Tuesday, January 21, 2020

It’s Time For A Rerun

     Delegate Freitas's sentiments are what we should be hearing in every legislature, high, middle, or low, throughout these United States. Pass it on.

Scattered Thoughts

     Today promises to be a taxing one, so here are a few squibs from miscellaneous observations to tide you over until I’ve got all my ducks in a row.

     (Apropos of nothing, where does that idiom come from? What’s the point of lining up all one’s ducks? Economizing on shotgun ammo, perhaps?)


1. “Small Arms.”

     Courtesy of David L. Burkhead, we have this column from Michael Z. Williamson about the utility of small arms in resisting invasion. Here’s a taste, but be sure to read the whole thing:

     What about [the invader’s] tanks and planes?

     What about them? First they have to get here, then they have to have a secure facility. Modern planes are very susceptible to damage. Rifle fire can destroy engines, airframe integrity, avionics. It can kill all the necessary support personnel--up to 100 per craft. This means the aircraft must be outside of rifle range of the perimeter, or protected by a revetment constructed by engineers. Those engineers and security are susceptible to rifle fire, while any remaining operational military elements bring mortars or drones into play.

     As far as tanks...they have to have a place to laager every few hours, and the tankers have to get out. Then they're as susceptible to attack as any other troop. And that laager will need security and a perimeter. This gets insanely expensive very fast, as many liberals have noted with the operation in Iraq..which they insist the US lost.

     Take particular note of Williamson’s mention of support personnel. It takes more bodies to keep a tank in operating condition, and lots more bodies to keep a military aircraft airworthy, that it does to operate each of those systems in combat. Because of my former trade, I know that well. Kill enough support personnel and the war systems will grind to a halt...and those personnel are quite vulnerable to partisans equipped with the much-derided “small arms.”

     What applies to the defeat of an invasion applies with equal force to resistance to a tyrannical government. Keep your rifles, Gentle Readers. Keep them clean, and stay well-practiced in their use.


2. The Wall.

     Never imagine that the Democrats who oppose the wall being constructed on our southern border are against it because it’s “ineffective.” They want the migrant horde it’s retarding, they want it all, and they want it now:

     The number one policy initiative that helped President Trump win election in 2016 was his promise to build a southern border wall. Several hundred miles of the new border security barrier have been completed with several hundred more in various stages of construction.

     During the VICE News Brown & Black Democrat Presidential Forum today, 2020 candidate Bernie Sanders said he would “look at” tearing it all down.

     If you want to hear Sanders say it, here’s the video.

     The Democrats have learned one giant lesson from the 2016 elections: the majority of actual Americans oppose their agenda. As they have no prospect of converting us, they must replace us, or outnumber us – and the way forward is through uncontrolled borders.

     Finish the wall, Mr. President. Please. Quickly!


3. The Rally In Richmond.

     The Left wanted violence and disorder. They didn’t get it.
     Ralph “Blackface” Northam wanted a “Reichstag fire.” He didn’t get it.
     The mainstream media wanted to prove that Second Amendment supporters are violent racist rednecks. They didn’t get that, either.

     Here’s what we got:

     RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Tens of thousands of gun-rights activists from around the country rallied peacefully at the Virginia Capitol on Monday to protest plans by the state’s Democratic leadership to pass gun-control legislation — a move that has become a key flash point in the national debate over gun violence

     The size of the crowd and the expected participation of white supremacists and fringe militia groups raised fears that the state could see a repeat of the violence that exploded in 2017 in Charlottesville. But the rally concluded uneventfully around noon, and the mood was largely festive, with rally-goers chanting “USA!” and waving signs denouncing Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam.

     Note the down-in-the-mouth tone of the Associated Press’s reporting. The reporter is plainly disappointed that the slanderous notions he and his colleagues had been spreading about “white supremacists and fringe militia groups” proved utterly false. But wait: there’s more!

     But Democratic lawmakers — including House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn and Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw — told AP the rally wouldn’t impact their plans to pass gun-control measures, including universal background checks and a one-handgun-purchase-a-month limit. Democrats say tightening Virginia’s gun laws will make communities safer and help prevent mass shootings like the one last year in Virginia Beach, where a dozen people were killed in a municipal building.

     And of course Governor Blackface had to claim credit for the peacefulness of the rally:

     Democrats lie. They do so for many reasons, but above all, this one: they are incapable of admitting to error.

     Virginia must turn these bastards out of office this coming fall.


     That’s all for the nonce, Gentle Reader. It’s time I got to work on...well, a lot of stuff, including a novel the C.S.O. has been pestering me to finish. (There’s a first time for everything.) See you tomorrow.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Insurrection

     The title word is about to become the most important word – nay, the most important concept — in the political lexicon of these United States.

     Here’s the dictionary definition:

     Insurrection n: an act or instance of rising in revolt, rebellion, or resistance against civil authority or an established government.

     Here are the instances in which the Constitution of the United States mentions insurrection:

     The Congress shall have Power... To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions; [Article I, section 8, clause 15]

     No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability. [Fourteenth Amendment, third paragraph]

     The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void. [Fourteenth Amendment, fourth paragraph]

     Article I, Section 8, which enumerates the legitimate legislative powers of Congress, concerns insurrections against the United States. That is an appropriate power of Congress, which is of course the federal legislative body. The Fourteenth Amendment, one of the Amendments ratified in the wake of the Civil War, is less easily interpreted or validated. It was intended to put an end to the squabbles about the political order once the War was over and the Union restored. However, as an Amendment to the federal Constitution, it surely applies to insurrections against the United States above all else.

     It is indisputable that to rise in insurrection against the United States itself – i.e., the federal government – is a no-no in Constitutional terms. That was the basis for the Civil War: the assault on Fort Sumter by Confederate forces was the igniting act. Of course, had the Confederates prevailed in that war, we wouldn’t be discussing this today, as the old maxim that “the victors write the history books” would remind us. So the question of the hour becomes:

What would constitute an insurrection against the United States by a state government?

     That question will be asked today in a visible and audible form: in Richmond, the state capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia.


     It has been said that what the Constitution says in its text no longer matters, in comparison to what the Supreme Court has said in hundreds of volumes of commentary. That often seems to be the case. Witness John Roberts’s scrofulous majority opinion defending ObamaCare, in which he asserted that it constitutes a tax legitimate under Article I, Section 8, even as the lawyers defending it protested that it is nothing of the sort. Witness also – and more relevant to today’s controversy — the late Antonin Scalia’s majority opinion in D.C. v Heller, in which he asserted a wholly fictitious power among states and localities to limit the right to keep and bear arms:

     Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited. From Blackstone through the 19th-century cases, commentators and courts routinely explained that the right was not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.... For example, the majority of the 19th-century courts to consider the question held that prohibitions on carrying concealed weapons were lawful under the Second Amendment or state analogues.... Although we do not undertake an exhaustive historical analysis today of the full scope of the Second Amendment, nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.

     We also recognize another important limitation on the right to keep and carry arms. Miller said, as we have explained, that the sorts of weapons protected were those “in common use at the time.” 307 U. S., at 179. We think that limitation is fairly supported by the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of “dangerous and unusual weapons.”...

     It may be objected that if weapons that are most useful in military service—M-16 rifles and the like—may be banned, then the Second Amendment right is completely detached from the prefatory clause. But as we have said, the conception of the militia at the time of the Second Amendment’s ratification was the body of all citizens capable of military service, who would bring the sorts of lawful weapons that they possessed at home to militia duty. It may well be true today that a militia, to be as effective as militias in the 18th century, would require sophisticated arms that are highly unusual in society at large. Indeed, it may be true that no amount of small arms could be useful against modern-day bombers and tanks. But the fact that modern developments have limited the degree of fit between the prefatory clause and the protected right cannot change our interpretation of the right.

     That passage is an escape hatch through which states and municipalities have eviscerated the most important aspect of the Second Amendment’s guarantee – indeed, the very reason for which the colonists rebelled against the English Crown: the ability to resist the predations of a tyrannical government.

     A tyrannical government is one that attempts to invade the rights of its citizens / subjects. As the Constitution recognizes the conception of individual rights, and as there cannot be such a thing as a right which one is not permitted to defend, the notion that a civilian cannot possess a weapon simply because it is “dangerous and unusual” – dangerous to whom, we might ask? – is completely contradictory not only to the text of the Second Amendment but to the entire philosophy of the Revolution and the Founding:

     That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of 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. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. [Declaration of Independence]

     Regardless of any representations to the contrary, a government never has but one reason for disarming its subjects.


     By my interpretation of the right to keep and bear arms – a pre-existing right, as Justice Scalia noted in his decision – the government of the Commonwealth of Virginia is in a state of insurrection against these United States. Therefore Congress has the power to act against it...as would the citizens of Virginia, acting in defense of their rights. For every right carries within it a right to defend it by force.

     Ralph “Kill the babies and give me your guns” Northam is hoping for a provocative act at today’s rally in defense of Virginians’ rights: a “Reichstag fire” he could use to “justify” the forcible suppression of opposition to his regime. I can only pray that he doesn’t get one, but the preannounced presence of AntiFa, and the possibility that provocateurs will be inserted to provoke such an act, fill me with terror. I have friends down there, and several of them will be among the rallygoers.

     Watch Richmond today – and whatever comes of the rally, watch for a federal response. It would be best if no blood were shed, and if the matter were resolved in the courts, but that, too, is a matter for prayer.

Climate change – the perfect excuse for political failure.

I know. It's hard to believe that politicians and bureaucrats don't have the ability or desire to anticipate problems. Such as, oh, demands on city water resources from (1) population increase and (2) inadequate maintenance and expansion of the water supply infrastructure.

But wait! There's a surefire solution for government failure.

To deal with ever changing weather, and slowly changing climate, requires good government and adequate national wealth, well spent, to prepare first for the present, and then for the inevitable but unpredictable possible futures. All three of the localities [Kathmandu, Nepal, Chennai, Indian and Cape Town, S. Africa] covered in the [New York "Climate Change Causes ED"] Times have not even properly planned for the present . . . .

Politicians fall back on blaming Climate Change — something they can’t be expected to be held responsible for — for their own shortcomings and failures.[1]

Just like Certain People who cling to the idea that they are "underprivileged" or that Certain Other People are racis'.

All part of that vast, vibrant human tapestry of shucking responsibility, denial of reality, hostility to free speech, fiscal lunacy, monetary excess, elite arrogance, endless war, reckless political experimentation, stupefying media, and institutionalized malice crafted to the very highest standards in the Western world.

Notes
[1] "Merchants Of Thirst." Authored by Kip Hansen, ZeroHedge, 1/16/20.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

An Announcement

     Please bear with us temporarily, as Liberty’s Torch is suffering a plague of comment spam. In particular, someone is bombarding the site with “comments” about a male enhancement drug. Accordingly, I have limited comments for the time being to members of the blog. I’ll reopen the gates when the siege has passed.

     Thank you for your forbearance.

     UPDATE: Comments have been re-enabled with "captcha" word-verification. Thanks again.

Mincing Words Are An Indicator

     Does anyone remember President Ronald Reagan’s televised statement about the Iran-Contra scandal? Reagan admirers emphasize that he said “I take full responsibility” – which he did say, though absent an impeachment and Senate trial that “responsibility” was weightless. But he said something else that made my ears prick up: something that suggested that certain criminals would never be prosecuted for their crimes:

“Mistakes were made.”

     Note the passive voice. Note the aversion to naming the makers of those “mistakes.” And consider that criminal acts share a distinguishing characteristic that separates them from mere “mistakes.”

     And now we have this:

     In December, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) for the Department of Justice released a report showing significant problems with the warrants that the FBI submitted to FISC in order to secretly wiretap Carter Page, a former foreign policy adviser to Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign. While the OIG's report concluded that the agency was justified in investigating whether Page was unduly influenced by his connections with the Russian government, it also determined that the FBI withheld important details from the FISC that might have influenced its decision to grant these warrants. These omissions were not in Page's favor, and ultimately the OIG found 17 different errors or omissions in the warrant requests, some of which were not corrected in subsequent applications.

     The FISC's judges were extremely unhappy to discover information had been withheld from them, and then-presiding Judge Rosemary M. Collyer (who has since retired) ordered FBI Director Christopher Wray to send a plan to the court by January 10 explaining how the FBI would avoid making similar mistakes in the future.

     Wray submitted his plan last week. It's a dense and technical response that is mostly inscrutable to anybody who does not have a history of involvement with the court's surveillance processes. Wray provides a list of 12 actions the FBI has taken or will take to make sure future applications for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants include all the information judges should've had when the FBI sought permission to surveil Page. Wray's plans revolve primarily around adding most steps to verify and re-verify information contained in the warrant requests to make sure that FBI agents and supervisors are not omitting information that might undermine or compromise their case for a surveillance warrant. Wray also says the agency will improve training by creating a case study program to teach FBI agents about historical precedents (I'm guessing the Page warrants will play a starring role).

     Note the first sentence of the second paragraph: The FISC's judges were extremely unhappy to discover information had been withheld from them. Another case of the anonymizing passive voice! The information didn’t withhold itself; it was withheld by some FBI agent. Moreover, inasmuch as the FBI’s illegal surveillance of Trump Campaign personnel and of the campaign itself constitute the largest purely political scandal in American history, to characterize its actions, which the actors must have known were against the law, as “mistakes” is a vile, contemptible act of word-mincing.

     The mincing of words, like “mistakes,” involves a deliberate decision by a conscious actor. It is not something that “just happens,” and the rest of us have to cope with it. The FBI is plainly desperate to retain some of the gloss of “Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity” that has been troweled onto it over the decades since Prohibition. Those who find the FBI useful will naturally be inclined to assist it in that undertaking....unless their consciences should impel them in another direction. But conscience, as I’ve noted at many other times, is a liability to one who seeks to serve the Omnipotent State.

     The Omnipotent State isn’t quite coterminous with the Deep State, but the two have an awful lot in common. The Deep State is well served by anonymizing devices and word-mincing “explanations” for its faceless minions’ “mistakes.” And while it’s still rather early in the morning, I cannot imagine a better rationale for tearing down the whole edifice – every Cabinet department other than State, Defense, and Justice, and all the subdepartments, agencies, and bureaus therein – than the adroit and all too frequent use of passive voice and mincing words to avert cold scrutiny of the “mistakes” those minions commit, for which they strain and squirm to avoid being called to account.

How Having a Family Changed Me

Consideration of Others and Love for Your Fellow Man

Before having kids and a husband, I lived primarily for myself. I had little need to think of the needs of others, and almost all of my spare time and money was dedicated to things that I wanted.

Then my first child was born.

Amazingly, few kids care all that much about YOUR need to eat, sleep, or take of basic hygiene. My daughter, while a delightful individual, was Me to the 10 power. All about herself. No consideration of others, except as it affected her.

I had to learn a whole new way of being. I had to learn to have patience, not just with her, but also my long-suffering husband, who was also sleep-deprived and cranky.

I had to learn to deal with messes that I had not created, anticipate needs and wants, and prepare for each outing like Eisenhower prepared for D-Day. Shockingly, when money is limited, you can dress in clothes from the Goodwill, eat beans and rice, and take walks for entertainment.

Years later, I saw my own children also putting themselves lower on the Needs List, with their own children and families. They have learned to budget, plan, and act as though they were not the only person on the planet.

I wish many of the Left had the character of my kids.

Protection of Minor Children and Care of the Helpless

This pushback from Missouri librarians on the right of parents to control the reading of their minor children is ridiculous. What's wrong with kids having to get parental permission to access sketchy books? They did when I was young, and the materials that was available in public libraries was WAY less explicit.

If kids want to access sexually-related (or drug-related) materials, what's wrong with using phones? They can always borrow a friend's phone if their own has a parental lock on it.

Make librarians responsible for their own decisions to push explicit on kids - financially responsible. Frankly, I can't see a reason for that access, unless the librarian is trying to 'groom' a minor.

Care of the helpless is a value that having a family teaches you, whether it's the minor children, the aged, or those with disabilities. The idea of Death Panels is abhorrent to parents; we value people at every stage of life.

Note that Helpless is specific; it does not mean those who could very well earn their own living should live off the work of others. So, no, Trump's insistence that EBT be limited to those who are not able-bodied or have care of someone who cannot work is not uncaring. It is a recognition that those that can stand on their own, should do so.

Money, Money, Money

I was a saver when I was young. Once, I lived for 6 months while not working, strictly on my savings, without collecting unemployment. That was possible because I lived without credit cards. My basic expenses were less than 1/2 my net income.

Still, I learned to live more frugally after acquiring a family. Stretching our incomes (and, at time, just one of those incomes) to cover all our needs was a challenge. Even after I returned to work, I spent considerably less than I earned. The kids I taught used to tease me, saying my car was old and my clothes not the latest fashion.

I wasn't offended, as I realized that many of their families collected money they had not earned, and spent to the limit, and beyond. They didn't understand about saving for retirement, emergency needs, or future wants. Their families spent now, not later.

They were Grasshoppers in a world that needed more Ants.

One major reason that poverty is multi-generational is the fact that money management is absorbed by seeing how your birth family handles money. Spendthrifts breed recklessly careless spenders.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Eliminating The Remains (UPDATED)

     A number of years ago – just after the first inauguration of Barack Hussein Obama, in fact – I wrote:

     To say that some public policy must not be changed is to say that it is right and necessary: right meaning "not a violation of the rights of the unconsenting," and necessary meaning "the costs, however measured, of dismantling it would be unacceptable." But to shout down those who disagree, or to manipulate elections to deny conservatives their fairly earned victories, is by liberals' own standards a denial of others' rights. Not only is this hypocrisy -- "we'll respect your right to disagree as long as you refrain from using it" -- it's a revelation of liberals' deep convictions about both rightness and practicality:

Liberal Conviction #1: Only liberals have rights.
Liberal Conviction #2: What advances the liberal vision is good regardless of its practical effects.

     ...Over the next four years, the "desiccated remains" of Americans' traditional freedom will come under ever more intense assault. This is guaranteed by liberals' assumption of their moral superiority and the steadily accumulating evidence against the beneficence and benevolence of liberal policies. Conservatives and libertarians must expect harsher and harsher attempts, both within and without the law, to silence them and to defraud them of victories at the polls. Violence will be involved more and more often as liberals' failures mount.

     What I did not foresee was that the real, all-stops-out effort to suppress conservatives’ freedom of expression and their exercise of the franchise in a fair election would follow the Obama Interregnum. Indeed, it’s much more intense today than it has ever been. Moreover, it’s ceased to be a covert undertaking. It’s poised for a “battle of the bulge” magnitude offensive. Here’s a bit of evidence:

     Terry Smith, a visiting professor at the University of Baltimore School of Law, offers a different response in his new book, "Whitelash: Unmasking White Grievance at the Ballot Box." Rather than excuse racist voters or try to figure out how to live with their choices, he argues that racist voting is not just immoral, but illegal. The government, Smith says, has the ability, and the responsibility, to address it....

     "When voters go to the booth, they're not expressing a mere personal preference," Smith told me. According to Smith, voters who pull the levers to harm black people are violating the Constitution. If the Constitution means that overt racist appeals undermine the legality of union elections, it stands to reason that they undermine the legality of other elections, as well.

     I submit that no deep analysis of this citation is required.


     I’ve cited the following passage more than once, but in light of the material in the previous segment it is massively relevant yet again:

     [W]e are told that there is no need to fear the concentration of power in government so long as that power is checked by the electoral process. We are urged to believe that so long as we can express our disagreement in words, we have our full rights to disagree. Now both freedom of speech and the electoral process are important to liberty, but alone they are only the desiccated remains of liberty. However vigorously we may argue against foreign aid, our substance is still drained away in never-to-be-repaid loans. Quite often, there is not even a candidate to vote for who holds views remotely like my own. To vent one's spleen against the graduated income tax may be healthy for the psyche, but one must still yield up his freedom of choice as to how his money will be spent when he pays it to the government. The voice of electors in government is not even proportioned to the tax contribution of individuals; thus, those who contribute more lose rather than gain by the "democratic process." A majority of voters may decide that property cannot be used in such and such ways, but the liberty of the individual is diminished just as much as in that regard as if a dictator had decreed it. Those who believe in the redistribution of wealth should be free to redistribute their own, but they are undoubtedly limiting the freedom of others when they vote to redistribute theirs.

     [Clarence Carson, The American Tradition]

     Gentle Readers of Liberty’s Torch will already be aware of the Left’s various sallies against free expression, especially as practiced on the World Wide Web. Those thrusts have succeeded to an ominous extent, so further pressure against the free expression of opinion from the Right may confidently be expected. The Left is unabashed about its aim to silence “hate speech,” by which it means any expression of opinion it dislikes. Couple that to the opinion of “Professor” Smith as expressed above that voting can and should be limited according to the Left’s assessment of the voters’ “racism.” Note that that opinion was provided to us by a major media corporation. What does all this tell us? What can it tell us, other than that the desiccated remains of Americans’ freedom are under an assault intended to be sweeping and permanent?

     Don’t wave it aside as harmless blather, unlikely ever to command any significant power. We once said that about the income tax, the welfare state, and the right to keep and bear arms. The danger is real and daily draws nearer. They who would rule over us in all things, absolutely and permanently, are measuring the remains of our freedom for its coffin.

     Spread the word.

     UPDATE: Here’s a bit more evidence of the Left’s intentions, in case you had any remaining doubts. I rest my case.

Whack-Jobs, Then and Now

I was too young to know much about the John Birch Society when the group was kicked out of the GOP. The facts are fuzzy, and seldom talked about in history books in school.

Ace of Spades has some discussion of them in his post about conspiracies.

The real question: why was a provable conspiracy theory so wrong then, and a fabricated conspiracy theory so right today?

If your answer is: because the Left is simply using that accusation to gain power - the SAME THING they did by denying Leftist schemes then, you may go to the head of the class.

That's what the Impeachment was about - stopping Trump, getting back power.
So, given the ethos of the Left that all is fair when trying to take over, they have encouraged some of the most unhinged whack-jobs to run their freak flag up.

And, what of the John Bircher concerns about Communism attempting to take over American institutions (and, other countries worldwide)?

In fact, there WAS a Communist conspiracy to infiltrate and destroy America, as a free country, as well as to subvert its allies around the world. The Venona Papers have uncovered many of those responsible, and the evidence is there, for those who have open eyes. Unfortunately, few schools can waste the time to teach about it, as they have WAY more important things to dwell on - Climate Change, Gay/Trans Rights, and how White People have destroyed the planet (because, EVIL).

In Africa, as in many parts of the developing world, a relatively stable and prosperous system - colonialism - was deliberately destroyed by the Leftists, only to be taken over, once the Western Europeans left. There was NEVER any intention, on the part of the Leftist, of allowing Africans to actually rule their own countries after colonialism. The flaws of colonialism were trivial compared to the genocides, totalitarian rule, and export of the wealth of those countries. The Africans in charge were brutal, avaricious, and corrupt. Those who had been educated under colonialism were killed, exiled, and impoverished.

Were the colonials bad? That's a complicated question.
  • The administrative structures they brought in attempted to separate African culture from their over-involvement in extended family clan nepotism. In Africa, those having a government job are considered obligated to employ as many of their relatives as they are able. To refuse is to put yourself as an outcast. And, for Africans, family is everything. This can be a strength, but, in a modern society, it is also a weakness. The family is only as strong as their weakest link. To modernize meant to turn one's back on every cultural tradition, and to become a person, disconnected from family and the familiar.
  • Some of the colonials were truly awful. Dismissive of the "natives", greedy and addicted to living large, and - particularly for a substantial number of the Kenyan colonials - composed of some of the most depraved and addicted individuals ever to represent the British Empire. After WWI, Kenya became a dumping ground for those members of the British elite whose actions embarrassed their families - sex orgies, drug use, rampant drinking, vile behavior. Their lives were talked about, and well known among both the elite and the native population. Other colonials suffered from their compatriots' sins.
  • It's true that the colonials made a considerable amount of money. However, the standard of living of ALL Africans rose during that time. In the period after independence, the confiscated money and land was supposed to be distributed to the people. In reality, the only people who benefited much were the New Elite. The average African ended up poorer than ever.
  • We will never know just what might have become of Africa without the Leftist invasion, that installed leaders who allied with them. Might they have come to find a compromise between Capitalism and their traditional way of life? We may never be able to answer those questions, as the Chinese are dangling their cash, in the form of loans, and will likely take outright control when the bill comes due. The Chinese are NOT known for their disinterested benevolence.
From the African journalist writing in PJ Media:
At independence, Africa had 9% of the world’s population and a share of 9% of world trade. It enjoyed relative wealth compared to the rest of mankind. Today, with more than 17% of the world’s population, its share of global trade has fallen to less than 2%. It is therefore postcolonial Africa that has become impoverished.
 I'm going to keep an eye out to see if Tigori's book "Detoxifying Africa" will be available (it's not, at this time). If I find it, I'll post a review here.

Friday, January 17, 2020

A Premise We Can’t Do Without

     I subscribe to a service that presents me with some inspirational Catholic reading each morning. It’s a “game starter” that’s served me well. (Among other things, it reminds me to pray.) This morning it led off with a quote that immediately got my gears turning:

     "I do not seek to understand in order that I may believe, but rather, I believe in order that I may understand." — St. Anselm of Canterbury

     This is more than merely a statement of faith. It goes to the heart of all human reasoning: the unavoidable requirement that we accept certain unprovable propositions as true, simply because without them we can do no reasoning at all.


     In response to the St. Anselm quote above, the scrap-lumber room of my often annoying but sometimes useful memory has just tossed up two fragments of unusual relevance. The first is from that perennial visitor to this site, the late, great Clive Staples Lewis:

     From propositions about fact alone no practical conclusion can ever be drawn. This will preserve society cannot lead to do this except by the mediation of society ought to be preserved. This will cost you your life cannot lead directly to do not do this: it can lead to it only through a felt desire or an acknowledged duty of self-preservation. The Innovator is trying to get a conclusion in the imperative mood out of premisses in the indicative mood: and though he continues trying to all eternity he cannot succeed, for the thing is impossible. We must therefore either extend the word Reason to include what our ancestors called Practical Reason and confess that judgements such as society ought to be preserved (though they can support themselves by no reason of the sort that Gaius and Titius demand) are not mere sentiments but are rationality itself; or else we must give up at once, and for ever, the attempt to find a core of 'rational' value behind all the sentiments we have debunked. [From The Abolition of Man]

     Long-time Gentle Readers of Liberty’s Torch have surely seen this quote before. It goes to the heart of human ratiocination, the process by which our conscious minds approach decision-making. We cannot reason without premises: statements of fact that, while not unprovable, are not disprovable and have survived attempts to contradict them in observation. Even completely formal systems, derived entirely from the mind of Man, require premises, despite Giovanni Saccheri’s refusal to accept it.

     The second fragment is from the late Dr. Clarence Carson, in discussing the effects on philosophy of Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason:

     What Kant took away with one hand—the Pure Reason—he returned with the other—Practical Reason. What we cannot know—that is, God, freedom, immortality, moral imperatives, principles, ideals—must be assumed. To accomplish this intellectual feat, Kant resorted to the traditional distinctions between appearance and reality. The phenomenal world, the world accessible to the senses, the only world that can be known, is only an appearance. The real world is unknown and unknowable, as Kant had earlier demonstrated to his satisfaction. Yet it must exist. No, that is not quite right. We must act as if it existed.

     Kant affirmed the traditional morality, insisted upon the necessity of faith, and proclaimed that man participates in a moral order. Practically, Kant would have it, we do seem to know that there are moral imperatives. There may even be generally accepted beliefs about what many of these are. They can even be "proved" by the Practical Reason, by which Kant means reason operating upon assumptions about what reality must be like in order for appearances to be as we perceive them. Yet this kind of reason operates upon possibilities, not certainties, so far as philosophy is concerned. Kant said as much himself:

     It is just the same as if I sought to find out how freedom itself as causality of a will is possible; for, in so doing, I would leave the philosophical basis of explanation behind, and I have no other. Certainly I could revel in the intelligible world, the world of intelligences, which still remains to me; but although I have a well founded idea of it, still I do not have the least knowledge of it, nor can I ever attain to it by all the exertions of my natural capacity of reasons.

     This stolid German, this resolute metaphysician, this determined moralist, had left the house of philosophy in ruins: of this there should be no doubt. Let us review the "achievement." Kant had changed the meaning of "objective" from something which exists outside the mind to make it refer to a property of mind itself; he had brought it into the interior world of consciousness. He had taught that mind can only know phenomena. Reason can only deal with reason. Then he declares that phenomena is only appearance, that reality is unknown and unknowable.

     [From The Flight from Reality]

     In other words, Kant refused to treat the indispensable premise of the Christian Enlightenment – that the universe is inherently lawful, that its laws impose a moral order on us, and that this order is independent of human conceptions and norms — as sufficiently demonstrated and without counterexamples to be treated as a fact. He is unwilling to concede it the status of a fact, but mealy-mouths around the matter by claiming that “we must act as if it existed.”

     “Must act.” Must! Kant says so in letters of fire. But then C. S. Lewis, that inexorable debunker of intellectual pretense and twaddle, arises to ask the most fateful of all questions:

Why?


     “Logic is an organized way of going wrong with confidence.” – Charles F. Kettering

     Paranoid: A logician with a fractured premise. – Arthur Herzog

     Althea: How do my accomplishments, as you put it a moment ago, bear on this realm?
     Probe: You are Hope’s first metaphysicist, Althea. You alone have thought to alter the properties of space itself. It is how you constructed your superluminal vessel.
     Althea: Then to alter the permittivity of the vacuum is an act of meta-engineering?
     Probe: Yes. It requires an assumption realist physicists would dismiss out of hand. Their assumptions are wholly incompatible with it.
     Althea: What are those assumptions?
Probe: They pertain to the undefined term existence. If asked “does space exist?” the realist physicist would decline to give a definite answer. Space, he would say, is nothing: the absence of anything real. Therefore, the concept of existence does not apply to it. You, by contrast, have treated space as having existential properties. You have treated nothing as being something, and so have succeeded in making changes to it.
     Althea: Which of us is nearer to the truth?
     Probe: Surely that question answers itself.

     [From Freedom’s Fury]

     Kant’s obfuscation of reality as an objective matter was accepted by a number of later thinkers, including a few for whom I have some regard. Nevertheless his notion that reality is a matter of belief rather than fact is fundamentally unsound as a matter of metaphysics itself. Metaphysics is the study of what is prior and superior to our reasoning processes. If nothing is prior and superior to ratiocination per natura, then there can be no objection to solipsism and all the madness that follows in its train.

     In other words, we need to accept reality as an objective fact, prior and superior to our opinions and evaluations, to construct any sound notions about what to do in it and with it.

     The moral order inherent in the laws of this universe is completely consistent with the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God and the Redeemer of Mankind. (You knew I’d get here eventually, didn’t you? I mean, I did lead off with a quote from a saint.) Thus, our indispensable premise of an objective reality that’s “indifferent to what you believe or disbelieve” (John Varley) is identical to Christ’s teachings. While one may choose to remain unconvinced by the evidence for His miracles, Passion, and Resurrection, one cannot rationally object to His prescriptions:

     And behold one came and said to him: Good master, what good shall I do that I may have life everlasting? Who said to him: Why asketh thou me concerning good? One is good, God. But if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
     He said to him: Which? And Jesus said: Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness. Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. [Matthew 19:16-19]

     ...without denying reality itself.

     In this Saint Anselm was a forerunner to C. S. Lewis:

     “I believe in Christianity as I believe in the sun: not only because I see it, but because by its light I see everything else.”

     With this premise as its foundation was all of Western Civilization erected...and if deprived of this its foundation, all of Western Civilization will fall.

     Have a nice day.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

The Amish git 'er done.

49 secs.

Something tells me that Amish aren't sweating the deficit, MMT, debt, tranny spasms, cross-dresser poetry readings, the spilling of blood and treasure in stupid, arrogant foreign wars, or any of the other blessings of modern post-common sense America.

H/t: National File.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

The Forces Behind American Media

Now, I'm gonna state right up front, that I grew up in a 2-newspaper town. Our family subscribed to both dailies, as well as the weekly (Lakewood Ledger) that was published in our suburb.

That was not unusual in the 1950s and 1960s. The revenues of the advertising departments sustained the papers, and made their owners quite rich. Even TV ads didn't cut that much into the income stream. During that time, they pumped up the coupon offerings, and many papers were able to spin off those ad circulars, deliver them for free, and still be able to make a profit.

By the 1970s, the daily papers had more competition. The evening news got more time, alternative newspapers were growing, and many people got out of the habit of subscribing. Decade after decade, the reach of newspapers shrunk. TV faced some competition with cable, but not that much. Until the cable industry went all-in to porn, the networks were able to stay profitable.

Enter the Internet. Not that important outside of the academic and scientific world, at first, the invention of a graphical browser allowed it to take off at a stratospheric pace.

Suddenly, there was competition in media. No longer could print and TV passively rake in the cash; they had to aggressively compete for attention in an overcrowded arena.

One after another, print media collapsed, except for the biggest cities (which still reduced to a single daily), and the women's magazines (pay attention to that last part, it will be explored later).

Don Surber, formerly of the Cleveland newspaper game, now retired, has a post making the connection between the anti-American posture of most media, and where the money to keep them in business comes from.

Both domestic and foreign money, that aims to shape politics, culture, and business in America. If they would just openly identify themselves, it would be fatal to their agenda. So, they hide the money, using multinational corporations, and businessmen figureheads (Michael Bloomberg, Rupert Murdoch, Jeff Bezos, to name just a few). Take a look at the list of the largest, and note just how many have foreign birth or connections.

And, their efforts to shape the message may be assisted by our own Deep State.

Women's magazines no longer sell as many issues as they once did - other than the impulse buys, or the school-donation magazine drives, very few women subscribe today. That loss is largely the result of years of coordinated efforts to drum up support for feminist/Progressive/Leftist causes, rather than include articles about topics women are really interested.

Many of them operate at a loss, and are only kept afloat through grants, parent ownership, and - frankly - scamming advertisers who believe that they actually have anywhere near the number of readers that they claim. There are ploys magazines use to entice women to sign up (for FREE!!!!), but make it almost impossible to get the subscription stopped. And, after the trial period, these organizations charge - Big-Time!

One glaring 'tell' that the Official Media is marching to the same dreary drummers is their response to Trump's candidacy/nomination/election.

EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM PUBLISHED NUMEROUS ARTICLES/OPINIONS/EDITORIALS on the disaster that would - according to the experts - result.

EVERY ONE.

No dissenters. Oh, sure, there might be a few that would try to be neutral. But they always slipped in the snide asides about his ways with women, his crude and brash manners, and his ignorance of foreign policy. Many of them ignored actual accomplishments, starting with graduation at a prestigious Ivy League school, to his business successes - realty, construction, management, and television show production.

Nope, all they could talk about were his failures. Or, his perceived failures.

Even after his election, the women's magazines were so petty and vindictive that they couldn't bring themselves to run features on Melania Trump, a woman who dresses impeccably, has actual modeling experience, and has a fascinating story to tell.

Noooo. They'd rather trot Yet Another Adoring Cover Featuring Michelle Obama! (aka YAACFMO - pronounced Yak-fmo).

Likewise, the articles discussing foreign relations, domestic affairs, or White House policies, uniformly cite both Hate Trumpers and Never Trumpers. It's not an accident, nor just a coincidence. The opinions of women, whether influenced by television, cable, or print media, are being 'nudged' to conform. And, conforming is what most women do best.

[I strongly suggest reading Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness. It's one of the few books by Leftists I actually bought, but the price was worth it, just to understand Leftist thinking. Fortunately, it's now available on KU and in most libraries, so you won't be sending money to the Left.]

This is a well-planned plot to 'subtly' push Americans into the corral. We are being pushed into conformity, obedience, and watching what we say, lest we offend The Elite (and those allied with them).

So, what can you do?

(1) Stop consuming the media via their preferred means. Cut the cable. Don't settle for the mediated news - download selectively. For example, Congressional (and Senatorial) activities are all filmed, unless in private session. Transcripts of hearings are downloadable. Thomas can provide the full text of proposed legislation (I've read bills, and most of them are comprehensible, if a touch lawyeresque. But, the gist of them is in relatively plain English).

By detaching from the sound-bite offerings, you take control of your news consumption.

Also, make a point of using a variety of news sources, from different perspectives. Most Leftists only consume news from the point of view of the Left. Most of us are far more aware of opposing opinion (and, just how slanted the Left News is).

(2) Spend some time each week on self-education. Read the Federalist Papers. Learn about the history of the world. Pick a topic, and become an expert on some small part - and, please, share that expertise with the rest of us.

Don't waste your time trying to educate the uneducable. Focus on understanding forces at work in our world.

Learn some geography - there are interactive map games that will help you learn where countries are, and begin to understand how interactions with their neighbors might lead to conflict. Also, if you're ever on Jeopardy, you may just win!

(3) Find some people who are culturally and politically compatible with you. This might be in your neighborhood, at church, at local political events, or even virtual (make sure you get face-to-face occasionally - real life is important). Work to make a local impact on some issue. The education you receive is worth the time. May I suggest Heinlein's book on politics as a resource? Worth buying, but also available in KU.

We are not alone. There are more and more people, every day, that are reaching the point of mis-trusting MOST of what they hear/see from media. That's a good starting point. When people's own experience doesn't match what they are told is The Truth, we have arrived at The Starting Point. From that point, we have a population that will be open to listening.

We can't force it. Those that are in power over the established media are in a good position to defend.

What might bring someone to take that extra step?

Help them find a way to become a part of The Resistance. Support dissident media. Encourage people with a story to tell to write it themselves, or, at least, talk to someone who can write it. Find out how others might contribute to alternative media (video, podcast, blogs, artwork, books, etc.), and give your support. Financial, if possible, but also promotional. Help them make up promotional materials. Volunteer to help with distribution. Give them a reason to become a part of this.

In activities, let others help (this is tough for loners who believe that no one can do the job as well as they can. That, in fact, might be true. But, for every Revolutionary Leader, there were a hell of a lot of support people, delivering messages, moving stuff, listening and reporting back. Everyone in this fight should work to find at least 3 people who are willing to help, and LET THEM! No, they would do it as well as you would. Yes, supervising, advising, coaching, and teaching take far more time than doing it yourself.

That insistence on going it alone is death to the project. Don't do it. They will develop confidence and competency, if you manage to learn how to become a good coach.

[UPDATE: I'd almost forgotten these connections.]

Picture below from the same site.



Hero Hunger

     I’ve harped on my determination to provide readers with genuine heroes more than once. There’s a distinct hunger for them in the fiction marketplace, which is part of the reason for the popularity of all the comic-book movies of recent years. While the reader is free to dissent from my conception of a hero, of course, there can be no dissent from the essential characteristic of a hero as a person who acts to uphold and defend what’s right and just, at least within the context of his story. The “gray wave” that overtook speculative fiction from about 1970 onward tried to displace that notion of the hero by “flooding the zone” with antiheroes and persons of deeply compromised values who stumbled into acts of heroism without ever quite intending them.

     Thus it is gratifying in the extreme to read that another writer of ability feels the same way:

     I grew up with heroes. I grew up with comics during the late Silver Age, Superman was the Big Blue Boyscout, when Batman wasn’t the cowled psychopath, when Robin was starting solo adventures with Batgirl (and while I knew I could never be Batman, I thought maybe Robin was achievable). I wanted to be the hero, dammit, or if not the hero, at least a competent sidekick.

     Then I grew up and got “respectable”. But a part of me never quite grew out of that.

     And so I like to write about heroes that are really heroes because I figure that there are other people out there, like me, who want to read about them.

     I gave up on comic books, not because I outgrew them but because they “outgrew” (if you can call it that) me. In the interests of being “real” and “relevant” and “real” they wanted their heroes to be “flawed” by which they meant “scarcely better than the villains”.

     I saw it in prose fiction as well. Bleah people living bleah lives with not a hero to be found.

     A compact expression of the hunger I sensed. It’s pleasant to see that another writer senses it as do I. But how is hero hunger to be served?

     Heh, heh, heh!


     There are two approaches to the concoction of a hero-figure. One is to make him human in scale. The other is to make him larger than life in one or more dimensions. In either case he must possess a high moral and ethical character, even if he must struggle with its counterpoise to his personal interests and desires. If this seems “obvious,” you might be surprised how poorly figures of either sort are represented in conventionally-published fiction these days.

     The absence of such figures from contemporary fiction as it emerges from Pub World is notable. Everyone in their stories is compromised. Everyone disdains the notion of objective standards of right and justice. The Left rejects the notion of absolute moral and ethical principles, and Pub World has been completely colonized and conquered by the Left.

     Indies create better hero figures, but even in the independent-writers’ movement there is a tendency toward the “gray” protagonist: the Riddick figure animated by his will to survive and his desire to avenge himself on his enemies. Such characters can make for compelling fiction, especially in a movie, but they don’t satisfy the hero-hunger David Burkhead and I have in mind. Much closer to the moral-ethical conception of a hero is Boss Johns, who rescues the beleaguered Riddick at the end of the film, despite considerable risk and no reward.

     The usual disparagement the Gray Wavers pour on the moral-ethical hero figure is “unrealistic,” or sometimes “Boy Scout.” They have no idea of the condemnation they inflict thus on their own works.


     A hero doesn’t necessarily spend all his free time fighting crime, or opposing tyranny. He might have a job, family, debts, and a bone to pick with a neighbor who keeps borrowing his tools and “forgetting” to return them. But when a moral-ethical crisis is put before him, he rises to the occasion. He may indulge in some agonizing and dithering, or searching for a “middle way” that will preserve more of his interests. He may regret what he must sacrifice in the name of justice. But ultimately he steps up. That’s what makes him a hero.

     Double credit goes to the writer who can surprise his readers with a “hero out of nowhere:” the character who seems largely secondary through most of the story, but who stands forth when the need for a hero arises. This is a tough move to pull off: so tough that I can’t name an example of it in anything I’ve read recently. If you can cite one, please mention it in the comments.

     For examples of heroes of the sort I prefer, consider these characters:

     All praise to the writers who show us figures we can honestly admire!