Monday, November 28, 2022

Is China Imploding?

Is China Imploding? The news is being blared across the media. Citizens of China are in open rebellion against their government's zero-covid policies. You see, the autocracy has reached peak repression and the people are reacting. As our great theorists would expect.

Yet again, Gordon Chang seems to be right. The communist government is failing. We are winning. Good things are going to happen. We may not be able to defeat China in competition, but we can watch their autocratic system implode. 

Of course, we do not know what it all means. For all we know the people are fed up with idleness; they might just want to go back to work. We, in our infinite naivete, think that they want free elections?

Anyway, there is a difference between the climate and the weather. We are impressed to see Chang develop a reputation for being wrong all the time. Chang has been predicting the end of China for more than two decades now. Anytime anything bad happens to the Middle Kingdom he pops  up like a jack-in-the box to claim his right to having always been right.

As it happens, Chang has a nemesis, by name of David Goldman, who writes for the Asia Times. According to Goldman, in the long run the Chinese strategy, to produce large numbers of computer engineers and other tech savvy people, will prevail over the American effort to produce more social justice warriors and masters of critical race theory. Who do you think is going to outproduce whom?

As for the current semiconductor wars, and especially our wish to monopolize the manufacture of such chips, Goldman explains, for those who are more savvy than I, that we our policies are making more noise than substance. For your edification. Link here.

So, as the saying goes, don’t get too cocky. In the ongoing culture war with China, we are not doing as well as we think. And the signs are, things are not getting any more favorable.

In the meantime, don’t forget to make a contribution to this blog-- it’s fundraising week.

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Fundraising Week

You may have noticed that your humble blogger took a three day hiatus from posting. Considering that I have not missed a day in more than eight years. I hope that my absence would have been noticed.

Anyway, I missed blogging this weekend because I had some medical issues that required direct attention. That attention was provided by the staff of NYU Langone medical center. I am extremely grateful for their attentive competence and professionalism.

Anyway, the storm has passed and blogging will proceed apace. This is especially true since we arrive at what has been traditionally called fundraising week. That is, this week we humbly ask our many readers to chip in to finance the blog. This blog requires a lot of hard work and we trust that it is worth your financial support. 

Over the years I have been trying to keep readers abreast of the decline and fall of American intellectual life, and of the degradation of our school system, not to mention our political debate.

I have been writing daily posts on this blog for some fourteen years now. I trust that you find that praiseworthy. Obviously, it takes time and work to do the job, and I could not have done it without the financial support of you, the readers.


Of course, all of this requests donations to this blog. I have been trying to keep readers abreast of the decline and fall of American intellectual life, and of the degradation of our school system, not to mention our political debate.

Obviously, it takes time and work to do the job, and I could not have done it without the financial support of you, the readers.


I am thankful to those who have already contributed to this worthy cause and invite everyone else to join them.

Those who choose to donate can make use of the blue Paypal Donation button to the left. It will accept singular donations and even recurring donations, a la Substack.

Feel free to make good use of it. That’s what it’s there for. Otherwise, you may send checks or money orders to my direct address,

310 East 46th St. 24 H; New York, NY. 10017.

Thank  you in advance.

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Thank You, Elon Musk

 A special shout-out and expression of gratitude for Elon Musk, for having shut down the wokeness at Twitter. Here is the old Twitter:

And here is a shirt today, getting ready to be discarded:

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

The Day Before Thanksgiving

Twas the day before Thanksgiving and things were not looking too good in Ukraine. They were not looking too good for the Ukrainians, whose infrastructure was being systematically destroyed-- thus heralding a cold, dark winter-- and they were not looking too good for the Russians, whose easy fight had become a long winter slog. 

Those who championed liberal democracy happily declared that we had prevailed. Those who preferred autocratic strong men remarked that Putin was sure to prevail. In the meantime Russia was aligning itself with Iran and China, the better to create a new non-dollar based world order.

The latter is the most important, so no one is discussing it.

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Daddy, Dearest

 By the time we reach the age of adult reason we have learned not to speak ill of the dead. Perhaps we have learned about filial piety; perhaps we have learned to honor our father and mother.

Apparently the lesson was lost on one woman recently. The New York Post reported on a woman who calls herself a black supremacist:

A woman has gone viral after sharing a video that seemingly shows them trashing their own father at his funeral, branding him a “racist, misogynistic, xenophobic” Donald Trump supporter.

The shocking clip — shared by self-described “black supremacist” @saginthesunforever — has clocked up more than 1.6 million views and sparked widespread backlash after it was re-posted to Twitter by the controversial conservative account @LibsOfTikTok on Tuesday.

The speaker — who has not disclosed their name, age or where they live — was unapologetic about their harsh and hateful remarks, captioning the clip: “Friendly reminder that Idgaf [I don’t give a f–k] and WILL say what needs to be said every single time.”

It’s unclear when exactly the memorial service for their father took place, but the TikToker subsequently shared an extended version of the speech, in which they painted a more complex picture of the relationship they had with their father.

“Dad, please know that I am grateful, and highly aware of what you have done for this family, [but] I still don’t miss you,” they declared. “When you died, I felt like there was a hole. I missed something, but it wasn’t you. It was the idea of what you could [have] become. I missed being able to hope and wish that one day you’d turn a corner and see the world from my perspective.”

The activist went on to tell mourners that they had hoped their dad might one day help them fight “for the things that matter.”

However, they claimed that his death had “solidified the fact that you’ll never be what you could have been, but only what you are — and what you are is a racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, Trump-loving, cis, straight white man.”

Consider that a sign of the times, in an epoch where civilization is unraveling, where filial piety has yielded to filial impiety. Of course a few elderly folk found the intervention inappropriate:

However, several slammed the TikToker — who uses they/them pronouns, according to their bio — for daring to speak ill of their late dad, with one saying: “She’ll regret it one day. It may take 20 years, but it’ll break her. One day.”

Another railed: “I’m black and Republican and my dad dislike Republicans, yet I would never talk bad about him at his funeral. It’s called mutual RESPECT. Shame girl”

On Twitter, others railed against TikTok, with one implying that the platform is pushing people to perform outrageous antics in order to gain attention.

For another take, see this, by Bulldog at Maggie’s Farm.

Monday, November 21, 2022

Our So-Called Democratic Politics

By now the whole world knows. President Joe Biden is cerebrally impaired. He was cerebrally impaired when he ran for office two years ago. He has not gotten any better, Foreign leaders have taken the measure of the man and of American democracy and have come away thinking less of it and of us. 

Scott Johnson describes Biden for the Powerline blog (via Maggie's Farm):


President Biden turns 80 today. We wish him a happy birthday.

I should like to think that 80 is not too old to be president, but Biden gives evidence in every public appearance that it is, at least in his case. His handlers sought to conceal his decline by keeping him in the basement during the 2020 presidential campaign. In office, his handlers have sought to conceal his decline by a variety of stratagems. Lest he get lost in a fog during public appearances, for example, his handlers provide him with cards specifying step-by-step instructions in capital letters. And yet he still gets lost in a fog during public appearances. The cards can only do so much.

The Daily Mail notes Biden’s milestone birthday here. The Daily Mail observes matter-of-factly: “President Joe Biden is about to become the first ever octogenarian US president.” There is a reason for that. Some say the rent is too damn high. I say the man is too damn old. In connection with the G20 conference in Bali last week, Arthur Herman observes infirmity in Biden’s China policy.

But then, why did so many Americans allow themselves to be duped by Joe Biden? Assuming that they were.

The simple answer is that they thought he was more presidential. The more complex answer is that Donald Trump was subjected to constant vilification, demonization and defamation-- to the point where people thought he was the Devil. 

Rather than have a deliberative debate over issues and ideas and policies, we have descended to the point where politics feels like a cosmic, even a Biblical conflict between Good and Evil. Leftists stake out the ground of charitable giving and virtue signaling.

If by any chance you were wondering why liberal democracy does not appeal to very many people around the world, this mini-analysis tells us. It tells us that we do not have a liberal democracy, but have a politics that more closely resembles Biblical conflict.

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Fighting Discrimination in San Francisco

It must have been a slow day in the City by the Bay. After all, it  had largely succeeded in turning its downtown into a homeless encampment, rife with mentally ill drug addicts. So, it went out looking for a new cause. That meant, a new group of  victims-- of patriarchal capitalism-- to save.

Given that this was San Francisco, the thought arose-- why not help those who had been born in the wrong body. That is, why not help those who needed what is gingerly called gender-affirming care.  After all, the city is the epicenter of LGBTQ activity, so, what could be more appropriate? 

Considering that the transgendered were being subjected to discrimination, the city, through the mayor’s office, decided to offer them a stipend, a place to live and proper nourishment.

Of course, you consider this to be satire. You consider this to be something that arose from the fevered brain of someone writing for the Babylon Bee. Alas, such is not the case. It comes to us from Not-the-Bee, via Maggie’s Farm.

Here is the mayor’s statement:

We know that our trans communities experience much higher rates of poverty and discrimination, so this program will target support to lift individuals in this community up. We will keep building on programs like this to provide those in the greatest need with the financial resources and services to help them thrive.

But then, the clever city leaders figured out that they did not want the city inundated by people claiming to be trans. So, they capped the program:

Now, you're probably wondering how that's going to work in California, where 9.1% of people identify as LGBTQ+ (and San Francisco has the highest rate in the state), $1,200 per month for that many people would be a lot of money.

The city has that problem covered as the program is only available to the first 55 people that sign up, and participants cannot have an income over $600 per month.

Given San Francisco's cost of living, they're essentially looking for a very small number of homeless trans people to virtue signal with.

I’m sure that that makes your day.

Saturday, November 19, 2022

A Culture of Solipsism

Those who read this blog religiously understand my point of view. I hold that America’s cultural problems, its increasing fragmentation derives from the simple fact that the culture has been defined by therapy.

We no longer care about our duties toward others and are completely obsessed with our search for personal meaning, for personal self-actualization, for doing right by ourselves. The more philosophical term is solipsism, a form of individuality that rejects duties to others and defines us by our needs, our feelings, our emotions, our passions, our suffering, our personal traumas. We have replaced the mantra-- do unto others-- with a new one: what about my needs?

Now, Tara Isabella Burton has written a compelling essay about it for the The New York Times:

Our political lives have become saturated with the language and imagery of therapy. Our personal lives too: The language of “trauma” and “attachment styles” has become a common way to understand ourselves and our relationships.

Among the casualties are our responsibilities toward other people:

It’s not just that this Instagram therapy gives its adherents a convenient excuse to bail on dinner parties or silence our phones when friends text us in tears. Rather, it’s that according to this newly prevalent gospel of self-actualization, the pursuit of private happiness has increasingly become culturally celebrated as the ultimate goal. The “authentic” self — to use another common buzzword — is characterized by personal desires and individual longings. Conversely, obligations, including obligations to imperfect and often downright difficult people, are often framed as mere unpleasant circumstance, inimical to the solitary pursuit of our best life. Feelings have become the authoritative guide to what we ought to do, at the expense of our sense of communal obligations.

Naturally, therapists are leading the charge:

A representative September article for Self, “3 Things to Do If You REALLY Want to Cancel Plans but Feel Guilty,” cites a therapist who encourages readers to ask themselves “what are some of my needs that are not being met” in order to weigh the pros and cons of bowing out of plans with friends. The therapist urges readers to “find a solution that will meet as many of your needs as possible.” The needs of the bailed-on friends in question go unmentioned.

With some exceptions, of course. Some therapists see the calamities that this has produced and are trying to lead people back to sanity:

We have withdrawn to a highly subjectivist form of individualism,” said Eva Illouz, a professor of sociology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the author of “Saving the Modern Soul: Therapy, Emotions, and the Culture of Self-Help.” “This means that our emotions have become the moral ground for our actions.” The prevailing mentality, Dr. Illouz said, is: “I feel something, therefore I am entitled to make this demand” or “to withdraw from a relationship.”

How did we get to this point? Burton suggests, cogently, that we beat down religion and needed to replace it with something. That something was therapy culture:

Historically, the project of making sense of our lives was often dominated by religion. Our churches, our synagogues, our mosques offered answers to life’s most wrenching questions: Why do we suffer? What is my purpose in life? Why do we keep making the same mistakes over and over? But religious institutions don’t have the cachet, or public trust, that they once did.

For some, the language and worldview of therapy fills that gap. Therapy, Dr. Illouz said, “helps us find meaning in the chaos of our lives. It helps us explain why things are not working and how we may attain salvation.” From that perspective, too, the apparent solipsism of therapy culture — its encouragement to look inward rather than to external authority — may also be its greatest asset: After all, if you don’t trust the society around you, your own feelings and perceptions start to look far more reliable than those of anyone else.

Why must therapy culture fail? Simply put, we were not designed to be self-absorbed, self-defined human monads. We are, until forever, social beings. As Aristotle pointed out, a human being isolated from the group can never survive:

The idea that we are “authentic” only insofar as we cut ourselves off from one another, that the truest or most fundamental parts of our humanity can be found in our desires and not our obligations, risks cutting us off from one of the most important truths about being human: We are social animals. And while the call to cut off the “toxic” or to pursue the mantra of “live your best life,” or “you are enough” may well serve some of us in individual cases, the normalization of narratives of personal liberation threaten to further weaken our already frayed social bonds. “We are a relational species,” Dr. Cohen noted, adding that we need connection “to really thrive and survive.”

Friday, November 18, 2022

Trump vs. DeSantis

You have heard this before. Specifically, you have heard it on this very blog. Clearly Ron DeSantis is the current front runner for the Republican presidential nomination.

Thus, from the Club for Growth, via Zero Hedge:

Polling conducted Nov. 11-13 by WPAi Intelligence on behalf of the conservative Club for Growth Action found that DeSantis is the preferred candidate of 48% of Iowa's likely Republican voters, compared to just 37% for Trump. The margin is even wider in New Hampshire: Republicans prefer DeSantis by a 52% to 37% margin. 

In what must be a particular humiliation for Trump, he trails DeSantis in their shared home state of Florida by 26 points -- 56% to 30%.  

Separately, a post-midterm poll commissioned by the Texas Republican Party found 43% of Texas Republicans prefer DeSantis, compared to 32% who back Trump. 

To be fair, this does not account for other candidates. And, Republicans do have a strong and deep bench. And it does not account for debates, where the absurdly well-informed DeSantis will surely prevail.

Now, to top it off, Christopher Rufo, the self-appointed nemesis of critical race theory has written an appreciation of DeSantis for the City Journal. He emphasizes the DeSantis ability to govern effectively:

But DeSantis is not merely blustering. He has advanced a substantive agenda to rein in left-wing ideologies in Florida’s institutions, passing significant higher education reforms, new curriculum guidance for K–12 schools, a ban on gender theory in grades K–3, and the Stop W.O.K.E. Act, which restricts critical race theory-style racial scapegoating in large institutions, including corporations. Most notably, DeSantis picked a fight with the Walt Disney Company, which had previously been untouchable in Florida politics—and won.

Though the media excoriated him for the K–3 gender theory ban, the Stop W.O.K.E. Act, and his fight with Disney, in all three cases, he knew that he would emerge with two-to-one public support on these issues. He skillfully engaged in the media scrum and, to the surprise of his opponents, surfaced from those conflicts more popular than before. He doesn’t engage in controversy for the sake of controversy; his strategy is calculated, and he has the self-discipline to proceed only when he can accomplish his goals.

DeSantis does not merely work the room. He does not merely rely on his subordinates. He studies the research and makes up his own mind. In some ways this is his most impressive quality:

During the flight, he discussed a wide range of policy ideas for reforming K–12, higher education, and corporate governance, delving into the details and complexities of each. One of his staffers told me that, during the Covid pandemic, he would pore over medical journals and call staffers in the middle of night, asking to connect with doctors who had conducted the research. Many conservative leaders stoke the culture war to generate media attention and fundraising dollars; DeSantis stokes it to advance important policy objectives and to protect his constituents from the excesses of woke ideologies.

As for the track record:

His administration has continued Florida’s rise as an economic powerhouse, counted votes in the midterms within hours of the polls closing, and led recent disaster-recovery efforts with skill and efficiency. After Hurricane Ian, the government deployed thousands of linemen, quickly restored power, and rebuilt a vital bridge in three days. DeSantis understands that maintaining essential services is the foundation of good government, and he has built a team to manage the complexities of administration. His communications team has been particularly impressive, swarming left-wing journalists on social media to correct the record and combat misleading narratives. DeSantis wisely delegates this work, which allows him to focus on what matters: governing.

Finally, his victory on Tuesday was not a fluke. He has demonstrated courage and ability, two essential, if rare, qualities in modern politics. 

He has demonstrated courage and ability, two essential, if rare, qualities in modern politics. According to post-midterms polling data, Republican primary voters increasingly see his model of governance as the way forward.

Thursday, November 17, 2022

A Trump Revival?

It was designed to be a grand theatrical gesture. It was designed to be the coda on Tuesday’s elections, elections that President Trump surely imagined were going to be the bell that signaled his reentry into presidential politics. 

Such was not the reality. As we scanned the news we discovered that Trump had lost the support of big Republican donors, from Rubert Murdoch to Ken Griffin. He had also lost the support of senior officials who had worked with him, from Mike Pence to Mark Esper to Mick Mulvaney. He also lost the support of Congressional Republicans who kept saying that they were tired of losing with Trump. 

More than a few normally sympathetic Republicans accused Trump of having lost his touch. At a time when Georgia was gearing up for an election for senator, Trump risked sucking the oxygen out of the room. Now, Herschel Walker, not the most adept wordsmith, was going to be dogged by questions about Donald Trump.

And yet, the polls do not look all that bad. Trump is still leading all other contenders. Still, if ever those contenders decide on a single opponent, Trump’s good fortune will evaporate. Most Republicans are now touting the greatness of a proven winner and a proven executive by the name of Ron DeSantis.

And yet, were we to look at the Trump record, it is generally positive. It is certainly more positive than the Biden debacle. Victor Davis Hanson sums it up:

Trump’s actual four years of governance were characterized, before the advent of the pandemic, by robust growth, low inflation, energy independence, low unemployment, a rebuilding of the US military, eventual curbing of illegal immigration, the Abraham Accords, and forcing NATO to spend far more on defense. Trump saved the Supreme Court and lower federal courts for a generation.

Unfortunately, Trump more often stepped all over his record. He allowed his oversized persona, his flair for the dramatic, to overshadow his work as president. True enough, he was more sinned against than sinning, but the press and the deep state were so completely hostile to him that he must have felt that he had little choice between crawling into a cave somewhere and crying out against them.

As it happens, there are other ways to deal with such flagrant hostility. Note that when Ron DeSantis is being attacked, whether by his political opposition or by Donald Trump, he becomes ironic, turning the assault against the assaulters. Unfortunately, Donald Trump has no sense of irony, or even of sarcasm. And he barely controls his communications.

For all of his many successes, Donald Trump was done in by his oversized personality, and, yes, by the mean, incoherent, rambling tweets. You might find this to be a gross injustice, but that does not make it true. American citizens seem to want a president who is presidential. Trump was anything but. He reveled in the fact.

Of course, Trump’s 2016 opponent was a grossly incompetent fraud. Hillary was anything but presidential. And yet, consider the fact that Trump lost to our current president, a Tin Man… and your perspective will receive a much-needed corrective.

Trump’s great virtue, in 2016, was that he was the only Republican who could have beat Hillary Clinton. Today, however, if we are to believe Mick Mulaney, Trump is the candidate most likely to lose to a Democrat. Not because of the issues or the record-- but, because of the show. After four years America chose not to be entertained.

The reason is simple. Trump has allowed himself to be consumed by grievance. It is not a presidential look. It is a sore-loser look. In the most recent elections, Trump sought out candidates who claimed to share his grievances. Most of them underperformed. And he seemed to prefer candidates who were near-amateurs, who did not have very much experience at the highest levels of government.

Ironically, this was what damaged the Trump presidency-- inexperience. Lacking same, Trump could not step away from the brawl. He often seemed to be flailing, like someone who had been brought in to pinch hit, but who barely knew how to play the game.

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Should You Multitask?

Among the gross disadvantages of contemporary therapy is the belief that if we think it, it is true. If we feel that we are working well and are being totally productive, then we are working well and are being totally productive. If we believe that we are accomplishing all that needs to be accomplished, and then some, we are effectively doing a great job. 

Which brings us to multitasking. We have been here before and we have, to our credit, warned against thinking that you or I can do more than one thing at a time and do it well. 

Obviously, multitasking is a fad. It arose from the unholy amalgam of business and psychology. It has persuaded people that they can do their jobs, care for their children, keep up their homes-- and do it all well.

If you multitask you will not only do it all, but you will have it all. One suspects that the culture started touting the virtue of multitasking in order to support the feminist project-- the one that says that women can have it all. By now many feminists have rejected this Siren Song, but still, what with remote work, more than a few still believe that they can work from home, care for their children and do their jobs. And, that they can do all of them effectively.

Now, one Hannah Rose has studied the studies and reports that multitasking does not work. (via Maggie’s Farm) You cannot work as effectively when you are distracted and when you lose focus. You might think that you are being productive, but, in truth, you are not. As I said, thinking does not make it so.

So, it’s time to return to single tasking. And, by the by, it is also good to restore something like the division of household labor, wherein each spouse has different areas of responsibility.

She explains some of the research:

Researchers Kevin Madore and Anthony Wagner investigated what happens to the brain when trying to handle more than one task at a time. They found that “the human mind and brain lack the architecture to perform two or more tasks simultaneously.”

That’s why multitasking leads to decrements in performance when compared to performing tasks one at a time. Furthermore, it is worrying that those who multitask often inaccurately consider their efforts to be effective, as studies have demonstrated that multitasking leads to an over-inflated belief in one’s own ability to do so. Not only are we bad at multitasking, but we can’t seem to be able to see it.

I encourage you to pay special attention to the last two sentences.

She continues:

However, in most cases, research shows that single-tasking is the most efficient way of working, as it avoids switching costs and conserves energy that would be expended by mentally juggling multiple competing tasks.

As for the research, Rose reports:

In 2016, an analysis of 49 studies found that multitasking negatively impacted cognitive outcomes. For young adults in education, multitasking, such as studying and texting, was found to reduce educational achievement and increase the amount of time it took to complete homework.

Students who multitasked in class failed to offset the damage done to their final grades, even if they put in additional hours of study at home to try to make up for it. It is therefore difficult to combat the damage caused by multitasking. In contrast, single-tasking can help you meet your targets more efficiently.

By consciously blocking out distractions, you counteract the stop-start nature of task-switching and instead reach a flow state. This ensures you can focus solely on the current brief without interruption, leading to increased productivity in a shorter space of time.

Focusing on one task can, surprisingly, boost creativity. Whereas multitasking creates a constant stream of distraction, the tedium of focusing on a single task gives your brain the space it needs to explore new paths that you might otherwise not have considered

She concludes:

By creating an environment free from distractions, using techniques to boost your focus and incorporating regular breaks, you are likely to become more efficient and ultimately more successful.

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Should You Give Advice to Your Adult Children?

If therapists rarely discuss or debate the issue, the reason is that they generally agree that they should not be doling out advice and guidance. Their bailiwick is insight, understanding and awareness. They want you to rearrange your mental furniture and so that when you go out into the world, you will be flailing insightfully.

They assume, as an article of faith, that once you understand why you got it wrong, you will know how to get it right. No evidence exists to demonstrate or refute this proposal, but therapists believe it anyway.

More importantly, when a therapist does not give any advice, he need not feel any sense of responsibility for the actions that his patient undertakes.

Unfortunately, when Robbie Shell chooses to disparage all the advice that she gives to her grown children, she misses the point.

Writing in the Wall Street Journal (via Maggie's Farm.) Shell tells of how she has tried to make use of her life experience to provide guidance to her adult children. Surely, we have no problem with that, but we must offer a caveat: if your own experience is the basis for your advice, we are dealing with the anecdotal. I do not want to dismiss all advice about renting apartments, but if your only real reference is how you did it thirty years ago, no one should take your advice seriously.

Besides, if you suggest that a child take a good offer on a condo he is selling, the value of your advice does not merely depend on whether or not another better offer comes rolling in next week. It also depends on the future market, the Fed interest rate policy etc.

As for whether or not you should try to renegotiate a job offer, it depends-- on the job market, on your track record, and on the nature of the job itself.

Shell recommends that her daughter try to renegotiate a job offer and then excoriates herself for not knowing that today’s job market is more forgiving than when she was young.

Of course, this does not tell us that we never learn from experience. It does not tell us to ignore our mother’s advice. It does tell us that when we are looking for advice we should consider the source and should not limit ourselves to a single source.

It also tells us, as Shell reminds us, that she is a woman and thus is more averse to risk. Intrinsically, this is neither good nor bad. It does tell us, however, that you should always consider the source of your advice. Dare I say, your mother is always more cautious than others.

I cannot fail to mention Shell’ strange idea that she should hold off on the advice-giving because the world has changed. What worked yesterday might not work as well in today’s new woke workplace.

For example, she writes:

Giving advice to friends, former colleagues and especially adult children comes with minefields that weren’t there when I was younger. What I thought were the benefits that age and experience bring can turn out to be just the opposite.

When my older son received a sought-after job offer earlier this year, I advised him to accept it without trying to negotiate better terms. When my daughter-in-law was looking for a new company to join, I advised her to stay in her current position while looking for a new one.

I should have kept quiet. In my generation, job offers were often nonnegotiable, and being without a job while looking for a new one raised red flags for a typical hiring manager. Employment practices today are radically different, and my advice was out of sync with a labor market I am no longer part of.

Of course, this assumes that the labor market has changed definitively. The same applies to the real estate market.

Besides, a parent who engages with her children regarding major life decisions is also showing that she cares about her children. The notion that children ought to be allowed to make their own mistakes, a major tenet of therapy, seems not to be very much of a consolation when your child has just jumped into an empty swimming pool.

What would you think of the child who is waking up from his coma and who looks at his mother, and says: "Thanks for not warning me, Mom. It all feels better now that I know you don’t care."

Monday, November 14, 2022

Will Trump Be President Again?

‘Twas not too long ago- in truth, it was last week-- that President Trump was bragging about the staunch support he had been receiving from his fellow Republicans. 70% wanted him to be their candidate in the 2024 presidential election. DeSantis and Pence were also-rans, hardly registering on the polling meter.

What a difference a few days make. Like a momentum stock that has persuaded us that it will never go down, Trump’s polling numbers have been declining precipitously. One should be especially skeptical about trends that have been doing so well for so long that they cannot do otherwise.

Trump’s fellow Republicans are now more inclined to see him as a loser, as someone who drags the party down. It’s the personality, of course. The more Trump’s personality occupies column inches the more the mainstream media can caricature him. The more they do so, the less they discuss his achievements. 

Senior members of his party are now turning against him. The New York Times reported:

On Sunday morning, it was clear that many Republicans saw their performance as evidence that former President Donald J. Trump was a political liability. Among other examples, Senators Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana denied in interviews on the morning talk shows that Mr. Trump, by far the most prominent and powerful figure in the Republican Party, was the party’s leader.

Of course, Trump has not been taking it lying down. He has been showering his fellow Republicans with insults and invective. The thing about being a party leader has escaped him completely. 

The New York Post explains via Maggie's Farm)

Former President Donald Trump teared into Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell again Sunday — declaring it was the Kentucky congressman’s “fault” for the GOP setback in the Senate….

“It’s Mitch McConnell’s fault. Spending money to defeat great Republican candidates instead of backing Blake Masters and others was a big mistake. Giving 4 Trillion Dollars to the Radical Left for the Green New Deal, not Infrastructure, was an even bigger mistake,” Trump seethed on his on his Truth Social platform.

“He blew the Midterms, and everyone despises him and his otherwise lovely wife, Coco Chow!,” the former commander-in-chief added about McConnel’s wife, Elaine Chao, who served as Transportation Secretary in the Trump administration.

This has nothing to do with consequential leadership.

And now, if we follow all things Trump we know that the former president is going to make a great announcement tomorrow. Like the consummate showman that he is, he will supposedly announce his candidacy for the presidency in 2024.

As projects go, it’s ill timed and ill conceived. It will surely influence the upcoming Georgia senate election. Similarly, Trump’s ranting about Georgia Republicans in 2021 was surely instrumental in handing Democrats two senate seats.

In a better world Trump’s announcement will have nothing to do with the upcoming presidential election. But, that would be the irony of ironies-- and Trump does not do irony.

If it becomes yet another rant, announcing that he was robbed in 2020, but that he is going to take back what is rightfully his, most people will shrug. Grand drama makes for great entertainment; it is unworthy of a constitutional republic. It basically guarantees that Trump will not be the president again. 

Sunday, November 13, 2022

Men and Women at War

Among the most arresting statistics that floated out of last Tuesday’s elections was this: 37%.

That is the number of unmarried women who voted for Democrats. Increasingly, the Democratic Party is made up of unmarried women. For these women, dare we say, abortion is a vital issue, perhaps because they fear pregnancy as single parents, or perhaps because they have had abortions and do not want to be judged as baby killers.

The cohort in question, labeled by Scott Greer as AWFL, stands for affluent white female liberals. It does not merely define marital status, but has a consistent world view. Mary Harrington defines it as: progressive moral piety, self-righteousness, hypocrisy and unexamined class snobbery.

If you have noticed more women in more positions of power and authority, you have not been seeing things. If you suspect that these newly empowered women are trafficking in more feminine values, as in climate change over and against industry and energy, you would not be wrong.

One might imagine that men and women are fundamentally the same. And yet, the more women occupy certain professions, the more we see them bringing a uniquely feminine sensibility to their work. To be rather obvious, today’s invariably female therapists traffic in empathy and infantilize their patients. They care about feelings, not about action in the world. And they have no use for traditional roles and rules.

Harrington explains:

But as female graduates have embraced professional life across knowledge-economy and bureaucratic roles, and their influence has compounded over time, this shift has redrawn the political map in important ways — not least by tilting visible public discourse Left, in ways that only ambivalently reflect the electorate overall.

Women graduate from college and tend to occupy professions that involve cultural norms and education, the media and HR:

At undergraduate level, women are especially heavily represented among arts and social sciences courses – topics so overwhelmingly progressive that only 9% of undergraduates vote Republican. These overwhelmingly Left-wing female graduates then cluster in the institutions that set and manage social and cultural norms, such as education, media, and HR. In American nonprofits, for example, 75% are female, while HR, the division of corporate life most concerned with managing the moral parameters of everyday working life, is two-thirds female.

And also,

... 76% of American teachers are women. Inevitably, given that all US states require teachers to hold at least a bachelor’s degree, these are also uniformly drawn from the female demographic most likely to be very liberal.

And this means that abortion is an existential issue. The only real obstacle they see to their career success is pregnancy:

So such women are structurally dependent on medical interventions to keep their bodies free from the rigours and long-term obligations of pregnancy, childbirth and dependent children. In other words: for AWFLs overall, abortion really is an existential issue. And making the midterms a referendum on that issue appears to have paid off. For suburban women, and indeed the electorate overall, it seems gas prices remain some way downstream of the tech-enabled reproductive “freedom”that knowledge-class Clinton feminists routinely frame as a precondition for personhood as such.

So, what conclusions are we to draw from this dichotomy? The first and most obvious is that America’s social fabric is torn and tattered. One needs mention that America has more children growing up in broken homes than does any other country on earth.

In principle, there is nothing wrong with a society that allows two different  sets of rules, the one involving competition, the other involving caring and compassion.

The problem arises when the agents of compassion, now involved in more of the business of government and business, decide that there should only be one set of values, theirs. They will set about crippling and regulating industry, shutting down energy production, the better to save the planet. And they will declare themselves to be the final arbiters of groupthink, the judges of whether your thoughts are right or wrong, acceptable or unacceptable. 

At that point, we are dealing with tyranny. And eventually, with warfare.