Time’s “Person of the Year”: teenage activist Greta Thunberg

Climate activist Greta Thunberg photographed on the shore in Lisbon, Portugal December 4, 2019

Resisting the temptation to shout at Time Magazine, “How dare you?” (wry smile)

So, teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg has been named Time Magazine’s 2019 “Person of the Year.” The cover has a dreamy-eyed Greta standing on the edge of the rising sea level ocean, gazing mystically into what one supposes is meant to represent the future. Well, on one level, I suppose she deserves it, in the sense that – for better or for worse – she’s become a household name, and the face of climate change activism. But, leaving sheer publicity aside:

Who better for person of the year than a petulant, hysterical adolescent, angrily chastising adults of many decades more life experience and vastly greater education and knowledge of the world, after generating more carbon pollution by crossing the ocean in a high-tech sailing yacht as part of a publicity stunt than she would have if she’d simply taken a seat on a jetliner like anyone else?

(We’ll leave aside a growing body of evidence suggesting that, a) climate change is primarily natural, as it has always been, not anthropogenic, and b) the cycle seems to be swinging back in the direction of cooling, not warming.)

And of course, she’s being lionized in the same year in which Left-wingers excoriated – and in some cases made death threats against – another adolescent, a boy who exhibited remarkable coolness and composure in the incident in question, for “smirking” at a Native American activist who had invaded his personal space and was drumming in his face.

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Welcome to 21st century America… 🙄

 

QOTD: Really Real Reality | Stately McDaniel Manor

There are two striking similarities between teaching high school English and being a police officer: many people lie to you, and you must deal with reality.

Source: California: Really Real Reality | Stately McDaniel Manor

Gotta love Mike McDaniel, and his blog, Stately McDaniel Manor! The article itself is an interesting, if depressing, one which I encourage you to read, if only to appreciate how bad things are getting in California (which has historically crowed, “As goes California, so goes the nation” – let us devoutly pray that is not the case, in these days). But this quote is pure gold:

“There are two striking similarities between teaching high school English and being a police officer: many people lie to you, and you must deal with reality.  I’m speaking of real reality, like the laws of physics, not jumping off tall buildings due to the recognition of gravity, there are only two genders, men and women are different, heterosexuality is normal, Islam isn’t a “religion of peace,” evil exists, not everyone wants peace, God – not man – is in charge, and if you like toilet paper and eating, you’ll hate socialism. That reality. Real reality. Really real reality.”

Beautiful. And so true!

 

Netherlands: Outraged leftists protest against ‘Black Pete’ across the country | Voice of Europe

Christmas parades across the Netherlands welcoming the arrival of St. Nicholas and his helper, Black Pete, were the scenes of protests by leftists who say Black Pete should be removed from the tradition, because for them, he’s a symbol of racism.

Source: Netherlands: Outraged leftists protest against ‘Black Pete’ across the country | Voice of Europe

When will we learn that most if not pretty much all of those who claim to be “anti-racist” are, in fact, actually anti-traditionalist? Idiocy like this cheapens the the response to, and diverts attention from, instances (now blessedly rare) of genuine racism!

And of course, most of those who claim most loudly to be “anti-racist” have no problem talking and behaving in racist ways when it comes to people of European heritage. Including stunts like this, attacking traditional customs and traditions! It’s shameful. In any case:

“A group called Kick out Zwarte Piet (KOZP), protested in several cities on Saturday during the entry of Sinterklaas. The group didn’t protest at the national entry in Apeldoorn, however.

“The group contends that Black Pete is a racist caricature that should either be changed or done away with entirely. The majority of Dutch people, however, say there’s nothing wrong with the character, and that he’s simply part of the country’s long-held tradition.

“A recent poll revealed that 88 percent of the Dutch population doesn’t view Black Pete as racist and see no problem with the original appearance.”

Good for the Dutch! I only wish it was 98%…

Historian Victor Davis Hanson on why he supports Trump | YouTube

Source: Historian Victor Davis Hanson on why he supports Trump

Far more than just a discussion of why Professor Hanson supports Trump, this interview is a calm, level-headed, and incisive discussion of what is wrong with our current society, and its implications. We are headed in a very dangerous direction, and (not that I haven’t said this many times before) I am deeply worried for the future of our country – and indeed, for Western civilization as a whole – if the current trajectory continues.

‘What’s The Matter With Conservatives?’ – Rod Dreher | The American Conservative

https://anglophilicanglican.files.wordpress.com/2019/11/c79f6043-ef35-4ed2-bfbd-b269ad37fbf2.jpg

Yes, the GOP has a demographics problem – but contrary to the liberal diagnosis, it ain’t paranoia if the Left really is out to get you.

Source: ‘What’s The Matter With Conservatives?’ – Rod Dreher | The American Conservative

The tagline above pretty much says it all. Read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest!

The only thing I would add is that a) the “liberal / progressive” prescription for dealing with demographic replacement by mass immigration is basically “you’re going to get it whether you want it or not, so you may as well just lie back and enjoy it.” And yes, I mean that exactly as it sounds: the rape (literal* as well as metaphorical) of Western civilization, its culture, traditions, and historical and ancestral heritage. Anyone who does not see that, I fear, either has their head in the sand, or is blinded by ideology.


* “In 1975, the Swedish parliament unanimously decided to change the former homogeneous Sweden into a multicultural country. Forty years later the dramatic consequences of this experiment emerge: violent crime has increased by 300%.” The article is dated 2015, but the situation has not improved, since. Sweden is perhaps the worst, but by no means the only, example of the phenomenon. Even my home state of Maryland has not escaped the problem!


I suspect there is not a “liberal” or “progressive” alive who thinks the Native peoples of this continent should have simply laid back and enjoyed their subjugation and replacement by Europeans coming to these shores. Nor that African and Asian peoples should have laid back and enjoyed European (or to a lesser extent, American) colonization – neither of which, however, had the demographic replacement effects that seem almost inevitable for the West, if current trends continue to hold.

What is masquerading behind appeals to “diversity” and “multiculturalism” is a deep-seated hatred of the West, of Western civilization, and of the peoples that created it. And what is perhaps most horrid and reprehensible of all is that many of those most bent on destroying the West are, themselves, Westerners: people who are, or whose ancestral heritage is, European. In any war – and make no mistake, this is a civilizational, existential war we are in – the greatest threat is often not the enemy without, but the enemy within.

And as many have pointed out, the worst racism imaginable is hatred of one’s own race. Yet that is exactly what is on display in much of what passes for public discourse, these days. Disgusting and disheartening!

 

“Christians Deceived by the LGBTQ Movement” | American Thinker

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“LGBTQ activists are using every weapon in their arsenal to punish, humiliate, and destroy Christians.”

Source: Christians Deceived by the LGBTQ Movement | American Thinker

At the risk of being accused of virtue-signalling, I want to state clearly that this is not intended as an attack on individuals involved in serious, committed same-sex relationships.

I have friends in that category, and while I may not agree with their choices (attractions and desires may not be a choice – are not, in fact; we all have attractions and desires, some of which may be more healthy, and some less – but how we respond to them most emphatically is), they are still friends, and “there is none who is without sin, no, not one.”

Furthermore, what individuals do in the privacy of their own homes is not my business, unless they make it my business: either by asking me for spiritual counsel, or by insisting that I not only tolerate it as a private matter between consenting individuals (which is part of living together in a civil society), but “affirm” and even “celebrate” it as a public matter. That is where I draw the line.

And that is where LGBTQ+ activists – as distinct from people quietly and discretely living their lives, which is where people of any sexual orientation should be (with the possible exceptions of discussing the falling birthrate, or the fact that children do best when they have both a mother and a father [see also thisinter alia], there are few reasons to make one’s sexuality the centerpiece of one’s identity) – err most grievously, imho: they insist that their sexuality is core to their identity, in fact it’s their primary identity, and d__n it, the rest of us had better celebrate it!

Leaving aside the fact that making sex the center of one’s life points to issues far beyond merely who one chooses to engage in it with, this kind of attitude has serious – and negative – implications for Christians, or anyone else who disagrees with it, to the extent that these beliefs become or even influence public policy.

For example, this essay cites

“California’s pro-LGBTQ Assembly Bill 2943 [which] threatens free speech and freedom of religion for Christians.  It uses the state’s consumer fraud statute to make it illegal to ‘distribute resources, sell books, offer counseling services, or direct someone to a biblically based model for getting help with gender confusion and homosexuality.'” 

As noted in the above quote, this has serious First Amendment implications for Christians, on both freedom of speech and free exercise of religion grounds.

But, either failing to understand this or willfully ignoring it, “Christians believe the LGBTQ movement’s lie that they seek only Christian love and acceptance.” Well, some may. Perhaps many may, as individuals. But clearly the LGBTQ+ activist squad – a highly active division in the cultural Marxist “fifth column” that has infiltrated American public discourse – has motives that are both broader and darker than that.

In any case, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest!

On the decline of the humanities: “Is Majoring in English Worth It?” | WSJ

The humanities have been infected by political correctness and ‘repressive tolerance.’ It’s no surprise that the English major is in decline, writes William McGurn.

Source: Is Majoring in English Worth It? – WSJ

In which American colleges and universities shoot themselves in the foot by misunderstanding the “liberal” in “liberal arts” (Latin ars liberalis) as a political stance, and not “those arts proper to a free person”:

“No one is surprised to learn that STEM majors (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) out-earn English majors. After all, the purpose of what used to be called a ‘liberal education’ has never been about a high-paying career. Even so, Jonathan Pidluzny, director of academic affairs for the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA), notes that employers nevertheless prize the critical thinking, communication skills and judgment cultivated by a liberal-arts education.”

Or used to be:

“The English major was once a guarantor of effective, formal writing skills and the ability to comprehend and analyze the complex thoughts found within centuries of brilliant and challenging poetry and prose,” Pidluzny told Campus Reform. “Its decline into the epiphenomena of popular culture and identity politics is a self-inflicted wound that has rocked its credibility.”

I have long argued that what created the traditional pattern in which people with degrees in higher education made a greater income than those whose education consisted of high school or trade school was that the kind of people who were willing to undertake, and more importantly, succeed at, a rigorous academic curriculum – in which the above-mentioned skills were key – were rare, and understandably valued.

With an increasing number of people being, in effect, shoved through the doors of the Halls of Academe, that is no longer the case. The market is glutted with college and university graduates, which is why – as I have discussed elsewhere – degree inflation is such a thing: one now needs a bachelor’s degree to do what one used to be able to do with an associate’s, or even a high school diploma; a master’s degree to do what one used to do with a B.A. or B.S., and a doctorate to do things for which a master’s degree used to qualify a person.

And there are many, many holders of doctorates floating around, in many cases as “wild geese”: holding adjunct professorships at several institutions, enjoying tenure at none, having meaningful career prospects at none, and with little in the way of salary or benefits. It is one of the reasons that I stopped with a Masters of Theological Studies: I felt (correctly, as it turned out) that I had spent enough time and money on a course that had no guarantee, and few enough prospects, of advancement, or even permanency.

So liberal arts majors – and graduates – are a dime a dozen, these days, despite a continuing trend of shrinking enrollment in humanities disciplines.

But as McGurn’s essay makes clear, that is only part of the story. The other is the fact that the rigorous academic curriculum itself is increasingly a thing of the past. In part, this is to accommodate the lower caliber of student who is coming into the college or university, under the “you’ve got to get your degree to succeed” mentality: many of these folks simply lack the intellectual aptitude, temperament, or both, for academic study. But colleges and universities don’t want to get a reputation for flunking students, lest overall enrollment decline… and so we have a general dumbing-down of the curriculum.

But the piece of the puzzle which has, until recently, flown somewhat under the radar is the effect on curriculum of the increasing politicization – and Left-wing politicization, specifically – of colleges, universities, and their curricula. I have seen that in my own fields, medieval studies and theology, in which the rigorous treatment of significant historical trends, major and influential figures, and key ideas have been replaced with gender studies, LGBT studies, and an emphasis on a variety of other “marginalized” and “under-represented” populations (ignoring the fact that they may, just possibly, have been “under-represented” in traditional scholarship for good reason).

And now it is even worse – far worse! – than it was when I was in undergrad and graduate studies, with students throwing temper tantrums if anyone dares expose them to ideas that challenge their own (shouting down and in some cases even attacking the persons in question), demanding “safe spaces,” and even claiming that English literature is too white, among other charming behaviors. Sadly, as the linked essay notes, “what’s on offer today isn’t your father’s English degree. It goes on to report that

“An ACTA study of English programs reports that 48 of 52 top schools (as ranked by U.S. News & World Report) allow English majors to graduate without ever having taken a course on Shakespeare. In the past ACTA has also highlighted studies showing that the average grad, even those from prestigious flagship universities, shows little or no improvement in critical thinking for having gone to college.”

McGurn’s essay continues,

“Here the much-maligned English degree is simply a proxy for what is wrong with college today. It isn’t that STEM subjects are the only majors worth anything. It’s that the humanities have disproportionately been infected by political correctness and the malignant influence of Herbert Marcuse, father of the ‘repressive tolerance‘ so prevalent on campuses these days…

and inquires,

“So why have the sciences kept their integrity while the humanities haven’t? Mr. Pidluzny suggests it’s because the costs of a dumbed-down STEM degree can be both more obvious and more consequential.

“’The university can’t get away with not teaching engineering students differential equations because we’d then have collapsing bridges all over the place,” [Pidluzny] says.

“’But for an English major who studies Harry Potter instead of Chaucer, or spends his time on gender theory instead of reading great literature, the costs aren’t as obvious – except to the graduate who only later realizes he never developed the keen analytical mind and precise style of writing college was supposed to cultivate.’”

And of course, to society at large, who gains a professional activist, but loses a cultivated, discerning, and inquiring mind. Or to put it a little more bluntly, gains a “snowflake,” but loses a productive citizen; and in many cases, gains a source of disruption, but loses a source of stability.

Tradition is the passing down of customs, beliefs, but also knowledge and information, from one generation to the next. A liberal arts education – and the colleges and universities, originating in the Middle Ages but based on classical antecedents, which provided it – has been a primary means for passing the down the traditions of Western civilization from one generation to another, for the last thousand years.

I have commented more than once in this forum (and elsewhere) that just as a tree which is separated from its roots withers and dies, the same is true of a culture, a society, or a people. The disruption and practical destruction of the collegiate and university liberal arts tradition, and its replacement by a politically-corrected, culturally Marxist, identity-and-entitlement sandbox in which squalling children throw ideological tantrums is extremely disheartening, and blow after hacking axe-blow at the roots of our Western culture and civilization.

But it can happen, on rare occasions, that a tree which has been felled, or blown over in a gale, falls in such a way that its branches thrust into fertile ground, and themselves take root. There are glimmers of hope in this regard, from the growing number of classical Christian academies and homeschool programs, to a handful of institutions of higher learning such as Hillsdale College (nonsectarian Christian) or Magdalen College of Liberal Arts (Roman Catholic). I pray that such a near-miracle may occur for us, because frankly, without it, our future looks rather bleak!