Oh, The Changes Slow Joe Has Wrought

I’m old enough to remember when AOC…

…referred to “influx facilities” as “concentration camps”.

The Darkness Before The Darkness

A longtime friend of the blog emails:

With the impending Derek Chauvin trial, the fortification of the 4th Precinct has begun this morning.

A wall of cement traffic barricades are being set around the perimeter. Back last summer it was reinforced with razor wire.

I am so deeply saddened by what has happened to my city.

Sad. And disgusted.

Kevin Williamson was right. This isn’t decay. This is municipal suicide.

But Don’t You Dare Call Big Left Horrifyingly Reductionist

SCENE: Mitch BERG is at a local roastery, picking out some bourgeois coffee. Avery LIBRELLE walks in. BERG can’t quite react fast enough.

LIBRELLE: Merg!

BERG: Oh, f…for crying out loud, it’s been a long time, Avery. What’s…

LIBRELLE: (Interrupting) You say Democrats have trouble with critical thinking…

BERG: (picking a medium roast, ordering a half pound ground for french press) Yup.

LIBRELLE: …and that conservatism takes more mental energy…

BERG: …and it absolutely does, for people in modern society…

LIBRELLE: and that the modern left is hopelessly reductionistic.

BERG: You bet.

LIBRELLE: That is so wrong.

BERG: Nah. Here’s one of the modern left’s intellectual thought leaders at work:

BERG: Boiling a complex argument with lots of real world context down into an evil cover of a nursery rhyme is…

(BERG looks at LIBRELLE – who is happily clapping along and whispering the words)

(BERG silently pays for his order, leaves)

(And SCENE)

(

To Recap

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

We had a thorough discussion about Ryan Winkler’s tweet and established
that Democrats have a strong personal belief, perhaps even a moral
conviction, that public safety is a government responsibility.

We had a thorough discussion about a lawsuit against the City and
established that when citizens suffer because government abandoned its
responsibility, the citizens have no recourse against the government
under existing law.

So the obvious question is: Will Ryan Winkler introduce legislation
creating a right for citizens to sue the government for failing its
responsibility to protect them?  And will the new law be retroactive to
cover the riots?

Ryan Winkler talked the talk, but will he walk the walk?

Joe Doakes

There may be no more superficial person in Minnesota politics than Ryan Winkler.

Other than Erin Maye Quade. And Ilhan Omar.

OK, and probably a few others.

But you get the point.

Mass Death Fails To Materialize: Big Karen Bereft, Distraught

Big Karen warned us – those Super Bowl tailgate parties in Tampa were going to lead to the extinction of Florida Man.

Those of us who paid attention in high school science noted that there’s incredibly low correlation between outdoor gatherings and Covid transmission.

“The science says ‘obey or die!'”, Big Karen responds.

Observation indicates – well…

You can almost feel the disappointment wafting out from Big Karen.

When they’re not busy deflecting away from the fact, that is.

The Walk

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Our thorough discussion of Ryan Winkler’s tweet established that
Democrats have a strong personal belief, perhaps even a moral
conviction, that public safety is a government responsibility.

Our thorough discussion of the lawsuit against Minneapolis established
that when citizens suffer because government abandons its
responsibility, the citizens have no recourse under existing law.

You must rely on us; but you can’t rely on us. That’s Catch-22 and it’s
not a joke, it’s official policy.

So the obvious question is: When will Ryan Winkler introduce legislation
creating a right for citizens to sue the government for failing its
responsibility to protect them? And will the new law be retroactive to
cover the riots?

Ryan Winkler talked the talk, but will he walk the walk?

Joe Doakes

No point of Rep. Winkler’s career has been about “walking” any “walk”.

It’s been about pointing at others shortcomings, real or manufactured, and jumping up and down and pointing and flinging poo.

That should clarify things.

Civil Society And Its Abusers

One of domestic abusers most insidious forms of brainwashing is telling, and eventually convincing, their partners that the abuse is partly, or all, their own fault. “You provoked me”. “You shouldn’t have said __“. “You’re as much to blame as me. Maybe more”.

We’ll come back to that.


Years ago, I was at an event – political convention, election night coverage, something along those lines [1], in my capacity as a blogger and talk show host. I was hobnobbing with Big Minnesota Media.

As I was walking back from a concession stand, one of the Big Media people, someone who doesn’t have a byline or get seen on camera, walked up to me, and furtively whispered “Hey – PLEASE don’t tell anyone, but I’m a huge fan of you guys’s show. I’m a conservative. But I gotta keep it quiet. Anyway, keep up the good work”.

And then, as suddenly as the exchange began, it ended. The person peeled away and went back to work, making sure not to be seen talking to me. I felt like a Western reporter in East Berlin or Warsaw, in the seventies, getting a furtive, samizdat message from a covert dissident who was on the lookout for the Stasi or ZOMO.

This person – a successful media professional – was worried about being “canceled”. For being a conservative.

This was years ago – long before “Cancel Culture” was a term.



Last week, Erin Maye Quade, a former state rep and Lieutenant Governor candidate, tweeted this:

We covered this last week.

“People who rail against “cancel culture” are actually just upset about a culture of consequences.”
Is this just an isolated example of a person with an invincible sense of Urban Progressive Privilege #progsplaining people (“actually…”) to accept some premise that flies directly in the face of what they see with their own eyes?

Sadly, no.


A few weeks back, “progressive” theology site Patheos posted this article: “No, You’re Not Being Canceled Because You’re Conservative

The article makes one plausible but misguided point – “conservatives and Christians do it too” – using the examples of John McCain (who got attacked for bucking conservative orthodoxy, and got a political response from people in a political party that has political stances they argue about – seeing a theme, yet?), and the Dixie Chicks (an example they undercut later in the piece). Nothing about non-political people losing non -political jobs, oddly enough.

The other points are worse.

The author posits “Either you’re for the free market or you’re not” – thereby cutting his own “Dixie Chicks” argument off at the knees. And he finishes with a slightly more elegant version of Maye Quade’s bit of #progsplaining – “the stuff you’re being canceled over is neither Christian nor Conservative”, holding that everyone that’s been “canceled” has gotten it because they peddle QAnon theories or are Kloset Klansmen.

And the author doesn’t even address the notion that dishing out consequences to a person’s personal and vocational life over political differences is appropriate “consequences” for any mainstream political view. Indeed, the Patheos article makes the “hear no evil / see no evil / speak no evil” monkey face and ignores the real issue entirely. To this “progressive” Christian author, it’s a non issue.

Which must’ve come as news to the conservative professors, and in the past 20 years teachers and school administrators who’ve been hounded into silence, or out of academia, as a “consequence” of having a considered worldview based on Friedman rather than Alinsky.
Or to the conservative students who are bullied into silence or exile as a “consequence” for dissenting from academia’s oppressive leftist slant.

Or the actors, artists, journalists and other soft-skills professionals and craftspeople who worry, legitimately, about the “consequences” to their career of being “outed”. Like the person in my story at the top of this piece. They worried about being slandered, pilloried and ousted from a decent job in their field, for *being a mainstream Republican and conservative” , albeit not even an activist – something that wasn’t considered “thoughtcrime” 20 years earlier, when that person entered the field.

Or Gina Carano, whose views leading to her defenestration from Disney have been misrepresented by the Left’s noise machine to the point of slander. Carano did *not* say Republicans today were like the Jews of the 1930s. She said – quite correctly – that tyrants succeed by turning neighbor against neighbor. That is Totalitarianism 101 , a point made in fiction by Orwell and in history by Solzhenitzyn, among many others.

Or…me.

I get some flak for my blog and my show – the occasional demented stalker, no big deal. But I’ve also gotten harassed by ex-co-workers who learned about my alter ego life [2]. And there’ve been two jobs in the past ten years where managers with highly progressive views that they were (significantly) unafraid to espouse in the office gave off muted but pointed indications that my contracts were ending because while my work was just fine, even superlative, my views – which they had had to expend some significant effort to find, since not even a whiff of them came out in the office – were not.


So yes – “cancel” culture is about consequences. In most cases, consequences for principled, but not infrequently silent, dissent from a dominant world view.
And the current narrative – from Erin Maye Quade, Patheos, and much of the rest of the dominant culture in media, academia, education and Big Tech – that “you got canceled because you provoked it and have it coming?”

That’s gaslighting. It’s a key tactic of abusers – among many others that have become commonplace weapons in today’s culture war:

Is it any different from the tactics that abusers use to shut their partners up?
Convince me.

Good luck.


[1] I’m profusely concealing this person’s identity, to this day. Don’t even ask.

[2] Which I keep scrupulously out of the workplace – literally, I’ve never mentioned my radio or blog lives once over the past 19 years. In that time, I’ve had two people, both fans, ask me “aren’t you the Mitch Berg that’s on the radio”. And my response, every time, is “There IS a Mitch Berg who does that. But he’d never talk about that on company time”. Every single time.

UPDATE: Jenn at Redhead Ranting has a personal take on the whole thing.

Residual Forces

In Ben Shapiro’s Sunday interview with Gina Carano that I linked yesterday, there were several passages that resonated.

One in particular:

I would go to a barbecue on the beach in California, and all these people would go [switches to sotto voce] “Hey, I agree with you. Messed up, isn’t it?”.

And I’d be…’This is your house. Why are you whispering?'”

It reminded me of another episode.

I was talking with a couple of reps from a metro media organization – TV, newspaper, it matters not. And when one of the representatives and I had a moment without the others around, that person swiveled their head around to make sure nobody was listening, and whispered to me “Don’t tell anyone I said this, but I love [the NARN]. I’m on you guys side. I just have to keep quiet about it”. I felt a little like a reporting working in East Berlin or Warsaw in 1974, getting a furtive, samizdat note from a local that the Stasi or ZOMO wouldn’t be able to trace.

This was over a decade ago.

I think of this because it is now in vogue for lefties to tell people “there is no such thing as cancel culture. There’s just consequences for actions”.

Right. And that “action” is “dissenting from the progressive worldview in public”. No more.

Required Listening

“People tell me ‘I see what’s happening, and I”m so afraid’. And I tell them ‘you should feel more afraid that they’re making yiou feel afraid'”.

Get the truth about Gina Carano, because God knows the media won’t give it to you.

It’s from Sunday’s Ben Shapiro podcast. And while Carano isn’t a highly polished radio guest, her story – then and now – is utterly fascinating.

Big Left has been ideologically cleansing academia for decades. They’ve largely consolidating their control of the educational-industrial complex. They’re consolidating Hollywood and Big Tech now. Along with that, they – and a Big Sort – are doing the same with major metro areas.

And conservatives have in many cases obliged by moving on to greener/redder pastures.

But just as Eden Prairie is following Edina into the moldy blue camp as conservatives concede the battlefield, the culture war is coming for you, wherever you are.

At some point, the good guys and gals have to draw their lines in the sand.

Feniks > Penzey’s

A Michigan ammo company vows not to sell ammunition to Biden voters…

…and puts its marketing where its mouth is:

“Are you really willing to walk away from a paying customer simply because they voted for Joe Biden?” the company asked rhetorically. “Yes, yes we are. We’re dead serious.”

“We don’t want your money, and you shouldn’t want us to have it because we’re going to use it to make more ammo, sell it to the citizenry, and do everything in our power to prevent Joe Biden’s administration from usurping the rights of Americans,” the company wrote.

Not just its marketing, but its sales portal:

As a way to weed out the unwanted customers, the company reportedly inserted a questionnaire into its purchasing process that asks whether prospective customers voted for Biden in the 2020 presidential election. If they did, it’s no sale for them.

Some “progressive” companies led the way with partisan-based marketing after Trump’s election – Penzey’s very publicly told conservatives (not just Trump voters) to stop patronizing them (a request I could not comply with, as I’ve never shopped there before, either – which makes sense; I suspect their demographics, well-to-do white urbanites with lots of disposable income, overlaps with GOP voters only incidentally).

TL:dr – The good news: fighting cancel culture is a good thing, and I applaud Feniks.

The bad-ish news? Feniks is just as sold out of all stock as every other ammo shop.

All Is Proceeding

All is proceeding exactly as Joel Kotkin predicted.

At least a decade and half ago, urbanist Kotkin predicted…the present. Even then, urban growth patterns were trending away from the core-city/bedroom suburb model of the 1950s-1980s; most real growth was occuring on the fringes of the cities, and in medium-sized cities at the periphery. Most immigration was to the suburbs, not the fabled tenements of now-unaffordable major coastal cities. Indeed, cities were returning to their historical roots; European cities like London, Paris, Berlin and Rome, and even New York City and Boston, are mazes of smaller neighborhoods, built around settlement patterns, markets and industries (“Steinway”, in Queens, was a piano-building company town), rather than a general agglomeration of businesses.

Kotkin’s thesis – that eventually, today’s cities will become three concentric patterns:

  1. An inner core of incredible wealth, as the 1% enjoys easy access to big-industry offices and core amenities.
  2. A middle donut of intense poverty, a convenient place for Social Services to warehouse people on assistance.
  3. An outer, exurban ring blending into the hinterlands, where most of the actual people and growth are happening.

The pandemic, and the explosive acceptance of remote white and pink-collar work, is accelerating this.

The whole piece is worth a read. This pullquote in particular grabbed me:

Referring to the internet as an “information superhighway” is retro in the most cringeworthy way. But here, the metaphor seems apt. Decades after the construction of the U.S. highway system allowed high-income families to move from downtowns to the distant suburbs, Zoom might do the same. Remote work could do to America’s residential geography in the 2020s what the highway did in the 1950s and ’60s: spread it out.

Today, the term supercommuting is often used to describe the punishment inflicted on lower-income workers who have to live far from their job because of the scarcity of affordable housing. But the remote-work revolution could spawn the rise of something a little different: the affluent supercommuter who chooses to move to a big exurban house with the expectation that she’ll make fewer, longer commutes to the office.

“Historically, people who work from home don’t commute less overall, because they just drive longer distances,” Autor told me, referring to a Federal Reserve study from 2019. One shouldn’t put too much stock in a survey of pre-pandemic behavior. But the logic of fewer-but-longer commutes should lead to small towns and suburbs experiencing the fastest price growth. And, lo and behold, that’s exactly the story the online rental data are already telling us.

I left rural America for a reason; there were things about urban life that could not be found out in the hinterland. And I’m in a career where it genuinely helps to be where the work is. Will either of those factors change when – if – this pandemic ever sunsets?

No idea.

The big winners so far are Zoom, and Joel Kotkin.

This Is What Urban Progressive Privilege Looks Like [1]

Every spousal abuser in history: “Yeah, sure, I hit you. But you provoked me – again. So you’re at least partly to blame. Maybe mostly. I mean, actions have consequences, baby…”

Big Left’s latest line – through one of its local mouthpieces, former Reprentative and Lt. Gov. Candidate and Urban Progressive Privilege poster child, Erin Maye Quade:

This statement ticks off nearly half of the traits one associates with someone with a serious personality disorder.

And before anyone stars a’yappin’ – I’m not saying Ms. Maye Quade suffers from any psychological illness.

Merely the movement she’s part of.

[1] Not to mention a culture of abuse, and a serious collective group personality disorder.

The New McCarthyites

I really can’t boycott “Hollywood”. because given the fact that Tinseltown can’t seem to get its heart into doing much of anything but comic book movies, and I just can not bring myself to go to a comic book movie, I mean, why bother?

So I’ve never seen any of Disney’s various Star Wars spinoff productions. The last, “first” three chapters of the Star Wars saga soured me on the whole franchise to the point where I just don’t care much. I’m told The Mandalorian is worth watching – but I honestly wouldn’t know.

So when I heard Gina Carano had been jettisoned from Mandalorian, after talk of her getting her own spinoff series was making the rounds, it took me a moment to dig and find out why it mattered.

It’s alleged by some media that she was tubed for being just a little too irascibly un-woke:

Carano was the subject of much criticism recently when, in a now-deleted Instagram post, she compared being a modern-day Republican to being Jewish during the Holocaust. The hashtag #FireGinaCarano has trended on social media in recent months after other incendiary comments by the television and film star.

And what were those “incendiary comments?” Especially as to “comparing” modern GOPers to German Jews in the ’30s?

Details are very, very thin. But I’ll defer to that not-remotely right-wing outlet, Variety, for the closest we have to core facts:

“Jews were beaten in the streets, not by Nazi soldiers but by their neighbors…even by children,” Carano wrote Instagram. “Because history is edited, most people today don’t realize that to get to the point where Nazi soldiers could easily round up thousands of Jews, the government first made their own neighbors hate them simply for being Jews. How is that any different from hating someone for their political views.” The post originated on a different Instagram account.

In other words, totalitarians turn societies against themselves?

If the Woke Mob things that’s politically incorrect, we’re gonna have a real difference of opinion in our society sooner than later.

In another post, Carano shared a photo of a person wearing multiple cloth masks with the caption, “Meanwhile in California…

If riffing on California is politically incorrect, I don’t wanna be PC.

For The Children

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Lowering the voting age has long been a Democrat dream.  Phyllis Khan promoted it in 1989, saying: “If we trust them to drive at 16, why don’t we trust them to vote?”  The notion is back again, this time in Congress

On the one hand, the notion that people aren’t mature enough to vote until 18, drink alcohol or buy certain tools until 21, or take responsibility for their own health care until 25, is a recent conceit unknown in the prior five millennia.

On the other hand, teenagers are less prone to nuanced thinking, more prone to letting their emotions over-ride their logic, which makes for good cannon fodder both for demanding social change and to send against actual cannons.

I’d be tempted to agree with lowering the age of majority if we were consistent about it.  At 16, you are an adult: you can drink, smoke, make babies, marry, divorce, be drafted, get a tattoo or sex change operation, sign a contract, take out student loans, file for bankruptcy, and vote. 

Yes, it will hasten the fall of society, as starry-eyed children vote for manipulative politicians selling promises of utopia but delivering indentured servitude.  But that’s coming anyway, so we might as well get on with it.  And there should be some entertaining moments along the way, watching idealists become disillusioned and forced to admit we conservatives were right all along.   That’ll be satisfying.

Joe Doakes

I’m not quite to the point where I can see it being that satisfying.

But I can see the path to that feeling.

They’re Mad As Hell…

Owners of the iconic “Town Talk Diner” at Lake and MInnehaha in Minneapolis – which was turned into the “Town Talk Pile of Rubble” during the Floyd Riots – are sueing the City of Minneapolis for failing to protect…

…well, much of anyone or anything – notwithstanding it being one of the city’s only unambiguously legitimate jobs.

I’m not gonna do a pullquote – just read it.

And list for me in the comments:

  1. How the city will respond
  2. Why a “progressive” appointee will throw the case out. .

I was tempted to say “wrong answers only”, like all the kids are doing on social media these days.

But I figure even the right answers will test credulity these days.

Go to it.

#UnityAndHealing

My first thought in reading this story, I kid you not, is that I’m a little amazed a city government or law enforcement establishment actually did anything about an offense like this:

After a hearing last Friday and conversations with the city attorney, the employment of part-time Library Specialist Cameron Dequintez Williams was terminated on Wednesday.

He was charged with burning books from the library written by conservative authors.

Library officials said, “The city of Chattanooga Human Resources Department completed its investigation of an allegation that books were removed from the Chattanooga Public Library’s Main Branch on Dec.https://w.chattanoogan.com/photo.aspx?a=8&t=11, 2020. 

“The investigation determined that part-time Library Specialist Cameron Williams violated city and Library policies by improperly removing items from the Library’s collections.”

As one wag remarked:

Now, it remains to be seen if the real reason was that the library board wants to do all of that themselves.

Bonus observation: Am I the only one thinking Lt. Governor Flanagan feels pretty good, having not only gotten away with having ideological mercenaries do her cultural cleansing for her, but having them in effect rewarded for their efforts?

I see a posh consulting job for Flanagan, if she ever leaves office.

Of Consequence

I’ll just commend to you this thread by John Hayward – perhaps the thing most worth reading on the misbegotten morass that is Twitter in a long, long time – without further comment:

Other than urging you to drill in and read the whole thing.

I’m Not Saying…

….that Ron DeSantis is high up on my short list of candidates for 2024.

I am saying that if he keeps up with his competent, fact-driven crisis management combined with his Trump-like ability to cut through the narrative BS while maintaining an air of measured acerbity…

…he could get there pretty quick.

If I Were A Harvard Alum…

…I’d be passing the hat to get David Hogg…

…to transfer or drop out.

But have no fear, Master Hogg. Logically, factually and intellectually, the intellectual foam pillow that is your worldview and movement has been on Mars for quite some time now.

AOC: “It’s All About Meeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!”

After spending the past week wrapping herself in traumatic victimhood (and sliming a Capitol cop in the bargain) for her experience in the January 6 riot, it turns out that she wasn’t nearly as close to the danger as her teary Instagram video might have made it seem:

Allahpundit looked into this on Tuesday, but the story behind Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s massively popular Instagram video where she describes her experience during the January 6th Capitol Hill riot keeps growing more convoluted. Despite claiming that she thought she “was going to die” and at least insinuating that rioters were attempting to break into her office, AOC wasn’t even in the actual Capitol Building when all of the action went down. Over at RedState, Nick Arama breaks down the distinctions between reality and perception. AOC’s office is in the Cannon Building which was never breached during the riot. She was briefly evacuated along with everyone else there, but other members were in immediate danger inside the Capitol Building and were far more at risk.

The writer – Jazz Shaw at Hot Air – points out he believes the #AlexandriaOcasioSmollett hashtag that erupted earlier this week on Twitter may have been a little off target – the Representative certainly didn’t concoct the riot from whole cloth.

I’m sure that AOC was legitimately afraid during the riot and with good reason. Assuming there’s a television in her office and she had the news on she would have known that hundreds of angry people were busting up the Capitol Building and acting in a threatening fashion. Given her unusually high profile for a very junior member, it would be reasonable for her to believe that some of the rioters could present a physical danger to her.

With all of that said, however, AOC failed to make one thing clear in her video (which quickly amassed more than six million views). At no time did any rioters enter the hallway where her office is located and it’s not clear that any of them ever entered any part of the Cannon Building at all. The one person who did reach her office was a Capitol Hill Police officer who was coming to evacuate her and her staffer. They had located a suspicious package (which was later cleared as being random and mundane) so they were getting everyone out of the building in an abundance of caution.

Leaving aside the sliming of the Capitol cop – who had a whole building to evacuate as his colleagues were being overrun a few blocks away – and even if you don’t make the Smollett comparison, I do find one thing intensely troubling.

The whole episode – the assault on the electoral process as well as a riot that led to five deaths, directly or indirectly – to her is nothing but a stage for…

…Alexandria Ocasio Cortez. Her feelings, her sense of assumed victimnood…her.

To AOC, AOC is always the real story – by way of using that story to slime her boogeymen-du-jour.

UPDATE: I’m going to expand on this just a tad.

AOC was about as far from the Capitol riot as I was from the pharmacy that burned down, about 1000 feet from my house, during the riots.

Were either of us under immediate threat? No. Were both of us right to be nervous? Yep.

Should either of us be appropriating the experiences of those who were in immediate danger?

Let’s just call it emotionally manipulative overkill and hope everyone can do better in the future.

#Unity!

Turns out Americans can unify on one thing – gunning up.

Even in Minnesota?

Perhaps especially so.

the numbers: The National Shooting Sports Foundation tallied more than 37,600 statewide requests to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System in January — nearly double from 18,990 in January 2020.

It wasn’t just January: More than 380,000 background checks were recorded here in 2020, up 49% from the previous year.

380,000 NICS checks in 2020 is more than one for every ten eligible Minnesotans (over 21 with a clean criminal record).

Feel that #Unity

Not An Animal

“Protect” Minnesota has a new executive director.

We’ll come back to that.


Modern American “progressivism”, like all its many forebears in the past 200 years, has been all about rallying people against boogeymen. From “monarchists” in the French Revolution, to “Wreckers” in Stalin’s USSR to the Wobbly’s “Bosses”, up through “the patriarchy” and “the man” and “counterrevolutionaries” in Red China and San Francisco in the sixties and seventies, and if you have a hard time distinguishing between ’em, join the club.

Today, the boogeymen…er, boogiepeople on the left are pretty much all the things that people who are included are told to be “anti”. “Anti-Racism” “Anti-Misogyny” (not just sexism, anymore – it’s the more active, more malevolent noun these days), “Anti-Fascism”, “Anti-Transphobia”, and on and on – all of which sounds like good things to be “anti”…

…and, unsurprisingly, when you dig into the “Root Causes” of all those nouns, all things trace back to “Western Civilization” in all its particulars: the Judeo-Christian value on the individual and their worth, value, rights and responsibilities and potential of each and every person, as a person with a mind, a point of view, and at the end of the day an indivisible soul of personal, societal, political, intellectual and metaphysical worth.

Those aspects of humanity are anathema to progressivism in all its flavors. The focus is on the group – the Marxists “classes”, the Nazi’s irreducible focus on race, the modern academic Left’s obsession with a byzantine network of intersectional identity groups. The individual is nothing but a vote (for now), an appetite, a widget to be moved through the production line of life (like Obamacare’s awful caricature of Progressive humanity, “Julia”). Progressivism is “Materialist”. Souls, individual intellects and thoughts and reams, all are ephemeral; humans are widgets that consume and produce, and whose worth and value (to those in power) is expressed via their membership in the collective.

Those widgets have a term. “Bodies”. Not people. Not brains. Not souls.

Bodies.


Anyway – “P”M has a new director. And unlike the dotty, dizzy neverending font of comedy that was Heather Martens, or the serial fabulist The “Reverend” Nancy Nord Bence, the new director presents us with a few surprises.

She’s “a gun owner herself” – which might be seen in several ways. Is “P”M moderating? Are they realizing that the culture war has slipped far enough away from them, especially over this past year, that they have to start speaking to people who need to be convinced?

And she’s apparently incredibly famous, since she apparently just goes by “Rashmi”. I’ve turned “Protect” Minnesota’s website, Facebook feed and other social media upside down, and not been able to find any reference to a last name, which is Seneviratne, by the way.

But even during the reign of the serial fabulist the Reverend Nord Bence, “Protect” MN wasn’t nearly extreme enough in its hatred of guns and (law-abiding) gun owners, enough for some people.

“P”M spawned a breakway group, “Survivors Lead” – basically a woman, Rachel Joseph, with a long history of progressive activism and a story; an aunt who was murdered, according to Ms. Joseph’s story, by a gun.

Quick aside: I don’t minimize anyone’s trauma over having a loved one murdered. But in the many times I’ve heard Ms. Joseph’s story, she’s never once mentioned a perpetrator, someone actually holding and using the gun that killed her aunt; that persons evil motivation, the legal fallout from the murder, whether that person was sentenced or not. It’d be wrong to crack wise – “what, did the gun animate itself?” – but omitting a perpetrator, his/her motives and the like from the conversation is incredibly intellectually dishonest.

Anyway – “Rashmi” and her apparent moderation are not going over well with “Survivors Lead”:

The extreme heckling the not-as-extreme about getting less extreme. That qualifies as “dog bites man”, at the very most.

Rather less so? There followed some more, er, ethnically pointed traffic on one social media feed (from which I’ve long been blocked) or another.

After which “P”M – operating through its usual social media persona, the omniscient third person that used to be Martens and Nord Bence – responded:

On the one hand, watching the agents of Big Left eating each other is one of my favorite spectator sports.

And if the biggest semi-organic anti-gun group in MInnesota (shaddap about Moms Want Action already) is pivoting from pushing Linda Slocum’s gun grab bill to highlighting the inequity of gun control (“Race, class and geography all play into who gets to have a gun and who doesn’t” – which is something every Second Amendment activist has known for 50 years) and speaking in the first “person” to the prudence of victims of violence to arm up, then in culture war terms that’s the sound of the first tank crossing the pontoon bridge at Remagen.

But…”white bodied privilege?”

What the flaming hootie hoo?

I thought for a moment – is this a shot back at the Rachel Dolezals and Elizabeth Warrens of the world, with their flip-flopping identities, by “actual” “people of color”, reinforcing the idea that while you might “identify” with one degree melanin or another, your apparent appearance still wins out in the great privilege lottery (which will, I suspect, get pilloried hard by the Trans crowd, for whom perceived identity is everything? I’ll let the fight that one out).

But no. It’s much less hilarious than that.

It’s “inclusion language” – slang or argot that one class of people use to track who is in, and who is “out” – to be sure. That’s part of it, and people are noticing:

Referring to people as bodies is a reminder, writer Elizabeth Barnes says in an interview, that “racism isn’t just about the ideas that you have in your head.” Barnes is the author of “The Minority Body: A Theory of Disability, The Girl Behind the Wall.” In intellectual discussions, theories about social oppression sound almost disembodied; “we talk about prejudice,” Barnes says, “like it’s just a matter of ideas.” The point is to emphasize the physical violence done to black people through slavery, lynching, and police brutality. In the case of women, the term “bodies” highlights “what happens to women’s bodies in health care contexts, in sexual contexts, in reproductive contexts.”

But behond that?

It’s a nod to the materialism of the left – that the mind, the thoughts, the indivisible soul of the indivisual human being is not merely irrelevant, but inconvenient to the obsession with identity.

Your melanin defines you.

In some ways its a cheap ad hominem – “of course you’d think that, you are (add a reference to your target’s melanin, or lack thereof)”. But pointing logical fallacies out to the foot soldiers of Big Left is a little like arguing salinity with sharks; it’s just part of the water they swim in.

So – gun groups eating each other? Good.

The debate contributing to the ongoing hijacking of the language? Bad.

The whole thing participating, in its own little way, in the further erosion of one of the ideals that’s made Western Civilization the most successful, and humane , civilization in human history?

Worse.

Gaslighting

A new article in New Yorker chronicles the “Cultural Revolution” – the Chinese Communist Party’s revolving round of purges that wracked China in the decade before Mao’s death in 1976.

Tell me – what does this scene look like?

Red Guards—a pseudo-military designation adopted by secondary-school and university students who saw themselves as the Chairman’s sentinels—soon appeared all over China, charging people with manifestly ridiculous crimes and physically assaulting them before jeering crowds. Much murderous insanity erupted after 1966, but the Cultural Revolution’s most iconic images remain those of the struggle sessions: victims with bowed heads in dunce caps, the outlandish accusations against them scrawled on heavy signboards hanging from their necks. Such pictures, and others, in “Forbidden Memory” (Potomac), by the Tibetan activist and poet Tsering Woeser, show that even Tibet, the far-flung region that China had occupied since 1950, did not escape the turmoil. Woeser describes the devastation wrought on Tibet’s Buddhist traditions by a campaign to humiliate the elderly and to obliterate what were known as the Four Olds—“old thinking, old culture, old customs, and old habits of the exploiting classes.” The photographs in Woeser’s book were taken by her father, a soldier in the Chinese military, and found by her after he died. There are vandalized monasteries and bonfires of books and manuscripts—a rare pictorial record of a tragedy in which ideological delirium turned ordinary people into monsters who devoured their own. (Notably, almost all the persecutors in the photographs are Tibetan, not Han Chinese.) In one revealing photo, Tibet’s most famous female lama, once hailed as a true patriot for spurning the Dalai Lama, cowers before a young Tibetan woman who has her fists raised.

Does it remind you of…:

  • A “Struggle Session” at in the humanities department of an exquisitely expensive private university – like Hamline or Saint Thomas?
  • A Pacific Consulting Group workshop on cis-privilege
  • An “Anti”-Fa coffee shop after hours?

Hah, silliy peasants. It reminds the New Yorker of…

Trumpism!

Why did a rich and powerful society suddenly start destroying itself?

The Trumpian assault on the West’s “olds” has long been in the making, and it is, at least partly, a consequence of political decay and intellectual ossification—akin to what Mao diagnosed in his own party. Beginning in the nineteen-eighties, a consensus about the virtues of deregulation, financialization, privatization, and international trade bound Democrats to Republicans (and Tories to New Labour in Britain). Political parties steadily lost their old and distinctive identities as representatives of particular classes and groups; they were no longer political antagonists working to leverage their basic principles—social welfare for the liberal left, stability and continuity for the conservative right—into policies. Instead, they became bureaucratic machines, working primarily to advance the interests of a few politicians and their sponsors.

In 2010, Tony Judt warned, not long before his death, that the traditional way of doing politics in the West—through “mass movements, communities organized around an ideology, even religious or political ideas, trade unions and political parties”—had become dangerously extinct. There were, Judt wrote, “no external inputs, no new kinds of people, only the political class breeding itself.” Trump emerged six years later, channelling an iconoclastic fury at this inbred ruling class and its cherished monuments.

I suppose in the interest of intellectual self-review, I need to ask – is it gaslighting? Or is it just the sort of stupendous self-unawareness that seems to be a condition for joining today’s “elites”?

Point toward the “lack of self-awareness” thesis – they don’t seem to realize this sort of cultural slander is how we got Donald Trump in the first place.

(Hat tip to regular commenter Max Overlord)