Category Archives: Culture

WALSH: The Four Terrible Things That Are Destroying Boys In Our Culture

Our culture is very bad for boys. It’s bad for girls, too. It’s bad for everyone. But I think we fail to recognize and appreciate the unique struggles that boys face. Partly we fail to recognize it because we are too busy worrying about the Patriarchy’s persecution of women. Partly we fail to recognize it because, collectively, we just don’t care that much about boys. Partly we fail to recognize it because men are not as likely to talk about their own plight. And partly a man will not talk about it because everyone, even his fellow men, will only laugh at him and downplay the problem.

Share

The Unhappy Liberal

…The Italian and American examples, meanwhile, are a reminder that even in liberalism’s Western heartlands, people want order and meaningful communion. They seek order, in the sense that they want to have a say in who gets to enjoy the privileges of citizenship. A chaotic immigration system is an offense against good order. They long for meaningful community, because community makes possible a common life and a shared vision of the common good. As the classically liberal French philosopher Pierre Manent told me last year, humanity-at-large cannot provide meaningful community because it is “too large and too diverse.”

These aren’t earthshaking ideas yet, among today’s liberals, they come across that way. Today’s liberalism is disoriented–and disorienting–because it no longer has a sense of its own limits.

Share

Two Op-Eds Draw a Stark Portrait of Left vs. Right

Last Friday, two op-eds, one in a leftist newspaper, one in a paper that leans right, drew the starkest possible portrait of the difference between our two political cultures.

On the left was The New York Times, a former newspaper, which now reads like a cross between Pravda and a cluster of six-year-old girls who have just seen a mouse. On the op-ed page I like to call Knucklehead Row, David Brooks delivered himself of the opinion that the left is winning the culture war. How?

By brute force.

Share

Draining beauty from art

Recent public debates about “cultural appropriation” are the latest signs that your favorite superhero franchise or cable miniseries might feel pressure to assert the identity of the porous and inessential addicted subject, and address its various and sundry political virtues.

The near-complete banishment of middlebrow culture from bookshelves, stages and screens, large and small, has created a vast chasm between low and high culture, but that gulf is being earnestly bridged. Rest assured that anyone who seriously contemplates the revolutionary potential of twerking to overthrow racial and heteronormative oppression won’t rest until the struggle has been carried to talk shows, cooking programs, children’s cartoons, zombie dramas, and the Marvel Universe.

Share

Guilt over Aboriginals can lead to teaching children untruths. It’s happening in Canada

What do Australia and Canada have in common? Both are modern multicultural societies borne of British roots. Both are heavily reliant on resources and trade. Both have a passion for globally obscure professional sports. Both are largely empty in the middle. It’s a long list.

Here’s another: both display the same worrisome tendency to misrepresent past wrongs done to Indigenous people in order to exaggerate present-day feelings of guilt and shame. In this case, however, Australia has a significant head start on its northern cousin.

Share

Tech Workers Feel Alienated by Silicon Valley ‘Echo Chamber’

Billionaire venture capitalist Peter Thiel has said he plans to leave Silicon Valley in part because of its perceived cultural uniformity. He isn’t the only one.

Several tech workers and entrepreneurs also have said they left or plan to leave the San Francisco Bay Area because they feel people there are resistant to different social values and political ideologies. Groupthink and homogeneity are making it a worse place to live and work, these workers said.

“I think the politics of San Francisco have gotten a little bit crazy,” said Tom McInerney, an angel investor who moved a decade ago to Los Angeles from the Bay Area.

“The Trump election was super polarizing and it definitely illustrated—and Peter [Thiel] said this—how out of touch Silicon Valley was,” said Mr. McInerney, who describes himself as fiscally conservative, but socially liberal.

Tim Ferriss, the tech investor and best-selling author of the “4 Hour Workweek,” moved to Austin, Texas, in December, after living in the Bay Area for 17 years, partly because he felt people there penalized anyone who didn’t conform to a hyper liberal credo.

People in Silicon Valley “openly lie to one another out of fear of losing their jobs or being publicly crucified,” said Mr. Ferriss in a recent discussion on Reddit.

 

Mr. Ferriss, who describes himself as socially liberal, said during the discussion that he found that Austin has a “a wonderful exploding scene of art, music, film, tech, food, and more,” adding that “the people are also—in general—much friendlier.”

Proponents of Silicon Valley point to its rich history as a hotbed of entrepreneurism teeming with new ideas, a region that has spawned some of the world’s biggest companies. Tech leaders have a unique brand of politics, they say, typically favoring globalization, free trade and immigration, while also generally supporting capitalism and opposing labor unions and government regulation.

“Nowhere but Silicon Valley is there as much of an intensity and variety of creation and development going on,” said Aydin Senkut, a startup investor at Felicis Ventures. “I think it’s up to you as an individual to not be limited to the echo chamber in Silicon Valley.” Mr. Senkut says he seeks out friends in art and other industries beyond tech, and his firm looks for investments outside of the Bay Area.

Preethi Kasireddy said she wasn’t surprised when she heard the news that Mr. Thiel is moving to Los Angeles from San Francisco. Ms. Kasireddy, a 27-year-old startup entrepreneur, said she made the same move last November because, like Mr. Thiel, she felt surrounded by people who shared identical beliefs, particularly about how to build a successful company.

Sometimes Silicon Valley venture-capital investors and startup founders “have a certain way of thinking, and if you don’t fit into that way of thinking you’re not in the cool club,” said Ms. Kasireddy, who declined to state her political beliefs but said they didn’t influence her decision to move. She also said she realized many of the resources she needed to build her next project—a blockchain startup—didn’t require her to be in Silicon Valley.

Apart from ideological issues, many are being driven away from the Bay Area by soaring housing costs and increasing traffic congestion, a 2016 survey by the Bay Area Council suggested. Of the 1,000 registered voters from the nine counties making up the Bay Area, 40% said they were considering leaving the region, citing the cost of living, traffic and a lack of availability of housing.

Still, there are signs that the political discussions pervading workplaces over the past two years have alienated a section of the workforce. According to a recent survey by Lincoln Network, an advocacy group for conservatives and libertarians in the tech sector, 31% of the 387 tech workers polled said they know someone who didn’t pursue or left a career in tech because they saw a conflict in viewpoints with their employer or colleagues. Among respondents who identified themselves as “very conservative,” that number was 59%.

Dan Hackney, a 31-year-old who describes his political views as adhering to Ayn Rand’s objectivist philosophy, said he left his job as a software engineer at Alphabet Inc.’s Google in January, after growing frustrated with what he saw as a lack of tolerance for conservative views at the company.

He said he was surprised when, shortly after Donald Trump was elected president in November 2016, the firm canceled a companywide product demonstration and instead held an all-hands meeting to talk about the results of the election.

Mr. Hackney said he doesn’t support Mr. Trump but he worried that Google’s co-founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who attended the meeting, were setting a tone that it was OK to exclude certain types of political views from the dialogue in the workplace.

“In that meeting it felt very much like, if you are a Trump supporter, you are out in the cold,” Mr. Hackney said.

He said he decided to look seriously for a job at another company after engineer James Damore was fired by Google after penning a memo that suggested men were better suited than women for certain tech jobs. Mr. Hackney said he felt afraid that he couldn’t express certain ideas without fear of punishment.

Google didn’t immediately respond to multiple requests for comment. Last week, the National Labor Relations Board said Google didn’t violate any laws by firing Mr. Damore.

Sahil Lavingia, one of the first employees of Pinterest Inc., said he left San Francisco last year because he felt like he wasn’t learning anything new in his interactions with other people in the tech industry, who mostly shared his political and social views.

“I would meet someone for coffee or dinner or drinks, and I felt like I was just having the same conversation over and over again,” said Mr. Lavingia, 25, a self-described liberal who founded the e-commerce company Gumroad Inc.

To find countering viewpoints, Mr. Lavingia said he relocated to Provo, Utah, where he has made an effort to become part of the largely conservative-voting city’s growing tech community, along with attending Mormon services every Sunday with his girlfriend and taking classes at Brigham Young University.

Share

When Will We Have the Guts to Link Fatherlessness to School Shootings?

Now that the gun control advocates have had their fifteen minutes of fame, let’s start focusing on the real issues impacting the rise in school shootings since that infamous day in Columbine in 1999. Issue number one that no one in the mainstream media or government wants to acknowledge: fatherlessness. Specifically, the impact of fatherlessness on the boys who grew up to become school shooters.

Share

The Jordan Peterson Phenomenon

When we had lunch together one afternoon a few months back, Canadian psychologist and university professor Jordan Peterson, who has risen to meteoric prominence for his courageous stand against political correctness and legally compelled speech, looked distressingly frail and was on a restricted diet prescribed by his physician. The ordeal the press and the University of Toronto’s administration, which had threatened to discipline him for his refusal to accede to legislation forcing the use of invented pronouns, had obviously taken its toll.

Share

New Scientist adopts the prophet’s mantle: End of days prophesied

Nostradamus (1503-1566) was way ahead of New Scientist.

Laura Spinney asks:

End of days: Is Western civilisation on the brink of collapse?: History tells us all cultures have their sell-by date. Do political strife, crippling inequality and climate change mean the West’s time is now up

Scientists, historians and politicians alike have begun to warn that Western culture is reaching a critical juncture. Cycles of inequality and resource use are heading for a tipping point that in many past civilisations precipitated political unrest, war and finally collapse. (paywall) More.

Aw, Laura, lose the sandwich board! The collapse of Western civilization has been prophesied throughout the twentieth century.

In fairness, now that arts faculties mainly teach victimhood and grievance instead of arts and letters, many educated people may not know that.*

They also wouldn’t know that in many civilizations inequality has always been considered the way things ought to be and violence has been a mere fact of everyday life.

The West was different because it envisioned a better way, though it doesn’t always work.

Resources? Resources are not a fixed thing. For millennia, most power was human and animal muscle. The advantage was, we didn’t need to know much in order to use them.

Steam, coal, oil, and nuclear power were all discovered as resources in recent centuries by people who applied scientific reasoning to nature. There is no reason to think, in principle, that inventions will stop now.

The disadvantages of a given resource tend to be most noticed when replacements are becoming available. For example, there is nothing like a market-viable hybrid electric car that can be charged overnight in the garage at low time-of-use rates to cause people to do more than gripe about the cost of gas.

Yes, there are serious problems as naturalism – not Western civilization – reaches an end stage. But what use would New Scientist be in sorting that out?

Here, we’d give Western civilization better odds than New Scientist, which got sold by Elsevier a while back to an “investment vehicle,” and is struggling like the rest of the pop science media with the tough demands of getting serious today.

* Then of course there is the toxic campus snowflake who thinks that Orwell’s Newspeak Dictionary is replacing Oxford. He’d better also know how to make good coffee… those are the grounds he’ll be depending on if the rest of us have any luck.

See also: New Scientist author supports Popular Science shutting down comments.

and

Can science survive long in a post-modern world? It’s not clear.

Share

The Great White War

There is no one I hate more than someone who tries to tell me whom I hate.

For a quarter-century now I’ve made it very clear that most of my hatred—and there’s quite a lot of it, I never run out—is intra-racial. While those who have a death grip on media and education would love to pretend that I sit around all day stewing about blacks, I find myself incapable of mustering nearly the sort of searing animus toward my Negroidal brethren that I consistently feel toward liberal white coastal elites, who have their heads planted so far up their own asses and are so drunk on the notion of their moral irreproachability that they can’t possibly conceive anyone would hate them, much less some lowly, foulmouthed plumber’s son who grew up in a brick row home and views white liberal pieties as shallow, self-serving extravagances that help no one but themselves—specifically, their self-image.

 

Share

The Crown raises questions about British monarchy

…But at some point between then and a recent interview with the Radio Times, Morgan began calling himself a royalist, explaining that Britons “believe in the Queen, now, at a time when it’s so hard to find people that you really believe in.”

It’s tempting to see this as a kind of Stockholm syndrome, where Morgan has spent too much time as a hostage to Elizabeth and her family, striving as a dramatist to discern their motivations and shape their story to his – and our – emotional satisfaction. They have elicited his sympathy, so much so that he blames the Queen’s subjects for adding to the burden of their roles. “We torment these people,” Morgan said. “But we’re the villains, because we don’t know what we want from them.”

Share

Cultural Liberalism’s Business Model Has Begun to Fall Apart

By now, practically every obituary for 2017 that can be written within the confines of conventional wisdom has been filed and placed in the ever-expanding library of hot takes. And as usual, most of those hot takes have to do with Donald Trump.

We are told, for example, that 2017 was a year where Trump ultimately triumphed, a year where he miserably failed, a year where he did both at once (?!!!) a year where he missed too many opportunities, and a year where he fulfilled many of his core campaign promises. And conversely, the fate of Trump’s political rivals, both Right and Left, has been debated endlessly. Those debates are worth having, even if by this point they’ve been done to death.

However, in all this discussion, a key question seems to have been overlooked, and that is the question of money. Who ends 2017 with their pockets flush, and who ends it pulling out their pockets looking for loose change? In this respect, I think the answer is obvious: 2017 is the year cultural liberalism – and its bastions in the United States – began to show noticeable financial strain: strain that will likely only get worse in the coming year.

Share

On the bogus “banned words” at Centers for Disease Control

From Guy Benson at Townhall:

Revealed: Bogus ‘Trump Banned Words at the CDC’ Story Was Rooted in Suggested Guidelines From Liberal Bureaucrats

If you’re just joining this flap, here’s a short recap: Late last week, it was reported that Trump administration officials at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) had sought to “ban” words they deemed to be controversial, including “transgender” and “fetus.” This sparked an immediate outcry, as Orwellian censorship rarely plays well with the American people. The Trump-hostile media were in full throat, pounding the table against this anti-science outrage. The original story (“forbidden words”) appeared in the Washington Post, then spread like wildfire.

Wildfire indeed, in a media world where no one bothers to check things out any longer.

The “banned” words were never banned, and were dreamed up as part of a list of suggested guidelines for budget documents by career (non-Trump-appointed) bureaucrats who were trying to avoid ‘triggering’ Congressional Republicans through the inclusion of those terms. So this entire freakout was based on comprehensively fake news — yet it’s virtually guaranteed that multiple days of dramatic news stories and breathless social media posts left a widespread and false impression on millions of news consumers. Many Americans do not trust the press for precisely this reason, and Trump-hostile journalists keep soiling their own reputations by reporting and repeating overwrought or totally inaccurate stories that happen to align with their pre-existing biases. More.

Reality check: Another Trumpmageddon gone kaflooey.  Doesn’t matter, bring on yet another one. The media meltdowns themselves will be taken as evidence that Trump must have done something wrong to upset these people so much.

Legacy mainstream media will do whatever they can to maintain a social power that they could not now remotely deserve. I’m predicting that they will start to sound even more unhinged and even less competent. Spectacular entertainment though.

See also: Journalists advised to pace themselves re fake Trump news

and

It’s not clear that ABC News’ dud Mike Flynn bombshell is a “mistake” exactly Media that have long since stopped trying to report the news as if they or their readers care much about facts will simply sacrifice the current goat (Brian Ross) and fetch up another one. Eventually, they must hope, one of these stories will click, bring down Trump, and pave the way for a post-media paradise where facts won’t matter and they can all be celebs and opinion leaders again.

Share