Another Slaughter of Children—Another Round of Staged Whining

I wanted my next post to pursue the reactions that I registered during my Denver trip, and I have something all ready to go for tomorrow.  Another high school shooting has intruded into our shared world, however—we who share nothing any more but some real estate on a certain planet—and I need to clear my mind.

More “ban the guns” chanting from the Left, which is too dishonest (among its elite architects) or too stupid (among its tail-wagging minions) to admit that the endgame here is an irresistible centralized authority with an Obama-style “national police force”… more “paid shills of the Nazi NRA” baiting of anyone who proposes a serious analysis of the problem… more staged “how many of our children have to die?” whining from the crowd whose favorite comics and sitcoms joke about slaughtering babies in the womb…

I’m so sick of this.

Here are my questions.  Primo: how does a kid wearing a trench coat on a humid 90-degree Houston morning walk into a high school unchecked in 2018?  How in hell could that ever happen?

Secundo: why do idiot legislators in places like California and Boulder, Colorado, continue to brandish the mean-nothing phrase “assault rifle” in cases like this, where the murders were apparently perpetrated with a shotgun and a pistol (snitched from their legal owner)?  May we not at least converge upon sufficient coherence in this “debate” to admit that the gun designation du jour is arbitrary, and that the real target is every gun in private possession?  This sorry little prick also planned to ignite a number of bombs—but that atrocity, if successful, would likewise not have shifted the tone of whining on the Left in any way whatsoever.

Tertio: is it not clear by now that the bad-boy infamy heaped upon these pathetic ghosts of the social-media Limbo actually draws more of them to atrocious action?  The press dedicated to the Parkland, Florida, butchery has not yet subsided, though the same press corps utterly ignored a machete massacre (with killed and wounded numbers around 30 and 100) about a month ago in China’s contested Xinjiang province.  If you were a sociopathic punk who wanted to post a selfie that no one would ever forget, would you drive over twenty cheerleaders in your dad’s pickup, or would you shoot five of them with your dad’s Glock?

Quarto et ultimo: why is “entertainment” a dead issue in these discussions?  I’ve virtually given up on network TV and movies because of the gratuitous violence.  It sickens me beyond my endurance-threshold.  All of my son’s generation, at least among the males, consider Breaking Bad to be a classic.  I’m appalled.  How does a normal human being sit comfortably in his armchair and watch a young woman get executed with a bullet through the back of the head as her gagged lover is forced to look on from a van, on one side, and as her toddler stands in the front doorway, on the other?  This is entertainment?  The weaning of an entire generation on such nihilistic vomit of perverse creativity—on such hard-core pornography of the inner soul—cannot be free of consequences, especially when such “cool” diversions have become the stuff of contemporary tee-shirts and trivia games.

But Brian Cranston, the dark star of this bituminous epic poem, is an outspoken, even virulent anti-gun advocate.  Oh.  I guess all is well, then.

I can’t write any more, unless I am to lapse into a long string of four-letter words.

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Denver, Part One: Beneath the Shifting Smile of Unfriendly Skies

My wife and I appear to have survived our semiannual trip to Denver for a visit with our son.  Since we’re still picking up physiological and psychological pieces, I can’t guarantee that Humpty Dumpty will be back together again by the end of the week.  In fairness, I cannot lay this trauma at D-Town’s mountainous doorstep.  A fifteen-hour drive would be a tall order for two sexagenarians even with the Pearly Gates as its destination.  Neither of us has flown in years—the slaughterhouse chuting and prodding and penning up that goes with air travel these days makes my libertarian blood boil.  Yet car trips of long duration in any direction tend to give me horrible migraines.  The Extremely Low Frequency Waves transmitted constantly by the vehicle’s motion do something really painful to my nervous system.  This time I kept a bag of quartz crystals behind my neck to draw off some of the energy, and that worked pretty well (quartz is an All Star conductor of electricity); but I’d still rather be on foot in strange places, as I was when I walked two different 600-mile tours of the British Isles in my twenties.

About now, you’re thinking, “Gee, this guy sounds like he should fit right into Denver culture.”  I know, I know: it has been my lot as a true conservative throughout my life to puzzle people on both sides of the aisle.  Faux-cons can’t understand why I don’t warble excitedly about the benefits of technological progress for the free market and individual economic opportunity.  (But wouldn’t such excitement indicate… oh, I don’t know—maybe progressivism?)  Meanwhile, what has very carelessly come to be called the “liberal” manifests a concern for preserving life’s natural rhythms… up to a point.  The trouble with “liberals” (and I wish that faux-conservative propaganda would allow me to call them “progressives” without ambiguity) is that they know little about nature and nothing about life.  They play at knowing and loving both; and in their childish fantasy, they usually end up destroying one without soaking up any wisdom from the other.

Which brings me back to why I just can’t stand Denver (or, for that matter, contemporary Austin, where I passed the happiest years of my childhood): The place is a Disneyworld sitting on the crater of a supervolcano.  This is quite literally true, inasmuch as the next eruption of the subterranean dynamo upon which sits Yellowstone Park will most certainly prove a Hiroshima event to Colorado.  Yet what I have in mind is more figurative.  Denver society is a stew of fantasists.  Like Austin, it has a substantial hippie-refugee population; and the abuse of the word “refugee” reminds me that both cities are also “sanctuaries” for adventurous migrants in search of tax-free cash and tax-funded freebies.  The old hippies, to the extent that they recognize the eventual collapse of the commonwealth in open-border politics, cheer the ruin of the capitalist system.  The younger ones…

I know you don’t call them “hippies” now, and I haven’t heard “space cadet” used for years.  I have no single word for them.  They wear rings in any or all portions of their face, sport tattoos in places that clothing used to cover, design their hair with hedge-clippers before dying it with whatever’s among the kindergarten art supplies, select mates for a week or a month without any apparent attention to gender, devote most of their loving attention to small screens in their palms, and will probably bequeath whatever wealth they may amass in life to their dog.  Dogs… wow!  Mates come and go, children are a rare sight unless trailing after a Third World migrant in staircase order—but the shaggy canine is lover, child, and very best friend.  (I think the Denver word for that is “bae”, a term to which I was first exposed through a Littleton  billboard that showed a white chick and a black chick in lip-smacking embrace).  If a dog’s legs could only pump pedals, you’d see human-canine pairs, both helmeted, on their Schwinns all around the town.

So what’s my big problem—I who drive balancing a bag of quartz behind my neck—with thinking outside the box?  My problem is that I don’t perceive the thinking: I see only children dressing in outlandish combinations of clothes while Mom and Dad are away and the babysitter is taking a nap.  Question: if you have to overhaul city streets expensively amid great swirls of dust and pitch in order to create biking lanes, how is bike-riding a boon to the economy or the environment?  Or if you drive up into the Rockies three times a week with your bike strapped to your 35-mpg buggy, aren’t you nevertheless contributing to tremendous traffic congestion while also overrunning the wide-open spaces along with other cycle-meditators of your faith?

And as for religious faith… why are Denver churches never Baptist or Methodist or Episcopal?  Why are they the Gopher Gulch House of Love or the Cowboy Christ Worship Family?  Just because you can’t abide subordinating your thoughts and inklings to any established designation doesn’t mean you’re a free thinker or a true believer.  It may mean you’re a mush-head who has no notion of how to think or feel about anything profoundly.

And speaking of marijuana… one really devastating, perhaps fatal, unforeseen consequence of legalizing weed may well prove to be the legislative magnet thereby created for unproductive social leaches.  As a quasi-libertarian myself, I understand the appeal of the general argument; but the practical effects of making “artificial paradise” readily available include drawing in people dedicated to fleeing reality.

I’ll bet native Denverites are every bit as dismayed at what has happened to their homeland as my grandfather was by what happened to Austin.  I feel for them.  Their dream—yesterday’s reality, now a fantasy as remote as any socialist utopia—is irreparably shattered.

I’ll close this ramble with one more example of reality slamming into Playtime at Daycare.  I’ve always dreaded Denver weather.  The bottomless violet dawns are invariably traitors: by mid-afternoon you may be running for your life from a hail storm.  During this trip, however, I began to notice how many contrails immediately start collecting across the sky as the sun strokes the mountain peaks.  There are two commercial airports and one military strip in the Denver area.  It’s unimaginable to me that the dizzying accumulation of cirrus streaks from all the jet activity plays no role in the region’s schizophrenic weather.  While all the conscientious young liberals are denouncing us as planet-murderers for not outlawing industry and legally requiring of everyone the purchase of a 35-mpg Virtue Buggy, a much more credible and observable engine of weather change (who knows what long-term climatic effects it may have?) is air traffic.  What would the “wee brainy things” (as a Scots woman aptly termed them during one of my European tours) do without their jets?  How would they get to the next climate conference?  How would they get home for Thanksgiving, or how would they get to Seattle to rekindle an old flame for a weekend?  With 87,000 flights per day in U.S. (out of 100,000 worldwide—and those figures are likely just commercial jetliners), we are directly and immediately seeding the upper atmosphere with heat disruptive of natural pattern.  Yet we’re supposed to be worrying about SUV’s?

What a place.  It has its charms, as do all amusement parks; but as a viable major metropolis whose influence increasingly dominates the Midwest, Denver is a nightmare-in-becoming to this tree-hugging conservative.

Outrage Over “Cultural Appropriation” Is a Symptom of Degenerative Morality

There’s really nothing more that a sane adult need say about the idiocy of “cultural appropriation”… is there?

My DNA is Scottish (on the Harris side) and Welsh (on the Davis side), with a lot of English (a.k.a. Sasanach) stirred in.  The stirring actually raises the first critical point about the absurdity of equating culture with genetics: all of us are mongrels.  To the extent that Scots were Celts, they were dark (like me); but we often picture a kilted Scot as tall and blond—Scandinavian characteristics imported by the Vikings.  Likewise for the Welsh, and indeed the Irish: as much as red hair is associated with those groups, it is owed to interbreeding with the Norsemen, for the true Celt was, like Cu Chulainn, a “little dark man”.  And who knows what streams had flowed into the Celtic river?  Many northwestern Europeans are up to five percent Neanderthal, meaning that quite a few of us are not even entirely products of a single species.

Now, equating a particular kind of dress or food with a particular culture would be almost as preposterous as equating culture with race.  How many cultures graze upon a form of bread that looks something like a tortilla?  How many wear kilts or bonnets?  I don’t really know—but I know that the answer is, “More than one.”  And again, if we could confine the chili pepper to Central and South American cultures, how could we possibly maintain that so broad a swathe of real estate demarcates a single culture?  And how can we call that culture “Hispanic” or “Latin” when the chili pepper itself is a New World vegetable “appropriated” by Old World invaders who more or less fused with the natives?  And how do we sort out the natives?  Where did the Maya come from?  Why do some Cherokees have blue eyes?

It is also quite dumbfounding to see “offended snowflakes” whimpering over the “appropriation” of a dress’s pattern when they embrace none of the deeper values of the culture they claim to hold dear.  Ask them about gay marriage or sex changes or abortion or the right to self-defense, and you open the spigot to a slurpy spate of sentiments about expressing oneself and exploring one’s identity.  What happened to honoring the ancient culture that was supposed to determine that identity?

Personally, I don’t care if someone directly “insults” my culture.  Big deal.  I grew up seeing images of a winking Scotsman on Safeway’s cans of Scotch Treat frozen orange juice—the message behind the brand being that your stereotypically stingy Scot would smile at these prices.  The imputation of tight-fistedness never bothered me.  Pinching a penny is a smart way to achieve independence.  Non esse cupidum pecunia est, wrote Cicero: “Reducing your needs is an easy way to give yourself a raise.”

And as for “welching” on a deal… well, I never really thought about the word’s origin until our hyper-neuralgic culture of offense brought it up.  I didn’t care before then, and I didn’t care after.  No, the implicit stereotype isn’t very charitable—but I’m a hundred thousand times more offended by the Erectile Dysfunction flyers that show up in my box with graphic illustrations, making me grateful that we no longer have young children in the house.  And the source of my irritation isn’t my “bourgeois Christian culture”: it’s my sense of common decency, and also my moral conviction that sexual appetite shouldn’t be supercharged any more than anger, greed, or the other passions.  Culture can reinforce morality, but only as a subordinate reinforces his commander.

Maybe being a Southerner has insulated me from keen cultural sensitivity.  As a white male who happens to have ancestors galore from Virginia and South Carolina, I was a despicable bigot before I exited the womb.  Nothing I could ever do would change the fact that I was scum in the eyes of the Beautiful People… and so I got on with my life and left them to pose admiringly in their hall of mirrors.

There is one final observation, however, that needs to be made about the current wave of pseudo-cultural consciousness—of tribalism in search of a pretext.  I’ve offered this insight before in other contexts, and it continues to grow upon me: the healthy, vibrant spirit exhales itself—not in ego-assertion, but in self-effacing self-discovery—into the surrounding universe, but the “genius of evil” sucks energy in like a black hole.  The wicked forces behind “cultural consciousness” (and some of this lot are indeed deliberate in their mischief) are seeking to persuade people to sever their ties with the rest of the world.  You are… a woman, an Asian woman, a professional Indian woman who has broken with the patriarchy and found new roots in the Harvard sisterhood and some reformed variety of Buddhism.  You are… a young gay African-American of the male sex but identifying more as female who observes Kwanzaa and eats soul food.  The pathetic stew of garage-sale titbits that such “movements” include in order to achieve a viable caricature of cultural rigor goes beyond my mimicry.  What it all has in common is the aim of reducing the cultic participant to a figure so severely defined that he or she spiritually suffocates.  Music can no longer be enjoyed unless it has a “cultural” connection.  A sublime mountain view becomes loathsome because the Trail of Tears passed somewhere this way (so they say).  The person whose imagination has been snared by such clever devilry is spiritually bound up the way a spider balls a fly into a corner of her web.

It’s evil, this boa-constrictor occupation of minds—and cultural practice is no excuse for wickedness.  Indeed, where culture does not exist to confirm basic moral teachings, it has no reason to exist at all.

Utopian-Fantasist Obtuseness: The UFO Crowd’s Strange Flirtation With the Left

I was commenting the other day (okay, I was tweeting: my son says it’s the only low-budget way to find an audience) about the premier episode of Ancient Aliens’ new season that aired on April 22.  It was dismaying that several regular commentators, like journalist Linda Moulton-Howe, were all but jumping into the tank for Hillary at the end of the episode.  If elected (went the narrative), Hillary would have gotten to the bottom of all the UFO secrecy; she would have demanded transparency of the Defense Department; she would have fired anyone who refused to pony up with complete disclosures, etc., etc.  Now, I can vividly imagine Hillary conducting bureaucratic purges: that would have happened even without the UFO issue.  I can also imagine her riding roughshod over sensitive security matters because she felt like it.  She has what they call a “proven track record” in that regard.  What I cannot imagine is her pressing a point from which Bill had previously backed off.  The Clinton who successfully pursued the presidency once confessed candidly (if semi-confidentially) to one of his buddies in the press that poking about the UFO issue could be very bad for his health.  He represented the response given to him by nameless career insiders as practically a threat on his life.

It has been said that Hillary knows a thing or two about silencing inconvenient witnesses.  Whatever the truth of that, she most certainly would have known about the ominous wall of men in black that had terminated her husband’s country-fried snooping.  Hillary was playing the UFO-truther crowd for an easy endorsement.  John Podesta, no doubt, was playing Ancient Aliens for a bit of public exposure readily parlayed into speaking honoraria (for who remembers John Podesta these days?)… but Moulton-Howe should have known better.

Why didn’t she?  Why, indeed, does UFO-mania tend to lean so far leftward?  It shouldn’t, if a recurring theme is the abusive secrecy of big government.  Apparently, centralized authority is evil when it’s in the hands of the military-industrial complex; but when Tinker Bell utopians are promising to sprinkle stardust over every aspect of our private lives, the faintest libertarian tinge of resistance is abandoned.  Bestowing dictatorial powers upon a Beloved Leader so that he—or she—may cashier all the would-be dictators in uniform makes perfect sense to the Left.

But why, I repeat, do alien enthusiasts lean left?  I myself am pretty sure that our planet has been visited by extra-terrestrials—and that hasn’t made me want to book a flight to Cloudcuckooland.  In some members of this group, perhaps many or most, I perceive a disturbing tendency to cultic religion.  Everything in every ancient literary text is potentially a sign of “extra-terrestrial visitation”.  Zeus’s thunderbolt can’t be a sublime image coined out of primitive reverence for natural forces: it has to be an advanced technology that Stone Age minds didn’t comprehend.  Our history is also of no interest except as a reservoir of clues about ET activity.  How did the bubonic plague come to spread so rapidly and wipe out so many populations?  Must have been a bid on the part of hostile aliens to thin out our numbers.

This sort of thing reminds me for all the world of the m.o. I’ve seen working in academic feminism and Marxism for decades.  Are you given a novel to read from a few centuries ago?  Look for the woman or the peasant: there’s nothing else worth paying attention to.  If you can’t find either one… well, why are they being excluded?  Must be a conspiracy!  Are you presented with a historical period to study?  What’s going on with women at this time, or with the underclass?  Not much information on that?  Well, there wouldn’t be, would there?  Males and the upper classes have sought to airbrush all those significant details from the record for millennia.

Ultimately, the driving force behind such cultism is the adoration of progress.  A better tomorrow for women, for the poor… a better future for Earthlings once they are told by aliens where their destiny lies.  All of it shares a boredom, and indeed a disgust, with the present and an indifference to the past except insofar as years past and present supply steps to the ascending staircase.  The faithful of these cults seem tormented by a distaste for the contemporary world and for human nature generally: they crave a transformative experience, an orgastic Nirvana that will mystically show forth as a photographic negative of hateful realities.  They so long for Scottie to beam them up!

Alas, not only does such delirium not draw us any closer to the truth behind UFO’s: it discredits serious attempts to find that truth by tarring all sincere investigators with the stick of childish fantasy.  We may be moving farther from the truth than ever.

White Male Bourgeois Capitalist: Bad Guy in Perpetuity

For my half-dozen faithful readers in this quadrant of the galaxy, I’m going to undertake a partial translation of a Deutsche Welle article published online last Wednesday (May 25).  My German is far from perfect, yet I don’t think I’ve missed the mark on any significant detail.

The German press is leftwing times ten; Peter Holmes has often and aptly remarked the number of formerly East German hacks who have found their way into contemporary German corridors of power (including Merkel’s inner circle).  The German press, likewise, is pretty much what one might expect of a Fourth Estate essentially run by the Stasi.  Unless a volcano is erupting in Indonesia, its stories are nothing but spin and propaganda.

In this case, I found the ideological contortion-act uproarious.  We’re already familiar with it on our side of the pond.  If you or I uttered in the most discreet privacy a comment containing five percent of the racism or sexism with which Rap music is laced, we’d lose our jobs pronto.  But when someone of the right DNA profile makes exponentially worse remarks than anything we’ve ever imagined, not only is all forgiven at once—the fault for the infraction is attributed to us because we have created such a hostile environment for the dear.

Read this:

Today Gangsta Rap is about rebellion above all else, according to Kathrin Bower, Professor of German Studies at the University of Richmond and an expert in German Rap [naturally].  The “Gangsta-Rapper”, clarified Bower in an interview with Deutsche Welle, presents himself ostentatiously as an outsider, a rebel, someone who deliberately ignores the rules and thereby becomes celebrated.

“The crude flaunting of material possessions, the hostility to women, and the violence in Gangsta Rap are a veiled expression of general rebellion against the worth of the middle class, established society, and political correctness.  The fact that the music publisher Echo’s award primarily reflects lofty sales numbers—and thus popularity—points to a disturbing reality, continued Bower: that “the hypermasculinity and provocation of Gangsta Rap are pleasing to young people of extremely diverse backgrounds.”

The most curious thing about that little meditation is how political correctness appears to be identified with the middle class.  I wonder if Professor Bower, expert in German Rap and the Modern World generally, really thought that one through.  PC orthodoxy is supposed to be aimed at the vicious, greedy, racist tendencies of the squalid capitalist bourgeoisie… but the rapper has both targets in the sites of his weaving (and mostly metaphorical) Glock, so some scuffing up of logical boundaries in pursuit of a brilliant insight must be forgiven.

Then we have the case of a paradoxically successful artiste-critic of the system:

Bushido’s turbulent objectives indicate a broad—and altogether contradictory—target audience: on the one hand, Muslim youths with an immigrant background, and on the other, youths who style themselves “white nationalist” or neo-Nazi.  These latter have embraced Bushido even though the rapper’s father is a Tunisian.

This time it is DW, and not one of its professorial interviewees, who’s attempting a barrel-roll that would have made the Red Baron vomit.  If Caucasian Germans who cheer on rappers are potential Nazis, then they shouldn’t be standing shoulder to shoulder with Muslim lads… should they?  Hmm.  A contradiction.  Of course, these young males aren’t nearly as bright as the DW staff and its panoply of academic contributors… so another interview can probably explain their pathetically irrational—but not contemptible (never that!)—behavior.

It wasn’t always so.  In Berlin-Kreuzberg, young people of Turkish origin have identified themselves with Hip-Hop and Rap since the Eighties in order to address their role as the “other side” in Germany, writes Ayhan Kaya, Professor of Politics and Director of the Europa Institute on Bilgi University’s campus in Istanbul.

In this early form of Rap, the objective above all else was the search for identity.  Today, writes, Kaya, that isn’t so much the case.  At the moment, he is working on a project about Gangsta Rap whose focus is how the genre has come to serve “the disillusioned Right as well as being an outlet for Muslim youth.”

“This is actually a positive development,” said Kaya in an interview with DW.  A possibility for radicalization exists in both groups, and both are similar “victims of globalization, the departure of local industry, socio-economic frustration, alienation, and humiliation.”  Hip-Hop is an escape valve for youth who otherwise might have joined radical groups like the so-called Islamic State or the National Socialist Underground (NSU).

Personally, I don’t think Professor Kaya is far off base.  I see daylight (if not exactly a Golden Dawn) in this odd marriage, as well.  As I have conjectured for some time, people raised in fundamentalist Islam and the disenfranchised “young white male” of the West who only ever hears about his “privilege” must eventually converge upon the recognition that they share significant values.  They don’t want to be lackeys to females, their masculinity disparaged and their intelligence derided.  They have a suppressed (and sometimes very distorted) but nonetheless powerful desire to serve something beyond themselves rather than eke out a sybaritic postmodern existence of chasing after animal pleasures.  They’re not very eloquent on the whole, and so they are apt to counter criticism of their crude behavior by doubling down on it: “Okay, so I’m a pig!  Oink, oink!  Better keep your distance, or I’ll splash mud on you!”  And, yes, they’re largely unemployed; and in a world increasingly fond of fusing humans with machines, their attraction to manual labor and their pride in honest sweat merely draws sneers.

The Left doesn’t want to brand these bad boys as irredeemable, at least when they’re not Caucasian: they’re too patently eligible for victim status.  Yet to suggest that they aren’t all wearing pink vagina hats only because some strange mixture of capitalism and PC fascism has nudged them into the margin is to dwell in a fantasy.

Well… where else would you expect to find the denizens of Leftworld?

Playtime in the Asylum: Life on the Left

Yesterday I wrote a piece where I portrayed working in the contemporary university as very like trying to move among the Titanic’s luxuriously dining passengers while she begins to heel over… and being bombarded with scowls if one even hints that something’s amiss.  This insistent mass-denial is definitively infantile behavior—and it characterizes everything happening on the Left today.  One must wonder at some point if leftism is indeed not some pathological kind of clinging to childhood.  I’m going to indulge that wonder at length now.

Back when children used to play imaginatively—and play in real space rather than on screens—you’d occasionally have a group pretending that the “jungle gym” was a fort or that a line of blocks represented the solid walls of a house.  Then some twit named Bart would come along and pull at your leg through the gym’s bars, refusing to acknowledge the game’s solid wall, or step over the house’s fanciful brick facade instead of going through the doorway.  The other kids would howl at Bart for breaking the rules… and he would laugh and mock for a minute before going into exile and seeking some new group of kids to alienate.

People on the Left are kids in that imaginary castle… only they’re no longer kids.  They still treat Bart like a dirt-bag anomist… only now he’s a healthy adult who is trying to keep innocents from being maimed or killed.  The declaration of schools as “gun-free zones” is a perfect example.  We’ve created (if we’re leftists) a little space in our minds where no one may bring a gun.  As long as we all play by the rules, the space is indeed safe, and the game goes smoothly.  Then the Shooter steps over the “wall” without coming through the door.  We all scream, “Bart, go away!  Go away!  All right… everybody throw rocks at Bart because he won’t go away!”  In case you haven’t heard, one Pennsylvania school district was briefly equipping its classrooms with buckets of rocks before public derision made it reconsider—this as a strategy to repel a gunman.  You couldn’t make this stuff up.

I’m surprised, frankly, that fourth-graders are not now being rehearsed in the “go away” chant as a strategy to protect their tender lives.  The Left so loves chants—the link back to playground days is so gilded and palpable!  “Shooter, shooter, go away!  Don’t come back another day!”  Now that, for my money, would have a probability of success at least equal to issuing buckets of tot-sized stones.  (And there’s no chance that those would pose a temptation to little fingers during a normal school day, is there?) Any sane adult would realize that a child would become an instant target once he chucked a rock at a psycho (and most children would realize as much, too: just to be sure, I’d advise my child to circle around to the door while the poor little idiots were chunking pebbles).  But the chant… if the whole group tried the chant, led by their Joan Baez-throwback homeroom teacher, the bad guy might die laughing.

In all seriousness, this is the answer to the question often asked by conservatives, “Why do they hate us so much on the Left?”  They hate you because you’re Bart; or, to be exact (since we’re now talking about adults), they hate you because you are the father.  Fathers make sons and daughters behave.  The last two generations, especially on the Left, have grown up without responsible fathers.  Deadbeat dads abandoned Mom (perhaps several of them for any given mom), and she filled her children’s ears with reproaches of men.  Occasionally a new dad would come along who would give the kiddies anything, just to find a way to Mom’s heart (and her bed); and then there was Real Dad, AWOL when it came to imposing discipline but quick to load the kids with goodies every other weekend just to plant the thought in their tiny skulls that Mom was a villain for ever making them do anything.

With the dismantling of the nuclear family (as per the Frankfurt School’s radical playbook), we now have people reaching biological maturity who have all the emotional poise and objectivity of a six-year-old.  And their politics are progressive.  They want, they need… and everyone who stands in their way with the warning, “No, reality doesn’t work that way,” is a hateful brute who ruins the game by not pretending that the fluffy white cloud is a castle.  If only everyone would agree—if only everyone could be made to agree—that those cumulus columns are turrets, then we could all inhabit Disneyworld forever.  Yet men—not males per se, but adult men who are or would willingly be responsible fathers—keep getting in the way, insisting on guards that carry those ugly, hideous, evil firearms!  “Guns, guns, go away….”

On another day, I could extend this bridge to the hatred of Christianity and relative affection for Islam on the Left: the loathing, that is, of The Father who lays down loving rules to channel growth, and the paradoxical swooning for The Sheik who imposes his rebellious naughty-boy fantasies and forcibly sweeps everyone (but especially females) into it.

Enough to say here, in conclusion, that there is a kind of destiny working in our present decline.  As we have prospered materially, we have created an ever thicker buffer between ourselves and hard realities.  As that buffer has grown thicker, we have been able to prolong childish illusions ever further.  And, of course, as our illusions grow ever more numerous and durable, our survival as a society grows ever more precarious.  Prosperity has destroyed us, as it almost inevitably must do to such fallen creatures as we are.

When leftism plays out this fatal cycle by elevating homicidal tyrants to the seat of authority (as it has already done repeatedly over the past century), then our adult-children will at last find out—too late—what it’s really like to live in a tightly controlled space without personal defenses.

The Legacy of a Thirty-Five Year Teaching Career: Bubbles and Driftwood

I have one more week of teaching to go before I retire from the classroom, probably forever.  I’ve been exing out each surmounted day all semester, thinking the while that I would take some kind of rising pleasure in the exercise—that this final week would bring exhilaration to my ritual.  Hasn’t happened.  If anything, I feel steadily gloomier.  Why?  Because I’ll have nothing to do with myself after April?  Hardly!  Because I’ll miss interacting with my students?  Well, somewhat; but I’m a pretty withdrawn person, and solitude has never threatened me with despair.

No, it’s more like this.  Imagine that you are on the good ship Titanic as she begins to list.  Bottles slide off tables, and waiters can scarcely walk uphill sufficiently to restore them.  Chairs from one group of diners wander into another group.  Yet the band plays on, and anyone who raises a note of alarm is killed by scowls from all directions.

That’s the world of education today.  I have students on the verge of graduating who either don’t read much of anything or else retain almost nothing of what they read.  I quiz them on their assignments at the end of class after giving away most of the answers in my hour of discussion: many struggle to get half the questions right.  Can they not hear, either—or can they not attend to what they hear?  Do they not know how to concentrate?  Has the ubiquitous Screen, in all of its many forms, done something to their auditory faculties even as it has destroyed their vision?  (Yesterday I put a matching quiz up on the screen that has replaced our blackboard.  Several students had to move to the front row, from where they still sat squinting.  I walked to the room’s back wall and found that my sexagenarian eyes could distinguish each character without difficulty.  Frightening.)

And speaking of blackboards… we professors were required to communicate with our classes through some formatting program called (with unconscious irony) Blackboard until very lately, when we were commanded to switch to something called (inscrutably) Canvas.  On Blackboard, I would always post a PDF of my syllabus from which students could either run a hard copy or which they might simply download onto their “devices”.  Canvas, in contrast, appears to want to array your assignments instantly on the screen without the hassle of downloading and opening (and I write “want” because the damn thing is treated as if it were our new boss, beamed down from a superior planet).  Most professors have obligingly translated their documents into the “instant access to relevant page” format.  As a result, freshmen have been unable to follow my syllabus since last August, having been initiated into the new method from Day One by the rest of the campus community.  “Go to the PDF icon, download, open, and scroll to the present date….”  Nope.  Too hard.

And speaking of programming young minds so that they can’t reason in any direction but one… I tell you here and now that colleges aren’t primarily responsible for turning your children into progressivist snowflakes.  They reach us in that condition already: high school and a lifetime spent on social media have done the job before they ever see the inside of a dorm.  Big corporations are mean and greedy (yes) and locked in a war-to-the-death with big government (no: absolutely wrong).  Donald Trump is a crude buffoon (okay—most of the time) and responsible for our power grid’s not being secure (idiotic: Trump has done what he could to repair two decades of criminal negligence under Bush and Obama).  Slavery existed only in the South (that’s wrong… but let it pass) and the Civil War was fought to combat racism (which explains why Lincoln wanted to ship all blacks back to Africa, I suppose… you poor, ignorant blockheads!).

I can hear water rushing up the ship’s corridors… and the revelers are ordering more champagne.  Why should I be happy that I’ve found a lifeboat and have cast off from the imminent calamity?  I spent my whole professional life trying to keep the old edifice afloat (for she’s really much more like the Fighting Téméraire than the Titanic)—and I’ve failed.  So I’m off to my island; and I leave behind me a spoiled treasure of unusable debris and a dissolving foam that contains the strangled shrieks of wretches realizing, in their last breath, that they have been betrayed.