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What I Learned

from Shirley Sharrod:

The word racist is losing its sting. Racism used to be such a horrible thing to call someone, but since Obama became President it has been over-used by the left to describe anybody who disagrees with Progressive politics. It doesn’t seem as evil a word as it used to be, that is very sad.

…Damn, those lefty “reporters” really hate Andrew Breitbart. They couldn’t wait to pounce on him for this story despite the fact that they couldn’t have read his post that well. Do they hate him for his politics or because he does their job much better than they do? I pick both.

I did a radio interview on a Fargo station a couple hours ago (yes at 5:10 AM PDT) on my PJM piece, and have another one scheduled on the Martha Zoller show at 8:20 this morning (11:20 Eastern, in Gainesville, GA). We do seem to need a new word to describe the concept of thinking that someone else is inferior because they have a different hue to their skin, because the leftists have removed all useful meaning from the word “racism.”

[Update a few minutes later]

This week in racism.

[Update a while later]

What Sharrod’s speech wasn’t about — racial transcendence:

Pardon me, but I think I’ll stay off the Canonize Shirley bandwagon. To me, it seems like she’s still got plenty of racial baggage. What we’re seeing is not transcendence but transference. That’s why the NAACP crowd reacted so enthusiastically throughout her speech.

Yes, there does seem to be overshoot the other way. She’s certainly no saint, particularly given her slander of Fox News.

An Obituary

To Norman Macrae:

Norman’s early experiences did not just sour him to politicians. They soured him to collectivism in all its many varieties. He had no time for the government-worshipping intellectuals he found when he studied economics at Cambridge in 1945-47. He loathed the feminists and black-power activists he came across in America in the late 1960s and 1970s, smelling in their affection for group rights and their willingness to use intimidation the same intolerance he had smelt in Europe in the 1930s and 1940s. He took his children on trips to eastern Europe in order to teach them the difference between freedom and tyranny. He seldom missed an opportunity to champion the “hard hats” over the “soft heads”.

Norman’s case for market capitalism did not rest merely on its ability to create wealth, but on its capacity to advance individual freedom. He was almost as critical of big-company capitalism as he was of big-government socialism. In a 1976 survey on “The coming entrepreneurial revolution” he argued that big business was as doomed as big government. Hierarchical managers sitting in their skyscrapers could no longer arrange how brain workers should best use their imaginations. The future lay with small firms that could exploit individual creativity and with bigger firms that could split themselves into small centres and encourage competition between them.

Norman’s critique of the welfare state was inspired by a similar belief in individualism. He pointed out that the market had produced a remarkable equalisation in people’s lives. Rich and poor had access to the same consumer goods—the same television programmes, the same comfortable armchairs, the same plethora of goods in supermarkets, which were spreading from the suburbs to the slums. In 1945 the average Englishman had only one pair of trousers; in the swinging 1960s he had access not only to lots of pairs of (tight) trousers but also to holidays in the sun and cheap mortgages.

I think that The Economist has gone downhill considerably since he left it.

Their Finest Hour

While it’s the seventieth anniversary of the fall of France, it’s also the seventieth (related) anniversary of one of (if not the best) Churchill’s finest speeches:

What General Weygand called the Battle of France is over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization. Upon it depends our own British life, and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this Island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, “This was their finest hour.”

Sadly, it may have been. It’s certainly been downhill since the end of the war.