Friday, May 15, 2015

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Violence and Authority

From The Civil Rights Era, by Hugh Davis Graham:
Less apparent at the time was the calculated nature of the black challenge in Birmingham. On the heels of the previous fall's failed protest campaign in Albany, Georgia, where the polite discipline of Police Chief Laurie Pritchett had defeated demonstrators led by Martin Luther King, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference had repaired to Savannah for a three day review of strategy. A postmortem on strategic collapse,it quietly called into question the core of King's Christian optimism. What emerged was Project C--for Confrontation. To implement Project C, King accepted an invitation to come to Birmingham and lead the protest against [Bull] Connor's undisciplined defenders of white supremacy. By provoking a crisis that promised a flow of blood on the national television networks, King's "nonviolent" protest would force President Kennedy's hand.
The crackle of black protest and violence that spread regionally and then northward in the wake of Birmingham convinced the Kennedy White House that its cautious legislative proposals of February 28 were inadequate. The Birmingham violence threatened nationwide turmoil.
The decision was controversial within the civil rights movement, but the SCLC recklessly dared Connor to turn his dogs on children and he did:
On May 2, they set forth on the first demonstration in what becomes known as the “Children’s March.” Police arrest over 600 young people, but 1,500 more are ready to take their place the next day. Bull Connor orders in police dogs and fire hoses. Images of people pummeled and drenched by high-pressure hoses, and snarling German shepherds tearing clothes off demonstrators highlight the evening news. With Birmingham’s jails overflowing, thousands more students join the demonstrations, sparking similar protests across the country. Before long, the story is making headlines around the world.(...)On Saturday night, May 11, bombs explode at Martin Luther King Jr.’s headquarters at the Gaston Motel, and at the home of his brother, the Reverend A.D. King. Riots erupt and continue into the next morning.
Project C delivered the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and provided the movement with some of history's most enduring and effective iconography:

The civil rights movement was at its moral apex half a century ago. But times change, they do:

Since the LAPD surrendered parts of the city to the Rodney King rioters in 1992 the local response to black rioting has been to allow a period of lawlessness within a given area before reasserting control. Back then at the national political level a commitment to law and order was still tenable, and President George HW Bush could at least sound tough:
To restore order right now, there are 3,000 National Guardsmen on duty in the city of Los Angeles... I've ordered the Justice Department to dispatch 1,000 Federal riot-trained law enforcement officials to help restore order...FBI SWAT teams, special riot control units of the U.S. Marshals Service, the Border Patrol...1,000 Federal law enforcement officials are on standby alert...3,000 members of the 7th Infantry and 1,500 marines to stand by at El the request of the Governor and the Mayor, I have committed these troops to help restore order...
What we saw last night and the night before in Los Angeles is not about civil rights. It's not about the great cause of equality that all Americans must uphold. It's not a message of protest. It's been the brutality of a mob, pure and simple. And let me assure you: I will use whatever force is necessary to restore order. What is going on in L.A. must and will stop. As your President I guarantee you this violence will end.
And that's the last time a US president was able to condemn black violence unequivocally. The rest of Bush's speech could have been written yesterday; violence accompanied by civil rights rhetoric trumps due process and the federal government stands ready to practice double jeopardy and subject police departments to federal takeover if people just break enough stuff:
I spoke this morning to many leaders of the civil rights community. And they saw the video, as we all did. For 14 months they waited patiently, hopefully. They waited for the system to work. And when the verdict came in, they felt betrayed. Viewed from outside the trial, it was hard to understand how the verdict could possibly square with the video. Those civil rights leaders with whom I met were stunned. And so was I, and so was Barbara, and so were my kids. 
 But the verdict Wednesday was not the end of the process. The Department of Justice had started its own investigation immediately after the Rodney King incident and was monitoring the State investigation and trial. And so let me tell you what actions we are taking on the Federal level to ensure that justice is served. 
 Within one hour of the verdict, I directed the Justice Department to move into high gear on its own independent criminal investigation into the case. And next, on Thursday, five Federal prosecutors were on their way to Los Angeles. Our Justice Department has consistently demonstrated its ability to investigate fully a matter like this. Since 1988, the Justice Department has successfully prosecuted over 100 law enforcement officials for excessive violence. I am confident that in this case, the Department of Justice will act as it should. Federal grand jury action is underway today in Los Angeles. Subpoenas are being issued. Evidence is being reviewed. The Federal effort in this case will be expeditious, and it will be fair. It will not be driven by mob violence but by respect for due process and the rule of law.
Needless to say, the gestalt has completed its 180-degree shift from the Bad Old Days before the civil rights movement legitimized political violence. Now the standard lament is that violence is ineffective and, yeah, unfortunate. A blatant lie--it's effectiveness is counted on--as well as a moral obscenity. The thought of violent authority still repulses the average citizen, but no one is turning fire hoses on peaceful protesters anymore. That's why the civil rights movement has turned to crime, so to speak, adapting such as Freddy Grey to the role of martyred freedom rider.

Once the movement had to provoke violence from authorities. The violent response of authorities, it seemed at the time, exposed them for what the movement said they were. But now the violence of black rioters exposes them, for what the old segregationists said they were. What goes around actually does sometimes come around. If only we were allowed to pay attention, maybe we could do something about it.

Another relic of the Sixties works against us: the assumption black rioting and anger, no matter how far out of hand it might get, originates in legitimate grievance. But what if there is no legitimate grievance, just the anger and frustration of ill-informed, intolerant people worked into a lather by demagogues?

The subject of civil rights is infantilized, and so is our thinking about it. We've romanticized the righteousness of black anger for so long we've come to take their anger as proof of their righteousness. The angrier the more righteous. Black people sense this and provide the tears and hollering. Black and white America are locked in an anger-condescension death spiral. I almost wish I was Chinese right now.

Monday, May 11, 2015


Young progressive: "We're not going back to the bigoted past. We know better."

Curmudgeon: "You weren't even there, dumbass."

Shyness is nice...

The cultural and political elite has become so successful at demonizing "conservative" attitudes that polls are becoming increasingly unreliable:
Pollsters in Britain have long realized the potential polling problem created by the “shy Tory” vote — referring to those voters who don’t want to admit to pollsters that they are going against the grain of media coverage and might cast a politically incorrect vote. But this is the third time in 50 years that the shy Tories have swung an election (it also happened in 1970 and 1992). Apparently, polling companies haven’t been able to solve the problem. Chris Hanretty, the academic who advised the BBC on polling, told Britain’s Guardian newspaper that he feels “a little bit foolish,” in the wake of the election. “We categorically ruled out a [Conservative] majority. . . . We should have expected far more ‘shy Tories.’” 

Friday, May 08, 2015

She should have known what we all know isn't true

Something happened in the wake of the failed terror attack in Garland. Not so much a shock--it's been coming in full view for a while--as much as depressing confirmation. The elite media has shown a disturbing willingness to sacrifice the first amendment, among other things, as a necessary concession to Diversity. From Eric Wemple's blog:
MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, in speaking with a guest: “This is problematic to me, because I wonder whether this group that held this event down there to basically disparage and make fun of the prophet Muhammad doesn’t in some way cause these events. Well, not the word ‘causing’ — how about provoking, how about taunting, how about daring? How do you see the causality factor here?” (Taunting is a form of expression) 
Donald Trump on “Fox & Friends”: “What is she doing drawing Mohammed?…What are they doing drawing Muhammad. Isn’t there something else they can draw?…I’m the one who believes in free speech probably more than she does, but what’s the purpose of this?” (Must protected speech have a Trump-approved purpose?) 
Comedy Central’s Larry Wilmore: “You know another thing that’s horrific, Pamela Geller? Intentionally putting innocent, unarmed security guards in danger so you can make some bull[—-] free speech argument.” (A bad moment: When comedians are rating others’ free-speech arguments)  
Fox News host Martha MacCallum to Geller: “I absolutely get where you’re coming from. I’m not sure you went about it the right way.” (Let the government decide on the “right way”!) 
CNN host Alisyn Camerota to Geller: “And nobody is saying that this warrants the violence that you saw. I mean I haven’t heard anyone in the media saying that it’s okay for gunmen to show up at an event like this. But what people are saying is that there’s always this fine line, you know, between freedom of speech and being intentionally incendiary and provocative.” (Provocative — we surely wouldn’t accuse Camerota of such a crime.)  
CNN’s Jake Tapper to Geller: “Nothing justifies the attack, the violent attack. There is no justification, but I do want to ask you about your reasons for holding the event, if you’ll permit me. Charlie Hebdo ran a magazine in the name of satire and criticism and the magazine continues to attack every religion, every political party, all sorts of leaders. What was the purpose of holding an event that specifically focused on the prophet Muhammad?” (New standard: To satirize Islam, you must show a record of satirizing other religions). 
Fox News’s Greta Van Susteren: “It’s one thing for someone to stand up for the First Amendment and put his own you-know-what on the line, but here, those insisting they were defending the First Amendment were knowingly putting officers’ lives on the line — the police.” (Taxpayers hire cops to protect their freedoms)
The provocation argument is based on the perceived petty nature--to secular eyes --of the provocation; it's so unnecessary. We don't need, after all, to draw Muhammad. It isn't an essential thing. It isn't even a non-essential thing that, presumably, our media betters would defend, like the right to wear the clothes we want, despite the offense it gives some, on the street. I mean, it isn't as if anyone's demanding that stop. Yet. At the same time, it constitutes a grave offense not only to the radicals, but to any devout Muslim.

So the petty nature of the provocation is precisely the problem, and everyone knows it. What lays ahead, in a nation with a larger, more assertive Muslim population, is anyone's guess. But at this point, Geller's guess, as lurid as it may be, is better than any the average respectable figure is willing to offer, if he is still capable of honestly considering the question. A sobering thought.

In that disparity between how the Muslim and how the westerner view the drawings the problem of diversity is revealed, and that, as well as fear, is what bothers the Chris Matthews of the world. It's driving them mad. Geller has called a bluff. It wasn't the Muslims' bluff, for they have warned us; it was the liberal elite's bluff. That bluff said Muslim immigration will not be a problem for the US.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

President Obama and the Clown Car Liquor Store

The other day the president asserted the media is deliberately misleading the nation on the extent of violence by protesters in Baltimore by showing the same footage of a burning CVS, over and over. I think he's not so much ignorant or dishonest as he is confused. He probably saw this remarkable footage of a liquor store being looted.
So many protesters make their way in and out of the store in ten minutes one might get the impression every black person in Baltimore set foot inside. The thing is a remarkable study in mob dynamics. So many people file in you wonder how the little store holds them all. Periodically a mass of people rush back onto the street like a fleeing herd. Seeing this happen the first time I thought someone had let off a gun inside, but as soon as the store has relieved itself in this way, the crowd starts pouring in again, as if filling a vacuum.
My favorite part is when a car pulls up and an obese woman gets out and goes inside. A car full of people and she, apparently, is the most mobile one available for the task of weaving through the wilding throng. She returns later empty-handed, and appears to wave to someone in the crowd:


Baltimore is in a cognitive trap

Rumsfeld Obama Spring Mashup: Don't Trust the Media!

The violence that happened yesterday distracted from the fact that you had seen multiple days of peaceful protests that were focused on entirely legitimate concerns of these communities in Baltimore, led by clergy and community leaders. And they were constructive and they were thoughtful. And frankly it didn’t get that much attention. And one burning building will be looped on television over and over and over again, and the thousands of demonstrators who did things the right way, I think, have been lost in the discussion.
Barack Obama, April 2015, on rioting in Baltimore

Let me say one other thing. The images you are seeing on television you are seeing over, and over, and over, and it's the same picture of some person walking out of some building with a vase, and you see it 20 times, and you think, "My goodness, were there that many vases? Is it possible that there were that many vases in the whole country?"
Donald Rumsfeld, April 2003, on looting in Baghdad

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Clowns to the left of me, Jokers to the right...

When I sat down to write this last night, Martin O'Malley, feeling duty-bound as former mayor, was the only presidential candidate to address the rioting in Baltimore. I get up this morning and find them all jockeying to be least offensive in lamenting violence they don't dare condemn. Only the president was unequivocally condemnatory of the violence--right before his usual spin-move from that to how it all reiterates the need for more progressive policy:
“If our society really wanted to solve the problem,we could. It’s just that it would require everybody saying this is important. This is significant. And that we don’t just pay attention to these communities when a CVS burns.” 
Welcome to the underside of the bus, CVS! Say hi to Grandma and the rest of white America!

The president said attention must be paid to the rioters' demands. Hillary offered a prayer. Rand Paul spit up some libertarian baby food, criminal justice system flavor. Looks the same on his bib as it did in the little jar. He assured us it isn't racial. Jeb Bush, presumably speaking in English, directed his passive-aggression against the president:
“[Obama] could be such an eloquent spokesman to heal wounds and to be a constructive force. I’m sure he realizes that and I’m pretty confident he will step up,” Bush told reporters in San Juan, Puerto Rico...
In mentioning Obama, Jeb may be furtively trying to identify himself as the implicit white candidate, and that represents as far as anyone is willing to go in recognizing white America's legitimate concern with the barbarous state of black America. Anything more would be denounced as demagogy, while the president's overt demagogy through the Justice Department preceding this season of violence is equally off-limits. That's one hell of an advantage Obama plays with.

What's striking is how, a half-century after the sixties' race riots upon which these now are modelled, unequivocal condemnation of such violence is no longer possible. No Republican will dare stand up as the law and order candidate in solidarity with a white America--really a non-black America--that is directly targeted by an unreasoning black mob. Combined with big money's complete takeover of presidential elections it's hard not to declare American democracy officially over.

Friday, April 03, 2015

Cover Version

Watched Die Hard again recently and was struck by the scene where Reginald VelJohnson's black LAPD patrolman explains to John McClain he's working a quiet beat (unnamed Century City) on Christmas Eve because after mistakenly shooting a kid with a toy raygun he doesn't think he'll ever be able to draw his service revolver again (why a cop incapable of using his weapon is on the street at all, they don't say).

Anyway, I thought it was quaint and humorous to see that reasonable past, when we could accept the difficulty inherent in armed policing, as long as it was explained to us in the honeyed tones of an inoffensively soulful black man.

Alas, I could not find the scene online. But I found something better. The Perfect Movie Recreations version of the scene. Not to disparage the actor covering the Sgt Powell role here (for he is excellent), here's a picture of Reginald VelJohnson to enhance the mood:

"Don't worry, White Man, I got enough goodness for both of us."

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Quote of the Day

One may cover over secret actions, but to be silent on what all the world knows, and things which have had effects which are public and of so much consequence, is an inexcusable defect.
--Montaigne, On the Duty of Historians

Appropriate condemnation for those, from the University to Fox News, determined to enforce our continuing misunderstanding of race and its problems. It's been about fifteen years now since I first discovered dissident literature about race online. It was exhilarating. The thrill of transgressing the sacrosanct and sense it was nonetheless right (if you feel seeking the truth is right) coexisted. Amazing! (It would make the wholesome yin to the shameful yang of discovering Internet porn, if I should ever discover Internet porn.)
Of course, the thrill is gone.

Farther back people were assuming it inevitable the Internet would soon render the Narrative an unsustainable laughingstock. How they flattered the nation! How I flattered myself. You can transgress all you want, if you're nobody; "transgressing" by reading HBD sites, for instance, proves you're nobody. Don't do it if you want to be somebody. The cottage industry that is the outing of "racists" exists to broadcast this dictum. But it isn't just about vetting celebrities and politicians. The message the average guy--white guy, needless to say--gets loud and clear is this is what losers do.

So far so good: the Narrative hasn't even had to adapt to facts that have been more "settled" than global warming for a long time. In its aversion to logic and romanticizing of anger (it's become routine: the media reports the anger of such as the Ferguson mob as if it proves the justice of their cause; one burned-down Quickie Mart a solid argument, two a slam dunk) the Narrative argues that feelings make facts, but its sharper proponents know the reality: feelings make power.

The Internet has failed to make facts relevant. Certain facts at least. From the conspicuous self-abnegation of the white liberal to the surly self-importance of the urban black, feelings drive behavior. The Narrative knows. It advanced ten miles while you meticulously fashioned a brilliant treatise "destroying" it--on paper. Smirking, it advances as you go back to try out another argument. The Narrative rules. I wish I was the Narrative!

 The processes set in motion just grind on, and demographic change is slowly overtaking the relevance of the racial question--a white minority will be eclipsed not merely by the number of non-whites (who Democrats and progressives hope to keep corralled in an anti-white coalition), but by talented groups such as Asians and Indians, who, the HBD counter-narrative assures us, will displace whites in much of the professional and business world. What consequence the truth or not of HBD then? The best we can hope for at that point is sympathy. "Yeah, looking back, you white guys really got screwed. Can you make those curly fries?"

Argument gets nowhere so the truth is irrelevant. Progressivism knows it's all about boots on the ground--"alien bodies" in Narrative jargon--so they push the demographic agenda knowing time favors them; the respectable right doesn't even know there's a war on.

But then I'm just trying to cheer you up.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Hawthorne Bridge, Portland

Saturday, February 14, 2015

The Narrate-o-Matic and the Real Enemy

Alternet has found the remedy for the inconvenient politics of Craig Stephen Hicks. That remedy is to stop pretending politics--at least those of the killer--have anything to do with it. In "Angry, Armed and White" the mask slips:
We can safely say that Craig Stephen Hicks fits the profile of the most common type of domestic violent extremist—a white man with grievances and guns. Whether he was provoked by road rage, rage against neighbors who wore traditional Muslim clothing, or other simmering grudges and pathologies, his alleged killing of three young Muslims underscores a trend that mainstream U.S. media avoids: that the face of violent extremism in America since 9/11 is predominantly white. Muslims in America, while not exempt from crime, simply do not compare.
Accurate numbers of the Muslim population in America are hard to come by but the percentage of US residents who identify as Muslim has been estimated to be as low as .8 percent (in 2010):
According to the new poll, US citizens guessed the Muslim population of the US to be about 15 percent when asked “Out of every 100 people, how many do you think are Muslim?” This would mean that the US has 47.4 million Muslims. The reality is quite different, with current research putting the percentage of Muslims in the United States at about .8 percent of the population, with an estimated 2.6 million Muslims in the US as of 2010. Even higher estimates find that there are between five and eight million Muslims in the entire country.
In an article from last November Huffington Post says it's about one percent now. White Americans are still about 70 percent of the US population. To the folks at Alternet and the New America Foundation, there is an ongoing campaign in the media to demonize Muslims, with all the talk about "Islamization" and the like, but none to demonize whites, with such as the Ferguson pogrom and the endless, if premature, end-zone celebration of the end of white America. For a demographic that's repeatedly told the only decent contribution it has left is to die off, American white males seem not just passive, but compliant in comparison to their Muslim counterparts.

Still, Hicks can't be described as a political "extremist" at all, and can't be said to be acting from political motive. But if it was the religion of his victims that chose him to select them--as some so fervently hope--it was because of his hostility toward religion generally. Is that more a right- or left-wing thing? None of this matters. It only matters that he was white. More from Alternet:
Most assailants were not young like the Boston Marathon bombers, but “were clustered most heavily between 30 and 49 years of age, although a surprising number were older than that,” it said. “This suggests that perpetrators spend many years on the radical right, absorbing extremist ideology, before finally acting out violently.” That summation strongly resembles Craig Stephen Hicks. 
Yes, in every thing but the "radical right" part; that is, in everything but the central point of this argument.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Tied in Knots

"Ban the box" is a movement to outlaw employers asking applicants if they have a criminal history, motivated largely by the disparate impact it has on non-Asian minorities due to their higher rates of incarceration. According to the Guardian link above, it's necessary because of "research suggesting that three-quarters of employers admit to using a criminal conviction to discriminate against an applicant." Somehow different from discrimination on the basis of poor references, lack of relevant skills and giving a lousy interview, which only screens out the merely incompetent, not the physically dangerous.

But Britain's Labour Party is now pushing for a "blacklist"  to "warn" those same employers about those convicted of "hate crimes" and "tackle the UK’s soaring rise in antisemitism, Islamophobia, homophobia and abuse of people with disabilities." It appears to be part of a larger campaign to purge social media, such as Twitter, of the wrong kind of speech. So employers aren't allowed to protect themselves from, say, a convicted sex offender working in a shop, but must be vigilant against such as Britain's "Tube Racist" lady (convicted to 21 weeks in jail for a "racist rant").

Tuesday, February 10, 2015


Chris White

Chris White. His name was Chris White. The name returned to me "out of the blue" as they say--in fact it I was gazing on a gnarled grey sky, up to which ghostly ringlets of steam escaping my shower ascended like released souls returning to a primordial mass. The name only occurred to me at first, a dissociated orphan. Who was Chris White? Then the image appeared, like a spectral holograph sliding into place and animating this dead form.

Chris White was my first enemy. He must have predecessors long forgotten, but Chris White was the first person I identified as my enemy. And that he remains. One of my earliest memories is of ignoring my mother's half-pleading, half-threatening imprecations, to clamber over our back fence into Chris White's backyard and answer his dare. I don't remember the fight, but to this day I can still call up, however faint, my umbrage at the effrontery that he should challenge me.

Thus began our border war. Plundering raids, incursions, bottle rocket attacks, dried dog shit terror bombings; it could get ugly. Greater powers might intervene on occasion--teachers, parents, older kids--but never to finality. It was no use; ours was a conflict that went deeper than territorial integrity or clashing interests. We hated each other and that was all we needed to know. It was as if this hatred preceded all else. Mutual hatred was the Aristotelian prime mover of our hostility.

Peace was never sought much less declared. We remain technically at war, like North and South Korea. Hostilities ended only when they became impracticable due to his family moving away--relocated to make way for a freeway. If I saw him tomorrow and somehow recognized him, I would not be surprised if we resumed our contest without preliminaries.

Chris White was the first person I rejected on principle, that is, simply for being Chris White. To live, to not throw yourself off a building or simply starve yourself to death, after all, is to declare yourself worthy of the greatest gift. To live is to assert: this is what a human is, this is what he does. We are all really just competing versions of Man; even if we don't choose our version. We see it in the satisfaction of superiority we feel before the degenerate and the ridiculous, in the cruel human habit we have of seeking out the base for ridicule and disdain. Likewise, that same disdain indicates our recognition that shared humanity means shared shame. We're all relatives, however distant. To me Chris White was a foul ideology incarnate, and every breath he took a desecration.

He was big and ungainly, with broad hips and narrow shoulders, with dull brown hair and a face without features due to an excess of subcutaneous fat. This physique wouldn't have mattered if it wasn't so true to the personality it hosted, which seemed to me unfortunately feminine--not to say effeminate, which would have inspired in me at least condescending sympathy, for the hostile attention it would have brought him. But Chris White was mediocrity incarnate, and mediocrity has its advantages in the crab bucket that is elementary school. I may not have been anything special, but I had a knack for attracting unwanted attention.

Chris White had the unfortunate combination of a poor sense of humor and a keen sense of propriety. He took offense easily and protested shrilly. Thus I suspect the initial casus belli of our war was something I said, probably in jest. My mouth was getting me into trouble from an early age. We were ideally suited to hate each other. Chris White was the first in a long line of people, usually male, who commit the unforgivable sin of not getting Dennis Dale. Chris White rejected me on principle too. How dare he.

But it was he who managed to draw me into an early disgrace the memory of which I cannot shake despite, or maybe because, of its petty nature. Queued up on the school blacktop for some purpose or other, we found ourselves in close proximity. It wasn't long before we were taunting each other. Holding a windbreaker, I whipped him across the face with it, cutting him with the zipper. I was marched off to the principal's office by a horror-stricken teacher. In an instant I was transformed from a well-behaved student to a problem child. My mother was mortified.

The Whites moved out and their home remained behind for years, vacant and boarded up, as various lawsuits attached to the freeway construction worked their way through the snake of the legal system. A root from an oak tree cut down from our backyard sprang up in the White's backyard in the form of a great, ugly bush. One summer Japanese beetles appeared around it. I had never seen them before and took them to be some hideous form of bumble bee. I took to hunting them with an old tennis racket; the lumbering fliers came over the fence like lobs over the net that I would smash back over it, looking to achieve distance or height. Eventually they cut the house from its foundation and carried it off.

I can't help cherishing even the hated things from my past. It wouldn't be my past without them, after all. So yes, I miss Chris White. But I do not like him.

Ulrich Schnauss, Suddenly the Trees are Giving Way

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Blue Moon

First Presbyterian Church, Portland


Luke Ford probably isn't the first to point this out:

 In many ways, Nazism and Judaism are opposites, but in some ways, they mirror each other, such as in their advocacy of ethnic unity, nationalism, particularism, and transcendent purpose.

More to the point: what is Judaism but the theory and practice of a self-proclaimed master race?

The Realms of Fantasy

Tobias Langdon writing about Lysenkoism and Marxist pseudo-science in the Occidental Observer:
The Lysenko affair illustrates the considerable degree of fortuitousness in the history of the [Stalinist] regime’s battle with culture. It is easy to see that ideology was much more clearly involved in questions of cosmogony [the study of the origins of the universe] than in the matter of the inheritance of acquired characters. The theory that the universe had a beginning in time is hard to reconcile with dialectical materialism, but this is not obviously the case with the chromosome theory of heredity, and one can easily imagine Marxism-Leninism triumphantly proclaiming that this theory resoundingly confirmed the immortal ideas of Marx-Engels-Lenin-Stalin. Yet in fact the ideological struggle was especially acute in the case of genetics, and it was here that the party’s intervention took its most brutal form, whereas the agitation over cosmogony was much milder. It is hard to find any logical explanation of the difference: much depended on accident, on who was in charge of the campaign, whether Stalin was interested in the point at issue, and so on. (Leszek Kołakowski, Main Currents of Marxism: Vol. III, The Breakdown, 1978, ch. IV, “The crystallization of Marxism-Leninism after the Second World War,” p. 139)
I disagree with Kołakowski: I don’t think there was anything “fortuitous” in the regime’s choice of targets or that it is hard to find a “logical explanation” of the difference. Cosmogony, the study of the origins of the universe, relates to things that are beyond human control and beyond most people’s concern or understanding. Biology is entirely different: it deals with important contemporary social phenomena in the real world, not the heavens and the remote past. An authoritarian regime would prefer biology to be easily malleable and subject to a tyrant’s will. Stalinists mistook their preferences for reality, or rather, tried to impose their preferences on reality as they had in economics and sociology.

I believe this also holds an important point about the current assault on religion and the hypocrisy of its most fervent assailants--to the extent they are progressive or liberal and propound anti-racist and anti-sexist views (and typically lay the blame for these supposed scourges at the feet of religion). The religious believe a fantasy about God and the afterlife; the believer of the current state religion of human equality believes a fantasy about human biology with ongoing implications for the here and now. Which holds more potential for destruction?

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

My World


Portland State University is scattered across the city's downtown. I pulled my car up to the point where a city street ends and the school begins, at a stop sign beyond which only foot traffic is allowed. I was leaning against the front of my car waiting for someone and looking out over a near empty square; here and there were lone souls or pairs walking, students heading back to their dorms.

A pair seemed to announce themselves from across the expanse by their purposeful bearing. They were making for me. They wore long, form-fitting gowns; one tall and slender and the other all boxy, sharp angles, like a cardboard cutout slipped into a sheer gown. Encumbered about the legs by their close-fitting skirts, they took short, swiveling steps. The tall one seemed to float along in a ghoul-grey number, while the other telegraphed a subordinate status with clumsy, mincing steps. What could they possibly want?

"Why are you following us?" Asked the tall one, revealing as he came near a full beard of short, fine dark hair--the sort that looks painted on. He had a Mediterranean complexion and long hair; he looked very much like the bearded transsexual who won last year's Eurovision contest. His companion eyed me with confusion; I couldn't tell if he was embarrassed or fearful of me.
"Excuse me?"
"You've been following us all night."
I laughed with the same humoring condescension I employ when addressed by the occasional street crazy. It's a skill you learn and refine over time without thought; to give neither cause for offense nor the taking of further liberties. It helps to signal craziness of your own; let them think you're the unpredictable one. If you have any size advantage you should use it; lower the chin and level the gaze while squaring up to the subject, as if ready to fight. But let your words contradict this posture: smile affably and return their idiotic comments in kind. Street crazies are some of the most rational actors out there, relying a great deal on the good citizen's confusion and fear of Crazy. They are continually sizing you up as a potential mark, and almost always bluffing their own prowess or capacity for chaos. Keep them out of arm's reach and bluff them back and they usually slink away. Predators seek the easier prey.

But these two were harmless, even as the tall one towered over me like a comic wraith. He had it in his mind that I was stalking them--they had seen my car earlier in the evening, as I had been back and forth between the school and work all night. They were positively enlivened by the prospect that this middle-aged man was tailing them, for God knows what purpose. Now I was pissed.

"When is this going to end?" Tall Boy challenged.
"As soon as you walk away." I said. Looking down at the shorter one's feet painfully pinched into his heels, and turning to answer my phone I couldn't help adding, "if you think you can manage it."

"You should know we're going to report this."
"By all means." I said. Eventually they moved on. Later I imagined myself getting caught up in some great scandalous misunderstanding, having provided these two with their very own psycho-political drama; they would be victims of trans-phobia, hounded by a cis-gendered straight right-winger. Old blog posts of mine would reveal me for the racist I am. I would be fodder for the cause. It would be Hitchcock meets Tom Wolfe.
So there I was, just like my new adversaries, fantasizing my own heroic victimization. None are sane in the asylum.

Monday, January 26, 2015

As the World Burns

"American society is conservative and economically capitalist. Here are the results...something on the scale of the Los Angeles riots could not happen here, mainly because France is a more humane, less racist place with a much stronger commitment to social welfare programs."
French President Francois Mitterrand, 1992

“Our biggest advantage, major, is that our Muslim populations feel themselves to be Americans and there is this incredible process of immigration and assimilation that is part of our tradition."
President Obama, 2015

"America hasn't done enough to ensure political power and autonomy for its underrepresented Muslim population, like we have in New Europe. Until they do, and as long as they cling to outdated notions of 'one man one vote' and culturally nonspecific legal processes, they will continue to experience such as the so-called Independence Day bombings of this week..."
EU President Moussi al-Eurobibbi, 2022

Sunday, January 25, 2015

My World

Work and Play

To leave my place of work, where the kids have the radio tuned to the worst available pop station, with its aggressive, vocoder-strained, auto-tuned mediocrity (a fat butch, wearing a foot brace from a drunken accident, is explaining to a disinterested teenager how much better the song I Don't Give a Fuck is in its un-edited form) to come home and listen to a concert performance of Bach's cantatas, is to suspect that to live in the modern world, for all its comforts, opportunity, variety and safety, is nonetheless to live in a kind of hell.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Somewhere in Manhattan, right now

   Of course it was always easy to satirize a guy with shiny boots. What's hard is satirizing a guy who will saw your head off for doing it.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

As Certain as Death and Backlash

Newspapers have what they call the advanced obituary; prepared obits for the aging or ill figure of repute ready to go, once the subject does. This of course risks the embarrassment of a hoax or mistake causing a premature obituary, but remains a necessity. The practice has long been taken as comically ghoulish, but I see it as the ultimate in respect. I wish there was an obituary (glowing preferably, but not necessarily) out there waiting for me! Alas.
I believe I've identified another, similar need--for the advanced backlash report. As Mark Steyn noted (so many terrorist attack/anticipated backlash cycles ago it's making me nostalgic):
Shortly after the London Tube bombings in 2005, a reader of Tim Blair, the Sydney Daily Telegraph’s columnar wag, sent him a note-perfect parody of a typical newspaper headline: “British Muslims Fear Repercussions Over Tomorrow’s Train Bombing.”
Until Islamic terror becomes a thing of the past there will be a need for documenting the fears of anticipated backlash. What socially responsible journalist wants to find himself tasked with producing hundreds, or thousands, of words of plausible paranoia ahead of a treacherously short deadline? I am here to help. I believe the advanced backlash story could lend itself well to a simple template form requiring little more than the addition of names and dates. The form might go something like this:
 As [Western city] mourned today, Muslims fear backlash and increased Islamophobia as result of yesterday's attack on [Western target*] which killed ___ and injured ___.
"These attacks have nothing to do with Islam," [Muslim spokesman] of [Muslim advocacy organization not yet revealed to be funding terrorists], speaking in Urdu, said today. "Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance. These men are not true Muslims."  
Far right fringe groups immediately seized on the attacks for political opportunity. "This should bring home to us the necessity of addressing the problem of Islamic terrorism," [fascist poopy-head] of [sinister right-wing organization/political party] said today. 
Muslims have long faced discrimination and poverty in [country under assault]. "This should wake us to the problems of discrimination and marginalization in [country under assault]," said [sociologist with either Muslim or hyphenated last name] of [university/Soros-funded organization]. "We have ignored the reality of Islamophobia for far too long. People must not blame all Muslims for this attack. It’s important to note some of the strongest condemnations of the violence have come from Muslim leaders themselves."  
*form not valid for attacks on non-Western targets

Friday, January 09, 2015

No True Muslim

The "No True Scotsman fallacy" goes like this:
Smith: All Scotsmen are loyal and brave. 
Jones: But McDougal over there is a Scotsman, and he was arrested by his commanding officer for running from the enemy. 
Smith: Well, if that's right, it just shows that McDougal wasn't a TRUE Scotsman.
This is idiocy

Just as convention about racism and sexism is supported ultimately by a variation on the fallacious appeal to consequences--if racial or sexual variation in behavior and aptitudes were real it would be bad (or lead to bad things), therefore it (or race itself) does not exist--so too is the "not all Muslims" reflex something that any thinking person, regardless of opinion, should reject.

As one famous Muslim said:

Social justice warriors: all the intellectual depth of a Muhammad Ali, without the humor.

Slick Nick

Nick Kristof is an earnest if clumsy defender of Islam, using one  example of barbarism to obscure another:
"Some read the Quran and blow up girls’ schools, but more read the Quran and build girls’ schools."

Way more, even! Take that, Islamophobes! Islam, meanwhile, shifts nervously in its seat, wishing he had kept incinerated schoolchildren out of it. With friends like these...

Friday, December 26, 2014

plus ça change

Investigators, as a rule, have a respect for their own prejudices, and dislike to make known to others a knowledge which has brought pain to their own minds. Like the Brahman of the story, they will destroy a fine microscope rather than permit their co-religionists to know that they drink living creatures in their water, or eat mites in their fruit. The motto of such people is, "If truth is disagreeable, cling to error.
Ancient Pagan and Modern Christian Symbolism, Thomas Inman, 1869

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

President Ferguson's Opus

Named after film director Ernst Lubitsch, a "Lubitsch moment" is when a film encapsulates its entire story or theme in a moment that can be as brief as a single line or pratfall. Hope and Change just had its Lubitsch moment:

With his own complicity in the crisis and commitment to the myth of white racism from which it springs, has a president ever been less suited to his moment than this one now? Not since George W Bush fumbled through his first public remarks on 9/11 have I seen a leader with less moral authority. W's sin was his callow ineptitude, stunningly revealed in crisis. He had no business being president. Barack Obama, on the other hand, has been thinking long and hard about just this, America's race problem. And there he is, at once complicit in and impotent before violence he will not condemn without qualification. His sin is duplicitous, and also revealed in crisis. He too has no business being president.

Hard to recall, but the initial appeal of Barack Obama to whites was largely as someone who would, with "soaring oratory" and personal example, reconcile blacks, finally, to America. It wasn't spoken outright, but the feeling wasn't that whites had to brought to the table, but blacks. He was supposed to be ideally suited to the purpose, as first black president. Nixon went to China; Barack would go to black America. Obama's enthusiastic white supporters should feel betrayed. It's obvious now he never intended to move black America one stubborn inch toward reconciliation.

But even if Barack Obama were capable of a road-to-Ferguson conversion to the truth--the persistence of white racism is not the problem; the persistence of black dysfunction is--he would still make a lousy witness.
Just as the content of his speeches and writing have gone largely unexamined by his celebrants, so too has his style. His recurring habit of juxtaposing his opponents' views with his own to lend the appearance of reasonable compromise renders his speeches flabby and even more platitudinous than they already are. Hardly what the country needs when coming to the realization that long-held convention is dead wrong.

What's called for is probably impossible--telling the truth. How do you tell a people they are poorer because they are less industrious, they are jailed more because they are more criminal, they fail at school because they are less intelligent? How does one broach that subject? What you saw tonight was a president lamely trying to walk back his demagogy of the past months and re-set the expectations of all those whose wrath he's done so much to encourage--what is needed is a leader who might, somehow, begin the process of walking back the narrative and expectations of past decades, regarding black achievement and racial equality.

But the spectacle of watching the president resort to his hoary "on this hand then the other" water-treading bunkum: "...there are ways of channeling your concerns constructively and channeling your concerns destructively..."
alongside a shot of an intersection under siege a la Florence and Normandy; it's hard not to feel contempt.

Hell of a night for insomnia

Via Reddit, the Ferguson police scanner live feed is chilling. Fires, shooting at police. One of the first things I heard was a cop calling for EMS for a "...twenty four year old white male with lacerations to the head related to 'shots fired' call...."

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Cuando los cerdos vuelan...

The New York Times discovers, like hipsters discovering something that's always been there, a non-kitsch, adult approach to understanding the immigration question (kind of hard to keep up the act when gang-bangers are popping caps offstage):
It would seem to be a worst case that opponents of the Obama administration on immigration had long forecast: An illegal immigrant — one who had been deported twice, yet returned to the country each time — is accused of killing two Northern California sheriff’s officers in a six-hour shooting rampage Friday. 
The suspect led the authorities on a manhunt through two counties. After he was booked into the Sacramento County jail, federal immigration authorities used his fingerprints to identify the man, who gave his name as Marcelo Marquez: They said he was Luis Enrique Monroy Bracamonte, a Mexican who lived without papers in this country for more than a decade after he was deported in 1997 and again in 2001 because of drug- and weapon-related arrests. 
“This case shows that our laws are not being enforced, and there are tragic consequences to not enforcing them,” said Ira Mehlman, a spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, or FAIR, a group that advocates tougher immigration controls.

I was surprised to find this prominent on the website. Less surprising is the appendage:

 A version of this article appears in print on October 29, 2014, on page A14 of the New York edition with the headline: Immigration Laws Facing New Scrutiny After Killings. Order Reprints|Today's Paper|Subscribe

Friday, October 24, 2014

Thanks for Everything, F--- You

The Nazis and the old Soviet Union assigned political officers to military units to enforce ideological conformity. The Stasi was legendary for getting civilians to inform on each other for the slightest breaches of ideology--what we would call political correctness.

Needless to say, we would never do any such thing. We don't need commissars to keep us in line. The elite polices itself and us, without prompting, and their purview, as they would have it, extends to everything. There's a whole genre now in journalism dedicated to denouncing any found "lack of diversity"; not just in a given field or organization, but in our hobbies and associations (even bird-watching is under watch).
 Of course it isn't homogeneity but whiteness that bothers them. Spike Lee once said America is so racist we think three black guys standing on a corner constitutes a riot. That was a long time ago. Now we're so anti-racist we think three white guys working in the same room constitutes a hate crime in progress (but not everything is changed: the brothers are still on the corner and white guys still do the bulk of the work).
A related sub-genre was created by an enterprising writer in analyzing the effectiveness and aesthetics of that now familiar entertainment, the public apology. He should have quite a career ahead of him.

So it's unsurprising that an Intercept scribe interrupted his anecdote about how the late Washington Post editor Bill Bradlee gave him a break when he was a young ambitious reporter to question the man's integrity in doing it and genuflect to diversity from graveside:

 I am sure my cause was helped by the fact that I was young and white and male, the kind of object that older editors who are white and male tend to have a biased soft spot for. This is why it’s good we don’t have as many Ben Bradlees these days; the mirroring and replication of a dominant culture is weaker now. Which doesn’t mean we’re in a universally better place; we have a lot of editors who are more cautious than they should be (patriarchy replaced by management culture), and a large number of top slots are still filled with guys (yes, including at The Intercept). It’s hard to believe that gender played no role in the firing of Jill Abramson at The New York Times.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Now I get it

The persistence of Ferguson protesters despite total narrative collapse, explained.

Friday, October 17, 2014

"Push 'em Back, Push 'em Back, Bury that Lede! Push 'em Back, Push 'em Back, Bury that Lede...!"

Oh America. You are inferior to at least two African countries in how far you will go to protect citizens from potential global pandemics:
NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) -- Health officials battling the Ebola outbreak that has killed more than 4,500 people in West Africa have managed to limit its spread on the continent to five countries - and two of them appear to have snuffed out the disease.
The developments constitute a modest success in an otherwise bleak situation.
Officials credit tighter border controls, good patient-tracking and other medical practices, and just plain luck with keeping Ebola confined mostly to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea since the outbreak was first identified nearly seven months ago.
Senegal did so well in finding and isolating a man with Ebola who had slipped across the border from Guinea in August that the World Health Organization on Friday will declare the end of the disease in Senegal if no new cases surface.
Nigeria is another success story. It had 20 cases and eight deaths after the virus was brought by a Liberian-American who flew from Liberia to Lagos, Nigeria's commercial capital of 21 million people, in July. Nearly 900 people were potentially exposed to the virus by the traveler, who died, and the disease could have wreaked havoc in Africa's most populous nation.
Instead, Ebola appears to have been beaten, in large part through aggressive tracking of Ebola contacts, with no new cases since Aug. 31.
WHO, the U.N. health agency, called it "a piece of world-class epidemiological detective work." The organization is set to declare an end to the outbreak in Nigeria on Monday.
Nigeria had a head start compared with other West African countries: Officials were able to use an emergency command center that had been built by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to combat polio.
Border closings may also be helping halt the spread of Ebola.
Eight paragraphs in, a double ( helping...) bank-shot obscuring of arguably the article's most salient fact: border controls work.
You can't fault the authors for not knowing their story would be titled "AFRICA STEMS EBOLA VIA BORDER CROSSINGS, LUCK", but they should at least read their own copy. They've cited "officials" as crediting border controls first (at least in their listing) above this same sentence. Well, which is it: are said officials full of shit, or is the efficacy of border closures a mystery yet to be solved?
Worth noting how the success of "patient tracking" doesn't seem to give the authors similar pause, implying as it does the creation and maintenance of government databases and rounding people up--something necessitated in the first place by the introduction of the disease through the border. All in keeping with anarcho-tyranny.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Fire Bells in the Blight

"This is a test of the Diversity Emergency Broadcast System..."

Paul Nachmann of Vdare last week:

Every Friday, a friend of the PowerLine blog whose screen name is “Ammo Grrrll” gets to weigh in there with comments (Thoughts From the Ammo Line) on the passing scene. This week, her entry seems well tuned toVdare's readership, so here's the relevant excerpt.
The last private gig of my standup career before retirement was in front of teachers at their late August in-service before the start of school. I was the final speaker of the day. I had listened to many administrators and the Keynoter who was a Diversity Drone from the state. She seemed a nice, sincere person, even though she arrived forty minutes late for her speech, keeping hundreds of people waiting. There was probably a diversity emergency somewhere...  
“diversity emergency”!  If you can work it in, that’s a concept worth mentioning when some politically-correct nimrod starts babbling about the urgency of “diversity.”
Think twice before you do that. The term "micro-aggression" is no less absurd. I can easily imagine it originating as a satirical taunt leveled at an overly sensitive college roommate. Say "diversity emergency" with or without a straight face to a True Believer and he just might ask himself why he hadn't thought of it. 

For instance. A year ago this month Hillsboro School District near Portland declared an "equity emergency" after its two most Hispanic elementary schools were rated in the fifth percentile statewide by the Oregon Department of Education in its annual "report card" for schools
In the Oregon Department of Education’s view, none of the schools in the Hillsboro School District rank among the state’s top 10 percent. And two of them – Lincoln Street and W.L. Henry elementary schools – are among the bottom 5 percent.
The rankings emphasize the growth and graduation rates of “subgroup students” – English language learners and low-income, minority and special education students.
So, the "emergency" isn't one of insufficient diversity (whew!), but of insufficient "equity" for the "diverse"-- not the crisis of human capital it appears, but the failure of racial justice political correctness demands. We can't blame the kids for their mediocre intelligence (agreed; can't we just politely ignore it?); so we must blame ourselves. With such parameters it's no wonder the board napalmed its own position. It had to be done: we are failing diversity! 
One principal lamented in a letter to the Oregonian:
Our report card does not reflect the whole picture of who our students are, of their diverse talents and backgrounds, their ability to speak two or more languages, their musical talents, their ability to dance and connect with rich cultural traditions from around the world. 
In the near future this sort of condescension will get the average white guy sacked for insensitivity (not the "rich cultural traditions" hooey, which shall be with us forever, but the "ability to dance" bumptiousness) as demands mature from money for failing students to teaching and diversicrat jobs for adults; when it does happen our dance enthusiast can take solace in the fact that his early retirement/firing will result in greater diversity for his profession.

The school district swung into action, 
transferring an extra quarter million dollars from its year-end balance to bring to the diversity disaster more diversity ("Unofficially, the money will pay for additional training and preparation time for teachers and additional staff such as Hispanic outreach workers, among other things..."). 

The board gave fair warning of more non-white squalls on the horizon:
But even if Lincoln Street and W.L. Henry do improve, the board might be confronted with a more difficult conversation surrounding the funding of schools district-wide. Right now, the district funds schools on a per-pupil basis regardless of the impact of poverty, English-language learning and race on the schools.So Jackson Elementary School, where 16 percent of the students are economically disadvantaged, receives the same per-pupil funding from the district’s general fund as Lincoln Street and W.L. Henry, where over 95 percent of the student body comes from poverty.High-poverty elementary schools do split a $3 million pot of federal Title I money, Larson said, but the district can’t use those dollars to do anything it is already doing, “so you can’t reduce class size.” The Title I money helps, but it often only puts a small dent in a larger problem, he added.“Is equal equitable?” Larson asked rhetorically.
Scott said that if the district continues funding all the schools equally, it is probably likely that another high-poverty school will fall to Level 1 in the future. He indicated that the board might have to confront a difficult political decision to distribute funds unequally throughout the district based on demographic challenges.
Board member Wayne Clift said such a decision would be unpopular with high-achieving schools with lesser rates of poverty, where parents and teachers might see a reduction in funding as “being punished for doing good things and doing the right thing.”
“It’s going to be controversial,” Scott said of the possible unequal funding model.
Emergencies do clarify things. Here we see how, when "equity" is the highest goal, good schools (quality) are sacrificed to bad schools (diversity).

The inequity-battered schools are sixty-six and eighty-one percent Hispanic, and participate in Oregon's bi-lingual "dual language immersion" programs; in the latter school all kids through fourth grade are in the program.
Despite the costs nearby Portland Public Schools wants money to expand its three bi-lingual programs, as a "high leverage educational program model" to, finally, Close the Achievement Gap.
Which makes inclusion of a Mandarin bilingual program (along with Spanish and Vietnamese) curious; I was further surprised to learn Portland Public Schools takes money from the Chinese government for its Mandarin immersion program:
Currently the district receives federal grant funding (both U.S. and Chinese Governments) specifically to support the planning, implementation and refinement of Mandarin immersion programs in PPS. This grant funding provides a Mandarin immersion instructional specialist to train and support teachers
The Chinese are getting in on the diversity rackets despite being on the good side of the Gap and wealth indicators. The same document (a draft recommendation by Portland Public Schools to the Superintendent for rapid expansion of the program) shows the Chinese community's enthusiasm for establishing Mandarin in public schools, in its FAQ: 
Why are we rushing to make these changes?  
PPS is not rushing to make changes. The Board has been directing expansion in Dual Language Immersion programs. The DLI Department has been working on expansion for two years. A timeline of this process is attached below. Additionally, when we consider our Racial Equity Policy and the persistent achievement gap for our historically underserved students including those with limited English proficiency and students of color, we are compelled to expand these programs for the next school year. Indeed what we have heard from our native Chinese speaking communities is that we are expanding too slowly.
Restless Chinese and dull Mexicans, growing in number. There's your diversity emergency.

I thought I'd find the origins of "equity emergency" in the depressing halls of scholastic Theory, but as far as I can tell this is the first and only use of the term "equity emergency" (here at the blog of a school board member he takes proud credit for introducing the phrase). Have we seen the last "equity emergency"? Only time will tell.

Marin County

About the same time the good people of the Hillsboro School Board bravely named their shame, something called "Grassroots Marin" sounded an even more dire alarm, hinting at hoods and torches in the night. The group held a press conference to declare they were writing (or soliciting signatures for a letter; it isn't quite clear) to Governor Jerry Brown requesting he sound a "Civil Rights State of Emergency in Marin”.

Residents, you see, are resisting the rapid urbanization and integration plans of HUD, developers and, of course, Grassroots Marin. They were showing up at public hearings and raising their voices, which to Grassroots is the equivalent of firehoses and police dogs. The ensuing environment became one, according to Grassroots, where fear reigned. The group issued a press release rich with irony to declare their
...growing concern about the silencing of certain voices in Marin County. John Young, Executive Director of Marin Grassroots started the discussion presenting a need for a community effort to push Governor Jerry Brown to enact a Civil Right State of Emergency in Marin County. This effort is based on the countless negative interactions with community members who are motivated by race, socioeconomic status, or dissenting opinion [imagine: someone motivated by dissenting opinion!] according to Young. Young also spoke to the “toxic” environment that has been created in many community meetings and government based public meetings. Participants advocating for fair housing in Marin described being booed, hissed at, yelled at, and losing their sense of safety in their own communities.  
Kiki La Porta of Sustainable Marin and a 50 year resident of Marin County spoke about being, “verbally and energetically assaulted,” when voicing a non-popular opinion. She continued to explain that, “This subject is a very slippery slope and we must realize what a big issue it is.” The group recognizes the many barriers to participation in these meetings and negative attitudes present arguably the largest barrier to participation for already marginalized populations. 
Ericka Erickson, Associate Director of Marin Grassroots, a County Planning Commissioner and a long term resident of Marinwood stated about a recent Community Meeting held in her neighborhood with County Supervisor Susan Adams: “I was so disgusted by the level of disrespect demonstrated by some of my neighbors towards a public official and other community members that I had to leave that meeting in the middle of it”. Many community members voiced similar experiences in different areas of Marin County. Erickson closed her argument, “We all benefit from diversity in voices in Marin County.” Piggybacking on that commentary, San Rafael City Council candidate Greg Brockbank wrapped up the session by powerfully speaking to the damage that has been done to democracy and, “wanting the Marin County we deserve.”
 How grassroots little Grassroots Marin actually is, is another question of course:
Opponents of Plan Bay Area are upset after learning that the Association of Bay Area Governments this summer awarded a $56,750 grant to Marin Grassroots, a San Rafael nonprofit that works to boost the voice of underrepresented communities. Randy Warren, who was motivated to run for San Rafael City Council due to his opposition to Plan Bay Area, has been circulating ABAG memos that discuss the grant. Warren says it was wrong for Marin Grassroots to receive a grant because it is advocating for the plan. "The issue is that taxpayers have a right to know when their money is being used by the government to have third parties speak up in support of the government's own policies," Warren said.
John Young, executive director of Marin Grassroots, said his organization has not taken an official position on Plan Bay Area and added that the grant money, which came from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, was not to advocate for Plan Bay Area.
 Marin Grassroots are being paid by the plan's backers to act as street-level shlock troops, in other words. Marin County's troubles started predictably when it took federal money, and later failed a
HUD grant compliance review:
As the result of a 2009 compliance review of Marin County’s Community Development Block Grant program initiated by HUD, preliminary findings of non-compliance by Marin County were reported in several areas, including the duty to AFFH [Affirmatively Further Fair Housing]. The compliance review found that in a county that is majority white, African-American and Latino populations were concentrated in two areas. Additionally, the county had failed to update its AIs ["Analysis of Impediments"--impediments to integration] since 1994.
This led to a December 2010 Voluntary Compliance Agreement that required the County to take several steps designed to affirmatively further fair housing, AFFH*, which, among other provisions required a study to identify and overcome fair housing barriers, such as community resistance to fair housing choice in neighborhoods and the continued development of low-income affordable housing in neighborhoods with high minority concentrations. The county also agreed to update its AIs with the help of “racial and ethnic minority citizens and persons with disabilities.” Furthermore, the county agreed to identify and analyze the causes of “lower racial and ethnic minority residency in the County relative to the adjacent counties.” As part of Marin County’s AFFH obligation, they agreed to undertake eight steps identified by HUD to meet the AFFH goal.
*The provision of the Fair Housing Act (Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968) requiring "HUD and its grantees to avoid the perpetuation of segregation, and to take affirmative steps to promote racial integration."

"This has been a test of the Diversity Emergency Broadcast system. In the event of a real Diversity Emergency..."

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Case for Refutations

Respect, just a little bit...

Two recent publications from last month, Ta-Nehisi Coates' Atlantic article arguing for slavery reparations, and former New York Times science editor Nicholas Wade's book asserting the reality of racial differences, A Troublesome Inheritance, met with very different receptions from what is regarded as respectable opinion. The timing is coincidental, but I believe they represent two contradictory answers to the bedeviling problem of black inequality that are on a collision course, one coming from a conventional point of view and the other, if the mixture of silence and outrage with which conventional thinkers have received it are any indication, from the bowels of hell.

Mainstream political discourse is limited to two purely environmental explanations for black inequality. The right blames some combination of the welfare state and declining morals for inculcating a culture of illegitimacy, criminality and idleness; the left blames ongoing white racism and the legacy of slavery and segregation.

However these terms of engagement were arrived at they've served as a sort of gentleman's agreement that seems to suit mainstream actors just fine: the right gets to condemn the welfare state and the left gets to condemn white racism. As for the individual wishing to participate in public life, he may place himself anywhere along a continuum between racism on one hand and culture on the other as the ultimate cause, assigning some proximate value to the other effect, but he cannot stray from the dichotomy.

In asserting the reality of race and the heritability of behavior, Wade has strayed. Despite refusing to draw it himself his argument leaves to unavoidable implication the probability inequality is more a failure of black ability than of white justice. It's likely no accident he published his book after retiring from his regular post at the Times (we've become so used to purges for dissent the Daily Caller attributed his status as former science editor to the book's publication--without taking the time to verify). Meanwhile Coates' career is taking off as a result of his essay.

Wade is the first respectable mainstream figure to leave the reservation in a long, long time and he is riding roughshod over sacred ground. What's lost in the mainstream controversy surrounding this popular science book is how little real controversy exists among geneticists.
In his 1975 book, Race, biologist John Baker cites a work from 1928 by Russian-born University of Minnesota professor of sociology Pitirim Sorokin, Contemporary Social Theories, which included a chapter on the debate about genetic racial differences (while taking neither side), as marking, in Baker's view:

"...the close of the period in which both sides in the ethnic controversy were free to put forward their views, and authors who wished to do so could give objective accounts of the evidence pointing in each direction. From the beginning of the thirties onwards scarcely anyone outside Germany and its allies dared to suggest that any race might be in any respect or in any sense superior to any other, lest it should appear that the author was supporting or excusing the Nazi cause. Those who believed in the equality of all races were free to write what they liked, without fear of contradiction...Sorokin's chapter is well worth reading today, as a reminder of what was still possible before the curtain came down. In recent years a corner of it has already been lifted."

Baker was writing nearly forty years after Sorokin and it's been almost another forty since the optimistic note he struck with that last sentence. Meanwhile, despite the failures of such alternatives as Freudian theory and radical behaviorism, despite the collapse of the Soviet Union and America's ongoing failure to eliminate racial disparities--what might be called behaviorism's two biggest failed experiments--and regardless of the recent revolution in genomics, Baker's "curtain" not only has not lifted it has become iron, descended firmly between the mass of accumulated knowledge and respectable opinion.

Those failures, and the reemergence of hereditarianism within the study of genetics in recent years (if not outside of it), have prompted numerous false land-sightings by hereditarians so long at sea. Some see in the period between 1994 (when the Bell Curve was published) and 2005 a time of relative perestroika (Peter Brimelow's "interglacial") when it might have been reasonably assumed the tide was finally turning, at least in favor of an open debate. That thawing was cataloged by John Derbyshire in 2009 for National Review Online; as if to demonstrate how little permanent effect it had the same magazine would purge him exactly two years later for his (in)famous "Talk" post. Each year new studies come in, fallacies are debunked, frauds are exposed; and the prevailing narrative grows stronger, as if inversely proportionate to any empirical or objective success. Whether or not the existence of racial differences has been proven over the last generation, the durability of denial has proven stronger.

Perhaps the proponents of the culture-only explanations believe any inherent disparities are small enough to be made insignificant or ignored with some combination of policy, education and, on the conservative side, bourgeois values. Needless to say, such hopes would have to be fading by now from long exposure to failure. As for the prospects for the restoration of the old virtues, it's hard to see that happening for any of us. The sexual revolution is here to stay. Progressive ideology, defined by its opposition to bourgeois values, needs no excuse for further hostility to them, but it finds one in black inequality--in that sense black inequality, specifically our obsession with it, has become just one more corrosive eating away at those values. But in the present milieu we have to either presume no difference between white and black norms despite all evidence to the contrary, or we have to dismiss their significance altogether.

Thus Coates, having already sought to tie present black dysfunction to historical racism by way of a lengthy account of housing discrimination in Chicago, sets out to deny both the importance of fatherhood and civility or the reality of blacks' vastly different concepts of them:

One thread of thinking in the African American community holds that these depressing numbers partially stem from cultural pathologies that can be altered through individual grit and exceptionally good behavior. (In 2011, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, responding to violence among young black males, put the blame on the family: “Too many men making too many babies they don’t want to take care of, and then we end up dealing with your children.” Nutter turned to those presumably fatherless babies: “Pull your pants up and buy a belt, because no one wants to see your underwear or the crack of your butt.”) The thread is as old as black politics itself. It is also wrong. The kind of trenchant racism to which black people have persistently been subjected can never be defeated by making its victims more respectable. The essence of American racism is disrespect. And in the wake of the grim numbers, we see the grim inheritance.

Coates obscures the true context of Nutter's remarks: an outbreak in Philadelphia of violent black "flash-mobs"--impromptu recreational race riots organized via social media--in the summer of 2011. This was not merely the depressing and familiar routine of "violence among black males". In fact it wasn't limited to males and included children barely in their teens. That Coates sees in paternal responsibility and refraining from violence "individual grit and exceptionally good behavior" demonstrates the bizarre contortions necessary to explain black behavior if heredity is disallowed--and the behavior he excuses demonstrates the disastrous effect of that denial. Elsewhere in his essay he continues:

From the White House on down, the myth holds that fatherhood is the great antidote to all that ails black people. But Billy Brooks Jr. [victim of street crime] had a father. Trayvon Martin had a father...Adhering to middle-class norms has never shielded black people from plunder..."

The "plunder" theme holds throughout his essay, which aims to construct a narrative of black industriousness thwarted up to the present by white malice. Needless to say he has to ignore the vast sums spent and massive federal effort of the last half century to encourage greater black participation in the economy--among other things he dismisses affirmative action out of hand because despite its practical effect in transferring wealth to blacks, affirmative action's

...precise aims, for instance, have always proved elusive. Is it meant to make amends for the crimes heaped upon black people? Not according to the Supreme Court. In its 1978 ruling in Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, the Court rejected “societal discrimination” as “an amorphous concept of injury that may be ageless in its reach into the past.” Is affirmative action meant to increase “diversity”? If so, it only tangentially relates to the specific problems of black people—the problem of what America has taken from them over several centuries.

This confusion about affirmative action’s aims, along with our inability to face up to the particular history of white-imposed black disadvantage, dates back to the policy’s origins. “There is no fixed and firm definition of affirmative action,” an appointee in Johnson’s Department of Labor declared. “Affirmative action is anything that you have to do to get results. But this does not necessarily include preferential treatment.”

Where does one begin? The Bakke ruling introducing "diversity" was an attempt to rationalize a manifestly unconstitutional practice specifically to continue the project of elevating blacks economically, socially and politically. Yet for Coates, the very real transfer of wealth that has represented and the degradation of the constitution that is the "diversity" ruse (now its own monstrous sham) employed to continue it, mean nothing because it all somehow "only tangentially relates to the specific problems of black people." What are the "specific problems of black people"? Apparently just the grim facts we already know, that their poverty is deeper, their neighborhoods more blighted, their behavior more violent, combined with the historical humiliation of slavery and, if Coates is right, the continuing reality of segregation.

But those same pathologies, combined with the intense bigotry of blacks, is the motive force behind white flight and segregation. The segregation of the past is invoked to explain, among other things, the violence and chaos of the present; what we don't allow is the possibility the violence and chaos of the present explain the segregation of the past (and present, for that matter; the same white liberals who encourage Coates' emotional musings are almost entirely ensconced in their own highly segregated neighborhoods). That very repression itself is evidence against the assumption.
White flight anticipated quite accurately the the degradation that followed the black takeover of urban America. To assume it's nothing more than self-fulfilling prophecy because whites took their money and civility with them is to assume a complete lack of black agency, much less responsibility. Just who are the racists here?

Coates isn't about to suggest limiting affirmative action to blacks or replacing it with reparations, heaven forbid, and he has no new ideas for how the money will be directed beyond more efforts at desegrgation--because there are none. He's arguing that reparations will transcend the long cycle of failure merely by being directed specifically at the problem of black inequality.

But one can sense Coates' real issue is with the broadening of affirmative action and victim status to other groups, who are now successfully copying black grievance as political strategy. That strategy has proven quite effective in turning black failure into political power and government subsidy. Without the assumption that disparate impact is always proof of of discrimination, where would black political power be? What would it have to trade on? Indeed, where would Ta-Nehisi Coates be without it? It's the alchemy of demagogy, turning the lead of failure into the gold of patronage.

But the sudden haste of this renewed push for reparations, and the suspiciously coordinated appearance of the reception of Coates' essay, complete with helpful suggestions as to how reparations might be raised (such as simply printing a trillion or so dollars a la quantitative easing) suggest a recognition on the left that time and the patience of non-black America are running out; further, with Barack Obama still in office the time may never be better (the author will neither confirm nor deny having met privately with the president shortly before he would have begun writing the essay).

As America becomes more racially diverse the old black/white dynamic is threatened--recall Eric Holder's "nation of cowards" speech", what Steve Sailer described as a signal to other  grievance groups to move to the "back of the bus" and recognize black primacy of place atop the hierarchy of grievance. Others are adapting the black model of turning grievance into power and cash. Coates, in decrying "diversity" wants to make that successful model somewhat proprietary. But the question as to the cause of black inequality--white injustice or black inadequacy--becomes more troublesome still. Because one of these is a corrosive destroying the fabric of the republic and society.

But to return to the question of values, despite Coates' cavalier dismissal of them, might a return to traditional family values help? One of the assumptions of desegregation is that pathologies will no longer be concentrated, and presumably blacks, freed of concentrations of other blacks, will be able or willing to adopt whiter norms. One of Wade's troublesome heresies is to suggest Western institutions can't be adopted by most non-Western societies because

If institutions were purely cultural, it should be easy to transfer an institution from one society to another.

Wade limits himself to societal-level comparisons. But he accepts the Cochran-Harpending thesis of continuing, accelerated evolution to the present day--contradicting the old convention holding evolution to have stopped about forty thousand years ago that, as if by design, left room for egalitarian assumptions that no meaningful evolution transpired after humans began splitting off into separate geographical populations after the migration out of Africa. Wade repeatedly describes evolution as "recent, regional and copious", and again presents us with an unavoidable implication: that an individual's genetic legacy must leave him more suited for that type of society in which his genetic makeup was forged and less suited, to the extent it differs, for one to which he has been "transferred" by the migration, forced or voluntary, of recent ancestors.

If this is true it explains black inequality and further means it's no more fair to declare it America's collective moral failure than to declare it blacks' individual moral failure. It's a problem without a solution and one--perhaps not by coincidence--we will not allow ourselves to identify. So we are condemned to a history of failed attempts to square this circle; a history that may eventually include reparations.

But is the characterization that blacks "suffer" from being Americans, from living in a modern economy and a liberal society, simply because these disparities outrage blacks and progressives, accurate? If we are different, what does equality even mean? Do blacks live in misery, or is the perception a projection of white values? Are we merely obsessing over the wrong metrics? If it can be shown blacks are happier on average than whites, does that make a difference?

A little over a year after having the temerity to suggest black teenagers pull up their pants, that same Mayor Nutter denounced Philadelphia Magazine for publishing an article about, among other things, the violent harassment of whites in the city. That article's author pointed out the remarkable reversal that has taken place in American cities with large black populations: it is whites who now "know their place" in regard to blacks. That knowledge has been arrived at by intimidation and violence--a reality that has long been taken for granted and is somehow both a running joke and a grim, humiliating reality. The essence of black and white relations now is indeed "disrespect", as Coates asserts--but of demoralized whites by confident blacks. White adaptations to this relatively new reality include submissiveness and copying--generally to the individual's detriment--of black cultural norms seen as more genuine. An ongoing, broad kulturkampf  has made "white" derogatory in not one but two ways: culturally synonymous with weak, effeminate and awkward, and politically synonymous with oppressive or illegitimate.

So it's no surprise blacks consistently demonstrate higher levels of self-esteem than other groups and--unique among racial groups--their self-esteem isn't dependent on any sense of accomplishment as these researchers were surprised to find:

...given that personal efficacy and self-esteem are positively correlated, and given that blacks have relatively high self-esteem, the fact that blacks have relatively low personal efficacy is something of an anomaly.

Coates and company argue, among other things, there is a psychological mechanism tying past discrimination to present dysfunction--the logic of the "legacy" of slavery/segregation argument. Study after study fails to find proof of the wounded individual psyches posited by these just-so surmises. Inequality is taken as a priori evidence of repression. But these studies tend more often to reinforce stubborn, long-held folk impressions ("racist stereotyping") of racial differences in psychology and intelligence reflected in behavior.

The alternative to the present order, defining justice as equality of opportunity and accepting the resulting inequality of results, does not appear politically or socially tenable--if our elites will not allow it, blacks, and now our growing Hispanic population, will not accept it. If we differ in abilities, then the enforced measure of fairness--disparate impact--ensures no end to our strife, no end to the demagogy of such as Coates, and no end to the escalating repression and, yes, plunder of such as reparations. Slavery then is indeed America's "original sin", and one for which we cannot and will not atone. Dark days are ahead.