Progressive Ideology’s Anti-Semitic Core (Edward Halper, 5/22/24, Law & Liberty)

Justifying Germany’s treatment of the Jews, Hitler had pointed to America’s treatment of blacks. I don’t think that it was accidental that the civil rights movement in the US took off after the war. Americans had seen the ultimate consequences of extreme racism, and they were revolted. The promise of American democracy needed to be extended to all, and Jews were on the front lines of the 1960s civil rights marches. For various reasons, relations between blacks and Jews soured in subsequent decades, but Jews remained a reliable voice for civil rights, anti-poverty legislation, and progressive politics, and the horror of the Holocaust kept anti-Semitism at bay for more than a half a century after World War II.

It was, therefore, a shock to Jews to find themselves not just excluded by current “progressives” but villainized. After the 2018 Women’s March, three principal organizers met with Louis Farrakhan. They not only refused to condemn his anti-Semitism but forced out a prominent Jewish activist from the leadership and excluded Jewish groups from participation. Today, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib never tires of declaring that anyone who supports Israel cannot be progressive. Those who are progressives support encampments that threaten students supporting Israel, and they tolerate or, indeed, perpetrate violence against Jews at elite universities. Is this anti-Semitism among progressives an unfortunate, but superficial mistake in their war against oppression, or is it more deeply rooted? Could it be as inseparable from the current progressive ideologies as Nazi anti-Semitism was from Nazi ideology?

The ideologies that now delimit progressivism are relatively recent. They are espoused by academics and taught at universities, and they stand behind current efforts at “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.” I do not think any of these ideologies really deserves to be called “progressive.” They are inimical to the goal that has traditionally defined progressivism: a society without discrimination that provides ample opportunities for all to fulfill their human potential.

If you’ve met one Identitarian you’ve met them all.


New report reveals historic milestone as Portugal meets 95% of its electricity needs with clean energy (Ella Hutcherson, May 30, 2024, The Cool Down)

In April 2024, 95% of Portugal’s electricity came from renewable sources, making it a clean energy leader in Europe and for the rest of the world.

Per Euronews Green, this inspiring statistic is just one victory within an overall “continental shift” — in April, “fossil fuels provided less than a quarter of the EU’s energy for the first time ever.”

That was easy.


The History of Economics Embedded in English (Michael Ferber May 28, 2024, In Depth NH)

Let’s start with “economics” itself. When I was in school the girls all took “Home Economics.” That phrase struck me as odd at the time, and I explained it to myself as a set of skills for managing a home “economically” or frugally. I only learned much later that the phrase hearkened to oldest use of “economics,” which comes from a Greek word, oikonomia, which meant “management of the household.” In Homer the oikos is the entire estate or establishment, not just the house: buildings, family, clients, servants, slaves, animals, croplands, and pastures. In 18th-century English the sense of domestic management remained in use: one could still speak of a “private economy” or “an economy too sumptuous for one’s means.” In the 19th century John Ruskin, evoking the etymology to show how “economics” had drifted from its real purpose, wrote, “All true economy is ‘Law of the house’.” The phrase “political economy” appeared in the 18th century and since then the default sense of “economy” has come to be the organization of national or international goods and services, and “domestic” in this context now means “national.” So the girls in their Home Ec classes were going back to the root of the matter.

Several common words began as names of physical objects and then grew more abstract, a frequent semantic path for words of many kinds.  A “bank” was originally a “bench” (from the same root) on which money and ledgers were laid during a transaction.  A “budget” was originally a “pouch or bag,” from French bougette, from Latin bulga, meaning “leather sack.”  The Oxford English Dictionary reports that “The Chancellor of the Exchequer, in presenting his annual statement, was formerly said to open the budget.”  “Fiscal” comes from Latin fiscus, originally “basket,” then “purse,” then “state treasury.”  “Salary” derives from Latin salarium, or “money paid to Roman soldiers for the purchase of salt”; “salt” is sal.  It’s fun to imagine the primitive economy as carried out by opening bags or baskets on a bench and exchanging what is in them for salt.

As for “exchequer,” though we seldom use the word in America, it is related to “checkers” and “chess.”  The Old French word eschequier (“chess board),” named for the table cloth divided into squares (like “checkerboard” cloths today) with counters used for calculating sums, was used in the treasury or revenue office of the Norman kings of England.  “Chess,” by the way, is really the plural of “check,” which is what you say when you threaten your opponent’s king, because “check” actually means “king.”  It comes from the Persian word shah.  (The chesspiece “rook” is also Persian.)  “Checkmate” is shah mat, “the king is dead.”  But I digress.


In Texas border town, locals say military forces, not migrants, are invading (ARNIE ALPERT, 5/27/24, In Depth NH)

The following day I drove with another photojournalist to the site of Camp Eagle, an 80-acre military base under construction on the outskirts of Eagle Pass. A man from a company that rents construction equipment directed us to a white trailer, where I met Chuck Downie of Team Housing Solutions. After telling me about his family’s place on Moultonborough Neck, Downie told us we could not be there without permission from the Texas Military Department. One of his colleagues escorted us from the property.

We were also escorted by a Border Patrol agent from a farm adjacent to the Rio Grande where we were photographing fan boats and the buoys which Gov. Abbott had installed as a river barricade. For the record, I thought we had permission to be there.

“If there’s an invasion, it’s from the military,” says Jessie Fuentes, a retired communications professor who runs a canoe and kayak rental business. “There’s more military in our community than there are migrants, thousands and thousands of military from 13 different states.”

“How would you feel if all of a sudden, your community was locked up with soldiers and you couldn’t go into your favorite park? Because it has concertina wire around it or shipping containers or armed guards or you can’t access your own river and your green space?” asked Fuentes, a member of the Eagle Pass Border Coalition, a grassroots organization. “So yeah, the only invasion we got here is from the military and the Texas governor.”

Texas has already spent more than $11 billion on Lone Star, and that money’s going somewhere. Camp Eagle is being built by Team Housing, which has a $117 million contract. Storm Services LLC has its logo on Camp Charlie, located next to Maverick County Airport, where Texas National Guard members are based. Camp Alpha, where the NH Guard members are staying, is according to tax records owned by Basecamp Solutions LLC. An article in a Del Rio paper from the time the property was purchased, though, said the owner was Team Housing. Both LLCs are owned by Mandy Cavanaugh, from New Braunfels, so maybe it doesn’t matter.

The local immigrant detention prison is owned by the GEO Group, which according to a February 20 Newsweek article “reported one of its most profitable years amid the growing demand for immigration detention facilities.” GEO operates 11 facilities in Texas.

The $11B doesn’t count the money being spent by other states to send troops to Texas. Missouri has just approved $2.2 million for a deployment. Louisiana is sending its third rotation of soldiers. There’s “a lot of money being spent,” said Steve Fischer, who I met while he was walking his dog near the gated and guarded entrance to Shelby Park.

Fischer, who has served as a county attorney and owns a home 2000 feet from the Mexican border in El Paso, came to Eagle Pass to run a public defender program representing people charged with crimes under Operation Lone Star.

When I told him about Gov. Sununu getting $850,000 for the two-month New Hampshire deployment, Fischer said, “He’s wasting that money.”

As of two weeks ago, Fischer said, “Lone Star has not gotten one single fentanyl case.” All Lone Star is doing, he said, is charging people with felonies for driving undocumented immigrants to work sites.

Amrutha Jindal, who runs the larger Lone Star Defenders office, confirmed that most of the Lone Star felony charges are for people pulled over for driving undocumented migrants. There are very few drug cases, she said. Most arrests are for criminal trespass, including many cases where migrants seeking asylum were misdirected by law enforcement officers onto property where they could be arrested.

Jindal said migrants who post bonds to be released from jail and are then deported forfeit the funds, as much as $3000, when they are unable to appear in court for hearings because they are barred from re-entry into the United States. The money, presumably, is kept by the counties.

Most migrants “want to seek asylum,” Jindal said. “They’re not trying to sneak into the country. They’re being lied to by state law enforcement.”

Fischer thinks people who are willing to go through hell to get here and willing to work hard should be able to. “Let them come if there’s a job for them,” he told me.


What Are Elections For? (Albert Jay Nock, Winter 1933, Virginia Quarterly Review)

In view of the country’s situation, the sum total of the issues, as the papers presented them, was not impressive, and the sum total of the candidates did not look promising. Reports of the conventions brought to mind the mediaeval saying, “The devil began to shear a hog, and exclaimed, ‘Great cry and little wool!’” I wondered whether the results were worth the fuss, and above all, whether they were worth the price; and thus by easy stages I got around to wondering why, exactly, we have elections. What is an election for?

It is no easy question to answer—let the reader try it. The conventional and handsome thing to say is that an election is to register the will of the people; but this will hardly do, because in practice the scope set for the exercise of the people’s will is so extremely small. I do not recall any national election at which the will of the people was exercised in any really significant way, or had the chance to be so exercised, either in respect of candidates or of issues. I can not make out that the will of the people had much influence upon the conduct of the two conventions at Chicago, or upon the selection of Mr. Hoover and Mr. Roosevelt as candidates. On the contrary, all this procedure seemed to me singularly well cut and dried. Perhaps it must always be so; perhaps our system gives the closest approximation to the will of the people that can be had. Still, it is not close enough to exclude doubt, or even to exclude suspicion.

Another reason, not so creditable, for having elections, appears in the fact that there is money in politics, that practical politics is a gainful occupation. As the foregoing may be called the conventional or popular reason, so this may be called the politician’s reason. In this view, an election is to decide whether one set of people or another should draw salaries, enjoy perquisites and prestige, distribute patronage, and put themselves in the way of getting graft. But one hesitates about accepting the idea that this is all there is to an election, though the sight of what actually goes on might make one think so. One feels that politics, at least in theory, should have some sort of bearing on the general welfare, and that elections exist for other purposes than those to which professional politicians, jobholders, jobseekers, and grafters put them.

Thus finding the conventional view and the politician’s view alike unsatisfactory, I thought I would take the matter higher up and see whether statesmen had anything to say about it. I was curious to find out, if I could, whether it had ever occurred to any statesman to ask himself the plain question, What do we have elections for? and if so, how he answered it. Having decided to go higher up, I thought I might as well go as high as I could to begin with and work downward if necessary, so I went at once to the greatest of all British statesmen.

Edmund Burke earned this title because he was never content to rest on the surface of any public question. Regardless of consequences, he always struck straight through to “the reason of the thing,” das Ding an sich, saw it clearly, never lost sight of it for a moment, and by his power of exposition enabled other people to see it. Just this, too, we may remark in passing, was what made Mr. Jefferson the greatest of all American statesmen. Burke was a notoriously unsuccessful politician; he had as little influence on the actual direction of development in England—the more is the pity!—as Mr. Jefferson had in America. But in their clear vision of how the course of affairs ought to go, and why it ought to go that way, both men were among the high elect of statesmanship, and we have not seen another like them in either country since.

So it struck me that if my question had occurred to any statesman it would have occurred to Burke; and, sure enough, I found it had. His answer to it, moreover, was so extraordinary, so utterly unlike what we would expect any one to say, that I venture to italicize it. In a letter to the Duke of Richmond, Burke observes that his political associates are all very keen on matters of routine, keen on pushing measures, keen on winning elections, but not at all keen “on that which is the end and object of all elections, namely: the disposing our people to a better sense of their condition.”

Late last summer I met an old friend who has all his life been prominent in national politics, though except for one term in the Cabinet, I think he has never held any office. When I saw him, he was sad and discouraged over the unspeakable degradation of our public affairs. He told me he had heard of a good many lifelong Republicans, men prominent in business, who were so disgusted with the Hoover administration that they were going to vote for Roosevelt. I said that this seemed very little to do, for as long as the campaign was conducted on such a low plane, it mattered little which side won. At best, as John Adams said, “the struggle will end only in a change of impostors.” Why not do something that might have a chance of counting?