Category Archives: LEFTISM

The Wuhan virus has accelerated existing trends

The Wuhan virus has sped up existing processes, such as hastening inevitable deaths, changing the business world, and exposing the left.

You’ve probably read that 94% of Wuhan virus deaths happened to people who already had compromised health, whether from extreme age or diseases that were already putting stress on their bodies. Statistically, the members of that 94% cohort were more likely to precede the rest of us in death, even without the virus. What the virus did was to grossly, and tragically accelerate the process.

Learning the above data made me realize that the Wuhan virus has been an accelerant in many areas of American life. That is, it’s presence in America resulted in existing trends suddenly exploding into warp speed. Or for those of us who still remember long-playing records, the Wuhan virus took trends that were proceeding at 33 1/3 RPMs and ramped them up to 78 RPMs.

First, as noted above, the virus struck people who were fragile because of advanced age or ongoing health conditions, but weren’t facing imminent death, and killed them.

Second, the virus speeded up the move to telecommuting. I’ve been telecommuting since the early 1990s. The technology then was already good enough for me to do my legal research online and email my word product to my clients (all of which were law firms).

Over the years, it’s gotten even better. Back then, I had to get my court filings to the clients at least 24 hours in advance so that my clients could create the multiple hard copies needed for filing with the court and sending to opposing counsel. Now, the briefs never even become hard copies, while all the evidentiary documents are instantly scanned. Many courts don’t want paper filings. The valiant bike messengers who used to keep San Francisco legal practices afloat by whizzing through traffic to get last-minute filings to the courthouses became unnecessary.

I’ve just given you one anecdote about one field. However, the Wuhan virus suddenly turned the white-collar world into a telecommuting world. Take this story about Pinterest, one of the many entirely online businesses that realized that office space is an unnecessary expense:

Pinterest, a social-sharing site popular for pinning recipes, home inspiration and more, has canceled its large San Francisco office lease.

The lease was for 88 Bluxome, a high-rise complex to-be-constructed near Pinterest’s existing San Francisco headquarters. The company cited a shift to work-from-home due to the coronavirus pandemic in its decision. Pinterest will keep its current city offices, however.

“As we analyze how our workplace will change in a post-COVID world, we are specifically rethinking where future employees could be based,” Pinterest  Chief Financial Officer Todd Morgenfeld said in a statement Friday. “A more distributed workforce will give us the opportunity to hire people from a wider range of backgrounds and experiences.”

The termination fee for the 490,000-square-foot office space is $89.5 million, Bloomberg reports

In New York, it’s currently a big question whether the highrises that have stood vacant for months will ever fill again. This article notes that New York office towers emptied before — after the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic and after 9/11 — only to fill up again. Back then, though, telecommuting was not an option. (Even in 9/11, the technology wasn’t the same as it is today.) Also, back then, big-city mayors (at least, Democrat big-city mayors) hadn’t welcomed crime and intentionally driven out the middle and the monied classes.

Third, the virus speeded up the left’s antics. Antifa is nothing new. When Trump was elected, Antifa mobs started flexing their muscles in Berkeley and Oakland. Those were warm-ups. The dislocations of the Wuhan virus was like the starting gun for the Antifa mob. They were warmed up and waiting on the starting blocks for the signal. I’m willing to bet that what’s helped their virulence is the fact that a lot of people who previously had jobs are now getting money for free. This is especially true for teachers and criminals, both of whom have seen a diminution in their work thanks to the Wuhan virus:

Fourth, alternatives to disastrous public schooling have gotten a giant kickstart. Parents have been unhappy with public schooling for a long time, but it was always easier to keep the kids in the schools while hoping for the best. With schools refusing to teach, parents are opting for pods, tutors, and homeschooling. Many are discovering that their students are doing very well when they’re removed from the pathologies of public school. The ones who were beginning to run with a bad crowd aren’t, because there are no more crowds, let alone bad ones. Parents who were dismayed by leftist indoctrination are enjoying its absence.

Fifth, Americans got a really swift look at the Democrats’ dark heart thanks to its Zoom convention. If it hadn’t been for the virus, the convention as televised would have looked like an energetic, ebullient affair. We would have had endless crowd shots of visually diverse people happily screaming their support for Kamala and Biden. There would have been speeches complete with applause and balloons and all sorts of happy stuff.

For their convention, though, the Democrats opted for grim settings, dark colors, and small spaces. Not only was the convention visually terribly depressing, but the depressing speeches without applause lines became even grimmer. And then there was the fact that, without a visually diverse audience that the TV cameras could pan (Look at all the black people! Look at all the Hispanic people! Look at all the people with rainbow flags!), it became very obvious that the people leading the Democrat party are mostly old and white.

As the Republican convention showed, it didn’t have to be that way. Republicans opted for visuals that were expansive, bright, and uplifting. In addition, they chose diverse speakers, rather than the Democrats’ tried-and-true reliance on diverse spectators. Americans were treated to people white people, black people, Native American people, Hispanic people, handicapped people, and more, no longer on the floor cheering, but on stage speaking. And they didn’t speak about misery and hate. They spoke about an American unity premised on values and hard work.

I don’t think those fundamental differences in vision would have been so obvious with traditional conventions. That was something else useful that the Wuhan virus accelerant exposed.

Sixth, the Wuhan virus is speeding up the inevitable, and much to be desired, demise of American colleges and universities. These institutions have been ground zero of the leftist takeover of America. If you’re wondering why corporations not only paid obeisance to Black Lives Matter, but also paid millions in hard cash, it’s because their managerial ranks are filled with graduates of those colleges. All of the worst ideas in society today were incubated in American colleges. Readers know that I’ve been complaining for years about how much they cost, how little they teach, and how completely they indoctrinate.

Thanks to the virus, though, the colleges are afraid to re-open. They’re holding online classes, but refusing to give tuition refunds for all the social, hands-on, in-person experiences the kids aren’t getting. The refunds should also cover all the infrastructure costs the colleges and universities aren’t incurring.

Parents who see what their kids are learning are going to realize that they’re paying for nothing or for worse than nothing. Instead of encouraging kids to go to college, parents will start urging kids to get a job or learn a trade. They’ll realize that the knowledge colleges once had something of a monopoly on is freely available online.

The parents of boys will be grateful that their sons are no longer constantly at risk of being accused without due process of sexual assault. And all those parents who mindlessly believed that fake statistic that 1 out of every 4 college women will be sexually assaulted will no doubt be happy to have their daughters safely at home.

That’s six things that got sped up thanks to the Wuhan virus, and they’re all fundamentally important. Do you have more ideas?

Image: Speed (cropped), by Ton Boelaars. CC-BY-2.0.

Minneapolis riots — Another leftist city reaps what it sowed

The riots in Minneapolis were inevitable for Leftist policies against racism and income inequality lead to racism, income inequality, and police brutality.

Tom Wolfe famously said, “The dark night of fascism is always descending in the United States and yet lands only in Europe.” Aside from being as true now as it was the day he spoke those words, a variant applies to America as well: “The dark night of racism and income inequality is always descending in America’s conservative heartland and yet lands only in its Democrat-run cities.”

This should not surprise anybody. Democrat policies, even as they ostensibly “fight” racism and income inequality, create the perfect environment for those vices to grow and eventually smother the host.

Income inequality inevitably occurs when the government perverts the marketplace. Humans are marvelously adaptable creatures. We will follow wherever the incentives lead. In leftist cities, the incentives are broken. The government puts its thumb on the scale all over the place.

As just one example, think of rent control, which leftists argue is necessary to ensure that poor people can afford rent. Additionally, what’s paired with rent control is a set of laws that makes it almost impossible for a landlord to evict non-rent paying tenants.

What these two sets of law do is shrink rental stock. If you have rent control and it’s impossible to evict deadbeat tenants, there’s no profit and therefore no incentive for people to invest in rental property. In addition, for those who have braved the rental market, landlords are loath to maintain it at anything other than a bare minimum of livability. This is why leftist cities end up with housing for the wealthy and slums (see, e.g., San Francisco). The process has been slower in Minneapolis, which has more acreage than San Francisco but rest assured, even Minneapolis will get there.

“Under-classism,” which is where so much racism incubates, will invariably occur when you have a government that incentives the underclass. Welfare is one example. I believe in taking care of the widows and orphans, by which I mean people who are truly unable to care for themselves. However, our welfare system, beginning in the 1960s, incentivized single-motherhood. Indeed, it was set up to ensure, not only that women jettisoned husbands, who decreased their welfare payments but to make it profitable to have more children.

Back in the 1970s, even 60 Minutes noticed a problem with this, for I distinctly remember an episode that spoke about the way New Jersey’s welfare system was set up to make having illegitimate babies economically sensible for young women, with more babies bringing in significantly more money. As well all know, single motherhood is the most certain path to generational poverty. That episode, by the way, was one of the first stepping stones in my long, slow journey across the Rubicon from Democrat to conservative.

Leftist cities also have hosts of regulations, all with an eye to making things “more fair” for the poor and for minorities. However, by making business too expensive and difficult, the laws just drive businesses out. I’ve written before about the way in which the legal problems associated with firing minority employees mean that employers leave the marketplace, creating unemployment and a lower tax base.

In addition, those laws tell minorities, who are not incompetent but are, instead, completely rational, know that they don’t have to work as hard to keep a job. The law, therefore, degrades them, for the offer employers their worst conduct not their best. “Best,” after all, takes energy, and conservation of energy is one of the universe’s most honored controlling principles.

Another way leftist cities creating an underclass is the misguided sympathy that sees them allowing street crimes and underwriting drug use. Last year, Chesa Boudin, San Francisco’s Marxist District Attorney, announced that he would no longer prosecute any lifestyle crimes, making the city one giant cesspool. Not only does this draw in the criminals and addicts, but it also drives out the tax base. People with jobs and families can no longer stay in that kind of environment.

One thing that happens when you’ve created this kind of landscape is that the police degrade. Instead of having true community policing, where the police and the law-abiding in the community have a partnership aimed at keeping the environment healthy, you end up with police facing off against the functional equivalent of zombies, whether gangbangers or insane druggies.

It’s the rare police officer dealing with this day after day who can hang onto humanity and decency. Eventually and inevitably, police stop seeing the people on the other side of the thin blue line as fellow humans. Instead, because government policies induce many to act like animals, the police fall into the error and evil of treating them that way.

This problem (i.e., police dehumanizing the citizens they’re supposed to protect) gets worse as good cops leave the police departments in decayed cities. Two things happen, then. First, the only ones left are the bad cops. Second, applicant quality declines, leaving the police departments stuck hiring people who shouldn’t be holding badges and guns. (I urge you to read the book I reviewed in this post, for it tells about the horrible damage a bad police department can do.)

When you have a large enough underclass, and you light the spark, suddenly you have Minneapolis. This poster sums it up:

Minneapolis riots v MLK civil rights protests

Martin Luther King led law-abiding citizens who dreamed of being middle-class people in a functional society. Black Lives Matters draws its strength from the mob. It has no intention of encouraging its followers into civilized behavior. It needs anger, chaos, and terror to achieve its power.

Part of me looks at what’s happening in Minneapolis and thinks, “That’s so awful. It’s a very nice Midwestern city and I really hate seeing random destruction.” The other part of me looks at what’s happening and thinks, “For decades, you’ve been pursuing hard-left policies that create greater economic inequalities and that highlight racial divides, all while you’ve been smugly telling conservatives that they’re evil for not doing the same as you. All you did, though, was worsen those problems. As you sow, so shall you reap. In other words, it couldn’t happen to a more smug group of leftists.”

Speaking of this karmic leftist wheel, which sees Democrat-run communities smugly enact policies that create greater poverty and more racism, lets talk about the mobs targeting Target. I’m sorry to see Target stores looted because I value private property and a well-ordered world.

Still, there is something karmic about it happening to Target of all companies. After all, Target, which is headquartered in Minneapolis, is one of America’s most dutiful virtue-signaling corporations. Who can forget its decision to open women’s restrooms to all genders? Likewise, if you go to a Target in June, you’re buried in LGBTQ rainbow iconography. The leftist virtue-signaling is smothering.

Of course, the sad thing is that these leftists will not learn from this failure. Instead, like the classic insane person, they’ll keep doing the same thing, all the while hoping for a different outcome. Indeed, if history is a guide, they’ll double down on their bad policies.

No. 12 Bookworm Podcast: Slavery was a blessing for today’s African Americans

Though slavery was awful, for today’s American blacks what would have been even worse was an absence of the slavery that brought them to these shores.

(If you prefer listening over reading, the companion podcast to this post is embedded below, or you can listen to it at Libsyn or at Apple podcasts. I’m trying to make a go of my podcast so, if you like the podcasts, please share them with your friends and on social media. Giving my podcast good ratings helps too.)

My co-blogger, Wolf Howling, has already written two excellent posts savaging the shoddy scholarship and evil motives behind the New York Times’ 1619 Project. He’s right, of course, but that hasn’t stopped the project from benefiting from the fact that the Times, while it no longer even makes a pretense of reporting news (instead it works as a Democrat propaganda arm), still has a disproportionate reach into American minds. For example, at Twitter, Stu Cvrk does a quick rundown of the Times’ decades’-long control over American newsrooms, a power it still holds today — as can be seen from the fact that USA Today has already published its own echo of the 1619 project.

Even the meanest intellect can understand the message that the Times’ and its fellow travelers are pushing: Americans cannot hide behind the Constitution to claim that they are a society founded on a great and colorblind idea (albeit one that was imperfectly implemented for a long time). Instead, from the moment Europeans set foot on America’s shores, they brought with them an evil so great that America is irredeemably corrupt. And of course, the proggies know the only way to purge that corruption: America must be destroyed and rebuilt in a socialist mold.

I’ll repeat here a true family story about this notion of purification: My aunt, along with her siblings (one of whom was my father) managed to escape Nazi Germany before the war. After the war, my aunt found her way to Israel. Israel was socialist, which ought to have satisfied her, but it wasn’t socialist enough. She wanted true communism, so she abandoned her husband and child and returned to Berlin. When she first raised the idea of leaving Israel, her friends asked her how she could return to the land of the Nazis. She confidently assured them that this was not a problem: “They’ve been purified by communism.” Looking at how people in the 20th century suffered under communism, I guess you could call that purification — and it’s that kind of “purification” that the new American Left wants for us so that we can atone for the sin of slavery.

Many people more intelligent and informed than I have pointed to some very obvious problems with the 1619 project. There’s

  • the shoddy, dishonest scholarship;
  • the fact that slavery was the norm throughout the world up until the Enlightenment, something that was a purely Western concept;
  • the fact that Africans enthusiastically participated in the slave trade as a way of ridding themselves of prisoners taken in their endless tribal warfare;
  • the fact that millions of Europeans were enslaved in Africa and the Middle East even as Africans were enslaved in other parts of the world;
  • the fact that slavery continues today across the Muslim Middle East and Africa; the fact that America fought its bloodiest war to end slavery, with the loss of 650,000 men (or 2% of its population); and
  • the fact that, after the 1830s, both slavery and its descendant, Jim Crow, were phenomenons unique to the Democrat Party.

That’s all the obvious stuff.

I’d like to talk about something less obvious, which is the fact that slavery is the best thing that ever happened to the African-American diaspora, by which I mean black Americans whose ancestors were forcibly brought to America as slaves. This is not to excuse the inhumanity of the slave trade nor is it meant to lessen the horrors visited on those Africans whose fellow countrymen consigned them to the slave ships. I’m also not trying to lessen the generational pain, suffering, and humiliation experienced by those who survived the ships only to become slaves, sharecroppers, and people on the receiving end of virulent racism. But what I’ve said is still true.

To begin, I’d like to talk a little bit about life in Africa today. Let’s start with life expectancy. African nations have the lowest life expectancy in the world — pathetically, tragically, horrifically low. No matter the source (the WHO, the UN, or other NGOs), the message is always the same: If you live in Africa, your life will be shorter than the life expectancy of any other people in any other parts of the world, no matter how impoverished. And just as one point of comparison, an African American man in America, although he is unlikely to live as long as a white male in America, can still expect to live 10 to 25 years longer than his African brethren.

What about infant mortality? Once again, Africa lives in the bottom half, nay, the bottom third of any infant mortality chart.

The African continent does top some charts, though. Many of its nations are in the top 20 percent when it comes to lists identifying the most dangerous countries in the world. See here, here, and here, for example. Africa also tops the charts for illiteracy, poverty, and horrific diseases.

Life in Africa is truly Hobbesian: “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short” — except that, given crowding in African cities, the one thing life isn’t is solitary. Instead, it’s over-crowded, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.

Just today, I picked up a couple of stories about life in Africa. The first was a tweet showing a South African mob, in full xenophobe mode, beating to death a Nigerian Uber driver and his passenger:

In response, someone tweeted a reminder to me that, just this past June, several thousand miles away on the northwestern side of Africa, there was a little reported story out of Mali:

Bodies recovered from a massacre of almost 100 people by a Malian ethnic militia included at least 24 children, many of them shot in the back, the prime minister said during a visit to the crime scene on Tuesday.

Attackers believed to belong to the Fulani ethnic group raided the rival Dogon village of Sobame Da, in central Mali, between Sunday and Monday.

They killed at least 95 people and burned houses to the ground in an escalation of the tit-for-tat ethnic slaughter that has engulfed the country this year.

That massacre did not get the coverage of a shooting in a Texas Walmart. Instead, it got almost no coverage. That’s because it’s a dog bites man story. Massacres are normal for Africa. Mass slaughter for religious, ethnic, political, tribal, and racial grounds is an ongoing, day-to-day experience. It’s what they do there.

If you want a pithy summary of life in Africa, read Kim du Toit’s post entitled Let Africa Sink. du Toit grew up and lived for 30 years in Africa, so he has first-hand experience when he makes the following points. I’m offering here just a portion of his post, but I urge you to read the whole thing. It makes for both painful and eye-opening reading:

In Africa, life is cheap. There are so many ways to die in Africa that death is far more commonplace than in the West. You can die from so many things: snakebite, insect bite, wild animal attack, disease, starvation, food poisoning… the list goes on and on. At one time, crocodiles accounted for more deaths in sub-Saharan Africa than gunfire, for example. Now add the usual human tragedy (murder, assault, warfare and the rest), and you can begin to understand why the life expectancy for an African is low — in fact, horrifyingly low, if you remove White Africans from the statistics (they tend to be more urbanized, and more Western in behavior and outlook). Finally, if you add the horrifying spread of AIDS into the equation, anyone born in sub-Saharan Africa this century will be lucky to reach age forty.

[snip]

So because of my African background, I am seldom moved at the sight of death, unless it’s accidental, or it affects someone close to me. (Death which strikes at total strangers, of course, is mostly ignored.) Of my circle of about eighteen or so friends with whom I grew up, and whom I would consider “close”, only about eight survive today — and not one of the survivors is over the age of fifty. Two friends died from stepping on landmines while on Army duty in Namibia. Three died in horrific car accidents (and lest one thinks that this is not confined to Africa, one was caused by a kudu flying through a windshield and impaling the guy through the chest with its hoof — not your everyday traffic accident in, say, Florida). One was bitten by a snake, and died from heart failure. Another two also died of heart failure, but they were hopeless drunkards. Two were shot by muggers. The last went out on his surfboard one day and was never seen again (did I mention that sharks are plentiful off the African coasts and in the major rivers?). My experience is not uncommon in South Africa — and north of the Limpopo River (the border with Zimbabwe), I suspect that others would show worse statistics.

[snip]

My favorite African story actually happened after I left the country. An American executive took a job over there, and on his very first day, the newspaper headlines read:
“Three Headless Bodies Found”.
The next day: “Three Heads Found”.
The third day: “Heads Don’t Match Bodies”.

[snip]

More to the point, the West has evolved into a society with a stable system of government, which follows the rule of law, and has respect for the rights and life of the individual — none of which is true in Africa.

Among old Africa hands, we have a saying, usually accompanied by a shrug: “Africa wins again.” This is usually said after an incident such as:

  • a beloved missionary is butchered by his congregation, for no apparent reason
  • a tribal chief prefers to let his tribe starve to death rather than accepting food from the Red Cross (would mean he wasn’t all-powerful, you see)
  • an entire nation starves to death, while its ruler accumulates wealth in foreign banks
  • a new government comes into power, promising democracy, free elections etc., provided that the freedom doesn’t extend to the other tribe
  • the other tribe comes to power in a bloody coup, then promptly sets about slaughtering the first tribe
  • etc, etc, etc, ad nauseam, ad infinitum.

In other words, for vast numbers of Africans, life in Africa is awful, really and truly awful. Not to be in Africa is a blessing.

And that loops me back to my earlier point, which is that those American blacks whose ancestors were enslaved here, are the lucky ones. This idea is not original to me. Instead, I first learned it when I stumbled across a book by an African-American, former Washington Post correspondent named Keith Richburg. Back in the early 1990s, Richburg was thrilled when he was appointed to be the Post‘s African bureau chief for it would give him the chance to return to the land of his ancestors. That thrill did not survive the African experience, especially given that he was in Africa during the Rwanda massacres.

In 1997, after returning to America, Richburg wrote about his experience in a book entitled Out Of America: A Black Man Confronts Africa. I cannot recommend the book highly enough. The fact that it was first published in 1997 does not make it one whit less relevant to what’s going on in the world today and, indeed, given the iniquity of the 1619 Project, it makes the book more relevant than before. If you have $12 lying around for the Kindle edition, do yourself a favor — follow the my link to the book and get yourself a copy.

Rather than trying to summarize Richburg’s core point in the book, I’ll let him explain in his own words the staggering realization he had about America once he had done his time in Africa. Richburg begins by describing the overwhelming horror of being in Tanzania and watching bodies from Rwanda float down the Kagera Rivera by the thousands. That was not the only time he was confronted by dead bodies in Africa. He saw hundreds more, whether the people died from Nature’s aggression, poverty, ordinary African violence, or all-out war.

Maybe now you’re asking yourself: How does he deal with it? How does he cope with seeing those horrific images every day? Does he think about it? Does he have nightmares? What on earth must go through his mind?

I’ll tell you, if you’ll let me describe it. Revulsion. Sorrow. Pity at the monumental waste of human life. They all come close, but don’t quite capture what I really feel. It’s a sentiment that began nagging me soon after I first set foot in Africa in late 1991. And it’s a gnawing feeling that kept coming back to me as the bodies kept piling up, as the insanity of Africa deepened. It’s a feeling that I was really unable to express out loud until the end, as I was packing my bags to leave. It was a feeling that pained me to admit, a sentiment that, when uttered aloud, might come across as callous, self-obsessed, even racist.

And yet I know exactly this feeling that haunts me; I’ve just been too embarrassed to say it. So let me drop the charade and put it as simply as I know how: There but for the grace of God go I.

You see, I was seeing all of this horror a bit differently because of the color of my skin. I am an American, but a black man, a descendant of slaves brought from Africa. When I see these nameless, faceless, anonymous bodies washing over a waterfall or piled up on the back of trucks, what I see most is that they look like me.

Sometime, maybe four hundred or so years ago, one of my ancestors was taken from his village, probably by a local chieftain. He was shackled in leg irons, kept in a holding pen or a dark pit, possibly at Goree Island off the coast of Senegal. And then he was put in the crowded, filthy cargo hold of a ship for the long and treacherous voyage across the Atlantic to the New World.

Many of the slaves died on that voyage. But not my ancestor. Maybe it was because he was strong, maybe just stubborn, or maybe he had an irrepressible will to live. But he survived, and ended up in forced slavery working on plantations in the Caribbean. Generations on down the line, one of his descendants was taken to South Carolina. Finally, a more recent descendant, my father, moved to Detroit to find a job in an auto plant during the Second World War.

And so it was that I came to be born in Detroit and that thirty-five years later, a black man born in white America, I was in Africa, birthplace of my ancestors, standing at the edge of a river not as an African but as an American journalist—a mere spectator—watching the bloated bodies of black Africans cascading over a waterfall. And that’s when I thought about how, if things had been different, I might have been one of them—or might have met some similarly anonymous fate in one of the countless ongoing civil wars or tribal clashes on this brutal continent. And so I thank God my ancestor survived that voyage.

Does that sound shocking? Does it sound almost like a justification for the terrible crime of slavery? Does it sound like this black man has forgotten his African roots? Of course it does, all that and more. And that is precisely why I have tried to keep this emotion buried so deep for so long, and why it pains me so now to put these words in print, for all the world to see. But I’m writing this so you will understand better what I’m trying to say.

It might have been easier for me to just keep all of these emotions bottled up inside. Maybe I should have just written a standard book on Africa that would have talked broadly about the politics, the possibilities, the prospects for change.

But I’m tired of lying. And I’m tired of all the ignorance and hypocrisy and the double standards I hear and read about Africa, much of it from people who’ve never been there, let alone spent three years walking around amid the corpses. Talk to me about Africa and my black roots and my kinship with my African brothers and I’ll throw it back in your face, and then I’ll rub your nose in the images of the rotting flesh.

I’ll stop there, but let me say again that Richburg’s is one of those books you should read, indeed, you must read, if you want to understand the flip side of the sudden Leftist hysteria about the slave experience. Yes, slavery was bad, but America was scarcely unique. What is unique is that, out of that awfulness came something good: An African diaspora in which descendants of slaves can be Keith Richburg or Barack Obama or Beyonce, rather than the two Nigerians beaten to death on the street in South Africa or the 24 children killed in yet another tribal/religious battle that is day-to-day fare in impoverished, diseased, corrupt Africa, a place profoundly hostile to life.

Moreover, you need to understand that today’s American Left is trying to import wholesale Africa’s horrors to America under the guise of socialism — and by that I mean that the Left is trying to reinstate tribalism.

Keep in mind that Marx’s idea was anti-tribalism. He was all about class divisions that he believed uniformly encircled the globe. Thus, he envisioned a world in which, eventually, the whole world would march under one banner. For those who read Marx in the late 19th century, WWI came as a shock. They had assumed that, when the capitalist powers went to war, the workers of the world would unite, resisting national borders and combining instead to bring down worldwide capitalism and replacing it with one-world communism. Instead, the only uniting the workers of the world did was to march behind the national banners.

(As an aside, one can say that nationalism is tribalism on a larger scale and therefore equally dangerous. This is one of the proggie arguments against Trump. However, as Milton Friedman and other economists have pointed out, truly capitalist nations, especially those built around the type of liberty-oriented principles that animate the Constitution, tend not to go to war. They enrich themselves through trade and the spread of liberty; not through conquest and the spread of tyranny.)

America’s socialists are not working for a unified America. To achieve power, they are doing their best to divide America into as many warring sub-parts as possible. In other words, even as the world is finally leaving behind the tribalism that led to chronic violence (a type of violence I described here), America’s progressives, through initiatives such as the 1619 Project, are doing their best to reinstate it. Think about my post, read Richburg’s book, and resist the pernicious, evil, ill-informed, dangerous 1619 Project.

A note about the picture: An image from the Ethiopian famine in the early 1980s, which killed between 200,000 to 1,200,000 people.

The post No. 12 Bookworm Podcast: Slavery was a blessing for today’s African Americans appeared first on Watcher of Weasels.

Trump threatens the very scary Leftist God complex

Trump is the avatar of an American reformation, for he is destroying the dangerous Leftist edifice that has turned our constitutional government into a god.

A few quotations to begin. The first is from Charles Lipson, writing about Mueller’s sinking reputation (and I guarantee that my ellipses are honest):

Republicans add three more serious charges against Mueller. *** Another serious charge — deliberate distortion of evidence — comes from president’s former attorney, John Dowd. He has shown the Mueller report edited one of his phone calls to change its meaning. Dowd is apoplectic, calling the report a “fraud.” Others will join him if additional distortions, misrepresentations, and omissions are found.

The second is from Paul Sperry, who spoke to people caught in the cross hairs of Mueller’s investigation (and, again, my ellipses are honest):

Now that Mueller has ended his probe finding no election collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, 10 witnesses and targets of his sprawling, $35 million investigation agreed to speak with RealClearInvestigations because they are no longer in legal jeopardy. *** Their firsthand accounts pull back the curtain on the secret inner workings of the Mueller probe, revealing how the special counsel’s nearly two dozen prosecutors and 40 FBI agents used harshly aggressive tactics to pressure individuals to either cop to crimes or implicate others in felonies involving collusion. *** Almost all decried what they called Mueller’s “scorched earth” methods that affected their physical, mental and financial health. Most said they were forced to retain high-priced Washington lawyers to protect them from falling into “perjury traps” for alleged lying, which became the special counsel’s charge of last resort.

The third, and final quote, is from William Barr:

Sometimes people can convince themselves that what they’re doing is in the higher interest, the better good. They don’t realize that what they’re doing is really antithetical to the democratic system that we have. They start viewing themselves as the guardians of the people that are more informed and insensitive than everybody else. They can- in their own mind, they can have those kinds of motives. And sometimes they can look at evidence and facts through a biased prism that they themselves don’t realize.

I’ll add a tidbit of my own, something that’s purely anecdotal, so you’ll just have to take my word for it: In my many decades as a lawyer, I’ve faced off against a lot of opposing attorneys. Most were just doing their jobs, more or less aggressively or effectively. Some, though, were deliberately dishonest. As far as they were concerned, the rules did not apply to them. Without exception, these unethical lawyers graduated from Ivy League law schools in the years after 1984.

This is not to say that every Ivy League law graduate with whom I dealt was dishonest. In fact, the majority were honest and some were even good attorneys. It’s just to say that every unethical attorney with whom I dealt came out of the Ivy League. In this regard, I’d like to point out that Andrew Weissman, Mueller’s second in command, a man with a reputation as an attack dog, and the person apparently in charge of the way in which the investigation proceeded, graduated from Columbia Law School, probably around 1984 or not long after.

I always got the feeling that the unethical Ivy Leaguers with whom I dealt truly believed that laws were for little people. When they looked in the mirror, they saw themselves as superior beings, above the ordinary rules. In their own minds, their Ivy League credentials elevated them to demigod status. They were oblivious to the fact that it’s dangerous when men think of themselves as gods, no matter how minor the deity they feel themselves to be.

Robert Mueller may technically be a Republican (although I’d classify him as almost fanatically “Never Trump”), but the others on his team were all Democrats. I’m sure some of them would claim religious belief but I can’t escape the feeling that these Mueller-team Democrats, in common with all modern, hardcore Democrats, reserve their highest and greatest faith for government.

To the modern Progressive, government is the instrument that will perfect mankind and save the earth. Government is the repository of power, both beneficent and punitive.

Progressives aren’t entirely wrong about the god-like qualities government possesses. I’ve already noted its all-encompassing control, as well as it’s ability to giveth and taketh away. Government is also effectively immortal for, as Reagan memorably pointed out, “No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth!”

Moreover, socialism reveals that the god of government is as jealous as Allah, for you may never worship any entity more than you do the government itself. In openly socialist nations, religious worship is outlawed. In less openly socialist nations — that would be Europe and the Progressive wing of America — God is denigrated, ridiculed, and maligned. The whole gay marriage movement has proven to be nothing less than a sustained attack on Christianity, both at a doctrinal and a practical level.

But here’s the really important distinction between religious gods and the god of government: The traditional Gods, whether from the Bible, the Koran, the Hindu pantheon, or even Greek or Roman mythology, all exist outside of humankind.  Government, however, is different: In Soylent Green fashion, government is people!

The ugly truth, though, is that men make lousy gods. I cannot think of a single man who has set himself up as a god, from Icarus to Nero to Caligula to Hitler to Stalin to Mao to Pol Pot to the whole miserable Kim family, who hasn’t come to a terrible end and, except for Icarus, taken thousands, millions, or even tens of millions of people with him.

Men who believe themselves to be gods are unconstrained by any rules, most especially the golden rule. Actual religions always have some element of the golden rule in them; government does not. There is no morality in government, just power. That’s why, going back to the quotations that opened this post, you have lawyers at the highest level of American politics falsifying evidence; entrapping people; and telling themselves that they, no matter what they do, are acting in the highest and best interests of “good government.”

The Leftists who make up both the open state and the Deep State, who walk the halls of Congress and huddle in bureaucratic offices, have succumbed to self-worship and no longer feel themselves bound by the morality that constrains all of us “little people.” Were the Leftists to have their way, we would be entirely ruled, not just by one Nero, but by an army of them, all wrapped cozily in their self-deification, meting out harsh punishments to all who falter in their government worship. The very fate the Founders feared when they wrote their exquisite Constitution, one intended to constrain government power, would be visited upon us.

No wonder the Left hates Trump so much. He threatens their god head. Even as they call him a tyrant and dictator, he is slowly but surely reining in government. He’s smashing its altars, shrinking its doctrinal rules (i.e., regulations), and investigating a priesthood (i.e., government bureaucrats) that’s become dangerously corrupt. This is the American reformation, and all I can say is, “Thank God — the real God that is — for it.”

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A power outage in Venezuela and Leftist denial

The collapse in Venezuela, rather than bringing enlightenment to America’s Leftists, instead sees them double-down on their delusions about socialism.

This post is what Instapundit refers to as a “shot” and “chaser” scenario. Here’s the shot (hyperlinks omitted):

In Venezuela, there’s a new front — the equivalent of an EMP attack, an attack on all the people, based on the massive and unprecedented electrical blackout still covering the country.

The Washington Post’s thorough report on the matter is horrifying.

CARACAS, Venezuela — One of the severest power outages in Venezuelan history ravaged the country for a second day Friday, with hospital patients languishing in the dark, most supermarkets closed and phone service largely knocked out in the oil-rich but economically collapsing country.

Venezuela, which has been roiled by a political struggle between President Nicolás Maduro and opposition leader Juan Guaidó, has been hit by outages before. But the blackout that began Thursday evening is the longest and most widespread in recent memory, a sign of the rapid deterioration of the economy, which is expected to contract sharply in the next few weeks as U.S. sanctions on the oil industry begin to bite. Some analysts even worry that the country — once among the richest in South America — could face famine.

The chaser is a poster I saw this morning when scanning through my real-me Facebook (on which I no longer post). Because I spent most of my life in the San Francisco Bay Area, my real-me Facebook has a substantial cohort of Leftists:

Venezuela Socialism

“Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt.” To the Left, not only does Venezuela’s complete and horrifying collapse have nothing to do with socialism, somehow what’s really wrong is Trump.

Lord Acton famously said that “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Please note Acton’s careful phrasing: while some power might corrupt (“tends”), absolute power does corrupt absolutely.

What’s continuously impressive, in a bad and depressing way, is that Leftists do not see that, by concentrating all power in government, they are begging for absolute corruption. Nor can they understand that Trump — no matter his sometimes crude rhetoric — by divesting the government of power is the antithesis of corruption and dictatorship.

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