Friday, October 20, 2017

When you criticize the alt-left, it’s hate speech; When they criticize you, it’s speaking truth to power

Suddenly the alt-left is very concerned about the First Amendment rights of people
writes Howie Carr in the Boston Herald
– some people, anyway.

Specifically, George Soros et al. care about those useful idiots in shoulder pads whom they want to use in their unending attempts to overturn the results of the 2016 presidential election.

As for the First Amendment rights to free speech of everyone who isn’t a card-carrying fellow traveler – what rights do those deplorables have?

What about the Christian bakers in Oregon who were sued out of business for refusing to bake a cake for a gay wedding? Or the clerk in Kentucky (a Democrat by the way) who refused to marry a gay couple?

Don’t they have the same First Amendment rights as the Beautiful People?

Haven’t we been told by innumerable squirrelly adjunct professors of womyn’s (CQ) studies that conservatives need not apply to speak on college campuses because “free speech” does not apply to “hate speech?” Think Middlebury, UC Berkeley, Evergreen State, Oberlin and so forth.

 … The Democrat operatives posing as journalists on CNN-MSNBC-ABC-CBS etc. are shocked, shocked that Trump would insert himself in NFL politics. But when Obama demanded that the Redskins change their name, he was a Profile in Courage. They wanted to give Barry another Nobel Peace Prize.

Which just goes to prove that being a billionaire doesn’t necessarily protect you from a left-wing anti-free-speech crusade – or should I say jihad. Just ask ‘Skins owner Dan Snyder.

You know how it works. When you criticize the alt-left, it’s hate speech. When they criticize you, it’s speaking truth to power.

“Divisive” – any statement the alt-left disagrees with.

“Dogwhistle” – any word they don’t like but don’t want to specifically call “racist,” I mean, “white supremacist,” their new term for the r-word.

How about YouTube demonetizing videos from conservative bloggers, and social media sites like Facebook and Google suppressing posts from right-wing users.

 … I could go on… and on… and on. So could Donald Trump. And he will, you know.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

The 2016 Election: “And if the world’s experts had taken the time to read the great American novels instead of their polls?”

In the New Yorker, Lauren Collins reports on America,
a new [French] magazine that, since launching in the spring, has sold nearly a hundred thousand copies in France.

The magazine’s tagline is “America like you’ve never read it.” A trimonthly that will be published until the fall of 2020, America was conceived to help French readers make sense of its namesake in the age of Trump. The editorial mix comprises long interviews with American novelists (Toni Morrison, Don DeLillo, James Ellroy); essays and excerpts in translation (Ta-Nehisi Coates’s “My President Was Black”); and original reported pieces by famous French writers set loose among the Republicans of the Rust Belt or the bears of Yellowstone Park (“Mon point de départ est Denver, dans le Colorado”). “We’re trying to say to French readers that America is a more complex country than we thought,” François Busnel, the editor-in-chief, said the other day. “There are fantastic parts, there are nightmares, but let’s try to understand.”

When Trump was elected, Busnel realized that many of the American writers of his acquaintance had foreseen what the political experts had missed. “Everybody was saying, ‘Hillary’s going to win,’ but when I read John Irving, Donald Ray Pollock, Russell Banks, Jim Harrison, they told me the opposite: of an America that’s a little disenchanted, a little forsaken; that, since September 11th, doesn’t know anymore where it lives.” The weirder and faker the news got, the more American literature seemed the most credible vector of truth. “We’re living in a profoundly novelistic era,” Busnel said. “America’s a country that was capable of electing George W. Bush two times in a row, and then electing two times in a row his exact opposite, Barack Obama. How can you explain that?”

The magazine’s view of America is both slightly anachronistic (lots of hoboes and road trips) and exceptionally well informed. The first issue offered a sort of CliffsNotes on books that the editors deemed prescient: Sinclair Lewis’s “It Can’t Happen Here,” Bret Easton Ellis’s “American Psycho,” and “The Plot Against America,” by Philip Roth. “And if the world’s experts had taken the time to read the great American novels instead of their polls?” the headline read. “They would have discovered a country haunted by a tendency toward authoritarianism, the spectre of Fascism, the growing shadow of a blond-maned billionaire.”

Needless to say, Lauren Collins's New Yorker article is replete with contempt for her fellow Americans — both as uncouth bumpkins and (as can be seen in the previous sentence) as (neo?) Fascists — while she is enraptured on the wisdom, the tolerance, and the enlightenment of the high-brow Parisians. One typical example:
The magazine is a side project for Busnel, who is well known in France as the host of “La Grande Librairie,” a prime-time television program devoted to the celebration of literature. (Americans might need a special periodical to get their heads around that.)
At the end, Lauren Collins asks the people linked to the magazine — conveniently gathered at a costume party on the terrace of a restaurant dressed as cowboys, Native Americans, Uncle Sams, and federal agents (no aggressions, micro- or other, when it's white Americans being mocked or stereotyped) — what their favorite book about America was.

 … Busnel’s favorite book about America is “Travels with Charley,” by John Steinbeck. He was hoping that America, taken in its entirety, would assist not only today’s French people but also future generations in making sense of a tumultuous moment. “I’m interested in how novelists can tell history again,” he said. “If you want to understand France during the last war, I would suggest to read André Malraux or Camus. That’s what we would like to do. The sixteen issues are going to be a map of America, but also a memoir of its time.” 
The problem with novelists — as with Hollywood films and the people behind them (and I write this as a writer of novels, graphic and other, as well as a participant in a number of motion pictures) — or one of the problems, anyway, is that they just about all of 'em are leftists and they just about all of 'em are drama queens.

Says Steven Pressfield (one of my favorite writers):
Art is artifice.
And this is where the problems with the favorite book of Busnel comes in.

Some six years ago, Reason's Steigerwald proved that the whole travelogue was, if not an outright lie throughout then a very exaggerated recounting of what Steinbeck (and Charley) did and whom he (whom they) met.
“‘Travels With Charley’ for 50 years has been touted, venerated, reviewed, mythologized as a true story, a nonfiction account of John Steinbeck’s journey of discovery, driving slowly across America, camping out under the stars alone. Other than the fact that none of that is true, what can I tell you?” He added, “If scholars aren’t concerned about this, what are they scholaring about?”
This brings us to a pointed question by Glenn Reynolds:
How many other portraits of America by iconic figures will turn out to be bogus?
And it is pretty amazing that neither this vaunted editor in Paris nor Lauren Collins herself — not to speak of any member of the New Yorker's editorial staff — speak to this fact about the John Steinbeck travelogue or even seem to have the slightest knowledge about it.

The answer is probably that they don't much care, that it is some kind of fake truth, something that brings up the truth.

You know. Narratives.

Still wonder why people have taken to referring to Fake news?

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

"Is Harvey Weinstein a monster?", can you learn "to distinguish between real abuse and an unwanted come-on?", and other pointed questions from our victim-worshipping world

This #MeToo stuff could get really stupid
writes Ann Althouse as Glenn Reynolds comments
But they can’t help it, because the herd instinct means no one wants to be left out, even when their only real complaint is that they couldn’t get the boyfriend to leave his wife. Because Me too!
From the comments: “Jump on the wagon and signal virtuous victimhood!”
Before we hear from Sarah Hoyt, a handful of questions:

• Had Harvey Weinstein looked anything near like Brad Pitt, how much would the Hollywood star wannabes have complained throughout the years about "harassment"? (Just askin'…)

• What is a "dirty old man" unless it the (exact) same thing that said male specimen was years, decades, ago, when he was young(er), at a time when being flirted by a (horny?) young(ish) lad was something (eagerly?) welcomed by girls and women alike? In other words, can it be that females aren't bothered that much by "dirty young men", in that what bothers them about the former is not the "dirty" but the "old", i.e., (what to them is) the unattractive? (Just askin'…; Sarah Hoyt dwells more on this below…)

• A word that keeps coming back to describe Harvey Weinstein is "monster." Previously, when I heard that moniker describing a living or a historical person, that person turned out to be Adolf Hitler or Joseph Stalin or either of the Kims who have ruled North Korea for 70 years; is it uncouth, is it scandalous, is it triggering, is it patriarchal to point out that however badly the Miramax producer may have acted, he ain't on the same level as der Führer, the Generalissimo, and the various Dear Leaders? (Just askin'…)

• There may certainly be good intentions in the current campaign (many of 'em) — aren't there always good intentions? — but in the end, isn't this feeding frenzy leading to "the ultimate male/female Safe Space … a space where every male is neutered" going to turn out as another of the left's shaming exercises by the usual drama queens for men (also known as the deplorables), so these deplorables learn to shut up (about their natural rights, I mean, and those of all humankind,  not — only — about any unwanted come-ons to a specific female), remember to keep their heads down, and repent their ways? (Just askin'…)

But hey — don't listen to me. I'm a male, after all.

Don't take my word for it, don't listen to my questions. (Man-splainin'?)

(See, I am already integrating the keep-our-heads-down lesson…)

So, besides Ann Althouse, Stephanie Gutman, and Michelle Malkin ("experience and scientific literature show us that a significant portion of these allegations will turn out to be half-truths, exaggerations or outright fabrications … That's not victim-blaming … It's reality-checking"), let's turn to another female and devote the rest of this post to that writer's thoughts on the subject.

Quick, to the Victim-Mobile! by Sarah Hoyt:
Has someone lit the Victim-signal in the sky?  For the last several days my Facebook page has been lit up with women “me too-ing” about how they also were harassed and are as victimy, helpless, and deserving as any would-be Hollywood A-lister flung across Harvey Weinstein’s casting couch.
It’s all “I too was harassed” and “being a woman is so terrible” and “no one is safe” and “patriarchy.”
It might be unkind of me, but my first thought – right after, “Really, I didn’t know Bill Clinton’s staff was that big” – was “No, you were not sexually harassed, because the penalties for that are straight-up horrendous unless you happen to be a big-time leftist.  At worst you were inconvenienced by having a pass made at you by a guy you found unattractive.”

This thought could be wrong and unkind.  Young and hapless women often allow things to happen to them that are objectively sexual harassment. …

 … in general, that kind of harassment is only a real problem when it’s an industry dominated by very few gatekeepers.  These industries/professions -- the arts, publishing, filmmaking, politics, etc. -- are almost all dominated by the left.

And as we’ve said, leftist guys can get away with anything. It’s like the fact that they’re leftist exonerates them from all peccadillos and outright sins.  The left showed this amply with Bill Clinton: their feminism was of the sort that cared more about the right to kill your unborn child than about the right to have a profession without having to pay for it in sexual favors.  (Imagine for a second if Bush had behaved like Clinton.  He’d have been hounded out of office.)

Oh, and in those fields, particularly as more women rise to prominence, men get harassed too, in the exact same way.

So all these women donning the vestments of holy victim can climb off the sacrificial altar.  This isn’t an #allwomen or #yesallmen.  This is human.

The story of humanity proves that those with power often took their “payment” in sexual favors.  From kings to ministers, history is littered with the excesses of powerful men and their bastards.  But if you look up close, the women who rose to power did the same.  Queens and Empresses, and even noblewomen, often treated young men of no fortune as toys.

It’s a human thing.

Now, this is not excusing it.  It is also human to kill and eat your enemies, and I’ve been assured we don’t do that anymore, no matter how much people annoy you on the internet.

But that sort of bad behavior stops, not by piling on and saying “me too” or worshiping the victims for being so courageous as to admit they let themselves be victimized, but by doing something about it.

 … you can learn to distinguish between real abuse and an unwanted come-on.  Real abuse (“you put out or you don’t have a career”) only happens where the guy (or gal) knows he can get away with it.  Circumvent, refuse, expose.

As for unwanted propositions?  Be real.  You’re human.  Unless you have three eyes and fifteen elbows, some of them on your teeth, someone is going to find you attractive.  Depending on how the come-on is attempted, the appropriate response is a slap (yes, violence does solve something) or a kind “Thank you but no.”

Yes, if you’re a woman it will be mostly men who will give you a sexual come-on.  (Though some of us seemed to attract equal-opportunity interest, at least when young.)  This doesn’t mean all women are victims and all men are predators.

It means you’re a woman and men are attracted to women, and not all of them are couth in their approaches.

“Me tooing” in comments, writing heartfelt sniveling stories of how you’re still traumatized, and hashtag activism will do absolutely nothing.

If women want to be in the workplace (as they more or less always were, other than a few exceptional periods), sex will rear its interesting head.

The way to get around that is to be a grown-up human being, from “thank you, no” to  more forceful and/or formal disciplinary measures, if needed.  And in some industries, yes, it might require going another route and maybe paying the price.  (In publishing, I’d like to remind everyone there’s indie and some people do very well indeed at it.)

You can either stand on your own two feet and call out the transgressors for their abuses, thereby making sure you leave the professional world better than you found it; or you can choose that "all men exploit all women," beat your chest and don the shining robes of eternal victimhood, which does nothing but perpetuate abuse.

But that victim-signal lighting up the sky doesn’t bring equality or the ability to show your professional competence.

All it does is put more shackles on professionals of both sexes until the work world is a minefield where nothing of import can be done for the forest of safe spaces and recovery groups.

And where the predators – who always learn to navigate the craziest rules and use them to their advantage – rule supreme.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Bend a knee to the almighty state or give up your livelihoods: Obamacare isn’t about birth control for crybaby liberals; it’s about bringing religious people to heel

Whenever crybaby liberals can’t impose upon other people they claim that someone else is imposing upon them
writes Benny Huang. Specifically, the Constitution website writer is talking about the fact that
Obamacare birth control mandate now lies in tatters, after President Trump announced new exemptions so broad that it is now basically unenforceable.

 … As sure as the sun will rise tomorrow, the next Democratic president will reinstate the mandate. It will surely rear its ugly head again if we don’t put a stake through the heart of this un-American diktat. The logical solution seems to be a full repeal of Obamacare but apparently Republicans—who represent a majority in both houses of Congress!—can’t close that deal. Pathetic.

Predictably, anti-theist groups are up in arms over the decision. This isn’t about birth control for them, you see, it’s about bringing religious people to heel. The goal is to sweep believers to the margins of society by forcing them to either bend a knee to the almighty state or give up their livelihoods. Their endgame is to render the Constitution’s free exercise clause a dead letter.

As usual, the anti-theist groups have spun freedom on its head in order to portray liberation as oppression and vice versa. “Preserving religious freedom does not mean expanding the right to impose beliefs on others,” said Larry T. Decker of the Secular Coalition. “It means ensuring that all Americans have the right to make medical decisions without interference from anyone else’s religious or moral beliefs.”

It takes a certain chutzpah to demand that your employer cover a raft of birth control methods while simultaneously insisting that he doesn’t have a say in your “medical decisions.” If Larry Decker and the organization he speaks for don’t want their bosses in their bedrooms I would suggest that they pay for their own damned birth control. That’s kind of the way it used to work  before 2012, which wasn’t exactly the dark ages.

Until Trump’s most recent executive order the cost of birth control was borne entirely by the employer. The whole point of the mandate was to ensure that women received birth control “with no out-of-pocket costs.” The insurance company certainly wasn’t picking up the tab so that means that the employer paid for the whole thing.

This was not a case of politicians playing Santa Claus and giving away money from the public treasury, as they so often do. This was much worse. This was politicians demanding that someone else pay out of their own pocket for other people’s freebies. Doesn’t the person having his wallet lifted have the right to raise his voice in protest? Well, no. According to the Left, that would be imposing his morality on others.

The only person being imposed upon by the Obamacare contraceptive mandate was the employer. Before it came into existence, all parties—the employee, the employer, and the insurance carrier—were [free] to do as they wished. Many employers did cover birth control but it was their prerogative. Insurance companies were free to offer or not offer birth control. Employees were free to find another job or pay out of pocket. Rumor has it that a month’s worth of birth control pills costs nine whole dollars at Target! That’s pretty steep, I know.
Whenever crybaby liberals can’t impose upon other people they claim that someone else is imposing upon them. For their benefit, I will provide
a handy how-to guide for identifying who is imposing upon whom. 
It’s pretty simple. Every time a law is passed, consider what is being prohibited or mandated. Then look at whom the law is incumbent upon. That’s the person who can rightly claim an imposition. That does not mean that that imposition is always unwarranted but it does indicate whose liberty is being abridged. It’s sometimes necessary to think this through because liberals so often portray the one imposing as the one being imposed upon.

The Obamacare birth control mandate is an excellent example. Mandates, by definition, force people to act against their will. Some religious employers oppose all forms of birth control, some oppose only those that dislodge a fertilized egg, and some have no problem at all providing birth control for married couples but don’t feel comfortable subsidizing the sex lives of their unmarried employees. The birth control mandate forced all of these employers to shut up and financially support what they considered immoral. All of the coercive force here was exerted on the employers.

With the stroke of his pen, President Trump made that coercive force disappear. Now no one is imposing on anyone! Pretty cool, huh?

Liberals intuitively understand this, I believe, even if they pretend they don’t. It’s in our American DNA to put a libertarian frame around our arguments: “I don’t care what you do as long as it doesn’t impose on me!” That formulation loses all meaning when the word “impose” is twisted to mean its exact opposite. What liberals really mean is “I don’t care what you do as long as I can continue to impose upon you!”

If this construct were somehow turned against them they would surely understand that this isn’t a “live-and-let-live” attitude. For example, if someone were forcing them to pay for their employees’ guns they would say “Not on my dime!”—and they would be right.

The contraceptive mandate’s poster girl, Sandra Fluke, offers a real life illustration. In 2012, Fluke testified before Congress about the difficulties of going through Georgetown law school without access to free (to her) birth control which was not covered by the university’s health care plan. Did she not know before matriculating that Georgetown is at least nominally Catholic? Apparently, she did know. According to a Washington Post article—which is not, as far as I can tell, an editorial though it reads like one—Fluke researched the school’s health plan before attending. “I decided I was absolutely not willing to compromise the quality of my education in exchange for my health care,” said Fluke.

By “health care,” she didn’t mean real health care. She wasn’t asking for anything that would prevent or treat illness or injury. What she meant was that she was unwilling to compromise the quality of her education in exchange for her sex life.

But Fluke was still completely free to get her freak on. That was not the issue. She could have
a) bought her own birth control pills (which, again, cost about nine dollars for a month supply at Target) or
b) chosen a different university. But that would have required her to make choices. She wanted it all and she wanted someone else to pay for it—in this case, the Catholic Church and its members. That makes her a very entitled brat.

Let’s stop and ask ourselves who is imposing upon whom here. This woman could have gotten her pills elsewhere—and presumably did. Even so, she expected the government to shove its way into Georgetown, overrule Catholic doctrine, and force them to fund her sexcapades. For five years, that is exactly what the government did. The imposition here was entirely one-sided.

Naturally, government coercion is occasionally necessary. All laws impose on someone and I’m not completely opposed to that; only an anarchist would be. Freedom should be abundant but it shouldn’t be unlimited. Even so, we shouldn’t allow ourselves to be bamboozled about who is being imposed upon in a given scenario. If the government is telling me that I have to shell out my money to buy someone else’s birth control—or guns, private school tuition, whatever—the government is imposing upon me. If the government stops forcing me to shell out my money, that does not mean that I am now imposing upon the person who is accustomed to getting free stuff at my expense. It means that the imposition has ended.

The end of the birth control mandate—if this really is the end—is a national blessing. It does not mean that anyone is cramming his morality down anyone else’s throat. Quite the opposite. We are freer and better country without it.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

News From Across the Pond: Taking Britain Towards a Bright New PC Future

The Times's Social Affairs Editor (huh?), Nicholas Hellen, reports on a Christian printer refusing to
produce the business cards of a transgender diversity consultant because he did not want to promote a cause that he felt might harm fellow believers.

Nigel Williams, a married father of three based in Southampton, turned down the chance of working for Joanne Lockwood’s consultancy, SEE Change Happen, which offers advice on equality, diversity and inclusion.
Meanwhile, Nicholas Hellen teams up with Caroline Wheeler, along with another Social Affairs Editor, Greg Hurst, to report on the news that Britain's administrative state, in the form of its National Health Service, will pry ever deeper into the private lives — and into the bedrooms — of the once-proudly independent British people:
NHS doctors and nurses in England will be required to ask every patient from the age of 16 to declare their sexual orientation.

Anybody having a face-to-face appointment will be asked about whether they are heterosexual or straight, gay or lesbian, bisexual or other, including asexual.

NHS England says it needs to record the sexual orientation of adults to fulfil its legal duties to provide equally for gay people.

However, some warned of a backlash against intrusion into the private lives of 45m people, with one expert saying the state has “no business in our bedrooms”.

Tim Loughton, a former children and families minister, said: “it's political correctness and compliance with the Equality Act gone bonkers.”

The reason that the Senate voted to confirm Clarence Thomas was that Anita Hill’s testimony was riddled with lies

Maureen Dowd has an unfortunate habit of smearing Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas any time she addresses the topic of sexual harassment
writes the Federalist's Mark Paoletta, author of the Justice Clarence Thomas website.
Dowd [in her column] neglects to mention that the American people, after watching the Thomas-Hill hearings live—unfiltered by the media spin machine—believed Thomas. … There was no gender gap on disbelieving Hill. Only 26 percent of women believed her, compared to 22 perent [sic] of men.

One of the key reasons Americans believed Thomas was the sheer number of women who came forward to defend him. Twelve of his former colleagues, including several who were Hill’s friends and colleagues, testified under oath that they did not believe Hill’s allegations and that Thomas would never say such lurid things. Indeed, Thomas had been through four previous FBI background checks, and no such allegations had ever surfaced.

The U.S. Senate voted to confirm Thomas because Hill’s story did not add up, and her testimony in front of the committee was riddled with lies. Try as she might, she could not explain away her decision to follow Thomas to another job after he had allegedly harassed her, or her repeated phone calls to Thomas over the years after she left government employment.

 … The problems with the testimony of Hill and her corroborating witnesses are too numerous to review here, but here is a website with a good summary of all the discrepancies. Dowd also conveniently leaves out that Sen. Nancy Kassebaum concluded that Hill did not prove her case and voted to confirm Thomas.

 … Dowd recently said “Feminism sort of died” in the 1990s when its leaders defended the sexual misconduct of Bill Clinton “to protect the progressive policies for women that Bill Clinton had as president.” The flip side of that is feminists, including Dowd, who use baseless allegations of sexual misconduct to attack a political opponent such as Thomas. This type of weaponization has hurt progress on stamping out sexual harassment.

Perhaps Dowd does not feel constrained by journalism ethics because she writes an opinion column for The New York Times, but to peddle the Hill story as if it were fact in spite of all evidence suggesting it to be fiction is the height of irresponsible journalism. To perpetuate this lie is as morally reprehensible as starting it in the first place.