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Category Archives: Political Correctness

Andrew Yang and the New American Tories – The Outline

Posted: January 25, 2020 at 2:19 pm

A great groaning and rolling-of-eyes seized the internet last week as Dave Chapelle announced he was supporting Democratic candidate Andrew Yang in the primaries. I cant say that I was surprised. Many have heard of the Yang Gang, that motley group of Redditors and Channers, gamers, memers, vapers, Bitcoin enthusiasts, and compulsive masturbators that have formed the basis of Yangs campaign online. But in addition to these unwashed masses, Yang has also steadily been attracting an elite, mostly male constituency I like to call eccentric Tories, or to coin a term, New American Tories. When I watched Chapelles latest stand-up special,which premiered in August on Netflix, as he reflected about the joys of gun-ownership and land ownership (he has a farm in Ohio) and ranted about his irritations with young people and the rise of identity politics and cancel culture, I thought to myself, Oh, hes kind of a Tory.

The terms Tories and Toryism are not really part of the modern American political vocabulary, so let me explain a little. The Tory faction emerged in the late 17th century in England as the defender of the monarchy and tradition against the Whig party, which advocated the interests of parliament. Tory is now the colloquial name for the Conservative parties of Canada and Great Britain, the latter of which just won a resounding victory at the polls. But the name refers as much to a disposition as an ideology or specific party. The classic image of the Tory, which holds from the 1700s to today, is that of a fat, self-satisfied landowner, generally complacent but driven to red-faced distemper by anything that would intrude on the enjoyment of his privilege and the comforts of his estate.

Tories are often eccentric and drawn to eccentric figures. The 17th century English poet William Shenstone said they belonged to the fanciful tribe. Look, for example, at the shaggy British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who dreamed as a boy of being world king, attended Eton and Oxford, and seems to have been genetically engineered to stymy political cartoonists by outstripping their best endeavors. And for all their aristocratic pretensions, Tories historically were often parvenus new money as we call it in America anxious to preserve the wealth and status that theyd recently acquired. As Marx acidly remarked, The Tories represent the plebs of the aristocracy.

Yang seems to uniquely attract this kind of person the recently established and self-regarding. His supporters include Tesla founder Elon Musk, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, rapper and actor Donald Glover, who threw an impromptu concert for Yang in December, Weezer lead singer Rivers Cuomo, and actor Nicholas Cage. They all in one way or another belong to a previous age, in which the pretensions of wealth and talent were given more deference. They are men accustomed to having their fanciful notions regarded with awe and respect. In the midst of or approaching middle age, they fear the loss of the world they could understand and master. The 17th century philosopher Spinoza asserted that every individual thing strives to persist in its existence, and these magnates certainly follow that universal law, resenting anything that would dilute or diminish their sense of singularity.

In America, libertarianism used to attract people with this sensibility, but the era of Trump and populism has evidently made libertarians realize that Leave me alone is no longer a viable political position; they have moved on to If I give you some money, will you leave me alone? in the form of the Freedom Dividend, Yangs Universal Basic Income proposal. The New American Tories have adopted the classic Tory answer to social unrest paternalism. Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, the great Tory leader of the late 19th century, realized that the problems facing the rapidly industrializing nation had to be dealt with, and that further impoverishment of the lower orders was likely to lead to revolution and so he became the sponsor of initiatives to somewhat relieve the plight of the poor and dampen radical agitation.

Among the cranks and curmudgeons with the most to lose from a changing society, Yang is particularly favored by comedians. Hes received nods from Hannibal Burress (quite literally a landowner concerned about the continued collection of his rent), Norm MacDonald, Ken Jeong, Tommy Chong, and, of course, Dave Chapelle. (Some of Englands greatest satirists and wits, from Jonathan Swift to Samuel Johnson, were Tories.) If, as Clive James said, Humor is just common sense, dancing, then its in the interest of the aging humorist that common sense remain the same, lest they have to learn new dances on less-than-spritely legs. The central premises of Yangs campaign general social liberalism (let people do what they want!), a rejection of identity politics (this political correctness stuff is out of control!), and UBI (just give people $1,000!) all can sound like a comedians bits. Oversimplification, often funny in the way it can simultaneously fuse wisdom and folly, becomes an unfortunate tic of the comic mind when applied to more serious pursuits.

While the British Tory might long for the days of colonial Kenya, Rhodesia, or the British Raj a time in which an English mediocrity was fanned by natives the New American Torys hopes are more modest and democratic, fitting his native country. He longs for a perpetual 1997, when the American empire was at its height, before 9/11 and the war in Iraq. This yearning is perhaps reflected in Yangs foreign policy, which favors a return to Clinton-era multilateralism and international engagement. The New American Tory longs to fall asleep on the couch watching an old episode of Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher, his dreams untroubled by the importunities of cancel culture. He pines for a time when the racial and social conflicts of America didnt seem so serious and were easily laughed off in a late-night TV monologue. In short, he hopes for a way out of politics and its constant tensions.

There are definitely worse creatures lurking in the margins of American political life than these new Tories, but perhaps fewer with so much self-regard and so little self-awareness, nourishing grievances that look outwardly so petty. Believing themselves to be independent and not part of any class or mass movement, they are unlikely to form a permanent part of a Yang coalition and will gravitate to other candidates on the traditional right and center. They are victims of the mental habits that afflict many eccentric people: undue cynicism directed at others combined with nearly inexhaustible reserves of credulity for their own often-harebrained ideas and notions. The New American Tory is materially secure but feels aggrieved by the lack of proper respect society now affords to his station. Why should he expect others to feel any other way?

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‘Wokeness’ has been weaponised in the war between Left and Right – and it ain’t pretty – Telegraph.co.uk

Posted: at 2:19 pm

Does anyone really want to have their flag flown for them by Laurence Fox or Lily Allen? Do Laurence Fox and Lily Allen even want to be flying these flags themselves? Wouldnt they rather be making movies or albums? And is anyone outside of Twitter and the media really whingeing about wokeness, or are they just trying to get on with their lives the best they can, with kindness and decency and good manners? I suspect the latter is true.

Wokeness is not really a new thing. Before wokeness there was political correctness, and before there was political correctness there was politeness. These constructs have come about not as a way to punish the majority, but as a way to protect minorities.

As ever, a few people feel defensive about this narrative, and must make it about themselves. Hence the word privilege has some clutching for their metaphorical (and literal) pearls. How dare anyone presume to tell me I have not struggled!

But for all its inflammatory language, the phrase check your privilege seems to be less about having a go at white people, and more about asking them to uphold the values most of us were taught as kids anyway: to think of others who may not have been given as much; to stand up for people around us who have been unfairly treated; to remember that all humans are born equal but that sadly it is not always the case that all humans are treated equal.

Thanks to social media, it can sometimes seem that everyone is furious, that there is only the Left and the Right waging a war with one another. The casualties of this war are the vast majority of hard-working British people who havent got a spare minute for Twitter or the energy for Question Time; who dont really care at all about the royals, because they have their own family issues to be getting on with; who would love to have the luxury of being able to debate for hours about wokeness and privilege, but have got jobs to do.

Hard-working British people who, above all, value manners and politeness and kindness. Even in this day and age, is that really toomuch to ask for?

Read Bryony Gordon at telegraph.co.uk every Saturday from 9am

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'Wokeness' has been weaponised in the war between Left and Right - and it ain't pretty - Telegraph.co.uk

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David Brooks is wrong about absolutely everything | From Below and to the Left – Bangor Daily News

Posted: at 2:19 pm

AP Photo/Mary Schwalm

Once upon a time, David Brooks, the New York Times editorial writer, was a relatively mainstream Republican. A cultural conservative, who believed in family values and fiscal conservatism, he proudly carried the mantle of a calm American traditionalism, ever skeptical of the dangers posed by self-righteous liberal reformers. Then Trump came along, trumpeting his gaudy disinterest in old-fashioned honesty and moderation, and Brooks became a pillar of the short-lived #NeverTrump movement. Now, a veritable man without a country, Brooks,after what one can only assume must have been a depressing process of elimination, seems to have settled on becoming a lone voice in the wilderness, a defender of Joe Biden.

His recent editorial, Joe Biden Is Stronger Than You Think: Heres why he is still winning lays out his current thinking.

Brooks begins by pointing out how, despite all of the criticism that Biden has received to date, he continues to lead in many polls. Brooks predicts Biden will win in Iowa (he wont; Bernie will), concedes Biden will lose in New Hampshire (he wont just lose; hell be walloped) and predicts that Biden will easily take Nevada (if Bernie proves as popular among Latinx folks as he has the potentially to be, it seems likely to be pretty close). But, yes, despite the fact that Biden appears to be slipping across the board, theres still lots of polls that place him squarely in the lead.

Brooks says this isnt where people six months ago would have expected us to be. But, I mean, of course, it is. When every pol in DC hates him and every big ticket campaign fundraiser cant stand him, how surprised can we be when it takes a minute or two for an underdog like Sanders to pull ahead of Biden, the obvious torch bearer of the Democratic Party.

Brooks then goes on to flaunt his man of the people swagger and lecture the rest of the Twitterati about how important it is to cure this insularity disease through constant travel and interviews, and I can only assume, actually talking to poor people. Fair enough. I agree, but keep in mind, the coffee at Dennys, or whatever, isnt usually as good as the Fair Trade cappuccinos of the coastal bourgeoisie, and in general, from my experience, the nice woman serving it to you doesnt like being treated like a pygmy encountered in one of Malinowskis anthropological expeditions.

But, now, move over Karl Rove and Sun Tzu, its time for the genius of Joe Biden. After all, Biden didnt just luck into this. lectures Brooks, He and his team grasped six truths.

To be honest, I kind of like the six things Brooks comes up with. Hes just totally wrong about how they actually work.

Understand the year you are running in.

As Brooks sees it, the progressive values championed by Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are stale, irrelevant and, more importantly, totally boring. What matters to voters today, in Brooks words, is that Donald Trump is a steaming hot mess in the middle of national life. Biden isnt caught up in actual issues like healthcare, education, climate change, basic economic fairness etc. Who has time for that? No, Biden has better things to do. According to Brooks, hes fighting for the soul of America!

Wrong. This is just totally wrong. Running on a platform of being anti-Trump wont work. Im positive about this. Democrats tried it in 2016. They lost. If they do it again, theyll lose again.

Understand your partys core challenge.

Today, if you want to understand the politics of rural America, the number one thing youve got to grasp is that a lot of folks in rural America are terrified about losing control of the communities theyve always called home. They go to the hardware store and people are speaking Spanish. There are Muslims in the supermarket. They try to celebrate Columbus Day, and their own grand kids call them racist. Shooting guns is one of the few things that genuinely makes them feel powerful, and now the Democrats are trying to take that too.

Most folks dont know exactly whats happening in DC, but they know in their guts that the people there dont care about them particularly. Rural Americans desperately want somebody who sees them, who likes them, who believes their communities can be great again. They want somebody whos got the spunk and the backbone to get in the ring and actually fight for them. In 2016, Trump promised that hed do that, and whatever you may think of the specific battles hes picked, Trumps certainly delivered on being a fighter. And, more importantly, when Trump fights, he brings his followers along for the ride, propelling them in a story that casts them as the heroes of an epic battle for their very freedom and independence. They love him for it.

Put bluntly, in 2016, Clinton didnt have a story. Her ads were as vapid as JC Penny commercials. Her campaign largely just consisted of her reminding everybody of her gender and attempting to persuade us all that Trump was even slimier than her husband. Nobody found that particularly compelling. Because it wasnt. And she lost.

Moderates are still powerful.

As Brooks tells it, Biden emerged from the great moderate American working class like a phoenix from the ashes. Today, hes focusing his attention on it and is winning support from it.

Thats absurd. Biden hails from Delaware, Americas credit card epicenter, and hes spent much of his political career fighting for those same credit card companies and their corporate shareholders. Its been decades since hes seen a defense contract he didnt like. His idea of universal healthcare is requiring people to fork their hard-earned money over to bloated health insurance companies. He loves crooked trade deals. He even gets his kids in on the action. As Zephyr Teachout described in the Guardian earlier this week, Bidens approach to politics isnt moderation its just corruption.

Brooks isnt wrong when he identifies how alienated many Americans are from our national political conversation, but he is wrong when he dubs this cohort of alienated voters moderates as if the American working class were some kind of collective Goldilocks, deciding between a bowl of porridge thats too hot and another thats too cold. Americans arent starving for lukewarm oatmeal. Nobody has ever starved for lukewarm oatmeal. Its gross.

No, the thing that unites America right now is that were all really pissed off. If you see the political spectrum as running between a Left (defined by higher taxes, more social spending and stricter economic regulations) and a Right (defined by lower taxes, less social spending and a freer economy), you completely miss whats actually going on.

Most Americans would love to see the rich pay more taxes. Theyd be ecstatic if the government were to provide them with free healthcare. Most people absolutely want things to change a lot. If politics represented public opinion more accurately, wed all just unite on that kind of platform. The problem is that, for the most part, the Democrats dont actually represent that platform they represent higher taxes for everybody, not just the elite, and government programs that many fear only serve narrow demographics, like people of color and immigrants, while leaving the majority of Americans out in the cold.

The idea that alienated people are actually moderate doesnt make any sense. When you feel like youve been kicked out of something, the last thing you want is for it to stay the same.

Many Democrats resent their own elites.

As Brooks sees it, Biden communicates affection toward the working class, not judgment, acceptance, not expulsion. But thats fundamentally not what Americans want, at least not most of us. If you say that you like me, but you wont actually go to bat for me, what am I supposed to see that as, other than pandering condescension?

Brooks says most Americans feel ignored by the ruling class, which is probably true, but the answer to that, as I see it, cant be some sort of limp moral acceptance. Thats meaningless. When people say they hate political correctness and the elite who uphold it, its precisely this sort of passive ethic of acceptance that they hate. Nobody wants the people in charge to flaccidly tolerate them for who they are while censoring their criticism of their opponents. No, what they want is a powerful leader wholl throw a punch on their behalf. Biden likes to puff his chest out and talk tough, but right now, his current politics are so aimless that its hard to imagine him standing up for much of anybody.

Have a better theory of social change.

Brooks sees the American political system as being like a Chinese finger trap the harder you pull on it from either end, the more it jams up and stops moving. Biden, on the other hand, he says, believes that a center-left congressional coalition is the best we can do under present circumstances. Never mind the fact that Biden isnt a hyphen-left of anything, Brooks is just so wrong here, its hard to take him seriously.

For over a decade, Congress has been like a playground where the friendly Democrats show up with a kickball, and the Republicans push them down, give them wedgies and dropkick the ball onto the roof of the gym. At a certain point, you just have to accept that,until you show up with some big kids on your side who are are actually willing and able to stand up to the bullies, you simply arent about to play kickball. The Sanders coalition are those big kids. And were going to win.

Connection. Connection. Connection.

Brooks ends the essay with the quip that the candidate who can be vulnerable has a surprising power. But Biden isnt vulnerable. Vulnerability isnt something that you have innately. Its something you take on. Something you rise to. To be rendered vulnerable, you have to take risks. Engage in tough conversations. Be fully present when people are suffering, even if it means you might get hurt in the process.

Brooks says Biden is normal and emotionally relatable. Hes the opposite. When people are scared and angry, like they are today, the thing that they relate to best is righteous anger. These days, sedated levelheadedness is anything but normal. When your boat is sinking, nobody wants a neutral bystander wholl just tread water with a sheepish grin. They want a hero. But, until they get one, a lot of them will continue settling for a villain.

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Roberta Schaefer: The history of political correctness and why its gone way too far – Worcester Telegram

Posted: January 18, 2020 at 11:26 am

Has political correctness gone too far?

Absolutely! But to prove the case, it is helpful to recall the origin of the term political correctness, and how the phenomenon it describes has come to be a dominant feature of contemporary political and academic life.

The term first appeared in the Marxist-Leninist vocabulary following the Russian Revolution (really, a coup) of 1917 to describe strict adherence to policies and principles of the Soviet Unions Communist Party. Political correctness was invented by the communists to camouflage the truth about events and policies in the Soviet Union that had resulted in mass murders, the starvation of millions, and slave labor camps. It was politically incorrect to reveal such facts; the party line was for all loyal communist party members to promote the same politically correct truths about the good life under totalitarian government. (In addition, it entailed strict adherence to the Soviet Unions current foreign policy: American Communists firmly opposed military preparedness against Nazi Germany during the operation of the Nazi-Soviet Pact, then a swift turnabout to being pro-war once the Germans invaded Russia.)

How could a practice so contrary to American principles of freedom of speech and the press come to be widely tolerated in American society, especially in the academy, several decades later? The early 1990s witnessed the rise in college campuses of politicized curricula and teaching methods, typically on behalf of causes advocated by the political Left especially in issues relating to race, class, and gender. Students were increasingly taught that the United States is an inherently racist society; that, contrary to the claims made in the Declaration of Independence, our political regime was designed to serve the interests of a rich minority at the expense of other citizens and that Western society as a whole was intrinsically patriarchal, benefiting male oppressors at the expense of their female victims.

More importantly, an increasing number of college faculty made clear to their students that any expression of dissent from these views would cause the students grades to suffer. (Early works documenting these developments were Dinesh DSouzas Illiberal Education and Roger Kimballs Tenured Radicals). Even when professors claims went directly contrary to known facts (such as that the greatest known emancipation of slaves in world history occurred in the U.S. during the Founding era, that Americas free economy has offered historically unparalleled opportunities for hundreds of millions of immigrants and their descendants as well as, over the past century, African-Americans - to rise in economic and social status, along with political influence, and that women in the Western world enjoy far greater freedoms than their sisters in less-developed societies, it was made clear that the open statement of these facts was unwelcome, lest it interfere with the advancement of favored liberationist causes.

Nowadays, the reign of political correctness (PC) extends well beyond the academy, into the domain of ordinary language in the name of not giving offense to selected groups. Hence, a blind person should be called visually impaired (or, better, differently abled); homeless people are temporarily displaced; illegal aliens should be called undocumented immigrants; one shouldnt ask a stranger where hes from because thats a microaggression implying that he doesnt belong here. Meanwhile, back in the ivory tower, professors are directed to add trigger warnings to their syllabi, warning students that course readings might include materials (like Huckleberry Finn) that might distress them; and law schools may avoid teaching courses dealing with rape, for the same reason. The number of offenses continues to grow, feeding on the successes of PC censors. The woke person keeps up with the list of offenses and adds to them, hoping that by altering language, one can change beliefs and overcome all inconvenient facts.

But political correctness now entails much more than transforming the meaning of words. It means prohibiting the appropriation of anothers culture. The University of Ottawa banned yoga sessions on the ground that the activity is a Western appropriation of Indian-Hindu culture, and therefore, a reminder of colonial oppression. A white man dressing as a Native American to celebrate Thanksgiving as planned at the Goddard School was banned for the same reason. Should La Japonaise, a famous painting by 19th-century French Impressionist Auguste Renoir of his blonde-haired wife wearing a magnificent red Japanese kimono be removed from Bostons Museum of Fine Arts? At this rate, how will people from varying cultures ever be able to communicate and learn from each other?

Political correctness has also become synonymous with an unwillingness to engage in discussion with those who are judged to hold un-PC views. This past December Holy Cross minority students occupied half the seats in an auditorium in which best-selling journalist Heather MacDonald was giving a lecture based on her recent book The Diversity Delusion, and then staged a walkout ten minutes into the talk, just after she had remarked how fortunate all students at such a well-endowed institution were to spend four years with access to vast library facilities and courses taught by professors who earnestly wanted to help them succeed. Instead of staying to listen, the protestors marched out chanting slogans, while campus police, doubtless acting at the direction of higher-ups in the College administration, prevented the 80 or 90 students whod been kept out from occupying the vacated seats.

Such intolerance for the expression of dissenting views directly belies the claim of the PC crowd to be standing up for tolerance and diversity. By their account, the only speakers who should be tolerated are those who agree with him. Diversity may apply to the color of peoples skin, but certainly not to the expression of alternative points of view which colleges were once expected to encourage.

PC carried to its extreme has the capacity to destroy Western culture entirely. At a recent Paul Gauguin exhibition at Londons National Gallery, patrons are informed that the French painter had sexual relations with young girls during his stay in Polynesia, taking advantage of his privileged Westerner position. An audio guide asks, Is it time to stop looking at Gauguin altogether? In other words, appreciation of the arts must be viewed through the PC lens of racism, sexism, gender bias, or hurt feelings. No longer can they be seen, read, or heard for their beauty or craftsmanship, or to enhance our understanding of the human condition. Everything is political.

By any consistent standard of political correctness, Shakespeare is certainly un-PC. To cursory readers and audiences, Taming of the Shrew promotes misogyny; Othello contains racist remarks; The Merchant of Venice contains an anti-Semitic strain. (Only a close study of the plays, of the sort most contemporary English professors avoid, would overcome these impressions.) Even Kate Smiths classic rendition of God Bless America was dropped from the Yankee Stadium soundtrack because she sang what is now regarded as a racist tune at the age of 24 at the behest of her record company; while the words to the comic standard Baby, Its Cold Outside! have been altered because the original lyrics could imply an ensuing pressured sexual encounter. (Meanwhile, rap singers who celebrate sexual subjugation of women and use words like ho and the otherwise dreaded N-word get a free pass.)

If the PC purity test continues to rule, then its time to close the libraries, the museums, the concert halls (Richard Wagner composed great operas but is also deservedly notorious for his anti-Semitic tract Jewishness in Music), and especially the universities. The only way out of the PC dilemma is to push back against the tide. And there is some evidence that its possible. According to a 2018 nationally-representative poll of 8,000 conducted by the group More In Common, 80 percent believe political correctness is a problem in the US. This includes 74 percent of those aged 24-29, 79 percent of those under 24, and 75 percent of African-Americans. The only polled group that expressed strong support for political correctness were those characterized as progressive activists a group characterized by high incomes and high levels of education (what did they actually learn?) and are mostly white. But these are the people best positioned to impose their attitudes on the public through their domination of the media and education (starting in elementary school).

Yes, political correctness has gone too far. Woke me when moderation, toleration, and common sense return.

Roberta Schaefer is the founder and former president of Worcester Regional Research Bureau.

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Privilege and political correctness collide in Admissions, at Gamm Theatre – The Providence Journal

Posted: at 11:26 am

Taking a topic that might have been ripped from recent headlines and liberally filtering it through the lens of satire, playwright Joshua Harmon challenges the concept of political correctness in smart, provocative ways.

Taking a topic that might have been ripped from recent headlines and liberally filtering it through the lens of satire, playwright Joshua Harmon challenges the concept of political correctness in smart, provocative ways.

The result, Admissions, opening Thursday at The Gamm Theatre, pushes past mere analysis of the challenge faced by the administrator of an elite prep school who tries to sanitize the process of choosing the student body, offering an often hysterical illustration of how easily such efforts can go horribly wrong.

The basic story line focuses on a husband-and-wife team of administrators who are incredibly vigilant about making their school diverse, says Bryn Boice, associate artistic director at the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, who is making her directorial debut at The Gamm.

She says that Harmon creates intriguing depth as he forces the couple to dig into their moral reserves after realizing that the Ivy League dreams of their white son might be derailed in a similar push for inclusivity.

Sherri is faced with a decision that affects her grip on her own world view, Boice says. It makes you laugh and then gasp. We can see ourselves trying so hard, and the ridiculousness of trying to be even better.

Noting that Harmons dialogue reflects what white people say behind closed doors when they think no one is listening, she talks about the steps Sherri must take to demonstrate diversity at the school. Does she need to stage photos for the admissions catalog, for example?

She is contorting to make a better representation of the school, and you wonder if nobody fixated on this, would anything ever change? Things like this are what makes people gasp, Ah! Its true! she says. Everybody sounds right, but everybody sounds wrong.

With the recent college admissions scandal still simmering in the nations headlines, the timely topics raised in Admissions are provocative and, Boice says, tease at thoughts that preoccupy us as a society. Most importantly, when Sherris son does not get into his chosen school, Yale University, but his friend of mixed race does, how should he feel? How should his parents feel?

Some of the policies Sherri has been working toward may or may not be creating a feeling that Im a white kid and I dont matter anymore. Thats another gasp moment, Boice says. By the end, it feels like Sherri has grown, and we all start questioning why we are trying to make it a more inclusive society.

Harmon, she adds, does an even-handed job with the topic, representing all sides of the argument. After being overlooked by Yale, for example, Sherris son asserts that the goal of maximized diversity has gone too far. On the other hand, his father finds his attitude bratty and privileged.

Thats what makes it good writing, she says. This is a smart show for a smart audience.

Admissions runs through Feb. 9 at The Gamm, 1245 Jefferson Blvd., Warwick. For more information call (401) 723-4266 or go to http://www.gammtheatre.org.

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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: We have abandoned principles of Founding Fathers – Scottsbluff Star Herald

Posted: at 11:26 am

I want to express my appreciation for the column in the Jan. 10 paper: President Trumps Move Against Evil by Star Parker.

Parker stated: The muted reaction of leading Democratic politicians to the elimination of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani reinforces my sense of what divides our country and differentiates the two parties. One part of America still believes that there is good and evil, and one doesnt. I would agree with her.

It is my belief this reality exists because of our acceptance of values that would deeply disturb our Founding Fathers. We not only have abandoned Biblical principles that our Founding Fathers accepted and used to guide the formation of our nation, but many would deny the existence of God and the book he wrote to help mankind establish a moral compass. This has established a relative perspective for existence and allows for a belief system that encompasses the belief in political America Everything is about politics including redemption itself. (quoting Star Parker).

I agree with Parker when she makes this observation: Only someone who does not believe there is good and evil, experiences no joy when evil is defeated. Moral abdication makes it easy to bring confusion to political perspective and then judge actions by their political correctness rather than a higher moral code.

The removal of Qasem Soleimani may have been, in the eyes of liberal Democrats, politically incorrect, but Parker makes a valid observation by quoting President Ronald Reagan, There is sin and evil in the world, and we are enjoined by Scripture and the Lord Jesus to oppose it with all our might.

I believe that is the same ground our Founding Fathers stood upon when they wrote the Declaration of Independence. I am also convinced that evil things will continue when good people do nothing.

Removal of Soleimani was morally the right decision to make. It is my hope and prayer that our political leaders will understand this and return to this foundational principle.

Ken Trevithick

Scottsbluff, Nebraska

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Did the Civil Rights Movement Go Wrong? – The New York Times

Posted: at 11:26 am

The civil rights revolution, to Caldwell, is nothing less than constitutional in scope or, more precisely, anti-constitutional, because it overturns the de jure constitution of 1788, with all the traditional forms of jurisprudential legitimacy and centuries of American culture behind it, replacing it with a new, minoritarian constitution that pushes race-consciousness into every cranny of society. White men, the losers in the new order, responded by adopting their own identitarian, victim-group mind-set. They fell asleep thinking of themselves as the people who had built this country and woke up to find themselves occupying the bottom rung of an official hierarchy of races.

And so here we are, not one country but two, governed by two constitutions, not one. Democrats, loyal to the post-1964 constitution, could not acknowledge (or even see) that they owed their ascendancy to a rollback of the basic constitutional freedoms Americans cherished most. Republicans, loyal to the pre-1964 constitution, could not acknowledge (or even see) that the only way back to the free country of their ideals was through the repeal of the civil rights laws. The combination was a terrible one rising tensions along with a society-wide inability to talk or think straight about anything.

Nor is even that miserable dispensation the whole of it. Engaging in what Marxists call heightening the contradictions, Caldwell argues that the oppressive imperialism of civil rights laws is not incidental. Citizens, he writes, must choose between these two orders. There never was a moderate, limited way to keep the promises of integration. Civil rights was always this way: Dignity was an integral and nonnegotiable part of what was demanded, and a government interested in civil rights must secure it, no matter what the cost in rights to those who would deny it. Associational freedoms and property rights were always on the chopping block, incompatible with the 1964 act. Caldwell notices that it tended to be segregationists who philosophized in this vein and yes, he does go there, quoting an old-time Southern segregationist to the effect that a merchants right not to serve blacks is simple justice.

Perhaps the author should have come up for oxygen when he found himself suggesting that the Southern segregationists were right all along. Reading this overwrought and strangely airless book, one would never imagine a different way of viewing things, one that rejects Caldwells ultimatum to choose between these two orders. In that view my own America has seen multiple refoundings, among them the Jackson eras populism, the Civil War eras abolition of slavery, the Progressive eras governmental reforms and the New Deal eras economic and welfare interventions. All of them, like the civil rights revolution, sparked tense and sometimes violent clashes between competing views of the Constitution and basic rights, but in my version of history, those tensions proved not only survivable but fruitful, and working through them has been an engine of dynamism and renewal, not destruction and oppression. I worry about the illiberal excesses of identity politics and political correctness, but I think excesses is what they are, and I think they, too, can be worked through. Being a homosexual American now miraculously married to my husband for almost a decade, I cant help feeling astonished by a history of America since 1964 that finds space for only one paragraph briefly acknowledging the civil rights movements social and moral achievements before hastening back to But the costs of civil rights were high.

Perhaps most depressingly, Caldwells account, even if one accepts its cramped view of the Constitution and its one-eyed moral bookkeeping, leads nowhere. It proffers no constructive alternative, no plausible policy or path. The author knows perfectly well that there will be no repeal of the civil rights laws. He foresees only endless, grinding, negative-sum cultural and political warfare between two intractably opposed constitutions. His vision is a dead end. Unfortunately, it also seems to be where American conservatism is going.

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What The Sanders vs. Warren Battle Is Really About – FiveThirtyEight

Posted: at 11:26 am

Sen. Elizabeth Warren played to a friendly crowd when she visited Brooklyn last week. The rally at Kings Theatre on Flatbush Avenue an ornate peoples palace kind of joint with fleur de lis in the molding and vaudeville ghosts in the rafters was a 4,800-person shot in the arm for her campaign, which had been flatlining of late. Julin Castro, young, Latino and recently out of the presidential race, had just endorsed Warren and there seemed to be a sense in the air with a heavy hint from the mass-produced We Julin signs circulating that the campaign was looking for a little good news out of the evening. The crowd scanned as largely young and professional, and a little girl sitting just in front of me waved another sign: Im running for president because thats what girls do.

Just under a week later, the Warren campaign would be at war with Sen. Bernie Sanders over Warrens claim that Sanders told her in a private 2018 meeting that he didnt think a woman could win the 2020 presidential election. This salvo from Warrens camp was seen as a response to reports that talking points for Sanders volunteers characterized Warren as the choice of highly educated, more affluent people, a demographic both key to Democratic electoral success and associated with Hillary Clintons supposed out-of-touch elitism. Within a few hours, what had been a cold-war battle to define the left wing of the Democratic Party had gone hot. The handshake-that-wasnt between Sanders and Warren at Tuesday nights debate seemed to inflame tensions even more.

Whats curious, though, is that the rift isnt over policy particulars. The Warren vs. Sanders progressivism fight seems to be more stylistic, an unexpectedly tense class war of sorts within the broader progressive class war. Should progressive populism be wonky and detail-oriented and appeal to college-educated former Clinton voters? Or a more contentious outsider assault on the powers-that-be from the overlooked millions of the middle and lower-middle class?

The groundwork for more open hostilities was perhaps laid at the start of last weekend with some numerical tinder. As I boarded a plane for Des Moines, Iowa, on Friday night, I scanned the results of the just-released Des Moines Register poll. The survey showed Sanders leading in the state with 20 percent of the vote, a notable shuffle in the race from the last poll from that pollster, which showed former Mayor Pete Buttigieg in the lead and Sanders scrapping for third place with former Vice President Joe Biden. Saturday afternoon I found myself in Newton, Iowa, listening to Larry Hurto, 68, reciting the full results of the poll to me from memory as he waited for Sanders to arrive at a rally. With Sanders, Hurto told me, What you see is what you get. Kim Life, 60, told me shed voted for Clinton in 2016 but felt that, this time around, Sanders was the man for our times. Things in the world are so unstable, she said. He hasnt changed in 40 years. Warren, she told me, was more influenced by corporate America than she let on.

Variations on this theme Sanders as credible progressive curmudgeon and Warren as vaguely deceptive opportunist popped up as I followed Sanders across the state. America is a country whose politics are pheromonal; voters are largely attracted to certain candidates not for their policy positions but for the cut of their jib or the familiarity of the story at the heart of their self-mythology. And among the Sanders-committed, there seemed to be a sense that the candidates famous frankness was his greatest asset and it could well be with certain groups.

The other part of the controversial Sanders campaign talking points on Warren was that her supporters the wealthy, well-educated ones would already show up and vote Democratic no matter what shes bringing no new bases into the Democratic Party. At his rallies, Sanders was putting his electability foot forward supporters waved Bernie beats Trump signs while he spoke. In November, The New York Times polled battleground state voters and found that persuadable, white working-class voters had policy views that aligned with some Sanders/Warren proposals, but by a margin of 84 percent to 9 percent, they say political correctness has gone too far. They say academics and journalists look down on people like them. Nonwhite persuadable voters supported systemic change candidates and single-payer health care, but 50 percent approve of Trump, a man known for pushing the boundaries of correctness, political or otherwise.

The anti-political-correctness voters and Trump-approvers are perhaps the demographics where Sanders has the greatest chance to make inroads. While his trademark directness isnt anti-PC, its of a sympatico strain, in a way: I dont care what you think, Im going to say and do what I please. The Sanders brand is based entirely on that slippery, overused quality that politics so prizes: authenticity. He has believed in the same things for decades and advocated for them in the same polemical style. Even his heavy Brooklyn brogue remains unchanged despite his having left the borough in the 60s. It speaks to being from a place.

Of course, Warren still has the flatness of the plains in her voice, but maybe thats harder to pick out of the American pantheon of dialects and accents. Plus, the patina of Harvard elitism might stick more to a woman, with voters being more apt to see her as overly liberal in a cultural sense rather than an economic one ironic, in Warrens case, given that the cornerstone of her candidacy is radical economic reform. Her tightly constructed, loosely delivered stump speech in Brooklyn Warren likes to pump her fists while she talks and bend down as if she might jump across a stage was adept at connecting her famous plans together as a bid for big, structural change. Whatever issue brought people to the rally, Warren said, I guarantee its been touched by money. It was a solutions-oriented 45-minute verbal march; though, of course, both Warren and Sanders know that unless Democrats win the Senate in 2020 (unlikely) and hold onto the House, much of their potential agenda as president would be stymied from the get-go.

But each know that rhetoric wins the day. While they share so many policy goals, its obvious their appeal is somewhat divergent. There is certainly a gap between the demographics of Sanders and Warren supporters. According to FiveThirtyEight/Ipsos polling, conducted using Ipsoss KnowledgePanel, about 34 percent of people considering voting for Warrens have household incomes of over $125,000, compared to around 22 percent of potential Sanders supporters. And Warrens potential backers are particularly skewed toward college-educated Democrats, while people considering Sanders and Biden are more evenly distributed across education levels.

Sanders is not wrong in pointing out that Warrens populism and make no mistake, it is that; she does her fair share of billionaire-bashing has resonated with a different audience than his. In part, its because her packaging of populism is meant to extend an ideological hand to the establishment Democratic voters who cottoned to Clinton in 2016 but regretted, perhaps, their inability to see that the country was ravenous for system-busting talk. She scratches the itch of big ole change but understands that the Democratic Party is filled with people who are still comfortable within the system, even if they have intellectual critiques of it.

Sanderss selling of populism is conscious of its place in the sweep of progressive history. In Iowa, he talked about how not so long ago, public education was seen as a radical idea and cited the aphorism, It always seems impossible until its done, to explain the mental block the country could overcome to accept Medicare for All.

On Saturday evening, Sanders held a rally in Davenport that opened with performances by a collegiate singer-songwriter This one is about my babysitter and how as you get older your relationships change and Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan. Tlaibs voice rose in emotional peaks and cracks as she spoke of her childhood in Detroit, which in her memory is perfumed with the rotten-egg smell of hydrogen sulfide. She bemoaned the building of bougie condos in her city. We need somebody thats courageous, that wont sell us out, she said. Im exhausted about the broken promises, these polished speeches I dont care if you said the same thing. With Sanders, she said, you see this person and hes real. It was as succinct an endorsement as a 2020 Democratic candidate could ask for; though, as we all well know by now, whats real is ambiguous and mutable and very much according to ones taste.

But of course, the crowd cheered; there was no higher praise.

Laura Bronner contributed analysis.

Make sure to check out FiveThirtyEights Democratic primary forecast in full; you can also see all the 2020 primary polls weve collected, including national polls, Iowa polls, New Hampshire polls, Nevada polls and South Carolina polls.

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Lecturer is told that the word ‘negro’ can never be used – University World News

Posted: at 11:26 am

SWEDEN

You enter the word directly into window, Inga-Lill Aronsson explained, in a panel debate on classification and knowledge organisation in the masters programme on archival science, library and information science, museum and heritage studies at the end of the autumn semester in 2019.

This was reported as a provocation by four students present, stating that she had no right to use this word since she was not of colour and had not experienced racism.

According to the rules, a meeting was arranged that included the head and deputy head of the department, the trade union representative and the human resource specialist for equal rights (likavillkorsspecialist) from the university administration. At this meeting Aronsson was informed about the discrimination rules, but also forced to promise to never use the n-word again. During the meeting the word was never outspoken, but referred to as the n-word, Aronsson told University World News.

The university also deleted video footage of the entire panel debate, which had been recorded for distance learning purposes.

The meeting was reported in Universitetslraren, the newspaper of the Swedish Association of University Teachers and Researchers (SULF), and the issue was taken up last week by Gran Rosenberg, opinion editor for Radio Swedens Good Morning, World! Easily offended programme. He asked listeners in a programme on 12 January who should really be offended, the long-term lecturer reprimanded by her own university, or the students who did not even show up when their complaint was discussed?

Often it is sufficient that an investigation is started, Rosenberg said. No smoke without a fire is a suspicion that it is not easy to free oneself of. Notably when the smoke effectively can be strengthened and made eternal on social media.

Instead of making a formal complaint against their teacher, the students should have raised their hands to discuss the matter with her, he suggested.

Rosenbergs intervention triggered a debate on the Facebook page Universitetslckan (University leak), which within two days gathered 83 comments, most of them warning against political correctness.

Aronsson told University World News the incident raises an important principle. It is related to safe spaces at the university but also to academic freedom, and the search for knowledge. Today, unfortunately, too many people are hesitant within the academy to be associated with any of these tricky issues because it has consequences for your career.

I was prepared to let the journalist use my name, because it is a real concrete case. It can be discussed, with the purpose to make a change.

But Reine Rydn, deputy head of Aronssons department, who attended the meeting, when asked why the word negro should not be used, told University World News that was a matter of the universitys equal opportunities policy, but if you ask for my personal opinion, I can reply with a counter question: are there any reasons why we should use that word at lectures?

Stockholm University Professor of Linguistics Lars Melin told University World News: From my linguistic perspective, it is easy to see that more and more people believe that words possess magical powers. They can be in the service of the good, for example, the new unisex pronoun hen claims to seriously make us more equal [in Swedish he is han, she is hun and hen is the new sexually neutral word proposed].

But usually the words are in the service of evil. The n-word opens for apartheid, Ku Klux Klan and lynching.

This is pure nonsense, but the believers are becoming more and more aggressive. Strangely, they care more about the words than the well-being of black people.

Commenting on the issue, Lena Adamson, associate professor of psychology at Stockholm University, told University World News: In the 1960s and 1970s the engagement of students and their activism was directed towards war and injustice in the world. Today this is mostly directed inwards towards academia, in my view in a devastating and unacademic egocentrism.

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Inside out: Parallels of the President and the Messiah – The Deming Headlight

Posted: at 11:26 am

Don Heacox, For the Headlight Published 12:59 p.m. MT Jan. 16, 2020

Heacox(Photo: Courtesy photo)

Although there are some striking parallels, we can all agree that, despite his middle initial, Donald Trump is no Jesus. There should also be total agreement that both are controversial. They both challenged the elite of their times. Jesus opposed the hypocrisy of Pharisees and Sadducees, the religious elite of the Israelites of the day.Trump has no problem telling todays emperors of political correctness they have no clothes, going to excess in revealing graphic details of the anatomical deficiencies revealed by their nakedness, to extend the analogy.

The people of Jesus day were looking for a military messiah in the tradition of David and most failed to recognize Him as a spiritual messiah. Despite often boosting the morale of his followers, Trump could hardly be confused with a spiritual messiah. It can be argued that he has been an economic messiah, generally freeing the economy from the burdens of high taxes and excessive government regulation.

His economy has provided historical opportunities for the people. This is demonstrated by record unemployment, wage gains, and numbers of people working, especially in industries Obama declared dead in this country. Even economic disparity has been narrowed by some measures.

Both generate amazement that it has been so difficult to separate their followers from them. The lives of saints are chock full of stories of Christian martyrs that inspired others to join the then fledgling Christian movement.

The mainstream media and Democrat establishment just cannot believe their relentless attacks on the candidate and President Trump havent eroded his support. Antagonists have believed followers of Jesus and Trump are delusional. Ironically so at times, for the antagonists have seemed delusional as well on occasion.

Both pro-Trumpers and Christians have been persecuted, though being kicked out of restaurants and suffering some mild physical violence for wearing a MAGA hat or Trump t-shirt doesnt compare with the continued torture and murder of Christians for being Christians in several parts of the world. I suspect that, unlike with Christians, the persecution of Trump fans will cease after his demise or leaving office.

In one way, Trump seems strangely naive compared to Jesus. Jesus understood the division he would bring to the world and the persecution his followers would face. Trump, at first, seemed surprised at the intense resistance and antagonism he received from trying to place Americans and America first and the attacks on his followers. He appeared initially unprepared for the intensity of the hostility toward his election.

Both followers of Trump and of Jesus should know that world views matter and are not easily changed. Those believing in Jesus as prophet, priest, savior, and king have tended to be strengthened by resistance. So have Trumps followers.

Some Trump antagonists have tried to use Christianity as a weapon, suggesting Jesus would not approve of Trump and that true Christians (whoever they may be these days) would not follow Trump.

Jesus seemed to be above politics, although certainly aware of them. I doubt that he would be amused by the Democrats pandering to black voters in black churches and Republican rallies in evangelical houses of worship.

I suppose a case can be made that Trump favors greater religious freedom than many of his opponents. Jesus would likely sought an alternative to assassinating Major General Qasem Soleimani, the Quds Force Commander and terrorist mastermind.

Both Jesus and Trump warrant respect, only Jesus warrants worship.

Don Heacox can be reached at frheacox@gmail.com.

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