Thursday, December 11, 2008
At the time of the primary, I carried the same voting card to my polling place, requested a Republican ballot (the only person present, according to my eavesdropping, to do so), and cast my vote for Mitt Romney. Of course, they never ask for the card, since it's not a valid ID and the voter's name is supposed to be in the book. I took it anyway, just in case. Voting went off without a hitch. They looked up my name in the book, checked my driver's license, handed me the ballot, and I filled it out and dropped it in the box. No problems.
So I didn't think there would be any problems the day of the general election in November, either. I confidently strode up to the volunteer sitting behind the table and gave her my name. She flipped through the book... no dice. The other volunteer manning the other book (there was an A-L book and an M-Z book or something like that) checked his book too; I wasn't there either. I suggested some possible misspellings of my last name and they checked for those too. Nothing. I showed them the card, but it's not much: there's no voter ID number, just my name, polling place, and a list of the relevant districts in which I reside. They said that if my name wasn't in the book, they couldn't give me a ballot.
They got on the phone with someone downtown, and the answer that came back was that I should cast a provisional ballot. I'd fill out the ballot, but it wouldn't be counted until my registration was verified at the county office. I figured this wouldn't be a problem; since I was registered and had voted in the primary, the absence of my name in the book that day could only have been a minor clerical error, and I was sure they'd find that I was registered and promptly count the ballot.
Then, last week, I received a letter from the county Board of Elections. It stated that they had been unable to verify my registration, and suggested calling them if I believed I was registered. Otherwise, a new voter registration form was handily enclosed for my convenience.
Since I know I'm registered, I called on Wednesday. The person I spoke to checked the records and told me that the problem was that I had never signed my voter registration. Ah, I see, a simple mistake on my part... except that I'm holding a voter registration card in my hand, and I voted in the primary election, where I was on the books. Well, she said, the earliest activity our records show for you is this registration which is is June of this year.
In June of this year I was having my first ever experience in lab research by day, hanging out with friends by night. I was having no communication, direct or indirect, with the county Board of Elections. I voted, in person, in the primary election in the spring. My name was in the book then. In November, I returned to the same polling place, without having moved, changed my name, been convicted of a felony, been declared legally insane, or done anything else which one might suspect would result in a change in my voting registration. I was not on the book.
The woman on the phone said she could check the book from the primary. I said yes, I'd like her to do that. She said she'd call me back, hopefully later the same day. I haven't been called back.
I've never thought of myself as a potential conspiracy theorist, nor someone who complains about being victimized. As I said, I don't even know whether the county knows I consider myself a Republican. But I do live in the bluest county [sigh... I keep wanting to settle among like-minded people, but universities keep pulling me back in] in a swing state, and this was a very important election to the presumably mostly Democratic election officials. Is it too much to think that they purged Republicans from the voter rolls? Oh, right, only Republicans do that; the left only cares about fairness and justice for everyone. Except when said fairness doesn't produce the required results.
The specific result in this case is immaterial; Obama solidly carried the state and I voted for Chuck Baldwin anyway. But, if we're now entering an age where the left is going to use widespread corruption and underhanded trickery to prevent conservatives from voting, that in my mind proves how irreconcilably divided those in our society who want to destroy traditional America are from those of us who want to preserve it, so that only something as radical as revolution or civil war can settle our disputes.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Vanishing American recently had an entry on the Baby Boomers and how they're blamed for allowing our nation to start down the wrong path. My parents are Baby Boomers, and in many ways they represent the worst of that generation. They rebelled against "the system," they tuned in, turned on, and dropped out, they shacked up together before marriage at a time when it was still scandalous to do so, and the cumulative effect of millions of people doing so, starting with their generation, has led to the practice being totally accepted today. Still, like many if not most people, they have always been somewhat apolitical pragmatists. As someone with strong philosophical views, I've never understood how people can vacillate between the two major parties, sometimes voting Republican, sometimes Democrat, yet that is what my parents did in their younger years. My father, however, has since gone off the deep end, something I'm reminded of every time I talk to him.
He was a Reagan supporter in the 1980s, on the basis of limited government, wanting to keep more of his own income, and the idea that welfare was bad because we shouldn't have unproductive members of society leeching off productive people's money. I think he voted for George H.W. Bush in 1988, though in the subsequent elections he was a Clinton supporter. Now, however, he's become a raging leftist, and seems to be reading through all of Kevin Phillips' books. Again, this is something I have trouble grasping. How can one's views change that drastically? When that happens to someone, is it a sign that they never really held their old views deeply to begin with?
He is not, however, the kind of leftist often discussed at traditionalist websites: the kind whose main motivation is culturally left-wing philosophical views, for whom everything revolves around the notion that America, whites, and the West are racist and guilty and are oppressing "diverse" peoples. In fact, he has the makings of a race realist: he recently remarked, only semi-facetiously, in reference to the state of South Africa, "you can't put black people in charge of anything!" Rather, he's one of these "corporations" people--you know, the soak-the-rich kind, the kind for whom everything comes down to money. Our society is run by the rich, they're the movers and shakers, the people who pull the strings behind the scenes, and they've got everything rigged to benefit themselves and screw the rest of us, and the politicians are all in bed with them, their congressional votes bought with lobbyist money, buying themselves tax breaks and corporate welfare, etc. Everything comes down to money. Everything the rich and corporations do, they do it to enrich themselves; everything politicians do they do for bribes from the rich; meanwhile, it is foolish and wrong for the non-rich to consider anything other than their own short-term material gain (i.e., there is something the matter with Kansas.)
And it's impossible to argue against this; anytime I say anything that conflicts with this view, he insists it all comes down to money. I mentioned the mental health regulations that had been snuck into the bailout bill, and his immediate reaction was, "who paid for that?" I replied that I thought it was cultural; the left just thinks mental health is so important, and a great injustice is being done to so many people who are being denied the essential mental health coverage they so desperately need, and so on. He insisted that no, someone must be paying for it, there must be some lobby, someone must stand to get rich off of it and that's why it was in the bill. He reiterated his support for universal single-payer health care, saying that every time the people are polled, the people want it, but we don't listen to the people in this country, we listen to corporations. He said that McCain accused Obama of supporting single-payer, which he does not, meaning Obama's not leftist enough. He said that the powers that be are so entrenched that Obama doesn't represent enough change; he was disappointed with the Rahm Emmanuel pick because Emmanuel is an insider; what we need is another FDR who will get in there and make sweeping changes and say, "I don't care that this is illegal, it's what needs to be done." So he wants the executive to push the country so far to the left that he breaks the law in doing so. And Bush is the "imperial president"?!
Again, how does someone go from being a Reagan supporter to this, in 20 years?
A potential answer is in Aesop's fable of the Ant and the Grasshopper. My father has spent his life self-employed, and has never been good at managing money; not much of a businessman. (A trait I seem to have inherited, and one that perhaps shows there are different aspects of intelligence--despite having scored in the 99th percentile on the MCAT, I can't begin to fathom how people do things like play the stock market or manage a successful business.) In the 1980s, he was doing OK financially, supporting a family, and wanted to keep more of the money he earned. Now that he's near retirement age, however, he wants the government to wait on him hand and foot. Since he lived paycheck-to-paycheck and has no nest egg, now it's suddenly not fair that there are rich people who have more than he does. If true, this explanation shows how the everything-comes-down-to-money view feeds back on itself.
But I still can't quite grasp how someone can be so unprincipled. And while I do blame the baby boomers, I also blame the generation that raised them: the so-called "Greatest Generation," the one that elected and supported FDR. After all, they didn't actively turn against Western culture the way the baby boomers did; they were shocked and horrified at their children's rebellion. But they did pave the way for FDR and his New Deal, the introduction of socialism into the policy of the federal government, thus making it possible for FDR to be considered a hero today for ignoring the law to force economic redistribution and social welfare on the nation. And I wonder, if so many people are so unprincipled, if so many, however little they care for the culture of the West, care even less for the founding American principles of private property and self-reliance, can we really ever take this country back?
Saturday, November 1, 2008
What I already do know I will do, is stock up on at least a week's supply of food before Tuesday, since there's no telling how some of the residents of my, uh, diverse neighborhood will comport themselves in the event of a McCain victory, not to mention what kind of service I'll be able to expect at the grocery store across the street, which is staffed primarily by those same individuals. Of course, conditions may not be much better in the event of a Barack Hussein Obama victory, since it will be, to paraphrase Thurgood Marshall, their turn now.
As for self-defense, I've heard that some people are arming themselves to protect themselves from black rioters, but I won't be purchasing a gun between now and Tuesday. Though it's a weakness in my conservative credentials, I've never fired a gun in my life, and this being exam week, I'm certainly not going to learn enough to make an informed decision about a handgun purchase in the next two days. So, I will have to hunker down with my week's supply of food and hope for the best.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Is it just me, or does this come too close to starting a political argument in a setting where it shouldn't be considered appropriate? I'm sure political disagreements are as old as civilization itself, but I don't have the impression that people did things like this 50 years ago. But as our society has become more and more liberal, the left has felt more and more empowered to drive non-liberal beliefs out of the realm of respectability. I'm reminded of my former co-worker who thought everyone who owned guns or went to church lived in Kentucky, and my classmates who often make much more explicitly liberal statements in public in a way that indicates they assume everyone present agrees with them. We are witnessing the "I don't know how Nixon won; no one I know voted for him" effect writ large.
Saturday, August 30, 2008
First, let me remind readers of my view, contrary to some of the more optimistic (or maybe less pessimistic) traditionalists, that most white liberals will never wake up and abandon their liberalism. Nothing can dissuade them from the view that all people must be totally equal and that any problems associated with nonwhite, non-Western peoples are caused by white racism. They would literally rather die than come to believe otherwise. With that said, allow me to spell out a possible chain of events which could happen should Obama win in November.
- Barack Obama takes office in January of 2009.
- Despite having achieved what was thought of as the highest possible victory, putting a "black" man in the White House, blacks continue to lag behind whites in school achievement, in average income, in crime rates, and virtually every other commonly examined marker.
- Since everyone knows that blacks' problems are caused by systemic racism, this proves that America is even worse, even more racist, than we thought. We thought we had overcome racism by electing a black president, but far from overcoming it, we've discovered that it's even worse, because even having a black man in the White House has not made blacks equal.
- With their anger at whites inflamed by this supposed racism, and emboldened by the sense gained from having one of their own in the White House that they are winning, that they've got whitey's number, blacks begin to attack whites with even greater fury. Black-on-white robberies, rapes, and murders increase, and educated, "respectable" blacks like Jeremiah Wright turn up the heat on their constant denunciations of whites and their calls for white America to give up ever more for blacks.
- Again, all of this is seen as a consequence of our racism, so even more must be done to combat racism. Congress passes a slavery reparations bill which calculates the value with interest of 40 acres and a mule in 1865, and pays that amount to every black person in America. Anti-racial profiling laws are passed which are so restrictive that it becomes virtually impossible to arrest black criminals. Bold new affirmative action programs are instituted nationwide and enshrined at the highest level of federal law. It becomes virtually impossible for any employer ever to fire a black person for any reason. New zoning laws are created, aimed at forcing racial integration, making it extremely difficult for whites to move to all- or mostly-white neighborhoods. Who knows what other manner of yet unconceived tyrannical laws are passed and institutions created to combat our supposed racism.
- None of this works, which only proves that America is yet even more racist that we had thought in #3! So, even more must be done, and blacks' anger at whites increases again. Return to step 4.
- Society plunges into chaos. Crime rates skyrocket, and whites everywhere live in fear for their lives. Even white liberals acknowledge they live in fear for their lives, but they blame this problem on racism and conservatives. White liberals continue not to have children, so nonwhites' power over whites continues to increase. There are pockets of traditionalist whites here and there, who recognize the problem and who continue to have children, but they are prevented from gathering into an organized resistance by the fact that they are so scattered, by the aforementioned zoning laws, and by internet companies' shutting down our blogs and online fora for their racist hate speech.
- As the lights go out in America, the last white liberal lies in the street bleeding to death of a black gang member-inflicted gunshot wound. (I always picture this person as the hippie social worker who is in charge of our weekly liberalism seminar in med school.) Her dying words are: "if only our society hadn't been so conservative and racist."
Now, this is a pretty depressing picture, and I'm not saying it's what I think is going to happen, only that I think it could happen. But what struck me yesterday is how little of this is dependent on Barack Obama being elected, or any other single event. Indeed, the reaction from the left will be similar if Obama is defeated: his defeat will be proof of how racist America is, even more racist than we thought, which proves we must do even more to combat racism, which feeds into step 4 above. In fact, the initial reaction from the left if Obama is defeated will be even worse! I can only imagine the vitriol, the rabid denunciations of America, the wishes that the older generation of white voters would just die off already, that I'll be treated to in November from my medical school classmates if Obama is defeated.
So, if Obama is elected, his failure to fix the problems caused by racism will inspire us to destroy ourselves, while if he is defeated, our racism will be proven and we will be inspired to destroy ourselves. We're Screwed '08 indeed. What's more, this situation could not have been permanently avoided by Obama's defeat in the primaries; eventually, a black candidate would have received a presidential nomination, and the results would be the same. Only a return to realistic views on race can save us. And since I believe most white liberals will never abandon their liberalism, only efforts by traditionalists to maintain pockets of resistance and to prevent liberals from seizing our entire society from us by prohibiting us from living together and communicating with each other can save us.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
People who live near Home Depot stores have complained of day laborers drinking beer, urinating in yards or other unseemly behavior.Over the past few days I've been having some interesting interactions with posters on the Student Doctor Network. I've seen that this is exactly the kind of thing that many liberals get outraged over, claiming that it takes things "too far," but when you try to get them to see that this is a necessary result of their philosophy, they dismiss you. What we need people to understand is that as long as we believe discrimination and inequality are evil, this kind of thing is inevitable.
The National Day Laborer Organizing Network, a nonprofit group started in Northridge in 2001, supports the new requirements.
"It provides for safe and dignified hiring locations where contingent workers can defend their basic rights. It carefully balances the interests of business, residents, day laborers and their employers," said the group's executive director, Pablo Alvarado.
The article also mentions that Home Depot has no problem with the ordinance, once again proving that large corporations are liberal.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
While this view causes problems, it has not so far proven devastating to our society. But the presidency is sui generis, and the problem of electing a minority president goes far beyond creating the view that we must always have a minority president from then on. In the minds of the public, the president represents or symbolizes all of America. So with a black president, America will be seen as a truly and legitimately non-white country. In the minds of a great many people, if only subconsciously, there will have ceased to be anything distinctly white about America, anything defining of America having to do with a historic white majority. Obviously, this will not comport with the reality that for the time being, America will still have a white majority, and even though that majority is at only 66% and falling, it is one that, being "top-loaded" in the older end of the population, still holds most of the positions of power and influence, thus making America still seem like a basically white country.
Now, this is so inconsistent with the reality of a non-white America as symbolized by President Obama, that it will be seen as morally illegitimate for America to have a white majority. It will be seen as a grave and dire problem, one that must be rectified as soon as possible. The attacks on whites and on white society--both physical, and in terms of social policies like school curricula which deemphasize and demonize our historical figures, and immigration laws which are already reducing whites to a minority in America--by both nonwhites, and by the white liberal elite who love Barack Obama and hate ordinary white Americans--will increase and intensify. Life for white people in America will become difficult, much sooner than the predicted end of the white majority in 2042.
This is why, as much as I loathe the idea of a McCain presidency, I cannot hope for Barack Obama to be elected this November.
Monday, August 25, 2008
The authors note that there is no legal definition of "race," yet the legal system accepts it and relies on average people's ability to identify race. Their point seems to be that if our legal system, the most contentious system within our society, has no problem accepting the reality of race, then it must be real. But of course, this will not sway the race deniers, whose belief that race has no biological basis in reality but is merely a "social construct" does not imply, in their minds, that race does not exist. They think it exists as a concept, but that that concept can be quite powerful and have a great deal of meaning and determinative effect on a person's life. They would say "yes, we can usually recognize when a person would be considered white, black, or Asian, but these are not clear-cut categories for which we can test for membership and make any predictions about the individuals based on them."
The authors describe two court cases in which race came into play and was accepted by all parties involved. The first, Rice v. Office of Hawaiian Affairs, involved Hawaiian laws defining "Native Hawaiian" as a person descended from the indigenous people of Hawaii. These laws originally used the word "races" repeatedly, but were later amended to substitute the word "peoples." An Office of Hawaiian Affairs was created, designated for the benefit of "Hawaiians," and one H.F. Rice brought suit against it for not allowing him to vote in an election for its trustees since he was not a "Native Hawaiian."
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals (often called the "9th Circus" for its liberal rulings) found in favor of the OHA, since Rice, while a resident of Hawaii, did not meet the legal definition of a "Native Hawaiian." The US Supreme Court reversed the decision, citing the 15th amendment to the US Constitution; in other words, finding that Rice was being denied a vote on account of his race. Now, anyone could have told you that this was inevitable, as soon as the OHA attempted to decide voter eligibility based on race. But the word "race" in the original statues was changed to "people" in order to get around a possible 15th amendment objection. In the end, however, this was unsuccessful, because the Supreme Court recognized the common sense definition of race.
In the second case, Haak v. Rochester School District, the parents of a white fourth-grade student named Jessica Haak had attempted to transfer their daughter from their home district to a mostly white district, through a transfer program that existed for the purpose of lessening racial separation among the districts involved. Their case was based on the notion that forbidding her to transfer because of her race violated the much-abused "equal protection" clause of the 14th amendment. The district court ruled for the plaintiff, but the 2nd Circuit overturned their decision.
The purpose for which the authors mention this case is to show how the Haaks, the school district, and the courts all took the existence of race, and the possibility of racial classification, for granted. The program involved a definition of a "minority pupil" as "a pupil who is of Black or Hispanic origin or is a member of another minority group that historically has been the subject of discrimination." It also specified that a program administrator could question the student's race on the basis of "name, manner of speaking and phrasing, and personal appearance during an interview or orientation." The point is that no one disputed that the school or anyone else was able to correctly identify Haak's race.
Again, as consistent as these two examples may be with the reality of race, they do not satisfy the race-denier. Race-deniers do not deny that there are some phenotypic features that correlate with self-identified race; they just claim that because there is no definitive genetic test to determine which race a person belongs to, and there is more genetic variation within races than between races, race is not biologically valid and racial differences are only skin deep.
The authors seem to recognize this when they proceed to question whether the courts "recognize the existence of race as a mere social construct or as an underlying biological reality." We can allow that the courts might recognize that race is real, but only because the social construct is so powerful, not because it has a biological basis. To bolster their case for the biological reality of race, they give an example in which genetic testing was used to determine the race of a killer on the loose, the case of Derrick Todd Lee.
You can read about the case from any number of online sources, so I won't bother rehashing the details. I recommend, though, that if you search for "Derrick Todd Lee" you include the name "Frudakis" in your search, because most online sources don't even mention the most salient aspect of this case, which is to be expected, because it proves the genetic reality of race. In a nutshell, police were looking for a white suspect until Tony Frudakis of DNAPrint Genomics told them he could determine the race of the killer via genetic testing. I recommend Wired Magazine's story, which has this to say:
In early March, 2003, investigators turned to Tony Frudakis, a molecular biologist who said he could determine the killer's race by analyzing his DNA. They were unsure about the science, so, before giving him the go-ahead, the task force sent Frudakis DNA swabs taken from 20 people whose race they knew and asked him to determine their races through blind testing. He nailed every single one.Think about that: there was a "they were not prepared to hear or accept his conclusions" and "there was a prolonged, stunned silence" in response to them. All because he told them the killer was black. That is the degree to which the important institutions in our society--law enforcement among them--deny the reality of race.
Still, when they gathered in the Baton Rouge police department for a conference call with Frudakis in mid-March, they were not prepared to hear or accept his conclusions about the killer.
"Your guy has substantial African ancestry," said Frudakis. "He could be Afro-Caribbean or African American but there is no chance that this is a Caucasian. No chance at all."
There was a prolonged, stunned silence, followed by a flurry of questions looking for doubt but Frudakis had none. Would he bet his life on this, they wanted to know? Absolutely. In fact, he was certain that the Baton Rouge serial killer was 85 percent Sub-Saharan African and 15 percent native American.
"This means we're going to turn our investigation in an entirely different direction," Frudakis recalls someone saying. "Are you comfortable with that?"
"Yes. I recommend you do that," he said. And now, rather than later since, in the time it took Frudakis to analyze the sample, the killer had claimed his fifth victim. The task force followed Frudakis' advice and, two months later, the killer was in custody.
Sarich and Miele mention the type of DNA profiling commonly used in forensics examines short tandem repeats (STRs), which are sequences of DNA where a short pattern is repeated several times. Using thirteen of these markers is considered valid for identifying an individual, because with thirteen the odds of misidentification are about one in a billion. Thirteen STR markers are not sufficient to identify race, however. The DNAPrint methodology used by Frudakis uses a different kind of marker, a single nucleotide polymorphism or SNP, in which there is a difference of exactly 1 nucleotide between individuals. They point out that academic research has confirmed that using 100 of these markers, a person's ancestry (Africa, Europe, Asia, or the Americas) can be determined with almost 100 percent accuracy, and that DNAPrint Genomics has reduced the number required to 73. They also point out that this methodology is correct at a rate equal to that of the DNA profiling that is considered legally valid for identifying individuals.
The authors conclude their discussion of the case thus:
Unless race is a biological reality that gives important information about an individual's degree of genetic resemblance to the various human populations and the sequence in which those populations evolved by separating from other populations, it would be inconceivable to achieve the level of accuracy obtainable through the DNAPrint methodology. Indeed, given a sufficient number of markers, such analysis is capable of not only identifying race but predicting skin tone as well.The success of the DNAPrint methodology contrasts sharply with a faulty genetic testing experiment used in the PBS documentary "Race: The Power of an Illusion" to prove that race has no genetic basis. In that program, six students of different racial backgrounds made predictions about which of the other students would have DNA most similar to their own, based upon typical racial criteria. They then examined six markers of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) to see if the reuslts would match up with their predictions, and lo and behold, they did not. The program concluded that people in one race were not more genetically similar to each other than to those in another race. Sarich and Miele explain why this experiment was flawed: first, only six markers were used, less than one-half of the thirteen required for individual identification by DNA fingerprinting. Second, mtDNA is inherited only along the maternal line and thus is not fully indicative of a person's ancestry. Therefore, the PBS program dishonestly stacked the deck to make it appear that genetic testing could not be used to determine race, when it easily can.
The chapter concludes with a brief discussion of an experiment showing that children as young as three can classify people into races without having been taught to do so. In the experiments, anthropologist Lawrence Hirschfeld found that when presented with a series of drawings of people who differ by race, body type, and occupational uniform, young children identify race as being inherited over the other two categories. After many years of research along these lines, Hirschfeld has concluded that children believe that "race is an intrinsic, immutable, and essential aspect of a person's identity," and "they come to this conclusion on their own." According to the authors, this must be because the common ancestor we share with chimpanzees must have been able to tell those who belonged to his own group from those who did not. Whatever the explanation behind it, the phenomenon is apparently observable and should give the lie to the liberal idea that race is something children need to be taught.
As I've said, unfortunately, I don't believe that is true for most of the examples given earlier in the chapter. The fact that the legal system doesn't question race, and that most ordinary people can correctly identify race, will not sway race deniers--in fact, since leftists typically don't trust common sense and believe that truth can be elucidated only by highly trained "experts," they may be all the more likely on this basis to believe that race must be illusory. Nevertheless, in closing the chapter, Sarich and Miele mention the moralistic fallacy, which says that what ought to be is what is, or that if something is morally wrong, it cannot be a part of our nature. This fallacy is sometimes used to argue that since racism is wrong, and belief in biological race leads to racism, there must not be any such thing as biological race. This echoes the belief of Alan Goodman, which the authors mentioned in the opening statement and say they will rebut later in the book, that even if race does not exist, it should not be studied; essentially, we should pull the wool over our eyes, because if we don't, we might become racists.
In the next chapter, Race and History, we will learn of how ancient cultures, including non-Western ones, believed in race, a specific rebuttal to the PBS documentary's assertion that race is a recent European idea invented to justify colonialism and slavery.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Interestingly, althought the email also said that Google's "program specialists regularly review sites in the AdSense program," I suspect this was not a routine review. Katie's Dad has Google ads on his site, which expresses views similar to those found here, and they are still up. Instead, I suspect that one of the liberals who wound up here by my link to the blog in my SDN forums signature reported the site to Google as offensive, fulfilling the left-wing dream of shutting down people who oppose liberalism. Joseph Stalin would be proud.
Oh, well. Maybe this will spur me on to fulfil my dream of creating other, more profitable blogs, like this doctor who launched his blog while still in medical school, leaving Wise Man's Heart pure and undefiled by commercialism.
Monday, August 18, 2008
Representative quotation (at about 1:45): "our goal is, clearly, not to find a qualified and interested US worker. And, you know, in a sense that sounds funny, but it's what we're trying to do here!"
Can anyone explain why so many on both the left and the right consider big business "conservative?" Whether it's for multiculturalism or just for profit, they want to destroy America too.
Lou Dobbs discussed this video around the time it became public:
Friday, August 15, 2008
In commenting on a piece like this, one hardly knows where to begin. The entire thing is suffused with a worldview so completely inverted from normality and sanity that to a traditionalist reader it speaks for itself, and to a reader who shares the author's views, one despairs of being able to explain its wrongness.
Then she opened her mouth, and it was if one had been transported back—oh, 150 years or so. “We had been talking about getting married since we got together,” Ms.—or perhaps we should write Miss—Miller said, describing how her friend Noelle had, early on, asked her beloved his “intentions”; how he had proposed last autumn, presenting the diamond ring that now glittered in the cloud-light on her left hand. “Ever since I met him, I felt like we’re a strong unit that would be a great foundation for a family,” she said demurely. “We’re very settled in and cozy; we’re like Hobbits in our little place.”Obviously, the world would be a better place if we had more confessional sex columns chronicling the exploits of the young and aimless as they bed-hop with reckless abandon. But now the Miss Millers of the world are throwing a wrench into the works, what with their talking about getting married and thinking that they and the men they're seeing would make a great foundation for a family. Why, imagine this:
There was a time, not too long ago, when the young and the aimless hightailed it to New York City in pursuit of an altogether different urban experience than the domestic bliss enjoyed by Miss Miller and many of her bosom companions. High on a cocktail of recklessness and abandon, they came here to find their id, lose their superego, shake up the world, or simply shake their thang. Then they promptly chronicled these exploits in confessional sex columns.
Down in the West Village, we have Liv Tyler, barely 30, the daughter of Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler and legendary rock-star muse Bebe Buellwho’s now contented wife to Royston Langdon and mother of 2-year-old Milo.Married and the mother a two-year-old at "barely 30!" Who ever heard of such a thing?
Perhaps the most disturbing passage is this:
The adultery-filled pages of John Updike’s best novels now seem like dispatches from a foreign land. One need only mention the word “affair” in the chatroom pages of Urbanbaby.com to get quickly excoriated as a “slut” and a “home wrecker”; the New Victorian morality is not one that permits nuance or discretion.I've never seen such a cavalier dismissal of the idea that there's something wrong with adultery. I mean, I think I understand how liberals think, but sometimes they still manage to surprise me. No nuance or discretion here; the author actually thinks there's something wrong with excoriating adulterers as "sluts" and "home wreckers." How do these people expect to be able to maintain a civilization at all?
Thursday, August 14, 2008
The idea about people coming to personal faith in Jesus on an individual basis has always been the core theological principle of evangelicalism, stemming largely from John 3:3 which says "Jesus answered him, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.'" This is usually taken to mean that in order to be a Christian, to be saved through Jesus and go to heaven, you must have a personal, conscious conversion experience; being baptized as an infant and raised in a Christian family or Christian culture, and always having more or less assumed that you believed Christianity, is not enough. Despite this emphasis on an individual's personal relationship with Jesus above all else, for a long time evangelicals did accept the idea of a Christian nation, society, or culture, if only because of some vestigial, received traditional wisdom they had never thought to question despite the fact that it wasn't found in the Bible. Or at least, they were neutral or apathetic toward the idea of a Christian nation, society, or culture.
Now, however, the younger generation of evangelicals is becoming antagonistic to the idea, because it's counter to the prevailing principles of liberalism in our society, and it's not found in the Bible. In fact, in the Bible, the early Christians are described as having been a persecuted minority who were imprisoned or killed for their beliefs. This leads to an identification of Christians with other "marginalized" groups, the definition of "marginalized" being the one used in modern liberal society: blacks, immigrants, women, homosexuals, etc. There are still some young evangelicals who believe in the older, James Dobson-esque vision of America as a Christian nation, but to the extent that they do, it's out of a naive belief that the principles of traditional American civic life can be derived from the Bible just as being born again can.
An interesting result of this naivete is what happens when evangelicals succeed in converting nonwhite, non-Western immigrants, so praised as "vibrant" and "diverse" even by evangelicals, to Christianity. Many evangelicals are excited by the prospect of nonwhite immigration, because it presents an opportunity for making converts and bringing about the Revelation 9 vision of people from every nation, tribe, people, and language praising God together. These "conservative" evangelicals are unprepared for what happens when they do so, however; they thought that converting such people to evangelicalism would also mean converting them to a white, Western, traditional American cultural identity as well. Instead, what you get when you convert liberal non-Westerners to evangelical Christianity are liberal, non-Western Christians--people who, as I have seen in my personal life, see no conflict between considering oneself a "Bible-believing, born-again Christian" and voting for Barack Obama, supporting socialized medicine and affirmative action, and endorsing or promoting all manner of other typical left-wing views.
There's not much I can say about this. We've known for a long time now that if current trends continue, white Americans will be a minority within my lifetime. Furthermore, any white people with any common sense should be able to tell that this will be a bad thing for whites, just by looking at how virtually every other population group on earth sticks together and looks out for its own first, including Asians, whose numbers are still relatively small in America and who are considered an assimilated, "model minority" group.
The article does have a few lines worth responding to:
"The white population is older and very much centered around the aging baby boomers who are well past their high fertility years," said William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank. "The future of America is epitomized by the young people today. They are basically the melting pot we are going to see in the future."When I was in school, I was taught that the term "melting pot" referred to the phenomena wherein various groups all blend together and form one, homogeneous group. Here it's being used in virtually the opposite sense: to describe the coming fractured society in which the groups don't blend with each other but all retain radically different values, cultures, and languages (while somehow managing to live harmoniously together, the left reassures us.)
The U.S. has nearly 305 million people today. The population is projected to hit 400 million in 2039 and 439 million in 2050.The CIS is on our side, but I think Camarota should choose his analogies more carefully. Adding 134 million Mexicans, Chinese, and Africans will be very, very different from adding the white, Western European populations of France and Britain.
That's like adding all the people from France and Britain, said Steve A. Camarota, director of research at the Center for Immigration Studies, a Washington group that advocates tighter immigration policies.
There is a glimmer of hope:
The Census Bureau Thursday released population projections through 2050, based on rates for births, deaths and immigration. They are subject to big revisions, depending on immigration policy, cultural changes and natural or manmade disasters.All right, folks, let's get cracking on that immigration policy.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Prominent evangelical Christians are urging churchgoers to strongly consider adoption or foster care, not just out of kindness or biblical calling but also to answer criticism that their movement, while condemning abortion and same-sex adoption, does not do enough for children without parents.The article doesn't mention whether race is being discussed in this context, but perhaps it should be. On more than one occasion, I have seen a commenter named Bruce B. at VFR mention the growing trend of white evangelical couples adopting nonwhite children. This is something I have seen in my own circles as well. Usually it is done after the couple already has a few biological children of their own; that is, they "round out" their family by adopting a nonwhite child, but sometimes in the case of fertility difficulties the couple will adopt nonwhite right off the bat.
If one were being cynical, one might say that their motivations are pecuniary in nature; we all know that it is much more expensive to adopt a white baby than a nonwhite, thanks to the laws of supply and demand. One would be wrong, however, for the demand among these white evangelicals is very much for nonwhite babies. A couple in my church adopted a toddler from India, after having talked for some time about how they felt God was calling them to do so, and about their frustration with the obstacles they were encountering (to put it bluntly, India wants its orphans to be adopted by Indian parents, not white ones.) If they had had the money, they could have more easily adopted a higher-demand white baby, and they certainly could have spent less and had less bureaucracy to deal with if they had been willing to spring for a nonwhite American baby. But they really wanted an Indian child.
Evangelicals these days are quite enamored of Revelation 7:9-10, which reads:
After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: "Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb."This is taken to be not only a picture of heaven but a picture of the one unified world we should be striving for on earth. And as I have said elsewhere, their "love for other cultures" usually involves a negative attitude toward their own culture. Another couple in my church adopted a little boy from Thailand, and one Sunday the wife gave a testimony about it. In it she expressed reservations about having brought the boy from a land of deprivation and spiritual darkness into the land of X-Boxes and other forms of material excess. This kind of statement is quite common from missionaries as well, this idea that, while they don't have Jesus, non-Western cultures overall are to be commended for their greater authenticity or down-to-earthness.
I don't know whether there is yet any formal movement within evangelicalism to advocate for adoption of nonwhite babies by white couples, but the trend is there. Just one more reason why, contrary to popular belief, evangelicals aren't reliably conservative.
Monday, August 11, 2008
They begin by calling race "America's most taboo four-letter word." Obviously "race" is not comparable to other four-letter words in terms of the reaction to speaking it, but it is true that the subject it denotes is one on which our society's opinion-makers will brook no dissent from the accepted view. Obviously, it was not always this way. The authors marshal an array of quotations from four American presidents--Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, and Richard Nixon--that would be unspeakable in polite society today. For example, Abraham Lincoln said, "There is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race." The authors intend for these quotations to demonstrate that belief in universal equality is a relatively recent phenomenon, and that for most of human history, the accepted view was what we might call race realism. Of course, we are used to hearing from the left that all of human history was a nightmare of ignorance, oppression, and injustice until the 1960's, so race deniers will likely be unpersuaded by this argument, dismissing it as argumentum ad populum.
As many of us know from real-life or online interactions with liberals, race deniers generally really believe that scientifically established facts are on their side; they tend to claim to be impartial, willing to evaluate any empirical evidence, and project an image of themselves as believing that race is a mere social construction only because that is what the best information we have tells us. While not mentioning this view directly, the authors provide a rebuttal to it:
Denying the biological reality of race and recognizing it as a pseudoscientific myth created to justify white supremacy, they admonish, will produce what biological anthropologist Alan Goodman in the PBS documentary Race: The Power of an Illusion terms "an absolute paradigm shift." The resulting realization that "race is not based on biology but race is rather an idea that we ascribe to biology" will cause any thought of genetically based group differences to disappear as well, or at least it will set society on the road to their long-overdue remediation through social and economic policy.In other words, race-deniers don't say race is a social construction because they think that true, but rather because they think having people believe it will eliminate racism. The authors seem to be implying that race-deniers are less concerned with the truth or falsehood of their views than they are with how those views can be used as a means to their desired end.
Sarich and Miele intend to present "the case for race" in three parts: first, race being understood in the context of the history of the concept itself, second, what we know about race from evolution, and third, the political problems associated with race in our present society. In Chapter 1, "Race and the Law," they tell us, we will see that the commonsense idea of race is accepted without question in the legal system. Again, this will be useful in understanding the reality of race, but given what we know of the cultural left's view of the world, where common sense is always wrong, where what seems obvious is never really true, where we need experts to enlighten us, race-deniers will probably dismiss this argument as an appeal to the majority or to authority.
Chapter 2, "Race and History," sounds as though it will stand on more solid ground, in that it will present evidence from a variety of cultures throughout human history that the concept of race has always been with us, that even ancient civilizations believed that different racial groups had different physical and mental characteristics. In the authors' view, this chapter will refute the contention that race is a recent concept invented to justify European colonialism.
Chapter 3 is entitled "Anthropology as the Science of Race." This chapter will address, among other things, "the Darwinian revolution, when anthropology emerged as the science of race, and how and why that viewpoint was increasingly marginalized after World War II." That little tidbit was surprising to me, since the great majority of anthropologists today accept the "race is merely a social construction" view! What a drastic change for a field that, as the authors say, was created as the science of race. I'll be interested to learn how exactly that view of the field was marginalized after World War II.
Chapters 4, 5, and 6, "Resolving the Primate Tree," "Homo Sapiens and its Races," and "The Two 'Miracles' That Made Humankind" respectively, will address race in the context of evolution. It's interesting to use evolution to prove the reality of race, since the left wholeheartedly accepts evolution. I believe this is why, as I alluded to earlier, the race-deniers that make up the left claim to have the best scientific evidence on their side. They cannot dismiss the consensus view arrived at by a materialist scientific approach to human history, since that view hinges on Darwinian evolution, which provides them with their arguments against God, against transcendence, and for the religious right being a bunch of fascist rednecks trying to establish a theocracy in America. So instead they must claim to hew to modern science, distorting or misinterpreting scientific evidence to show that race is not real. The authors repeat the statement that Homo sapiens originated "only 50,000" years ago at least thrice in this opening statement; clearly they believe this is an unusually short time and that this shortness is significant in understanding race. Exactly why and how remain to be seen.
Sarich and Miele describe the views of three eminent scientists: Stephen Jay Gould (race cannot exist), Richard Lewontin (race does not exist), and Alan Goodman (even if race can and does exist, it should not be studied), and say that they reject all three of these views. Of particular interest will be their refutation of Lewontin: he was one of the star witnesses against race in the PBS documentary, and I know from online debates into which I have attempted to inject race realism that his name is often used by race-deniers as someone who's created an airtight argument against race being a valid biological concept. That is, when you get into an argument with a race-denier, their response is often to the effect of, "go read Richard Lewontin. Case dismissed."
Chapters 7, 8, and 9 sound to me like they will prove the most interesting; they are the ones which most directly address the common contention that the phenotypic differences between the races, which we see all around us every day, are illusory. Chapter 7 is entitled "Race and Physical Differences" and in it the authors intend to introduce the topic of racial differences in the least controversial, most accepted arena in which they are manifest: athletic performance. They mention the Kalenjin, the Kenyan tribe which utterly dominates world long-distance running. Of course, race-deniers do not deny the reality of such examples; they just say that that is one single trait that cannot be used to classify individuals into races in a valid way, and add that there is more genetic variation within races than between races (an argument the authors intend to address.) It will be interesting to see if the authors flesh this argument out in such a way as to answer the race-deniers' objections.
Chapter 8, "Race and Behavior," will address, inter alia, what is probably the most controversial topic of all related to race: intelligence differences. Entire books have been written on this subject, none of which, I'm ashamed to admit, I have read, so I'm looking forward to what will hopefully be a good overview of the topic from Sarich and Miele. They will use a classic study in dog breeds to elucidate this topic. Unsurprisingly, they say, Sarich had difficulties publishing a similar study done to examine race differences in humans.
In Chapter 9, "Learning to Live with Race," the authors will present three approaches to dealing with race: Meritocracy in the Emerging Global Economy, Affirmative Action and Race Norming, and Rising Resegretation and the Emergence of Ethno-States, and describe the pros and cons to each. While Rising Resegregation sounds best to me, and most realistic in dealing with the conflict created by racial diversity, the authors state their preference for the global meritocracy.
And this ties in with my one criticism of this opening statement. Several times the authors refer to the concept of evolution, by which I assume they mean Darwinian evolution, as though it were an end in itself. For example, they say that they believe "it is not only appropriate but important to study race, because it helps us to apply the evolutionary perspective to the analysis of human variation generally." In other words, it's not important to apply the evolutionary perspective because doing so helps us understand race; rather, it's the other way around. It's almost as though studying race were merely a means to an end, that end being applying the evolutionary perspective. When writing about the subject of race, we race realists often place scare quotes around the word "mere," because race-deniers say that race is "merely a social construct," implying that it is somehow less significant or important than commonly believed. But those to whom Darwinian evolution explains everything about mankind also inspire scare quotes, believing as they do that man, not merely his physical body but his highest, noblest, most transcendent thoughts, his dreams, aspirations, and hopes, is "merely" the product of random mutation and natural selection.
Whether this view informs the authors' preference for the meritocracy I cannot say for sure, but their stated goal is to enhance "the potential for achievement by individuals." This is a fine goal within a particular nation that can handle it, such as America, but to make this a worldwide goal is not something one would expect of those who understand the reality of race, unless their worldview was one in which there was nothing higher than man, and the autonomy and happiness of each individual was considered the greatest good.
That said, by the looks of the opening statement, the book will be a tour de force through race realism, and I'm looking forward to reading the rest of it.
Next up: Chapter 1, "Race and the Law."
Sunday, August 10, 2008
What is interesting about this is that when such people use the word "Western," they don't mean traditional Western civilization. They don't think that soap operas are going to spark a wave of Middle Eastern interest in Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, and Shakespeare. They don't mean that African tribes started developing atherosclerosis and heart disease after they began to eat roast chicken and peas. Instead, they're referring to the corrupt, degraded, mass-produced popular culture that has taken hold of Western countries. They're referring to the television shows and movies that glorify sexual promiscuity, the acceptance of cohabitation and homosexuality and bastardy, the interest in getting the latest upgrade to one's home theater system rather than in living rightly, the ubiquitous fast food and junk food with their high-calorie but otherwise low-nutrient French fries and sodas.
Of course, it's insulting to traditional Western civilization to have these things co-opt the "Western" label. Not only are they unrelated to the traditional West, they are positively antagonistic to traditional Western values. And of course, it's a victory for the left to have the term used this way, because it makes it that much harder to advocate for the traditional West when the name "Western" now means something else. But there's a second, often overlooked point in this discussion: why should these phenomena be considered Western? There's nothing distinctly Western about them; debauchery, materialism, and junk food exist the world over. Western civilization did not invent them, and there is no historical continuity between them and the traditional West; Shakespeare did not give birth to The Sopranos, nor Mozart to Britney Spears. One might say that these phenomena first emerged as society-wide phenomena in Western countries, but that is more a function of Western countries being uniquely suited to produce the wealth necessary to support them. Today, they certainly exist anywhere such wealth exists, and take on their own decidedly non-Western cultural flavors: witness the burgeoning Hong Kong pop music scene, for instance. So why should they be called Western, any more than strong family ties or a sense of social obligation should be called "Eastern?"
They shouldn't. Let's stop giving the cultural left ammunition, and make sure we don't participate in their defining everything that's corrupt about our society at present as characteristic of our civilization.
In medical school, we are taught to refer to a fetus as a fetus rather than a baby when speaking to an expectant mother, unless the mother refers to it as a baby and says that she plans to keep it. Last year we had a "communications workshop" where we had to practice giving genetic counseling to a standardized patient (i.e., an actor) about the risk of her baby having Down syndrome. Fortunately, my "patient" told me right off the bat that she planned to keep the baby no matter what, so I was spared from having to use the word "fetus" over and over again for the rest of the session, instead being able to do what most people naturally do: use the word "baby."
This is yet another area where the left claims to be merely trying to encourage neutrality, but instead winds up pushing the leftist vision. The insistence on "fetus" encourages people to think of a baby as an inanimate object. If a pregnant woman who is genuinely undecided about whether to give birth or have an abortion hears her baby referred to as a "fetus," she is implicitly and ever-so-subtly being counseled in the direction of abortion. More broadly, and more importantly in the grand scheme of things, the cumulative effect on society at large of hearing physicians refer to "fetuses" by default, and "babies" only when given permission to use that word by the mother, is to encourage us to think of fetuses as objects which can easily be disposed of if they prove inconvenient. There really is no such thing as neutrality here. It's common sense & human nature to think of a fetus as a baby, but of course the left is against this, because they would never want to encourage a woman who might want to have an abortion to give birth instead. So they go in the opposite direction and wind up implicitly encouraging abortion.
Saturday, August 9, 2008
We're not talking anymore about preaching diet and exercise, disclosing calorie counts, or restricting sodas in schools. We're talking about banning the sale of food to adults. Treating French fries like cigarettes or liquor. I didn't think this would happen in the United States anytime soon. I was wrong.Well, why didn't you think it would happen in the United States? Look at what's happened with smoking. The left has already virtually won that war; why shouldn't they turn to unhealthy food next? And notice that by Saletan's own description, we're not talking about treating French fries like cigarettes or liquor, we're talking about treating them more severely than cigarettes and liquor, which are freely available for purchase by adults.
Saletan does make a good point in the article. Among those who think that the obese poor need more governmental help with their culinary choices, it is often said that poor people in urban environments have no choice but to eat fast food, since there are no supermarkets in their neighborhoods because of high crime and economic deprivation. Saletan thinks that's bogus:
And the helplessness attributed to poor people is exaggerated. "You try to get a salad within 20 minutes of our location; it's virtually impossible," says the Community Coalition's executive director. Really? The coalition's headquarters is at 8101 S. Vermont Ave. A quick Google search shows, among other outlets, a Jack-in-the-Box six blocks away. They have salads. Not the world's greatest salads, but not as bad as a government that tells you whose salad you can eat.I tend to agree with this. During the first year of medical school, we were all forced to do a public service project, and one group decided to examine nutrition in poor areas of the city. They claimed that in one area, for blocks and blocks in every direction, there was no store selling fresh produce. Despite such claims, I find it hard to believe that the denizens of the "inner cities" can't find healthy food. Even if they don't have cars, they have public transportation. Most of them do work, meaning they are probably leaving their neighborhoods daily for somewhat more thriving ones. Yet the left accepts the "poor people don't have stores selling healthy food accessible to them" idea as gospel, and will not consider that it might not be true, using it to shut down debate when one suggests that we shouldn't regulate fast food.
In any case, while there's nothing morally wrong with tobacco, it's not a necessity of life and there's no question that chronic smoking is foolish. Yet eating is a basic necessity, and as I pointed out above, the left wants to treat it more strictly than tobacco. Perhaps it will soon be time to formulate a new law. Something along the lines of: in liberal society, the more natural and normal an activity, the more it will be constrained and regulated according to what the elite deems best. I don't think we have sufficient examples of this yet, but be on the lookout for more.
Thursday, August 7, 2008
I'll set the stage by summarizing the preface. Vincent Sarich is a professor emeritus of anthropology at the University of California at Berkeley, and Frank Miele is a senior editor of Skeptic magazine. Before I bought the book, I thought it was conceived as a response to PBS's much-vaunted documentary called Race: The Power of an Illusion, which unsurprisingly supported the view that race is a mere "social construct." This turned out to be wrong: the authors say that the PBS documentary aired while they were preparing the final draft of the book. Nevertheless, they had sufficient time to note in the Preface that the book provides a neat rebuttal to the documentary.The authors list the 10 points available on the PBS website which summarize the documentary. They are as follows:
1. Race is a modern idea.
2. Race has no genetic basis.
3. Human subspecies don't exist.
4. Skin color really is only skin deep.
5. Most variation is within, not between, "races."
6. Slavery predates race.
7. Race and freedom evolved together.
8. Race justified social inequalities as natural.
9. Race isn't biological, but racism is still real.
10. Colorblindness will not end racism.
To a race-realist, those ten points--and even more so, that they were presented to the American public as fact, with all the authority of the Public Broadcasting System behind them--are quite infuriating.
The authors then state that they:
Along with these ten points, the authors include a reference to the chapters which refute each point.
disagree with each of these ten points--and that is a remarkable degree of disagreement, given that the first eight points are matters of fact. In Race: The Reality of Human Differences, we present the evidence we believe refutes the first eight points and explain why we reject points nine and ten, not only for economic but ethical reasons as well.
Sarich and Miele have set before them a daunting task: to establish that, against the received wisdom of all the leaders and elites of our society, nearly all those who consider themselves educated people, including the scientific establishment itself, race is a valid biological concept. I would tend to assume that such a valid biological concept, by dint of its momentous import, must necessarily influence social policy. Sarich and Miele don't seem to think so. They say that they are "individualists" on matters of social policy, seemingly setting themselves up as proponents of a strict meritocracy. It remains to be seen how they will derive this principle from, or reconcile it with, their view of race.
Stay tuned for part 2, "Opening Statement: The Case for Race."
I thought this bore repeating in a separate post because to my mind, it brings to light the crucial realization that brings one out of mainstream conservatism and into traditionalism. In our world, mainstream conservatives and Republicans are always using liberal arguments to advance what are seen as conservative policies. For example, conservative columnists will argue against affirmative action on the basis that it keeps black people down and is therefore racist. George Bush pushes tax cuts, saying that they will stimulate the economy and create jobs, thereby helping poor people. Now, the standard view on the left is that these people don't really mean what they are saying: conservatives really hate black people and want to oppress them; that is their real reason for opposing affirmative action, but they know that argument won't hold water in modern society, so they make up a phony excuse about how it hurts black people. George Bush really hates poor people and just wants to pass tax cuts to help his rich buddies get richer off the backs of the poor; but he knows he couldn't get away with it if he admitted that, so he makes up the bit about how tax cuts will stimulate the economy and create jobs for poor people. And the standard view of the rank-and-file mainstream right is similar: conservatives oppose affirmative action because it is unjust, George Bush supports tax cuts because such a progressive tax system is unjust, but the left is crazy and won't listen to these arguments so they make up some phony liberal arguments to appease the left.
The realization that these standard views are wrong, the realization that the reason conservative columnists say they oppose affirmative action because it hurts black people, or that George Bush says he supports tax cuts because they will create jobs for the poor, or that corporations say they love diversity and create executive-level Chief Diversity Officer positions, is that those people really believe those things--is the realization that mainstream conservatism itself has become liberal. And that was the key realization, the epiphany, that brought me out of mainstream conservatism and into traditionalism.
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Several bloggers I read regularly have recently discussed the state of major league baseball. From the sound of things, it's not good: America's erstwhile national pastime, a title now occupied by football, has lost ground to that and other faster-paced sports, and has attempted to keep up by inundating the fans with a cacophony of overstimulation to the senses. Strobe effects on a giant screen dominating the stadium, rock music constantly blaring, certainly don't sound appealing especially when one was hoping to experience the slower, more contemplative game that so captivated pre-ADD-era America. The athletic and gentlemanly nature of the players is said to be gone as well, with many players overweight, scruffy, and unkempt. I had had intimations along these lines for years, but they were all second-hand, as I don't follow sports. That changed last Monday night, when I attended a major league baseball game probably for the first time since high school. I was at Progressive Field in Cleveland where the Indians played against the Detroit Tigers.
Based on what I had read, I braced myself for the worst, but I really thought it wasn't that bad. Yes, the giant screen was new, but it didn't seem obtrusive; in fact, being able to view the current batter's stats, both teams' batting orders, who was pitching, and other tidbits of information made it easier to follow the game. The clips of rock music were mildly annoying, and yes, probably out of place if you are used to the low-tech, old-fashioned game from a simpler era, but they were played only between innings, not when each new batter stepped to the plate, and they were pretty short. None of the players looked particularly grotesque to me, though I am too young to remember the era of Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle or even Hank Aaron.
There were some enjoyable moments which I felt probably hadn't changed that much since the pre-modern age of baseball: the cheering for a home run, for a base hit, for a particularly deft play, for the starting pitcher when he was replaced; the booing when the crowd disagreed with an umpire's call; the crowd getting on its feet for the final inning. As Rick Darby commented, seeing a pop-up fly ball caught in real life is a different experience from seeing it on TV, but so are more mundane events, like merely seeing the players take the field. Being there imparts a different feel to the entire game. The only problem is that crowd participation is somewhat manufactured; at various times the screen displayed exhortations for the crowd to cheer, like an "applause" sign in a TV studio, so you could never quite tell how much cheering would have gone on naturally.
My biggest complaint is unrelated to the game itself: the ridiculous names all the stadiums have now that they are corporate-sponsored. "Progressive Field?" At least it's not the main indoor venue in Cleveland, the Quicken Loans Arena. When I was growing up in Philadelphia, the local sports scene was dominated by Veterans Stadium, the home of both the Phillies and the Eagles. Those teams now play at Citizens Bank Park and Lincoln Financial Field, respectively. One wonders exactly what the change was in our economy that prevented cities from being able to finance their own stadiums and forced them instead to turn to these corporate sponsors who insist on slathering their name all over everything.
I have never been a big sports fan, but after seeing a live game I have to say that I thought the game is still alive and well. Though it has been displaced by football in national prominence, it is still there, running as a current under the surface of American society. Just as I hope traditional America will re-awaken, cast off liberalism and multiculturalism, and return to a distinctly Western European identity, just as that identity still exists under the surface if not in the daily lives of many Americans then at least in their memories, waiting to move into the seat that will be vacated when people abandon the current ruling ideology, so baseball still exists, perhaps waiting to take the reins back from football and basketball when a restored traditional America decides it prefers a more relaxed, contemplative game.
[The title of this entry is a line spoken by James Earl Jones' character in the movie Field of Dreams.]
Monday, August 4, 2008
I was actually somewhat surprised to be accepted to the Google and Amazon programs. Here's an excerpt from the Amazon.com affiliate program operating agreement:
We may reject your application if we determine (in our sole discretion) that your site is unsuitable for the Program. Unsuitable sites include, but are not limited to, those that:
- promote sexually explicit materials
- promote violence
- promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation, or age [bolding mine]
- promote illegal activities
I strongly suspected that if Amazon's people carefully read this blog, they would decided that it does in fact promote discrimination on several of those bases, and turn me down. Apparently, they either didn't dig deep enough, or they decided that Wise Man's Heart wasn't really that bad. A form of unprincipled exception, perhaps? "We can't go turning down every site that disagrees with us... that would be taking things too far!"
What's truly remarkable about the above policy, however, is the sweeping language. A site is unsuitable if it promotes discrimination based on nationality? So if a blogger promotes an immigration policy that favors persons from some nations over others, his site is unsuitable? Or how about sexual orientation? Logically speaking, if someone supports current marriage law in the United States, which does not provide for same-sex marriage, his site violates Amazon's policy.
Similarly, Google AdSense program policies read as follows:
Sites displaying Google ads may not include:
- Violent content, racial intolerance, or advocacy against any individual, group, or organization
I stop there because that is the very first rule. The most important thing to Google is that the sites on which its ads appear exhibit no discrimination whatsoever. And their language is even more sweeping than Amazon's: under Google's rules, you may not "advocate" against any "individual, group, or organization," meaning you cannot say anything negative at all. Obviously, this rule is not strictly enforced. Daily Kos has Google ads, and that site certainly advocates against George W. Bush, who is an individual, and the Republican party, which is an organization.
One might be tempted to say that these companies are unprincipled because they don't carry their rules to their logical conclusion. Viewed from another angle, however, they are quite principled, because at least in their official rules they place the principle of non-discrimination above that of turning a profit--even turning a profit from, and thus "sticking it to," people they disagree with.