Power

Somebody asked me why I rant about the progressive snowflakes but never against their right-wing equivalent, the MAGA folks.

The answer is that the MAGA crowd has zero power. They are as scary as an ant because they can do absolutely nothing. I mean, they can elect somebody who sends a lot of angry tweets but that’s about it.

The financial, cultural, technological, and corporate power is allied with the lefty snowflakes because they are so easy to own and manipulate. They are the rabid henchmen of capital and their utterly fake concern for the oppressed is nothing but a club they use to keep all of us in check. They are trying so hard to convince us that the MAGA hats are super scary because they are deflecting attention from themselves.

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26 thoughts on “Power”

  1. The answer is that the MAGA crowd has zero power. They are as scary as an ant because they can do absolutely nothing. I mean, they can elect somebody who sends a lot of angry tweets but that’s about it.

    This is not true. The MAGA people are dangerous. The most destructive thing they have done is elect someone who are destroying our Article 3 courts as a meaningful check on the power of the racist and misogynistic Article 1 and Article 2 branches of our government. The courts have been such a force since the 1950’s; but no longer, it seems.

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  2. Being for the environment isn’t being a rabid henchman of capital. Nor is trying to dismantle the prison-military-industrial complex, repeal the Patriot Act, reinstate barriers to torture, all sorts of things both liberals and people further left are up to. I just got back from interpreting French at an ICE hearing, facility is an hour away, wouldn’t normally even mention it but I am not sure how that might be a club keeping you in check — unless you mean that if this person is granted asylum that will harm you, or the nation-state, or something. They’re from Mauritania.

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    1. Progressives today use the language of caring to advance neoliberal goals. Let’s look beyond the slogans and see what the reality was. Can anybody honestly deny that the super liberal Obama was a consistent champion of neoliberalism? He cared about the uninsured and created a healthcare system that was a gift to insurance companies. Progressives care about immigrants in a way that will trap them in exploitative working conditions forever.

      The Patriot Act, it’s all so outdated. It’s like caring about ending the war in Vietnam. We have handed our lives over to tech companies who exercise the kind of vigilance that no government could ever dream about.

      And dismantling the military-industrial complex? It was just a couple of weeks ago that liberals wailed to the sky against the withdrawal from Syria.

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      1. “Progressives care about immigrants in a way that will trap them in exploitative working conditions forever”

        Working for progressives that is, who seem themselves as ultra cool employers….

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        1. It’s the perfect con: exploiting people while feeling as their savior. Look at how dedicated progressives are to not teaching English to children of Hispanic immigrants. If they speak fluent English, they might start saying things they don’t want to hear. So it’s better to be “culturally sensitive” and school them in Spanish.

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          1. The idea of bilingual and now trilingual ed is to get people who are multilingual. And the idea of working a lot in the native language at the beginning is to use those skills to move to the next language, not just stay in the first language. Bilingual model sure would have helped de-marginalize the immigrant Spanish speaking kids in my elem. school. AND people do want to learn the language of the new country, and do do it. I’m not sure where the idea that people want to prevent immigrants from learning English comes from.

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            1. Most people have great trouble achieving a passable competence in a single language. Let alone two or three. The people who can be fluent in several languages are extremely rare. We are often projecting our own very unusual linguistic competence onto others when we are a tiny minority. The result of this striving for multilingual people, outside of the context of cultural and economic elites, is going to be folks with stunted development who can’t speak any language at all very well. I have met such people who don’t have a native language. It’s a very sad situation because their educational and employment opportunities are limited to a minimum.

              I understand that this is all done in a very sincere, well-meaning way. But it doesn’t take into account the abyss between social classes that makes this idea of multilingualism for the masses nothing but a cruel joke.

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              1. Hmmm… a lot of people here, native speakers, have low levels of English. I wonder if we should drop the FL requirement. I find that it actually helps, helps people think about language as such…

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              2. Common wisdom is that without it, we have no department, since we get majors out of those who originally started because it was required. Personally I don’t like requirements & would be curious just to see what happened if we didn’t have it. This is of course sacrilege, but they’ve made the classes so meaningless in so many ways, why require them?

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              3. We could serve our majors better. Everybody said I was crazy to teach a course on Don Quijote. Our students would never get it, it will be a waste of time, etc. But we haven’t taught the Quijote in 10 years. What kind of a Spanish program doesn’t even teach Quijote? And the way it was taught 10 years ago, the course only covered the first 8 chapters. Eight chapters in an entire semester! That’s ridiculous.

                So I am teaching it, and it’s going great. The students are super enthusiastic. They are loving the text and it’s so much fun. We could do more of that instead of Advanced grammar 3 that everybody hates.

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              4. I’m concerned about even having majors. We seem to get minors because we have the language requirement, so it’s not that far to a minor, and those who really like it major. The pessimistic thought is that we’d just die out. But if we became more interesting, and got majors by attraction (supposing the administration let us last that long)…

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              5. And/but I’ve known so many people who were good at both English and whatever they came with. The other thing is that it’s not just language, it’s being brought in. In my elem. school for instance, all in English, the Spanish speakers just didn’t learn and it had to do with class and racial prejudice on the part of the Anglo side too, and just not knowing how to relate. Point of bilingual classroom would have been to give us all a common project in some way, bridge the gap. Then we move on to jr. high with the English speakers knowing some Spanish, and the Spanish speakers writing it and also knowing a lot of English, in a position to take all classes in English, etc. As it was they were just this marginal presence who mostly dropped out soon…

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              6. I know people who have a first language and a passable second language. Passable means they don’t inhabit it with joy and relish don’t every opportunity to immerse themselves in it. There are exceptions but they are all in teaching.

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              7. So you’re for national language immersion, monolingual ed, and let people take a FL class if they choose? That’s what I’m from and it’s OK I guess, except as I’ve said I think we really could’ve used bilingual ed in elem. school…

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              8. Most people have great trouble achieving a passable competence in a single language. Let alone two or three. The people who can be fluent in several languages are extremely rare.

                This is true in this country, but in my experience good proficiency in two or three languages is very common throughout Europe. We just don’t have a national commitment to it.

                Admittedly, I have spent significant time in only four European countries, but many people there have told me that this is common throughout the continent.

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              9. I never met anybody even remotely capable of speaking another language (except for college professors) in Spain, Portugal, the UK, Germany, Ukraine, or Russia. So I believe it’s a myth.

                Back in October when I was in Germany, even people in touristy areas who work in service had no English beyond hello.

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              10. Most people have great trouble achieving a passable competence in a single language. Let alone two or three.

                I never met anyone in Helsinki who did not have a fair command of English. I understand that they study it from childhood. I had conversations with hotel desk clerks and staff people at the Convention Center, as well as Finnish dealers and other fans at Worldcon 2017. In Germany, some hotel staff were proficient and some had only specialized vocabulary pertaining to their job.

                When I was in Poland in the mid 1970’s, English speaking was rare, except among the mathematicians I knew. But people told me that for decades learning English had been forbidden.

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      2. Obama is neoliberal and centrist, not ultra-liberal by any means. And giving power to corporations is right and not left wing, no matter what cool-looking trappings capital puts on. Re the various measures curtailing democracy that have come in especially since 9/11/2001, it is not outdated to advocate and work towards reclaiming some institutions and separation of powers, working toward increasing democracy and not giving it up.

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  3. You can really see the change. 15 years ago, I felt like the religious right were a real threat. Now when Indiana passed the RFRA, corporations boycotted Indiana until the legislature added the changes they wanted. When North Carolina passed a bathroom bill, again corporations boycotted, and it hurt the wellbeing of the state enough that it made the governor who passed the law unpopular, not because the average Carolinian cared that much about the bill itself but because of the economic harm it was causing. He then lost reelection and the law was repealed.

    I opposed both of these laws (at least the NC one, I feel like I didn’t research the IN one enough but it sounded bad), but I don’t think the fact that corporations have more power than the politicians we voted for is a cause for celebration just because they happened to agree with me on this issue.

    I think a few things cause people to think the MAGA crowd has more power than it actually does. One is that people ascribe widespread problems like racism to this crowd. There are plenty of racist Trump supporters, but there’s also plenty of racist liberals, and that’s to say nothing of entrenched, systemic racism that goes beyond personal prejudice and has been around for longer than anyone in America has been alive (ex. the wealth gap.) Another factor is when people say “progressives and liberals hold the power in America,” people might think of what the average Democratic voter is like. Racial minorities, undocumented immigrants (ok they don’t vote but you get my point), trans people, etc. are all vaunted by progressives, but they don’t usually have much power themselves, it’s only the bougie progressives who use them as political tools who do. However, most liberals and Democrats aren’t lefty snowflakes and this is especially true of the truly disadvantaged. You’re not talking about the entire left, just the part of the left that’s dominating these institutions.

    Another factor is that that crowd is powerful in small local pockets. If I lived in an affluent suburb of Cincinnati and I didn’t follow the news, I’d look at you like you were crazy if you told me that liberals have all the cultural and economic power in America. Even if I was a bit more informed I’d probably still be somewhat skeptical at first.

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    1. Absolutely. I agree 100%. Problem is, many people are still stuck in that time 15 years ago and aren’t noticing that things have changed.

      Religion has been completely eviscerated because it stands in the way of a complete triumph of consumerist mentality. This is why the corporate world is allied against religion.

      I feel exactly the way you do about the NC and IN bills. But I’m worried about the way they were defeated. Today, the corporate world is defeating the legislation I don’t like. Tomorrow, it will do the same to the legislation I do like and we won’t be able to say anything because we have already accepted this power as benign and even a force for good. This is why it worries me so much.

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  4. It’s true that goals supported by the left can backfire or have unintended consequences. I don’t know what cultural and technological elites are up to. But Financial and corporate elites follow only their own interests. I suppose they will use anyone they can, if it serves their purpose. Financial and corporate elites are equal-opportunity exploiters.

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  5. “I’m in favor of abolishing the FL requirement”

    It depends. The think is the foreign languages have been one of the pillars of education since…. forever? Even if most learners won’t/can’t ever make much use of the language being taught then the experience of being in a (good) foreign language class is very valuable and the process of learning even a small amount has a knock on effects that are very valuable.
    As I’ve mentioned before, in Europe the most monolingual are the British who are just the most… inept people at communicating I’ve ever seen (unable to do even simple things like rephrase questions in another way or toning down slang).

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    1. I don’t mind the requirement existing as long as I don’t have to teach it. It’s the false egalitarianism of everybody having to to teach the exact same thing that gets to me.

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      1. What is a good argument for having a foreign language requirement that is only two or three semesters of the same language, considering that most students can communicate very little in the foreign language after completing the requirement? I’m seriously interested in hearing some good arguments, just in case my uni decides to eliminate it.

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        1. What is a good argument for having a foreign language requirement that is only two or three semesters of the same language, considering that most students can communicate very little in the foreign language after completing the requirement?

          I had French for four semesters in college, a requirement. I cannot speak French, But I can read it when I need to, though I often need a dictionary. It is really useful when I need to read a mathematical research paper from the 1920’s or 20’s, which I have needed to do from time to time, most recently last month.

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