Complementary Mass Psychoses

I figured this out the other day.

Just as “White Privilege” is really class privilege sanitized for white progressives’ protection

…so, too, is “white fragility” in fact “blue fragility” – the inability of “blue-state” progressives to reconcile their class advantages with their white prog guilt.

And both, also, are one sweet bit of grifting, if you got in on the ground floor:

DiAngelo’s “White Fragility” article was, in a sense, an epistemological exercise. It examined white not-knowing. When it was published in 2011 in The International Journal of Critical Pedagogy, it reached the publication’s niche audience. But three years later it was quoted in Seattle’s alternative newspaper The Stranger, during a fierce debate — with white defensiveness on full view — about the Seattle Gilbert & Sullivan Society’s casting of white actors as Asians in a production of “The Mikado.” “That changed my life,” she said. The phrase “white fragility” went viral, and requests to speak started to soar; she expanded the article into a book and during the year preceding Covid-19 gave eight to 10 presentations a month,

This is verging on becoming, if not a full-fledged “Berg’s Law“, at least a corollary to the 7th.  

Uncanny

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Remember the Indians who tore down the Columbus statue on the capitol grounds, as Capitol Police stood by and did nothing?

Governor Walz promised there would be “consequences.”  Haven’t noticed any news articles about charges being filed. Did they get a time out? Double secret probation?

What exactly are the consequences for destroying government property? I’m feeling oppressed by the health department. Can I go burn it down?

Joe Doakes

If the “Penalty” for destroying statuary is nervous foot-shuffling and occasional statements with no followup, I’m totally going after that Floyd Olson statue.

“But Mitch – Why Does Berg’s Twentieth Law Exist?”

I’ll cop to it – I’ve been pretty cynical about “hate crimes” lately. Let’s stipulate in advance – they do happen.

But Berg’s 20th Law – “All incidents of ‘hate speech’ not captured on video (involving being delivered by someone proven not to be a ringer) shall be assumed to be hoaxes until proven otherwise” – is a law for a reason.

Or, rather, many, many reasons – including this one from, what else, a poitician from the west coast:

Jonathan Lopez, who is Latino and was a recent candidate for Umatilla County commissioner, claimed he discovered the hate-filled missive in his mailbox on June 23, the East Oregonian reported.

On his now-deleted Facebook account, he shared a photo of the letter, which said that Lopez and other “Mexicans” were “not welcome here,” according to local news station KEPR-TV.

“Don’t waste your time trying to become anything in this county we will make sure you never win and your family suffers along with all the other f–king Mexicans in the area!” the letter said.

Lopez wrote in the post that he “holds no resentment for whomever wrote this,” the outlet reported.

Oh, I bet he holds some resentment for the writer – or at least the writer’s judgment…:

“Our investigation has shown that Mr. Lopez wrote the letter himself and made false statements to the police and on social media,” Hermiston Police Chief Jason Edmiston told the East Oregonian.

“The end result is a verbal and written admission by Mr. Lopez that the letter was fabricated.”

Edmiston said the case would be forwarded to the Umatilla County District Attorney’s Office for review on charges for initiating a false report.

“This investigation is particularly frustrating as we are in the midst of multiple major investigations while battling a resource shortage due to the current pandemic,” Edmiston told the outlet.

In a party where reputations and political capital are ever-more based on intersectional virtue-signaling and dog-whistling, politicians are gonna virtue signal and dog-whistle.

Well, presuming the guy’s a Democrat.

Because Mr. Lopez’s party is never mentioned in the article.

Weird, huh?

The Denunciation Of Bukharin

Matt Yglesias, fighting in his own way for freedom (for him, but probably others as well), has found himself out-intersectioned:

Part of me thinks that if we just step back for a bit, the American left will just destroy itself and leave the rest of us alone.

I”m too optimistic, I know, especially on that last clause.

MiniHealth Has Never Been At War With MiniPol

Some Henco Commisioners want to declare racism a public health crisis:

Hennepin County Commissioners Angela Conley and Irene Fernando plan to introduce a resolution on Tuesday declaring racism a public health emergency in the county.

“We need to be explicit about racism,” Conley said. “We need to say that at the root of the disparities is systemic racism . . . and we need to do it now while this conversation is ripe.”

Nearly a dozen other counties across the country have passed similar resolutions, many doing so in recent weeks as governments and businesses aim to address racism within their own organizations in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis…The move to declare racism a public health crisis is symbolic, but would also direct the county to consider racial equity in all of its decision making.

When you mix politics and science, you don’t get scientific politics. You get politicized science.

It is a strong contender to be Berg’s 21st Law.

Reagan Spoke Too Soon

What’s the most dangerous phrase in the world?

1980: “I’m from the governent and I”m here to help”

2020: “I’m an ‘ally’ and I’m here to help. “

A friend of the blog emails:

Privileged Liberal White People: we’re going to help those poor communities of black people. We’ll build a train so they can get around with a car!

Black people: But, we’d like to get around by car just like you.

PLWP: We’re going to help those poor black people by raising the minimum wage!

BP: But we’d like to have a job to support our families. This will just get rid of our jobs.

PLWP: We’re going to help those poor black people by building high density housing in their neighborhood. Let’s tear down the affordable single family housing stock to help them!

BP: But we’d like to own a house, just like you.

PLWP: We’re going to help those poor black people by taking away on street parking around their apartment buildings to build bike lanes!

BP: But we’d like to park by where we live just like you, especially in the winter. We aren’t biking.

PLWP: We want to help black people by not calling the cops when thugs take over their neighborhood. And we’ll tell the whole world!

BP: Seriously, stop helping us.
________________
Biggest problem in my neighborhood, other than the issues above, most of my neighbors don’t bother voting in local elections.

Semi-related: It’s interesting, to me, to note that John Lesch’s district has the lowest voter turnout numbers in the state.

To the original point: Urban Progessive Privilege means never having had to confront the notion that your ideals are only “ideal” for people in your own class.

Defund Mayor Frey And The Minneapolis City Council

Norm Coleman – former Senator, and more appositely former mayor of Saint Paul – jumps back from retiredment to pimp-slap Mayor Frey and his City Council for demanding the defunding of the Minneapolis Police.

They’re defunding the wrong part of government:

Remarkably, the same mayor whose lack of leadership led to the ruinous riots and burning of his city, doesn’t agree with dismantling the Police Department. Yet in endorsing the governor’s investigation, Frey said:

“For years in Minneapolis, police chiefs and elected officials committed to change have been thwarted by police union protections and laws that severely limit accountability among police departments. … Breaking through those persistent barriers, shifting the culture of policing and addressing systemic racism will require all of us working hand-in-hand.”

What is it about the culture of politics in Minneapolis that failed time and time again to address what is now labeled “systemic racism” in the city’s Police Department?

Blaming the police union is, no pun intended, a cop-out.

Blaming Republicans isn’t an option as there isn’t an elected Republican in the city as far as the eye can see.

With their city in ruins from lawbreakers who burned it down, the same elected officials whose failed leadership did nothing to eliminate the racism they now lament have seized upon the solution: to disband their Police Department.

Mayor Frey didn’t condemn rioting and looting in his city when he should have but encouraged people intent on looting and burning to wear face masks and stand 6 feet apart from one another.

When a couple of news conferences professing his love for Minneapolis and delivering stern stares at the camera failed to stop the violence, he abandoned the police headquarters in the Third Precinct.

He left citizens and businesses alone to fend for themselves amid marauding mobs who claimed their prize by burning it down and the neighborhood along with it.

The members of the Minneapolis City Council didn’t step up either to protect their citizens. Now they purport to have the best interests of their city in mind with the idea that defunding and dismantling the Police Department is really a better way to ensure public safety.

The lawless always want less law.

Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender claims that calling police during an emergency is an act of “privilege.”

On the contrary, the first responsibility of government is to protect its citizens — all its citizens.

It’s depressing that a bit of common sense like this in the public domain feels so extraordinarily wise.

Ripped From The Headlines Of Pure Fiction. Honest.

SCENE: Debate hall at the University of Minnesota. Mitch BERG is getting ready for a debate with Stacey HINTON. HINTON – a white woman from Edina – is president of the group “Keep All Racists Equally Nonplussed”, a social justice group without portfolio. The moderator takes the stage, as a small audience rustles in its seats.

MODERATOR: Mr. Berg, Ms. Hinton, you know the rules (both nod ). Let’s get started. What do you advocate doing about the Covid virus.

BERG: Look, I think the only things that have worked are first, protecting the vulnerable – certainly more effectively than we do here in Minnesota – then isolate the infected, and re-open the economy for everyone else.

MODERATOR: Ms. Hinton?

HINTON: You’re white.

BERG: Well, yeah, I am.

HINTON: So that’s your privilege talking.

BERG: What does “privilege” have to do with observing that the places with the best combination of public health and medical performance all did exactly that?

HINTON: Check your privilege.

MODERATOR: OK. On to the next topic. Whither Minneapolis? We’ll start with you, Ms. Hinton.

HINTON: The rioting was a bunch of white boys running around vandalizing neighborhoods of color.

BERG: Well, there certainly were “white boys” and girls doing the rioting. The implied message is “white supremacist” boys and girls. If so, they were pretty ingenious “white supremacists”, coating entire neighborhoods with graffiti associated with the left.

HINTON: Spoken like a white boy.

BERG: What does that even mean?

MODERATOR: Let’s move along. What do we do about reforming law enforcement? Mr. Berg.

BERG: Get serious about reforming qualified immunity. It is used to excuse a lot of horrific abuses, not just by the police, but by every other variety of public employee. It basically turns public employees into a higher legal caste. This doesn’t bode well for self-government.

HINTON: Something a white guy would say.

BERG: Ma’am? Do you have any thing to add other than my ethnic background?

HINTON: Yes.

BERG: Let’s hear it.

HINTON: It’s true of all white guys.

MODERATOR: Let’s move along. Ms. Hinton – what do we need to do about race relations in this country?

HINTON: White people need to listen to black peoples’ stories, and check their privilege.

BERG: Huh. All due respect, ma’am, but that’s the kind of meaningless word salad that people like you – “progressives” who are, if I may say so, a lot whiter than I am use to try to diffuse their own white liberal guilt.

HINTON: Again, that’s your privilege talking, white boy.

BERG: To the extent I have “privilege”, it’s because I was born in a functional two-parent household, with parents who stayed together until I was an adult, taught me a work ethic, and made sure I stayed in high school. And that kind of privilege is not an exclusive club – in fact, like freedom, the more of this “privilege” society has, the more there is to go around.

But let’s cut the crap. The concept of “white privilege” was, from its origins, a way for wealthy white progressive academics to try to expiate their guilt about the privileges their class gave them. To insulate themselves from gnawing class guilt while preserving that holier-than-thou feeling that white progressivism feeds on, they created and adopted the preposterous concept that being white meant a hot tar roofer from Arkansas has “privileges” that Oprah and Jay-Z don’t, while giving the likes of Mark Dayton and Mark Zuckerberg a moral pass, like indulgences sold by “church” that never forgives and offers no salvation.

MODERATOR: Ms. Hinton?

HINTON: Whitey white white white white white. White white white.

MODERATOR: Thank you all for coming out to today’s debate!

For The Ne’er Do Well’s Itinerary-Making Convenience

Remember in 2004? When a bunch of bars up and down the not-yet-very-gentrified West Seventh in Saint Paul signaled their virtue by posting themselves “No Guns Allowed” after the passage of carry reform…

…for about two weeks, until they realized the posted bars were getting robbed?

Like, a lot?

I”m sensing that some pizza chef / social justice unicorn with a food truck is going to be getting a similar rude awakening:

And..voila. It didn’t even take armed robbers to harsh the hipster’s mellow.

History

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Back in the 1800’s, after the United States bought the Louisiana Purchase which extended its territory from the Atlantic to the Rocky Mountains,  our young nation encountered Indian nations living on the lands we bought.  Conflicts ensued, which were settled by a series of treaties. 

The land on which the statute of Christopher Columbus sat on the grounds of the State Capitol was not “stolen” from the Indians.   The Indians sold it to us

Now, the Indians want it back.  That’s the behavior that gave rise to the term “Indian giver.”  The fact the Governor and Lt. Governor don’t understand the history of the state they govern, is shameful.

Joe Doakes

True enough.

But to Big Left, it’s never about history, math, or any other factual basis of analysis.

It’s inevitably about because shut up.

Cultural Appropriation For Ye, But Not For We

This was the House Democratic leadership, doing their (nothing but) symbolic photo-op before the George Floyd funeral:

They’re wearing “Kente” cloths – apparently Ghanaian in this case, but there are similar adornments all through Africa. They have cultural significance.

And to Pelosi and her little claque, they are nothing but costumes.

Some actual Africans were not amused at the virtue-accessorizing:

But remember – don’t go eating burritos, honky.

Urban Progressive Privilege: when making the right progressive-y noises is enough, at least within your social circle.

Items For The “Cancel” Agenda

SCENE: Mitch BERG is walking out of the local Korean joint with a container of Galbi. As he’s committing to going out the door, MyLyssa SILBERMAN, reporter for National Public Radio’s Saint Paul bureau, covering the “Fake News” and “Diversity” beats.

SILBERMAN: Mister Berg.

BERG: Er, hi, Ms. Silberman. What’s new?

SILBERMAN: Not much time for small talk. I’m doing a story about cancel culture.

BERG: You mean, about how the titans of the progressive media, the Guardian, have their roots in laissez faire policies regarding slavery and the future of the American union during the civil war?

SILBERMAN: No, no. I’m looking for examples in the world of politics.

BERG: You mean like the town in Alabama whose entire base of wealth was built on the products of slavery, but posits itself as a bastion of “progressive” thought today.

SILBERMAN: Alabama?

BERG: Yuuup.

SILBERMAN: Go ahead. I’m listening.

BERG: This town in Alabama built its entire civic wealth between 1815 and 1865 on textiles – an industry based on slave-produced cotton – and tobacco, which was…

SILBERMAN: …raised by slaves. Yes. Yes. Keep going.

BERG: And they voted for the Democrat, pro-slavery candidates for President, in 1860 and 1864.

SILBERMAN: I already hate them.

BERG: And then, when the Civil War was well underway, they undertook a pogrom against not only blacks – whom they blamed for the war, and for the economic hardships the war brought them – but against whites that supported abolition, destroying their businesses in an epic riot.

SILBERMAN: Perfect. Probably fundamentalist Christianists to boot. These people need canceling.

BERG: I’ll say.

SILBERMAN: What town in Alabama?

BERG: It was…wait, did I say Alabama?

SILBERMAN: You did.

BERG: My bad. It was New York City. Your hometown, if I recall.

SILBERMAN: (Stands, stunned).

BERG: You’ve been canceled.

SILBERMAN: (Jaw flaps, but no sound comes out)

BERG: Try the dok buk uhm. It’s divine. (BERG walks out)

And SCENE

Some Citizens Are More Equal Than Others

Minneapolis CIty Council president Lisa Bender thinks having something worth protecting is…

…well, you know how this goes by now:

Minneapolis is Maoist.

There’s really nothing else to be said.

Open Letter To Midtown Global Market

To: Midtown Global Market
From: Mitch Berg, Irascible Peasant
Re: Cancel This

In response to the “revelation” that one of the Holy Land Deli’s employees – the daughter of the owner, himself an immigrant and inspirational story – had some “racist” social media in her past (as in, years ago, while a teenger) you canceled the Holy Land’s lease in your Midtown Marketplace building, at Lake and Chicago, effective immediately

I’m going to guess if you went through the social media feeds of every single employee in your building who grew up in the era of South Park and Idiocracy, you’ll fine something regrettable.,

Speaking of regrets? While I’ve been a fan and customer of Midtown Market ever since it opened, I will never spend another dime there as long as you follow through on this absurd, selective, and by all appearances grudge-driven “cancellation” of the Holy Land space.

I urge you to reconsider forthwith. This is the lowest form of cultural cowardice, I won’t reward it with my time or money, and I’ll be urging everyone I know to do the same when they are able to get out and start spending money again.

M Berg
The Midway

Times In Which The Mundane Is Spectacularly Radical

Let’s say I write an article in which I assert that the mid-day sky is actually bright scarlet red in color.

You might respond “You’re just Mitch Berg. You’re a conservative, so you always think stupid things”. That response is half, maybe 3/4 true – but doesn’t say anything about the color of the sky. What it does is say “your argument is false because of who you are”. The term is “Argumentum ad Hominem” – latin for “arguing against the man”, rather than the facts the Man presented. It’s a logical fallacy. Who I am has no bearing on the facts I present, right or wrong.

You might then respond “You don’t have a degree in meteorology – how would you know anything about the sky?” That’s also true – I’m not a meteorologist. But it doesn’t address the facts presented, but rather my credentials. It’s called an “Appeal to Authority”, and it’s another logical fallacy. One’s credentials might lend authority to a statement – but not truth or falsity, all by themselves.

You could try another tack, something like “you are an idiot”. That’d be called an “Appeal to Ridicule”. Again – I might be actually an idiot, but it doesn’t address my factual assertion in any way. It’s…yep, another logical fallacy.

Maybe you could dig back on Twitter, and find some example of me saying “the sky is blue”, and post a before-and-after saying “Hah! You’re being inconsistent!”. That’s called the “Argumentum Tu Quoque” – focusing on the fact that one has changed their mind on a subject, rather than the facts at hand – which is a really dumb one; the fact that I was a Democrat growing up, for example, doesn’t make me less a conservative today (or vice versa for someone else).

You could go on the offensive, and claim that if I believe the sky is scarlet with “Sooooo, what you’re saying is you want old people to die”. That’s called a “Straw Man Argument” – trying to make someone defend an argument they never made. I said the sky was scarlet – nothing about Grandma at all.

You could write “the sky is blue, because as I noted above, the sky is blue”. That’s called “Begging the Question” – perhaps the most mis-used phrase in the quasi-educated dialect of English, which people usually use to refer to “asking a question again”. It means “using your conclusion as proof of your conclusion”.

Or – here’s a radical thought, you could post a picture of a bright blue, or dull gray, sky and tell the world “Look! The sky above is blue! It’s not even a little bit scarlet!”. That would address the actual facts of my assertion that the sky was bright scarlet.

And the technical term for that is “a factual argument”.

I’m writing this not because I’m trying to go all Jordan Peterson on you, but because our society would be a lot stronger, smarter and BS-proof if more people learned how to make a logical argument, and to spot and call out an illogical one.

“That’s just NPR!” or “That’s just National Review” or “that info came from people allied with “the swamp”” and many other arguments…aren’t really arguments at all. They are illogical deflections.

Not to go all Walt Kowalski, but there was a time people had to learn this stuff. And there are times I think, reading social media, that learning the basics of, if not logic, at least spotting gross illogic and not being illogical, should be required before people can vote…

much less post on Facebook or Twitter.

And if I’m ever appointed king, or otherwise become a benevolent strongman…

(Careful, kids – in some quarters, particularly academia, the above is very un-PC. It’s what we used to call Samizdat. )

This post was originally run on May 11 2020. I’m re-running it because, well, it seems appropriate.

Shot In The Dark: Today’s News, Two Years Ago (Again)

The Babylon Bee – America’s most accurate source of news – defines “Karen”, who is sort of the anti-“Rosie The Riveter” of the current crisis.

Watch carefully. Anything look/sound familiar?

“Karen’s” hairdo – it’s “ELCA Hair“.

If you read Shot In The Dark, you’re years ahead of the hoi-polloi.

Translating “Economic Meltdown” Into The “Urban Progressive” Dialect Of English

Maybe now some of the “Shut it all down until there’s a vaccine and 50,000 tests a day” crowd will pay attention.

Trendy Warehouse District restaurant “The Bachelor Farmer” – run by Mark Dayton’s sons – is one of those places a big swathe of MInnesota’s non-profit/indurial complex was hoping to have dinner in a couple of years when the Governor lifts his “shelter in place plan”.

But no more. “Bachelor Farmer” is pining for the fjords:

It’s almost like God is providing an interpreter service for government union employees, non-profiteers and other urban progressives who feel they can ride out two years worth of shutdown: “Vape shop”, “Hair Salon” or “Small family store” goes in.

“Trendy warehouse district fine dining” comes out.

They might understand yet.

We’re All In This Together, In One Minnesota

If you think fighting disaster with economic devastation is a bad strategery, this is what Channel 11’s weather talking head thinks of you:

And Sven? When you go on to talk about the “sacrifices we are making”, don’t tell it to social media. Go to the small businesses who are arbitrarily shuttered and tell the owners whose lives’ work is being destroyed while competing business are chugging right along, exactly how “in it together” you are with them.

I”ll wait.

Virtue-Advertising

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

It used to drive my wife crazy that I bought Land 0 Lakes butter instead of Cub’s house brand. Cost an extra buck a pound. Why buy it?

I claimed it was because Land 0 Lakes is a farmers’ cooperative so I was helping farmers, but she could smell the cow manure in that answer. The truth is the packaging reminded me of home, of the olden days, of traditional brands I grew up with. The old white guy on the can of oatmeal. The Black woman with the kerchief around her head on the bottle of maple syrup. The mermaid on the can of tuna. And the Indian girl on the box of butter. They all changed over the years, of course, each time getting more modern looking. But now – the butter girl is gone. Just a big, empty zero where she used to be.

Look, guys, I can get butter anywhere. I don’t need to spend the extra buck for yours. That girl wasn’t hurting anything. Yeah, okay, so a couple of professional complainers bitched about it. But millions of the rest of us bought it because we knew and loved the label, the connection to tradition. You just cut me off from that.

Now there’s no reason for me to spend the extra buck. So I won’t. Ever again.

Joe Doakes

I often wonder whether companies are ever going to rebound, to snap back on the whole politically correct virtue signaling thing?

It would be interesting to try and trace the psychology of advertising and marketing as related to clinging to social trends.

Literary Correctness

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Mitch, I wanted to write a novel like you, but I need professional
help.  The notes in parenthesis are the editor’s:

“I was doing my homework when someone knocked on our door.  An Asian
(RACIST) girl (SEXIST) about my age (AGEIST) stood (ABLE-IST) on the
doorstep. She must have been shy (ASSUMPTION), she was holding a book
against her chest the way girls do (SEXIST) and kept looking down
looking at our feet (UNNECESSARY DETAIL). She was slender (FAT SHAMING)
and short (HEIGHT-IST), with nice hair, dark (RACIST STEREOTYPE) and
glossy, that fell around her face, hiding it (OFFENSIVE STEREOTYPE).”

Revised version:

“I was doing my homework when someone knocked on our door.  A person
stood there holding a book.  The person had hair.”

I dunno – does it lose something in the translation?

Joe Doakes

And people ask why I made the villains in Trulbert the Methodists.