Therapy Gives You Issues

Over half of liberal white women have 'a mental health issue' according to a recent study. Well, young ones.
White women, ages 18-29, who identified as liberal were given a mental health diagnosis from medical professionals at a rate of 56.3%, as compared to 28.4% in moderates and 27.3% in conservatives.
But of course, because the therapeutic mindset teaches them that it's normal to be traumatized and in need of treatment. This living in eternal therapy is, according to the one lady, human flourishing, happiness, eudaimonia!
Therapy seems to have absorbed not just our language but our idea of the good life; its framework of fulfillment and reciprocity, compassion and care, increasingly drives our vision for society. Writing this piece, I thought especially of the Greek concept of eudaimonia, or human flourishing. Some might call it blessedness. In any case, it seems worth talking about.

Embracing this mindset encourages one to describe one's experience in therapeutic terms; that's what your friends do, and your yoga instructor, your spiritual advisor, and the lady down the street who sells you candles and tarot readings. Naturally your therapist will go along with your desire to be diagnosed, since after all you're paying her hourly and will continue to do so if she provides you with a good reason to come back every week. 

The question is how many of these issues would manifest themselves as serious concerns in the absence of so much therapy and so much focus on 'trauma' and 'healing' and all that. I suppose the more serious mental health issues are mostly genetic or otherwise biological in nature, and probably there are a certain number of those that manifest regardless of cultural issues. More, if you have toxins like lead in the environment above a certain level.

UPDATE: Beyond the problem -- if it is a problem -- of having a large part of the population that thinks of itself as mentally ill (and the rest of us as undiagnosed mental patients-to-be, just as soon as they can arrange to rope us into therapy), there's a philosophical threat to civilization from this approach too. I saw one of these therapy-minded women suggesting recently that the United States, having been able to completely reorder itself for COVID, should be able to similarly reorder itself in order to address the historical traumas it caused to Native Americans, etc. 

First of all, that's a terrible model. Arguably the COVID response is the most destructive thing to happen to the United States since the Civil War, having devastated much of the economy and reordered it to the benefit of megacorporations like Amazon at the expense of small business. Politically, it saw the outright abrogation of basic liberties, to include freedom of assembly, freedom of expression, and free exercise of religion. The lesson we should take from the COVID response should be to defang government at the state and Federal level so that it can never do anything like that again.

But notice how the mindset that the proper business of adults is to 'heal their childhood trauma' drives us into the arms of those who want America to do nothing but meditate in shame on the evils of its ancestry. Here, as everywhere, the best answer is the opposite. The best thing to do with death is to ride off from it; the only thing to do with a tough history is to try to do better by people in the future, but you have to keep moving. The therapeutic mindset is unhealthy for the otherwise healthy individual, but its normalization as a philosophical model is deadly for a nation. 

A Professionally-Handled Pursuit

So, having expressed ideas that are critical of police and current training, it's fair to note a well-handled pursuit and arrest down in Forsyth County, Georgia. This is the county where I grew up, though it is nothing like it was when I was a boy:  it has more than ten times the population it did in the 1970s. As a consequence of becoming a rich suburb of Atlanta, it has a large and well-funded Sheriff's department. 

Here they apprehend a fleeing Dodge Charger with out of state plates, which proved to be full of armed felons from Chicago. Note not only the well-handled pursuit and takedown, but the manner in which they did not open fire in spite of having reasons to do so (e.g., the opaque windows preventing them from seeing into the vehicle, and its repeated attempts to escape them even after they had rammed it into a ditch). 

I don't know any of the deputies still serving on the force, although I grew up knowing quite a few because of my father's work with the Volunteer Fire Department. These young fellows responded well to provocation and excitement, and handled the matter with clear professionalism. 

American Spaghetti

This is from an album I missed until this week, which inspired a 2007 film that I also missed. (I was probably either in the Philippines or Iraq, depending on when it was released that year.) The album is clearly inspired by the work of Ennio Morricone, and has some good moments as well as some cheesy ones, much like Morricone himself. A worthy tribute.

Putting the Brakes on Riots

Not a terrible start, though deploying the Guard with orders to shoot looters might be faster.
The newspaper notes that Democrats and civil rights organizations specifically point to the provisions in the bill that "grant civil legal immunity to people who drive through protesters blocking a road; prevent people arrested for rioting or offenses committed during a riot from bailing out of jail until their first court appearance; and impose a six-month mandatory sentence for battery on a police officer during a riot."

The bill also states that a city cannot reduce its police budget without prior approval from the state, in an apparent response to the movement to redistribute some of the funding that goes towards police.

I'm pretty sure that last part goes against my ordinary principles, which are generally for localized control and adaptability as long as basic rights are not thereby threatened.  

Not DB: Special Operations Forces Full of Extremists

You know, the kind of people who -- like a majority of Americans -- believe the election was stolen. Perhaps coincidentally, US Special Forces in particular are likely to have operated in third world countries where dodgy elections are the norm; and they have significant insight into the behind-the-scenes operations of our own government too. But let's go with 'crazy conspiracy theories and QAnon,' says NBC.

The story is based on posts in 'secret Facebook groups,' whose membership is of course completely confirmed to be actual SOF. Definitely no stolen valor goes on with this internet thing.

By the way, how strong is the claim that SOF is rife with QAnon followers? Way down the article we get this: "QAnon followers aren't necessarily common among special operations forces. But if any member of the military believes in the conspiracy theory..."

Oh, OK.

Also amusing is the note that SOCOM experienced a "hiccup" in its "counter-extremism" training after their new Diversity and Inclusion chief was found to have compared Trump to Hitler in social media posts. But I mean, that's mainstream, right?

UPDATE: Relatedly, a genuine conspiracy theory spread through American journalism that Russia was paying bounties for dead American soldiers. "All they had was an anonymous leak from “intelligence officials” — which The New York Times on Thursday admitted came from the CIA — but that was all they needed."

Well, of course you can trust anonymous clandestine intelligence sources. That's mainstream, right? 

DB: Pentagon to Weed Out Extremists by Banning Marine Corps

They make a good case.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin [said:] "We had to understand how a person becomes radicalized. And Jesus Christ did you know what the Marine Corps is like?”

Laura Goodwin, a researcher for the Rand Corporation, shared some data that informed the panel’s decision.

“When we asked recruits why they served in the Air Force, 54% said ‘college money,’ and 34% said ‘Patriotism or service to country,’ When we asked the same question to Marine Corps recruits, 18% cited ‘shoot a giant ******* machine gun,’ and 88% said ‘kicking in Bin Laden’s door, sneaking up to his bedroom, shooting his ******* beard face, and throwing a grenade on his sleeping innocent wives..."

Joe (not his real name)... was exposed to radical propaganda in a YouTube ad late at night, “all [he] could think about was slaying dragons and wearing white gloves and a sword.” ...

“The Department of Defense has shared core values of service, honor, and integrity, based on a long tradition of just war, the Geneva Conventions, ethical conduct, escalation of force and law of armed conflict,” Austin said, though his remarks were drowned out by a passing Marine platoon singing about blood making the green grass grow and putting claymores in children’s playgrounds.

Not Even King Arthur Can Escape the Woke Wave

 Apparently King Arthur Flour has a new logo- and it's not *nearly* as nice as the old one.  Very disappointing.

Fake News Today

BB: "More Conservatives deciding not to get vaccinated after learning liberals will stay away from them."

DB: "Army says generals can substitute 2 minute plank in lieu of victory in Afghanistan."

HT: "Drag Queen overthrown in Drag Revolution by Drag Peasants." 

TO: "Police Department To Avoid Future Errors By Replacing All Equipment Officers Carry With Guns."

More on Poisoning Public Schools with CRT

From The Federalist, this time. 

Reforming Police Training

In the comments to the "Rabbit/Riot" post below, Larry made the following comment.
Larry said...
I agree, that phrase made me laugh, as well.

For as long as I’ve followed the posts in the Hall (I made my way to the Hall from Blackfive), deficiencies in the training of American police have been raised as a significant issue. I don’t know enough about their training to know where it’s deficient. Grim (and anyone else), can you give me more information about that?
It's been more than a decade that we've occasionally been treating this subject, so I thought perhaps it would be helpful to review the history. 

In general, I've tended to argue that the problem isn't a deficiency of training, but badly-founded training. More training is thus not the answer, because training people even more intensely to do the wrong thing will only intensify bad results. What is needed is a general reformation of police training based on the restoration of an older understanding of what police exist to do. 

My basic claim has been that there are two modes of understanding what police officers do: the 'peace officer' and the 'law enforcement' models. On the older 'peace officer' model, police are just full-time good citizens whose job is to help other citizens uphold the common peace. If you as a citizen should come across someone's livestock that has gotten out of their fence and into the road, it would be proper to stop and help them get it back inside the fence to protect travelers as well as property. If no other good citizens are around, the police exist as people you can call to come help you. Similarly, if you see someone being robbed or raped or murdered, a good citizen should put a stop to it. The police exist as full-time good citizens, spending all day working in the community to uphold the common peace.

The Norman Rockwell painting under the "older understanding" link idolizes this model. The police officer has options when he encounters a runaway (and truant). The one he chose was to take the boy for a snack, hear him out, and try to find solutions to his problems. It was not to slap him in juvenile for violating mandatory school attendance policies, or to bust up his family by sending him to the Department of Child/Family Services who will put him in foster care. The painting is idyllic, but the lesson is genuine. A peace officer can enforce the law, but that is only one tool. It is often not the right tool
Sir Thomas More [in claiming that the rule of law must be paramount] was speaking as an agent of the state. The argument that an officer of the state should 'give the Devil the benefit of the law' is an argument about the state recognizing legal limits to its power. Just as the play says, if we accept the state setting aside the lawful limits of its power to deal with evildoers, we will soon find it accepts no limits when it deals with anyone else.

The "we" who are accepting or rejecting the state's powers here are "We, the People." The distinction between the People and the State is that the People are those who retain the power described in the Declaration of Independence:

[T]hey are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.
"The rule of law" is therefore not a principle for the People to accept as a first principle. They are the judges of whether "the rule of law" has become destructive to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." Their first principles must be these three things.

The rule of law is a means to that end; when it becomes destructive to those ends, the law must be set aside in spite of itself.

If the law is unjust, "the rule of law" means the rule of injustice. Before we the People speak of 'giving the Devil the benefit of the law,' we must not forget that the Devil often has the best lobbyists. We should not commit to a moral principle that commits us to pursuing injustice on those occasions when the wicked have captured the law.


There is a second argument that applies even when the law is not unjust; even when it may be perfectly just.

The law is an exercise of the power of the state, and the power of the state is coercive -- it is based on violence, that is, even when an individual instance is not violent. Every act of "law enforcement" is an act of coercion.

Many times in life we find ourselves in disputes with others, and we could rely on rules and force to push people to accept our way. We might also be able to sit down, talk things through, and achieve a compromise position that everyone can live with. The second approach means that we do not get exactly what we wanted, but we do get a society that is more pleasant to live in. Very often, this second approach is the foundation of friendships and good relations with neighbors.

This is why we respect the old breed of "peace officers" more than the sort who consider themselves "law enforcement officers." A peace officer is preserving the order of society, but this often means letting certain things slide if an agreement can be reached between the parties in dispute. The law here is a tool, certainly, but he does not stand on 'the rule of law.' He mentions the law, and then talks people into sorting out their problems so that no one has to go to jail.
On the law enforcement model, the police are agents of the state who are set in opposition to the citizenry. Their job is to enforce unpopular laws (whose legitimacy is questionable in a democracy: by what right does any law exist if it is rejected by most citizens?), to collect fines to fund the state, and to put or keep people in prison. 

So that is one basic issue: conception of the role of the officer.

The second basic issue where police training is disordered is on the question of honor. Police work is inherently honorable just because it entails taking on risks to one's self in order to protect those who are weaker. However, police training on the use of lethal force -- especially in using handguns -- has become predicated on ensuring that the officer comes home alive. While it is desirable that the officer comes home alive, maximizing that outcome means pushing the risks of police work back onto the other people. If a police officer is trained to draw his firearm at the first potential sign of trouble, he protects himself more effectively; but it exposes the people he encounters to a higher degree of risk. That reverses the dynamic that made police work honorable, and makes it instead dishonorable: one becomes an armed agent of the state trained to shoot anyone who presents a potentially dangerous challenge. 

Police have a defensible case here in terms of how quickly things can go sideways. Someone with a knife can close the distance and kill you in seconds even from tens of feet away; someone with a hidden gun can kill you very quickly indeed. Knives and guns are, however, not illegal in the United States and ought not to become so. Whatever risk they pose, the mere possession of a weapon does not justify lethal force. (See discussion here.)

Likewise, the police training by focusing on their constant risk of death teaches them to overestimate how dangerous their job is. "[I]n a parallel discussion, somebody flipped the data: what about police killed by blacks vs. others? It looks like blacks represent about 4 in 10 cop killers, at 13% of the population. But again, how many police are killed? Not many! 126 out of 1.1 million, or 0.011%."

As a result, police are taught to respond much more aggressively than is prudent, against a population much less likely to hurt them than they are taught to believe. They end up shifting the status of their profession towards dishonor by choosing to prioritize self-defense over running risks to protect others; and they shift from being good fellow citizens to enemies of ordinary people by adopting the law-enforcement model over the peace officer model.

Finally, there is an issue about equipment.
I would say training reform begins with equipment reform. That's going to vary a bit by community, but we should have a conversation about what an appropriate level of force is for our communities. It may be that a shotgun ordinarily left in the car is all you need for many rural jurisdictions. In those cases when force was likely, you'd have more force than a handgun provides, but mostly you'd deal with people without weapons.

In more dangerous places, we might ask whether Tasers and CS gas are really needed. They don't seem to be very effective against dangerous people. They're just confusing the options and the legal after-game. Maybe the handgun is one option, and the nightstick or other melee weapon the primary choice for training. And that means a lot of training, because melee weapons are much harder to use well. There are lots of rewards to having a well-trained force that can leverage this capacity, though.

I think teams armed with military-grade gear should probably be almost done away with nationwide. We have the National Guard for that. If policing ordinarily requires that level of force in your community, we need to consider martial law until order can be restored. But that's a military problem, not a police problem.

I don't think the BLM people much like to consider that there may be neighborhoods -- even in majority black communities like those in South Chicago -- where martial law is the appropriate answer. But I think we could get to an eventual position in which less force on a day to day basis is required that way. When order is restored, it can be a much better kind of order.

We also need to address the separate issue of using police for revenue collection. That needs to stop. Maybe communities can be forbidden to collect revenue in this way -- all fines have to be donated to charities through a double-blind mechanism to prevent corruption, or something like that.

In addition to these global issues, there are localized issues that are beyond the scope of this blog to address. I spent the weekend with emergency personnel of my acquaintance who are local to the community, and they raised a number of complaints about the way Public Safety training is handled by the local community college (which handles a lot of the work of training EMTs, firefighters, and police, as the state has pushed a number of these duties off onto academia as 'training hours').  One example: There are issues about urban vs. rural America that crop up as the big city police/fire unions create demands for excessive training in order to try to drive up their departmental budgets (some of which gets diverted to their salaries, not that they don't deserve good pay). Poorer communities end up having fewer police and firefighters than they'd like as a result, because they just can't afford to keep up. 

Music and Measure Theory

James left this video in the last Parmenides post.

I'm raising it to the top because many of you may be interested. Piercello, if you're around, you should definitely watch it.

Counter Education in Public Schools

Bari Weiss published an article by one Paul Rossi arguing that the schools have become hostile to educating a free people in favor of teaching tribalism and racism.

My school, like so many others, induces students via shame and sophistry to identify primarily with their race before their individual identities are fully formed. Students are pressured to conform their opinions to those broadly associated with their race and gender and to minimize or dismiss individual experiences that don’t match those assumptions. The morally compromised status of “oppressor” is assigned to one group of students based on their immutable characteristics. In the meantime, dependency, resentment and moral superiority are cultivated in students considered “oppressed.”

All of this is done in the name of “equity,” but it is the opposite of fair. In reality, all of this reinforces the worst impulses we have as human beings: our tendency toward tribalism and sectarianism that a truly liberal education is meant to transcend.

Recently, I raised questions about this ideology at a mandatory, whites-only student and faculty Zoom meeting.

"A mandatory, whites-only" meeting? 

Aristotle warns in his Politics that an education must help to fit the citizens to the nature of their constitution. 

No one will doubt that the legislator should direct his attention above all to the education of youth; for the neglect of education does harm to the constitution. The citizen should be molded to suit the form of government under which he lives. For each government has a peculiar character which originally formed and which continues to preserve it. The character of democracy creates democracy, and the character of oligarchy creates oligarchy; and always the better the character, the better the government.

Again, for the exercise of any faculty or art a previous training and habituation are required; clearly therefore for the practice of virtue. And since the whole city has one end, it is manifest that education should be one and the same for all[.]

The education being provided is not proper to a democracy in which all are considered to be in some sense equals. It is an education fitted for balkanization, not harmony; to encourage division, not political friendship; and entirely opposed to the ends that the American republic was to strive to attain. 

Listen Up, You Primitive Rednecks

Or, outreach

Didn’t I hear of a vaccine being tabled this morning because it was causing inexplicable blood clots that doctors say they need more time to understand? 

You can’t know the long term effects of anything before the long term. 

Perfectly Clear

Instapundit quotes Althouse points out a 'news article' acting as propaganda:

 CNN reports, aggressively inserting the view that the [60% of Republicans who think the election was stolen] who were polled are wrong... 

What is perfectly clear, however, is that Republicans’ lack of faith in our current election infrastructure is a direct result of Trump’s historic efforts to undermine the legitimacy of the 2020 results.
It’s “perfectly clear” why people have this opinion? This is a news article, reporting a poll, and it’s making an absolute assertion about why human beings believe what they do. That doesn’t inspire confidence. It makes people suspicious, perhaps paranoid.

As the old saying goes, 'it isn't paranoia if they're really out to get you.' The ongoing case in Georgia has found 400,000 ballots that lack legally required chain of custody documentation; it's over 66,000 illegal ballots found in Michigan; Arizona is about to conduct an audit in its most populous county. 

Yet the government official in Georgia asserts that there's nothing wrong, and those 400,000 ballots shouldn't be questioned. 

"We've never found systemic fraud, not enough to overturn the election," Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) said in December. "We have over 250 cases right now ... but right now we don't see anything that would overturn, you know, the will of the people here in Georgia."

That's kind of the question, Raff. What was the will of the people of Georgia? I notice that he filed papers to ask the judge handling the review not to allow auditors access to any of the actual ballots. He wants the audit to look only at the electronic 'images' of ballots cast. If you want to restore confidence in the elections being fair, putting up road blocks to audits and reviews is not the way to get there. Neither is aggressively talking over the people who are convinced that your side cheated, as CNN is doing.

Sixty percent of Republicans in Georgia is on the order of a third of the population of the state. That's not a percentage you can afford to ignore with a charge of this gravity. You need to prove to them that things are above board if you want the system to remain stable.

Ville de Bitche

A city in France loses its Facebook page. 

Rabbit... er, Riot Season

It occurs to me that, in an earlier era when we got our news from local papers, I would never know that we were experiencing another set of semi-annual riots in major cities. It could not be more peaceful out here in the countryside. Spring weather is beautiful, too. 

This one appears to be occasioned by a female cop who didn't know the difference between her taser and her pistol. Diversity is our strength! Not, apparently, training or competence. 

R.I.P. Prince Philip

 At last, a tribute to the late Prince Philip that is neither tawdry nor in execrable taste.