American Elephants

Overprotective Parenting Turns Kids into College Snowflakes by The Elephant's Child

Here’s a completely fascinating conversation about how over-protective parenting has led to the snowflake generation on America’s college campuses. Reason TV leads a conversation between Greg Lukianoff of FIRE (The organization promoting free speech on America’s campuses) and Jonathan Haidt, who is a psychology professor at New York University and is a co-founder of Grow, the free-range parenting advocacy organization, and Heterodox Academy, which promotes intellectual diversity among faculty. Reason is a leading source of news, politics and culture from a Libertarian prospective. Lukianoff is a lawyer by training and FIRE works, and sues, to fight for free speech on campus.

In 2015, Lukianoff and Haidt published “The Coddling of the America Mind” in The Atlantic magazine. It argued that speech codes, trigger warnings and safe spaces on college campuses are disastrous for education – and mental health. It became the most-read article in the history of the magazine. They have now expanded the article into a new book with the same title. Reason’s Nick Gillespie sat down with them to talk about why they believe that “good intentions and bad ideas” about the supposed fragility of young people is “setting up a generation for failure.”

It’s a remarkably enjoyable conversation, but long, nearly an hour, so if you can make time for it, you will be well rewarded. Good for those who have mindless tasks like knitting or polishing shoes.

John Hinderaker Said “The Democrats Are Crazy!” by The Elephant's Child

John Hinderaker at Powerline was not alone yesterday in exclaiming on their blog that “The Democrats are Crazy”— in reference to their theatrics at Judge Kavanaugh’s hearing. A lot of people out there were exclaiming the same thing. But it got me to thinking about just why we all have the same reaction to them.

Democrats believe deeply in the use of language to move, emotionally, those who hear their carefully chosen words (we usually call this ‘propaganda’). Democrats are quite sure that Americans, in general, are not all that bright and don’t pay much attention to the news; thus they are easily influenced by short snappy words designed to catch at their emotions. We can recognize this from the “talking points” that emanate from the bowels of “Think Progress,”— but just who develops the “talking points,” I don’t know.

We do notice when a great many leading Democrats all say exactly the same words in the same way, on the same day. We’ve several times managed to catch their words individually and put the clips together—it’s fairly hilarious, and an excruciatingly embarrassing example. But that is the source of the “talking points” charge.

Perhaps you have noticed the Democrat’s desire to admit any and all illegal immigrants who come to to the border as future voters, and bodies for the census, (which will improve their allocation of representatives and votes in the electoral college). The Dems’ desire to abolish the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE)—has been dealt with by the suddenly ubiquitous phrase “ripped from the arms of their mothers.” Excellent emotional words to get voters to the polls for the midterms, and it’s working. The fact that it isn’t true does not matter. Back in the Cold War days, propaganda was frequent, and fairly well understood, but it was what the Russians did, not us. Uh-huh.

You probably have noticed occasions when it seems that Lefties are missing the very basic information that informs most of us. In the case of the Kavanaugh hearing, they seem unusually ill-informed about how the Supreme Court works, how they receive cases to adjudicate, and how they decide to deal with a case, and unclear about what the Constitution has to do with it.

They assume that because Kavanaugh is a Republican — he is rabidly pro-life, and will quickly deprive women of their precious right to have an abortion (which they carefully call “women’s health care.”) Never mind that we are just learning that numbers of women are actually dying from abortions at Planned Parenthood. The whole subject would not come up unless a case would come to the Court that found in some fashion that Roe v. Wade was wrongfully decided or that it was proving to be unconstitutional—which is highly unlikely. Justices don’t get to pick past cases and give them a do-over. That’s not what the Supreme Court does. Democrats seem somewhat unfamiliar with the Constitution as well. I think hard reading is perhaps too much for them.

A good supply of “talking points” relieves Democrats of the necessity of time-consuming studying up, or the need to really become knowledgeable about much of anything. Thus they can become passionate advocates for women’s rights, global warming, the plight of the polar bears, or the dangers of genetically modified foods, when a little studying-up would straighten out their misconceptions.

That’s my take. I’m sure all Democrats would disagree and just object that that’s just partisan politics. Of course it is that, but it does help if you know what you are being partisan about.

A Belief in the Inevitability of Our Particular Institutions by The Elephant's Child

“Hidden History” by Daniel Boorstin

“The United States was born in a colonial rebellion. Our national birth certificate is a Declaration of Independence. not a Declaration of the “Rights of Man.”

The position of the best theorists of the Revolution was that the British, by their treatment of the American colonies were being untrue to the ancient spirit of their own institutions. The slogan “Taxation Without Representation is Tyranny” was clearly formed on a British assumption. They were fighting not so much to establish new rights as to preserve old ones. From the colonists point of view, until 1776 it was Parliament that had been revolutionary  by exercising a power for which there was no warrant in English constitutional precedent. Second, the American Revolution was not the product of a nationalistic philosophy.

The original creation of a United States was the work of doubly reluctant citizens – because of their local loyalties and their imperial loyalties. The story of the critical period of the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution tells of a gradual overcoming of their reluctance – it was overcome not by any widespread conversion to a nationalist theory – but by a gradual realization of the need for effective union.

Our revolution was successful at the first try. The political objective – independence from British rule, was achieved by one relatively short continuous effort. 1776 has no sequel – and needed none.

If we understand the “conservatism” of the Revolution, we begin to see that it represents the continuity of American History – and has engraved on our national consciousness a belief in the inevitability of our particular institutions.”


Daniel J. Boorstin was an historian at the University of Chicago and became the Librarian of Congress in 1975 and served until 1987. Here’s a link to the Boorstin pages at Amazon. He was a prolific author, and you can’t go wrong with any of his books, and they will enrich your life.

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