From the Library: The Happiest Kids in the World

Apparently, the white working class in the U.S. have a lot in common with the Dutchies. Belief that kids can find their own way in the world (as distinct from needing intensive parenting, travel sports, and the like), check. Belief that work is a means to an end, that of supporting your family, check. Belief that there are other paths towards a happy adulthood than a college degree, let alone one from Harvard, check. Belief that ever greater accumulation of… Read more

My last (?) post on the Confederate monuments

It occurs to me that the pro- and the anti-monument removal sides are having two separate discussions. The pro-removal side is really making some very good claims that the monuments never should have been erected in the first place, placing them in the context of Jim Crow and segregation and reinforcing white power in the early 20th century.  (They are then, in some cases, destroying their case by suggesting that any honor on anyone connected with slavery, even Jefferson or… Read more

From the library: White Working Class by Joan C. Williams

Subtitled, Overcoming Class Cluelessness in America, this little book (125 pages) is directed at upper middle-class white Democrats asking themselves, “why were white working class voters so stupid and so bigoted as to have voted for Trump, and how can we get them to vote for our preferred candidates instead?” And, indeed, the end of the book was seriously disappointing, since there’s no consideration at all of whether the Democratic platform needs any reconsideration; instead, Williams proposals new slogans to… Read more

Camp Douglas: or, taking “no Confederate monuments” too far

We are assured that, with respect to white supremacists and antifa anarchists, there is right and there is wrong, and nothing to discuss.  And while I’m all for condemning white supremacists, I’m not thrilled about adopting the “enemy of my enemy is my friend” principle that anarchists are noble because they fight against racists. We are also assured that this is true with respect to the debate over Confederate monuments.  See, for instance, Tribune columnist Dahleen Glanton this morning, who condemned Trump as… Read more

Attention Rally-goers: do you want to win?

There’s a rally coming up on Saturday the 19th, in Boston, called “Boston Free Speech.”  According to the Boston Globe, this is a completely different animal than the mess in Charlottesville in one respect:  the security will be massive.  No backpacks, no weapons, nothing that can be used as a weapon, such as a large pole — the sort of restrictions that would be applied to a variety of public gatherings on terrorism grounds, even if you weren’t worried about… Read more

The only winning move is not to play

What does that quote from Wargames have to do with Trump, and his loony press conference, and its aftermath?  Is there any point to it besides revealing my age? In the movie, a supercomputer controls the American nuclear missile system, and a teen boy hacks into its system, thinking he’s playing a computer game but unknowningly triggering that computer believing that a real attack from the Soviet Union is occurring (or maybe that a political scenario has occurred which its… Read more

What about monuments?

On the one hand, we have “monument fever” — with an endless array of, not just people, but groups, getting monuments in our public places.  Will future generations feel the need to clean up the National Mall, in order to memorialize heroes of future civic or military battles? On the other hand, we’re engaged in a process of clean-up now, getting rid of monuments to people who we conclude weren’t that heroic after all. On the third hand, when ISIS… Read more

No Free Lunch, Canadian Social Security edition

My twitter feed tells me it’s the 82nd anniversary of Social Security.  So to mark the occasion, here’s an article that I had written not long ago with the original intent of aiming at trying to get published somewhere (hence, no links).  As I haven’t figured out where to submit it to, I’ll post it here as usual instead. ********************* Not long ago, the Social Security Trustees released the latest Social Security annual report, and reported that the system will begin… Read more

White nationalists, antifa, and car-killers: three separate issues

I want to say a few words about our discourse around the events in Charlottesville, which has now become a simplistic rhetoric of “destroy the Nazis,” which is not very helpful, because there are three separate issues which we really should discuss separately. First, there are white nationalists – white supremacists – neo-Nazis – call them what you will, who have arrived at the opinion that they have the support of Donald Trump.  (Note that I don’t use the label… Read more