Day: November 2, 2017

Should Gone with the Wind Go Away?


In the wake of increased PC attacks on Margaret Mitchell’s 1937 novel Gone With the Wind, I decided to undertake an ornery, contrarian, and politically incorrect action and plow through the novel’s 1,036 pages just for the heck of it, reacquainting myself with an acknowledged classic (which earned a Pulitzer Prize for the author) and hence be able to reflect on a cultural phenomenon with my own refreshed insights.

It is impossible to reflect on the novel without making some comparisons with its 1939 film adaptation. The film, of necessity, tightens the storyline and deletes certain characters (most notably Scarlett’s multiple children). The movie Mammy is a more dominating presence than in the novel but a similar towering moral force. Also missing from the film is the overt presence of the Ku Klux Klan in the Reconstruction period and the participation of Ashley Wilkes and Scarlett’s second husband, Frank Kennedy, in some of its activities. As far as the movie version is concerned, it defies any attempts that might be made to remake it, however uncomfortable some scenes might strike us today (Could anyone play Rhett Butler after Clark Gable? It’s difficult to imagine).      

The novel itself is long, but not tiresome. Mitchell moves her story along with lively dialogue and well-placed turning points. Whereas there is nothing poetic about Margaret Mitchell’s writing style, she was gifted in the area of dialogue. The conversations that take place between characters are vivid and energize the narrative, although today’s readers might take issue with, or be distressed by the “black-ese” accent with which the slave characters speak. Also, and most notably, objection will be made to the frequent use of the word “nigger,” employed by both white and black characters. Mitchell, as narrator of the story, does not use the word, although it is placed in the mouths of characters themselves (a given, inasmuch as it represents the usage as it would have occurred at the time of the story). As universal narrator, Mitchell uses the term “Negroes,” which in 1937 was not a derogatory concept, but represented a more-or-less neutral or even courteous reference to black people.

Is the novel racist? Certainly, it has elements that could reasonably be interpreted as such. However, it also presents a wider commentary on class-consciousness that is easily overlooked if we make race the one and only lens through which we read it. The ugly term “white trash” shows up frequently, and is put into the mouths of characters like Mammy, who despise poor whites like the Tara overseer Jonas Wilkerson. Is it too far out of the realm of possibility to understand that there might have been class pecking orders among the various nonaristocratic elements of Southern society of the 19th century? Indeed, GWTW plays heavily on the notions of “well-born” and “common” people in the social consciousness of people. I also observe that Margaret Mitchell does not seem to always present this aspect of society positively. Characters that represent the aristocratic plantation class or “proper” society take on aspects of triviality, incompetence beyond their pampered existence, or just plain silliness (e.g. Aunt Pitty). The false nature of the southern aristocratic culture is expressed powerfully in a dialogue between Ashley and Scarlett as they try to survive at Scarlett’s home, Tara, following the devastation of the Civil War. Wilkes knows that his pampered upbringing has left him prepared for little more than fox hunts and elegant barbeque get-togethers.

Rhett Butler’s cynical outlook offers up more overt indictments of the foolishness of southern life and the stupidity and futility of the “Glorious Cause.” Mitchell is often criticized for offering up propaganda for the antebellum southern culture. Reading the book, however, I found myself questioning this. There is just too much negative assessment of that culture, through some of the characterizations, dialogue, and Scarlett O’Hara’s own perspectives, to believe that Mitchell held onto a totally uncritical point of view. Yes, she hammers home the abuses of Reconstruction, and some of the characters yearn, pathetically, for the “old days” that have now gone. But I am not convinced that Margaret Mitchell is an uncritical propagandist for them on the basis of the text of this novel, however the book may have been used as such by southern admirers.

The two primary characters, Scarlett and Rhett, share a psychologically twisted relationship and are both reprehensible in interesting ways. Mitchell, of course, breaks them up at the novel’s conclusion with Butler’s iconic statement upon departing from her, “I don’t give a damn.” At that point, many readers might share the sentiment. Mitchell suggests a virtuous element in Butler lying beneath his flamboyant and rakish exterior, and this is brought out in his relationship to Scarlett’s children, Melanie Wilkes, and his own daughter Bonnie, who dies tragically and brings Rhett to grief bordering on insanity.

I found myself most intrigued by the novel’s characterization of Melanie Wilkes, the cousin and wife of Ashley Wilkes. In the movie, I find this character, as portrayed by Olivia de Haviland, quite annoying, just too good to be true, flawless and syrupy. The character of the novel, however, has more of an edge to her. She actually gets indignant, even angry, with people and also separates herself from family members (e.g. Ashley’s sister India) for spreading false allegations against Scarlett.

Mammy’s climactic scene, in both the novel and the movie, is in her appeal to Melanie to come talk with Rhett Butler, in the throes of his grief at the loss of his daughter. This scene, in the movie, is very moving and I am convinced it was the scene that put Hattie McDaniel over the top for the Oscar she received for her performance. Interestingly, I found the scene as presented in the novel highly moving as well, with Mitchell’s gift for dialogue ascending to great effect. Here, what some might find “racist” in the book — the presentation of the “black-ese” accents among the “darkies” — actually enhances the power of the scene. Mammy is a “simple” character. She’s a slave, now a loyal and free servant. She is not educated, and it is quite within reason to suppose that she did not speak “the King’s English.” But she is, here, a wisdom figure, almost an angel of salvation, as she explains to Melanie the cloud of insult and abuse that passes between Rhett and Scarlett, and how he is shattered to the core at Bonnie’s death. The distinctive dialect represented by Margaret Mitchell here goes beyond simple characterization or cartoonishness. It strengthens Mammy’s sense of character and humanity, fueling the pathos of this great scene.

In today’s culture, this novel would not gain any honors. Even its admirers will readily admit to its “flaws.” Yet it remains a compelling read, and it would be a loss should the censorious voices of sensitivity-advocacy succeed in deleting it from cultural memory. How ironic it would be, though, should contemporary controversy over it arouse a new visibility, born of curiosity, however guilty it may seem.           

In the wake of increased PC attacks on Margaret Mitchell’s 1937 novel Gone With the Wind, I decided to undertake an ornery, contrarian, and politically incorrect action and plow through the novel’s 1,036 pages just for the heck of it, reacquainting myself with an acknowledged classic (which earned a Pulitzer Prize for the author) and hence be able to reflect on a cultural phenomenon with my own refreshed insights.

It is impossible to reflect on the novel without making some comparisons with its 1939 film adaptation. The film, of necessity, tightens the storyline and deletes certain characters (most notably Scarlett’s multiple children). The movie Mammy is a more dominating presence than in the novel but a similar towering moral force. Also missing from the film is the overt presence of the Ku Klux Klan in the Reconstruction period and the participation of Ashley Wilkes and Scarlett’s second husband, Frank Kennedy, in some of its activities. As far as the movie version is concerned, it defies any attempts that might be made to remake it, however uncomfortable some scenes might strike us today (Could anyone play Rhett Butler after Clark Gable? It’s difficult to imagine).      

The novel itself is long, but not tiresome. Mitchell moves her story along with lively dialogue and well-placed turning points. Whereas there is nothing poetic about Margaret Mitchell’s writing style, she was gifted in the area of dialogue. The conversations that take place between characters are vivid and energize the narrative, although today’s readers might take issue with, or be distressed by the “black-ese” accent with which the slave characters speak. Also, and most notably, objection will be made to the frequent use of the word “nigger,” employed by both white and black characters. Mitchell, as narrator of the story, does not use the word, although it is placed in the mouths of characters themselves (a given, inasmuch as it represents the usage as it would have occurred at the time of the story). As universal narrator, Mitchell uses the term “Negroes,” which in 1937 was not a derogatory concept, but represented a more-or-less neutral or even courteous reference to black people.

Is the novel racist? Certainly, it has elements that could reasonably be interpreted as such. However, it also presents a wider commentary on class-consciousness that is easily overlooked if we make race the one and only lens through which we read it. The ugly term “white trash” shows up frequently, and is put into the mouths of characters like Mammy, who despise poor whites like the Tara overseer Jonas Wilkerson. Is it too far out of the realm of possibility to understand that there might have been class pecking orders among the various nonaristocratic elements of Southern society of the 19th century? Indeed, GWTW plays heavily on the notions of “well-born” and “common” people in the social consciousness of people. I also observe that Margaret Mitchell does not seem to always present this aspect of society positively. Characters that represent the aristocratic plantation class or “proper” society take on aspects of triviality, incompetence beyond their pampered existence, or just plain silliness (e.g. Aunt Pitty). The false nature of the southern aristocratic culture is expressed powerfully in a dialogue between Ashley and Scarlett as they try to survive at Scarlett’s home, Tara, following the devastation of the Civil War. Wilkes knows that his pampered upbringing has left him prepared for little more than fox hunts and elegant barbeque get-togethers.

Rhett Butler’s cynical outlook offers up more overt indictments of the foolishness of southern life and the stupidity and futility of the “Glorious Cause.” Mitchell is often criticized for offering up propaganda for the antebellum southern culture. Reading the book, however, I found myself questioning this. There is just too much negative assessment of that culture, through some of the characterizations, dialogue, and Scarlett O’Hara’s own perspectives, to believe that Mitchell held onto a totally uncritical point of view. Yes, she hammers home the abuses of Reconstruction, and some of the characters yearn, pathetically, for the “old days” that have now gone. But I am not convinced that Margaret Mitchell is an uncritical propagandist for them on the basis of the text of this novel, however the book may have been used as such by southern admirers.

The two primary characters, Scarlett and Rhett, share a psychologically twisted relationship and are both reprehensible in interesting ways. Mitchell, of course, breaks them up at the novel’s conclusion with Butler’s iconic statement upon departing from her, “I don’t give a damn.” At that point, many readers might share the sentiment. Mitchell suggests a virtuous element in Butler lying beneath his flamboyant and rakish exterior, and this is brought out in his relationship to Scarlett’s children, Melanie Wilkes, and his own daughter Bonnie, who dies tragically and brings Rhett to grief bordering on insanity.

I found myself most intrigued by the novel’s characterization of Melanie Wilkes, the cousin and wife of Ashley Wilkes. In the movie, I find this character, as portrayed by Olivia de Haviland, quite annoying, just too good to be true, flawless and syrupy. The character of the novel, however, has more of an edge to her. She actually gets indignant, even angry, with people and also separates herself from family members (e.g. Ashley’s sister India) for spreading false allegations against Scarlett.

Mammy’s climactic scene, in both the novel and the movie, is in her appeal to Melanie to come talk with Rhett Butler, in the throes of his grief at the loss of his daughter. This scene, in the movie, is very moving and I am convinced it was the scene that put Hattie McDaniel over the top for the Oscar she received for her performance. Interestingly, I found the scene as presented in the novel highly moving as well, with Mitchell’s gift for dialogue ascending to great effect. Here, what some might find “racist” in the book — the presentation of the “black-ese” accents among the “darkies” — actually enhances the power of the scene. Mammy is a “simple” character. She’s a slave, now a loyal and free servant. She is not educated, and it is quite within reason to suppose that she did not speak “the King’s English.” But she is, here, a wisdom figure, almost an angel of salvation, as she explains to Melanie the cloud of insult and abuse that passes between Rhett and Scarlett, and how he is shattered to the core at Bonnie’s death. The distinctive dialect represented by Margaret Mitchell here goes beyond simple characterization or cartoonishness. It strengthens Mammy’s sense of character and humanity, fueling the pathos of this great scene.

In today’s culture, this novel would not gain any honors. Even its admirers will readily admit to its “flaws.” Yet it remains a compelling read, and it would be a loss should the censorious voices of sensitivity-advocacy succeed in deleting it from cultural memory. How ironic it would be, though, should contemporary controversy over it arouse a new visibility, born of curiosity, however guilty it may seem.           



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The Ends Justify the Means…Sometimes


As the interminable, months-long Robert Mueller investigation on collusion between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia continues to wend its way to some unpredictable, unsatisfying conclusion, one is struck by the notion that there are wildly differing standards of acceptable behavior for the two parties at play here.

Trump’s unlikely, unforeseen victory over the Deserving Inevitable First Woman was met with what can only be described as horror and disbelief by Clinton’s hordes of see-no-evil supporters. Spearheaded by an unprecedented, non-stop attack by the liberal media, the goal of liberals everywhere has been to undermine Trump’s election victory and render illegitimate his presidency. It’s almost as if the liberal half of the country is waiting for the football equivalent of a “holding“ call that will negate the previous play. For the non-football-savvy, let’s paint the scenario: It’s a tight game. Time is running out. The Patriots need a big gain to keep their drive alive and hopefully score a touchdown. Under pressure and narrowly eluding tackle, Tom Brady completes a long pass to a Patriots receiver who scores the game-winning touchdown as time expires. Game over. Patriots win.

Not so fast. The on-field referee signals a foul against the Patriots — “holding.” The Patriots’ game-winning touchdown is called back and the Patriots are assessed a penalty instead. The game is not over. The Patriots do not win.

This is what Hillary’s supporters have been hoping for ever since election night: that somehow, Trump’s victory would be officially negated and disallowed, giving Hillary the win. The liberal media, her party and the 60+ million who voted for her just cannot — will not — accept the outcome of a fair, democratic election. Had she won, the election would have been fair and democratic to them. But since Trump won, the result must be invalid, the process fraudulent.

The Democrats’ first tack was the popular vote gambit. Hillary supposedly “won” the national popular vote by 2.8 million. This proves to them that she actually won the presidency and Trump’s win is bogus. Of course, there was no contest for the national popular vote, therefore it’s not something that either Clinton or Trump could have won or lost. No game was played. Hillary’s four million-vote margin in CA overcame Trump’s one million-vote margin in the rest of the country and gave her the overall popular vote margin, but that’s meaningless. The 2016 election is Exhibit A in explaining why we have an Electoral College system of determining the winner: so that populous, overwhelmingly one-sided states — like California — can’t determine the election results over the tightly-contested intent and wishes of the rest of the country.

Trump’s popular vote margin in the other 49 states (1 million+) was fairly big by recent standards. Remember, in the close, controversial 2000 election, the big brouhaha was that Al Gore beat George W. Bush by 500,000 votes nationally, yet Bush won the Electoral College. Trump’s margin in 49 states was double what Gore’s was. However, in the intervening 16 years, California has moved so far to the Left that the Democrats’ numerical vote margin there is utterly unrepresentative of the country as a whole.

There were predictable calls by many Democrats to “Abolish the Electoral College” following Hillary’s loss. Lost upon their simplistic thinking is the fact that a national contest based upon the raw countrywide popular vote would engender completely different campaign strategies on the part of the contestants. Republicans would spend far more time and money in California and other liberal states (like MA and NY) than they do now, when the outcome in the liberal state is a forgone conclusion. If the goal was to maximize Republican voter turnout and the numerical vote total, they would campaign accordingly. It’s highly likely that the Democrats’ normal huge CA margin would be reduced considerably. At this point in American demographic/immigration history, the Democrats would still win California. But by four million votes? Doubtful. In a popular vote contest, all bets would be off. That’s a completely different game, and that game was not played in 2016.

The Electoral College game was played in 2016. Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Florida — states that Barack Obama won easily in 2008 and 2012 — were won by Donald Trump in 2016. There had to be some nefarious outside factor that caused this. Donald Trump could not have beaten Hillary Clinton in a legitimate, head-to-head contest among the American people. He could only have won by cheating. He obviously colluded with the Russians and they “influenced” our election process and swung the results over to Trump. Exactly how the Russians did this — the precise mechanism of Russian interference, the exact counties that they forced into the Trump column that would have otherwise gone to Hillary, how and where those counties added up into state wins for Trump, which states they were, by how many votes — none of that is ever specified. It’s all covered by a blanket, vague, all-accusing charge of “collusion.”

And so, this nebulous, amorphous, unprovable-therefore-undeniable charge of “collusion” (itself an undefinable, we’ll-know-it-when-we-see-it charge) has taken hold among the Democratic Party, buttressed and supported by the liberal media. The popular vote vs. Electoral College angle is a dead end: That Electoral College is our law, black and white, it’s happened before, there’s no fruit to be gotten from that tree. The Democrats dropped that approach pretty fast, after their obligatory howls of the College’s inherent unfairness.

But collusion? That is a great vein of anti-Trump publicity gold, just begging to be mined again and again. With the liberal media’s help, the Democrats have pushed the Trump administration into appointing an “independent counsel” — Democratic partisan Robert Mueller — to investigate the matter of the Trump campaign’s collusion with the Russians.

For 11 months, no evidence of Trump-Russia collusion has been uncovered. None. Mueller has stacked his staff with rabid Democratic operatives, but they’ve still not unearthed anything concrete having to do with Trump, the Russians, or the election. In almost a year of frenzied, intense searching, the Democrats have found nothing of substance directly tied to Trump.

However, now it has come to light that Hillary herself engaged in, um, “highly-questionable pre-election behavior” with the Russians, Uranium One and with her so-called charitable Clinton Foundation. It looks as if the Foundation was a pay-to-play scheme designed mostly to launder money and line the Clintons’ pockets. We can thank the “secondary media world” of Fox News and some social media corners for this new information. Certainly the “primary” mainstream liberal media world of the networks, CNN, GMA, the major papers, late night TV, Trending on FB, etc. don’t want to touch this.

(Definitions: “Secondary” media is a media source that must be intentionally sought out. No one sees or hears Fox News or Rush by accident. “Primary” media is media that reaches everyone, whether they seek it out or not: The TV at the gym or airport (CNN). The NY Times thrown on the breakroom table at work. Late night TV. Everyone is reached by some “primary” liberal media, but “secondary” conservative media only reaches those who seek it out. Huge difference.)

For the Democrats and their allies in the liberal media, no amount of unethical behavior is too much or out of bounds as long as it results in a Democratic win. There is no type or amount of cooperation with a hostile foreign adversary that is deemed unacceptable as long as the liberal politician wins. No potential crime is pursued, no Independent Counsel is appointed, there are no breathless ‘above the fold’ or top-of-the-hour breaking stories of supposed wrongdoing when it’s a liberal politician in question. For Democrats, in the eyes of the liberal media, the ends always justify the means. To them, no matter how shady the Democrat’s means, the end result of a Republican winning high office is just too unacceptable to let a Democrat’s questionable ethics, inconsistency or immorality stand in the way. For example, there is virtually no primary liberal media coverage of the corruption trial of Democratic Senator Robert Menendez. Because he’s a Democrat, the average person hears nothing about this matter. The liberal media always protect the Democratic ‘brand.’

Hillary can sell our country’s nuclear security to our mortal foreign adversary and line her pockets with ill-gotten fortune, as long as she’s elected president and preserves racial/ethnic/gender quotas, allows illegal immigration, and continues to allow unfettered access to late-term abortion. To the liberal media, any behavior on her part that enables those outcomes is fine.

The standards to which conventional Republican candidates are held by the liberal media are quite different than the standards to which Democratic candidates for high-level national office are held. The standards for “unconventional” Republican candidates — like Donald Trump — are not only different, they’re pretty much nonexistent. The liberal media seemingly make up the “standards” for Trump as they go along, their only goal being that they can always point to Trump falling short of their ever-moving target. Republicans would do well to recognize what kind of candidate they have at any given time and conduct themselves accordingly in a pre-emptive fashion.

As the interminable, months-long Robert Mueller investigation on collusion between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia continues to wend its way to some unpredictable, unsatisfying conclusion, one is struck by the notion that there are wildly differing standards of acceptable behavior for the two parties at play here.

Trump’s unlikely, unforeseen victory over the Deserving Inevitable First Woman was met with what can only be described as horror and disbelief by Clinton’s hordes of see-no-evil supporters. Spearheaded by an unprecedented, non-stop attack by the liberal media, the goal of liberals everywhere has been to undermine Trump’s election victory and render illegitimate his presidency. It’s almost as if the liberal half of the country is waiting for the football equivalent of a “holding“ call that will negate the previous play. For the non-football-savvy, let’s paint the scenario: It’s a tight game. Time is running out. The Patriots need a big gain to keep their drive alive and hopefully score a touchdown. Under pressure and narrowly eluding tackle, Tom Brady completes a long pass to a Patriots receiver who scores the game-winning touchdown as time expires. Game over. Patriots win.

Not so fast. The on-field referee signals a foul against the Patriots — “holding.” The Patriots’ game-winning touchdown is called back and the Patriots are assessed a penalty instead. The game is not over. The Patriots do not win.

This is what Hillary’s supporters have been hoping for ever since election night: that somehow, Trump’s victory would be officially negated and disallowed, giving Hillary the win. The liberal media, her party and the 60+ million who voted for her just cannot — will not — accept the outcome of a fair, democratic election. Had she won, the election would have been fair and democratic to them. But since Trump won, the result must be invalid, the process fraudulent.

The Democrats’ first tack was the popular vote gambit. Hillary supposedly “won” the national popular vote by 2.8 million. This proves to them that she actually won the presidency and Trump’s win is bogus. Of course, there was no contest for the national popular vote, therefore it’s not something that either Clinton or Trump could have won or lost. No game was played. Hillary’s four million-vote margin in CA overcame Trump’s one million-vote margin in the rest of the country and gave her the overall popular vote margin, but that’s meaningless. The 2016 election is Exhibit A in explaining why we have an Electoral College system of determining the winner: so that populous, overwhelmingly one-sided states — like California — can’t determine the election results over the tightly-contested intent and wishes of the rest of the country.

Trump’s popular vote margin in the other 49 states (1 million+) was fairly big by recent standards. Remember, in the close, controversial 2000 election, the big brouhaha was that Al Gore beat George W. Bush by 500,000 votes nationally, yet Bush won the Electoral College. Trump’s margin in 49 states was double what Gore’s was. However, in the intervening 16 years, California has moved so far to the Left that the Democrats’ numerical vote margin there is utterly unrepresentative of the country as a whole.

There were predictable calls by many Democrats to “Abolish the Electoral College” following Hillary’s loss. Lost upon their simplistic thinking is the fact that a national contest based upon the raw countrywide popular vote would engender completely different campaign strategies on the part of the contestants. Republicans would spend far more time and money in California and other liberal states (like MA and NY) than they do now, when the outcome in the liberal state is a forgone conclusion. If the goal was to maximize Republican voter turnout and the numerical vote total, they would campaign accordingly. It’s highly likely that the Democrats’ normal huge CA margin would be reduced considerably. At this point in American demographic/immigration history, the Democrats would still win California. But by four million votes? Doubtful. In a popular vote contest, all bets would be off. That’s a completely different game, and that game was not played in 2016.

The Electoral College game was played in 2016. Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Florida — states that Barack Obama won easily in 2008 and 2012 — were won by Donald Trump in 2016. There had to be some nefarious outside factor that caused this. Donald Trump could not have beaten Hillary Clinton in a legitimate, head-to-head contest among the American people. He could only have won by cheating. He obviously colluded with the Russians and they “influenced” our election process and swung the results over to Trump. Exactly how the Russians did this — the precise mechanism of Russian interference, the exact counties that they forced into the Trump column that would have otherwise gone to Hillary, how and where those counties added up into state wins for Trump, which states they were, by how many votes — none of that is ever specified. It’s all covered by a blanket, vague, all-accusing charge of “collusion.”

And so, this nebulous, amorphous, unprovable-therefore-undeniable charge of “collusion” (itself an undefinable, we’ll-know-it-when-we-see-it charge) has taken hold among the Democratic Party, buttressed and supported by the liberal media. The popular vote vs. Electoral College angle is a dead end: That Electoral College is our law, black and white, it’s happened before, there’s no fruit to be gotten from that tree. The Democrats dropped that approach pretty fast, after their obligatory howls of the College’s inherent unfairness.

But collusion? That is a great vein of anti-Trump publicity gold, just begging to be mined again and again. With the liberal media’s help, the Democrats have pushed the Trump administration into appointing an “independent counsel” — Democratic partisan Robert Mueller — to investigate the matter of the Trump campaign’s collusion with the Russians.

For 11 months, no evidence of Trump-Russia collusion has been uncovered. None. Mueller has stacked his staff with rabid Democratic operatives, but they’ve still not unearthed anything concrete having to do with Trump, the Russians, or the election. In almost a year of frenzied, intense searching, the Democrats have found nothing of substance directly tied to Trump.

However, now it has come to light that Hillary herself engaged in, um, “highly-questionable pre-election behavior” with the Russians, Uranium One and with her so-called charitable Clinton Foundation. It looks as if the Foundation was a pay-to-play scheme designed mostly to launder money and line the Clintons’ pockets. We can thank the “secondary media world” of Fox News and some social media corners for this new information. Certainly the “primary” mainstream liberal media world of the networks, CNN, GMA, the major papers, late night TV, Trending on FB, etc. don’t want to touch this.

(Definitions: “Secondary” media is a media source that must be intentionally sought out. No one sees or hears Fox News or Rush by accident. “Primary” media is media that reaches everyone, whether they seek it out or not: The TV at the gym or airport (CNN). The NY Times thrown on the breakroom table at work. Late night TV. Everyone is reached by some “primary” liberal media, but “secondary” conservative media only reaches those who seek it out. Huge difference.)

For the Democrats and their allies in the liberal media, no amount of unethical behavior is too much or out of bounds as long as it results in a Democratic win. There is no type or amount of cooperation with a hostile foreign adversary that is deemed unacceptable as long as the liberal politician wins. No potential crime is pursued, no Independent Counsel is appointed, there are no breathless ‘above the fold’ or top-of-the-hour breaking stories of supposed wrongdoing when it’s a liberal politician in question. For Democrats, in the eyes of the liberal media, the ends always justify the means. To them, no matter how shady the Democrat’s means, the end result of a Republican winning high office is just too unacceptable to let a Democrat’s questionable ethics, inconsistency or immorality stand in the way. For example, there is virtually no primary liberal media coverage of the corruption trial of Democratic Senator Robert Menendez. Because he’s a Democrat, the average person hears nothing about this matter. The liberal media always protect the Democratic ‘brand.’

Hillary can sell our country’s nuclear security to our mortal foreign adversary and line her pockets with ill-gotten fortune, as long as she’s elected president and preserves racial/ethnic/gender quotas, allows illegal immigration, and continues to allow unfettered access to late-term abortion. To the liberal media, any behavior on her part that enables those outcomes is fine.

The standards to which conventional Republican candidates are held by the liberal media are quite different than the standards to which Democratic candidates for high-level national office are held. The standards for “unconventional” Republican candidates — like Donald Trump — are not only different, they’re pretty much nonexistent. The liberal media seemingly make up the “standards” for Trump as they go along, their only goal being that they can always point to Trump falling short of their ever-moving target. Republicans would do well to recognize what kind of candidate they have at any given time and conduct themselves accordingly in a pre-emptive fashion.



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A Simple Way for Trump to Slow the Tide of Illegal Immigrants


Illegal immigration has temporarily taken a back seat to the latest social justice and #NeverTrump campaigns of NFL kneelers and rodeo clown congresswomen listening in on the president’s calls to the families of fallen soldiers.

Lots can still happen in the back seat, as many teenagers know. Border wall prototypes are being developed and illegal immigration is down, just because of the new sheriff in Washington, D.C.

Consequences of illegal immigration have not abated, however, as evidenced by a recent story from Boston. “Sreynuon Lunn, under arrest for the beating of an elderly woman in a wheelchair while robbing her of $2,000 cash.”

This career criminal from Cambodia was left alone because, “Law enforcement had no right to arrest or detain Lunn or anyone else at the request of Federal immigration authorities, pursuant to a civil immigration order.” So there. A win for social justice. A big loss for the elderly woman.

Also in Boston, an African immigrant with a resume of two violent bank robberies received, “a nine-month wrist slap so that he wouldn’t be deported.” Nine months behind bars to plan his next bank robbery and bad luck for future victims of his violence.

Then there was this week’s truck-driving terrorist in Manhattan, entering the U.S. under a “diversity VISA program.”  Attention diverted from the Mueller indictment circus to real life consequences of U.S. immigration policy. The only diversity is in the methods of killing Americans. From airplanes and guns to vehicles.

No sooner did President Trump, under his presidential authority, issue an executive order limiting travel from “countries of concern,” as the Obama administration described them, a liberal judge issued a temporary stay, negating the President’s constitutional prerogative. Aside from the separation of powers bit, which to the left is a one-way street only applicable when benefiting their agenda, there are the real-life consequences of a feckless and irresponsible immigration policy.

One could ask Kate Steinle, if she was still alive, what happens when a multiple-times deported felon continues to return to the U.S. after each deportation, only to be protected in one of 300 sanctuary cities in the U.S.

Kate didn’t survive in the world of liberal judges and Democrat legislators, safe from the folly of their judicial fiats and legislation. Short of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his Department of Justice enforcing the law, seriously and with teeth, another approach might be simpler and more effective. One requiring only a memo from the president to the Department of Homeland Security and a few other relevant agencies.

Simply settle refugees and illegal immigrants in sanctuary cities. More specifically into the progressive, virtue-signaling neighborhoods that liberal judges and politicians call home.

The U.S. District Court judge blocking Trump’s first travel ban earlier this year is from Seattle. How about settling a few busloads of refugees in Bellevue, Mercer Island or whatever neighborhood the judge lives in? I’m sure he would be perfectly comfortable with Syrian or Somalian “youth” or unvetted migrants from Central America roaming the same streets where his wife goes for her morning walk, or his kids or grandkids walk to school.

 

The Ninth Circuit Court in San Francisco is also known for replacing the Constitution with social justice, creating their own laws based on what feels fair and virtuous at the moment. San Francisco is already a sanctuary city, but why not double down?

Dreamers crossing our southern border should be placed on a bus and dropped off in Berkeley, Nob Hill or Silicon Valley. Residents of these safe enclaves can graduate from virtue-signaling to walking the walk, welcoming the masses into their neighborhoods. Roaming the parks where their kids play, frequenting the malls where their families shop.

Let’s not forget the college towns. Boulder, Ithaca, Ann Arbor, Cambridge or Durham. Include Manhattan, Brooklyn, Hyde Park and Georgetown, neighborhoods where most residents believe Trump is a white supremacist, racist pig for proposing sensible limits on immigration.

This is the NIMBY approach, not in my backyard. If you want liberal policies then live with their consequences. First hand, not from a well-policed enclave with a high wall or fence around your home. Live it in your own backyard. Not Kate Steinle’s backyard. Or that of the elderly lady in Boston.

Liberals never want to live under the rules they want the hoi polloi to experience. Remember the wind farm in Nantucket Sound that was blocked by Ted Kennedy as it cluttered the view from his Hyannis Port compound? Mess up the view in somebody else’s backyard but not in the Kennedy’s.

Senator Rand Paul proposed something similar, a constitutional amendment no less. The premise was simple. “Congress shall make no law applicable to a citizen of the United States that is not equally applicable to Congress.” Call it the “what’s good for the goose is good for the gander” amendment. Apply it to judges as well through executive branch directives.

Would things change? You bet. Judges, perched upon their moral high horses, are quick to decree that the country see the world as they do, especially when it comes to social justice issues. Judges have legislated abortion and same-sex marriage without the constitutional authority to do so based on the Tenth Amendment. There is little consequence to most of us with these decisions.

On immigration, however, their decisions have life or death consequences to many, including Kate Steinle. If an illegal immigrant or unvetted refugee raped or murdered a family member of a judge, representative or senator, you can bet the moralizing would be replaced by outrage and reconsideration of dangerous policies and judicial rulings.

Why should the elite be immune from the effects of their actions? Simply settle refugees and illegal immigrants into liberal neighborhoods and watch how quickly the virtue signalers develop a new attitude and demand existing immigration law be vigorously enforced.

 

Brian C. Joondeph, MD, MPS, a Denver based physician and writer. Follow him on Facebook,  LinkedIn and Twitter.

 

Illegal immigration has temporarily taken a back seat to the latest social justice and #NeverTrump campaigns of NFL kneelers and rodeo clown congresswomen listening in on the president’s calls to the families of fallen soldiers.

Lots can still happen in the back seat, as many teenagers know. Border wall prototypes are being developed and illegal immigration is down, just because of the new sheriff in Washington, D.C.

Consequences of illegal immigration have not abated, however, as evidenced by a recent story from Boston. “Sreynuon Lunn, under arrest for the beating of an elderly woman in a wheelchair while robbing her of $2,000 cash.”

This career criminal from Cambodia was left alone because, “Law enforcement had no right to arrest or detain Lunn or anyone else at the request of Federal immigration authorities, pursuant to a civil immigration order.” So there. A win for social justice. A big loss for the elderly woman.

Also in Boston, an African immigrant with a resume of two violent bank robberies received, “a nine-month wrist slap so that he wouldn’t be deported.” Nine months behind bars to plan his next bank robbery and bad luck for future victims of his violence.

Then there was this week’s truck-driving terrorist in Manhattan, entering the U.S. under a “diversity VISA program.”  Attention diverted from the Mueller indictment circus to real life consequences of U.S. immigration policy. The only diversity is in the methods of killing Americans. From airplanes and guns to vehicles.

No sooner did President Trump, under his presidential authority, issue an executive order limiting travel from “countries of concern,” as the Obama administration described them, a liberal judge issued a temporary stay, negating the President’s constitutional prerogative. Aside from the separation of powers bit, which to the left is a one-way street only applicable when benefiting their agenda, there are the real-life consequences of a feckless and irresponsible immigration policy.

One could ask Kate Steinle, if she was still alive, what happens when a multiple-times deported felon continues to return to the U.S. after each deportation, only to be protected in one of 300 sanctuary cities in the U.S.

Kate didn’t survive in the world of liberal judges and Democrat legislators, safe from the folly of their judicial fiats and legislation. Short of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his Department of Justice enforcing the law, seriously and with teeth, another approach might be simpler and more effective. One requiring only a memo from the president to the Department of Homeland Security and a few other relevant agencies.

Simply settle refugees and illegal immigrants in sanctuary cities. More specifically into the progressive, virtue-signaling neighborhoods that liberal judges and politicians call home.

The U.S. District Court judge blocking Trump’s first travel ban earlier this year is from Seattle. How about settling a few busloads of refugees in Bellevue, Mercer Island or whatever neighborhood the judge lives in? I’m sure he would be perfectly comfortable with Syrian or Somalian “youth” or unvetted migrants from Central America roaming the same streets where his wife goes for her morning walk, or his kids or grandkids walk to school.

 

The Ninth Circuit Court in San Francisco is also known for replacing the Constitution with social justice, creating their own laws based on what feels fair and virtuous at the moment. San Francisco is already a sanctuary city, but why not double down?

Dreamers crossing our southern border should be placed on a bus and dropped off in Berkeley, Nob Hill or Silicon Valley. Residents of these safe enclaves can graduate from virtue-signaling to walking the walk, welcoming the masses into their neighborhoods. Roaming the parks where their kids play, frequenting the malls where their families shop.

Let’s not forget the college towns. Boulder, Ithaca, Ann Arbor, Cambridge or Durham. Include Manhattan, Brooklyn, Hyde Park and Georgetown, neighborhoods where most residents believe Trump is a white supremacist, racist pig for proposing sensible limits on immigration.

This is the NIMBY approach, not in my backyard. If you want liberal policies then live with their consequences. First hand, not from a well-policed enclave with a high wall or fence around your home. Live it in your own backyard. Not Kate Steinle’s backyard. Or that of the elderly lady in Boston.

Liberals never want to live under the rules they want the hoi polloi to experience. Remember the wind farm in Nantucket Sound that was blocked by Ted Kennedy as it cluttered the view from his Hyannis Port compound? Mess up the view in somebody else’s backyard but not in the Kennedy’s.

Senator Rand Paul proposed something similar, a constitutional amendment no less. The premise was simple. “Congress shall make no law applicable to a citizen of the United States that is not equally applicable to Congress.” Call it the “what’s good for the goose is good for the gander” amendment. Apply it to judges as well through executive branch directives.

Would things change? You bet. Judges, perched upon their moral high horses, are quick to decree that the country see the world as they do, especially when it comes to social justice issues. Judges have legislated abortion and same-sex marriage without the constitutional authority to do so based on the Tenth Amendment. There is little consequence to most of us with these decisions.

On immigration, however, their decisions have life or death consequences to many, including Kate Steinle. If an illegal immigrant or unvetted refugee raped or murdered a family member of a judge, representative or senator, you can bet the moralizing would be replaced by outrage and reconsideration of dangerous policies and judicial rulings.

Why should the elite be immune from the effects of their actions? Simply settle refugees and illegal immigrants into liberal neighborhoods and watch how quickly the virtue signalers develop a new attitude and demand existing immigration law be vigorously enforced.

 

Brian C. Joondeph, MD, MPS, a Denver based physician and writer. Follow him on Facebook,  LinkedIn and Twitter.

 



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NYC Victims Lost Schumer's Diversity Visa Lottery


Maybe now, Democratic liberals will see the folly of giving illegal aliens drivers licenses on the false premise that it makes us all safer. And maybe liberal judges from Hawaii will think again about the wisdom of Trump’s travel ban and desire to switch to a merit-based immigration system.

Sayfullo Saipov was not an illegal alien and his home country of Uzbekistan was not on the travel ban list of countries, but his presence here to kill and maim American citizens speaks to another idiotic immigration program — the diversity visa lottery created by the same Sen. Chuck Schumer who cried about the cruelty of Trump’s travel ban amidst a bevy of aliens from central casting. He is now free to shed a tear for the victims of his program:

“The terrorist came into our country through what is called the ‘Diversity Visa Lottery Program,’ a Chuck Schumer beauty. I want merit based,” Trump tweeted. “We are fighting hard for Merit Based immigration, no more Democrat Lottery Systems. We must get MUCH tougher (and smarter).”


The DV program makes up to 50,000 immigrant visas available annually, “drawn from random selection among all entries to individuals who are from countries with low rates of immigration” to the U.S., according to the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services website. Applicants must prove they have a clean criminal record, have a high school diploma or its equivalent, or have at least two years of work experience within the past five years in order to qualify.


The program originated as part of a bill introduced in 1990 by Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., then a member of the House. Schumer’s measure to make a set number of visas available to “diversity immigrants” from certain countries was absorbed into a larger House immigration bill, which was sponsored by Schumer and 31 others, including several Republicans. 

That President George H.W. Bush signed the package including Schumer’s program into law is being used by liberals to spread the blame. It still remains Schumer’s program. President George W. Bush is famous for saying compassion doesn’t stop at the border, but neither does common sense. We need more security, not more diversity.

Some say we shouldn’t bar people based on their country of origin or even their religion. Yet there are not many Swedish Baptists driving trucks into pedestrian crowds. And what kind of immigration system uses a lottery to admit immigrants. That’s playing Russian roulette with the lives of American citizens.

Schumer famously shed tears when he denounced President Trump’s travel ban, saying it would makes us “less safe.”

Schumer, standing alongside refugees, called on the Senate to vote on legislation blocking Trump’s order.


Choking back tears, Schumer called the order “mean-spirited and un-American.”


“These orders go against what America has always been about. The orders make us less humanitarian, less safe, less American,” Schumer said.

How he figured that remains a mystery: Trump’s travel ban and other immigration proposals have been called cruel but what is more cruel than pedestrians and bicyclists being run down by someone who was admitted to this country through a lottery?

Immigration is a privilege and not a right. Nobody has a constitutional right to be here and no matter what some liberal judge may say constitutional protections do not extend to noncitizens overseas. And certainly, admission to the United States should not be a prize won in a lottery.

Time after time, terrorists have exploited our compassion to come here to kill us. In San Bernardino, one of the terrorists arrived using what is called a marriage visa to unite with her husband-to-be in a plot to commit murder, something which prompted some too call for a review of our visa programs:

The suspect, Tashfeen Malik, came to the U.S. on a special K-1 visa last year, raising new questions about potential vulnerabilities in the immigration system.


That special K-1 visa allows foreigners to come to America to marry a U.S. citizen…


“In light of the renewed terrorist threat, we need to take a look at our entire visa program to enhance our national security. This incident highlights the very real security threat throughout the system,” Rep. Luke Messer (R-Ind.), the GOP Policy Committee chairman and a member of leadership, told The Hill on Friday.


“Experts in the field now say that terrorists recognize that passports, visas and immigration documents are now weapons in the war on terror.”

Indeed, they do. So did the Tsarnaev brothers, whose family came here under the guise of fleeing persecution and seeking political asylum:

The Tsarnaev brothers reportedly were granted asylum by “derivative” status through their parents. After entering on short-term tourist visas, the mother and father (an ethnic Chechen Muslim) won asylum and acquired U.S. citizenship. Next, younger son Dzhokhar obtained U.S. citizenship. Older son Tamerlan, whose naturalization application was pending, traveled freely between the U.S. and the jihad recruitment zone of Dagestan, Russia, last year before the bombers’ gunfight in Watertown, Mass., last week left the Muslim terrorist dead.


Though they had convinced the U.S. that they faced deadly persecution, the Tsarnaevs’ parents both returned to their native land and were there when their sons launched last week’s terror rampage. Authorities will not reveal any details of the sob stories the Tsarnaevs originally spun to win asylum benefits for the entire family.

Marriage visas, political asylum seekers, and lotteries sound good and compassionate, but they can let in killers and the terrorists who know how to game the system. Many of the holes in our politically correct but suicidal immigration system would be plugged by the Reforming Immigration For A Strong Economy or RAISE Act currently pending in Congress:

In the wake of Tuesday’s terror attack in New York City, U.S. Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) is touting the proposed RAISE Act that has garnered the support of President Donald Trump.


The plan, authored by Perdue and U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), would eliminate the diversity visa that granted entrance to Sayfullo Saipov, 29, who is suspected of killing killed eight people by plowing his rented truck into a bicycle path in Lower Manhattan…


Besides eliminating the visa lottery, Perdue and Cotton said the RAISE Act would:


•Replace the current permanent employment-visa system with a skills-based points system, akin to the systems used by Canada and Australia. The system would prioritize those immigrants who are best positioned to succeed in the United States and expand the economy. Applicants earn points based on education, English-language ability, high-paying job offers, age, record of extraordinary achievement, and entrepreneurial initiative.


•Retain immigration preferences for the spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents while eliminating preferences for certain categories of extended and adult family members.


•Eliminate the diversity visa lottery.


•Limit refugees offered permanent residency to 50,000 per year, in line with a 13-year average.

As President Ronald Reagan said, a country without borders is not a country. We are a nation of immigrants, but legal and invited immigrants who want to become Americans, not kill Americans. End Schumer’s diversity visa lottery, pass the RAISE Act, and hand Chuck Schumer a hankie to cry into.

Daniel John Sobieski is a freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in Investor’s Business Daily, Human Events, Reason Magazine and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.               

Maybe now, Democratic liberals will see the folly of giving illegal aliens drivers licenses on the false premise that it makes us all safer. And maybe liberal judges from Hawaii will think again about the wisdom of Trump’s travel ban and desire to switch to a merit-based immigration system.

Sayfullo Saipov was not an illegal alien and his home country of Uzbekistan was not on the travel ban list of countries, but his presence here to kill and maim American citizens speaks to another idiotic immigration program — the diversity visa lottery created by the same Sen. Chuck Schumer who cried about the cruelty of Trump’s travel ban amidst a bevy of aliens from central casting. He is now free to shed a tear for the victims of his program:

“The terrorist came into our country through what is called the ‘Diversity Visa Lottery Program,’ a Chuck Schumer beauty. I want merit based,” Trump tweeted. “We are fighting hard for Merit Based immigration, no more Democrat Lottery Systems. We must get MUCH tougher (and smarter).”


The DV program makes up to 50,000 immigrant visas available annually, “drawn from random selection among all entries to individuals who are from countries with low rates of immigration” to the U.S., according to the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services website. Applicants must prove they have a clean criminal record, have a high school diploma or its equivalent, or have at least two years of work experience within the past five years in order to qualify.


The program originated as part of a bill introduced in 1990 by Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., then a member of the House. Schumer’s measure to make a set number of visas available to “diversity immigrants” from certain countries was absorbed into a larger House immigration bill, which was sponsored by Schumer and 31 others, including several Republicans. 

That President George H.W. Bush signed the package including Schumer’s program into law is being used by liberals to spread the blame. It still remains Schumer’s program. President George W. Bush is famous for saying compassion doesn’t stop at the border, but neither does common sense. We need more security, not more diversity.

Some say we shouldn’t bar people based on their country of origin or even their religion. Yet there are not many Swedish Baptists driving trucks into pedestrian crowds. And what kind of immigration system uses a lottery to admit immigrants. That’s playing Russian roulette with the lives of American citizens.

Schumer famously shed tears when he denounced President Trump’s travel ban, saying it would makes us “less safe.”

Schumer, standing alongside refugees, called on the Senate to vote on legislation blocking Trump’s order.


Choking back tears, Schumer called the order “mean-spirited and un-American.”


“These orders go against what America has always been about. The orders make us less humanitarian, less safe, less American,” Schumer said.

How he figured that remains a mystery: Trump’s travel ban and other immigration proposals have been called cruel but what is more cruel than pedestrians and bicyclists being run down by someone who was admitted to this country through a lottery?

Immigration is a privilege and not a right. Nobody has a constitutional right to be here and no matter what some liberal judge may say constitutional protections do not extend to noncitizens overseas. And certainly, admission to the United States should not be a prize won in a lottery.

Time after time, terrorists have exploited our compassion to come here to kill us. In San Bernardino, one of the terrorists arrived using what is called a marriage visa to unite with her husband-to-be in a plot to commit murder, something which prompted some too call for a review of our visa programs:

The suspect, Tashfeen Malik, came to the U.S. on a special K-1 visa last year, raising new questions about potential vulnerabilities in the immigration system.


That special K-1 visa allows foreigners to come to America to marry a U.S. citizen…


“In light of the renewed terrorist threat, we need to take a look at our entire visa program to enhance our national security. This incident highlights the very real security threat throughout the system,” Rep. Luke Messer (R-Ind.), the GOP Policy Committee chairman and a member of leadership, told The Hill on Friday.


“Experts in the field now say that terrorists recognize that passports, visas and immigration documents are now weapons in the war on terror.”

Indeed, they do. So did the Tsarnaev brothers, whose family came here under the guise of fleeing persecution and seeking political asylum:

The Tsarnaev brothers reportedly were granted asylum by “derivative” status through their parents. After entering on short-term tourist visas, the mother and father (an ethnic Chechen Muslim) won asylum and acquired U.S. citizenship. Next, younger son Dzhokhar obtained U.S. citizenship. Older son Tamerlan, whose naturalization application was pending, traveled freely between the U.S. and the jihad recruitment zone of Dagestan, Russia, last year before the bombers’ gunfight in Watertown, Mass., last week left the Muslim terrorist dead.


Though they had convinced the U.S. that they faced deadly persecution, the Tsarnaevs’ parents both returned to their native land and were there when their sons launched last week’s terror rampage. Authorities will not reveal any details of the sob stories the Tsarnaevs originally spun to win asylum benefits for the entire family.

Marriage visas, political asylum seekers, and lotteries sound good and compassionate, but they can let in killers and the terrorists who know how to game the system. Many of the holes in our politically correct but suicidal immigration system would be plugged by the Reforming Immigration For A Strong Economy or RAISE Act currently pending in Congress:

In the wake of Tuesday’s terror attack in New York City, U.S. Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) is touting the proposed RAISE Act that has garnered the support of President Donald Trump.


The plan, authored by Perdue and U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), would eliminate the diversity visa that granted entrance to Sayfullo Saipov, 29, who is suspected of killing killed eight people by plowing his rented truck into a bicycle path in Lower Manhattan…


Besides eliminating the visa lottery, Perdue and Cotton said the RAISE Act would:


•Replace the current permanent employment-visa system with a skills-based points system, akin to the systems used by Canada and Australia. The system would prioritize those immigrants who are best positioned to succeed in the United States and expand the economy. Applicants earn points based on education, English-language ability, high-paying job offers, age, record of extraordinary achievement, and entrepreneurial initiative.


•Retain immigration preferences for the spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents while eliminating preferences for certain categories of extended and adult family members.


•Eliminate the diversity visa lottery.


•Limit refugees offered permanent residency to 50,000 per year, in line with a 13-year average.

As President Ronald Reagan said, a country without borders is not a country. We are a nation of immigrants, but legal and invited immigrants who want to become Americans, not kill Americans. End Schumer’s diversity visa lottery, pass the RAISE Act, and hand Chuck Schumer a hankie to cry into.

Daniel John Sobieski is a freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in Investor’s Business Daily, Human Events, Reason Magazine and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.               



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How to Hire like a Psychopath


Whatever can be said for the genius of Adam Smith, he was only a man, and because he was a man, he was wrong about some things.  The first of them was that labor alone creates value (it doesn’t).  The second was that businessmen act like Homo economicus (they don’t).

It may be safely said that nobody ever has ever acted like Homo economicus.  It may be strongly hoped that no one ever will.  Homo economicus at the bottom of the matter isn’t really a man, but a machine, and like all machines, it has a singularity of purpose.  A man does business for glory or vanity or dominion or liberty or riches or security or to support a family or to avoid his family or to get a lot of lovers or a collection of cars.  He can do it for some, and he can do it for all.  A machine has no humanity and therefore does business for the sake of doing business.  Homo economicus has only one purpose, and that is the bottom line – the personification of avarice.  Beneath Adam Smith’s idea of a businessman, he had all business and no man.  He saw an interest in profit and forgot to include the possibility of other interests.

Writers for both The Atlantic and The New York Times believe on some level that Homo economicus is a good thing, and that’s why they want machines to do our hiring.  They believe that business exists for the sake of business, and anyone who can do a job better will do a better job for a company.  In fact, this is not true.   The best man for a job is not the best man for the job, but the man who can help turn a profit while making his boss and his coworkers happy.  The boss is always the customer.  He has in a sense to be romanced like a woman.  You fail at this, and you’ve failed at your business, which at the end of the day is selling yourself.

The writers for these magazines believe that your business is not yourself, which is why they believe that you should not attempt to be sold, and so they plug a bunch of your personable variables into a machine and believe that the machine should decide where to put you.  They don’t consider whether you make your boss feel safe or comfortable, or whether you can make him laugh, or whether you remind him of his brother or he just likes your manners or the way you view life.  This proletarian hiring machine would send you to him because of some inscrutable formula that evaluates all the things it thinks a boss wants, without letting him judge what he feels he wants.  The people who would benefit from this most are the people who would benefit from the state choosing our “optimal” lovers.  It would be people with tolerable I.Q.s and no criminal records and “compatible” personality profiles whom we would never make love to.  But I say show us the pictures.  Let us hear the sound of a voice and watch the way they move and see whether they’re well bred.  Let us hear their stories, nonsense or not, and even look at a standard résumé.  But let us see the woman before we even think about marrying her.

Montaigne once told a story about a man getting a divorce.  This man had been married to a beautiful woman whom everyone wanted, who was chaste and responsible and industrious and well bred, and one day, when a friend asked him why in the world he would get rid of this woman, the man, tired of hearing everyone ask him the same question, stopped in his tracks and pulled off his shoe.  “You see this?” he said.  “This shoe is expensive.  Look at the stitching.  It’s made by one of the finest cobblers out of the finest of leathers.  You look at this shoe, and you wonder how anyone couldn’t want it, but only I can tell you where it pinches me.”

This is the world of business, not a profile in a machine.  A business is an organism that thrives on relations.  It means people choosing people who get along with certain kinds of people, whose faces you are glad to see when you walk in the door, whom you can trust with your life’s work, whose goals you respect, who speak to you on a level you can’t quite categorize or express, and (perhaps most importantly in a litigious society) who you believe are unlikely to sue.  Some bosses – the best bosses – know people, and because they know people, they can build a good company.  Others don’t, and because they are bad at judging people, they end up failing their businesses.  Some genius realized this one day and decided that the solution was making our hiring impersonal.  He believes we ought to get rid of bias, the one thing you can never and should never get rid of.  We say fire him.

The bottom line is important, but except maybe in rare cases of mental disorders, there is no 100% businessman who cares only about it.  Those men who throw nearly everything aside for the bottom line are most usually shallow, untrustworthy, boring, traitorous to their friends and their countrymen, and either ignorant of or hostile to the better parts of our nature.  The Telegraph rightly calls these men psychopaths and then says they can be good for our businesses.  But unlike the enlightened folks at The Telegraph, we don’t want a psychopath for a boss or a lover or a neighbor, and we don’t want a machine to hire our coworkers like a psychopath.  We want a whole man.  A whole man makes decisions that the robots and the editors of The New York Times and The Atlantic disagree with precisely because of his humanity.

Let life bleed into our businesses.  Let our bosses pick people instead of statistics.  Give us bias or give us death.

Jeremy Egerer is the author of the troublesome essays on Letters to Hannah.  He welcomes followers on Twitter and Facebook.

Whatever can be said for the genius of Adam Smith, he was only a man, and because he was a man, he was wrong about some things.  The first of them was that labor alone creates value (it doesn’t).  The second was that businessmen act like Homo economicus (they don’t).

It may be safely said that nobody ever has ever acted like Homo economicus.  It may be strongly hoped that no one ever will.  Homo economicus at the bottom of the matter isn’t really a man, but a machine, and like all machines, it has a singularity of purpose.  A man does business for glory or vanity or dominion or liberty or riches or security or to support a family or to avoid his family or to get a lot of lovers or a collection of cars.  He can do it for some, and he can do it for all.  A machine has no humanity and therefore does business for the sake of doing business.  Homo economicus has only one purpose, and that is the bottom line – the personification of avarice.  Beneath Adam Smith’s idea of a businessman, he had all business and no man.  He saw an interest in profit and forgot to include the possibility of other interests.

Writers for both The Atlantic and The New York Times believe on some level that Homo economicus is a good thing, and that’s why they want machines to do our hiring.  They believe that business exists for the sake of business, and anyone who can do a job better will do a better job for a company.  In fact, this is not true.   The best man for a job is not the best man for the job, but the man who can help turn a profit while making his boss and his coworkers happy.  The boss is always the customer.  He has in a sense to be romanced like a woman.  You fail at this, and you’ve failed at your business, which at the end of the day is selling yourself.

The writers for these magazines believe that your business is not yourself, which is why they believe that you should not attempt to be sold, and so they plug a bunch of your personable variables into a machine and believe that the machine should decide where to put you.  They don’t consider whether you make your boss feel safe or comfortable, or whether you can make him laugh, or whether you remind him of his brother or he just likes your manners or the way you view life.  This proletarian hiring machine would send you to him because of some inscrutable formula that evaluates all the things it thinks a boss wants, without letting him judge what he feels he wants.  The people who would benefit from this most are the people who would benefit from the state choosing our “optimal” lovers.  It would be people with tolerable I.Q.s and no criminal records and “compatible” personality profiles whom we would never make love to.  But I say show us the pictures.  Let us hear the sound of a voice and watch the way they move and see whether they’re well bred.  Let us hear their stories, nonsense or not, and even look at a standard résumé.  But let us see the woman before we even think about marrying her.

Montaigne once told a story about a man getting a divorce.  This man had been married to a beautiful woman whom everyone wanted, who was chaste and responsible and industrious and well bred, and one day, when a friend asked him why in the world he would get rid of this woman, the man, tired of hearing everyone ask him the same question, stopped in his tracks and pulled off his shoe.  “You see this?” he said.  “This shoe is expensive.  Look at the stitching.  It’s made by one of the finest cobblers out of the finest of leathers.  You look at this shoe, and you wonder how anyone couldn’t want it, but only I can tell you where it pinches me.”

This is the world of business, not a profile in a machine.  A business is an organism that thrives on relations.  It means people choosing people who get along with certain kinds of people, whose faces you are glad to see when you walk in the door, whom you can trust with your life’s work, whose goals you respect, who speak to you on a level you can’t quite categorize or express, and (perhaps most importantly in a litigious society) who you believe are unlikely to sue.  Some bosses – the best bosses – know people, and because they know people, they can build a good company.  Others don’t, and because they are bad at judging people, they end up failing their businesses.  Some genius realized this one day and decided that the solution was making our hiring impersonal.  He believes we ought to get rid of bias, the one thing you can never and should never get rid of.  We say fire him.

The bottom line is important, but except maybe in rare cases of mental disorders, there is no 100% businessman who cares only about it.  Those men who throw nearly everything aside for the bottom line are most usually shallow, untrustworthy, boring, traitorous to their friends and their countrymen, and either ignorant of or hostile to the better parts of our nature.  The Telegraph rightly calls these men psychopaths and then says they can be good for our businesses.  But unlike the enlightened folks at The Telegraph, we don’t want a psychopath for a boss or a lover or a neighbor, and we don’t want a machine to hire our coworkers like a psychopath.  We want a whole man.  A whole man makes decisions that the robots and the editors of The New York Times and The Atlantic disagree with precisely because of his humanity.

Let life bleed into our businesses.  Let our bosses pick people instead of statistics.  Give us bias or give us death.

Jeremy Egerer is the author of the troublesome essays on Letters to Hannah.  He welcomes followers on Twitter and Facebook.



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