Thursday, September 21, 2017

Disciplining “Our Own”

     The wall of silence is breached. The media can no longer deny that the Obama Administration wiretapped Trump Tower during the 2016 presidential campaign, just as President Trump claimed in March. It’s been confirmed by testimony and by FISA records. The strident accusations, by CNN and others, that Trump’s claim was a lie have become platters of unseasoned crow that “journalists” must confront. But will they? And what about the Democrats who echoed those claims and linked them to accusations of Trump campaign collusion with the Russian government? Will they offer retractions and apologies?

     Not bloody likely, and I’m here to tell you why.

     We form affinity groups on various bases: race, religion, ethnicity, regional loyalties, occupations, political affiliations, and so on. Every group allegiance creates an Us and a Them, with a concomitant assignment of differing privileges and approvals. The results of the cleavage normally include a reluctance to entertain accusations against “our own” in a neutral, judicial fashion. The degree of protection awarded to “our own” varies inversely with the degree of civic trust awarded to members of the group by persons outside it.

     Civic trust is an under-addressed factor in studies of the stability of a social order. It pertains to the average willingness of individuals to regard other individuals whom they do not know personally as non-threatening. If that trust factor varies greatly according to differences in affinity group affiliation, the society is in trouble.

     Judgments of a neighborhood as “good” or “bad” measure its degree of civic trust. Are the residents generally regarded as responsible and law-abiding? Are local businesses respectful or exploitive of local needs and preferences? Is the constabulary responsive? Are the streets and other public spaces “safe?” These are the questions that underpin “good neighborhood” and “bad neighborhood” assessments.

     Civic trust plainly includes the sub-category of public trust: the degree of trust private citizens have in the honesty and competence of public officials and government generally. This also conditions social stability, in a determinate fashion. If generally high public trust should be impacted by a narrow revelation – for example, the discovery that a particular official has behaved corruptly – the reaction among private citizens will be swift and predictable: Get him out of office and put him behind bars. The man in the street will demand it out of his desire to defend the integrity of the relevant institution. Inversely, if public trust is low, the man in the street will shrug, say “What can you expect? They’re all thieves,” and retreat from the subject. His attention will be focused narrowly on his own agenda and the protection of what’s his, rather than the trustworthiness or lack thereof of public institutions.

     High civic trust enables wide-ranging attachments: patriotism, nationalism, national pride, public engagement. Low civic trust compels particularism: withdrawal from wide engagements and the narrowing of one’s attachments to those affinity groups he believes he can trust.

     When civic trust falls low and particular attachments become sufficiently strong, groups’ willingness to discipline their members for offenses against “outsiders” drops toward zero. The defense of Us against distrusted Them is seen as far too important to permit it.

     American political particularism is a reflection of the diminished degree of our civic trust, specifically in two institutions: partisan politics and the “news” media. Time was, politicians of different parties could work together on specific ends. That was possible because not only did they sincerely agree on the ends to be sought, but also because they trusted one another not to have covert agendas that differed radically from those ends. To the extent that politicians have ever been willing to acknowledge the Law of Unintended Consequences, the parties refrained from attacking one another when a policy championed by one in the face of misgivings by the other gave rise to a negative result. There was a prevailing belief that regardless of party affiliation, those in office meant well, generally understood their capacities and their limitations, and (with rare exceptions) really were doing the best they could for the nation. They made allowances for one another, and we made allowances for them.

     Time was.

     Ours is an era of low civic trust. Particularism is rampant; indeed, it’s probably the most important social influence of our time. It has a threefold impact on politics and reportage on political figures:

  1. Massive hostility between the political parties;
  2. Massive distrust of the news media by the news-consuming public;
  3. News media self-protectiveness as a higher priority than honest, candid journalism.

     In consequence, erring members of the parties and the media are far more likely to be protected by their groups than chastised by them. Moreover, the sinners will expect, even demand such protection. They’ll expect their fellows to mount counterattacks against their accusers, rather than offer expressions of impartiality and pieties about integrity.

     In other words, Hillary Clinton’s “vast right wing conspiracy” charge was merely a harbinger of more and worse to come.

     The root of particularism is, of course, particle. The e pluribus unum envisioned by the Founding Fathers has fragmented along many kinds of fissures. Though there’s always been some degree of differential trust among our various groups, the cleavages have deepened close to the point of impassability. The distaste for admitting to a misdeed by “a member of my club” has never been higher. The willingness to apply correction is proportionally low.

     Needless to say, that makes the problem worse. To see an offense go unadmitted and unpunished – worse, to see it rationalized and defended by the fellow-allegiants of the offender – makes the miasma of distrust thicken. But absent a complete cleansing of both the political and the journalistic classes, this is what we must anticipate and endure for the foreseeable future. Who is ready, willing, and able to undertake that cleansing? You? I? Arbitrarily chosen politician or candidate for office Smith?

     Food for thought.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Christians and Conservatives - Future-Oriented

There was a great Grassroots song - Live for Today, that perfectly epitomizes the youthful mindset. At that age, most are Grasshoppers - enjoying the moment, spending freely - sure that more money will easily be found, living with the expectation that they will survive forever.

At some point - preferably sooner than later - most Grasshoppers experience a full-face hit with Reality, and begin their metamorphosis into the adult Ant. (Yes, I know this is NOT how it works in Nature, but - I assure you - this is how it works in humans).

Two groups tend to be composed largely of those whose temperament is closer to the Ant's mentality.

  • Christians (which include all of the assorted rites and off-shoots)
  • Conservatives
Both are conscious of the way that Reality can diverge from Ideality, and - realistically - anticipate that this divergence is more likely to create an unfavorable situation, than one that is an improved scenario.

This is a bit of a handicap in planning protests and actions designed to get their message out. Unlike the Grasshoppers, who have no problem leaving this (click on the caption of the picture to see more damage photos):

The aftermath of many protests

the future-minded tend to clean up any mess that is made, 

and to pay for the extra costs of hosting their "Free" Speech - which, in Shapiro's case, cost $600,000 for security, driven up by an opposition that was determined to use violence to shut him down.

Is there a point to this? Only that preserving freedom and civilization is more time-consuming, expensive, and energy-draining than tearing it up. It's a task meant for Ants.

Fortunately, there are more of us. And, we have right (and God) on our side.

Death Cults Redux

     Isn’t there anyone who still believes in the intrinsic value of human life?

     That charnel house known as the Netherlands seems to be not content over killing off their citizens one by one, and have now begun to double-down, with couples killing themselves together in “beautiful” ceremonies so that neither one will be alone (until they’re dead, of course).
     “An elderly couple died holding hands surrounded by loved ones in a rare double euthanasia.

     “Nic and Trees Elderhorst, both 91, died in their hometown of Didam, in the Netherlands, after 65 years of marriage.

     Read it all, if you have the stomach for it.

     Holland was once a beautiful, eminently civilized country. That was before it embraced death as a sacrament. Perhaps we should ask Pim Fortuyn and Theo Van Gogh for their memories of that time. Oops, sorry, for a moment I forgot about what happened to them.

     But we’re still above all that, aren’t we?

     There are days I find it all but impossible to go on with this enterprise. The madness just keeps accelerating. The several Death Cults that have planted themselves on our shores are merely the most dramatic excrescences of what appears to be a pandemic global psychopathy. I’ve spaced my direct references to them widely to keep from being overwhelmed by the subject. But the tactic no longer helps much.

     We are surrounded by death worshippers. (No, I don’t just mean Muslims.) It’s likely that some of them are your neighbors. I know for a fact that some of them are mine.

     In discussing international relations and conflict studies, we often speak of “salami tactics.” The would-be aggressor looks for flabbiness of will among potential victims. When he finds one, he acts – but if he’s smart, he doesn’t immediately go “whole hog.” He tests his thesis by reaching for a “slice” of what he covets. “No war over the Rhineland.” “Would you risk a continental conflagration over Leipzig?” “So there are a few nuclear weapons in Cuba, what’s the big deal?” And of course most recently: “Let Putin have the Crimea; it’s historically Russian anyway.” If the victim acquiesces, the aggressor is emboldened to reach for another “slice,” and yet another, and another...

     Salami tactics are also employed domestically, according to the agenda of the aggressor. Have a look at the following list:

  • Abortion without restrictions.
  • Assisted suicide.
  • Commonplace ritual mutilations of the human body.
  • Involuntary euthanasia of those deemed untreatable or having "no quality of life."
  • Legal infanticide within the first X days post-birth.
  • Compulsory surrender of the organs of the deceased for transplantation.
  • Environmentalist crusades that prioritize human life below other considerations.
  • Use of “abandoned” embryos for “research.”
  • Creation of zygotes and embryos for non-procreative purposes.
  • Government-enforced "triage" to “conserve medical and financial resources.”
  • Compulsory acceptance of specified therapies.
  • Procreation licenses (alternately, compulsory sterilization of those deemed “unfit”).
  • Government eugenics programs:
    • At first, as subsidies to couples with favored genetic characteristics;
    • Later, as compulsory donations of gametes for use in government-supervised breeding programs.
  • Conscription for military purposes.
  • Conscription for non-military purposes.

     You’ve seen versions of that list before. It just keeps growing as the Death Cultists discover ever more ways to advance their creed. Parts of it have been upon us for some time. Other parts are the targets of our domestic salami slicers.

     Life, and our grip on it, are under attack. They’ve been weakened bit by bit for several decades. Our grandparents and great-grandparents – they who fought, bled, and died in terrible wars for the lives of others – would hardly recognize their posterity.

     The value we place on human life is what gives value to everything else in our world. It’s what allows us to make sense of things, to settle on what we want, and to reason out how to go about getting it. Is it really necessary to be explicit about the implications for its loss?

     Mankind as a species is slowly but steadily going mad.

     One organization, alone among all the voices of the world, is unbending in its proclamation that human life is sacred: the Catholic Church. Note how viciously it’s attacked, principally for its opposition to abortion and euthanasia. Note how, whenever someone dares to raise an objection to some element of the Death Cults’ program, some interlocutor will cast a wary eye at him and say “You’re not a Catholic...are you?” in that unmistakable tone that implies that no modern, well-intentioned soul could possibly associate with so retrograde an institution.

     While I differ with some of my Church’s doctrines, nevertheless I will defend it against all comers. Conspicuous among my reasons is this: It’s made all the right enemies. It’s achieved that by defending human life, by placing it above all utilitarian considerations, and by insisting that so precious a gift cannot be disparaged, much less renounced, without eternal consequences.

     Note that Catholicism has essentially disappeared from Europe. So too have most other forms of Christianity, but those have always been satellites to the Church and the Gospels it was formed to conserve and promulgate. When anyone speaks of “the Church,” there’s no doubt about which institution he has in mind. The other denominations have retained a slowly failing fingernail hold on what was once called Christendom by giving ground, on one issue after another, to the Death Cultists. The Church has not.

     Draw the moral.

     Wednesdays are currently significant here at the Fortress of Crankitude. Our Newfoundland Rufus has a regular weekly appointment at a veterinary clinic where he receives chemotherapy for B-cell lymphoma. Getting Rufus to the clinic is a burden on us. The treatments are very expensive, and there’s no way to know for how much longer he’ll be receiving them. The point, of course, is to keep Rufus alive and healthy for as long as we can.

     We do it out of love for our dog. We’re not alone; the clinic is just about always busy. People bring pets of all varieties, suffering from many diverse maladies, to be healed, or at least made more comfortable. I have no doubt that the burdens on them are fully comparable to ours.

     How much more precious is the life of a human being? How much more deserving of reverent defense?

     That’s all for today, Gentle Reader. I need to pray.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Men: The Most Critical Rule to Follow

I was talking to my son-in-law today, and I mentioned the Most Important Rule for Every Man to Follow.

Really, to have a good existence, you only have to do ONE thing in your life.

If you break the rule, it will cause more pain than eating gas station sushi. Or standing behind a 5-year old with a baseball bat.

Failure to follow that rule will clean out your bank account, lose you every friend you ever had, and leave you battered, broken, homeless, and on the verge of suicide.

Ready for it?

Now, I know that they are EXCITING - there is NO hot like a CRAZY HOT.

However, at some point, you've got to get out of the sack.

And, at that point, is where the cooler-headed men are going to say:

What the He** Was I Thinking?

Too late - once a Crazy Lady has jumped your bones, they're harder to get rid of than cockroaches. They will dig in and manipulate, lie, coax and plead to stay.

If that doesn't work, they're drag you back to bed. You'll think, Eh, I'll dump her afterward. The sex will be AMAZING. As always.

The trouble is, they're still crazy. And, every time you let her suck you in again, it gets harder to get rid of her.

They will screw up your life, for the FUN of it. They will gladly suffer anything - as long as they can make you suffer, too.

There is NOTHING too low, mean, or life-destroying for them to inflict on you.

And take pleasure in it.

Looks will fade, but Crazy is Forever.

This Actually Makes Some Sense

...for the sudden belligerency of NK. It would not only cause China some embarrassment, but also further de-stabilize the South Pacific.


     [Some time ago, I scandalized quite a lot of people with this bit of monitory fiction. Many readers assumed that I wanted what it depicted to happen in reality. Many others asked why I just had to disturb their sleep. Stories are like that; they evoke a range of reactions, which vary according to the perceptions and assumptions of their readers.

     Well, here we go again...and this time, I do want it to happen in reality. — FWP]

     Harmon grimaced. “You’re asking a lot from people who just want to be left alone. Like their whole futures. Maybe even their lives.”
     I nodded. “I know. And I know that putting my own life and future on the line right next to theirs is puny reassurance and no compensation whatsoever. But it’s time, Jack. Either we act now or we can kiss what remains of the Republic good-bye.”
     I stood to stretch, and my head poked a deep dimple into the canvas roof of the tent. Our grins were reflexive. “Seriously now, can’t you afford...?”
     He chuckled. “Realism, Don. And a smidgen of egalitarianism to go with it. Most of my men are six feet or less. What you and I would greatly appreciate, they don’t need and wouldn’t be willing to pony up for. Speaking of which, what about transportation? Air travel is right out, so how—”
     I waved it aside. “Already taken care of.”
     He looked at me dubiously. “And paid for?”
     I nodded, and his eyes widened. “Don, tell me you didn’t.”
     “Okay, I didn’t. Happy now?”
     It silenced him. He sat back in his lawn chair and looked away. I let the silence run its course. He seemed to need it.
     Presently he said “The twenty-second, right?”
     “At noon. The permit covers us from eleven AM to two PM.”
     “Chartered buses?”
     “No. Motorhomes. Fifty of them.”
     “What? Is Eli in on this too?”
     “He’s providing some of the rolling stock, yes.”
     His eyes narrowed. “Some.”
     “About a third.”
     “And the rest?”
     “Don’t ask.”
     He looked aside again. “I can’t make it an order.”
     “I don’t think you have to. Two hundred would be more than sufficient. Actually, I don’t think the motorhomes could transport and house more than that.”
     “That could be a problem,” he said. “Because you’re likely to get more volunteers than that. Like, maybe all of them.”
     I nodded again. “I expect we will.”


     Harmon’s coordination scheme worked better than I’d expected. Despite the irregular dispersion of the RV camps we’d used as mustering points, his people converged on the Charlottesville mall at eleven forty-five exactly. Harmon personally sought out the police lieutenant on the scene, showed him the permit, and cluck-clucked perfunctorily about the thinness of the PD security screen. Four of his men set up a small dais, a lectern, and a portable amplifier. The rest adopted convincingly relaxed yet expectant postures, eyes on the dais as if expecting a long-anticipated speaker. It looked as innocent as any free-speech rally ever held.
     Our adversaries were only a few minutes behind us.
     They outnumbered us substantially. As we’d expected, every one of them was dressed and masked in black. They carried a variety of makeshift weapons: sticks, fluid-filled bottles, some rocks. I saw no guns or knives. I prayed that there were none hidden. This would be risky enough.
     At noon I mounted the dais and went to the lectern. That seemed to be the signal our adversaries had awaited. They moved toward our group with unconcealed hostility.
     The police, of course, moved back.
     I bent to the microphone and spoke a single word: “Now.”
     Almost as one, Harmon’s men turned away from me, toward their would-be silencers, and pulled their launchers from concealment.
     The launchers were the cheapest part of the scheme: ordinary-looking children’s toys that use compressed air to fire sponge balls. The “magazine” in the “stock” that could hold thirty such balls. I’d had them modified somewhat to increase their power and range, as the balls they were designed to fire were dry. The ones we’d loaded were not.
     The men had practiced with them to the point that every one of them could zero a four-inch-wide target at twenty-five yards. Within twenty seconds they’d hit half of our adversaries. Another twenty seconds and the engagement was over. All those who had come to do us harm had gone down screaming and clawing at themselves. None remained standing.
     I spoke into the microphone again. “Cease fire.”
     As one, Harmon’s men laid their launchers on the grass at their feet.
     The police, of course, moved on us at once.

     The district attorney was furious, mainly at his own impotence. I let him rave until it was all out of him, then set back with my hands behind my head and murmured “So what are the charges?”
     He glared at me. “It’s quite a list. I hope you’ve got a good lawyer.”
     I smiled. “I am a good lawyer. So enlighten me. What are you planning to charge us with for bringing children’s toys to a public, duly permitted rally and firing sponge balls at masked men who were charging us with weapons?”
     He bared his teeth. “When I have the police lab report on what was in those guns—”
     “You will find,” I interjected, “three perfectly legal chemicals. DMSO, caffeine, and water. Absolutely nothing else. So?”
     “It’s still assault!”
     I shrugged. “You might be able to make that stick. But we have complete video of the event from several angles. The clips have been posted to several video-sharing sites. One of them has already racked up over a million views. What do you suppose indicting us for assault would do to your prospects for re-election? Especially considering that the police effectively sided with our assailants.”
     That stopped him cold. A strange sort of cold, to be sure. His boiled-ham face said nothing good about his cardiovascular health. But he could think of nothing to say.
     I couldn’t resist one last twist of the blade. “So, Counselor, have you arrested any of the guys who were masked in public and carrying potentially lethal weapons to a peaceful, entirely legal rally? Aren’t both of those things against Charlottesville’s municipal ordinances?”
     Within two hours of being detained, we’d been released without charges.

     “It wasn’t cheap,” Harmon said.
     I swigged at my beer. “Tell me about it, Jack. I’ll be hearing it from Marcie for months. She had her eye on a beach house in Aruba.”
     “I still don’t get it, Don. Why?”
     I cocked an eyebrow. “Why me, or why now, or why the method?”
     “All three, but in reverse order.”
     “Why the method is pretty simple: it put the fear of God into a bunch of bastards who desperately needed it, but without killing or maiming anyone. Now they know that there’s a counterforce that’s willing to act and has a method that will get the results we want. Why now? Because if we hadn’t, the next free-speech rally was going to feature a few fatalities, and that would have been enough to persuade every damned pansy-assed city council in the country to deny all further applications for free-speech rallies. In the law we call that a heckler’s veto.”
     He grimaced. “Okay. I might not agree with the timing, but you definitely got their attention. So why you?”
     “Because someone had to do something more than just complain,” I said. “And because I’d gotten really bloody tired of waiting for someone else to step forward. And while it took me too long to do it, when I finally asked myself the key question, I realized that I had no answer.”
     Harmon eyebrows knitted together. He’s a smart guy, but there are some things to which he’s conceptually blind, probably because he’s never needed to ponder them.
     “What was the key question?” he murmured.
     I smiled. “Why not me?”
     His mouth dropped open. “Oh.”
     I drained my bottle and stood. “Another beer?”


A vital distinction.

I'm not what you'd call an economist. What you actually call me is best left to another time.

However, here's an interesting comment over at Zero Hedge that illustrates, perhaps, the phenomenon of obtuseness in Western of elites, namely, knowing the sensible course of action but choosing to do the exact opposite. My favorite example of this is the Italian government knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that allowing 100s of thousands of Africans and Muslims into Italy is madness but nevertheless sending the Italian navy to just a few miles off the Libyan coast to "rescue" Africans wanting to come to Italy (and Europe beyond). This appears to be changing as now there is some kind of cooperation with the Libyan Coast Guard and Watersports Flotilla but I still read only this morning of "rescues" being effected by the Italian navy so who knows?

The comment below indicates commenter Batman's belief that the natural parasites in any civilization have an interest in maximizing wealth extraction that is superior to wealth creation and that our knowledge of money and economics has been perverted by them to their own advantage. This is unsettling as I've always assumed that we approached economics with wealth creation in mind with socialists, communists, and malcontents basically nipping at our heels with insane political goals. I never resented wealth because I figured it was evidence of industry, risk taking, intelligence, hard work, and, of course, not a little luck. However, it's clear we're not in Kansas any longer. Not by a long shot. I'm not the first to have that WTF?! moment.

Whether fractional reserve banking is overall something that fired up the economy or not I'm not learned enough to say. However, when the cream of industry, banking and politics conspired to create a central bank that resulted in a 95% loss of value of the dollar, 10s of thousands of American factories ended up on the shores of a communist dictatorship, and some 40 million foreigners have been imported into the United States, there to steal jobs from Americans and drive down wages. You have to ask yourself is there something more than just misjudgment at work here. Trump put his finger on some of this but phrased it in terms of just poor negotiating skills. Pure motive just clueless business and political leaders. Batman says otherwise.

I've not yet read Mr. Werner's piece linked to by Batman but it looks like it will be worth doing so to see how much of what we've seen in the last 80 some years since the start of the New Deal is due to error and how much is due to design. You can no longer automatically assume good will. You just can't.

Batman raises another point succinctly, namely, the distinction between the productive and the parasitic side of capitalism. This is an important insight, that there is this distinction. The reason it is important for modern Westerners is that the seditious, traitorous left goes to great lengths to point out the defects of "capitalism" which is a deliberate misdirection. The left endeavors to obscure the parastic and fabulously destructive nature of socialism – the wise leader fatuously commanding the economic waves to part – whether the example of socialism is the real deal of the U.S.S.R. or the hobbled, hamstrung, over-regulated, over-taxed, financialized, foreigner-flooded Western nations, or most of them. No. They want you to think that that's "capitalism," the essence of exploitation rather than the engine that raised millions from poverty and gave them a shot at a decent life without disease, slavery, and raw sewage. The exploitation and hideous oppression of communist regimes and the peculiar operations of the parasite class in the West must never, ever be admitted.

A caricature of reality.

This is the companion attack of the left to its deliberate obfuscation of the leftist nature of National Socialism. The vile excesses of that system are not at all distinguishable from those of totalitarian leftism in general. To maintain the allure of leftist excess, the left hides the highly visible excesses of National Socialist as a leftist phenomenon by its interminable description of National Socialism as "right-wing." Similarly, the factual allegations about communists in the federal government made by Sen. McCarthy and the revelations about the Hollywood 10 involve a similar distortion. It wasn't the communist infiltration of the government that bothered the American political class. No. It was the work of McCarthy and the House Committee on Unamerican Activities in exposing the presence of communists in the government that drove them to mount a vicious attack on McCarthy and anti-communism. People who expose communists who want to destroy democratic institutions are threats to democratic institutions!!

Well, back to economic matters. The mask has slipped in the last 25 years as the infection of high-speed trading on the stock market, the flood of insane derivatives, the chummy relationship of public employee unions and politicians, open borders, and massive money creation, among other things, have come to light. The result has been the enormous transfer of wealth to the richest 1% that has accompanied astronomical wage stagnation. This is parasitism.

No one's been minding the store in the West for a long time. Almost all Western nations have flooded themselves with savages and run up massive debt and money supplies, all to satisfy, I presume, the moneyed interests and their lumpenproletariat clients on whom the former rely to deliver reliable votes for economic destruction and the slide into third-world grime and savagery. This has nothing to do with common sense or patriotism.

Anyway, here's Batman's comment:

The problem was that no one has ever been able to run a nation state successfully for any length of time, even this is beyond us.

Powerful vested interests are always putting their interests above the long term good.

Let’s relax financial regulations so we can make more money.

Oh dear.

Even worse, they actively seek to corrupt our knowledge of money and economics which ensures that things will never run well.

Monetary theory has been regressing since 1856, when someone worked out how the system really worked.

Credit creation theory -> fractional reserve theory -> financial intermediation theory

“A lost century in economics: Three theories of banking and the conclusive evidence” Richard A. Werner

The Classical Economists of the 19th Century were only too aware of the two sides of capitalism, the productive side where wealth creation takes place and the parasitic side where wealth extraction takes place.

It all disappears in early neoclassical economics.

How are the economically parasitic ruling class going to fare if this becomes common knowledge?[1]

[1] "Flags, Symbols, And Statues Resurgent As Globalism Declines."By Wayne Madsen, Zero Hedge, 9/19/17.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Once More, With Feeling

     Do not use my old Yahoo address to email me. Use the address in my section of our About Us page. I no longer check the Yahoo address; their runaway scripts make it too much trouble. Thank you.


     “I don’t like Mondays. This livens up the day.” -- Brenda Ann Spencer

1. Economic Thought.

     If you’ve ever wondered why governments are so fond of the economic theories of John Maynard Keyes and so averse to the thinking of Austrians Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek, Mike at 90 Miles from Tyranny has an instructive graphic for you. Go thou forth, peruse it, and return hither.

     The Keynesian side of that graphic is filled with all manner of obsequies toward government: government spending, government managed “fiat” currencies, government superintendence of the national economy. It also aims a few slaps at private enterprise: e.g., that inflation is caused when “corporations raise prices.” In contrast, the Austrian side speaks of the power of private enterprise to create prosperity while regulating itself through the laws of supply and demand. It deplores government-managed “fiat” currencies as the engine of inflation and rejects the notion that government interventions into the economy are constructive overall.

     Not much of a surprise why statists prefer Keynesianism, is it?

2. Why Hillary Clinton Lost The Presidential Election.

     Daniel Greenfield has the answer, deduced straight from Mrs. Clinton’s ponderous, irritating book:

     Current ‘blamees’ include the FBI, millions of white people, sexism, the Russians, Russian sexism, Bernie Sanders, Jill Stein, Joe Biden, Matt Lauer and the Electoral College.

     And probably the starting lineup of the Denver Broncos. You’ll have to buy the book for the full list.

     But What Happened, Hillary’s spiteful magnum opus, does actually answer its titular question.

     Hillary happened....

     The carefully constructed machine built to take Hillary to the White House broke down on Wisconsin Highway 14, Florida State Road 20 and Pennsylvania Route 22. Only a skeleton staff of loyalists stayed to help Hillary turn her name recognition and remaining connections into filthy lucre and filthier spite.

     That’s what What Happened is. Hillary gets to lash out at everyone and get paid for it. Not only is she upstaging Bernie’s book tour while trying to tie him to Trump, she’s taking shots at another likely Dem 2020er, Joe Biden, not to mention her own badly used DNC and everyone who didn’t vote for her.

     If Hillary can’t be president, she’s going to make damn sure that none of her Dem rivals will either.

     I have no intention of reading What Happened -- link conveniently provided so that you, Gentle Reader, can sneer at it too – but so far, every mention of the book I’ve seen, whether from a Right or a Left source, has concurred with Greenfield’s sentiments. All that remains is for the media to conclude that there’s no more “juice” in the election and for her supposed party to pass a sentence of exile upon her. These are consummations devoutly to be wished, even by many who didn’t vote for Donald Trump.

3. Those Damned Episcopalians!

     The whole of France is becoming a no-go zone for Americans:

     Four American women visiting France were attacked with acid Sunday in the southern city of Marseille, according to a report.

     A 41-year-old woman was arrested in connection with the attack. Two of the female tourists suffered facial injuries from the incident, which occurred at the Saint Charles train station. One of the women may have an eye injury, a spokeswoman for the Marseille prosecutor's office told the Associated Press.

     As usual, the French government has said that there are “no indications” that this was a terrorist attack. Where would you place your bet, Gentle Reader?

     It’s been said innumerable times, including by me, that no one has ever won a war playing defense. This is especially the case regarding today’s “asymmetric” warfare, conducted in spurts by un-uniformed combatants whose allegiances are generally plain but whose intentions are cloaked until the instant they act. If we want this madness to stop, the entire First World must go on the attack.

     Islam in the First World must be destroyed. There must be no Muslims in the nations of the West, no matter what must be done to cleanse ourselves of them. And yes, I mean that exactly as it sounds.

4. The Campus Campaign Against Conservative Speech.

     Matt Lewis of The Daily Beast has some first-hand information for us:

     To get a better perspective on the problem, I reached out to Madison Faupel, who interned for my wife this summer. Instead of perspective, I got a first-hand testimonial.

     She’s the president of the University of Minnesota's College Republican chapter. Her group sparked controversy last fall when it reserved space and painted a mural on the Washington Avenue Bridge to promote their student group.

     Her group settled on three slogans: “College Republicans, The Best Party on Campus,” “Trump Pence 2016,” and “Build the Wall.”

     Within an hour, the panels had been vandalized, and protesters had surrounded the panels. Some of the vandalism included the following statements: “STOP WHITE SUPREMACY NOW” and “Hate Speech is not Free Speech.”

     The notion that Madison is a white supremacist is about as laughable as the notion that Ben Shapiro is one. In their insistence on tolerance, leftists are increasingly intolerant of anyone who may not like their choice of candidate or political ideas. The charge of "racism" is becoming an easy way to shut down robust political discussion.

     That last sentence above indicates that Lewis is a little behind the curve. “Racist!” has been the silencing cry of campus totalitarians for quite some time now. But I’m not telling my Gentle Readers anything they don’t already know.

5. Conservatism Needs Joy.

     Via our most recent Co-Contributor, we have this inspiring, even exciting article from Jacobite Magazine:

     Contemporary young people on the right may be described in many ways: Transgressive. Ostracized. Principled. Unpopular. Free-thinking. Reactionary. Traditional. However accurate—and perhaps damning — one thinks these are, there is one label that greatly worries me: Joyless.

     A somewhat bleak opening, you say? Well, yes, but it assists writer Felix James Miller’s thesis in two ways. Here’s the first of them:

     There are many examples of figures rejoicing despite the odds, but I would like to hold up one as particularly helpful for today: Gilbert Keith Chesterton. Born in 1874, Chesterton saw in the modernism of his day the monster in has since become. As a Catholic convert and a critic of atheism, Islam, first-wave feminism, and many other intellectual movements, Chesterton is an easy friend to Jacobite readers. He understands that “Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions,” and that “Progress is a comparative of which we have not settled the superlative.”

     The reason G.K. Chesterton is so important to the right today is that his writings express a deep joy about life. This joy is not superficial, but is simply the natural result of his love for reality. And he did not simply display this joy, he worked to spread it to others. His critique of self-referential, modernist conceptions of joy still packs the punch today that it did when first published:

     Do not enjoy yourself. Enjoy dances and theaters and joy-rides and champagne and oysters; enjoy jazz and cocktails and night-clubs if you can enjoy nothing better; enjoy bigamy and burglary and any crime in the calendar, in preference to the other alternative; but never learn to enjoy yourself.

     It’s the Left that refuses to find joy in normal life! Joy is antithetical to the Left’s need to politicize all of life. Conservatives could easily exploit this simply by being exemplars of the joy that arises from simply paying attention to and honoring reality: productive work done willingly and well, properly balanced by leisure and leisurely pursuits; love in all its many forms; gratitude to God for our world, our lives, and the many blessings He has granted us. A snippet from 1984 captures this nicely:

     ‘When you make love you're using up energy; and afterwards you feel happy and don’t give a damn for anything. They can't bear you to feel like that. They want you to be bursting with energy all the time. All this marching up and down and cheering and waving flags is simply sex gone sour. If you’re happy inside yourself, why should you get excited about Big Brother and the Three-Year Plans and the Two Minutes Hate and all the rest of their bloody rot?’

     Here’s the second one, which Miller only implies: It’s the doing of the media, which is in bed with the Left, that conservatives are caricatured as joyless scolds. But we have “our own media” now – you’re reading a bit of it – and we needn’t scruple to use it to bray at them – joyfully.

6. It’s Coming.

     Innocents is nearing completion, albeit agonizingly slowly. Parts of this story have been harder to write than anything else I’ve attempted. (For a useful perspective, be aware that Which Art In Hope took me twelve years to finish.) But it’s usually the case that the harder a story is for me to get right, the more satisfied I am with the result – and the more striking it will be to the ultimate reader. Please bear with me.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Technological Toxicities

     "I wish the old man had remembered something about the fall of the old Ring society. I had an idea …" And he told the puppeteer his theory of a mutating colonic bacterium.
     "That is possible," said Nessus. "Once they lost the secret of transmutation, they would never recover."
     "Oh? Why not?"
     "Look about you, Louis. What do you see?"
     Louis did. He saw a lightning-storm developing ahead; he saw hills, valleys, a distant city, twin mountain peaks tipped with the dirty translucency of raw Ring flooring…"Land anywhere on the Ringworld, and dig. What do you find?"
     "Dirt," said Louis. "So?"
     "And then?"
     "More dirt. Bedrock. Ring floor material," said Louis. And as he said these words the landscape seemed to alter. Storm clouds, mountains, the city to spinward and the city dwindling behind, the edge of brilliance far away on the infinity-horizon, that might be a sea or a sunflower invasion…now the landscape showed as the shell it was. The difference between an honest planet and this was the difference between a human face and an empty rubber mask.
     "Dig on any world," the puppeteer was saying, "and eventually you will find some kind of metal ore. Here, you will find forty feet of soil, and then the Ring foundation. That material cannot be worked. If it could be pierced, the miner would strike vacuum — a harsh reward for his labor.
     "Give the Ring a civilization capable of building the Ring, and it must necessarily have cheap transmutation. Let them lose the technology of transmutation — no matter how — and what would be left? Surely they would not stockpile raw metals. There are no ores. The metal of the Ring would be all in machines and in tools and in rust. Even interplanetary capability would not help them, for there is nothing to be mined anywhere around this star. Civilization would fall and never rise."
     Softly Louis asked, "When did you figure this out?"
     "Some time ago. It did not seem important to our survival."
     "So you just didn't mention it. Right," said Louis. The hours he'd spent worrying that problem! And it all seemed so vividly obvious now. What a trap, what a terrible trap for thinking beings.

     [Larry Niven, Ringworld]

     Ringworld is an imaginative tour de force, arguably the best “hard” science fiction novel ever written. The passage above concerns the collapse of the civilization that built the Ringworld, a section of a cylinder, made from every scrap of material in its solar system, that rotates around its primary star. The fate of that civilization, which had eliminated the basis for its rise, speaks a phrase of warning to us of human technological civilization, though we’re nowhere near to building a Ringworld of our own.

     It is possible for a civilization to burn its bridges behind it.

     There’s a chance that we’re in the process of doing so:

     When cellphones first appeared, they gave people one more means of communication, which they could accept or reject. But before long, most of us began to feel naked and panicky anytime we left home without one.

     To do without a cellphone — and soon, if not already, a smartphone — means estranging oneself from normal society. We went from “you can have a portable communication device” to “you must have a portable communication device” practically overnight.

     Not that long ago, you could escape the phone by leaving the house. Today most people are expected to be instantly reachable at all times. These devices have gone from servants to masters.

     [Unabomber Theodore] Kaczynski cannot be surprised. “Once a technical innovation has been introduced,” he noted, “people usually become dependent on it, so that they can never again do without it, unless it is replaced by some still more advanced innovation. Not only do people become dependent as individuals on a new item of technology, but, even more, the system as a whole becomes dependent on it. (Imagine what would happen to the system today if computers, for example, were eliminated.)”

     You might not think of this as a problem...yet. But a serious stroke against the technologies we employ ubiquitously today could reveal something truly terrible: not a paucity of resources with which to regain those technologies, but the widespread loss of the abilities for which we’ve substituted them.

     “Use it or lose it” has more than individual application.

     Think for a moment about Homo Neanderthalensis. The technology available to him was exceedingly low. He could make a fire. He knew how to use a sharp-edged stone as a knife and an antelope femur as a club. In theory, his entire species could have lost those technologies, throwing him back into tool-less helplessness before the cold and the dark. However, the recovery of those losses would have been rather straightforward. It would probably have occurred within the generation that forgot them, precisely because they’re so low – that is, there’s no sub-technology that enables them.

     Americans of the Twenty-First Century are more vulnerable. There are many technological levels beneath the one we enjoy today. Should one prove vulnerable to some natural occurrence, the United States and the other highly technologized countries would be thrown into the same civilizational pot as the Third World...if not lower. Most of us need our tech tools. Few would be able to do without them.

     This is a common motif in dystopic fiction. John Barnes’s recent Daybreak trilogy exploits it by postulating a terrorist attack that wipes out plastics and semiconductors. With that one blow, Mankind is reduced to the technologies of the early 1800s...and not only are there very few people who know how to use them; they are grotesquely unequal to the support of a population of seven billion.

     Our ability to sustain so many lives, a goodly fraction of them in essentially toil-and-pain-free comfort, lies entirely in our technology.

     Perhaps there’s no point in worrying about such things. Perhaps they should be relegated to the darker imaginings of science fiction writers. However, even entertaining the possibility involves confronting an unpleasant fact about Mankind, particularly First World Mankind: There aren’t many of us who are good for much.

     Consider anyone who makes his living by exploiting a technology he lacks the capacity to comprehend. Consider op-ed writers. What fraction of them could contrive a subsistence living for themselves and their dependents without the technology that keeps our supermarkets stocked, even if we were to furnish them with zeroed-in .30-06 rifles and an inexhaustible supply of ammunition?

     Consider entertainers.
     Consider “public” school teachers.
     Consider college academics and administrators.
     Consider the occupation of journalists and newscasters.
     Consider elected officials, policy analysts, aides, and their “gophers.”
     Consider bureaucrats...and do your damnedest not to chortle at the thought.

     Then consider yourself. The odds are fairly good that you make regular use of some medicine to protect your health, perhaps even to keep you alive. As you get older, that probability will rise. For my part, if I were deprived of my hypertension medicines, I’d be dead within the week.

     Technology has elevated Mankind to a dizzying height. Not all of its effects have been completely benign, but without it there would be far fewer of us, all of them living lives that are “nasty, poor, brutish, and short.”

     Now consider our contemporary Luddites: they who rail against technology, who extol the “pastoral life,” and who ardently hope for a cataclysm of the sort John Barnes’s characters and the builders of Larry Niven’s Ringworld suffered.

     Feeling homicidal yet? It didn’t take long, did it?

Are You One of the Ikea Humans?

Read more.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

The Anti-Creative Establishment

     [F]or as long as I’ve been alive, in all Western countries, the way to be respected or promoted or advanced in any artistic, news or otherwise intellectual field was to convincingly mouth the platitudes of leftism in its Marxist incarnation. If you could add a genuine touch of Stalinist psychopathy, then you’d be considered genuinely righteous and advanced faster. -- Sarah Hoyt
     “Normality is everybody doing and thinking the same thing.” – Larry Linville as Major Frank Burns on the M*A*S*H television show.

     Establishments...establish. What do they establish? Why, The Rules, of course! The entire point of an Establishment is the establishment of The Rules...and, of course, the enforcement of The Rules with a relentless ferocity upon anyone and everyone who even comes close enough to the Establishment to be noticed by it.

     If you yearn to be an Establishment, it’s because you have a sheaf of Rules in your back pocket that you’re just itching to ram down the throats and up the asses of everyone curious, careless, or unfortunate enough for you to know of their existence. There’s little point in being an Establishment otherwise. The Rules are all – for you, and for anyone swept into your orbit.

     “But what’s the point of The Rules?” I hear you cry. AHA! That’s the question no one is allowed to ask. (Yes, it’s against The Rules.) The Rules are self-justifying, immutable and perfect. Their authority is metaphysically armored against alteration or doubt. A bit like the Koran, really. But never mind all of that. Just obey The Rules, and all will be well. At least, from the Establishment’s perspective.

     There’s a fly in the ointment, of course, and he’s the size of a B-52. For there to be an Establishment, there must be something outside the Establishment: a blank spot on the map, an ungoverned territory, a wild in which the writ of The Rules runneth not. They who constitute The Establishment cannot help but be aware of that dark realm...and it bugs the living shit out of them. Much of their time and emotional energy is occupied by attempts to fold it into their demesne.

     They have no concrete sense of what would follow if they were to succeed. Perhaps that’s for the best. What sort of novel would have resulted, had Ahab understood a priori that his final confrontation with the white whale would entail his death?

     It’s not too strong to say that a “creative Establishment” is a blatant contradiction in terms. Rules are the antithesis of creation. They don’t liberate; they mandate. Yet we who toil in the indie-fiction vineyards are frequently consumed by the paradox. That doesn’t include those who find themselves sliding into its maw.

     I should draw an important distinction here. Some rules are necessary. For example, a book purported to be in English must be written in recognizable English. Enough attention must be paid to spelling and grammar to make it comprehensible, else the product will be a fraud. But such a rule isn’t the sort promulgated by an Establishment; it’s merely sound ethics as they pertain to fiction.

     The Rules as Establishments have them are about substance: what you must, may, and must not say. The Establishment’s enforcers concern themselves with themes and motifs, not grammar, spelling, or punctuation. (They’ve even been known to remain resolutely blind toward such matters as formatting and pagination.) Mangle the English language all you like, they say, but never, ever employ a prohibited idea or display tolerance for a prohibited conviction.

Never suggest that men are more capable than women in any way.
The Christian faith is inherently patriarchal and oppressive.
Businessmen cannot be upright or heroic figures.
There are no differences among the races.
Don’t dare criticize Islam.
Abortion is sacred.
Capitalism kills.

     And on, and on, and on, a seemingly endless list of prescriptions and proscriptions that constrict the writer like a gallows straitjacket. But with so many propositions and convictions ruled out by The Rules, what’s there left to say? And with so many writers eagerly parroting the positions approved by The Rules in the hope of receiving the Establishment’s blessing, how likely is it that anyone will succeed in saying something fresh and original?

     On a lighter and hopefully more useful note, I’ve recently been enjoying Welcome to Night Vale, Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor’s bizarre novel about a desert community in which there are rules about everything...some of them literally impossible to obey. Reality itself is conditional, even questionable...or it would be, if the question “What is real?” hadn’t been forbidden by the Night Vale City Council. Despite a degree of surrealism that borders on schizophrenia, it’s a fascinating experience, an excursion into a fictional meta-anarchy in which no rule is ironclad and no Ruler can enforce his will.

     The book, which relentlessly refuses to allow the reader to assume anything, even about story events already narrated, is the sort of thing that would come from a writer in full-scale rebellion against rules of any sort. Yet it’s written in recognizable far. (I’m only about a third of the way through it as I write this, so it’s best that I not assume anything about what remains. I’m sure Fink and Cranor would agree.) It observes enough of the conventions of good storytelling to be worth a reader’s time and attention, even as its protagonists gyrate through an untrustworthy land where everything, including the laws of Nature, is largely a matter of local opinion, however diffident or transient.

     In its determination to leave every aspect of the story, the setting, and the characters in a quasi-Schrodingerian indeterminate state – NO! Don’t open the box! – Welcome to Night Vale reminds me strongly of some of the late Robert Sheckley’s fictions. Whether it has a statement of any sort to make, apart from the obvious one that “just as in a cartoon, in a novel anything can happen” (Beep! Beep!) is unclear. One way or the other, it’s refreshing just as an act of rebellion, a thumb in the eye of Establishmentarian rule makers.

     Yet when it was published, Welcome to Night Vale swiftly became a New York Times best-seller. There’s a moral in there, somewhere...but sadly, asking “What’s the moral?” has also been forbidden by the Night Vale City Council, so I’m afraid that I must leave it to your private musings. Don’t look at the hooded figures in the Dog Park. Have a nice day.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Stop Whatever You're Doing - Watch This!

This woman is unbelievable - smart, funny, clear about her thoughts and values.

And, if you like what she does, toss a few dollars to her Patreon account.

Whine! Whine! Wine!!!!

I just looked at the Youtube video of HRC being interviewed by Jane Pauley. It was filled with evasions, half-truths and NOT-truths (what average people call lies). And, most memorably, it showed that AWFUL moment when Trump scowled and stalked HRC.

Except, he apparently DIDN'T. The footage in the video shows HILLARY moving around the stage, initiating motion into Trump's space.

I'm getting to be exhausted. Every time the opposition makes a claim, it's debunked.

And, then, they repeat it. Louder. Same response from us.

And, then, they repeat it, adding ridicule for our "stupid - if not evil - mischaracterization of the Sainted Democratic/Progressive Icons".

On, and on. Every time a lie is unmasked, some chucklehead jumps in to insist that - No, the one that proves that lie is the one that is lying. And, neener-neener. H8r/Racist/Fascist/WhateverSlurIsFashionable.

Over and over. Every time we prove a lie, another one gets recycled from the Trash Heap.

Over and over.

Lord, I am so tired.

Sometimes, I just feel like giving up - I am feeling like the coalition fighting the forces of Sauron. The battle has been long, killed off many good people, and savagely tortured and crippled many more.

I look for reinforcement, and see nothing. The ship that I have been hoping for - the one that will relieve my faltering troops - arrives, empty of relief. The would-be king and his close friends arrive, but they carry no more men.

Then, emerging from the ship, I see the Unseen and Long-Dead, coming to join the battle.

We may only be Hobbits and weak and weary ones, at that, but - we have The King, and the people he leads, on our side.

Painful To Read, Worrisome To Contemplate

     The following was sent to me by long time reader Mark:

     I thought this topic might make for decent grist for the Mill at Liberty's Torch. And if not, I will at least feel a bit better venting to someone who will completely understand.

     Normally, I would write some facebook commentary or blog post about it, but since the subjects are my daughter and her friends, prudence suggest otherwise.

     My daughter (and granddaughter) live in St. Petersburg FL. Much to my dismay, she (and her now ex) have turned every bit as leftist as that Fred guy you encountered on one of my earlier posts). She and her circle of friends have a haughty idea that they are "educated" because they went to college, whereas those who did not (e.g., the Trump voters) were "uneducated." (I must be somewhat of an anomaly to them since I have 4 years of undergrad and 2 years of grads school in physics and meteorology.)

     Thus, it seems strange that the supposedly "compassionate" liberal guy my daughter married abandoned her a few months ago for some bimbo (and the heartless conservative guy -- me -- was there to help pick up the pieces). Even worse, the now-ex couldn't and/or wouldn't help my daughter prepare the house (which is also HIS daughter's home) for the upcoming hurricane -- instead choosing to leave town with his new girlfriend.

     What is even more disturbing is that these supposedly educated intellectuals had neither the skills nor tools to properly board up the house (heck, some of them can't even change a light bulb).

     Thus, my daughter's home is now dead-center of the bulls-eye of Hurricane Irma -- with almost no protection. I very nearly loaded up my truck with tools and supplies, but being the better part of a full day's drive (not to mention pushing 60 years old), I would have gotten there by in time to have to evacuate. (Fortunately, she left town and is staying with some trusted friends inland.)

     I fully expect it to be a sorry mess when she's able to return. I'll have time to get down there afterward and help clean up/repair/rebuild (again, the supposedly heartless conservative guy coming to the rescue) -- already packing up tools, generators, etc. for a potential trip down.

     None of her friends offered to help -- or even could help, since they all lack the tools and skills needed for even such basic efforts as boarding up windows. Yet they look down their noses at "uneducated" types who didn't go to college.

     Sorry for the rant, but I am extremely irritated (on top of worried) about this topic.

     Thanks for letting me get that off my chest.

     Happily, most persons politically left of center are still no worse than middling decent; few are utterly venal or vicious. However, the proliferation of practical incapacity among left-liberals is somewhat alarming. Were they to attain majority status, would they seek to reduce those of us who remain able to “do stuff” to some modern form of serfdom, in the name of the “public good?” Mark’s plaint plus others of similar color that I’ve read and received suggest that this might well be the case. When he was prime minister of Great Britain, Clement Attlee attempted something like that with approximate majority approval.

     Maybe you already had enough to worry you, but Mark’s supply simply required a matching demand. Say’s Law, don’t y’know.

The Power Of Words

     “I’ll give you a gross case. Which would you rather have? A nice, thick, juicy, tender steak-or a segment of muscle tissue from the corpse of an immature castrated bull?”
     I grinned at him. “You can’t upset me. I’ll take it by either name . . . not too well done. I wish they would announce chow around here; I’m starved.”
     “You think you aren’t affected because you were braced for it. But how long would a restaurant stay in business if it used that sort of terminology? Take another gross case, the Anglo-Saxon monosyllables that naughty little boys write on fences. You can’t use them in polite company without offending, yet there are circumlocutions or synonyms for every one of them which may be used in any company.”
     I nodded agreement. “I suppose so. I certainly see how it could work on other people. But personally, I guess I’m immune to it. Those taboo words don’t mean a thing to me-except that I’m reasonably careful not to offend other people. I’m an educated man, Zeb-“Sticks and stones may break my bones, et cetera.” But I see how you could work on the ignorant.”
     Now I should know better than to drop my guard with Zeb. The good Lord knows he’s tripped me up enough times. He smiled at me quietly and made a short statement involving some of those taboo words.
     “You leave my mother out of this!”
     I was the one doing the shouting and I came up out of my chair like a dog charging into battle. Zeb must have anticipated me exactly and shifted his weight before he spoke, for, instead of hanging one on his chin, I found my wrist seized in his fist and his other arm around me, holding me in a clinch that stopped the fight before it started. “Easy, Johnnie,” he breathed in my ear. “I apologize. I most humbly apologize and ask your forgiveness. Believe me, I wasn’t insulting you.”
     “So you say!”
     “So I say, most humbly. Forgive me?”
     As I simmered down I realized that my outbreak had been very conspicuous. Although we had picked a quiet corner to talk, there were already a dozen or more others in the lounge, waiting for dinner to be announced. I could feel the dead silence and sense the question in the minds of others as to whether or not it was going to be necessary to intervene. I started to turn red with embarrassment rather than anger. “Okay. Let me go.”
     He did so and we sat down again. I was still sore and not at all inclined to forget Zeb’s unpardonable breach of good manners, but the crisis was past. But he spoke quietly, “Johnnie, believe me, I was not insulting you nor any member of your family. That was a scientific demonstration of the dynamics of connotational indices, and that is all it was.”
     “Well-you didn’t have to make it so personal.”
     “Ah, but I did have to. We were speaking of the psychodynamics of emotion, and emotions are personal, subjective things which must be experienced to be understood. You were of the belief that you, as an educated man, were immune to this form of attack-so I ran a lab test to show you that no one is immune. Now just what did I say to you?”
     “You said-Never mind. Okay, so it was a test. But I don’t care to repeat it. You’ve made your point: I don’t like it.”
     “But what did I say? All I said, in fact, was that you were the legitimate offspring of a legal marriage. Right? What is insulting about that?”
     “But”-I stopped and ran over in my mind the infuriating, insulting, and degrading things he had said-and, do you know, that is absolutely all they added up to. I grinned sheepishly. “It was the way you said it.”
     “Exactly, exactly! To put it technically, I selected terms with high negative indices, for this situation and for this listener. Which is precisely what we do with this propaganda, except that the emotional indices are lesser quantitatively to avoid arousing suspicion and to evade the censors-slow poison, rather than a kick in the belly. The stuff we write is all about the Prophet, lauding him to the the irritation produced in the reader is transferred to him. The method cuts below the reader’s conscious thought and acts on the taboos and fetishes that infest his subconscious.”
     I remembered sourly my own unreasoned anger. “I’m convinced. It sounds like heap big medicine.”
     “It is, chum, it is. There is magic in words, black magic-if you know how to invoke it.”

     [Robert A. Heinlein, “If This Goes On”]

     Apologies for the lengthy quote. (Believe me, it was no fun to type in, either.) Robert A. Heinlein was so perceptive, and about so many widely separated subjects, that no one in the world of speculative fiction compares to him. It’s well nigh impossible to avoid quoting him on certain subjects. The segment above, from a novella he wrote in 1941, is one that’s weighed heavily with me for many years.

     Words have power. That power, according to their employment, can be used to harm or to heal, to excite or to numb. Today, persons who’ve done us great harm and mean to do much more are straining to numb us to their true agendas...and words are their most important tool.

     Via Sarah Hoyt at InstaPundit, we have this pithy statement from Brad Torgersen:

     Yet another Orwellian restatement of the obvious: Marxism isn't done. It's alive and well. Every time it fails, it re-brands itself, peddles itself to the next generation of wishful thinkers, and wrecks another country. Venezuela is the most recent, glaring example. The U.S. may be wrecked in time, too, because the proselytizers of Marxism (under various types of shiny Christmas wrapping) infest our university system, the entertainment establishment, the news media, and government.
     Think Marxism will never happen here? Upton Sinclair—the ardent socialist intellectual—said: the American people will never accept socialism when it's labeled as socialism, but they *will* accept socialism under different names.
     Which is why modern American Marxists will so hotly and adamantly deny that their brand of socialism, is in any way Marxist, or especially communist. Because they know Marxism and communism have a bad rap. They are depending on their ability to re-brand the same bad ideas (which "sound good" in the words of Thomas Sowell) in order to push those ideas forward.
     In the end, every time socialism fails, the Marxists will claim it's magically not socialism. We have had numerous examples of different interpretations of Marxist theory implemented at the national level, and those examples speak of unprecedented human suffering. Which somehow doesn't count, we are told, because these countries weren't doing it right.
     So, clearly, we have to try again.
     And destroy another nation.
     And another. And another. And another.
     All of which will miraculously cease to be "real" socialist, at the time of their collapse. The human toll will be ignored, or swept under the rug. Marxism will re-brand once again. A new batch of hopeful children will pick up the flag. And the cycle of misery will repeat itself.
     With good intentions, of course. Never forget the good intentions.

     Excuse me for a minor quibble but forget the BLEEP!ing “good intentions.” They’re utterly phony, as much of a disguise as the substitution of “liberal” for “socialist” (and the more recent substitution of “progressive” for “liberal”). These people want power. Moreover, they want it to be absolute, unbounded...and unopposed. Why do you think tyrants hold sham elections in which only one name appears on the ballot? Why do you imagine they send their goon squads house to house to compel their victims to vote for them? Their shifts in vocabulary have one and only one purpose: to deflect the reader / listener from noting the many, many times their “help” has been tried and has produced poverty, misery, and tyranny.

     From a strategic / tactical perspective, Bernie Sanders is the Left’s worst enemy. He openly calls himself a socialist; he always has. He doesn’t disguise his inclinations or his intentions. But his proposals are so close to those of “orthodox” Democrat politicians that the similarity can’t be obscured. The Democrats’ power brokers are frantic about him for that reason. He couldn’t win the presidency...but he could give their faithful a glimpse of the 200-proof version of the diluted beverage their anointed ones are peddling.

     The Left’s project for some time has been to obscure its true intentions. So far, enough Americans’ have enough good sense that enough of us are still able to see through the veil. But how long will that be the case? How long will “enough” be enough?

     As Torgersen said above, the Left has colonized and conquered the educational system, the entertainment establishment, and the “news” media. These are always the first targets of a Leftist plot because they can mold the language we use to talk about what concerns us.

     They can be fought. Among the things they’re furious about is the ever-expanding reach of “uncontrolled” communications. The Internet is foremost among their hatreds, precisely because by its nature the Internet Protocol is hostile to censorship. It “routes around it.” That’s why they aim to dominate big communications enablers such as Google and Facebook. That would give them some influence, at least, over what people can see and hear.

     It’s also why they’ve issued such passionate diatribes against “hate speech,” meaning the expression of any sentiment they dislike. If the big hosts and search engines can be led to view conservative and libertarian opinion as “hate speech,” they might be able to squelch it.

     Watch for the misuse of words. Watch for deliberate lexical shifts aimed at averting a direct gaze at what they seek. And watch for attempts to appropriate this critical word: freedom.

     Watch with great vigilance for attempts to declare certain words or phrases “unspeakable.” In his Appendix to 1984 on “The Principles Of Newspeak,” George Orwell wrote as follows:

     When Oldspeak had been once and for all superseded, the last link with the past would have been severed. History had already been rewritten, but fragments of the literature of the past survived here and there, imperfectly censored, and so long as one retained one's knowledge of Oldspeak it was possible to read them. In the future such fragments, even if they chanced to survive, would be unintelligible and untranslatable. It was impossible to translate any passage of Oldspeak into Newspeak unless it either referred to some technical process or some very simple everyday action, or was already orthodox (goodthinkful would be the Newspeak expression) in tendency. In practice this meant that no book written before approximately 1960 could be translated as a whole. Pre-revolutionary literature could only be subjected to ideological translation — that is, alteration in sense as well as language. Take for example the well-known passage from the Declaration of Independence:
     We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among men, deriving their powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of Government becomes destructive of those ends, it is the right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government...

     It would have been quite impossible to render this into Newspeak while keeping to the sense of the original. The nearest one could come to doing so would be to swallow the whole passage up in the single word crimethink. A full translation could only be an ideological translation, whereby Jefferson's words would be changed into a panegyric on absolute government.

     Draw the moral.

The iron fade back and double head fake Central American minors' path to citizenship rule?

For make no mistake. If amnesty is granted for the 800,000, that will be but the first wave. “There are reasons no country has a rule that if you sneak in as a minor you’re a citizen,” writes Mickey Kaus, author of “The End of Equality,” in The Washington Post.

Melting pot 2016.

But that would be OUR rule. Yes, it would.

"A 'Read-My-Lips' Moment for Trump?" By Patrick Buchanan, The Unz Review, 9/15/17.