Streetwise Professor

October 30, 2018

Snap Takes on the Various and Sundry

Filed under: Politics — cpirrong @ 7:17 pm

Brief comments on some current events.

First, Angela Merkel is stepping down as head of the Christian Democrats, and she has announced that she will not run again for chancellor.  Although this means she will step down no later than 2021, the unravelling nature of end games makes it highly likely that she will depart sooner than that.

I remember distinctly being in Europe in March, 2017 when Merkel met Trump.   Everybody was flapping their gums about how now Merkel was now leader of the free world, due to Trump’s abdication of the post, and his general unfitness for it had he not abdicated it.

And now Angela can’t even lead Germany.

Further proof that conventional wisdom is the province of idiots, the intellectually lazy, and conformists.  Not that anyone is embarrassed by their fawning over her in 2017, but that is par for the course for idiots, etc. etc.

Merkel’s demise was the result of her arrogance, as relating to the issue of immigration in particular.  It’s usually the arrogance of the long-in-power that is their downfall: only the specific issue that brings them down differs between cases.  No, Angela’s fate is just another illustration of Enoch Powell’s observation: “All political lives, unless they are cut off in midstream at a happy juncture, end in failure, because that is the nature of politics and of human affairs.”  And I should add, human nature.  Or, as the movie Patton noted: in their triumphs, in the chariot behind the emperor stood a slave who whispered in his ear: “All fame is fleeting.”

Second, the left and the media (but I repeat myself) are stooping to a particularly scurrilous tactic to defend the execrable George Soros against any criticism.  According to them, any criticism of the sainted speculator is not based on substance.  Oh no.  It is driven by anti-semitism.

As someone whom revealed preference has proven beyond cavil to be non-antisemitic (either that, or the most masochistic anti-semite in history), I say: bollocks.  Indeed, it is worse than that: it is a cynical slander intended to intimidate people into silence.

People on the right despise Soros because he is a hard core leftist, who is the most beneficent funder of leftist causes–including the most malign of these causes.  Just as one of the conservative or libertarian persuasion can dislike Obama (or Kamala or Spartacus or Eric Holder–and I can tell them apart!) because of their politics and not because of their race, one can dislike Soros without being an anti-semite, and to suggest otherwise is disgusting and dishonest.

You see, the left can hate the Koch brothers because they are evil, but if you despise Soros—well, you’re a bigot.

See how that works?

Third, and relatedly–the appalling campaign to exploit and politicize the horrific Pittsburgh synagogue shooting by blaming it on Trump.  Yes, Trump is a bumptious bully, and an epic trash-talker.  Like classic needlers in sports, he has the knack for identifying someone’s vulnerability and sensitivity and drilling into it relentlessly, and causing the target to lose their concentration, and often their minds.  (You know what I mean, right, Liz?)

But in fact, this behavior is very personalized–which is what makes it effective–and not bigotry–which by definition is not individualized.  And the claim of anti-semitism is particularly outrageous.  Trump is the first president with Jewish grandchildren.  Indeed, when they are not shrieking about Trump’s anti-semitism, the left is having conniptions about the outsized influence of the Jewish father of those children, Jared Kushner.  Hell, Bloomberg even has a “journalist” assigned full time to investigate the Kushners.  (Said “journalist” is the uber-twat/smear specialist David Kocieniewski.  I guess I should feel honored that the twat went after me before turning his malign attentions to the Kushners.)  Trump’s support for Israel is unprecedented in American history.  Strange manifestation of anti-semitism, that.

Further, the causal connection between political rhetoric and the acts of the deranged is asserted, but never proved: indeed, the hypothesis is never actually tested.  It is yet more intellectual dishonesty and intellectual laziness: a particularly sloppy application of post hoc ergo propter hoc “reasoning” to political speech and criminal acts.  What’s more, the “reasoning” is never applied symmetrically: the far more blatant and direct calls to direct action, including violence, by leftist politicians is never blamed.

This reflects systematic attacks on free speech generally.  And mark my words: the more you suppress speech, the more likely dissent will be expressed through violence.


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  1. One other point about Trump; one of his earliest and most influential mentors was Roy Cohn.

    Comment by JavelinaTex — October 31, 2018 @ 8:26 am

  2. Once more with feeling, please Prof 😉

    Well said on all counts.

    The systematic attacks on freedom of speech, the encouragement to violence by leftist politicians, and the blind eye being turned by the establishment to both those calls and the subsequent violence that it encourages, are deeply concerning. It appears that the parliamentary/congressional system of government by discussion is struggling to contain the passions and wild imaginings of the fanatics.

    Where are the adults??

    Comment by Global Super-Regulator on Lunch Break — October 31, 2018 @ 10:48 am

  3. Is there anywhere a cadre of calm, sane, measured American Jews who occasionally tap a screamer on the shoulder and say “Shut up, you are fomenting intolerance of us”?

    Comment by dearieme — October 31, 2018 @ 11:50 am

  4. (i) The vast majority of those who are “anti-Soros” are anti-Semitic too. You may not be, but you must realize that most are. The degree of correlation is even greater between anti-Israelism and anti-Semitism. (I speak from personal experience after spending a fair amount of time on pro-Russia and alt-Right forums.)

    (ii) See dearieme’s comment above. He/She paints all American Jews under one brush, and doesn’t like them — this is actually old-fashioned anti-Semitism! One more anti-Soros person outed as anti-Semitic!

    (iii) President Trump obviously is not anti-Semitic. The argument (which may not be true) is that Trump is mainstreaming the set of beliefs — which generally go together — which contains anti-Semitism too. You may acquire one belief at a time, but most people acquire a whole set of them at once! (See religious conversions.)

    Comment by VN — October 31, 2018 @ 6:19 pm

  5. @VN–Your claim that the majority of those who are anti-Soros are anti-semitic is clearly wrong. And you betray the reason you are wrong in your comment when you say “I speak from personal experience after spending a fair amount of time on pro-Russia and alt-Right forums.” That is a textbook case of sample selection bias which invalidates any inferences that you draw outside of that sample. It is also a fundamental logical error to say “all who believe A believe X implies that all who believe X believe A.”

    Comment by cpirrong — October 31, 2018 @ 9:06 pm

  6. @dearieme – well, the premise of your question sounds a bit odd to me.
    How do i tap on eg julia ioffe shoulder? Eg., below is my comment on her wapo hit piece on trump – do you think me being jewish means that she heard me? And if yes, do you really think it would make any difference? And, finally, you seem to have a good grasp of whether this comment (one of about 6.1K) would decrease or increase intolerance of all of “us”?

    As a jewish refugee from the former Soviet Union I find Julia Ioffe comments about Trump and his supporters incredibly offensive. In contrast to Julia, who was brought to the US as a first-grader, I’ve fully experienced not just street but state anti-semitism. In my view there are no grounds whatsoever to hurl the corresponding accusations at Trump. 

    Doing this, especially in the dripping with malice hysterical way it is done by Julia and her ilk is not just offensive, but dangerous. If my blood boils when I see her face on TV monopolizing jewish victimhood and lecturing me about my anti-semitism and radicalization, I can only imagine what a person from Rust Belt who was just laid off because his plant is moving overseas might feel. 

    Speaking about radicalization, literally all the former Soviet Jews I know feel that it is their children, either brought to the US from Soviet Union at a young age (like Julia) or born here who were radicalized by their progressive teachers. I am pretty sure Julia parents strongly disagree with her. 

    Instead of throwing mud at the first US president who dared to move US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem (and has his face on the correponding Israeli commemorative coin), Julia could focus on real anti-semites like Louis Farrakkhan, and his ties to Obama and other prominent democrats. But this would ruin the whole narrative, wouldn’t it? So, crickets on the Farrakkhan front.

    Comment by mhiu — October 31, 2018 @ 10:44 pm

  7. One point VN is right on: *dearieme’s comment.
    But that’s not a comment by an American; he is Brit, with their characteristic disdain towards Jews. Here, I can play your identity politics right back atch’yu, pukka sahib.

    Comment by ETat — November 3, 2018 @ 9:48 am

  8. “he is Brit, with their characteristic disdain towards Jews”

    Many criticisms of my fellow countrymen can justly be made (and I do make them, often): but “characteristic disdain towards Jews?” The sole reason the Corbynists’ real “disdain towards Jews” got so much attention is that these sentiments are very very rare in the UK.

    “pukka sahib”

    You may not be aware that the Raj ended in 1948 – that’s 70 years ago.

    Comment by Fen Tiger — November 5, 2018 @ 7:48 am

  9. FT:
    *are you Jewish? No? Then don’t tell a Jew how rare Antisemitism is in the UK.
    *I am – but judging by the tone a lot of Brits adopt – they are not. Like your friends dearie, above: a prime example of British condescension. Particularly funny, since there is nothing behind it, just feet of clay.

    Comment by ETat — November 5, 2018 @ 8:17 pm

  10. FT, a link for you:
    A very tiny, minuscule tip of the iceberg.
    How many in your fair country vote Labour? How many anti-semitic immigrants you imported and granted permanent residency? And that’s not all sources of notorious British anti-semitism; you think your Conservatives are better? Think again.

    Comment by ETat — November 12, 2018 @ 6:36 am

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