OPINION


08-28-2019 

Menckens Ghost
The Latest Hypocrisies, Contradictions, Canards and Clichés  
 

Help!  I'm caught in a vicious circle and can't get out.

The more that the news media, the commentariat, the academy, the intelligentsia, the two political parties, and the unprincipled hawkers of goods and services spread misinformation, disinformation, propaganda, and baloney, the more I retreat to reading history books and conducting independent research.  Then, the more I learn from history and research, the more obvious it becomes that my fellow Americans and I are being fed malarkey by the aforementioned suspects—which in turn makes me want to retreat even more.

I can't be the only one who thinks that the nation has reached the point in its intellectual decline where almost everything on the subject of race, inclusivity, diversity, social justice, income inequality, and sustainability is malarkey.

Below are three recent examples:

Hypocrisy of the National Geographic Society

In the postal mail the other day was a 41-page, slick-and-glossy advertising brochure from National Geographic about an upcoming excursion to the Galapagos Islands on a luxury ship, where prices can hit $15,000, excluding the cost of carbon-belching airplane flights to get to the port.

It's almost a certainty that out-of-work West Virginia coal miners are not the brochure's target audience.   It's a mystery, though, as to why I'm a target, given that I used to be the president of an environmental group and have no interest in traveling on a carbon-fueled floating hotel that pumps dirty bilge water into the ocean.

In what seems like a self-parody, the brochure touts the shipboard dining experience: "Our pioneering farm-to-table culinary program is rooted in our commitment to sustainability."  It goes on to sound like a Whole Food advertisement:  "One farm supplies specialty produce exclusively for us:  chilies, flat leaf kale, heirloom cherry tomatoes, cilantro, and edible flowers."

Excuse my ignorance, but does flat-leaf kale taste better than curved-leaf kale?  Are bees okay with humans eating flowers?

At least we now know the answer to the question posed by Peter, Paul and Mary in their classic folksong, "Where have all the flowers gone?"  The answer is that ravenous National Geographic passengers have devoured them.  Let's hope that no one lets them loose in Holland when the tulips are in bloom.

The brochure goes on to claim that the fleet of ships, the corporate offices, and all land-based operations are carbon-neutral.  It refers readers to a website for details. 

Lo and behold, the website explains that carbon neutrality is achieved by purchasing carbon offsets from organizations that plant trees and invest in solar and wind energy.  No statistics are provided, however, to back up the claim of neutrality.  Even if the claim is true, greens who believe that global warming is an existential threat should want to achieve a net reduction in carbon instead of carbon neutrality.  They could do so by skipping the excursion and purchasing the credits anyway.

Such a commitment to the environment would be hypocrisy-neutral, unlike the cruise ships that would never leave port if it were not for fossil fuels and the hypocrisy of the passengers.

Racial Bean Counting by the Pew Research Center

The Pew Research Center has just published a study titled, "Reflecting a demographic shift, 109 U.S. counties have become majority nonwhite since 2000."

https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/08/21/u-s-counties-majority-nonwhite/

I gritted my teeth over the title before reading the study—not because I care about its claim, but because I grit my teeth on any story about race, whether written by the left or right.

That's because the theme and conclusion of such stories are invariably wrong, due to the underlying statistics being wrong, due to the conventional racial categories being wrong.

The Pew study is no exception.  It reaches its conclusion about the number of nonwhite counties by not counting white Hispanics as white. 

In other words, even Hispanics with 100% Spanish DNA are not white according to Pew, even though their skin might be as white as the white skin of my Swedish/Scots-Irish wife.

At the same time, this olive-skinned Italian is seen as white by Pew and other racial bean counters.  Middle Easterners of various hues are also seen as white.

There was a time in the nation's history when Italians, other Southern Europeans, and Middle Easterners were not seen as white by the white Anglo-Saxon Protestant establishment.  Now, although our skin shade has not changed, we have magically become white.

This is akin to going to a paint store to look at color charts, only to find that the color names don't match the colors.

The typical response to this point from racial bean counters is, "You know what we mean.

No, I really don't know what you mean but guess that you've scrambled together race, ethnicity, nationality, and social class into a cockamamie grand unified theory of the relationship of race to power and privilege—a theory that is as muddled as the minds that developed it.

The muddled minds have even gone so far as to classify the diverse races, ethnic groups, nationalities, religions, and skin shades in Asia and the subcontinent under the one-size-fits-all label of "Asian."  The mantra of the racial bean counters is "Celebrate diversity," which they chant while taking a sledgehammer to diversity. 

It would be fun to watch them tell South Koreans that they are the same as the Japanese, or to tell East Indians that they are the same as Pakistanis or the Chinese.

Speaking of East Indians, they rank at the top or near the top in America in income and education, in spite of their dark skin and different cultural heritage.  And the Patel clan from one small area of India owns most of the independent motels in America, including motels in West Texas, Appalachia, and working-class hoods in the Midwest and Northeast—you know, places where racist white deplorables live.

East Indians are just one example of the grand unified theory not being grand or unified.  The nation would be better off it was discarded, along with all racial labels and bean counting, as some multiracial countries have done.  Granted, this would throw tens of thousands of bean counters, diversity consultants, and race mongers out of work, but that's a small price to pay for improved race relations in America.

The Contradictions of College Faculty and Staff

Colleges are back in session, and students are being greeted with communications from college presidents, deans of diversity, and deans of residence life, almost all of whom convey the same predictable, tired, shopworn, and sophomoric rhetoric about diversity, inclusion and social justice.

So begins the constant drip, drip, drip of brainwashing masquerading as education.

To digress for a minute, you deserve an apology from me—not for what I'm going to say below but for the harm I've done to race relations and the nation's social fabric.

You see, decades ago I was at the forefront of the equal rights movement, of the affirmative-action movement, and of the diversity movement, or at least the diversity movement as begun by Roosevelt Thomas with his 1990 Harvard Business Review article, an article that I heard him speak about at a conference.  I failed to foresee how these initiatives to redress the effects of slavery, Jim Crow and ugly stereotypes would be hijacked by flimflam artists, money-grubbing spokespeople for certain races, a grievance industry, a victimhood industry, identity politics, and sick socialists with the strategy of fueling racial animosities to upend capitalism, humanism, and classical liberalism.

Many of the universities now have separate dorms and graduation ceremonies for African Americans.  At the same time, they preach the bible of diversity and inclusion, apparently unaware that there are psychology professors on campus who might be able to give them insights about their cognitive dissonance.

On the other hand, professors can no longer deviate from the party line without being ostracized in the faculty lounge and getting bad ratings from thin-skinned students. 

That's why sociology profs won't dare say that a major cause of poverty, income inequality, poor grades, and crime is fatherless families. 

That's why ethics profs won't dare say that it was unethical for colleges to consign students to indebtedness by participating in the government's tuition loan racket. 

That's why environmental profs won't dare say that it is not green to have classrooms, dorms and sports facilities go unused for much of the year. 

That's why economics profs won't dare say that most college sports programs lose money. 

That's why business profs who specialize in compensation won't dare say that deans of diversity don't warrant a $300,000 salary. 

That's why journalism profs won't dare say that today's journalists have earned their bad reputation. 

That's why education profs won't dare say that money will not fix the problems with public education. 

That's why science and engineering profs won't dare say that many incoming students with good grades in high school are unprepared academically for a demanding major, due to the unfixed problems with public education.

That's why political science profs won't dare say that 90% of profs vote Democrat, partly for ideological reasons and partly because it's easier to wring money for higher ed out of Democrat politicians than Republican ones.

Finally, all of the above is why I'll dare say that college faculty and staff should be ashamed of their greed, biases, and cowardice.