Category Archives: Culture

American Society’s Unnatural Attitude to Aging Naturally

Culture, Ethics, Family, Morality, Pop-Psychology, Psychiatry, Relatives, The Zeitgeist

In “No Country for Old Age,” The Hedgehog Review’s Joseph E. Davis writes, in essence, of the cruel biological reductionism and medicalization of old age, a natural stage of life that ought to be valued:

“When it comes to old age, illness, and death, little remains to us of common meaning or shared social rituals.”

Here are some of many profundities excerpted:

… In our society, to come directly to my point, old age is understood and framed in ways that lead inevitably to its devaluation. Its status is low and arguably is falling.
… old age [is seen as having] no value in itself. ‘Old’ signifies bodily decline, while “success” involves a ceaseless battle to defeat degeneration, and hope is always invested in the prospect of overcoming limits through self-reliance and technological interventions.

There is no space here for stillness or release, no sense of value or consolation in the evening of life. Even cultivating spirituality is framed instrumentally in terms of promoting ‘better physical and mental health in old age.’ An imperative to defeat aging and even death can only consign these realities to fear, shame, and avoidance.

…Representations of old age that add censure and shame to greater dependence and loss of one’s powers can only make matters worse.

… the sociologist Norbert Elias argues that, over time, these weakened bonds and other common features of the later years have been compounded by increased individualization and the isolation of the “ageing and dying from the community of the living.” In contemporary society, Elias argues, older people are “pushed more and more behind the scenes of social life,” a process that intensifies their devaluation, emotional seclusion, and loss of social significance. A physical and institutional sequestering and a pervasive cultural tendency to “conceal the irrevocable finitude of human existence” have made it harder for them and those around them to relate to, understand, and interact with one another. The aged and dying are less likely to receive the help and affection they need, and more prone to different forms of loneliness and painful feelings of irrelevance. “Never before,” Elias writes, “have people died as noiselessly and hygienically as today in [more developed] societies, and never in social conditions so much fostering solitude.”

… Health and longevity are the ends to which remedial action is directed and by which outcomes are evaluated. Even in discussions that include exhortations to build strong connections and communities, loneliness and isolation are treated as individual conditions, and references to community easily coexist with talk of genetic hardwiring, the role of the prefrontal cortex, and the ways in which neural mechanisms might generate feelings of loneliness.

… Typical advice is often some form of self-help: “take a class,” “get a dog,” “volunteer”; build your confidence with social skills training; seek out behavioral therapy. With therapy—highlighted for its positive “impact”—the aged lonely can be helped to see that their low self-worth, perceived isolation, or feelings of being unwanted are probably just cognitive misapprehensions that need to be “restructured.” Once this restructuring is accomplished, the aged can better match what they want in social life with what they have and get on with aging with more success. The status quo can now appear in a new, more uplifting light.

Current constructions of old age in individualistic terms of self-reliance, the fit body, productive accomplishments, or an imperative to deny or defeat aging technologically cannot but deepen our predicament and the need to render it invisible. This is what makes the cultural logic of these constructions irredeemable. They leave us in a cul-de-sac, hemmed in by a predatory commercial culture, a punishing ideology of health, fewer and weaker social ties, an ethic of active striving and mastery, and a mechanistic picture of ourselves. Moving beyond the devaluation of old age requires other orientations and other practices for which we must look elsewhere—to other societies, past or present, and to older traditions. …

… The social orientation of the evening of life need not be individualistic, but toward family and the localization and strengthening of social relations. Similarly, the view of the life cycle need not take its bearings from youth and middle age but from roles and identities appropriate to old age, with their own norms and rewards. These norms and rewards need not be defined in terms of active striving and productivity, but in terms of release, such as from social climbing, and a more contemplative attitude toward the world.

No Country for Old Age,” by Joseph E. Davis, The Hedgehog Review.

UPDATED III (12/10/019): NEW COLUMN: Multiculturalism Elbows Anglo-Americans Out

Conservatism, Culture, Founding Fathers, History, IMMIGRATION, Islam, Judaism & Jews, Multiculturalism

NEW COLUMN is “Multiculturalism Elbows Anglo-Americans Out.” It’s on WND.COM and the Unz Review.

An excerpt:

America is “a society that is and always has been multiethnic and polyglot,” burbled David Frum, in a 2016 exposition. It’s a refrain repeated by centrists like Frum and French (also David), by all lefties and by well-trained faux rightists.

Such dissembling about America having always been multicultural are no more than post hoc justifications for turning the country into a veritable Tower of Babel.

Early America’s colonies were founded by Englishmen in periwigs, speaking different English dialects. They were joined by Irish, Scottish, French, Dutch, German and Swedish Christians, who quickly adopted English as lingua franca.

Not even the woke Wikipedia denies that, “Nearly all colonies and, later, states in the United States, were settled by migration from” one colony to another, with “foreign immigration” generally playing “a minor role after the first initial settlements.”

In other words, population growth was organic, a result of the settlers themselves multiplying and being fruitful, not of a flood of immigrants.

This so-called “multiethnic” dispensation saw early Americans publicly debate and come to a broad agreement on some highly complex, abstract matters of political philosophy, an impossibility today. The colonial community had to be pretty tight to arrive at the Articles of Confederation, followed by the Constitution.

Try as he might, not even the sainted Barack Obama got away with claiming, as he did, that, “Islam had been woven into the fabric of our country since its founding.”

Beyond their heavy involvement in the slave trade and in the Barbary wars—and contrary to Obama’s modern myth-making—Muslims were most certainly not enmeshed in America from its inception.

Moreover, and almost to a man, the learned Founding Father, as chronicled by Laura Rubenfeld of PJ Media, held a dismal view of Islam and its vampiric prophet. 

It gives me great pleasure to break it to my anti-Semitic readers and to Ilhan Omar, the representative from Mogadishu in Minnesota: Jews were around. Early American Jews were of, mostly, Sephardic origins, having hailed from Spain and Portugal. That Jewry has always been more refined and reactionary than their radical, East-European brethren, who arrived much later.

And so we find Jews fighting or financing the War of Independence. Francis Salvador and Haym Solomon come to mind. “The highest ranking Jewish officer of the Colonial forces was Colonel Mordecai Sheftall.” Why, Jews even produced proud Confederate soldiers, the likes of Col. Abraham Charles Myers.

It was to the peaceful Jews of America that George Washington saw fit to promise peace and goodwill in a 1790 address to a synagogue congregation in Newport, Rhode Island.

Descendants of the original inhabitants of the United States of America are certainly not up to dealing with the political aggression brought to the country’s politics by recent immigrants. Come to speak of it, neither are the First Nations, the American Indians, who’re also politically more passive, when compared to the barbarians who’ve joined the Empire, since 1965.

To tether the character of Rep. Ilhan Omar to America’s immigration preferences is perfectly proper. Likewise Rashida Tlaib. The representative from Michigan is a second-generation Palestinian-American, and is every bit as tribal, politically aggressive and reliably leftist as Omar.

By virtue of its main source countries, America’s mass immigration policy privileges individuals like Omar: angry, anti-white, and highly receptive to theories that blacken the West and porcelainize the undeveloped world (a pedagogic poison that is, by the way, hothoused in the U.S.—K to 12 and beyond). …

… READ THE REST. NEW COLUMN is “Multiculturalism Elbows Anglo-Americans Out.” It’s on WND.COM and the Unz Review.

UPDATED (11/8/019):

Joe writes: “Don’t forget Judah P. Benjamin [featured above], Secretary of State for the Confederacy. Southern Jews fought with great valor against Lincoln’s einsatzgruppen.”

Others would have preferred that Benjamin be more of a loser.

UPDATE II:  The Economist, a left-liberal publication, comments on, “The rising clout of Indian-Americans,” and alludes to the passivity of the Ameri-Indians, by comparison, as I did in the column. “There may well be an Indian-American president before there is an American Indian one,” they write.

UPDATED III (12/10/019):

Important column by @michellemalkin emphasizing the attempt to regain states’ rights lost. Did you know that “communities” lacked “… explicit…rights to stem the lucrative tide of #refugees coming largely from Third World countries”?

UPDATED II (12/14/020): DRUDGE Clearly Cares Deeply About Animals, All Animals

Conservatism, Culture, Environmentalism & Animal Rights, Ethics, Media, Morality

To his great credit, DRUDGE Report alerts almost daily to stories of abuse of wild and companion animals.

Drudge is also clearly trying to raise consciousness about the destruction of animal habitat at the hands of humans, that is if thematically consistent headlines on the site are any indication.

And DRUDGE does not appear to be one of those ethically challenged individuals who’ll tell you, “I’m a dog person; fuck the lions who’re being culled in canned hunts.”

My impression from following this news aggregator’s headlines for years is that DRUDGE cares deeply about animals and their fate.

Today, the item on Drudge raised awareness about “the complex relationship between humans and animals.”

Yesterday, Drudge linked to a story of a starving elephant made to carry tourists until she dropped dead.  Disgusting culture that would allow this.

I will keep you updated with a daily Drudge on animals.

UPDATE I (12/26/019):

Via DRUDGE: “Elephants in Thailand ‘broken’ for lucrative animal tourism…

UPDATE II (1/14/020): Parrots are innately kind.

UPDATE II (2/14/020):

“Meet the Wildlife Police: An unsung group of conservation heroes often stands between human predators and species on the edge of extinction”:

One of these critter cops is Andy McWilliam, a veteran English police officer who joined the NWCU at its inception in 2006. Mr. McWilliam has tracked down taxidermists and collectors of rare birds and mammals; prosecuted real-estate developers who destroyed the habitats of protected water voles and brown long-eared bats; and helped lead a national campaign to arrest egg collectors, a fraternity of largely middle-aged men who raid nests in England, Scotland and Wales, threatening protected species from kingfishers to golden eagles.
Even within their own departments, wildlife police sometimes struggle for respect. Mr. McWilliam recalls being taunted by colleagues in Liverpool after he returned to the station house with an egg collector in custody. “Put him before the beak,” they joked, using a slang term for a magistrate. …

… In 2017, Mr. McWilliam gathered intelligence in England for his American counterparts that led to the arrest, conviction and jailing of a Connecticut taxidermist who had stuffed and smuggled dozens of rare, protected birds, in violation of both the U.S. Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Endangered Species Act.

The NWCU has inspired other wildlife-crime units. Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia and the Netherlands all established or strengthened environmental-crime divisions in recent years. Operation Blizzard, a 2019 investigation overseen by Interpol and Europol, mobilized wildlife agencies from 22 countries against the illegal global trade of reptiles. The operation, according to Interpol, “resulted in the seizure of 2,703 turtles and tortoises, 1,059 snakes, 512 lizards and geckos, and 20 crocodiles and alligators.”
More in Ideas

The case of Jeffrey Lendrum, a notorious bird thief and smuggler who trafficked live peregrine eggs to wealthy falconers in the Persian Gulf, brought the NWCU its greatest encomiums—and showcased the increased cooperation of wildlife cops across international borders. In 2010, Mr. McWilliam led the investigation against Mr. Lendrum in Birmingham, England, for peregrine smuggling that sent him to prison for a year. In October 2015, Mr. Lendrum flew to Patagonia on another egg-thieving mission. A hotel clerk who’d read about the Birmingham arrest six years earlier tipped off Chile’s wildlife police, but Mr. Lendrum had already departed for Brazil. The Chileans alerted their Brazilian counterparts, who nabbed him in São Paulo’s airport as he was about to board a flight to Dubai. Wildlife agents seized four rare, white-breasted peregrine eggs stolen from Patagonia’s cliffs. …

NEW COLUMN: Update II (12/20/019): Conservative Kids Must Learn Before They Lead

Capitalism, China, Conservatism, Critique, Culture, Education, Intelligence, Kids, Left-Liberalism, Reason

NEW COLUMN: “Conservative Kids Must Learn Before They Lead.” Read it on The Unz Review or WND.COM.

An excerpt:

To judge by their writing, the youngsters who’ve been given the run of the conservative op-ed pages, pixelated and printed, know little about how socialism differs from capitalism.

To their credit, they’ve chosen a side—the right side—but are incapable of arguing the morality of capitalism and its efficacy (which stems from its morality).

Discredited are their employers for failing to demand that their young, conservative charges methodically and creatively motivate for the right—and the Right—side.

Endeavoring to explain the oft-repeated banality that, “Colleges are turning young people [into] socialists,” one such prototypical writer says this in her dog’s breakfast of a column, for the Washington Examiner:

“Students are gullible and moldable because they have little conviction and no foundation. Too often, public universities teach students to accept basic, shallow ‘knowledge’ at face value. They are not trained to ask why this knowledge matters or how it influences the rest of their education or how it relates to higher principles.”

The writer at once, and incoherently, condemns “shallow knowledge” (whatever that is), yet laments that students are not taught to relate “shallow knowledge” to higher principles. What does this even mean?!

Such bafflegab is published absent the telltale signs of editorial oversight. Or, perhaps the editors of the Examiner and publications like it think that voicing an opinion is the same as advancing an argument.

However, meandering assertions, circular arguments, non sequiturs and assorted banal utterances don’t belong on editorial pages. Agile argument does.

The piece continues in this puerile vain, conjuring the catchphrase that currently precedes every sentence spoken by a millennial: “I feel like.”

“I feel like” columns and essays are a dime a dozen; their purveyors having procured plum positions in the conservative press.

That “students are not learning” in schools and are thus gravitating to socialism is beyond trite—it’s also a non sequitur. For one would have to argue that lack of learning leads to socialism, and not merely assert it.

In showcasing amateurish, intern-quality material in national forums, conservatives are letting the liberal credo guide them. …

… READ THE REST.  NEW COLUMN: “Conservative Kids Must Learn Before They Lead.” Read it on The Unz Review or WND.COM.

Updated I (11/28/019):

You can’t think critically when there is nothing between your ears: On Critical Thinking: We can only think critically about things about which we have knowledge.”

Update II (12/20/019):