Smart people saying smart things (11.17.21)

Smart people saying smart things (11.17.21) November 17, 2021

Lili Loofbourow, “The Horror That Is Facebook”

The revelations in the Facebook Papers are insulting even to our divisions, which I have formerly preferred to think of as principled—or philosophical, or at least rooted in something other than dopamine hits from “shares” and “likes.” But reporting on Facebook confirms the extent to which Facebook doesn’t just reflect our polarization—it drives it. I’ve read all this before, of course, but I’ve found it hard to really take the measure of it without succumbing to its absurdity. “Facebook? Which Sex and the City character are you Facebook? Repository of vacation photos Facebook? The place that made “poking” your friend an option and “It’s Complicated” a relationship status? This is what’s radicalizing the world?” Desperate to reassure myself that ours is not the only stupid time in history, I’ve been revisiting the history of the Church of England. It seemed like a promising source of comparable inanity: King Henry VIII’s crush on Anne Boleyn veiled in the imperative to produce a male heir was an appalling rationale for an entire church’s founding, after all. A lot of people died over whether Henry ought to get to be the head of his own church so he could do what he wanted! But even those deaths don’t feel meaningless in quite the way these Facebook deaths do; those disagreements intersected with God and the Reformation and literacy at least.

Beth Walthen and Amanda Bettencourt, “Trust Us: Nurses Are at the Breaking Point”

And no wonder nurses are walking away from a profession they loved. As we show up time and again to fight against all odds to save lives, we are frustrated by those who have rejected clear data-driven guidance in this preventable fourth wave of the pandemic. Day after day, we lose patients who didn’t have to die. More than 90 percent of people hospitalized for COVID are not vaccinated. Those unnecessary losses take an indescribable emotional toll on nurses. And our grief is compounded by abuse. Once, we were honored as heroes. Now, we are mistrusted, insulted and even attacked. We have been pushed beyond the brink. This cannot continue.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, “Aaron Rodgers Didn’t Just Lie”

Rodgers complained that the “cancel culture” was coming for him, but his own words cancel him as a liar and a bad thinker. If he had a principled objection to the vaccine, he could have chosen not to play, like Kyrie Irving, who at least is honest. What really sacked his whining stance was his refusal to wear a mask during interviews to protect others from sickness and death. That was merely his hubris and arrogance against what he called the “woke mob.” In this case, woke means compassion and responsibility toward others. He might also remember that the only reason he is able to play in front of crowds again is because all those suckers got vaccinated.

What will happen to Aaron Rodgers? Other than the brief suspension probably very little. … I can’t help but think of Colin Kaepernick, who was blacklisted by the NFL for passively expressing his frustration with systemic racism — a brave act meant to help his community and save lives — while multi-millionaire Rodgers will continue to play, despite lying to the fans and his teammates and putting innocent lives in danger

Heather Cox Richardson, “November 6, 2021”

Regulation of business and promotion of infrastructure is not, in fact, the international socialism today’s Republicans claim. According to Abraham Lincoln, who first articulated the principles of the Republican Party, and under whom the party invented the American income tax, the “legitimate object of government, is to do for a community of people, whatever they need to have done, but can not do, at all, or can not, so well do, for themselves—in their separate, and individual capacities.” Those things included, he wrote, “public roads and highways, public schools, charities, pauperism, orphanage, estates of the deceased, and the machinery of government itself.”

Sarah Jones, “Who’s Afraid of Higher Education?”

The right has long dreamed of alternatives to traditional higher education. The televangelist Pat Robertson founded Regent University for similar reasons. Michael Farris, the founder of the Homeschool Legal Defense Association, founded Patrick Henry College in 2000 to shelter homeschool graduates and funnel them into Republican politics. Hillsdale College has assumed a sharply right-wing political identity over time, and rejects federal funding “as a matter of principle.” (A Hillsdale professor sits on the University of Austin’s board of advisers.) These schools exist as laboratories for right-wing thought; they are committed not to free expression but to indoctrination. The University of Austin will be no different.

Andre E. Key, “John McWhorter Sounds Like Moses Condemning Israel for Worshipping Golden Calf of Black Power”

For conservatives and right-wing activists, wokeness has become a convenient catch-all label for their ideological foes. Under the wokeness umbrella social conservatives can collectively smear critical race theory, gender identity theory, political secular humanism, socialism, and anything else deemed to be the boogeyman du jour.

It could be argued that wokeness has replaced political correctness — or “PC” — as the go-to idea to renounce in order to bolster one’s conservative bona fides.

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