Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Wednesday Potpourri

First, the current mania about diversity, equity and inclusion has produced one unfortunate consequence. Giving people credentials they did not earn and jobs they cannot do is coupled with a strict prohibition against stating the obvious. In other words, the DEI regime is coupled with censorship.

Canadian nurse Amy Eileen Hamm reports on Twitter:

I was seeing a therapist who said most of her clients have become professionals who are deeply unhappy with DEI & woke culture at work. They feel afraid of speaking up, but are sick of the constant barrage of racist, delusional nonsense they’re supposed to champion. It is making people miserable & fearful. It is making people leave careers, or get forced out for infractions. Organizations still clinging to DEI are making a terrible mistake.

Second, on a recent episode of the television show, Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, a white rape victim declared that she did not want to see her rapist punished-- because he was a man of color. 

Libs of TikTok has the story:

A character in Law & Order is a white woman who was r*ped by a black guy. She declines to press charges because she’s privileged and doesn’t want the black perpetrator to go to jail. White people are privileged so they shouldn’t seek justice for r*pe!

So, according to the wokerati, it should be open season on white women. So much for the fools who claim to be defending women against violent predators. 

Third, Allie Beth Stuckey declares that liberal white women are suffering from “pathological empathy.” In her words:

Liberal white women suffer from pathological empathy, which has convinced them that the oppressor (if black or trans or an immigrant) is oppressed. And while it may seem selfless, it’s actually a form a narcissism, borne of the toxic self-love culture that consumes them, because it allows them to pose as heroes and saviors

Fourth, on a lighter note, the satirical Babylon Bee has this comment on the passing scene:

Joe Biden Beats Out Brussels Sprouts For America's Least Favorite Vegetable

Fifth, just in case you were missing one of Kamala Harris’ word salads, White House press secretary Karine Jean Pierre was an apt stand-in. Speaking of the three soldiers who were killed in Jordan by an Iranian proxy group, she said

Karine Jean-Pierre gives condolences to "three folks who are military folks who are brave who are always fighting, who were fighting on behalf of this administration..."

Sixth, on the academic front, anti-Semitism is alive and well at Harvard University. So says Lawrence Summers, and he has shown exceptional integrity these days:

My confidence in Harvard leadership’s ability and will to confront anti-semitism and the demonization of Israel continues to decline. Unfortunately, it is becoming ever clearer why Harvard ranks first on anti- semitism, even as it ranks last on upholding free speech. Confronting anti-semitism does not mean punishing offensive speech as some suggest. Free speech is sacrosanct in a university.

Seventh, you will be dismayed and perhaps not surprised to discover that plagiarism is alive and well at Harvard. It is not limited to former president Claudine Gay. The university’s chief diversity officer, Sherry Ann Charleston has been found out.

Aaron Sibarium explains it in the Washington Free Beacon:

It's not just Claudine Gay. Harvard University's chief diversity and inclusion officer, Sherri Ann Charleston, appears to have plagiarized extensively in her academic work, lifting large portions of text without quotation marks and even taking credit for a study done by another scholar—her own husband—according to a complaint filed with the university on Monday and a Washington Free Beacon analysis.

The complaint makes 40 allegations of plagiarism that span the entirety of Charleston's thin publication record. In her 2009 dissertation, submitted to the University of Michigan, Charleston quotes or paraphrases nearly a dozen scholars without proper attribution, the complaint alleges. And in her sole peer-reviewed journal article—coauthored with her husband, LaVar Charleston, in 2014—the couple recycle much of a 2012 study published by LaVar Charleston, the deputy vice chancellor for diversity and inclusion at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, framing the old material as new research.

Eighth, we have been fairly scrupulous in reporting on pandemic learning loss, so we feel obliged to keep everyone informed about the latest. Vince Bielski reports in Real Clear Investigations. 

Rather than remedy learning loss, our educators have chosen to cover up the problem with grade inflation: 

The alarming plunge in academic performance during the pandemic was met with a significant drop in grading and graduation standards to ease the pressure on students struggling with remote learning. The hope was that hundreds of billions of dollars of emergency federal aid would enable schools to reverse the learning loss and restore the standards.

Four years later, the money is almost gone and students haven’t made up that lost academic ground, equaling more that a year of learning for disadvantaged kids. Driven by fears of a spike in dropout rates, especially among blacks and Latinos, many states and school districts are apparently leaving in place the lower standards that allow students to get good grades and graduate even though they have learned much less, particularly in math.

It’s as if many of the nation's 50 million public school students have fallen backwards to a time before rigorous standards and accountability mattered very much.

The learning loss debacle is the latest chapter in the decade-long decline in public schools. Achievement among black and Latino students on state tests was already dropping before COVID drove an exodus of families away from traditional public schools in search of a better education. Although by lowering standards and lifting the graduation rate districts have created the impression that they have bounced back, experts say that’s the wrong signal to send, creating complacency when urgency is needed.

Ninth, did someone say grooming? Apparently, Gen Z has been so fully exposed to LGBTQ propaganda that it has become more gender confused. NBC reported:

More than 1 in 4 Gen Z adults in the U.S. identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer, dwarfing the percentages of LGBTQ Americans in older age groups, a new survey has found.

Twenty-eight percent of Gen Z adults — which the survey’s researchers specify as those ages 18 to 25 — identify as LGBTQ, according to a report released this week by the Public Religion Research Institute, or PRRI. That compares with 10% of all adults, 16% of millennials, 7% of Generation X, 4% of baby boomers and 4% of the Silent Generation, the institute found. 

“With respect to LGBTQ identity, it’s very clear that Gen Z adults look different than older Americans,” said Melissa Deckman, PRRI’s chief executive.

Call it foolproof contraception. It’s one way to resolve the abortion issue.

Tenth, Charles Hurt, of the Washington Times, offers this comment on the Biden response to the murder of our soldiers in Jordan:


Perhaps most terrifying of all, however, is not Mr. Biden’s doddering indolence that has led us to where we are now but rather what he possibly holds for the future. In response to the latest attack by Iran, Mr. Biden declared that he “shall respond,” and Republicans in Congress are urging him to bold action.

The only thing more dangerous than a man this hopelessly stupid stuttering meaningless words is a man this hopelessly stupid taking action.

Eleventh, remember when the Biden administration decided to punish Russia by confiscating its dollar holdings. Well, things are not quite working out as planned. Is the dollar’s status as a reserve currency in jeopardy? Consider this, from George Friedman of the site, Geopolitical Futures: 


In today's Memo: The head of Russia’s central bank said the BRICS countries now represent 40 percent of Russia’s trade, doubling over the past two years. She added that settlements in national currencies have increased to 85 percent compared to 20 percent in 2021.

Twelfth, this is what it looks like when you are in way over your head. We recall that Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Tribe-- no right winger, he-- declared that Sonia Sotomayor did not know anywhere near as much as she thought she knew.

New, we discover that she is tired, because the workload is too much for her limited knowledge. The New York Post reports:

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor vented about being “tired” from her demanding workload on the high court as well as her “frustration” with the conservative-dominated bench.

Speaking to a group of students at the University of California, Berkley School of Law, the 69-year-old jurist opened up about the vicissitudes of serving on the court while increasingly in the political crosshairs.

“Cases are bigger. They’re more demanding. The number of amici are greater, and you know that our emergency calendar is so much more active. I’m tired,” she said, per Bloomberg Law.

Thirteenth, on the UNRWA front, we now discover what these do-gooders were really doing in Gaza:

Hillel Neuer, the director of UN Watch, which monitors the UN, told Congress about his investigation into a Telegram channel for 3,000 UN teachers in Gaza that was filled with posts praising the bloodbath. Users on the channel glorified the 'education' the terrorists received, shared photos of dead or captured Israelis, and called for hostages to be executed. 'It's time to stop pretending that UNRWA is at all fixable,' Neuer told lawmakers. 'The very existence of a Telegram group of 3,000 teachers in which members celebrate Hamas atrocities is but a symptom of the core problem of UNRWA.'

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Tuesday, January 30, 2024

The Great Gender Divergence

We have gotten beyond the thigh gap. If you do not know what that is, you are not old enough to be reading this column.

For Gen Z, the important thing is an ideological gap. John Burn-Murdoch chronicled it in the Financial Times on January 27-- link not available. 

Apparently, the younger generation is suffering a marked split between progressives and conservatives. It is suffering an ideological gap. Since the split corresponds to the division of the sexes, we can call it a “great gender divergence.” 

It is so bad that serious thinkers despair at the possibility that Gen Z men and women will ever be able to get along.

Gen Z men and women have fewer and fewer beliefs in common. They see each other as members of warring camps, destined to engage in constant struggle over ideas. 

How did it happen? Didn’t feminism teach us that men and women are fundamentally the same. If we recognize differences between the sexes or if we see different levels of competence in different areas, some righteous feminist will denounce us for being sexist. Heaven forfend. Any perception of a difference will be discredited as a function of the omnipresent and omnipotent patriarchy. 

How did it happen? How did the genders diverge so radically? On the one side, as we noted yesterday, women who succeed in men’s worlds are seen as not having earned their plaudits. 

But, women who succeed in the business world or the marketplace are often less likely to find male partners. If you ask the average male what he is looking for in a female partner, he will very likely not put business success very high on the list. And he will certainly not put feminist on the list either.

Dare we say, this is not what feminism promised. From the time of Friedrich Engels women have been told that being financially independent will translate into being loved for oneself, not for one’s yellow hair.

Of course, women were lied to, but sadly, when they discover it they conclude that men are at fault-- for not loving them for themselves.

Evidently, this aggravates the ideological gap, because women who suffer from male inattention are likely to become more wedded to their ideologies, especially to ideologies that blame men for rejecting them. And they are more likely to be drawn to factions and cults that offer comfort and consolation for their loss and for their victim status. 

And then there is the sex. We recall that feminists told young women to have sex like men, to have random sexual encounters with near-strangers. That is, to hook up. 

We hate to have to mention it, but hooking up seems indigenous to male human beings. According to Donald Symons, in his book, The Evolution of Human Sexuality, the masters of hooking up are male homosexuals. When they do not need to accommodate females, males are more likely to hook up.

Female homosexuals prefer relationship bonding over random, anonymous sexual encounters. Women might hook up to accommodate frat boys, but, truth be told, left to their druthers, they prefer relationships.

If this is news, you are not old enough to be reading this column. 

So, what happens when women feel obliged, thanks to peer pressure by feminists, to hook up? They might claim to enjoy the experience, but they also become resentful and angry. They feel that they have been used and they do not like it. Can you blame them?

And they resent men because men can more easily walk away from the consequences of a hookup, especially the emotional consequences. One aspect of the abortion issue, the issue that most clearly radicalizes young women, is that abortion on demand allows women to walk away from the consequences of a hookup, almost as easily as a man can.

This induces more than a few young women to become feminists. They learn to blame their feeling of being used sexually on the patriarchy while joining groups where they are defined by their grievances.

Coleman Hughes wrote about it in the Wall Street Journal. I reported on it on July 30, 2o23. He argued, persuasively, I believe, that the #MeToo movement, in its attack on men for sexual assault and harassment shows one of the consequences of hookup culture. 

If a man does not want to get to know his hookup, the woman feels, not just that she has been used, but that she has been deceived, even lied to and abused. Hughes explained:

The real issue was a culture that not only sanctioned but encouraged young people to have sex without any expectation of courtesy, follow-through or commitment——particularly from the male side. While they couldn’t get mad at young men for participating in hookup culture, which was supposedly a feminist and progressive innovation, women could direct their anger at young men on the issue of sexual assault.

Of course, women can solve this problem by ceasing to hook up with random, anonymous males, but that would be sexually repressive. Besides, many women believe that they will never find male partners if they do not hook up.

And, of course, when it comes to pregnancy, a welcome or unwelcome side effect of sexual congress, the truth remains that women do most of the work. In many parts of the world, women are deciding that they do not want to have children, because they do not want the responsibility, responsibility that most men are loath to share. Obviously gestation and labor preclude male participation. Exception given for couvade.

But then, strangely, the problem is aggravated by the expectation that women will not only bear and raise children, but that they will also hold down important jobs. Again, this represents the feminist life plan and it tells young women that if they do not advance up the corporate ladder and become serious executives they have betrayed feminism.

Add to that the culture’s constant attacks on men for failing to do their fair share of housework and you create a situation where men and women belong to hostile warring camps. 

Would it all be solved if men became feminists, if they did half of the housework and changed half the diapers. Surely, this scenario belongs to the feminist plan. The problem is, when women find such accommodating men, they do not want them,

When women become feminists they imagine that they are thinking for themselves, even defending their dignity. In truth, they are parroting feminist talking points and indulging in one or another form of misandry. If men are the enemy, the ideological gap between men and women becomes a chasm.

So, men and women are in conflict. This produces heat of the sexual variety. It does not produce much light. We end up with lots of hooking up but a radical inability of the two sexes to get along with each other.

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Monday, January 29, 2024

Girrrl Pow-wer

It’s not a good look. Three university presidents were testifying before a Congressional committee. All three refused to condemn calls for violence against Jews. Two of the three were forced to resign their positions. 

According to Kate Zernike the real problem was that they were all women. Good feminist that she is, Zernike asks the correct feminist question: would a man have been treated the same? 

She does not ask whether they were competent leaders. She does not ask whether they were hired to fill a diversity quota. Gazing through her feminist-tinted lenses she sees a conspiracy to diminish women leaders. 

Zernike functions as an ideologue. She says that “there might have been plagiarism in the case of [Harvard President] Dr. Gay….” And then she sloughs it off as though dozens of instances of plagiarism, surely enough to label Dr. Gay’s credentials as fraudulent, did not matter.

She continues, trying to make the cases that these presidents were singled out and mistreated because they were women:

Yes, the presidents sounded so lawyerly, so coached, at the hearing: Why couldn’t they have more passionately declared their opposition to slogans encouraging genocide?

Perhaps, because they were incompetent, because they did not fit the roles that they had been thrust in, because they did not have the strength of character to take a stand against genocide. They did not have the intestinal fortitude to deviate from the script.

This shows that they did not feel that they had earned their jobs and were not up to the challenge. Anyone who occupies an important executive position must command respect. 

As Shelby Steele pointed out more than two decades ago, in relation to anti-racism hires, the insistence that promotion depends on belonging to certain victim groups undermines those who are hired from those groups-- by creating the assumption that they were not hired for merit or because they had earned their positions. 

Zernike joins those who are agonizing over the question of whether a man would have been treated the same way? One might also ask whether a man with the same credentials would have had the same career trajectory. 

If you like, call it the bias of anti-bias.

Of course, good feminists believe that sexist bias holds women back. One thinks of Margaret Thatcher. But, she was the exception, and we ought not to confuse the exception with the rule.

Strangely, Zernike undercuts her own argument by explaining that the advent of the female college president corresponds with the public distrust of academia. She is correct to point out that the presidents in question had not been around long enough to bear responsibility for their schools, but this avoids the more obvious point. Their schools had, in their Humanities and Social Sciences, spent decades admitting students, handing out grades and hiring new faculty in order to fulfill affirmative action and diversity quotas. The more this was tried and the more it did not work, the more these schools decided that they needed more diversity, higher and higher up. If those minority students could not do the work the reason must have been that the school president was a white male. Why would anyone take this to be serious thinking?

Rather than see the whole anti-meritocratic project for the failure that it was, they decided to double and triple down on failure. They got to the point where they made the presidency of their institutions the last diversity hire.

Zernike makes mention of a prior Harvard president, one Lawrence Summers. Now, Summers did have the strength of character to challenge the suppositions behind affirmative action and diversity. 

Zernike notes that Summers had clashed with black scholars. As we expect of her, she fails to address the issue, which involved students admitted on the grounds of affirmative action. 

Summers got into some trouble with members of the African-American Studies program by accusing them of grade inflation. He had discovered that they were handing out A’s promiscuously and called them out. Some department members were horrified at the accusation and decamped for other universities. 

And then, Summers was forced to resign for failing to be sufficiently woke. As Zernike describes the situation:

It’s conventionally recalled that Dr. Summers himself was forced to resign after he mused that the lack of female STEM professors could be attributed to women’s lesser “intrinsic aptitude” in math ….he did not resign until more than a year after his comments on women in science.

One might see this incident as evidence that Summers was treated differently, though one fails to see the difference on the one hand, between refusing to condemn genocide and allowing certain groups of students to harass Jewish students, and on the other hand, making an arguable, but likely true true observation about women doing math. 

Summers was saying that women are not subject to discrimination in science, but that their aptitudes lay elsewhere. In the woke atmosphere of Harvard, such an observation, which can be empirically tested, is disqualifying.

Comparing Gay to Summers is absurd. Summers was an important scholar and a successful public servant. He earned what he had by merit, not by fulfilling a diversity quota. Naturally, he believed in merit and took offense at departments that disparaged it. Moreover, he understood that men and women had different aptitudes and that we cannot judge the one by the same terms as we judge the other.

Claudine Gay was an academic fraud who was promoted to the Harvard presidency on the grounds of her race and gender. She was DEI made flesh. She was fired because she was incompetent and could not do the job. Her presence diminished Harvard’s reputation, but this was a reputation that had been declining for years. Unfortunately, the grandees who chose her as president did not care about the institution’s reputation. They cared about DEI. 

With Claudine Gay DEI became a reductio ad absurdum. It ought to be fired, but it will not. Anyway, hats off to Lawrence Summers for his efforts to save Harvard from itself.

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Sunday, January 28, 2024


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The Sad Case of David Brooks

From time to time I read columns by David Brooks. I do it to save you the indignity of having to slog through his jejune thinking and pseudo-profundities. I trust you are grateful for my efforts.

From time to time I find something interesting or thought-provoking. Such was the case with his reflections about the division of labor. See my post on January 8, 2024.

The day before yesterday Brooks set out to rescue the Humanities. You see, college students are abandoning courses in the arts and literature, to study STEM subjects, computers and business.

Brooks mentioned in passing that most college courses in the Humanities have become indoctrination mills, forcing students to believe the right dogmas. And he might have mentioned that these courses are so thoroughly saturated with DEI concepts that a student will be spending much of his time slogging through inferior works of art and literature and philosophy, the better to affirm the professor’s sense that he did not get his job to fill a diversity quota.

It does not take too much for Brooks to lose himself in empty speculation. It takes even less for him to start whining about how he is getting in touch with his feminine side. With apologies, a lot of this column feels like it was written by a high school girl. 

He writes:

We are jolted into not taking other people for granted but to sense and respect the immense depth of each human soul.

Being a human cliche, Brooks explains that reading literature will enhance your capacity for empathy. You will note that he keeps using the word “deep.” It’s a convenient way to disguise his superficiality.

We know from studies by the psychologists Raymond Mar and Keith Oatley that reading literature is associated with heightened empathy skills. Deep reading, immersing yourself in novels with complex characters, engaging with stories that explore the complexity of this character’s motivations or that character’s wounds, is a training ground for understanding human variety. It empowers us to see the real people in our lives more accurately and more generously, to better understand their intentions, fears and needs, the hidden kingdom of their unconscious drives. The resulting knowledge is not factual knowledge but emotional knowledge.

As I said, this is drivel. Art is not therapy. It is not trying to help you to get in touch with your feelings. The figures on a canvas are not human beings. The characters in a novel are not human beings. They are, in each case, representations of human beings. If you do not know the difference between a human being and an artistic representation of a human being, you belong back in high school. 

Evidently, Brooks has missed the point:

But culture and the liberal arts help us enter the subjective experience of particular people: how this unique individual felt; how this other one longed and suffered. We have the chance to move with them, experience the world, a bit, the way they experience it.

Dare we say that pictures are not people They are not individuals. They do not live in the world that we inhabit. Great artists create alternative, fictional worlds. They show what might happen, not what will necessarily happen. 

If you were getting tired of Brooks’ longing for depths, he now introduces a new concept-- complexity. 

Deep reading, immersing yourself in novels with complex characters, engaging with stories that explore the complexity of this character’s motivations or that character’s wounds, is a training ground for understanding human variety. It empowers us to see the real people in our lives more accurately and more generously, to better understand their intentions, fears and needs, the hidden kingdom of their unconscious drives.

Since fictional characters are not real, they do not help us to understand real people in our real lives. What happens on the stage is not the same, for example, as what happens in a game.

On the most obvious level, literature has a predetermined ending. A chess game does not. Get it?

You do not read Hamlet to learn about his suffering. You might want to know, as he himself asks, why he does not do what he has been told to do. For those who care, the reason is, he is not certain that his dead father was really his father. 

The play is a moral enigma. How did it happen that King Claudius proclaimed Prince Hamlet to be his heir when King Hamlet did not do so? 

The issue, dare I say, is not how you feel about that, or even whether you feel any empathy for Hamlet’s position, but, as the play makes more than explicit, what do you do? What is your next move in the game? Clearly, how you feel is secondary, as is the question of how Hamlet feels about it all. 

Whereas Brooks believes that watching fictional characters helps us to get in touch with some ersatz emotion, Aristotle explained that watching a great tragedy produces a catharsis, a canceling of emotion. 

If the play tricks you into thinking that the bad things that are happening to the hero might happen to you, you will feel terror. But, when you understand that you are not Oedipus and that it is not happening to you, you will feel pity for the character. The pity cancels the terror and you feel relief from negative emotion.

Anyway, Brooks believes, like most conventionally banal thinkers do, that we can solve all of our problems by injecting more empathy. 

I’d argue that we have become so sad, lonely, angry and mean as a society in part because so many people have not been taught or don’t bother practicing to enter sympathetically into the minds of their fellow human beings. We’re overpoliticized while growing increasingly undermoralized, underspiritualized, undercultured.

You might imagine that he is calling for a return to religion. After all, you do not become more spiritual by reading Sophocles and Homer. And yet, religion involves community. It involves ritual and ceremony. It involves socialization. About all that, Brooks has nothing to say in this essay.

Apparently, Brooks believes that we are all haunted by the question of how we should live our lives? This is also jejune nonsense. Most of us are born into families. We have roles to play within those families. When we go to school or get jobs we gain more roles, along with duties and responsibilities. As you might guess, Brooks is a budding aesthete, so he is all for himself. He has nothing to say about our obligations to others. 

It is based on the idea that unless you immerse yourself in the humanities, you may never confront the most important question: How should I live my life?

As it happens, Brooks is borrowing from a religious tradition, the one that shows how to undertake spiritual and mystical voyages of discovery. Therapy has taken up this meme and turned it into a search for awareness.

We start with the tiny circle of our own experience, but gradually we acquire more expansive ways of seeing the world. Peer pressure and convention may try to hem us in, but the humanistic mind expands outward to wider and wider circles of awareness.

When Brooks closes his essay with a reflection on the famed eighteenth century writer, Samuel Johnson, he explains that Johnson, as he got older, became more charitable, more giving toward the less fortunate.

It does not take a very extensive knowledge of religion to know that you learn charity from religion, not from literature. After all, Christian love is called agape, which is translated as the Latin caritas and the English “charity.” I have no problem with Johnson’s having found religion, but let us not pretend that he learned it by reading The Iliad.

Naturally, Brooks gets empathy wrong. He ignores the simple fact that the best way to enhance the empathy circuits in your brain is-- to get pregnant. If you cannot get pregnant you are out of luck in the empathy derby.

A pregnant woman gains the ability to feel more empathy, for a simple reason, that she will be caring for an infant, a non-speaking being whose needs she will need to read without being told. If you shower friends and family with empathy you will be infantilizing them. 

In truth, this was reported in the New York Times, by Pam Belluck on December 19, 2016. One does not understand why Brooks does not read the newspaper of record more carefully. See my post.

Belluck reported on research performed by Dutch researcher Elseline Hoekzema at the University of Barcelona:

Pregnancy changes a woman’s brain, altering the size and structure of areas involved in perceiving the feelings and perspectives of others, according to a first-of-its-kind study published Monday.

Most of these changes remained two years after giving birth, at least into the babies’ toddler years. And the more pronounced the brain changes, the higher mothers scored on a measure of emotional attachment to their babies.

She continued:

Pregnancy, she explained, may help a woman’s brain specialize in “a mother’s ability to recognize the needs of her infant, to recognize social threats or to promote mother-infant bonding.”

If you are not going to give birth, you can undergo what a literature professor calls a secular rebirth. God knows what that is. A literature professor calls it a renovation, as though you are a fixer-upper. No kidding.

Mark Edmundson teaches literature at the University of Virginia and is one of those who still lives by the humanist code. In his book “Why Read?” he describes the potential charge embedded in a great work of art: “Literature is, I believe, our best goad toward new beginnings, our best chance for what we might call secular rebirth. However much society at large despises imaginative writing, however much those supposedly committed to preserve and spread literary art may demean it, the fact remains that in literature there abide major hopes for human renovation.”

This is silliness. Sorry to have gone on at such length. I will simply add that great art looks back at you. It involves the way others see you, not how you feel about yourself. 

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Saturday, January 27, 2024

Saturday Miscellany

First, polyamory is having a moment. So much so that I wrote about it myself on January 15. 

Now, Brad Wicox cautions:

Big media push re: polyamory overlooks ways in which kids are put at risk by relationships that circulate unrelated adults through the household.

By the numbers, via the University of Chicago School of Medicine:

Young children who live in households with one or more unrelated adults are nearly 50 times as likely to die from an inflicted injury, usually being shaken or struck, as children living with two biologic parents.

Second, dare we say that it has been more than embarrassing for denizens of the political left to discover the rampant anti-Semitism practiced by those it has been defending. 

City Councils in Minneapolis, Ann Arbor, Oakland, San Francisco and Seattle have passed resolutions condemning Israel for its attacks against Hamas and calling for a surrender.

Now, the Anti-Defamation League, purportedly dedicated to combating anti-Semitism has called for investigations into people who refuse to accept the current transmania. Imagine that-- it wants to put a Jewish woman, by name of Chaya Raichick, on the terrorist watch list.

: Join us this afternoon as we discuss being placed on the @ADL’s “anti-LGBTQ+” terrorist watchlist with @libsoftiktok, @MattWalshBlog and @realchrisrufo. Don’t miss it!

They have denounced certain conservative commentators, like Chris Rufo, Matt Walsh and Chaya Raichick for amplifying the hatred of trans people.

Given that transgenderism is nothing but a delusional belief, one wonders why those who oppose it should be subject to such opprobrium.

Third, American universities have become hotbeds of anti-Semitism. The Daily Signal reports:

A report released Monday by the Combat Antisemitism Movement in partnership with the Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry at Tel Aviv University in Israel found that antisemitism has exploded in U.S. higher education.

The numbers are shocking, but not surprising.

The report found that in the fourth quarter of 2023, from October through December, there was a 1,753% increase in far-left incidents of antisemitism and a 268% increase of Islamist antisemitic incidents on college campuses since the previous quarter.

At the risk of being redundant, these incidents have not been perpetrated by white people. Or even by white supremacists.

The ADL needs to reconsider its function.

Fourth, and the children will lead them, or some such. The Biden administration consulted with a 25 year old influencer named Alex Haraus and, as a result of their conversation, issued an order stopping liquid natural gas projects in the Gulf of Mexico.

At a time when the supply of natural gas is threatened, it takes a special degree of stupidity to shut down supply because some dope in Colorado is unhappy.

The Biden administration will indefinitely pause approvals for new liquefied natural gas export terminals along the US coastline, dealing a blow to a booming industry and giving a win to climate campaigners. 

The US is the world’s biggest exporter of LNG, with the number of cargoes shipped growing rapidly since the first set sail from Louisiana in 2016. The European energy crisis triggered by Moscow’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine bolstered demand as countries searched to replace gas piped in from Russia. 

But the US industry’s multibillion-dollar liquefaction plants have become a target for climate activists who argue that the rapidly expanding infrastructure will lock in reliance on fossil fuels for decades to come. 

The pause from the Department of Energy will temporarily halt pending applications from 17 projects awaiting approval to proceed.

This morning the Wall Street Journal editorialized about the fallout from this decision:

Who cares about the real-world impact, or the signal to allies and adversaries that the U.S. isn’t a reliable partner? Europe and Asia should plan to import their gas from Qatar, Russia or even Iran. Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin now know they can exploit the Administration’s climate obsession to undermine U.S. interests.

Fifth, as for the consequences of environmentalist policies, we can again look at Germany under a leftist government.

The current condition of the German economy was aptly described by a Financial Times editorial on 1-26:

At Davos last year, Ger­man Chan­cel­lor Olaf Scholz spoke of a “new Ger­man speed” that would set a bench­mark for eco­nomic reform. A year on, Europe’s largest eco­nomy is start­ing to look more like a slow-mov­ing car crash than an accel­er­at­ing jug­ger­naut. In 2023 it con­trac­ted by 0.3 per cent, mak­ing it the world’s worst-per­form­ing major eco­nomy. This has been accom­pan­ied by policy set­backs, nation­wide strikes, and a steep decline in the rul­ing coali­tion’s pop­ular­ity.

It means:

House­holds and busi­nesses have been hit hard by high energy costs, and are low on con­fid­ence. Indus­trial pro­duc­tion is fall­ing. The auto industry is strug­gling to com­pete amid a global trend towards elec­tric vehicles. Mean­while, skills short­ages are high and the eco­nomy remains too reli­ant on trade with China. Bick­er­ing and policy mis­haps have added to doubts over the coali­tion’s abil­ity to guide the coun­try for­ward. An ambi­tious but poorly handled green policy that urged homeown­ers to replace gas boil­ers with heat pumps had to be amended after a pub­lic out­cry.

So, a leftist government implemented leftist policies and severely damaged the economy. 

Sixth, as a testimony of modern leftist governance, the city of Oakland just lost its last In-N-Out Burger. It was quite popular, but it attracted more than its fair share of thieves.

How did this happen? Well, the city decided to cut back on policing and to shift funds to government employee pensions. 

The Wall Street Journal reports:

Oakland’s progressive City Council in 2021 bowed to antipolice activists by limiting the number of police academies for training new officers and freezing 911 surge units, all while boosting funding for putative violence prevention “alternatives.” Meantime, as federal pandemic largesse shrank, spending on government-worker benefits ballooned.

Between 2019 and 2023, Oakland’s spending on public-worker retirement benefits rose 42% ($73 million) and 34% ($49 million) for fringe benefits. Last year Oakland spent more on government worker benefits than it collected in property and sales tax. To close a $360 million budget deficit, the city cut back on law enforcement even more.

The unsurprising result: Surging crime. Robberies last year were up 22% over the three-year average. Auto burglaries (23%), carjackings (15%) and motor vehicle theft (29%) also spiked. Roughly one of every 30 Oakland residents had a car stolen last year. Many In-N-Out patrons and workers found their car windows smashed, if they were lucky enough to avoid being held up at gun-point.

Seventh, the United Nations has just discovered that a dozen of its employees in Gaza participated in the October 7 massacre in Southern Israel. It has just fired them all:

The New York Post has the story:

The United Nations organization for Palestinian refugees has fired a dozen staffers over claims they took part in the Oct. 7 Hamas terror attacks on Israel, the agency said Friday.

Israeli authorities handed over the information alleging that 12 United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) employees were involved in the murderous rampage in southern Israel, the agency’s Commissioner-General, Philippe Lazzarini, said.

“To protect the agency’s ability to deliver humanitarian assistance, I have taken the decision to immediately terminate the contracts of these staff members and launch an investigation in order to establish the truth without delay.”

The US immediately cut funding to the agency in the wake of the allegations surfacing, the State Department said – marking a significant reversal from the Biden administration’s strong support for UNRWA.

One might take the next step and say that it’s high time we fired the United Nations.

Eighth, Axios reports that President Biden has been pressuring Israel to wind down its war against Hamas:

SCOOP: Biden last week pressed Netanyahu to scale down the Israeli military operation in Gaza, stressing he is not in it for a year of war. A Biden adviser told Axios the White House is very concerned about losing young voters.

Because the really important thing for Biden is young voters.

Upon being informed, Bonchi’s Twitter replied:

So we are in it “as long as it takes” when it comes to Ukraine, but the Jews should surrender because it might cost Biden young voters. Good to see principles are really guiding all these foreign policy decisions.

Ninth, the press is reporting that Kenneth Eugene Smith was in pain for some twenty-minutes before he died from nitrogen gas.

The Daily Mail has the story:

The convicted killer, 58, had a gas mask placed over his face before a stream of 100 percent nitrogen gas suffocated him, with Smith thrashing against his restraints in his final moments. Smith was officially pronounced dead at 8:25 local time, following a 22-minute ordeal where he appeared to remain conscious for several minutes. He shook violently and pulled on the restraints on the gurney, continuing to breathe the nitrogen gas heavily until he succumbed and passed out. The murderer's spiritual guide, Jeff Hood, described the execution as the 'worst thing' he had ever seen, claiming prison officials gasped in shock as he died far slower than anticipated. 'When they turned the nitrogen on, he began to convulse, he popped up on the gurney over and over again, he shook the whole gurney,' Hood said. In his final words, delivered through the gas mask on his face, Smith said: 'Tonight Alabama causes humanity to take a step backwards... I'm leaving with love, peace and light.' He was sentenced to death in 1996 for the murder-for-hire slaying of a preacher's wife in 1988. Smith's pastor John Ewell told before his execution that the killer was 'really struggling' with the reality of his imminent death, and officials said he barely touched his final meal of a T-bone steak, hashbrowns, eggs and A1 Sauce from Waffle House.

Of course, we can easily solve the problem by importing another, more efficient method, from France.

Time to try out the guillotine!! He would have felt no pain!

Tenth, another chapter in the annals of Biden administration incompetent military actions. Daniel Greenfield remarks this:

after almost a month, Biden has failed to secure the Red Sea from a bunch of terrorists

Eleventh, I now have some free consulting hours in my coaching and counseling practice. If you are interested, email me at