(917) 915-4489

The old elite and the new

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Writing in The American Conservative, Robert W. Merry gets to the heart of the disconnect between the “know-betters” and what they call the “deplorables”:

What we see here is the hoary old liberal notion that as long as the unwashed are fed and clothed adequately, they won’t go astray with faulty thinking about the country’s definition or identity. Those delicate matters, after all, belong to the elites, who will tell us what to think about them and what not to think. Matthew Stewart seems to be saying that the sooner the 9.9 percent addresses the resentment of the 90 percent through redistributionist initiatives under governmental auspices, the sooner the country can get on with the task of redefining itself. “As long as inequality rules,” he writes, “reason will be absent from our politics.”

This misses a huge segment of what’s going on in America today. Christopher Lasch got closer to the heart of it in The Revolt of the Elites. To Lasch the problem doesn’t reside simply in the distribution of wealth or income, although these are not insignificant. It goes much deeper, far into the civic consciousness of the elite and the nation at large. The destructive nature of the new elite, by his reckoning, touches on profound questions of who we are, where we are going as a nation and society, and how we reconcile our present with our past and our future.

Lasch’s book is as important today as it was when it came out, in the ’90s. What we have in this country is a cosmopolitan elite who are breaking away from the body politic. Lasch’s point was that they do not conceive themselves as being a part of it—a country to them has only instrumental value.

America’s First Elites

All the news that fits

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Author S. Brisbane was the first hire as “public editor” of The NY Times (a position which has since been eliminated). In 2012, on his stepping down after two years in the position, translatress

In his farewell piece, he discussed the “hive mind” at the paper that works to skew its focus:

[T]he hive on Eighth Avenue is powerfully shaped by a culture of like minds — a phenomenon, I believe, that is more easily recognized from without than from within.

When The Times covers a national presidential campaign, I have found that the lead editors and reporters are disciplined about enforcing fairness and balance, and usually succeed in doing so. Across the paper’s many departments, though, so many share a kind of political and cultural progressivism — for lack of a better term — that this worldview virtually bleeds through the fabric of The Times.

As a result, developments like the Occupy movement and gay marriage seem almost to erupt in The Times, overloved and undermanaged, more like causes than news subjects.

In other words, much of the “news” found in The Times is what fits the worldview of its journalists and department managers.

972-817-5716

(204) 997-2763

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In light of the recent killings in a Pittsburgh synagogue, an (718) 469-1772 discusses American anti-Semitism. The common belief is that anti-Semitism is on the rise. Critics of President Trump claim he is responsible for this. But, as the author of the opinion piece reveals, a closer look at the statistics presents a different picture:

According to a widely quoted statistic from the Anti-Defamation League’s annual “Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents,” the number of such acts increased by 57% from 2016 to 2017.

If you look at the ADL report in detail, however, the picture is more ambiguous. In 2017, anti-Semitic assaults actually decreased by almost half, to just 19 in the whole country. The number of threats made to Jewish institutions jumped dramatically, by more than 100% over the year before, but almost the entire increase is owed to a single individual, an Israeli teenager who phoned bomb threats to dozens of American Jewish schools and community centers. If you take him out of the statistics, there was basically the same level of anti-Semitic threats in 2017 as in 2016.

A little bit of googling uncovers the identity of this Israeli teenager, a Mr. Michael Ron David Kadar, age 19. Kadar is a dual Israeli-American citizen, which can mean only one thing. The young man who, according to the NY Times, called in threats of violence (including bomb scares) to “organizations and individuals around the world, including the Israeli Embassy in Washington and numerous Jewish groups in the United States” is himself Jewish.

In other words, a Jewish guy (whose parents, in his defense, claim has both autism and a brain tumor) has skewed the statistical rise in anti-Semitic “incidents” for which President Trump is being blamed. Apart from that, there was no change during the president’s first year in office. Actual assaults in fact decreased.

As for the madman who shot up the Pittsburgh synagogue, (678) 798-4860

704-596-8023

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This is the best explanation of what is going on.

Social media, by instantly connecting millions of insignificant people to one another (“insignificant” isn’t a moral judgment; it’s just how things are) has created a Grand Canyon of an echo chamber in which that echoing insignificance has become enveloping and inescapable, and intolerable to those trapped in the middle of it. People with the opportunity to say whatever they want to say to anybody they want to say it to discover (even if they will not admit it to themselves) that they do not have anything of interest to say. They have been given voices, but they have no fruitful purpose to which to put them. They require distraction.

– Kevin D. Williamson, writing in 4066033515

Camille Paglia on Lena Dunham

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Lena Dunham to me is absolutely the symbol of a certain kind of neuroticism which masquerades as feminism. I mean, Lena Dunham has a lot of problems that have to do with body image.

I call her the “Andrea Dworkin” of today—this exposure of the body as something ugly, and as something repugnant, and yet somehow as “sexual.” And the implied blame that, “If you find me ugly, then you don’t understand—I am woman as she is, okay, and you are a sexist.”

I’m sorry, no, you are just a big pile of pudding.

– “Camille Paglia talks to Ella Whelan about feminism”

irrepressibly

Fascism as revolution

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It is in Mosse’s discussion of fascism and revolution that he makes his most important contribution. In contrast to those analysts, especially Marxists, who interpret fascism as reactionary—a kind of last gasp of bourgeois capitalism—Mosse accents its revolutionary thrust. Mussolini called for a “revolution of the spirit”; Hitler spoke of the “German Revolution.” In Mosse’s words, “Fascism encouraged activism, the fight against the existing order of things.” Like all revolutionary movements, fascism in power had to restore order and prop up its own authority, diminishing revolutionary ardor; but fascism in its main thrust sought to remake the human world, to forge a new future—whether based on futurist ideas, as with Mussolini, or on an imagined pagan past, as with Hitler—that would break decisively with the corrupt and weak present. Though rightists and conservatives, sharing their rejection of the modern world, often supported Fascist movements, fascism was anything but conservative.

– “The Cultural Revolution of Fascism,” by Brian C. Anderson, writing in First Things

805-634-1379

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Progressives have long held that only whites can be racist:

[W]hen anti-white sentiment is embedded in the New York Times editorial board, it’s no longer “powerless” in any meaningful sense. Similarly, when it reaches the heights of government, the academy, or the bestseller lists, it’s no longer remotely “powerless.”

587-929-7362

(803) 578-1744

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The utopian vision and the tragic vision offer different answers. In the utopian vision, liberal institutions are worthwhile because they expand our autonomy, allowing us to inscribe our own story upon a blank slate. Markets free us to fulfill ourselves through industry. Elections offer us a chance at self-determination. Free speech allows us to express our thoughts as we please. All these freedoms mold human nature such that we become more reasonable, compassionate, and humane. The purpose of life is the ever greater actualization of liberal ideals—the expansion of autonomy, science, and self-expression into a growing number of spheres.

In the tragic vision, by contrast, liberal institutions work not through liberation but rather through constraint. The function of markets is to distribute economic power across society and therefore minimize the chances of misjudgment by central planners. The function of elections is to reduce the likelihood of violence by offering an alternative means for transferring political power. The function of free speech is not to give everyone a megaphone but to make sure that bad ideas can be falsified. In the tragic vision, individuals are and will always be status-oriented, tribal, and aggressive, but a society can become incrementally more peaceful and humane by virtue of the liberal machinery for creating knowledge, limiting violence, and protecting certain rights. In this view, liberalism is not the purpose of life but a means of creating a society that people want to live in.

ligamentous

nonaffirmation

We two “me too” hustlers

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Writing in Penthouse, Leah McSweeney exposes the two #MeToo hustlers, Asia Argento and Rose McGowan:

Argento and McGowan describe Weinstein giving them oral sex, and both say they faked an orgasm in hopes of getting the experience over with as fast as possible. Calling this “rape” is doing our society, including sexual-assault survivors, a disservice on so many levels. I was raped when I was 15 years old. I know a lot of women will accuse me of victim-blaming, but at some point we have to remove the impenetrable shield that one receives when she is considered a victim.

Argento went on to have a consensual relationship with Weinstein for several years.

She goes on to describe how the two used the recent suicide of Anthony Bourdain to promote their own careers. Argento had been dating him for over a year—until she was exposed cheating on him by paparazzi, only days before Bourdain took his own life.

(281) 209-8919

412-847-7497

2362148872

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A comment on the subject of immigration, from a reader of The American Conservative, who makes much more sense than the author of the original essay:

The Anti-Gnostic says:

Immigration is not subject to political or ideological debate. It’s a territorial issue: who gets to live where and run things. As Ann Coulter puts it, immigration is the issue because it determines who gets to decide all the other issues.

Demography isn’t destiny; demography is democracy.

— “How to Resolve the Conservative Split Over Immigration,” by Jon Basil Utley.