American Elephants


Diversity and Inclusion. Meaningful Goals or Pure Bunk? by The Elephant's Child

Diversity and Inclusion are the primary buzzwords today, a catchphrase, and a required means to achieve some kind of excellence that is an end in itself. Perfected, you come closer to mirroring humanity at its best, or something like that. Human resources departments, university admission committees, organizations and clubs, schools and executive rosters, and if you finally achieve perfect diversity, what have you got? Nothing, nothing at all.

Approval, perhaps, but whose approval? If your organization or piece of an organization achieves the exact diversity of greater society will it be enough? Of course not. Diversity and inclusion are meant as guidelines for promoting victimhood. And it is entirely political.

An organization or executive roster that is all white will be criticized for prejudice, white supremacy, bias, and so on. An organization whose people are all black or all brown will not be criticized, because they are already  unfairly under-represented. Being under-represented is only a big deal if you believe yourself to be excluded from something to which you are entitled or something you want. We all get excluded at one time or another. Try sitting down at a table occupied by a group of high schoolers.

Human beings are tribal. The left has tried to make that one a dirty word, but it is only an observation of human nature. We like to associate with those who share our interests, our history, or our aspirations. It, of course goes back to our earliest history when we all belonged to real tribes.

Some are temporary, as a quilting circle, or a dog-training class, some are long term like the people you grew up with, or your high school class. I came up with 8 tribes to which I belong. In most cases the members of each tribe know each other well, but do not know any of my other tribes. None of my high school friends know my college friends, those who went on to college went to different schools. There are lots that were temporary, as neighborhoods, and as a subset of that we had a baby-sitting group in which we traded hours and our kids knew the moms who were keeping an eye on them.

Count up some of your own tribes. You will see that the instinct is quite normal, and has nothing whatsoever to do with diversity and inclusion.

Democrats. thoroughly defeated in the last election, were unprepared for that. They were quite certain that the “working class” was theirs, and astonished at being rejected. They have turned their attention to Blacks, and to immigrants and are encouraging them to think of themselves as victims of racist, sexist, homophobes, Islamophobes, nationalists, and anti-immigrationists. William Voegeli described the Democrat coalition in the pages of the Claremont Review:

Democrats were confident that immigration was a political issue that worked in their candidates’ favor. The multicultural “coalition of the ascendant” would embrace, even demand immigration policies that were welcoming rather than restrictive. The GOP’s pale, male, aging, raging coalition of the descendant would fulminate in front of its Fox News programs, lose election after election, and eventually die off, leaving behind a “majority-minority” America governed by a hegemonic Democratic Party.

The Obama administration was careful to place their refugees in districts where the additional numbers would affect the next census and thus the numbers of  electoral college votes. And Democrats have come to embrace the idea of egalitarianism — not just for people born in the U.S. but for everyone.

The egalitarianism that has come to insist on transgender rights, single-payer health insurance, and ending mass incarceration also requires “treating people born outside the U.s. as equals,” which necessitates  a strong presumption in favor of open immigration. Honoring this basic obligation of justice means that immigrants from such countries as Cambodia, India, Mexico, and Nigeria often earn several times as much as they would have in their native countries. …And if it turns out that the open immigration inherent in international egalitarianism does adversely affect some native-born American workers, international egalitarianism will solve the problem through more domestic redistribution to address poverty and hardship.

Richard Epstein reached much the same conclusions in a piece in Defining Ideas at the Hoover Institution titled “The Diversity Fundamentalists” in July.

Having chosen its members, D&I champions next embrace a message of “fairness and protection to all regardless of gender, race, religion, ethnicity or sexual orientation.” But rarely do they face up to the conceptual ambiguities and practical tradeoffs that this grandiose statement conceals. Does any organization welcome the individual who is bold enough to reject D&I? More concretely, does D&I make accommodations for employees or students who on bona fide religious grounds are opposed to same-sex marriage? More generally, does D&I embrace, or even tolerate, true intellectual and political diversity? If so, why are there, from top to bottom, so few Republicans or libertarians within their diverse and inclusive ranks?

You will notice that all  that diversity and inclusion quite specifically does not include Republicans or Conservatives or Libertarians. So much for inclusion.

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Really Tired of Journalists Who Cannot Do Their Jobs by The Elephant's Child

The news today seems to be entirely about Judge Roy Moore, and did he or didn’t he. On general principles, I am adamantly opposed to adult men dating underage girls of any age.  There are standards.

But in all honesty, I must confess that I am, on the basis of their behavior over the last few years, quite ready to assume that the whole thing was cooked up by Media Matters or Think Progress. The Left has gone so completely bonkers that I believe that they would go to any length just to be in control. They believe that is their natural due, that they are entitled.

I don’t vote in Alabama, so it’s not my business. I really resent being put in the position of being unable to have any confidence whatsoever in the Democrat Party. They used to be honorable opponents.



We Are Living in “Interesting Times” by The Elephant's Child

Victor Davis Hanson, writing at American Greatness, talks about the Frenzy we seem to be passing through. A “Salem moment” like the Salem witch trials. “It moves from host to host, fueled by rumor, gossip and self-righteous furor.” That sounds about right.

For about six months, cable news shows, the internet, and the major newspapers ginned up the charge of “Russian collusion”—as a means of explaining the otherwise inexplicable and unacceptable defeat of Hillary Clinton by someone without either political or military experience.

Pundits and talking heads without evidence echoed each other with ever more preposterous charges. Voting machines supposedly had been rigged by a monstrous man who later had stooped to remove the Martin Luther King bust from the West Wing. We were also told that all good souls of the Electoral College clearly should have vitiated their constitutional duties and denied Trump the presidency.

We were lectured at the height of the collusion frenzy that Trump would be 1) impeached, 2) removed by the emoluments clause, 3) forced to resign under the 25th Amendment, or 4) simply quit in shame.

Do read the whole thing. It’s comforting in a way to see that someone else finds what’s been going on  truly nutty. Yes. It’s true. If you think back, you’ll remember other times when we seem to have slipped a cog.

For more on the unbelievable scale, here’s Tucker Carlson’s interview with the Wall Street Journal’s Kim Strassel, who has been doggedly following the twists and turns of the Fusion GPS strange tale.

You’ve probably heard the ancient Chinese curse: “May you live in interesting times”. I think we’re there.



Wind and Rain. Winter Approaches. by The Elephant's Child

Sorry about the light posting. Windstorm and power outages, disconnected. Unusual week, winter clearly approaches.

When I was growing up, we always had plenty of snow by Thanksgiving. My birthday is around Thanksgiving, and my birthday was always a sledding party. Winter in the Idaho mountains was not really a problem, because we were well prepared. We had our own plow on the jeep pickup for the times when the county didn’t get around to us promptly, which was usual. We had snowshoes. and plenty of snow shovels, and were particular about well plowed and tidy roads. It’s much worse here when it snows. Idiot city drivers.  And every road out of my neighborhood is a hill.



Alternative Math by The Elephant's Child

This delightful short film has the odd feeling that we’ve see this story before, that it is perhaps a little too close to today’s reality. Makes you slightly uncomfortable.

Stolen shamelessly from Maggie’s Farm  Do watch the whole thing, it’s not very long and worth every minute.



Here Is A Real Live Case of What Happens When Google Disagrees by The Elephant's Child

It is partly about Free Speech, which recent events in the country prove is a simple part of the First Amendment, and nobody seems to have read the First Amendment, nor do they understand it at all. Our college campuses sometimes have small spaces set aside as Free Speech Zones which demonstrates the lack of understanding.

Kids should understand that before they graduate from high school. College professors should understand it completely and be able to explain all sorts of examples, from Supreme Court cases to school hallway encounters. Not happening. This short video is an excellent example.



Trust and History. What Does History Teach Us, And What Does it Tell Us About Today’s World? And Whom Can We Trust? by The Elephant's Child


I hope you watched the video on “Why No One Trusts the Mainstream Media” with Sharyl Atkisson, who I consider a good and honest journalist.

Today I wanted to recall the basic facts about the terrorist truck massacre in Nice, France. I searched first with Bing. Took me 24 websites to get to one I trusted, which was Zero Hedge. Tried Google instead: The 8th website was Britain’s Telegraph, 12th The Washington Times, followed by USA Today, The Daily Mail, GQ and CBS News. 28th was Fox News, just after The Daily Beast. I don’t like being manipulated by the Silicon Valley Oligarchs.

Tom Steyer, billionaire, who got rich running a hedge fund, and selling it — retired to become a political activist and climate true believer. He’s been running ads  and spending $10 million chump change (and then another) to get people to impeach President Trump. He considers himself an environmentalist, which means he believes deeply in “clean energy” (which doesn’t produce enough energy to even be significant) opposes the Keystone XL pipeline (which apparently means he wants the oil trucked or shipped by rail, which is not safe.)  Why these people can’t study up a little before they decide to just believe, I don’t understand, but they do.

Steyer, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and probably others of the Silicon Valley Oligarchs, with huge wealth, have decided to spend most of their wealth in their lifetimes, trying to improve the world. I don’t know just what Sundar Pichai. Larry Page and Sergey Brin have in mind, but Jeff Bezos, once he has decimated the retail industry is interested in space. And there are lots more of them. Bill and Melinda Gates wanted to improve American education and invested a lot of hope in Common Core Standards, and it hasn’t worked, as he admitted recently. Central planning doesn’t work. I know it sounds good to have educational standards the same for everyone, but there’s a lot of history that proves that central planning doesn’t work, for schools or for governments, or for countries. People are stubbornly human, and human nature is not all that cooperative. If you want everyone to line up and do just what is wanted, better be invested in AI, not real people. You might find it rewarding to spend a few minutes considering historical examples of central planning. Victor Davis Hanson has mentioned some lately.

But I think we have a problem with the Tech billionaires. Whether it’s Google or any one of dozens of other companies, we welcome the good products they have made, but they are getting rich on selling our information, and organizing us. When they start trying to control how we think and work, we’re heading in a very troublesome direction. We’re told now that the cameras on our computers may be recording our lives.When they have enough money to buy us all, many times over, it’s going to be hard to get across the idea that we don’t belong to them and they can’t run our lives to suit themselves. There are other search engines, and other browsers who do recognize the problems.

Amazon has Echo, which I guess is called a smart speaker. It does  voice interaction, makes to-do lists, and an control other devices, as well as listen to you and record what you are saying. The other tech companies all have their own versions, and will intrude more and more in our lives. Is this helpful, or scary? No wonder some people are very worried about artificial intelligence, though it’s hard to know what is real, what is fantasy and what is simply a very bad idea.

You might be interested in investigating your usual search engines. I don’t know. pick a subject, any subject you know something about and try it out on your search engines. How many websites that you reject do you have to go through to find one that you might trust? I visit a lot of websites to try to grasp what is happening, but I no longer believe in the New York Times or the Washington Post for anything at all. They have lost any sense of responsibility in the journalism profession. The media have become political activists with bylines, and they seem to be unfamiliar with history, with the Constitution, with science, and welcome the daily talking points to give them direction. It wasn’t always this way. Who do you find to be trustworthy, and what websites do you trust?

This has been kind of a disjointed piece, but there are a whole raft of things going on with some commonalities among them that I am trying to understand and decide how much I should worry. And a lot of Silicon Valley Oligarchs trying to change the world for the better is not really a comforting thought. I don’t question that they mean well.




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