Let’s See What We Missed

A brief comment or two regarding a few stories we overlooked (i.e., happily ignored) during the Christmas holiday here in Limbo:

A Texas public school teacher tried to sell her own eighth-grade female relative to a group of Moroccan men, posting photos of her online and promising the men that the girl was a virgin.

Meanwhile, a popular YouTube channel aimed at children invited a guest to chat about the benefits of abortion, which procedure, the guest explained, is “like a crappy dentist appointment or something.” Yes, that would be a really crappy dentist appointment: “Oh my god, the dentist just killed my baby!”

By the way, few linguistic tricks please my logical heart more than a cleverly placed disjunction. For example, abortion is “like a crappy dentist appointment or something.” That very nicely covers absolutely all bases while simultaneously appearing to be making a firm declaration. Compare these similar uses of the humble disjunctive “or”:

“Donald Trump is the greatest president in the history of the United States or he isn’t.”

“BeyoncĂ© may be accurately described as the most talented entertainer in the world today or as something else.”

Thus: Abortion is “like a crappy dentist appointment or something” — where “something” may include such possibilities as the cold-blooded extinguishing of a human life undertaken for no reason but petty self-interest and superficially-calculated convenience, and very likely to result in a lifetime of self-doubt or self-reproach.

There are more reasons than you can shake a stick at to get any child within your sphere of influence out of public schools, away from the computers and smart phones, and out into nature examining bugs, or sitting in the living room with a classic book. But it never hurts to pile on in the name of a good cause, so why not throw human trafficking and the female Marxist propagandizing of pre-teens over the heads of their parents into the mix?

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the youngest and most ignorant tuft of Marxist dry grass ever to be elected to the United States Congress, is enjoying her moment in the sunlight, playing progressive kingmaker, enforcer of Marxist purity, and chief rabble-rouser against all Democrats over forty years of age, before she has even been seated one week in Congress.

Watching her self-aggrandizing performance, hearing the typical Marxist hatred of all resisters in her voice, and recalling communism’s essential and insatiable appetite for devouring its own past, I have to ask, in all seriousness: Is there any reason to assume that Ocasio-Cortez would not call for the elimination of Nancy Pelosi if she thought she could get away with it?

In fact, assuming she could not get away with it may be underestimating the leftist orthodoxy and/or moral numbness of most of her target audience. (“Target audience” — there’s an appropriate double entendre.) Furthermore, I suspect the progressive elite within the Democratic Party know this — after all, they themselves have helped to foster this moral numbness and leftist orthodoxy — and will therefore take steps to knock the little muckraker down a peg or three before the prairie fire spreads too far. Of course, that is no guarantee that their efforts will succeed.

The Democrats are in for some very “interesting times,” I imagine. Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch.

Speaking of interesting times, China’s most powerful Maoist dictator since Mao himself has officially put the world on notice once again regarding Taiwan.

From the BBC:

Chinese President Xi Jinping has urged the people of Taiwan to accept it “must and will be” reunited with China.

In a speech marking 40 years since the start of improving ties, he reiterated Beijing’s call for peaceful unification on a one-country-two-systems basis.

However, he also warned that China reserved the right to use force….

In his speech on Wednesday, Mr Xi said both sides were part of the same Chinese family and that Taiwanese independence was “an adverse current from history and a dead end”.

Taiwanese people “must understand that independence will only bring hardship,” Mr Xi said, adding Beijing would never tolerate any form of activity promoting Taiwanese independence.

Instead, unification was “an inevitable requirement for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese people”, he argued.

He also stressed that relations with Taiwan were “part of China’s domestic politics” and that “foreign interference is intolerable”.

In short, barring a complete infiltration and subversion of the current Taiwanese regime by Chinese communists, there will be war with Taiwan, and that war will extend to any county that tries to resist Chinese hegemony in the region. Unlike North Korea, China is not a nation of empty rhetoric. It is a nation of century-long plans. Absorbing the entire region as de facto satellite states, while gradually reinstituting the core economic and social restrictions of Maoist communism, is a part of that hundred year plan. The plan is moving ahead very successfully and without significant resistance so far.

This is reason number two hundred forty-seven why electing a cowardly, vain, unprincipled, bloviating ignoramus like Donald Trump was a disastrous act of insanity on America’s part. And no, for the umpteenth time, that does not mean Hillary Clinton would have been better. It means the United States of America, as founded and long-understood, is over. Has anyone truly understood that yet?

As a sad aside on this last item, allow me to relate an anecdote from a normal day in my classroom. Every semester, my university accepts a number of Chinese exchange students, many of whom feel more comfortable studying in English than in Korean, and therefore register for one or more of my classes. It is always a melancholic pleasure for me to teach these students, to give them a hint of something they may never see again, knowing too well — perhaps better than most of them know it — what their spiritual future holds. (Few teaching experiences have felt more “real” for me than making regular eye contact during class with a young Chinese who had the audacity, during a four-month sojourn on “the outside,” to sign up for my lecture on Brave New World.)

Some time back, one of the brightest of this year’s exchange students raised her hand to draw my attention during a class workshop session.

“Professor,” she half-whispered with an intonation full of expectation, “do you think Taiwan belongs to China?”

Knowing what she was obliged to think about the subject, and not understanding where the question was coming from, I answered carefully that while of course China believes so, many people around the world would dispute this claim. Her face took on a mien of stunned perplexity, as though I had just told her many people believed the moon was made of green cheese.

She explained that the reason she was asking was that earlier that day, during a history class, a Korean professor had suggested that world opinion generally sided with Taiwan’s claims of independence. She had been flabbergasted by this news, and was seeking my verification. Of course, she noted, the Taiwanese government objects to the Chinese position; but it had simply never occurred to her that anyone else could dispute it. She was genuinely, innocently shocked to find an educated Korean, or anyone else outside of Taiwan’s government, who did not believe Taiwan was unquestionably China’s rightful territory. In other words, she had never been allowed to hear, let alone contemplate, any other view on the topic.

Her compatriot and classmate chimed in at this point: “They couldn’t survive without China,” student number two said with good-natured exasperation. I was inclined to ask why not, given Taiwan’s healthy economy and international standing; I recognized, however, that she was not offering an argument, but rather mouthing what sounded like a memorized slogan, i.e., an indoctrinated “opinion.”

I was reminded of this little discussion, and the concluding slogan, when I read Xi’s similarly pro forma statement that Taiwan “must understand that independence will bring only hardship.”

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