Monday, July 17, 2017

Scattered Observations And Thoughts

     As the recently popular saying goes, some days it’s just not worth chewing through the restraints. When the rest of the world has gone stark, staring mad, the safest place one can be is inside the asylum.

1. Cruelty.

     “Where is Alia?” [Jessica] asked.
     “Out doing what any good Fremen child should be doing in such times,” Paul said. “She’s killing enemy wounded and marking their bodies for the water-recovery teams.”
     “You must understand that she does this out of kindness,” he said. “Isn’t it odd how we misunderstand the hidden unity of kindness and cruelty?”

     [Frank Herbert, Dune]

     On the subject of the recent “transgender” phenomenon, Peter “Datechguy” Ingemi deposeth and sayeth:

     For a long time I figured the best thing was to ignore this stuff, after all who wants to get involved in this idiocy when we have real life to deal with....But I’m thinking lately that letting these folks off easy was a mistake, it was not wrong, but cruel and uncharitable both to the person in question, but to ourselves and society.

     By letting this stuff go on, particularly in a universities and in our media without challenge we have been like the man who when dealing with a spurious claim doesn’t bother to show up in court and is shocked when he loses because he’s presented no evidence to contradict his foe’s weak case.

     Suddenly instead of ignoring the guy with the cocked hat and his hand in his breast you find yourself first ostracized and then punished if you don’t shout Vive L’Empereur whenever he passes by.

     We’re already being punished because of the “transgender” craze. The following scene from Love in the Time of Cinema is a fictional depiction of something that actually happened to a friend of mine:

     “Tim’s employer’s Human Resources department was run by a gaggle of vicious women—real ones, not ‘trans’—who’d already succeeded in enacting weird ‘sexual harassment’ rules and rules about how to treat persons of differing sexual orientations. You could get fired for daring to defy the company naturally the company’s vicious women and vindictive homosexuals used the rules like a club to subjugate or flat get rid of anyone they pleased.
     “Well, these insane HR harpies needed new worlds to conquer, so they decided to make ‘trans tolerance’ their next campaign. But they didn’t mean ‘show tolerance for the deluded.’ They meant to make differing with a delusional person—calling a ‘trans’ person by his birth name, or referring to him as ‘he’ when he claimed to be a ‘she’—a hangin’ offense.
     “They rewrote the personnel policies for the company for the umpteenth time. Corporate management gave in without a fight. The new policies included mandatory ‘sensitivity training’ seminars for the entire company. Until Tim was herded into one, he had no idea what was coming.
     “He sat through about twenty minutes of their harangue before he couldn’t take any more of it. He felt someone had to take a stand against the lunacy. And Tim being...well, Tim, he wasn’t going to wait for someone else to do it. So he stood up.
     “He told them their nonsense had gone far enough. He said the ‘trans’ types are obviously detached from reality. That they need therapy to help them accept themselves as they are, not reinforcement for their delusions. That we should treat the mentally ill with compassion but that it’s wrong to cooperate in their lunacy. And he said he wouldn’t bow to any rule, from HR or anyone else, that compelled him to think or speak or act otherwise. And he walked out.
     “His supervisor fired him immediately after the seminar. He didn’t have anything against Tim. In fact, he agreed with him. He just didn’t want to tangle with HR.”

     Given that gender dysphoria is a mental disorder, and given further that most persons who “transition” become terribly unhappy and that many of them live abbreviated lives, which is better? To be “kind” to the deluded one by supporting his delusion, or to be “cruel” by insisting that he’s the sex he was born and should strive to accept it?

     Cruelty, like its kissin’ cousin kindness, is a badly misunderstood thing.

     It is not cruel to point out to a man that he’s about to boogie his way off a precipice. It is not cruel to interrupt his ecstasy – to “harsh his mellow” – to save his life. Indeed, it is not cruel to cold-cock him if no other measure will prevent his self-destruction, even temporarily. If none of those measures suffice and he destroys himself anyway, then in speaking of him to those he left behind, it is not cruel to describe him as a blind fool of little use except as a warning to others, no matter how greatly he was loved.

     While there’s no good to be had from a governmental intervention on this subject, there’s great harm being done by acceding to the demand for uncritical and open-ended acceptance of it. But the same could be said for several other mental disorders, such as the one that leads so many persons to mutilate and disfigure themselves.

2. Dethrone The Social And Cultural Dictators!

     In a brief preface to his reposting of a Pat Buchanan piece, Dr. John Ray issues a one-sentence summary of the engine that powers much current misery:

     So the challenge now is to get the Left out of their role of dictating what is right and acceptable.

     That is so perfectly accurate that I couldn’t better it with any amount of effort...and it covers quite a lot of ground.

3. Another One-Sentence Wonder.

     This time, it issues from one of the “guilty parties” in Washington:

     The other day Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania explained why Republicans are having such trouble with health care. Speaking at a town hall during the July 4 recess, Toomey said, "I didn't expect Donald Trump to win. I think most of my colleagues didn't. So we didn't expect to be in this situation." [Emphasis added by FWP]

     Exactly. As Matthew Continetti continues on to note, not only didn’t the GOP’s legislative contingents not expect Trump to win, the majority of them didn’t want him to win and exerted themselves – usually subtly – to prevent it.

     Other commentators have noted the Republican Party’s preference for being in the minority. As time passes, it begins to seem that what the GOP’s strategists are angling for is nothing but “a permanent place at the trough” for its established figures, such that they can enjoy all the perquisites of high office without having to shoulder any of its responsibilities. A guaranteed minority position would allow them to “clamor like champions,” yet have none of the burdens of performance and accountability that go with power.

     I didn’t vote for that. Did you, Gentle Reader?

4. A Point Well Made Yet Glossed Over.

     You’ve probably already seen the following snippet from David Brooks:

     Recently I took a friend with only a high school degree to lunch. Insensitively, I led her into a gourmet sandwich shop. Suddenly I saw her face freeze up as she was confronted with sandwiches named “Padrino” and “Pomodoro” and ingredients like soppressata, capicollo and a striata baguette. I quickly asked her if she wanted to go somewhere else and she anxiously nodded yes and we ate Mexican.

     There’s an important point in there, coupled to a bit of self-recognition and self-analysis that far too few commentators would indulge. Alan Jacobs was alert to it:

     You learn a lot about people by noting what trivial things they obsess over, and today’s David Brooks column is a perfect example. Let me be really clear about this: people are freaking out about The Sandwich Bar Anecdote for one major reason, which is that they know the rest of the column is dead-on accurate and they’d prefer not to think about what it tells us about our social order.

     Rod Dreher has a contribution:

     A few years ago, an older working-class woman had done a special favor for me, and I wanted to show her my gratitude. I took her out to a restaurant that wasn’t fancy, exactly, but it was a definite cut above Chili’s. To me, this was my way of showing her my gratitude: to take her to a place that was out of the ordinary. At the table, I was distressed to see her obviously struggling to enjoy herself. She appeared anxious and uncomfortable, and I couldn’t figure out why.

     Later, her daughter told me that as grateful as her mother was for the invitation, she was a nervous wreck at the restaurant. Her mom saw unfamiliar words on the menu, and felt stupid. And she thought everybody in the restaurant was surely looking at her, and seeing that she didn’t belong.

     I’ve been there myself. I have “low tastes.” I like what many in the upper reaches of the Punditocracy would call “plebeian pleasures.” I have a very hard time enjoying the places and things persons of that sort deem important indicators of education and class. On the occasions when they’ve been imposed on me, my greatest desire was to escape...even though I could have given any of my “benefactors” cards and spades in any contest of intellect or erudition.

     It seems we’re back to cruelty and kindness again, but in reverse.

5. Rufus.

     Rufus the Newfus’s diagnosis has depressed the entirety of the Fortress of Crankitude. (Yes, that includes the cats.) He begins chemotherapy on Wednesday. We’re all nervous about it, but we’re grateful for the many emails of sympathy and support.

     Meanwhile, though, we “has a sad.” It will take some time to pass. Please bear with us.

     Until later.

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