Streetwise Professor

August 16, 2017

First They Came For Lee . . .

Filed under: Civil War,History,Politics — The Professor @ 6:26 pm

The battle over the monuments is not really about the monuments. It’s not even really about the legacy of the Civil War. It is about the left’s vision of what America was, is, and will be. Here’s the most important thing to remember. The hard-core left that is the driving force behind extirpating the icons of the Confederacy does not see it, or the Old South, as an exception, a deviation from an otherwise laudable and righteous history: they see it as just one manifestation of the fundamental evil of America, evil that is writ on every page of history from 1607 on down. In this worldview, the United States has been, from even before its formal beginning, characterized by racism, sexism, and oppressive capitalism. It is not something that is basically good, but which has fallen short of achieving its lofty ideals: it is something that is fundamentally rotten, and which must be transformed by any means necessary.

It should not be surprising how the left conducts its march through institutions. It is really rather brilliant in conception and execution, although malign in effect and intent. There is a long term objective–in this case, the transformation of the US. But there is a coherent operational plan that concentrates force on a specific objective, and once that objective is taken, moves on to the next one.

Right now the ostensible target is the legacy of the Confederacy, but once the battle of the Confederate monuments is won, they will move on to the next target, which will inevitably include sooner or later every person in the American political pantheon, and every political, social, and economic institution that reflects the American past and tradition.

The left also masterfully personalizes the conflict, and ruthlessly presents the false choice between being on the side of the angels, or the side of the devils. In the current case, Nazis and white supremacists have been made the face of the anti-left. And now the left–with the assistance of many useful idiots, to whom I will turn in a moment–presents the false choice: if you are anti-left, well, that means that you are a Nazi or a fellow traveler thereof.

This is what’s happening here, and it’s as plain as day. Today it’s Robert E. Lee. Tomorrow it will be Lincoln and Washington and the Constitution and the Founding. The ultimate objective is the delegitimization of the American creed.

What is particularly sickening about this is that the most militant–and violent–of the leftists are being sanitized, and indeed lionized, because of their alleged anti-racist cred: anti-racism has become a license for vandalism and violence.

This is unbelievably stupid, and unbelievably dangerous. Antifa and the like are just the mirror image of the most retrograde white supremacists. Black bandanas=White hoods. Hammer and Sickle (which is displayed prominently at many Antifa and leftist actions)=Swastika. Both are anti-American. Both are anti-liberty. Both are committed to use violence in order to achieve their maximalist objectives. Nazis on the one side, Bolsheviks on the other. And it’s not as if either is hiding it: their regalia and flags advertise it.

And crucially, both are the twisted spawn of identity politics, the bane of modern society. Both define everything in crude terms of race and ethnicity and religion. Both are collectivists–a point too often overlooked, even though it is of decisive importance. Both reject the Western individualist revolution that began with Christianity and then humanism, and advanced through the Reformation and the enlightenment. To them, you are defined by your race, religion, ethnicity and class. The only difference between them is the perfect negative correlation between which race, religion, ethnicity, and class they demonize, and which they deify.

And, of course, this creates a sick symbiosis: neither can really exist without the other, and the rise of one contributes to the rise of the other.

Further, both are totalitarian and absolutist, and this is what leads to such virulent attacks on a past which does not conform with their absolutist vision. The iconoclasm we see now almost daily is redolent of other absolutist movements in the past, be it the Year One insanity of the French Revolution or the shrieking violence of the Cultural Revolution in China.

Both must be condemned. More than that, both must be opposed forcefully by duly constituted civil authority whenever they act out their violent ideologies.

But saying this is apparently beyond the pale in current American discourse, which just shows how degraded that discourse has become. Antifa–again, an avowedly communist, anti-liberty, anti-American movement–is not just not criticized, it is defended, because its self-proclaimed anti-racism (which in fact includes a healthy dose of anti-white racism) absolves it from any taint. Trump’s calling out of Antifa as well as Nazis has led supposedly conservative establishment figures like Mitt Romney, Lindsey Graham, Marco Rubio, and Charles Krauthammer to differentiate the indistinguishable, and to defend Antifa because of their opposition to Nazis and racists.

What Romney et al don’t get is who the hard-core left identifies as racists: it’s pretty much everybody who doesn’t agree with them in totality. It includes most whites (which is ironic, given the pastiness of most of the cheekbones and foreheads visible between black hats and masks). I guarantee it includes Mitt Romney, Lindsey Graham, Marco Rubio, and Charles Krauthammer. By vouching for them now, and validating their claim of authority in establishing who is and who is not a racist, Romney et al are putting a target on a lot of people who are by no stretch of the imagination white supremacists or Nazis.

But of course the left has always benefitted from useful idiots. Romney et al are playing that role to perfection.

History will not be the only casualty. Free speech will be as well. Free speech has already largely died on college campuses, which are merely the laboratory and hot house of leftism. Coming soon to, well, pretty much everyplace you might consider speaking your mind.

This too illustrates the devolution of American civil society. White supremacism and even Nazism are not new to American life, of course. In a way, what is amazing now is how marginalized these things are today. In the 1920s, the KKK was a major political force throughout the US–not just the South. (Indiana was a Klan hotbed.) In February, 1939–almost 6 years after Roosevelt’s inauguration and 6 months before German tanks rolled into Poland–the American Bund (basically the American Nazi Party) held a rally in Madison Square Garden attended by an estimated 22,000. Yet Eleanor Roosevelt, an extremely liberal political figure whose husband was savaged by the Bund, defended its right to exist, organize, and speak: she also defended America Firsters, Father Coughlin, and others with whom she disagreed violently on basically every political and social issue.

But if she did that today, she would be savaged. Because the left has gone from being believers in and defenders of civil liberties and individual freedom to their avowed enemies. The American liberal tradition, rooted in the enlightenment and classical liberal values, is being eclipsed, and replaced on the left by an alien political mindset. A mindset, ironically, that also spawned the fascist and Nazi movements in Europe as well as the leftist movements they battled in the streets: to understand the symbiosis between left and right in Europe in the 1920s and 1930s, read Paul Johnson’s Modern Times. It is that intellectual tradition (rooted in Germany) that gave rise to the tragedy of Weimar, and it is that intellectual tradition that has the United States slouching towards its own Weimarization today.

Both far left and far right are collectivist and anti-rational, and hence at odds with the American political tradition which was individualist and rooted in the rationalism of the enlightenment. That is why Robert E. Lee might be the first historical casualty, but he will not be the last. All of American history is in the dock, and staring at the gallows.


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  1. I live in a city with a large antifa contingent. They’re anti-fascist-competition, not anti-fascist — Stalinists, not Hitlerites, but I struggle to understand the difference. No sane person should defend the black bloc.

    Comment by FTR — August 16, 2017 @ 6:37 pm

  2. @FTR. I agree completely. Bolsheviks, Spartacists, Trotskyites, Stalinists. That any establishment figure is defending them is appalling, and is mainly a testament to said figures’ drooling, gibbering idiocy.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — August 16, 2017 @ 6:47 pm

  3. Dear Prof
    I hope you haven’t banned me, but..
    The fly over states are named mostly by tribe or geography. These voted a lot for Trump. If the left wants to rename New Hampshire, Jersey, New York, Virginia, Washington…

    Good luck with that.

    Comment by james — August 16, 2017 @ 7:00 pm

  4. @james. It takes a lot to get banned here 😉 In fact, I only did it once, to a notorious troll who posted under numerous pseudonyms (e.g., Mr. X). I know who she is IRL (though I don’t know her personally). A real piece of work. Believe me.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — August 16, 2017 @ 7:06 pm

  5. I’m a white conservative who loves(and defended) this nation. It saddens me that to much of the rest of the country and even the world, I’ll now be labelled as some kind of KKK loving, Nazi-associating identity political pawn. Both sides are devolving to identity politics, and if it continues, there will be no where for the traditional Great American Citizen to exist. Saddens me further that if the elites and leftists are forcing me to choose, I guess I’ll have to choose the nationalists, and go back to defending my position with arms bared.

    The progressives are going to push this to the point of breaking, and cause everyone to eventually take up sides. There will be no more ‘middle class’ or defensible stance that is not tainted by one’s skin color, support for nation or globe, and choice of political affiliation. When it finally happens, I will dutifully defend the nation, and the progressives will really have some serious infliction to complain about. The gov of Virginia said that the alt-right in the recent rally had about 80% gun carriers. If that’s true, and I have no reason to doubt the good gov, then that’s a tribute to the great restraint on the part of the nationalists to not fire on their opposition(yet).

    The coming civil war will be infinitely worse than the last one. Don’t look forward to it, but as I used to shout once a week or so: “SEMPER FI!”. I’m ready, cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war…

    Comment by doc — August 16, 2017 @ 7:58 pm

  6. doc
    I share your concern, but not your pessisism. People in Fergurson, Baltimore, VA, etc are by and large going about their daily business and ignoring all this sh!t.

    We’ve had growth in health, communication, food for four hundred years. I can imagine that some millenials can fvck it up but the betting is that they won’t.

    Comment by james — August 16, 2017 @ 8:59 pm

  7. Hi! Long time lurker, first time commenter (I think).

    First, I want to say that I like the tone of your last two posts. I honestly find some of the prior ones (election related and later) to be too emotional. I found that much of the effort was dedicated to outrage at what the left’s response to things and making fun of them. I’ve never found mere outrage and mocking to be persuasive.

    Second, I similarly discount slippery slope arguments, so the overall thrust of this post doesn’t do much for me. If slopes were all that slippery, we wouldn’t be in the roughly centrist world we no inhabit, with both sides trying to pull us one way or the other. I refuse to believe that through luck or providence we have settled at some unstable equilibrium, and need to be on the lookout for any possible thing that might tip the balance. My comments below must tackle the slippery slope problem themselves, but I think focusing on a risk, rather than slopes being infinitely slippery helps me.

    Third, anyone who objects to the observation that there are crazies on both sides is himself crazy and unworthy of attention. I’ll agree with you there.

    Okay, that’s out of the way. Now my critiques.

    What many on the right are objecting to is not Trump’s statement of violence “on many sides” or even his condemnation of Antifa. What they are objecting to is his less-than-forceful denunciation of white supremacy and white nationalism. While the idiocy of the far right and the far left may be similar, their risks are not symmetrical. Globally, I’d agree that communism (or insert favorite flavor is terrible leftism here) has done more damage than white supremacy/European imperialism, but in this country, in our history, the situation is reversed: white supremacy has done much more damage than anything the extreme left has achieved. With the state’s imprimatur the damage has been even worse. It is this unbalanced history that justifies being more cautious of radical advances from the racist right than the collectivist left. That is why a President that appears to not have the natural instinct to condemn such activity is uniquely concerning.

    Relating to the notion that Nazis and Bolsheviks are both [collectivists…[rejecting] the Western individualist revolution that began with Christianity and then humanism” that is a true statement but misses the mark when applied to the question at the heart of the recent fighting: the confederate monuments are dedicated to individuals who fought to maintain the single greatest non-humanistic institution ever seen in our country. Many people’s opinions slot in between “these statues should not be on our public land” and “we need to get rid of western humanism.” Assuming we’re all saying the latter sets up a strawman that is rightfully torn down, but doesn’t address the issue at hand.

    Finally, on the 1939 Bund rally (something that amazes me every time I think of it), again, I think the point is missed. Most of the recent outrage is not over the fact that Trump or anyone else permits Nazis to speak. That’s first amendment 101 that all reasonable people respect (to pull a “no true Scottsman”). The outrage is that he hasn’t condemned what they are saying. The analogue to Mrs. Roosevelt would be if she didn’t condemn Nazism. She did condemn Nazism, as you state in your post.

    That’s all I had. Thanks for reading.

    Comment by AnonPls — August 16, 2017 @ 9:09 pm

  8. One quick edit (penultimate paragraph): the outrage is that he **hadn’t** condemned what they were saying. If the Tuesday speech were the first speech, delivered on Sunday and left to stand alone, I think the outrage would be lower. Or, at least the justified outrage would be lower. I won’t say there aren’t nuts on both sides, after all.

    Comment by AnonPls — August 16, 2017 @ 9:50 pm

  9. Back to statues.
    Prof likes them, some of us may be in two minds. Nelson on top of Nelson’s Column, Tragalgar Square is amgibuous about whether his arm is there or not.

    I suppose there is already an app where you can point your phone at a statue and get a correct and very boring history of the person.

    The alt left is going to shoot itself in the foot soon. A BLM invasion of Arlington Cemetery would put the dems out of power for a generation.

    Comment by james — August 16, 2017 @ 11:57 pm

  10. […] with Streetwise Professor […]

    Pingback by Rotherham and Charlottesville | White Sun of the Desert — August 17, 2017 @ 12:57 am

  11. @AnonPls
    For me the test that determines if someone is racist is if they support that everyone should not be equal under the law or rather than not equal under the law. Since this discussion is about the Civil War we can simplify the question as follows should Caucasians and African Americans be equal under the law. Answers could be yes, no Caucasians should be superior under the law, or no African Americans should be superior under the law. The first response is not racist while the remaining two are racist in that race is considered to determine legal status. Very few people in the US will answer this by Caucasians should be privileged under the law and so considering this otherwise is essentially a straw man.

    On a deeper level this entire discussion relies on the politics of labels and divisions. I have worked many places around the world and it has been my observation that the more politicized education is in a locale the more people there rely on labels to the point that they mistake the label for the person. Labeling someone by race is an unreasonable simplification of that person when you mistake the label for the person. It condenses a very complex thing into a very simple label. However in the US the rhetoric of labels and divisions has been a fundamental and successful strategy for Progressive to maintain power by garnering votes. All US citizens have suffered as a result of this regardless of skin color.

    ANTIFA is a shrewd label. If you look at logical tests considering the common definition of fascism they meet the definition of fascists except they are not nationalists. ANTIFA professes globalism even though their companion groups are anti globalists. This is a distinction that closely aligns ANTIFA’s goals with Progressive’s goals. To me they are a much greater threat than white supremacists in that they profess consistency with the Progressives game plan for the US and can be considered an action organization for Progressives.

    I just happened to watch a Richard Feynman video Monday night and he spoke about how human thought is muddled when labels are mistaken for the actual thing. His context was physics but the same applies to politics. I doubt it will change since labels have been used so successfully by Progressives and the left and is cultivated in the US educational system.

    Comment by pahoben — August 17, 2017 @ 4:15 am

  12. racism, sexism, and oppressive capitalism these things ruins not only the America but also the world. History repeats every-time. What else we can say !!

    Comment by Droidalyzer — August 17, 2017 @ 7:41 am

  13. “The left also masterfully personalizes the conflict, and ruthlessly presents the false choice between being on the side of the angels, or the side of the devils”

    That pretty much describes the Declaration of Independence too.

    Comment by dearieme — August 17, 2017 @ 8:48 am

  14. @AnonPIs: “but in this country, in our history, the situation is reversed: white supremacy has done much more damage than anything the extreme left has achieved.”

    With the above statement, I can determine that you don’t have a good grasp of US civil war history, and the motivational politics of the time(late 1850s – civil war). The entire effort leading up to, and asserting ‘states rights’ and slavery was mired completely in leftist ideology. It was the Democrats(sometimes called Dixiecrats) which supported, endorsed, and fully backed slavery, and the white supremacist movement. The KKK was started by, and long supported by Democrats, right up through 1960s. this is the very definition of ‘extreme left’ in action. The entire party of Lincoln Republicans was developed and devoted to the abolition of slavery.

    the ‘extreme left’ has been wrong on every civil rights debate up to JFK. After JFK(aided by RFK in justice), the civil rights movement finally caught up with the Democrats, and subsequently they have developed a new means and method for systematic racial subjugation of minorities through federal programs designed ‘help’ them. All of the federal aid programs are just the newest form of slavery.

    As far as the monuments go, they are not there to represent the political ideology of some kind of cult of personality like the statue of Saddam Hussain, or any of the statues of Hitler. Those plinths are there to respect the men who fought battles, and ultimately lost, but were respected for their leadership on the battlefield. It should be noted that the monuments at Gettysburg, and many other civil war battlefields are represented by both Union and CSA leaders.

    So, where do we go from here? If you don’t like slippery slope, stop reading now. What’s next? Do we remove any reference to CSA generals from Gettysburg? Maybe we should take a dozer and start digging up CSA graves in Arlington. Rebury them in a pauper grave in Texas. Tear down the Jefferson monument in the capitol? I know, we should have artillery practice on Mt Rushmore. Get rid of that nasty slave owner. But wait! Washington owned slaves too. Guess we will have to blast him off too.

    Revisionist history is fun. An honest nation keeps track of it’s mistakes, and doesn’t hide them. Mistakes like slavery are discussed, and taught in school. Those who ignore history are condemned to repeat it, and here we are, looking at another racial divide in this nation. Conflating racial inequality with the conservative right is playing into the hands of those who want to see this nation torn apart, and stripped of the liberty, and freedoms we cherish. One side, and one side ONLY is responsible for this. We had a black president, and everyone assumed that finally, after all this – we would put the racial stereotypes away. Who would have guessed that the first minority president would be the most race-baiting man in town? Who could say that racial bias would be WORSE after his admin than before? And yet, here were are. The left didn’t get their savior(?) elected, and are acting out like a 6 month old, when the pablum filled spoon is taken away.

    Comment by doc — August 17, 2017 @ 9:15 am

  15. “But wait! Washington owned slaves too”

    But wait – we are being told by the “angels” that Washington is not on the list to be taken down – because “that’s different!”

    Reason? Because “Washington owned slaves when it was legal and he did good things for this country.”

    I made the mistake of watching TV, and there it was – I won’t way whether it was the Creative Nonsense Network or somewhere else.

    Revisionist history is fun indeed – eenie, meenie, miney, moe, you get to pick which ones stay and which ones go!

    There is so much self-righteous breast beating and virtue signaling going on by media idiots and political idiots right now, including all those “conservatives” mentioned above, that it looks like the US has been magically and suddenly transformed into heaven. I don’t know if I can stand much more of this enormous virtue.

    In all probability, most people are ignoring all of that self-proclaimed holiness.

    The irony of it all is that I don’t think the “Unite the Right” idiots actually got to say anything.

    And the antifa idiots were simply shouting mindless slogans.

    All while doing their own little (about 500 people) version of the Jets v Sharks in West Side Story.

    Ah, public policy in the making.

    Moron thugs and useful idiots.

    Comment by elmer — August 17, 2017 @ 9:53 am

  16. Doc,
    I whole heartedly agree with much of what you say, at the beginning, but not the conclusion. For instance, “The entire party of Lincoln Republicans was developed and devoted to the abolition of slavery” is 100% true. However, back in the 19th century, the Republicans were the party of the left; they were the progressives. Republicans were the force behind emancipation, but all the liberals (T. Stevens, etc) have left (pun!) the party, and conservatives have joined it. Now the Republicans are the conservatives and the Democrats are the liberals. Just because the party’s name hasn’t changed doesn’t mean that what it stands for hasn’t. Anyway, that’s a long way of saying if you insist leftists are responsible for slavery, I suppose we have a definitional issue we’ll need to hash out.
    Where do we stop? I think we look at the men and their achievements and make a judgement. We honor G. Washington despite his horrible attributes because he accomplished great things. Similarly with Jefferson, Monroe and the lot. Even Jackson, whom many are willing to throw into the scrap heap of history, was a fearless defender of the Union and I believe we should keep where he is. Men who dedicated their professional lives to the destruction of our country and maintenance of slavery? They are not worthy of our contemporary honor. Those men belong in a museum where we can learn about them and their time. That is not to deny history any more than putting the Mona Lisa in a museum denies the existence of the Renaissance. It’s not hiding; it’s a more detailed and educational exploration of that time and culture than a public statue is.
    On your latter points, I think you overplay a few things. It’s easy to say “everyone assumed that finally…we would put these racial stereotypes away” but I have not seen any evidence of everyone assuming that; I certainly didn’t and can’t think of any acquaintances believed that. Could it be that it’s a convenient predicate you use to invalidate it when you introduce contrary evidence? Also, I think much of what people think of as “race baiting” is, when considered in context, is nothing of the sort. I’m happy to talk about a few examples to see if I agree with you or can provide that context. I’ve also not seen any evidence that “racial bias [is] worse after [Obama’s] admin than before.” However, if we are worse off today, I think it’s a stretch to blame the person who just left the office, rather than the person who came into the office. That isn’t to say it’s impossible, just that I’d need some evidence to demonstrate it’s due to the former person.
    And finally, I try really hard to avoid raw insults (“acting out 6 month old”). If I have made any, please point them out and I’ll address, likely with an honest apology.

    Comment by AnonPls — August 17, 2017 @ 10:42 am

  17. pahoben,
    Thanks for your note. First, on the question of labels, of course it’s impossible to capture all the nuance of humanity in single words, or even phrases, sentences, paragraphs… tomes! But language is cruelly reductionist and we need some device to convey clusters of ideas. I wish I could jam each character with enough information to capture what I want, but I can’t; no one can. Your point is taken, and I hope I didn’t anger. I’m more interested in ideas than people, anyway, and I’m trying here to focus on ideas, not how sets of ideas are clustered together in certain persons. (See above, progressive **ideas** have migrated from Republicans to Democrats since the civil war)
    I’ll join your thoughts on ANTIFA. Being against facism, what’s wrong with that? The problem is that they refuse to put their trust in our political system. They believe that violence is justified to nip facism in the bud and keep it from gaining traction in the US. Given the attrocities committed in its (facism’s) name in the 20th century, you can kind of sympathize, right? Just like you can kind of sympathize with the McCarthy-ites looking to do the same with communism. But just as we now hold our head in shame over the McCarthy era, we should do the same with those who advocate violence. Our political system is stronger than any that’s been tried before (to modify a Churchill quote a bit). That is where I and many come down against ANTIFA: your aims are noble; the strategies you endorse are not. But that goes both ways: if one disagrees with their strategies, one need not disagree with their aims, and refusal to endorse their aims (because of their methods) is a wrong.

    Comment by AnonPls — August 17, 2017 @ 10:59 am

  18. Elmer,
    If you don’t mind clicking over to an expressly liberal site, I solicit your thoughts on
    Specifically this:
    Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, and the other politicians and generals who served the Confederate States of America aren’t noteworthy historical figures who also happened to benefit from the institution of slavery. They are historical figures who are noteworthy almost exclusively because they led an insurrection against the United States of America, an insurrection whose primary purpose was to perpetuate slavery.

    I don’t agree with you that the movement is “eenie, meenie, miney, moe, you get to pick which ones stay and which ones go!” I do think there is a consistent and just line of thinking behind it.

    Comment by AnonPls — August 17, 2017 @ 11:10 am

  19. James,
    If a BLM group invades Arlington, the political implications depend on the reaction. If leading Democrats don’t immediately damn the invasion, that would be so far outside the mainstream it would indeed hurt their electoral chances. I would certainly not approve of such an invasion.
    I think that’s why our current president has had such a tough time recently: he didn’t immediately and forcefully condemn those carrying nazi flags. If he’d done so, yeah, there are some who would still hate him, but things like those CEO counsels wouldn’t have gone crazy.

    Comment by AnonPls — August 17, 2017 @ 11:41 am

  20. Indeed, Prof.

    Cultural revolution indeed.

    Comment by Global Super-Regulator on Lunch Break — August 17, 2017 @ 12:35 pm

  21. @AnonPl
    I apologize for explaining myself so very poorly and so let me pull my thoughts together more explicitly.

    In my view ANTIFA are not fighting against fascists but rather they are fascists and fighting in support of fascism.

    Comment by pahoben — August 17, 2017 @ 12:54 pm

  22. Pahoben,
    Interesting! They wouldn’t be the first to do so accidentally (cough cough Venezuela). I’m skeptical, but please, do come back when you’ve had some time. (in full disclosure, I read up on Antifa a year or so ago and my recollections are summarized above. Things can change.)

    Comment by AnonPls — August 17, 2017 @ 1:05 pm

  23. ” They believe that violence is justified to nip facism in the bud and keep it from gaining traction in the US”

    what the heck is the name of the old play where the character is killed to nip his actions in the bud? oh, yeah, Julius Caesar

    killed for his own good.

    the antifas believe that government is some kind of terrorism, according to what I have heard on public radio and elsewhere.

    so – who is promoting fascism?

    fun fact:

    – the Emancipation Proclamation freed the slaves only in ten states, in rebel Confederate states, under the justification that the prez was acting under his war powers; it took the 13th Amendment to abolish slavery everywhere

    – before he became prez, in the Lincoln endorsed the Corwin Amendment, which although not ever passed, had been signed by Buchanan; it would have prevented meddling in state institutions – including slavery – and was seen as a method of preserving the union, the US

    – all Confederate soldiers were pardoned, except one, and Union and Confederate soldiers got together after the Civil War peacefully, documented in newsreel movies and news stories

    so – who is fomenting fascism today, such that antifa feel the necessity to engage in violence?

    Comment by elmer — August 17, 2017 @ 1:09 pm

  24. “Hammer and Sickle … =Swastika”. Well, there are a few nations in the eastern part of Europe, where this is actually what the law says. But one shudders at the thought of what price was paid to establish this simple identity. Definitely no need for America to reestablish it empirically.

    Comment by Ivan — August 17, 2017 @ 1:49 pm

  25. “which is ironic, given the pastiness of most of the cheekbones and foreheads” — which is only consistent with the hypothesis that lefty-ism is fundamentally self-hate projected to the outside, and radical lefty-ism radially so.

    Comment by Ivan — August 17, 2017 @ 2:02 pm

  26. Elmer,
    See my other comments and it’s clear I not only disagree with Antifa violence but I concur in your judgement that it’s counter productive. I furthermore agree and wish more people realized that Julius Ceasar is a play about the dangers of political violence (see Public’s recent production and the reaction thereto).
    While facism is not well defined, I think a strong leader figure is rather key to the ideology, and given the dispersed nature of Antifa, whatever ills an uncontrolled Antifa would inflict, I don’t think facism is one of them. Facism is an evil but not all evils are facist.
    Antifa views the political right as fomenting facism (authoritarian nationalism with a single leader). That may not be true, but that’s what they believe.

    (I was puzzled why Buchanan would sign an amendment because doing so doesn’t actually do anything. Being so puzzled, I went and did some interesting reading, so thanks for the heads up! The Fiery Trial is a great book about Lincoln’s evolution from his Corwin Amendment days to his “Great Emancipator” days. In many ways, the true measure of a man is not what he initially believes deep down, but what he does in life. Ug that sounds like a batman quote. Anyway, that’s part of Lee’s tragedy: he may have been, at his core, a good man, but his actions in defending the wrong side of history will forever stain his image.)

    Comment by AnonPls — August 17, 2017 @ 2:05 pm

  27. @Professor
    “college campuses, which are merely the laboratory and hot house of leftism” – not all of them. Here is from the President of a rather good school on Charlottesville:

    “We create knowledge through the exchange of ideas, grounded in respect for each other’s views. Stereotyping is pernicious not only because it is hurtful, but because it obviates the ability of an individual to
    contribute to discourse for the benefit of the commonweal.”

    Nothing about lefty – good, righty – bad there.

    Comment by Ivan — August 17, 2017 @ 2:21 pm

  28. “an insurrection against the United States of America” is an odd way to describe a secession but a reasonable way to describe the present antics of the Left Fascists.

    Comment by dearieme — August 17, 2017 @ 2:49 pm

  29. @AnonPls – I disagree with the characterization that Lee’s image was stained, for various reasons, including those espoused by SWP and others here.

    The Union was preserved, and Lee served honorably as president of a university. He acted honorably in Confederate surrender.

    All of the Confederate soldiers, except one, were pardoned. I do not see a need to vilify them. The history is what it is.

    Right now, the lefties who scream and shout about Confederate statues because they represent slavery seek to make a sophist argument that Washington was OK despite the fact that he owned slaves.

    One can’t have it both ways. There was a time when some people, including Africans, including American Indians, and others all around the world, thought that slavery was OK. The Civil War was about states’ rights, including the issue of slavery, and there was slavery in the North as well as the South.

    In the case of the Civil War, in which brother fought against brother, I don’t think it serves any useful purpose to vilify the people who went through all of that. I think a better purpose is served by knowing the history accurately and in depth.

    Which means that all of the putrid nonsense being served up by political idiots and media idiots dumbed down to a level beneath Joe Sixpack (which is what they swim in, because they believe that everyone is stupid) must be ignored. Together with the putrid nonsense being served up by the Unite the Right and the antifa morons, whoever they are.

    Comment by elmer — August 17, 2017 @ 2:54 pm

  30. Dearieme,
    11 states raising arms against the federal government feels very insurrectionist to me. Perhaps it comes across as an odd word, but it feels natural to me. The emancipation proclamation contemporaneously described it as rebellion, which may be a better word, but they’re similar enough to me.
    I won’t personally vouch for any US resident who currently claims to be no longer bound by the US Constitution and the government formed thereunder, nor for anyone working to overthrow the constitution. There may be some out there who say this, but it is by no means a commonly held belief. Ascribing the the lunatic rantings of a few to everyone on the “other side” is dangerous and I plead with you to not do so. I will not equate secessionist Montana militiamen with everyone wanting to reform the tax code, I promise.

    Comment by AnonPls — August 17, 2017 @ 2:58 pm

  31. Professor, you can’t resist probing new lows since Trump was elected. What does the stuff that’s been happening in recent days have with The Left’s War On America ™? How does the left have anything to do with the fact that there was a neo-Nazi march Virginia, that one of said neo-Nazis committed an act of terrorism, and that President Trump reacted to all this by calling the neo-Nazis “fine people”. This rant about the radical left is like a scene from Alice Through the Looking Glass.

    Comment by aaa — August 17, 2017 @ 3:08 pm

  32. @Elmer,
    I’ll quibble on a few points, and agree on many.
    Agreed, Lee acted honorably for much of his life and was honorable in his surrender. Can reasonable people disagree that his efforts in defending a rebellion and the slavery it harbored, outweigh other honrs? I think it’s a testament to his honor that when a meeting of Union and Confederate officers to honoring those who took part in the battle of Gettysburg he said “I think it wiser not to keep open the sores of war but to follow the examples of those nations who endeavored to obliterate the marks of civil strife, to commit to oblivion the feelings engendered.” I know that one general’s opinions don’t bind us 150 years in the future, but his logic is compelling to me, in addition to the other points I’ve raised.
    There is no need to vilify the soldiers; I don’t think removing statues does that. I fully agree that knowing the history accurately, and in depth, is oh-so-important. The connection I can’t make is between that and the statues. I don’t think the statues accomplish that goal.
    Your last paragraph made me smile. There need to be more people like you out there. I may disagree, but clearly you have thought more about this than most. I like to think that means I stand a chance of convincing you. And yes, you do have a chance of convincing me.

    Comment by AnonPls — August 17, 2017 @ 3:21 pm

  33. And, while we are at it: it is well-known that the Kremlin actively supports both radical left and radical right throughout Europe, in an effort to destroy the EU (not that Brussels is not doing its part in this, but that’s a different topic). So it is quite implausible that there were no Russian active measures at Charlottesville. Not with RT invited experts like this:

    Comment by Ivan — August 17, 2017 @ 3:46 pm

  34. @AnonPls –

    another fun fact – the Union built a cemetery around Lee’s Arlington House, so that he could never return to it. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places (obviously you know it’s in Arlington Cemetery), along with many, many other Confederate statues.

    There also seems to be some persuasive authority to me from the National Register of Historic Places.

    There was much cruelty in this war from both sides – I won’t repeat it hear.

    It started out tamely enough – in the beginning, when people gathered on the Potomac to watch the Union army parade around, and little else, Lincoln said to one of his generals “if you’re not going to use the Army, then I will find someone who can.” When someone pointed out to Lincoln that one of his chief – and effective – generals was a drinker of whisky, Lincoln requested that someone find out which whisky and to give a barrel of it to all his generals.

    You are right, the statues alone obviously do not in and of themselves teach history. But people have been putting statues up for ages, some good, some bad.

    The vilifation occurs in the process of taking down the statues, and using the statues in order to vilify the current prez, pound various chests as to self-proclaimed virtue and holiness and goodness, and assign blame to the prez as if he himself started the Civil War and is just not righteous enough for various political and media tastes.

    This country went through a Civil War, and in his Gettysburg Address, Lincoln wondered whether the Union would be preserved.

    It was.

    The antifa are not doing much to preserve it. Neither are the right.

    Fortunately, there are not many of them.

    Unfortunately, they are being given far, far more credence and attention, an ungodly amount more credence and attention, than is warranted.

    Comment by elmer — August 17, 2017 @ 6:12 pm

  35. America, a great place, you should have been there

    Comment by The Pilot — August 17, 2017 @ 7:16 pm

  36. @Elmer
    I’m going to play quiz here and try to answer put names to your anecdotes without looking them up. Is the first general McClelland (if you won’t use it I’ll find someone who can) and the second Grant (whiskey)? (I find Grant to be such an amazing story. He ain’t flawless, but what a tale.)
    I will always remember the first time I realized, years ago, that Arlington National Cemetery is on Lee’s old property. First I was struck by the incongruence of it. Thinking further, I’ve come to respect it as a wonderful national monument to the individual citizen soldier. Its grounds are testament to the soldier’s dedication to his country — without holding the soldier responsible for decisions made far above him. The thrust of the recent demands to remove confederate monuments is consistent with letting Arlington stand: intent matters. Arlington was not a glorification of a war to destroy our country to preserve enslavement.
    The national register of historic places is important; I will grant (pun!) that. It should make us stop and think about moving any so listed statue to a museum. I don’t think it precludes the question of should we, and it doesn’t necessarily preclude the answer of “no.”
    I know it’s only one voice, but I promise I’m not the only one. There are so many people out here who understand what the monuments stood for when they were put up and understand the benefits of moving them to places of education, all without chest beating or blaming Trump for putting them up to begin with. Of course I do think I’m on the right side of history, but thumping chests never convinced anyone…well any real humans at least, I hear it works well with gorillas and NY residents under attack from King Kong. (To hide nothing, I do not like our president, but that dislike is informed by a sense that he differs from prior politicians in the wrong ways, not the right ways.)
    Again, thank you for your comments here. Perhaps bald faced lies and crushing personal insults have soared way, way over my head and I didn’t recognize them, but I have enjoyed reading your responses.

    Comment by AnonPls — August 17, 2017 @ 7:44 pm

  37. Lenin OK

    I don’t know how they know that it’s a right wing protest

    word is that this particular Lenin wears colorful outfits during something called Pride Weekend

    Washington and Jefferson, not OK (per Al Sharpless)

    for years, we have been hearing about how evil it is to be “Eurocentric,” and how evil WASPs are, and how evil white males are, and lately how we need to eliminate the Washington Redskins and the Cleveland Indians (I apologize, I did not mean to way “Washington”)

    a friend suggested re-naming the Cleveland Indians the Cleveland Jesse Jacksons; I will add – rename the football team the Washington Sharptons

    at any rate, after all of this white-bashing, suddenly the lefties say, “no, no, we were only kidding, we will only tear down General Lee’s statue, not anything else, because – that’s different”

    and therein lies the identity of Dems and lefties – the “different people”

    antifa are “different” from “white nationalists”, and how dare anyone criticize antifa?

    General Lee’s ownership of slaves is “different” from George Washington’s ownership of slaves

    when a black state senator calls for the assassination of Trump – well, that’s “different” from mere criticism of Obama, because criticizing Obama is much, much worse than calling for the assassination of Trump, or holding a mock severed head like Kathy Grifter did, or saying that you want to punch Trump in the face, like Robert DeNerdo did, with Joy Blowhard clapping like a giddy little girl, or Cuckbert saying what he did about holsters

    Ken Burns did a wonderful job with his Civil War series. I am hoping against hope that maybe in all this ruckus, there will be some history – some accurate history – brought to the forefront.

    PS AnonPls, you get 10 points and are the winner of the quiz!

    Comment by elmer — August 17, 2017 @ 8:34 pm

  38. @Elmer,
    I’ll break my responses into several categories: celebrations, “not all progressives,” Seattle, there is a difference, but it’s not that, disappointments, and agreements.

    10 points! Woooo! History nerd high five! (I actually aspire to the level of history nerd. I don’t think I’m there yet, but these 10 points are helpful)

    “Not all progressives”
    I’m sure there are people out there who think white men and WASPs are evil, but they are a minority, a vanishingly small minority. A larger fraction of the population believes that being a white man or being a WASP predisposes someone to overlook certain struggles and pains. It isn’t the fault of any individual of the group. It’s tough stuff to see, honestly. They are asking, in in my opinion, to have an open conversation. This is heavy stuff and there will never be ultimate agreement on all sides, but the discussion is helpful. I personally find it not only moving but also phenomenally educational. You sound like someone interested in the world, so I encourage you to explore. It may not convince you of anything, but it’s fascinating. Yikes, that all sounds preachy; I don’t mean it to be. I suppose I just want to encourage everyone, if they haven’t already, to read both sides of this issue like they would read both sides of any issue. To read, say, Stamped from the Beginning, is not to endorse everything any leftist ever said. Goodness knows I don’t, and I didn’t even agree with some pieces of that book specifically, but I’m a better person and better thinker for having read it. Oh great, there’s that preachiness again!

    I’ve been to that statue. I can confirm that they dress it up. I wasn’t there for Pride, but he did have christmas lights on his head when I was there, and I think that’s telling. The statue is not today and was not when it was installed (after the fall of the Iron Curtain) a glorification of Lenin. It’s kitsche. That changes what it stands for. If I’m proven wrong and it was erected as a communist call to arms, tear it down!

    There is a difference, but it’s not that
    The difference between Lee and Washington is not that Lee’s slave ownership was different than Washington’s. Lee’s greatest accomplishments were in a war to break up the country and preserve slavery. Even if he’d owned no slaves, I think history’s view of him would be the same.
    Violent antifa and violent white nationalists are different in their tactics, but their aims. Both deserve condemnation for their actions. Only one deserves condemnation for their aims. (Note, I’m going to assume that what I learned about Antifa a year ago is still true and they are an anti fascist group. If they are pro communist or revolutionary, that is bad)

    I’m sad you have resorted to name calling (Grifter, DeNerdo, Blowhard, Cuckbert, Sharpless).

    Agreements (more liberals than many suspect will sign on to this section)
    Ken Burns Civil War is amazing. Kathy Griffin’s Trump head thing was disgusting. Calling for Trump’s assassination is wrong.

    Comment by AnonPls — August 17, 2017 @ 9:49 pm

  39. Oh no! I meant to say “Violent artifacts and violent white nationalists are different **not** in their tactics.

    Some day, I will forget a superfluous word, but today is not that day!

    Comment by AnonPls — August 17, 2017 @ 9:51 pm

  40. an insurrection against the United States of America” is an odd way to describe a secession but a reasonable way to describe the present antics of the Left Fascists.

    Indeed. How long before such language is used against those who wish to leave the EU?

    Comment by Tim Newman — August 18, 2017 @ 1:16 am

  41. @Pilot
    Petropavlovsk is looking better every day-right? :)

    But it is the day Aragorn referred to at the Black Gate because of the elite’s “Progressive” politics. Another wisely chosen but off the mark label. They should be Regressives rather than Progressives. Nothing new but a lot of failed old.

    Comment by pahoben — August 18, 2017 @ 3:14 am

  42. “11 states raising arms against the federal government feels very insurrectionist to me.” If their purpose had been to impose their views on the federal government that would be right. But it wasn’t; all they wanted to do was leave. I suspect that that was perfectly constitutional, though I know opinions differ on that point. So, for the sake of argument, assume it was constitutional. Would you still say it was an insurrection?

    Comment by dearieme — August 18, 2017 @ 4:13 am

  43. “Antifa” means anti-American fascists, doesn’t it?

    By ‘anti-American’ I mean that they are opposed to the Constitutional Republic. Mind you, if the Confederates were within their constitutional rights in seceding then that makes Lincoln anti-constitutional too. That sounds right to me; his obsession was with making/keeping the USA as a single nation, not with whether its Constitution did or didn’t demand a perpetual union.

    Comment by dearieme — August 18, 2017 @ 4:20 am

  44. Nothing says ANTIFA like a gang of 130 lb Millenials with clubs and poles. Just sitting here getting the urge for street fighting with these d*&ks.

    Comment by pahoben — August 18, 2017 @ 4:43 am

  45. @Dearieme,
    “for the sake of argument, assume it was constitutional. Would you still say it was an insurrection?”
    Interesting question. I guess so. I think the word insurrection describes the action itself, regardless of whether or not it is justified. Neither does it require the insurrectionists’ aim to be imposing their views on others. That would be an invasion.
    Are we assuming they had gone through the consistutional means and been rejected? To analogize to brexit, if the UK’s article 50 submission were refused, and they then took up arms against the EU to leave the EU, that would be an insurrection, but I’d probably consider it just.

    Comment by AnonPls — August 18, 2017 @ 7:15 am

  46. @Dearieme
    I think we may disagree on your foundational statement. I would say not only were the confederates morally wrong in fighting to preserve slavery, but they were not acting within the constitution. Installed by “we the people” the authority of the constitution came from the people, not the states. I understand there is likely disagreement there, but for more, I recommend “Lincoln at Gettysburg” by Garry Willis.
    At the same time, any reasonable reading of Lincoln’s actions in the Civil War needs to recognize that he likely acted several times either outside the consistution or in direct violation of the consistution.

    Comment by AnonPls — August 18, 2017 @ 7:22 am

  47. The left is so deranged, and so misguided. Bill Ayers and his crowd was able to change education so that millennials have a very misguided view of history and economics. They trust government more than they do free markets.

    It’s very easy to draw lines in the sand over things like white supremacy. All of us can say Nazi’s, KKK are bad and shouldn’t be tolerated. It’s a lot harder to do with ideas and morals. It’s infinitely harder when communism is taught in the same breath as capitalism; when the collective is taught with the same spirit or even vigor as individual property rights, where centralized bureaucratic decision making is revered more than Coase.

    Comment by jeff — August 18, 2017 @ 7:22 am

  48. @Jeff
    Collectivism is a phenomally destructive approach. Markets are the best way to allocate things, provided markets function well (things like national defense markets don’t work). Trust in the rightness of the position and convince people of it. Calling people “deranged” and “misguided” destroys a messenger’s credibility.

    Comment by AnonPls — August 18, 2017 @ 8:32 am

  49. I was operating under the delusion that the prez of the US is the chief of the executive branch, and his function is to faithfully carry out the laws of the land.

    Boy, was I wrong! It turns out that he is required to be the Social Commentator in Chief, and if he is not quite righteous and PC enough, various media and political personages are at liberty to call for his impeachment and/or his assassination for the high crime and misdemeanor of not being PC enough.

    No statues of Lenin remain in Ukraine, according to the head of the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory, Vladimir Vyatrovich.

    In an interview with Ukrainian news source Liga, Mr Vyatrovich announced that “a total of 2,389 monuments have been pulled down, including 1,320 statues of Lenin. As far as we know, there are no more (statues of) Lenin on the territory controlled by Ukraine.”

    In May 2015, the Ukrainian government passed a decommunisation law banning any symbols, statues, flags, mosaics, imagery, anthems, street or city names associated with the Soviet Union, provoking an urban dismantling of epic proportions. While the legislation affects all objects of Soviet affiliation, the sheer number of monuments destroyed dedicated to Lenin resulted in a phenomenon known as Leninopad or “Lenin-fall”, and a country full of discarded fragments of the former, and now fallen, Soviet leader.

    According to Mr Vyatrovich, Leninopad has seen statues made of plaster simply destroyed, while bronze monuments are either melted down or donated to museums. He also added that before the end of the year, an exhibition of “monumental propaganda of the USSR” may be showcased at Kiev’s Exhibition of Achievements of the National Economy (VDNH), featuring statues of Lenin, among others.

    Comment by elmer — August 18, 2017 @ 8:38 am

  50. […] Via bbb: First They Came For Lee . . . […]

    Pingback by Про говно – 2 | Gears and Springs — August 18, 2017 @ 9:14 am

  51. Elmer,
    It’s not a delusion to think of the President as the head of the executive branch. That’s exactly what he is. He is the closest thing we have to head of government and head of state. I think it’s natural to assume he should stand for the country’s ideals, and if he falls short, criticism is justified (assassination is not; please don’t equate the lunatic ravings of a few with any sizable part of the population).
    During the Obama administration, many criticized Obama for things that had nothing to do with executing laws. I probably disagreed with most of those people, but I would never say Obama is above such criticism because he’s merely an administrator of laws.

    Comment by AnonPls — August 18, 2017 @ 9:51 am

  52. @phaebon

    Petropavlovsk never looks good unless you’re a bear hunter or salmon fisherman. Happiness there is the V1 call signifying departure is moments away.

    Comment by The Pilot — August 18, 2017 @ 10:12 am

  53. @AnonPls

    “standing for the country’s ideals” is not what the prez is elected to do, to state the obvious.

    any prez is subject to fair criticism.

    What is happening, and has been happening since even before Pres Trump was inaugurated, is the attribution of false information and false statements to Trump.

    Trump never said white nationalists are fine people. He said not everyone there was a white nationalist.

    So now the fat guy from New York, Nadler, and a couple others introduce try to introduce a censure resolution against Trump.

    Nancy Peelousy came out with another one of her stupid statements, stating among other things that Pres Trump needs to “purge” his administration of all its Nazis, in addition to Steve Bannon.

    Trump said the left was also being violent – which is true. Apparently that is worse than original sin, and even McLame and Linda Graham have joined the chorus, as everyone rushes to proclaim their virtue.

    In 2015, the mayor of Memphis wanted not only the statue but also the body of Nathan Forrest removed:

    The point is that instead of addressing and laying blame where it belongs – antifa and the “unite the right” – the screaming has been all about Trump, and, again, it’s as if Trump was a slave owner and a Nazi all rolled into one, joined in by false statements and characterizations by Dems.

    I think Dinesh D’Souza is right – this is all one big scam by Dems to whitewash the Dem history of fomenting slavery and the KKK.

    It is a desperate bid to bring back Dem voters on the backs of Confederate graves and statues, so to speak.

    It is cynical and dishonest and disgusting.

    The president is not the local cop in chief, like Obama tried to be in select circumstances, when he shot off his big mouth about local police matters that he thought suited him politically, even before all facts were in, so he could build up his street creds (drop mike here).

    Neither is the president the arbiter of history.

    Turns out the lunatic ravings of a few include not only antifa but also members of Congress – Nadler, Pelosi, Waters, McClame, Graham, and other breast-beaters.

    Disgusting. Absolutely disgusting.

    Comment by elmer — August 18, 2017 @ 1:03 pm

  54. “What is particularly sickening about this is that the most militant–and violent–of the leftists are being sanitized, and indeed lionized, because of their alleged anti-racist cred: anti-racism has become a license for vandalism and violence.”

    Leftist “Antifa” protesters stormed a county government building in Minnesota, seized and burned the county flag – then replaced it with an Antifa flag – on Monday.

    After left-wing protesters marched through downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota in response to last weekend’s demonstrations in Charlottesville, Virginia, they hoisted the flag of the violent left-wing group “Antifa,” raising it in front of the county’s government center.

    d Feedback

    The Hennepin County flag was swapped with Antifa’s, a spokeswoman for the county confirmed to, and the event was caught on camera by a woman in the crowd, who posted the footage on Twitter.

    “Protesters gathered outside the Hennepin County Public Safety Facility. I do not know any specifics. I do know at some point the Hennepin County flag was taken down, damaged and the other flag went up,” said the county’s spokeswoman. “This lasted for under 30 minutes at which time we replaced the flag with a new one.”

    Comment by elmer — August 18, 2017 @ 2:57 pm

  55. For 150 years children were told-

    Sticks and stones may break my bones
    But names will never harm me.

    My mother added “and faces” to the list of things that wouldn’t harm me

    but now-

    God knows what the reaction of the typical Ivy League millenial would be if asked about the Supreme Court’s Skokie decision.

    Comment by pahoben — August 19, 2017 @ 5:08 am

  56. @pahoben–the words “fetal position” and “catatonic” come to mind.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — August 19, 2017 @ 10:58 am

  57. @pahoben-Here’s my hypothesis. 1. Millennials (esp. those at Ivy League schools, or private colleges generally, or upper tier public universities) have faced little or no actual risk or danger in their lives, let alone oppression. Indeed, they represent an extremely sheltered generation. 2. Victimization/victimhood has been given a morally elevated status, and relatedly, through a form of political judo, has become a means of exercising power and control. In the absence of actual risk, danger, or oppression, to achieve victimhood and the status and power it confers, Millennials have to magnify trivialities into existential perils. It is sort of an inversion of Say’s Law (which stated that supply creates its own demand): here, demand for threat creates its own supply.

    I draw the exact opposite lesson: the laughable nature of the supposed mortal dangers that they claim exist shows just how good they have it. And I think at some level they know that. They are aware of their comfort and privilege, and that makes them feel unworthy. So they invent threats to bolster their fragile self-esteem.

    Indeed, the obsession over privilege (e.g., “white privilege”) suggests to me that they are projecting, in the psychological sense.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — August 19, 2017 @ 11:39 am

  58. Millennials are testimony to the fact that Americans are not good at bringing up children. It seems that The French are right about this. That’s not a sentence I type often.

    Comment by dearieme — August 19, 2017 @ 12:43 pm

  59. @dearieme-The fact that your statement refers specifically to a recent generation indicates that it was not always this way. I would phrase it as a question: why and when did Americans get so much worse at raising children? I don’t know the answer, but I suspect it has less to do with parenting per se, as with American public education (though parenting has changed, and no doubt changes in public education reflect parental preferences or the same social and cultural factors that affect parental preferences). There is no doubt that American public education was the left’s biggest victory in its march through the institutions. (Perhaps universities were a bigger victory–it’s a close call.) It’s complicated, and I don’t claim to comprehend all of the causal mechanisms, but a couple of things stand out. One is the elevation of the therapeutic (notably self-esteem) over academic performance. This encouraged mass solipsism and hypersensitivity to criticism or slight, and implanted the idea that differential outcome was out of individual control, but was instead the result of injustice. Another (and arguably related) factor is the adoption of a more radically egalitarian mindset. Crucially, this version of egalitarianism focused on outcomes, rather than inputs, or equal treatment.

    Of course, if I am correct that American public education bears most of the blame, this only shifts your question to why the French have done better in this sphere/have not made the same mistakes. I have some thoughts here as well, but want to make sure I phrase them carefully.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — August 19, 2017 @ 2:02 pm

  60. I’d pose the problem as a societal complacency born of too many years of cosseted safety. We now expect nothing, and I mean NOTHING, to present a hazard, an offense or even the slightest discomfort. Travel in third world countries and you have a much better feeling for life’s inherent dangers, unfairness and tragedy. Americans are promised nothing bad can happen in life and, if it does, someone else is to blame and will be sued. Europeans have so much bad history, there is, even 70 years after WW II, a sense of tragedy.

    Comment by The Pilot — August 19, 2017 @ 3:58 pm

  61. Do you guys ever step out of this echo chamber? Sheesh, if I didn’t know better (and actually I don’t) it’s all of you that hate America, not the folks you call out. Everything sucks, everything is getting worse, and everyone else but y’all are mindless fools being led down the primrose path of mainstream media, and – the latest, hottest, most exciting terminology that must be spread – identity politics.

    And the irony of your claim about millennials being of no use, or worse, because they haven’t experienced risk or “opression,” is so pathetically rich. Let’s see, Americans build the greatest country in the world, we fight to eradicate oppression by sacrificing hundreds of thousands of our precious citizens both with the USA – Civil War – and outside. We strive to free each succeeding generation or the trials and and terrors we experienced to bequeath them the proverbial ‘better life’ than we had, and upon getting closer and closer to that objective you cite them as “unworthy.”

    Good lord, men, it’s time to open the windows and breath in some fresh air. Maybe turn the computer off and get some sun too. There’s one hell of a beautiful country awaiting you out there.

    Comment by EL Lawrence — August 21, 2017 @ 7:55 am

  62. @EL Lawrence

    “and upon getting closer and closer to that objective”

    You seem to imagine a model of reality like a static staircase, where once you climbed up to some level, you can take a rest and continue climbing when you feel like it,the bright future patiently waiting at the top.

    The reality is more like an escalator moving down: you keep concentrating on some bullshit instead of climbing, you find yourself at the bottom in no time.

    It is an illusion that older generations endured hardship so we don’t have to. Today’s hardships may be different, but the stamina needed to overcome them is not. And “safe spaces” are only ensuring we are rolling back down to the kinds of hardships you seem to believe are “solved” by previous generations.

    Comment by Ivan — August 22, 2017 @ 12:02 am

  63. @EL Lawrence

    “fresh air”!?! “beautiful country”?!? You must be a commie environmentalist!! Hell no we don’t want fresh air, because that would be caving to the climate change types!!! Give us the freedom of our echo chamber!!!

    Comment by Job — August 22, 2017 @ 5:48 am

  64. @El Lawrence
    Sounds like we are on auto drive to a big beautiful Utopian future. I can’t wait to buy a Tesla that has Utopia as one of the self drive options. Just punch that Utopia button and lay back and enjoy. But wait how will the car determine what I consider Utopia? They will figure it out I’m sure.

    Comment by pahoben — August 22, 2017 @ 7:41 am

  65. Yeah, except you will starve on your way to Utopia, as all the ground will be covered by the solar panels to charge those EVs. But I think starving on the way to Utopia is something that occurs every time it is attempted, so it’s kinda a feature.

    Comment by Ivan — August 22, 2017 @ 9:37 am

  66. and in fact that is why Trump is president. Voters said screw this auto drive BS we need to try and bring runaway baby back under control.

    Rather than the destination being Utopia the cliff that the lemmings use came into view.

    Comment by pahoben — August 23, 2017 @ 3:56 pm

  67. “we fight to eradicate oppression by sacrificing hundreds of thousands of our precious citizens”: oh what rubbish. Until 1941 all the USA’s wars were wars of aggression, of aggrandisement. In 1941 she fought because Japan attacked her and Germany declared war on her, not because of some flummery about eradicating oppression. Lincoln declared that the Civil War was not about abolishing slavery but about preserving the Union. So pre-1945 you’re wrong; the question is whether you’re right post-1945.

    The US wars for which you’ve got a decent case are Korea and the First Gulf War. But the American dead in those two wars came nowhere near even one hundred thousand never mind hundreds plural.

    As for the slaughter that the US has visited on South East Asia, and more recently on Iraq, I have never seen an explanation for them that was both honourable and plausible. For Vietnam, the motive seems to have been the hope of getting JFK, and then LBJ, re-elected. For Iraq, Lord knows what it was about – this man in the street certainly has no idea. 9/11 he was told – dishonestly. WMD he was told – untruthfully. It’s a mystery.

    As for the American role in Libya and Syria it might just be best to avert one’s gaze. Obama was either very wicked or quite mad.

    Comment by dearieme — August 26, 2017 @ 9:31 am

  68. The reasons for Iraq are not in the least mysterious. Look at the PNAC papers and the signatories and Transformational Diplomacy program espoused by Rice. Just the usual neocon motivations.

    Millenials often assert they are the best educated generation in history. That assertion alone indicates how deeply they have been propagandized.

    Comment by pahoben — August 27, 2017 @ 10:19 am

  69. Maybe not usual-likely more that Iraq was the apex of neocon aspirations.

    Comment by pahoben — August 28, 2017 @ 6:01 am

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