Tuesday, August 29, 2017

An Announcement (Sticky; Scroll Down For Newer Posts)

     As Yahoo’s email service has become completely unreliable – their Web programmers don’t seem to know how to write a decent script – I am forced to announce a new email address for my Web correspondents.

     In the future, please address all correspondence to:

morelonhouse – at – optonline – dot – net

     I'll check it once per day, probably in the morning. Thank you for your patience, especially those of you who’ve been waiting to hear from me!

All my best,
Fran

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Teaser Three

     [All right, all right! But just the one more. -- FWP]


Monday, 09/11/2028, 19:10: Onteora County

     Sokoloff pulled up to the curb in front of his Oakleigh ranch, maneuvered to position the trailer for detachment the following morning, set the handbrake, killed the engine, and sat back in indecision.
     What next?
     He’d striven not to think about the passenger in his trailer. That was possible no longer.
     She’s safe. That much I can guarantee. But this “my lord and master” bit has a heavy feel. She’s been treating me as if I own her. A possession.
     Her behavior just before lunch was most troubling of all.
     She expects me to use her for sex.
     Did other men use her that way? Is that why she fled? What kind of upbringing would aim at conditioning her to accept that? Who would do such a monstrous thing to an innocent young girl?
     It took more than a few days to plant that notion in her head, that’s for certain. She’s been under someone’s thumb for months. Maybe years.

     If Fountain’s conditioning was as thorough as it appeared, Conway’s suggestion about securing professional help for Fountain, though well meant, might only scratch the surface of the problem. She was going to need therapy of several kinds. Probably as much therapy as she’d had abuse.
     He felt the swelling of a new motivation.
     I think I’ll be headed back to Virginia very, very soon. When I find the bastards who did this...
     He smiled.

#

     The trailer door opened. Fountain immediately laid the book aside and assumed the pose of waiting. Her lord entered and stood before her, looking as troubled as he had earlier.
     Perhaps we have reached his manor. I must be absolutely attentive. I must overlook nothing and forget nothing. I must please him in all things.
     I want to please him.

     Never before had she entertained such a thought about a master, even in her most remote fantasies.
     “Fountain,” he said, “we’re here. It’s time to get you, uh, settled.” He gestured at the paperback. “Bring your book if you haven’t finished it.”
     She bowed her head. “As my lord commands.”
     A spasm crossed his face, and she tensed.
     Have I displeased him already?
     She forced the thought away.
     I will learn in due course.
     She followed him in silence, past a strip of concrete and a metal post on which stood a plastic box that bore the legend 5217, and along a narrow stone walk to a concrete stoop that stood before the door of a long, low house. She looked about quickly. The houses around it were greatly similar in size and form. They stretched off into the distance on both sides.
     I must remember everything.
     He pulled a key ring from his pocket, fumbled with it briefly, inserted a key into the lock on the door and opened it. He gestured that she should enter before him. She hesitated.
     That is not how I was taught.
     I must do as he commands.

     She stepped into the darkness. A light went on overhead. She surveyed the surroundings, found them unaccountably plain and meager for a master, and turned to face him.
     “My lord? Forgive me this presumption, but...is this your manor?”
     “It’s my home,” he said. “Yours too, for now.”
     For now. Perhaps it is a way station, and not his place of power. Of course it is not. He is too great a lord to endure such paltry accommodations. That he would dwell in such a hovel, and suffer to be surrounded by others just as tawdry, is unthinkable. Perhaps he intends that we shelter here only until he has alerted his other servants and has been notified that his palace has been made ready for his return.
     He shepherded her into the structure, brought her to a room that contained a sink, a stove, an oven, a few other items she could not identify, and a small table and four chairs. He bade her sit, went to a tall steel box, and pulled open a drawer near its base. He glanced over at her and grinned.
     “Are you a little hungry, hungry, or very hungry?” he said
     “I am hungry, my lord.”
     “Two slices then.” He drew four triangular shapes from the drawer, went to the oven, and pushed a couple of buttons on its face. When it beeped he pulled a metal tray from a cabinet, set it on the countertop, removed a plastic film from the triangles and arranged them on the tray.
     Why is there no one to prepare his meal? Why is there no one to wait upon him? Why has he not commanded that I make ready to see to his pleasure?
     The strangenesses were multiplying faster than she could register and absorb them.
     It appears that this way station was not fully prepared for him. Perhaps someone will soon be chastised for the neglect of it. I may learn much, if I am permitted to witness it.
     He slid the tray and its burden into the oven, pushed a few more buttons, closed the door and seated himself facing her at the little table.
     “It’ll be ready in a few minutes. Hope you like your pizza with peppers and mushrooms. It’s store bought, but not bad all the same.”
     She had no idea what he was talking about, so she merely bowed her head.
     I must learn. I must overlook nothing and forget nothing.
     He peered at her in a curious fashion, as if she presented him with some sort of problem. As frightening as the notion was, she had no recourse except to do exactly what he commanded, as he commanded it and when he commanded it.
     I am his. I must wait upon his will.
     The oven beeped. He rose, pulled a heavy glove from a drawer, opened the oven, and slid the tray out. Before she could rise or speak he’d put the triangles on two waiting plates, brought them to the table, and placed one before her.
     “Let’s eat.”
     The triangles steamed up at her. The aroma was wholly new, and wholly luscious. She put a fingertip to the surface of one and jerked it away with a cry, scorched. He immediately rose, face tight with alarm.
     “Damn it, I should have known better.” He took her hand gently in his, examined the scorched fingertip, and pulled her out of her seat toward the sink. In a moment blessedly cold water was running over her finger in a torrent, easing the pain from the burn.
     “Let’s hope this doesn’t blister,” he said. “You’ve never had pizza before, have you?”
     “I have not, my lord.”
     “I should have realized, damn it.” He banged a closed fist on the countertop. “You didn’t know coffee, so why did I expect you to know pizza? Stupid, stupid fuckhead.
     His dissatisfaction was evident and directed entirely toward himself.
     “My lord?” she murmured.
     He looked back at her. “Yes, Fountain?”
     “What is a fuckhead?”

#

     Upon recovering from his fit of laughter, Sokoloff salved Fountain’s scorched finger with an aloe-rich analgesic lotion, bandaged it, and cautioned her not to ask too much of it for a day or two. He returned them to the kitchen table, fetched a knife and fork from his utensil drawer, and held them out to her. She peered at them curiously, but made no move to accept them.
     Damn. Just how deep does her lack of acquaintance with ordinary stuff go?
     “Fountain, from your expression I’m guessing that you’ve never used these tools before.”
     She cringed subtly. “I have not, my lord.”
     “Well, back before...before you came to me, how did you eat solid food?”
     She lowered her gaze to the table.
     “My lord,” she said, “since we first met I have not seen a food I’d seen before, except for milk.”
     He opened his mouth, closed it, and thought furiously.
     She never saw eggs before. Corned beef hash? Pizza? Okay, if I really try I can believe that, but eggs?
     “Then what are you used to eating?” he murmured. The need to make her feel safe and secure welled up in him. “Just tell me what you want, dear. If I don’t have it here, I’ll go out and get it for you.”
     She looked up, color rising into her face. “No, my lord! I will eat what you provide, whatever it may be. I have no other desires. I know it is not my place!”
     Her obvious fear silenced him.
     What was done to this girl?
     “Fountain...” He halted himself and drew a deep breath. “Please don’t be upset. Just tell me what you used to eat. What you ate before you came to me.” He reached across the table and drew a fingertip down her cheek. “Please.”
     “It was always the same, my lord,” she said after a moment. “I was not told it had a name.”
     “Can you describe it?”
     Her mouth worked. “It was...soft.”
     “Well, what sort of flavor did it have? Was it sweet, salty, sour, bitter?”
     She screwed up her face as if taxed by a monumental act of concentration.
     “I...” Her eyes opened, pleading. “My lord, these are not words I know.”
     Great God in heaven.
     “Then tell me this.” He struggled to keep his tone low and even. “Did you like the food I’ve given you?”
     Her face lit. “Yes, my lord! It is wonderful! The pleasure of it surpasses my...my...”
     “What you used to eat? Your diet?”
     She nodded. “Yes! Your foods surpass my diet of before as your beauty outshines the stars!”
     His mouth dropped open. He forced himself to remain calm and counted silently to ten.
     Stay focused, Larry.
     “Well, thank you for that comparison, dear.” He rose, rounded the table, and pulled her plate toward him. “But if you liked those foods, I think you’ll love this one. Watch what I do.”
     He slowly and carefully cut her pizza into bites about the size she’d portioned for herself at breakfast. She watched with the concentration of one determined to learn a wholly new skill. He stabbed one fragment with the fork and passed the utensil to her. She took it awkwardly, in an infant’s grip, but with an evident determination to please him.
     “Now open your mouth, dear.”
     She did.
     “We’re halfway there,” he said. “Now carefully put the bite in your mouth, close your lips, and pull the fork out.”
     She did. Her mouth began to work delicately. He kept his hands pressed firmly against the table.
     Her eyes went wide. She began to tremble. All at once she started to stab the bits of pizza and cram them into her mouth at a speed beyond all caution. Her chewing and swallowing became so exaggerated that it was all he could do to restrain his mirth.
     When she had finished, she offered the fork back to him. Her glowing smile was fully adequate testimony to the success of the experiment. He gently took the fork from her hand.
     “That,” he said, “is pizza.”

#

     Sokoloff rose and took their dishes to sink, rinsed them and put them in the dishwasher, and swept the table for crumbs with a damp sponge. Fountain remained seated. She watched him with unmixed attention and absolute concentration. He could read nothing else from her expression.
     She acts as if everything is new to her. Maybe it is.
     I have to know who did what to her and why.

     The tiny part of his mind, present in every man that’s ever lived, that ceaselessly examined and reflected on its own operations was silent.
     Presently there was nothing more to clean up, and no other chores to occupy him. He returned to the table. She was still there, still unswervingly attentive. He took her hands in his.
     “Fountain,” he said, “if you’d rather not read, would you like to watch television? There isn’t much on, but I have some DVDs.” She made no reply. He mentally reviewed the movies he owned for something unthreatening. “Have you ever seen Fantasia 2000?
     Her gaze narrowed slightly. “What is...fantasia?”
     “Well, it’s sort of a musical cartoon. It’s very pretty.” He waited for a reply, but received none.
     I can see how this has to go.
     “Okay,” he said. He tugged gently on her hands. “Come with me.”
     She rose at once and followed him in silence to his little living room. When her eyes lit on his wall-mounted television, animation flooded into her face. “A teaching box!”
     Is that fear?
     “It’s a television, dear. We usually call it just TV.” He hesitated. “You received your lessons from a TV?”
     She turned to face him.
     “Many lessons, my lord.” A shudder passed over her. “How to behave in the presence of a master, how to speak to him, how to bring him pleasure.” A second shudder. “How you would chastise us if you were...displeased.”
     What I would do.
     They taught her to fear me...to fear men.

     Careful not to lose his clasp on her hands, he sank slowly to his knees. Her eyes flared to their widest stops.
     “My lord...”
     He squeezed her hands. “Fountain,” he murmured, “please believe me: I will never, ever do the smallest thing to hurt you. There’s nothing you could do that would make me ever raise a hand to you. You could burn this house down and all I would care about is making sure you were all right.”
     She stared down at him, lips parted.
     “But my lord,” she whispered, “I am yours.
     “No, dear.” He rose. “You are yours. You’re just here so I can take care of you. Keep you safe. That’s all. I’m not going to do anything to you.”
     But when I find whoever did this to you...
     He tugged her gently toward the sofa and indicated that she should sit. When she’d settled herself, still obviously mired in incredulity, he turned on his television and DVD player, pulled his Fantasia 2000 DVD from the adjoining shelf, inserted it into the player, took the remote in his hand, and sat next to her. She immediately moved to settle herself against his side. He looped his arm around her and hugged her gently. She leaned into the embrace.
     “Just watch and listen, dear. I think you’ll enjoy it.”
     He pressed the PLAY button.

#

     As the movie ran, Sokoloff glanced now and again at Fountain, straining to be certain that the unfamiliar sights and sounds were pleasing her, or at least not terrifying her. She remained tight against his side, eyes fixed on the screen, silent and motionless throughout. When the last images had faded and the concluding notes of the Firebird Suite had died away, he clicked the STOP button and set the remote down on the side table.
     After a long silence, he said, as softly as he could, “Did you like it?”
     “So much beauty,” she whispered.
     She sobbed and buried her face against his chest. He wrapped his arms around her. Tears swiftly soaked through his shirt.
     I think Stravinski would call that a satisfactory audience reaction.
     When she was quiet against him, he caressed her shoulders and murmured, “What did you like best, the pictures or the music?”
     She pulled back a little in his embrace. “They were not...one?”
     He smiled. “No, the pictures and music came from two completely different bunches of people. Then a third bunch of people put them together. Very few people are good at all three of those things. At least, not that good.”
     “Do you make pictures or music, my lord?” she said.
     “Uh, well, I can’t really draw—I mean make pictures,” he said. “But I can make music, a little. I mean, I can play and sing music other people have written.”
     She looked up at him, obviously waiting.
     Oh boy.
     You stepped in it, genius. Time to step up.

     “Would you like me to make some music for you, Fountain?”
     She nodded eagerly.
     He released her and went to the northwest corner of the room where stood the small electric piano he’d allowed to languish unused for most of a year. He sat at the bench, turned on the power, waited for the fans to stabilize, and set his fingers to the keys.
     What do I still remember how to play? Not jazz or rock and roll. Not honky-tonk or ragtime. Something calm, something that soothes and exalts.
     As if seized by a power not his own, his left hand moved to finger an inverted G chord. His right produced a matching arpeggio. Though he did not will it, his voice rose, unaccountably strong and smooth, in the simple melody an ailing Viennese, destined to be taken from the world before his time, had written and others had mated to an ancient prayer to produce a hymn beloved of all Christendom.

Ave Maria
Gratia plena
Maria, gratia plena
Maria, gratia plena

Ave, ave dominus
Dominus tecum
Benedicta tu in mulieribus
Et benedictus

Et benedictus fructus ventris
Ventris tuae, Jesus
Ave Maria

Ave Maria
Mater Dei
Ora pro nobis peccatoribus
Ora pro nobis, Ora, ora pro nobis peccatoribus

Nunc et in hora mortis
Et in hora mortis nostrae
Et in hora mortis nostrae
Et in hora mortis nostrae
Ave Maria

     He completed the closing stanza, let the piano fall silent, and sat with head bowed. The hymn had overcome him, as it always did. He didn’t want Fountain to see.
     Beauty. The world is rich in it, Fountain. Enough to raise your soul to heaven. It’s rich in horror, too. Enough to wring you dry of tears.
     Whatever you fear, whatever others have done to you, you will know no horror while you’re here. Only beauty and peace. Upon my life I swear it.

     A gentle hand fell upon his shoulder. He looked up at Fountain. Her eyes were soft.
     “Thank you, my lord.”
     She knelt, took his hands, and kissed them.

==<O>==

The Vent: A Coda

     Many are the mornings I awaken feeling, in Carole King’s well-known words, uninspired. I suppose a goodly fraction of my morning dreariness arises from ordinary physical fatigue; at my age it’s normal to be weary much of the time. But not all of it. Quite a bit is identifiably of the “why bother?” variety: the sense that my efforts, such as they are, matter very little if at all to anything of importance.

     I know all the aphorisms: Orwell: “Sanity is not statistical.” Thoreau: “Any man more right than his neighbors constitutes a majority of one.” Louis L’Amour: “There’s no stopping a man who knows he’s in the right and keeps a-coming.” But aphorisms, as at least one other wag has noted, don’t put bread on the table, a shirt on the back, or shoes on the horse. To proceed with one’s work, one must feel that it has purpose and value.

     So I arose this morning after yesterday’s verbal unbuttoning thinking “Perhaps the time has come. Perhaps I’ve received the signal I require. Perhaps it’s time to pull in my horns and spend what remains of my days tending strictly to my own affairs. There are plenty of books I haven’t read yet, plenty of pretty girls I haven’t ogled yet, plenty of video games I haven’t yet sworn over. Draw the moral. Surf the Web for your own pleasure and let the world go to hell without your contributions.”

     But what do I find at the very top of my favorite colleague’s final posting of last night:

     It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and moral courage so rare. -- Mark Twain

     And I started chugging along on all sixteen cylinders once again.


     I’ve written extensively about the transcendent importance of moral courage. All the martyrs had it. Many of the great secular heroes we honor displayed it along with the physical courage it inspired. My fiction readers’ favorite character possessed it:

     It was an ordinary July evening in Onteora: hot, damp, the air too still, the black gnats too numerous. Most of the city's residents had retreated behind closed doors and powered up their air conditioners, then turned their television sets up high to mask the compressor noise. On an unlit street in the abandoned part of the city, Joseph Follett and Lafayette Buskey were enjoying a special pleasure, raping a teenage girl who had wandered onto their turf.
     They had cut away her jeans and panties, stuffed the scraps of the panties into her mouth, and bound them there with a double winding of packing tape. Buskey knelt on her arms and held a knife to her throat while Follett violated her at his leisure. They had changed places once already. Perhaps they would do so again before the fun was over. Neither had bothered to conceal or disguise his face.
     They had been at it perhaps ten minutes when a quiet patter of footsteps from the far end of the street alerted the merrymakers that they were not alone. Both looked up to see the onrush of a short, slight figure, bearing down upon them.
     Buskey had turned toward the sound but had not yet risen when the runner braked and planted. His right foot lashed out in a powerful placekicker's arc, catching Buskey squarely beneath the jaw. The snap of Buskey's spine resounded the length of the street. He flipped backwards and lay on the sidewalk, twitching spasmodically.
     Follett had pulled away from the girl, drawing his own knife. The runner turned to face him.
     "Keep back, motherfucker."
     The runner made no reply. He advanced.
     Follett dropped into a knife-fighter's crouch. He kept both hands well out in front of him, daring the man to come within slashing distance. The runner halted and watched him, apparently relaxed.
     "So this is your idea of a high old time, eh, asshole?" The runner's voice was soft. The darkness concealed his face. "Wait till some defenseless girl wanders by, take her down, rape her a few times, then gut her like a deer? Not much to take home from it, though. Not like a Grand Avenue mugging or a good B and E."
     The young tough snarled. "What do you know about B and E?"
     The runner's eyebrows rose. "Isn't that how you make your living?" He gestured at Follett's crotch. "I mean, that thing dangling from your fly isn't big enough for you to make it as a gigolo."
     Upon being reminded that his dick was still hanging out of his jeans, Follett looked down at his crotch.
     The runner whirled and kicked again. His toe caught the elbow of Follett's knife arm. The elbow cracked and bent the wrong way, and the knife flew from the hand that held it. The young thug spun and dropped to the pavement with a piercing shriek, clawing at the rough asphalt.
     The runner stepped forward to stand over his victim. Stray rays from the headlights of a car passing on a connecting street revealed the runner's expression. It was that perfection of rage that resembles perfect calm.
     "Well, so much for the muggings and B and Es. Think you can make a living as a rapist? I mean, you're going to need a new helper and all. Maybe two or three. Big nut to carry."
     The runner straddled Follett's body and lowered himself to a squat, all but sitting on the thug's belly.
     "Who the fuck are you, man? You got no business here!" Follett's voice was an agonized hiss.
     The runner pursed his lips. "Business? No. I was just out for a walk, and it went on a little longer and farther than I intended. I don't get into the city much. It's not my favorite place. But here I am, and here you are, and thereby hangs a tale."
     He paused and sighed. "I knew you were going to kill that girl when you were done with her. If I hadn't been sure of that, maybe I would have handled it another way. Or maybe not. Not that it matters now. May God have mercy on your worthless soul."
     Follett's pain had not displaced all his fear and hatred. He surged in a last attempt to throw his assailant off him as he scrabbled for his knife.
     The runner's right hand arrowed at Follett's face. The heel of that hand crashed into the bridge of Follett's nose, driving the bone into his forebrain with the impact of a well-thrown spear. The rapist's body spasmed once and was still.
     The runner waited for perhaps a minute, peering into the slack face for any indication that the body might still house life. When he was satisfied, he pulled the jeans off Follett's corpse and brought them to the girl, who had remained where she'd been held. She seemed about sixteen, not especially pretty, and frightened beyond all ability to respond. Carefully, he pulled the makeshift gag from her mouth.
     "Where do you live?"
     "Eighty-two Devlin Boulevard," the girl whispered.
     He bent to help her stand, then offered her the jeans. "I'll take you home. Sorry I have nothing else to cover you with."
     She clung to him and began to keen. He coaxed her to step into the jeans, closed the fly and buttoned them at her waist, rolled up the legs so that she could walk, and escorted her down the street, one arm around her shoulders.
     The body of Joe Follett lay still in the middle of the street. On the sidewalk, the body of Lafe Buskey twitched at lengthening intervals as the life finished seeping out of it.

     ...

     "So that's the why of it?"
     Loughlin nodded. "Moral courage is the key. Physical courage is fairly commonplace, at least in moderation. Bravery in the face of real danger is rarer, but still common enough that you'll find a few dozen cases of it on any battlefield. But moral courage is rarer than any other human trait."
     "Moral courage?"
     "Courage enough to stand by your convictions and trust in your own judgment. That's what you showed that night. You took it upon yourself to save that girl and to execute the bastards who were abusing her. You didn't wait for some committee of designated bystanders to ratify your decision. You have no idea how rare that is."

     Malcolm Loughlin’s observation about the rarity of moral courage, like Mark Twain’s above, is absolutely correct.


     Some years ago there was a BBC production titled An Englishman’s Castle, about an alternate history timeline in which the Nazis had conquered England. The protagonist is Peter Ingram a screenwriter for a television series about the British war effort that’s tolerated (but closely monitored) by the Nazi authorities. He becomes embroiled in British resistance to the Nazi regime. In the final scene of the final episode, the protagonist has just triggered a violent revolt against the regime. He’s done so on television, using his own face and name, despite a previous subterfuge that would have made that unnecessary. He knows the Nazis will soon be coming for him. His muscles are locked with mortal fear. Yet this is his last utterance: “I shall not behave worse than any of my fictional imaginings.”

     Well, damn it all to Hell and back, neither will I. What good is it to be old, infirm, aware that death is near and ready to face it whenever the time arrives, if I can’t stand my ground before those who would shout or slander or belittle me into silence?

     That doesn’t mean I’ll tolerate abuse. Neither does it mean I’ll allow comments that abuse my Gentle Readers. So to those to whom insult and abuse are favored tools: Be warned. I’m marshaling some tools of my own. Weapons I’ve been reluctant to use. And you’ll never see them coming.

     That’s all for this morning. Perhaps I’ll be back later. Rufus has a chemotherapy session scheduled and I have a lot of home maintenance to address, so we shall see.

Obtuseness.

Mark Steyn is substituting for Rush today. He just had this gem on the reason for Trump's election: The reason for the election of Trump is that people were tired of the ritual of politics that has no relevance to their lives.

I once had some fun with a friend of mine when we were sitting at the dinner table. His five-year-old daughter noticed that the pattern on our coffee cups did not match the pattern on their respective saucers. She wanted us to "fix" it and it was beyond obvious what she wanted us to do, namely, merely switch the saucers. Done and done.

In a rare moment her dad and I both decided to frustrate this beautiful child and merely exchanged cup and saucer so that he had what I had and I had what he had.

She didn't like this so again wanted us to "fix" it, whereupon dad handed me his cup and I handed him my saucer. We next merely exchanged what we had, exchanging cups for saucers. This frustrated her no end as she considered it obvious what she wanted. Which it was, of course, and her relief was palpable when we finally "fixed" it.

It was a choice moment and it's emblematic of what Steyn is talking about. Politicians know damn well what the majority of Americans want but obtusely refuse to do that.

The "far-right" (Wikipedia) Breitbart had a story yesterday about how Trump’s "pro-immigration globalist aides and their counterparts on both sides of Capitol Hill" are working on a deal for amnesty (SHMG) for “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” that would be "in exchange for a package of real or symbolic benefits for Americans." The word "symbolic" in there tells it all.

There was a massive show of voter support for Trump because he spoke of building a wall in no uncertain terms, but now the political cockroaches and toads are working on something that is a total negation of the idea (1) that America can and must control its borders and (2) that foreigners who violate American immigration laws are entitled to zero consideration because of that violation. These concepts are negotiable in their minds and represents maudlin fawning over foreigners and contempt for Americans.

The opposite, let it be said, of what we voted for last time around (and a hundred times before). Did we vote for ramped up war in Afghanistan? No, we didn't. In the pipeline? More war in Afghanistan. Did any voter have the least interest in who rules Syria or Libya? No. No one gave a tinkers dam but billions of dollars and oceans of blood later America contemplate the damage from our unconstitutional, aggressive wars on Libya and Syria.

The political class better wake up to this voter fury at being ignored and seeing our streets turned into playgrounds for leftist scum with zero official interest in enforcing clear, simple provisions of the criminal law.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

A Time To Vent

     When my greatly esteemed colleague Charles Hill of Dustbury has something he needs to say at length, he calls it a “Vent.” In truth, most of those pieces don’t really “vent” in the colloquial sense. That is, Charles doesn’t loosen his rhetorical belt and blast out his opinions in language more definite or colorful than usual. But we all use the language in our preferred ways, as I’ve been told all too often by persons who will not accept that “proven” is an adjective and not a verb.

     Well, Gentle Reader, I’ve decided to vent – in the colloquial sense. You might not like what’s coming. Indeed, if your notions of rhetorical propriety are at all like mine, you might not come back. But my aggravation meter has pinned and my need is great. Therefore, I’m going to protect the eyes of those who don’t want to see anything ungentle by imposing a blank barrier.

     This is your chance to get away before the action really starts.

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     Ah, that should be sufficient. Now, where was I? Oh yes...

     My earlier piece of today drew a very large amount of traffic – approximately 10 times what I usually get. Normally, that would be pleasant, an indication that readers other than my regulars were taking note of what I’d sad and finding it worthy. However, the email, and the comments I’ve had to moderate, tell a different story. A very unpleasant story.

     Rather than reproduce the offenses to me, I’ll simply summarize them for you:

  • I’m being a “stupid mutt” to think there’s a possibility of using the justice system to advantage;
  • I’m ignoring the “real problem:” the alliance between the Left and the State;
  • I’m preaching “let’s you and him fight” and am therefore a coward.

     I’m disinclined to argue with my detractors, especially as not one of them used his right name. (Draw your own conclusions.) People are entitled to their opinions, even if they’re idiotic and insulting. But frankly, I’ve had enough of that sort of treatment to last a lifetime. I take enough medication for my stratospheric blood pressure already; I don’t want to have to take more to avert a stroke.

     So here is my response to my detractors, one and all:

Go Fuck Yourselves.

     Not one of you dares to do what I have done: to blog in a libertarian-conservative / Christian direction for twenty years, under my full and correct name. My address and phone number are matters of public record. I’ve been attacked physically at my own home and have had to defend myself with a firearm. Not one of you can claim to have written eleven well reviewed pro-freedom novels, all of which are being read by thousands of persons in every English-speaking nation and a few that aren’t (e.g., Iran). Moreover, I’m so much more intelligent than the brightest of you that before you even think to call me “stupid” your tongue should snap off.

     I was able to identify the source of most of the insults and denigrations. I’ve asked the proprietor of that site, with whom I’ve had years of friendly relations, to delink me and refrain from citing my stuff henceforward. He hasn’t yet responded, but as he’s a gentleman, I expect that he’ll accede to my request. (UPDATE: He has done so.)

     However, my inclination to cease writing analysis and commentary that addresses sociopolitical matters is becoming stronger. It might have reached a decision point. So, to any Gentle Readers with an interest in the matter:

     Watch this space.

     (Comments on this piece are closed.)

What Will It Take?

     “The news is all bad, but it’s good for a laugh.” – Tom Paxton, “Jimmy Newman”

     How strange, to be quoting an old communist peacenik at the opening of a column he’d surely despise! But then again, the “W” in my name – the middle initial, for those too crippled by arthritis or gout to run their thumbs along the words as they read – is generally taken to stand for weird. I suppose I’ve earned the reputation.

     There’s no point to following “the news” any longer. “The news” is in your backyard. At least, it had better be...and you had better be alert to it.


     The day before Election Day, I wrote and posted this:

A tactic that succeeds will be repeated, intensified, and emulated.
     Violence is increasing because it gets the violent ones what they want. Remember what I said in large font at the outset: A tactic that succeeds will be repeated, intensified, and emulated. Violence is apparently working for those who employ it. That is, its practitioners’ gains outweigh its costs and risks.

     Violence didn’t always succeed. Sixty years ago, it was common for an assault that took place before onlookers to be answered by counter-violence and the placement of the attacker in a jail cell: not always, but often enough, and with consequences severe enough, to hold occasions of violence to a socially endurable level. For various reasons that is no longer the case, while the prospective gains from violence remain what they were.

     Violence works whenever it’s not met by a swift defense and appropriate retribution. It worked for Lenin’s Bolsheviks and Hitler’s Brown Shirts. The lesson is not lost on those who mastermind American politics.

     I shan’t minimize the immense significance of what occurred on November 8, 2016. It might have indicated a mass awakening to the danger the Republic faced. But we still face that danger. Our nation’s internal enemies have merely resorted to more violent tactics...and those tactics are working.


     Today at Free North Carolina, we have this:

     Americans agree with President Donald Trump's defense of Confederate monuments, and few think getting rid of the statues will lessen racial tensions, a new poll shows. The Rasmussen Reports survey released Monday found 50 percent of registered voters agree with Trump's tweet it is "sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments."

     As this is from Brock Townsend, in whom my trust is unbounded and for whom I have limitless admiration, I’m sure it’s absolutely correct. I didn’t even bother to check the links. Feel free to do so if you’re more inclined to be skeptical.

     No, my problem is with the significance of the findings. A majority of those surveyed are on the president’s side of this contretemps. Perhaps the majority is even larger than the survey suggests. (Is Richard Dawson still around? Perhaps appropriately large cash prizes would help us to find out.) Yet the monuments continue to be destroyed – in some cases, by municipal or state governments. Why?

     It’s actually quite simple:

A mobilized, militant minority always beats a passive majority.

     That’s how the Nazis took Germany. It’s how Lenin and his confreres took Russia. Why would anyone think that “it can’t happen here” -- ? Especially over something with as little immediate impact on most Americans’ lives as historical monuments?

     Do you want those monuments to stay up, Gentle Reader? Very good; I thought you might. So what are you going to do about it? Other than email your Congressman, that is.


     The monuments under attack are, of course, only symptomatic in the larger scheme of things. The Left’s whole effort is aimed at detaching the young from the history of these United States, especially its founding principles, its seminal struggles, and the words and characters of those who articulated them.

     The “Antifa” and “Black Bloc” thugs attacking peaceable patriotic gatherings have the same end in view. There’s no way to separate a people from its history if they’re allowed to talk about it, or any element of it...especially the Founders’ emphasis on freedom of expression.

     They who believe it’s sufficient to be prepared to defend themselves are sadly mistaken. No one has ever won a war by doing nothing but playing defense. The Right must seize the initiative – go on the attack.

     The notion horrifies many decent persons. Yet it is so. Two questions then arise:

  • What will finally make us rise to the occasion, if anything?
  • When and where will it arrive?


     It is not enough to stay abreast of the news and deplore the trends in progress. It is not enough to speak out against them. It is not enough to attend a rally or two in defense of freedom of expression or the preservation of historic monuments. It is not even enough to attend such rallies armed and ready for the eruption of violence. Those are all defensive measures: necessary but sadly insufficient.

     The one and only remedy is to go on the offensive.

     The first, absolutely indispensable step is infiltrating the opposition. We must learn the individual identities of those who gather to suppress us, and we must pursue them individually, just as they strive to pursue us. If they have gatherings, some of ours must be present. If they don’t, we must tap their communications and monitor them ceaselessly. The information we can gather that way is beyond price.

     Once we know who they are, it’s a short step from there to learning where they will be. That gives us what we’ll need for what must follow: charges, against both the individuals and the groups, of conspiring to violate others’ civil rights. That’s a federal criminal charge that can’t be dismissed. According to our family lawyer, a police commander who tells his subordinates to disregard such complaints is himself guilty of misfeasance – for instructing his men to commit nonfeasance — so make sure all such complaints are properly witnessed.

     Even if those charged ultimately escape prison sentences, they’ll suffer from the experience of having to defend themselves against the charges. As the saying goes, “the process is the punishment.” It might be enough to deter them all by itself.

     If the so-called forces of order prove unwilling to do their sworn duty, then it will be time to discuss more direct measures. But we’re more likely to reach that point if we continue to be passive before the assaults upon us.


     Sound harsh? Scary? After all, you wouldn’t like to be spied upon or hounded into court to defend yourself against the weight of the criminal law. But what they’ve been doing to us is far worse...and as I wrote above, it’s getting them what they want, so we can’t expect it to stop.

     I know, I know: Who bells the cat? Obviously I can’t, being old and too well known from my writings. But some of my readers, at least, are less conspicuous.

     Nothing else will suffice to stem the tide before actual blood is shed, so give it some thought.

     UPDATE: To the pseudonymous fellow who wrote to call me a “stupid mutt:” My dear sir, if a Martian were to find the two of us standing side by side, he would undoubtedly conclude that you are a member of some much lower species...a houseplant, perhaps. Have a nice life.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Quickies: There Is No Bottom

     Today promises to be an extremely busy day, filled with lawn mowers, hedge clippers, and related implements of destruction, so I’m going to content myself – for the moment, at least – with a few words about an outrage that should get 75% of the country up in arms...though, given how ovine we’ve become in the face of Leftist savagery, it probably won’t:

     Yes, Gentle Reader, he really did say that:

     “To support a ban on immigrants & refugees, while calling yourself a Christian, is not faith, it’s white supremacy disguised as religion,” King tweeted. In a separate tweet, King called Christians’ faith “fake as a $3 bill.”

     If memory serves, Shaun King, despite his attempts to “pass,” is white. You know, like famous “civil rights activist” Rachel Dolezal. Remember her? But that’s of no enduring importance in an era when the configuration of one’s chromosomes and genitals are deemed irrelevant to one’s “gender.”

     So how about it, fellow American Christians? Are you inured to being called bigots and oppressors yet? Or are you getting nearer to that fuzzy line in the sand which, upon being crossed, prompts a man to say, “Well, if that’s what you want me to be, Rastus...” -- ? And what about the many black American Christians whom this scrofulous insult to biology has defamed? How do you feel about his slander against your faith?

Eclipse.

Eclipse humor.

From the RT live feed on YouTube:
  • The moon is square. It only look round because our eyes are round
  • Gravity is a hoax.
  • The CIA is behind this.
  • U.S.A. invented the eclipse.
  • No more sunshine for Americans.
  • Hitler is the reason this is happening.
  • Bigfoot is Hitler.
  • NK is sharpening its missiles.
  • The end is nigh.
  • NASA – Never Access Space Again.
  • NASA – Never a Straight Answer.
  • What's happening? I can’t feel my legs.
  • Moist!
  • This is not the mathematical size of the sun. This is Planet X.
  • This is what you see when you die.
  • CPUSA is indistinguishable from any other anti-Trump group.
  • I can't see. I'm blind. I'm touch typing.
  • Communist lives matter.
  • I hope something exciting happens. Like Armageddon.
  • The ball is in front of the glowey thing.
  • NWO starts today.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Teaser Two

     [I didn’t expect to do this, but the torrent of email demanding “just a little more, Fran” of Innocents, despite the two or three months that will surely elapse before I publish it, is too much to ignore -- FWP]


Monday, 09/11/2028, 07:15: Gloucester, VA

    “Unacceptable, Teacher.” Takahara’s tone was adamant. “You must recover her.”
     “Sir—”
     “Unacceptable!” The voice that until then had been modulated as evenly as any corporate manager’s became more piercing than any shout. “We will not accept the loss of so valuable a property. You must find her and recover her. Will the constabulary not assist you?”
     “Sir,” the woman who went by ‘Teacher’ said, “the sheriff was emphatic. His indulgence toward us does not extend to active measures.”
     There was a brief silence on the line.
     “That, too, is unacceptable. Half a million American dollars per year should buy more than mere tolerance. But that is not your affair. I will dispatch a remediation squad immediately. Have accommodations ready for a team of four. Expect them to arrive tomorrow, around mid-morning.”
     “I will, sir.”
     “I expect to be kept apprised of all developments.”
     “Of course, sir.”
     The connection broke. She returned the handset to its cradle and sat back.
     I couldn’t have expected any better. I was afraid of much worse. I have to find her.
     The facility was in more danger than the mere loss of revenue. Fountain’s escape put its true purpose in danger of discovery.
     That must not happen. It would mean life sentences for Sculptor and me at minimum. We would never see sunlight again.
     But what about this squad? Will they be tasked to assist the search for her, or to re-educate the sheriff? Perhaps both?

     The team Takahara would send would not be skiptracers. They would be enforcers. Yakuza soldiers. Men selected for their lack of conscience quite as much as for their martial skills. They would act without compunction.
     Their duties might extend to discipline.
     She began to fear far worse than a life sentence.

Monday, 09/11/2028, 07:35: Heading North

     They ate in silence. Sokoloff watched Fountain as closely as he could without staring.
     The girl ate daintily and with a curious exactitude. Her bites were minuscule, smaller than any Sokoloff had ever seen. She seemed to be striving to minimize the width to which she must part her lips. She seemed not to chew her bites but simply to roll them around her mouth for a few seconds. She swallowed each morsel completely before taking another.
     She never touched her fork. She ate solely with her spoon.
     She remained silent throughout the meal. Sokoloff forced himself to remain silent as well.
     When they’d finished and Sokoloff had cleaned up, he donned a T-shirt and jeans, rummaged through his clothes for something for her to wear, selected a gray sweatshirt and a pair of gray sweatpants, turned away and urged her to put them on. The sweatshirt was slightly too small for him, yet it swaddled her like a collapsed party tent. His sweatpants were just as oversized for her, but fortunately the drawstring waist and elastic ankle openings sufficed to keep them on her. He fretted over her exposed, tender feet but could find nothing for them except a pair of thick white athletic socks that were obviously too large. They would have to serve.
     He was about to shepherd her into his truck for the ride north when the odds of observation and unpleasant questions occurred to him.
     “Fountain,” he said, “I have to drive us back to where I live. But I don’t think you should ride in my truck with me. Do you think you’ll be all right back here alone?”
     She’d returned to his daybed and sat with her hands in her lap. Her expression was curious but compliant. “I will, my lord.”
     My lord again? Good God.
     Wonder what it’ll take to get her to call me Larry.

     “All right. Don’t be scared when you feel the trailer start to move. I’ll keep us as steady as possible, but if we hit a bump or have to go around a sharp corner, just hold on and it’ll straighten out in a moment. I’ll get you something to read while we’re on the road.”
     He shuffled through the shallow pile of reading material he’d brought, found his paperback of The Fellowship of the Ring, and handed it to her. She peered uncertainly at the cover.
     “Have you read it?”
     “No, my lord.”
     “Well, it’s a good story. Anyway, I think you’ll like it better than my martial-arts magazines.” He laid a hand on her shoulder. “I’m going to get in the truck and get us moving. We’ll be on the road for about eight hours. Just relax, read, use the bathroom if you need to, and don’t worry about anything, okay?”
     She inclined her head, murmured “As my lord commands,” opened the book and set to reading.
     He opened the trailer door, halted, and glanced back at her. Her eyes were fixed on the book. Her expression was one he’d seen before: a rigid look of resolve, the sort which among men heading into combat speaks of fear sternly repressed. It sent a pang through him.
     She has nothing to be afraid of. For now, anyway.
     Fountain, I don’t know what you’re about, where you belong, or what’s been done to you. I sure as hell don’t know how to fix whatever’s wrong, but where we’re headed there are people who will. Till then, just hang on, girl. Hang on tight. I’ll get you there.

     He exited and closed the door gently behind him.

#
     Fountain could tell that her new lord was troubled, but not why. Her training had included the inculcation of an alert sensitivity to a master’s emotional state, but the indicators she had learned to recognize—those that spoke of pain, tension, anger, fear, sorrow, pique, contentment, or joy—were absent from her lord’s face, body, and manner. He seemed rather to be confused yet determined, though determined upon what she could not tell. To compound the mystery, it seemed that she was what confused him.
     That must not be. I am his. His pleasure, contentment, and rest are my task.
     But until she grasped the reasons, she could not be certain what measures to apply.
     Perhaps I am his first. Teacher said that some masters take a while adjusting to their first acquisition of a slave...that there might be a time of “settling in” before my lord can relax enough to make assured and proper use of me. I must be patient. Watchful and patient. But until then?
     Until then, I will do as he has commanded. No more and no less. He said to relax, read, use the bathroom if I need to, and not to worry about anything. I will do, and not do, as he commanded.

     She fixed her attention on his book and strove to read.

#
     Sokoloff pulled into a thruway rest area at about half past noon, locked the truck, and went back to the trailer. The girl in his trailer had weighed on his mind. He’d been continuously conscious that she was back there, unrestrained and unprotected. Inadvisable even for a normal adult, for a disoriented young woman—in many ways, a child—to ride in a trailer under way could only be justified by the likelihood that were she to ride alongside him in the cabin of the truck, some busybody would notice and take an unhealthful interest.
     He found Fountain as he had left her: sitting on his daybed with his book in her hands. She appeared to have read perhaps thirty pages in the five hours they’d been on the road. As he entered, she set the book aside and stood. He fought back an impulse to cringe.
     She acts as if I were royalty of some kind, or maybe a commanding officer.
     “I’m going to make lunch, Fountain. Are you hungry?”
     “I am, my lord.”
     He suppressed his urge to inquire into her locution and pulled open the door to the fridge. It was nearly empty. A couple of slices of deli ham, a large block of cheddar cheese, and a quarter of a loaf of bread were all that remained of his provender.
     “Hm. How about a ham and cheese sandwich, then? More like a cheese sandwich with a little ham on top, actually. Grilled or not grilled? I’m afraid I can’t do any better until I get us home.”
     As he bent to extract the fixings, he felt a gentle caress trail along the back of his shoulders. He straightened and turned to find her standing right behind him. Barely a hand’s breadth separated them. Her eyes were bright and fixed on his. Her lips were slightly parted. Her hands remained upraised.
     “My lord must not be afraid,” she murmured. “Fear is beneath him. He is a roaring lion, a giant among pygmies. Lesser men will always make way before him, as is his due.”
     Huh?
     She raised her hands to his face, and her lips to his.
     The kiss was as delicate as it was unexpected, a dance of lips upon lips, gentle yet seductive. It spoke silently of incredible things: acceptance without conditions, devotion without limit, and an offer of herself, all she was and would ever be, that asked nothing in return.
     His arms went around her by instinct. She pressed herself against him. She moaned softly and rubbed herself against him along the length of her torso.
     Desire surged and leaped within him. He grimly forced it down, reasserted his self-command, captured her shoulders, and pushed her away as gently as he could. Her eyes compressed in dismay.
     “Is my lord displeased?” she whispered.
     His mouth opened, but no sound issued forth. Tears pooled in her eyes. She tried to drop to her knees. He tightened his grip on her shoulders and kept her erect.
     “Fountain...” He coughed and shook himself. “Uh, thank you for the compliments, but...well, I’m thirty-two years old. That’s a little old for you, isn’t it?”
     Despite the tears about to fall, she smiled. “My lord is the perfect age. He always will be.” She put her hands outside his. “May I dare to hope he thinks the same of me?”
     Great God in heaven. What can I say to that?
     He was still groping for words when she stepped back and swiftly pulled off her sweatshirt.
     For a second he stood mute, stunned into paralysis by the perfection of her body. Hers was a form out of fantasy. Smooth, finely shaped shoulders. Breasts full, high, and visibly firm. A torso that curved fetchingly into a narrow waist, below which only the faintest of abdominal curves could be seen. Hips as delicately feminine as the rest. Hairless, completely unblemished skin that glowed with the vitality of youth.
     She put her fingers to the waist of her sweatpants and made to slide them off. In a panic he took her hands and pulled them tight against his chest. The look of woe returned to her face. He repressed an impulse to cringe.
     “Fountain...” The right words continued to elude him. He groped for her discarded sweatshirt and urged her back into it. Her eyebrows drew together as she lowered her eyes.
     “My lord does not approve.”
     “No, it’s not that!” He clasped her hands and pulled them to his chest. Her gaze rose to meet his once again. “You’re beautiful. Perfect, even. It’s a privilege—a blessing—to look at you. But...well, this isn’t the time or the place.”
     Or the person, but I have a feeling I’m going to have a hard time getting that across.
     Her face lit with a radiant smile.
     “I understand, my lord. But do not be afraid. You are the master. No challenge can withstand your lightest touch. When the time and place are proper, I will be ready.”
     She seated herself at his dinette table, set her folded hands on the table, and said no more.
     He shook himself and set to fixing them sandwiches.

#
     Fountain’s consumption of her breakfast had left Sokoloff wondering. Her approach to her sandwich was more unusual still. She waited until he’d picked up his sandwich, then did exactly as she saw him do. She nibbled at it so delicately that each bite seemed barely a crumb. It was as if she were struggling not to chew, or to make it unnecessary to chew. He slowed his own consumption so as not to leave her eating alone.
     When they had finished, Sokoloff cleaned up as swiftly as possible. He struggled to avoid looking at Fountain while he worked. His hand was on the door latch when she spoke again.
     “My lord?”
     “Yes, dear,” he said through a gravel-crusted throat.
     “Forgive me this presumption, but are you truly not displeased?”
     He winced, turned to face her. “Truly, Fountain. I just have to get us going.”
     “When we met,” she said, “your movements were graceful and assured. Now they are stiff and hesitant, as if something has troubled you. Is there nothing I can do to ease you?” Her voice fell most of an octave. “I am proficient in a number of methods.”
     He released the door latch, stood with his arms at his sides. He could not explain his urgent need to be back in the cabin of his truck.
     “Fountain...” He paused to swallow. “We’ve known each other for less than eight hours. There are a lot of things you don’t know about me. I appreciate the thought, but...well, let me get us to where I live, get you settled in, and we can talk about it then, okay?”
     The few seconds of silence dragged past like as many hours.
     “As my lord wishes.”
     “Thank you, dear.”
     He yanked the door open and bounded down the steps.

#
     He appears not to understand. I am his. For him there is no improper time or place. So I was taught.
     The masters to whom Fountain had been presented for evaluation had not hesitated to use her as they liked. The memories still seared her in recollection.
     How could he not understand? He is a master. And so much more than any of the others! Yet they understand from birth. So I was taught.
     The ones who approached me before he intervened would not have hesitated.

     Until then she had spent no time reflecting upon her own reactions. Would she have resisted those others? She had not been evaluated by a group of masters simultaneously. She would not have known how to cope with the demands of three at once. What if they were to disagree? What if they were to quarrel over her?
     I was fortunate to escape such a test.
     But to what divergent fate had she escaped? Was it one for which she had not been trained?
     She had never entertained the possibility that a master might need to be trained, as she had been trained. It went against all the lessons she had received and all the assumptions behind them. Yet this...Larry, who had protected her and taken her in, and to whom she had willingly, even joyfully bound herself, seemed confused, almost embarrassed by his acquisition.
     I will be patient. I will remember my lessons. I will be his from dawn to dusk to use as he pleases. I will not doubt him.
     He did not doubt me.

     She returned to the daybed, took up the book, and struggled to read.

==<O>==

Russian dance "Berezka" "Birch" "Березка."

H/t: "Bluebird of Bitterness."

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Tea Leaves In The Dawn Drizzle

     (Yeah, yeah, they’re soggy. So what?)

     I’ve written before about the Left’s tactic of infiltrating institutions and corrupting them to its purposes. While no institution is outside the Left’s scope, its priority targets are institutions that support communication, education, and entertainment: the arteries of public information and knowledge. Once the Left has gained control over such an institution – usually by weight of numbers within its ranks – it uses that control to “enhance” outputs that favor it and suppress outputs that disfavor it. That’s how the Fabian socialists gained control of Britain’s Labour Party and, eventually, of Britain itself.

     The explosion of the Internet was a major blow to the American Left. It was a bypass of the established media that funneled unfiltered, unbiased information and arguments to the consumer. It promised to do more damage to the Left’s totalitarian program than talk radio ever had or could. When the Web became effectively bidirectional, such that the proprietors of Websites could solicit comments from their readers, it was plain to the Left’s strategists that “something must be done.” But what?

     The “what” has surfaced, and it’s not pretty:

     As the fallout from the failed Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia last weekend continues, leftist-controlled tech and social media outlets have started mass censoring right-wingers and banning them from their platforms. While sites such as Twitter have been hostile to the right for a long time, the events in Charlottesville—where alt-left agitator Heather Heyer was killed by rally attendee James Alex Fields, Jr.—have given leftist-run sites the excuse they need to ideologically cleanse their websites.

     As of this writing, numerous right-wing websites and personalities have been banned from PayPal, Twitter, Paypal, Stripe, Facebook, Instagram, Mailchimp, Soundcloud, Uber, and countless other platforms. To make matters worse, domain registrars and website maintenance companies such as CloudFlare and GoDaddy have no-platformed The Daily Stormer, keeping the site offline since Sunday. It’s clear that ideological dissidents are going to have to change their tactics in order to keep their websites and other platforms online.

     Please read the whole article. You need the information; take my word for it. But for those disinclined to do so, I’ll include one more snippet:

     To make matters worse, leftists have begun attacking web hosts, domain registrars, and other infrastructural services that right-wingers rely on to keep their sites online. Rootbocks and Hatreon, two free-speech alternatives to GoFundMe and Patreon, respectively, have been forced to switch domains and webhosts after being banned due to their unwillingness to ban right-wingers. Free speech Twitter replacement Gab has been subjected to several DDoS attacks for the same reasons, and the Alternative Right blog was deleted from Blogger last night. [Emphasis added by FWP]

     Liberty’s Torch is a Blogger blog. Its readership isn’t enormous – perhaps 400 readers per day – but many of those readers wrote, in response to this piece, to plead with me not to quit. I want to do as they’ve asked, but with Google now fully engaged in the Left’s campaign to silence conservative opinion on the Web, how long will it be before they get around to us who command smaller audiences? When they do, where can I turn?

     Don’t imagine for a moment that other easy-to-use blog hosts such as Wordpress won’t enlist in this campaign. Neither is Hosting Matters, where Eternity Road was sited, a reliable choice. First, I have no expertise with PHP or blogging software generally, and second, the Left will surely be after such large, popular blog hosts in their turn. I suppose I could go back to the style of the old Palace of Reason: a “webzine” done entirely in HTML, without the support of blogging software, but that seems a bit retrograde for the times.

     I need suggestions.

     If you want to see these tirades continue while I have life enough in me to emit them, give me the benefit of your thinking. (If you’re adept with blogging software, I could benefit from your expertise.) We “know not the day nor the hour” when Google will withdraw its indulgence from your humble Curmudgeon Emeritus. Remember this passage from Atlas Shrugged:

     "Since the deadline for the signing of the national Gift Certificates expires tonight at midnight," said Dr. Ferris, in the tone of a salesman extending a special courtesy to a customer, "I have come to obtain your signature, Mr. Rearden."
     He paused, with an air of suggesting that the formula now called for an answer.
     "Go on," said Rearden. "I am listening."
     "Yes, I suppose I should explain," said Dr. Ferris, "that we wish to get your signature early in the day in order to announce the fact on a national news broadcast. Although the gift program has gone through quite smoothly, there are still a few stubborn individualists left, who have failed to sign-small fry, really, whose patents are of no crucial value, but we cannot let them remain unbound, as a matter of principle, you understand.”

     [Emphasis added by FWP]

     I’d like to take prophylactic action while there’s still “no rush” to do so.

The stench from the MSM.

Next The New Yorker cover:

Modern discourse.

If you take the way soi-disant “anti-racists” talk about white people and substitute “Jews” for “whites” you will end up with something that sounds like a Nuremburg Rally speech or reads like a chapter of Mein Kampf. Now you know who the real Nazis are today.[1]
This is exactly right. Substitute "Jew" or "female" or "black" or "homosexual" any place the left use "white" and you have the perfect igniter for leftist screams of outrage and contrived apoplexy. Leave "white" alone in their discourse and what's said is treated as the most sensible thing anyone could say. "Oh, right. Those @#$#% white bastards."

Notes
[1] "Brief Thoughts on Assorted Matters: Special Charlottesville Edition." By Gerry T. Neal, Throne, Altar, Liberty, 8/17/17.

Friday, August 18, 2017

What The World Needs Now

What the world needs now is love, sweet love
It's the only thing that there's just too little of
What the world needs now is love, sweet love,
No not just for some but for everyone.

Lord, we don't need another mountain,
There are mountains and hillsides enough to climb
There are oceans and rivers enough to cross,
Enough to last till the end of time.

What the world needs now is love, sweet love
It's the only thing that there's just too little of
What the world needs now is love, sweet love,
No, not just for some but for everyone.

Lord, we don't need another meadow
There are cornfields and wheat fields enough to grow
There are sunbeams and moonbeams enough to shine
Oh listen, lord, if you want to know.

What the world needs now is love, sweet love
It's the only thing that there's just too little of
What the world needs now is love, sweet love,
No, not just for some, oh, but just for everyone.

[Jackie DeShannon]

     Everyone has heard that old song, I’m sure. It was a paean to a particular kind of love, but if freed of the romantic gloss, its proposition still holds true.

     Yesterday I watched The Case For Christ for the second time. I’ve been eager to do so ever since I saw it in the theater. That second viewing proved as compelling as the first one, and considerably more illuminating.

     The core of the movie is, of course, the young Lee Strobel’s campaign to “debunk” the Christian faith by disproving the historical accounts of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. His campaign began with his indignant reaction against his wife Leslie’s embrace of Christianity. It ended when the evidence he had amassed persuaded him of it as well. Throughout the movie his investigative fervor keeps tempo with his anger that Leslie has elected to “cheat on him with Jesus:” a thematic element of staggering significance.

     I didn’t go to see the movie for educational reasons. I’m about as well versed – pardon the choice of words – in the evidentiary basis for Christianity as anyone who’s not a seminary graduate. Being a capable logician and scientist, I’m also aware that an irreproducible phenomenon will always admit of more than one explanation. Therefore the truth of the Biblical accounts of the Resurrection can never be definitively proved. But that’s in the nature of all human knowledge: except for propositions in entirely abstract formal systems (e.g., mathematics), we can have confidence, but never certainty.

     What’s most striking about The Case For Christ is its gentle emphasis on love: God’s love, Man’s attempts to love, and the ways in which they contrast. As archeologist-turned-priest Father Marquez (played by Miguel Perez) says early on, the Sacrifice at Golgotha could have been motivated only by love: the willingness of God incarnate to suffer the worst tortures flesh can bear in a demonstration both of His love for Man and His divine credentials. In contrast, human love is often jealously possessive, sometimes insanely so. It bristles at any sort of competition, often seeking revenge for being “cheated on.” Divine love, obviously, isn’t like that.

     Indeed, the great wonder of love between humans is that that we routinely do succeed in extending it without (much) jealousy: first the love of a child for his parents, then the love of a husband for his wife; then to the love of a parent for his child. It is in that familial process that we find the best temporal parallel to Divine love: the love of the Father for His children.

     Religion can be blamed for many ills. The clerics of the world’s many Christian denominations have gone beyond the teachings of Christ innumerable times, asserting authority in matters on which He never pronounced. Indeed, much of the conflict among the denominations arises from exactly that source. Like politicians, clerics are loath to admit to error and reluctant to surrender usurped authority.

     Christ didn’t ask much of us:

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

     And Saint Paul, notwithstanding his frequent excursions into Levitical prescriptions and proscriptions Christ never commanded, hit that nail squarely on the head:

     Owe no man any thing, but to love one another. For he that loveth his neighbor hath fulfilled the law. For: Thou shalt not commit adultery: Thou shalt not kill: Thou shalt not steal: Thou shalt not bear false witness: Thou shalt not covet. And if there be any other commandment, it is comprised in this word: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. The love of our neighbour worketh no evil. Love therefore is the fulfilling of the law. [Romans 13:8-10]

     What does the world need now? Now that politics has failed, secular philosophizing has proved insufficient, and the ordinary practices of men simply trying to get by appear unequal to our trials? Why, Jesus Christ, of course: Love of Him and the faithful observance of His original preachments, undecorated. How much simpler could it get?

     May God bless and keep you all.