Monday, May 8, 2023

Things fall apart: American civilization is collapsing and it's time to start paying attention

“Things fall apart," William Butler Yeats wrote in "The Second Coming," perhaps his most famous poem."The center cannot hold.”

Like many prophecies, Yeats's prediction took a long time to be realized. Now, a little more than a century after Yeats penned those words, his prophecy is finally coming true.

America, the greatest civilization in the history of mankind, is falling apart. The nation that sent 9 million men to Europe and the South Pacific during World War II and sacrificed
 300,000 is crumbling. The country that accepted to its bosom the refugees from the Irish potato famine and found homes for the Vietnamese who fled the war in Southeast Asia is about to collapse.

Who would’ve thought that the United States, which conquered the Nazis in World War II, would sneak out of Afghanistan in the dead of night without bothering to tell its allies? Who would’ve thought that a nation dedicated to law and justice would allow criminals, terrorists, human traffickers, and fentanyl to flow across our southern border unmolested?

Our cities have become playgrounds for crime. Citizens who defend themselves against robbers and murderers get arrested while thugs with long criminal records roam the streets. The flagship retail stores of San Francisco are closing because shoplifting has become so rampant that a business cannot survive in one of America's greatest and most beautiful cities.

College presidents once boasted that American higher education is the envy of the world. Young people from across the globe came to the United States to study at our elite universities. Now our colleges have become insane asylums where students and professors spew racist nonsense, and greet reasoned dialogue with catcalls and profanity.

Our secondary schools have forgotten how to teach students to read, write, master grammar, and behave in a civil manner. Suppose young people who graduate from our derelict high schools wish to attend college. In that case, they must borrow extravagant amounts of money to study at institutions where the professors know nothing and have nothing to say.

In our elementary schools, so-called education experts believe it is beneficial to introduce small children to sexual perversion. Parents, who only want the best for their children, are denounced by the teacher's unions as terrorists.

A dysfunctional civilization can last a long time but cannot last forever. A nation that renounces its duty to maintain a safe and orderly society will eventually fall apart.

Like jackals stalking a wounded wildebeest, China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran wait to feast on the carrion of a rotting America.

The economy is on the verge of collapse in flyover country, where ordinary Americans strive to live decently and raise their families. If you drive through the rural heartland, the small towns look like the villages of East Africa.

Virtually every American politician is a corporate lackey. Our president is noncompos mentis--the whole world knows that. No one thinks our vice president is capable of assuming presidential duties.

Meanwhile, the financial titans on Wall Street, the media elites, and the grifters who run our universities are getting rich and gloating over their pension plans and their hedge fund profits.

The ultra-wealthy don’t care about what happens to their less fortunate fellow Americans. They abandoned their civic commitments when they banked their first million dollars. They’ve placed their riches in gold and other safe assets. Many have at least one elegant bug-out shelter, perhaps in Costa Rica or Montana.

Armed guards protect the super-rich in their private fortresses. The scamps who accumulated obscene wealth will sip fine California wine and sigh sympathetically about the people on Social Security who starve to death after the economy craters, which it soon will.

But perhaps no one will escape the apocalypse. Marie Antoinette believed she was secure at Versailles and then lost her head. The czar thought his family was well protected by an elite corps of soldiers who had sworn to protect his wife and children. And then the Bolsheviks showed up, and we know what happened.

Watch for the deluge, for the center cannot hold.

Be grateful if you live in a temperate climate where you can grow a vegetable garden both summer and winter. Be grateful if you have basic survival skills. Be thankful if you live near water.

Cling to your family if you have a family. When the apocalypse comes, all you will have are your personal resources and your loved ones.

Saturday, May 6, 2023

Surgeon General to fight “epidemic of loneliness”: I’m from the government and I’m here to help

Vivek Murthy, President Biden’s Surgeon General, issued an advisory a few days ago,alerting the nation to an epidemic of loneliness. According to Dr. Murphy’s report, about half of adult Americans experience loneliness, and the Surgeon General warned that loneliness can contribute to depression, high blood pressure, dementia, and other serious medical conditions.

Dr. Murphy announced a “National Strategy to Advance Social Connections Across Society." He called for more research on loneliness, and he pledged to enact pro-connection public policies and to cultivate a culture of connection in American life.

A few years ago, Americans would have greeted the Surgeon General’s advisory with derisive hoots and catcalls. Who believes the federal government can do anything to make Americans feel less lonely? What is Dr. Murthy proposing, Americans might once have asked: A government-run dating service?

Today, however, Dr. Murthy ‘s advisory is taken seriously. Maybe a few billion dollars in federally funded research at the nation’s elite universities will reveal how the nation can conquer loneliness After all, who knows more about loneliness than a university professor?

Perhaps federal money can banish loneliness from our daily lives, but I am skeptical. Americans once looked to their churches, their families, and social clubs for social connecutiveness. Unfortunately, many Americans have turned their backs on these institutions. Do we really think the federal government can provide the social connections that our religious faith, our families and our bowling leagues offer?

Besides, a little loneliness may not be such a bad thing. Throughout history, loneliness has inspired great art, great literature, and great music. Edward Hopper’s famous painting, “Nighththawks,” for example,masterfully captures the anomie and isolation of early 20th century urban life. J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye has spoken to generations of American adolescents because it is an almost perfect expression of youthful isolation.

Country music, perhaps America’s most original art form, speaks to millions of Americans because it expresses the loneliness that most of us feel from time to time. Roy Orbison's “Only the Lonely,” Johnny Cash’s “ I still Miss Someone,” and Merle Haggard’s “Looking for a Place to Fall Apart” are so powerful because they express one of the most basic of human emotions, which is loneliness.

In my view, the Surgeon General’s assault on the epidemic of loneliness will not make us less lonely. It will just make our loneliness more banal.

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Racially segregated college graduation ceremonies: Are we nuts?

In one of its early school desegregation decisions, the United States Supreme Court expressed the hope that the day would come when there would not be black schools and white schools, but just schools. Now, nearly 70 years after the Court’s historic decision in Brown v. Board of Education, America is drifting back toward racial segregation.

In recent years, colleges have begun sponsoring segregated graduation ceremonies for favored racial groups. At least one school even has a special graduation ceremony for LGBTQ students.

Of course, the colleges don’t describe these ceremonies as segregated. Rather, in the spirit of the Nazi propagandists, these racially exclusive ceremonies are called affinity events.

Of course, minority students can attend the general graduation ceremonies that are open to everyone, but only the favored groups get their own special graduation celebration.

When I was a child, the movie theater in my hometown was racially segregated. African-Americans could only attend the movies on Sunday evenings. I still remember groups of Black kids walking across the railroad tracks from the north side of town to watch movies that I could see on any day of the week. Could these racially segregated movie nights be properly labeled as affinity events?

Of course, woke academics would say there is a big difference 
between racial segregation in the 1950s and today’s racially segregated graduation ceremonies. But I am not so sure.

Once a university begins offering benefits and privileges to students based on race, ethnicity or sexual orientation, where does it stop? ? How different is a racially exclusive graduation ceremony from a whites-only fraternity or sorority?

A college education has become very expensive. It can cost a quarter of a million dollars to get a degree from an elite university. How do you suppose students in non-favored groups feel about their tuition money being used to subsidize race-based graduation ceremonies for students in favored racial groups?

It is the mission of the universities to prepare their students to thrive in a racially and culturally diverse society. Holding special graduation ceremonies based on race, ethnicity or sexual orientation is contrary to that mission.

Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Intimations of Mortality: The Tulsa Edition

 Last month I was in Tulsa dealing with a stressful family crisis. On April 16, I experienced the first of a series of minor strokes that culminated in a major stroke that paralyzed the left side of my body.  I experienced my third mini-stroke at night while in a Tulsa hospital. I believed I would die and was surprised to realize that I was not afraid.

I was terrified of death when I was a child. My father spent most of the Second World War in a Japanese concentration camp. I was born three years after he was liberated. I know now that my father suffered from severe PTSD. As a four-year-old, I found the only way I could engage him was to ask him about his war experiences.

Unfortunately, my father told me more than I could absorb as a child. He told me about American prisoners who committed suicide because they were weak. He told me about prisoners who were executed. He told me about the day he was being transported in a prison ship that was bombed by American Navy pilots, who did not know that the ship contained American prisoners.

I remember my father telling me about the men who could not swim who were standing on the deck of the sinking ship, begging other prisoners to save them. But the prisoners who could swim were too enfeebled by captivity to help their comrades, and the men who couldn’t swim were drowned. 

My father's stories terrified me. He had survived the Japanese concentration camps because he was strong. I was just a child. I knew I wasn’t strong enough to live through the kind of horror he experienced. I would be one of the weak prisoners who would die.

I grew up in a small Oklahoma town. Many of my childhood friends belonged to religious groups that believed anyone who was not a member of their particular denomination was going to burn in hell for eternity.  

I was a gullible kid, and my childhood buddies were sincere in their efforts to proselytize me. Nevertheless, I never figured out which denomination was God's chosen Church. Was it the Baptists, the Pentecostals, the Nazarenes, or the Church of Christ? I never figured that out but I was terrified of dying and going to hell. I did not shake off that fear until I was an adult.

Elie Wiesel was put in a Nazi concentration camp as a child during World War II. In his memoir of that experience, he said he was introduced to death at an age when children should know nothing about death except what they read in story books. Weisel was right. Children should be protected from the terrors of life, real or imagined. They will learn soon enough when they are older.

Now I’m 74 years old and recovering from a stroke. Death is near. Maybe I will live five or six more years, or maybe I will die tomorrow. 

I believe in God. He is not powerful enough to protect us from famine, plague, or disease. He could not stop Hitler or Stalin.  Nevertheless, God has filled the earth with beauty and sprinkled it with people who love their families and their fellow humans and are capable of great sacrifice in the service of others. 

When I die, I wish to be cremated and my ashes scattered on the banks of the upper Colorado river in West  Texas. I have sinned and suffered a great deal, but God has blessed me with a lovely wife and family. I live ln one of America's most beautiful states. I have known the goodness of God in the land of the living. I am grateful.

Sunday, April 30, 2023

Who dismantled our baloney meters? Biological males excel in women’s collegiate sports

J. Budziszewski, a natural law scholar at the University of Texas, wrote a book titled Written on the Heart, in which he argues that all human beings know the difference between right and wrong. Budziszewski calls this capacity to recognize good and evil  our baloney meters. We know the difference between elemental truth and baloney without being taught. We know that murder is wrong without reading the Ten Commandments. We know child molestation is evil without consulting a psychology article.

Unfortunately, our universities believe that it is their job to dismantle our baloney meters, causing college students to be confused about right and wrong and about reality itself. For example, American universities now permit biological males to compete in women’s collegiate athletic contests. Thus a person with testicles and shoulders broader than Joy Behar’s ass (Greg Gutfeld’s phrase) can collect a trophy for winning a women’s swimming meet. That’s baloney.

Several state legislatures have passed laws banning biological males from competing in women’s sports. President Joe Biden’s handlers, channeling their inner Joseph Goebbels, introduced a federal regulation that permits  biological males to participate in girls’ athletic competition in colleges and schools. More baloney.

What happens to a nation that cannot distinguish between right and wrong? What happens to a society that refuses to recognize basic biology? What happens to a people who allow universities to dismantle our youths’ baloney meters?

America is devolving into an Orwellian society. If we continue down this path, our nation will resemble Russia during the Stalin era or Germany when the Nazis were in power.  Hitler, after all, wanted to create a new national church that would replace the Bible with Mein Kampf.  Now that’s baloney!

We must repair our baloney meters. We must denounce societal forces that distort basic principles of reality and our innate sense of what is right and wrong.  We must stop universities from forcing college students to take out burdensome loans to pay for educational experiences that are intentionally designed to leave them confused, alienated, and morally adrift.

Saturday, April 29, 2023

Reality sucks in flyover country

I don’t give a shit about the media elites, the coastal elites, the influencers, the financial moguls, and the assholes, who inhabit Hollywood and our universities. I live in a different world, a world as different from the world of Nancy Pelosi and Don Lemon as Mongolia differs from France. 

I am in a Louisiana rehab hospital recovering from a stroke. Over the past two weeks, I have met the people who do the real work in the United States: the first responders, the nurses, the emergency room staffers, the occupational therapists, the physical therapists, and the medical technicians.

Today, I met an occupational therapy assistant, whose story I would like to share. Laura is in her early 20s and works two jobs. She recently married a man who is a fire department dispatcher and also works as a photographer on the side. They want to have children but they can’t afford the added expense. They are burdened by credit card debt, including the loan that Laura’s husband took out to buy an engagement ring.

In spite of the fact that they’re working four jobs, Laura and her husband 
barely making ends meet. The payments they make on their credit cards barely cover the interest, so their credit card debt is not going down. In addition, Laura has student loans, which she has not had to pay due to the Covid crisis. If she is required to resume making monthly loan payments, her family’s frugal budget will be completely wrecked.

I gave Laura a little advice. She and her husband have equity in their home, told her that she and her husband should take out a home equity loan and pay off their credit card debt. I warned her, however, that they must have the discipline not to use their credit cards again or their debt will continue creeping up.

I could give Laura no guidance about her student loans because no one knows what federal policy will be.Will students’ loans be forgiven? Will students be forced to resume making monthly payments in a few months? Will the Biden administration‘s new income based repayment plan be good for Laura and her family?

Something is wrong when a young couple working four jobs in high-demand fields can’t make ends meet. Why are we focusing on transgender athletes instead of people like Laura—people living in flyover country in an economy that does not allow them to prosper? Why are we sending weapons and ammunition to Ukraine instead of strengthening our education system, which is near collapse?

It is clear to me now that flyover country is a colony that is being exploited by the coastal elites. The powerful are thriving while the people who do the real work in this country are sinking into poverty. The people dwelling in the heartland are decent people. They are not homophobes, transphobes, or white nationalists. They simply want to reap the benefits of hard work and maintain the lifestyle that their parents enjoyed. 

 What a tragedy that the media elites, the universities, the legal system, and the federal government despise the people who love our country and want to make it better. The smug oligarchs who are prospering now may believe that the status quo will last forever. But it won’t last forever.

They should remember that the Russian nobility were wiped out by the bolsheviks at the end of the first world war, and that the German middle class was obliterated by political violence, inflation, racist hysteria, and finally the Nazis.

Monday, April 10, 2023

Turning adults into infants: Going to college in the era of wokeness

 Early this month, Students at American University petitioned college leaders to place Narcan--an antidote for drug overdoses--in university dormitories. Why? Because an AU student was hospitalized recently from drug poisoning. 

“To wait to implement Narcan at AU is unethical and deadly," the petition argued. "Students will continue to use substances during college, and it is in the interest of their health to prepare for action."

At the University of Houston, a student committed suicide by jumping from an upper floor of a classroom building--the third student to die that way. The solution, student advocates suggested, was to modify the structure with "anti-suicidal infrastructure," such as bars or nets.

According to recent studies, many college students suffer from "food insecurity." They're not hungry, but they're worried about food. 

What to do? Open food pantries where students can pick up free food. Without free food, students might have to switch to cheaper cellphone plans. The horror!

College students have problems. Indeed, they've always had problems. Many are depressed and impoverished, and quite a few experiment with alcohol and illegal drugs.

Whose job is it to deal with college students' daily challenges? University leaders declare that it is their job. They promise to cheerfully deal with all student problems if only they can get enough federal money to hire more well-paid administrators to focus on the crisis of the hour.

I'm okay with that. But here's the thing. College administrators have become so focused on their students' social problems that they've forgotten their core mission: to ensure that students get a solid education that will prepare them to be mature adults who can function in the real world.

As we have seen recently, law students at Stanford University shouted down a federal appellate judge who had been invited to speak on campus. At San Francisco State University, Riley Gaines, an invited speaker who argued that men shouldn't compete in women's varsity sports, was assaulted with threats and obscenities and had to be escorted out of the speaking venue by the police.

Colleges have been converted from learning institutions to nursies for pampered adults who behave like infants. Our universities like this state of affairs because their students have become so stupid that they're willing to take out student loans to be treated like babies.

Riley Gaines was shouted down at San Francisco State University.