On the Educated Elite’s Adoration of Centralized Authority: Part One

A conversation I had earlier this week is really getting me down. The person concerned is a Chinese colleague who survived the Tiananmen Square crackdown and knows the PRC’s communist regime up close and personal. I’ve grown very fond of her. I think she understands much about freedom that most Americans have forgotten. And yet…

And yet, she readily unleashes comments such as the following. All Trump voters are impoverished, uneducated, blue-collar white people (what we call down South “poor white trash”). They are single moms with five kids and no job. They’re grouchy old men living in clapboard houses with sagging, leaky roofs. They’re cousins of the cast of Moonshiners, wearing no shirt under their overalls, sporting boots with holes cut for their toes, and lisping through their remaining teeth that jut out like yellow tusks. How could they possibly be anyone else? All the smart, educated people voted for the other party. With an absolute conviction of omniscience and infallibility that the Chinese system drums into its own educated elite—including a reflexive “doubling down” response whenever one blunders into error—this worthy colleague sought to school me on the demographics and propensities of my own society.

I sought to remonstrate mildly. Excuse me… but the type of person just described a) rarely votes at all, and b) votes solid “D” (as his or her relatives have done immemorially) on rare trips to the polling station.

More significantly, my disputant maintained that these fictitious masses were voting against their interest in supporting a candidate who would cut off the flow of freebies. My own belief (and fear) is that Donald Trump isn’t this type at all, ideologically (which is why I didn’t vote for him); and my further belief (and fear) is that no one is served, eventually, by trying to bleed a corpse that has already started to draw flies.

Indeed, my original comment that started this conversational ball rolling into the La Brea Tar Pits was that all of our masses—American, Chinese, English, Italian—are too multitudinous, too unskilled, too needy, and too prolific for any of the world’s devious political systems to keep sustaining them. A sow with a dozen teats cannot feed fifty piglets. The world’s various political elites all know this. Ergo, it is painfully obvious that various plans for mass die-off at some critical point must be circulating in back rooms, bunkers, and barrooms of exclusive golf courses.

My point never penetrated. Despite her experience of authoritarianism, my colleague couldn’t grasp the extremely high probability that the nerve ganglion of an intricately centralized human system would devise ways to rid its outer reaches of unproductive cells. Indeed, I have noticed in her and other Chinese an almost obsessive concern over access to doctors and medicine, as if the “dependency” impulse had been activated across the board. When educated Chinese are imprisoned by their paternalistic handlers (an ordeal euphemistically known as “going to the police station for a cup of tea”), their first lament seems to be for their meds. The orientation toward the ganglion is invincible, apparently. After all, how could we survive without a brain, even though some brains think evil thoughts?

Yep. Depressing. God forbid that we should use our own brains!

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Netflix Movies: Just Stick Your Head in the Toilet

Over the holidays, my son wanted us to watch a movie together. He had something very recent in mind, and he didn’t think Netflix would carry it. I’d never logged onto Hulu, and the Roku seems to have misremembered the PIN number that I wrote down a long while back, so… we went movie-hunting in Netflix, despite my son’s strongly expressed misgivings.

(The previous paragraph, by the way, is an excellent capsulization of e-life: infantilized product names, cryptic acronyms, passwords and numbers galore, software malfunction [I wrote the PIN down precisely because it worked at one time]… so much spiritual poverty amid so much material wealth!)

After we tired of combing through endless yet uniformly idiotic offerings, I all-but-blindly clicked on something titled U.S.S. Indiana. It claimed to be historical. How could you go far wrong with World War II? It opened with two ordinary seamen puttering up to a Southern mansion in an old truck. The one was ushered into a roomful of profiteer-industrialists back-slapping each other over all the riches the war had brought them and closely questioning their guest in bell-bottoms about the Manhattan Project. The other was taken upstairs to a bevy of hot Southern chicks dancing to jazz in slow-motion moves that reminded one of Ice Follies… and of these, she who was most overly made-up partnered up with Sailor Boy for a lust-at-first-sight tango.

Back to menu. Scroll down. Hmm… Canadian movies. The Canadians are more tasteful and cultured than we, are they not? They’re always telling us so. I’ll try this.

Rampage: President Down. Guns, guns, guns. Explosions, assassinations, land mines, tunnel-crawling, body armor, target practice, machine-gunning, more explosions… punctuated with Superhero Mass-Murderer’s raves on some recorded message or other about the United States being solely responsible for all the violence and evil in the world.

We ended up with Trailer Park Boys, a serial which seems much more adequate to the genius of the contemporary Canadian mind. My wife had retired to bed by that time, so the steady barrage of f-bombs fell on hardened ears; and, of course, it occurs in a context which underscores the impotence of brain capacity hasn’t learned to cope with modern living. One can let loose and laugh.

What about the “serious” productions, however? A common seaman being grilled by drooling capitalists about the nuclear bomb before one was ever dropped? Did someone hire the Trailer Park Boys to write this script?

I’m sure the Canadian snot who directed the assassination-orgy would argue that we Americans brought all the violence into the world–so if we’re offended, well… take that! But you’re the one responsible for this movie, imbecile. And if you have a specific indictment to lodge against a specific American foreign policy initiation–Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Obama’s beloved drone program–then do some research and make a film about that particular adventure. Your vengeance-flatulent fantasy about the lone-wolf weird kid turning the tables on the playground bullies and taking them all out (in FBI and CIA gear) with grenades and exploding bullets conveys about as much moral insight as Stephen Paddock Against the World would have displayed if the Las Vegas shooter had lived to get a directing gig in Hollywood.

I could drop some trailer-park adjectives myself when I think about what utter crap our “entertainment” industry is churning out. You tedious, talentless, parasitic, hypocritical, sanctimonious, morally vacuous, intellectually bankrupt, doped-up, spaced-out legions of deadbeats and losers! I hope your punishment is to watch your own creations over and over for all eternity.

Insanity Begins Where Truth Evaporates

In just the past week, I’ve been bombarded with so many outrageous claims and patently made-up fantasies that I’m somewhere between headache and nausea.

Did you know that illegal aliens actually commit crimes at a lower rate than other residents—overlooking the fact that illegal entry is itself a crime, I mean?  Of course, being illegal, many of this group don’t call the cops when they’re robbed, raped, or mugged in the barrio… but I’m sure that whatever study the professor was quoting to Tucker Carlson took this into account.  Right?

High rates of Ruthenium 106 have been detected in the southern Urals… but, hey, Russia isn’t engaged any longer in the covert weaponizing of nuclear materials, and Jared Kushner’s chat with a Russian lobbyist remains a far greater threat to our security than Hillary’s Uranium One deal.  Anyway, who’s to say that Greenpeace Russia isn’t lying as part of a Trump pay-off?  Right?

Today I saw a video claiming that Native Americans have observed Thanksgiving as a day of mourning for centuries, and that the actual date marks the occasion of a massacre wrought by the Pilgrims upon their swart, dark-haired, fatally naive hosts.  The narrator was a Native-looking young lass who truly seemed to be very distressed.  Why would she lie?

All week I’ve been reading about our “greatest president”.  No, not Barack Obama—the other one: Abraham Lincoln.  He promised not to free the slaves as a candidate, his proclamation freed them only in the South and not in Unionist border states, he freed them then only to find more cannon fodder for his unpopular war, he had to siphon off precious troops to suppress draft resistance in states like New York, he smashed presses and imprisoned editors when newspapers in far-from-the-front Ohio and Indiana criticized his policies… but these are all just charges assembled by Southern apologists.  I have it on the high authority of Glenn Beck, the official historian of Planet Earth.

A professional sportswriter penned something that crossed my bow yesterday.  It argued that we might as well usher all the Steroid Boys into the Hall of Fame and waive the character criterion, because the Hall’s prior occupants are a bunch of bastards.  Take Tris Speaker, who wouldn’t attend teammate Ray Chapman’s funeral because Ray was Catholic.  Naturally, the argument made in Charles Alexander’s painstaking biography that Chapman was born Protestant and that, in any case, he selected Speaker to be best man at his wedding reeks of bias.  I’m sure the no-name who has wearied of the Hall’s prissy “character” clause must have it right.

A certain relative at our Thanksgiving gathering launched a verbal tirade because my son beat her at chess.  She insisted that knights couldn’t leap over other pieces when moved—citing an Internet source which actually undermined her position… but that was just our interpretation of the passage.  And the Internet is always right, especially when it’s vague.

From the cosmic to the national to the trivial, I find myself wading through hastily stitched “facts” at every turn.  What’s happening?  Are we all losing our minds?  Am I, perhaps, a psycho for thinking that the sun sets in the west?

No, it seems to me, rather, that we’re falling into a habit of rewriting the rules (sometimes literally) to whatever game we’re playing so that we personally come out ahead.  And because I once thought that Putin could be trusted, and that Glenn Beck could be trusted, and that institutional or professional research could be trusted, I don’t think I’m the lunatic in this asylum.  Why not?  Because I’m capable of admitting error and changing my mind.

Here’s an exercise I recommend: think of three positions that you’ve had to surrender over the past year because the facts just didn’t support them.  Can you do it?

Girls Need More Prudence in the Post-Polite World

I would begin, “Please don’t misunderstand…” but I have long learned that those words are always wasted.  People who want to misunderstand will surely do so, as on the day when three senior English majors were pleased to construe a perfectly anodyne joke I hatched (to cover my irritation about rampant absenteeism) as a crude sneer at suicides.  (I had murmured, “Absent again?  Question 5 must have driven them to suicide!”)  These prissy censors decided to be offended rather than opt for a more civil, friendly, and obvious interpretation of my words; and as for me, I will never forget the offense I felt at being so zealously cast in a villain’s role.  No, I didn’t feel “raped”: I just felt slapped in the face.

So misunderstand, if you will… but listen: women who don’t wish to lure into the open their male colleagues’ Inner Swine probably shouldn’t leave dozens of photos on Google images showing themselves buck naked (or peu s’en faut), with the skimpiest of remaining strings or veils, perhaps, serving only to emphasize what isn’t in plain sight.

The Tweeden woman who is protesting Al Franken’s multiple molestations—and rightly so—might have considered that when you ring a bell in Professor Pavlov’s lab, all the dogs within earshot start to salivate.  I had no idea who this young woman might be; someone wrote that she was a newscaster.  I did a quick search… and my iPad’s screen started to blush.  Ms. Tweeden, I second your outrage, and I have decried the degeneration of male manners over a lifetime twice the length of yours… but if you don’t want the neighborhood strays nipping at your heels, don’t go jogging wrapped in strings of fresh sausage.

For fifty years and more now, feminism has been encouraging young women to flaunt conventions of decency (if not to advertise an overtly licentious lifestyle).  This was always a nasty pit-trap into which the most impressionable girls took hard falls.  Here they were told by academic mentors that they were going to gate-crash male lairs of privilege…. and all they accomplished was the rush-delivery of more low thrills to the worst kind of man.

I don’t know if the news desk and the Hollywood “casting couch” are distinctly different pieces of furniture any more, at least for young women.  If a daughter of mine were considering a broadcast career, I would warn her to develop a thick skin and study karate.  And if Megan Kelly, who hasn’t stopped protesting her harassment at FOX since her exit therefrom, really believes that she was originally hired only for her interviewing skills, then she must be the most naive human being ever to utter the words, “Tonight we begin our coverage…”.

It’s not right, of course, that women in particular should have to be eye-candy in order to land such positions.  Ratings rule, however, at the end of the day.  The profession is invincibly sordid in that regard.

Teaching isn’t so very different.  You can possess the knowledge of a Henry Kissinger about international affairs—but if you conduct your Topics in Diplomacy seminar in soporific monotone, you’ll soon be looking for a new gig (unless, that is, you are actually Henry Kissinger).

I wish we could recover some vestige of manners.  Few people loathe the moral and cultural cesspool in which we dwell more than I.  But as I recall my single days in the Eighties, when women never wanted to see you again if the first date didn’t end in bed, and as I now read of actresses feeling “assaulted” when a nonagenarian in a wheelchair slips his arm around their waist, I can’t help but conclude that today’s girls—for their own good—need to do their calculations all over again.  This world of “rights” and “freedoms” has grown dangerously pathological.  Don’t assume that any space is safe, ladies, and learn to keep your guard up better.  Listen to your grandmothers.

 

The Dark Elite (Part Two)

I perhaps erred in my previous post by insisting that our career politicos and captains of industry are a seamless unit. I realize that CEO’s don’t retire to enter politics and that, by the same token, politicians (few of whom have any business savvy today) don’t retire to go into private industry. In a way, that was exactly my point: neither needs to stray into the territory of the other, because either side is already doing the other’s bidding.

Now that I’m trying to focus my attention upon the sector that I call Security, however (meaning the high-ranking bureaucrats who “protect” us more than men and women wearing any sort of uniform), I find myself uncomfortable with advancing any sort of provenance. I don’t really know where these people come from. Are they military personnel? Sometimes… but if so, they have seldom smelled powder or seen blood before being entrusted with a nation’s survival. This type usually seems to scale the ranks by discreetly guarding or purveying secrets and working effective “damage control” for incompetent but powerful superiors. The military record of Michael Hayden, former chief of NSA and the CIA, is essentially that of what used to be called an aide de camp—a well-connected, copiously decorated “yes man”. Might another type have occupied elective office prior to penetrating the inner circle of watchdogs? Less often, I would guess… but more often than never. Leon Panetta began life on the national scene in the US House of Representatives before embarking upon a series of cabinet positions that led to his being CIA director. George Bush’s career path was similar.

These are men, in short (and in my logarithm, they show up as male without fail), who have served in the “armed forces” without being armed, never having to choose between bearing a moribund comrade along clumsily and saving the rest of the squad in a quick dash; or perhaps they have represented the “people’s choice” at some point in some capacity, but without playing the demagogue or polarizing the public. They have shown themselves to be “team players”—trustworthy practitioners of the inside game even when it bends the rules ostensibly observed by others. They keep things quiet rather than stir things up. There’s something, maybe, a little cold-blooded about them. They enjoy a kind of aloofness from the madding crowd. Whether ex-military or former legislators, they have displayed a particular talent for making the right people look good and for making the wrong facts go away. They know where the skeletons are hidden—and, in their capable hands, those closets have been dry-walled over and hung with dim portraits.

One may wonder if someone like Bill Gates might prove himself worthy of admission into the club from the private sector. Gates’s attempted trespasses into education policy strongly imply that he wants to be a member—that he wants to market hardware and software on a vast scale, yes, but also that he considers himself worthy of directing society’s course for decades to come. Without question, he holds the keys to a lot of doors; and his legendary acts of “hard ball” when Steve Jobs took him too far into his confidence may impress the Dark Elite more as salutary ruthlessness than as risky infidelity… or perhaps they suggest to us, rather, that one does not deserve trust in this club who cannot be ruthless, and that anyone who trusts too much deserves not to be trusted.

Now, a nerdy milquetoast like Bill Gates would never be admitted into the rarefied ranks of Security, would he? Or would he? Why not? If federally mandating costly communications and information systems creates the ultimate bonanza for tech companies, doesn’t their proliferation also create the ultimate opportunity for the nation’s watchdogs to eavesdrop on everyone’s every movement? Isn’t that, indeed, the mother lode for a private innovator: an advanced surveillance and data-gathering network’s being purchased by public-sector bureaucracies? And if you were the Eavesdropper in Chief, wouldn’t you want Bill Gates on board—all the way on board, and as gung-ho as you about a perfect planet where wars no longer bubble up because trouble-makers are preemptively identified and subdued? Wouldn’t Bill Gates or Steve Jobs be all in for that?

I’m already beginning to anticipate the next step in my speculations—the “tech whiz” portal; so allow me to backtrack briefly into the deathly-discreet vaults of Security for a few more words. I cannot over-emphasize that these elite few do not dream of clearing out Times Square with tanks as the Chinese did Tiananmen Square. That’s a Hollywood script, recycled and retreaded God-knows-how-many times since Seven Days in May screened in 1964. (Hollywood, by the way, is now as seamlessly joined to the news media as corporations are joined to politicians: more useful idiots, their Woodstock-era nightmares of men in uniform create a very successful diversion from the real threat.) Preserving the myth of a fully armed, booted, and helmeted military probably assists Security in funneling money to its “black ops” programs, to be sure. The American voter is generally willing to be taxed more if he thinks he’s financing new submarines and jet fighters. He is also completely oblivious to how much of this money disappears down the hole of off-budget projects.

But no, Security’s vision of domination has no battlefields and no heroes. The planet will be made ready for her “great leap forward”, rather, by handling obstacles with sanitary efficiency: by dazing armed militants with sound waves, by mollifying dissidents through the education system (delivered via home computer), by thinning out burdensome social elements with sterilants in the yearly flu vaccine, and by disgracing spirited opponents with faux mafia pay-offs uploaded to their bank accounts. While this portion of the Dark Elite is the more sinister for being the less disruptive of daily routines, its solutions are perhaps more permanent than a nuclear holocaust; for extermination of one’s adversaries only postpones the power struggle for another generation, but the Orwellian integration of adversaries into the mainstream makes society forget how to say “no”.

The Dark Elite’s security (read “enforcement”) branch, then, is quintessentially high-tech. That’s why the exposure of our nation’s power grid to the threat of Electro-Magnetic Pulses is so worrisome: because, I mean, our rulers are far too sophisticated to have allowed such a vulnerability to take them by surprise. If our civilization risks such catastrophic collapse, it is because our “guardians” have decided to preserve collapse as a “pacifying” option. Should our numbers and demands become inconvenient, ninety percent of us may have to be culled so that the remnant may grow strong and straight.

Two Suggestions for a Better World (Don’t Hold Your Breath)

First, the NFL. (I hate football, by the way, and have never been a consumer of the NFL’s product.) Certain conscientious players will don black armbands prior to the raising of the flag. The anthem completed, they will remove the signs of mourning and go on about their business. When a svelte female sticks a microphone in their face after the game (funny how women seem so eager to assert their presence in the most brutal of all our sports), they will explain that they wish to honor their nation–but also to grieve publicly the loss of well over a million defenseless babies annually to abortion. (“They are fetuses,” snarks Answers.com if you use the “b” word.)

Then let’s see how the NFL reacts. Care to place a bet?

Now for health care. The abortionist’s comeback is always, “Well, you don’t care what happens to the fetus after it becomes a child…” which is correct, in a way–because it’s Mom and Dad who are supposed to care about the “fetus” both before and after it “becomes a child”, and too often neither cares at either time. Implicit in the comeback, you see, is the assumption that Mom will give her new baby one hell of a life. She already has six or eight other babies, and she hasn’t bothered to care for any of them. (Needless to say, Dad–or the dads–is/are nowhere in sight.) We, on the other hand, are supposed to care–meaning that we’re expected to keep ponying up tax dollars to buy every new child food, clothing, health care, and education. Mom doesn’t even trouble herself to look for a job: her job is to have babies and collect monthly checks for them. If one of the dads should decide to marry Mom, and if he should have a job other than sharing in the baby-bonanza, he chooses to keep the kids on Medicaid rather than buy into the group policy offered at work. So we continue paying…

If my wife and I had been able to keep more of our own money over the years, we could have adopted one or more children. We wanted to… but the process is costly and lengthy. Women are either aborting their unwanted babies (excuse me: fetuses) or else consigning them to Grandma and collecting Uncle Sam’s check. So… yeah, maybe some of us begin not to care much for this situation.

Here’s my suggestion: how about a box on the income tax return that you could check and then designate X dollars for the health care of babies born to parents illegally resident in the US, legally resident but unmarried and unwilling to practice birth control, or married and gainfully employed but unwilling to take the insurance offered at work? If “caring” in such circumstances appeals to you, then you can donate however many thousands you wish. Nancy Pellosi could easily manage six figures a year out of the millions she has garnered from marginally legal but patently unethical insider trading.

As I say… don’t hold your breath.

Finally, a stray thought: why is it that evidence of brilliance in our far-distant ancestors can only be explained by hypothesizing visits from extraterrestrials, yet the current generation is styled the most brilliant ever because its young use smartphones–the assumption being that all of them could assemble the circuitry or write the code for the software? Can any of them even average his grades without using the Math Ap or logging onto Blackboard? But, hey… we don’t build campfires, and we have nice teeth!

Columbus and Hitler: Nothing in Common

I have read bloggers and editorialists complaining for years about our children being taught that the New World was an Eden invaded by white racist males… and I always took it with a grain of salt.  Maybe that happens in the schools of Chicago and Oakland and Seattle—surely not here in my back yard!

I was wrong.  My eighteen-year-old freshmen are fully persuaded that Columbus was a slaver and genocidist who anticipated Adolf Hitler.  I wonder if I might dare to point out a few disparities off the cuff?

Columbus didn’t play the demagogue, stirring the masses up against a defenseless minority in their midst.  He traveled a very long way at great personal risk and blundered into a situation whose parameters he was wholly incapable of measuring beforehand (or even, for the most part, after the fact).

Hitler vigorously encouraged the development of advanced weapons possessing unheard-of lethality, such as the V1 and V2 rockets and the ME 262 jet fighter.  It is possible that his team of scientists even succeeded in producing a small thermonuclear blast experimentally before the success of the Manhattan Project.  Columbus was attempting to pioneer a lucrative trade route.  He hadn’t the slightest notion of bacteriological warfare, of course; and to hold him personally responsible for spreading smallpox and other diseases unknown to the New World is as preposterous as blaming the sun for skin cancer.

Hitler’s imperialism started at home and worked outward.  His aggressions were fully planned and systematic.  Columbus—and indeed, the later conquistadors (who admittedly were no choir boys)–scarcely knew what part of the planet they were on.  Their numbers were few, their technology not so very superior to bows and arrows, their situation entirely cut off from the restraining cultural forces of Europe, their diet uneven, their health fever-ridden, their morale inclined to the paranoia of castaways.  Many of them behaved badly, perhaps most of them; but they weren’t being wined, dined, and sycophantically placated like the German chancellor.

For the record, too, the Aztecs and the Maya practiced human sacrifice on a vast scale, some of it indescribably brutal.  Hitler’s victims hadn’t been piling up the hearts of young virgins, ripped from childish ribs as they were still beating, for hundreds of years.  Frankly, a “civilization” that tolerates such things, and even considers them holy acts, richly deserves to go defunct.

We always get history wrong, though we may make a much more sincere effort to understand than one sees in American public schools today.  We weren’t there: we can’t know exactly how it was.  What bothers me more about the attitude of my freshmen than their wealth of misinformation is the ease with which they self-righteously condescend to their elders and to the past.  Where is their “life experience”?  Why do they so readily sit in judgment upon centuries of human struggle?  Why do they offer so few traces of humility?  Who has made them this way?

Of course, the answer is “we who are their parents”.  These children haven’t been well raised. The true deficit in their education—far greater than a diet of “fake news” (from which we all suffer)—is the mature adult’s reluctance to pass snap judgments on complex situations.  They will judge us harshly, too, I suppose—these smartphone whiz kids; and we, at least, will deserve it.

But what will their own children say of them for buying up solar panels that left a clear trail of cancer villages behind in Third World nations?  How will their own children judge them for creating and bequeathing a world so electronically artificial that its inhabitants forgot basic manners and couldn’t forge ordinary friendships?  What will those of the next generation who aren’t aborted say about this one for ignoring an Aztec-level slaughter of innocents—not to appease wrathful gods, but to indulge in carnal pleasures without incurring inconvenience?

You see, my dears, you also can be made to resemble Cortez and Pizarro.