Cyreenik Says

September 2018 issues

More September Surprise: #MeToo becomes neoreligion

"Facts? Pfft! Who needs facts? I have faith. I believe, Hallelujah!"

Another September Surprise is how much media and social media attention the hearings for Brett Kavanaugh as Supreme Court justice are getting, and the form this attention is taking.

The highpoint social media question is, "Do you believe or not believe Ford?", and this is a faith question, not a fact question.

What this means is that #MeToo is transforming into a neoreligion, and religions are based on faith, not fact.

This attention surge also indicates that #MeToo is turning into a moral panic, and this panic is one that bears a lot of resemblance to McCarthyism back in the 1940's -- both are shaming people for activities they engaged in thirty and forty years earlier when social and moral standards were different.

This 30 Sep 18 WSJ editorial, This Is No Mere ‘Job Interview’ Even in the court of public opinion, basic fairness should preclude conviction without clear evidence. by Alan M. Dershowitz, also points out how much this resembles McCarthyism.

From the article, "It is about the most fundamental issues of fairness this country has faced since the McCarthy era, when innocent people were accused of trying to overthrow the government and had their lives ruined based on false accusations, while being denied all semblance of due process or fairness."

Some of the social effects of this moral panic are fairly easy to predict. One is there is a lot more witch hunting coming over the next couple years. One of the sad ones is that we are creating a "social burqa" for our teenagers -- they can't predict what effect social exploring today will have on their careers thirty years in the future, so Aunt Prudence says... "Be Safe! Back Off! And Stay Backed Off!"

The #MeToo movement is getting sold out big time

The #MeToo movement started as outrage in how women were getting sexually abused by men in various business environments. That was noble. But the extremes being used as examples have always been a bit shaky -- in particular those extremes that cite incidents from thirty and forty years earlier. And this month brings a high-profile example of using one of these shaky extremes as a purely political tool.

This 17 Sep 18 WSJ editorial, The #MeToo Kavanaugh Ambush A story this old and unprovable can’t be allowed to delay a Supreme Court confirmation vote., describes a really shaky extreme being used as a purely political tool.

From the article, "The woman accusing Brett Kavanaugh of a drunken assault when both were teenagers has now come forward publicly, and on Monday it caused Republicans to delay a confirmation vote and schedule another public hearing. Yet there is no way to confirm her story after 36 years, and to let it stop Mr. Kavanaugh’s confirmation would ratify what has all the earmarks of a calculated political ambush."

This incident is definitely a sad state of affairs for the #MeToo movement. This woman turns out to be someone who is highly successful -- she has a doctorate degree and a job as a university professor at a prestigious college. How did this incident ruin her life?

Complaining about things such as this, and in this way, is going to make the #MeToo movement lose credibility and come to be seen as simply old biddies complaining about how decades ago they didn't get to live as admired untouched princesses.

And the bite could get a lot worse: the more this becomes a "cultural burqa" that keeps teenagers from exploring their relations with other teenagers -- male and female -- the more it is taking both joy and learning experiences out of the lives of our youths.

It's not helping the Democrats either. This is bottom-of-the-barrel scraping. But, I admit, it seems to be a real popular tactic with a lot of people.

Change in China: seriously courting Africa

This summer China's leadership has been on a serious charm offensive with nations in Africa. The 2 Sep 18 issue of the Chinese news web site, Xinhaunet, had pictures of Chinese leader Xi Jinping shaking hands with five different African heads-of-state. This is sure a lot for one day, but this is just the latest in a summer-long stream of handshake pictures showing Xi and other Chinese government bigwigs with African leaders.

What this means -- what changes will come to politics, economics and business along with all this photo opping -- will be interesting to watch. China is promoting what it calls the Belt and Road initiative where it is promoting investing in infrastructure connecting it with the South Asian and African regions. So this hobnobbing is part of a bigger plan. Over the next few years we will get to see how this big plan evolves.

This 4 Sep 18 WSJ article, China and African Nations Deepen Ties Despite Debt Concerns Summit in Beijing ends with leaders reaffirming joint development goals by James T. Areddy and Chun Han Wong, offers another point of view on this initiative.

From the article, "BEIJING—Chinese President Xi Jinping and African leaders reaffirmed joint development goals on Tuesday at the conclusion of a summit shadowed by a debt crisis among some African nations and questions about China’s role in it."

The debt concerns are enough that one country, Malaysia, is backing out of some Belt and Road deals. This 6 Sep 18 Economist article, The perils of China’s “debt-trap diplomacy” Malaysia’s rethink of Chinese belt-and-road projects has lessons for other countries, describes the details of the new government saying no to what the previous government agreed to.



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