Sunday, June 06, 2010

He is but a man

No columnist, no economist, no thinker, no substitute talk-show host in the world stands higher in my estimation than the great, the extraordinary Walter Williams.
Despicable as the Times Free Press is, I still look forward to Sundays because most Sundays, Dr. Williams' column appears, right beneath one by Thomas Sowell.
On 23 May, though, I was reminded of the pageantry of a victorious general leading his troops into Rome to be greeted and adored. He would be riding in a chauffeur-driven chariot pulled by gleaming white horses, and right behind him would be a slave murmuring into his ear (in the King James Latin), "Thou art but a man ... thou art but a man ..."
Just in case your senses have been dulled by too much reading of the TFP, the point was to keep the general's feet on the ground, to keep his head from swelling, to remind him he was a mortal, not a god.
Alas, Walter Williams is but a man. His 23 May column is titled "Immigration and liberty," but, double alas, he doesn't present his usual impervious argument in favor of liberty ... nor in favor of immigration.
He begins, "My sentiments on immigration are expressed by the welcoming words of poet Emma Lazarus' that grace the base of our Statue of Liberty: 'Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.' Those sentiments are probably shared by most Americans and for sure by my libertarian fellow travelers, but their vision of immigration has some blind spots. This has become painfully obvious in the wake Arizona's law that cracks down on illegal immigration. ..."
Then he blots his copy: "There are close to 7 billion people on our planet. I'd like to know how the libertarians answer this question: Does each individual on the planet have a natural or God-given right to live in the U.S.?"
No one is asking such a silly question.
It is a straw man.
Worse, it deviates sadly from Dr. Williams' usual position that an individual is self-owned, that it is the individual that counts.
Such a question begins, instead, with the premise of the nation-state, with individuals being merely components thereof.
Even more worse, his last sentence begins, "Most importantly ..."
As I have told clients and students, "importantly" is nearly always wrong. Correct use of "importantly" might be in this example: "President Obama strutted around importantly."
Walter Williams remains one of the greatest minds on Earth, however he is but a man.

Golden oldie reminds us

Looking back to Thursday, 6 November 2008, we can see a glaring reminder of just why so many reasonable individuals believe the Times Free Press to be a miserable excuse for a "news" paper.
In the Metro&Region section of that day the "journalists" and editorializers (so often the same people) were still basking in their accomplishment, there appeared this headline:
"Voters still relishing Obama's victory."
Bear in mind that the circulation area of this rag voted pretty overwhelmingly against Barack Obama and you will surely wonder what was going through whatever passes for a mind in the layout department.
Well, of course, some voters relished that victory, apparently including a large segment of the "news" media generally, but certainly including some pretty second-rate headline writers at the TFP.

Defending the indefensible

Following a post quite some time ago, "Racist Stulce endorses racist Bennett," I got an anonymous comment, to which I replied, and then I got this anonymous comment (also printed at the original post):

Anonymous said... I will apologize for my actual errors seeing as how I'm an engineer in the navy, not a writer like yourself. But, what I refuse to apologize for is my accusation of you personally attacking Bennett. If you reread your last paragraph, and can't see any attacks, you must be blind. To someone who knows personally that Clay is one of the most anti-prejudice and unbigoted men I've ever met, that looks like an attack. Yes, our CIC is black, so Clay draws him as a black man. That's the closest he's ever come to being a racist. Honestly sir, if you falsely accused me of being a racist, when all my friends and family know that I do everything possible to eliminate any racism or bigotry in my life and workplace, you'd get a good old fashioned military ass-chewing. And in mine and Clay's eyes alike, that is an attack.
Oh, by the way.. I'm remaining anonomous to save my family from any further personal attacks, thank you. I have the iron and resolve of a true american sailor, so please, don't challenge my courage.

I have no idea what those letters on the bottom line mean, but I left everything just as it was written. Let 'em hang themselves.
Apparently poor Anonymous doesn't really grasp English, judging not only by his spelling but by his complete failure to understand what I said originally, and in my reply to his first anonymous comment.
He tells me "don't challenge my courage," as if joining the Navy (note the capital) is conclusive proof. No, conclusive proof would be his signing his name and standing proud for what he believes, whatever that might be.
Certainly a lot of brave people have joined the military, although I knew a man in Arizona who joined the Navy to stay out of the range of North Vietnamese bullets ... and was made into a corpsman [which is NOT pronounced "corpseman"], was assigned to the Marines, and got wounded three times!
Again, I don't attack Clay Bennett, except as a lying and vicious racist cartoonist. He is a racist, as I have explained several times, apparently to no avail, not because he draws Pres. Obama "as a black man," but because he ignores black people who don't buy into the same vicious, fascistic, racist viewpoint he does.
A friend told me she thought Anonymous's first comment was a hoax, a put-on -- in fact, she accused me of making it up -- then on re-reading just decided that, if that is an example of Clay Bennett's friends, he doesn't need any enemies.
However, even if he doesn't need any enemies, he keeps creating them, with every new cartoon attacking honest people, attacking people who prefer freedom to his desired racist, fascist system.
I, though, will not be an enemy of Clay Bennett, the person. I am not an enemy of much of any person, although, alas, there are persons who consider me an enemy, and there are persons who want to make me some type of political peon, me and every other individual.
But Clay Bennett, cartoonist of hatred, racism, fascism, and, yes, dishonesty, will definitely continue to be a target, though not an enemy.
By the way, why does Anonymous think being an engineer is an acceptable excuse to be semi-literate?
P.S. It is possible, although highly unlikely, that Mr. Bennett draws his vitriolic cartoons at direction from an editor or publisher or somebody. But it probably won't save his soul.