Uncommon Sense

politics and society are, unfortunately, much the same thing

Student whistleblower: Diversity class presents multiple ‘isms’ as fact without allowing debate

Student whistleblower: Diversity class presents multiple ‘isms’ as fact without allowing debate
February 10, 2017 by NATHAN RUBBELKE

What does a fictional “Normal University” look like?

It’s a place full of racism, homophobia, toxic masculinity, white privilege and sexism, according to a diversity class currently taught at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

At UMass Amherst, students are required to take two “social justice” classes to earn diploma, and this course — Education 115: Embracing Diversity — fulfills one of those requirements.

In it, students must act out examples of racism to prove America is racist “from A to Z.” Students must also read about how society is dominated by “white privilege” and discuss ways to combat that. They’re charged with creating a mock sexual assault awareness campaign and taught U.S. society pushes male “domination” over women. Another assignment has them coming up with ways to make a university more welcoming to a low-income black lesbian majoring in engineering. New vocabulary words thrown at students include “internalized classism” and “cultural imperialism.” And a “Man Box” assignment teaches students that when men try to prove their masculinity it ends up “with frequently disastrous consequences.”

‘It was just these are the facts and that was it’

The class is led by Professor Benita Barnes, who has a definite liberal bias, a student who took the course told The College Fix.

“She really thinks that everyone [in the United States] is inherently racist or sexist, and I think she just thinks that the school is a subset of that,” said the student, who requested anonymity to speak freely on the course.

Barnes, both a professor and Director of Diversity Advancement, did not respond to a request for comment.

The student described the course as a “hostile” environment where the professor and some students would get agitated when comments were made pointing things out that might be false or when ideas were questioned.

“There were no real discussions. There [were] no debates or anything like that. It was just these are the facts and that was it,” said the student, who provided to The College Fix a stack of assignments from the course, which he took last fall.

According to the syllabus, “Embracing Diversity” is designed for first-year students and dedicated to how students can better see themselves and others “through an appreciation of attending college as a cultural experience, with its own unique set of rules, biases, and expectations.” The course, the syllabus adds, pushes to move “the discourse of diversity beyond mere tolerance, celebration, or appreciation.”

‘Embracing Diversity’

One reading assignment in the class, “Normal University and the Story of Sam,” tells the story of Sam, a low-income black lesbian who attends “Normal University,” an Ivy League-like university whose namesake had a role in the slave trade. Sam faces all sorts of oppression during her freshman year.

Her roommate’s friends make racist remarks, funds are diverted from the campus LGBTQ organization and a protest over the use of bathrooms remind her of stories shared “about the Jim Crow era.” To top it all off, she studies in a “male-centric” engineering department where a woman has never been promoted and tenured.

At the end of the reading, students in the course are tasked with choosing an option to make the university more welcoming for Sam.

This is one of many course assignments obtained by The College Fix that were included in the course and purport a society of racism, sexism and oppression.

The course, according to the syllabus, used a “team-based learning” strategy and included numerous in-class activities that pertained to the class’s five modules.

Here’s a few examples:

Module 2: ‘Men have domination over women thus they (women) become their property’

Covering “Inequality and Oppression,” module 2 included a reading about “Social Justice University.” The case study explained four “folk beliefs” regarding sexual assault and, at the end, tasked students with creating a mock sexual assault awareness campaign for the fake university.

Expanding on one of the four “folk beliefs,” the reading stated “our society has socialized both men and women to believe that men have domination over women thus they (women) become their property as well as are required to bend to their wants and wishes.”

The document goes on to say that when a man acts aggressive or possessive towards a significant other, “women internalize this (bad) behavior as acceptable and end up feeling ‘loved’ as opposed to harmed.”

Module 3: Racism ‘from A-Z’

Dubbed “Race, Racism, and (White) Privilege,” the course’s third module included readings titled “What is Racial Domination?,” “Understanding White Privilege” and “White Institutional Presence: The Impact of Whiteness on Racial Campus Climate.”

An in-class assignment told students “examples of racism can be found in our society from A-Z.” To prove it, students were given 15 letters and had to “identify an act, behavior, law, practice, etc., past or present, that exemplifies racism.”

Module 4: ‘Internalized classism,’ ‘privilege,’ ‘cultural imperialism’

Dealing with “Class and Classism,” a Module 4 class activity required students to define terms like “internalized classism, “privilege” and “cultural imperialism.”

At the end of the assignment, students were asked “what are the possibilities and restraints of what students can do to create a less classist environment on campus?”

The assignment also called for students to apply five of the defined words to the stories of Emily and Matthew, two Amherst College students profiled in the book “Speaking of Race and Class: The Student Experience at an Elite College.”

Emily came to campus unsure how to talk to black students and was once called “White Trash.” However, she forms a diverse set of friends but begins to see people back home as close-minded and judgmental.

“I would never want to bring my gay friend home or my black friend,” she said in her account.

Conversely, Matthew came from an affluent family but also broadened his social group in college.

“He embraced the exposure, the learning, and the people he met and liked, all the while while increasing the awareness of his relative privilege,” the book states.

Module 5: The ‘Man Box’

The course’s final module dealt with “Gender and Sexism” and students watched the film “Guyland: Where boys become men.”

According to a class assignment, the 36-minute film “maps the troubling social world where boys become men” and shows how men try to prove their masculinity “with frequently disastrous consequences for young women and other young men.”

Following the movie, students created a “Man Box,” which the assignment described as “a figurative box made up of acceptable qualities for men to possess and society’s expectations of how men must act.”

Terms inside the box included “objectifies women, emotionless, aggressive and dominant.” The assignment forced student to either pull six traits from the box or add six from a separate list of positive traits. Words on the latter included “honest,” “open minded” and “ambitious.”

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What happens to societies that embrace a right to die?

Holland has been on the bleeding edge of the “right to die” movement, a movement employing Physician Assisted Suicide (PAS). Most people supporting this supposed right have never actually thought through the long term consequences on a grand scale, and that is true of such supporters in the U.S. as well as Europe.

Just last month the DailyMail reported a Dutch doctor killed an elderly patient, a woman over the age of 80. The patient at some earlier time expressed a wish to be euthanized, but later (several times) expressed her desire to live. When the doctor decided it was the “right time” to perform the medicalized killing she drugged the patient without the woman’s knowledge. But the patient unexpectedly awoke during the lethal injection and struggled and resisted so much the doctor asked the family to hold her down. The patient’s right to change her mind seems to have been entirely ignored. Or does the patient even have such a right?

During the court proceedings, the panel charged with handling the matter wanted the case to go to court not to prosecute the doctor, but to have “greater clarity” on the rights of the physician who engages in medicalized killing. Read the full article to see the horrific reasoning used to justify the situation. Those of you who didn’t have your head buried in the sand during the Obamacare debates may remember warnings of “death panels” and other dangers that corrupt health care by allowing elitist government bureaucrats to interfere. Keep in mind, the right to die movement is already here in the U.S. and is growing with the help of various left wing groups.

This is by no means the first incident of PAS where the patient was euthanized against their wishes. But when a society embraces the right to die, with not only the approval but also with the assistance of the state, any person capable of thinking past their own nose should see the obvious problems that will arise. In the name of a persons’s “choice” to die we are seeing government endorsement of medicalized killing without the patient’s consent.

How does government-endorsed medicalized killing go so wrong? Ryan T. Anderson examines this important question in his report Always Care, Never Kill: How Physician-Assisted Suicide Endangers the Weak, Corrupts Medicine, Compromises the Family, and Violates Human Dignity and Equality from March, 2015. It’s a lengthy report but touches on very important issues such as:

  • changing how society deals with the marginalized
  • fundamentally altering the doctor-patient relationship
  • compromising the nature of the family
  • damaging the essential premise of human dignity

It might be funny if this weren’t so serious hearing people pretend to be well informed on this issue while they insulate themselves from the anti-euthanasia side of the debate. When “thinking for yourself” involves intentionally avoiding a view you disagree with (which implies you may not actually know what you disagree with) it becomes a euphemism for not thinking at all. If you claim to care about people you should read the full report. And while you do, think about how compassionate a health care system is when the state is run by enlightened people who think overpopulation is one of the greatest dangers the world faces.

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Poop Nazis

original article: Poop Nazis
Dec 14, 2015 by Mike Adams

Matt Walsh is among the best conservative writers in America. I appreciate his insights on a number of issues. I was especially happy when he wrote about the recent race debacle at the University of Missouri (Mizzou). However, I think his correct observations about the veracity of certain alleged hate crime claims were supplemented with an incomplete analysis of their causes. I write today to offer some additional insights, if not incites.

First, as Walsh points out, if someone made a swastika out of fecal matter, it would not have been an example of anti-Semitism. Just as someone covering an American flag in fecal matter would have been expressing anti-American sentiment, a poop swastika would have been a statement against Nazism. In other words, the rise of a Turd Reich would have been a statement against the Third Reich. Of course, people who write messages with their own poo are seldom led by reason. The same is true of those who concoct stories about non-existent poop crimes.

Second, none of this is relevant to the Black Lives Matter movement. Black civil rights leaders – all the way from Farrakhan to Jackson to Sharpton – have long been openly anti-Semitic. It’s been that way ever since Martin Luther King was assassinated. In fact, Black Lives Matter should apologize for attempting to build a phony civil rights movement on the foundation of a very real Holocaust.

Given their obvious illegitimacy, what can be said about the causes of these contrived incidents? Matt Walsh believes the cause is simply immaturity. But I think immaturity is just another effect from a common cause. That common cause is better described as narcissism. It is a growing narcissism that I have been dealing with for 45 semesters as a college professor.

When I first became a professor in the early nineties, the universities had just started implementing speech codes. These codes promised students they had a right to be free from being offended. It didn’t take long for the most self-absorbed students to demand that the university make good on the promise of an offense-free environment. I’ll share just one early and salient example.

In 1993, the first time I taught Introduction to Criminology, a black student was offended by my explanation of Social Disorganization Theory, which is a theory of juvenile delinquency. She thought the theory was anti-diversity because it implied that ethnically diverse neighborhoods were less cohesive and thus more likely to experience crime. She announced in class that I had offended her and demanded I stop teaching the theory. It was a harbinger of things to come.

In more recent years, our university administration has supplemented the speech codes with campus “safe spaces.” They have also printed up “ally” stickers for faculty members to put on their doors. That way, if the KKK suddenly appears on campus attempting to lynch blacks, feminists, and homosexuals, the students have a place to run and hide.

But that hasn’t happened. Instead, leftist students have started trolling Facebook pages looking for comments they deem “offensive” or that make them feel “unsafe.” Some actually file complaints with the Dean of Students about faculty and student speech expressed on social media. In other words, students actively seek out dissenting opinions made off campus, pretend to be offended and threatened, and then use the false claims to get authorities to intervene and restore their sense of comfort and safety on campus.

Like their Marxist professors, they seek global domination. They want to turn the entire world into one giant safe space where only their ideas are disseminated. If Matt Walsh had it right and all of this was simple immaturity we could expect students to grow out of it. But none of these students ever contemplated feigning offense in order to silence dissent before going off to college. In other words, it is not something they failed to grow out of (like ending sentences with prepositions). It is something they grew into with the help of campus leftists.

The combination of this new generation’s narcissism and the old generation’s ideology is potent. The only good news is that leftist students have started going after the jobs of leftist administrators who refuse to accede to their demands.

Hopefully, some day history will be revised to say that one Marxist consumed many.

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A Truly Honest Leftist Says Our Incomes Are the “Rightful Property” of Government

original article: A Truly Honest Leftist Says Our Incomes Are the “Rightful Property” of Government
September 21, 2015 by Dan Mitchell

In a perverse way, I admire leftists who openly express their desire for bigger government and less liberty.

That’s why I (sort of) applauded when Matthew Yglesias wrote in favor of confiscatory tax rates while admitting the government wouldn’t generate any revenue.

And I gave Katrina vanden Heuvel credit for openly admitting her desire to redefine “freedom” so that it means a claim on other people’s income and property.

Both are proposing horrible policy, of course, but at least they’re honest about their goals and motivations. Unlike politicians, they’re not trying to disguise their intentions behind poll-tested platitudes.

We can now add another person to our list of honest leftists. The new leader of the Labour Party in the United Kingdom, Jeremy Corbyn, is a British version of Bernie Sanders, except he really is a socialist who believes in government ownership and control of business. And the chief economic adviser to Corbyn is Richard Murphy.

And, as reported by the U.K.-based Sun, Mr. Murphy openly says everyone’s income belongs to government.

Chartered accountant Richard Murphy, 57, is the brains behind the “Corbynomics” strategy of renationalisation, higher taxes and printing millions of pounds in “new” money. …his bizarre ideas have already sparked fears among Britain’s top economic experts… One of Murphy’s strategies was revealed in August 2014… The dad-of-two claimed taxpayers’ money was NOT their own – and was instead the state’s “rightful property”. Murphy said: “I would suggest that we don’t as such pay taxes. The funds that they represent are, I suggest, in fact the property of the state.”

To be fair, sometimes people mangle their words. To cite one hypothetical example, accidentally omitting a  word like “not” might totally change the meaning of a sentence and give a journalist an opportunity to make a speaker look foolish.

So maybe Mr. Murphy didn’t really mean to say that the government has first claim on everyone’s income.

But if you continue reading, it becomes apparent that he really does believe that government is daddy and the rest of us are children who may be lucky enough to get some allowance.

“…if we give the state the power to define what we can own, how we can own it and, to a very large degree, what we can do with it – and we do – then I would argue that we also give the state the right to say that some part of what we earn or own is actually its rightful property and that we have no choice but pay that tax owed as the quid pro quo of the benefit we enjoy from living in community. Murphy went on: “Well let me inform you that there is no such thing as ‘taxpayers’ money’: it is the government’s money to do what it will with in accordance with the mandate it has been given and for which it will have to account.

Wow, this truly gives us a window into the soul of statism.

Though let’s be fair to Murphy. He’s simply stating that untrammeled majoritarianism is a moral basis for public policy, even if it means 51 percent of the population ravages 49 percent of the population. And that’s an accurate description of how economic policy works in the United States ever since the Supreme Court decided to toss out the Constitution’s limits on the power of the federal government.

Moreover, Murphy’s view is basically reflected inthe “tax expenditure” concept used in Washington and the “state aid” concept in the European Union.

None of this justifies Murphy’s poisonous ideology. Instead, I’m simply making the grim point that statists already have achieved some of their goals.

But maybe it will be easier to counter further attacks on economic liberty now that Murphy has openly said what his side wants.

P.S. There are two types of honest leftists. Richard Murphy, like Matt Yglesias and Katrina vanden Heuvel, are honest in that they openly state what they really believe, even when it exposes their radical agenda.

Some other folks on the left have a better type of honesty. They’re willing to admit when there is a contradiction between statist ideology and real-world results. Just look at what Justin Cronin and Jeffrey Goldberg wrote about gun control and whatNicholas Kristof wrote about government-created dependency.

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Is feminism anti-human?

Feminism is far from a monolithic single-minded entity. There is vast diversity of thought within feminism, and not all denominations of the movement agree with one another. Some wings of feminism are not even acknowledged by others. Part of the problem is that, while all feminists at least seem to be fighting for equality for women, not all of them actually are fighting for that goal.

Among the nuance one might have noticed 3 primary schools of thought within feminism: the pro-equality school, the pro-women school, and the anti-male school. The latter has a fairly bad reputation in western culture with the most extreme flavors of feminism falling into this category. That reputation, sadly, is well earned. It should not have to be said that an anti-male attitude is not the same as a pro-woman attitude, and certainly not a pro-equality one. This radical brand presumes to be the primary voice for women in the world. This ultra-left flavor of feminism gives all feminism a bad name and it should be called out for what it is. So what is it exactly that needs to be called out?

First, not all brands of feminism are inherently Marxian, as is the ultra-left anti-male feminism. Marxism teaches, among other things, that life can be understood as a contest between oppressors and the oppressed. The problem with this mentality is that it is tragically reductive, over simplifying life to a simple equation utterly dependent on fomenting anger and bitterness. In the anti-male feminist school this amounts to treating men as inherent, inevitable enemies of women. To understand life in these terms is not to understand life at all. While plenty of evidence can be found to support this rabid view of life, to maintain such view the believer must ignore most of life’s experiences or distort them in a way as to confirm the predetermined bias. Any confirming evidence is treated as the norm (i.e., “rape culture”), and conflicting evidence treated as an aberration, if acknowledged at all. This is how confirmation bias works, but it is not how understanding (or intellectual honesty) works.

Second, the anti-male school of thought unintentionally ends up being anti-woman. Think about it. What are the most common ways extreme feminists advocate to empower women? By urging women to act more like men! Women are denigrated for living a lifestyle which militant feminists would ridicule as “gender stereotypes”. Motherhood is often treated as a form of slavery, marriage as a form of oppression. The maternal instinct is regarded as something like a disease that must be educated out of a women in order to free them. In this way womanhood itself is denigrated and shunned. Women are instead encouraged to abandon traditional hallmarks of womanhood and instead become aggressive, like men. On the one hand we have the feminization or Oprahfication of men and the masculinization of women, both of which are designed to reduce men and women to a politically correct delusion where the sexes are the same. Not equal, mind you – the same. Treating people equally is one thing, trying to make them the same is quite another. You are not the same as other people in the world, you are a unique person. You are more than your sex organs or life choices. But the militant wing of feminism has made it seem they reduce women to mere tools, politically viable weapons and force women into a victim mindset. Whether that was the intent of this brand of feminism, this is in fact how it makes itself appear.

Which leads us to a third issue with militant feminism: it is anti-freedom. We are not allowed to think for ourselves regarding militant feminism. If these feminists see a situation as the oppression of women, even falsely accusing men of rape is blindly accepted as truth, where there is no need to verify any evidence. If something is deemed sexist we are not permitted to view the situation is any other way. (Some feminists insist the tradition form of narrative (story telling) is sexist because it models the male sexual experience – as if that were the only legitimate way to think of narrative).

Ruling in Twitter harassment trial could have enormous fallout for free speech
July 14, 2015 by Christie Blatchford

Likewise, women find militant feminism attempts to control them by pushing for some choices and denigrating others. A woman who has a college degree is often pressured into following a career, as if she has an obligation to womanhood to do this. If such a woman instead, of her own will, chooses to be a home maker and mother, that same woman can expect to be treated as a traitor to her sex or as a blind zombie mindlessly falling into a patriarchal trap. Women are encouraged to treat sexuality with the same selfish, consequence-free fantasy (and childish) attitude men are often criticized for. With bully tactics like this (telling other people what to think) we find militant feminists constructing a way of womanhood while claiming to abhor social constructs.

At the end of the day it seems modern feminism (the anti-male type) is intent on destroying anything feminine in women, even the freedom to make their own life choices.

On the other hand there are women who fight for equal rights for women without devoting their lives to attacking men. Such women have the misfortune of being attacked by extremist feminists but they also offer a far better picture of empowering women. These women fight an uphill battle against a hyper-politicized and well funded extreme left wing brand of feminism.

One such woman is Christina Hoff Sommers of The Factual Feminist. Sommers is an academic who does not allow falsehoods and fraudulent augments to pass for truth in feminist circles. She challenges bogus data and politically motivated bunk because feminist fraud doesn’t help women, it harms real efforts to help them.

Another woman fighting against bogus feminism is the infamous Phyllis Schlafly. I say “infamous” because Schlafly is often accused of being anti-woman. I’ve seen Schlafly in person and read numerous criticisms of her. I can’t help but notice a deliberate effort to misconstrue and mischaracterize her work by those who accuse her of being against women. Besides, Schlafly’s experiences show she didn’t need a militant feminist movement to earn her education or establish her career – she did all that before most modern feminists were even born (let alone “helped her” achieve what she has achieved). I’ll let her tell her own story:

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Unraveling the Poverty Myths Obama Is Promoting

original article: Unraveling the Poverty Myths Obama Is Promoting
May 18, 2015 by Stephen Moore

Our class warrior in chief was at it again last week complaining about our “ideological divides that have prevented us from making progress” in solving problems like poverty. Just when you thought you’d heard it all.

Our most ideological president perhaps ever is arguing that there is too much ideology in Washington. Wow. Apparently an ideology is a firmly held belief that is held by other people—especially those on the right.

In a discussion on poverty at Georgetown University, the president managed to blame the slow-growth economy and stagnant wages on everything from Ayn Rand (who promoted “cold hearted policies” and classified everyone as a “moocher”) to California’s Proposition 13 (which is responsible for the Golden State’s dreadful schools). Everything has contributed to our current malaise except for his own failed policies.

Here’s a brief truth squad examination of Obama’s mythologies and misstatements of fact.

President Obama: “The stereotype is that you’ve got folks on the left who just want to pour more money into social programs, and don’t care anything about culture or parenting or family structures … ”

After more than $22 trillion spent on the War on Poverty since 1964 (in inflation adjusted dollars)—how is it a stereotype to say the left only wants to pour money at programs?

Just a few weeks ago the president blamed the Baltimore riots on Republicans for not spending and borrowing even more money on his social programs. He sounded like a parody of himself.

If the left really wants to advance cultural values like work, why do they oppose reforms to a welfare system that requires able-bodied adult Americans to work in exchange for receiving welfare benefits like food stamps?

Obama: “It is a mistake for us to suggest that somehow every effort we make has failed and we are powerless to address poverty. That’s just not true. First of all, just in absolute terms, the poverty rate when you take into account tax and transfer programs, has been reduced about 40 percent since 1967.”

There are two problems with this defense of the welfare state. First, the official poverty was falling before 1965 and at a faster rate than after the Great Society got rolling in the mid-1960s. This official poverty rate has remained virtually stagnant since the War on Poverty began.

Second, the decline in poverty that Obama is boasting about is only after taking into account tax credits and government handouts and welfare benefits. When excluding these programs there has been little progress at all.

Redistribution may have raised the material living standards of some of the poor. But it has not increased self-sufficiency.

The original purpose of the welfare state was to lift people into self-sufficiency, not to create a permanent underclass dependent on taxpayers. Lyndon Johnson told us when he started these programs that “the days of the dole are numbered.” We have passed day 18,000.

Obama also wants it both ways. He says over and over, even in this speech, that the biggest problem with the economy is income inequality because the rich are getting richer and the poor poorer. So if the poor are getting poorer, how have his social programs worked to reduce poverty?

Obama: “In some ways, rather than soften the edges of the market, we’ve turbocharged it.”

Wait, we’ve turbo-charged the free market? When? Where?

Obama: “There are programs that work to provide ladders of opportunity … but we just haven’t figured out how to scale them up.”

Hold on. One of the few programs that has proven to provide “a ladder of opportunity” is the Washington D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program for roughly 1,500 kids each year to attend private schools. They are all poor and almost all black. The graduation rates for these kids have improved in some cases markedly.

But guess who doesn’t want to “scale up” this successful program (which is, by the way, one of the few programs that would actually be appropriate for the federal government to scale up)? In every budget Obama has submitted, he has proposed eliminating the program.

It’s more than a little hypocritical for a president who sends his own daughters to private schools that cost $30,000 a year to prevent poor children in Washington, D.C., from attending those same schools.

Obama: “And so over time, families frayed. Men who could not get jobs left. Mothers who are single are not able to read as much to their kids.”

The president acts as though “families frayed” by accident. No, there were major cultural shifts that contributed to the major decline in marriage and rise in unwed births, not to mention the introduction of a massive government welfare system that financially took the place of the father.

In 1960, not even one in four black children were born without a father in the home. By 2013 that number had soared, tragically, to nearly three of every four black children being born outside of marriage. As economist Thomas Sowellhas put it: “the black family survived centuries of slavery and generations of Jim Crow, but it disintegrated in the wake of the liberals’ expansion of the welfare state.”

Obama: “You look at state budgets, you look at city budgets, and you look at federal budgets, and we don’t make those same common investments that we used to. … And there’s been a very specific ideological push not to make those investments.”

In 1950 total state, local and federal government spending was just over $500 billion (in constant 2015 dollars) and 22.2 percent of our GDP. Today it is nearly $6 trillion and 33 percent of our GDP. Under Obama federal spending will reach $4 trillion next year and borrowing to finance these “common investments” will have risen by $8 trillion over his tenure.

The only thing that has been underfunded over the last decade is middle-class family incomes, which have stagnated.

Obama: “We don’t dispute that the free market is the greatest producer of wealth in history—it has lifted billions of people out of poverty. We believe in property rights, rule of law, so forth.”

No, you don’t. And that’s the whole problem.

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It’s Come To This: Having Good Parents Is An ‘Unfair Advantage’

original article: It’s Come To This: Having Good Parents Is An ‘Unfair Advantage’
May 7, 2015 by Elise Hilton

“One way philosophers might think about solving the social justice problem would be by simply abolishing the family. If the family is this source of unfairness in society then it looks plausible to think that if we abolished the family there would be a more level playing field.”

“Why are families a good thing exactly?”

“We should accept that lots of stuff that goes on in healthy families—and that our theory defends—will confer unfair advantage.”

One of my co-workers thought he was reading an article from the satirical website The Onion. Alas, that is not the case. No, these are quotes from philosopher Adam Swift, who believes we must acknowledge the “fact” that children growing up in an intact, mom-and-pop family have an “unfair advantage” to those children who don’t. Even worse, he thinks we should set things aright.

Frontpage, calling Swift a “liberal egalitarian sociologist with an interest in social justice” (and if that doesn’t give you the heebie-jeebies, I don’t know what will), quotes Swift as saying that parents shouldn’t stop reading bedtime stories to their tykes, but we should feel guilty about it. Think about all those kids who aren’t being read to. This is the “liberal egalitarian social justice” equivalent to Mom telling you to eat your veggies because there are kids who are starving in Africa.

Swift and his ilk, rather than seeing that mom and dad kicking the soccer ball around with the kids after dinner is a good thing and we need more of it, believe we should take a parent out of the picture or scrap the family bonding time. What? We have a formula for family that we know works well, produces healthy marriages and healthy kids, but since some people don’t have that, we should do away with the good that we have? Who thinks like this?

Daniel Greenfield:

I’ve come to the conclusion that the West is unfairly advantaged by having so many sociologists, critical race theorists and social justice warriors. If we all deported them to poor countries, they could finally catch up to us in the field of social justice.

As much as it might pain us to lose these demented parasites respected academics, it’s the right thing to do. No longer will we enjoy our vast advantages in sociology and theories on gendered icebergs (yes it’s a thing). The rest of the world will now be able to benefit from having a declining economy and an academic environment that consists of crazy people denouncing others for thoughtcrimes.

Mr. Swift, please stay in your ivory tower. You can write in heady academic journals that three of your colleagues read. The rest of us will be snuggled in bed with our kids, enjoying “Goodnight, Moon” and “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.”

Read “Is having a loving family an unfair advantage?” at ABC.

children, culture, extremism, family, ideology, justice, left wing, liberalism, marxism, nanny state, oppression, philosophy, political correctness, progressive, propaganda, relativism, socialism, victimization

Filed under: children, culture, extremism, family, ideology, justice, left wing, liberalism, marxism, nanny state, oppression, philosophy, political correctness, progressive, propaganda, relativism, socialism, victimization

Obama To Americans: You Don’t Deserve To Be Free

December 31, 2013 by Harry Binswanger

President Obama’s Kansas speech is a remarkable document. In calling for more government controls, more taxation, more collectivism, he has two paragraphs that give the show away. Take a look at them.

there is a certain crowd in Washington who, for the last few decades, have said, let’s respond to this economic challenge with the same old tune. “The market will take care of everything,” they tell us. If we just cut more regulations and cut more taxes–especially for the wealthy–our economy will grow stronger. Sure, they say, there will be winners and losers. But if the winners do really well, then jobs and prosperity will eventually trickle down to everybody else. And, they argue, even if prosperity doesn’t trickle down, well, that’s the price of liberty.

Now, it’s a simple theory. And we have to admit, it’s one that speaks to our rugged individualism and our healthy skepticism of too much government. That’s in America’s DNA. And that theory fits well on a bumper sticker. (Laughter.) But here’s the problem: It doesn’t work. It has never worked. (Applause.) It didn’t work when it was tried in the decade before the Great Depression. It’s not what led to the incredible postwar booms of the ’50s and ’60s. And it didn’t work when we tried it during the last decade. (Applause.) I mean, understand, it’s not as if we haven’t tried this theory.

Though not in Washington, I’m in that “certain crowd” that has been saying for decades that the market will take care of everything. It’s not really a crowd, it’s a tiny group of radicals–radicals for capitalism, in Ayn Rand’s well-turned phrase.

The only thing that the market doesn’t take care of is anti-market acts: acts that initiate physical force. That’s why we need government: to wield retaliatory force to defend individual rights.

Radicals for capitalism would, as the Declaration of Independence says, use government only “to secure these rights”–the rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness. (Yes, I added “property” in there–property rights are inseparable from the other three.)

That’s the political philosophy on which Obama is trying to hang the blame for the recent financial crisis and every other social ill. But ask yourself, are we few radical capitalists in charge? Have radical capitalists been in charge at any time in the last, oh, say 100 years?

I pick 100 years deliberately, because it was exactly 100 years ago that a gigantic anti-capitalist measure was put into effect: the Federal Reserve System. For 100 years, government, not the free market, has controlled money and banking. How’s that worked out? How’s the value of the dollar held up since 1913? Is it worth one-fiftieth of its value then or only one-one-hundredth? You be the judge. How did the dollar hold up over the 100 years before this government take-over of money and banking? It actually gained slightly in value.

Laissez-faire hasn’t existed since the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890. That was the first of a plethora of government crimes against the free market.

Radical capitalists are just beginning to have a slight effect on the Right wing. The overwhelming majority on the Right are eclectic. Which is a nice way of saying inconsistent.

The typical Republican would never, ever say “the market will take care of everything.” He’d say, “the market will take care of most things, and for the other things, we need the regulatory-welfare state.”

They are for individualism–except when they are against it. They are against free markets and individualism not only when they agree with the Left that we must have antitrust laws and the Federal Reserve, but also when they demand immigration controls, government schools, regulatory agencies, Medicare, laws prohibiting abortion, Social Security, “public works” projects, the “social safety net,” laws against insider trading, banking regulation, and the whole system of fiat money.

Obama blames economic woes, some real some manufactured (“inequality”) on a philosophy and policy that was abandoned a century ago. What doesn’t exist is what he says didn’t work.

Obama absurdly suggests that timid, half-hearted, compromisers, like George W. Bush, installed laissez-faire capitalism–on the grounds that they tinkered with one or two regulations (Glass-Steagall) and marginal tax rates–while blanking out the fact that under the Bush administration, government spending ballooned, growing much faster than under Clinton, and 50,000 new regulations were added to the Federal Register.

The philosophy of individualism and the politics of laissez-faire would mean government spending of about one-tenth its present level. It would also mean an end to all regulatory agencies: no SEC, FDA, NLRB, FAA, OSHA, EPA, FTC, ATF, CFTC, FHA, FCC–to name just some of the better known of the 430 agencies listed in the federal register.

Even you, dear reader, are probably wondering how on earth anyone could challenge things like Social Security, government schools, and the FDA. But that’s not the point. The point is: these statist, anti-capitalist programs exist and have existed for about a century. The point is: Obama is pretending that the Progressive Era, the New Deal, and the Great Society were repealed, so that he can blame the financial crisis on capitalism. He’s pretending that George Bush was George Washington.

We radical capitalists say that it was the regulatory-welfare state that imploded in 2008. You may disagree, but let’s argue that out, rather than engaging in the Big Lie that what failed was laissez-faire and individualism.

The question is: in the messy mixture of government controls and remnants of capitalism, which element caused the Great Depression and the recent financial crisis?

By raising that question, we uncover the fundamental: the meaning of capitalism and the meaning of government controls. Capitalism means freedom. Government means force.

Suddenly, the whole issue comes into focus: Obama is saying that freedom leads to poverty and force leads to wealth. He’s saying: “Look, we tried leaving you free to live your own life, and that didn’t work. You have to be forced, you have to have your earnings seized by the state, you have to work under our directions–under penalty of fines or imprisonment. You don’t deserve to be free.”

As a bit of ugly irony, this is precisely what former white slave-owners said after the Civil War: “The black man can’t handle freedom; we have to force him for his own good.” The innovation of the Left is to extend that viewpoint to all races.

Putting the issue as force vs. freedom shows how the shoe is on the other foot regarding what Obama said. Let me re-write it:

there is a certain crowd in Washington who, for the last few decades, have said, let’s respond to this economic challenge with the same old tune. “The government will take care of everything,” they tell us. If we just pile on even more regulations and raise taxes–especially on the wealthy–our economy will grow stronger. Sure, they say, there will be winners and losers. But if the losers are protected by more social programs and a higher minimum wage, if there is more Quantitative Easing by the Fed, then jobs and prosperity will eventually trickle up to everybody else. And, they argue, even if prosperity doesn’t trickle up, well, that’s the price of the social safety net.

Now, it’s a simple theory. And we have to admit, it’s one that speaks to our intellectuals’ collectivism and Paul Krugman’s skepticism about freedom. That’s in Harvard’s DNA. And that theory fits well on a bumper sticker. (Laughter.) But here’s the problem: It doesn’t work. It has never worked. (Applause.) It didn’t work when it was tried in the Soviet Union. It’s not what led to the incredible booms in India and China. And it didn’t work when Europe tried it during over the last decades. (Applause.) I mean, understand, it’s not as if we haven’t tried this statist theory.

How does that sound? That’s blaming an actual, existing condition–government controls and wealth-expropriation–not a condition that ended in the late 19th century.

So which is the path to prosperity and happiness–freedom or force? Remember that force is aimed at preventing you from acting on your rational judgment.

Obama’s real antagonist is Ayn Rand, who made the case that reason is man’s basic means of survival and coercion is anti-reason. Force initiated against free, innocent men is directed at stopping them from acting on their own thinking. It makes them, under threat of fines and imprisonment, act as the government demands rather than as they think their self-interest requires. That’s the whole point of threatening force: to make people act against their own judgment.

The radical, uncompromised, laissez-faire capitalism that Obama pretends was in place in 2008 is exactly what morality demands. Because, as Ayn Rand wrote in 1961: “No man has the right to initiate the use of physical force against others. . . . To claim the right to initiate the use of physical force against another man–the right to compel his agreement by the threat of physical destruction–is to evict oneself automatically from the realm of rights, of morality and of the intellect.”

Obama and his fellow statists have indeed evicted themselves from that realm.

original article: Obama To Americans: You Don’t Deserve To Be Free

bullies, capitalism, economics, economy, elitism, government, ideology, indoctrination, left wing, liberalism, lies, marxism, nanny state, oppression, pandering, political correctness, politics, progressive, propaganda, public policy, relativism, socialism

Filed under: bullies, capitalism, economics, economy, elitism, government, ideology, indoctrination, left wing, liberalism, lies, marxism, nanny state, oppression, pandering, political correctness, politics, progressive, propaganda, public policy, relativism, socialism

Is the U.N. really interested in peace?

It’s easy to believe some people and difficult to believe others, even at their own words.

Some would have us believe Hamas is a humanitarian organization despite the fact their own charter strongly suggests otherwise. One might not realize ISIS is a similar organization to Hamas. Given the prevailing news coverage over the Gaza conflict and surprising lack of coverage about the atrocities of ISIS (did you know about this?) one may wonder what is really going on out there.

For those of you who abstain from the news (I know there are many of you) you may accidentally have heard some talk about the conflict between the Palestinians and Israel. Given the controversial nature of the war (as propaganda is also a standard weapon of modern war) it’s only natural to seek a higher, reliable source of information apart from the parties directly involved (at least for those who aren’t abstaining from the news). For many, this means the United Nations.

But there are legitimate questions as to the credibility of the U.N.

If you read nothing else linked in this post, I highly recommend at least reading Charles Krauthammer’s Moral clarity in Gaza.

It is true that war can be irreconcilably complicated, both in its implementation and in its causes. However, there are also ways to prolong war rather than end it quickly. Concern for the asymmetrical nature of the Gaza conflict often leads to calls for “restraint” from Israel. These calls sound like a desire for the war capability on both sides to be “fair” so both sides can pummel each other more equally. This does not help end war more quickly, it prolongs war. Time and again, conflict after conflict, calls for peace often have the result of postponing hostilities, while the participants take time to regroup and set up for another onslaught. This is particularly true of ceasefires in Gaza, where Palestinian militant groups take advantage of ceasefires in this very way (often while ignoring or violating ceasefires).

So it’s healthy to ask questions about these things, if understanding is really a priority for us. For example, we might ask what sort of ideas does the U.N. promote for regions suffering the ravages of war?

Nations Silent as UN Presents Plan to Push Abortion in War-Torn Countries

New York, NY (CFAM/LifeNews) — A new UN directive to promote abortion in war-torn areas went unchallenged when it was presented to member states at UN headquarters last week.

The high level UN officials who presented a guidance note of the Secretary-General with the new directive in a packed meeting room at UN headquarters were visibly anxious. It is the first time the Secretary-General has openly instructed UN staff and officials to promote abortion. No one used the term “abortion” during the meeting, but it was clearly on everyone’s mind.

Officials and delegates looked around furtively, scouting the room as if to anticipate where the challenge might come from. In the end, the challenge never came.

So, for war-torn areas, the U.N. essentially promotes killing more people. Under the auspices of “sustainability” the U.N. also promotes abortion to help reduce poverty. Rather than looking at the productivity potential of population growth the U.N. overwhelmingly view issues from the perspective of a burden on resources. This has an unfortunate and remarkably uncompassionate result of viewing people merely as statistics rather than as people.

So what am I getting at? Well, the U.N. is publicly and unapologetically supportive of reducing population on the front end (the pre-born) to “help people” and help the world. And given the curious attitudes about current military conflicts one may begin to wonder if the U.N. also supports reducing population on the back end (the rest of us). Now if you’re thinking this is an outrageous suggestion, you might be right, or you might be wrong. If you think my suggestion is absurd because eugenics is such a horrid thing, you’d be right in thinking eugenics is a horrid thing. But you’d be wrong in thinking no one at the U.N. is seriously considering eugenics as a viable method of accomplishing anything.

So why not take the United Nations at their word? Because calling eugenics Eugenics stinks of Nazism, and yet the agenda is there none-the-less. So they avoid using politically charged words but promote the ideas behind those words. Pushing policies which intentionally reduce the world’s population is the modus operandi for the U.N. We should call it what it is: eugenics, elitism, evil.

The United Nations supports population reduction (for the greater good, of course), and abortion and war both accomplish this objective. So be careful when you hear people calling for peace but push ideas that don’t (and may not be meant to) actually end war. Saying “stop the killing” is naive and meaningless among those actually in the conflict. And there is no reason to believe Israel’s enemies are interested in stopping the killing, and why would they? They get tremendous political capital out of the carnage while Israel gets nothing but condemnation from the international community. Israel has every incentive to end the killing and yet the IDF goes out of its way to NOT totally obliterate the Palestinian people (which they have the capability of doing). The Palestinians want war, and the evidence suggests the United Nations might want war as well.

Claiming Hamas or Boko Haram or ISIS just want peace, that Israel is a force for evil, or that the U.N. wants what’s best for all sides doesn’t make it so. Policies and actions should speak louder than words on these issues and I suspect the U.N. may not be as beneficent as they claim.

abortion, anti-war, bias, elitism, eugenics, hypocrisy, ideology, indoctrination, islam, israel, left wing, liberalism, marxism, military, nanny state, pandering, philosophy, political correctness, propaganda, public policy, relativism, terrorism, tragedy, victimization, war

Filed under: abortion, anti-war, bias, elitism, eugenics, hypocrisy, ideology, indoctrination, islam, israel, left wing, liberalism, marxism, military, nanny state, pandering, philosophy, political correctness, propaganda, public policy, relativism, terrorism, tragedy, Uncategorized, victimization, war

IMF study: Government spending doesn’t make poor countries rich

August 12, 2014 by James Pethokoukis

New research from the International Monetary Fund undercuts the idea that “big push” infrastructure and other public investment projects can create accelerating economic growth and higher productivity in low-income countries:

This paper has examined whether major public investment drives in the past have served to promote or accelerate national economic growth. It is not about whether in theory public investment drives could accelerate growth, but rather whether in practice, with real governments deciding how to spend the funds and implementing investments, they have in fact accelerated growth.

The answer appears to be “probably very little”. This conclusion pertains to the drives – the big increases in public capital  spending – not necessarily to routine levels of public investment. And furthermore the evidence here  is not about whether public capital can promote growth by averting the emergence of bottlenecks. Major public investment campaigns continue to be advocated in several countries as a major trigger for economic growth, and on this issue, whether they have in fact triggered growth, the evidence for a positive effect of public capital on GDP or GDP growth is weak. … It is difficult to find a clear-cut example that fits the oft-repeated narrative of a public investment boom followed by acceleration in GDP growth. If anything the cases of clear-cut booms illustrate the opposite – major drives in the past have been followed by slumps rather than booms.

The FT’s Matthew Klein has an excellent write-up of the report. But as it so happens, the FT also features a commentary by Deirdre McCloskey outlining a different path to prosperity:

“Making men and women all equal. That I take to be the gist of our political theory.” This rejoinder to rightwingers who delight in rank and privilege is spoken by Lady Glencora Palliser, the free-spirited Liberal heroine of Anthony Trollope’s Phineas Finn. It encapsulates the cardinal error of much of the left.

Joshua Monk, one of the novel’s Radicals, sees through it. “Equality is an ugly word . . . and frightens,” he says. The aim of the true Liberal should not be equality but “lifting up those below him”. It is to be achieved not by redistribution but by free trade, compulsory education and women’s rights.

And so it came to pass. In the UK since 1800, or Italy since 1900, or Hong Kong since 1950, real income per head has increased by a factor of anywhere from 15 to 100, depending on how one allows for the improved quality of steel girders and plate glass, medicine and economics. …

All the foreign aid to Africa or South and Central America, for example, is dwarfed by the amount that nations in these areas would gain if the rich world abandoned tariffs and other protections for their agriculture industries. There are ways to help the poor – let the Great Enrichment proceed, as it has in China and India – but charity or expropriation are not the ways.

The Great Enrichment came from innovation, not from accumulating capital or exploiting the working classes or lording it over the colonies. Capital had little to do with it, despite the unhappy fact that we call the system “capitalism”. Capital is necessary. But so are water, labour, oxygen and pencils. The path to prosperity involves betterment, not piling brick on brick.

original article: IMF study: Government spending doesn’t make poor countries rich

bureaucracy, capitalism, charity, economics, fairness doctrine, foreign affairs, freedom, funding, government, liberalism, marxism, nanny state, philosophy, politics, poverty, public policy, socialism, spending, study, unintended consequences, welfare

Filed under: bureaucracy, capitalism, charity, economics, fairness doctrine, foreign affairs, freedom, funding, government, liberalism, marxism, nanny state, philosophy, politics, poverty, public policy, socialism, spending, study, unintended consequences, welfare

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