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.

A Crisis Not To Be Wasted

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Covid is acting exactly like any other respiratory virus.

It bursts onto the scene, kills a bunch of people who have no immunity, then fades into the background as the vulnerable host population dies off and the immune population go on with their lives.

So where’s the big emergency that justifies the dictatorship, again?

Joe Doakes

Title line says it all.

No Science Was Used In The Production Of This News

Last summer, on my show, I interviewed a guy – an engineering professor – who had a side project, mathematically modeling the progress of the Covid pandemic.

His assertion – that somewhere between 5-10 times as many people had been infected as the testing showed – because “getting tested” was at best a self-selecting set of subjects (if, at that time, they could get tested at all) and most people were asymptomatic, or had limited symptoms.

The numbers were plausible – and the limited symptoms part resonated with me. I barely talked myself into getting an antibody test. My symptoms were fairly minimal – a fever for about a day, a nasty cough for a few more, basically the bronchitis I get every couple years. Were it not for a rash on the back of my hands, I might have just skipped the whole thing. The antibody test showed I’d had Covid, in late March or early April – consistent with the symptoms I did have.

Here’s the deal – the modeler and I considered it good news. With viruses, all other things being equal and acknowledging there’s a lot we still don’t know about Covid, recovering from an infection gets you, if not immunity, at least resistance, at least for some period of time. And even limited immunity and enhanced resistance is a huge thing; the common cold is largely shrugged off by most Westerners, but it was frequently lethal to natives when Westerners traveled to places where the people had never had exposure to it. The difference between a lethal pandemic and the sniffles was a few (or few dozen) generations of having had it and survived.

The modeler’s advice? Everyone who wasn’t under sixty and/or in relatively decent health should protect themselves accordingly until a vaccine came out; everyone else should “play spin the bottle, and power through the infection as fast as possible”.

Having “Survived” a mild case, I’ll recuse myself from the games.

And that particular modeler is not the only person to have found these results.

Shrieking Ninnies In Expensive Suits – which was why I was a little surprised not only to see this story from National Public Radio’s “health” beat reporters, about a study from Columbia that reached precisely the same factual concusion that Covid had infected 5-10 times as many people as we thought…

…and not just that they thought it was seriously ground-breaking news (emphasis added)…

The model has not been published or peer-reviewed yet, but lead researcher, Jeffrey Shaman, an infectious disease specialist at Columbia University, shared the data exclusively with NPR.

…when my lil’ ol’ talk show covered this exact same conclusion eight months ago…

…but the conclusion these “elite” “journalists” reached:

…[the model] gives a much more complete — and scary — picture of how much virus is circulating in our communities…The model’s conclusion: On any given day, the actual number of active cases — people who are newly infected or still infectious — is likely 10 times that day’s official number of reported cases.

So let’s recap: a model that is:

  • Unpublished
  • Not peer-reviewed
  • Reaches a statistical conclusion that is “news” only if one’s sense of credentialism has eaten whatever journalistic inquisitiveness one might have had

…is presented not only as “new” news, but as bad news.

Now, during my brief, not very successful career as a reporter, one thing I did do well was ask questions – which used to be a key qualifier for journalists.

And I have so many of them, reading both the study and the “elite” journos at NPR’s take on it.

  • Given that the number of deaths and serious hospitalizations are a reasonably known quantity, and their numbers has been broadly tracking with known infection rates, and we presume that this discrepancy is not brand new, doesn’t that mean the disease is on 10-20% as fatal as we thought?
  • Again assuming that the infection rates have always been ahead of testing, doesn’t that mean an order of magnitude more people have been infected, and (remember, we know the death rates) recovered, and thus are at least partly immune or resistant? Isn’t that good news (except of course for the number of immune people getting scarce vaccines, and also the fact that our government response seems to be discounting natural immunity entirely?)
  • Wny, in fact, does this story ignore the natural/herd immunity implications of numbers like this?

This sort of “reporting” is neither science nor, if my various bosses, teachers, editors and mentors were to be believed, journalism in any sense other than “providing PR for an authioritarian narrative”.

Ivy League Alums Ponder Restraining Orders, Injunctions

David Hogg, who has built a very rewarding career slandering law-abiding gun owners, is his immense expertise from “gun safety” to industry. Seeking to “own” Mike Lindell [1], he announced last week he seeks to start a pillow company.

Last Friday, it turned out Hogg’s big idea had run into the same roadblock as his gun control agenda – reality:

That Harvard education is serving the lad well, isn’t it?

GameStop = Bidenism

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

The GameStop tempest-in-a-teapot in one graph:

Why it matters: several on-line stock brokers suddenly and simultaneously changed the rules for little guys. You can use our on-line discount stock brokerage account to sell your valuable stock to the big boys (thus bringing the price down), but you can’t buy more of it (which would have continued to push the price up). The rules which formerly were uniform have now become arbitrary.

Remind you of anything? Several states suddenly and simultaneously declaring house arrest to promote mailed voting? Several states suddenly and simultaneously kicking out election observers so they could count mailed ballots in secret? Social media sites suddenly and simultaneously kicking conservatives who questioned the counting of mailed ballots, off their platforms? And now several brokerages suddenly and simultaneously shutting down purchases of select stocks by select individuals, just when they need to buy them the most.
The big-shots are once again flexing their muscles against the ordinary working class peasants. It’s the hallmark of the new administration – rules for thee but not for me. Bidenism. It’s the way things are done, nowadays.
Oh, naturally, the liars and cheaters have excuses. We had to stop trading for your own good, the market was too volatile, prices were unsustainable, there was misinformation being circulated. Nobody believes any of that (a better lie would have been “we had to stop them, they were price-gouging”). Instead, everybody knows buying was stopped to protect the big-shot investment funds which had made disastrously bad investment decisions. The chart proves the lie.
Congress will harrumph, the White House will deny making phone calls to pressure people, the stock market board will meet to discuss rule changes for big-shots versus peasants, a bunch of investors will lose their shirts and lawyers will make a killing fighting over the scraps. Yawn, the same as always, nothing much will change.

Except everything has changed. Another naked emperor was seen, mocked and humiliated and in response, the peasants were punished for revealing the truth. The peasants won’t forget.
Joe Doakes

Happy Reagan’s Birthday

Today would be Ronald Reagan’s 110th birthday

I’ve been writing about Reagan – who, along with PJ O’Rourke, Solzhenitzyn, Dostoevskii and Paul Johnson is the reason I’m a conservative today – as long as this blog has been in existence.  His eight years were not perfect, and I don’t beatify my presidents, even if they’ve been out of office for over three decades.  His last term wasn’t as stellar as his first, and his last two years were very difficult.

Still and all, he was the greatest president of the second half of the 20th Century, and head, shoulders and ankles the best of my lifetime.

But in these difficult times, after two terms of a President who promoted  fear and malaise in the guise of “change” and “doing something”, and four years of another for whom “conservative principles” were a tactic to be slipped on and off like a power tie, it’s worth remembering Reagan’s example; when times seemed at their most dire, Reagan walked onto the scene with a smile and a vision, and a backbone of steel, and cleaned up the mess lefty by his failed predecessor – something our next president will need even more of in 2024.

And the most important part? He did it by unleashing something that many, then as now, thought was dead – the inner, optimistic, take-charge greatness of the American spirit – something that feels largely beaten into submission as this is (re)written, in 2021.

Oh, there are those who say “today’s GOP wouldn’t nominate Reagan!” – to which I respond with a contemptuous sigh, before telling the critic to listen to “A Time for Choosing”, and tell me who it more resembles; Arne Carlson, or Rand Paul?

Reagan’s gone. But that spirit, the one he understood, almost alone among American politicans of his era, lives on in the American people. Half of it, anyway.

So Happy Reagan’s Birthday, everyone!

NOTE: While this blog encourages a raucous debate, this post is a hagiography zone. All comments deemed critical of Reagan will be expunged without ceremony. You’ve been warned.

You have the whole rest of the media to play about in; this post is gonna be gloriously one-note.

(This post was originally written in 2017, and has been slightly touched up for 2021). 

Nineteen And Life

It was another brutally cold February evening. I was working at a doomed dotcom, five months into one of the series of “New Normals” we’ve had in the past couple decades, after 9/11. I was a newly-divorced single guy, I had a couple kids to take care of, I had all kinds of anxiety about the near future as the software industry began an ugly contraction.

I was also chafing. While ten years of marriage and raising kids had modified my priorities a bit, I was missing something from my twenties, badly.

That “something” was a soapbox. I’d had one, fourteen years before, at KSTP-AM – an overnight weekend talk show where I opined about politics and argued with drunks and had the time of my then very young life.

Life had moved on, and I went with it. But there was a part of me that missed having the big discussions with complete strangers.

That afternoon at work, I’d read an article in Time magazine about the new wave of conservative intellectuals and their chosen medium, the”Blog”. Andrew Sullivan was their example. I went, read it, checked out “blogger.com”, thought a bit about the possibility that maybe I could get back into writing stuff again…

…and started “Shot In The Dark”.

Nineteen years ago today.

I gush about this every year about this time – how I started this blog hoping to maybe draw five readers a day that weren’t subject to the vagaries of the various list-servers I was on, how I’d happily keep doing it if five readers were all I had, how thankful I am not only for the outlet, and for the opportunities it’s led me to, and especially for having it introduce me, virtually and often in person, to every one of you – new friends, and old friends with whom I’ve been able to reconnect.

It’s been nineteen years, and while writers block comes and goes, it’s still just as fun as it ever was.

So I thank you all.

Go To Any Part Of The Bus You Want

A friend of the blog emails:

So, the St Paul City Council unanimously told MNDOT to take away lanes in areas where POC live because of racism.

CM Mitra Jalali is really proud of the unanimous support. They’re really sticking it to those white supremacist racist highway planners by saying that these poor, mostly Black and Asian communities need to ride busses instead of cars. Wait a minute- what is our city council actually saying here?

It’s saying “we don’t care when you get somewhere – just don’t do it in a car”.

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.

Preventive Hygiene

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Democrats seek to impeach Donald Trump, not to remove him from office,
but to make sure he can’t hold office again.

They rely on Article 1, Section 3, last paragraph, which provides:
“Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to
removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office
of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States . . ..”

My question: suppose the Republican nominee is unacceptable to RINOs and
a genuine threat to Democrats.  Could Congress use this precedent to ram
through a quick impeachment to prevent that person from taking office?

Why bother with the effort and expense of printing up all those fake
ballots?  Simply impeach every opponent and you can rule the country

Joe Doakes

I see a thriving business in pre-impaching potential GOP candidates.

2+2=Road Salt

Got any questions?

Don’t bring ’em to Erin Maye Quade, former MN state representative, 2018 Lieutenant Governor candidate, and (along with former commenter Dog Gone and William Davis) one of the Minnesota DFL’s most imortant intellectual thought leaders.

Because, being a thought leader, she’s got the answers:

So a trans woman, having experienced none of growing up as a bio-female, can not only appropriate a lifetime of bio-female experience, but in so doing scoop up all the scholarships – which, I hasten to add, are what put a lot of working-class bio-girls a shot at a higher education (for what little that seems to be worth these days)?

Seems a little…misogynistic?

My daughter grew up playing basketball in elementary school and junior high with, and against, a bunch of very talented, largely black girls from Frogtown, the Midway and the North End.

Some of these girls, even at 10-13 years old, were already working hard on their games, in hopes of getting scholarships.

I’m dying to see how Ms. Maye Quade would explain to those working-class girls how not only were their scholarships going to bio-boys, but they’d best shut up about it if they ever wanted to do lunch at the Saint Paul Grill again.

I’m just waiting for a bunch of bio-guys who couldn’t quite make the NBA, and are tired of playing in Italy and Poland, to “transition” and dominate the living s**t out of the WNBA and Women’s Soccer.


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

Surprised Not Surprised

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

I planned a vacation, leaving January 14 and returning January 21. I
went on-line two weeks early, January 6, to request the Post Office hold
my mail. Had to create an on-line account to submit the request. Had
to verify my identity to create the on-line account using multi-factor
authentication. But not by email – not available – nor by text message – their system doesn’t work with my phone. By mail.

The authentication code to establish the on-line account so they could
accept the on-line request to hold my snail mail arrived in my mailbox
on Saturday, January 23, two days after my scheduled return.

You want to know why people despise the Post Office? It’s not the
workers – they’re standard issue government employees following the
rules laid down by management because the workers have no authority to
deviate from the rules and independent thought is punishable by
dismissal. It’s the bureaucracy: the stunning idiocy of the
regulations, the stubborn adherence to 19th Century service and delivery
guidelines, the utter failure to recognize what needs to be done to make
the Post Office relevant and competitive in 2021.

It’s sad, because the Post Office is one of the few activities the
federal government is constitutionally authorized to do. It’s a shame
they do it so poorly.

Joe Doakes

Nothing to add…

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.


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?


Sic Transit

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Stopped at Kwik Trip for a bathroom break on my way up North for the weekend. Store music was Me and Bobby McGee, by Janis Joplin. I looked around at the employees and the customers, and realized the song was older than anybody in the store.

Except me.

Joe Doakes

Worse than that – a few years back, when my kids were at home, one of them was watching a music video. It was some Australian boy band doing a cover of “What I Like About You”, the 1979 hit by The Romantics.

And it occurred to me – a band at that time (2016) covering “What I Like About You” would have been the same as a band in 1979 covering a song from 1942.

Or, today, 1937.


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…


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)

I Never Thought…

…we’d need a leader to stand at a dais and demand that a leader “Tear Down This Wall” in this country in my lifetime.

But here we are.

Guess we know what “Build Back Better” really means, now.

And when the media says Biden is a “return to normal” – almost in sync, almost like there’s still some back-channel communication going on – I do not recall Trump walling off the White House.


Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

President Biden admits the nation is powerless to change the trajectory of the virus.

He did not specifically concede President Trump was right all along, did everything he could, and nobody could have done anything better.  But giving up the fight two days after taking office means President Biden has no plan to defeat the virus because a virus cannot be defeated, it can only be endured.

It would have been nice if he had said that before the election but hey, better late than never, right?

Joe Doakes

It’s worse than that. Throughout the campaign, he croaked “I have a plan” for Covid.

He knew is was BS.

The people who wrote, and continue to write, everything he says, and control his “administration”, knew it too.

They could all count on one increasingly irreducible fact – a majority of Democrat voters are emotion-driven muppets with the critical thinking skills of barn-raised turkeys.

Our Illiterate Overlords

As seniors try to navigate buggy, inept MN-IT (but I repeat myself) websites, or pile in to try for a single-digit percent chance of a shot (maybe, or again, maybe not), teachers union members get a special vaccine event…

…even though they’re still ambivalent about going back to work at all.

Just saying – when David Brooks is right, he’s very, very right. Teachers unions are just as intelledtually vacuous and immune to real science as the most blinkered pandemic conspiracy theorist:

in-person learning can be done safely with the right precautions. This was unclear last March and April, but now study after study has shown that schools can be safe. A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention just attested to this fact. The evidence seems clear.

Private and some public schools are already operating safely all around the country, with little evidence that attendance is spreading the virus.

[But] teachers unions don’t seem to have adjusted to the facts. In Washington, Chicago and elsewhere, unions have managed to shut down in-class instruction. The Chicago public schools union is on the verge of an illegal strike, even though 130 private schools and 2,000 early learning centers have been open safely since the fall….The Chicago district installed air purifiers in classrooms, conducted ventilation tests, increased rapid testing and held more than 60 meetings with union leaders, but so far the union has been able to keep public schools from reope

Of course, it’s not about science – because the Teachers Union is no more about science than it is about, well, teaching:

A study by Michael T. Hartney and Leslie Finger found that political partisanship and teacher union strength explain how school boards approached reopening. Another survey, conducted last year by Chalkbeat and The Associated Press, found that roughly half of white students had access to in-person learning, compared with a quarter of Black and Hispanic kids.

Readers, many of us got involved in the Black Lives Matter marches last summer. I guess I would ask you, do Black lives matter to you only when they serve your political purpose? If not, shouldn’t we all be marching to get Black and brown children back safely into schools right now?

There were many haunting moments in MacGillis’s ProPublica piece [cited elsewhere in Brooks op-ed]. One comes when he asks the National Education Association president, Becky Pringle, about her claim that reopening schools could lead to the death of 50,000 children. MacGillis points out to her that, in fact, the number of American children known to have died of Covid-19 up to that point is around 100.

The unions are not reflecting reality. Instead of addressing legitimate fears with facts and evidence, they are using their political muscle to inflame those fears. The most vulnerable people in our country are the victims.

The whole thing is worth a read.


A friend of the blog emails:

How come we can call the new Covid strain from Brazil “The Brazil Strain” but we can’t call the Chinese strain “The Chinese Strain”?

Presumably because Brazilians are “white Hispanics” [1]

[1] “Hispanic”, meaning from the Iberian Peninsula, which is where Portugal is. And yes, the vast majority of Brazilians are not of Iberian descent. The joke is as absurd as the intersectional double-standard.

Someone Water The Peasants

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

National Guard troops brought to DC, used as props for the Inauguration, abandoned when no longer useful but not sent home. Democrats act crassly, media fails to notice.

Republicans act classy, media fails to notice.

I wonder how many of those troops were Georgia military who voted 100% for Joe Biden – according to the official count.  I wonder how many of them will vote Democrat next time around?

Joe Doakes

I’m just hoping it matters, myself.