Chronological Snob

I saw this posted somewhere on the internet.

This is a prime example of what C. S. Lewis called chronological snobbery. Chronological snobbery is the idea that because people in earlier times were less knowledgable than we are about natural science, they must have been less intelligent and less knowledgeable about everything than we who live in these more enlightened times. The person who created this meme is suggesting that because the men who wrote the constitution were ignorant about the developments in scientific understanding after their time, they have nothing worthwhile to say to us. The constitution they drafted must be based on their ignorance and should perhaps be discarded as a product of an earlier, benighted era.

The meme isn’t entirely true, even in a real sense. The men of the eighteenth century did not regard women as literal property, except for their Black slaves, but that is another matter. If anything, they probably had a more realistic view concerning men and women than the average gender studies major of our times. At least they knew what a woman was. No educated person at the time would have viewed a light bulb as the product of witchcraft. They would have easily understood the principles of the workings of an incandescent light bulb if someone had explained it to them. Benjamin Franklin and perhaps Thomas Jefferson could have deduced these principles by observation. In fact, Franklin could have invented the light bulb if he had lived a half-century later. These were not ignorant men.

As for the rest, it may be true that the framers did not know about atoms or dinosaurs, though Jefferson at least was aware of the fossils that suggested large animals had existed in the past. They only knew about the prevailing scientific views of their time, just as the creator of this meme only knows about the common views of xir time. It is true that the average college or even high school graduate knows more about the natural world than the most educated persons in the eighteenth century. That is hardly to their credit, however. They had no hand in developing modern scientific theories. They are only repeating what their teachers tell them. It is not to the framers’ discredit they didn’t know better. They could not have known about advancements in knowledge that occurred decades or centuries after their deaths.

In any case, a knowledge of modern physics or medicine is not what is needed to establish a new and lasting government. What is needed is a knowledge of human nature and political history. This sort of wisdom the founding fathers possessed in abundance much greater than the average woke college graduate of today. These men had all read Plutarch, Polybius, and Plato. They were familiar with the works of Locke, Burke, and Montesquieu. Men the woke would dismiss as dead White males with nothing to say to us in these more enlightened times. The men who drafted our constitution had studied the constitutions of many states ancient and modern and had managed to create a political system that has provided the American people with an unparalleled degree of freedom for more than two hundred years. I doubt if any system of government devised by our woke contemporaries would do so well. Indeed, if the history of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries is any guide, we still have a lot to learn from the wise men who wrote that allegedly outdated constitution. We should not dismiss the people who lived in the past as ignorant because they did not have the knowledge we have gained since their time. We should learn from their wisdom that we have perhaps lost.

The Evil Party and the Stupid Party

It is often said that the Democrats are the evil party and the Republicans are the stupid party. If there is any doubt that the Democrats are indeed the evil party, consider the complete meltdown they are having over the Supreme Court’s recent overturning of Roe versus Wade. Keep in mind that the Court’s decision on Dobbs versus Jackson Women’s Health Organization does not actually outlaw abortion anywhere. It simply refers the matter back to the states, where state legislatures can settle the question democratically. The idea that the people of each state can decide for themselves what to do about abortion ought not to be controversial yet the Democrats are furious over the possibility that fewer infants will be murdered in the womb. That is evil.

Let’s be clear about what the debate on abortion is really over. It is not about women’s bodies or reproductive health. It is about murdering human beings before they are even born. Killing an innocent person is always an intrinsically evil act, whatever the justification. Deliberately killing an innocent human being can only be justified if it is necessary to save the life of another human being, and even then, it is a lesser evil rather than a positive good. A mother who kills her child is performing an abominable act, one that is contrary to nature. Abortion is always an evil act unless it is done to preserve the life or health of the mother. A political party that supports abortion right up to the moment of birth can only be called the Evil Party.

If the Democrats are evil, the Republicans are stupid. I do not believe that any other political party in the history of politics has demonstrated quite the knack for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory as the Republican has consistently shown. As it stands, due to the catastrophic record of the alleged president Biden and the Democrats in Congress, the Republicans are poised to win huge victories in the November election. All Republicans have to do to ensure a red tsunami this fall is to avoid alienating their base into staying home instead of voting. What are the Republicans, at least the GOP leaders in the Senate doing? Working to alienate potential voters so that they will decide to stay home by supporting a highly problematic Democrat “gun safety” bill. Fourteen Republican Senators, who ought to have known better, including Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, and Indiana’s own Todd Young, along with the usual traitors like Mitt Romney voted to support a bill that will do nothing to make our streets safer but will help to abridge our constitutional rights.

Alienating your supporters to appease people who will never support you is stupid. Making compromises with people who believe that compromise means you give up something you want while they give up nothing at all is stupid. Making compromises with people who view each compromise as just another step towards their long-term goals is stupid. Breaking promises to your voters and refusing to fight for your principles in the face of opposition is both cowardly and stupid.

The leaders of the Republican Party are, for the most part, either stupid or cowards. Why should we continue to vote for people who will not deliver? Maybe we need a new party in America. Instead of the Evil Party and the Stupid Party, maybe we need a Smart, Good Party.

The Anti-Capitalist Capitalist

Do you like coffee but hate capitalism? If so then The Anarchist Cafe in Toronto might be just the place for you. I read about it in the Washington Free Beacon.

The Anarchist is a “proudly anti-capitalist” coffee shop and “radical community space on stolen land” that recently opened in Canada, a minor nation best known for its proximity to the United States. Touted as the ideal gathering spot for people who enjoy their coffee “served with a side of revolution,” the cafe also sells a variety of anti-capitalist merchandise for profit.

They sell stuff? That seems awfully capitalist to me. Why don’t they give their coffee and merchandise away?

For example, the cafe sells “People Over Profit” T-shirts for $31.40 ($40 CAD). The same item sells on Etsy for $26.81 ($34.15 CAD). The shop recently started selling “People Over Profit” sweatshirts for $39.19 ($50 CAD), according to the cafe’s Instagram account. When one Instagram user asked about “the proceeds” from selling the anti-capitalist merchandise, the cafe responded defensively: “It’s not a charity, it’s a business.”

So the owner isn’t against capitalism for himself, just other people.

The Anarchist sells a wide variety of merchandise, including tote bags emblazoned with epic mantras such as “Abolish the Police,” “Queer Anarchy Now,” and “Eat Vegetables, Ride Bikes, Be Nice, Hail Satan.” Customers who really hate the Washington Post can purchase a “Fuck Bezos” sticker for $5.10 ($6.5 CAD). The same item is available on Etsy for $4.55 ($5.80 CAD) and includes free shipping. While enjoying their Marx & Engles [sic], a “single espresso and piccolo, made with the same beans,” patrons can peruse the cafe’s collection of other stickers bearing radical slogans such as “Destroy Capitalism,” “Abolish Prisons,” and “Be Gay Do Crimes.”

The cafe’s founder looks exactly like you’d expect him to look. Gabriel Sims-Fewer set up shop in Toronto “after leaving Vancouver due to its unwelcoming sense of classism.”

He envisions his for-profit enterprise as one that is impervious to “the inherently oppressive parts that small businesses absorb from their capitalist surroundings.” The bathroom code, 1312, is a numerical rendering of the acronym ACAB, meaning “All Cops Are Bastards.”

So I’m wondering, is Mr. Sims-Fewer going to object if I were to enter the Anarchist Cafe and just start taking stuff. On what basis could he object since he is supposedly against capitalism. What if I identify as a Black, transgender lesbian who is also a First Nations person? (that’s Canadian for Indian.) Wouldn’t my shoplifting be a form of reparations? Would he call the police? Being an anarchist, shouldn’t he be against any form of government coercion, including the police, which he describes as bastards anyway.

I’d really like to see this guy put his money where his mouth is so to speak. If he believes in anarchism and is against capitalism, why is he acting like his capitalist neighbors? Why doesn’t he set up some sort of co-op where everyone shares their goods? Why not try to create an anarchist community somewhere? Instead, he is working to make a profit, like everyone else.

It seems to me that Gabriel Sims-Fewer is just a poseur. He talks the talk about revolution and anarchy but won’t walk the walk. I feel somehow disappointed.

Roe Hysteria

If the leaked draft of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s opinion is any indication, the Supreme Court may soon be overturning Roe v. Wade. Naturally, the Democrats are throwing a fit. They are getting out their Handmaid’s Tale costumes

 

Women’s fashion after Roe is overturned

and predicting that overturning Roe v. Wade will result in back-alley abortions all over the country, a ban on contraceptives and interracial marriages, the segregation of LGBTYQEIEIO children in classrooms, dogs, and cats living together, and other signs of mass hysteria.’

 

They should calm down. The only thing that overturning Roe v. Wade will do is return the issue of abortion to the state legislatures, where it rightfully belongs. It is likely that the more conservative states, like Utah or Alabama, will either ban or place severe constraints on abortion, but more liberal states, like California or Massachusetts, will continue to permit abortion right up to the moment of birth. Those states in the middle will place varying restrictions on what point in pregnancy abortions are allowed, as the people of each state see fit. 

It is usually best to resolve contentious social issues like abortion through the democratic process of compromise, give and take, and consensus-building rather than have solutions imposed by judicial fiat. Solutions that develop that way may not be to everyone’s satisfaction; the best compromises leave everyone equally unhappy, but everyone feels as if they have had some input into policymaking rather than having policies imposed upon them. Given that a consensus on any controversial issue is impossible in a continent-spanning nation of more than three hundred million people, controversial issues like abortion ought to be resolved at the state level rather than trying to impose a one-size-fits-all solution for the entire United States. Diverse nations need diverse policies. I thought that the progressives support diversity, but perhaps that is the wrong kind of diversity.

If the Supreme Court had not legalized abortion in Roe v. Wade, some general consensus would have evolved over time. The consensus would have changed as public opinions about abortion changed. It is most likely that abortion would have been legalized in most states during the 1970s. Then, in the more conservative 1980s, many states might have imposed more restrictions on abortion, perhaps limiting abortion to the first trimester. If public opinion on abortion changed, the laws concerning abortion would change. That would be the democratic and diverse way to address contentious social issues. I thought the left was in favor of democracy and diversity. Perhaps that is the wrong kind of diversity, while they are only really in favor of ‘our democracy’ as opposed to real democracy in which people govern themselves.

The Democrats are fond of calling pro-life positions extreme. If this is the case, they have nothing to worry about. If the Republicans adopt extreme positions on abortion or any other social issue, they will be punished at the ballot box. Perhaps the Democrats realize that it is their own position, permitting abortion right up to the moment of birth for any conceivable reason, is, in fact, the extreme position.

Americans are deeply ambivalent about abortion. Few Americans want to see abortion banned altogether, yet more and more Americans are coming around to the idea that abortion is morally wrong. A majority of Americans may believe that women have a right to choose whether to get an abortion, yet many feel that this is a choice women ought not to make. Even most pro-choice Americans do not believe that late-term abortion should be permitted. If there is any consensus at all on this most contentious issue, it is that abortion should be safe, legal, and rare, not that women should shout their abortions.

By imposing a solution by fiat and cutting short the necessary debate necessary in a democracy, Roe v. Wade played a not inconsiderable role in making American politics more divisive and polarized. In the end, overturning Roe v. Wade might be one of the best ways to purge some of the poison from American politics and restore some degree of civility. Unless the Democrats decide the resolve the issue the way they tried to resolve the last major issue they were on the wrong side of.

Race Race

I try not to pay too much attention to what entertainers say about politics and current events because what entertainers generally have to say about politics and current events is often very silly. Sometimes I can’t help but notice some particularly silly comment made by an entertainer. Recently the very silly named Whoopi Goldberg said something about the Holocaust that was not merely silly but more than a little pernicious.

The last time I heard anything stupid and obnoxious from Ms. Goldberg was some years ago when she commented on the View that Roman Polanski’s actions, while deplorable, were not exactly rape-rape. Of course, forcing sexual intercourse with an intoxicated, thirteen-year-old girl is considered rape-rape in almost every jurisdiction in the civilized world, and Whoopi ought to have known better than to say something so profoundly stupid.

You wouldn’t think Ms. Goldberg could ever top the rape-rape comment, but she managed it again on The View, by saying that the Holocaust was not about race.

Whoopi Goldberg argued on ABC’s The View Monday the Holocaust was “not about race,” prompting pushback from co-hosts on the show.

“If you’re going to do this, then let’s be truthful about it,” Goldberg said. “Because the Holocaust isn’t about race. No, it’s not about race.”

Co-host Joy Behar asked Goldberg: “Then what was it about?”

“It’s about man’s inhumanity to man,” Goldberg responded. “That’s what it’s about.”

Ana Navarro, another co-host on the show, interjected, saying, “Well, it’s about white supremacy. That’s what it’s about. It’s about going after Jews and gypsies.”

“But these are two groups of white people,” Goldberg cut in. “But you’re missing the point. The minute you turn it into race, it goes down this alley. Let’s talk about it for what it is. It’s how people treat each other. It’s a problem. It doesn’t matter if you’re Black or white, because Black, white, Jews … everybody eats each other.”

So, according to Whoopi Goldberg, the Holocaust was not about race because both the perpetrators and the victims of the atrocities were White. This conclusion would be surprising to the Nazis who planned and carried out the Holocaust. According to Nazi ideology, Germans, Jews, and Slavs were distinct and ultimately incompatible races, despite all being the same color. If one follows Ms. Goldberg’s logic, such atrocities as the massacre of the Tutsis by the Hutus in Rwanda in 1994 or the Japanese atrocities against the Chinese during the Second World War were not about race either, although in each case, those responsible for the mass murders clearly did not believe the victims were the same race as themselves, despite having roughly the same skin color. It would seem that race is not just a black and white matter if you’ll pardon the expression, but something more complicated.

That brings us to the question of just what race is anyway. According to the free dictionary;

1. group of people identified as distinct from other groups because of supposed physical or genetic traits shared by the group. Most biologists and anthropologists do not recognize race as a biologically valid classification, in part because there is more genetic variation within groups than between them.
2. group of people united or classified together on the basis of common history, nationality, or geographic distribution: the Celtic race.
3. genealogical line; a lineage.

A bit overly politically correct, but it will do. In America, we believe that skin color is the most important physical trait to distinguish between groups of people or races. Elsewhere, where populations have similar skin colors, other characteristics are more important. These characteristics are just as important to people in Europe, Asia, and Africa as skin color is to North Americans. A person from Europe or North America might find it hard to tell the difference between a Hutu and a Tutsi or a Japanese and a Chinese, but a person from Africa or East Asia would probably have no difficulty making such distinctions. A person from Africa or East Asia might not be able to tell the difference between a German, a Jew, or a Slav but making such determinations in Central Europe in the middle twentieth century was a matter of life and death even though everyone was what Americans would consider White.
Just because two people happen to have the same skin color, it does not follow that they will view each other as belonging to the same group or race. If I were to travel to my ancestral homeland in Germany, no one in Germany would mistake me for being German or even European, despite my light skin. I suspect that if Whoopi Goldberg went to Africa, few Africans would see her as a fellow African, despite her dark skin. They would see her as a Black American. Her language, mannerisms, and cultural assumptions would show her as foreign to most Africans.
The curious thing about racial distinctions is how trivial they appear when looking objectively from the outside. Physical or even cultural differences that seem so consequential on the inside, as it were, are utterly meaningless to anyone not familiar with the local circumstances, culture, or history. Even so obvious a distinction as Black and White, which any human might consider significant, might be meaningless to an extraterrestrial visiting Earth for the first time. An alien would wonder why we are so concerned with racial differences since we are obviously all of the same species. The differences between any two groups of human beings would be minuscule compared to the difference between the alien and ourselves. From an extraterrestrial point of view, there is only one race that matters on Earth, the human race.
In a way, Whoopi Goldberg is right, though not at all in the way she might have intended. When viewed properly, The Holocaust and every other instance of man’s inhumanity to man is not about race at all since we are all members of the same human race. Maybe if we could get used to thinking about ourselves as the same race and learn to ignore the trivial differences between us, there would be a good deal less of that inhumanity.

Missing Context

I don’t have a Twitter account for many reasons, not least of which is I feel that tweeting is something birds or the birdbrained do, not intelligent human beings. The only disadvantage that I can see to not having a Twitter account is that I miss out on many of the idiotic things that leftists tweet. Fortunately, many people on the right provide a valuable service by drawing attention to such tweets for the benefit of sane people.

I caught this particular tweet by Ida B Wells, courtesy of Gunfreezone.net.

I wonder if the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum has an exhibit about the bombing of Pearl Harbor? Is there any mention of the Rape of Nanjing or the activities of Unit 731 in this museum? One might suppose from the shame-ridden Ida B. Wells’s tweet that the United States dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima for no particular reason; perhaps out of anti-Japanese racism. What is missing here is the context in which the decision to use the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was made. Let’s provide that context.

The United States was fighting a war against an enemy that had attacked it without warning or provocation. This enemy, the Empire of Japan, was an evil regime, as bad as, if not worse than Nazi Germany, as the links, I provided above might indicate. The Asian Holocaust perpetrated by the militarist government of Japan was even more horrifying than the more familiar Nazi holocaust against the Jews and other Untermenschen. Japanese atrocities get far less attention than the Nazi horrors, perhaps because most victims were Chinese. I would not go so far as to say that the civilians of the two nuked cities in any way deserved what happened to them, but the government they served had to be defeated.

Worse than the Nazis

The cost of defeating that evil regime would have been enormous had the use of the atomic bomb not ended the war. American military analysts estimated that American casualties suffered from an invasion of the Japanese home islands would number in the hundreds of thousands, perhaps even as many as a million dead or wounded. Japanese casualties, assuming the Japanese government was able to mobilize the civilian population to resist the invaders, would certainly have reached into the tens of millions.

Obviously, American military planners would have sought to reduce American casualties by inflicting as much damage as possible on Japan before any landings on the home islands. There would have been wave after wave of bombers targeting every military and industrial facility they could locate. Incendiary bombs would have been dropped on residential areas to break the will of the Japanese population. Maybe chemical weapons might have been deployed if the invasion bogged down into a stalemate. If Japanese civilians began attacking American servicemen in the occupied areas, the soldiers might have resorted to a policy of shooting anyone who approached them. Japanese deaths might have reached genocidal levels, and people like Ida B. Wells might be tweeting their shame at the American massacre of the peaceful Japanese.

Of course, dropping the atomic bomb might have been an atrocity if Japan were on the verge of surrendering, as some assert. I do not think that is a historically accurate view. The Japanese seemed determined to fight to the death even as they were losing the war. The Japanese did not surrender as the Americans closed in on Japan. They did not surrender when we recaptured the Philippines, or when we captured Iwo Jima and Okinawa. Even the first atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima did not induce the Japanese to end the war. It took the bombing of Nagasaki and the nearly unprecedented intervention of the Emperor to compel the Japanese military government to sue for peace.

This policy was not as insane or fanatical as one might assume. By August 1945, the Japanese situation was dire but not entirely hopeless. No one had ever successfully invaded the Japanese islands, and the Japanese military leaders had no reason to believe that the Americans would be any more successful than the Mongols. Indeed, the leaders of Japan had every reason to believe that if they managed to inflict sufficient casualties on the first waves of American servicemen to land on the coasts of Japan, a war-weary American population would urge a negotiated end to the war, leaving the Japanese military leaders in power. They might have been correct, although I think it more likely that the United States would have attempted to conquer Japan using the tactics I described above.

The simple fact is that the decision to use the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki saved millions of lives by ending the war sooner than it would otherwise have ended. The use of the atomic bomb quite probably saved millions of lives after the war. Nuclear weapons have made war between the major powers all but inconceivable by making the costs of such a war far greater than any possible gains. Consider a world in which the atomic bomb has never been developed. It is likely, perhaps inevitable, that the Cold War would become a hot war if the possession of nuclear bombs by both the United States and the Soviet Union did not deter both sides from committing acts of aggression directly against one another. We might have had a World War III or IV, with a cost of hundreds of millions of lives. We might right now be in the middle of World War V.

The Correct Decision

There is no reason for any American to feel shame over the use of the atomic bomb against Japan. That decision saved millions of lives by ending the most devastating war in history. There is little reason for any American to feel any shame about their history at all. The United States of America is not a perfect country, no nation in this fallen world is or can be perfect, but when American history is considered in proper context, America stands forth as a good and noble nation, for the most part. Americans have made mistakes and committed terrible injustices, but America has been a force for good in the world. Only the ignorant or those pushing a political agenda to degrade and delegitimize America would say otherwise.

Keith Olbermann Thinks You’re Chicken

I was going to title this “Keith Olbermann is an Idiot”; but we already knew that. His latest idiocy is this video in which he attempts to persuade people to get the Chinese coronavirus vaccine by calling them chicken if they don’t.

Insulting people and calling them names isn’t an effective method of getting them to do something. Keith might have tried attempting to understand why some people might be reluctant to be vaccinated against COVID and presenting a clear, logical case why they ought to. If they still prefer not to be vaccinated, he might have tried respecting their decision. Instead, Keith reverts to the mentality of the grade school playground. He sounds, for all the world, like little boys, who attempt to prove their courage by daring each other to do foolish and dangerous things. I’m surprised he didn’t start mocking the vaccine-hesitant by clucking like a chicken or double-dog-daring people to get the shot.

What Keith doesn’t consider is that there is nothing wrong or shameful about being afraid, if there is cause to be afraid. There is cause to be afraid of the long-term effects of a vaccine rushed into production. The medical establishment assures us that the vaccines are safe, but the medical establishment has not inspired much trust in recent years. I can imagine seeing the advertisements twenty years from now, “If you have received the COVID vaccine and have developed a permanent crotch-itch, call our law office, you may be entitled to compensation. The vaccines are probably safe and effective, but who knows? I should point out that the most vaccine-hesitant are not White Trump supporters, as Keith Olbermann believes, but African-Americans. If you don’t know why Blacks might be more than a little distrustful of the medical establishment, look up the Tuskegee Syphilis Study.

Keith also doesn’t seem to understand that the decision to refuse to get the shot might be entirely rational, based on careful consideration of the costs and benefits of the shot. When Jonas Salk developed the polio vaccine, no one had to be pressured into getting the vaccine. This is because everyone understood that polio is a horrific disease. Polio kills people. Polio causes paralysis. You don’t need to see many people trapped in an iron lung to be convinced that being vaccinated against polio is a good idea. COVID-19 is not horrific. Yes, people die from COVID, but for most people, the coronavirus is not much worse than the common flu. I am not saying that there are no risks associated with COVID and even the young and healthy can die, but this is a disease with a better than 99% survival rate. We are not talking about the Black Death or smallpox. It may be reasonable to decide that the unknown risks of the vaccine are greater than the risks of actual disease, particularly since the natural immunity gained after recovering from the disease is more effective than the immunity from the vaccine.

Keith casually brushes aside the concerns many of us have over vaccine mandates or passports, but this is a valid issue. Even those who have gotten the shot and believe that it would be advisable for everyone to be vaccinated have legitimate concerns about compelling people to be vaccinated. The whole business of showing a vaccine passport to enter a restaurant seems creepy and totalitarian, the sort of thing one might have seen in East Germany rather than a free republic. In the end, the citizens of a free country have the absolute right to decide what does and does not go into their bodies. Maybe it is foolish not to be vaccinated, but freedom must include the freedom to be foolish, or it is not freedom. In a free country, the decision to be vaccinated would be a personal decision that is no one else’s business. Certainly, the idea of mandating or compelling people to receive the vaccine would be unthinkable.

Keith and the left don’t want to live in a free country, however. They want to live in a country in which they are the elite who decide what’s best for us and we are the serfs who must submit. This is why they are so adamant about the vaccine mandate. It is a way to show the rest of us who is boss and to drive another wedge between us. The left is already trying to divide us by race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and anything else they can think of. Now they want to divide us between vaccinated and unvaccinated.

The fact is that it is Keith Olbermann and the leftist elites who are afraid. They are afraid that Americans of every color and creed will stand up and demand to be free. They are afraid that we will start to refuse to comply with their mandates. They are afraid we will start to ask questions about their handling of the coronavirus, of the border, of the Afghanistan withdrawal, of the economy and so much else. They are afraid we will resist their attempts at social media censorship and the false narratives they are pushing on us. They are afraid we will wrest control of the government and the institutions which they have seized and ruined from them and restore them to we the people. They are afraid of us.

I think it is past time we give them something to be afraid of.

CDC Newspeak Dictionary

The Centers for Disease Control has just released an updated edition of the New Speak Dictionary, that is to say, that the CDC has released a new “non-stigmantising” language guide. I read about this development from this article at Campus Reform.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently unveiled a lengthy “non-stigmatizing language” guide.

As Campus Reform has repeatedly reported, universities across the United States frequently implement “inclusive language” guides. The University of Michigan, for example, published a list of words that “are, or can be construed to be, racist, sexist, or non-inclusive.” Words such as “man,” “crazy,” “picnic,” “dummy,” “grandfathered in,” and “long time, no see” were deemed offensive in various ways.

Now, the nation’s top agency for addressing viral diseases has created a similar list of “Preferred Terms.”

 

“Language in communication products should reflect and speak to the needs of people in the audience of focus,” explains the CDC. “The following provides some preferred terms for select population groups; the terms to try to use represent an ongoing shift toward non-stigmatizing language.”

 

For example, the agency suggests replacing the phrase “smokers” with “people who smoke” and “alcoholics” with “persons with alcohol use disorder.” Similarly, they recommend swapping “homeless people” for “people experiencing homelessness” or “persons who are not securely housed.”

 

With respect to mental health, the CDC recommends using “specific disorders” whenever possible. Instead of “crazy” or “insane,” American should use “people with a diagnosis of a mental illness” or “people with a pre-existing mental health disorder.”

There is a lot more of this in the article and you can find the complete list of preferred terms here

I would think that an agency tasked with protecting the nation’s health would want their communications to be as clear as possible without any obfuscating euphemisms. I would suppose that they would feel that keeping people safe from disease, the whole purpose of even existing, might be just a little more important than keeping people from feeling stigmatized.

I think that it would be better for the Centers for Disease Control to express their findings bluntly and risk hurting feelings than for them to risk misunderstandings. As Dr. House put it. “What would you prefer – a doctor who holds your hand while you die or one who ignores you while you get better?”. Would you rather the CDC concentrated on fighting diseases or in being politically correct? I’d prefer they fight diseases. Too bad they have chosen otherwise. This makes it harder to take any of their recommendations on fighting the COVID pandemic seriously. 

 

Sortition

Back in 1979, James Bovard wrote an op-ed in the New York Times proposing that Congress be composed of conscripts rather than volunteers who choose to run for office. This Independence Day, he revived the notion on his blog.

July 4th is my Independence Day, regardless of how depraved the government has become. Forty-two years ago, the New York Times printed a satire I wrote on the failure of the All-Volunteer Congress.  Some congressmen wanted to revive the military draft in order to have a higher quality army.  I showed that the same argument could be used for drafting members of Congress because “it is only the ego-starved who volunteer for Congressional duty now. These people are forced into Congress by their psychological or mental poverty, as no real alternative or treatment exists for their condition.”

Unfortunately, conscription is now fashionable – and the New York Times editorial and op-ed pages are leading the charge.  Two months ago, the Times editorialized on the benefits of forcing all young people to “serve.” Two days ago, NYT published an article by the president of Rutgers calling for “compulsory national service for all young people” in order to “make us more self-reliant” and to “secure the blessings of liberty.” NYT editorial page has apparently gotten rid of both its fact checkers and its BS radar.

The fact that the nation’s most respected media and many prominent officials are calling for imposing conscription epitomizes the growing contempt for individual liberty.  I’ll write more on that shortly.

Here are some excerpts from the original article:

The All-Volunteer Congress has proved to be a failure. Its cost is extremely high and there is not a proportional representation of minorities. There are also many doubts about the honesty and intelligence of the recent volunteers. Many of Congress’s recent failures are owing the low quality of its composition.

In a society with 50 percent women and over 10 percent black and Hispanic populations, these groups are very underrepresented in Congress. When we consider the injustice of these statistics, superficial objections against conscription are easily swept away.

A viable democracy needs to have a racially, sexually balanced set of representatives. The latest statistics issued last November proved that this lack of representation is worsening.

It is only the ego-starved who volunteer for Congressional duty now. These people are forced into Congress by their psychological or mental poverty, as no real alternative or treatment exists for their condition. Naturally, Congress is psychologically off-balance, because of the nature of the people who currently volunteer.

Most of the members of Congress are between 30 and 60 years of age. There is no group that enjoys the benefits of society more than this group. They have the highest salaries, the nicest homes, the largest cars, and the most power. However, this group is deeply entrenched in hedonism, and has thus far turned a deaf ear to the needs of the country.

Mr. Bovard explains how the new system would work.

With a service-oriented Congress, every man and woman would be required to register with the Selective Service Commission on their 30th birthday.

Every second year, everyone’s name would be placed in a giant basket, and the Secretary of Labor would pull out the number of names needed for that session of Congress.

The new members would receive a subsistence allowance (an honorable precedent established during the Revolutionary War), as it would not be right to overpay someone for what he owed to society.

The moral caliber of Congress would be improved by conscription. The environmental and personal background of many of today’s volunteers appears to be conducive to fabrication. Randomly picking people off the street would give a much higher level of honesty and responsibility.

Mr. Bovard wrote this article as satire, but the proposal that Members of Congress, and perhaps other government posts be selected by lot is not as crazy as it sounds. That is just what they did in ancient Athens and some other Greek city-states. Government by randomly selected individuals is called sortition, dymarchy, or stochocracy. Strange as it may seem, sortition has been used to select government officials of states in various times and places, with varying results.

We call ourselves a democracy here in the United States, but a citizen of fourth-century Athens would disagree. He would point out that the definition of a democracy is a state in which the people themselves make the laws and would state that our system of government by elected representatives is really a kind of elective oligarchy. Electing representatives is not all that democratic, as our Athenian friend would argue since the already wealthy and connected would be more likely to have the leisure and means for pursuing a political career, the elected representatives would not be representative of the citizenry as a whole. In time, an Athenian might argue the officeholders and representatives would tend to form a closed elite excluding outsiders from offices and political power forming political dynasties If he were of a philosophical bent, our Athenian friend might note that the people most likely to seek office and power are the very people who ought not to have it.

In contrast, our Athenian would point to his own city as a perfect example of democracy in action. In Athens, the laws and basic decisions of government were made by the people as a whole in the Ecclesia, the body of adult male citizens. A six thousand man body would be somewhat unwieldy so there was a sort of executive committee of five hundred called the Boule or council. This Boule was made up of fifty men over the age of thirty and selected by lot from each of the ten Phyle or tribes of Attica and ran the day-to-day affairs of the city. Members of the 501 man juries and many other officials were also selected by lot, though, notably, the ten Strategoi or generals were elected.

The Athenian system worked well enough, though it was not without its flaws and perhaps we should consider adopting certain elements of the Athenian constitution for ourselves. Of course, An ecclesia of a hundred million would be impossible to manage, and our Athenian friend would certainly argue that democracy is only possible on a small scale, but we could select Congress by lot, as James Bovard suggests satirically. The drafted members of Congress would be more representative of the Congressional districts they represent, the states the selected Senators would represent, and the nation as a whole. The people drafted for Congress would not become isolated from the needs of the citizenry, as politicians are wont to do in our current system and politics would be open to the people, not a self-selected elite.

The major objection to drafting Congress is that the people selected might not be experienced or competent enough to serve in Congress. In response, I would point out that we are not exactly sending our best and brightest to Congress.

 

I’m sure a brief search could find many more instances of Congressional idiocy. Surely ordinary people off the street could do at least as well, without the greed for power that animates many people in politics. Besides we need not include the whole population in the lottery. Perhaps exemptions for physical or mental incapacity could be granted, just as they were when men were drafted to serve in the military.

No system of government is perfect and sortition has its own set of flaws, yet I think that on the whole drafting ordinary people to serve would make a better, more responsive government. The people selected would be more focused on doing the job of legislating so they could get on with their lives, rather than focusing on winning the next election.

Seriously, I think sortition is worth a try. The result couldn’t possibly be worse than our current system.

 

Books of Color

You would think that the late-night show comedians would find all sorts of fodder for comedy in the ongoing campaign to cancel anything and everything that might possibly be the slightest bit offensive, especially such silliness as putting warnings on the Muppet Show and canceling six Dr. Seuss books, but you would be wrong. According to this recent article at the blog Hollywood in Toto, the comedians didn’t find the cancellations worth making fun of. Instead, they mocked those silly conservatives who just don’t see the necessity of eliminating every vestige of racism from our culture and who imagine there is really some sort of cancel culture going on.

It goes without saying that today’s late night comics won’t mock the new Biden administration.

They’ve made it crystal clear their shows are progressive propaganda first and foremost. Speaking “truth to power” comes in a distant second. Some nights it ranks dead last.

When you wait nearly a year to call out a corrupt governor, that’s all the proof you need.

These comedians still could, in theory, pay attention to the culture wars attacking beloved institutions. Take Disney+ inexplicably slapping warning labels on classic episodes of “The Muppets.” Just this week the Dr. Seuss estate decided to stop publishing six of the author’s works because a very select few believe they contain racist imagery.

That’s despite Dr. Seuss’s own stepdaughter swearing he didn’t have a racist bone in his body.

Enter Stephen Colbert.

The far-left “Late Show” host chortled about the Dr. Seuss cancellation, ignoring the decades of joy his books have given children across the globe.

Nothing to see here, folks. Move along.

“It’s a responsible move on their part … they recognize the impact of these images on readers, especially kids,” he said. What impact? Kids have read these books for decades without any impact save giggles and hugs from their parents.

So Colbert is firmly on the side of the cancellers and the censors. I guess he is less a comedian than a propagandist. That might be why he is not very funny. Comedy, by its nature, tends to be subversive. Authoritarian comedy is seldom very funny.

But it is this next part that made me stop and think.

He then cued up Fox News clips to mock anyone calling this another “Cancel Culture” moment.

If you’re worried your books shelves just got a bit duller, he advised, why not add tomes written by authors of color to cushion the blow?

“It’s fun to read books written after the ’40s,” he said with a twinkle.

Authors of color? What kind of an idiot selects books based on the color of the author? All last month, during Black History Month, Amazon kept offering me suggestions for Black authors I might be interested in, I wasn’t the slightest bit interested. My reasons for choosing a book to read simply do not include the race of the author. For nonfiction, I want a book about a subject I am interested in learning about and I want the author to present the information clearly and interestingly. For fiction, I want an interesting and entertaining story with characters I can relate to. I do not see how, in either case, the race or nationality of the writer matters at all. I could not possibly say how many of the books I own were written by authors of color. I would have to pull down each book from the shelf and look to see if there is a picture of the author on the cover to get an idea. I am not that interested.

As for the comment about books written since the 1940s, well many of my favorite authors, J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, George Orwell, wrote their best works during the 1940s, and most of the greatest books ever written were written decades and centuries ago. I am not sure if there have been all that many books that have been written in recent years that can compare with the great classics, certainly, none that have, as yet, stood the test of time. If the censors and the wokescolds have their way there won’t be any books worth reading at all.

So, what kind of a person chooses books based on the color of the author? Maybe the sort of person who buys Books by the Foot. The sort of superficial person who is not so interested in the ideas contained in books as much as impressing people by seeming to read the correct books. Why else would someone care about the race or color of the author, than to demonstrate that they are woke or politically correct in their reading and thinking? Maybe the sort of person that becomes a late-night propagandist.

As for me, I am going to keep on reading the books I want to read and am going to ignore the suggestions from Amazon and Stephen Colbert that I should read authors because of their color because, unlike the people on the left, I am not a racist.

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