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Prop 13: Taxes and the Importance of an Open Mind – LA Progressive

Posted: September 13, 2020 at 11:54 am

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How Tibbetan Buddists Helped Me Seek Enlightenment at Howard Jarviss House

Want to stop worrying so much about the future of California? Go and say a prayer at Howard Jarviss house.

No historic plaques mark the five-bedroom home at 515 N. Crescent Heights Blvd., which sits between West Hollywood and L.A.s Miracle Mile. But this is where the famed anti-tax activist Jarvis lived, held meetings with Gov. Jerry Brown and other California players, and organized Proposition 13, 1978s tax-limiting ballot initiative that still dominates California politics.

Another fall fight over Prop 13 is underway. The November ballots Proposition 15 proposes to lift Prop 13 caps on taxing commercial properties, thus creatingdepending on whom you askeither billions of dollars for education or new burdens for businesses. So, recently, I went over to check on the historic houseand got an unexpected lesson about how California and its homes keep changing, even if its initiative politics never do.

The recognition that I have more questions than answers is OK. Because uncertainty about what comes next, for me or for a proposition or for a house, might be the most powerful answer we ever get.

Jarviss undistinguished gray house is nowNechung Dharmapala, L.A.s Tibetan Buddhist Center. The home has been painted a distinguished shade of orange associated with Buddhism. Above the front windows, two deer surround a wheel representing the Dharma, and a small stupaa hemispheric structure representing the enlightened mindrests outside the front door.

Inside, bedrooms are occupied by two monks, one an administrator, and the other the centers spiritual director. The large, high-ceilinged living room where Jarvis once conducted the angriest California politics of the 20th century has been turned into a 21st-century sanctuary for lessons on the renunciation of ego, the development of compassion, and the possibility of enlightenment for all beings.

At first, the homes political past and religious present seemed discordant, but the more I contemplated the place, the more I began to see the continuities and connections. Indeed, 515 N. Crescent Heights Blvd. has become a double-monument to both the perils of revolutions and the paradoxes of protection. The houses history asks: Why do humans suffer so much in their search for the safety and stability that this world only fleetingly provides?

Prop 13 was a great victory of a conservative California revolution that promised protectionagainst rising taxes, especially the property taxes that raise the cost of homes and thus displace people. The paradox is that the protector Prop 13 hasnt protected us from Californias high taxes or extortionate housing prices.

Protection is also Nechung Dharmapalas reason for being. This Buddhist center is associated with Tibets centuries-old Nechung Monastery, which is the headquarters of the State Oracle of Tibet, who embodies the deity Pehar, also known as The Protector of Religion.

Of course, the protector Pehar couldnt stop Chinese communists from destroying Nechung Monastery and Tibets other religious sites after the 1949 revolution. But therein lies the paradox. The communists attacks on religion actually protected the faith. Tibetan Buddhists fled, spreading their teachings and establishing centers around the globe, eventually reaching Howard Jarviss front door.

Jarviss Tudor-style house was built in 1925, according to county records. Jarvis, a Utah native and jack Mormon (he drank cheap vodka he carried in his briefcase), bought it in 1941 for $8,000. He stayed there for the rest of his life, through at least one renovation and three marriages, the last to Estelle Garcia.

During the 1970s and 1980s, Jarvis held court in a big comfortable chair, smoking a cigar and eating Estelles corn soup, while distinguished visitors sat on simple sofas. The house was filled with energy and the conviction that a handful of people, without holding office, could upend the world.

There were some curses, but no prayers, recalls the Jarvis aide Joel Fox, who also served for a time as president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, which remains a force, leading this falls campaign to fight Prop 15, and thus protect Prop 13.

Prop 13 governs modern California because it controls the money: Specifically, it requires a two-thirds popular vote to raise local taxes, and a two-thirds vote of the legislature to raise state taxes. But most Californians associate it with its property tax provisions, which cap overall taxes and allow for the reassessment of properties at market value only when they are sold.

When Prop 13 passed, Jarviss 3,000-square-foot home, on a 5,900-square-foot lot in a desirable part of L.A.s westsidewhich hed bought nearly 40 years earlierwas assessed at less than $60,000. Its annual tax bills, based on that low base, would stay below $1,000, even as neighboring homeowners paid 10 times that. In 2005, the home assessed value for tax purposes was $75,854; in 2006, after Estelle died (Jarvis himself died in 1986), it was reassessed at $1.25 million.

The house was sold in 2008 according to county records, and put up for sale again in 2013as Tibetan Buddhists were growing desperate in their search for an L.A. headquarters.

The Nechung Kuten, who is also the Chief State Oracle of Tibet, had visited L.A. in 2007 and 2009 and called for the establishment of a center where Tibetans, Mongolians, and Westerners could study and practice Buddhism in a non-sectarian way. A donor stepped forward to fund a center, but finding the right placewith both a big gathering room and small bedrooms quiet enough for monkswas hard. Until a real estate agent took them to 515 N. Crescent Heights Blvd.

They bought the house in 2013 for $1.38 million. It took more than a year to redecorate the home in a Tibetan style, construct the shrine, and install the Buddha statues. In 2014, the center opened, and the space is often full.

In Jarviss old living room, resident teacher Geshe Wangchuk now presides. He became a monk at age 12 (with ordination at the Nechung Monastery in Dharamsala, India) and arrived at Nechung L.A. in 2016. Hes skilled not only in explaining Buddhist philosophy but in the creation of sand mandalas and butter sculptures.

During the pandemic, Geshe Wangchuk shifted his daily practices and weekly teachings online. On Saturday mornings this summer, I watched him instruct, via, Zoom, and Facebook, a highly diverse group of Californians. The lessons leaned on a text, The Three Principal Aspects of the Path, by Je Tsongkhapa, a 14th-century teacher of Tibetan Buddhism. One passage presented a particular puzzle:

Furthermore when appearance dispels the extreme of existence, And when emptiness dispels the extreme of non-existence, And if you understand how emptiness arises as cause and effect, You will never be captivated by views grasping at extremes.

I wondered if a mind could really be that open. Does avoiding extremes require feeling empty and uncertain about whether you actually exist? And how, I asked, might I apply such enlightenment to 515 N. Crescent Heights Blvd. or any of the extremes of todays California?

The team at Nechung L.A. had no idea of the houses history and knew nothing of Jarvis. In a conversation with Nechung L.A.s board secretary, Tenzin Thokme, I found myself starting to explain Prop 13, and then why Prop 15 is in the news. But my explanations were mostly just questions. Might Prop 15 pull a few billion more dollars out of commercial property and into the schools? Or might the initiatives many exemptions be exploited by wealthy property owners? Might this measure at the very least make a symbolic strike against Prop 13or will the whole exercise just reinforce Prop 13s power?

But if I understood Geshe Wangchuk, the recognition that I have more questions than answers is OK. Because uncertainty about what comes next, for me or for a proposition or for a house, might be the most powerful answer we ever get. Je Tsongkhapa taught it best 600 years ago: If the entire object of grasping at certitude is dismantled, at that point your analysis of the view has culminated.

Joe Mathews Zcalo

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Prop 13: Taxes and the Importance of an Open Mind - LA Progressive

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September 13th, 2020 at 11:54 am

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Meera Sodha’s vegan recipe for Shaoxing and soy braised tofu with pak choi – The Guardian

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Meera Sodhas braised Shaoxing tofu. Photograph: Louise Hagger/The Guardian. Food styling: Emily Kydd. Prop styling: Jennifer Kay. Food assistant: Katy Gilhooly.

After considerable experimentation, Im willing to put a stake in the ground and say that Ive found a favourite way with tofu. Of course, there might soon be another new favourite way, but until then, it is this: fry it hard, then braise it. Frying it over a high heat gives the tofu a crisp exterior, while a quick soft braise makes those crisp edges delightfully chewy and allows the tofu to soak up whatever sauce its put in. This was a point of kitchen enlightenment for me, and I hope it is for you, too.

Its worth doing all the prep up front and putting things into small piles within reach of the stove, because this comes together in a few minutes. Shaoxing wine tastes much like dry sherry and many major supermarkets now stock their own brand; otherwise, youll find it in any Chinese supermarket.

Prep 15 min Cook 45 min Serves 4

8 dried shiitake mushrooms (or 10g) 1 tbsp cornflour 2 tbsp Shaoxing wine 2 tbsp light soy sauce 1 tbsp dark soy sauce 1 tsp caster sugar 450g extra-firm tofu, pressed to remove the water 2 tbsp neutral oil 3cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated 5 garlic cloves, peeled and minced 6 spring onions, trimmed and cut on a steep angle 2 birds eye chillies, finely chopped 250g pak choi, shredded Steamed rice, to serve

Put the mushrooms in a small heatproof bowl and pour over 300ml freshly boiled water. Theyll do their best to float, but immerse them by pressing them down with a spoon or gently pressing the base of another bowl on top. Leave for 10 minutes, then squeeze out the mushrooms into the bowl, and finely slice the flesh; put both the liquid and mushrooms to one side.

In a separate little bowl, mix the cornflour with two tablespoons of the mushroom stock, then add the Shaoxing wine, both soy sauces and the sugar, stir and put to one side.

Once youve pressed all the water from your tofu, cut it into 1.5cm slices. In your widest nonstick pan for which you have a lid, heat two tablespoons of oil over a medium heat and, when very hot, add the tofu slices in a single layer. Leave to fry for three to five minutes, until golden then flip over with a spatula and fry the other side. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

In the same pan, on a medium to high heat (add a little extra oil, if need be) and, when hot, add the ginger, garlic, spring onions and chillies and fry for about four minutes, until fragrant. Turn down the heat, then add the cornflour and soy sauce mixture, the sliced mushrooms and their reserved stock (save for the final teaspoon or two, which may contain some grit), and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then return the tofu slices to one side of the pan and put the shredded pak choi on the other side. Cover the pan, leave for five minutes until the tofu is hot and the greens tender, then take off the heat. Distribute across four plates and serve with freshly steamed or boiled rice.

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Meera Sodha's vegan recipe for Shaoxing and soy braised tofu with pak choi - The Guardian

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Pakistan sees its face in the mirror and doesnt like what it sees – The Indian Express

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Written by Khaled Ahmed | Updated: September 12, 2020 9:20:49 am Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. (Reuters Photo/File)

Pratap Bhanu Mehta recently (Simply Vishwas, IE, August 26) wrote: Politics of belief (vishwas) is different from one based on fact and interest. It has an underlying cultural nihilism. In Pakistan, it has an association with ideology serving as the foundation of the Islamic State.

The word ideologie came into use during the French Revolution and postulated a sure and encyclopaedic form of knowledge upon which social engineering could be based. Ideology came on the scene as a champion of Enlightenment and rival of religion, but it soon acquired the status of a dogma. The principal voice of the ideologues and author of Elements dIdeologie, Antoine Destutt de Tracy (1754-1836), spoke frankly of regulating society.

Most ideologues possess a kind of certitude, not just that utopia can be built but that it is destined to be built. Nothing promotes aggression more than certitude. Yet, a fatalistic trust in the tide of history and the ideological frame of mind go together. However, history cannot be left alone to unfold the passionate intensity (W B Yeats) of ideology craves movement and deeds. It has been said that ideology is the transformation of ideas into social levers. During the month of fasting this year, ideology and its certitude once again threaten Pakistan with violence. Mehtas vishwas may be linked to certitude and consequent aggression.

The founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, did use the word ideology once or twice during the Pakistan Movement, but it was in the Western liberal sense. The USSR had an ideology which was fixed. If you opposed Soviet ideology you could go to jail. In Iran, there is an ideology which no one can oppose. The only difference is that in Iran it can be done in the detail but not in principle.

In the USSR, the Communist Party looked after ideology. In Iran, the clergy appointed by the constitution does the same job. In Pakistan, ideology gained respect after 1947 and some of it, it must be confessed, came from the USSR and its great economic achievement. India was democratic. Pakistan was ideological. India was an ordinary concept as a state. Pakistan was something special. The Left thought ideological meant socialism. The Right thought it meant Islam. The utopia of the Right was falahi (welfare) state, somewhat akin to the communist utopia. Today, Imran Khan calls it the State of Madina.

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All politicians in Pakistan proudly claim to be nazriati (ideological). It can mean principled, but it also points to an Islamic utopia. Pakistan has tried to define this utopia. But under General Ziaul Haq, a committee called Ansari Commission said Islam did not allow opposition. So, the general had a non-party election and there was no opposition in parliament. It was clear that Pakistan did not equate ideology with democracy. There is a Federal Shariat Court in Islamabad to make sure everything happens in Pakistan according to Islam. That is very much like ideology.

The clerical view is that the Pakistani utopia should be recreated in the light of the sharia, which also includes the fiqh (case law) of the medieval jurists of Islam. Alas, in the eyes of the clergy, the state remains incompletely ideological and, therefore, an unhappy state. It is a small island on which the non-clerical Right and a minuscule Left are surviving in Pakistan. Needless to say, the clerics are unhappy and denounce the state.

Muslims who want to be modern-Islamic are unhappy because the state cant move quickly enough to assimilate the new universalism. Muslims who want the state to be perfectly Islamic are unhappy with it for being tardy in rejecting modernity. You have to be a good Pakistani. That means you have to love the idea of Pakistan as a state that lives separated from India.

If you imply that Pakistan is not separate from India or that it should re-join it, you go in for rigorous imprisonment. This is a special shibboleth. An American can say America should join China and still be free. But in Pakistan, you can be hauled up for implying Pakistans un-separateness.

Ideology interfaces with nationalism. Ideology remains Islam, but dont ask to go into details. Pakistan is unhappy because of the inclusive constitutional principle of nothing repugnant to Islam. Pakistan is liveable today for some because it is insufficiently ideological. For some, this incompleteness is a source of unhappiness. Its constitution seems to promise two contradictory things at the same time. No one is really reconciled to the state as it is. Those not reconciled are all good Pakistanis or Muslims, but they may not consider each other good Pakistanis or Muslims.

The acme of nationalism is fascism, which then becomes ideology. Ideology, because of its utopian control, also aspires to fascism. Stalin fought against fascism but then created an ideological state, which was not much different from Hitlers Germany. Pakistan is like Caliban. It sees its face in the mirror and doesnt like what it sees.

This article first appeared in the print edition on September 12, 2020 under the title Divided by ideology. The writer is consulting editor, Newsweek Pakistan.

The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines

For all the latest Opinion News, download Indian Express App.

The Indian Express (P) Ltd

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Pakistan sees its face in the mirror and doesnt like what it sees - The Indian Express

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When Monuments Fall | by Kenan Malik – The New York Review of Books

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Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images Protesters for and against the removal of the Emancipation Memorial arguing as workers install a fence to protect the monument in Lincoln Park, Washington, D.C., June 25, 2020

We stand today at the national center to perform something like a national actan act which is to go into history.

So said the great nineteenth-century former slave and staunch abolitionist Frederick Douglass at the unveiling of the Emancipation Memorial in Lincoln Park, Washington, D.C., in 1876. That we are here in peace today, Douglass told a crowd of almost 25,000, many of them African-American, is a compliment and a credit to American civilization, and a prophecy of still greater national enlightenment and progress in the future.

The idea for the memorial had come originally from former slave Charlotte Scott, of Virginia, who wanted a monument in honor of Abraham Lincoln. She gave five dollars to begin a funding drive, and the monument was eventually paid for entirely by former slaves.

Almost a hundred and fifty years later, many African Americans feel differently about the memorial. In June, Black Lives Matter protesters attempted, unsuccessfully, to topple the statue. D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton vowed to introduce legislation to have the memorial removed. The Boston Art Commission unanimously resolved to take down a copy of the statue in Boston.

Some critics of the statue view Lincoln as a false friend of African Americans. Others see the statue itself as demeaning, with Lincoln represented as standing upright, while the free black man is on his knees. For defenders of the statue, on the other hand, to remove it is to erase a memorial paid for by former slaves and anointed by Douglass. It is to besmirch black history itself.

What is striking in this contemporary debate is that there is nothing new about it. It goes back to the very creation of the monument. Douglass, even in his dedication speech, expressed his ambivalence about Lincoln. Abraham Lincoln was not, he observed, in the fullest sense of the word, either our man or our model. In his interests, in his associations, in his habits of thought, and in his prejudices, he was a white man. He continued:

To protect, defend, and perpetuate slavery in the states where it existed, Abraham Lincoln was not less ready than any other President to draw the sword of the nation. He was ready to execute all the supposed guarantees of the United States Constitution in favor of the slave system anywhere inside the slave states. He was willing to pursue, recapture, and send back the fugitive slave to his master, and to suppress a slave rising for liberty, though his guilty master were already in arms against the Government.

And yet, he acknowledged, while Abraham Lincoln saved for you a country, he delivered us from a bondage, according to Jefferson, one hour of which was worse than ages of the oppression your fathers rose in rebellion to oppose.

Todays controversies over statues of racists and slave owners have a more recent backstory, too. In March 2015, a South African activist named Chumani Maxwele smeared excrement on a statue of Cecil Rhodes at the University of Cape Town. So began the Rhodes Must Fall campaign. The following month, the university authorities removed the statue. Rhodes Must Fall became an international cause and popular Twitter hashtag. The campaign took root most notably in Oxford, Britain, where another statue of Rhodes had stood for over a century, above an entrance to Oriel College, to which he left 100,000 in his will.

A parallel campaign developed meanwhile against Confederate statues in the US. While there have long been campaigns against such memorials, the moves to take them down acquired a new intensity after the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville in 2017. That year, thirty-six Confederate monuments were removed. This year, amid the rekindled Black Lives Matter protests that erupted after the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota in May, another thirty at least have come down.

As the protests went global, demonstrators in Bristol, England, toppled a statue of a slave trader named Edward Colston and dumped it in the docks. That acted as a catalyst for the release of pent-up fury: the following day, in London, the statue of slave trader Robert Milligan was removed from outside the Museum of London Docklands by the public trust responsible for the site. Then protests erupted in Belgium, where statues of King Leopold II, under whose rule the Congo had been turned into a brutal slave camp in the late nineteenth century, were defaced and taken down. This wave of iconoclasm moved again back across the Atlantic, where not just Confederate memorials but statues of Columbus, Jefferson, Washington, and others were toppled.

At the heart of all this lie two fundamental questions: What do statues, and their removal, tell us about the pastand the present? And what do the campaigns against statues tell us about the struggle to confront racism?

Critics of the toppling campaigns condemn what they regard as the rewriting of history. After demands for the removal of a statue of Winston Churchill in Parliament Square, British Prime Minister Boris Johnsonhimself a biographer of Churchilltweeted: We cannot now try to edit or censor our past. We cannot pretend to have a different history. To remove statues would be to lie about our history, and impoverish the education of generations to come, he said.

The British-based American historian Christopher Phelps rejects such claims, arguing that removing statues is little different from the normal practice of history. To reconsider, to recast, is the essence of historical practice, he wrote in The Chronicle of Higher Education in January. It follows that altering how we present the past through commemorative symbols is not ahistorical. It is akin to what historians do. Removing statues does not vitiate history, he insisted; on the contrary, it represents a more thorough coming to terms with the past and its legacies, a refusal to forget.

Statues are rarely about history as such; they are about memory. That is, they are part of the process of shaping perceptions of history. That is why they have long been sites of contestation, and not just in the present.


The story of Edward Colstons statue in Bristol highlights the way that statues make concreteor marble or bronze, so to speakthe attempt to memorialize a particular historical narrative. Colston was a Bristol-born merchant who made his fortune in large part from the slave trade. Upon his death, he left much of his wealth to charities.

The statue of Colston was not erected, however, during his lifetime. Nor even in the aftermath of his death. It was put up almost two centuries after he had died. And that memorialization had less to do with Colston himself than with fears about growing class tensions in Bristol. In the 1890s, there was in Bristol, as elsewhere in industrial Britain, considerable working-class discontent and union agitation. More than a decade of economic recession, low wages, and poor working conditions, combined with continued disenfranchisement of large sections of the working class, led to waves of strikes and a series of bloody confrontations between workers and police.

Against this background of escalating strife, city leaders, both in politics and business, decided to erect a statue of a philanthropic businessman to act as a symbol of civic pride. Various names were proffered as suitable candidates. Bristols elite settled on Colston. His involvement in slavery was seen not as a matter of shame but almost as a badge of pride at a time that saw the emergence of a new age of high imperialism, exemplified by the Scramble for Africa in the final decades of the nineteenth century. This was a period, too, in which the notion of the racial superiority of the British people evolved from being an elite ideology to become part of patriotic popular culture, celebrated in mass circulation newspapers, penny-dreadful novels, and popular entertainment. For Bristols ruling class, Colstons statue was an attempt to use myths of Britains racial superiority to defuse disaffection at home.

Confederate statues in America served a different political purpose, but they were equally about ransacking the past to serve the needs of the present. There are, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, 780 Confederate monuments or statues in the US, almost half of which are in three states: Georgia, Virginia, and North Carolina. Most of these monuments were erected not in the immediate aftermath of the Civil War, which ended in 1865, but between the 1890s and the 1950s, the era of Jim Crow segregation. Most were, in fact, installed in the first two decades of the twentieth century, when the Jim Crow system was still being established in the American South. There was a smaller spike in the 1950s and 1960s, as part of the backlash against the civil rights movement and desegregation.

Maryland remained in the Union during the Civil War. While it was a slave stateboth Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman were born into slavery in Marylandalmost half of African Americans in the state were free, and it boasted the largest number of free blacks in any US state. Thousands of Marylanders fought for the Confederacy, but almost three times as many took up arms for the Union. In the twentieth century, however, three Confederate statues were erected in Baltimore, the states most important city, including one honoring Generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson built as late as 1948. They were not commemorating the history of Maryland, or of the Civil War, but rewriting the history of the war as a just and moral struggle, to justify the present-day denial of rights to African Americans as also just and moral.

What statues of Colston and Lincoln, of Churchill and Lee, tell us, then, is less about these figures themselves than about how later generations wanted to retell their stories in a way that buttressed the demands and desires of a particular elite. The fact that statues are not straightforward expressions of history, but ways of shaping memory, is not, though, an argument that necessarily makes their removal more valid. The arguments for taking down statues are often as ragged as those for retaining them.

Histories and biographies are both complex narratives, rarely cleaving to good and bad. On both sides of the statue debate, there is a reluctance to acknowledge that complexity, and a tendency to look only upon one aspect of a historical figure, whether good or bad, and to make that the only issue worth discussing. Figures such as Churchill or Jefferson have long been celebrated for their great deeds, while their despicable acts or immoral views were overlooked or ignored. Many in Britain have still not heard of the Bengal Famine, or of Churchills role in it, or know little of the brutal reality of the British Empire. More people in America probably know of Jeffersons slaveholding, but until recently, it has barely figured in national discussions.

National and imperial history has long been whitewashed, and the sordid, immoral aspects of the lives of revered historical figures have often been airbrushed. That does not mean, however, that critics of such history should themselves adopt a one-eyed viewthat we should damn Churchill or Jefferson for the deplorable aspects of their lives or views without also considering either the historical context or their other qualities that might make them historically significant.

Even those usually seen as progressive figures often held deeply regressive attitudes. William Wilberforce, for instance, is generally celebrated for his campaigning against slavery, yet he was also hostile to working-class suffrage and believed that trade unions should be suppressed. Leading Suffragettes such as Emmeline Pankhurst supported eugenics. Gandhi expressed racist views about black Africans during his early career in South Africa: because of this, a statue of him was removed from the University of Accra, in Ghana, in 2018, and there have been calls for another statue of him to be removed from Leicester, England, and for one not be erected in Manchester. The demand that we should only celebrate or honor those without moral stain is a demand for a fantasy world expunged of all moral complexity.

There is nothing wrong in principle in removing statues: icons are created, icons are torn downthis has happened throughout history. Moral complexity may be an argument against unthinking iconoclasm. It is not, however, an argument for never taking down statues. What we should avoid, though, is mirroring the kind of cartoonish history embodied in many of these statues by viewing them as tropes for good and bad. No human is entirely saintly; few are without redeeming qualities. There can be no hard and fast rules to justify iconoclasm, only judgments.

Some contemporary iconoclasts argue that they are not interested in parsing the character of historical figures, but simply want to redefine how we view history. The toppling of statues is a symbolic act of destruction to liberate the past from the control of the powerful, and to begin rethinking it from the point of view of the ruled and the vanquished, not through the eyes of victors.

There is, though, no single way of rethinking history from the point of view of the ruled and the vanquished. The historical significance of the American Revolution, the legacy of the American Civil War, Gandhis social attitudesall are matters of fierce debate, not just between the powerful and the masses, but among the ruled and the vanquished, too. Those debates demand a more nuanced view of history and biography; to balance, as Douglass does, Lincolns willingness to protect, defend, and perpetuate slavery in the states where it existed with his leadership in the Civil War, not to ignore Jeffersons slaveholding and attitudes to black people but equally not to forget the part he played in the Revolution, to acknowledge both Gandhis racist views of black Africans and his accomplishments in the struggle for Indian independence. Not to do soto focus solely on Jeffersons slaveholding, say, or on Gandhis racismwould be to mimic the actions of those who first erected statues as a means of imposing their stamp on historical memory.

This is not an argument for moral relativism. It is possible and necessary to distinguish between historical figures defined predominantly by their racism or their slaveholding, or those whose statues were constructed primarily as a way of intimidating certain groups, from others whose lives are more variegated, in part to be deprecated, in part to be honored. This is a way of making a distinction between the memorialization of Colston and Lee, say, and that of Jefferson and Gandhi. At the very least, this offers a way of opening up public debate on these issues rather than shutting it down by insisting on a singular view of the past.

Of course, coming to some consensus on such issues is not easy. In Bristol, for instance, there had earlier been an acceptance that the best solution to the Colston statue might be to leave it standing but replace the plaque with one that gave a fuller, more critical account of his life. There were, though, fierce disagreements over what the new plaque should say. In the end, the protesters made their own decision, foreclosing that debate.

Most statues were erected on the say-so of a particular elite to promote a self-serving historical narrative. What we should be wary of, now, is for any decision to be taken by a backroom committee, or by a government body, or even by a single group of protesters. Deciding what to do with those statues now should not be the work of any group that might represent only a small part of the community. That would merely be to replace the wishes of a historical elite with those of an equally unrepresentative contemporary group.


The second question at the heart of contemporary iconoclasm concerns what these campaigns tell us about the struggle to confront racism. There are two main arguments about why the removal of statues of racists or slavers may be a necessary part of the battle against racism. First, that statues of racists or enslavers or colonizers are demeaning or hurtful to black people and other marginalized groups, who cannot feel they truly belong in a society that maintains such symbols of degradation. And second, that statues express the values of a society. Any society that takes seriously its disavowal of racism must, iconoclasts argue, also remove any symbols or embodiments of such racism.

It is not difficult to see why a statue of Rhodes in South Africa might cause anger, nor why African Americans might resent Confederate statues designed to symbolize the enforcement of white supremacy. And yet, we should be careful about pushing this argument too far. There is a danger of slipping from the rightful claim that certain monuments or forms of social symbolism can create unwelcoming environments for marginalized people into an assumption that black people are psychologically fragile, replacing a language of resilience and rights with one of traumathat, as one supporter of the #Rhodesmustfall campaign claimed, seeing Rhodes so recognised is a deep wound.

Certainly, the past shapes the present and history can mold our emotions. But marginalized groups are not trapped by their history; nor is that history the cause of unending psychological trauma. It would be disastrous if anti-racists today were led to argue so, or to invest the past with too great a power over the present.

Monuments, it is true, are designed to shape memory and to use the past to engage in the struggles of the present. But this should not lead inevitably to the conclusion that statues embodying values no longer held by society should come down.

All history is a conversation between the present and the past. Over time, that conversation necessarily changes, as the figures and events that we regard as significant, and the reasons for viewing them as significant, change. And as the conversation changes, so does the meaning of statues (or any cultural artifact, whether literary, musical, or architectural). Its not just that historical research may unearth new facts about the lives of Colston or Rhodes or Jefferson; its also that the meaning we attribute to those facts shifts.

From this perspective, statues of Colston or Rhodes or Jefferson tell us not just that these men were racists or imperialists or slaveholders, but also how far we have moved from the days in which our societies celebrated racists or imperialists or slavery. The very fact that we are having this debate is a demonstration of that distance. The issue is as much about how we read statues and monuments as about what is symbolically written into them.

Traditionally, most forms of iconoclasm occur either because rulers are trying to shore up their own power by expunging rivals from the record or because the masses have moved to overthrow an old regime. The earliest recorded case of someone being physically anulled from the historical record is probably that of Hatshepsut, a female pharaoh in the fifteenth century BCE. Her successor, Thutmose III, attempted to erase her from public memory by ordering her statues to be torn down and her image to be chiseled off stone walls. In modern times, from the French Revolution to the dismantling of the Soviet empire, statues have often been toppled en masse by popular outrage upon the removal of a reviled regime.

Todays iconoclasm is different, falling into neither of these traditional categories. Rather, the taking down of statues has become a goal in itself, as an act of social transformation. The danger arises if the symbolic act comes to replace material change. The South African activist Siya Mnyanda, a former student at the University of Cape Town, wrote in 2015 wishing that the same amount of energy that has been used to campaign for #Rhodesmustfall had been expended on fighting for a more just and sound education system, better access to student funding and the building of more universities promised by the government. Dena Latif, a black student at Oxford University, has similarly argued that the campaign became a form of displacement: My problem with it lies in the use of an old statue as a symbol of Oxfords racism. Why do people have to look 150 years into the past to see the issue? The American historian Cheryl Hudson insists that Campaigners are deluding themselves if they think that removing a flag or statue will make any difference to inequalities of race, class or gender.

The debate over statuesand the wider debates around the Black Lives Matter movementhave thrust the issue of our relationship to history into public consciousness. We should seize this moment to think more deeply about the complexities of the past that have shaped the present. To recognize, for instance, that the Enlightenment was crucial to the development of progressive social ideals, laying the ground for modern ideas of equality and liberty, but also that, through slavery and colonialism, these ideals were denied to the majority of people across the globe, and their lives were often ripped apart in the most grotesque ways, and their societies degraded. To recognize, too, that the same historical figuressuch as Locke, Jefferson, Pankhurstcould stand on both sides of this equation.

Perhaps the best way to express the changing attitudes toward the past is not necessarily to tear down statues, but to put up new ones that allow us to acknowledge the complexities of history. Frederick Douglass himself was of this view. Days after he had spoken at the dedication of the Emancipation Memorial in Lincoln Park, he wrote a letteronly recently unearthedto the National Republican newspaper. In it, he aired his own misgivings about that statue. The negro here, though rising, is still on his knees and nude, he wrote. Douglass went on to suggest that there was room for another memorial in Lincoln Park:

What I want to see before I die is a monument representing the negro, not couchant on his knees like a four-footed animal, but erect on his feet like a man.

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17-year-old junior hockey player hopes his coming out will inspire others –

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Moncton Flyers forward Yanic Duplessis celebrates a goal. Duplessis went public this week with news he is gay.

As Quebec Major Junior Hockey Leagueplayers gear up for a season they hope will change their lives, a goal-scoring 17-year-old New Brunswickerdecided not to wait for the puck to drop before changing his.

Yanic Duplessis, an elite-level playerwho was drafted by the QMJHL's Drummondville Voltigeurs in 2019, revealed he is gay earlier this week.

In the hockey world, that qualifies as significantnews. One of the reasons the native of Saint-Antoine, N.B., decided to step forward is to help make such announcements unremarkable.

"It was a struggle for me, and it shouldn't be," he said in an interview with CBC's Quebec AM, later adding "it shouldn't be a big deal."

And for Duplessis, it was. He tells of anxiety attacks at school and calling his mother to pick him up; he speaks of his fear that he would be found out in what remains, in his words, "a very macho, manly sport."

After revealing the truth to his parents last year, Duplessis decided to go public in an interview with the Atlantic Canadian FDS Podcast Network on Labour Day.

The reaction to his announcement suggests he needn't have worried. The outpouring of public support was swift and considerable.

It included social media messages from people in the hockey world, like former Montreal Canadiens player Guillaume Latendresse, and former NHL tough guy and current Quebec MNA Enrico Ciccone.

Perhaps most touching: the reaction from his peers and teammates. And one of them in particular.

"He came home and started crying because he said 'I didn't know you were going through this alone, and you should have told us'," Duplessis said.

He said though his dressing room experiences "haven't been that bad," he's heard hurtful and occasionally hateful words. But he thinks they mostly came from a place of ignorance.

"The things that were said," he said, pausing. "If they knew I was gay, I'm sure they wouldn't have said what they did."

The fact that Duplessis hasheard homophobic language, in a sport which has taken such things far more seriously in the past half-decade, nevertheless shows hockey's enlightenment when it comes to sexual orientation isn't yet complete.

Former professional player Brock McGillis knows all about that. He came out in 2016, and was the first openly-gay pro player.

He has been in contact with Duplessis and his family for some time, and offered advice and supportthrough the process.

"I'm always a little hesitant when someone chooses to come out in men's hockey culture, and sports culture in general, especially at a young age because I'm worried about how they're going to be treated in the game," McGillis said.

McGillis experienced dressing room homophobia first-hand, and half-jokes "even more so since I've become an advocate."

But he also says that each time an LGBTQ player steps forward at least five by his countthe support they receive gets incrementally bigger.

His first feeling when he saw the support for Duplessis?

"I was sohappy," he said. "The biggest takeaway is: when we humanize issues for people they will more often than not step up. As we humanize, we can educate and have an impact."

McGillis said many gay hockey players are sometimes reticent to contact him directly.

"I have kids all over North America, some come through their secret, fake Instagram accounts," he said. "There's a lot of kids out there struggling with this. And it only makes sense."

But the more role models there are, the more people reach out.

Duplessissaid he hopesto make it a little easier for others in his position to step forward.

And it's already happening. Hesaid he's received messages from several people in the hockey world saying, in effect, "Yeah, me too."

What he didn'texpect is so much public andmedia attention.

"I didn't think it was going to go this far," he said. "But I'm glad it did."

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In the beginning…the important things – The Hillsdale Daily News

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By Everett Henes

The opening words of the Bible set the stage for everything that follows, "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." These words teach us some important things. The first is that God is. God exists. The Bible takes this for granted because it is the word of God. This is the great presupposition of every believer. Gods existence is the foundation for knowledge, science, and morality. Without Gods existence all of these things fall apart. Culture around us proves this to be true. Nothing seems to be grounded in fact. Morality is constantly changing such that what was known to be right and true twenty years ago is known to be truly wrong now. Even what we know and how has become a slippery slope. Why? Because without the rationality of Scripture we are left with our own irrationality.

Genesis declares to us that God exists and, further, that everything else that exists has been created by him. That means the world should exhibit design, and it does. Think of the way the human body works. Its so intricate that it takes a team of technicians to build a robotic replacement for any part. The irony, of course, is that it takes a team to design and build that replacement and yet so many people believe the world is a result of chance and time. Whether you believe the world is old or young, the reality is that everything around us and within us exhibits design.

At the end of the creation account we read, "God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good." (Genesis 1:31) God made all things good in the beginning. The broken world we see around us and within us is the result of what we will see in Genesis 3. From the start, though, God made all things very good. Psalm 19:1 teaches, "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork."

The truth is that everything in creation has a purpose. One of the more humorously named parts of the body is the appendix. The word appendix is a Latin word meaning something attached. Its what you find at the end of a book but is generally unnecessary for the story. Since it is unclear what the organ does, it is referred to as something that is attached to the other digestive organs. Just because its unclear what function it has in the body doesnt mean that it has none. There are plenty of things in creation that dont have a function that we can understand, but that doesnt mean they serve no purpose. We are still growing in our knowledge. While we know more about creation than was known a thousand years ago, we dont want to make the mistake that we know it all and that anything we dont know isnt worth knowing. Creation is not inexhaustive, but it does reflect its Author who is inexhaustible.

God made all things from nothing in the space of six days and all very good. The crown of his creation is on day six. It is there that we read, "Then God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." (Genesis 1:26) Mankind is created by God, for a purpose. The very next verse says, "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them."

These words are, quite possibly, the most offensive in the Bible in our current day. We have gone from irrationality to irrationality and embraced things that are contrary to nature. The widescale rejection of God has not led to enlightenment and pleasure, but the opposite. We are entering a new kind of dark ages that opposes free thinking and makes pleasure out of things that are debased. This is not surprising to anyone who has been watching the tides of culture these past decades. What began with simple questions of whether Gods word is true has devolved into a rejection of all truth. Well see, in the coming weeks, that this is precisely what happens in Genesis. The good news is that if the Bible diagnoses the problem, that means it will also provide the solution.

Pastor Everett Henes, the pastor of the Hillsdale Orthodox Presbyterian Church, can be reached at

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FRSC partners Health Foundation on drivers certification The Sun Nigeria – Daily Sun

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Rivers Command of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) has pledged to collaborate with Save a Life Foundation towards ensuring mental and overall wellbeing for drivers to curtail road accidents related deaths.

The state Sector Commander, Corps Commandant Salisu Galadunchi, made the pledge during a health enlightenment lecture organised by the foundation for staff of the command on Sunday in Port Harcourt.

In his lecture, Dr Richard Okoye, CEO/President of the foundation, revealed that most road accidents and related deaths were preventable as they were usually caused by reckless driving and use of intoxicant by drivers.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has defined health as a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

Based on WHO premises, we are therefore, seeking for a collaboration with the FRSC to enhance testing and certification for drivers before allowing them to drive on Nigerian roads.

This measure would indeed boost safety on our roads, Okoye said.

Galadunchi applauded the foundation for its contributions toward promoting good health, adding that the foundations message of health would be appropriately channeled to respective authorities.

He added that the massage on health as propagated by the foundation was in accordance with the Corps 2020 strategic goal initiatives.

He said that part of the 2020 initiative was to minimise the risk of death in road traffic related occurances.

This health enlightenment programme is clearly in line with guiding policy for the Corps Marshals where staff of 40 years and above are directed to undergo compulsory medical checks.

I urge us all to give more attention to matters of our health by keying into the mission and vision of the Save a life Foundation, he said.

Galadunchi also advised staff of the command to engage in regular medical checks to enhance healthy lifestyle.(NAN)

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LIVING HISTORY: Keeper of the Books at library of the ages – The Courier

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Its Scotlands oldest and original lending facility, created in 1680 before union with England. Andrew Welsh visits the Library of Innerpeffray.

It could so easily have been one historic Courier Country landmark in acclaimed author Germaine Greers thoughts when she wrote of libraries as reservoirs of strength, grace and wit; reminders of order, calm and continuity; lakes of mental energy neither warm nor cold, light nor dark. That description can confidently be applied to Scotlands oldest and original lending facility, the Library of Innerpeffray, which was created in 1680 at a time when Scotland was still 27 years away from forging its union with England, while in France the Sun King Louis XIV was midway through his epic 72-year reign.

Unobtrusively tucked away in leafy surrounds close to the River Earn four miles south-east of Crieff, the library started life in the attic of tiny Innerpeffrays St Marys Chapel, where it housed local laird David Drummonds precious books collection. Following his death, its running fell to the Innerpeffray Mortification charity, whose governors proudly unveiled Scotlands first public lending library in 1694, along with a new rural school. It was just as the Scottish Enlightenment was taking shape in 1739 that subsequent estate owner Revd Robert Hay Drummond a future Archbishop of York commissioned the architect Charles Freebairn to construct the Georgian reading room that still stands today, so that it could hold both the chapels contents and his own former book collection.

For more than two centuries residents of Crieff and nearby villages would walk the Strathearn countryside including a wade across the river at one of its shallowest points in order to gain knowledge about such things as theology, geography, astronomy, history and the sciences. When the number of borrowers fell away post-war, the archives trustees eventually decided to cease lending in 1968, with the holder of Innerpeffrays full-time librarian post its grandly-titled Keeper of the Books has been a permanent feature since 1696 devoting more time to the preservation of an increasingly fragile and valuable resource. Boasting such treasures as a 1476 edition of the works of theologian John Duns Scotus Innerpeffrays oldest book plus first editions by Enlightenment philosopher David Hume and literary giants Samuel Johnson and Robert Louis Stevenson, as well as lyrics handwritten by Robert Burns, the library has evolved into a fascinating visitor attraction in recent decades. It reopened with restrictions last month following four months of pandemic-enforced closure.

The 33rd incumbent in the Keeper role is Lanarkshire-raised Lara Haggerty, who first visited Innerpeffray and its 5,000 books, including a comprehensive borrowers register dating back to 1747, shortly after moving to Crieff in 2005. Missing out on both a huge chunk of this years tourist season and a regular diet of fundraising social events has created inevitable challenges for one of the nations most niche attractions, but fortunately Lara was still able to work on her marketing duties while her 15-strong team of library volunteers locked down at home. Its been very interesting for us to find out new ways of connecting with the people that know and love the library, and of finding new people, she tells me. Weve been doing that through a series of filmed tours and we put out an appeal which was very generously supported. Our trustees were concerned at the start of lockdown but theyre now feeling that the library is going to be OK.

Innerpeffray opened a new heritage trail for visitors to its tranquil grounds last year following a 100,000 fundraising campaign. Providing views of surviving Roman roads, the Earn-side walk tells the sites story from the Ice Age to the present through a series of interpretive markers thatve earned the library a nomination in this years Scottish Design Awards and further work is imminent. Most of the expense went on clearing the ground to get it ready, says Lara. That cost more than I thought wouldve been possible but of course its highly skilled work. We needed to have trees cut down and have paths that are safe, so Im sure well look back on it in years to come and think that it was a great investment. It felt like a lot of money at the time but we hope that itll be here for a very long time to come, at least 25 years if not forever. Wed just completed that big project and were settling back to business as usual when it became not as usual. Fortunately we were able to tap into the support grants that were made available to Perth and Kinross Council very early on and that bought us a lot of time. Although plans for major summer celebrations to mark Innerpeffrays 340th anniversary were axed months ago, visitors and locals still managed to enjoy spending time in its grounds while the library was being readied for reopening. Indoor tours are back up and running with capacity reduced to just two people alongside other Covid-related measures including dividing screens, hence the venues annual visitor tally is expected to be only around a tenth of its usual 2,000. The library, which closes to the public over winter, holds regular exhibitions based around its rare books and the subject matter of the latest certainly resonates in the current climate. We had a plague and pestilence exhibition a few years ago and when we were looking at reopening one of the volunteers suggested, almost as a throwaway, that we should stage it again, explains Lara. I agreed, so we looked out some of the books and I think the display is amusing people, which is always good. Weve got historical accounts of the plague happening in different cities over the world in a variety of books, magazines and journals, including the Scots Magazine. They can also see medical books with possible cures we should perhaps say, Dont try this at home and weve got a book of prayers which are said in time of plague, so there are words of comfort. It would take a medical expert to go through the books and find out whether or not there are any useful tips within them, however they can certainly give us hope. The fact is people do recover from plagues its happened before and weve come out the other side of it.

History is all around at Innerpeffray. The vast majority of the librarys titles are pre-19th Century and its clear there are plenty of relevant lessons from the past on its shelves. Lara affectionately refers to the hallowed venue as a living library and if youre lucky, you might get the chance to hold Innerpeffrays oldest book in your hands, and get a sense of the past almost coming to life. So when the Keeper declares that back in the 15th Century its Duns Scotus was really hot off the press, you could say, you can understand why. After all, his treatise on theological doctrine was printed in Venice only around 17 years after the arrival of typographic art in the former Adriatic republic, a development that firmly established the publishing industry outside Germany where its widely recognised as having its European origins. Being able to touch the librarys ancient tomes is a joy coronavirus took away, and Lara admits to feeling sad that there remains obvious need for caution. The thing thats special about Innerpeffray is that opportunity to hold the books for yourself and to feel them, she adds. You can feel the temperature of the paper and the way that the leather feels in your hand, and missing that is terrible but were doing what we can. We are able to quarantine books ourselves if somebody makes a special request. I had a seven-year-old a couple of weeks ago who was very engaged with the visit and was admiring the really big books. So we got one of them off the shelf and let him hold it to see how heavy it was, and he was really taken with the fact that it was such a big old book. All we did then was we put that book into a safe space and we left it there for three days and then it went back on the shelf. So that worked, but we cant bring lots and lots of books out in the way that we used to do.

Listening to Lara speak with such obvious passion about her callings importance to learning brings to mind Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Archibald MacLeishs wartime observation that librarians are more than mere custodians of print and paper, they are also keepers of the records of the human spirit itself. Ask her how she feels about modern libraries storing a fraction of the number of books contained within Innerpeffrays Category A-listed walls and Lara pauses for a moment. There will always be a place for libraries, she cautiously ventures. They are purveyors of information, and although the information in Innerpeffrays time came from printed books, before that they were handwritten and today a lot of them are digital, and libraries have to respond to that. They have to be what their community needs. Im definitely not against libraries embracing different technologies but I am against closing libraries. I think theyre very important places in our communities. Ive heard some fabulous stories over the lockdown period about the ways libraries have been able to stay in contact with the people who need them as a means of communication socially and of occupying time. Librarians have been very innovative and creative in their solutions to allow the people to keep on using their libraries, which is really heartening. Its that spirit in all whove followed the path of pioneers like Innerpeffray that continues to prove so inspiring for Germaine Greer and countless others.

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The Revolution Is Upon Us –

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Hard-left progressives are telling anybody who will listen that the 2020 riots and pandemic have handed them the opportunity theyve always needed to transform America. What they want is a revolution in the minds of the people, not unlike the one John Adams said led to 1776, though to attain opposite ends.

The question is, will Americans from the right and center listen, grasp that progressives mean what they say, and realize that the country might change into something unrecognizable?

The warnings (or threats) are everywhere and difficult to miss. They come neatly folded into a very instructiveconversationheld in August by four charter members of the hard leftAlicia Garza, founder of Black Lives Matter; Nikole Hannah-Jones, founder of theNew York Times 1619 Project; Maria Teresa Kumar, President and CEO ofVoto Latino; and historian Martha Jones. The conversation was held to mark the anniversary of the 19thAmendment, which told the states they could not prevent women from voting.

The exchange was eerily instructive. One almost gets the sense of what it must have been to eavesdrop on the Founders at 1776 or the Framers at 1787, as they envisioned a new order replacing a passing one. Except in reverse, of courseall the gains in human freedom achieved through the Declaration and the Constitution would unravel if the four discussants got their way.

Just as colonists based their worldview on the ideas of thinkers that had preceded them, such as the Englishmen William Blackstone and John Locke and the Frenchman Montesquieu, todays woke progressives take their ideological marching orders from European thinkers of decades ago, such as the Italian Antonio Gramsci and the German-American Herbert Marcuse.

This means that, just as the writings of James Wilson and Thomas Jefferson are made clearer by having a grounding in their Enlightenment philosophical forebears, to understand the language of todays left it is important to grasp how 20thcentury Critical Theorists viewed the world.

The Gramscian Dream

It is clear, too, that leftists see 2020 and the immediately preceding decade as providing the same environment-changing events as the 1760s did for the colonists.

To John Adams, the Sugar Act, the Stamp Act, the Townshend Acts, and especially the Writs of Assistance, had caused in the minds of the colonists a shift in the way they viewed the provenance of their rights during the crucial 15 years prior to Lexington. At the end of that period, they no longer viewed their rights as those of Englishmen, but coming from nature, an Enlightenment idea. What do we mean by the Revolution? The War? That was no part of the Revolution. It was only an Effect and Consequence of it. The Revolution was in the Minds of the People, and this was effected, from 1760 to1775,wroteAdams to Jefferson years later, in 1815.

Today, leftists believe the nine-minute martyrdom of George Floyd in May, and the astute use of its video recording by BLM, combined with the way the pandemic has asymmetrically affected different demographic groups, provide them with the spark to burn down the old America. This is not the Civil Rights idea of letting black Americans access the American Dream. The goal now is to replace the Enlightenment view, upon which that Dream was based, that the individual can observe pre-political rights such as the right to free speech or property in nature, with a Gramscian one which spurns individual agency and emphasizes collective action. The pandemic and the riots are their version of the Writs of Assistance.

One way to get there, they tell us openly, is by convincing people who have immigrated from other lands that the very conditions that attracted them here in the first place are harmful and have victimized them, and that we must replace these conditions with different ways to redistribute wealth.

They are clearly also betting that the COVID-19 pandemic will alter forever the way we conduct business in America, and say that they can use the moment to introduce that redistributive new order.

But by far the most important goal of their project is to use the twin 2020 tragedies to alter the very storyline of America, to delegitimize what has been the general culture of the country since the founding and the framing. Once that is done, they can effect systemic change.

Let No Crisis Go to Waste

The lefts already existing dominance of the culture-making institutions will make its effort to determine which beliefs and ideas are spread through society a relatively easy taskmuch easier than it would be for conservatives to mount a counter-attack, even if they were to realize what is afoot. So far, the right and the center have allowed the hard left almost monopoly control over the media, entertainment, and the academy, a reality that has become even more acute since George Floyds death.

The crucial work of indoctrinating the initially reluctant base is carried out first by organizers. Kumar provides us with a window into how that work is done.

The challenge with the work that I do atVoto Latinois that I cant get people agitated because often times they dont know the great harm that has happened under the structures that we have been raised by, she said. But once they start understanding it and recognizing it, they act and react, and fight and run for office.

Taken together with another comment by Kumar that Latinos are a community that is for the most part a first generation community, that does not understand the ropes, we can see that she seesVoto Latinos mission as instilling into immigrants grievances about the country that took them in.

Kumar added that the latest example of how the Latino vote could be activated was the tragic death of George Floyd. AtVoto Latino,we knew that Black Lives Matter is in allyship with the African American community and the Latino community. We immediately switched all of our digital program to connect voting and protest, and we were able to register over 97,000 people in less than 17 days, because people found that in the Latino community that that was an issue for them.

COVID-19 has helped, too. Black Americans have suffered in disproportionately high numbers, and to the activists, this unequal outcome, as any other, can only be the result of systemic racism. Its taken a pandemic thats lasted less than 90 days, for us to expose the institutional racism that we talk about, said Kumar.

While Kumars way off about the percentage of the foreign-born (its about a third, according toPew), she clearly understands her role as a member of the Revolutionary Vanguard. To appreciate Kumars work, we must understand the intellectual influences that laid the groundwork.

From Immigrants to Vassals?

The idea that an ideological elite must inculcate feelings of victimhood and resentment into the massesfor otherwise they will not rebel and overthrow the systemhas been around for at least a century. In 1916, the Italian communist leader Antonio Gramsci wrote that a revolutionary consciousness would not be formed under the brutal goad of physiological necessity, but as a result of intelligent reflection, at first by just a few people and later by a whole class, on why certain conditions exist and how best to convert the facts of vassalage into triggers of rebellion and social reconstruction.

It is thus to trigger rebellion that immigrants must discover that they struggle under conditions of vassalage in their new country; otherwise they will go on busily building their lives. Every revolution has been preceded by an intense labor of criticism, by the diffusion of culture and the spread of ideas amongst masses of men who are at first resistant, and think only of solving their own immediate economic and political problems for themselves, who have no ties of solidarity with others in the same condition, Gramsci wrote.

His main idea was the Theory of Cultural Hegemony. The Vanguard had to destroy societys entire Hegemonic Narrative and replace it with a Counter-Narrative.

Herbert Marcuse, a German-born hero of the New Left in America in the 1960s, built on Gramscis work. He, too, despaired that the worker, this time in his new home, was too contented: The people find themselves in their commodities: they find their soul in their automobile, hi-fi set, split-level home, kitchen equipment.

Without the indoctrination that revolutionary vanguard groups likeVoto Latinocarry out, the participation of the working class in the political process would not only be insufficient, but even be counterproductive. Where these [working] classes have become a prop of the established way of life, their ascent to control would prolong this way in a different setting, wrote Marcuse.

Or, as Angela Davis, a student of Marcuse at Brandeis in the 1960s (and today, tellingly, an importantmentorto Alicia Garza),tolda packed auditorium at UVA in 2018, Diversity without changing the structure, without calling for structural formation, simply brings those who were previously excluded into a process that continues to be as racist, as misogynist as it was before.

That is why individuals cannot be allowed to attempt to solve what problems they have, but must be herded into an aggrieved collective that then has an incentive to overthrow the system. The individual is the centerpiece of the Lockian Enlightenment; the aggrieved collective category takes center stage under Critical Theory.

All liberation depends on the consciousness of servitude, wrote Marcuse. At Voto Latinos website, 12 liberal top-line issues ranging from Police Brutality to Reproductive Justice, portray America as a land of iniquity, and everywhere there are tabs to help the now-woke reader register to vote.

Smashing White Supremacy

But what kind of liberation? To Marcuse it was Marxist central planning. Garza and her cohorts agree. Throughout the mid-August discussion with Kumar and the others, Garza returns repeatedly to the idea that the pandemic will make it easier to rewrite Americas entire organizational model and find a different way to distribute resources.

Frankly, what we are able to do in this moment, that maybe werent as well positioned to do four months ago, is use the opportunity of crisis to actually usher in a new way of being with each other, she said. This new way would enable the ability to distribute resources in such a way where nobody gets left behind distribute resources in such a way where everybody has and nobody is left out.

This holistic transformation of society must first undo white supremacy, and how the narratives of white supremacy have been so successful in using the language of effort, ability and agency, right, to keep people from supporting the black peoples struggle for liberation.

I think we are all clear that the kind of change that we need right now, is the kind of change that rejects the ways in which our lives were organized and tries to put into place a new way of organizing ourselves, Garza added. This change must drive back underground and frankly into oblivion white nationalism and white supremacy.

But what do Garza and all the other members of the ultra-progressive left mean by the ubiquitous term white supremacy?

It is hard to come up with a single instance where Garza gives an actual definition of what she means by it. This is odd, given that she spends a great deal of time talking about how to combat white supremacy, make it extinct and replace with it with a counter-narrative.

Such opacity must be on purpose. Usage of the term provides insulation from analysis and criticism. Who could oppose anyone fighting white supremacy?

Upon further reflection, in fact, it becomes apparent that white supremacy has become the term of art that the American left uses to depict American culture. It is not the vile racial superiority preached by the rancid minds at the KKK or the American Nazi Party, but something that is in fact its opposite: how the modern world is ordered.

When Garza, Robin DiAngelo, Ibram X. Kendi, Patrice Cullors, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Hannah-Jones and the other charter members of the ultra-left speak of overthrowing white supremacy what they really mean is replacing Americas economic and cultural system with one that redistributes wealth, no longer has the individual at its center and recognizes only government-granted positive rights, not pre-political natural rights. The use of white supremacy is, thus, a very successful example of the lefts use of strategic ambiguity in the pursuit of a rather large and ambitious goal. The target is a free-market system that rewards hard work, ability and other virtuous traits.

Consider, for example, what Garzatolda room-full of Maine progressives during a visit to the Pine Tree State last year: Change requires changing ourselves so that we can change whats happening around us. When we talk about fighting white nationalism, fighting white supremacy, were not talking about fighting white people.Were talking about changing how weve organized this country,so that we actually can achieve the justice that we are fighting for. I believe we all have work to do to keep dismantling the organizing principle of this society,which creates inequities for everyone. (Italics my own.)

This is also clear from an interview Garza gaveMother Jonesthree years ago, where she said, Things likerenamingholidays and removingstatues are really a part of a culture-change strategy that I think is important. But it cant stop there. We can change Columbus Day toIndigenous Peoples Day, but if were not doing the work to make sure that indigenous nations have sovereignty in this country, or self-determination, or that they have a quality of life that mirrors that which we afford to rich white professionals, then it is merely symbolic. Whether its toppling monuments or closing the education gap or closing the school-to-prison pipeline, we need to uproot white supremacy everywhere that it lives.

That talk of white supremacy aims not at David Duke or Richard Spencer, but at William Blackstone and John Locke, can be seen more clearly in the writings of DiAngelo and Coates, who have come closest to defining it.

Unmaking America

Discussing how sociologists and those involved in the social justice movement view the term, DiAngelo says in her best-seller White Fragility that white supremacy in this context does not refer to individual white people and their individual intentions or actions but to an overarching political, economic, and social system of domination.

DiAngelo goes on to say that, while hate groups that openly proclaim white superiority do exist and this term refers to them also such a reductive definition obscures the reality of the larger system at work and prevents us from addressing this system.

White supremacy is something much more pervasive and subtle than the actions of explicit white nationalists. White supremacy describes the culture we live in, writes DiAngelo. White supremacy has shaped a system of global European domination. She quotes Charles W. Mills as saying that white supremacy is nothing less than the unnamed political system that has made the modern world what it is today.

For Coates, white supremacy is not merely the work of hotheaded demagogues, or a matter of false consciousness, but a force so fundamental to America that it is difficult to imagine the country without it.

It is the Wests entire political system that Garza means by white supremacy;thatis what she wants to drive into oblivion. She urges white liberals first and foremost to abandon the system. We need you defecting from white supremacy and changing the narrative of white supremacy, shetolda gathering in 2017.

An important question then arises: How close are they to success?

Hannah-Jones 1619 Project, which rewrites American history to place slavery at the center of the countrys storyline, is a major on-going project of theNew York Times Magazine. Named after the year when Africans were first brought as slaves to the colonies, it misleadingly pretends that this date, not 1776, is the true founding of America. This clear attempt at replacing Americas narrative with a counter-narrative is also a curriculumone already being taught in 4,500 classrooms across the country and adopted by five education districts.

And the long march of the counter-narrative is not limited to these 4,500 classrooms. Sit in any meeting of the local board of education across America and you are likely to hear long diatribes about equity, systemic racism, implicit bias, culturally responsive teaching, and other touchstones of the new left. This is being taught to our children from a very young age.

But it isnt just impressionably young minds in K-12 and above who are imbibing the counter-narrative. Robin DiAngelo spoke on a conference call in early June with 184 Members of the House of Representatives, for what party leaderscalleda Democratic Caucus family discussion on race.

According to theNew York Times, since George Floyds death, DiAngelos inbox has been flooded with urgent emails: requests to deliver (virtually because of the pandemic) workshops and keynotes at Amazon, Nike, Under Armour, Goldman Sachs. The entreaties went on: Facebook, CVS, American Express, Netflix.

Shifting the Narrative

Everywhere we look, in fact, it seems that what our four conferees said is coming to fruition: the tenor of the national debatethe thinking of the country, and perhaps its narrative going forwardhas shifted. There seems to be a growing acceptance that there is systemic, structural, and institutional racism, and the countrys very system, along with all is structures and institutions, need to be smashed and replaced.

Changing society does not require convincing everybody of the need to do so. A famousexperimentconducted in 2018 by the University of Pennsylvanias Annenberg School of Communications demonstrated that the tipping point for a determined and organized minority to change a societys consensus on norms is 25 percent. We anticipate that social media spaces of this kind will be an increasingly important setting for extending the findings of our study to understand the role of committed minorities in shifting social conventions, said the writers.

Whether American society has passed that tipping point yetsome have put it at 10 percent of the populationis unclear. But given Black Lives Matters success at using the Floyd tragedy to organize protests and riots nationwide, we know that they are coordinating well.

Not every boy and man who fought at Lexington and Concord, or for the next six years that the war lasted, had heard of Blackstone, Locke, Montesquieu, and the other philosophers who had contributed to the thinking that birthed the country for which they were fighting. While it is a safe bet that Garza, Hannah-Jones and Kumar have heard of Gramsci and Marcuse, surely not many woke Americans have. But they are, nonetheless, foot-soldiers in the cultural war to replace the narrative of 76 with a new one.

Only by waking up in time might conservatives hope to prevent the deep institutional, structural and systemic overhaul the left lusts after. They will need a strategy that goes beyond economics and the law, the areas where conservatives have always focused their attention, and embraces culture. It is there where the battle now goes. Regaining the commanding heights of the culture should be their number-one goal.

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Author Introduces a New Age of Consciousness Through Reincarnation –

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GREENWICH, Conn., Sept. 08, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Author Paula Polcini's book, "PM: Man's Journey from Darkness to Light," is dedicated to the concept, "building the house that has everything anyone would ever want." Within her debut book, readers will experience reincarnation, and the presence of God within human beings is defined by science. Polcini will captivate readers through her direct experience in this reincarnation that the physical body is only the vehicle one is given to carry their soul or self through each reincarnation. When one passes away, the body disappears, but the soul is alive as ever. "PM" introduces a new time cycle known as The Cosmic Age, which causes a great movement to recognize all human beings' spiritual value and equality. Polcini explains her knowledge of universal law through the true stories that goaded her to dig deeper, seeking to find the roots of suffering in a quest for better answers to life's challenges.

Throughout the book, she explains that educating universal law with its undeviating justice will bring humanity to a level of consciousness where one will become aware of God's presence within their own being for the first time. This knowledge is the beginning of an awakening of humankind's unity with God and all that is. "PM" addresses that in the past three hundred years, souls have been coming into reincarnations with memories of having been here before. Individuals are receiving this new knowledge through various experiences unfolding higher consciousness levels to know the unseen reality of life.

"My goal for 'PM' is to replace Old World abstractions with New World Reality," said Polcini. "My book proves reincarnation is a fact of life and that it is a time to know we are more than our physical bodies. We must refine our consciousness before we can receive finer energies to enable us to create new combinations of elements that will bring human life to the next level of cultural development toward what we are destined to become."

"PM" ultimately addresses the number of souls coming in at this time is increasing because of the opportunity to heal and strive to the future with another unfoldment toward the truth that individuals are divine beings. Polcini will guide readers down a path to enlightenment, which is the foundation of the universe that unfolds remembrance of who an individual is, outlines what they are a part of and how they are supposed to live.

PM: Mans Journey from Darkness to LightBy Paula Polcini ISBN: 978-1-4525-8081-4 (softcover); 978-1-4525-8083-8 (hardcover); 978-1-4525-8082-1 (eBook) Available at Balboa Press, Amazon and Barnes & Noble

About the authorPaula Polcini came into this reincarnation with remembrance of a house that has everything anyone would ever want. Throughout her life, she has had visions, dream messages and guidance that led to independent studies unfolding step-by-step understanding of reincarnations. In May of 1975, she had what Dr. Maurice Bucke, M.D., describes in his book "Cosmic Consciousness" a cosmic conscious experience that lasted for one month. For many years she volunteered to care for people who were ill and young children who accessed Higher Knowing beyond their three-dimension, five-sense consciousness that began to build her consciousness to ever-higher levels of understanding that began to change her Old World thinking. She worked as a secretary to Dr. Robert Atkins, where she learned more about the suppression of alternative health care.

Balboa Press, a division of Hay House, Inc. a leading provider in publishing products that specialize in self-help and the mind, body, and spirit genres. Through an alliance with the worldwide self-publishing leader Author Solutions, LLC, authors benefit from the leadership of Hay House Publishing and the speed-to-market advantages of the self-publishing model. For more information, visit To start publishing your book with Balboa Press, call 877-407-4847 today.

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Author Introduces a New Age of Consciousness Through Reincarnation -

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