Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Want proof that Rick Perry's a racist? MSNBC has it for you. Perry referred to U.S. debt as a black cloud hanging over America. What else can the black cloud be but secret code for Barack Obama? Get it? Our first black president? Black cloud? What could be more obvious? In case anyone should still have their doubts Ed Schultz edited the tape of Perry's speech to make it even more clear, a faux pas for which he subsequently had to apologize. Here's the whole thing:
If anyone thinks that this is some indication of racism lurking in Perry's heart then they're just as nutty as the tinfoil hat crowd trying to pick up signals from outer space.

Next thing they'll be telling us that anyone who puts Mr. Obama's name in boldface type is using secret code to emphasize his blackness.

A Subtle Call for Violence

Radical lefty Claire Potter, who teaches feminism, cultural criticism and political history at Wesleyan University, reflects on the London riots and wonders why American youth are comparatively so blasé. Her post, which is carried by the Chronicle of Higher Education, gives us a glimpse into how the Left in America thinks. She writes:
This [the London riots] has all caused me to reflect on the extraordinary passivity of Americans, and of American students, who respond to reduced access to education by studying harder, getting better grades, and stepping on the people who can’t — or aren’t in a position to – compete any longer.
You might think that, except for the part about stepping on people, Potter is praising American students since studying harder to get better grades would seem to most people to be virtuous, but Potter doesn't intend to be taken that way. In her mind, those who work harder and succeed are somehow oppressing those who don't, or can't, compete. The better you do in life the more of an oppressor you are. Thus students shouldn't work hard, she implies, because there will be those who get left behind and that's unfair. Better for everyone to be mediocre than for some to excel.

This is egalitarianism on steroids. I wonder if she believes it's unjust to those of her students who are academic slouches to give them a lower grade than those who excel in their work.
If you don’t know what I’m talking about, watch Waiting For Superman (Davis Guggenheim, 2010), a movie that promotes the idea that the problem with public education is that there just aren’t enough (privatized) charter schools.
The idea the movie actually promotes is that many public schools are failing our kids. Many of our schools have been rendered ineffective by liberal social and educational policy and self-aggrandizing unions. The kids in those districts need an alternative and public schools need competition. This offends the Left because once kids escape a failing public school not only will they have a better chance of success, which means others will be oppressed, but they'll have escaped the secular and left-wing indoctrination camps which many public schools have become.

The problem with public schools is not that there aren't enough private schools, although there aren't. The problem with public schools is that they're more concerned with students' rights and privileges and not enough with creating and maintaining the sort of atmosphere in which education can take place.
What have we done in the face of a government, a political class, and a monied class that is dismantling a country that prided itself (for what now seems like a shockingly short time, roughly 1933-1973) on its capacity to provide dignified lives for working and middle income citizens? Nothing. Nothing except elect a president whose capacity to give away the liberal store exceeds even that of the neoliberal Clintons.
How exactly is the country being dismantled by imposing fiscal sanity upon government? How are state governments (which I presume Potter is talking about here) depriving people of their "capacity to provide dignified lives" by taking measures to avoid bankruptcy? Does she really think that a bankrupt state, one with no money, no jobs, and no hope, would offer people a greater capacity to lead "dignified" lives?
I mean think about it. To take one example, over the course of the last twenty years, one of the finest educational systems in the world has been systematically dismantled and privatized with malice aforethought. The liberal and fine arts have been de-funded, degraded, mocked and reserved for a special few: shockingly, we are not even particularly interested in funding a proper science and math education in the vast majority of schools.

Practical educations for the new economy — accounting, telemarketing, hotel management, home health aid — that will consign people to a life of service at a flat, non-negotiable wage, have taken the place of an education that allows all citizens to dream about transforming their own lives.
Training people to succeed in the sorts of jobs that are available is bad, according to the professor, because now students are not taking courses in women's studies, queer theory and other "life-transforming" fields but are instead preparing themselves for work which will actually generate an income and enable them to support a family.

The sheer arrogance of people like Ms. Potter is astonishing. Who is she, after all, to demean careers like accounting and hotel management? Are these fields somehow less noble than being a university professor who spends her time talking about feminist theory and writing papers that nobody but a handful of colleagues reads and which will be forgotten five years from now? I thought leftists disdained this sort of insufferable elitism, but apparently they only disdain it when it's manifested in people other than themselves.
How do Americans respond to this? By having an orderly march on Washington, in August, so that nobody has to even strike a day of school to attend it and everyone is on vacation.
Imagine. Orderly, peaceful protest demonstrations. How quaint, but Ms. Potter doesn't want violence. Oh, no:
Don’t get me wrong: I don’t want to see cities burn. I lived through that once, and never want to watch it again.
She wants protest but not the sort that's orderly nor the sort that's violent. That doesn't seem to leave many options, but actually she's being disingenuous. She really does seem to want violence. Why else offer us a subtle justification for it in the next paragraph:
I also understand that Americans pride themselves on their capacity to find peaceful resolution of political issues. This belief about our essentially peaceful political culture flies in the face of the actual history of a country that has seen repeated epidemics of violence, and that continues to enforce its imperialist policies abroad with violence.

But never mind: at some point Americans decided that the strategies of nonviolence espoused by radical activists like Barbara Deming, Bayard Rustin and (most famously) Martin Luther King, Jr., represented what the United States really was. To underline: these visionaries have been the exception, not the rule. Violence has almost always accompanied political change in this country, from the Revolution forward.
Her syllogism seems straightforward: Violence accompanies political change. We need political change. Ergo, the implied conclusion is, we need violence. There really are some constants in the universe and one of them is the penchant for violence that has infected the Left ever since its founding in the French Revolution of 1789.

Incidentally, Ms Potter is mistaken in saying that Americans think we are a peaceful people. She'd be more correct to say that Americans aspire to be a peaceful people and to eschew violence, especially domestic political violence. She should eschew it, too.

It's hard to read her next sentence without feeling incredulous:
Furthermore, while many conservative politicians continue to incite violence (in the form of strong rhetorical appeals to anti-statism, massive resistance to integration and abortion rights, and a citizenry armed to the teeth);
In the Orwellian catechism of the Left it's apparently an incitement to violence to yearn for smaller, more responsible, and less onerous government, to stop the violence against the unborn, and to afford people the ability to protect themselves from violent criminals. She probably also thinks it's an incitement to violence to recite the Bill of Rights and to sing the Star Spangled Banner.

And where she came up with the positively bizarre idea that conservatives are mounting massive resistance to integration is mystifying, but then it's also mystifying how anyone could find reasoning such as Professor Potter's compelling.