These grab-bag pieces have always helped me to de-escalate in the past. Let’s see whether this one follows the pattern.
A few days ago, the New York Times published a piece about rising French politician Eric Zemmour that was hysterical even by that paper’s standards. John Hinderaker at Power Line provides a useful condensation:
Zemmour, the polarizing far-right polemicist…candidate of the traditional far right… Zemmour, a French far-right candidate …the traditional far right…“reduce the cost of adherence” to the far right…this quest to stake out a position on the extreme right may also backfire…gradually spread far-right ideas across society, especially through Fox-style news networks…have now embraced his more extremist ideas…designed to popularize his extreme ideas…“The cool is a way to defuse and neutralize otherwise extremely violent” ideas…Mr. Zemmour risked “being overwhelmed” by the extremism of his own supporters…
The article strains all credulity by twisting the facts of the rally in an attempt to characterize it as violent. “Anti-racist protestors” from SOS Racisme attacked Zemmour and the rallygoers, and were beaten back…but the Times tells us that the rallygoers were the violent ones:
At one point during the rally, antiracism activists were attacked in the sort of brawl rarely seen at French political events. … dozens of his supporters attacked antiracism activists. The violent brawl could stain his image … Midway through his speech, dozens of sturdy militants threw punches at several activists from SOS Racisme, an antiracism organization…
This is the state to which America’s “paper of record” has fallen. No one detectably right-of-center – a “center” which has been sliding steadily leftward, thanks to the efforts of the mainstream media – is permitted to escape the Times’s condemnation.
The Times is not alone. The international press is terrified of Zemmour:
- CNBC: Meet Eric Zemmour, France’s far-right presidential contender
- The Atlantic: Just How Frightening Is France’s New Right?
- CNN: Meet the French populist twice convicted of inciting hatred who’s running for president
- Haaretz: Understanding the Agenda of Eric Zemmour, the French Jewish Far-right Presidential Candidate
- Euronews: Who is Eric Zemmour and why is he so controversial?
It would be nice if we could confidently say to ourselves, pace Jules Feiffer’s “Little Murders, “If the media are that frightened by a populist conservative with little chance to win, why should we fear them?” But they remain powerful shapers of opinion.
I intend to follow this.
I and other commentators have warned you about the “equality” myth. It’s pernicious to a degree most people – even most in the Right – don’t appreciate. But there’s worse: there’s “equity” and its implications:
Vice President Kamala Harris called for an intentional restructuring of the country’s economic systems on Tuesday, suggesting existing systems were inherently racist.
Harris appeared at a forum hosted by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to discuss proactive ways to increase access to financial systems and capital for racial minorities.
The vice president shifted the conversation to a more radical approach, pointing out fundamental racial flaws with the existing financial system.
“Some of these designs were just designed not to benefit the people that we’re talking about,” she said, before pausing. “Or the better way to say this, it was designed to benefit other people,” she added with a laugh.
Harris said the existing financial system was structured to serve people who already had access to information and capital.
Blather about “equity” and “equitable” results is always a front for a drive to bestow absolute power on the State. For it is the State that would be given the authority to seek out “inequities” and to remedy them through “redistribution.” The masters of the State would hold the power of life and death, de facto, over everyone else in the realm. And yes: they would exempt themselves from the redistributions they would impose on the rest of us. Can’t be Selfless Servants of the People if they can’t have all the Wagyu beef, caviar, Dom Perignon, dachas, and lackeys they can consume, now can they?
Say, what’s Kamala Harris’s net worth, anyway?
I’m not sure how disturbed anyone should be by this report:
Children born during the pandemic score markedly lower on standard measures of verbal, motor, and overall cognitive ability, US researchers have found.
In a longitudinal study of 672 children from Rhode Island that has run since 2011, those born after the pandemic began showed results on the Mullen scales of early learning that corresponded to an average IQ score of 78, a drop of 22 points from the average of previous cohorts.
The study, which was funded by the US National Institutes of Health is awaiting peer review before publication in JAMA Pediatrics. But a preprint copy is available online.
The researchers have largely ruled out a direct effect of the virus, as mothers or children with a history of testing positive for covid-19 were excluded from the analysis. Instead, the authors say, reduced interaction with parents and less outdoor exercise are likely culprits, along with effects that occurred during pregnancy.
Other research has hinted at behavioural effects in children born during the pandemic, including a recent study from Italy.
We’re raising a generation of morons! Scary – if you take it at face value. But psychometric testing of the very young is fraught with difficulties. Also, inasmuch as the tests mentioned in this article include motor skills and other characteristics unrelated to intelligence as it’s generally understood, that 78 figure could be rather misleading.
Classical studies of intellectual development indicate that general intelligence – the ability to reason from evidence and to manipulate abstractions – develops over time. The IQ scores of testees who submit to testing at intervals indicate that in the usual case – i.e., in the absence of events that would plausibly impair intelligence – the testee’s score will increase throughout his youth and partway into his twenties.
More ominous to me is the observed reduction in motor skills and perception of external conditions. That could well be due to a reduction in the variety and fluidity of pandemic babies’ environments. When things change widely and rapidly, the infant is more likely to take notice and attempt to grasp what’s around him. Up to a point, of course; too rapid a rate of change can cause the infant to “shut down” and “retreat into his own world.”
That’s all for today, Gentle Reader. I’m feeling an urge to set to work on the sequel to The Warm Lands, for which I’ve been
harangued threatened offered gold, jewels, palaces, and a harem of beautiful women importuned ceaselessly since the novel came out. Wish me luck.