Thursday, October 28, 2021

Has "Wokeism" Become a de-facto religion for the left?

Growing up in the 1990s, I was raised to be optimistic about American society. That society welcomed my parents from Pakistan with open arms; it produced the Georgia man who, in the days after 9/11, approached my family and told us that if anyone harassed us in any way because of our Muslim faith, he would come to our aid.

I knew the country still had problems. I decided to become a journalist so I could shed light on society’s imperfections. But I did so in a spirit of hopefulness.

In recent years, however, a much darker vision has emerged on the political left. America isn’t a land of opportunity. It’s barely changed since the days of Jim Crow. Whites, universally privileged, maintain an iron grip on American society, while nonwhites are little more than virtuous victims cast adrift on a plank in an ocean of white supremacy.

This worldview has swiftly implanted itself into major institutions, from our universities to our corporations. Why has it captivated so many people?

The Columbia University linguist John McWhorter attempts to answer that question in “Woke Racism,” which seeks to both explain and rebut this ideology. (McWhorter and I both sit on the board of advisers of the Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism.)

McWhorter, who also writes a newsletter for The Times’s Opinion section, is a Black liberal who dissents from much of the left’s views on race issues. In 2000, he published “Losing the Race: Self-Sabotage in Black America,” where he argued that counterproductive cultural beliefs and practices, not racial prejudice, were the main forces preventing more African Americans from succeeding. Some of his targets in that book were left-wing academics, who he worried were helping transform victimhood “from a problem to be solved into an identity in itself.”

Yet in the two decades since, those academics seem to have become more influential than ever. In his latest book, McWhorter suggests that’s because their ideology has been elevated into a religion.

“I do not mean that these people’s ideology is ‘like’ a religion. I seek no rhetorical snap in this comparison. I mean that it actually is a religion,” he writes. “An anthropologist would see no difference in type between Pentecostalism and this new form of antiracism.”

While praising earlier generations of civil rights work, he objects to what he calls “Third Wave Antiracism,” which preaches that “racism is baked into the structure of society, whites’ ‘complicity’ in living within it constitutes racism itself, while for Black people, grappling with the racism surrounding them is the totality of experience and must condition exquisite sensitivity toward them, including a suspension of standards of achievement and conduct.”

Borrowing a term from the author Joseph Bottum, McWhorter refers to the prophets of the Third Wave as “the Elect.” They see themselves as “bearers of a Good News that, if all people would simply open up and see it, would create a perfect world.”

McWhorter says that the Elect’s unshakable convictions have led them to persecute people with unfair accusations of racism. He cites cases like that of David Shor, a young white progressive analyst who was fired from his consulting firm for tweeting a study showing how violent protests can backfire. Many of these inquisitions have been led not by people from minority groups but from the white Elects themselves, who are described as carrying a sort of “self-flagellational guilt for things you did not do.”

Read the rest here.

This prompted me to see if there were any other reactions of a this sort and Google produced no shortage of links to similar reflections

Grand Lux

Accommodations at the Wisdom Hotel in Wisdom Montana, April 1942. You know you're in a classy establishment when they make that effort to reduce lines and wait time.

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

The Billionaires Tax

Unable to convince the moderate members of their party to raise taxes in the customary manner, the Democrats have decided to go back to the idea first floated by the left, i.e. a tax on unrealized appreciation in the value of assets such as stocks, bonds, real estate, art and etc. Claims to the contrary notwithstanding, this is a wealth tax, which is laughably unconstitutional and dead on arrival at the Supreme Court, if it even gets that far. It is a direct tax (or there is no such thing) under Article I section 9 of the Constitution and cannot be done at the Federal level of government without triggering the apportionment clause. What the Democrats are trying to do is to redefine income to mean something never before accepted; and they are going into contortions to try and pretend that this is what the 16th amendment was intended for. I doubt this will even make it to the Supreme Court, unless the justices want to drive a stake through its heart so it never again rises from the grave. 

The cynic in me believes that almost everyone in DC understands this, even the Democrats. They know this is going down in legal flames, but they are going to vote for it anyway because it gives them political cover for the massive amount of debt they are about to add to our already crushing sea of red ink. Once they pass this they can throw up their hands and blame the debt on the right wing Supreme Court.

Monday, October 25, 2021

Quote of the day...

"It wasn't one of my better moves." -Matthew Tulley after super gluing his face to a public street in London as part of ongoing protests over climate change. Apparently the process of separating his face from the pavement was both protracted and painful.  

Patriarch Bartholomew Hospitalized

Patriarch Bartholomew has been taken to George Washington University Hospital on the first full day of a scheduled twelve day visit to the United States. There is no word on the nature of his illness beyond a short statement that he had felt unwell and was taken to the hospital out of an abundance of caution. A later statement said he is now feeling well and would likely be released tomorrow. His All Holiness is 81. 

Monday, October 18, 2021

San Francisco to New York in 1852

For those with an interest in life in the land of long ago; there is a remarkable journal of a trip from the city of San Francisco to New York fully twenty years before the completion of the trans-continental railroad. The voyage takes the gentleman on a primitive steamship down the coast of California to the Isthmus of Panama, thence overland to the Caribbean side and then up to New York with various stops and adventures along the way. The story begins about halfway down column four on page six of the New York Tribune here. To be honest, I found the entire paper to be a fascinating glimpse into a world now long gone, right down to the advertisements and the pouting about the results of the recent election. 

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Civil Asset Forfeiture is legalized theft

It's been a while since I've posted on this subject.

A pair of New Mexico businessmen were driving along Interstate 40 in Oklahoma late one night in April when a sheriff’s deputy flipped on his lights and sirens and pulled over their BMW sedan.

The two men, Nang Thai and Weichuan Liu, were on their way to a hotel in Oklahoma City. They planned to catch some sleep before heading out in the morning to close on a 10-acre plot of farmland they’d agreed to buy for $100,000.

But now, at about 2 a.m. on April 19, a Canadian County sheriff’s deputy was peering into their car.

“We didn’t understand why he pulled us over,” said Thai, 51, a Vietnamese immigrant and father of two from Albuquerque. “I was driving under the speed limit.”

They had no way of knowing at the time but Thai and Liu were about to begin an hourslong ordeal that would leave them stripped of all their cash and searching for answers. Their experience highlights the controversial law enforcement practice known as civil asset forfeiture, in which police can confiscate a person’s cash or other property even without bringing criminal charges.

The deputy asked the two men for their licenses, where they were going and whether they were carrying any money, according to Thai.

They had a large amount of cash in the vehicle: more than $100,000, which Thai says they brought to pay for the property. Thai — who speaks English with a heavy accent (Liu speaks very little English at all) — told the officer they were headed to a hotel and, yes, had cash on them.

The deputy said he suspected they were involved in “illegal activity,” according to Thai. A criminal background search would have turned up a 2017 conviction against Liu for growing marijuana in California.

After a second officer arrived at the scene, the men were driven to a police station and interrogated for hours. Deputies emptied a backpack and suitcase full of cash, then pulled apart the inside of the BMW but apparently turned up no guns, drugs or any other illicit items.

Thai said he told his interrogators they had saved up the money for years and were planning to use the land for farming but hadn’t yet determined which crops to raise.

“They kept saying, ‘This is illegal money,’” Thai said. “I said, ‘Okay, prove it. We didn't do anything illegal.’”

The two men were released without being charged or even issued a traffic ticket, but the Canadian County Sheriff’s Office did not return their cash. Court papers filed by District Attorney Michael Fields say the money was seized because it was intended to be used to violate drug laws or resulted from illegal drug transactions.

The men are now fighting to get it back. Adding insult to injury, they contend that the amount the sheriff’s office says it confiscated – $131,500 – is actually $10,000 short of the total they had in their car that day.

“Now I have to prove I’m innocent, and they are the ones who illegally took my money and basically stole some of my money, too,” said Thai.

Read the rest here.

In Sicily some Catholic bishops are saying 'no' to the Godfather

...That weekend in October, the Roman Catholic diocese of Catania enacted a three-year ban on the ancient tradition of naming godparents at baptisms and christenings. Church officials argue that the once-essential figure in a child’s Catholic education has lost all spiritual significance. Instead, they say, it has become a networking opportunity for families looking to improve their fortunes, secure endowments of gold necklaces and make advantageous connections, sometimes with local power brokers who have dozens of godchildren.

God parenting, church officials said, had fallen to earth as a secular custom between relatives or neighbors — many deficient in faith or living in sin, and was now a mere method of strengthening family ties.

And sometimes mob ties, too.

Italian prosecutors have tracked baptisms to map out how underworld bosses spread influence, and mob widows in court have saved their most poisonous spite for “the real Judases” who betray the baptismal bond. It is a transgression most associated with, well, “The Godfather,” especially the baptism scene when Michael Corleone renounces Satan in church as his henchmen whack all of his enemies.

But church officials warn that secularization more than anything led them to rub out the godparents, a Sicilian thing that’s been going on for 2,000 years, or at least since the church’s dicey first days, when sponsors known to bishops vouched for converts to prevent pagan infiltration.

“It’s an experiment,” said Msgr. Salvatore Genchi, the vicar general of Catania, as he held a copy of the ban in his office behind the city’s basilica. A godfather to at least 15 godchildren, the monsignor said he was well qualified for the role, but he estimated that 99 percent of the diocese’s godparents were not.

Read the rest here.

Friday, October 15, 2021

Pro-Life British MP is Assassinated

Sir David Amess, a staunchly pro-life member of the UK parliament has died after being repeatedly stabbed at a routine meeting with constituents. Sir David was a Tory with more than 30 years of service in the House of Commons. In addition to his firm opposition to abortion, he also was a euro-skeptic and supporter of Brexit, a supporter of the reintroduction of capital punishment and a fierce opponent of cruelty to animals. As of this post there has been no indication of the motive behind the attack beyond a statement from the police that a man has been arrested on suspicion of murder. Sir David is survived by his wife and five children. He has been described as a devout Roman Catholic.

Memory eternal.

Update: The police are now confirming this was a terrorist act.

Saturday, October 09, 2021

David Shor Is Telling Democrats What They Don’t Want to Hear

This is a longish and somewhat wonky piece, but well worth the read. In a nut shell one of the left's more clever pollsters and data analysts is cautioning that the Democratic Party is alienating moderates and some working class of all ethnic backgrounds in ways that could spell long term disaster for their party. Almost as fascinating as the article is the comments section (now closed). I had no idea there were that many moderate Democrats and a lot of them have apparently been waiting for someone to give them a voice. Some of these folks are hopping mad. There are people claiming to have never voted for a Republican and who are saying they would vote for Liz Cheney over a Bernie Sanders/AOC bot in the next presidential election. 

Nicea II and Papal Supremacy

Monday, October 04, 2021

100 Years Ago

The first true "subway series" is set when the Yankees win the AL pennant beating the Athletics. They will play the National League champion New York Giants in a best of nine games series.  Because the Yankees do not yet have their own stadium, all games will be played at the Giants home field, the Polo Grounds. 

Story here.

Things money can and can't buy

Can buy: A seat for a 90 year old former television star on a rocket ship going into orbit. 

Can't buy: Common sense.

Friday, October 01, 2021

Alex Jones Held Liable for Defamation

Probably the best news I've read in weeks. Alex Jones, the serial liar who falsely claimed the Sandy Hook massacre was staged and who when challenged by the understandably distraught relatives of victims, sicced his lunatic followers on them even to the point of death threats, has been found guilty by default for defamation and the intentional infliction of emotional distress. Jones and his legal team have been repeatedly sanctioned for their "vexatious and generally bad faith response" to court orders and routine procedures related to legal discovery. On at least one previous occasion he was held in contempt of court. Jones will now face a jury trial to determine what damages are owed. FWIW I am not a fan of our hyper-litigious society, but there are times when recourse to the courts is justified. And this is one of them. Jones is a thoroughly despicable individual who inhabits the fringes \where extremist politics and conspiracy theories intersect with a long history of spreading the most outrageous lies. And when called out, his customary defense is claiming that he is just an entertainer. I sincerely hope that when the jury hands down its damages that Alex Jones is left walking out of that courthouse in his boxer shorts.