The West is getting weird. This site has frequently discussed our broken observation-orientation-decision-action loop (OODA loop), but perhaps we are just going crazy.
- “Search Me“, Dahlia Lithwick, Slate, 21 April 2009 — “The Supreme Court is neither hot nor bothered by strip searches.”
- “Thought police muscle up in Britain“, The Australian, 21 April 2009
(Update) Another aspect of our craziness is our fascination with apocalyptic threats. This week’s example: “The Geomagnetic Apocalypse – And How to Stop It“, Wired, 24 April 2009. Like most such, it describes a real and documented threat. Like too many, it does so under an over-the-top headline. The text itself seems reasonable to me (although I’m no expert in these things). At the end of this post are links to more material about end-of-the-world threats (aka shockwaves). Hat tip to the Instapundit.
(1) “Search Me“, Dahlia Lithwick, Slate, 21 April 2009 — “The Supreme Court is neither hot nor bothered by strip searches.” Excerpt:
Yet in recent years, the high court has slowly chipped away at the privacy rights of students-frequently based on the rationale that there were drugs!!! Somewhere in America!!! Drugs!!! Creating danger!!! (This led an annoyed Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to dissent in a recent case that the court was peddling “nightmarish images of out-of-control flatware, livestock run amok, and colliding tubas” to justify drug tests for any student with a pulse.)
… This leads Ginsburg to sputter—in what I have come to think of as her Lilly Ledbetter voice—”what was done in the case … it wasn’t just that they were stripped to their underwear! They were asked to shake their bra out, to stretch the top of their pants and shake that out!” Nobody but Ginsburg seems to comprehend that the only locker rooms in which teenage girls strut around, bored but fabulous in their underwear, are to be found in porno movies. For the rest of us, the middle-school locker room was a place for hastily removing our bras without taking off our T-shirts.
But Breyer just isn’t letting go. “In my experience when I was 8 or 10 or 12 years old, you know, we did take our clothes off once a day, we changed for gym, OK? And in my experience, too, people did sometimes stick things in my underwear.”
Shocked silence, followed by explosive laughter. In fact, I have never seen Justice Clarence Thomas laugh harder. Breyer tries to recover: “Or not my underwear. Whatever. Whatever. I was the one who did it? I don’t know. I mean, I don’t think it’s beyond human experience.”
It gets weirder. Wolf claims school administrators should have known better than to suspect that “Savana was currently concealing ibuprofen pills underneath her underpants for other’s oral consumption,” noting “a certain ick factor to this.” The Chief Justice quickly replies that the ick factor doesn’t attach when you are talking about “the brassiere as well, which doesn’t seem as outlandish as the underpants, right?”
Oh, ick indeed. The search for a bright line rule about the expectations of student privacy has turned into a fight between a bunch of guys who still say “brassiere.”
By now, even Justice David Souter has ditched Wolf, musing that if he were the principal in a school, he “would rather have the kid embarrassed by a strip search … than have some other kids dead because the stuff is distributed at lunchtime and things go awry.”
On the courthouse steps after argument today, Redding is asked what she’d have wanted the school to do differently. “Call my mom first,” she says. You see, we now have school districts all around the country finding naked photos of teens and immediately calling in the police for possession of kiddie porn. Yet schools see nothing wrong with stripping these same kids naked to search for drugs. Evidently teenage nakedness is only a problem when the children choose to be naked. And the parents? They are always the last to know.
(2) “Thought police muscle up in Britain“, The Australian, 21 April 2009
BRITAIN appears to be evolving into the first modern soft totalitarian state. As a sometime teacher of political science and international law, I do not use the term totalitarian loosely.
There are no concentration camps or gulags but there are thought police with unprecedented powers to dictate ways of thinking and sniff out heresy, and there can be harsh punishments for dissent.
Nikolai Bukharin claimed one of the Bolshevik Revolution’s principal tasks was “to alter people’s actual psychology”. Britain is not Bolshevik, but a campaign to alter people’s psychology and create a new Homo britannicus is under way without even a fig leaf of disguise.
The Government is pushing ahead with legislation that will criminalise politically incorrect jokes, with a maximum punishment of up to seven years’ prison. The House of Lords tried to insert a free-speech amendment, but Justice Secretary Jack Straw knocked it out. It was Straw who previously called for a redefinition of Englishness and suggested the “global baggage of empire” was linked to soccer violence by “racist and xenophobic white males”. He claimed the English “propensity for violence” was used to subjugate Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and that the English as a race were “potentially very aggressive”.
In the past 10 years I have collected reports of many instances of draconian punishments, including the arrest and criminal prosecution of children, for thought-crimes and offences against political correctness.
… In September 2006, a 14-year-old schoolgirl, Codie Stott, asked a teacher if she could sit with another group to do a science project as all the girls with her spoke only Urdu. The teacher’s first response, according to Stott, was to scream at her: “It’s racist, you’re going to get done by the police!” Upset and terrified, the schoolgirl went outside to calm down. The teacher called the police and a few days later, presumably after officialdom had thought the matter over, she was arrested and taken to a police station, where she was fingerprinted and photographed. According to her mother, she was placed in a bare cell for 3 1/2 hours. She was questioned on suspicion of committing a racial public order offence and then released without charge. The school was said to be investigating what further action to take, not against the teacher, but against Stott. Headmaster Anthony Edkins reportedly said: “An allegation of a serious nature was made concerning a racially motivated remark. We aim to ensure a caring and tolerant attitude towards pupils of all ethnic backgrounds and will not stand for racism in any form.”
A 10-year-old child was arrested and brought before a judge, for having allegedly called an 11-year-old boya “Paki” and “bin Laden” during a playground argument at a primary school (the other boy had called him a skunk and a Teletubby). When it reached the court the case had cost taxpayers pound stg. 25,000. The accused was so distressed that he had stopped attending school. The judge, Jonathan Finestein, said: “Have we really got to the stage where we are prosecuting 10-year-old boys because of political correctness? There are major crimes out there and the police don’t bother to prosecute. This is nonsense.”
… A bishop was warned by the police for not having done enough to “celebrate diversity”, the enforcing of which is now apparently a police function. A Christian home for retired clergy and religious workers lost a grant because it would not reveal to official snoopers how many of the residents were homosexual. That they had never been asked was taken as evidence of homophobia.
Muslim parents who objected to young children being given books advocating same-sex marriage and adoption at one school last year had their wishes respected and the offending material withdrawn. This year, Muslim and Christian parents at another school objecting to the same material have not only had their objections ignored but have been threatened with prosecution if they withdraw their children.
… Any one of these incidents might be dismissed as an aberration, but taken together – and I have only mentioned a tiny sample; more are reported almost every day – they add up to a pretty clear picture.
Hal G. P. Colebatch’s Blair’s Britain was chosen as a book of the year by The Spectator in 1999.
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To read other articles about these things, see the FM reference page on the right side menu bar. Of esp interest are:
Posts about America’s broken observation-orientation-decision-action loop (OODA loop)
- News from the Front: America’s military has mastered 4GW!, 2 September 2007
- The two tracks of discussion about the Iraq War, never intersecting, 10 November 2007
- Another cycle down the Defense Death Spiral, 30 January 2008
- Quote of the day: this is America’s geopolitical strategy in action, 26 February 2008
- What do blogs do for America?, 26 February 2008
- Everything written about the economic crisis overlooks its true nature, 24 February 2009
- The housing crisis allows America to look in the mirror. What do we see?, 8 March 2009
- The magic of the mainstream media changes even the plainest words into face powder, 24 April 2009
Posts about shockwaves:
- Spreading the news: the end is nigh!, 8 May 2008
- The “Oil Shockwave” project: well-funded analysis of the obvious, 10 April 2008
- Peak Oil Doomsters debunked, end of civilization called off, 8 May 2008
- What does $120 oil mean for the global economy?, 15 May 2008
- There is no “peak water” crisis, 19 June 2008
- We are so vulnerable to so many things. What is the best response?, 30 December 2008
- Comment: warnings about a reversal of Earth’s magnetic field, 30 December 2008
- About our certain doom from the Yellowstone supervolcano, 11 January 2009
- A serious threat to us – a top priority shockwave – a hidden danger …, 20 January 2009