David Thompson
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October 22, 2013

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Watcher

There are times I think we are living in the End Of Days. No, not because of some religious leaning I may possess but because it is hard to see how things can continue as they are on this path. Like a wobble in a fading gyroscope it can only get more extreme, and with it increasingly less stable.

The piece about regressive and unjust taxes is a trend that surely can only grow; we can in time all be charged VAT say on things bought before VAT came along. Follow this up with 'students' with no desire (or even ability, possibly) to learn for themselves, the rush to be offended as a visible badge of progressive thinking and the lionising of someone who gets rich by daubing -- wittily or not -- on walls and bridges he probably has no concept of building himself and you can see we have here a microcosm of all the many things ahead that carry such little hope.

I have said before, and I will repeat it, that this is not the world my father and grandfathers were prepared to die for. They must have imagined that with the peace in 1945 there would be, among many better things, a huge amount of sense and sensibility. To their memory I can honestly say we have neither.

sk60

students demonstrate their grasp of a certain event in 20th century history

The highpoint for me was the student talking about Normandy "and all that jazz".

David

The highpoint for me was the student talking about Normandy “and all that jazz”.

And Hitler, the leader of Amsterdam, was oppressing African Americans. 300 years ago.

It’s almost funny, but not quite.

Sam

And Hitler, the leader of Amsterdam, was oppressing African Americans. 300 years ago.

Words... fail... me.

Franklin

A silhouette of the Twin Towers with a chrysanthemum upon it that may not have been the artist's addition? Even by Banksy's standards, that's pretty slight.

R.Sherman

. . . it is because they were never taught it in public school.

The operative words in that sentence are "public school." Reason number 298402 why my kids attend parochial schools.

dicentra

if you make the argument that “I’m offended” is the ultimate trump card on what people are allowed to say, you shouldn’t be surprised that the standard for being offended gets lower and lower and lower.

So what's the rebuttal, besides eyerolls and sarcasm?

Lots of these folks are just playing the game they think they ought to play; they're not aware of the implications nor of the fact that they're out-Church-Ladying the Church Lady in a highly obnoxious and toxic manner.

Because this is a game of Princess and the Pea — who is sensitive enough to detect the pea under the ever-taller stack of mattresses — to deny that the pea exists means that you're just an insensitive jerk or worse, an ignernt biggit.

If Weaponized Outrage™ is a hipster game, then only hipsters can stop it by making it go out of style.

Though I'll note that Jon Stewart DID do a bit where a "race card" turned up invalid as it got swiped over and over.

But that was years ago.

Didn't catch on.

Joan

And Hitler, the leader of Amsterdam, was oppressing African Americans. 300 years ago.

I was sure you had to be joking... then I watched the video. Now I don't know whether to laugh or not.

David

I was sure you had to be joking... then I watched the video.

On the upside, it’s given me an idea for a new History Channel programme. Hitler’s Time Machine.

Hal

. . . it’s given me an idea for a new History Channel programme. Hitler’s Time Machine.

Oh, No You Will Not!!!!!

First, you will read IATT Bulletin 1147. Failure to do so may result in your expulsion per Bylaw 223.

http://www.tor.com/stories/2011/08/wikihistory

the wolf

The piece about regressive and unjust taxes is a trend that surely can only grow

It will get much worse. Retroactive taxes are just the tip of the iceberg. When that fails, or at least fails to stop the fiscal bleeding, they'll move to out-and-out wealth confiscation, a la Cyprus. There has already been talk of the government taking ownership of private retirement accounts (401k). Although it has never advanced beyond Progressive daydreaming, one has to believe that it is on the radar in those circles. What follows is either a compliant and subjugated citizenry or tar and feathers. That part is up to the rest of us.

Jimmy

I know next to nothing about tax law, but those retroactive taxes seem incredibly unjust.

Hal

The piece about regressive and unjust taxes is a trend that surely can only grow

It will get much worse. Retroactive taxes are just the tip of the iceberg.

And, something of the sort was done in Britain in the early 20th Century.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Decline-Fall-British-Aristocracy/dp/0375703683

From one of the reviews;

Cannadine's work is too complex to be reduced to a short summary, but basically the aristocracy found itself beset on all side from around 1880 onward. A prolonged agricultural depression lowered their incomes, and created political pressure to break up the big estates. The increase in the franchise and the end of pocket boroughs undercut their power in the House of Commons. This in turn led to the aristocracy being abandoned even by the Tory party, which realized where the votes were. Ever increasing estate taxes (especially during and after World War II) approached confiscatory levels, requiring families to sell off their land. And many aristocrats found themselves completely unable to cope with those changes. Those who could cope did so largely by breaking the mold of the landed aristocracy of tradition.

pst314

"California’s reneging on tax incentives that had been offered to some businesses — and then demanding the retroactive payment of taxes for which businesses had never been legally liable"

Could the debt be substantially reduced by harvesting the organs of socialists for the international transplant market? :-D

WTP

I was thinking something similar, pst. Could Soylent Green possibly be made out of sociology majors?

That California tax is going to be repealed, btw. However, the representative from the district where I work has compared the Tea Party to the KKK.

http://p.washingtontimes.com/blog/inside-politics/2013/oct/22/gop-erupts-democrat-compares-tea-party-kkk/

Not sure how or if any of this is connected, but I've been up for 36 hours working to pay the taxes for all this sh*t and ironically can't find any sleep.

Hal

Given

Could the debt be substantially reduced by harvesting the organs of socialists for the international transplant market? :-D

and

Could Soylent Green possibly be made out of sociology majors?

See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organlegging . . . . . . .

David

dicentra,

So what’s the rebuttal, besides eyerolls and sarcasm? Lots of these folks are just playing the game they think they ought to play; they’re not aware of the implications nor of the fact that they’re out-Church-Ladying the Church Lady in a highly obnoxious and toxic manner.

Yes, it’s toxic, obnoxious and dishonest, and it’s a dishonesty that’s often taught by educators. It’s another ersatz radicalism that’s utterly conformist. It’s institutional. Are the people who argue in this way conveniently unaware of the implications, or do they just exploit whatever tactic works? I suppose you’d have to guess based on the exchange at hand. But if people have found a way to short-circuit debate, to shut it down before it happens nine times out of ten – while congratulating themselves - why assume they’re interested in debate at all? Very few people are. Debate in good faith entails a risk of being shown to be wrong, even absurd. And for some people the refutation of their political worldview, and the vanities they’ve piled upon it, is unthinkable.

I’ve quoted this before, but it bears repeating – from Thomas Sowell’s Intellectuals and Society:

If you happen to believe in free markets, judicial restraint, traditional values, [etc.]… then you are just someone who believes in free markets, judicial restraint and traditional values. There is no personal exaltation resulting from those beliefs. But to be for “social justice” and “saving the environment” or to be “anti-war” is more than just a set of beliefs about empirical facts. This vision puts you on a higher moral plane as someone concerned and compassionate, someone who is for peace in the world, a defender of the downtrodden… In short, one vision makes you somebody special and the other vision does not. These visions are not symmetrical.[…] Because the vision of the anointed is a vision of themselves as well as a vision of the world, when they are defending that vision they are not simply defending a set of hypotheses about external events, they are in a sense defending their very souls – and the zeal and even ruthlessness with which they defend their vision are not surprising under these circumstances.

If someone is determined to believe that opposition to X must be driven by racism, sexism, “privilege” or whatever, and wants to believe that because of an off-the-shelf worldview and its self-flattering effects, they’ll most likely become impervious. Stupid, but impervious. Does anyone here imagine that, say, the Guardian’s Gary Younge and Joseph Harker will ever tire of seeing racism behind every curtain, or will ever be swayed by mere logic and factual correction? What about Seumas Milne or Amanda Marcotte? Does it seem likely that Laurie Penny will concede the possibility that she’s often mocked, not because she’s a radical young woman being assailed by the Patriarchy, but because she says some incredibly stupid things? Why should a narcissist choose the second option? Why would she bother to consider why, say, Heather Mac Donald doesn’t get ridiculed quite so often? What would happen to Laurie’s world, her elaborate persona, if she started to examine it and pull at those threads?

Based on my own exchanges, such people can be all but impossible to engage with realistically. Typically, they simply won’t permit it. Maybe the best you can hope for is that your exchange with them is being overheard and that the people listening in will notice what’s happening.

[ Edited. ]

AC1

@Wolf
" they'll move to out-and-out wealth confiscation, "

Already moving.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2013/10/23/why-the-imfs-10-wealth-tax-simply-will-not-work

Remember the bond-holding politically connected will be bailed out at any out to you.

pst314

Hal "See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organlegging ..."

In one of the Organlegging stories, a criminal acquires a new identity by having his brain transplanted into the body of a kidnapping victim. In the glorious future that fills us all with joy and hope, will monsters like Hillary and Al Gore live forever by the legal murder of healthy young people whose tissue types just happen to be a good match? /rhetorical question

dicentra

And for some people the refutation of their political worldview, and the vanities they've piled upon it, is unthinkable.

Well, yes. Such people NEED their opponents to be loathsome Nazis because the self-congratulation is the point, not an unintended side-effect.

That's why the Left is content to define "ideology" not as a generic term for worldview but as "the sophistry that capitalists use to defend their plunder." The entirety of the Classical Liberal worldview is "ideology," whereas progressivism is based on "the way things are," and so what else explains opposition to progressivism if not greed, heartlessness, and false consciousness?

Instead of recognizing that people can come to different conclusions for a variety of reasons — from the benign to the insidious — those folks have established themselves as the oracles of TRVTH (which they deny exists) and as being the only ones who get it.

Does English have a word stronger than "arrogant" to describe that POV?

David

Does English have a word stronger than “arrogant” to describe that POV?

Speaking of arrogance, Laurie Penny’s latest column meets her usual standards. Which is to say, it’s devoid of actual facts and short on logic, but long – so very long – on tendentious boilerplate. There’s an awful lot of huffing about “patriarchal gaze” and “gendered technologies of control and domination.” As usual, lots of things are asserted adamantly, albeit based on… well, it’s hard to say. “To be a white, middle-class male in this society is to live without a certain sort of scrutiny that people from other demographics grow up expecting,” says Laurie. “Not being watched… is a privilege of which white men get an extra helping.” However, none of this is substantiated with anything approaching evidence, or even speculation. There’s simply no information, just heated gas. And apparently a “disturbing trend” can be determined, and howled about, based on two anecdotes and an unsupported supposition by another hilariously pretentious leftist ideologue. Perhaps she was too busy admiring her own radicalism to bother finding evidence and then string it together in a meaningful way. Laurie does, however, plug her own book. There was time to squeeze that in, obviously.

She’s the “voice for a generation,” you know.

rjmadden

apparently a “disturbing trend” can be determined, and howled about, based on two anecdotes

Laurie logic: Two people did X therefore everyone is doing X.

clazy

That video was pretty distressing, but I am very skeptical of the solution it offers for these kids' ignorance, a "Holocaust and Genocide Education Bill". It's not as if the kids were taught a bowdlerized version of 20th century history; they probably weren't taught anything about the 20th century. Under the proposed law, they may learn that President Roosevelt turned away the Jews on the St. Louis, but they won't know anything else about Roosevelt. Unmoored from the 50 years before and the 50 years after, the Holocaust will be as meaningful as a season of Dexter.

David

clazy,

That video was pretty distressing, but I am very skeptical of the solution it offers for these kids’ ignorance,

I don’t have any feelings about the campaign. I just thought readers might be surprised by the level of ignorance.


rjmadden,

Laurie logic: Two people did X therefore everyone is doing X.

It’s her standard approach. Laurie says, “Parents, it is assumed, are allowed to spy on their children to whatever extent technology allows, particularly if those children are girls.” Note those three words, it is assumed. By whom, the little people who live inside Laurie’s head? It’s rather like her piece about vajazzling, or when she told us that football “violently excludes more than half the people” (i.e., all women). The density of assumption is so high, so absurd, it’s hard to know where to start.

matt

An amazing college Master and professor of education i knew in university received a comment on a term paper when she was a student that said "Lot's of heat, not enough light." She loved to tell that story and reflect on how it taught her to be a better writer (state your case, prove your point). Laurie's world is very hot and very dim.

clazy

I'm both surprised and not. When I was in high school some thirty-odd years ago, my history classes never got further than The Great War. Over the course of the year, we fell further and further behind, until there was no time left even to cover that adequately. This was, of course, a public school, and worse, it was in a school system that had briefly lost its accreditation early in the 70s. I am ever grateful that I could at least go to a Catholic school for the first eight years. (I recall my seventh-grade social studies teacher describing the theories of Oswald Spengler.)

David

Laurie’s world is very hot and very dim.

And it’s always expressed in the highest possible gear. She’s forever telling us that her world is “on fire” and “increasingly on fire.” Her taste for apocalyptic hyperbole is hard to miss. Ploughing through a dozen of these things, as I did a while ago, is an odd experience. It soon becomes apparent that what she writes isn’t so much an argument as a breathless and unending incantation: “The surveillance of patriarchy… gendered technologies… control and domination… screaming defiance… the bruised superstructure of patriarchal capitalist control.” And so on, forever, in seemingly random configurations.

D

Two people did X therefore everyone is doing X.

What are you, some kind of X-apologist? Are you objecting because you love X so much? What kind of person would want X to happen, huh?

WTP

clazy,

I thought it odd that we never got to cover the history that my parents knew. Then I realized this, looking back...We did cover a little bit of WWII and some things I discussed with my dad were a bit different from what I was taught. Two things I "told" him that got his irish up...One, that MacArthur trudged ashore in the Philippines while bullets were still flying. I still hear his voice to this day, "That beach was secure! We took that...[insert long story about "Dugout" Doug here]". The second was that Hirohito was a puppet of Tojo. "He was in that war up to his @$$!!". Years later, after much research, I found Dad's version to be much more believable.

I think the younger people who teach history don't want to put their perceptions of all history at risk by discussing anything in living memory. Too much potential conflict. Same with why economics is rarely taught outside of universities, though they do shove some misconceptions through the history classes.

WTP

David,

Perhaps it's just my perception, but FWIS it seems the rise of the apocalyptic dogma from the left seems to coincide with the decline of religion in popular culture. In fact, much of the shaming, puritanism, etc. one used to associate with religion is quite popular with the crowd(s) that claim no religious allegiance (often due to their objections that religion is too shaming, puritanical, dogmatic, etc.). Perhaps it's just different manifestations of the same problem in a different historical setting.

David

Perhaps it’s just different manifestations of the same problem in a different historical setting.

I’ve no idea, though lefties tend to like airing their piety and are often keen to scold the less enlightened. For some, scolding is the payoff, the sweetest cherry.

Hal

Two people did X therefore everyone is doing X.

What are you, some kind of X-apologist? Are you objecting because you love X so much? What kind of person would want X to happen, huh?

Well, that would be anyone wanting to solve for X, which it is assumed is clearly not going to be Laurie . . . After all, solving for X is algebra, algebra is Math---or Maths---Math(s)is rigorous, soundly formed and arranged and independently verifiable logic based on proof and fact, where all such proof and fact is also independently confirmable and can and is stated by anyone, which thus leaves no one being able to be the mathematical “voice for a generation,” you know.

Hmmm. But y'all state that she's a very experienced and acknowledged producer of much hot air and motion, eh? Mebbe she has a career as a HVAC(1) tech?

(1) Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HVAC . . . .

Hal

Laurie’s world is very hot and very dim.

And it’s always expressed in the highest possible gear. . . . . a breathless and unending incantation: “The surveillance of patriarchy… gendered technologies… control and domination… screaming defiance… the bruised superstructure of patriarchal capitalist control.” And so on, forever, in seemingly random configurations.

Oh. So collectively, what you're stating is that she's http://www.elsewhere.org/pomo/ or at least a variation with videos?

Hal

. . . that MacArthur trudged ashore in the Philippines while bullets were still flying. I still hear his voice to this day, "That beach was secure! We took that...[insert long story about "Dugout" Doug here]".

If I remember the phrasing correctly--see Thomas E. Ricks The Generals, http://www.amazon.com/The-Generals-American-Military-Command/dp/1594204047 --- Eisenhower was once asked if he had ever studied theater. The answer was apparently No, but I did study drama under MacArthur.

dicentra

she was too busy admiring her own radicalism to bother finding evidence and then string it together in a meaningful way

That stuff you have at the end — strings and bothers — is fundamentally antithetical to the project of societal transformation.

Not sure why you'd judge them by a standard that is foreign to their paradigm. It would be comparable to pulling out the judging sheet for a gymnastics competition and grading her essay on flexibility, balance, and sticking the landing.

You're supposed to judge her based on Edginess, Transgressiveness, Relevance.

And Hand-wringing. Especially Hand-wringing.

David

You’re supposed to judge her based on Edginess, Transgressiveness, Relevance.

As one sarcastic commenter says, “It is churlish for the patriarchy to attack the lack of evidence in the article. It’s just correct, alright, and there is nothing that you can do about it.” And the article is being tweeted approvingly by Laurie’s many fans, and its author will be paid to do the same thing next week, and the week after that.

Clearly, incantation works.

Hal

In a word, Oy.

I had a look at the column.

I’m reminded of someone from a number of years and events past where the someone is perfectly nice and friendly, and when she opened her mouth to start a sentence, you could already hear the end of the paragraph. A bit later and elsewhere, I and others have had to deal with someone just as dim, only this second one has found herself sometimes In Charge Of Things, and has been very confused when reminded that actually being able to be in charge of things is different. Her ongoing practice is to lurch onto a wrong foot, and as the rest of us immediately note the error, she then lurches off onto a different wrong foot, And Keeps Going . . . . . Ultimately, the only solution from the rest of us has been to keep clear of the inevitable impact crater, as we ourselves continue on with the competence that we supply.

Of the . . . . commentary . . .titled Today's young women live with constant surveillance. It has to stop there is actually a point underneath all those wrong fingers---err--feet. What is being described has actually already been noted elsewhere as a blatant, open, and preposterous claim of being parents, without actually being parents, with an overall name of helicopter parenting . . . which is not linked to gender. And where “patriarchy” is not the term for a deliberate and ongoing inability to deal with the aftereffects of inept breeding, instead of an actual practice of parenting . . . . . .

Ted S., Catskill Mtns., NY, USA
Of the . . . . commentary . . .titled Today's young women live with constant surveillance. It has to stop

Today's young men live with constant surveillance, too -- surveillance from all those CCTVs and from the NSA (or the British equivalent). Somehow I doubt the Laurie Pennys of the world have much of a problem with that surveillance. In fact, much of their agenda seems incumbent upon having the state be able to montior every aspect of human behavior.

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