August 12, 2020

The IM Saturday Monks Brunch: June 27, 2018

Peter Kuper © 2020 Cagle Cartoons

• • •

The IM Saturday Monks Brunch: June 27, 2018

Welcome to Brunch. Each week just seems to get crazier and scarier. I’m running out of things to say and feeling the futility of the words I do find. Colt Clark and his Quarantine Kids put their finger on the source of my weariness, the fatigue so many of us are dealing with these days.

I think John Mulvaney has had the best take on our leadership for awhile now.

[Note: Language warning]

Mike Luckovich © 2020 Creators Syndicate

Definitely “Darwin Awards” material…

Steve Kelley © 2020 Creators Syndicate

And here is a sober assessment of where we are and where we might be going…

Monte Wolverton © 2020 Cagle Cartoons

What do you think of what David Brooks says here?

Conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks is photographed in his office at the New York Times bureau in Washington, D.C. on Friday, January 27, 2012. (Melissa Golden/Redux)

…a quasi-religion is seeking control of America’s cultural institutions. The acolytes of this quasi-religion, Social Justice, hew to a simplifying ideology: History is essentially a power struggle between groups, some of which are oppressors and others of which are oppressed. Viewpoints are not explorations of truth; they are weapons that dominant groups use to maintain their place in the power structure. Words can thus be a form of violence that has to be regulated.

…The loudest theory of change is coming from the Social Justice movement. This movement emerged from elite universities, and its basic premise is that if you can change the cultural structures you can change society.

Members of this movement pay intense attention to cultural symbols — to language, statues, the names of buildings. They pay enormous attention to repeating certain slogans, such as “defund the police,” which may or may not have anything to do with policy, and to lifting up symbolic gestures, like kneeling before a football game. It’s a very apt method for change in an age of social media because it’s very performative.

…The core problem is that the Social Justice theory of change doesn’t produce much actual change. Corporations are happy to adopt some woke symbols and hold a few consciousness-raising seminars and go on their merry way. Worse, this method has no theory of politics.

How exactly is all this cultural agitation going to lead to legislation that will decrease income disparities, create better housing policies or tackle the big challenges that I listed above? That part is never spelled out. In fact, the Sturm und Drang makes political work harder. You can’t purify your way to a governing majority.

Apparently, there will be a (sort of) Major League Baseball season. 60 games. Training camp starts this week, on July 1. First games will be July 23 or 24. The schedule will include 10 games for each team against its four divisional opponents, along with 20 games against the opposite league’s corresponding geographical division (for example, the AL East will play the NL East, and so on). Team personnel and players not likely to participate in the game (for example, the next day’s starting pitcher) will be sitting in the stands or another area designated by the club, at least six feet apart; non-playing personnel will wear masks in dugout and bullpen at all times; no spitting or chewing tobacco (gum is permitted); no celebratory contact (high-fives, fist bumps, hugs, etc.). Will fans be allowed to attend games? It appears uncertain at this point.

This year has brought a remarkable convergence of strange and seemingly portentous events…

I can’t think of a better time for a new Dylan album.

You don’t know me darlin’
You never would guess
I’m nothing like my ghostly appearance would suggest
I ain’t no false prophet
I just said what I said
I’m just here to bring vengeance on somebody’s head

Comments

  1. Happy Saturday!

  2. Love that Clark family groove!

  3. Iain Lovejoy says

    On David Brooks:
    “How exactly is all this cultural agitation going to lead to legislation that will decrease income disparities, create better housing policies or tackle the big challenges that I listed above? That part is never spelled out. In fact, the Sturm und Drang makes political work harder. You can’t purify your way to a governing majority.”
    This level of hypocritical, patronising dishonesty makes me want to punch him.
    “Conservatives” such as David Brooks actively suppress and prevent legislation to achieve what progressives want to achieve, use their position in the media to oppose it and unless forced by political pressure and, in some cases the threat of total civil unrest, will do absolutely nothing about it. What he is saying (which is an out and out lie) is that if only all those protestors and campaigners would keep quiet and be patient, all us grown ups who know best will of course deal with it, only not quite now, and of course in the proper way, and that somehow it is the fact that people are making such a fuss campaigning for these things which is the only reason that they haven’t been given everything they want already. It is the lies of conservatives everywhere trying desperately to resist change they don’t want to happen, and such nonsense must be ignored as the specious dishonesty it is.

    • Robert F says

      Rod Dreher is even worse. He talks Benedict Option one day, and feeds the fires of culture war and nationalism — which many of his commenters, unmoderated by Dreher, naturally enough flesh out as white separatism — the next. But he claims the opposite of Brooks. He claims that quite apart from top down political leadership, the “woke mob” in academia and on the streets are using cancel culture in the social and business worlds to make voicing conservative political opinions impossible, and to remake the cultural and political landscape. He calls it “soft totalitarianism”, comparing it to Soviet era repression of free speech, only using cancel culture instead of hard political power to punish individuals, businesses, and other institutions for expressing nonprogressive views. At the end of the day, however, it has this “nice” Christian man who claims to admire St. Benedict lamenting Trump’s “weakness” in not having the protestors who are pulling down statues of Confederate generals shot, and telling his readers to be very scarred of the “barbarians” who have it in for “conservative traditionalists”. Truly disgusting stuff.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        > nmoderated by Dreher, naturally enough flesh out as white separatism

        No, Rod Dreher is a White Seperatist, in the flesh. Check out his Twitter.

        Dreher on protestors removing a statue: “I’ve had it with this crap. Enough of this mob violence! If it takes tear gas and mass arrests to make it stop, then bring it on.”

        And, ahem, wasn’t there a thing about obsession with symbols mentioned by some guy named Brooks?

        Note all the issues — housing, transportation, the environment, criminal justice — that Dreher just never mentions.

        My rule: *IF* the writer|thinking is not writing|thinking about Housing *THEN* they a hack/fraud. It really is as simple as that. That situation effects nearly everyone, unless you are a writer|thinking with enough $$$,$$$ that it doesn’t.

        > “soft totalitarianism”

        That is so absurd. It’s Twitter, Rod. You can create a BLOG and say anything you like… oh, wait, he did that.

        • And the thing is, 15 years ago Dreher was on the right (pardon the pun) track. I read his book *Crunchy Cons*, where he decried the captivity of conservatism to big business and cultural busybody-ness, and it was a mile marker for me on my journey out of fanatical fundamentalism and right wing politics. From that vantage point, it really looks like he sold that birthright for a mess of culture war porridge. I can’t help but think (and may Dana and Burro pardon me for the observation) that Dreher’s conversation to Orthodoxy was a major step backwards for him.

          • Robert F says

            I don’t think it was his conversion to Orthodoxy. I think the problem is that he is not de-converted enough from evangelical culture war mentality. He is an evangelical wearing an Orthodox identity that doesn’t fit well.

            • I can accept that.

              • Robert F says

                Dreher was a life-long Methodist before becoming Catholic, but he was on the evangelical culture side of Methodism. The religious persecution complex he’s developed on his blog is cut out of the same stuff as Left Behind One World Government paranoia.

                • Believe me, I am well acquainted with that species…

                • Dana Ames says

                  His family hardly ever went to church when he was growing up. He was not an Evangelical. What you don’t like about him can’t be pinned on that.

                  Dana

                  • Robert F says

                    Maybe I don’t have the right info re: his background. If not, I apologize and accept correction. But what he’s presenting on his blog sure doesn’t sound Orthodox, and positively rings with evangelical culture war themes, and radical ones at that. He really sounds like a fundamentalist End Times paranoiac, complete with a projected totalitarian progressive culture prohibiting those who won’t go along from “buying and selling”, a la “The Late Great Planet Earth”. This is not typical of Orthodoxy, is it Dana?

                    • Dana Ames says

                      No it’s not. However, when Dreher writes about his own life experiences rather than politics, he is much closer to the mark. I think what he reveals about himself in those posts would make you willing to sit down for a beer with him.

                      I read his blog a long time ago and had to stop because he was extremely sarcastic (way more than he is now) and got excessively involved in Orthodox Church politics. He now realizes that involvement was a mistake, and because of his life experiences in the last 10 years or so his writing has changed in other ways, too.

                      I don’t always agree with him, and I don’t care for the Evangelicals he counts as friends (A. Moore, D. Burk) but I read him because his ideas are worth considering. He has written that, never having been part of Evangelicalism, he doesn’t really understand it; he probably wouldn’t get your reference to LGPE. He has also written that he hates mobs of any kind, because of an experience he had in middle school. He hasn’t abjured his “Crunchy Con” ideas at all. I think he is hardly racist at all, considering his upbringing. He’s changing his tune about culture war issues. You need to read more of him, Robert, to get the whole picture.

                      If what he warns about doesn’t come to pass, all well and good. But if things go the way he thinks they will, we’d better be seriously considering the Benedict Option – and no, he does NOT say we should all “run to the hills and hide”. When I was a university student studying in Germany, I made a solo trip through Yugoslavia, Romania and Hungary. I saw some of what life in a totalitarian state is like. His warnings deserve to be considered.

                      Dana

                    • Robert F says

                      Haven’t read the Benedict Option, but from what I know of it American Christians are not up to making the sacrifices it would demand. We are not made of the same stuff and St. Benedict and his monks. We are habituated to our creature comforts, more American than Christian. Frankly, given the frailty of his health as he describes it on occasion in his blog, Dreher is not up to it himself. He needs a comfortable middle-class life, and the income needed to afford it, to survive. As for the rest: Dana, he has multiple hardcore white separatists making comments, more and more every day I read the blog and comments; he does not moderate them, and rarely offers them even so much as a rebuke, never mind counterargument.

                    • Dana Ames says

                      That American Christians not up to making the sacrifices involved is one of the major points of the book.

                      There are days when he needs to sleep a lot. Working from home enables that. You don’t have to be rich to work at home, but you do have to be able to afford decent Internet access. He knows he may not be so comfortable in the future. His wife works so they can send their kids to a Classical Christian school, and his oldest is in college (public university), so there is that expense, too.

                      I tend not to read the comments; I’m not really interested in them. On the rare occasion when I do read them, I find opinions of all stripes. He reads every comment and whatever is posted is what he lets through. That doesn’t mean he agrees with or approves of the opinion expressed, only that he’s not censoring simply because of disagreement.

                      Dana

                    • Klasie Kraalogies says

                      Dana, I grew up in a fascist state, remember. Brooks gas the wrong end if the stick, at least here.

              • Robert F says

                When some — notice I said some!– people from evangelical culture move over into Catholicism or Orthodoxy, it seems as if they are searching for religious purity that is alien to the mentality of most cradle Catholics and Orthodox, and indeed to those religious cultures. Catholicism and Orthodoxy are big arks, that developed in societies where they were religiously dominant and membership was via infant baptism not personal conversion; historically they have had a high tolerance for lack of zeal among the rank and file, and even the clergy, that is greatly disapproved of by evangelical mentality and culture.

                • Christiane says

                  trying to imagine what it must be like for a ‘conservative’ fundamentalist evangelical to ‘convert’ to orthodoxy, whether Catholic or Orthodox. . . . . .

                  that culture-warrior thing seems to me to be an impediment to get beyond before that kind of ‘conversion’, you bet

                  • Which is why I said earlier this week that many Catholic, mainline, and Orthodox Christians in this country are functional evangelicals, whose relationship with the historical theology and traditions they associate with is tenuous at best.

                    • Many are, and with each passing year the number of those grow. Over time, the ethos and culture of Catholicism and Orthodoxy have been changed by evangelical culture, and not changed in exactly the same way for laity as clergy.

                    • Christiane says

                      In some cases, ‘fundamentalism’ clashes violently with orthodoxy. The two are simply NOT the same things.

                      Fundamentalism is its own animal. Wherever it shows up, in whatever religion, people suffer.

                • Burro (Mule) says

                  Good Lord, this. So much this.
                  Lack of zeal is such a plus.

                  There is so much advantage the opportunists can wring from zeal.

                • David Greene says

                  When some — notice I said some!– people from evangelical culture move over into Catholicism or Orthodoxy, it seems as if they are searching for religious purity that is alien to the mentality of most cradle Catholics and Orthodox, and indeed to those religious cultures.

                  Didn’t Frankie Shaeffer leave evangelicalism to become EO searching for purity in the opposite direction? He seems a quite strident SJW.

                  As for me, while not being evangelical, I find much of great value in RC and EO thought but I could never become either one for that very reason – I would always have some alien mentality to those “born in the cradle” as I am a renegade Episcopalian.

                  • “while not being evangelical, I find much of great value in RC and EO thought but I could never become either one for that very reason – I would always have some alien mentality to those “born in the cradle””

                    I am in the same boat. I am, for good and for ill, a child of the West – of Protestantism and the Enlightenment. I still believe in the power and efficacy of logic and reason, and the dignity and agency of the human individual, apart from (and even overagainst) culture and traditions. I always have, and expect I always will, no matter where I end up religiously. However much I admire particular threads in Catholic and Orthodox theology and practice, I could never buy all in.

                  • Robert F says

                    Actually, I think Frankie was searching for the same thing. Early in his move to Orthodoxy, he was very antiabortion and right-to-life, and enamored of what he considered Orthodoxies consistent moral teaching on these matters and others down through the ages, as well as its ancient as opposed to the pluralism of Western Christianity. He changed tracks somewhere in the last couple decades, but how or why I don’t know.

                • Headless Unicorn Guy says

                  When some — notice I said some!– people from evangelical culture move over into Catholicism or Orthodoxy, it seems as if they are searching for religious purity that is alien to the mentality of most cradle Catholics and Orthodox, and indeed to those religious cultures.

                  They take their Fundagelical mindset with them, just adding the Rosaries, Fasting/Asceticism, and Mary obsessions. But inside, they’re still End Times/Culture War Fundy.

            • Adam Tauno Williams says

              Yep.

            • Michael Z says

              A fair number of converts to Orthodoxy are actually there because they experience it as a *better* fit for their culture war mentality than evangelicalism. Being Orthodox is the new neo-calvinism – it gives you that smug feeling of being more theologically pure and distinct from everyone else. And of course, Orthodoxy’s enthusiastic support of patriarchy is a big draw too. So you get this influx of people coming into Orthodox communities trying to out-Orthodox the people who are already there, and bringing all their culture war baggage with them.

              What’s really happening in those cases is that the culture war is a person’s true faith, and conservatism is their primary identity, and they’re just choosing all their other identities (including their religious one) to serve their conservative identity.

              • Robert F says

                Yes.

              • That matches my observation Michael Z.

                I know of one local incident where Evangelical converts to EO began to think and act their old culture war way and split the EO community.

              • Burro (Mule) says

                This is happening to my Greek parish, and I dont care for it. I am a conservative, a patriarchalist, and whatever the opposite is of egalitarian (hierarchican?), but what I liked about Orthodoxy was not its support of what I already believed in but its charity towards those who differed.

                But then, the progressives are nowhere near as close to the levers of power as they are elsewhere, so yeah I guess.

              • Dana Ames says

                This is actually a problem. Too often they are received into the Church without appropriate catechesis. They are not paying attention to what is said in the Liturgy and the prayer services, and they are not paying attention to the monastic sensibility of humility and silence that underlies so much of Orthodoxy. If they were, they would not be so smug. Not to mention that the cultural history of this country (what we have of one) and the conditions out of which Evangelicalism arose are tightly intertwined.

                It’s very difficult for most 21st century USAmericans to become Orthodox simply because we live in 21st century USAmerica. But if it weren’t Orthodoxy, it would be something else that would satisfy their self-justification. We’ve always been messy and will continue to be so. Lord, have mercy!

                Dana

              • David Greene says

                So you get this influx of people coming into Orthodox communities trying to out-Orthodox the people who are already there, and bringing all their culture war baggage with them.

                Karen goes to church? 🙂

              • Headless Unicorn Guy says

                Being Orthodox is the new neo-calvinism – it gives you that smug feeling of being more theologically pure and distinct from everyone else.

                As anyone who’s had to deal with off-their-meds Net Orthodox can attest.
                Christianese One-Upmanship with different trappings — “ORTHODOXY! ORTHODOXY! ORTHODOXY!” instead of “JESUS! JESUS! JESUS!” And a LOT more ceremony and liturgy.

              • Headless Unicorn Guy says

                What’s really happening in those cases is that the culture war is a person’s true faith, and conservatism is their primary identity, and they’re just choosing all their other identities (including their religious one) to serve their conservative identity.

                Doesn’t even need to be a religion per se.
                Could just as easily be Communism, Fascism, Limbaughism, or MAGA.
                Any weapon to (or Justification for) WIN that Culture War.

        • Robert F says

          The complaints about cancel culture from the right are somewhat absurd. I understand that social media are conducive to online bullying, and that cancel culture shades over into this, but I see social media bullying of this kind coming from both the left and the right. The mechanism that is operative in cancel culture is boycott, which conservatives used to say was a legitimate alternative to illegitimate political violence; but now they want to delegitimize that too, because it isn’t going so well for them.

          • Adam Tauno Williams says

            I feel “Cancel Culture” is complete BS.

            Following and unfollowing someone on a platform is an entirely voluntary act. Even with E-mail I can white list and black list addresses.

            People upset over “Cancel Culture” are nothing other than, nothing more than, too lazy to engage in a real issue. Step into the weeds of any real issue and all that noise fades away.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            Cancel Culture or Defiance Culture.
            Like Communism or Fascism, it’s still a boot on everyone else’s necks.

        • Eeyore, that is white supremacism.

          That op-ed by Brooks is very alarming.

    • “You can’t purify your way to a governing majority.”

      Brooks gets that right even though much else of what he writes is obfuscation.

      • Robert F says

        Sadly, some of Brooks conservative brethren are talking about purification too, in a way that sounds very much like ethnic cleansing.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          If not Talibani Orthodoxy.
          First the Heretics, then the Apostates, then Those Not Devout Enough.
          “GOD HATH SAID!”

      • Robert F says

        I much prefer Brooks interview with Bruce Springsteen this last week to his thoughts on the SJW/Woke movement.

    • You have a stronger stomach than do I. I didn’t manage to get that far, but then again I never do with Brooks.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      > This level of hypocritical, patronising dishonesty makes me want to punch him.

      +1

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      > is that if only all those protestors and campaigners would keep quiet and be patient,
      > all us grown ups who know best will of course deal with it,

      Well, that is what George Washington believed (political quietude, faith in one’s betters) so that does make David Brooks in “good” company.

      • Quietness and patience have their limits. “In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.”

        • Christiane says

          immortal words from our own country’s
          Declaration of Independence’

          most appropriate in the age of trump when it looks like those who question the evil are themselves to be persecuted as our ‘justice system’ becomes anything but under Barr’s ‘control’

          does the Republican Senate at last have no shame?

          maybe it will end when we get it that in March, the Russian Security forces under Putin worked with the taliban in Afghanistan to pay them cash rewards for the killing of US and UK soldiers on duty in Afghanistan, to which
          Trump swears he was ‘not informed’ by his own intel

          ?

          at some point, the ram will touch the wall and either trumpism will fall
          or
          the United States will prevail as a free and honorable country, no longer groveling to Putin

        • Christiane says
      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        > is that if only all those protestors and campaigners would keep quiet and be patient,
        > all us grown ups who know best will of course deal with it,

        i.e. “OUT OF SIGHT, OUT OF MIND.”

      • Christiane says

        we need to realize that there were times, are times now, and will be times when
        ‘staying silent’ is to be COMPLICIT

        AND

        we need to realize that there were times, are times now, and will be times when
        ‘speaking out on behalf of innocent victims’ will be costly to ourselves

        My own thought is that we KNOW in our own consciences that it is a great SIN to ‘look away’ and let someone harm innocents without intervening to stop the abuse in some way and that the name of this great sin is ‘the sin of omission’ or WHAT I HAVE FAILED TO DO

        we KNOW within ourselves, no one has to prompt us and no one can ‘support’ the evil by telling us that we are better off keeping ‘quiet’ and letting the carnage proceed
        BECAUSE
        ultimately WE are in charge of our own behavior and responses to what we encounter in this world as responsible humane persons, and ‘following the leadership of’ ‘authorities’ is an unholy thing when those ‘authorities’ have crossed the line and are engaging in inhumane activities towards the innocent in the care of our country

        we KNOW

        if this is a blessing/curse, it is what it is

        the old Nuremberg Defense of ‘I was only following orders’ didn’t work then, doesn’t work now, will not work on the Day of the Lord when we are held to account for what we voluntarily did or did not do as humane persons living in response to honor and conscience

        so for those people who come here and advocate ‘shutting up’ in the face of the torment of innocents, I have some advice for you: examine your own hearts, because I cannot judge you, but look inward and see what is looking back at you and if you don’t like what you see, then change it;
        and if you are at peace with trying to shut everyone up in the face of the torment of innocents, then ask yourself: ‘where, in the Holy Gospels of Our Lord, is unkindness ever sanctioned towards the innocents among us?’

        we cannot judge one another, but I just don’t understand trumpism as any kind of a way for humane persons to live in this world

        I just don’t understand

    • I actually like a lot of David Brooks’ writing. But yeah… this one… not so much.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        Agree. He is a good writer. And sometimes has interesting things to say. And other times, this.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      “In fact, the Sturm und Drang makes political work harder. You can’t purify your way to a governing majority.”

      What do you think the Evangelical Culture Warriors are doing?
      Take Power and Purify us all back into a Christian Nation(TM).
      (That Pure Christian Nation beckoning seductively from the other side of the “regrettable but necessary” Reign of Terror.)
      “Just like SJWs, Except CHRISTIAN(TM)!”

  4. Robert F says

    What are the baseball players going to do about locker rooms and showers?

    • That’s a good question. I recall there was talk of asking them to wait and shower at home or at the hotel, but i can’t see how that would be a good idea on a hot, humid summer day or evening.

      While we’re on the subject, how do folks think the 60-game schedule will work out? Will this be a year baseball gets another first-time champion, as happened last year when the Washington Nationals won their first-ever World Series title? Or will such a short schedule work more to the benefit of perennial contenders like the Red Sox, Yankees, Astros and Dodgers?

      • Robert F says

        Not a baseball fan, but I have a question: What if too many players on a club get the virus to field a team for a game? Is it a forfeit?

        • If just ONE gets it would you want to be the catcher on another team when a teammate of the one diagnosed with C-19 is charging the plate and the throw to you is on the way?

          Make the out and maybe die in a month or just let them score?

  5. Robert F says

    Thank you, God, for Bob Dylan.

    • Something tells me if God was responsible he would have made him a better singer.

      • Robert F says

        I think he sings just fine. But even if I didn’t think that, holding his voice against him would be like criticizing the sartorial habits of someone who’s yelling to you that your house is on fire.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        You don’t listen to Bob Dylan for his singing voice.
        You listen to Bob Dylan for the way he can weave words and imagery.

  6. Robert F says

    The idea that we need less testing for coronavirus is appalling on so many levels. The sheer inhumanity of it is obvious on its face, especially when it comes from someone who himself and and whose family is being tested every day — liar, hypocrite, monster.

    • The more testing is done, the more that the scope of this disaster – and the malignant incompetence of our leadership – will become clear. Hence, the call to scale it back.

    • Michael Z says

      Often when you hear ideas coming out of Trump’s mouth, it’s because someone tried to explain facts to him and his brain is regurgitating the small pieces of those facts that he was able to absorb.

      In this case, it probably *is* true that part of why the second peak is higher than the first is – so far – because of increased testing. That is, if we’d had the same level of testing in April as we have now, we probably would have been detecting at least 40-50k cases per day nationwide instead of 30k – and the true infection rate probably peaked at 100-200k per day.

      Of course, what brought the first peak down in the end was lockdowns, masks, and social distancing. If folks in the new hot-spot states don’t have the will to fight the virus, it’s going to get a whole lot worse before this peak is over.

      • Rick Ro. says

        –> “Often when you hear ideas coming out of Trump’s mouth, it’s because someone tried to explain facts to him and his brain is regurgitating the small pieces of those facts that he was able to absorb.”

        I think that gives him too much credit for actually listening to any of his advisors, staff, experts, etc. I think he just says what he believes regardless of whatever he’s heard or was told.

        Lord have mercy.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      someone who himself and and whose family is being tested every day — liar, hypocrite, monster.

      And to four out of five Christians(TM), The REAL Second Coming of Christ ushering in The Millenium.
      Overturning Roe v Wade!
      Prayer Back in Schools!
      God in Charge of A Christian Nation!

      I’m reminded by a Chesterton(?) comment about the appeal of Black Magick being that “The Dark Powers have a reputation for Getting Things Done.”

  7. Christiane says

    Outstanding post, Chaplain MIKE !

    You pulled this crazy week together in one blog. Good job.

  8. Robert F says

    I don’t think those anti-maskers qualify for the Darwin Awards — I would bet that they all have kids.

    • And worse…
      They are subjecting their Darwinianism on others! In other words, it won’t be self-inflicted culling of the herd by taking out only themselves, they’ll be taking others down with them! And they might actually SURVIVE their Darwinianism!

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        And they might actually SURVIVE their Darwinianism!

        Reciting Psalm 91:7-10 as they do:
        “A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.”

        • Dana Ames says

          I seem to be in a constant state of sin these days; whenever I encounter anti-maskers, I know I shouldn’t wish for them to come down with the virus, but I do – I really, really do. Lord, have mercy.

          Dana

          • Imprecatory Psalms were written for occasions just like this.

          • Robert F says

            Sometimes I have the thought, but then I remember that their lives are intermixed with the lives of many others who could get infected from them and with them. As Thich Nhat Hanh would say, we do not exist apart — neither do the anti-maskers —; rather, we live in “inter-being”. The anti-maskers have forgotten that, but neither you nor I want to. Let’s keep remembering.

            • Dana Ames says

              In my better moments I do remember.

              “Your brother is your life.” This is the refrain of Orthodox monastics. We are all one Adam.

              D.

              • Robert F says

                Barth would add that we are all one in Christ even more than in Adam.

                • Dana Ames says

                  Christ is the ultimate (“last”) Adam. He is the One in Whose Image the first Adam (hence each of us) was made. In EO, the name “Adam” is usually referring to all of humanity, only sometimes to our first parent. We hold both together in one thought.

                  D.

              • Headless Unicorn Guy says

                In my better moments I do remember.

                “Your brother is your life.”

                Which goes directly against the Fundagelical Gospel of Personal Salvation and ONLY Personal Salvation. At heart an Extremely Selfish Gospel.

            • Headless Unicorn Guy says

              Sometimes I have the thought, but then I remember that their lives are intermixed with the lives of many others who could get infected from them and with them.

              “THERE IS NO YOU!
              THERE IS ONLY ME!
              THERE IS NO YOU!
              THERE IS ONLY ME!
              THERE IS NO F’IN YOU!
              THERE IS ONLY MEEE!”
              — Nine Inch Nails

          • Clay Crouch says

            Me, too. But don’t tell anyone.

          • Best comment of the day, Dana!

  9. Robert F says

    I think I must have
    those Sahara dust storm blues
    I think I must have
    those Sahara dust storm blues
    And if I know human nature
    I bet you do too

  10. The USA as Pigpen–priceless.

  11. Robert F says

    the sound of rain
    at break of dawn
    restoring the hour

  12. Adam Tauno Williams says

    Oh, David Brooks….

    > “This movement emerged from elite universities, ”

    Give it up already, this trope is sooo tired. #ClassEnvy

    > “Members of this movement pay intense attention to cultural symbols ”

    Hmmm, doesn’t sound like any other group. Who is it I am thinking of… the “Gelicals”, the “Evans”, I can’t remember; but that one group, you know who I mean.

    > “The core problem is that the Social Justice theory of change doesn’t produce much actual change”

    So… then why spent all the ink on them? Why care? Some people say they worship a pasta monster.
    ¯\_(?)_/¯

    I’m pretty confident David Brooks was high when he wrote that peace. I mean, yes, the guy is a political shill, but he is usually a political shill with a patina of sincerity.

    • “Members of this movement pay intense attention to cultural symbols ”

      As does his side. Why else do they have conniption fits when Confederate statues are targeted for dismantling? Those statues aren’t art, they’re propaganda – propaganda for a cause that should shame anyone of good will.

      • Dana Ames says

        Fine about the Confederate statues – move ’em to a museum with lots of explanatory signage. But defacing Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln?

        Dana

        • Agreed. I read one historian’s take on it, which was to the effect of “The Founding Fathers, for all their flaws and hypocrisy, trying to build a new nation. The Confederates were trying to tear that nation apart for the express purpose of owning and exploiting other human beings.”

          Put it that way, and it’s no contest.

          • Well, though, Jeffersonian democracy is based on chattel slaver

            It’s easy enough to find documentation of this in his writing.

            There are *so* many things that are either skated over or avoided entirely in American history curricula and instruction, even at both undergrad and grad levels.

            I know that what i was taught in public school was extremely unbalanced. And our narritives of things like the Revolutionary War are quite skewed.

            It would be better for us if we had fewer mounuments to Great Men and more honesty about whoo they and their associates were, as well as what they did.

            With Jefferson, i find it hard to stomach what he did to Sally Hemings, and later, his refusal to free the children she bore him. They lived out their lives enslaved.

            None of the Founding Fathers were blameless, but the lionization of those who had plantations and enslaved people working their land – it truly has to be made to square with reality.

            I’m not saying go out and tear everything down. But…. we could end up doing that, to some extent, if history classes were more truthful. A lot of people would really hate that if it happened.

            • * slavery

              Apologies for typos!

              • One more thing: Sally Hemings was very young – scarcely past childhood. She was not only a close relative of Jefferson’s late wife, she looked like her.

                You tell me who was the bad actor here.

                If, as many are hoping, plantation weddings are banned and plantations are no longer presented as Southern Arcadias, then that also has to happen with Mt. Vernon, Monticello, etc.

                I’m very much of the opinion that sweeping changes must be made regarding the presentation and interpretation at both places, plus many others.

                Again, a lot of people will hate this, but it’s part of our country’s DNA. Kind of like that inconvenient relative that keeps showing up, even if not invited, because…. family.

                • Presentation and interpretation of history at….

                • Robert F says

                  Yes again. Glad you are articulating it as clearly as this, because I wouldn’t be able to.

                  • Hey Robert – thanks, and no worries!

                    I haven’t bern a professional historian for 30 years, but that and studio art and art history are what i was trained to do. I even worked in a division of the National Portrait Gallery fir a few years, although the job was an odd combo of data entry, fieldwork and guarding the archive i was in from marauding tourists. (We couldn’t lock our doors if we took someone out to lunch, as the inly Xerox machine on our floor was in our stairwell and senior staff got MAD if my boss locked up for a half hour.)

                    Anyway, it was my job, there and elsewher, to learn about these things. I wish i could still wear the hat, sometimes.

                • Yikes!

                  I made a mistake above, re. Hemings’ and Jefferson’s children. They had 6, though not all survived to adulthood. Those who did were freed upon their 21st birthdays, or near enough.

                  There’s no explanation as to why they and their mother, who was never freed, were subjected to being enslaved for so long.

                  • Numo, even free white children are not, in a sense, “free” until their 18th (formerly 21st) birthdays. It’s also a form of protection for children. Setting his children “free” at 21 was probably not a hardship for them.

                    As for Sally Hemings, it’s possible that Jefferson faced a dilemma about freeing her. Had he done so it would have created a social scandal, if not a legal problem, if she had continued to travel with him and be around him constantly. Was marriage even an option? Not to justify slavery, but in her case it’s possible that she would have been less “free” had she been freed at that time. Life can be complicated.

                    • It can also be simple, IF we are more concerned about what is right rather than our wealth and reputations.

                    • Ted, she was a teenager and his wife’s half-sister.

                      She was in France with him, and she was free while there.

                      The issue of consent? He *owned* her; she was chattel. Loke every other slave owner throughout history, he took advantage of her. There cannot be a consensual relationship when a person is very much underage and chattel. I doubt anything about it was truly consensual. Those who “owned” enslaved people could rape them, and not ever be charged.

                      So marriage? He wouldn’t, i think, have done that.

                      It is important, i think, for us to understand these things as best we can. Nobody can ask her about it now, but equally, nobody can prove that it was anything close to a truly consensual relationship.

                      Even the folks at Monticello fully acknowledge her, these days.

                      Her children, with one exception, passed as white after they were freed. Their ancestry made them almost 100% white. They would likely not have chosen to do so if they had felt safer, but slave catchers traveled everywhere in the US then. One of her children moved to Wisconsin to get away from them.

                    • Sorry I missed this yesterday, Numo.

                      I won’t disagree with you. From our century Jefferson’s behavior does seem indefensible, but by the norms of that day it was at least understandable if you lived in the South.

                      Sally was about 9 when Martha Jefferson died, so not likely in a sexual relationship with Jefferson while Martha was alive, or that would have added adultery to the list, as well as pedophilia. But I think being half-sister wouldn’t have been a problem, as many people marry siblings of their late husbands or wives.

                      Martha’s father, John Wayles, had a similar relationship with Sally’s mother, so people may have been used to this sort of thing. He got Sally’s mother, who was 1/2 white, pregnant and the cycle continued with Jefferson and his 3/4 white mistress.

                      We’ve had conversations before about The Handmaid’s Tale, and this resembles it a lot. I confess I haven’t watched it in over a year because there was an episode early in season 2 that shocked even me, and Jeri can’t be in the house with it on.

                    • Ted, i am guessing that chattel slavery was *never* much of a thing in Maine, because, well…. in some replies elsewhere in this thread, i mentioned that Jefferson’s “ideal” democracy is based on chattel slavery. It’s very easy to find this stated flatly in his own writings. When i was in a research division (very tiny one!) In a federally-owned museum, the assistant director was writing an article on exactly that. We were (and that division’s employees still are) art historians with strong backgrounds in American cultural, social and political history. Her specialization was in colonial and immediate post-colonial US history, so she was very well qualified to take on that topic from multiple angles.

                      Honestly, i have to disagree on Jefferson, Washington, et. al. being “men of their time.” It simply doesn’t excuse them or anyone else re. attitides toward the slave trade, people from Africa/of African descent, or chattel slavery itself. It’s a lot like saying that Germans in the 1920-end of WWII were, in their adherence to both extreme “racial” antisemitsm and the n.azi ideology, just “people of their time.”

                      I’m not saying that you made any such equation, because you didn’t. Nevertheless, it does kind of look to me like you’re trying to get Jefferson off the hook, just a bit.

                      I bet nobody here would defend Jefferson’s edited “Bible,” where he removed every reference to the supernatural from the Gospels. It probably would inspire some pretty intense comments if it were the subject of a post here.

                      So….if we know his views on the chattel slavery of Africans as the backbone of the republic, and if we know that he very definitely viewed Black people as inferior to white people in every way (he made no bones about this), and if we were to read his own words and substitute the ones referring to Black people to “Jewish,” “Jews,” etc., then the problem with his racism (based in the kind of white supremacism that was the norm in *every* British colony, up to and including Australia), that is….. not excusable. It just isn’t. This country is the only former British colony to have hung onto chattel slavery *long* after the Brits themselves banned it. And white supremacist groups of all sorts tend to fall back on a kind of toxic mythology that came from the UK, in which white people are viewed as inherently superior to Black and brown people in.every way. It allows people to fall back on positions like the Southern plantation owners’ view of themselves as a bastion of civilization – the way that slavery and slave (serf) owners were portrayed in novels like ivanhoe. British and French travelers to the antebellum South were very amazed by how the planters used this argument, as well as by the ubiquity of sets of Sir Walter Scott’s Complete Works on their bookshelves. They honestly DID see themselves as knights and ladies – which is exactly how they are depicted in the 1st part of Gone with the Wind.

                      Jefferson was WRONG to engage in ANY sexual activity with Hemings and any other enslaved woman. Every white man who EVER did that was WRONG. I actually think they knew it, and for a lot of them, I’m sure it added to the pleasure they took in raping Black women. Sadly, rape as a rite of passage for “nice southern boys” endured well into the 20th c. Rosa Parks got her start in the NAACP via her work on such a case; a gang rape of a young Black woman whom white boys in their late teens attacked *as she was walking home from church.* (this and lots of similar incidents are covered in detail in the book At the Dark End of the Street – am blanking on the author’s name ATM.)

                      No matter who is enslaving whom, chattel slavery has *always* been used by enslavers to justify sexual assault and abuse of those whom they enslaved. All Jefferson, et. al. had to do was look at chattel slavery as it was practiced in Greece and in the Roman empire. And that’s exactly what and where and who they looked to in their foundation of this particular democratic republic.

                      I can imagine what prophets like Isaiah and Jeremiah would have said to them, and to us, today. It would scorch the ears off whoever heard it. And that’s where so many Black Xtians, in this country and others, look for the theological precedents for the abolition of slavery, for freedom of other kinds of legal bondage (including Jim Crow, “separate but equal” schools, sharecropping and much more).

                      Our society is founded on the genocide of Native peoples and the debasement of every human being who was ever kept in slavery here, whether Native, African, or descended at least partly from Africans.

                      I’m assuming you’re aware of how a whole lot of people who owned “slaves” put their own children and grandchildren – the light-skinned offspring of absolutely NON-consensual relationships – to work in their houses. It was the norm, not the exception. White men felt utterly entitled to use the bodies of enslaved men, women and children however they wanted. In countries where chattel slavery exists, this is still true. (Mauritania, for example, even though it’s technically illegal to “own” other human beings there.) And they had no qualms whatsoever about flaunting their enslaved offspring in front of their wives, God and any visitors.

                      The thing is, when people who are grownups and equal engage in truly consensual sex, that’s ethical. But when there is inequality of *any* kind, its unethical and just wrong. You know: employer-employee, teacher-student, doctor-patient, coach-team members (especially when minors), clergy-parishoners (including kids, whether teens or pre-pubescent).

                      I think it’s pretty easy to see the point re. all enslaved people, and Sally Hemings herself, who was about 15 or 16 at the time Jefferson impregnated her for the 1st time. She had no way out, unless she had chosen to live in France. She bore him 6 children in all, who were so “white” in both appearance and heredity that only one who survived to adulthood chose to identify as Black. And he moved to Wisconsin in order to be as far as possible from the reach lowlifes who went after both fugitive slaves and free Black folks – it was both legal and lucrative. The rest married white people, and a couple of descendants were Union officers during the Civil War. There are photos of the latter – you ,might think they looked a bit like they had italian or Spanish ancestry. You’d never guess that,,due to this country’s “one drop” rule, they were Black, or had any degree of African ancestry at all.

                      *

                      As for Handmaid’s…., i couldn’t hack it and quit at the end of season 2. I found the double execution scene particularly harrowing. It was so realistic that it might as well have been the video of Philando Castile being killed (or any similar video – i have never watched such clips. It’s not something i will ever do).

                      I realize this is a super-long reply; also that it will likely be caught in the spam filter due to my use of certain words. Will maybe drop you a note when CM lets it through.

                    • Ted, i posted this link in another reply, but am reposting here b/c i think it’s very relevant to this discussion. It’s an op3d published by the NYT over the weekehd.

                      I have never read anything so brilliant and devastating on this. (With the exception of Toni Morrison’s novel “Beloved.”) The author is poet Caroline Randall Williams. She is Black, albeit with considerable white ancestry as well, like pretty much every Black person in this country (recent immigrants from Africa excepted).

                      Part of the title reads “My body is a Confederate monument.”
                      https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/26/opinion/confederate-monuments-racism.html?smid=fb-share&fbclid=IwAR35CJP4i7-A-fLgTzMxUoB0fUN7Feu8ZDoaUmfikUYLiVP8ON0H4yB44vA

                    • One last link!

                      Today’s NYT op-ed by Charles M. Blow, who just totally nails it.

                      The title is “Yes, Even George Washington.” He saves the hardest-hitting segment for the closing paragraphs. And he cites the facts that really are indisputable as to why he feels as he does. It’s very sobering, to say the least.

                      https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/28/opinion/george-washington-confederate-statues.html

                    • One last, last thing:

                      The only term i can think of that put Jefferson in a slightly favorable light is this: concubinage. He took Hemings into non-consensual, forced concubinage. If you look at how that worked in Greco-Roman civilization and in, say, the imperial dynasties of China, you’ll see how women were pushed into this and only rarely able to escape it, by marriage or flight. It’s slavery.

                      We talk a good deal in this country about WWII atrocities like the Korean “comfort women” who were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese. the imperial line at that time was that the Japanese were much superior to all other East and southeast Asian peoples.

                      Look at how the Japanese governments post-US occupation have refused to apologize and grant any kind of reparations. Most of the women they used in this way have died, so they cannot speak up and tell their stories.

                      Notice any parallels in our history?

            • Robert F says

              Yes.

              • Excellent op-ed by poet Caroline Randall Williams, who states “My body is a Confederate monument.”

                She is, like so many, the descendant of black women who were raped by white men, both before the Civil War and after.

                Also, somewhat related, Rosa Parks got her start in the NAACP by working on the case of a very young black woman who was gang-raped by a bunch of “nice Southern boys” while walking home from church. There’s a book about it (and related cases), The Dark End of the Street.

                Ok, so, here’s the op-ed link: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/26/opinion/confederate-monuments-racism.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage

                • Yikes! Correct book title is At the Dark End of the Street:: Black Women, Rape, and Resistance, by Danielle L. McGuire.

                • Robert F says

                  Yes, I read that article! We need to hear the rest of the story, the whole history. The reluctance to listen to it when it starts to be told has resulted in the kind of rage we see in the streets, that pulls down statues. The rage won’t end with the use of tear gas and rubber bullets, only be quieted for a time.

                  • The statues *need* to come down.

                    And Reconstruction, which was violently suppressed, needs to begin. Again.

                    If you can look up info. on the horrible massacre in Wilmington, NC…. there were others. The people in DC pacified white Southerners, even though they knew they were terrorizing black people. Partly b/c a lot of Southern congressmen and senators were all in favor, belonged to the Klan, or both.

                    Ava Duvernay’s documentary, The 13th, would be a great thing to watch re. all of this. It’s 9n Netflix.

                    Eyes on the Prize is superb, but hard to find. However, there’s a 4-part docu on Reconstruction streaming for free on the PBS site. Henry Louis Gates narrated. The main title is Reconstruction- pretty easy to find!

                    • Fwiw, i also recommended Toni Morrison’s novel Beloved, but that reply is currently in spam filter limbo.

                      I’m sure CM will let it through whenever he’s able.

                  • As for rage… not so sure.

                    I would like to suggest a novel as well. It was written with Black readers in mind.

                    Toni Mortison, Beloved.

                    Such a searing indictment of SO much that is still playing itself out today, because people are acting in the same way they did over 145 years ago.

                    The fury belongs to a baby ghost/ghost of a baby, but is transmuted into something different. A bit like William Styron’s novel Sophie’s Choice, but set here.

                    And even though the central plot points can be difficult reading, Morrison is also lyrical, especially when describing landscape, the sky, animals and plants, etc. I have a hunch that natural beauty was a solace for those who escaped from slavery, and those unable to break free. (Well, more than a hunch.)

                    I read it, but want to get hold of the audio version, which was read by Morrison herself.

                    • Robert – i have a reply to you that is currently in the moderation queue.

                      I think i should have tried to use other words. It’s not offensive at all, but the filters grabbed it and kept it back.

        • Norma Cenva says

          We’ve been here before:

          “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”

          I know this won’t endear me to some here, but I see little difference between them (the defacers), the Paris mob, and Madame Guillotine.

          • Really?

            Most of the Confederate statues were put up a good while after the War ended. Like flying the Stars and Bars over state capitols, these statues are part of the whitewashing of Southern culture.

            As such, they have been PR for Lost Cause mythology, Jim Crow, the violence perpetrated against black people for over 400 years, and anti-Civil Rights movement propaganda.

            I don’t know if you’re aware, but many war memorials to the Confederate dead are inscribed w8th “To the sacred martyrs of the Confederacy” and other, similar phrases.

            Reconstruction was halted to pacify the same people who seceded over chattel slaveryl

            None of this is pretty, and all of it is true.

            please, please- read! Read beyond the usual plaudits, even if it makes you – and me – deeply uncomfortable. And i can guarantee that it will.

            I’m no Jacobin. What i do want to see: balance. And that has never been true, in textbooks, at historic sites, e5c.

            Also applies to Native Americans and Native Hawaiians, although HI is SO far ahead of the mainlandmon this. Decades ahead. We’d do well to follow their lead.

            • Mainland on this

              Again, sorry about the typos!

              P.S.: that statue of Confederate general Albert Pike was put in DC by the Freemasons. People have been trying to get it removed for decades. The Scottish Rite temple in DC hasn’t wanted to fight for it for a long time. S.

              • Fwiw, i worked for the feds, in a DC museum. My specific assignment was to survey and record portraits (paintings, drawings and sculptures, monumental and not). Like others who’d done the job before me, i had to include portraits of the political and military leaders of the Confederacy, although fortunately, i didn’t have to go to the Deep South – those states had been covered by my predecessors.

                So I’m not talking through my hat here.

                The assistant director of the archival division where i worked was researching and writing an article on the necessity of chattel slavery to Jefferson’s democratic ideal while i was there. She was tackling it from multiple standpoints, being an art historian who specialized in colonial US history + the early decades of oyr country, post- revolution.

                I could never condone the Reign of Terror in France, but we wrre, maybe, closer to something like that here than we’d like to believe. Actions like “proud boys” swarming onto merchant ships in Boston harbor and vandalizing and destroying other people’s property, the hatred toward Loyalists that too often turned into truly brutal actions, like tarring and feathering….. we weren’t white hat guys. We wore black hats, too, often proudly.

            • Norma Cenva says

              Yes really.
              My comment was in reply to Dana’s, in which she suggested that the Confederate memorials indeed be taken down and put someplace else for historical reference and context.
              At no point in my comment did I remotely imply that Confederate statues should remain where they are. Quite the contrary, I too believe they should be removed, but not by Paris mob fashion.
              So in that regard, I stand on my comment.

              • The only statue that truly came down that way is the one of Albert Pike, in DC. It isn’t something that sat well with a great many District residents (most of whom are black), and there have been attempts to get it removed for several decades now.

                The national Scottish Rite Freemasonry shrine was instrumental in getting it put up, as Pike was a hardcore Mason, of the mystical/rather weird wing.

                But the Freemasons aren’t objecting to attempts to take it down.

                Dr. King famously said that riots are the language of the unheard. I think taking Pike’s statue down came from an overflow of both anger and frustration. It is – or was – in a Black neighborhood, too.

                The man was a Confederate and a white supremacist to the end of his life. While I’d have preferred to see DC Mayor Muriel Bowser be the one to order its removal, i really have no objection to its having been pulled down.

                I’m not a jacobin by any means, but no person was harmed. Pike doesn’t deserve any honor, imo.

                • Robert F says

                  The way the media — yes, the liberal Main Stream Media, not just FOX and Breitbart — covers this movement you would think a mob was pulling a statue down every day. They feed off of hysteria and panic, and feed them in turn.

                  • Yes. Like all the free coverage given to *rump in 2016, because of ratings. CBS is especially guilty there.

          • Adam Tauno Williams says

            > them (the defacers), the Paris mob, and Madame Guillotine.

            What? The former destroy some statues [seriously, why care?] the second and third groups KILLED PEOPLE.

            The difference is absolutely clear.

            • Adam – yep!

              Funny how people all over the former USSR, Soviet Bloc and Albania pulled down *all* the statues that they’d had to put up to placate their rulers.

              No more Lenin, no more local dictators.

              Of course, the Soviets pulled down all their statues of Stalin long before the end of their regime.

            • Dana Ames says

              Why care? Because mobs can turn violent quite quickly, and then PEOPLE GET KILLED.

              If you want statues down, protest NON-VIOLENTLY and take it up with the governing bodies; don’t engage in spontaneous mob action.

              Dana

              • Dana, many attempts have been made to get it removed.

                It was in a Black neighborhood- most District residents are Black.

                The District has a mayor, but unfortunately, not full home rule. Congress even calls the shots on cab fares.

                Please don’t think nobody tried all legal avenues to get that statue removed. DC’s internal affairs don’t make it into the national press, except when something bad happens, like the teargas attack by armed soldiers, just so someone could act like a dictator and get his big photo op.

                As for what goes on in a nutshell, the slogan on DC license plates says it quite succinctly: Taxation without representation. (Except for Eleanor Holmes Norton, who has served as DC’s “shadow rep in the House for years and years. No vote, though.)

              • You’re right of course, Dana. But what Numo just said explains a lot of what’s happening (and btw, Numo, I just saw a DC plate here in Maine yesterday, “No taxation without representation.” The way our government is handling racial affairs, DC may become the 51st state sooner rather than later).

                The best way is always non-violent, but as a student of history I’m trying to take a detached view and remain merely fascinated, something like Jefferson when he found himself in France at the start of that Revolution. His family and friends implored him to come home but he said he couldn’t; it was far too fascinating.

                • I’m all for District statehood, but both houses of Congress are *very* unwilling to let go of it and their control over it.

                  It took many, many years for DC to get partial home rule. There have long been people advocating for statehood, but realistically, I’d be very surprised if it happens during my lifetime.

              • Radagast says

                Dana – agreed

        • Adam Tauno Williams says

          > But defacing Washington, Jefferson

          Meh, smash them to pieces in the street.

        • anonymous says

          while the train is in the station
          we encourage constipation
          moonlight always makes me think of you

          We go strolling through the park
          Goosing statues in the dark,
          If Sherman’s horse can take it, why can’t you?

          (to the tune of ‘humoresque’, what else?)

        • Clay Crouch says

          Well, we white people have had our say about statues for close to 200+ years. Maybe it’s time to let others have theirs.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          But defacing Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln?

          I think a lot of that is overreaction.
          When I was a kid over 50 years ago, Washington/Jefferson/Lincoln and other American historical figures were presented as Mythic Heroes. Now it’s just the opposite.

          Every culture needs their Mythic Heroes from their Old Stories. If we don’t have them, we’ll make new ones, from DC & Marvel Superheroes to Kim Kardashian and Donald Trump.

  13. anonymous says

    the T-tanic has struck the iceberg

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      hWile the Christians chorus “AAAAAAA-MENNNNN! HE IS LOOOOOOORD!”

      • anonymous says

        just wait and observe the R. senators abandoning the T as it sinks beneath the waves

        them extremist conservative ‘christians’ will go down with the T, but maybe they think the annointed one will be resurrected to their glory

        strange bunch, these folks, no sorting them out

  14. Just saw this online, a tweet by a doctor…

    “Wear a mask. Unless, of course, you want to be intubated by a gynecology major who finished her last semester of med school via Zoom.”

    • Klasie Kraalogies says

      Saw that too! Had a good chuckle.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Ventura County Karen:
      “I AM A HEALTHY AMERICAN!!!! I USED TO BE FREE!!!!!!”
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1nDeFsp3rU

      • anonymous says

        so now it’s a choice,

        like if T gets his way and no mail-in voting,

        people choose between voting or living 🙂

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        “Ventura County Karen” is for real. Her name is Deborah Baber and she runs a business called “The Republican Values Center” which sells “MAGA gear, flag-decorated clothing, and Trump in 2020 socks”. This has caused her to be mistaken for some sort of official GOP party position, but she does NOT show up on any VenturaCounty list of Republican party committees or officials. She is a member of “the Republican Women Federated community chapter”, but her name does not appear on any officer’s list of that organization.

    • But making a woman the butt of the “joke” – ever heard of microaggressions?

      It really is telling that an ob/gyn specialist is the one singled out. Do you guys realize that ob/gyns do a LOT of surgeries? (I am not referring to abortion here.) Specifically, abdominal surgeries, since most of the parts of our anatomies that develop problems are internal. Plus C-sections, episiotomies, etc.

      Short answer: they certainly DO know how to intubate patients, although in the US, they generally aren’t the ones to do it, unless there’s an emergency that demands it (like a patient in a remote area all of a sudden needs to be intubated, for example).

      Bottom line: ob/gyns are surgeons, along with everything else that this specialization entails.

      Most purely surgical specialists (cardio, orthopedic, etc.) are men, still, because there’s ferocious competition, outsized egos and a whole lot of machismo. It’s very hard for women to break into those specializations. You better believe that many of the men resent them.

      OK, i wasn’t even going to comment on this *joke,” but…

  15. Burro (Mule) says

    Why do we have more people in prison than Russia did at the height of the Gulag, or South Africa during apartheid?
    Why do houses cost so much when so many of them are just standing empty?
    Why do the lighter skinned races have a visceral aversion to the darker skinned races? Is it because they stayed and we left? That was 60,000 years ago.
    Given the tendencies of government to get stupider and more coercive the farther removed it is, what is wrong with being ‘paranoid about one-world government’?
    How can we print so much money and still be in a deflationary cycle?

    I have my own theories, but I want to hear y’all’s.

    • Robert F says

      Because we aren’t anywhere near a One World government. What we have is a highly dysfunctional and fractured international economy, wherein the rich get richer, and the devil take the hindmost. Same as it ever was. Blame it on the multinational corporations if you want, but even if the world was broken up into highly nationalized nation-states, each promoting its own America First-like policy, the multinationals and the rich folk who run them would have it just as good, or better. See IG Farben, and its descendants.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        > even if the world was broken up into highly nationalized nation-states

        Yep. Nationalists monumentally [pun intended] miss the point. Multi-nationals are just as happy with Patriots [aka: nationalists] as they are with Integrationists. They will control – and profit from – whatever system’s points of ingress/egress in either case. Nationalists and Progressives alike often slip in to talking about that group as if that group is stupid, when they are likely the most well-informed dynamic group on the planet. Whether it is local land-use policies or international trade policy the well resources will **always** be able to reposition themselves to extract value from the system.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Because we aren’t anywhere near a One World government.

        Unless you have End Times Prophecy charts tacked up on all your walls, cross-indexed to every single news item.

    • “what is wrong with being ‘paranoid about one-world government’?”

      Because OWG is totally unworkable, and has about as much chance of being implemented as there is of NASA announcing that the moon is actually made of green cheese. Seriously, do you see Xi, Putin, Bolsonano, Duterte, KJU, ad nauseam, bowing the knee to an OWG?

      “Why do the lighter skinned races have a visceral aversion to the darker skinned races?”

      Because of centuries of cultural aversion specifically engineered to justify holding darker skinned peoples in servitude. It was not always so, no matter how we might wish to flatter ourselves that it was.

      “Why do we have more people in prison than Russia did at the height of the Gulag, or South Africa during apartheid?”

      See the answer just above.

      “How can we print so much money and still be in a deflationary cycle?”

      Remember stagflation? I do…

      “Why do houses cost so much when so many of them are just standing empty?”

      Because both the homeowners and the mortgage companies are seriously in a river in Egypt.

    • Robert F says

      It’s a taught, and learned, aversion.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      > Given the tendencies of government to get stupider and more coercive the farther
      > removed it is, what is wrong with being ‘paranoid about one-world government’?

      I dunno; how much have you interacted with Local Government? It can be fabulously stupid; and easily held in the hands of a tiny cabal that barely needs to maintain any veil of secrecy. Both proponents of devolution and centralization misundersand, or over simplify, how governments [and systems overall] work: it is in the design of the systems far more than it is about their ‘scale’. Large-scale systems can be dynamic and responsive, small-scale systems can be impenetrable and sluggish. The devils are in the details.

      There is also no, none, none what-so-ever, threat of anything like a “one world government” happening any time soon. People obsessed with that concern are desperately out of touch. Governance in the Western World is a maze of fractured institutions with the left hand likely unaware the right hand exists, let alone being aware of what it is doing [it, at best, knows what the right hand was doing 3-5 years ago]. Knowledge moves through the American system at the speed of chilled maple syrup.

      • Burro (Mule) says

        That squares with Joe Bageant saying he never met a K street lobbyist as openly Falangist as the chairman of any county zoning board.

        • Adam Tauno Williams says

          Yep. “Local Control” land-use is as nasty a business as to be found anywhere.

          Rarely – if ever – does that “Local Control” bear any resemblance to the population it ‘represents’.

          Some progress exists. The city of Minneapolis now has a policy that for Neighborhood Associations have to have board members who approximate the demographic of the neighborhood if they want access to $$$.

          I’ve had the experience of walking out of the meeting of a nearby Neighborhood Association thinking to myself: “That must be what attending a Klan meeting was like”.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        There is also no, none, none what-so-ever, threat of anything like a “one world government” happening any time soon. People obsessed with that concern are desperately out of touch.

        Or seriously into End Times Prophecy…
        “SCRIPTURE! SCRIPTURE! SCRIPTURE! SCRIPTURE!”
        “RAPTURE! RAPTURE! RAPTURE! RAPTURE!”

        Governance in the Western World is a maze of fractured institutions with the left hand likely unaware the right hand exists, let alone being aware of what it is doing [it, at best, knows what the right hand was doing 3-5 years ago].

        In one word: DILBERT.

    • One reason we have way too many people in prisons is because when they attempt to medicate their way out of dealing with the insanity of our culture they run afoul of The War On Drugs™.

      Legalize, regulate, tax. (Barry Goldwater’s answer to “the drug problem”)

      Learn from Portugal. Stop dealing with drugs as a moral issue and instead deal with it as a health issue.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      > Why do the lighter skinned races have a visceral aversion to the
      > darker skinned races?

      They don’t. It is acculturation, the result of an already segregated society.

      It plays out every year. The freshmen on the bus, mostly from the sprawling entirely white suburbs, sit crouched by themselves, giving the side-eye to ‘others’. Pretending to be deeply engrossed in their book or device. Responding to the odd, possibly homeless guy, with dread.

      Fast forward to the next spring; most are relaxed, chatting, comfortable ignoring odd behavior.

      It is similar to Mark Twains favorite quote: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness,”

      This is why Conservatism despise cities and universities. Both naturally unwind such nonsense. Institutions must be constructed to Conserve bias [see Zoning Boards].

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        > Why do the lighter skinned races have a visceral aversion to the
        > darker skinned races?

        They don’t. It is acculturation, the result of an already segregated society.

        Building on the biological fact that humans, like all primates, are SIGHT-oriented creatures.
        If two things LOOK different on the surface, they ARE different.
        And skin color is VERY visible on the surface.
        Instant Othering, which that acculturation just builds on.

        This is why Conservatism despise cities and universities. Both naturally unwind such nonsense.

        I remember Slacktivist commenting (in his never-ending snark on Left Behind) that Christians have a longstanding tradition of enthroning Rural Righteousness over the Big Bad City. Tell your Christian kids how EEEVIL the City and University is (with God’s Wrath as Enforcer), so they’ll stay on the rock farm/sheep dip. (You can even interpret the story of Sodom & Gomorrah from this angle.)

        Slack pointed out that what kicks off the End Times in Left Behind: Volumes 1-12 is “Rosenberg’s Miracle-Gro”, a magical fertilizer that doesn’t even require water — sprinkle it over desert sand dunes and they all sprout bumper crops, Steaming Piles of Fresh Produce. And that in the Evangelical Mind (such as it is), this will return the rural countryside to its God-given position of Power over those Cities, which the Desrving Faithful’s great Faith and Moral Fury hath entitled them to.

        This also fits the New Heavens and the New Earth in Left Behind: Volumes 12-13: A New Earth with no oceans or mountains, nothing but an endless American Midwestern Great Plains dotted with eternal Mayberries and Pleasantvilles of white picket fences. (Who needs a New Jerusalem?)

        • David Cornwell says

          “This also fits the New Heavens and the New Earth in Left Behind: Volumes 12-13: A New Earth with no oceans or mountains, nothing but an endless American Midwestern Great Plains dotted with eternal Mayberries and Pleasantvilles of white picket fences. (Who needs a New Jerusalem?)”

          No cornfields?

    • Just for the record, all the secondary “racial” characteristics we deem so important, light skin color, the epicanthic fold, etc all developed less than ten thousand years ago, since the end of the last glaciation. The folks who left Africa were just as dark complected as the ones who stayed.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        The weird part is that there is more genetic diversity between two African tribes than between Africans and everybody else. Yet those “everybody else” vary more in external appearance.

        • HUG, do you have a source for that?

          Africa is enormous, with *many* different cultural/ethnic groups. (They don’t refer to themselves as “tribes.”) This is especially true because of the many African civilizations that turned into empires.

          Imam not sure if you’re familiar with all of that, but i think you would find it quite fascinating.

          Genetic diversity is also because of trade route to/from N. Africa and West Africa, across the southern edge of the Sagara, from east to west Africa and back, and from the E. African coast to the Arabian Peninsula, India, what is now coastal Ppakistan and back. E. Africans are still keeping that last trade route alive, sailing boasts (40-footers, about) known as dhows.

  16. According to David Brooks:

    Members of this [social justice] movement pay intense attention to cultural symbols — to language, statues, the names of buildings. They pay enormous attention to repeating certain slogans, such as “defund the police,” which may or may not have anything to do with policy, and to lifting up symbolic gestures, like kneeling before a football game.

    He’s right, of course, but doesn’t go far enough. Both sides attach extreme significance to all of these things, some to idolize them and others to perform iconoclasm on them. The slogans are different, but both sides have slogans. Some want to tear down the statues, and burn flags. The president wants prison sentences for those who tear down statues and burn flags. It’s the same thing, only different.

    And anyway, if the symbols alone don’t achieve anything they are at least reminders, icons of a serious condition, like a political cartoon, something to point to as an example while real change can be effected.

    • On a macro-level, and without considering that other group philosophies work the same way, I think Brooks has a legitimate point when he says:

      “The acolytes of this quasi-religion, Social Justice, hew to a simplifying ideology: History is essentially a power struggle between groups, some of which are oppressors and others of which are oppressed. Viewpoints are not explorations of truth; they are weapons that dominant groups use to maintain their place in the power structure. Words can thus be a form of violence that has to be regulated.“

      When I was younger, I felt the same way about the Vietnam protests, even though I sympathized with them. Protest movements are blunt instruments; the philosophies that move them are necessarily shallow and black and white; sloganistic and action-inducing. They move people to tear down statues, not do the hard work at ground level of performing the mundane tasks that lead to structural change. They have their place, but their philosophical foundations are weak.

      • The church should have been doing the work of laying philosophical and theological foundations for structural change. The protests and riots are the unpaid bills of the church.

        • Agree

          • Chaplain Mike, is that also your impression of the Civil Rights movement? I’m asking sincerely, because i honestly don’t believe it fits any of the things in your description of anti-Vietnam protests. (Nor do i think most anti-Vietnam protests and protesters fit the bill, but this isn’t about Vietnam.)

            I am not sure how things would have gone for Black people had there not been the kinds of grassroots movement to stand against injustice.

            That so many Americans feel no qualms about being openly contemptuous and hateful toward brown and Black people now is a thing i never dreamed would become as bad as it is.

            I don’t want to give up on my country, but i do despair for it.

            • The Civil Rights movement had the advantage of Dr. Martin Luther King and an attachment to practices of non-violent resistance that were rooted in some pretty good thinkers. In addition, they had the support of politicians in high places who could make things happen in bipartisan ways (LBJ, for example). One can only hope for leaders to arise within the current movement who can articulate something beyond the mere oppressor/oppressed narrative that Brooks talks about. And politicians who aren’t playing tribal politics.

              • Hey, what about the Eastern Bloc countries? Solidarity, and later, all those f9lks in Wenceslas Square, jingling their key, because they weren’t permitted to use horns or megaphones.

                And in the Philippines, in the 1980s, where Marcos could have given the order for the tanks to moy down the protesters. Instead, he and Imelda ran away to this country – not exactly one of our finer actions, i think.

                I mean, there are many social and political protest movements that are not, i think, shallow and all the rest.

                Nor was Dr. King the *only* leader of the Civil Rights movement. It couldn’t have happened without the SCLC, SNCC, etc. I remember when other leaders – Medgar Evers, for example – were murdered by white supremacists. That was before Dr. King’s death.

              • Headless Unicorn Guy says

                The Civil Rights movement had the advantage of Dr. Martin Luther King and an attachment to practices of non-violent resistance that were rooted in some pretty good thinkers.

                And Dr King presented the movement as a quest seeking Justice instead of Injustice.
                That it Was Not Right that this was happening.

                Unfortunately, now the Boolean Zero-Sum Game dominates attitudes.

                • If Dr. King had lived, the Poor People’s Campaign would have gone forward, and i don’t think it would have made most of us white folks happy. (Even though part of it was advocacy for all the poor, of every color.)

                  Dr. King and other Civil Rights leaders plus rank and file were quite well aware of the whole Southern Strategy used by politicians – keeping poor white people so riled up at Black folks that they miss(ed) their very obvious similarities. If more white people had seen that and acted in solidarity with Black people on issues like education, healthcare, etc. the whole freaking Southern elite would have fallen and, like Humpty Dumpty, couldn’t have been reassembled.

                  If Dr. King had lived, he would have been branded a radical and he wouldn’t be a sort of figurehead for many of us white folks to name-check.

                  • Hoover’s FBI was busy working on undermining MLK’s reputation; if he had lived longer, they would’ve gone after him hard.

                  • Headless Unicorn Guy says

                    Southern Strategy used by politicians – keeping poor white people so riled up at Black folks that they miss(ed) their very obvious similarities.

                    “If Ah can’ be better than a n*gg*r, who do Ah got to be better than?”
                    — Trailer Trash Ku Kluxer of the Third Klan (1950s)

                    All he had to brag about was his white skin, and nobody is as dedicated to keeping those on the bottom on the bottom as those who are second from the bottom.

              • Mark Onstad says

                I believe Dr. William J. Barber II of the Poor People’s Campaign is a worthy heir to MLK’s legacy, although I’m sure Barber is the last person who would want people to put him in the same league as King.

        • Burro (Mule) says

          The church has been doing it. Bonhoeffer, King, and the Niehburs did a LOT of that heavy lifting, and will be recognized by future generations for their work. However, as usual, the War Monkey ain’t interested.

          Racists aren’t stupid. They don’t need travel, education, and a cosmopolitan attitude. People need to repent, but they need to be SHOWN HOW to repent. Not to be scolded that they need to repent by someone who assumes he doesnt need to, and certainly not FORCED to repent by threat of violence or confiscation.

          • Prophetic scolding is a time-honored Scriptural tradition. Jesus Himself used it quite often on the scribes and Pharisees.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            and certainly not FORCED to repent by threat of violence or confiscation.

            Which only breeds a “Defiance Culture” which pushes back HARD without thought or reason, only Defiant Reflex.

            If not a “Grievance Culture” whose only reason for existence is REVENGE on the Other.

          • Well until the Kingdom comes a little travel, education, and a cosmopolitan attitude wouldn’t hurt.

      • David Cornwell says

        The “mundane tasks” are those that never get done without the protest movements. I wish it were otherwise, but it seldom happens. For instance, we talk and debate for years various issues like gun violence, healthcare reform, and issues around immigration. I think there are those in Congress who are willing to compromise, but even compromise takes two faithful sides. Without something on the outside, in the public arena that attracts attention, then nothing happens.

        Protest movements always attract an extreme element. But maybe it takes this element to push us to the point of actual action.

        When Obama was President the Republican leadership decided on Day One to destroy his Presidency if possible. They didn’t succeed, but they prevented him from accomplishing what could have happened with honest compromise.

        I like David Brooks, but sometimes he seems so naive.

        • Robert F says

          He does seem to live in a kind of influencer Ivory tower.

        • Adam Tauno Williams says

          > Protest movements always attract an extreme element. But maybe it takes this
          > element to push us to the point of actual action.

          +1,000

          Protests make things happen, and Riots make things happen. It is the unpleasant truth America always wants to deny.

          MLK was right, and wrong. Leaders look at ten of thousands gathered in the streets and [hopefully] respond; because if they don’t respond to hundreds of thousands in the streets protesting – given time those people will be setting stuff of fire. That’s why “peaceful protests” work – because they contain a threat: today we are peaceful… tomorrow?

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Members of this [social justice] movement pay intense attention to cultural symbols — to language, statues, the names of buildings.

      Instead of Ten Commandments inscriptions and Prayer in Schools.
      (And what is Trump holding up a Bible in that photo-opexcept a Cultural Symbol — only OURS instead of THEIRS.)

      • Yes. my point was, that the president and others in power also “pay intense attention” to the same symbols.

    • I’ve always liked David Brooks. But, the statue that gets torn down today, as a statement, is the very same statue that was place there a century ago as a statement, to tower over the freed slaves as a warning. Symbols do communicate. Tearing them down also communicates. Until lasting change can be accomplished (November, anybody?), this may be all that the protesters have to work with.

      A few years ago, the controversy was over the confederate flag, and whether to remove it from state houses and state flags. Now, even Republican congressmen are speaking out against that flag. Nascar has banned it. If it is perceived widely as a threat to African-Americans, as the swastika flag is to Jews, it should be removed.

      We may be looking at the equivalent of the Boston Tea Party, or the storming of the Bastille. These are now considered patriotic acts. If state and federal governments don’t recognize the problem, there may be far more damage done.

      • Rick Ro. says

        Ironically enough, at least from my perspective, is fact that it is that a mainly secular movement that is taking down statues (aka IDOLS) that God, in the scriptures, clearly points out shouldn’t have been built in the first place.

        We should be thankful SOMEONE is finally policing our idol making.

        • When God’s people stubbornly refuse to do the right thing, He can usually be depended on to find some unbelievers to do the job for Him. And it always pisses His people off to no end when He does so.

      • Ted, there is still controversy 9ver the Confederate flag.

        Just yesterday, Mississippi announced that the 1/4 of the stars and bars will be removed from its state flag.

        This has barely begun, the movement to dethrone and decenter the Confederacy.

  17. Klasie Kraalogies says

    On the David Brooks piece:

    There is something that stinks to high heaven when a guy at the top of the pile complains about the “lower orders” asking for justice.

    For all their complaining about elites, the moneyed, white, conservative upper class is the aristocracy that don’t want the peasants to get too uppity.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      Yep.

      All this noise from a guy whose father taught literature at New York University and then himself graduated with a history degree from University of Chicago. Before going on to work for Buckley.

      The guy **IS** The Elite.

      • The elite of the elite. So is Rod Dreher, for that matter — elite with a Southern accent.

      • Dana Ames says

        Yes, AND maybe his words should be considered for just that reason. He’s not saying the same things that others of his class are saying. Engage the ideas; if you don’t agree, fine.

        Dana

      • ==Ahem==

        I liked Buckley. 🙂

    • Klasie – agreed.

      It is very hard to read about Black Lives Matter and the Black community as understood by people like Brooks.

      It all makes me wish we had BlPOC reading and commenting here. This is a *very* white space, and it shows.

      None of us are facing the kinds of things Black people have to deal with every day. Not just militarized cops, but unbelievably high infant and mother (post-childbirth) mortality rates, not the kinds of barely there health coverage and care thatvaccounts for the huge number of deaths from COVID-19 among BlPOC.

      But, like everyone else here, I’m white. So there are things i have hever experienced 1sthand and don’t feel remotely able to duscuss.,i am not living with those things.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        FIVE-letter acronyms now?
        Did the Feds and Microsoft exhaust all possible three- and four-letter combinations?

        • Klasie Kraalogies says

          BIPOC = Black And Indigenous People Of Colour

          • Klasie – my understanding of the way the acronymn is used in the US is that all people of color are included, but I’ll have to check, as i don’t know for certain.

            HUG, it is pretty time consuming to type out Black people and other people of color every time we refer to them in a sentence or two. Which is also the reason for LGTBQ+, LGBTQIA+, etc. I know you keep calling the 2nd and 3d “unpronounceable, ” but the whole point of these kinds of abbreviations is to just say the actual letters if spoken, so Ell Gee Bee Tee…” and so on.

            It’s shorthand, basically.

  18. Klasie Kraalogies says

    As the face mask kerfuffle: I saw a beautiful response this week when one party claimed that “I don’t need a face mask, God will protect me!”, and the response was well why do you need all those guns then?

  19. A bunch of liberals in the echo camber sad

  20. As Twisted Sister once said, “If that’s your best, your best won’t do!”

    • Robert F says

      Or as Janis Joplin said once, “Break another little piece of my heart now, baby! You know you got it, if it makes you feel good!”

  21. In reply to Bob above.

  22. Klasie Kraalogies says

    There is something about these people like Brooks and Dreher and others. They earn their living from the culture wars. They exist to create division, sow hate, grow suspicion etc. Much like there less erudite colleagues such as Limbaugh and Jones, their bread and butter comes from distrust and acrimony. Basically, they are the opposite of productive members of society. Keep that in mind. Making someone angry buys them their next holiday.

    • Robert F says

      I don’t know Brooks well, so I’ll refrain from saying much regarding him, but over at Dreher’s blog, white separatism is running rampant in the comments, and although Dreher claims he is not a white supremacist, he throws out the kind of red meat regarding the purported evils of SJWs and “Woke culture” that feeds off his readers’ fear of and anger at people of color. He refers to white and Black progressives as “barbarians.”

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        Exactly, playing the High Brow Big Ideas card **AND** referring to people as “Barbarians”. Yep, sure.

    • David Cornwell says

      However, Brooks did support the election of Hillary Clinton and was fairly distraught on election night. It seems to me that Brooks is more toward the middle — so he gets run over from both directions at times.

      • Rick Ro. says

        Yeah, I’ve never found Brooks irrational, and actually find some of his stuff quite middle of the road. I have never had the impression he’s a Trump fan, either.

        • Clay Crouch says

          Same here, Rick Ro. This piece was a swing and a miss. And he is definitely no Trump fan.

    • Klasie – i think you’re correct on Brooks, et. al.

    • And again, at least back in 2005 with *Crunchy Cons*, that wasn’t Dreher’s MO. Something happened between then and now that changed his course. Obergeffel?

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Every time I hear the term “Crunchy Con”, I think:

        “Meddle not in the affairs of Dragons, for thou art crunchy and taste good with ketchup.”

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      There is something about these people like Brooks and Dreher and others. They earn their living from the culture wars. They exist to create division, sow hate, grow suspicion etc.

      “Chaos… is a Ladder.”
      — Lord “Lifflefinger” Baelish, Game of Thrones

  23. Dana Ames says

    Okay, I’m going to take the risk that you’re all going to pile on me because I pretty much agree with Brooks. And go ahead, pile on me even more because I read Dreher and I think he is pointing out things that need to be considered.

    Consider the ideas. Engage the ideas without name-calling. That’s what Brooks is actually trying to do.

    Why do numerous academics and other professionals – some who self-identify as Progressive! – email Dreher that they can’t speak their honest opinions to their peers without fear of not only censure, but of losing their jobs? Sure, we’ve had periods where the pendulum has been at the other end of the arc – notably the McCarthy years – and those situations were decried. Now they are praised. We used to be able to tolerate speakers at universities, for example, whose opinions were disagreeable; not anymore. An op-ed page in major newspapers is supposed to be a place for opinions, and we used to tolerate them and counter-arguments; not anymore. Only certain opinions are allowed now – no debate, no bringing forth facts and evidence to support a different point of view.

    I think identity politics is a real problem. Dr. King did not appeal to identity politics; he appealed to Christian and Classical Liberal ideals. History as power struggle is the theme of Marxism, not Classical Liberalism. The totalitarianism of Lenin and Stalin had its beginnings among those from moneyed families who attended elite universities of the day; this is a matter of historical record. Our current situation may not lead in that direction, but it also may. One of the things totalitarian regimes do is destroy symbols; this is also a matter of historical record. Corporations go along with the current social movement not because they necessarily agree but because they don’t want their bottom line disturbed.

    We need to weigh the ideas, consider them, not blindly accede to them or reflexively toss them into the dustbin.

    Yes, there are injustices and they need to be righted. Yes, European settlers to this country are responsible for terrible things done to Africans brought to this country as slaves, and to the First Nations people already here, and there needs to be a way to show our repentance as a nation – if we Christians and others can ever cooperate in this. (I’m not in principle opposed to, for example, reparation money if it can be distributed fairly. Brooks had some recently published ideas about that, too.) Yes, too many people, especially Blacks and women, are incarcerated; we need to figure out a way to deal with that. We need to address the reasons behind education and income disparities and bad housing policies – and not all of those reasons have to do with racism alone. Is the way to address these issues to now see all white people as oppressors? How is that any different than seeing all black people as ignorant and lazy? Isn’t calling a woman “Karen” just as demeaning as any other demeaning verbal expression? How in the world does that solve anything??? It’s all prejudice, driven by the things in the hearts of human beings that are contrary to what we were made for. See Solzhenitsyn: the line is not between “us” and “them”, but down the middle of each heart.

    Upthread, Christiane wrote:

    In some cases, ‘fundamentalism’ clashes violently with orthodoxy. The two are simply NOT the same things. Fundamentalism is its own animal. Wherever it shows up, in whatever religion, people suffer.

    Let’s be careful we don’t become fundamentalists of a religion of identity politics – on either side.

    Dana

    • Dana Ames says

      Father Stephen in the comment stream of his latest, “Beauty and Iconoclasm – Where We Find God”, writes most sanely about this, from personal experience growing up in the South (as in the comments of the last few of his posts). I’m in his corner. We need healing.

      Go read – wisdom, let us attend.

      Dana

    • Norma Cenva says

      Well spoken Dana.
      Well said.
      Mobs have no use for moderate heads.
      More often than not, they wind up at the bottoms of baskets.

    • flatrocker says

      Blessings to you Dana for your courage.
      Many are watching this blog and shaking our heads in despair.

    • Rick Ro. says

      Good points to reflect upon.

    • Robert F says

      Dana, I will only address one point, and very briefly I think Dreher is prone to overreaction and exaggeration, and I don’t trust the anonymous sources that know him and feed into those tendencies. In addition, I think Dreher interprets one-off events as typical rather than one-off. He sees patterns where there are isolated happenings. And the tone he adopts often comes across as hysterical and almost panicked and breathless. When he starts speaking the language of reaction, warning of some kind of backlash against progressives, who he calls “the enemy”, a backlash that he invokes as a barely disguised wish and threat, wanting to see protestors/rioters shot by police and military, he’s lost me completely, because I see that he would consider me an “enemy”.

      • Robert F says

        Okay, not so briefly….

      • Mob rule?

        Sorry – no. That’s not going on here.

        We are all white, so there are about a million things wr take for granted that BlPOC never can.

        As for “Karen,” hey – i know that I’ve been a Karen at various points in my life. I’m not proud of that, but I’d rather put my cards on the table.

        And no, i don’t find it offensive.

      • Dana Ames says

        We disagree; I trust his sources. You’re allowed to hold that opinion, Robert, that’s fine.

        Dreher is reacting to mob violence. He has a traumatic personal reason why he hates mobs. I’m not sure he wants rioters shot – I certainly don’t; but he – and I – want them stopped. They are destroying the very thing that is of the most benefit to minorities right now: minority-owned businesses. There are a lot of black people who are afraid to go out into their neighborhoods at this moment – not because of racist whites or bad police, but because there is random violence and NO police around to stop it. Government officials at every level are paralyzed – sure, because some probably are racist, but much, much more, I think, because they don’t want to be labeled as “racist” and possibly get themselves on the wrong side of the mob – as the mayor of Minneapolis did, to his great astonishment.

        If sane heads do not prevail, there could be backlash, because it’s tough to stop mob mentality of ANY variety once it gets going. It’s all bad, all of it – and it’s driven by the one who is the father of lies and seeks to bring only death.

        Dana

        • Dana Ames says

          My pastor posted this in our weekly bulletin:

          https://www.nynjoca.org/news_200625_1?fbclid=IwAR0mx3K7kopl7KUawxoSFgs03KWNCZWxxdPmZNDhw5YJDbOCQktZ9RuQK1w

          As God gives me strength I will be part of this. True healing and reconciliation won’t come any other way.

          Dana

        • Robert F says

          What did the “mob” do to mayor Frey of Minneapolis, Dana? Did they tear him limb from limb, did they physically attack him, did they so much as lay a finger on him? No, despite the fact that he had no security detail with him, and they didn’t at all like what he had to say vis a vis defunding the police, he walked unmolested and unharmed through the crowd of hundreds, or was it thousands, of protestors as they booed him, yelling “Go home…” Doesn’t sound like a mob to me.

    • Dana, i think comparing the USSR to here is a bit of a stretch.

      Russia has had authoritarian rulers for most of its history, with the exception of the few months that Nicholas II was willing to allow the Duka (legislature) and the Provisional Government run by Alexander Kerensky.

      To be honest, the rulers of the USSR were every bit as despotic as the tsars. The ideology was different, but the results were pretty much the same.

      Unfortunately, Russia post-1991 has once again become an autocracy. It’s hard to see, but it’s understandable, given that nobody there has any idea how to organize and maintain a more democratic form of government.

      As for the leaders of the 1917 revolution being from elite families, i don’t think that’s actually the case, though maybe a few were. Russia had been in a state of social and political upheaval for almost the entire 19th c.

      And while I’m in no way even close to being a Marxist, Marx himself actually did have some interesting ideas. How his name and image were used by the Soviets is another thing entirely- he was dead, after all.

      • Duma

        Sheesh. I’d better give up on typing for the evening.

      • Dana Ames says

        Numo,

        Let’s both read Dreher’s book coming out in September, “Live Not By Lies”. Then we can talk about the Soviet system. As I said upthread, I was in some of those countries. The people were beautiful – and there was a palpable darkness over the land. Ideas, even misappropriated ones, have consequences. That’s all I’m going to say for now.

        Dana

        • But you did not live there.

          My undergrad minor – although I’ve forgotten a great deal of what i learned – was Russian and Soviet history. But to gomany further with it, I’d have had to learn Russian, and there wasn’t really any way to do that at either of the colleges i attended. Though i almost went on a university trip to what was then called Leningrad, in the late 70s.

          I ended up opting for Western Europe instead. I felt like t he atmosphere in Germany was oppressive tomthe point of bein stifling, but I got pretty sick while i was there, which likely has something to do with it. I liked the people i met – very much, in fact. But it was as if Naziism and the war never happened. It was acknowledged obliquely, but it didn’t appear that anyone was speaking or writing about it.

          That summer, wearing actual Nazimregalia had become a teenage fad due toma “documentary” that was basically a compilation of clips of Hitler ranting at mass rallies, with zero explanatory voice-overs or text.

          I couldn’t wait to get out of there, even though i liked my hosts very much.

          Although I did notice that the people i met looked very much like people in and around my hometown, as most of us at that time were PA German.

          • Just curious: how long was y9ur trip to the Eastern Bloc?

            I believe you re. oppression. After being in W. Germany, i can’t dispute it.

            But i do wonder what you saw that furthered that impression. And if, had you been in Argentina (then engaged in its Dirty War), or Chile under Pinochet,,would anything have been fundamentally different?

            Totalitarian states are what they are,,even when stated ideologies differ.

            Rusdia under the tsars was extremely oppressive. That’s one reason that actuvists of many different kinds studied innthe west,,if their parents were ableto help them get there.

            I can only speak about my own brief and pretty shsllow experience of bein in any other in Europe.

            • Dana Ames says

              I was in W. Germany for a year, and in the Eastern Bloc for about 3 weeks. I’m sure I was followed, though I never saw anyone (and never really looked behind me, because I didn’t care – I knew what I was about) because western tourists didn’t go where I went in the dead of winter (February, on semester break), even to ski – better places in the Alps. The American Fulbright professor with whom I stayed for a few days in Cluj, Romania knew her phone was tapped, not only because she was American, but because she was an Ev. Christian and had Christian friends there.

              Beyond that, it was simply a sensation I got being in the midst of the people – something transrational. I’m sure it’s the same in any oppressive society, including, at a few times in my life, being in a couple of places in the US. I realize that I’m “privileged” in that I could leave those places when I wished.

              D.

              • Dana, I’m sure you were being followed. It squares with everything I’ve ever read about the Eastern Bloc countries.

                Like you, i have also been in a few places here that felt oppressive. So i hear you, and the prof, and i know it must have been hard. That it would have been unbearable if, for whatever reason, you hadn’t been able to leave.

                Hungary now: I’d avoid it, even if that Scandinavian cruise line that does trips on European rivers gave me an all expenses paid tour.

                It’s strange, that sensation of an invisible but oppressive cloud that exists in many places. I went to London for awhile immediately after leaving W. Germany. Such a relief!

    • Radagast says

      Dana – agree with you – there is not a lot of listening to thought outside of mob rule. As I understand your thought and your focus intertwined with your Orthodox outlook I agree with you.

      But for now you will be a lone voice in the wind.

  24. Long time lurker, seldom feel intelligent enough to comment… That said, maybe it is wishful thinking on Chaplin Mike’s part, but I did not know we are back in 2018 as the heading says!

    Great Brunch

  25. Headless Unicorn Guy says

    Regarding the Mask Wars, here’s something I just heard on morning drive-time:

    “If COVID infections showed visibly like Ebola, nobody would have a problem with masking up.”