USA Today’s Minnesota ‘Woman of the Year’ honoree, and men in women’s spaces

USA Today has given Leigh Finke the Minnesota Honoree title for its annual ‘Woman of the Year’ award program. Finke is a leftwing politician in Minnesota’s House of Representatives.

Finke is also a transgender individual, a biological man who transitioned to a female identity only six years ago. 

I could write a longwinded exposition on the prima facie question of “what is a woman?” I could recite the self-evident lessons that most of us learned in high school health classes, before American public education was taken over by irrational ideologues. 

But the time for proving the self-evident and glaringly obvious has passed. At this point, your view of mammalian gender is either empirical or ideological. If you side with the empiricists, no further explanation is necessary. If you side with the ideologues, no further explanation is likely to persuade you. 

One thing, however, is clear: the goalpost for transgenderism has moved over the past decade. Continue reading “USA Today’s Minnesota ‘Woman of the Year’ honoree, and men in women’s spaces”

Bernie Sanders wants you to be mad about capitalism

Bernie Sanders has come out with a new book: It’s OK to Be Angry About Capitalism. As its unsubtle title makes clear, the book is about the evils of capitalism, and the need for democratic socialism—which basically means top-down government redistribution brought about by vote, rather than by violent revolution. 

I will probably get around to reading Sanders’s book, though I don’t expect to find much within its pages that I haven’t already read or heard from its author. Bernie Sanders, after all, has been a public figure since the 1980s, and a central figure in our national politics for roughly the last decade.

The chapters of It’s OK to Be Angry About Capitalism include such gems as “This is a Class War—It’s Time to Fight Back” and “Capitalism is the Problem”. 

From the introduction to It’s OK to Be Angry About Capitalism

Bernie Sanders, at age 81, is an adherent of early twentieth-century leftism. His ideology is based on a time when American leftists looked to the former USSR for inspiration. Sanders traveled to the USSR in 1988, where he extolled its system (which would collapse three years later). Sanders has also praised the repressive Marxist regime in Cuba.

There is no shortage of room for reasonable people to disagree about what capitalism should be, and what it should provision. For example, plenty of people on the right and in the center—including Lou Dobbs and Ross Perot—have raised concerns about the astronomical heights of CEO pay in recent decades. (Ross Perot raised this issue as an independent candidate in the 1992 US presidential election.) 

Most of us can also agree on the need for decent public schools and affordable health care. We can agree that there is a legitimate role for government, and that one of these roles is to address instances of market failure. There are some things the private market can’t do—or won’t do. That’s where we need an activist government.

I’m not here to argue for the abolition of the EPA, in other words; and I’m not here to shove Ayn Rand and Milton Friedman down your throat. 

That said, “Capitalism is the problem” is the kind of foolish non sequitur that no thinking person takes seriously nowadays. Not even the Chinese Communist Party believes that anymore. After all, many of the CCP’s older comrades suffered through real socialism during 1950s and 1960s. Continue reading “Bernie Sanders wants you to be mad about capitalism”

I miss the 1990s, too

The headline read, “American Girl declares the year 1999 ‘historical’ and ’90s kids are losing it: ‘I’m getting old’”. 

Indeed, it is hard for some of us to believe that the 1990s began more than 30 years ago, and ended almost 24 years ago. But it’s true. Do the math. The 1990s are no longer recent. Just ask a current 20-year-old, who wasn’t even born yet.

As for me, I am not a child of the 1990s. I’m a child of the 1980s. I was a young adult of the 1990s. I was 21 years old as the decade began, and I was 31 on December 31, 1999. 

Although I had a pleasant [1980s] childhood, it is the 1990s that evoke the most nostalgia in me. The 1990s was a good decade for me personally, and overall, a better decade in the world at large. The USA was at peace, the economy was booming, and our culture still had a sense of humor. (The 1990s was a time when you could watch F·R·I·E·N·D·S without a lecture from the finger-wagging “woke” crowd, for example.)

Bill Clinton was in the White House. I didn’t vote for him in either 1992 or 1996, and I thought he left much to be desired as POTUS. But I would welcome him back with open arms, compared to what we have now. 

The 1990s represented a brief Goldilocks era for digital technology. In the 1990s, digital technology was making life more convenient, without taking over everything and making it weird.  Continue reading “I miss the 1990s, too”

Kristen Clarke, Harvard, and “race science”

Kristen Clarke, Biden’s nominee to head the DOJ Civil Rights Division, penned a 1994 letter to the Harvard Crimson, stating that African Americans have “superior physical and mental abilities”.  At the time, Clarke was an undergraduate at Harvard, and the president of the university’s Black Students Association.

Clarke based her letter on…race science.

Here are some excerpts from the letter:

“One: Dr Richard King reveals that the core of the human brain is the ‘locus coeruleus,’ which is a structure that is Black, because it contains large amounts of neuro-melanin, which is essential for its operation.

“Two: Black infants sit, crawl and walk sooner than whites [sic]. Three: Carol Barnes notes that human mental processes are controlled by melanin — that same chemical which gives Blacks their superior physical and mental abilities.

“Four: Some scientists have revealed that most whites [sic] are unable to produce melanin because their pineal glands are often calcified or non-functioning. Pineal calcification rates with Africans are five to 15 percent [sic], Asians 15 to 25 percent [sic] and Europeans 60 to 80 percent [sic]. This is the chemical basis for the cultural differences between blacks and whites [sic].

“Five: Melanin endows Blacks with greater mental, physical and spiritual abilities — something which cannot be measured based on Eurocentric standards.”


Obviously, this is complete hooey, dressed up in the sort of pseudo-scientific language that passes for erudition at places like Harvard.

Obviously, the mainstream media would be shrieking, Twitter would be exploding, if a white nominee to any senior federal government post had made similar claims about whites, based on “race science”.

Nevertheless, I’m of two minds on this one.

Clarke’s age is not available online, but her Wikipedia entry states that she graduated Harvard in 1997. Backing into the numbers, this would mean that she was about 19 years old when she wrote the above words.

Kristen Clarke

Most people don’t reach full adulthood until they are about halfway through their twenties. (This is why I would be in favor of raising the voting age, rather than lowering it, but that’s another discussion.)

This doesn’t mean you should get a blank check for everything you do when you’re young, of course. But there is a case to be made that all of us say and think things during our formative years that will make us cringe when we look back on them from a more mature perspective.

This is certainly true for me. I was 19 years old in 1987. I am not the same person now that I was then—both for better and for worse.

Secondly, let’s acknowledge environmental factors. Being a student at Harvard is likely to temporarily handicap any young person’s judgement and intellectual maturity. Even in 1994, Harvard University was a hotbed of pointy-headed progressivism and insular identity politics.

Clarke was also involved in the Black Students Association. There was a Black Students Association at the University of Cincinnati when I was an undergrad there during the late 1980s. Members of UC’s BSA were known to write whacko letters like the one above. Most of them, though, were nice enough people when you actually talked to them in person. They just got a little carried away when sniffing their own farts in the little office that the university had allocated for BSA use.

What I’m saying is: I’m willing to take into account that 1994 was a long time ago. A single letter from a 19-year-old, quoting pseudo-academic race claptrap, shouldn’t be a permanent blight on the record of a 47-year-old. And I would say the same if Kristen Clarke were white, and had taken a very different spin on “race science”.

We all need to stop being so touchy about racial issues, and so preoccupied with them. That goes for whites as well as blacks, and vice versa.

I’m willing to give Clarke a fair hearing, then. But I’m skeptical. Her 1994 Harvard letter isn’t an automatic disqualifier; but it’s a question that needs to be answered.

I’m also skeptical of Biden. Biden may be a feeble old man; he may be a crook. He is not particularly “woke” at a personal level. In fact, some of his former positions on busing and crime suggest that he’s anything but “woke” on matters of race.

Yet Biden is now head of a Democratic Party that is obsessed with race. This means that Biden may try to overcompensate, by filling his government with race radicals. This recent selection supports that concern.

Given the time that has elapsed between the present and 1994, given Kristen Clarke’s age at the time, I want to hear what she has to say in 2021 before I outright condemn her as a hater or a looney. But this recent personnel selection doesn’t make me optimistic about the ideological tilt of the incoming Biden administration.