Conservatism

Pokémon No

It’s time to ban Pokémon Go.

The ridiculously popular smartphone app is taking off across America. With already more users than the boinking-made-easy app Tinder, Pokémon Go has gone “viral,” in the non-STD kind of way.

The app, which is an off-shoot of the Nintendo franchise that pits cute creatures against each other in non-lethal bloodsport, turns smartphone-owners into real-life hunters. The mechanics are clever: The game buzzes your phone when a Pokémon is near, and imputes a graphic of the beast on the environment using the phone’s camera. The goal is to catch the bugger by swiping your finger across the screen. Collect enough of these colorful monsters and you become king of the nerds, or something.

The game’s seamless blend of technological fantasy and reality is wickedly simple—and extremely addicting. Pokémon Go is so simple that it’s beginning to infiltrate all manner of public places. Players complain the game is making them late for work. Thugs are robbing unwitting competitors glued to their screen. American soldiers arecatching them all” on the frontline. The Holocaust Museum had to chastise attendees for playing the game in a place of mourning. Ditto for Arlington National Cemetery.

At a local coffee shop, I recently had to experience the maddening frustration of two patrons taking forever to order because they had to catch a “Bulbasaur.” After unsuccessfully snagging the thing, they finally got on with their order, aloof to what happened. They were oblivious of the fact they held everyone up to play a video game. In public. As fully-grown adults.

Can you say, “pika pika, screw you”?

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Being an unhappy warrior

To burn it down, or not burn it down–that is the question. And increasingly, against my better nature, I’m starting to think the answer is incendiarism.

Why my flirtation with unbridled anger? It’s simple, really: Elite contempt for the hoi polloi has reached a fever pitch. Consider events over the past few weeks.

After much hand-wringing, the Brexit vote failed to topple the world economy. But that hasn’t stopped the elites from expressing their disdain over the little people taking back their borders. In a scathing piece for Foreign Policy titled “It’s Time for the Elites to Rise Up Against the Ignorant Masses,” writer James Traub openly calls for the crushing of the working class. “One of the most brazen features of the Brexit vote was the utter repudiation of the bankers and economists and Western heads of state who warned voters against the dangers of a split with the European Union,” Traub, the son of the former chairman of Bloomingdale’s, says sorrowfully.

Emily Badger of The Washington Post concurs, writing “Brexit is a reminder that some things just shouldn’t be decided by referendum.” Columnists and opiners in a variety of publications have taken turns denouncing the small-minded Leave voters, each employing clever metaphors to say the same thing: The people are too stupid for politics.

The contempt is not dissimilar to the bitchfest that is Trump opposition. Not content to take potshots at Teflon Donald, some smug critics have taken to excoriating his pea-brained supporters. Jonathan Chait of New York magazine explained Trump phenomenology by surmising, “The Republican Party turns out to be filled with idiots. Far more of them than anybody expected.” National Review’s Kevin Williamson infamously referred to wage-class Trumpites as white trash so trashy it doesn’t deserve to be picked up. “The truth about these dysfunctional, downscale communities is that they deserve to die. Economically, they are negative assets. Morally, they are indefensible,” he pronounced, with the grace of a utilitarian Maoist.

And you wonder why middle-of-the-road Americans are so damn angry. In the face of such open mockery, why shouldn’t they be? The coastal high-earners take great pleasure in ridiculing Flyover country, which is largely comprised of red state Bible-believers.

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Why Bernie Sanders wants same day registration

The revolution is flaming out.

With Hillary Clinton’s decisive primary win the District of Criminals, the longshot bid of Vermont senator Bernie Sanders is coming to a close. In a video chat to supporters, the irascible socialist all but declared his candidacy over and announced he’s teaming up with Wall Street courtesan Clinton to defeat populist champion Donald Trump – just as I predicted.

Sanders isn’t walking away completely empty-handed, however. He’s demanding fundamental changes to the Democrat Party platform to make it “the most progressive platform in history.”

For a socialist, Sanders sure drives a hard bargain.

His list of demands include enacting same-day voter registration, more assistance at polling locations, a timely process for counting votes, and allowing registered independents to cast ballots in the Democrat primary. Increased measures to prevent voter fraud is not mentioned, because that obviously never, ever happens.

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Paying people to not work still means they won’t work

There’s an old economic saw that goes: If you pay a couch potato to sit on his ass, he’ll keep his rear-end parked firmly in front of the TV.

OK, so maybe the proverb didn’t mention slothfulness and prat. The more well-known version concerns fish and pedagogy. But I think the lesson needs an update in light of an increasingly popular welfare ruse.

In the pages of the Wall Street Journal, social theorist Charles Murray proposes the ultimate form of the dole: a guaranteed income for all adult Americans. “The UBI [universal basic income] is an idea whose time has finally come, but it has to be done right,” he writes. How does one give away loads of free money “right,” you ask? By eliminating the entire welfare state, including Social Security and Medicare. Rather than have the less-well-off jump through bureaucratic hurdles trying to get food stamps, Medicaid, section 8 housing, and Obamaphones, just cut them a check and cut out the middleman.

“Under my UBI plan,” Murray notes, “the entire bureaucratic apparatus of government social workers would disappear, but Americans would still possess their historic sympathy and social concern.” The concern would be replaced with a faceless monthly bank deposit, presumably debited on the “1st of tha Month.”

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The importance of gatekeepers

Blogger Andrew Sullivan is back, and his latest offering in New York magazine is a doozy. Here’s a quick (and predictable) synopsis: Donald Trump is an existential threat to the American system of constitutional order.

Trump Derangement Syndrome gets tiring, even from a sharp guy like Sullivan. But T-Man Sully does get one thing right about the Donald and our fragile Republic. Citing Plato, he argues that the populist swell that propelled Trump to the GOP nomination is a real danger to something our country is losing supply of: legitimate authority.

I know what you’re thinking: Talk of “legitimate authority” usually comes from puritan witch-burners or Stalinists. It’s true that if taken too far, authority can corrupt. But as sociologist Philip Rieff wrote in his book The Triumph of the Therapeutic, the culture before our modern era “was embedded in a consensus of ‘shalt nots.’” The America of yesteryear had “creedal hedges” in place around “impulses of independence or autonomy” that detracted from “communal purpose.” Our country used to have a shared set of standards regarding sexuality, religion, race, and working life. It wasn’t perfect; but at least it kept grown men out of the little girls’ room.

Those informal limits are long gone. Explanations are legion for the collapse; yet one factor in particular stands out: A lack of gatekeepers on truth and knowledge.

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Denny Hastert, sexual revolutionary

Why do liberals care that former Speaker of the House Denny Hastert molested four young boys?

That’s a serious question. Federal prosecutors allege that Hastert sexually abused at least four students while coaching wrestling at Yorkville High School in Illinois. He subsequently tried to cover up the molestation by paying the victims $3.5 million in hush money. No such luck, as the PATRIOT Act, which Hastert was indispensable in shepherding through Congress, alerted law enforcement officials to the payoffs.

George Bernard Shaw would be hard-pressed to create such delicious irony.

Liberals, seizing on the personal hypocrisy of a midwestern Republican leader, are going ape shit over Hastert’s alleged diddling of teenage boys. Mary Elizabeth Williams of Salon demands that “no pity” be given for the former Speaker. The comment sections of left-wing havens like Slate.com are littered with contempt and denunciations of Hastert’s perversion.

I honestly don’t understand how the Left can be so stinging in its criticism of Hastert. Aren’t we supposed to be accepting of the alternative sexual choices of others? Isn’t it bigoted to cast judgment upon those can’t help their sexual preference? And doesn’t social justice warriorism claim that men can’t be raped?

If Denny Hastert sexually abused male students in his role as a teacher and mentor, liberals have no reason to be incensed by his behavior. After all, it wasn’t conservatives who led the effort to rid sex of reasonable limits. Progressives started it, and, boy, do they intend to finish it.

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