Social and Political NOTES, January 2014

  • National Review post called “Dear Hysterical Liberals: Hectoring Hurts Science” says this: “But conservatives (including Christian conservatives) aren’t anti-science as much as they’re anti-hectoring and unpersuaded by naked appeals to authority delivered with maximum condescension.”  No joke.  Early in college, my religious and political beliefs developed largely for the same reasons: because I saw solid, irrefutable results in one way of thought and not in the opposite way, and because the advocates of those opposite views typically relied more on belittling the character of others than on engaging in serious argument.  I noticed that anti-Mormons (and anti-Christians in general) as well as secular leftists tended to ridicule others rather than refute their points, or even support their own.  I saw so much bandwagon elitism from those allied corners that it just added a deep layer of comfortable relief to the more objective conclusions I had otherwise reached about politics and religion.
  • If aliens from another planet came and observed America, they would determine that the purpose of our public school system is to make girls and minorities feel good about themselves.  After all, where does the balance of our energy and resources go?  What are our most sacred values there?  What agendas permeate the system top to bottom more than any other?  Based on the evidence, what else could those extraterrestrial visitors possibly conclude?  
  • If those same aliens observed America’ media, they would conclude that there are two kinds of political philosophies: extreme right-wing, and normal.
  • Since the 2012 elections, a lot of people ask, “What’s wrong with Republicans that more minorities don’t join them?”  Why doesn’t anybody ask, “What’s wrong with minorities that more of them don’t become Republicans?”  Is there something wrong with even asking that question?  Can’t both groups–Republicans and minorities alike–have fundamental flaws in their current approaches to something?  After all, aren’t all people equal?  If there’s a lack of diversity among Republicans demographically, and that’s a bad thing, isn’t it likewise a bad thing that there’s so little ideological diversity among minorities?  And the biggest question no one asks: why is there a predictably heterodox voting patterns among minorities?  For my part, I see this as the results of pandering by elites which will naturally grow archaic as assimilation increases among the disparate ethnicities of the U.S.; the neo-colonialists can only keep people in a cultural pigeonhole for so long.  
  • On the value of cultural literacy: At Instapundit last week, Glenn linked to an article about the IRS scandal with a famous last line from a classic movie.  Anyone who knows the reference will immediately get Glenn’s point–a quote is worth a thousand words!

FORGET IT, JAKE, IT’S CHINATOWN: Wouldn’t you know, FBI says it can’t find anything illegal in all that IRS intimidation.

I frequently make quick references to pop culture in my class lectures, and they usually help, because I try to keep them recent.  One time, though, I mentioned Close Encounters of the Third Kind to an honors class of about 30 teens, and not one of them had any idea what I was talking about.  It bothered me.

  • I just want to reiterate–because I’m sure I’ve said it many times before–Heather MacDonald is one of the smartest and most persuasive writers I know in the Anglosphere today.  I always come away from her work educated, edified, and entertained.  This praise prompted by this piece: “The Humanities and Us.”