Hillary Clinton’s ‘deplorables’ have their antecedents in Obama’s ‘deplorables.’
One of the strangest transformations in the era of Obama has been the overt and often gratuitous stereotyping of so-called white people — most often the white working classes who have become constructed into veritable unthinking and unrecognizable zombies. For progressives especially these were not the sympathetic old foundation of the Democratic party, who were once romanticized as the “people” pitted against the industrialists and the bluestockings, but rather have become monstrous caricatures of all sorts of incorrect race/class/and gender behavior and speech.
Stranger still, this disparagement was concurrent to the release of a variety of recent studies that have shown that the white working class has been “losing ground” in far more dramatic terms than have other ethnic groups, especially in key areas such as health and life expectancy. Such news might once have earned liberal sympathies rather than derision. Odder still, the so-called one percenters — that includes high percentages of whites, who have benefited from globalization and changes in the U.S. economy — are often precisely those who damn the less fortunate for supposedly enjoying racially based privileges that are largely confined to themselves.
From ‘tricks’ to ‘clingers’
Obama himself had long ago made popular the idea that there are not individual white people, good and bad, lazy and industrious, but more generally a collective Borg of racist and culpable “white people.” Or, as he characterized his own “effective” tricks over clueless whites in his admittedly fictional memoir Dreams from My Father, “it was usually an effective tactic, another one of those tricks I had learned: [White] People were satisfied so long as you were courteous and smiled and made no sudden moves.” Read more →
If you playact being shot by the police, cry “racist!” on Twitter, or denounce capitalism, you, too, can feel good about your capitalist’s privilege.
In an affluent postmodern society of nearly unlimited freedom and opportunity, elite celebrities, pampered athletes, comfortable academics, conniving politicians, and careerist journalists find it hard to prove that they are still relevant in a revolutionary or rather cool sense.
In medieval times, privileged sinners found absolution for their guilt through more formal contractual penance. Churchmen consulted books of penitentials that prescribed precise medicinal doses — donations, pilgrimages, fasting, and a host of other sacrificial acts — to offset particular sins to get them right again with God. The key was to find a way to keep enjoying sinning and still get to heaven on the cheap.
In our atheistic and agnostic society, inexpensive, loud, and public virtue-mongering has replaced church penance — with Black Lives Matter, La Raza, Al Sharpton, network anchor people, NPR, the New York Times, and such acting as the new bishops who can dispense exemptions.
The wealthy, the influential, the intelligentsia, and the cultural elite all broadcast their virtues — usually at a cut-rate rhetorical price — to offset their own sense of sin (as defined by feelings of guilt), or in fear that their own lives are antithetical to the ideologies they espouse, or sometimes simply as a wise career move. Sin these days is mostly defined as race/class/gender thought crimes. Read more →
Technology hasn’t changed the core of who we are, and history proves it.
In today’s technically sophisticated and globally connected world, we assume life has been completely reinvented. In truth, it has not changed all that much.
Facebook and Google may have recalibrated our lifestyles, but human nature, geography, and culture are nearly timeless. Even as ideologies and governments come and go, the same old, same old problems and challenges remain.
Compare what dominated the news in 1966, 50 years ago.
Abroad, Israel was constantly fighting on the West Bank against Palestinian guerrilla groups and in the air over Syria. It is likely that in another 50 years the story will remain about the same.
The Middle East in 1966 was going up in flames, just as it is today — and in many of the same places. The Syrian government was overthrown in a coup. The Saudis, Jordanians, and Egyptians were involved in a civil war in Yemen. The Egyptian government executed Islamists charged with planning a theocratic takeover. Read more →
The media excuse her mendacity because it serves the progressive cause.
Everyone rightly catalogues Donald Trump’s fibs, distortions, and exaggerations: his assertions about his net worth, his charitable contributions, his initial supposed opposition to the Iraq War, or his “flexible” positions on illegal immigration. After all, he is flamboyant, right-wing in his present incarnation, and supposedly bends the truth either out of crass narcissism or for petty profiteering. So the watchdog media and popular culture have no problem with ridiculing Trump as a fabricator.
But not so with Hillary Clinton, whose untruths far overshadow Trump’s in both import and frequency, but are so often contextualized, excused, and forgotten because of who she is and the purpose her outright lying supposedly serves.
Lying in America has become not lying when “good” liars advance alternative narratives for noble purposes — part of our long slide into situational ethics and moral relativism. Read more →
Borders are in the news as never before. After millions of young, Muslim, and mostly male refugees flooded into the European Union last year from the war-torn Middle East, a popular revolt arose against the so-called Schengen Area agreements, which give free rights of movement within Europe. The concurrent suspension of most E.U. external controls on immigration and asylum rendered the open-borders pact suddenly unworkable. The European masses are not racists, but they now apparently wish to accept Middle Eastern immigrants only to the degree that these newcomers arrive legally and promise to become European in values and outlook—protocols that the E.U. essentially discarded decades ago as intolerant. Europeans are relearning that the continent’s external borders mark off very different approaches to culture and society from what prevails in North Africa or the Middle East.
A similar crisis plays out in the United States, where President Barack Obama has renounced his former opposition to open borders and executive-order amnesties. Since 2012, the U.S. has basically ceased policing its southern border. The populist pushback against the opening of the border with Mexico gave rise to the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump—predicated on the candidate’s promise to build an impenetrable border wall—much as the flood of migrants into Germany fueled opposition to Chancellor Angela Merkel. Read more →
America’s successful melting pot should not be replaced with discredited salad-bowl separatism.
Emphasizing diversity has been the pitfall, not the strength, of nations throughout history.
The Roman Empire worked as long as Iberians, Greeks, Jews, Gauls, and myriad other African, Asian, and European communities spoke Latin, cherished habeas corpus, and saw being Roman as preferable to identifying with their own particular tribe. By the fifth century, diversity had won out but would soon prove a fatal liability.
Rome disintegrated when it became unable to assimilate new influxes of northern European tribes. Newcomers had no intention of giving up their Gothic, Hunnish, or Vandal identities.
The propaganda of history’s multicultural empires — the Ottoman, the Russian, the Austro-Hungarian, the British, and the Soviet — was never the strength of their diversity. To avoid chaos, their governments bragged about the religious, ideological, or royal advantages of unity, not diversity. Read more →
Today, it seems that Orwell’s 1984 would better have been titled 2016.
Technical progress is often associated with moral and political regress, a theme as ancient as Hesiod’s seventh-century b.c. poem Works and Days.
In 200 b.c., not a male could vote freely in Hellenistic Greece, but the so-called Antikythera analogue computer could predict astronomical cycles in a way unimaginable 250 years earlier in Periclean Athens.
The uncanny ability to craft the great dome of Hagia Sophia did not imply that the people of Constantinople in a.d. 537 had retained many freedoms from the impoverished Roman Republic of 700 years earlier.
We are in such a period of rapid breakthroughs in technology, consumerism, and scientific advancement — equally matched by cultural, social, and political ruin.
Take the question of free speech. Fifty years ago leftist student activists — without iPads and Facebook pages — fought for “free speech areas” in university plazas where they could voice unpopular and even uncouth expression.
Not today. Read more →
By Victor Davis Hanson // Los Angeles Times
Borders are in the news as never before. With Muslim refugees flooding into the European Union from the Middle East, and with terrorism on the rise, a popular revolt is taking shape against the so-called Schengen Area agreements, which give free rights of movement within Europe. The European masses are not racists, but they now apparently wish to accept Middle Eastern immigrants only to the degree that these newcomers arrive legally and promise to become European in values and outlook—protocols that the EU essentially discarded decades ago as intolerant. Europeans are relearning that the continent’s external borders mark off very different approaches to culture and society from what prevails in North Africa or the Middle East. Read more →
In future presidential editorialization about the shooting deaths of police officers, perhaps the president himself might first offer a few “words matter” gestures that would reassure law enforcement, to use another Obama phrase, that he “has their back.” Here are just three low-bar proposals for how to discourage those who glorify or advocate lethal violence against criminal-justice officers:
No longer invite into the White House any leaders whose affiliated members have marched chanting their desire to kill police officers (e.g., “What do we want? Dead cops” / “Pigs in a blanket; fry ’em like bacon”).
Do not consult with any self-appointed leader in the White House whose past has included overt and implicit calls to shoot police officers (e.g., Al Sharpton: “I believe in offing the pigs. Well, they got pigs out here. You ain’t offed one of them. What I believe in, I do. Do what you believe in. Or shut up and admit you’ve lost your courage and your guts to stand up”).
Do not invite into the White House any artists whose work has glorified the killing of officers of the criminal-justice system (e.g., Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly album, one of whose songs was dubbed by Obama as his favorite of 2015), whose cover depicts a group of African-American youth celebrating with champagne and cash on the White House lawn over the corpse of a white judge with his eyes X-ed out).
I don’t think that is too much to ask of the president of the United States — and perhaps such simple gestures might do a lot more for police reconciliation than the usual Obama summits and community “dialogues.”