Middlebury, Groupthink, and Riots

Thomas Sowell had a few things to say the other day about the fracas at Middlebury College. As always, it is very worth listening to.

Where have all these shocked people been all these years? What happened at Middlebury College has been happening for decades, all across the country, from Berkeley to Harvard. Moreover, even critics of the Middlebury College rioters betray some of the same irresponsible mindset as that of the young rioters.

The moral dry rot in academia — and beyond — goes far deeper than student storm troopers at one college.

Frank Bruni of the New York Times, for example, while criticizing the rioters, lent credence to the claim that Charles Murray was “a white nationalist.” Similar — and worse — things have been said, in supposedly reputable publications, by people who could not cite one statement from any of Dr. Murray’s books that bears any resemblance to their smears.

It seems to me increasingly that book reviews have become a political litmus test, where one writes what one believes about the author, whether or not (usually not) one has read the book in question. Not all, of course, there are plenty of good, useful reviews out there, but far too often.

The professors don’t usually riot against people whose ideas they disagree with, because they can just dismiss those ideas, with some characterization that there is no one on hand to challenge.

Professor William Julius Wilson of Harvard, for example, said of Justice Clarence Thomas, “He’ll say he pulled himself up by his own bootstraps. I say I was in the right place at the right time.”

Just where did Justice Thomas say that he pulled himself up by his own bootstraps? The central theme of his autobiography, titled “My Grandfather’s Son,” credits the wisdom of the grandfather who raised him as what saved him.

Nuns who taught him in school were brought to Washington, at his expense, to be present to see him sworn in as a Justice of the Supreme Court, to see that their dedicated efforts on his behalf had not been in vain.

But has anyone ever asked Professor Wilson on just what he based his claim about Justice Thomas? The central tragedy of academia today is that you don’t have to have anything on which to base dismissals of people and ideas you disagree with.

Of course not, He’s a Harvard professor, which in much of our society, is akin to a demigod. Well, I’d ask, because I learned long ago that Harvard professors believe many things that are just not so.

Why should we expect students to welcome debate about differences of opinion, when so many of their professors seem to think cheap shot dismissals are all you need? Lacking their professors’ verbal dexterity or aura of authority, students use cruder methods of dismissing things they disagree with.

So long as academia talks demographic “diversity” and practices groupthink when it comes to ideas, we have little reason to expect better of student mobs that riot with impunity.

via The Real Lessons of Middlebury College by Dr. Thomas Sowell | Creators Syndicate

And so we get riots, while fools look on from their ivory towers.

Hubris, meet Nemesis

msmprop4Victor Davis Hanson recently wrote for the Hoover Institution. As usual, it’s outstanding.

Donald Trump conducted a press conference recently as if he were a loud circus ringmaster whipping the media circus animals into shape. The establishment thought the performance was a window into an unhinged mind; half the country thought it was a long overdue media comeuppance.

The media suffer the lowest approval numbers in nearly a half-century. In a recent Emerson College poll, 49 percent of American voters termed the Trump administration “truthful”; yet only 39 percent believed the same about the news media.

Every president needs media audit. The role of journalists in a free society is to act as disinterested censors of government power—neither going on witch-hunts against political opponents nor deifying ideological fellow-travelers.

Sadly, the contemporary mainstream media—the major networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN), the traditional blue-chip newspapers (Washington Post, New York Times), and the public affiliates (NPR, PBS)—have lost credibility. They are no more reliable critics of President Trump’s excesses than they were believable cheerleaders for Barack Obama’s policies.

Trump may have a habit of exaggeration and gratuitous feuding that could cause problems with his presidency. But we would never quite know that from the media. In just his first month in office, reporters have already peddled dozens of fake news stories designed to discredit the President—to such a degree that little they now write or say can be taken at face value.

A loud and blatant truth there, if you wish to lose whatever credibility you have all you have to do is take sides, while continuing to maintain that you are objective. True for me, true for you, true for the New York Times. Although I wouldn’t know, since I have no pet birds, I have no reason to support overpriced birdcage liners. But to be serious, even as a blogger, I exercise a modicum of judgment, whether something is likely true, possible, or simply propaganda, there are many stories you don’t see here because even with the wide reading I do, I only saw it once, or it’s simply too unlikely. Whatever, if I’m not convinced, it doesn’t get posted.

VDH does an outstanding job of running down the ‘bill of particulars’ that have damned the MSM in this country, no need to do it here, so read the link.

We are now in a media arena where there are no rules. The New York Times is no longer any more credible than talk radio; CNN—whose reporters have compared Trump to Hitler and gleefully joked about his plane crashing—should be no more believed than a blogger’s website. Buzzfeed has become like the National Inquirer.

Trump now communicates, often raucously and unfiltered, directly with the American people, to ensure his message is not distorted and massaged by reporters who have a history of doing just that. Unfortunately, it is up to the American people now to audit their own president’s assertions. The problem is not just that the media is often not reliable, but that it is predictably unreliable. It has ceased to exist as an auditor of government. Ironically the media that sacrificed its reputation to glorify Obama and demonize Trump has empowered the new President in a way never quite seen before. At least for now, Trump can say or do almost anything he wishes without media scrutiny—given that reporters have far less credibility than does Trump.

Trump is the media’s Nemesis—payback for its own hubris.

Emphasis mine and via Presidential Payback For Media Hubris | Hoover Institution.

I have nothing to add to that.

Video Thursday

How about some videos today?

Prime Minister May is coming over this week. What could be the best outcome for her, and for us? I think Dan Hannan has it right. Let’s do this, cousins.

 

This is how we all capitalize on Brexit, and the deal making Trump. A bit more, from BBC 4, of all places. Mind, like so many Americans, I grew up loving the BBC, but it has become nearly as bad as MSLSD the last few years.

And here’s the guy that made such a thing possible, Nigel Farage.

 

Here’s an interview the PM did earlier in the week. She makes sense, but my word the condescenion and bias that Andrew Marr shows is just incredible. And remember that the BBC is owned by the government, and tax supported.

 

And some British common sense from Piers Morgan. Yeah, me too, the world is changing

 

 

Let’s wrap up with a members only Right Angle from Bill Whittle

 

 

And that was the week that was. Wow!

Video Saturday

So, it’s Saturday. How about a video round up, of some others views. Let’s start with Pat Condell

 

A bit harshly stated, perhaps, but I can’t say that I disagree with him. The Right Angle guys have something to say, as well.

 

And a bit on fake news, and where it comes from.

 

Yep. And if you have ever had the nightmare of dealing with flat pack furniture, especially IKEA’s well, you’ll understand.

 

Kellyanne Conway becomes First Woman to Win Presidency!

downloadEventually, I’ll have something more to say about the election but, I simply didn’t believe Trump had much chance, and so I didn’t have my thoughts ordered. In fact, 2012 rather demoralized me, more than I knew, and nothing since has lifted that gloom. Your mileage may differ, but I bet I’m not alone. Meantime, an old friend of mine has written on it, and I pretty much agree, I think, with her. Enjoy!

Hooray, hallelujah, thank the Good Lord, the Wicked Witch has melted. The improbable Donald Trump slayed her, benefiting from the widespread dislike for Hillary Clinton across party lines. I went to my bed for an evening of crossword puzzles and reading (oblivion) as soon as I got a look at the earliest returns showing her way ahead in key states. I was resigned, and sad, and prepared to shed a tear, no more, when I turned on the computer in the morning to find “Madame President” splashed across the news. And when I did turn to the computer, I first went to email and there I found a message from someone I worked with in Bosnia, hadn’t heard from him for a long, long time — he was gloating at the upset– against all odds! he crowed. My heart leapt, I turned to Fox News to find that the glorious American people have thrown the bums out! And Ms. Conway became the first woman ever to guide a presidential campaign to victory. Wow. I did shed tears, but joyful ones, and I did praise God for the outcome. I had even prayed Tuesday evening with my birds that God would smile on Trump’s venture. My birds are as happy as I am, although less demonstrative.

Here is what we won: our future. Trump will name at least one if not more Supreme Court justices, thus securing the Court for the foreseeable future. And by the way, Ruth Bader Ginsburg publicly declared she would retire from the Court should Trump win. I’m waiting as are we all. That would be two wicked witches downed.

 

via Kellyanne Conway becomes First Woman to Win Presidency! | Ooobie on Everything

The Real Drivers in this Election

10b3foBookworm posted yesterday about how polarized this election has become. It’s something we’ve all noticed, although most of us haven’t thought about it, or how we got here. Here’s some of it.

A Progressive friend is relentlessly pushing “Trump is awful” stories on me. I, a conservative, invariably counter by pointing out that Hillary’s list of sins and failures is infinitely worse.

I realized yesterday that my arguments are irrelevant. My friend will never vote for someone who is not 100% pro-abortion, pro-socialized medicine, or pro-open borders.  Given a choice between a rotting dead body that is pro-Abortion and a genuine angel from Heaven that is pro-Choice, he’d vote for the rotting body every time.

Even as we endlessly talk down the other side’s candidates (because few people are really comfortable talking their own candidate up in this bizarre election year), what really matters is the ideological divide underlying this election. The following list might help you decide on which side of that divide you live. Once you decide, do remember that you will never get people to accept your candidate, no matter how flawed their own candidate, until you get them to accept your ideology.

National security

  • Conservatives believe that America and her allies are safest when America projects military strength that acts as a deterrent to predatory actors around the world.
  • Progressives believe that America is itself a predatory actor and that it and, indeed, the rest of the world are safest when it is passive and weak.

Guns

  • Conservatives believe that guns’ defensive benefits far outweigh their ability to kill.
  • Progressives believe that guns have no utility other than killing and that only police should be allowed to carry them.

Police

  • Conservatives acknowledge that, among America’s approximately 1.5 million state and federal police, there are individual bad actors, including racists, but strongly believe that the vast majority are decent men and women who routinely put their lives at risk to keep the American public safe.
  • Progressives believe that America’s police are inherently racist and corrupt and that they must be kept on the shortest leash possible, especially when dealing with the inner city black community (but that they and private bodyguards to celebrities should still be the only people allowed to have guns).

Race

  • Conservatives try to heed Martin Luther King’s dictum to look past the color of people’s skin in order to judge them by the content of their character.
  • Progressives believe that race is of paramount importance in that it determines both how people act and how others act towards them.

There is considerably more, it’s all good, so you should read the whole thing!: Progressive v. Conservative ideologies, not the candidates, are the real drivers in this election *UPDATED* – Bookworm Room

Honestly, I don’t have much to add to this. She is completely right, in my judgment. This election has turned us into bitter-enders and on both sides. I don’t know what’s going to happen, and yes, no matter what it is, I’m worried.

But as always, there are rhymes in history. I like many of you tend to see this as the most important election in history but is it? My friend over at Practically Historical reminds us here of the rhymes.

Americans have a need to inflate the importance… of the times in which they live.  This is best illustrated by the hyperbole we attach to each Presidential election.  Every four years we are confronted by “the most important election in a generation.”  Each succeeding election contains events “never seen before.”  The election of 2016 has been especially unheralded- two candidates resoundingly distrusted by the electorate-  a truly unprecedented political event…. or is it??

Hold your nose and vote

Hold your nose and vote

1884 was just such an election… Republican James G. Blaine and Democrat Grover Cleveland were both equally distrusted by the American people.  Blaine admittedly took bribes from railroad companies, while Cleveland confessed to fathering a child out-of-wedlock.  The campaign asked the American people to decide which candidate was least objectionable.  October found the two troubled candidates in a virtual dead-heat.  1884 also introduced us to that most predictable election year phenomena, the October surprise.

Ma ma where's my pa?

Ma ma where’s my pa?

A week before the General Election… Samuel D. Burchard, a teetotaling Republican reformer, addressed a gathering of the Republican National Committee.  His fiery speech included the infamous attack on Democrats and their association with “Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion.”   In one rhetorical flourish, he linked Democrats to the three most divisive issues of the day- alcoholism, Catholic immigration, and memories of the Civil War.  The clumsy effort to purify his own party galvanized his opponents and sent them to the polls in record numbers.

He’s right, of course, there very little that is completely new in history. So we’ll see what happens, always keeping in mind that Adam Smith wrote that “there is a lot of ruin in a nation”. We should be grateful that it is so.

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