Food For Thought

Kevin Durant and Inequality

Conservatives do care about poverty. We have a whole color-coded portfolio of good ideas for how to tackle it. But if the public is disinclined to believe this, that may sometimes be our own fault. 

Conservatives love freedom, personal responsibility and spirited individualism. Those are wonderful (and very American) values that we are right to cherish. But we could perhaps be more discerning at times about choosing our talking points.

Yes. The right’s economic arguments, even if they’re 100% correct, are overly-technical and distant from the lives of many ordinary Americans. If we want to bring people to our side, we need to meet them where they are and present solutions to their problems that will strike them as both viable and compassionate. What’s more, we need to be more aggressive in assigning blame where it’s actually due. Why are so many inner city neighborhoods dysfunctional? That’s not the fault of the right; the right hasn’t had political control in the inner cities for decades. And if there’s any truth to the perception that people of color are not equally respected in the academy, might the animating assumptions behind affirmative action be the key contributing factor?

I do think we could do better when it comes to things like race and gender relations — even if I don’t agree with the left’s proposed fascistic “solutions.” What if we took concepts like “privilege” and “social justice” — and then cleverly turned them on their heads? What if we acknowledged the problems highlighted by the left — but then vigorously challenged the left’s explanations for their existence? Would we be more successful? I welcome your thoughts below!

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Five Alarm Fire

This would probably be best placed on our education blog, but I don’t have posting privileges over there (we know the score…my sister is an educator…I’m just a guy with an opinion…LOL)

DO NOT let your children use mobile devices.  At all.  Until they are at least 16.

FIVE ALARM FIRE

Of course, I didn’t actually need a study in England to tell me that what I’m seeing of young people today is a bad thing.  I have been watching the changes even in college kids today…their attention spans are disappearing (and I thought I was bad!).

But evidently…it’s more than just attention, focus, and ambition that are disappearing behind a firewall of Facebook addiction and time-wasting games.

There has been a misguided move, lately, to use these things as educational devices in schools and at home…to park kids in front of these tablets and “teach” through games.  Parents cheer as their child learns the skills that they believe will be necessary in the new world order…like how to do Apple’s range of finger manipulations to get a response from an iPad.

But…at the same time, their kids are losing the ability to do the simplest things with real world objects.

This…is not good.

Who’s Anti-Science Again?

This article is a tad old, but someone linked it on Sarah Hoyt’s blog, and I think it belongs here:

The Party of Science Has Absolutely No Clue What It’s Talking About

From spirituality to environmentalism to financial economics, we hear, conservatives’ insufficient educations leave them unable to see past shadow and superstition. The right buys blissful ignorance by disengaging from reality. 

But liberals’ intellects deprive them of this luxury. Cursed with vision keen enough to see in shades of grey, progressives cannot help but examine all the evidence and see what makes sense. Building a messy worldview out of complicated facts may be less viscerally satisfying than dictating from dogma, we’re informed, but it is infinitely more honest. So when you’re looking for leaders who will actually improve people’s lives, the talented technocrats beat the Manichean moralists eight days a week. 

Policy should belong to pragmatists, the story concludes. And thus politics should belong to progressives. 

This narrative serves America well save for two minor flaws: It’s a lie and it hurts people. Confirmation bias and ex post rationalization are human universals, not the exclusive province of the political right. Every day, the best interests of vulnerable people are sacrificed on the altar of leftist faiths as ironclad any conservative presuppositions.

I still remember the time a left-wing college professor tried to convince me that “Right to Work” states were at the bottom of the rankings in educational attainment by comparing the SAT and ACT scores of several northern states with a strong union presence to the SAT and ACT scores of said “Right to Work” states. He conveniently forgot, of course, that his favored states are lilly white and pretty affluent, whereas Texas, Virginia, et. al., are poorer on average and more diverse. Gee — you think Virginia’s SAT scores might be lower because we have more English language learners than, say, Wisconsin? Sure enough, when I looked at recent NAEP scores and controlled for obvious confounding variables like race and income, Virginia did better, not worse, when it came to educating disadvantaged populations and shrinking achievement gaps (though, let’s be frank, Virginia’s NAEP scores were still horrid by any reasonable objective standard, so hobbling union power is certainly no more a panacea than school choice).

As the author of the article above notes, the left can be pretty damned illiterate scientifically (and innumerate too!) when it suits their interests. They also love to ignore the science that challenges their treasured “sexual revolution,” including the very strong case for traditional marriage as the best context for child-raising and the evidence that gender differences go beyond our naughty bits. And let’s not forget the “progressives” who overstate the dangers of fracking, nuclear power, and childhood vaccinations!

There’s nothing that annoys me more than a leftist who boasts that he is smarter and more educated than “those idiot conservatives.” That arrogance is completely unearned.

A Quick Link That Is Germane to My Previous Post

Meet the Poster Child for White Privilege — and Then Have Your Mind Blown

That’s the problem with calling someone out for the “privilege” which you assume has defined their narrative. You don’t know what their struggles have been, what they may have gone through to be where they are. Assuming they’ve benefitted from “power systems” or other conspiratorial imaginary institutions denies them credit for all they’ve done, things of which you may not even conceive. You don’t know whose father died defending your freedom. You don’t know whose mother escaped oppression. You don’t know who conquered their demons, or may still conquering them now.

BOOM. Read the whole thing!