As part of the settlement of a case filed by the nonprofit group Speech First, the University of Texas has agreed to dismantle the oppressive “Campus Climate Response Team,” which, among other things, encouraged students to inform on teachers and on other students who expressed opinions that offended them. Afterward, Texas Governor Greg Abbot tweeted that “Political correctness is being ended at the University of Texas at Austin. UT agreed to disband its absurd PC police and end policies that suppress speech on campus.” That’s a little too optimistic, but even so this is very good news. Apparently it has gone international; read on.
From a highly informed reader in the People’s Republic of China:
Dear Professor, Happy New Year! Greg Abbott said that political correctness was being ended at UT. It reminds me that you ironized the PC placard in your blog post at spring 2018. Could you permit me translate this article and post on my social media? God bless you, God bless America.
I would be very glad for you to translate the article and post it in your social media. In my country, we have a saying: “You like to live dangerously.” God bless you, your family, and all the Chinese people.
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Since it’s still relevant, here’s the blog post my reader translated:
In the Year of Our Lord nineteen-seventy, I graduated from high school and matriculated in paradise.
Or so it seemed for a while, because every second person at my university fancied himself a socialist, just like me.
Maybe not just like me. It was confusing, because there seemed to be so many different kinds of socialists: The SWP, the IS, the YPSL, the SDS, even a few sure-enough Maoists, peddling their newspapers and trying to look like industrial workers.
Each kind of radicalism had its own buttons. That was confusing too. One popular button demanded “Free Huey.” What was Huey? Was it slang for marijuana, like “Mary Jane”? I’d met some people at an antiwar march who thought the government should provide free marijuana. It took a long time to figure out that Huey was a who, not a what.
In fact it was difficult to get people to explain anything. I tried asking a fellow in my dormitory who was sporting an IS button how the beliefs of his International Socialists were different from those of all the other organizations. He didn’t understand me. I rephrased the question. He still didn’t. I tried again. A light came into his eyes. Faster than I could take them in, he shot off three or four slogans, like bullets.
The only one I still remember is “All power to the people’s soviets.”
Never mind that there weren’t any people’s soviets.
It was heresy, I know, but I couldn’t help thinking of Party members using Newspeak in George Orwell’s 1984. Newspeak, you remember, was a compressed version of English, developed by the State to make critical thought impossible. In the Orwellian world, people who could chatter it swiftly and proficiently were called “doubleplusgood ducktalkers” because they sounded like more like ducks than like people.
I thought of that fellow again the other day as I was talking a walk through my neighborhood. Buttons are out among students, but yard signs are in among hipsters. This one has been sprouting like mushrooms:
IN THIS HOUSE, WE BELIEVE:
BLACK LIVES MATTER
WOMEN’S RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS
NO HUMAN IS ILLEGAL
SCIENCE IS REAL
LOVE IS LOVE
KINDNESS IS EVERYTHING
Having matriculated, as I said, in the Newspeak world, I humbly attempt to translate these sentiments into English.
Black lives matter. What this doesn’t mean: That black lives matter. Of course they do. What it does mean: That if you don’t think rioting is a good way to protect black lives, you’re a racist who thinks they don’t matter.
Women’s rights are human rights. What this doesn’t mean: That women are human. Of course they are. What it does mean: That unborn children aren’t, and if you think they are, you must think women aren’t.
No human is illegal. What this doesn’t mean: That it should never be illegal to exist. Of course it shouldn’t. What it does mean: That if you think any form of border control is allowable, your view is tantamount to genocide.
Science is real. What this doesn’t mean: That well-conducted science can discover some things about the real world. Of course it can. What it does mean: That ideologically influenced science should be accepted without question, so if you ask for better evidence, you’re opposing science itself.
Love is love. What this doesn’t mean: That love should be respected. Of course it should. What it does mean: Everything motivated by sex is good, and if you have any reservations about that, you’re against love.
Kindness is everything. What this doesn’t mean: That we ought to practice the virtue of kindness. What it does mean: That if you don’t agree with all of the preceding slogans, you must be full of hate.
After six months promoting the Myth of the Good Riot, today the Left is scandalized that violence might be used to promote a political cause.
For half a year Progressives have praised, egged on, donated money to, and made excuses for far left hooligans, anarchists, and con men who trash businesses, destroy historical monuments, seize entire downtown districts, fight policemen, burn down police stations, threaten bystanders with automatic weapons, and even prevent the movement of ambulances to help the stricken. All their harsh words have been saved for the other side – those racist bigots. Now they are shocked that some of their far-right cousins have taken a page from the same bloodstained book.
What did they expect?
Yesterday’s violence in the Capitol appalls every decent person. The violence in hundreds of cities over these months past also appalled every decent person. Whoever was not appalled then, whoever is not appalled now, is not decent. Harsh and unequivocal condemnation, swift and severe punishment, should be meted out to perpetrators of mayhem whatever their ideology, however they may wrap their rampages in the garments of justice.
There are no good riots. There are no virtuous mobs.
The Georgia senatorial runoff election is today. Every living soul there should vote. The dead surely will.
I posted the following item in July, when the “fact checkers” were telling us how honest the coming election would be and how ridiculous it was to have any doubts about massive rule changes such as drastically expanded mail-in voting. As we now know, what happened on November 3rd was worse than even skeptics like me expected.
Of course now the fact-checkers are saying that’s not true either. “You say you actually saw the fraud happening on video? Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?”
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Mail-In Voting Fraud
Posted 25 July 2020
Common sense urges that the easier it is to commit crime and the harder it is to detect it, the more crime will be committed. Against common sense, the “fact-checkers” are out in force, chanting in unison that very little fraud is associated with mail-in voting.
How would we know? The same things that make such fraud easy to commit also make it difficult to discover.
Studies claiming that there is very little mail-in voting fraud actually find nothing of the kind; what they tend to find is that very few discovered errors in vote counts can be proven to have resulted from voter impersonation.
If you are trying to mess with an election, the idea is not to be discovered.
Besides, voter impersonation is not the only form of fraud; for example one can “lose” ballots.
Wait until mail-in voting becomes universal. Then watch crooked party activists pull out the stops.
Moral: Always prefer common sense to a "fact check" with flawed assumptions.
The divisions of time are arranged so that we may have a start or shock at each reopening of the question. The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose; new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes. It is that we should look out instantaneously on an impossible earth; that we should think it very odd that grass should be green instead of being reasonably purple; that we should think it almost unintelligible that a lot of straight trees should grow out of the round world instead of a lot of round world growing out of the straight trees. The object of the cold and hard definitions of time is almost exactly the same as those of the cold and hard definitions of theology; it is to wake people up. Unless a particular man made New Year resolutions, he would make no resolutions. Unless a man starts afresh about things, he will certainly do nothing effective. Unless a man starts on the strange assumption that he has never existed before, it is quite certain that he will never exist afterwards. Unless a man be born again, he shall by no means enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.
Of such dramatic renascences New Year's Day is the great example. Doubtless this division of time can be described as an artificiality; but doubtless also it can be described more correctly, as a great artificial thing ought always to be described--that is, as one of the great masterpieces of man. Man has, as I have urged in the case of religion, perceived with a tolerable accuracy his own needs. He has seen that we tend to tire of the most eternal splendors, and that a mark on our calendar, or a crash of bells at midnight maybe, reminds us that we have only recently been created. Let us make New Year resolutions, but not only resolutions to be good. Also resolutions to notice that we have feet, and thank them (with a courtly bow) for carrying us.
-- G.K. Chesterton, from a column in the Daily News, reprinted in Lunacy and Letters.
In adoring the birth of our Saviour, we find we are celebrating the commencement of our own life. For the birth of Christ is the source of life for Christian folk, and the birthday of the Head is the birthday of the body.
Although every individual that is called has his own order, and all the sons of the Church are separated from one another by intervals of time, yet -- as the entire body of the faithful being born in the font of baptism is crucified with Christ in His passion, raised again in His resurrection, and placed at the Father's right hand in His ascension -- so with Him are they born in this nativity. ...
For unless He came down to us in this humiliation, no one would reach His presence by any merits of his own.
-- St. Leo the Great, Nativity Sermon 6.
Before getting to the real business of today’s post, I’d like to announce that an interview with me about “Thomas Aquinas on Prudence and Other Virtues (That We Seem to Have Lost)” is now available on my Talks Page. The interview was conducted by the Austin Institute, an excellent organization that does a lot of things, including the podcast series of which this interview is part. If you’d like to know more about Thomas Aquinas’s wisdom about the virtues, take a look at my Commentary on Thomas Aquinas’s Virtue Ethics.
Whew! Now to our real subject. Although this isn’t a baking website, one of the most popular posts ever to appear on this blog was a holiday baking tip from my superbly talented wife. It was a way to dip cookies in chocolate without having to make a ganache to keep the coating from running. To continue the holiday treats tradition, here a tip for making better cream cheese frosting.
When making it, just add 1/4 cup of powdered buttermilk to whatever cream cheese frosting recipe you ordinarily use. My wife likes to give credit: She got the idea from America’s Test Kitchen. For the powdered buttermilk, she uses Saco brand cultured buttermilk blend, which will be on the baking shelf of your local grocery store, but there must be other brands.
Frosting made with the addition of powdered buttermilk has a lovely consistency, and for some reason, even though the quantity of sugar isn’t changed, making it this way cuts its usual teeth-hurting sweetness. I like that, because most frostings are too sweet for me.
Cream cheese frosting is used on lots of cakes, including carrot cake, Italian cream cake, and the contemporary version of red velvet cake -- although the classical frosting for red velvet cake isn’t cream cheese frosting, but ermine frosting (also known as heritage frosting), which, for red velvet cake, is even better. (We think so, anyway.)
There – you got two baking tips for the price of one. And I hope you’ll enjoy the podcast too.