Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Credentialism

Shaun King graced the pages of The New York Daily News recently with a lengthy article on the lack of graduate college degrees earned by the Trump cabinet nominees.

His piece begins with this revealing transcript:

"On Tuesday night, Ta-Nehisi Coates made a guest appearance with Trevor Noah on “The Daily Show” to discuss “My President Was Black” — his brilliant reflection on the Obama presidency. On Wednesday, The Daily Show posted a memed quote from Coates that has been liked over 230,000 times.
It says this:
If I have to jump six feet to get the same thing that you have to jump two feet for — that’s how racism works.
To be President, Obama had to be scholarly, intelligent, President of the Harvard Law Review, the product of some of our greatest educational institutions, capable of talking to two different worlds.
Donald Trump had to be rich and white. That’s the difference."

Quite revealing of Mr. King's racialist view of things and his apparent inability to differentiate between having acquired several degrees from a prestigious institutions and actually being "scholarly and intelligent". Having observed Obama closely for eight years he is neither scholarly, nor particularly intelligent, in my opinion. We still have not seen his transcripts. No doubt full of high grades, that is why they are concealed. He doesn't want the rest of us to know just how smart he is. We might suffer a blow to our self-esteem. Very thoughtful of him.

Of course all Trump had to do is be rich and white. A 40 year career and the amassing of enormous wealth was effortless. He is white, after all. It is truly a catastrophe that these accomplished black men, King, Noah and Coates, choose to believe such nonsense and worse yet, endorse it for other like minded victims of America's obvious, persistent and systemic racism.

Among the many things this collection of over-hyped, over paid young men do not understand is that many of us have come to understand that degrees are just credentials. They certainly indicate the ability to pass examinations and suggest the possibility of intellectual ability and scholarship.

Many of us have observed over the years that credentials are offers of proof of competence and we have also observed that they are no more than unreliable indicators. One need look no farther than Obama, Hillary Clinton, Kerry, Ben Rhodes and Robby Mook. All highly credentialed, all laughably and sometimes catastrophically incompetent.

Mr. King goes on to recount, in despair, the woeful lack of graduate degrees among Trump and his nominees.

Mr. King, this is a feature, not a bug. We are tired of the credentialed lecturing us on every conceivable subject while demonstrating their complete lack of practical knowledge. Remember Obama and his "shovel-ready jobs"? For those of us in the real world that notion was dead on arrival since the left has been making it more and more difficult to get a project underway for 40 years. Obama figured that out in only a year! Genius.

Donald Trump, with his lack of graduate degrees, actually knows what is required to get a project underway.

Rex Tillerson, with his lack of graduate degrees, actually knows what it takes to run a gigantic organization like the State Department.

Rick Perry, with his lack of graduate degrees, actually knows how to run a giant organization and a great deal more about the business of energy than former 
 "Secretary of Energy was Steven Chu — a Nobel Prize winning physicist who is currently the Professor of Physics and Professor of Molecular & Cellular Physiology at Stanford University. He has a B.A. in Math, a B.S. in Physics, and a Ph.D. in Physics from Berkeley." to whom King chooses to compare him. Chu, infamously, suggested that we should have $8/gal gas. Neither Mr. Chu nor I would suffer from such a disaster, most Americans would.

Mr. King, somehow, in this racist nation you have managed to become part of an educated elite that sneers at those of us without graduate degrees who still have the temerity to aspire to public service.

Donald Trump was elected, in part, as a reaction to the obvious contempt in which you and your cohort hold the rest of us. Well, I guess I am not among the contemptible since I have two graduate degrees. Most of the rest of us do not and demonstrate daily that we are very, very practical and competent people.




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Friday, December 09, 2016

A Liberal Discovers Conservatism

 I came across this piece in the New York Times recently, written by Mark Lilla, a humanities professor at Columbia. Here is an excerpt from the latter part of the piece.

"As for narrower issues that are highly charged symbolically and can drive potential allies away, especially those touching on sexuality and religion, such a liberalism would work quietly, sensitively and with a proper sense of scale. (To paraphrase Bernie Sanders, America is sick and tired of hearing about liberals’ damn bathrooms.)

Teachers committed to such a liberalism would refocus attention on their main political responsibility in a democracy: to form committed citizens aware of their system of government and the major forces and events in our history. A post-identity liberalism would also emphasize that democracy is not only about rights; it also confers duties on its citizens, such as the duties to keep informed and vote. A post-identity liberal press would begin educating itself about parts of the country that have been ignored, and about what matters there, especially religion. And it would take seriously its responsibility to educate Americans about the major forces shaping world politics, especially their historical dimension."

That is an explanation of the conservative approach. The author, of course, does not see it that way. He thinks he is suggesting a whole new way of looking at liberalism.

Which reminds me of this hilarious article to which I think I have to linked before. The key paragraph being:

"So the story here is that a hippie accidentally stumbled upon the concepts of division of labor and trade and the science of economics. He came across all of it as if it were some weird new revelation that no one had ever thought of before, because clearly he has never thought about it before (and probably won’t, even now that he has stumbled across it)."

 A liberal who finds the outcome of our recent election "repugnant" has "accidentally stumbled" onto the key concepts of conservatism. Hopefully he will be able to persuade his audience to follow his lead. Pretty soon we will all be conservatives and having a much more peaceful political and cultural life.

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Thursday, December 08, 2016

Is It Possible They Really Believe These Things?

When one is unable to persuade one's audience that one's position on an issue is correct it is easy to default to blaming the audience. They are just too stupid to understand what you are saying. Having failed to persuade most of the people I interact with of the correctness of my opinions I have a lot of experience at avoiding the "they are stupid" explanation of my failures.

That being said we once again find the left erupting in  furious fits at the appointment of Scott Pruitt as EPA administrator.

Via The Weekly Standard we get to share these priceless quotes:

"House minority leader Nancy Pelosi says the Pruitt nomination must be blocked "for the sake of the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the planet we will leave our children." New York AG Eric Schneiderman says Pruitt is a "dangerous and an unqualified choice." Independent socialist senator Bernie Sanders declares the Pruitt pick is not only dangerous but also "sad." The League of Conservation Voters calls Pruitt not just a global warming skeptic but "an outright climate denier.""

I have read countless times over the years that Republicans want to poison our air, water and children, in no particular order. Is it possible that the left actually believes this stuff? Is it possible that they do and really are stupid? I hope not.

Each time I read this stuff I wonder where it is that they think we Republicans get our air and water. Is it really likely that we want to poison ourselves and our children? In my experience most of us are pretty normal, nice people, dems too, for that matter.

I bring all of this up because of this article which posits this theory:

Conservatives often win elections because of the hysterical, overblown reaction their common-sense plans receive from the left.

 Read the whole thing.

Hysterical and overblown pretty much sums up the left's reaction to Pruitt.

Happily, the left never seems to learn anything from experience, to paraphrase John Hinderaker of Powerline fame.

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Monday, December 05, 2016

Donald J Trump

As a reluctant Trump voter on November 8, I find I am an enthusiastic Trump supporter on December 5.

I did not realize before the election just how disturbed I had been at the prospect of a Clinton presidency and the continuation of the unbearable burden of the Emperor's New Clothes America I had been living in since the election of Obama.

Thanks President-elect Trump. I had not understood how much the lack of political and cultural sunshine had affected me.

I was reluctant about DJT for all the reasons most conservatives were. I have often read that his publication of the list from which he would choose his Supreme Court nominee mollified a lot of us. It certainly did me. It did not make me enthusiastic though. I could settle for keeping the court leaning right no matter what else I had to give up in exchange.

Apparently we will be getting a DJT who is considerably more conservative than most of us reluctant supporters would ever have hoped for.

There is a very important song in the Passover liturgy sung during the seder (ritual meal) called Dayenu. The word means "enough".  It begins,

"Had he brought us out of Egypt, but not executed judgments against the Egyptians, it would have been enough.
Had he executed his judgments against them but not upon their gods, it would have been enough."

You get the point, be grateful for the big victory. Take whatever else is offered gratefully.

For me, had DJT only appointed a suitable Justice, it would have been enough. All of the rest of what he has already done is gravy. Hopefully much more to come.

Some excellent appointments, and the obvious competence of his team persuade me that we are entering a very dynamic period of American ascendancy, driving the left to a cacophonous gnashing of teeth and rending of garments (to continue my religious theme). They, notoriously, believe that America is the world's biggest problem.

In the countless articles I have read wherein the left explains why they lost the election there is a central  theme, "we didn't get our message across". To be fair, there are a few writers on the left who recognize that the message itself was the problem.

Please believe me when I tell you, you did get your message across and a lot of people don't like it. We don't like being told that because we disagree with you we are either racist, misogynistic, homophobic, Islamophobic or just plain "deplorable", to quote one famous harridan, former politician and failed presidential candidate.

You told us, very clearly, that the next four or eight years would be very much like the last, only worse. If you are white and disagree with us "shut up". If you are white and wealthy and disagree with us, "shut up and give us your money". If you are white, wealthy, disagree with us and male, well, its the re-education camp for you.

Reading current "news" stories in the mainstream media reinforces, for me, the idea that the left still, almost a month later, does not understand why DJT is President-elect.

A perfect example, in my opinion, is the explosion of pontificating derision heaped on DJT for having spoken directly to the President of Taiwan.

A headline at CNBC:

"Trump may have just thrown decades of US-China relations into disarray"

Followed by these pearls of conventional wisdom:

"With this phone call and the follow-up tweet, Trump is risking fundamentally upending decades of US policy towards Taiwan and enraging China, the world's only other Superpower. China sees Taiwan not as an independent country, but rather a part of China."

That is why we elected DJT. What China thinks is fine. What we think is also fine. When the two conflict it is neither necessary nor desirable to bend to China's way of thinking.

Those days, happily, appear to be over. 

None of the articles I have read on this kerfuffle include the relevant historical context. We had full diplomatic relations with Taiwan from the late 1940's until 1979 when we recognized Red China as part of our Cold war strategy. The Cold War, at least that one, is long since over and there is no reason to indulge its artifacts other than political correctness.

Our friends should rejoice, our enemies and detractors take pause. It appears that political correctness at the level of international diplomacy, and hopefully elsewhere, is on the wane.

I have never liked DJT's slogan, "Make America Great Again". America has always been great, in my view. So great, in fact, that it managed to survive 8 years of relentless attack by its Chief Executive and his anti-American minions.

I would like to mention that the first enthusiastic Trump supporter I encountered, very early in the primary process, was my youngest son. He was onto something. The second was his younger sister. A couple of pretty smart kids, eh? Wonder where they came from!

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