Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Some things we do are weird, wrong, foolish, or just plain dumb

America rose to world prominence because of its unique constitutional structure and allegiance to personal freedom. Over recent decades we have watched as those traditional values that evolved out of that unique national structure have gradually been pushed aside. Over the last ten or so years, that devolution has had its accelerator pedal pushed to the floor.

Where once the goal was for everyone to – as the U.S. Army still says – “Be all you can be,” the value of being really good at something is being replaced with the attitude that every time someone wins at something, like a race or being valedictorian of their class, everyone else is a loser, and by golly here in America, that just ain’t fair. That has morphed into the attitude that every social group – based on gender, race, etc. – must be equally represented in every conceivable area of life.

This “identity politics” has already essentially taken over the humanities and social sciences at the college level, says Heather Mac Donald, Manhattan Institute senior fellow. She now says that identity politics waits in the wings, plotting a similar movement in the STEM fields: science, technology, engineering, and math.

For the identity politicians, it is less important that your doctor, lab researcher, building engineer, IT specialist, etc., is highly qualified and truly capable than if his or her sub-group is properly represented within the given field.

Following this line of reasoning to its illogical conclusion, professional sports are in for dramatic identity improvement.

Currently, the racial breakdown percentages of three major sports are: Major League Baseball: white – 60; Hispanic – 29; black – 8; Asian – 3. The National Football League: black – 66; white – 29; Asian – 2; Hispanic – 1. The National Basketball Association: black - 76; white – 20; Hispanic – 3; Asian – 1.

This racial imbalance where such disparity exists – especially for Asians – must not be allowed to stand. This discrimination is un-American.

But this mania is not about athletic diversity imbalance alone; it is about virtually every area of life, soon to include science, technology, engineering and mathematics. So, when you consult the surgeon who is going to remove a small tumor lodged deep in your brain, how well he or she did in medical classes now is less important than his/her race or gender or other irrelevant factor.

At the rate things are changing in our country, before much longer it may be the case that when you need someone to fill some need, like a doctor, that person will no longer be chosen by you, but will be selected for you based not upon your preference or someone’s capabilities, but upon some identity data the goal of which is to make sure all participants receive the same amount of work.

How many of us truly believe this is beneficial?

Then, there’s the case of Paul Manafort, who worked as then-candidate Donald Trump’s campaign chairman for about seven weeks in 2016. He was targeted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation seeking to find if there was wrongdoing by those in the campaign. Manafort was reported to be cooperating with the investigation.

Early one morning before daylight, and before Manafort’s family had awakened, the FBI conducted an armed raid and broke into his home, no doubt a frightening event for the Manaforts, and seized personal materials.

What was Manafort suspected of having done justifying such a potentially dangerous event?  When people break into a home, someone often gets shot. If the police break in, they could be shot as well as the occupants, who merely defended themselves.

This raid seems an unnecessary activity by law enforcement, breaking into the home of a cooperative witness who likely would have willingly provided the materials they sought, if only they had the courtesy to ask for them. What was so important about Manafort’s involvement in the campaign that warranted a SWAT-type attack on his home?

The answer: Nothing. Manafort has not been accused of any wrongdoing during the campaign, but was indicted for a crime he allegedly committed several years before, unrelated to the campaign. He has been awaiting trial on house arrest.

And now, Manafort has been charged with witness tampering, reportedly after a 90-second phone call with a prospective witness. Mueller petitioned a federal judge to revoke Manafort’s bail posted for the earlier charges, which the judge did, ordering him to jail.

So Manafort, who has not been charged for any supposed wrongdoing in the campaign, has now been ordered to jail, not for being found guilty of any crimes or confessing to a crime, but is now in jail after merely being charged with a new crime.

In America, you are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty. Not anymore, at least if you are Paul Manafort. Onboard a fishing boat as eccentric as the special counsel’s vessel, scalps are a big deal; any scalps. A scalp is a scalp, after all.

Political interests now often take precedence over everything else. And our social and cultural stability are weaker today than at any previous time in decades, and perhaps in our history. The country is indeed at a crisis point.

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