American Elephants


A Little History That We Need To Keep In Mind by The Elephant's Child

I posted part of this a couple of years ago, but I keep thinking that it’s  really important for us all to remember, and today things seem to go in one ear mind and out the other.

On January 20, 2009, the day President Obama was inaugurated and saved the nation from the clutches of runaway capitalism, the national debt was $10,626,877,048,913. 08. Obama, acting more responsibly than any Wall Street villain, increased that by $6,000,000,000,000. If Barack Obama paid the debt back at a dollar a second it will only take him 126,750 presidential terms to “finish the job” and put us back on solid fiscal ground, Assuming the debt didn’t grow in the meantime.
…………………………………………David Harsanyi, The Federalist

Today I am pledging to cut the deficit we inherited in half by the end of my first term in office. This will not be easy. It will require us to make difficult decisions and face challenges we have long neglected. But I refuse to leave our children with a debt they cannot repay—and that means taking responsibility right now, in this Administration for getting our spending under control.
…………………………………………
Barack Obama:  2/23/09
……………………………………..….Fiscal Responsibility Summit

Here’s the bottom line: Capitalism is the greatest engine for the production of wealth the ingenuity of man has ever invented. Are you interested in helping the poor? Embrace capitalism. Do you want to help clean up the environment? Embrace capitalism. Are you interested in obliterating the scourge of malnutrition in some ghastly African disease, or illiteracy, embrace capitalism. The global poverty rate, Kevin reminds us, has been cut in half in the last 20 years. Think about that. Then think about that. Then think about the sorrowful history of our species up to about 1830. How much progress against widespread—really, near total—poverty had been there from the beginning of time until then—until, that is capitalism started to take off? Not much.
………………………………………..Roger Kimball: 6/12/2014
………………………………………..on Kevin Williamson’s
………………………………………..Catholics Against Capitalism

 

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A Helpful Guide to Leftspeak. Use it At Your Peril. by The Elephant's Child

The language of the left:

social justice: justice in terms of distribution of wealth. Opportunities and privileges within a society. The distribution of advantages and disadvantages in a society.

metaphysics: abstract theory or talk with no basis in reality. The branch of philosophy responsible for the study of existence. It is the foundation of a worldview that answers the question “What is?” It encompasses everything that exists, as well as the nature of existence itself. It says whether the world is real or merely an illusion.

xenophobe: One who is unduly fearful of what is foreign and especially of people of foreign origin—a person who fears or hates foreigners.

reactionary:
political views that favor a return to the status quo ante, the previous state of society which they believe possessed characteristics that are negatively absent from the status quo of society favoring extreme conservatism or rightism in politics, opposing political or social change, ultra-conservative in  politics.

empirical: based on, concerned with, or verifiable by observation or  experience rather than theory or pure logic.

historicism: a mode of thinking that assigns a major significance to a specific context such as  a historical period, geographical place and local culture. A theory, doctrine or style that emphasizes the importance of history as a theory in which history is seen as a standard of value or as a determinant of events.

critical theory: A philosophical approach to culture and especially to literature that seeks to confront the social, historical and ideological forces and structure that produce and constrain it. — a type of theory that aims to critique society, social structures and systems of power and to foster egalitarian social change.

positivism: a philosophical theory stating that positive knowledge is based on a natural phenomena and their properties and relations. Thus information derived from sensory experience interpreted through reason and logic forms the inclusive source of all authoritative knowledge.

metaphysics: The branch of philosophy that deals with the first principles of things including abstract concepts such as being, knowing, substance, cause, identity, time and space.

The attainment of social or economic justice makes mere  philanthropy unnecessary. The pursuit of that objective renders philanthropy harmful. The alliance of experts and victims will progress toward its goals more slowly and with greater difficulty if amateurs, lobbyists and dilettantes are mucking about, trying to alleviate victims’ suffering. They don’t know what they’re doing, and should keep out of the way of people who do. Furthermore, caring for others by any other means than supporting, with votes and taxes, welfare state programs to enact and adequately fund those programs, postpones rather than hastens the realization of social justice.

There you go. You may now consider yourself among the enlightened.



A Bit of Advice for Republicans: by The Elephant's Child

Here’s an excerpt from David Horowitz’s Take No Prisoners:

Politics is always a gamble. No one can be sure what tactic will succeed, which is why we have to respect each other and keep our coalition strong, even when we disagree.

I said we are not good at politics. Actually we are pretty terrible at politics. Whenever a Republican and a Democrat square off, it’s Godzilla versus Bambi. They call us racists, sexists, homophobes, and selfish pigs,  and we call them …liberals. Who’s going to win that argument? They spend their political dollars calling us names and shredding our reputations; we spend ours explaining why the complicated solutions we propose will work and why theirs won’t. But when  you are being called a racist, an enemy of women and a greedy SOB, who will listen to your ideas about the budget? Who is going to believe you when all your motives are portrayed as vile?

This is the problem that not only Republicans but also Tea Partiers and conservatives in general have failed to address. It is why the Democratic Party, which supports policies that are morally repugnant and have also failed on an epic scale, still wins elections. Medicare is bankrupt and a mess; Social Security is bankrupt and a mess; the War on Poverty  is a twenty-trillion dollar catastrophe that has created worse poverty than it was designed to cure—and yet Democrats can still propose and pass the biggest socialist entitlement and redistributionist scheme ever and get away with it. Until Republicans and Tea Partiers are willing to fight fire with fire, these circumstances are not going to change. Twenty-five years after the most oppressive empire in human history collapsed because socialist economies don’t work, 44 percent  of American  youth, according to a recent Pew poll; thinks socialism is a good system. That’s a political failure on our part. We won the Cold War, but we didn’t drive a stake through the Communist heart. As a result the vampire of social justice has risen to fight another day.



Playing With The Notion of What it Means to Be Human by The Elephant's Child

If you are not familiar with Melanie Phillips, you might enjoy her columns. She is a long time British journalist, and a sharp observer of the world.

If you want a break from the spectacle of Britain tearing itself apart over leaving the European Union, you can upset yourself instead watching the spectacle of the western world tearing apart the very notion of what it is to be a human being.

The knee-jerk bullying, victim-group sectarianism and repudiation of reason itself over transgenderism defy belief. The Times (£) reports that a lesbian Labour party women’s officer was allegedly subjected to months of harassment as a “Terf” — a derogatory term for “trans exclusionary radical feminist” – because she took issue with aspects of transgenderism.

Intimidation by transgender activists, in the laughable cause of promoting greater tolerance and inclusivity, has suddenly become the new norm. Examples – such as the Christian maths teacher who was suspended for addressing as a girl a female pupil who identifies as a boy – are coming thick and fast.

Little kids usually go through a period when they fantasize about being someone other than who they are — like in reality a princess in disguise, waiting to be truly recognized. There have been lots of children’s books based on just that fantasy. One of the earliest was Mark Twain’s The Prince and the Pauper. But where this current idea sweeping society here and in Europe that you can be whoever you feel like being comes from is a serious question. Melanie Phillips addresses it head on.

Bodily dysphoria appears in many forms. There are people who come to believe that they are really cats, or that one of their limbs is bad or  diseased and must be removed, sometimes going as far as removing the limb themselves. But now we are having young mothers decide that when their daughter prefers to climb trees or play with toy trucks, it’s an indication that she is transgender, and encourages the confusion. This is child abuse. Transgenderism is a disorder of the brain, not the body. It requires psychiatric help. Included in Melanie Phillips article is a link to the American College of Pediatricians and a paper on Gender Dysphoria in Children.

I posted a video of a young British mother who was doing just that, in the belief that she is doing the right thing for her child.  There are a lot of problems in our country and in the world that deserve our attention. Why are we wrapped up in a world of who sexually abused whom and how much and how many years ago, and when do we move on to the next frenzy? Is this all just a journalistic creation to keep our attention glued to their desired themes? Can we get back to reality or are we stuck in this weird world?



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.



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.




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