Dog Brothers Public Forum

HOME | PUBLIC FORUM | MEMBERS FORUM | INSTRUCTORS FORUM | TRIBE FORUM

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
February 23, 2018, 02:54:56 AM

Login with username, password and session length
Search:     Advanced search
Welcome to the Dog Brothers Public Forum.
107480 Posts in 2404 Topics by 1095 Members
Latest Member: dannysamuel
* Home Help Search Login Register
+  Dog Brothers Public Forum
|-+  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities
| |-+  Politics & Religion
| | |-+  Political Rants & interesting thought pieces
« previous next »
Pages: 1 ... 34 35 [36] Print
Author Topic: Political Rants & interesting thought pieces  (Read 508548 times)
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 42521


« Reply #1750 on: September 21, 2017, 07:47:55 PM »

https://www.wsj.com/articles/struggling-americans-once-sought-greener-pasturesnow-theyre-stuck-1501686801?mod=e2fb
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 42521


« Reply #1751 on: September 26, 2017, 12:42:16 PM »

Op-Ed Columnist
The Dying Art of Disagreement
Plato and Aristotle in discussion, by Luca della Robbia (1437)


This is the text of a lecture delivered at the Lowy Institute Media Award dinner in Sydney, Australia, on Saturday, Sept. 23. The award recognizes excellence in Australian foreign affairs journalism.

Let me begin with thanks to the Lowy Institute for bringing me all the way to Sydney and doing me the honor of hosting me here this evening.

I’m aware of the controversy that has gone with my selection as your speaker. I respect the wishes of the Colvin family and join in honoring Mark Colvin’s memory as a courageous foreign correspondent and an extraordinary writer and broadcaster. And I’d particularly like to thank Michael Fullilove for not rescinding the invitation.

This has become the depressing trend on American university campuses, where the roster of disinvited speakers and forced cancellations includes former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and Condoleezza Rice, former Harvard University President Larry Summers, actor Alec Baldwin, human-rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali, DNA co-discoverer James Watson, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, filmmaker Michael Moore, conservative Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist George Will and liberal Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Anna Quindlen, to name just a few.

So illustrious is the list that, on second thought, I’m beginning to regret that you didn’t disinvite me after all.

The title of my talk tonight is “The Dying Art of Disagreement.” This is a subject that is dear to me — literally dear — since disagreement is the way in which I have always earned a living. Disagreement is dear to me, too, because it is the most vital ingredient of any decent society.

To say the words, “I agree” — whether it’s agreeing to join an organization, or submit to a political authority, or subscribe to a religious faith — may be the basis of every community.

But to say, I disagree; I refuse; you’re wrong; etiam si omnes — ego non — these are the words that define our individuality, give us our freedom, enjoin our tolerance, enlarge our perspectives, seize our attention, energize our progress, make our democracies real, and give hope and courage to oppressed people everywhere. Galileo and Darwin; Mandela, Havel, and Liu Xiaobo; Rosa Parks and Natan Sharansky — such are the ranks of those who disagree.

And the problem, as I see it, is that we’re failing at the task.

This is a puzzle. At least as far as far as the United States is concerned, Americans have rarely disagreed more in recent decades.

We disagree about racial issues, bathroom policies, health care laws, and, of course, the 45th president. We express our disagreements in radio and cable TV rants in ways that are increasingly virulent; street and campus protests that are increasingly violent; and personal conversations that are increasingly embittering.

This is yet another age in which we judge one another morally depending on where we stand politically.

Nor is this just an impression of the moment. Extensive survey data show that Republicans are much more right-leaning than they were twenty years ago, Democrats much more left-leaning, and both sides much more likely to see the other as a mortal threat to the nation’s welfare.

The polarization is geographic, as more people live in states and communities where their neighbors are much likelier to share their politics.

The polarization is personal: Fully 50 percent of Republicans would not want their child to marry a Democrat, and nearly a third of Democrats return the sentiment. Interparty marriage has taken the place of interracial marriage as a family taboo.

Finally the polarization is electronic and digital, as Americans increasingly inhabit the filter bubbles of news and social media that correspond to their ideological affinities. We no longer just have our own opinions. We also have our separate “facts,” often the result of what different media outlets consider newsworthy. In the last election, fully 40 percent of Trump voters named Fox News as their chief source of news.

Thanks a bunch for that one, Australia.

It’s usually the case that the more we do something, the better we are at it. Instead, we’re like Casanovas in reverse: the more we do it, the worse we’re at it. Our disagreements may frequently hoarsen our voices, but they rarely sharpen our thinking, much less change our minds.

It behooves us to wonder why.

* * *

Thirty years ago, in 1987, a philosophy professor at the University of Chicago named Allan Bloom — at the time best known for his graceful translations of Plato’s “Republic” and Rousseau’s “Emile” — published a learned polemic about the state of higher education in the United States. It was called “The Closing of the American Mind.”

The book appeared when I was in high school, and I struggled to make my way through a text thick with references to Plato, Weber, Heidegger and Strauss. But I got the gist — and the gist was that I’d better enroll in the University of Chicago and read the great books. That is what I did.

What was it that one learned through a great books curriculum? Certainly not “conservatism” in any contemporary American sense of the term. We were not taught to become American patriots, or religious pietists, or to worship what Rudyard Kipling called “the Gods of the Market Place.” We were not instructed in the evils of Marxism, or the glories of capitalism, or even the superiority of Western civilization.

As I think about it, I’m not sure we were taught anything at all. What we did was read books that raised serious questions about the human condition, and which invited us to attempt to ask serious questions of our own. Education, in this sense, wasn’t a “teaching” with any fixed lesson. It was an exercise in interrogation.

To listen and understand; to question and disagree; to treat no proposition as sacred and no objection as impious; to be willing to entertain unpopular ideas and cultivate the habits of an open mind — this is what I was encouraged to do by my teachers at the University of Chicago.

It’s what used to be called a liberal education.

The University of Chicago showed us something else: that every great idea is really just a spectacular disagreement with some other great idea.

Socrates quarrels with Homer. Aristotle quarrels with Plato. Locke quarrels with Hobbes and Rousseau quarrels with them both. Nietzsche quarrels with everyone. Wittgenstein quarrels with himself.

These quarrels are never personal. Nor are they particularly political, at least in the ordinary sense of politics. Sometimes they take place over the distance of decades, even centuries.

Most importantly, they are never based on a misunderstanding. On the contrary, the disagreements arise from perfect comprehension; from having chewed over the ideas of your intellectual opponent so thoroughly that you can properly spit them out.

In other words, to disagree well you must first understand well. You have to read deeply, listen carefully, watch closely. You need to grant your adversary moral respect; give him the intellectual benefit of doubt; have sympathy for his motives and participate empathically with his line of reasoning. And you need to allow for the possibility that you might yet be persuaded of what he has to say.

“The Closing of the American Mind” took its place in the tradition of these quarrels. Since the 1960s it had been the vogue in American universities to treat the so-called “Dead White European Males” of the Western canon as agents of social and political oppression. Allan Bloom insisted that, to the contrary, they were the best possible instruments of spiritual liberation.

He also insisted that to sustain liberal democracy you needed liberally educated people. This, at least, should not have been controversial. For free societies to function, the idea of open-mindedness can’t simply be a catchphrase or a dogma. It needs to be a personal habit, most of all when it comes to preserving an open mind toward those with whom we disagree.

* * *

That habit was no longer being exercised much 30 years ago. And if you’ve followed the news from American campuses in recent years, things have become a lot worse.

According to a new survey from the Brookings Institution, a plurality of college students today — fully 44 percent — do not believe the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects so-called “hate speech,” when of course it absolutely does. More shockingly, a narrow majority of students — 51 percent — think it is “acceptable” for a student group to shout down a speaker with whom they disagree. An astonishing 20 percent also agree that it’s acceptable to use violence to prevent a speaker from speaking.

These attitudes are being made plain nearly every week on one college campus or another.

There are speakers being shouted down by organized claques of hecklers — such was the experience of Israeli ambassador Michael Oren at the University of California, Irvine. Or speakers who require hundreds of thousands of dollars of security measures in order to appear on campus — such was the experience of conservative pundit Ben Shapiro earlier this month at Berkeley. Or speakers who are physically barred from reaching the auditorium — that’s what happened to Heather MacDonald at Claremont McKenna College in April. Or teachers who are humiliated by their students and hounded from their positions for allegedly hurting students’ feelings — that’s what happened to Erika and Nicholas Christakis of Yale.

And there is violence. Listen to a description from Middlebury College professor Allison Stanger of what happened when she invited the libertarian scholar Charles Murray to her school to give a talk in March:

    The protesters succeeded in shutting down the lecture. We were forced to move to another site and broadcast our discussion via live stream, while activists who had figured out where we were banged on the windows and set off fire alarms. Afterward, as Dr. Murray and I left the building . . . a mob charged us.

    Most of the hatred was focused on Dr. Murray, but when I took his right arm to shield him and to make sure we stayed together, the crowd turned on me. Someone pulled my hair, while others were shoving me. I feared for my life. Once we got into the car, protesters climbed on it, hitting the windows and rocking the vehicle whenever we stopped to avoid harming them. I am still wearing a neck brace, and spent a week in a dark room to recover from a concussion caused by the whiplash.

Middlebury is one of the most prestigious liberal-arts colleges in the United States, with an acceptance rate of just 16 percent and tuition fees of nearly $50,000 a year. How does an elite institution become a factory for junior totalitarians, so full of their own certitudes that they could indulge their taste for bullying and violence?

There’s no one answer. What’s clear is that the mis-education begins early. I was raised on the old-fashioned view that sticks and stones could break my bones but words would never hurt me. But today there’s a belief that since words can cause stress, and stress can have physiological effects, stressful words are tantamount to a form of violence. This is the age of protected feelings purchased at the cost of permanent infantilization.

The mis-education continues in grade school. As the Brookings findings indicate, younger Americans seem to have no grasp of what our First Amendment says, much less of the kind of speech it protects. This is a testimony to the collapse of civics education in the United States, creating the conditions that make young people uniquely susceptible to demagogy of the left- or right-wing varieties.

Then we get to college, where the dominant mode of politics is identity politics, and in which the primary test of an argument isn’t the quality of the thinking but the cultural, racial, or sexual standing of the person making it. As a woman of color I think X. As a gay man I think Y. As a person of privilege I apologize for Z. This is the baroque way Americans often speak these days. It is a way of replacing individual thought — with all the effort that actual thinking requires — with social identification — with all the attitude that attitudinizing requires.

In recent years, identity politics have become the moated castles from which we safeguard our feelings from hurt and our opinions from challenge. It is our “safe space.” But it is a safe space of a uniquely pernicious kind — a safe space from thought, rather than a safe space for thought, to borrow a line I recently heard from Salman Rushdie.

Another consequence of identity politics is that it has made the distance between making an argument and causing offense terrifyingly short. Any argument that can be cast as insensitive or offensive to a given group of people isn’t treated as being merely wrong. Instead it is seen as immoral, and therefore unworthy of discussion or rebuttal.

The result is that the disagreements we need to have — and to have vigorously — are banished from the public square before they’re settled. People who might otherwise join a conversation to see where it might lead them choose instead to shrink from it, lest they say the “wrong” thing and be accused of some kind of political -ism or -phobia. For fear of causing offense, they forego the opportunity to be persuaded.

Take the arguments over same-sex marriage, which you are now debating in Australia. My own views in favor of same-sex marriage are well known, and I hope the Yes’s wins by a convincing margin.

But if I had to guess, I suspect the No’s will exceed whatever they are currently polling. That’s because the case for same-sex marriage is too often advanced not by reason, but merely by branding every opponent of it as a “bigot” — just because they are sticking to an opinion that was shared across the entire political spectrum only a few years ago. Few people like outing themselves as someone’s idea of a bigot, so they keep their opinions to themselves even when speaking to pollsters. That’s just what happened last year in the Brexit vote and the U.S. presidential election, and look where we are now.

If you want to make a winning argument for same-sex marriage, particularly against conservative opponents, make it on a conservative foundation: As a matter of individual freedom, and as an avenue toward moral responsibility and social respectability. The No’s will have a hard time arguing with that. But if you call them morons and Neanderthals, all you’ll get in return is their middle finger or their clenched fist.

One final point about identity politics: It’s a game at which two can play. In the United States, the so-called “alt-right” justifies its white-identity politics in terms that are coyly borrowed from the progressive left. One of the more dismaying features of last year’s election was the extent to which “white working class” became a catchall identity for people whose travails we were supposed to pity but whose habits or beliefs we were not supposed to criticize. The result was to give the Trump base a moral pass it did little to earn.

* * *

So here’s where we stand: Intelligent disagreement is the lifeblood of any thriving society. Yet we in the United States are raising a younger generation who have never been taught either the how or the why of disagreement, and who seem to think that free speech is a one-way right: Namely, their right to disinvite, shout down or abuse anyone they dislike, lest they run the risk of listening to that person — or even allowing someone else to listen. The results are evident in the parlous state of our universities, and the frayed edges of our democracies.

Can we do better?

This is supposed to be a lecture on the media, and I’d like to conclude this talk with a word about the role that editors and especially publishers can play in ways that might improve the state of public discussion rather than just reflect and accelerate its decline.

I began this talk by noting that Americans have rarely disagreed so vehemently about so much. On second thought, this isn’t the whole truth.

Yes, we disagree constantly. But what makes our disagreements so toxic is that we refuse to make eye contact with our opponents, or try to see things as they might, or find some middle ground.

Instead, we fight each other from the safe distance of our separate islands of ideology and identity and listen intently to echoes of ourselves. We take exaggerated and histrionic offense to whatever is said about us. We banish entire lines of thought and attempt to excommunicate all manner of people — your humble speaker included — without giving them so much as a cursory hearing.

The crucial prerequisite of intelligent disagreement — namely: shut up; listen up; pause and reconsider; and only then speak — is absent.

Perhaps the reason for this is that we have few obvious models for disagreeing well, and those we do have — such as the Intelligence Squared debates in New York and London or Fareed Zakaria’s show on CNN — cater to a sliver of elite tastes, like classical music.

Fox News and other partisan networks have demonstrated that the quickest route to huge profitability is to serve up a steady diet of high-carb, low-protein populist pap. Reasoned disagreement of the kind that could serve democracy well fails the market test. Those of us who otherwise believe in the virtues of unfettered capitalism should bear that fact in mind.

I do not believe the answer, at least in the U.S., lies in heavier investment in publicly sponsored television along the lines of the BBC. It too, suffers, from its own form of ideological conformism and journalistic groupthink, immunized from criticism due to its indifference to competition.

Nor do I believe the answer lies in a return to what in America used to be called the “Fairness Doctrine,” mandating equal time for different points of view. Free speech must ultimately be free, whether or not it’s fair.

But I do think there’s such a thing as private ownership in the public interest, and of fiduciary duties not only to shareholders but also to citizens. Journalism is not just any other business, like trucking or food services. Nations can have lousy food and exemplary government, as Great Britain demonstrated for most of the last century. They can also have great food and lousy government, as France has always demonstrated.

But no country can have good government, or a healthy public square, without high-quality journalism — journalism that can distinguish a fact from a belief and again from an opinion; that understands that the purpose of opinion isn’t to depart from facts but to use them as a bridge to a larger idea called “truth”; and that appreciates that truth is a large enough destination that, like Manhattan, it can be reached by many bridges of radically different designs. In other words, journalism that is grounded in facts while abounding in disagreements.

I believe it is still possible — and all the more necessary — for journalism to perform these functions, especially as the other institutions that were meant to do so have fallen short. But that requires proprietors and publishers who understand that their role ought not to be to push a party line, or be a slave to Google hits and Facebook ads, or provide a titillating kind of news entertainment, or help out a president or prime minister who they favor or who’s in trouble.

Their role is to clarify the terms of debate by championing aggressive and objective news reporting, and improve the quality of debate with commentary that opens minds and challenges assumptions rather than merely confirming them.

This is journalism in defense of liberalism, not liberal in the left-wing American or right-wing Australian sense, but liberal in its belief that the individual is more than just an identity, and that free men and women do not need to be protected from discomfiting ideas and unpopular arguments. More than ever, they need to be exposed to them, so that we may revive the arts of disagreement that are the best foundation of intelligent democratic life.

The honor the Lowy Institute does tonight’s nominees is an important step in that direction. What they have uncovered, for the rest of you to debate, is the only way by which our democracies can remain rational, reasonable, and free.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 42521


« Reply #1752 on: September 28, 2017, 05:32:11 AM »



http://www.aei.org/publication/does-america-still-believe-in-the-right-to-be-wrong/?mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiTnpWak1XTXhaRFF4TlRrMyIsInQiOiJhMXBFM3ZONkZiZ29jb3MxSzlXaTN0UHEzbkRLYXN3VFBoWVAxSmlzdW0yOHVaSXVjYWpIaDNYOTlRYXlKb29hbFwvbXA1K0hkZnZDTEx2QWpIcmRxcmlJRFpiWUJQeGczc2lNUmhEdVJOZkdtWmViUE5VelZkUGhmYzlQZTVwODEifQ%3D%3D
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 42521


« Reply #1753 on: October 07, 2017, 07:15:50 AM »

The Culture of Death—and of Disdain
Why do Americans own so many guns? Because they don’t trust the protected elites to protect them.
Photo: Chad Crowe
By Peggy Noonan
Oct. 5, 2017 6:56 p.m. ET
703 COMMENTS

When news broke at Christmastime five years ago of what had happened at Newtown a friend, a news anchor, called and said with a broken voice: “What is the word for what we feel?” I thought for a moment. “Shattered,” I said. “We are shattered, all of us.” When people in ensuing days spoke of what had been done to the little children in the classrooms, I’d put up my hands and say no, we can’t keep putting those words in the air, we can’t afford it. When terrible images enter our heads and settle in, they become too real, and what is real is soon, by the unstable, imitated, repeated.

When Columbine happened in the spring of 1999, it hit me like a wave of sickness. I wrote a piece about the culture of death that produced the teenage shooters: “Think of it this way. Your child is an intelligent little fish. He swims in deep water. Waves of sound and sight, of thought and fact, come invisibly through that water, like radar. . . . The sound from the television is a wave, and the sound from the radio; the headlines on the newsstand, on the magazines, on the ad on the bus as it whizzes by—all are waves. The fish—your child—is bombarded and barely knows it. But the waves contain words like this, which I’ll limit to only one source, the news:

“. . . was found strangled and is believed to have been sexually molested . . . had her breast implants removed . . . took the stand to say the killer was smiling the day the show aired . . . said the procedure is, in fact, legal infanticide . . . is thought to be connected to earlier sexual activity among teens . . . court battle over who owns the frozen sperm . . . contains songs that call for dominating and even imprisoning women . . . died of lethal injection . . . had threatened to kill her children . . . had asked Kevorkian for help in killing himself . . . protested the game, which they said has gone beyond violence to sadism . . . showed no remorse . . . which is about a wager over whether he could sleep with another student . . .

“This is the ocean in which our children swim. This is the sound of our culture. It comes from all parts of our culture and reaches all parts of our culture, and all the people in it, which is everybody.”

We were bringing up our children in an unwell atmosphere. It would enter and distort them. Could we turn this around?

And here is the horror for me of Las Vegas: I was not shattered. That shatters me.

It was just another terrible story. It is not the new normal it is the new abnormal and deep down we know it’s not going to stop. There is too much instability in our country, too much rage and lovelessness, too many weapons.

On television, the terrible sameness. We all know the postmassacre drill now. The shocked witness knows exactly what the anchor needs and speaks in rounded, 20-second bursts. Activists have their bullet-point arguments ready because they used them last time and then saved them in a file called “Aurora,” “Virginia Tech” or “Giffords, Gabby.”

We are stuck, the debate frozen. The right honestly doesn’t understand why the left keeps insisting on reforms that won’t help. The left honestly doesn’t understand how much yearning there is among so many conservatives to do something, try something, make it better. They don’t want their kids growing up in a world where madmen have guns that shoot nine rounds a second. Many this week at least agreed bump stocks can be banned. It probably won’t help much. But if it helps just a little, for God’s sake, do it.

But: Why do so many Americans have guns? I don’t mean those who like to hunt and shoot or live far out and need protection. I don’t mean those who’ve been handed down the guns of their grandfather or father. Why do a significant number of Americans have so many guns?

Wouldn’t it help if we thought about that?

I think a lot of Americans have guns because they’re fearful—and for damn good reason. They fear a coming chaos, and know that when it happens it will be coming to a nation that no longer coheres. They think it’s all collapsing—our society, our culture, the baseline competence of our leadership class. They see the cultural infrastructure giving way—illegitimacy, abused children, neglect, racial tensions, kids on opioids staring at screens—and, unlike their cultural superiors, they understand the implications.

Nuts with nukes, terrorists bent on a mission. The grid will go down. One of our foes will hit us, suddenly and hard. In the end it could be hand to hand, door to door. I said some of this six years ago to a famously liberal journalist, who blinked in surprise. If that’s true, he said, they won’t have a chance! But they are Americans, I said. They won’t go down without a fight.

Americans have so many guns because drug gangs roam the streets, because they have less trust in their neighbors, because they read Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road.” Because all of their personal and financial information got hacked in the latest breach, because our country’s real overlords are in Silicon Valley and appear to be moral Martians who operate on some weird new postmodern ethical wavelength. And they’ll be the ones programming the robots that’ll soon take all the jobs! Maybe the robots will all look like Mark Zuckerberg, like those eyeless busts of Roman Emperors. Our leaders don’t even think about this technological revolution. They’re too busy with transgender rights.

Americans have so many guns because they know the water their children swim in hasn’t gotten cleaner since Columbine, but more polluted and lethal.

The establishments and elites that create our political and entertainment culture have no idea how fragile it all is—how fragile it seems to people living normal, less privileged lives. That is because nothing is fragile for them. They’re barricaded behind the things the influential have, from good neighborhoods to security alarms, doormen and gates. They’re not dark in their imagining of the future because history has never been dark for them; it’s been sunshine, which they expect to continue. They sail on, oblivious to the legitimate anxieties of their countrymen who live near the edge.

Those who create our culture feel free to lecture normal Americans—on news shows, on late night comedy shows. Why do they have such a propensity for violence? What is their love for guns? Why do they join the National Rifle Association? The influential grind away with their disdain for their fellow Americans, whom they seem less to want to help than to dominate: Give up your gun, bake my cake, free speech isn’t free if what you’re saying triggers us.

Would it help if we tried less censure and more cultural affiliation? Might it help if we started working on problems that are real? Sure. But why lower the temperature when there’s such easy pleasure to be had in ridiculing your mindless and benighted countrymen?
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 42521


« Reply #1754 on: October 08, 2017, 12:51:46 PM »

http://www.barofsolitude.com/…/the-power-of-secularized-man/
22 September 2017 by Yoshiro Blackburn

The Power of Secularized Man


“The films which the Allies circulated in Germany and elsewhere after the war showed clearly that this atmosphere of insanity and unreality is not dispelled by pure reportage. To the unprejudiced observer these pictures are just about as convincing as snapshots of mysterious substances taken at spiritual séances. Common sense reacted to the horrors of Buchenwald and Auschwitz with the plausible argument: ‘What crimes must these people have committed that such things were done to them!’; or, in Germany and Austria, in the midst of starvation, overpopulation, and general hatred: ‘Too bad that they’ve stopped gassing the Jews’; and everywhere with the skeptical shrug that greets ineffectual propaganda.

“If the propaganda of truth fails to convince the average person because it is too monstrous, it is positively dangerous to those who know from their own imaginings what they themselves are capable of doing and who are therefore perfectly willing to believe in the reality of what they have seen. Suddenly it becomes evident that things which for thousands of years the human imagination had banished to a realm beyond human competence can be manufactured right here on earth, that Hell and Purgatory, and even a shadow of their perpetual duration, can be established by the most modern methods of destruction and therapy. To these people (and they are more numerous in any large city than we like to admit) the totalitarian hell proves only that the power of man is greater than they ever dared to think, and that man can realize hellish fantasies without making the sky fall or the earth open.

“These analogies, repeated in many reports from the world of the dying, seem to express more than a desperate attempt at saying what is outside the realm of human speech. Nothing perhaps distinguishes modern masses as radically from those of previous centuries as the loss of faith in a Last Judgment: the worst have lost their fear and the best have lost their hope. Unable as yet to live without fear and hope, these masses are attracted by every effort which seems to promise a man-made fabrication of the Paradise they had longed for and of the Hell they had feared. Just as the popularized features of Marx’s classless society have a queer resemblance to the Messianic, so the reality of the concentration camps resembles nothing so much as medieval pictures of Hell.

“The one thing that cannot be reproduced is what made the traditional conceptions of Hell tolerable to man: the Last Judgment, the idea of an absolute standard of justice combined with the infinite possibility of grace. For in the human estimation there is no crime and no sin commensurable with the everlasting torments of Hell. Hence the discomfiture of common sense, which asks: What crime must these people have committed in order to suffer so inhumanly? Hence also the absolute innocence of the victims: no man ever deserved this. Hence finally the grotesque haphazardness with which concentration-camp victims were chosen in the perfected terror state: such ‘punishment’ can, with equal justice and injustice, be inflicted on anyone.”
 — Hannah Arendt, from The Origins of Totalitarianism (1966)
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 42521


« Reply #1755 on: October 11, 2017, 03:14:40 PM »

By George Friedman


Manners and Political Life


Restraint in public life is not a foundation of civilization. It is civilization.


I married a woman born in Australia, of that class that emulated English culture. Loving her as I did, I did not understand the British obsession with table manners. For her, eating a bowl of soup was a work of art, a complex of motions difficult for me to master, and to me incomprehensible in purpose. From the beginning of our love, dinner became for me an exercise of obscure rules governing the movement of food to my mouth. It was a time when conversation was carefully hedged by taboos and obligations. Some things were not discussed at dinner.

Meredith, my wife, grew up elegant and restrained. The enormous body of rules she called good manners rigidly shaped and controlled her passions, which were many. She followed the rules she learned as a child partly out of a desire for others to think well of her, partly because she regarded these manners as the laws of nature. Restraint and propriety were the outward sign of a decent life. The dinner table was where children learned that there were rules to a civilized life. For many, the powers of good manners crushed their souls, leaving them with little but the arrogance of having mastered the rules. For the best, manners provided the frame for a life of free will and self-confidence. Good manners allowed her to be both free and civilized, in the English manner. Her obsession with manners imposed a civility that shaped the way in which people disagreed.

I grew up in the Bronx, a place of fragmented cultures, of immigrants under severe and deforming pressure. There were many cultures – few any longer authentic, all in some way at odds with each other. Meredith’s table was a place of restraint. Mine was a place of combat. The hidden message about food was to eat as much as you can as quickly as you can, because who could really know when you would eat again? The table was a place of intellectual and emotional combat, where grievances were revealed, ideas were challenged and the new world we were in was analyzed for its strangeness. The grammar of debate took precedence over digestion.

She and I appear to many to be mismatched. She has never lost her belief that one must show restraint to appear to fit in. I have never lost my belief that the world is a dangerous place that must be confronted vigorously. Yet underneath these differences we formed a bond, based on a will to live as we will, but distinguishing carefully between who we were in private and who we were in public. This distinction is the root of both sanity and civility. I learned from her that there was a time and place for everything. I learned that without manners, however arbitrary they might be, life was chaos. I learned that combat, in speech and deed, might sometimes be necessary, but that it must be bound by the rituals of civility, or everything is destroyed. I am not sure she learned much from me.

Public Life

Manners make it possible to disagree within a framework of ritual that the disagreement does not lead to unhealable breaches. They allow you to live much of your life in unthinking patterns, freeing you to devote your thoughts to matters more pressing than how to greet someone, or whether to put on a tie. A tie is an example of this. It is a pointless piece of cloth. Yet, in putting it on, the act of dressing becomes complex and focuses you on the task ahead. You are putting on a tie because what you will now do has some importance – at least for me.

I grew up in the 1960s, when manners were held to be a form of hypocrisy, the sign of a false and inauthentic time. When Mickey Mantle hit a home run, he trotted around the bases as if his excellence was incidental and required no celebration. His undoubted elation was contained within ritual. Today, success in sports has fewer limits, and success and contempt for the other side frequently merge. When I was very young, courtship and marriage rituals were ringed with things you did not do. Of course, all these things were done, but they were hidden from the gaze of others. Part of it was shame, but part of it was also respect for manners, even in their breach. It had the added and urgent dimension that the most precious parts of growing up were private things.

The argument was that honesty was the highest virtue. Manners restrained honest expression and therefore denied us our authenticity. What came of this was an assault on the distinction between what we are in private and what we are in public. The great icon of this was Woodstock, where the music was less important than the fact that things that had been ruthlessly private had become utterly public. The shame that is attached to bad manners was seen as dishonesty, and unrestrained actions as honesty. The restraint of manners became mortally wounded.

Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower had come to despise each other by the time of Eisenhower’s inauguration. They hid this in public. The press, undoubtedly aware of the tension, chose not to focus on it. The ritual that was at the heart of the republic – the peaceful transfer of power ¬– was the focus, and the personal feelings of each were hidden from view. They were dishonest in their public behavior, and in retrospect, the self-restraint with which they hid their honest feelings was their moral obligation. These were two dishonest men, honoring their nation in their dishonesty.

The press was in on the act. The press is an institution specifically mentioned in our Constitution. Implicitly it is charged with telling the truth. The press minimized the fact that Franklin D. Roosevelt was disabled. The New York Times refrained from publishing that the Soviets had deployed missiles in Cuba. Reporters did not make public the rumors that Eisenhower might have been having an affair in England. All of these might have been true, but the press saw its role as that of an adversary to the state, but not an enemy.

Members of the press saw themselves as carrying out three roles: They were journalists, they were citizens, and they were well-mannered. As journalists, they published “all the news that’s fit to print.” As citizens, they wanted the U.S. to win World War II and would do nothing to hinder it. As ladies and gentlemen, they knew there were things that were true but did not warrant telling. There were always exceptions, but the prestige press, as they were then called, did not see these roles as incompatible.
It is important not to overstate the comity that existed, or neglect the exceptions, but the idea that good manners required certain behavior did matter. It is not clear to me that the republic suffered from the restraint of good manners and the ability of politicians and journalists to feel shame.

Authenticity

Today, we are surrounded by politicians who have decided that honesty requires that they show how deeply they detest each other, and a public that feels free to display its contempt for any with whom it disagrees. Our opponents have become our enemies, and our enemies have become monsters. This has become true for all political factions, and all political factions believe it is true only for their opponents. The idea that it is proper to hide and suppress our malice because not doing so is bad manners has been lost on all levels. With this has been lost the idea that it is possible to disagree on important matters, yet respect and even honor your opponent. Or, put another way, what has been lost is the obligation to appear to feel this way. Manners, after all, do not ask you to lie to yourself, but merely to the rest of the world.

The obsession with honesty over manners hides something important. Depending on who you are, depending on what you say, and depending on why you say it, honesty can be devastating. The idea that manners create inauthentic lives, lives in which true feelings are suppressed, is absolutely true. But it forgets the point that many of the things we feel ought to be suppressed, and many of the truths we know ought not to even be whispered. Indeed, the whisperer, when revealed, should feel shame. Without the ability to feel shame, humans are barbarians. It is manners, however false, that create the matrix in which shame can be felt. When we consider public life today, the inflicting of shame has changed from the subtle force of manners, to the ability to intimidate those you disagree with. As Francois de La Rochefoucauld said, “Hypocrisy is a tribute vice pays to virtue.” Today, vice feels little need to apologize.

I am not here speaking of issues. The issues must be debated. I am speaking of the aesthetics of debate, of restraint and respect. I am speaking of the ability to believe something deeply, yet hold open the possibility that you have much to learn from those who disagree – or at least pretend to, which is almost as good.

What I have written here would seem to have little to do with geopolitics. It has everything to do with it. A nation has as its foundation the love of one’s own. That isn’t a saccharine concept. It is the idea that we are born in or come to a country and do not merely share core values with each other, but honor each other for being our fellow citizens, that our mutual bond is the fellowship of the nation. Underneath there may be much malice, but good manners require it be hidden. The collapse of manners undermines the love of one’s own and weakens the foundation of the nation. And since nations rise and fall, this is very much a geopolitical question.

In the end, being well-mannered in the highest sense is a personal obligation. It rests on the desire to be well-thought-of as a human being, and on caring what others think of you. Many of us lack that virtue. We lack the ability to be ashamed, or we have convinced ourselves that feeling shame is a weakness. We appear on television saying things to each other that decent human beings would not reveal they feel, and our viewers applaud. There is no federal program to resurrect pride in our bearing. It flows from each of us doing it. But that requires a common code of behavior, not fully rational but fully respected, and that has been eaten away. This is the place where I should mention social media, but what more is there to say on that, so consider it said. We all know that there is a terrible problem. But most of us think it is the person we dislike who is the problem, not us.

There is a concept worth ending on, which is the principle of intellectual rectitude, the idea that one must be cautious in thought and in speech. That we should know what we know, and know what we feel, and draw a sharp line between the two. There is a place for feelings, but passion can lead to recklessness, and societies crumble over the massive assault of passion. One of the things I try to do – frequently failing – is to exercise intellectual rectitude in my writing. Restraint in public life – that life that you live with others – is not a foundation of civilization. It is civilization.

There is a time to tell the truth, and a time to withhold it. In the Bible, two books are thought to be written by Solomon. One, Ecclesiastes, is about the fact that there is a time and place for everything. It is a book of manners and of despair. Manners and despair are linked, but if you don’t know there is a time and place for everything, then you are not human. Solomon also wrote the Song of Songs. It is a poem about love and the erotic. It allows us to see that while there is a time and place for everything, and eros in the public space is unacceptable, a life without the erotic is not worth living. The Song of Songs is our solace for the rigors of Ecclesiastes.

The loss of time and place is the loss of propriety and proportion. It is the destruction of both the public and the private, of the life of duty and the life of pleasure. Pleasure cannot live without duty nor duty without pleasure. Neither can exist without good manners. And this applies to the relationship of lovers, of citizens and of nations. And the beginning of the path to it is intellectual rectitude.
Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 15533


« Reply #1756 on: October 11, 2017, 03:21:38 PM »

Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other. John Adams

Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnadams391045.html

http://dailycaller.com/2017/10/09/california-to-have-harsher-penalty-for-pronoun-violations-than-for-knowingly-spreading-hiv/



By George Friedman


Manners and Political Life


Restraint in public life is not a foundation of civilization. It is civilization.


I married a woman born in Australia, of that class that emulated English culture. Loving her as I did, I did not understand the British obsession with table manners. For her, eating a bowl of soup was a work of art, a complex of motions difficult for me to master, and to me incomprehensible in purpose. From the beginning of our love, dinner became for me an exercise of obscure rules governing the movement of food to my mouth. It was a time when conversation was carefully hedged by taboos and obligations. Some things were not discussed at dinner.

Meredith, my wife, grew up elegant and restrained. The enormous body of rules she called good manners rigidly shaped and controlled her passions, which were many. She followed the rules she learned as a child partly out of a desire for others to think well of her, partly because she regarded these manners as the laws of nature. Restraint and propriety were the outward sign of a decent life. The dinner table was where children learned that there were rules to a civilized life. For many, the powers of good manners crushed their souls, leaving them with little but the arrogance of having mastered the rules. For the best, manners provided the frame for a life of free will and self-confidence. Good manners allowed her to be both free and civilized, in the English manner. Her obsession with manners imposed a civility that shaped the way in which people disagreed.

I grew up in the Bronx, a place of fragmented cultures, of immigrants under severe and deforming pressure. There were many cultures – few any longer authentic, all in some way at odds with each other. Meredith’s table was a place of restraint. Mine was a place of combat. The hidden message about food was to eat as much as you can as quickly as you can, because who could really know when you would eat again? The table was a place of intellectual and emotional combat, where grievances were revealed, ideas were challenged and the new world we were in was analyzed for its strangeness. The grammar of debate took precedence over digestion.

She and I appear to many to be mismatched. She has never lost her belief that one must show restraint to appear to fit in. I have never lost my belief that the world is a dangerous place that must be confronted vigorously. Yet underneath these differences we formed a bond, based on a will to live as we will, but distinguishing carefully between who we were in private and who we were in public. This distinction is the root of both sanity and civility. I learned from her that there was a time and place for everything. I learned that without manners, however arbitrary they might be, life was chaos. I learned that combat, in speech and deed, might sometimes be necessary, but that it must be bound by the rituals of civility, or everything is destroyed. I am not sure she learned much from me.

Public Life

Manners make it possible to disagree within a framework of ritual that the disagreement does not lead to unhealable breaches. They allow you to live much of your life in unthinking patterns, freeing you to devote your thoughts to matters more pressing than how to greet someone, or whether to put on a tie. A tie is an example of this. It is a pointless piece of cloth. Yet, in putting it on, the act of dressing becomes complex and focuses you on the task ahead. You are putting on a tie because what you will now do has some importance – at least for me.

I grew up in the 1960s, when manners were held to be a form of hypocrisy, the sign of a false and inauthentic time. When Mickey Mantle hit a home run, he trotted around the bases as if his excellence was incidental and required no celebration. His undoubted elation was contained within ritual. Today, success in sports has fewer limits, and success and contempt for the other side frequently merge. When I was very young, courtship and marriage rituals were ringed with things you did not do. Of course, all these things were done, but they were hidden from the gaze of others. Part of it was shame, but part of it was also respect for manners, even in their breach. It had the added and urgent dimension that the most precious parts of growing up were private things.

The argument was that honesty was the highest virtue. Manners restrained honest expression and therefore denied us our authenticity. What came of this was an assault on the distinction between what we are in private and what we are in public. The great icon of this was Woodstock, where the music was less important than the fact that things that had been ruthlessly private had become utterly public. The shame that is attached to bad manners was seen as dishonesty, and unrestrained actions as honesty. The restraint of manners became mortally wounded.

Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower had come to despise each other by the time of Eisenhower’s inauguration. They hid this in public. The press, undoubtedly aware of the tension, chose not to focus on it. The ritual that was at the heart of the republic – the peaceful transfer of power ¬– was the focus, and the personal feelings of each were hidden from view. They were dishonest in their public behavior, and in retrospect, the self-restraint with which they hid their honest feelings was their moral obligation. These were two dishonest men, honoring their nation in their dishonesty.

The press was in on the act. The press is an institution specifically mentioned in our Constitution. Implicitly it is charged with telling the truth. The press minimized the fact that Franklin D. Roosevelt was disabled. The New York Times refrained from publishing that the Soviets had deployed missiles in Cuba. Reporters did not make public the rumors that Eisenhower might have been having an affair in England. All of these might have been true, but the press saw its role as that of an adversary to the state, but not an enemy.

Members of the press saw themselves as carrying out three roles: They were journalists, they were citizens, and they were well-mannered. As journalists, they published “all the news that’s fit to print.” As citizens, they wanted the U.S. to win World War II and would do nothing to hinder it. As ladies and gentlemen, they knew there were things that were true but did not warrant telling. There were always exceptions, but the prestige press, as they were then called, did not see these roles as incompatible.
It is important not to overstate the comity that existed, or neglect the exceptions, but the idea that good manners required certain behavior did matter. It is not clear to me that the republic suffered from the restraint of good manners and the ability of politicians and journalists to feel shame.

Authenticity

Today, we are surrounded by politicians who have decided that honesty requires that they show how deeply they detest each other, and a public that feels free to display its contempt for any with whom it disagrees. Our opponents have become our enemies, and our enemies have become monsters. This has become true for all political factions, and all political factions believe it is true only for their opponents. The idea that it is proper to hide and suppress our malice because not doing so is bad manners has been lost on all levels. With this has been lost the idea that it is possible to disagree on important matters, yet respect and even honor your opponent. Or, put another way, what has been lost is the obligation to appear to feel this way. Manners, after all, do not ask you to lie to yourself, but merely to the rest of the world.

The obsession with honesty over manners hides something important. Depending on who you are, depending on what you say, and depending on why you say it, honesty can be devastating. The idea that manners create inauthentic lives, lives in which true feelings are suppressed, is absolutely true. But it forgets the point that many of the things we feel ought to be suppressed, and many of the truths we know ought not to even be whispered. Indeed, the whisperer, when revealed, should feel shame. Without the ability to feel shame, humans are barbarians. It is manners, however false, that create the matrix in which shame can be felt. When we consider public life today, the inflicting of shame has changed from the subtle force of manners, to the ability to intimidate those you disagree with. As Francois de La Rochefoucauld said, “Hypocrisy is a tribute vice pays to virtue.” Today, vice feels little need to apologize.

I am not here speaking of issues. The issues must be debated. I am speaking of the aesthetics of debate, of restraint and respect. I am speaking of the ability to believe something deeply, yet hold open the possibility that you have much to learn from those who disagree – or at least pretend to, which is almost as good.

What I have written here would seem to have little to do with geopolitics. It has everything to do with it. A nation has as its foundation the love of one’s own. That isn’t a saccharine concept. It is the idea that we are born in or come to a country and do not merely share core values with each other, but honor each other for being our fellow citizens, that our mutual bond is the fellowship of the nation. Underneath there may be much malice, but good manners require it be hidden. The collapse of manners undermines the love of one’s own and weakens the foundation of the nation. And since nations rise and fall, this is very much a geopolitical question.

In the end, being well-mannered in the highest sense is a personal obligation. It rests on the desire to be well-thought-of as a human being, and on caring what others think of you. Many of us lack that virtue. We lack the ability to be ashamed, or we have convinced ourselves that feeling shame is a weakness. We appear on television saying things to each other that decent human beings would not reveal they feel, and our viewers applaud. There is no federal program to resurrect pride in our bearing. It flows from each of us doing it. But that requires a common code of behavior, not fully rational but fully respected, and that has been eaten away. This is the place where I should mention social media, but what more is there to say on that, so consider it said. We all know that there is a terrible problem. But most of us think it is the person we dislike who is the problem, not us.

There is a concept worth ending on, which is the principle of intellectual rectitude, the idea that one must be cautious in thought and in speech. That we should know what we know, and know what we feel, and draw a sharp line between the two. There is a place for feelings, but passion can lead to recklessness, and societies crumble over the massive assault of passion. One of the things I try to do – frequently failing – is to exercise intellectual rectitude in my writing. Restraint in public life – that life that you live with others – is not a foundation of civilization. It is civilization.

There is a time to tell the truth, and a time to withhold it. In the Bible, two books are thought to be written by Solomon. One, Ecclesiastes, is about the fact that there is a time and place for everything. It is a book of manners and of despair. Manners and despair are linked, but if you don’t know there is a time and place for everything, then you are not human. Solomon also wrote the Song of Songs. It is a poem about love and the erotic. It allows us to see that while there is a time and place for everything, and eros in the public space is unacceptable, a life without the erotic is not worth living. The Song of Songs is our solace for the rigors of Ecclesiastes.

The loss of time and place is the loss of propriety and proportion. It is the destruction of both the public and the private, of the life of duty and the life of pleasure. Pleasure cannot live without duty nor duty without pleasure. Neither can exist without good manners. And this applies to the relationship of lovers, of citizens and of nations. And the beginning of the path to it is intellectual rectitude.

Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 42521


« Reply #1757 on: November 01, 2017, 01:11:58 PM »

http://www.dailywire.com/news/23003/why-dont-media-treat-islamist-terror-attacks-white-ben-shapiro?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_content=062316-news&utm_campaign=benshapiro
Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 15533


« Reply #1758 on: November 01, 2017, 09:44:28 PM »


"The tree of liberty diversity must be refreshed from time to time constantly with the blood of patriots and tyrants innocents."

Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 42521


« Reply #1759 on: November 14, 2017, 06:08:36 PM »

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/453729/roy-moore-christianity-built-on-fear?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=NR%20Daily%20Monday%20through%20Friday%202017-11-14&utm_term=NR5PM%20Actives
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 42521


« Reply #1760 on: November 20, 2017, 05:24:50 AM »

From Australia

https://www.mercatornet.com/above/view/god-writes-straight-with-crooked-lines/20733?utm_source=MercatorNet&utm_campaign=bf3af63726-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_11_20&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e581d204e2-bf3af63726-124674163
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 42521


« Reply #1761 on: November 23, 2017, 11:41:24 AM »

The one and only Milo i.e. thoroughly vulgar, witty, and insightful:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=idE_jqBn-pw
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 42521


« Reply #1762 on: November 28, 2017, 11:53:36 AM »

Hat tip to GM

http://thedeclination.com/bigotry-the-ultimate-sin/

Bigotry: The Ultimate Sin
by Thales | Nov 28, 2017 | Marxism, SJWs, Weaponized Empathy |

Bigotry is the ultimate sin in modern American Leftism. Racism and sexism are the most commonly cited varieties, of course, but other permutations exist. Homophobia, Islamophobia, fatphobia, ageism, and presumably a whole host of other possible violations.

Being the ultimate sin provides the Leftist with a moral club with which to browbeat his opponents. If one accepts the proposition that these are the worst sins of humanity, and one also accepts the proposition that all humans are biased (which is true – humans categorically cannot be fully objective), then everyone is guilty of the ultimate sin. Weaponized empathy is then applied. You are guilty, look at all the horrible things that happened in the world, which are now your fault because you’re guilty of the ultimate sin.

Redemption is only possible through the application of Progressive policies. Give up your wealth, give up your possessions. Surrender your country, vote the way the Progressive technocracy wants. And even then, the intercession through political submission is only temporary. Tomorrow you will still be a racist, and more will be required of you.

Take this Leftist example on Twitter. Admittedly, he is not exactly the brightest bulb even in the ordinarily dim Progressive world. But does a nice job of illustrating this view of the Ultimate Sin ™.
thales2

Read it very carefully. “Someone who is not racist is a better person than someone who is.” And then our intrepid Leftist attempts to escape by taking issue with my application of “a tad.” The application, of course, was very deliberate, as was my example. We’ve already had plenty of real life examples of highly intelligent, useful, inventive people being tarred and feathered because they were deemed guilty of the Ultimate Sin ™. Remember the case of Brendan Eich? Remember Tim Hunt? So a man can do something, accomplish something great, but everything is rendered null and void with even a minor violation of the Progressive narrative. You could cure cancer, but if you made a joke about “chinks” you’re now accounted as lower than every person Progressives see as not-racist.
Let me rephrase that a bit. The person Progressives deem as not-bigoted (and this is a temporary license which can be revoked at any time) is automatically a better person than some of the brightest, most accomplished people in history.

Worse, bigotry is seen as a binary state with them. You are either bigoted, or you are not. Gradations are meaningless. The man who makes a politically incorrect joke about “wetbacks” is as evil as Hitler, because both are “bigots.” This is one of the convenient tools of Antifas who see Nazis in their breakfast cereal, all Ultimate Sinners are bigots, all bigots are Fascists, all Fascists are Nazi, all Nazis are Literally Hitler. They misunderstand why Hitler was evil. He wasn’t evil because he didn’t like Jews, he was evil because he killed them by the millions. It is the physical action not the thought which rendered him evil.

Progressives lump both into the same category and call it all bigotry, but one of these is not like the other. If you have a bad thought you must feel guilty for the thought. If the badthink turns into speech, you are a Nazi, because speech is synonymous with physical action (except when they are talking, in which case it isn’t). They are like Neo in The Matrix, dodging sense and consistent definition like the protagonist dodged bullets.

Everybody has inappropriate thoughts of some kind or another. The sensible person dismisses them and does not allow them to unduly affect his life. He need not feel guilty about them. He merely needs to not act on them. Do not allow weaponized empathy to hijack your brain and make you feel guilty for bad thoughts (some of which aren’t even bad in any objective sense – they are just un-PC). Do not fall into the trap of bigotry as the Ultimate Sin ™. And certainly there is no need to submit to Progressives so that they may conduct intercession for you or grant you a temporary, revocable license as a non-bigot.

Consider the extreme endpoint of the Progressive train of thought. An equal-opportunity murderer is better than the man who cures cancer but makes a politically incorrect racial joke. The Marxist roots of this line of thinking should be evident by now. It’s the same strain of ideological madness that led to Communist regimes prioritizing political criminals over violent ones. Fidel Castro released many murderers and employed them as guards and executioners for political prisoners. After all, the murderer is better than the political opposition.

Progressives think this is getting to the root of the problem; that by attacking the thought, the bias, they are somehow curbing the action. Except that this doesn’t work. Controlling thought at this level is impossible short of deliberate brainwashing; short of making everyone functionally identical drones. The proper way of heading off bad behavior is to not act on something inappropriate. When a man gets mad at someone over something small, he may think about beating the stuffing out of that person. But should he act on the thought, or dismiss it and calm himself down?

This is part of simple human maturity. The Progressive must treat humans as children, incapable of walling off thought and action; that each thought must turn into corresponding action, so one must be constantly on the lookout for biases, wrongthink, or otherwise. Some of the smarter ones attempt to escape this trap by (truthfully) admitting that this isn’t actually possible. But then they turn around and say we must now compensate for these implicit biases; for these thoughts. They believe that the thoughts must somehow be turning into unconscious actions that are small and immeasurable as single units, but still causing a collective effect. Since clearly [insert demographic group here] are worse off than another, the Progressive might say,  we must compensate for the difference, because the cause of the difference must be collective wrongthink; collective bias against [demographic group].

There is an unfounded assumption baked into that: namely, that such small, unconscious actions are the primary cause of such inequity. Many other explanations exist. With the famous “77 cents on the dollar” comparison with women, different personal career and life choices probably play a role. With regards to black people, Thomas Sowell points to the welfare state as the primary cause. He has explained that by subsidizing the destruction of the black family, the black middle class has been wiped out, and this, accordingly to him, has resulted in the inequity. Some suggest nutrition and dietary choices play a role; that people who eat like crap don’t develop as well. Others suggest general biological differences as another possibility (and not merely racial – but also sexual). Progressive brains explode into rage at the mere hint of this notion. It is considered beyond the pale to discuss. Cultural differences are also often cited, with the famous Asian stereotype being a common example (“you study to be doctor NOW!”).

Point is, whatever the reason(s), the Progressive assumption is that it must be the fault of wrongthinking bigots, and we must transfer their ill-gotten, bigoted gains to the poor, oppressed people of… whatever. Naturally, as intercessors on your behalf (and they get their cut, accordingly), you must submit to their will, or your non-bigot license will be revoked and you will be considered worse than literal murderers.

Because bigotry, you see, is the Ultimate Sin ™.
Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 15533


« Reply #1763 on: November 28, 2017, 12:12:59 PM »

Anything the left does, it's ultimately all about gaining power and control over you.


Hat tip to GM

http://thedeclination.com/bigotry-the-ultimate-sin/

Bigotry: The Ultimate Sin
by Thales | Nov 28, 2017 | Marxism, SJWs, Weaponized Empathy |

Bigotry is the ultimate sin in modern American Leftism. Racism and sexism are the most commonly cited varieties, of course, but other permutations exist. Homophobia, Islamophobia, fatphobia, ageism, and presumably a whole host of other possible violations.

Being the ultimate sin provides the Leftist with a moral club with which to browbeat his opponents. If one accepts the proposition that these are the worst sins of humanity, and one also accepts the proposition that all humans are biased (which is true – humans categorically cannot be fully objective), then everyone is guilty of the ultimate sin. Weaponized empathy is then applied. You are guilty, look at all the horrible things that happened in the world, which are now your fault because you’re guilty of the ultimate sin.

Redemption is only possible through the application of Progressive policies. Give up your wealth, give up your possessions. Surrender your country, vote the way the Progressive technocracy wants. And even then, the intercession through political submission is only temporary. Tomorrow you will still be a racist, and more will be required of you.

Take this Leftist example on Twitter. Admittedly, he is not exactly the brightest bulb even in the ordinarily dim Progressive world. But does a nice job of illustrating this view of the Ultimate Sin ™.
thales2

Read it very carefully. “Someone who is not racist is a better person than someone who is.” And then our intrepid Leftist attempts to escape by taking issue with my application of “a tad.” The application, of course, was very deliberate, as was my example. We’ve already had plenty of real life examples of highly intelligent, useful, inventive people being tarred and feathered because they were deemed guilty of the Ultimate Sin ™. Remember the case of Brendan Eich? Remember Tim Hunt? So a man can do something, accomplish something great, but everything is rendered null and void with even a minor violation of the Progressive narrative. You could cure cancer, but if you made a joke about “chinks” you’re now accounted as lower than every person Progressives see as not-racist.
Let me rephrase that a bit. The person Progressives deem as not-bigoted (and this is a temporary license which can be revoked at any time) is automatically a better person than some of the brightest, most accomplished people in history.

Worse, bigotry is seen as a binary state with them. You are either bigoted, or you are not. Gradations are meaningless. The man who makes a politically incorrect joke about “wetbacks” is as evil as Hitler, because both are “bigots.” This is one of the convenient tools of Antifas who see Nazis in their breakfast cereal, all Ultimate Sinners are bigots, all bigots are Fascists, all Fascists are Nazi, all Nazis are Literally Hitler. They misunderstand why Hitler was evil. He wasn’t evil because he didn’t like Jews, he was evil because he killed them by the millions. It is the physical action not the thought which rendered him evil.

Progressives lump both into the same category and call it all bigotry, but one of these is not like the other. If you have a bad thought you must feel guilty for the thought. If the badthink turns into speech, you are a Nazi, because speech is synonymous with physical action (except when they are talking, in which case it isn’t). They are like Neo in The Matrix, dodging sense and consistent definition like the protagonist dodged bullets.

Everybody has inappropriate thoughts of some kind or another. The sensible person dismisses them and does not allow them to unduly affect his life. He need not feel guilty about them. He merely needs to not act on them. Do not allow weaponized empathy to hijack your brain and make you feel guilty for bad thoughts (some of which aren’t even bad in any objective sense – they are just un-PC). Do not fall into the trap of bigotry as the Ultimate Sin ™. And certainly there is no need to submit to Progressives so that they may conduct intercession for you or grant you a temporary, revocable license as a non-bigot.

Consider the extreme endpoint of the Progressive train of thought. An equal-opportunity murderer is better than the man who cures cancer but makes a politically incorrect racial joke. The Marxist roots of this line of thinking should be evident by now. It’s the same strain of ideological madness that led to Communist regimes prioritizing political criminals over violent ones. Fidel Castro released many murderers and employed them as guards and executioners for political prisoners. After all, the murderer is better than the political opposition.

Progressives think this is getting to the root of the problem; that by attacking the thought, the bias, they are somehow curbing the action. Except that this doesn’t work. Controlling thought at this level is impossible short of deliberate brainwashing; short of making everyone functionally identical drones. The proper way of heading off bad behavior is to not act on something inappropriate. When a man gets mad at someone over something small, he may think about beating the stuffing out of that person. But should he act on the thought, or dismiss it and calm himself down?

This is part of simple human maturity. The Progressive must treat humans as children, incapable of walling off thought and action; that each thought must turn into corresponding action, so one must be constantly on the lookout for biases, wrongthink, or otherwise. Some of the smarter ones attempt to escape this trap by (truthfully) admitting that this isn’t actually possible. But then they turn around and say we must now compensate for these implicit biases; for these thoughts. They believe that the thoughts must somehow be turning into unconscious actions that are small and immeasurable as single units, but still causing a collective effect. Since clearly [insert demographic group here] are worse off than another, the Progressive might say,  we must compensate for the difference, because the cause of the difference must be collective wrongthink; collective bias against [demographic group].

There is an unfounded assumption baked into that: namely, that such small, unconscious actions are the primary cause of such inequity. Many other explanations exist. With the famous “77 cents on the dollar” comparison with women, different personal career and life choices probably play a role. With regards to black people, Thomas Sowell points to the welfare state as the primary cause. He has explained that by subsidizing the destruction of the black family, the black middle class has been wiped out, and this, accordingly to him, has resulted in the inequity. Some suggest nutrition and dietary choices play a role; that people who eat like crap don’t develop as well. Others suggest general biological differences as another possibility (and not merely racial – but also sexual). Progressive brains explode into rage at the mere hint of this notion. It is considered beyond the pale to discuss. Cultural differences are also often cited, with the famous Asian stereotype being a common example (“you study to be doctor NOW!”).

Point is, whatever the reason(s), the Progressive assumption is that it must be the fault of wrongthinking bigots, and we must transfer their ill-gotten, bigoted gains to the poor, oppressed people of… whatever. Naturally, as intercessors on your behalf (and they get their cut, accordingly), you must submit to their will, or your non-bigot license will be revoked and you will be considered worse than literal murderers.

Because bigotry, you see, is the Ultimate Sin ™.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 42521


« Reply #1764 on: December 03, 2017, 03:01:17 PM »



http://www.standpointmag.co.uk/node/7031/full

Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 15533


« Reply #1765 on: December 03, 2017, 05:50:29 PM »


The real Americans still have a sense of the sacred.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 42521


« Reply #1766 on: December 10, 2017, 07:11:36 AM »

By John Mauldin | Dec 09, 2017
Automatic Job Storm Coming


Almost every weekday, some arm of the US government issues some sort of economic statistic. News media and financial analysts review and report it. Then 99.9% of the adult population, and probably 90% of the financial industry, forget all about it. And they’re probably right to do so.

The monthly jobs report isn’t like that. Yes, any single month doesn’t tell us much. Yes, the Labor Department’s methodology has some flaws, both major and minor. But imperfect as it is, the jobs report is our best look at the economy’s pulse. Jobs matter in a visceral way to almost all of us, as you know well if you’ve ever lost one. Almost any survey that asked questions around employment would reveal the angst that many Americans feel about the possibility of losing their jobs.
 
Right now, automation tops the list of things that might threaten our jobs. Artificial intelligence and robotics technology are rapidly learning to do what human workers do, but better, faster, and cheaper.

I’ve use the following chart before, but it’s a compelling illustration of how technology is reducing employment. It shows the rising rig count in the oil patch since mid-2016 – and yet the number of workers on those rigs is actually still falling. This is the impact of a new robot called an iron roughneck: Tasks that used to require 20 people now need only five. And the iron roughneck is not even that widely deployed in the oil and gas industry – the trend will hit hard in the coming decade. Roughneck jobs are relatively high-paying; it takes a great deal of training and skill to be able to do them.
 
Today I’ll give you some quick thoughts on the just-issued November jobs report, then take a deeper look at the automation problem/opportunity. I use both words because automation truly can be either. And then we look at the failure of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) to take into account the major technological changes that are going to come our way over the next 10 to 12 years (if a host of studies are correct). I think that failure is likely to lead the FOMC to make the mother of all policy errors. And right now, a major monetary policy error is the most dangerous weapon of mass wealth destruction facing the US and the world.


A Decelerating Job Picture

The jobs report for November was solid, with job growth above the recent average. But earnings were a disappointment, as we will see. Philippa Dunne’s summed up the report in a recent commentary:

Employers added 228,000 jobs in November, 221,000 of them in the private sector. Both are nicely above their averages over the last six months, 164,000 headline and 162,000 private. Almost all the major sectors and subsectors were positive. Mining and logging was up 7,000 (slightly above the average for the last year); construction, 24,000 (well above average, with specialty trades strong and civil/heavy down); manufacturing 31,000 (well above average, with almost all of it from durables); wholesale trade, 3,000 (slightly below average); retail, 19,000 (vs. an average loss of 2,000); transportation and warehousing, 11,000 (well above average); finance, 8,000 (weaker than average); professional and business services, 46,000 (right on its average, with temp firms particularly strong); education and health, 54,000 (well above average, with education, health care, and social assistance all participating); and leisure and hospitality, 14,000 (well below average). The only major down sector was information, off 4,000, slightly less negative than average. Government added 7,000, well above average, with local leading the way.

What’s not to like about this? The answer is that we really need to review the report in terms of the trend. And the trend in employment is deceleration. As Peter Boockvar explains,

Also, we must smooth out all the post storm disruptions. This give us a 3-month average monthly job gain of 170k, a 6-month average of 178k, and a year-to-date average of 174k. These numbers compare with average job growth of 187k in 2016, 226k in 2015, and 250k in 2014. Again, the slowdown in job creation is a natural outgrowth of the stage of the economic cycle we are in where it gets more and more difficult finding the right supply of labor.

The growth in wages is also decelerating. I was talking with Lacy Hunt this morning about the jobs report. He noted that real wage growth for the year ending November 2015 was 2.8%, while for the year ending November 2016 it was just 1%. The savings rate is now the lowest in 10 years. The velocity of money is still slowing, which means that businesses have to do everything they can to hold down costs, and one of those things is to rein in wages.

And yet the Federal Reserve has a fetish for this thing called the Phillips curve, a theory that was thoroughly debunked by Milton Friedman early on and later by numerous other economists as having no empirical link to reality. But since the Fed has no other model, they cling desperately to it, like a drowning man to a bit of driftwood. Basically, the theory says that when employment is close to being as full, as it is right now, wage inflation is right around the corner. According to the Phillips curve, then, the FOMC needs to be tightening monetary policy.  Later we’ll see how the FOMC’s faulty tool is likely to lead to a major monetary policy error.

Basically, the Federal Reserve looks at history and tries to conjure models of future economic performance based on it – even as everyone in the financial industry goes on intoning that past performance is not indicative of future results. But all the Fed has is history, and they cling to it. My contention is that the near future is not going to look like the near or the distant past, and so we had better throw out our historical analogies and start thinking outside the box. Now let’s look at some real problems that will impact the future of employment.

Robotic Wipeout

Last month I shared in Outside the Box a new McKinsey report on job automation. Actually, I shared an Axios article summarizing that report, which is 160 pages long. You can read it here if you have time. McKinsey does a good job pulling together data and forecasting its consequences.

Every year, reports like this reflect a process that’s occurred many times in human history. People discover or invent something useful: fire, the wheel, iron, gunpowder, coal, oil, the steam engine, electricity, the automobile, the airplane, the computer, etc. Life changes as the new knowledge spreads. People either adapt or they don’t. Those who don’t adapt fade into the background. In the last few decades of their working lives, they end up taking the very lowliest of jobs in order to get some food, clothing, and shelter; but it’s not a comfortable life. There was no government safety net for most of our history. But most people tried hard to adapt their skills to the new changes. And as we adapted to radically disruptive inventions like the steam engine, automobile, and computer, hardly anyone had the necessary skills, and so everyone had to learn.

Today, things are different. Fifteen percent of men between the ages of 25 and 54 – who should be in their most productive years of contributing to their families and society – don’t even want a job. That’s up from 5% in the mid-’60s, and the number has been steadily rising. Fifty-six percent of these people receive federal disability payments, averaging about $13,000, which is roughly equivalent to the pay for a minimum-wage job, after taxes – except that disability comes with free Medicare. Unless these people find ways to develop needed skills, there is not much financial incentive for them to look for jobs.

The rest of the people who don’t want jobs are mostly early retirees, homemakers, caregivers, or students. And roughly 1/3 of the 10 million+ men who have dropped out of the workforce have criminal records, which is often a barrier to work. Only about 3–4% are actually discouraged workers who might take a job if a job is available. That picture should be worrying. It is one reason why GDP has not increased all that much. Remember that GDP is proportional to the number of workers available times their productivity. Taking 10 million workers out of the workforce reduces GDP.

The problem for most of us now is that we don’t want to simply fade into the background like so many people have done with each major shift in technology; yet new knowledge spreads around the globe now in seconds instead of centuries. It’s easy to feel that the walls are closing in, because for many of us they are. The McKinsey report makes that crystal clear. They project that technology will replace as many as 800 million workers worldwide by 2030. Displacement is not just a US or developed-world phenomenon; it will show up in the emerging and developing markets as well.

McKinsey draws a distinction that we should all remember. The problem is less about jobs disappearing than about the automation of particular tasks that are part of our jobs. In most cases, employers can’t simply fire a human, plug in a robot, and accomplish all the same things at the same or better performance level but lower cost. You have to zoom in closer and look at the tasks that each job entails, and ask which of them can be automated. The roughneck jobs in the oilfield are a good example: The Iron Roughneck doesn’t replace all workers on the rig, just some of them.

So when McKinsey says that 23% of US “current work activity hours” will be automated by 2030, that’s not the same as saying 23% of jobs. The shift will affect almost all jobs to some degree. That 23% figure is their “midpoint” scenario, too. In the “rapid” scenario it’s 44% of US current work activity hours that will be handed over to machines.

In other words, whatever your job is, some part of it will likely get automated in the next decade or so. That might be good news if the machines can take on the repetitive drudgery that you don’t enjoy. Automation could free you to do things that are more interesting to you and more valuable to your employer. But outcomes are going to vary widely. Here’s a chart on sector and occupation employment shifts from McKinsey. (This one is for the US; their report has sections for other countries as well.)
 
The circles on the right are the translation of those task-hours into numbers of workers. As you can see, in their rapid automation scenario, by 2030 – just 12 years from now – 73 million people out of a workforce of 166 million will have been displaced, with 48–54 million of them needing to change occupations completely.

In other words, a full third of the workforce may have to change career fields. That’s going to be a problem. Yes, Americans change jobs more frequently now than they used to, but the changes tend to be evolutionary: We gain new skills, find a better place to apply them, acquire new contacts, seek out new opportunities, and so on. The personal transformation happens slowly enough to be manageable. That’s going to change.

My friend Danielle DiMartino highlights another of the amazing charts in the McKinsey study, one that analyzes US job-market susceptibility to automation scale:
 
This chart demonstrates that it’s not just the low-skilled workers who are at risk. It’s also mid-level and even some high-level people. There is more job risk than many of us imagine. That is why I break the world up into the Unprotected, the Protected, and the Vulnerable Protected classes. The latter group doesn’t even realize their vulnerability.

Superhuman Level

Worse, I think the shift to automation may come even faster than McKinsey’s rapid scenario suggests. Recently I ran across an artificial intelligence story that’s almost terrifying. You might have heard about AlphaGo, the AI system created by Google subsidiary DeepMind. It plays the very complex board game called Go.
In 2015, DeepMind became the first computer to beat a human professional Go player. It learned how to do this by analyzing many thousands of games played by humans. Impressive, but only the beginning.

This year, DeepMind introduced AlphaGo Zero, a new system that quickly acquired the same skills with no human help at all. The programmers simply gave it a blank board and the rules of the game. It then played millions of games against itself. Here’s the chilling quote from DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis:
The most striking thing is that we don’t need any human data anymore.

It gets more unnerving. On December 5 (yes, last week), DeepMind published a scientific paper that sounds straight out of science fiction. I added the bold print.
The AlphaGo Zero program recently achieved superhuman performance in the game of Go, by tabula rasa reinforcement learning from games of self-play. In this paper, we generalise this approach into a single AlphaZero algorithm that can achieve, tabula rasa, superhuman performance in many challenging domains.

Starting from random play, and given no domain knowledge except the game rules, AlphaZero achieved within 24 hours a superhuman level of play in the games of chess and shogi (Japanese chess) as well as Go, and convincingly defeated a world-champion program in each case.

That’s startling, so let me repeat it slowly. In one day, starting from nothing at all (“tabula rasa”), AlphaGo Zero learned to play chess, shogi, and Go at a superhuman level, beating the same systems that had beaten the best humans in the world.

That’s how fast the technology is evolving. I suspect some of the rapid acceleration came from faster processor chips – Moore’s law says they should double in power every two years. But this was far more than a doubling; this was exponential.

Systems like that are coming for your job. So if you think you’re safe because you aren’t an assembly-line worker or a retail cashier and don’t work at the level of rote repetition, you could be wrong. These systems will only get better and take on ever more complex jobs.

Could DeepMind build a system that reads my archives, monitors my email, and then writes Thoughts from the Frontline at a level where you couldn’t tell the difference between it and me?

How do you know it hasn’t?

Perfect Storm

Those who control the tech are intent on bringing the era of superautomation forward as fast as possible. I talk a lot about incentives and the way people and businesses respond to them. Identifying incentives is a key tool in analyzing trends and forecasting what different players will do next. Well, between dicey Federal Reserve policies and possible tax reforms, businesses are getting new incentives to automate sooner rather than later.

 First, the Fed. I’ve made the case before that I think they waited too long to end quantitative easing and begin normalizing interest rates. Their delay created our present weird situation where we have little or no inflation according to the indexes, but the cost of living for people at the median income level and below is outpacing wage growth and leaving the average household struggling to stay even.

Real wages, that is wages after CPI growth, have advanced only 0.2% a year since 1973. And as I noted above, real wage growth is now decelerating.
 
Diminished earning power has, in turn, robbed businesses of pricing power and forced them to cut costs ruthlessly. One way you slash costs is by automating. In this week’s Outside the Box I shared a story about how Amazon is now hiring robots faster than it is human employees. Amazon is in the lead, but other companies aren’t far behind. This trend limits wage gains even more, and the situation is getting worse as the technology gets better and cheaper. (The fact that San Francisco has limited the number of robots per company and limited the speed of robotic delivery simply ensures that San Francisco will be behind the rest of the country in terms of growth and productivity within a few years.)

Of course, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with making your business more efficient. You have to survive against the competition. But in this case the competition is not happening naturally or according to market forces. The Fed has kept market forces from working and has created an environment that would never have occurred otherwise. You can argue whether a laissez faire market would have worked better or worse, but it’s pretty clear we haven’t had one.

Now add in tax policy. I explained early this year in my open letters to the new US president that we would all be better off with a consumption tax like a VAT rather than we are currently with the income tax. Alas, I did not get my wish. Congress is right now “improving” the tax code in ways that may actually accelerate the automation trend.

(Incidentally, I’m getting many emails with questions about the new Republican tax plan. I’ll have more detailed thoughts after we see what, if anything, gets through the conference committee and becomes law. At this point it’s still a guessing game, and I would rather comment on what is actually extruded from the sausage grinder. Let me just say that there’s something in the bill for everybody to hate.)

For instance, one proposal is to allow equipment purchases to be expensed immediately instead of amortized over time. That’s not a bad idea on its own. However, it effectively subsidizes companies to upgrade their equipment and technology to the latest state of the art. And, as we saw above, the state of the art is automated devices that need little human help.

The accelerated shift to automation may help explain a Business Roundtable survey that showed some odd results. As reported by the Wall Street Journal last week, CEOs say their plans for capital investment have risen to the highest level since the second quarter of 2011. That’s good news: Businesses see growth opportunities and want to add production capacity to meet them. But the same survey shows CEO hiring expectations going in the opposite direction. Hiring is not plummeting by any means, and many do plan to increase hiring over the next six months; but the majority say they will keep their headcount where it is or lower it. General Electric will cut 12,000 jobs from its power business, roughly 18% of that division’s total employment, in order to cut costs and reduce overcapacity.

How do we explain a situation in which capital spending rises but employment stay the same or falls? Automation is one answer. It lets you increase capacity without increasing headcount and expenses – you may even reduce them.

Not coincidentally, the new tax bill may remove the Obamacare individual mandate, but the employer mandate is staying in place – and healthcare costs are still rising. That too incentivizes businesses to use machines instead of people wherever possible.

So where do all these factors leave human workers? The McKinsey forecasts fall more or less at the midpoint of those in other reports I am reading. We’re facing a perfect storm: Technological, monetary, and political entities are joining forces to stir up a maelstrom of change that is going to bombard all of us. I’m not an exception, and neither are you.

We can’t control these giant forces, but we can control our responses. Whatever your job is now, you need to think about how vulnerable it may be and what else you might do. If you need to acquire new skills, start doing it now. If you have young adult or teen children, help them with their education and career choices. That art history degree may not be much in demand in 2030. Or even in 2020.

Monetary Policy Error

Looking ahead brings us full circle, right back to considering the potential for a major monetary policy error. We may, in fact, see a little wage inflation in the near future, and I think that would be a good thing, considering how little there has been for years; but right now the Personal Consumption Expenditures Index (PCE) is hovering around annual growth of 1.5%, still well below the Fed’s target of 2%. What would be the danger of letting it rise to 2.5%? Seriously.

This FOMC gives every indication that they are not only going to continue to raise rates but are also going to reduce the Fed’s balance sheet by some $450 billion next year. The Fed thinks QE helped to bring about the rising asset prices (stocks, bonds, and housing – assets of all types). Yet somehow they believe that quantitative tightening (QT) won’t have any effect on the markets. Of course, there is no empirical evidence for that conclusion, unless you want to count the taper tantrum that was unleashed when interest rate increases and quantitative tightening were first mentioned.

The Fed, with their slavish fetish for the Phillips Curve, see wage inflation just around the corner, and they want to head it off at the pass. But if they are as data-dependent as they say they are, they should look at their data and see that there is no wage inflation. There is a reason why there isn’t: The vast bulk of workers do not have pricing power. The labor market has changed dramatically in the last 20 years, and every study I have read as I have researched the future of work suggests that employment is going to change even more drastically in the next 20 years.

If we have 20 million workers who presumably want to have jobs but suddenly find themselves without job opportunities because of automation and other forces, that is not an environment in which we are going to see wage inflation. That is a situation in which workers will take whatever wages they can get. Think Greece.

Monetary growth is decelerating, too. The velocity of money continues to fall. Total consumer debt as a percentage of disposable income is the highest it has ever been – over 26%. The savings rate has fallen to a 10-year low. Consumers are stretched, and there is just not the buying power – no matter how low interest rates are – to create the inflation that the Fed is so afraid of.

I could go on and on about the fragility of this economy, even though on the surface it seems to be the strongest it has been since the Great Recession. Looking ahead, 2018 should be another year for growth. So I look around and ask, what could endanger that? I think the biggest risk is a central bank policy error.
We are going into unknown territory. Beyond this point, there be dragons.

I should add that I am generally optimistic about 2018. My forecast issues this year will probably be more optimistic than they have been for a long time. Not necessarily in terms of stock market prices, but regarding the economy in general. I actually have this hope – which I recognize is not a strategy – that the Federal Reserve will back off sooner rather than later and we can avoid a downturn in the economy for another few years. I think nothing could make me happier than if we actually established the record for the longest recovery.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 42521


« Reply #1767 on: January 02, 2018, 01:40:50 PM »

https://www.wsj.com/articles/about-that-trump-autocracy-1514839233

About That Trump ‘Autocracy’
Remember all those progressive predictions of looming fascism?
 
President Donald Trump PHOTO: SAUL LOEB/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES
By
The Editorial Board
Jan. 1, 2018 3:40 p.m. ET
627 COMMENTS

As Donald Trump heads into his second year as President, we’re pleased to report that there hasn’t been a fascist coup in Washington. This must be terribly disappointing to the progressive elites who a year ago predicted an authoritarian America because Mr. Trump posed a unique threat to democratic norms. But it looks like the U.S. will have to settle for James Madison’s boring checks and balances.

“How to stop an autocracy,” said a Feb. 7, 2017 headline on Vox, ruminating on a zillion-word essay in The Atlantic on how Donald Trump might impose authoritarian rule. Academics and pundits mined analogies to Mussolini, Hitler and Vladimir Putin.

Four political scientists even formed something called Bright Line Watch—with the help of foundation money—to “monitor the status of democratic practices and highlight potential threats to American democracy.” Readers won’t be surprised to learn that the only graver threat than Mr. Trump is the Republican Congress that refuses to impeach him.

One of the Bright Line Watch founders, University of Rochester professor Gretchen Helmke, wrote in the Washington Post on April 25, “Could Trump set off a constitutional crisis? Here’s what we can learn from Latin America.”

A year later, where are we on the road to Venezuela?

***
Far from rolling over Washington institutions like a tank, Mr. Trump seems as frustrated as other Presidents with the limits of his power. He achieved one major legislative goal in tax reform but failed on health care. His border wall isn’t built and he may have to legalize the “Dreamer” immigrants if he wants Congress to approve money for it.
Mr. Trump’s political appointees still aren’t close to fully staffing the executive branch. He’s making more headway on judges, but that’s partly due to former Democratic leader Harry Reid’s decision in 2013 to eliminate the Senate filibuster for judicial nominees. The press cheered on that partisan, mid-session change of Senate rules to pack the courts.

Mr. Trump’s rhetorical attacks on the media are excessive. But for all of his bluster, we haven’t seen a single case of Trump prosecutors seeking warrants to eavesdrop on journalists to discover their sources. Barack Obama’s Justice Department surreptitiously did that to the Associated Press and James Rosen of Fox News in violation of Justice guidelines.

As for legal checks and balances, progressive judges in the lower courts have overturned three versions of Mr. Trump’s travel ban. Their legal analysis is dubious given the Constitution’s grant of authority to the political branches on immigration and national security, and our guess is that the Supreme Court will eventually overrule the lower courts. But the point is that judges are hardly deferring to the Trump Administration. Oh, and since when do tyrants deregulate to take power away from the administrative state?

Mr. Trump is also facing a special counsel investigation with essentially unchecked power to investigate him and his family. Robert Mueller is ostensibly charged with looking into ties between Russians and the 2016 Trump campaign, but Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appears to have given Mr. Mueller carte blanche.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russia probe and seems unable to exert any discipline over the FBI. The Justice Department ultimately reports to Mr. Trump. Yet he can’t even get his nominees at the FBI and Justice to tell Congress what they used as evidence to get a FISA warrant against Trump campaign officials in 2016. Who is the unaccountable authority here?

The real story of the past year is that, despite the daily Trumpian melodrama, the U.S. political system is working more or less as usual. Mr. Trump has sometimes broken with familiar presidential decorum, especially in his public statements and attacks on individuals. But he is paying a considerable political price for that excess with an approval rating below 40% less than a year into his term.

Voters rejected his preferred Senate candidates in Alabama twice. Republicans were routed in Virginia’s elections as Democrats came out in droves, and on present trend the GOP will lose its House majority in November. In other words, we are watching the typical back and forth of American democracy.

Democratic institutional norms are worth defending, which is why we called out the Obama IRS for bias against the tea party. We’ll do the same if Mr. Trump exceeds his constitutional power. But the lesson of the past year is that progressives should have more faith in the American system—whether they’re in power or not. Losing an election isn’t the same as losing a democracy.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 42521


« Reply #1768 on: January 07, 2018, 02:27:04 PM »

https://www.dailynews.com/2018/01/05/626633/
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 42521


« Reply #1769 on: January 15, 2018, 01:18:15 PM »

https://www.israelvideonetwork.com/arab-tv-host-just-body-slammed-every-innocent-muslim-lie-ever-told/?omhide=true
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 42521


« Reply #1770 on: January 17, 2018, 06:48:46 PM »



http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2018/01/what_i_learned_in_peace_corps_in_africa_trump_is_right.html
Logged
ccp
Power User
***
Posts: 7837


« Reply #1771 on: January 18, 2018, 07:52:41 AM »

Of course many countries are poor and conditions like we here have no clue and are relatively spoiled

none of this means it is a good idea to call black countries shit holes especially knowing how the left will drum this into " he is a nazi , a clansman, a bigot , white racist , insensitive rich prick theme to drum the anger and voting desires of the Blacks , the Browns, the Yellows, and the Latinos.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 42521


« Reply #1772 on: January 18, 2018, 01:02:52 PM »

It's not like this was a public statement-- it was a moment of backdoor shorthand candor used with bad faith intent by Tricky Dicky Durbin et al.
Logged
DougMacG
Power User
***
Posts: 9481


« Reply #1773 on: January 18, 2018, 01:11:47 PM »

ccp:  "... none of this means it is a good idea to call black countries shit holes especially knowing how the left will drum this into " he is a nazi , a clansman, a bigot , white racist , insensitive rich prick theme to drum the anger and voting desires of the Blacks , the Browns, the Yellows, and the Latinos.

I agree with you.  I'm sick of making excuses for him.
OTOH:
 - As Crafty wrote, it was a private statement (and likely misquoted)
 - Documented is that some of these places are literally fecalized.
 - Barack Obama said exact same thing, see media post this am.
 - Cry wolf, cry wolf, then see a real wolf?  The Left said the same of Mitt Romney.
 - Trump's support is going up within some of these groups.
 - Black unemployment at a is 14 year low?
 - Unknown to all political analysts, Trump already had a relationship with black and Hispanic
 - Americans:  "The Apprentice drew a mass audience that pulled in an especially high proportion of
black and Hispanic viewers..."  https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2017-07-06/the-remaking-of-donald-trump
Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 15533


« Reply #1774 on: January 18, 2018, 01:17:23 PM »

ccp:  "... none of this means it is a good idea to call black countries shit holes especially knowing how the left will drum this into " he is a nazi , a clansman, a bigot , white racist , insensitive rich prick theme to drum the anger and voting desires of the Blacks , the Browns, the Yellows, and the Latinos.

I agree with you.  I'm sick of making excuses for him.
OTOH:
 - As Crafty wrote, it was a private statement (and likely misquoted)
 - Documented is that some of these places are literally fecalized.
 - Barack Obama said exact same thing, see media post this am.
 - Cry wolf, cry wolf, then see a real wolf?  The Left said the same of Mitt Romney.
 - Trump's support is going up within some of these groups.
 - Black unemployment at a is 14 year low?
 - Unknown to all political analysts, Trump already had a relationship with black and Hispanic
 - Americans:  "The Apprentice drew a mass audience that pulled in an especially high proportion of
black and Hispanic viewers..."  https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2017-07-06/the-remaking-of-donald-trump

I am tired of having to pretend that what everyone knows is true isn't because it hurts feelings.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 42521


« Reply #1775 on: January 22, 2018, 01:44:45 PM »

Obviously this could go into more particularized threads, but there are deeper themes here which make it deserving of placement in this thread

https://amgreatness.com/2018/01/22/the-shutdown-victory/
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 42521


« Reply #1776 on: January 24, 2018, 09:11:32 PM »



http://insider.foxnews.com/2018/01/24/fisa-memo-feinstein-and-schiff-compare-release-supporters-russian-agents-tucker-says
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 42521


« Reply #1777 on: February 05, 2018, 09:15:50 AM »

Our Hackable Political Future
By HENRY J. FARRELL and RICK PERLSTEINFEB. 4, 2018

Imagine it is the spring of 2019. A bottom-feeding website, perhaps tied to Russia, “surfaces” video of a sex scene starring an 18-year-old Kirsten Gillibrand. It is soon debunked as a fake, the product of a user-friendly video application that employs generative adversarial network technology to convincingly swap out one face for another.

It is the summer of 2019, and the story, predictably, has stuck around — part talk-show joke, part right-wing talking point. “It’s news,” political journalists say in their own defense. “People are talking about it. How can we not?”

Then it is fall. The junior senator from New York State announces her campaign for the presidency. At a diner in New Hampshire, one “low information” voter asks another: “Kirsten What’s-her-name? She’s running for president? Didn’t she have something to do with pornography?”

Welcome to the shape of things to come. In 2016 Gareth Edwards, the director of the Star Wars film “Rogue One,” was able to create a scene featuring a young Princess Leia by manipulating images of Carrie Fisher as she looked in 1977. Mr. Edwards had the best hardware and software a $200 million Hollywood budget could buy. Less than two years later, images of similar quality can be created with software available for free download on Reddit. That was how a faked video supposedly of the actress Emma Watson in a shower with another woman ended up on the website Celeb Jihad.

Programs like these have many legitimate applications. They can help computer-security experts probe for weaknesses in their defenses and help self-driving cars learn how to navigate unusual weather conditions. But as the novelist William Gibson once said, “The street finds its own uses for things.” So do rogue political actors. The implications for democracy are eye-opening.
  

The conservative political activist James O’Keefe has created a cottage industry manipulating political perceptions by editing footage in misleading ways. In 2018, low-tech editing like Mr. O’Keefe’s is already an anachronism: Imagine what even less scrupulous activists could do with the power to create “video” framing real people for things they’ve never actually done. One harrowing potential eventuality: Fake video and audio may become so convincing that it can’t be distinguished from real recordings, rendering audio and video evidence inadmissible in court.

A program called Face2Face, developed at Stanford, films one person speaking, then manipulates that person’s image to resemble someone else’s. Throw in voice manipulation technology, and you can literally make anyone say anything — or at least seem to.

The technology isn’t quite there; Princess Leia was a little wooden, if you looked carefully. But it’s closer than you might think. And even when fake video isn’t perfect, it can convince people who want to be convinced, especially when it reinforces offensive gender or racial stereotypes.

Another harrowing potential is the ability to trick the algorithms behind self-driving cars to not recognize traffic signs. Computer scientists have shown that nearly invisible changes to a stop sign can fool algorithms into thinking it says yield instead. Imagine if one of these cars contained a dissident challenging a dictator.

In 2007, Barack Obama’s political opponents insisted that footage existed of Michelle Obama ranting against “whitey.” In the future, they may not have to worry about whether it actually existed. If someone called their bluff, they may simply be able to invent it, using data from stock photos and pre-existing footage.

The next step would be one we are already familiar with: the exploitation of the algorithms used by social media sites like Twitter and Facebook to spread stories virally to those most inclined to show interest in them, even if those stories are fake.

It might be impossible to stop the advance of this kind of technology. But the relevant algorithms here aren’t only the ones that run on computer hardware. They are also the ones that undergird our too easily hacked media system, where garbage acquires the perfumed scent of legitimacy with all too much ease. Editors, journalists and news producers can play a role here — for good or for bad.

Outlets like Fox News spread stories about the murder of Democratic staff members and F.B.I. conspiracies to frame the president. Traditional news organizations, fearing that they might be left behind in the new attention economy, struggle to maximize “engagement with content.”

This gives them a built-in incentive to spread informational viruses that enfeeble the very democratic institutions that allow a free media to thrive. Cable news shows consider it their professional duty to provide “balance” by giving partisan talking heads free rein to spout nonsense — or amplify the nonsense of our current president.

It already feels as though we are living in an alternative science-fiction universe where no one agrees on what it true. Just think how much worse it will be when fake news becomes fake video. Democracy assumes that its citizens share the same reality. We’re about to find out whether democracy can be preserved when this assumption no longer holds.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 42521


« Reply #1778 on: February 10, 2018, 01:40:26 PM »

The Enlightenment Is Working
Don’t listen to the gloom-sayers. The world has improved by every measure of human flourishing over the past two centuries, and the progress continues, writes Steven Pinker.
The Enlightenment Is Working
Illustration: Robert Neubecker
By Steven Pinker
Feb. 9, 2018 10:49 a.m. ET
222 COMMENTS

For all their disagreements, the left and the right concur on one thing: The world is getting worse. Whether the decline is visible in inequality, racism and pollution, or in terrorism, crime and moral decay, both sides see profound failings in modernity and a deepening crisis in the West. They look back to various golden ages when America was great, blue-collar workers thrived in unionized jobs, and people found meaning in religion, family, community and nature.

Such gloominess is decidedly un-American. The U.S. was founded on the Enlightenment ideal that human ingenuity and benevolence could be channeled by institutions and result in progress. This concept may feel naive as we confront our biggest predicaments, but we can only understand where we are if we know how far we’ve come.

You can always fool yourself into seeing a decline if you compare rose-tinted images of the past with bleeding headlines of the present. What do the trajectories of the nation and world look like when we measure human well-being over time with a constant yardstick? Let’s look at the numbers (most of which can be found on websites such as OurWorldinData, HumanProgress and Gapminder).

Consider the U.S. just three decades ago. Our annual homicide rate was 8.5 per 100,000. Eleven percent of us fell below the poverty line (as measured by consumption). And we spewed 20 million tons of sulfur dioxide and 34.5 million tons of particulate matter into the atmosphere.

Fast forward to the most recent numbers available today. The homicide rate is 5.3 (a blip up from 4.4 in 2014). Three percent of us fall below the consumption poverty line. And we emit four million tons of sulfur dioxide and 20.6 million tons of particulates, despite generating more wealth and driving more miles.

Greater LiteracyThe proportion of people who can read andwrite has nearly swapped places with the proportion who could not 200 years ago.  Percentage of literate world populationSource: Calculated based on figures fromourworldindata.org
%1800’501900’5020000204060801002014x85.3%

Globally, the 30-year scorecard also favors the present. In 1988, 23 wars raged, killing people at a rate of 3.4 per 100,000; today it’s 12 wars killing 1.2 per 100,000. The number of nuclear weapons has fallen from 60,780 to 10,325. In 1988, the world had just 45 democracies, embracing two billion people; today it has 103, embracing 4.1 billion. That year saw 46 oil spills; 2016, just five. And 37% of the population lived in extreme poverty, barely able to feed themselves, compared with 9.6% today. True, 2016 was a bad year for terrorism in Western Europe, with 238 deaths. But 1988 was even worse, with 440.

The headway made around the turn of the millennium is not a fluke. It’s a continuation of a process set in motion by the Enlightenment in the late 18th century that has brought improvements in every measure of human flourishing.

Start with the most precious resource, life. Through most of human history, continuing into the 19th century, a newborn was expected to live around 30 years. In the two centuries since, life expectancy across the world has risen to 71, and in the developed world to 81.

When the Enlightenment began, a third of the children born in the richest parts of the world died before their fifth birthday; today, that fate befalls 6% of the children in the poorest parts. In those countries, infectious diseases are in steady decline, and many will soon follow smallpox into extinction.

The poor may not always be with us. The world is about a hundred times wealthier today than it was two centuries ago, and the prosperity is becoming more evenly distributed across countries and people. Within the lifetimes of most readers, the rate of extreme poverty could approach zero. Catastrophic famine, never far away in the past, has vanished from all but the most remote and war-ravaged regions, and undernourishment is in steady decline.

    ‘Our ancestors replaced dogma, tradition and authority with reason, debate and institutions of truth-seeking.’

Within developed countries, inequality is rising, but real poverty is not. A century ago, the richest countries devoted 1% of their wealth to children, the poor, the sick and the aged; today they spend almost a quarter of it. Most of their poor today are fed, clothed and sheltered and have luxuries like smartphones and air conditioning that used to be unavailable to anyone, rich or poor. Poverty among racial minorities has fallen, and poverty among the elderly has plunged.

The world is giving peace a chance. During most of the history of nations and empires, war was the natural state of affairs, and peace a mere interlude between wars. Today war between countries is obsolescent, and war within countries is absent from five-sixths of the world. The proportion of people killed annually in wars is about a quarter of what it was in the mid-1980s, a sixth of what it was in the early 1970s, and a 16th of what it was in the early 1950s.

In most times and places, homicides kill far more people than wars. But homicide rates have been falling as well and not just in the U.S. People in the rest of the world are now seven-tenths as likely to be murdered as they were two dozen years ago. Deaths from terrorism, terrifying as they may be, amount to a rounding error.

Life has been getting safer in every other way. Over the past century, Americans have become 96% less likely to be killed in an auto accident, 88% less likely to be mowed down on the sidewalk, 99% less likely to die in a plane crash, 59% less likely to fall to their deaths, 92% less likely to die by fire, 90% less likely to drown, 92% less likely to be asphyxiated, and 95% less likely to be killed on the job. Life in other rich countries is even safer, and life in poorer countries will get safer as they get richer.

More Wealth, Less PovertyIn the long term, prosperity has become moreevenly distributed across countries andpeople.Percentage of world population livingoutside extreme povertySource: Calculated based on figures fromourworldindata.orgNote: The definition of extreme poverty wasmeasured by the number of people living on less than$1 a day until 2002 when the benchmark was raisedto $1.90
%18501900’502000050100

Despite backsliding in countries like Russia, Turkey and Venezuela, the long-term trend in governance is toward democracy and human rights. Two centuries ago a handful of countries, embracing 1% of the world’s people, were democratic; today, more than half of the world’s countries, embracing 55% of its people, are.

Not long ago half the world’s countries had laws that discriminated against racial minorities; today more countries have policies that favor their minorities than policies that discriminate against them. At the turn of the 20th century, women could vote in just one country; today they can vote in every country where men can vote save one (Vatican City). Laws that criminalize homosexuality continue to be stricken down, and attitudes toward minorities, women and gay people are becoming steadily more tolerant, particularly among the young, a portent of the world’s future. Violence against women, children and minorities is in long-term decline, as is the exploitation of children for their labor.

As people are getting healthier, richer, safer and freer, they are also becoming more knowledgeable and smarter. Two centuries ago, 12% of the world could read and write; today 85% can. Literacy and education will soon be universal, for girls as well as for boys. The schooling, together with health and wealth, is literally making us smarter—by 30 IQ points, or two standard deviations above our ancestors.


People are putting their longer, healthier, safer, freer, richer and wiser lives to good use. Americans work 22 fewer hours a week than they did in the late 19th century and lose 43 fewer hours to housework. They have more opportunities to use their leisure to travel, spend time with children, connect with loved ones and sample the world’s cuisine, knowledge and culture.

Thanks to these gifts, people in a majority of countries have become happier. Even Americans, who take their good fortune for granted and have stagnated in happiness, call themselves “pretty happy” or happier. And despite the panic about “kids today” (heard in every era), younger generations are less unhappy, lonely, drug-addicted and suicidal than their Boomer parents.

As societies become wealthier and better educated, they raise their sights to the entire planet. Since the dawn of the environmental movement in the 1970s, the world has emitted fewer pollutants, cleared fewer forests, spilled less oil, set aside more preserves, extinguished fewer species, saved the ozone layer and may have peaked in its consumption of oil, farmland, timber, cars and perhaps even coal.

* * *

To what do we owe this progress? Does the universe contain a historical dialectic or arc bending toward justice? The answer is less mysterious: The Enlightenment is working. Our ancestors replaced dogma, tradition and authority with reason, debate and institutions of truth-seeking. They replaced superstition and magic with science. And they shifted their values from the glory of the tribe, nation, race, class or faith toward universal human flourishing.

Longer LivesFalling child mortality has helped the averagelife expectancy at birth to more than double.Life ExpectancySource: ourworldindata.org
.years1800’501900’50200020304050607080

These developments have been gradual and uneven, with many backtracks and zigzags. But the happy developments of the last two centuries are the cumulative gifts of the brainchildren they spawned.

● Disease was decimated by vaccines, sanitation, antibiotics and other advances in medicine and public health, driven by the germ theory of disease and our understanding of evolution, physiology and genetics.

● Famine was stanched by crop rotation, synthetic fertilizer, the replacement of muscle by machinery and the selective breeding of vigorous hybrids.

● Poverty was slashed by education, markets, global trade and cheaper food and clothing, together with social programs that support the young, old, sick and unlucky.

● Violent crime was tamed by a replacement of the code of vendetta by the rule of law, by fairer judicial systems and, most recently, by data-driven policing.

● Everyday hazards were blunted by safety regulations and engineering, driven by an increasing valuation of human life. A similar combination of regulation and technology is ramping down pollution.

● Oppression and discrimination may persist in some places by brute force, but they start to corrode when educated, mobile and connected people exchange ideas and are forced to justify their practices.

● War is being marginalized by the spread of democracy (which inhibits leaders from turning their youth into cannon fodder), global commerce (which makes trade more profitable than plunder), peacekeeping forces (which separate belligerents and extinguish flare-ups) and competent governments (which outcompete insurgents for the allegiance of their citizens). Also driving war down are norms against conquest, enforced by the international community with shaming, sanctions and occasionally armed intervention.

* * *

The evidence for progress raises many questions.

Isn’t it good to be pessimistic, many activists ask—to rake the muck, afflict the comfortable, speak truth to power? The answer is no: It’s good to be accurate. We must be aware of suffering and injustice where they occur, but we must also be aware of how they can be reduced. Indiscriminate pessimism can lead to fatalism: to wondering why we should throw time and money at a hopeless cause. And it can lead to radicalism: to calls to smash the machine, drain the swamp or empower a charismatic tyrant.

Wider Democracy Only one in a hundred people lived under some form of democracy two centuries ago; now, most do. Percentage of world population living in a democracy Source: Calculated based on figures from our world in data.org
%18501900’502000020406080

Is progress inevitable? Of course not! Solutions create new problems, which must be solved in their turn. We can always be blindsided by nasty surprises, such as the two World Wars, the 1960s crime boom and the AIDS and opioid epidemics.

And the greatest global challenges remain unsolved. This does not mean they are unsolvable. In 2015 the world’s nations came to a historic agreement on climate change in Paris, and pathways to decarbonization, including carbon pricing and zero-emission technologies, have been laid out. Since the closing days of World War II, nuclear weapons have not been used in almost 73 years of saber-rattling (including standoffs with the half-mad despots Stalin and Mao), and the New Start treaty between the U.S. and Russia, capping nuclear arsenals, went into full effect just this week.

On these matters, the policies of President Donald Trump —denial of climate change, planned withdrawal from the Paris accord, provocation of North Korea, nuclear arms expansion—are alarming. But continued progress is in the interests of the rest of the world, and numerous states, countries, corporations, political actors and sectors of the military are pushing back against the intemperate plans of the administration.


How should we think about future progress? We must not sit back and wait for problems to solve themselves, nor pace the streets with a sandwich board proclaiming that the end of the world is nigh. The advances of the past are no guarantee that progress will continue; they are a reminder of what we have to lose. Progress is a gift of the ideals of the Enlightenment and will continue to the extent that we rededicate ourselves to those ideals.

Are the ideals of the Enlightenment too tepid to engage our animal spirits? Is the conquest of disease, famine, poverty, violence and ignorance … boring? Do people need to believe in magic, a father in the sky, a strong chief to protect the tribe, myths of heroic ancestors?

I don’t think so. Secular liberal democracies are the happiest and healthiest places on earth, and the favorite destinations of people who vote with their feet. And once you appreciate that the Enlightenment project of applying knowledge and sympathy to enhance human flourishing can succeed, it’s hard to imagine anything more heroic and glorious.

Mr. Pinker is Johnstone Professor of Psychology at Harvard University. This essay is adapted from his new book, “Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism and Progress,” which will be published by Viking on Feb. 13.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 42521


« Reply #1779 on: February 10, 2018, 02:05:12 PM »

second post

https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/269251/my-sister-kate-destructive-feminist-legacy-kate-mark-tapson#.WnwqlDraWNI.twitter
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 42521


« Reply #1780 on: February 17, 2018, 09:36:30 AM »


http://www.nationalreview.com/g-file/456513/virtue-democracy-people-we-deserve?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=180216_G-File&utm_term=GFile
« Last Edit: February 17, 2018, 09:53:29 AM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 42521


« Reply #1781 on: February 20, 2018, 07:33:27 AM »

https://www.liveleak.com/view?i=e06_1519057581

Logged
ccp
Power User
***
Posts: 7837


« Reply #1782 on: February 20, 2018, 09:17:14 AM »

bottom line :

don't even dare to "dis" Ytube

a real professional service might  respond with editors note disputing the claims but would not censor it IMO.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 42521


« Reply #1783 on: February 22, 2018, 12:36:18 AM »

https://www.city-journal.org/html/age-outrage-15608.html
Logged
Pages: 1 ... 34 35 [36] Print 
« previous next »
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!