Last week here at PJ Lifestyle, we saw a lively debate over the difference between altruism and giving out of love — particularly in a Judeo-Christian context. My colleagues Walter Hudson and Susan L. M. Goldberg eloquently shared their thoughts on the nature of altruism in a series of compelling posts:
April 8: Altruism In Religion’s Free Market
April 9: Love And Altruism Prove Opposite
Walter, Susan, our editor David Swindle, and I continued the discussion on Facebook, which morphed into a bigger exploration of faith and religion. At one point, Susan brought up the notion we often hear from secularists that “God doesn’t want us to be happy.” I replied:
I don’t think God wants us to be happy, either. He wants us to be filled with joy. Happiness is temporal and circumstantial, while joy is sustained.
There’s a clear difference between happiness and joy. Circumstances and relationships determine our happiness. An ice cream cone can make you happy. A great comedy can make you happy. An upbeat song (even that ubiquitous Pharrell Williams tune) can make you happy. But happiness is transitory and momentary — and ultimately external. Psychologist Sandra A. Brown writes (particularly in the context of relationships):
Happiness is external. It’s based on situations, events, people, places, things, and thoughts. Happiness is connected to your hope for a relationship or your hope for a future with someone….
Happiness is future oriented and it puts all its eggs in someone else’s basket. It is dependent on outside situations, people, or events to align with your expectations so that the end result is your happiness.
And happiness can disappear as quickly as it comes. The same people who make us happy one moment can hurt us or let us down the next. That great meal you ate can give you unbearable heartburn. You can grow tired of the songs, films, and shows you once loved. A storm can ruin that perfect trip to the beach. The happiness we seek can often disappear without warning.
Many commentators, most eloquently Bret Stephens at the Wall Street Journal, draw a parallel between the appeasement of Hitler at Munich in 1938 and the appeasement of Iran at Geneva. There is another, more chilling parallel: Iran’s motive for proposing to annihilate the Jewish State is the same as Hitler’s, and the world’s indifference to the prospect of another Holocaust is no different today than it was in 1938. It is the dead’s envy for the living.
Dying civilizations are the most dangerous, and Iran is dying. Its total fertility rate probably stands at just 1.6 children per female, the same level as Western Europe, a catastrophic decline from 7 children per female in the early 1980s. Iran’s present youth bulge will turn into an elderly dependent problem worse than Europe’s in the next generation and the country will collapse. That is why war is likely, if not entirely inevitable.
Iran’s Elderly Dependent Ratio
|Year||Elderly Dependent Ratio|
Source: UN “Low Variant”
The table above is drawn from United Nations projections. It probably underestimates Iran’s predicament: the UN’s “low variant” puts the country’s total fertility rate at 1.9 children as of 2015, but it already has fallen to just 1.6. This means in simple arithmetic that a generation hence, there will be two elderly dependents for every three workers, compared to 7 elderly dependents for every 93 workers today. That is a death sentence for a poor country, and at this point it is virtually irreversible.
As the United States Institute of Peace wrote in its April 2013 “Iran Primer”:
“Iran’s low fertility rate has produced a rapidly aging population, according to a new U.N. report. The rate has declined from 2.2 births per woman in 2000 to 1.6 in 2012. This has pushed the median age of Iranians to 27.1 years in 2010, up from 20.8 years in 2000. The median age could reach 40 years by 2030, according to the U.N. Population Division. An elderly and dependent population may heavily tax Iran’s public health infrastructure and social security network.”
In 2005 and 2006, I was the first Western analyst to draw strategic conclusions from this trend, the steepest decline in fertility in the history of the world. Iran must break out and establish a Shiite zone of power, or it will break down.
Iran’s theocracy displays the same apocalyptic panic about its demographic future that Hitler expressed about the supposed decline of the so-called Aryan race. Unlike Hitler, whose racial paranoia ran wild, Iran’s presentiment of national death is well founded on the facts. That is not to understate Iran’s paranoia. In 2013 Iran’s vice president alleged that Jews ran the international drug trade. In a June 2013 Facebook post earlier this year Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei wrote, “U.S. President is being elected [sic] only from two parties while Zionist regime is controlling everything from behind the scenes.” That captions a cartoon showing fat men with moneybags for heads under a Star of David. Iranian officials routinely threaten to “annihilate the Zionist regime.”
See the previous installments in this ongoing discussion about American values, Left vs. Right, Biblical morality, and New Media activism:
By Michael Lumish on October 13: Politics Vs Theology: Beginning A Debate With David Swindle. “Why we should not frame political issues as a matter of Good versus Evil.”
By David Swindle on October 20: Secular Political Ideology Vs. Biblical Moral Values: Continuing a Debate with Michael Lumish. “Why I don’t care much about Left vs. Right anymore. And four more points of disagreement.”
By Michael Lumish on October 27: Debating America’s Ideological Origins: Part III in Lumish Vs Swindle. “A disagreement about the founding fathers and classical liberalism.”
By David Swindle on November 3: What To Do When Progressives and Conservatives Can’t Communicate: Part IV of Lumish Vs Swindle. ”Set the straw men on fire.”
We are at, perhaps, a transformative moment in the history of American foreign policy.
For the first time in American history we have an American president that favors political Islam. This is a remarkable thing and it needs to be discussed not just within popular media, as PJ Media does with scholars such as Barry Rubin, but throughout all western news sources. Although other American administrations have talked with the Muslim Brotherhood, no other American administration has embraced the parent organization of both al-Qaeda and Hamas as has the Obama administration.
I am disgusted and horrified both as an American and as a Jew.
What we need is your help in creating a stronger alliance between American Christians and American Jews in order to stand against political Islam as it rises throughout the world. That is the main reason that we are having this conversation.
My intention, you should know, was never to speak strictly to Jewish people and I very much regret giving you that impression.
Most of us here, at PJ Media, agree that the Obama administration has been a disaster. Not only has Obama been terrible for the Jews and for Israel, but he is absolutely awful for the United States and for our alliances around the world. I usually limit myself to criticisms around the Arab-Israel conflict, because I have some expertise in the area, but there is no question that Obama has weakened American influence internationally. This will not come as news to you, obviously.
My central point, and my purpose for publishing here, is that Jews and Christians need to unite in favor of enlightenment values and thus in opposition to political Islam. The Obama administration supported political Islam when it supported the Muslim Brotherhood. And the Muslim Brotherhood, as you well know, is the parent organization of both Hamas and al-Qaeda. It has also targeted Christians throughout that part of the world for persecution, thereby chasing them out of the region. No one, it seems, cares about the Copts aside from themselves, despite the fact that scores of churches have been burned to the ground in Egypt and in Syria.
Nonetheless, we seem to have two points of disagreement. The first is in the role of Biblical values within the ideological origins of the American Constitution.
Editor’s Note: PJ Lifestyle seeks to promote dialogue and debate across ideologies, cultures, and religions. This discussion in particular — within the conservative movement regarding goals and tactics — is vital. Both Ron Radosh and Andrew C. McCarthy are exemplary exponents of their positions. I would like to encourage more debate and discussion on this subject, and invite others to offer their views — DMS
Life may be too short to unwind everything Ron Radosh distorts in his PJ Media blog post on Monday. In it, he purported to recap both Charles Krauthammer’s recent appearance on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and my NRO column from last weekend, which examined that appearance in the context of mainstream Republican enthusiasm for the federal welfare state.
I need to say that again: mainstream Republican enthusiasm for the welfare state.
The emphasis is warranted because Ron provides readers with the following synopsis of my position: “McCarthy says no mainstream Republican accepts” the “centralized welfare state” that began with “the Progressive Era of Woodrow Wilson followed by FDR’s New Deal” (emphasis added). Of course, that is exactly the opposite of what I said. Ron evidently missed not only the column’s main point – viz., that the mainstream of the Republican Party fully accepts the centralized welfare state – but also its headline, which announces in bold black letters, “The Republican Embrace of the Welfare State,” followed by the sub-heading, “The establishment GOP has accepted progressivism’s central premise.”
There is a salient distinction between Republicans and conservatives. That was the upshot of my argument, which follows up on the theme from the previous weekend’s column: Mainstream Republicans are sympathetic to President Obama’s case for a massive, centralized welfare state; mainstream conservatives favor the Tea Party’s emphasis on individual liberty and limited government – which, contrary to Ron’s apparent misconception, is hostile not to humane, transparent welfare programs but to the insatiable, Washington-centered imposture that is devouring the prosperity of present and future generations of Americans. That is the rift on the Right.
Ron is similarly sloppy throughout. In this post, I address the hash he makes of my Krauthammer-Stewart critique. This weekend, I will have more to say about Ron’s fanciful depiction of Social Security as a bona fide retirement insurance program – which parrots a Roosevelt administration fairy tale that even its authors abandoned three-quarters of a century ago when forced to justify the program in Supreme Court litigation. I’ll also discuss Ron’s misstatement of my position on welfare.
Like Ron, I value “serious and respectful” debate, and have generally managed to keep things civil through 30 years of mixing it up with some fairly strident characters: aggressive lawyers, government officials, journalists, talk-show hosts, academics, Islamic-supremacists, etc. I might nevertheless be more receptive to Ron’s Dale Carnegie lecture if he were a better practitioner of what he preaches. I have not commented on this but, since he brings up the subject of civility, I am still taken aback by the tone of his review of Diana West’s American Betrayal … and I cringed upon learning that, in the midst of the nasty cross-fire that it ignited, he sent Diana a giddy email taunt when another commentator, Conrad Black, published a similarly intemperate review. To be clear, I am not talking about substantive merit here – I happen to disagree with Ron and Conrad about Diana’s book, but that is neither here nor there (I’ll have more to say about it soon). I am talking about peer-to-peer civility. Even in the context of Ron’s post about my column, the “serious and respectful” twaddle is just a set-up for branding my argument as “a child’s temper tantrum.” “Serious and respectful” starts to seem a lot like “agrees with Ron.”
That said, we can certainly stipulate that Charles Krauthammer is a charming, consummate gentleman, and that his discourse with the reciprocally gracious Jon Stewart was a model of civility. I fail to see the relevance, however, since my quarrel had nothing to do with the tenor of the Krauthammer-Stewart dialogue. Nor with the forum in which it took place. Ron claims I “chastise[d]” Dr. K for appearing on The Daily Show. I did no such thing. While I’ve not been on that program, I’ve appeared on more left-leaning media broadcasts and in more debates at left-leaning universities than I can count. It is a good thing for conservatives, especially compelling conservatives like Charles Krauthammer, to engage progressives in settings where they meet good faith interlocutors (as Stewart, whom I don’t know, seems to be), or where there is an open-minded (even if left-leaning) audience that might be moved by conservative arguments.
This is the fourth of my reading/writing journals, a new routine of season 2 of the 13 Weeks Radical Reading Reading Regimen. Each morning I will juxtapose book excerpts with the day’s headlines and then try in the afternoon to make sense of the chaos of the day’s news. So far I’m not doing as well as I hoped. See last Monday’s entry: “We Ought to Defeat Capitalism With Its Own Weapons, Comrades…“ And Tuesday’s entry: “Can We Just Fast Forward to 2040? Please?” And Thursday’s 4-page, double-barreled collection “Researching the American Family’s War to Beat Death…” On days when I don’t finish then I’ll plan to do a two-or-three-parter the following day.
Thursday Night’s Reading:
I received a copy of the newest edition of Cosmic Trigger: Final Secret of the Illuminati, Robert Anton Wilson’s memoir of his mystical experiments, and returned again to one of my favorite book’s preface:
Quote of Note: “The notion that ‘reality’ is a noun, a solid thing like a brick or a baseball bat, derives from the evolutionary fact that our nervous systems normally organize the dance of energy into such block-like ‘things,’ probably as instant bio-survival cues. Such ‘things,’ however, dissolve back into energy dances — process, or verbs – when the nervous system is synergized with certain drugs or transfmuted by yogic or shamanic exercises or aided by scientific instrutments. In both mysticism and physics, there is general agreement that ‘things’ are constructed by our nervous systems and that ‘realities’ (plural) are better described as systems or bundles of energy-function.” — Robert Anton Wilson.
Friday Morning Book Reading:
I didn’t have time to read very much of my Disney’s World biography that I’ve been enjoying so much. But I did take a few minutes to start the chapter on the decision to film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs:
Quote of Note: “Consequently, he began to regard Snow White as the most testing ordeal of his career whose failure could not only cost him his fortune his marital happiness as well. It had to succeed and be the most acclaimed and entertaining movie he had ever made.” – Leonard Mosley, page 157 of of Disney’s World.
Friday Morning News Round Up
Lead PJM Stories:
J. Christian Adams:What’s In Eric Holder’s Wallet? His Real Race Card
This week, Judicial Watch released documents demonstrating that the Justice Department’s Community Relations Service was deeply entangled in New Black Panther-led rallies and protests in Sanford, Florida, against George Zimmerman. These are the same rallies during which the New Black Panthers called for a bounty on George Zimmerman, and released “dead or alive” posters. The New Black Panther leading the rallies was the same New Black Panther Eric Holder sprang free in the voter intimidation case in Philadelphia.
Bill Straub: What Happened to Congress’ ‘Fast and Furious’ Fury?
Nicholas Ballasy: Giuliani to PJM: Dems Scared Obamacare Will Cost Them in 2014 Midterms
Michael Ledeen: Enough Already! Holder Must Go
Dear General Holder,
Get out of here. Please. Yesterday will do fine. Your command at Justice became intolerable in your first big public statement, four and a half years ago, the one in which you laid out your hateful view of American society:
…in things racial we have always been and continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards. Though race related issues continue to occupy a significant portion of our political discussion, and though there remain many unresolved racial issues in this nation, we, average Americans, simply do not talk enough with each other about race.
You were telling us two things: First, you intended to inflame political racial conflict in the United States. Despite some boilerplate language about overcoming racism and becoming “one nation,” your speech demanded that we focus on our alleged obsession with racial differences. You said, quite rightly, that it was intellectually misguided to talk about “black history” as something separate from “American history,” but you didn’t mean it. Indeed, you insisted that Black History Month be used to do just that — to treat black Americans separately from the others.
The president’s irresponsible comments came at a time when the media still played on George Zimmerman’s identity, either not identifying him racially at all or ascribing him to a newly made-up category: “white Hispanic.” The media’s antics allowed an incorrect image of Zimmerman to solidify, that of an older white male rather than the 28-year-old mixed man he is in reality. Obama’s comments also came at a time when he needed to shore up his base vote to ensure his re-election. Obama’s comments took the false racial narrative that the media and the hustlers had been constructing and planted it firmly on the White House lawn.
And now we know, behind the scenes, the Eric Holder Justice Department was working hand in glove with the protesters to apply the pressure that eventually forced Chief Lee from office and brought the charges to bear against Zimmerman.
As the trial has wound toward its conclusion, threats of violence have exploded online. I wish I could share Bob Owens’ optimism that there will be no violence regardless of the verdict, but the sad fact is that we have riots over sports championships in this country now. When we have a government working behind the scenes to exert undue pressure on local officials to placate the Al Sharptons of the world, we have a government dangerously taking sides with a man who has shown before that he doesn’t mind a little blood if it furthers his career. Sharpton, now a host on MSNBC, came to fame orchestrating the Tawana Brawley hoax against an innocent man. He fomented a race riot that resulted in death at Freddie’s Fashion Mart in 1995. Violence and the threat of violence have been in Sharpton’s tool box from the beginning of his long, disgraceful career. Obama and his Department of Justice sided with the media and Sharpton, and against the local police, and against the rule of law.
President Obama owes it to the American people to speak out against the possibility of violence but he is unlikely to say anything. What can he say at this point? That he no longer believes his hypothetical son would look like Trayvon? That the Department of Justice’s role early in the controversy was conducted by more “rogue employees.” Obama’s government took a side, and it was the side of racial strife, division, and ultimately the threat of violence if the jury hands down a politically incorrect verdict.
Friday’s PJ Lifestyle Stories:
Sarah Hoyt and Charlie Martin: Book Plug Friday
John Boot: 5 Movie Stars Whose Careers Are in Trouble
Walter Hudson: Why M. Night Shyamalan Sucks (and How He Can Be Great Again)
Kathy Shaidle: Raining on the Nelson Mandela Parade
Idealistic kids eagerly embraced Mandela as the Gandhi they never had, a Martin Luther King of their very own.
Of course, the real Nelson Mandela was, like those two men, flawed. Arguably moreso.
At least Gandhi and King had preached and practiced non-violence.
During my youth, Mandela’s criminal past was, if you’ll pardon the expression, whitewashed.
And when Mandela was arrested, the authorities claim to have uncovered “210,000 hand grenades, 48,000 anti-personnel mines, 1,500 time devices, 144 tons of ammonium nitrate, 21.6 tons of aluminium powder and 1 ton of black powder.”
Governments around the world, such as the U.S. and Great Britain, placed the ANC on their terror lists, along with the PLO, the IRA and the FLQ.
So when the Left adopted the destruction of apartheid as its new fashionable cause in the late 1980s, the organizer of that “Free Nelson Mandela” concert, Tony Hollingsworth, knew he needed to “personalize” the cause, and give that particular person a big makeover, pronto.
Hollingsworth now admits that the all-star extravaganza, “had everything to do with ridding Mandela of his terrorist tag and ensuring his release. (…) Mandela and the movement should be seen as something positive, confident, something you would like to be in your living room with.”
Mandela danced out of prison less than two years after the concert.
Oh, and not long after that, he was filmed singing an ANC song about killing white people…
Charlie Martin: Emmet Kelly, Harold Lloyd, and Edward Snowden
So then the Chinese get a look at what he’s carrying, and they say, hey, this isn’t worth the trouble. They let Snowden “accidentally” slip out of Hong Kong to Russia because of a “bureaucratic slip-up”.
Snowden arrives in Russia, and at first Putin seems to be inclined to help — then he cools on him, finally saying that if Snowden wants to stay he’s got to stop leaking information about his great friends to Americans. My guess? They also got a look at Snowden’s information and realized that a chance to look like Obama’s friend was worth more than the information.
Bruce Bawer: The Lion in Winter: Gossipy Lunches with Orson Welles, Hollywood’s Original Badboy Filmmaker
Welles and Jaglom also wander into politics. Jaglom (none of whose movies I’ve ever seen, as far as I can remember) comes off as a standard showbiz lefty, who has no apparent trouble with Hollywood Stalinism but despises director Elia Kazan for “naming names” in 1952 to the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). Welles can’t forgive Kazan either (even though he forgives German and French entertainers who performed for Nazis during the war), but at least he makes a point of mentioning the newspaper columns he wrote in the 1940s, in which he attacked Stalinist Russia “at a time when everybody thought God was smiling on Stalin.” He says he begged HUAC unsuccessfully to let him come to D.C. to explain to them “the difference between a Communist and a liberal.” And he says that in his experience “right-wingers” are “usually nicer people than left-wingers.” When Jaglom, coming off as a parody of P.C., says he’s “tormented” daily by his privileged life while children starve in Africa (“I should feel guiltier than I do”), Welles punctures his posturing: “Oh, the irony of these kinds of conversations is that they end with: ‘Do you want some berries?’”
Also Around the Web Last Week:
Thomas Sowell at National Review: Who Is Racist?
Over the generations, black leaders have ranged from noble souls to shameless charlatans. After the success of the civil-rights insurgency, the latter have come into their own, gaining money, power, and fame by promoting racial attitudes and actions that are counterproductive to the interests of those they lead.
None of this is unique to blacks or to the United States. In various countries and times, leaders of groups that lagged behind, economically and educationally, have taught their followers to blame all their problems on other people — and to hate those other people.
This was the history of anti-Semitic movements in Eastern Europe between the two World Wars, anti-Ibo movements in Nigeria in the 1960s, and anti-Tamil movements that turned Sri Lanka from a peaceful nation into a scene of lethal mob violence and then decades-long civil war, both marked by unspeakable atrocities.
Ann Coulter: This Year’s Duke Lacross Case
This week, instead of attacking a Hispanic senator, Marco Rubio, I will defend a Hispanic citizen, George Zimmerman, on trial for the murder of Trayvon Martin. (Zimmerman would make a better senator.)
It’s becoming painfully obvious why no charges were brought against Zimmerman in this case — until Al Sharpton got involved. All the eyewitness accounts, testimony, ballistics and forensics keep backing up Zimmerman. We should send a big, fat bill for the whole thing to Sharpton, courtesy of MSNBC.
Kruidbos said that, when he printed a 900-page Florida Department of Law Enforcement report from Martin’s cell phone in late 2012 or early 2013, he noticed information was missing.
Concerned that attorneys did not have all the information they needed to prepare the case, he said, he reported his concerns to a State Attorney’s Office investigator and later to prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda.
Kruidbos said he generated a report that was more than three times the size of the one that had been handed over.
For example, Kruidbos said that 2,958 photos were in the report given to the defense but that his report contained 4,275 photos.
Kruidbos also said that he has been told to not put specific case-identifying information into internal e-mails.
Friday Evening Double Date With The Wife and Friends:
I agree with Stephen Green’s review, cross-posted from Vodkapundit:
I can’t wait to see the movie again — Guillermo Del Toro’s movies tend to reward repeat viewings, I’ve found. Pan’s Labyrinth and the Hellboy films are favorites. So since Friday night I’ve had the humans-in-giant-machines-fighting-for-their-lives against cruel monsters motif in mind as the ideological factions of our country continued beating on one another…
Weekend Readings on Spirituality:
From page 144 of Jacob Slavenburg’s The Hermetic Link: From Secret Tradition to Modern Thought, a book I’m reading to study the spiritual ideas that inspired the development of modern science during the Renaissance:
Quote of Note: “When someone asked Hermes what God is, he answered: ‘The maker of the All, the all-knowing Consciousness, for eternity.” — The Hermetica
Later, from page 160:
Quote of Note: “Life is the making-one of Mind and Soul; accordingly Death is not the destruction of those that are at-oned, but the dissolving of their union.” — Jacob Slavenburg.
On Sunday I failed to stick with the usual reading routine but got caught up later in the evening when I read some more of Shmuley Boteach’s Kosher Jesus, the subject of Rhonda Robinson’s ongoing blogging series. Here’s an excerpt from page 43 in which the Orthodox Rabbi discusses the gospel of Mark, noting its similarities to Jewish teachings and rabbinical practices:
Quote of Note: “In multiple instances Mark relates Jesus going so far as to order those who witness his healings not to tell others. He feared — rightly, as it turned out — that his followers would highlight his personality at the expense of his calling.” – Shmuley Boteach
Weekend Headlines at PJM:
Bryan Preston: Occupy Site Organizing Trayvon Martin Post-Verdict ‘Actions’
Howard Nemerov: Maryland’s Highest Court Promotes Anti-Gun, Pro-Criminal Agenda
In 2010, Maryland’s Court of Appeals ruled that residents need a state permit to take a gun outside the home, upholding the conviction of a man who committed no other “crime” than publicly possessing a firearm.
This week, the same court voided a five-year mandatory, no-parole sentence for gun possession by a convicted felon. When the defendant was convicted of “drug distribution,” the same jury also found him guilty of being a felon in possession, and the judge added the five-year sentence. Maryland’s Court of Appeals voided the felon-in-possession enhancement and ordered re-sentencing because, according to Maryland law, the defendant’s non-violent earlier conviction enabled him to qualify for a more lenient ruling.
The felon in possession was arrested for crimes committed in Baltimore. This ruling means a lighter sentence for a drug dealer who has no problem breaking federal law against felons owning guns. Drug dealers often use guns to further their “business.”
Roger L. Simon: Obama Big Loser in Zimmerman Trial
Forget the over-zealous prosecutors and the repellent state attorney Angela Corey (who should be immediately disbarred or, my wife said sarcastically, elevated to director of Homeland Security) and even the unfortunate Trayvon Martin family (although it is certainly hard to forget them — they have our profound sympathies), the true loser at the Zimmerman trial was Barack Obama.
By injecting himself in a minor Florida criminal case by implying Martin could be his son, the president of the United States — a onetime law lecturer, of all things — disgraced himself and his office, made a mockery of our legal system and exacerbated racial tensions in our country, making them worse than they have been in years. This is the work of a reactionary, someone who consciously/unconsciously wants to push our nation back to the 1950s.
It is also the work of a narcissist who thinks of himself first, of his image, not of black, white or any other kind of people. It’s no accident that race relations in our country have gone backwards during his stewardship.
Bryan Preston: Double Jeopardy: NAACP Wants DOJ to Pursue Civil Rights Violation Charges Against George Zimmerman
Bridget Johnson: Obama: ‘We are a Nation of Laws, and the Jury Has Spoken’
Bridget Johnson: Black Caucus Responds to ‘Devastating’ Verdict: ‘Turn Your Pain Into Passion, Purpose’
Last year, when the Trayvon Martin story first broke I began blogging about it at the PJ Tatler and created this image:
I still need to finish defining the 10 Commandments of Postmodern Blackness… Something on the to-do list…
Self Improvement-Saturday at PJ Lifestyle:
Rhonda Robinson: Keeping Afloat With A Budget
Barry Rubin Cross-Post: The Battle of Gettysburg Refought, 150 Years Later
Charlie Martin, 13 Weeks: Do Americans Get Enough Salt In Their Diets?
Religion-Themed Articles on Sunday at PJ Lifestyle:
P. David Hornik on Claude Debussy: Master of Music, Bungler of Life
Charlie Martin: Heaps of Buddha
Paula Bolyard: New Great Awakening: When Politicians Speak for God
Walter Hudson: Marriage: From Sacred Bond to Status Update
Susan L.M. Goldberg: Single Issue Goddess: The War on Women’s Intellect
Monday Headlines at PJM:
Victor Davis Hanson: President Obama’s New American Vocabulary
Robert Wargas: No True Hispanic
In practice, the Whiteness Studies game works as follows: All bad things are labeled “white supremacy,” which is defined as a complete and total system of “white” bourgeois logic, law, custom, etc. This system is so pervasive that even when a non-white person does something ostensibly racist, he is only acting according to “white logic,” thus his or her racism is actually white racism. Much of this derives from the theories of the pseudoscientist Frances Cress Welsing, whose definition of racismwas white supremacy. Again, word games.
Whiteness Studies works exactly the same way classical antisemitism works, and still does work. Jews are said to be controlling absolutely everything, including people’s consciousness. The Jew is responsible for everything bad, because everything bad is, to the antisemite, the definition of Jewishness. There is no way out of this logic, which is total and pitiless, once its initial premise has been granted. It is a conspiracy theory and thus immune to reason and argument.
Clayton Cramer: The Race Card: Democracy’s Parasite?
Mike McDaniel: Zimmerman Closing Arguments: Detailing What the Mob Ignores
Relevant Headlines From Around the Web Today:
Charles C. Johnson at Daily Caller: Conservative filmmaker: Trayvon Martin protesters in Oakland ‘slugged me,’ ‘kicked me’ in the head
Christian Hartsock, a conservative journalist and filmmaker, says he was assaulted and beaten down to the ground by a mob with repeated strikes to the face while reporting at a Trayvon Martin rally in downtown Oakland Sunday night.
“I have interviews and I have footage of [Trayvon protestors] chanting ‘no justice, no peace—fuck you pigs in your sleep,’” Hartsock told The Daily Caller. “One of them was an elementary schooler chanting with his mom.”
Los Angeles Times: LAPD clashes with Trayvon Martin protesters, 1 arrest made
Today’s Parenting and Family Articles at PJ Lifestyle:
Robert Spencer: Can Parents’ Divorce Push a Teen To Join Al Qaeda?
David P. Goldman: What Do You Do When The Oppressed Are Their Own Worst Oppressors?
The leaders of what used to be a civil rights movement want to talk about everything but the main problem afflicting black people in the United States. That is the breakdown of the black family.
Just 29% of black women over the age of 15 were married in 2010, according to the Census Bureau’s comprehensive Current Population Survey. That compares to 54% of white women. At all ages, black women were about half as likely to be married as white women. That is an astonishing number.
The percentage of out-of-wedlock births has risen from 18% in 1980 to 40% in 2010. Twenty-nine percent of white births were non-marital, against 73% for black births. That’s nearly three-quarters of all black births.
Here’s an argument I had over the weekend with a progressive Facebook acquaintance and his friends about the Trayvon Martin case. I haven’t seen this guy in years. We knew one another circa 2004-2005 in undergraduate poetry class when at the time we had comparable postmodern progressive views. He hasn’t changed a bit and nowadays likes to claim that I’m just a terrible, sick person who doesn’t care about children. On Friday he called out both me and another conservative acquaintance and I played along throughout the weekend. Names of the innocent and the guilty erased.
This is only going to get worse before it gets better. In Pacific Rim both the number and size of monsters that emerged from the hole under the ocean to wreck mayhem and destruction for NO GOOD REASON WHATSOEVER only increased. It was only humans followed the advice of Sun Tzu — know thy enemy — and figured out they needed to take the fight directly to the monsters’ home turf that the good guys discovered a way to defeat the vicious creatures emerging to wage a genocidal campaign…
On they came, closer and closer, pouring over and through the sturdy fence, the flood of thousands of grey and homespun uniforms, mostly from the division of General George Pickett, (12,500 in the original; about 5,000 this time). Stopping to fire, their volleys popped in a string like fire-crackers, returned by the Union forces, about 6,000 strong, standing behind a knee-high stone wall. The smoke turned the air hazy.
The cannon crews went about their work calmly, at a steady pace, knowing any mistake might blow up barrels already too hot to touch. The gunner pulled out the lanyard held it as if he had all the time in the world and then shouted, “This gun is ready!” To which the officer responded, “Fire!”An astonishingly loud boom rang out, followed by a white cloud. The smoke from the cannons and muskets grew thicker and thicker.
The Provost Guard, the Third U.S. Infantry Regiment, stood patiently about twenty yards behind the front line. We were well-rested, having sat in the shade for about forty minutes away from the stifling heat that the deployed line units faced. We went at a run to the right, spacing ourselves out at five yards distance. It’s the point marked as “The Angle” on this map.
The Provost was the infantry unit belonging to First Division Headquarters, part field intelligence, part military government when needed, and protecting the general staff’s camp. Sometimes we went into the line; sometimes we took prisoners, and we were always visible lest someone thought of deserting ready to shoot the man if he didn’t stop running. Fortunately, no one did.
The headquarters’ staff include the Major General Allen Baldwin, the Gettysburg and now Winchester, MDfire chief, Tony Allen; the chaplain, surgeon, quartermaster Captain Willard Longnecker, and the canteen which using nineteenth century methods made the best bread and butter I’ve ever tasted, Provost, and Signals Corp.
Suddenly, as the still-alive Confederates reached the Union line, we charged forward to go into action. I ran up, sighting the tall form of Sergeant Ross “bayoneting”a Confederate who refused to surrender, I went toward the line. As I got there, an officer I didn’t know told me to escort a Confederate prisoner to the rear. He was a general, part of General Lewis Armistead’s staff. I had stumbled into the central scene of the battle.
[Photo: Armistead carried off the field of battle. Soldier on ground with red shirt is Union artilleryman; I'm standing immediately to his left.]
Lothario Armistead was born in February 1817, less than two years after his uncle, George, had commanded Fort McHenry in Baltimore against the British bombardment that gave proof through the night that the Star Spangled Banner still waved, in the terms in which Francis Scott Key wrote the National Anthem. He commanded one of three brigades of General Pickett at the July 3, 1863, charge which was Robert E. Lee’s desperate and ill-advised attempt to win the Civil War in one day.
As men fell around him, Armistead put his hat on his sword, held it high and shouted for those left to follow him. And then he fell, mortally wounded next to the Union cannon, the furthest advance the Confederate army made. Today, this called the High Water Markof the Confederacy. Ironically, the commander of the Union forces who hadmortally wounded him was General Winfield Scott Hancock, Armistead’s best friend before the war separated them forever.
About half the Confederates who marched with Pickett that day were killed, wounded, or captured, though a lower proportion were killed than you would expect given the state of medicine at the time.
Constitution Allah Ackbar Tea Party bomb abortion patriot gun IRS Islam dog whistle Obama prayer tax surveillance.
There. Now that I’ve gotten your attention, can we have a chat?
If you have any pull with the American Psychiatric Association, could you please recommend to them that the psychological state formerly known as “paranoia” should be no longer defined as a mental illness? Asylums all across the country are filled with people whose only neurosis is the vague feeling that they are being spied on or followed by unseen powerful enemies. But now we know that everyone is being spied on every time they pick up the phone, buy something, use the Internet, or walk around in public — so it turns out that these “paranoid” patients aren’t delusional after all. It seems rather unfair to lock us them up and classify us them as crazy if our vague feelings of being stalked by the government turned out to be true.
To make sure you get this message, may I also say 9/11 Eric Holder birth certificate Bill Ayers drone Orwell Anonymous leak.
And in conclusion, just in case your algorithm has gotten overloaded, I’d like to not mention my private, personal opinions about the Second Amendment, Fourth Amendment, and Ninth Amendment (and you really don’t want to know what I think about the Sixteenth Amendment). For more information, please read the Fifth Amendment.
PS — Tell the IRS that the best times for for my upcoming audit are Tuesdays and Thursdays, but unannounced visits from the EPA, FBI, OSHA or ATF would be more convenient on Monday afternoons or Wednesday mornings. And, needless to say, you can eavesdrop any ol’ time.
Editor’s Note: Sarah Hoyt’s 13 Weeks Novel Writing series will now be appearing on Saturdays alongside Charlie Martin’s original 13 Weeks series, my 13 Weeks Radical Reading Regimen, and additional upcoming 13 Week experiments. It’ll be a self-improvement-themed saturday with numerous writers exploring techniques to better themselves. -DMS
You’d think the title of the post would refer to my relationship with the book this week. Though mostly what kept me from engaging it too closely mano-a-keyboard was the fact that my eczema decided this was an excellent week to engage in a revival ALL over my palms and the tips of my fingers. I must find out if Dragon Naturally Speaking will work for me in its latest incarnation. Last time I tried was several versions ago and it couldn’t cope with the accent, even after training.
There are a number of my colleagues who do use Dragon, and I might have to try again, if my hands continue their current path of rapid disintegration. You too might consider it if you find yourself blocking hard. Sometimes just changing the way you work jiggles the block loose.
At any rate, despite the slow progress on the book and my fight with my body’s issues, the “duel” I’d like to discuss refers to “conflict” in the book.
My first introduction to some people’s concept of what conflict should be came in my first writing group, where a gentleman objected to the chapter I’d submitted because “there’s no conflict.”
In fact, there was a young man rapidly clearing out of the home he’d been living in for close on to twelve years, because he had come to the conclusion those who were hunting him had found his location. I explained that there was conflict, not just potentially between the character’s desire to get away and the certain objection of those hunting him, but also between the character’s need to escape and the desire of his patrons to protect him. Then there was the conflict inside the man himself, between his wish to stay in the only stable home he’d ever known, and his fear of bringing death on his adopted family.
The writers’ group member blinked at me stupidly, (I use the word advisedly) and said “But you know, conflict. Like fist fights. Arguments. He has to argue with someone.”
While I will agree that chapters are better for a bit of dialogue — these days when I have a character alone for a few chapters I have him mutter to himself, talk to a pet, plant or ghost of dead friend if I can at all contrive it without making him sound completely insane – and while I will concede that arguing (and fist fights!) are conflict, they are more the external expression of conflict than the real thing.
Read more at TMZ. And some recommended books on the subject:
A reader sent me this WSJ article entitled “The Tyranny of the Queen Bee”:
Women who reached positions of power were supposed to be mentors to those who followed—but something is amiss in the professional sisterhood….
A 2007 survey of 1,000 American workers released by the San Francisco-based Employment Law Alliance found that 45% of respondents had been bullied at the office—verbal abuse, job sabotage, misuse of authority, deliberate destruction of relationships—and that 40% of the reported bullies were women. In 2010, the Workplace Bullying Institute, a national education and advocacy group, reported that female bullies directed their hostilities toward other women 80% of the time—up 9% since 2007. Male bullies, by contrast, were generally equal-opportunity tormentors.
A 2011 survey of 1,000 working women by the American Management Association found that 95% of them believed they were undermined by another woman at some point in their careers. According to a 2008 University of Toronto study of nearly 1,800 U.S. employees, women working under female supervisors reported more symptoms of physical and psychological stress than did those working under male supervisors.
The article points out that Queen Bees often assault careers in ways that leave “no fingerprints.” I find this interesting; I think that men are more direct in their tactics, often women tend to be more manipulative so that they do not have to take responsibility for their actions and can deny or disown them. And their victims barely know what hit them. Men’s directness is easier to spot and criticize, women’s tactics, not so much. It is more difficult to “prove.”
Cross-posted at Dr. Helen.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the creation of one of the most recognizable and enduring figures in pop culture history–Tarzan of the Apes. And this month will mark the publication of Jane, the first version of the Tarzan story written by a woman, authorized by the estate of the prolific novelist Edgar Rice Burroughs, or ERB.
Robin Maxwell is the author of several historical novels featuring female protagonists, most notably The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn. Her recruitment to pen a woman-centric spin on the Tarzan saga is clearly an attempt to court a new generation of female readers who have only a limited familiarity, if any, with the original work.
The popular conception today of Tarzan and Jane is unfortunately not so much formed by ERB’s novels as deformed by the old Johnny Weismuller movies of the ‘30s and ‘40s, which falsely portray the Ape-man as more ape than man, and Jane as a (tree)housewife in animal skins. In fact, Burroughs’s Tarzan was an educated English nobleman, Lord Greystoke, and Jane was a bold lady of their African manor.
The books were pulp adventure fare written long before today’s action heroines became as kick-ass as their male counterparts. But Burroughs’s fictional women weren’t mere helpless damsels in distress rescued by brawny he-men. His female characters like Jane and Martian princess Dejah Thoris, featured earlier this year in Disney’s movie John Carter, were not only feminine but, well, ballsy, and worthy adventuresses in their own right.
Related at PJ Lifestyle: