» Democracy In America

Ed Driscoll

Democracy In America

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?

talk_to_kids_climate_change_6-7-13

Quote of the Day

April 18th, 2015 - 4:30 pm

We are masters of our character, choosing what we will stand for in this life. Veterans today have had a unique privilege, that of having seen the tenacious spirit of our lads, like those young grunts preparing for a patrol by loosely wrapping tourniquets on their limbs so they could swiftly stop their own bleeding if their legs were blown off. Yet day after day they stoically patrolled. Adversity, we are told, reveals a man to himself, and young patriots coming home from such patrols are worth more than gold, for nothing they face can ever again be that tough.

Now, most of us lost friends, the best of friends, and we learned that war’s glory lay only in them—there is no other glory in warfare. They were friends who proved their manhood at age 18, before they could legally drink a beer. They were young men and women taking responsibility for their own actions, never playing the victim card. Rather, they took responsibility for their own reaction to adversity.

This was something that we once took for granted in ourselves and in our buddies, units where teenagers naturally stood tall, and we counted on each other. Yet it is a characteristic that can seem oddly vacant in our post-military society, where victimhood often seems to be celebrated. We found in the ranks that we were all coequal, general or private, admiral or seaman. We were equally committed to the mission and to one another, a thought captured by Gen. Robert E. Lee, saying his spirit bled each time one of his men fell.

Looking back over my own service, I realize now how fortunate I was to experience all this and the many riotous excursions I had when I was privileged to march or fight beside you. And a question comes to mind: What can I do to repay our country for the privilege of learning things that only you in this room could have taught me? For today I feel sorry for those who were not there with us when trouble loomed. I sometimes wonder how to embrace those who were not with us, those who were not so fortunate to discover what we were privileged to learn when we were receiving our Masters and Ph.D.s in how to live life, and gaining the understanding and appreciation of small things that we would otherwise have never known.

“The Meaning of Their Service,” Gen. James N. Mattis, “a retired four-star Marine Corps general on the clarifying effect of combat experience, the poison of cynicism and how veterans can help revive American optimism,” adapted by the Wall Street Journal from his speech to “the fourth annual salute to Iraq and Afghanistan veterans at the Marines’ Memorial Club in San Francisco on April 16.”

Read the whole thing.

“The media’s ageist hypocrisy” is explore by Noah Rothman at Hot Air, who notes that “Rubio has so far been able to deftly navigate around the landmines clumsily set by the press on his pathway toward the Republican Party’s presidential nomination:”

Since revealing his candidacy on Monday, Rubio has subjected himself to interviews with news outlets that are probably quite skeptical of Republicans in general, let alone a candidate as unapologetically hawkish as himself. From NPR, to Univision, to a variety of impromptu press gaggles, Rubio’s openness with the media contrasts greatly with Hillary Clinton’s stage managed presence.

Rubio managed to avoid cementing the impression that he is “the candidate of yesterday” on the issue of gay marriage when he told Univision’s Jorge Ramos without hesitation that he would attend the same-sex wedding of a hypothetical loved one. Democrats will find that this response complicates their mission to frame Rubio’s opposition to same-sex marriage as an outgrowth of personal animus toward gays and lesbians.

On Friday, Rubio defused another bomb set by the political press on the matter of his age. Specifically, whether or not he is experienced enough to lead the nation:

Very smart not making the obvious JFK reference, as it would offer a chance for a reporter looking to play the gotcha game to trot out the Lloyd Bentsen versus Quayle quote — though I hope all GOP candidates have their comeback ready, to laugh and reply,  “Actually, Bentsen didn’t know JFK very well, they weren’t friends, and it was simply a cheap shot to score debating points, just as you’re trying to do now, [Insert name of DNC-MSM interviewer here].”

Of course, that doesn’t mean that others can’t make the comparison for him, as both Charles Krauthammer, and Roger L. Simon, our own Maximum Pajamahadeen Emeritus, did earlier this week.

Jackie Robinson, Republican

April 15th, 2015 - 6:49 pm

“On Jackie Robinson Day, Let’s Remember When He Was Fired From the New York Post for Being Too Republican,” Matt Welch writes at Reason. As Kate McMillan likes to say at her Small Dead Animals blog, “I felt a great disturbance in the narrative:”

Today is the 68th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking Major League Baseball’s notorious de facto ban against players having skin tone a shade or two darker than pure Castilian soap. As is the annual tradition, all MLB players today are wearing Robinson’s #42 in homage.

As I (and plenty of others) have long argued, Jackie’s awe-inspiring legend has, if anything, given short shrift to what a colossally competitive, accomplished, and complicated man he really was. He has as good a claim as anyone else at being the best all-around athlete of the 20th century (he was also a national champion long jumper, league champion collegiate basketball scorer, and All-American halfback at UCLA). He was a prolific if underappreciated author. A passionate and righteously angry civil rights activist. A banker/entrepreneur, active Rockefeller Republican, and the first black columnist for a major non-black newspaper, The New York Post. Which fired him for being too pro-Nixon.* [16 years before Rupert Murdoch bought the paper and it was still left-leaning -- Ed]

Wait, what?

Read the whole thing.

* Oh sure. Next you’re going to tell me that Nixon campaigned for civil rights for all in 1960, reminding voters that “the whole world is watching us,” going on to earn “more of the black vote — 32% in his 1960 loss to John F. Kennedy — than any GOP nominee of the past half-century,” and that once elected president eight years later, the first black guest to sleep in the White House was during his administration.

My, what big airbrushes the left has.

Exit quote, from Robinson himself:

No one will ever convince me that the Post acted in an honest manner. I believe the simple truth is that they became somewhat alarmed when they realized that I really meant to write what I believed. There is a peculiar parallel between some of our great Northern “liberals” and some of our outstanding Southern liberals.

Some of the people in both classes share the deep-seated convictions that only their convictions can possibly be the right ones. They both inevitably say the same thing: “We know the Negro and what is best for him.”

Some things never change.

Besides not knowing the difference between flags and maps, I wonder how many young journalists (read: DNC operatives with bylines, such as this cub reporter on the make) working at Time-Warner-CNN-HBO and the recently spun-off Time magazine (a) absolutely loathe Rubio’s slogan and (b) have absolutely no idea that it’s based on the most memorable article the founder of their namesake companies ever wrote?

Clinton Versus Clinton

March 30th, 2015 - 11:50 am

Shot:

Chaser:

  I just don’t understand how someone could support a presidential candidate whose husband signed such a monstrous law. Speaking of which:

And I look forward to ESPN weighing in this:

All of which is why:

Or as Glenn Reynolds Insta-writes, “Here’s the deal: (1) Indiana has gone from a swing state to a red state, so it’s fair game; and (2) Dems need something to agitate the base so it doesn’t pay attention to Iranian nukes, trashed email servers, and an overall culture of corruption. Those who join in are willing enablers.” Indeed. Read the whole thing.™

Quote of the Day

March 5th, 2015 - 5:01 pm

 

‘How Spock Became a Sex Symbol’

March 2nd, 2015 - 4:14 pm

Virginia Postrel, writing in Bloomberg View, notes that “When ‘Star Trek’ debuted in 1966, showing a beautiful black woman and a dashing Asian man as bridge officers was an idealistic political statement. Turning someone who looked like Leonard Nimoy into a sex symbol, however, was entirely unintentional:”

Before he played Spock, Nimoy, who died today at 83, played a surprising number of parts as Indians and Mexicans in the Old West. With his long, thin face, prominent nose and deep smile lines, he looked like The Other.

That’s why he fit the part of Spock. “All I wanted at first was pointed ears and a faintly satanic appearance,” said series creator Gene Roddenberry in “The Making of Star Trek,” published in 1968.

Spock’s “alien features” — as Roddenberry called them in the book — weren’t limited to prostheses. Nimoy was handsome, but not in a way that Hollywood in 1966 recognized. He didn’t look like a leading man. He looked like what he was: the son of Ukrainian Jewish immigrants. And if you looked like that, you were a character actor, not a star.

But Nimoy became a star. He was a Method actor and in creating Spock, he gave what could have been a gimmicky, two-dimensional character hidden depths. Those hidden depths in turn gave him sex appeal. Within the show’s plots, Captain Kirk was the lady killer. But Spock was the one who made female viewers swoon.

15 years ago in Easy Riders, Raging Bulls, his look at the big screen “New Hollywood” of the pre-Star Wars early to mid-1970s, Peter Biskind wrote:

The young directors employed a new group of actors—Jack Nicholson, Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman, Al Pacino, Gene Hackman, Richard Dreyfuss, James Caan, Robert Duvall, Harvey Keitel, and Elliott Gould—who banished the vanilla features of the Tabs and the Troys, and instead brought to the screen a gritty new realism and ethnicity. And the women—Barbra Streisand, Jane Fonda, Faye Dunaway, Jill Clayburgh, Ellen Burstyn, Dyan Cannon, Diane Keaton—were a far cry from the pert, snub-nosed Doris Days of the ’50s. Most of these new faces were schooled in the Method by Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio, or trained by the other celebrated New York teachers: Stella Adler, Sanford Meisner, or Uta Hagen. In fact, a lot of the energy that animated the New Hollywood came from New York; the ’70s was the decade when New York swallowed Hollywood, when Hollywood was Gothamized.

As Postrel concludes her article, “If actors like Jeff Goldblum and Adrien Brody aren’t stuck playing villains, it’s partly because Nimoy proved that looks like theirs could be not satanic but sexy.” As with so many aspects of the original Star Trek, it was nice of Nimoy and Roddenberry to once again go where no man had gone before.

bill_clinton_portrait_3-2-15-1

Former President Bill Clinton, gestures after the portraits of his wife Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and him were revealed, Monday, April 24, 2006, at the Smithsonian Castle Building in Washington. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)

Wow. As Steve Green tweets, “Clinton Troll Level: Jedi F***king Knight:”

Philadelphia area painter Nelson Shanks cunningly included a shadow over the fireplace cast from a blue dress on a mannequin.

Shanks said painting Clinton was his hardest assignment because “he is probably the most famous liar of all time.” So he added the nod to the Lewinsky scandal because it had cast a shadow over Clinton’s presidency.

If you look at the left-hand side of it there’s a mantle in the Oval Office and I put a shadow coming into the painting and it does two things. It actually literally represents a shadow from a blue dress that I had on a mannequin, that I had there while I was painting it, but not when he was there. It is also a bit of a metaphor in that it represents a shadow on the office he held, or on him.

At Big Hollywood, John Nolte adds that for once, “Dem President Gets Taste of Subversive Art:”

Usually the artistic community singles out Christians and conservatives for subversive attacks. This week it was Democrat Bill Clinton who got a taste of an artist’s sting when the artist responsible for the former-president’s portrait for the National Portrait Gallery revealed he slipped in a reminder of Clinton’s sordid affair with then-White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

“The portrait also appears to show Clinton extending his hips towards the dress,” Nolte adds.

Now that the cat is out of the bag, one way or another, there will be a do-over, right? If not sometime between now and 2017, assuming Hillary gets in, either the painting will be quietly airbrushed Stalin-style, or it will be replaced by a portrait created by another painter. And given the track records of both the Obama and Clinton administrations, I hope that Shanks has his tax records well in order.

Rolling Stone is not happy, but then, they stopped speaking truth to power sometime during the Johnson administration.

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.

Quote of the Day

February 17th, 2015 - 8:10 pm

Anyone familiar with my foundation knows my position. I think a trillion dollars of student loans and a massive skills gap are precisely what happens to a society that actively promotes one form of education as the best course for the most people. I think the stigmas and stereotypes that keep so many people from pursuing a truly useful skill, begin with the mistaken belief that a four-year degree is somehow superior to all other forms of learning. And I think that making elected office contingent on a college degree is maybe the worst idea I’ve ever heard.

But of course, Howard Dean is not the real problem. He’s just one guy. And he’s absolutely right when he says that many others will judge Scott Walker for not finishing college. That’s the real problem.

However – when Howard Dean called the Governor “unknowledgeable,” he rolled out more than a stereotype. He rolled a pencil across the desk, and gave Scott Walker eight minutes to knock it out of the park.

It’ll be fun to see if he does.

—Mike Rowe, host of TV’s Dirty Jobs and Somebody’s Gotta Do It. Read the whole thing.

Quote of the Day

February 16th, 2015 - 5:03 pm

 

“Scott Walker’s national education effect” is explored by Glenn Reynolds in his latest USA Today column:

Though Walker attended Marquette University, he left before graduating, which has caused some finger-wagging from the usual journalistic suspects. After all, they seem to believe, everyone they know has a college degree, so it must be essential to getting ahead. As the successful governor of an important state, you’d think that Walker’s subsequent career would make his college degree irrelevant, but you’d be wrong.

And that’s why a President Walker would accomplish something worthwhile the moment he took office. Over the past few years in America, a college degree has become something valued more as a class signifier than as a source of useful knowledge. When Democratic spokesman Howard Dean (who himself was born into wealth) suggested that Walker’s lack of a degree made him unsuitable for the White House, what he really meant was that Walker is “not our kind, dear” — lacking the credential that many elite Americans today regard as essential to respectable status.

Of course, some of our greatest presidents, from George Washington to Abraham Lincoln to Harry S. Truman, never graduated from college. But the college degree as class-signifier is, as I note in my book, The New School, a rather recent phenomenon. As late as the 1970s, it was perfectly respectable for middle-class, and even upper-middle-class, people to lack a college degree. And, of course, most non-elite Americans still do: 68% of Americans, like Scott Walker, lack a college diploma. But where 50 years or 100 years ago they might not have cared, many now feel inferior to those who possess a degree.

Or to put it another way:

Walker is certainly driving all of the right left people utterly insane; the Times has had to quietly correct both of their goofball hits on Walker this month:

Quote of the Day

January 19th, 2015 - 10:12 pm

It was the genius and the greatness of Dr. King then to recognize that disobedience would confront America with the flaws in its own system–that eventually people would see that it was immoral, within the context of our own belief system, to punish people for seeking the rights that they’d already been promised and, indeed, granted in the Constitution. It just was not possible to treat blacks as indecently as we did and maintain the pretext that we had a decent society. What was required, and what the Civil Rights movement achieved, was to drive that truth home to all of us in the most public and persistent way, until it could no longer be ignored. In a very real sense, he sought not to fracture society but to make it whole and healthy.

—Orrin Judd, “A More Perfect Union,” 1/20/03.

“In the Beginning was the Word, and the Word went forth,” Elizabeth Scalia, aka the Anchoress writes. “And Goldberg begat Lileks; Lileks begat Reynolds; Reynolds begat Anchoress (with Ed Morrissey!); Anchoress begat…:”

Got a wonderful email from a reader who is being received into the Catholic Church in 2015, and it is in many ways thanks to internet web sites, both secular and religious. Writes this reader, whose privacy I am protecting, but who is very excited to be entering the church:

In the beginning was National Review Online, back when Jonah Goldberg was starting it up and the blogosphere was young…NRO named lileks.com as their Site of the Day. I started reading the Daily Bleat, and I noticed two or three blogs listed in the right-hand column of the page. One of them was Instapundit – this was back in the BlogSpot days. Instapundit linked to you at some point and that ultimately brought me to where I am today and where I will be…

So, there you go. In the Beginning was the Word, and the Word went forth. And Goldberg begat Lileks; Lileks begat Reynolds; Reynolds begat Anchoress (with Ed Morrissey!); Anchoress begat…

One of the most under-reported sea changes in media, a huge milestone that we now all take for granted, was when 24-7 broadband replaced by the minute dial-up charges. In the early days of CompuServe, I often had monthly online charges that would cripple the fiscal reserves of many third world nations. So being able to stay online indefinitely each day without worrying about the fee such explorations would incur at the end of the month was just as exciting as the faster speed of the cable modem.

Living in the Bay Area, I think we had our first cable modem installed in late 1998 or early 1999, and I quickly began to hit the Drudge Report early and often, as Drudge had been all over the news for breaking the Clinton’s dalliances with Monica Lewinsky when Newsweek attempted to bury the story as good DNC apparatchiks, and then I very quickly started reading NRO as well. I used to watch William F. Buckley on Firing Line in the 1980s, but was more than a little put off by his Brahmin tone and polysyllabic style. But at the time, with its cable TV ads featuring WFB, Tom Selleck and President Reagan, it seemed like the only conservative publication on the planet.  Then came Rush, Fox News, and the World Wide Web.

Reading Jonah Goldberg’s early G-Files were a revelation in much the same way that listening to Rush was. I had sort of half-seriously assumed in the ’80s, between Firing Line’s classical music, Buckley’s erudition, and perhaps the prominence at the time of Allan Bloom’s best-selling The Closing of the American Mind and its chapter on rock, that to be a proper conservative, I would have to renounce my love of rock music, comedy, modern art, and much of the rest of pop culture of the 20th century. As someone who rather liked those things, I wasn’t prepared to become an aesthetic monk. So hearing Rush begin his daily show with the opening riff of the Pretenders’ “My City was Gone” (I was a big fan of the Pretenders’ early albums; presumably Chrissie Hynde is a big fan of the royalty checks she receives from Rush), and reading Jonah goofing on “chicks in chains” films, Star Trek, and Marvel comic books was a huge sigh of relief.

And discovering Lileks through Glenn Reynolds was a similar confirmation that all was well, as James’ mid-century pop culture influences track mine remarkably well. Not to mention his interests in ’40s movies, Miami Vice, Mad Men, Bauhaus architecture, Mondrian, etc.

As for how I discovered Glenn Reynolds, well, I’ve told that story before. But I think I’m one of the few people that Glenn has linked to, before I had a blog. And before 9/11. And once again, I have NRO to thank for that bit of synchronicity as well

And the 2014 Fabulous 50 Blog Award Goes To…

December 30th, 2014 - 10:12 pm

Your humble narrator, voted “Best Media-Watcher” of 2014 as part of fellow veteran blogger Doug Ross’s long-running annual award series:

Ed Driscoll: A witty, memorable artisan whose specialty is dissecting the Left.

Pretty good company to be in, alongside fellow PJM-associated bloggers and columnists such as Glenn Reynolds, Victor Davis Hanson, Bill Whittle, Andrew C. McCarthy, Hans A. von Spakovsky, J. Christian Adams, John Hawkins, Fausta Wertz, and numerous other new media mavens.

Thank you for the award — and something tells me that as awful as the news in 2014 was, and the media’s even worse coverage and frequent outright fabulisms while covering — or in some cases creating the craptacular eventsof 2014, next year will only be crazier. (Especially when the MSM has a united GOP Congress starting in January that they’re no doubt already licking their chops in anticipation of undermining.)

On the plus side, none of us in the starboard side of the Blogosphere will lack for material. On the downside, it will be another bumpy ride for the nation. But we’ll be here to cover all of the craziness inside and outside the MSM next year.

Thanks everyone for their readership over the past 12 years, and continue to stop by early and often!

Merry Christmas!

December 25th, 2014 - 10:07 am

Mark Steyn in the London Spectator on that most American of songs, Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas:”

In the end, ‘White Christmas’ isn’t a song about snow. They had white Christmases in Temun, Siberia, where Berlin was born, but a white Russian Christmas wouldn’t be the same: It’s not about the weather, it’s about home. In 1942, those GIs out in the Pacific understood that. Twelve years later, building a new movie named for the song, Berlin acknowledged the men who made it special, in the best staging in the picture: Bing singing in the rubble, accompanied only by Danny Kaye’s musical box, as the boys rest their chins on their rifle butts and think of home. Berlin couldn’t have predicted Pearl Harbor, but there’s no surprise that, once it had happened, his were the sentiments the country turned to.

Christmas was not kind to Irving Berlin. At 5 o’clock on the morning of Christmas Day 1928, his 31/2-week-old son, Irving Junior, was found dead in his bassinet. ‘I’m sure,’ his daughter Mary Ellin told me a few years back, ‘it was what we would now call “crib death”.’

Does that cast ‘White Christmas’ in a different light? The plangent melancholy the GIs heard in the tune, the unsettling chromatic phrase, the eerie harmonic darkening under the words ‘where children listen’; it’s not too fanciful to suggest the singer’s dreaming of children no longer around to listen. When the girls grew up and left home, Irving Berlin, symbol of the American Christmas, gave up celebrating it. ‘We both hated Christmas,’ Mrs Berlin said later. ‘We only did it for you children.’

To take a baby on Christmas morning mocks the very meaning of the day. And to take Irving Berlin’s seems an even crueller jest — to reward his uncanny ability to articulate the sentiments of his countrymen by depriving him of the possibility of sharing them.

Berlin was a professional Tin Pan Alleyman, but his story, his Christmas is there in the music. 23 years after his death, he embodies all the possibilities of America: his family arrived at Ellis Island as poor and foreign and disadvantaged as you can be, and yet he wove himself into the very fabric of the nation. His life and his art are part of the definition of America. Whatever his doubts about God, Berlin kept faith with his adopted land — and that faith is what millions heard 70 years ago in ‘White Christmas’.

Pour yourself an eggnog and read the whole thing.

And some various and sundry Christmas-related items we’ve linked to over the years. First up, Chris Muir’s Day by Day:

From Hot Air‘s boss emeritus:

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Neo-Neocon: “Twas the bloggers’ night before Christmas.”

Orrin Judd has lots of Christmas-related posts. Just keep scrolling.

From Reason TV via Instapundit, it’s Christmas, TSA-style! (Shudder.)

From Claire Berlinski at Ricochet, Happy Jewish Christmas!

And from Gabriel Malor at Ace of Spades, some parting words (at least for now) from a Mister L. van Pelt:

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Update: If Santa hasn’t arrived yet, he sends his apologies for running late.

Originally posted in 2012.

Oh and reminder this year to always respect diversity as much as those obsessed with the topic respect your beliefs…

Heh. But then, as that parody of the typical leftist’s thoughts about Christmas remind us, as Christopher Caldwell of the Weekly Standard wrote a decade ago to explain why “the laments of the small-town leftists get voiced with such intemperance and desperation. As if those who voice them are fighting off the nagging thought: If the Republicans aren’t particularly evil, then maybe I’m not particularly special.”

As for the rest of us, see headline atop this post.

With Landrieu losing a Senate seat that had been in Democrat control for 132 years last night, Kevin D. Williamson puts her shellacking into nearly a century’s worth of context:

Bearing in mind that four presidential elections is not a very large data set, the fact is that voting is racially polarized across the country, not just in the South. In 2012, Barack Obama won 332 electoral votes to Mitt Romney’s 206; if only whites’ votes had been counted — if Mitt Romney had been running for the office of President of White Folks — then Romney would have handed Obama a crushing loss, roughly 438 to 100 in the Electoral College. Romney would have won such Democratic strongholds as California, Illinois, and New Jersey; in fact, he would have won every state except for Iowa, Washington, Oregon, New York, and a few small states. Race is not the only cleavage, of course: If the vote had been white men only, chunks of New England would have slipped away, leaving Barack Obama with something like half a dozen states and 40 electoral votes.

On the other hand, have a gander at the 2014 midterm-election map: Does this look like the showing of a rump Southern white people’s party to you? It may be that presidential elections, unlike congressional and gubernatorial elections, really are mainly about culture, about signaling identity and values, about how we see ourselves and our country. If that is the case, it should not surprise us all that much that blacks and whites vote differently. Not only do policy preferences reflect racial divisions, but there are racial differences in all manner of beliefs, tastes, and opinions. We can all laugh at jokes about the O. J. Simpson verdict’s role as a black-authenticity heuristic today, but roughly contemporaneous racial disagreements are not amusing even in retrospect.

That the Democratic party has attempted to hijack for itself credit for the hard and often bloody work performed for a century almost exclusively by Republicans, from Lincoln to Eisenhower, is a reminder that the party of Lyndon Johnson and Bill Clinton is not a place for men with a very developed sense of decency.

That being the case, Democrats should spare us their batty tales about Louisiana sending off the South’s last Democratic senator — a sanctimonious white lady if ever there was one — because white bigots are being inspired by a governor one generation away from Punjab, Haitian refugees representing Utah in the House, and this National Review cruise aficionado. From George Wallace’s infamous stand in the schoolhouse door to Barack Obama’s, embarrassing racial politics are the Democrats’ bread and butter. And what happened in the 1960s wasn’t the parties’ “changing places” on racism and civil rights; it was the Democrats’ — some of them, at least — joining the ranks of civilized human beings for the first time.

It only took them a century.

But I’m not holding my breath waiting for the cohorts of Al Sharpton, not to mention the man himself, dubbed “smart… entertaining… experienced… thoughtful… provocative, all the things I think that MSNBC is” by that channel’s president to enter the 21st century anytime soon.

Update: QED.

AP Calls Landrieu’s Loss

December 6th, 2014 - 6:33 pm

Wow, that was fast:

 

As to why “Democrats still confused as to why the South has given up on them,” Moe has you covered on that topic as well. (Update: QED.)

Fortunately for her election bid, Hillary knows that the right song is all it takes to win back the South…

Update: To modify the gender on a line from this classic “Yankee’s Guide to the South,” if you ever hear a Southerner exclaim, “Hey, y’all, watch this!” stay out of her way. These are likely the last words she will ever say:

News You Can Use

November 26th, 2014 - 11:40 pm

But if all else fails:

Have a happy Thanksgiving from myself and everyone else at Ed Driscoll.com, including me.