Quiet in the Back
A Collision of Intellectuals

Elsewhere (123)

Heather Mac Donald on the assumptions and pathologies of a “racialised worldview”: 

According to the Supreme Court, the only reason why schools should be allowed to discriminate against more academically qualified applicants in favour of less qualified black and Hispanic applicants is that those “underrepresented” minorities will bring otherwise missing perspectives to the classroom and cafeteria. But if each individual is in fact sui generis, then there is no reason to believe that selection by skin colour will lead to a non-random introduction of additional viewpoints.

Ah, but race goons and “diversity” hustlers do seem to regard minorities not as individuals but more like spices. And all those exotic brown people taste the same, apparently.

Michael Totten on the glorious Havana that tourists never see: 

In the United States, we have a minimum wage; Cuba has a maximum wage — $20 a month for almost every job in the country… Even employees inside the quasi-capitalist bubble don’t get paid more. The government contracts with Spanish companies such as Meliá International to manage Havana’s hotels. Before accepting its contract, Meliá said that it wanted to pay workers a decent wage. The Cuban government said fine, so the company pays $8–$10 an hour. But Meliá doesn’t pay its employees directly. Instead, the firm gives the compensation to the government, which then pays the workers — but only after pocketing most of the money. I asked several Cubans in my hotel if that arrangement is really true. All confirmed that it is. The workers don’t get $8–$10 an hour; they get 67 cents a day — a child’s allowance.

And Tim Worstall on a certain Guardian columnist and his deep, deep guilt about “our pointless hyperconsumption”: 

Sadly, George Monbiot has gone off on one again. Decrying the fact that we neoliberals in the Anglo Saxon capitalist style world don’t feel guilty enough about despoiling Gaia. The poor in other places, being as they are not Anglo Saxon and also sanctified by their being poor, care a lot more. We are sinners as a result.

Tim goes on to note some important ways in which Mr Monbiot’s feelings are misplaced. And readers may wish to ponder George’s urge to romanticise poverty and pre-modern living, an urge perhaps best expressed in his claim that “we” should be more like the peasants of Southern Ethiopia, who “smile more often” than we do and whose fields “crackle with laughter.” These noble, laughing peasants may live in homes constructed from leaves and packing cases, and they may have Stone Age sanitation and alarming child mortality, but at least they’re not being “isolated” by sinful material trappings, like dentistry, double glazing and TV remote controls. Think I’m kidding? Think again.

You see, “wealth causes misery” and is therefore bad for “us” – by which of course George means, bad for you. Yes, those brown people way over there, with their squalor, stunted lifespan and charming little huts, are just so cheerful, so adorable. A model for us all.

However, the more sceptical among us may see no reason to suppose that George feels what he claims to feel on any given day. If that were so, one might, for instance, expect Mr Monbiot, a man who equates air travel with child molestation, to shun all air travel himself, and do so rather strenuously, lest we assume he has a remarkably casual view of child molestation. And yet this lofty, more moral being tells us that he flies and drives “hypocritically or paradoxically, depending on your point of view,” and that, “Greens want to live more ethically – and they will always fall short.” Though I am willing to believe that George does indeed regard those who disagree with him as racist and unintelligent. In contrast with “liberals” such as himself, who are, he says, “self-deprecating” and “too liberal for their own good.”

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