Wednesday, 12/10/14

  1. Is “snot-nosed barbarian zillionaire” “tone-deaf”?
  2. Half an in loco parentis is incoherent
  3. Just like his daddy, but left-handed
  4. Before the Frozen Turkey Marketing Association got to it …
  5. If sincerity isn’t enough, add a white smock

1

 The stultification of The New Republic has begun:

Alec MacGillis suggested writing on Apple’s tax-avoidance strategies for the New Republic. [Snot-nosed barbarian zillionaire o]wner Chris Hughes wouldn’t allow it. Criticizing the multi-billion dollar corporation would be “tone deaf,” he said, because its CEO had recently come out as gay …

Gay rights have allowed oligarchy to put on progressive drag. This is all well and good if one is hoping to resurrect Ayn Rand, but it is the kind of thing that would make William Jennings Bryan spin. Liberalism is narrowing to libertinism. Even from my position on the right, it seems a loss.

Is this a great country or what!? If you want to avoid publication of any investigative journalism about your company, just have your CEO “come out.”

PRE-PUBLICATION UPDATE: Only after writing the foregoing did I learn that the snot-nosed barbarian zillionaire is gay. Honest.

Does that mean I have to take back “snot-nosed barbarian zillionaire” as “tone-deaf”?

2

Our large colleges are going to remain the modern equivalent of the Praetorian Guard—a regime unto themselves, judges of their own cases, thumbing their noses at the impartial rule of law. What’s more, only a few prominent voices on either side of the debate seemed to be seriously interested in analyzing why the colleges have this imperial power, or offering practical ideas to help restore the rule of law.

Greg Forster at Witherspoon Institute. Forster spun the story a little differently at First Things, but the Praetorian Guard image reminded me of my longstanding beef with universities, beginning about the time I was a newlywed.

My wife still had a lot of friends in the University dormitory, as she had her final year to finish after we married. Some of her friends began, with good cause, to fear for their safety, as a rule allowing women to accompany men to their rooms quickly morphed into anarchy, allowing potential rapists to roam women’s dorm halls 24 x 7. As long as the lout was young, he went unchallenged, and women who protested were mocked and told they could move to the freshmen dorms, where a different regime prevailed.

I assume that’s a microsm of other campuses at the time, and that it has not gotten better.

Yet the cosmos of Universities still wants to protect students from criminal liability for wrongdoing, and to keep today’s young louts from the clutches of police (though the University may punish much more arbitrarily than the legal system).

I call bullshit. This is half a system of in loco parentis (protection from public consequences – parents aren’t obliged to turn their delinquents into police, after all) without the other half, its rationale (the right to prescribe what is acceptable behavior, as a parent can insist “as long as you’re living under my roof …”).

So Universities have “this imperial power” because students are kids and mustn’t face criminal justice for their antics. And students must be allowed to perform their antics because they’re adults and the University can’t tell them what to do.

Got that?

I prefer Stanley Hauerwas’s approach:

While in divinity school, I had the good fortune to take an ethics course taught by Stanley Hauerwas, who said something I will never forget. “I don’t want to hear what you think, because you don’t have minds worth making up until they’ve been formed by this class.”

But I lost that battle 40+ years ago, and the worm hasn’t turned again yet.

3

Dear Mr Schaeffer,
As a life-long liberal, I am profoundly glad that you are no longer a right-wing fundamentalist. Your father was a self-promoting right-wing ideologue who used to pronounce scathingly on things he could not be bothered to read up on. Do you really think that breaking free from his shadow means becoming a self-promoting left-wing ideologue who pronounces scathingly on things he can’t be bothered to read up on?

(Lifelong Liberal commenting on Frank Schaeffer’s Dietrich Bonhoeffer Was Flamingly Gay – Deal With It.

4

Entertaining retrospective on the Day of Atonement recently passed (and much more; don’t go here to have your American Exceptionalism fantasies burnished):

The Pilgrims weren’t Pilgrims at all, but colonists. They were re-branded as “Pilgrims” in the 19th century. Believe me, nobody ever went on a pilgrimage to Plymouth, Massachusetts! These colonists ended up there because, being incompetent sailors, they missed Boston Harbor by half a day’s sail, and ended up in Plymouth Harbor, which is as exposed, shoal and as useless today as it was then. They did not celebrate Thanksgiving; being weird religious zealots, they didn’t even celebrate Christmas. Despite fake “evidence” from “social media” of the period, they certainly didn’t feast with the locals, who by that time spoke pretty good English and traded with the world. The locals thought these colonists were a bizarre religious cult (which indeed they were), that they were lousy and smelly (they never washed and had no idea about saunas or sweat lodges) and had repulsive personal habits (such as carrying their snot around with them wrapped in a rag). They were also quite hopeless at hunting or fishing, and survived by plundering the locals’ kitchen gardens, then starved. To top it off, the “national” holiday was first created by Abraham Lincoln during the height of the Civil War, which (this you must surely know!) was much, much later. And he didn’t call it “Thanksgiving”; he called it “Day of Atonement” for the horrible crimes Americans were committing against each other at the time.

But that’s before the Frozen Turkey Marketing Association had a go at adjusting that story. It was a plan as simple as it is brilliant: they overdose you on Tryptophan, then, next day, while you are still groggy, they send you out into an over-hyped shopping frenzy and, sure enough,  you will be rack up some high-interest debt, which it will take you well into the next year to pay off. Plow some of that interest back into turkeys and holiday hype, and you have a national industry—one that drives people into debt buying imported products they don’t need (remember, if doesn’t say “Made in China” then it’s probably fake) until everybody is broke.

(Dmitri Orlov)

5

If gender is a social construct or a psychological state, independent of biological determination, then why is there a need for biological procedures to address the issue? … [I]s there not a tragic incoherence to that person who denies that his body has any authority with regard to his gender identity and yet who demands that his body be changed because it is so significant to his gender identity?

… As with the issue of gay marriage, there is a lesson here: Good arguments are no protection against bad arguments or no arguments at all, especially when the latter are allied to the rhetoric of medical professionalism and personal sincerity, touching story lines, and the organized determination of small groups of activists.

(Carl R. Trueman, Whose gender? Which Identity?)

* * * * *

“The remarks made in this essay do not represent scholarly research. They are intended as topical stimulations for conversation among intelligent and informed people.” (Gerhart Niemeyer)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.