It’s difficult for me to formulate complicated arguments when I’m drugged to the gills and sick, so I am, reluctantly, delaying a couple of pieces on the metaphorical runway to catch up on what other people are writing. Big mistake. I just finished a substack post by Paul Musgrave, a political scientist and writer whose newsletter is called “Systematic Hatreds.” It takes its title from a line in “The Education of Henry Adams,” one of my father’s favorite books: “Politics, as a practice, whatever its professions, had always been the systematic organization of hatreds.” Musgrave, whom I never heard of before, is writing about how he teaches what he calls “the post-legacy media generation.”
It is clear early on in his depressing piece that that almost no one in that generation has heard of Henry Adams, or John Quincy Adams, Abigail Adams, and probably not John Adams either. There’s an excellent chance few have even heard of Morticia Addams, Charles Addams, or know that Eric Adams is the latest mayor of New York City. In fact, it’s quite fair to conclude that none of these soon-to-be-crucial citizens know much of anything at all, because they do not read—literally, do not—and get whatever information the do get from similarly handicapped peers on social media. Musgrave is in the trenches, and he writes,
I feel like Dean established the standard for this holiday standard, written by lyricist Sammy Cahn and composer Jule Styne (“Gypsy,” “Funny Girl”) in July 1945. World War II inspired so many Christmas and holiday songs, notably “I’ll Be Home For Christmas.”
1. Meeting the terms of a still valid 19th Century treaty seems like an ethical imperative, no?Kim Teehee was selected as the Cherokee people’s first nonvoting U.S. House delegate two years ago; now all that is needed is for the U.S. to make good on a deal it struck with the Cherokee Nation in the 1835 Treaty of New Echota, signed by President Andrew Jackson and ratified by the Senate, promising the tribe a non-voting House delegate. There are apparently some details to work out, among them how to respond when other tribes quite reasonably insist that they also deserve this limited representation in Congress, similar to the what D.C. has. One would think that 180 years is enough time for the complexities to be resolved, especially since the Cherokee Nation’s price for the promise of a non-voting House member was The Trail of Tears, when the tribe was forced to move out of Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee to what is now Oklahoma, with more than 4,000 Cherokees dying along the way. There are an estimated 400,000 Cherokees today.
Why has it taken so long for this to become an issue? Well, as for the U.S., it conveniently “forgot” until historians re-discovered the terms of the treaty 50 years ago. The Cherokees hadn’t pressed the U.S. on meeting its treaty obligations because, as the principle chief of Cherokee Nation, Chuck Hoskin Jr. explains, they had other priorities. “Asserting every detail of that treaty was not on their minds,” he says. “It was surviving.”
Ah, another day, another ethics challenge at the 7-11! If it isn’t CVS, it’s another local establishment. As Roseanne Roseannadanna used to say,
For the third straight night, some jerk had parked his car in the church parking lot overlooking our cul-de-sac, sitting with his headlights on so they came right in our living room window and driving my wife to distraction. And also for the third straight night, I put my lovey but pit-bully dog Spuds on his leash to confront the driver, and asked him why the hell he was sitting in his car shining lights in my window. They always say the same thing: “I’m sorry, I had no idea!” Why don’t they have any idea? See those houses literally right in front of you? See where the light beams go?
What’s the matter with these people?
Immediately thereafter, I ran an errand for my already annoyed wife that required me to go to our local 7-11. The clerk, whom I don’t think I’ve ever seen before but he was wearing a %&4#@! mask so I can’t be certain, handled my transaction while having a conversation on his cell phone, never looking at me. This has never happened to me before. In fact, more than once I have admonished customers ahead of me in line in various stores for not having the common courtesy and respect to get off their cell phones or bluetooths and treat clerks like human beings rather than robots. I’ve done it at that 7-11, in fact.
This latest opus by Steve-O-in NJ probably qualifies as a rant; I picture him furiously scribbling on paper in a trance, as in “automatic writing” when a medium is channeling Jean Dixon from the beyond. But it’s very good and thoughtful rant. I hope I edited it properly. Oh…I should mention that the tweets above echoing the meme Steve mentions at the start surprised me. I really didn’t think those celebrities could possibly be that stupid.
I saw a meme yesterday that kind of says everything about where the mainstream media and the left (but I repeat myself) are coming from now. It had no picture, it simply said “I want to live in a country where Colin Kaepernick is regarded as a hero and Kyle Rittenhouse is regarded as a terrorist.” I bit my tongue and didn’t say what I was thinking: that ostentatious disloyalty doesn’t make you even close to a hero and let’s let a jury decide what Rittenhouse is, because 1. I wasn’t changing the poster’s mind; and 2. The problem was bigger than those specific examples. Anyone who writes or reposts something like that is in effect saying “I want everyone to think like me and agree with me.” The left and the media have been thinking like that since probably the Clinton days. There’s a reason CNN was then called “the Clinton News Network.”
I have to ask, though, why is Andrew Sullivan just getting this now? Oh, that’s right, the right was opposed to a sudden and seismic cultural shift involving one of the basic building blocks of society, and nothing else mattered, it was all about the belief that heterosexual and homosexual couples were exactly the same and should be treated exactly the same. Single-issue voting is short-sighted, single-issue partisanship is just stupid. Like any other bias, it makes the objective inobjective, the wise foolish, the smart stupid, and the truthful liars.
Dutch missionary Andrew van der Bilj, aka “Brother Andrew” and “God’s Smuggler” used to pray “God, you have made blind eyes see, please make seeing eyes blind,” when he crossed the borders into Communist countries, carrying Bibles and other religious literature that would be considered contraband. Bias seems to do a far better job than God ever did blinding people to a lot more than a few Bibles being brought into an atheistic country.
Here is a supercut of the spin the left-biased media and its commentators were putting on the Republican victory in Virginia, where Loudoun County was Graund Zero for parent-school board battles over the teaching of “critical race theory, or CRT:
CRT is a generalization, allowing progressives who desperately want to have our rising generations indoctrinated into the useful (well, to them) construct that the United States was founded on racism, that its institutions and laws are poisoned by racist beliefs and intentions, that whites are all complicit in a perpetual effort to obstruct the progress and rights of black citizens, and that blacks have been and are perpetual victims requiring permanent and ongoing remedial benefits, standards and advantages. This is being dishonestly called ‘teaching history,” when it is not. It is, instead, teaching a narrow, activist-centered interpretation of history that is no more “factual” than Marxist theory, libertarianism, or Islam. It is also, by its very nature, not anti-racism, but anti-white and anti-American.
Like so many other public debates over culture and policy, the progressive trick that worked so well during the Obama administration has been re-loaded, aimed and fired at criticism of the CRT push. All criticism of black politicians and leaders was (and still is) declared “racist.” It worked, too. Criticism of Barack Obama and others was muted, as potential critics shrank from being stigmatized. Opposing policies that were proposed by black activists or existing policies, like affirmative action, on rational and legitimate grounds also risked being called racist. Oppose the removal of a Thomas Jefferson statue? That’s racist. Point out that Black Lives Matter is an anti-white, anti-police, Marxist con? You believe black lives don’t matter! Racist!
This has been so effective that it was only natural that the same strategy would be employed to make parents wary of opposing public school lessons that were designed to make all children detest their own nation, while encouraging black children to abandon the concept of personal accountability for the acceptance of group grievance and permanent government stewardship. Whites are expected to regard themselves as unjust beneficiaries of a racist society, requiring them to be permanently penitent and submissive. Teaching “white privilege” is based in critical race theory, though it is not technically part of the theory. So is arguing for the elimination of certain laws, like shoplifting, refusing to incarcerate “non-violent” criminals, “defunding the police,” “reparations,” airbrushing away the nation’s honors to its Founders, and so much more.
On his excelled newsletter on substack, Ethics Alarms commenter Humble Talent does a superb job explaining the rhetorical and conceptual slight of hand underway, as he writes in part,
What was shocking wasn’t that Biden was polling horribly, but that he was polling so horribly that MSNBC would report it. Not only are polls unrelaible at best, they are manipulated to confuse and mislead the public by left-biased media contractors (only the Fox News polling is showing Terry McAuliffe trailing Glenn Youngkin in Virginia, for example, which he is, and badly). Moreover, the news media routinely buries or misrepresents polls that carry bad portents for Democrats.
The poll found that 42% of U.S. adults surveyed approved of Biden’s job performance and 54% disapproved, despite a 49%-48% split as recently as August. The survey was conducted jointly by Hart Research Associates and Public Opinion Strategies.
This is even more depressing than the number of people who think Joe Biden is doing a just dandy job as President.
43% of those asked in a Morning Consult- Politico poll responded that the 2020 election should definitely not be overturned. That means that 57% are not certain that the election shouldn’t be overturned. Some think it probably shouldn’t be overturned—12%. 35% responded that the election results should definitely or probably be overturned. Morons. Since the election can’t possibly be overturned under any law imaginable or any sequence of events, and since even attempting such a thing would cause total chaos, the only answer that indicates that a respondent was taught civics by a fully functioning primate is: “Of course the 2020 election shouldn’t be overturned. What are you, nuts? Why are we wasting time even discussing this? Why don’t you ask if “Imagine” should come true?”
1 This isn’t funny, ethical, brave or helpful. He should be sanctioned, but House Democrats wouldn’t dare. They know what their members got away with.
2. If Duncan wants to say “Fuck Joe Biden” on the House floor, then let him come out and say it and accept the consequences. At least I can have a measure of respect for that, though not much. Adults snickering at the “Let’s Go Brandon” game remind me of those camp songs like “Shaving cream” or “Helen had a Steamboat” where it was supposed to be hilarious that you never actually said the naughty word that rhymed. The game was just barely tolerable among ten-year-olds, and we have members of Congress who act like this? Be proud, America.
3. The Ethics Alarms position (which cost it about 40% of its readers since 2017) that the office of the President must be accorded a basic level of respect and fairness by the public must apply regardless of who is in the White House, or our republic does not work. One reason I was so critical of the despicable treatment of President Trump across the culture was precisely for this reason: I knew Republicans and conservatives wouldn’t be able resist treating Biden as unethically as Trump was treated, and, if possible, worse.
Glenn Greenwald’s latest newsletter from substack was nicely timed today. I was genuinely puzzled to see the front page of the Sunday Times left on my lawn this morning dominated by a 50 square inch photo, a scare headline and an article about the January 6, 2021 riot at the Capitol. The episode occurred 9 months ago. This was neither news or history. What’s going on here? [Notice of Correction:the original version had the date and time passed wrong. Stupid mistake.]
Then Greenwald’s piece arrived. “When a population is placed in a state of sufficiently grave fear and anger regarding a perceived threat, concerns about the constitutionality, legality and morality of measures adopted in the name of punishing the enemy typically disappear,” he wrote. “The first priority, indeed the sole priority, is to crush the threat. Questions about the legality of actions ostensibly undertaken against the guilty parties are brushed aside as trivial annoyances at best, or, worse, castigated as efforts to sympathize with and protect those responsible for the danger. When a population is subsumed with pulsating fear and rage, there is little patience for seemingly abstract quibbles about legality or ethics. The craving for punishment, for vengeance, for protection, is visceral and thus easily drowns out cerebral or rational impediments to satiating those primal impulses.”
I have never been able to understand how anyone could accept the obvious exaggeration of the extent, intent, and import of the riot. I really can’t: it amazes me. This was 300, more or less, irresponsible, mostly middle-aged fools, behaving like the Chicago peaceniks at the 1968 Democratic National Convention but with less coherence. Their riot paled in all respects to the Black Lives Matter rioting across the U.S.: less damage was done, far, far fewer people were injured, and the only individual killed was a rioter. Although the post-George Floyd riots shut down businesses and government functions for weeks, the process of certifying the 2020 election results, allegedly the action that the Capitol protesters wanted to halt, weren’t even delayed a day. The claim that these unhappy Trump loyalist idiots were trying to take over the government with bear spray and funny hats was and is nonsense, and transparently so. Yet Greenwald writes,
“I don’t think parents should be telling schools what to teach.”
Terry McAuliffe, Democratic candidate for Governor of Virginia, in the televised debate with Republican adversary Glenn Youngkin
Every now and then one of the crypto-totalitarian Democrats or progressives slip up and rip his or her mask off, and McAuliffe’s sudden outburst of damning truth was a real Jack Nicholson “You’re damn right I did!” moment. I know virtually nothing about Glenn Youngkin, but I know too much about Clinton bag-man McAuliffe, and if God’s in his heaven and there is justice in the cosmos, this outburst will keep McAuliffe, who is corrupt and almost as slimy as the Clintons, out of the Governor’s mansion. It isn’t the reason I won’t be voting for Terry, who was Bill’s fundraiser, only because it doesn’t have to be. There are so many other reasons, as his Ethics Alarms dossier shows and the alarming essay below from my previous platform, The Ethics Scoreboard, amply demonstrates.
But enough of McAuliffe for now, for this post isn’t really about him as much as it is about his quote and what (and who—Terry was also Chair of the Democratic National Committee) it represents. For it expresses fairly the current attitude of the Left regarding public education. Children are in school for progressives, Democrats, Marxists and anti-American activists to indoctrinate. Gabriel Gipes, the so-called “Antifa Teacher” was an extreme case, but lazy parents and apathetic citizens allowed the Left to take over the educational establishment (as well as other institutions) a long time ago. Now they are shocked—shocked!-–with the advent of critical race theory and the “1619 Project’s” pollution of public school curricula—to find that our children have been and are being programmed to accept progressive cant as truth, and even to oppose the Bill of Rights as well as the foundational culture of the nation itself.