Category Archives: Uncategorized

A Dose of Reality

A Dose of Reality: Will Elizabeth Warren’s DNA Analysis Open Anyone’s Eyes?

 

By Barton Cockey

 

October 17, 2018

 

Senator Elizabeth Warren may well be remembered only for her assertion that she is a descendant of Cherokee Indians. The claim rang false for many observers, who have called her “Fauxcahontas” and “Spouting Bull.” Challenged by President Trump, she has had her DNA tested in a private lab, with results that fall short of corroborating her story of being 1/32 Cherokee. According to Dr. Carlos Bustamante, a professor at Stanford University, she had a Native American ancestor “in the range of 6-10 generations ago.” That analysis would put the ratio at 1/64 to 1/1,024. Even this estimate is suspect, as the reference DNA for “Native Americans” is derived from Central and South America. North American tribes have reportedly refused to cooperate with companies interested in the commercial exploitation of their genetic material. And the admixture of European DNA among present-day Hispanic-Indians is non-zero.

 

The tendency to accuse public figures of lying is a sad feature of our current political climate, and it seems unkind to suggest that the senator did not simply latch onto a memorable scrap of family lore even if none of her kinfolk remember it. Oral history is notoriously unreliable. Careful genealogical research is better. Unfortunately for her, it appears that her great-great-great grandfather Jonathan Crawford was involved in rounding up Cherokees for the horrendous forced trek to Oklahoma known as the “Trail of Tears,” and his wife, the putative squaw, was listed as “white” in the 1860 census according to investigation by Michael Patrick Leahy.

 

Does Elizabeth Warren bear any responsibility for the deeds of her ancestor Private Crawford? Of course not. Should she be blamed for being happy to believe she was descended from America’s noble savages? If that was her understanding, why shouldn’t she delight in such an interesting family history? No, the problem is that she took up her mythic tribal blanket and wrapped it around the sick fetish of multiculturalism, with the complicity of the administrators at Harvard and University of Pennsylvania.

 

Yet, in choosing DNA analysis as the means of proving her claim, Senator Warren undercut one of the principal dogmas of diversity: Race is a social construct! It is refreshing when one of our most politically correct public ideologues does something that acknowledges reality, even inadvertently.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Columbus Day

Columbus Day: Will An Old Diversity Pander Have To Yield To A New One?

 

By Barton Cockey

 

October 10, 2018

 

The current leftist assault on Columbus Day, as James Fulford has noted, is part of a more general campaign against white males and European civilization in general. Ironically, the federal holiday is an ethnic pander, a political payoff of relatively recent origin.

 

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the U.S. Congress established the holiday on April 12, 1934 as a result of lobbying by an Italian immigrant. Generoso Pope (born Generoso Papa in Arpaise, Benvenuto, Italy on April 1, 1891) was a self-made multi-millionaire and an intimate of the Tammany Hall political machine in New York City. Having done conspicuous service to FDR in securing the Italian vote, Pope had considerable influence with the president. As is often the case with immigrants, he lobbied on behalf of his native land. An admirer of Mussolini, he helped to dissuade the president from intervening after the Italian invasion of Ethiopia. Each year, Pope organized a Columbus Day parade in New York; and in 1934, he used his influence with FDR to make October 12 a national holiday. (The Knights of Columbus also lobbied for the holiday, while the anticatholic Ku Klux Klan opposed it.)

 

Of course, every schoolchild knew about the Admiral of the Ocean Sea, and Americans flocked to the 1892 Columbian Exposition in Chicago. But the famous navigator was always just a minor character in our national mythology, a notch above Leif the Lucky and a notch below our own Captain John Smith. It took mass immigration from Italy to put Columbus on the level of George Washington, with banks, schools, and post offices shutting down across the land in his honor. It is an index of the power of ethnic pandering that the name of the old Italian adventurer has outlasted that of Washington himself on the holiday roster. Both Washington and Lincoln got dumped into the blender to emerge as ‘Presidents’ Day” to make room for Martin Luther King Day, another sop to a racial voting bloc.

 

The push to replace Columbus with a nameless, faceless Indigenous Person is classic cultural Marxism. Just as the mayor of Pittsburgh wants to put up a Woman of Color (pick one, any one) following the removal of a statue of Stephen Foster, the cultural vandals clamoring for the end of Columbus Day are proposing an “Indigenous Peoples Day” instead. What distinguishes this proposal from past efforts to honor indigenous Americans (think of the Indian Head Cent and the Buffalo Nickel or any of the countless sculptures and historic markers) is that this effort is part of the cultural holocaust—the intentional elimination of white people and all celebratory commemorations of them and the civilization they created. The goodwhites behind this effort don’t love Indians so much as they loathe white people.

 

One of the striking attributes of Americans has been their admiration for the people they displaced. Thomas Jefferson, in Notes on the State of Virginia, wrote:

 

“I may challenge the whole orations of Demosthenes and Cicero,

and of many more prominent orators, if Europe has furnished any

more eminent, to produce a single passage, superior to the speech

of Logan, a Mingo chief, to Lord Dunmore when Governor of this State.”

 

James Fenimore Cooper was fascinated by the red man and recorded as much Indian lore as he could find. His literary efforts to depict the Noble Savage are not to the liking of our haughty arbiters of taste and decorum. The very idea that human nature could admit a mixture of nobility and savagery is simply inadmissible.  In the moral idiocy of the left, you can be one or the other, not both. Whites are savages; non-whites are noble; and that’s that. People knew better when there were real, live Indians in the neighborhood.

 

A few miles from where I am writing this article, in the summer of 1777, General Burgoyne, with his British and German troops and his Indian auxiliaries were making their way toward Saratoga. Burgoyne had circulated a notice promising the colonials that they would be safe as long as they did not oppose him. The Allen family, all Tories, took him at his word and were blithely bringing in the harvest. John Allen had borrowed three slaves from his father-in-law to help with the work. Watching them from the woods were some Indians, whose identity remains a matter of speculation. When the family and the slaves had gone into the house to eat, the Indians attacked, killingand mutilating John Allen, his wife Eva Kilmer Allen, her sister Catherine Kilmer, the Allens’ daughters Eva and Elizabeth, their baby son John, and the three slaves Tom, Sarah, and one whose name is lost to memory. According to the research of Theodore Corbett, the braves scalped the Allens and took the lips off the Negroes.

 

Of course, such awkward incidents could have been avoided if only the indigenous Americans had maintained stricter immigration policies. Instead, they showed the same vacillation between friendliness and violence as the white colonists. A close reading of the history of the early interactions between the settlers and the natives should be enough to convince even the most ardent multiculturalist that diversity is a source of conflict, not comity. For example, the Pilgrims ended up in a series of heartbreakingly stupid, bloody fights with the local tribes, mainly because the second generation of colonists forgot how much gratitude they owed to the Indians for their fathers’ survival (an early case of absimilation?).

 

Personally, I don’t care whether or not we have an official government holiday for Cristoforo Colombo, but the sad fact is that as many observers have remarked, politics degenerates to tribalism in multicultural societies. And as a result, intertribal good will and cooperation tend to yield to push and shove, even in the absence of sanctimonious advocates of “inclusion” exclusively tearing down one tribe’s monuments. I’d like to honor the red man. Let’s take Lincoln off the penny and put back the Indian. And put Lady Liberty back on the dime. Let’s make a law that nobody living after 1850 can appear on our currency or have a national holiday named after him. And bring back the celebration of George Washington’s birthday. Think it can’t be done? No? Oh well, you’re probably right.

 

 

 

Skeletons in the Closet

Skeletons in the Closet

 

Is Anyone Perfect Enough for Public Office?

 

By Barton Cockey

 

October 7, 2018

 

“Man is conceived in sin and born in corruption and he passeth from the stink of the didie to the stench of the shroud. There is always something.”

 

Thus speaks the character Willie Stark in Robert Penn Warren’s 1946 novel All the King’s Men.I read the book fifty years ago, but those words have stayed in my head. In the novel, Willie Stark is a corrupt and powerful political boss in the Huey Long  mode, who employs a young man named Jack Burden to dig up dirt on a political opponent, the elderly and highly respected Judge Irwin. When Jack objects that the judge is an upright man, Boss Stark delivers the philosophical pearl quoted above. Jack is a superb researcher and discovers that Judge Irwin took a bribe once, many years earlier, with dire results for the wronged party in the lawsuit. Upon the exposure of his malfeasance, the judge kills himself. Then, to round out the drama, Jack learns that Judge Irwin was his father.

 

It’s an American classic and a dark and somewhat nihilistic read. One take-home message is that our actions have unforeseeable and often terrible consequences (a narrower version of the butterfly effect). Another is that human imperfection guarantees that no one is secure against the politics of personal destruction. This latter point has been amply illustrated by the “me-too” movement and the effort to discredit Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

 

That Judge Kavanaugh weathered the storm of protest and vituperation is mildly reassuring for the health of our republic. As noted in my previous post, I expected an attack of this kind and was therefore disposed to be very skeptical of any such charges made against him. Going forward, I suspect that the accusations will continue to unravel upon further examination. Certainly, the memorandum from Investigative Counsel Rachel Mitchell to the Senate Republicans exposes the flimsy and contradictory character of Professor Ford’s account. Her report  is worth reading. To me, the most striking feature of the smear campaign against Kavanaugh was that the opposition had to go all the way back to his high school days to find anything even remotely embarrassing. As Penn Law Professor Amy Wax courageously pointed out  in a recent interview, even if the Ford story is true (and Dr. Wax maintains a proper agnosticism about the veracity of the charge), by any reasonable legal standard, it’s too late to bring it up. Imagine how implausible it would be if the fictional Judge Irwin had committed suicide over such nonsense. Who’s writing the Democrats’ material, anyway?

 

What, then, explains all the hysterical media attention, all the weeping demonstrators and frantic internet postings? The feeding frenzy came on because there was already blood in the water from all the prominent media personalities (ironically, most of them liberals) keelhauled and forced to walk the plank because of “sexual misconduct.” The absence of due process in these firings has been rather striking. Beloved radio personality Garrison Keillor disappeared from the airwaves as abruptly as if he had been vaporized by a Martian death ray. Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) issued a chilly statement about its commitment to “maintaining a safe, respectful and supportive work environment,” alluded vaguely to unspecified “allegations,” and made it clear that after lawyering up, the MPR board decided to terminate his contract. In a Stalinesque touch, Mr. Keillor’s entire body of work also disappeared from the MPR archive. Quasi-conservative commentator Rod Dreher remarked, “Oddly enough, what’s happened to Keillor makes me more opposed to removing Confederate statues—not because of any sympathy for the Confederacy (I have none), but because of fear of erasing history.” As of this writing, Mr. Keillor still has had no opportunity to face his accuser or to present a proper defense. He has said that he will tell his side of the story in due course.

 

Senator Al Franken resigned from the senate in 2017, shortly after radio and TV personality Leeann Tweeden accused him of non-consensual kissing and groping in 2006 when they were both on a USO tour in the Middle East.  Twenty-three Democrat senators and Republican senator Susan Collins of Maine called for Franken’s resignation. Senator Collins called the allegations against her fellow senator “credible, disgusting and appalling.” Left-wing commentators have explicitly compared Franken to Kavanaugh, piously deploring the former’s transgressions but declaring them a mere trifle, a bagatelle, next to the latter’s. The key word is “credible.” There is an actual photograph of the Frankenfondle and no such corroborative detail on Kavanaugh. Which alleged assault is more “disgusting and appalling” ultimately comes down to a matter of taste and whether one normally expects more loutish behavior from vulgar show-biz comics or from drunken, horny teenagers. Or senators for that matter. From what I’ve heard, there isn’t much to choose.

 

So, where are we left after this latest skirmish in the Cold Civil War? Indignant Social Justice Warriors have ratcheted their indignation up a notch and are on the highest dopamine high of their lives. Conservatives are cautiously optimistic that the Supreme Court may return to adjudication instead of making up new laws. Abortion advocacy groups are gleefully ramping up their fund-raising efforts by claiming that Judge Kavanaugh will reverse Roe v. Wade. (I don’t think he will, but who knows? Returning the issue to state legislatures, where it belongs, would make state elections that much more contentious.) Moderates are split as always, but I’d guess that a majority are disgusted by the dirty tricks played against Kavanaugh.

 

At the level of ideas, the cult of victimhood has pushed a little too far. Plenty of men, and the women who love them, have gotten a good look at the price of “believing the victim.” On the half-remembered mumblings of a psychiatric patient, an honorable man may be cast into the pit of chaos and torment forever. Or a whole range of imperfect men may be thrown down for more plausible reasons. With the politically motivated attack on Kavanaugh, we may have just witnessed the apogee of the Assault Victim, by which I mean not a victim of assault but an untouchable and pure human shield for those who are waging an assault and quashing debate. No one, least of all a cringing Republican legislator like Jeff Flake, would dare to question or contradict an Assault Victim. Gone from the spotlight lately is Assault Victim David Hogg, a boy who attended the school in Parkland, Florida where a juvenile delinquent shot 17 students dead. The news media and anti-gun organizations groomed Hogg as a spokesman and surrounded him with publicity agents, ignoring other students with opposing views. He was such a sacred cow that Fox News Host Laura Ingraham temporarily lost some of her sponsors after she “mocked” him. Stalking horse, sacred cow and tar baby rolled up in one: Assault Victim. Maybe enough people have caught onto this racket, and his/her/its day is finally passing. One can only hope.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is No Country for Young Men

This is No Country For Young Men

 

The Kavanaugh Gang Rape

 

By Barton Cockey

 

September 30, 2018

 

Last week’s public spectacle in the Senate offers ample material for reflection. The last-minute revelation of a charge of sexual assault came as no surprise to me. I expected that if President Trump nominated a constitutional-conservative male to the Supreme Court, the Democrats would give the poor sucker the Clarence Thomas treatment: “He’s a sexual predator!” It seemed likely that more than one unsubstantiated accusation would be made, in the hope that the multiplicity of the charges would make them more credible. (If the nominee had been female, the plan of attack would have been to portray her as an extremist, a racist, a friend of deplorables.) So, I naively thought that most people would see Christine Blasey Ford’s performance as a crude political smear by a party that despises anyone who thinks of the U.S. Constitution as a binding legal document. I was wrong, of course.

 

An NPR poll showed 42% undecided before the hearings (a healthy number, actually reserving judgment), with 32% believing Professor Ford and 26% believing Judge Kavanaugh. Another poll, after the hearings, and reported in The Hill, found credence in Ford at 41% and in Kavanaugh at 35%. The split along party lines was clear; 73% of Democrats believed Ford, and 74% of Republicans believed Kavanaugh. Independents were evenly split, 33% to 32%. All the polls agree that women are more likely to side with the accuser than with the nominee.

 

My own limited survey of friends and acquaintances is consistent with the larger polls and also reveals a startling datum: the vast majority of women reported having been assaulted by a man, either physically or sexually. In most cases, when they reported the assault, they were not believed, even by their own family members. Worse, in some cases, they found that those who should have avenged them compounded the trauma by rejecting and humiliating them. Evidently, a large portion of the female population is primed to explode with the pent-up pressure of past injuries. This latent energy is primal and savage. There is a reason why the judge asks prospective jurors whether they have been victims of the sort of crime with which the defendant has been charged. It may be hard to weigh the evidence impartially in such circumstances. And when there is no evidence at all, beyond what he said and she said, all that’s left is subjectivity and personal bias.[i]

 

The Democrats have shown themselves to be adept at harnessing such energy to pull their political wagon. A stinking patent-medicine show-wagon it may be, but its anti-androgenic banner is pure genius. Woe to the clumsy Republican who speaks up to expose its fallacies! The pussy-hatted legions will hear only the hated voice of their old assailant. A recent poster circulated on the internet attempts to add balance to the discussion but only illuminates the hopelessness of achieving common ground. “Next time you don’t believe a rape victim, think of your mother, your sister, your daughter. Alright, and next time you ask us to believe an accusation without evidence, think of your dad, your brother, and your son.” Unfortunately, for too many women, male family members may have been the culprits, or at best, failed to avenge the wrong. Think of an abstract principle of law, like the presumption of innocence? Good luck.

 

This controversy is a double gift to the cultural Marxists. First, it reminds women of their own bad experiences with men; and the apparently high prevalence of such experiences reinforces the message that men (and especially “privileged” white men such as Judge Kavanaugh) are vicious victimizers, while women are virtuous victims, just like people of color and LGBTQ’s. The associated emotions run so deep that even some relatively bright women fail to see such the absurdly reductive good vs. evil narrative as an insult to their intelligence. Second, the collective demonization of men necessarily leads to the demand that males be removed from positions of responsibility. Equal representation is no longer sufficient. A local Democrat congresswoman remarked yesterday, in earnest, that all men should be voted out of office and replaced by women. We can expect more pronouncements of the same character.

 

The fact that the feminist left created a less safe environment has not been lost on conservative commentators such as Heather Mac Donald. In her latest book The Diversity Delusion, she disputes the claim of a rape epidemic on college campuses but suggests that if there is a rise in the rate of depression among female undergrads, the engineers of the sexual revolution and its hook-up culture are to blame for it. Not so long ago, within living memory, there were social structures and conventions in place to thwart the natural propensities of hormonally-driven teenage boys. Mothers used to tell their daughters that boys wanted just one thing. As a boy, I found that advice rather insulting, but I had to admit that it was true, if a bit simplistic. That basic insight was behind single-sex schools and dorms, chaperoned dances, and all the little inconvenient rules about how young ladies and gentlemen should conduct themselves.

 

Gentlemanly rules of conduct, and indeed the very idea of the gentleman, were under attack as atavistic vestiges of elitism when I started college in 1972. A decade later, when Brett Kavanaugh was finishing high school, chivalry was dead, and chaperones were scarce. Women were the equal of men and were perfectly capable of looking after themselves. At least that’s what the first wave of feminists claimed. Drive the hearth-keepers out of the home. Shame them into doing the same labor as the men who used to provide for them. Put their children in day-care. Throw female and male sailors together on submarines. The sexes are interchangeable. Re-engineer humankind! Like all really bad ideas, this one was bipartisan. After the total mobilization of World War II, with its expansion of industrial capacity, big industries needed more consumers to buy their gadgets. The solution was to put women to work.

 

The latest wave (Is it the third? I’m subject to motion sickness, so I’m not counting.), the latest wave sees women as victims of nasty, sexually predatory men. If that sounds a lot like what their grandmothers told their mothers, it is. The difference is that whereas their grandmothers saw the male’s aggressive sexuality as a natural phenomenon that could be manipulated to their advantage and managed through appropriate supervision and upbringing, the bitter feminists of today have reduced Yin and Yang to good and bad, oppressed and oppressor, in keeping with the dogma of the secular religion of the left. What’s the solution? The emasculation and disempowerment of the white male hierarchy!

 

In light of these developments, I am glad to be no longer a young man. The rules of engagement have become too confusing. The propriety of an amatory advance can be evaluated only in retrospect and after the female has had an opportunity to replay it over and over and over in her mind, preferably under the care of a mental health professional adept at recovering repressed memories. The return to a more realistic societal consensus on human nature may take a long time. A very long time. If the political opportunists succeed in their strategy of divide and conquer, we may never get there.

[i]One interesting observation on the Kavanaugh kerfuffle is that the “marriage gap” is wider than the “gender gap.” Steve Sailer, writing in the Unz Review (unz.com) and citing the blogger “Audacious Epigone,” noted that “The gap in support for Kavanaugh between married and never-married members of the same sex is more than twice as large as it is between men and women in general.” I interpret this finding as evidence that people who have achieved some reasonably well-adjusted modus vivendi with the opposite sex are more likely to favor Judge Kavanaugh. The data did not include self-reported political orientation, but it is probably safe to say that conservatives favor Kavanaugh, and liberals oppose him. The data are concordant with studies showing that conservatives are happier and better adjusted than liberals. In my own, unscientifically small, sample population of women who had been sexually assaulted, those with a conservative outlook were more likely to have “gotten over it,” independent of the severity of the assault.

 

More Madness of Crowds

More Madness Of Crowds

 

A review of The Diversity Delusion: How Race and Gender Pandering Corrupt the University and Undermine our Culture, by Heather Mac Donald, St. Martin’s Press, New York, 2018

 

By Barton Cockey

 

September 20, 2018

 

Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.  —Charles Mackay

 

 

The diversity obsession that now possesses our universities and large businesses has reached such a level of insanity that it deserves its own volume in a new edition of Charles Mackay’s 1841 classic Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, to join such famous follies as the tulip mania, the South Sea bubble, the witch hunts, and the Crusades. Fortunately, Heather Mac Donald has written such a volume.

 

The central, inspiriting dogma of the secular religion of American leftism is equality. We are to believe (or worse, pretend to believe for the sake of our careers) that everyone can be whatever he wants to be, as the religion’s prophet Barack Obama himself proclaimed. Race and sex (which we now have to call gender) are social constructs. After centuries of advancement, we have arrived at the point where a bald, bearded, effeminate professor of Transgender Studies can say with a straight face (if that’s the right expression) that there is now a scientific consensus that there is no biological difference between men and women. And of course, it is unthinkable that human breeds separated by 50,000 years of divergent evolution could possibly differ in behavior, intelligence, and personality (BIP) traits.

 

These dogmas are so rigidly held by the academic establishment and the captains of industry that the smallest sign of heresy brings down the wrath of the Inquisition. Heather Mac Donald examines the enforcement of diversocratic doctrine on race and gender in the first two parts of her book. An interesting feature of the case histories that she cites is that the targets of the diversity enforcers are usually committed liberals. In particular, she discusses the well-publicized case of Yale master Nicholas Christakis, who was hounded out of his teaching post because his wife had the temerity to suggest in an email that Halloween costumes were harmless fun and should not concern the university’s multicultural thought police. “Erika and Nicholas Christakis’s careers have been devoted to social-justice concerns. Nevertheless, Erika Christakis resigned from teaching at Yale and Nicholas Christakis canceled his spring 2016 courses, after students marched on their home and chalked hostile messages outside their bedroom window,” Mac Donald relates. Being good liberals, the Christakises groveled before their persecutors. The authorities at the university, far from standing up for these decent people, validated the claims of the mob instead, with the revolting sycophancy that observers of academe have come to expect: “You have offered me the opportunity to listen to and learn from you.”

 

Unfortunately, the campus leftists never return the favor of listening or learning, as Mac Donald shows by recounting her own harrowing experiences as an invited speaker besieged by chanting, drumming mobs of foul-mouthed student rioters. The same scene repeats itself everywhere. The speaker could be as flashy as Milo Yiannopoulos or as staid and cerebral as Jordan Peterson or John Derbyshire. The maddened hordes respond with the predictable chants of “racist, sexist, homophobe, xenophobe, white supremacist.” The whole spectacle has the appearance of a bizarre, profane liturgy, an orgiastic ritual of self-righteousness. It has that appearance because that’s exactly what it is: the ritual affirmation of beliefs that are completely unhinged from reality and can be sustained only by fomenting mass hysteria and silencing the unbelievers.

 

As Mac Donald shows in her discussion of the multicultural bureaucracy (and she concentrates on only a fraction of it, mostly the bloated administrative apparatus of the University of California), there is a lot of money at stake. Quarter-million-dollar starting salaries for diversity managers are common. Millions of dollars go to fund the remedial instruction of unprepared “underrepresented minority” pupils, many of whom abandon their intended majors and waste their precious four years on race and gender studies. For the sake of the bureaucrats’ comfortable sinecures, no one must know that, as Mac Donald points out, women are naturally underrepresented at both ends of the mathematical ability spectrum or that blacks applying to college are dramatically scarce in the upper range of SAT scores. Any discussion of the harmful effects of racial preferences on black law-school and college students must be suppressed. The fact that Mac Donald chronicles the data on these and other subjects so effectively is sure to turn up the heat the next time she appears on campus.

 

In Chapter 13, “The Humanities and Us,” Mac Donald is at her most impassioned. The abandonment of western civilization by our supposed cognitive elite is one of the greatest scandals of our time. The baseness of this trahison des clercs is cast in sharp contrast by Mac Donald’s vignettes of Renaissance scholars retrieving the crumbling vestiges of classical knowledge from obscure monastic libraries.  Surely it is no wonder that students are coming out of major universities knowing less than when they went in, according to a study from the Intercollegiate Studies Institute in 2007. For example, less than half the participants in the survey of 14,000 graduates could identify “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal” as a quote from the Declaration of Independence.

 

I have only the smallest of criticisms of this book. The writing is graceful, with only one badly mixed metaphor (page 202: “play the race card to the hilt.”) The limited statistical focus on California’s public university system may leave the reader wondering about the rest of the country, but anyone who knows a few reality-based college faculty and administrators will already be aware that the madness at UCLA is just as virulent in Baltimore County, Williamstown, and your own alma mater. Besides, a wider survey could easily bog down in numbers. Considering the frequency with which Mac Donald’s inquiries were deflected by college bureaucrats invoking “confidentiality,” reliable information about private universities may be impossible to gather.

 

Although unabashedly sex-realist in her discussions of women’s aptitude and interest in advanced mathematics and engineering, Mac Donald avoids any suggestion of biological determinism with regard to race. On page 198, she states, “When it comes to underrepresented minorities, math deficits show up at the earliest ages. It is only there where the achievement gap can be overcome, through more rigorous, structured classrooms and through a change in family culture to put a high premium on academic achievement.” For this confident assertion, she offers no evidence. I’d like to believe that there is truth to the claim in that the proposed changes might increase the number of blacks and Hispanics with basic math proficiency, but the disappointing record of Head Start programs does not support much optimism; and if an effective program could be applied across the whole racial and social spectrum, so that every child achieved his full potential, how do we know that the gap wouldn’t actually widen? Moreover, there is no reason to believe that such interventions would change the distributions at the upper tail of the performance curves, which is where the real stars reside.

 

A certain amount of reserve on such matters may be prudent for a best-selling author in the age of electronic censorship by the likes of Google and Amazon, but Mac Donald has ably demonstrated that even a moderate “cultural analysis,” is “punishable ‘hate speech,’” as exemplified by the furor over Professor Amy Wax’s gentle advocacy of bourgeois values. The delirious communicants of the temple of multiculturalism have coined no worse pejoratives for Jared Taylor than they have hurled at Amy Wax. We all have a stake in honest evaluation of this critical issue. Whether the underperforming “minorities” are held back by their cultural or their genetic endowment, any mention of the fact will be an equally outrageous affront to the cult of victimhood. Either way, the priestesses of outrage will denounce the mortal sin of blaming the victim. After all, the point is that in their religion, the white man is the devil, a racist, literally Hitler! Doesn’t this litany of abuse get boring after a few million repetitions? If liberal Nicholas Christakis and alt-right Richard Spencer face the same fiery retribution, how long will it be before thoughtful analysts of the racial performance gap decide that they might as well follow the evidence and report accordingly?

 

Flapping Flags, Weeping Eagles, and Burning Towers, Oh My!

 

Flapping Flags, Weeping Eagles, and Burning Towers, Oh My!

 

Facebook, the Magnification of Mass Hysteria, and 9/11 Memorialism

 

By Barton Cockey

9/12/2018

 

After the 2016 election, I abandoned Facebook because of the viciousness of comments from the left. The “Trump is literally Hitler” hysteria was rampant. Someone posted a photo of a wall on which a vandal had spray-painted “TRUMP” with a swastika replacing the “T”. This graffito was held up as evidence that Trump supporters were Nazis. When I ventured a comment that since Nazism is about as popular as bubonic plague, the mysterious wall-sprayer was more likely a Trump-hater than a Trump-booster, I received a barrage of remarkably abusive messages from people I had never heard of.

 

With our new book, The Sacred Fury, coming out in October, I thought there might be some benefit in reconnecting with Zuckerworld for promotional purposes. The experience has been mildly illuminating. What stands out behind the flickering screenplay of cute animal videos and personal snapshots is a background of mass manipulation. Lefties are uncritically recycling anti-gun and Trump-Russia propaganda, while righties are circulating more conservative memes. No big surprise there.

 

Yesterday’s anniversary of the 9/11 attacks provided an opportunity for manipulation of the patriotic subset of Facebook addicts, who sent one another pictures of flags and eagles and burning towers. Being of a contrary nature, I am put off by patriotic displays. People are at their worst when caught up in a cause bigger than themselves. Gratuitous celebration of a past injury looks to me like a prelude to some future atrocity. Remember “Remember the Maine!”? Nothing appeals as much to our sense of righteousness as the combination of a slaughter of innocent Americans and an opportunity to rush our armed forces to the aid of suffering foreigners, whether they be Cubans or Syrians. No one I know personally is fabricating the tear-jerking images that so many people are sharing, but somebodyis, and the overwhelming number of them makes me wonder whether we are not being set up for another military misadventure in the Levant.

 

The horrifying events of 9/11 became the ostensible reason for our fiscally ruinous and militarily inconclusive invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq and the creation of yet another unnecessary federal agency with the un-American name of Department of Homeland Security. Air travel became more demeaning. All of these responses did more harm to the United States than the original attack did. Meanwhile, Osama bin Laden issued a denial and a condemnation of the attacks—hardly the usual action of a successful terrorist. Was he really behind the attack? Or was it a black operation by the Deep State or the work of Israeli agents? I doubt that we’ll ever know. Anyone who has seen controlled demolitions or tried to collapse anything containing a steel framework would have to suspend his critical faculties to find the official explanation entirely satisfactory. On the other hand, the conspiracy theories offer plots that seem too complicated to work. The only part of the whole mess that becomes clear in retrospect is that the U.S government made all the wrong responses, including admitting even more Muslims to our own country even as our military cut a swathe of destruction through the Muslim world.

 

Will we learn anything from 9/11, other than how to send one another patriotic pictures? I wouldn’t bet on it.

 

 

Shall We Never More Behold Thee? Stephen Foster’s Home Town Takes Down His Statue.

Shall We Never More Behold Thee?

Stephen Foster’s Home Town Removes His Statue

 

By Barton Cockey

 

Photo credit: Wikipedia Commons

 

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania has joined the growing list of cities removing statues of white men. Stephen Collins Foster was the all-American composer, born on the fourth of July, 1826, the fiftieth anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the same day that John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died. He wrote some of the loveliest popular songs of all time.

 

According to news reports, critics of the statue took offense at the depiction of a black banjo player at the base of the monument. One black blogger wrote that it was “the most racist statue in America.” He admitted that although he had “walked or driven past the statue at least 300 times,” he never noticed it until he read an article about it. Now he is incensed beyond all measure, as are other sensitive souls in the steel city.

 

Paradise Gray, a hip-hop impresario appointed to the commission that deliberated over the fate of the monument, objected that it “permanently depicts the black man at the white man’s feet.” Mr. Gray’s objection could hypothetically be dealt with by detaching the banjo man and placing him atop a fourteen-foot column. Alas, that solution would not appease those who perceive him as a degrading stereotype, or who are angry that Foster practiced “cultural appropriation” upon the anonymous barefoot musician. Mr. Gray claims that Foster “is doing what the music industry does today: He’s got a slave playing the music, and he’s going to end up with the copyright.” Removing the banjo player altogether would seem to address most of the objections, but I guess that would be segregation. Can’t have that!

 

The mayor of Pittsburgh, a Democrat by the name of Bill Peduto, ran unopposed for his second term last November and won with 95% of the votes. So, he’s not exactly hanging on by a thread, politically speaking. There is no obvious reason for him to pander to cultural Marxists or anti-white radicals. His decision, based on a recommendation from a highly biased commission, suggests that he is a social justice warrior himself. He has endorsed replacing the Foster monument with a statue of (what else?) a black woman. His office is accepting suggestions. Of course, he couldn’t just put up a statue of some illustrious black female and leave Stephen Foster alone. He has to replace one with the other. The crassness of his thinking is remarkable. Any black woman will do.

 

There was a time when someone did something worthy of commemoration, and after a while, private citizens collected money to put up a monument in his honor. Not anymore. Now the city bureaucracy will select an identity group to idolize, and any placeholder will do as its representative. The individual identity of the honoree is irrelevant, as long as she belongs to the correct race. Whoever is chosen as the face of non-white, non-male, her statue will be a phony trophy, a booby prize.

 

One of the ironies of this drama is that Stephen Foster was a typical Yankee liberal. He supported all the right causes: temperance (“O Comrades Fill No Glass for Me”), abolitionism (“My Old Kentucky Home”), and Lincoln’s war against the South (“We Are Coming, Father Abraham, 300,000 More”). The icon of abolitionism Frederick Douglass, mentioned “My Old Kentucky Home” in his 1885 autobiography and lauded its ability to awaken “sympathies for the slave, in which antislavery principles take root, grow, and flourish.”

 

But rather than try to parse the programmed rhetoric of the statue’s opponents, let’s consider the symbolic meaning of the monument. Obviously, at the most literal level, it is about a white composer being inspired by a black musician. At the highest level of abstraction, it represents Apollo and Pan, sky cult and earth cult, written transmission and the oral tradition, Europe and Africa, Yang and Yin. In keeping with the ancient wisdom traditions, these light and dark elements are both necessary. Though opposite, they produce harmony. In the psychotic world of leftist ideology, Yin has to defeat Yang because Yang is the dominant white male hierarchy. From an archetypal perspective, the superordinate status of Apollo is neither good nor bad; it’s just the way things are. But the left is fundamentally at war against the structure of the universe, and it cannot accept that things are as they are.

 

That’s why the statue had to come down.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some Reflections on Historical Fiction and Notes on the Death of Edgar Allan Poe

The Sacred Fury is set in Baltimore in the very near future, but it includes two dramatis personae who appertain to the past: Edgar Allan Poe and John Reuben Thompson. The latter appears as a literary voice in a fictional letter written in his style, and the former as a specter avenging the desecration of his grave.

“The past is a foreign country,” wrote L.P. Hartley. As I see it, the first rule for any writer of fiction about the past is to respect the known geography of that country. One of the worst offenders against this rule is Larry McMurtry, a superb story teller who nevertheless seems compelled to rewrite history. In Streets of Laredo, for example, he has a serial killer shoot down the famous Judge Roy Bean. If a shot killed the real Judge Bean, it was a shot of whiskey, and several years after the time frame of McMurtry’s novel at that. My idea of a model is the late George MacDonald Fraser, who wrote the Flashman series. He weaves his tales in the interstices of the known events and includes helpful endnotes to inform the reader.

The death of Edgar Allan Poe is still a dark mystery. I am indebted to John Evangelist Walsh for his well-researched and informative book Midnight Dreary. His investigation into the circumstances of Poe’s death suggests that Poe was murdered by the brothers of his fiancée Elmira Royster Shelton. Her family had prevented him from marrying her more than twenty years earlier, and the poem Annabel Lee alludes to her “highborn kinsmen” who “bore her away from me.” In his morbid way, he describes himself lying down by the side of the dead Annabel Lee “in her sepulcher there by the sea.” There can be no better indication of Poe’s bizarre cast of mind than that he apparently thought the poem a fit tribute to his impending marriage. As recounted in The Sacred Fury, he really did hand the poem, on a rolled-up piece of paper, to John Reuben Thompson just before leaving on his fatal journey through Baltimore.

Here follows a chronology of relevant events:

January 19, 1809 Birth of Edgar Poe, in Boston, Massachusetts.

1811 Edgar’s father, David Poe, deserts his wife Elizabeth and his two children. Elizabeth dies of tuberculosis, and the orphaned Edgar is taken in as a foster child by John Allan, a merchant from Scotland, who gives him the middle name “Allan.”

1826 Poe leaves Richmond for college, having pledged to marry his 15-year-old sweetheart Elmira. He writes letters to her, all of which are intercepted and destroyed by her father.

December, 1828 Elmira marries the wealthy merchant Alexander Shelton, under pressure from her parents.

1836 Poe returns to Richmond, marries his cousin Virginia Clemm, and goes to work as editor of The Southern Literary Messenger, a position he holds for only a year.

1844 Alexander Shelton dies of pneumonia.

January 29, 1845 Publication of The Raven makes Poe famous but does not improve his finances.

January 30, 1847 Virginia Clemm Poe dies of tuberculosis in the impoverished couple’s chilly little cottage in Fordham, New York.

1848 Poe publishes his unreadable cosmological essay Eureka: A Prose Poem.

August 27, 1849 Poe joins a temperance society and becomes engaged to Elmira a few days later. The couple selects October 17 as the wedding date.

September 26, 1849 Poe concludes his business in Richmond and hands the manuscript of Annabel Lee to John Reuben Thompson, before departing for his home in New York, where he plans to wrap up his affairs and collect his mother-in-law Mrs. Maria Clemm, who is to attend the wedding. On the way to New York, he intends to stop in Philadelphia to edit a book of poems for a Mrs. Loud, for a fee of one hundred dollars.

September 27, 1849 Poe leaves Richmond by steamer for Baltimore, then presumably takes the train for Philadelphia the next morning.

Mysterious gap.

October 3, 1849 Poe is found at Ryan’s Tavern in Baltimore, shabbily attired and in a stupor.

October 7, 1849 Poe dies at Washington Medical College (later Church Home and Hospital) and is buried in an unmarked grave in the lot purchased by his grandfather David Poe, Sr., in the Presbyterian cemetery.

1852 Westminster Presbyterian Church is built over the cemetery.

1860 Cousin Neilson Poe orders a marble headstone from Hugh Sisson, but before it can be erected, a freight train inexplicably runs off the Northern Central track and through Sisson’s yard, demolishing the stone. (Apparently the ghost of Poe was not satisfied with the quality of the memorial.)

November 17, 1875 Poe is reinterred, and a fine marble monument is dedicated, thanks to Miss Sara Sigourney Rice, who collected many small contributions, and Mr. George W. Childs, who put up half the cost. George A. Frederick (architect of Baltimore’s City Hall) designed the memorial, and Hugh Sisson carved the stone. Maria Clemm’s remains are laid in the same grave.

1882 Friedrich Nietzsche announces the death of God.

1885 The bones of Virginia Clemm are brought down from New York and buried next to those of her husband.

1977 The Presbytery of Baltimore announces the death of the Westminster Presbyterian congregation, and the newly-created non-profit Westminster Preservation Trust takes over the care of the secularized “Westminster Hall.”

Latest Study: More Social Engineering

No measures of cognitive ability? Oh, well, they don’t matter. Nothing to see here that can’t be fixed by more social engineering.

There is a new study out, reported in the New York Times, showing that the sons of highly successful black men fall backward on the socioeconomic scale more often than the sons of similarly successful white men. Of course, their headline screams, “Extensive Data Shows Punishing Reach of Racism for Black Boys.” Way to stoke the fires, guys!

Anyone who has paid attention to the black-white difference in IQ distribution will see this finding as a predictable consequence of innate differences between the races, combined with simple regression toward the mean. But the researchers did not include any data on cognitive ability in their study. That’s right, they did this impressive study, but they have no data on the IQ of the fathers and sons. As a result, they are unable objectively to confirm or refute the race-realist hypothesis. They simply wave it away in two paragraphs of tortured logic. There is a helpful summary of the main points of the study, but it is worth reading the whole thing.

The chief findings are as follows, with my comments:

  1. Hispanics are moving up the income distribution across generations, while blacks and American Indians are not.
  2. The black-white opportunity gap is driven entirely by differences in men’s, not women’s outcomes.
  3. Differences in family characteristics- parental marriage rates, education, wealth- and differences in ability [emphasis mine] explain very little of the black-white gap.

    On page 26 of the actual article, the authors explain why they think that innate differences in ability (such as IQ and trait conscientiousness) play no role. Black-white test gaps are similar for both sexes, but only men have different outcomes. To quote the actual text, “The fact that black women have incomes and wage rates comparable to white women conditional on parental income despite having lower test scores suggests that test scores do not provide an accurate measure of differences in ability (insofar as it is relevant to earnings) by race.” If you substitute the word “sex” for “race” the statement is correct. But as presented, it assumes that there are no differences in the kind of work done by men vs women and ignores the math/verbal skew of ability between the sexes, which becomes even more pronounced at the highest levels of proficiency. It also ignores the wider variance in male intelligence. There are more male geniuses and male idiots. Affirmative action and the hiring of large numbers of black women to government paper-shuffling jobs may also blunt the effect of an innate ability gap.

    What if super-high-achieving men have more demanding jobs (top professional, CEO, sports superstar) that require either a rarely high IQ or rarely high innate ability of some other kind? Wouldn’t the result of the next generation’s regression toward the mean be more striking than in the case of women working less mentally or physically demanding jobs? And wouldn’t regression from the tip-top of the black bell curve be more devastating than a fall from the upper slope of the white one? Consider the hypothetical case of two male physicians in the same medical group practice, one black, one white. Let’s say they have the same IQ, 135. If the mean IQ of American blacks is 85, and the mean IQ of whites is 100, regression toward the mean is going to be more striking in the black doctor’s son. If he falls to the center of his racial bell curve, he will drop 50 points, to a level well below average for the population as a whole, whereas the white doctor’s son will drop 35 points to merely average. If each dropped only half-way back, they would end up with IQ’s of 110 and 117.5, still a slight edge for the white kid.

  1. In 99% of U.S. neighborhoods, black boys earn less in adulthood than white boys who grew up in families with comparable income. The same comments apply.
  2. Both black and white boys have better outcomes in low-poverty areas, but black-white gaps are bigger in such neighborhoods. No surprise there. Depressed regions have poor employment opportunities. The authors conclude that “whites benefit more from living in such areas than blacks do.” Well, if there’s an innate performance difference, wouldn’t you expect it to be multiplied by roughly the same factor as the average income in the region? If wages (and cost of living) are 5 times as high in Manhattan as in Granville, NY, Joe can earn 20,000, and Mike can earn 40,000 in Granville; but in Manhattan, Joe Earns 100,000, and Mike earns 200,000. Both are earning 5 times as much, but the wage gap has also gone up by a factor of five.

    Interestingly, in the Southeast, the study found that whites had “especially low rates of upward mobility” but blacks did not. Could this finding be a result of removal of barriers to black advancement or imposition of discriminatory hiring practices against whites, or both?

  3. In low-poverty areas, black-white gaps are smallest in places with low levels of racial bias among whites and high rates of father presence among blacks. Naturally the authors confused correlation with causation and blamed bad outcomes for blacks on mean, bigoted white people. They did not disprove or apparently even consider the alternative explanation that where blacks are well-behaved (conforming to bourgeois norms such as “father presence”) and not too numerous, white people default to the socially programmed prejudice that race is only skin deep. Many of my contemporaries shared that prejudice until forced busing filled their schools with foul-mouthed, violent, larcenous black kids.
  4. The black-white gap is not immutable: black boys who move to better neighborhoods as children have significantly better outcomes. This finding may seem to conflict with number 4, but the point is that fatherless boys growing up amid rampant crime are at a disadvantage in life.

This idea seems intuitively correct, but the ever-brilliant JayMan has some information about overestimating the importance of parenting and environment.

Recommendations from the authors:

  1. Mentoring programs for black boys. Good. It can’t hurt and might help.
  2. Efforts to reduce racial bias among whites. Oh, Please! The ongoing propaganda campaign to “reduce racial bias among whites” is all-pervading. Until blacks behave better, we are looking at postjudice, an attitude based on careful evaluation of the evidence, not prejudice. And how about reducing black bias against whites?
  3. Interventions to reduce discrimination in criminal justice. How about equal pay for equal work and equal punishment for equal crime? Let the courts be scrupulously fair, and let the chips fall where they may. Until blacks (in the aggregate) clean up their act, the “impact” will be “disparate,” but nobody gets better by making excuses for himself and blaming his failings on others.
  4. Efforts to facilitate greater interaction across racial groups. There is a long and disastrous history of sanctimonious control freaks forcing “greater interaction.” They ruined the public schools, drove white people out of the cities, and set back by several generations what really appeared to be an emergence around 1960 of interracial understanding and harmony. I have an idea. Let people associate by choice. Allow communities and clubs to be mono-racial by covenant if they wish. For those who prefer a racially blended community or a mixed-race family, go ahead, and God bless you! Let’s not coerce anybody or make anybody wrong. And when we meet in day-to-day life as fellow mortals, let’s make an extra effort to be courteous, kind, and respectful.

FDR’s Four Freedoms as multicultural propaganda: No shortage of stale ideas to recycle on the left

March is a banner month for Cultural Marxism. Hard on the heels of National Geographic’s cover story denying the biological reality of race comes the latest issue of Smithsonian.

Smithsonian magazine features an immigration propaganda poster on its front cover. The image is a crude copy of Norman Rockwell’s “Freedom from Fear” painting. A Mesoamerican mother and father are tucking their two little brown children into bed. The lamp-lit stairs in the background of Rockwell’s painting have been replaced by a wall, a guard tower, and sinister armed guards with a dog. Note that the viewer is led to perceive reality not through the mature eyes of the parents of Rockwell’s America, who see a home full of warmth and light, but through the dark imaginings of a frightened child, for whom the bogeyman is real and is personified by the enforcers of our nation’s immigration laws. In case you missed the point, the artist is quoted as saying, “This [the U.S.A.] is where people come for refuge,” and “When you see a family at a detention center maybe you will ask, ‘Why do I have a dislike of immigrants?’”

Well, where to begin? Not with his question, to which Vdare readers already know the answers, but with the ways in which this smelly piece of recycled propaganda stinks.

First, let’s go back to the original series of paintings by Norman Rockwell. Limousine leftist and Democrat President-for-Life Franklin D. Roosevelt rolled out his anti-libertarian agenda in his 1941 State of the Union address. He detested the Bill of Rights, with its inconvenient restrictions on the power of the central government, and presented his “four freedoms” as a dumbed-down, big-government-friendly replacement. The context of the speech was that the Second World War was already under way, but the U.S. had not yet been dragged into it. Thus, he was able to wrap his poison pill in a sugar coating of patriotism by saying that these were the freedoms worth fighting for.

Norman Rockwell was already a famous illustrator for the Saturday Evening Post when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and the U.S. government began commissioning art for war posters, under the supervision of communist fellow-traveler Archibald MacLeish, who was then Librarian of Congress. Rockwell himself appears to have been apolitical, and there is no reason to believe that he had any idea of Roosevelt’s nefarious ideological intent.

Freedom of Speech is so 1940’s for today’s social justice warriors, but it’s okay if the speaker is a person of color. So, instead of a lone white dissenter in a New England town meeting, we are given a young black woman in silhouette, with pink hair (you see that from time to time, right?). From her mouth, pink origami birds are flying up. The birds bear fragmentary messages: future/ times up, me too/ equal/ pay, and a few shorter fragments, too short to recognize with certainty. This poster is rather pretty in its way and has the virtue of being the only one that is not simply a distempered copy of the original. It also answers the question: If an ideology is a fragment of a myth, and a slogan is a fragment of an ideology, what do you call a fragment of a slogan? A tweet.

Freedom of Worship is an ideological abridgement of the freedom of religion, because it implicitly confines it inside the church building. It also represents a diabolically clever splintering of the First Amendment, separating the protections of religion and speech. Rockwell painted seven people at prayer. A black man is in the back of the picture, top left, and a fellow who I understand is supposed to be Jewish in the front, bottom right. Rockwell usually used his Vermont neighbors as models, so he clearly made an effort here to include a mix of diverse types. The painter of the new version says, “In the original Freedom of Worship, the five figures in the center are all white. The fringes are people of color.” Wow! Jews can be people of color, except when they’re competing with blacks and Hispanics for school admissions. He goes on to say, “That’s what institutional racism is, when you fail to notice things like that.” The new painting includes only one definitely white face, that of a frail old man. Bye, bye, whitey!

But wait. Wasn’t this poster supposed to be about worship? Why bring race into it? Because the postmodern left is all about identity politics. As Jared Taylor has pointed out, churches are the most racially homogeneous places in America because they are the last refuge of freedom of association. Most people just naturally want to be with others like themselves. Rockwell attempted to depict people of different religions, but this race-obsessed artist has to serve us a racial tossed salad.

Freedom from want is nothing but carte blanche for the socialist welfare state. But instead of painting starving communists, Rockwell depicted a cheerful family dinner with grandma placing a big turkey on the table. The author of the Smithsonian article writes, “Rockwell laid out a Thanksgiving dinner, with a turkey so real-looking that it’s no surprise to learn that he later ate it.” He ate the painting of the turkey? That surprises me! The heaping platter in the hyper-realist revision is laden instead with vegetables. Three of the diners have an elbow on the table. A kid at the left front is wearing virtual reality goggles; the baby at right front is using some kind of electronic pad; and a laptop computer is simultaneously displaying a picture on its screen in front of him. Sis in the red dress gestures oddly; she ain’t right. Grandpa looks as if he’s taking a selfie of him, grandma, and the veggie platter. The house is lifeless. There are no pictures on the wall. This kitschy representation of an unappetizing dinner for disconnected, dysfunctional consumers is unsurprisingly the only one of the series in which all the characters are white. The artist reports that he painted his own family. On the bright side, he merely painted a creepy picture of them, instead of chopping them up with an axe, yet, as far as we know.

Freedom from fear eerily anticipates today’s incremental attrition of liberty in response to terrorist attacks, school shootings, and other infrequent horrors. Offensive speech is being called terrorism, and we know what happens to terrorists. If the government has a positive obligation to protect us from an emotion, there is nothing it can’t do. Beyond these obvious objections, Rockwell’s original painting embodies a psychological fallacy. Children do not overcome their fears by having Mommy and Daddy hover over their beds to protect them from the monster in the closet. They become brave by opening the closet and facing the monster. Failure to understand the harmfulness of overprotective parenting is writ large in the “protective” activities of the nanny state. Hey, why not get it over with and just lock everybody up in a padded cell?

Bonus points to Cuban boatlift boy Edel Rodriguez for adding the immigration-advocacy angle. There are lots of scary places in the world. If every fearful foreigner can come to the U.S.A. for a safe space, isn’t that a scary prospect for American citizens? Doesn’t the government have an obligation to protect us from the fear of having our relatively safe country transformed into Somalia? No? I thought not.

Just as the stale, dismal, murderous doctrine of communism has been repackaged in the glittering fluff of postmodernism, so too the bogus “freedoms” of FDR and the early 20th-century progressives are now reinterpreted by overtly anti-American, anti-constitutional artistic hacks. Norman Rockwell was not attuned to the nuances of politics and didn’t know he was being used as a propaganda tool, beyond the obvious hooray-for-our-side bombast of wartime. Maybe he’d get the point if he could see the latest take-off on his work.