Tuesday, February 27, 2018

The one-sided Left

There is a rant here by an atheist who objects to the alliance between Christians and Mr Trump. He seems to think that he as an atheist knows the business of Christians better than they do. The article is basically just one long fulmination but he does get around at one point to telling us what is wrong with Mr Trump.  It is this paragrah:

"He's told transgender soldiers they can't serve in the military, he's ripped apart immigrant families through Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), he's put hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients in danger of being kicked out of the country, he's made it harder for poor people to receive adequate health care, etc."

At no point, however, does he offer any reasoning behind transgenders in the military being unwelcome nor does he mention that the immigrants concerned are illegally in the country and  commit a lot of crime. And he does not consider that the current unaffordability of health care is mostly a result of Obamacare and its large deductibles.

Typically one-sided.  Leftists couldn't make an honest argument if they tried.  If he had been interested in mounting an honest argument he would have mentioned that military men generally dislike having sexual deviants among them on the grounds that it degrades unit cohesion and morale.  So if they are to do well the jobs they are employed for, deviants should be excluded from their ranks.

He might also have considered that Obamacare is unsurvivable as it stands, which is why insurers are steadily pulling out of its exchanges.  He might also mention that the Democrats have steadily resisted Mr. Trump's attempts to replace it with something more affordable.

One of the reasons why I read Leftist tracts is that I hope I might learn something from them.  I rarely do. Mostly all I find is unreasoning hate.  I strongly suspect that most Leftists are quite incapable of mounting a rational argument.

Can everyone PLEASE quit being so politically correct

When it comes to fashion-related upsets, the outage brigade is on an absolute roll this week.

First, it was the colour of the Duchess of Cambridge’s dress at the BAFTA Awards – dark green instead of black – that sparked a wildfire of fury on social media.

Then it was a picture yesterday of actress Jennifer Lawrence that elicited a response comparable to a digital riot.

It was a photo call for her new film Red Sparrow, that saw the talented thespian pose among her male co-stars on a terrace in London, on a chilly late winter’s afternoon.

The blokes were all rugged up in cosy coats and jackets, while Lawrence wore a plunging Versace gown with a thigh-high split.

No sooner had the photographer clicked his camera and a controversy was erupting, with cries of sexism, that she had been forced to freeze in a frock, that it was typical Hollywood double standards and the continued mistreatment of women in the entertainment industry.

The response was an overreaction, symptomatic of our growing tendency to become distracted by the unimportant and whip it up into a poo storm of epic proportions.

Can we please, in Lawrence’s own words, get a grip?

As she later explained, she selected that dress herself. She loved that dress. She wanted to wear that dress and doing so was her choice, and hers alone.

“This is sexist, this is ridiculous – this is not feminism,” she wrote of the furore.

“You think I’m going to cover that gorgeous dress up with a coat and a scarf? I was outside for five minutes. I would have stood in the snow for that dress because I love fashion and that was my choice.”

Can we please stop being offended on behalf of others? Can we all take a collective breath the next time there’s a sense that we should be outraged… and just not be?

There’s plenty going on in the world to be upset about at the moment. A woman’s dress isn’t one of them.


Ministers too 'politically correct' to enforce hijab policy in schools, former Ofsted boss warns

The Government is too politically correct to enforce rules on hijabs in schools, leaving teachers "alone, isolated and vulnerable", the former head of Ofsted has warned.

Sir Michael Wilshaw said a lack of formal policy from the Department for Education on whether children should be allowed to cover their heads in lessons has led to angry clashes.

He also highlighted concerns that there are 150 schools around the country which make it compulsory for children to wear hijabs, adding that "the country has enormously changed" and some communities hold very conservative views which cannot easily be challenged.

It follows a public outcry after a primary school in east London announced it was banning children from wearing hijabs but was forced to reverse the decision after complaints from parents.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live yesterday Sir Michael said: " There’s something like 150 schools…. which in short make it compulsory for youngsters to wear a hijab - so what’s happening about those schools?

"The country has enormously changed. When heads want to change things, they have now to take into account deep-seated and sincere feeling of communities, some of whom who have conservative views.

“The Government needs to step in. It can no longer say it’s up to the headteachers. That head might be faced with an opposition which says, well hang on, you made this decision, but there’s a school half a mile away which does allow [wearing hijabs for primary aged children].”

Asked if a fear of being politically incorrect was stopping the Government from developing a national policy on hijabs in schools, he said:  “Yes absolutely. There is a reticence, and it’s leaving headteachers alone, isolated and vulnerable.”

Currently schools are expected to set their own policy on uniform, but critics have warned some feel unable to do so because of strong held views about religious attire, and have called on ministers to help by setting national guidance.

The Government is expected to come under further pressure to publish formal guidance on hijabs later this month, after the education select committee said it would hear evidence from the current chief inspector of schools about the issue.

Amanda Spielman will be questioned by MPs after she backed the Newham school's decision.

Earlier this month she said some religious fundamentalists want to "actively pervert the purpose of education ... and in the worst cases indoctrinate impressionable minds with extremist ideology".

She added: "Schools must have the right to set school uniform policies as they see fit in order to promote cohesion. It is a matter of deep regret that this outstanding school has been subject to a campaign of abuse by those who want to undermine the school’s position.”

Sir Michael also raised the issue of the Trojan Horse scandal which prompted 21 schools in Birmingham to be investigated amid fears Islamist groups were seeking to have teachers removed and sex education lessons banned.

He said: "The Trojan Horse issue showed what can happen, and it’s really up to the Department for Education to say this is now an ongoing issue that is affecting more than a few schools. You need to come up with some policies."

Lord Agnew, minister for schools, condemned the "vitriolic abuse" and "intimidation" staff at the primary school in east London experienced after proposing a hijab ban.

He said: "As the minister responsible for faith and counter-extremism in the Department for Education, I wanted to send out a clear message: bullying or intimidation of school staff is completely unacceptable.

"Our teachers ... are completely within their right to make decisions on how to run their schools in the best interests of their pupils — in line with the law and in discussion with parents, of course — and we back their right to do so."

But a spokesman for the department for education stopped short of promising to develop guidance to help teachers who want to ban religious attire, despite Sir Michael's calls.

The current chief inspector of schools in England, Amanda Spielman, will be questioned by MPs later this month after she backed the Newham school's decision.

She said some religious fundamentalists want to "actively pervert the purpose of education ... and in the worst cases indoctrinate impressionable minds with extremist ideology".

She added: "Schools must have the right to set school uniform policies as they see fit in order to promote cohesion. It is a matter of deep regret that this outstanding school has been subject to a campaign of abuse by those who want to undermine the school’s position.”

Ofsted added: "Inspectors visited St Stephen’s to look at the appropriateness of decision making - including the leadership team’s ability to make and implement decisions as they see fit, what support the school received, and the way the school communicates with parents. Ofsted will publish the outcome of this inspection shortly."


Fred Siegel on the long history of liberal elitism

Collins: Do you think the liberal elite today see themselves self-consciously as the ruling class of one nation, as Americans primarily, or do you think they see themselves as distinct from other Americans, maybe feeling they have more in common with the global elite? Are they almost embarrassed by their own society?

Siegel: Very much so. Something happens in the 1990s. The elites of Washington, New York, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles meld together. Hollywood, Silicon Valley, Washington and Wall Street all come together, and for the first time you have something like the British establishment. The British establishment could organise itself more easily because it was centred on London. For decades the American elite was divided among different coastal cities, plus the ‘third coast’ of Chicago, and it wasn’t until space collapses due to technology that you have the creation of this unified American elite. That unified elite is overwhelmingly liberal. Three hundred people who work for Google were part of the Obama administration at one time or another.

So this elite comes together, it looks across the Atlantic, it looks across the Pacific, but it doesn’t look at the heartland. The rest of the country recognises that. Whatever you want to say about Trump, he was the only candidate in either party who recognised that globalisation and immigration are the burning issues for much of America. One of the things he talked about early in the campaign, which was largely set aside, was the enormous mistake of allowing China into the World Trade Organisation in 2001. President Clinton pushed for this, President George W Bush pushed for this, and I supported it at the time. In retrospect it was an enormous mistake. If you draw a map of the places where jobs were lost due to competition from China, and look at the areas of Trump support, there’s a tremendous overlap.

Collins: In the past, Republican presidential candidates would use liberalism’s anti-middle-class tendencies as a foil – I’m thinking of Nixon and Reagan in particular. A good portion of Trump’s support, I believe, was down to his ability to draw a sharp contrast between himself and Hillary Clinton’s brand of liberalism. How would you compare Trump with other explicitly anti-liberal presidents?

Siegel: I think Trump is better compared with Nixon than with Reagan. Reagan was a free-trader, he had ideas about immigration that Trump wouldn’t agree with. But the hard edge of Nixon in denouncing George McGovern, with McGovern said to be representing ‘acid, amnesty and abortion’, that’s something you could hear from Trump. The elements of what we think of as Trumpism were coming for a long time. They were there in the 1992 Perot campaign, where he campaigned against free trade. I was working for the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) at the time, and I remember watching Al Gore, who was at one time the head of the DLC, debating Perot. In retrospect, Perot scored serious points (I don’t think either man was entirely correct, as is often the case in a debate). But it was interesting, it was a reasoned debate, and I haven’t heard reasoned debates over trade and immigration in recent years. People don’t debate, they exclude, especially the liberal-left. They cut people off, rather than debating them. The recent events at Evergreen College are an extreme example of that.

Identity politics has risen twice in this country. It rose to an apex in the early 1990s, but then it was diminished by a series of scandals. Some people may remember the Sokal hoax. Alan Sokal was a physicist who wrote an article for a postmodern magazine called Social Text, in which he claimed to prove that gravity was a social construction. And the magazine published it! It was obviously a parody.

But then identity politics fades. Bill Clinton is a moderating influence – he creates a broad coalition that sidelines an identity-based approach. But then Bush’s decisions in the Iraq War revive the left, and it slowly begins to gain force, until it rises again with Howard Dean, even before Obama. Howard Dean was a white male version of Obama. He barely considers Republicans human (even though – or maybe because – his father was a famous Republican fundraiser on Wall Street).

Collins: How do you view the liberal response to Trump’s election? You wrote in The Revolt that, ‘Liberalism is sufficiently adaptable, that even in failure, self-satisfaction trumps self-evaluation’. That sounds to me like a pretty good description of the past year. Liberals have struggled to come to terms with Trump, and to take responsibility for their losses – not just the presidency, but in both houses of Congress and in state governments.

Siegel: Liberalism has taken on a religious aspect. It’s a belief system, and not a system that represents political interests. Liberalism is seen as a source of grace, in religious terms. It is hard to talk to people, when you are effectively suggesting they are not among the blessed (or, to use Thomas Sowell’s phrase, the ‘anointed’), that they are in fact mistaken. Trump is wrong about many things, but you can argue with Trumpism. But it is very hard to argue with contemporary liberalism, especially in its West Coast incarnation.

When I was a kid, to be liberal was to be open-minded and highly educated. Liberalism doesn’t represent that today. It represents a secular version of baptism

Collins: Yes, I am surprised how very few liberals were willing to engage in self-criticism after the election, not even to try to understand why they have been losing in recent years.

Siegel: On the contrary, liberals’ idea is to push forward. One of the elements of liberalism is environmentalism. Now, environmentalism has its virtues. The Clean Air and Clean Water Acts under Nixon (interestingly enough) were great successes. But over the years environmental regulations cost more and more money for less and less in return. Environmentalism is increasingly a way to undercut the middle class – and in that sense it fits perfectly within liberalism. As one writer has pointed out, the environmentalists in Oregon have undercut the jobs traditionally filled by less-educated white males – ranching, lumber, fishing. These industries have been essentially regulated out of existence. It’s hard to see how that population can vote for Democrats in large numbers down the road.

What happened in coal country is interesting. Hillary foolishly said she wanted to shut down the coal industry, then she changed her mind. When I tell people that the US coal industry is thriving, in part because of exports to China, they look at me like I’m crazy. How can I say that? It’s officially dead, case closed. Then I say, ‘You do know that the Germans, who in their self-righteousness closed down their nuclear industry and moved away from coal, are now importing American wood blocks to heat themselves – which has a terrible effect on CO2 emissions?’.

Or, when you tell them that Trumpism is not peculiar to America. In the Czech Republic, in Hungary, in Poland, in the Baltic states – you have variations on Trump. Liberals are incredulous. First of all, they don’t pay much attention to Europe, which I think is unfortunate. Second, the idea that there is something larger at play, that it’s not all about Trump’s venality, is inconceivable for many American liberals. When I was a kid, to be liberal was to be open-minded and highly educated. Liberalism doesn’t represent that today. It represents a secular version of baptism.

Collins: Yes, this new populism, or whatever we might call it, takes different forms in different countries, and influences the mainstream parties as well.

Millennials, who are so crazy about Corbyn and Sanders, are the dumbest generation. They know nothing. History began the day they were born. The collapse of our educational system has political consequences

Siegel: Even Macron in France has moved towards Trumpian positions. He has talked to people in West Africa about the need to constrain their population growth. Not very liberal. Macron will be the subject of the first state dinner at the White House. Macron is one of the few foreign leaders Trump has a certain rapport with. So even Macron, who is supposed to be anti-Trump, has been forced to move in his direction, because globalisation creates pressures we haven’t seen since 1914.

Collins: You write in the book how, at different times, the liberal elites express fears that the masses are going to turn to right-wing populism or fascism. We talked about Sinclair Lewis’ It Can’t Happen Here. Do you see any similarities in today’s liberal response to Trump, viewing the Trump voter as problematic?

Siegel: The continuity is quite stunning. The same arguments, the same dispositions. But the difference today is the geographic dimension, and the number of people who are part of the liberal axis. Liberals have created a top and bottom alliance: the upper middle class, much of the well-to-do, and the subsidised poor and immigrants, legal and illegal, are all pulled into liberalism. In places like New York and California, this is a very powerful coalition. It’s interesting that when people say that Trump lost the popular vote to Hillary, which he did, what’s not noted is that the entire popular vote loss came from two places – New York City and Los Angeles.



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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