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The 5 Strangest Features Of The Modern Left

The 5 Strangest Features Of The Modern Left

Authored by Jeffrey Tucker via The Epoch Times,

The political left that I came to know in college…



The 5 Strangest Features Of The Modern Left

Authored by Jeffrey Tucker via The Epoch Times,

The political left that I came to know in college - that one that rallied around free speech, reason over faith, fairness to all, and peace - seems to have evaporated completely.

I barely recognized what has replaced it.

Truth is, I cannot make heads or tails out of any of it.

It seems like this chaotic assembly of seemingly random biases, all shoved together in a package like a grab bag of the bizarre and dangerous.

Here are five of the oddest doctrines you find on the left that make zero sense to me.


Coming of age during the Cold War meant that college was filled with debates about the character of what was called the Soviet Union, meaning Russia and many neighboring states. The conservative right saw the Soviets as imperialistic communists hellbent on global domination through industrial supremacy and arms exports. It was the core of the revolutionary conspiracy that threatened to overthrow tradition and freedom, and that’s why it must be resisted and rolled back.

The left in those days had a different view, and it always intrigued me. They said Russia was a normal country with normal problems and issues. The United States and Russia were strong allies in the Second World War and the country made great sacrifices to defeat Nazism. Since then, it has not really been imperialistic so much as nationalistic, defending its economic and political interests. Moreover, they would say, communism in Russia is no longer a prevailing practice but more of a slogan. They have reformed substantially and want to reform more, so it is time to make peace, which the nation desperately desires.

This debate over how to think of Russia was pervasive, even affecting the way they thought about the Soviet role in Afghanistan. U.S. conservatives rallied against the Soviet occupation but the left would point out that actually the Soviets are a moderate force in the country, attempting to keep religious extremism at bay and foster a kind of moderate secular government. The main message of the left was, for many decades, stop demonizing this country and its foreign policy ambitions, and treat the Russians as just another country with its own distinct problems and issues.

That whole paradigm is now ancient history. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, U.S. conservatives generally adopted a new attitude much more in keeping with what the left once believed about the country. Meanwhile, and gradually especially during the 21st century, the left holds a similar view to what the right once held: this country is a rogue state headed by a monster who supports reactionary politics the world over, interferes in elections, and wars against progress.

The anti-Russia doctrine on the left is now ironclad and unshakeable. Even after the claim that Russia somehow got Trump elected in 2016 was shown to be completely rot the left won’t let go. Anything that goes wrong anywhere is blamed on Russia. Any pundit who disagrees with the left is smeared as a Russian agent (yes, they have said this about me!).

I have no real explanation for this bizarre turn.

Oil, gas, and coal.

Another odd turn on the left is how within their circles of opinion, it is seen as incontrovertibly true that all energy to power the human experience should come from wind, water, and sun. Nothing else. Digging up coal is bad. Drilling into the oceans of oil beneath our feet is bad. I’ve gradually come to realize that these people truly do desire the complete end to the use of what they call “fossil fuels” and are hellbent on achieving it.

No evidence can shake their view. Raise doubts about this “climate change” story and you are dismissed as an anti-science crank, even though Nobel Laureates have debunked the narrative too. It’s an article of faith among this whole crowd, a serious ambition and belief that the whole world should be purged of petroleum products. But that itself is strange because the same gang has long promoted fake fur and fake leather as clothing even though the replacement is entirely a petroleum product. So it seems like they only oppose the use of oil in the production of energy, for whatever reason.

As for electric cars, don’t be fooled: there is no way the grid can be supported by sunbeams and breezes. It requires vast use of coal, which the left opposes. So it’s only a matter of time. First, convert the world to EVs and then, second, announce that coal digging and processing is massively throttled, and, third, explain that bicycles and Flintstone cars are really the only way to get around. It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that these people have a strangely malicious hatred of the good life that oil, gas, and coal enable.

Which is also weird because the mainstream left a century ago strongly believed in industrialization and material progress. That was the original vision of socialism: through collective effort and a strong state, we will industrialize the world through man’s strength and awesome machines. Look at old-time Soviet propaganda: it’s all about industrial strength, smokestacks, and immense production. How did that ambition come to be converted to a neo-Manichean longing for a state of nature where a tiny and immobile population forages for food and lives in caves?

I have no real explanation for this bizarre turn.

Gender transitions.

The idea of emancipating women from subjugation and subservience is certainly part of the liberal idea from the 19th century. This migrated to the women’s suffrage movement and later to waves of feminism in the 1960s and 1970s. The message was always that women are normative human beings, distinct from men but deserving of full rights, dignity, and respect. If men have sports teams, women should too. If men are paid high salaries, women should be too. The idea here was that society needed to recognize the distinct contribution that women as women make to the good life.

All fine. But then in a phantasmagoric twist, left-wing doctrine suddenly shifted. There is nothing biologically distinct about women at all. There is nothing about gender identity that is reflective of inner biological differences. Everything can be moved around through pure volition such that men can become women and vice versa. All that a man needs to do to compete in women’s sports is grow longer hair, put it in a bun, wear some fun colors, affect a high voice with rising intonation, and voila he is a woman! With assistance of drugs and surgery, anything is possible.

For a while, this turn seemed to be about tolerating eccentricities. Most everyone can play along with that game, just as we indulge the family friend who suddenly picks up a high English accent for whatever reason. We are polite people and don’t normally want to shame people for their unique ways. But then it became more than that. The codification of this wacky stuff came only recently when federal government documents, even from the CDC, struck the existence of women from reality altogether. Now there are only “people who are pregnant.”

The left, which had traditionally rallied around rights for women, has come full circle and is now literally deleting the existence of women as biological entities! It’s gotten so extreme that the left is even fine with hacking off the genitalia of adolescents in the name of gender therapeutics—a barbaric practice from the ancient world designed to create eunuchs to guard harems and sopranos to sing in choirs. The same people who only a few years ago were raging about “blackface” are now thrilled about “womanface.”

Again, I have no real explanation for this bizarre turn.

Free speech.

The idea of free speech was once settled doctrine on the left, from John Stuart Mill and forward. One hundred years ago, it was a rallying cry. The idea was absolute: no one should be throttled, much less censored. To speak and be heard was the very essence of freedom itself. The most famous of all liberal organizations spent many decades litigating for the right. Nothing was as settled as this idea.

In 1965, this thinker named Herbert Marcuse wrote an essay called “Repressive Tolerance.” His idea was that freedom as we know it is really nothing more than a bourgeois slogan that was thrown around to cover up ruling-class domination. The only path to real free speech was through the complete silencing of culturally dominant voices and the forced raising up of marginal voices. Only the vanguard of leftist elites know precisely how to achieve this so they should be in charge.

Nothing much came from this barrage of bilge and it was largely forgotten. It seems like some people found the essay a few years ago and, seemingly out of nowhere, the left became massive champions of censorship and speech control. Now every major social media platform but one is routinely used as a censorship tool at the behest of the government. The left not only puts up with this but actively champions it too. Now this same gang says that anyone who pushes free speech is really just a sloganeer for bourgeois interests, probably paid by Russia or the fossil fuels industry.

I have no real explanation for this bizarre turn.

The Working Class.

Let’s end this litany of the absurd with an obvious observation: the left has turned against everything associated with the working class. We saw this during the pandemic controls. Everyone on the left seemed to agree that the professional class should luxuriate at home and watch movies while the working classes should drive around trucks with food and deliver it to the front doors of the progressive vanguard of pathogenic control. They simply cared nothing at all for those doing actual work. Later they came after them with experimental meds and tried to force them on all workers.

What a contrast from the past! The left had for many decades been the champions of labor over capital. This has been true from about 1880; indeed the core of socialist theory was that labor was entitled to a much greater share of surplus value that was being unjustly hoarded by capital. This view was foundational on the left, all the way back from the mid-19th century until about 2016, when the working classes voted for a guy that the left didn’t like. Now, they have flipped sides: favor capital over labor, provided that capital is funding their projects, nonprofits, and helping to rig elections in their favor.

They are unapologetic about their status as the new Robber Barons who are entitled to rule the rest of us.

For this bizarre turn, there really is an explanation.

They like power. They want to retain and exercise power. For that to happen, they need money. Capital is where the money is and, hence, that is where the left hangs out. Yes, that’s a cynical take but that’s where all the facts point.

Still there remains a fundamental theoretical problem with the 2020s version of progressive/leftist ideology. None of it makes any sense. It’s a hodgepodge mix of crazy that stands in complete contradiction to what everyone within this camp believed only a few years ago, dating back a century and more. In this way, the new leftism is completely unsustainable from an intellectual point of view.

There can only be defectors from the group in the future. People with integrity will continue to flee, leaving this to become a tiny junta of bromide-rich babblers focused on wielding power for its own sake. How can there be a future in this?

Tyler Durden Wed, 01/03/2024 - 16:20

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Health Officials: Man Dies From Bubonic Plague In New Mexico

Health Officials: Man Dies From Bubonic Plague In New Mexico

Authored by Jack Phillips via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Officials in…



Health Officials: Man Dies From Bubonic Plague In New Mexico

Authored by Jack Phillips via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Officials in New Mexico confirmed that a resident died from the plague in the United States’ first fatal case in several years.

A bubonic plague smear, prepared from a lymph removed from an adenopathic lymph node, or bubo, of a plague patient, demonstrates the presence of the Yersinia pestis bacteria that causes the plague in this undated photo. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Getty Images)

The New Mexico Department of Health, in a statement, said that a man in Lincoln County “succumbed to the plague.” The man, who was not identified, was hospitalized before his death, officials said.

They further noted that it is the first human case of plague in New Mexico since 2021 and also the first death since 2020, according to the statement. No other details were provided, including how the disease spread to the man.

The agency is now doing outreach in Lincoln County, while “an environmental assessment will also be conducted in the community to look for ongoing risk,” the statement continued.

This tragic incident serves as a clear reminder of the threat posed by this ancient disease and emphasizes the need for heightened community awareness and proactive measures to prevent its spread,” the agency said.

A bacterial disease that spreads via rodents, it is generally spread to people through the bites of infected fleas. The plague, known as the black death or the bubonic plague, can spread by contact with infected animals such as rodents, pets, or wildlife.

The New Mexico Health Department statement said that pets such as dogs and cats that roam and hunt can bring infected fleas back into homes and put residents at risk.

Officials warned people in the area to “avoid sick or dead rodents and rabbits, and their nests and burrows” and to “prevent pets from roaming and hunting.”

“Talk to your veterinarian about using an appropriate flea control product on your pets as not all products are safe for cats, dogs or your children” and “have sick pets examined promptly by a veterinarian,” it added.

“See your doctor about any unexplained illness involving a sudden and severe fever, the statement continued, adding that locals should clean areas around their home that could house rodents like wood piles, junk piles, old vehicles, and brush piles.

The plague, which is spread by the bacteria Yersinia pestis, famously caused the deaths of an estimated hundreds of millions of Europeans in the 14th and 15th centuries following the Mongol invasions. In that pandemic, the bacteria spread via fleas on black rats, which historians say was not known by the people at the time.

Other outbreaks of the plague, such as the Plague of Justinian in the 6th century, are also believed to have killed about one-fifth of the population of the Byzantine Empire, according to historical records and accounts. In 2013, researchers said the Justinian plague was also caused by the Yersinia pestis bacteria.

But in the United States, it is considered a rare disease and usually occurs only in several countries worldwide. Generally, according to the Mayo Clinic, the bacteria affects only a few people in U.S. rural areas in Western states.

Recent cases have occurred mainly in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Countries with frequent plague cases include Madagascar, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Peru, the clinic says. There were multiple cases of plague reported in Inner Mongolia, China, in recent years, too.


Symptoms of a bubonic plague infection include headache, chills, fever, and weakness. Health officials say it can usually cause a painful swelling of lymph nodes in the groin, armpit, or neck areas. The swelling usually occurs within about two to eight days.

The disease can generally be treated with antibiotics, but it is usually deadly when not treated, the Mayo Clinic website says.

“Plague is considered a potential bioweapon. The U.S. government has plans and treatments in place if the disease is used as a weapon,” the website also says.

According to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the last time that plague deaths were reported in the United States was in 2020 when two people died.

Tyler Durden Wed, 03/13/2024 - 21:40

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Riley Gaines Explains How Women’s Sports Are Rigged To Promote The Trans Agenda

Riley Gaines Explains How Women’s Sports Are Rigged To Promote The Trans Agenda

Is there a light forming when it comes to the long, dark and…



Riley Gaines Explains How Women's Sports Are Rigged To Promote The Trans Agenda

Is there a light forming when it comes to the long, dark and bewildering tunnel of social justice cultism?  Global events have been so frenetic that many people might not remember, but only a couple years ago Big Tech companies and numerous governments were openly aligned in favor of mass censorship.  Not just to prevent the public from investigating the facts surrounding the pandemic farce, but to silence anyone questioning the validity of woke concepts like trans ideology. 

From 2020-2022 was the closest the west has come in a long time to a complete erasure of freedom of speech.  Even today there are still countries and Europe and places like Canada or Australia that are charging forward with draconian speech laws.  The phrase "radical speech" is starting to circulate within pro-censorship circles in reference to any platform where people are allowed to talk critically.  What is radical speech?  Basically, it's any discussion that runs contrary to the beliefs of the political left.

Open hatred of moderate or conservative ideals is perfectly acceptable, but don't ever shine a negative light on woke activism, or you might be a terrorist.

Riley Gaines has experienced this double standard first hand.  She was even assaulted and taken hostage at an event in 2023 at San Francisco State University when leftists protester tried to trap her in a room and demanded she "pay them to let her go."  Campus police allegedly witnessed the incident but charges were never filed and surveillance footage from the college was never released.  

It's probably the last thing a champion female swimmer ever expects, but her head-on collision with the trans movement and the institutional conspiracy to push it on the public forced her to become a counter-culture voice of reason rather than just an athlete.

For years the independent media argued that no matter how much we expose the insanity of men posing as women to compete and dominate women's sports, nothing will really change until the real female athletes speak up and fight back.  Riley Gaines and those like her represent that necessary rebellion and a desperately needed return to common sense and reason.

In a recent interview on the Joe Rogan Podcast, Gaines related some interesting information on the inner workings of the NCAA and the subversive schemes surrounding trans athletes.  Not only were women participants essentially strong-armed by colleges and officials into quietly going along with the program, there was also a concerted propaganda effort.  Competition ceremonies were rigged as vehicles for promoting trans athletes over everyone else. 

The bottom line?  The competitions didn't matter.  The real women and their achievements didn't matter.  The only thing that mattered to officials were the photo ops; dudes pretending to be chicks posing with awards for the gushing corporate media.  The agenda took precedence.

Lia Thomas, formerly known as William Thomas, was more than an activist invading female sports, he was also apparently a science project fostered and protected by the athletic establishment.  It's important to understand that the political left does not care about female athletes.  They do not care about women's sports.  They don't care about the integrity of the environments they co-opt.  Their only goal is to identify viable platforms with social impact and take control of them.  Women's sports are seen as a vehicle for public indoctrination, nothing more.

The reasons why they covet women's sports are varied, but a primary motive is the desire to assert the fallacy that men and women are "the same" psychologically as well as physically.  They want the deconstruction of biological sex and identity as nothing more than "social constructs" subject to personal preference.  If they can destroy what it means to be a man or a woman, they can destroy the very foundations of relationships, families and even procreation.  

For now it seems as though the trans agenda is hitting a wall with much of the public aware of it and less afraid to criticize it.  Social media companies might be able to silence some people, but they can't silence everyone.  However, there is still a significant threat as the movement continues to target children through the public education system and women's sports are not out of the woods yet.   

The ultimate solution is for women athletes around the world to organize and widely refuse to participate in any competitions in which biological men are allowed.  The only way to save women's sports is for women to be willing to end them, at least until institutions that put doctrine ahead of logic are made irrelevant.          

Tyler Durden Wed, 03/13/2024 - 17:20

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Congress’ failure so far to deliver on promise of tens of billions in new research spending threatens America’s long-term economic competitiveness

A deal that avoided a shutdown also slashed spending for the National Science Foundation, putting it billions below a congressional target intended to…



Science is again on the chopping block on Capitol Hill. AP Photo/Sait Serkan Gurbuz

Federal spending on fundamental scientific research is pivotal to America’s long-term economic competitiveness and growth. But less than two years after agreeing the U.S. needed to invest tens of billions of dollars more in basic research than it had been, Congress is already seriously scaling back its plans.

A package of funding bills recently passed by Congress and signed by President Joe Biden on March 9, 2024, cuts the current fiscal year budget for the National Science Foundation, America’s premier basic science research agency, by over 8% relative to last year. That puts the NSF’s current allocation US$6.6 billion below targets Congress set in 2022.

And the president’s budget blueprint for the next fiscal year, released on March 11, doesn’t look much better. Even assuming his request for the NSF is fully funded, it would still, based on my calculations, leave the agency a total of $15 billion behind the plan Congress laid out to help the U.S. keep up with countries such as China that are rapidly increasing their science budgets.

I am a sociologist who studies how research universities contribute to the public good. I’m also the executive director of the Institute for Research on Innovation and Science, a national university consortium whose members share data that helps us understand, explain and work to amplify those benefits.

Our data shows how underfunding basic research, especially in high-priority areas, poses a real threat to the United States’ role as a leader in critical technology areas, forestalls innovation and makes it harder to recruit the skilled workers that high-tech companies need to succeed.

A promised investment

Less than two years ago, in August 2022, university researchers like me had reason to celebrate.

Congress had just passed the bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act. The science part of the law promised one of the biggest federal investments in the National Science Foundation in its 74-year history.

The CHIPS act authorized US$81 billion for the agency, promised to double its budget by 2027 and directed it to “address societal, national, and geostrategic challenges for the benefit of all Americans” by investing in research.

But there was one very big snag. The money still has to be appropriated by Congress every year. Lawmakers haven’t been good at doing that recently. As lawmakers struggle to keep the lights on, fundamental research is quickly becoming a casualty of political dysfunction.

Research’s critical impact

That’s bad because fundamental research matters in more ways than you might expect.

For instance, the basic discoveries that made the COVID-19 vaccine possible stretch back to the early 1960s. Such research investments contribute to the health, wealth and well-being of society, support jobs and regional economies and are vital to the U.S. economy and national security.

Lagging research investment will hurt U.S. leadership in critical technologies such as artificial intelligence, advanced communications, clean energy and biotechnology. Less support means less new research work gets done, fewer new researchers are trained and important new discoveries are made elsewhere.

But disrupting federal research funding also directly affects people’s jobs, lives and the economy.

Businesses nationwide thrive by selling the goods and services – everything from pipettes and biological specimens to notebooks and plane tickets – that are necessary for research. Those vendors include high-tech startups, manufacturers, contractors and even Main Street businesses like your local hardware store. They employ your neighbors and friends and contribute to the economic health of your hometown and the nation.

Nearly a third of the $10 billion in federal research funds that 26 of the universities in our consortium used in 2022 directly supported U.S. employers, including:

  • A Detroit welding shop that sells gases many labs use in experiments funded by the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, Department of Defense and Department of Energy.

  • A Dallas-based construction company that is building an advanced vaccine and drug development facility paid for by the Department of Health and Human Services.

  • More than a dozen Utah businesses, including surveyors, engineers and construction and trucking companies, working on a Department of Energy project to develop breakthroughs in geothermal energy.

When Congress shortchanges basic research, it also damages businesses like these and people you might not usually associate with academic science and engineering. Construction and manufacturing companies earn more than $2 billion each year from federally funded research done by our consortium’s members.

A lag or cut in federal research funding would harm U.S. competitiveness in critical advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence and robotics. Hispanolistic/E+ via Getty Images

Jobs and innovation

Disrupting or decreasing research funding also slows the flow of STEM – science, technology, engineering and math – talent from universities to American businesses. Highly trained people are essential to corporate innovation and to U.S. leadership in key fields, such as AI, where companies depend on hiring to secure research expertise.

In 2022, federal research grants paid wages for about 122,500 people at universities that shared data with my institute. More than half of them were students or trainees. Our data shows that they go on to many types of jobs but are particularly important for leading tech companies such as Google, Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Intel.

That same data lets me estimate that over 300,000 people who worked at U.S. universities in 2022 were paid by federal research funds. Threats to federal research investments put academic jobs at risk. They also hurt private sector innovation because even the most successful companies need to hire people with expert research skills. Most people learn those skills by working on university research projects, and most of those projects are federally funded.

High stakes

If Congress doesn’t move to fund fundamental science research to meet CHIPS and Science Act targets – and make up for the $11.6 billion it’s already behind schedule – the long-term consequences for American competitiveness could be serious.

Over time, companies would see fewer skilled job candidates, and academic and corporate researchers would produce fewer discoveries. Fewer high-tech startups would mean slower economic growth. America would become less competitive in the age of AI. This would turn one of the fears that led lawmakers to pass the CHIPS and Science Act into a reality.

Ultimately, it’s up to lawmakers to decide whether to fulfill their promise to invest more in the research that supports jobs across the economy and in American innovation, competitiveness and economic growth. So far, that promise is looking pretty fragile.

This is an updated version of an article originally published on Jan. 16, 2024.

Jason Owen-Smith receives research support from the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and Wellcome Leap.

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