URLs du Jour



  • At a new-to-me site, UnHerd, John Gray notes the new movie Mr. Jones, and deems it A cautionary tale for today's 'woke' movement. The movie's eponymous hero, Gareth Jones, is an honest journalist reporting on the horrors of Stalinist Russia. (It's pretty grim by all accounts, but it's on my Netflix queue.) Jones stands in contrast to woke-for-the-era Walter Duranty of the New York Times. Some trivia:

    Born in 1884, Duranty had become a disciple of Aleister Crowley in 1913, joining with the self-appointed Satanist messiah in Paris in opium consumption and “sex magic”. Crowley’s motto was “Do as thou wilt shall be the whole of the law”, and Duranty seemed to have followed this immoralist maxim throughout all of his life. For the elite of Übermenschen — to which the British-born, Cambridge-educated journalist imagined he belonged — morality was a fetter to be cast off.  Anything was permitted, truth was a fiction and a superior few were entitled to live “beyond good and evil”. When Duranty described Bolshevism as a ruthless creed he may have been praising, not condemning it.

    Duranty’s career was based on this philosophy. Freedom from ethical restraint, he believed, guaranteed success. In the end, however, his philosophy failed him. After FDR’s death in April 1945 Duranty found himself neglected and forgotten: during the Cold War, his skills in white-washing Soviet totalitarianism were no longer in demand. Like Crowley, whose last words when he was dying in a Hastings boarding house in 1947 were reported to have been “I am perplexed,” Duranty seems to have been baffled by his fall from grace. He died practically penniless in Orlando, Florida ten years later.

    Duranty may have been penniless, but (hey) he was in Orlando, and lived to be 81.

    Gareth Jones, on the other hand, was kidnapped and murdered in China one day short of his 30th birthday, perhaps thanks to Stalin's NKVD.

    And today's eye candy is of Aleister Crowley, because I had his picture lying around.

    I recently reread Matt Welch's essay from last month. I blogged it at the time, but it's only gotten more pertinent and insightful over the past few weeks. It's a 9.8 on the Pun Salad RTWTmeter: Journalists Abandoning ‘Objectivity’ for ‘Moral Clarity’ Really Just Want To Call People Immoral. And it's a useful companion to Gray's article.

  • Jonah Goldberg takes to his syndicated gig to observe: This 'anti-racism education' sure looks awfully racist.

    We often hear that what this country needs is an honest conversation about race. Here’s a whole lot of “honesty” for you, from an unexpected place:

    Black people are less likely than white people to be self-reliant. Black people are less likely to emphasize “rational linear” and “quantitative” thinking. They are less likely to think that “hard work is the key to success.” They believe in punctuality less, and instant gratification more, than whites do. Black people aren’t as likely to believe in a Christian God and more inclined to be tolerant of pagan or polytheistic religions.

    Given that we are living in the age of cancel culture, I’d better explain what I’m doing lest anyone think I believe this nonsense.

    All of this stuff — the bigotry, the stereotypes and the outright falsehoods — isn’t my view. Nor did I get it from some white supremacist Web site. Nope, it comes from a graphic sourced and linked to by the ­National Museum of African-American History and Culture.

    The graphic has been taken down from the (Smithsonian) museum site. I've seen it alleged that it still maintains a link to the original academic site that contains the original, uh, claims. But I can't find that now.

  • Speaking of authoritative garbage, see Brian Patrick Eha at City Journal: The Media and the Virus. Looking at the World Health Organization (the WHO, not to be confused with Pete and Roger):

    On April 18, 40 days after Italy became the first Western country to go into lockdown to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, the director-general of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, found solace amid the worsening pandemic in the words of Jennifer Lopez. “What I know is how much we need each other,” he tweeted, attributing the words to the star of such pop hits as “Booty.” Then, not content with quoting (as Emerson would have it) “some saint or sage,” he imparted to his 1 million followers a few exhortations of his own. “No to hate,” he said. “No to stigma. No to divisions. Yes to unity. Yes to solidarity.”

    Anyone surprised by this rhetoric from Tedros (as he is known) hadn’t been paying attention. Stigma, especially, was the bête noire of the leader of the WHO, which for weeks in late 2019 and early 2020 was all but asleep at the wheel as the virus spread around the globe. More than once since the beginning of the outbreak in Wuhan, Tedros had taken it upon himself to admonish the masses not to disparage the Chinese. “It’s so painful to see the level of stigma we are observing,” he declared in early March. “Stigma, to be honest, is more dangerous than the virus itself.” Two months later, a quarter of a million people would be dead, though not of stigma.

    Eha is pretty damning about the WHO (and also the early media reports). Good supplementary (and surprising) reading at the American Council on Science and Health: Who Funds the WHO?.

    In an apparent tie, the chief funders are the UK, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, followed by Germany and the US. But there are a few other surprises on the list, including three members of Big Pharma, the National Philanthropic Trust (based in the US) and the Rotary. Japan and the EU, through their executive arm, the European Commission round out the countries making significant donations. Member states cover less than half of the WHOs expenses. 

    Bill and Melinda's money appears to go mainly toward polio eradication, a worthy goal.

  • And the Google LFOD News Alert brought us an article by Daniel Wagner at the pretentiously-named "International Policy Digest": Free to be Dumb and Complacent. Daniel's amusing tale of his failed attempt to convert an unbeliever in the Church of Maskitude:
    Not long ago I was in Whole Foods, in the produce section where foods are not packaged, and a perfectly healthy-looking woman in her 30s was the only one not wearing a mask. No one said a thing until I approached her and said she needed to wear a mask and that it had been the law in Connecticut since April. I was told to mind my own business. It is my business, of course, and everyone else’s business in that store, yet no one said or did a thing, as she continued to breathe all over the produce. I even went to store management and said something. They had to let her in because she said she had an underlying medical condition that prevented her from wearing a mask. It just so happens that the law in Connecticut allows for that exception, but no doctor’s note is required. That is just dumb. [Excerpt]

    Breathing! All over the produce! Without a doctor's note!

    But LFOD eventually shows up, because Daniel is a True Believer in MANDATORY, ENFORCED, NATIONWIDE, restrictions.

    America is capable of doing all this but the politicization of the virus and silly interpretations of what freedom of action means under the U.S. Constitution have prevented us from following their examples. Yes, you are free to take your own health and life into your own hands by being stupid and selfish, but you are not free to do the same with someone else’s health and life. And that is what the “live free or die” movement and conspiracy theory believers among us fail to acknowledge.

    I think Daniel's unhinged Karenism speaks for itself: This is much less about actual "health and life" issues than it is about meek submission to authority.