Monday, August 14th, 2023
The New Class War: Saving Democracy from the Metropolitan Elite
After realizing I am in complete agreement with whatever I’ve read by Michael Lind, I turned to his book The New Class War. Here Lind details how we got to the current dysfunction whereby the social order set in place after WW2 broke down during the 70s as a result of pressures from ideas from both the political left and right, leading to the majority losing power to the elites.
His fix is to reinstate democratic pluralism by re-establishing trade (guilds), local civic (wards) and religious (congregations) institutions and giving them power. But how to make that happen? Lind notes that historically only rivalry with another power has forced elites to re-enfranchise the majority, as it’s how to best marshal the nation to its fullest ability.
And indeed, there is something that might achieve this, a single issue around which the Left and Right, the majority and the elites, can agree on, which is that China must be contained.
Saturday, July 15th, 2023
Glenn Loury and John McWhorter conduct a tour de force conversation on the affirmative action ruling.
Sunday, January 23rd, 2022
Just a reminder of Walter Russell Mead’s wise words from 2012 regarding anti-Semitism:
The rise of anti-Semitism is a sign of widespread social and cultural failure. It is a leading indicator of a loss of faith in liberal values and of a diminished capacity to understand the modern world and to thrive in it. Societies that tolerate anti-Semitism take a fateful step toward the loss of both freedom and prosperity.
Sunday, November 14th, 2021
In The Telegraph, columnist Janet Daly hopes for a wake for Woke in The Telegraph:
Maybe it is the secret that explains why British life is not torn asunder by culture wars in the way that the United States so often is. Instead of taking up arms against the advancing guard of combatants who threaten to dismantle your social values, and fighting to the death (often literally) in the streets as Americans are inclined to do, the British take a softly-softly, appeasing tone — giving a bit here, offering a bit there to the angry mob, without ever losing their sense of irony. Until — almost without warning — the onslaught grows so overblown and overconfident that it becomes patently, stupidly, undeniably crazy, self-contradictory and, most important, risible.
Saturday, November 13th, 2021
Last month Harvard put on a performance of Macbeth “designated to be an exclusive space for Black-identifying audience members”. Horrible, yes; illegal, surely?
Sunday, September 12th, 2021
This is so full-throated by David Horowitz (posted by John Hinderaker at Powerline). Entitled “The Read Existential Threat”, it rings very true to me, given the unforced error that is the withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Anti-white racism, and ignorant attacks on the American founding – these constitute the greatest existential threat to America. And the fact that Black Lives Matter fictions make up the crippling doctrine of our military leaders should wake everyone to the menace we face. There never has been a greater threat to our patrimony and freedom since the darkest days of the Civil War.
Saturday, September 11th, 2021
Coders: The Making of a New Tribe and the Remaking of the World
I enjoyed Clive Thompson’s Wired piece “Hundreds of Ways to Get S#!+ Done—and We Still Don’t” wherein he considers task management software as a kind of religious devotion:
To-do lists are, in the American imagination, a curiously moral type of software. Nobody opens Google Docs or PowerPoint thinking “This will make me a better person.” But with to-do apps, that ambition is front and center.
This bringing of theology and things of the spirit into the seemingly more mundane world of computing reminded me delightedly of Umberto Eco’s whimsical comparison of Mac vs Windows as Catholicism vs Protestantism.
So I was hopeful for Thompson’s book Coders, especially after reading the fun first Amazon Kindle sample chapter, and because I am increasingly embracing the identity of coder, given that it’s what I’ve ended up doing almost all my 21/2-decade professional life, and want to know just how much I fit the profile.
Well. I’ve come across writers before whose magazine articles impress but pall at book length. Mr Thompson’s interviewees so often “sigh” as they are clunkily pulled out of the aether to buttress his current argument, and I found particularly jarring that a provocative thought by one fellow — Dijastra, no less — is quoted using “he hissed” — though by then the mechanics of the book were transparent enough to predict the desultory “he has a point”-esque follow-up.
In thematic tandem with the book’s stale style, it degenerates into a long squawk of racial social injustice obsession. What pops into mind is the searing tedium of hearing Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” at every gas station across America.
So come rain or shine, this one’s going out on the street, and tech chronicler Clive Thompson will need to re-earn his welcome.
Wednesday, August 4th, 2021
DiAngelo, you may have heard, has a new one out. But do you really need to read yet another book about how white people just don’t get it? After all, roll the tape again and the main theme of intelligent black thought might not be so obsessed with this notion that black America must sit mired in charismatic anomie until white people “get it.” Imagine a black America all about not “Why don’t they get it?” but “How do we get ours regardless?”
Sunday, June 6th, 2021
In Quillette, Kenny Xu and Christian Watson take the time to spell out the bleedin’ obvious: that Critical Race Theory does not extend but rather undermines the Civil Rights movement.
Only a racist believes that there is some fundamental skin-color-defined moral essence within any of us.
Thursday, May 27th, 2021
At Lockheed-Martin, White Men As Full Diversity Partners — a workshop for senior executives. Well I guess that’s why they get paid the big bucks. Excruciating.
Tuesday, May 18th, 2021
Victor Davis Hanson, caustic as usual, on Leftist support of Hamas: “The new American Middle East policy is an extension of the new American domestic policy.” Yet so far the Biden Administration has been pretty good at holding off the “international community”‘s usual calumnious onslaught against Israel during conflagrations. I hope the current White House doesn’t expect as quid pro quo Israel’s support for its desire to appease Iran.
Wednesday, April 28th, 2021
(The irritatingly insouciant) Lionel Shriver notes that there will likely be unpleasant geopolitical consequences to wokeness in that Western civilization’s illiberal adversaries will interpret the bewailing self-castigation coming from American and British elites as evidence of actual decline — correctly or not (though I suspect correctly).
Tuesday, February 23rd, 2021
Monday, November 30th, 2020
The URL city-journal.org/white-fragility suggests that this piece by Coleman Hughes is the house stance on the insanity; good.
Tuesday, September 29th, 2020
What a shame that this seemingly literate musing on Stormfront in The Boys dives off the deep-end into America-reviling revisionism:
The Nazis actually praised the American system and copied a lot of its most atrocious ideas. So when the U.S. government welcomed Nazi scientists into our space program, it was an unsurprising extension of that connection.
And regarding Homelander:
He is misogynistic, homophobic, xenophobic, racist, pro-military, pro-American imperialism, and naturally, anti-abortion. Oh and he’s also a stone-cold sociopath and mass murderer.
A psychopath to be sure, but whence the rest? Homelander seems only cynically a flag-waver/wearer. The author does makes her “progressive” position clear by referring to “pro-military” and “anti-abortion” as evils. I guess I’d been bamboozled earlier by her nice summation of Nietzsche; whoever could do that would not, I presume, be so deeply idiotic.
The author might wish to consider even just for a moment the two greatest wars the United States ever fought — the Civil War and World War Two. Me waxing portentous: if this is normative discourse for geek outlets such as Nerdist, then we must worry for liberal civilization. [You don’t say, me…]
Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020
The New York Times abandons key claims of the 1619 Project, as reported by the World Socialist Web Site — this stuff it seems is too kooky even for them.
Sunday, September 20th, 2020
I do consider Jonah Goldberg overrated, but he nails it regarding the US DoE calling out Princeton’s woke bullshit:
Princeton: Take our confessions of systematic institutional racism seriously but not literally.
Friday, September 4th, 2020
With “Beyond the Face of Race: Emo-Cognitive Exporations of White Neurosis and Racial Cray-Cray” co-authored by Robin DiAngelo of White Fragility, I’m reminded of the totally nutty 1991 The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing (5 stars with 1,109 ratings on Amazon!).
That said, this paper reads altogether more sanely than that earlier book, though its self-described parables are pretty darn vicious; perhaps it’s telling that they’re explicitly not by DiAngelo but rather credited solely to co-author Cheryl E. Matias.
Sunday, August 30th, 2020
A solitary voice suggesting Vitamin D, Matt Ridley in The Spectator:
The bottom line is that an elderly, overweight, dark-skinned person living in the north of England, in March, and sheltering indoors most of the time is almost certain to be significantly vitamin D deficient. If not taking supplements, he or she should be anyway, regardless of the protective effect against the Covid virus. Given that it might be helpful against the virus, should not this advice now be shouted from the rooftops?
I do believe that the Western media — and therefore Western society in general — is actively uninterested in a biological reason for why darker-skinned people are suffering more from the novel coronavirus; such a materialistic and addressable cause does not fit the fashionable angle of systemic racism. So who suffers?
Thursday, August 6th, 2020
Dave Seminara writes “When Your Favorite Companies Go Woke” in The Wall Street Journal (paywall).
I feel similarly regarding the homepage banners at Node.js (“#BlackLivesMatter”) and Linode (“Black Lives Matter. Linode is committed to social justice and equality.), both of which I rely on for my work. There are substitutes for Linode, but none for Node.
The Daily Mail has 8:38 minutes of police bodycam footage of the George Floyd arrest.
Given what this American Spectator article contains — the transcript of the exchange between George Floyd and the arresting policemen before he was even on the ground and the toxicology report stating George Floyd’s death was in all likelihood due to an overdose — the shit gonna hit the fan whether the courts find police innocent or guilty.
On Vitamin D and Covid-19 [via Marginal Revolution]. If there’s any truth in the conclusion here — that vitamin D deficiency worsens Covid-19 deadliness by an order of magnitude — then surely it is criminally negligent to not be running public awareness campaigns encouraging people to take vitamin D supplements — especially for darker-skinned citizens, adapted to block out sunlight and consequently vitamin D, and especially in sunlight-challenged locales.
Tuesday, July 21st, 2020
All races are equal but some are more equal than others. The Associated Press will not be capitalizing the word “white” when referring to race, but will do so for “black” and “indigenous”. This was quite the decision. I wonder if they’d do similarly within the Jewish context, ie “ashkenazi” vs “Sephardic” Jew.
Sunday, July 19th, 2020
Victor Davis Hanson’s tone has finally changed to righteous anger:
An individual of unknown appearance may kind of, sort of, be shattering our bedroom window and could be pondering a felonious infraction. So could you send out a community facilitator to inquire?
Thursday, July 16th, 2020
Thank you, The Atlantic, for daring to publish John McWhorter’s eminently sensible review of Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility. My faith is somewhat renewed.
McWhorter holds back more than on the freewheeling The Glenn Show, where he calls it “one of the worst books ever written”.
Wednesday, July 15th, 2020
“There is no linguistic justice without racial justice,” as quoted in The Linguistic Society of America’s open letter to call to remove Steven Pinker.
What a fakakta — China must be licking its chops as we stand around pissing on each other’s piss.
Monday, June 15th, 2020
Capping off a triumvirate of essays I’ve come across in the past few days that elucidate the current moment is Ross Douthat on the successor ideology.
David Goldman produces a fact-filled yet overarchingly-theoried analysis of the mid-pandemic race-themed disturbances. Like for Palestinians, he argues it’s about humiliation. Goldman is sympathetic but not sycophantic, analytic but not caustic.
Saturday, June 6th, 2020
“The Problem of White Efficacy” by Rebekah Frumkin in Guernica. Totally mental.
Tuesday, March 10th, 2020
Benjamin Schwarz decries the University of Chicago’s English Department for toeing the woke line, despite the Chicago Principles (it’s great to see my alma mater’s font again, and saying such things).
Monday, May 13th, 2019
We must be facing this: David Gelertner on giving up Darwin. Like Smith’s invisible hand and even Newton’s laws of physics, these glorious, newly-algorithmic cosmologies — the precursors to our wonder-world of bitty digitalism — aren’t the full explanation.
Sunday, April 1st, 2018
What did Jews tend to die of? The entry on morbidity in the Jewish Encyclopedia of 1906.
Monday, March 12th, 2018
In the search for an interesting riff on Black Panther, Teju Cole, photography critic at The New York Times Magazine starts it up, complete with dueling translations of Rilke’s “The Panther”.
Monday, March 5th, 2018
Ladies and gentlemen, hidalgos and Iagos, may it please you to join Andrew Klavan on this sharp essay through racism and religion via Shakespeare.
Tuesday, January 16th, 2018
If you read one brief op-ed piece this year, surely it must be Of Crudeness and Truth by Andrew Klavan in City Journal. “For Nurse Ratched, read Hillary Clinton, CNN, The New York Times, Yale University, Twitter, and Google/YouTube —— all the tender ministers of polite silence and enforced dishonesty. If Donald Trump’s boorishness crashes like a bull through the crystal madhouse of their leftism — well, good. It’s about time.” Like other forms of tyranny, at first we found political correctness amusing. One consequence of it: this risky presidency.
Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018
Another Tim Ferriss Show link, this time a joyful 2-hour interview with Terry Crews, artist, athlete, movie actor, taboo-dispeller, celebrity, self-help book aficionado.
Sunday, September 13th, 2015
A week in Berlin, where all anyone can talk about is refugees, and the author observes: “All this moral unction reminds me of the reality-challenged 1920s in Europe, which gave rise to the very ugly 1930s.”
Wednesday, January 16th, 2013
Adam Garfinkle at The American Interest waxes catholic and sensible on the runaway American health care system — or, more accurately, disease repair system.
Friday, November 16th, 2012
The writer’s bias is clear but still it’s hard to dispute the gist of this exploration of Israeli chauvinism, even if it’s unfair to expect too much more given the circumstances.
Sunday, May 20th, 2012
Sunday, April 29th, 2012
Enjoy President Obama’s excellent stand-up at the 2012 White House Correspondents’ Dinner. He delivered much better than the amateurish host, Jimmy Kimmel.
Friday, April 20th, 2012
Josef Joffe, editor of Hamburg’s Die Zeit, analyses Günter Grass’s What Must Be Said.
Friday, February 17th, 2012
Wednesday, September 1st, 2010
Aluf Benn’s pitch-perfect response to the Israeli soldier Facebook photos scandal
Friday, August 27th, 2010
Monday, July 12th, 2010
Sunday, July 11th, 2010
Racism is about appearance and the material; anti-Semitism is abstract and about the conspiracy.
Monday, April 19th, 2010
The Strong Horse: Power, Politics and the Clash of Arab Civilizations
A rich mixture of travelogue, history and policy pamphlet that is ultimately more of the former than the latter, it casts itself as a critique of Bush’s invasion of Iraq, but isn’t really. Rather, it’s a diving in. A lively and exciting diving in. I did want it to be longer than it is.