Do I get downhearted? Yes I do. You think it’s easy, living on the red pill?
In that world-bestriding bestseller We Are Doomed I introduced readers to the theory of Depressive Realism, launched by psychologists Taylor and Brown in 1988:
It appears to be not the well-adjusted individual but the individual who experiences subjective distress who is more likely to process self-relevant information in a relatively unbiased and balanced fashion.
If it’s well-adjustedness you want for yourself, and a minimum of subjective distress, take the blue pill. We gloomsters are right about pretty much everything, but we”re not very happy.
And of course most people do take the blue pill. Optimism”which is usually cockeyed, according to Taylor, Brown, and me”is the species default. Anthropologist Lionel Tiger wrote a book about it, subtitled: The Biology of Hope. Realism is maladaptive.
It is also antisocial. Who wants to hear you say that the emperor has no clothes, when everyone else they know”including all the cool people!“says otherwise? My friend Jared Taylor, proprietor of the race-realist (there you go) website American Renaissance, is fond of saying that: “Most people don”t want to have unpopular opinions.” He’s right. So was the poet who said: “Human kind cannot bear very much reality.”
It’s the antisocial aspect that gets us red-pillers down. Try to imagine what it’s like. (I”m assuming, gentle reader, that like most of humanity, you are on the blue pill.) What’s it like, being on the red pill? Like strolling through a lunatic asylum with no locks on the doors.
Random example: The other day I got into a conversation with a liberal lady who was ranting about the evil of “white supremacy.” I pointed out that (a) it is rather easy to move domicile from one country to another”I have done it several times”and that (b) there are a hundred or more nations under black, brown, or yellow supremacy, so that (c) a person who complains about the evil of white supremacy while continuing to live under it and forcing his loved ones to do likewise is either (1) a lying poseur or (2) a moral criminal.
The lady called me a “fascist.”
Then the upside of depressive realism kicks in. Crazy as the social and political worlds undoubtedly are, looking at things realistically, reason still holds its fort. Mathematics, the homeland of reason; science, the mostly-well-behaved offspring of math; and technology, the child of pure science, continue to produce wonders and enlarge our understanding.
I spent some time 40 years ago writing early mainframe computer systems for banks. Now, sitting in my living room with a laptop, scrolling through my bank accounts, making payments and transfers, I know what magic it all is, and what prodigies of careful reasoning lie behind it. Not everything is lunacy.
I wagered a Takimag writer that the New York Times and its international excuse for a newspaper would report on anti-Semitism in Europe the minute the civilian dead in Gaza reached 1000. I won the bet exactly two days after I made it, and two days after the glorious Israeli army managed to kill 1000 Palestinians, mostly women and children in Gaza.
Celestine Bohlen, the Paris-based reporter for the Times, was obviously brownnosing the boss back home when she went looking for Rabbi Salomon Malka in the Paris suburb of Sarcelles, often called “little Jerusalem” because it’s home to 15,000 Jews. Pro-Palestinian demonstrators, as Bohlen described them, have been causing trouble in little Jerusalem, setting fires to a kosher grocery shop and a Jewish-owned pharmacy. Something that slipped the reporter’s mind, at least at the start of her diatribe, was the fact that the demonstrators were all Muslim youths outraged at the fact that American-made F-16s, 155mm heavy artillery, and thousands of Israeli commandos were laying further waste to the wasteland that is Gaza, murdering along the way unarmed men, women, and children.
But that’s not the way the story was reported. According to the New York Times and Celestine Bohlen, the demonstrations were proof that anti-Semitism is rampant in Europe, implying that steps need to be taken to prevent another Holocaust. According to Rabbi Malka, the attacks on Gaza have given an anti-Zionist cover to attacks against Jews. Period. “Anti-Semitism today is hiding behind anti-Zionism,” says the rabbi and reports the Times. Rabbi Malka was from Morocco, a country that had a large Jewish population and a reputation for tolerance. Less so after Israel began its war against the Palestinians 66 years ago. Many Moroccan Jews left for Israel, but many also chose France, a tolerant country that enjoys a reputation for its freedom of speech.
Mind you, the Jewish Defense League did not exactly take all this lying down. After helping get the government to ban two Palestinian demonstrations against the Gaza massacres by Israel”an unheard-of ukase by a French government that prides itself on the freedoms it allows minorities”the JDL attacked the Palestinian rally that took place despite the ban. Now the rabbi is saying “It’s unimaginable” that anyone would cry out anti-Jewish slogans in front of a French synagogue.
Yes, it is unpleasant and certainly uncivilized, and it has no place in a European country, but nor is there any place for the fact that Israel kills Palestinians in cold blood for 66 years and excuses itself by calling anyone who opposes its illegal occupation of Palestinian lands a terrorist. In the meantime I have won my bet and am off to the races to put my winnings on a horse. Celestine Bohlen obviously is waiting by the telephone for a call from New York telling her bravo, she managed to bring people’s minds back to what really matters, anti-Semitism rather than those boring dead women and children in Gaza.
We live in a century of nonstop adulation over how statistical analysis of big data is changing the world. Brad Pitt, for instance, starred in a successful Hollywood movie, Moneyball, about the fast-changing realm of baseball statistics.
Last week, however, Andrew Gelman, a professor of statistics at Columbia, offered some heresy about his fashionable field on his blog Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science. In a post entitled “A World without Statistics,” Gelman reflected:
A reporter asked me for a quote regarding the importance of statistics. But, after thinking about it for a moment, I decided that statistics isn”t so important at all. A world without statistics wouldn”t be much different from the world we have now.
Indeed, the world probably wouldn”t look all that much different. A Rip Van Winkle baseball fan awoken from a long nap might wonder why the games take so long these days, but little else is visibly different.
Gelman’s dissent is much like the long-running debate over how much computers and the other appurtenances of the information age have actually changed the world. For example, the physical structure of the street I live on hasn”t changed much since the subdivision was constructed around 1950.
The houses now have air conditioning and the cars are more aerodynamic, but overall the onrush of technology has become more subtle than in the two generations preceding the mid-century. In contrast, back in 1885, automobiles and electric power lines existed mostly in inventors” imaginations.
A careful observer of my street would note that there are now more cables running from the telephone poles into the houses, and the children come outside to play less often. The Information Age has its pleasures, but they are less imposing than the preceding era’s thrills of rocketing about the landscape at ever increasing speeds.
My father’s first aeronautical engineering job after graduating from junior college in 1938 was designing a small part for a flying car. After all, the world had moved so swiftly from mules to motorcars that it seemed inevitable that cars would soon fly.
While he never was so crass as to articulate this, my career in the information age”supermarket scanners, personal computers, the Internet”always struck me as technologically anticlimactic compared to his career working on flying machines.
The more Dr. Gelman thought about his dismissive comment, the more he came up with examples of how the world is a nicer place because of advances in statistical theory and practice. And yet …
When I started writing this post, I was thinking that statistics doesn”t really matter, but I think that’s because I was focusing on some of the more highly-publicized but less beneficial applications of statistics: the use of statistical experimentation and inference to get p-values for tabloid-bait scientific papers, or for Google, Amazon, etc., to perfect their techniques for squeezing money out of their customers or, even at best, to test a medical treatment that increases survival rate for some rare disease by 2 percentage points.
(As a patient in a 1997 statistical study of the first successful monoclonal antibody for fighting cancer, rituximab, I would demur that statistics really matter if you happen to be one of the two percentage points.)
But statistics is central to how we think about the world. I still think that statistics is much less central to our lives than, say, chemistry. But it ain”t nothing.
Without progress in chemistry over the last couple of centuries, our technological goods would be made out of pig iron and leather and fueled by coal. We couldn”t have, say, airplanes.
In contrast, we almost certainly would have had airplanes without much progress in statistics, just as we had airplanes before we had computers. My father worked as a mid-level engineer at Lockheed from the 1930s into the 1980s, using mostly his slide rule until he broke down and bought an electric calculator around 1973.
A couple of years later, while he was helping me with my math homework, I remarked that his expertise in calculus must come from using it all the time on the job. No, he said, he just remembered it from school; surprisingly few fellows at Lockheed used calculus. If they really needed to know the area under a curve, they would cut out little rectangles of graph paper with scissors. The only time he”d used calculus on the job was when he was first working at the flying car company.
These anecdotes of slide rules and scissors point out that there are more ways than one to skin a cat. In particular, much of the modern technological world was hashed out before modern statistical concepts existed even on the blackboard.
How did people manage to get by before modern statistics? First, as old catcher Yogi Berra likes to say, “You can observe a lot just by watching.” Yogi didn”t need a lab coat and a clipboard to get a sense of what pitch Bob Feller tended to throw when the count was 2-2. (Fastball.)
For instance, soccer statistics have radically improved over the last few years. From these vast compilations of numbers we can now finally observe that the two best soccer players are … Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, the two players who were already recognized as the best by hundreds of millions of people watching them on TV.
But the other way people got by is that they didn”t: things used to crash and kill you more often.
Lockheed’s F-104 fighter jet, which flew in March 1954, less than a year after Lockheed’s first IBM computer was installed, was designed and built with few of what we in the information age would consider the essentials. Yet, it still went 1,400 mph, which is a lot faster than you or I are ever likely to go in the 21st century now that the Concorde is gone.
It was a heroic era of technology, but not a safe one. The F-104 crashed so frequently that the German press called it “the Widowmaker“ and “the Flying Coffin.” After a while, the top men at Lockheed lost interest in their “missile with a man in it” and handed it off to less creative workers like my father to sweat out ways to keep the German pilots from dying so much.
Eventually, they applied some of what they learned to the L-1011, a workhorse wide-body jetliner that had a much better safety record than its look-alike 3-engine rival, the DC-10.
One reason that statistics have seemed new and cool in this century”witness the Freakonomics fad of 2005 and the Nate Silver mania of 2012″is that the basic conceptual tools of modern statistics, such as correlation, were not developed until puzzlingly late, even though the math is not particularly difficult.
Thus, our culture is still learning how to think statistically. Consider all those irritating people who over the last few years have taken to commenting whenever there’s a study they don”t like: “Correlation is not causation!” Well, sure, that’s lame, but that’s actually an improvement over what they had previously assumed.
Young Lena Dunham, the most talked-about writer of her generation, is finally about to publish something like a book. Oh, goody.
Prior to Not That Kind of Girl, an autobiographical advice book, her writing has comprised an autobiographical television show (Girls), an autobiographical film, and reams of girl-power pontification (and autobiography) on social media. There’s a dark joke in the fact that, in a country where thousands of obscure talents each year release inventive works of fiction and painstakingly researched journalism, the self-appointed voice of the millennials took almost two years after signing a $3.7 million dollar contract to wrestle 288 pages of overshare and misandry disguised as feminism onto paper.
Well, a pat on the back for finishing. She’s soon to toddle off on her book tour at last.
As usual, however, a couple of disturbances in the social media Force provoked by Dunham’s personality are getting more ink than her work could ever inspire on its own. Her Hobby Lobby-inspired Twitter birth control campaign is too dull to go into”but everybody loves a good fight. And she’s been carrying on an e-tussle with another famed sort-of writer, Emily Gould, who founded a career by telling people about her personal life on Gawker.
Gould is also launching a book tour; heroically, she has written a thing she calls a novel”though, as Friendship ends with an emoticon and includes lines like “Bev had even maybe had a slight crush on him when she”d first met him,” feel free to come up with your own name for it.
They”re both empty people, and it would be lovely to watch them rip one another limb from limb just to watch the sawdust spurt. The trouble with rubbernecking this spat, however, is that after suffering through interviews and scribbles from both of them, I still can”t figure out what the heck they”re fighting over.
They mumble about envy, talk shows, PDAs, whether it’s feminist for us women to be pulling each other’s hair like this anyway, and Dunham’s spicy Tweet to Gould: “You fully suck.” As far as I can tell, they are arguing about nothing whatsoever.
This is typical of the Dunham news cycle, though with a twist: she has continuously benefited from other people arguing about her, over all the wrong things, while the void at the center of her work continues to suck in money.
Her weight, for example, is a side issue that’s repeatedly dumped her into the shame spotlight (which is futile, as she has no shame and loves spotlights). Sure, nobody who lacked Dunham’s caliber of parentage and connections”her mother and father were Greenwich Village artists, apparently floated by old money”would ever land a television show with a looks-and-talent package such as hers. But if there was going to be an odd-looking girl with no chops on premium cable, then it stands to reason that her parents would be parlor pinks with a loft in the Village. When the demand is that low, the contest goes to the best-placed, quite like the rest of what passes for literature these days.
But whether the star’s thighs are of a “deserving” dimension is not the question about this show that matters. Though Roseanne Barr was twice Dunham’s size, not only was Barr’s TV show fun to watch, I have never viscerally yearned to hit her in the throat with an old copy of Pulp’s A Different Class album tied to a brick.
Dunham has also been criticized for not writing enough black or nonaffluent characters into Girls. But that’s merely a symptom of her self-absorption. Why would she include anybody who’s not like her? Sure, she pays lip service to oppression and all that good stuff, but she’s oppressed enough herself to cover the bases: people call her fat, and she’s a girl. What more do you want from a writer, empathy?
The central problem is struck only a glancing blow when we complain of how she’s been catapulted by her family’s social station. The traditional American love of meritocracy should recoil instinctively from her cradle-to-HBO swaddling of cronyism”but it is her lack of merit that galls far more than her background.
For eons prior, aristocrats were, by grace of self-awareness and lessons in balance and composition, accustomed to alchemizing their elite educations into great, beautiful, even funny literature. Just last century P.G. Wodehouse, of noble lineage and a preparatory school, was able to turn his knowledge of the butler-master bond into a timeless comic duo, counterweighting Bertie Wooster’s higher station with his servant’s superior wit. Dunham, of Mayflower descent and a private arts high school, parlayed what she knows of the little people into a scene where a ditz ravishes an equally stupid high-rise doorman.
Here’s the fastest, surest way to identify the subspecies hackus punditus“watch for them to display one particular behavior, especially when deadlines loom during summer months:
They invariably begin one of their columns with the phrase “Webster’s dictionary defines…”
But while it is the end of July, I do have what I believe to be a fairly believable excuse for falling back on that old trope.
Merriam-Webster really has started on the path to defining “conservatism” as “bigotry.”
The intentional conflation of both words is hardly news at this juncture, but the Daily Caller‘s been working this beat nonetheless. First they noticed that when you Google “bigotry,” that search engine supreme helpfully returns a definition that includes the word “right-wing.”
When confronted, Google blamed the Oxford English Dictionary and vowed to “flag” the result as “inappropriate.” (Google “flag the result as inappropriate” and you”ll turn up “do sweet dick-all.”)”¨”¨ Then a ticked-off reader tipped off the Daily Caller: did they know Merriam-Webster was up to similar semantic mischief?
In its entry for “bigotry,” the unabridged dictionary at Merriam-Webster.com proffers “related words,” and sure enough, one of those is “conservatism.”
Questioned via email, an associate editor responded at some length. However, anyone who’s had the misfortune of corresponding with private or public sector factotums will immediately spot many familiar corporate-speak synonyms for “please kill yourself” embedded in her unfailingly polite message, rather like those lethal suggestions to “play a little game of solitaire” in The Manchurian Candidate.
“I would imagine millions of impressionable young minds go to this site to find definitions of words for school,” the Daily Caller‘s anonymous complainant had written. “This is extremely dangerous and powerful.”
But is it?
I”ve always admired John McWhorter’s willingness, as a self-described “liberal Democrat,” to squirt Febreze on some of that tribe’s smellier orthodoxies.
Yet I was rattled when, in his new book, The Language Hoax, McWhorter challenged one of the sturdiest baseline beliefs on both left and right: that words matter.
Orwell’s 1946 essay “Politics and the English Language” is that belief’s foundational text. Its mantra is Alinsky’s: “He who controls the language controls the masses.” While few laymen have heard of linguist Benjamin Whorf, his theory that “we dissect nature along lines laid down by our native languages” is one most of us take for granted.
You know: “Eskimos have a hundred words for “snow”” and all that. Except they don”t. Yet that anthropological “arctic legend” seems so intuitively, poetically true that effectively debunking it has proven almost impossible.
On the other hand, Yiddish does indeed boast a gratuitous surfeit of synonyms for “moron,” at least as far as this philosemitic shiksa was once concerned”until, late-ish in life, I finally met, face-to-face, actual stupid Jews, whom I”d previously imagined to be as plentiful as, well, dodos.
And what about this fancy lady, who finds it significant “that Latin has only one basic verb for “laugh” (ridere), but many nouns meaning “joke,” while in Greek the opposite is true. Greeks cackled, chortled, giggled, and guffawed; Romans told jokes”?
With the party united, the odds are now at least even that the GOP will not only hold the House but also capture the Senate in November.
But before traditional conservatives cheer that prospect, they might take a closer look at the foreign policy that a Republican Senate would seek to impose upon the nation.
Specifically, they should spend time reading S. 2277, the “Russian Aggression Prevention Act of 2014,” introduced by Sen. Bob Corker on May 1, and endorsed by half of the Senate’s GOP caucus.
As ranking Republican on the foreign relations committee, Corker is in line to become chairman, should the GOP take the Senate. That makes this proposal a gravely serious matter.
Corker’s bill would declare Moldova, Georgia, and Ukraine “major non-NATO allies” of the United States, move NATO forces into Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, accelerate the building of an ABM system in Eastern Europe, and authorize U.S. intelligence and military aid for Ukraine’s army in the Donbass war with Russian-backed separatists.
U.S. aid would include antitank and antiaircraft weapons.
S. 2277 would direct the secretary of state to intensify efforts to strengthen democratic institutions inside the Russian Federation, e.g., subvert Vladimir Putin’s government, looking toward regime change.
If Putin has not vacated Crimea and terminated support for Ukraine’s separatist rebels within seven days of passage of the Corker Ultimatum, sweeping sanctions would be imposed on Russian officials, banks and energy companies, including Gazprom.
Economic relations between us would be virtually severed.
In short, this is an ultimatum to Russia that she faces a new Cold War if she does not get out of Ukraine and Crimea, and it is a U.S. declaration that we will now regard three more former Soviet republics—Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia—as allies.
A small, weak country might accept this dictation from a superpower.
But Russia, where anti-Americanism is virulent and rampant and the Russian people support Putin’s actions in Ukraine, would want him to tell the Americans just what to do with their ultimatum.
And how Russia would respond is not difficult to predict.
Our demand that she get out of Crimea and leave her two-century-old naval base at Sevastopol in the custody of President Petro Poroshenko in Kiev and his U.S. allies, would be laughed off.
Putin would tell us that Crimea has voted to return to Russia. It’s ours, and we’re going to keep it. Now deal with it.
To make good on our latest red line, we would have to start shipping weapons to Kiev, in which case Russia, with superior forces closer, would likely move preemptively into East Ukraine.
What would our NATO allies do then?
The U.S. directive to the State Department to work with NGOs in Russia, blatant intervention in the internal affairs of a sovereign nation, would be answered with a general expulsion of these agencies from Moscow.
We would not sit still for this kind of open subversion in the United States. What makes us think they would?
And where do we come off telling the Russians what kind of government they may have? Do we do that with our friends in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait? Is there more freedom in Egypt, to which we send billions annually in foreign aid, than in Russia?
Is there more freedom in China?
Every time I hear that we live under a “patriarchy,” I close my eyes, click my heels, snap my fingers, and wish that it were true. But when I open my eyes, it’s obvious that men in the West are demoralized and in a pitiful state of disarray. Men have very little group consciousness, if any, these days. Conversely, it is quite clear that women are in a state of Peak Hive Mind and will eagerly devour the babies of any female who does not goosestep in lockstep with third-wave grrl-power feminism.
Or maybe it’s already the fourth or fifth wave. It’s hard to keep up. I”ve been hoping that sooner or later, one of these waves would have drowned them all. But alas, all my hope seemed in vain.
Then, suddenly, like a herd of silken-maned pink ponies galloping toward me in the distant horizon across great barren salt flats that have been scorched in the war between the sexes, comes a fledgling mini-movement calling itself “Women Against Feminism“ to give me a fleeting, and perhaps ultimately false, sense of hope for the future of gender relations.
Granted, they ape the same banal sort of “placard selfie activism” that infects much of modern online social-justice inanity these days, but I can overlook that for the sake of the message these gals hold on their little handwritten posters:
I don”t need feminism because…I”m tired to be, as a woman, represented by some hysterical hipster whores.
I don”t need feminism because I can hold my own beliefs without an army of angry vaginas backing me.
I don”t need feminism because I don”t think it’s necessary to belittle an entire gender in the name of equality.
I don”t need feminism because our sons are not inherent rapists and our daughters are not perpetual victims.
I don”t need feminism because it reinforces the men as agents/women as victims dichotomy.
Why, it’s almost as if I”ve died and gone to Muslim paradise!
Howard Bloom’s book The Lucifer Principle goes into great detail describing how social movements that initially claim to merely seek “equality” morph into insatiably power-hungry predatory super-organisms once their alleged oppressors are willing to grant them equal treatment. While those making the concessions may think they”re doing so in the name of “fairness,” groups who are on the ascent tend to smell blood instead. Once even a semblance of “equality” is achieved, the mask falls off and it becomes a naked drive for power. They never seem sated by equality and keep moving the goalposts, ultimately becoming every bit as oppressive and intolerant as their former masters.
Christina Hoff Sommers, author of Who Stole Feminism? and The War Against Boys, distinguishes between “equity feminism””i.e., the idea that women should be treated equally to men”and its malignant successor, “gender feminism,” which is essentially a folk religion in which women wear angel wings and men are saddled with devil horns. Sommers describes herself as a feminist, as does Camille Paglia, but the latter-day gender feminists consider them traitors to the Holy Cause. Nearly every gal in the “Women Against Feminism” camp seems to have no beef with equity feminism but has become nauseated with the incessant ball-busting and finger-wagging that characterize latter-day gender feminism.
It is no coincidence that modern feminists embody all of the character traits that cause “misogyny” in the first place. They see rape everywhere, consider penises no better than assault rifles, deride masculinity in all its manifestations (except when women act butch), and brook no dissent in their quest to shout down, shame, hunt, mock, malign, and even jail anyone who dares to dissent. This is especially true when it comes to other women. It’s a given that they hate men; but hell hath no fury like a radical feminist scorned by another woman.
The Week’s Bloodiest, Muddiest, and Cruddiest Headlines
THOMAS THE TANK ENGINE: A WHITE SUPREMACIST?
White people in the Anglosphere are so mentally beaten down these days that they dare not make a peep about being white without automatically welding it to an apology signed in their own blood. Racially motivated violent crimes by whites against nonwhites are almost entirely extinct, which is why the media had to paint George Zimmerman in whiteface.
Therefore, in lieu of actually finding hard evidence of rampant white racism to prop up their crumbling narrative, the egalitarian left must continue to imagine it as a constant threat, to project racist hatred onto places and situations where sane minds would never see it.
Enter Thomas the Tank Engine, a seemingly benign animated children’s character who, according to Tracy Van Slyke of The Guardian, is merely a front for vile pro-capitalist, anti-woman, anti-gay, and anti-black “subversive messages.”
For one thing, Thomas labors under the commands of a fat, top-hat-wearing boss. The show also suffers from a dearth of female trains, and in one episode a male train was mocked for being pink. But most damningly:
[W]hen the good engines pump out white smoke and the bad engines pump out black smoke”and they are all pumping out smoke”it’s not hard to make the leap into the race territory.
No, it’s not hard at all”at least not if you”re an insane, brainwashed ideologue.
On Saturday in Monroe, GA, for the tenth year in a row, actors reenacted the 1945 lynching of two black couples in that city, which is thought to be the last “mass lynching” of blacks in American history. Georgia State Representative Tyrone Brooks is attempting to open an investigation to find the perpetrators, despite the fact that it happened 69 years ago and the perps are likely long dead. It’s unclear how continually reminding blacks of what are now nearly ancient crimes will do anything besides encourage them to continue their current pattern of violently victimizing whites in the here and now.
According to members of a black fraternity at the University of Arkansas, someone reportedly uttered racist comments at them through an open window at 3AM last Sunday. Police are now investigating it as a hate crime. It must be nice to enjoy that level of police protection and public sympathy.
HOW TO PREVENT A MASS SHOOTING
Serial mental-health patient Richard Plotts of Clifton Heights, PA, was arrested twice in 1990 for carrying an unlicensed firearm. He was convicted in 1996 of a federal bank robbery, which made him legally ineligible to ever carry a firearm again. In 2003, he was convicted yet again of carrying an unauthorized firearm. According to unidentified workers at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in nearby Darby, PA, Plotts”who attended the hospital as a psychiatric outpatient”had complained in the past of a hospital sign that declared it a “gun-free zone.”
Police claim that on Thursday afternoon at the hospital, armed with a loaded revolver and 39 extra bullets, Plotts held a gun to a caseworker’s head and killed her instantly. He then began allegedly shooting at his psychiatrist, Lee Silverman. Unfortunately for Plotts, Silverman had a concealed-carry permit. Despite the hospital’s gun ban, Silverman was carrying that afternoon. He pulled out his gun and shot at Plotts six times, hitting him once in the arm and twice in the chest. Other hospital workers tackled Plotts to the ground and wrested the gun from him. Silverman was slightly injured; Plotts was hospitalized and placed under sedation. On Saturday night, police charged him with murder at his hospital bedside.
It was not the first time that an armed civilian prevented a potential mass shooting. The progressive narrative seems to be that the country has too many guns, so we have to get rid of them. Why don”t they apply the same standard to illegal aliens?
RECONSTRUCTING GENITALS IN THE NAME OF A SOCIAL CONSTRUCT
British Columbia has a new law that allows pre-surgical “transgender” people to change their gender on their birth certificate. Little 11-year-old Hariette Cunningham of Vancouver Island was one of the first to pounce on this new law. His”yes, it’s a “he,” despite what the young boy claims”father, Colin Cunningham, complains that Hariette “wasn”t being acknowledged for who she really was.”
Bosnian-born model Andreja Pejic announced last week that he has “officially transitioned from male to female,” which is a nice way of saying he had his penis removed and has been pumped full of female hormones that his body wouldn”t produce naturally. An official for GLAAD celebrated the announcement, claiming it will “send a message to other transgender people that there’s nothing wrong with who you are.”
In Nova Scotia, a female power-lifter says she is now proud that male athletes are also pretending she’s a male after she underwent extensive hormone-replacement therapy.
What’s most depressing in this rainbow-colored miasma of freakdom is the fact that most of the mainstream press has fallen completely in line with the madness of those who suffer from gender dysphoria. Nearly without exception, reporters will compliantly refer to these attention-starved nutbars by their chosen delusional gender pronouns, genitals and DNA be damned. Which begs the question: If gender is only a social construct, how can trannies be so sure they’re the other gender?
The brother-in-law of a friend of mine died recently. He was 76, a good age considering his lifestyle. He had spent many years from morning till night sitting in a corner with his Spanish red wine, smoking and watching television. It was not a way of life that attracted me, but it was his choice and he stuck to it with a fine determination.
No doubt if he had followed doctors” orders from the moment he first came to their attention (he had suffered, not surprisingly, a progression of serious illnesses) he would have survived a few years more. Clearly he did not think the bargain a good one: twenty years of abstinence for an extra four years, shall we say, of boredom. In a way I admired him for his utter rejection of what most people would consider common sense. A world ruled by common sense would be intolerable in its smug dullness.
The other admirable thing about the deceased was that he would have never claimed, never have dreamed of claiming, that his mode of life was anything but his own choice; he was responsible for its consequences, up to and including his death. He had made his bed, in fact his deathbed, and he was content to lie in it.
Compare his dignified acceptance of his own fate with the conduct of the widow of a man called Michael Johnson in Florida, who brought an action there against the R.J. Reynolds tobacco company for the wrongful death of her husband.
Michael Johnson died in 1996, aged 36, of lung cancer. He had been a chain smoker since he started to smoke aged 13, that is to say from 1973. The allegation against the company was that it willfully concealed from Mr. Johnson both the dangerous and the addictive nature of its product, to which he became helplessly and hopelessly addicted. After the jury awarded the widow $7.3 million, and his son by a former marriage $9.6 million, in compensatory damages, the plaintiff’s lawyer said that Mr. Johnson couldn”t give up smoking and smoked till the day he died. The jury also awarded $23.6 billion to the widow in punitive damages, an award that is unlikely to survive appeal.
It goes without saying that the death of so young a man is sad, but what goes without saying ought to go unsaid. What seems to me highly questionable, to put it mildly, is the part played in, particularly the responsibility for, the young man’s death by R.J. Reynolds.
There is no doubt that tobacco companies have minimized the harms done by tobacco, denied the addictive nature of its ingredients, added nicotine to cigarettes to make them more addictive, and so on and so forth. Commercial companies are no more honest than private individuals, and if medical studies were to demonstrate, say, the harmful effects of Coca-Cola, as I daresay one day they will, I should expect the company to deny their validity as long as it was able.
But it is not enough in the tort system to show that the defendant has behaved badly; it is necessary to show that harm came to the plaintiff from his bad behavior. And personally I have never met anyone who believed the tobacco companies” denial of the harmfulness of their product. That Mark Twain was aware, considerably more than a century ago, of the addictive nature of smoking is demonstrated by his famous witticism that giving up smoking is the easiest thing in the world to do because he’s done it hundreds of times. I remember a popular song in Britain from the 1950s, or it might have been the early 60s, in which a gravelly-voiced and coughing comedienne sang that she would give up smoking “once I”ve had just one more cigarette.” In other words, the addiction caused by smoking was common knowledge for years, decades, before Mr. Johnson took it up.
Mr. Johnson started to smoke when he was 13, and it is very unlikely that he did so without the knowledge that he should not, that he was breaking some kind of rule by taking up the habit. Unless he was forced to smoke against his will, which is all but impossible, he chose a wrong path, perhaps because it was wrong rather than in spite of its being wrong. It is possible, likely even, that he became addicted to tobacco by the time it was legally permissible for him to purchase it, but this hardly can be laid at the company’s door. The company is not parent to the child.
Off with their heads! “ Ministering for dollars “ The thickening ideological miasma “ Two kinds of asymmetry “ Distant ripples from a civilizational catastrophe “ Non-child non-refugees “ Pursuit of realism “ Be smart, live long