Why Does Ralph Northam Deserve No Mercy?

Why Does Ralph Northam Deserve No Mercy? By Zaid Jilani.

Over the past week, Virginia’s Democratic Governor, Ralph Northam, has been engulfed in a firestorm. It follows the publication of a medical-school yearbook page of his that shows two individuals, one dressed in blackface and one in a Ku Klux Klan outfit. It is not clear from the photo whether Northam is one of these two individuals, or why he chose to include this image on his yearbook page.

Upon the revelation of the photograph, the Governor issued a lengthy apology for the content of the page, which was published 35 years ago. He said he was “deeply sorry,” and called the costume “clearly racist and offensive.” …

Perhaps just a few years ago, Northam’s apology and Saslaw’s defence would have been enough for the governor to be able to move on. …

But given an American elite culture that is regressing to a secular version of old puritanical norms, whereby sinners are branded for life and there are political points to be scored for casting them into hellfire, it is not surprising that Northam was immediately deluged with calls to resign.

Presidential contenders such as Kamala Harris and Julian Castro called on Northam to step down. MoveOn.org — an organization based on the concept of forgiveness, which urges people to “move on” and not dwell on past misdemeanours — called for Northam to step down because “there are no excuses for such a racist display.” As every hour passes, more progressive activists and Democratic politicians are pushing to remove Northam from the governor’s office.

Yet there is a curious dissonance between the message activists are promoting — that an offensive gesture from 35 years ago should permanently end a man’s career in politics — and their campaign around America’s system of mass incarceration. When it comes to criminal-justice reform, progressives are preaching that the aim of the system should be rehabilitation, not punishment, and that criminal behaviour is forged by social influences, rather than the result of bad choices by flawed individuals. They preach a Christian message of hating the sin but loving the sinner. …

I’ve spent a decade working in liberal and left-leaning non-profits and news outlets. During that time, I’ve seen the culture of these organizations grow increasingly judgmental and increasingly interested in the personal destruction of those with whom they disagree. More and more, elite liberalism is embracing modes of thought that I once associated with the political Right: joy in punishment and us-versus-them thinking. …

The Left claims to believe in compassion and rehabilitation — and purports to represent the broad working class of America. The more it demands the personal destruction of individuals who committed offensive but symbolic acts, the more hollow these representations appear.

Better Human Capital

Better Human Capital, by the Z Blog.

Are people better today than in the past? …

The point of life for all creatures, including humans, is to reproduce. As the saying goes, life is built for speed. Get to sexual maturity as quickly as possible, reproduce and after that it is all gravy. …

Therefore, fertility rates are a pretty good proxy for measuring the health of a species, which is why biologists use them all the time. If a type of finch stops laying eggs, biologists will assume something bad is happening to the species.

Whites, the engine of human material progress, have seen their fertility rates collapse. The fertility rate for Africans is rocket high. A biologist would look at those realities and conclude that the former is in trouble, while the latter is flourishing. …

Another way of looking at the question is from the perspective of the emerging data from ancient DNA. Until recently, what we knew about the intelligence of people in the past was speculative. Aristotle was obviously a brilliant person, but how smart were the guys growing olives? Were they smarter than the people working at one of Amazon’s distribution centers? …

The assumption has been the modern people must be smarter, as we live in technologically advanced societies. The data coming in from genetics says the opposite is most likely true and there is a very good chance the data from ancient DNA will confirm it. As Cochran says, we have known for a while that people are getting dumber, but no one has been able to point to hard evidence of it. Now there is hard evidence for a relatively recent decline in European IQ. We’ll soon know where moderns stand on the IQ scale. …

Maybe the selection pressures in the post-scarcity world are different in ways not yet understood. …

It used to be smart people got rich and they had a bunch of kids. Now, rich people claim to be smart and they avoid having children at all. Perhaps in a highly automated, post-scarcity world, general intelligence is not much of an asset at either end of the social structure. …

Interestingly, if this is even somewhat true, it supports the observation that cognitive abilities did not evolve equally around the globe. This would explain the differences in measured intelligence. In a place with lots of naturally available food, but lots of predators, being smart is not as big an edge as being quick. In a world of high-scarcity, low time preference and the ability to plan ahead are important. The post-scarcity, technological society is a grand experiment demonstrating this in real time. …

On the one hand, human intelligence is declining as automation takes over more and more tasks. On the other hand, the robots are getting smarter and will one day function as our caretakers. The race is to see if the robots get to that point before we run out of smart people able to create the artificial intelligence and super-intelligent robots. If we get too dumb too fast, the future may be primitives living in the wreckage of formerly high tech societies.

Democrats’ Inexorable Abortion Logic Has Finally Caught Up With Them

Democrats’ Inexorable Abortion Logic Has Finally Caught Up With Them, by John Davidson.

From unrestricted late-term abortions to infanticide, Democrats are now facing the consequences of a position that never had a limiting principle.

This week, Democrats finally succumbed to the inescapable logic of abortion. They have admitted, perhaps against their better judgement, that there really is no difference between abortion and infanticide.

Between New York’s expansive new abortion legislation, a bill now before the Virginia General Assembly, and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s infamous comments about making a just-born infant “comfortable” while the mother and a physician discuss whether to snuff its life out, there can be no doubt that Democrats have acceded to the demands of their own ruthless logic on abortion.

What that logic demands is nothing less than unrestricted abortion up to the moment of birth and after. There is almost nothing in these bills to limit late-term abortion. Indeed, they constitute a strenuous effort to free late-term abortion of any kind of medical justification.

The Virginia bill, for example, would change state law to allow third-trimester abortions if the continuation of the pregnancy is likely to “impair the mental or physical health of the woman”– removing the qualifiers “substantially and irremediably.”

In other words, almost any impairment — anxiety, depression, physical discomfort — is enough to justify abortion up to the point of delivery. As my colleague David Harsanyi pointed out on Twitter, is there a difference between aborting a fetus in the third trimester because it’s causing the mother emotional distress, and killing a premature infant in the NICU for the same reason? If there is a difference, what is it? Will any Democrat say? …

They don’t want any more talk about abortion being “safe, legal, and rare,” they want to proclaim it as a positive good. But to do that, abortion mustn’t hinge on a question of biology or gestation or fetus viability, but on the sheer will of the mother. … What really matters is whether the mother desires it to be born. …

With the Democratic Party’s sharp leftward lurch, and the legislation Democrats are now advancing in blue states, the emphasis has unmistakably shifted from a woman’s body to her will.