To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle.
--- George Orwell

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Reflections on the Resistance in America: Why The ‘Black Lives Matter’ Revolution Will Be ‘Little Better Than The Flies Of Summer’

'Peaceful Protester' May 2020. 

“It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.” 

“Rage and phrenzy will pull down more in half an hour, than prudence, deliberation, and foresight can build up in an hundred years.” 

“Wise men will apply their remedies to vices, not to names; to the causes of evil which are permanent, not to the occasional organs by which they act, and the transitory modes in which they appear. Otherwise you will be wise historically, a fool in practice.” 

“I should therefore suspend my congratulations on the new liberty of France, until I was informed how it had been combined with government; with public force; with the discipline and obedience of armies; with the collection of an effective and well-distributed revenue; with morality and religion; with the solidity of property; with peace and order; with civil and social manners. All these (in their way) are good things too; and, without them, liberty is not a benefit whilst it lasts, and is not likely to continue long. The effect of liberty to individuals is that they may do what they please: we ought to see what it will please them to do, before we risk congratulations, which may be soon turned into complaints. Prudence would dictate this in the case of separate, insulated, private men; but liberty, when men act in bodies, is power. Considerate people, before they declare themselves, will observe the use which is made of power; and particularly of so trying a thing as new power in new persons, of whose principles, tempers, and dispositions they have little or no experience, and in situations, where those who appear the most stirring in the scene may possibly not be the real movers.” 

“Thus these politicians proceed, whilst little notice is taken of their doctrines; but when they come to be examined upon the plain meaning of their words, and the direct tendency of their doctrines, then equivocations and slippery constructions come into play.” 

“People will not look forward to posterity who never look backward to their ancestors.” 

“You will smile here at the consistency of those democratists who, when they are not on their guard, treat the humbler part of the community with the greatest contempt, whilst, at the same time they pretend to make them the depositories of all power.”

“Those who attempt to level, never equalize.” 

“To give freedom is still more easy. It is not necessary to guide; it only requires to let go the rein. But to form a free government; that is, to temper together these opposite elements of liberty and restraint in one work, requires much thought, deep reflection, a sagacious, powerful, and combining mind.” 

“Better to be despised for too anxious apprehensions, than ruined by too confident a security.” 

“The effect of liberty to individuals is that they may do what they please; we ought to see what it will please them to do, before we risk congratulations which may be soon turned into complaints.” 

“But when the leaders choose to make themselves bidders at an auction of popularity, their talents, in the construction of the state, will be of no service. They will become flatterers instead of legislators; the instruments, not the guides, of the people. If any of them should happen to propose a scheme of liberty, soberly limited, and defined with proper qualifications, he will be immediately outbid by his competitors, who will produce something more splendidly popular. Suspicions will be raised of his fidelity to his cause. Moderation will be stigmatized as the virtue of cowards; and compromise as the prudence of traitors; until, in hopes of preserving the credit which may enable him to temper, and moderate, on some occasions, the popular leader is obliged to become active in propagating doctrines, and establishing powers, that will afterwards defeat any sober purpose at which he ultimately might have aimed.” 

“Your literary men, and your politicians, and so do the whole clan of the enlightened among us, essentially differ in these points. They have no respect for the wisdom of others; but they pay it off by a very full measure of confidence in their own. With them it is a sufficient motive to destroy an old scheme of things, because it is an old one. As to the new, they are in no sort of fear with regard to the duration of a building run up in haste; because duration is no object to those who think little or nothing has been done before their time, and who place all their hopes in discovery.” 

“But one of the first and most leading principles on which the commonwealth and the laws are consecrated, is lest the temporary possessors and life-renters in it, unmindful of what they have received from their ancestors, or of what is due to their posterity, should act as if they were the entire masters; that they should not think it amongst their rights to cut off the entail, or commit waste on the inheritance, by destroying at their pleasure the whole original fabric of their society; hazarding to leave to those who come after them, a ruin instead of an habitation - and teaching these successors as little to respect their contrivances, as they had themselves respected the institutions of their forefathers. By this unprincipled facility of changing the state as often, and as much, and in as many ways as there are floating fancies or fashions, the whole chain and continuity of the commonwealth would be broken. No one generation could link with the other. Men would become little better than the flies of summer.” 

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Annals Of Orwell: NBC News & Google Team Up To Deplatform 'The Federalist' For Honesty On Looting, Rioting & Woke White Delerium

(picture courtesy of New York Times) 

Is looting a racial trope to be avoided because it encourages unhealthy stereotypes about “vulnerable and underrepresented groups?” Or is it a racially-inflected reality that merely makes woke newsrooms uncomfortable---and gives the lie to media narratives about “peaceful” protests? Judging from NBC News’s efforts to get Google to demonetize the conservative website the Federalist for the journalistic sin of accurately reporting on the looting across the country during last week’s George Floyd riots, it’s the latter. Here’s the Federalist’s reporting & commentary on the looting. Below is a description from today’s Wall Street Journal, written by the Federalist’s co-founders on how NBC News’ “Verification Department” teamed up with Google and the Center for Countering Digital Hate, a British anti hate website to act the censor. And how NBC compounded that bit of intellectual reprehensibility by reporting inaccurately on the whole sorry affair before walking back its initial report. 

*****

NBC Tries To Cancel A Conservative Website 
by Ben Domenech and Sean Davis 

NBC News attempted this week to use the power of Google to cancel our publication, the Federalist. The effort failed, but it should serve as a warning about the unchecked power of big tech companies, particularly when they can be manipulated by partisans, including partisan journalists.

On Monday we received a request for comment through our general media email account from NBC reporter Adele-Momoko Fraser. The message asserted that Google had demonetized our site—preventing us from earning money through Google ads—for violating its rules.
On Tuesday, NBC published an article claiming that Google had made a formal decision to demonetize the Federalist, that we had been formally warned that we were in violation, and that our content—specifically, articles criticizing the Black Lives Matter movement and media coverage of recent riots—was a violation of Google’s rules.
Google subsequently sent a statement to NBC saying all these claims were false. The network updated but hasn’t retracted the story. Ms. Fraser, who works for an NBC division with the Orwellian name “Verification Center,” tweeted her story and expressing thanks for the “hard work and collaboration” of a London-based advocacy group, the Center for Countering Digital Hate, which promptly issued a fundraising appeal based on its purported deplatforming of a conservative media organization.
Whatever the network or the center knew about Google and the Federalist, it was more than Google told us. Google never formally notified us that we had run afoul of any of its rules. Only when we sought guidance from Google about the NBC News story were we told that our comments section—which is run by a third party and isn’t monitored or moderated by us—violated its policies. We asked if adjusting the comments section would address the alleged rule violation and were told that it would. For now our comment section doesn’t appear on our site. We intend to bring it back.
NBC News colluded with a foreign left-wing group in an attempt to destroy us because it disagrees with our political commentary and media criticism. The episode illustrates how dangerous the combination of partisan media and monopolistic tech companies is to America. We survived the attack because our organization is well-known. 
This is only the latest example of media outlets using social-media platforms to attack and destroy Americans who don’t kowtow to left-wing orthodoxy. Ask Brendan Eich, who was fired from a Silicon Valley job in 2014 for contributing to a referendum against same-sex marriage six years earlier, or Nicholas Sandmann, who at age 16 was labeled a bigot by journalists for CNN and other outlets for attending a pro-life rally in D.C. and politely staying silent while an adult berated him and his classmates. 
These attacks target not only individuals but free speech itself. 




Monday, June 8, 2020

Sorrows of Woke: Extraordinary Popular Delusions & The Madness of Crowds




Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go Like mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.

*****

We find that whole communities suddenly fix their minds upon one 
Like object, and go mad in its pursuit; that millions of people become simultaneously impressed with one delusion, and run after it, till their attention is caught by some new folly more captivating than the first.

*****

During seasons of great pestilence men have often believed the 
Like prophecies of crazed fanatics, that the end of the world was come.

*****

Credulity is always greatest in times of calamity. Prophecies of all sorts are rife on such occasions, and are readily believed, whether for good or evil. During the great plague, which ravaged all Europe, between the years 1345 and 1350, it was generally considered that the end of the world was at hand.

*****

Thus did they nurse their folly, as the good wife of Tam O’Shanter did 
Like her wrath, “to keep it warm.”

*****

Nations, like individuals, cannot become desperate gamblers with Like impunity. Punishment is sure to overtake them sooner or later.



Annals of Anarchy: 'Crowds & Power' Still Rocks



From Crowds and Power, Elias Canetti (1960) 

It is always the enemy who started it, even if he was not the first to speak out, he was certainly planning it; and if he was not actually planning it, he was thinking of it; and, if he was not thinking of it, he would have thought of it. 

*****

The Crowd is the same everywhere, in all periods and cultures; it remains essentially the same among men of the most diverse origin, education and language. Once in being, it spreads with the utmost violence. Few can resist its contagion; it always wants to go on growing and there are no inherent limits to its growth. It can arise wherever people are together, and its spontaneity and suddenness are uncanny. 

*****

The Crowd, suddenly there where there was nothing before, is a mysterious and universal phenomenon. A few people may have been standing together-five, ten or twelve, not more; nothing has been announced, nothing is expected. Suddenly everywhere is black with people and more come streaming from all sides as though streets had only one direction. Most of them do not know what has happened and, if questioned, have no answer; but they hurry to be there where most other people are. There is a determination in their movement which is quite different from the expression of ordinary curiosity. It seems as though the movement of some of them transmits itself to the others. But that is not all; they have a goal which is there before they can find words for it.  

*****

It is only in a Crowd that man can become free of this fear of being touched. That is the only situation in which the fear changes into its opposite. The Crowd he needs is the dense crowd, in which body is pressed to body; a crowd, too, whose psychical constitution is also dense, or compact, so that he no longer notices who it is that presses against him. As soon as a man has surrendered himself to the crowd, he ceases to fear its touch. Ideally, all are equal there; no distinctions count. Not even that of sex. The man pressed against him is the same as himself. He feels him as he feels himself. Suddenly it is as though everything were happening in one and the same body. 

*****

First there is the lying in wait for prey; the prey is marked down long before it is aware of our designs on it. With feelings of pleasure and approval it is contemplated, observed and kept watch over; it is seen as meat whilst it is still alive, and so intensely and irrevocably seen as meat that nothing can deflect the watcher's determination to get hold of it. Already while he is prowling round it he feels that it belongs to him. From the moment he selects it as his prey, he thinks of it as incorporated into himself. 

*****

A murder shared with many others, which is not only safe and permitted, but indeed recommended, is irresistible to the great majority of men. 




Thursday, April 9, 2020

There Are Dead Rabbis All Over Jersey But The NYT Hasn't Done The Story & Won't Say Why



To: Clifford Levy, Metro Editor NYT
Fr: William McGowan
Date: April 7, 2020
Re: NYT COVID Coverage of Orthodox Jews in Lakewood, NJ

Hi Cliff: I'm a journalist and author in NYC. Wrote Coloring the News and Gray Lady Down, among others.  Contribute to a variety mainstream publications. Doing a freelance piece (either for CJR , WSJ or City Journal) focused on how identity politics has infected mainstream media coverage of Coronavirus. 

Looking at the NYT lack of coverage abt Orthodox Jews in Lakewood NJ and the anti Semitism it has triggered in the form of social media outrage, FB deplatforming and at least one arrest. Five rabbis from Lakewood have died, among more than two dozen rabbis in the Metro area of NY and NJ. Police say enforcing stay-at-home orders are a "daily" challenge. Ambo drivers taking Orthodox Jewish corona victims (I use the term "victims" advisedly) to Philadelphia bc area hospitals are overflowing and local med staff not in the best of moods given the defiant, irresponsible conduct of their Jewish neighbors who just haven't demonstrated that they believe "We're all in this together."  

Questions, for the record:
*Has the ADL put any pressure on you, personally or institutionally, not to report this story in a timely and unbiased manner? If so, who? Oren Siegel? Jonathan Greenblatt?
*Is there a certain ethnocentric anxiety on the part of you or any other Times editors that has fed a reluctance to do what shd be an obvious story in the timely manner it shd be done given the urgency of the crisis and the need for the public to have this kind of information? 
*Has NJ Gov. Phil Murphy's office played any role in this lack of reporting? If so, is this accession to censorship? 
*Has AG Sulzberger had any convos on this with you or other editors in the running to succeed Dean Baquet? 

Pls know, I'm not alleging any kind of conspiracy theory or tropes here, al la the Protocols. Just looking for answers that any journalist worth is salt wd ask in the face of the Times lack of attention here. Other than a story a few weeks ago abt the FDNY busting up a Hasidic wedding in Williamsburg, the only Times person who has gone near this issue is Bari Weiss and she did so only in the most ethnocentric and ethnically defensive manner.  

Thanks. Stay safe.

William (Bill) McGowan

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

It's No Joke: April Will Be 'The Cruellest Month'

The view outside my window in Hell's Kitchen, April 1, 2020 

I. The Burial of the Dead

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.
Summer surprised us, coming over the Starnbergersee
With a shower of rain; we stopped in the colonnade,
And went on in sunlight, into the Hofgarten,
And drank coffee, and talked for an hour.
Bin gar keine Russin, stamm’ aus Litauen, echt deutsch.
And when we were children, staying at the arch-duke’s,
My cousin’s, he took me out on a sled,
And I was frightened. He said, Marie,
Marie, hold on tight. And down we went.
In the mountains, there you feel free.
I read, much of the night, and go south in the winter.

 What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow
Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man,
You cannot say, or guess, for you know only
A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,
And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,
And the dry stone no sound of water. Only
There is shadow under this red rock,
(Come in under the shadow of this red rock),
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
                      Frisch weht der Wind
                      Der Heimat zu
                      Mein Irisch Kind,
                      Wo weilest du?
“You gave me hyacinths first a year ago;
“They called me the hyacinth girl.”
—Yet when we came back, late, from the Hyacinth garden,
Your arms full, and your hair wet, I could not
Speak, and my eyes failed, I was neither
Living nor dead, and I knew nothing,
Looking into the heart of light, the silence.
Oed’ und leer das Meer.

Madame Sosostris, famous clairvoyante,
Had a bad cold, nevertheless
Is known to be the wisest woman in Europe,
With a wicked pack of cards. Here, said she,
Is your card, the drowned Phoenician Sailor,
(Those are pearls that were his eyes. Look!)
Here is Belladonna, the Lady of the Rocks,
The lady of situations.
Here is the man with three staves, and here the Wheel,
And here is the one-eyed merchant, and this card,
Which is blank, is something he carries on his back,
Which I am forbidden to see. I do not find
The Hanged Man. Fear death by water.
I see crowds of people, walking round in a ring.
Thank you. If you see dear Mrs. Equitone,
Tell her I bring the horoscope myself:
One must be so careful these days.

Unreal City,
Under the brown fog of a winter dawn,
A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many,
I had not thought death had undone so many.
Sighs, short and infrequent, were exhaled,
And each man fixed his eyes before his feet.
Flowed up the hill and down King William Street,
To where Saint Mary Woolnoth kept the hours
With a dead sound on the final stroke of nine.
There I saw one I knew, and stopped him, crying: “Stetson!
“You who were with me in the ships at Mylae!
“That corpse you planted last year in your garden,
“Has it begun to sprout? Will it bloom this year?
“Or has the sudden frost disturbed its bed?
“Oh keep the Dog far hence, that’s friend to men,
“Or with his nails he’ll dig it up again!
“You! hypocrite lecteur!—mon semblable,—mon frère!”

---TS Eliot, The Wasteland

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Black Lies Matter: Jussie Smollet, Redux


NPR: 
A case that caused consternation and controversy in Chicago last year is entering a fresh chapter. On Tuesday afternoon, Jussie Smollett, a now-former actor on the show Empire, was again indicted by a grand jury in Cook County, Ill., for filing false police reports that he had been the victim of a hate crime near his home in January 2019.
This is the second time Smollett has been indicted for filing a false police report. Last March 7, a grand jury returned a 16-count indictment. But less than a month later, the Cook County State's Attorney Office dropped all charges against Smollett, a decision that ignited heated disagreement in Chicago and beyond. 
A press release issued Tuesday by the special prosecutor, Dan Webb, said that he had concluded that further prosecution of Jussie Smollett is ''in the interest of justice."