Open Thread for the Longest Day: Thursday, June 21, 2018

gop debate last

  1. Thoughts on the last GOP gubernatorial debate? — Again, personal commitments kept me from catching all of it (7-8 hasn’t been a great time for me to drop everything lately), but my general impression is that while Henry often made sense, with the GOP electorate as it is currently constituted, Warren probably gained ground on him. What did you think?
  2. What did Hannah Arendt really mean by the banality of evil? — And was she being wise, or being glib and letting Eichmann and maybe other Nazis off the hook? I don’t recall why I ran across this, but it was interesting. A change of pace.
  3. Our Real Immigration Problem — Bret Stephens writes that we need more immigrants — a lot more — not fewer. This seems obvious to me, for the reasons he cites — our record low fertility rate, our aging population (in case this point isn’t as obvious to you as it is to me, think Who’s going to be out there working to pay for my Social Security?), the fact that there are now more jobs out there than we have people looking for jobs, that population is plunging in the heartland, and “Finally, immigrants — legal or otherwise — make better citizens than native-born Americans. More entrepreneurial. More church-going. Less likely to have kids out of wedlock. Far less likely to commit crime.” You should read this.
  4. Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and intellectual provocateur dies at 68 — We’re talking about Charles Krauthammer. I knew this was coming and meant to write about it, and about my great respect for the man — but it happened quicker than I expected. But speaking of Bret Stephens, he did write about it, so I recommend that piece of his as well.
  5. Happy summer solstice, ya pagans — I don’t know whether you plan to celebrate or not, but here’s some Spinal Tap to help. All I can say is that the problem may have been, that there was a Stonehenge monument on the stage that was in danger of being crushed by a dwarf. Alright?


29 thoughts on “Open Thread for the Longest Day: Thursday, June 21, 2018

  1. Richard

    The President of the United States will be in Columbia on Monday and not one word about it?

    Will Brad be attending the event? I’m sure with his political ties he could get a front row seat.

  2. Richard

    3. We do not need more immigrants, the population of this country could drop 25% and do just fine. In fact we’d probably do better than we are today. We don’t have a quota to meet. If we take in more immigrants will it be a mix, or will it just be those who enter through the Southern border? If we want immigrants how about we go after those who won’t be a burden to our resources?

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      No, actually we wouldn’t do just fine. Declining population is the surest way to make our economy stagnate initially, then head downward…

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          My solution is to bring in people — people with the motivation to uproot their lives and come to this country and work hard (which tends to describe most immigrants) and instill in their children the values of hard work and desire to get an education and get ahead. People to come here and help us all build a good future together as Americans…

          1. Claus2

            What about the majority, those who’s reason to come to this country is because they can be taken care of through government subsidies without having to lift a finger?

              1. Richard

                If their fantasy people, if we cut off welfare programs then nobody should be affected. Good idea.

                1. Richard

                  “Except, of course, the poor Americans who need the help. But you don’t care about them, do you?”

                  Wasn’t there a law on the books making welfare… you know, “temporary” and not a way of life for several generations in the same family?

                  As far as “poor Americans”, I grew up poor. Dad made $16,000/yr. back in the early 1980’s and he had a wife and four kids. But you know what he did, he started his own side business and we all helped out at that business. Maybe it’s because we were white that it worked out for us… that’s likely your next excuse. Also the richest person I know… a childhood friend who is now a lawyer who pulls down around $3,000,000 per year in California grew up in a single parent household and was one of the poorest families in his town. But to get out of that hole took something called effort and determination on his part. But we grew up in the Midwest, not the South where laziness and government handouts take precedence over hard work. Also where being on welfare was a disgrace to the family name and grew up with a work ethic of if you didn’t work you didn’t eat. You never worked in a farming community so I doubt you’d understand. You probably don’t even know what a callus is.

                  1. Brad Warthen Post author

                    I know what a callus is. It’s the reason you don’t wear work gloves digging with a shovel all day. You need to develop the calluses; it’s better for your hands in the long run.

                    I also know what “callous” means. It’s an important word to know if you’re trying to describe the people at a Trump rally…

                2. Richard

                  “I also know what “callous” means. It’s an important word to know if you’re trying to describe the people at a Trump rally…”

                  Since you brought Trump into the discussion, which now seems to be worked into your every conversation, what do you call Lexington, VA restaurant owners who kick people out of their restaurant just because of who their employer is? Can you imagine the media outrage if an Obama employee had been told to leave because she worked for Obama?

                  1. Brad Warthen Post author

                    The Russians have a word for that restaurant owner. It’s nekulturny. And no, I don’t speak Russian. I learned that word from reading Tom Clancy novels. So, I may not have the connotation exactly right…

                    By the way, your point would have been stronger if you’d left off that paranoid “whataboutist” bit at the end about how the awful, wicked media would have reacted had this been someone who worked in the Obama administration. That makes it look like you don’t have a good point, that you’re just interested in playing the left-vs.-right tit-for-tat game.

                    And this blog exists, more than for any other purpose, to offer a place where people can come and discuss issues without resorting to that.

                    Anyway, your point was stronger without it. Saying that really undermines your point in this case because, from what I saw without looking for it over the weekend, the “media” seem to have pretty much had a cow about this incident…

          2. Mark Stewart

            Claus/Richard is a Trump trumpet on this issue. The Know-Nothings striving to rise yet again. Stain on our nation…

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              Which reminds me of a post I’ve been sort of halfway thinking about the last couple of days….

              A lot of the more strident folk on the left like to classify people with whom they disagree as “haters.” To disagree with them is to “hate.” It doesn’t take much to make the list of those they classify as hopeless bigots.

              But what we’re seeing down on the border now, and what we’re hearing from the people who defend Trump’s actions, pretty much does seem to be hatred.

              How else to label the FURY these people direct at poor folk trying to come here for a better life?

              I’ve been marveling over this for years. I guess it was the early 2000s when we started seeing this surge of anger toward people who came here to pick crops, do back-breaking construction work, or work in the stench of a chicken-processing plant.

              Then came the dehumanizing rhetoric — “infesting” — and the jaw-dropping rationalizations: If they don’t like having their children torn from their arms, they should have thought of that before they tried to come here…

              It’s the ANGER that amazes me. They’re furious, apoplectic that these folks cross a line in the desert without the proper paperwork. What about that lapse on the migrants’ part stirs such anger?

              I don’t know. But the more I see of it, the more it seems to qualify as hatred…

  3. Brad Warthen Post author

    Speaking of The Longest Day… I recently read Cornelius Ryan’s book for the first time, and it was really good.

    I don’t know what I expected, but the movie had such atrocious acting and directing (I say directing because what good director would allow his actors to be that bad?) that I guess on some unconscious level I thought maybe the book was bad, too. But it wasn’t. I learned a lot from it.

    Weird thing is, the movie was pretty true to the book, in terms of the characters and the roles they played in the invasion, and what happened to them. With better acting, the film could have been awesome…

  4. David L Carlton

    Twenty-four years ago on the Summer Solstice, I was riding on a riverboat along the Seine in central Paris. The city was erupting in celebration; I probably had a year’s worth of beer dumped on me as we passed under bridges. At the time EuroDisney was having difficulties, and I thought I understood why–who needs a theme park if you have THIS?

    1. Brad Warthen Post author


      “No one knows who they were, or what they were doin’…”

      Sorry, I’m still thinking about “Stone’enge.”

      If you prefer to take your druids (somewhat) more seriously, you can always watch “Britannia.”

      A semi-spoiler warning, though — the season finale has a “Ned Stark” moment. You know, just when you thought someone was the protagonist…

      Britannia-early-release-3-Mackenzie-Crook-as-Veran (1)

  5. Mr. Smith

    No, Arendt wasn’t letting anybody “off the hook.” She was pointing out that some pretty plain, average folk, like Eichmann, can take part in horrendous evil without necessarily having any “hate in their hearts,” as the saying goes. It was the disconnect between the total averageness (banality) of the perpetrator and the monstrosity of the deed that she was getting at. Evil doesn’t wear horns or any other obvious markings. It can be perpetrated by your neighbors, friends, or any of us, given the right conditions and encouragements. Put differently, people can actively participate in an evil system while still considering themselves good people. For anyone who’s grown up in the South, and takes its history seriously, this shouldn’t come as a revelation. Or take recent events along the southern US border, for instance. Some religious leaders have declared that to be evil. But I doubt anyone directly involved in it would think of themselves as such. They’re just “doing their jobs.”

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Yeah, well, calling it your job don’t make it right, boss…

      And I agree with you about Arendt. I’ve always felt like I understood the phrase: Evil can come to us in the plainest of packages.

      But some pretty smart people took it wrong, and gave her a hard time for it….

  6. Karen Pearson

    People can see themselves as good for rebelling against what they call “political correctness.” Thus they see themselves standing up for their rights when they use the “n-word” any other of the many words we have to denigrate someone else’s race, gender, nationality, or religion. They say they’re protecting their freedom of speech. Likewise, “our” president would have us believe that it’s our patriotic duty to tear families apart in order to protect our border. I can ignore these boors as long as they remain in the private sector; it’s when they get in a position to convince others that these are legitimate ways of protecting our freedom, or worse, when they are in a position to bring government to enforce these positions that it becomes a real and present danger.

  7. Karen Pearson

    Arendt is reminding us to reflect carefully about what we’re doing before we do it because what seems very right upon reflection may reveal itself to be very wrong.

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