Category Archives: Culture Wars

Black Panther: we need to liberate culture from politics

Wakanda is ours now. We do with it as we please.’ That’s not a line from Black Panther, Ryan Coogler’s fab new Marvel flick – perhaps uttered by the film’s villain, Killmonger (Michael B Jordan), the Malcolm X-esque exile from the fictional Afrofuturist nation of Wakanda, who seeks to retake it from its more pragmatic king, T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman). It’s from the New York Times, America’s newspaper of record, in an article in which the author, rhapsodising about the comic-book adaptation, completely blurs the line between fiction and reality.

He’s not the only one. The discussion of Black Panther has been ecstatic to the point of being a bit odd.

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Joe McCarthy and Lillian Hellman: The Hated Patriot vs. the Beloved Commie

Over half a century after the “Red Scare,” playwright and memoirist Lillian Hellman, whose name is often coupled with her adversary Senator Joe McCarthy, seems to have emerged relatively unscathed in the court of elite progressivist opinion despite the exposure of her manifold fabrications and deceptions. The liar, it appears, is the incarnation of a higher truth. Such is the power of the press and the cultural salience of left-wing attitudes in America.

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“A Glitch in the Matrix” – Jordan Peterson, the Intellectual Dark Web & the Mainstream Media

By now readers will probably be aware of the Jordan Peterson/Cathy Newman Ch4 interview that went viral.

There have been many post mortems about this event but A Glitch in the Matrix in my opinion, is one of the best. This is because it is a kind of cri de coeur from a young man who admits he identifies as a liberal but whose interactions with Peterson have caused him to start asking questions. For David Fuller and others the Ch4 interview was:

…a glitch in the matrix where the limitations of the old operating system are laid bare and something new pokes through.

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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.

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Iceland law to outlaw male circumcision sparks row over religious freedom

Iceland is poised to become the first European country to outlaw male circumcision amid signs that the ritual common to both Judaism and Islam may be a new battleground over religious freedom.

A bill currently before the Icelandic parliament proposes a penalty of up to six years in prison for anyone carrying out a circumcision other than for medical reasons. Critics say the move, which has sparked alarm among religious leaders across Europe, would make life for Jews and Muslims in Iceland unsustainable.

One in three men globally is thought to be circumcised, the vast majority for religious or cultural reasons. Many Jews and Muslims fear the issue of circumcision could become a proxy for antisemitism and Islamophobia, pointing to similar tensions over religious dress and the ritual slaughter of animals for meat.

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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.

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We need to talk about class – why class cluelessness is hurting American politics

When you leave the two thirds of Americans without college degrees out of your vision of the good life, they notice.’

This is the stern warning Joan C Williams issues in her new book White Working Class: Overcoming Class Cluelessness in America. Coming from someone like Williams, a ‘silver-spoon girl, born and bred’, and now, as a law professor at the University of California, a fully signed-up member of what she calls the professional-managerial elite (PME) (albeit alongside a working-class husband), this is not a call to blue-collar arms. It is, rather, an appeal to America’s upper classes to forgo their ‘class callousness’ and understand those outside their elite bubble. Because, as it stands, too many members of America’s upper echelons mistake their snobbery for sophistication, from sneering at Starbucks drinkers to demeaning the democratic choices of the white working class.

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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.

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Counterfeit Elitism

Those damn dairy farmers. Why do they insist on trying to govern? Or, put another way:

Why are Republicans trusting Devin Nunes to be their oracle of truth!? A former dairy farmer who House intel staffers refer to as Secret Agent Man because he has no idea what’s going on.

Thus spoke MSNBC panelist, Yale graduate, former Republican “strategist,” and Bush administration speechwriter Elise Jordan.

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There’s A Newfound Hatred Of Silicon Valley

For quite a long time, Silicon Valley was the angelic, do-no-wrong industry, adamantly supported by people on the left end of the political spectrum, presumably due to the tech companies’ enormous economic contributions to society, but also more likely because their respective leaders often espouse like-minded ideals.

Now, as the corporations’ individual and collective power perpetually grows to almost unprecedented levels, so too does liberals’ dislike for Silicon Valley.

Link fixed

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Muscular conservatism is what we need to counter this cultural destruction

The chief of Ofsted, Amanda Spielman, has called for ‘muscular liberalism’ to promote tolerance and diversity. Tolerance is one of four modern ‘British Values’ identified for the Prevent strategy that was forced upon schools in 2014. It is ill-defined, however, in reality meaning whatever the ruling Leftist establishment wants it to mean.

In the sixties and seventies it meant abortion on demand, easy divorce, and free love. In the nineties it meant the implementation of speech codes and political correctness. In the noughties it meant rapid mass immigration and the creation of punishments for ‘Islamophobia’. In 2013 it meant accepting same sex marriage or else being punished for ‘homophobia’.

Today it means accepting transgender propaganda in primary schools which tells children they are not boys or girls, before encouraging girls to have their young bodies pumped full of testosterone if they say they want to be a boy, or allowing boys to have oestrogen injections and surgically removing their reproductive organs on demand. Anyone not accepting this edict from the Ministry of Love is guilty of ‘transphobia’.

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A very subtle snobbery

The novelist Nancy Mitford used to refer to lower orders as ‘milk in firsts’. And she wasn’t alone. Putting the milk into a cup before adding the tea was seen by many in 19th- and early 20th-century Britain as a marker of social status. As the butler in Upstairs, Downstairs, a 1970s TV period drama set at the turn of the 20th century, put it: ‘Those of us downstairs put the milk in first, while those upstairs put the milk in last.’ But why was this the case? How did such a seemingly innocuous act acquire such a powerful social meaning? Because, as Elizabeth Currid-Halkett, a professor in public planning at USC Price, explains in The Sum of Small Things: A Theory of the Aspirational Class, many people at the time could only afford cheap china cups, which would crack if they came into contact with hot water. So, to avoid this, they would put the milk in first. Those at the upper end of the social scale, however, could afford better quality china that wouldn’t fissure at the merest hint of hot water. And so, to put the milk in the cup first became a sign of one’s social status, a cultural expression of one’s economic standing.

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Real Americans vs. Our Effete Elites

America was founded to be free and democratic — unlike England with its monarchy and rigid class system. While classes will always be with us, only in America is class mobility possible and likely. Over our two-hundred and forty-two years, millions of people have become successful because they were not bound to the economic plight to which they might have been born. Americans do not care about the state of one’s birth. They revere hard work, invention, imagination, and success. Success, to most Americans does not necessarily connote great wealth. In this country it means having a work ethic, work that one is good at, satisfaction in that work, providing for one’s family and the contentment, a form of wealth to be sure, that derives from all of the above.

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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.

 

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