Best columns: The U.S.
When Norway sent us its poor
Andrew Van Dam
The Washington Post
It’s “deeply ironic” that President Trump says the U.S. should be taking in more people from Norway instead of from “shithole countries,” said Andrew Van Dam. Norway “was once the kind of country Trump might’ve spit on.” During the mid to late 1800s and early 1900s, waves of Norwegians immigrated to the U.S. hoping to escape grinding poverty in their homeland. Today, those immigrants “are idealized” as fast-assimilating strivers. In reality, they were received with hostility by native-born Americans leery of the influx of poor, low-skilled migrants, most of whom came from rural professions like farming, fishing, and logging. One study shows most Norwegians of the period earned less than native-born Americans even after 30 years of living in the U.S., showing that assimilation is a “difficult and gradual process.” Today, of course, “Norwegian Americans are doing well. But perhaps not as well as those in Norway.” Adjusted for population, Norway is almost twice as rich as the U.S., has a superb social safety net, and is consistently rated one of the best places to live in the world. That’s why only 502 Norwegians immigrated to the U.S. in 2016. Sorry, Mr. President: Norway isn’t interested.
The Simpson impeachment defense
President Trump’s allies are already laying the groundwork for his impeachment defense, said Eric Felten, and it looks a lot like the strategy used by O.J. Simpson in his 1994 murder trial. Simpson’s lawyers knew the evidence against their client was damning, so they put the police on trial instead. The defense created a conspiracy theory that racist Los Angeles cops planted evidence and framed Simpson. Knowing they would be facing mostly black jurors familiar with the LAPD’s ugly racial history, Simpson’s defense “just needed to give the jury a respectable reason to bring in—with a straight face—a verdict of not guilty.” Similarly, the president’s defenders plan to put the FBI and Robert Mueller’s special counsel office on trial, giving Republicans an excuse to ignore any evidence that Trump cooperated with Russia and obstructed justice. Trumpists are claiming that the Justice Department relied on a Democratic-backed dossier to get a warrant to spy on the Trump team, and are pointing to a since-fired FBI agent’s anti-Trump text messages as proof that the investigation is hopelessly tainted. If there’s an impeachment trial, Trump only has to win over at least 34 Senate Republicans. “Like the majority of O.J. jurors,” they will be “disinclined to convict.”
Conservatives not welcome at Google
The Wall Street Journal
“Does Google discriminate against white, male, conservative employees?” In a new class-action lawsuit filed last week, said Allysia Finley, two fired Google workers insist the tech giant enforces a progressive monoculture that bans conservative political views. While their discrimination case will be hard to prove in court, former Google engineers James Damore and David Gudeman provide compelling evidence that only progressives are welcome at a company that supplies the world with information. Damore says that after he and other male engineers complained about being forced to attend “bias-busting” seminars on “white privilege,” he was denounced as a racist and misogynist, shunned, and subjected to threats and insults. He provides 100 pages of employee postings on the internal “chat” system that mock conservatives, Christians, and white men. Managers even allegedly maintained blacklists of conservative employees. Is this how Google wants to run its business? “Silencing alternative views and sheltering employees from uncomfortable ideas, as many colleges do, will surely undermine Google’s own ability to attract creative thinkers.” It also should make us all wonder how Google decides what should turn up on searches.
“‘Dangerously outdated gender norms’ are not what make it difficult [for women] to say no to sexual advances; contemporary gender norms have confused these already fraught situations. Traditional mores set the default for premarital sex at ‘no,’ at least for females. This default recognized the different sexual drives of males and females and the difficulties of bargaining with the male libido. The default ‘no’ to premarital sex meant that a female did not have to negotiate the refusal with every opportuning male. Sexual liberation reversed those default settings. Males and females are now assumed to pursue sexual conquest with equal zeal.”
Heather Mac Donald in City-Journal.org ■