Category Archives: Henninger

Oh Yes, Ban the Redskins

Yep, this is where the spineless are “dragging” us. mrossol

7/16/2020 WSJ by Daniel Henninger

The Washington Redskins logo on the team’s home field in Landover, Md., Aug. 28, 2009.

PHOTO: NICK WASS/ASSOCIATED PRESS

For now, the Washington Redskins are just the Washington Something or Others, a team with no name. After holding out for years against the inertial forces of political correctness, the Washington football team caved. Hmm, maybe “caved” is inappropriate language now. They gave up.

You knew the Redskins were done as soon as Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream said it was dropping Eskimo Pie so the company could be “part of the solution on racial equality.” When I was growing up, Eskimo Pie always made me think Eskimos were great. But what did I know?

I’ve been fighting the team-name wars for years, most recently over baseball commissioner Rob Manfred’s goofy suppression of the Cleveland Indians’ Chief Wahoo.

You have to know when you’re licked. Sorry, wrong word. I mean beaten. Double-sorry; no one should be beaten. I mean defeated. I am defeated. Instead of complaining about the Redskins, it’s time to get ahead of the logo posse and eliminate a lot of really terrible sports-team names. Many of these teams probably think there’s no way their names would offend anyone. They are about to find out how wrong they are.

 

First we get rid of the low-hanging, already rotting fruit: The Chicago White Sox, the Boston Red Sox and the Cleveland Browns. White, red, brown and black are unspeakable and unthinkable colors now—for anything. The Chicago Green Sox would be ok. Many pro athletes are weirdly attracted to the color pink, so the Boston Pink Sox would work.

Clevelanders will object that even if most people under 20-years-old think the Cleveland Browns offends the race gods, the Browns are named after team founder Paul Brown, who, as luck would have it, was a white guy. The easiest solution would be to abolish the Browns once and for all. Who would notice?

Sing “hey hey, goodbye” to any team whose name suggests centuries of systemic privilege: the Kansas City Royals, Los Angeles Kings, Sacramento Kings, Vegas Golden Knights and Cleveland Cavaliers. And hasn’t the moment come for LeBron James to renounce “King James”?

Let’s admit it: Times have changed. The highest value in modern American life is feeling safe. Not “safe” in the sense of not being gunned down tomorrow night. I mean safe the way a college student or street protester feels “unsafe” if bad thoughts are brought to mind.

By this measure, the list of violative professional sports-team names is endless.

 

The Denver Broncos? Broncos are abused horses forced to buck and then submit by a Dallas Cowboy kicking them with San Antonio Spurs. They’ve all gotta go. Ford Motor just resurrected its Bronco SUV. What terrible timing. Dump it.

Too many teams are still dependent on fossil fuels: the Detroit Pistons, Edmonton Oilers and Pittsburgh Steelers. Let’s clean up the Steelers by renaming them the Pittsburgh Windmills.

The Philadelphia 76ers? Surely they’re already on their way to being rehabilitated as the Philadelphia 1619s.

The Miami Marlins shamelessly expropriated the name of a vulnerable species. They should be renamed the Miami Minnows.

Anyone who thinks names like this honor endangered species doesn’t understand why statues of George Washington have to go. The Minnesota Timberwolves should leave the wolves alone and call themselves the Minnesota Lutefisk.

Names associated with religious belief are also a problem. The New Jersey Devils imply God exists. Ditto the New Orleans Saints, and the Boston Celtics evoke Irish Catholics. Get rid of them.

The Portland Trail Blazers celebrate genocidal pioneers. The San Francisco 49ers are named after 19th-century California gold-diggers who raped the environment.

The Houston Rockets have an impossibly male-sounding name and should compensate by becoming the Houston Rockettes.

The Colorado Avalanche evokes death. The New York Rangers sound like the police. The Texas Rangers are the police. What were the San Diego Padres thinking?

The Chicago Bulls are another team named after an abused animal, not to mention the consumption of animal protein. A new name that comes to mind is the Chicago Jordans in honor of Michael, but that will remind some people of the Jordan River and the plight of the Palestinians.

 

Don’t get me started on teams who think they’re safe by hiding behind the names of birds or animals. The Toronto Blue Jays are named after a nasty bird. The Atlanta Hawks kill rabbits. Just the words “Miami Dolphins” make me want to cry.

The Miami Heat may be the future, invoking the problem of climate change, and we can’t be reminded of that too often. The about-to-die Cleveland Indians could become the Cleveland Cold.

The team name of the Utah Jazz never made sense to me, but it does suggest that rebranding teams as musical instruments might be safe. The New England Patriots are problematic in so many ways. Patriotism? Are you kidding me? I look forward to them coming back as the New England Trombones.

For now, Washington sits with a nameless football team. How about calling the team in the nation’s capital the Washington Nothings? That sounds like something we could all agree on.

Write henninger@wsj.com.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/oh-yes-ban-the-redskins-11594854707?mod=opinion_lead_pos8

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The honorable revolution

The elites in leadership make me sick. Absolutely no backbone or appreciate for why America became to be the great country that it is. MAGA. mrossol

WSJ. 7/3/2020

They can take down Teddy Roosevelt, and Princeton can cancel Woodrow Wilson. They can topple Ulysses Grant, deface the Lincoln Memorial, throw ropes around Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Square, knock down the author of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” put Thomas Jefferson in storage, and say America’s founding began in 1619. But they can’t make the Fourth of July disappear.

Rewriting history doesn’t yet include eliminating daily turns of the calendar, so they will have to endure the hard fact that between July 3 and July 5 falls the Fourth of July and that most Americans still believe this day is about the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.

 

Until now, the Fourth of July was the holiday celebrated by everyone in the U.S. as an American tradition. The message being sent by the protesters in the streets is, “Your traditions don’t mean a thing to us, and we will toss them out as we see fit.”

 

Each year, nearly every town holds a Fourth of July parade and celebrates with evening fireworks. This year, the coronavirus pandemic means few parades, while in New York City and elsewhere, massive nightly fireworks are intended to intimidate, not celebrate.

 

The Fourth of July is, or was, a day of families joined in quiet expressions of patriotism, with American flags flying. This year, families are divided, the air filled with shouted bitterness and somewhere this weekend an American flag will be burned.

The U.S. is in a revolutionary moment not just because of the street protests after the death of George Floyd or because of the pulling down of presidents’ monuments. On their own, these demonstrations wouldn’t come to much, primarily because—if the on-camera interviews conducted with protesters are representative—the substance of their protest is so unformed and diffused. Fireworks—loud, startling and self-extinguishing—are an apt metaphor.

The important element is the acts of consent from America’s elites. These people sit atop the country’s commanding institutions—in academia, business, politics, bureaucracies, media, book publishing, museums, philanthropies—and their instant assent provides legitimacy and puts us into something resembling a revolutionary situation. Which means this will be a revolutionary presidential election, the second in a row.

In that spirit, let me recommend some weekend reading: the Declaration of Independence. See how you react to revisiting the ideas that made a real revolution, stated in less than 1,500 words.

Even amid that upheaval there was wit. Without once naming George III, they refer merely to “the present King of Great Britain.” Today you would search in vain for a member of the “resistance” who consigns Mr. Trump to anonymity as “the current president of the United States.” That no such sophisticated insult is possible reflects how far we’ve come, or gone.

Among the most striking differences between revolutionaries then and now is that the signers included in their Declaration a bill of particulars for their intention to separate. Once past Jefferson’s famous phrases about all men created equal and unalienable rights, he states, “let facts be submitted” and lays them out in 27 staccato paragraphs.

One is struck by the tone of optimistic defiance in the Declaration’s text. Compare it with the pro forma, almost cookie-cutter language in statements from the boards of directors at Princeton or the American Museum of Natural History, who instead sound like defeated men and women. Wherever the current revolt may end, it’s hard to see our own confused, wan elites as the heirs to the country’s original leadership.

A forewarning to Trumpians: These first declarers also take “the Tyrant” to task on immigrants, for “refusing to pass” laws “to encourage their migrations hither.” And international commerce, “for cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world.” All sides today will claim to find supporting language in the Declaration’s text, such as, “They too have been deaf to the voice of justice.”

 

Times change—and that’s the point. Through the Revolution, the Civil War and all the years since that signing, the American idea has been about social, political and economic progress.

In contrast, the defining symbol that now attaches to the current revolution—and their conscious choice—is the removing of monuments, including the general who won the War for Independence and the general who won the Civil War over slavery.

It is a misstatement to call what is going on now an American revolution. The Declaration’s revolution was about creating a new nation. Today’s claimants see the future as de novo, a blank slate, an exercise in elimination. It is closer to what the ever-ironic 1960s radical anarchist Abbie Hoffman called “revolution for the hell of it.” That isn’t enough.

This weekend’s Fourth of July is the 244th anniversary of American’s first revolution. It remains the benchmark against which any successor idea must be measured.

Write henninger@wsj.com.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/you-say-you-want-a-revolution-11593642468?mod=opinion_featst_pos3

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The Media’s Self-Censors

Oh, the USA is well on its way to censership by the Left.  You an tell by the absolute silence….   mrossol

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WSJ 6/11/2020

PHOTO: ISTOCKPHOTO/GETTY IMAGES

In 1789, America’s Founding Fathers, acutely aware of the political bloodbaths that had consumed Europe for centuries, created a system in which disagreements would be arbitrated by periodically allowing the public to turn their opinions into votes. The majority would win the election. Then, because political disagreement never ends, you hold more elections. Aware of the natural tendency of factions and majorities to want to suppress opposition opinion, the Founders created a Bill of Rights for all citizens, including what they called, with unmistakable clarity, “the freedom of speech.”

Nothing lasts forever, and so it is today in the U.S., where the pre-liberal idea of settling disagreements with coercion has made a comeback.

In the past week, the editorial page editor of the New York Times, the editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer and the editors of Bon Appétit magazine and the young women’s website Refinery 29 have been forced out by the staff and owners of their publications for offenses regarded as at odds with the beliefs of the current protests.

It is impossible not to recognize the irony of these events. The silencers aren’t campus protesters but professional journalists, a class of American workers who for nearly 250 years have had a constitutionally protected and court-enforced ability to say just about anything they want. Historically, people have been attracted to American journalism because it was the freest imaginable place to work for determined, often quirky individualists. Suddenly, it looks like the opposite of that.

The idea that you could actually lose your job, as the Inquirer’s editor did, because of a headline on an opinion piece that said “Buildings Matter, Too” is something to ponder. It sounds like a made-up incident that one might expect in a work of political satire, such as George Orwell’s “Animal Farm.”

The issue here is not about the assertion that racism is endemic in the U.S. The issue is the willingness by many to displace the American system of free argument with a system of enforced, coerced opinion and censorship, which forces comparison to the opinion-control mechanisms that existed in Eastern Europe during the Cold War.

In 2006, the movie “The Lives of Others” dramatized how the Stasi, the omnipresent East German surveillance apparatus, pursued a nonconforming writer, whose friends were intimidated into abandoning him. To survive this kind of enforced thought-concurrence in the Soviet Union or Communist Eastern Europe, writers resorted to circulating their uncensored ideas as underground literature called samizdat. Others conveyed their ideas as political satire. In Vaclav Havel’s 1965 play, “The Memorandum,” a Czech office worker is demoted to “staff watcher,” whose job is to monitor his colleagues. You won’t see Havel’s anticensorship plays staged in the U.S. anytime soon.

Other writers during those years of thought suppression sometimes wrote in allegory or fables. In Russia, writers called it “Aesopian language.” We’re not there yet. Instead many writers and media personalities here have chosen to participate in keeping opinion and even vocabulary inside restricted limits.

Some will object that it is preposterous to liken them to a communist party. But social media has become a partylike phenomenon of ideological and psychological reinforcement. It avoids the poor public optics of China’s Cultural Revolution in the 1960s and ’70s, when dissidents were paraded in dunce caps. Today, endlessly repeated memes on social-media platforms, such as “silence is violence,” reduce independent thought to constant rote reminders. Instead of the Stasi, we have Twitter’s censors to keep track of dissidents.

Alarmed parents saw years ago that platforms such as Facebook were being used to humiliate and ostracize teenage girls. It is disingenuous to deny that this same machinery of shaming has been expanded to coerce political conformity.

It is also disingenuous to deny that this ethos sanctions the implicit threat of being fired from one’s job as the price for falling out of line just once. It’s beginning to look like nonlethal summary execution.

The Marxist philosopher Herbert Marcuse argued in 1965 that some ideas were so repugnant, which he identified as “from the Right,” that it was one’s obligation to suppress them with what he called “the withdrawal of tolerance.” Marcuse is a saint on the American left.

The ingeniousness of this strategy of suppression and shaming is that it sidesteps the Supreme Court’s long history of defending opinion that is unpopular, such as its 1977 decision that vindicated the free-speech rights of neo-Nazis who wanted to march in Skokie, Ill. But if people have shut themselves up, as they are doing now, there is no speech, and so there is “no problem.”

Free speech isn’t dead in the United States, but it looks like more than ever, it requires active defense.

Write henninger@wsj.com.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-medias-self-censors-11591829694?mod=hp_opin_pos_2

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America’s New Nihilism – WSJ

America has deployed almost all of the progressive’s solutions to “social ills”.  Yes, as Mr. Henninger says, what has changed? Not much.  Could it be that the progressive solutions are no solutions at all?  Leadership would be pointing this out all day long.   mrossol

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WSJ 6/3/2020. by Daniel Henninger

This is not 1968. It’s worse.

The late 1960s were the heyday of modern American liberalism, which was then an ideology of hope. A bipartisan Congress passed landmark civil-rights legislation in 1964 and 1965. The precipitating event of the urban riots in 1968 was the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. New York, Trenton, Chicago, Detroit, Baltimore, Kansas City, and Washington were on fire. Arguably back then, despite passage of President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society programs, not enough time had passed for liberal policies to ameliorate conditions in the inner cities.

Last week, George Floyd died after rough treatment from arresting Minneapolis policeman Derek Chauvin, who was arrested and charged with murder. Since then, there have been daily protests accompanied by riot and pillage in multiple U.S cities. A primary claim made repeatedly this week is that the U.S., which means the American people, are guilty of perpetual “systemic racism.”

It is evident from the coverage that most of the demonstrators were born after 1990. By then, the Great Society programs had been in place for 25 years, and now it is 55 years. Annual budget appropriations totaling multiple trillions of dollars on Medicaid, food stamps, welfare, public housing, rent subsidies and federal aid to public schools have produced . . . what?

Since the 1960s, essentially little has changed in the neighborhoods at the center of those long-ago urban riots. By current telling, they are about as poor, as crime-ridden, as under-educated and in poor health as they were when LBJ said he would change them. That means five decades of stasis and stagnation in America’s most marginalized places, virtually all of it under Democratic—now “progressive”—political control.

The failure of the liberal model is by now so embarrassing that the current owners of that model have created an alternative universe of explanations, such as blaming it on American settlers in the early 17th century or the nonexistence of “justice.”

It must be working because marchers in Paris and Berlin, of all places, are lecturing the U.S. on systemic racism. Thanks for the memories.

This is worse than 1968, because the political system is now engaged in a systemic act of forgetting. Let’s forget that this policy failure has happened or why. Let’s forget, for instance, that the people living in New York’s public housing are overrun with rats, unlit hallways and no heat in the winter. Let’s forget that many blacks have indeed been left behind—by a well-documented migration since 1990 of black Americans out of northern cities and Los Angeles into the South, where they have gone in search of economic opportunity. Let’s forget, despite a massive per annum outlay on Medicaid—some $593 billion in 2018—that black Americans still have a higher incidence of chronic disease.

Simply performing a cut-and-paste on 50 years of U.S. political history is an act of nihilism. Pummeled by activists and the media with constant accusations of “systemic racism,” as this week, and despite what many thought were 50 years of good-faith efforts on racial conciliation, people go numb, concluding that the solution being offered now is, literally, no solution.

This new progressive nihilism says the answer to inner-city crime is decriminalization. Because of New York’s new “bail reform” law, most of the looters arrested are being released, even as murders and burglaries were increasing in the city’s poorest neighborhoods before these events.

The new nihilism minimizes this week’s ideologically driven assaults on private property because it is “replaceable.” In fact, it is well-established that many of 1968’s burned-down neighborhoods have struggled to revive ever since.

The new nihilism says no matter how many reform police commissioners are appointed or black mayors elected, “nothing has changed.” That is the definition of hopelessness.

It is not hopeless.

One could, for example, give people a better chance at home ownership and home equity, as HUD Secretary Ben Carson has proposed, through reforms of the mortgage-lending market and reducing regulatory hurdles to urban housing construction. Get rid of those godawful public-housing prisons. But no, the public housing authorities are patronage mills, so it can’t happen.

Black parents love charter schools and voucher-supported private schools because they teach values, self-respect and hope. But no, this option for poor and lower-income parents has more Democratic Party opposition than ever. When will we see white college students marching in the streets over this moral abomination? Never.

One could argue that the job creation and rising incomes of recent years for young black Americans are more in step with the U.S.’s 244-year history of opportunity. But why bother? The nihilism of permanent guilt is easier because it substitutes sentiment for substance and absolves anyone of responsibility for past public-policy errors.

It remains to be learned how the American people, of any race, are processing the events of the past week. Media minimalism says the choice is between Joe Biden and Donald Trump. It’s a lot bigger than that.

Write henninger@wsj.com.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/americas-new-nihilism-11591225713?mod=opinion_featst_pos1

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