Kwanzaa

This is a public service update.

The first Umoja (Unity) candle was lit by Kwanzaa’s inventor in a lightly attended celebration (family and close comrades) on December 26, 1966.

This time of year there’s always an uptick in searches for information about Kwanzaa. I know this simply from observing the search engine hits on this TOC post: Nguzo Saba The 7 Principles of Blackness

Noting a few of those hits today, I reread that 2008 post. I wasn’t surprised that links have rotted. Most notably the Lansing State Journal article which prompted it, and a reference to The Dartmouth Review. The relevant portions of the LSJ piece are quoted in my post, but the Dartmouth article was the source of much of the Kwanzaa founder’s (Ron Karenga) biographical content.

My Nguzo Saba post hasn’t attracted a comment in a long while, but there are some interesting ones from earlier times should you wish to read it. One of those comments:

So, what the commentor [sic] above me is implying is that, we, as a community or race, need to rely on the white community to survive? You are suggesting that the white community is superior, that they “feed” us, and in todays society that is just wrong, no matter who you are. Nobody is above another just because of the circumstances of their birth.

How times have changed. That commenter had the concept right. But, now it’s a few very vocal, white, snake oil barkers convincing a few black people that unless ‘Black’ is capitalized (and white is NOT) everyone should riot, loot, burn.

And, it should be noted, Ron Karenga thought some people were more admirable than others because of the circumstances of their birth.

IAC there still seems to be Kwanzaa interest, so for latter day internet searchers I unearthed an archive of the Dartmouth article. You should read the whole thing. It’s not long.

I saw a number of things in it that register differently now than they did in 2008. The atavistic tribalism that is BLM has its ‘Roots’ here, and you’ll see predicates for CRT and racialist apologists such as Ibram X. Kendi and Robin D’Angelo.

The 7 Principles, Nguzo Saba, of Ron Karenga’s contrivance are noted in my earlier post. But there are 7 other principles listed in his book The Quotable Karenga. “The sevenfold path of blackness is think black, talk black, act black, create black, buy black, vote black, and live black.”

OK. But define “black.” Right now it’s being done mostly by white people.

That was the challenge to Kendi and, especially, D’Angelo. How can we make more money off this and achieve more privilege than Karenga did?

IAC, here are 2 snippets from that Dartmouth piece:

Initially, Kwanzaa proceeded from Karenga’s hostility toward Western religion, which, he wrote in his 1980 book, Kawaida Theory, “denies and diminishes human worth, capacity, potential and achievement. In Christian and Jewish mythology, humans are born in sin, cursed with mythical ancestors who’ve sinned and brought the wrath of an angry God on every generation’s head.” He similarly opposed belief in God and other “spooks who threaten us if we don’t worship them and demand we turn over our destiny and daily lives.”

In Critical Race Theology, white “humans are born in sin, cursed with mythical ancestors who’ve sinned and brought the wrath of an angry God on every generation’s head.” You might object that the slave owning ancestors are not mythical. Well, for the vast majority of non-black people and at least a large plurality of black people, they are entirely mythical. And those “spooks?” They’re white Progressives.

James Coleman, a former Black Panther, argues, “By only stressing the unity of black people, Kwanzaa separates black people from the rest of Americans. Americans must unify on whatever principles ensure we live in a safe, prosperous, God-loving country, with the race and ethnicity of any American seeking to abide by those principles being of no consequence.”

Yeah. That’s a passé MLK thingy. On his journey to anathema (statue destruction) MLK is now solidly in the objectionable phase. Because to say “All Lives Matter” is racist.

Will Karenga’s fanciful 1960s inventiveness see a revival among the newly faithful? In 2008 it was seen to be in decline.

Does anyone remember that back in the early 1990s, AT&T ran television ads suggesting that blacks call their families during Kwanzaa using their telephone service? That stores stocked Kwanzaa candles and kente clothes? That student unions were festooned with Marcus Garvey’s pan-African flag? In 1995, a local activist triumphantly told The Boston Globe, “We’re at the point now where Kwanzaa has gotten so big that we feel like Santa Claus is really on the way out.”

That short 2008 post from Reason is also worth a read. How has the “culture war is over” prediciton turned out?

I guess we’ll be able to tell based on the number of Kwanzaa candles sold. If anyone can tell.

A Kranzaa resurgence would be a mixed blessing for the black isolationists. By numbers most of the Kwanzaa forelock tuggers to this intensely African theme park are Progressive white women, or Jamaican/East Indian politicians.

Ignore the willfully ignorant ingrates

Giving thanks to readers of this blog with this worthwhile read:
A Modern-Day Pilgrim From the ‘Land of No’

And check out some of the links at the end. A sample:

Since 1961, the WSJ editorial board has printed two editorials on Thanksgiving. One is a 1620 account of the first Thanksgiving. The second is called “And the Fair Land.” This remains true decades after its first printing:

But we can all remind ourselves that the richness of this country was not born in the resources of the earth, though they be plentiful, but in the men that took its measure. For that reminder is everywhere—in the cities, towns, farms, roads, factories, homes, hospitals, schools that spread everywhere over that wilderness.

We can remind ourselves that for all our social discord we yet remain the longest enduring society of free men governing themselves without benefit of kings or dictators. Being so, we are the marvel and the mystery of the world, for that enduring liberty is no less a blessing than the abundance of the earth.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Mean Mad Man. Wicked Wrathful Woman.

Joy Reid is an angry, homophobic, MSNBC Progressive propagandist with a laser focus on race… whose show I’ve never seen. I’m aware of her from references I’ve read, though.

Before today’s topic, the latest mention to come to my attention involved her attack on Niki Minaj. Minaj is a popular rapper with 200 million Twitter followers. I looked it up.

Reid attacked Minaj over the latter’s objection to CCP virus vaccination. Plausibly, Reid did this to boost her ratings.
1. Attack someone with 170 times more Twitter followers than your anemic TV audience.
2. Get moar viewers?
3. Profit.

Reid, to Minaj, on The ReidOut (her TV show). Emphasis mine.:

“”For you to use your platform to encourage our community to not protect themselves and save their lives … my God sister, you could do better than that.

… For you to use your platform to put people in the position of dying from a disease they don’t have to die from, oh my God,” Reid continued. “As a fan, as a hip-hop fan and as somebody who is your fan, I am so sad that you did that, sister. Oh my God.”

“Our community” is code. Right?
For: “POC take the vaccination advice of black, female rappers far too seriously for their own good.“?

Minaj tweeted at Reid:

“This is what happens when you’re so thirsty to down another black woman (by the request of the white man), that you didn’t bother to read all my tweets. “My God SISTER do better” imagine getting ur dumb ass on tv a min after a tweet to spread a false narrative about a black woman https://t.co/4UviONyTHy” [can’t guarantee that Twitter link works, Twitter is blocked on my computer.]

Ah, the joys of internecine political warfare. Reid seems to have a propensity for attacking black people who stray off the plantation.

When I saw that Reid was attacking Winsome Sears – a black, legal immigrant, female, and first in all those categories to win office in a state-wide Virginia election – I initially wrote it off to standard operating procedure. But, it wasn’t Reid who drew my attention. That was her guest Michael Eric Dyson: Invited on Reid’s show to call Winsome Sears names, I thought.

I first ran into Dyson when he and Michelle Goldberg debated Jordan Peterson and Steven Fry in the May 2018 Munk Debate. These semi-annual debates are, according to PBS, “Canada’s preeminent forum to discuss the pressing issues of our time.” The debate topic: Be it resolved, what you call political correctness, I call progress… They should have capitalized Progress.

The whole debate is on C-SPAN, and is just short of 2 hours. It is worth watching the whole thing, but… For those unwilling to devote that much time, here’s a 12 minute clip wherein Dyson’s garrulous pretension is on full display. It’s worth a watch just to see how JBP handles being called a “mean, mad, white man”:

Dyson’s MSNBC performance was similar. To spare you watching the whole snake dance, here’s a representative snippet that’s only a 1 minute and 9 seconds:

If you are a follower of Joy Reid, or a masochist – a distinction without a difference AFAICT – the whole 8 minute race bashing festival is here:
Michael Eric Dyson: Winsome Sears Is “White Supremacy By Ventriloquist,” A Black Mouth With White Ideas

In case you’ve interest in others’ opinions of this spiteful man, here are short reviews of each performance from two different black men no longer on Michael Eric Dyson’s Christmas card list. Some interesting insights.

My Reaction: Jordan B Peterson Vs. Michael Eric Dyson MUNK Debate – 8 minutes.

Joy Reid Brings On WOKE Academic To Say Winsome Sears Has ‘Black Face With White Supremacist Tongue’ – 15 minutes

Update 11:58AM, Nov 7, Accidentally published a draft of this. Edited for clarity and flow.

Western Civ: cheap veneer or cruel joke?

New Zealand COVIDocracy.

Police Bust Gang Members With Car Trunk “Full Of KFC” Takeout Breaching ‘Strict Lockdown’

Yes, “KFC” means the fried chicken. Chick-fil-A is mustering its legal team.

OK, the perps also had $70K in cash and an unspecified number of “empty ounce bags.” But maybe those little bags were for delivering counterfeit Arby Sauce?

The most egregious/hilarious bit is the cops bragging pictures of KFC takeout bags. “Look what we did!” Well, we are looking… wankers.

Street value of the KFC contraband could not be determined because of the “undisclosed quantity of fries.”

There’s a Firesign Theater bit where they mention the police estimate of the street value of some seized ground round, but I can’t find it.

This will have to do:

And dont-cha just love those ‘Hot Buttered Groat Clusters,’ and two tubs of slaw!!

I guess the good news here is that the fascists can’t beat the Colonel.

“This is not a black and white issue,” Tom intoned.

The title is word play called a ‘Swifty’: A punning relationship between an adverb/adjective and the statement it refers to. This arises from the style in which the Tom Swift juvenile science fiction/adventure books were written up until the 70’s. I haven’t read any later than that. I fear woke erosion of the franchise.

Back to Swifties. A couple examples might clarify the word play:

I’ve got to fix the car,” said Tom mechanically.
I love hockey,” said Tom puckishly.

Like me, many elderly (or post elderly) writers, entrepreneurs, scientists, and inventors were inspired by the Tom Swift books: Ray Kurzweil, Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Paul Allen, and Bill Gates among them. Steve Wozniak had this to say:

“Another hero was Tom Swift, in the books. What he stood for, the freedom, the scientific knowledge and being an engineer gave him the ability to invent solutions to problems. He’s always been a hero to me. I buy old Tom Swift books now and read them to my own children.”

Here are a few example titles that explain why these books excited these creators:
Tom Swift and His Wireless Message -1911
Tom Swift and His Photo Telephone -1914
Tom Swift and His Giant Magnet -1932
Tom Swift and His Rocket Ship -1954

You can probably put an individual’s name on each of those titular dreams – now real world accomplishments. Several of those names are in the list above.

We owe the authors of the TS books a bit of respect for their effect on the imagination of daring individuals who were young 60 or more years ago. We owe those now rich, formerly young, for much of our current comfort and wealth.

What is inspiring the next generation of Wozniaks is unclear. We’re not going to have Tom Swift. If our teachers unions have their way, our kids are going to be reading Heather Has Two Mommies and Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness.

Speaking of things that can’t happen anymore, it wasn’t long ago that NPR was acknowledging Tom Swift:

“Science fiction hero Tom Swift has amazed children with his incredible inventions since combustion and electricity drove the nation into a new era. These stories captured a cultural love of science and inspired such famous figures as Steve Wozniak and Isaac Asimov — all while predicting new technologies decades in advance.”

Now, that cultural love of science is under attack by ideologues who dismiss the scientific method as racist, by entrepreneurs who virtue signal by selective private censorship, and by so-called scientists who bring science into disrepute in exchange for celebrity. Who wants to grow up to be Ibram X. Kendi, Mark Zuckerberg, or Anthony Fauci?

That story wouldn’t be published today on NPR.

Tom Swift‘s history would be seen as “problematic” now. The TS books of the early 20th century had racist characteristics, and all (of the first 73 – through 1971, at least) celebrate objective, rational, linear thinking; delayed gratification, and self reliance – which the Smithsonian tells us are markers of ‘whiteness.’

It is by no means obvious, to anyone aside from Robin D’Angelo, et. al. that the racial anachronisms of the Tom Swift books affected those inspired by them. Nonetheless, TS books will be cancelled in the U.S. as soon as Ibram and Robin get around to it. Cat in the Hat comes first. Tom Swift is a Fahrenheit 451 candidate to be burned in Canada first…

Woke social media could remove all trace of my ever having existed!” said Tom unpersonably.

Which brings me to the actual point of this post. What if I told you a private individual and a few others “designed a [CCP virus] vaccine, and contracted a company to manufacture that vaccine in June 2020 for under $5k.” Now, the individual who arranged this is not a Swiftian teenager, he’s got a PhD. But this guy named Josiah Zayner did just that. This amazing feat won’t be inspiring many young people, though. When Zayner started sharing this info he was banned from YouTube for life.

Which is why – combined with corporate-news silence – you probably haven’t heard about it.

Read this whole thing: The Crime of Curiosity. It carries an inspiring call to individual possibility.

bypassing elite institutions, democratizing science, and biological self-determination, or every individual’s right to his or her own body, which includes their DNA — and the right to change it.

And don’t forget why John Galt, an adult version of Tom Swift, started the strike.

Merit and equity: Mutually exclusive

TOC’s need to mention Kurt Vonnegut’s short story Harrison Bergeron is accelerating. It’s time to convert “bergeron” to a verb.

A recent example from Beth Mitchneck (professor emerita at the University of Arizona), and Jessi L. Smith (associate vice chancellor for research at the University of Colorado.)
We Must Name Systemic Changes in Support of DEI

DIE is diversity, equity and inclusion. I don’t think “associate vice chancellor” is a particularly diverse, equitable, or inclusive title, but within the article’s context “professor emerita” is most amusing:

Most of the academy functions by using a narrow definition of merit limited to a neoliberal view of the university: that merit is indicated by obtaining funding dollars or by producing lots of peer-reviewed journals or juried exhibits in prestigious outlets that garner a high number of citations or visits. Some institutions also include attracting many doctoral students or obtaining high numbers of student credit hours in their definitions of success…

Admitting that the normative definitions of success and merit are in and of themselves barriers to achieving the goals of justice, diversity, equity and inclusion is necessary but not sufficient to create change.

Far be it from me to disagree that Universities’ metrics are corrupt, but to suggest the soaring growth in employment of administrative positions in diversity, equity and inclusion is ineffective must be heretical.

Four years ago The University of Michigan already had:

nearly 100 diversity administrators, more than 25 of them earning over $100,000 a year (see chart below). Collectively, they cost the University of Michigan, with fringe benefits, about $11 million annually. Adding in other costs such as travel and office space expenses, the total cost rises to perhaps $14 million, or $300 for every enrolled student at the U of M in the fall semester 2017.

If this level of DIE oversight hasn’t solved the problem, what would?

Professors Mitchneck and Smith make some hand waving attempts to specify the metrics they would find meritorious, but mostly it’s subjective.

Beth suggested in a recent webinar that we move toward impact portfolios, modeled in part on the portfolios that artists routinely produce, that would demonstrate the ways in which our work as defined by institutional missions has indeed contributed to achieving those missions. For example, Utrecht University has just announced a new faculty recognition and rewards system that aligns with institutional values about open science and excludes the use of impact factors.

While these examples stand out for the good, that is, in many ways, the problem. While we can point to the few institutions that are trying to change merit structures, many others seem resistant to change. Why is that? Do people fear that tenure will go away? Maybe. We believe that fear would be unwarranted if we developed more equitable procedures, practices and policies that reflected the true diversity of the research and societal impacts that our institutional missions espouse. It is time to start living those missions.

TOC is always ready to help. The number of papers published, number of citations of those papers, number of doctoral students attracted, and number of grants received don’t tell the whole story of a professor’s value. Especially in the social sciences, huge numbers of junk papers are published and cited. Quality is lacking.

But ‘impact portfolios’ of diversity? Inclusion? Equity? Haven’t we been trying that? The UofM horde of DIE enforcers is typical. If they don’t have as much merit as the professors upon whom they turn their gimlet eyes, maybe we could fire the entire diversity cadre and enhance the salaries and job security of the profs based on existing metrics. Salaries and job security, after all, are what they’re on about.

To reinforce the logic (can I say that?) of this plan, let’s look at how the University of California-Davis advertises for an assistant professor of sustainable aquaculture and coastal systems. It lays out the productivity metrics essential to the educational mission these DIE martinets enforce.

Note that there are 18 words about research and teaching in the job description above and 176 words (in bold) about a candidate’s commitment to DIE (diversity, inclusion, and equity).

(Thanks to Mark Perry for both examples.)

Some dismiss proposals such as Mitchneck’s and Smith’s as mere left-wing academiot nattering. Not that it isn’t left-wing academiot nattering. But it is not “mere.” This is redefining the word “merit” the same way they redefined “equity;” as “Equal Outcome.” However “merit” is interpreted, we’ll know we failed if everyone doesn’t come out equal.

There are many other head shaking instances of this clap-trap most of us ignore, but the evidence that we should pay close attention has become overwhelming. An excellent example is Jordan Peterson’s objection to compelled pronoun usage in 2016. Peterson was vilified as a transphobe, and his suggestion that the full legal weight of the State would be brought to bear was mocked. Now, various institutions are mandating the use of ‘zir,’ or whatever the flavor of the day is.

When statues of Columbus were attacked, those who it said it wouldn’t stop there – that Lincoln, Jefferson, and Washington were next – were mocked. Well, in Wisconsin a statue titled “Forward” was torn down because it included an American flag in the same riot where the statue of Col. Hans Christian Heg (a Norwegian immigrant and abolitionist who fought for the North in the Civil War) was toppled. They’ve removed a 70-ton boulder from the Madison campus, which, over 90 years ago, a newspaper referred to, once, using a slur for blacks.

The usual suspects were calling for removal of a Lincoln statue a year ago.

Our National Archive has placed a “harmful language” warning on the U.S. Constitution, Bill of Rights, and Declaration of Independence.
National Archive recommends removing ‘charters of freedom’ description from founding documents | Daily Mail Online

If merit must be redefined, let’s be very, very careful about it. And objective, not fashionable.

Corruptarky

Charles Murray reviews a leftwing tome on the topic in the Claremont Review of Books: Meritocracy’s Cost

Check it out and come back.

Jordan Peterson frequently points out that hierarchies are natural and inevitable, from lobster fights to human IQ, and that hierarchies tend to corruption. This is the framework for “absolute power corrupts…”

The question is not how we eliminate the inevitable, but how we control the consequences.

Harrison Bergeron is an example of what happens when a corrupt hierarchy is put in charge of eliminating hierarchies.

Freedom of conscience is the fundamental human method of hierarchical control. Which is why corrupt hierarchies attack free speech and institute thought police. You can’t say “All Lives Matter,” “Trans males are not women,” or “Let’s try ivermectin.”

The corruption in our governing meritocracies, by which I mean the academic, military, political, economic, and cultural Anointed* – concentrated in, and supported by, our major population centers – threatens to bring down the Republic.

What is to be Done?
-V. Lenin, 1902

*Thomas Sowell, The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy, 1996

“…the very commonness of common sense makes it unlikely to have any appeal to the anointed. How can they be wiser and nobler than everyone else while agreeing with everyone else?”

“Systemic processes tend to reward people for making decisions that turn out to be right—creating great resentment among the anointed, who feel themselves entitled to rewards for being articulate, politically active, and morally fervent.”

“. . ideology. . . is an instrument of power; a defense mechanism against information; a pretext for eluding moral constraints in doing or approving evil with a clean conscience; and finally, a way of banning the criterion of experience, that is, of completely eliminating or indefinitely postponing the pragmatic criteria of success and failure. —Jean-François Revel1”

“What is seldom part of the vision of the anointed is a concept of ordinary people as autonomous decision makers free to reject any vision and to seek their own well-being through whatever social processes they choose. Thus, when those with the prevailing vision speak of the family—if only to defuse their adversaries’ emphasis on family values—they tend to conceive of the family as a recipient institution for government largess or guidance, rather than as a decision-making institution determining for itself how children shall be raised and with what values.”

“The vision of the anointed is one in which ills as poverty, irresponsible sex, and crime derive primarily from ‘society,’ rather than from individual choices and behavior. To believe in personal responsibility would be to destroy the whole special role of the anointed, whose vision casts them in the role of rescuers of people treated unfairly by ‘society.”