Thursday, April 23, 2015
I put up a post recently in which I looked at the now generally accepted sociological finding that social homogeneity promotes interpersonal involvement and trust. Most notably in multicultural communities, social harmony and co-operation is damaged.
I thought therefore that I might add to my remarks on the subject by way of an anecdote. The report is from a wise young mother who left the big smoke to live in a small country town in New Zealand. There is one well-liked Chinese family there but everyone else is of British or Northern European ancestry. Many families have lived there for generations. It could reasonably be described as a Kiwi monoculture. Nobody has to press "1" for English there. The young mother and her husband are well settled there now and both are greatly pleased by the move. She writes:
Last Thursday I returned home from swimming with H** [young daughter] when only 20 minutes after my return there was a knock at our door. It was one of the mum/swimming instructors at my door returning my phone that I had accidently left behind at the pool.
She told me one of the girls picked it up, gave it to her and she recognised the photo of H** on the phone and popped over to drop it off. Of course I was grateful and thanked her, I also told her I hadn't yet noticed that I had even lost the phone.
She saved me the stress and panic of realising I had lost it and it left me thinking about how wonderful living in a small town is. It is a lovely thought that H** will be under the watchful eyes of the people around us as we all know and look out for each other's kids.
Would that it were like that everywhere! Anyone for New Zealand? I have another favorite New Zealand story here.
What the Left’s Moments of Condescension Reveal
Sometimes the left unwittingly throws gems our way. These come in rare moments of exasperation, rather than the usual poise the left displays. The transformation of America, after all, requires quiet, subtle movements, coordinated with high-minded propaganda. That’s why moments of condescending contempt, accompanied by the left’s sharpest weapon — mockery—are so revealing.
For example, during a recent White House press briefing, President Obama’s press secretary, Josh Earnest, was asked whether Congress should have a say on the agreement with China that commits the United States to reducing its carbon output over the next 10 years. Rather than taking it to Capitol Hill, however, Secretary of State John Kerry submitted our “commitment” to the U.N.
In response to the questioner, Earnest said many members of Congress “deny the fact that climate change even exists. So I’m not sure they would be in the best position to decide whether or not a climate change agreement is one that is worth entering into.”
Earnest’s remarks show a contemptuous ignorance of the reasons behind our Constitution. The Senate’s involvement in international agreements that obligate the United States to sacrifices and the fulfillment of promises to foreign nations is not a mindless tradition, as Earnest implies.
In international affairs, Senate ratification of treaties indicates to the world that our commitments are not tied to the fancies or vanities of a single man, who will leave office after four or eight years. A concern for our nation’s reputation abroad—among the central issues Barack Obama campaigned on—requires that agreements be lasting, since respect from other nations comes in part from reliability and steadiness. Senate ratification provides this.
The Senate, as originally designed, was meant (insofar as possible) to preserve prudence in democratic politics by removing that body to a great extent from the influence of public opinion. This meant longer tenure in office and indirect election. This was done in order to create a deliberative body capable of seriously reflecting on the unknown continent of the future. As John Jay writes in Federalist No. 64, the Senate will possess “discretion and discernment,” as opposed to the “energy” of the executive.
The Senate should therefore be a kind of aristocratic class within a democracy. The advantage of this, as Tocqueville comments, is that “An aristocratic body is a firm and enlightened man who does not die.” Unlike the populace, sometimes taken in by manias, and unlike a particular president, who can be good or bad depending on the judgment of the electorate, the Senate should be more or less unchanging—a bastion of continuity in an unsteady sea of fears, hopes, and ambitions. For Madison in Federalist No. 63, the Senate possesses “sufficient permanency to provide for such objects as require a continued attention,” like foreign affairs.
When Earnest was asked to clarify his statement, he merely reiterated: “Well, again, I think it’s hard to take seriously from some members of Congress who deny the fact that climate change exists, that they should have some opportunity to render judgment about a climate change agreement.” That is, constitutional powers are revoked upon disagreement, making consent of the governed irrelevant.
Yet our political liberty is based on the consent of the governed, a notion often ignored by the left. For liberals, freedom is self-actualization, whereby what is actualized is some kind of consciousness hitherto oppressed by stigma. As such, consent is not only unimportant, but can indeed be an impediment to freedom.
Among the reasons for the left’s appeal is its seeming confidence. Unlike conservatives, the left need not argue about principles and interpret their complexities. Monolithic, moralistic declamations are designed to convince the wavering and silence the unsure. Airs of superiority appear to be knowledge itself.
This is a favorite tactic of the left, as demonstrated by the attempt by Rep. Raul Grijalva, D.-Ariz., to browbeat universities into investigating professors who disagree with his opinion on climate change, or by the president’s blaming his daughter’s asthma on climate change. This is the theater of high-minded condescension that seeks to convince through a mixture of mockery and threats.
The consequences are not small. Such demagogic arguments do not present a standard of judgment but rather deride serious deliberation. Mockery and condescension are easy moralistic indulgences not worthy of a free people.
Gary Trudeau and other hypocritical Leftists ignore the oppressed, despite their posturing
The New York Times reports: "Italian police on Thursday charged 15 Muslim men with homicide aggravated by religious hatred after survivors of a migrant boat rescued in the Mediterranean told investigators that the men had menaced Christians on board and thrown a dozen Christians overboard to their deaths … The victims came from Ghana and Nigeria, the police said, while the accused are from Ivory Coast, Mali and Senegal."
The crucial issue here – particularly if you’re Doonesbury cartoonist Garry Trudeau – is whether throwing Christians to their deaths is an example of punching down or punching up. I suspect he’d go with up, on account of Muslims being “non-privileged” and “a powerless, disenfranchised minority”, as Trudeau whined in his recent, pathetic attack on slaughtered Charlie Hebdo staffers:
"Traditionally, satire has comforted the afflicted while afflicting the comfortable. Satire punches up, against authority of all kinds, the little guy against the powerful. Great French satirists like Molière and Daumier always punched up, holding up the self-satisfied and hypocritical to ridicule. Ridiculing the non-privileged is almost never funny – it’s just mean."
By punching downward, by attacking a powerless, disenfranchised minority with crude, vulgar drawings closer to graffiti than cartoons, Charlie wandered into the realm of hate speech …
Charlie Hebdo attacked with drawings. Their killers attacked with AK-47s. Trudeau is more upset about the former, as is New York artist Melanie West, a co-resident in Trudeau’s obscene moral abyss:
"Christianity is a religion that features a lot of people with a lot of global dominance, while on the other side, Islam is a faith that has been bludgeoned in order to justify the pillaging and imperial slaughter of the East. Within that context, a Western body blatantly disrespecting Islam (like when drawing the Prophet Muhammad) is dropping arrows from the top. They are driving salt into the wound. They’re punching down, and they shouldn’t be surprised when people get desperate and punch back."
Or, presumably, when Muslims throw Christians into the Mediterranean, possibly due to the massive global dominance of Nigerians and Ghanaians. Mark Steyn has far more to say on the topic of Trudeau and his disgusting kind, expressed far more eloquently than I ever could, but for now let me add this:
The likes of Trudeau and West are too fantastically, rigidly stupid to understand that “comfortable” and “afflicted” are not permanent conditions. For example, if “comfortable” millionaire crap cartoonist Trudeau were to have been visiting friends in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, he may have found himself rapidly converted to “afflicted”, what with all the burning jet fuel pouring over him.
Likewise, the “afflicted” Islamic terrorists aboard those 9/11 jets, who were already “comfortable” enough in terms of upbringing, education and careers, became more “comfortable” still as they carried out their martyrdom missions. One supposes, too, that the “afflicted” Muslims floating off the Italian coast were more than “comfortable” tossing Christians to their deaths.
Among many others, Trudeau, West and Australian Guardian illo-pullet Andrew Marlton probably dreamed for their entire lives of the moment when they would bravely stand up to confront a democracy-opposing, women-hating, homophobic, theocratic fascist power. But when that moment came, through extremist Islam, they licked power’s boots. They caved. They ran.
They not only punched down, they fell down, pleading, on their knees.
Wisconsin's dirty prosecutors pull a Putin
Abusing law enforcement powers to punish political opponents is a crime
When Vladimir Putin sends government thugs to raid opposition offices, the world clucks its tongue. But, after all, Putin's a corrupt dictator, so what do you expect?
But in Wisconsin, Democratic prosecutors were raiding political opponents' homes and, in a worse-than-Putin twist, they were making sure the world didn't even find out, by requiring their targets to keep quiet.
As David French notes in National Review, "As if the home invasion, the appropriation of private property, and the verbal abuse weren't enough, next came ominous warnings. Don't call your lawyer. Don't tell anyone about this raid. Not even your mother, your father, or your closest friends. ...
This was the on-the-ground reality of the so-called John Doe investigations, expansive and secret criminal proceedings that directly targeted Wisconsin residents because of their relationship to Scott Walker, their support for Act 10, and their advocacy of conservative reform."
Is this un-American? Yes, yes it is. And the prosecutors involved — who were attacking supporters of legislation that was intended to rein in unions' power in the state — deserve to be punished. Abusing law enforcement powers to punish political opponents, and to discourage contributions to political enemies, is a crime, and it should also be grounds for disbarment.
The Clinton Pay-to-Play Foundation Unmasked
“Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich,” by Peter Schweizer, is due to hit the bookshelves soon, but Republican presidential candidates are already taking advantage. That’s because the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, including Rand Paul and Marco Rubio, was briefed on the book.
The New York Times obtained a copy, too, and reports that the “186-page investigation of donations made to the Clinton Foundation by foreign entities … asserts that foreign entities who made payments to the Clinton Foundation and to Mr. Clinton through high speaking fees received favors from Mrs. Clinton’s State Department in return.”
The Times quotes a passage in which Schweizer writes, “We will see a pattern of financial transactions involving the Clintons that occurred contemporaneous with favorable U.S. policy decisions benefiting those providing the funds.”
We know it’s shocking to consider that Hillary Clinton’s massive income and her record of “smart power” at the State Department might be tainted by these pay-to-play shenanigans, but Schweizer appears to have done his homework and provides numerous examples. Hillary’s use of private email servers was problematic in large part because she was able to cover up the Clinton Foundation’s dealings. No wonder she deleted tens of thousands of “personal” emails. And her response to the book is typical Hillary: It’s just part of the vast right-wing conspiracy.
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Posted by JR at 12:34 AM