Monday, September 15, 2014

We victims!

An order, in which all those are excused for their present misdeeds that claim victim status for their ancestors, will end in disorder.
"The Failure Of Liberalism?" By George Handlery, The Brussels Journal, 8/26/14.

The Americans Versus The Anti-Americans

There's been quite a lot of attention on the ruinous failures of Obamunist "foreign policy," insofar as The Won can be said to have a foreign policy that goes beyond "whatever will support my sagging poll numbers." It's hard to fault the majority of commentators for that focus, for beyond our shores blood is being spilled in great quantities, usually because Islam, the totalitarian ideology that masquerades as a religion, is on the march in the face of Western (especially American) lack of resolve. But the barbarians of other lands should not completely absorb our attentions; there are barbarians in this land as well, and they, too, are on the march.

Hearken to Kevin Williamson about one such front:

Consider that the same Texas prosecutor that has indicted Governor Rick Perry on two felony counts for the so-called crime of exercising his constitutional authority to veto a bill — a bill providing funds to that prosecutor’s office — is now preparing to indict University of Texas regent and whistleblower Wallace Hall, on charges of . . . hmm.

The charges against Mr. Hall are odd even by the standards of Rosemary Lehmberg, the vodka-pickled Texas prosecutor whose videotaped tirade after a DUI arrest — she threatened to have sheriff’s deputies jailed if she was not given special treatment — led to Governor Perry’s veto of funds for her office, on the theory that he could not in good conscience sign off on funding for an agency under such non-credible leadership. Mr. Hall is accused of leaking private information regarding academic records; short of that, prosecutors want to charge Mr. Hall with the crime of leading people to “speculate” about certain information protected by privacy rules. For the record, I should note that, though I never have spoken to the man, the party to whom Mr. Hall is accused of leaking information and whose speculation he is accused of encouraging . . . is me.

The point of such a legal initiative is not to obtain a conviction. Such cases are never won in court. As Williamson points out, the objective is to silence the target -- and in that effort, the prosecution usually succeeds.

Wallace Hall's "crime" is that he resisted the efforts of Jim Pitts (R), the chairman of the Appropriations committee of the Texas House of Representatives, to force his underqualified son into the University of Texas law school. Pitts succeeded in gaining admission to the law school for his son, but apparently his resentment of Hall's resistance was not slaked by victory. So he leaned on a convenient prosecutor -- Travis County's Rosemary Lehmberg, the "vodka-pickled Democrat" whose fury over having Rick Perry demand her resignation for her execrable public behavior incited her to have him indicted -- to put the screws to Regent Hall, who was already reviled by the power elite of Texas academia as a "whistleblower."

This is the exact reverse of justice -- and no system, however constituted, that tolerates such infamy has any right to call itself a "justice system."

On swallow doth not a summer make, nor does one abusive prosecution completely condemn a justice system...but the indictments of Rick Perry, Tom Delay and Kay Bailey Hutchison, the latter two of which were thrown out of court as without merit, emerged from that same system and were aimed at the same outcome. Travis County, the district that contains Texas's capital city of Austin, apparently elevates such unscrupulous prosecutors as Ronnie Earle and Rosemary Lehmberg without a qualm.

It matters little that Jim Pitts, apparently the moving force behind the attempt to prosecute Wallace Hall, is a Republican. Venality, peculation, and partisan abuse of office are rife in both parties. But Pitts could not secure an indictment of Hall on his own; he had to have the cooperation of a prosecutor: Democrat Rosemary Lehmberg. So here at last, in this unusually acrimonious time in American public discourse, we have a visible case of members of two "opposed" parties "reaching across the aisle" and "working together."

I consider this substantiation for my contention that we don't have a real "two-party system." The parties have a common aim -- maintaining and extending their respective grips on power -- that overrides any differences on public policy. Indeed, each finds the other more useful than not:

  • As an obstruction: "We tried, but the other side thwarted us."
  • As a whipping boy: "America's problems are their fault!"
  • As a bogeyman: "Vote for us or you'll get them!"

After all, a political party must have opponents to be meaningful. The Soviets didn't make voting compulsory because it was too popular.

No matter who you vote for, the government gets elected -- from a lapel button

Elections have come to matter less and less as time has passed. Policy changes have become feather-light; hardly any have had the sort of dramatic "main effect" the proponents thereof have promised. Even the ascension of the hard-left Obama contingent has resulted only in a moderate acceleration of our drive toward the Total State.

One of the reasons the establishments of both parties give lip service to the memory and legacy of Ronald Reagan is to conceal their resentment of this unabashedly American, patriotic, and public-spirited president. Reagan aimed to upset quite a number of applecarts on both sides of the political divide. During his tenure in the White House, the Republican power brokers strove to surround him with "advisors" and "counselors" who would mitigate his natural conservatism, especially about federal spending and fiscal matters. The Democrats, of course, never ceased to paint him as the enemy of all that's right and good. Together, they blunted all but the most popular Reaganite initiatives, such that his legacy is far less than it might have been were the GOP truly based on conservative American principles.

In this connection, it's worth revisiting the dictionary definition of conservative:

conservative a: Tending or disposed to maintain existing institutions; opposed to change or innovation.


conservative n: One who desires to maintain existing institutions and customs

Perhaps we should be a bit more vocal about what we'd like the word conservative to mean, rather than what it seems to mean at present. Or perhaps we should settle on another word. In either case, given the current operational definition, we've got as "conservative" a ruling elite as we can endure -- with anti-Americans, at least in orientation and guiding sentiment, holding the reins.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

A Sleepless Assortment

Sleep is getting to be the biggest of my physical challenges. I’m used to being up at 4:00 AM for occupational reasons, but lately even remaining in bed till then has become impossible for reasons of chronic pain that’s exacerbated by lying down. But even a cloud this dark has its silver lining: more time to rant and rave.

1. Trahison des Clercs Dept.

The esteemed Charles Hill, as he so often does, leads off with a citation of a pithy piece about “educational reforms:”

An interesting theory being put forth here: “Education reforms are driven mostly by what is fun for schoolteachers to teach.” Example:
After all, what is the standard rap against “traditional” math? The main complaint is that it’s “just” teaching “rote” memorization. But what’s wrong with rote memorization? Speaking as someone who got pretty far in math, I’d say that when it comes to the basic arithmetic kids are trying to absorb at the grade-school level, rote memorization is just fine. Arithmetic is one of those things that’s utterly boring once you know it, and once you absorb the patterns. But until that happens, “rotely memorizing” it is just as fine a method as any other. “Rote memorization” isn’t a bad way to teach, it’s just a dreary way to teach. So teachers refuse to do it, and will work up whatever education theories they need in order to not have to. Even if it works.

Charles’s frequent commenter Fillyjonk added the following:

I always thought educational “reforms” were to keep the people who wrote them in business. The whole idea of “This MUST be good because it’s NEW” until someone comes up with the next NEW thing.

Fillyjonk's point about "educational reforms" is apposite. Along with that, teachers -- who prefer greatly to be called "educators," an Orwellian label if ever there was one -- absolutely hate to confront a basic fact about their trade (NB: NOT a "profession," of which there are very few, for reasons best left to another rant): Teaching itself, below the college level at least, is rote, repetitive work.

In this regard, I find myself thinking of art and art critics. Robert A. Heinlein once said that the critic was the ultimate "occupational democrat," in that he, an uncreative person, hates all creative people equally...even as he aspires to seize their status for himself. The teacher suffers a similar affliction. He works in a rote trade, the fundamental principles of which were determined long ago. Like any rote worker, he’s expected to produce certain results at a certain rate, and he hates it. In many cases he even hates his juvenile victims, for they are the ultimate reminders of his lowliness.

One consequence is the teacher’s desire to elevate teaching to a status it does not objectively deserve, by dressing it up with all manner of au courant theories and accretions about the importance of irrelevancies. (e.g., “We don’t teach history; we teach little Johnny.”). The faster those theories change and the more exotic and incomprehensible they become, the higher the status the teacher can claim among “brain workers,” for is it not the case that the “leading edge” occupations are those whose jargon becomes ever more ramified and opaque, and which experience the greatest rates of change?

So the practitioners of this part-time, repetitive trade, whose objectives have been known for generations and whose foci are surly, short-attention-span spratlings whose parents are happy just to have them out of their care for a few hours each day, have resolved to make themselves into a priesthood of sorts, the keepers of mysteries unfathomable to those of us without M.Ed. degrees and NEA membership cards. That the point of it all has been effaced in favor of occupational status – with the concomitant elevation of salary and perquisites, of course – might be one that the “educators” hope to exclude from discussion, but the swelling of America’s homeschooling population suggests that that’s a battle in which they’ll be on defense for the foreseeable future, and might be overrun sooner than we expect.

2. Fun With Conspiracy Theories.

Fellowship Of The Minds, a site I discovered only recently, cites the controversial Pastor Chuck Baldwin on some recent news with significant Tin Foil Hat potential:

Chuck Baldwin is a radio broadcaster, syndicated columnist, and pastor dedicated to preserving the historic principles upon which America was founded.

The following is from his column of Sept. 11, 2014, “Who Killed Joan Rivers?.” I added the video of Rivers and the embedded links.

That most of Joan’s peers did NOT crucify her for her statement that Michelle Obama is a transvestite makes me tend to believe that they all know Joan told the truth and just didn’t have the courage to say it. Plus, she was JOAN RIVERS: the quintessential icon of the entertainment left.

(See “Joan Rivers: ‘We all know’ Obama is gay and Michelle is a tranny“)

My question is, what if Joan Rivers actually told the TRUTH about the Obamas? What if it’s true that Barack and Michelle (Or is the name Michael?) really are homosexuals, that Michelle really is a man, and that they have pulled off the greatest political hoax in the history of the United States? The timing of Rivers’ death is an incredible coincidence, if it’s not true. That is for sure.

Rivers went in for what would be regarded as simple out-patient surgery. How many millions of Americans have gone through this, and similar surgeries, without a hitch? Granted, she was 81. But she was a healthy 81. Granted, fluke deaths do sometimes happen during “simple” surgeries. But what a coincidence! The most iconic female comedian in the entire country accuses Michelle Obama of being a transvestite, and less than two months later, she is dead.

Okay, this is a bit “out there,” but there are reasons to entertain the notion anyway, not the least of which is that it’s really entertaining.

What comes to mind at this juncture is the flap during the 2008 presidential campaign and afterward, largely propelled by noted sodomite Andrew Sullivan, over Trig Palin’s parentage. Sullivan kept demanding proof that Trig was really Sarah Palin’s child, insisting that there were sound reasons to believe Trig was really Bristol’s progeny. Why? Because like any unrepentant sodomite, he hated this devout Christian woman who’d achieved what he could not: a genuinely masculine and loving husband, five beautiful children, and serenity in God’s arms. So he kept up his insane ranting until it was clear even to his virally-addled brain that he’d ceased to make sense.

Has no one asked about Malia and Sasha’s parentage? Where they were born? Who the attending physician was? Whether there was testimony or documentary substantiation that they’d emerged from Michelle Obama’s womb? Given the inseparability of Barack Hussein Obama and his “body man” Reggie Love, the Wookie-like appearance of Michelle, her atrocious fashion choices, and the several separate vacations they’ve taken, how could anyone fail to ask?

On which note I retire from the field and leave further exploration of the question to my Gentle Readers!

3. Enough Inspiration For Another Dozen Novels.

There are any number of fiction writers who also write op-ed – hey, this is the age of the Internet – and whose fiction mostly leaves me unmoved but whose op-eds often strike me as piercing and valuable. One such is John C. Wright, something of a star among Right-leaning science fiction readers, who frequently fires off bits of opinion that should leave the great majority of other Web commentators staring upward in wonder, fighting off the urge to prostrate themselves in self-abasement.

Here’s today’s gem:

A guy with the vunderbar name of VunderGuy takes a frustrated pen in hand and writes:
Even great authors like you, Vox Day, and Larry are relatively obscure, so what’s a chump like me to do to have an impact, ESPECIALLY as a writer?

All Saint Veronica did was wipe the face of Christ with a cloth as He was being led off to crucifixion, a single moment of compassion and pity. And she was granted sainthood for the act.

If you only write one book in your whole life, and only sell 600 copies or less, nonetheless, I assure you, I solemnly assure you, that this book will be someone’s absolutely favorite book of all time, and it will come to him on some dark day and give him sunlight, and open his eyes and fill his heart and make him see things in life even you never suspected, and will be his most precious tale, and it will live in his heart like the Book of Gold.

Please read the whole thing. It’s more than worth your time, especially if you write. But allow me to cite the final sentence, which is particularly relevant to my own labors:

You will never meet that one reader, not in this life. In heaven he will come to you and fall on his face and anoint your feet with tears of gratitude, and you will stand astonished and humbled, having never suspected.

The relevance is this: I have “met” that one reader, through the Internet of course, and my own fiction writing is in great part propelled by my awareness of her. She’s a young woman in India. Though she gave me her name unabashedly, I’ll refer to her as Mari (which it wasn’t).

Mari stumbled upon Chosen One and On Broken Wings during a period when, in an attempt to popularize my fiction, I was giving it away. As was often the case among my female readers, she was captivated by my Catholic superman Louis Redmond, easily the most popular of all my protagonists. Mari wrote to tell me so, including that she had loved and lost someone very much like Louis some years before. Her thanks and praise were so effusive that I was moved to tears.

Here’s the Ace kicker: Mari wasn’t enthralled by Louis because of his extraordinary power or brilliance; she loved him for his moral standards, his generosity of body, mind, and spirit, and his absolute dedication to truth and justice. Those things were what she had loved most in him whom she’d lost and had never since encountered in any man, real or fictional. The echo in Louis’s attributes was what made my books her “books of gold.” As she put it, she could not have refrained from writing to tell me, and was inexpressibly grateful for the opportunity to do so.

I’d known for a while that there’s a shortage of genuinely heroic heroes in contemporary fiction. It was a great part of the reason I undertook to write fiction. But I hadn’t expected anything like Mari’s reaction.

Today, when my physical pains challenge my perseverance, when fatigue seems to have become the only element in my consciousness, and when I find myself despairing of ever again producing fiction worth a discerning reader’s time, allowing myself to remember Mari’s note of thanks and praise is more than enough to keep me at the keyboard. I owe her a debt at least equal in size to whatever she thinks she owes me. Mari, wherever you are and whatever your circumstances, please know that I give thanks for you and pray for you daily. Remember that always, especially when times are darkest.

May God bless and keep you all.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

You Can’t Make This Stuff Up Dept.

I awoke in great pain and a terrible mood. I’d resolved to take the day off from everything, including blogging, determined to sit by myself and grump all day. I figured I’d earned it. But I had to go do a news sweep first, including – of course! – a stop at InstaPundit.

Damn you, Glenn Reynolds!

One of the most piercing of the classic dramatic motifs is Biter Bit: He who has pranked others, whether viciously or playfully, is caught in the same snare he used on them. It’s a subcategory of “poetic justice,” but is usually meant to be ironically funny.

Politically, there’s quite a lot of Biter Bit going on today. For example, we have a passionately anti-American, anti-war, pro-Islam president, who, as Rush Limbaugh said yesterday on the radio, drove his “base” to the edge of insanity with his endless condemnation of Operation Iraqi Freedom, going to war in Iraq to protect America from Islamic terrorists. That’s why he refuses to commit American ground troops to the theater and won’t even mutter the word war where anyone can hear him. It is to laugh, especially for those of us who see Barack Hussein Obama as the pathetic poseur he is...but it’s far too serious a matter to admit of more than a dry, pathos-laden chuckle.

However, there are cases of Biter Bit that can only be greeted with a hearty, soul-refreshing belly laugh:

Heterosexual best mates McIntosh and McCormick, who have known each other since the age of six, are getting married as winners of a competition run by The Edge radio station in New Zealand.

After more than 200 entries, McIntosh, a 23-year-old engineering student at Otago University, and McCormick, a 24-year-old teacher at Musselburgh School in Dunedin, were chosen from three bromance couples to win an all-expenses paid trip to the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England.

The catch was that the buddies had to get married — a same-sex wedding — and they will do that tomorrow in front of 60 family and friends at New Zealand’s home of rugby, Eden Park, in Auckland.

A celebrant will make the union legally binding, the marriage will be streamed live on the radio station.

The key word in the above, of course, is heterosexual. The marriage is a condition required by the contest; it’s not something McIntosh and McCormick would do otherwise. I hardly think they’ll be “consummating” it any time soon. Tell me, Gentle Reader: What reaction would you expect from the homosexual-activist community?

That’s right:

Otago University Students’ Association Queer Support co-ordinator Neill Ballantyne told the Otago Daily Times that the wedding was an “insult” as marriage equality was a “hard fought” battle for gay people.

“Something like this trivialises what we fought for,” he said.

The competition promoted the marriage of two men as something negative, “as something outrageous that you’d never consider”, Ballantyne said.

LegaliseLove Aotearoa Wellington co-chairman Joseph Habgood told the Otago Daily Times that the competition attacked the legitimacy of same-sex marriages.

“The point of this competition is that men marrying each other is still something they think is worth having a laugh at ...

“Maybe on the day that statistics around mental health for LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex) people are better, when high schools are safe places for LGBTI youth, we can look back on all this and laugh.

“But competitions like this don’t bring that day any closer.”

I cannot help but be reminded of a passage from Atlas Shrugged:

    “Well, consider the unions’ side of it,” Weatherby said. “Maybe you can’t afford to give them a raise, but how can they afford to exist when the cost of living has shot sky-high? They’ve got to eat, don’t they? That comes first, railroad or no railroad.” Mr. Weatherby’s tone had a kind of placid righteousness, as if he were reciting a formula required to convey another meaning, clear to all of them; he was looking straight at Taggart, in special emphasis of the unstated....He looked straight at Taggart; he merely looked, but his glance had the quality of a wink. “There’s an awful lot of them, Jim. They’re not very happy at the moment about an awful lot of things. A government that would bring the railroad rates down would make a lot of folks grateful.”
    The silence that answered him was like a hole so deep that no sound could be heard of the things crashing down to its bottom. Taggart knew, as they all knew, to what disinterested motive Mr. Mouch would always be ready to sacrifice his personal friendships.
    It was the silence and the fact that she did not want to say it, had come here resolved not to speak, but could not resist it, that made Dagny's voice sound so vibrantly harsh:
    “Got what you've been asking for, all these years, gentlemen?”

But there’s another passage, from a writer better known for his rollicking, often self-mocking humor, that comes to mind as well:

    “What I wear around my neck,” Cordle said coldly, “becomes what it is intended to be. If I wore a piece of figured silk around my throat,, would you call it ladies’ underwear? Linen is a suitable material for a necktie, verdad? Function defines terminology, don’t you agree? If I ride to work on a cow, no one says I am mounted on a steak. Or do you detect a flaw in my argument?”
    “I’m afraid that I don’t fully understand it....”
    “Then how can you presume to stand in judgment over it?”

[Robert Sheckley, “Cordle to Onion to Carrot,” in his collection Can You Feel Anything When I do This?]

Sheckley pinned the matter accurately and with absolute precision:

Function is supreme over the terminology applied to it.

The function of marriage has always been twofold:

  1. To protect women and minor children from faithlessness or abandonment by a husband;
  2. To protect a husband from having obligations imposed upon him by an adulterous wife.

A “marriage” that does not address those functions is no marriage at all – and the homosexual activists who’ve been banging the drum for State-recognized same-sex marriage know it as well as you and I. McIntosh and McCormick have forced the subject into high and public relief, for the Australian audience at least.

The dudgeon of the homosexual activists is a truly delicious item of Biter Bit. Having trivialized marriage by demanding that it be stripped of all relation to its functions, they have discovered that they’re not the only players in the game – and that the rules are not in their favor.

Have a nice day, Gentle Reader. I shall now return to my previously scheduled grumping.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Jamaat ul-Fuqra with a helping of craven FBI surrender.

H/t: "Sharia Unveiled."

Today’s forecast: degradation, poverty, slavery, and death.

Distressed by the Muslims’ trouble-making and killing sprees, civilized[, neurotic] nations are bending over [for]wards in the hope of placating them and helping them join the family of humanity by admitting hordes of immigrants and offering them all manner of hospitality and assistance. All these gestures remain in vain and to no avail. Many of the new arrivals, deeply infected by the Islamic ethos, find it impossible to assimilate in the host countries. Instead, they strive to impose their defunct order which is the cause of their own backwardness and inhumanity on the [gutless] host nations.
"There Will Be Blood." By Amil Imani, The Conservative Citizen, 8/5/14.

The Rough Beast Has Arrived

The anniversary of Black Tuesday is always a powerful thing for me. I lost friends in the Towers. Women of my acquaintance lost husbands or sons. My parish pastor lost his brother. Indeed, but for fortune, I might have been at the top of One World Trade myself that day. The energizing rage those atrocities evoked from me inverted a great part of my worldview.

President Bush rallied the nation with a display of leadership quality that silenced his critics, at least for a few days. We girded for war, sent our forces to Afghanistan, and drubbed the villains who had made the architect of September 11, 2001 one of their own. Though it would be many years before that arch-villain finally met the end he deserved, it seemed certain at the time that we knew our enemies, that we understood their animosity toward us, and that we, a free and mighty people, would have vengeance upon them.

And here we are, thirteen years later, and everything – not just the anti-Islamic terror campaign, but everything Americans have always cherished – has gone to Hell.

We are no longer free. The usurpations of the Obama Administration are the most visible elements of our enslavement, but it goes well beyond that. Have a gander at an assessment from the Great White North:

Across America, law enforcement officers — from federal agents to state troopers right down to sheriffs in one-street backwaters — are operating a vast, co-ordinated scheme to grab as much of the public’s cash as they can; “hand over fist,” to use the words of one police trainer.

It usually starts on the road somewhere. An officer pulls you over for some minor infraction — changing lanes without proper signalling, following the car ahead too closely, straddling lanes. The offence is irrelevant.

Then the police officer wants to chat, asking questions about where you’re going, or where you came from, and why. He’ll peer into your car, then perhaps ask permission to search it, citing the need for vigilance against terrorist weaponry or drugs.

What he’s really looking for, though, is money.

And if you were foolish (or intimidated) enough to have consented to the search, and you’re carrying any significant amount of cash, you are now likely to lose it.

This coordinated, systematic shakedown on the highways has been ratified as legal and constitutional by the Supreme Court of the United States, despite the clear wording of the Fourth Amendment:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Now and then, a singularly brave fellow will assert his considerable risk:

In similar situations, the invading cops have drawn their guns, forced their way into the home, confiscated the resident’s cell phone – and, of course, any guns or other weapons they might find – and afterward blandly denied that the resident had made “any trouble” about their illegal incursion.

You think ObamaCare is bad?

I’ve written several times about racial conflict and violence, and the clear incentive the political elite has to foment it rather than to counter it. There’s no need to recap any of that – it’s too prominent in most Americans’ consciousness of their surroundings – except to note that it fits into a larger pattern:

The State's power derives from its subjects’ fears.

If the subjects fear one another but lack individual means of defense, they will usually turn to the State for protection. If they fear faceless institutions that they imagine predatory, the State will offer to constrain those institutions. If they fear external enemies, they expect the State, which commands the military, to rise in the nation’s defense. And of course, they must be induced to fear the State itself.

Given that dynamic, which is easily observed in innumerable venues, do you really expect more than token “protection” from the State? Against Islam or anything else?

The Environmental Protection Agency recently seized an entire Wyoming town and gave it to an Indian tribe, arbitrarily defying a treaty by which that tribe had long ago ceded all claim to the land. Perhaps the weedies were incensed that their initiative to declare any damp patch of soil a “protected wetland” was thwarted by public pressure, which has been on high alert since the Cliven Bundy family’s facedown of the Bureau of Land Management. However, the Army Corps of Engineers often employs the same “everything not nailed down is mine” gambit, which suggests that these forces regard any defeats they suffer as temporary.

The property owner who resists such bureaucratic larceny usually finds himself under a number of guns. The IRS will audit him. He’ll probably get a visit from the FBI, and perhaps from other elements of federal law enforcement. The Department of Homeland Security might decide to “have a look” at him. Meanwhile, he’s bleeding cash and time as he attempts to defend his property rights, with no guarantee that he’ll prevail and an absolute guarantee that at the end of the process he’ll have suffered a net loss.

In 1988, the Supreme Court ruled that regulatory takings of all sorts are covered by the Fifth Amendment, such that “just compensation” is owed to the property owner. Yet seldom are any payments made. The usual excuse is “processing delays.” Perhaps the bureaucrats are “processing” how long the property owner can hold out before committing suicide.

In the midst of all this, we have a “president” who cannot bring himself to use the word war, a secretary of state who doesn’t want us to get all worked up about the imminent non-war the “president” has unilaterally declared, and about a million voices screaming that “Islam is a religion of peace” against every iota of evidence available in any form or from any source.

We also have an expansionist Russia that’s already swallowed a big chunk of Ukraine and is now covetously eyeing the Baltic states, an increasingly aggressive Red China openly preparing amphibious forces that can only be aimed at the conquest of Taiwan, and the importation of the fantastically dangerous Ebola virus into the United States. Our “allies,” with the possible exception of Australia, have proved completely useless against any of these threats. So what are we doing? Why, we’re weakening our military: cutting back on our ground forces by 150,000 troops, canceling the development and procurement of one weapon system after another, and fretting that too many combat units are commanded by...wait for it...white men.

But military-grade weapons and equipment is reaching local police forces as never before. Doesn’t that make you feel all warm and gooey inside?

A number of commentators have attempted to console us by chattering about current polling figures and the GOP’s prospects in the upcoming midterm elections. That might have been a shred of hope to cling to, if the numbers were outside the “margin of lawyer” (Mark Steyn), if the Democrats weren’t so adept at vote fraud, if Congress hadn’t already proved itself unwilling to rein in the Administration...and if we didn’t already have good evidence that the Republicans are “in on the scam.”

The political elite has striven, with considerable success, to insulate itself against the electorate, regardless of which party is nominally in control in Washington. The alphabet agencies are a great part of the protective mechanism – consider how federal legislators ingratiate themselves with their constituencies through “constituent services” that nearly always involve the legislator extracting favorable treatment from an executive-branch bureaucracy – but beyond that we must consider the unwillingness of any element of our political system to enforce Constitutional limits on any other. It’s not just Congress that has proved itself inert. The courts won’t rule against any but the most egregious violations of Americans’ rights, and their few pro-freedom rulings are seldom enforced. The states, with the possible exception of Texas, are too avid for dollops from the federal treasury to mount significant opposition to anything Washington does.

The rough beast has reached Bethlehem.
You have no allies in any element of the State.
It’s come down to individuals and awakened communities.
Nothing will substitute for individual and local preparedness.
If you cherish freedom, make ready to defend it personally.
Each free American must stand his own ground.

Good luck.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Problems In The Liberty Movement Part 1: Religious Cranks

Hans of NC Renegade today cites a thought-provoking essay, which I exhort all persons interested in restoring freedom and Constitutionally limited government to read. It's aimed at refuting the contentions of an enemy of freedom, who probably thinks himself a "compassionate" sort despite the carnage his particular beliefs have inflicted upon suffering Mankind over the centuries. But that's normal for persons who cannot bear to have their convictions examined for their actual consequences in action.

It caused me to remember an incident of some years back, when I first became interested in the liberty movement and found it, tentatively at least, to my taste. It was a talk given by former Libertarian Party presidential candidate David Bergland, focused mainly on outreach: libertarians' halting, mostly unsuccessful attempts to interest other Americans in the nature and possibilities of a free society. Bergland was a gifted speaker, capable of holding an audience's interest while establishing his points in a strikingly casual, low-key style. Yet at one point in the course of his talk, he said something that drew an uneasy, faintly hostile reaction I doubt he expected.

What did Bergland say that set his audience on edge?

"Utopia is not one of the options."

That's all -- and to an audience that consisted almost entirely of self-described libertarians. Yet the looks of disbelief and discomfort on their faces were impossible to ignore.

In remembering and reflecting on that dissonance between a highly regarded libertarian speaker and his supposed co-allegiants to freedom, I resolved upon a new essay series. Hopefully it will be a constructive effort, conducive to better outreach for freedom and the principles enshrined in our Constitution.

When Saint Thomas More wrote the original Utopia, it was his firm intention to make it clear that his conception did not and could not exist -- past, present, or future. The late, great R. A. Lafferty rang a brilliant change on More's thesis in his first novel, Past Master, by having the masters of a future society resurrect the saint as the answer to the problems in their society, which they saw as Utopia-in-waiting. Lafferty's genius, up to then displayed only in short stories, reached blinding intensity when, as President of Astrobe, More is confronted with a bill to abolish...wait for it...all remnants of religious belief.

More's refusal to do so, despite his own lapse from belief, brings about his (second) beheading.

Tyrannies uniformly despise and act against religious creeds that stand in opposition to their aims. Some seize upon one particular creed -- the contemporary example of note is Islam -- elevate it to the state religion and enforce it on penalty of death. Others synthesize a statist creed -- e.g., Nazism or Communism -- that promotes the State to the position of God. Still others refuse any explicit interaction with so labeled.

But religious convictions, viewed through the lens of history, constitute the most powerful non-material forces known to Man. Outright attempts to kill faith, as Quentin Reynolds put it, are like "trying to punch a hole in a pillow," which is why the more successful tyrannies have attempted to promote statism of some sort as religion's replacement.

Religious convictions are inherently personal. An old friend, Christian Western writer Terry Burns, made an important point about this in an apparently casual conversation. I mentioned that the daughter of a friend, though nominally a Catholic, found herself at odds with her mother over a bit of doctrine, and in consequence the two were often at loggerheads. Terry replied that Daughter's personal divergence is normal and natural. Were he to advise Mom, he said, he would tell her that for Daughter to subscribe 100% to Mom's religion would be an act of borrowing rather than an act of faith -- that religion is far too personal for that to be an enduring guidelight and solace.

Terry, one of the most devout and unswerving Baptist Christians of my acquaintance, understood the nature of religion far better than 99.99% of the clerics who've "done a corner" in it throughout history.

A man's religious convictions are among his most closely guarded personal possessions. He invariably views them as integral with his identity and character. To attack them is to attack him. This is as true for the odd religion that calls itself atheism as for any other variety.

Which makes it a terrible tragedy that so many liberty-minded persons are also intolerable militant atheists.

Sadly, it's consistent with the ideological orientation of many freedom-minded people that they should reject other institutional authorities quite as vehemently as they reject the Omnipotent State. Their shortcoming is a failure to distinguish between that which is inherently predatory and that which is morally indifferent or better. In consequence, they routinely alienate persons of a religious bent by deriding them as "irrational," "would-be tyrants," or other Randian-flavored nonsense.

Yes, I've suffered the attentions of such persons. I haven't always reacted as a Christian should.

One who relentlessly promotes his personal, non-verifiable, non-falsifiable convictions about anything has traditionally been labeled a crank. Religious cranks include both theist cranks -- those who are relentless in promoting their recognizably religious creeds -- and atheist cranks -- those who are obnoxiously militant about their contempt for all other religious faiths. The liberty movement is home to very few of the former, but a truly deplorable number of the latter.

Though the majority of freedom-minded Americans, like Americans generally, are self-nominated Christians, these are not as prominent a "face" for the liberty movement as are the militant atheists. By their obnoxious behavior and their unwillingness to let a statement of faith go unchallenged, militant atheists do great harm to our prospects for restored freedom. In brief, they persuade those with whom they come in contact that these are not the associates they want. Most of us choose our political associates for such reasons, and therefore the political positions we will support and defend. It's far more about how one wants to be viewed by others than about ideology.

Please don't misunderstand me: I have no problem with the Amiable Agnostic, in which category I include non-militant atheists. The rule of freedom is "live and let live," and on no subject is that rule more imperative than on religious belief. By contrast, the militants -- those inclined toward crossing rhetorical swords with everyone they encounter who doesn't hew to their religion -- mirror the most conspicuous behavior of tyrants of all kinds, by insisting that others' most personal convictions must be "corrected" until they match those of the militant atheist. Before that "correction" has been achieved, the militant will show the religious man nothing but contempt. Indeed, the former will treat the latter as a tyrant-in-waiting, perhaps the greatest irony possible for one who claims to love freedom.

If liberty is to gain ground, it will need far more allegiants than it has. For that to occur, the hostility and contempt expressed by altogether too many "libertarians" toward those who cleave to religious faith must be refuted forcefully, perhaps with ostracism. Such persons must not be permitted to represent themselves as the One True Faith of Freedom.

More anon.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The declining hegemony of the West.

The significance of the confrontation with Russia over Ukraine:
The developments in Ukraine and Crimea are especially troubling for the West because they violate the West's linear conception of history. On this account, the advanced first world Western nations are ahead of the pack, and trying, simply out of their great compassion, to encourage stragglers like Ukraine along the path toward EU and NATO membership, monetary union and a slow-moving, controlled national bankruptcy in the hands of the IMF. The fall of the Soviet Union was a key psychological breakthrough in this story they tell themselves. They thrive on this story, for it defines them and gives them their sense of meaning and purpose. Anything that undermines its basic premises and foundations is deeply disturbing. However, many examples of unmitigated failure in the 21st century have been hard to ignore and have made this narrative sound increasingly shaky. With highlights like 9/11, the fiasco in Afghanistan, the ongoing Iraqi civil war, the global financial meltdown of 2008, intractable unemployment and economic stagnation plaguing the West in these first 15 years of the 21st century, and then the serial fiascos in Libya, Syria, Egypt and now Ukraine, and it becomes easy to see the special significance that this particular confrontation with Vladimir Putin has for the fragile Western psyche.[1]
It just isn’t going according to the script. Don’t foreigners get it that we’re anti-Christian, anti-Constitution, globalist, pro-debt, pro-funny money, pro-Muslim, pro-minority, pro-immigrant, pro-choice, and pro-homosexual?! Good God. What do we have to do?! Elect a president who can string two sentences together without a teleprompter?

And, yes, ok, we did rip Kosovo away from Russia’s Serbian pals, but why would that concern Putin ("Puti Poo" to Bill O’Reilly, the most serious of commentators) now when we’re just trying to be helpful in Ukraine?

[1]  "The Madness of President Putin." By Dimitry Orlov, Club Orlov, 9/9/14. (Post title is from Mr. Orlov.)

Confidence Inspirer-in-Chief.

From "The Ulsterman Report."

Hey, Black People!

The rash of race-based violence -- all of which is black-on-white -- has come to a rolling boil. The black mob attack on a trio of whites in Memphis has now resulted in arrests being made:

The incident occurred on September 6 at a Kroger grocery store in Memphis, Tennessee. Police reported that the large group beat a customer as well as the two store employees in an incident that was caught on video by a store customer. The video was widely viewed on Youtube.

On Sunday afternoon, Memphis police announced that they had arrested a teen for the incident. The 15-year-old, whose name was not reported because he is a minor, appeared in court charged with aggravated assault, aggravated riot, and acting in concert to wit aggravated assault....

Also, police announced Monday the arrest of nine other teens and one adult for the Saturday attacks.

Raheem Richardson, 19, was the oldest person arrested. The others were between 14 and 17 years of age.

Just yesterday, this bit of New York neighborliness was reported:

Two New York women were arrested Monday after allegedly forcing the dwellers of a Brooklyn apartment to flee their home at gunpoint. The attack was apparently racially motivated, as police claim one woman said she was tired of white people moving into her neighborhood.

The pair of African Americans knocked on the door of an apartment in a building on Ocean Avenue at 9:30 PM. Police say they then barged into the apartment threatening residents with a gun.

Once inside, Precious Parker, 30, and Sabrina James, 23, allegedly robbed the three inhabitants of $800, an iPhone, and personal information before demanding that the three vacate the apartment.

The two then stayed in the apartment with the intent of squatting, police say.

Meanwhile, Eric Holder's Injustice Department is "investigating" the Ferguson, Missouri police over the self-defense shooting of petty thief and junior-varsity legbreaker Michael Brown, while Al Sharpton fans the flames of black hatred of whites. Blacks continue to kill other blacks at record rates in Chicago, Philadelphia, Atlanta, and other majority-black cities -- many of the perpetrators and the victims being teenagers -- but none of that is deemed newsworthy.

But wait: there's more! Courtesy of my beloved Adrienne, we also have this bit of abominable attack propaganda, which I shall refrain from embedding. Only try to watch it if you have nerves of steel and an imperturbably placid disposition.

It's always deplorable to draft children into service for a political agenda. It's orders of magnitude worse when the agenda is as vile as the promotion of unearned, undeserved racial guilt among whites.

I wonder if anyone has ever bothered to inform those kids that:

  • America's black slaves were sold to trans-Atlantic slavers by black tribal kings.
  • Though they were few, there were a number of black slave owners in the antebellum South.
  • Slavery and involuntary servitude came to an end in the United States 149 years ago, with the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment -- another gift from whites.
  • That amendment was made possible by the deaths of eight hundred thousand whites in the Civil War.
  • Whites made possible every social and economic advance blacks have enjoyed since then, including all the Civil Rights legislation, every anti-discrimination-in-hiring law, jobs-training program, welfare program, and "affirmative action" program.

But then, who would tell them such things? Not their public school teachers. Not their neighborhood buddies, who are as ignorant as they. And certainly not their absent, usually anonymous fathers.

Racial animus in America is almost entirely an attitude held by blacks toward whites. It's fomented for political advantage by the Left, which profits from the creation of Us Versus Them divisions in American society. In this regard little has changed since the Twenties, when the American Communist Party targeted American blacks as the most promising group among which to recruit and fundraise.

But things are changing. At this point, American whites feel beleaguered enough to take action in self-defense. The statistics indicate that whites are migrating away from areas with a significant black concentration, toward areas where there are few or no blacks. Whites are arming themselves in increasing numbers -- and toting their guns with them whenever and wherever possible. White communities are forming mutual defense arrangements: "neighborhood watches" on the alert for intruders, particularly black intruders. And despite all the laws, the regulations, and the humorlessness of their "equal opportunity" enforcers, whites are finding ways to exclude blacks from their neighborhoods and their businesses.

That last is of particular significance, for a tragic reason: the majority of American blacks are self-supporting, respectable people. However, they act to protect the miscreants among them from the consequences of their actions, just as peaceable Muslims protect the jihadis among them from the eyes and reach of the law.

When older, peaceable blacks:

  • Choose to accept the preachments of Jeremiah Wright, Jesse Jackson, Louis Farrakhan, and Al Sharpton;
  • Tolerate irresponsible tomcatting by young black men and the consequent production of illegitimate children by young black women;
  • Decline to discipline unruly black youngsters, including those from female-headed households;
  • Automatically reject as "racist" the objective evidence that blacks are disproportionately the perpetrators of every kind of violent crime and crime against property;
  • Support groups that claim that Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown were gunned down in cold blood;

...they shield black predators from the retribution that would make it possible for whites to trust and accept them.

The above should serve as a field guide for American blacks who are sincerely interested in improving race relations: do that crap, and things will get worse; do the opposite, and things will improve. The odious video I cited above is the exact opposite approach -- the one guaranteed to cause current trends in racial disharmony to accelerate, possibly to the point of a civil war. It doesn't take a lot of brain power to grasp those facts...yet the trends remain distressingly negative, which suggests either that American blacks aren't interested in interracial amity, or that they're not capable of grasping the cause-and-effect mechanism at work. Choose the explanation that suits you best.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

New Frontiers In Obfuscation

At the coarsest level of categorization, there are three kinds of answers to a question:

  • I know, and I'll tell you;
  • I know, but I can't (or won't) tell you;
  • I don't know.

But there are times when giving an answer plainly recognizable as one of those kinds is politically unpalatable. This is often the case when a politician aspiring to high(er) office knows that candor about his position on the subject at hand would cost him votes.

There's an anecdote about President Dwight Eisenhower that runs as follows: He was preparing for a press conference one day in March of 1955, when Jim Hagerty, his press secretary, warned him that the crisis in the Formosa Strait was guaranteed to come up. Hagerty went on to caution Ike that he dared not be candid in his answers about questions on that subject -- particularly whether he was willing to use nuclear weapons to prevail there. Ike grinned and replied, "Don't worry Jim, if that question comes up, I'll just confuse them." Which he proceeded to do, apparently to satisfactory effect.

Eisenhower was an exceptionally good man, and a better president than most of the historians care to admit. But like most men in high positions, he had mastered the art of replying to an uncomfortable question with something superficially responsive but utterly incomprehensible. There are times when that's the right approach; candor, like most other qualities men admire, is not appropriate to every imaginable situation. Ike, the Supreme Commander who led the Allied forces to victory in Europe, was well aware that it's necessary to conceal one's intentions now and then.

Now and then. Not always. Not on important subjects where straight answers are urgently needed for the health of the body politic. Especially not when you're asked what you meant by something you said in recent memory, to an audience, with the cameras on you. Double-especially not when your questioner is attempting to gauge your honesty and sincerity.

A president well established as trustworthy can afford to bob and weave in response to a question where the disclosure of his intentions would be dangerous. The nation has already learned to trust him. They're ready and willing to rely upon him to do what he thinks is right, when he thinks the time is right -- and if he's been in the public eye long enough, they'll be able to anticipate his decisions in adequate detail.

A president well established as shifty and unpredictable gets a far shorter shrift.

Recent statements by Barack Hussein Obama, unfortunately the president of these United States until January 20, 2017, have so puzzled and worried the nation that nothing but the firmest, plainest statements of intent could even begin to repair the damage they've done. To be as kind as possible about it, such statements of intent have yet to arrive. Indeed, the public-relations apparatuses of the White House and the State Department appear to have linked rhetorical shields, determined against all odds that no clear statements of intent shall issue from any of them. In other words, with regard to ISIS, Ukraine, the southern border crisis, the millions of illegal aliens already within the U.S., and several other subjects, the Administration does not want the public to know what it intends to do.

Or might it be a slightly different way? Might it be the case that, as with Eisenhower in responding to the question about nukes in the Formosa Strait, the Administration has no clear intent of any sort on these publicly sensitive subjects, and simply wishes to deflect all queries about them? There's no way for anyone outside the Administration's deliberations to know. Given the relentlessly political focus of the Obama White House -- nothing ever matters nearly as much to The Won as an upcoming election -- suspicion of low motives comes easily.

Obama himself is a "lame duck." He can't (legally) extend his tenure in office; indeed, given the battering he's taken these past five and a half years, it's questionable that he would want to. With the November elections looking mighty poor for the Evil Party, perhaps his new intensity of obfuscatory responses is his way of "taking one for the team." Considering how little interest he displays in the duties that go with those endless rounds of golf and taxpayer-funded vacations, the need to avoid speaking plainly probably doesn't trouble him much.

But the Law of Unintended Consequences is self-enforcing; Obama can't nullify it by executive order. One of the unintended consequences of his new policy of unresponsive responses is the interviewer interruption. Obama's recent interview with Chuck Todd provides a good case in point. Todd, frustrated by Obama's evasions and unwilling (at long last) to permit The Won to "run out the clock" with a long, unresponsive ramble intended to delete the original question from viewers' memories, interrupted the president repeatedly, straining to sharpen the points on his questions such that an evasion would be too plain, and too self-wounding for Obama to attempt.

Inasmuch as Todd has been one of the Administration's defenders up to now, this change in his behavior toward Obama is significant. Of equal significance are the recent attempts -- so far, unsuccessful -- by poll reporters at Josh Earnest's, Jen Psaki's and Marie Harf's conferences to compel those spokesmen to answer yes or no.

Pictures of a smiling, waving George W. Bush captioned "Miss Me Yet?" have been in circulation for a while. And it is certain that many Americans who were dubious about certain of his policies, as I was, miss him as much for his character as for his sense of his duty and dedication to it. There's this as well: men of character tend to choose men of character to work with them. Though Dubya's spokesmen had the same duty to protect the Administration as Obama's have, they were far more candid, far more willing to give an "I know, but I can't (or won't) tell you" answer, than anyone since them. Even so, they were always as courtly as circumstances would permit. It will be a long time indeed before any president selects a press secretary as unfailingly pleasant and gracious as the late, much lamented Tony Snow.

Given the colossal failures of every Obamunist policy, in particular the collapse of the international Pax Americana from protracted malicious neglect, two and a half more years of misdirection and obfuscation from the White House is unavoidable. Which makes an awakened, alert, even angry press corps, determined to know the facts in their entirety and relentless about probing for them along every imaginable avenue, all the more critical to the health and future of these United States.