April 24, 2013

It’s time to file for a cultural divorce

Jim Geraghty is so spot on this morning that I don’t have anything much upfront to add.  Save that the reaction from the left to the Marathon bombings has been so predictable that even many liberals are privately (and in some brave-ish cases publicly) rolling their eyes and letting out tiny, pained groans.  So.  From “They Always Blame America First”:

Jeanne Kirkpatrick had it right.

In Tuesday’s New York Times, Marcelo Suarez Orozco and Carola Suarez-Orozco, the dean and a professor, respectively, at the U.C.L.A. Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, wrote an op-ed entitled, “Immigrant Kids, Adrift.” It began:

The alleged involvement of two ethnic Chechen brothers in the deadly attack at the Boston Marathon last week should prompt Americans to reflect on whether we do an adequate job assimilating immigrants who arrive in the United States as children or teenagers.

Really? Really? These guys blow up a marathon and shoot a cop in the back of the head, and we have to look at ourselves to see where we failed? Where we’re not adequate?(By the way, after this piece appeared, the Boston Globe is reporting Little Brother Bomber* confessed, so we can drop the “alleged.”)You’ll be seeing this theme of the brothers as troubled immigrants, struggling to build a better life and failing to find acceptance in a cold-hearted, xenophobic American society a lot in the coming days. As one of my Twitter followers said, this is what happens when you’re absolutely determined to avert your eyes from a politically or culturally inconvenient conclusion — i.e., young Muslim men can be easy pickings for a radical imam who offers them a vision of themselves as noble warriors, earning vast celestial harems in the afterlife for struggling to defeat the evil infidel oppressor, offering them a channel for their anger that he assures them is morally just.  After a while, you begin speculating about the bombing being prompted by boxing-related concussions, which, of course, would help explain why so many retired NFL players go on to become members of al-Qaeda.

(Oh, look, Time’s doing it, too.)

The initial biographical sketch of the bomber in the New York Times featured the headline, “Far From War-Torn Homeland, Trying to Fit In.” The only thing these guys were trying to fit in that week was more nails inside the pressure cooker. (After considerable ridicule, the headline and top photo were changed.)William Jacobson assembles more examples over at Legal Insurrection, including a Slate writer calling for “an emotionally fraught conversation, a careful reckoning of the particular variety of welcome we offer to children from abroad” and the usual suspects on MSNBC going on about “demonizing the other.”Hey, doesn’t blowing up a marathon crowd count as demonizing the other? Could you spare some time to point out that the bombers’ refusal to grant us the right to walk the streets without being shredded to a pulp by incendiary-propelled shrapnel is pretty darn intolerant, too?Now, let’s return to the argument put forth by the dean and the professor.Do they realize that by drawing  a connection between the Boston bombers and “immigrants who arrive in the United States as children and teenagers,” they’re suggesting that every one of those kids is a potential terrorist, if they have a life experience like the bomber brothers? Even the most vehement opponent of the DREAM Act wouldn’t make that claim.

The inanity of it all prompted me to throw a bit of a fit on Twitter Tuesday afternoon.

The quasi-sympathetic “bomber brothers struggled with new identities in America” feature pieces are doing no favors for immigration reform. The notion that these two are somehow representative of some universal immigrant struggle to adapt to American life is weapons-grade horse[puckey]. Millions upon millions of immigrants made new lives for themselves in this country without feeling the need to bomb the Boston Marathon. If you think adaptation to American culture might cause you sufficient stress to make you commit mass murder, please leave immediately.By the way, this society was pretty damn kind to these two.

The terror-financing blog “MoneyJihad” assembles what we know of the brothers’ finances — and it includes a $2,500 scholarship from the city of Cambridge in 2011 and public assistance for the family.

Peggy Noonan points out that either they weren’t struggling . . . or somebody out there was sending them money:

The past few days I’ve looked through news reports searching in vain for one item: how did the brothers get their money? Did they ever have jobs? Who or what supported them? They had cellphones, computers, stylish clothes, sunglasses, gym equipment and gym membership, enough money to go out to dinner and have parties. They had an arsenal of guns and money to make bombs. The elder brother, Tamerlan, 26, had no discernible record of employment and yet was able to visit Russia for six months in 2012. The FBI investigated him. How did they think he was paying for it? The younger brother, Dzhokhar, was a college student, but no word on how he came up with spending money. The father doesn’t seem to have had anything—he is said to have sometimes fixed cars on the street when he lived in Cambridge, for $10 an hour cash. The mother gave facials at home. Anyway, the money lines. Where did it come from?

Acknowledging that young Muslim men could be particularly vulnerable to the demonic cajoling and propaganda of a radical imam would force too many people in too many high places to rethink their entire worldview. So we’ll be hearing a lot about how concussions and the mean, nasty, xenophobic culture of . . . Cambridge, Massachusetts can turn an otherwise happy immigrant success story into a child murderer.

Normally. this would be the point in my post where I harangue the leftist apologists for terror attacks who are bent on trying to suss from the evidence any plausible explanation for how those Muslims drawn in by the empowering propaganda of Islamist jihad were not so much drawn in as practically  forced — usually in response to something we did (and by “we,” we of course don’t mean leftists, who abhor the “gun culture” or the hypermasculine, pugilistic sports culture, or the subtle and not so subtle racism and xenophobia of the typical American who is to be placed under the left academics’ sociological microscope until such time as the examination, as of insects, yields some evidence of their oftentimes unconscious, culturally-mapped bigotry or moral bankruptcy) — but frankly, I lack the desire, both to debunk what everyone on some level knows is an exercise in silly blame shifting, and to defend the US as one of the most tolerant places on the planet, ever, in the history of always.

Instead, my tack is not to assume a posture of defensiveness or even anger.  Instead, I choose a combination of pity and disgust, a resigned amusement and the recognition that the people who are attempting to map their revisions and rewritings of clear motivations onto their alternate politicized reality are so far removed from me as human beings that I have nothing much to say to them and in many ways find them unrecognizable and alien.

And at the risk of being accused of intra-cultural political xenophobia — that is, a hatred of the Other within the mainstream of purely American politics, a risk I’m more than happy to take — I am here today to announce that I am through considering these people part of a greater national we.  They, like the extremists they reward with teaching positions or defend against the yokels, the wingnuts, the small-government second amendment supporters and bourgeois small business owners they so vehemently and viscerally despise and seek to control and reshape, are the very Other they like to pretend they champion.

And having met their gaze — and having found it cold, cynical, manipulative, and tyrannical — I reject their claim to a separate and equal American authenticity.  In fact, I reject them entirely.

They are my enemies and the enemies to my children, to children like Martin Richards and his sister.  They are the enablers and the justifiers, the propagandists and the self-loathers, the liars and the fabulists.

What they want is power and control.  And if it takes humanizing Marathon bombers while laying blame on American culture to shame Americans into malleability as a precondition for their re-education into collectivist economic units, they are willing to make that trade off.  For the Greater Good.  For their vision of Utopia.

Well, I don’t share that vision, and I will resist them. Not by battling them on their terms but by working to reshape the battlefield. And part of that comes from denying them legitimacy.  They are the throngs that surround and fawn over a naked emperor; and I have no use for those who can’t see the asshole that winks at them daily.

Posted by Jeff G. @ 9:33am
46 comments | Trackback

Comments (46)

  1. Thank you for clearly and accurately giving voice to what I have no ability say.

  2. “Those people” takes on more salient meaning with each passing news cycle.

    Give a child with the morality of a… child… the relatively advanced intellect of an overeducated adult and you have a “progressive”: a quasi-rational decision-making, excuse-generating, finger-pointing machine, driven by the narcissism of adolescence.

    You can’t reshape the battlefield by denying a faction legitimacy when that faction DOESN’T CARE about legitimacy, and when an increasingly critical mass of the electorate DOESN’T UNDERSTAND legitimacy. You can only reshape the battlefield by rebuilding a society in which legitimacy is acknowledged, understood and valued.

    Only one way to change the battlefield: take back public education. All other efforts, blogs, tweets, speeches, PSAs, campaigns, elections, donations, arguments, scandals, revelations and rants are moot without that.

  3. Principles, not pragmatism. No compromise is possible, since compromising with the enemy ensures our destruction.

    Give them no ground. Question their premises at every turn.

    They don’t think, they emote. They cannot fight a war of ideas, because they don’t have any. They are easily defeated as long as you don’t play their game.

  4. Bravo. I had a dust-up with an acquaintance this week. He sent a left-wing email screed full of “right wingnuts” and “teabaggers” etc. I emailed him back and after a few choice words of my own, told him I am done with him, and blocked his email address.

    Your essay above says more eloquently what I tried to convey. We need to stop paying attention to these people. Stop trying to reason with them. It is not possible. We need to, as you say, deny them legitimacy. Thank you. I am sharing this with friends.

  5. We shall go on to the end, we shall mock them fight in France, we shall mock them fight on the seas and oceans, we shall mock them fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall mock them fight on the beaches, we shall mock them fight on the landing grounds, we shall mock them fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall mock them fight in the hills; we shall never surrender

  6. Sounds like a mission statement for the Outlaw! party, Jeff.

  7. should prompt Americans to reflect on whether we do an adequate job assimilating immigrants who arrive in the United States as children or teenagers.

    Hello? What if the problem is that they WERE assimilated fairly well, then felt guilty about it, so they bomb us to make themselves feel like True Warriors of Allah?

    Maybe certain aspects of Muslim identity are inherently antithetical to a modern, pluralistic society, and there’s nothing we can do about that fact. Maybe it takes a certain KIND of Muslim to live here without feeling like bombing us, but you can’t tell who they are until they post their 20th Jihadi video on YouTube?

    are so far removed from me as human beings that I have nothing much to say to them and in many ways find them unrecognizable and alien.

    If you see them as trying desperately to maintain a stylish pose for their peer group, and recognized that poses are never based on reality, by definition, then they stop being alien and go back to being horribly, terribly pathetic examples of how far humans will go to be seen as Respectable.

    They are my enemies and the enemies to my children, to children like Martin Richards and his sister. They are the enablers and the justifiers, the propagandists and the self-loathers, the liars and the fabulists.

    Pathetic AND dangerous, yes. Yes they are. They are the same types who prevented Europe from resisting Hitler until he’d fully metastasized, and they’ll gladly ride that bomb down to earth, hootin’ and hollerin’ and wavin’ their cowboy hats in their multiculti glee.

  8. If we even ASK them to assimilate, we’re RAAAAACIST! But if they DON’T assimilate, we deserve to get blown up on the street.

  9. If we answer the Orozco’s question in the negative, does that make the case for granting amnesty to ten to twelve million illegals stronger, or weaker?

  10. I ask you all to Tweet or RT this post, if you have Twitter accounts. I’m ready for the backlash because I just don’t care any more.

  11. Hard to assimilate immigrants into the culture when the self-appointed guardians of and gate-keepers of the culture keep telling them (and us) that there is no culture worthy of emulation and assimiliation; that every other culture is more authentic, more worthy, more relative than the american anti-culture, so best to cling to your native culture and religion.

    Unfortunately for Boston, the Tsarnaev brothers decided that their authentic culture celebrated diversity by blowing it up.

  12. I retweeted it, but I’m not exactly an active twit.

  13. should prompt Americans to reflect on whether we do an adequate job assimilating immigrants who arrive in the United States as children or teenagers.

    Extrapolating that: Only a more classically liberal American can improve on what’s made America America, thereby better assimilating immigrants who arrive in the United States as children or teenagers because foremost they seek that structural liberty.

    Unless they do not.

    In other words, no, teabaggers don’t bomb stuff because there’s insufficient order. Outcast fanatics bomb stuff because there’s insufficient fanaticism. The only to cure insufficient fanaticism is what, more fanaticism?

    Since when is America, land of the free and home of the brave, ever been about assimilating fanaticism?

    Jackass.

  14. It’s all part of knowing your enemy. For too long, we have struggled to admit just exactly who that is.

  15. Dumping metaphorical cultural marriage is easy when one doesn’t think culture amounts to anything in the first place. But then, who would think like that? Besides everybody who applies culture willy-nilly to every communal effort they may run across, that is.

  16. If that slate writer really wants an “emotionally fraught conversation,” I can’t think of a better place to begin than that old anti-drug public service anouncement with the indignant father demanding to know who taught his son to do drugs, and the accusatory reply “I learned it from you, okay?!”

    Of course you’ll never get that slate writer, or anybody else in the blame america first crowd, to stop seeing themselves as the kid, and start accepting the fact that they’re the adult in this scenario.

  17. Emotionally fraught? As in dramatic? As in great television?

    Wouldn’t the conversation be more productive if people could check their drama at the door?

    [...]

    <smack!> Bad white American! Bad!

  18. The “I couldn’t assimilate” argument is bullshit anyway. The older brother was active and involved and even found himself a pretty blond co-ed to marry (whom he then converted – most likely through force or brainwashing) and the younger apparently hung out with all sorts of homies.

    Shit,the two of them had a more active social life than I do.

    That entire argument is a fucking LIE. Even if it could be a reasonable excuse, which it couldn’t be. But they’re busy writing their narrative, aren’t they?

    Don’t want to confuse them with facts.

  19. Car in says April 24, 2013 at 11:22 am
    The older brother was active and involved and even found himself a pretty blond co-ed to marry

    By the accounts I’ve read, she was a dyed-in-the-wool Peace Corp-type prog, so that probably explains the attraction to/weakness for (pick one) a future terrorist.

  20. Yes she was and yes it does. Do gooders are prone to having Bad Shit happen to them, mainly because they are naïve as hell.

    Not for nothing does the Catholic Church discourage interfaith marriage with Muslims and warn women who still get suckered into it not to travel to the husband’s home country where she will lose all her rights.

  21. The biggest problem with the “backlash” explanation is that it denies the terrorists agency. When Islamist terrorists kill and maim people, what we do in response is never “backlash”, because we have agency. We civilized people are responsible for the consequences of the choices we make. These barbarians can’t help themselves.

    I distinctly recall “They cain’t he’p theyse’ves; they’s just stupid Nigras. Y’all cain’t ‘spect them to behave like decent white folk!” was how racists thought. Now the people who incessantly accuse us of raaaaacism are the ones who insist that The Other can’t be held to the same standards of responsibility as WHAMs.

  22. - Shorter everybody: “Progressives are infantile morons.” – End of fricken story.

  23. If that slate writer really wants an “emotionally fraught conversation,” I can’t think of a better place to begin than that old anti-drug public service anouncement with the indignant father demanding to know who taught his son to do drugs, and the accusatory reply “I learned it from you, okay?!”

    That was my first thought about the Orozcos, who no doubt have been pushing “Atzlan” style separatism and bilingualism a la Quebec and rejecting assimilation and Americanization forever.

  24. J.S. Bach holds an emotionally fraught conversation with himself and discovers he agrees with what J.S. Bach said there.

  25. Monster, if the muzzies would pry themselves out of the 7th century, they could have agency as well. Instead, they just have hatey fatwahs and no fashion sense.

  26. - Every time I look at the present “counter culture” vacuous nightmare of “feelgood” political posturing that the last couple of generations have immersed themselves in to stroke each others ego’s and avoid ever having to grow up, I’m reminded of that old Star Trek episode where Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise are confronted with a planet of inhabitants, all of whom are children.

    - When asked where all the adults are the “leader” replies: “We had no choice but to eliminate them because all they wanted us to do was go to school and learn stuff. They were just no fun ’cause of their old fuddy-duddy ideas….you understand how it is with Groanups.”

  27. - Every time I look at the present “counter culture” vacuous nightmare of “feelgood” political posturing that the last couple of generations have immersed themselves in to stroke each others ego’s and avoid ever having to grow up, I’m reminded of that old Star Trek episode where Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise are confronted with a planet of inhabitants, all of whom are children.

    - When asked where all the adults are the “leader” replies: “We had no choice but to eliminate them because all they wanted us to do was go to school and learn stuff. They were just no fun ’cause of their old fuddy-duddy ideas….you understand how it is with Groanups.”

    And yet, in that episode, I think it is this one, the children were led by a corrupting spirit called “Gorgan”, played by Melvin Belli of all people.

    The “multicultural” and “politically correct” leftist professors and media figures are the “Gorgans” of today.

  28. Gads! I was surfing through the news and Shep Smith just announced that MIT is going to dedicate a medal named after the dead campus cop.

  29. It would be more in keeping with the prevailing proggtard mindset to disarm the campus police, lest another officer be murdered for his duty weapon.

  30. 1. Blowing up innocent people is wrong.

    A. If you engage in such acts you forfeit any hope of ever having your political, social, religious, or any other grievances given any legitimate concern.

    B. By your acts you discredit anything you have aligned yourself with.

    C. You are anathema. That we permit you to continue to draw breath is by our leave. Your punishment should be severe and permanent.

    Assimilation or lack thereof has jack shit to do with any of this. This is all about particular political and social interests protecting the bad actors ensconced within.

    It’s rhetorical three card monte.

  31. You are anathema

    billy ayers and kathy boudin say hi

  32. billy ayers and kathy boudin say hi

    Maybe the next President will say “backatchya!”

    with a Drone.

  33. Assimilation or lack thereof has jack shit to do with any of this.

    Agreed. My own family came here unable to speak English and managed to learn to do so, make a living and become solid citizens who didn’t cause any trouble.

    Of course, that was like 100 years ago.

  34. The Tsarnaev brothers were state-supported terrorists. The state was Massachusetts. — Iowahawk

  35. They didn’t seem to have any trouble assimilating into Islam…

  36. How much was Islam, and how much of it was an idea of what a badass Chechen man should be? (And part of that identity is inextricable from Islam.)

    Another question that won’t be answered.

  37. To turn to another aspect of de Tocqueville’s concern, or fear for Democracy or democratic conditions, let’s look at his account of Individualism. Dem. in Amer., Volume II, Sec. 2, Chapter 2 “Of Individualism in Democratic Countries“:

    *** I HAVE shown how it is that in ages of equality every man seeks for his opinions within himself; I am now to show how it is that in the same ages all his feelings are turned towards himself alone. Individualism is a novel expression, to which a novel idea has given birth. Our fathers were only acquainted with egoisme (selfishness). Selfishness is a passionate and exaggerated love of self, which leads a man to connect everything with himself and to prefer himself to everything in the world. Individualism is a mature and calm feeling, which disposes each member of the community to sever himself from the mass of his fellows and to draw apart with his family and his friends, so that after he has thus formed a little circle of his own, he willingly leaves society at large to itself. Selfishness originates in blind instinct; individualism proceeds from erroneous judgment more than from depraved feelings; it originates as much in deficiencies of mind as in perversity of heart.

    Selfishness blights the germ of all virtue; individualism, at first, only saps the virtues of public life; but in the long run it attacks and destroys all others and is at length absorbed in downright selfishness. Selfishness is a vice as old as the world, which does not belong to one form of society more than to another; individualism is of democratic origin, and it threatens to spread in the same ratio as the equality of condition.

    [...]

    As social conditions become more equal, the number of persons increases who, although they are neither rich nor powerful enough to exercise any great influence over their fellows, have nevertheless acquired or retained sufficient education and fortune to satisfy their own wants. They owe nothing to any man, they expect nothing from any man; they acquire the habit of always considering themselves as standing alone, and they are apt to imagine that their whole destiny is in their own hands.

    Thus not only does democracy make every man forget his ancestors, but it hides his descendants and separates his contemporaries from him; it throws him back forever upon himself alone and threatens in the end to confine him entirely within the solitude of his own heart. ***

    De Tocqueville can wither as well as inspire. But he doesn’t give in to inevitabilities entirely. He makes of our associations one potential remedy for the evils he believes he sees in individualism (as he defines it), democratic tyranny and pantheism.

    That is, in a sense, as we withdraw from the stupefying immensity of overwhelming democratic government — big government — we must withdraw not so far as our families and near ones solely, but only so far as our natural human political core, where we make ourselves a polity (or society, if you prefer) to stand against government. That’s what we want, I think.

  38. I read this post from work and was PISSED … fired off an email to Jeff as follows:

    What.The.Hell??? Hasn’t The Left told us we are all H8ters, xenophobes, imperialists with delusions brought upon us by our startling lack of melanin to even give a strangled, whispered wish for “assimilation”? Isn’t that elevating evil American cultural hegemony by demanding the obvious superior cultures of The Other be confined to personal celebrations of food & tradition?

    By golly, it seems just yesterday that Mattel was being publicly excoriated for reducing The Other to stereotypes with Barbies of the World?

    Or all the handwringing and intolerance-of-intolerance lecturing each Halloween over [white] people wearing Kimonos or saris or Indian Native American costumes?

    After years of Left demonizing of E Pluribus Unum, they now want to support it?

    In a pig’s eye.

  39. “In a pig’s eye.”

    a little islamophobia you h8ter

  40. A profound American decency demonstrated by U.S. Marines, to contrast with the attitudes of the political left.

  41. The political left is too far gone into philosophical anti-foundationalism, as Jeff would say (I’d just call it nihilism, myself), to recognize decency as anything other than a tactial expedient.

  42. Just last February, for example, Anjem Choudary, an Islamic cleric and popular preacher in the United Kingdom, was secretly taped telling a Muslim audience to follow his example and get “Jihad Seeker’s Allowance” from the government—a pun on “Job Seeker’s Allowance.” The father of four, who receives more than 25,000 pounds annually in welfare benefits, referred to British taxpayers as “slaves,” adding, “We take the jizya, which is our haq [Arabic for "right"], anyway. The normal situation by the way is to take money from the kafir [infidel], isn’t it? So this is the normal situation. They give us the money—you work, give us the money, Allahu Akhbar ["Allah is Great"]. We take the money.

  43. Gun free zones” aren’t “free,” from costs both monetary and human, nor “free” in the sense of freedom as they are its opposite. They are not even “free” of guns as their very name is a lie in every way it is possible to be except one.

    They are “zones”, special areas set aside to be run by the ruling class as pens for their subjects and as hunting preserves for those twisted but useful persons the rulers need to satiate lest they turn to hunting them.

  44. - I doubt Yahooey would have run this piece unless they believed it would be ridiculed and met with derision. Opps.

    - Judging from the comments section the Left is becoming even more delusional if that’s possible.

  45. “… whether we do an adequate job assimilating immigrants …”

    So, what happened to embracing diversity ?

    It’s really hard to read these culturally bipolar intellectuals.

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