» Capitalism, the Unknown Ideal

Ed Driscoll

Capitalism, the Unknown Ideal

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“Hillary Clinton admitted today that she was ‘surprised’ to learn that the people who told her small businesses have struggled in recent years were actually correct,” Joel Gehrke writes at NRO:

Clinton noted that small business creation has “stalled out,” to her chagrin. “I was very surprised to see that when I began to dig into it,” she said while campaigning in New Hampshire. “Because people were telling me this as I traveled around the country the last two years, but I didn’t know what they were saying and it turns out that we are not producing as many small businesses as we use to.”

The struggles of small businesses during President Obama’s administration are hardly a new subject on the campaign trail. Mitt Romney raised the issue throughout the 2012 presidential election.

“Small businesses lack the confidence they need to expand and hire new workers, and the President’s looming tax hikes are threatening to destroy another 700,000 jobs,” Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said in September of 2012, for instance.

In a statement, Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus mocked Clinton for expressing such surprise, pointing to reports of the cost increases Obamacare has imposed on small businesses.

”At every turn, Hillary Clinton has supported top-down Washington-driven policies that have stacked the deck against small businesses,” Priebus said. “Hillary Clinton can’t possibly be a champion for everyday Americans when she doesn’t understand their most basic economic concerns and was ‘surprised’ to learn that small businesses are struggling.”

Not that Hillary actually cares; last year she blurted out this pathetic Elizabeth Warren meets Obama “You didn’t build that” imitation:

“Don’t let anyone tell that, ah, you know, it’s corporations and businesses that create jobs,” Hillary Clinton proclaimed to loud applause at a political rally in Boston on October 24.

“You know that old theory — trickle-down economics,” she continued. “That has been tried. That has failed. It has failed rather spectacularly.”

I agree; trickling-down money from DC to failed corporatist ventures like Solyndra has been a disaster, but her previous boss wanted to “spread the wealth around,” to coin a phrase. Another “risky tax scheme,” as Al Gore would say, inasmuch as taxpayers were on the hook when it went bust, was forcing banks to trickle-down mortgages to credit risks who should have never owned homes in the first place; that was her largely her husband’s idea, a ticking fiscal time-bomb that blew up spectacularly in the fall of 2008:

Exit quote, from the late Tony Snow in 1999:

When told [in 1994, that Hillarycare, the prototype for Obamacare] could bankrupt small businesses, Mrs. Clinton sighed, “I can’t be responsible for every undercapitalized small business in America.” When a woman complained that she didn’t want to get shoved into a plan not of her choosing, the first lady lectured, “It’s time to put the common good, the national interest, ahead of individuals.”

Hey, that last sentence sounds even better in the original German: “Gemeinnutz geht vor Eigennutz.”

Shot:

That critical thinking plays a role in falling birthrates is backed up by a study conducted at Kansas State University, in which researchers found that “people’s desire to have children is most influenced by the positive and negative interactions, and the trade-offs.” These are detailed elegantly in an essay by Lionel Shriver, the author of We Need to Talk About Kevin, a book in which a mother’s life is ruined by her psychopathic son. “I could have afforded children, financially,” Shriver writes. “I just didn’t want them. They are untidy, they would have messed up my apartment. In the main, they are ungrateful. They would have siphoned away too much time from my precious books.”

Shriver acknowledges that this attitude could be interpreted as selfish. But, it seems, her feelings are indicative of “a larger transformation in Western culture no less profound than our collective consensus on what life is for.” In other words, she’s saying, an existential shift in the way educated humans approach living—a switch from living for the (possibly celestial) future to enjoying the present—has led humans to think much more carefully about having children, since the drawbacks tend to outweigh the benefits. “As we age,” she writes, “we are apt to look back on our pasts and question, not, did I serve family, God, and country, but did I ever get to Cuba, or run a marathon? Did I take up landscape painting? Was I fat? We will assess the success of our lives in accordance not with whether they were righteous, but whether they were interesting and fun.”*

“Why Women Aren’t Having Children,”** The Atlantic, Friday.

Chaser:

Of course, the liberals’ answer is to fight the numbers with amnesty, importing what they hope will be fertile new recruits for their grim ideology in from the Third World. But the problem is that once here, those immigrants who share liberal values eventually stop having babies too. It seems abortion and reproduction don’t mix. The black community has already suffered depredations from the abortion laws Democrats love, a Democrat crime that dwarfs the crime that was Jim Crow. Now immigrant women seem to be taking a cue from liberal women and doing the same. In the meantime, red states like Utah and Texas grow and grow while blue states California and New York gray and shrivel.

Conservatives, it is not enough to merely produce children or, as so many do, adopt those already here. We must nurture them and teach them properly because liberal society is determined to corrupt them and convert them into eager drones for the Borg Collective that is progressivism. Fight back. If you are religious, teach your children about God. If not, teach them to respect and understand those who are. Teach them about our country and our history – there’s no better way to demonstrate to them, as opposed to indoctrinate them, why America deserves their patriotism. My earliest memory is of standing on a Gettysburg battlefield, not far from where my family’s hometown had been burned by Confederate raiders. There really was never much question that someday I would help defend our country as I aspired to be like the heroes who died on those fields.

And teach your kids skills that will help them survive. Teach them to fight, and to shoot. Teach them to be steadfast in the defense of their rights, and to stand up for those being oppressed. My kids have a standing offer – if their school suspends them for justifiably punching a bully they get taken out for ice cream. And demand that your school teaches your kids properly – as Glenn “Instapundit” Reynolds often says, sending your kids to public schools is almost parental malpractice.

Not all conservatives will choose to have kids. Some can’t, and some have personal reasons not to – as grown men and women, none of them owe us any explanation. But by and large, we conservatives will outbreed our opponents if we just keep at it. So get some cabernet poured and some Barry White on and get busy, conservatives. Get busy…for America.

“Sexy Conservatives Will Out-Breed Barren Liberals,” Kurt Schlichter, Townhall, today.

Hangover:

* Let’s return to this line from the Atlantic article: “We are apt to look back on our pasts and question, not, did I serve family, God, and country, but did I ever get to Cuba, or run a marathon? Did I take up landscape painting? Was I fat? We will assess the success of our lives in accordance not with whether they were righteous, but whether they were interesting and fun.”

Did Tom Wolfe call this 40 years ago in “The ‘Me’ Decade and the Third Great Awakening,” or what?

Whatever the Third Great Awakening amounts to, for better or for worse, will have to do with this unprecedented post-World War II American development: the luxury, enjoyed by so many millions of middling folk, of dwelling upon the self. At first glance, Shirley Polykoff’s [advertising] slogan—“If I’ve only one life, let me live it as a blonde!”—seems like merely another example of a superficial and irritating rhetorical trope (antanaclasis) that now happens to be fashionable among advertising copywriters. But in fact the notion of “If I’ve only one life” challenges one of those assumptions of society that are so deep-rooted and ancient, they have no name—they are simply lived by. In this case: man’s age-old belief in serial immortality.

The husband and wife who sacrifice their own ambitions and their material assets in order to provide “a better future” for their children . . . the soldier who risks his life, or perhaps consciously sacrifices it, in battle . . . the man who devotes his life to some struggle for “his people” that cannot possibly be won in his lifetime . . . people (or most of them) who buy life insurance or leave wills . . . and, for that matter, most women upon becoming pregnant for the first time . . . are people who conceive of themselves, however unconsciously, as part of a great biological stream. Just as something of their ancestors lives on in them, so will something of them live on in their children . . . or in their people, their race, their community—for childless people, too, conduct their lives and try to arrange their postmortem affairs with concern for how the great stream is going to flow on. Most people, historically, have not lived their lives as if thinking, “I have only one life to live.” Instead they have lived as if they are living their ancestors’ lives and their offspring’s lives and perhaps their neighbors’ lives as well. They have seen themselves as inseparable from the great tide of chromosomes of which they are created and which they pass on. The mere fact that you were only going to be here a short time and would be dead soon enough did not give you the license to try to climb out of the stream and change the natural order of things. The Chinese, in ancestor worship, have literally worshiped the great tide itself, and not any god or gods. For anyone to renounce the notion of serial immortality, in the West or the East, has been to defy what seems like a law of Nature. Hence the wicked feeling—the excitement!—of “If I’ve only one life, let me live it as a ———!” Fill in the blank, if you dare.

And now many dare it! In Democracy in America, Tocqueville (the inevitable and ubiquitous Tocqueville) saw the American sense of equality itself as disrupting the stream, which he called “time’s pattern”: “Not only does democracy make each man forget his ancestors, it hides his descendants from him, and divides him from his contemporaries; it continually turns him back into himself, and threatens, at last, to enclose him entirely in the solitude of his own heart.” A grim prospect to the good Alexis de T.—but what did he know about . . . Let’s talk about Me!

** I blame global warming. No seriously; if you’ve truly internalized the crazed prophesies the warm-mongers have been shouting since the first Earth Day 45 years ago that “We only have five/ten/12 years, 362 days, 35 minutes and 22 seconds” to save the Earth, why would you want to inflict that vision of a barren future world on a kid?

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On March 18th, 1968, following the 1965 riots in Watts and in numerous American cities in 1967, including the riot that began the destruction of Detroit, Robert F. Kennedy gave a speech to the students at  Kansas State University. Kennedy quoted the words of early 20th century “Progressive” Kansan William Allen White, and eerily foreshadowed his own death just a few months later, when he said:

‘If our colleges and universities do not breed men who riot, who rebel, who attack life with all their youthful vision and vigor then there is something wrong with our colleges. The more riots that come on college campuses, the better the world for tomorrow.’ ” …

At first he seemed tentative and wooden, stammering and repeating himself, too nervous to punctuate his sentences with gestures. But with each round of applause he became more animated. Soon he was pounding the lectern with his right fist, and shouting out his words.

Rene Carpenter watched the students in the front rows. Their faces shone, and they opened their mouths in unison, shouting, “Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!”

Hays Gorey, of Time, called the electricity between Kennedy and the K.S.U. students “real and rare” and said that ” .. John Kennedy … himself couldn’t be so passionate, and couldn’t set off such sparks.”

Kevin Rochat was close to weeping because Kennedy was so direct and honest. He kept telling himself, My God! He’s saying exactly what I’ve been thinking! ..

Kennedy concluded by saying, “Our country is in danger: not just from foreign enemies; but above all, from our own misguided policies–and what they can do to the nation that Thomas Jefferson once said was the last, great hope of mankind. There is a contest on, not for the rule of America but for the heart of America. In these next eight months we are going to decide what this country will stand for–and what kind of men we are.”

He raised his fist in the air so it resembled the revolutionary symbol on posters hanging in student rooms that year, promised “a new America,” and the hall erupted in cheers and thunderous applause.

While last year we saw destructive riots ginned up by the media in Ferguson and rioting in New York, Twitter users witness a virtual riot about once a week it seems. And needless to say, sadly, many Twitter users also participate in the weekly Two-Minute Hate. In her review of Jon Ronson’s new book, So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, Megan McArdle writes at Bloomberg, “Social media is now producing what you might call ‘shame-storming,’ where some offense (real or imagined) is uncovered, and a horde of indignant tweeters quickly assembles to publicize the transgression and heap imprecations on its author”:

This sort of shaming has costs, however. If you haven’t changed someone’s mind, you haven’t changed their behavior, only what they say. If they do harbor the bad beliefs you accused them of, those beliefs are now festering in private rather than being open to persuasion. And you haven’t even necessarily changed what they say in a good direction, because people who are afraid of unjust attacks aren’t afraid of being punished for saying things they know they ought to be ashamed of, but of being punished for saying something they didn’t know would attract this kind of ire. So they’re afraid to say anything at all, or at least anything more interesting than “Woo, puppies!” That’s not norm enforcement; it’s blanket terror.

An even greater cost is that shame itself starts to lose its power. When outrage of the week becomes outrage of the hour, the audience starts to check out. Few people can sustain the emotional intensity needed to see cosmic injustice behind every badly phrased sentence or juvenile photo. Meanwhile, people in communities closer to the target start to respond with an outpouring of support, such that Memories Pizza ended up not by closing up shop and issuing a tearful apology, but trying to figure out what to do with the donations that poured in. The public shaming didn’t change anyone’s mind on gay marriage, or even make it extra-costly to operate an establishment that won’t cater gay weddings; it just hardened each side in their respective positions.

Riding out an online shame-storm isn’t much fun, but as Marc Fitch writes at the Federalist, in an article titled, “We Are Legion: Don’t Let Internet Culture Amplify Idiots,” “It is often quite easy to feel that you are greatly outnumbered and that the entire world is against you, particularly if you have the gall to air your beliefs in the public realm (or be caught in it, in [the Memories Pizza] situation)”:

Social media can seemingly explode with anger at your mention of a political or cultural position that goes against whatever the Video Music Awards are advocating this year. You are beset by Legion.

But are you, really? Two thousand people is a drop in the bucket of the overall population, but when they all turn and look at you it can feel overwhelming. While outrage is nothing new in cultural or political fights, the Internet’s ability to allow individuals to reach people they have never met or places they have never been perpetrates an illusion. Memories Pizza was deluged with one-star ratings by people who had never been to the establishment or sampled its pizza.

It was recently revealed that nearly 70 percent of the criticism lobbed at Rush Limbaugh (which is ample) comes from a small group of activists that have devoted their lives to attempting to make his miserable. However, to view coverage of Limbaugh in television and Internet media, you would think that the entire country is listening and vastly offended at everything he says. You would see and hear what appear to be great swaths of civilization amassing against this radio host. But this is an illusion born of spirit, not of substance, and it is meant to influence the spirit of others. It is necessary to separate the corporeal reality from the illusory zeitgeist.

Few people have time to be so incensed, and those that do should not drive culture. Their offense is an illusion. Their feelings may matter to them, but need not drive discussions and certainly shouldn’t attain such grandiose proportions. Ideas can be debated and talked through, and individuals who maintain a decorum of objective detachment can often find common ground. But fight with a spirit, with irrational rage, and there is no way to find commonality.

The anonymity of the Internet allows this illusion to truly reach its greatest power as a single individual can assume any number of Internet personas that can spew any amount of nonsense and vitriol with no accountability or personal reflection whatsoever. The pseudo-anger and the Internet’s ability to instantaneously connect users can often give the impression of widespread outrage, when really hardly anyone has noticed.

And as Glenn Reynolds noted, perhaps the spectacular fundraising pushback to the left’s Frankenstein mob-style attack on Memories Pizza has created a potentially new dynamic to overcome the hatred of the mob, maybe even if they really do follow Spike Lee’s cinematic advice and wreck a beloved neighborhood hangout.

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11 years ago, I wrote an article titled “Hollywood Stasists vs. Valley Dynamists” for Tech Central Station, on the cold technological war between northern and southern California. But rather than using the dynamists and stasists terminology from Virginia Postrel’s 1999 book The Future and Its Enemies, perhaps I should have referred to both sides as the Mensheviks and the Bolsheviks, as all of the battles were being led by various factions of the left.

The left-leaning (sometimes very left-leaning and occasionally more than a little racialist) National Journal spots Marlon Perkins-style, “The Secret Republicans of Silicon Valley.” Longtime readers of PJM should find this passage quite familiar:

Rather than ruffle feathers—or worse—Republicans who work there often just keep quiet. Rich Tafel, who coaches tech companies in politics and policy, understands the dynamic. The founder of the gay group Log Cabin Republicans, he’s had many Republicans in Silicon Valley confide to him their true political views.

“You just learn how to operate, if you will, in the closet as a Republican,” Tafel told National Journal. “You keep your viewpoints to yourself.”

One startup CEO who has worked in Silicon Valley for more than a decade says that while it’s popular to talk politics in the workplace, the underlying assumption is that everyone has similar views.

The CEO, who generally votes Republican and donates to GOP candidates—he spoke on background to conceal his right-leaning views—said that in 2012, “you wouldn’t want to say you’re voting for Romney in the election.” At the same time, openly expressing one’s support for Obama was “incredibly common.”

His opposition to raising the minimum wage is just one area where he diverges with most of his colleagues. “If you say something like, ‘We need a higher minimum wage,’ you don’t get critiqued,” he said. But he would never reveal his more conservative outlook on the matter.

“They can’t fathom that somebody disagrees with them,” he said. “And I disagree with them. So I’m not going to open up that box.”

Which our own Roger L. Simon described in the original title of his 2009 autobiography as “Blacklisting Myself:”

You see this new faith in practice at the average Hollywood story meeting. These are ritualized events and have been for the decades that I have participated in them. You wait an inordinately long time for your appointment, often longer than at a doctor’s office, but with nowhere near the legitimate excuse on the part of the executive keeping you waiting. They are definitely not in surgery. The intention is merely to confirm your lower place in the pecking order. (I have personal knowledge of an instance when John Huston and Jack Nicholson were kept cooling their heels in a tiny room by the now-forgotten head of ABC Motion Pictures for nearly two hours—I assume he didn’t realize they’d come to pitch him Prizzi’s Honor. Or maybe he did and this was a form of envy or vengeance.)

Once inside the executive’s office, the pecking order of talent and management thus confirmed, it’s instantly waved off in a burst of small talk and a call for the requisite mineral water—originally Perrier, now something more exotic like an obscure Welsh brand in a blue bottle whose unpronounceable name you can barely remember. But the small talk is what’s important. It usually revolves around the freeway traffic (a perpetual subject), the Lakers (depending on the year), and, over the last half-decade or more, a ritualized Bush bash. (What will they do without him?) Fucking Bush did this or that … Did you hear the stupid thing Chimpy the Idiot said? You didn’t even have to hear Bush referred to specifically— the word “idiot” sufficed. You knew. The subtext was that we were all together, part of the secret society, the world of those who know as opposed to those who don’t.

If you didn’t agree with this particular Weltanschauung, if you dissented from its orthodoxy just a tiny bit, you had but three choices: One, you could argue, in which case you would be almost certain to be dismissed as a fool, a warmonger, or a right-wing nut (all three, probably) and therefore have had little or no chance at the writing or directing job that brought you there. Two, you could shut up and ignore it (stay in the closet), in which case you felt like a coward and experienced (as I have) a dose of nausea straight out of Sartre. Three, you could stop going to the meetings altogether—you could, in effect, blacklist yourself.

I don’t know the size of that self-selected blacklist, but I suspect it’s substantial, though certainly not as large as the number of those in the closet. People have to make a living, after all, as in the days of the old blacklist. Only there are no “fronts,” as in the Woody Allen movie of the same name.

This happens with actors as well; Morgan Brittany, one of the former stars of Dallas who’s openly Republican, tells this story of appearing onstage with Ed Asner, who’s openly Stalinist:

Brittany told of building a friendship with actor Ed Asner, a sometimes activist for progressive causes, when the two starred in a stage-play together during the infamous Florida recount that put Republican George W. Bush in the White House over Democrat Al Gore. And she told how she lost Asner’s friendship due to politics.

“Every night he just loved me and came in and gave me a big hug,” she said. “Then one night he was going crazy about Gore and Bush and stealing the election. I’m backstage and I said, ‘Ed, chill, not everybody thinks the way you do’.”

“Well, where do I begin?” I swear. It was like a light switch,” she said. “He turned to me and said, ‘you’re not a Republican?’ I said, ‘yep.’ And he said, ‘I can’t even look at you. I can’t even talk to you’.”

“From that moment on, he never spoke to me again, except on stage,” she said. “This is what we’re dealing with. The intolerance of the left.”

Goodbye to all of that, says science fiction/fantasy novelist and frequent PJM contributor Sarah Hoyt in response to the socialist justice warriors overrunning that industry’s Hugo Awards, which we mentioned last week, creating what she calls, quite accurately, “The Architecture of Fear:”

Do consider how it would feel to come out of the closet and kick the mouse up and down main street, making him eat his Stalinist “guilt by association” cries.

I’m not going to force you.  I’m not going to out you.

But this Stalinist “I know everything you do and it’s all analyzed for deviationism” always leads to purges.  In SF/F those purges might mean not publishing traditional.  Or they might mean not winning awards.  Or getting kicked out of an organization.

But this type of mind-set is a cancer in the culture and sooner or later leads to gulags and graves.

I can’t push you and I won’t.  If you want to keep your opinions — left, right, moderate, libertarian, anarchist — hidden, it’s your job.  I am not the keeper of your soul.

However, I want you to think of the dark and dank place that fear and that suspicion and the constant spying lead.

And then I want you to think of how good it would feel to get off your knees, stand on two, look your tormentors in the face and say “No more.  I’m free. My thoughts and my opinions, my beliefs, my tastes, my friends are my own.  You have no power over me.  Not now, and not ever again.”

That’s all.  I just want you to think.

Now that the left are threatening to burn down Midwestern pizza parlors, and getting Silicon Valley CEOs fired for doubleplus ungood oldthink, you don’t see many commercials from them these days like this 1981 Amnesty International ad toasting freedom and celebrating speaking your conscience, huh?

Related: “How free speech became right wing:”

Essentially, the left needs to rediscover and reclaim its liberalism. Otherwise, the basic liberties of free thought and free expression will become the exclusive purview of the right.

But at least in America, the left declaring itself “liberal” was simultaneously a stolen base and a rebranding tactic in the early 1920s, after the Wilson administration demonstrated — the hard way — that free speech and “Progressivism” were mutually incompatible terms.

God only knows what they have against pizza, though — it’s Mussolini-approved!

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First up, the Times’ “editorial on NRA convention as accurate as you’d expect,” Ed Morrissey writes at Hot Air:

One can imagine that the New York Times editorial board had practically leaped with delight when they thought they’d found hypocrisy and irony in the NRA convention show. Their op-ed for today practically cackles with glee as they excoriate the premier gun-rights group for barring working weapons from their annual gathering. The problems with it start in the lead paragraph — indeed, in the very first sentence (via Instapundit):

Seventy-thousand people are expected to attend the National Rifle Association’s convention opening on Friday in Tennessee, and not one of them will be allowed to come armed with guns that can actually shoot. After all the N.R.A. propaganda about how “good guys with guns” are needed to be on guard across American life, from elementary schools to workplaces, the weekend’s gathering of disarmed conventioneers seems the ultimate in hypocrisy.

Wow! Sick burn, dudes. Except, er, that it’s not at all true, as the Tennessean explained … three days ago:

The National Rifle Association and the Music City Center have confirmed that gun owners with the proper carry permits can bring their guns with them into the center during the association’s convention, which will be held there this weekend.

A spokeswoman for the center said its policy is to follow state law and to allow the organizations holding events inside the facility to decide whether they wish for people to carry their guns inside.

Music City Center spokeswoman Mary Brette Clippard confirmed to The Tennessean on Tuesday afternoon that the NRA had no problem with gun owners with the proper gun permits bringing their weapons inside.

So the entire first paragraph was entirely ignorant of the NRA’s actual position and the reality of gun ownership. Well, that won’t come as a surprise to anyone who’s read the New York Times on the issue of gun rights, or several other topics, for that matter. But hey, maybe the editorial board just got off to a bad start.

No, it’s gets worse, as Ed writes. Meanwhile, the Times’ crosstown center-left rivals make the same mistake:

As Charles C.W. Cooke writes in a post titled, “New York Times Kicks off NRA Convention Coverage with Massive Lie:”

I noted when the New York Daily News peddled this same falsehood earlier in the week, the only guns that will have their firing pins removed are those that are presented for examination within the convention’s attendant trade show. This is standard practice. Why? Well, because the trade show guns are not for sale; they are not there to be fired; and they cannot be removed from their display cases. They exist only to demonstrate to attendees what each company has on offer.

To their credit, NBC’s low-rent discount cable access network did issue a correction after repeating the same falsehoods:


When will the Times?


As Ed Morrissey writes, “If this is the quality of the New York Times’ editors, it doesn’t leave much confidence in the newspaper’s reporting.”

Is there anyone left who has confidence in the Times’ reporting?

In the old days, the left railed against the eeeevils of Big Business, whether it was Upton Sinclair versus the meatpackers, or demonizing the men who built America’s network of railroads with the folk Marxist twang of “Robber Barons.” But these days, as we’ve seen in the past few weeks with Starbucks’ Howard Schultz and Apple’s Tim Cook, American business is almost totally onboard with the left’s social agenda. Comcast’s MSNBC channel and Viacom’s Daily Show and all three of the broadcast network’s news programs are effectively daily in-kind contributions to the Democrat Party.

But individual small businesses are a lot more random in their thinking, which is why the left hates them, unless they obediently conform to the Gleichschaltung. Millionaire filmmaker Michael Moore, who poses as a big lovable stubbly-faced friend of the working man, gave the game away in 2002:

You know in my town the small businesses that everyone wanted to protect? They were the people that supported all the right-wing groups. They were the Republicans in the town, they were in the Kiwanas, the Chamber of Commerce – people that kept the town all white. The small hardware salesman, the small clothing store salespersons, Jesse the Barber who signed his name three different times on three different petitions to recall me from the school board. F**k all these small businesses – f**k ‘em all! Bring in the chains. The small businesspeople are the rednecks that run the town and suppress the people. F**k ‘em all. That’s how I feel.

Flash-forward to today, and that’s how Moore’s fellow leftists feel about a a small-town family-owned business, a pizza parlor in a town with a population of about 2,300 people. At the moment, the collective left is currently losing its collective mind when their attempt to destroy it backfired. To put a balm over any twinges of guilt, they’re paraphrasing the infamous cri de coeur of legendary Washington mayor and crack addict Marion Barry: the pizzeria set us up! At Hot Air, Allahpundit explores the “reasoning” that creates a Memories Pizza Truther:

It adds up. ABC57 reporter Alyssa Marino walks through the door of the pizzeria during a Category Five news-storm over RFRA and asks, “Anyone here got a problem with catering gay weddings?” The pizzeria employees slink away, knowing what a “yes” would mean for their careers. But not Memories CEO Crystal O’Connor. As usual, she’s one step ahead of the game. Instantly she recognizes that if she says yes to Marino, the left will go apesh*t, flooding her business with crank calls, death threats, and nasty online reviews. The business will close temporarily. And then enraged conservatives will rally to her side, showering her with solidarity cash beyond her wildest small-town dreams. The GoFundMe take as I write this: $528,000 and counting. It’s a scam, engineered by an unassuming but quietly brilliant pizza-shop owner whose ability to anticipate partisan strikes and counterstrikes really should have her in charge of a Fortune 500 PR company. Coming soon: The Barbara Walters interview and then a bestselling book. She’ll retire by 40. Watch the clip below and you’ll see what I mean. No one as slick and comfortable on camera as O’Connor is could have possibly stumbled innocently into this culture-war clusterfark. She’s the “Gone Girl” of religious liberty.

Heh. In reality of course, her family’s business was the random victim of an Alinsky-style demolition by the leftwing mob, as Drew M. writes at Ace of Spades, praising PJTV alumnus Dana Loesch of The Blaze for setting the pushback against their tactics into motion:

The old model of the Outrage Brigades was to pick a target, call in the mob and hound the target out of polite company. Think of Justine Sacco. Well, a new model may develop from the Memories Pizza fiasco….the left still tries to destroy an innocent person who has the temerity to express an unapproved thought but instead of being destroyed by the lynch mob, the target is supported and literally enriched by the experience.

This isn’t the way it’s supposed to go and now the hatemongers are upset. Naturally they aren’t reexamining their tactics or beliefs, they are doing what insane people always do…delve into deeper and deeper into comforting fantasies about how their victims are really powerful oppressors engaged in a complex conspiracy.

Check out this tweet and the responses to it. They really believe that the people at Memories Pizza organized this whole thing to scam people out of money.

This is fantastic news.

Right now the the Go Fund Me campaign is well north of half a million dollars. Here’s the thing, I don’t care if the family takes all the money and spends in on hookers and blow. The point is the left thought they could destroy someone and make an example of them to quiet future Thought Crimes. It didn’t work. In fact, it backfired spectacularly.

We need to do this EVERY TIME these bastards do this to someone. Yes, it will get old, a little expensive and real grifters will show up and have to be avoided. But this is how you defeat the left. Make their tactics backfire. Show them that far from silencing people, every time they try to knock one person down, thousands will be there to lift them back up.

As Jonah Goldberg writes in his latest G-File, the left is suffering from a massive combined overdose of Selma Envy (QED: the National Journal’s hapless Ron Fornier) and “Megalothymia:”

Megalothymia is a term coined by Francis Fukuyama. It’s a common mistake to think Fukuyama simply took Plato’s concept of “thumos” or “thymos” and put a “mega” in front of it because we all know from the Transformers and Toho Productions that “mega” makes everything more cool.

But that’s not the case. Megalothymia is a neologism of megalomania (an obsession with power and the ability to dominate others) and thymos, which Plato defined as the part of the soul concerned with spiritedness, passion, and a desire for recognition and respect.

Fukuyama defined megalothymia as a compulsive need to feel superior to others.

And boy howdy, do we have a problem with megalothymia in America today. Everywhere you look there are moral bullies utterly uninterested in conversation, introspection, or persuasion who are instead hell-bent on grinding down people they don’t like to make themselves feel good. If you took the megalothymia out of Twitter, millions of trolls would throw their smartphones into the ocean.

Make no mistake: This is a problem across the ideological spectrum, because it is a problem of human nature in general and modernity in particular. But in this context, it’s a special malady of elite liberalism.

At Ricochet, Jon Gabriel dubs the left “The Sore Winners of the Culture War.” “The Left started the culture war, won it, and now roams the countryside shooting the wounded.” Only figuratively for the moment, the Internet equivalent, as Sonny Bunch writes at the Washington Free Beacon, of the riot that destroys the neighborhood pizza parlor at the end of Do the Right Thing* but that could just be a matter of time. Or as Rick Wilson writes at Federalist, “Someday, a Christian shopkeeper who becomes the focus of the 4chan or Reddit Rage Machine will be killed by some militant atheist or black bloc kid or some other flavor of crazy:”

If, following a breathless media report, it’s okay to destroy the business of someone who objects to you or your lifestyle on religious grounds, why not burn their home down? Does someone like that really deserve to have a place to live? Why not torch his cars? His kids are allowed in school? Hell, why not drag those hateful, homophobic bigots outside and hang them, pour encourager les autres? Of course, it couldn’t happen here, says America’s justice-warrior class, “We just want you to stop having Wrong Thoughts.”

The Rage Machine’s footsoldiers are unable to imagine consequence, or accountability–and it shows. They’ve been told what the Wrong Thoughts are and, by Tyson, they’re going to punish the people who hold them. You might think some vestigial moral center of the Left would rein in their vanguard, but as in so many cases before, they’re hiding behind the “it can’t happen here” argument. It resonates well in their minds–and with their media enablers.

I imagine that promise sits less comfortably with the uneasy ghosts of Germany, Russia, China, Cambodia, Vietnam, Armenia, Bosnia, Rwanda, and a hundred other less-known excursions into correcting the Wrong Thoughts of the Wrong People.

In the meantime, another journalist-turned SJW is acting out her own version of the megalothymiamanical Memories Pizza Truther, as we’ll see right after the page break.

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Question Asked and Answered

April 2nd, 2015 - 6:18 pm

“Can Greeks Become Germans?”

— Thomas Friedman, the New York Times, July 19, 2011.

“Greeks Prepare to Nationalize Banks…”

—Headline today at the Drudge Report, linking to this London Telegraph article:

Greece no longer has enough money to pay the IMF €458m on April 9 and also to cover payments for salaries and social security on April 14, unless the eurozone agrees to disburse the next tranche of its interim bail-out deal in time.

“We are a Left-wing government. If we have to choose between a default to the IMF or a default to our own people, it is a no-brainer,” said a senior official.

“We may have to go into a silent arrears process with the IMF. This will cause a furore in the markets and means that the clock will start to tick much faster,” the source told The Telegraph.

What could go wrong?

weimarmillion-8-30-10

Past performance is no guarantee of future results. In the wake of the January 2011 shooting of Gabrielle Giffords and over a dozen others, which the MSM immediately and erroneously blamed on Sarah Palin’s clip art, the MSM rushed in lockstep to condemn violent rhetoric, and demanded that both politicians and the media censor themselves. One contributor to the left-leaning publication National Journal insisted that violent rhetoric should be treated in the same fashion “that we’ve stopped using certain epithets like the ‘n’-word public forums:”

National Journal’s Michael Hirsh wants to raise the bar on decorum to an entirely new level. On Thursday’s MSNBC airing of “Hardball,” Hirsh told host Chris Matthews certain “gun” terms should be stricken from political discourse…His proposal? Make such language inappropriate in the same racial slurs are inappropriate.

“That’s the kind of language I think we got to have a hard think about now,” Hirsh said. “Do we really want to continue to use that kind of language at these levels? Or, should there be kind of a social sanction, not a legal one, but a moral sanction in the way that we’ve stopped using certain epithets like the ‘n’-word public forums. Stop using that kind of language, those kinds of metaphors.”

Certainly, many would view comparing someone to a Holocaust denier a slur that’s in the same league with violent, eliminationist rhetoric. Which makes this passage in a new National Journal article written by a young socialist justice warrior posing as a journalist highly problematic, in a piece titled “Scientists Tell Smithsonian to Ditch Koch Money.” (Link safe, goes to Twitchy):

The push arrives amid revelations that Smithsonian scientist and climate-denier Wei-Hock Soon raked in roughly $1.2 million dollars from the fossil-fuel industry while failing to disclose a conflict of interest. One of the founders of Soon’s research was the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation.

Does Mr. Soon deny that the climate exists? Now that would be news! In the interim, we await the layers and layers of editors and fact checkers at National Journal to condemn the use of a metaphor freighted with such a violent subtext. But we won’t hold our breath:

Related: “Reporters Explain Why Balance Isn’t Needed On Global Warming.”

Since the MSM long ago exited the profession of journalism in order to be Democrat operatives with bylines, are there any topics still left in which the MSM wishes to be fair and balanced (to coin a slogan) when discussing?

Starbucks Dials Back Racialist Campaign

March 22nd, 2015 - 2:46 pm

“Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz Imposes His Racial Hang-ups On America,” John Nolte wrote yesterday at Big Government, and as Tom Blumer added at NewsBusters, USA Today was eager to use their newspaper as a vehicle to promote Schultz’s racialism, bundling the above multipage folder into their papers yesterday. Fortunately, as Reuters (no stranger to leftwing evangelicalism themselves) reports today, Schultz or someone wiser at his company realized that having 20-something clerks lecture their customers on race was a staggeringly stupid idea for all concerned:

Starbucks Corp head Howard Schultz told employees on Sunday they will no longer be encouraged to write “Race Together” on drinks cups, but the company’s effort to promote discussion of racial issues “is far from over”.

The world’s biggest coffee chain kicked off a U.S. race relations campaign last week when it published full-page ads in major U.S. newspapers with the words “Shall We Overcome?” at centre page and “RaceTogether” and the Starbucks logo near the bottom. Employees behind the counter were also given the option of writing “Race Together” on customers’ cups.

The campaign was met with skepticism on social media, with many complaining the company was overstepping it boundaries with a campaign on sensitive cultural topics that had no place in the coffee shop’s lines.

Well, yes:

Mollie Hemingway of the Federalist had a slightly different take on Schultz’s mad scheme; in her opinion, he doesn’t view himself as a far left college headmaster, but as a fundamentalist preacher eager to use his underlings as missionaries to spread the socialist gospel, ala Father Coughlin or Rev. Wright. As Hemingway wrote, “With Race Together, Starbucks Is Using Worst Of Evangelical Practices:”

The whole campaign reminded me so much of this story from 2004, when an American Airlines pilot got on the loudspeaker and asked passengers who were Christian to raise their hands. Then he suggested to the ones who raised their hands that they spend the remainder of the flight trying to convert those who hadn’t. The passengers were so confused by the request that they wondered if the pilot was a terrorist.

Listen, I love few things more than sharing the good news that Jesus has triumphed over sin, death and Satan with others and I hate racism. But there’s a reason why the American Airlines pilot and the Starbucks approaches freak people out! Yes, part of it is that there’s a time and place to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ and discuss difficult social problems. But also, these things are highly ineffective when done outside of a personal relationship.

Both of these approaches also exhibit extreme vocational confusion.

* * * * * * *

Simply flying a plane to the best of your ability and bringing hundreds of passengers safely from one point to another is a great way to serve your neighbor. You don’t need to hand out cross pins or get on the loudspeaker and introduce people to Jesus to make it a good work.

It’s curious; for leftwing consumers, simply knowing that a CEO disagrees with this week’s stance on gay marriage or Obamacare is enough to get him fired or have his chain boycotted. But a leftwing CEO feels perfectly entitled to proselytize the Gleichschaltung to his customers.

Exit question: How long would Starbucks permit a “barista” to enthusiastically preach the real gospel to his customers as an aide to racial healing?

By the way, speaking of the Gleichschaltung, I stopped going to Starbucks on a regular basis two or three years ago when they bowed to Obamacare-related laws and began printing calorie counts on their menu boards. It wasn’t so much paying $5.00 for a cup of coffee that’s essentially a warm milkshake that was problematic, but being hit in the face that I now had an additional 500 calories or more to burn off at the gym that night. Now with their CEO having dropped the mask and gone the full Bullworth-meets-Eric Holder on his customers, I realize I was simply ahead of the curve in avoiding their product.

But hey, as they say at MSNBC’s parent network:

“Starbucks’s new campaign is yet another sign of the relentless politicization of American culture,” Jonah Goldberg writes today:

It’s ironic. The Obama years were supposed to usher in an era of racial harmony. That didn’t happen — which presumably is why Schultz feels the need to help mend our racial wounds. What has happened, however, is that hordes of college graduates, unable to find jobs suitable to their degrees, have ended up toiling away at places like Starbucks.It’s kind of ingenious. Since sociology majors can’t find relevant jobs, Schultz is making the jobs they have relevant to their majors. If this becomes a trend, maybe my dog walkers will start reciting Proust in French on their perambulations.

As a business decision, I find the whole thing bizarre. If I don’t have my coffee in the morning, I get a headache that feels like a Hell’s Angel is trying to press his meaty thumb through my forehead. This is not the most propitious moment to engage me in a conversation about my “race journey.” Worse, Starbucks lines are already long. How much longer will they get when the barista takes 20 minutes out of his or her job to debate the Moynihan Report with a customer?

On Red Eye last night, Rob Long made a great observation — there’s no Starbucks in Ferguson. If Howard Schultz, Starbucks’ CEO wants to really start a dialogue about race, perhaps he needs to put his company’s money where is mouth is, and start there.

Meanwhile, David P. Goldman, writing in his “Spengler” column at PJM wants to start a dialogue about the truly important issues that vex us all: It’s “Time for a National Conversation About Why Starbucks Coffee Is Disgusting.”

By the way, as with all “Progressive” concepts, Schultz’s thinking is stuck in America’s distant past — it’s always Alabama in 1963 for the left, unless it’s 1933 and they’re searching for their next Roosevelt. But in the real 21st century America, my local town in Northern California has a widely divergent racial culture filled Asians from Japan, China and Korea; people of Spanish and Mexican descent, and people of pallor like myself. And by and large, they seem to get on pretty darn well. Oh to be a fly on a wall when a white barista lectures an Asian or someone of Latino origin to be more harmonious in their race relations.

Lest you wind up in one of Hillary’s “Fun Camps” for political reeducation.

Exit Question: “Why Is There No Starbucks Coffee House in Selma?”

Unexpectedly!

March 16th, 2015 - 1:40 pm

We’ve seen this movie before, haven’t we?

 

As far as the automated dining service, Jazz Shaw writes, “It’s a terribly impersonal service as compared to a bartender or waitress who stops to chat with you, but it gets the job done:”

I ran into one of these setups at the Philadelphia airport this winter and they work surprisingly well. If you plan to pay by credit or debit card (which is the only option in some cases) you barely interact with a human at all. You browse the drinks and food on the touch screen, place your order, swipe your card, and a short while later somebody strolls up with your food and beverage, says hello and drops them off. It’s a terribly impersonal service as compared to a bartender or waitress who stops to chat with you, but it gets the job done.

Of course, that last phrase is the big issue here, isn’t it? It gets the job done. That job used to be done by a person. Now it’s essentially a robot. So those workers are no longer on the payroll, but hopefully they’ll catch on someplace else. Unfortunately, as Seattle is finding out, employers who run single outlets and don’t have the backing and buffer range of a major chain often won’t be able to make the shift in technological infrastructure required to cut back on staffing while staying open. Those folks will shut down, and it’s apparently already beginning in Washington state.

You know… if only somebody had tried to warn them.

Unexpectedly.

Update: Jonah Goldberg explored the racialist origins of the minimum wage in his 2008 book, Liberal Fascism:

[Early "Progressive" stalwart Edward Alsworth Ross] was a showman, but his ideas fit squarely within the worldview of progressive economics, on both sides of the Atlantic. Consider the debate over the minimum wage. The controversy centered on what to do about what Sidney Webb called the “unemployable class.”It was Webb’s belief, shared by many of the progressive economists affiliated with the American Economic Association, that establishing a minimum wage above the value of the unemployables’worth would lock them out of the market, accelerating their elimination as a class. This is essentially the modern conservative argument against the minimum wage, and even today, when conservatives make it, they are accused of—you guessed it—social Darwinism. But for the progressives at the dawn of the fascist moment, this was an argument for it. “Of all ways of dealing with these unfortunate parasites,”Webb observed, “the most ruinous to the community is to allow them unrestrainedly to compete as wage earners.”30
Ross put it succinctly: “The Coolie cannot outdo the American, but he can underlive him.”Since the inferior races were content to live closer to a filthy state of nature than the Nordic man, the savages did not require a civilized wage. Hence if you raised minimum wages to a civilized level, employers wouldn’t hire such miscreants in preference to “fitter”specimens, making them less likely to reproduce and, if necessary, easier targets for forced sterilization.
And of course, even beyond its racialist origins, a high minimum wage also makes it that much more difficult for a small business to succeed in general, which “Progressives” then and now consider a feature, and not a bug.

Ferguson Home Values Plummeting

March 16th, 2015 - 12:06 pm

Fusion, a Website that’s an, err fusion between Univision and ABC/Disney is shocked that Ferguson real estate prices are “Down nearly 50 percent since Michael Brown’s death.” There’s more than a hint of bias in that subhead, as the cause wasn’t Brown’s death after he slugged a convenience store clerk and attempted to steal a police officer’s gun, but the riots and looting that followed — which were another kind of media fusion, ginned up by via the minicams of CNN and fueled further by NBC anchorman Al Sharpton’s corrosive presence:

[John] Zisser, 55, has owned and operated Zisser’s Tires in this city since 1987. He says the still-visible damage from the November protests that followed a grand jury’s decision not to indict Ferguson officer Darren Wilson for the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown is hurting property owners. His store’s insurance is in the process of being cancelled after it was twice vandalized during the unrest, he says.

“If I sold this place today, I could probably get $300,000 for it, if anyone is crazy enough to buy. Last year, the county said this lot was worth almost a million,” he says. “The value here is all going down. There’s about nine burnt-out buildings this way,” he says, pointing. “And about four more behind me.”

Zisser is one of many Ferguson residents feeling a financial toll from the months of protests, media attention, and now another high-profile shooting. They’re worried not just about their own situations, but about the city coffers, too. The future of Ferguson, they say, is anyone’s guess.

“How much money are we going to lose?” Zisser asks. “How much money is the city and the county going to lose in taxes because of this? And how much is the school district going to lose here? They’re the biggest losers.”

Not at all “unexpectedly,” of course, as Fred Siegel warned in August of last year at City Journal:

Riots bring but one certainty—enormous economic and social costs. Businesses flee, taking jobs and tax revenues with them. Home values decline for all races, but particularly for blacks. Insurance costs rise and civic morale collapses. The black and white middle classes move out. Despite its busy port and enormous geographic assets, Newark, New Jersey has never fully recovered from its 1967 riot. This year, Newark elected as its mayor Ras Baraka, the son and political heir of Amiri Baraka—the intellectual inspiration for the 1967 unrest.

The story is similar in Detroit, which lost half its residents between 1967 and 2000. Civic authority was never restored after the late 1960s riots, which never really ended; they just continued in slow motion. “It got decided a long time ago in Detroit,” explained Adolph Mongo, advisor to the jailed former “hip-hop mayor,” Kwame Kilpatrick, that “the city belongs to the black man. The white man was a convenient target until there were no white men left in Detroit.” The upshot, explained Sam Riddle, an advisor to current congressman John Conyers, first elected in 1965, is that “the only difference between Detroit and the Third World in terms of corruption is that Detroit don’t have no goats in the streets.”

“No doubt little will be learned from Ferguson. No doubt there will be more Fergusons,” Siegel concluded. We’ve seen Ferguson’ possible future. And it’s not at all pretty:

Moviegoing Heads for the Exit

March 13th, 2015 - 12:26 pm

John Podhoretz, writing in the Weekly Standard, asks, “Will anyone go to the movies 25 years from now?”

Will there even be movie theaters 25 years from now? These are not idle questions. New research from the Motion Picture Association of America shows how the moviegoing audience of those between the ages of 25 and 39 has contracted precipitously—dropping almost 25 percent over the past four years.

Moviegoing is like any habit: Break it, and you’re not likely to go back to it. The habit is being broken. The business relies on those who go to theaters at least once a month. Such people are responsible for more than half the tickets sold in any given year. They now make up a mere 11 percent of the overall audience, and they’re getting older. Ticket sales to Americans over 40 are rising. Ticket sales to Americans between the ages of 21 and 40 are falling.

If this trend is not reversed, and it’s hard to see how it will be, two things will happen. The importance of frequent moviegoers will rise for the cinema’s bottom line because the number of people who go rarely or don’t go at all will rise. But those frequent moviegoers will begin to recede in numbers over time because they will (alas) begin, literally, to die out.

And then there’s the money it costs to build and maintain the infrastructure that delivers Hollywood’s product, Podhoretz adds:

It costs more to advertise them because it’s harder to make people aware that they even exist in the cable/Internet universe. Also, theaters are built on real estate that grows more valuable over time, luring developers because of the size of their footprint. Money has to be spent on theater upkeep or the seats will grow uncomfortable and the bathrooms skeevy. And if they grow less valuable because fewer people use them, and they don’t generate the profits at the concession stands that really support them, those theaters will be sold or will close.

In the 1970s, Nixon Derangement Syndrome drove many of the decisions made by the “New Hollywood” that replaced the studio system that created the industry’s golden era, which ran from the 1930s through the mid-1960s. (John Gregory Dunne’s book The Studio is an excellent profile of 20th Century Fox in 1967, just as the lights were about to go out on old Hollywood.) But at least the young Turks who replaced the grizzled old founders of Hollywood had fresh ideas, worked with smaller budgets, and had much more room to experiment, before Spielberg and Lucas showed the industry how to make money once again.

In the aftermath of 9/11, a near monolithically left Hollywood worked very hard at alienating the American middle class, and by and large succeeded. The preening-anti-war statements, all the way to siding with the terrorists in Guantanamo Bay. The rabid hatred of President Bush. The SJW sucker punches. The two-tiered dumbed-down industry reduced to cranking out two types of movies: zillion dollar CGI blockbusters in the form of mindless formulaic epic quests and cartoon/sci-fi blockbusters.  And equally mindless anti-Iraq movies.

But the biggest trend that greatly changed Hollywood was the loss of its stars. A certain amount of this was out of the industry’s control. Schwarzenegger decided to become governor. Tom Cruise and Mel Gibson had very public freakouts. Clint and Harrison Ford aged, the latter making increasingly bad film choices along the way. (Anybody remember Hollywood Homicide or Firewall from the mid-naughts?)

Stars were what made an industry where “nobody knows anything” about a film’s chances, as screenwriter William Goldman famously said, somewhat predictable. In the old days, you could know nothing about a movie other than above its title was a name like John Wayne, Cary Grant, Fred Astaire, or Humphrey Bogart, and know that you were going to have a pretty good two hours ahead of you. As late as the 1990s, Hollywood in the summertime delivered up a steady stream of Schwarzenegger, Stallone, Clint, Cruise, Gibson and Harrison, and you knew that you could watch two hours of a cool guy blowing stuff up. Casablanca it wasn’t, but it was still dependable.

Today, unless you’re a teenager who wants to see comic book stars and spaceships, Hollywood no longer wants you at the box office. As Podhoretz wrote in an earlier column, American Sniper “turned out an audience of people who haven’t been to a movie theater in years.” But as with the surprise massive success of Gibson’s The Passion, Hollywood has signaled loud and clear that we’re not a crowd that they wish to cater to at the box office.

To borrow from Tony Hendra’s classic doubletalk in Spinal Tap, the industry worked very hard to make its audience more “selective.” They shouldn’t be surprised to watch it thin out even further.

We’ll get to the above 1972 video of Walter Cronkite in just a moment, but first, let’s set the stage. Return with us now to the end of the 1960s and the dawning of the craptacular ’70s. As Power Line’s Steve Hayward wrote in the first volume of The Age of Reagan, environmentalism — then simply called “ecology” — became an obsession of the left shortly after President Nixon took office, eclipsing both anti-Vietnam war and pro-civil rights protests:

Writing in Science magazine, Amitai Etzioni of Columbia University dismissed ecology as a “fad,” and thought that “the newly found environmental dangers are being vastly exaggerated.” Even if not exaggerated, Etzioni thought the environment was the wrong priority: “Fighting hunger, malnutrition, and rats should be given priority over saving wildlife, and improving our schools over constructing waste disposal systems.”

This criticism was mild compared to the blasts that came from black civil rights leaders. The most bitter attack came from Richard Hatcher, the black mayor of Gary, Indiana: “The nation’s concern for the environment has done what George Wallace was unable to do—distract the nation from the human problems of black and brown Americans.” Whitney Young of the National Urban League was equally distressed: “The war on pollution is one that should be waged after the war on poverty is won. Common sense calls for reasonable national priorities and not for inventing new causes whose main appeal seems to be in their potential for copping out and ignoring the most dangerous and pressing of our problems.”

And being a good doctrinaire liberal, CBS’s Walter Cronkite was quick to move with the times and ride the fad. As left-leaning historian Douglas Brinkley noted in his 2012 biography of Cronkite:

A CBS Reports segment in September 1962 had Eric Sevareid famously interviewing the literary biologist Rachel Carson about the perils of the insecticide DDT at her home in Silver Spring, Maryland. Cronkite, at the time, had been focused on the Earth-orbiting flight of the second Mercury launch. But now that Neil Armstrong had walked on the Moon, Cronkite sensed that ecology would soon replace space exploration as the national obsession. CBS News producer Ron Bonn recalled precisely when Cronkite put the network on the front line of the fight. “ It was New Year’s Day, 1970, and Walter walked into the Broadcast Center and said, ‘God damn it, we’ve got to get on this environmental story,’ ” Bonn recalled. “When Walter said ‘God damn it,’ things happened.”

What could go wrong?

Cronkite pulled Bonn from nearly all other CBS duties for eight weeks so he could investigate environmental degradation. He wanted a whole new regular series on the CBS Evening News—inspired by Silent Spring, the philosophy of René Dubos, and those amazing photos of Earth taken by the Apollo 8 astronauts. The CBS Evening News segments were to be called “Can the World Be Saved?” “We wanted to grapple first with air pollution, the unbreathable air,” Bonn recalled. “But then we wanted to deal with the primary underlying problem, which was overpopulation.”

So, eugenics, then. And then a quick detour into global cooling. As Julia Seymour writes today at NewsBusters, “And That’s the Way It Was: In 1972, Cronkite Warned of ‘New Ice Age:’”

The late Cronkite is considered a “legendary journalist” and a pioneer in the field, which is why Marc Morano, publisher of Climate Depot, said this footage was so important. Morano is a former staff member of U.S. Senate Environment & Public Works Committee and producer of the upcoming global warming documentary Climate Hustle, set for release later in 2015.

“Global warming activists have claimed for years that the 1970s global cooling scare never existed. They have tried to erase the inconvenient history which ironically blamed extreme weather like tornadoes, droughts, record cold and blizzards on global cooling,” said Morano.

Morano told MRC Business, “But now — unearthed from bowels of media archives — comes none other than Walter Cronkite reporting on fears of a coming ice age in 1972. Having Cronkite’s image and face discussing global cooling fears reveals the fickleness of the climate change claims.”

“Climate fear promoters switched effortlessly from global cooling fears in the 1970s to global warming fears in the 1980s. In the present day, the phrase ‘global warming’ has lost favor in favor of ‘climate change’ or ‘global climate disruption’ or even ‘global weirding,’ Morano added. “’Settled science’ has never seemed so unsettled.”

By the way, let’s end with this inadvertently telling paragraph from Brinkley (his book, meant to celebrate Cronkite, raised many questions about the man who spent much of his career posing as Mr. Objective):

In January 1970, the promise of a new environmentalism brought about the end of [Cronkite’s future-themed series] The Twenty-First Century (which had succeeded The Twentieth Century in June 1967). No longer would Cronkite tolerate Union Carbide (a major polluter) as a sponsor. The Texas-based Fortune 500 company was the enemy of “Earthrise,” he told Bonn. At Cronkite’s insistence, CBS canceled The Twenty-First Century to coincide with the debut of the “Can the World Be Saved?” segments.

Yes, the crank science of the 1970s brought an end to the heroic phase of Kennedy and Johnson’s space program and its dalliance with embracing the 21st century a few decades early. And along with the collapse of the Great Society, which disillusioned the left when it tried to be all things to all voters, the optimism of the postwar 1950s and the first half of the 1960s would fade away, replaced by a grim nihilistic permanent malaise.

Exit question: Scott Pelley, the current incarnation of Cronkite on CBS has publicly likened those who question the “settled science” of global warming to Holocaust deniers, asking, “If I do an interview with Elie Wiesel, am I required as a journalist to find a Holocaust denier?”

What would he say if he ran into the 1972 iteration of Walter Cronkite?

‘Preparing for China’s Collapse’

March 3rd, 2015 - 12:58 pm

P.J. O’Rourke was interviewed by Peter Robinson of Ricochet and the Hoover Institute last month, and near the end of their wide-ranging conversation, Robinson asked O’Rourke about those of us in California who’ve given up on trying to reform the sclerotic dinosaur that is Sacramento. O’Rourke began his reply with this great anecdote referencing an even bigger and more dangerous ancient socialist government:

I remember going around China with a friend of mine who owned some steel foundries and a pelletized iron ore plant. He’s an American, but he lives in Hong Kong. Anyway, we’re wandering around mainland China, and I remember saying that I hadn’t heard any political discussions. Is it because people are afraid to talk about politics? He said, “no, they’re not afraid to [talk about politics]. You get ‘em started, and they’ll go on. But you’ve got understand the fundamental Chinese attitude toward government is ‘shhhhhhh….don’t wake it up when it’s sleeping.’” And I think our Millennials have a little bit of that same attitude. Fortunately, what they would wake up would not be as terrifying as [China’s cultural revolution.]

But what happens when China’s government does wake from its slumber? Steve Green writes today that the results won’t be pretty:

If a collapse should come, there is something we need to think about very seriously whether or not Washington ever heeds Mattis’s advice: The huge economic disruptions. China does in manufacturing today what America used to do, which is to move fast and scale up even faster. China moves workers and material in amounts and at speeds which are a legal and regulatory impossibility in 21st Century America. Between worker regs and the EPA, it simply isn’t possible for the US to replace China’s manufacturing ability — and there’s no other country besides us big enough and skilled enough to even try.

China’s collapse would cut a whole leg off of the global economy, with no anesthetic and no way to stop the bleeding. The loss of physical capital and manufacturing know-how would make a second Great Depression all but certain.

We need to have a plan in place to lift an awful lot of regulations, immediately, so that American business can go back to doing the kinds of things it used to do — and could do again if Big Fat Washington weren’t sitting on its chest.

In the early days of WWII, FDR asked for the impossible — that American industry build 50,000 warplanes in the first year, and 50,000 more every year after that. Nothing like it had ever been tried. But American business saw the profit potential, and FDR (for once) mostly got Washington out of the way. Sure enough, he got his airplanes.

We could do this, and avoid a global depression. The only thing stopping us is us.

I’m tempted to say “insert the Pogo quote here,” but given its origins during the rise of the American environmentalist left in the early 1970s, it was designed to stop us as well.

Related Exit Quote, via William F. Buckley: “Every ten years I quote the same adage from the late Austrian analyst Willi Schlamm, and I hope that ten years from now someone will remember to quote it in my memory. It goes, ‘The trouble with socialism is socialism. The trouble with capitalism is capitalists.’”

Snowfalls Are Now Just a Thing of the Past

March 2nd, 2015 - 10:37 am


Past performance is no guarantee of future results:

Good Morning America anchors and reporters effusively lauded Al Gore on Friday after he won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work on global warming. Diane Sawyer opened the program by breathlessly declaring, “Former Vice President Al Gore wins the Nobel Peace Prize for helping awaken the world to global warming. Now is it time to run for president again?” In her introduction to a piece on the subject, Sawyer gushed that the ex-VP is receiving the award for “for educating the world.”

“ABC Gushes Over Al Gore Nobel Win; He’s ‘Educating the World,’” the Media Research Center, October 15, 2007.

Good Morning America news reader Amy Robach on Friday mocked Republican James Inhofe as “bizarre” for a global warming speech he gave on the Senate floor. Robach described, “And a bizarre scene in Washington. One senator used the recent snow to bolster his argument about climate change.”

Inhofe held up a snowball to note the unusually cold February that the east cost has suffered through. Tossing the snowball, he joked, “Here, Mr. President. Catch this.” ABC has a history with condescending coverage on this issue. On April 23, 2012, reporter Bill Blakemore derided climate change skeptics as “denialists” and called for more alarmist advocacy.

“ABC Hits Senator Inhofe’s Climate Speech as ‘Bizarre,’” NewsBusters, February 27, 2015.

(Headline via the London Independent in 2000. The New York Times was running similar headlines as recently as last year; anti-vaccine crank Bobby Kennedy Jr. was specifically warning of no more snow in DC in 2008.)

Update: “Continue to Remind the Alarmists that It’s Cold Out. They Deserve It,” Sonny Bunch of the Washington Free Beacon writes, in-between digging his car out from seven degree weather. We’re doing our part!

Another day, another hit piece on Walker, this time from Philip Rucker of the Washington Post. (Link safe; goes to Hot Air; I’m not rewarding attack articles with extra traffic):

Walker responded by ticking through his recent itinerary of face time with foreign policy luminaries: a breakfast with Henry Kissinger, a huddle with George P. Shultz and tutorials at the American Enterprise Institute and the Hoover Institution.

But then Walker suggested that didn’t much matter.

“I think foreign policy is something that’s not just about having a PhD or talking to PhD’s,” he said. “It’s about leadership.”

Walker contended that “the most significant foreign policy decision of my lifetime” was then-President Ronald Reagan’s move to bust a 1981 strike of air traffic controllers, firing some 11,000 of them.

“It sent a message not only across America, it sent a message around the world,” Walker said. America’s allies and foes alike became convinced that Reagan was serious enough to take action and that “we weren’t to be messed with,” he said.

According to Politico, Rucker was the guy who whined, “What about your gaaaaaaaffffffes!!!!!!” to Mitt Romney in 2012; but what about Rucker’s gaffes, specifically, his lack of knowledge of history? Specifically, history that happened likely before the young Democrat operative with a byline was even born. Rucker’s article is headlined “Scott Walker calls Reagan’s bust of air traffic controller strike ‘most significant foreign policy decision,’” but that’s not a bad summation of how those events played out.

Return with us now to the early 1980s. In his 2009 book The Age of Reagan: The Conservative Counterrevolution: 1980-1989, Steve Hayward of Power Line wrote:

Smashing the air traffic controllers union has loomed large in populist lore ever since as a “signal” to private sector management that it was now okay to squeeze unions, but this is too simple. (If Reagan had really wanted to send an anti-union message, he would have proposed privatizing air traffic control.) Generally polls showed that public esteem for organized labor was at an all-time low by the time of PATCO’s ill-considered gambit. Labor was getting the message. A Wall Street Journal headline a month later told the story: “Economic Gloom Cuts Labor Union Demands for Big 1982 Contracts.” Fed chairman Paul Volcker later said that Reagan’s firing of the PATCO strikers was the single most important anti-inflationary step Reagan took.

There was one unanticipated audience that paid close attention to Reagan’s manhandling of the strike: the Soviet Politburo. Since taking office the administration had been looking for an opportunity to demonstrate in some concrete ways its toughness toward the Soviet Union. As is often the case, the most effective opportunity came in an unexpected way and from an unlooked-for place. The White House realized it had gotten Moscow’s attention when the Soviet news agency TASS decried Reagan’s “brutal repression” of the air traffic controllers.

For the American news media, Reagan’s handling of the strike became the opening for a new line of criticism. During the budget fight, the dominant line of criticism was that while Reagan’s policies might be cruel and uncaring, he himself was a kindly man. Having wondered whether Reagan was too “nice,” Haynes Johnson now wrote: “A glimmer of a harsher Reagan emerges…. For the first time as president, he has displayed another, less attractive side. Firmness is fine in a president; indeed, it is desirable. But something else came through last week—a harsh, unyielding, almost vengeful and mean-spirited air of crushing opponents. It makes you wonder how he will respond if faced with a direct, and dangerous, foreign challenge, one requiring the most delicate and skillful combination of strength and diplomacy.”

Gee, ask Secretary Gorbachev how that worked out.

In her 2003 book about Reagan,  Peggy Noonan quoted the Gipper’s Secretary of State George Schultz, who called it:

“One of the most fortuitous foreign relations moves he ever made”. It was in no way a popular move with the American public but it showed European heads of state and diplomatic personnel that he was tough and meant what he said.

Yesterday, Noonan added at the Wall Street Journal:

What Reagan did not speak about was an aspect of the story that had big foreign-policy implications.

Air traffic controllers in effect controlled the skies, and American AWACS planes were patrolling those skies every day. Drew Lewis: “The issue was not only that it was an illegal strike. . . . It was also that a strike had real national-security implications—the AWACS couldn’t have gone up.” It is likely that even though the public and the press didn’t fully know of this aspect of the strike’s effects, the heads of the union did. That’s why they thought Reagan would back down. “This hasn’t come up,” said Lewis, “but the Soviets and others in the world understood the implications of the strike.”

Foreign governments, from friends and allies to adversaries and competitors, saw that the new president could make tough decisions, pay the price, and win the battle. The Soviets watched like everybody else. They observed how the new president handled a national-security challenge. They saw that his rhetorical toughness would be echoed in tough actions. They hadn’t known that until this point. They knew it now.

However, I’m not at all surprised that the newspaper whose then-subsidiary magazine declared “We Are Socialists Now” upon Mr. Obama’s inauguration in 2009 would not be all that familiar with the history of the final years of the Cold War.

And speaking of Reagan:

Exit quote:


The pile continues to grow.

Update: “Arrogant Media Elites Mock Middle America,”  Salena Zito writes today at Real Clear Politics:

As consumers of news, most Americans want an honest look at the potential presidential candidates and where they stand on serious issues.

Reporters mock those news-consumers when they mock candidates who aren’t like the reporters themselves — but who are very much like normal Americans.

It is unforgivably arrogant for anyone in the media to think that the rest of the country thinks like they do.

“A reporter’s job is to report the news, not to drive it or to create it. A reporter’s audience is not just an echo chamber, not just D.C. friends, rivals, partisans and followers on social media. (Remember: Only 8 percent of Americans get their news through Twitter.),” Zito writes.

Don’t think of the DC media as reporters, as Glenn Reynolds recently noted:

The press sees itself first and foremost as political allies of Democrat-dominated institutions, which most emphatically includes universities, a major source of funding, foot-soldiers, and ideological suport for Democrats. When outsiders want information that might hurt Democrat-dominated institutions — see, e.g., ClimateGate — they are always portrayed by the press as partisans, malcontents, and evil. That is because the press today functions largely as a collection of Democratic operatives with bylines.

And the successful pushback against government unions by Walker — like Reagan before him — explains much of the subtext driving Rucker’s ahistoric ruckus.

kfc_edible_cup_2-25-15-1

Good news! “KFC Now Has A Coffee Cup You Can Eat,” reports BuzzFeed (who better to break this story?) Bad news — it’s only available in England right now:

This edible coffee cup was invented in a partnership with food scientists at The Robin Collective to coincide with the launch of KFC’s Seattle’s Best Coffee across its UK branches. The cup itself is made of biscuit, which has been wrapped in sugar paper and then lined with a layer of white chocolate, which melts over time, softening the biscuit enough to melt in your mouth.

On top of that delicious blend, a spokesperson for The Robin Collective told the Telegraph that the cups are also infused with a selection of “mood improving aromas,” like ‘coconut sun cream,’ ‘freshly cut grass’ and ‘wild flowers,’ which “evoke the positive memories we associate with warm weather, sunshine and summer holidays.”

Of course it does. The only charitable explanation given the involvement of companies with the names Kentucky Fried Chicken and Seattle’s Best Coffee is that perhaps they’re merely working out the product’s kinks out of town before it debuts in America. I will be charitable and assume that’s the case.

Because America is waiting, as David Byrne and Brian Eno would say.

‘Rahm-a-Lama-Ding-Dong’

February 25th, 2015 - 11:49 am

Rahm Emanuel, “Ex-Obama Aide Forced into Chicago Runoff,” John Fund reports. Couldn’t happen to a nicer party hack:

Illinois, the nation’s fiscal basket case, has been full of political surprises lately. Yesterday, Chicago, the home of the political machine that nurtured Barack Obama’s career, saw Mayor Rahm Emanuel forced into an April runoff against Councilman Jesus “Chuy” Garcia.

Emanuel, Obama’s first White House chief of staff, had every advantage in the race: $7 million in TV ads, a personal visit from his former boss, and the backing of a business community that’s been able to make special side deals with “da Mayor.” But Garcia showed the muscle of two powerful forces in the city’s politics: its growing Hispanic population and the Chicago Teachers Union, furious at Emanuel’s closing of 50 public schools. Two years ago, Emanuel retreated after a brief teacher’s strike and signed a new, generous contract with the union hoping to buy peace. That never works, and now the union is out to get him.

At Bloomberg, Dave Weigel explains why his fellow ‘Progressives’ “Celebrate Rahm Emanuel’s Surprise Setback in Chicago:”

Why did progressives–why do progressives–want to humble Emanuel? The answer’s been blaring from magazines like In These Times and Rolling Stone and the Nation for months. In the election-month cover story of In These Times, for example, progressive historian Rick Perlstein explained why the deal Emanuel cut with a company to remake the city’s transit cards never stopped hurting him.

The transit cards can double as debit cards, you see, promoted as a boon for Chicago’s un- and under-banked. But dig the customer fees hidden in the 1,000-page contract the city signed with Cubic: $1.50 every time customers withdraw cash from an ATM, $2.95 every time they add money to their online debit account with a personal credit card, $2 for every call with a service representative and an “account research fee” of $10 an hour for further inquiries, $2 for a paper copy of their account information, and, if you decide you’ve had enough, a $6 “balance refund fee.” [Gee, wait'll they discover ObamaCare -- Ed] This all makes mincemeat of the pro-privatization argument that “the marketplace” is more transparent than a government bureaucracy. The city might have been able to anticipate this before inking the deal had they paid attention to the fact that Money Network, the payment processing company partnering with Cubic, had received the lowest possible grade from the Better Business Bureau, and that another partner, MetaBank, was fined $5.2 million by federal regulators for a scheme to issue debit cards funded by tax refund loans at interest rates of up to 650 percent.

Emanuel was elected in the nadir of the first Obama term. While the White House adapted to Democratic politics, and while economic progressives took back a leading intellectual role in the party, Emanuel governed as a neoliberal. He’s still got plenty of advantages over Garcia, but he’s the first Chicago mayor to be forced into a runoff since the runoff system was created. Progressives wanted not just to humble Emanuel but to make a point about what sort of politics could no longer define the Democratic Party. And they’ve done that.

So Rahm has been transformed into the local government equivalent of Joe Lieberman, whom the Kos Kiddies hung out to dry as a loyalty test in 2006? That was also Hillary’s fate in 2007 — and possibly yet again if Elizabeth Warren is serious about running.

It’s a mindset that’s catching on the other side of the aisle: at Red State today, Leon Wolf has some thoughts “On the Value of Shooting Cowards.”

(Headline via NRO’s Twitter account. Note the photo atop it, which will get loads of play should Emanuel lose his runoff against Garcia.)


Yes, you never know when a once-trusted financial advisor can turn a investment or insurance plan you thought was running on autopilot into dust, all the while promising you repeatedly…

Much more at Twitchy; presumably, this is a set-up for further shakedowns from the trial lawyers, one of the semi-retired president’s favorite constituencies, or for additional regulations. Or both.