Month: January 2015

The Obama Effect: Disguised Unemployment

Updated here.

Two takeaways:

  • The “official” unemployment rate of 5.6 percent is phony. The real rate is 12 percent, just 1.5 points below the 21st century high-water mark of 13.5 (reached in 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2013).
  • The real unemployment rate is disguised by the declining the labor-force participation rate, which has accelerated since the onset of Obamanomics. The decline is concentrated among younger workers, and has probably been helped along by Obamacare. (See the final paragraph of the post.)

Signature

Sober Reflections on “Charlie Hebdo”

Some of the rabid dogs who brutally murdered 12 persons at the offices of Charlie Hebdo were put down, as they should have been.

But I’m not joining the hysterical cult of “Je suis Charlie.” Why not? I begin with Peter (the good) Hitchens, who writes:

Once again we are ruled by a Dictatorship of Grief. Ever since the death of Princess Diana, we have been subject to these periodic spasms when everyone is supposed to think and say the same thing, or else.

We were told on Friday that ‘politicians from all sides’ had lined up to attack Ukip’s Nigel Farage for supposedly ‘exploiting’ the Paris massacre.

Mr Farage had (quite reasonably) pointed out that the presence of Islamist fanatics in our midst might have something to do with, a) uncontrolled mass migration from the Muslim world, and b) decades of multicultural refusal to integrate them into our laws and customs.

Rather than disputing this with facts and logic (admittedly this would be hard), the three ‘mainstream’ parties joined in screeching condemnation….

The Liberal Democrat Nick Clegg said Mr Farage was ‘making political points’ on the ‘back of bloody murders’.

Well, who wasn’t? A sanctimonious unanimity descended on politics and the media. ‘Je suis Charlie,’ everyone said. It was an issue of liberty, we all said. They can’t silence us, stop us drawing cartoons, etc etc etc.

Great mountains of adjectives piled up on every corner, much like those hills of flowers and teddy bears we like to place at the scenes of tragedies.

You can feel the presence of the snarling conformist mob, waiting for some dissenter on whom they can fall, kicking and biting. So-called social media, in fact an intolerant and largely brainless electronic mob, has made this much worse since the sad death of the Princess.

Speaking of intolerance, that’s the name of Charlie‘s game. It’s a stridently left-wing rag that mocks religion (of all kinds), and anything else deemed too “respectable” for the adolescent tastes of its staff.

What’s most striking about the “Je suis Charlie” movement is its pure hypocrisy. Back to Hitchens:

As for freedom, here’s an interesting thing. The French Leftist newspaper Liberation reported on September 12, 1996, that three stalwarts of Charlie Hebdo (including Stephane ‘Charb’ Charbonnier) had campaigned in their magazine to collect more than 170,000 signatures for a petition calling for a ban on the French National Front party. They did this in the name of the ‘Rights of Man’.

You, like me, may dislike the National Front greatly. But lovers of liberty simply do not seek to ban parties they do not like.

This is a double paradox. The French National Front exists mainly because a perfectly reasonable concern about mass immigration was sneeringly dismissed by the mainstream French parties. Something similar is happening in Germany, where large demonstrations against ‘the Islamisation of the West’ in many cities have been scornfully attacked by that country’s elite.

Yes, the left gets up in arms when some of its members are slaughtered by Muslim pigs (I love that phrase). But this is the same, hypocritical left that condones and promotes censorship. Clarice Feldman nails it:

Count me in the camp with Matthew Continetti, who gives countless examples of liberal hypocrisy about free speech including the following examples:

Do liberals actually believe in the right to offend? Their attitude seems to me to be ambivalent at best. And this equivocation was apparent within hours of the attack, when news outlets censored or refused to publish the images for which the Charlie Hebdo editors were killed. Classifying satire or opinion as “hate speech” subject to regulation is not an aberration. It is commonplace.

Indeed, the outpouring of support for free speech in the aftermath of the Paris attack coincides with, and partially obscures, the degradation of speech rights in the West. Commencement last year was marked by universities revoking appearances by speakers Condoleezza Rice and Ayaan Hirsi Ali for no other reason than that mobs disagreed with the speakers’ points of view. I do not recall liberals rallying behind Condi and Hirsi Ali then.

He adds to the mix of examples, Brendan Eich’s opposition to gay marriage costing him his job, the Chicago Sun Times’ removal of a Kevin D. Williamson article critical of transgender activism, Brandeis University’s unremitting assaults on a student for publicizing another student’s cheering  the assassination of police officers, blaming an obscure video for the violent attack in Benghazi. Worse yet, there’s the political and academic efforts to shut off free speech which might offend someone, (someone, I observe, who usually just happens to hold the views prevailing among the left-wing professors and administrators)….

Obama can’t even bring himself to speak plainly about the savages whose deeds have sparked millions to rally in the name of Charlie. Scott Johnson is on the case:

President Obama performed the obligatory characterization of the terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo in Paris last week as “cowardly” and “evil.” “Evil” it certainly was. “Cowardly” would probably be an adjective more appropriate to the Obama administration’s characterization of Islamist terrorism as “violent extremism,” though “stupid” certainly shouldn’t be overlooked either.

President Obama and his administration refuse to identify the ideology that inspires our enemy. They continue to yammer incessantly about “extremism” and “extremists.” Islam is not to be mentioned, unless it is to be appeased and defended. Obama is himself something of an extremist on the subject.

Of course he is, as Clarice Feldman reminds us:

[H]ere’s what Obama said in 2012 after the slaughter in Benghazi: “A crude and disgusting video sparked outrage throughout the Muslim world.  Now, I have made it clear that the United States government had nothing to do with this video, and I believe its message must be rejected by all who respect our common humanity. It is an insult not only to Muslims, but to America as well — for as the city outside these walls makes clear, we are a country that has welcomed people of every race and every faith. We are home to Muslims who worship across our country. We not only respect the freedom of religion, we have laws that protect individuals from being harmed because of how they look or what they believe. We understand why people take offense to this video because millions of our citizens are among them…. The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.”

(What does it mean, this phrase: “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam”, if not an incitement to attack targets like Hedbo?)

The future must not belong to Islam or its apologists on the left. It must not belong to those who are afraid to speak the truth about the aims of Islam. It must not belong to anti-Semites.

The slaughter at Charlie Hebdo is not a reason for solidarity with the left, but a reason to oppose the left and its clients — especially (but not exclusively) the murderous adherents of Islam.

Solidarity with the left suborns what Victor Davis Hanson rightly calls multicultural suicide:

Multiculturalism is one of those buzzwords that does not mean what it should. The ancient and generic Western study of many cultures is not multiculturalism. Rather, the trendy term promotes non-Western cultures to a status equal with or superior to Western culture largely to fulfill contemporary political agendas….

…In terms of the challenge of radical Islam, multiculturalism manifests itself in the abstract with the notion that Islamists are simply the fundamentalist counterparts to any other religion. Islamic extremists are no different from Christian extremists, as the isolated examples of David Koresh or the Rev. Jim Jones are cited ad nauseam as the morally and numerically equivalent bookends to thousands of radical Islamic terrorist acts that plague the world each month. We are not to assess other religions by any absolute standard, given that such judgmentalism would inevitably be prejudiced by endemic Western privilege….

Most of the millions who today paid lip-service to liberty in the streets of Paris and other cosmopolitan capitals will tomorrow resume their war against liberty, in the name of multiculturalism and other manifestations of political correctness.

*     *     *

Related reading, in addition to the articles and posts quoted and linked above:
John Ransom, “In the Clash of Intolerants, I’m Not Charlie,” Townhall.com, January 10, 2015
Selwyn Duke, “Je ne suis pas Charlie (I’m Sane),” American Thinker, January 12, 2015
Takimag, “The Week That Perished” (first entry), January 12, 2015
Mark Steyn, “Where’s the Lead in the Pencil?,” SteynOnline, January 14, 2015
Jaci Greggs, “Meet the Hypocrites Who Did Attend the Paris Unity Rally,” The Federalist, January 15, 2014
Andrew Napolitano, “What Freedom of Speech?,” The Unz Review, January 15, 2015
Theden, “#JeSuisUsefulIdiot:Western Leaders Exploit the Paris Attacks,” January 25, 2015

*     *     *

Related post: Riots, Culture, and the Final Showdown

Signature