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The Consequences of Obsessive Category Disorder

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

In the name of diversity, America’s racial classifiers obliterate diversity.

Long ago, long before the diversity movement and the sprouting of departments of diversity and inclusion in academia, government, media, and industry, I lived in a San Antonio barrio, where my friends and neighbors who were Mexican nationals and Mexican Americans, referred to themselves as “Mexican,” and where I referred to myself as “Italian.”

Since then, I’ve lived in Phoenix for 30 years and am now living in Tucson, where Mexicans still refer to themselves as Mexicans, unless they’ve had the misfortune of being miseducated in college and/or working as a programmable automaton in Big Media, Big Academia, Big Business or Big Government. 

In these big institutions of conformity and appalling ignorance of history and anthropology, Mexicans are agglomerated with other distinctly different nationalities and ethnocultural groups and plastered with the labels of “Hispanic,” “Latino,” or the latest linguistic monstrosity of “Latinx.”

This labeling is done by people who see themselves as educated, enlightened, and open-minded, but prove otherwise in their thoughtless parroting of utterly ridiculous “racial” concoctions. (The penultimate word in the preceding sentence is in quotes because today’s racial categorization is mostly anti-science, in that it has little basis in evolutionary science, genetics, or anthropology.)

Inanity, and possible insanity, also can be seen in the other “racial” labels that have become the lingua franca of those with a pathological need to reduce the rich diversity of the nation and the world to six categories that are an incongruous mix of skin color and geographic origin. In addition to the official and specious category of Hispanic are the official and specious categories of White, African American, Asian, Native American, and Pacific Islander.

Given current trends, it may come to pass someday that people will be required to wear their assigned label on their backside, like a bumper sticker for humans.  

I’ll return to the other catch-all categories momentarily but will first finish the discussion on Hispanics (aka Latinos, Latin Americans, or Latinx).

The word “Latinx” was masterfully ridiculed in a December 19, 2021, op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. I can’t do a better job than the op-ed and letters in exposing the silliness of such nouveau terms as “Latinx,” so I won’t try; but I will mention some facts about Latin America apparently not known by those inflicted with Obsessive Category Disorder, or OCD.

One fact is that an estimated 30 million people of Italian descent live in Brazil, which is the largest country by population in Latin America. To that point, here are questions for those with OCD:  How should these Italian Brazilians be classified—as Hispanic, White, Latino, Latinx, or Latin American? And for the millions of Italians who have intermarried with black, Spanish, and indigenous Brazilians, are their offspring considered to be people of color, and if so, what color? (If you’re not sure what color is produced from mixing the colors of olive, black, brown, beige, and white, you can call a color expert at Sherwin-Williams or your local hardware store.)

Even miseducated college graduates might know enough to understand that the Romance languages spoken in Latin America have their etymological roots in the Latin language, which is how Latin America got its name. (Given that I studied Latin for four years in high school, I’m an honorary Latin American.)

Another explanation for how Latin America got its name can be found in the wonderful work of history, The Last Emperor of Mexico, by Edward Shawcross. Unfortunately, directors of diversity and inclusion won’t read the book, because it’s three standard deviations above the average IQ for the “profession.”

Anyway, Shawcross explains that in the 1850s, under the reign of Napoleon III, French thinkers invented the term “Latin America” to rally southern Catholic peoples against a feared onslaught from northern Protestant peoples. He goes on to write, “Soon after a French journalist used it in print in 1856, a Columbian living in Paris wrote a poem warning that the Anglo-Saxons, as he referred to the United States, were the mortal enemies of Latin Americans.”

This dovetailed with a belief of Catholic monarchs that due to cultural and historical differences between Catholicism and Protestantism, Anglo-Saxon nations were better suited to democracy and liberalism while Latin nations were better suited to monarchies. In turn, this became a pretext for French, Spanish, and Habsburg monarchs, who, fearing republicanism and American hegemony in the New World, to attempt to recreate their own hegemony, by taking the side of Mexican rebels who wanted to overthrow the fledgling Mexican republic and restore the monarchy.

On a personal note, although I am not an Anglo-Saxon Protestant or an apologist for Anglo-Saxon imperialism and colonialism, I’ve long held that the parts of the Americas where Latin-Catholic culture is more dominant than Anglo-Saxon-Protestant culture are less free, less prosperous, and less liberal, in the classical sense. This also applies to certain parts of the United States, which I won’t identify here, because it’s too easy to be misunderstood without writing a long dissertation on the subject.

Having covered the official category of Hispanic, let’s turn now to the other official categories of White, African American, Asian, Native American, and Pacific Islander. As with the Hispanic category, those inflicted with OCD have reduced a large number of distinct nationalities and ethno-cultural groups to this handful of categories. Then, in violation of equal rights and equal opportunity laws, they discriminate against those in the concocted White category, and more recently, against those in the concocted Asian category, in college admissions and in hiring and promotions, in the name of diversity and inclusion.

Note the incongruous and inconsistent way that the categories are organized. Only one of the categories, the White category, refers to skin color. The rest refer to the geography of origin: Africa for African Americans, Asia for Asians, the Americas for Native Americans, the Pacific Islands for Pacific Islanders, and Europe’s Hispanic Peninsula, or the Iberian Peninsula, for Hispanics. The only exception is when African-American category is called the Black category.

Whoever coined these categories should be arrested for committing a crime against the field of anthropology. The crime has resulted in absurdities, in people having their heritage overlooked or insulted, and in much political mischief.

Take the Asian category, where scores of unique nationalities and ethnocultural groups are lumped together as if they are homogenous. 

To see firsthand how absurd this is, try convincing Filipinos and Koreans that they are the same as the Japanese. Or, following the lead of corporations, appoint a Han Chinese or East Indian Hindu to a board of directors or senior management position to represent all peoples who hail from Asia, including Uyghurs, Mongolians, Eastern Russians, Malaysians, Pakistanis, and many others.

This is as ridiculous and insulting as believing that Boston Brahmins or the Pilgrims or the Chesapeake Bay colonists were no different from my poor Italian ancestors or the ancestors of Albanian Americans, Iranian Americans, Jewish Americans, Walloon Americans, and so on for hundreds of other groups force-fitted into the White category and stereotyped as privileged, bourgeois, racist, and oppressive.  Yes indeed, that certainly describes my immigrant grandfather, who worked as a coal miner in southern Illinois; or my wife’s grandfather, who worked as a field hand in the oil fields of western Pennsylvania.

To circle back to the subject of diversity on corporate boards, a board would need thousands of directors to represent all of the world’s peoples. To get an idea of how many peoples there are, go to the following link, scroll through the list of ethnic groups that come up, and click on the names of the various ethnic groups to get the names of the sub-groups within each one.

Only those with Obsessive Category Disorder can believe that they are furthering racial enlightenment and diversity by obliterating this rich diversity and by using such fatuous words as “Latinx”.

 

 

 

 

 

A Home Schooled High Schooler Debates the Woke Children

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

Editors’ Note: The following is an essay by a 16-year-old home schooled young lady. The essay speaks for itself but we feel it important to emphasize that when young Americans are taught the foundational principles of our Republic without the leftist, ‘woke’ indoctrination so pervasive in our public school system, a responsible and educated young adult enters society ready to defend truth and reality. The Prickly Pear recently published a study from Harvard University examining the profiles of home schooled students. Ms. Fromm clearly reflects the findings in this study and we hope that many more like her follow into the dialogue of this nation and the battle to combat the woke assault on American society aided by the media, the educational system, our government, and our corporate leaders.

 

I attend a local university in Phoenix, Arizona as a homeschooled, dual enrollment high school student. Two weeks ago, my professor initiated a fiery discussion in Government class. My professor is conservative but encourages debate in the class and does not push his beliefs upon others. My class consists of 90 students if everyone is there, but usually there are only about 60. On that day we were discussing how certain demographics of people tend to vote. I say ‘tend’ because not every person in a certain demographic votes the same way.

I was the first person called upon. I was asked to explain why I thought Black/Latino Americans tend to vote liberal. However, I mostly focused on black Americans, explaining “I think black Americans tend to vote liberal because, statistically, over 70% of black children grow up in homes without a father present and as we just discussed, you tend to vote as your father does. Because fathers are frequently not present in the black home, mothers are working extremely long hours and are often out of the home. Therefore, many of these children are mostly raised by the education system and their programs. Because the education system is liberal, they tend to grow up and then vote liberal”. Nothing radical, just a 16-year old’s ideas expressed for discussion.

Apparently, many of the students thought what I said was radical. Two young black women and a young white woman disagreed with me and became extremely frustrated because I was not going along with their ideologies. One of the young black women claimed that I had a better chance of getting into college and getting a job solely because I am white. However, when I brought up Affirmative Action, she had nothing to say about it. Also, keep in mind she says I have a better chance of getting into college while we are sitting in the same class at the same university. Another claim she made was that “they” were oppressing black people and the black community needs “something”. When I asked her who “they” were or what the “something” is, she had no idea and could not answer my questions. With each question I asked she became more frustrated. I was calm and respectful throughout this heated exchange.

After my questions, which received no adequate responses, the young white woman said that until recently black people had been discriminated against through redlining and such. My professor then stopped her, asking her if, by saying recently, she meant about 60 years ago. She said “of course” – as if she hadn’t been trying to trick me. The word recently implies within 2-3 years ago, not 60! To her point, I said I understood and acknowledged that there was racism. I was about to go on when about 20-25 of the students in the class yelled at me, saying “THERE STILL IS!”.

This is the same type of thinking currently happening in university administrations country-wide. Over 75% of universities have already implemented black-only dorms and over 75 universities offer black-only graduation ceremonies. Excuse me? This is segregation! Yet, students at these schools think this is perfectly normal. They think this is good. These social justice warriors are missing the racism and segregation in front of their own eyes! In fact, they’re embracing it! Also, on many streaming services they have black power sections filled with movies featuring black actors. For some reason, promoting certain movies based upon the color of the leading actor’s skin, instead of the content of the movie itself, is great. This is racism, but it must be okay because it is for black people, not against them. Remember, racism can go both for and against white people. Sesame Street explicitly announced in one of their episodes that your skin tone defines you and makes you who you are. This is completely and utterly wrong. As an eloquent African-American father stated in August at a Colorado Springs school board meeting rejecting the teaching of Critical Race Theory, “Let racism die the death it deserves.”

White people and the American nation are not inherently racist. I do not care what color your skin is, I care whether you are a good person. The amount of melanin someone has in their skin means absolutely nothing to the vast majority of Americans. Yet, today’s media is purposely trying to paint white Americans as evil. The issues of race and racism are centerstage in the media, but look around. America is a melting pot of people from all corners of the world looking past their differences to celebrate liberty and make better lives for themselves and their families. The media and elite want people to think white people are evil as a way to divide the nation. If they have us aiming at each other, we will never notice them taking over our God-given natural rights.

How does one 16-year-old make 25 liberals angry enough to yell at her? Destroy their ideologies. Logical questions to their statements made them angry enough to yell at me. When a simple question is asked the answer is obvious, but they do not want to acknowledge the answer because they do not agree with it. They had absolutely no examples of racist white people and the so-called oppressive system. Yet, examples such as Affirmative Action highlight a system that promotes minorities. Not knowing who “they” are or what “something” is challenges liberal ideologies. Remember, precise language is extremely important when writing and debating if you want to get your point across.

As I was leaving class one of my classmates, a young black woman, stopped to talk to me. She informed me she agreed with my statements and thanked me for standing up for her community. Although I had left class frustrated as to how the discussion had ended, this young woman encouraged me. She helped show me that, even though I was frustrated, these types of discussions are not a lost cause.

The moral of the story is that liberals cannot handle someone simply asking why they believe a certain way. White people are not inherently racist. Yes, I’m sure there are racist people, but they come from all different races and are a minority. And for those who say white people are racist, what race freed the slaves over 150 years ago, and what nation was one of the earliest in the world to abolish slavery? White American men fought, were drafted, and put their lives on the line to free men and women of another race because they knew slavery was inherently evil. They had never met the people they were fighting for, yet 360,000 union soldiers died to free them. These men and their families paid the ultimate price to free their brothers and sisters of another race. We are equal.

Why a Red Star Is Just as Offensive as a Swastika

Estimated Reading Time: 8 minutes

The reasons can be found in the book Gulag and in the book Tunnel 29. 

Gulag, by Anne Applebaum, Anchor Books, New York, paperback edition, 2004, 677 pages

Tunnel 29, by Helena Merriman, Public Affairs, New York, hardback edition, 2021, 318 pages

Reviews by Craig J. Cantoni

Bernie Sanders is an avowed socialist and is alleged to have communist sympathies. Yet when he speaks on college campuses, he isn’t vilified, shunned, canceled, and called a dangerous extremist. No doubt, that would be true even if he were to wear a communist red star or a hammer and sickle. But if he were to wear a swastika, he’d be booed off the stage or worse.

The author of Gulag, a Pulitzer Prize-winning book, mentions in the Introduction about experiencing a similar double standard in the treatment of the evils of communism and the evils of Nazism. Hardly a fascist or supremacist, she is a graduate of Yale and, at the time of the book’s publication, was a columnist and member of the editorial board of the Washington Post.

She had walked along a bridge in Prague where vendors were selling Soviet and communist memorabilia. People were eagerly examining and buying the items, like faithful Catholics treasuring artifacts from the early Church. Fascist memorabilia were not on display, evidently because of a prevailing belief that Nazism was evil but communism was not.

The book continues from that point to explain the reasons for the double standard and to detail the atrocities committed in the name of communism in the Soviet Gulag.

I recently reread the book because of the madness occurring on American college campuses and throughout society in the name of social justice—a madness that has led to an affection for socialism among American youth and to leftist apologists once again rewriting history about communism. My review of the book follows in the next section.

A more recent book on the evils of communism is Tunnel 29. If you prefer a history that reads like a suspense novel, it doesn’t get more thrilling than the book’s harrowing non-fiction account of East Germans risking their lives to escape to West Germany by climbing over or tunneling under the Berlin Wall. The author lives in England and has been a producer and reporter for the BBC.

The Berlin Wall could be a metaphor for the growing ideological divide in America. On the east side of the wall was everything that today’s progressive left-wing wants: free medical care, free child care, free education, subsidized housing, economic security, no class distinctions, and no income inequality. On the west side of the wall was a classical liberal democracy and a free-market economy, where there was hard work, economic insecurity, and unequal outcomes.

The wall was built by East Germany to keep its citizens from fleeing their progressive paradise for West Germany. There’s a lesson in this for America, but it’s not a lesson that is taught in K-16 classrooms.

Let’s take a closer look at Gulag and then Tunnel 29.

Gulag

Surveys say that about 36% of millennials have favorable views of socialism. This is from a generation that can’t do without a Peloton, iPhone, Starbucks, Subaru, Grub Hub, Trader Joe’s, and Nike shoes.

The survey results show how easy it is to convince people, including college-educated ones—or especially college-educated ones—to embrace injustice if the injustice is framed as social justice, equality, and equity. The Introduction of Gulag says that such framing is one of the reasons why the repression, terror, mass murder, and mass starvation of communism are seen as lesser evils than the evils of fascism.

Another reason is the culpability of past and present leftist intellectuals, academics, and reporters in ignoring the evils of communism, due to being in sync with the underlying tenets of Marxism. Their feeble excuse for looking the other way was, and continues to be, that Stalinism was an aberration and not a reflection of the true nature of communism. Actually, from the very start of the Bolshevik Revolution, before Stalin came to power, Lenin was a proponent of concentration camps. Also, of course, Stalin was not the dictator of other communist countries where mass incarceration and murder also took place, such as China under Mao, Cambodia under Pol Pot, and North Korea under the Kim dynasty.

Still, another reason for communism being seen as less evil than the National Socialism of the Third Reich is the belief that communism’s travesties were committed for reasons of class and economics, not for reasons of race or ethnicity—as if being imprisoned, tortured, and killed for the former reasons is somehow better than being imprisoned, tortured and killed for the latter reasons. In any event, it’s a myth that disfavored races/ethnicities weren’t subjected to mass arrests in the Soviet Union. In fact, Poles, Balts, Chechens, Tartars, and eventually Jews were targeted for arrest.

It’s true that Soviet concentration camps were different from Nazi concentration camps because they were not established as death camps per se. But regardless, widespread and gruesome deaths were the outcome in the Soviet camps, as detailed in Gulag. You need a strong stomach to read about the ways in which inmates were tortured and killed.

Fascism deserves to be hated. But in their hatred of fascism, today’s socialists conveniently forget that National Socialism was a mix of nationalism and socialism, not a mix of nationalism and capitalism. The Third Reich didn’t own the means of production, but as Hitler explained, it didn’t need to, because he controlled the industrialists. A debate for another day is whether the United States has free-market capitalism, or crony capitalism, or mercantilism, or fascism, or some combination of these.

A common thread weaves through fascism, communism, slavery, colonialism, and other forms of subjugation throughout history and the world: The victims were dehumanized, categorized, stereotyped, and blamed for socioeconomic problems that weren’t their doing. Such rhetoric in the Soviet Union was a precursor to the evils that followed. To quote from Gulag:

From the late 1930s, as the wave of arrests began to expand, Stalin took this rhetoric to greater extremes, denouncing the “enemies of the people” as vermin, like pollution, as “poisonous weeds.” He also spoke of his opponents as “filth” which had to be “subjected to ongoing purification—just as Nazi propaganda would associate Jews with images of vermin, of parasites, of infectious disease.

The “woke” movement in the United States has shades of such demonization. Those placed in the ill-defined and elastic category of “white” are seen as the product of privilege and the beneficiaries of institutional racism. They’re also seen as stumbling blocks to the woke utopia of social justice, diversity, and inclusion—just as aristocrats, industrialists and the bourgeoisie were seen as stumbling blocks to the attainment of a proletariat paradise of Bolshevism. Likewise, wokes see themselves as morally superior to non-wokes.

Perceived enemies of wokes aren’t sent to concentration camps, as were enemies of the state under communism; but they can be canceled, vilified, ostracized, and have their careers ended for not adhering to the party line. Also, they and their children often have to endure reeducation in the form of critical race theory, which is taught in corporate and government seminars and in K-12 classrooms.

Such humiliation was common but much more severe in the Soviet Union. To quote again from the book:   “Before their actual arrest in Stalin’s Soviet Union, ‘enemies’ were also routinely humiliated in public meetings, fired from their jobs, expelled from the Communist Party, divorced by their disgusted spouses, and denounced by their angry children.”

China’s Cultural Revolution employed the same tactics.

Communists also “ate” their own, which should serve as a warning to today’s wokes. After the Bolshevik Revolution, the winning faction of Marxists proceeded to exile, imprison or shoot their former comrades in the losing faction for having a different interpretation of Marxism. A similar dogmatic mindset can be seen in the way that Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez attack their fellow progressives for not being radical enough.

Incidentally, speaking of AOC, she recently said that a woman of color like herself can’t depend on being protected by her peers in Congress. This was in reaction to Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar’s juvenile and unacceptable animation of himself as a cartoon character using a sword to attack a cartoon image of her.

Woman of color? AOC is whiter than this Italian writer and has immensely greater political power and privilege. She and others of her ilk want Americans to see themselves through their actual or imagined epidermis and then are surprised by the backlash.

As another warning to wokes, George Orwell experienced firsthand how communists turn on each other. His book, Homage to Catalonia, describes his disillusionment in fighting with the communists against fascist Franco in the Spanish Civil War. The communists had split into two opposing factions:  those dedicated to the Soviet Union’s worldwide communism movement and those just interested in defeating Franco. The Communist International undermined the locals. 

Gulag concludes with estimates of the number of prisoners and deaths in the Soviet Union. There were an estimated 28 million prisoners between 1930 and 1948, in a country that had a population of 170 million in 1939. Some historians have tried to calculate how many of them died, but archival data are not reliable. It’s also difficult to calculate how many Russians died in total as a result of the Red Terror, the Civil War, the famines stemming from collectivization, the mass deportations, the mass executions, the concentration camps and mass murders of Stalin’s reign, the camps of the 1920s, and the camps of the 1960s through the 1980s. The Black Book of Communism gives a figure of 20 million.

Whatever the number, communism, like fascism, is not something to be celebrated or endorsed, especially by those who espouse social justice.

Tunnel 91

This book is a much easier read than Gulag but is also an indictment of communism. It is largely based on interviews with an 80-year-old German who ended up East Berlin as a kid after his family became refugees at the end of World War II. He would go on to escape to West Berlin, where in 1961, he would watch the construction of the Berlin Wall, which would separate him from his family in East Berlin. Later, he would lead two efforts to dig a tunnel from West Berlin to East Berlin so that his family and friends, as well as the family and friends of the other diggers, could escape to the West.

It is a thrilling story of grit, determination, and courage.

Not only was it dangerous work, but if the diggers were discovered by the East German police, they could be imprisoned, tortured, or shot. The same for their families in East Germany. There was a high probability of being discovered, because the East German Stasi had thousands of spies in both East and West Berlin, including in government agencies in West Berlin.

In fact, hundreds of East Germans were caught trying to escape over the wall, under the wall, or, using forged papers, through checkpoints between the East and West. It speaks to their desire for freedom that they were willing to risk being shot or spending years in solitary confinement in a dreadful East German prison.

Stasi files, which were opened after the fall of the Soviet Union, document the surveillance, repression, and brutalities employed to keep East Germans from attempting to escape. There was a thick file on virtually every family. 

A takeaway from the book is the same as the takeaway from Gulag: Communism, like fascism, is not something to be celebrated or endorsed, especially by those who espouse social justice.

A Concluding Personal Note

Many decades ago, when I was in eighth grade, the nuns at my parochial school showed a film of the Nazi death camps being liberated, complete with footage of the stacks of bodies, the piles of hair and eyeglasses, the half-burned corpses in the ovens, and the emaciated prisoners with blank stares who had somehow stayed alive.

Wondering how humans could be so cruel to other humans, I bought the 900-page book, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, when it came out in paperwork. That led me to a lifetime of reading history, literature, and moral philosophy in trying to find the answer.

For the first two decades of my intellectual journey, I almost never ran across a book (or movie) that told the story of the evils of communism. That’s because popular books and movies on the Third Reich and the Final Solution far outnumbered those on communism’s mass murders and concentration camps. Among the first books that I read on the subject was Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelago.

Books and movies on Joe McCarthy alone seemed to outnumber books like Solzhenitsyn’s. McCarthy has been so vilified by history for his witch hunts for communists in the State Department and Hollywood that “McCarthyism” has become a pejorative to denote right-wing extremism. But it took me a long time to realize that if the bullying drunkard had gone after Nazis instead of communists with the same zeal and unethical methods, he’d probably be lionized by history and Hollywood.

The double standard continues today, not only with the likes of Bernie Sanders being cheered on college campuses but in the difference in usage of the adjectives “right-wing” and “left-wing.” The former, which conjures images of jackboots and stiff-armed salutes, is used by reporters, commentators, academics, and authors as a pejorative about eight times more than the latter.

It’s no wonder that 36% of millennials have favorable views of socialism.