Quote of the day

November 26, 2016

The national political press has declined even more precipitously than the political class, and the president-elect was elevated despite the animosity of both, a signal achievement whose significance those who have been vanquished show no signs of grasping.

Conrad Black

on the legacy of President Obama

November 26, 2016

The transition to a new administration is currently the most prominent fascination of reporting and commentators, but alongside that there is another prominent topic during this time, the legacy of President Obama. It’s been interesting to observe the very different evaluations of the same facts about the world, whether domestic or foreign, that have been affected to various degrees by President Obama’s policies.

Conrad Black offers his (negative) assessment here. In the column he engages with the positive assessment of David Remnick, which he describes with some very vivid comparisons:

The grief-stricken elegies of Abraham Lincoln, even unto Henry Ward Beecher, the toadying chronicles of the great liberal hallelujah chorus for Franklin D. Roosevelt, and the mawkish potboilers mass-produced by the Kennedy entourage could be ransacked in vain to find a rival to the body of Mr. Remnick’s works of ultra-secular canonization in laudation of Barack Obama.

That’s a marvelous sentence.

Quote of the day

November 25, 2016

[Progressives] believe they have won the culture wars, that there is no room left for dissent on matters like gay marriage, abortion, and transgender entitlements. They believe, too, that questions of public policy, from health care to entitlements and welfare, have been settled once and for all. Any remaining dissenters should feel the full weight of the administrative state, with all its powerful mechanisms.

John Daniel Davidson

on Thanksgiving

November 24, 2016

There are a lot of emotionally healthy reasons for learning to be thankful and grateful in life. That may be fairly easy in the United States, since life can be so good in so many ways, but it can be done by anyone regardless of their situation. Victor Frankl’s book on finding meaning in life is a remarkable testimony to that fact.

I have a lot to be thankful for, which is what I’m going to spend the day thinking about. I hope whatever your current feelings about the state of affairs in your place in the world, you’ll be able to enjoy at least some time today with people you care about, being grateful for the good things in your life.

Happy Thanksgiving Day.

Quote of the day

November 23, 2016

[Y]oung people have not yet experienced multiple situations in which the media scares the public over nothing. To them, the fear of Trump is real because the Internet and the media says it is real. To people my age, we have seen one fake media scare after another. We don’t believe in fake scares the same way that that young people do because we’ve been through it so many times.

Scott Adams

Quote of the day

November 22, 2016

And the failure to make the gospel of Hillary into the actual book of America points to the one good thing about Trump’s victory: a willingness among ordinary people to blaspheme against saints, to reject phony saviors, and to sniff at the new secular religion of hollow progressiveness. The liberal political and media establishment offered the little people a supposedly flawless, Francis-like figure of uncommon goodness, and the little people called bullshit on it. That is epic and beautiful, even if nothing else in recent weeks has been.

Brendan O’Neill

Quote of the day

November 21, 2016

Maybe it’s time to consider whether there’s something about shrill self-righteousness, shouted from a position of high social status, that turns people away.

Thomas Frank

on white people in America

November 21, 2016

A blind spot in the current discourse on systemic injustice is the way those who are not categorized as “people of color” are treated as a class. What I mean to say is, in the rush to dismantle systemic racial injustice, a new system of injustice is being created.

The new “Other” toward which bigoted injustice is being promoted is, roughly, that class of people who don’t measure up to the the cosmopolitan ideal current at the top of our societal institutions, i.e., Codevilla’s “Ruling Class”. Although only the white portion of that group can be openly condemned (See this essay by Brendan O’Neill for an important description of the problem.), it would have to include that portion of people from any race who aren’t on-board with the ruling class agenda. It’s an flaw in the social justice program that precludes any actual progress toward justice.

on smugness and condescension

November 19, 2016

It doesn’t seem to me that there has been a lot of progress among the established news outlet since the 2016 Presidential campaign ended. The basic tenor still seems to be that if they continue to preach their point of view that everyone will rally around.

Will Rahn of CBS addressed this in a commentary right after the election, “The unbearable smugness of the press.” It reads like an honest assessment and plea for a change. I don’t see many signs of it happening yet.

I don’t see any sense of a change among ordinary progressives, either. Empathy and communication don’t seem to be on the rise yet. I wonder if it will make a difference in the next few years.

on Trump and racism

November 18, 2016

It’s taken as a given on the political left that Trump is a racist, that his campaign was premised on appealing to white supremacy, and thus anyone voting for him, supporting him, or not opposing him vociferously enough is racist. His victory in the 2016 Presidential election has led to an outpouring of vitriol along this line, along with histrionic claims of emotional suffering inflicted upon students, children, etc., by the realization that half of the nation is blatantly racist.

Scott Alexander, who describes himself as working in the area of mental health, has written a devastating essay dismantling this narrative. Mr. Alexander is not a supporter of Mr. Trump by any stretch of the imagination, yet because of his understanding of this particular aspect of human behavior he’s quite adamant about setting the record straight on the issue.

It does matter to people’s well-being what they are constantly told about themselves and others and their relationship to the world. That the political left is willing to accept causing harm to people by repeating falsehoods because they want political power should worry anyone, especially political liberals of good will.