Feel Like Dispensing Mature Wisdom? Maybe Take a Nap First.

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George Leef wonders: Is There Anything Today That Isn’t Racist?.

Eager for any excuse to tear down what’s left of our civilization, the woke Left has taken to declaring almost everything to be “racist.” As we read in this Daily Mail story, one Natalia Petrzela, a history teacher at the New School in Manhattan, has written a book entitled Fit Nation.

Her argument is that the fitness craze in America has its roots in a desire for white supremacy. White people decided to increase their fitness long ago because they figured it would help them have more children and thus remain on top.

Where would a teacher get such a silly idea? A clue might be found in Petrzela’s eduction: B.A. from Columbia, master’s and Ph.D. from Stanford.

In woke circles, it’s an easy path to fame: Just make some groundless assertions about the evils of a free society and you’ll be a star.

Ms. Petrzela's book is our Amazon Product du Jour; the hardcover won't be available until next month, but you can get the Kindle version now. And if you're so inclined, a long sample is provided via Amazon's "Look Inside" function.

The Daily Mail story linked above cites a Time story in support of its thesis, which (sure enough) sports the inflammatory clickbait headline: The White Supremacist Origins of Exercise in the U.S.. It's an interview where Petrzela is asked about "the most surprising thing" she learned in her research:

It was super interesting reading the reflections of fitness enthusiasts in the early 20th century. They said we should get rid of corsets, corsets are an assault on women’s form, and that women should be lifting weights and gaining strength. At first, you feel like this is so progressive.

Then you keep reading, and they’re saying white women should start building up their strength because we need more white babies. They’re writing during an incredible amount of immigration, soon after enslaved people have been emancipated. This is totally part of a white supremacy project. So that was a real “holy crap” moment as a historian, where deep archival research really reveals the contradictions of this moment.

It's easy to roll one's eyes at Petrzela's horror at the "early 20th century" combination of progressivism and eugenics. But—unlike George Leef—I would bet her "groundless assertions" are actually pretty well-grounded.

If Petrzela had read Illiberal Reformers by Thomas C. Leonard, or Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism, she wouldn't have been shocked by progressive racism at all.

Briefly noted:

  • Despite her beauty, Mother Nature can be a psycho killer bitch, as recent weather events in upstate New York demonstrated. Jeff Jacoby observes: Heat kills. Cold kills more..

    "Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has consistently shown that excessive cold presents a greater threat to life than excessive heat," reported The Washington Post in 2016. During one five-year period analyzed by the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics, about 31 percent of weather-related deaths in the United States were attributed to "excessive natural heat, heat stroke, [or] sun stroke" but more than twice as many — 63 percent — were attributed to exposure to "excessive natural cold [or] hypothermia."

    What is true for the United States — hypothermia ends more lives than hyperthermia — is no less true worldwide. According to one study published last year in The Lancet, the British medical journal, cold weather killed more people than hot weather "in all countries for which data were available." In South Africa, for example, there were 453 deaths from excessive heat in 2019 vs. 8,372 deaths from excessive cold. In New Zealand, there were just two heat-connected deaths but 1,191 deaths related to cold. The number of heat deaths in China was an appalling 46,224. But that amounted to only one-tenth of China's death toll from cold: 455,735.

    If climate alarmism continues to succeed in driving energy policy, look forward to more folks freezing to death in the dark.

  • The Weekend Pundit was gloomy this past weekend:

    I am worried that we will be living out the old Chinese curse: “May you live in interesting times.”

    I will put on my pedant hat and point out ackshually, that's not an actual ancient Chinese curse.

    And what did those ancient Chinese know anyway?

  • But here's an actual Heinlein quote:

    It's amazing how much 'mature wisdom' resembles being too tired.

    Good point, Bob. I'll try to remember that.

Last Modified 2024-01-14 4:55 AM EDT