American Elephants


There Are Some Conversations That Shake Up Your Ideas. This Is One of Them. by The Elephant's Child

You probably remember Charles Murray’s speech at Middlebury College back in March last year, that essentially turned into a riot. This video was made about a week after the embarrassing incident. I had never seen it before, and found it to be not only fascinating but a little frightening.

We had lots of similar embarrassing occasions on college campuses across the country since, but the events all have a similarity. Students have no understanding of the meaning of the free speech clause in the Constitution,  and are unprepared to hear speech with which they do not agree, Dr. Murray, a noted political scientist, was invited to speak at the campus by Middlebury Professor and Political Scientist Allison Stanger.

One of the first sources to report on the melee was The American Interest should you need a reminder of what transpired. The involved students should have been disciplined, suspended, or just sent home, because there was no excuse for such behavior. Of course, that didn’t happen, with the confused situation on campus discourse today.As the National Interest story says: “If students (and especially professors…) want to criticize an author, they should read what he has written first.” Clearly, academic rigor has deteriorated, along with majors in things like English and History.

This video was made about a week after the events at Middlebury, but I had not seen it before. The comments by Jonathan Haidt, a Professor at NYU’s Stern School of Business, and Frank Bruni, an op-ed columnist at the New York Times, are a fascinating discussion about the Middlebury Melee and the problems of higher education that brought it about, and the implications of the event. It’s the implications that are important.

Clearly, students had no idea what a political scientist does, nor what Dr. Murray had written about, nor why his writings should be read, nor why his studies are important. How many (mostly conservative) speakers can you think of who have been similarly badly treated on today’s college campuses or banned from speaking in the time since that event?

A college campus is not a “community” it is a campus. The reigning meme seems to be “diversity” but diversity of thought and ideas just doesn’t enter into it at all. The acceptable ideas are that diversity is about race, sex, ethnicity, and representation of groups deemed marginalized, but there are “norms” that exclude all sorts of people. Elite businesses and universities assume that diversity and inclusion (D&I) is not only a means to excellence, but an end in itself. No one should be allowed to question that  evident truth. Community should not be disturbed by disagreement. Richard Epstein remarks:

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.

And here is Thomas Sowell:

Nothing so epitomizes the politically correct gullibility of our times as the magic word “diversity.” The wonders of diversity are proclaimed from the media, extolled in the academy and confirmed in the august chambers of the Supreme Court of the United States. But have you ever seen one speck of hard evidence to support the lofty claims?

Although diversity has become one of the leading buzzwords of our time, it has a history that goes back several generations. In the early twentieth century, the principle of geographic diversity was used to conceal bias against Jews in the admission of students to Harvard and other leading academic institutions.

“Diversity” oddly, does not include diversity of thought or belief. Since there is little diversity among the administration and faculty of most universities, it should not be surprising that both campus and workplace are now considered “communities”, and since communities are supposed to be peaceful places where everyone is truly communal, the observation that they are becoming communes is obviously true, but unacceptable as a comment.

The tech industry, in particular, seems to be a source for much of the groupthink. Businesses seem to believe that they can become advocates for correct political thought, since as Hillary says so often, the places that did not vote for her were clearly ignorant deplorables who did not recognize correct enlightened ideas. Is this all a result of the idea that everyone should get a medal or a gold star and no one should be excluded? Of supervised play, and computers and social media where those who have improper thoughts or words can be blocked or unfriended? If you think about that process, it bears a striking similarity to what is happening on college campuses and in the workplace.

Our public schools are anxious to get all the kids computerized, as that seems to be the necessary element in education for the future. But maybe it isn’t. Maybe that’s why thoughtful people tell college students to avoid any class that has “studies” after its name. Maybe the idea of reducing or eliminating competition is faulty. Maybe everyone shouldn’t get a gold star. Maybe Nancy Pelosi’s call for open borders as opposed to any ideal of  “merit” in admission of immigrants is totally haywire. Canada and Australia admit immigrants by considering what skills or benefits they bring to their new country, much like the most selective schools do, or used to do. The video isn’t very long, but there’s a lot of food for thought there.

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The Impossible Dream of Socialism and Social Welfare by The Elephant's Child

From William Voegeli’s Never Enough:

“The socialist dream of organizing an economy around the purposes of advancing social welfare, as it is governmentally determined and meted out, seems destined to remain an abstraction irrelevant to the world’s political and economic needs. One strange result of the collapse of socialism, and the absence of any other credible way to avoid relying on markets is that the welfare state is heavily dependent on the health of capitalism. The government cannot disburse wealth that never gets created, and creating the wealth required for modern, prosperous societies without the knowledge conveyed by prices set in markets appears to be impossible.”



How’s Socialism Doing in Venezuela? by The Elephant's Child



All About Gun Control by The Elephant's Child

I often write a bit about Democrat wordsmiths who come up with the daily language with which to attack Republicans or Deplorables or Right-Wing extremists or whatever we are today. I’m not sure just who the wordsmiths are, but I assume they are from the Center for American Progress, and if you look up their website and their board of directors, you’ve got a good idea. I just don’t understand why all the lefties are so ready to use someone else’s words in harmony with all the other lefties. I would be embarrassed, wouldn’t you?

It says something about their education, or intelligence, or obedience or basic ignorance, but I don’t intend to get insulting here, I just don’t quite get it. In any case, this short video is a perfect example of how it works. The subject is the desire of the Left to get rid of the Second Amendment, and/or confiscate all guns, since their ultimate goal is control. They want to be in charge with no one able to disagree or talk back, or, especially—to make fun of them. Do not take a large mouthful of coffee or tea just before playing the video.

There. I told you so.



California Shifts Hard Left by The Elephant's Child

California is drifting farther and farther left.  Joel Kotkin is executive director of the Center for Opportunity Urbanism, and long concerned with demography. He has an interesting piece today in City Journal about a further leftward shift evidenced by California’s Democratic Party’s refusal to back Dianne Feinstein’s reelection bid, suggesting that she is the last in a line of the old Democrats.

Tech oligarchs and activist CEOs have committed themselves to extreme environmentalism, identity politics, and open-borders immigration policy. California’s bevy of clueless celebrities, now celebrated by Time as “suddenly serious” for following the identitarian party line, have also climbed aboard.  As anyone knows who has suffered through awards shows or listened to interviews with stars, the entertainment industry—much like tech—has become homogeneous in its views.

The key issues for the glitterati are not income inequality, upward mobility, or the preservation of middle-class neighborhoods but the feverish pastimes of the already rich: gender and racial issues, climate change, guns, and anything that offends the governesses and schoolmarms of intersectionality. To the ranks of these over-exposed but influential voices, you can also add California’s media and most of its intelligentsia, who seem to get their talking points from progressive sources and work assiduously to limit the influence of moderate (much less conservative) views. With Silicon Valley increasingly able to control content and ever more willing to curb debate, the policy agenda of the state’s new elite may well become reality—a nightmarish one for millions of ordinary Californians.

Then Politico Magazine did an article on “Jerry Brown, President of the Independent Republic of California.” adding the subhead “As he crusades across Europe, the governor is acting like the leader of a sovereign country—an alternative to the United States in the Trump era.”

He “stopped over at the Vatican, where a doleful group of climate scientists, politicians and public health officials had convened to discuss calamities that might befall a warming world. The prospects were so dire—floods and fires, but also forced migration famine and war—that some of the participants acknowledged difficulty staving off despair.”

“California’s doomsayer governor did not express much optimism either. Seated between an economist and an Argentine bishop at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Brown leaned into his microphone and said, ‘It is despairing. Ending the world, ending all mammalian life. This is bad stuff.’”

The leader in much of this nonsense is billionaire Tom Steyer, who is a true believer in climate catastrophe, a ferocious opponent of President Trump, striving for his impeachment, but can’t seem to fix on a reason but is apparently putting big funds behind his efforts. Keep an eye on that. He’s probably extremely incensed about Trump’s exit from the Paris Accords, which would have accomplished nothing, nothing at all. But anyone that says that is excoriated as a fascist and ‘denier’.



Why Globalism Fails: Jordan Peterson by The Elephant's Child

I really enjoy Dr. Jordan Peterson. He is deeply interested in getting to the very essence of things. How things really work underneath it all. What makes people tick and why. And why they don’t. I like listening to him, and I like watching him. He talks with his hands. I don’t think I do that at all, and I don’t know why some people do and some people don’t—besides being Italian. Enjoy.



The “Dreamers” Are Not What They Pretend To Be by The Elephant's Child

The “Dreamers” are much in the news. Now some 100 business leaders signed a letter in support of the DACA Dreamers insisting that Congress pass a law to protect them by January 18 or they will be causing U.S. companies a lot of disruption and expense. The letter was signed by a bevy of tech leaders like IBM CEO Ginni Rometty – who has been championing their cause, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Google CEO Sundar Pichai.

The letter claims that many are employed by businesses, but doesn’t go quite so far to claim that any are specifically employed by them.

Under DACA, nearly 800,000 illegal aliens were given temporary protected status and work permits to remain in the United States. A former USCIS manager of the agency’s investigative unit, Matt O’Brien suggested that the fraud rate for DACA us roughly 40 to 50 percent. Applicants lied on their applications and were rarely caught by USCIS officials. The Obama administration, Breitbart Texas reported, added 122,221 DACA recipients in just the last 3 months of the Obama administration.* Since DACA’s beginnings, more than 2,100 DACA recipients protected status was revoked for a felony or being involved in gang activity.

Over roughly 4o percent of the illegals shielded from deportation by an Obama-era temporary amnesty program have no education beyond high school, and have no plans to go to college. Another 21 percent have dropped out of high school.  73 percent of DACA recipients live in low-income households, and are more likely to compete for job with the working class. 54 percent  of native-born Hispanics access one or more of the welfare programs, and have poverty rates about twice as high as the general population. Heritage’s Daily Signal notes that according to the Congressional Budget Office, giving amnesty to the “Dreamers” would create a deficit of about $26 billion over 10 years.

There seems to be no evidence that most are in college or in the military. The terminology with which they are described—”Dreamers”, little innocent children brought here against their will, came from Democrat wordsmiths, and does not seem to match reality at all. Since they were illegals, there is no record of their age when they arrived, and we have only their claims. They were supposed to be under the age of 16 at the time they arrived, but many are clearly older than that.

I am very much pro-immigrant, but pro-legal immigrants. There are something over a million people who have gone through all the rigamarole necessary to apply for permission to immigrate to America, and they are patiently waiting their turn, which may take years. The DACA program was dreamed up by Democrats who believe that new immigrants are likely to be Democrat voters. I think that further, they are intended to be additional bodies for the next Census, because the Census does not count citizens, only bodies. And the numbers of bodies in a given state determine the Electoral College votes of a given state.

This bunch of businessmen, I suspect, have no personal knowledge of the DACA claimants, but are only impressed by the “compassionate” language that has been devised to describe them. I may be wrong on all counts, but I am very suspicious of Obama’s efforts to change the Electoral College or end it, and his efforts to change America into something more “diverse” and where everybody is equal, and stops getting rich when they have “enough money.”

The everybody is equal thing seems all too often to turn into Venezuela and Cuba.

* I realized I left off an important part of the sentence  and added “of the Obama administration.” My bad. I apologize for any false impression.




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