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Monthly Archives: October 2010

The Department of Free

October 31st, 2010 - 12:36 am

The Department of Free

Years ago, a wiser man
than you or I devised a plan
to dole out goods at zero cost
to those of us whose jobs were lost.

It seemed benign, so nice and kind
the plan grew to include the blind,
the old the lame then you and me,
and they called this plan
The Department of Free.

It started as a helping hand
to needy folks across the land,
so those who could not make ends meet
would not be forced out on the street.

Unemployment benefits
were just a start, because now it’s
free food, free homes, free surgery,
rebates, bailouts, loans — all free.

Now half of us just stand in line
all day long and gripe and whine
about the stuff we feel we’re owed
the list of which has growed and growed.

The line wends hither, the line wends yon,
and by and by it comes upon
a door above which we can see
those magic words:
Department of Free.

Once inside: a shopping spree
of endless handouts: it’s all free!
Drunken on entitlement
we grab a meal, a house, a stent.

The other half? We’re all employed!
Hearing this, you’re overjoyed
to know that at least some of us
have jobs and never cause a fuss.

But one last thing you ought to know,
our economic Alamo:
The place where we all work, you see,
is in the accursed Department of Free!

I push papers,
while he counts beans.
She helps seniors
and they help teens.
It takes a village to raise a child;
it takes a nation to run hog-wild.

Paul pays Peter, and Peter pays Paul,
yet neither makes anything at all.
Round and round the money goes
but where it comes from no one knows.

It all runs out eventually,
can’t simulate prosperity.
The shopping spree was just a dream,
a baseless potlatch Ponzi scheme.

With nothing left to give away,
The Department of Free itself must say,
“We’re all laid off, the end is near.
There’s no point working, even here.”

The last employed man not offshore
has just one more remaining chore:
Switch off the lights
and turn the key
in the broke
Department of Free.

From Medicare and Medicaid
came Medicould and Medishould
now Medimust and we’ve gone bust
we’re trust-fund kids without a trust.

 
 


 
 

Now immortalized as a dramatic reading:

I Played Patty-Cake With Christine O’Donnell

October 29th, 2010 - 2:25 pm

(Reprinted from Stalker.com.)

Thirty-five years ago this week, a six-year-old Christine O’Donnell, high on Twinkies and Pop Rocks, showed up at the kickball game of a classmate and ended up spending the afternoon in his rumpus room. Here’s the story of his escapade with the would-be Delaware senator.


I barely knew Christine when she turned up at my kickball game during recess. It was Halloween, 1975. We’d met for the first time only three months earlier when she sashayed into Mrs. Monroe’s elementary school class. Every boy in the class turned to stare, but not me. No, I was immune to her charms. In fact, I hadn’t thought of her since, not once, despite the fact that she sat in front of me and taunted me with her mesmerizing ponytail.

Yet here she was watching my kickball game, standing there with a friend. And both of them were on a sugar rush, flying high on Twinkies and Pop Rocks — a deadly combination.

She asked if she and her friend could join our kickball game. Jimmy yelled, “No gurls allowed!” Undaunted, Christine suggested that she and I meet again after school and retire to my downstairs rumpus room, where I could help her change into a Halloween costume for the after-school playground parade. How could I say no?

But when she showed up that afternoon, she was already dressed in her ladybug costume. I was wearing my brother’s Cub Scout uniform. There was an awkward silence. I looked her up and down. She couldn’t be more than five-and-a-half, I surmised — five-and-three-quarters at most. When I later found out that she was already six, and that I had spent the afternoon with an older girl, I just couldn’t cope with it. I thought to myself, “One day this girl is going to use her youthful looks for political gain.”

Then she got this sly twinkle in her eye and said, “Wanna play patty-cake? In the rumpus room?”

What choice did I have?

We went downstairs and closed the door so my Mom couldn’t hear.

Things got physical pretty fast.

She started warming up by clapping her hands together and rehearsing her lines: “Patty-cake patty-cake, baker’s man…”. Yet even before she got to practicing the “Bake me a cake as fast as you can” part, I got a gander at her fingernails. I immediately noticed that the trimming trend had completely passed her by. Gross!

Then she stopped and said, “You know — I’ve never done this before.”

I could hardly believe that was true. How could a good-to-go girl like Christine have never played patty-cake before? She must have had dozens of invitations. She then confessed that, well, back in nursery school she had played patty-cake a few times, but that she was a new girl now, “born again” as she called it. This was the first time since she had sworn off her patty-cakin’ ways.

But those untrimmed fingernails were just too much for me to handle. The thought of clapping our hands together made me physically nauseous. So I used her “never done this kind of thing before” line as an excuse to stop the game before it started: “How about we just watch Banana Splits reruns instead?”

“Good idea,” she said. “I didn’t really want to play patty-cake anyway. I was just testing myself.”

So we went upstairs and watched The Banana Splits, while my mom gave us oatmeal cookies and milk. Then we went to the parade — where she hooked up with Jimmy! (Later, he told me that she never once played patty-cake with him either.)

Oh, did I say that I actually had played patty-cake with Christine O’Donnell? Sorry about that. Didn’t mean to lure you in with a deceptive headline or anything like that. It’s just that Stalker.com pays a pretty penny for this kind of story, so I thought I’d better cash in now while the cashing was good.

The presidency of Barack Obama is a cargo cult. And Obama himself is the new John Frum.

But unlike traditional cargo cults, which persist despite decades of fruitless prophecies, the Barry O cult is disintegrating before our very eyes, as Hope and Change Airport — built entirely out of hollow bamboo and even hollower promises — has failed to attract the predicted heaven-sent magical prosperity.

John Frum, He Come

The title of this essay is a riff on John Frum, He Come, a now-classic book of popular anthropology which introduced the American public to the bizarre world of cargo cults in the South Pacific, especially on a small island called Tanna in what is now Vanuatu.

Shortly before WWII, a strange belief emerged on Tanna that a magically powerful American soldier appeared on the island bearing wondrous “cargo” — manufactured Western goods and packaged food, which he handed out as gifts. He called himself “John Frum,” but, after advising the villagers to return to their traditional rituals and customs, he just as quickly disappeared.

Some villagers did what John Frum recommended and began to engage in rituals, summoning him back with more of his amazing cargo. Lo and behold, it worked! Because shortly afterward, thousands of more Americans appeared — soldiers and sailors and Marines passing through on their way to defeat the Japanese, as it turned out — bearing more cargo than the Tannans could even imagine. But just like the original John Frum, the Americans quickly disappeared once more, taking their cargo with them, and once again leaving the island in poverty.

And ever since then, Tanna’s islanders have been waiting, waiting, waiting for John Frum to return with his cargo. They invoke him with dances, they sing hymns to him, they fashion simulations of American military outfits and march back and forth, and even build airport control towers out of bamboo and clear runways in the middle of nowhere, thinking that the existence of a simulated bamboo airport will somehow supernaturally induce the arrival of a cargo-laden plane.

Still, no John Frum. Yet with infinite patience, the islanders wait.

This two-minute kitschy clip from an old TV documentary gives a good view of a cargo cult airport and shows apparently authentic footage of cultists waiting for the cargo to arrive:

This second short clip from a different documentary crosses the line from “kitschy” to “condescending,” but nonetheless gives a good overview of how cargo cults originated, even if the islanders in this particular scene are more consciously acting for the camera:

The mysterious origins of cargo

The American military has repeatedly confirmed from WWII until now that no one named John Frum was ever in the Armed Forces, and researchers have similarly failed to turn up any American civilian ever named John Frum either. Of course, some anthropologists, in an a-HA! moment, realized that the original visitor must have said, “Hi, I’m John from America,” which the Tannans must have assumed was his full name — John Frum, America.

What fascinates us about the John Frum movement and cargo cults in general is that the cultists had no idea where “cargo” comes from, and assumed it must be created magically and sent by spirits or deities. They had no conception what the world was like outside their island, or that there even was a world outside their island.

So, instead of figuring out how to generate cargo — or wealth in our terminology — themselves, the Tannans wait for a messianic figure to arrive and rain riches down upon them as a reward for their piety.

This, at the risk of overstating the obvious, is the exact attitude of Obama’s fan and voters — at least in 2008 and 2009.

If you want what I have, then do as I do

One little-discussed aspect of cargo cults is that they are usually made up of two separate, mutually contradictory drives. On one hand, the movements are now thought to be a reaction against the introduction of Western and Christian values to the islands — in particular work-for-work’s-sake, worshipping a non-materialist god, long-term planning, and so forth. But at the same time, the cultists want all the great stuff that the Westerners brought with them in addition to the strange cultural rules. But the islanders never seemed to grasp that the two are inherently connected: Westerners were able to create all that wonderful cargo because of their cultural attitudes. If you reject the culture of these fabulously wealthy foreigners, then you’ll never get what the foreigners have. Which is fine — nothing wrong with being anti-materialist. But if you insist on craving material goods, you’ll need to adopt the kind of culture that will enable its creation, as historians and sociologists have been pointing out for centuries. The technological advances of civilizations, from China to Mesopotamia to Europe, were derived from cultural and religious patterns which encouraged work, accumulation of knowledge, individual betterment, and so on. Those areas of the globe which had different social structures — such as the South Pacific — never made most of the technological breakthroughs achieved elsewhere, because of a different way of approaching the world.

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Everyone’s speculating about the scale of the coming Republican victory in the midterm elections. Will they win 39 seats in the House of Representatives? 45? 60? 80?

And in the confusion, everyone’s testing out different possible metaphors to describe the political and cultural effect of the Republican win, depending on its size. Will it be a “massacre”? A “tsunami”? A “generational shift”?

The time has come to get this all straightened out. I hereby present The Official Guide to…

 
Republican 2010 Victory Metaphors
 

If Republicans win…     The correct metaphor to use is…      
1 – 38
   seats
    blip    
39
seats
    wave    
40 – 41
    seats
    a good shellacking    
42 – 45
    seats
    steamroller    
46 – 47
    seats
    earthquake    
48 – 49
    seats
    The Big Payback    
50 – 52
    seats
    asskicking    
53 – 56
    seats
    1994 all over again    
57 – 59
    seats
    Tea Party Jamboree    
60 – 62
    seats
    wipeout    
63 – 64
    seats
    a thumpin’    
65 – 66
    seats
    stampede    
67 – 69
    seats
    massacre    
70 – 71
    seats
    juggernaut    
72 – 75
    seats
    1894 all over again    
76 – 77
    seats
    revolution    
78 – 79
    seats
    The Perfect Storm    
80
seats
    tectonic rupture    
81 – 84
    seats
    tsunami    
85 – 86
    seats
    The Great Refudiation    
87 – 89
    seats
    meteor strike    
90 – 91
    seats
    generational shift    
92 – 94
    seats
    Party Like It’s 1773    
95 – 97
    seats
    Doomsday    
98 – 99
    seats
    Armageddon    
100
seats
    The Apocalypse    
101 – 116
       seats
    mass extinction event    
117+
seats
    The End    

Obama Is Exactly Like Chester A. Arthur

October 14th, 2010 - 1:09 am

Some pundits claim that Obama is just like Jimmy Carter.

(A few say he’s worse than Carter.)

Still others are absolutely convinced that Obama is the 21st-Century Abraham Lincoln.

(The two certainly share an uncanny resemblance.)

Leading analysts have noted a close parallel between Obama and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

(Some even step outside the presidential canon and compare Obama to Augustus Caesar, Jesus Christ, and Superman.)

And then of course there’s Obama as Clinton, Obama as Reagan, even Obama as Herbert Hoover.

But these comparisons are all ridiculous.

Because you know, I know, and everyone knows the obvious truth, which until now we’ve all been afraid to admit publicly:

Obama is exactly like Chester A. Arthur.

Yes, that Chester A. Arthur, the most obscure of American presidents, aside from maybe Franklin Pierce or that other guy whose name eludes me at the moment.

Proof

Want proof that Obama is Chester A. Arthur’s doppelganger? Stand back:

• Both Obama and Chester A. Arthur have last names that begin with a vowel. That’s, like, totally rare, and except for the Adamses and Ike, all the other presidential last names have begun with a consonant.

• According to his whitehouse.gov biography, “Arthur tried to lower tariff rates so the Government would not be embarrassed by annual surpluses of revenue.” Spooky coincidence! Obama is also embarassed by the massive federal surpluses he’s racked up during his term.

• Their manner of speaking was identical. Consider these quotes from each of the twin presidents addressing the issue of economic downturns during their terms:

1884: Chester A. Arthur said in a speech:

One of the gravest of the problems which appeal to the wisdom of Congress for solution is the ascertainment of the most effective means for increasing our foreign trade and thus relieving the depression under which our industries are now languishing.

2010: Amazingly, Obama said practically the exact same thing 126 years later:

We’re down there. It’s hot. We were sweating. Bugs everywhere. We’re down there pushing, pushing, pushing on the car. Every once in a while we’d look up and see the Republicans standing there. They’re just standing there fanning themselves — sipping on a Slurpee.

• Neither Obama nor Chester A. Arthur are known to have ridden a unicycle.

• Both had strong opinions concerning sideburns. (Chester A. Arthur loved ‘em; Obama hates ‘em. But their level of emotion concerning sideburns is precisely the same.)

• The political cartoons lampooning both of them are eerily similar, depsite being published over a century apart:

• After he left the White House, it was said about Chester A. Arthur,

No man ever entered the Presidency so profoundly and widely distrusted, and no one ever retired . . . more generally respected.

Obama’s presidency is following the exact same arc of public approval, and when he leaves office in 2012, the identical words will undoubtedly be said about him!

 


 

Case closed. I herewith expect an apology from every pundit who wasted our time comparing Obama to any other president aside from his soul-mate Chester A. Arthur.

The Electric Tea Party Acid Test

October 11th, 2010 - 3:40 pm

This is a memo to America’s hippies:

Tea Party values are hippie values.

You heard me right. The Tea Party is the one social movement in contemporary America that can rightfully claim to be the ideological heir to the original hippie movement that started in the mid-’60s. And because of this, all current hippies and ex-hippies should support the Tea Party, and by extension Tea Party candidates.

I’d like to have a private heart-to-heart talk with my fellow hippies here, so can the rest of you please stop reading now and leave us alone for a while? Thanks.

Let’s Rap

If you, as a hippie, think the thesis of this essay couldn’t possibly be true, you’ve been paying too much attention to the mainstream media. The Tea Party has been intentionally misrepresented, villainized and smeared by the powers-that-be. But this too is a feature that the Tea Party shares with hippies — the hippie movement was itself misrepresented and smeared by a different mainstream media over 40 years ago.

This essay will elucidate in a fresh way how Tea Partiers are the true heirs to the hippie ethos. When you’ve finished reading, you’ll see the Tea Party in a new light and (hopefully) understand that you may have been on the wrong side of the fence until now.

In short, the Tea Party and the hippie movement share four fundamental core values:

  • A craving for independence;
  • A celebration of individualism;
  • Joy in the freedom offered by self-sufficiency;
  • And an acceptance of the natural order of things.

The Real Political Spectrum

A necessary precursor to accepting any new worldview is to first jettison the previous worldview. So let’s start at the beginning: for the duration of this essay at least, pretend you’ve never heard of the left/right spectrum. Stick with me on this. As an intellectual exercise, just toss the notions of “left-wing” and “right-wing” out the window and begin your political education anew. Because it is this unnecessary (and now inaccurate) dichotomy between “left” and “right” which prevents most people from clearly conceptualizing the way that political thought is actually arrayed.

OK — is your mind clear? Now look at my newly conceptualized spectrum which schematizes political philosophies in a much more sensible and incisive way:

Now, I realize this may take a bit of getting used to. But soak it all in for a while as I explain.

The chart, as you can see, has not just one but two axes along which people’s worldviews are sprinkled:

The horizontal axis measures “government control,” ranging from a desire for less governmental power at one end of the scale, over to a desire for more governmental control at the other end of the scale. Most of you will understand this axis intuitively. But the vertical axis is a little more subtle, but also more eye-opening: it delineates people’s beliefs about human nature. At one end is the assumption that human nature is innate — that our personalities and other essential human attributes are built-in, unchangeable, and naturally occurring. At the other end is the belief that everything about humans is “constructed” — that we only are the way we are because of the particular cultural environment surrounding us, and that as a result people can be changed, through indoctrination, education, and/or alteration of the culture itself. I’ll expound on this more in a moment, but first I should explain the words in the ovals scattered across the chart.

Each oval contains the name of an ideology or social group positioned exactly where it fits on this new political spectrum. Note in particular the lower lefthand corner, where Hippies, the Tea Party, Libertarians and Hobos are all closely clustered together. That’s not random — they’re all near each other because their ideologies are in fact all similar.

(I include “hobos” and “bums” on the chart because the distinction between these two classic types illuminates the nature of the spectrum. In case you’re thinking that hobos and bums are just different words for the same thing, note: A hobo is an itinerant laborer who chooses homelessness because of the freedom it affords him, but who is proud of his self-sufficiency and will take temporary jobs to support himself wherever possible. A bum on the other hand is someone who is poor because he simply refuses to work or support himself, and instead is unashamed to survive on handouts and other people’s generosity. Because hobos celebrate individualism, freedom, independence and their own self-worth, they occupy the “sweet spot” at the bottom left corner of the spectrum, along with hippies and Tea Partiers. But since bums are essentially parasites on society and who survive on either formally or informally doled-out welfare, and often blame others for their predicament, they rightfully belong near the other end of the spectrum.)

On the right half of the chart are all the different varieties of political collectivism, or people who seek to impose or benefit from collectivist government. Those collectivists who think that human nature is malleable and a “cultural construct” are at the upper right; those collectivists who think that “people are the way they are” can be found at the lower right. What unifies the collectivist Nazis, Fascists and Islamists is not just their belief that humans have built-in attributes, but that their specific social, ethnic or religious group possesses built-in attributes superior to everyone else’s.

You will note that I neglected to include many political ideologies and social groups on the spectrum. That’s not an oversight. In fact, my original version of the spectrum did not include any groups whatsoever — I just wanted to introduce the idea of these two interlinked axes, and not clutter up the image with a bunch of other stuff. But I realized that some examples were needed for the illustration to be effective, so I placed some representative ideologies and identities at the appropriate places on the chart. Feel free to add your own. And if you think any particular group or philosophy is misplaced, you are encouraged to argue your case in the comments section — perhaps I’ll issue an updated version incorporating your additions and suggestions.

People who adhere to the outdated and overly simplistic left/right divide may have trouble grokking this new way of looking at society. Newsweek, for example, recently claimed that the Tea Party has an “anarchist streak.” I find this interesting, because the Newsweek writer understood that both Tea Partiers and anarchists are on the same end of the “Government Control” axis, but couldn’t grasp that, viewed from a different orientation, Tea Partiers are at the opposite end of the “Human Nature” axis from anarchists, who want to construct an (impossible) law-free utopia based on the assumption that people can change and control themselves in the absence of any authority whatsoever.

This brings up a good point: Scroll back up to the chart and think of it in terms of “halves.” Leftists want to highlight the fact the both Tea Partiers and Nazis are in the same “half” of the chart — the bottom half, as it is currently oriented (although of course the way I rotated the chart was completely random — there is no inherent meaning in the up-down-left-right placement, and I just as easily could have designed it to be 90 degrees or 180 degrees a different way). Of course, as mentioned above, the crucial difference is that Nazis and other totalitarians want to use government to enforce their idea of the natural order of things, whereas Tea Partiers have the exact opposite urge — to have no government enforcement at all, and to let the natural order of things play itself out — naturally.

On the other hand, The Tea Partiers (and I) want you to notice that all the “bad” ideologies, including Nazism and communism, also share space on the same half of the chart, in this case the “more government control” half.

So, the chart is viewpoint-neutral; each person can express their pre-existing political bias by pointing out how this-or-that political enemy is at least in the same half as some identifiably bad ideology. It just all depends on what angle from which you choose to view the spectrum.

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This Week in Eugenics!

October 6th, 2010 - 11:15 pm

Wait — eugenics, did you say? Isn’t that a discredited pseudoscience from centuries past, like phrenology?

Well, yes, but eugenics never went away. Despite reaching its bloody culmination in the Nazi era, eugenics is still seductive as a concept to many people, and eugenics-based proposals still crop up in popular culture distressingly often, frequently by people who don’t even realize the historical implications of what they’re suggesting.

Over the last several days I’ve noticed an alarming upswing in eugenics-related incidents and current events, even though none of them were identified as such. And so, to rectify this oversight by the Meme Lords, I present — This Week in Eugenics!

(Note: For the purposes of this article, I’m using the most inclusive definition of the term “eugenics,” covering not just social programs designed to “improve genetic stock,” but also many notions closely related to and derived from eugenics, such as involuntary euthanasia, ethnic cleansing, suppressing birthrates among unwanted groups, mass rape, forced abortions, and killing your opponents en masse as a way of eradicating them from the gene pool.)


British liberal: Murdering substandard babies is highly recommended

Left-leaning British pundit Virginia Ironside stunned BBC viewers last Sunday when she said on air that she would enthusiastically suffocate any child who was “suffering.” The video really must be seen to be believed:

“If I were a mother of a suffering child — I mean a deeply suffering child — I would be the first to want to put a pillow over its face… If it was a child I really loved, who was in agony, I think any good mother would.”

(Make sure to pay close attention to the facial expressions of her shocked fellow guest, the young Reverend Joanna Jepson, who is literally rendered speechless by Ironside’s moral framework.)

Not included in this video clip are additional statements by Ironside earlier in the show which clarify what she means by “suffering”:

But she said there were millions of disabled and unwanted children around the world who were left suffering in institutions.
“To go ahead and have a baby, knowing that you can’t give it some kind of stable upbringing, seems to me to be cruel,” she said.

“If a baby’s going to be born severely disabled or totally unwanted, surely an abortion is the act of a loving mother.”

I don’t think I need to remind everyone that the Holocaust got its start as a program of “merciful” euthanasia for the disabled:

Forced sterilization in Germany was the forerunner of the systematic killing of the mentally ill and the handicapped. In October 1939, Hitler himself initiated a decree which empowered physicians to grant a “mercy death” to “patients considered incurable according to the best available human judgment of their state of health.”

Virginia Ironside is not alone in her thinking — her “progressive” views are commonplace in Europe and among certain sectors of the American populace. Are these people even aware of their not-so-subconscious dalliance with eugenics?


After 30 years of forced abortions, China breaks promise to end “one-child policy”

When China instituted its “one-child policy” exactly 30 years ago this month, they vowed that it was temporary and would end after 30 years. Now that the 30 years are up — surprise! — it looks like they won’t be ending it after all:

When China introduced its drastic population controls, officials promised that it would lift them after 30 years – an anniversary which falls this weekend. Aware of the resentment the policy would cause, the government said it was a temporary measure in response to China’s high unemployment and food scarcity.

“In 30 years, when our current extreme population growth eases, we can then adopt a different population policy,” read the announcement from the Communist Party Central Committee.

But today, the one-child policy remains firmly in place and government officials cannot shake the idea that it has played an important role in China’s economic miracle.

With only one child to care for, parents have been able to save more money, enabling banks to make the loans that have funded China’s huge investments in infrastructure.

Meanwhile, officials claim the policy has conserved food and energy and allowed each child better education and healthcare.

“We will continue the one-child policy until at least 2015,” said the National Family Planning Commission earlier this year.

Actually, that whole 2015 business is just a lie too. The government has no plans to ever end the policy:

China: One-child policy will stand

China will not drop its one-child policy, officials say, 30 years after Beijing decreed the population-control measure.

“I, on behalf of the National Population and Family Planning Commission, extend profound gratitude to all, the people in particular, for their support of the national course,” said Li Bin, who leads the commission.

So we will stick to the family-planning policy in the coming decades,” she said over the weekend, according to the state-run China Daily.

Who could have ever suspected that totalitarian “emergency measures” would last indefinitely?

Unprecedented!

[UPDATE: China forces woman into abortion at EIGHT months for breaching one-child policy.]


John Holdren remains unashamed about hero-worship of eugenicist

Obama’s Science Czar John Holdren is back in the news again. Over the last week, bloggers and pundits have continued trying to decipher Holdren’s latest euphemism for global warming, “global climate disruption”:

Global warming could be a thing of the past, thanks to the Barack Obama administration.

No, the White House has not single-handedly managed to stop the apparent rising temperature — but it does think the terminology oversimplifies the problem.

According to U.S. science adviser John Holdren, the public should start using the phrase ‘global climate disruption’ because it makes the situation sound more dangerous.

What’s that got to do with eugenics? Nothing directly. The connection comes from my shock that Holdren still walks around proudly declaiming his views, even after my essay from last year exposing Holdren’s close ideological connection to a notorious eugenicist:

John Holdren and Harrison Brown

Lifelong intellectual infatuation with eugenics-minded futurist casts shadow over Science Czar Holdren’s worldview

John Holdren, the Science Czar of the United States, has long expressed an intense admiration — one that bordered on hero-worship — of a man named Harrison Brown, a respected scientist from an earlier generation who spent his later years writing about overpopulation and ecological destruction. In fact, as Holdren has pointed out several times (including very recently), it was Harrison Brown’s most famous book, The Challenge of Man’s Future, which transformed the young Holdren’s personal philosophy and which inspired him to later embark on a career in science and population policy which in many ways mirrored that of his idol Brown.

Holdren’s regard for Brown was so high that in 1986 he edited and co-wrote an homage to Brown entitled Earth and the Human Future: Essays in Honor of Harrison Brown, in which Holdren showers Brown with accolades and unrestrained applause.

At first glance, there’s nothing remarkable or amiss with this picture: one respected scientist giving credit to and paying tribute to another. Happens all the time. Except in this case, something is amiss. Grievously amiss. Because Harrison Brown, whatever good qualities Holdren might have seen in him, was also an unapologetic eugenicist who made horrifying recommendations for “sterilizing the feeble-minded” and other “unfit” substandard humans whom he thought should be “pruned from society.”

You might think that these opinions would disqualify Brown as someone deserving praise in the modern world; but not to John Holdren, it seems — perhaps because Brown’s views (as Holdren himself has stated many times) were the basis of Holdren’s own worldview.

Skim the whole essay for the stomach-churning details. A sampling, with quotes from both Brown and Holdren:

“The feeble-minded, the morons, the dull and backward, and the lower-than-average persons in our society are outbreeding the superior ones at the present time. … Is there anything that can be done to prevent the long-range degeneration of human stock? Unfortunately, at the present time there is little, other than to prevent breeding in persons who present glaring deficiencies clearly dangerous to society and which are known to be of a hereditary nature. Thus we could sterilize or in other ways discourage the mating of the feeble-minded. We could go further and systematically attempt to prune from society, by prohibiting them from breeding, persons suffering from serious inheritable forms of physical defects, such as congenital deafness, dumbness, blindness, or absence of limbs. … A broad eugenics program would have to be formulated which would aid in the establishment of policies that would encourage able and healthy persons to have several offspring and discourage the unfit from breeding at excessive rates.”
— Harrison Brown, in The Challenge of Man’s Future

“Harrison Brown’s most remarkable book, The Challenge of Man’s Future, was published more than three decades ago. By the time I read it as a high school student a few years later, the book had been widely acclaimed…. The Challenge of Man’s Future pulled these interests together for me in a way that transformed my thinking about the world and about the sort of career I wanted to pursue. I have always suspected that I am not the only member of my generation whose aspirations and subsequent career were changed by this book of Harrison Brown’s…. As a demonstration of the power of (and necessity for) an interdisciplinary approach to global problems, the book was a tour de force…. Thirty years after Harrison Brown elaborated these positions, it remains difficult to improve on them as a coherent depiction of the perils and challenges we face. Brown’s accomplishment in writing The Challenge of Man’s Future, of course, was not simply the construction of this sweeping schema for understanding the human predicament; more remarkable was (and is) the combination of logic, thoroughness, clarity, and force with which he marshalled data and argumentation on every element of the problem and on their interconnections. It is a book, in short, that should have reshaped permanently the perceptions of all serious analysts….”
— John Holdren, in Earth and the Human Future: Essays in Honor of Harrison Brown

This man remains the Science Czar of the United States, appointed by Obama. My previous exposés of Holdren (the whole “forced abortions and mass sterilization” thing) were so widely linked that they entered the mainstream consciousness; but to my mind this lesser-known eugenics-related scandal — the connection between Holdren and Harrison Brown — is even more shocking. And yet he blithely jets around the world as a representative of the United States, as if none of this had ever been revealed.


Michael Savage and Nicholas D. Kristof agree: Let’s do what we can to stop poor people from having babies

Politics makes strange bedfellows. And eugenics makes the strangest bedfellows of all. Two different pundits at opposite ends of the political and personality spectrum — hyper-conservative firebrand Michael Savage, and wishy-washy liberal Nicholas D. Kristof — both published essentially the same opinion this week: That we as a society should do whatever we can to stop poor people from over-breeding.

As you might expect, Savage phrased his recommendations in the bluntest possible terms, whereas Kristof danced around the issue and tried to doll it up:

Michael Savage:

[Savage] also wants to see Norplant, the embedded contraceptive, required for all women on welfare.

“That’s a revolutionary statement,” he admitted. “But should we permit women on welfare to keep knocking out babies to increase their benefits? Only an insane society would permit that.”

Nicholas D. Kristof:

Contraception research just hasn’t received the resources it deserves, so we have state-of-the-art digital cameras and decades-old family planning methods.

The situation is particularly dire in poor countries, where some 215 million women don’t want to get pregnant yet can’t get their hands on modern contraceptives, according to United Nations figures. One result is continued impoverishment and instability for these countries: it’s impossible to fight poverty effectively when birthrates are sky high.

Yet impressive new contraceptive technologies are in trials and should address this problem.

Another new contraceptive that could have far-reaching impact is the Sino-implant (II), a tiny pair of rods inserted just under the skin (typically in the arm) to release hormones. Other implants are widely used, but one great advantage of the Sino-implant is that it can last four or five years and costs $3 a year or less.

Family planning has long been a missing — and underfunded — link in the effort to overcome global poverty. Half a century after the pill, it’s time to make it a priority and treat it as a basic human right for men and women alike around the world.

Kristof isn’t foolish enough to get into Savage-level recommendations for linking contraception and financial aid, but the notion hovers in the background, unspoken. LifeSiteNews.com is, however, unafraid to drag Kristof over the coals for his population-control views.

Neither Savage nor Kristof were likely thinking of their proposals as having anything to do with eugenics — but beware of the law of unintended consequences (or perhaps intended in Savage’s case); once you start dictating to whole classes of people what you think their birthrates should be, it’s a slippery slope to more sinister uses of population control.

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“10:10″ is a campaign to get people around the world to lower their carbon consumption by 10% in the year 2010. Global Warming and all that, you see.

It’s quite a large, well-organized movement, funded in part by the British government.

This morning, the 10:10 campaign released “No Pressure,” a much-anticipated video promoting the notion of compliance to the carbon-reduction drive, a video scripted by famed British screenwriter Richard Curtis (Notting Hill, Mr. Bean, etc.) and produced by a professional film crew with top-notch actors.

However…

Within minutes of its unveiling earlier today, “No Pressure” caused such an uproar that it was taken offline while the producers issued an apology.

Luckily, enterprising bloggers saved copies and have been frantically re-uploading them to YouTube, to prevent the video from disappearing down the memory hole.

Why? Because no video has ever provided such a revealing and shocking peek into the mindset of the Global Warming alarmists.

Before I say any more, you absolutely need to see the video itself:

Alternately, you can watch directly on its (often faster-loading) YouTube page: 10:10 mini-movie – No Pressure

In both cases, let the video load fully before watching it, to get the full effect, and make sure to watch it all the way to the end.

Oh, and make sure you’re sitting down, too.

OK, now that you’ve lost your “No Pressure” virginity, what do you think? An effective way to convince people to lower their carbon footprint — or final proof that the Green movement are a bunch of crypto-fascists with violent fantasies of exterminating their opponents, and who use threats to enforce groupthink?

As James Delingpole put it in his column about the video, “Eco-fascism jumps the shark: massive, epic fail!

And just exactly how amusing is it to depict the graphic murder of children who refuse to march in lockstep with the Global Warming cult?

If someone set out to intentionally discredit the Global Warming movement, they couldn’t have made a video more devastating than this one. It’s as if the eco-fascists have an irrepressible urge to expose their unconscious fantasies to those whom they seek to dominate — like a serial killer who sends taunting letters to the media. “When we say ‘No pressure,’ what that really means is, ‘We will kill you if you don’t obey.’ So, don’t worry, NO PRESSURE. Understand? Our finger is hovering over the red button. Really, you are free to think whatever you want. (Wink.) No pressure. Ha ha ha!

Discuss.

Update: In case the above clip is pulled from YouTube, Ed Driscoll has also uploaded a copy of the video to his PJ Express blog, where he places it into context with last year’s increasingly violent environmentally-themed PSAs.

A Berkeley Photo Safari

October 1st, 2010 - 11:33 am

Recently I had reason to take an excursion to Berkeley, California. And there’s one rule of thumb whenever you go to Berkeley: Always bring a camera. And a keen eye. Because you never know what you might see.

The era of anti-war street protests is pretty much over these days, and the city has returned to calm. But Berkeleyans still like to wear their politics on their sleeves — that is to say, bumpers — so it’s possible to take the city’s political temperature simply by strolling around and noting the messages displayed on cars.

So join me on a photo safari to Berkeley, the most liberal city in America. What’s the mood there these days?


Oh dear. Oh dear oh dear oh dear. Sure, there were plenty of old “Obama ’08″ stickers to be seen around town. But they were all faded and peeling, seemingly from a now-forgotten distant era. How many residents have recently tiptoed out at midnight into their own driveways with Goof-Off and a butter knife to remove lingering evidence of the 2008 mania? Fresh “Impeach Obama” stickers are now starting to appear instead.

But surely, this being Berkeley, the residents are disappointed in Obama for not being radical enough — right? Right??


I have to admit, I just stood frozen on the sidewalk in shock when I came across this car. “Sarah Palin ’12″ — in Berkeley? Is that even legal?


Yet Sarah was not the most popular potential female candidate to challenge Obama in ’12. I only saw two Palin stickers all day. But “Hillary 2012″ stickers were bustin’ out all over.

If Barry’s losing the hearts and minds of Berkeley of all places, 2012 may turn out to be much more interesting than I ever imagined.


On the way into town, I noted this advertisement at a BART station. Looks like Pelosi, Obama’s main lieutenant, isn’t very popular these days either. Not only was the original ad critical of her for not increasing federal funding to pay for AIDS patients’ expensive treatments, but subsequent passersby added various mustaches and rotten teeth. Pelosi is already the least-popular politician in the rest of the country; now she’s an outcast in the Bay Area too?

(Don’t worry — she’ll win re-election in her district with at last 70% of the vote. Always has, always will.)


Ahhhh — now we’re back in a Berkeley groove. A Rastafarian “JAHLOV” license plate over a “Fuck Israel” bumper sticker. Berkeley is the only place in the world where cognitive dissonance is the status quo.


For the curious, here’s the wide-angle view — the prototypical Berkeley car, advertising practically every far-left ultra-radical cause in existence. (The sides and front were plastered in stickers too.)

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