When I was 9, I copied the Lord’s Prayer out of a Bible at a house of somebody quite fancy, memorized it, and started saying it in secret. My kid learned it at school at the age of five. There’s definite progress here.
It’s cultural appropriation to wear a sari and do yoga but it’s not cultural appropriation to say things like “decolonize the curriculum.” Because pretending that you know something about being a colony is completely cool and not in the least insulting.
I hate every part of wokeism but none as much as the fashionable use of the word ‘decolonize.’ My sister is in graduate school and has been assigned an article on how to ‘decolonize’ business schools. We have personally experienced both being a colony and decolonization but ridiculing our experience is perfectly fine.
We are still doing social distancing, so my classrooms are big. Even with 25-30 students you need a large room if you are to maintain the six-feet space between people. This means I use my teacher’s voice to deliver my lectures (I’m very into the traditional, old-fashioned lectures these days). The teacher’s voice needs good lung capacity, in case you don’t know.
I teach in a transparent facial shield, which helps boom my voice to every corner of the classroom. Fun times! I like to overwhelm. Today, however, I got distracted by some messages before class and forgot to swap the mask for the shield. I marched into class in a mask and thought, OK, what’s the big deal? I can teach one lecture in a mask.
Folks, I barely lasted 3 minutes. Then I started to choke and gasp for air like a last-stage COVID patient. Again, remember, teacher’s voice isn’t like speaking. It’s more like singing in that you need a lot more air. I had to run out of the classroom, tearing the mask off my face and wheezing.
I had gotten checked post-COVID, and my lung function is unaffected, so it’s not that. It’s the bleeding mask. I now understand why the poor priest almost collapsed in church. I’m kind of stunned he lasted as long as he did.
Stupid masks. I’m so glad I refused to teach in them from the get-go.
“If you want a cat, I’ll buy you a cat,” I told Klara. “I don’t know much about cats but I have figured out they aren’t food. I can learn more.”
“You know, mommy,” she said in a voice I reserve for particularly hopeless students, “I think I’m OK with a toy cat instead.”
Translation: mommy thought I was a pest and it still hurts, so I know project this on all kids to self-soothe with the thought that all kids are pests and not just me.
No mentally stable person would arrive at an analogy between children and disease-carrying mosquitoes.
The proposed tax on unrealized capital gains is a much bigger threat than climate change but it sounds arcane and confusing so most people don’t notice.
We are seeing a concerted and intense campaign for dispossessing the middle class and creating third-world inequality. And nobody is talking about it. People are blindly palpating this elephant and maybe noticing the separate features of this phenomenon. Or not even that.
My previous story from back in Ukraine about the effects of totalitarianism was very successful, so here is another one.
In the 1990s, computers weren’t ubiquitous, and college class schedules were made on paper and posted on a huge cardboard piece on the wall by the Dean’s Office. In Ukraine, we didn’t choose our classes. Each group was assigned the classes and given the schedule each semester.
So before the beginning of one semester, I went with my group to copy the schedule from a big cardboard poster. Of course, when you do this kind of work by hand, errors creep in. It turned out that somebody in the Dean’s Office had made a mistake and scheduled two of our courses for the same time slot on the same days.
What does a normal person with no experience of totalitarianism do when something like this happens? What would you do? You’d go to the Dean’s Office to tell the people there that they made a mistake, right? Everybody is human, mistakes happen, no big deal.
But when I suggested this to the group, everybody was incensed.
“You are going to get us all into trouble!” people hissed. “If we go, they’ll think we are complainers and trouble-makers!”
“I’m not suggesting we make trouble,” I tried to explain. “We are going to say very politely and respectfully that there’s a mistake in the schedule and please rectify it.”
“Please don’t do this to us,” my best friend begged. “You aren’t even planning to show up in class. If you complain, the Dean’s Office will hate our whole group but you won’t be here to suffer the consequences. You will let us all down.”
It was true that I rarely showed up for anything that wasn’t a final exam, so I agreed to stay out of this. The group decided to choose one of the courses in the time slot and pretend that the other one didn’t exist. I tried pointing out that not fulfilling your course load for the semester would create more trouble than informing the Dean’s Office about the mistake but the terror of saying anything negative about the authorities was too strong.
The funniest part was that, apparently, the professor whose course the group had chosen to ignore was equally terrified of the authorities. He never mentioned to the Dean’s Office that not a single one of his students ever came to class. The poor bastard showed up for his scheduled class twice a week and. . . just sat there. He never went to find out what was happening.
As you can imagine, it all came out at the end of the semester. Everybody caught hell. Our group couldn’t do its scheduled state exam at the end of the year. We fell behind other groups, and there was a lot of confusion about when we were going to graduate. And it all happened because people had absolutely no idea how to treat people in authority – even the tiny, insignificant authority of the ladies in the Dean’s Office who made schedules – as fallible human beings and not incomprehensible, irate and distant deities.
This is how austerity works. What does this story have to do with austerity, some people might ask?
Read it again and tell me: do these policies make it more or less likely that people would go to the hospital instead of seeking home remedies or online treatments? Would you take an elderly relative or a small child to that hospital? Well, that’s the whole point.
Far fewer children are in public schools today than they were before COVID. Far fewer people seek medical care because they don’t want to be locked up and isolated. “Normally, I’d go to the hospital for this but these days. . . you know,” is a phrase I’ve been hearing from normie acquaintances. “I never thought I’d even consider anything but a public school for my kid but these days. . . you know.”
The Soviets knew how this worked. You simply need to make the free service you offer so low-quality, so intolerable, and so fraught with humiliation and hurt that people will find a way to do without it.