Recently in Society & Culture Category


This isn't rocket science: if you're the censor, you're the bad guy. If you're burning books, you're the bad guy. If you ban music and dancing, you're the bad guy. If you ban the former president, you're the bad guy.

Facebook removed an interview with former President Donald Trump conducted by his daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, from her Facebook page Tuesday night, citing content policy. ...

"In line with the block we placed on Donald Trump's Facebook and Instagram accounts, further content posted in the voice of Donald Trump will be removed and result in additional limitations on the accounts," the email read following a notice that the video had been removed.

The solution to bad speech is good speech, not banning. Banning never works.

Maybe part of the problem is that Trump's opponents aren't very appealing. Instead of improving themselves (which would benefit all Americans), they want to silence the opposition.

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But seriously, when you're this unpopular, what do you do?

Easy answer, guys: you cover it up.

Hit up your boys over at Google like brah, do me a solid here, I look like a bozo.

Well, certainly YouTube cannot make it so Joe Biden isn't a bozo.

But here's something they can do:

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Is YouTube hiding dislikes to help Joe Biden? Maybe the timing is a total coincidence. You be the judge.


I've written about class recently, and Astral Codex Ten has pulled together a bunch of class-related suggestions for the Republicans that are very intriguing.

Trump didn't win on a platform of capitalism and liberty and whatever. He won on a platform of being anti-establishment. But which establishment? Not rich people. Trump is rich, lots of his Cabinet picks were rich, practically the first thing he did was cut taxes on the rich. Some people thought that contradicted his anti-establishment message, but those people were wrong. Powerful people? Getting warmer, but Mike Pence is a powerful person and Trump wasn't against Mike Pence. Smart people? Now you're burning hot.

Trump stood against the upper class. He might define them as: people who live in nice apartments in Manhattan or SF or DC and laugh under their breath if anybody comes from Akron or Tampa. Who eat Thai food and Ethiopian food and anything fusion, think they would gain 200 lbs if they ever stepped in a McDonalds, and won't even speak the name Chick-Fil-A. Who usually go to Ivy League colleges, though Amherst or Berkeley is acceptable if absolutely necessary. Who conspicuously love Broadway (especially Hamilton), LGBT, education, "expertise", mass transit, and foreign anything. They conspicuously hate NASCAR, wrestling, football, "fast food", SUVs, FOX, guns, the South, evangelicals, and reality TV. Who would never get married before age 25 and have cutesy pins about how cats are better than children. Who get jobs in journalism, academia, government, consulting, or anything else with no time-card where you never have to use your hands. Who all have exactly the same political and aesthetic opinions on everything, and think the noblest and most important task imaginable is to gatekeep information in ways that force everyone else to share those opinions too.

The parties are realigning. It's political musical chairs, and some people who are used to sitting in thrones may get stuck with footstools. How can you tell who is most likely to be left without a good seat? Check who is angriest. Then assume that no matter what they say they're mad about, they're actually upset and frightened at the prospect of losing status and power.

Eamon Javers is right that the r/WallStreetBets and GME battle is the latest round of the class war. Just like Trump, GME is an effect not a cause of the ongoing disruption of America's class system.

Josh Holmes spent much of Wednesday in Washington watching the populist uprising over GameStop in the stock market with fascination - and a growing sense of familiarity.

He has seen this movie before.

Holmes, president of the issue management firm Cavalry, is best known as the former chief of staff to former Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. Holmes has spent his career among the Republican establishment, which has spent the past five years getting steamrolled by the populist force of Trumpism - a grassroots movement that stormed the ramparts of the GOP, ousted the establishment and remade the party in its image.

Almost no one in the party saw it coming. When it did, few of the establishment players understood just how vast the force was that suddenly lined up against them.

On Wednesday morning, as GameStop shares continued to surge, Holmes took to Twitter and typed out a simple message: "Wall Street, welcome to our world."

Trump didn't cause the political realignment he benefited from -- he was just willing to ride it faster and harder than anyone else. Trump was an effect. Similarly, the self-described "retards" and "smooth brains" at r/WallStreetBets didn't cause the resentment between hedge funds and retail investors. The GME squeeze is yet another manifestation of the class war.

The old coalitions were (broadly) centralization/populist Left and Democrat vs. liberty/elitist Right and Republican. If the realignment continues, the new coalitions will be liberty/populist Right and Republican vs. centralization/elitist Left and Democrat. Basically, the populists and elites are swapping sides. Of course each individual is more than a simple category, which is why so many people feel "politically homeless" right now.

The parties are also in flux because they aren't sure what combination of positions will yield a winning coalition. The Left seems to be exerting itself to enforce uniformity on its members, while the Right seems to be opening itself up to socially-liberal libertarians and populists. Who knows how this will shake out.


Nathanael Blake writes that America's problems are due in part to the millions of ghosts in the cradle that haunt us.

The corruption of abortion goes far beyond unpalatable political choices, however; making abortion-on-demand part of the culture changes the culture. Its evil effects are systemic, as well as individual, and they do not end with the violent killing of the unborn.

Our nation is haunted by what abortion does to the living. Trying to solve our problems by killing developing human beings makes us worse, individually and socially. If elective abortion seems necessary, it is because our sexual appetites exceed our willingness to care for the children who are the natural result of sex. Elective abortion is a violent form of birth control, which is used either instead of, or as a backup to, the proliferating array of modern contraceptives.

Abortion thus damages the fundamental relationships of our humanity, shattering the primeval union of mother, father, and child. Instead of the family solidarity that is foundational to human society, the begetting and bearing of new human life become a battleground of competing interests.

Pray for the unborn. Pray for America. Pray for mercy and not justice; justice would destroy us all.

The biggest companies in the world worked together to destroy President Trump and upstart free-speech platform Parler. You can love Trump, hate Trump, or be extremely conflicted about Trump, but you can't deny the fact that the richest, most powerful corporations in the world have claimed the right and power to decide who can speak and who can't. What's playing out is completely bizarre.

As Silicon Valley censorship radically escalated over the past several months -- banning pre-election reporting by The New York Post about the Biden family, denouncing and deleting multiple posts from the U.S. President and then terminating his access altogether, mass-removal of right-wing accounts -- so many people migrated to Parler that it was catapulted to the number one spot on the list of most-downloaded apps on the Apple Play Store, the sole and exclusive means which iPhone users have to download apps. "Overall, the app was the 10th most downloaded social media app in 2020 with 8.1 million new installs," reported TechCrunch.

It looked as if Parler had proven critics of Silicon Valley monopolistic power wrong. Their success showed that it was possible after all to create a new social media platform to compete with Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. And they did so by doing exactly what Silicon Valley defenders long insisted should be done: if you don't like the rules imposed by tech giants, go create your own platform with different rules.

But today, if you want to download, sign up for, or use Parler, you will be unable to do so. That is because three Silicon Valley monopolies -- Amazon, Google and Apple -- abruptly united to remove Parler from the internet, exactly at the moment when it became the most-downloaded app in the country.

If one were looking for evidence to demonstrate that these tech behemoths are, in fact, monopolies that engage in anti-competitive behavior in violation of antitrust laws, and will obliterate any attempt to compete with them in the marketplace, it would be difficult to imagine anything more compelling than how they just used their unconstrained power to utterly destroy a rising competitor.

Big Brother claims that Trump and Parler are inciting violence, but the truth is that the Capitol Hill riot was planned on Facebook and Twitter. (I condemn all political violence in America.)

The pretext for singling out Parler is that some people have posted threats there, which is a violation of Parler policy. There is no claim that the riot at the Capitol on January 6 was coordinated through Parler -- not even Apple, in its letter terminating services, made that claim. USA Today, citing other sources, gave examples of calls for violence prior to the Capitol Hill riot -- on Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, and a single video on Parler:
Violent rhetoric including threats against elected officials and police officers flooded all social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and Google's YouTube, not just online forums popular with extremists.....

On Facebook, pages and private and public groups urged civil war if Democrats were not arrested for election interference, alleged police officers were assisting "Antifa" and claimed "Antifa" members were impersonating "patriots" at the Capitol. A video encouraged protesters to bring pepper spray, tear gas, batons, tasers and knives.

A Facebook page called Red-State Secession shared addresses of "enemies" including members of Congress. One post urged people to prepare "to use force to defend civilization." Facebook removed the page Wednesday.

Even the president of anti-conservative Media Matters points to Facebook as the main organizing site:

Facebook had much bigger role in creating conditions that led to as well as organizing for January 6 event. We tracked people using FB to organize attendees to bring guns to the Jan 6 event. FB did nothing.

So why aren't Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Reddit being deplatformed? Why are they picking on Parler? [...]

So the claim that Parler represents some unique risk to safety is a lie. It's a lie driven by politics, exploiting the justifiable national outrage at the Capitol Hill riot to purge political rivals through unprecedended collusion among the internet oligopolies, furthered by isolation tactics to cut Parler off from legal and other services.

To top it off, Twitter just had the balls to write this.

twitter uganda.jpg

The response to Twitter has been widespread mockery, as it should be. Will the people behind this behavior come to realize that they've cast themselves as the villains?

leia grip.jpg

As Princess Leia told Grand Moff Tarkin right before the destruction of Alderaan: "The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers." Tarkin didn't care about public sentiment because he believed he could force submission through fear. He destroyed Parler Alderaan as a warning to any other uppity planets that might object to Imperial domination.

darth obiwan.jpg

While we're making Star Wars references, remember that Obi-Wan Kenobi told Darth Vader: "You can't win, Darth. If you strike me down I will become more powerful than you could possibly imagine."

Well... Gab has already brought Trump back from the dead.

Gab CEO completely backed up President Trump's Twitter account before it was deleted and recreated him on Gab! What's even more impressive is he did this while traffic was up 700% and under attack from leftists. Gab is currently having servers upgraded to handle the large influx in traffic but we're told it should stabilize soon.

Will he be more powerful than we can possibly imagine? (I hope not.)

The Left doesn't realize that it's reifying -- acting out -- making real -- bringing into existence -- an instance of the Hero's Journey, and they've cast Trump as the Hero (e.g., Simba) and themselves as the Tyrannical King (e.g., Scar). Note: I'm not saying Trump's a Hero -- the Left is putting him into that role. I'm not saying the Left is the Tyrannical King -- they're taking that role on themselves. I can only speculate why the Left is doing this, but it looks like a foolish plan.


An eternity ago, right after the election, Brian Riedl and Sean Trende made an important observation: the election polls were so far off that all public polling must be garbage.

Politicians rely on public polling for many of their decisions (right or wrong), and polls influence judges and bureaucrats also. If polls can't remotely predict the highest-profile election ever, why should we have any confidence that anything they say is accurate? This goes way beyond politics.


Said Judge Amy Coney Barrett in 2019. Erika Bachiochi writes about as a new feminist icon.

In recounting how she decided to go through with their second adoption, Barrett said: "What greater thing can you do than raise children? That's where you have your greatest impact on the world." And when a justice of the Supreme Court showcases this truth by her very life, this long-abandoned insight can finally begin to reemerge across our culture.

When greater numbers of us understand the cultural priority of caregiving, a movement will grow strong enough to challenge the dominant market mentality that disfavors family obligation for both women and men. Ginsburg's brand of feminism will give way to something new, a society in which we will no longer fight over abortion because it will have become irrelevant.

Barrett's feminism is inspiring to me as the primary earner of my family and as the father of four daughters.


Joel Kotkin is one of my favorite writers on city and class issues, and his "The Rebellion of America's New Underclass" is worth reading in full. I want to highlight one element that I think is critical for understanding the psychology and politics of the Millennial generation. Kotkin certainly makes this point in his essay, but I want to connect the dots in a different order than he does.

Near the end of his essay he calls out Millennials for not respecting America's founding principles:

Not surprisingly, then, Millennials tend to support massive government programs as a way to address social and economic problems by wide margins. A poll conducted by the Communism Memorial Foundation in 2016 found that 44% of American Millennials favored socialism while 14% chose fascism or Communism.

Perhaps because they no longer respect the basic founding principles, Millennials are also far more likely than their elders to accept limits on freedom of speech. Some 40% of Millennials, notes the Pew Research Center, favor suppressing speech deemed offensive to minorities--well above the 27% among Gen Xers, 24% among baby boomers, and only 12% among the oldest cohorts, many of whom remember the fascist and Communist regimes of the past.

Many people recognize this sentiment in the Millennial generation and attribute it to ungratefulness and poor character, but earlier in the essay Kotkin points to a remarkable fact:

America's economic regression is best understood in generational terms. About 90% of those born in 1940 grew up to earn higher incomes than their parents, according to researchers at the Equality of Opportunity Project. The same is true for only 50% of those born in the 1980s.

A Deloitte study projects that Millennials in the United States will hold barely 16% of the nation's wealth in 2030, when they will be the largest adult generation by far. Gen Xers, the preceding generation, will hold 31%, while Boomers, entering their eighties and nineties, will still control 45% of the nation's wealth.

The reason Millennials are angry is because America's promise of upward mobility has been broken. I was sure that George W. Bush would be America's last Baby Boomer president, but even now in 2016 no one but Boomers got close to the nomination for either party. The Boomers' grip on power is strangling their children and grandchildren.

Millennials are foolish to clamor for socialism, but can you blame them? They're badly educated and inarticulate -- again, thanks to political correctness foisted onto them by Boomers -- but their grievances are real.


Twitter's hateful conduct policy now forbids dehumanizing and hateful speech targeted at age groups. Presumably this includes unborn humans, who by virtue of their age are continually assaulted with dehumanizing and eliminationist rhetoric on Twitter.

You may not promote violence against or directly attack or threaten other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, caste, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or serious disease. We also do not allow accounts whose primary purpose is inciting harm towards others on the basis of these categories.

A quick survey reveals that there are innumerable Twitter accounts whose primary purpose is to advocate for the right to slaughter very young humans. This hateful conduct needs to stop.

We prohibit targeting individuals with repeated slurs, tropes or other content that intends to dehumanize, degrade or reinforce negative or harmful stereotypes about a protected category.

Tropes like "a fetus is just a clump of cells" are clearly and intentionally dehumanizing towards unborn babies.

Note: individuals do not need to be a member of a specific protected category for us to take action. We will never ask people to prove or disprove membership in any protected category and we will not investigate this information.

You don't need to be an unborn baby to take action. Even if you are not a member of the category you can still stand up for the dignity of the unborn.


I thought the Babylon Bee was supposed to be satire? "Increasingly Secular Nation Replaces Outdated Religious Ideas With End Times Prophecies, Moral Judgments":

U.S.--The increasingly secular nation has replaced its outdated religious ideas with more advanced, enlightened ideas, like telling you what behavior is immoral and predicting when the world is going to end.

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has just predicted that the world will end in 12 years if you do not give the government more power over your life. Leftists across the country agreed this is a big improvement on outlandish religious claims that the world will end and you will be judged for your sin one day soon.


I thought the Babylon Bee was supposed to be satire? "Increasingly Secular Nation Replaces Outdated Religious Ideas With End Times Prophecies, Moral Judgments":

U.S.--The increasingly secular nation has replaced its outdated religious ideas with more advanced, enlightened ideas, like telling you what behavior is immoral and predicting when the world is going to end.

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has just predicted that the world will end in 12 years if you do not give the government more power over your life. Leftists across the country agreed this is a big improvement on outlandish religious claims that the world will end and you will be judged for your sin one day soon.


I'm on the phone for work every day, but apparently telephone calls died in 2007. I don't miss phone calls at all -- I never answer a call from an unknown number, and when I do have to call someone I generally feel bad for interrupting them. Texting has numerous advantages, not least of which is that it's less disruptive because it's asynchronous.

The phone call always was an invasive form of communication, so perhaps we shouldn't be surprised that as soon as a plausible substitute presented itself we grabbed it. What was the very first phone call, on March 10, 1876, if not an urgent human demand? "Mr. Watson," said Alexander Graham Bell, "come here--I want to see you." That Thomas Watson, situated in the next room, would comply was a given, because Bell was his employer. For the next hundred years, phones continued to boss people around. A loudly ringing telephone demanded its owner's immediate attention because you never knew who it might be. It could be the president! Or news that you'd inherited $1 million from a relative you'd never heard of! Or (God forbid) your teenager wrecked the car and was in the hospital! Octogenarians still tend to respond to a ringing landline with terrific urgency, risking hip fracture as they lunge to answer it. ...

The telephone's rule was absolute until the mid-1980s, when the rising popularity of answering machines and caller ID began to undermine it. Baby boomers wielded these tools against their telephones like a lion tamer's whip. If it was important, the caller could leave a message just as if they weren't there, a deception their World War II generation parents could never countenance. The advent around the same time of call waiting similarly made human agency a deciding factor in whether you were available to talk. Sometime around 2010, my then-teenage daughter was trying to call a friend. Something's wrong, she said. This phone has gone berserk. She handed it to me. I listened, then explained patiently what a busy signal was. She'd never heard one before.


In an utter disgrace for our justice system, pro-life activists David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt have been found guilty and will be punished for their work uncovering Planned Parenthood's business of selling dismembered baby parts.

A jury in San Francisco district court has found pro-life activists David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud, breach of contract, and trespass and violation of state and federal recording laws. Daleiden, Merritt, and their Center for Medical Progress obtained undercover footage of abortion-industry workers, including from Planned Parenthood, discussing arrangements to illegally profit from the fetal body parts of aborted babies.

One can easily imagine the outcry if undercover activists were similarly punished for exposing, say, the routine mistreatment of animals.

The videos -- the first of which CMP released in the summer of 2015 -- showed all sorts of horrifying things. Planned Parenthood medical directors haggling over prices for fetal body parts over a lunch of salad and wine, another joking about upping the cost for certain organs so she could afford a Lamborghini. Abortionists admitting to altering late-term abortion procedures (which is illegal) in order to improve their odds of obtaining intact, and thus more valuable, fetal body parts. Industry workers conceding they had contracts to sell fetal tissue and describing in graphic detail their efforts to conduct post-viability abortions without violating the ban on partial-birth abortion. A former clinic worker saying she had been tasked with harvesting organs from an infant whose heart was still beating.

Pray for an end to abortion.

Genesis 4:9-10

Then the Lord said to Cain, "Where is your brother Abel?"

"I don't know," he replied. "Am I my brother's keeper?"

The Lord said, "What have you done? Listen! Your brother's blood cries out to me from the ground.


Climate activists are advancing an argument that is incoherent for a leftist: we have to save the climate for the benefit of future generations -- future generations we are free to kill in the womb if we so choose.

Can a court find that the government's climate policies have violated the constitutional rights of "future generations" when, to legalize abortion, our courts already have explicitly denied that unborn human beings possess those rights at all?

Consider, too, that most climate activists are concerned with what they call an overpopulation crisis, suggesting that people ought to have fewer children to conserve environmental resources. Some even say that abortion might be a necessary means of curbing population growth: Asked about overpopulation and "climate catastrophe" at last month's climate-change town hall, Vermont senator Bernie Sanders said the U.S. ought to provide funding for abortion and contraception "in poor countries." His comment was hardly the first time someone has suggested such a policy.

Once again, we are faced with the incoherence of the modern progressive movement, which advocates both more stringent climate regulations for the sake of the children and the unlimited right to abortion throughout pregnancy, both consideration for the rights of future generations and a willingness to kill the unborn to enable a cleaner future.

If unborn children have no rights, then what rights can rationally be had by "future generations" whose members haven't even been conceived yet? This incoherence illustrates the fundamental logical failing of group-based morality. You can't claim that a group has rights as a whole while denying the same exact rights to individuals of the group.


Just because a few dozen scientists in 2006 decreed that Pluto isn't a planet doesn't make it so.

Saturday 24 August 2019 marked a vexing anniversary for planetary scientists. It was 13 years to the day that Pluto's official definition changed - what was once numbered among the planets of the Solar System was now but a humble dwarf planet.

But not everyone agreed with the International Astronomical Union's ruling - and now NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine has added his voice to the chorus declaring support for Pluto's membership in the Solar System Planet Club.

"Just so you know, in my view, Pluto is a planet," he said during a tour of the Aerospace Engineering Sciences Building at the University of Colorado Boulder.

Scientists classify things in all sorts of ways for many different purposes -- and maybe it's useful to think of Pluto as a "dwarf planet" for some purposes. That's fine. But our planets are more than scientific curiosities, they're cultural, civilizational, and species-ational icons with tremendous legacy and substance. No small group of humans has the power or authority to strip Pluto of it's iconic status or dictate to humanity what label we must use for it.


The experiences of Facebook moderators show just how harmful the company is to our society.

Early on, Speagle came across a video of two women in North Carolina encouraging toddlers to smoke marijuana, and helped to notify the authorities. (Moderator tools have a mechanism for escalating issues to law enforcement, and the women were eventually convicted of misdemeanor child abuse.) To Speagle's knowledge, though, the crimes he saw every day never resulted in legal action being taken against the perpetrators. The work came to feel pointless, never more so than when he had to watch footage of a murder or child pornography case that he had already removed from Facebook.

In June 2018, a month into his job, Facebook began seeing a rash of videos that purportedly depicted organs being harvested from children. (It did not.) So many graphic videos were reported that they could not be contained in Speagle's queue.

"I was getting the brunt of it, but it was leaking into everything else," Speagle said. "It was mass panic. All the SMEs had to rush in there and try to help people. They were freaking out -- they couldn't handle it. People were crying, breaking down, throwing up. It was like one of those horror movies. Nobody's prepared to see a little girl have her organs taken out while she's still alive and screaming." Moderators were told they had to watch at least 15 to 30 seconds of each video.

It doesn't seem to me that these problems can be solved. In the process of removing this vile content, Facebook simultaneously censors protected speech: politics, religion, satire, and more.

"I really wanted to make a difference," Speagle told me of his time working for Facebook. "I thought this would be the ultimate difference-making thing. Because it's Facebook. But there's no difference being made."

I asked him what he thought needed to change.

"I think Facebook needs to shut down," he said.


Ann Althouse is right that you can't criticize Trump without understanding his humor.

What I'd say is: Those who want to do anti-Trump humor need to understand that Trump himself is a comedian. I'm not saying Trump is just a clown, and it's crazy that we made a clown President. I'm saying, whatever his worth as human being carrying out the duties of the presidency, he is also a comic talent, with many humorous insights, great timing, and -- like the greatest comedians -- he's challenging us to see what's funny and what's serious as he mixes it up and causes anxiety that we can relieve if we climb out of the ocean of confusion and onto the island of laughter.

You don't have to like any given comedian, and a comedian who wields tremendous political power is going to fail to amuse most people. In fact, whatever your politics, you're not going to be a very funny comedian if you just think of the President as a wonderful humorist and laugh at his jokes. But you should understand the way in which he means to be funny and project yourself into the minds of the many people who do respond to his humor. You should do this, not because he deserves respect, but because it's the foundation for writing better humor yourself.

Trump's supporters understand and appreciate his humor, not least because finally they are not the butts of presidential jokes.


With all the sexual harassment and assault accusations flying around these days (and worse) it makes sense to ask: what the heck is wrong with the cultures/industries that have tolerated such behavior? Sure, the men are horrible, but it seems like there were also plenty of women who enabled the men (for example, Harvey Weinstein's assistants).

The woman, who was in her early 30s when she was employed at the Weinstein Company, echoed the complaints of others who have worked for the disgraced producer, alleging that his staff was forced to do demeaning and humiliating tasks to facilitate and cover up his philandering. Many, including her, she claimed, didn't suspect they were enabling sexual assault or rape.

"He had manipulated everyone in his path with that one purpose, and that was for sex," she said. "It's awful. I should have walked out. I should have said something."

During the entire course of my life I have never found myself in a position where I've encountered systemic sexual harassment or assault, so I've never had to make a choice about hiding it or revealing it. (I'm not omniscient, so I don't claim to know everything that has happened in all of my work/social circles.)

The sheer volume of accusations coming out of Hollywood and Washington, DC, is astounding to me, and the volume suggests that these cultures are systemically flawed. I don't believe this kind of systemic sexual behavior is the "normal" experience for most Americans.

Maybe the "Pence rule" is looking pretty good?

Hey, remember that one time the left and basically everyone in mainstream media threw an utter conniption fit when Mike Pence said he makes it a point not to share private meals or meetings with women when his wife is not present? ...

The vice president understands that as a man in a position of power, he is vulnerable to rumor, misinterpreted intentions and flat out lies. One way to protect oneself from those things is to always make sure a third party is present in any meeting. In addition, as we have seen with the revelations from the last few weeks of the horrific (and even criminal) sexual misconduct of some of the most powerful men in America, power has a tendency to corrupt and leave one vulnerable to the temptation to wield that power. By choosing to not let the opportunity get a even a toe in the door, Pence is recognizing that no man is above making bad choices and he's doing everything in his power to avoid the trappings of his station.

Only in 2017 America can that be seen as character flaw.

Update:

Look at these revelations from the TED Talks non-profit! It isn't "merely" young, naive, vulnerable women being harassed (as if that weren't bad enough).

At least five people, including a past main stage speaker, told TED officials that they were harassed or groped during the organization's flagship conference in Vancouver in April, according to interviews and email correspondence seen by The Washington Post.

The nonprofit's general counsel Nishat Ruiter said in an April email to TED's senior leadership that she, too, had been "touched inappropriately but let it go." She added she was finding it difficult to believe the issue was being "addressed by TED effectively. We are clearly not doing enough." [...]

The Post reviewed email exchanges among senior TED officials at the time of the April conference, sparked by a complaint by a long-time attendee, who complained of sexual harassment and being offered "every drug known to man." The problem was so bad that the woman decided to pack her bags and leave, telling Anderson that it would be her last TED conference.

TED speakers are prominent people, and they're getting secretly groped? Someone inappropriately touched TED's top lawyer? How can creeps feel safe enough to behave this way? What the heck is wrong with these people?


Kurt Schlichter argues that tribalism breeds tribalism in a vicious cycle that is and will be bad for America. It is sad and worrisome to see tribalism growing on the Right in response to the Left's tribalism, but I don't really see how to de-escalate the situation. Tribalism seems to be a stable equilibrium in most of the world, so maybe we're doomed to it.

Now, the old rule for us conservatives was that businesses could do pretty much whatever they pleased, with minimal regulation, if they focused on maximizing profit and thereby rained benefits down upon society in the form of wealth and job creation. It was a good system, but, like all systems, to get benefits you have to meet certain obligations. For businesses, one obligation was to generally stay out of the cultural and political octagon. ...

See, what leftists do not get is that principles are part of systems. Principles do not stand alone; they are nested within a system and together they make it function smoothly. Our system isn't some cultural cafeteria where you load up your plate with the principles you like and hard pass on the principles you don't. If you decide you don't want to play your part in the system, you shouldn't be shocked when the other participants make the same decision. "Free enterprise" means "enterprise generally free of government control," and it's stunning that the Silicon Valley people we hear are so smart don't foresee that when their "enterprise" morphs into a partisan political campaign the people on the other side of the spectrum are going to leverage their own political power in response.


So writes Larry Elder, detailing three brilliant men who should be an inspiration to every American. The writings of Clarence Thomas and Thomas Sowell in particular have had a big influence on my thinking.

Clarence Thomas, one of nine members of the Supreme Court and the second black to ever join the Court, is not in the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. Asked to explain Thomas' absence, the chief spokeswoman for the Smithsonian said, "The museum's exhibitions are based on themes, not individuals."

Yet the museum plans to add a popular local D.C. television news broadcaster. ...

As for Sowell, he's only an economist and writer whom playwright David Mamet once called "our greatest contemporary philosopher." Sowell, who never knew his father, was raised by a great-aunt and her two grown daughters. They lived in Harlem, where he was the first in his family to make it past the sixth grade. He left home at 17, served as a Marine in the Korean War, graduated magna cum laude from Harvard, earned a master's degree at Columbia University the next year, followed by a Ph.D. in economics at the University of Chicago.

Sowell, at 87, authored some four dozen books (not counting revised editions) and wrote hundreds of scholarly articles and essays in periodicals and thousands of newspaper columns. In 2015, Forbes magazine said: "It's a scandal that economist Thomas Sowell has not been awarded the Nobel Prize. No one alive has turned out so many insightful, richly researched books." Yet, thanks in part to the Ebony shutout, many blacks have never heard of him.

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