Morning Ethics Warm-Up, October 10, 2017: Post-Columbus Day Edition

Good Morning.

1 The rhetoric against celebrating Columbus Day is at bottom an attack on American values and the nation itself,  making the case that the culture should bask in eternal guilt and shame for the crime of existing. It has always been thus: I heard the counter-Columbus claims when I was a kid and living in Boston, where you can’t throw a spitball without hitting an Italian or a Catholic. Then, however, there were sufficient numbers of responsible elected officials who put those ignorant and warped arguments in their place—the trash. Now, the path of least resistance reigns.

We celebrate Columbus because he brought European culture and civilization to the New World, making our nation possible. He was the butterfly flapping his wings in the Amazon, in Chaos terms: without Columbus, everything might be different. One thing that would not be different, however, is that the stone age cultures that lived in the Americas would not have prevailed, thrived and survived. Blaming Chis for the inevitable destruction of primitive cultures when more advanced and ambitious ones arrived, as they were going to with or without Columbus, is scapegoating of the worst kind.

We also celebrate Columbus because of the good and important things his first voyage symbolizes: mankind’s constant search for knowledge; the bravery of explorers; the visionary who dares to challenge conventional wisdom.

We have not, so far at least, renamed Martin Luther King Day as Victims of Adultery Day. Columbus was a man of his time, working for a brutal regime. He did many things that were wrong even by the standards of the time. Irrelevant. He opened the door  from the Old World to the New, and made the United States of America possible.

That’s worth celebrating.

2. Robert E. Lee  High School in San Antonio wins some kind of weasel award for responding to pressure to de-honor that racist slave-owner Robert E. Lee by renaming it LEE High School, with LEE being an acronym meaning Legacy of Educational Excellence High School. Pretty impressive, that: managing to be cowardly, irresponsible, and deceitful, all at once. Capitulating to the Left’s statue-toppling, historical airbrushing mania is wrong; doing so while not really doing it is worse. Keep recognizing the General, or don’t.

Who wants people like this teaching their children?

3.  ESPN  didn’t think it was necessary to suspend  anchor Jemele Hill  for tweeting that the President of the United States was a white supremacist, but when she dared to suggest that advertisers boycott NFL teams that forbade the kneeling stunt currently killing NFL  fan loyalty, ratings, ticket sales and popularity, that really crossed some lines. The network suspended Weeks after she expressed outrage at the ownership of the Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins for making a “No-knee” policy for its players.

“Jemele Hill has been suspended for two weeks for a second violation of our social media guidelines,” ESPN said in a statement. “In the aftermath all employees were reminded of how individual tweets may reflect negatively on ESPN and that such actions would have consequences. Hence this decision.”

Ethics Alarms is on record as holding that Hill should have been disciplined for the anti-Trump tweet, but I sympathize with her here. She had every reason to believe that she had received special dispensation to air her progressive, resistance, Black Lives Matter advocacy using her ESPN visibility as a platform, especially after Disney’s CEO admitted that she hadn’t been disciplined because she was black.

ESPN’s standards are as incoherent as the cause of the kneeling players. They send mixed signals to employees and viewers, satisfying no one, and creating a chaotic culture undermining their own business, which is, remember, covering sports.

4. More on the Harvey Weinstein mess: Actress Rose McGowran, whom you may recall as the girl with a semi-automatic for a leg in “Planet Terror,” or perhaps as the “Charmed” replacement for Shannon Doherty when she was fired, has decided she’s sick of Hollywood and acting—she has aged out of her spunky babe roles–and has become a Twitter guerilla, attacking her own industry and fellow performers. She is now hunting Harvey Weinstein, an admirable goal that would have been more admirable, not to mention timely, if she had begun while she was still working and before Weinstein had been exposed. From Vanity Fair:

In 2016, Rose McGowan made waves when she alleged that a studio head had raped her. Using the hashtag #WhyWomenDontReport, she said she never reported the alleged crime because she was told that she could never win such a case: “A (female) criminal attorney said because I’d done a sex scene in a film I would never win against the studio head,” she wrote. McGowan added that her ex-partner sold the film she was working on to her alleged rapist’s company, and that the man’s behavior was “an open secret in Hollywood/Media.”

“They shamed me while adulating my rapist,” she wrote….Since the Times revelation, McGowan has not mentioned Weinstein by name—but she has alluded to the news on Twitter…Though McGowan might never formally name Weinstein for a variety of reasons—including her alleged settlement, which may have come coupled with an N.D.A.—her tweets have made it clear that she has a personal connection to the Weinstein allegations. Perhaps now that they’re out in the open, the actress will speak openly about them as well.

Too little, too late. How many other actresses were abused, assaulted or raped while McGowran spent her pay-off and accepted her roles and the checks for them?


84 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, October 10, 2017: Post-Columbus Day Edition

          • I was rapidly becoming disillusioned with “Fear the Walking Dead” as they introduced the “wise Native American” stereotype as the primary rival to the hapless and vicious white protagonists. Then they brought me back when they showed his group of survivors to be hapless and vicious also.

            “Fear the Walking Dead” should be titled “Fear the Stupid Living”.

        • Regardless, I think even for tweaking the sensitivities of people, it crosses a memetic line of way way way way way oversimplifying things and intentionally emphasizing the negatives of pre-civilized cultures…

          Make no mistake, Europeans and other old worlders were there at some point also.

            • Let me make that more clear: intentionally emphasizing the negatives of one race while emphasizing the positives of another to make the latter seem superior is racist.

              Does anyone really dispute this?

                • What would a video making racial comparisons rather than cultural comparisons between Native Americans and Europeans have looked like?

                    • Good answer. I still think this is one of those cases where the distinction between culture and race is too fine to even matter…but good answer.

                      I’m glad we at least agree that the video is unnecessarily mean to Native Americans. I think it is a terribly unethical and dishonest portrayal.

                  • See… I think you hit the nail on the head, Chris.

                    I used to be in the “Black people get a history month, why don’t white people?” crowd, but then someone pointed out to me that I know where I came from;

                    My grandfather was an English American who kept the tanks running in WWII, my grandmother was a war bride fresh from England, my grandfather’s family came to Canada from the Ukraine in order to escape Holodomor, and my grandmother’s family came from French speaking Poland, and mamere never learned a word of English to the day she died.

                    My cultural identity, varied as it is, is wholly separate from my racial identity. Meanwhile, black people, due to slavery (and in Canada, to a lesser extent: native people due to residential schools.), don’t have the same cultural identity, they may not know their grandparents’ points of origin, their cultural icons… Hell, the realities of the black family being what they are, the average black person might not know their father’s name. Their cultural identity is deeply mired in their race, because that’s often all they have.

                    They aren’t Gambian, or Swahili, or Tutsi, they’re Black. And I’m not White, I’m some British/Polish/Ukranian Euro-mutt.

                    So I DO have cultural holidays, I can attend the National Ukrainian Festival and gorge myself on unhealthy food listening to music I don’t really like (and I don’t believe anyone really does), because it’s my culture dammit. And perogies are delicious.

                    The problem people like me have is recognizing that. The problem people like you have is differentiating that. Race and Culture are different for people privileged enough to know the face of their fathers.

                    And so while someone who isn’t able to process that paradigm, might genuinely feel that a video like the one above is an attack on their race, because it’s an attack on their culture, and their culture is synonymous with their race, someone who lives that paradigm understands that they’re attacking a culture that they see as objectively bad (A point I definitely see the worth of.), and not meaning to attack the race.

                    So the question is: Where does racism lie? Does it lie in the intentions of the speaker, or the reaction of the listener?

                    I think we both know the answer: The daily caller is insensitive, certain people will deem that racist… But they aren’t, really.

              • ”intentionally emphasizing the negatives of one race while emphasizing the positives of another to make the latter seem superior is racist.”

                Careful what you ask for there, Big Guy.

                Going down that road will require much of the Lefty Institutions Of Higher Indoctrination “Bitterness Studies” curricula to be called into question.

                Including a “The Problem With Whiteness” class at my Alma Mater the U.W.-Madison (Class or ’79 [GO BADGERS!!])


              • No I dont disagree. However, that is how Europeans are being portrayed.

                Europeans are portrayed as universally and solely responsible for all things bad; with specific emphasis on the males of that group.

              • No, but keep in mind it’s true of every form of bigotry. It’s also true that focusing on the negatives of one group while ignoring analogous negatives of another is also bigotry.

              • Chris wrote, “…intentionally emphasizing the negatives of one race while emphasizing the positives of another to make the latter seem superior is racist.”

                Sounds like you’ve evolved into the all-knowing; how do you know when the intent is to “to make the latter seem superior”?

                • Sounds like you’ve evolved into the all-knowing; how do you know when the intent is to “to make the latter seem superior”?

                  You’re kidding. I know that because that’s the central idea of the video. Determining that doesn’t require being “all-knowing,” it requires basic comprehension skills.

                  How did you miss this central idea? Did you even watch the video?

                    • Chris wrote, “The same video everyone in this discussion is talking about.”

                      I do not see a video or a link to a video. Please direct me to the damn video instead of being an asshole.

                    • You’re really having a bad day today. Tex brought up the video in the very first comment to this blog post. His next comment linked to the video on Twitter. Every single comment in the thread you are currently commenting on is about that video.

                      What device/platform are you reading these comments on? Earlier you called me a liar for accurately quoting Chris Marschner…as if you couldn’t see the quotes he wrote in that very thread. Can I chalk this up to simple technical difficulties?

                    • Chris wrote, “You’re really having a bad day today.”

                      No I’m not.

                      Chris wrote, “Tex brought up the video in the very first comment to this blog post. His next comment linked to the video on Twitter.”

                      I tried the links when I got in this thread even after you mentioned the video and there is no video there for me; I don’t twitter.

                      Someone send a different link so I can see this video.

                    • I see the problem. Ben Shapiro has taken the video down and apologized. Here’s a description: It opened on Native Americans shooting and eating each other, then a smiling Christopher Columbus shows up and shows them how to do things like grow corn. The video ends with a list comparing America before and after Columbus; the “before” section, if I recall, included things like “Tomahawks” and “Cannibalism,” and the “After section” included things like “Books” and “The Simpsons.”

                      It was wise of Shapiro to take it down.

            • Being a very selfish person, in an intellectual sense, I have made a choice to extract every gramme of understanding from the people who write here and, in many cases, their perspectives, which I sometimes share but often do not. You are a particularly interesting case to me and though I often feel inclined to peg upon you reductive labels I do not think this is the best tack. But I do regard you as something to be studied, even if I doubt that you have the will or the intellectual tools to study yourself. To that end I was thinking about *you* (this is a giant plural-you and refers to almost an entire generation of Americans) as I am reading ‘Homo Americanus: Child of the Postmodern Age’ by Tomislav Sunic. It is very interersting — but critical — material. I present this quote and then I will expond a bit on it:

              “Regardless of its verbal anticommunist crusade, America, altough having rejected the outward signs of its former communistic nemesis [the Soviet Union], has always resorted to the use of the same egalitarian principles; it has only given them a different name and veneer. It must be emphasised that political slogans and words have changed their meaning over the past decades, although certain principles inherent in communism had taken hold more properly in America than in the ex-Soviet union. The American transmutations of those peleo-communistic virtues require from the viewpoint of a postmodern observer a different form of conceptualization for which, unfortunately, words were still lacking. It is therefor wrong to assume that just because the communist Soviet Union disappeared, the major discourse about equality, accompanied by the chiliastic principle of hope, will also disappear. Quite the contrary. At the beginning of the third millenium, the immense egalitarian meta-narrative, encapsulated in Americanism, is very much alive and kicking, which is particularly visible in America’s academia and mass media. The utopian belief in equality represents the last big hope for millions of non-European newcomers living in America.”

              The various things that I notice about you — you in the sense of what you think and say and what underlies your concerns — are largely encapsulated here. And this is why *you* are frightening, and also why you could not ever see yourself as such. Basically, but clearly, you function in relation to this communistic-egalitarian spirit. There is little, and perhaps nothing, that you will not sacrifice to it and this is why we notice that as every day passes there is no longer a real concern for ‘freedom of speech’. In your case it is because, within your mind, within your spirit and your mind, within the *self* that you manifest, you have self-censored the thought that should be free. You cannot think in free terms. Put another way you’d have to guess at what free thought is. You would have to experiment with it, to try it on and see what comes of it.

              Again, the *you* I use is huge and plural. Just think of all the things you cannot think about! Race, cultural forms, high and low, hierarchy, gender difference, homosexuality, and of course the influence of the Jewish revolutionary spirit in America, and the subservience of non-Jewish America to over-arching Jewish design which extends to the cause and the reasons for 20 years+ of terrible wars. (The JQ is actually a large one and it has a near religious sub-structure within Americanism).

              This is possibly the general scope of what you cannot think about except as what you might strike out against with a violent label and a guilt-rehearsal. So, this ‘plurality’ of citizens, like you, who cannot think and will not think, has infected mental space to such a degree that freedom of thought and expression is severely curtailed. That is America! And this is largely the area that you function in. The shamer. The guit-slinger. The ‘moral authority’. The social operative.

              Weirdly — horribly in fact — you are definitely not alone. Within ‘an American context’ of thought-control there are tens of millions of you, and there are many who write on this blog who, thought they *oppose* you (they ridicule you but they do not and they cannot critique you coherently) who yet mirror you in their self-censorship and in their conformity to coerced National Opinion. That is why I say — or more properly put that *we say* — that conservatism has been largely coopted by American liberalism and its ‘political theology’ (a term Sunic employs).

              Therefor you must be deconstructed. Not in the late French philosophical sense but more as in ‘broken down into pieces’. You have to be seen though before you can be dismantled, and seeing means understanding. This is not simpl,e and it is not easy. Therefor, the project becomes one of analysis — that is, self-analysis — insofar as we are talking about Homo americanus, a uniqueness. A unique, non self-conscious historical actor whose force-of-will is extraordinary, just as your will-force is such. The deconstruction of Homo americanus is a touchy idea, likely offensive to Americans, but in no sense at all should this deconstruction — as a personal and valuable self-project — be shied away from nor sean as laden with animus. In truth it cannot. It must not be shied away from! The analytical lens must be focussed on this American self and the predicates of American political theology. I would say that this is the most important project that I can imagine right now. Critical self-analysis, critical self-understanding outside of convenient and easy tropes.

              Simply stating this presages an immense work to be carried out. It will amount to a revolution in self-understanding and a re-equipping of the intellect and demanding intellectual processes and real work, to reestablish an intellectual platform for analysis and self-analysis.

              The ‘alt-right’ as far as I am concerned offers —in its finer manifestation — an outline of this work. It is critical, intellectual, philosophical, spiritual, political and existential. It will make demands on the American that the American has never made on himself nor has anyone else! It will lift him out of TeeVee Land and put him back in reality.

              I suggest that this *work* must be undertaken — there is in fact no choice — because the Republic is falling asunder. Actual tyrrany is not only potential, it is actual, and we notice its force rising daily. And that is why I say that *you* (you and your plurality of ‘yous’) are frightening, because you are the foot-soldiers of that tyrrany. The pawns.

              In order to critique what has come to be, one must first see it clearly. One must understand causation.

              Disassembly presages reassembly, and that of course is another topic.

              Suite à la prochaine! 🙂

          • Learning The Art of Conforming. The ‘mass-confession’, the weepy admittance. It was ‘justifiably removed’, such a weird locution.

            In this way the Right, to get and hold ground, buckes under to the Liberal Left, its master and guide.

            The video was stupid of course, among so many silly, stupid and shallow analyses, but what stands out here is the call to conform and the obedience.

            • Incoherent. What is your argument? That people shouldn’t apologize for silly, stupid and shallow behavior if it might prove a liberal right? He “conformed” to common decency and ethics, as we all should.

              • My argument is that a vital and ideologically-grounded Right does not exist, and cannot exist, in our present. And that time and time again the psuedo-right gives ground to the Liberal Left. The Liberal Left sets the ideological parameters and these parameters are *installed* as it were within American cultural discourse as ‘normalcy’. The so-called right, the so-called Conservative, is best seen and understood as slightly to the Right of the Liberal center. The other facet of my argument is that 1) the ‘real right’ and the ideological right has been excized and marginalized, and 2) that in order to reempower this Right it must a) see the degree that it has been coopted and b) resolve to recover itself through deep self-criticism and new analysis.

                In you, as is visible right now, I notice a ‘will to conform’ insofar as you see an apology as a needed route to social acceptance. But ‘social acceptance’ will only amount to be included within a mass, and that mass is Liberal Americanism as ideology and as political manifestation. This ‘apologizing’, in a social-mdeia world, is in my view a spectacle, a *rehearsal*, a game. I spit on it. As any thoughtful and upstanding person should.

                My further argument is that we must break out of these constraints and the ‘will to conform’. All the assumptions and certitudes of our present have to be challenged. Thought has to be freed so that these (questionable) certitudes can be challenged.

                ‘As we all should’ is a disgusting, conformist phrasing, yet it perfectly encapsulates the result of conforming which also speaks to the tendency to conform.

                My arguments are that everything about gender, homosexuality, race, culture, political organization, propaganda and PR, politically-correct thinking, the conformity in the universities, the restriction on free thought and free speech — all questions, all topics — must be brought out into the open and that political conformity (the will to conform) in all its manifestations must be challenged. The project I recommend is, in short, an analysis of the ‘tenets of Americanism’ as a political theology.

                Well? I hope I get at least the wrapper around the cupcake!

                  • All he would have needed to do is delete the video and say ‘An intern put this up. It may be funny but I didn’t like it so I removed it’. What indicated that there is more going on than meets the eye is the ‘confession’, the admitance of ‘24 hours’ of spiritual pain. Those are rehearsals and spectacles. I maintain that they speak about social conformity and *enactments* which are common in our present.

                    I suggest that this enactment has as its purpose to indicate that Ben Shapiro agrees to rein himself in and to serve the Liberal Center.

                    From your angle, naturally, any shift or turning toward that liberal center is seen as a ‘good’, so you’d have nothing to say about it except ‘He’s learning’.

                    What is being ‘learned’ is the value of the surrender of self-sovereignty and the intelligence of adapting message to established parameters.

                    Horrifyingly, this is one of the salient characteristics of Homo americanus.

                    Spineless, conformist, intellectually weak and more often than not evincing a will to conform.

                    • All he would have needed to do is delete the video and say ‘An intern put this up. It may be funny but I didn’t like it so I removed it’. What indicated that there is more going on than meets the eye is the ‘confession’, the admitance of ‘24 hours’ of spiritual pain. Those are rehearsals and spectacles

                      I guess it wouldn’t even occur to sociopath that someone might apologize because they feel genuinely bad about something.

                      Perhaps when you apologize, it is a mere rehearsal or spectacle. Other people do it based on real emotion.

                    • Speaking of argument

                      Yours begins with a slide into ad hominem and you construct a false-argument upon that.

                      I have found that most of the arguments of the Liberal Left are built on emoted premises. As long as people cannot or will not reason well, your ‘arguments’ will always achieve traction in such people.

  1. 1 The rhetoric against celebrating Columbus Day is at bottom an attack on American values and the nation itself, making the case that the culture should bask in eternal guilt and shame for the crime of existing.

    A man who never set foot in America and died more than two hundred years before our nation was founded is so representative of “American values” that attacking him is an attack on American values and the nation itself?

    Tell me another one.

    This is yet another attempt to make everyone who disagrees with you on a minor topic seem like they hate America. It’s a bottom-of-the-barrel, Sean Hannity, Breitbart-level attack, and you’re better than that.

    We celebrate Columbus because he brought European culture and civilization to the New World, making our nation possible.

  2. MA, CT, RI, NY and NJ will always celebrate Columbus Day, as probably will Chicago, Philly, and the other cities where a lot of people and, more importantly, a lot of powerful people, have names which end in vowels. The rest of the nation, we’ll see. It’s a Federal holiday, so it would take an Act of Congress to change that, nonetheless, if we get a President Sanders or President Warren down the line, it might happen. Most of the places that have subbed in indigenous people’s day have sizable Indian populations vis-a-vis Italian ones or, like LA, are hopelessly liberal. Those who press best beware, though, the left would really have little standing to complain if MLK were attacked for being a traitor, an adulterer, and (gasp) a Republican, or Muhammad were exposed for the pedophile raider he was. I think it’s also worth noting that the indigenous people were not all peaceful farmers and occasional hunters who apologized to the deer they took a la Disney’s Pocahontas. The last time I checked cannibalism, mutilation, torture, and human sacrifice (sometimes on a HUGE scale) were not desirable things. Trading one set of myths for another is no gain.

    My alma mater may be headed for a weasel award themselves. As I may have mentioned, I am an alumnus of the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA (sorry, I need to keep the year to myself, lest I give away too many identifiers). The mascot there is the Crusader, and has been associated with the school since 1884, although it was only officially adopted after an election in the 1930s, beating out “Chiefs” and “Sagamores.” The current president has indicated it is time to have a “conversation” about the mascot. Something tells me this is either one of those conversations where one side talks and the other side listens, or one side makes their case, then the other side does what it was going to do anyway. One of my more practical minded classmates, after an online discussion that was half scholarly, half junk, predicted that the name will stay, but the mascot will become an animal named Crusader rather than an armored knight, thus avoiding friction with alumni groups that don’t want to change their names, but at the same time genuflecting to political correctness, which holds that the Crusades were genocidal wars initiated by barbarian Europeans against relatively peaceful and SO much more advanced Arabs. Never mind that Europe and the Arab word already had three centuries of history before the First Crusade was called, most of it NOT exactly peaceful, and never mind the fact that the Italians and Sicilians (with some help from the Normans) had just thrown the Arabs out a generation before Pope Urban issued the call, so Muslim Arab tyranny was still in living memory there, as well as still a fact in Spain and Portugal.

    I pointed all this out. Half those who bothered to respond complimented my erudition, half acted horrified (“my husband’s Jewish! We’re raising our children Jewish! I have Muslim friends!”), or sneered, calling me pedantic (ever notice the difference between “well-read” and “pedantic” is usually whether you agree with the person?). $10 says they go the weenie path of least resistance.

        • The way I see things, we cannot consider, and we should not consider, ‘the nation’ to be ourself or our people. It might be one thing if, say, in my county or in my state we had all agreed on the necessity of war (in some far-away land). But that was not the case, not at all. So, when you speak of ‘nation’ I want to know who exactly you are referring to.

          Because I think a case can definitely be made that ‘the nation’ did not then, and would not have, willed to go to war. Who or what went to war? It is not possible to say ‘national interests’ (in the sense of people of the nation) since it is said to be true that it was money and monied-interests that went to war. It is also possible — and fair, and even necessary — to say that our recent wars have had little to do with ‘national interest’ and a great deal to do with money-interest (though I do accept that some people really do believe that a world war on ‘terrorism’ is a necessary response to 9/11. I do not believe it myself and think it must be challengded).

          So, I think it could be argued — and strictly from a conservative and constitutional perspective — that opposition to the Vietnam War was a patriotic choice. In other words, it should have been opposed by most people of whatever color or origin, simply because it was not defensible. Because it was not defensible according to American constitutional principles, it was immoral and unethical.

          MLKs issue with the war, according to his understanding of himself and ‘his people’, makes coherant sense. His case is logical. When those people asked themselves ‘What is my nation?’ the answer was not a certain government and a certain military-industrial-manufacturing class. But that points up the problem of African Americans within a nation that is not their own. Not felt to be their own, not seen as being their own. This is all quite obvious.

          Since at that time — I think this is true — the whole question of what is ‘our nation’ and what must it serve? was coming to the foreground, it is precisely then that ‘the nation’ began to fracture. The fracturing continues now. And other events have worsened it. So, whose nation went to war?

          Americanism — the socially-enforced doctrine of multiculturalism — is not going to work for much longer. I am not attempting to be pessimistic and negative. It will not work because it could not ever have worked. Or, to put it another way, it could only work temporarily and under certain specific conditions. That epoch is coming to a close (I sumbit).

          The issue of war-making and the vast business interests behind it do not depend on race and cultural issues. That war was wrong for many visible reasons and it did no one any good at all (that I am aware of). But it was a war propelled not by ideals but by expediency. It simply had the effect of making worse, and making evident, the many insuperable problems of multiculturalism.

        • Steve, that article has some good stuff, and attempts to be balanced, but is very incomplete. To support the Republican argument, it cites Alveda King, a radical far-right activist who believes that gay marriage is equivalent to genocide, and who has been disowned by the rest of the King family, who have said she lies about her uncle’s beliefs. I don’t find her to be a credible source.

          It is possible that MLK Jr. was a Republican, but I highly doubt he would be one today. His economic policies alone, which the article does not mention, were way too far left for the modern Republican party. He supported reparations, an “economic bill of rights,” a basic universal income, a higher minimum wage, and affirmative action.

            • I’m not implying anything, I’m coming right out and saying it. Wars aren’t won without the full support of a nation, and if you attempt to stir up trouble at home to stymie the war effort, yeah, that’s treacherous.

              • Serious question: What should we do with American citizens who use their first amendment rights to criticize wars? Should we have locked MLK, Jr. up? Or is social condemnation enough for you?

                • Serious question for you: how many of these “critics” are serious critics, and how many are just looking to make political or other hay?

                    • “Should we have locked MLK, Jr. up?”

                      Um…you did know that MLK, Jr. was jailed nearly 30 times, didn’t you?

                      “MLK Jr. was definitely a serious critic.”

                      Know what he wasn’t a wasn’t a serious critic of?

                      The 2nd Amendment.

                      From: “This Nonviolent Stuff’ll Get You Killed” (Charles E. Cobb Jr.)

                      ”Visiting Martin Luther King Jr. during the Montgomery, Alabama, bus boycott, journalist William Worthy almost sat on a loaded pistol. ‘Just for self-defense,’ King assured him.

                      “It was not the only weapon King kept for such a purpose; one of his advisors remembered the reverend’s Montgomery, Alabama, home as ‘an arsenal.’

                      ”Like King, many ostensibly ‘nonviolent’ civil rights activists embraced their constitutional right to self-protection—yet this crucial dimension of the Afro-American freedom struggle has been long ignored by history.” (bolds mine)

                      Ignored by history? How can that be?

                    • It is a hard thing to face up to but MLK and his political theology is (or was) in many senses a restatement of Jeffersonian political idealism and also of puritanical political theology. And in this sense the Declaration is a religious document, a religious-visionary document. That is — seen from one angle — a strength, but seen from another angle a weakness.

                      As I say — and I assume you do not agree (or more likely have not thought it really through) — the ideal of a multicultural hyper-liberal and theological America is impracticable, perhaps because it comes about through abstractions and hyperreal idealisms.

                      There is another engine that moves America and it has nothing to do with those idealisms, nor with a religious or theological content. Cold, hard, determining power.

                      MLK was a populist and a rhetorician of notable skill. That rhetoric was, in fact and in truth, terrifying to the ‘powers that be’. Not only because what he presaged — the blending of a black African population with a white Northern European population is a terrible idea and a worse social attainment — is impracticable, but because his social and economic politics would not be tolerated within the existent American economic order (that is, oligarchy and plutotocracy). I’ve read quite convincing accounts of how the FBI and para-militaries killed him. The guy who was set up as the killer had been ‘groomed’ for years beforehand to be at that locale, at that time. It is pretty obvious that King’s death was ‘necessary’ within the context of the American system. It would be repeated again I assume if it happened that a popular movement became powerful enough to challenge elite control.

                      The real question, the real issue, for Left and Right, even for the extremes of Left and Right, is what power-block will control any political system, whether it calls itself a ‘liberal democracy’ (:::laughs:::) or any other name. No matter how the question is looked at, power is held by those who have grabbed it, and it is everything but ‘democratic’.

                      The issue of power, if it is going to be talked about, cannot be spoken of at a national level. The ‘nation’ is a neo-imperialism married to, and interwoven with, constellations of corporations. In our postmodernism these powers define things. These are not people but rather mechanisms. America is, understood at this level, a whirring machine of unreal proportion and one that is also armed and explosive. One has to take this into consideration, whether one is socially progressive or old-school conservative (or neo-fascist like yours truly). The machine serves the machine, it does not really serve *people* in the real sense of the word. The machine is also swerving out of control. It is verging on psychosis and extreme actions. It is a period of somewhat late decadence and immanent decline. It is a dangerous time for all concerned.

                      I do not think that Steve can help much with necessary analysis. I do not understand why, but he cannot abstract himself enough to see himself, and the nation, from some distance.

                    • Um…you did know that MLK, Jr. was jailed nearly 30 times, didn’t you?

                      Of course I know that. I asked Steve if MLK, Jr. should have been locked up for his criticism of the Vietnam War. I can see why he hasn’t answered; his answer would likely be…unpopular.

                      Know what he wasn’t a wasn’t a serious critic of?

                      The 2nd Amendment.

                      Neither am I. Is this supposed to be a gotcha?

                • ::: raises hand :::

                  I know, I know! You put a bullet through his head?

                  There is a narrative out there — I admit to being inclined to believe it — that the more famous assassination of the 60s (President) had as its purpose to keep the US from avoiding the Vietnam War, or of pulling out of it. One facet of the argument is that there was too much money involved. Too much that stood to be lost if the war had been stopped.

                  My understanding is that America has been driven by its wars. And the Republic will be destroyed by them.

                  The obvious implication (as everyone knows) is that a para-military force engineered the assassination … and in a sense ‘the rest is history’. MLK, if this narrative is true, was one other important piece.

                  More troubling is the ‘problem of democracy’ and when democracy is a problem that must be overcome. The popular forces that came into the open and into the public sphere, were they not to have been stopped and re-routed, might have toppled the government, similar perhaps to Paris 1968.

                  If that would have happened you-all would have been transsexuals, lesbians, queers, communists and vegan-pacifists just that much sooner! You’d all be living in a Commune and have been mandated by law to share all your orifices.

                  As it turned out, it was really quite inexpensive to assassinate Kennedy, keep the war going as long as practicable, and keep the country steered toward its numerous, and unending, bellicose projects … while simultaneously enacting civil rights legislation, opening the doors to mass-immigration from the brown world and reenginnering the demographics of the US. So many strange things happening and all at once!

                  Massive social engineering and the creation of a weird postmodern liberal Americanism. I am surprised that so many of you act only half-nuts.

                  And you have assigned me the task of reversing all that, and in so little time?!?

              • ::: mouth open and tongue hanging out in disbelief :::

                What you have just said is 100% incommensurate with the responsibility and requirement of citizenship in a Republic like the US. When the rulership of America attacked the Phillippines there was a great outcry that Republican values — those of the Constitution — were incommensurate with a project of imperialism. If that is so, and it appears it is, not to have taken a stand against that attack and occupation would by definition have been non-patriotic.

                I do not understand on what principles you construct your conservatism.

    • I’ve got you beat Steve. Grade school teams: St. Michael’s Crusaders. High school teams: Christoper Columbus Explorers. Of course, at that time I just thought Crusaders were just cool Navy attack bombers.

      • I went to Bergen Catholic High School, who were also the Crusaders, and what is more, our motto was “Deus vult!” But yeah, you got me.

  3. The Columbus Day story is, at bottom, a story about the nature of government. People celebrated Columbus Day for many years, on at least three continents. Governments made it a holiday, though, and the US government turned it into a national holiday, because it was a relatively cheap way to sway votes of Italian immigrants. We now have new relatively cheap immigrants to bribe (plus the egos of a few others), so Columbus is out, these other days will be in, and the old spontaneous celebrations will be squashed.

  4. As to 1), I think there are many complicating factors here. Having read a good deal of Eduardo Galeano, but it can be gotten from any decent history, the Spanish did not so much as ‘bring civilization’, though they definitely brought themselves and their own civilization, but moreover they brought enslavement, death and destruction, and a great deal of suffering as they pursued their goals. One very significant difference between Spanish culture and English culture in the Americas was that the English came because they wanted to live and build in a new world. The Spanish came because of ambition and a desire to gain wealth. For many their desire was literally exploitative. Effectively, they enslaved the indigenous population and got them working on the Spanish plantation. True, there were religious people (like de las Casas) who saw this, who empathized with the crushed Indian, and advocated for better treatment. But this does not, and cannot, change the underlying truth.

    The English colonists, taken on the whole, had no use at all for the Indigenous American. They certainly were not willing to breed with them except in rare cases. So, easier to push them away or to wipe them out (insofar as this as practicable).

    If it is true that one can patriotically celebrate Columbus as the bringer of civilization, and if that process involved the defeat and enslavement of the Natives, then one could go the further step of ‘justifying’ slavery in the American South. Which is, of course, what was done for a long time.

    The problem with the ‘revisionist spirit’ — and an attack on Columbus and what he represents and what he brought is revisionism pure and simple — is that it involves seeing things in a different light. A ‘true’ vision of Columbus, or the Spanish or the English colonists, leads one to *debilitating thoughtfulness*. And this is how it has worked out, speaking generally. The postwar (2) projects are revisionist projects and they have been undertaken and overseen by the progressive left. These ways of seeing, and of interpreting, now dominate in our present.

    The ‘America’ that I gather Jack celebrates (by holding to that specific historical view) is one that must eat itself. Because America to be the ‘America’ of today must become universally *inclusive* and must not in any form allow racialism and distinction. One way to *justify* the rather dark history of conquest (again if it seen truthfully and not romantically) is to insist that americanization occur. That means pretty much exactly what we see in our present: a multicultural project which ‘glue’ is the proposition at the base of the ‘propositional nation’. This is a Creed which is, in its essence, progressive. It invites and holds to all the progressive doctrines and cannot support or be supported by their opposite.

    There is another alternative though, but it is a confusing one. It is to reduce all questions, all issues, all conflicts, to an issue of power. Columbus came, the Spaniard came, and they did what they did because they could and because they had the power to do it. This argument does, and indeed it must, reduce everything to a question of power. Power does not have to defend itself or excuse itself.

    Even ‘American power’ in this manifestation of it — a cultural and engineered project of Americanism in an Americanopolis — is a manifestation of power! It is the power to define, to insist on a definition, and to tell others (to influence them or to coerce them, one way or the other) to see the present manifestation is necessary and inevitable. And that is also a use of power.

    It seems to me that the ‘patriotic narrative’ and even the narrative that supports ‘americanism’ is not getting stronger and is weakening. Because it is weakening, the ‘glue’ comes undone. But the ‘old glue’ might not function in a new, postmodern era, to hold things together. If at first it was held together, it is now weakening for different reasons. And what steps forward to hold it together as it weakens is not ‘the power of an agreement, agreed upon’ but something more forceful, more strident. Once the volunteered power of unity is weakened, only the legal forms will still hold.

  5. Sociopathic predators like Weinstein don’t just victimize random women. They choose their victims carefully, and manipulate them into thinking they are helpless and alone. The victims see their assailant as all-powerful and untouchable, and believe that resistance is worse than acquiescence. To outsiders — to people learning what happened after the fact — it seems clear what should be done, but the victims are unable to see it that way.

    You’re right, of course, that had they come forward sooner, Weinstein might not have been able to victimize so many women. But for the same reason, by coming forward now, they are making it harder for Weinstein to victimize women in the future. That’s a good thing, and we want to encourage victims of people like Weinstein to come forward. But if the women who have come forward so far had listened to your dismissive “too little, too late,” they might not have come forward at all. By focusing on their failure to come forward sooner, you are discouraging similar victims from coming forward in the future.

  6. Columbus Day was perhaps our first “minority” holiday, instituted more as a way of throwing a bone to Italian immigrants than as a genuine celebration of American history and values. Of course, it became ingrained in our national culture over the past 80 years, but in a way, it laid the groundwork for its own demise.

    • A bit overly cynical, I think, but not without some truth. Columbus was certainly taught as a sage about values. Once he got to America, nobody cared about the disease, the slavery, the failed voyages. It didn’t matter. The legend is the story: print the legend. It’s good for us: a man risks his life to prove superstitions and fear wrong, opening the door to new possibilities.

      I went to school in an overwhelmingly Irish/Italian Catholic arae, and I swear, Spain got more attention in the story than Italy.

      • Once he got to America, nobody cared about the disease, the slavery, the failed voyages. It didn’t matter. The legend is the story: print the legend. It’s good for us: a man risks his life to prove superstitions and fear wrong, opening the door to new possibilities.

        I’m not sure I get this. Are you saying that we should intentionally leave out the bad things Columbus did because it makes us feel better?

        I was taught only positive things about Columbus in elementary school, and didn’t learn about the slavery, disease or torture until much later. You can believe *I* thought it mattered when I found out my teachers thought it was more important to teach me the names of his ships than to tell me about his brutal treatment of Natives and his impact on the Transatlantic Slave Trade. If you say that “doesn’t matter,” you are saying that those people didn’t matter. You are advocating propaganda, and not the the good kind.

        • ”I was taught only positive things about Columbus in elementary school, and didn’t learn about the slavery, disease or torture until much later.”

          Same here, and I’ll agree that the reality of a totally barbaric disregard for the sanctity of the life and suffering of “others” is positively mindboggling by any measure.

          Teaching kids this later on, when they’re emotionally, intellectually, & philosophically more astute? absolutely. But I’m not so sure elementary school (ages 5-12) is the place to teach the shockingly lurid aspect of such things, you?

          Do you think you’ve been taught the truth about the Transatlantic Slave Trade?

          Do you believe you know it now?

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