Charlie Gard

Good friend of mine posts, “Have you heard of Charlie Gard”?

I reply, “Yes. Very sad story. A story of a death panel.”

Another person jumps in and derides the response:

Yes. Poor baby. No cure for his horrible genetic disease. It’s best to let him die peacefully.
In this country, he could very well become a ward a the state and the same decision be made on his behalf. So stop already about death panels. What the Republicans are proposing is death panels at the hands of insurance companies CEOs.

Remember when Mrs. Palin said she didn’t want some death panel deciding whether her son lives or dies? (Trig was born with a genetic condition as well … who gets to decide whether his quality of life is sufficient to fight for?) she was derided and laughed at. Oh, that dumb hick! (how non-judgmental and tolerant!). The words “death panel” do not appear anywhere in the document! Ha ha! Ho ho! (Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon … where did I read that? Hmmm).

They spent a LOT of energy on that one.

That would never happen, they said. You’re just fear-mongering. LIES!

So in one of their most vaunted examples of Medical Utopia™, exactly what Mrs. Palin was talking about actually happens, the response is “stop talking about it”. “Shut Up!”

As Mr. Klavan pointed out years ago, “Shut Up” is typically the central thesis of their argument when anyone argues back.

They have lots of different ways of saying “shut up”, though in this case, one of the commenters here basically just came out and said it point blank.

But racist, sexist, intolerant, whatever-o-phobe, ignorant, hick … my experts are smarter than yours, yours are just greedy money-grubbers at best.

These are all different things they use to say “shut up”.

And through it all, it was almost lost that what they’re really exposing here — when you read between the lines– is not so much that they thought Mrs. Palin was wrong. No.

It’s that they were OK with the death panels from the beginning.

Bring Back Imperialism!

This is another effective way to deal with a Non-STEM Smart Guy:

Before [WWI] you were either a gentleman or not a gentleman, and if you were a gentleman you struggled to behave as such, whatever your income might be…. People in this class owned no land, but they felt that they were landowners in the sight of God and kept up a semi-aristocratic outlook by going into the professions and the fighting services rather than into trade. Small boys used to count the plum stones on their plates and foretell their destiny by chanting, ‘Army, Navy, Church, Medicine, Law’…. To belong to this class when you were at the L400 a year level was a queer business, for it meant that your gentility was almost purely theoretical. You lived, so to speak, at two levels simultaneously. Theoretically you knew all about servants and how to tip them, although in practice you had one, at most, two resident servants. Theoretically you knew how to wear your clothes and how to order a dinner, although in practice you could never afford to go to a decent tailor or a decent restaurant. Theoretically you knew how to shoot and ride, although in practice you had no horses to ride and not an inch of ground to shoot over. It was this that explained the attraction of India (more recently Kenya, Nigeria, etc.) for the lower-upper-middle class. The people who went there as soldiers and officials did not go there to make money… they went there because in India, with cheap horses, free shooting, and hordes of black servants, it was so easy to play at being a gentleman.*

You can read every academic study written on the British Empire in the last 60 years, but all of them together don’t contain as much wisdom as this.  Guys whose blood wasn’t blue enough to be aristocrats, but who weren’t vulgar enough (in their own eyes) to buy their way in through success in business, went out to the Empire to live in the style to which they were sure they were entitled.

Every nasty thing everyone, Orwell included, ever said about the Empire and the men who ran it, is true.  The whole thing was a racket, and those who thought it wasn’t were either too stupid, too jingoistic, or both — if there’s really a difference — to see it.  (The smart, cynical ones would admit as much, and frequently did, off the record and with a few gin and tonics under their hoods).  But these are the men who created the richest, freest, most prosperous society anyone had ever known — especially the people over whom they ruled.

Worth thinking about.

 

*Orwell, The Road to Wigan Pier

Eggheadization

At Z Man’s I speculated on the trajectory of moviemaking.  The deciding factor is always money, of course, and there’s so much money in Transformers vs. Thor XVII: Iron Man’s Revenge that Hollywood may well be egghead-proof.  But I suspect that, like all other popular art forms, movies will eventually be destroyed by the ivory tower.

The example I used at Z Man’s was poetry, which along with plastic arts like painting and sculpture is the worst case scenario.  There’s zero barrier to entry with poetry — the rules for writing sonnets are right there, and not even the American educational system has so far managed to destroy literacy completely.  If you want to go mano-a-mano with Shakespeare, your word processing program even comes with a dictionary and a thesaurus.  There are 350+ million people in America today; Elizabethan England had maybe 3 million.  Just as a matter of simple probability, there should be some world-class sonnet-writers around right now…

… but, of course, there aren’t, because sometime in the later 19th century our universities started awarding degrees in English Literature.  You’ve got to justify all those years in grad school somehow, and so by the 1950s you had J. Evans Pritchard, PhD, laying down mathematical formulae for judging a poem’s excellence.  And now only Diversity Pokemon write poetry.  Seriously, can you even name a 20th century poet, let alone quote him?

Prose is very little better — see the neverending “Sad / Rabid Puppies” kerfuffle for details.  If you don’t want to wade through that — and I do not blame you — science fiction is going through now what LitFic went through back in the 80s.  John Derbyshire speculated somewhere that The Bonfire of the Vanities was the last “middlebrow” novel ever written, and who can argue with that?  Again, have you ever heard of any of these poseurs?  It’s all MFA wank, all the way down the line — even the one (maybe?) white guy “explores race — blackness and whiteness, the politics of passing, interracial marriage — in a way that is no less serious for all its playfulness and sharp wit.”

I suspect that movies will go the way of novels — just as writers like Stephenie [sic] Meyer and John Grisham make all the money while being savaged by the critics (who only praise fellow MFAs), so Batman vs. Aquaman XIX will make all the cash in the world, but you’ll be written off as an incorrigible prole if you ever go see it.  Meanwhile, a whole bunch of eggheads will keep awarding themselves PhDs in “film studies” etc.

The Slavery Paper

Further to my contributions to a conversation at Z Man’s, let me tell y’all about The Slavery Paper.

You may not know that our educational system has its roots in Prussia.  So, as you might expect, it’s designed to crank out little automatons, who can be good soldiers or good factory hands as needed.  That system prevailed in America until the 1970s, when the first wave of hippies started having kids and decided to “educate” them using the theories of John Dewey.  Dewey’s method was the Prussian’s opposite —  free play, cooperatvie learning, and all the other stuff that was called “self-esteem” back in the 70s.

But eventually all but the most bong-addled hippies realized that the Prussian method produced kids who could actually get and hold jobs… but, being hippies, they couldn’t give up on, like, feeeelings, maaaan, so by the late 80s we had more or less the current system, which is the worst of both worlds — the industrial production of Special Snowflakes.  Nobody’s different from anybody and everyone’s the best at everything.  It’s a pedagogical nightmare.  How does one simultaneously encourage each of 300 kids to develop his own special uniqueness, while training him to ace the standardized test?

Nobody has yet figured out the “ace the test” part (which is why every year brings some massive cheating scandal in a public school district), but we’ve nailed the “develop his special uniqueness” part — put Social Justice platitudes on the standardized test.  You know you’re a brave, free-thinking iconoclastic nonconformist when you have the exact same opinions as every other brave, free-thinking iconoclastic nonconformist.  By the time I get them, then, these kids are past masters at SocJus mad-libbing an essay prompt.  You could pose a question about the economic development of Singapore, seen through the lens of Medieval Finnish Poetry, and you’d still get something about the plight of underrepresented minorities and the horrors of homophobia.

Which brings us to The Slavery Paper.  Nonblack students are at least expected to exercise a little ingenuity in coming up with their SocJus mad-libs.  Blacks, by contrast, only ever write papers about Blackness.  And since it’s impossible to fail the Blacks and keep your job, anyone who teaches Intro to Anything gets a million Slavery Papers every single goddamn semester, to the point where we can all recite it, chapter and verse, from memory.

The worst part?  You actually get to like The Slavery Paper.  Your typical Intro to Studies prof is an adjuct or a grad student, who is teaching anywhere from 3 to 6 courses of 45-200 students each, often (in the case of adjuncts) at several different schools.  That’s a lot of grading.  The Slavery Paper takes about 5 minutes to grade, so you start to look forward to them.  Given today’s students’ writing skills, you often can’t tell what a nonblack SocJus madlib is even trying to say until you’ve puzzled out the text-ese of the first few paragraphs.  A Slavery Paper is obvious from word one.  It saves you a lot of time in the long run.

The Non-STEM Smart Guy

Most of the world’s problems are started by this type of guy.  The best social arrangements are the ones that keep him from getting too resentful (unfortunately, this type of guy is almost always resentful of something).  The second-best arrangements co-opt that resentment, and turn it against the regime’s enemies.

First, some definitions:  A non-STEM smart guy is someone with enough on the ball to realize that brainpower makes society go… but without enough on the ball to do it himself in that society.  What “it” is varies in time and place.  In our society, of course, STEM is power — you will never lack for nice, safe, middle-class job opportunities if you can pass Calc II.  In medieval China, it was the ability to memorize huge blocks of texts and write perfect eight-legged essays on them.  In ancient Sumeria, it was reading goat entrails.  Whatever “it” is, those who can do it are society’s bedrock.  They’ll never be revolutionaries.

“The regime” is the guys at the top of the current sociopolitical arrangement, plus their support staff.  In Ancient Sumeria, it was the priestly aristocracy supporting the king.  In medieval China it was the exam-passing palace eunuchs plus the emperor.  Here’s the kicker:  You can tell a regime is broken when the guys at the top of the regime and the support staff don’t see eye to eye, and a regime is broken beyond all hope of repair when the guys at the top don’t even recognize their support staff.

The American Revolution is a good example.  Without too gross an oversimplification, you can sum up the Revolution’s causes in a word: Mercantilism.  You need colonies to make the mercantile system go.  But you can’t treat colonies of Englishmen the way you treat colonies of wogs.*  The Englishmen won’t stand for it.  They recognize their importance to the system — they’re the support staff — and will demand to be treated accordingly.  See also: The English Civil War, in which Charles II had the same problem.  Being an old-school Divine Right monarch, and none too bright, Charles didn’t realize that his support staff was no longer the Lords Temporal and Spiritual; it was grubby merchant wannabes like Oliver Cromwell.  The justifications for rebellion were expressed differently — liberty of conscience vs. the Rights of Man — but they boiled down to the same thing, and for the same reason.  The basis of real (as opposed to legal) power had shifted, from “blue blood” to “a head for figures.”

Neither Charles II or George III could’ve acted other than they did, being the kind of guys they were, but I doubt any king could’ve done much better under the circumstances.  After all, the old system had a pretty good method for co-opting smart Commoners into the regime.  Problem was, that system only worked under the old economic arrangments.  In 1520, say, tonnage and poundage was a measly part of the king’s income, most of which came to His Majesty the old fashioned way, via medieval dues.  By 1620, though, it was a main source of the King’s income, and by 1630 it was a major cause of the Civil War.  You can ennoble every Cardinal Wolsey, because the economic system only produces a few; you can’t ennoble every grasping shareholder in the East India Company.  (Or, to return to the American Revolution, ennobling George Washington would’nt have done any good — much as he would’ve liked it, and as much of an aristocrat as he personally was — because you can’t ennoble every John Hancock, Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton…).

The challenge of the last 300 years has been precisely that — how to integrate smart, ambitious, but off-brand guys into the power structure.  The truly rich can simply buy their way in — the key word in “nouveaux riche” is riche —  but that only works for a Zuckerberg, not his division heads and directors of marketing.  They’re rich, all right, and you absolutely have to have them to keep society running, but nobody asks their opinions on immigration or the proper role of women in the workplace, and that really grinds their gears.

It’s not just economics, in other words — it’s social prestige.  An IT guy probably aspires no higher than his nice middle-class life.  A guy who’s good enough at it to make real money wants more, but sees his access to power blocked by guys like Zuckerberg.  And those are guys who have brains that run in the right direction.  Imagine the plight of poor Kevin Williamson, or Jonah Goldberg, or pick-your-Lefty-pundit — they’re smart enough, but their brains don’t run in the right channel to let them make money in our economy, and that really grinds their gears, to the point where they start devoting most of their not-inconsiderable brainpower to the question of why they themselves aren’t on top.  They’re smart enough to see that if society were different, they’d be the ones with the king’s ear, and rude mechanicals like Zuckerberg would be back toiling in the byte farms where they belong.

You can sum up every modern revolution that way.  Had there been enough commissions in the Guards Horse Regiment, you’d have had no Robespierre; enough professorships, no Lenin or Mao; if the seminary gave you a reasonable shot at a bishopric, no Stalin, etc.  Hell, Martin Luther probably would’ve been content with running his own monastery somewhere, if he could’ve gotten famous doing it.  The point is to give these guys enough power to lord it over their immediate underlings  — thereby giving them the ego-stroke they crave above all else — but not enough to do real damage.  It’s a delicate balancing act.

In our STEM economy, we used to do it with academia.  That’s what the ivory tower was for, back in the days — give the smart-but-unproductive a little kingdom of their own, and pretend to marvel at the barmy moonbeam stuff they came up with, and they’ll never be tempted to advocate the overthrow of society.  Faculty lounge politics are nasty enough to satisfy the cruelty of even the most bloodthirsty — imagine, if you will, Vladimir Lenin as the Dean of your local philosophy department, and you’ll get an idea of what it’s like.

Alas, we’ve screwed that up.  We’ve decided that everyone should go to college, so now people take eggheads seriously.  Worse, eggheads infect other smart non-STEM guys with the virus, so you’ve got a whole generation of people who think overturning society isn’t just a good idea, it’s Social Justice.  It’s bad, and it’s going to get worse.

 

 

 

*According to mercantile theory, Great Britain should’ve been ruined by the loss of her major North American colonies.  Instead, she went on to rule the world in the new century — Industrialism fueled a new and much better mercantile system centered on India and Africa.

Bring Back Aristocracy!

It fascinates me, the Alt-Right’s (or whatever we’re calling it today) obsession with the “Deep State.”  I mean, yeah, I get it — there is such a thing as a “Deep State,” and they really do run things, but c’mon, y’all, we’re not Liberals.  We read history, so we really should know that the “Deep State” is simply what they used to call “how kingdoms get run, old chap.”  Pick any monarch, any time before about 1700, and you’ll find that the king’s decrees are all drawn up by Some Commoner, the Vicar of Nowhere-in-Particular.

This system had two huge advantages.  The first, obvious, one is: You get competent people running things.  The Earl of This and the Duke of That were good at besieging castles, but, being illiterate lance-thrusters, were notso-hotso at the paperwork that actually got stuff done, even back then.  This was even, perhaps especially, true of monarchs who fancied themselves intellectuals — Henry VIII really was pretty smart, but it took grasping, ambitious commoner Thomas Cromwell to make the kingdom go.

The hidden advantage is: It binds grasping, ambitious commoners to the system.  It was obvious, though of course unstated, that after so many years of loyal service the Vicar of Nowhere-in-Particular would get promoted into the ranks of the minor gentry.  Or his son would, which was even better — he’s got all of his Dad’s brains, combined with a first-rate education and a lifetime’s experience hobnobbing with real aristos.  Dad will never be more than a jumped-up commoner despite his titles; the Second Baronet Nowhere-in-Particular will be the kind of crashing snob that even other bluebloods find hard to take.  However great he is at hiding it, Dad will always be suspected (rightly) of nursing a grudge against The System, having endured a lifetime of slights from titled morons whose very lives depend utterly on his brains and drive.  Junior, though, will be the most loyal servant the Crown ever had — nobody is more vehement in defense of the aristocracy’s ancient privileges than a guy who bought his patents of nobility six months ago.

Our Deep State has dispensed with all that, to its great detriment.  We never had patents of nobility in the USA, alas, but we had a fair approximation of it in the Ivy League.  Read any F. Scott Fitzgerald novel to see how it worked.  Fitzgerald’s parents were nouveaux riches, hicks from the sticks in the frozen ass end of Minnesota; Fitzgerald was the Ivy League’s Ivy Leaguer, a preppie snob that would’ve put Bret Easton Ellis to shame.*

You’ll never quite measure up to the real Skull and Bonesmen, and you’ll never marry a Daughter of the American Revolution, but you’ll live a pretty nice life somewhere in the upper-mid levels of the government.  Your kids, which you’ll have with a cousin of a Daughter of the American Revolution, will be legacies at Harvard, and their kids will make partner at a white-shoe law firm in Manhattan (after a brief stint in the JAG corps, because we all must do our bit for Uncle Sam)….

But now that’s gone.  The Ivies, like all American universities, have been transformed by an obsession with collecting Diversity Pokemon.  Instead of expensive finishing schools, where hicks from the sticks learn to use the correct salad fork while rubbing elbows with their betters, they’re now nothing but holding pens for those minorities who are best at gaming the system….  Actually, it’s worse than that, because after a few decades of this, kids from the sticks no longer realize that it’s “The System” that they’re gaming.  Hell, they don’t even know it’s a game.  They think this is just the way it is — being slightly darker than your classmates while writing #BlackLivesMatter 100 times on your admissions essay just is being Better Than You.

History is full of lessons about what happens when grubby, ambitious commoners no longer buy into the system.  It’s not good.  It’s time to take a second look at aristocracy.

 

 

*Ellis is, or at least until recently was, sometimes described as the modern F. Scott Fitzgerald.  Whether that’s a bigger insult to Ellis or Fitzgerald is an excercise left for the reader.

SNUL: Religion

When they aren’t busy telling you how Smart they are — this takes up approximately 92.4% of their day — atheists point out that religion is great for social control (it’s a “technology of power,” as the academic phrase is).  There’s some truth to this – way back in the BCs, Cicero said no two augurs could meet without smiling.*  Religion justifies the power of the powerful, and reconciles the powerless to their fate.

Problem is, man is a religious animal, because man is a striving animal.  I forget who said it, but at least 75% of mankind’s problems are caused by our inability to sit quietly.  Pick up any volume of medieval history, and marvel at how many people knew they’d end up hanged, drawn, and quartered, but did it anyway… because they felt their honor had been insulted, or over a woman, or on an obscure point of theology, or any of two dozen other things, all of which boil down to “I was bored.”  If a man doesn’t have any real problems to struggle with, he’ll invent some.

Because history prior to the 20th century was little more than biographies of the powerful, this bedrock truth about human nature was obscured until modern times.  Because Henry IV, say, took that stuff about the Salic Law seriously, we took it seriously, long past the point where everyone should’ve realized it makes no damn sense whatsoever.  He was already King of England; why on earth did he feel he needed to be King of France, too?   Your Lefty historian, who thinks the world is run by Mr. Pennybags and his homies, actually had a point in that regard.  But because “capitalism” and “toxic masculinity” are at least semi-plausible explanations for Henry’s behavior (if you don’t think about it too much, or use empathy), they trot them out at book length and hey, bingo, there’s your People’s History of the Hundred Years’ War.**

The truth is, the man who has everything he could ever want is a miserable creature.  Even people for whom real hardship is a recent memory will, instead of kicking back and enjoying it, throw over their hard-won luxury for a new struggle.  Orwell saw this clearly, in his review of Mein Kampf:

Also [Hitler] has grasped the falsity of the hedonistic attitude to life. Nearly all western thought since the last war, certainly all ‘progressive’ thought, has assumed tacitly that human beings desire nothing beyond ease, security and avoidance of pain. In such a view of life there is no room, for instance, for patriotism and the military virtues. The Socialist who finds his children playing with soldiers is usually upset, but he is never able to think of a substitute for the tin soldiers; tin pacifists somehow won’t do. Hitler, because in his own joyless mind he feels it with exceptional strength, knows that human beings don’t only want comfort, safety, short working-hours, hygiene, birth-control and, in general, common sense; they also, at least intermittently, want struggle and self-sacrifice, not to mention drums, flags and loyalty-parades. However they may be as economic theories, Fascism and Nazism are psychologically far sounder than any hedonistic conception of life. The same is probably true of Stalin’s militarised version of Socialism. All three of the great dictators have enhanced their power by imposing intolerable burdens on their peoples. Whereas Socialism, and even capitalism in a more grudging way, have said to people ‘I offer you a good time,’ Hitler has said to them ‘I offer you struggle, danger and death,’ and as a result a whole nation flings itself at his feet. Perhaps later on they will get sick of it and change their minds, as at the end of the last war. After a few years of slaughter and starvation ‘Greatest happiness of the greatest number’ is a good slogan, but at this moment ‘Better an end with horror than a horror without end’ is a winner. Now that we are fighting against the man who coined it, we ought not to underrate its emotional appeal.

A man of the Left himself, Orwell couldn’t see that “Progressivism” can only offer “the hedonistic attitude to life.”  Progressives know there is no God, and only stupid people believe in Him.  They are Smart, and therefore salvation must be found down here, in this world.  Who could possibly ever want more than three hots and a cot?  It’s so bourgeois  to think otherwise.

In 1940, when even Americans involuntarily went to bed hungry from time to time, you could forgive yourself for thinking that we’d eventually educate ourselves out of this bourgeois longing for something more than material comfort.  But who can doubt it now?  Everyone in the West has everything anyone could ever possibly want, to the point that poor people routinely die of heart disease, and we’re miserable.  Does a person who’s content with life worry about which gender he is?  Compared with your average modern SJW, Lenin was a sane, moderate, reasonable man.  The greater the material security, the worse the mental instability.

That’s what religion’s for.  That’s why belief in God is such a great “technology of control,” if you must.  One never lacks things to struggle against when one struggles against oneself.  There are always new sins to root out, new temptations to overcome.  The calmest, happiest, sanest men I’ve ever met were monks, who entered the cloister specifically to do perpetual penance for the world’s sins.  Christians can be as venal, hypocritical, and shitty as any other people, but at least they keep it local.  They know there’s no salvation in this world, so they won’t attempt to bring Utopia about by killing off all the badthinkers.

If you want to start winning the culture war, bring God back… whether you believe in Him or not.

 

 

 

 

 

*Though they of course don’t know Cicero said this.  Like all Smart folks, atheists don’t read much — apart from some stuff about Heisenberg they don’t have the math to misunderstand properly, all their objections to religion (=Christianity) were mooted, and answered, in the first few centuries AD.  Julian the Apostate was doing their point-and-laugh routine — and doing it much, much better — all the way back in the 4th century.

**There actually IS a book out there called The Hundred Years War: A People’s History, and it’s not Lefty claptrap.  It’s actually really good, with the best short explanation of the whole thing I’ve ever come across.  I’m very much not a medievalist, so I can’t comment on the technical stuff, but it’s a good read if you’re into that kind of thing.

Gender Differences are Real

Lots of commentary on this out in the “Game” sphere.

While it’s commonplace for snooty, liberal academics to blame men for every misery to betide humanity, boffins at Yale have taken this sexist blame-game to absurd new heights.

They are claiming that modern men are too stupid – or “feel threatened by their success” – to date 30-something “selfish career women,” who are increasingly having to freeze their eggs until they meet men they deem worthy of siring their children.

That is the conclusion of a Yale study that interviewed 150 women at eight IVF clinics in America and Israel – and experts admit the trend is identical in the UK.

Vox Day’s response is typical:

There is no two ways around it. Overeducating women is bad for society. There is a reason women weren’t historically schooled past an eighth-grade education. Hypergamy means most of the intelligent and highly-educated women will never marry or have children, guaranteeing that the next generation will be less intelligent than the previous one. It is a disastrously dysgenic social policy.

And he’s right.  Higher ed should be restricted for women.  The gals need to take one for the team.

Now, before y’all get too upset with me about “freedom” and “individual rights” and “that’s not who we are as Americans,” consider an analogy: Conscription.

I’d be a lousy infantryman.  Not just because I’m old and fat and have terrible knees — even when I was young and lean and had great knees, I still would’ve been a lousy grunt.  Not bad enough to get my platoon-mates killed, I’d like to think, but pretty bad.  GIs need a mentality and a skillset that I don’t have.  Nor, I hasten to add, is this because I’d be a much better officer — I’d actually be a much worse officer than a GI, what with the map reading and the spatial reasoning and all.  Based on my ASVAB scores, my likely MOS is either “sneaky little Propaganda Corps weasel” or “cook.”

And yet, if drafted into the infantry, into the infantry I’d go.  It’s part of the social contract for young men in a republic: You go when you’re called, and you go where you’re called, because the Army’s needs — which are your country’s needs — outweigh everything.  And all the opportunities I “missed” while I was out there serving my country?  Oh well.  Welcome to the Big Green Machine, buddy — everyone has his hopes and dreams deferred until we win, and lots of folks will never, ever get a chance to make anything of themselves.  War is hell, but losing is much worse, for everyone.

See what I mean?  And here’s the kicker:  Every man who read this got it.  ZERO women did.  Gender differences are real, they’re important, and they need to be a part of social policy.

Stabbing Paddy O’Grady

Let’s say you are, like most of us, a Recent-American — your great-great-great Grandpa stepped off the boat at Ellis Island a decade or so after the Civil War, with an elementary-school education, a few words of English, and $100 in his pocket.

Let’s further say that by the end of his life your GGGGP, through good old fashioned immigrant pluck and hard work, had parlayed that $100 into a modest farm somewhere out in flyover country.

He never did have that much English, and he never lost his nearly incomprehensible accent.  They were realists back in those days, so he knew those two things meant that, however much he loved his adopted homeland, he’d forever be a stranger here.  So he made sure that his boy, your great-great Grandpa, went to school every day and studied hard, loved baseball and apple pie and was indistinguishable from any other American boy.

And he did.  So G3P, in true American fashion, turned his much better education into a much bigger farm.  His much better education let him see the way things were going, and he knew that his son — your great-Grandpa — would need an education in the latest scientific farming techniques to keep up.  So he saved up and sent G2P to the local cow college, and when he got back from the trenches in France, G2P made the family farm the envy of the county.

Having seen both ends of life, G2P knew that the world was changing faster than he could keep up with, despite his fancy education.  Farming was consolidating; not even his envy-of-the-county farm could stave off the big combines forever.  So he made sure that his son, your Grandpa, not only went to school, but got into a profession.  GP went to law school at State U and made a nice middle class life out of it.

His boy, your father, went to an even better law school, and when it was your turn, you got into Harvard.  And now you’ve got yourself a pretty nice life — you’re not rich, let alone a 1%er, but you’re doing fine, such that your boy can go to any college he wants, do anything he wants… you’ve busted your ass your whole life, using the accumulated wisdom of all your forefathers, to make sure he can.

With me?  Now, let’s say your wife gets into geneaological research, and in the course of poking around in your family’s past, finds out something terrible about your great-great-great-grandfather, he of the little English and the $100.  That hundred bucks?  He stole it.  He knifed a guy named Paddy O’Grady on the boat over and stole his life savings.  What would you do?

For most of us, the answer is: Nothing.  That was 1870, for pete’s sake.  Nobody alive even remembers anyone who could’ve known G4P.  And however dishonestly he came by his $100, the rest of it was all him.  And certainly, whatever else the rest of the family tree accomplished, was theirs alone.  No Western ethical system would disagree with this.  Few Eastern systems would — even if you believe, with Hindus and Buddhists, that we suffer over lifetimes for our sins, at least they’re our sins.  Only Confucians and Communists hold your great-great-great-grandparents’ crimes against you.

That’s just the thing, isn’t it?  The Left finds it politically useful to pretend that certain people can, and should, be held to account for the sins of their forebears.  But only certain people, of course — nobody’s demanding “slavery reparations” from, say, Ghana, even though just about every African sold into bondage in the New World was sold by a fellow African.  And surely if Paddy O’Grady’s great-great-great-grandson showed up at their door, demanding a room in their house and half their bank account for what great-great-great-grandpa did back on the potato boat, they’d throw him out on his ear.

That’s how it is with everything Left.  They can, of course, make a case that “you didn’t build that,” that “America was built on the backs of slaves,” etc.  When you’re talking about large historical trends, it doesn’t make sense to talk about individuals.  But, in the end, we live and die as individuals.  Our world is made up of individuals, and individuals, contributing to something larger than themselves, make up Society (their collective contributions are called History).  Leftism, when you finally get to the bottom of it, is little more than an attempt to enjoy, as individuals, the accumulated social, political, and economic capital of the group without contributing anything to it themselves.  Lenin’s famous questions — “who? whom?” — are the best ever devised for getting to the bottom of things…. but as the man said, SJWs always project.  Ask those questions to the Left and watch what happens.  Paddy O’Grady?  Never heard of him.  Besides, he was a kulak — the bastard deserved it.

SNUL: “Spatial Justice”

This is making the rounds of the rightosphere.  Commenting on academic stupidity is kinda my thing, so per union regulation 23.2.5(b), here goes: Once again we see that Leftism is, at bottom, one big category error:

Students will investigate spatial justice and injustice in the multi-ethnic city through the lens of three thematic technologies that have literally built and transformed LA into a global metropolis: cars and highways; networking technologies culminating in the Internet and World Wide Web; and film and broadcast media.

Pop quiz, hotshots: What are cars and highways for?  What is their purpose?

Never having had them, the Left has no idea that the answer is: “jobs.”  One has a car, and uses a freeway, to get to one’s job.  Cars and freeways aren’t “symbols” that “encode” anything (the meaning behind the even uglier neologism “thematic technologies”); they’re tools.  A car can also be a symbol of something, of course — cf. Midlife Crisis Guy in his new Corvette — but its fundamental purpose, the category to which it belongs, is “tool.”  Cars — all transportation and transportation infrastructure — are a means to an end.

Lefties don’t know this, because they don’t read.  If they did, they’d know that this kind of thing has already been covered, extensively, and that focusing on the symbolic aspects of infrastructure is a great way to make a city unliveable.  There’s even a big fancy academic study about it: James C. Scott’s Seeing like a State.  The subtitle says it all: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed.  It goes without saying that Scott is no kind of conservative, but he is an honest man, who saw the nose in front of his face.  His descriptions of cities like Brasilia, Brasil, which were designed on the principles of Le Corbusier — houses are “machines for living” — are alone worth the price of a used copy.  It’s actually a good read, and widely available.  Check it out.