• Pragerisms

    For a more comprehensive list of Pragerisms visit
    Dennis Prager Wisdom.

    • "The left is far more interested in gaining power than in creating wealth."
    • "Without wisdom, goodness is worthless."
    • "I prefer clarity to agreement."
    • "First tell the truth, then state your opinion."
    • "Being on the Left means never having to say you're sorry."
    • "If you don't fight evil, you fight gobal warming."
    • "There are things that are so dumb, you have to learn them."
  • Liberalism’s Seven Deadly Sins

    • Sexism
    • Intolerance
    • Xenophobia
    • Racism
    • Islamophobia
    • Bigotry
    • Homophobia

    A liberal need only accuse you of one of the above in order to end all discussion and excuse himself from further elucidation of his position.

  • Glenn’s Reading List for Die-Hard Pragerites

    • Bolton, John - Surrender is not an Option
    • Bruce, Tammy - The Thought Police; The New American Revolution; The Death of Right and Wrong
    • Charen, Mona - DoGooders:How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help
    • Coulter, Ann - If Democrats Had Any Brains, They'd Be Republicans; Slander
    • Dalrymple, Theodore - In Praise of Prejudice; Our Culture, What's Left of It
    • Doyle, William - Inside the Oval Office
    • Elder, Larry - Stupid Black Men: How to Play the Race Card--and Lose
    • Frankl, Victor - Man's Search for Meaning
    • Flynn, Daniel - Intellectual Morons
    • Fund, John - Stealing Elections
    • Friedman, George - America's Secret War
    • Goldberg, Bernard - Bias; Arrogance
    • Goldberg, Jonah - Liberal Fascism
    • Herson, James - Tales from the Left Coast
    • Horowitz, David - Left Illusions; The Professors
    • Klein, Edward - The Truth about Hillary
    • Mnookin, Seth - Hard News: Twenty-one Brutal Months at The New York Times and How They Changed the American Media
    • Morris, Dick - Because He Could; Rewriting History
    • O'Beirne, Kate - Women Who Make the World Worse
    • Olson, Barbara - The Final Days: The Last, Desperate Abuses of Power by the Clinton White House
    • O'Neill, John - Unfit For Command
    • Piereson, James - Camelot and the Cultural Revolution: How the Assassination of John F. Kennedy Shattered American Liberalism
    • Prager, Dennis - Think A Second Time
    • Sharansky, Natan - The Case for Democracy
    • Stein, Ben - Can America Survive? The Rage of the Left, the Truth, and What to Do About It
    • Steyn, Mark - America Alone
    • Stephanopolous, George - All Too Human
    • Thomas, Clarence - My Grandfather's Son
    • Timmerman, Kenneth - Shadow Warriors
    • Williams, Juan - Enough: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements, and Culture of Failure That Are Undermining Black America--and What We Can Do About It
    • Wright, Lawrence - The Looming Tower

Something is Rotten in the State of Minnesota!!!

MN GOP: Sent by Mark Waldeland:

“Four years ago President Trump did not target Minnesota and came within 1.5 points and won 78 of our 87 counties. Now, as we look back on November 3rd, we are seeing numbers in both the Presidential and United States Senate race that are unusual.

“President Trump has amassed significant totals of raw votes in strong Trump counties, but we are seeing those gains drowned out by even larger gains from counties that have been shifting away from Democrats since 2008, such as St. Louis County in Northern Minnesota’s “Iron Range” and also the suburban/exurban counties of: Wright, Carver, Scott, Sherburne and Anoka.

“Democrats saw declining vote totals in two consecutive Presidential elections in Wright County, including a -14.8% decline in 2016, then in 2020 there was a sudden surge twice as large for Biden with 52.1% growth. Anoka County decreased -14.8% in 2016 and surged as well to 33.6% new Democrat votes for Biden in 2020. Carver County saw a 43.1% increase in votes for Biden in 2020 versus a 3.7% growth in 2016 and a .4% growth in 2012 for the Democratic candidate for President.

Are All of Our Today’s Dems Fascists Only to Fool the Poor?

BY JOHN HINDERAKER  at PowerLine:

SHUTDOWN BLUES [UPDATED]

Today the latest shutdown order by Governor Tim Walz took effect in Minnesota. COVID cases have been rising across the Upper Midwest, so our “emergency” continues. This time, the shutdown applies to restaurants, bars, gyms and youth sports.

Of course, that COVID cases are rising is no mystery, even apart from the fact that vastly expanded testing naturally generates more cases. COVID is a seasonal flu bug. When it declined during the Summer in Northern states, it wasn’t because shutdowns and mask mandates were working. It was because the weather got hot. It was entirely predictable that the disease, like any seasonal flu, would come back strongly when the weather got colder, and it has. Minnesota’s current shutdown is to last 30 days, but it almost certain to stay in effect well beyond next month, likely until a combination of warm weather and a vaccine brings about a steep reduction in COVID infections.

The current shutdown has several noteworthy features. First is the fact that it does not apply to retail establishments. Last Spring, Governor Walz decreed that small businesses must close down while big businesses (Target, Costco, Walmart, Home Depot, Total Wine) remained open. As a result, thousands of small businesses were devastated, and many went bankrupt. The Walz administration has now stated that retail establishments are not a source of COVID spread. So, sorry about that, small businesspeople. And one wonders: what was the scientific basis for the retail shutdown last Spring? Obviously, there wasn’t one.

Second, there is no significant empirical basis for the current restaurant and bar shutdown, either. My colleague John Phelan points out that the Minnesota Department of Health’s own numbers indicate that restaurants and bars account for only 1.7% of the cases diagnosed since June 10.

In fact, these numbers are largely meaningless since the state admits that the source of something like 69% of cases is unknown. But from any perspective, there is no reason to single out restaurants and bars for closure.

The case is even worse with respect to gyms, which have been associated with fewer than 1/2 of 1% of cases. On Wednesday, the founder of LifeTime Fitness, the largest chain of fitness centers in this area, sent an email to members objecting to the contemplated closure of gyms. He pointed out the infinitesimal number of COVID infections that have been traced to gyms, and argued:

Health clubs are NOT the problem, THEY ARE THE SOLUTION to maintaining public health. They are, in fact, the safest environments people may visit as compared with other forms of retail, entertainment, or any other place, at this time.

He also urged LifeTime’s many thousands of members to contact the governor and other officials to protest the gym closure order.

This was the context in which, as Scott noted earlier today, Governor Walz said, “It’s not about numbers. It’s not about data. It’s about neighborliness.” That must be one of the stupidest utterances by any public official in history. But it’s nice to know that data have nothing to do with Minnesota’s draconian shutdown orders.

Third, it is noteworthy that Indian-owned gambling casinos are not being closed down:

I can’t imagine on what basis gambling casinos can be distinguished from bars and restaurants. Well, no, on second thought I can. The Indian tribes are among the largest donors to the DFL party. [See Update below.]

Fourth, high school and youth sports are also being shut down. This actually isn’t surprising, since the schools are pretty much all closed down already, and you can’t play football or basketball via Zoom. But the manner in which America’s youth are being sacrificed, as the least efficient possible method of protecting elderly people in nursing homes, isn’t just a scandal, it is a sin. Once again, this has nothing to do with “science.” See, for example, the recent Swedish study that found “that closing schools does practically nothing to save lives or stop the spread of Covid.” Rather, it has much to do with the political power of the teachers’ unions.

One wonders when citizens will rise up in rebellion against the proto-fascist regimes of self-appointed dictators like Tim Walz, particularly now that they have abandoned any pretense of empirical or scientific support for their arbitrary and capricious infringements on our freedoms.

Is there a silver lining? I suppose it could be worse. We could be like Australia, for instance:

And here I always thought that Australians were freedom-loving people. Evidently not.

UPDATE: My son, who knows a lot about this topic because of his involvement in professional boxing, points out that Indian casinos are on sovereign land over which the State of Minnesota lacks jurisdiction, so that Governor Walz could not have included them in his latest shutdown order. That is an excellent point.

But it is not the end of the story. Minnesota’s government collaborates with the tribes in many ways, and to my knowledge, there have been no reports of any efforts to persuade the tribes to go along with the supposedly life-saving measures that the state’s government has implemented, i.e., shutting down restaurants and bars.

Further, the Walz administration has never been a respecter of jurisdictional boundaries. Thus, it has complained endlessly about the Sturgis, South Dakota, motorcycle rally, and has gone so far as to imply that the Sturgis rally is responsible for the failure of the Walz administration’s anti-COVID measures. If the Sturgis rally, 400 miles from Minnesota, could frustrate the governor’s schemes, so could the Indian casinos, which are located just outside the Twin Cities metro area and are open 365 days a year, not for just a few days like the Sturgis rally. But you will not hear a single word from the governor, urging Minnesotans to stay away from these popular, non-compliant venues, located just a few miles away. I don’t think that fact is coincidental.

FIRST THINGS:

THE FURY OF THE FATHERLESS

by Mary Eberstadt ..December 2020… ARTICLE SENT BY MARK WALDELAND.

The Trump administration’s recent designation of several American cities as “anarchic jurisdictions” may turn out to have been nothing more than a quixotic gambit in the supercharged run-up to November 3. But the fact that it was thinkable in the first place points to a truth beyond electoral politics: The frenzy that has been enacted in city after American city since May 2020 demands more scrutiny than it has yet received.

It is true that most protests have been peaceful. It is also true that the exceptions—marked by violence and biliousness and unreason and, well, anarchy—have been far more common than many people have understood, at least until recently. As of late September, a USA TODAY/Ipsos poll reports that two-thirds of respondents believe that “protesters and counterprotesters are overwhelming American cities.” The majority is on to something.

According to the first thorough examination of the street protests triggered by the death of George Floyd, undertaken by Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project in conjunction with the Bridging Divides Initiative at Princeton, more than 10,600 incidents of what is benignly called “unrest” were recorded between May 24 and August 22. Of these, some 570 involved violence. Of those, most have involved Black Lives Matter activists. Preliminary insurance estimates show that the damage will surpass the $1.2 billion in damages accrued during the 1992 Rodney King riots. And then there are the atmospherics that separate these protests from many that have gone before: lusty screaming, ecstatic vandalism, the menacing of bystanders.

The ritualistic exhibition of destructive behaviors in city after city is without precedent in America. Neither the civil rights demonstrations nor the protests against the war in Vietnam looked remotely like this. The differences demand explanation. Blame what you will on the usual bête noirs: ­Donald Trump, cancel culture, police brutality, political tribalism, the coronavirus pandemic, far-right militias, BLM, antifa. All these factors feed the “­demand” side of the protests and rioting, the ­reasons for the ritualistic enactment. But what about the “supply” side—the ready and apparently inexhaustible ranks of demonstrators themselves? What explains them?

The answer cannot be “racism.” The spectacle of often-white protesters screaming at sometimes-black policemen undercuts anything dreamed of by Critical Race Theory. So do the actual statistics concerning cop-on-black crime. So do public attitudes. In 2017, according to Pew Research, 52 percent of respondents said that race “doesn’t make much difference” in marriage, and another 39 percent said that interracial marriage is “a good thing.” When 91 percent of the public shrugs at or applauds interracial marriage, it is absurd to speak of a spectral racism that permanently and irredeemably poisons society.

So, here’s a new theory: The explosive events of 2020 are but the latest eruption along a fault line running through our already unstable lives. That eruption exposes the threefold crisis of filial attachment that has beset the Western world for more than half a century. Deprived of father, Father, and patria, a critical mass of humanity has become socially dysfunctional on a scale not seen before.THIS IS THE FIRST OF YOUR THREE FREE ARTICLES FOR THE MONTH.READ WITHOUT LIMITS.

This is especially true of the young. The frantic flight to collective political identities has primordial, not transient, origins. The riots are, at least in part, a visible consequence of the largely invisible crisis of Western paternity. We know this to be true, in more ways than one.

First, a syllogism: The riots amount to social dysfunction on parade. Six decades of social science have established that the most efficient way to increase dysfunction is to increase fatherlessness. And this the United States has done, for two generations now. Almost one in four children today grows up without a father in the home. For African Americans, it is some 65 percent of children.

Some people, mainly on the left, think there’s nothing to see here. They’re wrong. The vast majority of incarcerated juveniles have grown up in fatherless homes. Teen and other mass murderers almost invariably have filial rupture in their biographies. Absent fathers predict higher rates of truancy, psychiatric problems, criminality, promiscuity, drug use, rape, domestic violence, and other less-than-optimal outcomes.

Here’s another pertinent, albeit socially radioactive fact: Fatherlessness leads to a search for father substitutes. And some of these daddy placeholders turn out to be toxic.

The murder rates in inner cities, for example, are irreducibly familial phenomena. That’s because the murder problem is largely a gang problem, and the gang problem is largely a daddy problem. As the Minnesota Psychological Association put it in a study published in August:

A high percentage of gang members come from father-absent homes . . . possibly resulting from a need for a sense of belonging. Gaining that sense of belonging is an important element for all individuals. Through gangs, youth find a sense of community and acceptance. In addition, the gang leader may fill the role of father, often leading members to model their behaviors after that individual. . . . Having a father in the child’s life greatly reduces the likelihood of a child joining a gang . . .

Second, the language of BLM itself suggests that daddy issues are an ingredient in the political mix that has exploded in cities across the country. Before it was removed in late September, one section of the BLM website declared: “We disrupt the Western-­prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and ‘villages’ that collectively care for one another, especially our children, to the degree that mothers, parents, and children are comfortable.”

Note the missing noun: fathers. It is as if fathers—as distinct from “parents”—had ceased to exist. And indeed, for at least some of the people drawn to BLM’s ideology, fathers have ceased to exist. In this sense, BLM is a direct heir of the founding document of identity politics, the Cohambee River Collective Statement put forward by black feminists in 1977. That manifesto spoke of women and children only—never of fathers, brothers, or sons.

What does it tell us that these seminal declarations of identity politics are shot through with “the presence of the absence” of fathers? At minimum, the politics of identity are not operating in isolation from the disappearance of paternal authority.

Third, the biographies of at least some of today’s race-minded trailblazers suggest a connection between fatherlessness and identity politics. The author of the bestseller White Fragility was a child of divorce at age two. The author of the bestseller So You Want to Talk About Race reports that her father left the family and broke off contact, also when she was two. The author of another bestseller, Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race, was raised by a single mother. The author of another hot race book, The Anti-Racist: How to Start the Conversation About Race and Take Action, was raised by his grandmother. Colin Kaepernick’s biological father left his mother before he was born, but he was then adopted and raised by a white family. James Baldwin, a major inspiration for today’s new racialist writers, grew up with an abusive stepfather; his mother left his biological father before he was born. The list could go on.

So what? A skeptic might say. Maybe family breakup is just part of many peoples’ kitchen wallpaper by now. True. But it may also be motivating the formation of identitarian political groups that operate as functioning families do, by providing protection and community—just as family breakup in the inner city lures many fatherless kids to gangs.

Biographies on the alt-right and far-right offer similar suggestive evidence. The founder of the white nationalist group Identity Evropa is a child of divorce. The neo-Nazi who founded the alt-right media network The Right Stuff is a child of divorce. George Lincoln Rockwell, founder of the American Nazi Party, was a child of divorce. Timothy McVeigh, the poster boy and prototype for today’s violent far-right aspirants, was a child of divorce who was raised largely by his father. This list, too, could go on. An Atlantic profile of neo-Nazi Andrew Anglin concluded: “Like so many emotionally damaged young men, [he] had chosen to be someone, or something, bigger than himself on the Internet, something ferocious to cover up the frailty he couldn’t abide in himself.” Exactly.

Consider a fourth proof that AWOL fathers have something to do with this summer’s social crackup: Portland.

The city that has been ground zero of nonstop protests and riots for months now is not just any American town. For more than thirty years, abandoned children and runaways have been a unique part of the city’s culture. And, for thirty years, documentaries and other reports on these lost children have abounded. It was Portland’s permissive approach to runaways that created the nation’s best-known subculture of “teen hobos,” “teen homeless,” and “street teens.” In Portland, the link between dysfunctional kids and absent authority figures has been clear for a long time now. As one researcher summarized: “The inability to emotionally connect with parents is a thread of commonality linking the narrative of street kids and travelers in Portland.”

Lacking family ties, Portland’s feral children have bonded since the 1980s in “street families,” complete with “street moms” and “street dads.” Some of the most grotesque crimes in the city’s history have ensued thanks to “laws” about “family” loyalty—including last year, when a group of three boys from such a “family” shot and killed a man as he was collecting cans, then took his car on a joyride. “Street families” are an especially toxic variant of the current voguish phrase, “chosen families.” Street families are like gangs: poor and desperate substitutes for the real thing, called into being by the absence of the real thing.

In the violent Neverland that is a part of downtown Portland, the lived connection between social breakdown and family breakdown has been inescapable since long before the death of George Floyd.

But the story of the long, hot summer of 2020 is much more complex than the subplot concerning missing dads. More and more Americans, especially young Americans, have suffered not one but several ruptured connections to authority and community simultaneously.

That fact explains why even the young who do come from intact homes are affected to some degree by the crisis of Western paternity. The institutions that once anchored teenagers and young adults in paternal authority are in free fall. Their concomitant collapses generate a social anxiety that is contagious. This dynamic renders the occasional spectacle of well-off protesters from unbroken homes smashing people’s property more intelligible than it appears at first. The saying “People, not property” inadvertently points to what ails young America most: a people deficit.

Christianity, to name one institution that has connected Americans to other generations and one another, began a stark decline around 1963. That decline has accelerated with particular speed among the young. In 2019, 44 percent of Americans aged eighteen to twenty-nine were “nones.” “None of the above” is now the fastest-growing religious subset in the United States.

There is evidence that the loosening of family ties and the loosening of religious ties are linked—­especially among practitioners of identity politics. A 2016 study of white nationalists by the University of Virginia’s Family Policies Institute turned up at least two suggestive findings. One was that subjects were much more likely to be divorced than to be married or never married. Once again, family rupture and extremist identity politics appear to be related.

The same study also confirmed that those drawn to white nationalism are unlikely to attend church (indeed, most white nationalists fervently oppose both Christianity and Judaism). Thus, religious rupture and extremist identity politics also appear to be related. The same seems true of BLM, which as a Marxist movement would oppose Christianity in principle. It seems unlikely that antifa members are tithing or spending Sunday mornings with a hymnal, either. Identitarian bands seem to function as “street families” for the soul.

If fatherlessness and secularization are two aspects of the decline of the paternal principle, there remains a third: attachment to country. Here, too, ­Millennials and Gen Z stand out. For many years, the decline of American patriotism among the young has been charted in surveys. Gallup reports a fifty-year decline in Americans’ trust in both political and non-political institutions (the military, the police, organized religion, the media). A headline last year summarized the point: “Poll: Patriotism, Religion, Kids Lower Priorities for Younger Americans.”

Plainly, weakened bonds in one phase are not an isolated phenomenon; they encourage weaker bonds elsewhere. Filial piety, perhaps, is like a muscle that is strengthened by different forms of exercise.

We are only beginning to understand how filial ­piety operates, such that loss of patriotism, loss of faith, and loss of family each seem to encourage breakdown in the other parts of the triad. In his groundbreaking 1999 book, Faith of the Fatherless: The Psychology of Atheism, sociologist Paul Vitz analyzed one way in which the father-Father connection might operate. He examined prominent atheists across four centuries and argued that each had experienced some form of “defective fatherhood,” such as absence or abuse. Anger at fathers, Vitz theorized, was translated into anger at God. In 2013, my book How the West Really Lost God connected godlessness and fatherlessness to argue that secularization amounted to fallout from the sexual revolution. Together, Vitz’s book and mine suggest an avenue of research: Does lacking an earthly father make it harder to believe in a supernatural Father? And might the reverse also be true?

To understand better how these simul­taneous attenuations of filial attachment play out, consider two imaginary characters: William, born in 1950, and his grandson Brandon, born in 2000:

A member of the Baby Boom generation, William grew up in an intact home. His parents took him and his siblings to church. Two adults in the home meant twice as many warm bodies for driving and organizing. This meant that William, like his siblings, belonged to Boy Scouts, Little League, high school sports, the church youth group, marching band, and other activities.

Though William wasn’t much of a flag-waver, he wasn’t a flag-burner, either. This was true, in part, because almost every male authority figure William knew had served in World War II or the Korean conflict, and, of course, some of his contemporaries served in Vietnam. The Star-Spangled Banner was played without incident before every football and basketball game at his high school.

William married young and had a family. He and his wife found an evangelical church to their liking. He didn’t always attend with her, but he did volunteer in the church’s soup kitchen. It made him feel good. William also coached Little League, volunteered with the local ambulance corps, and played regular poker games. William smoked cigarettes, especially with friends on his work breaks. His favorite TV show, which he watched with his family, was Star Trek. He thought it would be cool if his children or grandchildren ended up traveling in outer space.

William’s grandson Brandon, a Zoomer, was born in 2000. His mother—William’s daughter—married Brandon’s father. The pair split up when Brandon was three. Brandon has no siblings. He rarely saw his father, or his father’s side of the family, after the divorce. Given what he has heard from his mother, he doesn’t much want to. He thinks of his father, who eventually remarried, as a two-time loser. At age twenty, William has already decided that he won’t let any woman entrap him in a marriage. Thanks to the Internet, he has other outlets for sex, anyway.

Having a single mom put certain activities off the table. Brandon never joined Little League or the Scouts or other youth groups. He played soccer for his school and loved it. But logistics placed other possibilities, such as travel-team sports, beyond reach. Since he graduated high school, most of Brandon’s “irl” activity—like much of his activity, period—has been solitary.

Brandon’s mom swore off religion at the time of her divorce, so he’s rarely been inside a church. When his mom’s boyfriend moved in, Brandon started spending most of his time in his room or out of the house. He doesn’t pay much attention to politics, but he does watch lots of sports. He likes Colin ­Kaepernick’s FU attitude. Brandon smokes pot by himself. His favorite video game, which he plays alone or with others online, is Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition.

Like other young adults, Brandon spends a lot of time on the Internet. During high school, two of his favorite sites were Reddit and 4chan. For a while, Brandon was drawn to the alt-right; he liked that they had an FU attitude, too. As of summer, 2020, though, he’s been following social media about antifa with growing interest. He likes the action of their protests and riots and street fights with the cops. He might move to Portland someday for the politics, or maybe to Colorado for the pot. Brandon thinks it would be cool to skateboard with a real gun.

As these imaginary lives convey, a generational divide has opened between the Boomers and the Millennials and Zoomers. It is a wealth gap over social capital. And it is enormous.

As is plain in retrospect, William’s attachments to entities other than himself, and larger than himself, were not neutral coordinates of human geography. They informed and enriched his life, not least because they put other people in it—people from whom he could learn, with whom he could connect and network, and through whom he could learn commitments and make common cause.

Brandon’s more tenuous attachments make his existence very different from his grandfather’s. His days are lonelier. His enthusiasms are less tempered by familial and communal influences, and hence more volatile. The deficit lies not merely in Brandon’s fatherlessness. It is arithmetical, beginning with the subtraction of his father’s entire side, which effectively halves the number of Brandon’s relatives. The diminution of kin continues with the shrinking number of family members on his mother’s side.

As a result, there are fewer people in Brandon’s life from whom he might learn essential skills such as negotiation, diligence, compromise, teamwork, delayed gratification, and self-control. If and when the time comes for Brandon to become a father, he will have less to impart on all these fronts, as well. In sum, ­Brandon is a poster boy for the trends mapped in ­Robert D. Putnam’s Bowling Alonea book that appeared in the very year that our imaginary Zoomer was born.

Of course, there are other variables that diminish Brandon’s chances in life. Millennials and Zoomers face economic problems the Boomers did not, especially staggering college debt and the continuing effect on capital of the financial crash of 2008. But dollars and cents may not be the only reason for the wealth-and-opportunity divide. Perhaps the relative economic success of the Boomers is not a matter of business cycles alone. Perhaps the social skills attained through respecting and negotiating with different kinds of authority are valuable training for a productive life. Perhaps having more siblings rather than fewer, more social ties rather than fewer—more contemporaries and others of all kinds, from whom “social learning” becomes possible—are lifetime pluses.

This much we do know. The streets of Portland—and Kenosha, and Baltimore, and Rochester, and all the other cities serving as proscenia for today’s mob explosions—are full of Brandons. And in a curious coda at a time when race seems to be everywhere, note that it does not matter whether William and Brandon are black, white, or other. The demographic trends that shape their stories and the resulting social wealth gap remain the same.

This brings us to the point that has been missed so far, not only during the long summer of 2020, but throughout the many recent discussions of American disarray, or American unraveling, or just plain what the hell is happening to America?

What is happening to America is an excruciatingly painful truth that life without father, Father, and filial piety toward country are not the socially neutral options that contemporary liberalism holds them to be. The sinkhole into which all three have collapsed is now a public hazard. The threefold crisis of paternity is depriving many young people—especially young men—of reasons to live as rational and productive citizens. As the Catholic theologian Deborah Savage put it recently, reflecting on America’s youth: “They have been left alone in a cosmos with nothing to guide them, not even a firm grasp of what constitutes their basic humanity, and no means of finding the way home.”

All manner of accelerants have made matters worse: the Internet, social media, racial prejudice, lax political leadership, scandals within the churches, the coarsening of political conversation, the polarization of the media into clashing armies. So has the metastasizing of the Civil Rights Act, as Christopher Caldwell has observed. A feverishly partisan intellectual class has stoked the flames with Critical Race Theory, charges of “fascism” in America, and other debased characterizations of the country. What Jeane Kirkpatrick called “blaming America first” has become the standard classroom narrative for practically every humanities major under the age of seventy. Doubtless, such intellectual hooliganism has something to do with declining faith in authority of any kind—and with diminishing patriotism, too.

Still, summer 2020 signals something new. The triply disenfranchised children of the West have achieved critical mass. They have slipped the surly bonds of their atomized childhoods; they have found their fellow raging sufferers and formed online families; and they have burst as a destructive force onto the national consciousness en masse, left and right, as never before.

Like Edmund in King Lear, who despised his half-brother Edgar, these disinherited young are beyond furious. Like Edmund, too, they resent and envy their fellows born to an ordered paternity, those with secure attachments to family and faith and country.

That last point is critical. Their resentment is why the triply dispossessed tear down statues not only of Confederates, but of Founding Fathers and town fathers and city fathers and anything else that looks like a father, period. It is why we see generational vituperation toward the Baby Boomers, like the diss of “OK, Boomer” and the epithet “Karen.” It is why bands of what might be called “chosen protest families” disrupt actual family meals. It is why BLM disrupts bedroom communities late at night, where real, non-chosen families are otherwise at peace.

Resentment of the Edgars of the world is also the unbidden method beneath the seeming madness of BLM protesters surrounding a home in suburban Portland and demanding that the American flag be taken down, as happened in September. That the homeowner was black, and a veteran, did not matter. The men and women who think they have no country cannot abide those who have a country, any more than the illegitimate son in King Lear can endure his half-brother’s enjoying a patrimony.

The dispossessed children who roam the streets in search of yet more destruction may not be large in number compared to the rest of America. And to understand them is not to exonerate them—far from it. But they will not go away until the crisis that has unhinged them, and severed them from their own, is ameliorated. In one of the most chilling passages in all of Shakespeare, Edmund calls on the gods to stand up for bastards. As gun sales double within a year, and as America navigates the results of what may be the most contentious election in the ­country’s history, we are about to find out whether they will. 

Mary Eberstadt is a senior fellow at the Faith and Reason Institute.

1948, When American Schools Were AMERICAN…

One of the most eventful times in my young life was listening to  lectures  by a 68 year old (going on 120)  old maid school teacher, Mabel Wicker at Central High School in St. Paul, the fall of 1948.   If she did weigh 100 pounds,  every pound was distant and cold.   She had apparently one and only one drive in life…… to teach Shakespeare, Dickens,  George Eliot and the like.

I was 14  that late  September.   I was impaired as a reader.  I couldn’t read fiction whether five pages or five hundred.   Earlier in my life I  had trouble recognizing letters, but strangely, I was never bothered  when ‘reading’  encyclopedias and newspapers,  or scanning and studying atlases.

By second grade I knew the population of St. Paul in 1930 was 271,606, according to my memory at age I am writing this note.    Eventually,  I could read many  wonderful lines of Shakespeare after beautifully toned by this red-wigged relic, Miss Wicker,  once she  had pronounced them in lecture.

“Let me have men about me that are fat…….Sleek-headed men, and as such men as sleep a-nights. ……Yon Cassius has a lean and hungry look.   He thinks too much.    Such men are dangerous.”

I found reviews similar to  the following Julius Caesar  guide at GrAde Savers.   Do read the following to put Caesar’s comment about Cassius in context:

“A soothsayer approaches Caesar and calls out for attention. Caesar allows him to speak, and the man tells Caesar, “Beware the ides of March” (1.2.25). Caesar ignores this warning and calls the man a dreamer. Caesar then leaves with his assembled men.

Brutus and Cassius remain on the stage. Cassius tells Brutus that he has noticed Brutus acting more serious lately. Brutus tells him that he is “with himself at war” (1.2.48) and that Cassius should not worry about it. After a shout and cheering from offstage, Brutus remarks he is afraid the people will crown Caesar king. Cassius is thrilled to hear this, and tells Brutus that they were both born as free men the same way Caesar was. He tells Brutus a story in which he and Caesar were holding a swimming contest across the Tiber river, and Caesar started to drown. Cassius claims that he rescued Caesar and carried him to the shore. He then complains that Caesar has become so powerful that even though he once saved Caesar’s life, he must now bow before him.

Cassius then tells Brutus that “Brutus” is just as good a name as “Caesar”, and that both names could just as easily rule Rome. He invokes the image of Brutus’ ancestor who founded the Roman Republic and expelled the former kings. Brutus, afraid that Caesar will become a king, struggles to decide whether to join Cassius in taking action against Caesar, but ultimately decides against it.

Caesar returns, accompanied by his followers. He turns to Antony and remarks, “Let me have men about me that are fat, / Sleek-headed men, and such as sleep a-nights. / Yon Cassius has a lean and hungry look. / He thinks too much. Such men are dangerous” (1.2.193-196). Antony dismisses Caesar’s concern, but Caesar is not convinced that Cassius is completely trustworthy. He tells Antony to come with him and let him know if there is anything to be worried about.

Casca remains onstage with Brutus and Cassius and tells them that the three shouts they heard were because Antony offered Caesar the crown three times, but he turned it down each time. Casca then says that Caesar swooned and fell down with his mouth foaming at the lips. (Caesar was considered to be epileptic, called the “falling sickness”.) When Caesar awoke, he begged to be forgiven for his infirmary. Casca adds that the people forgave Caesar and worshipped him even more for turning away the crown. He also explains that Murellus and Flavius, the public tribunes, were removed from office for pulling the decorations off of Caesar’s statues. Cassius, hoping to lure him into the conspiracy against Caesar, invites Casca to dinner the next night. Brutus also takes his leave, but agrees to meet with Cassius the next night as well. In a soliloquy, Cassius informs the audience that he will fake several handwritten notes and throw them into Brutus’ room in an attempt to make Brutus think the common people want him to take action against Caesar.

Act One, Scene Three

Casca meets with Cicero, one of the great Roman orators, and tells him he has seen many strange things on the streets of Rome that night including a slave with a burning yet uninjured left hand, a lion loose in the streets, and an  owl hooting in the daytime. Cicero tells him men interpret things in their own way, and takes his leave.”

Or how about this quote from Julius Caesar which I haven’t forgotten:    Again from GrAdeSaver:

“You blocks, you stones, you worse than senseless things!”    Caesar complains about the public masses around him.

“Julius Caesar opens with the tribunes of the people chastising the plebeians for being fickle. They refer to the masses as “You blocks, you stones, you worse than senseless things!”(1.1.34). This imagery of the masses as stones will continue throughout the play. They are in fact a fickle group of people, easily swayed by whoever is speaking to them, as evidenced later in the play when Antony turns a hostile crowd into a mob against Brutus and Cassius.”

Miss Wicker’s teachings of Shakespeare’s lessons of life and society overwhelmed me emotionally, educationally, and I think, spiritually.    My Church told me Man was flawed.    I understood murder and theft as a child.   Now I was beginning to understand conspiracy, jealousy  and  intrigue.

I believe Abraham Lincoln received most of his early learnings from the Bible and Shakespeare, taught to him by his step-mother.     One cannot go far wrong in life when nursed into learning from such ‘primary’ readers.

In “Merchant of Venice”, I learned when Miss Wicker expressed Shylock’s questions:       “I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a Christian is? If you prick us do we not bleed? If you tickle us do we not laugh? If you poison us do we not die? And if you wrong us shall we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that. If a Jew wrong a Christian, what is his humility? Revenge. If a Christian wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by Christian example? Why, revenge. The villainy you teach me I will execute, and it shall go hard but I will better the instruction.”

I remember to this day the tears which covered my eyes as she continued her “lecturing” simply by reciting the play hilights  by memory.

I learned that “the quality of mercy is not strained …….it droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the Earth below.  It is twice blessed.    It blesseth him that giveth and him that receiveth…….as mercy’s   ‘attorney’ Portia  pleaded on his behalf…..or as I remembered the verse more than 60 years later….but I looked it up at found this:

“The quality of mercy is not strained.
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven,
Upon the place beneath.
It is twice blessed.
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
It is mightiest in the mightiest,
It becomes the throned monarch better than his crown.
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
An attribute to awe and majesty.
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings.
But mercy is above this sceptred sway,
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself.
And earthly power doth  then show  likest God’s,
Where mercy seasons justice.
Therefore Jew,
Though justice be thy plea, consider this,
That in the course of justice none of us should  see salvation,
We all do pray for mercy
And that same prayer doth teach us all to render the deeds of mercy.
I have spoke thus much to mittgate the justice of thy plea,
Which if thou dost follow,
This strict court of Venice
Must needs give sentance gainst the merchant there.”

Art, when made beautiful is the greatest teacher of all.   I was lucky, so lucky in my learning life that these wonderful old maid school teachers loved beautiful art so much, they became artists themselves in their knowledge and its delivery.

It all died my senior year when the Liberal Educators squelched the classical curriculum.   No grades were to be given beyond pass-fail.   No Shakespeare, nothing classical.   “We are going to teach you how to think.” the principal Mr. Lenander declared in an assembly to the seniors.

In social studies that year we were supposed to learn how to plan cities.

That eventually was changed to “We are going to teach you what to think”, a few years before the Obama Era by the intellectually sterile  Left who gained control of learnings in America…..the Bill Ayers crowd.

(Dear Friends….I wrote the above article almost ten years ago from this very site. Our America’s once honorable Democrat Party has turned to vulgar fascism and violence led by Big Tech and its allies, determined to rule the nation dictator-style via big Big Business top-down, and the nation’s communications and educational industries where TRUTH no longer exists!

Biden, the Sleaze, at His Best

Biden again reminds the world what a nasty man he is

By Andrea Widburg at American Thinker:

One of the tropes of the election is that Biden will bring sweetness and light to the White House, in stark contrast to Trump’s extraordinary meanness.  And it is true that Trump is often mean.  If you’re a powerful person who strikes at him, Trump will come back with a vengeance (especially if you’re John Bolton).  However, Trump is never mean to ordinary people.  Joe Biden, by contrast, is chronically and horribly nasty to ordinary men and women who get in his way.

Think about this: has Trump ever insulted an ordinary American?  I can’t think of any time he’s done that.  Instead, Trump attacks only the powerful, and he attacks them only if they’ve aimed a blow at him first.  My favorite of Trump’s recent scathing denunciations is the insult he leveled at the execrable John Bolton:https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-0&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1328055196904251397&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.americanthinker.com%2Fblog%2F2020%2F11%2Fbiden_again_reminds_the_world_what_a_nasty_man_he_is.html&siteScreenName=AmericanThinker&theme=light&widgetsVersion=ed20a2b%3A1601588405575&width=550px

John Bolton was one of the dumbest people in government that I’ve had the “pleasure” to work with. A sullen, dull and quiet guy, he added nothing to National Security except, “Gee, let’s go to war.” Also, illegally released much Classified Information. A real dope!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 15, 2020

When I consider the extraordinary vindictiveness that Bolton directed at Trump, I smile every time I read that tweet.  Trump has been mean to powerful people who betrayed him, including Rex Tillerson and John Kelly.  His message is clear: if you betray him, he will punch back twice as hard.  But again, Trump will not personally insult ordinary people, even those who are mean to or about him.  (And no, Trump did not crudely imitate a physically impaired reporter.  That’s long been debunked.)

It’s quite different with Joe Biden.  While he’s happy enough to fawn over and grovel before powerful people, Biden is an unusually nasty man when he feels that ordinary people have failed to respect him.  Herewith a collection of just how vicious “Mr. Unity” really is. 

Just today, Biden vented his spleen at a reporter from the mainstream media:https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-1&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1329895714973999109&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.americanthinker.com%2Fblog%2F2020%2F11%2Fbiden_again_reminds_the_world_what_a_nasty_man_he_is.html&siteScreenName=AmericanThinker&theme=light&widgetsVersion=ed20a2b%3A1601588405575&width=550px

Asked Biden if he will encourage teacher unions to cooperate to get kids back in school because the COVID task force said it is safe to be in the classroom. He didn’t answer.

“Why are you the only guy that always shouts out questions?” he said. pic.twitter.com/x2DsG5Fmgo— Bo Erickson CBS (@BoKnowsNews) November 20, 2020

And then there are his routine attacks, not even against media figures who have some power, but against every day people, a pattern that goes back decades:

Trump, in his own way, is like a noble gentleman of old: a strong, secure man himself, he will defend the weak and fight those who are both wicked and powerful.  Biden, on the other hand, is a small, weak person.  Like so many of that stature, he makes himself larger in his own eyes by associating with the powerful and bullying the weak.

Image: Biden yelling.  Creative Commons.

https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2020/11/biden_again_reminds_the_world_what_a_nasty_man_he_is.html#ixzz6eUeNDAcT
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