The Logical End Result of Postmodernism Is Here

The rapidness with which our once beloved country seems to be disintegrating before our eyes is truly astounding. Perhaps we’re all finally losing our heads due to the COVID-19 lockdowns. Why not go out and loot the local Target and burn small businesses to the ground in the name of racial justice?

I’m sure the lockdowns are fanning the flames, as it were, but something else must be going on too. It’s time to drop the pretense that this is about the sad death of George Floyd any longer. A friend asked: Isn’t it possible to be in favor of protesting this man’s death from brutal police action while at the same time being against the rioting and destruction? Why do all the bien pensants in media and politics either approve of the utter devastation of American cities, because they deem the rioters’ cause to be legitimate, or qualify every condemnation of violence with a “yes, but…”?

A poignant book called “Why Terrorism Works”, written by Alan Dershowitz a year after 9/11, came to mind recently. In it, Dershowitz argued that terrorism started paying off in the 1960s and 70s because it led gullible Westerners to assume that if Palestinians were ready to give their lives for the cause, the latter must be truly desperate in their state of oppression. Rather than uniformly condemning Palestinian terrorism, a good chunk of the Western intelligentsia, already steeped in various forms of Marxist claptrap, actively sympathized with its cause. This, in turn, was perceived by the PLO and later Hamas as a reward for their actions and hence further fueled the terrorism, Dershowitz wrote.

A similar dynamic is at work here. Every day at 1PM, when these thugs wake up hungover from the previous night’s destructive binge, they turn on CNN and find the usual talking heads yapping away about how legitimate anger within the black community lies at the roots of these riots. All of a sudden, all the right-thinking people are discussing police brutality, racism and economic injustice. Would it be a stretch of the imagination to assume the perpetrators of these crimes are high-fiving each other in glee over the fact they got their mission accomplished while guilt-ridden middle-class whites are still sobbing about their own racism?

It is clear that the death of George Floyd is a mere pretext, perhaps not for all participants, but certainly for their BLM and Antifa organizers.

Vermont Governor Phil Scott (a Republican, mind you) stated on social media yesterday that “while we’re watching the response across the country, it’s important to reflect on a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, who said, ‘A riot is the language of the unheard.’ They simply don’t know what else to do.” With all due respect, Governor, but how about a peaceful protest instead? Not that the casual observer would learn from reading your statement that businesses are being looted and burned down, by the way, because it doesn’t make any mention of that horrible fact.

So marinated are we in this victimhood narrative that few people are even questioning its premises, much less dive into its ideological roots. It is clear, however, that the death of George Floyd is a mere pretext, perhaps not for all participants, but certainly for their BLM and Antifa organizers. What we’re witnessing is decades of postmodernism and Cultural Marxism coming to full fruition. For too long, we have educated our young to question the legitimacy of the very foundations of Western civilization, and now we’re left with an army of intellectual illiterates whose only motivator is a nihilist desire to burn down the house.

The core of the postmodernist ideology they were indoctrinated with in college is that any claim to truth, as well as value systems, are inherently subjective and a product of political, historical, and cultural circumstances. This means that if we Westerners came up with this splendid idea of ordered liberty and representative democracy, well, that’s just the result of a bunch of old white men exercising their white privilege. It cannot be argued that said system is inherently superior to any other, including, presumably, Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union.

The next step is to wield any inevitable displays of inequality in our societies as a weapon against ‘the system’ in order to sow resentment among the not-so-well-off masses. The classic Marxist dichotomy of ‘capitalist versus worker’ became irrelevant over time, as middle-class wealth grew after World War II while the Soviet Union resorted to ever more repression to squelch dissent. Therefore, Marx’s twentieth-century disciples made a lateral step: It wasn’t necessarily the problem of the rich exploiting the poor which needed correcting, but whites exploiting minorities, men exploiting women, and heterosexuals exploiting gays and transgenders.

Can you deduce from the above list which group emerges at the top of the hierarchy? Yes, it’s Straight Christian White Men, who are at this point deemed to be fully deserving of all the scorn we can hurl at them.

To the radical Left, [the mom ‘n pops clothing store] was part of ‘the system’ and therefore part of the problem. And a legitimate target of their rage.

And boy, is there a lot of exploiting that needs correcting. Once one’s head is locked up in the narrative that every person of color, every woman, and every homosexual is in one way or another a victim of heterosexual white male oppression, one will start to see examples anywhere and everywhere. A wage gap here, a police killing there, a gay bashing or two — anything will do. Since these injustices haven’t arisen despite our institutions and political and economic freedom but because of them, our very societal foundations are fair game for criticism — and far worse.

For the Antifa folks as well as the more radical elements within the Black Lives Matter movement, this means it’s A-OK to burn a church to the ground, that building being part of an institution which has actively enabled the oppression. The same goes for our democratic institutions, law enforcement, and symbols of free market capitalism (in other words, businesses of any size). When regular folks lament the mom ‘n pops clothing store being looted overnight, what they don’t understand is that, to the radical Left, that place was part of ‘the system’ and therefore part of the problem. And a legitimate target of their rage.

This is what’s going on in this country at the moment. It would be sad and despicable even if we weren’t in the waxing days of the most devastating economic crisis since 1929 already. But a reality it is nonetheless. One can only hope there are enough decent Americans left to prevent our slide into Weimar territory.

12 Comments

  1. Mark wrote: Well, aren’t you special.

    How am I presenting myself as “special” if I prefer to engage in discussions with a group of people rather than just one person? Especially if that one person – you – has made it clear that he doesn’t want to engage in discussions with me?

    Mark wrote: YOU are the one coming here time after time.

    You’ve made this point before and it still doesn’t make sense. First, the whole point of a blog is to attract an audience and comments. Second, I’ve posted comments on only a small handful of articles, which is a far cry from “time after time.” Apparently your blog is not attracting active participants, so it isn’t a good fit.

    Mark wrote: take you about as much time to write as it takes me to write my original posts

    If a busy man like you can run a blog, a busy man like me can respond to a blog. That’s precisely why it’s obvious that your remark about me being retired with too much time on my hands is a silly ad hominem attack.

    Mark wrote: difference between home mortgage and commercial mortgage

    As you know, there are plenty of homeowners and tenants with mortgages and rents well in excess of 25% of their income, who live paycheck-to-paycheck. As you know, there are plenty of people who can’t “easily cover” personal expenses with personal savings, especially when they experience a sudden decrease or loss of income.

    I’m not sure where you’re going with your argument, but it still looks like you’re expecting businesses to get protection from socialized government programs and policies, but you want to deny those protections to homeowners and renters.

    Mark wrote: Sam Harris naming identity politics as the culprit for these riots

    Harris doesn’t name identity politics as THE culprit for the riots. The riots, the protests, the looting and burnings, BLM, calls for police reforms, calls for greater equality (or at least less inequality), etc., all of these things have multiple factors.

    By the way, if you’re going to tell me what Harris said, please do what I did: Quote him.

    Mark wrote: Where do you think identity politics originated?

    Since the 1960’s I’ve watched identity politics change and evolve. Anyone who studies history can see how it has changed and evolved over the centuries in different times and places. Identity politics is a big, complex topic. Back in the 1990’s I read Arthur Schlesinger’s provocative book on the topic, The Disuniting of America, which, alas, didn’t mention Cultural Marxism or postmodernism.

    Cultural Marxism and postmodernism are factors in some instances of identity politics, but I don’t consider either one to be a significant factor in any of the challenges facing Western democracies. To me it mostly comes down to bread-and-butter issues.

    Can you recommend a good book that makes the case for how Cultural Marxism and postmodernism are prime factors in the decline and fall of Western civilization? Better yet, can you recommend a good book that explains your preferred economic/political views?

    Mark wrote: go find a group forum to release your energy

    The only reason your blog isn’t a “group forum” is because you haven’t attracted even a small number of active participants. That’s an observation, not a criticism.

    It’s not strange for serious people to look for group discussions with other serious people, notwithstanding your efforts to make it seem abnormal. Serious people engaging in serious discussions is not a mere “release of energy.” As Harris said, civilizations are built on a series of productive conversations (not to be confused with fun and easy conversations). People who see tough questions as “hostile comments” are not capable of having productive conversations.

    Next week I’ll check to see if you offer any book recommendation. Otherwise, this is goodbye.

    Take care.

  2. “And from my perspective there’s another problem: If I’m going to spend a significant amount of time and effort in serious discussions, it has to be a group discussion to make it worthwhile. By group, I mean at least a few well-informed, intelligent individuals who enjoy answering tough questions. To be constructive, big, complex discussions require more than the perspectives of two people. From what I can see your blog has not attracted such a group.”

    Well, aren’t you special. YOU are the one coming here time after time to post comments which take you about as much time to write as it takes me to write my original posts. By all means, go find a group forum to release your energy.

    As for “home vs. business mortgage”: If you were so well versed on how businesses work, you’d be honest enough to acknowledge a difference between a $2,000 home mortgage payment, which can easily be covered by some personal savings, and a $100,000 commercial mortgage payment which equals 25% of a company’s revenues and cannot be covered when said revenues all of a sudden drop to zero for months on end.

    Finally, regarding Sam Harris naming identity politics as the culprit for these riots and not CultMarx and PoMo: Where do you think identity politics originated?

  3. Like you, Harris fears that we’re facing some existential threats, nationally and globally. He doesn’t mention Cultural Marxism or postmodernism as factors. Instead, Harris seems to be concerned primarily with these five factors: identity politics, the inability and unwillingness to have conversations, a large and growing failure to recognize reality and facts, chronic and worsening inequality, and a drift toward authoritarianism (accelerated under Trump). Or, to put it more succinctly, Harris says that “we seem to be driving ourselves mad.”

    I agree with Harris.

    Harris: “The only tool we have for making progress is conversations.”

    I agree – successful, productive conversations are necessary, not only for progress, but for the creation, maintenance and survival of a civilization. Harris is referring to difficult conversations, not easy and pleasant conversations. Similarly, when talking about free speech protections, we’re not talking about easy and pleasant speech (which wouldn’t require protections).

    Harris (regarding conversations): “Your capacity to be offended isn’t something that you should respect. In fact, it’s something that you should be on your guard for. Perhaps more than any other property of your mind, this feeling can mislead you.”

    Once in a while Harris leaves me breathless with his eloquence. In the context of identity politics, we’ve seen all sides offended and outraged (the “politics of outrage” and “gotcha politics”), effectively shutting down any chance at communication. In the context of our conversations, you have been offended by me. You have called me a troll. You have deleted my comments. You have used multiple ad hominem attacks under the pretext of making “logical” assumptions about me. You have done exactly what you accuse snowflake liberals of doing.

    For the record, when I challenge a liberal I’m often accused of being a conservative and when I challenge a conservative I’m often accused of being a liberal. You aren’t the only one who makes assumptions.

    Harris: “The Left is trying to shutdown conversations.”

    Yes, that’s true up to a point. But the Left and the Right have been doing this for years. Moreover, the Left and the Right have been lying to us and distorting facts. However, there have been pockets of sanity and integrity on both sides.

    Harris: “It’s possible that these protests wouldn’t even be happening but for the fact that Trump is president. Whether the problem of racism has actually gotten worse in our society, having Trump as president surely makes it seem like it has. It has been such a repudiation of the Obama presidency that for many people it has made it seem that white supremacy is now ascendant.”

    That’s an interesting speculation. I think it’s an undeniable fact that Trump has bolstered the egos, zeal and paranoia of white supremacists, white nationalists, racists, xenophobes, jingoists, conspiracy theorists, and gun nuts, even if it hasn’t been intentional.

    Unfortunately, Trump isn’t the only one messing with the minds and emotions of Trump voters. You’ll recall that nearly half of all Trump voters believed that Pizzagate was either true or could be true. I’m a harsh critic of Bill and Hillary Clinton, but give me a break.

    Harris: “Antifa has a similar problem with BLM, though happily, unlike Antifa, BLM seems committed to peaceful protests, which is hugely important.”

    Like you, Harris associates Antifa with BLM. Unlike you, he points out a hugely important difference. I’d say to Harris what I said to you: When there’s a “hugely important” difference between two groups, be very careful when associating them, and it’s probably better that you don’t. There are better ways to make your point. (Recall Godwin’s Law)

    Harris correctly (and bravely) points out that a disproportionate amount of crime is committed by blacks. Harris says that we need more police in crime-ridden cities. Regarding non-lethal police action and force, Harris points out that blacks have it much worse than whites. Harris points to the crippling legacy of inequality between blacks and whites (e.g. the median black household has only one-tenth the assets of the median white household). But then Harris states, several times, that we need to stop focusing on race. That’s easier said than done given the aforementioned issues.

    Harris (regarding George Floyd): “If not for the video, it’s likely that the cops would have got away with it.”

    Sad but true. One good thing coming out of this is a grassroots movement for much-needed police reforms. Don’t bother telling me that defunding or eliminating police is irrational; I already know and so does Harris.

    Harris: “The tragedy of George Floyd doesn’t prove rampant racism on the part of police. It doesn’t even prove that the cop who killed Floyd is racist.”

    I agree.

    Harris: “The people in LA who are protesting, rioting, looting and burning probably don’t know or care that LA is at a 30-year-low for police shootings and killings.”

    I understand the point Harris is trying to make, but I’d need more information before I could properly evaluate it. For example, while a 30-year-low is a sign of progress, it doesn’t prove, on its own, that a reasonable or acceptable amount of progress has been made.

    Harris (quoting Adam Smith): “People have a very basic desire to be believed, to persuade others, to be a thought leader of others.”

    I’m more interested in learning from others than persuading others. Here’s the thing: In order to learn from others, one must offer credible, persuasive arguments. One must ask and answer thoughtful, tough questions.

    It’s nice that there are people on your blog who agree with you. A blogger needs fans and a following. But you might consider a change of pace and engage with someone who challenges you. From the time I was a boy, whenever I expressed an opinion on any important topic, it was always my desire that some smart, thoughtful person would challenge and test me. I understood from an early age how easy it is for people – including myself – to make errors and fool themselves.

    As I said in a previous comment, if I had a blog and no one ever challenged me, I’d consider it a total failure. Without challenges I see no point to a blog. One of the reasons I admire Sam Harris is that he doesn’t avoid people who challenge his views. Harris understands the value of challenges.

    You can respond to my response to Harris, after which we could part ways. Beyond that, if you want to continue our conversation, you can give me that book recommendation I’ve been asking for. If at this point you exercise your right not to have any further discussions with me, that’s fine too. If you don’t respond this will be my final comment.

    In any case, thanks for the invite to Harris’ podcast. I enjoyed listening and responding to it.

  4. Mark wrote: That’s a rather selective quotation, and you know it. That entire paragraph was about my business.

    Mark, you mystify me. Quotes are, by definition, “selective.” You might suspect that my selection is designed to take your statement out of context, but as I’ve already explained, it makes little or no difference whether it’s a business mortgage or a personal mortgage. The general topic I’m pursuing, in the context of your conservative/libertarian views, is socialized government policies and interventions.

    Mark wrote: I guess you would know what most businesses do, having never run one yourself.

    Again you mystify me. You’re wrong; I’ve been a business owner, both by myself and with partners. I’ve also worked as a consultant for business owners. Your “assumption” is pure ad hominem, because even if it were true that I’ve never run a business, I read a lot of business and economics-related material and I know people who work in commercial real estate. It’s easy to find information on commercial leasing. Apparently you think that such information is privy only to business owners, which is silly.

    It may not seem relevant to you, but I’m an older man with a lifetime of experience and I’ve always made the effort to be reasonably informed. It’s not a brag that I’ve read countless books on economics, politics, science, philosophy and culture. I enjoy it and I’m still trying to make sense of things; I’m the proverbial “lifelong student.” Having said that, I don’t claim to be the “expert” you claim to be. 🙂

    Mark wrote: I fail to see what this means in a practical sense, and particularly for small businesses, which are still the backbone of our nation’s economy.

    I stated in simple terms what it means: Under the present economic circumstances, this is a particularly good time for serious, informed thinkers – conservative, libertarian, liberal – to discuss policy ideas. I’m not sure why you felt the need to tell me that small businesses are important. If I gave any hint that they aren’t important, please provide a quote.

    Mark wrote: You’re damn right I’ll accept whatever government money I can get my hands on right now, since it’s the government which shut down my business in the first place.

    As you know, some libertarians accept some government intervention. For example, most libertarians accept the necessity of a national defense. The world can be a dangerous place for free societies.

    Likewise, some libertarians acknowledge some of the dangers in local communities. For example, if a restaurant is rat-infested, or serving food contaminated with hepatitis, some libertarians are okay with the government shutting it down until the problems are fixed. Of course things get more complicated with a global pandemic and the government shuts down vast numbers of businesses in an effort to protect people from serious illness or death.

    Reasonable people can discuss the pros and cons of the best response to a global pandemic that has, say, a one percent or higher mortality rate. Even libertarians will disagree on the best policies.

    Mark wrote: I don’t recall Tea Partiers looting Nike stores and burning down buildings.

    I don’t recall BLM advocating looting and burning, or any kind of violence or destruction. If you are unaware of acts of vandalism, threats of violence, and actual violence resulting from Tea Party fervor, I encourage you to get better informed on the topic.

    Mark wrote: What is going on at the moment is not by any means rational or reasonable. It’s utter nihilism.

    I assume you’re referring to the looting and burning, among other things. Some aspects of the protests, and some of the related political responses and actions, are in fact rational and reasonable. If all you look for is what’s irrational and unreasonable, that’s all you’ll see.

    Besides that, the parts that are irrational and unreasonable are happening for a reason. You think the root is Cultural Marxism and postmodernism. I don’t.

    Mark wrote: Cultural Marxism and postmodernism are at the root of what we’re seeing now from both organizations.

    So you keep saying. I don’t agree. It’s a big, complex topic. If I thought you were interested in having serious discussions with me, I might be willing to go down that long road. However, you’ve already said you don’t have the time (or interest).

    And from my perspective there’s another problem: If I’m going to spend a significant amount of time and effort in serious discussions, it has to be a group discussion to make it worthwhile. By group, I mean at least a few well-informed, intelligent individuals who enjoy answering tough questions. To be constructive, big, complex discussions require more than the perspectives of two people. From what I can see your blog has not attracted such a group.

    Perhaps you believe that Cultural Marxism and postmodernism is the Grand Unified Theory that explains everything big and small. Theory is fine, but theory must relate to the real world. I’m an engineer with a science background, so I enjoy abstractions as much as any nerd, but I’m also pragmatic. If, for example, I believed that postmodernism was at the heart of what’s ailing us, I’d offer tangible, real-world examples that support my assertion. You can say that Cultural Marxism and postmodernism are at the root of looting and burning, but you’ve got to support your claim and connect the dots. If people aren’t willing to connect the dots for you, it doesn’t help your cause or your blog to dismiss them for “not wanting to read anything about Cultural Marxism and postmodernism.” Of course, such a dismissal spares you the work of explaining and supporting your views.

    I know what Cultural Marxism and postmodernism are. I don’t think they’re at the root of our problems. I’m open to persuasion when I see a good argument. If I were to state a tentative opinion, it would be something like this: Even if Cultural Marxism and postmodernism are factors for some of our problems, there are many other factors that are more important.

    Mark wrote: The problem is that you’re clearly retired and have too much time on your hands.

    Interesting. You’re the one with the time to be an expert on politics, culture and philosophy and the time to run a blog and I’m the one who’s clearly retired with too much time on my hands? How many people do you think I’m posting comments to? I type fast. And for the record, I’m not retired (sigh, you’re wrong again). I commute between Northern and Southern California. I don’t watch TV, I don’t follow any sports, I don’t play video games, I don’t do social media, my kids are independent adults, etc.

    The average American spends 5 hours per day watching TV (150 hours per month), which strikes me as an obscene waste of time. If all we do is consider the fact that I don’t watch any TV, how much time do you think I spend writing comments to you? Your ad hominem attacks are absurdly lame. Even if I foolishly waste two hours per month on you, I’m still 148 hours ahead of the game, relative to the average American.

    I can’t resist asking: Is it better to waste a little time on you each month, reading your essays, quoting you, asking questions, challenging you, or is it better for me to waste that time on TV? What do you – the cultural expert – say about that? 🙂

    I’m surprised that you – a blogger – are essentially telling me that attempting to engage with you in a serious discussion is a waste of my time. Amazing. Think about the implications of what you’re saying.

    I haven’t created a blog yet because I’m not retired and therefore I don’t have the time. For years I’ve been itching to create a blog focused primarily on economic issues, not because I consider myself any kind of expert, but because I want to learn from others and correct the errors in my views. As such, if no one ever shows me how I’m wrong about anything, I would consider my blog to be a complete failure. There’s absolutely no reason for me to assume that I know everything or I’m right about everything. Indeed, such a notion is absurd.

    Mark wrote: With all due respect, that’s not a normal amount of attention for one part-time blogger with an average of 3 daily page views.

    More ad hominem absurdities. With all due respect, for the sake of your blog, I hope you realize that spending a couple of hours per month on your blog is at least a little more “normal” than spending 150 hours watching TV. I concede that even the dumbest TV shows get millions of viewers, not just three as your blog does. However, if you keep trying, maybe you’ll convince me that TV is the better option. 🙂

    I’m guessing you spend more time writing the articles for your blog than I spend writing my responses, partly because I’m not spending any time with editing. It’s funny that you think you’re making good use of your time but I’m wasting mine.

    For over twenty years I’ve been running two book clubs that meet once a month – a fiction and nonfiction group. These are face-to-face book clubs, not internet. (Well, actually, during the current restrictions we’ve been forced to have Zoom meetings) There is only one reason I run these book clubs: When I read a book, I get a lot more out of it when I discuss it with other serious, intelligent, well-informed people. We often disagree with each other and it doesn’t bother anyone.

    Now that you know I run two book clubs, are you tempted to tell me I’m clearly retired with too much time on my hands? After all, my book club discussions take four to six hours per month, which is far more time than I take to post comments on your blog.

    It’s okay for you to dish out a string of crazy, incorrect assumptions about me, but when one of my assumptions is wrong in a minor, inconsequential way (e.g. business mortgage vs. home mortgage), I’m a troll. Go figure.

    Mark wrote: For a great take-down of this narrative by an anti-Trump liberal, listen to Sam Harris’ podcast

    Before you accuse me of not reading Sam Harris, let me tell you that I’m a fan of Harris and I’ve read all his books. Not only did I write a 5-star Amazon review of one of Harris’ books – The Moral Landscape – I recommend that book to anyone who claims that atheism and atheists are amoral or immoral, and therefore theism is necessary.

    I tell you what. Since you’re inviting me to listen to that podcast, I’ll do it and my next comment to you will be my response. Keep in mind that I’ll be responding to Harris, not you. Like you, Harris can be provocative, but unlike you, Harris explains his views in detail, almost to a fault, which I like. Like you, I don’t always agree with Harris, but since I’m a fan I’m certainly not biased against him.

    Oh, and by the way, there are plenty of anti-Trump conservatives and libertarians, as well as plenty of conservatives and libertarians who at least disagree with Trump on some issues (which Trump often can’t tolerate). As long as you focus on liberals, you can dismiss criticism as TDS.

    Mark wrote: I reserve the right to not answer.

    Of course, and we both know you reserve the right to delete comments from people like me who question or challenge you. I’ve already told you my position on internet discussions: If you don’t enjoy it, don’t do it. Also, don’t do it just because someone is wrong on the internet, as per the joke I shared with you.

    It’s entirely up to you if you want to respond to my response to Harris. It might be interesting to see where we agree and disagree on Harris’ views. I’ll pay special attention to see if Harris mentions Cultural Marxism and postmodernism. 🙂

    I’d still appreciate a book recommendation, but if a podcast is the best you can do, I’ll take it. I’ve listened to Harris’ podcast before, but it’s been a while.

    By the way, I have no plans to respond to your current article, Stampede of the Brainless Smartphone Addicts. You’ll be shocked to know that even I have limits on how much time I’ll spend on you. Truth be told, I’m glad to spend some time with Sam Harris.

  5. Mark wrote: “I’m deferring my mortgage payments and any other bills which can wait.”

    That’s a rather selective quotation, and you know it. That entire paragraph was about my business.

    “As you know, most companies lease commercial property, so when one hears the phrase “mortgage payment,” it isn’t “trollish” to think of a personal home mortgage. Moreover, whether it’s a home mortgage or a business property mortgage, it makes little difference to my general point – either way government assistance is involved. In other words, either way a socialist government policy is involved.”

    I guess you would know what most businesses do, having never run one yourself.

    “I’m aware that many businesses have thin margins and not a lot of spare capital to see them through rough patches. But the current economic circumstances, as bad as they are, offer an opportunity to see what conservatives, libertarians and liberals want to do. This is a time for discussing ideas, not staying quiet.”

    I fail to see what this means in a practical sense, and particularly for small businesses, which are still the backbone of our nation’s economy.

    “From what I can tell, I’m guessing you’re some kind of libertarian, which is a political philosophy I’m interested in. If you are expecting to receive help from the government, for a business mortgage or a home mortgage, or help with business-related bills or personal bills, my questions will be very much the same.”

    You’re damn right I’ll accept whatever government money I can get my hands on right now, since it’s the government which shut down my business in the first place. This is not a normal economic event in which the economy tanks and 10-20% of the businesses go under. In 2020, every business except Zoom and Facebook will go under if we don’t recover soon. I’ve been rooting for the Swedes since day 1 of this crisis. It seems like they were able to avert Armageddon, and the world would have been far better off adopting the Swedish model.

    “I’m not a fan of Antifa. ‘Cultural Marxism and postmodernism’ are the least of Antifa’s problems. BLM is evolving into an organized political response to the ongoing problem of racism in America. Like any large political group, BLM is a mix of rational and emotional, reasonable and unreasonable. You’ll recall the Tea Party movement.”

    I don’t recall Tea Partiers looting Nike stores and burning down buildings. But at any rate, Cultural Marxism and postmodernism are at the root of what we’re seeing now from both organizations. What is going on at the moment is not by any means rational or reasonable. It’s utter nihilism. If we understand what ideological folly drives these people, we can combat their narrative.

    For a great take-down of this narrative by an anti-Trump liberal, listen to Sam Harris’ podcast: https://samharris.org/podcasts/207-can-pull-back-brink/. It’s almost two hours long, but that shouldn’t be a problem for you. I disagree with a lot of what he says, but he offers a reasoned response to what’s going on in the streets, the media coverage, and the potential political consequences.

    “Regarding how busy you are and your priorities, hey, you’re the guy who’s running a personal blog with comments turned on. I think you are interpreting my questions and my disagreement as “unfriendly.” When someone disagrees with me, that means they’re showing real interest. I want my ideas to be tested by people who disagree with me. Trolls write comments that are full of irrational, incoherent, ad hominem attacks.

    (…)

    Going forward, let me say that you needn’t worry that I’m going to be a perpetual thorn in your side. If you are the sort of libertarian or conservative who doesn’t enjoy responding to tough questions, and if you won’t or can’t offer detailed explanations for your political and economic solutions, I’ll move on. I’m looking for smart ideas, not a way to pass time.”

    The problem is that you’re clearly retired and have too much time on your hands. You wrote 7 lengthy comments just under my book review. With all due respect, that’s not a normal amount of attention for one part-time blogger with an average of 3 daily page views. You need to stay away from your computer once in a while. I have a business to run and a family to entertain. If my choice is to come here to put my thoughts on paper in a manner meaningful to myself, and responding to multiple hostile comments longer than my initial article, I will happily choose the former.

    Don’t let that deter you from commenting. I wouldn’t want to infringe your First Amendment rights. That said, I reserve the right to not answer.

  6. Mark wrote: “When you, presumably deliberately, twist my words to make it seem like I don’t have a little bit of savings to pay my PERSONAL mortgage, under an article that was clearly about my BUSINESS, I will remove your annoying troll comment, yes.”

    I have a habit of quoting what I’m responding to, as I’m doing now. I do this precisely because I want to reduce the risk that I might inadvertently “twist” someone’s words. Reasonable, sincere people can disagree and even misunderstand each other. Reasonable people then try to correct misunderstandings. You, however, simply deleted my entire comment.

    I responded to multiple quotes in the comment you deleted. It looks like you were offended by one response. It’s odd that you consider me a troll, since my interpretation of what you wrote is completely reasonable. Here’s the quote again:

    Mark wrote: “I’m deferring my mortgage payments and any other bills which can wait.”

    As you know, most companies lease commercial property, so when one hears the phrase “mortgage payment,” it isn’t “trollish” to think of a personal home mortgage. Moreover, whether it’s a home mortgage or a business property mortgage, it makes little difference to my general point – either way government assistance is involved. In other words, either way a socialist government policy is involved.

    From what I can tell, I’m guessing you’re some kind of libertarian, which is a political philosophy I’m interested in. If you are expecting to receive help from the government, for a business mortgage or a home mortgage, or help with business-related bills or personal bills, my questions will be very much the same.

    I’m aware that many businesses have thin margins and not a lot of spare capital to see them through rough patches. But the current economic circumstances, as bad as they are, offer an opportunity to see what conservatives, libertarians and liberals want to do. This is a time for discussing ideas, not staying quiet.

    I’m not a fan of Antifa. “Cultural Marxism and postmodernism” are the least of Antifa’s problems. BLM is evolving into an organized political response to the ongoing problem of racism in America. Like any large political group, BLM is a mix of rational and emotional, reasonable and unreasonable. You’ll recall the Tea Party movement.

    If you want to discuss this further, I’d prefer that you respond to the points I made in response to your current article.

    Regarding how busy you are and your priorities, hey, you’re the guy who’s running a personal blog with comments turned on. I think you are interpreting my questions and my disagreement as “unfriendly.” When someone disagrees with me, that means they’re showing real interest. I want my ideas to be tested by people who disagree with me. Trolls write comments that are full of irrational, incoherent, ad hominem attacks.

    Keep in mind, too, that even if you don’t respond to my comments, it’s possible that other people who read your blog might want to respond. You state an opinion, and perhaps I ask questions or disagree with you, and then a third and fourth person might ask questions and disagree with both you and me. Call me crazy, but isn’t that the point of a blog with open comments?

    If you’re not going to respond to my points, either for lack of interest or lack of time, I’ll ask you to do something simple that requires no time or effort, something that no troll would ask for: Please give me a book recommendation that explains in detail your political and economic views. It’s not unfriendly or pushy of me to ask for a book recommendation.

    Going forward, let me say that you needn’t worry that I’m going to be a perpetual thorn in your side. If you are the sort of libertarian or conservative who doesn’t enjoy responding to tough questions, and if you won’t or can’t offer detailed explanations for your political and economic solutions, I’ll move on. I’m looking for smart ideas, not a way to pass time.

    It’s like the old joke:

    Wife: Coming to bed?
    Husband, sitting at computer: I can’t, this is important.
    Wife: What?
    Husband: Someone is wrong on the internet.

    .

  7. I don’t lack the courage to allow some disagreement on this blog. But when you, presumably deliberately, twist my words to make it seem like I don’t have a little bit of savings to pay my PERSONAL mortgage, under an article that was clearly about my BUSINESS, I will remove your annoying troll comment, yes.

    For the rest, since you don’t want to read anything about Cultural Marxism and postmodernism, which have permeated both Antifa and BLM (the latter’s leaders are decidedly violent and radical, by the way), we will not reach agreement on this, I’m afraid. And since I’m a busy guy, I have other priorities than dealing with unfriendly and pushy comments.

  8. This comment is a response to April.

    In times of extreme stress and anxiety, you’re going to see some extreme, distorted narratives. Just when we were beginning to get over the financial and economic trauma of 2008, we’ve been hit with even worse financial and economic problems.

    And guess what? There’s no denying that racism has been, and still is, a big problem in the US. Regarding excessive police force, including lethal force, it’s clearly worse for blacks than for whites. The cause is not entirely due to racism, but racism is a part of it.

    Did you see Jacob Frey, the mayor of Minneapolis on the news last week? He said that it’s very difficult and sometimes impossible to get rid of bad police officers. He said that it’s a serious problem, and if it’s a serious problem in Minneapolis, it’s probably a serious problem in many cities. It doesn’t take a lot of bad police officers to create the general appearance of bad police. Just like it didn’t take a lot of bad Catholic priests or Boy Scout leaders to create the general appearance that the Catholic church and the Boy Scouts were bad. Or, for that matter, the general appearance that powerful men are sexual predators, including politicians, music performers, movie producers, actors, athletes, etc.

    I’m guessing that, like me, you lock the doors to your house and car at night, even though you know that 95% of the people in your town are nice, honest people. Millions of Americans who live in decent towns own guns for “protection.” The statistical odds that they will ever actually use their guns for protection are extremely low. Indeed, many people are surprised to learn that a majority of police officers never fire their guns on duty in their entire career.

    I’m a white, upper-middle-class man. Growing up in the 50’s and 60’s, I saw plenty of legal, institutional racism. I saw good neighborhoods devolve into ghettos when factories and plants started leaving. This is all recent history for me. It’s not “white guilt” for me to acknowledge that we still have a long way to go, not just for black Americans but for many Americans who live paycheck-to-paycheck with economic insecurity. I personally know younger married working couples who live paycheck-to-paycheck. I personally know people who have fulltime jobs who also do so-called gig jobs in order to get a little spending money. So even before Covid-19, when employment levels were at record highs, there were many people (way too many people) just barely making it.

    Keep in mind that it’s more than just the shocking video of George Floyd. There’s everything that happened afterward, the lack of full accountability. That’s what made the sex scandals in the Catholic church and Boy Scouts much worse – the lack of accountability and the coverups. I could mention Bill Cosby, Epstein and Weinstein – all the people who covered up and enabled. There has been an overall pattern of abuse and non-accountability. Once in a while people say, “Enough is enough.”

    In times of extreme stress and anxiety, I think it’s unreasonable for you to expect everyone to be completely rational, analytical and objective. If you look for the most distorted “narratives,” that’s what you’ll find, but there are also constructive narratives out there. Look for them too. I’ll bet that even among your own family and friends, people can be emotional and irrational at times of extreme stress and anxiety. And I’ll bet you don’t condemn them.

    Things to focus on: Racism is still a problem. Bad police is still a problem. Economic insecurity is still a problem. Inequality is still a problem. Political corruption and cronyism are still problems. And so on. All these things are much bigger problems than the people you worry about with distorted narratives.

    Speaking of distorted narratives, what do you think of Trump claiming that the 75-year-old man knocked down by police was an Antifa operative attempting to jam police communications equipment? 🙂

  9. Mark, I know you’ll delete my comment from public view, but at least you’ll see it.

    1) Please support, with actual sources and quotes, how the “bien pensant” news media and politicians have been “approving” the lootings, burnings, destruction, etc. Don’t just tell us they’re doing it; show us.

    You seem to agree that George Floyd was a victim of “brutal police action.” However, your comment doesn’t say anything about the positive effects of the peaceful protests and demonstrations on making the police accountable for that brutal action. The protests and demonstrations are not a “pretense.” As for the looters, some of the ones who get caught might pretend it’s about Floyd, but criminals always have excuses. What’s new?

    2) You seem to be conflating BLM and Antifa. Why? From what I know, BLM is explicitly non-violent. How is Floyd a “mere pretext” for BLM?

    3) You say that the “perpetrators of these crimes” – the looters – have “accomplished their mission” and are “high-fiving.” Please explain what that mission was (other than opportunistic looting).

    By the way, when the government bailed out rich people in 2008 and again in 2020, I’m sure there was a lot of high-fiving going on.

    3) Show us some compelling evidence that our “educated young citizens” want to “burn down the house.” I wonder if you even know what the Top Ten issues are for educated Americans in their 20’s and 30’s. Hint: They’re not “nihilists,” as you claim.

    4) Give us an example of any person of consequence or influence who says that “ordered liberty and representative democracy” aren’t better than “Nazi Germany or Russia.” What nonsense!

    5) Mark often criticizes the Left for playing victim cards, but he plays a victim card: Straight Christian White Men, as well as middle-class whites made to feel guilty for all the problems in the world. Indeed, a recurring theme in Mark’s blog is white victimization, middle-class and above, of course.

    Does Mark think that Straight Christian White Men deserve any of “the scorn we can hurl at them”? He doesn’t say. He merely laments that they have received so much. Apparently, the Straight Christian White Men behind the sexual scandals in the Christian church and the Boy Scouts didn’t shake his faith at all. Nor did the Straight Christian White Men behind the ongoing efforts to use government power to discriminate against people who aren’t straight. Then there are the Straight Christian White Men behind our disastrous drug wars and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. I could go on, but I doubt that Mark has made it this far.

    You see, Mark talks about looters, news media, politicians, BLM, Antifa, and intellectual illiterates using George Floyd as a pretext, but Mark labels anyone who challenges his unsupported claims as a troll – a convenient pretext for dismissing criticism. Which is exactly what Trump does to anyone who disagrees with him.

    Mark, I encourage you to have the small amount of courage it takes to allow disagreement on your blog. By all means, label me a troll, but do it openly for others to see. Or better yet, argue against the points I’m making. I’m always willing to admit I’m wrong when someone gives me a better argument. What’s the point of having a blog if it’s just a bubble of like-minded people?

  10. Hi April,

    Good to hear from you and thank you for your kind comment. Obviously I couldn’t agree more. What’s perhaps the most infuriating about it all is that I am now supposed to personally repent for the collective sins of all whites. This is an affront to the individualism and personal responsibility which made this country so great. And that’s true even IF the cops are racist (I have no doubt some of them are).

    Otherwise things are ok. Business is not great, of course, but there’s little I can do about that at this point. I hope you are well under the circumstances!

    Mark

  11. Hi Mark, I appreciate hearing your thoughts, which echo my many of my own. I’m astounded how effectively the identitarian/anti-racist political operatives managed to deploy their narrative with the photo & video related to George Floyd’s death. The picture is so powerful – everyone feels compelled to accept that it obviously demonstrates the profound racism, and proclivity to racist violence, of the police, and white people in general. It does nothing of the sort; and an open-minded review of the evidence on the topic quickly refutes such conclusions. So, how does the narrative stay afloat? The media surely play an influential role; and the fact that so many people have joined the church of antiracism. I suppose I am mostly rambling here – but, in case you want to see some of my neighbors (in Bethesda MD) participating in an antiracist church ceremony day before yesterday, you can watch the first minute or two of this video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-7SvMK1yEwc&t=635s
    I hope all is well with you, all things considered 😉
    April

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