Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Culturism, Affirmative Action, Marxism and Sotomayor

The Supreme Court overruled a decision by President Obama’s choice for that Court, Sonia Sotomayor. To get a promotion as a firefighter in New Haven Connecticut, you must pass a test. In one round of testing few Hispanics and no African Americans passed. As New Haven was afraid of a Federal lawsuit, they tore up the test results. White applicants sued. Sotomayer ruled against them.

The Court decided on the grounds of whether or not potential discrimination against one group amounted to actual discrimination against another. This 5 – 4 decision was a blow against Affirmative Action. And thus, liberals contended, knocks the legs out from the Civic Rights Act. Is this racial discrimination or not? Unfortunately, none considered the possibility that it might be culturist discrimination.

Culturism notes that some cultures study more. Thus some cultures have higher literacy rates. Thus some groups do better in school. Affirmative Action assumes that cultural differences do not exist and, therefore, all distinctions in academic and economic achievement are irrational and due to race. Using this logic America is unfair and racist. Social justice chants echo these sentiments. These lead to lawsuits, resentment, racial discord and – most importantly, no incentive for African – Americans to study harder. Taking a culturist view that black applicants need to study harder, would serve all concerned better.

Liberals claim that the tests are culturally biased. I am not familiar with the details of the test, but it seems that knowledge concerning fire-fighting procedures would likely be fairly objective. If ebonics versus standard English were the issue, black people should take this as proof that they need to master standard English. To expect China, the international business community and the majority of Americans to write tests in ebonics is silly. Refusal to acknowledge this fact does not provide a way forward. If pandered to, ebonics can only lead to ghetto-ization.

Marxism uses the same culturally neutral logic as Affirmative Action. In assuming that all differences in achievement are due to unreasonable bias, it also undermines values. Rather than hard work, anger at injustice becomes the way forward. It also undermines motivation. In the USSR the failure to understand human nature cost tens of millions of lives. In America it seeks to create equality from the bench rather than individual effort. The laziness of the human who has been given excuses undermined the USSR. Freedom leads to disparity. If we crush initiative in the name of equality we may follow the direction of the USSR.

In failing to consider the impact of cultural diversity, Sotomayer and her potential colleagues on the Court become dangerous. Following their logic, they will not stop blaming America until all people achieve at equal rates. As this culturally neutral outcome is impossible, such a stance can only lead to permanent discontent, resentment, and grievance. If Asians are beating whites in college admissions, or whites are beating blacks in passing fire-fighting tests, the answer is personal or cultural responsibility. Those groups need to study harder. This is the way to productivity. Equal opportunity does not lead to equal outcome. Culture is important. Replacing the lefts constant reliance on racist and Marxist thought with culturist thought is vital.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Michael Jackson, Super Culturist

Michael Jackson’s passing has changed our world forever. He took all of the insanity of the world - the phony, the commercial - and distilled it. He strove to embody our nation’s, nay our world’s, sense of beauty. He personified all the trash that we swallow daily and gave us a target to mock. Now that he has gone, we are alone, profoundly alone.

The world no longer has hope. Around the world, the one thing all humans shared was a love for Michael. He was popular in Korea, Nigeria and India. Now that he is gone, nothing positive can unite us. The world is forever splintered. If the people of Iran wanted us to understand them, they’d suspend the protests for a day in honor of Michael. As it is there is no hope of world unity now. In despair, I keep expecting him to reappear in the sky as our redeemer. This is existentialism.

Farrah Fawcett died of anal cancer. Flesh destroyed her. Michael transcended flesh. He incarnated and morphed into a surreal sense of beauty. Farrah, God bless her, was an icon that became human. Her tragic downfall brought her down to earth. Michael was an icon that became more of an icon. He was not humanized. Lisa Presley once said, “Michael is an artist. He changes his face for us everyday.” Michael was a great artist. He embodied our dreams. He died for our sins.

Some people will say that his wonderland ranch represented predation. To me, his ranch represented our collective sense of innocence in a violent, sexualized world. It was the silhouette of our existence. We asked for a priest; we basked in his faithfulness to Bubbles. We asked him to not grow up. We looked the other way as he courted Emmanuel Lewis. He gave us our childhood back. He tried to restore our innocence.

The world is in denial. The BBC, CNN, nor MTV will admit just how crappy his post – Jackson Five music was. That would reveal that all of us who drink the cool-aid of pop culture are insane. Michael Jackson was a prophet. He revealed our generation to us as John Lennon had reflected the prior generation. And, so he is gone. We have a big hole where he revenged himself by gouging at our collective hearts. We could laugh at his insanity. But we no longer have anywhere to absorb our tears.

RIP Michael Jackson. RIP Farrah Fawcett.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Wilders Controversy

Western rights exist on a spectrum. It is not a matter of having all of our rights intact or having none at all. Reasonable culturists can disagree as to what the local situation requires. But let's not get polarized over this issue.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Kobe for Culturist MVP!!!

The following is a revised version of a 5/08 post. It is updated and timely!

Kobe Bryant deserves the MVP award from the National Basketball Association for numerous culturist reasons. He also deserves the second annual Culturist of the Year Award. Before writing on this, however, I must confess that I am a HUGE and PROUD lifelong fan of the Los Angeles Lakers. Culturism does not believe in objectivity. Be warned that I have long loved, rooted for and admired Kobe Bryant. That said, there are legitimate and important culturist reasons to celebrate Kobe's being awarded the MVP award.

Kobe's work ethic provides a culturist standard towards which we should all aspire. Kobe answers nearly all questions on bad nights, "We have to work harder, we have failings that we need to address and we have not reached our potential or personal goals." More impressively, Kobe answers questions on winning nights the same way. Kobe's poor personal relationship with Shaq O'Neil led to the dismembering of their three-time championship team. They were winning, but Kobe did not respect Shaq's poor work ethic. If more people consistently valued the work ethic, as Kobe does, we'd be a better nation.

During last year's Olympics, do you remember Kobe - Gate? During the Olympics Kobe repeatedly said what an honor it would be for him to bring the gold to America and how proud he was to represent his country. The media was incensed. An incredulous Chris Collinsworth of NBC interrogated Kobe about this asking "Where does the patriotism come from indie of you? Historically, what is it?" Kobe gave an excellent culturist answer, "It's just our country, it's . . . we believe is the greatest country in the world. It has given us so many great opportunities." After Kobe reiterated that "our country is the best" Collinsworth asked, "Is that the cool thing to do? . . . it seems sort of like a day gone by. Kobe said, "No, it's a cool thing for me to say. I feel great honor about, and I'm not ashamed to say it. I mean, this is a tremendous honor."

People have criticized Kobe for being egotistical. This comes from an expectation of entertainment and clown like behavior in celebrities. Kobe smiles often, but he does not show up at parties and provide scandal. His public persona and answers to questions reflect seriousness. He has been accused of not helping his teammates and hogging the ball. His decisions all have to do with winning. Would you call Michelangelo conceited for not making small talk with the Pope? Was it selfish of Einstein to not teach much? Kobe has had harsh words and criticized teammates who do not work. This reflects his taking his craft seriously. Those who want a populist should not watch competitive endeavors. To call Kobe ungenerous is to misunderstand greatness.

The League has ignored Kobe due to the rape charges in Colorado. Kobe deserves some blame for this. But, our sick society deserves more. The woman who accused him had semen from several men in her underwear when the police came. She sought fame or infamy and did not mind the difference. We know where she got these values. Kobe was found not guilty. Since that time, four years ago, Kobe has been - as far as we can tell - totally dedicated to his wife, children and craft. How many NBA players do interviews with their children on their laps? Where Kobe finishes a game and his interview, in the exit tunnel he kisses his two daughters on the way to the locker room. Very few people daily display the devotion and dedication that Kobe displays. I am glad the league cares about morality. Yet they are long overdue in recognizing that Kobe has long been a role model for hard work, dedication, respect and good morals.

Kobe received a lot of flack for his anger at management a couple years ago. And he made flack about being disloyal to his Lakers. But Kobe has only a limited number of years to dominate and he is competitive. Management was surrounding him with players who were not of his caliber. Kobe is not a socialist. His dedication is to excellence and winning. His pronouncements likely led to management getting off their duffs and trading aggressively. His complaining reflected real reasons for worry and showed leadership that has likely made our playoff success possible. Complacency in the face of mediocrity is not a culturist virtue.

Kobe Bryant deserves the MVP award. All who honor achievement, dedication, the work ethic, excellence, patriotism and competitiveness should congratulate him. Sports provide one of the only mass media areas where we actually still have the joy of seeing people dedicated to craft. Basketball has teams that are small enough to see the results of seriousness in individuals pay off. Actor's success comes via agents, lucky breaks and despite themselves. Interviews with important people do not discuss the work they put in to get that way. When we celebrate Kobe Bryant we celebrate the ethics that have made America a top competitor on the world stage. Kobe Bryant has earned the MVP award. He deserves a great culturist congratulation from all of America. Congratulations to Kobe Bryant, the 2007 - 2008 NBA MVP! I know you are sentimental about your Olympic Gold. Now bring in another Lakers' O' Brian trophy.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Feminism, culturism and group rights

The late Susan Moller Okin was an academic who argued that multiculturalism hurts feminism. This was great. In doing so she largely argued against Will Kymlicka’s arguments for legally protecting minority’s cultural rights such as that to have polygamy. Some of the points Okin makes are useful to culturists in their arguments. And, from a culturist perspective Okin makes some major missteps. But, overall, her pointing out that multiculturalism is bad for women constitutes a significant contribution to culturist literature.

Kymlicka argues that we should protect liberal non-western minority cultures inside the West. Kymlicka supports Sharia law. Astoundingly, for an academic, Okin, notes that no other cultures are as liberal to women as the West. From women’s vantage point, every granting of indigenous rights is a slap in the face of feminism. Okin notes the slippery slope from valuing cultures in education to granting group rights. And she successfully argues the culturist point that Kymlicka and multiculturalists underestimate diversity and the West’s uniqueness.

Kymlicka wants traditional cultures to be able to have separate cultural laws and autonomy within the West. He would, however, still allow violations of individual liberties to still be taken to State courts. This is how he proposes to square western rights with illiberal cultures’ practices. Okin counters that Kymlicka underestimates the division between the private and the public. A culture indeed may not discriminate against a woman’s ability to vote, but much of her oppression takes place in the private sphere. A Muslim girl being pressured to leave 10th grade in order to marry her cousin may not have the wherewithal to go to the majority cultures’ court. If we note that not all rights are public, we understand that public law may not protect the individual rights of women in illiberal subcultures. This will be doubly true if we grant the diverse cultures group rights protections.

Within the debate we hear about girls torn between the demeaning and limiting messages they get at home and the feminist messages at school. Okin implies, but does not state, that feminist teaching could be a great wedge by which to attack multiculturalism. But she wants to use feminism to undermine all cultural restrictions, western and non-western alike. She argues that we need a universal sisterhood to attack multiculturalism. Kymlicka argues for cultural rights due to the uses the psychological benefits of having a “rich and secure cultural structure, with special language and history.” Neither he nor Okin consider using the advanced condition of women in the West as a source of common identity and meaning. This would be the culturist strategy.

Culturism does not advocate basing our actions on the universal ideal of humans liberated from their context in the way that Okin does. She decries Orthodox Jews for typecasting boys and girls. But having studied Jewish history will increase these youths ability to communicate with other westerners. Some subcultures are more compatible with western culture than others. And, more importantly, we live in a particular western culture that has been cultivated for well over two thousand years. We should not strive to release people from our own cultural limits and guidance in the name of universal ideals. The desire to go universal leads to the alienation in the West that feeds multiculturalism. Feminists should not attack the West for having had cultural ideals, they should celebrate feminist history as western and western history as feminist.

Okin has done a great job in attacking the fallacies of multiculturalism and highlighting a how feminist the West is. But her desire to protect refugees of gender discrimination undermines our sovereignty. It fails to recognize how real cultural diversity is. Her idea of universal sisterhood fails to take the viability of illiberal cultures seriously. It also overestimates our viability. If people in other nations want to become more feminist, I welcome it. But in the meantime, we can better protect feminism by celebrating and protecting the West than by undermining our pride and culture by arguing for universal sisterhoods’ war on all cultural structures. But, besides having taken a universalist stance that erodes our group pride and sovereignty, Okin has done a great service by pointing out that multiculturalism can be bad for feminism.