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Posts Tagged ‘Far Left

The Age of Men is over. The Time of The Orc has come.

This will not be news for people who play Dungeons and Dragons, the now almost fifty year old, role-playing game beloved by generations of nerds.

Dungeons and Dragons goes woke.

Well shit! What hasn’t been going woke recently? From the article a bit of background for non D&D’rs.

The science-fiction fantasy game was created in 1974 by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson. Players pretend to be fantasy characters who are guided through adventures and scenarios by a dungeon master. 

By the early 1980’s, thanks to some insane and talented coders, I was playing a crude version of it with mates on our university’s computer system: the Digital Equipment Manufacturer (DEC) VAX 11/780, a 32-bit “minicomputer” that was far more attractive to learn on than the more common but huge IBM mainframes with their clunking batch-processing oriented architecture. Naturally we had to play the game in the wee small hours of the morning because 128Mb of RAM only goes so far even with a superb time-sharing OS. Typically for the times, nobody thought of commercialising it. After all, what computers could run such a thing from the comfort of your home?

🤣🤣🤣🤣

Anyhoo, I stopped playing it, whether on computers or in the traditional board version, as soon as I graduated. I thought it had been left behind with the world of nerds. It’s therefore been with baffled amusement that I’ve seen the Millennial and Gen Z generations glom on to it in recent years, with huge online viewing of D&D games on things like the live-streaming site, Twitch. (9 million viewers for one game in 2017: eat that TVNZ).

Because we lived in a vastly less inter-connected world, we weren’t aware for some years that D&D had played a significant role in the great 1980’s Satanic Panic bullshit, all because of one dickhead private “dick” hired by a family to find their missing 15-year old boy genius in 1979 – who just happened to be totally into D&D. There were others:

The panic continued into 1982 when Virginian high school student Irving Lee Pulling II killed himself. Patricia A. Pulling, his mother, claimed the game was responsible and founded ‘Bothered About Dungeons & Dragons.’ In 1984, Missouri teenager, Mary C. Towey, was strangled to death by Ronald G. Adcox and Darren Lee Molitor. What connected both cases? They all played D&D.

As you can imagine, by the time I and other nerds heard about this panic some years later it was merely good for uproarious laughter, scorn and ridicule of the moralising idiots pushing all the panic. It’s probably not surprising that sales went from from thousands per year to millions.

Which brings us to the moralising dickheads of today:

‘Throughout the 50-year history of D&D, some of the peoples in the game — orcs and drow being two of the prime examples — have been characterized as monstrous and evil, using descriptions that are painfully reminiscent of how real-world ethnic groups have been and continue to be denigrated,’ the statement reads. ‘That’s just not right, and it’s not something we believe in.

Oh FFS! What a complete and total load of crap. But it also ties in so well with other such developments, such as the drive to pervert the works of that dreaded Catholic Conservative, J.R.R. Tolkien (from which D&D took much inspiration), with a new Lord Of The Rings spinoff that’s going to employ all that hot and saucy Game of Thrones stuff, no doubt with really cool Elvish sex action among other things.

Ok. Let me think about that last a bit more.

Anyway, the problem with trying to pull this with D&D is that the gamers themselves will subvert it just as thoroughly as they did the “Satanic” bullshit.

‘The beauty of D&D is that players can ignore the official storylines, narratives, maps and characters if they find them ridiculous,’ radio host and D&D junkie Larry O’Connor told The Spectator. ‘So this entire exercise is performative to get attention but the actual players will just look the other way and laugh.’

They already are.

Even that isn’t new. Way back in 2003 McSweeney’s Quarterly took a witheringly precise slice at a supposedly “unused audio of a discussion between Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky”:

CHOMSKY: The film opens with Galadriel speaking. “The world has changed,” she tells us, “I can feel it in the water.” She’s actually stealing a line from the non-human Treebeard. He says this to Merry and Pippin in The Two Towers, the novel. Already we can see who is going to be privileged by this narrative and who is not.

ZINN: Of course. “The world has changed.” I would argue that the main thing one learns when one watches this film is that the world hasn’t changed. Not at all.

CHOMSKY: We should examine carefully what’s being established here in the prologue. For one, the point is clearly made that the “master ring,” the so-called “one ring to rule them all,” is actually a rather elaborate justification for preemptive war on Mordor.

ZINN: I think that’s correct. Tolkien makes no attempt to hide the fact that rings are wielded by every other ethnic enclave in Middle Earth. The Dwarves have seven rings, the Elves have three. The race of Man has nine rings, for God’s sake. There are at least 19 rings floating around out there in Middle Earth, and yet Sauron’s ring is supposedly so terrible that no one can be allowed to wield it. Why?

CHOMSKY: Notice too that the “war” being waged here is, evidently, in the land of Mordor itself — at the very base of Mount Doom. These terrible armies of Sauron, these dreadful demonized Orcs, have not proved very successful at conquering the neighboring realms — if that is even what Sauron was seeking to do. It seems fairly far-fetched.

Grateful and Ungrateful

I don’t know about you but I’ve never walked into a hardware store like Mitre10 or Bunnings and thought to myself how beautiful it is, or that some parts are like a carnival.

But then I’m not from Cuba, whereas the guy in this video is and it documents his first ever visit to a Home Depot store in the USA.

Watching it I’m reminded of a scene from the 1980’s movie Moscow on the Hudson, where Robin Williams, playing a Soviet circus musician who defects during a US tour, is so overwhelmed by his first experience of supermarket shopping that he faints.

Little ordinary things that we all just take for granted in Western democratic capitalist nations.

On the other hand there’s this video from San Francisco that has gone viral in the last few days. It shows a shoplifter just blatantly filling up a garbage bag with stuff from a Walgreens store in daylight and right in front of a security guard, who simply videos the whole event. When the thief cycles out of the place, the guard does make a half-hearted grab for the bag but fails.

The woman beside the guard is also videoing the theft and asks about calling the cops on 911. However, arresting the man would be a waste of time since San Francisco has implemented a policy of not charging shoplifters if they steal less than $950, which has produced daily scenes in the city like this one, as shown in the rest of the video.

The inevitable happened when Walgreens recently closed seventeen of its stores in the city, but blatant shoplifting like this has become a common feature of other large, Democrat-controlled cities as well.

Written by Tom Hunter

June 20, 2021 at 3:04 pm

“Even North Korea is not this nuts”

That’s not from this Babylon Bee tweet, despite it being another of their wonderful pieces of satire.

Now you may be thinking that photoshopping North Korea’s Kim Jong Un into a modern American university lecture theatre is over-the-top, even for a satirical story.

But that would be before you read this article about a North Korean defector named Yeonmi Park, who has recently graduated from Columbia University.

Park is one of the more famous defectors, having written a 2015 memoir called “In Order to Live”, in which she chronicled her life in the repressive regime of North Korea and her eventual escape with her mother. At the age of 13 she saw people die of starvation right in front of her. When she and her mother managed to get across the border into China they were captured by human slavers. Having been freed by Christian missionaries she still ended up having to walk across the Gobi desert before she got to South Korea.

Then she moved to the USA and went to one of the great Ivy League universities.

“I expected that I was paying this fortune, all this time and energy, to learn how to think. But they are forcing you to think the way they want you to think,” she said. “I realized, wow, this is insane. I thought America was different but I saw so many similarities to what I saw in North Korea that I started worrying.”

Her money quote:

“Even North Korea is not this nuts. North Korea was pretty crazy, but not this crazy.”

When you read the details she supplies about her education you can understand why she came to this conclusion.

Like in North Korea, Park said she witnessed example after example of anti-Western sentiment and guilt-tripping. During her orientation, for instance, a staff member scolded her for liking classic literature, such as the writings of Jane Austen.

“I said ‘I love those books.’ I thought it was a good thing,” Park said of her orientation. “Then she said, ‘Did you know those writers had a colonial mindset? They were racists and bigots and are subconsciously brainwashing you.’”

Heh. I encountered a number of feminists in the 1980’s with a very low opinion of Jane Austen, because she did not fit their conceptions of what a feminist was. To say the least their opinions of the woman were primitive and reductive, but by the late 1990’s things had turned around, with increased celebration of Ms Austen’s feminist traits.

Just in time to now be a “colonialist” and a racist.

Yeonmi Park

Her professors gave students “trigger warnings,” sharing the wording from readings in advance so people could opt out of reading or even sitting in class during discussions, Park told The Post.

“Going to Columbia, the first thing I learned was ‘safe space,’” she said.

“Every problem, they explained us, is because of white men.” Some of the discussions of white privilege reminded her of the caste system in her native country, where people were categorized based on their ancestors, she said.

The similarities with North Korea mounted up, but at least the North Koreans had some rationale in defending their system, which they did partly by hating on Americans. As Ms Park points out there seem to be rather a lot of Americans who also hate America.

When it came to gender pronouns and manipulation of the English language, Park was even more confused.

“English is my third language. I learned it as an adult. I sometimes still say ‘he’ or ‘she’ by mistake and now they are going to ask me to call them ‘they’? How the heck do I incorporate that into my sentences?” she remembered asking herself. “It was chaos. It felt like the regression in civilization.”

It is a regression in civilisation. And it comes from being in a “safe space”.

“Because I have seen oppression, I know what it looks like,” she said. “These kids keep saying how they’re oppressed, how much injustice they’ve experienced. They don’t know how hard it is to be free.”

The paradox of supposedly being taught about “oppression”, “injustice” and being “free” is that it’s producing graduates who actually don’t know anything about them.

Park said as a child she had thought dictator Kim Jong Un was “starving” and overworked until she was in South Korea and was shown pictures that showed how large he was in pictures compared to other people who looked thin and hungry.

“That’s what it does when you’re brainwashed …. Oh my God, why did I not notice that he was fat?’ Because I never learned how to think critically. That is what is happening in America, people see things but they’ve just completely lost the ability to think critically.”

More paradox, this time courtesy of “Critical Theory”. Or perhaps irony is a better term?

“You guys have lost common sense to a degree that I as a North Korean cannot even comprehend,” she said. “Where are we going from here? There’s no rule of law, no morality, nothing is good or bad anymore, it’s complete chaos. I guess that’s what they want, to destroy every single thing and rebuild into a Communist paradise.”

I don’t agree with that last, although I can see why she would think that. The fact is that outside of a tiny fringe of real Marxists there are few who believe in that, mainly because there are so many grifting, money hungry Leftists tearing things up just to make a buck for themselves:

But that doesn’t mean they can’t cause an awful lot of damage to American society as they claw in the money while forcing everybody else to bend to their whims.

Eventually, Park stopped arguing with her professors and “learned how to just shut up” so that she could graduate.

“I literally crossed the Gobi Desert to be free and I realized I’m not free, America’s not free.

Well she did still graduate, and she got to talk to reporters about this – but only once she escaped from the university, and to paraphrase Andrew Sullivan, once we all live on campus…

Answers to Bad Anti-Free Speech Arguments

Aeromagazine has a superb article that deals with twelve such arguments that are commonly heard.

While the whole thing is worth your time to read I wanted to extract two in particular.

First up is the classic one about shouting fire! in a crowded theatre;

Answer: Anyone who says “you can’t shout fire! in a crowded theatre” is showing that they don’t know much about the principles of free speech, or free speech law—or history. 

This old canard, a favourite reference of censorship apologists, needs to be retired. It’s repeatedly and inappropriately used to justify speech limitations. People have been using this cliché as if it had some legal meaning, while First Amendment lawyers roll their eyes and point out that it is, in fact, as Alan Dershowitz puts it, “a caricature of logical argumentation.” Ken White has already penned a brilliant and thorough takedown of this misconception. Please read it before proclaiming that your least favourite language is analogous to shouting fire in a crowded theatre.

The phrase is a misquotation of an analogy made in 1919 Supreme Court opinion that upheld the imprisonment of three people—a newspaper editor, a pamphlet publisher and a public speaker—who argued that military conscription was wrong. The court said that anti-war speech in wartime is like “falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic,” and it justified the ban with a dubious analogy to the longstanding principle that the First Amendment doesn’t protect speech that incites people to physical violence. But the Supreme Court abandoned the logic of that case more than 50 years ago. That this trope originated as a justification for what has long since been deemed unconstitutional censorship reveals how useless it is as a measure of the limitations of rights. And yet, the crowded theatre cliché endures, as if it were some venerable legal principle.

Oh, and notice that the court’s objection was only to “falsely shouting fire!”: if there is, in fact, a fire in a crowded theatre, please let everyone know.

But I also appreciate the response to this more modern one that I often see on social media because it’s a cartoon.

Assertion: The right to free speech means the government can’t arrest you for what you say; it still leaves other people free to kick you out.

Answer: No, the popular xkcd cartoon below is wrong. The First Amendment limits what the government can do, but freedom of speech is something much bigger than that.

This cartoon is often used to dismiss free speech arguments, but it is wrong: it not only confuses First Amendment law with freedom of speech, it doesn’t even get the First Amendment right.

The concept of freedom of speech is a bigger, older and more expansive idea than its particular application in the First Amendment. A belief in the importance of freedom of speech is what inspired the First Amendment; it’s what gave the First Amendment meaning, and what sustains it in the law. But a strong cultural commitment to freedom of speech is what maintains its practice in our institutions—from higher education, to reality TV, to pluralistic democracy itself. Freedom of speech includes small l liberal values that were once expressed in common American idioms like to each his owneveryone’s entitled to their opinion and it’s a free country. These cultural values appear in legal opinions too; as Justice Robert H. Jackson noted in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, “Compulsory unification of opinion achieves only the unanimity of the graveyard.”

While the United States Constitution limits only governmental behaviour on its face, its application sometimes requires the government to protect you from being censored by other citizens. For example, the government has a duty to protect you from being attacked by a hostile mob that doesn’t like your ideas or having your public speech disrupted by a heckler’s veto.

The First Amendment also bars government officials from punishing your speech in many ways that don’t rise to the level of arresting you. To give just one example, since administrators at state colleges are government actors, they can’t tear your flyer from a public message board because they don’t like what it says.

A belief in free speech means you should be slow to label someone as utterly dismissible for their opinions. Of course you can kick an asshole out of your own house, but that’s very different from kicking a person out of an open society or a public forum. The xkcd cartoon is often used to let people off the hook from practicing the small d democratic value of listening.

Related to this is an excellent article by the American essayist, Roger Kimball, which looks at what he calls “crybullies” and their lousy impact on education:

There are two central tenets of the woke philosophy. The first is feigned fragility. The second is angry intolerance. The union of fragility and intolerance has given us that curious and malevolent hybrid I have called the crybully, a delicate yet venomous species that thrives chiefly in lush, pampered environments.

The Struggle Sessions – Back to Academia

Back to the world where it all started – Academia. The following article from Aero magazine, Listening at the Great Awokening, has a concise but comprehensive take on what Woke Politics is doing to American universities.

All the accents and cadences of critical race theory can be identified. Williams, Sarah Lawrence, Evergreen and Yale could really be Any Residential College in Any Town.

As such I’d be interested to know how much of this crap is slipping into New Zealand universities.

But that article deals with a lot of student protest. Here are two specific stories of how actual academic research is being screwed up as a result of the Great Woke Fest. First up is how two academics withdrew a study they’d conducted on police shootings. After studying “917 fatal police shootings of civilians from 2015 to test whether the race of the officer or the civilian predicted fatal police shootings“, they had reached the conclusion that there was:

“no significant evidence of anti-black disparity in the likelihood of being fatally shot by the police.”

The two researchers from the University of Maryland made it clear that they stood by their analysis and findings and there has been no dispute about such. So why withdraw it?

Politics! Right-Wing attorney and Police researcher Heather MacDonald had cited it during her testimony before Congress in September 2019 as well as in a City-Journal article, although the shit did not really hit the fan until she wrote another article on June 3rd of this year for the WSJ. In the post-Floyd era such thoughts were unacceptable. As MacDonald wrote in a subsequent WSJ article:

My June 3 Journal op-ed quoted the PNAS article’s conclusion verbatim. It set off a firestorm at Michigan State. The university’s Graduate Employees Union pressured the MSU press office to apologize for the “harm it caused” by mentioning my article in a newsletter. The union targeted physicist Steve Hsu, who had approved funding for Mr. Cesario’s research. MSU sacked Mr. Hsu from his administrative position. PNAS editorialized that Messrs. Cesario and Johnson had “poorly framed” their article—the one that got through the journal’s three levels of editorial and peer review.

Mr. Cesario told this page that Mr. Hsu’s dismissal could narrow the “kinds of topics people can talk about, or what kinds of conclusions people can come to.” Now he and Mr. Johnson have themselves jeopardized the possibility of politically neutral scholarship. On Monday they retracted their paper. They say they stand behind its conclusion and statistical approach but complain about its “misuse,” specifically mentioning my op-eds.

They did not explain exactly how it had been “misused”. A better explanation was that they were saving their own necks, and to aid that they also tried throwing MacDonald under the bus, as she described:

The authors don’t say how I misused their work. Instead, they attribute to me a position I have never taken: that the “probability of being shot by police did not differ between Black and White Americans.” To the contrary, I have, like them, stressed that racial disparities in policing reflect differences in violent crime rates. The only thing wrong with their article, and my citation of it, is that its conclusion is unacceptable in our current political climate.

The “political climate” in American universities that those authors are terrified of is also seen with this from NorthWestern University Law School in Chicago, one of the most prestigious in the nation.

If you think that my description of all this as a Maoist Struggle Session is exaggerated then just look the chat stuff on this screen capture of a Tweet.

There had been a similar example around the same time from the world of political science, courtesy of a Democrat political consultant, David Shor, who Tweeted some advice as the George Floyd riots were cranking up:

“Post-MLK-assasination race riots reduced Democratic vote share in surrounding counties by 2%, which was enough to tip the 1968 election to Nixon. Non-violent protests *increase* Dem vote, mainly by encouraging warm elite discourse and media coverage.”

He even cited a very dense Poli-Sci paper by a Princeton political scientist,  “Agenda Seeding: How 1960s Black Protests Moved Elites, Public Opinion and Voting.”. Clearly he was worried about his Party, but others did not see it that way. The most popular Tweet response: “white dems to black people in 2020: ‘could you die more quietly? We have an election to win,’” 

Shor was fired within days. He must have been pissed off when, a few months later, CNN mouthbreather Don Lemon said the following:

“Guess what, the rioting has to stop….Chris, as you and I know, it’s showing up in the polls, it’s showing up in focus groups. It’s the only thing right now that’s sticking.”

Last I heard Lemon still has his job, but that’s because by then the Democrats had figured out that the riots were not their magic bullet in defeating Trump.

But the following example is worse, because the academic concerned had to write a “secret” letter to some – but only some – of his colleagues.

Dear profs X, Y, Z

I am one of your colleagues at the University of California, Berkeley. I have met you both personally but do not know you closely, and am contacting you anonymously, with apologies. I am worried that writing this email publicly might lead to me losing my job, and likely all future jobs in my field.

What a great learning and teaching environment to exist in. And he’s not wrong.

In your recent departmental emails you mentioned our pledge to diversity, but I am increasingly alarmed by the absence of diversity of opinion on the topic of the recent protests and our community response to them.

I’m getting vibes of “If only Stalin knew”. This poor bastard still believes the “diversity” schtick, even as he raises a question that answers itself:

In the extended links and resources you provided, I could not find a single instance of substantial counter-argument or alternative narrative to explain the under-representation of black individuals in academia or their over-representation in the criminal justice system.

Not one alternative eh? Well duh!

The explanation provided in your documentation, to the near exclusion of all others, is univariate: the problems of the black community are caused by whites, or, when whites are not physically present, by the infiltration of white supremacy and white systemic racism into American brains, souls, and institutions.

It’s a mystery!

The claim that the difficulties that the black community faces are entirely causally explained by exogenous factors in the form of white systemic racism, white supremacy, and other forms of white discrimination remains a problematic hypothesis that should be vigorously challenged by historians.

I feel so sorry for this guy. He actually thinks that modern universities are places where academic research into socio-political questions is still academic rather than political and ideological. And he really does not understand that his next comment will be greeted with “Yeah? And?

Instead, it is being treated as an axiomatic and actionable truth without serious consideration of its profound flaws, or its worrying implication of total black impotence. This hypothesis is transforming our institution and our culture, without any space for dissent outside of a tightly policed, narrow discourse.

He goes on to examine this axiom in some detail, applying the sort of research powers you’d expect, including noting how much of these truths are based on anecdote or “transparently motivated“. You can read it for yourself but some of his key points are as follows:

  • If we claim that the criminal justice system is white-supremacist, why is it that Asian Americans, Indian Americans, and Nigerian Americans are incarcerated at vastly lower rates than white Americans?
  • None of this is explained, beyond hand-waving and ad hominems. “Those are racist dogwhistles”.
  • Increasingly, we are being called upon to comply and subscribe to BLM’s problematic view of history, and the department is being presented as unified on the matter,

He also could have looked at non-crime stuff for evidence of a lack of White Supremacy in the USA.

So fanatical are these people that even legal and financial punishment won’t dissuade them, as was seen with the hits taken by the formerly prestigious Liberal Arts university, Oberlin College in the middle of last year:

The jury handed down a staggering $11 million verdict against Oberlin for a smear campaign against a local business and awarded another $33 million in punitive damages to the targeted mom-and-pop store, Gibson’s Food Market and Bakery.

The bakery, which had served Oberlin students for decades, had got a couple of shop-lifting university students arrested. Unlike past ages when shame meant something, they counter-attacked by accusing the bakery of racism. This was whole-heartedly backed by the university, which launched an all-out attack to destroy the bakery’s business via cancelled business, public attacks and protests that fully involved the staff. The lawsuit loss came as a shock..

Oberlin’s defenses — it was neutral in the dispute between its students and the store — were shredded at trial (admirably covered in detail by the Web site Legal Insurrection).

… but obviously not enough of one:

I received an even more defiant letter from Oberlin College President Carmen Twillie Ambar on June 14 vowing that “this is not the final outcome.” Ambar warns of a “lengthy and complex legal process.” Indeed, I’m now hearing from infuriated Oberlin insiders this week that the college persists in treating the Gibson family horribly and refuses to end the horror show, all while blithely assuring alumni that “we value our relationship with the town and region that are our home.”

Oberlin alum Beth Kontrabecki Walters summed it well for me in her reflections on campus life and the Gibson’s verdict: “What was once considered a forward-thinking and prestigious institution has now become the poster child for intolerant, myopic crybabies. Oberlin should not appeal this decision. … The multimillion-dollar reward to Gibson’s is the public’s way of sending a message; it’s high time these insulated left-wing incubators put an end to the out-of-control politically correct culture

The article documents examples over three decades of how Oberlin has been pulling this shit on the local community and students. But I don’t think they, or most of these universities can change themselves given how embedded this racist crap is, as can be seen by this official student categorisation system used by the University of California:

I’ve seen this somewhere before:

In 1984, for example, “518 coloureds became white, 2 whites became Chinese, 1 white became Indian, 1 white became coloured, 89 coloureds became black.

Surely U-Cal is not far away from undertaking the same steps as Apartheid South Africa. It would hardly be less crazy and racist than what they’ve got. The only real solution will be public de-funding and/or the loss of students until even tenured professors get fired, as has happened at Evergreen University. In fact the greatest impact has been from the impact of the Chinese Sinus Rot.

Every disaster has a silver lining, but this one needs to be much brighter and stronger – looking at those numbers I’d guess at least 3 million stronger.

The Struggle Sessions – Everyday Life

So far in the Struggle Sessions I’ve looked at where it came from, its effects in Academia, MSM, and even Science.

But it’s beginning to hit home to everyday people as well.

Some of this is obvious, as shown by Matt Taibbi’s article on the MSM:

Minneapolis mayor Jacob Frey, who argued for police reform and attempted to show solidarity with protesters in his city, was shouted down after he refused to commit to defunding the police. Protesters shouted “Get the fuck out!” at him, then chanted “Shame!” and threw refuse, Game of Thrones-style, as he skulked out of the gathering. Frey’s “shame” was refusing to endorse a position polls show 65% of Americans oppose, including 62% of Democrats, with just 15% of all people, and only 33% of African-Americans, in support.

Each passing day sees more scenes that recall something closer to cult religion than politics. White protesters in Floyd’s Houston hometown kneeling and praying to black residents for “forgiveness… for years and years of racism” are one thing, but what are we to make of white police in Cary, North Carolina, kneeling and washing the feet of Black pastors? What about Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer kneeling while dressed in “African kente cloth scarves”? 

There is symbolism here that goes beyond frustration with police or even with racism: these are orgiastic, quasi-religious, and most of all, deeply weird scenes,

Heh. What is not deeply weird is the classic feature of Nineteen Eighty Four, in which history is constantly updated, and woe betide anybody who does not keep up:

Even people who try to keep up with protest goals find themselves denounced the moment they fail to submit to some new tenet of ever-evolving doctrine, via a surprisingly consistent stream of retorts: fuck you, shut up, send money, do better, check yourself, I’m tired and racist.

I’ve referred before to Andrew Sullivan’s 2018 piece, We All Live on Campus Now, which pointed out that campus insanity was going to spread beyond universities as people graduated:

Why does it matter? These are students, after all. They’ll grow up once they leave their cloistered, neo-Marxist safe spaces. The real world isn’t like that. You’re exaggerating anyway. And so on…

The reason I don’t agree with this is because I believe ideas matter. When elite universities shift their entire worldview away from liberal education as we have long known it toward the imperatives of an identity-based “social justice” movement, the broader culture is in danger of drifting away from liberal democracy as well. 

To put it another way: the Culture Wars in the USA matter because their impacts are real and spreading not just across the USA but across the Western world. Sullivan has followed that article up with this one in 2020, Is there still room for debate?:

In the last couple of weeks, as the purges of alleged racists have intensified in every sphere, and as so many corporations, associations, and all manner of civic institutions have openly pledged allegiance to anti-racism, with all the workshops, books, and lectures that come with it, I’m reminded of a Václav Havel essay, “The Power of the Powerless.”

Short answer: NO! With regard to Havel, I thought I’d coined that phrase in 2007 on Kiwiblog. Nuts!

A lot of the crap that’s hitting the corporate world outside of the MSM places Sullivan is writing about, is a nasty little polemic called White Fragility. Back to Taibbi again as he reviews this ludicrous best selling book, Taibbi is not gentle. The book is actually being used as a basis for “training” in the Human Resource departments of US corporations and government departments, hardly surprising given that its author, Robin DiAngelo, is a former corporate consultant. She certainly landed on the gravy train with this one.

DiAngelo isn’t the first person to make a buck pushing tricked-up pseudo-intellectual horseshit as corporate wisdom, but she might be the first to do it selling Hitlerian race theory…

DiAngelo’s writing style is pure pain. The lexicon favored by intersectional theorists of this type is built around the same principles as Orwell’s Newspeak: it banishes ambiguity, nuance, and feeling and structures itself around sterile word pairs…

Writers like DiAngelo like to make ugly verbs out of ugly nouns and ugly nouns out of ugly verbs (there are countless permutations on centering and privileging alone)…

Put simply, the book is dumber than the average business book of the last forty years, and is certainly having worse consequences than something like the hideous 1980’s tome, In Search of Excellence, which, as just one example, highlighted IBM just before it started going down the crapper. It’s not surprising that White Fragility manages to twist the story of Jackie Robinson completely inside out, arguing that people back in the 1940’s believed that “Robinson finally had what it took to play with whites”. Taibbi really takes issue with this:

There is not a single baseball fan anywhere – literally not one, except perhaps Robin DiAngelo, I guess – who believes Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier because he “finally had what it took to play with whites.” Everyone familiar with this story understands that Robinson had to be exceptional, both as a player and as a human being, to confront the racist institution known as Major League Baseball….

Robinson’s story moreover did not render “whites, white privilege, and racist institutions invisible.” It did the opposite. … Robinson’s story, on every level, exposed and evangelized the truth about the very forces DiAngelo argues it rendered “invisible.” 

It takes a special kind of ignorant for an author to choose an example that illustrates the mathematical opposite of one’s intended point, but this isn’t uncommon in White Fragility, which may be the dumbest book ever written. It makes The Art of the Deal read like Anna Karenina.

Heh! But that’s what you get when dumb theories are applied to the real world, which is the story of Critical Race Theory. Because of his grounding in Old Fashioned Socialism Taibbi spends more time sticking it to the Capitalist Masters using this shite…

For corporate America the calculation is simple. What’s easier, giving up business models based on war, slave labor, and regulatory arbitrage, or benching Aunt Jemima? There’s a deal to be made here, greased by the fact that the “antiracism” prophets promoted in books like White Fragility share corporate Americas instinctive hostility to privacy, individual rights, freedom of speech, etc.

… than he does sticking it to his fellow Lefties who have pushed it for twenty years now. Still, I appreciated this bit:

White Fragility has a simple message: there is no such thing as a universal human experience, and we are defined not by our individual personalities or moral choices, but only by our racial category. If your category is “white,” bad news: you have no identity apart from your participation in white supremacy (“Anti-blackness is foundational to our very identities… Whiteness has always been predicated on blackness”), which naturally means “a positive white identity is an impossible goal.” 

DiAngelo instructs us there is nothing to be done here, except “strive to be less white.” To deny this theory, or to have the effrontery to sneak away from the tedium of DiAngelo’s lecturing – what she describes as “leaving the stress-inducing situation” – is to affirm her conception of white supremacy. This intellectual equivalent of the “ordeal by water” (if you float, you’re a witch) is orthodoxy across much of academia.

Read the whole thing.

And the real-world impacts on people are here, as a former HR person describes how she saw the shift when VP of Diversity and Inclusion for Apple, Denise Young-Smith was forced to resign for saying the following at a conference:

“Diversity is the human experience. I get a little bit frustrated when diversity or the term diversity is tagged to the people of color, or the women, or the LGBT.” Her answer was met with a round of applause at the session. Young Smith went on to add that “there can be 12 white, blue-eyed, blonde men in a room and they’re going to be diverse too because they’re going to bring a different life experience and life perspective to the conversation.”

Ms Young-Smith is Black and that was in 2015, before the whole White Fragility and Critical Race Theory really got started in the HR departments, as witnessed by the city of Seattle:

In the US this is happening in Federal Departments as well:

The “HR” components in various offices are not run by “political appointees”.  These offices are run by career officials who carry over from one administration to the next.  In my experiences over 22+ years, EVERY such office was stocked by raging left-wing liberals.  Political leadership was largely powerless to “rein them in” because any such action would be seen as being based on the “content” of their HR advocacy, and itself the subject on HR complaint.  The people in those positions are pretty much “independent operators” within the agencies where they work, and the greater workforce is compelled to be silent about their pushing left-wing social policies under the guise of “HR” compliance.

Including – I shit you not – Sandia National Laboratories, a nuclear weapons lab, where it was found that expectations of competence are “devastating” to lesbians and “people of colour.” And where white male employees found themselves subjected to psychological abuse, before being told to issue hand-written apologies, atoning for their maleness and the colour of their skin. I don’t know about you but I very much like people working around nuclear weapons to be competent, although perhaps this is just another Leftie angle at eliminating such weapons?

All of which was why Trump issued an Executive Order to refrain from teaching this racist crap in Federal areas:

The President has directed me to ensure that Federal agencies cease and desist from using taxpayer dollars to fund these divisive, un-American propaganda training sessions…. [A]ll agencies are directed to begin to identify all contracts or other agency spending related to any training on “critical race theory/”white privilege,” or any other training or propaganda effort that teaches or suggests either (1) that the United States is an inherently racist or evil country or (2) that any race or ethnicity is inherently racist or evil. In addition, all agencies should begin to identify all available avenues within the law to cancel any such contracts and/or to divert Federal dollars away from these un-American propaganda training sessions.

Naturally this was categorised by helpful propagandists like Chris Wallace of Fox News as merely “teaching racial sensitivity“, and he did that in one of the Presidential debates. Awww…. who could be against something so moderate? The incoming Harris-Biden administration will reverse that EO and put CRT training on steroids. But the same shit is happening in private sector corporations and their “training sessions” as well.

But here is just one of many examples of this how horror is hitting ordinary people outside of HR departments – as it is ultimately intended to:

Last night I talked to a mother who described how her 11-year-old daughter is at a loss to know how to respond to the pressure she faces from her peers and others on Instagram to include a BLM hashtag on her posts. ‘Can I just post a cake that I baked on Instagram?’, she asked. When young children are faced with the demand to conform or else, it is clear that a powerful mood of illiberal intolerance is sweeping our societies. Threatened with being ostracised, children as young as 11 and 12 now feel compelled to fall in line. Suddenly, the term ‘peer pressure’ has acquired a whole new dimension.

Of course even your innocent little kids can’t escape. That’s one of the core aspects of totalitarian ideas. But I’ll leave the last word to Tatinia McGrath:

The Struggle Sessions – A Soviet Perspective

In the middle of the great tumult of the Woke brigades of the USA, one magazine – The Tablet – had an interesting, disturbing take on them.

The article, The American Soviet Mentality, was written by Izabella Tabarovsky, who grew up in Russia and who specialises in Soviet history.

She begins the article by describing the collective demonisations of Boris Pasternak (his most famous work is Doctor Zhivago) following his being awarded the Nobel Prize in literature:

Within days, Pasternak was a target of a massive public vilification campaign. The country’s prestigious Literary Newspaper launched the assault with an article titled “Unanimous Condemnation” and an official statement by the Soviet Writers’ Union…

…A few days later, the paper dedicated an entire page to what it presented as the public outcry over Pasternak’s imputed treachery. Collected under the massive headline “Anger and Indignation: Soviet people condemn the actions of B. Pasternak” were a condemnatory editorial, a denunciation by a group of influential Moscow writers, and outraged letters that the paper claimed to have received from readers.

She goes into detail about all the aspects of this, including attacks on others like composers Dmitry Shostakovich and Sergei Prokofiev; writers Anna Akhmatova and Iosif Brodsky; and others, pointing out that the hounding could go on for years and destroyed people’s lives, health and ability to create.

Of course it all sounds awfully similar to the recent Twitter rage mob attacks on writers, reporters and editors described by Taibbi, Sullivan and others. Tabarovsky looks at those as well, but while she compares this situation to the USSR she also makes the point about the ordinary people involved:

But while the policy in the USSR was by and large set by the authorities, it would be too simplistic to imagine that those below had no choices, and didn’t often join in these rituals gladly, whether to obtain some real or imagined benefit for themselves, or to salve internal psychic wounds, or to take pleasure in the exercise of cruelty toward a person who had been declared to be a legitimate target of the collective...

The mobs that perform the unanimous condemnation rituals of today do not follow orders from above. But that does not diminish their power to exert pressure on those under their influence...

Sergei Dovlatov, a dissident Soviet writer who emigrated to the United States in 1979 [said]: “We continuously curse Comrade Stalin, and, naturally, with good reason. And yet I want to ask: who wrote four million denunciations?” It wasn’t the fearsome heads of Soviet secret police who did that, he said.

As a former Soviet herself she understands the mentality that drives these people, even as it threatens them too with ever greater and more precise demands for loyalty to the kollektiv:

Those of us who came out of the collectivist Soviet culture understand these dynamics instinctively. You invoked the “didn’t read, but disapprove” mantra not only to protect yourself from suspicions about your reading choices but also to communicate an eagerness to be part of the kollektiv—no matter what destructive action was next on the kollektiv’s agenda. You preemptively surrendered your personal agency in order to be in unison with the group.

…  How much of your own autonomy as a thinking, feeling person are you willing to sacrifice to the collective? What inner compromises are you willing to make for the sake of being part of the group? Which personal relationships are you willing to give up?

A point also made by Princeton professor Robert George in The Superior Humans of Today. Tabarovsky finishes on a note that I find very depressing as she writes of her adopted home and expresses a grim feeling:

Those who remember the Soviet system understand the danger of letting the practice of collective denunciation run amok. But you don’t have to imagine an American Stalin in the White House to see where first the toleration, then the normalization, and now the legitimization and rewarding of this ugly practice is taking us.

… I used to feel grateful that we had left the USSR before Soviet life had put me to that test. How strange and devastating to realize that these moral tests are now before us again in America.

From my vantage point, this cultural moment in these United States feels incredibly precarious.

So say we all.

The Struggle Sessions – Inside the MSM

Even people who are quite Far Left are beginning to notice how badly the Woke World is starting to spin out of control. When it comes to some, like Andrew Sullivan, who initially supported the Iraq Invasion, there’s plenty of history for his critics to attack in ways they would not have done when they thought he was on their side.

But here’s another detailed analysis of this Woke nonsense from that scourge of Republicans and the Right, Matt Taibbi, as he writes in, The American Press Is Destroying Itself. First, let’s establish his throat-clearing TDS bonafide:

Our president, Donald Trump, is a clown who makes a great reality-show villain but is uniquely toolless as the leader of a superpower nation. Watching him try to think through two society-imperiling crises is like waiting for a gerbil to solve Fermat’s theorem.

Boom… tish.

Now on to the good stuff. I would urge you to read the whole thing, even if it is lengthy. He covers much of the same newsroom rage-mobbing sessions already covered in the post, The Right to Openly Discuss Ideas Must Be Defended. But he goes into far more detail about the Lee Fang case at the Far left site The Intercept, and has some extra items that never drew much public attention:

There were other incidents. The editors of Bon Apetit and Refinery29 both resigned amid accusations of toxic workplace culture. The editor of Variety, Claudia Eller, was placed on leave after calling a South Asian freelance writer “bitter” in a Twitter exchange about minority hiring at her company. The self-abasing apology (“I have tried to diversify our newsroom over the past seven years, but I HAVE NOT DONE ENOUGH”) was insufficient. Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Inquirer’s editor, Stan Wischowski, was forced out after approving a headline, “Buildings matter, too.”

He gives a brief summation of the interaction of Woke World and traditional American “Liberals”:

On the other side of the political aisle, among self-described liberals, we’re watching an intellectual revolution. It feels liberating to say after years of tiptoeing around the fact, but the American left has lost its mind. It’s become a cowardly mob of upper-class social media addicts, Twitter Robespierres.

The leaders of this new movement are replacing traditional liberal beliefs about tolerance, free inquiry, and even racial harmony with ideas so toxic and unattractive that they eschew debate, moving straight to shaming, threats, and intimidation. They are counting on the guilt-ridden, self-flagellating nature of traditional American progressives, who will not stand up for themselves, and will walk to the Razor voluntarily.

He goes on to make a number of points about how this is now impacting the MSM, first in terms of internal debate:

  • The main thing accomplished by removing those types of editorials from newspapers — apart from scaring the hell out of editors — is to shield readers from knowledge of what a major segment of American society is thinking. 
  • It also guarantees that opinion writers and editors alike will shape views to avoid upsetting colleagues, which means that instead of hearing what our differences are and how we might address those issues, newspaper readers will instead be presented with page after page of people professing to agree with one another. That’s not agitation, that’s misinformation.
  • All these episodes sent a signal to everyone in a business already shedding jobs at an extraordinary rate that failure to toe certain editorial lines can and will result in the loss of your job. Perhaps additionally, you could face a public shaming campaign in which you will be denounced as a racist and rendered unemployable.
  • However, because it is politically untenable to discuss this in ways that do not suggest support, reporters have been twisting themselves into knots. We are seeing headlines previously imaginable only in The Onion, e.g., “27 police officers injured during largely peaceful anti-racism protests in London.”

Then he describes what this means for what is reported, and understand that this is happening in the newsrooms of almost all the US MSM, whether it be the Chicago Tribune, Washington Post and New York Times or CNN, and will likely be hitting foreign MSM like the Daily Telegraph and the Economist sooner or later, if it hasn’t already. There is a common pool of journalists.

  • There is symbolism here that goes beyond frustration with police or even with racism: these are orgiastic, quasi-religious, and most of all, deeply weird scenes, and the press is too paralyzed to wonder at it. In a business where the first job requirement was once the willingness to ask tough questions, we’ve become afraid to ask obvious ones.
  • The media in the last four years has devolved into a succession of moral manias. We are told the Most Important Thing Ever is happening for days or weeks at a time, until subjects are abruptly dropped and forgotten, but the tone of warlike emergency remains
  • The traditional view of the press was never based on some contrived, mathematical notion of “balance,” i.e. five paragraphs of Republicans for every five paragraphs of Democrats. The ideal instead was that we showed you everything we could see, good and bad, ugly and not, trusting that a better-informed public would make better decisions
  •  press activism is limited to denouncing and shaming colleagues for insufficient fealty to the cheap knockoff of bullying campus Marxism that passes for leftist thought these days.
  • Today no one with a salary will stand up for colleagues like Lee Fang. Our brave truth-tellers make great shows of shaking fists at our parody president, but not one of them will talk honestly about the fear running through their own newsrooms. People depend on us to tell them what we see, not what we think. What good are we if we’re afraid to do it?

Ha! Given what we have seen recently with the MSM, the question has already been answered,

Children of the Privileged Revolution

The funny thing about almost all revolutions is how they don’t conform to the standard Leftist mythology about the poor and oppressed rising up against their rulers.

Whether it’s the Peasants’ Revolt or the French Revolution the fact is that a great many revolutionaries have been folk who were quite well off and reasonably educated. And this is before we get to the leaders, often self-proclaimed, of such revolutions: pampered little Middle-Class creeps like Marx, Engels, Lenin, Castro and the rest.

And as the USA finds itself in the middle of the Antifa/Burn-Loot-Murder problems we see this history being repeated.

The children in this photo are (L->R):

  • Hope Walz, daughter of Minnesota Democrat Governor Tim Walz.
  • Chiara de Blasio, daughter of NYC Democrat Mayor Bill de Blasio
  • Jeremiah Ellison, son of Minnesota Democrat Attorney General, Keith Ellison.
  • Isra Hirsi, daughter of Lefty firebrand grifter and Democrat member of Congress, Ilhan Omar.

Let’s start with Hope. On the night the riots broke out that would ultimately burn down Minneapolis businesses owned by Blacks and other ‘small people’, little Ms ShitStirrer was on the line from her Daddy’s place to her Antifa/Burn Loot Murder mates, with precious inside information:

Some years ago there was a horror movie that included the scary line: “The calls are coming from inside the house“. In this case, the Governor’s mansion. How very public-spirited of her.

Over in New York City Chiara was pulling much the same stunt, although she did at least get out into the streets where she and a hundred others blocked the road and then disobeyed police orders to move. Lots of shouting for justice but at least rocks or frozen water bottles were not thrown at the cops this time. She was arrested merely for unlawful assembly and her dear old Communist Dad said it was great how much she cared. As one commentator noted:

Chiara cares enough to raise the temperature and incite others. But not enough to dirty her hands.

Perhaps we should be grateful for such timidity. Otherwise she might be following in the footsteps of another privileged piece of human garbage, Bill Ayers and his Weather Underground mates, who were quite happy building nail bombs and such in the late 1960’s. Ayers Daddy was Thomas G. Ayers, chairman and CEO of Commonwealth Edison (1973 to 1980) who had more than enough wealth to spring his precious spawn from jail.

Back in Minnesota, Jeremiah, slogging through the aches and pains of long, rugged days as a Minneapolis city councillor – where he’s advocating for defunding the local cops – made clear where he stands:  ‘I hereby pledge my support for ANTIFA“. His Dad must also be proud as to how far the acorn has not fallen from the tree.

Which brings us at last to Isra “yes, i’m 17 and i hate capitalism.”.

As The Spectator archly noted:

The capitalist hell of America carried her mother from a Kenyan refugee camp to the House of Representatives. The white supremacists of the Beltway now hold Mrs Omar in working-class penury on $174,000 basic, plus more perks than you can shake a Molotov cocktail at. Let it burn.

Perhaps it’s less having a wealthy, grifting politician as a parent than just having a wealthy parent:

John Malkovich’s son was arrested at a violent Black Lives Matter rally in Portland, Oregon, where marchers attacked cops trying to protect their union building amid chants of “burn it down,” according to authorities….

His low-level charges fall into the category that Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt said his office will not even prosecute

However, some of the Oregon State Police making arrests have been federally deputized, which means protesters like Malkovich could face federal charges

So I guess his wealthy Daddy might need to hire an expensive lawyer or six after all.

Finally there’s this little piece of work from New York City, Clara Kraebber, a wealthy 20 year old Rice University student. Daddy is a professor with the Columbia University Department of Psychiatry while Mumsy owns an architect firm in Manhattan.

Did I say wealthy? A few years ago they purchased a $1.8 million apartment in the Upper East Side. They also own a second home in Connecticut.

She was one of eight BLM rioters arrested after they were seen running around a tony part of New York smashing windows, to the tune of $100,000 worth of damage. Apparently this was just part of some general “low-level” mayhem unleashed by a couple of sub-species of Burn Loot Murder, The “New Afrikan Black Panther Party” (the “k” is a nice touch) and the “Revolutionary Abolitionist Movement.” One of the arrested faces two counts of criminal possession of a weapon, but I’m guessing little Ms Kraebber thought that it’s cool to hang with that sort of person – in between protesting for more gun control.

One cop summed it up pretty well:

“I wonder how her rich parents feel about their daughter. How would they feel if they graffitied their townhouse? This girl should be the poster child for white privilege, growing up on the Upper East Side and another home in Connecticut. This is the height of hypocrisy.”

Oh come on. Her parents are probably just as proud of her mad SJW skillz as the other parents quoted above. And these little Far Left shits don’t give a damn about being accused of their “double standards” and “hypocrisy”. They’re not going to change their ideas or practices just because they’re “confronted” with such things. They’re well aware of it and don’t care about such “standards” or “principles”. They’re just going to laugh in your face. They care about having power over others and their entire lives are built on those lines. And they’re probably right; they’re going to get away with all this, as they usually do:

They were careless people, Tom and Daisy – they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.”

It’s a mark of the success of American society that such privilege is now multi-racial. I can only hope that when the Revolution does come and I’m up against the wall, that these creatures will be beside me.

Written by Tom Hunter

September 13, 2020 at 4:58 pm

The Struggle Sessions – MSM (John Kass)

In an earlier post I covered some examples of how “Woke” had turned into a weapon that is destroying free speech and people.

John Kass

The latest example is John Kass. I’ve often referred to this long-time Chicago Tribune reporter because of his well-balanced and deeply informed views of that city and its politics. He is actually the reporter who took over from the legendary Mike Royko.

But back in late June he wrote an article for Jewish World Review, One wrong ‘like’ will get you canceled:

Michael Korenberg, the chairman of the University of British Columbia’s board of governors, was forced to resign. I don’t know his Canadian politics. But I do know his thought crime.

He was accused of having liked tweets by Dinesh D’Souza, the conservative who dares mock Black Lives Matter, and other tweets praising President Donald Trump and condemning the violent antifa movement. All Korenberg did was like them. He was denounced. He groveled. Then he was gone.

Kass had barely finished that column when he landed in exactly that sort of shit with a Trib story that covered the explosion of violent crime in Democrat-run cities across the USA.

Kimm Foxx

He ignored the Mayors and their machines and looked at the DA’s and other prosecutors who are releasing criminals on to the streets, starting with Cook County’s very own state’s attorney Kimberly Foxx – already mentioned in The Chicago Way and Chicago loses against BLM – and how people like her had got elected as DA’s, starting with Foxx’s massive $2 million election support from George Soros:

“These Democratic cities are also where left-wing billionaire George Soros has spent millions of dollars to help elect liberal social justice warriors as prosecutors. He remakes the justice system in urban America, flying under the radar.

Kass had just stepped into a no-go zone that the Far Left thought it had fenced off from criticism via mockery (“a conspiracy theory”). And it was his own group that jumped him. All nine members of the Chicago Tribune Guild executive council went after him with a letter to their Tribune colleagues, and mockery was no longer sufficient:

“The odious, anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that billionaire George Soros is a puppet master controlling America’s big cities does not deserve a mainstream voice, especially at a time when hate crimes are rising…
We ask that the paper, and Kass separately, apologize for his indefensible invocation of the Soros tropes.”

Kass of course had not even mentioned that Soros was Jewish, nor did that have anything to do with the topic of Soros’s political strategies and objectives. It was basically the usual “Shut Up Racist Because Reasons“, that had already played out in the NYT. More importantly was the “odious” fact that reporters were behaving like political operatives – as indeed most of them are nowadays. As it turned out, Kass was well aware of how this bullshit game is played when he responded:

Soros’ influence on these races is undeniable and has been widely reported. But in that column, I did not mention Soros’ ethnicity or religion.

You’d think that before wildly accusing someone of fomenting bigoted conspiracy theories, journalists on the union’s executive board would at least take the time to Google the words “Soros,” “funding” and “local prosecutors.”…

I will not apologize for writing about Soros.

I will not bow to those who’ve wrongly defamed me.

I will continue writing my column.

The paper demoted him from his position as their “lead columnist”, but were so gutless that they tried to palm it off as part of an overall reorganisation.

I don’t think they fooled anybody. Especially not Slats Grobnik.