How political correctness ate itself | UnHerd

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The consensus on political correctness was that it was a way of expressing things that everyone – or at least all the right people – took for granted. For progressives it was the same thing as good manners, an argument that was often presented in just those words…

Source: How political correctness ate itself – UnHerd

Worth a read.

It is said that revolutions always devour their own children. That does seem to be true, but understandably, their children resist being devoured, and the resultant thrashing about can cause a lot of mayhem, and often a lot of injury to innocent (or at least, not unduly culpable) bystanders.

The sooner political correctness thrashes itself into oblivion, the better, as far as I’m concerned! Then we can get on with simply being decent to each other, unless of course we have a good reason not to be. And in that case, we can be at enmity honestly, without the need to disguise it with PC cant, or to pretend that we are not, in fact, at enmity after all…

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A generation plans an exodus from California | Orange County Register

Today even some of the state’s determined progressives understand that taking the “California model” national seems implausible when significant numbers of Californians are headed in large numbers to red Texas or purple Las Vegas.

Source: A generation plans an exodus from California – Orange County Register

Some of us do not find it surprising that California is, as this article puts it, continuing to “hemorrhage” people at a high rate: “Since the recovery began in 2010, California’s net domestic out-migration… has almost tripled to 140,000 annually. Over that time, the state has lost half a million” of its residents to out-migration – people leaving the state.

More significant than mere numbers, though, is the demographic those numbers represent:

“The key issue for California, however, lies with the exodus of people around child-bearing years. The largest group leaving the state — some 28 percent — is 35 to 44, the prime ages for families. Another third come from those 26 to 34 and 45 to 54, also often the age of parents.”

Many, in other words – in fact most, almost two-thirds – of those leaving California are those of family-rearing age: that is to say, those who are most important for the future of the state.

There is no question that a lot of this is due to, as the article again points out, the high cost of living there, and particularly the high cost of housing:

“Over 90 percent of the difference in costs between California’s coastal metropolises and the country derives from housing. Coastal California is affordable for roughly 15 percent of residents, down from 30 percent in 2000, and 30 percent in the interior, [down] from nearly 60 percent in 2000. In the country as a whole, affordability hovers at roughly 60 percent.”

It’s hard enough to afford housing here in Maryland (also a coastal state, of course); the situation is much worse in California. But housing costs alone might not tell the whole story; indeed, this article itself hints – cautiously – at the likelihood that California has got its priorities screwed up, and many Californians (or former Californians, or soon-to-be-former Californians) know it.

The author – Joel Kotkin, R.C. Hobbs Presidential Fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University, and executive director of the Houston-based Center for Opportunity Urbanism – notes that (in the quote with which I opened this),

“Today even some of the state’s determined progressives understand that taking the ‘California model’ national seems implausible when significant numbers of Californians are headed in large numbers to red Texas or purple Las Vegas,”

and continues,

“California’s media and political elites like to bask in the mirror and praise their political correctness. They focus on passing laws about banning straws, the makeup of corporate boards, prohibiting advertising for unenlightened fundamentalist preaching or staging a non-stop, largely ineffective climate change passion play. Yet what our state really needs are leaders interested in addressing more basic issues such as middle-class jobs and affordable single-family housing.”

So long as California’s leadership continues to value political correctness over improving the practical quality of life – indeed, the ability to live in the state at all – of ordinary folks, the more California seems likely to to continue hemorrhage people.

This should be a wake-up call for the “chattering classes” in other (currently) “blue” states. It should be. But will it? Or will they continue to be blinded by an ideological agenda that is at best irrelevant, and often off-putting, to the majority of ordinary people?

True believers will continue to be true believers, no matter what, of course. Ideologues are ideologues because it is their mentality to be so. But there have to be at least some adults in the crowd, don’t there? Don’t there…?

“Barack Obama’s return just reminds us how he fueled the distrust that led to Donald Trump” | James Bovard in USA Today

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Who cares if Obama belatedly cheers for transparency and accountability? He should admit that he made the government more dangerous at home and abroad.

Source: Barack Obama is back and showing us how he helped elect Donald Trump | USA Today Opinion – James Bovard

James Bovard’s short but detailed and meticulously-sourced essay should be a must-read in every high school and college political science class – and since that’s not going to happen, it deserves to be shared, forwarded, and otherwise spread as widely as possible. Doing my bit, here!

Bovard is no cheerleader for the current President, no rider of the “Trump Train” – he comments that “Americans should be alarmed at Trump’s power grabs” (in one of his few failures to cite-and-source, he gives no indication of what those are), and reminds us that “Obama is correct that Americans should be on guard against any ‘absolutism’ from the Trump administration.”

But he also reminds us that “Obama declared Friday that Americans are ‘supposed to stand up to bullies, not follow them.’ But Trump won in 2016 in part because many Americans considered the federal government the biggest bully in the land.” And he cites example, after example, after example of how Obama either maintained or, in many cases, increased government power and intrusiveness, at the expense of transparency and freedom.

Here are a few of the examples that Bovard cites (sources linked in the op-ed itself, which I strongly encourage you to read):

  • the Transportation Security Administration became far more punitive and intrusive during Obama’s presidency
  • Obama expanded federal secrecy and prosecuted more journalists and whistleblowers than any previous administration
  • he campaigned in 2008 on a peace platform and then proceeded to bomb seven nations
  • he flip-flopped on illegal surveillance and unleashed the National Security Administration to target anyone “searching the web for suspicious stuff”
  • When Obama took office, the United States had the 20th-most-free press in the world; by 2016, it had fallen to 41st

And these are only some of the examples he cites – and, as I say, carefully sources. And after all this, Obama presumes to lecture us on Trump, or to present himself as some sort of moral leader? It’d be a joke, if it wasn’t so un-funny. The truth is, as Bovard accurately notes, “Nothing that Trump can do or say should be permitted to expunge Obama’s derelictions.”

I am in complete agreement! And as for Obama himself, he should do what nearly every former President has done, which is ride off into the sunset – or sit quietly on his porch, enjoying his substantial Presidential retirement income – and cease and desist his attempts to undermine a sitting President.

 


 

P.S. Needless to say, the Obamacrats in the public square were less enamored of Bovard’s conclusions. As he pointed out in a follow-up on his personal blog,

“I am chagrined that not everyone liked  yesterday’s USA Today oped, ‘Obama Fueled the Distrust that Led to Donald Trump.’ I expected the piece to spur thoughtful exchanges by folks with different perspectives.”

If so, I fear he was either hopelessly naive, or at least excessively optimistic. He continues,

“Alas, my hopes for a rebirth of civility have been mercilessly crushed. Here’s some responses generated via Twitter, email, and elsewhere online.”

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As I commented, both on his blog and on his Facebook page, I suspect that most of the above “respondents” (if one can even dignify them with such a title) failed to read past the headline. And if they did, they clearly failed to comprehend what they were reading – or, just as likely, flatly refused to do so, lest their preconceived notions be disturbed by facts.

[Bovard’s] op-ed piece is spot-on, and (as I mentioned above) should be required reading in every high school and college-level political science class in the nation.

If Democrats dislike Trump, they should reflect on the fact that they have only themselves to blame, by tolerating Obama and nominating Clinton.

But frankly, I doubt that most of today’s Democrats are capable of that level of reflection. Sad to say!

Gavin Ashenden on Rod Liddle on ++Justin Welby, Archbishop of Cant… er… Canterbury

 

 

Bishop Gavin Ashenden, a former Queen’s Chaplain who resigned from the Church of England in 2017 to be able to more freely defend Christian orthodoxy and Western civilization – both primary concerns of The Anglophilic Anglican – posted this on his Facebook page, commenting:

The C of E is in serious trouble when The Sunday Times call out “The Archbishop of Cant.”

Rod Liddle on Justin Welby: “There is a touch of the Frank Spencer about Welby, the ++ of Cant; he looks really,really stupid, as well as hypocritical. He is his own satire.”

Tragic & true.

The quote is part of a longer passage of Liddle’s which is worth quoting more fully, in my opinion:

“And so Justin [Welby, the present Archbishop of Canterbury] looks really, really stupid, as well as hypocritical. He is his own satire. But his ineptitude is not the main problem. Nor are his views on taxation and employment, many of which I agree with. It is that the [Church of England] has shelved God and replaced Him with the vapid narrative and fraudulent virtue-signalling of the liberal elite. And we can get all that stuff elsewhere, thank you.

Hear, hear!

City of Vienna Refuses To Remember Jan III Sobieski | Defend Europa

A memorial statue for Polish king Jan III Sobieski was supposed to be unveiled on 12 September in Vienna. A surprising turn of events has caused confusion.

Source: City of Vienna Refuses To Remember Jan III Sobieski – Defend Europa

Unfortunately, not everyone understands and appreciates the significance of King Jan III Sobieski’s epic accomplishment in the Battle of Vienna:

“Plans to raise a monument for Jan III Sobieski, the Polish king who helped save Europe in the Battle of Vienna, have come to a surprise halt. The City of Vienna and its Social Democratic mayor Michael Ludwig, who has been elected in May, now refuse to finish the construction.

“The memorial for the Polish king was planned in 2013 and supposed to be unveiled to the public on September 12 2018, the 335th anniversary of the liberation of Vienna. As polskiradio reports, it is now ready to be delivered to the former Imperial Capital. There was no official statement from the city, however, ‘there were signals from, among others, the city council’ that the monument could be seen as an offence to Turkish residents.”

In other news, there are reports that the City Council of Minas Tirith has expressed its disapproval of plans to erect a statue of King Theoden of Rohan in the City, over concerns that it might be seen as offensive to Orcish residents…

Cowboys, Indians, and gender dysphoria…

Living in the early 21st century is becoming more and more like watching a bad movie… unfortunately, one in which you can’t leave the theatre.

On “Silent Sam,” Massachusetts, and complicity

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There is a meme making the rounds to the effect that Massachusetts – of all places! – was the first colony to legalize slavery, doing so in 1641.

Well, guess what? It’s true. I’ve confirmed it from multiple reputable sources online (here is a link to the most concise one I’ve found; some of the following dates come from this timeline).

In addition, in 1643, the New England Confederation, a “military alliance of the English colonies of Massachusetts Bay, Plymouth, Connecticut, and New Haven,” adopted a fugitive slave law, meaning that an escaped slave, if found, would be returned to his or her master. And in 1650, Connecticut legalized slavery. Note: Virginia didn’t pass its fugitive slave law until 1657, although it did pass a law allowing blacks to hold slaves (!) in 1654.

In 1652, Massachusetts required all black and Indian (Native American) servants to receive military training, just like white citizens; but ten years later, in 1662, rescinded that decree, no longer allowing them training in arms. New York, Connecticut, and New Hampshire passed similar laws restricting the bearing of arms by blacks, in that same year.

Also, the slave trade in North America (although they were originally indentured servants; lifelong servitude was not a thing in the early days) began with the launching of the first slave-carrying ship, the “Desire,” in 1636. Care to guess where she was built and launched? Again, Massachusetts.

Now, I’m not beating up on Massachusetts. I love the Bay State, its topography and climate, its quaint villages, its glorious Fall foliage, its delicious seafood, and its many and (mostly) positive contributions to our collective history, from Lexington and Concord to its intimate connection with the sea (did I mention seafood?).

But part of that seafaring tradition included the slave trade, part of the “Triangle Trade” (a.k.a. “Triangular Trade”) that linked the American colonies to Europe (especially Britain) and Africa in a network of raw materials, finished goods, and slave labor.

All of the American colonies, later States, were complicit in that trade, either directly, or by benefiting from slave labor in the production of raw materials such as cotton, tobacco, and sugar, among other products. And the fact that New England had abolished slavery in its own territories did not prevent it from profiting mightily from that still going on elsewhere.

On the subject of indenture and slavery, in 1640, a runaway African indentured servant, John Punch, was sentenced to lifelong servitude for the crime of running away. Note: that was a sentence, in punishment for a crime. Arbitrary enslavement did not begin until the case of John Casor (1655), who was ruled by a court to be enslaved for life to Anthony Johnson: ironically, Johnson was an African-born former indentured servant who had completed his term and set himself up as a tobacco farmer, with indentured servants – and now, a slave, the first “official” one – of his own.

Incidentally, only about 10% of enslaved Africans (mostly captured and sold to Europeans, or white Americans, by rival African tribes) ended up in North America, where, as indicated above, they originally became indentured servants, but were later enslaved; the vast majority went to Central or South America (primarily Brazil) or the Caribbean Islands, where they all became slaves (see here for more detailed figures).

Why am I mentioning these things? Because there is a tendency to treat Southern folks, here in the U.S. – those who seceded and formed the Confederacy, from 1861-1865 – as if they were uniquely culpable in the slave trade, and slavery in general. The truth is rather different.

The history of slavery itself is ancient almost beyond reckoning, and worldwide in scope; but the history of slavery in America is also highly complex and multifaceted: including both sub-Saharan Africans selling other Africans into slavery to Europeans (later white Americans), and free blacks here owning slaves, as well as considerable involvement by Northern interests, including after slavery had officially been abolished in New England.

My point in all of this? It just underlines the absurdity of treating the South, and particularly the old Confederacy, as somehow uniquely culpable in the issue and institution of slavery, which it clearly was not; and using this fallacy as an excuse to tear down monuments and other historic iconography. The most recent example of this iconoclastic fervor is the toppling of the “Silent Sam” monument at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill – erected as a tribute to the more than 1,000 UNC students who fought, and particularly the 287 who died, in the War Between the States.

But Silent Sam is far from the only casualty in this war against history as expressed in monumental art: many other monuments have been attacked, damaged, defaced by graffiti, or broken down; and some have been removed, under color of law, by municipal authorities who ought to know better. The justification offered is that the South was fighting to protect slavery – a notion that is, at best, simplistic, and at worst, completely and tragically incorrect – an institution for which the Confederacy (so the argument goes) was uniquely culpable. The falsity of that notion is, I hope, amply demonstrated above.

If we are to eliminate every vestige of slavery in America, we will have no choice but to eliminate a lot of good, too. Great men can do terrible things, and flawed men can do great things. The complexity of humans is part of what makes us interesting. But we lose all of that – and impoverish both ourselves, and future generations – when we choose to obsessively mono-focus our attention on a single issue, such as slavery.

Should we ignore it, and pretend that it was of no consequence? No, of course not! It was and is (for it still exists, in parts of Africa and the Middle East, and human trafficking is a thing even here in the U.S.) a moral evil, and must be decried as such.

But judging people, events, and even whole regions solely on the basis of their connection with slavery narrows our focus, blinds our perception, and cripples our judgment. Not for nothing do serious academic historians consider “presentism” – the tendency to look at the past through the lens of current-day standards and sensibilities – to be dangerously misleading.

We would be better off, I think, if more people today heeded an aphorism my late mother often quoted:

“There is so much good in the worst of us,
And so much bad in the best of us,
That it ill-behooves any of us
To talk about the rest of us.”

Or as our Lord Jesus Christ once said, “Let him who is without sin, cast the first stone.”