Jun 04 2009

Seeking identity in the USA

Category: affirmative action,diversity,left,race,racismharmonicminer @ 9:29 am

Lost in the Labyrinth of Race  (much more at the link)

One of the unexpected results of the Sotomayor nomination is a refocusing on the politics of racial identity and the fossilized institutions of affirmative action-or the belief that the U.S. government should use its vast power to ensure an equality of result rather than a fairness of opportunity.

In the last fifty years, United States has evolved into a complex multiracial state. Race no longer is necessarily an indicator of income or material success-as the record of, say, Japanese-Americans or, indeed Asians in general, attests.

And what criterion constitutes race itself nowadays, when almost every family has someone who is half-Hispanic, a quarter-Asian, one-half black, or part Pakistani? What percentage of one’s lineage ensures purity of race, or qualifies for minority status? Are California Hispanics minorities, or so-called whites that are now a smaller percentage of the state population?

And what constitutes racial authenticity? Lack of income? An absence of success in the American rat race? Is the fourth generation upper-class Cuban an “Hispanic” who should qualify for affirmative action because his name is Hillario Gonzalez? Does the one-quarter aristocratic Jamaican qualify for American redress on account of his partial blackness?

And how does affirmative action-or even the fuzzy notion of “diversity”- adjudicate all this without mirror-imaging the statisticians of the Old Confederacy who could precisely calibrate the 1/16 drop of black blood? The university where I taught was full of South Americans and Europeans with Spanish surnames that allowed their various departments to be considered “ethnically diverse,” while others, having Russian émigrés, or the foreign born from New Delhi, Israel, and Egypt, struggled to satisfy the dictates of diversity czars.

In other words, affirmative action, and the racial identity politics that fuel it, are swamped by their inherent racialist contradictions-and made irrelevant by the dynamism of popular culture of the last three decades in which intermarriage, assimilation, and integration have challenged the notion of racial fides itself.

So begins an article from Victor Davis Hanson on the state of race in the USA, including affirmative action, “diversity,” racial preferences, racial identity, the nature of privilege in modern USA, the whole nine yards in the current race discussion and its political and social implications.  It’s all worth reading and difficult to summarize, a sign of pithy, concise writing.  Suffice to say that it highlights all the inner contradictions of the race conscious, and the futility of policies that were designed to redress grievances and correct imbalances, but cannot even identify who should qualify in any rational way.

Here is what’s clear to me: the election of a president of African ancestry has done nothing to satisfy the Left.  It has not convinced the Left that America is no longer significantly racist in its average viewpoint.  Instead, it appears simply to have placed the Left in the driver’s seat for every race-based preference and accommodation that it can construct.

We’re a long, long way from the “content of his character” vision of Martin Luther King, Jr., and getting farther away every day.

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May 29 2009

Obama and his “pro-life voters”

Category: abortion,left,Obamaharmonicminer @ 9:38 am

CSPAN coverage of Panel on Sanctity of Human Life

Catholic University of America hosted a discussion on “The Obama Administration and the Sanctity of Human Life: Is there a common ground on life issues? What is the right response by ‘Pro-Life’ Citizens?”

The panelists are Professor Robert P. George (Princeton University) and Professor Douglas Kmiec (Pepperdine Law School). Well worth watching. A bit long, but if you’re a Christian who voted for Obama on the grounds that his overall social policies might reduce abortion, you owe it to yourself to watch it. These are two very articulate representatives of their positions, and the issues are fairly laid out. 

For reference, here are earlier dialogs involving these two academics.

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May 09 2009

Altered States

Category: church,left,mediaharmonicminer @ 9:36 am

At this place, on the front page:

You get this ad for “church,” United Methodist style.

And this one for sex toys, hookups, and pornography.  Don’t bother to click it, I didn’t link it.

I’m trying to remember the last time I saw an ad for church and an ad for sex services in the same place.  Oh, yeah.  The LA Times.  Craigslist.  The Yellow Pages.

But really:  wouldn’t you think ONE of these groups would think this wasn’t the place to advertise?

Oh well.  Welcome to the modern Christian Left.  Crackpot politics, sexual liberty, and a feeling of moral superiority, all in one.

It would seem that the United Methodists really know where to advertise to find like-minded folk.

So I went to “RethinkChurch” (just click the graphic above and you can, too).  In the search engine on the site, I typed in the word “Jesus.”

Here’s what I got:

I typed in “salvation,” and got even less.  So, let’s see.  This is a United Methodist Church website, with no mention of “salvation”, and almost none of “Jesus.”  I wonder if that “Carnal Nation” website links to a seminary.

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Apr 09 2009

Islamic leftists?!?

Category: cognitive dissonance,Islam,leftharmonicminer @ 8:26 am

In a very complete and fascinating survey of the penetration of Islamic sharia law into American public life, and the contradictions it reveals, Power Line makes this cogent observation:

Minneapolis is represented in Congress by Keith Ellison, the left-wing Democrat who is famous as Congress’s first Muslim. Ellison embodies the American left’s weird alliance with radical Islam. How Ellison reconciles his Islamic faith with the Democratic Party’s devout belief in homosexual rights, leftist feminism, abortion rights and every other element of the party’s most radical agenda is a subject that the media have somehow left unexplored. We have yet to learn of the branch of Islam that comports with the dogmas of the left.

Consider the mystery: most American Jews vote Democrat. Muslims appear to be doing the same.

The congnitive dissonance is overwhelming.

The party that radically supports homosexual marriage, abortion, radical feminism, etc., is supported by Muslims who are required by their religion to despise all those things.

The party that seems often willing to bargain away Israel’s right to self-defense in the name of “multi-lateralism” and “negotiation” is supported by Jews.

The congressman with ties to Hamas, which wants Israelis pushed into the sea, runs as a candidate of the party that is supported by Jews, and by Muslims who don’t much care for Jews.

Go figure.

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Apr 05 2009

The Left At Christian Universities, Part 11: You know your school has gone left when….

Category: higher education,leftharmonicminer @ 8:32 am

The previous post in this series is here.

The following are culled from discussions with faculty and staff at several Christian colleges and universities.

You know your Christian college or university has gone or is moving Left when:

1)  Faculty close their office doors to discuss with other faculty the political changes (to the Left) on campus.

2)  People are generally a bit nervous about speaking up to buck the trend, at all levels, from newbie faculty all the way through the hierarchy.  In a world where a Left-leaning fellow like Larry Summers at Harvard can speak the plain truth and be pilloried for it, it’s pretty clear that  no one is safe.  Summers eventually had to resign, too.

3)  You can walk through the faculty parking lot and count Right leaning bumper stickers on the fingers of one hand, but you see large numbers of Left leaning ones.  (This doesn’t necessarily mean that the Left is a majority…  but it means they’re a LOT more vocal about it.)

4)  Students start forming groups to promote conservatism and traditional values (because they see so little defense of them on campus).  And if no faculty member will stop and talk to such students at booths displaying literature promoting such values, that’s a bad sign, too, not because that proves there are no faculty who agree, but because faculty may fear being seen to agree….  or even being interested.  A corollary: faculty who are considering joining the facebook group of conservative students pause for a moment, and count the cost.

5)  Every chapel speaker for two weeks straight seems to come from the Left.

6)  It is always completely safe, in public discourse (meetings, workshops, councils, etc.), to express your fidelity to the aims of diversity activism, but not to express your commitment to working politically towards a Supreme Court that will overturn Roe v. Wade, or for a Right to Life constitutional amendment.

7)  You feel that it’s safer to “feel people out in person” before sending them a document expressing conservative or libertarian values.  On the other hand, people from the Left constantly send email to the entire campus expressing their point of view, and appear to feel perfectly safe in doing so.

8)  Official college publications begin using the phrase “speech codes” in a non-pejorative manner.

9)  Your campus has “justice weeks” in which there is no mention of abortion; anti-Semitism’s rise in the West; out-of-wedlock birth leading to fatherless children (with the inevitably higher rates of crime, time in prison, poverty, etc.); Muslim treatment of women (in Western nations, not just “Islamic” ones); the responsibility of society to care for military veterans and their families, especially disabled veterans, and the families of killed soldiers (a scandal if there ever was one).  Huge injustices all, but somehow never in view during campus “justice week.”

10)  High level administrators try to suppress student political activism towards the Right.  Corollary: the administrators may be forced to apologize via legal action by the students.

11)  The cafeteria goes “green” and refuses to give customers “to go” containers even as an extra cost item.  There are recycling bins all over campus, but not enough trash cans…  or at least, they’re someplace distant from the recycling bins.  The cafeteria doesn’t supply trays anymore (to save water), so you have to juggle plate, beverages, utensils, soup bowls, etc., the hard way.  Corollary:  the cafeteria carpet has more stains than it used to.

The next post in this series is here.

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Apr 04 2009

The courage of Richard John Neuhaus

Category: abortion,left,religionharmonicminer @ 9:35 am

Robert P. George describes the commitment of one time “liberal” Richard John Nuehaus to the unborn, and what that stance cost him in the eyes of the world, in an article well worth reading in its entirety. Concluding paragraphs:

He Threw It All Away

For Neuhaus, the liberal movement had gone wrong not only on the sanctity of human life, but on the range of issues on which it had succumbed to the ideology of the post-1960s cultural left. While celebrating “personal liberation,” “diverse lifestyles,” “self-expression,” and “if it feels good, do it,” all in the name of respecting “the individual,” liberalism had gone hook, line, and sinker for a set of doctrines and social policies that would only increase the size and enhance the control of the state—mainly by enervating the only institutions available to provide counterweights to state power.

The post-1960s liberal establishment—from the New York Times to NBC, from Harvard to Stanford, from the American Bar Association to Americans for Democratic Action—having embraced the combination of statism and lifestyle individualism that defines what it means to be a “liberal” (or “progressive”) today, could not understand Richard Neuhaus or, in truth, abide him. Far from being lionized, he was loathed by them, albeit with a grudging respect for the intellectual gifts they once hoped he would place in the service of liberal causes. Those gifts were deployed relentlessly—and to powerful effect—against them and all their works and ways.

And so Fr. Richard John Neuhaus did not go through life, as it once seemed he would, collecting honorary degrees from the most prestigious universities, giving warmly received speeches before major professional associations and at international congresses of the great and the good, being a celebrated guest at social and political gatherings on the Upper West Side, or appearing on the Sunday network news shows as spiritual guarantor of the moral validity of liberalism’s favored policies and practices.

His profound commitment to the sanctity of human life in all stages and conditions placed him on a different path, one that led him out of the liberal fold and into intense opposition. As a kind of artifact of his youth, he remained to the end a registered member of the Democratic Party. But he stood defiantly against many of the doctrines and policies that came to define that Party in his lifetime. He was, in fact, their most forceful and effective critic—the scourge of the post-1960s liberals. He was not, as things turned out, their Niebuhr, but their nemesis.

May more of us have the same kind of courage, to take risks, to put our convictions ahead of our careers and public approval.

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Mar 17 2009

The Left At Christian Universities, part 9: the students’ parents are idiots

Category: diversity,higher education,leftharmonicminer @ 9:09 am

The previous post in this series is here.

As has been pointed out previously in this series, “diversity” is not in any sense politically neutral.  It always strongly favors the Left, and people who are big fans of “diversity” are almost always strongly committed to the Left in other ways.

Just to analyze one instance in a recent faculty discussion of diversity:  a professor of social ethics was disappointed that his students, having finished his course, had not come to the conclusion that the Iraq war is unjust.  Let’s unpack this.

First, he seems to believe that his comment is related to the discussion of diversity.  How would that be, exactly?  What relevance does the justice or injustice of a particular bit of foreign policy have to diversity at his university?  It’s clear that in his mind, diversity and general leftist thought are very much related, and since the discussion is about diversity, the floor is open to general leftist discussion.  He thinks he is at ideological home with his fellow travelers.   He has done this before, almost certainly, and been well-received.   This seems more and more common at too many Christian colleges and universities (especially the universities).

Second, he seems to believe that no other position on the matter of the Iraq war can possibly be held by a rational person, in possession of the facts, with a decent heart and Godly intent.  So his disappointment makes sense, in his very constricted world-view.

Third, he seems completely unaware that he has just hurled a deadly insult at the parents who pay his salary, because it is likely that his students reflect some of their parents’ perspectives on such matters, and he thinks those perspectives are morally and rationally indefensible.  To be blunt, he sees his job as taking parents’ money to teach their children to think that their parents are fools, or worse.

Yet there he is, in the middle of a discussion of diversity, knowing that heads around the table will nod sagely as he fires from the hip, without really having a target, other than those benighted souls of the world who do not subscribe wholesale to leftist thought.  Plenty of heads nodded, as if the comment were perfectly appropriate. He is a perfect example of what has been happening in Christian higher education, as we bring in more and more faculty who are so thoroughly indoctrinated by the Left in their graduate programs that they see themselves as being on a mission from God to disabuse undergraduates of their foolish traditional misconceptions.

Translation:  these kids’ parents have been doing a miserable job of preparing the kids for polite society, and we have to completely reorient them, as soon as possible.

The next post in this series is here.

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Mar 13 2009

I told you so #2

Category: economy,left,Obamaharmonicminer @ 9:11 am

‘I’m Maureen Dowd, and I’ve Been Had’ (Much more at the link)

They may need a support group before the month is out. They could gather in New York or Washington where many victims reside. The meetings would start: “I’m Maureen [or David]. I’m a duped Barack voter. And I’m mad.”

The ranks indeed are filling with the disaffected and the disappointed, Chris Buckley, Maureen Dowd, David Brooks, David Gergen, and even that gynecological sleuth and blogger Andrew Sullivan. And then there is the very angry Marty Peretz. Their complaints are varied but expressed with equal amounts of remorse and bitterness. They all have been done wrong by Barack.

Was there EVER a chance that the most Left Senator wouldn’t be the most Left President?

They ain’t seen NUTHIN’ yet.


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Feb 28 2009

Deficit reaction deficit

Category: Congress,economy,left,media,Obamaharmonicminer @ 9:27 am

Powerline points out, in an absolutely fantastic article, how the Left’s reaction to Bush deficits was panic and accusation, but its reaction to 4 or 5 times bigger Obama deficits is ho-hum, when it’s not out and out cheerleading.

Power Line

It’s no secret that there is no intellectual integrity on the Left, but it’s still hard not to be a bit shocked by liberals’ reaction to the budget proposal that Barack Obama unleashed yesterday. Let’s take the example of the New York Times, probably the most prominent voice of the Far Left in the U.S. Throughout the George W. Bush administration, the Times’ editorial board waxed eloquent about the terrible consequences to be expected from the Bush deficits.

There is a deficit in the Left’s reaction to the Obama deficit.

Read the whole thing at the Power Line link above.

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Jan 17 2009

Non-peace with dishonor

Category: Afghanistan,Islam,left,national security,Obamaharmonicminer @ 10:18 am

At Daily Kos, pressure on Obama’s left flank to declare defeat in Afghanistan and run. You have to read the whole thing to get a flavor of just how wrong headed they are.

An ad hoc group of bloggers has come together for the purpose of opposing a U.S.-led escalation in Afghanistan that is slated to double the number of American troops there.

Sure. Let’s let the Taliban take over Afghanistan again. Let’s go back to the situation that created the 9/11 attack, and supported its training and operational phases. After all, surely they’ve learned not to mess with the USA, don’t you think?

I wish we could send the entire Daily Kos crowd on a little vacation to Waziristan. Maybe a nice bus ride in the mountains, a chance to make new friends, show them that all Americans aren’t war-mongering degenerates, you know? We could equip them with satellite phones and live video feeds, just in case they need to call us or something.

On second thought, I’m hoping this is Obama’s left flank…. if he has one.

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