Tuesday, April 17, 2018
It is a commonplace that our universities suffer from a lack of intellectual diversity. From that it would seem that the remedy would be an increase in intellectual diversity. The problem is that the root of the issue is ultimately emotional, not intellectual. We’re no longer educating our children to outgrow what Freud called “primary narcissim,” but rather to take it as the norm. And you can’t run a university—or a country—around grown-ups who’ve been taught to expect the world to be their mothers.
According to psychoanalytic theory, we begin our lives in a state of deepest attachment to mother, who loves us, and is the world to us. The result is that we feel ourselves to be the center of a loving world—Freud’s primary narcissism. Ordinarily, people outgrow this stage and come to recognize that there is a world outside themselves that, far from loving them, for the most part does not give a damn.
However, in our time, for reasons that I explore elsewhere, primary narcissism has come to establish people’s concept of themselves. I call this the “pristine self.”
In saying this, I do not mean that people experience the world as revolving around them with love, but rather that they think it should, and that, when it does not, they feel deprived and, to use the common term, “marginalized.” Their response is resentment, which comes to structure their lives.
Pension Crisis: As the media relentlessly focus on the federal government's burgeoning debt, a new report says that states face their own ticking debt bomb: the exploding liabilities for lavish state and local public-employee pensions. Reform won't be easy, but there is no choice.
Monday, April 16, 2018
The Gruesome Story of Hannah Duston, Whose Slaying of Indians Made Her an American Folk "Hero" | History | Smithsonian
Such was the context in which one group, most of whom were likely Abenaki, attacked the town of Haverhill on March 15, 1697—and encountered 40-year-old Hannah Duston at home with her neighbor Mary Neff. The Indians captured the women, along with some of their neighbors, and started on foot toward Canada. Duston had given birth about a week before. The captors are said to have killed her child early in the journey.
The group traveled for about two weeks, and then left Duston and Neff with a Native American family—two men, three women, and seven children—and another English captive, a boy who had been abducted a year and a half earlier from Worcester, Massachusetts. 14-year-old Samuel Leonardson may have been adopted by the family; he certainly had their trust. At Duston’s request, he asked one of the men the proper way to kill someone with a tomahawk, and was promptly shown how.
One night when the Indian family was sleeping, Duston, Neff, and Leonardson—who were not guarded or locked up—armed themselves with tomahawks and killed and scalped 10 of the Indians, including six children. They wounded an older woman, who escaped. A small boy managed to run away. Duston and her fellow captives then left in a canoe, taking themselves and the scalps down the Merrimack River to Massachusetts, where they presented them to the General Assembly of Massachusetts and received a reward of 50 pounds.
Hmm. Sounds like that statue had to come down, by golly. Even if she was a woman. Killing children! OTOH the Native Americans had just killed her child. Bound to make one irritable. Probably best just not to think about it.
The worst submarine disaster in U.S. Navy history happened on the morning of April 10, 1963, when the nuclear-powered USS Thresher (SSN 593) was lost with 129 crew members and civilian employees on board.
A Naval Court of Inquiry (NCOI) convened to investigate the disaster concluded the probable cause of the Thresher's loss was "major flooding" -- a finding that has since been challenged by naval and submarine experts. After more than a half-century, all but 18 pages of testimony from key witnesses remains closed to the public.
In today’s driving cold rain, it was no surprise that there were surprises. The winners were astonishing enough. But five unknowns from second to sixth in the women’s race? All Americans, expect for the Canadian in third? All five described themselves as in shock. Us too.
According to Goldberg, we’re living through a historical “miracle” brought about by the triumph of liberal-Democratic capitalism. On any longer time scale, Goldberg points out, our current lives are a recent invention and almost indescribably different from most of human experience. The important thing about the “miracle” is that there is no sense in which it had to happen, nor any guarantee that it must continue. In fact, Goldberg writes that there are forces at work which are already intent on bringing it to a swift end.
Sounds about right.
Sunday, April 15, 2018
This comes to mind with the observation that just when you think liberals can’t get any more out of touch or ridiculous, they step up with something fresh and even more ridiculous. By now perhaps you’ve heard about the New Yorker article bemoaning that Chick-fil-A is opening restaurants in New York City:
As these deep staters turn into paid talking heads profiting through books, speeches and clicks, they undermine any notion that they acted professionally instead of politically while in office, and the evidence continues to mount that the foundation for turning the country upside down for the last year was most likely two parts politically tinged hubris and one part sketchy evidence.
It's too bad we can't just hard boot the whole mess.