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Ed Driscoll

The Assault On Reason

“How it is that we once again find ourselves rooting out sin, shunning heretics, and heralding the end times,” asks Joseph Bottum in the Weekly Standard, exploring “The Spiritual Shape of Political Ideas:”

Just as, for Paul in Romans, “the law entered, that the offence might abound,” so our awareness of our own racism massively increases when we realize that we are utterly formed as racists in America. And just as, for Paul, “where sin abounded, grace did much more abound,” so it is that only from this overwhelming awareness of racism can we hope to escape racism.

The doctrine of original sin is probably incoherent, and certainly gloomy, in the absence of its pairing with the concept of a divine savior—and so Paul concludes Romans 5 with a turn to the Redeemer and the possibility of hope: “As sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” Think of it as a car’s engine or transmission scattered in pieces around a junkyard: The individual bits of Christian theology don’t actually work all that well when they’re broken apart from one another.

Which is why it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that an infinite sadness often haunts expressions of the white-privilege notion that we must become more aware of race in order to end the inherited sin of being aware of race. If we cannot escape it, then how can we escape it? When Prof. Jensen cries out in his chiliastic pain, “I will carry this privilege with me until the day white supremacy is erased,” he’s speaking in tones once reserved for the moral solution that only the Second Coming could provide. The strangeness of the isolated concept can be discerned in its unendingness, its never-satisfied ratchet. Discerned as well, I would suggest, in some of the disturbingly salvific terms with which President Obama’s campaign and election were first greeted.

Of course, however Christian the idea of white privilege may have been in origin, it emerged in contemporary America stripped of Christ and his church, making it available even for post- and non-Christians. For that matter, an explicit anti-Christianity is often heard alongside rejections of white privilege. At Radersma’s race conference, a fellow presenter named Paul Kivel defined white privilege as “the everyday pervasive, deep-seated and institutionalized dominance of Christian values, Christian institutions, leaders and Christians as a group, primarily for the benefit of Christian ruling elites.”

But that, too, is typical of much post-mainline moral discussion in America: the Church of Christ Without Christ, as Flannery O’Connor might have called it (to use a phrase from her 1952 novel Wise Blood). The mainline congregations may be gone as significant factors in the nation’s public life, but their collapse released a religious logic and set of spiritual anxieties that are still with us—still demanding that we see our nation and ourselves in the patterns cast by their old theological lights.

As Umberto Eco wrote in 2005, “God Isn’t Big Enough For Some People:”

It is the role of religion to provide that justification. Religions are systems of belief that enable human beings to justify their existence and which reconcile us to death. We in Europe have faced a fading of organised religion in recent years. Faith in the Christian churches has been declining.

The ideologies such as communism that promised to supplant religion have failed in spectacular and very public fashion. So we’re all still looking for something that will reconcile each of us to the inevitability of our own death.

G K Chesterton is often credited* with observing: “When a man ceases to believe in God, he doesn’t believe in nothing. He believes in anything.” Whoever said it – he was right. We are supposed to live in a sceptical age. In fact, we live in an age of outrageous credulity.

And finally, as Kate quips today at Small Dead Animals, “You Clever Matchmaker, Gaia!”, spotting someone who really red-lines the phrase “outrageous credulity:”

Afton Burton left her parents’ home in Illinois at age 19 to move to California, where she could be closer to Manson, Burton said.

It was Manson’s work as an environmentalist that drew her daughter into him, according to Burton.

“He’s an environmentalist, and she’s involved in his environmentalist program,” Burton said.

Say what you will about Charles Manson, but he took the “warrior” aspect of the phrase “Social Justice Warrior,” not to mention the quasi-religious doomsday implications of that strange mindset, seriously.

* The Chesterton Society traced the complex history of this brilliant aphorism, and concluded, “we must point out the irony that critics have chastised Chesterton for misquoting other writers, while he is the most misquoted writer of all. No one would be more pleased than G.K. Chesterton.”

Related: “Professor says she can no longer give common-sense advice for fear of being accused of victim-blaming.”

More: “Funniest Paragraph of the Day, Courtesy of the NY Times:”

“Unitarian Universalism is not a theologically grounded religion,” Ms. Brock said. “If we mess up our principles and values, we don’t have a theology to fall back on. We’re not Catholic — we can’t just keep giving communion until we figure it out. If we don’t have our values figured out, our institutions become pointless bureaucracies.”

And finally, William Voegeli writes that “MSNBC Shrill Is No Accident. It’s How Liberals Really Think:”

Convinced that no intelligent, decent person could take conservatism seriously, liberals believe it is not necessary or even possible, when engaging conservative ideas, to go beyond diagnosing the psychological, moral or mental defects that cause people to espouse them. Liberals claim to understand conservatives better than they understand themselves on the basis of seeing through the cynical self-interest of conservative leaders (and funders), and the fanaticism or stupid docility of conservative followers. The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer, scourge of the Koch brothers, went on Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC show in 2010 to deny that the Tea Party movement was “a spontaneous uprising that came from nowhere.” In fact, Maddow explained, many of those attending its demonstrations “were essentially instructed to rally against things like climate change by billionaire oil tycoons.”

This condescension has always been part of the liberal outlook. In 1972, eight weeks after George McGovern suffered a historically massive defeat against Richard Nixon, film critic Pauline Kael told the professors at a Modern Language Association conference, “I know only one person who voted for Nixon. Where they are I don’t know. They’re outside my ken. But sometimes when I’m in a theater I can feel them.”

The evil sinners are out there, I can feel them! Don’t get too close or their demonic ideas and/or cooties will rub off on you, too!

Earth in the Grubering

November 18th, 2014 - 1:40 pm

“New term: ‘Grubering’ and how it applies to Climate Alarmism,” as spotted by the Watts Up With That climate Blog:

I think that no other word describes what we have seen in the climate debate quite as well as Grubering.  The Climategate emails are full of discussions about how to “sell” the public on CAGW through a campaign of lies and exaggerations.  There are many discussion about how the public could not possibly understand such a complex subject.

The late Stephen Schneider puts it succinctly:

On the one hand, as scientists we are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but — which means that we must include all the doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands, and buts. On the other hand, we are not just scientists but human beings as well. And like most people we’d like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climatic change. To do that we need to get some broad based support, to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. This ‘double ethical bind’ we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.

You can see Schneider in full Grubering action by comparing his doomsday rhetoric over a three decade period in this clip:

As the Watts Up With That blog notes:

Our critics sometimes dismiss skeptics as “conspiracy theorists” noting how unlikely it would be that thousands of  scientists would collude.   They miss the point.  We now know that Grubering takes place — we see it laid bare in the Obamacare campaign.  It was not strictly a “conspiracy”.  Rather it was an arrogant belief that lying was necessary to persuade a “stupid” public to adopt the policy preferences of the politicians and the academics in their employ.  Its Noble Cause Corruption, not conspiracy, that is at the root of this behavior.

Grubering also helps to define the relatively recent trend on the left not just to lie — that’s always been a component of the left — but to openly admit to lying as an unalloyed good to advance the Noble Cause.

Huh; I don’t recall people wearing sandwich boards promising the end of the world* ever advising people to “stay calm” during the apocalypse until now.

But then, “Science” works in mysterious, mystical, talismanic ways, as Mollie Hemingway writes in the Federalist today.

In recent news coverage of the Ebola virus, I noticed that reporters tended to use the word “science” the way some people refer to Jesus. I myself am a fan of both Jesus and science, but I’m referring to the way some people use the terms more as jargon or verbal talisman than as anything meaningful or instructive.

Take this Frank Bruni column. (Please!) OK, let’s all go through it together. It’s headlined “Sinners, Meet Jesus,” no, wait, it’s “Republicans, Meet Science.”

It begins with his frustration that yet another passionate warning from the UN about climate weirding failed to yield a worldwide turn toward progressive policies. The phrase “science” is used 11 times in the typically painful-to-read column. What I notice about the uses is how well they could be switched out with Jesus with little or no changes to the surrounding words.

He writes, “Come January, they will take control of the Senate. However else they use it, I fervently hope that they start to show more respect for science.” Do you not have an Uncle Frank or someone else in your life who would utter that same phrase except he might say people need to start showing more respect for Jesus?

Bruni trusts the claims that global weirding will yield food shortages and climate so drastically altered that people won’t be able to work or play outside. It’s almost like a vision of Hades that you would hear from an enthusiastic Sunday School teacher.

As Cab Calloway told Jake and Elwood, “You boys could use a little churching up.” The Church of…Science!

Incidentally, NDT may need to remind his flock to “stay calm” many times over the next two years. Many times.

* Start here and just keep scrolling for some of global warming / cooling / climate change’s greatest “final countdowns.”

The Rise of the John Birch Left

November 6th, 2014 - 3:23 pm

The John Birch Society was founded in 1958 by businessman Robert Welch, and named after a Christian missionary shot by Communist forces in China in 1945, whom Welch named as the first casualty of the Cold War. The Birchers’ core principles, that Communism is evil, its expansion needed to be stopped, and that communists had infiltrated American government (see also: Hiss, Alger) were laudable. But the group’s zeal to defend them drove them to paranoid levels, to the point where the Birchers were accusing President Eisenhower of being a crypto-commie, leading to Russell Kirk’s hilarious rejoinder to the Birchers, “Ike’s not a communist, he’s a golfer!”

Not to mention all that business about fluoride in the water, which Dr. Stanley Kubrick and Terry Southern had loads of fun satirizing in Dr. Strangelove. All of which led William F. Buckley to banish the Birchers from the postwar conservative movement he was building, leaving them a marginalized fringe group. (They’re still around, and still coming up with zany conspiracy theories.)

The modern left is built around a trio of laudable principles: protecting the environment is good, racism is bad, and so is demonizing a person over his or her sexual preferences. (In the chapter of his book Intellectuals titled “The Flight from Reason,” Paul Johnson wrote that “At the end of the Second World War, there was a significant change in the predominant aim of secular intellectuals, a shift of emphasis from utopianism to hedonism.” ) But just as the Bircher right began to see communists everywhere, the new Bircher left sees racism, sexism, homophobia, and Koch Brothers everywhere.

They’re lurking around more corners than Gen. Ripper imagined there were commies lurking inside Burpelson Air Force Base. They’re inside your video games! They own NFL teams! They’ll steal your condoms! Disagree with President Obama? Racist! (That goes for you too, Bill, Hillary, and your Democratic supporters.) Not onboard for gender-neutral bathrooms? Not too thrilled with abortion-obsessed candidates like Wendy Davis and “Mark Uterus”? Sexist! Disagree with using global warming as a cudgel to usher in the brave new world of bankrupt coal companies and $10 a gallon gasoline? Climate denier!

And as with the original Birchers, don’t get ‘em started on fluoride.

The original Birchers weren’t bad people, but their Cold War paranoia got the better of them. Similarly, as Charles Krauthammer famously said, “To understand the workings of American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservatives are evil,” which illustrates how a John Birch-style worldview can cause the modern leftists to take an equally cracked view of his fellow countrymen, to the point of writing off entire states and genders:

And historic racial progress:

Modern Bircherism perfectly defined.

The John Birch left? I think it’s a phrase whose time has come; let me know your take in the comments. I’ll be back after I have a drink of grain alcohol and rainwater, help yourself to whatever you’d like.

Exit Quote:

Hypocrisy Never Sleeps

October 14th, 2014 - 7:23 pm

“Neil Young: Forget ISIS, Fight Climate Change Instead,” as spotted by  Joel Pollak at Big Hollywood:

YOUNG: The things that we don’t know, you know, we can do little things to fight climate change. And yet our army and our armed forces are the biggest CO2 providers into the world, they just…it’s amazing. And yet we are fighting what? ISIS…

HOWARD STERN: What do you think about that?

YOUNG: …al-Qaeda. And we are fighting these wars against these organizations and their carbon footprint has got to be like 1% of our huge army and our navy and all of this stuff that have with all our big machines. We’re doing more damage to the earth with our wars.

If “we can do little things to fight climate change,” here’s a great place to start:

Neil has his own private P.A and a Yamaha mixer. He has a separate microphone that’s not connected to the house for each amp, and he can mix these to any level he wants. He mainly hears Deluxe, a lot of Baldwin, and very little Magnatone. Out front and on record, you can hear mostly Deluxe and Magnatone. Inside the big speaker cabinet to the audience’s right are 2 two-way Maryland Sound P.A. cabinets with 2 15s and a horn apiece. These cabinets have 2000 watts of biamped power, and gets turned excruciatingly loud. It just kills me to go out there-I just about get knocked over. And that’s what Neils hearing. This produces the feedback, and if we didn’t have that on, the sound wouldn’t be the same.

If the situation is so dire that it’s necessary to fight the weather rather than Islamofascist headchoppers, doesn’t Neil need to set the pace, retire from touring and shrink his own carbon footprint down to the smallest number possible? Perhaps order his record company to voluntarily stop printing his CDs, and withdrawing his mp3s from Amazon.com and iTunes? I would be more inclined to believe global warming is a crisis when the people who tell me it’s a crisis start to act like it’s a crisis themselves, to coin an Insta-phrase.

Besides, didn’t we all see this movie before, a decade ago? “It’s a peculiar thing that as the threat of global terrorism reaches a crescendo, so apparently does the threat of global warming — at least that’s what some would have us believe…”

Space: The Totalitarian Frontier

October 13th, 2014 - 9:01 pm

Shot:

1. Star Trek (1966-1969). The original Star Trek takes place in a future where humanity has transcended all forms of warfare and cash transactions. The Starship Enterprise’s adventures throughout the galaxy are supposedly by the Federation’s “prime directive,” which forbids humans from intervening in the domestic affairs of the planets they visit.

And yet when he’s not engaging in zero-gravity sex with an endless procession of comely space aliens, Captain James T. Kirk is mucking around with every civilization from here to the Romulan Neutral Zone like LBJ on Viagra.

And let’s face it: The sequel series are just as rotten from a libertarian perspective.

“The 5 Most Anti-Libertarian TV Shows Ever!”, Meredith Bragg & Nick Gillespie, Reason.com, October 10, 2014.

Chaser:

Volkswagen wants people to think of its electric cars as futuristic, so it hired William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy to appear in this German language commercial. It shows a young and hardcore Trekkie getting the thrill of his life when William Shatner moves into his neighborhood.

“William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy Reunite in a Funny Volkswagen Commercial,” Neatorama.com, October 10, 2014.

Watching the Goalposts Being Moved

October 7th, 2014 - 6:50 pm

Shot:

Chaser:

Bay Area radio evangelist Harold Camping was properly excoriated throughout both the legacy media and the Blogosphere for his prediction that the world would end on May 21st, 2011. How many not-so-final countdowns are the gnostic high priests of climate allowed to issue before being similarly called out as false prophets?

Two MSNBCs In One!

October 7th, 2014 - 2:18 pm

Past performance is no guarantee of future results:

“English miners celebrate Margaret Thatcher’s death, while U.S. conservatives mourn.”

—Headline, MSNBC.com, September 13, 2013.

“Chris Hayes Envisions A World Where No One Has A Job Mining Coal.”

—Headline, the Washington Free Beacon, last night.

And given that Thatcher’s goal was to break the stranglehold that British Unions had (as Mark Steyn has noted) over the rest of the UK’s citizens, note who Hayes had his conversation with:

Hayes told United Mine Workers of America president Cecil Roberts that “in 50 years, no one should have a job mining coal, in the world.”

Roberts, who also serves as Vice President of The AFL-CIO, pushed back on Hayes’s comments, telling him to “accept science” just as Hayes wants him to “accept science” supporting climate change.

“You know and I know that’s not going to happen,” Roberts said. “Let’s talk about reality…do you really believe that in your lifetime, you’re a young man, that you’re going to see the day that China stops using coal or even cuts back on using? No, you’re going to be 85 years old, heading into 90 years old looking to be on that Smucker’s jar and China is going to be burning more coal than they are right now, and India is going to be burning huge amounts of coal.”

Hayes said if that happens “everyone’s screwed,” but offered no alternative to help combat climate change.

To bring this post full-circle, exit quote and video:

Related:Video: Top Grimes Donor: ‘She’s going to f**k ‘em when she gets elected.’” “He’s referring to coal workers and the coal industry,” Glenn Reynolds adds. Sounds like good news from Chris Hayes’ perspective — shouldn’t he be putting this clip into heavy rotation on his show?

More: Watching the Goalposts Being Moved.

In his take on the latest dissemblings by Neil deGrasse Tyson after being caught promulgating a quote never uttered by President Bush in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 (when Bush was in full-on PC “Islam is peace” mode), Samuel James of the Patheos Website writes:

It’s difficult to understand why Tyson didn’t simply diffuse the situation via retraction and apology. I agree with The Washington Post’s Jonathan Adler that Tyson’s behavior puts his integrity on the line.

It’s frustrating to note the shortage of real public pressure on Tyson. [Left-leaning journalist--Ed] John Aziz, for example, grants that Tyson should correct the record, but then suspects that close attention on Tyson’s discrepancies is motivated by global warming denial. “[I]t should be said that none of Tyson’s errors amount to methodological or factual errors in published scientific papers,” Aziz writes. This may be true but it’s also completely irrelevant. Sean Davis’s investigation suggests that Tyson may have a considerable history of public fabulisms. Saying false things–and then doubling down on  your own brilliance when evidence of your mistake is raised–is an issue that affects the credibility of any person, scientist or no.

Aziz exemplifies here a troubling attitude that some, particularly on the Left, have towards scientific research. The notion that a fudged quotation here or a false statistic there don’t add up to a credibility problem for an accomplished scientist is valid only if one believes that scientific work is a completely closed realm of self-referential authority. That is, unfortunately, how some scientists have postured their discipline (consider Tyson’s extreme dismissiveness towards those studying philosophy). In a recent cover story for National Review, Charles Cooke noted that scientists seem of all professionals most encouraged to dispense authoritative knowledge on issues well outside their academic training. This bespeaks a change in the way society perceives what “scientist” means. Rather than a fallible observer who utilizes the scientific method to test hypotheses, the word now drums up images of a priest of culture dispensing quasi-religious wisdom to the ignorant masses. “It’s science” has become the new “it’s Gospel.”

“Dispensing authoritative knowledge on issues well outside their academic training,” you say? As Tom Wolfe has noted on numerous occasions, such as this interview 2006 interview with Bruce Cole of the National Endowment for the Humanities, that’s the very definition of being an intellectual:

Wolfe: I make a distinction between intellectuals and people of intellectual achievement.

Cole: Who are intellectuals?

Wolfe: An intellectual feeds on indignation and really can’t get by without it. The perfect example is Noam Chomsky. When Chomsky was merely the most exciting and most looked-to and in many ways, the most profound linguist in this country if not the world, he was never spoken of as an American intellectual. Here was a man of intellectual achievement. He was not considered an intellectual until he denounced the war in Vietnam, which he knew nothing about. Then he became one of America’s leading intellectuals. He remains one until this day, which finally has led to my definition of an intellectual: An intellectual is a person who is knowledgeable in one field but speaks out only in others.

This whole business was started unintentionally by my great idol, Émile Zola, in the Dreyfus case. Zola was an extremely popular novelist. A popular writer writing fiction had never been considered a person of any intellectual importance before, but in the Dreyfus case he and Anatole France and others who were trying to defend Dreyfus were singled out by Clemenceau as “the intellectuals.” The term had never been used that way before-meaning people who live by intellectual labor. That was Clemenceau’s term.

When Zola wrote his great manifesto, J’accuse . . .!, it appeared on the front page of a daily newspaper. All 300,000 copies of the newspaper were sold out by afternoon. Suddenly the world of writers and teachers and all of these intellectual laborers realized that it was possible for a mere scrivener to be called an intellectual and be considered an important person.

Zola, incidentally, was very knowledgeable about the Dreyfus case. He knew it as well as anybody, as well as any law clerk did. That part was lost later on; it was considered not necessary to go that deeply into anything. All that was required was indignation.

Marshall McLuhan once said that moral indignation is a standard strategy for endowing the idiot with dignity. I think that’s quite true these days.

It also meant–the Zola example–that the intellectual is really above the government. It doesn’t mean he hates his country or even hates his government. It just means he looks down upon it from a great height, and he’s been raised to this height by indignation. Without it, it’s impossible to be an intellectual or to be taken seriously.

It caught hold here in the twenties and thirties, this idea of the intellectual who is above all the dim bulbs who actually govern.

Back off man, I’m an intellectual.

Update: Richard Feynman on “Cargo Cult Science.”

More: “I like Neil deGrasse Tyson. I’m sure he’s a nice, smart, interesting guy. His most ardent followers, however, are not. And, if his behavior over the past month is any indication, he’s been captured by them.”

Shot:

Chaser:


I’m not sure what the problem here is — it’s not like Islamofascism is anything to lose your head over, any way you slice it.

The Party of Death

September 25th, 2014 - 7:00 pm

“The greatest cultural victory of the Left has been to disregard the Nazi-Soviet Pact,” Daniel Hannan, posits in the London Telegraph:

To the modern reader, George Orwell’s depiction of how enmity alternates between Eurasia and Eastasia seems far-fetched; but when he published his great novel in 1948, such things were a recent memory. It suited Western Leftists, during and after the War, to argue that Hitler had been uniquely evil, certainly wickeder than Stalin. It was thus necessary to forget the enthusiasm with which the two tyrants had collaborated.

* * * * * * *

In his Sword of Honour trilogy, Evelyn Waugh, largely through gentle subtext, told the story of how Soviet sympathisers in the West used the alliance with the USSR to rehabilitate its doctrines. Hayek, writing in 1944, devoted the greater part of his Road to Serfdom to refuting the idea that Nazism and Communism were opposed ideologies, well aware of how fervently this idea was being promoted.

He was right; but he made little impact. If you want to see how successful the propagandists of the time were, look at the reaction you get today when – as I did recently – you recite a few unadorned facts that point to the socialist nature of fascism.

Yes, it seems odd to argue that national socialism isn’t national socialism, but there we are. On the other hand, as we get closer to November, the American left seems increasingly unafraid to let it all hang out in other ways. Let’s look at how they dropped the mask and revealed their inner liberal fascist for all to see, just this past week alone:

  • Those who contend that global warming “does not exist,” [Robert F. Kennedy Jr.] claimed, are guilty of “a criminal offense — and they ought to be serving time for it.”
  • “So that’s the problem with the idea that it’s all going to go to rat shit eventually so let’s make as much money as possible.  Those people will always be a fungus and if I was running the country I would take them out and shoot them frankly, but that’s something else [laughs].” — Terry Gilliam of Monty Python, casting a whole new spin on his dystopian 1985 film Brazil as a how-to guide for totalitarianism.
  • “The ACA’s conservative critics have long knocked Obamacare as a first step toward medical rationing. Read Emanuel’s diatribe against living too long, and suddenly Sarah Palin’s attack on Obamacare’s ‘death panels’ does not seem so far-fetched.” — Victor Davis Hanson on Obamacare architect, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, currently age 57, whose new essay in the Atlantic is titled, “Why I Hope to Die at 75.” Gee, when do babies start having their palms fitted with Logan’s Run lifeclocks?
  • “Gitmo remains open; we are still at war in Afghanistan; we are still at war in Iraq; and all this is true despite a president elected explicitly and clearly to end the failed wars he inherited. This comes perilously close to proving that our democracy doesn’t really have much of a say in whether this perpetual war should continue or not.” — Andrew Sullivan.
  • Speaking about such modest restrictions on abortion as have been enacted over the past several years, Justice Ginsburg lamented that “the impact of all these restrictions is on poor women.” Then she added: “It makes no sense as a national policy to promote birth only among poor people.”
  • “I’m Marching for Full Communism” — sign on display at Sunday’s New York People’s Climate Change March (where RFK Jr. was promising to start build the gulags.
  • “Climate Movement Drops Mask, Admits Communist Agenda” — as displayed in numerous examples in Zombie’s photo-heavy round-up of the Sunday’s Bay Area sister march.
  • “Mr. Goebbels’ words are wise words to live by.” — Alison A. Martin of anti-Second Amendment group, Moms Demand Action.

And to sum up the quotes of the past week, “It’s what we all know is true, but we only whisper it.”

Update: “And that doesn’t even include groundhogs,” PJM reader “Sisyphus Redux” jokes in the comments.

Related: Of course, one day the American left will eventually make it to the promised land, if they don’t first fundamentally transform America into it:

“White House fence jumper had ammunition, machete in car, prosecutors said,” the Washington Post’s headline screams. As always during modern-day politically-related crime stories where weapons are involved, the ideology of the suspect is investigated by the MSM. If the suspect was a man of the right, those details would be in the lede of the article, or in the headline.*

If he’s a man of the left? Well, it’s likely no coincidence that you have dig down eleven paragraphs into the Post’s story for this detail:

According to an affidavit signed by Secret Service officer David Hochman, Gonzalez after his arrest told Agent Lee Smart that he was concerned that the “atmosphere was collapsing” and that he needed to inform the president to get the word out to the people.

However, neither prosecutors nor Gonzalez’s assigned defense attorneys invoked his mental competency as an issue for now. Assistant Federal Public Defender David Bos said Gonzalez understands the proceeding against him.

Yes, if the Post’s reporting is accurate concerning Gonzalez, anyone who believes “the atmosphere is collapsing” is some brand of nutter, and nutters can be found on both sides of the aisle.

But.

Our previous post on Terry Gilliam noted that he called those who disagree with his far left environmentalist worldview “a fungus and if I was running the country I would take them out and shoot them.” As I wrote, we live in a media world in which Sarah Palin was tied into the Gabrielle Giffords shooting over clip-art and ABC’s Brian Ross immediately smeared a Tea Party member with the the same name as the Aurora Colorado lunatic who shot up a Batman premiere, ideology trumps insanity in the eyes of the media. Or as Ace of Spades wrote in December of 2012 after the New York Times began politicizing the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT from the left only a few hours after castigating the pro-Constitution side of the aisle for doing the same from their worldview:

Incidentally, the gun-rights people “politicizing” this are doing so pre-emptively, because they’ve seen this play six hundred times before and they know what happens in the Second Act.

I mean, it’s not like we’re as stupid as you claim. We are able to remember things that happened more than a week ago.

This is also why we now immediately search for a gunman’s political affiliation– because we know that’s the first thing you do.

This is the cynical world the media created, in service to their Democrat allies. Once again, the MSM should read Gabriel Malor’s “Tweetable Guide To Media Myths And Left-wing Violence.”

* Of course, by mentioning “ammunition and a machete,” which side of the aisle is the Post implying in its headline?

Related: “Undocumented Visitor Comes Out of Shadows, Jumps White House Fence,” Rush Limbaugh quips. “I thought we were supposed to welcome people that jump fences.  I thought we’re supposed to welcome people who crash our borders.”

Especially, when they share the same eco-apocalyptic doomsday worldview as our recently-retired former president:

Terry Gilliam’s Eliminationist Rhetoric

September 22nd, 2014 - 12:21 pm

At the conclusion of his interview with pop culture Website Collider.com promoting his new film The Zero Theorem, the only American member of Monty Python drops the mask and reveals his inner liberal fascist:

It’s interesting that we look to that as sort of permission to go with that philosophy since I doubt any human being will be around anyway at that point.  We should maybe be looking at our own mortality as the signpost for that.  

GILLIAM: Your Republican will do that, yes.  Your Republican thinks like that.  I remember when Reagan was president, the secretary of the interior was a guy who was an Armageddonist who actually believed the end of days were not too far in the distant future.  He was put in charge of the environment and his approach was of course, not to protect it, but let’s get as much money as we can before Jesus comes back.  And I despise that.  We’re here and we’ve got to do whatever we can to keep the place running.  We think in terms of quarterly statements and we should be thinking a little bit further in advance of that.  At least the communists had ten year plans.  We don’t have that anymore.

A lot of times that kind of thought absolves people of responsibility.  I think a lot of times they go with it because it’s the most convenient thing and it makes the most sense for those quarterly reports. 

GILLIAM: Yeah, I know.  It’s about how you are inside and there will always be those people and there will be all the others that worry about every single thing we do that might cause damage to the planet.  I’m somewhere leaning more towards the damage to the planet side, much more towards that.  This is the problem, it’s like if you happen to be a Presbyterian, which I was as a kid, there’s a thing called predestination that creates the same situation.  You’re going to heaven or hell no matter what you do in life, because you’ve been predestined, so your job is to lead an ethical, moral, and hardworking life while you’re here, but you’re going to go to hell anyway [laughs].  But it’s what you do while you’re here, and what you should be doing is living hopefully and trying to balance your needs and the needs of the world and the planet, and don’t fuck the place up.  So that’s the problem with the idea that it’s all going to go to rat shit eventually so let’s make as much money as possible.  Those people will always be a fungus and if I was running the country I would take them out and shoot them frankly, but that’s something else [laughs].

As I’ve joked before, when Al Gore titled one of his environmentalist tomes The Assault on Reason, he wasn’t kidding, was he?

Just as a reminder, when Democrat Gabrielle Giffords, a Bush #41-appointed judge, and a dozen other victims were shot in Arizona in early 2011, Sarah Palin was crucified by much of old media over bulls-eye clip art. The following year, when an insane gunman in Aurora, Colorado, shot up his local movie theater during the premiere of the last Batman movie, ABC’s Brian Ross immediately smeared a Tea Party member by the same name. Here we have a socialist Hollywood film director who declares those he disagrees with as non-human (“fungus”) and advocates shooting them.

Gilliam’s dystopian 1985 film Brazil ends with Jonathan Pryce’s protagonist being brutally tortured by Michael Palin’s Speer or Eichmann-esque coolly technocratic statist character. Presumably, Pryce’s character dies at the end of the film or shortly afterwards.

Who knew until now Gilliam meant it to be a happy ending and the whole film a how-to guide for big government?

Exit question:

Update: Welcome Instapundit and Hot Air readers. We’re all in this together…

Here’s Robert Kennedy in a 1968 campaign ad that, as I wrote in 2011, shows how quickly the rot seeped into the post-JFK left. Compare RFK’s rhetoric as he tells a classroom of young kids that they are doomed to spend their adult lives trapped in a Soylent Green-style eco-apocalypse, with the can-do optimism of his brother, and it was clear that the end of the New Frontier was well in sight.

That was from my post titled “Welcome Back My Friends, to the Malaise that Never Ends,” which tracked the left’s increasing sense of lethargy from their disillusionment when it became obvious that the Great Society would fail, to their freakout over the election of Richard Nixon in 1968, to the Jimmy Carter “Malaise” speech of 1979, to Occupy Wall Street.

And the malaise goes on today! Here’s RFK Jr. revealing his “climate rage,” as our YouTube caption writer neatly described his freakout, when PJTV’s Michelle Fields asked him if he would give up his cell phone and other electrically powered devices made from a petroleum derivative (plastic) in order to lead by example. His rambling statements about the Koch brothers running the entire country from dog catcher to Congress and the cognitive dissonance that allows him to recommend “free market solutions” to the environment — which consist of all but banning automobiles — is a sight to behold:

Tom Wolfe popularized the phrase “the dark night of fascism is always descending in the United States and yet lands only in Europe.” Similarly, the enviro-apocalpyse has been continuously been this close to descending upon the world, but as the above clips featuring RFK and RFK Jr. 46 years apart illustrate, despite a half century of Chicken Littles predicting the world will come to an end, the sky never quite seems to fall.

Perhaps it’s time for the left to update its century-old playbook on agitating the masses and enter the 21st century along with the rest of us, especially as so many examples of their not-so-final countdowns keep piling up.

Related: Mark Steyn spots “The Barbra Streisand Effect on Steroids.”

Symmetrical Sophistry

September 12th, 2014 - 10:19 pm

“There Are Now 52 Explanations For The Pause In Global Warming,” Michael Bastasch of the Daily Caller writes:

It’s been a busy year for climate scientists, who have been trying to explain why there has been no global warming for nearly two decades.

The Daily Caller News Foundation reported in February there were eight mainstream explanations for the pause, but there are now a whopping 52 explanations for why there has been no warming trend for the last 215 months.

Which oddly makes sense: the savants of settled science are proffering almost as many explanations as to why there’s no global warming as the number of maladies supposedly caused by global warming.

I blame Leonard Nimoy.

‘Gearing Up for the Post-Radio Shack World’

September 10th, 2014 - 2:00 pm

It’s “Mourning in America” for Scott Ott, as he watches the slow and painful death of a once ubiquitous American institution:

Then, most Wednesdays, if we didn’t need a haircut at the barbershop — a Princeton: tight on the sides, longer on top, looped over with a generous handful of Vitalis — it was off to one of three destinations in the Doylestown Shopping Center:

1) W.T. Grant: a five-and-dime, if we needed school clothes or supplies, or to look at the tropical fish, chameleons and pet rodents.

2) Sears: where my brothers and I played Pong, or fished through the discount 45′s bin while Pop shopped for tools.

3) Radio Shack: AKA Heaven for Boys

While the first two had their charms, it was Radio Shack that cast a spell on us, drawing us in at a dead run.

Gadgets and kits, lights and switches, buzzing and whirring and crackling — things that were cool before “cool” became “bad” or “sick” or “ridiculous” or whatever “cool” is now.

There was nothing like Radio Shack.

Today, I read that Radio Shack is sick — actually sick, perhaps dying — almost certainly headed for bankruptcy.

Troubled electronics retailer RadioShack Corp’s shares have lost nearly a third of their value since brokerage Wedbush Securities said on Tuesday the company could file for bankruptcy soon, making the stock worthless by the end of this year.

The stock fell as much as 20 percent to 76 cents on Wednesday, adding to a 23 percent plunge on Tuesday.

“Our price target reflects our expectation that creditors will force a reorganization and wipe out RadioShack’s equity,” Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter wrote in a note.

I too grew up spending many hours as a kid pouring over Radio Shack catalogs, wiring together 150-in-one Electronics Projects kits, where I was sure I would ultimately craft the device that saves planet earth from an all-out interstellar alien attack. A few years later, the first personal computer I ever owned was a Radio Shack TRS-80 Model I, which I eventually tricked out with a blazing 300 baud Hayes modem and connected to CompuServe and various BBSs in the early 1980s. Good times.

But in a way, having played a major role in birthing the personal computer revolution a generation ago, Radio Shack in the 21st century is an unwitting victim to that industry’s staggering success. At the start of the year, Mark Perry of the American Enterprise Institute spotted a 1991 Radio Shack ad featuring “13 electronic products for $5k (and 290 hrs. work) can now be replaced with a $200 iPhone (10 hrs.):

Buffalo (NY) journalist and historian Steve Cichon has an article on the Trending Buffalo website (“Everything from 1991 Radio Shack ad I now do with my phone“) featuring a full-page Radio Shack ad from the Buffalo News on February 16, 1991 (see graphic above). Of the 15 electronics products featured in the Radio Shack ad, 13 of them can now be replaced with a $200 iPhone according to Steve’s analysis. The 13 Radio Shack items in the ad (all-weather personal stereo, AM/FM clock radio, headphones, calculator, computer, camcorder, cell phone, regular phone, CD player, CB radio, scanner, phone answering machine, and cassette recorder) would have cost a total of $3,055 in 1991, which is equivalent in today’s dollars to $5,225. Versus only $200 for an iPhone 5S.

In hours worked at the average wage, the 13 electronics items in 1991 would have had a “time cost” of 290.4 hours of work at the average hourly wage then of $10.52 (or 7.25 weeks or 36.3 days). Today, the $200 iPhone would have a “time cost” of fewer than 10 hours (9.82) of work at the average hourly wage today of $20.35, and just one day of work, plus a few extra hours.

MP: When you consider that an iPhone can fit in your pocket and has many apps and features that were either not available in 1991 (GPS, text messaging, Internet access, mobile access to movies, more than 900,000 apps, iCloud access, etc.) or not listed in the 1991 Radio Shack ad (camera, photo-editing), it’s amazing how much progress we’ve made in just several decades, and how affordable electronic productions have become.

Which dovetails nicely with an observation by David Harsanyi in the Federalist today that “Global Warming was Worth It:”

In a piece in the Atlantic, adapted from his new book, “Sustainability: A History” (which I haven’t read), historian Jeremy Caradonna challenges prevailing notions regarding the Industrial Revolution. Was the explosion of industry and subsequent rise in productivity and technology good for humanity? Not if you believe there are too many people living way too long and emitting way too much carbon into the atmosphere. And this “ecological crisis” – the greatest threat to ever challenge mankind – has its roots in the Industrial Revolution.

So if, for some reason, you embrace a “narrative” that says the rise of laissez faire economics – and the resulting efficiency and technological advancements – were moral because they freed millions from poverty and made modern life possible, you’re not thinking clearly. If you cling to the narrative that prosperity creates economic stability which in turn creates an environment that makes political stability possible, you’re just being didactic.

As Steve Green writes in response, “For 50 years now at least, progressivism has been about casting one’s self-loathing with a wide enough net to cover all of humanity. That’s self-evident of any ideology wanting far fewer (if any) people in the world, most in suffering under state-mandated shivering destitution.”

And don’t forget the notion that James Delingpole of Ricochet and Breitbart UK, dubs “The Drawbridge Effect.” Leftwing wealthy elitists have theirs; they want to dramatically reduce the odds that anyone else will succeed on a similar level:

You’ve made your money. Now the very last thing you want is for all those trashy middle class people below you to have a fair shot at getting as rich as you are. That’s why you want to make energy more expensive by opposing Keystone XL; why you’re all for environmental land sequestration (because you already own your exclusive country property); and Agenda 21 — which will make all Americans poorer, but you not so much, because you’ve enough cash to cushion you from the higher taxes and regulation with which the greenies want to hamstring the economy.

Finally, to return to the nostalgic opening of Scott’s post, while I love the Internet, tablets, the PC, the Web, and the ubiquitous 21st century technology we take for granted, I will miss the shopping mall — shopping for CDs at Sam Goody’s and Tower Records, DVDs and books at Borders, and gadgets at Radio Shack. I realize it’s all available at Amazon (which I also love), but the afternoon walking through the mall is often a pleasurable activity as well. Will we miss it when it’s gone?

this_is_progress_2-28-14

“This was the week when global warming jumped the shark. Just like it did last week. And the one before…”, James Delingpole writes at Breitbart London:

Doctors at a Washington, D.C. paediatric clinic are increasingly prescribing sunshine and outdoors – “nature time” – for their young clients, reports Lynne Peeples for HuffPo.

But the story isn’t as heartwarming as you might think from the first paragraphs. That’s because stalking this charming scene like a ravening, blood-crazed, razor-fanged death creature with a sinister cowl kind of like a wicked evil monk’s probably concealing a grinning death’s head face and an evil as old as time, is climate change.

Yes, Peeples has managed to find at least two eco campaigners so shameless and utterly desperate that they have been prepared to put their names to quotes suggesting that “climate change” is threatening to make outdoors a no-go zone.

“Nature is critical to health,” says Martha Berger, a children’s health officer with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Climate change, she added, could “further alienate kids from nature.”

“One of the things contributing to [kids not getting enough play outdoors], along with many societal factors, is that some of the conditions are becoming more difficult to deal with,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, during a media call last month for the group’s report, “Ticked Off: America’s Outdoor Experience and Climate Change.”

As Delingpole writes, “Soon children will have forgotten what outdoors looks like, claims HuffPo.”

Yes, it could happen as soon as 1978 — because in 1968, Bobby Kennedy was making these exact claims in his presidential campaign ads, which repudiated the New Frontier optimism of his late brothers. In ten years, JFK thought we’d be landing on the moon. In ten years, Bobby believed we’d all be wearing gas masks outdoors:

As I noted in 2011, while Jimmy Carter didn’t make his infamous “Malaise Speech” until 1979, the intellectual rot and box canyon thinking that drove its depressing assumptions had seeped into the left shortly after it was obvious that LBJ’s Great Society was a failure — and as the excerpt above from James Delingpole’s post above spotlights, the left haven’t yet found a way to break the endless Mobius Loop they’ve been trapped in ever since.

For my interview in April with James on his Little Green Book of Eco-Fascism, click here to listen.

Just NBC the Hypocrisy

September 4th, 2014 - 10:41 am

Past performance is no guarantee of future results:

“Katie Couric and Matt Lauer Blame Hurricanes On Global Warming.”

—Headline, NewsBusters, September 21st, 2005.

“Matt Lauer’s helicopter rides to and from his Hamptons mansion are ‘paid for by NBC’ – despite earning $20million a year.”

—Headline, the London Daily Mail, today.

And I hope Matt doesn’t leave any lights on his mansion:

Related: “The 5-ton, 12 mile/gallon [Mercedes-Benz Unimog Truck] Arnold Schwarzenegger bought after signing strict emissions law goes on sale for $273,250.”

 

Is There Nothing It Can’t Do?

August 28th, 2014 - 5:38 pm

Shot:

Chaser:

As Britain’s Malcolm Muggeridge noted a half century ago, there’s no way for any satirist to compete with real life — and real leftists — for pure absurdity.

(Of course, the moral equivalence that compares global terror with global warming is nothing new for the far left. Freud called it displacement — as did columnist Julia Gorin, when she noted the connection in 2006 in the Christian Science Monitor.)

Spot the Correlation

August 26th, 2014 - 11:48 pm

Shot:

Chaser:

 

Earlier: How to Lose Friends and Alienate Customers.

Related: “If I have understood this ridiculous situation correctly, the EPA is now in a position in which it may have to admit in court that some of its previous official statements about ocean acidification were not supported by available evidence.”

And from Roger L. Simon: “Climate Change to the Rescue?”