2021 Best and Worst Commencement Orations

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AMAC (Association of Mature American Citizens) published a list The Best & Worst Commencement Addresses of the Year.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Another school year has come to a close at colleges and universities across the country, but before the class of 2021 turned the tassel to begin their journey as new graduates, they were given some sage – and in some cases, pretty strange – advice by leading politicians, academics, diplomats, and captains of industry. You may have missed most of this year’s most notable commencement addresses, so AMAC Newsline has compiled the highlights–and the lowlights–of this year’s speeches.

“The Biggest Risk Of All Is That We Stop Taking Risks At All”

Former Republican Governor of Indiana Mitch Daniels and current President of Purdue University gave perhaps the best commencement address of the season. Daniels discussed how, during the past year, America had witnessed not only a public health pandemic but also a pandemic of fear that had paralyzed America’s leaders and caused them to flinch in the face of making difficult decisions. Daniels challenged his Boilermakers to have “the courage to act on the conclusions you reach.” Here are some of the best parts of the speech:

“The risk of failure, of a hit to one’s reputation, or just that the gains don’t outweigh the costs, all these can deter or even paralyze a person out of fulfilling the responsibility someone has entrusted to them.”

“This last year, many of your elders failed this fundamental test of leadership. They let their understandable human fear of uncertainty overcome their duty to balance all the interests they were responsible for. They hid behind the advice of experts in one field but ignored the warnings of experts in other realms that they might do harm beyond the good they hoped to accomplish. Sometimes they let what might be termed the mad pursuit of zero, in this case, zero risks of anyone contracting the virus, block out other competing concerns, like the protection of mental health, the educational needs of small children, or the survival of small businesses. Pursuing one goal to the utter exclusion of all others is not to make a choice but to run from it. It’s not leadership; it’s abdication.”

“Maybe the great historian Jacques Barzun summed it up best: ‘The last degree of caution is cowardice.’ Certainty is an illusion. Perfect safety is a mirage. Zero is always unattainable, except in the case of absolute zero where, as you remember, all motion and life itself stop.”

“Your Most Important Titles Will Be Wife, Husband, Mother, Father, Follower Of Christ.”

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave an inspirational commencement address to students at Regent University in Virginia. What set Pompeo’s speech apart from others was the fact that it challenged the class of 2021 to put faith and family at the center of their career rather than just purely professional accolades and material accomplishments.

“You should all know that life will offer you lots of ways to use your talents, your education, industry, your intelligence to achieve personal success, how you define it, in your chosen life, in your chosen professions. And it will also offer you chances to know a far more lasting happiness by serving someone far greater than yourself or your self-interest – your God.”

“Our country must remember that no one can enjoy the pursuit of happiness if you cannot own the fruits of your own labor. And no society can retain its legitimacy or a virtuous character without religious freedom.”

“We must cherish our freedom, particularly this freedom to practice our faith, not just for the opportunities it provides to each of us, but for the goodness of living a life in accordance with God without oppression that it makes possible. And when government oppresses that freedom, we must stand up. Each of you have that responsibility. It is a big burden.”

“Our Goal Is An Independent Mind, In The Service Of Truth Instead Of Fads Or Groupthink.”

Joe Biden was originally supposed to speak at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. But Biden snubbed the Catholic school, apparently choosing to stay away from Notre Dame after more than 4,400 Notre Dame students and alumni wrote a letter noting that Mr. Biden had embraced “the most pro-abortion and anti-religious liberty public policy program in history.”

Instead, Jimmy Dunne gave the commencement address to Notre Dame graduates. Dunne works for an investment company that was once located on the 104th floor of 2 World Trade Center. Many of the company’s employees died on 9/11, but Dunne has worked tirelessly to help the sons and daughters of his former coworkers get the scholarships they need to attend colleges across the country, including Notre Dame.

In an emotional speech, Dunne showed the moral courage to say the things that every college student needs to hear, but no one would ever hear in a commencement address delivered by Mr. Biden. Dunne asserted that the real purpose of education is to teach about the “permanent things” to build “character, not just knowledge, moral aspiration, not just ambition.” Dunne appeared to call out cancel culture and woke college campuses as “fads” and “groupthink.” Dunne concluded his remarks with a memorable line calling out Joe Biden for not showing up. He said: “It almost makes me feel bad for the President, because he missed this wonderful sight of a graduating class as promising as any in America.”

“The mark of a great university is that you learn more than they’re teaching. Here, we talk about forming ‘the whole person,’ and it’s a true commitment grounded in real things, permanent things. The aim is character, not just knowledge, moral aspiration, not just ambition. You’ve all got degrees in different disciplines, but you have a single major in common – and that is leadership. The fashions that wash over higher education don’t get far at this university. Our goal is an independent mind, in the service of truth instead of fads or groupthink. The great problems and moral obligations of life are not suddenly discovered here. Those obligations have been the core purpose from the start.”

“You are a quiet — you’re a really dull class. I mean, come on, man. Is the sun getting to you?”

Joe Biden gave what was easily the worst commencement address of any U.S. President in recent memory to cadets at the Coast Guard Academy. Biden started the speech by asserting: “[W]e’re going to speak for about four hours” and “I thought I was hot in a blue suit.” Biden mispronounced the name of a distinguished cadet, butchered a reference to a cadet handbook, and quoted a Chinese dictator.

On two occasions, Biden asked that the cadets clap for him. Early on, Biden tried to make a joke by chiding cadets for spending “a little too much time at the Slice,” a local pizza restaurant. But Biden did not get the laughs and applause he wanted, so he instructed the cadets: “You can clap. Come on, man.” On another occasion, Biden again demanded applause: “Congratulations the Bravo Company, by the way, on your victory. You can clap. It’s okay. Even if you’re lost, you gotta clap.”

The worst moment of the speech, though, occurred when Biden tried to tell a joke about the Navy that fell totally flat. Instead of just moving on, the man who is supposed to be America’s commander in chief directly insulted the very people who have pledged to fight and, if necessary, die to keep America safe. The actual White House transcript records Biden as saying: “You are a quiet — you’re a really dull class. I mean, come on, man. Is the sun getting to you? I would think you’d have an opportunity when I say that about the Navy to clap, but — but being here together.”

“Just Ask Any Marine Today, Would She Rather Carry 20 Pounds Of Batteries Or A Rolled Up Solar Panel, and I am positive she will tell you a solar panel, and so would he.”

Kamala Harris followed up Biden’s brutally bad commencement speech with a woke dud of her own. Harris, addressing graduates at the Naval Academy, showed where the Biden administration’s priorities truly are in terms of national defense when she asserted that “climate change” is a “very real threat to our national security.” Harris never once mentioned China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, or any of the other “real threats” to American national security during the course of her remarks. On the topic of climate change, Harris’s comments were laughable but not in the way Harris intended them to be. She told the Navy midshipmen and Marines:

“You are ocean engineers who will help navigate ships through thinning ice. You are mechanical engineers who will help reinforce sinking bases. You are electrical engineers who will soon help convert solar and wind energy into power, convert solar and wind energy into combat power. And just ask any Marine today, would she rather carry 20 pounds of batteries or a rolled up solar panel, and I am positive she will tell you a solar panel, and so would he.”

But, solar panels store energy in batteries. The Marine, regardless of gender, will still have to carry a battery along with the solar panel. That technicality aside, these bizarre remarks were delivered by Harris as part of a commencement address on Memorial Day weekend. The sacrifices that Navy midshipmen have made for this country throughout history were never mentioned during the course of the remarks. Rather, Harris sounded like she had shown up to give a speech at the National Resources Defense Council instead of the U.S. Naval Academy. She used her time to issue veiled threats like, “One country’s carbon emissions can threaten the sustainability of the whole earth.” The likelihood that Navy graduates can actually learn something from such statements that will help them as they defend this country is doubtful at best, which is why this commencement address earns last place for the 2021 season.

 

 

Joakim Book Skewers Sacred Environmental Cows

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Joakim Book is an economist and social observer with a knack for pithy critiques of current governmental foibles.  He has pierced the fog of global warming/climate change hysteria in several articles, but his POV is best summarized in his AIER essay Climate Catastrophism and a Sensible Environmentalism.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.  If you are familiar or not with his work, enjoy the read and do explore the links

Like many of us, I had an iconic and charismatic high school teacher who left a lasting impression. He used to say something memorable about asking for forgiveness: “Apologize if you’re in the wrong,” he said, “but double down if you’re not.”

As the pro-lockdown media poured its anger over the Great Barrington Declaration and other voices for human freedom and dignity have been silenced or viciously attacked, allow me to heed my high school teacher’s great advice ‒ and double down.

Much of the outrage over AIER’s sponsoring and hosting of the Declaration had nothing to do with what the scientists in it said, or even the topic of societal disagreement that it captures. Conspiratorial writers from Byline Times to The Guardian as well as editors at Wikipedia attacked AIER for a minor, inconsequential connection to the “evil” Koch Foundation, damning the Institute’s efforts in a laughable attempt of guilt-by-association.

As a carte blanche ‒ the ultimate “gotcha” in these unenlightened and confused times ‒ many of these outlets attacked AIER for “downplay[ing] the threats of the environmental crisis,” and linked specifically to a number of my climate change articles.

I don’t see how I have anything to apologize for regarding what’s in those articles ‒ so instead I’ll double down.

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How to do environmentalism, and how not to do environmentalism

A tragic dissonance has emerged in most popular climate arguments: a childlike refusal of accepting the lesser of two evils, of trading off one goal for another. The more ardently you push climate policies, it seems, the more strongly you hold romantic and unrealistic beliefs about how we can repent for our environmentalist sins. In impossibly short times, it is believed, we can effortlessly transition to 100% renewable energy; overhaul society completely, but at no cost whatsoever; and our restrictive climate policies will even boost our economies and create jobs!

You must presume that the world is a pretty sinister place if greedy capitalists, supposedly in it for the money, are all leaving these “obvious” opportunities on the table.

Never mind that renewables ‒ or more aptly called “unreliables” ‒ can’t power a modern civilization, that their intermittency problem is light years behind where its proponents assume it to be, that they’re not energy-dense enough to provide us with the energy and electricity we want. Without the amazing help of fossil fuels we couldn’t do half the things we’re currently doing ‒ living, eating, flourishing, helping, traveling (well…), producing.

None of that matters; we need to fix the climate, activists say, and quell CO2 emissions urgently. But while we’re at it we must also ensure equal gender representation on corporate boards, and shut down tax havens, and confiscate the rich’s productive assets. And naturally, end racial inequality, and most certainly regulate who may use a public bathroom carrying this or that gendered sign on it.

A cynic, perhaps reaching for a tin foil hat or the closest religious text to understand how this could possibly make sense, would conclude that catastrophists are not really addressing the problem they say they are. Alternatively, climate change can’t be that bad if the same Green New Deal bill that saves humanity is littered with minimum wage laws and paid maternity leave and a range of other social policies that just happen to align with what the hard-left has long wanted.

But we don’t have to be cynics to derive this conclusion: its proponents freely and openly say so. The British organization ‘Extinction Rebellion,’ whose infamous promoters chain themselves to trains and block London roads for media attention (or sling fake blood at buildings), happily confess that they do things that feel right rather than what would have material impact for their cause.

For years, people like Naomi Klein, the author of This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate, have said that their goal is to destroy capitalism ‒ and climate change just happens to be the best tool and best argument she has found. Simon Hannah for OpenDemocracy describes capitalism as having a “’parasitoid’ relationship to the Earth.” Capitalism, he writes, “is simply incompatible with social justice” and the climate change issue offers a vivid illustration of this.

If you’re concerned about these other societal problems ‒ which you could be as they are serious concerns in their own right ‒ then you’re also unavoidably telling me that you don’t think the climate crisis is existential or even that bad. After all, if you think climate change will kill millions or billions of people, why would you bother, for instance, throwing everything and the kitchen sink at a coronavirus the mortality of which is a rounding error compared to the apocalyptic climate future you see? (When faced with claims of mass death, always ask how exactly that’s supposed to happen as we’re safer, richer, better fed, and better protected against the powers of nature than ever before).

The worse and more unavoidable the damages from a changing planet are, the more acute does a rapid transition to nuclear power look, and the greater the merits of geoengineering ‒ for instance, artificially spewing out sulfur into the high atmosphere, mimicking large volcano eruptions of the past.

Michael Shellenberger, a pro-nuclear environmentalist, writes

The problem posed by the existence of nuclear energy was that it proved we didn’t need to radically reorganize society to solve environmental problems. We just needed to build nuclear plants instead of coal-burning ones. And so the New Left environmentalists attacked nuclear energy as somehow bad for the environment.

[S]olar farms require hundreds of times more land, an order of magnitude more mining for materials, and create hundreds of times more waste, than do nuclear plants. And wind farms kill hundreds of thousands of threatened and endangered birds, may make the hoary bat go extinct, and kill more people than nuclear plants.

Nuclear energy should be the environmentalist’s greatest gift: in one fell swoop we could make a serious dent in CO2 emissions. But of course, the more ardent an environmentalist you are, the more fiercely you oppose nuclear, going nuts from just voicing the option (“Nuclear is awful, filthy, unclean, dangerous, and unsafe!”).

It’s like all the previous arguments about how devastating human civilization is for the planet, how desperately urgent it is for us to take action, that we “listen to the scientists” as Greta Thunberg urges us, just go out the window. Well, not those scientists, explaining how modern nuclear plants can safely power our societies. Or how unreliables give us higher electricity prices and more CO2 emissions in our electricity mix. Or how modern engineering can tame the sea. Or how modern information technology, large-scale supply chains, and construction of storm shelters have reduced Bangladeshi deaths from cyclones by 99% in a generation, even though Bangladesh has a much larger population today.

Sensible and Balanced Approach

We should deal with the threats of climate change, but we should do so sensibly and in conjunction with other threats. Because one thing is dangerous and potentially harmful, every other dangerous and harmful thing doesn’t just go away. Do things like the World Health Organization recommends here, things that help against the baseline danger of nature as well as the increased risk from climate change:

The development of a 500 metre coastal mangrove forest zone will further reduce the vulnerability to cyclones, which is especially important given the likelihood of a rise in sea level and an increase in tropical storm frequency and strength due to climate change.

In a special climate issue of the Scientific American from last year, climate scientist Jennifer Francis was accounting for recent extreme weather events. After several long paragraphs outlining how bad the record-setting heat waves of the 2018 summer had been in the U.S., Japan, Scandinavia, and in the Arctic, she wrote, “Worldwide, thousands of people without air-conditioning died.” (emphasis added)

Yes, exactly! Scorching heat waves are bad for people, with or without climate change. A sensible, effective, and direct way to fix that… is ensuring that people have access to air-conditioning! Instead of aiming for some elaborate government-mandated degrowth platform, circular economies, carbon tax, or subsidies for solar and wind ‒ how about just giving people cash for air conditioners? That should be much more effective in preventing deaths from inhospitable elements, even if climate change makes nature a little bit less safe for humans.

Most changes to the climate can’t be rolled back

What’s scary about the climate impact of the CO2 we’ve already emitted into the atmosphere is that it lingers there for hundreds of years. Unless we find a way to remove it from the skies, much of what will happen to the planet over the next century or so is already “baked in.”  That also means that we must prepare for those changes rather than muck about with blunt tools like carbon taxes or symbolic bans on plastic bags.

So let’s abandon fanciful and fleetingly ineffective climate policies.

  • Let’s rapidly transition to the cleanest and most reliable electricity source we have (nuclear).
  • Let’s build protective dams along vulnerable coastlines, and experiment with ways to raise and reclaim land from the sea.
  • Most importantly ‒ and globally just ‒ let’s make sure the poorest of the poor can enrich themselves enough so that they too stand a chance against the inevitable changes that we know will come.
  • Let’s stop torturing ourselves with totalitarian policies against a virus we can’t control.
  • Let’s stop injuring poor countries with our obstacles to their goods and services, and their migrating people.

Those are climate policies that a sensible, pro-human environmentalist could get behind. Blunt and small-impact carbon taxes, Paris Agreements with next-to-no effect, or symbolic gestures like recycling ‒ not so much.

How’s that for doubling down?

Joakim Book is a writer, researcher and editor on all things money, finance and financial history. He holds a masters degree from the University of Oxford and has been a visiting scholar at the American Institute for Economic Research in 2018 and 2019.  His AIER essays are here.  As readers can see from the above article, Book creates many provocative capsules.  Some examples from his work:

Reshuffling who owns the instruments that finance the physical assets that emit the byproduct CO2 doesn’t change anything about their emissions: the CO2 enters the atmosphere whether you, me, Warren Buffett, or Russian oligarchs own the facilities.

Still, none of the mainstreaming structures we had built over decades turned the tide as much as did an iconic, blonde, white(!) girl with Asperger’s. . . Following her popular success, the most powerful institutions in our fiat world – the central banks – have not resisted the pull of this inane black hole. They “want to become the guardians of the environment as well” begins Simon Clark’s recent article in the Wall Street Journal, identifying an eerie trend of mission creep and central bank activism. They can’t hit their own targets very well, but still wish to dabble in everybody else’s.

Years ago I suggested that climate activists pool their funds and go into the (re)insurance business, specifically to address their concerns about financial climate risk. With a longer time horizon and lower required rate of return, you might even have an edge over financial incumbents.

Politics is a game that shifts the natural and inherent relationship between human beings. Ordinarily, people in their commercial or civic engagements have strong incentives to harmonize, to avoid conflict, streamline, make efficiency gains, and reach workable consensus; they have skin in the game, bear responsibility and costs for the (negative) outcomes of their actions, and often simply want to get on with their lives. Politicians, involved in their sinister games, disrupt this harmony.

We have four centuries of evidence that, over time and on net, the market process that enriches us gradually overtakes the government power that impoverishes us. But during this time, we can have long periods where government power makes life worse, over and above what innovation, growth, and individual ingenuity could marshal.

Media coverage inundates us with a constant flow of catastrophes from one part or the world or another, while overlooking the great non-events of the world. When super cyclones kill 128 people instead of the hundreds of thousands they used to or would have, we don’t even hear about them. When hundreds of thousands of people are lifted out of extreme poverty a day, every day, that’s no longer newsworthy. The result is, Gapminder notes, that “people end up carrying around a sack of outdated facts that you got in school (including knowledge that often was outdated when acquired in school).”

Doctors abide by the “First, do no harm” promise. Maybe journalists should too.

Far from being settled, climate science is tricky: we don’t know well what happens to global temperatures when atmospheric CO2 doubles (“climate sensitivity”); we can’t properly model clouds and cloud formation, crucial for how much of the sun’s incoming heat will be reflected away; the range for best-guesses as to what the global temperature rise over the coming century will be is vast (maybe 1° Celsius – maybe 5° Celsius) – so vast, in fact, that it hardly warrants a quantification.

The sustainability crowd has managed to make this word mean a lot more things than that. So much so that the same Cambridge Dictionary lists a secondary meaning for ‘sustainable:’ “Causing little or no damage to the environment and therefore able to continue for a long time”(emphasis added). The secondary meaning of its opposite, ‘unsustainable,’ is similarly bonkers: “causing damage to the environment by using more of something than can be replaced naturally.”  Lots of things are wrong with these seemingly innocent lines, and I’ll focus on three: the environment as a friendly sentient being, the causal chain between environmental damage and sustainability, and the replacement rate of resources.

Human beings are the organism that has been the most successful at removing nature’s obstacles from our path, and protecting ourselves from its damaging forces. Even though there are six billion more of us today than in 1900, fewer people die at the hand of nature’s powers. That’s us impacting the environment and it is cause for celebration. Impact away!

For some reason, Joakim Book reminds me of Jimbob:

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Who runs education

 

jimbob 15M people

 

The Untaxed Fat Cats: Universities and Foundations

An interesting opinion appeared at Washington Post, of all places.  Despite their slogan being “Democracy Dies in Darkness”, this article is the rare bit of brightness at that news organ given their bent of shining light only on all things progressive, and casting conservative concerns into the outer darkness. The essay by Henry Olsen is So you want to tax the rich? Okay, let’s start with Harvard.  I am sympathetic to his argument because it is universities and foundations culpable above all in spending to spread so much poison into western civilization, including (among others) critical race theory and climate hysteria.  But would the government do anything different with the money from imposing comparable taxes?  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

President Biden and congressional Democrats seem determined to raise taxes on the rich, especially the rate paid on capital gains. If they’re really serious about this, there’s one sector of American wealth that is undertaxed even by today’s standards: universities and foundations.

The amount of wealth held by major colleges and large grant-making foundations is astounding. The National Association of College and University Business Officers’ annual study found that 107 institutions held endowments of $1 billion or more as of June 30, 2019. Together, these institutions of higher learning held $494 billion in assets, or roughly a tenth of the total net worth of all individual billionaires in the United States combined. The university figure is surely much higher today.

Charitable foundations hold even more wealth. One estimate found they held more than $1 trillion in assets in 2017, with the richest five alone holding nearly $100 billion between them. Given that the stock market has risen more than 50 percent since then, their portfolios should be hundreds of billions of dollars richer. That means America’s charitable foundations and billionaire universities hold at least $1.5 trillion in assets. That’s far more wealth than that of Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk and the founders of Google and Oracle combined.

Democrats often criticize these billionaires for not paying their fair shares, but they pay a lot more than these wealthy institutions. Rich universities and grant-making foundations pay a mere 1.4 percent in federal taxes on their net investment income, a fraction of the 23.8 percent rich people pay on their capital gains. To put this in perspective, if Gates made $100 million in trading Microsoft stock, he would pay $23.8 million in federal capital gains tax, plus any state income taxes he might owe. If the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation made the same $100 million trading the same stock, it would pay Uncle Sam a mere $1.4 million.

There’s no reason these billionaire institutions should continue to be exempt from paying normal capital gains rates on their income if the public’s need is so great. Harvard may cry that paying higher taxes on the gains from its nearly $40 billion endowment would force it to crimp spending on student aid or faculty research, but wealthy individuals can make the same argument: Higher taxes would reduce the amount of money they can invest in tech start-ups or other economically productive ventures. Plus, both the wealthy institution and the rich individual have more than enough money to make do and adjust to the higher tax rates, especially if the public spending their taxes would finance is so essential.

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Even taxing rich institutions at lower rates would raise considerable revenue for the federal government. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) recently introduced her Ultra-Millionaire Tax Act, which would levy an annual 3 percent wealth tax on individuals with assets of $1 billion or more. Perhaps not coincidentally, it does not apply to institutions such as the former law professor’s old employer, Harvard University. Had Warren applied the same wealth tax on universities, good old Harvard, which had a $39.4 billion endowment as of 2019, would pay nearly $120 million annually under Warren’s proposal, more than twice the $49.8 million it paid on its net investment income in 2019.

Applying Warren’s tax to the combined fortunes of ultra-rich colleges and foundations would easily raise more than $30 billion a year. That’s not chump change.

Democrats would never take up this charge, especially given how much these institutions skew to the left. Only 3 percent of Harvard’s faculty members, for example, are conservatives compared with almost 78 percent who say they are “liberal” or “very liberal.” Harvard isn’t much of an outlier; a recent study found that registered Democrats at 32 elite colleges and universities outnumber registered Republicans by more than 10 to 1. Foundations also tilt heavily to the left, with clearly left-wing foundations possessing more than 10 times the assets of clearly right-wing institutions. Treating institutional wealth the same as Democrats propose treating individual wealth clearly would harm their friends much more than it would harm their enemies.

That shouldn’t matter, however. Wealth is wealth, and massive accumulations of it should be taxed regardless of the source if the federal government needs the money. If Democrats won’t do that, it shows they care more about professors and foundation fat cats than they do about entrepreneurs. I doubt average Americans agree.

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Resist the Great Reset

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Sven and Beatrix von Storch among others are sounding the alarm about the elitist plot to install a “new world order” using the so-called “climate emergency” as the pretext.  Sven recently put out a video, and Beatrix explained what is the plan and why it must be resisted by reasonable and freedom-loving people in her article The Tyranny of Davos: What is the Agenda of the Great Reset?  Excerpts below in italics with my bolds.  And later on a backgrounder describing this new brand of class warfare.

Every year, the captains of industry, finance and politics meet at Davos: This year, World Economic Forum head Klaus Schwab wrote a book entitled “COVID-19: The Great Reset”, laying out a comprehensive agenda for an “accelerated system change“ under cover of the COVID crisis.

Without a doubt, his point of view reflects World Economic Forum debates and goals shared by large parts of the political and financial elite. These ideas are a grave danger to our liberty and democracy. That’s why I have summed them up in this article. Every citizen should know about them.

The Totalitarian Vision of Davos

Let’s summarize what is meant by the Great Reset:

  • The primary goal is a global economic regime under the motto of “global governance” to replace national democracies. The market economy will be replaced by a managed economy.
  • Companies will no longer obey their shareholders, instead being forced to comply with climate and gender policy requirements, due to pressure from the finance industry and aggressive far-left activists. Companies that do not follow suit will be destroyed.
  • This cabal between high finance and far-left activists serves to intimidate political opponents and companies that refuse to show “good will”. Distance rules and “social distancing” are to continue even after the crisis. This will spell the destruction of the middle class, catering, retail and the entertainment industry. Big Tech and e-commerce will take their place.
  • With the new means of digital surveillance and under the guise of public health, workers will be monitored and their behavior recorded.
  • The breakdown in consumer demand in large sections of the population due to the lockdown will be continued, and expanded in order to achieve global climate goals.


This agenda is a grave threat to our civil rights, democracy and the free market economy. It is inherently totalitarian and hostile to freedom.
We have to alert all our citizens to this danger, and use all democratic means to stop it.

 

Background from previous post 2021 Class Warfare: The Elite vs. The Middle

Aristotle Middle Class

Edward Ring explains in his essay at American Greatness Why America’s Elites Want to End the Middle Class.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Feudalism is a viable alternative to tolerating a middle class, especially lucrative to the multinational corporations and globalist billionaires that hide this agenda behind a moral masquerade.

It doesn’t require a conspiracy theorist to suggest these wholesale shifts in American culture are not happening by accident. Nor are they solely the result of nefarious intent, at least not among everyone occupying the highest rungs of power and influence in America. What motivates members of the American elite, billionaires and corporate boards alike, to approve of these radical changes?

Unsustainable Prosperity for Me, But Not for Thee?

One answer comes down to this: They believe the lifestyle of the American middle class is not sustainable, because the planet does not have the carrying capacity to extend an American level of consumption to everyone in the world. By dividing and confusing the American people, while wielding the moral bludgeons of saving the planet and eliminating racism, policies can be implemented that will break the American middle class and habituate them to expect less.

In the name of saving the planet, for example, new suburbs will become almost impossible to construct. Single-family detached homes with yards will be stigmatized as both unsustainable and racist, and to mitigate these evils, subsidized apartments will replace homes, with rent subsidized occupants. As America’s population grows via mass immigration, the footprint of cities will remain fixed. The politically engineered housing shortage will force increasing numbers of Americans into subsidized housing.

All of this is already happening, but it’s just getting started.
Similar cramdowns will occur with respect to all social amenities that consume resources.

Land is just the primary example, but water, energy, and transportation will all be affected. This new political economy will also depopulate rural areas—through corporate consolidation of farmland as regulations and resource costs drive small operations under and through punitive regulations and insurance burdens driving people out of the “urban-wildland interface.” Outside of major cities, for the most part, the only people left will be extremely wealthy landowners and corporate employees.

Joel Kotkin, who has studied and written about demographics and migrations for years, recently authored The Coming of Neo Feudalism: A Warning to the Global Middle Class. Of all the shorthand descriptions for the political economy that is coming, feudalism may be the best fit. As Kotkin puts it:

The new class structure resembles that of Medieval times. At the apex of the new order are two classes―a reborn clerical elite, the clerisy, which dominates the upper part of the professional ranks, universities, media and culture, and a new aristocracy led by tech oligarchs with unprecedented wealth and growing control of information. These two classes correspond to the old French First and Second Estates.

Below these two classes lies what was once called the Third Estate. This includes the yeomanry, which is made up largely of small businesspeople, minor property owners, skilled workers and private-sector-oriented professionals. Ascendant for much of modern history, this class is in decline while those below them, the new Serfs, grow in numbers―a vast, expanding property-less population.

Both Kotkin and Hanson assert that the trend towards feudalism can be reversed if people understand what is occurring and react effectively. To that end, it is necessary to understand that behind the obvious benefit these new rules have in service of the elites and their interests, there is a moral pretext. How solid is that pretext, that America’s middle class is not sustainable?

It All Comes Down to Energy

Energy is the prerequisite for economic growth. If you have abundant energy, you can have abundant water, transportation, communications, light, heat, mechanized agriculture, refrigerated medicines; everything. And the cold fact confronting America’s elites is this: For everyone on earth to consume half as much energy as Americans consume, total energy production worldwide would have to more than double.

Can America’s middle class sustain its current lifestyle while consuming half as much energy as it does today? Or is it feasible for energy production in the world not merely to double, but quadruple? And if that can be done, is it possible without paying too high a price in terms of environmental impact? And if it cannot be done, can the American experience, which is to enjoy a lifestyle many times greater than that enjoyed by most of the rest of the people on earth, be justified? And if so, why?

These are tough questions. Unequivocal, simple answers to these questions do not exist. But the conventional answer that motivates America’s elites must nonetheless be challenged, because until it is, they will cloak their consolidation of power and their elimination of America’s middle class in the moral imperatives of saving the planet and eliminating racism.

It may seem illogical to suppose the “systemic racism” canard is more easily disposed of, but that’s only because racism, by design, is the ongoing obsession in American media and politics. Despite this well-engineered obsession, resolute opposition to “anti-racist” racism is growing because it is an obvious lie. Racism, from all sources, still exists. But systemic racism against nonwhites, from every angle you look at it in modern American society, simply does not exist. Politicians, journalists, and academics need to find the courage to explain the facts and turn the tide. It can be done.

Saving the planet, on the other hand, is a moral imperative with ongoing urgency.

This urgency may be divided into two broad categories. The first is the traditional concerns of environmentalists, to preserve wildlife and wilderness, and reduce or eliminate sources of pollution. While environmentalists, especially in the United States, often go way too far in addressing these traditional concerns, these are genuine moral imperatives that must be balanced against the economic needs of civilization. This is an important but manageable debate.

The second, new concern of environmentalists, however, is the “climate emergency.” Grossly overblown, hyped for reasons that are transparently opportunistic, fraught with potential for tyranny and punitively expensive, the “climate emergency,” more than anything else, is the moral justification for destroying the American middle class.

In the name of saving the climate, federal and certain state authorities are restricting fossil fuel development, despite the fact that fossil fuels—coal, oil, and gas—still produce 85 percent of worldwide energy, with nuclear and hydropower making up another 11 percent. If energy production is going to double, which at a minimum it must, how on earth will that be accomplished without fossil fuel? It is impossible.

And the planners who are suppressing fossil fuel development worldwide know it. By creating shortages and raising prices for everything, they intend to reduce median rates of consumption in America to a fraction of what it is today, and render a middle-class lifestyle completely out of reach to the average American.

In doing so, they’ll amass even more wealth for themselves.

The Better Way Forward

There is another path. By focusing on the most likely predictions instead of the most catastrophic, nations can focus on climate resiliency—something which is a good idea anyway—while continuing to develop clean fossil fuel and also continuing to develop leapfrog technologies such as nuclear fusion. The environmental benefit of this approach is tangible and profound: with energy comes prosperity, with prosperity comes lower birthrates. With energy, inviting urban centers are possible, and urbanization takes pressure off wilderness. In both cases, with abundant energy, people voluntarily choose to limit their family size and move to cities.

A moral case for fossil fuels can outweigh the supposedly moral case against fossil fuel. Americans have to be willing to fight that fight, along with every other tyrannical edict attendant to the “climate emergency,” starting with the restrictions on urban expansion and single-family homes.

With adherence to the principles and culture that made America great—competition, private ownership, rule of law, minimizing corruption, and rewarding innovation—America’s middle class can survive and grow. But feudalism is a viable alternative, especially lucrative to the multinational corporations and globalist billionaires who will never call it by that name, hiding instead behind a moral masquerade.

Background from Joel Kotkin Modern Politics Seen as Classes Power Game

See also Unmasking Biden’s Climate Shakedown

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Is Critical Race Theory Illegal?

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The issue is going to be adjudicated in various courtrooms in the coming months.  A post at Real Climate Investigations examines the cases for and against policies based on Critical Race Theory (CRT). Critical Race Theory Is About to Face Its Day(s) in Court by John Murawski.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds and images.

Critical race theory is about to face a major real-world test: a spate of lawsuits alleging that it encourages discrimination and other illegal policies targeting whites, males and Christians. But unlike Trump’s executive order, which ran into First Amendment problems by prohibiting controversial speech, the lawsuits name specific policies and practices that allegedly discriminate, harass, blame and humiliate people based on their race.

The common thread of these legal challenges is the inescapable logic that making accommodations for critical race theory will erode the nation’s anti-discrimination law as it has developed since the 1960s. This would mean replacing the colorblind ideal of treating all people equally, which has been widely viewed as the crowning achievement of the civil rights movement, with a contrary strategy: implementing race-based policies, which can range from affirmative action to reparations for compensating African Americans for the injustices of the past and for producing equitable outcomes in the future.

“Critical race theory is a Trojan horse of sorts,” said David Pivtorak, a Los Angeles lawyer representing two white men who are suing two California state environment agencies. “It disguises itself as the gold standard of fairness and justice but, in fact, relies on vilification and the idea of permanent oppressor and oppressed races. Its goal is not ensuring that all people play by the same rules, regardless of race, but equity, which is a euphemism for race-based outcomes.”

About a dozen lawsuits and administrative complaints have been filed since 2018, with another wave planned this summer by conservative public interest law firms and private attorneys. Their goal is to draw attention to some of the more pronounced practices and win court judgments to slow down the spread of CRT in K-12 schools, government agencies other organizations.

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Proponents of critical race theory say the lawsuits are a form of white denialism that confirms the pervasiveness of the problem that CRT exposes. Many critical race theorists believe that the United States has functioned as an elaborate affirmative action scheme to empower and enrich white males, a strategy that depends on a certain degree of coverup.

“I see these lawsuits as a last gasp attempt of those who benefit from the racial hierarchy to cling to the power and the privileges that have been associated with whiteness from the beginning of the country,” said andré douglas pond cummings (who writes his name in lowercase letters), a business law professor at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock who has taught courses on corporate justice and “Hip Hop & the American Constitution.”

CRT rejects the foundational premises of classical liberalism – such as legal neutrality and individual rights – and from that perspective, colorblindness is not understood as a strategy to overcome racism but as a method to perpetuate it.

“It’s a white ideology,” Burnham said. “Colorblindness really comes into fashion as a means of denying the persistence of racial stratification in the United States.”

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The lawsuits face a number of challenges, a point borne out by early setbacks some of the claims have experienced so far, including the defeat of Trump’s executive order on free-speech grounds. In another case, lawyers dropped the discrimination allegations in one of the first such lawsuits, filed in 2018 against the Santa Barbara Unified School District in California, because, they said, students and staff who supported the lawsuit were “deathly afraid” of repercussions if they spoke out and came forward publicly as plaintiffs.

Claimants generally have to prove the alleged discrimination is severe and pervasive. They also have to overcome the freedom-of-speech rights of those who are professing to be dismantling systemic racism. What’s more, lawyers on both sides say that courts traditionally defer to employers and educators to set policy on workplace training and classroom curricula, a built-in restraint on activist judges.

Perhaps the biggest wild card in these lawsuits is the staggering cultural shift of the past five years, during which many of the precepts of CRT have become widely accepted, especially among many in the nation’s intelligentsia and the professional managerial class.

President Biden has adopted the language and made equity part of his platform, including a proposal to establish an Equity Commission “to support the rights of Black, Brown and Native farmers.” Immediately upon taking office, he issued an “Executive Order on Advancing Racial Equity” to address systemic racism and “affirmatively” promote equity and racial justice in the federal government.  “Our Nation deserves an ambitious whole-of-government equity agenda that matches the scale of the opportunities and challenges that we face,” the executive order states.

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The nation’s current anti-discrimination law does not make such a distinction, and would read Kendi’s proposal as absurd as claiming that there’s a meaningful difference between good theft and bad theft; instead, all discrimination is wrong in the existing legal framework, with the exception of limited, narrowly tailored exemptions that are subject to strict scrutiny by the courts.

In one of the more unusual cases, the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights agreed in early January with an Illinois public school teacher that her school district violated anti-discrimination law when it implemented a discipline policy that explicitly directed staff to consider a student’s race when evaluating behavioral and disciplinary issues.

The case offers indications that different judges will likely reach opposite conclusions in such disputes: Just two weeks after ruling for the schoolteacher under the Trump administration, the Department of Education put the case on hold when President Biden took office and issued the “advancing racial equity” executive order.

Hovering in the background of these lawsuits is the unresolved question: To what extent does truth provide a defense against charges of discrimination? It will come as no surprise that to conservatives and other critics of CRT its fatal flaw is its factual wrongness.

“The ideology is so patently stupid and racist to the common person that the only way you can implement it or teach it is with an element of coercion, otherwise it would just be laughed at,” said Jonathan O’Brien, the lawyer representing the student and mother who filed the Nevada lawsuit. “That’s why the training sessions are like pressure cookers.”

But if critical race theory is true, as its adherents believe, then labeling the truth as discriminatory smacks of censorship.

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The stakes of this dispute couldn’t be higher, at least judging by the rhetoric expressed by both sides.

One of the conservative groups planning to file lawsuits, the Upper Midwest Law Center in Golden Valley, Mich., is in talks with prospective clients who include non-whites, said the center’s president, Douglas Seaton.

Seaton described the abandonment of the colorblind idea as giving up on the nation itself.

“You can’t have a country as diverse as ours without equality before the law,” Seaton said. “It’s a recipe for communal violence, tribalism. You can’t simply proceed that way. You’d be doomed to internecine battles between groups.”

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American Covid Phobia

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Kylee Zempel explains in her Federalist article Americans Are Irrationally Afraid Of COVID Because The Ruling Class Has Demonized Risk

‘Why do so many vaccinated people remain fearful?’ David Leonhardt asks with a straight face in Monday’s New York Times newsletter.
Let me tell you.

Leonhardt opens with a story about judge and Yale University law professor Guido Calabresi, who for 30 years has been telling his students a tale he crafted about a god who came to society to propose an invention that would make their lives better in nearly every way. It would afford them extra quality time with loved ones and enable them to see sights and perform tasks they wouldn’t otherwise be able to do.

The cost? The god would select 1,000 young people to strike dead.

The professor would then pose the question to his students: Would you take the deal? The students’ answer would almost always be no. “What’s the difference between this and the automobile?” Calabresi would ask, revealing the moral of the story.

Leonhardt concludes in the Times that we accept the cost of automobile fatalities because it has always been an aspect of our lives. A world without cars and thus the risks they carry is a world we really just can’t imagine for ourselves. Our comfortability with vehicles, Leonhardt says, is an example of human irrationality when calculating risks. While people tend to focus on minuscule risks such as airplane crashes or shark attacks, we gloss over much riskier activities such as driving.

“One way for a risk to become salient is for it to be new,” Leonhardt says, likening the salient risk of Calabresi’s fable to COVID-19. “That’s a core idea behind Calabresi’s fable. He asks students to consider whether they would accept the cost of vehicle travel if it did not already exist. That they say no underscores the very different ways we treat new risks and enduring ones.”

Americans Used to Embrace Risk

Leonhardt’s assessment might be true to an extent. But the fact is that vehicles, which have always been risky, do exist, meaning that Americans at one point were willing to take that risk. At the turn of the 20th century, Calabresi’s fable wasn’t a fable at all. It was a reality, and Americans decided the risk was worth taking.

Thus the explanation can’t just be that we assign different treatments to “new risks and enduring ones.” It’s that Americans of today are orders of magnitude more risk-averse than our predecessors, and thus are more paralyzed and less productive. For a virus, Americans have chosen to cater to the most irrationally COVID-terrified voices among us, making us not only more paralyzed and less productive, but also increasingly less free.

COVID Terror Isn’t ‘Natural’

That’s where Leonhardt’s analysis almost completely diverges from reality. Irrational fears about COVID-19 are not “natural,” nor are they merely the result of salience and newness. It isn’t inherent in the human spirit to be terrified of things that pose such little risk for so much of the population.

These irrational fears are manufactured. They’re instilled by folks like Anthony Fauci, who said just last week that “No, it’s still not OK,” when asked whether vaccinated or unvaccinated Americans should be eating and drinking inside at restaurants and bars. Infection counts are still “disturbingly high,” he said, again fueling the fire of illogical COVID terror.

“Even after you’re vaccinated, social distancing, wearing masks are going to be essential,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki warned in February. Meanwhile, corporations and the federal government are teaming up to make you prove you’re not unclean with a “vaccine passport” so you don’t pose an existential threat to your fellow citizens, blue-state leaders and bureaucrats are double-masking even after they’re vaccinated and saying “it is possible” we’ll still be wearing face masks in 2022, and Biden’s COVID adviser is saying the pandemic in the United States is still a “Category 5 hurricane” even after millions of Americans have been inoculated.

So no, it isn’t “natural” that the vaccinated continue to cling to irrational fears. It’s a direct result of scare-mongering and lies and an unwillingness to do any type of risk assessment until a Pfizer cocktail is coursing through one’s veins. It’s the predictable outcome after a year of terrifying rhetoric and fudged data, in which The New York Times itself played a role (see here, here, here, here, here, and here) — and continues to.

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Resist the Culture of Fear

Either the Times author is too simple to connect those dots, or he’s part of the media and “expert” ruling class that still wants Americans to buy into their social experiment so they can keep normal citizens on a short leash as they craft the culture they desire of herders and sheep, haves and have-nots, and engineers and cogs.

Leonhardt is right about one thing: Most COVID fears are completely irrational. But The New York Times doesn’t get credit for pointing this out more than a year after the world went into lockdown and lives have been destroyed. When conservatives and Americans of goodwill tried to make risk assessments early on, they were excoriated by the corporate press for being selfish and conspiratorial murderers and rubes.

The irrationality of COVID fears didn’t start with the vaccine — and won’t end with it either. Today’s risk-averse Americans have decided en masse that safety is paramount, risk is unacceptable and therefore freedom is dangerous, and dissenters are malicious.

This brings us all back to Calabresi’s fable. American greatness, with pandemics as with automobiles, doesn’t come from 21st-century Yale students afraid of their own shadows. It comes from the types of Americans who can identify the dangers of the Model T, recognize that risk-taking is the sine qua non to human progress, and say, “Bring it on.”

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Beware Biden’s Push for a Global Taxation Regime

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Dan Mitchell writes Three Reasons to Reject Biden’s Tax Harmonization Scheme for “Global Minimum Taxation”.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds and some images.

Way back in 2007, I narrated this video to explain why tax competition is very desirable because politicians are likely to overtax and overspend (“Goldfish Government“) if they think taxpayers have no ability to escape.

The good news is that tax competition has been working.

As explained in the above video, there have been big reductions in personal tax rates and corporate tax rates. Just as important, governments have reduced various forms of double taxation, meaning lower tax rates on dividends and capital gains.

Many governments have also reduced – or even eliminated – death taxes and wealth taxes.

These pro-growth tax reforms didn’t happen because politicians read my columns (I wish!). Instead, they adopted better tax policy because they were afraid of losing jobs and investment to countries with better fiscal policy.

Now for the bad news.

There’s been an ongoing campaign by high-tax governments to replace tax competition with tax harmonization. They’ve even conscripted international bureaucracies such as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to launch attacks against low-tax jurisdictions.

And now the United States is definitely on the wrong side of this issue.

Here’s some of what the Biden Administration wants.

The United States can lead the world to end the race to the bottom on corporate tax rates. A minimum tax on U.S. corporations alone is insufficient. …President Biden is also proposing to encourage other countries to adopt strong minimum taxes on corporations, just like the United States, so that foreign corporations aren’t advantaged and foreign countries can’t try to get a competitive edge by serving as tax havens. This plan also denies deductions to foreign corporations…if they are based in a country that does not adopt a strong minimum tax. …The United States is now seeking a global agreement on a strong minimum tax through multilateral negotiations. This provision makes our commitment to a global minimum tax clear. The time has come to level the playing field and no longer allow countries to gain a competitive edge by slashing corporate tax rates.

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As Charlie Brown would say, “good grief.” Those passages sound like they were written by someone in France, not America

And Heaven forbid that countries “gain a competitive edge by slashing corporate tax rates.” Quelle horreur!

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There are three things to understand about this reprehensible initiative from the Biden Administration.

  1.  Tax harmonization means ever-increasing tax rates – It goes without saying that if politicians are able to create a tax cartel, it will merely be a matter of time before they ratchet up the tax rate. Simply stated, they won’t have to worry about an exodus of jobs and investment because all countries will be obliged to have the same bad approach.
  2. Corporate tax harmonization will be followed by harmonization of other taxes – If the scheme for a harmonized corporate tax is imposed, the next step will be harmonized (and higher) tax rates on personal income, dividends, capital gains, and other forms of work, saving, investment, and entrepreneurship.
  3. Tax harmonization denies poor countries the best path to prosperity – The western world became rich in the 1800s and early 1900s when there was very small government and no income taxes. That’s the path a few sensible jurisdictions want to copy today so they can bring prosperity to their people, but that won’t be possible in a world of tax harmonization.

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Media Racial Profiling Mass Killers

Amber Athey writes at the Spectator When does the media cover a horrific crime? Excerpts in italics withe my bolds.

Answer: When the perps are white.

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What makes a tragic death a major news story? The races of the perpetrators and the victims, of course. As the media goes all in on critical race theory, many journalists have decided to only provide obsessive coverage of horrific crimes when they can be used to advance the idea — as so eloquently explained by NBA star LeBron James — that minorities are being ‘literally hunted’ by evil white people.

Proof of this phenomenon has never been so clear as in the past several weeks.

It all started when a white man was charged with killing eight people — including six Asian women — at three different massage parlors in the Atlanta area. The shooting capped off weeks of media outlets reporting that hate crimes against Asian-Americans were skyrocketing, spurring the hashtag #StopAAPIHate. The media blamed this trend on President Trump because he had called COVID-19 the ‘China virus’ or ‘Wuhan virus’ and white supremacy. Most journalists ignored the fact that the majority of suspects in hate crimes against Asian Americans are other minorities. Also brushed aside was the fact that the Atlanta shooter claimed his motivation was not about race, but anger stemming from his own sex and pornography addiction. When a law enforcement official tried to relay the shooter’s alleged motivation to the public, Vox reporter Aaron Rupar selectively edited a video to spark outrage at the officer. How dare he suggest this was anything but a race-based crime?

Just a few days later, another mass shooting occurred in Boulder, Colorado. Initial videos from the incident showed a light-skinned individual being detained by police, so writers and activists rushed to blame ‘white men’ and insisted that the suspect would’ve never been taken alive if he were a minority. The shooter was later identified as Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, a Syrian immigrant, who friends and family say was bullied for his Middle Eastern name and was often paranoid about being attacked because of his race. Still, some found a way to double down and blame whiteness, including Kamala Harris’s niece, who wrote, ‘I made an assumption based on his being taken into custody alive and the fact that the majority of mass shootings in the US are carried out by white men.’ In any other context, her remarks would have been roundly condemned as prejudice. Even when white men are not the suspects, they are still somehow the culprits. [That assumed “fact” is false, as shown later below.]

Both of these shootings received wall-to-wall coverage. Meanwhile, a shooting that saw eight people injured and two dead in Virginia Beach was hardly touched on cable news. The suspects are black, so the liberal outrage machine did not kick into gear. [Also not mentioned was a white girl raped and killed in Florida on spring break with two black males as suspects.]

Finally, this week in Washington DC, an Uber Eats driver was murdered after two teenage girls tried to hijack his car. The girls allegedly tased Mohammad Anwar, a 66-year-old Pakistani immigrant, before trying to drive away as Anwar was still hanging out of the driver’s side of the car. He was killed when the vehicle crashed. The video is horrifying, particularly as one of the suspects expresses more concern for her phone being left in the car than she does the man she just killed. This story, which caps off a year of skyrocketing carjackings in the DC area, should be top news. However, the two teenage girls are black.

So instead, we got CNN referring to Anwar’s death as an ‘accident’ in which he was ‘fatally injured’. DC mayor Muriel Bowser sent out a scheduled tweet telling residents they can prevent auto theft by locking their cars and avoiding parking in unsafe areas.

Yahoo News! reporter Hunter Walker accused conservatives of highlighting Anwar’s death because the girls were black. It is sad that terrible crimes are now merely pretexts for ugly media posturing. But it is right to point out the glaring double standard that so many in the media deploy to advance anti-whiteness. The events of the past few weeks have only cemented this vile tendency toward desperate and divisive race-baiting.

Footnote: Photo Collage Reveals Who Commits the Mass Shootings in the US Today

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Democrats continue to push the ridiculous talking point that white men commit the majority of mass shootings in the United States.  The left continues to push this with every mass shooting.  A Wiki Page was created to list every mass shooting in the US in 2019.

The list does not include those shootings where no one will speak to police.

At least 20 of the mass shootings in 2019 were in Chicago, Illinois.

More than 140 mass shootings are unsolved largely because no one will give descriptions to the police.

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They Swallowed It: Hook, Line and Sinker

Trapped

Many will recognize the expression for taking on an idea or proposition so deeply in your gut that, like a fish on the line, there is no escape no matter how hard you try. Jacques Parizeau, one time separatist Premier of Quebec coined a similar idiom regarding voters resisting the referendum on Quebec independence from Canada. Meeting privately with foreign diplomats, he said that in the event of a Yes vote, the result would be like a “lobster pot.” That refers to the traditional wooden traps that have a one-way gate allowing a lobster to get in, but not out.

These expressions come to mind concerning the plight of US citizens following the installing of Biden-Harris in the White House. The intention of this administration is clearly to fundamentally transform America: From “The Land of the Free, Home of the Brave,” to “The Land of the Victims, Home of the Afraid.” The movement in this direction has been a long time in the works, and was only recently triggered by the election of Trump and the leftist need to cancel the alternate ideology of “Make America Great Again.” Time will tell if those now in power are reaching too far, too fast, going for broke before the majority were caught in the pot.

No doubt the program to undermine American global dominance has been operating for several generations. Those not familiar with the Marxist revolutionary four-stage process can read my synopsis article Four Steps to Take Down a Free Society

Pioneered by the Soviets and exported into many countries before their empire collapsed, the method is now employed by the Chinese Communist Party updated with cyber tools, along with traditional espionage tactics of honey traps and buyouts. The first stage of demoralizing involves teachers indoctrinating students to disparage their national heritage and destroy commitment to traditional social values and customs. Tom Wolfe wrote with his satirical wit and historical knowledge about the demise of liberal US academia into leftist dogma in his essay In the Land of the Rococo Marxists. My synopsis is Warmists and Rococo Marxists.

Of course the present manifestation flies under a different banner: Social Justice. And the reverent refer to George Floyd rather than Karl Marx. But Critical Race Theory is so obviously intended to divide and conquer a free and democratic society, you would have to be in a trance (claiming to be “woke”) to be taken in by it. Yet, indoctrinated children, now adults abound in the ranks of corporate management, others churning out copy for mass media or organizing activists in the streets and in cyberspace.

The protests in city streets of developed countries are coordinated and led by Social Justice Warriors indoctrinated in Western academies of higher education, after elementary school slanted teaching. If neo-Marxist progressive post-moderns take pride in this as accomplishing their agenda, consider what happened in China’s cultural revolution in the 1960s and is repeating itself in 2020. The useful dupes, like teachers, become outcasts and themselves targets for cancellation once power and control is seized. See article Teachers Beware Your Cultural Revolution Turning on You.

Have the scales yet tipped in favor of the slide into a socialist autocracy? Will Americans mount a resistance to this revolution? Depends on who and how many are on the line or trapped in lobster pots.

Why the “Great Awokening” Now?

screen-shot-2020-06-03-at-4.43.37-pmDamon Linker seeks to understand what is driving the woke madness in his The Week article What the woke revolution is — and isn’t.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds and images.

The surge of censoriousness isn’t just taking place in the worlds of journalism, media, and publishing. It’s also leaving lasting marks on a wide range of universities, producing anger at elite prep schools, inspiring sweeping decisions by public school boards, and having a strong influence on how corporate departments of human resources and government agencies lay down expectations for employees and otherwise deal with members of their staff.

How should we explain this wildly proliferating trend? Where did it come from? And where might it be going?

As you’d expect from a huge story having a big impact on the lives and livelihoods of writers, we don’t lack for explanations. Though most of them fall short of the mark.

The most common one takes its cue from academic champions of the woke trend who describe their scholarship as “critical race theory.” That has led critics, especially conservative ones, to treat the woke movement as a form of “critical theory,” which is itself derived from the Marxism developed and promulgated by thinkers affiliated during the middle decades of the 20th century with the Frankfurt School for Social Research. Critical theorist Herbert Marcuse is frequently named as a popular progenitor of woke progressivism.

The problem with this account is that social change doesn’t work this way, with ideas spreading like a viral contagion that infects (and corrupts) large swaths of a culture once it is unleashed. (Indeed, some champions of woke ideas make precisely this assumption about the viral character of ideas they don’t like, using it to justify “cancelling” people who supposedly make politically dangerous arguments.) Yes, authors can exert a powerful influence on the world, but the way their ideas are received, interpreted, and deployed is always a function of a complex interaction between those ideas and other influences in the culture’s present and past.

This isn’t to deny certain family resemblances among the ideas of Karl Marx, Marcuse, Kimberlé Crenshaw, Richard Delgado, Ibram X. Kendi, and Robin DiAngelo, But it is to say that pointing to those resemblances doesn’t tell us very much about why the ideas contained in their writings (which were first formulated in the mid-19th century and first revised for a modern American audience 56 years ago) have caught on now.

What we need above all is an account of the reception of ideas — why an argument or assertion that falls on deaf ears in one time and place ignites a cultural firestorm in another.

Where does that leave us in trying to come to grips with the woke revolution going on around us? With a lot of work to do, I’m afraid. But that doesn’t mean tentative intellectual advances haven’t been made. I’m especially fond of author Wesley Yang’s evocative description of woke ideas and arguments as liberalism’s “successor ideology.” That’s because the phrase manages to capture the trend’s origins in liberal ideas of meritocratic fairness, while also signaling that in decisive respects it has moved beyond (and turned against) liberal assumptions and aspirations to become a distinct ideology the precise contours of which remain undetermined.

Beyond that, I can see three potentially fruitful paths for further exploration of where the successor ideology comes from and where it might be going.

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Religion

It’s become an interpretive cliché to describe impassioned social movements as forms of “secular religion.” But in this case, there’s something to it. The very name “woke” is a play on the Christian Great Awakenings that swept across the United States at various times in our past, revitalizing old faiths and giving birth to new ones. And as Yang and other thoughtful critics of the trend have noted, there are important sociological and moral connections linking the political sensibility of the woke activists, ensconced within elite institutions of American culture, to the old liberal Protestant mainline, and from there all the way back to the officially sanctioned moral rectitude of Puritan New England.

In many respects, the successor ideology isn’t a political movement at all.

It eschews policy positions in favor of a call to individual moral purification. It proposes to achieve this end through denunciation of sinners who are invited to confess and give public testimony of their transgressions, with punishment taking the form of social ostracism. The purity of the accusers, meanwhile, is demonstrated by the severity of their denunciations and by their refusal to countenance mercy or forgiveness. The social dynamic has reminded some critics of the “struggle sessions” of China’s cultural revolution, but there’s no need to invoke secular totalitarianism and mass murder. The comparatively smaller-scale terror of the Salem witch trials is a more apt analogy.

Business

In a pair of highly suggestive essays for City Journal, Jacob Howland, an emeritus professor of philosophy at the University of Tulsa, has explained how the school has been remade in recent years, with its commitment to the liberal arts abandoned in favor of an outlook of “corporatist progressivism.” Shuttering humanities majors in favor of technical training, mandating “woke” reforms of the remaining curriculum, and pursuing profits for the wealthy financiers bankrolling the university — these moves have reinforced one another, with the embrace of outspoken left-wing anti-liberalism allowing those bulldozing the liberal arts to claim the moral high ground. Much more work remains to be done in analyzing the rise of “woke capital” and the part it plays in fostering and encouraging current trends, but Howland’s writing gives us a good start.

An International Crusade for Justice

The successor ideology is no longer simply an American phenomenon. When French President Emmanuel Macron blames the spread of woke ideas in his country on the insidious influence of professors in the United States, he is reproducing the error of American conservatives who cast aspersions on German philosophers. But just as it is incumbent upon us to come up with an alternative theory of its spread at home, the rise of cancel culture abroad demands its own explanation.

What can account for the appeal of these ideas in other cultural contexts? One possibility is that the successor ideology answers a longing among idealistic young people around the world to devote themselves to a grand spiritual crusade in the name of a transcendent ideal of justice — and it does so at a moment when the only political ideal on offer is democracy and its moral corollary: equality or egalitarianism.

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Whereas liberalism treats equality as one valuable ideal among many (including liberty, solidarity, and piety) and seeks a pluralistic balance among them, those in the grip of the successor ideology find this aspiration toward equanimity an intolerable compromise with moral evil. Moreover, they view their own privileges — their own part in contributing to liberalism’s failure to achieve an egalitarian ideal — as a source of disgust, guilt, shame, and self-loathing. Those emotions are notoriously volatile because they’re so painful to endure. That can lead those suffering from them to create a scapegoat who can become an alternative object of ire — a person or group in the world who can be made to take the blame and suffer just punishment, allowing the sins of the punisher and the punished alike to be expiated.

That’s just the barest sketch of what might be behind the Great Awokening roiling our politics and culture. Until we make more progress in coming to terms with its deepest motives and ultimate aims, we will find ourselves at a loss in how to respond.

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See also Encountering Thomas Sowell at Law & Liberty

In this season of racial reckoning and pseudo-religious panic over identity, it is genuinely shocking to realize that Sowell not only anticipated these same debates several decades ago—he refuted many of the positions now in ascendance.