Monday, April 3, 2006

9 in 10 Need to Die

You're going to die an awful, painful and premature death, and what's more, you should.

One of the arguments we hear from those scientists who oppose teaching Intelligent Design in public schools is that ID will turn students off to science. Students won't want to engage in research, we're assured, if they think that biological phenomena do not have a completely physical explanation. This is nonsense, of course, but we wonder what those who are so worried about what young minds are exposed to in science class rooms think of Professor Eric Pianka down at the University of Texas.

Professor Pianka instructs his students that we have far too many people in the world right now, and that the solution is to kill off 90% of us through some natural means such as the Ebola virus. The mind reels. Do UT officials blanche at this endorsement, by one of their esteemed faculty members, of genocide on a massive scale? Yes, indeedy. They'll have none of it, sort of.

For instance, Neal Armstrong, vice provost for faculty affairs, lays down the law:

Profesor Pianka is free to say whatever he wants in his classes, Mr. Armstrong allows, but when he's advocating the deaths of 90% of the world's people in public lectures, why, then he better make it clear to his audience that he's not speaking for the University. Or else ... or else, we'll get really, really miffed.

And don't you dare think that UT doesn't have a social conscience. Mr. Armstrong goes on to leave no doubt where the University stands on the matter of encouraging genocide:

"Students should be able to discern on their own the validity of views like Pianka's, but if allegations of Pianka actively advocating human death were to be confirmed, there might be some discussion about the appropriateness of that subject. I would hope that's not what's intended. I don't think that's appropriate for the classroom, but that's my personal statement."

There might be some discussion? Not appropriate? Armstrong doesn't think it's appropriate, but, hey, that's just his opinion, and we all know that nobody's opinion is any better than anyone else's, so what does it matter? Translated, all that this mealy-mouthed administrator-speak means is that UT won't touch this issue with a ten foot pole.

Those critics, however, who, unlike administrators, are given to plain-speaking and clear thinking raise disquieting questions:

Does Pianka believe, for example, that nature will bring about this promised devastation all by herself? Or is humanity's own dissemination of a deadly virus the only answer? And more importantly, is this the motive behind his talks?

As if responding to these impertinent queries, Pianka says forthrightly: "Good terrorists would be taking [stealing] Ebola ... so that they had microbes they could let loose on the Earth that would kill 90 percent of the people."

Good terrorists?!

There seems to be some disagreement as to whether Pianka is encouraging students to facilitate the spread of an epidemic, or encouraging them to accept mass death when it comes, or whether he's simply pointing out the consequences of over-population. If it's the first, how's what he's doing any different than a terrorist urging the masses to rise up and kill the larger population?

He may be right that a worldwide pandemic is likely to happen relatively soon, but he steps beyond his field of competence, and beyond any fundamental principles of humanity, if and when he suggests that such a horror should happen.

If this is, indeed, what he believes and what he's teaching, he'd certainly have made a good and useful German in Hitler's Third Reich.

Blacks Need a War

Errol Louis calls upon his fellow blacks to go to war, but he wants them to battle against what has come to be known as black "culture." Some excerpts:

What we need is a culture war. Specifically, we need aggressive, concerted action by members and institutions of the respectable black middle class to do open combat against the rise of an ancient enemy: a bold, seductive street culture that exalts lawlessness, addiction and anti-family behavior like pimping, sexual promiscuity, ignorance and personal selfishness.

[Tavis] Smiley and civil rights leaders like Jesse Jackson tend to gloss over a split that has run through black culture for more than a century: the need to choose between the narcissistic pursuit of short-term pleasure and the plodding but rewarding business of building strong families and communities, where learning is sacred and the needs of the next generation trump the cravings of the moment.

In other words, black Americans need to talk more about culture. We need to fight over it.

My former professor, Orlando Patterson of Harvard, recently weighed in on the topic in The New York Times, scolding black leaders for "the rejection of any explanation that invokes a group's cultural attributes - its distinctive attitudes, values and predispositions, and the resulting behavior of its members - and the relentless preference for relying on structural factors like low incomes, joblessness, poor schools and bad housing."

"What sociologists call the 'cool-pose culture' of young black men was simply too gratifying to give up," Patterson wrote. "For these young men, it was almost like a drug, hanging out on the street after school, shopping and dressing sharply, sexual conquests, party drugs, hip-hop music and culture."

That mirage of street life tempts countless kids to discard the virtues of education, hard work and personal decency.

More teachers, preachers, politicians, journalists and other black Americans with a pulpit need to enlist in the battle against the self-defeating lure of street culture.

All we are saying is give war a chance.

It has become the convention in our society that only blacks are permitted to say such things about other blacks. If a white man were to have written this column Cynthia McKinney and her hangers-on would be screaming about "racism" and "blaming the victim" and all the other threadbare slogans which have served only to rationalize black failure and which have done nothing to instill in blacks a sense that they are in charge of their own lives.

We can all, black and white, be thankful, however, that more blacks are recognizing how poorly served they have been by the culture of victimhood that the left has sold them and the reluctance of most whites to criticize a mode of life that everyone knows is deeply dysfunctional but few dare say so out loud. Whites have been so intimidated by the "who are you to judge?" menatlity that it's easier to just not say anything than to waste hours of one's time seeking to absolve oneself of the inevitable charges of racism.

Journalistic Liberalism

Is the media liberal? Do birds fly?

A recent poll by the people at the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found that 94% of print journalists and 82% of broadcast journalists agreed that homosexuality is a way of life that should be accepted by society.

Additionally, 55% of all journalists think the coverage of the Bush presidency is not critical enough. About 35% think it is fair.

Those two sets of data would certainly seem to indicate that journalists as a whole reside on the liberal side of town, but they themselves apparently don't see it.

For example, 59% of the journalists responding couldn't think of any daily national news organization that is especially liberal in its coverage of the news - not the New York Times, not the Washington Post, not CBS, ABC, NBC or CNN - but 82% had no trouble at all thinking of at least one that is conservative.

Not only are journalists political southpaws, but this last item suggests that they are evidently oblivious to the fact. They believe that their convictions are reasonable and therefore they must be moderate. Those media outlets which share the same convictions as they must therefore also be moderate, and those which oppose their views must perforce be irrational right-wingers. What could be more clear?


Quick Quiz: Which of the following best explains the expression on Cynthia McKinney's face?

a. She just stuck her finger into a hot light socket.

b. She's being goosed by Hillary Clinton.

c. She's just been told that Dick Cheney is running for president in '08.

d. She's just been told that being a black woman does not entitle her to slug police officers.