What's Tony Thinking

July 29, A Week Ends


Kids and Play. I mentioned in a blog earlier this week, when reporting on backpacking with a grandson, how a hyper-safety consciousness has cut into free play and associated adventure for kids. The moral psychologist, Jonathan Haidt, is soon to publish a new book in which he looks at “play deprivation” and the teen mental health crisis. Here’s Haidt:

“The central idea of my forthcoming book, The Anxious Generation, is that we have overprotected children in the real world, where they need a lot of free play and autonomy, while under-protecting them online, where they are not developmentally ready for much of what happens to them.” Sounds about right to me.

Is the American Thing Over and Done? Maybe not quite yet, argues Walter Russell Mead, a foreign policy scholar, in a long form article/ essay at Tablet. His piece is focused on the huge, world-wide influence of the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and their secular descendants, Liberal Nationalism and Marxism) and the world-view that animates them.

Mead starts by citing the famed sociologist of religion, Peter Berger, who — noting that Sweden is the least religion nation and India the most — quipped that “the U.S. is a nation of Indians ruled by Swedes.” Now, 50 years after Berger, it may be that we are two nations: one Swedes, the other Indians. But, secularists and academic elites who dismiss religion as an anachronism may be, well, themselves an anachronism.

Mead’s thesis is that, however compromised the U.S. story is by slavery and racism (and it is), the American story is not finished yet, or to spin it more theologically, “God is not done with us yet.”

Guns and Trust. The NYT had an interesting piece on gun sales and ownership in the U.S. While a majority of want more legal controls on people’s ability to buy and use guns, Americans are buying guns at a faster clip than ever.

“In 2020, while many communities were under Covid lockdowns, protesters were flooding the streets and economic uncertainty and social isolation were deepening, Americans went on a shopping spree. For firearms . . . Some 22 million guns were sold that year, 64 percent more than in 2019. More than eight million of them went to novices who had never owned a firearm . . .”

Why? There is an inverse relationship between gun ownership and social trust (can I trust other people?). Less trust, more guns. I think that’s what is called a “vicious cycle.”

Crossing the Line at the Seattle Times. The line is drawn at the Lenin statue in Fremont We like Lenin, apparently. A new member of the Seattle Times editorial board made the mistake of pointing out that Lenin was a bad dude, by some scales worse than Hitler. Here’s journalist David Volodzko:

“I was just fired from my job at The Seattle Times after defending Hitler. The only problem is, I never defended Hitler. In fact, my family was hunted by the Nazis; my grandfather was a Nazi killer who later almost died in a concentration camp; and some of my best journalistic work has been exposing neo-Nazi lies. But if you want to hear a story about the intolerance in our country’s ‘most tolerant’ city and the erosion of civil discourse in American life, read on.”

Volodzko made the mistake of suggesting that not everyone who comes in the name of “social justice” should be trusted.

It’s Rodeo Time. It is, in Wallowa County, the week of the Chief Joseph Day’s Rodeo. We went last night, on “Cowboys Wear Pink” night, all about breast cancer awareness.

“Cowboys wear pink,” is about as far left, if it can even be termed that, as rural/ rodeo culture is likely to go. And it probably took some doing to get there. Meanwhile, in the wider culture wars, wearing pink and talking openly about (breast) cancer is, like, so 20th century. The culture war/ gender issues keep on coming in bewildering array that adds to a bunker mentality evident at a rodeo. Still, there was one joke from the good ol’ boy announcer at the expense of Keri Lake, so I guess that counts as “equal time.”

Enjoy your weekend!


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