Maybe we should enlarge the lens. Frankly, I’m weary of the whole category ‘white people’, which throws folks of wildly different backgrounds, from Russians to Jews to Scots, into one big indiscriminate pot. So let’s talk about people, full stop. As a species, we’ve been treating each other like shit from the year dot. The horrors to which we’ve subjected one another, including slavery but a great deal else, are so incomprehensibly dreadful that no one, as an individual, could conceivably bear the crushing weight of all that torture, mass murder and sadism. If guilt is inherited, then every last one of us should be condemned to Dante’s nine circles of hell.
None of us chose the world in which we emerged. We didn’t pick our race, sex or natal nationality; any inbuilt leg-up or disadvantage these traits conferred at birth was not of our making. We didn’t select which awful history soaks the ground at our feet. It’s insensible to feel ‘guilty’ or ‘ashamed’ about something you didn’t do. It’s entirely sensible to feel regret, sorrow and abhorrence about the likes of slavery. It’s commendable to be informed about the past and to try to understand the nature of its wretchedness, as it’s also commendable to strain to leave the world a little better than you found it. But claiming that what happened before you were born is all your fault is not only ridiculous. It’s vain.
This is a remarkable piece of writing. I don’t know the writer’s work well, but I seem to recall he did some excellent reporting on Syria and Iraq. The focus on architecture and its meaning is refreshing — I, too, am a fan of Sir Roger Scruton — and I can only hope he (the writer) isn’t entirely prophetic.
Readers, I’m in awe of this young guy. I am torn between just wanting to read everything he has written but also being madly jealous that a 24-year-old is this smart. Sheesh! When I was 24 I was still learning the alphabet. Here he is in conversation about current affairs, but you can find other clips and also, check out the link above for City Journal contributions. A special thanks to my clever nephew for introducing me to him.
Andrew Sullivan asks if there is still room for debate. I’m thinking no.
Ross Douthat on the new Cultural Revolution. Scary stuff, kids.
I like Jonathan Haidt – but he’s got his work cut out for him here.
And to end on a terrifying note, the 1793 Project.
Yeah, listen to him. A voice of sanity in this madness.
Adding to my comments in the post below, I will direct you to John Palmer’s post on the topic. It is worth your time. This last paragraph, in particular, resonates for me. I am reluctant to engage with anyone about this issue (or many others), as I hate the flame wars, but I have rarely unfriended due to differences of opinion.
I’m lucky. I have friends from all over the place, politically, geographically, religiously, racially, LGBTQ-wise, etc. I am confronted by conflicting arguments and flame wars all the time. They upset me and disturb me, but I rarely unfriend or block anyone involved in these events. And yet, they tear me apart inside.
Will keep my comments about the current anger, fear and loathing limited, but I will say the following: I am annoyed as heck at all the posturing and virtue-signalling. If I see one more person on social media put up that putrid meme that starts “In this House” and goes on to list all the wonderful things that go on in that house I will be ill. Truly ill. Especially since the last thing that is listed is something about “kindness.” It has been my painful, personal experience in life that those who talk about their own kindness are almost always deficient in it. Also tired of people talking about how they are going to “check their privilege.” Oh, shut up, already. Your self-importance does not help. I am immensely bothered by the misrepresentation/misuse of a Martin Luther King quote. You know the one. It’s about riots being the language of the unheard. Yeah, he wasn’t endorsing rioting. And how sad is it that this needs to be said? Terribly sad. And finally, just a really good column.
It is very hot in Toronto. A week ago today I was still having to turn on the little heater in my office – now I am using a fan and contemplating taking my show and moving it downstairs, where ’tis a bit cooler. To the matter at hand – some links from past and present, far and wide, not all pandemic-related. In fact, very few.
Sad news – the apostrophe protection society admits defeat. I hate poor grammar but one of my biggest pet peeves in that regard is people who don’t know where to place apostrophes or commas. We have failed as a society when people pluralize family names, for example, with an apostrophe.
And give this man an award – Lebanese businessman bought Hitler artifacts and donated them to Israel.
A hero for the animals in Wuhan – yep, awards for him, too!
The first boy diagnosed as autistic – what a story.
The awakening of Norman Rockwell (seriously surprised that something this good was at Vox).
The British housewife who took on the Soviet Union – why had I not heard of her? And she deserved awards, as well!
Tragic history – again, why had I not heard of this? The “Reverse Freedom Rides.” Humans – so cruel.
And – last link, as I want to end on a positive note – it is ok to drink wine by yourself! I already knew that, but it is now sanctioned by the New York Times.