgenthau it couldn’t be done because to qualify for tourist visas, the refugees would have to prove they had a safe place to which they would later return.

That was a Catch-22: Hull was saying that because the country from which they came was unsafe, the Roosevelt administration wouldn’t give them haven — and thus sent them back to that same unsafe place. Although it seemed at first that they would have to return to Nazi Germany, four other European countries took in the St. Louis passengers — but three of those countries were invaded by the Nazis less than a year later.

And then there was the issue of bombing Auschwitz or the railroads leading to it. FDR refused, on shaky grounds:

The Roosevelt administration never said the reason it wouldn’t bomb Auschwitz was because the prisoners might be harmed. In fact, the US bombed the Auschwitz oil factories, and the Buchenwald rocket factory, in broad daylight — in other words, knowing that slave laborers would be there — and indeed, some of them were killed or injured. So that was never a factor in the US administration’s decision-making at the time; it’s just an excuse concocted in recent years by defenders of FDR’s Holocaust record.

In any event, if US officials had been worried about hitting prisoners, they could have bombed the railways and bridges to Auschwitz, where there were no prisoners. That would have interrupted the deportations of hundreds of thousands of Hungarian Jews to Auschwitz. Bridges in particular took a long time to repair. When 12,000 Jews were being gassed to death in Auschwitz every day, even a brief interruption could have saved lives.

Naturally, the FDR administration had its excuses. Naturally, the media, led by the New York Times ran cover for it:

At the time, US officials claimed they couldn’t bomb those railways because it would require diverting American planes from distant battlefields. But that was false. US planes were already bombing the Auschwitz oil factories, and they also bombed railways throughout Europe — but not the ones leading to Auschwitz. The real reason they rejected the bombing proposals — which were made by at least 30 different Jewish officials and publications — was that the Roosevelt administration had decided that, as a matter of principle, it would not use military resources for humanitarian purposes. That policy was adopted four months before the requests to bomb Auschwitz began, and US officials simply applied it when those requests were made.

Is it true that the American military never used its resources for non-military purposes. Not quite:

The terrible irony is that the US did sometimes use military resources for non-military purposes, such as when American troops were sent to rescue the Lipizzaner dancing horses, or when military personnel was used to rescue medieval paintings and other cultural artifacts. Apparently, horses and paintings were a higher priority than Jews.

The issue is accountability. For the liberal left, FDR did not wrong. Ken Burns blames public opinion. One is only mildly surprised that he did not blame Donald Trump.

Presidents should be held accountable for their policies. Burns is wrong to blame “public opinion” for FDR’s choices. The public didn’t force Roosevelt to keep the St. Louis passengers out of the Virgin Islands. The public didn’t compel him to leave 190,000 quota places unfilled.