Is This Where Our Culture Is?

Dennis Prager posted an article today in National Review about middle-class values and the attack on those values by the political left.

The article reports:

In August 2017, University of Pennsylvania law professor Amy Wax wrote a column for the Philadelphia Inquirer in defense of middle-class values. She and her co-author cited a list of behavioral norms that, as Wax, put it, “was almost universally endorsed between the end of World War II and the mid-1960s.”

They were:

Get married before you have children and strive to stay married for their sake. Get the education you need for gainful employment, work hard, and avoid idleness. Go the extra mile for your employer or client. Be a patriot, ready to serve the country. Be neighborly, civic-minded, and charitable. Avoid coarse language in public. Be respectful of authority. Eschew substance abuse and crime.

She later wrote in the Wall Street Journal, “The fact that the ‘bourgeois culture’ these norms embodied has broken down since the 1960s largely explains today’s social pathologies — and re-embracing that culture would go a long way toward addressing those pathologies.”

For her left-wing colleagues at Penn Law School, this list was beyond the pale. About half of her fellow professors of law — 33 of them — condemned her in an open letter. And Wax wrote in the Journal, “My law school dean recently asked me to take a leave of absence next year and to cease teaching a mandatory first-year course.”

If you are over the age of 60, chances are these are the values you grew up with. Many young people rebelled against these values in the 1960’s and beyond, but these were the values they grew up with.

The article continues:

The Pennsylvania chapter of the left-wing National Lawyers Guild condemned her for espousing bourgeois values and questioned “whether it is appropriate for her to continue to teach a required first-year course.”

These are now considered bourgeois values by the political left. Let’s look at the consequences of these values.

In March 2013, the Brookings Institute posted a list of three things teenagers living in poverty themselves should do to avoid poverty in their future.

This is the list:

In addition to the thousands of local and national programs that aim to help young people avoid these life-altering problems, we should figure out more ways to convince young people that their decisions will greatly influence whether they avoid poverty and enter the middle class. Let politicians, schoolteachers and administrators, community leaders, ministers and parents drill into children the message that in a free society, they enter adulthood with three major responsibilities: at least finish high school, get a full-time job and wait until age 21 to get married and have children.

I would add avoiding illegal drugs or excessive alcohol to that list. However, note that the ways to avoid poverty are very much in line with the bourgeois values that the political left is denigrating. These bourgeois values are also the building blocks of a strong society. Again, why is the political left denigrating them?

The article concludes:

There surely are mean conservatives — witness some of the vile comments by anonymous conservative commenters on the Internet. And it is a moral scandal that Ford has received death threats. The difference in left-wing meanness is the meanness of known — not anonymous — people on the left. They don’t hide behind anonymity because they do not feel bound by traditional notions of civility, for which they have contempt.

Now you can understand why the Left hates Mike Pence, a man who has, by all accounts, led a thoroughly honorable life. He — and other Evangelical Christians and Orthodox Jews — tries to live by a code that is higher than him.

That ethic is what Übermenschen seek to destroy.

They are succeeding.

I hope not. That is not the country I want to leave to my children and grandchildren.

Using The Age Of New Media To Control The Story

The U.K. Daily Mail posted an Associated Press article today about how the Obama Administration is using the new media to avoid scrutiny of their policies. Like previous administrations the Obama Administration has controlled access to the President, but they have gone a step further.

The article reports:

Capitalizing on the possibilities of the digital age, the Obama White House is generating its own content like no president before, and refining its media strategies in the second term in hopes of telling a more compelling story than in the first.

At the same time, it is limiting press access in ways that past administrations wouldn’t have dared, and the president is answering to the public in more controlled settings than his predecessors. It’s raising new questions about what’s lost when the White House tries to make an end run around the media, functioning, in effect, as its own news agency.

These people make Pravda look like amateurs.

The article draws a conclusion about the dangers of a White House news agency:

And while plenty of news organizations cover the president’s State of the Union address, the commentary that accompanies the White House’s ‘enhanced’ version is more one-sided.

When viewers choose the White House as their news source, ‘what people are being exposed to is highly selective,’ says Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center.

‘They’re not getting the balance of the alternative points of view. They’re not getting the criticism that asks, “Is this accurate?” It’s not being put in historical context.’

Jamieson says the White House-generated content can be highly seductive, particularly when people feel they’re developing a ‘direct relationship’ with White House officials who send out chatty mass emails and solicit feedback through social media.

Democratic and Republican veterans of the White House alike say it makes sense for the Obama administration to maximize its use of digital advances to communicate directly to the public, but they warn that something is missing when ‘the administration’s feet are not held to the fire’ in certain settings, in the words of Ari Fleischer, who served as White House press secretary under Bush.

Kumar, the Towson professor, warns that the administration can even delude itself if it puts too much emphasis on self-reinforcing content.

‘They start believing what they’re creating,’ she says. ‘They need to hear a lot of voices and they need to hear them early.’

One of the reasons for the success of the new media (outside the White House new media) is that people who want to stay informed are willing to look for the other side of the story. The current administration’s control of the story and the mainstream media’s bias have combined to create ‘the low information voter.’ This voter would not exist if the mainstream media told both sides of the story. Unfortunately, the low information voter votes based on his knowledge of events. That is the reason we are in our second term of President Obama (aka our third term of Jimmy Carter).

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Where Are We A Week After The Newtown Killings ?

It’s been a week since the horrible tragedy in Connecticut. There are screams for gun control, assault weapons bans, police at the schools, and all sorts of things. But an article in yesterday’s Washington Post sheds some light and common sense on the subject.

Charles Krauthammer was a psychiatrist in Massachusetts during the 1970’s. He has an interesting perspective on what happened last week.

Mr. Krauthammer states that there are three parts to every mass shooting–the killer, the weapon, and the cultural climate.

The article points out:

Random mass killings were three times more common in the 2000s than in the 1980s, when gun laws were actually weaker. Yet a 2011 University of California at Berkeley study found that states with strong civil commitment laws have about a one-third lower homicide rate.

Regarding the weapon, Mr. Krauthammer states:

I have no problem in principle with gun control. Congress enacted (and I supported) an assault weapons ban in 1994. The problem was: It didn’t work. (So concluded a University of Pennsylvania study commissioned by the Justice Department.) The reason is simple. Unless you are prepared to confiscate all existing firearms, disarm the citizenry and repeal the Second Amendment, it’s almost impossible to craft a law that will be effective.

The article points out that over the past 30 years, the homicide rate in the United States has dropped 50 percent.

The article reminds us that gun violence is on the decline:

Except for these unfathomable mass murders. But these are infinitely more difficult to prevent. While law deters the rational, it has far less effect on the psychotic. The best we can do is to try to detain them, disarm them and discourage “entertainment” that can intensify already murderous impulses.

But there’s a cost. Gun control impinges upon the Second Amendment; involuntary commitment impinges upon the liberty clause of the Fifth Amendment; curbing “entertainment” violence impinges upon First Amendment free speech.

I tend to think that the fact that the murder rates are lower in states with strong civil commitment laws is significant. An article posted at The Blue Review on December 15th provides insight into what it is like to get appropriate treatment and possible restraint for a troubled child.

It’s time to look at all the elements of the tragedy at Newtown–not just the ones that are politically expedient.

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How Did We Get Here And What Are We Going To Do About It ?

A website called Twitchy posted a ‘tweet’ today from Anthea Butler, an Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.

The tweet:

Butler @AntheaButler

Good Morning. How soon is Sam Bacile going to be in jail folks? I need him to go now.When Americans die because you are stupid…

12 Sep 12

I realize that I am not the most educated person in the world and maybe I shouldn’t question a college professor, but my first question is, “Did this woman raise any children?” Why is that question relevant? Because when you raise children, you learn some things. You learn that bad behavior is bad behavior and that there is no excuse for it. You learn that if you do not deal with bad behavior, it gets worse.

Sam Bacile (the person who made or is making a movie that made Muslims angry) is not responsible for the violence in Libya or Egypt. It is no coincidence that this violence occurred on September 11th. This is simply more bad behavior from the people who brought us 9/11 in 2001. When are we going to wake up and admit that we have to deal with the continuing Muslim violence or it will escalate? This is the first American Ambassador killed since 1979 (under Jimmy Carter oddly enough).

Yahoo News lists five ambassadors killed by terrorists:

Adolph Dubs, in Afghanistan, 1979

—Francis E. Meloy Jr., in Lebanon, 1976

Rodger P. Davies, in Cyprus, 1974

—Cleo A. Noel Jr., in Sudan, 1973

John Gordon Mein, in Guatemala, 1968

Another lesson learned from motherhood–if there are no consequences to bad behavior, the behavior will continue. Don’t we have any mothers in our government who can figure that out?

The people in our embassy were not killed because Sam Bacile was stupid, they were killed because people in power are unwilling to protect Americans at home or abroad. Was anyone in the American Embassy armed? Did we let people die because we were afraid of the public relations fallout? Get over it. Muslims don’t hate us because of public relations, they hate us because we are free, successful, and generally unwilling to live under Sharia Law. No amount of public relations is going to change that.

Meanwhile, we need to pray for the families of the people lost yesterday.


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