Jul 15 2010

Is the tea party racist? UPDATE

Category: left,liberty,politics,race,racism,tea partyharmonicminer @ 10:10 am

UPDATE:

Timothy Dalrymple has the 3rd part of his series on this question posted here.

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In the most mealy-mouthed sort of unattributed criticism, the Christian science monitor tells us about the upcoming NAACP resolution on alleged tea party racism

The tea party movement has been criticized before for allegedly harboring racist attitudes toward President Obama. Now the NAACP is set to vote on a resolution condemning supporters of the tea party for displaying “signs and posters intended to degrade people of color generally and President Barack Obama specifically.” It calls “the racist elements” within the movement “a threat to progress.”

This kind of “passive voice” language (“has been criticized”) is really just passive aggressive.  Who, exactly, has criticized the tea party movement for “racism”?  Well…  Democratic activists, radicals and politicians with an axe to grind, from the congressional black caucus.  What evidence have they been able to bring to light?

Absolutely none.

There is no film, no audio, no photography, showing racist commentary or alleged actions like those debunked here.

I have come to the conclusion that when liberals, progressives and/or socialists call conservatives or libertarians racist, merely because they are conservatives or libertarians, it is the moral equivalent of the name callers holding their fingers in their ears and crying, “I’m not gonna listen!  I’m not gonna listen!”  In other words, it’s childish, intellectually bankrupt, and like some children can be, more than a little vicious.

Calling someone a racist, without evidence, merely because you don’t like their positions on the issues, is the last refuge of rhetorical scoundrels.  When you hear the charge leveled, without evidence, you know all you need to know about the name-caller.

The word “racist” should never be used without explicit, specific evidence in hand, publicly available.

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Jul 11 2010

New Spanish abortion “liberalization” law is less radical than current USA law

Category: abortion,Europe,leftharmonicminer @ 8:51 am

Spanish Abortion Law Galvanizes Pro-Lifers and Prompts Opposition

A new abortion law went into effect in Spain this Monday, July 5, which raises abortion to the status of a civil right. Abortion was first legalized in Spain in 1985, but was permissible only under three circumstances:

1) To save the life of the mother.
2) In the case of rape and incest.
3) In the case of fetal abnormalities (http://www.clinicasabortos.com/aborto-legal.asp).

In February of this year, the PSOE: Partido Socialista Obrero Español (Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party) – Spain’s ruling party – succeeded in getting its new abortion law approved by Parliament. It was subsequently signed by both José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero (Spanish Prime Minister and member of the PSOE) and Juan Carlos I (King of Spain). The new law codifies that women have the “right” to obtain abortions up to the 14th week of gestation, no questions asked.

Check the yellow pages of your USA phone book, and you’ll probably find abortion “clinics” offering abortions up to 24 or 26 weeks… no questions asked.

The debate surrounding the law had already struck a nerve with the Spanish people and spurred them into action even before anything had been approved. Grassroots pro-life organizations such as Hazte Oír (http://www.hazteoir.org/) and Derecho a Vivir (http://derechoavivir.org/) took Zapatero and the PSOE to task immediately, and organized a series of very successful demonstrations and ad campaigns to show the strength of the opposition to the liberalization of Spain’s abortion laws. The most famous of these was the demonstration on October 17, 2009 in Madrid, which brought approximately 1.5 million pro-life activists to the Spanish capital (http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/oct/09101908.html).

Despite the massive show of public disapproval, the bill narrowly passed through Parliament, was signed and officially became law on Monday.

Spain, of course, is in the middle of demographic meltdown, because it simply isn’t replacing its population. So a commitment to higher rates of abortion, a sure outcome of the new law, is a commitment to acceleration of the death spiral, as well as encouraging murder of the most innocent.

Just to compare: in the USA, virtually any fetus can be killed anytime during the first two trimesters, in virtually any jurisdiction.  Some states have managed to limit “late-term” abortion to one degree or another, but the fact is that any woman who wants an abortion at almost any time in the pregnancy can get one, if she wants it badly enough to find a provider of such “services,” even if she has to go to another state to do it.

This is not a way in which the American Left wants to imitate European law, however…  since many European nations have laws more restrictive on abortion than the USA.


Jun 15 2010

The USA’s intrinsic values… sometimes caught, but rarely taught anymore

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Jun 12 2010

Obama not so cool anymore?

Category: left,Obama,politics,societyharmonicminer @ 8:00 am

Obama loses the Left: suddenly, it’s cool to bash Barack

Well, at least he’s still got Sir Paul McCartney. At the White House last week, the 67-year-old crooner was gushing in much the same manner as his own groupies did at Shea Stadium in 1965. “I’m a big fan, he’s a great guy,” McCartney told American critics of President Barack Obama. “So lay off him, he’s doing great.”

Later, McCartney serenaded the First Lady with a rendition of Michelle and, receiving a prize from the Library of Congress, took a cheap shot at President George W Bush that was as unfunny as it was unoriginal. “After the last eight years, it’s great to have a president who knows what a library is.” Bush. Doesn’t read books. Stupid. Geddit?

Imagine. A universe without puerile pop stars who think their ability to turn a tune translates into insight into the great game.

The problem for the President is that even if the former Beatle does speak for billions, the overwhelming majority of those are overseas. Polls show that around 10 per cent of those who voted for Obama in 2008 now disapprove of his performance and the heavy turnout of young people and black voters among the 69 million who back him will not be repeated again.

McCartney’s banalities were an example of a transatlantic dissonance that is all too apparent these days. Whereas Europe is stuck in November 2008 and still hopelessly in love with Obama, Americans have got over the historic symbolism of it all and are now moving on as they live with the reality.

That reality has now begun to dawn on some of Obama’s natural constituency – Hollywood and the Left. The “no drama Obama” demeanour that served him so well on the campaign trail is now becoming a liability.

This coincides exactly with my earlier point.

Obama takes action precisely where and when he shouldn’t, and does little or nothing when he should.

And the USA is catching on, even if the rest of the world’s left hasn’t, yet. Of course, they are perfectly happy for Obama to do anything that weakens the USA, and to avoid doing anything that will help it… it is an article of faith for them. But perhaps at least some of the USA’s homegrown left aren’t quite so lemming-like.

November 2010 is coming.


Apr 16 2010

Was the Civil War necessary?

Category: freedom,justice,leftharmonicminer @ 10:51 am

What if the Civil War had not been fought?

When would slavery have finally ended in the USA?  Would it have been as late as Brazil?  (If, of course, you consider slavery in Brazil to have been abolished yet.  See the link.)  Or even later?

I hear a good many people on the Left who like to strike the pose of being “anti-war.”  One wonders, given that slavery was the central issue that organized the states into unionists and secessionists, if these same people believe that the Civil War should not have been fought, and slavery should have been allowed to go on, penetrating further into the territories, etc.

I suppose it would depend on whether the Union stayed together, in an uneasy compromise, or if the Union had split, and no war had been fought to keep it together.

If the Confederate States of America had existed into modern times, how long might slavery have existed there?  I imagine several decades, at least, given the entrenched nature of it, and the failure of the South to organize its economy around manufacturing instead of agriculture.

If the Union had stayed together but continued in the toleration of slavery, it seems that it would still be likely that slavery would have continued for a very long time.

Generally, the social/economic forces were less present, in the USA, that helped the moral imperative of ending slavery along in other places.

Dedicated “no war for any reason” activists of the Left should consider what price they might have been willing to pay for avoiding the war, in the human cost of slavery.


Apr 04 2010

Are you getting what you’re paying for?

Category: education,Group-think,higher education,leftharmonicminer @ 8:01 am

Hmmm…

The High Cost of College and What it Does to Your Children

Each fall, nearly two million American students will leave for college for the very first time. Their education will cost $12,000 a year for a public university and up to $50,000 for a private one. Scholarships and grants reduce the cost for most families, but still, the Wall Street Journal reports that the average student leaves college with $23,186 in debt.

Nationwide, the total cost for this transaction is somewhere between 25 and 40 billion dollars per year.

At least families are getting their money’s worth.

Or not.

A recent study confirms what many parents have long suspected: going to college can make kids forget what’s important and embrace values that are counter to what they learned growing up.

Before I share this study’s results, let me say this to parents: leftist professors don’t feel sorry for you. As far as they’re concerned, you’ve been oppressing the masses to get that money anyway, so it’s deliciously ironic that you not only turn your children over to the indoctrinators, but that you fork over 50k to 200k and for the privilege of doing so.

Don’t take my word for it. Here’s what the late Richard Rorty, one of the most prominent philosophers of the 20th century, said on the subject:

“I, like most Americans who teach humanities or social science in colleges and universities … try to arrange things so that students who enter as bigoted, homophobic, religious fundamentalists will leave college with views more like our own … The fundamentalist parents of our fundamentalist students think that the entire ‘American liberal establishment’ is engaged in a conspiracy. The parents have a point … [W]e are going to go right on trying to discredit you in the eyes of your children, trying to strip your fundamentalist religious community of dignity, trying to make your views seem silly rather than discussable. We are not so inclusivist as to tolerate intolerance such as yours … I think those students are lucky to find themselves under the benevolent Herrschaft [domination] of people like me, and to have escaped the grip of their frightening, vicious, dangerous parents …”[1] [editor’s note: sorry for all the ellipses, but it’s hard to summarize Rorty’s windblown rhetoric].

When it comes to reshaping values, liberal universities know precisely what they’re doing. And the reality is that about four out of five students walk away from their Christian faith by the time they are in their twenties.[2]

The Indoctrination Plan:

What your child won’t learn at college: a sense of citizenship. In February, the Intercollegiate Studies Institute released its annual report entitled, “The Shaping of the American Mind.” ISI researchers studied students’ knowledge of basic citizenship questions, along with 39 issue-based propositions and found that college graduates are dangerously ignorant of basic civics.

For example, fewer than one in two college graduates know that the phrase “We hold these truths to be self evident…” is from the Declaration of Independence (10% actually think it is from the Communist Manifesto).

What your child will learn at college: liberal radicalism. According to ISI, college graduates are significantly MORE likely to believe in abortion on demand and same sex marriage, and significantly LESS likely to believe that the Bible is the word of God, that prayer should be allowed in schools, and that anyone can succeed in America with hard work and perseverance.


Apr 01 2010

The Left and the Right.

Category: left,rightharmonicminer @ 8:55 am

Michael Medved believes the recent totally partisan Congressional vote to establish federal control over all healthcare is useful in Exposing the Essence of the Left/Right Divide

After the House of Representatives voted on Obamacare, Representative Louise Slaughter, the New York Democrat who chairs the Rules Committee, told the Wall Street Journal: “It makes me so happy that, after 100 years, we can finally catch up with the rest of the world!”. Does Ms. Slaughter really believe the U.S. has lagged behind the rest of the world since 1910? During that period, we saved the planet in four major international conflicts while our surging economy brought higher living standards to most of the world. The key distinction between Democrats and Republicans involves attitudes toward America. The right believes the world would benefit by following America’s example; the left thinks the U.S. should become more like the rest of the world. Democrats may long to emulate France, but most Americans feel proud – rather than embarrassed – by our nation’s uniqueness.

I WISH this was true.  But if the divide were so simple, if mere emulation of Europe was the goal of the Left, then when European governments occasionally take a step to the right, the American Left would want to emulate that.  Obviously, they do not.  A more subtle piece on the left/right divide was written in 2008 by Dennis Prager, and I commented on it here.

Instead, the American left only celebrates the European left, a fact that has been obvious for at least 30 years, since the American left derided Margaret Thatcher at every turn.  In fact, one of the Left’s main briefs against Reagan was that he and Thatcher were such good friends.

The essence of the Left/Right divide, then, is very simple.

Leftists believe in the perfectibility of human beings and human culture, if only we could get it right, if only we could create just the right laws and social structures, if only the evil influences of traditional religion and selfishness could be removed, if only the right people were in charge to make everyone else “do right.”

The Right also wants the right people in charge, but the Right’s definition of “the right people” will be those who have no particular thirst to override basic human freedom in the service of some larger social goal, those who believe the government governs best that governs as little as possible (consistent with the basic functions of civil government), and, most important of all, those with enough humility to know that they don’t have the answers to everything, and who are convinced that government is not the answer to most things.

The Left wants to control us for our own good.  The Right thinks it’s good for us to be in control.

And that’s the divide.


Mar 18 2010

False connections

Category: church,justice,left,media,politics,religion,right,societyharmonicminer @ 8:22 am

Article and picture from CNN: Evangelical leader takes on Beck for assailing social justice churches

An evangelical leader is calling for a boycott of Glenn Beck’s television show and challenging the Fox News personality to a public debate after Beck vilified churches that preach economic and social justice.

The Rev. Jim Wallis, president of Sojourners, a network of progressive Christians, says Beck perverted Jesus’ message when he urged Christians last week to leave churches that preach social and economic justice.

Now here’s what’s sad/funny about this article.

First, the United Church of Christ, as a denomination, is “pro-choice.”  So they’re for “social justice” for everyone but the most innocent among us, who apparently do not deserve legal protections of any kind.  And as a member in good standing of the National Council of Churches, they never saw a South or Central American socialist/communist dictator they didn’t like.  Which means, of course, that they weren’t for “social justice” for the people in political prisons (or dead) in those places.  I mean, how bad can a communist dictator be if he has national health care in his country?

Second, when they show a United Church of Christ sign, and quote “evangelical” minister Jim Wallis, they create by association the notions that the United Church of Christ is evangelical, and that evangelicals as a whole have any serious disagreement with Mr. Beck.  Both are false.

Third, “social justice” is a euphemism for statist solutions to “social problems.”  Otherwise, churches that use the term would be talking about Christian charity, love, mission and service, which are wonderful, old and uncontroversial ideas, not “social justice.”  And, of course, the origin of the term “social justice” had nothing to do with any church, being an artifact of Marxist thought and its intellectual descendants.  (And isn’t Mr. Beck taking heat for pointing that out.)

It’s interesting that by pointing that out, Mr. Beck has become the subject, instead of the perversion of the concepts of Christian charity, love, mission and service into “social justice” that is preached by the “Christian Left.”

Fourth, the United Church of Christ is shrinking, fast.  It is simply dying out.  Along with most of the rest of the “mainline protestant” groups.  That’s what happens to Christian groups that abandon their central teachings and moral values to appeal to the world.  So in a few years or decades, it’s likely that no local congregation will be around to maintain the sign above.

Some churches are converted to skating rinks when they’re sold due to lack of interest, or lack of surviving members, if the building is big enough.

That sign looks big enough to list prices and hours of operation.


Feb 14 2010

Much ado about…. something…. but not what they thought

Category: abortion,left,media,societyharmonicminer @ 9:49 am

That’s It? Tebow Ad Unmasks the Abortion Movement

In the days running up to last weekend’s Super Bowl, the media and blogosphere erupted in a frenzy of debate over an innocuous pro-life ad sponsored by Focus on the Family. The news was that 2007 Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow and his mother Pam would be featured in a “Celebrate Family, Celebrate Life” spot, which, it was assumed, would tell the story of Tim, “the miracle baby” whose mother refused an abortion during a difficult pregnancy. Missionaries in the Philippines, Pam and Bob Tebow refused to choose the doctor-advised abortion option, although Pam had been taking heavy medication following a bout with dysentery.
Without seeing the ad – and with very little information – groups like Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro-Choice America, and NOW (National Organization for Women) responded with a fury that awakened mainstream America. Expecting the ad to convey an anti-abortion message, they demanded CBS remove it from airing. A protest letter, penned by the Women’s Media Center, suggested the ad be refused because it was sponsored by Focus on the Family. “By offering one of the most coveted advertising spots of the year to an anti-equality, anti-choice, homophobic organization, CBS is aligning itself with a political stance that will damage its reputation, alienate viewers, and discourage consumers from supporting its shows and advertisers,” the letter said. Jemhu Greene, president of the group, said, “An ad that uses sports to divide rather than to unite has no place in the biggest national sports event of the year — an event designed to bring Americans together.”
The characters of both Tim and Pam were maligned and subjected to malicious gossip. A charge by feminist Gloria Allred that Pam Tebow was a liar grew wings of its own as it spread throughout talk radio and the Internet. Allred based her charge on the fact that abortion was illegal in the strongly Catholic nation of the Philippines. An ESPN columnist warned Tim not to be manipulated by the far right. “Tebow is not an innocent, and he does not appear to be deluded. He may agree with everything Focus on the Family represents. But he’s still a young man, still breathing the fumes of a home-schooled background with two parents who believe in the inerrancy of every single word of the Bible. Now, they could be right and I could be wrong on the Bible thing – although it’s going to be hard to convince me the whole belly-of-the-whale thing wasn’t allegory – but he could be setting himself up to be associated with causes and beliefs that may not be his own. All the qualities that make him admirable – earnestness, devotion, a willingness to expound on his beliefs – make him vulnerable.”
Both CBS and Focus on the Family assured audiences that the ad had been approved and was suitable for broadcast. Yet the nation was drawn into this debate, as the life issue made its way onto business and sports pages, talk radio, and Facebook pages. Over 250,000 “fans” joined one Facebook group supporting the commercial. Surveys found support for CBS to run the commercial outnumbering its opposition.

Much more at the link above. And it reveals the Left for what it is… essentially totalitarian and against free speech, interested in muzzling anyone who disagrees, and believing that they should be able to suppress a message just because of its source….  or its content.


Jan 21 2010

Why are professors Left?

Category: higher education,leftharmonicminer @ 10:39 am

Here is a post that began as a facebook discussion with my friend Kirsten…  and since I can’t bear to type anything and only use it once, read on.  Warning:  in this discussion, the labels “liberal” and “conservative” must be understood historically.  Modern “conservatives” believe about the same things as 18th- and 19th-century “liberals.”  Modern “liberals” are often somewhere on the spectrum between late 19th-century “progressives” and 19th-century “socialists.”  In the 18th century, “conservatives” were those who wanted to maintain the governing status quo involving royalty, aristocratic privilege, and the like, bearing no resemblance to modern “conservatives.”  So watch your head, or you might bump on on a low hanging ideological pipe.

In a lengthy article that purports to report on sociological research into the indeological predispositions of university faculty and people’s reactions to them, we are reminded that Professor Is a Label That Leans to the Left. (Much more at the link.)

The overwhelmingly liberal tilt of university professors has been explained by everything from outright bias to higher I.Q. scores. Now new research suggests that critics may have been asking the wrong question. Instead of looking at why most professors are liberal, they should ask why so many liberals — and so few conservatives — want to be professors.

A pair of sociologists think they may have an answer: typecasting. Conjure up the classic image of a humanities or social sciences professor, the fields where the imbalance is greatest: tweed jacket, pipe, nerdy, longwinded, secular — and liberal. Even though that may be an outdated stereotype, it influences younger people’s ideas about what they want to be when they grow up.

At least it’s nice that the NYTimes acknowledges that academics are mostly leftists.  Now if only they admitted the same about the mainstream media, and themselves, we’d be in a more honest place.  In any case, the conjecture here only explains (to some extent) why academia remains leftist. It doesn’t explain how it got that way, except with a pretty thin reference to reaction to the New Deal.

As is often the case with attempts at sociological explanation, the central roles of ideas and values are shunted aside in favor of demographics. Ask yourself this: without a Marx or Nietsche in the history of ideas, would the academic establishment have trended left? What if the favorite ideas of the left had not developed in the 19th century? They didn’t HAVE to develop then. They just did.

What if Dewey had not influenced the public educational establishment as he did?  What if progressive politics had not found a home in activist universities? 

Ideas have consequences. The leftist academic establishment, all the while that it derides the notion of “progress” in society, still thinks its ideas are better than the old ones that were replaced… all the while denying that there is a universal standard by which they can be judged “better”…. but nevertheless being quite confident that there really aren’t such things as right and wrong, God and Satan, etc.  Except, of course, in the case of global warming deniers, who clearly are destined for the pit of Hell.

I think the nature of the ideas explains much more than demographic “typing.”  People have always been looking for two things: ways to get power over others, and ways to maximize personal freedom for themselves.  Very, very much of the liberal left is well-described by that.

The case of sociology is especially instructive, given that from the beginning it was a social/political agenda masquerading as an academic discipline.

While some conservative groups have had an anti-education bias since the late 19th/early 20th century, that is itself a REACTION to the trend leftwards in academia that flowed from those ideas I mentioned earlier. This anti-education bias was not always there, and was never a given, until the 19th century ideas produced enough leftists in the academy that some “conservatives” over-reacted.

Some of the more “conservative” people in the 18th century WERE in the academy (“conservative” is in quotes because at the time they were sometimes called liberals). Think Adam Smith, our founding fathers, etc. Note, I did not say the academy was all conservative, even then, but simply that there was lots of representation of “both sides” (really, more than two) in the academy, until this century’s response to 19th-century ideas led to an activist academy, self-consciously so, and that was something fairly new. Woodrow Wilson is just about the perfect example of the academician with an agenda in the early 20th century. Despite his racism, he is much beloved of the Left. They recognize him, correctly, as one of their own, who believed government was the answer to nearly every human problem…  so much so that admiration for Wilson was expressed both by Mussolini and Hitler, especially Wilson’s brand of “war socialism.”

When professors are given guns (and the power of government is the biggest gun of all) they are disinclined to show restraint in using up the ammo. 



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