Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Drive-By News Reaction: Charlotte

No, I didn't watch the debate Monday night; I had to work. Scanning the transcript reveals, however, that I didn't miss much. Besides, as a classical liberal/constitutional conservative/federalist/I'm not sure what, I don't have a dog in this fight anyway.

You said it, Chandler.

I do, however, have a stake in what happens to our society as a whole -- which is one reason why reports like the following from the Charlotte Observer strike a nerve:

Trucker to 911 as looters close in: "They are coming this way... hundreds of them."

That there are people out there condoning this mode of "protest" chills me to my very core. How does robbing a long-haul trucker just trying to do his job help the black community? How does blocking major thoroughfares and throwing rocks at cars accomplish anything?

These people are terrorists, pure and simple. Their behavior shouldn't be excused or explained away; it should be prosecuted. Then, perhaps, actual law-abiding citizens can talk and hash out some real fixes for our widespread social decay and the accompanying corruption of our institutions.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Weekend Photo Journal: The Rappahannock Farm Tour & Historic Occoquan

Because this is the season for fairs, farm tours, and trips to Mt. Washington (among other things), I will be devoting the next few Mondays to photo blogs of my weekend adventures. Up today? Some more pictures of my soon-to-be home in Rappahannock County, VA, and some additional shots of an attraction that's a bit closer to my current abode. Click below for more!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Taking a Short Break

I've been struggling with my schedule lately, so I'm going to take a week off to relax a bit and catch up. See you next Monday!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

In Honor of Constitution Day...

... here's a link to the Constitution itself:

From the National Archives: The Constitution of the United States

Here's a link to the Federalist Papers:

From the US Congress: The Federalist Papers

And just because I'm feeling cheeky, here's a link to some Anti-Federalist arguments:

The Anti-Federalist Papers

Every American citizen should know this history. Unfortunately, many do not -- including prominent politicians who are currently running for office!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Quick Thoughts

So "cultural appropriation" is in the news again...

... thanks to literary fiction writer Lionel Shriver, who caused a ruckus over a speech she recently delivered at the Brisbane Writers Festival that politely - but firmly - criticized the rhetoric of the regressive left. I for one applaud Shriver for her audacity and agree 100% with her remarks. "Cultural appropriation" - like many concepts born of "social justice" zealotry - takes a tiny germ of truth and then seeks to push its applications to the very edges of absurdity. It obviously behooves us to treat other cultures - including subcultures within our own society - with respect. But "respect" means we should work hard to be accurate and fair; it does not mean we should wall these cultures off from all outside curiosity. Indeed, to attempt to accomplish the latter is outrageously counter-productive. First, in suggesting that these cultures cannot withstand the outsider's explorations, SJZ's are implicitly suggesting that these cultures are inferior to ours. After all, nobody is seriously arguing that, say, Lin-Manuel Miranda has damaged white American culture by embracing Alexander Hamilton and transforming him into a hip-hop icon (and, in my view, a deserving Broadway sensation). So let's think about this: Do we really believe that white American culture is uniquely robust while every other culture is exquisitely fragile? Secondly, Americans of European extraction are still the majority demographic in the United States; how, then, will minority cultures ever become visible and clothed in dignity if white folks aren't permitted to enjoy aspects of those cultures in their own pursuits? Racial harmony and human solidarity come from empathy, and empathy comes from stepping into the shoes of the Other -- and from no other source.

Meanwhile, regarding the presidential campaign...

... Hillary Clinton has been having a rough week. Personally, as a person with a debilitating autoimmune disease who still manages to nail her job, I think it's a little weird that we're obsessing over Clinton's health and not over her manifest corruption in other matters. Clinton is - despite all tongue-and-cheek speculations to the contrary - a human being, and human beings get sick. On the other hand, the Clinton campaign royally deserves mockery for the cagey way in which it's handled the whole health question. Just be honest, okay? For Christ's sake, it's not like the US president has to be able to drop everything and run a marathon!

It was also not a smart move to claim that a significant chunk of Trump's supporters belongs in a "basket of deplorables". I'm no Trump fan, but I still think this characterization of the Trump camp is slanderously inaccurate. Sure: Trump does attract alt-right provocateurs, and some of those are objectively racist white nationalists. But I think Trump has also attracted frustrated working-class whites who are looking for someone - anyone - to pay attention to their problems and give them a voice -- not to mention a lot of vocally reluctant supporters who just fear Clinton more. I encourage everyone - but especially out-of-touch urban elites - to sit in fly-over America for a spell and actually listen to the people who live there before throwing out careless judgments. Oh, and also? First cast the beam out of thine own eye, Ms. Clinton. The left has its own problems with "deplorables"; clear out your own house and we will clear out ours.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Never Forget

15 years ago, I was fresh out of college and working as a research assistant at Johns Hopkins. Then this happened -- and I woke up.

Saturday, September 10, 2016