Tuesday, October 31, 2023
Monday, October 30, 2023
Their objective was simple: silence, marginalize, and suppress - all, somehow, in the name of tolerance and an open society. At the time, I thought of myself as a moderate. But that experience opened my eyes to the real nature of left-wing politics. It radicalized me.
- Christopher Rufo, America's Cultural Revolution: How the Radical Left Conquered Everything
Check out Niall Ferguson in The Daily Mail. An excerpt:
Anonymous letters of denunciation, cancellation campaigns on social media, the bearing of false witness, public mobbings, and extra-legal investigations — I have seen all of these used against professors who dared to resist the woke cultural revolution.
Sunday, October 29, 2023
Saturday, October 28, 2023
The Free Press: evidence that you can get sociologists to support monsters.
If you ever saw the old movie Fiddler on the Roof, you know how warm and emotional Jewish families can be. They are always hugging, singing, dancing, laughing, and crying together.
I come from the other kind of Jewish family.
- From How to Know a Person: The Art of Seeing Others Deeply and Being Deeply Felt by David Brooks
Friday, October 27, 2023
I lived through the turmoil of the Vietnam and Watergate days. At no point did I ever encounter people who felt that our civilization was in peril.
Now, however, that is a frequently-mentioned worry. Institutions that once were bulwarks against craziness from either the Right or the Left are now seen as either too weak to mount any resistance or, worse still, as part of the problem.
The concerns don't just come from one ideological zone. Liberals, moderates, and conservatives voice their worries.
Extreme parts of the Left are seen as the primary culprit. They have no regard for freedom of expression. Their loathing of our nation is unparalleled.
Get ready. The pushback is coming.
Thursday, October 26, 2023
I see no rational reason for refusing Secret Service protection for Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
The Damon Runyon Omnibus where you'll find the Runyonesque style of writing. A sample:Of course Judge Goldfobber is not a judge, and never is a judge, and he is 100 to 1 in my line against ever being a judge, but he is called Judge because it pleases him, and everybody always wishes to please Judge Goldfobber, as he is one of the surest-footed lawyers in this town, and beats more tough beefs for different citizens than seems possible. He is a wonderful hand for keeping citizens from getting into the sneezer, and better than Houdini when it comes to getting them out of the sneezer after they are in.
[Photo by Noah Silliman at Unsplash.]
strategy + business: I am adding The Lincoln Lords to my reading stack.
The Hill: Robert Maranto explores whether there is a place for conservatives in political science.
Wednesday, October 25, 2023
In the months ahead, watch for increased discussion of these topics:
- Secure borders.
- Media bias.
- Reinstating the draft.
- University costs.
- Community colleges.
- The "broken windows" theory.
- Institutional neutrality.
- Banana republics.
- Devil's Island.
- Degree requirements.
- Civic responsibilities.
- The National Debt.
- Influence peddling.
- Gated communities.
- Water shortages.
- Nuclear power.
- Sovereign individuals.
- Universalist vs. Particularist ethics.
Nobody is tracking you, directing you, or managing you. You are roaming: an excellent tonic for the confinement of work and family. The gas pedal and the steering wheel are wired directly to your will, via the seat of your pants, and there is no committee involved.
- From Why We Drive: Toward a Philosophy of the Open Road by Matthew B. Crawford
Tuesday, October 24, 2023
- Solutions that have become problems.
- Weaknesses disguised as strengths.
- Shy people who hide their achievements.
- Failures hidden within accomplishments.
- Fig-leaf merchants.
- Rugged individualists who need to be polished by a community.
- Faux teams.
- Executives who hire too quickly and fire too slowly.
Monday, October 23, 2023
Sunday, October 22, 2023
Saturday, October 21, 2023
I know some of you with your business-school backgrounds are out there already beginning to draw organization charts and write manuals for operating procedures. As soon as I find out who you are, I'm going to fire every last one of you.
- William G. McGowan, founder and CEO of MCI Telecommunications Corporation
Friday, October 20, 2023
I was working on a draft last night when the dog wandered into the office and scratched my leg. That was all-too-predictably followed by the famous "dog eyes stare."
All dog owners know the irresistable begging expression passed on generation to generation from the very first of the cave dogs.
For some reason, this fit in perfectly with the feel of October.
Family. Home. Crescent moon. Coziness. Dog.
Fall is here.
[Photo by Monica Ballester at Unsplash]
Thursday, October 19, 2023
University of Florida president Ben Sasse put it well: “I will not tiptoe around this simple fact: What Hamas did is evil and there is no defense for terrorism. This shouldn’t be hard.” And yet, for American university leaders, clearly it is. Fewer than half of the top 100 presidents could be brought to say it outright.
Read the rest of Max Eden's essay in City Journal.
When people were tied to a given place, where their families settled for generations, they understood that their wealth was built through allegiance to that place, and thus carried various obligations. In contrast, with money increasingly tied to individuals rather than place, loyalties to a community or town are much attenuated today. We have more national nonprofit organizations than ever, but fewer ways to bring people together across various divides or to effect change in our own neighborhoods and communities.
- Seth D. Kaplan, Fragile Neighborhoods: Repairing American Society One Zipcode at a Time
Wednesday, October 18, 2023
The subscription list by Kurt Harden has prompted a review of my own - soon to be whittled - list:
- City Journal
- The Arizona Republic
- The Atlantic
- The Chronicle of Higher Education
- The Epoch Times
- The New Criterion
- The Telegraph
- The Wall Street Journal
- Washington Examiner
Tuesday, October 17, 2023
Monday, October 16, 2023
Anton Barba-Kay, A Web of Our Own Making: The Nature of Digital Formation. [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2023.]
Bill Bishop, The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America Is Tearing Us Apart. [New York: Mariner Books, 2009.]
Timothy P. Carney, Alienated America: Why Some Places Thrive While Others Collapse. [New York: Harper, 2019.]
William Deresiewicz, Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of The American Elite & The Way to a Meaningful Life. [New York: Free Press, 2014.]
Walter Kerr, The Decline of Pleasure. [New York: Tim Incorporated, 1962.]
Andrey Mir, Postjournalism and the Death of Newspapers: The Media After Trump: Manufacturing Anger and Polarization. [ Toronto: Andrey Mir, 2020.]
Robert Nisbet, The Quest for Community: A Study in the Ethics of Order & Freedom. [San Francisco: JCS Press, 1990.]
Sherry Turkle, Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age. [New York: Penguin Books, 2015.]
Surgeon General’s Advisory on “Effects Social Media Use Has on Youth Mental Health.” [U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, May 23, 2023.]
Jean M. Twenge, Generations: The Real Differences Between Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, Boomers, and Silents – and What They Mean for America’s Future. [New York: Atria Books, 2023.]
Sunday, October 15, 2023
Saturday, October 14, 2023
Friday, October 13, 2023
Thursday, October 12, 2023
Wednesday, October 11, 2023
Facebook friends are not real friends. ~ The Cloud is not a community. ~ Scrolling destroys deep thought. ~ Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) produces Willingness to Waste Time (WTWT). ~ The best things in life are not on a screen. ~ Don't be a lab rat for the tech firms.
[Photo by Tam Nguyen at Unsplash]
Tuesday, October 10, 2023
Sippican Cottage gives us a lot to choose from and all of it is good.
We were sitting on the patio under a black, moonless sky, our faces lit by the flickering light of a few candles in the center of a large stone table. We all had iced drinks in our hands or in front of us. His interruption took the form of very slowly putting down the glass that was in his hand - so slowly and so quietly, and with such a measured, even movement that at first it seemed like some kind of ritual gesture. Everyone suddenly became quiet and looked at him, waiting. I remember listening for a long time to the waves of the bay and watching the lights of San Francisco across the water. The wind was shifting and turning cool. People were putting their collars up and hugging themselves, but no one dared get up. Foghorns were answering each other like far-off, unseen sea creatures.
Just as slowly and evenly, he angled his long, lean body back in his chair and gazed at nothing in particular. Then he turned his head as though it were a gun turret and looked directly at the husky, bearded young man who had just been speaking about the crimes of America. In the flickering candlelight, his bony face seemed wondrously alive and menacing at the same time. What he said to the young man - and of course to all of us present - was only this:
"You don't know what you have here." Then, after an uncomfortable pause, "You simply don't know what you have."
- From The American Soul: Rediscovering the Wisdom of the Founders by Jacob Needleman
[Photo by Max Sulik at Unsplash]
Over the years I have posted this advice from Adrian Savage, the leadership author and scholar:
Monday, October 09, 2023
There is a story about a wily bandit who was finally captured by the king's troopers. The king, a man fond of games and riddles, made the bandit a proposition. He told the bandit that he was allowed to make one statement. If that statement contained the truth he would be shot, if it contained a lie, hanged. The bandit, after some thought, said, "I am going to be hanged."
- From Organizational Paradoxes: Clinical Approches to Management by Manfred F. R. Kets De Vries
Let’s start with Biden’s policy to restore U.S. funding for Palestinian development after the Trump administration ended it. As The Washington Free Beacon first reported in August, internal documents show the State Department, in 2021, secretly sought a Treasury Department exemption to release more than $360 million to Palestine despite concerns that at least some of it would go to Hamas. (According to a May 2021 State Department press release, that money went to humanitarian organizations providing, among other things, emergency shelter, food, and healthcare, including “mental health and psychosocial support.”)
Read all of Eli Lake's article in The Free Press.
[Execupundit note: The idea that aid can only be used in one category is ludicrous and misses the fungible nature of funding.]
In the coming months, we will discover the true nature of some - perhaps many - of the people who walked across our open borders.
That, of course, is a guess but it is sparked by the following: we know nothing about most of those who have arrived and it would be a negligent terrorist group that did not regard the administration's gross negligence as a grand opportunity.
There is a reason why we have immigration laws and screening.
“Our first task therefore is to try to grasp what the concept of the enemy really means. The enemy is someone who is willing to die in order to kill you. And while it is true that the enemy always hates us for a reason, it is his reason and not ours. He does not hate us for our faults any more than for our virtues. He sees a different world from ours, and in the world he sees, we are his enemy. This is hard for us to comprehend, but we must if we are to grasp what the concept of the enemy means.”
Sunday, October 08, 2023
Saturday, October 07, 2023
In Munich are many men who look like weasels. Whether by genetic accident, meticulous crossbreeding, an early and puzzling migration, coincidence, or a reason that we do not know, they exist in great numbers. Remarkably, they accentuate this unfortunate tendency by wearing mustaches, Alpine hats, and tweed. A man who resembles a rodent should never wear tweed.
- From "The Schreuderspitze" by Mark Helprin [published in Ellis Island & Other Stories]
Friday, October 06, 2023
No one is left from the Glenn Valley, Pennsylvania, Bridge Club who can tell us precisely when or why the group broke up, even though its forty-odd members were still playing regularly as recently as 1990, just as they had done for more than half a century. The shock in the Little Rock, Arkansas, Sertoma club, however, is still painful: in the mid-1980s, nearly fifty people had attended the weekly luncheon to plan activities to help the hearing- and speech- impaired, but a decade later only seven regulars continued to show up.
- From Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community by Robert D. Putnam
Thursday, October 05, 2023
Wednesday, October 04, 2023
Tuesday, October 03, 2023
The notion that one can teach "metacognitive thinking" in the abstract is senseless. Students need to learn something to learn how to learn at all. The claim that prior knowledge is superfluous because one can always look it up, preferably on the Internet, is equally senseless. Effective research depends on preexisting knowledge. Moreover, if you don't know in what century the atomic bomb was dropped without rushing to an encyclopedia, you cannot fully participate in society.
- Heather Mac Donald, "Why Johnny's Teacher Can't Teach" (City Journal, Spring, 1998)
Full Disclosure: The author knows diddly about the stock market. He went through college on a journalism program, for God's sake. He last understood the mathematics curriculum in the fourth grade. Like most journalists, he only vaguely and dimly grasps the economics of his own business. He did not know the difference between a bull and a bear market until he was in his midthirties. His father-in-law has several times explained to him the concept of a "put," yet it remains to him a mystery. His wife handles all aspects of the family's financial life. He does not even have his own checkbook. He has an ATM card, which he frequently loses.
- From "Truth Be Told" - an essay by Michael Kelly in the August 7, 2002 edition of the Washington Post.
[Execupundit note: The late Michael Kelly, gone far too soon, would be an insightful observer of our times.]