Telling it like it is

When Celebrity Breeds Self-Importance, Nonsense Ensues

  09/25/17 20:03, by Dan Engel, Categories: Uncategorized

I have to admit to being a late-comer to the NFL National Anthem debacle (or whatever you call it.) I've been trying to figure out what the deal is--what initially sparked all of the NFL antagonism towards the National Anthem.

I think I've identified the root cause in this bit from Fox News (emphasis mine):

Trump's criticism began on Friday during a rally in Alabama when he called for players to be fired who disrespect the American flag.

"Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say 'get that son of a b ---- off the field right now? Out! He's fired! He's fired,'" Trump said to the crowd.

His comments drew sharp criticism among professional athletes and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

"Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players, and a failure to understand the overwhelming force for good our clubs and players represent in our communities," Goodell said.

OK, Trump is...well, Trump.

But "an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL"?

What does Roger Goodell think the NFL is? OK, the guys work hard and I've never been one to argue that the salaries of sports professionals are too high. I'm all for paying people who entertain us whatever we (society) are willing to pay them.

But let's be clear: Entertainment is all it is. By all means, let's acknowledge the talent and praise the hard work of the players. But there's nothing to "respect" in the NFL itself. Its' an unfotunate lack of respect for reality that leads Roger Goodell to think otherwise.

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Defending Liberty Against the Left

  08/09/17 20:54, by Dan Engel, Categories: Uncategorized

A few years ago, I was talking light politics with a colleague at work. He was explaining how he sees the Democrat vs. Republican approach (or maybe he called it the liberal vs. conservative approach) to government and society. Somewhat paraphrasing, since this conversation took place too long ago for me to recall verbatim, his take was the following:

Democrats generally take an approach of solving problems from the ground up, while Republicans prefer to work from the top down.

I was puzzled how he had ever come to such a conclusion, but work being what it is (I'm a software engineer), we were interrupted with urgent matters before I could pursue it further. I kept meaning to bring the topic back up over the next few months, but before I could get the chance, he took a position elsewhere.

This perception, that the modern American conservative approach to society is a top down, authoritarian one in contrast to "freedom loving, non-authoritarian" liberals, despite consistent behaviors to the contrary on the part of both communities, is one that I still struggle to understand. It's not just my colleague; this dichotomy seems to be so overwhelmingly accepted by liberals that it's not even justified, and I don't often see it corrected by conservatives. We need to do better.

Consider this: According to a recent article run in the Jesuit journal La Civilta Cattolica, the collaboration of Catholics and Evangelicals in the united states represents an "ecumenism of hate." According to Steven Krueger, in an article in in Crux magazine attempting at to justify this characterization:

Spadaro and Figueroa [the authors of the original article] also offer a diagnosis that “… underlies the persuasive temptation for a spurious alliance between politics and religious fundamentalism” - meaning, fear. They go on to say, “It is fear of the breakup of a constructed order and the fear of chaos….Religion at this point becomes a guarantor of order and a political part would incarnate its needs.”

Yet, it's precisely against a regime of heavy-handed imposition of leftist moral/cultural values on the rest of society at the national level, that conservative Christians have been struggling. The conflict has not been one by Christians to preserve the moral order through political means. Rather, it's been a struggle on the part of Christians to be allowed to continue to live according to their own moral directives without running afoul of society's ruling hierarchy.

Whether it's gay marriage, getting boys into girls bathrooms, or socialism, the answer from the left is top down and heavy handed; control the order and quash dissidence.

In another example, a software engineer at Google recently released (internally) a memo decrying the heavy-handed, ineffectual approaches to gender and racial diversity within the company. This engineer, while explaining the different kinds of biases that different people have, offered the following as politically left biases:

Humans are inherently cooperative
Change is good (unstable)

And these as politically right biases:

Respect for strong/authority
Humans are inherently competitive
Change is dangerous (unstable)

Yet, it's the modern conservative (once called liberal) worldview that believes letting people cooperate freely and being open to the fruits of that cooperation is the best way to advance the common good. It's the liberal view (once called authoritarian) that believes people can't be trusted to cooperate correctly, so they have to be prevented by law from cooperating in the wrong way. It's the modern liberal that sees the need to close access to the public forum against dangerous ideas.

Even where the conservative movement works for what may ultimately be a political enshrinement of their ideas, they prefer to take a ground-up, democratic approach. For example, the conservative respect for marriage movement never desired a heavy-handed show of force from the Supreme Court; rather, they favored getting Congress to propose an amendment to the Constitution, which would then have to go to the states for of ratification. Such a process would require a tremendous amount of ground support in order to reach the end goal. The conservative pro-life movement's focus on the Supreme Court has not included attempts to secure a broad-based Supreme Court decision outlawing abortion across the land. Rather, they have focused on a reversal of Roe v. Wade, to return the proper freedom to the states to enact their own anti-abortion laws. The modern liberal, on the other hand, thinks nothing of wielding a top-down authoritarian tool, if he can, to impose his own values on even the most individual modes of decision-making.

The modern struggle between liberals and conservatives is the same struggle that it was in the late 18th century: It's the struggle between the old, authoritarian regime (whose part is taken by the liberals) and the new regime of freedom (whose part is taken by conservatives).

A true irony can be found in recent corporate shenanigans. One of the left's favorite games is to decry big business, and corporate America, often even claiming that the conservative political movement are in corporate America's pocket. How ironic, then, that corporations would appear to be at the forefront of leftist attempts to beat people into submission to leftist ideals. Consider that Google fired the software engineer who circulated the internal memo mentioned above. He was fired for "perpetuating gender stereotypes." Consider the bizarre case of Lena Dunham, who complained on twitter about a comment she supposedly overheard in a private conversation between two American Airlines employees. Her complaint was that it was "transphobic" (whatever that means). American Airlines, rather than taking the moral high ground and telling her to mind her own business and to quit eavesdropping on its employees, actually conducted an investigation. Consider Target's little gambit with deciding that they'd be just OK if men would decide to use the women's bathrooms--as long as those men go about calling themselves women while they're doing it.

But while conservatives will (if true to nature) support such corporate nonsense, at least in the sense of agreeing that businesses and the people who run them have a right to be nonsensical, liberals would take to the streets with torches and pitch forks if such corporate behavior were perpetrated in service against leftist moral sensibilities.

As champions of freedom, we should work to take back the application of language to the struggle. We should confidently (but politely) correct those who make this error in characterization, whether in writing or in conversation. We should take advantage of opportunities to point out, if not for the sake of those we're answering, then for the sake of others listening, that the modern American conservative stance is one in the defense of liberty against the leftist enemies of liberty.


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Google on free expression: Not Here!

  08/08/17 07:32, by Dan Engel, Categories: Uncategorized

Google recently fired an employee, James Damore, for "perpetuating gender stereotypes."

What did Mr. Damore do, to "perpetuate gender stereotypes?" Did he club one of the girls on the head and try to drag her to his cave, perpetuating the stereotype of men as brutes? Did he use his position as a software engineer to implant subliminal suggestions into Google's browser, that women ought to stay barefoot and pregnant, or that their proper place is the kitchen? Did he put together a video collage of female colleagues (or just females) being hysterically dramatic, perpetuating the stereotype of women as drama queens?

It turns out he didn't do any of these things. What Mr. Damore is guilty of is writing a critique, and circulated it internally, of Google's policies, practices, and guiding world view concerning gender bias and how to properly assess it and address it in the workplace. The main sin that Mr. Damore seems to have committed is that he suggested that Google follow a results-oriented path of science and empiricism rather than one of blind ideology.

This is really all it is. While not by any means a masterpiece of writing, it's not a "screed" as it's been characterized, and it's definitely not "anti-diversity," as it's been called. But, true to their character, the frenzied left can't be bothered with facts. If a label helps advance their cause or drown out the opposition, then it's appropriate and justified.

You can read the document here:

It's nothing more than a frank assessment of practices that go on at Google, and how they jibe with the stated goals of gender equality, the presumed goals of fairness and equity, and what we can apply of the knowledge found in the social and biological sciences. It would seem, this isn't what Google is about, at least in terms of its internal employment culture. Danielle Brown, Google's Vice President of Diversity, Integrity, and Governance, made this clear when she wrote, in response to Mr. Damore's critique of Google's practices:

Part of building an open, inclusive environment means fostering a culture in which those with alternative views, including different political views, feel safe sharing their opinions. But...

Well, it doesn't matter what Danielle Brown actually wrote following the "but," because the real "but" is "we're going to fire you, anyway, because we really don't want any diversity of views or opinions expressed within Google."

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Target is now discriminating against some "women"

  12/01/16 22:11, by Dan Engel, Categories: Uncategorized

It's no news, by now, that Target, the general store chain, has fully embraced the Ludicrous Notion of the Millenium--perhaps of all millenia--that being a man or a woman is just a matter of deciding that one is a man or a woman. Their latest expression of devotion to this silliness is to declare that any patron or worker may use whichever public bathroom corresponds to the gender he/she/it decides to be on a given day.

It occurs to me that this has placed Target in a position of discriminating against certain women. According to this brave new world, which not even Aldous Huxley could have envisioned, there are women with nothing but male genitalia (and similarly, I suppose, there are men with nothing except female genitalia). But it's the women that Target is--ahem--targeting for this new discrimination.

You see, the men who have male genitalia have always enjoyed the convenience of being able to use a urnial when they, well, urinate. But what of women with male genitalia? Now, if they choose to make use of the bathroom corresponding to their gender, they have to give up the convenience of which their male parts would presumably allow them to make use.

I suppose such women could just "stand" at the toilet. But as even men will affirm, that usually doesn't work out so well for those who subsequently wish to use that same toilet for other-than-urination.

So, Target, are you going to put your money where your mouth is? Are you going to end this new age of disrimination against women with male parts? Will you do the right thing and install urinals in the womens' bathrooms?

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Liberals have perfected the Music Man sales pitch

  11/21/16 22:26, by Dan Engel, Categories: Uncategorized

In the musical, The Music Man, "Professor Harold Hill" (real name Gregory) makes his living traveling among the small towns of America selling boys' bands. He sells the whole thing: uniforms, instruments, etc. His pitch was pretty simple: Go into a town, find something the locals were talking about, and turn that into a crisis for the youth. Then, offer a solution: Give the youth something to be part of, that will help them rise above whatever base temptations are causing the "crisis." He offers to organize the young boys in the town into a band, with himself as the leader. He whips the town into a frenzy of readiness to follow him into any solution for the crisis of which they were so recently unaware. Of course, Hill can't read a note of music, but that's OK because he doesn't intend to. Once he collects the money, he splits.

This seems to be the tactic of the modern liberal elite in America. They feed fears and whip certain groups into an hysteria of victimhood so that they can be at the ready to step in and say "Look to me! I understand your problems! I have the solution!"

The same dual dynamic that Hill uses in The Music Man applies in modern America, as well. In The Music Man, the children were the supposed victims of whatever trouble the local town was in, but the parents were the primary target. Something was there, ready to take the children's minds away from the decency and innocence that their parents had worked so hard to build for them. This was the primary dynamic: Work the parents' natural fear for their children. Create a monster that's threatening to attack the children, and the parents will do anything to fight that monster. The liberal elite work this same dynamic among the more privileged. Those who aren't in the threatened classes and groups are fed with horror stories meant to tug at the strings of sympathy, to create a desire to identify with and protect those being victimized, and to paint a picture of a monster (society at large, in this case) that is waiting and eager to inflict pain, suffering, and myriad injustices upon the victim classes.

The second part of the dynamic in The Music Man is the children themselves. Hill works them like a pro. He builds their excitement and anticipation at being in the band. He plays them so well into the very hopes that he's built up for their parents, that the parents can't help but believe he was right all along, and that he's a godsend to their town. In other words, Hill expertly plays the children right into their "recovering victim" role.This dynamic, while secondary for Hill, is actually the primary one for the liberal elite. The liberal elite in American thrive on the existence of the victim class. Rather than play their chosen victim groups into the role of recovering victim, they play them into the role of perpetual victim.

Furthermore, the victim groups and means of victimization continue to grow. Even though police practices, prison conditions, government activites, and standards of public conduct towards specific groups are more humane and transparent than ever before, we continue to see an ever-expanding list of ways in which various groups are being victimized. Feminists have made the claim that all sex--even within marriage--is rape. College students have claimed harm and mental suffering as a result of their fellow students expressing mainstream political opinions. I was recently informed that a catcall or wolf-whistle constitutes sexual assault.

The liberal elite in America have become experts at instilling a sense of victimhood and at creating new ways for people to feel victimized. Much of America are opening more and more of their metaphorical checkbooks, in the form of political and moral support, for a group whose stock in trade is victimhood. Once the band instruments and uniforms arrive, and the last round of checks are collected, this particluar Harold Hill has no intention of taking the last train out of town.

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