Archive for June 2011

Justice Justice

I demand justice justice.

No, I don’t have a stutter. What I want is justice for the word “justice” itself.

Because, you see, “justice” has been hijacked by the American left and is now their exclusive weapon. It is no longer a politically neutral word; whenever you see the word “justice” — especially preceded by another noun — it invariably is meant to convey some far-left position.

A History of Crimes Against Justice

The degradation of “justice” started with the phrase “social justice,” a concept which was originally only a religious term but which was later adopted (and re-defined) by the American left to have political connotations. Use of the word “justice” as a leftist buzzword was given a big boost in 1971 with the publication of A Theory of Justice by philosopher John Rawls, which focused on “justice” as the axle around which liberal thought rotated.

Let a Hundred Justices Bloom

In the mid-’70s, the end of the Vietnam War deprived the professional left of its main protest topic, so they cast around for something new to whine about. In the absence of any glaringly urgent crisis, such as a war, they settled on a scattershot array of issues which could be unified under the generalized label “social justice.” Any aspect of American society which was insufficiently leftist suddenly needed a good dose of “social justice” to rectify things.

This overall blanket term was OK for a while, but with the arrival of the new millennium there was a rapid expansion of the “justice” concept. With breathtaking speed, justice-related terms proliferated exponentially in the early 2000s, and within a decade it became nearly impossible to even keep track of all the different “justices” we were expected to achieve.

The trend started with the two justice titans: “economic justice,” and “racial justice.” And someone must have thought: Why stop there? Soon we started seeing demands for “environmental justice” and “reproductive justice.” And then the floodgates were opened. The global warming scare brought us “climate justice“; the drive for socialized medicine became “health care justice“; amnesty for illegals transmogrified into “immigrant justice“; and on and on it went. By now we have

food justice
housing justice
gender justice
workplace justice
farmworker justice
urban justice
media justice
disability justice
transformative justice
birthing justice
prison justice

…to name just a few. Go to any protest or visit a left-wing Web site and you’ll find dozens more “justices” that need immediate resolution.

Want to give your hobby the veneer of righteousness? Just think of a noun, affix the word “justice” after it, and voilà: You’re part of the solution! Yes, it’s that easy.

Language Molestation

In fact, the abuse of “justice” has become so widespread that you can immediately identify the political slant of any group just by looking for the word “justice” in their name or literature; if they prominently feature justice, then they’re left-wing; if they don’t, then they’re not.

Of course, this was part of the plan from the beginning: to use language as a weapon. Find a word that everybody likes, with a universally positive vibe, and then use it relentlessly and ungrammatically as a catch-all euphemism for socialist goals. We want justice, thus we must be the good guys! And any group that isn’t for some kind of justice must therefore be in favor of injustice, and as a result must be the bad guys.

Don’t think for one minute that such linguistic gymnastics are accidental. The left puts an immense amount of effort into branding and framing and public perception. And they’re quite self-congratulatory about the whole process: they invariably think their wordsmithery has worked to shift public opinion leftward.

But of course those of us outside the bubble see that it doesn’t work at all. When you abuse a word like “justice” (or another good example, “rights”), all you succeed in doing is to contaminate the word’s original connotation. So that by now, when average Americans see the word “justice” in a political context, they don’t get a warm and fuzzy feeling like they used to, but instead see a giant flashing neon sign that says “LEFTIST EUPHEMISM.”

Each word only has so much accumulated credibility that you can expend before you drain it dry. Poor old “justice.” By now it has been so misused and molested that it’s not only been drained dry, it’s acquired an entirely new connotation — and not a good one.

Which is exactly why we need a new movement — let’s get justice for justice. The word needs to be saved from the clutches of its abusers and restored to its former glory.

Justice justice now!

World Naked Bike Ride, San Francisco

[NOTE: This is the UNCENSORED version of this report, and is most definitely NOT "safe for work." If you want to see the CENSORED edition, which IS pretty much "safe for work" and family-friendly, click HERE. Aside from covering up the private parts, the reports are otherwise identical.]


Saturday, June 11 was “World Naked Bike Ride” day in San Francisco. As the title implies, it doesn’t happen only in San Francisco — it’s a global event, with rides in over 70 cities around the world.


Ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner is recently unemployed, so (in the censored version of this report) I got him a gig as the censor for today’s event. As an expert in penis-photographs, he definitely has the skills for the job! Throughout the censored version of the World Naked Bike Ride report, wherever you would have seen a wiener, you’ll see a Weiner instead! (However, this uncensored version is Weiner-free!)


Participants gathered in Justin Herman Plaza in San Francisco’s Embarcadero area. Anyone could join in — anyone who enjoys being naked in public, that is.


The main question gawkers ask is, “Why???” Well, in theory at least, there is a political dimension to the World Naked Bike Ride, which gives me an excuse to report on it. Luckily, the event’s main organizers have posted an FAQ page for the perplexed. The question “Why are you riding naked?” is answered with “To celebrate cycling and the human body. The ride demonstrates the vulnerability of cyclists on the road and is a protest against oil dependency.” In addition, the WNBR main page states, “We face automobile traffic with our naked bodies as the best way of defending our dignity and exposing the unique dangers faced by cyclists and pedestrians as well as the negative consequences we all face due to dependence on oil, and other forms of non-renewable energy.”

Hmmmm. Seems the message is a little muddled. Several justifications are given:
1. “To celebrate the human body.”
2. To bring attention to how dangerous it is for cyclists on city streets.
3. To protest oil dependency and the oil-based economy.
4. To promote bike-riding and make a stand against the car culture.

But, as the sarcastic commentary about nuclear energy in the picture above shows, nuclear power is also no longer kosher. Yet if you eliminate oil/coal/gas and nuclear…all other energy sources combined account for only 19% of current global needs, so it’s not clear exactly what kind of serious viable solution they’re proposing.


Even so, I suspect there’s only one real reason motivating the World Naked Bike Ride: exhibitionism, or the desire to be naked in public. The rest of the justifications are just a political veneer.


Here’s something you may not have known: If you’re young, skinny, female and half-naked, people will want to take your picture. Learn something new every day!


A guy in all-body tiger paint seemed to be one of the ride organizers.


He happily posed for souvenir photographs with passing tourists.


But when he bends over, watch out! Ass cracks are ass cracks, with or without body paint.


During the pre-ride preparations, one of the riders stood off to the side to make a cell phone call. He was approached by stunned out-of-towners who had summoned up the nerve to ask him what the heck was going on. He nonchalantly explained.

Side note: notice the kid sitting behind the naked guy. No attempt was made, on the part of the participants, police, or public, to keep kids at a safe distance from all the full-frontal nudity.


While a few of the participants were somewhat demure about their private parts being exposed, or were at most faux-nonchalant, most of the rest made a point of exposing themselves as vividly as possible.


Several “participants” did not even have bicycles: They just showed up for the hour-long pre-ride preparation period because it was an opportunity to have a “valid” excuse for being naked in public.


These two guys, for example, showed up, disrobed, stood around for ten minutes posing naked for all the photographers, then put their clothes back on and left! Bicycles had nothing to do with it.


In what I hereby deem as “Worst Public Relations Decision of the Week,” the Nesquik Bunny showed up to hand out free chocolate milk samples to the exhibitionists, and posed for pictures alongside various bizarre characters.


The rest of the Nesquik team joined the fun. And no matter what he was standing next to, the Bunny always kept the same goofy smile, which made the proceedings even more surreal, if that was possible.


The legendary parrots of Telegraph Hill looked down on all the human flesh. “Squawk! Those flightless giant pink birds have lost all their feathers! Squawk!”


Naked lunch.


Here’s an only-in-San-Francsisco moral dilemma: A pre-op transsexual showed up for the ride. He/she thankfully wore shorts, but was “topless.” Now, it was pretty obvious that he/she had not yet undergone gender reassignment surgery, so was technically still biologically “male,” as the muscular physique revealed. But he/she was also either starting hormone treatments, and/or had small implants, because a modest pair of breasts was beginning to emerge. Bay Area Political Correctness dictates that one must always acknowledge and respect whichever gender someone declares him- or herself to be. But wider U.S. social standards dictate that (in the censored version of this report) I cover up any naked boobs exposed in public. Yet censorship is frowned upon according to S.F. mores, while the wider U.S. social standards would not regard this person as yet a woman. So I’m damned if I do, and damned if I don’t!


To censor, or not to censor — that is the question! (In the end, as you can see in the censored version, I decided to not censor; if you’re open-minded, you can take this to mean that I too am open-minded and oppose censorship; if you’re more old-fashioned, you can take this to mean that I think men are men, regardless of what they think they are. Whew! Wriggled my way out of that one.)


But I’m not safe for long: I’m immediately forced to confront another moral dilemma: How to document the fact that kids were present at this event and witnessing all the full-frontal nudity? Even though there would be “news value” in showing such pictures, there’s also a taboo against having kids and nudity in the same picture. So, to be prudent, I deleted almost all images that showed kids witnessing the goings-on, lest I set off alarms with the Internet Police. (I was also compelled to do this in all my previous “naked San Francisco” reports, of which there have been many.) As a compromise, I show here a guy who brought his months-old baby to the event. Fortunately, the kid seemed far too young to have any awareness of what was going on.


As one point, an unfortunate accidental photographic alignment seemed to show the kid grabbing the ding-dong of one of the riders; but it was all a foreshortening illusion — they were several yards apart.


Sunny day + no clothes = sunburn! So before departing, the participants lined up in a sunscreen elephant-train, lathering it on each other.


Almost time to go! The organizers handed out route maps to the riders: at noon they were all going to start biking around the entire city for several hours, shocking passersby and changing the world! (Notice the cigarillo the guy is smoking. Health!)


Time to pose for one last souvenir shot, to satisfy all the rubberneckers.


And we’re off! After a brief whirl around the plaza and through the craft booths, the riders made their way to the Embarcadero to start their ride along the waterfront.


Some old-school San Francisco natives encountered the lead bike with its sign and gestured at it in disgust. “C’mon, you bozos! You can’t be serious!”


Even this passing tourist cast a jaundiced eye on the proceedings.

As you can see, it was very male-centric at the San Francisco edition of the World Naked Bike Ride. But that’s not necessarily true at many of the other rides in other cities. The London World Naked Bike Ride, for example, is not only ten times the size of the S.F. ride, but is almost half female. And elsewhere in Europe and Australia you’ll find the event to be more gender-balanced.

Were any minds changed by this “protest”? Probably not. Were viable solutions proposed? Nope. Did people “make a statement”? Well, sure, but if your statement is little more than “Look at me, I’m naked!”, then it’s not very clear what you have achieved.

I’ve got a new photo essay up at Pajamas Media:

Arab Spring protest in S.F.: unexpected twist ending

Even the smallest protest can hold surprises!

How a Teachers’ Rally Made Me Anti-Education

My latest, now up at PajamasMedia:

How a Teachers’ Rally Made Me Anti-Education

It’s a three-way combination post: An essay, a photo report, and someone else‘s photo report, all fused into one unified experience.

A sample photo to whet your appetite:

All across the internet over the last few hours, liberal commenters and bloggers have fallen back on one of their most trusted logical arguments in situations like this in which a Democrat is caught in a sex scandal: “At least he’s not a hypocrite.

This sampling of (unedited) comments taken from today’s New York Times‘ and San Francisco Chronicle‘s articles about Anthony Weiner’s public confession are typical:

“Much to do about nothing. Please wake me up if you find out that he mishandled/stole taxpayer money, or had previously participated in some sort of moral clensing crusade.”

…and…

Unless an elected official is a hypocrite (i.e., an anti-gay politician who espouses “family values” but solicits men for sex in public restrooms), I don’t care about his private life, including whether he sends naked pictures of himself to women who aren’t his wife.”

…and…

“I certainly find it reprehensible, particularly the lying. But he didn’t run on a Family Values moral superiority platform, like Ensign; there is less hypocracy and more simple stupidity here.”

A quick search of the liberal blogosphere and in the comments sections of MSM articles will turn up countless similar examples. If you spend any time on the Internet, you’ve undoubtedly encountered it yourself over and over, as others have noted. And it hasn’t just emerged in regards to Weinergate: It’s actually one of the bedrocks of the liberal worldview: Conservatives are hypocrites concerning moral issues, whereas liberals are not.

Which got me to thinking:

This has to be the weakest philosophical argument I’ve ever encountered.

Not just weak: self-extirpating.

If there ever was a moment to really dig down into the fundamental structure of this argument, this is it. So let’s get down to brass tacks, shall we?

Sleight-of-mind

What liberals really really love about this stance is its climactic declaration: Our opponents are hypocrites!

Here is how the liberals present their case:

But what they don’t want you to think about — and what they themselves don’t even want to acknowledge — is that this “hypocrites” howl is the second half of a two-part argument. And in that second half, they are the victors. But in the first half….

Well, for the “at least we’re not hypocrites” sentiment to make sense, there must be an agreed-upon starting point — one which the liberals themselves are confirming each time they make this argument. And what must that starting point necessarily be? For conservatives to be hypocrites when they do something immoral, then that means they must profess a moral ideology in the first place. And — here’s the key — for the liberals to be let off the hook when they do something immoral, then that means they must profess an ideology with no moral claims whatsoever.

Thus, the diagram above only showed you the climactic second half of the liberals’ sleight-of-mind trick. The full statement — including the first half which you’re not supposed to think about — would be diagrammed like this:

Not quite so effective an argument when seen this way, is it?

Now, I’m not here to defend hypocrisy — I hate it as much as the next person. I’m only here to point out that in order to lay claim to their “but at least we’re not hypocrites” defense, liberals must necessarily paint themselves into an impossible corner, defining themselves as the ideology of amorality.

Remember, that’s not my characterization of liberalism — that’s liberals’ own characterization of themselves when they use this argument.

Does that mean that the “fallen conservative” is inherently more appealing or “superior” in some way to the “honestly amoral liberal”? No. It actually comes down to each voter’s preference.

Consider these two statements from two different potential husbands:

“I know I promised to stop drinking forever, honey, but I fell off the wagon again; please forgive me, and I’ll really really try to stay sober from now on, but no guarantees.”

vs.

“I’m a tertiary alcoholic, a stone-cold drunk; always have been, always will be. You’re not likely to ever see me sober. Take it or leave it.”

If you had to choose, which would you marry?

Obviously, neither is very appealing, but the liberal stance is that the second potential husband is preferable, because at least he’s honest. The conservative stance is: The first potential husband is preferable, because at least he’s trying.

Within the parameters of this “Hypocrisy Defense”…Which do you think the general public prefers: An ideology that at least tries to champion a moral code, but whose adherents sometimes fail to live up to it; or an ideology that by its own definition is inherently immoral and whose adherents don’t even have a moral code to violate?

The liberals are taking a HUGE gamble that a majority of Americans will throw in their lot with the party of immorality. But I have the feeling they’ve lost that bet — not just in Weinergate, but at a deep structural level in society for a long time to come.