URLs du Jour

2019-07-12

[Amazon Link]

  • Daniel Henninger of the (perhaps paywalled) WSJ gives his thoughts on Wahooing Betsy Ross.

    The remarkable thing about Colin Kaepernick’s banning of Nike’s Betsy Ross flag sneaker to commemorate the Fourth of July isn’t that it happened, but how easily it happened. Nike’s management simply folded over “concerns that it could unintentionally offend.”

    No one has ever thought to go looking inside corporate headquarters for profiles in courage, but the lurch toward timidity in our time by individuals at the top of America’s private and public institutions is something to behold. Pusillanimity has become a plague.

    Mr. Henninger notes the recent history: the Cleveland Indians' Chief Wahoo; Kate Smith. We could add more. Like that hectoring Gilette Super Bowl ad.

    What these incidents have in common is that the outcome didn't solve anything. Racism didn't go away because Nike pulled the flag shoe; nor was it affected by memory-holing Kate Smith. Chief Wahoo's presence was not a crucial factor in the relative poor economic position of Native Americans. Not a single male lout was inspired to be less loutish.

    I really shouldn't psychologize this, but I will anyway: the advocates behind this onslaught of wokeness aren't trying to "solve" anything. That's not the point of the exercise.

    Instead they're getting a temporary dopamine jolt from a successful campaign of intimidation/legislation/moral posturing. I bent these people to my will. Congratulations.

    And that's why it's a never ending struggle. Each little biochemical thrill only lasts so long, then it's another search for the next pointless crusade.


  • But can you stand another example? As a retired computer geek, I found this interesting: Google Told Employees to Delete Politically Incorrect Language From Code.

    Google has instructed employees to stop using politically incorrect terminology, and to edit existing code in order to remove offensive language.

    That's according to The Daily Caller, which obtained a copy of a "respectful code" policy written by Google Senior Fellow Sanjay Ghemawat and Vice President of Engineering Suzanne Frey. The document was shared with employees a year ago—around the same time Python stopped referring to components that control or are controlled by other components as "master" and "slave," which some people found offensive.

    I will go out on a limb and claim that not a single person was actually offended. And—yay!—once the last master/slave reference is wiped out from code and support documentation, we'll still have unacceptable implications of dominance and submission.

    And (again) racism will not vanish. The only thing different: that little momentary dopamine jolt.


  • David Harsanyi has had some beefs with Tucker Carlson in the past but he points out: Tucker Carlson Is Absolutely Right About Rep. Ilhan Omar.

    Americans are constantly being lectured that good citizenship isn’t contingent on skin color, faith, or ethnicity, but a set of beliefs. Yet whenever anyone is critical of the ugly things someone like Ilhan Omar says, they are immediately battered for being xenophobes and racists. You can’t have it both ways.

    I mean, you can try. Nearly the entire contemporary progressive argument is girded by identity grievances. So when Fox News’s Tucker Carlson gives a monologue, in which he concludes that Omar was “living proof that the way we practice immigration has become dangerous to this country,” the reaction is predictable.

    As philosophical matter, though, Omar isn’t the kind of immigrant we should want.  That’s not because she is Muslim or black, but because she doesn’t believe in the traditional ideas that define American life. And she shouldn’t be immune from criticism merely because of her background.

    Unfortunately, there are too many born-here Americans that no longer buy the American ideals. What are you gonna do, deport them?


  • Just something that needs to be said, from the Competitive Enterprise Institute, spurred by the recent confab on "social media" held at the White House: Empowering Government to Regulate Speech Would Harm Americans' First Amendment Rights.

    “Issues surrounding social media and speech have become more contentious and complicated in recent years, and are worthy of presidential attention. However, it’s disappointing the White House is elevating voices that advocate for the use of government against private individuals and companies with whom they have political differences.

    “Empowering bureaucrats to police speech and fairness in any industry is a dangerous idea. Conservatives and free-market advocates should remember that not long ago the shoe was on the other foot and IRS employees weaponized regulation against political enemies. Inserting government into decisions properly left to the private sector doesn’t eliminate ‘bias’ or stop ‘censorship,’ as some claim. Only the government has the power to engage in censorship and asking it to intervene in questions about speech on social media could lead to severe curtailing of First Amendment rights under both President Trump and any future president.”

    CEI's observation applies equally as well to "campaign finance reform".


  • James Lileks is Remembering a WWII vet, an American orginal, a father.

    Ralph Lileks — father, husband, up-from-nothing businessman, veteran, sportsman, aviator and by-God American original, died at his home this week. I found his WWII cap on the seat of his Harley in the garage.

    Thank you for reading, and if you see a man with that hat, thank him, too. We owe them the world.

    Over the years I've been reading Lileks, his admiration and love for his father has been a recurring theme. I hope he'll take comfort from having his dad around for as long as he did.