American Elephants


Puncturing the Pretensions of the Progressives by The Elephant's Child

Donkeys 1

I wrote earlier about the problem of “Diversity”— that progressive catch-word — around which they attempt to arrange all their bright ideas. “Diversity,” they believe, is a positive good. Wealthy neighborhoods, or for that matter any neighborhoods that do not house the correct numbers of varying races and ethnicities need to be “fixed.”

And, on the other side,  we have the victims of progressive diversity demands (affirmative action) such as National Merit scholars who can’t get into elite universities like Harvard because the category of Asian students already matches the percentage of Asians in the economy, so students of different race and ethnicity must be admitted instead despite lower SAT scores. So we are trading brighter doctors and scientists and businessmen for the precious idea of diversity. And that makes sense just how?

The real problem is that “diversity” doesn’t produce the desired effect. The more diverse or integrated a neighborhood becomes, the less socially cohesive it becomes, and the more homogenous or segregated, the more socially cohesive. Simple. A mom and dad prefer their children to other children. Having a child does not produce liking for all children. People prefer their compatriots to strangers from another country. This is not prejudice, but a natural affinity for those with whom you have something in common. It’s what humans do.

Progressives believe “diversity” is a necessity in the quest for social justice which is the shining goal of the left. The pursuit of social justice is the reason for empathy, for welfare, for caring for others. The pursuit of that goal renders philanthropy harmful. William Voegeli notes:

The alliance of experts and victims will progress toward its goals more slowly and with greater difficulty if amateurs, hobbyists, and dilettantes are mucking about, trying to alleviate a victim’s 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.

“I gave at the office” should mean just one thing: the taxes withheld from my paycheck are funding government programs, the only path to social justice. If it means, instead, charitable contributions are activities that endorse the efficacy and virtue of extragovernmental efforts to ameliorate suffering situations, the pursuit of social justice is thwarted. The more government takes over welfare — the weaker the fellow feeling of the other ties.

The famous American skeptic H.L Mencken once wrote, “The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false-face for the urge to rule it. Power is what all messiahs really seek: not the chance to serve.” Or to put it a little differently — Social Justice doesn’t mean that at last everybody is finally equal. It means that you are all equal, and we are in charge.



There’s a Time for Politics, and There’s a Time to Just Shut up. by The Elephant's Child

America is shocked and horrified at the massacre in the Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. People reacted with sorrow and shame that such a thing should happen at a peaceful prayer meeting.

It’s hard to find the right words to express sorrow and offer comfort for there is no comfort. Republican candidates on the campaign trail quickly cancelled their scheduled events, Senator Lindsey Graham flew back to South Carolina.

President Barack Obama quickly politicized the event. “We don’t have all the facts, but we do know that, once again, innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun,” Obama said, adding “At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries.” Um, tell that to Charlie Hebdo. Or perhaps the 2011 massacre at a summer camp for the youth division of the ruling Norwegian Labour Party. Anders Brevik massacred 69 young people. Just before that he had packed  a van with an explosive mixture of fertilizer and fuel oil. The explosion killed eight people. Germany has had more attacks on schools than we have. But don’t miss a chance to make a political point.

Hillary also called for gun control, while heading for a bunch of fundraisers. Obama, having made his point, headed out to California  for a $16,700 per person fundraiser in Pacific Palisades. Later he has another one in Beverly Hills. On Friday he has an interview with Marc Maron, then flies up to San Francisco for the U.S. Conference of Mayors followed by another couple of fundraisers. Obama frequently tells us how important empathy is to him.



President Barack Obama’s Poverty Program by The Elephant's Child
May 19, 2015, 6:22 am
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , , ,

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President Obama took part last week in a conference at Georgetown University on Poverty, and appeared on a panel with Harvard social scientist Robert Putnam and AEI president Arthur Brooks, which was billed as a ‘conversation’ on poverty, moderated by the Washington Post’s E.J. Dionne. The president and the moderator managed some quick remarks on how it would take a “miracle” to get GOP leaders to care about the poor.

The problem is that “care” or empathy is defined as spending other people’s money. Yet if the problem is bad schools, more money is the answer only if the problem is caused by a shortage of funds, not if it is caused by poor teachers, or teacher’s unions refusal to get rid of bad teachers.

Mr. Obama felt that financiers, and conservatives were too apt to send their own children to exclusive schools and refuse to give more funding to regular schools. Nobody brought up the fact that both Mr, and Mrs Obama went to exclusive private schools as children and their children attended Sidwell Friends School, the most exclusive in Washington D.C.And President Obama has consistently fought the small amount of money that goes to the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship program which has been a lifeline to many poor children to get into exclusive private schools.

If you equate “caring” only with greater spending, you may not be addressing causation at all. Michael Ramirez, with his usual genius for the visual metaphor, manages to capture the essence.




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