Monday, June 30, 2014

Divide Et Impera, 2014 Anno Domini

This might seem a mere trifle after the weighty "Declarations Of War" and "That Which Must Not Be Said" tirades. Trust me, it's not:

I've worked at Chase for the past 11 years. Yearly (sometimes skipping a year though) the bank will send out an Employee Survey to gauge how the employees feel about the bank and the management team they report up to. Every year that's all the questions ever related to: the bank in general and management. But this year there was a question that had many of us scratching our heads.

This is a company wide survey. All lines of business have the same survey. There was a question where it said to check the boxes that were applicable to you. You could select one, more than one, or none. Here it is:

Are you: 1) A person with disabilities; 2) A person with children with disabilities; 3) A person with a spouse/domestic partner with disabilities; 4) A member of the LGBT community.

I thought 4 was a little oddly placed, but oh well. It was the next option that pulled the needle off the record:

5) An ally of the LGBT community, but not personally identifying as LGBT.

What?! What kind of question was that? An "ally" of that community? What's the alternative if you don't select that option? You're not a ally of the LGBT community?

This survey wasn't anonymous. You had to enter your employee ID. With the way things are going and the fact that LGBT rights are being viewed as pretty much tantamount to the civil rights movement of the mid 50s to late 60s, not selecting that option is essentially saying "I'm not an ally of civil rights"; which is a vague way to say "I'm a bigot." The worry among many of us is that those who didn't select that poorly placed, irrelevant option will be placed on the "you can fire these people first" list.

Homosexual activists and associated deviants are among the most aggressive and vicious of all activist groups. (Perversion must do something unique to the brain chemistry.) A brief review of what such activists did following their defeat in California's Proposition 8 election, and their jihad against Mozilla cofounder Brendan Eich, should suffice to convince anyone.

So here we have one of the largest financial institutions in the world essentially demanding that its employees declare themselves "allies" of "the LGBT community." Does that "community" have a mailing address? What about a Board of Directors, or perhaps Trustees? Does it sell some product or promote some charity? Does it do anything but advocate for special "rights" for perverts and the mentally disordered?

He who wrote the above has accurately assessed the import thereof:

The worry among many of us is that those who didn't select that poorly placed, irrelevant option will be placed on the "you can fire these people first" list.

In our insane promotion of "Diversity Uber Alles," that's exactly the outcome the homosexual / deviant axis will agitate for.

I suppose my attitude should be clear enough from the above -- and I'm a "live and let live" sort. (Try my fiction and see.) You go your way and I'll go mine. Feel free to indulge in homosexual sodomy, polyamory, even surgical mutilation, as long as you accept the full costs and consequences of your lunacies upon your own head...and don't insist that I participate along with you, of course.

Political agitation for special "rights," including the "right" to receive State recognition of a nonexistent status, goes beyond my zone of toleration. The flap over same-sex marriage is exactly that sort.

Marriage, as a colleague of mine puts it, is not a political but a social institution. It developed long before politics or the State, out of Mankind's species-wide survival imperatives.

As I wrote quite recently:

The institution of marriage developed to protect us from our weaknesses. The marital promise of fidelity and constancy is intended to protect vulnerable women and minor children from abandonment and abuse, and men from faithless exploitation and obligations they never agreed to accept. If marriage should fail to serve those purposes, or if the price should rise unacceptably high, marriage will cease to exist, de facto if not de jure.

I contend that marriage is expiring as we watch.

When marriage was regarded as an institution mediated and enforced by one's community, as is proper, it worked very well. It was very difficult for a faithless spouse to hide his transgressions from his neighbors -- and equally difficult to escape the penalties for them. Granted that I speak here of a time when one lived essentially one's whole life within the community of one's birth, but the principle has not expired. To serve its proper purposes, marriage must include the promise of fidelity and constancy, it must be enforced by those who are best positioned to know the married couple, and it must be free of external meddling by irresponsible busybodies, including governments.

Conversely, there's no point to marriage if it's severed from its purposes, which renders the cries for "marriage equality" -- i.e., same-sex marriage -- ridiculous in the extreme....

Owing to the extraordinary hostility of various groups to marriage as it arose and was traditionally practiced, and the willingness of governments to stick their thumbs into the stew, marriage as an institution is near to extinction.

I stand by that assessment.

The insertion of the State into a social institution implies State enforcement of whatever standards it enshrines in law. Should the time come when the United States recognizes same-sex "marriages" as legally equivalent to the real thing, it will become legally hazardous to deny it. Establishments that cater solely to married couples will be required by law to serve homosexual couples on the same basis. Religious communities will be placed under pressure to drop their opposition to homosexual conduct. Secular institutions that have erected protections against homosexual meddling with children will come under attack. Indeed, the State itself will find that several of its norms will be challenged in a fashion it cannot refute.

Consider the use of "anti-discrimination laws" against commercial establishments and institutions. The unnamed Chase employee who wrote to Robert George about that survey has a perfectly valid fear today. Chase itself might soon find quotas for sexual orientation clamped upon its hiring and labor practices. What would that do to the aggregate competence of its labor force, and to practices found within the company itself?

Former United States Senator Rick Santorum observed, quite accurately, that once same-sex marriage has been elevated to a "right," there will be absolutely no coherent argument against any sexual-marital combination, including minor children, animals, and inanimate objects. The rationale, after all, for State-recognized same-sex marriage is "We want it." Nothing more. This has implications most persons simply haven't grasped.

Marriage of the traditional sort is the foundation of all stable societies. Healthy communities are built around married couples. They tolerate singletons, but such persons are always regarded as transitional members at best, foci for instability and disruption at worst. Even in these times of unprecedented mobility, traditional marriage, especially fertile marriage, establishes the couple as having rooted itself, and therefore as having a positive incentive to preserve and defend the community, its quality of life, and its customs.

The undermining of that foundation will leave us atomized: fearful of the law and one another. But to be "fearful of the law and one another" is the object in view, for some. Setting us against one another is the royal road to total power.

Watch for a version of that Chase survey at your place of employment -- and be ready to raise a row over it.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

For Those Who Care... now a SmashWords ebook. Enjoy...if that’s the right word for something so dark in tone.

Toxicology lesson.

There is, I think, a compelling historical analogy.

In the late fourth century AD, the Roman Empire was the greatest civilisation on the planet. But in the summer of 376, recorded the historian Ammianus Marcellinus, ‘terrifying rumours spread abroad that the peoples of the north were stirring up new and uncommonly great commotions’.

On the banks of the River Danube, along the empire’s Balkan frontier, Roman officials reported the arrival of tens of thousands of men, women and children, known to posterity as the Goths.

Poor, frightened and hungry, they had been driven west by another tribe, the Huns. Now they begged for shelter inside the Empire.

The Romans agreed. Across the river, in scenes rather like those this summer in the Mediterranean, came the Goths, though many were drowned in the desperate rush.

Many historians believe this was one of the great turning points in world history. From that moment, as successive waves of migrants poured across its frontiers, the Roman Empire bent, buckled and finally collapsed completely.[1]

Note especially the elements of Roman kindness and willingness to welcome large numbers of foreigners to their lands.

Common decency morphs rapidly into contemptible weakness when boundaries are erased. Remember the movie about the gentleman and his manservant who gradually reverses the roles and comes to dominate his master? No one found that movie too recondite. Too, it would be the rare visitor to any faculty lounge in the country who isn't familiar with the necessity for psychological boundaries. Actual books have been written on this.

For those of us who still care about our kith and kin (dog whistle alert), our nation, and our borders, we must act from here on out with the bedrock principle of toxicology in mind: dose determines toxicity.

One immigrant is a contribution. 30,000,000 immigrants are an invading army.

Next time Speaker Boehner, Sen. Rubio, or Rand Paul take out their hankies about the deficiencies of our system, keep that in mind. What they say about immigration is a sign of the sickness of otherwise smart people. Patriots in days past didn't fret about broken "systems." They fought invaders and threw them the hell back and out.

[Queue liberal chorus of "But . . . ."]

[1] "Another boat packed with migrants heads for Europe as it's revealed Britain's population has grown by 5million in 12 years: This human tide will be the crisis of the century, warns DOMINIC SANDBROOK." By Dominic Sandbrook, Mail Online, 6/28/14.

H/t: Crusader Rabbit.

The Great Silence.

Despite the talk about an “Euro-Islam,” there are few signs of any Europeanization of Islam, but plenty of signs of a gradual Islamization of Europe. There is no convincing indication of a general liberalization of the Islamic world, either. On the contrary, more repressive and aggressive versions of Islam are on the ascendancy from Malaysia to Turkey. Non-Muslims are being put under increasing pressure in many Muslim-majority countries. In a number of cases, they are in the process of being virtually wiped out by violent means. Meanwhile, unrest in parts of the Islamic world is spilling over into other regions.[1]
Not one political candidate in any election in the U.S. in 2014 or 2016 will raise these issues.

[1] "Why is This Not Betrayal?" By Fjordman, Gates of Vienna, 6/26/14 (emphasis added).

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Declarations Of War Part 3: The Trumpets Have Sounded

Perhaps you thought I was being hyperbolic in Part 1 and Part 2 of this little series. Perhaps you indulged in the common reaction to such plaints: "Well, he has to dramatize it to make it interesting." (Alternately, "Well, what do you expect me to do about it?", but that's a subject for later in this screed.)

Gentle Reader, I don't "dramatize." I take a quasi-Will Rogers attitude toward developments: I just report the facts, according to my assessment of their significance. And we have a new "fact" this fine morning that makes all the rest glow as if they'd been nuked.

Which, if my assessments are appropriate, we might as well be.

The Mississippi Republican primary for United States Senator, despite fervent attempts by the GOP Establishment to get us to "move on," remains one of the hottest subjects in current political discourse. The reason is simple: Chris McDaniel has not "gone quietly." He's determined to prove that Thad Cochran's margin of victory was provided by voters who were legally denied the privilege of voting in that primary. And he's made a damned good start, which has evoked an astonishing counterstroke:

Update—– Lindsay Krout, a volunteer working in Mississippi, was barred from reviewing voter rolls in Lafayette County Mississippi Friday morning.

Lindsay said when she went to the Lafayette County courthouse this morning and was forced to wait for an hour. Then the county clerk told her the Secretary of State’s office said the county had to redact the Social Security number and addresses from the voter rolls. The clerk said it will take until Wednesday to redact the information. And, the county will charge McDaniel supporters for the extra work.

Mississippi law states that the clerk must allow public viewing of the election documentation....

Lindsay said McDaniel supporters in Lowndes County and Lauderdale County faced similar pushback from the local officials. The clerks also said they would have to schedule the time so county officials could be present.

There are reports that Governor Phil Bryant wants to certify the election on Monday.

UPDATE: McDaniel supporters are facing the same pushback in Stone County.

UPDATE: The McDaniel supporters say they are facing a similar situation in Marshall County, Quitman County and Coahoma County

UPDATE: Lindsay writes, “Add Forrest County and Smith County to the list.”

It cannot get any more blatant, Gentle Reader. The Establishment -- both sides thereof -- has determined that nothing shall be permitted to deny it the outcome it demands. To that end, it will flout the election laws to the extent required, including keeping all election-related documentation secret until it's too late for the McDaniel crew to do anything about it.

Nationwide, Boards of Elections are top-heavy with Democrat partisans. That should come as no surprise. Remember Stalin's observation: "It doesn't matter who votes; it only matters who counts the votes." This is in perfect diabolic harmony with the Left's Secretary of State Project. If there's any mild surprise to be had here, it's that the Republican Establishment has secured the Left's cooperation in this instance...but given other recent developments, that might not surprise you either.

The Bipartisan Establishment will have Thad Cochran or a Democrat as United States Senator from Mississippi, and no one else.

So what are we to do about it? A good question, especially given that America's state and local police forces have been militarized against the citizenry:

The number of raids conducted by SWAT-like police units has grown accordingly. In the 1970s, there were just a few hundred a year; by the early 1980s, there were some 3,000 a year. In 2005 (the last year for which Dr. Kraska collected data), there were approximately 50,000 raids. Some federal agencies also now have their own SWAT teams, including NASA and the Department of the Interior.

Americans have long been wary of using the military for domestic policing. Concerns about potential abuse date back to the creation of the Constitution, when the founders worried about standing armies and the intimidation of the people at large by an overzealous executive, who might choose to follow the unhappy precedents set by Europe's emperors and monarchs....

In my own research, I have collected over 50 examples in which innocent people were killed in raids to enforce warrants for crimes that are either nonviolent or consensual (that is, crimes such as drug use or gambling, in which all parties participate voluntarily). These victims were bystanders, or the police later found no evidence of the crime for which the victim was being investigated. They include Katherine Johnston, a 92-year-old woman killed by an Atlanta narcotics team acting on a bad tip from an informant in 2006; Alberto Sepulveda, an 11-year-old accidentally shot by a California SWAT officer during a 2000 drug raid; and Eurie Stamps, killed in a 2011 raid on his home in Framingham, Mass., when an officer says his gun mistakenly discharged. Mr. Stamps wasn't a suspect in the investigation.

Quoth Charles C. W. Cooke:

Historians looking back at this period in America’s development will consider it to be profoundly odd that at the exact moment when violent crime hit a 50-year low, the nation’s police departments began to gear up as if the country were expecting invasion — and, on occasion, to behave as if one were underway. The ACLU reported recently that SWAT teams in the United States conduct around 45,000 raids each year, only 7 percent of which have anything whatsoever to do with the hostage situations with which those teams were assembled to contend. Paramilitary operations, the ACLU concluded, are “happening in about 124 homes every day — or more likely every night” — and four in five of those are performed in order that authorities might “search homes, usually for drugs.” Such raids routinely involve “armored personnel carriers,” “military equipment like battering rams,” and “flashbang grenades.”

Were the military being used in such a manner, we would be rightly outraged. Why not here? Certainly this is not a legal matter. The principle of posse comitatus draws a valuable distinction between the national armed forces and parochial law enforcement, and one that all free people should greatly cherish. Still, it seems plain that the potential threat posed by a domestic standing army is not entirely blunted just because its units are controlled locally. To add the prefix “para” to a problem is not to make it go away, nor do legal distinctions change the nature of power. Over the past two decades, the federal government has happily sent weapons of war to local law enforcement, with nary a squeak from anyone involved with either political party. Are we comfortable with this?

Cooke, one of the current stars in the Right's commentary firmament, looks for justifications for such horrors from the Right...and finds only dross:

The Right’s silence on the issue is vexing indeed, the admirable attempts of a few libertarians notwithstanding. Here, conservatives seem to be conflicted between their rightful predilection for law and order — an instinct that is based upon an accurate comprehension of human nature and an acknowledgment of the existence of evil — and a well-developed and wholly sensible fear of state power, predicated upon precisely the same thing. As of now, the former is rather dramatically winning out, leading conservatives to indulge — or at least tacitly to permit — excuses that they typically reject elsewhere. Much as the teachers’ unions invariably attempt to justify their “anything goes” contracts by pointing to the ends that they ostensibly serve (“Well you do want schools for the children or don’t you? Sign here”), the increasingly muscular behavior of local police departments is often shrugged off as a by-product of the need to fight crime. This, if left unchecked, is a recipe for precisely the sort of carte blanche that conservatives claim to fear.

In a nation where "laws" (and "regulations" enforced as "laws") have proliferated so voluminously that even the most astute legal specialists cannot know them adequately, does "law and order" constitute a sufficient justification for a fully militarized police system?
An effectively nationalized police system?
Armed and armored by the Department of Defense?
Equipped with tools of surveillance beyond Orwell's imagination?
Whose myrmidons are indemnified for any acts of wrongdoing no matter how dramatic?

If so, how do these United States differ in principle from North Korea?

Don't all rush to answer at once, now.

If there is no immediate and overwhelming reaction against all the above, the Republic will have ceased to exist.

I didn't want to say that. I want to believe that the country can still be saved. I've struggled to believe it, against an accumulating tide of adverse evidence. But the Establishment's blatant moves to derail the McDaniel campaign's election validation efforts, coupled to accelerating efforts to suppress opinion the Establishment finds uncongenial, signal that the short strokes are being struck. If we tolerate a police system in place equivalent to a million-man domestic military, poised to act against "troublemakers" and guaranteed against legal repercussions for any and all consequences, no slightest chance of recovery will remain to us. It will be time to "go Galt."

Here's the procedure:

  • Make yourself as mobile as possible.
  • If you're an employee, become a "contractor."
  • Try to arrange to be paid in a medium other than dollars.
  • Get your minor children out of the government's schools at once.
  • Convert your assets to the most stable and portable forms available to you.
  • Remove all pointers to you or your family from any media available to the State.

Consider seriously whether you're ready to try the last alternative to this madness. And pray.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

That Which Must Not Be Said Part 2: The Collaboration

In this recent essay, I wrote that:

Today's Republican Party continues in the pusillanimous tradition of the post-FDR party that couldn't prevent Roosevelt from winning four consecutive terms, that couldn't unseat the badly weakened Harry Truman, that presided over an ever-expanding federal government even when it had majorities in both houses of Congress. Despite the overt adulation showered upon the Gipper, what the GOP's kingmakers would really like is not a Reagan II, but a figure as attractive and eloquent as the Great Communicator who would nevertheless not dare to lay a hand on the tiller of the Ship of State -- that is, who would agree to let the "discount Democrats" rule in his name, that they might continue undisturbed in their power and perquisites.

The parade of candidates since Reagan -- two Bushes, Robert Dole, John McCain, and Mitt Romney -- should have given the game away. Not one of them was nearly as principled as Reagan about even one issue. All were part of the don't-rock-the-statist-boat Republican Establishment, whose members can't even think of opposing further federal growth or cutting back on Washington's usurped, extra-Constitutional powers without experiencing a sudden, urgent need for a change of underwear. That Establishment remains at the pinnacle of the GOP today, and is working assiduously to neuter the Ted Cruzes, the Mike Lees, and the Rand Pauls before they can upset the apple cart. They'd prefer continued hegemony by the Democrats to that great a perturbation of The Way Things Are.

Thad Cochran's use of Democrat voters in the Mississippi Republican primary, coupled to the near-unanimous support of the GOP Establishment for Cochran, coupled to one of the most slanderous, scurrilous campaigns any politician has ever run -- and against a fellow Republican, at that -- makes it clear that if anything, I understated the case.

It should be equally clear that the Democrats who helped Cochran stave off McDaniel's challenge have little or no interest in having a Republican represent Mississippi in the United States Senate. However, given the choice "between Satan and Hitler," they'll opt reliably for the latter -- and given that Mississippi is a "deep red" state, it appears they'll have their preference.

But not all is certain just yet. The anger of the conservative "base" is palpable. Innumerable voices on the Right have been raised against Cochran's tactics. For the moment, Cochran and his Establishment supporters appear to be shrugging them aside. They might find that harder to do in November.

It's no longer guaranteed that a conservative citizen will vote for a RINO Republican when the alternative is victory for a liberal Democrat. That conservative might just stay home on Election Day, especially given that 2014 isn't a quadrennial year. So Cochran might need to find a new line of work after all -- and prominent commentators on the Right, including the irreplaceable Rush Limbaugh, have said that that would be the best outcome for the country.

When you lie down with the dog, you get up with fleas, Thad old buddy. Hope you can reach all the parts that itch.

Not to be overlooked in this morass of double-dealing and crass self-interest is the GOP Establishment's willingness to risk Cochran's defeat in November. Surely the party's strategists are aware of conservative reaction against Cochran's tactics. They're not stupid enough to be absolutely confident that all those conservatives who supported McDaniel will vote for Cochran in November as "the lesser evil." They must be aware of the possibility that he'll go down in flames for lack of support from the "base."

It strikes me as probable that that possible outcome has been discussed in the GOP's back rooms...and that the kingmakers have evaluated it as preferable to having McDaniel in the Senate. After all, the squishes in the upper chamber are already exercised enough about having to deal with Cruz, Lee, and Paul. These uppity conservatives make us Old Bulls look bad! We certainly don't need more of that. It's hard enough to get the earmarks we need to keep the pork flowing to the big backers at home.

Inasmuch as the Senate Republican caucus has succeeded in blocking some odious legislation, the above might not be entirely fair. Still, one must not discount the possibility that the Cruz / Lee / Paul triumvirate is the reason -- that the Young Turks have succeeded in forcing the Old Bulls to do the right thing against their inclinations. Whatever the case might be, the frustration of the McConnells, the Grahams, and the rest at having to behave like actual Republicans is sufficiently strong for a private observer to detect. They certainly lined up behind Cochran readily enough.

Many things have been said about the Old Guard Republicans: that their interest is solely in retaining their offices; that they're more comfortable as an opposition party; that they believe it's more important to maintain Congressional "collegiality" than to press hard for a Constitutional agenda; and so forth. Any or all of the above might be true. But in the long term, what matters far more is the Overton Window.

Inasmuch as the unaligned 20% of American voters are the ones who decide the outcome of the typical election, and inasmuch as such voters are typically made uneasy by suggestions of dramatic change, a candidate's plausibility in describing his opponent's views and agenda as "radical" can make a big difference to his prospects. But dramatic changes are also anathema to those who view themselves as a ruling elite, which includes long-term office-holders of both parties. That makes collaboration between Establishment Republicans and Democrats far more likely than we who yearn for a restoration of Constitutionally limited government care to think.

November will tell us what the ruling elite's prospects really are, and whether the sub rosa collaboration of the Republican Establishment with the Democrats hypothesized above is an unpleasant fantasy or a hideous fact. The Cochran primary campaign has made the latter look more likely than not.

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Smear Machine

Hearken to this beautiful bit of commentary from George Will:

Here's -- we know six things, Chris. We know first the targeting occurred.

Therefore, second, we know that this is worse than article two of the Nixon impeachment count, which said Nixon endeavored to use the IRS. The IRS back then resisted.

Third, we know that this became public in an act of deceit when Lois Lerner planted a question with a friend in an audience to try and get this out on her own terms.

Fourth, we know that she has taken the Fifth Amendment because she has a right to do this when she has a reasonable suspicion that there might be criminal activity involved.

Fifth, we know that from the timeline you put up today, that there has been 13 months of stonewalling on this.

And sixth, now we know that not only her hard drive, but six other people intimately involved in this suddenly crashed in an amazing miraculous coincidence. Religions have been founded on less, ten days after the investigation started.

Will is a master. For pure expressive skill, he's up there in the commentary pantheon next to Mark Steyn. Even when I disagree with the substance of his position, I can't help but admire his wordsmithing. He always manages to say exactly what he means, and so elegantly that to improve on his phrasing would be beyond me.

So the Left is determined to smear him:

Here’s the syndicated Will column that started this latest round of conservative headhunting. Will’s point was clear: the alleged “epidemic” of rape on college campuses isn’t—as illustrated by statistics from the Obama administration itself. The column began:
Colleges and universities are being educated by Washington and are finding the experience excruciating. They are learning that when they say campus victimizations are ubiquitous (“micro-aggressions,” often not discernible to the untutored eye, are everywhere), and that when they make victimhood a coveted status that confers privileges, victims proliferate. And academia’s progressivism has rendered it intellectually defenseless now that progressivism’s achievement, the regulatory state, has decided it is academia’s turn to be broken to government’s saddle.

For this latest affront, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch announced they were dropping Will’s column. Said Tony Messenger, the paper’s editor: “The column was offensive and inaccurate; we apologize for publishing it.” Messenger also said, as the backlash to the paper’s decision grew, reported here at the Wrap:

“We had a lot of readers very angry and very hurt,” Messenger said. “It caused us to go back and take a look at it, and it reinforced our previous decision that he had lost a little bit of speed off his fastball, and it caused us to make the decision a little bit more quickly than we would have otherwise.”

Speaking on CNN, Messenger said:

“A lot of the responses that were negative to our decision accused us of doing so for political correctness,” Messenger added. “That’s not the case. We believe that the column trivializes sexual assault victims.”

Please read the whole Spectator column, which is thorough and devastating...but wait: there's more! There are two slanders worthy of refutation and rebuke:

[I]f Katie McDonough, an assistant editor at Salon, finds herself feeling angry all the time, as I very much suspect she does, it’s not because conservative columnist George Will pretended “rape never happens,” because that never happened; it’s not because Will claimed that being a rape victim is a “coveted status,” because Will never did; it’s not because Will feels uncomfortable discussing sexual assault, because he very obviously does not; it’s because she’s ashamed of herself for deceiving her audience by distorting Will’s words, thoughts and intentions, as she very well should be. Shame and self-disgust sometimes make you lash out at other people to keep you from facing what you’ve done yourself.

What Spectator columnist Jeffrey Lord and PJ Media's Andrew Klavan are doing in the above is what all of us should be doing: counterattacking. Specifically, we have to go after the credibility, and beyond that, the character, of those who propagate such smears. It's simply not enough to refute them; we must punish them, and so severely as to sway opinion to our side out of sheer moral outrage.

According to the strategists, no one ever won a war by playing defense. Similarly, merely refuting the lies about our most prominent figures is insufficient. We have to get on the attack and stay there.

The moral rationale should be obvious. The practical rationale is equally simple: It's the main weapon in the Left's rhetorical arsenal, all the way from distortions such as that perpetrated by Salon's Katie McDonough to the simplistic shouts of "RACIST!" inevitably hurled at conservative prescriptions.

It's worked for the Left for fifty years, even though they've never had facts or logic on their side. It's time to make it work for us in the Right -- with the facts, and the words of the slanderers, as our ammunition.

Be not afraid.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Movie Recommendation: The Arroyo

The Arroyo, from Declaration Entertainment

Declaration Entertainment is Bill Whittle's gamble on a chancy proposition, to wit: That there are enough Americans unhappy about Political Correctness's dominance of American entertainment, particularly American cinema, to step up as "citizen producers" of productions with a more conservative, more patriotic subtext. DE's first feature-length production, The Arroyo, is now available on DVD.

Gentle Reader, please take the following from one who started out as a doubter: it's a winner.

You're unlikely to recognize any of the cast members. You might not be familiar with director Jeremy Boreing. You'll note the near total absence of special effects. All of this is to be expected from an indie movie; their budgets typically won't accommodate big names or big CG effects. But you'll be impressed nonetheless.

The Arroyo, a small movie in most ways, has a big theme: the need for ordinary Americans to rise to the challenges of justice that "our" government and "our" law enforcers appear to disdain. The plot centers on the habitual violation of our southern border by drug traffickers and illegal-alien-shepherding "coyotes." Protagonist Jim Weatherford takes up arms against those who use his land as a conduit for their vile businesses, and thereby enmeshes himself, his family, and his neighbors in a duel with a drug cartel and its utterly amoral enforcer.

The direction is straightforward. The script is unornamented by grandiloquence. The acting is simple and unaffected. The scenery is that of southern Arizona. And the combination comes near to perfection.

Highly recommended, as is signing up as a DE "citizen producer."

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Prideful: A Highly Personal Tirade

Probably my worst failing -- definitely my most persistent one -- is pugnacity. Eagerness to blow the bugles and charge into battle ill becomes one striving for the degree of humility appropriate to any fallible man. What has made me this way, I cannot be certain, but it seems to me that it must be coupled to another of my longstanding shortcomings: pride.

There is such a thing as just pride: sincere pride in one's achievements that makes room for the equally just pride of others. A pride that refuses to exalt oneself above one's fellows or to denigrate others of lesser attainments. There's a gray zone between that and the sort of self-worshipping pride that renders one obnoxious, but all the same it's usually possible to be certain that one is on the "right side" of that boundary.

Now, as it happens, I'm a Christian. That is, I accept the theology stated in the Nicene Creed. The code of ethics that accompanies that theology preaches against (excessive) pride as one of the seven capital sins: the seven dispositions of attitude and emotion that can easily lead one to commit a mortal sin. However, I'd like to think I'd appreciate the dangers inherent in excessive pride even without the Church to tell me so.

But not everyone appears to be aware of that danger:

So long as you believe in a magical man in the sky and that the existence of government is a necessary evil you do not get to call yourself a freedom weenie. Sorry!

That comment, attached to this essay, was of course submitted by "Anonymous." It's the reason for this screed, which is likely to be more a purgative for me than entertainment or edification for you.

I don't look down on anyone who declines to believe in God. I maintain that atheism is as defensible a posture as theism, for a simple reason: It's impossible to prove or disprove the existence of God. One can adduce a variety of observations as potential evidence for either position, but it will always be acceptable, for us who dwell in Time, to proclaim oneself unpersuaded by any or all of them. Proving the existence of the entity monotheists refer to as God is impossible because Man's knowledge and capabilities are finite, whereas by postulate, God's are infinite. Proving His nonexistence is impossible for an even simpler reason: proving that any individual thing does not exist is impossible.

We can prove the existence of specific categories of objects -- i.e., objects defined to possess certain characteristics -- by finding examples of them and demonstrating their possession of the characteristics demanded. Inversely, we can disprove the existence of such a category by demonstrating that the characteristics demanded contradict one another. But in the case of a hypothesized entity postulated to be:

  • Unique;
  • Outside our material reality;
  • Omniscient;
  • Omnipotent;
  • Benevolently disposed toward Man;

...such tasks are simply beyond us. Indeed, they would be beyond any intelligence that dwells in Time, for God by necessity must stand outside Time itself, having created it as He created all the rest of the reality we know.

All of which makes both theism and atheism matters of faith rather than logically impregnable conclusions -- and which makes insults and denigrations founded on belief or nonbelief in God an obvious example of excessive pride.

Notably, the great preponderance of those who hurl insults for holding to a faith are unwilling to confront the impossibility of proving their own position. The usual exchange runs roughly as follows:

Atheist: Prove that God exists.
Theist: I can't. It's a matter of faith.
Atheist: Come on! There is no God and you know it.
Theist: You mean you know it. Can you prove it?
Atheist: I don't have to. It's obvious.
Theist: But you can't prove it, can you? I believe in God for my own reasons. I don't insist that you agree. You're the one asserting your belief as a fact that I must accept -- but you can't prove it.
Atheist: You believe in God because of your upbringing, no other reason.

Note the evasion. Nearly all of them do it. The pseudo-Objectivists are among the worst. But in some cases there comes a bombshell:

Theist: Sorry. I was raised in an atheist household. I became a Christian as an adult.
Atheist: What? Then why did you...?
Theist: We call it faith: the acceptance of a proposition without a demand for proof, for personal reasons that need not be persuasive to others. But you should be familiar with that. Atheism is a faith too.
Atheist: (Usually unprintable.)

The degree of pride that usually accompanies dogmatic atheism makes that last observation absolutely unpalatable, even though it's absolutely correct. But the blow to the dogmatic atheist's intellectual self-exaltation is impossible for him to shrug off. In short, he hasn't the necessary humility to allow it.

Concerning government and whether it is or isn't a "necessary evil," this too admits of a range of defensible opinions. Philosophically, anarchism -- the rejection of the necessity of formal institutions of government -- is very attractive. There have been anarchic societies that managed quite well for long periods, most notably pre-classical Sumer, medieval Ireland and medieval Iceland. However, one can argue that the conditions that made those anarchisms viable no longer exist and might never exist again. Like the existence of God, it's an argument that cannot be settled.

Among the more interesting aspects of the debate are these:

  • A government need not exist for some specific minimum length of time.
  • Neither does it need to cover some specific minimum area on the globe.
  • Neither does it have to adhere to some specific set of processes for reaching its decisions and actions.
  • Neither -- and this is the hardest part to accept -- does it have to concern itself with justice.

A government is an entity which possesses the privilege of wielding force and the threat of force against individuals and other organizations, and which is pre-indemnified for doing so, over a delimited group of persons, or a delimited region of space, or both. But a lynch mob possesses all those characteristics. So also does a vigilance committee. Indeed, though we could argue the case of the Mafia for decades, it is well established that in several American cities the Mafia was for decades more important to the administration of justice than the "real" government.

Clearly, not everyone would willingly bestow the title of government on lynch mobs, vigilance committees, or urban organized crime families. Yet all these exhibit the defining characteristics of governments, at least in some region and for some interval. Since such organizations don't have a constitutional or other formal basis, I maintain that arbitrarily denying them the title is merely an expression of provincialism: a baseless attachment to relatively recent forms and conventions which would never have troubled those who ruled over most of Man's recorded history.

Accordingly, if you dislike "necessary evil," try "inevitable," though I doubt it will improve the flavor.

I don't expect everyone to agree with the logic of the arguments above; there aren't that many skilled logicians in the world, and few of them bother to read Liberty's Torch. But I'd rather not have my still troublesome tendency to scream and leap (see below) evoked by cowards who have nothing to offer but insults. It's bad for my blood pressure, which I have to watch carefully these days.

So, "Anonymous" who thinks himself smarter and more realistic than me: All you have done is flick me on the raw and compel me to demonstrate why I consider you an arrogant idiot. Nevertheless, Christ has told us to take pity on the less fortunate we find in our path. Therefore, I'll be praying for you. I hope it helps.

"It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt." -- Multiply attributed
    "Louis Gridley Wu, I found your challenge verbose. In challenging a Kzin, a simple scream of rage is sufficient. You scream and you leap."
    "You scream and you leap," Louis said. "Great."

[Larry Niven, Ringworld.]

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Declarations Of War Part 2: Our Supposed Allies

"There are two parties in America: the Stupid Party and the Evil Party, and I'm proud to be a member of the Stupid Party." -- Irving Kristol.

Yes, we are at war, willy-nilly, with "our" federal government. Yet we are told that within that government we have allies: persons nominally pledged to the protection of our individual rights and the constraints imposed upon Washington by the Constitution. They call themselves Republicans.

We hear about Republicans' devotion to our defense, and to unswerving Constitutional fidelity, no less often than every two years, during the six months or so preceding a biennial election. It's then that they strive to remind us that they're our best protection against the evil intentions of the Democrats -- and make no mistake, Gentle Reader: the Democrats really are evil. They've dedicated their lives in "public service" to the advance of American totalitarianism, such that there shall be "everything within the State, nothing outside the State." To the day when everything not compulsory shall be forbidden. It's practically the whole of their platform.

But we have the Republicans to oppose them, to charge fearlessly onto the political battlefield, banners held high, to ask not nor give quarter, and to smite the Democrats hip and thigh. We can rely upon them to give true coloration to the Democrats' schemes, to unearth unmistakable evidence of their perfidy, and by sheer purity of heart to halt the advance of the Omnipotent State. If we put enough of them in Congress, of course. And one in the White House, of course. And a majority on the Supreme Court. Of course.

There's just one little problem with this rosy scenario: from top to bottom, it's a crock of shit.

Mind you, there are a few Republican officeholders who appear to walk it like they talk it. Just now a great deal of attention is on the pugnaciously outspoken Ted Cruz, the junior United States Senator from Texas. Cruz has dared to beard two fearsome lions in their respective dens: the Democrat majority in the Senate and the so-called Republican "leadership," whose behavior could stand as the definition for cowardly, un-leader-like conduct in high office. Both would like to see him erased from their little world. Indeed, it's unclear which community fears and despises him more.

But Cruz is treated by the Republican Party's strategists as a distraction from the party's one and only sincere agenda: electing Republicans. (They take the same attitude toward the generally like-minded Rand Paul (R, KY) and Mike Lee (R, UT), and for the same reasons.) Cruz's open, fearless combativeness, they say, makes him "controversial," a detriment to "collegiality" and an impediment to "working together"...with the Democrats, that is. Seldom are those kingmakers required to face the question: "Working together on what?"

The point, we must remember, of a political party is to get its candidates elected. If the Republican Party's core leadership -- its cadre of strategists, pollsters, and rainmakers -- is convinced that taking firm, principled stands during campaign season will best serve that agenda, then that's the behavior the party's candidates will exhibit... during campaign season. But if that very same conduct once in office should seem to the leadership to be a detriment to retaining office, or to adding to the party's caucuses, it will be discouraged, principally by the denial of further organizational and material support to him whose behavior it deems "controversial."

How a leadership cadre with such an outlook got established in the GOP is a topic of interest.

Organizations respond to incentives and penalties much as do individual organisms. The systematic application of incentives and penalties to an organization can mold its behavior in an enduring fashion. More, the teacher is often taught by observing the effect of his lessons on his student.

Possibly the seminal event in the re-engineering of the Republican Party was the absolute and total defection of Franklin D. Roosevelt's Administration from the Democrat Party's 1932 campaign platform. Hearken to Garet Garrett on the events in question:

The first three planks of the [1932] Democratic Party platform read as follows:
We advocate:
  1. 1. An immediate and drastic reduction of governmental expenditures by abolishing useless commissions and offices, consolidating departments and bureaus and eliminating extravagance, to accomplish a saving of not less than 25 per cent in the cost of Federal government
  2. "2. Maintenance of the national credit by a Federal budget annually balanced
  3. "3. A sound currency to be maintained at all hazards."

Mr. Roosevelt pledged himself to be bound by this platform as no President had ever before been bound by a party document. All during the campaign he supported it with words that could not possibly be misunderstood.

He said:

"I accuse the present Administration (Hoover's) of being the greatest spending Administration in peace time in all American history—one which piled bureau on bureau, commission on commission, and has failed to anticipate the dire needs or reduced earning power of the people. Bureaus and bureaucrats have been retained at the expense of the taxpayer. . . . We are spending altogether too much money for government services which are neither practical nor necessary. In addition to this, we are attempting too many functions and we need a simplification of what the Federal government is giving to the people."

This he said many times.

Few of the great majority that voted in November, 1932 for less Federal government and fewer Federal functions could have imagined that by the middle of the next year the extensions of government and the multiplication of its functions would have been such as to create serious administrative confusion in Washington, which the President, according to his own words, dealt with in the following manner:

"On July eleventh I constituted the Executive Council for the simple reason that so many new agencies having been created, a weekly meeting with the members of the Cabinet in joint session was imperative....

Mr. Frank C. Walker was appointed as Executive Secretary of the Council."

Fewer still could have believed that if such a thing did happen it would be more than temporary, for the duration of the emergency only; and yet within a year after Mr. Roosevelt had pledged himself, if elected, to make a 25 per cent cut in Federal government by "eliminating functions" and by "abolishing many boards and commissions," he was writing, in a book entitled On Our Way, the following: "In spite of the necessary complexity of the group of organizations whose abbreviated titles have caused some amusement, and through what has seemed to some a mere reaching out for centralized power by the Federal government, there has run a very definite, deep and permanent objective."

Few of the majority that voted in November 1932 for an end of deficit spending and a balanced Federal budget could have believed that the President's second budget message to Congress would shock the financial reason of the country, or that in that same book, On Our Way, he would be writing about it in a blithesome manner, saying:

"The next day, I transmitted the Annual Budget Message to the Congress. It is, of course, filled with figures and accompanied by a huge volume containing in detail all of the proposed appropriations for running the government during the fiscal year beginning July 1,1934 and ending June 30,1935. Although the facts of previous appropriations had all been made public, the country, and I think most of the Congress, did not fully realize the huge sums which would be expended by the government this year and next year; nor did they realize the great amount the Treasury would have to borrow."

And certainly almost no one who voted in November, 1932 for a sound gold standard money according to the [Senator Carter] Glass money plank in the platform could have believed that less than a year later, in a radio address reviewing the extraordinary monetary acts of the New Deal, the President would be saying: "We are thus continuing to move toward a managed currency."

The broken party platform, as an object, had a curious end. Instead of floating away and out of sight as a proper party platform should, it kept coming back with the tide. Once it came so close that the President had to notice it. Then all he did was to turn it over, campaign side down, with the words:

"I was able, conscientiously, to give full assent to this platform and to develop its purpose in campaign speeches. A campaign, however, is apt to partake so much of the character of a debate and the discussion of individual points that the deeper and more permanent philosophy of the whole plan (where one exists) is often lost."

At that the platform sank.

[Garet Garrett, "The Revolution Was"]

Yes, that's a rather long citation. I hope you read it all the way through. FDR and his advisers were determined from the very first to depart totally from the platform on which they'd campaigned. They had a clear objective -- the consolidation of all political power in their hands, possible due to the national sense of crisis and the abdication of Congress from its proper functions -- and they were determined to make their way to it.

The important thing, above all other considerations of that moment in American history, was to persuade the electorate that the New Deal was necessary despite its obvious Constitutional deficiencies. The deliberate inflation of the currency, ultimately reducing the value of the dollar by 40.4%, was one of the key tools the Administration used to provide "evidence" of the New Deal's "success." Add to that the multiplication of federal make-work programs and the manipulation of the agricultural markets to raise the price of farm produce, and the New Dealers contrived to persuade millions that they had the cure for America's economic disease.

A great distance away from the levers of power, the Republicans were watching.

To those who lived through the Wilson, Harding, Coolidge, Hoover, and Roosevelt Administrations, the progression must have seemed incredible, massively perverse. The policies of the Harding / Coolidge years were incredibly successful: the quickest, most painless reversal of an economic contraction in American history -- and accomplished entirely by downsizing and restraining the federal government. Hoover's diametrical reversal of those policies, coupled to some incredible blundering by the Federal Reserve and the stock market contraction on October 29, 1929, produced the Great Depression.

It's critical to assert here that the long-lasting miseries that followed would not have occurred except for Hoover's unrelenting interventionism, in defiance of Republican principles. But Hoover, "the Great Engineer," was as disdainful of others' advice as Barack Obama. He'd made a lot of money during his years in business, had successfully operated a huge European relief effort after World War I, and carried himself with such arrogance that even Harding and Coolidge feared to contradict him. In attempting to rehabilitate Hoover's reputation after the Roosevelt years and World War II, portraying him as a champion of free markets and Constitutionally limited government, the GOP made its critical mistake.

There are lots and lots of warnings about the unwisdom of believing your own BS. The Republican leadership cadre, who thought the Democrats had taught them a superior lesson -- something they needed to know to return to power -- failed to heed them.

The postwar decades saw a deepening of the Republican sickness. Eisenhower, though he campaigned as a conservative, presided over policies slightly to the left of center. Nixon, moderately conservative of conviction, proved surprisingly irresolute as a president, standing firm in very little -- mainly foreign policy -- and yielding to interventionists in his Administration and Congress in all else. For all practical purposes, the GOP paraded as the "discount alternative" to the Democrats: "the same policies, but cheaper."

The rise of Ronald Reagan, first as Governor of California and later as President, seemed to herald a Republican return to limited-government principles. It proved illusory. Reagan was largely successful at rebuilding the armed forces, reducing taxes, and operating an assertive foreign policy. He proved unable to restrain the growth of the federal leviathan, which expanded by 13% in personnel and 65% in expenditures over his tenure in the Oval Office. Once again, the GOP's leadership made a terrible mistake in portraying the Reagan years as a paradise of laissez-faire. Objectively, the Eighties continued the trend lines of the previous Administrations almost exactly. The Left capitalized on the GOP's reluctance to present the facts honestly by trumpeting about the "Reagan deficits," which were entirely due to Congressional overspending of swiftly increasing tax revenues, made possible by Reagan Era tax cuts.

Reagan himself was a good man, sincere in his espoused convictions and far more courageous than the majority of his Twentieth-Century predecessors. Yet time after time he let his advisers have their way in opposition to his own policy preferences, deferring to what he saw as their "expertise." Those advisers were nearly all bred-in-the-bone "discount Democrats," who believed that reductions in federal activism and expenditure would cost the GOP its hold on federal power. The consequences are before us: the most successful Republican Administration since Coolidge could not be deemed an overall success. Though it succeeded on the international stage, it failed almost completely in attaining its nominal domestic objectives.

With the Presidents Bush, Older and Younger, the march of the GOP into the don't-rock-the-statist-boat darkness would continue.

Today's Republican Party continues in the pusillanimous tradition of the post-FDR party that couldn't prevent Roosevelt from winning four consecutive terms, that couldn't unseat the badly weakened Harry Truman, that presided over an ever-expanding federal government even when it had majorities in both houses of Congress. Despite the overt adulation showered upon the Gipper, what the GOP's kingmakers would really like is not a Reagan II, but a figure as attractive and eloquent as the Great Communicator who would nevertheless not dare to lay a hand on the tiller of the Ship of State -- that is, who would agree to let the "discount Democrats" rule in his name, that they might continue undisturbed in their power and perquisites.

The parade of candidates since Reagan -- two Bushes, Robert Dole, John McCain, and Mitt Romney -- should have given the game away. Not one of them was nearly as principled as Reagan about even one issue. All were part of the don't-rock-the-statist-boat Republican Establishment, whose members can't even think of opposing further federal growth or cutting back on Washington's usurped, extra-Constitutional powers without experiencing a sudden, urgent need for a change of underwear. That Establishment remains at the pinnacle of the GOP today, and is working assiduously to neuter the Ted Cruzes, the Mike Lees, and the Rand Pauls before they can upset the apple cart. They'd prefer continued hegemony by the Democrats to that great a perturbation of The Way Things Are.

We have no allies among the political class.

"It's a big club...and you ain't in it." -- George Carlin

Cutting to the chase.

This is a comment I posted over on the The DiploMad 2.0, which site I commend to you. Points added here are in italics:
Islam needs to be confined to its present pestilential tribal areas.

The doctrine of shariah that mandates death for apostasy, blasphemy, innovation, idolatry, heresy, and their multiple metastasizations must be proscribed in every civilized country and any Muslim who advocates it or refuses to denounce the Koran and all schools of "Islamic jurisprudence" as false and evil for containing any words justifying it must be ejected forthwith from the civilized world or denied even temporary entry. Any imam, mullah, ulema, shaykh, mufti, qadi, or "holy" man in the world who issues a fatwa calling for the death of any non-Muslim is to have his name placed on a list of people outside the law. It's an ancient practice that bears reviving. A $1,000,000 bounty is to be placed on the head of the issuer. A passport to any non-Muslim country chosen by the "winner" will be issued to him or her and immediate family.

For gosh sakes, instead of getting wrapped around the axle over whether Islam is a religion or not, we need to strike right at the heart of the matter: noxious, abhorrent behavior. We didn't consume valuable band width in the U.S. when we went after the communists. We didn't concern ourselves with the merits of dialectical materialism or whether the state would wither away upon the final triumph of communism. Who cares! We settled on proscribing communists' advocacy of the violent overthrow of the U.S.

For liberals, let me make it clearer: Advocating violent overthrow (involving treason and killing) = advocacy of death for apostates.

There just aren't any First Amendment problems here. We attacked the communists where they were vulnerable. Nor do we protect speech that is a threat to someone. Would it make it protected speech if the speaker were a member or priest or cardinal of the Catholic Church?

Then we can proceed to legislation on the order of the Foreign Missions Act, I think it was. Under that, if the Soviets confined U.S. diplomats in Moscow to a half-mile radius of our embassy, we did the same to them in the U.S. Muslims in Saudi forbid building of churches or Egyptians burn down a Christian church? Guess what?

It's nonsense that Islam is a giant entity called "a religion" and that we can't attack specific noxious practices. But our political class would have to have a spine and a brain implant before something simple like this will ever be tried.

Be that as it may, it's a strategy that can't fail because its targets are our enemies without question and they will squeal like stuck pigs when we get down to brass tacks and quit wrestling with the spheres.[1]

Your basic "cut the crap" approach.

Apologies for the language but I'm done with trying to get this problem solved with parlor room thinking or tactics. There are many deliberate distractions thrust in our faces that would tie us up in the coils of "rights," "religious freedom," "patriarchy," "religion of peace," "colonialism," "war on women," "inequality," "investments," "racism," "quantitative easing," "affordable housing," "disadvantaged," "comprehensive immigration reform," "free trade," "global warming," "climate change," "extreme right," "right-wing fascism," "voter suppression," "entitlements," "nation of immigrants," und so weiter. This is Gordian Knot time and we must stay focused on the main enemy.

Jeremy, Australia has much the same thoughts:

Looking from outside America, one of the things that really need review is the freedom of religion thing. That has never been true throughout the history of western civilization, I believe the idea was introduced because many small protestant Christian sects had left England for America to escape the enforced uniformity of the Church of England. At the time, it is likely that the founders of the republic would have defined Islam, along with Buddhism etc. as primitive sects rather than religions. We know that the romans used stories of human sacrifice as their reason for wiping out druidism, Cortes felt justified in wiping out the Aztec religion because of their human sacrifice, and the British wiped out Thuggee the professional murderers and thieves who worshipped Kali in India in the 1830's. In each of these cases there is a religion which relies to some extent on killing. It seems to me that Islam is another religion that considers killing to be a moral act even if in limited circumstances and thus cannot be tolerated. Freedom of Religion is a principle that must be rejected.[2]
Bruce Catton wrote about the American Civil War. He observated that at the beginning the Union Army had a democratic spirit to it. The officers of my grandfather's regiment elected their own officers in Chicago in 1861, for example. Catton went on to say that as the realities of the war became clearer, the Army had to resort to stern discipline like administering lashes to unfortunates tied to a wagon wheel. In the regimental journal of my grandfather's unit there is a single entry: Private So and So – executed for desertion.

Now, it seems, we're still playing grab ass and pretending that it's a game. We content ourselves with childish fantasies about human nature and recklessly experiment with economic and political arrangements that would make our ancestors gasp in horror at the stupidity they reflect. Millions and millions and millions of otherwise intelligent and kind people still do not grasp the nature of the civilizational threat we face and what it will unavoidably entail for them and their descendants if it is not turned back and annihilated.

The time for the wagon wheels will yet come. Pray that the right hands wield the whip when it comes.

[1] "Collapse--Part II, The Rise of the Muslim Murder Machine." By W. Lewis Amselem, The DiploMad 2.0, 6/21/14.
[2] Comment on "Collapse--Part II."

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Yet another unlicensed comedian.

Declarations Of War

Good morning, Gentle Reader. Have you been disturbed by the most recent news? Thinking that things really aren't as bad as that, because they're actually worse? Wondering if you'll ever manage to unravel that knot in your stomach short of hauling stakes and "going Galt?"

If the above applies to you, turn off the television -- those patent medicines won't do a damn thing for you and you know it -- and address this most important question with me:

What the hell are we going to do about it?

I've been perched at the edge of outrage for some time, but then, I'm a freedom weenie, and a hard-core one at that: the sort that believes passionately in individuals' God-given rights to their lives, liberty, and honestly acquired property; that believes that the Constitution means exactly what it says, with neither "penumbras" nor "emanations" nor bits written in invisible ink; that believes that for a federal official to defy the Constitution is an act of treason punishable by death. Some of Liberty's Torch's devotees are similarly inclined, but not all. Why, my vast and frighteningly efficient intelligence apparatus tells me that there are even one or two liberals who read this rag...probably for the humor pieces, though they might disagree about which ones those are.

But left, right, or center, pacifically inclined or maximally belligerent, if you've been keeping up with the news and don't feel as if it's time to lock and load, check your pulse: you may have died and not noticed.

War has been declared against us.

Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor changed a lot of thinking about modern warfare. One of the agreements implicit in the Westphalian system of nation-states was that wars would be conducted by sovereignties against other sovereignties, and with prior notice: open, formal declarations of war conveyed from one to the other through diplomatic channels. The unheralded attack on America's naval base was shocking not merely for its devastation, but because every significant military conflict for more than two hundred years had been preceded by a prior declaration of war.

Contemporary thought on such matters downplays the formal declaration of war, by reason of the importance of the first strike in a time of intercontinental ballistic missiles equipped with nuclear warheads. The whole development is massively unfortunate, and not merely because weapons of mass destruction make it likely that a major war will rack up a Biblical body count. A formal declaration of war makes explicit who will be fighting with whom; therefore, any parties not named are omitted from the festivities, and -- in theory at least -- can sit back and pass the popcorn. In the absence of such a declaration, no one can relax; once the lead starts to fly, every nation on Earth, and all of Mankind, are potentially at risk.

The best we can do today, if we'd like some assurance that our carcasses won't be among the ones dragged away by the bulldozers, is to assess the available data continuously, as carefully and critically as possible. So let's have a look at some of the most recent developments in that light.

First up, we have the massive influx of young illegal aliens across our southern border:

In broad daylight, with no fear of being seen, a group of Honduran girls -- some as young as 14 -- cross illegally into the United States.

"Because I want to see my parents in Austin," one tells CNN.

Moments later, another group of Hondurans admits crossing the Rio Grande to get here, McAllen station, a border crossing into the United States. "Thank God nothing happened," they say of the perilous journey.

This group quickly grows to 22. Most are children who traveled without any adults.

Unlike other stories of illegal immigration across a porous border, these immigrants aren't sneaking in. They're showing up and announcing themselves.

"We are seeing hundreds turning themselves in daily. And I mean hundreds at a time," said Chris Cabrera, a leader of the local chapter of the National Border Patrol Council, a labor union representing U.S. Border Patrol agents.

Many of the immigrants use rafts to cross the Rio Grande, equipped with instructions to follow the river until reaching the Border Patrol site to surrender.

"They know that once they get to the station, we are going to give them paperwork and we are going to set them free into the United States," Cabrera says.

U.S. law prohibits the Department of Homeland Security from immediately deporting the children if they are not from Canada or Mexico. Instead, the children are turned over to Department Health and Human Services supervision "within 72 hours of DHS taking them into custody," an official said.

"Most of the time, they're getting released to relatives in the U.S.," Cabrera said. "There's nowhere to put them, so they're released on their own recognizance and have a pending court date. I'd say between 95 and 97% of adults or youths don't show up for court."

The numbers are staggering. He estimates that more than 60,000 unaccompanied juveniles will cross in 2014 and that the numbers will rise from there.

This is the direct, easily foreseen consequence of the Obama Administration's non-enforcement of our border, coupled to its refusal to deport illegal aliens who are minors under our standards. But note that these children are predominantly not Mexican; they're from Central American countries south of Mexico, and therefore crossed the entire length of that nation to reach the United States. How?

There is only one plausible answer: their travel here was facilitated by persons with the necessary means, confident that when they'd finally crossed into the U.S., they would be permitted to stay. More, it's impossible that the Administration is unaware of this. Resourceless minors do not traverse a thousand miles of hostile territory on their own initiative, nor without experiencing tragedy.

Surely none of this is surprising to you. If there's any surprise to be had from it, it's that the popular reaction against it has been so muted. But the salient point is this: Given the Administration's openness about the relevant policies, the consequences were easy to foresee. Therefore we must conclude that those consequences, and their devastating effects upon the border states where Obama is so unpopular, were what the Administration wanted.

Next up we have yesterday's fusillades in the House of Representatives:


I cannot remember an exchange between an appointed Cabinet official and an elected federal legislator that's remotely comparable to these. Commissioner Koskinen's arrogance and defiance are unprecedented. He appears unconcerned with what might follow his open refusal to cooperate with the investigation, the most important such since Teapot Dome. No appointee concerned with his tenure in his position would exhibit such an attitude except after having secured assurance of protection against any significant penalty. Such protection could only issue from higher up in the Administration: specifically, from the White House.

The politicization of the Internal Revenue Service, which has extraordinary powers over American citizens, is a far graver matter than corruption of specific individuals. It sets the most feared and fearsome agency of the federal government at war with the citizenry. Indeed, given its routine guilty-until-proven-innocent practices, under which it may seize a citizen's assets on arbitrary charges, thus denying him the resources required to defend himself against them, even members of Congress must feel a tremor or two at the thought of openly going up against the IRS. That's why the charge in the bill of particulars against Richard Nixon that data from the IRS was provided to the White House to be used against Nixon's enemies was so serious.

Despite the implications for the further use of the IRS as a weapon against anyone it chooses to target, the Administration is just fine with it. They want us to know...and to fear.

Finally for this morning, consider the blatant use of "Operation Choke Point," supposedly targeted at terrorism and money laundering, to shut down legal businesses, especially firearms-related businesses:

Gun retailers say the Obama administration is trying to put them out of business with regulations and investigations that bypass Congress and choke off their lines of credit, freeze their assets and prohibit online sales.

Since 2011, regulators have increased scrutiny on banks’ customers. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. in 2011 urged banks to better manage the risks of their merchant customers who employ payment processors, such as PayPal, for credit card transactions. The FDIC listed gun retailers as “high risk” along with porn stores and drug paraphernalia shops.

Meanwhile, the Justice Department has launched Operation Choke Point, a credit card fraud probe focusing on banks and payment processors. The threat of enforcement has prompted some banks to cut ties with online gun retailers, even if those companies have valid licenses and good credit histories.

“This administration has very clearly told the banking industry which customers they feel represent ‘reputational risk’ to do business with,” said Peter Weinstock, a lawyer at Hunton & Williams LLP. “So financial institutions are reacting to this extraordinary enforcement arsenal by being ultra-conservative in who they do business with: Any companies that engage in any margin of risk as defined by this administration are being dropped.”...

“We’re being threatened with a regulatory regime that attempts to foist on us the obligation to monitor all types of transactions,” Richard Riese, a senior vice president at the American Bankers Association, said in the April 28 issue of American Banker. “All of this is predicated on a notion that the banks are a choke point for all businesses.”

In an interview with The Times, Mr. Riese said the cost of doing business with gun retailers outweighs the benefits for some banks, given that regulators deem the industry as “risky,” state laws vary on the sale of guns and ammunition, and the Justice Department’s enforcement.

A regulatory process is being used, without statutory authority and outside all possibility of correction by judicial action, against institutions disfavored by the Obamunist regime. FDIC's authority to audit and scrutinize financial institutions chartered under its auspices is largely noncontroversial. The desirability of the FDIC's insurance provisions being as high as it is, few (if any) American banks exist outside that orbit. Thus, the weight of regulatory scrutiny can inhibit banks from making credit available to any business the regime wants to discourage: a perfect weapon to use against gun rights, which have been increasingly successful in the federal courts.

A military strategist will tell you: your first strike should always be aimed at the enemy's weaponry. Once you have denied him the power to harm you, your plan of conquest can proceed in confidence.

Is there any other way to interpret the above strikes on the American firearms industry -- at this time, one of the few unabashedly profitable and growing sectors of American enterprise?

War has been declared against us, the American people. The declarer is the federal government. Indeed, many state governments are its tacit allies. Several declarations are presented above; there are many more of subtler impact.

On a related subject, hearken to the great Mike Hendrix:

So whatcha gonna do about it, tough guy? Not one damned thing, that’s what. The entire rotten edifice of American government is rife with this sort of thing. Opportunities for amoral corruption is what government is; it’s what it does. Government is little more than a jobs program for incompetent, greedy bums who could never survive in a competitive, free-market environment…which is just one of many reasons to keep it small, under close supervision and tight restriction.

What we have now is very nearly the precise opposite of what the Founders envisioned. This is but a small representation of that essential, inescapable truth.

The war has been declared. The battle lines are sharp and bright. No American can call himself a noncombatant; no American can be confident that he's off the battlefield. And there's absolutely nowhere to flee.

Will we surrender meekly, or will we stand and fight?

Friday, June 20, 2014

Spot the fake headline.

  1. Raped by Black Man, Moonbat Blames White Patriarchy – As the night the day.
  2. UK: Rural School Deemed ‘Too White’ By Ofsted Visits London to Mix With Ethnic Pupils – Interesting premise.
  3. Syria: Jihadis Display ‘Power of Islam’ On Donkey Victims – Allahu akbar.
  4. Ireland: Raunchy Nuns Diet Coke Jesus Parody Banned by RTE – The fine line between sacred and profane.
  5. The Great Fear — Why Do Whites Fear Their Own Ethnicity? – Because public schooling has done its job.
  6. Joe Biden: U.S. needs ‘constant, unrelenting stream’ of immigrants. – Calling Dr. Sanity.
  7. Caught: CA Mayor Throws Dog Poop on Neighbor's Lawn – When you positively, absolutely are striving for clarity.
  8. Desperate Iraq asks for U.S. airstrikes, as U.S. prepares to empty embassy – Unforeseeable.
  9. Obama: ‘Our Future Rests’ On The Success Of DREAM Kids – Only foreigners can save us.
  10. IRS says it lost key Lerner emails – Define "lost."
  11. EU Demands Prostitution and Drugs To Be Included GDP Figures – No more confusion.
  12. Report: Key 9/11 architect among 5 released Taliban leaders... – Mistakes were made.
  13. Churches Ordered to Perform Sodomy-Based Wedding Ceremonies – I hope this doesn't mean what I think it means.
  14. Lesbian’s Note: She Was Inspired by Homosexual Church to Murder Lover’s Daughter – Not that there's anything wrong with that.
  15. Pope warns against World Cup racism and greed… – Next: NASCAR racism and greed.
  16. Researcher Trowbridge Links Obama to 1975 Weather Underground Domestic Terrorist Group – Outrageous.
  17. Pius XII Criticism ‘Gives Me a Rash’ Says Pope – TMI.
  18. UK: Police Fobbing Off Victims of Yobs by Asking Them to Write Diaries Rather Than Taking Action, Says Peer – "Deer Dairy."
  19. Were the Vikings Scared of Volcanoes? – If they were close by they were.
  20. Work on border fence resumes. – Obama: One-mile-per-year goal attainable.


It all happened pretty quickly last week, but in case you haven’t noticed, Humpty Dumpty fell off the wall over there [Iraq]. The bonehead American news media affects to be too stunned to even ask the pertinent questions, starting with: is that all it took to undo eight years and — what? — maybe two trillion dollars in US-sponsored nation-building? Oh, plus 4,000 US dead and 50,000 wounded. . . .

* * * *

The Iraq fiasco already threatens to spike oil prices way beyond the $107 level of today. That will crush whatever remains of the US economy all over again. God knows what it might do to the financialized Rube Goldberg shadow economy of counterparty booby traps that overlays an abyss of unpayable debt. You can’t squash price discovery forever, and one morning you might wake up to discover that the price of all those shenanigans was your political heritage.[1]

Speaking of "political heritage," name one aspect of our national political life that can't be characterized by "writing on the wind."

War on fossil fuels? Check. EPA, BLM excess? My man! Euphoria over SWAT teams? Officer safety demands it. Massive unexplained ammo buys by secretive federal agency with "internal security" powers? Three bags full. Supreme Court evisceration of federalism in support of the unitary state? 100-year success story. Mandatory celebration of homosexuality? Dissent at your peril.

Birth of the surveillance state? Fighting terror. Veterans on fusion center suspect lists? Fighting terror. IRS lies and attacks on Tea Party organizations? Nothing to see here. Musliim recruitment in prisons? Our evangelical tradition.

Uncontrolled illegal immigration and cheapening of citizenship? Si, si. Mexican complicity in flooding us with immigrants? Our valued southern neighbor. Reckless gamble with inflation? All ahead full. Uncontrolled spending? Attention shoppers. Subsidies for parasites? Job numero uno. Heart-breaking decay of major cities? So? Sell out political parties? Cash is king. Legal discrimination against whites? Equality demands it. Chinese currency manipulation? Never heard of it. Incoherent, juvenile, pro-Muslim foreign policy? Just the ticket. Education of your children by your enemies? What's not to love. Huge remittances to foreign states and massive drug profits to the cartels? The new patriotism. Insane importation of and fawning over Muslims? Coming soon to a neighborhood near you. Constitutionally unqualified mystery president with a forged birth certificate? Living constitution.

It's not so much writing in the wind as reaping the whirlwind. Solzhenitsyn's "pitiless crowbar of events" will soon put an end to this particular frat party though the destruction involved seems needless premature. But maybe that's just me. New cars are coming out with collision detection devices to avert disaster. Politically and socially we're choosing to ignore the lessons taught by our ancestors.

Which would be the non-automotive equivalent in case you were wondering.

[1] "Heads, You Lose." By Jim Kunstler, Clusterfuck Nation, 6/16/14.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

War Powers

Here's what the Constitution says:

The Congress shall have power to declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water.

[Article I, Section 8.]


The President shall be commander in chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several states, when called into the actual service of the United States.

[Article II, Section 2]

It looks to me as if Congress is the sole authority on whether or not the nation is to go to war, whereas the president is the supreme authority over how a war is to be fought. But there's something left out of the above: who decides when a war has ended?

Historically, the end of a war was a matter of formal declaration by Congress, either by the ratification of a treaty or by a Congressional resolution, as was the case after the Senate declined to ratify the Treaty of Versailles, that the war is over. This is an important point for Constitutional purposes, for the president's authority as commander-in-chief is delimited by the existence of a war: when the war has ended, so has the president's authority to send the armed forces of the United States into harm's way. That's the import of that oft-neglected phrase when called into the actual service of the United States.

However, just as Congress's power to determine when the nation is and is not at war has been greatly undermined, so has its power to determine when a war has ended. For the former, hearken to Garet Garrett:

The Constitution says: "The Congress shall have power to declare war."

That, therefore, was the one thing no President could do. By his own will he could not declare war. Only Congress could declare war, and Congress could be trusted never to do it but by will of the people. And that was the innermost safeguard of the republic. The decision whether or not to go to war was in the hands of the people—or so they believed. No man could make it for them.

It is true that President Roosevelt got the country into World War II. That is not the same thing. For a declaration of war he went to Congress—after the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor. He wanted it, he had planned it, and yet the Constitution forbade him to declare war and he durst not do it.

Nine years later a much weaker President did.

After President Truman, alone and without either the consent or knowledge of Congress, had declared war on the Korean aggressor, 7000 miles away, Congress condoned his usurpation of its exclusive Constitutional power. More than that, his political supporters in Congress argued that in the modern case that sentence in the Constitution conferring upon Congress the sole power to declare war was obsolete.

For the latter, we have this ongoing conundrum:

I'll let you know what's going on, but I don't need new congressional authority to act, President Barack Obama told congressional leaders Wednesday about his upcoming decision on possible military intervention in Iraq....

Earlier, spokesman Jay Carney spelled out one limit to any U.S. help, saying: "The President hasn't ruled out anything except sending U.S. combat troops into Iraq."

While the White House statement emphasized Obama would continue to consult with Congress, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said the President "basically just briefed us on the situation in Iraq and indicated he didn't feel he had any need for authority from us for the steps that he might take."

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California agreed with McConnell's assessment, adding she believed congressional authorization for military force in Iraq back in 2001 and 2003 still applied.

Is Pelosi correct? Was there no expiration date or condition attached to the 2002 Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against Iraq?

There's more than one way to look at this. First, Congress never ratified a war-ending treaty, nor did it ever pass a resolution ending the war. That would seem to confirm the Obama / Pelosi stance. However, the point of the war was to extirpate an undesirable government, that of Saddam Hussein and the Ba'ath Party. When in 2004 Paul Bremer presented Iyad Allawi with the document that yielded sovereignty over Iraq to the transitional government, one could argue that the war had ended, having both achieved its purpose and left an acceptable government in place. That would seem to cross-cut the Obama / Pelosi representations. No doubt there are other perspectives worthy of consideration.

One of the enduring Constitutional puzzles is whether Congress's power to declare war is unilateral. A declaration of war is not a law, but rather a legislative recognition of a condition in being. Inasmuch as one of the Founding Fathers' key intentions was to prevent the president from taking the nation to war, it's been argued that presidential consent to a declaration of war is not required. However, presidents have in recent memory muddied the waters by signing Congressional declarations of war as if they were laws of the more mundane sort. The inverse case is equally unclear: were Congress to vote that the United States is no longer in a state of war with anyone, would the president have the power to veto the resolution?

There are indeed places where the Constitution could have used a bit more clarity.

The Libyan intervention Obama undertook without Congressional authorization has left Congress uneasy, in a bipartisan fashion, for a change, about The Won's use of our armed forces. Coupled with his hasty and irresponsible withdrawal of all American personnel from Iraq against all the advice of his top commanders, which is arguably responsible for Iraq's current woes, it's left many of our legislators wondering whether there's any chance of reining in the loose cannon in the Oval Office. This newest assertion of unilateral power -- a power of life and death, at that -- should have put them all, Democrat and Republican, on high alert, but the signs of such are unclear.

Given the lily-livered way it has approached the Obama Administration's other scandalous undertakings -- an excellent and largely comprehensive list can be found at this site -- it's probably too much to expect that Congress will take resolute action to preserve this aspect of the separation of powers. Yes, Congress could still surprise us, for example by mustering a two-thirds majority in both houses declaring that all authorization for the use of military force has expired, or by denying the president any funding for further military operations outside the United States. But what are the odds? Especially given that Obama's serial floutings of Constitutional constraints have gone unaddressed up to now?

The list of Obama's impeachable offenses is already quite extensive, yet he remains in office. Somehow I doubt that he would hesitate to add to it. Not for very long, at least.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Love And Fear: A Contemplation

I was about to post something fundamentally silly about the tears and travails of longsuffering New York sports fans -- with emphasis on us NY Rangers devotees -- but as they've been doing ever more frequently in recent years, my thoughts jumped tracks, diverting me to consideration of some aspects of a story currently under construction, which caused me to ponder...well, us.

Yes, yes, I know you come here to get your boiler stoked. I know that without a political tirade to light that fire, your bile ducts can't get properly warmed up. But these things just happen now and then.

Each of us comes equipped with the capacities to embrace others and to fend them off. Those who are particularly good at the former become known as great philosophers, widely admired philanthropists, or popular prostitutes. Those who incline firmly toward the latter move into caves and grow really long beards. Obviously, there are shadings between those two poles that depend on individuals' circumstances and involvements. But the poles themselves are important markers for the emotional proclivities of Mankind.

If you need examples, consider Mother Teresa of Calcutta and Twentieth Century journalist and essayist Garet Garrett. The former was so filled with love of Mankind that she gave her life and all she possessed to caring for others. The latter, alarmed by the acceleration of the follies he'd chronicled, really did spend his final years in a cave. No doubt there are others, but those two are colorful enough to serve us for now.

Note that I've eschewed the customary opposition of love with hatred. Hatred is an inherently transient condition; O'Brien's fantasies notwithstanding, it's too exhausting to sustain for any great length of time. Alongside that, hatred has many commonalities with love; perhaps most notable is that both emotions are spurs to action. Fear is more plausible as love's polar opposite.

Moreover, the behavior of persons animated by love is more precisely the opposite of that which characterizes persons animated by fear. Which brings me to the meat of this essay, such as it is.

The great figures of human history populate the outer "tails" of the Love-Fear curve. For purposes of concision, let's call persons who fall at those extremes Lovers and Hermits.

Mind you, great does not mean good; it means highly consequential or influential. A great man is one whose existence has affected many others, perhaps one who has turned the courses of nations. For example, philosopher Eric Hoffer was the possessor of exceptional perception and intelligence, and by all available evidence was also a good (i.e., responsible and ethical) man; However, if we judge by the affected-others metric, he cannot (yet) be said to have been a great man.

Among us lesser ones, who seek only to sit under our own vines and fig trees, our positions on the Love-Fear axis exhibit the usual sort of normal distribution: the celebrated Bell Curve. I've known persons of unprepossessing nature who sincerely loved everyone they ever met. I've known equally undistinguished persons who feared others so greatly that they left the protection of their own homes only under the pressure of a survival imperative. But "lesser ones" are not of much interest to others, so let's leave it there for the nonce.

Many persons who seek (and sometimes obtain) high public offices fancy themselves great men. Few actually earn the title. Inversely, some very humble men have proved themselves to be great. Grover Cleveland and Konrad Adenauer are good examples of great men who were both humble and personally good; unfortunately, great but evil men tend not to be humble at all.

What got me thinking about this subject is the polar opposition between two of my favorite characters. Both are brilliant beyond measure and physically gifted. Both possess large capacities for emotion. But one, despite being the very archetype of a Lover, seeks to remain as private as he possibly can; the other has aspirations to greatness that he will fail to achieve unless he can first conquer his Hermitness.

An inspiration caused me to jam the two together; this story was the first consequence...but only the first.

What would you tell a young man of prodigious abilities -- a true polymath -- who hopes to achieve greatly and possesses the potential to do so, but is disturbed, even repelled, by other people generally? Would you try to define greatness to him in the abstract, in the sense delineated above? Would you provide him with examples of great men and exhort him to ponder what moved them to achieve as they did? Or would you simply suggest that he reflect upon the achievements of his heroes, consider why he thinks them great, and look for the thread that bastes them together in greatness?

What would you look for in the youngster's character that would impel you to discourage him from seeking to be great? Would you expect to succeed or to fail in such an effort?

These aren't random currents of thought. Some persons who seek to be great attain that status by doing great evil. Yet they might well be satisfied with their achievements. There's considerable reason to believe that the great monsters of the Twentieth Century were entirely satisfied with themselves and their place in history. If it's possible to prevent any more such monsters from rising to power, it would behoove us to think about how it could be done.

As I wrote all the above, I was bombarded by memories of many kinds. Among us are persons who would be happy to be remembered for doing great evil, as long as they would be remembered for something. I've known at least two such. But I've also known persons who, though capable of greatness and fit for the title, would only accept it if it were coupled to goodness: benevolence that yields beneficence.

Rather than extend this piece beyond the limits of endurance, allow me to cite an otherwise unimportant movie: Steven Seagal's Hard To Kill. Toward the middle of that movie, while Seagal is recovering from an almost-successful attempt on his life and is practicing some self-healing techniques, he tells co-star (and at that time, his wife) Kelly LeBrock about a conversation with his first sensei. The sensei asked him what he wanted, and he replied "to be great." The sensei, a great master of the martial arts, replied thus:

"If you want to be great, first learn how to heal people. Hurting people is easy."

The great who are good heal and help.
But to heal or help others, you must love them.
Therefore, if you want to be great, learn to love your fellow man.
If you can't make him well, at least love him enough to wish him well.
Above all, do not fear him, at least not generically. Fear only concrete hostile intentions and deeds.

Quoth George Herron:

The possession of power over others is inherently destructive both to the possessor of power and to those over whom it is exercised. The great man of the future, in distinction from the great man of the past, is he who will seek to create power in people, and not gain power over them. The great man of the future is he who will refuse to be great at all, in the historic sense; he is the man who will literally lose himself, who will altogether diffuse himself in the life of humanity.

Good advice for the would-be-great young man starting out, don't you think?