Saturday Ethics Pick-Me–Up, 6/15/2019: The “Oh, Fine, It’s Afternoon Already And I’m Barely Awake” Edition

Bvuh.

Travel hangover today: I’ll do the best I can…

1. Thank you, loyal commenters, for a yeoman job in yesterday’s Open Forum.

2. Confederate Statuary Ethics Train Wreck update. Now the historical airbrushers (all from Progressiveland, just in case you couldn’t guess) are going after Civil War recreations and commemorative events. The head of the Lake County Forest Preserve in Illinois declared that there would be no more annual Civil War Days event after next  month’s edition, if he gets his way. He doesn’t think Confederate flags should ever be displayed, even in battle recreations. Besides, he wants the event to be retooled so that instead of commemorating the single most important period and struggle in U.S. history, it advances an understanding of climate change.

(Who are these people? How did they get this way? What do we do about them so the cultural damage they inflict is contained?)

The home-grown historical censor also said,

“This has nothing we want, nor should celebrate, nor re-enact. When southern states are being made to tear down every statute representing this racist, murdering chapter of our history, I can’t believe here in Lake County our own forest preserve is preserving and celebrating it every year, and with our tax dollars.”

This deliberately brain-dead approach to U.S. history is working (aided greatly by the atrocious neglect of American history in our schools), and by working I mean promoting ignorance so citizens can be more easily misled. The Wall Street Journal reported that visits to Civil War national battlefields are falling off. Over 10 million Americans visited  Gettysburg, Antietam, Shiloh, Chickamauga/Chattanooga, and Vicksburg  in 1970. They only had 3.1 million visitors last year.

That’s about as many tourists as visited the “Cheers” bar in Boston.

3. Oberlin race-baiting update: in case you missed it, the jury in the Gibson’s Bakery case  hit the college with the maximum punitive damages, capped by law at 22 million dollars. 

The rhetoric coming from the school as well as its “defense” is still astounding. Oberlin’s position remains that it wasn’t slandering the family bakery as racist (for stopping and having arrested black students who admitted to trying to steal from it); it was merely being supportive of students—who were calling for a boycott of the store and picketing it as racist for stopping and having arrested black students who admitted to trying to steal from it. The innocent “support” included a dean handing out boycott flyers, the school cancelling its contract with the bakery, and Toni Myers, Oberlin College’s Multicultural Resource Center Director  sending out a text that said, “After a year, I hope we rain fire and brimstone on that store.”

I don’t get it. Colleges are supposed to teach students  how to make good decisions, live by ethical values, and to behave responsibly. Why would an institution that understands that what its students are doing is wildly unjust and irrational support them?

“The inmates are running the asylum” has seldom been more apt than it is now in academia. Universities are enabling their students’ worst impulses and most unbalanced beliefs rather than doing the task they are paid—exorbitantly– to do: education.

It has also been noted that both the New York Times and the Washington Post have done their utmost to minimize their coverage of this story, both printing same the spare, bare bones Associated Press account, and  burying it deep in the first section. This is an especially ugly example of what the divisive, progressive mob mentality on campuses and elsewhere is doing to American society, and should be a wake-up call.

Naturally, the mainstream media would like to fade quietly away.

4. If the characters have even rudimentary ethics, there’s no movie. I finally watched “The Box,” the Richard Matheson-inspired horror movie about a strange man who gives a box  with a button to a married couple and tells them that if the push it, they will receive  a million cash free dollars, and somewhere, a stranger will die. Annoyingly, this is presented as an ethical dilemma . It’s not an unethical dilemma. It’s an easy call, or should be, for a million, for a billion, for a trillion.

Nevertheless,  the wife (Cameron Diaz) pushes the button. If you can’t figure out what this eventually leads to,  you haven’t wasted nearly enough  of your life watching “Twilight Zone” episodes and  supernatural horror movies.

5. How can people justify being such cruel assholes? Madison’s Café in O’Fallon, Missouri cancelled a reservation for a wedding rehearsal dinner when it found out that the groom was a she. When the incident was publicized,  the establishment  played the God Card, posting a long and cloying  statement including,

Honoring God: We believe that everything we have is a gift from God that we are to use to honor Him through our activities, events, and endeavors.In order to honor God, we will not host or facilitate any event that we believe directly contradicts our Christian principles.

Ugh. A rehearsal dinner is a dinner, not a religious ceremony or any ceremony at all. If you think a gathering of friends and relatives  to eat and drink, contradict any Christina principles,  you need a refresher course in your own faith. I guerantee, without question that many, many dinners have taken place at Madison’s Café without interference that celebrated abortions, gay relationships, adultery, unethical business transactions, even crimes. A restaurant has no business delving into the private lives of patrons to decide who is worthy of their services.

Somehow, I find it hard to believe that any god worth respecting, much less worshiping, is honored when his creations behave like assholes while invoking His or Her name.

Now, if Oberlin students picketed this place, I’d be supportive. However, it’s doubtful that an Ohio boycott of a bigoted restaurant in Missouri would have much impact.

6. While we’re on the topic of charming eateries, how about this receipt that an African America woman was handed at a Mississippi restaurant  called  “Who Dat’s”?

The employee was fired. But the abused customer, while posting it on social media, wrote…

“I seek justice for this hate crime and I will no longer remain silent,” she wrote. “I’ve lived in Oxford for 5 years and I’m still having to deal with this type of ignorance. I’m not a rude or hateful person. I was not rude when I was at this establishment and was greeted with this kind of service. I will not stand for it.”

No. The woman was insulted and demeaned. She was cruelly mistreated, and she has every reason to be angry. THis was not, however, a “hate crime.” Words are not crimes. People are going to keep repeating the false and dangerous lie that simply saying offensive things or expressing racist sentiments is, or should be, a crime, until is seeps into the culture and poisons society.

Every intelligent, educated, Bill of Rights literate citizen has an obligation to slap down and rebut efforts to criminalize speech, wherever they appear.

32 thoughts on “Saturday Ethics Pick-Me–Up, 6/15/2019: The “Oh, Fine, It’s Afternoon Already And I’m Barely Awake” Edition

    • The judgment may not stand up on appeal, legally. The issue will be whether calling Gibson’s “racist” or accusing the store (owners and employees) of racism for calling the police on black students for theft is a matter of opinion (not demafation) or a statement of fact (maybe defamatory). Interestingly, radical race theory may find itself in a pickle: if the cries of racism at every instance or purported injustice are now considered “fact” and not opinion, Oberlin is in big trouble. Let’s what happens.

      jvb

        • Interesting that the college is throwing the students under the bus, saying the college needs to support free speech and it’s just the kids that were nasty to the store and its owners. Spineless hardly describes the administrators. And garbing themselves in the clothing of protectors of the First Amendment. Hah! You go girls.

  1. 6. Are we to assume the fired employee is a person not of color? If he or she was a person of color, would his or her using “bitches” be deemed unacceptable or just hip argot?

  2. 4: “If you can’t figure out what this eventually leads to, you haven’t wasted nearly enough of your life watching “Twilight Zone” episodes and supernatural horror movies.”

    In fact, this story was done as an episode of the “new” Twilight Zone of the 1980’s under the name, “Button, Button”. It was my first encounter with the story so I never bothered to watch, “The Box”.

      • I watched only a few of that remake, which wasn’t nearly as well done as the original. But, I was a teenager then and had plenty of hours to waste. Not enough to watch the entire reboot, though. I missed Kaye’s performance in “Paladin of the Lost Hour” which is widely considered to be the best episode of that particular remake.

        I didn’t bother with the remake in the early 2000s. And I’m certainly not paying for an extra streaming service just to watch the new remake with Jordan Peele.

    • Oooh, thanks for that. The reporter goes to great lengths to fudge the fact that the black students were guilty. They weren’t compelled to plead to a lesser defense. They could have insisted on a trial, if the evidence was weak. It wasn’t. Nobody claims that they weren’t shoplifting. Oberlin took the position that they shouldn’t have been prosecuted by the store–because they were students, because they were black, because Oberlin said so. Obviously the “profiling” claim wouldn’t hold up. The black kids tried to steal merchandise. If you are breaking the law openly and happen to be black, the claim that you were profiled just doesn’t make much sense.

  3. (Who are these people? How did they get this way? What do we do about them so the cultural damage they inflict is contained?)

    [Alizia raises right hand hand while propping it with her left hand: “Me, Sir, please call on me!”

    “Very well, insect! Speak!!!

    :::: clears throat ::::

    Macauley, in History of England from the Accession of James ll:

    A people which takes no pride in the noble achievements of remote ancestors will never achieve anything worthy to be remembered by noble descendents.”

    From what I have been able to tell, I would say especially on this blog, the people who write here, and thus a significant cross-section of both Americans and Europeans of the class who think and write, have fallen under the spell of specific currents and lines of historicism.

    Wilmot Robertson in The Dispossessed Majority writes:

    One of the great difficulties of this approach [giving little emphasis to issues of ethnic and cultural identity within an ideological Americanism] is not the unearthing of the anthropological evidence. Enough of it is already at hand. The principal deterrent is the formidable opposition of the intellectuals who dictate the shape and content of contemporary historical interpretation. A single step in the direction of establishing common Majority racial roots would be, in their eyes, a direct challenge to one or more of the currently accepted fashions in historicism — the materialistic fixations of Marx, the religious ecstasies of Toynbee, the morphological prophecies of Spengler, the liberal platitudinizing of the Schlesinger school and the anti-history of Popper.

    1) These People are you, the Americans of the Postwar who have come under specific lines of ideological persuasion and of indoctrination as the elite factions in your country have engineered the population as part of their larger Postwar project of ‘constructing an economic world’.

    1a) Task: understand this causation by removing intellectual blinders imposed by a false-Americanism.

    2) How did they get this way? Every aspect of it can be traced through analysis of specific causal lines. No part of it arose ‘spontaneously’. We tend to rail against ‘The Left’ and this is part of a scapegoating strategy which is regularly rehearsed on these pages and in this forum, but this is an incomplete analysis. You — average Conservative-tending Americans — are deeply committed to radical-left values and you have absorbed at a somatic-intellectual level a set of tenets which are highly modernistic, deeply ideological, and which (to speak generally but I think fairly) you cannot analyze with rigor because it will involve you (a general *you-plural* that is a linguistic convention) in ‘unthinkable thought’. *You* will have to confront intellectual, cultural and social cowardice. Far easier it is to go over to one side of the American Bandwagon as it moves inexorably in its Unidirection and *complain* about the terrible things The Left is doing!

    2a) Solution: recognize profound complicity.

    3) What do we do about them so the cultural damage they inflict is contained? Make a hero’s choice to see the world in ‘real terms’. This is very complex and difficult because it involves historical, social and cultural revision. It involves a confrontation with the self, a self that is wedded to false ideas and false interpetations: those falsely based ideological interpretations that have produced, as a product of causation, the Present we are now living in, in its horrifying Technicolor.

    3a) Study those who have crossed over into more radical intellectual territory and who have been, as a result, ostracized and vilified and lied about. Study how in our Postwar era an ideological system has been devised the purpose of which is to control the population while it is simultaneously ‘engineered’. That engineering can be seen as ‘dumbing down’ and the end result of this engineering is to create a pliant, compliant, weak-willed, intellectually powerless Mass Population given over to immediate pleasures and endlessly seduced (see Libido Dominandi ). Understand that the ‘noble republic’ and its noble values and possibilities have been and are being undermined by specific interests with specific intentions that are little short of demonic.

    3b) Become capable of turning ones eyes and one’s head away from the screen (operative in so many senses, as real-thing and as metaphor) on which are projected the flickering forms of our Modern Present. Turn around to see The Projectors.

    4) The Cultural Damage. At the base, though this will sound reductionistic, the problem is spiritual. But this requires some definitions that are not common and non-popular. It requires an understanding of ‘the soul’, of ‘the intellect’, and has much to do with ‘what is seen’ and thus with seeing and therefore with Vision.

    4a) A ‘machine-reality’ is being devised — installed is the better way to put it. In order for this New Reality to function as *they* wish it to (at once rational and chosen, but also irrational and unconscious) they have to defeat intelligence as I define it. But that means attacking the soul and its ‘product’ which is both intelligence (intellectus) and clear sight: vision. Because this is ultimately a spiritual issue, change involves the cultivation of the relationship with that which strengthens, purifies and exalts the soul (as I would define it. Hence: the inward turn).
    ____________________

    Obviously, everything hinges on broaching the most relevant conversation possible, of getting everything out on the table, and of freeing the mind in order to be able to see clearly and make proper choices. It is really quite monumental the time we live in and the demands being made.

  4. 2. Civil War follies

    The progressive Left will apparently not be satisfied until the entire Confederacy is treated thus, in the paraphrased words of Seti I in The Ten Commandments:

    Let the Confederacy be stricken from every book and tablet. Stricken from every pylon and obelisk of America. Let the Confederacy be unheard and unspoken, erased from the memory of man, for all time.

    History is for conservative assholes. “Woke” history is now the approved (and only) version permitted. You will be made to care.

    3. Oberlin

    Why would an institution that understands that what its students are doing is wildly unjust and irrational support them?

    That question answers itself, Jack. Clearly, the school administration agreed with the students, or were indifferent to those among them who did. They imagine that the social imperative of banishing any suggestion of racism overcomes the First Amendment because the First Amendment, as we are often told by the Left, does not protect “hate speech.”

    What a rude shock it must be for Oberlin to discover that libel, not “hate,” is an actual exception to free speech. It overcomes the “woke” students’ and Oberlin’s “best intentions,” and even the Left’s supposed “hate” exception.

    Talk about your ethics dunces, as well as ethics corruptors…

    4. The Box

    I saw this trailer years ago and determined I would skip this one for exactly the reasons you describe. It’s a more extreme version of Indecent Proposal — the question “Would you throw away your marriage vows,” or in the case of The Box, your humanity, for money?

    5. Rehearsal Dinner

    Ugh, indeed. I have strong feelings about homosexuality and religious belief, but this is throwing the baby out with the bath, in addition to being rank hypocrisy. There is nothing Christian about this at all.

    If religious people want to make sure that their beliefs are not taken into account in future laws, this is a perfect example of how to make that happen.

    6. “Hate crime”

    People are going to keep repeating the false and dangerous lie that simply saying offensive things or expressing racist sentiments is, or should be, a crime, until is seeps into the culture and poisons society.

    Where have you been, Jack? This ship sailed almost a decade ago. 2010 wants its outrage back.

    7. We need some Ethics Heroes around here.

    • If the Confederacy is erased then the only story that can be told is that at one point we used African slaves like some in Africa still do but we learned that it was wrong and stopped it. Case closed. Nothing more to discuss.

      • If the Confederacy is erased then the only story that can be told is that at one point we used African slaves like some in Africa still do but we learned that it was wrong and stopped it. Case closed. Nothing more to discuss.

        The Confederacy also represents and embodies something else: the will of a specific people to disassociate themselves from a corrupt political body. This idea (the possibility of dissolution) is ultimately threatening to the *structure of things*: the régime which has effective control over government, that comprises the Deep State.

        There are other perspectives that have been around, from what I have discovered for a long time, but have been repressed. They are now coming out with more force.

  5. Ugh. A rehearsal dinner is a dinner, not a religious ceremony or any ceremony at all. If you think a gathering of friends and relatives to eat and drink, contradict any Christian principles, you need a refresher course in your own faith. I guarantee, without question that many, many dinners have taken place at Madison’s Café without interference that celebrated abortions, gay relationships, adultery, unethical business transactions, even crimes. A restaurant has no business delving into the private lives of patrons to decide who is worthy of their services.

    Somehow, I find it hard to believe that any god worth respecting, much less worshiping, is honored when his creations behave like assholes while invoking His or Her name.

    My view is that people — the restaurant and its ownership in this case — try to assert control over a general régime-of-the-present which, they feel (they understand) is distorting themselves. It rises up all around them and comes at them from all angles and they understand themselves as defenseless.

    Since we have already been over this before I will just refer to the postwar social engineering to normalize sex and sexual relations that had been understood to be aberrant [diverging from the normal type: synonyms: deviant, deviating, divergent, abnormal, atypical, anomalous, digressive, irregular].

    The vast cultural shifts, engineered by powerful figures involved in projects of social engineering, have manipulated culture and are ‘transvaluing values’ in bizarre and ever-increasing ways. What I notice about your perspective — if I am permitted to be so bold — is that you do not connect the dots as the saying goes.

    The notable deterioration of American culture and the various manifestations of sickness are all of a piece. The topic of sexuality and the requirement of sexual restraint, from a Christian perspective and traditionally, is dealt with rationally and is highly intelligible in Christian theology. It has to do with sexual expression in all senses, including heterosexually. It is demanding and difficult. And the sexual distortions of the present fit together into a general decadence which is beginning to show its destructive effects all around. But this is a topic of no interest to you (and others)(here). Thus, it is completely neglected and disregarded. But without this piece, I think that you cannot be successful in seeing the present in a full sense.

    When people come to understand themselves as powerless in certain ways, either specific or general, I suggest that they look for ways to reassert control. Therefore, though it might not be the best choice, the restaurant ownership feels it is taking a positive and intelligible step that seems to have to do with ‘self-protection’. (If people want to hold their gay wedding, or the rehearsal to it, let them go somewhere else for that, they say).

    Given that in the *surrounding culture* there is a more-or-less open war on traditional Christianity and its value-set, I would suggest that their reactions can be understood. They see and understand that the surrounding culture is out of control. They might not be able to coherently organize all of their perspectives and often (as happens all the time on this blog) they employ reductionist analysis as they confront forces & powers (events: engineering) that they do not fully understand. But I do not think it is right to characterize them as mean-spirited.

    It is your support of an imposition of values that can be examined. And the condemnation that stands behind it.

    The more that I grasp ‘Christian principles’ the more I recognize that they are very badly understood by almost everyone. Protestants fall away from the traditional matrix in unique ways, but then so do modernized Catholics. But when the essence is understood, and when the core morality is grasped, it is coherent and understandable why the homosexual ‘transvaluation of values’ and the transvaluations of the Sexual Revolution is resisted.

    But what is most interesting with this example is not so much the example itself, but how you and *you* in the plural-lingustic sense, are radicals that support some particular radicalism (sexual orientation and sexual practice in this case but also American amalgamationism, for want of a better word) and fail to grasp that these are a manifestation of a more general social radicalism.

    Therefore, the present which takes form, with all its bizarre disfigurements, is one that *you* participate in as *complicit agents*).

    Myself, obviously, I am trying to develop a coherent counter-narrative to the radical present. It is not easy.

  6. #6. Lex Washington’s use of the term “hate crime” may be pushing the agenda to criminalize hate speech, or it may be just a (wrong) casual use of the term.
    The incident took place on a Friday night. It is not clear what action was taken immediately by the restaurant owner. One account says the employee was made to apologize (which would not have been a genuine apology). Another account says the manager laughed in her face.
    Either way, Washington was not satisfied and posted on social media that she was seeking justice. Subsequently, the following Tuesday, apparently, the manager (owner?) met with Washington, had what appears to be an agreeable discussion, fired the employee, and posted a detailed apology on social media.
    Washington has removed her post which used the term “hate crime” and says in a current post that she wants officials in Oxford, MS, to “do a better job of making minorities feel welcomed while also having repercussions for those who choose to act in the manner of that employee.” So, the question is, what kind of repercussions does she expect. I’ve asked her. If I get a reply, I’ll update this.

  7. 2) Do people like this actually understand the point of the study of history? Teaching about or demonstrating what happened in the past is not the same as celebrating it. This is nothing more than shallow, emotion-based “thinking”.

    3) I’ve mentioned in the past that I work in higher ed. It is no longer an institution based on values and noble goals, but a business aiming to serve customers (students). When seen through that lens, the state of higher ed makes more sense.

    5) I’m an almost-fundamentalist Evangelical Christian, and people like this genuinely anger me. This is not a principled stand but just a knee-jerk reaction that just does further harm to the reputation of Christians. If their statement was actually true, they would deny parties for divorce, parties for people living together, parties for people of other faiths, and so on.

    6) I suspect this is one of those restaurants that are trying to be hip, cool, or whatever the kids are calling it these days. There are some local places that seem to encourage the order takers to be trendy and edgy; I suspect this was one of those places and it just went a little too far.

  8. Related to #5 and Aliza’s comments regarding ” normalizing sex and sexual relations”.
    We are told that LGBT. . . . should have legal protections because it is not an abberant behavior that can and should be altered through counseling but simply the way some people are physically hardwired to prefer same sex physical relationships and not hetersexual ones that up to now were the only ones sanctified by government, the church or Joe Blow down the street.

    I get the hardwired argument and believe that makes more sense than simply a behavioral choice. I can understand that we should not accept pedophilia even though it to seems to be a hardwired preference and adults should not sexually prey on children. But, how do we rationalize giving kids puberty blockers or allow them to choose their own sexual identity before they are considered old enough to make decisions relating to sexual engagements with others? None of this makes sense to me and if we are going to jail adults (who too are hardwired that way) for exploiting children sexually then we need to examine why we have no problem pushing gender dysphoria upon them.

  9. #2 Actually, Jack, according to the article you linked to, the second statement was made not by the president of the preserve, but by an unnamed Chicago-area “activist” (just a label that dignifies a person with strident opinions). It comes as no surprise that the left wants to try to silence Civil War reenactments given their approach to statuary.

    I think the left would like most if not all reenactments to stop, truth be told. I fairly regularly attend the biggest of the World War 2 reenactments in the country, and in 2017 a woke “journalist” wrote this drivel: https://splinternews.com/a-weekend-of-nazi-dress-up-fun-in-the-heart-of-trump-co-1796456025

    I’ve heard plenty of nonsense to the effect that the 18th Century reenactments need to stop too, especially those that come before the Revolution like Bushy Run or Fort William Henry. Other historic stuff like Columbus is right out, of course.

    The reasons I’ve heard given are many. I’ve heard the basic pacifist arguments pitched a million times, to the effect that war and conflict are nothing to celebrate and shouldn’t be. I’ve also heard the America-shaming arguments, to the effect that this or that period of history fell short of current woke values, and as such shouldn’t be shown in anything like a good light. Now I also hear the “triggering” arguments, that black people shouldn’t have to see the time of slavery, that American Indians shouldn’t have to see the history where their people lost and lost badly to the arriving colonists, that Holocaust survivors shouldn’t have to see reenactors portraying the Germans, and that veterans shouldn’t have to hear shooting or other sounds that might bring up painful memories.

    I don’t know how many of the people advancing this argument really believe it, and how many see it as a tool to advance their agendas. Putting that question aside, essentially it’s an argument that people are fragile. To listen to these argument, no one, especially no one who’s not a white Christian male, can listen to history or look at history without it getting them upset, and it’s not right to get anyone upset.

    Rules For the Reading and Understanding of History

    1. History is not a novel. Keep coming back to this rule. It doesn’t care about moral character, or fairness, or whether people in love get to be together, or feelings.
    2. There is no right or wrong in history, only accuracy and inaccuracy. Right or wrong are something the reader adds.
    3. The guy with the most steel and gold usually wins…until he doesn’t, but the smart money is usually on him winning.
    4. Never ignore the obvious. If a reason for something is staring you in the face, it’s probably the reason.
    5. Heroes and villains are for novels. In history there are only people, and people are complicated.
    6. Nice guys often DO finish last.
    7. The most effective leaders are often also the ones who stop just short of being too ruthless.
    8. The fate of the world almost never rested on the shoulders of one individual.
    9. Those who seek power for its own sake often don’t know how to use it best when they finally achieve it.
    10. A less developed culture is doomed once a sufficiently more developed one enters the picture.
    11. Big mistakes usually lead to big consequences.
    12. If there’s a mundane rather than a miraculous explanation, then go with the mundane one, but…
    13. There will always be some things that can never be fully explained, and a few that can’t be explained at all.
    14. There is such a thing as luck. Sometimes it just happens, but frequently the successful make their own luck.
    15. People have friends. Nations have interests.
    16. All empires eventually fall apart.
    17. Tactics are tactics. It’s the reader who pronounces them right or wrong.
    18. Facts don’t have agendas. People often do.
    19. No nation ever achieved success without doing things it might not be too proud of later on.
    20. The more people who know a secret, the harder it is to keep it a secret. Grand conspiracies make for compelling novels. They don’t make for compelling history.
    21. Most people say all they have to say. If they didn’t say it, either they didn’t want to say it or didn’t think it was worth saying.
    22. No matter how much you read, you never know it all.

    History isn’t a story read to entertain children. It’s a record of the facts. And the facts are that, from the time Sargon of Akkad conquered Sumer with an army using a weapon (the bow) that the Sumerians knew nothing about, sometimes people didn’t treat each other too well. The facts are also that quite often the sharp, the ruthless, and the amoral prevailed over those who believed in hypocritical honor or that they were on the right side. The facts also are that great achievement and great moral character don’t always go together. There is no finessing these things away, and if you choose not to face up to them, you are choosing ignorance. Those who choose ignorance are choosing to repeat mistakes they don’t have to.

    3. It probably won’t stand up on appeal, but a clear message has been sent. Oberlin has also sent a clear message: that anyone who is not a white Christian male should get a pass on adhering to society’s standards.

    4.A lot of movies would go nowhere if the characters had either ethics or reasonable intelligence. How many times have you heard someone on tv or in a movie justify throwing safety protocols to the wind because “there isn’t time?” How many times have you seen a character try to take a nearly impossible third option when the choice is between saving a hostage and saving the world? How many movies elevate the designated couple above everything? Ethical behavior isn’t an interesting story. Intelligent people acting intelligently isn’t an interesting story. A well-planned plan well executed without a hitch isn’t an interesting story. A potential couple parting because there’s no way to realistically make it work without breaking a promise, or neglecting a duty, or otherwise doing something wrong is something a date won’t tolerate.

    5.People can justify anything in the name of God. The jihadists could justify conquering a whole continent in the name of Islam and the Christians could justify conquering two, not to mention the sundry beheadings, burnings, etc. Rudeness and jerkassery is small potatoes compared to that. It’s giving yourself a moral pass or a reason for something. Someone who I was friends with for 30 years recently told me that, after remarriage, to honor God and her husband she couldn’t talk to other men anymore. I had no qualms about calling a Muslim plaintiff a “heathen bastard” when I got angry. Shutting the door on gay people is still something more than a few people will do in the name of God.

    6. Jerkassery, but not a crime.

    • I read that sentence four times, and couldn’t tell who said it. Still can’t. If it was a Chicago activist, why did he say “here,” as in where “Civil War Days” was being held?

    • What you have written here Steve is according to my understanding a *declaration*. A declaration lays out one’s basic comprehension of the structure of the world and is *metaphysical* in the sense that I often mention. I assume that you are not aware of the metaphysical import of what you have *declared*, and you might also not be aware that it fits into — it is an expression of — essential tenets that *operate* in American thinking. You are, I think this is fair to say, an emblematic personage who represents American Conservatism, and for this reason I think you very nicely illustrate not only postwar American Conservatism but you also explain how and on what basis Neoconservatism functions.

      Rules For the Reading and Understanding of History

      Declarations reveal ‘what one really thinks’ when one does not have to pretend that there are ethical or moral considerations that underpin the Reality in which we live. What I have noticed — and this is certainly true in the most raw expressions of it among Neoconservatives, is that they very clearly state that they operate outside of ethical and moral restraints. They understand that the only ‘reality’ is power and who has power.

      I am aware that you are trying to make objective statements about ‘history’ (the events which happen) and I am aware that I am seeing what you have *declared* here in a different, revealing light.

      1. History is not a novel. Keep coming back to this rule. It doesn’t care about moral character, or fairness, or whether people in love get to be together, or feelings.

      By ‘history’ you mean I gather *what happened*? According to the absolutist view you communicate here, there is no shall we say ‘intelligent’ metaphysical entity that operates in and through ‘events’. There is only random actions which have repercussions. Causation is strictly material.

      2. There is no right or wrong in history, only accuracy and inaccuracy. Right or wrong are something the reader adds.

      If there were a creature — say some sort of AI or a drone — that viewed the events of history and recorded them as *facts*, there would really be no need for a historian. An historian is not an AI nor a recorder of facts, but an interpreter. There is no historian who does not have an orientation within some metaphysical predicates, and no good history that is not interpretative. There can be no good ‘history’ if the issue of ‘right and wrong’ is not part of the structure of the viewer (the historian) and his audience. The question revolves then on one of ‘selection’.

      Though I understand the logic of what you attempt to state here, there is something about it that seems to have more to do with how you interpret the doings of your own country. I gather this after having read what you write for some years now. Thus, to understand what you say (*declare*) I have to *interpret* you. And you are ‘part of a context’ and that context is the American Postwar.

      3. The guy with the most steel and gold usually wins…until he doesn’t, but the smart money is usually on him winning.

      Therefore, gold and steel are the determining forces in history. But this is more than a mere ‘truism’ and it applies to a specific national ethic. If gold and steel are as central to success, then I suggest that these will take precedence over other factors? Gold and steel are references to material elements. But there is another dimension to the psyche of man: the entire psychic realm in fact.

      4. Never ignore the obvious. If a reason for something is staring you in the face, it’s probably the reason.

      But hold on a second! I have been pointing out for years now various aspects of ‘the obvious’ as it pertains to developments in the American Postwar era. Social engineering, the manipulation of social psychology through the machinations that engineering entails. The corruption of culture. The denial of the bed-rock solidity of racial and ethnic factors in the composition of Postwar America and what has been created in postmodern America: and not once, and not ever, have my ‘obvious’ statements ‘staring you in the face’ been acknowledged. So, to be more accurate, more truthful, you must alter your declaration to: It is imperative to ignore the obvious. If it is staring you in the face, you must despite yourself, and in contradiction to yourself, force yourself to *see* differently.

      (Again, I know that you are trying to provide a universal palette for understanding how the study of history should be approached (a strange Marxist derivation if you wished to be precise), and I am taking what you say to reveal something about your *general view* as a Neoconservative (likely the best descriptor).

      5. Heroes and villains are for novels. In history there are only people, and people are complicated.
      6. Nice guys often DO finish last.

      But wait! Heroes, and those who oppose them, are the basic elements of perception and certainly of storyfication. As in The Hero With A Thousand Faces and The Hero’s Journey. How do you place these *declarations* in the context of, say, ‘social justice’ as an American tenet? Or in any context of justice? Then what you are saying is that, say, the *hook* that pulls us into any cultural and nationalistc mythos … when seen properly and realistically .. is ‘the stuff of novels’? Take for example Mr Smith Goes to Washington and everything connected with the national myths os America? If *nice guys* finish last then a smart person should — Machiavelli-style — cease being a nice guy. Look like one, yes, put on the face of one, yes again, but ‘cut to the chase’ in the sense of deal realistically in the rawest of power principles.

      You guys really make me ANGRY at times! You are total hypocrites. All this pretense about ethics and an evolution in goodness. You are lying to yourselves and to everyone you come in contact with!

      7. The most effective leaders are often also the ones who stop just short of being too ruthless.

      This is good to know. Because it certainly places in a bold lighting all of the *propaganda-based assertions*, for example, about America and Americanism as an evolution in goodness and as a metaphysical necessity. You explain to me in absolutely clear terms that these are pretenses and are a sham — a trick. It does not depend on goodness — whatever the heck that means — nor on principle and ethic but rather on steel and gold.

      8. The fate of the world almost never rested on the shoulders of one individual.
      9. Those who seek power for its own sake often don’t know how to use it best when they finally achieve it.
      10. A less developed culture is doomed once a sufficiently more developed one enters the picture.
      11. Big mistakes usually lead to big consequences.
      12. If there’s a mundane rather than a miraculous explanation, then go with the mundane one, but…
      13. There will always be some things that can never be fully explained, and a few that can’t be explained at all.
      14. There is such a thing as luck. Sometimes it just happens, but frequently the successful make their own luck.
      15. People have friends. Nations have interests.
      16. All empires eventually fall apart.
      17. Tactics are tactics. It’s the reader who pronounces them right or wrong.
      18. Facts don’t have agendas. People often do.
      19. No nation ever achieved success without doing things it might not be too proud of later on.
      20. The more people who know a secret, the harder it is to keep it a secret. Grand conspiracies make for compelling novels. They don’t make for compelling history.
      21. Most people say all they have to say. If they didn’t say it, either they didn’t want to say it or didn’t think it was worth saying.
      22. No matter how much you read, you never know it all.

      Too laborious to go through each one. But the point is again to try to point out that in all of this you reveal bedrock ethics, and more importantly bedrock metaphysics. You also show, perhaps without desiring to, just what exactly underpins the events and processes that go on in our present. It has very very little to do with principles, and ‘ethics’ in this context is a joke in poor taste, and everything to do with strict power principles.

      History isn’t a story read to entertain children. It’s a record of the facts. And the facts are that, from the time Sargon of Akkad conquered Sumer with an army using a weapon (the bow) that the Sumerians knew nothing about, sometimes people didn’t treat each other too well. The facts are also that quite often the sharp, the ruthless, and the amoral prevailed over those who believed in hypocritical honor or that they were on the right side. The facts also are that great achievement and great moral character don’t always go together. There is no finessing these things away, and if you choose not to face up to them, you are choosing ignorance. Those who choose ignorance are choosing to repeat mistakes they don’t have to.

      Now you are being disingenuous because there most certain IS a ‘story that is told to children’ and it is the mythological story of American and Americanism in the context of an Americanopolis. You show me the degree to which it is a complicated sham. It is not ‘the facts’ about the real America that have relevancy to you but rather the story concocted for a child: the stuff of patriotic propaganda between beer and insurance commercials on the American Telescreen.

      According to your own views it is power that determines the events of history. You clearly reveal that you understand this to be so. And I assert that these metaphysical views are intimately connected with American Neoconservatism and its assertions of power. The breakdown in a general social ethics is profoundly and clearly related to the larger breakdowns that are tied to issues of morality. It is a political philosophy that is thoroughly grounded in realpolitik and has little, perhaps nothing, to do with the republican values and the ideals of the Constitution. It does not even pretend to have concerns for those elements of conduct that are above and beyond steel and gold.

      Now, if we wish to understand what is going on in our present we must confront YOU and the power that you have in culture. You see, it is ultimately a spiritual issue and it has so much to do with ‘self’. The point is not to reveal your obvious hypocrisy as if it is to be relished and delighted in, no, it is only to point out the level of complicity we all are involved in in the creation of what surrounds us.

      [Really, you should consider signing up for my 10 Week Email Course … :-)]

      • Really, you should consider signing up for my 10 Week Email Course … 🙂

        Mmhmmm, I think I’ll make like an enema and PASS.

  10. 4)

    “4. If the characters have even rudimentary ethics, there’s no movie.”

    “If the story-writer doesn’t even have rudimentary ethics, there’s no story.”

    (Fixed it)

    Or better, it’s corollary:

    “If the movie posits an extremely shallow ethical ‘dilemma’, the story writer isn’t very bright or can’t navigate real ethical waters of real life and societal dilemmas enough to analogize them short stories on screen.”

    • But the writer did posit condign justice for unethical button pushers [SPOILER!]. When you pushed the button, you ended up on the list of “strangers” to be offed when someone else pushed the button.

      • It’s a shallow ethical dilemma, but the writer is correct that for a frightening number of people, one that they would have trouble with. My mother would have pushed that button, and for less than a million bucks, too. I’m certain of it.

  11. 3) I am hearing rumors that Oberlin College has coveted a Gibson Bakery parking lot for years, and even added it to a map showing campus parking. This is being forwarded as the ‘hidden agenda’ for inciting the protests against the bakery: run the little shop out of business and finally get the parking for the college.

    Is this true? No idea. But it would be the icing on Gibson’s court-awarded cake (see what I did there?) if the entire WOKE drama was a simple attempt at a land grab.

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