Ritual

A friend of the blog emails:

Recently I was in a meeting with State of Minnesota bureaucrats. They said it is now the practice for state of MN meetings to start each one with this recital.

Why is this necessary? Why not an acknowledgement for the ingenious federal republic devised to govern such a vast and varied people? Why not an acknowledgement for the free enterprise market that has done more to raise more people out of poverty than any other economic system ever invented.

I was just so floored by the Land Acknowledgement. Really.

That floors me, too.

And I have sat through Saint Paul school board meetings.

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.

All About The Science!

Cornell – the Dollar General of the Ivy League – is requiring students to get vaccinated for Covid when a vaccine is available.

Well, most students:

That is, unless those students are “Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color (BIPOC).” Those students aren’t subject to the same stringent vaccine requirements of their white classmates, and though they are strongly encouraged to get tested and get the flu shot, the university offers them an exemption should they choose not to. The university even describes the requirements foisted on whites as “suspect or even exploitative” to its students of color.

Cornell won’t dispatch racial scientists to check the skin tone of any of these students, or ask for a DNA test. Merely identifying as “BIPOC” is considered grounds for exemption, meaning bonafide crackers like Shaun King or Rachel Dolezal could avoid the shot, were they students at Cornell.

Because apparently one’s stated identity has physiological effects.

We have the dumbest ruling class ever.

Zellen/iot Zage

Background: “Cultural appropriation” is one of the few sins actually recognized by the Wokemob. One can not, it seems, be white and wear african jewelry or cook mexican food, at the risk of inciting the Wokemob.

They seem to be more tolerant of people of non-Western descent using things invented in the west, like free speech and respect for the individual (as long as they are that individual), but let’s not get carried away in technicalities, here.

Foreground: The actress formerly known as Ellen Page – most famous for starring in Juno, the inescapable and insufferable indy sensation that put former Minneapolitan “Diablo Cody” on the map way back when – is now Elliot Page, and has asked to be referred to by the pronouns “he” and “they”.

And the media – mainstream and social – have complied with that demand at a clip that would have terrified Orwell, and probably Emmanuel Goldstein as well.

Elliot Page was never a woman, Winston.

Appropriated: Brendan O’Neil has an excellent piece at Spiked on the subject, focusing on three subjects – the Orwellian completeness of the “transformation”, the deleterious effect of the Transgender mafia on gay kids…

…and the bit that caught my attention: Page’s cultural appropriation. I’ll add some emphasis.

The disappearing of Ellen Page, and the demonisation of anyone who dares to mention that woman’s name, matters because it tells us a great deal about the increasing instability and elitism of identity politics. There are many reasons we should have a frank, legitimate discussion about Ellen Page rather than robotically repeating that she is now a he and that anyone who says otherwise is a moral reprobate. First, is it really the case that Page is male? A he? How can someone who doesn’t have male biology and who has had no male experiences – boyhood, male puberty, masculine impulses, being a brother, an uncle, a father – be a ‘he’? How does that work? Is it magic? Or have words like male, he, brother and father been so denuded of meaning thanks to the cult of genderfluidity that anyone can adopt them as their preferred identity? It is not prejudiced to ask these questions; it is reasonable, and important.

And the same goes the other way, for “women” who grew up male as well. If eating a burrito made by a white woman is genocide, what is being an insta-male or female?

It’s not you. It’s not even your identity. It’s the costume of the day.

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.

Water

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Experts advise washing your hands to avoid Corona virus, at least 20 seconds, long enough to say the Alphabet or sing Happy Birthday.

I can’t believe Democrats have missed this opportunity to expand the welfare state.  “Because of the wealth gap and income disparity that has existed in America since 1615, and cruelly perpetuated by the Bad Orange Man’s tax-cuts-for-the-rich-only, our most vulnerable people – the poor – who are disproportionately women and children and persons of color and LGBTQ+ – are ill-equipped to survive this deadly virus.  They cannot afford to let the water run all day long.  We must immediately allocate billions of dollars of Water Bill subsidies to help those who need help most.  It’s a matter of survival.”

Although . . . maybe the Democrats are having an internal struggle and haven’t figured out which of their principles polls the best?

“Letting the water run to wash your hands wastes water.  Millions of fish and precious woodland creatures will die of thirst as Americans steal their water and run it down the drain. This species-ist attack on the rest of the planet must end today.  No More Handwashing!”

I’m so confused.

Joe Doakes

Don’t give them ideas, Joe.

Also, as a sidenote to Joe: women? LGBTQ? The poor? People of color?

No mention of transgender people?

Where are you making them invisible? When did you become transphobic. 

Triple Down

I asked American progressivism “American “progressivism”, you couldn’t possibly out-do your myopia from 2016, could you?”

And American progressivism – in this case Vox.comsaid “hold my kombuchba“:

The idea that identity politics is at odds with liberalism has become conventional wisdom in parts of the American political and intellectualelite. Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker has condemned contemporary identity politics as “an enemy of reason and Enlightenment values.” New York Times columnist Bari Weiss argues that the “corrupt identity politics of the left” amounts to a dangerously intolerant worldview. And New York magazine’s Andrew Sullivanclaims the “woke left” seems “not to genuinely believe in liberalism, liberal democracy, or persuasion.” This line of thinking is practically the founding credo of the school of internet thought known as the Intellectual Dark Web.

It is also deeply, profoundly wrong.

If you are deeply, profoundly progressive, anyway. . “Liberalism” and “progressivism” intersect only occasionally, if by “liberalism” you mean any of the traits that’ve made Western Civilization free, inclusive and prosperous in a way that is utterly anomalous through human history, which “progressives” most certainly do not. 

What these critics lambaste as an attack on liberalism is actually its best form: the logical extension of liberalism’s core commitment to social equality and democracy, adapted to address modern sources of inequality. A liberalism that rejects identity politics is a liberalism for the powerful, one that relegates the interests of marginalized groups to second-class status.

Identity Genetics

Joe Doakes from Coko Lark emails:

I’m informed race is not genetic, it is a social construct.  The Obama’s lived in America when their daughters were born, hence, they look like this:

If the Obama’s had lived in Sweden when their daughters were born, they’d have looked like this.

Okay, I get it now.  Makes perfect sense to me. 

Joe Doakes

And, let’s be honest, if Sasha and Malia identified as Swedish, the same thing would happen.

OK, Millie

A friend of the blog emails:   
 
“I’ve often found great enjoyment watching millennials fight with baby boomers in St Paul over “save the earth” issues. They seem to think they are vastly different from each other. I have yet to notice the difference.
“So, I found the Disney heir’s recent comments even more hilarious.

Disney also slammed baby boomers’ attitudes toward millennials, who are less financially stable than previous generations and are dealing with the ever-growing threat of climate change.
“And the more often you object to Millenials’ understandable resentment toward a generation that has selfishly poisoned their water, blown past every climate warning so they could drive their stupid hummers, and looked away or worse for sexual, racial and economic injustice, the more you prove their point that you just don’t understand anything of value to them,” she wrote. “Look, these kids are facing down a rising tide (literally) of changes that threatens everything you and I taught them to hold dear.”
“How about you guys sit the f— down and let the kids drive,” she added.
She concluded: “Get over the idea that all things pass, you are old and you need to let history do what history does: move on.”

“Nice try, Ms Disney, but I honestly don’t think millennials are more virtuous than the Boomer generation before them who thought we were all going to die. In fact, these millenials are still driving, still moving to the suburbs to raise kids, still choosing a lifestyle they can’t afford- all while telling someone else that they can’t. Why, it’s as if the two generations are the same. No wonder they are fighting. The more helpful approach might be to actually understand we can’t move on from history, we can just hope not to repeat the worst parts of the world’s history- something both liberal boomers and millennials seem hell-bent on doing.”

I’m spooling up for a stemwinder on the whole idea of turning generations into identity groups.