There’s nothing liberal about it

This is a follow-up to my post on the desecration of the word “liberal,” starting with excerpts from the papers of a President who served only one term. A national calamity laid him low: Like Cassandra, some people get punishment they don’t deserve.

I could have emphasized a lot of it, but I’m pretty sure you will do that in your head:

“…Bureaucracy does not tolerate the spirit of independence; it spreads the spirit of submission into our daily life and penetrates the temper of our people not with the habit of powerful resistance to wrong but with the habit of timid acceptance of irresistible might.

Bureaucracy is ever desirous of spreading its influence and its power. You cannot extend the mastery of the government over the daily working life of a people without at the same time making it the master of the people’s souls and thoughts. Every expansion of government in business means that government in order to protect itself from the political consequences of its errors and wrongs is driven irresistibly without peace to greater and greater control of the nations’ press and platform. Free speech does not live many hours after free industry and free commerce die.

It is a false liberalism that interprets itself into the Government operation of commercial business. Every step of bureaucratizing of the business of our country poisons the very roots of liberalism – that is, political equality, free speech, free assembly, free press, and equality of opportunity. It is the road not to more liberty, but to less liberty. Liberalism should be found not striving to spread bureaucracy but striving to set bounds to it. True liberalism seeks all legitimate freedom first in the confident belief that without such freedom the pursuit of all other blessings and benefits is vain. That belief is the foundation of all American progress, political as well as economic.

Liberalism is a force truly of the spirit, a force proceeding from the deep realization that economic freedom cannot be sacrificed if political freedom is to be preserved. Even if governmental conduct of business could give us more efficiency instead of less efficiency, the fundamental objection to it would remain unaltered and unabated. It would destroy political equality. It would increase rather than decrease abuse and corruption. It would stifle initiative and invention. It would undermine the development of leadership. It would cramp and cripple the mental and spiritual energies of our people. It would extinguish equality and opportunity. It would dry up the spirit of liberty and progress…

The American people from bitter experience have a rightful fear that great business units might be used to dominate our industrial life and by illegal and unethical practices destroy equality of opportunity…

One of the great problems of government is to determine to what extent the Government shall regulate and control commerce and industry and how much it shall leave it alone. No system is perfect. We have had many abuses in the private conduct of business. That every good citizen resents. It is just as important that business keep out of government as that government keep out of business.”

The President was Herbert Hoover.

He was successor to Presidents Harding and Coolidge, and continued their defense of liberalism (he didn’t have to say “classical liberalism” to be understood circa 1928) against Al Smith and Franklin Roosevelt – advocates of Benito Mussolini’s approach to public policy.

The 1929 calamity was compounded immediately, as Hoover predicted, when Roosevelt’s statism deepened and prolonged the Great Depression. Worse, WWII cemented national industrial policy and government intervention in individual lives as “liberal.” American voters accepted this false definition, leading to many of our present discontents.

So. Today, rich and powerful social media companies -information barons- maneuver a willing government into undoing the 1st Amendment through ‘approved’ regulation of speech. Facebook and Twitter, et. al., seek government sanction for their private censorship.

Free enterprise capitalism is being overwhelmed by creeping corporatism: The merger of woke government with the rent-seekers. This is most obvious in the greenspace of pipeline cancellation, anti-fracking, plastic straw bans, anti-nuclear power cognitive dissonance, etc., by corporations who thrive on government subsidies.

The predations of bureaucracy are ubiquitous, but nowhere are these sanctions on liberty more obvious than in the enlistment of public health poobahs to bludgeon American citizens. Our teacher’s union owned public educational cartel is a close second, but to that we’re inured.

Freedom of conscience is targeted by the petty fascisti in academia, government, media, and the viciously tribal special-victims groups they empower. This is possible because equality of opportunity is now called racist and sexist.

Equal opportunity is replaced with demands for equality of outcome (“equity”). I seriously doubt FDR’s good intentions contemplated that outcome. Or the world that these totalitarian wannabes desire.

All because we don’t know what “liberal” means.

Liberal

The ruination of the word in the U.S. arguably started around 1913 with a President openly hostile to a Constitutional Republic. A dedicated racist who RE-segregated the Federal civil service, and an oligarch who bypassed the Bill of Rights with the Espionage Act of 1917 and the Sedition Act of 1918; Woodrow Wilson.

His ideas picked up steam in 1932. That’s when Franklin Delano Roosevelt was nudging the Enlightenment political definition of Liberal, “a belief in individual liberty,” toward a phrase made popular by another collectivist snollygoster: “All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.”

FDR admired the man who uttered it: “‘I don’t mind telling you in confidence,’ FDR remarked to a White House correspondent, ‘that I am keeping in fairly close touch with that admirable Italian gentleman’
Henry Wallace, New Frontiers, p. 31.

That admirable gentleman was Benito Mussolini, and it’s no wonder FDR was interested. Benito put the principles of the New Deal more plainly than FDR dared:

“The … State lays claim to rule in the economic field no less than in others; it makes its action felt throughout the length and breadth of the country by means of its corporate, social, and educational institutions, and all the political, economic, and spiritual forces of the nation, organised in their respective associations, circulate within the State.”
-Benito Mussolini, 1935, The Doctrine of Fascism, Firenze: Vallecchi Editore. p 41.

The corporate State considers that private enterprise in the sphere of production is the most effective and useful instrument in the interest of the nation. In view of the fact that private organisation of production is a function of national concern, the organiser of the enterprise is responsible to the State for the direction given to production.

State intervention in economic production arises only when private initiative is lacking or insufficient, or when the political interests of the State are involved. This intervention may take the form of control, assistance or direct management.
-Benito Mussolini, 1935, Fascism: Doctrine and Institutions, Rome: ‘Ardita’ Publishers pp. 135-136

Do you detect any similar policy tendencies in current American Maim Scream Media™ headlines, or in Biden executive orders?

Il Duce’s characterizations are authoritative. So, China, among many others, is clearly a fascist state. It may not surprise you that Mussolini was a socialist before he took up the fascist cause, and you may be forgiven if you wonder whether fascism was just a way to avoid the word “nationalization.”

By the time FDR took office there were many Americans who had good things to say about Benito Mussolini’s fascism. Here’s a link to the Leftist WaPo, a site your Progressive frenemies cannot easily dismiss. It manages to bash Trump, always a Progressive treat, and lists many prominent American Mussolini enthusiasts. The author manages to get through the whole thing while never mentioning FDR, and includes this hilarity:

Mussolini’s powerful handlers tapped into widespread misgivings about the domestic cost of Wilson-style democracy and growing anxieties about gender equality by pitching Mussolini as a strong male leader with a nationalistic brand of effective governance.

‘Handlers’? Ha. You want handlers? Look up Edith Wilson in the context of Woodrow’s stroke, and think about Jill Biden. The 25th Amendment had to wait until 1967 to be added to the Constitution, and until 2020 to be part of Democrat election strategy.

‘Wilson-style democracy’? Wilson was an oligarchist.

‘Misgivings’? Ha, ha. While our Democrats were making Henry Wallace FDR’s Veep?

Implied misogyny’? Ha, ha, ha. The Italians were worried their leader didn’t respect women, while FDR was … well, not worried about it:

“Franklin deserved a good time,” Alice Longworth, a confidante of FDR, once said. “He was married to Eleanor.”

‘Gender equality’? A construct beyond the imagination of Italians or Americans of the time. In 1932 “gender” was rightly regarded as a feature of some Romance languages, not a social justice crusade necessitating a redefinition of “sex.”

The Great Depression helped FDR get away with the New Deal, and when WWII came along to actually end the Depression (FDR had prolonged it), it only reinforced FDR’s power to shift the country to acceptance of the “dollar a year man” authoritarian bureaucracy. It’s not so cheap anymore.

We still see this autocratic urge expressed through redefinition today. The word “science” used to mean “falsifiable,” for example. Now it means whatever the consensus of government dependent boffins come up with. From “climate change” to lockdowns and mask mandates. From denials of biological sex to outcome equality. For example:
Translating Social Justice Newspeak – Law & Liberty
Liberals Redefine Words

Worth reading, but both neglect some important redefinitions. “Democracy,” for example.

I don’t know when that started, but the false premise is that the United States is a Democracy rather than a Constitutional Republic (Thanks, Woodrow.). Now Democracy “belongs” to Democrats, and you aren’t part of that if you object to voting without regard to legality, dislike open borders, believe sex is binary, think the Second Amendment applies to individuals, or get grumpy when someone calls you a murderer for not wearing 2 masks. Here’s a 4 minute video worth watching for how the Democrats view “Our” Democracy.
WSJ Opinion: The Progressive Push to Redefine ‘Our Democracy’

Another important word that’s been redefined is “Capitalism.” It’s depressing how many people describe China’s economic system as capitalist. If you look at Mussolini’s definitions, China is fascist. In America, it’s fashionable for Progressives to blame “free market failures” for botched government interventions. American corporatism pays homage to the blustering Italian, and is familial with the Chinese Communists.

What words mean matters. Those who make the changing of meaning their tactic for gaining political advantage are characters in 1984.

MSM check their privilege: find it wanting

Journalists Mobilize Against Free Speech
Read the whole thing, but following are a few excerpts.

Motivated by self-dealing arrogance and venality, the Maim Scream Media™ has a goal.

That goal is reducing the Bill of Rights to a single clause. Here’s Steve Coll, two-time Pulitzer winning dean of Columbia Journalism School:

“Those of us in journalism have to come to terms with the fact that free speech, a principle that we hold sacred, is being weaponized against the principles of journalism.”

Translated, “Free speech is only sacred when we utter it. We are actually the “sacred” part.” The fact that virtue beaconing, click baiting partisans already wield journalism as a weapon against freedom of religion (unless the religion is environmentalism or social justice), speech (if they disagree with it), press (any competition), assembly (of the non-SJW kind), and petitioning the government (regarding election fraud, abortion, or firearms, for example) seems petty in comparison to the journalists’ sacred calling, right?

To paraphrase Monty Python, “Gentlemen, you can’t have a free conscience here, this is journalism class.”

“When I was a journalist, I loved Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.’s assertion that the Constitution and the First Amendment are not just about protecting ‘free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought that we hate,’” wrote [Richard] Stengel, the undersecretary of state for public affairs and public diplomacy during the second Obama administration. “But as a government official traveling around the world championing the virtues of free speech, I came to see how our First Amendment standard is an outlier.”

Outlier? This used to be called exceptionalism. And Stengel should look up “championing,” too.

“All speech is not equal,” Stengel writes. “And where truth cannot drive out lies, we must add new guardrails.”

Some speech is more equal than other speech. And I’m sure Stengel has in mind just the right people to guard the guardrails.

And then we have Masha Gessen at the New Yorker:

“The news media have traditionally borne the responsibility for insuring that the actual purpose of the First Amendment is fulfilled,” they write. “Yet Americans are content to leave this essential component of democracy to profit-driven corporations with next to no regulatory oversight.”

Very clever. Pretending the New Yorker seeks no profit and bashing capitalism, arrogating the purpose of the 1st Amendment to the New Yorker, and making regulation of the competition seem a disinterested, and holy, quest – all in one clueless sentence. Or, maybe it’s a plea for nationalization of the “real journalists.” Except that they would then get their ‘fair’ share of the filthy lucre laundered by taxpayers, it’s hard to imagine what would be different.

Now come Anand Giridharadas and Oliver Darcy; seeking rent.

Giridharadas is an “MSNBC talking head, New York University journalism professor, and former New York Times writer, Vice talk-show host, and Aspen Institute fellow.

CNN reporter Darcy was “promoting a CNN segment dedicated to the urgent issue of throwing other cable networks off television.”

[Giridharadas-] “It’s time for this question to be front and center: Should Fox News be allowed to exist?. Brain-mashing as a business model shouldn’t be legal.”

[Darcy-] “Just a reminder that neither @Verizon, @ATT, nor @comcast have answered any questions about why they beam channels like OAN & Newsmax into millions of homes. Do they have any second thoughts about distributing these channels given their election denialism content? They won’t say.”

I’d favor just letting Fox self-immolate and let people use their remotes to change channels.

But, Parler wasn’t the end of this.

Can’t say that

Yesterday, I wrote about Rutger’s efforts to eliminate grammar from English language studies, providing a couple of examples of how that might go askew:

“[Writing] “Protest, shootings, and arson,” rather than “Protest shootings and arson,” might pass in an Applied Critical Theory class where there is only one possible meaning…”

“A Masters (A word on the way out, and I don’t think we can use “He da man,” either.) in English is now a purely political credential.”

There is a long and growing list of words which are being assigned purely political application. One must be cautious in finding alternatives.

Here’s someone who wasn’t:
Why I decided to take the word ‘chief’ out of my CEO title to respect Indigenous people

Catherine Roome, the former CEO in question, is now is president and lead executive officer of Technical Safety BC.

I fear she didn’t take enough time to think this change through, even as a team formerly known as the Redskins provided an example of careful consideration by relabelling themselves as the Washington Football Team while working their way through the critical race linguistic minefield.

Ms. Roome’s new title of Lead Executive Officer has a couple of problems. First, the very concept of leadership presumes merit-based anti-egalitarianism. Second, and most damning, LEO is also a widely used acronym for Law Enforcement Officer.

Since we are allowed only one political meaning per term, I’d say law enforcement officer wins on seniority.

Now. On to “executive.”

One who can make significant decisions on their own authority. A position that coordinates and governs the action of others; supervisor

And “officer.”

One who has a position of authority in a hierarchical organization, especially in military, police or government organizations. A respectful term of address for an officer, especially a police officer.

These words would seem of limited use in our new woke world, and subject to banning at any moment.

One might think congratulations are due future holders of Rutgers English degrees for having improved job prospects as English Sanitation Clerks, except they will never have heard the words they’re trying to sanitize.

Bab’l, Towr of

Rutgers English Department to deemphasize traditional grammar ‘in solidarity with Black Lives Matter’

“Under a so-called critical grammar pedagogy, “This approach challenges the familiar dogma that writing instruction should limit emphasis on grammar/sentence-level issues so as to not put students from multilingual, non-standard ‘academic’ English backgrounds at a disadvantage,” the email states. [So long as they are not Asian.]

“Instead, it encourages students to develop a critical awareness of the variety of choices available to them w/ regard to micro-level issues in order to empower them and equip them to push against biases based on ‘written’ accents.””

Well, writing that in Ebonics would be an improvement. At least it would be less confusing about the dogma Rutgers no longer favors.

But, it’s not Ebonics I want to pick on here. Like any useful vernacular it affects the everyday language of most of the population. Words creep into accepted usage as the language naturally evolves. Still, there are standards for spelling, sentence structure and grammar that need not be hastily discarded by imposing Critical Theory memes.

It’s not that Rutgers is returning to rigorous grammar instruction, the dogma most of us would expect to inform University level English courses. They are abandoning grammar/sentence level instruction entirely.

An emphasis on grammar has a place in at least some University English courses, and certainly should be required for an English degree. Poetry, obviously, has different rules from prose, and Creative Writing 201 might encourage you to break rules. But to break them effectively you have to know what they are, and why they are. Entry to a University used to assume that incoming students did know.

But, in a rush to wokeness, Rutgers “”has moved past bias awareness and prevention and into a focus on “decolonization.””

Put more clearly, bias awareness has become insufficiently patronizing – we now need to let students know that whatever ideas of English they bring with them are as valid as any other ideas, because some students aren’t capable of learning. Because “white supremacy.”

The real irony is that the pedagogical change order was written by a Professor of English trying to impress his peers. If he wanted to help those who can’t grok English grammar he might have abandoned the critical theory box checking and used a comprehensible sentence structure. Instead, we have wordy, woke, Academiot jargon.

One might wonder how those downtrodden souls came to be in an elite college English program. Surely an inability to distinguish an adjective from an adverb should have funneled them into a Grievance Studies discipline (to maintain the fiction that English hasn’t become one), where nouns are regularly made into verbs.

Ignorance of commas: “Protest, shootings, and arson,” rather than “Protest shootings and arson,” might pass in an Applied Critical Theory class where there is only one possible meaning. But it could limit your chances of entering J-school at Columbia.

And, these days, not understanding pronoun disagreement could be fatal to your career.

Lest you think this sleight of hand racism is unique to Rutgers, let’s take a similar example from a Ball State conference:
Professor says grading, good grammar are examples of white supremacy

“White language supremacy, according to [Asao] Inoue, [associate dean of the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts at Arizona State] is “the condition in classrooms, schools, and society where rewards are given in determined ways to people who can most easily reach them, because those people have more access to the preferred and embodied white language practices, and part of that access is a structural assumption that what is reachable at a given moment for the normative, white, monolingual English user is reachable for all.””

Translated: Grades should be given in mysterious ways (though with extra credit for the oppressed) to those who have the most to learn – whether they learn or not. We must assume these people can’t learn another dialect.

A Masters (A word on the way out, and I don’t think we can use “He da man,” either.) in English is now a purely political credential.

So, now I’m wondering about what happens when the “pedagogy” meets the rubric. Starting with why someone would pay over $900 per credit hour, plus room and board, for a English degree from Rutgers?

The English language is the remit (noun) of Professors of English. They are choosing to trash it.