Archive for October 2010

The Department of Free

The Department of Free

Years ago, a wiser man
than you or I devised a plan
to dole out goods at zero cost
to those of us whose jobs were lost.

It seemed benign, so nice and kind
the plan grew to include the blind,
the old the lame then you and me,
and they called this plan
The Department of Free.

It started as a helping hand
to needy folks across the land,
so those who could not make ends meet
would not be forced out on the street.

Unemployment benefits
were just a start, because now it’s
free food, free homes, free surgery,
rebates, bailouts, loans — all free.

Now half of us just stand in line
all day long and gripe and whine
about the stuff we feel we’re owed
the list of which has growed and growed.

The line wends hither, the line wends yon,
and by and by it comes upon
a door above which we can see
those magic words:
Department of Free.

Once inside: a shopping spree
of endless handouts: it’s all free!
Drunken on entitlement
we grab a meal, a house, a stent.

The other half? We’re all employed!
Hearing this, you’re overjoyed
to know that at least some of us
have jobs and never cause a fuss.

But one last thing you ought to know,
our economic Alamo:
The place where we all work, you see,
is in the accursed Department of Free!

I push papers,
while he counts beans.
She helps seniors
and they help teens.
It takes a village to raise a child;
it takes a nation to run hog-wild.

Paul pays Peter, and Peter pays Paul,
yet neither makes anything at all.
Round and round the money goes
but where it comes from no one knows.

It all runs out eventually,
can’t simulate prosperity.
The shopping spree was just a dream,
a baseless potlatch Ponzi scheme.

With nothing left to give away,
The Department of Free itself must say,
“We’re all laid off, the end is near.
There’s no point working, even here.”

The last employed man not offshore
has just one more remaining chore:
Switch off the lights
and turn the key
in the broke
Department of Free.

From Medicare and Medicaid
came Medicould and Medishould
now Medimust and we’ve gone bust
we’re trust-fund kids without a trust.



Now immortalized as a dramatic reading:

The presidency of Barack Obama is a cargo cult. And Obama himself is the new John Frum.

But unlike traditional cargo cults, which persist despite decades of fruitless prophecies, the Barry O cult is disintegrating before our very eyes, as Hope and Change Airport — built entirely out of hollow bamboo and even hollower promises — has failed to attract the predicted heaven-sent magical prosperity.

John Frum, He Come

The title of this essay is a riff on John Frum, He Come, a now-classic book of popular anthropology which introduced the American public to the bizarre world of cargo cults in the South Pacific, especially on a small island called Tanna in what is now Vanuatu.

Shortly before WWII, a strange belief emerged on Tanna that a magically powerful American soldier appeared on the island bearing wondrous “cargo” — manufactured Western goods and packaged food, which he handed out as gifts. He called himself “John Frum,” but, after advising the villagers to return to their traditional rituals and customs, he just as quickly disappeared.

Some villagers did what John Frum recommended and began to engage in rituals, summoning him back with more of his amazing cargo. Lo and behold, it worked! Because shortly afterward, thousands of more Americans appeared — soldiers and sailors and Marines passing through on their way to defeat the Japanese, as it turned out — bearing more cargo than the Tannans could even imagine. But just like the original John Frum, the Americans quickly disappeared once more, taking their cargo with them, and once again leaving the island in poverty.

And ever since then, Tanna’s islanders have been waiting, waiting, waiting for John Frum to return with his cargo. They invoke him with dances, they sing hymns to him, they fashion simulations of American military outfits and march back and forth, and even build airport control towers out of bamboo and clear runways in the middle of nowhere, thinking that the existence of a simulated bamboo airport will somehow supernaturally induce the arrival of a cargo-laden plane.

Still, no John Frum. Yet with infinite patience, the islanders wait.

This two-minute kitschy clip from an old TV documentary gives a good view of a cargo cult airport and shows apparently authentic footage of cultists waiting for the cargo to arrive:

This second short clip from a different documentary crosses the line from “kitschy” to “condescending,” but nonetheless gives a good overview of how cargo cults originated, even if the islanders in this particular scene are more consciously acting for the camera:

The mysterious origins of cargo

The American military has repeatedly confirmed from WWII until now that no one named John Frum was ever in the Armed Forces, and researchers have similarly failed to turn up any American civilian ever named John Frum either. Of course, some anthropologists, in an a-HA! moment, realized that the original visitor must have said, “Hi, I’m John from America,” which the Tannans must have assumed was his full name — John Frum, America.

What fascinates us about the John Frum movement and cargo cults in general is that the cultists had no idea where “cargo” comes from, and assumed it must be created magically and sent by spirits or deities. They had no conception what the world was like outside their island, or that there even was a world outside their island.

So, instead of figuring out how to generate cargo — or wealth in our terminology — themselves, the Tannans wait for a messianic figure to arrive and rain riches down upon them as a reward for their piety.

This, at the risk of overstating the obvious, is the exact attitude of Obama’s fan and voters — at least in 2008 and 2009.

If you want what I have, then do as I do

One little-discussed aspect of cargo cults is that they are usually made up of two separate, mutually contradictory drives. On one hand, the movements are now thought to be a reaction against the introduction of Western and Christian values to the islands — in particular work-for-work’s-sake, worshipping a non-materialist god, long-term planning, and so forth. But at the same time, the cultists want all the great stuff that the Westerners brought with them in addition to the strange cultural rules. But the islanders never seemed to grasp that the two are inherently connected: Westerners were able to create all that wonderful cargo because of their cultural attitudes. If you reject the culture of these fabulously wealthy foreigners, then you’ll never get what the foreigners have. Which is fine — nothing wrong with being anti-materialist. But if you insist on craving material goods, you’ll need to adopt the kind of culture that will enable its creation, as historians and sociologists have been pointing out for centuries. The technological advances of civilizations, from China to Mesopotamia to Europe, were derived from cultural and religious patterns which encouraged work, accumulation of knowledge, individual betterment, and so on. Those areas of the globe which had different social structures — such as the South Pacific — never made most of the technological breakthroughs achieved elsewhere, because of a different way of approaching the world.

Now, one can argue over whether our materialistic/technological society has been a good thing for humanity after all. But if you side with the non-materialists, then you can’t expect to reap the benefits of Western technology while at the same time rejecting the effort and the philosophy behind it.

“We Are the Ones We’ve Been Waiting For”

Consider this description of John Frum, and note the many similarities to our cultural perception of Obama:

John Frum is the son of God, but he’s not Jesus. He’s a black Melanesian, but sometimes a white man – or, according to others, a black American GI. He’s a kastom messiah, come to turn the people of Tanna back to their old ways before the missionaries – but he’s also a universal avatar of change, a successor to Buddha or Jesus or Mohammed.

The messianic nature of Obama-worship has been noted ever since he first appeared on the political stage, and which reached its climax at his inauguration in January 2009, with Obama even topping Jesus as our nation’s favorite hero, in a poll taken shortly after he assumed office.

But while Obama may have been perceived as a messiah, there were simply too many differences between Obama-ism and Christianity for there to be a direct comparison between him and Jesus. So that parallel was set aside as being a bit too awkward. Yet analysts forgot: Jesus isn’t the only messiah, fictional or real, in human consciousness. There have been plenty of others, most of which are now forgotten. But of them all, the one messiah closest to Obama is John Frum, because the essence of the John Frum cult revolves around waiting for the messiah to arrive and shower believers with unearned wealth. Sound familiar?

One of Obama’s most potent campaign slogans was “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.” While many have since noted the not-so-hidden narcissistic megalomania encoded in the slogan — Obama was asking us to vote for him, after all, not for ourselves, so by “We are the ones” he really meant “I am the one” — but it was the second half of the sentence which disturbed me even more. “Waiting for”? The implication is that Americans have been pining for a messiah to rescue them, as if that was our default position. Waiting. Waiting.

I saw this as vaguely insulting, because plenty of Americans haven’t been waiting for anyone to do anything — we’ve gotten on with our lives, under our own steam. But then it hit me: a certain percentage of Americans — 52.9%, as it turned out — were indeed passively waiting for someone to come along and make things better, and by “make things better” they meant give me more stuff (“stuff” being the American translation for “cargo”). And that someone wasn’t John Frum — it was Barack Obama.

Give us some good tok-tok

In Paul Theroux’s classic travelogue The Happy Isles of Oceania, he reprints the lyrics of a John Frum hymn he hears while in Vanuatu:

John Frum
He mus come
Look at old fellas
Give us some big presents
Give us some good tok-tok

The last line is relevant to our current discussion — because as important as the presents (cargo) is “tok-tok” (talking), or making eloquent grandiose speeches. The Tannans seek the warm fuzzy reassurance of some good “tok-tok” from John Frum, just as much as they seek actual physical cargo. In quite exactly the same fashion, in 2008 and early 2009 many Americans practically derived nutritional sustenance not from any actual legislation coming from Obama but simply from the grandiose promises of his speeches. The words themselves were in part the fulfillment of the promise.

But words can only take you so far as a messiah. Eventually, you’re going to have to produce some cargo. And for Obama, that’s where things started to fall apart. Because we Americans are not quite as naive as the islanders in the John Frum cult. Obama did indeed start showering America with cargo — free wealth in the form of bailouts, stimulus packages, more food stamps and welfare, free health care, and so on. But unlike the Tannans who didn’t question where all this stuff might be coming from, Americans dared to peek behind the curtain, and discovered to our horror that the cargo Obama was doling out didn’t come from heaven, it came from . . . us! We certainly were the ones we had been waiting for, but not quite in the way we envisioned. Obama was smashing open our piggy banks and our grandkids’ piggy banks, then making a big show out of handing us back our own money (minus expenses, of course), as if it was cargo from on high.


Over the last three months there have been countless essays dissecting the complete disintegration of Obama-worship in this country, culminating in a poll this week showing that Obama has now hit his lowest approval rating ever.

The fantasy has collapsed, and the Barry O cult collapsed with it.

Why? Because those of us who are paying attention realize that we’re not getting cargo after all; we’re getting ripped off. It’s as if the original cargo cultists one day walked to the far end of their own island to discover that John Frum was mining gold out of their own land and using their stolen gold to buy presents for his followers.

Big government as cargo cult

To extend the comparison to its logical conclusion: All of “big-government liberalism” ultimately rests on the same type of cargo-cult thinking. Most Americans have only the vaguest notion of how the federal government functions; even I, somewhat of a political junkie, am overwhelmed by the size and complexity of the government, and can’t even begin to keep track of its innumerable expenditures and entitlement programs. But at least I understand where the federal government’s seemingly infinite supply of money comes from — taxes paid by me and people like me. To paraphrase Obama: “We are the gold mine that’s paying for everything.” Yet even that pedestrian “detail” seems lost on many Americans, especially those who view the government as a magical candy machine which dispenses free benefits. People who pay little or no taxes voted for Obama in overwhelming numbers, while the taxpaying middle class as a group gave him the fewest votes of any income group. This supports the stereotype that Obama voters, in general, are the recipients of entitlement payments and government largesse, while the Tea Party/anti-Obama activists are the ones footing the bill for that largesse. We, the politically engaged class that writes and reads political Web sites, are keenly aware of the whole struggle over the federal budget. But a distressingly large proportion of Americans don’t know and don’t care about what goes on behind the scenes: to the extent that they think about the government, they see it as a source of free money — or cargo, as it were.

What happened between mid-2008 and the end of 2010 is that the number of Americans who realized that the cargo cult of Barack Obama was a hoax finally passed the tipping point.

On November 2, The Barry O movement will cease to exist. A sad day for political anthropologists, but an immense relief to the taxpayers funding the massive cargo-drops of Obama’s presidency.

Everyone’s speculating about the scale of the coming Republican victory in the midterm elections. Will they win 39 seats in the House of Representatives? 45? 60? 80?

And in the confusion, everyone’s testing out different possible metaphors to describe the political and cultural effect of the Republican win, depending on its size. Will it be a “massacre”? A “tsunami”? A “generational shift”?

The time has come to get this all straightened out. I hereby present The Official Guide to…

Republican 2010 Victory Metaphors

If Republicans win…     The correct metaphor to use is…      
1 – 38
40 – 41
    a good shellacking    
42 – 45
46 – 47
48 – 49
    The Big Payback    
50 – 52
53 – 56
    1994 all over again    
57 – 59
    Tea Party Jamboree    
60 – 62
63 – 64
    a thumpin’    
65 – 66
67 – 69
70 – 71
72 – 75
    1894 all over again    
76 – 77
78 – 79
    The Perfect Storm    
    tectonic rupture    
81 – 84
85 – 86
    The Great Refudiation    
87 – 89
    meteor strike    
90 – 91
    generational shift    
92 – 94
    Party Like It’s 1773    
95 – 97
98 – 99
    The Apocalypse    
101 – 116
    mass extinction event    
    The End    

This is a memo to America’s hippies:

Tea Party values are hippie values.

You heard me right. The Tea Party is the one social movement in contemporary America that can rightfully claim to be the ideological heir to the original hippie movement that started in the mid-’60s. And because of this, all current hippies and ex-hippies should support the Tea Party, and by extension Tea Party candidates.

I’d like to have a private heart-to-heart talk with my fellow hippies here, so can the rest of you please stop reading now and leave us alone for a while? Thanks.

Let’s Rap

If you, as a hippie, think the thesis of this essay couldn’t possibly be true, you’ve been paying too much attention to the mainstream media. The Tea Party has been intentionally misrepresented, villainized and smeared by the powers-that-be. But this too is a feature that the Tea Party shares with hippies — the hippie movement was itself misrepresented and smeared by a different mainstream media over 40 years ago.

This essay will elucidate in a fresh way how Tea Partiers are the true heirs to the hippie ethos. When you’ve finished reading, you’ll see the Tea Party in a new light and (hopefully) understand that you may have been on the wrong side of the fence until now.

In short, the Tea Party and the hippie movement share four fundamental core values:
• A craving for independence;
• a celebration of individualism;
• joy in the freedom offered by self-sufficiency;
• and an acceptance of the natural order of things.

The Real Political Spectrum

A necessary precursor to accepting any new worldview is to first jettison the previous worldview. So let’s start at the beginning: for the duration of this essay at least, pretend you’ve never heard of the left/right spectrum. Stick with me on this. As an intellectual exercise, just toss the notions of “left-wing” and “right-wing” out the window and begin your political education anew. Because it is this unnecessary (and now inaccurate) dichotomy between “left” and “right” which prevents most people from clearly conceptualizing the way that political thought is actually arrayed.

OK — is your mind clear? Now look at my newly conceptualized spectrum which schematizes political philosophies in a much more sensible and incisive way:

Now, I realize this may take a bit of getting used to. But soak it all in for a while as I explain.

The chart, as you can see, has not just one but two axes along which people’s worldviews are sprinkled:

The horizontal axis measures “government control,” ranging from a desire for less governmental power at one end of the scale, over to a desire for more governmental control at the other end of the scale. Most of you will understand this axis intuitively. But the vertical axis is a little more subtle, but also more eye-opening: it delineates people’s beliefs about human nature. At one end is the assumption that human nature is innate — that our personalities and other essential human attributes are built-in, unchangeable, and naturally occurring. At the other end is the belief that everything about humans is “constructed” — that we only are the way we are because of the particular cultural environment surrounding us, and that as a result people can be changed, through indoctrination, education, and/or alteration of the culture itself. I’ll expound on this more in a moment, but first I should explain the words in the ovals scattered across the chart.

Each oval contains the name of an ideology or social group positioned exactly where it fits on this new political spectrum. Note in particular the lower lefthand corner, where Hippies, the Tea Party, Libertarians and Hobos are all closely clustered together. That’s not random — they’re all near each other because their ideologies are in fact all similar.

(I include “hobos” and “bums” on the chart because the distinction between these two classic types illuminates the nature of the spectrum. In case you’re thinking that hobos and bums are just different words for the same thing, note: A hobo is an itinerant laborer who chooses homelessness because of the freedom it affords him, but who is proud of his self-sufficiency and will take temporary jobs to support himself wherever possible. A bum on the other hand is someone who is poor because he simply refuses to work or support himself, and instead is unashamed to survive on handouts and other people’s generosity. Because hobos celebrate individualism, freedom, independence and their own self-worth, they occupy the “sweet spot” at the bottom left corner of the spectrum, along with hippies and Tea Partiers. But since bums are essentially parasites on society and who survive on either formally or informally doled-out welfare, and often blame others for their predicament, they rightfully belong near the other end of the spectrum.)

On the right half of the chart are all the different varieties of political collectivism, or people who seek to impose or benefit from collectivist government. Those collectivists who think that human nature is malleable and a “cultural construct” are at the upper right; those collectivists who think that “people are the way they are” can be found at the lower right. What unifies the collectivist Nazis, Fascists and Islamists is not just their belief that humans have built-in attributes, but that their specific social, ethnic or religious group possesses built-in attributes superior to everyone else’s.

You will note that I neglected to include many political ideologies and social groups on the spectrum. That’s not an oversight. In fact, my original version of the spectrum did not include any groups whatsoever — I just wanted to introduce the idea of these two interlinked axes, and not clutter up the image with a bunch of other stuff. But I realized that some examples were needed for the illustration to be effective, so I placed some representative ideologies and identities at the appropriate places on the chart. Feel free to add your own. And if you think any particular group or philosophy is misplaced, you are encouraged to argue your case in the comments section — perhaps I’ll issue an updated version incorporating your additions and suggestions.

People who adhere to the outdated and overly simplistic left/right divide may have trouble grokking this new way of looking at society. Newsweek, for example, recently claimed that the Tea Party has an “anarchist streak”. I find this interesting, because the Newsweek writer understood that both Tea Partiers and anarchists are on the same end of the “Government Control” axis, but couldn’t grasp that, viewed from a different orientation, Tea Partiers are at the opposite end of the “Human Nature” axis from anarchists, who want to construct an (impossible) law-free utopia based on the assumption that people can change and control themselves in the absence of any authority whatsoever.

This brings up a good point: Scroll back up to the chart and think of it in terms of “halves.” Leftists want to highlight the fact the both Tea Partiers and Nazis are in the same “half” of the chart — the bottom half, as it is currently oriented (although of course the way I rotated the chart was completely random — there is no inherent meaning in the up-down-left-right placement, and I just as easily could have designed it to be 90 degrees or 180 degrees a different way). Of course, as mentioned above, the crucial difference is that Nazis and other totalitarians want to use government to enforce their idea of the natural order of things, whereas Tea Partiers have the exact opposite urge — to have no government enforcement at all, and to let the natural order of things play itself out — naturally.

On the other hand, The Tea Partiers (and I) want you to notice that all the “bad” ideologies, including Nazism and communism, also share space on the same half of the chart, in this case the “more government control” half.

So, the chart is viewpoint-neutral; each person can express their pre-existing political bias by pointing out how this-or-that political enemy is at least in the same half as some identifiably bad ideology. It just all depends on what angle from which you choose to view the spectrum.

About That Vertical Axis…Bill Whittle to the Rescue

I was scouting around with some frustration trying to find an existing concise encapsulation of the Tea Party movement when, as if on cue, Bill Whittle released “What We Believe, Part 1,” a pitch-perfect summation of the Tea Party’s core belief system, brilliant in its brevity. And in the process Bill just happens to solve my other problem: He lays out in crystalline tones an explanation of the “Human Nature” vertical axis of my political spectrum. Since I can’t top Bill’s calm and reassuring demeanor, I’ll just let you watch him yourselves; the full video is several minutes long, but the part relevant to this essay begins at 0:52 into the clip and ends around 5:21:

I realize not everyone wants to interrupt their reading to watch a video, so here’s a transcription of the key section of Bill’s monologue, with the passages explaining what I mean about the difference between “constructed” and “innate” human nature highlighted in bold:

Let’s recap for our conservative friends, and introduce to our liberal ones, some of the key points of what we conservatives, especially Tea Party conservatives, would call our core beliefs. And we’ll start with the two biggest ones: Small government, and free enterprise.

OK — why do we like small government? Well, the first and most important thing you need to know about us is that we don’t believe that human nature can fundamentally change. You may not hear this a lot, but when you get down to it, it really is the basis for conservatism in general.

We don’t think people are perfectable, if only they could make the right laws and rules. We believe that human beings, like every other creature on the earth, are motivated primarily by their own self interests.

Now, many modern people see this belief that we have — that human nature is fundamentally flawed and selfish, and essentially unchangeable — as cynical and pessimistic. On the contrary. It is this belief that generates a society with the checks and balances against the natural human bastardliness that basically wants to tell other people what to do.

These checks and balances prevent the accumulation of too much power in the hands of too few people. And that defiance of these checks and balances by the current political class, of both parties, is the real threat that the Tea Party movement is a response to.

Because all you have to do is open a history book with just the most basic sense of fairness and you will discover time and time and time again that the very same ideas being tried by big government today — ideas which we call “progressive” — have been tried in one form or another all the way back through recorded history, and have always failed. Because they’re based on what people hope and wish that human nature is, instead of what it really is.

Y’know, the British tried Big State Socialism in the ’60s and ’70s. It was a disaster. The Russian Revolution of 1917 was about remaking human nature into the new “Soviet Man,” who would share everything: “From each according to his ability, and to each according to his need.”

…[Litany of communist atrocities]…

The French Revolution was fought for the belief that they could make what they called “The New Man,” perfect and virtuous, once free of religion, income disparity and all the rest. Now, in order to bring about that paradise, thousands of people had to be guillotined each week, in what was called the Great Terror.

And on and on and on it goes. The Romans, in 150 BC, were promoting these same “progressive” ideas.

There’s nothing progressive about progressivism. The belief that you can get something for nothing, that you can get the government to take something by force from other people and give it to you — like, the money for your health care, for example — has been tried many, many times before and it has failed every time.

No, my friends, there’s only one really progressive idea. And that is the idea of legally limiting the power of the government. That one genuinely liberal, genuinely progressive idea — the Why in 1776, the How in 1787 — is what needs to be conserved. We need to conserve that fundamentally liberal idea. That is why we are conservatives.

Is it clearer now? Artificially constructed collectivist utopias require that human nature be altered for any new society to work, because elements of existing human nature — greed, jealousy, lust for power, a need for privacy, and so on — would render the system unfeasible. So utopian collectivists necessarily believe that humans must be changed and can be changed (for the better, of course). This may seem like a minor detail to the collectivist program, but actually it’s the main sticking point, one which the collectivists have never been able to solve (because, as any sane person knows, it’s unsolvable; human nature can’t be changed). But that hasn’t stopped them from trying, again and again, with ever-increasing levels of coercion, to mold the human spirit into the desired shape. Entire fields of philosophy have been devised to prop up “constructionism,” but reality is a stubborn thing.

(As an aside: If you’re interested in this topic, I highly recommend Stephen Pinker’s 2003 masterpiece The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature, which gloriously demolishes the foundational assumptions of those on the top half of my political spectrum.)

The earliest proto-hippie protests against the Vietnam War were overtly anti-LBJ

But aren’t hippies inherently pro-Democrat and anti-Republican? Hasn’t it always been that way?

Au contraire. In fact, as the photos sprinkled throughout this page show, the mass-movement hippie era first arose during the Johnson administration, and was explicitly hostile to Johnson’s Democratic Party agenda — in particular his foreign policy agenda. Despite a fair amount of after-the-fact revisionism in which Nixon has been retroactively cast as the villain of the Vietnam War, remember that Nixon did not become president until the end of January, 1969, and that for the vast majority of the anti-war protests of “the sixties,” LBJ was president and LBJ was consequently the target of the protesters’ wrath.

This 1967 hippie poster depicted President Johnson’s big-government “Great Society” programs as hell on Earth.

The truth is: Hippies didn’t particularly like Lyndon Johnson, the Democrats, or their ’60s-era “Great Society” big-government programs. Look at the poster on the right for a typical opinion, untouched by the revisionism of later historians.

A popular hippie chant at the time, as you may remember, was “Hey, Hey, LBJ, How Many Kids Did You Kill Today?” Now — does that sound like the kind of thing Johnson voters would say?

But above all it was LBJ’s interventionist foreign policy which most outraged the hippies, primarily because they — selfishly, but understandably — didn’t want to get drafted (or have their boyfriends get drafted). So they opposed the war out of self-interest, not really because they wanted the communists to take over Vietnam. (At least not at first — more on that later.)

In fact, which candidate ran as the anti-war candidate in 1968, at the height of the hippie movement? Why, it was Republican Richard Nixon, who won the election in part because of this issue — despite himself being totally disconnected from hippie-dom and having no grasp whatsoever of the counterculture. (Of course, the fickle electorate, having up until that time held the Democrats responsible for the war, rapidly turned on Nixon after 1969 and blamed him for not ending our involvement in the conflict as quickly as he had promised.)

Chicago police massing at the 1968 Democratic convention.

1968: The Hippies turn their wrath on the Democrats

1968 was the apogee of the original hippie era, and it also happened to be an election year. If you knew nothing about actual history, and believed that hippies were from the beginning pro-Democrat and anti-Republican, you would likely assume that hippie protesters must have descended with fury on the 1968 Republican National Convention, intent on showing their displeasure with those nasty conservatives. And, of course, you’d be entirely wrong. The 1968 Republican National Convention in Miami Beach was pretty much ignored by hippies, protesters and the media. But the Democratic National Convention in Chicago — now, that was a different story entirely. Right from the beginning, the Democratic convention was wracked with violent protests, as hippies (along with many other related groups) fought with police and the National Guard.

Throughout the convention, as the clashes between the protesters and the police got worse, Democratic Chicago Mayor Richard Daley was accurately pegged by the hippies as the big-government totalitarian thug that he was. And Democratic presidential nominee Hubert Humphrey wasn’t getting much love either — he was dismissed as just another tool of the system.

So, the hippies of 1968 didn’t particularly like either major political party, but they showed a particular anger toward the Democrats for screwing everything up — while giving the Republicans a shrug. Which, amazingly, is exactly the way the Tea Party feels today: Anger towards Democrats, and a grudging acceptance of Republicans as the lesser of two evils.

Just like the Tea Partiers do today, the early hippies tried to keep their protests peaceful.

Where Are the Tea Party Love Beads?

You might be thinking, “But wait — Tea Partiers don’t take LSD or wear long hair or practice free love or dance barefoot in Golden Gate Park. So they’re not really like the hippies at all.” Yes, all that may be true, but those surface cultural details are not the point; the underlying philosophy inspiring both movements is the point. Don’t confuse the form that a movement takes with the inspiration behind it. For example, the Gold Rush of 1849 and the dot-com boom of the 1990s manifested in completely dissimilar cultural contexts, but the underlying financial excitement was exactly the same. The same is true of the Tea Party and the hippie movement. Actually, considering that the Tea Party demographic skews toward people in their 50s and 60s, it may very well be that many Tea Partiers did wear long hair and practice free love 40 years ago when they were young. In other words, a certain percentage of Tea Partiers aren’t simply like the original hippies — they were the original hippies, but in the intervening decades have grown less ostentatious and these days express their anti-authoritarian urges in a more culturally conventional manner, now that adolescence has worn off.

And don’t fall for the media misrepresentation of Tea Partiers as nothing but a new label for right-wing Christians. Yes, there are some “social conservatives” in the Tea Party — but they’re only one of a wide array of types within the movement. In fact, plenty of Tea Partiers strongly distance themselves from social conservatives. It’s not monolithic.

Hippie Roots

Of course, as has been documented endlessly, the hippie movement originally grew out of the Beat movement, and the two primary guiding lights of the Beats, William Burroughs and Jack Kerouac, were both wildly anti-authoritarian. But that doesn’t mean they were “liberal”: what most people don’t know is that Kerouac, while being anti-authoritarian and unconventional for his era, was in fact politically conservative, something which continues to mystify naive young leftist historians:

At the height of the counterculture, Kerouac declared: “Listen, my politics haven’t changed, and I haven’t changed! I’m solidly behind Bill Buckley, if you want to know. Nothing I wrote in my books,” he confessed in a 1968 interview, “nothing could be seen as basically in disagreement with this.”

In other words, Kerouac was a true individualist iconoclast, a fact that [Tom] Hayden still finds incredibly frustrating.

I don’t see this as unexpected at all: Kerouac’s keen mind noticed and then recoiled in horror from the collectivism and anti-Americanism that had begun to creep into the hippie movement as the ’60s progressed. To anyone who understands the kernel of philosophical clarity which conjoined the Beat movement with the early hippies, it should come as no surprise that Kerouac, the original inspiration for hippiedom, self-identified as a conservative. Individualism was the whole point, from the very beginning of the postwar counterculture. (Burroughs, for his part, seemed stubbornly apolitical; and Allen Ginsberg chased every cultural and political fad that came down the pike.)

In one of those cosmic coincidences which only reveal that the cosmos may not be so coincidental after all, while I was putting the finishing touches on this essay, the New York Times published in its Book Review section an essay comparing the Beats to the Tea Party and touching on some of the same points I make here — though focusing exclusively on the Beats and their 1950s brand of iconoclastic individualism, rather than the hippies. While at first I thought it extremely odd that the New York Times would anoint the Tea Party as the inheritors of hip by publishing such an essay (leaving aside the momentary frustration I felt in having what I thought was an original idea partly scooped a few hours before I posted), the more I pondered it, the more I realized it was inevitable: As the election approaches, the Tea Party is rapidly maturing into a significant societal movement, and anyone with a sense of history who ponders this cultural sea-change will immediately recognize in it the precise same anti-authoritarian attitude which drove earlier American social upheavals.

Mass anti-government hippie protest in 1967 San Francisco — the precursor to the Tea Party?

Communist Co-option

If everything I’ve said so far is true, then why does most everyone associate the hippies with left-wing politics, and why do most neo-hippies also identify as left-wing?

Ah, very good question. And the answer is the tragedy of the hippie era.

After 1968, hippie politics swung very rapidly and very deeply into leftist ideology. And this is because communists and socialists very effectively co-opted the anti-war movement and transformed it during the Nixon era into an anti-American and anti-capitalist movement. This infiltration and co-option of what had been a pacifist/individualist/isolationist movement is actually one of the major turning points of American political history — one which reverberates to this day, because that new framework adopted by the counterculture remains in place to this day and deeply influences 21st-century politics.

Of course, things are not so cut-and-dried. History rarely is. There was a leftist presence in the hippie movement from its very beginnings. That’s undeniable. And most historians now zoom in on and focus intently on those early leftist influences. But between 1965 and 1968, the heart of the hippie era, overt nanny-state leftism was actually just a minor thread in the hippie philosophy, which was more focused on planting the flag of personal freedom and getting away from government influence, rather than demanding that government take an ever-increasing role in our private lives.

And there are plenty of former ’60s-era radicals and hippies who now see the light — that the heady counter-culture and political excitement which swept them up in the late ’60s and early ’70s became contaminated and ultimately ruined by noxious oppressive big-government communists who harnessed the era’s youth energy for ultimately nefarious ends. People like Roger L. Simon and David Horowitz are among the best-known examples of an entire class of former hippies and radicals who now realize that modern-day “conservatism” — including the Tea Party — embodies the true ideals they had been seeking all along as hippies.

And yes, that includes me. I’m not of the same generation as Simon and Horowitz, but I did grow up in a hippie-ish environment and considered myself a “hippie kid” for most of my young life. And I looked the part. Once while taking my first cross-country trip through Middle America I and my fellow young rebels were chased out of a small town by a mob of angry citizens shouting, “Get out of here, you long-haired hippies!” Oh, how we laughed. A moment to be proud of. And yet, years after the fact, I can now almost understand the motivation of those shotgun-toting “bitter clingers” — they saw us hippies as an invading force bringing the taint of leftist ideology into their community. I can sympathize, in retrospect.

But that was long ago. In many ways I still consider myself a hippie (but more of the pure unadulterated Eden Ahbez/Gypsy Boots variety), even if I no longer look like the kind of person you’d chase out of town. I still hew to many of my earlier hippie opinions — I’m an environmentalist, an eccentric, and I pretty much stay away from consumer culture and mainstream society. But, as it is true for many Americans, my natural tendency to drift toward conservatism as I grew older was given a life-altering jolt on 9/11, after which I became more of a foreign policy hawk. But still a hippie in my mind. A hawkish hippie, let’s say.

LBJ announcing escalation of the Vietnam War in 1966. Note the similarity between this image of LBJ and the fictional big-government totalitarian dictator depicted in Apple’s famous “1984” ad (seen on the right).

Big Hippie Tent

Which brings me back to the beginning. This essay was addressed to self-identified hippies — but I assume that plenty of non-hippie liberals have been eavesdropping on us. And it may very well be that you eavesdroppers may not personally think of yourselves as “hippies,” per se, but you do hold to some hippie-esque values which place you in the Big Hippie Tent. There are all sorts of “neo-hippies” who use other identifiers. And any number of preferences and habits and opinions would make you a semi-hippie, as it were. Do any of these apply to you: Are you a Deadhead? Attracted to alternative spiritualities? Avoid chain stores? Love nature? Listen to ’60s music, reggae or jam bands? Smoke pot? Go to Burning Man? Wear ethnic clothing? Like world cultures? You may not be a full-on hippie, but you’ve been influenced by hippie culture. And because of that you may feel some allegiance to what you have always assumed is hippie politics: left-leaning and “progressive.” And that allegiance, perhaps unconsciously, has prevented you from embracing, or even truly acknowledging, the anti-authoritarian vim of the Tea Party. Tempting, isn’t it? And now you no longer have to resist temptation. Let it all in: your newfound awareness that the Tea Party is the embodiment of the hippie ethos after all.

You’re home at last.

This Week in Eugenics!

Wait — eugenics, did you say? Isn’t that a discredited pseudoscience from centuries past, like phrenology?

Well, yes, but eugenics never went away. Despite reaching its bloody culmination in the Nazi era, eugenics is still seductive as a concept to many people, and eugenics-based proposals still crop up in popular culture distressingly often, frequently by people who don’t even realize the historical implications of what they’re suggesting.

Over the last several days I’ve noticed an alarming upswing in eugenics-related incidents and current events, even though none of them were identified as such. And so, to rectify this oversight by the Meme Lords, I present — This Week in Eugenics!

(Note: For the purposes of this article, I’m using the most inclusive definition of the term “eugenics,” covering not just social programs designed to “improve genetic stock,” but also many notions closely related to and derived from eugenics, such as involuntary euthanasia, ethnic cleansing, suppressing birthrates among unwanted groups, mass rape, forced abortions, and killing your opponents en masse as a way of eradicating them from the gene pool.)



British liberal:Murdering substandard babies is highly recommended

Left-leaning British pundit Virginia Ironside stunned BBC viewers last Sunday when she said on air that she would enthusiastically suffocate any child who was “suffering.” The video really must be seen to be believed:

“If I were a mother of a suffering child — I mean a deeply suffering child — I would be the first to want to put a pillow over its face… If it was a child I really loved, who was in agony, I think any good mother would.”

(Make sure to pay close attention to the facial expressions of her shocked fellow guest, the young Reverend Joanna Jepson, who is literally rendered speechless by Ironside’s moral framework.)

Not included in this video clip are additional statements by Ironside earlier in the show which clarify what she means by “suffering”:

But she said there were millions of disabled and unwanted children around the world who were left suffering in institutions.
“To go ahead and have a baby, knowing that you can’t give it some kind of stable upbringing, seems to me to be cruel,” she said.

“If a baby’s going to be born severely disabled or totally unwanted, surely an abortion is the act of a loving mother.”

I don’t think I need to remind everyone that the Holocaust got its start as a program of “merciful” euthanasia for the disabled:

Forced sterilization in Germany was the forerunner of the systematic killing of the mentally ill and the handicapped. In October 1939, Hitler himself initiated a decree which empowered physicians to grant a “mercy death” to “patients considered incurable according to the best available human judgment of their state of health.”

Virginia Ironside is not alone in her thinking — her “progressive” views are commonplace in Europe and among certain sectors of the American populace. Are these people even aware of their not-so-subconscious dalliance with eugenics?



After 30 years of forced abortions, China breaks promise to end “one-child policy”

When China instituted its “one-child policy” exactly 30 years ago this month, they vowed that it was temporary and would end after 30 years. Now that the 30 years are up — surprise! — it looks like they won’t be ending it after all:

When China introduced its drastic population controls, officials promised that it would lift them after 30 years – an anniversary which falls this weekend. Aware of the resentment the policy would cause, the government said it was a temporary measure in response to China’s high unemployment and food scarcity.

“In 30 years, when our current extreme population growth eases, we can then adopt a different population policy,” read the announcement from the Communist Party Central Committee.

But today, the one-child policy remains firmly in place and government officials cannot shake the idea that it has played an important role in China’s economic miracle.

With only one child to care for, parents have been able to save more money, enabling banks to make the loans that have funded China’s huge investments in infrastructure.

Meanwhile, officials claim the policy has conserved food and energy and allowed each child better education and healthcare.

“We will continue the one-child policy until at least 2015,” said the National Family Planning Commission earlier this year.

Actually, that whole 2015 business is just a lie too. The government has no plans to ever end the policy:

China: One-child policy will stand

China will not drop its one-child policy, officials say, 30 years after Beijing decreed the population-control measure.

“I, on behalf of the National Population and Family Planning Commission, extend profound gratitude to all, the people in particular, for their support of the national course,” said Li Bin, who leads the commission.

So we will stick to the family-planning policy in the coming decades,” she said over the weekend, according to the state-run China Daily.

Who could have ever suspected that totalitarian “emergency measures” would last indefinitely?




John Holdren remains unashamed about hero-worship of eugenicist

Obama’s Science Czar John Holdren is back in the news again. Over the last week, bloggers and pundits have continued trying to decipher Holdren’s latest euphemism for global warming, “global climate disruption”:

Global warming could be a thing of the past, thanks to the Barack Obama administration.

No, the White House has not single-handedly managed to stop the apparent rising temperature — but it does think the terminology oversimplifies the problem.

According to U.S. science adviser John Holdren, the public should start using the phrase ‘global climate disruption’ because it makes the situation sound more dangerous.

What’s that got to do with eugenics? Nothing directly. The connection comes from my shock that Holdren still walks around proudly declaiming his views, even after my essay from last year exposing Holdren’s close ideological connection to a notorious eugenicist:

John Holdren and Harrison Brown

Lifelong intellectual infatuation with eugenics-minded futurist casts shadow over Science Czar Holdren’s worldview

John Holdren, the Science Czar of the United States, has long expressed an intense admiration — one that bordered on hero-worship — of a man named Harrison Brown, a respected scientist from an earlier generation who spent his later years writing about overpopulation and ecological destruction. In fact, as Holdren has pointed out several times (including very recently), it was Harrison Brown’s most famous book, The Challenge of Man’s Future, which transformed the young Holdren’s personal philosophy and which inspired him to later embark on a career in science and population policy which in many ways mirrored that of his idol Brown.

Holdren’s regard for Brown was so high that in 1986 he edited and co-wrote an homage to Brown entitled Earth and the Human Future: Essays in Honor of Harrison Brown, in which Holdren showers Brown with accolades and unrestrained applause.

At first glance, there’s nothing remarkable or amiss with this picture: one respected scientist giving credit to and paying tribute to another. Happens all the time. Except in this case, something is amiss. Grievously amiss. Because Harrison Brown, whatever good qualities Holdren might have seen in him, was also an unapologetic eugenicist who made horrifying recommendations for “sterilizing the feeble-minded” and other “unfit” substandard humans whom he thought should be “pruned from society.”

You might think that these opinions would disqualify Brown as someone deserving praise in the modern world; but not to John Holdren, it seems — perhaps because Brown’s views (as Holdren himself has stated many times) were the basis of Holdren’s own worldview.

Skim the whole essay for the stomach-churning details. A sampling, with quotes from both Brown and Holdren:

“The feeble-minded, the morons, the dull and backward, and the lower-than-average persons in our society are outbreeding the superior ones at the present time. … Is there anything that can be done to prevent the long-range degeneration of human stock? Unfortunately, at the present time there is little, other than to prevent breeding in persons who present glaring deficiencies clearly dangerous to society and which are known to be of a hereditary nature. Thus we could sterilize or in other ways discourage the mating of the feeble-minded. We could go further and systematically attempt to prune from society, by prohibiting them from breeding, persons suffering from serious inheritable forms of physical defects, such as congenital deafness, dumbness, blindness, or absence of limbs. … A broad eugenics program would have to be formulated which would aid in the establishment of policies that would encourage able and healthy persons to have several offspring and discourage the unfit from breeding at excessive rates.”
— Harrison Brown, in The Challenge of Man’s Future

“Harrison Brown’s most remarkable book, The Challenge of Man’s Future, was published more than three decades ago. By the time I read it as a high school student a few years later, the book had been widely acclaimed…. The Challenge of Man’s Future pulled these interests together for me in a way that transformed my thinking about the world and about the sort of career I wanted to pursue. I have always suspected that I am not the only member of my generation whose aspirations and subsequent career were changed by this book of Harrison Brown’s…. As a demonstration of the power of (and necessity for) an interdisciplinary approach to global problems, the book was a tour de force…. Thirty years after Harrison Brown elaborated these positions, it remains difficult to improve on them as a coherent depiction of the perils and challenges we face. Brown’s accomplishment in writing The Challenge of Man’s Future, of course, was not simply the construction of this sweeping schema for understanding the human predicament; more remarkable was (and is) the combination of logic, thoroughness, clarity, and force with which he marshalled data and argumentation on every element of the problem and on their interconnections. It is a book, in short, that should have reshaped permanently the perceptions of all serious analysts….”
— John Holdren, in Earth and the Human Future: Essays in Honor of Harrison Brown

This man remains the Science Czar of the United States, appointed by Obama. My previous exposés of Holdren (the whole “forced abortions and mass sterilization” thing) were so widely linked that they entered the mainstream consciousness; but to my mind this lesser-known eugenics-related scandal — the connection between Holdren and Harrison Brown — is even more shocking. And yet he blithely jets around the world as a representative of the United States, as if none of this had ever been revealed.



Michael Savage and Nicholas D. Kristof agree: Let’s do what we can to stop poor people from having babies

Politics makes strange bedfellows. And eugenics makes the strangest bedfellows of all. Two different pundits at opposite ends of the political and personality spectrum — hyper-conservative firebrand Michael Savage, and wishy-washy liberal Nicholas D. Kristof — both published essentially the same opinion this week: That we as a society should do whatever we can to stop poor people from over-breeding.

As you might expect, Savage phrased his recommendations in the bluntest possible terms, whereas Kristof danced around the issue and tried to doll it up:

Michael Savage:

[Savage] also wants to see Norplant, the embedded contraceptive, required for all women on welfare.

“That’s a revolutionary statement,” he admitted. “But should we permit women on welfare to keep knocking out babies to increase their benefits? Only an insane society would permit that.”

Nicholas D. Kristof:

Contraception research just hasn’t received the resources it deserves, so we have state-of-the-art digital cameras and decades-old family planning methods.

The situation is particularly dire in poor countries, where some 215 million women don’t want to get pregnant yet can’t get their hands on modern contraceptives, according to United Nations figures. One result is continued impoverishment and instability for these countries: it’s impossible to fight poverty effectively when birthrates are sky high.

Yet impressive new contraceptive technologies are in trials and should address this problem.

Another new contraceptive that could have far-reaching impact is the Sino-implant (II), a tiny pair of rods inserted just under the skin (typically in the arm) to release hormones. Other implants are widely used, but one great advantage of the Sino-implant is that it can last four or five years and costs $3 a year or less.

Family planning has long been a missing — and underfunded — link in the effort to overcome global poverty. Half a century after the pill, it’s time to make it a priority and treat it as a basic human right for men and women alike around the world.

Kristof isn’t foolish enough to get into Savage-level recommendations for linking contraception and financial aid, but the notion hovers in the background, unspoken. is, however, unafraid to drag Kristof over the coals for his population-control views.

Neither Savage nor Kristof were likely thinking of their proposals as having anything to do with eugenics — but beware of the law of unintended consequences (or perhaps intended in Savage’s case); once you start dictating to whole classes of people what you think their birthrates should be, it’s a slippery slope to more sinister uses of population control.



Great news! Blacks use a lot of condoms. No more black babies!

This week Indiana University released the results of the largest nationwide sex survey in nearly 20 years. While the report is chockful of juicy facts (as one might expect with a sex survey), each media outlet struggled to find the one key fact to highlight. Strangely, many of them focused on something unexpected: increased condom usage among ethnic minorities:

National Sex Study: Condom Usage Among Black and Hispanic Men Significantly Higher Than for White Men

…Rates of condom usage among black and Hispanic men were significantly higher than for whites, which might suggest that promoting condom usage and HIV awareness and prevention in black and brown communities is actually working. Now, that’s a pleasant surprise — a public service campaign that is actually working.

While black condom usage was hailed as great news in every MSM story on the subject, the specter of Margaret Sanger loomed, unseen, unacknowledged.

Why Margaret Sanger? Well, it was she who first successfully promoted mass-adoption of contraception in American society. And it was she who, controversially, also held eugenicist views which had a racial tinge, especially in a program she called “The Negro Project” that was designed to encourage blacks to use as much contraception as possible. Why? Well, here’s where the argument begins.

African-American Christian groups are absolutely positive that, as revealed in her writings, Sanger saw contraception as a way to depopulate or eliminate “negroes” from American society. Two quotes are widely cited, and remain, many decades later, the center of a furious controversy.

The first quote comes from a letter Sanger wrote seeking help for her “Negro Project,” a plan to open birth-control clinics in black neighborhoods. Here’s the full quote:

[We propose to] hire three or four colored ministers, preferably with social-service backgrounds, and with engaging personalities. The most successful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal. And we do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.

Critics read that and say Sanger’s words are clear enough; “we do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population” speaks for itself. And you’ll find thousands of Web sites citing this passage as proof that Sanger had nefarious racist goals.

Her organization, Planned Parenthood, however, goes to great lengths to put its own spin on the passage, arguing that what Sanger meant to say was “we do not want [the false rumor] to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population,” and that this reading is clear from the context.

Adding to the controversy is the fact that Sanger once quoted, apparently with a stamp of approval, a mortifying sentence originally written by W.E.B. DuBois:

The mass of ignorant Negroes still breed carelessly and disastrously, so that the increase among Negroes, even more than the increase among whites, is from that portion of the population least intelligent and fit, and least able to rear their children properly.
— W.E.B. DuBois, Birth Control Review, June 1932. Quoted by Sanger in her proposal for the “Negro Project.”

Is this eugenics-minded quote any less horrifying in that it came from the pen of a black (or at least self-identified black) man? And does Sanger’s clever citation of someone else‘s words to convey her opinion give her plausible deniability? Did she sufficiently distance herself from the racist attitudes implicit in DuBois’ quote?

So: is it good news that blacks are using a lot of condoms and as a result getting pregnant less often? Or is it part of a sinister decades-old eugenics plan, spearheaded by Margaret Sanger, to decrease the number of blacks in America?




No pressure — we’ll just wipe out everyone who disagrees with us

As already noted in my previous post, the British nonprofit group “10:10” released an ad this week which depicts the immediate and gory execution of anyone who disagrees with their “global warming” mantra. If you haven’t yet seen the video, it definitely merits a quick view:

After the ad was pulled due to public outrage, many commenters and pundits speculated on the underlying violent tendencies of environmental extremists. But not everyone was ready to discuss the video in genocidal terms; it’s not just that the fantasized executions were bloody and violent, and not just that the “greenies” seem willing to use threats to enforce their will on people. If one looks at fervent mass ideological movements throughout history, whenever they take power, they often do resort to mass killings not just as a way to enforce conformity, but to literally wipe out all dissenters, and by so doing extirpate their worldview from public discourse. Ideological eugenics, let’s call it.

Fantasies can become reality once power is attained. And once the blood starts to flow (or splatter, in this case), it’s hard to stop it.



Mass Rapes in the Congo

Recently there was another round of mass rapes in the Congo, as part of its interminable civil war.

While much of the media coverage about the incident focused on to what extent the United Nations was or was not to blame for the recent mass rapes, and whether this was an isolated incident or part of a years-long reign of terror, very little discussion has been given to the motivation of the mass-rapists.

Human rights campaigners have tried to drive home the point that mass-rapes are usually not just about sex or about hatred of women, but are rather a component of an ethnic cleansing program; the purpose of the rapes is to impregnate as many victims as possible with babies from outside their ethnic group or culture, and thereby dilute or “wash out” entire societies — a form of negative eugenics. For this reason mass rapes are considered a “crime against humanity,” not just a criminal act.

The recent Congolese mass rapes went mostly uncommented on in the Western world, so the motivation behind them is not clear. But my eugenics sensors detect something evil is afoot in the Congo, and so I include this incident in my list.



No apologies for call to “kill white babies”: it’s in retaliation for “alligator bait”!

King Shamir Shabazz, the New Black Panther Party madman involved in several race-related scandals, cropped up a few days ago in a new video in which he addresses the critics who decried his previous call for black Americans to “start killing white babies”:

Here’s the transcript of his fresh rant:

Now most of them media blood-suckers lies at Crucifox Jews wanna talk about me killing white babies.”


“Well, let me tell you stop jumping up and down like the devils you are, creating negative press to keep our people from joining something black and progressive. Yes, I said if you want freedom, you’re gonna have to deal with this enemy the way he brings it to us.


“You cannot tell a slave how to feel under the pressure of white supremacy.”

“That’s right!”

“I’m not a committer of reverse racism, I am a slave.”

“That’s right!”

“Born, brought stolen to the hells of North America. Let’s talk about the little black babies that YOU use as alligator bait.”

The “alligator bait” reference left most viewers scratching their heads in mystification, but it actually comes from any of several 1960s-era racist jokes about “Cajuns” using black babies as “alligator bait” while hunting in the bayou.

Of course, there’s no evidence that anyone ever, in reality, used a black baby as “alligator bait,” but that doesn’t stop King Shamir Shabazz from treating a joke from a Redd Foxx comedy routine as an authoritative source for reliable historical information. And so, in retaliation, he affirms his call to start killing white babies.

And what better place to wrap up This Week in Eugenics!



A Berkeley Photo Safari

Recently I had reason to take an excursion to Berkeley, California. And there’s one rule of thumb whenever you go to Berkeley: Always bring a camera. And a keen eye. Because you never know what you might see.

The era of anti-war street protests is pretty much over these days, and the city has returned to calm. But Berkeleyans still like to wear their politics on their sleeves — that is to say, bumpers — so it’s possible to take the city’s political temperature simply by strolling around and noting the messages displayed on cars.

So join me on a photo safari to Berkeley, the most liberal city in America. What’s the mood there these days?

Oh dear. Oh dear oh dear oh dear. Sure, there were plenty of old “Obama ’08” stickers to be seen around town. But they were all faded and peeling, seemingly from a now-forgotten distant era. How many residents have recently tiptoed out at midnight into their own driveways with Goof-Off and a butter knife to remove lingering evidence of the 2008 mania? Fresh “Impeach Obama” stickers are now starting to appear instead.

But surely, this being Berkeley, the residents are disappointed in Obama for not being radical enough — right? Right??

I have to admit, I just stood frozen on the sidewalk in shock when I came across this car. “Sarah Palin ’12” — in Berkeley? Is that even legal?

Yet Sarah was not the most popular potential female candidate to challenge Obama in ’12. I only saw two Palin stickers all day. But “Hillary 2012” stickers were bustin’ out all over.

If Barry’s losing the hearts and minds of Berkeley of all places, 2012 may turn out to be much more interesting than I ever imagined.

On the way into town, I noted this advertisement at a BART station. Looks like Pelosi, Obama’s main lieutenant, isn’t very popular these days either. Not only was the original ad critical of her for not increasing federal funding to pay for AIDS patients’ expensive treatments, but subsequent passersby added various mustaches and rotten teeth. Pelosi is already the least-popular politician in the rest of the country; now she’s an outcast in the Bay Area too?

(Don’t worry — she’ll win re-election in her district with at last 70% of the vote. Always has, always will.)

Ahhhh — now we’re back in a Berkeley groove. A Rastafarian “JAHLOV” license plate over a “Fuck Israel” bumper sticker. Berkeley is the only place in the world where cognitive dissonance is the status quo.

For the curious, here’s the wide-angle view — the prototypical Berkeley car, advertising practically every far-left ultra-radical cause in existence. (The sides and front were plastered in stickers too.)

Later, I captured this specimen “on the hoof” as it were, speeding down the street with an “Israel Out of U.S. Congress” sticker.

The car was full of the predictable Berkeley types — aging former ’60s radicals. I tried to snap a better view of them, but only got one grey-haired head as they sped away. Luckily, this entire species is rapidly heading for the nursing home and politically ineffectual obsolescence, and all I can say is hurry up already.

This sticker has been on the bumper for a while, but I liked the way it encapsulated communist economics in just six unexpected words:

Global Minimum Wage
Global Maximum Wage

That really just about sums it all up, doesn’t it?

The sentiment practically debunks itself, so I won’t bother dissecting its laughable aspirations.

In what? Chemistry? Economics?

I’ve got three words for you: Only in Berkeley.

[Photo by Henry K. Lee]
When I said “photo safari” I wasn’t kidding around. Incredibly, for the first time in recorded history, a wild mountain lion was recently spotted on Shattuck Avenue, the city’s main downtown business thoroughfare. The police were called but had no tranquilizer darts powerful enough to render a full-grown lion unconscious. The animal was running freely through the North Berkeley neighborhoods, so the decision was made by the police, for the safety of the residents, to shoot the lion before it killed someone.

You guessed it — this being Berkeley, instead of thanking the police for preserving public safety, people were immediately outraged that the police had killed the poor widdle kitty-cat.

[Photo by John Bennett]
A shrine quickly appeared at the intersection of Shattuck and Cedar to memorialize the lion and complain about the hated police: “Please forgive the ones who killed the mountain lion. They know not what they have done.”

Yes, there is still a vicious anti-police mentality among a certain percentage of the Berkeley population, as this graffiti in the middle of town reveals. The hatred extends from the street gangs up through the left-wing radicals who see the police as agents of capitalist oppression, all the way up to the city government itself, which has a confrontational Police Review Commission famous for relentlessly harassing any cop who doesn’t conform precisely to the politicized dictates of the anti-police radicals appointed to the commission. Meetings usually devolve into cop-bashing tirades.

Stickers mocking police can be spotted all over Berkeley. As noted in an earlier report, there was a recent upsurge in such stickers after the Oscar Grant incident (in which a transit policeman accidentally shot and killed a passenger).

The fuzzy dice (visible in the background) are a nice addition to this ACLU pro-illegal-immigration sticker.

And finally, as a palate cleanser, a poster we can all agree on, seeking the release of a democracy activist imprisoned by the theocrats of Iran. Sometimes, Amnesty International and even the radicals of Berkeley are on the correct side of an issue.