Category: Daren Jonescu

Time Flies When You're Torching Synagogues


Is it Stand-Next-To-A-Jew-At-Your-Own-Risk Day again already? Gosh, where does the time go? 

Here’s a brief synopsis of recent events:

  • The United States Government officially recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel;
  • Muslim mobs in Sweden begin (aka resume) firebombing synagogues in Swedish cities.

If this sequence of events seems more like a non sequitur than a genuine “sequence” — which ought to imply recognizable causal relations — then congratulations, you are still rational in the traditional sense.

If this sequence of events seems totally causal and self-explanatory to you, then you have mastered the kind of asymmetrical logic that progressives use to rationalize absolutely any attack on Jews, Americans, conservatives, Christians, or pretty much anyone who is regarded as an obstacle to the ultimate progressive goal of crushing every last remnant of so-called Western civilization, including, ultimately, the traditional form of rationality cited above.

Apart from the obvious similarity of anti-Western intent, this asymmetrical logic is, we must conclude, the specific point of symbiosis between those superficially strange bedfellows, progressivism (aka neo-Marxism) and Islamism.

To punctuate the symbiosis, allow me to cite two particularly pertinent observations from Infidel, by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somali-born activist against Islam’s repression of women who is almost uniformly ignored or reviled by hardcore feminists, who, being neo-Marxists, would happily sacrifice five hundred million women to the cause of defeating the West.

Wishful thinking about the peaceful tolerance of Islam cannot interpret away this reality: hands are still cut off, women still stoned and enslaved, just as the Prophet Muhammad decided centuries ago.


I found myself thinking that the Quran is not a holy document. It is a historical record, written by humans. It is one version of events, as perceived by the men who wrote it 150 years after the Prophet Muhammad died. And it is a very tribal and Arab version of events. It spreads a culture that is brutal, bigoted, fixated on controlling women, and harsh in war.

I submit that if you turned these incisive criticisms over and examined them from the reverse angle, you would see that they apply equally well to progressivism itself. A “culture” or intellectual position that is responsible for tens of millions of violent deaths and hundreds of millions of oppressed souls cannot be vindicated or justified with the claim that it is an “anti-war” philosophy which promotes equality and justice. 

Progressives welcome and deliver apologias for Islamists not merely because they see Islam as a useful tool in the fight against Western liberty — though they certainly see that too — but because deep down they share a lot of underlying principles: intolerance of, and a desire to wipe out, dissenters and the noncompliant; brutality toward the individual human being, his family, and his property; bigotry against all religious or other moral views which emphasize the value of individual life, the personal soul, and the quest for earthly freedom; the desire to control humans, repress their natural inclinations, and distort them into slavish shapes useful to the chosen elite; and the harshness of revolutionary radicals in imposing their anti-human will upon the general population, popular agreement or consent be damned.

This fundamental symbiosis, all superficial disagreements and unruliness aside, explains how the formerly free world arrived at its present suicidal condition with regard to Islam. The progressive West has let this beast out of its cage, and is now reaping the rewards. The reaping will continue, more or less unabated, for the foreseeable future. Jerusalem is not the real issue, and never was. It is merely handy rationalization number three hundred and twenty-seven.

The real issues are hatred, irrationalism, and intolerance. These are traits that Islam (but no, of course not every individual Muslim) shares in common with progressivism. These are two religions that aggrandize the collective, denigrate the individual, demand complete submission to illiberal rules and postulates, and impose self-immolation and the rejection of one’s own dignity as basic principles of “social justice.”

One more helpful quote from Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s Infidel:

If you are a Muslim girl, you disappear, until there is almost no you inside you. In Islam, becoming an individual is not a necessary development; many people, especially women, never develop a clear individual will. You submit: that is the literal meaning of the word islam: submission. The goal is to become quiet inside, so that you never raise your eyes, not even inside your mind.

“You disappear, until there is almost no you inside you.” Is it any wonder progressivism welcomes this ally in its civilizational assault against freedom?

So if you are not Jewish, but you care about the future of what used to be the free world, be sure to celebrate Stand-Next-To-A-Jew-At-Your-Own-Risk Day today — celebrate like your life depended on it. It does.

Daren Jonescu writes about politics, philosophy, education, and the decline of civilization at http://darenjonescu.com/.

Is it Stand-Next-To-A-Jew-At-Your-Own-Risk Day again already? Gosh, where does the time go? 

Here’s a brief synopsis of recent events:

  • The United States Government officially recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel;
  • Muslim mobs in Sweden begin (aka resume) firebombing synagogues in Swedish cities.

If this sequence of events seems more like a non sequitur than a genuine “sequence” — which ought to imply recognizable causal relations — then congratulations, you are still rational in the traditional sense.

If this sequence of events seems totally causal and self-explanatory to you, then you have mastered the kind of asymmetrical logic that progressives use to rationalize absolutely any attack on Jews, Americans, conservatives, Christians, or pretty much anyone who is regarded as an obstacle to the ultimate progressive goal of crushing every last remnant of so-called Western civilization, including, ultimately, the traditional form of rationality cited above.

Apart from the obvious similarity of anti-Western intent, this asymmetrical logic is, we must conclude, the specific point of symbiosis between those superficially strange bedfellows, progressivism (aka neo-Marxism) and Islamism.

To punctuate the symbiosis, allow me to cite two particularly pertinent observations from Infidel, by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somali-born activist against Islam’s repression of women who is almost uniformly ignored or reviled by hardcore feminists, who, being neo-Marxists, would happily sacrifice five hundred million women to the cause of defeating the West.

Wishful thinking about the peaceful tolerance of Islam cannot interpret away this reality: hands are still cut off, women still stoned and enslaved, just as the Prophet Muhammad decided centuries ago.


I found myself thinking that the Quran is not a holy document. It is a historical record, written by humans. It is one version of events, as perceived by the men who wrote it 150 years after the Prophet Muhammad died. And it is a very tribal and Arab version of events. It spreads a culture that is brutal, bigoted, fixated on controlling women, and harsh in war.

I submit that if you turned these incisive criticisms over and examined them from the reverse angle, you would see that they apply equally well to progressivism itself. A “culture” or intellectual position that is responsible for tens of millions of violent deaths and hundreds of millions of oppressed souls cannot be vindicated or justified with the claim that it is an “anti-war” philosophy which promotes equality and justice. 

Progressives welcome and deliver apologias for Islamists not merely because they see Islam as a useful tool in the fight against Western liberty — though they certainly see that too — but because deep down they share a lot of underlying principles: intolerance of, and a desire to wipe out, dissenters and the noncompliant; brutality toward the individual human being, his family, and his property; bigotry against all religious or other moral views which emphasize the value of individual life, the personal soul, and the quest for earthly freedom; the desire to control humans, repress their natural inclinations, and distort them into slavish shapes useful to the chosen elite; and the harshness of revolutionary radicals in imposing their anti-human will upon the general population, popular agreement or consent be damned.

This fundamental symbiosis, all superficial disagreements and unruliness aside, explains how the formerly free world arrived at its present suicidal condition with regard to Islam. The progressive West has let this beast out of its cage, and is now reaping the rewards. The reaping will continue, more or less unabated, for the foreseeable future. Jerusalem is not the real issue, and never was. It is merely handy rationalization number three hundred and twenty-seven.

The real issues are hatred, irrationalism, and intolerance. These are traits that Islam (but no, of course not every individual Muslim) shares in common with progressivism. These are two religions that aggrandize the collective, denigrate the individual, demand complete submission to illiberal rules and postulates, and impose self-immolation and the rejection of one’s own dignity as basic principles of “social justice.”

One more helpful quote from Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s Infidel:

If you are a Muslim girl, you disappear, until there is almost no you inside you. In Islam, becoming an individual is not a necessary development; many people, especially women, never develop a clear individual will. You submit: that is the literal meaning of the word islam: submission. The goal is to become quiet inside, so that you never raise your eyes, not even inside your mind.

“You disappear, until there is almost no you inside you.” Is it any wonder progressivism welcomes this ally in its civilizational assault against freedom?

So if you are not Jewish, but you care about the future of what used to be the free world, be sure to celebrate Stand-Next-To-A-Jew-At-Your-Own-Risk Day today — celebrate like your life depended on it. It does.

Daren Jonescu writes about politics, philosophy, education, and the decline of civilization at http://darenjonescu.com/.



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Socialist Sanders Passes Moral Judgment on Donald Trump


Bernie Sanders is calling on President Trump to “think about resigning,” citing past allegations of sexual misconduct against him, along with Trump’s infamous Access Hollywood vulgarity.

Anyone familiar with my writing knows I am not a Trump defender, but for the media to trumpet Sanders, of all people, as a moral judge – of Donald Trump or anyone else – indicates the measure of America’s political decay.

Senator Sanders is perhaps the most prominent and unapologetic socialist in American electoral politics.  Socialism, as a principle of total societal organization, has been tried repeatedly for a century, to varying degrees of thoroughness, on all the inhabited continents of the Earth.  It has been instituted in dozens of variations, against widely diverse cultural and historical backgrounds, by leaders of various temperaments and professional backgrounds.  It has been promoted by both militant revolutionaries and self-described pacifists.  Its intellectual vanguard has been peopled by educators, doctors, and poets.

In other words, there can be no longer be any excuse, qualification, or exemption broad enough to dismiss all the declared attempts at socialism as “inauthentic” socialism, “misapplied” socialism, or “corrupted” socialism.  Socialism has proved to be just what you see.  Its most famous instantiations – all of them lauded and promoted by the socialist thinkers and activists of the free world at the time – have led to massive failure and destruction, to put it mildly.

Hence, all retroactive attempts to expunge socialism’s failures and destruction from the annals of “true socialism” must be regarded as just so much special pleading by those who insist on defending an idea against all tangible evidence of the disparity between its self-descriptions and its existential realities.

The hundred-year experiment is more than complete.  It is redundant.  And the results of the past century of socialist implementation, experimentation, and modification speak for themselves:

The summary executions of untold thousands of people for the “crime” of being property-owners, blood relatives of property-owners, or descendants of property-owners.

Forced famines that killed uncountable millions in the Soviet Union in the name of “collectivization.”

Mass killings in the name of “cultural revolution,” running anywhere from fifty to a hundred million victims in communist China, along with the symbolically important Tiananmen Square massacre of university students (Bernie’s core supporters) rallying for more freedom.

Nazi (national socialist) Germany killing millions of “impure” humans in concentration camps and starting a world war that cost the lives of tens of millions more.  (Neo-Marxists like Sanders always use Nazi Germany as moral leverage to balance the scales against the crimes of their Marxist-style socialism, but why let them?  The underlying premises of both sides – collectivist tribalism, political progressivism, the deification of the State, the denial of individual dignity, and the denigration of traditional morality – are essentially identical.)

The destruction of Cuba by Fidel Castro, along with his gun-crazed henchman and lifelong defender of Stalin, Dr. Che Guevara. 

The “killing fields” of Cambodia, in which more than a million people were murdered by a communist regime.

North Korea, the world’s last surviving gulag state, in which parents sell their daughters to Chinese villages in exchange for rice and from which soldiers full of ten-inch parasites risk almost certain death to escape.

The normalization of mass abortion policies led by progressive icons such as Margaret Sanger, with the original express purpose of reducing “inferior” racial groups.

The calculated and deliberate destruction of the private family – nature’s buffer protecting the individual from absorption into the collectivizing State – through compulsory schooling laws, feminist attacks on traditional manhood and motherhood, the propagandistic promotion of promiscuity, and the denigration of monogamy between man and woman. 

The active assault on all unifying moral structures – e.g., religions, which are based on the premise that there are powers higher than humans, and therefore laws higher than those of the State.

The weakening or disintegration of national economies (i.e., general prosperity and material security) throughout the modern world, proportionate to the degree of socialism’s implementation within any given nation.

This list could easily be extended to include a hundred more examples, all equally damning of the underlying idea.  But why bother?  As I noted above, the experiment has become redundant.  What is shown by this experiment is that mass death, displacement, violence, and moral disintegration, along with the general diminution of human worth and respect for life, are not mere accidents or byproducts of socialist thinking.  They are of its essence.

No one, at the end of this long, horrifying field study, can advocate socialism innocently, unaware of its real results in practice.  The neo-Marxism of men like Bernie Sanders cannot be ascribed to ignorance of the true nature of what he is advocating, unless we presume that he is literally of moron-level intelligence.

Nor can we excuse Sanders as we might someone who has never seen any other way of life.  Sanders is an old man who has lived his entire life in the country that was once history’s most direct and inescapably obvious counter-argument to everything Karl Marx wrote.  His ignorance, if that’s what it must be called, falls into the category of willful blindness.

Sanders is America’s most prominent and unapologetic elected socialist, which means he is her most prominent public apologist for all the evils enumerated above, along with all the associated ugliness I chose not to mention.  For him to set himself up as a moral inquisition against any other man is hypocrisy of absurd proportions.  For the mainstream media to get away with reciting his spewings as though they were a respectable contribution to the public dialogue is evidence of the extent of the neo-Marxist subversion of the American popular mind.

Bernie Sanders is an advocate of, and apologist for, the most comprehensively destructive political philosophy of the modern age.  Donald Trump, for all his faults, is not that.

Sit down and shut up, Bernie.

Daren Jonescu writes about politics, philosophy, education, and the decline of civilization at http://darenjonescu.com.

Bernie Sanders is calling on President Trump to “think about resigning,” citing past allegations of sexual misconduct against him, along with Trump’s infamous Access Hollywood vulgarity.

Anyone familiar with my writing knows I am not a Trump defender, but for the media to trumpet Sanders, of all people, as a moral judge – of Donald Trump or anyone else – indicates the measure of America’s political decay.

Senator Sanders is perhaps the most prominent and unapologetic socialist in American electoral politics.  Socialism, as a principle of total societal organization, has been tried repeatedly for a century, to varying degrees of thoroughness, on all the inhabited continents of the Earth.  It has been instituted in dozens of variations, against widely diverse cultural and historical backgrounds, by leaders of various temperaments and professional backgrounds.  It has been promoted by both militant revolutionaries and self-described pacifists.  Its intellectual vanguard has been peopled by educators, doctors, and poets.

In other words, there can be no longer be any excuse, qualification, or exemption broad enough to dismiss all the declared attempts at socialism as “inauthentic” socialism, “misapplied” socialism, or “corrupted” socialism.  Socialism has proved to be just what you see.  Its most famous instantiations – all of them lauded and promoted by the socialist thinkers and activists of the free world at the time – have led to massive failure and destruction, to put it mildly.

Hence, all retroactive attempts to expunge socialism’s failures and destruction from the annals of “true socialism” must be regarded as just so much special pleading by those who insist on defending an idea against all tangible evidence of the disparity between its self-descriptions and its existential realities.

The hundred-year experiment is more than complete.  It is redundant.  And the results of the past century of socialist implementation, experimentation, and modification speak for themselves:

The summary executions of untold thousands of people for the “crime” of being property-owners, blood relatives of property-owners, or descendants of property-owners.

Forced famines that killed uncountable millions in the Soviet Union in the name of “collectivization.”

Mass killings in the name of “cultural revolution,” running anywhere from fifty to a hundred million victims in communist China, along with the symbolically important Tiananmen Square massacre of university students (Bernie’s core supporters) rallying for more freedom.

Nazi (national socialist) Germany killing millions of “impure” humans in concentration camps and starting a world war that cost the lives of tens of millions more.  (Neo-Marxists like Sanders always use Nazi Germany as moral leverage to balance the scales against the crimes of their Marxist-style socialism, but why let them?  The underlying premises of both sides – collectivist tribalism, political progressivism, the deification of the State, the denial of individual dignity, and the denigration of traditional morality – are essentially identical.)

The destruction of Cuba by Fidel Castro, along with his gun-crazed henchman and lifelong defender of Stalin, Dr. Che Guevara. 

The “killing fields” of Cambodia, in which more than a million people were murdered by a communist regime.

North Korea, the world’s last surviving gulag state, in which parents sell their daughters to Chinese villages in exchange for rice and from which soldiers full of ten-inch parasites risk almost certain death to escape.

The normalization of mass abortion policies led by progressive icons such as Margaret Sanger, with the original express purpose of reducing “inferior” racial groups.

The calculated and deliberate destruction of the private family – nature’s buffer protecting the individual from absorption into the collectivizing State – through compulsory schooling laws, feminist attacks on traditional manhood and motherhood, the propagandistic promotion of promiscuity, and the denigration of monogamy between man and woman. 

The active assault on all unifying moral structures – e.g., religions, which are based on the premise that there are powers higher than humans, and therefore laws higher than those of the State.

The weakening or disintegration of national economies (i.e., general prosperity and material security) throughout the modern world, proportionate to the degree of socialism’s implementation within any given nation.

This list could easily be extended to include a hundred more examples, all equally damning of the underlying idea.  But why bother?  As I noted above, the experiment has become redundant.  What is shown by this experiment is that mass death, displacement, violence, and moral disintegration, along with the general diminution of human worth and respect for life, are not mere accidents or byproducts of socialist thinking.  They are of its essence.

No one, at the end of this long, horrifying field study, can advocate socialism innocently, unaware of its real results in practice.  The neo-Marxism of men like Bernie Sanders cannot be ascribed to ignorance of the true nature of what he is advocating, unless we presume that he is literally of moron-level intelligence.

Nor can we excuse Sanders as we might someone who has never seen any other way of life.  Sanders is an old man who has lived his entire life in the country that was once history’s most direct and inescapably obvious counter-argument to everything Karl Marx wrote.  His ignorance, if that’s what it must be called, falls into the category of willful blindness.

Sanders is America’s most prominent and unapologetic elected socialist, which means he is her most prominent public apologist for all the evils enumerated above, along with all the associated ugliness I chose not to mention.  For him to set himself up as a moral inquisition against any other man is hypocrisy of absurd proportions.  For the mainstream media to get away with reciting his spewings as though they were a respectable contribution to the public dialogue is evidence of the extent of the neo-Marxist subversion of the American popular mind.

Bernie Sanders is an advocate of, and apologist for, the most comprehensively destructive political philosophy of the modern age.  Donald Trump, for all his faults, is not that.

Sit down and shut up, Bernie.

Daren Jonescu writes about politics, philosophy, education, and the decline of civilization at http://darenjonescu.com.



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Feminists on the injustice of pregnancy


Korea’s recently-elected progressive government has announced plans to begin “research” on the country’s restrictive abortion laws, which, of course, is another way of saying they are going to get the ball rolling on legalizing abortion.

This initiative is merely an effort to bring the letter of the law into sync with the spirit of national decay, since many thousands of illegal abortions are performed in Korea every year, and public opinion, especially among the younger generations, tilts hard in the direction of complete legalization. (I’ll have a lot to say about this in the near future, as I have recently had the misfortune, through a research project, of coming face to face with the disturbing amorality of young Koreans on this issue — so disturbing, in fact, that I have forestalled writing about publicly out of sheer dismay and nausea at the truth I have been forced to accept about the people with whom I spend much of my time, namely young middle class Koreans.)

For the predictable details of the abortion activism, I refer you to the news article linked here, from The Blaze. Today, I merely wish to draw attention to the particularly telling symbolism chosen by the feminist vanguard for protestors’ signs in this latest front in the progressives’ global war against human life, which accompanies the Blaze piece. (Full image of protestors at link)

As you can see, the photo shows a group of smiling, placard-wielding activists. I wish to draw your attention to the artwork on those placards, which is, in my opinion, the most pithy, almost eloquent distillation of the essence of feminism that you will see anywhere.

In brief, the placards depict a simple variation on the typical portrayal of the myth of Sisyphus, with the king pushing a boulder up a mountain changed to a woman pushing a womb with a developing fetus in it up that same mountain. The Korean words next to the image read, “Stop the crackdown on abortion — abortion is a woman’s choice.” In the top left corner of the placard we see a small female or “Venus” symbol, with a clenched red fist inside, the standard iconography of progressive assertions of revolutionary “power.”

To begin with, the juxtaposition of those two icons — the womb containing a fetus (bad) vs. the Venus symbol containing a fist (good) — says it all. The story here is simple: defiance against pregnancy — against the injustice of motherhood.

And make no mistake about it: from the progressive egalitarian perspective, motherhood really is unjust, simply because it is a burden that women bear, but men do not.

“But it’s a natural fact!” might seem a rational reply to you, but not to a progressive. Progressivism is, and has been since its earliest instantiations in 19th Century German idealism, an anti-nature ideology. Progressives are, in theory and in practice, rebels against the imperatives of nature. (Environmentalism is not a pro-nature position, by the way. It is merely one of the cleverest delusions or self-delusions in the progressive rebellion against human nature.) All the neo-Marxist “systemic oppression” theorizing is, in the end, mere marginalia used to make the basic position seem more rational. The basic position is this: Nature is unfair and regressive; a new, self-generated humanity must liberate itself from nature’s imperatives in order to live in the freedom and justice of the artificially contrived and controlled society.

Hence, the proper progressive woman’s position toward pregnancy and motherhood — toward the womb full of developing natural life — is defiance, the fist of war, angry violence against nature, hatred. In short, feminism.

And to understand what freedom means to progressives, and hence why they seem constitutionally incapable of understanding notions such as the rule of law, limited government, and individual responsibility, consider more carefully the main image, the female Sisyphus pushing an impregnated womb up a mountain.

Sisyphus is pushing that boulder up a mountain as a punishment from the gods — “Nature” in non-religious parlance. The keys to his ordeal are that it is (a) inescapable, and (b) never-ending: that boulder will roll back down the slope at the moment he reaches the summit, and he will have no choice but to start his grueling labor yet again. The combination of inescapability and perpetuity forms the essence of the gods’ punishment of Sisyphus.

The briefest comparison of this situation to the feminists’ laments about the “fate” of pregnancy reveals the inanity of the analogy. The Sisyphean labor is by design futile. The labor of pregnancy results in new human life, a sea of potential meaning and happiness for both the new child and the parent.

Sisyphus can never leave his painful labors behind; he must work all his life toward a goal he knows to be unattainable — and worse than unattainable, a mockery of purposefulness. An expectant mother, by contrast, knows she has a very high likelihood of success in her endeavor, and that her mission is not only purposeful, but history’s chief exemplar and metaphor of purposefulness itself.

And purposeful means more than merely “having a natural goal.” It also means intentional, i.e., voluntarily aiming at a goal. This implication highlights the biggest problem with the feminist advocacy of abortion in the name of “a woman’s freedom of choice.”

King Sisyphus has an endlessly futile effort imposed on him by the gods as punishment for his avarice and deceitfulness. He was not deprived of his freedom of choice. His story is not one of unfreedom. On the contrary, he made his choices, and his burden was the natural result of those choices. Choices have consequences. Poor choices have undesirable consequences. The worst choices have the most undesirable consequences.

For the abortion advocates, the message here, unheard by them but ironically revealed within their own chosen imagery, is straightforward: If you don’t want the burden of pregnancy, don’t choose the one course of action that may be expected to result in pregnancy. The freedom to choose is yours. Choices have consequences. One who makes a choice with natural (but undesirable) consequences has no one to blame but herself when those consequences arise.

Sisyphus learns nothing if he blames his boulder for his own poor choices. If Sisyphus is a woman, and the burden resulting from her choices is motherhood, then blaming the “boulder” is not only folly, but the heights of immorality and unnaturalness. She is conveniently overlooking the real freedom of choice that she had, in favor of asserting the “freedom” to end a human life that she carelessly chose — yes, poor choices are those with natural consequences we didn’t sufficiently consider — but which she now regards as an inconvenient burden.

To add to the perfection of the Korean feminists’ abortion imagery — the eloquence I noted above — consider this: the gods punished King Sisyphus in part for his ultimate violation of the moral rule of hospitality, as he killed guests and other temporary travelers through his kingdom. The feminists, by choosing to adapt Sisyphean imagery for their own ends, and even to juxtapose it with a fist of power, brilliantly expose themselves as what they really are: sinfully inhospitable hostesses, who claim the “right” to invite temporary (and unwelcome) guests into their city only to kill them in a twisted conception of defending their own power.

 Daren Jonescu writes about politics, philosophy, education, and the decline of civilization at http://darenjonescu.com/.

Korea’s recently-elected progressive government has announced plans to begin “research” on the country’s restrictive abortion laws, which, of course, is another way of saying they are going to get the ball rolling on legalizing abortion.

This initiative is merely an effort to bring the letter of the law into sync with the spirit of national decay, since many thousands of illegal abortions are performed in Korea every year, and public opinion, especially among the younger generations, tilts hard in the direction of complete legalization. (I’ll have a lot to say about this in the near future, as I have recently had the misfortune, through a research project, of coming face to face with the disturbing amorality of young Koreans on this issue — so disturbing, in fact, that I have forestalled writing about publicly out of sheer dismay and nausea at the truth I have been forced to accept about the people with whom I spend much of my time, namely young middle class Koreans.)

For the predictable details of the abortion activism, I refer you to the news article linked here, from The Blaze. Today, I merely wish to draw attention to the particularly telling symbolism chosen by the feminist vanguard for protestors’ signs in this latest front in the progressives’ global war against human life, which accompanies the Blaze piece. (Full image of protestors at link)

As you can see, the photo shows a group of smiling, placard-wielding activists. I wish to draw your attention to the artwork on those placards, which is, in my opinion, the most pithy, almost eloquent distillation of the essence of feminism that you will see anywhere.

In brief, the placards depict a simple variation on the typical portrayal of the myth of Sisyphus, with the king pushing a boulder up a mountain changed to a woman pushing a womb with a developing fetus in it up that same mountain. The Korean words next to the image read, “Stop the crackdown on abortion — abortion is a woman’s choice.” In the top left corner of the placard we see a small female or “Venus” symbol, with a clenched red fist inside, the standard iconography of progressive assertions of revolutionary “power.”

To begin with, the juxtaposition of those two icons — the womb containing a fetus (bad) vs. the Venus symbol containing a fist (good) — says it all. The story here is simple: defiance against pregnancy — against the injustice of motherhood.

And make no mistake about it: from the progressive egalitarian perspective, motherhood really is unjust, simply because it is a burden that women bear, but men do not.

“But it’s a natural fact!” might seem a rational reply to you, but not to a progressive. Progressivism is, and has been since its earliest instantiations in 19th Century German idealism, an anti-nature ideology. Progressives are, in theory and in practice, rebels against the imperatives of nature. (Environmentalism is not a pro-nature position, by the way. It is merely one of the cleverest delusions or self-delusions in the progressive rebellion against human nature.) All the neo-Marxist “systemic oppression” theorizing is, in the end, mere marginalia used to make the basic position seem more rational. The basic position is this: Nature is unfair and regressive; a new, self-generated humanity must liberate itself from nature’s imperatives in order to live in the freedom and justice of the artificially contrived and controlled society.

Hence, the proper progressive woman’s position toward pregnancy and motherhood — toward the womb full of developing natural life — is defiance, the fist of war, angry violence against nature, hatred. In short, feminism.

And to understand what freedom means to progressives, and hence why they seem constitutionally incapable of understanding notions such as the rule of law, limited government, and individual responsibility, consider more carefully the main image, the female Sisyphus pushing an impregnated womb up a mountain.

Sisyphus is pushing that boulder up a mountain as a punishment from the gods — “Nature” in non-religious parlance. The keys to his ordeal are that it is (a) inescapable, and (b) never-ending: that boulder will roll back down the slope at the moment he reaches the summit, and he will have no choice but to start his grueling labor yet again. The combination of inescapability and perpetuity forms the essence of the gods’ punishment of Sisyphus.

The briefest comparison of this situation to the feminists’ laments about the “fate” of pregnancy reveals the inanity of the analogy. The Sisyphean labor is by design futile. The labor of pregnancy results in new human life, a sea of potential meaning and happiness for both the new child and the parent.

Sisyphus can never leave his painful labors behind; he must work all his life toward a goal he knows to be unattainable — and worse than unattainable, a mockery of purposefulness. An expectant mother, by contrast, knows she has a very high likelihood of success in her endeavor, and that her mission is not only purposeful, but history’s chief exemplar and metaphor of purposefulness itself.

And purposeful means more than merely “having a natural goal.” It also means intentional, i.e., voluntarily aiming at a goal. This implication highlights the biggest problem with the feminist advocacy of abortion in the name of “a woman’s freedom of choice.”

King Sisyphus has an endlessly futile effort imposed on him by the gods as punishment for his avarice and deceitfulness. He was not deprived of his freedom of choice. His story is not one of unfreedom. On the contrary, he made his choices, and his burden was the natural result of those choices. Choices have consequences. Poor choices have undesirable consequences. The worst choices have the most undesirable consequences.

For the abortion advocates, the message here, unheard by them but ironically revealed within their own chosen imagery, is straightforward: If you don’t want the burden of pregnancy, don’t choose the one course of action that may be expected to result in pregnancy. The freedom to choose is yours. Choices have consequences. One who makes a choice with natural (but undesirable) consequences has no one to blame but herself when those consequences arise.

Sisyphus learns nothing if he blames his boulder for his own poor choices. If Sisyphus is a woman, and the burden resulting from her choices is motherhood, then blaming the “boulder” is not only folly, but the heights of immorality and unnaturalness. She is conveniently overlooking the real freedom of choice that she had, in favor of asserting the “freedom” to end a human life that she carelessly chose — yes, poor choices are those with natural consequences we didn’t sufficiently consider — but which she now regards as an inconvenient burden.

To add to the perfection of the Korean feminists’ abortion imagery — the eloquence I noted above — consider this: the gods punished King Sisyphus in part for his ultimate violation of the moral rule of hospitality, as he killed guests and other temporary travelers through his kingdom. The feminists, by choosing to adapt Sisyphean imagery for their own ends, and even to juxtapose it with a fist of power, brilliantly expose themselves as what they really are: sinfully inhospitable hostesses, who claim the “right” to invite temporary (and unwelcome) guests into their city only to kill them in a twisted conception of defending their own power.

 Daren Jonescu writes about politics, philosophy, education, and the decline of civilization at http://darenjonescu.com/.



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What We Owe the War Dead


Back in the days before moral relativism and progressive historicism rendered all war (except communist revolutionary war) an unambiguous evil – that is, before “giving peace a chance,” regardless of the conditions upon which that peace was to be purchased, became an unqualified (and therefore non-relative?) good – art about war was expected to comprise both the pain of loss and the legacy of heroism. 

Today, by contrast, “serious” art about war must focus only on the absurdity, emptiness, or futility of it all.  Thus, in an age that conflates its petty materialism with righteous sophistication, we are losing the compulsion to keep faith with those who traded everything earthly on our behalf, in exchange for a bit of eternal dignity.  In neglecting this compulsion, we lose that part of ourselves whence also derives such old-fashioned concerns as conscience, responsibility, and loyalty. 

If death in war is only to be lamented, and its cause decried, then far from paying honor to the “victims” (i.e., dead soldiers), as our self-righteous lamenters claim to be doing, we are actually only absolving ourselves of the truest and ultimate honor we owe the dead, which, to paraphrase the most popular war poem from the age before the folk music leftists got at the topic, is to take the torch from their failing hands and hold it high – that is, to honor the fallen by honoring their cause and their sacrifice with similar, though perhaps never equal, moral seriousness.

This does not mean we must support an unsound or wasteful political decision about a particular war of which we disapprove, merely because soldiers have died in that war. (“A thing is not necessarily true because a man dies for it,” as Oscar Wilde wrote.)  What it means is that men who died, even if unnecessarily, in the name of the general cause of defending the freedoms we enjoy – or rather the freedoms upon which our societies were founded, though we have largely forsaken them today – ought to serve as reminders of the true value of those freedoms, and also as inspiration to rededicate our own lives to preserving or revitalizing them.

In other words, if we feel no obligation to keep our dead defenders alive in spirit through our own choices and actions, then our laments over their sacrifice are nothing but empty self-absolution and self-aggrandizement.  Such, sadly, is the moral position of the so-called free world today, having gradually, or rather “progressively,” bartered away most of the freedoms, traditions, virtues, and wisdom that defined our civilization and made its cause worthy of the blood of heroes.

The West clings to life as a shadow of its former self, so proud of its miraculous material comforts and ceaseless physical gratifications that barely a moment is lost reflecting on our degradations in character, independence, responsibility, and genuine self-determination.  Freedom, for many today, consists of having more TV channels than ever to choose from.  Meanwhile, meaningful opportunities for more substantial forms of self-determination are allowed to narrow and dwindle year by year under the rule of progressive soft despotism, while we smugly flip the channel on our civilizational heritage from the comfort of our easy chairs.

To see the difference between the self-congratulatory “peace-loving” attitude of our time and the properly human perspective that honors the war dead by refusing to let their lives and deaths become meaningless grains in the sands of time, let us take a moment, on this November 11, to read the famous poem paraphrased above, Canadian Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae’s “In Flanders Fields” (1915):

In Flanders fields the poppies grow

    Between the crosses, row on row,

  That mark our place; and in the sky

  The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.


We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

  Loved and were loved, and now we lie

      In Flanders fields.


Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

  The torch; be yours to hold it high.

  If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

      In Flanders fields.

As McCrae, who wrote this while sitting in the very midst of one of the most terrifying and “futile” wars ever fought, makes clear in his final verse, keeping faith with the dead soldiers consists not in crying, or screaming at gods or politicians, but in taking up the soldiers’ quarrel – their quarrel on behalf of the idea of freedom, that is.

Not the idea of comfort, which those who trekked in worn-out boots through cold mud obviously valued less highly than we do.

Not the idea of pleasure, as surely they felt none while their bodies bled to death in lovely fields of grass.

This is the idea of freedom – for those still capable of grasping a little of what that word meant to our forbears, in the age before the mutual enslavement of progressive entitlements, and moral submission to the collective (i.e., the state), became the norm throughout the supposedly civilized world.

A final note: McCrae’s original handwritten poem uses “grow” at the end of the first line.  Editors changed it to “blow,” as it is still often taught today.  But “grow” is better, and not only because it creates a proper symmetry with “though poppies grow” in the final verse.  “The poppies blow” expresses only that the flowers are moved by the winds, whereas “the poppies grow” is moral philosophy.

The war dead are not simply gone, marked by static crosses in a windy field.  The Earth sends new life forth as a symbol of their living spirit, and a sign to those left behind of our obligation to keep that spirit among us through our own earthly lives.  The poppies – fire-red flowers on long stems – grow from the graves of the dead as Nature’s torches, which, if we refuse to accept them from those “failing hands,” will burn as lonely symbols of our broken faith.

Daren Jonescu writes about politics, philosophy, education, and the decline of civilization at http://darenjonescu.com.

Back in the days before moral relativism and progressive historicism rendered all war (except communist revolutionary war) an unambiguous evil – that is, before “giving peace a chance,” regardless of the conditions upon which that peace was to be purchased, became an unqualified (and therefore non-relative?) good – art about war was expected to comprise both the pain of loss and the legacy of heroism. 

Today, by contrast, “serious” art about war must focus only on the absurdity, emptiness, or futility of it all.  Thus, in an age that conflates its petty materialism with righteous sophistication, we are losing the compulsion to keep faith with those who traded everything earthly on our behalf, in exchange for a bit of eternal dignity.  In neglecting this compulsion, we lose that part of ourselves whence also derives such old-fashioned concerns as conscience, responsibility, and loyalty. 

If death in war is only to be lamented, and its cause decried, then far from paying honor to the “victims” (i.e., dead soldiers), as our self-righteous lamenters claim to be doing, we are actually only absolving ourselves of the truest and ultimate honor we owe the dead, which, to paraphrase the most popular war poem from the age before the folk music leftists got at the topic, is to take the torch from their failing hands and hold it high – that is, to honor the fallen by honoring their cause and their sacrifice with similar, though perhaps never equal, moral seriousness.

This does not mean we must support an unsound or wasteful political decision about a particular war of which we disapprove, merely because soldiers have died in that war. (“A thing is not necessarily true because a man dies for it,” as Oscar Wilde wrote.)  What it means is that men who died, even if unnecessarily, in the name of the general cause of defending the freedoms we enjoy – or rather the freedoms upon which our societies were founded, though we have largely forsaken them today – ought to serve as reminders of the true value of those freedoms, and also as inspiration to rededicate our own lives to preserving or revitalizing them.

In other words, if we feel no obligation to keep our dead defenders alive in spirit through our own choices and actions, then our laments over their sacrifice are nothing but empty self-absolution and self-aggrandizement.  Such, sadly, is the moral position of the so-called free world today, having gradually, or rather “progressively,” bartered away most of the freedoms, traditions, virtues, and wisdom that defined our civilization and made its cause worthy of the blood of heroes.

The West clings to life as a shadow of its former self, so proud of its miraculous material comforts and ceaseless physical gratifications that barely a moment is lost reflecting on our degradations in character, independence, responsibility, and genuine self-determination.  Freedom, for many today, consists of having more TV channels than ever to choose from.  Meanwhile, meaningful opportunities for more substantial forms of self-determination are allowed to narrow and dwindle year by year under the rule of progressive soft despotism, while we smugly flip the channel on our civilizational heritage from the comfort of our easy chairs.

To see the difference between the self-congratulatory “peace-loving” attitude of our time and the properly human perspective that honors the war dead by refusing to let their lives and deaths become meaningless grains in the sands of time, let us take a moment, on this November 11, to read the famous poem paraphrased above, Canadian Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae’s “In Flanders Fields” (1915):

In Flanders fields the poppies grow

    Between the crosses, row on row,

  That mark our place; and in the sky

  The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.


We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

  Loved and were loved, and now we lie

      In Flanders fields.


Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

  The torch; be yours to hold it high.

  If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

      In Flanders fields.

As McCrae, who wrote this while sitting in the very midst of one of the most terrifying and “futile” wars ever fought, makes clear in his final verse, keeping faith with the dead soldiers consists not in crying, or screaming at gods or politicians, but in taking up the soldiers’ quarrel – their quarrel on behalf of the idea of freedom, that is.

Not the idea of comfort, which those who trekked in worn-out boots through cold mud obviously valued less highly than we do.

Not the idea of pleasure, as surely they felt none while their bodies bled to death in lovely fields of grass.

This is the idea of freedom – for those still capable of grasping a little of what that word meant to our forbears, in the age before the mutual enslavement of progressive entitlements, and moral submission to the collective (i.e., the state), became the norm throughout the supposedly civilized world.

A final note: McCrae’s original handwritten poem uses “grow” at the end of the first line.  Editors changed it to “blow,” as it is still often taught today.  But “grow” is better, and not only because it creates a proper symmetry with “though poppies grow” in the final verse.  “The poppies blow” expresses only that the flowers are moved by the winds, whereas “the poppies grow” is moral philosophy.

The war dead are not simply gone, marked by static crosses in a windy field.  The Earth sends new life forth as a symbol of their living spirit, and a sign to those left behind of our obligation to keep that spirit among us through our own earthly lives.  The poppies – fire-red flowers on long stems – grow from the graves of the dead as Nature’s torches, which, if we refuse to accept them from those “failing hands,” will burn as lonely symbols of our broken faith.

Daren Jonescu writes about politics, philosophy, education, and the decline of civilization at http://darenjonescu.com.



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Trump’s Biggest Challenge in Seoul


Donald Trump is in South Korea today.  All focus, of course, is on whether Trump and recently-elected Korean president Moon Jae-in will present a unified position against North Korean aggression. Or let me restate that in words that make sense within the current zeitgeist: “a unified position on how to avoid an escalation of tensions with North Korea.”

In our worldwide progressive paradigm, suggesting that the problem to be solved here is the threat posed by a tyrannical rogue state’s immoral behavior is considered inflammatory. Rather, we are all supposed to pretend that North Korea is “a sovereign state” with “legitimate concerns about being threatened by the U.S. military presence in Asia,” and that its outrageous provocations, unprovoked violence, and frequent promises to annihilate its democratic enemies are merely “understandable responses to its increased global isolation.”

(Even many conservatives of the libertarian bent are wont to ask, “How would you feel if your neighbors were all discussing how to end your regime?” — as though rationalizing a killing machine’s sensitivities were anything but a moral absurdity.)

As for President Moon, a progressive appeaser in the mold of his old ally and boss, Roh Moo-hyun (of North-South “Sunshine Policy” fame), he may be a tough sell on taking a stronger stand against North Korea. He would likely accept the inevitable if necessary, however, especially since Japan has already signed on to America’s “all options on the table” position, and since China has remained largely aloof from the situation so far.

But President Moon probably will have to be dragged to a harder stance by events — a bizarre thing to have to say about the president of a nation that is technically at war with a communist madhouse dictatorship that tore his own country in half, has starved and enslaved millions of his countrymen, and has carried out repeated acts of murderous aggression against the South in recent years, in addition to its constant threats of all-out attack. Talk about Stockholm Syndrome.

But the depth of the moral problem facing this world — in which most governments, media voices, and academics are progressive in their underlying principles and perspective — may be seen in the sheer silliness with which people speak of what might cause an “escalation of hostilities” with North Korea.  Here is a perfect example, from Professor Koo Kab-woo at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul. (Imagine the political perspective likely to prevail at a university with such a name.)

Addressing the concern that Trump might say or do something careless or bombastic during his South Korean trip, Professor Koo says, “If Trump says anything that can provoke North Korea, it could send military tensions soaring again.”

Right. North Korea is calm and trying to restore a peaceful coexistence. But what if Trump goes and blows it with a stupid remark?

You see, the tensions, whatever might have caused them (who can say?), have settled recently, but if they rise again due to Trump’s rhetoric during his visit to Seoul, then the resulting danger will be on America’s head for having “provoked” it.

This is a classic moral equivalency argument (and an excellent preview of exactly how China will respond if an armed conflict begins on the Korean peninsula): “Both sides need to calm down. If Nation A (the world’s oldest republic and traditional leader of the free world) causes things to escalate again by speaking too harshly, then Nation B (a bloody tyranny starving its own broken people and threatening the world with nuclear war) cannot be held solely responsible for the resulting rise in tensions.”

This is the same argument used for decades to frame the Cold War as a battle between “two noble experiments,” rather than between good and evil. It is the same argument used to equate the pro-Palestinian efforts by much of the Middle East (along with the UN and Europe and most of academia and the North American left) to wipe Israel off the map, to Israeli efforts to push back in defense of a nation the size of New Jersey.

Moral equivalency in international relations — “both sides are to blame,” or “both sides have understandable concerns” — is the last refuge of the morally bankrupt. In this case, expressing peevishness that somehow Donald Trump’s words might provoke North Korean hostilities is a convenient way of implying that North Korea is not inherently, essentially hostile to begin with, but rather that any hostility they display is merely a response to outside instigation. Thus, a tyranny is falsely portrayed as an equal participant in difficult diplomacy, rather than a victim of its own obsession with power and destruction. This in turn creates an aura of legitimacy around one of the most illegitimate regimes of modern times.

I myself have been critical of Trump’s often careless rhetoric on North Korea, but my concern has always been that by speaking too cavalierly, Trump risks tipping his administration’s hand unnecessarily, or painting himself into a strategic corner with Obama-like “red lines.” My concerns, in other words, are related to American interests, not North Korea’s “feelings.” Under no circumstances would I ever suggest Trump’s words or actions were to blame for North Korea’s behavior.

Similarly, appeasers like Moon Jae-in, who has used moral equivalency arguments against his own nation and yet has somehow been elected president under the guise of a “champion of the people” — reminiscent of Barack Obama in that regard, both in policy and in manner — exacerbate a national tragedy by emboldening a dictatorship. But by no means would I suggest such appeasers are to blame for the murderous aspirations of Kim Jong-un’s illegitimate regime.

North Korea is a brutal dictatorship with fantasies of eventually uniting the Korean peninsula under their communist bloodlust regime. They, and they alone, are to blame for their aggression; their aggression is not a response to anything, but rather their regime’s raison d’être.

Progressives constantly use moral equivalency arguments and moral relativism to obscure the crimes committed in the name of their death cult ideology. They have thereby obliterated an extremely proper and reasonable category of political discourse: illegitimate power.

In this age, any tyranny that survives long enough to become stable in its authority, or that exists as a protectorate of a bigger tyranny, is regarded as “sovereign,” in the sense of unassailable. The UN exists largely to reinforce and defend the “right” of unjust regimes to exist unchallenged, or to set strict limits on the conditions in which such regimes may be confronted by the so-called “international community.”

North Korea, under its current and permanent government, is not a sovereign nation. It is an illegitimate tyrannical regime, a state governed by men without even a pretense of concern for the well-being of their trampled population, which exists not at all as citizens, but rather as slaves, without any modicum or memory of self-determination or self-ownership.

To legitimize that regime by worrying about whether Donald Trump might say something to “raise tensions” is to miss the point. Tensions are permanent and unavoidable when a tyranny feels its power threatened. But tyrannies deserve to feel their power threatened, and in fact they always will. As Plato taught us long ago, the tyrannical man is the most frightened man in the world, for he lives in the knowledge that his power is not deserved, and that everyone hates him for it. He cannot sleep at night, because he cannot even trust his own guards, or his own brother.

But today, we are told not to speak too loudly, lest we disturb the tyrant’s sleep and make him angry, as if we would be to blame if our would-be killer’s anger were roused. Thus, progressives defend one of their own — an extreme and ridiculous one to be sure, but one of them nonetheless — with moral equivalency arguments.

There is no equivalency here. North Korea’s hostilities are their essence, not a product of outside provocation, real or imagined. Anything they do will be on their own heads, as will any destruction that gets unleashed upon them due to their actions. Theirs is a regime that has no moral legitimacy, and hence, while no one is obliged to do anything about that, neither does anyone owe their rule, their aspirations, or their tender feelings any respect.

The only moral considerations that have any weight in this issue are related to whether annihilating Kim’s national death camp — inherently justifiable — is worth the risk it may bring to the lives of other nations’ citizens.

Daren Jonescu lives in South Korea where he writes about politics, philosophy, education, and the decline of civilization at http://darenjonescu.com/.

Donald Trump is in South Korea today.  All focus, of course, is on whether Trump and recently-elected Korean president Moon Jae-in will present a unified position against North Korean aggression. Or let me restate that in words that make sense within the current zeitgeist: “a unified position on how to avoid an escalation of tensions with North Korea.”

In our worldwide progressive paradigm, suggesting that the problem to be solved here is the threat posed by a tyrannical rogue state’s immoral behavior is considered inflammatory. Rather, we are all supposed to pretend that North Korea is “a sovereign state” with “legitimate concerns about being threatened by the U.S. military presence in Asia,” and that its outrageous provocations, unprovoked violence, and frequent promises to annihilate its democratic enemies are merely “understandable responses to its increased global isolation.”

Demonstrators reacting to Trump’s visit

(Even many conservatives of the libertarian bent are wont to ask, “How would you feel if your neighbors were all discussing how to end your regime?” — as though rationalizing a killing machine’s sensitivities were anything but a moral absurdity.)

As for President Moon, a progressive appeaser in the mold of his old ally and boss, Roh Moo-hyun (of North-South “Sunshine Policy” fame), he may be a tough sell on taking a stronger stand against North Korea. He would likely accept the inevitable if necessary, however, especially since Japan has already signed on to America’s “all options on the table” position, and since China has remained largely aloof from the situation so far.

But President Moon probably will have to be dragged to a harder stance by events — a bizarre thing to have to say about the president of a nation that is technically at war with a communist madhouse dictatorship that tore his own country in half, has starved and enslaved millions of his countrymen, and has carried out repeated acts of murderous aggression against the South in recent years, in addition to its constant threats of all-out attack. Talk about Stockholm Syndrome.

But the depth of the moral problem facing this world — in which most governments, media voices, and academics are progressive in their underlying principles and perspective — may be seen in the sheer silliness with which people speak of what might cause an “escalation of hostilities” with North Korea.  Here is a perfect example, from Professor Koo Kab-woo at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul. (Imagine the political perspective likely to prevail at a university with such a name.)

Addressing the concern that Trump might say or do something careless or bombastic during his South Korean trip, Professor Koo says, “If Trump says anything that can provoke North Korea, it could send military tensions soaring again.”

Right. North Korea is calm and trying to restore a peaceful coexistence. But what if Trump goes and blows it with a stupid remark?

You see, the tensions, whatever might have caused them (who can say?), have settled recently, but if they rise again due to Trump’s rhetoric during his visit to Seoul, then the resulting danger will be on America’s head for having “provoked” it.

This is a classic moral equivalency argument (and an excellent preview of exactly how China will respond if an armed conflict begins on the Korean peninsula): “Both sides need to calm down. If Nation A (the world’s oldest republic and traditional leader of the free world) causes things to escalate again by speaking too harshly, then Nation B (a bloody tyranny starving its own broken people and threatening the world with nuclear war) cannot be held solely responsible for the resulting rise in tensions.”

This is the same argument used for decades to frame the Cold War as a battle between “two noble experiments,” rather than between good and evil. It is the same argument used to equate the pro-Palestinian efforts by much of the Middle East (along with the UN and Europe and most of academia and the North American left) to wipe Israel off the map, to Israeli efforts to push back in defense of a nation the size of New Jersey.

Moral equivalency in international relations — “both sides are to blame,” or “both sides have understandable concerns” — is the last refuge of the morally bankrupt. In this case, expressing peevishness that somehow Donald Trump’s words might provoke North Korean hostilities is a convenient way of implying that North Korea is not inherently, essentially hostile to begin with, but rather that any hostility they display is merely a response to outside instigation. Thus, a tyranny is falsely portrayed as an equal participant in difficult diplomacy, rather than a victim of its own obsession with power and destruction. This in turn creates an aura of legitimacy around one of the most illegitimate regimes of modern times.

I myself have been critical of Trump’s often careless rhetoric on North Korea, but my concern has always been that by speaking too cavalierly, Trump risks tipping his administration’s hand unnecessarily, or painting himself into a strategic corner with Obama-like “red lines.” My concerns, in other words, are related to American interests, not North Korea’s “feelings.” Under no circumstances would I ever suggest Trump’s words or actions were to blame for North Korea’s behavior.

Similarly, appeasers like Moon Jae-in, who has used moral equivalency arguments against his own nation and yet has somehow been elected president under the guise of a “champion of the people” — reminiscent of Barack Obama in that regard, both in policy and in manner — exacerbate a national tragedy by emboldening a dictatorship. But by no means would I suggest such appeasers are to blame for the murderous aspirations of Kim Jong-un’s illegitimate regime.

North Korea is a brutal dictatorship with fantasies of eventually uniting the Korean peninsula under their communist bloodlust regime. They, and they alone, are to blame for their aggression; their aggression is not a response to anything, but rather their regime’s raison d’être.

Progressives constantly use moral equivalency arguments and moral relativism to obscure the crimes committed in the name of their death cult ideology. They have thereby obliterated an extremely proper and reasonable category of political discourse: illegitimate power.

In this age, any tyranny that survives long enough to become stable in its authority, or that exists as a protectorate of a bigger tyranny, is regarded as “sovereign,” in the sense of unassailable. The UN exists largely to reinforce and defend the “right” of unjust regimes to exist unchallenged, or to set strict limits on the conditions in which such regimes may be confronted by the so-called “international community.”

North Korea, under its current and permanent government, is not a sovereign nation. It is an illegitimate tyrannical regime, a state governed by men without even a pretense of concern for the well-being of their trampled population, which exists not at all as citizens, but rather as slaves, without any modicum or memory of self-determination or self-ownership.

To legitimize that regime by worrying about whether Donald Trump might say something to “raise tensions” is to miss the point. Tensions are permanent and unavoidable when a tyranny feels its power threatened. But tyrannies deserve to feel their power threatened, and in fact they always will. As Plato taught us long ago, the tyrannical man is the most frightened man in the world, for he lives in the knowledge that his power is not deserved, and that everyone hates him for it. He cannot sleep at night, because he cannot even trust his own guards, or his own brother.

But today, we are told not to speak too loudly, lest we disturb the tyrant’s sleep and make him angry, as if we would be to blame if our would-be killer’s anger were roused. Thus, progressives defend one of their own — an extreme and ridiculous one to be sure, but one of them nonetheless — with moral equivalency arguments.

There is no equivalency here. North Korea’s hostilities are their essence, not a product of outside provocation, real or imagined. Anything they do will be on their own heads, as will any destruction that gets unleashed upon them due to their actions. Theirs is a regime that has no moral legitimacy, and hence, while no one is obliged to do anything about that, neither does anyone owe their rule, their aspirations, or their tender feelings any respect.

The only moral considerations that have any weight in this issue are related to whether annihilating Kim’s national death camp — inherently justifiable — is worth the risk it may bring to the lives of other nations’ citizens.

Daren Jonescu lives in South Korea where he writes about politics, philosophy, education, and the decline of civilization at http://darenjonescu.com/.



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The World Before Racial Hypersensitivity


For example, feminism interprets all history as misogynistic and systemically oppressive of women, such that any woman who does not self-identify as a feminist (i.e., a female neo-Marxist) is seen as weak, unenlightened, and suffering from false consciousness. But how, on this model, are we to make sense of the many famous examples of strong, intelligent women from the centuries before feminism redefined the sexes and diminished masculinity? Feminism conspires to erase those examples from our civilizational memory by means of ideological revisionism, redefining the peaks of human nature through the demeaning artifice of historical condescension.

To see how far we are from remembering nature’s true perspective, or being allowed to remember, consider that today most academic study of Jane Austen — nature’s antidote to feminist reductionism and hostility if ever there was one — begins from the absurd presupposition that Austen herself was a proto-feminist. We must believe this, you see, for otherwise Austen represents a profound, and ideologically unacceptable, counterargument to feminist historicism. (Among all the obvious evidence to the contrary, consider that feminism, like all neo-Marxist ideology, is utterly lacking in, and disdainful of, irony, whereas Austen was arguably the most subtle ironist since Socrates.)

Through many such historical contortions, progressives have made it difficult to imagine what an independent woman would look like at all, outside the perspective of feminist radicalism — which is exactly how the neo-Marxists like it.

Likewise on issues of race, history and old literature must always be presented from the neo-Marxist perspective, which is to say as examples of the social injustices or early social justice heroes of the ages before progressivism began to emancipate humanity from the “natural” or “naïve” point of view, in favor of the “scientific” social constructs of collectivist reformation.

So it is that we no longer even blink when we hear stories like this one, in which Alabama Republican Roy Moore is vilified as racist for expressing his Christian faith in this way:

We were torn apart in the Civil War — brother against brother, North against South, party against party. What changed? Now we have blacks and whites fighting, reds and yellows fighting, Democrats and Republicans fighting, men and women fighting.


What’s going to unite us? What’s going to bring us back together? A president? A Congress? No. It’s going to be God.

To which an enlightened progressive at Slate responded with this:

Ironically, one way God could improve white Americans’ relationships with Native Americans and Americans of Asian ancestry is by coming down hard on people like Roy Moore who still refer to Native Americans and Americans of Asian ancestry by using racial terms that were already considered insulting and antiquated 50 years ago.

The problem with Moore’s wish for national unity, you see, is that he has the regressive audacity to say “reds” when he should say “Native Americans,” and “yellows” when he should say “Americans of Asian ancestry.” Those stupid Christians, stuck in a language that became “insulting and antiquated 50 years ago”! That is, a language that described things as they are in concrete reality, rather than according to balkanizing abstractions concocted by university professors influenced by Frankfurt School Marxism and intended to manufacture and perpetuate permanent grievance groups to be used as cannon fodder against white capitalist oppression.

I should note that the above example comes from an article by a conservative writer at PJ Media, who objects to the tone-deafness of the left’s criticism of Christians like Moore, but nevertheless concedes the point that terms such as “red” and “yellow” are now generally understood as racist. So you see, even in the context of defending one man’s use of politically incorrect language, conservatives fall prey to the indoctrinated apology reflex: “Yes, his language is now considered inappropriate, but a fair look at the context shows that Moore didn’t intend to say anything racist.”

Enough of that apology reflex, please. Not only did Moore not intend to say anything racist, he didn’t say anything racist. Not at all racist, not even a little racist, not even insensitive-on-modern-terms racist. But we are all so immersed in the progressive distortions of language (and hence of discourse and thought) that our own instinctive rejection of such absurdities tends to get bogged down in a maze of politicized nuance. Nature’s glory has faded into the smog.

Occasionally, however, chance can still provide us with a microcosmic glimpse of the natural — that is, “naïve” or depoliticized — perspective on human differences and the language that describes them. There are still far-flung corners of the Earth where one may find examples of the descriptions and self-descriptions that were normal before the left’s deadly “-isms” were superimposed on language, politics, and psychology to manipulate us into submission before the progressive faith’s version of salvation, i.e., the rejection of liberty, human nature, and the past.

Here, then, for those still receptive to Nature’s beauty, is a breath of linguistic fresh air.

At the Korean university where I teach, a student I know well recently asked me about a disorienting experience she had suffered at the coffee shop where she works part-time. A young black couple — not a common sight in Korea — visited the coffee shop, both dressed very fashionably. As they were leaving, my student, impressed by their looks and bearing, commented to her coworkers (in Korean, but this is a literal translation of her words), “That black couple looks sexy” — upon which a coworker immediately scolded her for her racial insensitivity. Black people, he explained, don’t like to be called words like “sexy,” because it is racially offensive (presumably on the grounds of being a stereotype of some sort, although I wouldn’t waste much time trying to figure that out).

When my student responded that she had not intended any insult, but rather a compliment about the couple’s appearance, she was browbeaten with the standard progressive-postmodern assault: Her intention was not important; what mattered was how the aggrieved identity group wished to be spoken of, and words like “sexy” (which in its adopted Korean verb form, “seksihada,” carries the sense of “to be cool”) are now, supposedly, offensive. (“When did ‘black is beautiful’ become an insult?” I wondered.)

I briefly explained to my distraught student (“Am I prejudiced?”) the birds and the bees of political correctness, and quickly guessed, correctly, that her holier-than-thou, hypersensitive coworker had spent some time abroad, where he had been schooled in the ever-evolving ways of social justice by Western acquaintances, probably university students indoctrinated every day in their classes.

My student herself is an English literature major, which means exactly the same thing in Korea that it means in most Western universities, namely regular saturation in neo-Marxist interpretative theory. Every modern novel taught here is selected for its social justice attitudinizing, and every classic novel is used as an object lesson in the social injustice of past societies — the precise method of teaching history and literature advocated by John Dewey a century ago, by the way. (Imagine the trauma I caused when I taught Brave New World last spring!) And yet she had managed to remain more or less oblivious to the practical manifestations of this social justice propaganda in her everyday life, at least with regard to race issues.

Having walked her through the quagmire of racial politics for a while, I tried to concretize the issue, and to see how much political correctness had seeped into her own perceptions without her realizing it, by asking her the following question:

“Imagine you heard me talking to another Western professor, and I said, ‘These days, most of my students are Asian of course, but back home, while the majority of my students were white, I did have a few yellow students, too.’ What do you think when you hear the word ‘yellow’ in that sentence?”

My student’s initial response, after pausing to think about it, was, “I don’t understand.”

“Well,” I explained, “does the word ‘yellow,’ used to describe Asian people, bother you?”

After another thoughtful pause, she answered, perplexed, “Why should it bother me?” — causing me a delight comparable to what a man might feel upon entering a quiet path in the woods after twenty years in prison. Here, suddenly, and contrary to all my normal expectations of the modern politicization of language, was Nature, pure and simple.

Why, indeed, should a young Korean woman be bothered by being designated “yellow”? True, an Asian person’s skin is rarely yellow in any precise sense, any more than a “white” person is perfectly white, or a black person really pitch black. These designations are simplifications and approximations of convenience, of course. But what makes them racist or insensitive? Not, as writers like that Slate critic quoted earlier would assume, some kind of historical impulse toward Marxist perfection, according to which normal descriptive words magically become “insulting and antiquated” by academic fiat.

On the contrary, what we are seeing here is the inherent parochialism and myopia of progressive pseudo-intellectualism, which childishly mistakes its own theoretical presuppositions for Necessity, and then summarily declares all noncompliant language obsolete and “false.”

It takes a special kind of cultish narrowmindedness to imagine that descriptive language developed organically to serve an obvious and inescapable practical purpose — in this case a basic differentiation of races based on skin tones — can somehow become incorrect and immoral, whereas virtually useless and uninformative abstractions like “Americans of Asian descent” can somehow become correct and moral.

What impressed me most about my little field experiment was that my student — highly intelligent and well-exposed to social justice propaganda — was not only unoffended by the word “yellow,” but was instinctively unable to conceive of why anyone would be offended by it.

The voice of Nature had spoken — and its statement constituted a resounding “Oh, shut up!” to the phony sensitivity racket that seeks to manipulate us through theory-dependent reinterpretations of meaning.

The perspective that is actually false and naïve is the one that would deny that natural concreteness of genuine, prepropagandized communication, and that mistakes its own dogmatic ideological narrowness for higher understanding, just as children believe the world began with them, and everything around them is as new as their first view of it.

By contrast, if a smart and openminded young Korean, looking at the world without those progressive blinkers, thinks a black couple is sexy, she’s going to say so, and if you describe her as a yellow person, she’s going to say, “Yes, that’s right.”

There is a world of thought that is fading and almost lost today, one manifested in the communication of people who have not yet been degraded to the point of seeing themselves as nothing but vessels of political grievance and hypersensitivity. One comprised of souls striving for independence and individual meaning, rather than submitting to compliance and collective identity.

Our consolation, as we watch the last visible flickers of that lost world, is that it will always be there, however thoroughly obscured for the time being. Nature, contrary to the fundamental tenet of the progressive religious dogma, cannot be defeated or obliterated by socializing artifice — and that applies to human nature above all. At the moment, unfortunately, one may be more likely to find evidence of this consoling truth among yellow people than among whites or blacks, but such is life. We must take our signs of hope where we find them.

Daren Jonescu writes about politics, philosophy, education, and the decline of civilization at http://darenjonescu.com/

Imagine a world in which one can actually describe the human species concretely, as one finds it, without measuring every utterance against the ever-changing barometer of political correctness. Imagine a language that actually communicates positively, naturally, rather than forever masking itself in unnecessary, propagandized euphemism in order to avoid the ultimate progressive sin of “offending” someone’s indoctrinated sensitivity and delicateness. Imagine the freedom of describing Asian people as “yellow” without being accused of a hate crime.

So mired is the West in the phony neo-Marxist sensitivities of identity politics — i.e., of racial, sexual, and ethnic differences forged into weapons of cynical progressive demagoguery — that it has become difficult to remember or reconstruct how the human world might have looked before the smog of political correctness obscured our horizon. This civilizational memory loss is, in fact, part of the purpose of political correctness as a tool of social transformation, as it fosters the progressive illusion that there are no legitimate alternatives to “forward.”

For example, feminism interprets all history as misogynistic and systemically oppressive of women, such that any woman who does not self-identify as a feminist (i.e., a female neo-Marxist) is seen as weak, unenlightened, and suffering from false consciousness. But how, on this model, are we to make sense of the many famous examples of strong, intelligent women from the centuries before feminism redefined the sexes and diminished masculinity? Feminism conspires to erase those examples from our civilizational memory by means of ideological revisionism, redefining the peaks of human nature through the demeaning artifice of historical condescension.

To see how far we are from remembering nature’s true perspective, or being allowed to remember, consider that today most academic study of Jane Austen — nature’s antidote to feminist reductionism and hostility if ever there was one — begins from the absurd presupposition that Austen herself was a proto-feminist. We must believe this, you see, for otherwise Austen represents a profound, and ideologically unacceptable, counterargument to feminist historicism. (Among all the obvious evidence to the contrary, consider that feminism, like all neo-Marxist ideology, is utterly lacking in, and disdainful of, irony, whereas Austen was arguably the most subtle ironist since Socrates.)

Through many such historical contortions, progressives have made it difficult to imagine what an independent woman would look like at all, outside the perspective of feminist radicalism — which is exactly how the neo-Marxists like it.

Likewise on issues of race, history and old literature must always be presented from the neo-Marxist perspective, which is to say as examples of the social injustices or early social justice heroes of the ages before progressivism began to emancipate humanity from the “natural” or “naïve” point of view, in favor of the “scientific” social constructs of collectivist reformation.

So it is that we no longer even blink when we hear stories like this one, in which Alabama Republican Roy Moore is vilified as racist for expressing his Christian faith in this way:

We were torn apart in the Civil War — brother against brother, North against South, party against party. What changed? Now we have blacks and whites fighting, reds and yellows fighting, Democrats and Republicans fighting, men and women fighting.


What’s going to unite us? What’s going to bring us back together? A president? A Congress? No. It’s going to be God.

To which an enlightened progressive at Slate responded with this:

Ironically, one way God could improve white Americans’ relationships with Native Americans and Americans of Asian ancestry is by coming down hard on people like Roy Moore who still refer to Native Americans and Americans of Asian ancestry by using racial terms that were already considered insulting and antiquated 50 years ago.

The problem with Moore’s wish for national unity, you see, is that he has the regressive audacity to say “reds” when he should say “Native Americans,” and “yellows” when he should say “Americans of Asian ancestry.” Those stupid Christians, stuck in a language that became “insulting and antiquated 50 years ago”! That is, a language that described things as they are in concrete reality, rather than according to balkanizing abstractions concocted by university professors influenced by Frankfurt School Marxism and intended to manufacture and perpetuate permanent grievance groups to be used as cannon fodder against white capitalist oppression.

I should note that the above example comes from an article by a conservative writer at PJ Media, who objects to the tone-deafness of the left’s criticism of Christians like Moore, but nevertheless concedes the point that terms such as “red” and “yellow” are now generally understood as racist. So you see, even in the context of defending one man’s use of politically incorrect language, conservatives fall prey to the indoctrinated apology reflex: “Yes, his language is now considered inappropriate, but a fair look at the context shows that Moore didn’t intend to say anything racist.”

Enough of that apology reflex, please. Not only did Moore not intend to say anything racist, he didn’t say anything racist. Not at all racist, not even a little racist, not even insensitive-on-modern-terms racist. But we are all so immersed in the progressive distortions of language (and hence of discourse and thought) that our own instinctive rejection of such absurdities tends to get bogged down in a maze of politicized nuance. Nature’s glory has faded into the smog.

Occasionally, however, chance can still provide us with a microcosmic glimpse of the natural — that is, “naïve” or depoliticized — perspective on human differences and the language that describes them. There are still far-flung corners of the Earth where one may find examples of the descriptions and self-descriptions that were normal before the left’s deadly “-isms” were superimposed on language, politics, and psychology to manipulate us into submission before the progressive faith’s version of salvation, i.e., the rejection of liberty, human nature, and the past.

Here, then, for those still receptive to Nature’s beauty, is a breath of linguistic fresh air.

At the Korean university where I teach, a student I know well recently asked me about a disorienting experience she had suffered at the coffee shop where she works part-time. A young black couple — not a common sight in Korea — visited the coffee shop, both dressed very fashionably. As they were leaving, my student, impressed by their looks and bearing, commented to her coworkers (in Korean, but this is a literal translation of her words), “That black couple looks sexy” — upon which a coworker immediately scolded her for her racial insensitivity. Black people, he explained, don’t like to be called words like “sexy,” because it is racially offensive (presumably on the grounds of being a stereotype of some sort, although I wouldn’t waste much time trying to figure that out).

When my student responded that she had not intended any insult, but rather a compliment about the couple’s appearance, she was browbeaten with the standard progressive-postmodern assault: Her intention was not important; what mattered was how the aggrieved identity group wished to be spoken of, and words like “sexy” (which in its adopted Korean verb form, “seksihada,” carries the sense of “to be cool”) are now, supposedly, offensive. (“When did ‘black is beautiful’ become an insult?” I wondered.)

I briefly explained to my distraught student (“Am I prejudiced?”) the birds and the bees of political correctness, and quickly guessed, correctly, that her holier-than-thou, hypersensitive coworker had spent some time abroad, where he had been schooled in the ever-evolving ways of social justice by Western acquaintances, probably university students indoctrinated every day in their classes.

My student herself is an English literature major, which means exactly the same thing in Korea that it means in most Western universities, namely regular saturation in neo-Marxist interpretative theory. Every modern novel taught here is selected for its social justice attitudinizing, and every classic novel is used as an object lesson in the social injustice of past societies — the precise method of teaching history and literature advocated by John Dewey a century ago, by the way. (Imagine the trauma I caused when I taught Brave New World last spring!) And yet she had managed to remain more or less oblivious to the practical manifestations of this social justice propaganda in her everyday life, at least with regard to race issues.

Having walked her through the quagmire of racial politics for a while, I tried to concretize the issue, and to see how much political correctness had seeped into her own perceptions without her realizing it, by asking her the following question:

“Imagine you heard me talking to another Western professor, and I said, ‘These days, most of my students are Asian of course, but back home, while the majority of my students were white, I did have a few yellow students, too.’ What do you think when you hear the word ‘yellow’ in that sentence?”

My student’s initial response, after pausing to think about it, was, “I don’t understand.”

“Well,” I explained, “does the word ‘yellow,’ used to describe Asian people, bother you?”

After another thoughtful pause, she answered, perplexed, “Why should it bother me?” — causing me a delight comparable to what a man might feel upon entering a quiet path in the woods after twenty years in prison. Here, suddenly, and contrary to all my normal expectations of the modern politicization of language, was Nature, pure and simple.

Why, indeed, should a young Korean woman be bothered by being designated “yellow”? True, an Asian person’s skin is rarely yellow in any precise sense, any more than a “white” person is perfectly white, or a black person really pitch black. These designations are simplifications and approximations of convenience, of course. But what makes them racist or insensitive? Not, as writers like that Slate critic quoted earlier would assume, some kind of historical impulse toward Marxist perfection, according to which normal descriptive words magically become “insulting and antiquated” by academic fiat.

On the contrary, what we are seeing here is the inherent parochialism and myopia of progressive pseudo-intellectualism, which childishly mistakes its own theoretical presuppositions for Necessity, and then summarily declares all noncompliant language obsolete and “false.”

It takes a special kind of cultish narrowmindedness to imagine that descriptive language developed organically to serve an obvious and inescapable practical purpose — in this case a basic differentiation of races based on skin tones — can somehow become incorrect and immoral, whereas virtually useless and uninformative abstractions like “Americans of Asian descent” can somehow become correct and moral.

What impressed me most about my little field experiment was that my student — highly intelligent and well-exposed to social justice propaganda — was not only unoffended by the word “yellow,” but was instinctively unable to conceive of why anyone would be offended by it.

The voice of Nature had spoken — and its statement constituted a resounding “Oh, shut up!” to the phony sensitivity racket that seeks to manipulate us through theory-dependent reinterpretations of meaning.

The perspective that is actually false and naïve is the one that would deny that natural concreteness of genuine, prepropagandized communication, and that mistakes its own dogmatic ideological narrowness for higher understanding, just as children believe the world began with them, and everything around them is as new as their first view of it.

By contrast, if a smart and openminded young Korean, looking at the world without those progressive blinkers, thinks a black couple is sexy, she’s going to say so, and if you describe her as a yellow person, she’s going to say, “Yes, that’s right.”

There is a world of thought that is fading and almost lost today, one manifested in the communication of people who have not yet been degraded to the point of seeing themselves as nothing but vessels of political grievance and hypersensitivity. One comprised of souls striving for independence and individual meaning, rather than submitting to compliance and collective identity.

Our consolation, as we watch the last visible flickers of that lost world, is that it will always be there, however thoroughly obscured for the time being. Nature, contrary to the fundamental tenet of the progressive religious dogma, cannot be defeated or obliterated by socializing artifice — and that applies to human nature above all. At the moment, unfortunately, one may be more likely to find evidence of this consoling truth among yellow people than among whites or blacks, but such is life. We must take our signs of hope where we find them.

Daren Jonescu writes about politics, philosophy, education, and the decline of civilization at http://darenjonescu.com/



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School Coach Branded Racist for Calling Thugs 'Thugs'


Imagine if behind every little thug, there were larger, stronger thugs ready to defend those little thugs against criticism or correction. In this situation, thuggery would always grow, and all defense against it would be futile, until at last most people would  just give up and either join the thugs or hide quietly in their corners all their lives.

This self-perpetuating thuggish world is the social mechanism of public school in a nutshell — a world in which beating up a classmate with special learning needs has become a less egregious offense than condemning that beating with language that might hurt the perpetrators’ feelings.

Public education is systematized thuggery raised to the level of an extinction event. And what is slowly going extinct under the government schooling regime is civil society — standards of mutual respect and decency, individual responsibility, rational discourse, higher literacy, the spiritual life, and moderation.

In an age which spews out endless microcosmic instantiations of this destruction on a daily basis, you could hardly find one more all-encompassing, or more indicative of this particular moment in our global decline, than the following from Right Scoop.

A volunteer coach was banned from the school where he helped kids by some IDIOT of a super-intendant who CAVED like a coward before irrational calls from the mob that the coach was a racist.


What did he do?


Well, the coach saw a video online of two pathetic maggots beating on a 16-year-old student with special needs – and he called them “thugs.”

As you can easily guess from this account of the story, the elementary school wrestling coach, Doug Conroy, is white, while the soulless punks who beat up a younger, smaller student were…um, not white. In America’s current climate of politically correct fake sensitivity, with ordinary people being prodded into participating in a disingenuous, Marxist-inspired “grievance culture,” the word “thug,” as applied to these two teenage empty shells, was immediately and conveniently interpreted by the aunt of one of them, and then by the grown-up empty shells from the school district — the real thugs — as a racial slur. The coach’s school was therefore put on notice that the wrestling team, which practices at a high school, would be banned from using any district facilities until Coach Conroy was dismissed.

So of course the team is banned. God forbid anyone employed by the State should show any character and tell the district Maoists to take a hike.

That the victim of the assault was also black is irrelevant. As is the fact that the word “thug” is a well-established, very old English word which has always and consistently been used to describe exactly the kind of behavior engaged in by the…well, the thugs in this attack. In the world of sensitivity grievances, the mere fact that someone alleges hurt feelings is enough to cost a man his chosen place in the community.

It is essential to note here that, given the completely non-racial implications of the coach’s description, the fact that the word “thug” happens to have an objectively negative connotation is of no consequence to the accusation of racism. In principle, Conroy would be equally guilty of racism on these standards if he had said “It’s a beautiful day” or “How’s the weather,” and someone had decided, for any reason, that “beautiful” or “the” were racially hurtful terms.

The extent to which this is true is suggested by Conroy’s totally uncalled-for and self-incriminating apology, now typical in all such cases:

“I had no idea that word could be construed as racist. If it was, and I offended somebody, I apologize for that. It was never my intent.”

What matters today is no longer what the word actually means, or even what the speaker meant when he used it (his “intent”). What matters is how somebody else might “construe” the word. But if actual, standard, accepted dictionary meaning is not a legitimate justification for one’s word choice — if other people not knowing the meaning of a word is to be regarded as a different but legitimate “construal” of the word’s meaning, such that any word means whatever the hearer construes it to mean — then literally anything you say is offensive if anyone says it is offensive.

This is the new, progressive Tower of Babel that public education has (knowingly) helped to create. Hence my claim that this particular case is a perfect microcosm of our modern educational disaster.

A man, using formally correct, racially neutral language, accurately describes his impressions of a video of violent behavior. The aunt of one of the assailants takes offense at this formally correct, racially neutral, accurate description, and voila: a completely innocent man thinking he’s drawing attention to repulsive behavior in order to excoriate it, gets kicked to the curbside of Pathway-to-Utopia Boulevard. He is barred from participating in his community’s socialist education system — because he used proper English to criticize immoral behavior with objectively accurate descriptive language.

John Dewey would have loved this exemplary flowering of his dream of universal state socialization, with its disintegration of the regressive “individualism” of stable truth and objective meaning, in favor of the progressive pragmatism of social sensitivity and forced conformity.

In the public school world, the thugs will always win in the end.

Daren Jonescu writes about politics, philosophy, education, and the decline of civilization at http://darenjonescu.com/.

Imagine if behind every little thug, there were larger, stronger thugs ready to defend those little thugs against criticism or correction. In this situation, thuggery would always grow, and all defense against it would be futile, until at last most people would  just give up and either join the thugs or hide quietly in their corners all their lives.

This self-perpetuating thuggish world is the social mechanism of public school in a nutshell — a world in which beating up a classmate with special learning needs has become a less egregious offense than condemning that beating with language that might hurt the perpetrators’ feelings.

Public education is systematized thuggery raised to the level of an extinction event. And what is slowly going extinct under the government schooling regime is civil society — standards of mutual respect and decency, individual responsibility, rational discourse, higher literacy, the spiritual life, and moderation.

In an age which spews out endless microcosmic instantiations of this destruction on a daily basis, you could hardly find one more all-encompassing, or more indicative of this particular moment in our global decline, than the following from Right Scoop.

A volunteer coach was banned from the school where he helped kids by some IDIOT of a super-intendant who CAVED like a coward before irrational calls from the mob that the coach was a racist.


What did he do?


Well, the coach saw a video online of two pathetic maggots beating on a 16-year-old student with special needs – and he called them “thugs.”

As you can easily guess from this account of the story, the elementary school wrestling coach, Doug Conroy, is white, while the soulless punks who beat up a younger, smaller student were…um, not white. In America’s current climate of politically correct fake sensitivity, with ordinary people being prodded into participating in a disingenuous, Marxist-inspired “grievance culture,” the word “thug,” as applied to these two teenage empty shells, was immediately and conveniently interpreted by the aunt of one of them, and then by the grown-up empty shells from the school district — the real thugs — as a racial slur. The coach’s school was therefore put on notice that the wrestling team, which practices at a high school, would be banned from using any district facilities until Coach Conroy was dismissed.

So of course the team is banned. God forbid anyone employed by the State should show any character and tell the district Maoists to take a hike.

That the victim of the assault was also black is irrelevant. As is the fact that the word “thug” is a well-established, very old English word which has always and consistently been used to describe exactly the kind of behavior engaged in by the…well, the thugs in this attack. In the world of sensitivity grievances, the mere fact that someone alleges hurt feelings is enough to cost a man his chosen place in the community.

It is essential to note here that, given the completely non-racial implications of the coach’s description, the fact that the word “thug” happens to have an objectively negative connotation is of no consequence to the accusation of racism. In principle, Conroy would be equally guilty of racism on these standards if he had said “It’s a beautiful day” or “How’s the weather,” and someone had decided, for any reason, that “beautiful” or “the” were racially hurtful terms.

The extent to which this is true is suggested by Conroy’s totally uncalled-for and self-incriminating apology, now typical in all such cases:

“I had no idea that word could be construed as racist. If it was, and I offended somebody, I apologize for that. It was never my intent.”

What matters today is no longer what the word actually means, or even what the speaker meant when he used it (his “intent”). What matters is how somebody else might “construe” the word. But if actual, standard, accepted dictionary meaning is not a legitimate justification for one’s word choice — if other people not knowing the meaning of a word is to be regarded as a different but legitimate “construal” of the word’s meaning, such that any word means whatever the hearer construes it to mean — then literally anything you say is offensive if anyone says it is offensive.

This is the new, progressive Tower of Babel that public education has (knowingly) helped to create. Hence my claim that this particular case is a perfect microcosm of our modern educational disaster.

A man, using formally correct, racially neutral language, accurately describes his impressions of a video of violent behavior. The aunt of one of the assailants takes offense at this formally correct, racially neutral, accurate description, and voila: a completely innocent man thinking he’s drawing attention to repulsive behavior in order to excoriate it, gets kicked to the curbside of Pathway-to-Utopia Boulevard. He is barred from participating in his community’s socialist education system — because he used proper English to criticize immoral behavior with objectively accurate descriptive language.

John Dewey would have loved this exemplary flowering of his dream of universal state socialization, with its disintegration of the regressive “individualism” of stable truth and objective meaning, in favor of the progressive pragmatism of social sensitivity and forced conformity.

In the public school world, the thugs will always win in the end.

Daren Jonescu writes about politics, philosophy, education, and the decline of civilization at http://darenjonescu.com/.



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Hysterical Christian-Haters for Property Rights


A homosexual coffee shop owner with an angry mind, a foul mouth, and at least a few screws loose, has done Christian conservatives the favor of a lifetime, making the case for a businessman’s private property rights against the progressive oppression of anti-discrimination laws more eloquently — well, at least more bluntly — than any Christian business owner could make it.

A Seattle pro-life activist group that had been handing out pamphlets targeting homosexuals for repentance and “rebirth” decided to enjoy a break from their activities at the Bedlam coffee shop. It so happens the shop is owned by a homosexual man, who, when he caught wind of the group’s presence — they were not proselytizing, mind you, just drinking his coffee, thereby filling his coffers — confronted them…with exactly the kind of expletive-filled, sexually explicit, hysterical hissy-fit rant you’d expect from the stereotypical homosexual coffee shop owner who is hypersensitive about Christian critics of his “lifestyle.”

In short, he rudely and summarily kicked them off his premises. Now we all know that had the owner been the Christian in this story, and the activists the homosexuals, his actions would be plastered all over the mainstream media, Soros-backed communist protests would be exploiting this little nobody’s “hate speech” to increase social unrest and provoke violence, and his butt would be hauled into court faster than you can say “Hello sailor.” He would probably be bankrupted, his name and reputation soiled forever, his children humiliated by their teachers, and his entire family sentenced to community service cleaning the toilets at a homosexual nightclub.

But since the owner is the homosexual, and his patrons/victims Christians, the media will largely ignore the story, the communist agitators will say free speech does not extend to these customers’ intolerance of the LGBTXYZ community — Isn’t it strange how every favored special interest group is a “community”? Does anyone refer to the “white supremacist community”? — and the owner will be receiving letters of sympathy, congratulations, and moral support from all corners of the continental United States. The hypocrisy of the left is obvious, revolting, and displays an unsurprisingly complete lack of principle or honor.

But all that is irrelevant next to this: A man decided, for his own idiosyncratic reasons, that he didn’t want people of a certain kind on his premises — after all, it’s his place, and he didn’t think he should have to put up with opening it to people whose views he abhors — so he told them they were not welcome. Leaving aside the question of whether he owed them compensation for the drinks they had already paid for, this man made in essence the same decision you make every time you lock your door at night. You don’t want a certain kind of people, namely non-residents of the household, availing themselves of your property against your will, so you take active steps to prevent their entry.

This anti-Christian coffee shop case cuts to the basic issue of private property rights: Do you really own what the law calls “your property,” or do you not? If you really own it, then you should certainly have every right to deny access to it to anyone you please, for any reason you please. Placing moral conditions on people’s (peaceful, nonviolent) control over their own property is nothing less than a rejection of the very concept of private property, as it transforms genuine ownership of something into mere conditional permission to use it.

And if our so-called property is in fact just something we are conditionally permitted to use, then the logical question is, “Who really owns it?” Who, in other words, has the true authority to grant the permission and set the conditions for its use?

Socialists who live in a world of willowy abstractions will answer, “Society.” But rational people who look at what is concretely entailed by this conditional permission in practice will answer, “The government.”

If a man, assuming he is doing nothing with his property to abuse or violate other people, has been forced to cede authority over its use to government regulators — as he is forced to do by anti-discrimination laws — then he owns nothing. Property is a sham, a palliative illusion wielded by government to cushion the blow of a harsh reality, namely that the man lives entirely at the mercy and whim of the State. If the State decides it does not approve of the way he chooses to make his property accessible to others, he can be punished and his preferences overruled in the name of “non-discrimination.” (Apparently, discrimination against property owners per se falls outside the realm of self-righteous anti-discrimination sentiments.) 

“But a coffee shop is a place of business!” With regard to questions of discrimination and tolerance, we have all been trained to regard private businesses as a unique case, as though running a business were a public (governmental), rather than a private, endeavor. Think about this: If what you do with the majority of your waking hours, and the majority of your mental and physical energy, does not belong to you, simply because it involves the exchange of goods and services, then does this not imply that the entire “free market” — including the lives and labor of the people who participate in it — is a state-owned apparatus, i.e., that all activity related to producing, exchanging, and consuming belongs to the government?

And if the time and effort — which is to say, the life — a man spends on supporting himself through his labor and productive energy belong to the government, then in what meaningful sense can we say the man owns himself at all?

Offering goods I have produced, or services I have learned to provide, to other people in my community is a private choice, involving my private effort and personal investment. There ought to be nothing, in principle, to distinguish this from my private ownership of my home, with regard to my preferences regarding who should or shouldn’t be permitted entry to my premises, or to whom I should or shouldn’t render my services.

Note that I am talking about private choices, not discriminatory laws. There is no legitimacy in laws forbidding access to private businesses to certain kinds of law-abiding people, for exactly the same reason that there is no legitimacy in laws demanding access to private businesses for certain kinds of people. Discriminatory laws and anti-discrimination laws are, in this sense, just two sides of the same coin. They both ultimately entail government ownership of “private property.”

On the other hand, if a private man, including a small business owner, chooses to discriminate against certain people or kinds of people, then as long as his doing so involves no direct violations of those people’s rights, that is his business. Much as we may dislike his preference, there is nothing we can do about it, short of violating his property. And to be clear for those whose progressive education has left them at sea on the question of individual rights, there is no rights violation involved in being denied access to someone’s place of business through the owner’s private choice. No one can have a right to another man’s property (or to association with him), including his commercial property; hence, no right is violated by your being denied access to that other man’s property.

Do you support the baker who prefers not to bake cakes for homosexual weddings? Do you despise the homosexual coffee shop owner who prefers not to serve his fare to Christians? 

In short, from the point of view of justice, it makes no difference which business owner’s attitude you like or dislike. All that matters is that you accept that in both cases, there are no legitimate grounds for denying these owners their personal forms of “discrimination.” To discriminate is to judge, which is to think, which is to live as a human being. That our thinking is often wrong, and therefore our judgments false and our discriminations wrongheaded, is a problem of human nature. We are imperfect, and often lost in the fog. But contrary to the progressive authoritarian mentality, this natural imperfection is certainly no justification for overriding or obliterating the condition that, above all other conditions, makes practical reasoning, judgment, and discrimination possible, namely freedom.

On the contrary, it is only through the practical, political freedom to make our (sometimes errant) judgments, including regarding our associations with others — commercial or otherwise — that we may gradually grope our way through the fog to the higher kind of freedom every soul seeks.

Daren Jonescu writes about politics, philosophy, education, and the decline of civilization at http://darenjonescu.com/.

A homosexual coffee shop owner with an angry mind, a foul mouth, and at least a few screws loose, has done Christian conservatives the favor of a lifetime, making the case for a businessman’s private property rights against the progressive oppression of anti-discrimination laws more eloquently — well, at least more bluntly — than any Christian business owner could make it.

A Seattle pro-life activist group that had been handing out pamphlets targeting homosexuals for repentance and “rebirth” decided to enjoy a break from their activities at the Bedlam coffee shop. It so happens the shop is owned by a homosexual man, who, when he caught wind of the group’s presence — they were not proselytizing, mind you, just drinking his coffee, thereby filling his coffers — confronted them…with exactly the kind of expletive-filled, sexually explicit, hysterical hissy-fit rant you’d expect from the stereotypical homosexual coffee shop owner who is hypersensitive about Christian critics of his “lifestyle.”

In short, he rudely and summarily kicked them off his premises. Now we all know that had the owner been the Christian in this story, and the activists the homosexuals, his actions would be plastered all over the mainstream media, Soros-backed communist protests would be exploiting this little nobody’s “hate speech” to increase social unrest and provoke violence, and his butt would be hauled into court faster than you can say “Hello sailor.” He would probably be bankrupted, his name and reputation soiled forever, his children humiliated by their teachers, and his entire family sentenced to community service cleaning the toilets at a homosexual nightclub.

But since the owner is the homosexual, and his patrons/victims Christians, the media will largely ignore the story, the communist agitators will say free speech does not extend to these customers’ intolerance of the LGBTXYZ community — Isn’t it strange how every favored special interest group is a “community”? Does anyone refer to the “white supremacist community”? — and the owner will be receiving letters of sympathy, congratulations, and moral support from all corners of the continental United States. The hypocrisy of the left is obvious, revolting, and displays an unsurprisingly complete lack of principle or honor.

But all that is irrelevant next to this: A man decided, for his own idiosyncratic reasons, that he didn’t want people of a certain kind on his premises — after all, it’s his place, and he didn’t think he should have to put up with opening it to people whose views he abhors — so he told them they were not welcome. Leaving aside the question of whether he owed them compensation for the drinks they had already paid for, this man made in essence the same decision you make every time you lock your door at night. You don’t want a certain kind of people, namely non-residents of the household, availing themselves of your property against your will, so you take active steps to prevent their entry.

This anti-Christian coffee shop case cuts to the basic issue of private property rights: Do you really own what the law calls “your property,” or do you not? If you really own it, then you should certainly have every right to deny access to it to anyone you please, for any reason you please. Placing moral conditions on people’s (peaceful, nonviolent) control over their own property is nothing less than a rejection of the very concept of private property, as it transforms genuine ownership of something into mere conditional permission to use it.

And if our so-called property is in fact just something we are conditionally permitted to use, then the logical question is, “Who really owns it?” Who, in other words, has the true authority to grant the permission and set the conditions for its use?

Socialists who live in a world of willowy abstractions will answer, “Society.” But rational people who look at what is concretely entailed by this conditional permission in practice will answer, “The government.”

If a man, assuming he is doing nothing with his property to abuse or violate other people, has been forced to cede authority over its use to government regulators — as he is forced to do by anti-discrimination laws — then he owns nothing. Property is a sham, a palliative illusion wielded by government to cushion the blow of a harsh reality, namely that the man lives entirely at the mercy and whim of the State. If the State decides it does not approve of the way he chooses to make his property accessible to others, he can be punished and his preferences overruled in the name of “non-discrimination.” (Apparently, discrimination against property owners per se falls outside the realm of self-righteous anti-discrimination sentiments.) 

“But a coffee shop is a place of business!” With regard to questions of discrimination and tolerance, we have all been trained to regard private businesses as a unique case, as though running a business were a public (governmental), rather than a private, endeavor. Think about this: If what you do with the majority of your waking hours, and the majority of your mental and physical energy, does not belong to you, simply because it involves the exchange of goods and services, then does this not imply that the entire “free market” — including the lives and labor of the people who participate in it — is a state-owned apparatus, i.e., that all activity related to producing, exchanging, and consuming belongs to the government?

And if the time and effort — which is to say, the life — a man spends on supporting himself through his labor and productive energy belong to the government, then in what meaningful sense can we say the man owns himself at all?

Offering goods I have produced, or services I have learned to provide, to other people in my community is a private choice, involving my private effort and personal investment. There ought to be nothing, in principle, to distinguish this from my private ownership of my home, with regard to my preferences regarding who should or shouldn’t be permitted entry to my premises, or to whom I should or shouldn’t render my services.

Note that I am talking about private choices, not discriminatory laws. There is no legitimacy in laws forbidding access to private businesses to certain kinds of law-abiding people, for exactly the same reason that there is no legitimacy in laws demanding access to private businesses for certain kinds of people. Discriminatory laws and anti-discrimination laws are, in this sense, just two sides of the same coin. They both ultimately entail government ownership of “private property.”

On the other hand, if a private man, including a small business owner, chooses to discriminate against certain people or kinds of people, then as long as his doing so involves no direct violations of those people’s rights, that is his business. Much as we may dislike his preference, there is nothing we can do about it, short of violating his property. And to be clear for those whose progressive education has left them at sea on the question of individual rights, there is no rights violation involved in being denied access to someone’s place of business through the owner’s private choice. No one can have a right to another man’s property (or to association with him), including his commercial property; hence, no right is violated by your being denied access to that other man’s property.

Do you support the baker who prefers not to bake cakes for homosexual weddings? Do you despise the homosexual coffee shop owner who prefers not to serve his fare to Christians? 

In short, from the point of view of justice, it makes no difference which business owner’s attitude you like or dislike. All that matters is that you accept that in both cases, there are no legitimate grounds for denying these owners their personal forms of “discrimination.” To discriminate is to judge, which is to think, which is to live as a human being. That our thinking is often wrong, and therefore our judgments false and our discriminations wrongheaded, is a problem of human nature. We are imperfect, and often lost in the fog. But contrary to the progressive authoritarian mentality, this natural imperfection is certainly no justification for overriding or obliterating the condition that, above all other conditions, makes practical reasoning, judgment, and discrimination possible, namely freedom.

On the contrary, it is only through the practical, political freedom to make our (sometimes errant) judgments, including regarding our associations with others — commercial or otherwise — that we may gradually grope our way through the fog to the higher kind of freedom every soul seeks.

Daren Jonescu writes about politics, philosophy, education, and the decline of civilization at http://darenjonescu.com/.



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The Progressive Psychology of Exploiting a Crisis


Within hours of a man carrying out a horrifyingly successful mass shooting in Las Vegas, in which the death toll as of this writing is almost sixty, Democrats are out in public demanding gun control legislation.  As disgustingly cynical as this is, it is not in the least bit surprising.  Many more will join the chorus in the coming days, while a complicit news media will keep the horror fresh to facilitate the Democrats’ exploitation of sadness and pain.

Never wishing to appear to their neo-communist handlers as weaklings inclined to put humanity before politics, or willing to pre-empt the revolution out of respect for human suffering, progressive politicians at America’s moment of “fundamental transformation” seem to want to look callous and inhuman, even as they claim to represent the interests of the suffering and downtrodden.

Rahm Emanuel’s infamous cat-out-of-the-bag moment – “never let a crisis go to waste” – has quickly evolved from an awkward instance of progressive self-revelation into the proud mantra of the American left.  Leftists are no longer even ashamed at the old accusation of “politicizing a tragedy.”  Tragedy – the bigger, the better – is the grease in their wheels.  Politicizing hardship has always been their stock in trade, and now, through years of practice, they have trained to the public to regard this extreme cynicism as the norm, so that the accusation no longer carries any meaning.

Democratic congressman Seth Moulton, refusing to participate in the moment of silence for the Las Vegas victims on the House floor, tweets this perfect example of crisis exploitation: “Now is not a moment for silence; it’s a time for action.”  Action, of course, means laws restricting individual liberty and property rights, in defiance of the U.S. Constitution.

The essence of the strategy indicated by this crisis-exploitation mantra always comes in the form of precisely this kind of exhortation: stop thinking and pass laws, right now, precipitously, without a moment to reflect on all those little matters of constitutionality and individual liberty that a thinking population would remember were intended by the Founding Fathers to serve as moral limits on the extension of government power.

A huge storm devastates a populated region?  “Stop thinking; pass laws restricting greenhouse gas emissions now!”

Hundreds of people are shot, and a nation is in shock at the inhumanity of the crime?  “Stop thinking; pass laws restricting gun ownership now!”

This is how communist revolutions, whether direct and violent or indirect and gradual, must proceed, especially in a nation with explicit structural limits in place to thwart state overreach.  Catch the population with their intellectual guard down, at a moment of feeling weak, heartbroken, forlorn, or angry, and pounce on them with demagogic cries of “Forward!”  Before they know it, they will have acceded to things no freedom-loving people would ever accept if they were thinking clearly.

The progressive advantage, however – and this explains the “ratchet mechanism” of progressivism’s advance – is that once a society has been forced or hoodwinked into increased social control, the newly restrictive conditions tend to become new psychological and moral norms quickly.  Hence, it becomes almost impossible to rescind even the most draconian assaults on the individual, as most people get “comfortable with” (i.e., inured to) living within the smaller range of personal freedom, like sheep herded into smaller and smaller pens.

When it comes to using death, hardship, and bloodshed to achieve their authoritarian aims, the only difference between “democratic” progressives and old-style communist revolutionaries is that the latter promote the death, hardship, and bloodshed directly and openly, whereas the former, in order to keep up the appearance of being respectable public servants, need to exploit the death, hardship, and bloodshed they find along the way.  They do this by “never letting a crisis go to waste” – i.e., turning any large-scale moment of pain and suffering into a rallying cry for new laws, meaning more power – for themselves, of course.

Think, finally, of the psychology behind this crisis-exploitation strategy.  If you truly believed that human suffering – particularly sudden, unanticipated suffering on a mass scale – is not merely pragmatically useful to your aims of greater government authority, but actually necessary to prodding the public toward your aims, what would your attitude have to be toward such suffering?

How, for example, would you have to train yourself to look at instances of violence and destruction if you regarded your political platform as being practically dependent on such instances as tipping points for pushing your desired legislative action?  Wouldn’t you sort of have to hope for them?  Wouldn’t you gradually come to feel that these horrors, though “regrettable,” were sort of beneficial, in the sense of being necessary conditions for the advancement of your policy agenda?  Wouldn’t you, in effect, start to find such violence and destruction desirable, at least as means to your ends?  And what would such a moral reasoning process do to your character?

Among other things, it might make you cold and calculating regarding legitimate human suffering in a moment of crisis, as Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were during the Benghazi attack.  It might make you hatefully nihilistic about the value of other people’s lives, as Robert Reich was when he playfully told university students how a properly managed government health care system would simply tell sick old people, “We’re going to let you die.”

And let me be clear about this.  The perspective I am talking about is completely different from saying, “Everyone benefits from suffering” or “What does not kill me makes me stronger.”  The progressive is saying, rather, “Without other people’s suffering, I cannot further my own aims of increased power.”

Furthermore, it may well be true that certain kinds of hardship are necessary to move a population to important political action.  For example, a civilization long oppressed in conditions of what Tocqueville called soft despotism – as we are today – may well need the suffering of utter social collapse to shake it out of its submissive slumber.

But to revel in human suffering – or at least instinctively appreciate it – as the means to promoting soft despotism – i.e., as the impetus for enacting oppression through regulation – is pure inhumanity.  The psyche that could train itself to want or count on such moments of exploitable suffering is truly tyrannical in the literal sense define by Plato – namely, the condition of being ruled by irrational desire.  In such a soul, reason has been utterly usurped by power-lust – the same condition such souls seek to impose on whole societies.

Daren Jonescu writes about politics, philosophy, education, and the decline of civilization at http://darenjonescu.com.

Within hours of a man carrying out a horrifyingly successful mass shooting in Las Vegas, in which the death toll as of this writing is almost sixty, Democrats are out in public demanding gun control legislation.  As disgustingly cynical as this is, it is not in the least bit surprising.  Many more will join the chorus in the coming days, while a complicit news media will keep the horror fresh to facilitate the Democrats’ exploitation of sadness and pain.

Never wishing to appear to their neo-communist handlers as weaklings inclined to put humanity before politics, or willing to pre-empt the revolution out of respect for human suffering, progressive politicians at America’s moment of “fundamental transformation” seem to want to look callous and inhuman, even as they claim to represent the interests of the suffering and downtrodden.

Rahm Emanuel’s infamous cat-out-of-the-bag moment – “never let a crisis go to waste” – has quickly evolved from an awkward instance of progressive self-revelation into the proud mantra of the American left.  Leftists are no longer even ashamed at the old accusation of “politicizing a tragedy.”  Tragedy – the bigger, the better – is the grease in their wheels.  Politicizing hardship has always been their stock in trade, and now, through years of practice, they have trained to the public to regard this extreme cynicism as the norm, so that the accusation no longer carries any meaning.

Democratic congressman Seth Moulton, refusing to participate in the moment of silence for the Las Vegas victims on the House floor, tweets this perfect example of crisis exploitation: “Now is not a moment for silence; it’s a time for action.”  Action, of course, means laws restricting individual liberty and property rights, in defiance of the U.S. Constitution.

The essence of the strategy indicated by this crisis-exploitation mantra always comes in the form of precisely this kind of exhortation: stop thinking and pass laws, right now, precipitously, without a moment to reflect on all those little matters of constitutionality and individual liberty that a thinking population would remember were intended by the Founding Fathers to serve as moral limits on the extension of government power.

A huge storm devastates a populated region?  “Stop thinking; pass laws restricting greenhouse gas emissions now!”

Hundreds of people are shot, and a nation is in shock at the inhumanity of the crime?  “Stop thinking; pass laws restricting gun ownership now!”

This is how communist revolutions, whether direct and violent or indirect and gradual, must proceed, especially in a nation with explicit structural limits in place to thwart state overreach.  Catch the population with their intellectual guard down, at a moment of feeling weak, heartbroken, forlorn, or angry, and pounce on them with demagogic cries of “Forward!”  Before they know it, they will have acceded to things no freedom-loving people would ever accept if they were thinking clearly.

The progressive advantage, however – and this explains the “ratchet mechanism” of progressivism’s advance – is that once a society has been forced or hoodwinked into increased social control, the newly restrictive conditions tend to become new psychological and moral norms quickly.  Hence, it becomes almost impossible to rescind even the most draconian assaults on the individual, as most people get “comfortable with” (i.e., inured to) living within the smaller range of personal freedom, like sheep herded into smaller and smaller pens.

When it comes to using death, hardship, and bloodshed to achieve their authoritarian aims, the only difference between “democratic” progressives and old-style communist revolutionaries is that the latter promote the death, hardship, and bloodshed directly and openly, whereas the former, in order to keep up the appearance of being respectable public servants, need to exploit the death, hardship, and bloodshed they find along the way.  They do this by “never letting a crisis go to waste” – i.e., turning any large-scale moment of pain and suffering into a rallying cry for new laws, meaning more power – for themselves, of course.

Think, finally, of the psychology behind this crisis-exploitation strategy.  If you truly believed that human suffering – particularly sudden, unanticipated suffering on a mass scale – is not merely pragmatically useful to your aims of greater government authority, but actually necessary to prodding the public toward your aims, what would your attitude have to be toward such suffering?

How, for example, would you have to train yourself to look at instances of violence and destruction if you regarded your political platform as being practically dependent on such instances as tipping points for pushing your desired legislative action?  Wouldn’t you sort of have to hope for them?  Wouldn’t you gradually come to feel that these horrors, though “regrettable,” were sort of beneficial, in the sense of being necessary conditions for the advancement of your policy agenda?  Wouldn’t you, in effect, start to find such violence and destruction desirable, at least as means to your ends?  And what would such a moral reasoning process do to your character?

Among other things, it might make you cold and calculating regarding legitimate human suffering in a moment of crisis, as Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were during the Benghazi attack.  It might make you hatefully nihilistic about the value of other people’s lives, as Robert Reich was when he playfully told university students how a properly managed government health care system would simply tell sick old people, “We’re going to let you die.”

And let me be clear about this.  The perspective I am talking about is completely different from saying, “Everyone benefits from suffering” or “What does not kill me makes me stronger.”  The progressive is saying, rather, “Without other people’s suffering, I cannot further my own aims of increased power.”

Furthermore, it may well be true that certain kinds of hardship are necessary to move a population to important political action.  For example, a civilization long oppressed in conditions of what Tocqueville called soft despotism – as we are today – may well need the suffering of utter social collapse to shake it out of its submissive slumber.

But to revel in human suffering – or at least instinctively appreciate it – as the means to promoting soft despotism – i.e., as the impetus for enacting oppression through regulation – is pure inhumanity.  The psyche that could train itself to want or count on such moments of exploitable suffering is truly tyrannical in the literal sense define by Plato – namely, the condition of being ruled by irrational desire.  In such a soul, reason has been utterly usurped by power-lust – the same condition such souls seek to impose on whole societies.

Daren Jonescu writes about politics, philosophy, education, and the decline of civilization at http://darenjonescu.com.



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Oops! Climate Cultist Destroys Own Position


Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson has been doing the leftist media interview circuit recently, pressing his peculiar thesis that professional (i.e., paid) scientists are a superior class of humans whose conclusions are intrinsically beyond reproach and must therefore be accepted blindly by unscientific lunks like you.

In each of these interviews, a non-climate scientist asks a series of predetermined questions designed to elicit rehearsed responses from the non-climate scientist Tyson, the upshot of which is that (a) people who question man-made global warming are anti-scientific fools driven by irrational agendas; (b) scientific consensus is not the product of the social and political pressures of academic life working on the minds of the career-motivated, publication-obsessed majority of scholarly mediocrities, but rather consensus is the very definition of Objective Truth; and (c) anyone who questions a scientific consensus poses a threat to the survival of democracy.

For an example of (a), here is Tyson’s explanation of why some people continue to question the alleged scientific consensus on global warming:

What’s happening here is that there are people who have cultural, political, religious, economic philosophies that they then invoke when they want to cherry pick one scientific result or another.

In other words, non-scientists who have the audacity to cite scientific results falling outside the consensus as grounds for questioning global warming are just people with agendas who are refusing to accept the settled science, for anti-scientific reasons.  This doesn’t account for the actual scientists who produced those dissenting results or hypotheses.  Are they also to be dismissed as mere “deniers,” since their views do not match the consensus?

Tyson’s answer appears to be yes, as he offers this interesting definition of “objective truth,” answering to talking point (b), above:

For an emergent scientific truth to become an objective truth – a truth that is true whether or not you believe in it – it requires more than one scientific paper. It requires a whole system of people’s research all leaning in the same direction, all pointing to the same consequences. That’s what we have with climate change as induced by human conduct. This is a known correspondence. If you want to find the three percent of the papers or the one percent of the papers that conflicted with this, and build policy on that – that is simply irresponsible.

So according to Tyson, science is ultimately defined not by superior individual minds defying accepted views – i.e., standing against a consensus.  No, science is rather defined by consensus itself, for consensus alone establishes objective truth, which “is true whether or not you believe in it.”  (Funny – I always thought Nature or God established objective truth, but apparently, in our nihilistic progressive age, that task has devolved to the collective of university professors.)

And what is a scholarly consensus?  It is “a whole system of people’s research all leaning in the same direction, all pointing to the same consequences.”  Tyson conveniently leaves out the most important factor: “all beginning from the same underlying premises.”

Scholarly consensus is what you get when a few people at the top of an academic hierarchy become gatekeepers and use their authority as peer-reviewers, thesis supervisors, and hiring committee members to influence the range and limits of “legitimate” research.  A new specialization that has detached itself from a broader system of inquiry, and therefore has relatively few prominent practitioners, as in the case of climate science, is most easily susceptible to this form of “consensus-building.”

As for point (c), above, Neil deGrasse Tyson gives us this doozy:

I’m so disappointed that the country that I grew up in – that put men on the moon, that developed the internet, that invented personal computers and smartphones – that people are debating what is and what is not scientifically true.

By “people,” Tyson means those who are not professional climate scientists.  Unless you are an officially accredited member of the fraternity of scientists, you may not debate “what is and what is not scientifically true.”  In other words, shut up, ignore the evidence around you, and just follow your betters.  Failing to do so is, according to Tyson, “the beginning of the end of an informed democracy” – where “informed” means compliant.

Not being a professional (i.e., paid) scientist, I never received the memo announcing that ad hominem, appeal to authority, and plain old elitist condescension have now been enshrined as elements of the scientific method in good standing.

Leaving all that aside, Tyson’s best argument for bowing before the god of scientific consensus – his only argument based on reasoning rather than intimidation – is in fact the “oops” moment to end all “oops” moments for a global warming apologist.  For this argument actually undermines his whole case, by justifying the core position of climate change skeptics.

Referring to the August solar eclipse, Tyson leaps at the opportunity to catch the “deniers” in a contradiction.

I don’t see people objecting to [the prediction of an eclipse]. I don’t see people in denial of it. Yet methods and tools of science predict it. So when methods and tools of science predict other things, to have people turn around and say “I deny what you say,” there’s something wrong in our world when that happens.

And I would say that when a renowned scientist fails to realize he has just blown his own position to smithereens, then there is something wrong in our world.

Tyson’s analogy between global warming and solar eclipses is meant to be a zinger that wows the audience into submission, so that there is no need to flesh out the terms of the analogy more clearly.  But let’s take a moment to clarify his point.

Scientific predictions are not standalone declarations made on the basis of some sort of magical thinking called “scientific method.”  Rather, scientific reasoning is used to form hypotheses about certain aspects of the material world, which hypotheses are then typically evaluated over time by means of their predictive power.  In other words, predictions are the arena in which underlying scientific premises are assessed for plausibility.  The more evidence of accurate predictive power, the more believable the underlying theory becomes.

Let’s look at Tyson’s example of solar eclipses.  If you questioned whether the recent solar eclipse would really happen, you would truly have exposed yourself as an uneducated pleb who doesn’t respect scientific method.  But why did you feel obliged to believe that the eclipse would happen?  Was it because there was a scientific consensus?

No – it was because every eclipse predicted in your lifetime has actually occurred, exactly when and as the scientists predicted.  None of us has ever met a person who could tell a story of “the eclipse that never happened” or “the eclipse that caught everyone by surprise.”  Having not a single counterexample to cast doubt on the scientists’ predictions, ordinary men and women have developed a complete trust in the validity of those predictions.

If, by contrast, we had seen that the astronomers were often wrong in their predictions of eclipses, or that there were often eclipses that no astronomers had predicted, or even that eclipses frequently occurred precisely when the scientific consensus insisted that no eclipse could possibly happen, then most of us would be skeptical about predictions of solar eclipses.  We would have every right to be.  No astronomer in these circumstances could reasonably demand that we trust the scientific consensus, given how often their predictions had failed. And even if, by chance, this year’s solar eclipse had turned out more or less the way they predicted, we might reasonably classify that as a coincidence rather than as evidence for their theories, remembering how often their previous predictions had been false.

Or imagine that astronomers had taken to predicting both that an eclipse would occur this year and that no eclipse would occur, such that neither outcome could disprove their underlying theory.  Wouldn’t we all – wouldn’t even Tyson himself – regard such a theory with skepticism in light of its advocates’ unwillingness to let it stand or fall on the accuracy of any decisive prediction?  Wouldn’t Tyson accuse those scientists of trying to create an unfalsifiable theory – i.e., one which no empirical outcome could ever prove wrong? Wouldn’t he question whether such an unfalsifiable theory qualifies as legitimate science at all?

The proper analogy, to clarify what Tyson leaves obscure, is between men’s attitudes toward two underlying theories: those that have been used to predict eclipses, and those that have been used to predict various climatic outcomes.

Dozens of predicted climate outcomes have already failed to occur as predicted.  The desperate lunge Tyson and others are making at the recent U.S. hurricanes only draws attention to all the previous years when their predictions of greater and more frequent storms fell flat.  In those years, the red-faced warmists defended their inaccuracy by mocking the deniers with “it doesn’t work that way.”  Apparently, it now suddenly works that way.

This predictive failure explains why, whereas we anti-democratic skeptics (i.e., rational adults) happily defer to the expertise of astronomers whose predictions are always right, we refuse to bow before the climate “consensus,” just as some Germans refused to bow before the scientific consensus (“objective truth”) on Aryan superiority, and just as some in the nineteenth century rejected the scientific consensus (“objective truth”) on the sub-humanity of the black race.

Though we may not all be paid scientists, we’ve all seen children trying to squirm their way out of a lie, so we can all understand Tyson’s arguments well enough.  As with children, moral and intellectual hypocrisy can feel necessary in a desperate situation, but it rarely fools anyone.

Daren Jonescu writes about politics, philosophy, education, and the decline of civilization at http://darenjonescu.com.

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson has been doing the leftist media interview circuit recently, pressing his peculiar thesis that professional (i.e., paid) scientists are a superior class of humans whose conclusions are intrinsically beyond reproach and must therefore be accepted blindly by unscientific lunks like you.

In each of these interviews, a non-climate scientist asks a series of predetermined questions designed to elicit rehearsed responses from the non-climate scientist Tyson, the upshot of which is that (a) people who question man-made global warming are anti-scientific fools driven by irrational agendas; (b) scientific consensus is not the product of the social and political pressures of academic life working on the minds of the career-motivated, publication-obsessed majority of scholarly mediocrities, but rather consensus is the very definition of Objective Truth; and (c) anyone who questions a scientific consensus poses a threat to the survival of democracy.

For an example of (a), here is Tyson’s explanation of why some people continue to question the alleged scientific consensus on global warming:

What’s happening here is that there are people who have cultural, political, religious, economic philosophies that they then invoke when they want to cherry pick one scientific result or another.

In other words, non-scientists who have the audacity to cite scientific results falling outside the consensus as grounds for questioning global warming are just people with agendas who are refusing to accept the settled science, for anti-scientific reasons.  This doesn’t account for the actual scientists who produced those dissenting results or hypotheses.  Are they also to be dismissed as mere “deniers,” since their views do not match the consensus?

Tyson’s answer appears to be yes, as he offers this interesting definition of “objective truth,” answering to talking point (b), above:

For an emergent scientific truth to become an objective truth – a truth that is true whether or not you believe in it – it requires more than one scientific paper. It requires a whole system of people’s research all leaning in the same direction, all pointing to the same consequences. That’s what we have with climate change as induced by human conduct. This is a known correspondence. If you want to find the three percent of the papers or the one percent of the papers that conflicted with this, and build policy on that – that is simply irresponsible.

So according to Tyson, science is ultimately defined not by superior individual minds defying accepted views – i.e., standing against a consensus.  No, science is rather defined by consensus itself, for consensus alone establishes objective truth, which “is true whether or not you believe in it.”  (Funny – I always thought Nature or God established objective truth, but apparently, in our nihilistic progressive age, that task has devolved to the collective of university professors.)

And what is a scholarly consensus?  It is “a whole system of people’s research all leaning in the same direction, all pointing to the same consequences.”  Tyson conveniently leaves out the most important factor: “all beginning from the same underlying premises.”

Scholarly consensus is what you get when a few people at the top of an academic hierarchy become gatekeepers and use their authority as peer-reviewers, thesis supervisors, and hiring committee members to influence the range and limits of “legitimate” research.  A new specialization that has detached itself from a broader system of inquiry, and therefore has relatively few prominent practitioners, as in the case of climate science, is most easily susceptible to this form of “consensus-building.”

As for point (c), above, Neil deGrasse Tyson gives us this doozy:

I’m so disappointed that the country that I grew up in – that put men on the moon, that developed the internet, that invented personal computers and smartphones – that people are debating what is and what is not scientifically true.

By “people,” Tyson means those who are not professional climate scientists.  Unless you are an officially accredited member of the fraternity of scientists, you may not debate “what is and what is not scientifically true.”  In other words, shut up, ignore the evidence around you, and just follow your betters.  Failing to do so is, according to Tyson, “the beginning of the end of an informed democracy” – where “informed” means compliant.

Not being a professional (i.e., paid) scientist, I never received the memo announcing that ad hominem, appeal to authority, and plain old elitist condescension have now been enshrined as elements of the scientific method in good standing.

Leaving all that aside, Tyson’s best argument for bowing before the god of scientific consensus – his only argument based on reasoning rather than intimidation – is in fact the “oops” moment to end all “oops” moments for a global warming apologist.  For this argument actually undermines his whole case, by justifying the core position of climate change skeptics.

Referring to the August solar eclipse, Tyson leaps at the opportunity to catch the “deniers” in a contradiction.

I don’t see people objecting to [the prediction of an eclipse]. I don’t see people in denial of it. Yet methods and tools of science predict it. So when methods and tools of science predict other things, to have people turn around and say “I deny what you say,” there’s something wrong in our world when that happens.

And I would say that when a renowned scientist fails to realize he has just blown his own position to smithereens, then there is something wrong in our world.

Tyson’s analogy between global warming and solar eclipses is meant to be a zinger that wows the audience into submission, so that there is no need to flesh out the terms of the analogy more clearly.  But let’s take a moment to clarify his point.

Scientific predictions are not standalone declarations made on the basis of some sort of magical thinking called “scientific method.”  Rather, scientific reasoning is used to form hypotheses about certain aspects of the material world, which hypotheses are then typically evaluated over time by means of their predictive power.  In other words, predictions are the arena in which underlying scientific premises are assessed for plausibility.  The more evidence of accurate predictive power, the more believable the underlying theory becomes.

Let’s look at Tyson’s example of solar eclipses.  If you questioned whether the recent solar eclipse would really happen, you would truly have exposed yourself as an uneducated pleb who doesn’t respect scientific method.  But why did you feel obliged to believe that the eclipse would happen?  Was it because there was a scientific consensus?

No – it was because every eclipse predicted in your lifetime has actually occurred, exactly when and as the scientists predicted.  None of us has ever met a person who could tell a story of “the eclipse that never happened” or “the eclipse that caught everyone by surprise.”  Having not a single counterexample to cast doubt on the scientists’ predictions, ordinary men and women have developed a complete trust in the validity of those predictions.

If, by contrast, we had seen that the astronomers were often wrong in their predictions of eclipses, or that there were often eclipses that no astronomers had predicted, or even that eclipses frequently occurred precisely when the scientific consensus insisted that no eclipse could possibly happen, then most of us would be skeptical about predictions of solar eclipses.  We would have every right to be.  No astronomer in these circumstances could reasonably demand that we trust the scientific consensus, given how often their predictions had failed. And even if, by chance, this year’s solar eclipse had turned out more or less the way they predicted, we might reasonably classify that as a coincidence rather than as evidence for their theories, remembering how often their previous predictions had been false.

Or imagine that astronomers had taken to predicting both that an eclipse would occur this year and that no eclipse would occur, such that neither outcome could disprove their underlying theory.  Wouldn’t we all – wouldn’t even Tyson himself – regard such a theory with skepticism in light of its advocates’ unwillingness to let it stand or fall on the accuracy of any decisive prediction?  Wouldn’t Tyson accuse those scientists of trying to create an unfalsifiable theory – i.e., one which no empirical outcome could ever prove wrong? Wouldn’t he question whether such an unfalsifiable theory qualifies as legitimate science at all?

The proper analogy, to clarify what Tyson leaves obscure, is between men’s attitudes toward two underlying theories: those that have been used to predict eclipses, and those that have been used to predict various climatic outcomes.

Dozens of predicted climate outcomes have already failed to occur as predicted.  The desperate lunge Tyson and others are making at the recent U.S. hurricanes only draws attention to all the previous years when their predictions of greater and more frequent storms fell flat.  In those years, the red-faced warmists defended their inaccuracy by mocking the deniers with “it doesn’t work that way.”  Apparently, it now suddenly works that way.

This predictive failure explains why, whereas we anti-democratic skeptics (i.e., rational adults) happily defer to the expertise of astronomers whose predictions are always right, we refuse to bow before the climate “consensus,” just as some Germans refused to bow before the scientific consensus (“objective truth”) on Aryan superiority, and just as some in the nineteenth century rejected the scientific consensus (“objective truth”) on the sub-humanity of the black race.

Though we may not all be paid scientists, we’ve all seen children trying to squirm their way out of a lie, so we can all understand Tyson’s arguments well enough.  As with children, moral and intellectual hypocrisy can feel necessary in a desperate situation, but it rarely fools anyone.

Daren Jonescu writes about politics, philosophy, education, and the decline of civilization at http://darenjonescu.com.



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