For season 2 of the 13 Weeks Radical Reading Regimen, each weekday morning I juxtapose excerpts from my book readings with a selection of the previous day’s headlines and noteworthy excerpts. The goal is to make fresh connections between the events of the day and the bigger picture of history and humanity’s place in the universe.
Of the news stories in today’s round-up, the ones in particular that I’d point attention toward have nothing to do with politics and everything to do with science and history. At The Scientist we learn a bit about the ancient Incan practice of human sacrifice. How did victims go more willingly? The priests got them stoned and drunk — for as long as a full year before their murder in the name of Incan nature deities.
Another story at CNN discusses new theories into why monogamy developed:
Although parental care and dispersed female ranges are also traits of social monogamy, male infanticide is the one that appears to have preceded, historically, the shift to social monogamy, the researchers say.
“Our analyses suggest that socially monogamous species are much more likely to have low male infanticide rates,” study authors wrote.
The risk of infanticide goes down because one or both parents can defend a child against another invading male, they argue. It also appears that species practicing social monogamy have a relatively shorter lactation period, which allows fertility to resume more quickly and reduces the incentive for other males to swoop in and kill offspring.
This may be an uncomfortable thought, but researchers suggest that male infanticide may have put pressure on our ancestors to stay in long-term couples.
A few related videos on infanticide in nature and the human world today:
“I don’t think it’s problematic to say that a four month old baby is not actually a person. I think that’s simply true.” – Peter Singer on MSNBC in December 2011
Here’s a hypothesis that I’m starting to roll around in my head as I continue my research both in old books and new headlines: the practice of human sacrifice is a side effect of cultures based in polygamy and slavery. When a people starts producing children whose parents don’t want to raise them then the culture needs to find some way to get rid of them. And if human life isn’t sacred, if we’re just smart chimps and talking space dust animated by chance, if we really do live in a secular, materialistic world, then in the words of our likely future president, “What difference, at this point, does it make?”
Tuesday Dawn Book Reading:
Page 98 of America 3.0: Rebooting American Prosperity for the 21st Century — Why America’s Greatest Days Are Yet to Come by James C. Bennett and Michael J. Lotus:
Tuesday Morning News Round Up:
Lead PJM Stories From Tuesday:
So, as an example, when I watch Fox’s John Stossel — whose echt-libertarian cable show is one of my favorites when he’s concentrating on domestic issues — speak of foreign affairs, I think I’m listening to an idealistic nine year old at a Quaker meeting. What happened to the smart, clever fellow who was just talking? He went down the drain of ideological purity.
It’s time to think about walking and chewing gum at the same time. In other words, why can’t we lean libertarian on some issues and not on others? Life doesn’t have to be that simple and classifiable with buzz words. In fact, to be ideologically rigid in any way is not, well, libertarian.
Then there are the lies of our age all put to the purpose of egalitarian “fairness,” but they are lies nonetheless. Of course, this is not entirely new: the Rosenbergs were really guilty of selling us out. So was Alger Hiss. Mumia Abu-Jamal was a cop killer. Che was a sadist. Castro killed more than did Pinochet. Woodrow Wilson was a classic racist at a time many of his background were not anymore. I could go on, but the legendary and politically exempt icons the left gave us were mostly lies.
In our age, Nobel laureate, exempt Al Gore proved a fraud: the feminist who was accused of groping a woman in crazed sex-poodle fashion; the stern green scold who cashed out to a fossil-fuel exporting sheikdom; the tax raiser who scrambled to sell out before capital gains taxes rose; the humanitarian who profited from anti-Semitic authoritarians; the man of the people who hyped a crisis and then offered a high-priced carbon-offset remedy for it.
If Todd Akin helped to spark a pseudo-war on women, what did the current careers of Eliot “Client #9” Spitzer, Anthony Weiner, and Bob Filner prompt — the idea that progressive and feminist men, if they are really going to enact hope and change, from time to time should have sabbaticals from their careers after frequenting young prostitutes, sending photos of their genitalia to women, or twisting and squeezing the posteriors and breasts of female employees? Is there a creepy squeeze, and then again a politically correct one? Should there be a camp where John Edwards, Bill Clinton, Weiner, Spitzer, and Filner are taught to behave?
I think the answer goes something like this: “Of course Spitzer, Weiner, and Filner are creeps, but until the public turns on them, they are our creeps and still good point men in the war against reactionary America.”
We are not publicly to confess other disturbing truths. The vastly inordinate rates of criminality in parts of the inner city cannot serve as an alternate exegesis to racism to explain why Americans of all races make the necessary adjustments of where, when, and how they navigate. That thoughtcrime is “racist.”
No one talks about anti-Communists now because that threat — under that name, anyway — has more or less passed. Today’s anti-Communists are the Islamophobes, those folks (like me) who think that the Islamic effort to spread Sharia (i.e., Islamic law) is fundamentally incompatible with liberal democracy with its principles of free speech, freedom of religion, and political equality of men and women.
“Islamophobia”: what sort of beast is that? A phobia, as I have been at pains to point out in this space and elsewhere, is an irrational fear or hatred. Is it irrational to fear and hate an ideology that denies the equality of the sexes, murders apostates and homosexuals, wishes to subjugate the non-Islamic world, and has consigned Jews and Christians to the perilous second-class citizenship of dhimmitude? (“First the Saturday People,” runs an Islamic slogan, “then the Sunday People”: first we’ll deal with the Jews, then move on to the Christians.)
Who rules the language, rules the world. Orwell knew that. And so does the Left. “Islamophobia” is a mendacious neologism designed to obscure the reality of Islamic ideology. Major Nidal Hasan shouts “Allahu Akbar” and murders 13 people at Fort Hood. What do you call that? I call it “Islamic terrorism.” The Obama administration insists it’s “workplace violence.” In 2007, some young Muslim packs a Jeep Cherokee full of propane canisters and detonates it at the Glasgow airport. What do you call that? I call it “Islamic terrorism.” Jacqui Smith, then the British home secretary, insists that we call it “anti-Islamic activity.” (How’s that for an example of the “no-true-Scotsman” fallacy?)
PJ Lifestyle Featured on PJ Home Page:
This year around 4th of July time, as in previous years, a few people asked me if I was doing anything to celebrate. Although some American Jewish immigrants in Israel hold 4th of July events, I said that, as usual, I had no such plans.
Why not? For one thing, I no longer see myself as part of the American polity. My visits to the States now occur only every few years and are quite brief. I feel myself to be foreign there, not knowing the society and its ways nearly as well as I do in Israel.
But what’s wrong with a little “ethnic” nostalgia? Why not go to a little 4th of July party and recall the ethos and ideals of the old country? Isn’t it where you were born and lived the first thirty years of your life?
To answer all that, I need to dig deeper.
New at PJ Lifestyle:
Also Around the Web Tuesday:
The editor of a Saudi Arabian social website has been sentenced to seven years in prison and 600 lashes for founding an Internet forum that violates Islamic values and propagates liberal thought, Saudi media reported on Tuesday.
Raif Badawi, who started the ‘Free Saudi Liberals’ website to discuss the role of religion in Saudi Arabia, has been held since June 2012 on charges of cyber crime and disobeying his father – a crime in the conservative kingdom and top U.S. ally.
Al-Watan newspaper said the judge had also ordered the closure of the website.
“I’m here because of Huma,” Clay Adam Wade, a junior staffer, explained to me.
The sentiment was repeated to me again by some fellow interns.
Their hope was to make a connection with Weiner’s wife, Huma Abedin, and thus forge a potential connection to her longtime boss, Hillary Clinton, to get an inside track for a campaign position if she ran for president in 2016.
I’d just like to give a shout out to Noah Rothman, editor at Mediaite and the site’s most balanced, interesting writer. I’ve been a fan of Mediaite for awhile — the site’s actually pretty balanced and fair when one discounts the resident progressive flamethrower (who I will not dignify by naming. He knows who he is and someday after he grows up will be ashamed of himself for his hateful attacks against my friend and colleague J. Christian Adams.) But really make a point to follow Rothman’s items — his author archive is here — he continually finds great media gems and keeps up on important stories such as Benghazi and PRISM.
A recently conducted Public Policy Polling survey of the Democratic landscape ahead of the 2016 primary shows Clinton beating all her opponents by a 40 point margin. With 52 percent support nationally, Clinton’s closest competitor – the sitting Vice President of the United States – receives only 12 percent support. The party’s other rising stars languish in the single digits.
In head-to-head matchups, Clinton bests all the Republican Party’s potential presidential candidates, but only by single digits. She is within the margin of error when tested against New Jersey Gov.Chris Christie, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. Substitute Joe Bidenfor Clinton, and those tight races become routs, with Paul, Christie, or Bush becoming the 45th President of the United States (though Paul’s margin of victory is also at the top end of the margin of error).
On Tuesday, Fox News obtained documents showing that the federal government is initiating a program designed to “nudge” Americans toward particular behaviors. The “Behavioral Insights Team” to be formed would work with the White House, as well as the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture, among others. The document, emailed by White House senior adviser on social and behavioral sciences Maya Shenker to a university professor, states, “Behavioral sciences can be used to help design public policies that work better, cost less, and help people achieve their goals.”
On Monday the Virginian-Pilot published the first review of Fast Terry, the new documentary film produced by the conservative non-profit group Citizens United, and it is not good news for the film’s subject, Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic nominee for governor of Virginia.
According to the review’s headline, the documentary “flays McAuliffe’s Virginia [business] deals,” that “haven’t met the bold job claims Virginia’s Democratic nominee for governor once boasted they would.”
Julian Walker, the Virginian-Pilot’s political columnist, wrote in his review that “[t]hrough a mix of narration, press clippings, McAuliffe excerpts, and on-camera interviews, the gubernatorial candidate is cast as a cash-obsessed politician who’s given false hope to job-starved residents of two rural communities.”
Let us never forget that the same media currently in hyper-drive to push Weiner out of the race is the very same media that played a willing accomplice to Weiner’s comeback strategy. In July 2012, People Magazine ran a fluffy cover profile of Weiner and his family. In April of 2013, the New York Times Magazine ran a very consequential cover story that pretty much did the same.
Moreover, after Weiner officially announced his intent to run for mayor of New York, the national media lapped up the comeback story like it was fat-free, soy-based ice cream.
Americans knew he could be mean and duplicitous, but I sensed they voted for him because they also thought he was smart enough and tough enough to keep the Soviets at bay. They were right.
If your home is threatened, you want a German shepherd, not a cocker spaniel.
In my early days as a junior lieutenant, I mostly saw the bright side of Nixon — the one who read books recommended to him by his early counselor, Pat Moynihan, and debated the virtues of World War I generals with Henry Kissinger. Only when I had more experience and he invited me in closer did he begin to reveal the rest of him — the dark side.
Fundamentally, I believe that as Carl Jung argued, each of us has a bright and dark side, and that the task of becoming a mature, integrated adult is to conquer one’s dark side or at least bring it under control.
Nixon simply did not have that dark side under control — he had demons inside him and when they rose up in fury, as they did so often, they could not only destroy others but destroy him, too.
About 90% of bird species demonstrate social monogamy; this is true for less than 3% of mammals.
Living in pairs makes sense for birds because successful child rearing requires both parents to incubate and provide food for the babies, which hatch from eggs. On the other hand, in mammals, the fetus grows inside the mother, and she lactates to feed the baby — activities in which males don’t play a role.
Typically, male mammals mate with multiple females in a single breeding season, a system called polygyny. If a male animal’s evolutionary goals are to survive and reproduce, monogamy represents a problem; staying with one partner limits his seed-spreading potential.
In primates in particular, however, about a quarter of species display social monogamy. The phenomenon appears to have developed about 16 million years ago, which is relatively late in the history of primates, according to a new study led by Christopher Opie at University College London.
At The Huffington Post:
I wonder how long until the real amount the price would go up will be revealed by more serious economists who actually understand how businesses operate…
At the Daily Mail:
Speaking after the attack the woman, who suffered horrendous burns to her face and body, said: ‘I saw a man approach me who was carrying something in a bottle.
‘He threw it over me and after a few seconds it started burning. I was crying: “Please help me! Please help me!”‘
It is thought Yannick Ntesa, 25, sprayed the acid and made his getaway in a red BMW with
Abdul Motin, 28, and 31-year-old Ahad Miah.
The 44-year-old mother, from Plaistow, fled to a neighbour’s home where water was poured over her burning clothes.
Penn State University’s ex-president and two former top school administrators have been ordered to stand trial on charges accusing them of a cover-up in the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.
Prosecutors showed enough evidence during a two-day preliminary hearing to warrant a full criminal court trial for ex-president Graham Spanier, former vice-president Gary Schultz and ex-athletic director Tim Curley, Judge William Wenner said.
The Judge described it as a ‘tragic day for Penn State University’ at a hearing on Tuesday.
The FBI said 60 percent of the children rescued were in foster care or group homes when they ran away.
‘With no way to survive on their own they are lured into a life of being trafficked for sex,’ Hosko said.
Girls are enticed into the sex trade with compliments and offers of making money ‘and then they are trapped in this cycle that involves drugs, it involves physical abuse, it may involve torture… so that they are tied to the pimp,’ he said.
Hosko added: ‘Commonly they don’t see law enforcement as their friends’ but rather as a threat of arrest.
To identify victims of sex trafficking, agents went undercover in major cities and posed as men looking for sex. They also used Backpage, a website that is used to sell girls for sex.
The conservatives have finally purified the Republican Party, dispatching moderate infidels in primary after primary, demanding fealty to their agenda of huge tax cuts and drastically lower spending. They have used their sizable numbers in Congress to help realize that agenda, with periodic assists from a president who has always been more fiscally responsible than his enemies would admit.
Congratulations Tea Partiers! According to former Obama speechwriter Favreau, even though you were sabotaged in your efforts to get tax-exempt status you still managed to take over the GOP!
Oh wait, who are the “conservatives” to whom Favreau refers? Just about everyone conservatives and Tea Partiers would label a RINO:
These are Republicans like Chris Christie, who has witnessed the vital importance of robust federal aid in the wake of a terrible storm. These are Republicans like Jeb Bush, who has tried to reform public education without completely dismantling it. These are Republicans like John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and the handful of senators who have sought compromise with Democrats over issues such as immigration reform and finally ended the historically exceptional blockade of perfectly qualified executive-branch nominees so that the president can fill the jobs his administration is required to perform.
Looks like the goal posts of who counts as a “conservative” and a “moderate” are a bit different in the Land of the Beasts.
Last week we posted an exhaustive supercut of every movie reference from the first five seasons of The Simpsons. Now NextMovie is back with another installment for Seasons 6 through 10, and it’s more referential than ever.
At National Review:
A People’s History is a book for high-school students not yet through their Holden Caulfield phase, for professors eager to subject their students to their own ideological enthusiasms, and for celebrities like Matt Damon, who has done so much to publicize it. If it is a revelation to you that we treated Native Americans poorly, and if you believe the Founding Fathers were a bunch of phonies, Zinn’s volume will strike you with the power of a thunderclap. And one day, maybe, you will grow up.
The caterwauling in the Daniels controversy about the importance of academic inquiry is particularly rich, given that Zinn didn’t believe in it. He had no use for objectivity and made history a venture in rummaging through the historical record to find whatever was most politically useful, without caring much about strict factual accuracy. “Knowing history is less about understanding the past than changing the future,” he said. He joined his propagandistic purpose to a moral obtuseness that refused to distinguish between the United States and its enemies, including Nazi Germany.
The consensus response to President Obama’s Knox College speech on the economy is that the administration has been reduced to pushing a menu of stale and timid policies that, in any case, won’t be enacted. But what if the administration isn’t actually out of ideas? What if Obama’s boldest policy initiative is merely something he’d rather not discuss? And what if that initiative is being enacted right now?
A year ago, I published Spreading the Wealth: How Obama Is Robbing the Suburbs to Pay for the Cities. There I described the president’s second-term plan to press a transformative “regionalist” agenda on the country. Early but unmistakable signs indicate that Obama’s regionalist push is well underway. Yet the president doesn’t discuss his regionalist moves and the press does not report them.
At PowerLine Blog:
Anne and her family lived in hiding in “the secret annex” above Mr. Frank’s office with four others for just a little over two full years before someone turned them in to the authorities. Who turned them in? Was it for the reward of 7.50 guilders per Jewish head that the Nazis conferred for such tips? Whatever the motive, the act was pure evil. We learn from Melissa Muller’s very good biography of Anne that we have some idea who the perpetrator might have been. This is one aspect of the story that the museum does not touch.
But I digress. We already knew that a movie titled Rodham is in the works. It will focus on Hillary’s role as a 26-year-old staffer on the House Judiciary Committee during Watergate. Since Hillary played no perceptible role in the Watergate affair or its aftermath, the movie could make for a boring couple of hours. On the other hand, actresses like Scarlett Johansson, Reese Witherspoon and Amanda Seyfried are reportedly in the running for the role of Ms. Rodham–because, I guess, they look so much like Hillary.
From time to time, we have noted President Obama’s lack of knowledge about American history. The most recent manifestation — his claim that Ho Chi Minh was inspired by America’s Founding Fathers — suggests that Obama’s ignorance is to some extent willful.
It is, in any event, not accidental. From Stanley Kurtz, we learn that Obama is a fan of the leftist historian Howard Zinn. Stanley cites this passage from James T. Kloppenberg’s book Reading Obama:
Obama filled out his education in American history as well as politics while he was working in Chicago. Mike Kruglik had been a doctoral candidate in American history at Northwestern before he became an organizer, and when he and Obama talked, they discussed the reasons why a nation supposedly dedicated to freedom and equality provided so little of either.
They talked about the differences between the populists and the progressives and the reasons why ordinary people never seemed to get anywhere in modern America. Kruglik recalls that Obama had a special interest in the work of the radical historian Howard Zinn.
At Pyschology Today:
- Of course, introverts are good little telecommuters and can be very productive away from the bustle of the office. Hallmark is generous about allowing employees to work at home, but supervisors keep watch to ensure employees who prefer working on site aren’t overburdened by being called upon again and again for last-minute jobs or to put out fires, just because they happen to be there. (So introverts, take note: Too much of a good thing is sometimes not nice. Monitor thyself.)
The Sexual Revolution was predicated on an idea that women could somehow claim equality with men by imitating the sexuality of men. Men can have sex without fear of pregnancy, so they can have it all the time. Whether they do or not is a different conversation. But anyhow – women bought the idea that if we could untether sex from consequences – we could be equals. But in the words of Harvard professor Harvey Mansfield, “Women play the men’s game, which they are bound to lose. Without modesty, there is no romance—it isn’t so attractive or so erotic”.
Modesty is the great equalizer of the sexes. A dying strain of feminism still bangs the oppression drum and argues that it’s the last relic of male hierarchical control over women or some such. But take a quick look around and see how well that worked out for them. When there is eros, woman wins. But eros only flourishes when the virtue of modesty makes the heart rise and swell.
Via I F-ing Love Science:
Three Inca children found mummified in a shrine near the peak of a 6,700-meter Argentinian volcano consumed vast quantities of corn alcohol and coca, the plant from which cocaine is derived, for a year before they were sacrificed as part of their society’s religious practices. The children, a 13-year-old girl known as the “Ice Maiden” and a boy and a girl between the ages of 4 and 5, were likely sedated to keep them compliant in the death ritual, according to the authors of an analysis of the mummies published Monday (July 29) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The 500-year-old mummies are among the most well-preserved samples ever discovered, mostly due to the frigid conditions of the high altitude tomb in which they were found in 1999. (See “Pneu-mummy-a” from the November 2012 issue of The Scientist for a story of previous research done on the remains.) Detailed biochemical analysis of the mummies’ hair provided a record of what substances were circulating in the blood as new hair cells formed. Led by forensic archaeologist Andrew Wilson of the University of Bradford in the U.K., researchers discovered that the children ingested alcohol and cocaine for about a year before their death, and that consumption spiked dramatically in the weeks before they were killed.
Wednesday Book Reading:
The Cult of the Black Mother, a reinvention of orthodox Kali worship, as described on page 182 of Robert Anton Wilson’s Schrodinger’s Cat: The Universe Next Door
Do you have an article, video, or blog post that you think I would like and that I should include in this round-up? Do you edit a publication that I should start checking each day? Are you a publisher with books that might fit in with one of the seven days’ research themes in the Radical Reading Regimen? Send me an email at DaveSwindlePJM AT gmail.com.
See the first three and a half weeks’ round-ups:
- Week One
- 1. Monday, July 8: “We Ought to Defeat Capitalism With Its Own Weapons, Comrades…“
- 2. Tuesday, July 9: Can We Just Fast Forward to 2040? Please?
- 3. Thursday, July 11: Researching the American Family’s War to Beat Death…
- Week Two
- 4. Monday, July 15: Turning On Mankind’s Magical Machines To Battle Mother Earth’s Cruel Monsters
- 5. Wednesday, July 17: ‘So, You Know How You Felt on 9/11? Yeah, That’s How We Feel When It Comes To Race.’
- 6. Thursday, July 18: ‘… And There We Can Still Maintain Our Mysterious and Dreadful Freedom.’
- 7. Friday, July 19: ‘Evil Always Takes Advantage of Ambiguity.’ – G.K. Chesterton
- Week Three
- 8. Monday, July 22: ‘His Father Urged Him to Study Marxism, But Valentin Preferred Science.’
- 9. Tuesday, July 23: ‘Perhaps The Final Secret of the Illuminati Is That You Don’t Know You’re A Member Until It’s Too Late to Get Out.’
- 10. Wednesday, July 24: Is Anthony Weiner a ‘Deviant’ or a ‘Normal’ Male?
- 11. Thursday, July 25: ‘The Most Ancient Conflict in Western Culture, Between Jew and Egyptian, Continues…’
- 12. Friday, July 26: Weiner’s Wild Women: Are Sydney Leathers and Huma Abedin His Succubi?
- Week Four
- 13. Monday, July 29: Malcolm X: ‘The Jew Cries Louder Than Anybody Else If Anybody Criticizes Him.’
- 14. Tuesday, July 30: ‘My Father Was a White Man.’ – Frederick Douglass, the Archetypal Anti-Slavery Republican