- The Washington Times - Monday, October 3, 2005

‘Big lie’

“Joseph Goebbels would have been happy with much of the mainstream media in the past few weeks since Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast. Goebbels, for those of you too young to know, was Hitler’s propaganda minister. He is credited with creating the concept of The Big Lie. The idea was that if you tell a lie big enough often enough, people will believe it.

“The big lie of the Hurricane Katrina story is that it reveals deep and hateful racism in America, that blacks were treated worse than other people because they were black. …

“Here’s the truth. Many black people were harmed by Katrina because of where they lived relative to the path of the hurricane and the location of their neighborhoods below sea level and their refusal or inability to obey the mandatory evacuation orders for New Orleans. This is not racism. …

“Oh, and also by the way, the nation’s churches and synagogues opened their hearts to the evacuees. … I did not see too many help centers run by the ACLU.

“It is just plain evil to try to divide the nation — especially in time of war — with false cries of racism.”

— Ben Stein, writing on “A Big Lie Put to Rest,” Sept. 27 in the American Spectator

Online

Racial ‘prism’

“[T]o discuss any aspect of race in this country is to invite an ‘Al Campanis Moment’ … when, by the slip of a tongue or somebody’s misinterpretation, a discussion of race ends with the speaker being tossed onto the pillory.

“New Yorker staff writer Jeffrey Goldberg is getting this treatment … for having told Washingtonian magazine how newsroom diversity kept him from getting a permanent job at the Washington Post in 1989. …

“Goldberg was up for a full-time job, he says, when an editor took him aside and said, ‘We would like to hire you, but we have to hire a Hispanic for that slot.’ …

“[T]he story is worth musing over because it reveals the inner tensions at work in businesses, schools, and branches of government that take pride in increasing diversity, as the Post does. …

“It’s predictable that when a minority is hired or promoted that someone on staff will suspect that a diversity calculator in the backroom made the personnel decision, not a human being who considered only merit. …

“Whether the claims are true or not, when diversity plays a significant role in hiring it makes race the prism through which folks start viewing their jobs.”

— Jack Shafer, writing on “Doomed by Diversity,” Sept. 27 in Slate at www.slate.com

Nietzsche knew

“Emory Law School professor Martha Fineman has urged that ‘marriage should be abolished as a legal category’ and replaced by an arrangement in which ‘society’ will pay for children to be raised by ‘caretakers.’ …

“[I]n the late 19th century [the Supreme Court] spoke of marriage as a ‘sacred obligation’ and a ‘holy estate’ that was the source of civilization itself. By 1972 it had abandoned any such reference and said instead that marriage is ‘an association of two individuals, each with a separate emotional and intellectual makeup.’ Marriage was once a sacrament, then it became a sacred obligation, and now it is a private contract.

“Friedrich Nietzsche would not have been surprised. He predicted that the family would be ‘ground into a random collection of individuals’ bound together by the ‘common pursuit of selfish ends,’ in other words, family loyalty would slowly disappear.”

— James Q. Wilson, writing on “The Ties That Do Not Bind,” in the fall issue of In Character

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