Another victory for “feelings”

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Life along the Mississippi – or was it?

From a reader, this:

Under pressure from a handful of aggrieved citizens,  the city of Norwalk has decided to take down a WPA mural depicting “slaves” (were there still slaves in 1880? Never mind) loading a steamship. 

The controversy was not about perceived racism, apparently, but the fact that no one has paid the complainers to compensate them for their hurt feelings:

“It’s very racist,” says Norwalk resident Angela Harris. “We have not gotten reparations. Until we’ve gotten reparations — this isn’t an art class here.”

One might ask Miss Harris how white people are to be made to feel guilty enough to pay her money for something that happened to her ancestors 200 years ago if history is whitewashed, so to speak, but again, that’s a quibble. What’s really going on here is touched upon in an essay published by Red State two days ago:

These people don’t think, believe or reckon. They “feel like.” Listen for this phrase and you’ll hear it everywhere, inside and outside politics. This reflex to hedge every statement as a feeling or a hunch is most common among millennials. But I hear it almost as often among Generation Xers and my own colleagues in academia. As in so many things, the young are early carriers of a broad cultural contagion.
The phrase says a great deal about our muddled ideas about reason, emotion and argument — a muddle that has political consequences.
“I feel like” masquerades as a humble conversational offering, an invitation to share your feelings, too — but the phrase is an absolutist trump card. It halts argument in its tracks.

When people cite feelings or personal experience, “you can’t really refute them with logic, because that would imply they didn’t have that experience, or their experience is less valid,” Ms. Chai told me.

“It’s a way of deflecting, avoiding full engagement with another person or group,” Elisabeth Lasch-Quinn, a historian at Syracuse University, said, “because it puts a shield up immediately. You cannot disagree.”
This is what is most disturbing about “I feel like”: The phrase cripples our range of expression and flattens the complex role that emotions do play in our reasoning. It turns emotion into a cudgel that smashes the distinction — and even in our relativistic age, there remains a distinction — between evidence out in the world and internal sentiments known only to each of us.
If our students have any hope of solving the problems for which trigger warnings and safe spaces are mere Band-Aids, they must reject this woolly way of speaking their minds.
We should not “feel like.” We should argue rationally, feel deeply and take full responsibility for our interaction with the world.

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Miss Angela Harris, art critic: You want history, I want reparations! Pay up, whitey.


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Hillary loses in Indiana

As the story below points out, she probably won’t remember the loss past this afternoon, but still, it must sting: he was supposed to have been long by now.

But not only has he not gone away, his fantasy will outlast him, and that doesn’t bode well for the future:

Speaking in Louisville on Tuesday night, Sanders said, “in primary after primary, caucus after caucus, we end up winning the vote of people 45 years of age and younger,” proving that “the ideas that we are fighting for are the ideas of the future of America and the future of the Democratic party.” His campaign, he said “is a political revolution.”

What “idea for the future” does the under-45-set envision? Lots more free stuff, all paid for by a mythical group of “rich people”. What will these bitter, underemployed liberal arts graduates do when that doesn’t work out? If they follow in their liberal predecessors’ footsteps, they’ll demand more of the same policies, doubled.

Here’s an Oberlin graduate now:


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If she wins, we’ll all have to do it

Living with Alzheimer’s. (Okay, the photo isn’t really of our former First Lady, but it’s pretty close.)

Hillary Clinton

This will come in handy when the FBI finally gets around to question her.


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The rise and fall of the Roman Empire


The sack of Rome

Italian court rules that it’s not a crime to steal food if you’re hungry. And with that, the country is back to the most savage of pre-civilization rules or, if you like, the communist ideal of “to each according to his needs” – same thing.

Food vendors in Rome, hardly a wealthy lot, can now expect to be plucked bare by hungry people from all over the world (the defendant in this case was Ukrainian) while the police stand idly by, helpless to prevent what is not a crime.

No one (not many, anyway) want to see hungry people starve; that’s what charity and indeed, even the modern welfare state is about. But the court’s decision authorizing “direct action” by a single individual against another individual deemed less needy is an abrogation of the rights of all of us, and a return to Hobbe’s state of nature: “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.”

In a way, this abandonment of property rights is just a streamlining of what the state has already done: taking from some and giving it to others, without the administrative layers between the victim and the beneficiary, but at least the former system paid lip service to the concept of property rights and with it, an acknowledgment of a man’s right to the fruits of his labor. No property rights, no individual rights, no liberty. That was discovered long ago, and thugs and strongmen have been seeking to obliterate that concept ever since.

What happens in Rome won’t stay in Rome.


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On a more pleasant note

27 Pleasant Street

27 Pleasant Street

27 Pleasant Street, Cos Cob, reports a contract after just 13 days. The asking price of $905,000 is essentially what the seller paid in 2005 ($899,000), but holding steady’s never a bad thing.

As a reader commented yesterday, the under $1.5 inventory is flying off the shelves this spring, so if your house hasn’t, you’ve got something wrong with the price.


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Of course, you could always just “invest” in Greenwich real estate

95 Stanwich

Not such a good deal, in hindsight

95 Stanwich Road, which sold new in 2004 for $3.450 million, and again in 2007 for $3.890, has dropped its price today to $2.995.


25 Pecksland

25 Pecksland

Or 25 Pecksland Road, sold for $4.5 million in ’05, asked $4.995 last June, and as of today, is yours for $3.995. It’s a Jordan Saper house, which I never liked but the market did. Maybe that’s changing.


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Does this remind you of a certain municipality’s pension fund advisors?


Arno IIWarren Buffett doesn’t think money managers are worthy of their hire, and Greenwich certainly demonstrates that.

“[P]assive investors can do better than “hyperactive” investments handled by consultants and managers who charge high fees.

“It seems so elementary, but I will guarantee you that no endowment fund, no public pension fund, no extremely rich person” wants to believe it, he said. “They just can’t believe that because they have billions of dollars to invest that they can’t go out and hire somebody who will do better than average. I hear from them all the time.”

Supposedly sophisticated people, generally richer people, hire consultants, and no consultant in the world is going to tell you ‘just buy an S&P index fund and sit for the next 50 years.’ You don’t get to be a consultant that way. And you certainly don’t get an annual fee that way. So the consultant has every motivation in the world to tell you, ‘this year I think we should concentrate more on international stocks,’ or ‘this manager is particularly good on the short side,’ and so they come in and they talk for hours, and you pay them a large fee, and they always suggest something other than just sitting on your rear end and participating in the American business without cost. And then those consultants, after they get their fees, they in turn recommend to you other people who charge fees, which… cumulatively eat up capital like crazy.”

Mr. Buffett said he’s had a hard time convincing people of this case.

“I’ve talked to huge pension funds, and I’ve taken them through the math, and when I leave, they go out and hire a bunch of consultants and pay them a lot of money,” he said, earning a laugh from the crowd. “It’s just unbelievable.”

“And the consultants always change their recommendations a little bit from year to year. They can’t change them 100% because then it would look like they didn’t know what they were doing the year before. So they tweak them from year to year and they come in and they have lots of charts and PowerPoint presentations and they recommend people who are in turn going to charge a lot of money and they say, ‘well you can only get the best talent by paying 2-and-20,’ or something of the sort, and the flow of money from the ‘hyperactive’ to what I call the ‘helpers’ is dramatic.”

A passive investor whose money is in an S&P 500 index fund “absolutely gets the record of American industry,” he said. “For the population as a whole, American business has done wonderfully. And the net result of hiring professional management is a huge minus.”


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