American Elephants


Businesses Beware! You Are Not There to Teach Us How to Think! by The Elephant's Child

One of the most disturbing trends at present it the urge to be “woke”— currently defined as “alert to injustice in society, especially racism. “we need to stay angry, and stay woke”, or “I was sleeping, but now I’m woke.” from a dialect called AAVE. The Urban Dictionary defines it as “a person who pretends to be of greater intelligence than he or she in fact is.”

From the Witherspoon Institute’s Public Discourse: “How Woke Capitalism Corrupts Business”

One of the more disturbing trends to emerge throughout the business world is “woke capitalism.” Whether it is Nike recalling Betsy Ross flag-emblazoned shoes because it was counseled by activist advisors that the flag represents slavery, or almost 200 CEOs of major firms signing a full-page New York Times advertisement describing laws restricting abortion as “bad for business,” corporate America is rapidly aligning itself with progressive causes.

The reasons for this are manifold. Those active in commerce or who teach in business schools inhabit the same sentimental humanitarian milieu as the rest of us. There’s no reason why they should be less susceptible to this culture than anyone else. No one should be surprised that many business leaders consequently believe that their companies should aggressively promote the progressive agenda, ranging from gender ideology to radical curtailments of religious freedom.

For others, it’s just easier to go along to get along. Why risk your Wall Street job by telling the human resources manager that the firm’s commitment to “diversity” doesn’t appear to include a pluralism of political views? In some instances, corporate wokeness is all about placating militant progressives. But if CEOs think that liberals can be appeased, then they don’t know much about the contemporary left.

There is evidence that some businesses are responding to some consumers’ desires that their purchasing choices align with their political stances, as well as to pressures from institutional investors who have embraced liberal causes. But as companies such as Gillette and Dicks Sporting Goods have discovered, that often produces financial losses as a consequence of backlashes from consumers who hold different view.

Well, of course politicizing everything is such a splendid idea. Or rephrased, Progressives understand that herding American entrepreneurs and businesses into the pursuit of liberal concerns is an excellent pursuit. Many business leaders consider it the way of the future. We must critique woke capitalism clearly and strongly, remembering that a business exists to realize the particular economic ends that constitute its common good. They are not there to teach us how to think. Wave your Betsy Ross flag, if you have one. They couldn’t even get that one right. Tell a business when they get out of line, and take your trade elsewhere. Do read the whole thing. This is a trend that must be stamped out!



A Query About the “Deep State.” Do These Public Servants Recognize the “Servant” Part of the Designation? by The Elephant's Child

It is becoming increasingly clear that the “Deep State” has some significant problems. Career Civil Servants seem to frequently forget the “servant” part. Kimberly Strassel of the Opinion Page in the Wall Street Journal takes it on:

The “deep state”—if we are to use the term—is better defined as consisting of career civil servants, who have growing power in the administrative state but work in the shadows. As government grows, so do the challenges of supervising a bureaucracy swelling in both size and power. Emboldened by employment rules that make it all but impossible to fire career employees, this internal civil “resistance” has proved willing to take ever more outrageous actions against the president and his policies, using the tools of both traditional and social media.

So are they a problem? Do they understand that they work for us, not for what they think would be good? Highly paid, a “swelling bureaucracy.” Interesting essay, do read the whole thing. Are they our public servants or do they have more elaborate self images?



The September Unemployment Rate by The Elephant's Child

I continue to be convinced that Democrats are desperately trying to take control of the national dialogue, not just control of the government. They are sure that Republicans are bad people who favor the rich. The Rich are clearly bad people, because nobody should have more money. Money should be fair, and equally distributed to all. AOC recently remarked that no one should have a billion dollars. Where does that poisonous ignorance come from?

“All men are created equal” means that we are born as plain ordinary squalling babies, and there’s some luck of the draw involved. Some families are more prepared than others to set their babies on a path to greater success, but that is no guarantee of much of anything. Some are born into perfectly terrible circumstances and decide they are going to succeed — and step by step they do, while others ignore their opportunity and blame others for their lack of success, and hate anyone who has become rich because it’s not fair. Go figure.

We all can probably name several billionaires. The computer industry has made a lot of very rich people. Do you carry around their names, seething at the idea that they have so much money? Or is it the simple idea that hating the rich is supposed to rile up the voters and if you keep reminding Democrat voters that Republicans are once again giving tax cuts to the rich, they that will get their side to the polls?

I don’t get it. I have no special animus for Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos or Mark Zuckerberg. It would perhaps be nice never to worry about bills, and perhaps nice if you could just satisfy any wish by writing a check, but that might get a little boring as well.

The facts are a little simpler. When you let taxpayers keep a little more of their own money, you give them the freedom to hire someone, create a new business, expand their business, or even if they just spend it, it goes into the economy creating more prosperity.

President Trump’s tax cuts have meant that the September unemployment rate has fallen to 3.5%. as payrolls have risen by 136,000. The jobless rate has dropped 0.2 percentage points to 3.5% – a 50-year low. Let me repeat that. The unemployment rate has fallen to a 50 year low — since 1969.

Do people sit around seething over the idea that someone has way more money that they do? I think people feel good about working to earn a living and care for their families. I think most workers want to do a good job, and want to take pride in the work they do. I believe that the Left thinks that fostering hate of the rich will serve their aims. Don’t allow that poisonous campaign.



Defining Reality, Or Explaining What is Really Going On by The Elephant's Child

Clearly it is time to explain what is really going on. One gains enormous wisdom by staring at the blank walls of a very fine hospital. So somewhere between a second civil war and an impeached president, or the election (this time) of good old Hillary, there must be, somewhere, some clarity. Elections are always contentious, but this is ridiculous.

We are in a battle over defining reality. To quote Daniel J. Boorstin, the late Librarian of Congress and notable historian at the University of Chicago, in The Americans: the Colonial Experience:

We have too long been told that a “unified” scheme of knowledge is required to give meaning and unity to society; that men have a greater sense of sharing values and of working to a common end if they are united by a grand overarching system of thought; that somehow an articulate and systematic philosophy is likely to provide such a system of shared meaning. The stock example is, of course, the Middle Ages when such theologians as Thomas Aquinas and Duns Scotus constructed monuments of speculative philosophy. that has become an unexamined commonplace that a more unified philosophy will produce a more unified society, that ours  would be a better and more meaningful  world if we in America possessed such systematic and “unifying” thought.

But is this really true? It may have seemed so in earlier societies where the frame of meaning was supposed to be accessible only to a priestly or ruling class. Could it remain so in a modern literate society where most people would be expected to understand the purposes of the community? One cannot unify such a society by mere concepts, however refined and subtle, however vivid to a few philosophers or theologians. “The attempt to bridge the chasm between multiplicity and unity is the oldest  problem of philosophy, religion, and science.”

You may have noticed that “the ruling class” is not in particularly good grace at present, a problem rather than a solution. They are unaware of their predicament, are unwilling to give up the slightest bit of their cherished power.

Those who supposedly report on the society and the people and the ruling class assume that, instead of accuracy, their task is to get attention by featuring what celebrities or politicians may have to say, not because it might be of interest, but because the celebrity or politician might have a bit of click bait interest to promote the career of the reporter. Their interest is not in attempting to describe reality, but what, instead, might be sensationalized. They’re not on our side either. Which President Trump grumbles about as “fake news”. Which in turn infuriates the press, because they differently define their assigned task.

It’s only human nature to wish to advance one’s self, to look for what is readily available rather than work hard, but there you are. The current debates and argument is over the nature of reality, which is up in the air, struggling to be properly defined.



Another Admission, and the Same Old Socialist Dream by The Elephant's Child


Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) annoying freshman congressperson, who has become click bait for the American media because she spouts such inane ideas that Democrats are a little embarrassed, and Republicans are fascinated with the level of ignorance. Unfortunately, everyone pays a little attention. She is the supposed author of the infamous “Green New Deal” to which most of the Democrat candidates have actually pledged support.

Today, AOC’s Chief of Staff, one Saikat Chakrabarti, in a conversation with Sam Ricketts, climate director for Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) extra long shot presidential candidate admitted that the Green New Deal “wasn’t originally a climate thing at all — It’s a ‘change-the-entire-economy thing.”

Climate Depot noted: “This is another in a long line of admissions about the real motives behind climate “solutions”. Climate change is merely the latest env. scare being used to seek the same “solutions” of more central planning. Christiana Figueres, the secretary of the UN’s IPPC, admitted to reporters that Climate Change was their best opportunity to get rid of Capitalism.

Flashback: UN IPCC official Edenohofer admits UN seeks to ‘redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy’– ‘This has almost nothing to do with environmental policy anymore.’ – Flashback Nov. 2010: Watch Now: Climate Depot’s Morano on Fox News to discuss Edenhofer’s UN’s goal of ‘redistributing world’s wealth by climate policy

Rajendra Pachauri, former head of the UN IPCC panel also admitted that the purpose of the UN IPCC climate reports was to make the case so “that action is needed on climate change.” And he conceded in 2013 that the UN climate reports “do what the governments of the world want us to do. If the governments decide we should do things differently and come up with a vastly different set of products we would be at their beck and call.

Al Gore: U.S, Climate Bill will help bring about Global Governance

EU Commissioner: Global Warming Policy Is Right Even If Science Is Wrong – ‘Regardless of whether or not scientists are wrong on global warming, the European Union is pursuing the correct energy policies even if they lead to higher prices, Europe’s climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard’s has said.’  EU’s Hedegaard in 2013: ‘Let’s say that science, some decades from now, said ‘we were wrong, it was not about climate’, would it not in any case have been good to do many of things you have to do in order to combat climate change?.’

There’s more at Climate Depot.   The evidence shows that there is an enormous amount of fraudulent effort behind the push for a panic about the climate. Why do people believe so strongly that climate change is a problem, and not just what has been going on for millions of years — a climate that has been warming and cooling in long cycles of warm periods and ice ages. Warming produced the Renaissance and a great flowering of growth and change and knowledge. Ice ages are something different, and not nice at all. Currently it is a little warm, and the CO2 in the atmosphere is greening the planet. CO2 is fertilizer for plants (you learned that in Biology class). What that means is that more of the planet’s hungry people are getting enough food. You can see the greening from space, I am told.



The Worst Food Regulation Ever by The Elephant's Child

A government shutdown not only allows the rest of us a chance to think about the usefulness of government and all that it does, but quite a few people have been talking about the unnecessary size of government, the things the government does that they don’t really need to be doing, and there was an article in the Wall Street Journal today titled “This May be the Worst Regulation Ever” with an even more interesting subhead: “A USDA rule about labels on ‘bioengineered’ food cost hundreds of millions and has no benefits.

Well, Frabjous Day, Henry I. Miller has hit on one of my pet peeves. He is talking specifically about the “Non GMO” required label, but the “Certified Organic” is almost as bad. I blame it all on suburban housewives, who are supposed to be “highly educated”, but in my experience are highly susceptible to phony claims.

The “Organic” movement started because they got it in their heads that their food was being fertilized by the petroleum industry. Well, yes, petroleum products are rich in nitrogen which is a fertilizer for plants, and oil companies made fertilizers. Panic time! Poisoning children. The Organic movement wanted “natural” fertilizer, not fossil fuels. “Natural fertilizer” comes from cow poop and chicken poop. Food grown without a lot of noxious chemicals in a “natural way” grew, and the Dept. of Agriculture agreed to certify foods produced by organic farmers as “Organic” so folks could be sure to reach for the right can. Unfortunately  cow poop and chicken poop have a risk of e-coli, which is poisonous, And when you get to advertisements on the radio for “Organic Cotton sheets for your bed” it gets remarkably silly. If the cotton fields from which the cotton was picked were fertilized with manure, what earthly difference does that make to the fabric eventually woven for your bed?

The GMO scare was similar. GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism. They tweaked the genes of the plants that grew what eventually became food to add a more desirable element. In some cases it helps to resist a virus, or resist a certain kind of bug, or need less water or fertilizer when growing. The statute acknowledged that bioengineered food is neither more nor less safe than other food, but the new rule — the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard (NBFDS) will not help consumers to understand that. So you have labels on most of the canned food on your supermarket’s shelves that identify Organic foods and Non GMO foods, that give you useless information and cost you a whole bunch. Organic food costs about 30% more than its non-organic counterpart, and is a complete waste of money.

I refuse to buy anything with an “Organic” label, but stores now have a large organic fruit and vegetable section. I blame it, as I said on suburban women, and on Gwyneth Paltrow, who has always been very big on food scares.

The original article is here, but may be behind a subscription barrier. Henry I. Miller is a great debunker of things that need debunking. Watch for him.



What Do We Do When Social Media Isn’t Social At All? by The Elephant's Child

pexels-photo-1309899

The watchmen at the big social media websites are busily trying to police the flow of conversation that they initiated with their ideas about how to become rich and powerful. They thought people would like to share their thoughts, news, ideas, recipes and pictures with their friends. They have indeed become rich and powerful, but they forgot everything they learned in grade school and junior high, or perhaps did not learn about human nature.

The perpetrators of the constant hum of the online conversation we call “social media” blame any problems on “hate speech”, a poorly defined selection of words that someone, somewhere, objects to. All too often, it is simply the opinion of someone in the opposing political party.

One can say whatever one chooses if they agree with what you say, but your words must pass tests of race, ethnic origin, sex, sexual preference, age, political affiliation, part of the country you come from, and a few dozen other qualifying questions. Vulgarity is fine, and broadly circulated, as is any amount of coarseness, crassness, crudity, grossness, indelicacy, rawness, rudeness and tastelessness or don’t you read the comments on popular websites? Here is one definition I found:

Primarily internet or cellular phone based applications and tools to share information among people. Social media includes popular networking websites, like Facebook and Twitter; as well as bookmarking sites like Reddit. It involves blogging and forums and any aspect of an interactive presence which allows individuals the ability to engage in conversations with one another, often as a discussion over a particular blog post, news article, or event.

Having created this mess and trying desperately to find a way to manage the flow of conversation or discussion before the government steps in to slap them down, as Europe is already beginning to do, they are attempting to pacify by creating “independent” judges to parse your speech for anything that might get them in trouble. The fact that they are simultaneously parsing your speech to sell to advertisers is a separate problem.

Human nature. We are a quarrelsome lot. We have a hard time getting along with our immediate family, let alone a bunch of complete strangers. People do not speak well, and write even less well. We have a hard time saying what we mean, and it is usually poorly thought out. We have never really thought clearly about the big questions, let alone the little ones. That’s why Jordan Peterson has made such an impact. He tries to clarify what we are thinking and saying and point out where we have gone astray.

Oddly, with the enormous increase in people using social media, psychologists tell us that loneliness is an increasing problem. I think in the effort to connect people, we have created far greater problems that are just beginning to emerge. I suspect we may have been better off when you had to pick up the phone and dial your friend’s house, and didn’t stay on the line too long because it would cost too much.

I think this phenomenon has had some very unfortunate effects on our society that we do not yet understand. If you have any answers let me know.




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