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Rolex and Timex

walmart

Kevin Williamson writes in National Review, Who Boycotts Walmart

Excerpts:

It is easy to scoff, but I am ready to start taking the social-justice warriors’ insipid rhetoric seriously — as soon as two things happen: First, I want to hear from the Wal-Mart-protesting riffraff a definition of “justice” that is something that does not boil down to “I Get What I Want, Irrespective of Other Concerns.”

Second, I want to turn on the radio and hear Jay-Z boasting about his new Timex.

It is remarkable that Wal-Mart, a company that makes a modest profit margin (typically between 3 percent and 3.5 percent) selling ordinary people ordinary goods at low prices, is the great hate totem for the well-heeled Left, whose best-known celebrity spokesclowns would not be caught so much as downwind from a Supercenter, while at the same time, nobody is out with placards and illiterate slogans and generally risible moral posturing in front of boutiques dealing in Rolex, Prada, Hermès, et al. It’s almost as if there is a motive at work here other than that which is stated by our big-box-bashing friends on the left and their A-list human bullhorns.

If economic “exploitation” means making “obscene profits” — an empty cliché if ever there were one — then Wal-Mart and the oil companies ought to be the good guys; not only do they have relatively low profit margins, but they also support millions of union workers and retirees through stock profits and the payment of dividends into pension funds. By way of comparison, consider that Hermès, the luxury-goods label that is a favorite of well-heeled social-justice warriors of all sorts, makes a profit margin that is typically seven or eight times what Wal-Mart makes, even though, as rapper Lloyd Banks discovered, its $1,300 sneakers may not always be up to the task. If Wal-Mart is the epitome of evil for selling you a Timex at a 3 percent markup, then shouldn’t Rolex be extra-super evil?

 

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Intellectually Medieval

Kirsten Powers

Kirsten Powers

Kirsten Power writes in the USA Today, Liberals’ Dark Ages

Excerpts:

Don’t bother trying to make sense of what beliefs are permitted and which ones will get you strung up in the town square. Our ideological overlords have created a minefield of inconsistency. While criticizing Islam is intolerant, insulting Christianity is sport. Ayaan Hirsi Ali is persona non grata at Brandeis University for attacking the prophet Mohammed. But Richard Dawkins describes the Old Testament God as “a misogynistic … sadomasochistic … malevolent bully” and the mob yawns. Bill Maher calls the same God a “psychotic mass murderer” and there are no boycott demands of the high-profile liberals who traffic his HBO show.

The self-serving capriciousness is crazy. In March, University of California-Santa Barbara women’s studies professor Mireille Miller-Young attacked a 16-year-old holding an anti-abortion sign in the campus’ “free speech zone” (formerly known as America). Though she was charged with theft, battery and vandalism, Miller-Young remains unrepentant and still has her job. But Mozilla’s Brendan Eich gave a private donation to an anti-gay marriage initiative six years ago and was ordered to recant his beliefs. When he wouldn’t, he was forced to resign from the company he helped found.

Got that? A college educator with the right opinions can attack a high school student and keep her job. A corporate executive with the wrong opinions loses his for making a campaign donation. Something is very wrong here.

HKO

The dangers of the politically correct gone amuck. It is a weak intellect that is so afraid of debate and dissent, that it must be silenced.  It is medieval.

On a further note on this topic:

CLIMATE SCIENCE DEFECTOR FORCED TO RESIGN BY ALARMIST ‘FATWA’

I have been put under such an enormous group pressure in recent days from all over the world that has become virtually unbearable to me. If this is going to continue I will be unable to conduct my normal work and will even start to worry about my health and safety. I see therefore no other way out therefore than resigning from GWPF. I had not expecting such an enormous world-wide pressure put at me from a community that I have been close to all my active life. Colleagues are withdrawing their support, other colleagues are withdrawing from joint authorship etc. I see no limit and end to what will happen.

It is a situation that reminds me about the time of McCarthy. I would never have expecting anything similar in such an original peaceful community as meteorology. Apparently it has been transformed in recent years. Under these situation I will be unable to contribute positively to the work of GWPF and consequently therefore I believe it is the best for me to reverse my decision to join its Board at the earliest possible time.

 

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The Cycle of Corruption

From Daniel Greenfield’s excellent blog, Sultan Knish, The Inequality of Access:

Excerpts:

Campaigns against income inequality invariably become mandates for corruption as aggrieved voters convinced that the system is rigged against them embrace the unfair advantage that they believe they are owed and politicians who pocket nine tenths of the take and leave the crumbs for their supporters escape accountability from their own corrupt voters because every crime they commit is officially for the benefit of the underclass.

The cycle of corruption follows its own inevitable momentum. The more people come to believe that a system is corrupt, the fewer will vote for honest politicians over the crooks who promise them special benefits. Everyone becomes cynical and complicit in the corruption. Politicians play divide and conquer, redistributing wealth from some groups to other groups. Trust vanishes from government and financial institutions. Everyone suspects everyone else… and everyone steals.

That is the formula for a failed nation, a failed city and a failed community. That is as true of the United States as it is of Russia, Cuba or Nigeria.

HKO

Corruption is the elephant in the room than neither party addresses.  Undermining our institutions goes beyond the convicted felons in office.The concentration of wealth in the DC areas should give any true liberal pause.

More on this from Kevin Williamson  A Deeper Naganism

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Dr. Dre and Inequality

dre

Dr. Dre (stage name for Andre Young) has hit the jackpot. From very modest beginning in Compton, California to success as a rap star to entrepreneur in the development of Beats headphones, he has discovered a market niche- high end headphones for the lower end urban market- and is about to cash in big time in a sale to Apple making him a multi billionaire.

Kudos to a man who is living the American dream.  He should be cheered, not envied, for his success.

But the statistics that measure the growth in income inequality will not show less inequality as a result of the rise of Dr. Dre, but more; because our measurements of inequality omits the most important measurement of inequality- mobility.

As an individual Dr. Dre displays the powerful effect of income mobility, but as a statistic he is just a number that widens the wealth gap.

Which leaves the question, ‘Is the widening gap such a terrible thing?’

It certainly isn’t for Andre Young.

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Inconvenient Social Realities

Robert Marano and Michael Crouch write in the Wall Street Journal -Ignoring an Inequality Culprit: Single-Parent Families

Excerpts:

The two-parent family has declined rapidly in recent decades. In 1960, more than 76% of African-Americans and nearly 97% of whites were born to married couples. Today the percentage is 30% for blacks and 70% for whites. The out-of-wedlock birthrate for Hispanics surpassed 50% in 2006. This trend, coupled with high divorce rates, means that roughly 25% of American children now live in single-parent homes, twice the percentage in Europe (12%). Roughly a third of American children live apart from their fathers.

Does it matter? Yes, it does. From economist Susan Mayer’s 1997 book “What Money Can’t Buy” to Charles Murray’s “Coming Apart” in 2012, clear-eyed studies of the modern family affirm the conventional wisdom that two parents work better than one.

“Americans have always thought that growing up with only one parent is bad for children,” Ms. Mayer wrote. “The rapid spread of single-parent families over the past generation does not seem to have altered this consensus much.

More than 20% of children in single-parent families live in poverty long-term, compared with 2% of those raised in two-parent families, according to education-policy analyst Mitch Pearlstein’s 2011 book “From Family Collapse to America’s Decline.” The poverty rate would be 25% lower if today’s family structure resembled that of 1970, according to the 2009 report “Creating an Opportunity Society” from Brookings Institution analysts Ron Haskins and Isabel Sawhill. A 2006 article in the journal Demography by Penn State sociologist Molly Martin estimates that 41% of the economic inequality created between 1976-2000 was the result of changed family structure.

Why isn’t this matter at the center of policy discussions? There are at least three reasons. First, much of politics is less about what you are for than who you are against, as Jonathan Haidt, a New York University psychology professor, noted in his popular 2012 book “The Righteous Mind.” And intellectual and cultural elites lean to the left. So, quite simply, very few professors or journalists, and fewer still who want foundation grants, want to be seen as siding with social conservatives, even if the evidence leads that way.

Second, family breakup has hit minority communities the hardest. So even bringing up the issue risks being charged with racism, a potential career-killer. The experience of the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan is a cautionary tale: Moynihan, who had a doctorate in sociology, served in the Lyndon B. Johnson administration as an assistant secretary of labor and in 1965 published a paper titled “The Negro Family: The Case for National Action,” warning about the long-term risk that single-parent households pose for black communities. He was attacked bitterly, and his academic reputation was tarnished for decades.

HKO

The damage of the politically correct is to turn a blind eye to that evidence that thwarts one’s world view.  This social development will not be repaired by either higher redistributive taxes or a higher minimum wage.