Before Sleepy Joe's Super Tuesday and COVID-19's super-spreaders and the super-virus's increasing proximity to the super Supreme Leader and all the other stuff that will afflict us this coming week, a Monday miscellany of items that may not have caught your eye:
~From our Abbahu Akbar files, as Laura Rosen Cohen would say: For over a decade, I've been saying that we've been living through an extraordinary moment in human history - the conscious self-extinction of some of the oldest nations on the planet. Also for over a decade, I've been saying that if I had to pick a Continental country that would surrender to Sharia first, I'd plump for Sweden. As Laura noticed the other day, in a land that fifty years ago was almost entirely ethnically homogeneous, an increasing number of Swedish grade schools now have a student body whose first language is Arabic. Within thirty years, ethnic Swedes will be a minority in Sweden.
How do you manage such a transition? Obviously, you make it a hate crime even to raise the subject, you racist you. Still and all, people do tend to notice these things. So maybe it's time to move to the next phase and make the total transformation of cultural mores a sexy lifestyle choice. The above magazine cover is from Swedish Elle, hailing Imane Asry's stylish hijab as the "Look of the Year".
There's an utterly charming Irving Berlin song from a century ago:
The Girl I Love Is On The Magazine Cover
Now the girl I love is on the magazine covered. That's not an improvement.
You're not Muslim? Hey, relax; you don't have to be - yet. It's just the new chic. And, in certain of the livelier neighborhoods, it might lessen the risk of getting sexually assaulted when you're walking home after work.
But it isn't really a fashion "choice" for Miss Asry's co-religionists, is it? I shall miss Sweden's leggy sporty blondes when they're body-bagged and suffering from Vitamin D deficiency ...but they still, for the moment, have a choice about these things, and they should understand the one Elle is inviting a nation of famously liberated women to make. From I Am Curious (Yellow) to I Am Compliant (Black) in a mere half-century.
When Bernie says "democratic socialism" means he'd like America to be more like Scandinavia, he reveals himself as old-hat and hopelessly uninformed: I'd like Scandinavia to be more like Scandinavia.
~A headline from The New York Times:
'This Land Is Your Land' Is Still Private Property, Court Rules
This was an intra-leftie legal dispute as to whether that execrable jingle had fallen into the public domain. The judge ruled in favor of Woody Guthrie's heirs and publishers. But, as Ed Driscoll notes, "irony can be pretty ironic" when you consider this particular verse:
As I went walking I saw a sign there
And on the sign it said 'Private Property'
But on the other side it didn't say nothing
That side was made for you and me...
Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen sang those lines at the inauguration of President Obama, a man whose private property is so zealously guarded that you'll be shot dead if you try to take a peek at the blank side of the sign.
But my own particular favorite performance is from the Kennedy Center Honors, honoring in this particular case the above-mentioned Mr Seeger, the man The Washington Post hailed as America's "best-loved Commie". Roger McGuinn amended the lyric to reference a current controversy:
As I went walking I saw a sign there
And on the sign it said 'Proposition 187'
But on the other side it didn't say nothing...
Proposition 187 was a California ballot initiative that sought to prohibit illegal immigrants from non-emergency health care, public schools and whatnot. In 1994, lawful residents of the Golden State were still in sufficient numbers to pass the thing, but shortly thereafter it was struck down as "unconstitutional". So de jure this land was made for you and me and all seven billion inhabitants of this earth. The song starts at about six minutes in and do stay tuned for the delirious reaction of Hillary Clinton, delighted and applauding, to the above lines:
Everybody should have access to anyone's property, and the entire planet should have access to California, and a bunch of tuxedoed tosspots, including the President and First Lady, hoot and holler and cheer. For most of the last decade-and-a-half, no-one could get access to Mrs Clinton without ponying up a seven-figure sum to her fraudulent foundation.
Nevertheless, while "private property" and California general practitioners should be free for all, the song that commends such boundless generosity is a rare piece of private property you still have to pay for. Indeed, Pete Seeger himself spent much of his career enriching himself by taking public-domain folk songs into copyright as his "private property", and was not above stealing from impoverished blacks. As for Woody Guthrie's heirs:
Woody Guthrie Publications, which is led by Guthrie's daughter Nora, is a joint owner of the song's copyright. But after the case was filed four years ago, Ms. Guthrie, who has been the longtime keeper of her father's cultural legacy, said the dispute was about more than money. The copyright to "This Land," she said, allowed the song's message of inclusion to be protected from abuse and political jingoism.
"Our control of this song has nothing to do with financial gain," Ms. Guthrie said in an interview at the time, as the 2016 presidential campaigns were kicking into high gear. "It has to do with protecting it from Donald Trump, protecting it from the Ku Klux Klan, protecting it from all the evil forces out there."
But "protecting it from all the evil forces" is the rationale for all private property, not just Ms Guthrie's. Property laws are the only reason the grounds of Nancy Pelosi's mansion aren't as studded with human fecal matter as the rest of her grim, post-Proposition 187 city. When this land is everybody's land, it's literally a pile of crap.
~Freeman Dyson died on Friday at the age of 96. A great and far-sighted scientist with the mien of a Tolkien wizard (or at any rate an A-list hobbit), he should have gone on to celebrate his century, but, like many otherwise hale and hearty oldsters, especially at this time of year, he took a slight fall and never recovered.
His stellar scientific contribution is most swiftly distilled by a random round-up of the things that bear his name: the Dyson sphere, Dyson series, Dyson graphs, Dyson number, Dyson operator, Dyson conjecture, Dyson tree, Schwinger-Dyson equation, Dyson's transform, Dyson's eternal intelligence - the last of which is something to do with dodging the heat death of the universe. As to his intelligence in the more demotic sense, he is quoted in one of my climatological bestsellers, "A Disgrace to the Profession": The world's scientists - in their own words - on Michael E Mann, his Hockey Stick, and Their Damage to Science Volume I:
A model is such a fascinating toy that you fall in love with your creation... Every model has to be compared to the real world and, if you can't do that, then don't believe the model.
Indeed. That's as neat a summation as any of the petard on which the climate mullahs have hoist themselves, and also the big difference between a true scientist and activist hucksters like Mann. Dyson was not a "denier" nor any kind of "right-winger" (he loved Obama): As a scientist, he agreed that there was anthropogenic global warming partly caused by CO2 from fossil-fuel burning.
Unfortunately for him, he argued that much of the effect thereof was entirely beneficial to the planet and to man, and that the models were deeply flawed and the warm-mongers' faith in them had become religious. So Big Climate came down on him, more or less proving his point about "the way those people behave and the kind of intolerance to criticism that a lot of them have".
His own record prediction-wise was "a mixed bag". But he always admitted he was wrong, and endeavored to explain why he was wrong. James Hansen and his other critics might usefully give that a go.
~We had a busy weekend at SteynOnline, starting with the latest edition of Mark's Mailbox in which I answered questions from Steyn Club members on a range of topics from Michael Bloomberg to Evelyn Waugh. Kathy Shaidle's Saturday movie date dusted off a dystopian hippiesploitation cult classic, and my Sunday song selection celebrated some troubled water that was impossible to bridge. With Coronavirus on the march, we looked at what happens when the medical system itself spreads the disease. And, of course, our marquee presentation was my continuing Tale for Our Time: the John Buchan classic The Power-House. You can hear me read Part Seven here, Part Eight here and Part Nine here. If you were too busy washing your hands of Tom Steyer's presidential campaign this weekend, I hope you'll want to check out one or three of the foregoing as a new week begins.
The concluding episode of The Power-House airs tonight at SteynOnline just before Tucker. Tales for Our Time is a special bonus feature of The Mark Steyn Club. For more on the Steyn Club, see here.
Catch you on the telly tonight.
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