Tear Down This Wall

This week is one of those time when one hopes that the people of Hong Kong know what Lech Wałęsa knew, and our “elites”, then as now, didn’t:

he Hong Kong pro-democracy movement achieved a stunning victory in Sunday’s district-council elections. With turnout exceeding 70 percent, close to 90 percent of the seats went to pro-democracy candidates, who took 17 of the 18 district councils. As the first electoral barometer of public sentiment since protests began in June, the results are a turning point in the conflict that has wracked Hong Kong for the last six months.
Though the district councils’ authority is mostly local, they appoint 117 of the 1,200 members of Hong Kong’s Election Committee. Coupled with the roughly 400 opposition members already sitting on the election committee, the additional seats will give the pro-democracy camp much greater sway when the next chief executive of Hong Kong is selected in 2022. The current chief executive, Carrie Lam, has denounced this year’s protests and remained staunchly on the side of Beijing.

Watching how squarely our “elites” have come down , not so much “on Beijing’s side” as “trying not to cheese off the benevolent dictors” reminds me of life in the late seventies, when “detente” so frequently overrode any desire to call out the Soviets for what they actually were. It remained up to the locals – the Poles, Estonians, Czechs – and dissidents here at home, the “crazies” and “McCarthyite Cold Warriors”, to remind the world.

And the idea that the world would go from the squashing of Solidarity in 1980 to the fall of the Wall within ten years was almost as unthinkable as the idea of calling for a landing on the moon by 1970 in 1960.

As it seems today.

Keep your fingers crossed.

And They Say Progs Are Illiterate About Economics…

Portland voters impose a 1% “clean energy” tax on large and big-box businesses.

And are then outraged that those businesses pass the costs on to customers.

Emphasis added:

Terry Wiesner stared down at his Safeway grocery store receipt in confusion in mid-September after he noticed being charged an extra 3 cents for buying a package of $2.99 napkins. The 3 cent charge was listed as a tax.
He called over a store attendant while still in the self-checkout line at the Southeast Woodstock Boulevard branch and asked about the charge. The worker pointed to a laminated sign nearby.
Portland instituted a voter-approved clean energy surcharge in January, imposing a 1 percent tax on paper products, wine, beer, household items and other products, the sign said. The surcharge began appearing on Safeway customers’ receipts on Sept. 9 and people should contact the City of Portland if they had any concerns, according to the notice.
“I didn’t remember voting for any kind of tax,” said Wiesner, 74. “I later learned that this was meant to be a tax on businesses, not the people. Frankly, it just made me angry. It wasn’t about the 3 cents, it’s about the spirit of this charge and how it’d been passed off to me.”

To be fair, it’s entirely possible this has been passed off as something that’d “just affect business”; Portland, like Minneapolis, Saint Paul, Duluth and now Rochester, is run by people who’ve never worked outside public employment, non-profits or academia.

Clap For Service

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Told my wife we should get The Clapper so she doesn’t have to get out of bed to shut off the lights when I’m done reading. She scoffed – do they even make those anymore?
Yes.  Amazon.  $17.  Order by 6:00 on Friday, guaranteed delivery on Sunday.  Seriously?  How is that possible? 
Yes, I understand they have a 850,000 square foot warehouse in Shakopee, a building as big as my entire city block. But surely they must prioritize inventory?  Amazon updates its list of “Most Popular Items on Amazon” hourly, so I can keep up with the Jones.  Obviously, they’d have a huge inventory of in-demand items.
But how much demand can there possibly be for The Clapper?  And yet they have them in stock locally for two day delivery?  Unbelievable.  There’s a reason Amazon is kicking every other retailer’s a**.  It’s called “Customer Service.”
Joe Doakes

And yet, someday, just like Microsoft, Time/Warner/AOL, IBM, AOL, General Motors and US Steel, something will come along to knock it off the top of the heap.

Making Housing Affordable By Making It Unattainable

Minneapolis passed a “renter protection” ordinance last week that’ll hamstring landlords trying to do even the most basic due diligence about potential tenants:

The renter’s protection ordinance prevents landlords from using old criminal or housing records to deny applicants. Specifically, an applicant cannot be denied if they have a misdemeanor conviction older than three years, a felony record dating back seven years, and more serious offenses that occurred 10-plus years ago. Landlords also lose the use of a credit score during the screening process and there is a new cap on security deposits at one month’s rent.

I can see giving people a break on criminal records after a long-enough time keeping one’s nose clean.

On the other hand, I don’t think the City of Minneapolis is the one to plop an arbitrary figure on how long it takes a criminal to be a safe risk…

…for someone else’s investment.

Previously, property owners could look at someone’s criminal and credit history before renting to them, sometimes going back a decade. Renters said mistakes of the past should not affect their future, especially something from 10 or 20 years ago. 

In the 1960s, New York City instituted “Renter Protections” – rent control, making evictions for cause nearly impossible, onerous regulations on landlords – that caused the stock of “affordable housing” to become unsustainable; as landlords abandoned or sold out cheaper properties, housing either became unlivably awful and abandone, or sustainable but only affordable by the wealthy.

San Francisco followed suit; there is little between great wealth and grinding poverty.

Sounds like a fine plan, Minneapolis. You’re in good hands.

Swamp Creature

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Counter-terrorism official claims that mass shootings in America are White right-wing terrorism and therefore should be handled like any other terrorists.
Author ignores untreated mental illness, claims it’s all White Supremacy and easy access to guns.  Only nation in the world to have this problem.  Article is easy to read, conveniently free of citations to studies or news reports or actual proof.  Entirely based on “I’m an expert, believe what I say,” which is a form of the logical fallacy “appeal to authority” that I’ve found particularly annoying since junior high school.
And what’s the proposal – treat White Supremacy like Muslim terrorism?  How?  Put all White American Presbyterians under surveillance?  Infiltrate spies into White organizations like the Kiwanis?  Tap the President’s phones (wait, already did that, it was a bust). No, the author wants the country to adopt two gun control bills presently in Congress, tinkering with background checks. 
Suppose the FBI receives a background check application.  Applicant has no criminal record, never officially diagnosed as mentally ill, not in their database.  But the FBI agent finds disturbing Facebook pictures of the applicant in front of a Nazi flag giving the Nazi salute saying “Finish what Hitler started.” 
Is that enough to deny him the gun?  On what legal grounds?  That he’s a member of the American Nazi Party?  “Being a hater” isn’t listed in any state or federal law as grounds for denial and for good reason – it’s political speech protected by the First Amendment, and thus cannot be used to deny firearms purchases under the Second Amendment.
The author was a Deep State government employee for years.  And his big solution to mass shootings – background checks – can only work if it’s expanded to include crushing unapproved political opinions.  Now we see why draining the swamp is more important that anyone thought.
Joe Doakes

If I were President, it’d be the moral equivalent of…

…well, not “war”. Maybe “dismantling the Department of Education”.

Which is, to be fair, mighty important.

Happy Birthday, Modern American Conservatism

Today is the 59h anniversary of the Sharon Statement – a 400 word essay that set out the founding principles of Young Americans for Freedom. It was hatched at William F. Buckley’s home in Sharon, Connecticut – hence the name – and it establishes principles that conservatives need to keep in front of them now more than ever.

Read it. Frame it. Give it to a muddle-headed young ‘un. History will thank yoiu.


The Sharon Statement

In this time of moral and political crises, it is the responsibility of the youth of America to affirm certain eternal truths.

We, as young conservatives, believe:

That foremost among the transcendent values is the individual’s use of his God-given free will, whence derives his right to be free from the restrictions of arbitrary force;

That liberty is indivisible, and that political freedom cannot long exist without economic freedom;

That the purpose of government is to protect those freedoms through the preservation of internal order, the provision of national defense, and the administration of justice;

That when government ventures beyond these rightful functions, it accumulates power, which tends to diminish order and liberty;

That the Constitution of the United States is the best arrangement yet devised for empowering government to fulfill its proper role, while restraining it from the concentration and abuse of power;

That the genius of the Constitution—the division of powers—is summed up in the clause that reserves primacy to the several states, or to the people, in those spheres not specifically delegated to the Federal government;

That the market economy, allocating resources by the free play of supply and demand, is the single economic system compatible with the requirements of personal freedom and constitutional government, and that it is at the same time the most productive supplier of human needs;

That when government interferes with the work of the market economy, it tends to reduce the moral and physical strength of the nation; that when it takes from one man to bestow on another, it diminishes the incentive of the first, the integrity of the second, and the moral autonomy of both;

That we will be free only so long as the national sovereignty of the United States is secure; that history shows periods of freedom are rare, and can exist only when free citizens concertedly defend their rights against all enemies;

That the forces of international Communism are, at present, the greatest single threat to these liberties;

That the United States should stress victory over, rather than coexistence with, this menace; and

That American foreign policy must be judged by this criterion: does it serve the just interests of the United States?

Pass it along.

How To Win “Prog” Friends And Influence Virtue-Signaling People

CONSERVATIVE TALK RADIO HOST: “I am a conservative talk radio host. Let’s discuss the issues of the world”

“PROGRESSIVES”: “We want you to die in a grease fire, but only after you watch your family get eaten by mice”

CONSERVATIVE TALK RADIO HOST: “But I’m running against the president in a Quixotic campaign/ratings stunt”

“PROGRESSIVES”: “Even though we couldn’t define “conservatism” correctly if you pelted us with stacks of $50 bills, we declare you to be a leader of conservative thought!”

(And SCENE)

Gerbils For Freedom

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

My granddaughter is on vacation this week in Wisconsin Dells, so Grandma and I are gerbil-sitting. I remember gerbils from the olden days, they were just rats that lived in a big cage and made noise all night. Nowadays, they have a space-age plastic entertainment complex, with a menu of carefully selected natural foods and colorful blocks of wood, scientifically selected from the best species to promote rodent tooth health and avoid chemicals that may be hazardous.
That stupid rat lives better than I do, and vastly better than people in Venezuela, not to mention the free-range rats living in my attic. When did pets become bling?
I suppose I shouldn’t complain. At least she hasn’t declared it to be her emotional support animal, so I can prohibit her from bringing it in the car.
Joe Doakes

When you think about it? Gerbils have gotta be thankful for the blessings of the free market. Not only do they live better than “citizens” (subjects) in Venezuela, but in fact they’re pretty much food down there these days.

Misdiagnosed

Interesting article in the WaPo on San Francisco; its title suggests its current situation
“breaks America’s heart”,
which is a fine play on Tony Bennett, but doesn’t really reflect the contempt most Americans outside the tech industry and politics have for the place.

The city is in the midst of collapsing, not so much from wealth, or even the “prog” boogeyman “income disparity” or even the lack of a middle class, but from the complete unaffordability by anyone who isn’t either wealthy or heavily subsidized by the wealthy.

And of course, San Franciscans -the people who voted for the government that led them here – are the last to understand why:

“This is unregulated capitalism, unbridled capitalism, capitalism run amok. There are no guardrails,” says Salesforce founder and chairman Marc Benioff, a fourth-generation San Franciscan who in a TV interview branded his city “a train wreck.”

First – and something of a tangent – Salesforce sucks.

More on-point? “Capitalism” only “runs amok” when it’s got government paving its way – with zoning, taxes and social policies designed to promote some groups over others, to bring “the right people” and promote “the right kind…” of society, life, politics. It is leading the way – but hardly alone – in proving Joel Kotkin’s point from ten years ago; cities are becoming donuts, with a core of immense wealthy surrounded by immense poverty, largely via government policy.

Unbridled capitalism gave us…Williston.

Again: America Made Great

Progressives love America.

Well, no. Let me rephrase that.  Progressives love the idea that America is a big, powerful, wealthy place that they might control someday. 

That’s more like it. 

They may protest the point – but they let the truth slip on occasion; Michelle Obama’s “This is the first time I’ve been proud to be an American”, and of course Eric Holder’s “This nation was never great”. 

Christian Adams has an excellent reminder. The whole thing’s a pullquote, so I’m just going to do the conclusion: 

America is an idea, a great idea, that all are created in the image of God as free. That idea, not always perfectly executed, transformed the world. Along the way, it also limited government. The freedoms enshrined in the Constitution restrain the power of government. Government cannot act the way progressives want because the Constitution stands in the way. After decades of trying to redefine the notion of freedom in the courts, Holder and his gang have hit a Trump wall, where judicial nominees no longer subscribe to the utopian view of the Constitution.

Let’s hope that Eric Holder changes his mind and decides to run for president. Do us a favor. Go to Iowa, Texas, West Virginia, and Western Pennsylvania and tell Americans there that America was really never great. Please.

I’d love to see it.

Of course, they have a way of changing their tone when they have to. See also Amy Klobuchar.

Allegiance

SCENE:   Mitch BERG is checking his oil.   As he does so, Avery LIBRELLE pedals a “Nice Ride” bike up the sidewalk, obscured from BERG’s view by the hood of the car.  LIBRELLE pedals over to BERG. 

LIBRELLE: Merg!    What’s all this secession talk?

BERG:  There are those who think that as a result of a couple of generations of geographic sorting, the nation’s differences are so great it’s time for an amicable divorce.  Let Blue America and Red America split up and try their luck as sovereign, ideally friendly, countries.

LIBRELLE:   Hah!  That’s treason!  Treason, I say!  We are one nation under Goddess, and the last time the traitors tried to leave the union the rest of us beat them back into line!

BERG:   So there should always be one nation.

LIBRELLE:  Absolutely.

BERG:   One set of federal laws.

LIBRELLE:   Yes.

BERG:   So you support cracking down on “sanctuary cities” that flout federal law for their own ideological reasons?

LIBRELLE:  [Visibly flinching] Racist!  Traitor!   Badthink!

BERG:   Hey – it’s the middle of February.  Those Nice Ride bikes were all taken off the road in November.

LIBRELLE:  Oh, it’s on my sister’s credit card, so it’s free.

And SCENE

Democracy Dies In Emergency

On the one hand? If you recall when Harry Reid torched the filibuster for judicial nominees, we limited government conservatives warned that “You folks may not control the Senate forever, so you might wanna be careful”. Trump’s use of a “National Emergency” to get more border funding is kinda the same idea. A future Democrat president could declare “non-living wages” a national emergency.

On the other hand? It kind of already a response like that. Obama outran Congress like Walter Payton outrunning the ’85 Vikings using a raft of Executive Orders. Is the border wall any worse than DACA?

On the other, other hand? I don’t think Trump necessarily intended to provoke a frenzied overreach on the Dems’ part – but it’d be hard to imagine how he could have done it better than he did:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said President Trump’s plan to use a national emergency declaration to unilaterally provide federal funding for a border wall would set a precedent Republicans may come to regret.
Democrats, she said, could use it later to enact their own priorities, such as increasing gun control.
“Why don’t you declare that a national emergency? I wish you would,” Pelosi during a press conference Thursday, noting it was the one-year anniversary of the high school shooting in Parkland, Fla., that killed 17 students and staff. “But a Democratic president can do that.”

The NRA is going to need to rent more phone lines to take the membership calls, now.

Your Lying Ledger

A “Shoprite” store in Philadelphia is closing due to Philadelphia’s pop tax. 

Or so says the owners – someone with years of experience in the field, for what that’s worth:

Store owner Jeff Brown says this location has lost approximately 25 percent of its business over the last two years because of the tax on soda and sweetened drinks. 

The city, not to be “Mansplained”…er, “Bossplained?” “Enterepreneursplained?” Anyway, not to be taken to task by a mere prole, the city responded:

The mayor’s office responded with a lengthy statement pushing back against Brown.
“It is no surprise that Mr. Brown has decided to scapegoat the Philadelphia Beverage Tax, but neither he nor the beverage industry have yet to present any evidence that the tax has had any impact on sales. Here’s evidence to the contrary: an ongoing study by three of the most reputable academic institutions in the nation (Harvard University, Johns Hopkins and the University of Pennsylvania) finds the beverage tax has not affected overall store sales, contrary to other public claims by this supermarket chain.”
Brown says the 111 employees will be transferred to his 12 other supermarkets.

Anyone but me suspect hat Mr. Brown’s going to get an audit letter from the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue sometime soon here?

Up next: a Harvard Study on how taxes have nothing to do with “Food Deserts”, no way, no how.

Marginal Knowledge

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

The New Hotness wants higher income tax rates.  The Left says it’s sensible and there’s historical precedent.
The trouble with historical precedent is picking the right precedent.  College students who drink until they vomit could point to Rome, the pinnacle of civilization at the time, where vomitoria were provided in public entertainment venues.  So that makes it alright?   No.
Similarly, picking a time when America was the world economic superpower and capital investment had nowhere else to go, doesn’t mean that high earners today would find their wages captured by higher tax rates.  Rich people are rich, they’re not stupid.  They can move to low-tax venues.  They can shelter their incomes.  They can lobby for loopholes that only they can afford. 
The only way to ensure that everybody pays their “fair share” is to fully embrace Communism:  from each according to his ability, to each according to his need.  But getting ordinary people into that mental state will require a period of socialization, during which the recalcitrant, deplorable, bitter clingers are identified and sent for re-education in the far North, or sent to farm the land by hand, or buried in mass graves.  And who will decide who lives and who dies? 

But the fact that it used to be the status quo back when the US was the world’s only functional economy (with ample tax shelters provided for the fabulously wealthy, like Ocasio Cortez’s benefactors) makes it “moderate”, to Big Left.

Surely There Must Be Some Mistake

Remember the old joke about the New York Times?  “Tsunami wipes out Manhattan.  Women and Minorities Hardest Hit?”

The Arby’s that’s been cranking out the rubbery beef, the crunchy chicken and the gloriously addictive potato cakes (that I can’t touch anymore) in downtown Minneapolis for a solid quarter century picked up and vanished like a carnival tent a few weeks ago.  It was the last nationwide fast-food restaurant in downtown.  All the rest – McDonald’s, BK, Wendy’s, Taco Bell – have long disappeared.   There are a few Subways, at least one Jimmy Johns,

The reasons are between the lines – rising rents and, ahem, rising labor costs (Minneapolis has high mandatory minimum wages and compulsory sick time for part-time workers).   They also blame the tsunami of food trucks that line the streets downtown from March through October.

But Minneapolis has become a place where it’s easy to get lunch for $9-15, but very, very hard to find anything below $7.   Arby’s was one of the last of them.

And so it seems that after years of trying to stigmatize and economically hobble Big Fast Food, they’ve gotten their wish…

…but, naturally, the usual suspects are the ones taking it on the chin:

Remaining food options are generally more expensive, pricing out low-wage workers and the homeless, who often gravitate toward city centers. Arby’s was one of the last places in downtown Minneapolis with a sandwich and fries for $5.

“I wondered why they closed, because they were so economical,” Marva Overton, a downtown worker, said as she bought a sandwich last week at Twin City Bites next to the former Arby’s. “It was so cheap to eat there and that was helpful to a lot of people.”

I recommend the Sicilian olives ($2.50 for a one-pound tub) at Sorrento Cucina.

Try Before You’re Forced To Buy

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Think about the increasing number of young Americans demanding socialism, even as the horrific collapse of Venezuela is in the news. Why do they want that to happen here?
It occurs to me that “hot” is a word which has no meaning to a child, until the child touches something hot. Until then, it’s just noise. What if “socialism” is the same? What if the only way to appreciate “capitalism” is to live under “socialism” for a while? Maybe, instead of class credit for protest marches, schools should require students to spend a month living in a place where the water isn’t safe to drink, the electricity isn’t reliable, there is no free wi-fi, food stores are empty, gasoline is only sold in back alleys, medical care is cash only and no antibiotics remain. A place where the police are not your friend, government officials demand bribes and the press reports what they’re told to report.
Would students learn a new appreciation of America? Or would they wave aside their experience saying: “But we’ll do it RIGHT this time.”
Joe Doakes

On the one hand, it’d lead to some of the “haves” among the students bleating “Yeah, but this isn’t socialism done right. “

On the other? It’d put some meat behind Churchill’s dictum “a man who’s not a liberal a 20 has no heart, and a man who isn’t a conservative at 40 has no brain”.

And maybe acclerate the timetable among those that can be saved.

A For Facts, C+ For Premise

Kevin Williamson on – ahem – “Why Alexandria Ocasio Cortez drives Republicans Crazy”, and I’m gonna stop right there.

She doesn’t “drive anyone crazy”.  She’s a walking, talking testimony to the media’s left-wing bias; Ocasio Cortez actually is as vapid and ignorant as the media would have had you believe Sarah Palin or Michele Bachmann were, and much more extreme.

No matter!

Ocasio-Cortez, seen from that point of view, presents Republicans with a lot of things they despise — her far-left politics — wrapped up in a package that they very much want but cannot have. She’s everything they want and everything they hate at the same time: Odi et amo, RNC chairman Ronna Romney McDaniel might well say.

About those politics: Ocasio-Cortez describes herself as a socialist, a declaration mitigated somewhat by the fact that she doesn’t seem to know what the word “socialist” means. She is a reflexive practitioner of identity politics, immediately suggesting that any criticism of her is racist or sexist or both. And she is an unapologetic authoritarian, threatening to abuse congressional subpoena powers to retaliate against Donald Trump Jr. for posting something mean about her on Twitter. An avowedly socialist practitioner of identity politics and social-media bully: that, and not her views on marginal tax rates, is what gets up Republicans’ noses. Bernie Sanders calls himself a socialist, too, but he’s a grumpy old Muppet from Vermont — a useful cat’s paw to maul Mrs. Clinton, but otherwise old news.

But Williamson notes there’s danger in making her too much the figurehead of Big Left’s “Resistance from Above”:

As a purely tactical matter, Republicans would probably be better off keeping Nancy Pelosi or Chuck Schumer as their leading partisan archnemesis, inasmuch as neither of those candidates can deride the GOP as the party of rich old white folks without inspiring at least a little bit of a giggle.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez may personify much of what Republicans despise about the distinctively millennial brand of censorious progressivism that currently dominates the Democratic Party, but, if they were smarter, they’d be grateful for that: If this callow dilettante is the best the other side has to offer, then maybe the Republicans — no strangers to callow dilettantism — still have a chance after all.

She – and her elder sister in entitled identitymongering, Elizabeth “Fauxcahontas” Warren – are in that sense gifts to conservatism.  Is the GOP – conservatism’s current vessel – smart enough to know what to do with them?

Coarsely Eloquent

Writer Tim Willard with a brilliant Twitter thread on why he hates communism so completely.

It starts here – but I urge you to read the whole thing:

America has survived many external enemies – but “progressivism” is one internal enemy that has the potential to actually destroy it.

And the “Administrative State” – which, along with the Non-Profit-Industrial complex is where the regulatory rubber hits the road – is in many ways the spear point of the “progressive’ attack on everything that makes America worth living in. Nothing saps America’s resilience, vitality and prosperity like the Administrative State, which exists largely to transfer wealth from taxpayers to “progressive” stakeholders.

Recent weeks have been marked by the whining and caviling of “progressives” about the actions of the Republican-controlled Wisconsin state assembly, which acted to greatly reduce the power of the incoming Democrat governor.

Lost in all of the sore-losering – or intentionally concealed in it – is the fact that over the past eight years, Wisconsin has taken steps to curb the excesses of the Big Administrative State that the rest of the country, and the nation, would do very well to emulate:

In 2011, much attention was given Act 10, Governor Walker’s signature reform to public-sector collective bargaining. Less well-known was Act 21, which can rightly be considered the beginning of an administrative-law revolution in Wisconsin. In 2017, Acts 39, 57, and 108 added to those reform efforts. And this past summer, the Wisconsin supreme court issued a significant decision in Tetra Tech v. Department of Revenue, creating a stricter framework for courts to apply when considering the amount of deference to provide agency interpretations.

Much of what we now consider the standard rule-making process in Wisconsin was first set out in 2011 Act 21. At its core, Act 21 provides that no agency may implement or enforce any standard, requirement, or threshold (including as a term or condition of any license it issues) unless such action is explicitly required or permitted by statute or rule. Gone are the days of implied or perceived authority.

Additionally, for each proposed rule, the act required agencies to submit a “statement of scope” to the governor for review and prepare an economic-impact analysis relating to specific businesses, business sectors, public-utility ratepayers, local governmental units, and the state’s economy as a whole.

You should read the whole thing – and pass it on.

I Pledge Pledge Allegiance To Alexandria Ocasio Cortez…

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

I get it now. I understand. It’s hard to change a lifetime of thinking one way, the wrong way, but I get it now.

I hope my children do worse than I. I hope their prospects are dimmer, their fortunes poorer, their deaths early.

You see, I once believed that by staying in school to get an education, working hard in my job, spending frugally and investing wisely, that I was making a better life for myself and my family. But now that I’m woke, I see that I never earned anything, I didn’t build my career, it was all handed to me because my parents weren’t divorced and my Mother read to me.

I have White Privilege.

Oh, sure, I saw the brown, black, red and yellow kids outside the razor wire, watching us White kids go to the school where they were denied admittance. I saw them sitting against the wall of the supermarket, their bellies distended, flies buzzing around their heads, because they life in a food desert. I thought that was the natural and inevitable consequence of their parents’ cultural choices. I thought White culture was better at protecting women and children while building and conserving wealth.

But I understand things now and I’m not going to let my children make the same mistakes that I made. I’m pulling them out of STEM school and getting them hooked on drugs to ensure they never go back. I’m squandering my savings on a tricked-out Yukon with 20-inch Spreewells. I’m quitting my job and committing a few felonies, to ensure I can’t get another. When my kids’ lives are as bad as the kids in the lowest strata of society, then things will be fair.

I know they’ll thank me someday.

Equality!

Every Point A Strawman

I’ve long held, correctly, that Red America understands Blue America – its culture, society, ways, mores and the like – better than vice versa.   Red America gets New York and LA in a way that neither of them gets, and I’d suggest don’t believe they need or care to get, the rest of the country.

And it seems it’s not merely geographic:

In his remarkable book The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion, Haidt recalls a telling experiment. He and his colleagues Brian Nosek and Jesse Graham sought to discover how well conservative and what Haidt terms ‘liberal’ (ie: progressive) students understood one another by having them answer moral questions as they thought their political opponents would answer them. “The results were clear and consistent,” remarks Haidt. “In all analyses, conservatives were more accurate than liberals.” Asked to think the way a liberal thinks, conservatives answered moral questions just as the liberal would answer them, but liberal students were unable to do the reverse. Rather, they seemed to put moral ideas into the mouths of conservatives that they don’t hold.

That would explain why liberals are so very prone to arguing the straw man; it’s the only way they perceive conservatives.

To put it bluntly, Haidt and his colleagues found that progressives don’t understand conservatives the way conservatives understand progressives. This he calls the ‘conservative advantage,’ and it goes a long way in explaining the different ways each side deals with opinions unlike their own. People get angry at what they don’t understand, and an all-progressive education ensures that they don’t understand.

It’s been my observation that liberals, at large, can not effectively debate conservatives, because at no point in their education have they ever had to see conservatism and conservatism as anything other than cartoons.

I’ll urge you to read the whole thing.