Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Rich Lowry's Brilliant Excoriation of "Hashtag Heroism"

In his recent article at the New York Post, Rich Lowry gave Westerners a much-needed reminder that, while hashtag campaigns and the tri-colored filter on your Facebook profile pic may make you feel better, it's really not very useful beyond that.

From the article, referencing the #JeSuisCharlie hashtag fad from earlier this year:

After the slaughter at the offices of the satirical French magazine Charlie Hedbo earlier this year, it was “Je suis Charlie,” or “I am Charlie.”

It was a well-intentioned expression of solidarity, so long as you overlooked the absurd presumption of it.

You are Charlie? Oh, OK. Then draw a sketch of Muhammad and post it online. Better yet, do it over and over again, until you get constant threats and your office is firebombed, just as a warm-up.

No, you aren’t Charlie. (For that matter, Charlie isn’t even Charlie anymore — it’s given up on mocking Islam for understandable safety reasons.)

Last year, when the Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram kidnapped 200 schoolgirls, Twitter exploded with the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls. First lady Michelle Obama held up a sign with the phrase on it. If Boko Haram was shamed by its Twitter feed, it showed no signs of it. The only girls who were brought back escaped on their own. The Nigerian military has rescued other girls, armed with weapons considerably more powerful than a hashtag.


Spare me the #PrayforParis hashtag. Forgive me if I’m unmoved by lighting world landmarks up in red, white and blue, or your putting a tricolor filter on your Facebook profile picture. And please don’t tell me, in the words of the designer Jean Jullien, that “in all this horror there’s something positive that people are coming together in a sense of unity and peace.”

Nothing positive comes from innocents getting shot down in cold blood for the offense of going to a concert on a Friday night. It [sic] there aren’t going to be more — and worse — attacks in our cities, the path ahead won’t be one of unity and peace. It will be the hard, thankless work of protecting civilization from its enemies.

Lowry's piece couldn't be more necessary or timely, and I definitely suggest you give the whole thing a read here.

-- W. Sullivan

Saturday, August 15, 2015

White Mom Blogger Doing Her Part to Fabricate Fear of Racism and a Fear of Cops (They're Gonna Getcha!)

I happened upon an article on Yahoo! Parenting which struck a chord with me as a father.  "A Mom Called the Police on My 3-year-Old Son After a Playground Accident," the title read.

Sounds ridiculous, I thought.  Cops called on a three-year old, what nonsense!  So like a dope, I read beyond the Yahoo! tease, which includes this provided picture:

I'll spare the bulk of the details, because as I discovered, they really don't matter.  Long and short, the mother of the little girl whom the author's young boy accidentally knocked over while riding bikes decided to call the cops over the incident.

The other mom requested an ambulance for her daughter, and sought to press charges, presumably because the young ruffian was allowed to roam so indiscriminately.

The cops were as forceful as you might expect human beings to be in response to a three year-old boy accidentally knocking down a two year-old girl:
"Look," the other police officer tried to explain to the other mother,  "I can see him crying from here. It was an accident.  It's not like he did it on purpose.""
The little girl got a ride to the hospital in an ambulance. And to calm any concern you might have up to now, the young boy is fine, too, despite having been a bit shaken up by the incident.  He's "back on his scooter and hasn't mentioned the incident again," the author says.

And while that cop likely had a "You wouldn't believe these silly suburban moms today" story to tell his wife when he got home, the author, on the other hand, is traumatized.

She's still furious.  She's scared.  Her "black son just had his first police interaction at age 3."

And just like that, it became clear that this story wasn't about her son or that other mom at all.  They were just avenues to write a hip new #BlackLivesMatter article.

She goes on:
I'm glad the police were reasonable and straightened things out. Perhaps in this instance, it was best they were there to handle what was obviously a touchy situation.  In this instance.  This time.
Geez, she's not even trying to hide her contempt for cops.

"To be the mother of a black son," she continues, "is to be scared for them, constantly."

Being a parent is to be scared for your child, constantly.  Not a day goes by where I don't fear for my own children's lives, many times over.  It's part of the human condition, and mothers with black sons certainly don't have a monopoly on it.

I guess we can thank her for at least presenting these cops in a somewhat positive light, "in this instance."  But she's definitely worthy of derision for perpetuating the dangerous, and completely untrue, myth about bloodthirsty, racist cops being out to get poor, defenseless, and innocent black kids.

I don't expect that any facts will change author Emily McCombs' mind.  I wouldn't expect that any more than the facts of the Michael Brown case, having thoroughly destroyed the bullshit "Hands up, don't shoot!" narrative, could change the minds of other people so devoted the myth that they took the opportunity of the incident's anniversary to protest the epidemic of white, racist, murderous cops.

But I will say this, Emily.  If your young son is ever arrested by a cop, it will most likely be because he did something wrong.  So if you're really worried to death about him getting arrested, you should probably devote all your energies to teaching him to not do things that are wrong.

And if he grows up fearing the phantom specter of a cop that's out to get him at every turn because he's black, it will be your fault.  Not society's.  Not the cops'.  Yours, and yours alone.  Because you have the opportunity to teach him something different to help him become a better person.  And you will have squandered it in order to keep your fabricated worldview alive.

-- William Sullivan

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Christianity, Islam, and Insults

Last month, two gunmen opened fire at a “Draw Muhammad” cartoon contest in Garland, TX.  They were apparently driven to a murderous rage by the thought that the prophet, all powerful though he may be in the afterlife, might be offended by people drawing his picture.  Thankfully, their opposition to the First Amendment was answered by a devotee of the Second, as a traffic cop shuffled them off this mortal coil with a few well-placed bullets.

If you find drawing some silly cartoons a sad and stupid reason to be targeted for murder, join the club.  It got me thinking, though, about the context of all this.  And no amount of media spin can make the contrast between the contemporary followers of Islam and Christianity any less stark.

As a young Christian child circa 1992, I was first made aware of this stimulating piece of art:

That's a picture of Jesus Christ submerged in "artist" Andres Serrano's urine.  Believe it or not, I wasn’t taken aback by the fact that my mom and dad weren’t demanding the death of the guy who put the likeness of my Lord and Savior in a bowl of piss and called it art. 

This was, early on, a lesson in life: There are those who believe in things other than my beliefs, and even those who would ridicule my deepest convictions for fun. 

Then, and over the years, I’ve learned to laugh at it.  And why would I not?  They're sad little people, those who would insult me and my innocent choice to find faith in God -- the God of peace and love and tolerance for one's fellow man.

In my religious conviction, I never even considered that Andres Serrano should die for his insult, nor did I ever wish ill will toward anyone else who disagrees with my faith or would ridicule my personal beliefs in such a way.  Why?  Well, two reasons.  One: Because I am right, and they are wrong.  Plain and simple.  God will vindicate that choice, so I have no need to spur worldly recompense in His stead.  Two: My God's instruction doesn't entail directives to harm anyone who might disrespect His image.  Blasphemy is sin, but I am not the judge in that ethereal and prospective Court.

In hindsight and in consideration to those other faiths that require worldly justice for such insults?  I just count myself lucky that I'm not a savage, indoctrinated to commit hateful acts for such trivial nonsense. 

And the furor over a Muhammad cartoon is just that.  Trivial nonsense.  Look:

There are millions of Muslims who would kill over that innocent picture (which is the unveiled message that the image conveys).  Millions more would not kill, but would understand the impetus to kill over it.  

Would Jesus Christ truly care about Andres Serrano putting his likeness in a vat of urine, or the millions of people who celebrated it?  Or some unbeliever casting his likeness in ink?  Would my God have me murder someone else in His name for something so insignificant?

No.  And as for Muslims who would either commit violence or sit silent as their religious cohorts attempt murder over something so stupid as a Muhammad cartoon, well… they are threats to a pluralistic society and/or complicit fanatics which must be removed from our culture with which they and their beliefs are not compatible.

William Sullivan

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The University of Oklahoma Signifies the Death of Free Speech in American Universities, and Defines Its Newly Accepted Limits

As we all know, a video has surfaced showing students of the University of Oklahoma singing a racist chant.  They were members of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, and while on a bus carrying them to a formal fraternity function, the students were captured chanting “There’ll never be a ni**** SAE! You can hang him from a tree, but he will never sign with me.  There’ll never be a ni**** SAE!”  

The chant was undoubtedly racist, and insensitive to the shameful legacy of racial lynching in America.  Those involved are worthy of derision, and the community has resoundingly trumpeted its disapproval, as has the entire nation.

The question at hand, however, has never been about whether what the boys did was ethically reprehensible.  It clearly was.  The more pressing question that we must confront now is whether such an act is worthy of expulsion from a state-funded university, and what that means for the state of education in this country if it is.  And beyond that, we must consider whether freedom of speech is anything more than a mantelpiece in America which, though fondly remembered and often superficially revered, has become little more than an old, dusty concept in a culture which is bent on cultivating homogenized thought.   

At the University of Oklahoma, two of the students involved in the chanting were indeed expelled.  Most disturbing for me is not that such sentiments are uttered within such fringe environments as this.  Honestly, can anyone say that these boys would ever consider weaving a noose with the intent of hurting someone?  Yes, that's rhetorical, because it would be an entirely stupid suggestion which would recuse the accuser from any intellectual forum.  The real problem, however, is that so few Americans seem outraged at the frivolous decision to derail these youths’ lives over something as practically inconsequential as their offensive, yet presumptively protected free speech. 

University president David Boren announced a decision to expel the youths via Twitter, where he is cited as having said:

I have emphasized that I have zero tolerance for this kind of threatening racist behavior at the University of Oklahoma.  I hope that the entire nation will join us in having zero tolerance of such racism when it raises its ugly head in other situations around the country.  I am extremely proud of the reaction and response expressed by our entire university family – students, faculty, staff, and alumni about this incident.  They are “Real Sooners” who believe in mutual respect for all.   

Perhaps most troubling about Boren’s statement is that not only is he making explicit efforts to regulate the content of speech on his own campus, but he is imploring all other universities to follow suit.  

These boys are meant to be examples, make no mistake, and the punishment for their offensive utterances is being exacted without the courtesy of a show trial.  Boren and the university have cited no specific part of the conduct code that the students had violated to justify their decision.   After all, their words didn’t hurt anyone (aside from hurting some people’s feelings), nor did they explicitly threaten to physically harm anyone in particular.  Consider that members, and indeed the president, of the Muslim Student Association at UCLA have been caught leading chants of “Death to Israel! Death to the Jews!” with no such punishment as expulsion handed down by university administrators.  (Such events are commonplace, by the way, extensively documented by Daniel Greenfield here.)   By contrast, rhetorical salvos against SAE by OU officials and media sensationalism have yielded death threats against the fraternity’s members.

The message to other college students at OU and around the country is clear, however.  There are some things that you just can’t say, if what you say sufficiently offends others who share the views of your school’s administration.

David Boren’s statement overtly seeks to replace the notion of “freedom of speech” enumerated in our First Amendment and repeatedly upheld by our courts, supplanting it with “free speech which is subject to limitations determined by the state.”  The latter is fascism, not freedom.

Freedom is a messy thing.  But the purpose of learning, and ostensibly, our universities, should be to seek the truth amidst the clutter. 

In a letter to William Roscoe penned December 27th, 1820, Thomas Jefferson spoke of the purpose of the newly founded University of Virginia.  “The institution will be based on the illimitable freedom of the human mind,” he writes, “for here we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it.” 

This is the best way to achieve intellectual progress, not the suppression of thoughts contrary to perceived norms and a social status quo.   As Robby Soave at explains:

A school is exactly the kind of place where evil views should do battle with moral and logical views, and lose.  We have everything to gain by confronting racism head-on in an intellectual setting that a university purportedly provides, and a lot to lose by trampling students’ rights in a misguided rush to do the opposite.

In short, bad ideas are more consistently destroyed in an open marketplace of ideas, if one has any faith in humanity’s potential for reason.  But that reality ceases expression when our institutions of learning disavow the ambition to cultivate reasonable individuals in favor of becoming factories which produce fascists, blindly supportive of singular viewpoints. 

There is clear substance warranting litigation against OU, and the lines in this social battle are being drawn.  The SAE fraternity is reportedly preparing a lawsuit against the university, and OU has hired a former federal judge to investigate racism within the fraternity.  The PC thought police of the left are celebrating the university’s decision to expel these students and eagerly awaiting the coming witch hunt, while constitutionalists and libertarians are rightfully condemning both. 

This may seem a small and insignificant story, but in the trenches of cultural warfare, inches matter.  Instead of being allowed to go back to class, and hopefully educated as to why chanting racist songs about murder is wrong, the pillorying of these boys in the public square could go a long way toward further homogenizing thought in the state-sponsored indoctrination camps that we call universities.

William Sullivan is a frequent contributor to American Thinker.  He can be followed on Twitter.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Is Reading a Bill Is Too Much To Ask of Congress?

It's clear now that no one one on Capitol Hill knows the content of any big, pivotal bills put before Congress.  The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, aka Obama's stimulus?  The vast majority on the Hill couldn't have read it.  It was $787 billion in taxpayer money, passed in Obama's first year in office without any specificity about where each million or billion was going.  We later found that $90 billion went to green energy, subsidizing, among other bad investments, windfarms that hack thousands upon thousands of birds to death each year.  "Awesome, save the planet!" said the Eco-sensitive greenies.  The Affordable Care and Patient Protection Act, aka Obamacare?  Another $900 billion (by the very conservative projections) in federal spending. But everyone gets healthcare even if they don't wanna pay for it?  "Sweet!" said the single-payer morons.  "I want my mom to have to wait two years for an MRI like they do in Canada and the UK!"

Even when Republicans took control of Congress in a November election last year, the CRomnibus bill -- $1.1 trillion in federal spending -- was passed with Republican John Boehner simply promising us that "frankly, it's a good bill."

The legislative process nowadays seems to be something akin to me showing my five-year old son a copy of Moby Dick and having him say, "Whales are cool, that's a great idea, dad.  Let's go with that."  Then five minutes into it he recognizes that it's a slow and boring book, and he realizes that he had no idea what he got himself into.  But he's stuck with it, because if he doesn't sit and endure it, I'll take away his dinner and start him on lawn duty for the rest of his and his children's life.

That's what government does these days.  Take the latest Net Neutrality bill that passed through the halls of Congress.  It was passed under the guise of busting up the digital trusts, destroying the internet monopolies.  What exactly does the bill give the government the power to do?  Who knows?  No one read the bill in its entirety!  But now, here we sit, after the bill has been passed, reading commentary about all the implications inherent in the bill which gives government the kind of power to regulate the substantial commerce via the internet.

In our granting the government such power as taking out a credit card in our grandkids' name, or fundamentally changing our healthcare system, or regulating our intellectual consumption via the internet, wouldn't in make sense, Congress -- as our representatives -- to read the damn bill before it's passed?

William Sullivan

Monday, February 16, 2015

Netanyahu Urges Jews in Europe to Heed the Writing on the Wall

To begin, please allow an apology for the hiatus in delivering content in recent months.  We would like to first and foremost thank all readers for your continued support.


Jews have had reason for fear in Europe.  Disregard all the historical reasoning you've heard.  No, Jews have a reason for fear in the new, enlightened Europe, which has the benefit of seeing the horrific results of Nazi Germany's industrial eradication of Jews upon racial predication.

The new Europe seems more interested in atoning for supposed transgressions against Arabs than protecting its Jewish citizens from foreign denizens who would deny them an existence as a matter of religious impulse.

As told by the American criers:

"Mindful of the demographics and the strains of anti-Semitism in their country's past," the New York Times declared in 2003, "French officials are struggling to denounce anti-Semitism without fueling racism toward France's ethnic Arab-Muslim population."

I quoted this blurb in a piece I wrote for American Thinker, and I didn't quite catch the gravity of it.  I focused on how it's sickening that French officials had to "struggle" to denounce anti-Semitism.

No, the most sickening factor in this story, and every story ever since, is the notion that denouncing anti-Semitism might fuel more anti-Semitism amongst the French (particularly French-Arab) populace.

This is no revelation to the Jews living in France.  They'd committed to an Exodus long before my typing this piece.  European Jews have been long told, and shown, that they don't belong. 

"Jews with a conscience should leave Holland, where they and their children have no future, leave for the U.S or Israel."  Fritz Bolkenstein said that, a harrowing cry that, again Jews have heeded to some extent.

Now Benjamin Netanyahu tells Jews in Europe that they have a home in Israel.  "We are preparing and calling for the absorption of mass immigration from Europe."

Who stands with them beyond Benjamin Netanyahu, who garners more respect among thinking Americans than our own President?  Why should they not heed that call?

And how on Earth could we possibly not see the writing on this wall, and the conflict which will arise as a result of Europe's capitulation to anti-Semitic (Islamic or otherwise) sentiments?

William Sullvan