Thursday, August 24, 2017


Diversity is a good thing. We have to say that today, but the truth is I actually believe it. My personal experiences confirm the cliché.

I grew up in a tiny blue-collar town in Wisconsin, but I was a bit of a vagabond in my 20s. Some cities I lived in were populous and diverse; others were small and mostly homogenous. But everywhere I went, I had the good fortune to make friendships with interesting people of various backgrounds.

Sure, this included people whose skin color and sexual preferences were different than my own, but that’s not what I’m getting at, or not entirely. I’m talking about just meeting people from all walks of life: cowboys and failed actors; oil rig workers and survivors of the toughest streets in West Baltimore.

I benefited from these relationships. It’s surprising how much one can learn about life by breaking bread with someone over a beer and actually listening.

I genuinely believe the friendships I made and the perspective I received offered me a richer, fuller picture of the human experience. That said, I believe our culture’s obsession with diversity is getting a little out of hand.

From Google’s cult-like worship of the Idea to the ridicule heaped on Christopher Nolan’s film Dunkirk (too white!) to the purging of intellectuals who do not embrace the dogmas, it seems like our culture is getting a tad carried away.

A recent local example: A Minneapolis writing conference was canceled because of the lack of diversity of the presenters. Via the Star Tribune:

"The lineup of speakers for the Loft Literary Center’s conference on writing for children and young adults was stellar. William Alexander, winner of a National Book Award. Kelly Barnhill, winner of the Newbery Medal. Phyllis Root, author of more than 40 books for children. And 19 others.

Other than Alexander, who is Cuban-American, every writer who agreed to speak was white. And so, just days after announcing it, the Loft in Minneapolis canceled the Oct. 20-21 conference.

“We have set a goal for ourselves to be inclusive and to work toward equity, and we didn’t think the conference would live up to that mission,” Britt Udesen, executive director of the Loft, said Wednesday. “We made a mistake.”

My first reflex was to agree with Udesen. This seemed like a bit of a faux pas. An almost all-white lineup in Minneapolis? Then I read a little further.

The Loft had invited more than 10 writers of color to speak and expected a few “to come through at the last minute, and then they didn’t,” Udesen said.

The venue had invited “more than 10” non-white writers to attend but the writers, for whatever reason, had declined. So the event had to be canceled.

This seems, to be blunt, absurd. The venue made what appears to be a genuine attempt to have a diverse group of presenters, but because these writers could not or chose not to attend, the entire event had to be canceled.

The Loft, of course, has the right to do whatever it wishes. But I find our culture’s hyper-focus on diversity a little troubling—and, quite frankly, a bit weird.

Merriam-Webster define the term religion as the following: “a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held with ardor and faith.”

It seems to me that, for many in our culture, diversity is not just a virtue to be sought but a tenet of faith, one that must be observed at all times and cannot be questioned.

Such a theory might sound silly, but it would not have surprised G.K. Chesterton. “When a man stops believing in God he doesn’t then believe in nothing,” Chesterton once observed, “he believes anything.”

This idea is one further explored by philosopher Alexander Schmemann in his essay “Worship in a Secular Age.” Schmemann suggests that it’s in man’ very nature to worship:

“…worship is a truly essential act, and man an essentially worshipping being, for it is only in worship that man has the source and the possibility of that knowledge which is communion, and of that communion which fulfills itself as true knowledge: knowledge of God and therefore knowledge of the world – communion with all that exists.”

If Schmemann and Chesterton are correct, it would explain why in our age of secularism we treat diversity as not just a good to be pursued, but as something sacred.


Alt-Left Insanity: Liberals Vandalize, Attack, Riot and Burn, But Aren’t Violent

The media have gone berserk, angry that President Trump dared call out the left for its own violent lunatics. “I do think there's blame on both sides. You look at both sides. I think there's blame on both sides and I have no doubt about it and you don't have any doubt about it either and- and- and- and if you reported it accurately, you would say it,” explained the president.

He’s right. The racists and the Antifa or antifascists both showed up in Charlottesville ready to fight. And though lots in the media pretend being “antifascist” is something honorable, Antifa is another part of left-wing thuggery. It is a big reason why the racist scum came armed, most likely.

This is the point where the virtue signalers demand that everyone hate Nazis. That’s like hating cancer. We all do. But I will take the ego plunge and quote my own Twitter account: “Nazis are awful. Racists are awful. #Antifa is awful. Political violence is awful. Why does saying that trigger so many in media?” There, the virtue signalers got their digital pound of flesh.

There’s a reason why this is important. If media people accept the left is filled with violent sociopaths who don’t believe in free speech, freedom of religion or maybe even the United States, that changes the conversation. Can’t have that!

Let’s remind them, shall we?

We’ll recap and go back to 2011, the heady days of the Obama presidency, during Occupy Wall Street. The media loved Occupy. NBC called it “demonstrations against corporate greed,” even though it was just another catch-all liberal protest against The Man.

Occupy introduced many Americans to what the alt-left had become – criminal. Sort of a mix of street theater and street thugs. 7,700 Occupiers were arrested for a host of crimes including trying to blow up a bridge. Those who monitored the protests saw Occupy chant against police, scream at them, spit at them, push them, hit them, and more. When they weren’t throwing eggs, feces and firecrackers at police, they were doing what is called “doxing.”

Doxing used to be a hacker tactic designed to dig up the public, and often not-so-public, information on an individual. CNET reported Occupy used it against Oakland police. It was also used against New York policeman Anthony Bologna who pepper sprayed Occupy protesters. Anonymous went after him and his family. They posted “personal information of not only Officer Bologna, but his wife and children,” according to BuzzFeed. The media crew for Occupy San Diego repeatedly confronted and threatened individual officers and called for them to be doxed.

That was just the beginning. We’ve had riots in Ferguson and the various spin-off groups after it. The Hands Up, Don’t Shoot protests were based on a phrase that was never uttered, but media hyped it all the same. We witnessed the Freddie Gray riot in Baltimore that injured 130 police officers. Only CBS of the big three networks ever reported that fact.

Then there was the horrific Dallas shooting where five police officers were killed by Micah Johnson, a Black Lives Matter supporter. Here’s The New York Times headline: “Five Dallas Officers Were Killed as Payback, Police Chief Says.” “During the standoff, Mr. Johnson, who was black, told police negotiators that ‘he was upset about Black Lives Matter,’ Chief Brown said,” according to The Times.

Let’s not forget the Black Lives Matter protest in Minnesota where 21 police were injured. One even had his back fractured. First, the report making it clear the event was BLM. Then, the report of the violence where that connection is conspicuously absent. The headline: “Officer suffers spinal fracture during I-94 shutdown.”

That takes us up closer to recent events. There was left-wing violence against Trump protesters and left-wing attacks on anyone conservative on college campuses. Ben Shapiro has to deal with this every time he goes to meet students, but he’s brave and perseveres. One liberal nut tried to attack Trump. Another tried to assassinate him. The media want to depict it as all one-sided against poor lefty protesters.

This violence continued after the election. More than 200 anarchist/Antifa types (same type who go to places like Charlottesville to fight) arrested and charged with felonies. We had alt-left riots in Berkeley – against free speech. At one, a lefty protester (lol) struck another person with a bike lock. “A former Diablo Valley College professor was arrested,” according to The East Bay Times.

That doesn’t begin to address the massive amount of alt-left violence. It just scratches the surface. But it’s context. For further context, the day after Charlottesville, Antifa tried to assault a Trump rally in Seattle. Here’s ItsGoingDown for the Antifa/black bloc version of events:

“The black bloc was front and center with the police line, with shields in front. People silly stringed the police and threw smoke and small fireworks at them. Eventually we charged the police line and pushed at them and hit them with whatever we had. They peppersprayed us and we held for a little bit but then fell back.” Then there’s this: “There was a tug of war between people and the cops, and one police officer tried to snatch someone but was smacked in the face by a 2×4 from the broken reenforced banner and the person managed to get away.”

Your Statue Has To Go: As part of its Soviet-esque assault on history, the left has decided that statues have to go. Not Confederate statues, but any statues it seems.

How do we know? Because not only have liberals torn down Confederate statues in the dark of night, but they’ve protested a statue of President Teddy Roosevelt. And vandals attacked both the Lincoln Memorial and the Joan of Arc statue. “The phrase "Tear it Down" was hastily sprayed in black paint across the base of the golden Joan of Arc statue on Decatur Street in the French Quarter sometime earlier this week,” according to

A good friend of mine argues this is just liberal stupidity and that’s tough to disagree with. Except it’s part of a consistent narrative. The same idiots who want to purge statues are the ones who want to redo history books and even get rid of the Jefferson Memorial.

Here’s an LA Times story from 2015 that I mocked at the time. It’s headlined: “Jefferson Memorial, Confederate statues enter national race debate.” Race huckster Al Sharpton just called for it to be defunded. Yet when President Trump brought up Jefferson and Washington, the media mocked him. Princeton also decided, for now, to Keep President Woodrow Wilson’s name on school buildings. Again, for now. And Yale even covered up a stone carving of a Puritan’s gun.

If you think this stops at Confederate monuments, you are being foolish. I end this with a quote from 1984: “Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book has been rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street and building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And that process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.” George Orwell didn’t write fiction, he was Nostradamus.


Judge upholds Northern Ireland's homosexual marriage ban

Northern Ireland’s ban on marriage equality has been upheld after a Belfast high court dismissed two landmark legal challenges.

It remains the only part of the UK where same-sex couples do not have the right to marry or have their marriages recognised. In two separate judgments yesterday, Mr Justice O’Hara ruled that the region’s failure to recognise gay marriage was not a breach of human rights but was up to Stormont. It means that any change to the status quo will have to go through the assembly, which is not sitting due to the political impasse. Previous attempts to change the law democratically have been persistently blocked by the DUP.

The two separate cases were heard together due to the similarities of the arguments. In…


Anti-Immigration Party On Track to Enter Germany’s Federal Parliament

If polling ahead of Germany’s September 24 election proves accurate, the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD) party could become the first populist nationalist party – which counts a number of right-wing extremists among its members – to enter the country’ parliament since the end of World War II.

The AfD is predicted to win 10 percent of the vote, according to a new Insa poll, well above the five percent threshold needed to enter parliament and establishing it as Germany’s third largest party.

The poll released Tuesday has Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) in the lead with 37 percent, followed by the Social Democrats (SPD) with 25 percent.

Behind the AfD in third place, the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) are set to win nine percent of the vote, Die Linke (The Left Party) nine percent, and the Greens seven percent.

Not all polls predict the AfD scoring so strongly, however. For example an Emnid poll published on Saturday instead placed the party at eight percent, level with the FDP and behind Die Linke, at 10 percent.

The Forschungsgruppe Wahlen poll puts the AfD, FDP and Die Linke all at eight percent, indicating the battle for third place could be tight.

Regardless, all poll predictions give the AfD enough support for enter the federal Bundestag for the first time. It already has a foothold at the regional level, represented in 13 out of 16 states.

Its policy positions include declaring Islam incompatible with German culture, a plan to strip immigrants convicted of serious crimes of their German passports, a call to close E.U.'s borders and set up holding camps abroad to prevent migrants from traveling to Germany.

If the AfD does become the third largest party in parliament, its impact on the German political landscape is uncertain.

Josef Janning, senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, says the AfD’s arrival in parliament will likely prompt the CDU to shift its stance further to the right in a bid to suppress the newcomer’s influence.

“AfD presence will contribute to moves among CDU and CSU to better cover their conservative wing,” Janning told CNBC on Tuesday. “The CDU, which has moved to the center with Merkel effectively occupying ground formerly held by conservative [elements in the] SPD, will likely move to the right.”

Others consider AfD’s gains too insignificant to cause any significant impact. David Lea, senior analyst for Western Europe at Control Risks, told the broadcaster “Entering as a minority party outside of any coalition, the AfD will not be that influential and will remain very much on the fringe.”

The AfD was founded as a Eurosceptic party in 2013, and saw a string of state election successes in 2016 by opposing Merkel’s “open door” policy after a wave of terrorist attacks and mass sexual assaults in Cologne and other cities during New Year 2015/16 soured public opinion regarding asylum seekers.

Its base is primarily in the formerly communist eastern states (where it has representation in all local parliaments), and it has also captured supporters through the decline of more extreme far-right parties like the ultranationalist National Democratic Party.

However the AfD struggled to maintain its momentum after the CDU toughened its stance on immigration, refugee arrival numbers fell, and the public’s view toward the CDU improved.

The party also suffered setbacks after some party leaders’ comments attracted accusations of anti-Semitism, racism and even Nazi-sympathizing. Co-leader Frauke Petry faces potential perjury charges, for allegedly lying to election officials about the AfD’s finances.

Despite this, AfD founding member Frank-Christian Hansel expressed confidence that Merkel’s popularity would diminish in the coming term, anticipating that dissatisfaction with public policy and European Union frustrations will undermine her efforts.

“The problems are getting so big with the migration crisis etc. that this next government will not be in power for the full four years,” CNBC quoted him as saying.

At a re-election campaign rally on Monday, Merkel reassured participants that she does not envisage another  migration crisis, saying the CDU will not “allow a year like 2015 to recur every year.” Germany admitted nearly 890,000 migrants that year.

Instead, it would tackle root causes of migration, through measures like encouraging development in Africa, she said.

AfD supporters in the audience chanted “Merkel out” and “immigration needs clear rules.”


ACLU Caves: Will No Longer Defend Speech of 'White Supremacists' Who 'Incite Violence'

In a statement released Thursday, the national ACLU announced it has made a regressive decision to no longer defend certain forms of speech from government censor. In part, the ACLU claimed, "The First Amendment absolutely does not protect white supremacists seeking to incite or engage in violence."

Eugene Volokh believes the statement is in response not just to Charlottesville, where the ACLU correctly sided with the white supremacists against a government that tried to deny them a permit, but a new effort in San Francisco to rescind a permit granted to a group of Trump supporters for an August 26 rally.

Apparently, after the Charlottesville fallout, including resignations and pressure from big-dollar donors, the civil liberties group has chosen to abandon long-held principles and appease the Antifa terrorists.

This is not exactly a surprise. For the last decade or so the ACLU has become a boutique law firm for its Leftist donors, especially those hostile to another freedom protected by the First Amendment — freedom of religion. In case after case, the ACLU has sided against those seeking to practice and honor their faith, most especially the Christian faith.

Nevertheless, by refusing to defend those "seeking to incite or engage in violence," the ACLU is making an argument so intellectually sloppy, one can only imagine the ACLU of 40 years ago laughing it out the door.

Obviously, violence is not speech. Moreover, inciting violence is not speech. You cannot call on people to commit violence and hide behind the First Amendment. No one is arguing with the ACLU on this point. Moreover, the ACLU has never defended this kind of criminal speech.

The problem is that by condemning certain groups as violent before they have committed violence, the ACLU will now engage in the kind of pre-crime thought-policing we were warned about in the movie Minority Report. The ACLU also appears to be arguing that, no matter how peaceful they are, simply by showing up and expressing themselves, certain groups "seek to incite violence."

In other words, the same ACLU that successfully defended the rights of neo-Nazis to fly the swastika in Skokie, Illinois, 40 years ago, has done a complete flip-flop. They are now on the side of the "heckler's veto," where those offended by peaceful political expression (ideas, flags or symbols), are given the power — through violent or chaotic behavior — to take away another's speech rights.

No decent person will argue that the swastika is not a symbol of hate. Of course it is. The problem, however, is that once we declare the swastika off limits, what is next? In a free society, you cannot hand those who allow themselves to be incited to violence the right to take from others their right to free expression, no matter how evil their ideas might be.

The only line a free society can draw is one between political speech and political violence (or calling for violence). While I am in no way putting both on the same moral plane, a neo-Nazi has as much of a right to wear a swastika tattoo as a woman does to wear a short skirt. If any violence occurs as a result of either act, the only behavior not protected by the Constitution is the behavior of whoever crossed the line from speech to violence.

Moreover, as long as he is peaceful, it our government's primary responsibility to protect the pig with the swastika from violence, just as it is the primary responsibility of elected officials in San Francisco to protect Trump supporters. Rescinding their permit — even if they were neo-Nazis — is caving to the mob, is un-American.

As frustrating and maddening as freedom can sometimes be, this is the only way a civilized society can survive. This is the cost of being free, but compared to the alternative (a tyrannical government choosing what is and is not accepted speech) it is a very small cost.

Admittedly, I am a free speech extremist. I am also someone who sees a highly-organized effort among the Left and media to declare "hate speech" a form of violence. The intent behind this effort is neither noble nor misguided. The frightening goal here is to declare as illegal certain opinions, beliefs, arguments, gatherings, words, and religious doctrines. And this fascistic slippery-slope begins by branding ideas and symbols you disagree with as violence.

For all of its many flaws, at least on this front, the ACLU had stood fast as the canary in the coalmine of free speech. Now that canary is dead.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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