The Right is deluding itself about law enforcement.

Is it really so difficult to believe that there is widespread wrongdoing, and widespread lying about it, among U.S. law-enforcement agencies, particularly those in big, Democrat-run cities infamous for the corruption of their other municipal institutions? Why do conservatives find it so plausible — obvious, even — that the IRS and the EPA and the Atlanta public schools are corrupt and self-serving, but somehow believe that the Baltimore police department isn’t?

It is possible that what is really at play here is an emotional response to protest culture. Seeing the Black Lives Matters miscreants and Baltimore rioters on one side of the line, conservatives instinctively want to be on the other side of the line. The same thing happened with the Iraq-war protests: When the dirty hippies take to the barricades, conservatives are drawn to the other side. That led to some bad thinking and poor decision-making about Iraq. Are we making the same mistake with regard to police misconduct and allegations of police misconduct?

Let him with eyes see.

Confused Statists

Why conservatives and Republicans should be defensive about the fact that Baltimore, Los Angeles, Cleveland, and Honolulu are misgoverned to various degrees of criminality is a mystery. Conservatives with real political power in those cities are as scarce as hen’s teeth. Could it really be something so simple as the fact that we do not feel comfortable standing on the same side of a bright red line as the malefactors in Ferguson and such opportunists as DeRay Mckesson, now a Baltimore mayoral candidate, and Al Sharpton? Sharpton is a grotesque and one of the most dishonest men in American public life, but that does not mean that the people running Baltimore and its police department aren’t also crooked. Some police officers are indeed heroes. Some are villains. Most are ordinary, time-serving municipal employees like any other, and telling ourselves otherwise is sentimental rubbish.

These Are Not the Good Guys: The Right is deluding itself about law enforcement. By Kevin Williamson

See Radley Balko’s column for more examples.

Police Misconduct

“Why do you people love the state so much? It doesn’t love you.”
Michael Munger

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Super Bowl

Sunday’s game will be 60 minutes of football — an adrenaline-and-testosterone bath stretched by commercial breaks (two of them called “two minute warnings”), replay challenges, and other delays to about 200 minutes — embedded in an all-day broadcast of manufactured frenzy. It would be nice, but probably fanciful, to think that even 1 percent of tonight’s expected television audience of more than 110 million will have qualms about the ethics of their enjoyment.

The NFL’s fondness for Roman numerals is appropriate because the game is gladiatorial, as Romans enjoyed entertainment featuring people maiming and being maimed for the entertainment of spectators. But things change.

The Super Bowl’s 60 Minutes of Damage, by George Will

What of the cities that have ransomed their future to an NFL team? How have they fared? Just because Forbes Magazine values pro football franchises at between $2 and $3 billion does not mean that the citizenry sees much benefit from having a team.

For example, the Hackensack Meadowlands Giants are now said to be worth $2.8 billion, but New Jersey taxpayers are still paying interest on the old Giants Stadium, where the end zone was rumored to be Jimmy Hoffa’s resting place, and which was torn down so that a new stadium could be built in its place (“without public money”).

Most cities get a paltry rental stream from their subsidized ballparks, and that’s it. From the Seahawks, owned by Microsoft bigwig Paul Allen, Seattle gets $1 million a year in stadium rental income, while the team rakes in more than $200 million. And state taxpayers are on the hook for some $300 million in outstanding CenturyLink stadium bonds. (The 12th man abides.)

Super Bowl: Super Subsidy Sunday

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We all stand on the shoulders of giants

Every normal person understands that every one of us stands on the shoulders of giants. Newton, Einstein, Aristotle, the inventors of the danish, and so on. And, though the West gave the East computers and plastic, and the East gave the West gunpowder and silk, undergraduates have given us nothing. But that’s not their fault — they’re young and innocent. They know nothing. You can’t blame an undergraduate for panicking about cultural appropriation any more than you can blame a puppy for chewing up your baseball mitt. That’s why these kids are in school — to learn things.

The spineless, weaselly deans and presidents of America’s universities should try to remember that.

The Liberal Fantasy of Cultural Appropriation, by Josh Gelernter

Moral preening. Ozymandias

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The Ruling Class

But science is reason, not pretense. Only the power of government can translate scientific illiteracy into scientific pretense. What President Dwight Eisenhower warned against in his 1961 farewell address has become our reality: “domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money.” Government money is the means by which ruling-class power has become the scientific pretense by which we are instructed what to eat, how to shower, what medical care is proper and what is not, and what to think about right and wrong.

Standing Up to the Ruling Class, by Angelo Codevilla

The state is the clerisy’s idol

[P]eople are fooling themselves if they think electing a strongman is going to save us. Dante Alighieri fantasized about a strongman coming to sort out the godawful mess that was Italy in the 14th century, but I think he told truer than he knew in Purgatorio XVI, on the terrace of Wrath. When the pilgrim Dante asked Marco the Lombard why the world back on earth is in such a mess, Marco answered him by saying, in effect, If you want to fix the world, first fix your own heart.

. . .

Look, I’m not saying that policy (economic and otherwise) has nothing to do with this “things fall apart” situation we find ourselves in. It does. But there’s a lot more going on here, at every level of our society, from top to bottom. The center is not holding. Trump is not the cause; Trump is the effect. If he becomes president, maybe some things will change for the better, but if he threw out every illegal immigrant, built a wall between the US and Mexico, reformed the financial system and did everything he promised to do, We The People would still have massive problems governing ourselves, in our private lives.

Bunga Bunga Billionaire Nation, by Rod Dreher

Ozymandias

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Microbiome

Scientific discoveries in recent years suggest that some serious conditions could be cured by adding “good” bacteria to your digestive tract. Now several companies are racing to develop drugs that do so.

It’s a jungle in there: massive populations of microbes, immune cells, and cells of the gut tissue are interacting and exchanging countless chemical and physical signals. Disruptions to this complex ecosystem, often called the microbiome, have been linked not only to gastrointestinal problems but also to metabolic, immunological, and even neurological disorders.

One such problem, which occurs when a very common species of bacteria, Clostridium difficile, colonizes the gut and becomes too abundant, can be cured by adding good bacteria to the digestive tract—but the method for doing so requires a transplant of another person’s feces, and the reasons it works are not well understood. The next generation of microbiome medicines will instead be “real drugs” that are “easy to take, clean, and safe,” says Roger Pomerantz, CEO of Seres Therapeutics.

Companies Aim to Make Drugs from Bacteria That Live in the Gut

Fermented food is good for your microbiome

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Abortion is killing the “unwanted”

Abortion means killing not strangers but our own children, our own flesh and blood. No matter who the father, every child aborted is that woman’s own son or daughter, just as much as any child she will ever bear.

Once I recognized the inherent violence of abortion, none of the feminist arguments made sense. Like the claim that a fetus is not really a person because it is so small. Well, I’m only 5 foot 1. Women, in general, are smaller than men. Do we really want to advance a principle that big people have more value than small people? That if you catch them before they’ve reached a certain size, it’s all right to kill them?

What about the child who is “unwanted”? It was a basic premise of early feminism that women should not base their sense of worth on whether or not a man “wants” them. We are valuable simply because we are members of the human race, regardless of any other person’s approval. Do we really want to say that “unwanted” people might as well be dead? What about a woman who is “wanted” when she’s young and sexy but less so as she gets older? At what point is it all right to terminate her?

The usual justification for abortion is that the unborn is not a “person.” It’s said that “Nobody knows when life begins.” But that’s not true; everybody knows when life — a new individual human life — gets started. It’s when the sperm dissolves in the egg. That new single cell has a brand-new DNA, never before seen in the world. If you examined through a microscope three cells lined up — the newly fertilized ovum, a cell from the father, and a cell from the mother — you would say that, judging from the DNA, the cells came from three different people.

Roe Won the Day, and Sooner or Later That Day Will End

“The moment of the videos demonstrated that there were many Americans willing to turn their eyes away from what they revealed. They showed the pro-life movement what we’re up against in terms of the conscience of the nation,” he said.

Why the March for Life is becoming a destination for more evangelicals

March for Life

Today, many of us march for life, here in Washington, on the West Coast, and in other communities. Today we ponder the great mystery that is expressed in the 139th psalm:

For it was you who created my being, knit me together in my mother’s womb. I thank you for the wonder of my being . . . Already you knew my soul my body held no secret from you when I was being fashioned in secret….every one of my days was decreed before one of them came into being. To me, how mysterious your thoughts, the sum of them not to be numbered! (Psalm 139 varia)

No human being is an accident, no conception a surprise or inconvenience to God. Mysteriously he knew and loved us long before we were ever conceived, for he says, Before I ever formed you in the womb I knew you (Jer 1:4). And, as the psalm says above, God has always known everything we would ever do or be.

The Miracle of Life

Today [January 22, 2106] marks the 43rd anniversary of a Supreme Court ruling that reversed and erased a decade of civil rights gains, and created a new Constitutionally-defenseless class of persons with no voice before the bar of justice, no recourse under law.

The high court, on this day in 1973, twisted freedom’s charter from a document designed to protect the People from their government, to a death warrant that set the government against some of the people, committing our nation to a ceaseless slaughter of innocents that would have horrified King Herod.

Roe v. Wade Erased a Decade of Civil Rights Gains, and Violated the True Constitution of a People

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The “Radical Right”

A right-winger is someone who disagrees with the liberal narrative, has the temerity to say so, and dares to actually try to change the conversation.

The Kochs’ Biggest Sin: Disagreeing with the Liberal Narrative

Statolatry, making an idol of the state. And it appears to be a thuggish cult. With numerous members among the clerisy. Forward, moral preeners and philosopher kings!

Ozymandias

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Hope and Change!

How well did being backed by rich people work for Mitt Romney in 2012? Are the Koch brothers more powerful than the average American voter’s desire to be taken care of by the Great Father in Washington? Have they picked our next president yet?
. . .
It is great that we were sent a savior. But how come, after seven years of being saved, we still have “urgent work to do”?
. . .
We have moved from an expensive system in which tens of millions of Americans were uninsured to a crazy expensive system in which tens of millions of Americans are uninsured.
. . .
One thing that we proved in the housing market of 1992-2007 was that it doesn’t matter how much something costs as long as you can refinance it.
. . .
Summary of what the three candidates said: Despite being led by one of the greatest human beings who ever lived, American government today is incompetent, unable to deliver functional infrastructure, safe water, desired foreign policy results (even with countries in Central America), or health care to citizens. Branches of the government may be unable to pay their debts (Puerto Rico). What we need to do is give this incompetent government a larger percentage of the GDP to allocate. We should also task this government with setting wages for both government and what was formerly known as “private sector” jobs.

The last debate for the Democrats, by Philip Greenspun

Moral Preening and Ozymandias

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“Society’s Crisis in Masculinity”

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Victim Culture

BACK in 1993, the misanthropic art critic Robert Hughes published a grumpy, entertaining book called “Culture of Complaint,” in which he predicted that America was doomed to become increasingly an “infantilized culture” of victimhood. It was a rant against what he saw as a grievance industry appearing all across the political spectrum.

I enjoyed the book, but as a lifelong optimist about America, was unpersuaded by Mr. Hughes’s argument. I dismissed it as just another apocalyptic prediction about our culture.

Unfortunately, the intervening two decades have made Mr. Hughes look prophetic and me look naïve.
. . .
So who cares if we are becoming a culture of victimhood? We all should. To begin with, victimhood makes it more and more difficult for us to resolve political and social conflicts. The culture feeds a mentality that crowds out a necessary give and take — the very concept of good-faith disagreement — turning every policy difference into a pitched battle between good (us) and evil (them).

The Real Victims of Victimhood, by Arthur C. Brooks

A Nation of Victims: The Decay of the American Character, by Charles J. Sykes

So let me get this straight. You were unanimous in saying that you want your school to be a place where people feel free to speak up, even if you strongly dislike their views. But you don’t have such a school. In fact, you have exactly the sort of “tolerance” that Herbert Marcuse advocated [which I had discussed in my lecture, and which you can read about here]. You have a school in which only people in the preferred groups get to speak, and everyone else is afraid. What are you going to do about this? Let’s talk.
. . .
Their high schools have thoroughly socialized them into what sociologists call victimhood culture, which weakens students by turning them into “moral dependents” who cannot deal with problems on their own. They must get adult authorities to validate their victim status.
. . .
The only hope for Centerville High — and for Yale — is to disrupt their repressively uniform moral matrices to make room for dissenting views. High schools and colleges that lack viewpoint diversity should make it their top priority. Race and gender diversity matter too, but if those goals are pursued in the ways that student activists are currently demanding, then political orthodoxy is likely to intensify. Schools that value freedom of thought should therefore actively seek out non-leftist faculty, and they should explicitly include viewpoint diversity and political diversity in all statements about diversity and discrimination. Parents and students who value freedom of thought should take viewpoint diversity into account when applying to colleges. Alumni should take it into account before writing any more checks.

The Yale problem refers to an unfortunate feedback loop: Once you allow victimhood culture to spread on your campus, you can expect ever more anger from students representing victim groups, coupled with demands for a deeper institutional commitment to victimhood culture, which leads inexorably to more anger, more demands, and more commitment. But the Yale problem didn’t start at Yale. It started in high school.

Campus Turmoil Begins in High School, by Jonathan Haidt

At the bottom of so many people’s unhappiness is a big reservoir of self-pity. Much of the depression, anxiety, and anger that so many suffer stems from deeply ingrained habits of self-pity and its concomitant narcissism.

There are exceptions of course. Not everyone who is depressed is full of self-pity. But, everyone who is full of self-pity is depressed. Depression grows on self-pity like apples grow on the apple tree. The only way to rid yourself of the poisoned fruit is to tear up the roots that produce it.

How do we do that?

Let me suggest three things.

First, have reasonable expectations.
. . .
Second, understand that to decenter self-pitying thoughts, you must replace them with something else. That something else is gratitude.
. . .
Third, focus on your duties, your goals, your plans and not on what troubles you.

Self-Pity and How to Overcome It

Ozymandias

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