Filed under: Capitalism, History, Humor, Liberalism, Literature | Tags: Diversity, Radical Chic, Straight Line Thinking
There is a disturbing tendency among many towards straight-line thinking. If the stock market is down today, it will only be down more tomorrow and we’re all doomed. I just saw an article claiming that a house is no longer a good investment now or in the foreseeable future.
A bad food crop means world starvation and a slight warming trend means catastrophic global warming. Peak oil falls into the same category. This only seems to work with negative events. Nobody seizes upon a wonderful day and writes about it’s being the harbinger of constant wonderful days. Is it just a gloomy disposition?
President Obama has been insistent upon comparing his recession to the Great Depression. Whether that’s because he wants to be compared to FDR, or wants people to understand the terrors he faces, I don’t know. The actual recession is far less serious than the Great Depression, and has only been made worse by administration ineptness, and adherence to discredited economic policies.
Then there is the problem of confusing cause and effect. The New York Times’ David Leonhardt goes off on the real culprit — consumer spending. Discretionary spending on restaurant meals, entertainment, education and insurance is down in this slump almost 7 percent, when it’s never fallen before more than 3 percent per capita. It’s all the consumers’ fault.
I have been rereading a wonderful essay by Tom Wolfe from the 1970s — Radical Chic —which describes the courting of romantic radicals like the Black Panthers, striking grapeworkers and the Young Lords by New York’s socially elite. He focuses particularly on one symbolic event: the gathering of the radically chic at Leonard Bernstein’s Park Avenue apartment to meet spokesmen of the Black Panther Party, to hear them out and talk over ways of aiding their cause. The players and the event have changed, but the strange phenomenon continues.
You had Jane Fonda celebrating the brave Viet Cong peasants, and heroin chic in which fashion decreed that the in look was that of an addict on the street. Everybody is wearing Sadat’s keffiyeh, We have torn jeans, worn-out jeans, clothes that look that they came from your grandmother’s ragbag.
Destroyed cotton t-shirt , Balmain, $1,624, collection at Jeffrey, NYC. Canvas shorts, Bottega Veneta $590. Shell earrings, Celestina, $780. Webbing Belt, Burberry $325. Ribbon ID bracelets, Mianstal $120 each. The Look : total cost $3,559 (plus tax). (Photo and prices from American Digest)
Diversity reigns on the nation’s campuses, which oddly seems to mean only color of skin and ethnicity — which are only the most diverse things about a person according to those who are deeply fixated on race. The rest of us think that two people of whatever color and ethnicity who are both Army brats probably have a lot more in common than two people who happen to come from different parts of Africa. A couple of young moms who had their babies on the same day in the same hospital probably care more about that fact that about the difference in the color of their babies.
I don’t venture to connect all the dots, nor to pose some philosophic truth. I’m just noticing that there’s a lot of fuzzy thinking going on.
Filed under: Liberalism, Religion, Statism, Terrorism | Tags: Diversity, Multiculturalism, Religion of the Universities
It was only eight days ago that I was writing about U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron’s public denunciation of multiculturalism, along with the leaders of France and Germany, and his declaration that it was a proven disaster and a threat to society. Multicultural values had led to segregated communities and Mr. Cameron said, imposed policies of blind toleration that had helped to nurture radical Islam’s terrorist cells.
This was a major, major event. Multiculturalism and it’s accompanying religious tenet diversity have been “the unofficial established religion of the universities, the faith whose requirements have shaped every aspect of cultural, economic and political life in Western democracies for the last 50 years.”
This happened just when a report was released, reported Dorothy Rabinowitz in the Wall Street Journal, titled “A Ticking Time Bomb” that provided the most complete disclosures about the multiculturalist zeal that had caused the Army and medical school superiors to smooth Nidal Malik Hassan’s way through training, promote him, and in spite of plain clear evidence of his unfitness, raise not one single concern. Major Hassan, now a U.S. Army psychiatrist, was assigned to Fort Hood where he opened fire on his fellow soldiers in November of 2009, killing 12 plus a civilian employee and wounding 32 others.
The report from the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs led by Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) concerns the Department of Defense’s official report on the Fort Hood bloodbath. It made no mention , none, of Hasan’s well documented jihadist sympathies.
During his medical training at Walter Reed, and his two years at Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, multicultural taboos reigned. Walter Reed required a presentation on a psychiatric theme, Hasan produced a draft largely from the Quran “arguing for the painful punishment and liquidation of non-Muslims.” When he was told that the presentation was “not scholarly”, he revised slightly and was allowed to graduate. In his medical fellowship, he delivered a class lecture on the theme that the West in general and the U.S. Military specifically had mounted a war on Islam and continued with themes sympathetic to Osama bin Laden. His classmates were outraged.
Hasan’s contacts with terrorist suspect came to the notice of the FBI, but the agents were lulled by the impressive evaluation reports that described Hasan as an authority on Islam, whose work had “extraordinary potential to inform national policy and military strategy.” He was commended as “a star officer” who was focused on “illuminating the role of culture and Islamic faith within the Global War on Terrorism.” Rabinowitz adds “No single word of criticism or doubt about Hasan ever made its way into any of his evaluations.”
His superiors noticed all right, but as Ms. Rabinowitz says:
Some of those enthusiastic testaments strongly suggested that the writers were themselves at least partly persuaded of their reasoning. In magical thinking, safety and good come to those who obey taboos, and in the multiculturalist world, there is no taboo more powerful than the one that forbids acknowledgment of realities not in keeping with the progressive vision. In the world of the politically correct—which can apparently include places where psychiatrists are taught—magical thinking reigns.
He was a star not simply because he was a Muslim, but because he was a special kind—the sort who posed, in his flaunting of jihadist sympathies, the most extreme test of liberal toleration. Exactly the kind the progressive heart finds irresistible.
A decision should be made soon about whether Major Hasan will go to trial before a military court-martial. He is charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder. The trial will probably go forward. But the Department of Defense still has not specifically named the threat which is represented by the Fort Hood bloodbath.
Multiculturalism and Diversity live on in the nation’s colleges and universities and in the human resources departments of most major corporations, always concentrating on exactly the wrong thing.
In his book Plagues of the Mind, Bruce Thornton described the problem:
Despite what we are led to believe by its apologists, Multiculturalism is not about respecting cultural difference or the diversity of ethnic groups in America. Multiculturalism is instead a melodramatic tale of the wickedness of the West and its role in destroying the peaceful paradises in which other peoples (usually “of color”) lived before Europeans and then Americans came along to inflict on them racism, sexism, slavery, colonialism, imperialism, homophobia, technology and environmental degradation.
If it was intended to make sure we were all nice to people of different colors and ethnicities, multiculturalism and diversity have evolved into a sort of required tolerance that does not distinguish. Required equality. Differences in behavior will not be noticed, because it might mean that you are noticing ethnicity or skin color.
Oddly, differences in skin color or country of origin are seldom problems, but bad behavior, which is to go unnoticed can cause all sorts of problems. Honor killings, female circumcision, forced marriages are to be tolerated, and major attempts to blow up Americans are simply “man-caused disasters.” Terrorism and Islamic jihad are preferably not mentioned. Tolerance in all things.
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Freedom, History, The Constitution | Tags: Diversity, Multiculturalism, Political Correctness
Perhaps it began in the European Union. The continent of Europe has been the site of one bloody war after another for centuries. The nations of Europe, exhausted after the Second World War, wanted to stop. Anti war rallies were very much in vogue while the Cold War left an aggressive Soviet Union threatening from the East.
The European Union’s birthrate has dropped below replacement rate. Which means, if nothing else, that the young workers to support Europe’s aging welfare state simply would not be there. The EU encouraged immigration, particularly from their former colonies. Immigration did not necessarily mean assimilation, immigrants were not always welcomed, and belonging wasn’t necessarily a part of the multicultural vision.
All the differences people brought with them were theoretically to be melded into the colorful tapestry of the modern multicultural state. Differences in language, custom, religion and race were to make the tapestry richer and more interesting, and anyone who publicly disagreed could be investigated by the thought police and charged with the sin of racism. Careers could be destroyed by incorrect thought by anyone indigenous, white and male. Freedom of thought was officially out of fashion and official language was closely controlled. Keeping your head down became a way of life.
Overnight, all has changed. Angela Merkel, chancellor of a country where political correctness is carefully nurtured, has just told us that multiculturalism “has failed utterly.” France’s President Sarkozy has been saying the same thing for some time. Prospect, Britain’s leading left-wing intellectual monthly carried a headline “re-thinking race; has multiculturalism had its day? And now Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron has delivered a reasoned demolition of “state multiculturalism” and made a start at rooting it out of official British policy. In Switzerland a referendum about minarets revealed the population’s concerns about Islamism. In Canada a leader of the country’s Muslim community, Tarek Fatah, has spoken out to say that just like Britain, Canada’s multiculturalism will fail.
Cameron delivered the analysis at the annual conference on international security in Munich. It removed multiculturalism from the categories of welfare and anti-discrimination policy to that of national security and anti-terrorism, where conservatives have an advantage over the left.
His argument is that terrorism is threatening the West, not only in Afghanistan, but also at home. It has its roots in the underlying “extremist ideology” of Islamism. Young Muslim men in Britain begin their road to jihad by picking up this ideology from institutions, leaders and organizations subsidized by government money and official favors. It is further promoted by multiculturalism which encourages different cultures to live separate lives, and delivers impressionable young men into the hands of state-funded extremists. It would have to be confronted by denying funds to bodies that preach hatred and separatism, and ideologically as well.
Both Mark Steyn and John O’Sullivan have insisted that one reason for the success of extremist Islamism is the absence of British patriotism. Multiculturalism has refused to offer its new citizens the real opportunity to become British. To offer real assimilation and pride in their country’s national identity. Multiculturalism and political correctness have created a vacuum where British patriotism ought to be.
America has been a melting pot from the beginning. And when we wrote a Constitution, we wrote that into it. American was already a blend of immigrants from many countries with many languages and many religions. Our national identity became a country of immigrants united by ideas of freedom and opportunity, protected by a Constitution in which the people gave the government some few limited powers, with lots of checks and balances.
That has not made us immune to the liberal elite’s embrace of multiculturalism and diversity to enhance their push for radical equality and insistence that racism is the greatest problem in American life. Our history and deep national patriotism have made multiculturalism and diversity more often the subject of jokes, but it is there and needs to be rooted out.
Americans who made multicultural jokes, and laughed at diversity and got kicked out of college by the faculty language police were in the right. Our elites should take notice of what is happening across the water.
Filed under: Law, Military, Progressivism | Tags: Culture War, Diversity, Liberalism is a Mental Disorder, Political Correctness/Multiculturalism
Mark Steyn is always brilliant, sometimes he’s just more brilliant than usual. Today he pointed out the specific arrangements we have put in place to make sure that terrorist attacks were unlikely, because an alert citizenry was on the case. And yet, there was evidence that Major Nidal Hasan deserved attention:
You didn’t have to be “alert” to spot Maj. Nidal Hasan. He’d spent most of the last half-decade walking around with a big neon sign on his head saying “JIHADIST. STAND WELL BACK.” But we (that is to say, almost all of us — and certainly almost anyone who matters in national security and the broader political culture) are now reflexively conditioned to ignore the flashing neon sign. Like those apocryphal Victorian ladies discreetly draping the lasciviously curved legs of their pianos, if a glimpse of hard unpleasant reality peeps through we simply veil it in another layer of fluffy illusions.
“The truth is we’re not prepared to draw a line even after he’s gone ahead and committed mass murder,” Steyn said. “What happened at Fort Hood was a tragedy,” said Gen. George Casey, the U.S. Army’s Chief of Staff, “but I believe it would be an even greater tragedy if our diversity becomes a tragedy here.”
“Diversity” is more important than 14 dead, dozens wounded? That is undoubtedly not what he meant, but “diversity” is the ultimate meaningless politically correct notion.
If you have an African-American who immigrated 5 years ago from Ethiopia, and an African-American whose family has lived in America for 150 years, the important thing to them is the color of their skin? The latter person may have far more in common with someone whose origins were in Mexico, but who was also raised as an army brat. Mothers of toddlers care a lot more about playmates of the same age than their ethnicity.
The differences within ordinary people are far larger than ethnicity. Political, disinterested, scholarly, cannot read, abused as a child, handicapped, twin, mountain climber, pianist. hunter, animal trainer,potter, vegetarian, homeless, chemist. artist — but only their ethnicity matters? Please.
The notion that what is important about a person is their race or ethnicity may result in checking off the right little boxes on a census questionnaire but has little to do with the lives of real people. Are those diversity numbers so important? When it comes to lawsuits, or publicity or promotions the checked-off boxes may matter. When counting boxes becomes more important than real people, political correctness does more damage than it is worth.
And shame on you, General Casey.