Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Stars, Bars, and the Wrath of The Market

There has been a bit of hand-wringing and knee-jerking (mostly from folks in harmony with my own politics) about companies cleansing their shelves (virtual or real) of "Confederate flag" related merchandise. 

I myself was mostly astounded at the speed of the thing. It scared me. I don't like mob rule. But upon further reflection, these are simply wealthy corporations (which I love and defend) attempting to react to perceived (future) market forces.

All good companies do this. And with the world so inter-webbed and with worldwide communication causing news and trends to move with lightning speed, a company has to move nimbly to get out ahead of the coming wave of consumer wrath. In this environment, being perceived as having to be dragged, kicking and screaming, into conformity with The New Consensus (on any given subject) is a kind of economic suicide. 

The Market moves very quickly in our day. And haven't we (Right-minded people) always said to trust The Market? Yes, we have. And I do. It is possible that The Market shall punish eBay for disallowing the purchase of "General Lee" Dodge Charger car models. But, I don't expect so. 

In short, I can find no fault in these companies having done what they have done. There may be some fault elsewhere, which we can discuss if you like.

Monday, June 22, 2015

The Language of Privilege

At long last, I have identified what it is that really bugs me about the language of Privilege. You know, as in Male Privilege or White Privilege.

I mean, I already had two solid objections to it before my epiphany this morning.  For one thing, in practice it is mainly used to shut up white males.  If a Liberal has no substantive reply to a valid point made by someone who is white, male, or both, she merely has to reply with, "Check your privilege!"  Which roughly translates to:  "I haven't got any substantive answer for you, but you shut up, because your Privilege makes anything you say invalid."

Then, too, I have noticed that all the successful people who are from racial minorities or who are women have never achieved that success by wringing their hands about Privilege.  They either ignore it, or find a way past it.

But what I noticed this morning was something else, which may be the real reason so many object to the term.  And it has to do with where you draw the "zero line" for what is tolerable in the treatment of one human being (or set of human beings) by another.

For it the language of Privilege, simply being treated fairly or being left alone is labeled as Privilege, when clearly it should not be seen that way.  Being treated fairly should be the norm!  If you Google the phrase "examples of white privilege", you'll turn up links like this one.  And what are the examples given in these lists of White Privilege?

  • Because of white privilege, you’ll never have to worry about becoming the victim of law enforcement officers.
  • Thankfully, you’ll never have to know what it feels like to see your teenage son’s death being mocked.
  • White privilege means not having to worry about your hair, skin color, or cultural accessories as the reason you didn’t get a job.
  • White privilege means you don’t have to worry about being monitored in a store just because the hue of your skin is a bit darker than most.
Now hold on just one second here!  These are PRIVILEGES!?!?!  No, these are all things that didn't happen ...  they are non-entities, non-events.  It is not a privilege to not be beaten by police officers.  This is how everyone ought to be treated!  If some groups are not (and I don't dispute this fact), call it a crime against the injured parties, not a privilege for those who simply didn't get persecuted.

What are the effects of calling it Privilege to be simply left alone?

1.  Being mistreated is now the norm.  You are being treated better (given a privilege) if you are not mistreated.  This is no way to go through life looking at things.

2.  The "Privilege" is seen as the problem, and therefore solutions are implemented to punish those who have "Privilege."  But the fact that some people are not persecuted is not the problem:  the problem is that some are!  By this verbal shell game, those who use the language of Privilege have diverted attention from where it belongs (punishing those who persecute and mistreat members of groups they don't like) to a place where it does not belong (those who, minding their own business going about life, have the gall NOT to be persecuted.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Dylann Roof's Thievery

Much has been said and blogged about the tragic cost of the actions of racist mass-murderer Dylann Roof.  The cost in terms of human life and grief is incalculably large.

Dylann Roof stole joy and life from the people of this faith community.  

The family members of the nine Charleston Martyers handled this incredibly difficult situation with overcoming Christian love.

But Roof stole other things, too.  One thing he stole was the ability for us to easily trust one another.  Can you imagine being a member of an all black church, and having a white visitor come and join your church in worship?  What thoughts would go through your mind?  Would you not wonder if this visitor was the next in a series of Dylann Roofs?  You could not be blamed for thinking such a thing.  And it has a chilling effect on everyone involved.  The white visitor of good will may easily choose not to visit, not wanting to scare anyone.

When I was a grad student at Purdue University, I sometimes visited a small C.O.G.I.C. (Church of God in Christ) parish, which was 100% African-American.  It afforded me the opportunity to worship with brothers and sisters in Christ in a way that was outwardly very much different than the Dutch Reformed-style worship of my own home church at that time.

I profited from attending there.  But today, in the wake of the Charleston church murders, could I even visit that church?  I don't think I could.  Not for a long time, anyhow.  It wouldn't be fair to the parish to distract them from their worship of Almighty God, wondering about the Other in their midst.

Time can heal some wounds.  But not if men like Dylann Roof keep ripping them open.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

1962 Mercury Meteor - New Exhaust, 2-Tone steelies, & M/T Drag Radials!

We've made a few improvement to our 1962 Mercury Meteor, in anticipation of a few cars show, but mostly in anticipation of the 2015 Michigan Gumball Rally!  We'll be #62!