Charlottesville and Norks; Through a Glass Darkly

Well, we certainly are living in interesting times, aren’t we? Between North Korea and our homegrown fascists, it’s hard to know which is important. Or maybe both are, and if one happens to like conspiracy theories, the ground is very fertile. Not least because we saw in Charlottesville last weekend reminded us that the white supremacy folks and anti fas are simply two facets of the same evil thing. They want us to believe they are of the right and the left, but they are not, they are both of the totalitarian left. As such, neither is pro American, although some of the useful idiots in the streets may think they are – they have jumped the shark, they are not supporting the president, they hurt him, and they hurt America. I doubt either group is grassroots, both are funded by shadowy figures and groups whose aim is to end western civilization. Who else noticed? Melanie Phillips did clean over in London.

The first shocking thing was just the very sight of neo-Nazis and white supremacists openly parading with swastika flags, demonstrating their bigoted, hateful and violent ideology.

The next horrible thing was the violence that broke out between the neo-Nazis and counter-demonstrators. It’s unclear who started it, but there is evidence that at least some of it was unprovoked on both sides.

There was then a shocking car-ramming terrorist attack against anti-Nazi demonstrators which killed one person and left several others injured. The driver is widely assumed to have been a white supremacist supporter; although a man has been arrested and charged with second degree murder, at time of writing it has not been confirmed that he was the driver.

All of this was absolutely terrible.

What’s even more frightening is the violence increasingly erupting in America, as it did in Charlottesville, between two types of people who perpetrate hatred and intolerance, stand against freedom and reason and seek to impose their view of society and human nature by force.

For this battleground does not set fascists against anti-fascists. It is a clash between two armies of demagogues, each worshipping power and violence and smashing anyone who stands in their way. “Antifa” are not, as their name declares them to be, anti-fascists. They are fascists of the left – and in their Black Lives Matter incarnation, anti-white racists too.

What’s yet more appalling still is the double standard being used and the way in which the alt-left have seized upon these events in order to smear Donald Trump by association.

The fact that the former Ku Klux Klan “grand wizard” David Duke – who was at the Charlottesville demonstration – claims to support Trump’s agenda is being used by the alt-left to smear Trump himself as a white supremacist. In other words, Trump is being defined by these particular supporters.

The hypocrisy here is breathtaking. Under President Obama, America was repeatedly subjected to race riots with demonstrators running amok, inciting violence against the police and trashing and looting stores. Since these violent demonstrators were overwhelmingly likely to have been Obama supporters, did the alt-left conclude that Obama himself – who consistently blamed the police – was responsible for black thuggery? Of course not. They blamed the police too.

Since Trump’s ascendancy began, there has been repeated violence against Republicans at Trump rallies by anti-Trump demonstrators. Does the alt-left conclude that, because these demonstrators are Democratic party supporters, the Democrats are thugs themselves?

Quite.

Do read the rest.

Whoever you think is supporting this execrable nonsense, do not make the mistake these fools do, this is not America, these are fringe groups beholding to a few fascists, Nazis, and/or communists amongst us. Which reports to whom? I don’t know and it doesn’t matter. They all have the same rationale for existence, the destruction of the United States as we have known her. It is, in fact, time for us to heed the words of one of America’s greatest soldiers, General Robert E. Lee. Thanks to Practically Historical for the quote.

“It is the duty of every citizen, in the present condition of the Country, to do all in his power to aid in the restoration of peace and harmony…Dismiss from your mind all sectional feeling, and bring [your children] up to be Americans.”

Then there are the North Koreans. If something isn’t done, they are just likely to pull off the destruction of western civilization. Sometimes being considered crazy is an advantage, and so it is here. This should actually be as simple as the invasion of Poland in 1939, just as welcome, too, but that is what kicking cans down the road gets you. But again some shadowy figures have made the simple complicated. From Beyond the Cusp, who I always enjoy reading but tends to long form content that is difficult to summarize.

The United States has not ever been known to be alone in the world with friends which can be counted on her two hands. Those days are almost upon us. Very soon the United States will be finding herself blamed for acting when she acts and for standing aside when she doesn’t act. She will start facing denunciations in the General Assembly of the United Nations by votes resembling those only Israel has faced before where 130 will vote to denounce her with maybe a dozen supporting America and the remainder abstaining and in the United Nations Security Council she will find only her own Veto will prevent her facing sanctions. Whenever the United States acts there will be accusations of unilateralism even when her actions are to rescue a nation from hostile acts of their neighbors. What could possibly bring on such condemnations? Well isn’t it obvious? Her own leftists and their NGO’s in their inevitable rush to try and discredit and destroy President Trump will result in their also discrediting the necessary actions he may soon be called upon to decide as certain things reach critical levels after being pushed aside for decades. These situations reaching these points, these deplorable stages, are doing so largely due to President after President kicking the can down the road because to act required somebody actually being the adult in the room and taking the responsibility of what would inevitable be an unpopular series of events.

This will burst upon the scene initially with probably facing down the North Korean menace Kim Jong-un and his ever-increasing threat which advances with each missile test. Most observers place his current level of threat lower than it actually is, a common thread in politics where avoiding bad news and terrible situations is often done by underestimating the possibilities. Currently, President Trump and his military are properly giving North Korea and its potential threats its rightful attention but they are likely to back away from confrontation if for no other reason than their knowledge of the firestorm which would follow any military action against the Kim regime. They probably already made the deal not to intervene in exchange for allowing one more set of sanctions just passed by the United Nations Security Council to work. If somebody could give us a reason why these sanctions will function with any superior results than the past five sets of sanctions since the armistice was signed in the early Eisenhower years, that would at least be amusing. The problems with these sanctions are the same as with the previous sanctions, North Korea largely trades with China and some with Russia and little else. These are the two nations which can be counted upon to ignore the sanctions after a brief period of observing them so as to grant them the appearance of working. Sanctions are not the magic tool for breaking the bond that China and Russia have with North Korea. For these two adversaries, North Korea is their arrow in the flank of the United States which seriously hampers the American image and drains off the attentions of the United States from their acts of belligerence. One will always pay attention to the leader threatening nuclear annihilation over those merely pressuring neighboring nations in order to increase their spheres of influence.

[…]

This is why Kim Jong-un need be countered on the United States terms and not wait for him to become an actual threat. That leads us to President Trump and the current situation. President Trump currently has his hands tied until Kim Jong-un either carries out a nuclear test or another missile test this time using both stages being solid-fueled systems. This will prove his ability to launch on command instead of having an hours waiting for fueling for launch when ready, not immediate. With this proven technology, the United States will be on notice that Kim Jong-un will be readily capable of striking any number of targets potentially within the Continental United States, that would be CONUS Command, and possibly any target within the United States as well as Europe. Whatever the perceived and admitted abilities of North Korean missile technology, they are frighteningly close to their desired capability and already are capable of striking the United States with a devastating EMP device which could bring down most, if not all, of the North American electrical grid. We would call that a very definite threat to the well-being of every American as such a devastating strike would minimally kill three-quarters of the population of North America. Canada would also be direly adversely affected. This places President Trump with the unenviable decision of does he act now, before anything horrific occurs or does he wait for a provocation which nobody could fail to recognize and admit he acted according to the betterment of the American people or did he act as a warmonger seeking personal glory. We may as well face the reality of this situation. Should President Trump act to prevent any of the dire consequences of a nuclear capable Kim Jong-un, then the media, Congress and other world leaders and especially the United Nations and their army of NGO’s and Agencies will all unite to condemn the man who destroyed the peace solely for self-aggrandizement. And should President Trump wait until Kim Jong-un acts and attacks the United States then President Trump would be pillories as the President who did not have the foresight or the willingness to act in the face of impending danger and allowed the needless suffering of the people of Japan, South Korea or wherever Kim Jong-un ordered the strike and if it was the United States, all the more Trump will be condemned. If Kim Jong-un were to strike Japan and President Trump responds by attacking North Korea then he will be criticized if his attack is too large in scale or if it is considered insufficient in scale. The secret is if it leaves Kim Jong-un with any ability to strike further, then the attack proved to be insufficient and Trump is an incompetent. If, on the other hand, the attack decapitates North Korean military and political structure and removes all threats, then Trump is a warmonger bringing undue suffering to the people, the innocent people of North Korea. If then China were to take hold of most of North Korea, well, then Trump is an incompetent again for not seeing this inevitability and acting to prevent the Chinese from taking over the northern half of the Korean Peninsula and thus threatening South Korea even worse than Kim Jong-un had threatened them. If United States and South Korean troops enter the North and unite the peninsula, well then Trump did it for the land and to force democracy war upon North Korea without even asking them if they desired such. You basically get the idea, either he is a warmonger or he was unprepared or he was a warmonger just before he was unprepared or he is a warmonger land grabber. Whatever President Trump does about North Korea, or does not do about North Korea will prove to have been wrong in the immediate media coverage and in the halls of Congress. We predict that if President Trump were to take steps to replace Kim Jong-un and manage this without firing a single shot or missile and all of North Korea were hailing him as their savior, impeachment charges would be brought up in the House of Representatives on charges of unnecessarily involving the United States in regime change for no reason. Of course, if he waits and Washington D.C. becomes a target, then there likely will be no action from Congress, as they will be scrambling to get far enough from the Capital in the period they have between warning and strike. With the EMP scenario, Congress might meet and actually still have electricity as the coasts might survive such a strike, and they would most definitely be bringing impeachment even if they were doing so by candle light. The end result of any action or inaction on North Korea will be impeachment, that is about the only sure bet.

Those ellipses cover a lot of ground which I do want you to read, and a tip of the Stetson to Oyia Brown for bringing us Beyond the Cusp.

I’m hardly a conspiracy theorist, I have both too much belief in Ockham’s Razor, as well as a belief that a secret can be kept by two people if one be dead, to be. But there are troubling indications of currents beneath the surface in the matters. I do not believe that it is part of a plot to remove Trump, although that could easily be a part of it, not least because for all his faults, he tends to speak for and to the folks you made the Great Republic what it is. But if this is correct he, like many millions of others will be collateral damage, in a most remorseless restructuring of the world. It will not be to the benefit of common people, anywhere. It will, on the other hand, strengthen those who would like to gather power into their own hands. It is time, and past time, to act, but I like most of us, have not found the proper button. So for the moment, watch wait, and think, because acting in the wrong way, merely strengthens the enemy. I think.

Good bye and Farewell, Charlie

Well, I said this a while ago, too much time was wasted for Charlie Gard to survive his illness. The NHS has run out the clock, to the point where his parents have made the decision that they must let go. His dad, Chris Gard made a heartbreaking statement:

“Firstly, I would like to thank our legal team who have worked tirelessly on our behalf for free. And to the nurses and staff at Great Ormond Street Hospital who have cared for Charlie and kept him comfortable and stable for so long.

We would also like to thank everybody who supported us, including all the people here for us today.

This is one of the hardest things that we will ever have to say and we are about to do the hardest thing that we’ll ever have to do, which is to let our beautiful little Charlie go.

Put simply, this is about a sweet, gorgeous innocent little boy who was born with a rare disease who had a real genuine chance at life and a family who loved him so very dearly. And that’s why we fought so hard for him.

We are truly devastated to say that following the most recent MRI scan of Charlie’s muscles as requested in a recent MDT meeting by Dr Hirano.

As Charlie’s devoted and loving parents, we’ve decided that it is no longer in Charlie’s best interest to pursue treatment and we will let our son go and be with the angels.

The American and Italian team were still willing to treat Charlie after seeing his recent MRI and EEG perform last week, but there is one simple reason why treatment cannot now go ahead and that is time. A whole lot of time has been wasted.

We are now in July and our poor boy has been left to just lie in hospital for months without any treatment whilst lengthy court battles have been fought.

Tragically having had Charlie’s medical notes reviewed by independent experts, we now know had Charlie been given the treatment sooner, he would have had the potential to be a normal healthy little boy.

Despite his condition in January, Charlie’s muscles were in pretty good shape and far from showing irreversible catastrophic structural brain damage.

Dr Hirano and other experts say his brain scans and EEGs were those of a relatively normal child of his age.

We knew that ourselves because as his parents, we knew our son, which is why we continued fighting.

Charlie’s been left for his illness to deteriorate devastatingly to the point of no return.

This has also never been about ‘parents know best’.

All we wanted to do was take Charlie from one world-renowned hospital to another world-renowned hospital in the attempt to save his life and to be treated by the world leader in mitochondrial disease.

We’ll have to live with the what-ifs which will haunt us for the rest of our lives.

Despite the way that our beautiful son has been spoken about sometimes, as if he is not worthy of a chance at life, our son is an absolute warrior and we could not be prouder of him and we will miss him terribly.

His body, heart and soul may soon be gone, but his spirit will live on for eternity and he will make a difference to people’s lives for years to come. We will make sure of that.

We are now going to spend our last precious moments with our son Charlie who unfortunately won’t make his first birthday in just under two weeks’ time.

And we will ask that our privacy is respected during this very difficult time.

To Charlie we say mummy and daddy, we love you so much. We always have and we always will and we are so sorry we couldn’t save you.

Sweet dreams baby, sleep tight our beautiful little boy. We love you.”

Courtesy of The Independent

Given what we know, while this has to be a heartbreaking decision for Charlie’s parents, I’m quite sure that it is also the correct one. God give them strength.

Well, we all did our best, and we have lost a battle, there will be more, and we need to move faster. We too were late to his aid, and the dilatory nature of the NHS, along with its near-religious status in the UK, and it’s stubborn clinging to power made this an uphill battle. And that is the real lesson here, and it’s important to remember even as we mourn that little warrior in London. If we don’t fight it all the time, every time, the culture of death that the NHS represents will win. But we, British and Americans, with an assist from the Pope, came close. If we had been even three months earlier, we might have prevailed.

And that is what I simply cannot understand, the religious fervor of the Brits for this Stalinist health (non)care system. No matter what you say about it, your answer will be, “But it’s free.” Which it decidedly is not. Nor is this anything new. Back in 2013 Jessica and I both wrote about the Stafford scandal in which something up to 1200 patients were allowed to live in filth and die unattended. Those articles are here, and here. They were based on an article in The Telegraph, which is here. So what happened? Nothing, of course, the latest story in Google is from February of 2013, three days after our articles were published.

Nothing will change because of Charlie Gard either. Why? Because while Americans were outraged over the whole thing of stealing this baby from his parents and allowing him to die, the British for the most part shrugged and said, “It’s free.” Maybe they haven’t heard it ain’t free they pay at least $1500 each per year for this shoddy simulacrum of health care.

As I said then, “That’s the thing about government bureaucracies though, no one is responsible.” That’s often the point of a bureaucracy, as we have surely seen in the last few years. Jeff Weimer commenting on this story yesterday at Ace‘s said this:

Once again, socialized medicine gets the preferred health outcome it was looking for.

You are not – I repeat – you are *not* the customer in a socialized single payer system. You are a *cost*. the government is the customer and it gets what it pays for.

Always.

And that is the simple truth. So is this from the same comment stream:

For me, nothing has been so infuriating in all this as reading feedback from the British public. Usually, the comments section at sites like Daily Mail is fairly right-leaning, but even there, when it came to poor Charlie, the parents were being absolutely excoriated for fighting the hospital, which apparently, in the eyes of their fellow Brits, is run by the most intelligent, compassionate people on Earth. Charlie’s parents, it was said over and over again, ought to “do the right thing” and let their son die already.

I shouldn’t blame them too much. It is only too clear that this attitude is the result of decades under a welfare state and the mind-warping that induces. But it is hard to come away with any conclusion except that the UK is now home to millions of soulless automatons who would rather the innocent perish than lose their own entitlements. Damn them all.

Goodbye, Charlie, we tried our best, and we failed. May God help your parents find some peace.

All three of you will be in many prayers.

 

Sweden Facing The Abyss

Well, we’ve plenty of insane news (real or fake) in this country, but this story coming out of Sweden troubles me. Not that I have any idea that we should, or could, fix it for them, they made the problem and in some manner, it’s up to them to solve it. But it probably should be a warning to us all. From Josuapundit.

Sweden’s National Police Commissioner, Dan Eliasson, recently spoke on national television and shocked his fellow Swedes by pleading for assistance. “Help us, help us!,” he said, while warning that Swedish police forces no longer can uphold the law and therefore must ask all “good powers” in the country to support them. Sweden faces the abyss of lawlessness and perhaps even a defacto civil war.

Commissioner Eliasson’s remarks reflect a shocking change for the worse in what used to be one of Europe’s most peaceful and law abiding countries.

leaked report concluded that the number of “no-go zones”) in Sweden now totals 61, up from 55 in just one year’s time. This increase represents not only the total number, but also the geographical size of these areas. The Swedish authorities themselves refer to these areas as utenforskap, which roughly translates as ‘excluded areas.’ What it amounts to is that Muslim gangs are carving out territory for themselves where they’re the ones in control, not the Swedish authorities.

Police chief Lars Alversjø says that, “There is lawlessness in parts of Stockholm now.” He also said, “The legal system, which is a pillar in every democratic society, is collapsing in Sweden.”

There are reports like this throughout Europe, in Germany, France, and even in Britain, they are true, but they are not national, not yet. This is. We are seeing the precursors here, as well, but in America, there is one thing that Europe does not have, a populous that is capable of defending itself. Europe has long since disarmed its subjects, best thing they’ve got left is a kitchen knife, and that unlikely to be effective.

In 2015, there was a report that something like “only” 38,000 women had experienced genital mutilation. The new report shows how this has skyrocketed, even though it is illegal in Sweden.

Sexual assaults have increased as well. New data from Sweden’s national bureau for statistics, BRÅ says that 3,430 rapes was reported the first six months of 2017, up 14 percent compared to the previous half-year. In all, 9,680 sexual crimes was committed from January to June. According to a BRÅ report from 2013,only 23 percent of sexual crimes in Sweden are reported, which means that we can extrapolate the real number of sexual crimes the last six months in Sweden amounts to around 42,000.

What we are actually seeing here is, to my mind, the active contempt for the law of the land on the part of a large group of the population, sadly one that the natives chose to import. Admittedly, the whole concept of the law of the land doesn’t translate overly well from the Anglo-Saxon lands where it has built up, mostly peacefully over well over a thousand years to Europe, where it has usually been imposed by one strong man or another.

And so, as we watch, and try to guard our own civilizations, we will be watching as so many of those famed countries that so many Americans call our home countries subside into the medieval chaos that Islamic terrorism provides as the relentless drumbeat continues against the Christianity that has built the modern world.

For Europe, unless its own people decide to do something about it, as the countries of Eastern Europe, especially Poland and Czechoslovakia, appear to be doing, there is no help. One can’t fix things for those who refuse to see a problem. For ourselves, we would be wise to pay attention.

 

The Acid Test of Civilization

You may have missed the news, the FSM (British and American) is doing its level best to make sure you do, but there has been a large increase in acid attacks in Britain. I noticed, but didn’t have enough to write about it, Daniel Greenfield, on the other hand, did.

Things are going smashingly well in Londonistan.

The City of London has the highest murder rate in the land. While the authorities launch investigations into pork being left at a mosque or a hijab supposedly being torn off, crime continues to rise.

Gun control has worked so wonderfully well that gun crime in London rose 42%. When gun control advocates insist that we should be more like the UK, London’s 2,544 gun crime offenses probably aren’t what they have in mind.

But gun control does work in London after a fashion. Those gang members who can’t lay their hand on a firearm must make do with a sharp blade. Knife crimes in London rose 24% to 12,074 recorded offences. 60 people were stabbed to death last year.

Why? Here’s a hint from the Metropolitan Police’s assistant commissioner. “There are complex social reasons why more young people are carrying knives and this cannot be solved by the police alone.”

Those complex social reasons would seem to involve stabbing other people. But like Islamic terrorism, stabbings in London are one of those things that can’t be solved by the police. Unlike people saying mean things about Muslims on Facebook and Twitter which the Met cops are well equipped to solve.

Still the authorities have been doing their best to tackle stabbings with a knife ban. Carry a knife without a “good reason” and you can get four years in prison. Good reasons for carrying knives include using it as a prop in a production of Romeo and Juliet, taking it to a museum or “religious reasons”. The ban, which covers “sword-sticks”, samurai swords and “zombie knives” that are sold to fight zombies, isn’t working.

But it’s working well enough that many of the gangs responsible for the violence are turning to acid.

Acid attacks in London rose from 162 in 2012 to 454 last year. There have already been 199 acid attacks this year. Five acid attacks just happened in London in the space of little more than an hour.

And so the obvious new solution is drain cleaner control.

The push is on to “license” corrosive substances while banning anyone from carrying drain cleaner unless they have a good reason. When the public is banned from buying drain cleaners, then finally everyone in London will be safe. It’s worked for guns and knives. Bound to work for acid. And being stuck with a clogged toilet, like Allah Akbar car rammings, is the price we must all pay for diversity.

It’s easy to blame and ban inanimate objects. And it avoids any discussion of the perpetrators.

And to me, that is the most offensive part of all. If we don’t talk about it, if we bury the story, the story doesn’t exist. Except it does, and it is getting worse, fast. And HMG, instead of doing something useful, seems to be taking a page out of the Saudi manual, and criminalising reporting this stuff instead of prosecuting the perpetrators.

Now mind, the British justice system is rather a joke, anyway. While the prisons are rather nice, the inmates are either seriously incorrigible, or politically unconnected (near as I can tell), and that means they are simply victims there as well. But it’s very hard to get into a British prison (Rather like Tom Dart’s in Cook County, IL, in fact. And with similar results). Not sure if you can be sentenced to more than seven years for anything, probably can, but doesn’t seem to happen, and a probationary sentence for killing someone is entirely possible. Now, be careful, writing against same sex marriage will likely get you hanged, but then that is so very much worse than killing someone.

Daniel also says this:

Murders in London, like murders in most major American cities, are driven by gang violence. Behind the shootings, stabbings and acid attacks are gangs. Many of those gangs are made up of first and second generation migrants and settlers from the Muslim world. The UK’s prisons bulge with Muslim convicts. And these criminal gangs naturally feed recruits into Islamic terrorism as they do in Iraq and Syria.

Banning drain cleaner won’t stop acid attacks. Drain cleaner control is no solution. Migration control is.

Immigration from violent societies prone to terrorism is the acid that is eating away at Europe. Migration advocates have splashed acid on Britain, on America, on Australia and on Canada. The bombings and stabbings, the child rapes and acid attacks, are the burning sensation of the attack.

Yep, true enough, but you can have immigration, but only if you have and rigidly enforce laws against violence, and if you force immigrants to conform with the host country’s rule and laws. Europe, in general, and Britain in particular, are not doing so. They are hiding their head in the sand (actually up another dank and odoriferous canal) and if not checked, it will contribute to the end of Britain qua Britain.

Do read the article. Britannia is being very poorly served by her politicians and civil servants, not sure if it is misfeasance or malfeasance, but they need correction. And they need it fast, and they need it good and hard.

C. S. Lewis on Democratic Education

A while back, Daniel Lattier published an article at Intellectual Takeout. In it, he calls to our mind a 1944 essay from C.S. Lewis called ‘Democratic Education’. It is very relevant to what we see these days in education.

“Democratic education, says Aristotle, ought to mean, not the education which democrats like, but the education which will preserve democracy. Until we have realized that the two things do not necessarily go together we cannot think clearly about education.

For example, an education which gave the able and diligent boys no advantage over the stupid and idle ones, would be in one sense democratic. It would be egalitarian and democrats like equality. The caucus race in Alice in Wonderland, where all the competitors won and all got prizes, was a ‘democratic’ race: like the Garter it tolerated no nonsense about merit. Such total egalitarianism in education has not yet been openly recommended, but a movement in that direction begins to appear. It can be seen in the growing demand that subjects which some boys do very much better than others should not be compulsory. Yesterday it was Latin — today, as I see from a letter in one of the papers, it is Mathematics. Both these subjects give an ‘unfair advantage’ to boys of a certain type. To abolish that advantage is therefore in one sense democratic.

But of course there is no reason for stopping with the abolition of these two compulsions. To be consistent we must go further. We must also abolish all compulsory subjects, and we must make the curriculum so wide that ‘every boy will get a chance at something’. Even the boy who can’t or won’t learn his alphabet can be praised and petted for something — handicrafts or gymnastics, moral leadership or deportment, citizenship or the care of guinea-pigs, ‘hobbies’ or musical appreciation — anything he likes. Then no boy, and no boy’s parents, need feel inferior.

An education on those lines will be pleasing to democratic feelings. It will have repaired the inequalities of nature. But it is quite another question whether it will breed a democratic nation which can survive, or even one whose survival is desirable.

The improbability that a nation thus educated could survive need not be labored. Obviously it can escape destruction only if its rivals and enemies are so obliging as to adopt the same system. A nation of dunces can be safe only in a world of dunces.

The demand for equality has two sources — one of them is among the noblest, the other is the basest of human emotions. The noble source is the desire for fair play. But the other source is the hatred of superiority. At the present moment it would be very unrealistic to overlook the importance of the latter. There is in all men a tendency (only corrigible by good training from without and persistent moral effort from within) to resent the existence of what is stronger, subtler or better than themselves. In uncorrected and brutal men this hardens into an implacable and disinterested hatred for every kind of excellence. The vocabulary of a period tells tales. There is reason to be alarmed at the immense vogue today of such words as ‘highbrow’, ‘upstage’, ‘old school tie’, ‘academic’, ‘smug’, and ‘complacent’. These words, as used today, are sores — one feels the poison throbbing in them.

The kind of ‘democratic’ education which is already looming ahead is bad because it endeavors to propitiate evil passions — to appease envy. There are two reasons for not attempting this. In the first place, you will not succeed. Envy is insatiable. The more you concede to it the more it will demand. No attitude of humility which you can possibly adopt will propitiate a man with an inferiority complex. In the second place, you are trying to introduce equality where equality is fatal.

Equality (outside mathematics) is a purely social conception. It applies to man as a political and economic animal. It has no place in the world of the mind. Beauty is not democratic — she reveals herself more to the few than to the many, more to the persistent and disciplined seekers than to the careless. Virtue is not democratic — she is achieved by those who pursue her more hotly than most men. Truth is not democratic — she demands special talents and special industry in those to whom she gives her favors. Political democracy is doomed if it tries to extend its demand for equality into these higher spheres. Ethical, intellectual, or aesthetic democracy is death.

A truly democratic education — one which will preserve democracy — must be, in its own field, ruthlessly aristocratic, shamelessly ‘highbrow’. In drawing up its curriculum it should always have chiefly in view the interests of the boy who wants to know and who can know (with very few exceptions they are the same boy). The stupid boy, nearly always, is the boy who does not want to know. It must, in a certain sense, subordinate the interests of the many to those of the few, and it must subordinate the school to the university. Only thus can it be a nursery of those first-class intellects without which neither a democracy nor any other State can thrive.”

Seems to me to be very, very apt to what we are seeing in education (and quite a few other areas) these days. I think we need to do some rethinking in this area.

David Brooks actually did have a Point

David Brooks is catching a fair amount of grief for one paragraph of his column. Well, when one writes this, it’s not overly surprising.

Recently I took a friend with only a high school degree to lunch. Insensitively, I led her into a gourmet sandwich shop. Suddenly I saw her face freeze up as she was confronted with sandwiches named “Padrino” and “Pomodoro” and ingredients like soppressata, capicollo and a striata baguette. I quickly asked her if she wanted to go somewhere else and she anxiously nodded yes and we ate Mexican.

And yep, it reads elitist and snark-worthy as all get out. But maybe there is a bit more to it than that. I hold no brief for David Brooks, but he is a pretty decent writer, who can get his ideas, however wrong or silly, into words, effectively. Erick Erickson has some thoughts.

The rich keep up with David Foster Wallace and raise eyebrows at the rubes reading Proverbs. They look down on Chick-Fil-A while eating at their artisan sandwich shops that get reviewed in the backs of location specific vanity magazines. Then they tax the poor guy’s coke and plastic grocery bag. They shut down the Christian baker who just wants to be left alone and put hedonism on a pedestal they can afford that the poor could not. Abortion on demand is the left’s preferred equalizer, but as the poor descend into the rich’s hedonistic lifestyle, they cannot afford the STD’s, addiction problems, etc. that the rich can paper over with money.

He’s right, and part of the reason I am uneasy with the instant snark that comes, especially from Twitter. It’s fun, and often very funny, but sometimes there is a nuance buried in there that snark hides forever. And that’s not good either, we need to talk together more, and snark at each other less. I don’t know any more than you how this begins, but it needs to.

Way back when I started blogging one of the first people to follow here was Michael O. Church. Over the years, I’ve found him fascinating, sometimes infuriating, sometimes agreeable, and always original. I disagree with him a lot, but always respect how he got there, and I remember that his journey is not my journey, in either time or place. He too wrote about that David Brooks piece. Here’s a bit.

We have a problem in this country. The economic elite is destroying it, and the intellectual elite is largely powerless to stop the wreckage, and while there are many sources of our powerlessness, one of the main ones is that we get the bulk of the hate. The plebeians lump us all together, because the economic elite has told them to do so. They make no distinction between the magazine columnist, who can barely afford her studio in Brooklyn, and the private-jet billionaire who just fired them by changing numbers in a spreadsheet.

Brooks has some good points, and the essay that I linked to is worth reading, not because he’s right on every call, but because he’s not wrong. For example, he writes:

Over the past few decades, upper-middle-class Americans have embraced behavior codes that put cultivating successful children at the center of life. As soon as they get money, they turn it into investments in their kids.

If that isn’t true, well you’ve been vacationing in sunny Antartica. Do not, Do Not Ever in current America, get between a parent (especially a mother) and her dreams for her kid(s). Not even if you are that kid. That’s always been true, of course. But it seems like now, that kid must be successful no matter what, whether he can read or not, whether he bothered to do the coursework, or not, whether or not he ever showed up. Hate to say back in the day, but back in the day the pressure was different, it was on the kids to earn their way, not be given a free ride because…well I guess because (s)he managed to learn to breathe. With that pressure, even going to school could be optional, Lincoln went to school less than a year, but he managed to learn a fair amount.

Brooks also says:

Well-educated people tend to live in places like Portland, New York and San Francisco that have housing and construction rules that keep the poor and less educated away from places with good schools and good job opportunities.

[…]

All true. All valid. Except, the emphasis is completely wrong. He implies that well-educated people are the problem. No. This is like the conservative contention that anti-vaxxers are liberal. Scientifically illiterate anti-intellectuals (on the left and right) are the problem, not leftists. Some of the NIMBYs are well-educated, and some are not.

The zoning/housing issue has little to do with educational pedigree. It’s generational. Boomers got into the housing market when prices were fair; then, they passed a bunch of self-serving legislation to thwart supply growth (as noted) and let a bunch of nonresident scumbags buy coastal real estate in order to spike land prices and apartment rents. Generation X was affected, but Millennials just got screwed. Further, Boomers have perpetuated a work culture based on hierarchy and socio-physical dominance, making it difficult to have a career in a company unless one works on-site in close proximity to the (very wealthy) people at the top. This creates abnormal demand for real estate in major cities, because peoples’ careers depend on them living there, even though the Internet was supposed to make location irrelevant. Consequently, we have a bipolar nation where one stretch of the country has affordable houses, even in beautiful locations, but offers no jobs; and the other offers jobs but offers no path to homeownership other than winning a hedge-fund or startup lottery.

Sounds likely to me, but my experience is different, but I’m a Boomer and live in the interior so it would be.

This is not a balanced country, politically speaking. First, while we have two parties, we’ve become polarized to such a point that most places suffer under a local one-party system.

He’s absolutely right here, as are the conclusions he draws.

When I look around in my circle, I don’t see an exclusive “intellectual elite”. I see people from all sorts of backgrounds: black, Latino, transgender, Midwestern, Southern, European, Asian, sons of restaurant owners and daughters of coal miners. We accept people who are different from us. If you’re smart, no one cares where you’re from; we don’t even really care where you went to college, because it’s correlated with almost nothing after age 30. Most of the best writers and artists don’t have elite degrees at all.

For a contrast, how often do you see Davos Men hang around with anyone but other Davos Men? Never. How much do corporate executives care about people who weren’t born into their milieu. They don’t.

My circles are like that, too, and it’s the way I want them. I skipped quite a bit here that you need to read, a good part of it I disagree with, but I was wrong once or twice as well. So read it and see what you think. But the point he makes about the intellectual elite should always be true, it’s about merit, nothing else. I see much more of that on the right than the left, but I, like everybody have an internal echo chamber, where what is memorable to me is what I agree with. And while the short form is ‘the intellectual elite’ far more often the right is talking about the university itself, which ties back to his point on the plans of parents for their children, maybe.

If you want to hate me for the books I read or words I use or food I eat, go ahead. Let’s not get distracted. We have a shared enemy. The country isn’t being destroyed by people using the word “intersectionality”. No, it’s being wrecked by the weakening of unions, corporate downsizing, accumulated environmental damage, rising anti-intellectualism, and creeping plutocracy. We have a real enemy and it’s time to put our (very mild) differences aside and fight.

There’s a lot of that I disagree with, and yet, I see much the same thing happening, so maybe he has a point. He surely has a point of view and the reasoning process to make it valid. So read the articles, and see where they take you. Hiding in a cave never solved a damned thing, after all.

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