Thursday, January 31, 2013

"Culture Is Upstream From Politics" Dept: An Offer. (UPDATED)

The title is a sentiment often expressed by the late, great Andrew Breitbart. It's been echoed recently by a large number of DextroSpheric commentators, which suggests that Breitbart hit on an important truth that hasn't received adequate follow-up.

What's that, you say? "Follow-up?" Isn't that someone else's job? Someone with money, or a big publishing house, or at least a few 70mm movie cameras?

No, fellow freedom lovers. It's our job. Yours and mine.

And I've decided to take it seriously.

There's a large independent-writers-and-artists movement in progress, made possible by the World Wide Web and a few visionary entrepreneurs. The composition of that movement reflects the American public generally, at least as regards political inclinations. The balance is pretty close to the tallies from the most recent elections. For example, you'll see as many pro-Christian writers and works as anti-Christian ones; as many pro-life sentiments as pro-abortion ones; as many pro-freedom stances as pro-socialism ones.

There's a lot of crap in the indie movement, of course. These days, any thumb-fingered illiterate with a word processor can style himself a novelist; here's a particularly egregious example. But there's a lot of crap coming out of the conventional publishing houses, too -- and because of their editorial alignments, 90% or more of their offerings promote anti-freedom positions, whether overtly or covertly. The balance in the indie movement is much truer to the inclinations of the general populace. More, a lot of the crap is no crappier. It's less expensive on average, too.

Some of the stuff in the indie-writers stream is both quite entertaining and oriented toward wholesome, pro-freedom themes. Here's an example from someone whose name you might recognize. And here's a truly brilliant thriller from someone you might not have heard of before this. If you've been craving good fiction and have had trouble finding books that don't offend you politically or morally, those are two for your nightstand.

I submit to you that getting books of that sort read by a wider audience would be a constructive direction for our efforts. The more people read them and find them appealing, the more people will be moved toward the Right kind of premises and political alignment.

The question, as always, is how to make it so.

Readers generally choose their reading matter according to a small number of influences:

  1. Recommendations from friends.
  2. Prior acquaintance with the author's work.
  3. Really, really eye-catching cover art.
  4. Perceptible similarities to other books they've enjoyed.
  5. Favorable reviews from persons whose judgment they trust.

We of the DextroSphere can't do much about items 1 through 4, but we can help with item 5...if we have the time, the inclination, and the cooperation of indie writers of a pro-freedom, pro-life, pro-Christian, and pro-American bent.

Accordingly, I hereby make the following offer to such writers:

If you believe you qualify
As regards storytelling skills and moral-political values,
Send me a free copy of your book,
Preferably in .EPUB format,
And if I concur with your self-assessment,
I will review it and promote it here.

Moreover, I exhort any Gentle Reader who runs an op-ed Website like this one -- or who participates in Internet radio -- to do the same. The more of us there are touting wholesome fiction, the more of it will be read -- and written.

Sound good to you?

Breitbart was right. Our politics has turned leftward in large measure because our culture has done so. Anti-freedom, anti-capitalist, anti-Christian and anti-American messages pour ceaselessly out of the major publishing houses, Hollywood, the television networks, and the companies that promote contemporary "music." If that force isn't countered, it will continue to have its way with us. But apart from a few brave souls, such as the ones behind Declaration Entertainment, few have picked up the gauntlet.

It's our job.
We who already vent onto the Web.
We can have substantial influence over the culture.
That will morph into political influence.
But not if we sit here idle.

Let's get to work.

UPDATE: For the slow-of-comprehension in the audience:

  • I didn't say "Send me to Amazon to purchase your book." (4 people have done that.)
  • I didn't say "Send me to some Website I'll have to register for and log into to download a PDF file of your book." (2 people have done that.)
  • I did say "Send me a free copy. Preferably in .EPUB format."

Moreover, don't send me a first draft. I'm not interested in subjecting myself to your typos. Send me your final, ready-for-publication work.

If you can't grasp that and abide by it, you'll get no consideration.

Is that clear now?

"We The People," Who?

[The following essay was first posted at Eternity Road on June 19, 2007. In light of the furious debates over current immigration-reform proposals, it struck me as pertinent for a repost -- FWP]

In mid-2004, there was born a Website which proposed to hold an international plebiscite on the upcoming American elections. The thesis was that since what the United States does "affects" the entire world -- yes, those are "sneer quotes" -- then the world should have as much say in the selection of American officialdom as the American citizens do. Say what you will about the "logic" behind such a proposition, we must grant its audacity at the very least.

That campaign season also featured a letter-writing campaign by British glitterati, including rabid anti-theist Richard Dawkins and hack novelist David Cornwell (a.k.a. "John LeCarre"), to voters in selected American "swing states." The writers urged their American targets to vote for the Democratic presidential nominee, John Kerry -- say, did you know he served in Vietnam? Imagine that! -- on the grounds that President Bush was "stupid," a "bully," a "theocrat," was "universally hated," was waging "an illegal war," or any possible combination thereof. And with that, your Curmudgeon's sneer-quote key has breathed its last, at least for today.

The supranationalist assumptions behind these phenomena are easily destroyed. Yes, America has great influence in the world; we Americans, a mere 5% of the population of the world, generate more than 30% of its wealth and wield armed forces that could defeat all the other nations of the world in concert. But that's not because of our government, but because of the governments of all the other nations of the world. Our government, despite its many flaws and violations of its Constitutional contract, doesn't exercise the kind of power over American enterprise that other governments do over the productive efforts of their subjects. America's magnificent military is the consequence of the wealth that flows from our largely free economy and relatively restrained welfare system. Heavily regulated and bureaucratized economies, which must also carry the burden of much larger welfare states, can't afford worthwhile militaries, which is why ours is so frequently called upon to deal with tyrants and terrors.

(Nota Bene: A citizen is one who retains his individual sovereignty despite his allegiance to a particular polity. His distinguishing characteristic is his right to keep and bear arms. A subject is one who has no individual sovereignty, having surrendered all ultimate decision-making power to the State. His lack of a right to keep and bear arms, which renders him defenseless against incursions on any of his other rights, is the most prominent giveaway. The United States has citizens; most of the rest of the nations of the world have subjects. Food for thought.)

But we can't expect to defeat supranationalism -- broadly, the premise that nation-states are inimical to the general good and should be done away with -- with mere logic. The supranationalist is adroit. He argues from his good intentions. Wouldn't it be nice if everyone had a say in everything that affects him in any way? And since every slightest thing that anyone does, anywhere in the world, affects all of us in some way, however small, doesn't that imply that democracy should be unbounded by these Westphalian fossils we call nation-states?

Well, if you buy the premise, you buy the conclusion. But the premise is itself unsound. Indeed, it's about as risible as the arguments made for slavery, with which it has a great deal in common. And Eternity Road readers are unlikely to accept supranationalism anyway, so what's the big deal?

The big deal is this: whenever a government compromises its nation's integrity for the sake of another nation, or the subjects of another nation, it's acting from the supranationalist premise. In so doing, it degrades the interests of its own people, implicitly or explicitly to favor other peoples. It ceases to act as its citizens' delegated agent, and assumes the prerogatives of their owner, who may dispose of their rights and prerogatives as it pleases, without their consent.

Two particularly egregious cases of this are in motion today.

In the Middle East, the Palestinian irredentists of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank are engaged in a particularly bloody civil war. Their quarrel with one another is purely over power. Neither side deserves the support of a decent man; both are committed to the ultimate destruction of Israel. If Israel's statesmen regarded themselves as the servants of Israel rather than its masters, they would seize this opportunity to perfect the quarantine of the Palestinian zones. They would cease all quasi-diplomatic intercourse with the Palestinians "for the duration," a period of convenient elasticity. They certainly wouldn't look for guidance to the supranational United Nations or European Union, both of which have displayed uncompromising hostility toward Israel for many years. But the Olmert government is behaving in precisely the opposite way, attempting to conciliate and buttress Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah faction in the hope that it will prevail and reach a peace accord with Israel in the aftermath. This is like taking sides in a knife fight between murderers; the only decent course is to root for both sides to lose.

Here in the West, we have the spectacle of a majority of our Congressmen and Senators, and our president himself, bowing to the demands of our neighbor to the south that we not fortify our mutual border. Legislation from 2006 mandates a border fence, but there's been little funding provided for it and little to no work on it. The disproportionate participation of illegal aliens in felony crimes is widely known, yet there've been scant efforts to impede the movement or employment of illegal aliens already in our land. The infamous immigration reform bill gestating in Congress even offers a cheap amnesty to the estimated 12 million illegals to whom we're already hosts, conciliating them above 290 million born and naturalized citizens to whom our government is supposedly subordinate.

One can suspect corruption and venality, of course. No doubt they play some part in both cases. But the arguments used to rationalize the objectionable postures are almost explicitly supranationalist. It's the people that matter, not the borders. And anyway, think of the kids.

Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Borders matter because people matter. Borders are important because there must be a limit on every man's responsibilities for others, and on every nation's, too. Every political system binds its citizens in a web of mutual responsibility. Not for everything, but for the really big things commonly delegated to government: the defense of the realm, the maintenance of order in the streets, a common, generally comprehended legal system, and above all the protection of individuals' rights to life, liberty, and honestly acquired property. Israel granted the Palestinians autonomy within their zones, or, as Eric Frank Russell once put it, "the right to go to Hell in their own fashion." Now that they've chosen their course, they should be allowed to follow it to its conclusion, out of respect not only for their right to do so, but the right of Israelis not to be involved in it. Likewise, America did not agree to shelter or employ the whole world. If our borders were better secured, not only would our streets be safer, but Mexicans' interest in reforming their own polity would be greatly increased.

Don't say any of that to a supranationalist, though. He'll accuse you of being hard-hearted, a jingoist, possibly a racist. He'll call you an ingrate for spurning the innumerable contributions of undocumented Americans to our great nation, though if these contributions go beyond cheap lawn care and abundant convenience-store clerks, your Curmudgeon has yet to discover it. He'll stride away filled with moral superiority and reinforced in his conviction that we grubby conservatives have nothing of substance to say, and must be re-educated or destroyed.

Be not afraid to reject the supranationalist premise. Be very afraid of what might follow in supranationalism's train. Its advocates are mobilized as never before. Their agenda goes well beyond what's currently under discussion. We shall see.

No-Comment-Required Dept.

It could not be put better than Peter Morici does it here:

In the wake of the financial collapse, the Democrats took full control of both the Congress and the Presidency in 2009 and were presented with an historic opportunity to put their ideas into practice. Unfortunately, the newly elected President Obama and Speaker Pelosi treated the situation as a political opportunity to build a Democratic majority rather than an obligation to fix what’s broken in the economy.

Shrewdly, President Obama cobbled together a broader Democratic coalition by delivering to women free health care services, to Hispanics amnesty for young adults, to younger folks overly generous student loans, to teachers and civil servants subsidies to protect their jobs, to labor unions a rebuke of Simpson-Bowles recommendation that the retirement age be raised, and to his political friends generous subsidies for solar panels, windmills and other whimsical projects. Meanwhile, he cut defense, raised taxes on small businesses, and imposed unproductive regulations on manufacturing.

No surprise, the revolution of the takers has instigated a strike among the makers. Rather than be slaves -- yoked under burdensome taxes, regulations and endless hectoring from the Left -- small banks aren’t lending but instead are looking to sell out to the Wall Street barons who financed the President’s rise to power. Small businesses are not expanding, and multinational corporations are taking factories and jobs to China and other Asian venues where genuine enterprise and capitalism, paradoxically, is supported.

Please read the whole thing, and ponder especially deeply Morici's overall assessment:

No one can accuse the Democrats of being the party of personal responsibility.

Say it loud, Mr. Morici. Say it loud.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Courting Calamity Dept.

I hadn't planned to post anything today -- too busy straining to complete Freedom's Scion in time to get it to my worthy editrix Kelly -- but some news items cannot and must not be ignored:

An app dubbed the "Boyfriend Trainer," available in both iTunes and Android stores, is raising a few eyebrows among users.

"Boyfriend Trainer " encourages users to "crack that whip and teach your guy a thing or two," adding, "When scolding doesn't work, just zap him, whack him and train him to be your ideal man!"

The player, depicted as the "girlfriend," advances in the game by physically attacking the "boyfriend" when he does something wrong, like looking at other women.

One customer reviews says, "I hate how this game is so abusive I understand its just a game but kids play this and u don't want this to be an influence on them."

Other reviews praise the game's violent tactics.

"This game is fun I lik to see the boy getting hit by the girl," one user commented.

Let's imagine, just for the sake of argument, that a few impressionable pre-teen girls get hold of this "app" -- Good Lord, how I hate that neologism! -- and absorb from it the "lessons" that:

  • Violence toward one's boyfriend is acceptable if it "improves" him;
  • And it works, too!

Imagine further that later on in life they decide to apply those "lessons." What do you suppose is likely to happen to them as a result? More critically, who do you expect will be blamed for whatever they might suffer?

Call me a cynic, but somehow I don't see "Games2win India," the maker of this vile "app," coming in for any of the odium.

Excuse me for just a moment while I allow the steam to finish pouring out of my ears.

A number of voices have been raised in protest against violent video games. My own take on them is that they probably do very little harm, if any at all, to the attitudes of young folks who enjoy them. The reason is simple: They're deliberately made to be far distant from everyday reality as our kids experience it around them. Their extreme contrast with mundane reality prevents kids from transferring any behavior learned in the process of mastering such games to their everyday interactions with others.

Now let's consider the milieu in which "Boyfriend Trainer" exists:

  • A large segment of the feminist community -- principally the "angry ugly-girl" portion (Duyen Ky) -- actively promotes contempt for men and routine abuse of them by the women in their lives.
  • Such female behavior is frequently depicted in television programs to which our young are exposed every evening.
  • The Zeitgeist of our day incorporates the not-entirely-silent assumption that men ought to defer to women, even prostrate ourselves before them, in penance for past "injustices."
  • Men being men, we do what men find pleasurable and diverting, and resent being chastised for our preferences. In particular, we look at pretty girls automatically and without regard to any intended action toward them.
  • Men being men, we react to aggression by striking back, often with actual intent to wound or kill.

Women are normally safe from violence from the hand of an American man...well, a properly raised Caucasian American man, anyway. We're inhibited against striking our women by a combination of influences, most important among them our conviction that we owe them our protection. But that inhibition can be (and is) weakened by the abuse we receive from the "weaker sex."

(What's that, ladies? You don't like being called weak, or thought of as weak? Pardon my Belgian, but Tough shit. You'd better adjust to reality before it adjusts you right off life's little stage.)

Yet abuse by women of men has risen steadily in recent decades. It's already had significant effects; have a gander at marriage rates for a meaty example. "Boyfriend Trainer" is socioculturally compatible with what our young women see going on around them. It's a nudge toward intensifying the trend already in progress.

And it flirts with the provocation of a backlash that could leave the landscape littered with corpses. Female corpses.

Quite an "app," eh? Going to get it for your twelve-year-old daughter?

In the matter of the "war between the sexes," tensions are approaching a breaking point. The legal and social conditions of our time have persuaded large numbers of American men that women are dangerous: too dangerous to marry; too dangerous to procreate with; too dangerous to have around even for casual sex. It's not a "shooting war," yet, but a society in which the sexes really are hostile to one another -- in which inter-sexual violence is regarded as acceptable or inevitable -- can't possibly have a pleasant future. If that's at all unclear, you might want to make an appointment to see your brain-care specialist.

Parents, guard your children. Guard their minds. You are their only defense.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Rising

I begin to think the hour is upon us...that it's now or never for America as a free society.

It's generally well known that firearms registration is merely a preparatory measure, to enable the State to confiscate firearms from civilians' hands. Indeed, a moment's thought is all that's required to reach that conclusion, as registration has no application to the prevention of crime or the pursuit and conviction of criminals. Yet in the wake of the Sandy Hook atrocity, Dianne Feinstein is screaming for a national gun registry. Andrew Cuomo wants to compel the registration of essentially all semiautomatic rifles. (Indeed, at one point he threatened to confiscate them.) Similar measures have been proposed in both houses of Congress and are getting vocal support from the White House.

Agendas? Several. But none of them pertain to the prevention or deterrence of crimes such as Sandy Hook.

There is not one example in all of history in which a people who have allowed the State to take their weapons from them have remained at all free. Perhaps that's not as well known as it should be. But: would appear that enough Americans know it. Perhaps.

Hearken to Bob Owens about the gun shop he most recently visited:

There were no less than six clerks working feverishly with the dozen or so customers, so I simply stepped to the side and walked the aisles. The cases of ammunition that typically lined the far wall were picked to pieces. There was a 100-round case of .50 BMG, and cases of European shotshells suitable for small game. The .223 Remington, 5.56 NATO, 7.62×39, 7.62 NATO, and 7.62x54R had sold out long ago, along with the bulk 9mm, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP....

They didn’t know when they’d be getting anything back in stock, from magazines to rifles to pistols. Manufacturers were running full-bore, but couldn’t come close to keeping up with market demand. It wasn’t just the AR-15s, the AK-pattern rifles, the M1As, and the FALs that were sold out. It really hit me when I realized that the World War-era M1 Garands , M1 carbines, and Enfield .303s were gone, along with every last shell. Ubiquitous Mosin-Nagants—of which every gun store always seems to have 10-20—were gone. So was their ammo. Only a dust free space marked their passing. I’ve never seen anything like it.

Every weapon of military utility designed within the past 100+ years was gone. This isn’t a society stocking up on certain guns because they fear they may be banned. This is a society preparing for war.

Indeed it is.

The citations above are the sort one would expect to read just before "the balloon goes up." That is, when overt resistance to the myrmidons of the State has been prepared and threatened but not yet actuated. But here in New York state, things are already coming to a boil:

After Democrats in New York rammed a sweeping assault on the right to keep and bear arms through the legislature that failed to exempt police officers from the draconian restrictions, gun owners and even some lawmakers are planning what has been dubbed potentially the largest act of civil disobedience in state history. According to news reports, gun rights activists are urging everyone to defy far-left Governor Andrew Cuomo’s new registration mandate while daring authorities to “come and take it.”

Analysts say the legislation, passed in a frenzy last week in the wake of the Newtown shooting, represents the most brazen infringement on the right to keep and bear arms anywhere in the nation. Among other points, the so-called SAFE Act seeks to limit magazines to just seven bullets, require virtually all of the estimated one million semi-automatic rifles in the state to be registered with authorities, mandate reporting of patients who express indications that they may have thoughts about hurting themselves or others by doctors, and more....

Preparations are already being made for mass resistance. “I’ve heard from hundreds of people that they’re prepared to defy the law, and that number will be magnified by the thousands, by the tens of thousands, when the registration deadline comes,” said President Brian Olesen with American Shooters Supply, among the biggest gun dealers in the state, in an interview with the New York Post.

If New York "authorities" have decided to shrug off such statements, and the objective evidence of their sincerity, they're in for a very unpleasant surprise.

Si pacem vis, para bellum, as the Romans said -- and despite our "progressive" reputation, the people of New York are uncommonly well prepared.

In an absolute sense, vanishingly few people "want war." Vanishingly few people actually seek to incite or take part in mass lethal violence. Even the most ardent soldier, who claims always to want to be "where the action is," is unlikely to relish hot-lead combat for its own sake; he's far more likely to prefer action, and the sense that he's doing the job he's been trained for, to the tedium of the barracks.

But few of our preferences are appropriately judged acontextually. Certain desserts, Harvey's Bristol Cream, and the pleasures of the flesh excepted, we don't value things apart from the context in which we must find them. That is, we prefer this to that, where either this or that will be forced upon us. In this recognition lies the great danger to which the would-be gun-controllers have subjected America:

We love peace, but not peace at any price. There is a peace more destructive of the manhood of living man, than war is destructive to his body. Chains are worse than bayonets. -- Douglas Jerrold

The rising has begun. It may seem furtive, even bashful, if you aren't attuned to what America's patriots have been saying to one another. But it has begun.

Pray that it won't need to go any further than a show of force.

Monday, January 28, 2013


If I chose, I could write voluminously about several purely political subjects this morning. The weekend news was unusually rich in directions for exposition. But today I have a somewhat more important topic in mind than any matter of public policy.

Yup. Vampires.

First, the most basic of the basics: Vampires don't exist. They can't. The way the creature is defined is inconsistent with the fundamental needs of a species that would endure for many generations. I've used that observation in a short story, in fact.

Second: Vampire-centric fiction is at an all-time high in popularity. It seems primarily aimed at teenaged girls, but it's flying off the shelves at such a rate that its fan base is surely wider than just the double-X / pre-driver's-license set. That's worth a few moments' thought.

Third: Writers of fiction, both conventional and indie, have flocked to the vampire genre -- given the way the bloodsuckers are portrayed so frequently as innocents, even heroes, I refuse to call it horror -- in remarkable numbers. Most probably just hope to slurp down a ladleful or two of the gravy before the train reaches the terminal. However, some appear to think the milieu is inherently worthy regardless of the trend in consumption.

For my part, I avoid it. I've written one vampire-centric story, titled "Class Action." If you have the inclination, you can read it for free at Smashwords. I used the vampire motif as a vehicle for exploration of a fundamental idea about justice; I won't spoil the story for you by revealing it here.

However, I consider the vampire-fiction fad an important sociological indicator. It harmonizes with an observation of Mark Steyn's, from his book After America: that when our exterior opportunities for exploration and advancement are foreclosed, we naturally turn to the interior sort. And what "interior" landscape exhibits more commercial potential, at least for the moment, than fiction about vampires, good or bad, heroes or villains, sparkly (Stephenie Meyer) or splatty (Larry Correia)?

I had a brief exchange of thoughts with SF and military-fiction writer Tom Kratman over the weekend, concerning the pseudo-science that characterizes most science fiction. As a former physicist, I tend to agonize over such things in my own stories. Tom doesn't let them trouble him. He said, most memorably, that he writes specifically to illuminate eternal verities. The rest is just the required scaffolding.

Now, Tom is far more forthright and much less influenced by others' opinions than most professional writers. A typical pro writer would approach a statement of intentions that important far more delicately, so as not to risk alienating any portion of his fan base. Indeed, most would rather change the subject completely; to speak of one's innermost motivations for writing fiction is to bare an unusually vulnerable region of the soul.

The matter becomes even riskier and more complex when one considers that the reader base for most SF, fantasy, and horror is top-heavy with younger persons: teenagers and the youngest adults. To speak to such persons of eternal truths is to risk being snorted aside as an old fuddy-duddy "who thinks he knows better than we do." Serious threat to one's income, there.

HOT FLASH TO THE YOUNGER SET: We old farts do know better than you wet-behind-the-ears types. About damned near everything that really matters, too. Yes, even those of us who drove nails, taxis, or dump trucks for our livings. We've got the scars to prove it.

But let's get back to the subject of fiction. If one seeks to illuminate eternal verities -- and please don't mistake me; that's my intent as a storyteller just as much as Tom's -- why set our stories in fantastic realms that do not (and probably cannot) exist? Why not ground them in the mundane world with which we're all familiar? Wouldn't it be a lot less work?

Heh, heh, heh!

Long ago, the late John Brunner set down two overarching rules of storytelling that must be honored in the creation of worthwhile fiction of any sort:

  1. The raw material of fiction is people.
  2. The essence of story is change.

"People" don't necessarily have to be homo sapiens terrestrialis. They can be as non-human or trans-human as you like, provided only that they exhibit the indispensable characteristics of limited sentient creatures under the veil of Time:

  • Each individual must have a bounded personal identity and a sense thereof;
  • He must have individual desires not yet fulfilled, and individual vulnerabilities that cannot be perfectly insulated from unpleasant developments;
  • His power to act on his desires, fears, and beliefs must be limited.

A character coextensive with the entire universe is unworkable. An omnipotent or invulnerable character is essentially uninteresting. The comic-book industry has known all that for many decades.

But this notion of mandatory change deserves some explication, as well. If the Marquee characters are the same, in terms of motivations and values, at the end of the story as they were at the outset, it will fail to satisfy. Things must happen that drive at least some of them to change in emotionally significant ways.

The absence of emotionally significant change is why soulless adventures such as the "Doc Savage" and "Lensman" stories are so forgettable. The challenges those protagonists face don't result in any alteration to their motivations or values. As some wag whose name I've misplaced once said, Kimball Kinnison would be infinitely more interesting if he'd just catch a cold now and then.

But Brunner's Laws give the necessary elements of a story. A story can possess them yet remain unsatisfying. It can be unoriginal, or blandly plotted, or too derivative, or unrealistically unbalanced toward hero or villain. Any of those flaws can cause the reader to toss the thing aside without finishing it.

But a story can exhibit an even worse failing than those: It can be fatally false-to-fact. That is, it can contradict the laws of the universe reflected in the nature of Man.

And with that we come to the eternal verities.

We call certain truths eternal verities because they've always been true, in all places and times. They cannot be false, because they arise from human nature, which, if it changes at all, does so very slowly. As long as men are what we are, the eternal verities will remain utterly trustworthy.

Despite that, which seems to me so obvious as not even to require saying, there are any number of persons who disbelieve one or more of the eternal verities -- and who'd prefer for reasons of their own that you disbelieve them, too. Some of them put a lot of work into trying to convince us that there are exceptions to one or more of the eternal verities.

Every writer of fiction is in some sense a polemicist, though some are more consciously so than others. If a writer's story is worthy, it's because it not only entertains the reader but edifies him as well. That is, he has used his story to illustrate how the eternal verities operate in an inherently interesting, challenging situation. A story that merely entertains without illuminating some core truth about Man and his societies is what the C.S.O. calls "mindless entertainment:" however diverting it might be, it will have no enduring place in the reader's memory or affections.

Most persons indulge in mindless entertainment from time to time. (Real Housewives and Millionaire Matchmaker, anyone?) But we get nothing out of it apart from a brief distraction from our more important concerns. It's rest for the brain, at best. An intelligent reader will want more -- and the more intelligent he is, the more he'll enjoy a serious challenge to his imagination in the process of getting it.

There's a profound irony here. A sound story will illuminate one or more of the eternal verities. It's an element as necessary as a cast of characters: the "steak" of the fictional product. But the entertainment value of the story will arise from how cleverly and imaginatively the writer casts the conflicts that envelop his protagonists: the "sizzle" that will draw the reader into the tale, and will cause him to seek out that writer's works in the future. Though he would spurn a writer who failed to provide a goodly portion of "steak," the intelligent reader becomes a fan of a particular writer almost entirely because of the "sizzle."

And we who write are fully aware of it.

I've written elsewhere about a writer's ethical duties, and also about the power of fiction to promote ideas. A writer must be passionate about any ideas he seeks to promote, or his fictions will be insipid. But passion about the "steak" must come secondary to craft about the "sizzle," or his stories will not be read. And a great part of the effectiveness of the most effective polemic stories arises from the imagination their creator brought to them.

One of the earliest important polemic novels, Edward Bellamy's Looking Backward, was proto-science fiction. The ideas Bellamy promulgated were wrong -- tragically so -- but he attained a wide readership nonetheless, because he dared to write imaginatively, about a future time whose divergences from his present rendered it interesting to the reader. Similarly, Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, arguably the premier polemic fiction of the post-World War II decades, imaginatively placed its protagonists and conflicts in a future -- for Rand and her earliest readers -- unimagined by most Americans of the Fifties and Sixties. (That's it's largely come to pass today is irrelevant for our purposes.) The "sizzle" in those books was sufficient to draw the reader in, make him commit to the stories and their conflicts, and follow them to the end.

Polemic fiction will just about always be genre fiction: SF, fantasy, supernatural, military, what-have-you. That's where the most imaginative and passionate writers spend their efforts, for two reasons:

  • The promise of a particular kind of "sizzle" tends to draw in the most intellectually active and flexible readers;
  • The writer can pose fresh, original challenges to his characters that will, nonetheless, cast new light on one or more eternal truths.

The vitality of genre fiction derives in large measure from its use as a dual vehicle: for entertainment and ideas both. Just about any of the genres -- that is, apart from the dreary "literary" category -- will serve both purposes for a determined writer with the necessary imagination and technical chops. Why, it might even be possible in vampire fiction...though not, I dare say, in the sort that's being vended to teenaged girls today.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Economic Recovery?

If many of you dear readers, like this writer, have been paying attention to the "mainstream" media recently you have heard that the US economy is in a slow but steady "recovery" from the financial crisis of 2007-2009. This drumbeat includes the recent data proving that the housing market has begun to rebound as evidenced by an increase in the prices of existing single family dwellings.

Our own experience here in west Georgia seems to refute such an assertion. Vacant homes in many residential neighborhoods in this area approaches 1 in 5 (20%). Two strip malls consisting of a dozen retail shops each which were completed in late 2009 and early 2010 remain completely vacant to this day with a recent sign at one of them announcing "free rent". (click on above image to enlarge)

Members of our family who have recently fled California with cash in hand have attempted to purchase at least a dozen properties listed "for sale" only to be advised by the agents that the properties are "under contract". Investigation has revealed that all of the properties are in the process of being transferred to the ownership of this or that limited liability corporation (L.L.C.).
...[W]hat’s fuelling the soft rebound in the U.S. housing market and home prices is something that’s never happened in our history. It’s not individuals buying houses who are moving prices and demand higher; it’s institutions. Yes, big institutional investors are buying houses—and in a big way!
The Blackstone Group L.P. (NYSE/BX) bought $2.5 billion worth of U.S. homes—that’s 16,000 units in total so far, with cash! In October of 2012, the company owned $1.5 billion worth of homes and was spending $100 million a week to purchase more! (Source: Bloomberg, January 9, 2013.)
Other companies like the Colony Capital LLC and Waypoint Homes are taking similar courses of action as the home prices increase. Colony Capital has already purchased 5,500 homes since April of 2012 and expects its investments to increase to $1.5 billion by the end of this year. Waypoint Homes has bought 2,500 home and plans to have a total of 10,000 homes by the end of 2013.
Indeed, a neighboring single family residence selling for $210,000 in 2007 and which stood vacant for 3 years after being abandoned by its resident owner was occupied a year ago by a "minority" single mother of three minor children whose rent is subsidized by the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development under Section 8.

As soon as the emerging glut in rental properties results in a lack of return to these corporate investors and the federal subsidies end as a result of the "Great Default", the fecal matter will definitely encounter the rotating ventilating device. I suggest that you gentle readers refuse to surrender your "personal defense" weapons. You may need them.


Saturday, January 26, 2013

If You Still Believe

This is something of a coda to Anesthetizing The Conscience, below. The core of that piece has struck me ever more powerfully since I wrote it, because it expresses the key to political victory for the forces of right:

Compelling the forces of darkness to cast off all pretense and express their ultimate premises where everyone must deal with them.

I can't think of a worthier purely political undertaking than exposing those premises...but there's a precondition: to persevere in doing so, and to do so effectively, you must believe that the purely political means -- speaking, arguing, writing, debating, voting, and the like -- might still be sufficient to win the day and save the Republic.

Do you still believe?

My own belief has wavered in recent years. It often seems to me that the Left has established exactly those conditions in which the majority of Americans will support the continuation and intensification of government-mediated evil despite their clear and unambiguous knowledge that it is evil.

Such persons would avert their eyes from evil in their midst.
They would refrain from coming to the aid of those it assaults.
They would align with it when it appeared to offer personal advantages.
They would rationalize it as "inevitable," and not stay to answer objectors.
And the worst of them would vote for its proponents without any moral qualms.

How many are they? That's the critical question. Are there enough such passive enablers and active supporters of evil to foreordain the defeat of the Right? If it doesn't require a majority to entrench them immovably, how many would it require -- and are we yet beset by a force of that size?

But those are questions about objective circumstances. Perhaps the more important question is about the subjective aspects of the situation:

Do enough of us in the Right still believe in the justice of our cause to press onward despite the appearance of overwhelming opposition?

If you still believe, how many persons known to you personally do as well? Of those who don't, are their reasons objective or subjective?

I can only write these essays on those occasions when I can persuade myself that speaking out as I do might yet matter, even in some microscopic degree. To go on, I must persuade myself that non-violent methods still have a chance of prevailing over the forces of the Left. I must do so rather frequently, these days.

Yet I still believe, at least some of the time. I still cherish a hope that Americans' consciences can be awakened to the evil being perpetrated upon us -- the evil we've tolerated. I return repeatedly to the great voices of freedom, searching for a way to use their insights to strengthen my puny effect upon the political landscape. And now and then, as with the admission cited in Anesthetizing The Conscience, I find myself thinking that our enemies might yet be induced to commit the error of hubris and make a fatal admission of their true agenda.

I believe it's possible when a Mary Elizabeth Williams states the pro-death premise in plain English.
I believe it's possible when an Amy Richards admits to aborting two of her three unborn triplets so she "won't have to shop at Wal-Mart."
I believe it's possible when a presidential appointee states that her favorite philosopher is unparalleled mass murderer Mao Tse-Tung.
I believe it's possible when a presidential appointee is shown to have supported putting sterilants into the water supply.
I believe it's possible when a Scandinavian "ecologist" argues for Stalinism to stop economic growth and reduce the human population.
I believe it's possible when a presidential candidate supports abortion on demand because he wouldn't want to see his daughter "punished with a baby."

And I hold on to that belief as long as I possibly can.

All the same, there are days it's harder than usual for me to believe. Our enemies are clever, adroit at evading the bald statement of their core premises. They excel at manipulating the public discourse, striving always to see that whatever's being discussed is discussed in their preferred lexicon, according to their preferred terms of admissibility. They've succeeded in enlisting the support of the Main Stream Media, a mighty engine even in these days of its decline. And the political machine behind them is unequalled for ruthlessness and amorality, anywhere in the West.

At times, in awareness of all that, I cease to believe. I find myself praying for surcease before the last darkness falls upon us.

The hour has grown dark. If we are to continue on, we must hold fast to our conviction that victory is possible without bloodshed. More to the point, we must reassure one another that we are not few, but many...that no one among us needs to feel alone.

Leonidas's Spartans could hold Thermopylae with a few hundred men. But they were willing to kill without restraint and to give their lives to the last man to see to it. Those are not the conditions for political perseverance, but for the "last stand," the ultimate act of defiance demanded of us because, as Churchill put it, it is better to die free, fighting to the last for a lost cause knowing that it's lost, than to live on as slaves.

Please, please, please: help an old man to hold fast to the hope of victory. Believe. More important still, speak and act as if you believe. Encourage and support one another. Compromise on nothing. Fly the colors of right, justice, and individual liberty fearlessly and proudly.

For as long as the political battle lasts:
No quarter!
No prisoners!
And no mercy!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Inadequacies of the classical liberal theory of government.

Schmitt's The Crisis of Parliamentary Democracy was first published in 1923.* In this work, Schmitt described the dysfunctional workings of the Weimar parliamentary system. He regarded this dysfunction as symptomatic of the inadequacies of the classical liberal theory of government. According to this theory as Schmitt interpreted it, the affairs of states are to be conducted on the basis of open discussion between proponents of competing ideas as a kind of empirical process. Schmitt contrasted this idealized view of parliamentarianism with the realities of its actual practice, such as cynical appeals by politicians to narrow self-interests on the part of constituents, bickering among narrow partisan forces, the use of propaganda and symbolism rather than rational discourse as a means of influencing public opinion, the binding of parliamentarians by party discipline, decisions made by means of backroom deals, rule by committee and so forth.[1]
As an example of our failure – one among countless others, as you well know – consider how in the last election the candidate of a major political party failed to raise the issues of Obama's constitutional eligibility for the office of president and the obvious forgery of Obama's birth certificate. These are important issues and susceptible of discussion in a straightforward manner using concepts that are easily understood.

For example, are "citizen" and "natural born Citizen" synonymous? What did "natural born citizen" mean to the drafters and ratifiers of the Constitution? Do we wish to be bound by a government of laws or of men who can change the meaning of terms in the Constitution when it is convenient for them to do so, when whim calls for change, or when narrow, selfish interest calls for change? Would the concept of "natural born citizen" have prevented what we have now – a usurper with a parent who was a polygamist, a communist, a Muslim, and someone who can't be bothered to salute when the national anthem is being played?

Similarly, it's a simple question to ask if (1) there are what are called "layers" in the document purporting to be a truthful record of Obama’s birth and connection to Hawaii that was posted on the internet by Obama and (2) there are lines drawn in that document that could only have been done in a computer graphics program that happens not to have been in existence at the time of Obama’s year of birth?

So we see that fundamental questions vital to the health of this country -- that likes to think of itself as blessed by American "exceptionalism" and as the epitome of classical liberal government – were ignored. Completely.

Who decides what we are worthy to hear during our elections? And what is left of the magnificent experiment started in Philadelphia? I know. If anything has gone wrong, it must have been perverted by fundamentalist Christians, gun nuts, racists, greedy corporations, drooling haters, and rich people.

Now that we know this, can't we please get back to the serious business of politicians pissing away the wealth of the people and stealing their liberties?

[1] "Carl Schmitt (Part II). The Concept of the Political." By Keith Preston, Alternative Right, 8/31/10 (emphasis added).

The New Lexicon

Since the unpleasantness last month in Newtown, Connecticut, our rulers and their myrmidons in the media, never wanting to allow a crisis to be "wasted" are all atwitter over the possibility of further voiding the second amendment to the Constitution by outlawing "assault" weapons. Indeed, the Vampire state in an apparent trifecta race with Kalifornia and Illinois has won first place by enacting a comprehensive attack on the ownership by mere mundanes of so called "assault" rifles including the AR 15 and all weapons of the Kilashnakov design. These scary appearing rifles, while having no functional distinction from ordinary semiautomatic weaponry are considered by our "Progressive" bettors to be evil by virtue of their "military style" and are therefore officially designated as "assault" weapons.

On the other-hand, the Department of Homeland Security via the General Services Administration has issued a solicitation for bids to supply 7000 "Personal Defense Weapons" for members of the Immigration & Customs Enforcement bureau. The weapons to be delivered are described as AR-15 platform rifles but containing the option of a selector switch enabling them to fire as either semiautomatic or full automatic as in machine gun.

Please note, gentle reader, that our government defines these items as "Personal Defense Weapons" whereas the version of this rifle sans the full automatic capability in the possession of an ordinary citizen is defined by the same government as an "assault weapon".

You simply can't make this shit up.

HT/ Steve McGough


First define the problem.

The "Occupy" movement consists of economic ignoramuses who fail to understand that the banks’ dirty tricks, which they rightly deplore, are possible only because there is a state-licensed central bank that acts as a “lender of last resort,” and that the current financial crisis therefore is not a crisis of capitalism but a crisis of statism.
"Obsessed by Megalomania." By Hans-Hermann Hoppe, Mises Daily, 1/10/13.

Anesthetizing The Conscience

It had to happen. Someone on the pro-death Left simply had to make this argument explicit, sooner or later:

The “life” conversation is often too a thorny one to even broach. Yet I know that throughout my own pregnancies, I never wavered for a moment in the belief that I was carrying a human life inside of me. I believe that’s what a fetus is: a human life. And that doesn’t make me one iota less solidly pro-choice....

Here’s the complicated reality in which we live: All life is not equal. That’s a difficult thing for liberals like me to talk about, lest we wind up looking like death-panel-loving, kill-your-grandma-and-your-precious-baby storm troopers. Yet a fetus can be a human life without having the same rights as the woman in whose body it resides. She’s the boss. Her life and what is right for her circumstances and her health should automatically trump the rights of the non-autonomous entity inside of her. Always....

When we try to act like a pregnancy doesn’t involve human life, we wind up drawing stupid semantic lines in the sand – first trimester abortion vs. second trimester vs. late term, dancing around the issue trying to decide if there’s a single magic moment when a fetus becomes a person. Are you human only when you’re born? Only when you’re viable outside of the womb? Are you less of a human life when you look like a tadpole than when you can suck on your thumb?...

But we make choices about life all the time in our country. We make them about men and women in other countries. We make them about prisoners in our penal system. We make them about patients with terminal illnesses and accident victims. We still have passionate debates about the justifications of our actions as a society, but we don’t have to do it while being bullied around by the vague idea that if you say we’re talking about human life, then the jig is up, rights-wise.

[Applause to Sister Toldjah for the citation.]

Mind you, this is only what the pro-death crowd already believes: "We make choices about [human] life all the time." If it's okay to go to war in a just cause, or to execute a convicted mass murderer, or to take a brain-dead patient off life-support, or to attend to one accident victim before another, then it should be quite all right to kill an innocent unborn baby whose prospects for life are as yet uncompromised and unblemished!

As you read these words, Aristotle is rotating in his grave fast enough to power all of Europe.

There is nothing quite as appalling as the rationalization of evil on entirely specious grounds...nothing non-violent, at any rate. But such rationales present a great advantage to those of us who want to refute them: Once they've been made explicit, they can be shredded as completely as they deserve.

BLINDING FLASH OF THE OBVIOUS WARNING: When a proponent of an evil position makes such an argument, he's attempting to serve a covert agenda: an evil covert agenda. As Ayn Rand put it most memorably:

"When men fall for some piece of vicious insanity, with no way to make it work and no reason to explain their choice -- it's because they have a reason they do not wish to tell."

Evil covert agendas aren't all the same. Some are merely personal and selfish. Others are about the exercise of power over others.

Some time ago, I wrote about the Left's anti-life checklist:

  • Abortion without restrictions.
  • Assisted suicide.
  • Involuntary euthanasia of those deemed untreatable or having "no quality of life."
  • Compulsory surrender of the organs of the deceased for transplantation.
  • Creation of embryos for research and therapeutic purposes.
  • Government-enforced "triage" to conserve medical and financial resources.
  • Compulsory acceptance of specified therapies.
  • Procreation licenses.
  • Government eugenics programs:
    • At first, as subsidies to couples with favored genetic characteristics;
    • Later, as compulsory donations of gametes for use in government-supervised breeding programs.
  • Conscription for military purposes.
  • Conscription for non-military purposes.

Peruse the items on that list. Ponder which of them are already upon us, and which are nearing reality. Then ask yourself, "How many of those measures would Mary Elizabeth Williams, the author of the Salon article, be willing to defend?"

I'd venture that she'd get behind the majority of them: perhaps all but one or two. Her support for unrestricted abortion might be grounded in pure selfish desire not to have her slutteries "punished with a baby" [Barack Hussein Obama], but the underlying premises that make support for unrestricted abortion possible would also support all the other positions in that list.

The core premise behind all such positions must be stated baldly to such persons:

Human life has no intrinsic value;
A human being has no intrinsic rights.

It must be stated baldly to them because then they must either defend it or back away from it. As they cannot defend it without putting their own lives at risk, they immediately reveal the insincerity in their absurd defenses of unrestricted abortion, embryonic stem cell research, and so on.

That's how one puts the merchants of death -- retail or wholesale -- to rout.

It's possible that Miss Williams didn't originate the argument she advanced in her article. She might have been given it as a "talking point" by someone higher up the chain of command in the Left's death cult. Indeed, most Americans who willingly advance such noxious nonsense received the "logic" as a gift from someone else. There aren't that many clever folks on the Left.

However, the point of Williams's argument, whoever might have originated it, isn't to convince. It serves the Left's need to anesthetize the uneasy consciences of its followers about the evil they promote.

It has another point, as well: to bludgeon the opposition with an ancient rhetorical tactic. The classical Greek debaters called that tactic "Many Questions:" to assail the opponent with so many semi-relevant and irrelevant questions posed so swiftly that he loses the thread of the argument and thus, the coherence of his statements.

We who cherish innocent human life must endure such storms and remain focused on the key to the argument: the refutation of the Left's core premise. Now that it's on open display, voluntarily advanced by someone who claims to hold it sincerely, our task should be easier than ever.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Fun Forgotten Fact About Obama

There's been some buzz here about Obama lately, and I just had one thought about it.

I live rock throwing distance from Chicago. I moved a short distance away in his first term. So I've heard a few things, I guess.

What people don't seem to understand is that Obama is not a Chicago politician. He is a failed Chicago politician. The whole reason why he was sent with love to the Democratic Leadership is because Chicago doesn't want him.

Now, I'm not talking necessarily about the plebes. He gets big enough crowds that he probably has some fans. They aren't very happy fans, but they show up in enough numbers to crush someone unwise in the ways of crowd navigation. Don't worry, I learned quick.  I was there once (by chance) during one of his appearances, and wound up standing on a lamp post to avoid being crushed by the movement of random people. And I'm not tall, FWIW.

What was interesting is that even then his own people don't like him. He doesn't seem to represent his own voters interests so much as those who control him. I really don't think it's the Chicago crowd that does. The USA can collapse as far as they are concerned. Just as long as the snow gets cleared, the trash gets taken out, and the bribes keep coming-- Foggy Bottom could explode and they wouldn't care.  Much.

In case you are wondering why Chicago did not want Obama, it's not the obvious. Part of the "problem" is that the folks here talk like liberals (and spend excess money on programs to prove it) but are basically pragmatists. Nothing sticks around if it doesn't work.

But, if you take a short tour of history, or take a walk in downtown, and see the Chicago Public Library-- why, it is a monument to why Chicago doesn't want Obama.  His name is Washington. Not George, but Mayor Harold Washington.  He was a charismatic speaker (much  more engaging than Obama) a "generous" spender who made all sorts of grand gestures--many of which went nowhere.  Though I will grant that he was less racially polarizing than Obama, and did use his position to improve things. Though perhaps not always in the most effective way. But he did try.

Strikes were rampant, crime was out of control, he didn't grease the right palms, and before you knew it Chicago was at a stand-still. Then the snows came, and people were crushed and stranded under piles of snow-- but no one would clear it. The powers that be swore "never again," and they mean it.

 Like Mayor Young from Detroit, no one will say an ill word about the man. People were shocked that is Rahm Emanuel made it in-- but word has it they voted him in so that if Obama lost the election they could send him packing back to Springfield.

Some days I'm convinced he became president because certain powers that be lured him away from being Mayor.  It's a nice demonstration about how much the Chicago Machine could care less about the District of Columbia, right?

Vision Or Visions?

"To see you must have vision." -- Gregory Benford, Timescape

The inauguration is behind us. As some other wag has already said, the good news is that the historic, transformative, and wholly obnoxious presidency of Barack Hussein Obama is now more than half over. The bad news is that that's all of the good news.

Four years of Obamunism have brought disaster after disaster upon these United States. Yet most Americans who oppose this president's policies and the outlook that informs them have not yet made a fundamental decision: about what they believe Obama's true allegiances to be. The inability to settle on a conclusion makes it difficult to see his various moves as strokes toward a definite end state.

To be fair, there are several possibilities, all of which find some support in Obama's actions to date:

  • Massive redistribution in the name of "social justice;"
  • An enduring European-style welfare state;
  • An oligarchic American social-fascist state;
  • A totalitarian system like the old Soviet Union;
  • A simple personal dictatorship.

Depending on your political proclivities, Gentle Reader, you might see one or two of those destinations as innocent of motive. (No, I don't, but then everybody already knows what an unreconstructable old dinosaur I am.) That's an important cleavage all by itself, for it couples to the mindset of the man: what he really believes about fundamental political concepts such as freedom and individual rights, and whom he might deem his adversaries...or his enemies.

Time was, we spoke of enemies in the political sense as persons who hold ideologies or policy convictions to be defeated legislatively or electorally. But we should know from history that there's another possible interpretation.

Mongol General: We have won again. That is good! But what is best in life?
Mongol Warrior: The open steppe, fleet horse, falcon on your wrist, wind in your hair!
Mongol General: Wrong! Conan, what is best in life?
Conan: To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women!
Mongol General: That is good.

[John Milius, screenplay for Conan the Barbarian]

I've used that quote more times than I can remember: never as a statement of personal conviction, but as a summation of a particular personality type. My own conviction is more in line with that of Robert A. Heinlein's Lazarus Long character:

Your enemy is never a villain in his own eyes. Keep this in mind; it may offer a way to make him your friend. If not, you can kill him without hate—and quickly. [from Time Enough For Love]

...qualified by C. S. Lewis's trenchant description of the Exception:

Then he remembers -- as one remembers an island of consciousness precded and followed by long anaesthesia -- going forward to meet the Un-man for what seemed the thousandth time and knowing clearly that he could not fight any more. He remembers seeing the Enemy for a moment looking not like Weston but like a mandrill, and realising almost at once that this was delirium. He wavered. Then an experience that perhaps no good man can ever have in our world came over him—a torrent of perfectly unmixed and lawful hatred. The energy of hating, never before felt without some guilt, without some dim knowledge that he was failing fully to distinguish the sinner from the sin, rose into his arms and legs till he felt that they were pillars of burning blood. What was before him appeared no longer a creature of corrupted will. It was corruption itself, to which will was attached only as an instrument. Ages ago it had been a Person: but the ruins of personality now survived in it only as weapons at the disposal of a furious self-exiled negation. It is perhaps difficult to understand why this filled Ransom not with horror but with a kind of joy. The joy came from finding at last what hatred was made for. As a boy with an axe rejoices on finding a tree, or a boy with a box of coloured chalks rejoices on finding a pile of perfectly white paper, so he rejoiced in the perfect congruity between his emotion and its object. [from Perelandra]

But this is only prefatory to the key question: Whom or what does Barack Hussein Obama hate, if anyone or anything?

He's treated the Constitution of the United States like a palimpsest upon which to write his own preferences. He's treated his political opponents like objects deserving of contempt. He's treated individuals' rights as obstacles to be surmounted rather than as moral absolutes to be protected regardless of his preferences. Indeed, if there's anyone or anything Obama unqualifiedly respects, I can't put a name to him or it.

What sort of vision of his place in the universe does all that imply? And what would that vision suggest about Obama's ultimate intentions toward his political adversaries?

When an admirer asked the newly inaugurated Abraham Lincoln whether he planned to destroy his enemies, Lincoln replied "I destroy my enemies when I make them my friends." Despite all he endured as president during the Civil War, he seems to have maintained that attitude to the very last.

Just how much of Lincoln, to whom he so loves to parallel himself, is there in Barack Hussein Obama?

Other commentators have spilled gallons of ink on the implications of Obama's upbringing and associations: his parents' Marxism; his childhood intimacy with noted Communist Frank Marshall Davis; his adult involvements with various socialist organizations and with terrorists Bill Ayres and Bernardine Dohrn; and his willingness to put persons of openly Marxist convictions in high federal offices. These things are indeed suggestive of a pre-formed, well annealed Marxist ideology. But a man can hold an ideology that puts him sharply at odds with others without hating those others, or the premises or principles they hold. He can maintain a belief in its practical superiority untainted by an assumption of moral elevation.

However, the trend in left-of-center politics is exactly the opposite: its allegiants overwhelmingly prefer to believe that their politics is a moral vision, and that those who dissent from their view are fatally morally deficient: evil. Refer to the C.S. Lewis citation in the previous section for the attitude towards their adversaries that naturally engenders.

Barack Hussein Obama's rhetoric and his chosen tactics suggest that he is of that ilk. His is not a pragmatic vision, but a moral crusade fueled by righteous (lefteous? wrongteous?) wrath. He's not intelligent enough to be aware of his attitude's necessary implications...even though he advances toward their most extreme possible consequences with every step he takes.

I am persuaded that this is a man who hates his adversaries -- who would command the Army to fire on American citizens, if resistance to his regime were to become macroscopic and overt. He and his cat's-paws unleash all the furies at their command upon anyone who dares to criticize him. One cannot oppose Obama without being relegated to the legions of the damned.

Cathleen Falsani: Do you believe in sin?
Obama: Yes.
Falsani: What is sin?
Obama: Being out of alignment with my values.

[Interview in the Chicago Sun-Times, March, 2004]

To sum up: Obama's policy directions, overt and covert, are not separable visions of incremental improvements in the United States. They flow from a unitary vision of the American Constitutional system as irremediably immoral, and of his own moral posture as unchallengeably correct. He extends those precepts to the opponents of his vision: these are at best beneath contempt, and possibly innately evil. They deserve no consideration. Their immolation in the fires of his wrath would at worst constitute collateral damage of persons dubiously salvageable by extensive mandatory re-education.

I was right. You really can't listen to me. You are so sure of your sight. Your villains and heroes are all so terribly clear to you, and I am obviously one of the villains. God save you from your vision, Mr. Burns.

[From Herb Gardner's play A Thousand Clowns.]

And may God save us from the vision of Barack Hussein Obama.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Criminally idiotic descendants.

Which is to say, . . . us.
Any [Western] order that takes its laws from savages will be an order of savages, no matter how urbane and cultured the men and women who have chosen to act as their international representatives, while pretending to be ours, are. The world order envisioned by 19th Century Europeans is now [in] a secret negotiation between their criminally idiotic descendants, who still go to all the right schools, and a mob of savages and their oil-rich patrons. Their global order is not taking us to the 22nd Century, but back to the 7th Century, and of all the things that they owe us, the least of them is to be honest about that.

Leftist Anti-Americanism has revealed itself to be Post-Americanism and Post-Americanism is nothing more than savages making laws by burning and killing things. And our Anti-American and Post-American elites had better start explaining to us why being governed by Salafi savages is a moral improvement over Americanism and they had better do a good job with that explanation because the American people are watching.

Laws are given by the conquerors to the conquered and the conquerors today are not the European colonialists, but a new wave of Muslim colonialists spreading across the world. The failure of the European chattering classes to deal with this simple reality, rather than celebrating the local version of that colonialism as cultural enrichment, while condemning any criticism of it as racism, is a further sign of their irrelevance and complete incapacity for dealing with any crisis more significant than a canape shortage at their latest book signing party.[1]

Our political elites are loathsome, hypocritical, cowardly, and treasonous. They embrace the lie like an aged pervert his Kandahar dancing boy. They grovel before the gods of surrender, corruption, and deceit.

[1] "Anti-American Savages of the Post-American World." By Daniel Greenfield, Sultan Knish, 9/15/12.

One of our many Yossarian moments.

In Joseph Heller's Catch 22 Yossarian witnesses a fellow GI's murder. The man is thrown out of a window in Italy. The MPs race up the stairs and arrest . . . Yossarian. For being AWOL.

On that point, see this great comment by Bob Sykes:

Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, Newark, Stockton ..., the great experiment in civil rights failed. The streets of many major cities are controlled by extremely violent black and hispanic street gangs, who have a virtually monopoly on gun violence and murder. Yet our politicians are obsessed by elderly white men at gun shows.
"MLWho Day?: Brain Fade, Denial, or 'Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn.'" By Gerard van der Leun, American Digest, 1/21/13.

Gurus Everywhere

If I sound just a wee bit annoyed this morning, Gentle Reader, it's only because I am. My development computer has gone belly-up, my garage door opener isn't working, I just got gasoline all over my trousers, and the weather here on beautiful scenic Long Island has turned very, very cold. Mind you, I'm not taking my bile out on you; I'm just setting a few thoughts down in pixels, lest they move me to grab my sniper rifle and a fresh package of Oreo Double-Stufs and head for the nearest clock tower.

1. "Gentleman."

Have a gander at this atrocity from the New York Times:

My 4-year-old son, Emmett, swallows a spoonful of cereal and asks me if I know what a gentleman is. Surprised, I tell him I have some idea; then I ask what the word means to him.

“A gentleman lets girls go first,” he says, explaining that every day at naptime all the girls go to the bathroom before the boys.

His explanation, along with the quiet solemnity with which he delivers it, is completely endearing and yet it makes my heart ache. This adorable little boy, who is only beginning to learn the ways of the world, just got his first lesson in sexism — and from a teacher who, I don’t doubt, believes she’s doing something wonderful for womankind.

Please read the whole thing, if your stomach is up to the stress.

It isn't often I find a paean to pseudo-equality quite this vile in a major media organ...even one as badly decayed as the Times.

Gentlemanliness was once the code of conduct to which all civilized men were expected to aspire. It had its underpinnings in a concept of justice and rules of decency and fair play that no intelligent creature would dream of dismissing. It recognized that we are not "equals" -- that there are differences not merely between the sexes, but between any and every two individuals on Earth, that militate toward certain preferences of treatment.

It began with a constraint against flaunting or crassly exploiting one's advantages:

  • The stronger must not abuse the weaker;
  • The brighter must not demean the duller;
  • The richer must not mock or degrade the poorer;

...and so forth. From there, it continued into prescriptions for positive action:

  • The stronger shall assist the weaker;
  • The brighter shall guide the duller;
  • The richer shall give alms to the poorer

...when appropriate, and never when resisted or resented. We might summarize these as a "principle of courtesy in superiority:"

Except in formally competitive action, the gentleman shall not employ his advantages to the detriment of those who lack them.

The seventh nostrum of gentlemanly behavior was one principally intended to guide conduct between gentlemen, and so was the least important of the bunch -- yet it's the one most people remember today:

A gentleman never gives offense unintentionally.

(If that puts you in mind of men in ruffled shirts and pistols at dawn, you're not alone.)

For a gentleman to hold the door for a woman is merely the expression of a degree of advantage: he got there first. Indeed, were "she" a "he," the rule would apply equally well.

Sexism? Not at all; take it from a thoroughgoing sexist. It's an aspiration toward gentleness, a repudiation of "Nature red in tooth and claw."

Miss Messina either cannot understand this or has willfully rejected it. Either way, her column is beneath contempt.

2. Tautologies, Anyone?

Charles Krauthammer, normally one of the best and most lucid political analysts around, fires a snowbird with this prescription:

Want to save the Republic? Win the next election.

Which, if I may borrow from Jim Bouton's book Ball Four, is a bit like telling a PGA golfer that if he'd just slam those ninety-foot putts home, he'd win the tournament easily.

Winning elections is what political parties are all about. But the GOP is sinking into the me-tooist mire -- the condition in which the voters are asked to choose between two visions, one of which is merely a weaker version of the other -- that characterized it before the ascent of Reagan Republicanism. They won very few elections at any level when they last suffered from this malady; they're unlikely to win many during this relapse.

3. But What About Naomi?

Mark Levin is a bright fellow. He's written some good books and is generally worth listening to, but he, too, can become vapid of exhortation:

"Even though we lost the last two elections, and Obama's reelection was by no means a blowout despite a fairly weak Republican nominee, so many people keep talking about the Constitution. I view this as a very positive thing. Are there more of us than there are the others -- that is, those who reject our heritage and are conquered by or have surrendered to the Leviathan? History will tell us one day. The choice is in our hands right now."

"History" is already telling us, Mark: by the loss of "winnable" elections; by the swelling of the welfare and food stamp rolls; and by the crescendo of demands for special treatment from an ever growing population of special-interest pleaders.

But time is not static. "History" is what has already happened, not what is happening nor what will happen. Matters might yet change, despite the ominous state of things today. Just now we are outnumbered, at least in the tallies alluded to above. People "talking about the Constitution" might be a harbinger of positive change, or it might not.

Conservatives' needs are strategic and tactical, far more than inspirational. We're all familiar with the old saw:

Don't Lose Heart...
    They Might Want To Cut It Out...
        And They'd Rather Avoid A Lengthy Search.

And with that, it's back to trying to fix my dead development computer.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Cut to the chase.

The men of good will in all nations must understand that the enemy of civilization is fiat money.[1]
To the extent that inflation is a necessary effect of fiat money, then fiat money is theft. Money, instead of being a store of value, becomes a store of value subject to piecemeal government confiscation ad lib. to transfer value to strangers whose fortunes it is not your wish to advance.

The difference between a fiat money taking and a burglary of your house is found only in the tool used to gain access to what you have obtained through your labor.

Thus, if government can acquire your property without your consent, just as a burglar can, you live in a lawless society where theft cannot be redressed. In short, you live in an uncivilized society where the government is your enemy. It takes far more from you by way of inflation (and taxation) than any street thug does. You have a modicum of hope of redress against a street thug. Against the government, you have none.

[1] "The Matrix of Power." Hugo Salinas Price, Moneda de Plata para México, 6/22/12.

Quickies: A New Energy Source?

Recently, the C.S.O. and I were chatting about the pseudo-energy crisis. I say pseudo without embarrassment. Earth is rich in energy resources, but the enviro-fascists, whose friends in the halls of power are very strong, are against any and every form of energy generation or accumulation:

  • The burning of fossil fuels emits "greenhouse gases!"
  • Nuclear power is unsafe!
  • Hydroelectric power corrupts riverine habitats!
  • Solar panels would destroy our fragile desert ecologies!
  • And putting billions of hamsters on treadmills would never get past PETA!

Put it all together and it spells "Mother Earth." At the expense of longsuffering Mankind, of course. But the maternophilic urges of the enviro-fascists are not to be denied. They'd much rather rape the rest of us.

That leaves only one possibility:

The hell with the hamsters;
Put the greenie-weenies to work!

It has the beauty and simplicity of a major breakthrough:

  • Enviro-weenies will pull our vehicles;
  • Enviro-weenies will walk on treadmills to generate electricity;
  • Enviro-weenies will exercise frantically to heat our homes in the winter!

(No, I haven't worked out the air-conditioning side of things yet. Give me time.)

There's just one problem: we'd need a lot of them, and they'd have to be fed, clothed, and housed. Whoops, more than one problem: they're opposed to human reproduction, so the supply would dwindle faster than the overall need for their, ah, services. (Not to mention that breeding them would be kind of problematic, given the demand for all those treadmills and rickshaw pullers and such.)

Just how would we feed them, given that they want to ban the use of "green revolution" agrochemicals? And where would we house them, considering how many billions of them we'd need to power America alone?

This will clearly require a bit more thought.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Uncontrolled credit expansion – the lit fuse.

Mr. Hugo Salinas Price takes Ambrose Evans-Pritchard to task by distinguishing between a system and a process, the gold standard being a system, and President Nixon's reneging on the U.S. promise to redeem gold at $35 an ounce initiating a process.

The distinction between a system and a process is critical. A system is like a billiard table without side pockets, to use Mr. Salinas's example. The balls on the table cannot travel past the sides of the table. A process, however, has a beginning and an end. Again, to use his example, a firecracker begins with a lit fuse, proceeds to a detonation of the powder, is followed by a rapid expansion of gas, and ends with a rapid collapse of the gas envelope.

If you believe that gold imposed the basic restrictions of a system, you can only believe that Nixon's delinking of the dollar left the world without a monetary system, unless you are able to identify a replacement system that was put in place and that imposes limits on credit expansion now. Failing the imposition, creation, or choice of such a new system, we are left with a situation in which credit expansion takes place with no boundaries, no limits, and no fail-safe barrier.

And it's not just a national problem:

What we have had since 1971 is an explosive process of credit creation in the world. Total world debt is calculated to be 350% of world GNP.

The explosion – like the explosion of a fire-cracker – is now entering its collapse phase. There is no way to avoid the collapse: world debt of 350% of world GNP is unsustainable. There is absolutely no way out of this. . . . The pain of the coming collapse will be ghastly.

It will be educational to see how those responsible for the present disaster explain away the cause: unlimited world credit expansion.[1]

The graph in Mr. Salinas's article illustrates the dramatic expansion of world credit. The right side of the graph (current situation) disappears into Jack in the Beanstalk territory. Isn't there a Wiley Coyote moment when we find we can't remain suspended in the air and our temporary exemption from the laws of financial gravity comes to an end? Answer: yes, there is.

Moreover, is there any phenomenon that graphs in this way that has the curve descend gracefully down the other side of the peak as the result of wise policy and a general awakening?

Funny I should mention wise policy and a general awakening. The essence of the Obama approximation of "wise policy" is "tax the rich" and "stimulate yet more [with QEx and near-zero interest rates, i.e., credit expansion]."

And as far as general awakening goes, the electorate that twice elected the constitutionally unqualified man with the forged birth certificate and Social Security number of a dead man -- plus the stink of communism and Islam on him -- can hardly be said to be awake in any meaningful sense.

Mr. Salinas's graph is a warning flag like no other, but it yet fails to resonate. At a time of fiscal conflagration, Americans by the millions voted for the man with the thimbleful of water who may or may not know that there's a fire. Or care, odd as it may seem to entertain the possibility of a national leader actively hoping for a comeuppance for his own people. "Own" being the operative misnomer here.

And the trajectory, the course, the direction of the process continues unabated and undebated . . . .

Take away points: a process is what we are witnessing, debt has accumulated immensely, processes come to an end, and geometric expansion almost certainly contracts geometrically.

[1] "Ambrose Evans–Pritchard beats about the bush." Hugo Salinas Price, Moneda de Plata para México, 1/18/13.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Epiphanies: The Arsenal

There's a special quality of clarity to the early-morning hours. The world is as close to silent as it usually gets; the pressures of the work day haven't yet converged upon us; and the usual battery of obligations and imperatives can be held, for a time, at a distance. There's room for long thoughts, blue-sky conjectures, and the all too infrequent mental operation of examining one's premises.

Now and then, that provides an opportunity for a breakthrough.

An ever greater fraction of the Internet Commentariat has been asking repeatedly what Barack Hussein Obama, pretender to the throne of the United States, could possibly have in mind with all his recent moves. (What's that? Why do I omit the worthies of the dead-tree Punditocracy? C'mon! Who reads them any more?) The preponderance of The Won's most recent initiatives, both as legislation and as executive orders, appear badly focused, oriented in directions so unpopular that they amount to lost causes. Surely, the logic runs, a politician as intelligent and adroit as Obama would know better than to squander his political capital on efforts with so little chance of success.

The logic is fine. It's the premise that needs work.

The premise, which normally goes unstated, is that a politician's initiative is intended to bring about policy changes in the direction implied by the initiative. Governor X declaims about his state's deficit? He wants more revenue. Senator Y orates about pornography? He wants a censorship regime. President Z rattles about gun control? He wants gun control.

Pardon me for saying so, Gentle Reader, as I'm fully aware how many preconceptions this will shatter, but that's not necessarily the case. Moreover, we should know it already.

Many a politician will "lay down a marker" not because he has any reasonable expectation of getting his way, but as a tactical stroke in preparation for a campaign for higher office. This is especially often the case with members of the lower house of a bicameral legislature. It's damned near always the case with a sitting governor, as they all want to be president some day.

However, this fails as a proposed explanation for Obama's most recent moves. He's in his second term as president, and is unlikely afterward to hold public office ever again. Granted that it's possible and has happened: John Quincy Adams was elected to the House of Representatives after he lost the presidency. But The Won is highly unlikely to be satisfied, after leaving the Oval Office, with any post of lesser stature. So future political ambition fails as a serviceable premise.

Fortunately, there remains an explanation that fits the facts like a custom-made glove.

It's high time Americans recognized the full and exact nature of Barack Hussein Obama. He's not a genius. He's not a master orator. He's not a mirror. He's certainly not a practitioner of governance (consider all those "present" votes and refusals to participate in negotiations before you disagree). He's not even an unusually skilled political tactician.

He's a weapon.

Via Nice Deb, we have the following:

Rush made this observation on his show, yesterday:
President Obama today is taking action that a majority of Americans disagree with. He’s going down a road a majority of people disagree with. He knows it. The question is, why? Why is Barack Obama literally trying to push people to snap? Why is he doing this? It’s as though in some way he’s attacking the very sanity of people in this country. Why is he doing this? Why is he deliberately making people so upset? What is driving him?

A lifelong antipathy toward the Constitution?

Obama might well harbor such an antipathy, but it would be insufficient to explain the seemingly erratic quality of his recent moves. Personal motives don't fit well against the sort of peregrinations Obama has exhibited since the elections, which make him appear unfocused and personally ineffective. The assumption of strategic motives, however, provides a better starting point.

But the strategy involved is not Obama's. It's that of the Democratic Party.

The United States has been in a condition of political warfare since the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt. The combatants are the major parties. The prize sought is enduring, unchallengeable hegemony over an unlimited federal government. The weapons are varied; the rounds several of them fire are easily mistaken for something else.

The Democrats' strategists have recently achieved a breakthrough of their own. Aware that their uber-strategy of coalition politics is vulnerable to the 50%-plus-one effect -- the point at which every member of the coalition realizes that it can "comparison shop" between the parties, inducing them to bid against one another -- they've chosen to induce division among Republican voters. A Republican Party riven by internal strife would be unable to compete for national hegemony regardless of the fractiousness of the Democrats' coalition. More, the ideological and tactical disarray on the Right suggests strongly that the Left could fragment it fatally with a few well-placed jabs.

That disarray has a number of geneses:

  • For many voters, the GOP isn't a partisan allegiance but the lesser of two evils;
  • Republican candidates are prone to departing from the party platform in search of votes;
  • Many Republican politicians still believe they can "win the media over" by acceding to certain Leftist nostrums;
  • Certain scurrilous accusations, such as racism and xenophobia, still have an unjustifiably powerful effect on Right-leaning voters and candidates;
  • There's already a tussle in progress between the "socio-cons" and the "econo-cons," over which set of issues shall be given precedence in GOP campaigns for federal offices;
  • Many Republican candidates and Right-leaning voters are unwilling to take definite stands on certain key issues (e.g., gun rights, abortion, same-sex marriage, wealth redistribution, the progressive income tax) when challenged with other "issues" that appear to countervail them.

If, the Democrats' strategists reasoned, those fault lines can be pressed hard enough, the Republican Party will come apart completely, leaving the Democrats in uncontested control of Washington until a new major political force should rise from the rubble.

They've seen this since 2000 at least. The delivery system for their flurry of divisive punches came onto the national scene in 2004. He's been carefully groomed and primed for his role ever since.

Barack Hussein Obama could not be a more perfect weapon for inducing division among Americans of generally conservative inclinations:

  • He has no moral convictions worth mentioning;
  • He's entirely in sympathy with the political aims of the Left;
  • He's a mulatto, and happily plays the race card against his critics;
  • His record prior to the Oval Office is essentially a blank slate;
  • He's comfortable defaming and vilifying his opponents;
  • He's unabashed about the employment of the most dishonest and vicious demagogic tactics;
  • He lies and evades with exceptional skill.

His masters must have wept for joy at discovering so pliable and useful a tool. They knew from the start that he would require careful preparation for his task, and they saw to it that he received it. His elevation to the White House did benefit from some cooperation from the GOP -- the Stupid Party excels at blowing off its toes when confronted by certain kinds of candidates and issues -- but once there, he was ready to set to work, and knew what his work was to be: the destruction of all coherent opposition to the "progressive" crony-capitalist / Euro-socialist goal of the Democratic Party and its principal backers.

And thus has he labored, to frightening effect.

If I'm correct in this surmise, we have been gravely wrong to treat Obama as anything but an item of ordnance. Certain technicalities of counterbattery artillery fire notwithstanding, one focuses on the opponent, not the opponent's weapons. (Cf. "Guns don't kill people; people kill people.") Therefore, by concentrating our own rhetoric on the figure of Obama, we have deflected ourselves from our proper aim point: the masterminds of "progressive" political strategy who have deployed The Won as their "big gun" in the ongoing war of political ideas.

Food for thought.