Thursday, August 21, 2014


1. Why Now?

The world is erupting in Islam powered violence. The jihadis seem to be everywhere, and advancing everywhere, or nearly so. Consider this squib from Yemen:

Thousands of armed Shiite rebels in Yemen strengthened their positions in the capital Sanaa on Wednesday as they pressed their campaign to force the government to resign, AFP correspondents witnessed.

The rebels have been fighting an off-conflict with government troops in the northern mountains for the past decade but analysts warned their bid for a greater share of power in a promised new federal Yemen was creating a potentially explosive situation.

The Zaidi Shiites are the minority community in mainly Sunni Yemen but they form the majority in the northern highlands, including the Sanaa region.

No conflict that puts Shia and Sunni on opposite sides is secularly motivated. This is a bid for the power to impose Shia Islam on Yemenis generally -- and given the weakness of the Yemeni government, it has a fair chance of succeeding.

So there's that, and the Islamic State gaining ground in Syria and Iraq, and the Moros and their affiliates in the Philippines, and a resurgent Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and Islam-powered violence in the border regions of India, and the conflicts in Nigeria and the Sudan, and this little news item, and so on -- all at once. Why now?

Simply because there is no Great Power looming over the world, ready, willing, and able to restore order.

Time was, the British Empire filled that role. With the two World Wars, it passed to the United States. With the election of Barack Hussein Obama, the post became vacant.

Significantly, even during the Reagan Administration, the simultaneous surge of so many violent movements in so many widely scattered places would have been more than American power could handle. Yet they didn't arise. Each group feared to be the one that would be punished -- possibly by outright extinction -- thus becoming the example used to cow the others.

Given how much has broken loose since then, even a power on the order of the Reagan years might not be able to put things back together. All we can do is wait for 2017, and hope.

2. Poseurs Will Pose, Won't They?

There isn't much one can say about Richard Dawkins that hasn't already been said, but I will note that he remains true to form:

Atheist author Richard Dawkins provoked a firestorm Wednesday on Twitter by claiming an unborn baby with Down’s syndrome should be aborted and that it would be “immoral to bring it into the world.”

The debate with some of his one million followers began when Dawkins, 73, linked to an article at the liberal New Republic titled, “The Catholic Church prefers medieval barbarism to modern abortion,” by Jerry A. Coyne, according to The Daily Mail.

“Ireland is a civilised country except in this one area,” Dawkins said. “You’d think the Roman Church would have lost all influence.”

Irish Catholic Aidan McCourt tweeted in return to Dawkins, “994 human beings with Down’s syndrome deliberately killed before birth in England and Wales in 2012. Is that civilised?”

“Yes, it is very civilised,” Dawkins responded. “These are foetuses, diagnosed before they have human feelings.”

Perhaps Dawkins is merely reacting to the Catholic position on abortion: i.e., that it's murder. Given that any mention of religion, especially Christianity, tends to send him careening into the outer darkness of foaming-mouth irrationality, that's more likely than not. But let's assume for the moment that Dawkins's openly expressed hostility to every religious faith except Islam -- Wonder why the exception? Me, too -- has nothing to do with his position that allowing a Down Syndrome child to be born is "immoral." Here's the killer question, which no one, as far as I know, has yet posed this overhyped intellectual lightweight who relentlessly preaches his own faith from a global pulpit:

Whose rights are violated by such an action?

Take your time, Mr. Dawkins. We'll wait.

3. The Anti-Gunners Whistle Past Their Own Graves.

It's fairly clear in retrospect that:

  • In 1992 George H. W. Bush lost his re-election bid by alienating the gun culture;
  • In 2000 George W. Bush, by not alienating the gun culture, defeated Al Gore -- vice-president of a popular Administration riding atop a booming economy -- by a hair-thin margin.

(Anyone else remember Charlton Heston clutching a musket and shouting "From my cold dead hand, Mr. Gore" -- ?)

But hope springs eternal in the anti-gunners' breasts, as evidenced by this fatuous piece:

Twenty months after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, renewed national attention on the topic of gun violence has not been enough to change federal gun laws. But the National Rifle Association, still the most powerful entity in the war over guns in America, no longer has a monopoly on the debate.

A resurgent gun control movement is challenging the status quo, while groups to the right of the NRA are also growing. Nonprofit organizations on each side are battling like they haven’t in years, trying to shape the country’s politics and win over the American people....

Would someone kindly refresh this old man's memory? When did the NRA, or any other pro-gun group, have a "monopoly on the debate" -- ?

The gun control movement was nearly $285 million behind the gun rights movement in 2012 revenue raised, before Sandy Hook. Today, it is playing catch-up to the money, membership and political savvy of its opponents as the NRA works to maintain its dominance.

With new groups, a revamped strategy, more money and unprecedented collaboration, the gun control movement has made headway. Organizations like Everytown for Gun Safety, the group backed by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, say they are moving the needle.

“Now, for the first time in our country’s history, there is a well-financed and formidable force positioned to take on the Washington gun lobby,” said Shannon Watts, founder of gun control group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, speaking at an Everytown event on Capitol Hill in May.

Mind you, the Bloomberg anti-gun coalition has lost every battle it's undertaken, by margins that leave no doubt that the majority of Americans want their Second-Amendment-guaranteed rights left strictly alone. But that mustn't be allowed to disturb the hopeful ones at NBC and other mass media outlets.

The battle over the right to keep and bear arms powerfully resembles another, seemingly unrelated contemporary clash: that over same-sex "marriage." One referendum after another makes it plain that large majorities oppose State recognition of same-sex "marriages." Yet the media continue to talk it up as "inevitable," while utterly ignoring the copious evidence of its unpopularity and its pernicious effects on a society. If there were any doubt that the mass media are in bed with the Left, those two issues alone would put it to rest.

Should the Democrats make straitened gun control an element of their national platform going into the 2016 elections, they could experience a defeat to rival the Reagan clobberings of Carter and Mondale. We shall see.

4. A Tough Decision.

To my fiction readers: Is there any great interest out there in a fourth Spooner Federation novel, or would you prefer something from an entirely new line of development?

For those who've been wondering, there will be further novels and stories connected to Onteora County, New York, that fabled birthplace of so many heroes, supermen, and world-historical figures. One is in development as we speak; others will follow in their course. Stay tuned.


Drew said...

I would love another Spooner Federation story.

But honestly, thanks for all of your writing, be it fiction or blog posts here.

lelnet said...

I'd like to see a Spooner Federation prequel...that is, some sort of narrative bridge between the Onteora canon and the backstory of the Spooner expedition as told in WAIH.

But I'd hope you know that whatever part of the story decides to force its way out through your fingertips, I'll buy and love. :)

pdwalker said...

*cough* warm lands *cough*

Really though, anything you suggested would be worth reading. What strikes your fancy?

Reg T said...

Since Jerry Jeff Walker came from "Onteora", I'd love to see a short story involving Mr. Bojangles. Even if he turns out to be Edison's Dog, the Cat Who Walked Through Walls, or some similar creature.

Along with most everyone else, I doubt there is anything you might write which I would not enjoy. More Spooner, more Onteora involving Christine, or whatever spirit moves you.

Tim Turner said...

Well, I'm a jerk, but rather than talk about Fran's (wonderful) novels, I'm gonna comment on Why Now?

1) EMP is not science fiction. Nor is any other scenario that shows how fragile our interconnected tech-food-economy is.

2) Islam is not the religion of peace.

3) WE may be brothers, but there are a lot of assholes out there. . . and I'm not that sure about you. If you don't believe your country's identity, culture and heritage are worth preserving, then I'm sure not gonna listen to you talking about border security.

4) However, if you believe this country is wrong, you're free to leave anytime.

5) This is a tough one: You have no rights. There is no God, no physical law, and certainly no government that can protect your supposed right to anything. You can - and often will - be killed if you stand up and proclaim a right. Or you might get a socialist, lying party to agree with you until they get your vote.

The idea of "right" (absent might, but only partially) stems from a PHILOSOPHICAL and intellectual study of the laws of physics, human nature, society and even how people interface economically. There is no guarantee that you have a "right" to property, for example, if you are surrounded by brigands who don't share familial, cultural and social bonds with you.

If someone sees you as "other," and their cultural or moral heritage is to regard you as inconsequential or just WRONG, then what retardant is there to raping your women, killing your men, enslaving your children and destroying or stealing your property?

The idea of "right" comes from a deeper understanding of how people - with their natures, societies and economies - interact for the common good.

In that context a right is a product of shared understanding of morals, survivability, human nature and nature itself.

It is a matter of conscious deduction of truths into axioms. It is NOT a popular sentiment, desire or political slogan.

I am pretty sure the Christan faith is more tolerant, giving and life-affirming than the Muslim faith.


6) It follows, if you think race or any other cosmetic trumps fundamental ways people get along or trust each other, I think you've misread history, nature and human nature.

Finally, you'll think I'm talking in circles if I invoke point 3) "a country's identity, culture and heritage," while at the same time (point 6) I deny that race should be a marker of a fundamental way people get along or trust each other.

7) Race doesn't matter. Sex does. Intentions don't matter. Results do. Politics matter less than civilization. I'd rather make the mistake of keeping 10 nice illegal immigrants out than letting any in. I believe in law. If you don't like the one there is, change it, but don't let some authoritarian slick-talking amoral bastard (IMHO) choose which laws to enforce and which ones to change.

WHY NOW? Because we forgot that stuff, weren't taught it and were protected from suffering the consequences of not adhering to it.

As Reverend Wright said, "God DAMN America! The chickens will come home to roost."