Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Political Christian: A Sunday Rumination

Last week, I vented about the inappropriateness of associating specific political positions with the Christian ethos:

There could hardly be anything more blasphemous than for a priest of Christ to state, from the pulpit, that Christians are under an obligation to support certain political parties or public policies. Yet we hear this sort of thing from far too many pulpits...and from far too many persons whose conception of Christ’s New Covenant is shallow, to say the least.

Yet there’s no denying that quite a lot of political blather flows from America’s pulpits. Much of it is collectivist, even Marxist, in orientation. Its advocates often make reference to the earliest Christians, who “held all things in common,” as if the emergency measures First-Century Christians adopted to safeguard their lives while they pursued the Great Commission in a lethally hostile era were equally applicable to us of Twenty-First-Century America.

One such as myself, whose politics falls well to the Right of center, will frequently be appalled by such preachments. Still worse would be to see huge numbers of Christians adopting them, as we in the Right know well the inevitable results of collectivism and dread to watch them at work in these United States.

But lay Christians can hardly charge our pulpits, eject the political preachers from them, and demand an immediate return to strict Gospel exegesis. It would cause talk, among other things. (I know it’s hard, but resist the temptation. I don’t want to have to bail you out of jail.) So what can we do?

Well, if memory serves, Jesus didn’t reserve the study or preaching of the Gospels to the Apostles alone.

It might be apocryphal, but a beautiful saying attributed to St. Francis of Assisi runs as follows:

“At all times, preach the Gospels.
When necessary, use words.”

Whether or not Francis of Assisi actually said any such thing, the wisdom of those words is plain, for people respond most reliably to a good example. Indeed, what is more clichéd than the condemnation of the sanctimonious hypocrite: he who publicly mouths pieties but privately wallows in vice? Mind you, hypocrisy is not the worst of sins, but to the extent it’s detectable and appears to go unpunished, it’s an important fuel for the degradation of a society. But the larger point is the important one here.

Many years ago, during the period when I was away from the Church, I chanced to spend an afternoon, under social circumstances, with a devoutly Christian extended family that glowed with joy. (That the paterfamilias was an entrepreneur in nuclear medicine probably had nothing to do with it.) Every member of the three generations present that day was quite literally beautiful, and a pure pleasure to have in one’s company. Though I never again saw any one of them, the occasion has remained vivid in my memory ever since.

I have no idea what their politics were. No political subject came up. Politics was entirely irrelevant to that gathering...nor, I suspect, was it relevant to that family at any other time. But neither did any religious subject come up. Apart from grace over a meal, not one of them said a single word about their common faith. If they preached their convictions on that day, it certainly wasn’t with words.

I couldn’t say whether those folks were extraordinary or important in any secular way. I didn’t get to know them well enough for that. Their happiness, as individuals and in aggregate, was dominant in my perception of them.

Return, if you will, to this piece, and reflect on the parallels.

It’s a well known phenomenon of politics that one’s chosen alignment often has much more to do with the sort of person one wants to associate with (and to appear to others) than with a reasoned set of conclusions about rights, justice, and public policy. The same might be true of religious convictions. The inverse seems beyond dispute; at least, I can’t imagine willingly adhering to a faith most of whose members strike me as vicious or personally repellent. (Also, it would account for the popularity of Islam in our prisons.)

The acceptance of a religion is a matter of personal commitment. It’s a voluntary adoption of certain beliefs and an associated code of conduct, not a license to compel others to conform to one’s preferences. The same is true of any other noncoercive system of belief or scheme for living. Thus, politics is utterly irrelevant to religious faith and ethics, and should be allowed no place in our preachments or our pulpits.

Still, I can’t help musing over the predominance of conservative political views among Americans who describe themselves as Christians. If those folks are as persuasive in their persons as that family I encountered so very long ago, it would go a long way toward explaining why the “red states” are also the bastions of American Christianity. We tend to gather with those we find admirable, whether or not our admiration is warranted. We tend to emulate those we deem successful, whatever our metrics for success. Even if we find it difficult to view persons who inspire others solely by example as preachers, it appears to be the style of evangelism best suited to the Christian ethos. If politics matters almost as much to you as your faith, and if it’s also the style of political evangelism best suited to the conservative / libertarian ethos, why not give it a try?

Hey, it might even work on that obnoxiously political priest whose sermons affect you like fingernails on a blackboard.

May God bless and keep you all.

The liberal prime directive.

In fact, total disengagement from all the non-Western world is necessary. I am one of those who are of the belief (I realize not a very large number) that the reason why the world has reached a crisis population of 6.5 billion—in which the vast majority are people from ethnic [backgrounds] that have absolutely no chance whatsoever to reform themselves into anything resembling a civilized being—is the century-long liberal fight to subsidize dysfunctionality.
Comment KE from Turkey by on "Separationism." By Lawrence Auster, View from the Right, 12/5/06.

Anchor baby madness.

Today, more than 20 percent of all children born in the United States are born to those who have entered the United States unlawfully, and who are, by any authentic definition of the 14th Amendment, NOT subject to the jurisdiction of the U.S. because they are not citizens. Yet Barack Hussein Obama and his Socialist Bourgeoisie assert that the "anchor babies" of illegal immigrants are owed all the entitlements of an American citizen.

The near-term consequences of this fallacious assertion have dire implications for the future of Liberty, for the Rule of Law, and for the very survival of our nation. But this is consistent with Obama's "fundamental transformation" agenda to break the back of free enterprise, which is essential to liberty.

In 1776, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson proposed the national motto, "E pluribus unum" ("Out of many, one"), but that unity will not last much longer if we do not take dramatic action to restore the Rule of Law.[1]

Only in the debased United States of America today, will courts contort themselves to dream up doctrines that enable
  1. foreigners to claim a "right" to acquire citizenship by virtue of having been delivered 12 inches over the international boundaries of the U.S. and

  2. their foreign parents to claim a right of family reunification with such bogus "citizens."
How to illustrate the absurdity of this? If I visit a house for sale during an "open house" do I have a right to come back later and demand a bedroom from the new owner for my home? Our black letter property laws permit the courts to deal effectively with such an absurd claim. Something more than mere presence enters into the calculations of sane people.

According to U.S. federal courts, however, foreigners can make just such a claim under our immigration "laws." Location of delivery equals U.S. passport and right to reside and vote. Wishes and intentions of foreigners trump interests of U.S. citizens.

[1] "'Subject To the Jurisdiction of the United States' Means Babies Of Illegal Mothers Are Not Automatically U.S. Citizens." By Mark Alexander, Huffington Riposte, 8/26/10.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

A Post-Black-Friday Nosegay

Had enough turkey yet, Gentle Reader? I haven’t. At least, that’s what the C.S.O. says.

(Note to self: For next wife, select one who wasn’t Chief Cook for the entire U.S. Army in some previous life.)

1. “The Business Of Business Is Business!”

Our beloved Instapundit today cites a passage from a recent novel -- something that needs to be said more often, even though it shouldn’t need to be said at all!

    He looked at me curiously. “What was your main objective, Skipper? Improve the ship’s reputation?”
    I shook my head. “You can’t improve reputation by focusing on reputation, Avery. You always earn it by your actions.” I stopped to think for a couple of heartbeats. “I almost didn’t take the berth because of the Agamemnon’s reputation on the docks, but once I was here, my main goal was simple. Make money.”
    He cocked his head to one side. “Isn’t that rather cold, skipper? Make money?”
    “Maybe,” I shrugged. “But it’s why we’re out here. It’s why the ship exists. We’re all out here because we make money. If we didn’t make a living at it, we couldn’t do it.”

Quoth Professor Reynolds: “I wish more people understood that basic point.” At first I responded by nodding, but then I got to thinking: What evidence exists to the effect that many people don’t understand it?

Well, for certain values of many, it’s beyond dispute. But is that fraction of the American populace significant in comparison to the rest?

It’s an interesting question, really. A century ago, when most Americans were either self-employed or worked in small, family-owned businesses, the don’t-understand-it fraction would have been minuscule. Even persons employed for wages by large corporations would have grasped it, simply because of the overarching commercial environment. The matter is more elusive today.

Superficially, an individual’s attitude can often be discerned from his casually offered opinions. Phrases such as “obscene profits” and “corporate greed,” and exhortations toward “living wages” and price controls would seem a dead giveaway. But such a person can usually be led to see how irrational such notions really least, if he’s not of the “won’t-understand-it” tribe.

The won’t-understand-its are a separate and less tractable case. Usually, they have to be beaten across the chops by reality. Sometimes even that won’t suffice. Yet there’s worse: the Left’s leadership cadre, the ones who understand it very well but are determined to efface that understanding from their followers, because to grasp it would fatally undermine their power and prestige.

I had an exchange with such a villain just yesterday. He was the sort of devil who cites Scripture for his purposes: in this particular case, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “four freedoms,” only two of which are logically or ethically defensible. His basic argument was that “freedom from want” is just as valid as any other interpretation of freedom. When it became clear that he would not grapple with political freedom as a category that precludes State action to feed people, I left him to play with himself. Yet his is the sort of pseudo-argument that has animated those who have traditionally been the American Left’s cannon fodder: those who demand the unearned as a “right.”

They can often seem quite numerous when they take their bullhorns and spittle-flecked mugs to the streets, as for example in the current foofaurauw over “living wages” for retail clerks and fast-food workers. But how many of them are there, really?

2. The Left’s Hate Parade.

Liberal Logic 101 presents a highly illustrative piece today:

If you’ve ever had the misfortune of trying to attempt a polite discussion with your typical Liberal you’ll quickly find how full of hatred and venom they are. You can actually gauge how effective you are at defending your point of view, by how quickly they start calling you names. But their most intense hatred they reserve for a few people who they especially loathe.

Please read the rest. Note that the persons enumerated are all happy, successful, and admired by many Americans – essentially any American who’s also happy and successful. In other words, they’re admired by anyone who has grasped that his life and values are his own responsibility to act upon. But he who has taken his life into his own hands is not politically reachable with the Left’s indispensable tools: envy and hatred. If he’s outspoken about his convictions as well, that makes him a target the Left will strive to defame, degrade, and destroy. The more passionate and widely heard he is, the more effort the Left will give to bringing about his downfall.

In this connection, science fiction writer John C. Wright tells an important story:

There is an old Chinese legend of a golden scroll on which the secret of human happiness was written; and sages and warlords, merchant-princes and emperors sought the scroll with fervor. When found, they saw the secret of the scroll consisted of one ideogram printed over and over, an ideogram they could not read. However, there was a beggar girl who could read the mysterious word.

If you know that word, then you know the secret of human happiness.

The word is gratitude. Gratitude for one’s nature as a being of independent consciousness and volition. Gratitude for the ability to conceive of goals and ways to pursue them. Gratitude for the possession of an immortal soul and its equipage of conscience. Gratitude that even when times are darkest, as long as one lives and breathes one can still hope and work for better. Gratitude, in other words, for the gift of human life and freedom.

Gratitude is the Left’s most feared and despised enemy. He who has taken his life into his own hands cannot help but be grateful. He must be silenced at least, destroyed at best.

“The Fascists cannot argue, so they kill.” (Victor Marguerite) The Left has deliberately forsaken argument in favor of force, fraud, and intimidation because its arguments have all been defeated. The sort of street protests and pseudo-ethical shaming the Left employs today can all too easily give way to violence. Should that day come to America -- and by my reading of matters, it’s not far off -- make sure you're locked, loaded, zeroed in and ready to fight.

(Cross-posted at League Of Outlaw Bloggers.)

Friday, November 28, 2014

Black Friday

When Black Friday comes
I'll stand down by the door
And catch the grey men when they
Dive from the fourteenth floor
When Black Friday comes
I'll collect everything I'm owed
And before my friends find out
I'll be on the road
When Black Friday falls you know it's got to be
Don't let it fall on me

When Black Friday comes
I'll fly down to Muswellbrook
Gonna strike all the big red words
From my little black book
Gonna do just what I please
Gonna wear no socks and shoes
With nothing to do but feed
All the kangaroos
When Black Friday comes I'll be on that hill
You know I will

When Black Friday comes
I'm gonna dig myself a hole
Gonna lay down in it 'til
I satisfy my soul
Gonna let the world pass by me
The Archbishop's gonna sanctify me
And if he don't come across
I'm gonna let it roll
When Black Friday comes
I'm gonna stake my claim
I'll guess I'll change my name

[Becker & Fagan]

[“If Katy told you that, she lied.” -- Charles Hill]

Now, I don’t mean to tell you that you should adopt the above as your actual agenda, but it strikes me as preferable to what quite a lot of Americans will be doing today...those that aren’t doing it already, that is.

The annual Black Friday shopping frenzy wreaks enormous havoc on the body politic. The distortions to our fragile economy alone are in the quintillions of say nothing of the congestion on major shopping roads, the damage to male-female relations, or the deleterious effects on our military, our police, our firemen, our paramedics, our hospitals and schools, our culinary institutes, our major fashion houses, our women’s shoe designers – no, Duyen, I wasn’t about to forget them – and the producers of the Real Housewives oeuvre. Why, if the Communists were really still in business, Black Friday would strike them as a perfect tactic to wield against us running dog lackeys of the International Banking Conspiracy.

(Say, you don’t think...naah, can’t be. Forget I said anything.)

The psychologists claim to be baffled that even now that the online retailers have gotten into the act, massive floods of Americans queue up for this annual spectacle. But then, most psychologists have the actual reasoning power of an overripe Durian. After all, which is the greatest of the Black Friday pleasures? The combat! Jostling, body-checking, and goods-wrestling with other shoppers, right? It can’t be the wares themselves; they’ve been available all year. Nor are the sale prices all that dramatic, with rare exceptions (e.g., Precious Moments figurines, Franklin Mint commemorative sets, Buicks). As for the recent adaptation of “tailgating” practices to the Thursday-night lines in front of the stores, haven’t you eaten enough already? Thanksgiving dinner was just a few hours ago, for Pete’s sake!

Only one conclusion is possible: Black Friday is the American equivalent of the British / South American soccer riot.

Every nation has its safety valve: the event, whether scheduled or spontaneous, that allows people to forsake the constraints of civilization for a spell and “let it all out.” Black Friday is the American version. The Ferguson riots just began a little early. Charles Manson would have gotten clean away with his little murder spree had he had the good sense to hold it on Black Friday, but he just isn’t that bright. (Granted, the Postal Service’s version runs 365 days a year, but that’s a special case.)

Be grateful for Black Friday, people. America has the largest, most powerful military establishment in the world. Think about it: were there no Black Friday, how many more invasions and bombings would our poor tired servicemen be commanded to undertake, just so the politicos could “get it out of their system?” (Yes, Virginia: politicians do live vicariously through others, absolutely and entirely. The last nationally prominent politician who had an actual personal life was Grover Cleveland, and look where it got him.)

But gratitude is not participation, nor need one lead to the other. You in particular, Gentle Reader, should leave the driving – and the carnage – to others. Stay home. There’s nothing out there that justifies the risk of life, limb, and solvency. There are few enough of you already, and anyway, look at all the neat stuff Amazon is discounting! Why, the Instant Deals alone...but I digress. (You don’t really need a second piano, Fran, now do you?)

(FLASH! Only minutes ago Jennifer Lawrence was seen walking down Rodeo Drive in full combat apparel, with a recurve bow, a full quiver, and an arrow nocked and ready. Most recently, she was reported to have Josh Hutcherson in her sights. The body count is already climbing toward five figures. Verbum sat sapienti.)

Thursday, November 27, 2014

When Others Have Already Said It Ably...

...I feel no need and little incentive to repeat it in my own terms.

First up, the inimitable Fred Reed:

Two questions, methinks, arise from Ferguson's latest outburst. The first, political, is "Why does the country tolerate it?" The second, more anthropologically interesting, is "Why the eerie incapacity of underclass blacks to understand evidence, or law, or much of anything?" Of the countless explanations given for the poor performance and poor behavior of blacks in the US, one of them dares not speak its name: Low intelligence.

Yet it fits all the evidence. It explains why Africa never built cities, why it did not invent writing, why there was no African Fifth-Century Athens. It explains why Rhodesia, prosperous and an exporter of food when run by whites, fell immediately into hunger and barbarism when whites left. It explains the dysfunction of black societies from Africa to Haiti to Detroit. It explains why blacks invariably score far below whites and Asians on tests of IQ, on the SATs, GREs, on entrance and promotion exams for fire and police departments.

It explains the need for affirmative action and for departments of Black Studies in universities when black students can’t handle real courses. It explains why the gap in academic achievement never closes. It explains the criminality, the violence, the poor impulse control, the dependency on welfare, the unemployment, and the inability to integrate themselves into a high-tech society. It explains the constant scandals involving teachers in black schools giving students the answers on standardized tests.

Further, it explains why none of the programs intended to raise performance of blacks in the schools ever work. Head Start didn’t work. Integrated schools didn’t work, nor segregated schools, nor black schools with white teachers nor black schools with black teachers. Expensive laboratories and free computers didn't work. Schools run entirely by blacks with very high per-student expenditure (Washington, DC for example) didn’t work. There is no indication that anything at all will ever work. Low intelligence is the obvious explanation. There is precious little counterevidence.

Second, consider this from Sara Noble:

Time Magazine published an article by freelance writer Darlena Cunha. It provides a good trip through the liberal thought apparatus. It’s a frightening trip.

Cunha wrote an article about the Ferguson riots titled “Ferguson: In Defense of Rioting”. The violent protests that destroyed 25 businesses and put many in danger are, according to her, “part of the American experience.” Only the “mainstream” can enjoy the “luxury” of “peaceful protesting,” she says.

It’s a perfect example of how these new liberals think. They’re not your grandfather’s liberal.

Without considering the facts or the evidence, she said the “anger” in Ferguson was “inevitable” because a “police officer” shot “a young, unarmed black man in the streets.” She wrote “inevitable” as if the rioting is to be expected and she wrote “in the streets” as if Michael Brown was dragged into a gutter.

“Riots”, she states, “are a necessary part of the evolution of society.” People aren’t living in a “universal utopia” and they don’t have “basic human rights”.

Third, ponder this, from Lee Cary via Doug Ross:

On the morning after the Grand Jury No True Bill decision was announcement, it was clear that the policing authorities followed a planned, minimum-response strategy. They offered little resistance to looting and property destruction, perhaps in order to avoid bloodshed and media scrutiny.

The outcome: On the morning after, there were few, if any, reports of serious injuries. No media videos went viral showing police physically subduing looters. No ambulances were filmed loading bleeding rioters or police. Just the burned and broken evidence of an orgy of looting and property destruction....

When the welfare state begins to dial-down, and the value of EBT cards atrophy, some of those neighborhoods will burn at the hands of their own thug-teens. And policing authorizes will either be unwilling, or unable, to confront the lawlessness....

Meanwhile, the well-established, well-funded, social-activist organizations, many that have been active in Ferguson for months, hope to use Ferguson as a catapult to a sustained, new, civil rights movement. They are professional, crisis ambulance-chasers. The Ferguson looters are their cannon fodder. Wilding is a just one means to their social-transformation end.

Fourth and last, the great Thomas Sowell:

One of the reasons for being glad to be as old as I am is that I may be spared living to see a race war in America. Race wars are often wars in which nobody wins and everybody ends up much worse off than they were before.

Initial skirmishes in that race war have already begun and have in fact been going on for some years. But public officials pretend that it is not happening, and the mainstream media seldom publish it at all, except in ways that conceal what is really taking place.

What’s that? You didn’t come here to read a collage of quotes from other writers? You’re here for my peerless ranting? But Gentle Reader, haven’t we been here enough times already?

It’s on.

(Cross-posted at League of Outlaw Bloggers.)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Sickness At The Heart Of Contemporary Conservatism

With all the lambasting I do of the Left, I sometimes forget to be “fair and balanced.” Mind you, that’s not to imply that the Right is equally sinful, or in the same ways. But self-nominated conservatives are far from stainless representatives of the True, the Good, and the Beautiful.

Have a gander at the following clinker, emitted by Kevin Williamson in the middle of a column in which it’s entirely gratuitous:

The Libertarian party should hold its convention at the Boot Track Café in Loving County, Texas, the least populated place in the United States; the café is closed at the moment, but I am sure that they would open it up to give the Libertarian party a place where its members — both of them — can be lonely together.

Oh, how clever. And how utterly irrelevant, mean-spirited, and small-souled. Do you suppose Mr. Williamson is aware that the most popular Republican now in federal office is libertarian Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky? But that might require that he confront data that doesn’t conform to his prejudices.

I’m getting rather sick of this garbage. I hear a lot of it from so-called conservatives, most of whom can’t even articulate what conservative means. Yes, the LP is small, far smaller than either major party. But do you suppose Mr. Williamson will be happy to be reminded of his cited statement the next time a Republican candidate loses by a small margin? Do you suppose, mindful of the LP’s trivial size, that he’ll refrain from castigating the Libertarian candidate for “stealing” votes from his partisan preference?

I left the LP because the persons rising to the leadership of the Party struck me as uncongenial and impossible to work with. But the core libertarian principle –i.e., that individuals have inalienable rights that no one may legitimately invade or infringe – remains a staple of my convictions. Within its sphere of application, it is unchallengeable...and never explicitly challenged, except by those who proclaim that “only might makes right.”

American political conservatism has been trending ever more strongly toward libertarian positions. This is a notable development, inasmuch as the heart of the conservative world view is a firm attachment to existing institutions and methods, many of which imply the exact reverse of inviolable individual rights. Yet there is important explanatory material here, for a political family’s most threatening competition comes from those whose principles and positions are closest to its own.

(No Democrat who loses his bid for office has ever blamed it on the Libertarian candidate. Food for thought.)

But if you want a really revealing look at the sickness at the heart of conservatism, consider how little conservatives really understand about the Rule of Law. John Hayward’s recent column provides a starting point:

Not only is the Rule of Law a hollow phrase in America today, it lacks the proper intrinsic weight. Even the most hideously savage regimes have laws, and they bloody well expect everyone to follow them, Or Else. The Islamic State has all sorts of laws, with divine authority cited for many of them. They’re even minting their own currency these days. If you know absolutely nothing else about a particular society except that it features absolute obedience to the Rule of Law, I suggest asking a few more questions before deciding to purchase a summer home there.

Yes, indeed. In particular, ask this one:

Are government agents permitted to break one law in the course of enforcing some other law?

...and demand a yes or no answer – unqualified.

What’s that? You want to know what I have in mind? How about just about everything? For example, the Constitution, the Supreme Law of the Land, explicitly recognizes and guarantees certain rights of privacy and property in the Fourth and Fifth Amendments. Yet government agents routinely violate those rights for “law enforcement” purposes in the enforcement of other laws: everything from municipal zoning ordinances to the income tax and the War on Drugs. Indeed, we’re expected to surrender those rights upon request when a gaggle of myrmidons needs our property for a “stakeout;” recent developments in California have made this plain.

The usual excuse is “compelling government interest.” But under the theory behind the Constitution and the state charters, government, an agent with delegated powers, can have no interests of its own. It exists solely to discharge the responsibilities delineated for it in those documents, and for no other purpose.

A conservative who waves this aside to make room for his favorite intrusion on our rights – perhaps by saying something like “We’ve got to be practical” – is no friend of freedom. Nor will he rise to defend freedom when his personal ox is gored.

Quoth Louis Thiers:

Either rights exist, or they do not exist. If they exist, they involve absolute consequences...Furthermore, if a right exists, it exists at every moment. It is absolute today, yesterday, tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, in summer as in winter, not when it pleases you to declare it in force.

I have no problem with a conservative who’s willing to accept that statement...but far too few self-styled conservatives are so willing. It might threaten their campaigns against drugs, sodomy, or abortion. It might make it difficult to fund their next military expedition! Can’t have that.

Small wonder conservative commentators so frequently slather contempt upon libertarians and libertarianism. They usually know, in their heart of hearts, that their positions contain quite a lot of contradiction, and they’d rather not have us point it out...especially when the powers and perquisites of high office are at stake.

ADDENDUM: Don't bother to comment if you can't do so without insulting me. Don't bother if you can't grasp why unenforceable laws are a bad idea. And especially don't bother if you think agents of the State should have the privilege of breaking laws that bind the rest of us. As I've said more than once, I'll entertain intelligent arguments only. Either play at my level or play with yourself...a practice I'm told has its devotees.

(Cross-posted at League of Outlaw Bloggers.)

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Devil Cop Wilkins is still guilty.

H/t: "Girls Just Wanna Have Guns."

Update 11/28/14: The correct video of LiberalChick didn't display correctly. If you saw (or see) a video of a Pres. Obama speech it is the wrong video that is displaying for some mysterious reason.

A Question Of Public Deportment

By now, the entire country knows what’s happened in Ferguson, Missouri in the wake of the “no true bill” decision by the grand jury that sat on Officer Darren Wilson’s fatal shooting of giant thug Michael Brown.

I had a predictable reaction to the rioting and looting:

You can take the savage out of the jungle,
But it’s much, much harder
To take the jungle out of the savage.

I claim that the videos that have surfaced since the disorder began support that evaluation, and no other.

Chiefest among the nominally nonviolent obscenities of this affair are the words of His August Majesty, Barack Hussein Obama, first Emperor of the United States:

That this man should have the gall to stand before an audience and prattle about the rule of law – he who routinely flouts the law! – is a blasphemy beyond my power to adequately condemn. That he should call the rioting “an understandable reaction” – he who accused the police of “acting stupidly” in the Henry Louis Gates matter, without having even a superficial acquaintance with the facts! – recalls Maxine Waters’s defense of the Los Angeles rioters after the acquittals in the “Rodney King” trials. Has there ever been a less sincere, more barefaced liar in any American public office, much less in the Oval Office?

America, your greatest shame isn’t allowing Obama the presidency. It’s having returned him to it.

But let’s not dwell on the present when we have the past and future to address. After all, they’re so much bigger!

Time was, there was no hesitation on the police’s part to enforce noncontroversial norms of public conduct. They would routinely tell “undesirables” to “keep moving.” Nor was there any unease among law-abiding citizens about the practice. It was well understood that we would grudgingly tolerate much that went on behind closed doors that we could not countenance in public. Absolute intolerance of public misbehavior expressed an understanding of “camel’s nose under the tent lip” dynamics: a “broken window theory” of public conduct that reached well beyond vandalism and random disorder.

The breakdown, as always, started with little things. Littering. Public nuisances such as loudly played radios and boom boxes. Jostling on crowded sidewalks. Much followed from the mistaken tolerance of such behavior – a refusal by ordinary citizens to haul the offenders up by the scruff of their necks and compel penance and redress – that few predicted at the time.

We were opening the door to savagery in the streets. Some of us saw it coming and said so. Not enough Americans listened.

Incentives to savagery won’t affect everyone equally, of course. Those who responded by “acting out,” in the common parlance, were already predisposed toward such conduct: the sullen, the wrathful, the violently inclined previously held in check by a sense that they’d never get away with it. That the great preponderance of them are Negroes should surprise no one. What other demographic cohort has systematically been told that it’s “owed,” that “Whitey is holding you down,” that “justice” demands the mulcting of the innocent as “reparations”...and of course, “no justice, no peace!” -- ?

No one can hear such a gospel year in and year out without reacting to it. A hefty fraction of American Negroes have internalized it. Thus we have reached a situation quite similar to that of Muslims. It’s often said that, whereas the radical Muslim wants to behead you, the “moderate” Muslim merely wants a radical Muslim to behead you. Similarly, whereas the black rioter wants to loot your store and burn it down – assuming he gets the order right, that is – many a “peaceable” black merely condones such conduct as “an understandable reaction.”

Needless to say, this is not a formula that will restore order to America’s cities.

The violence will continue. It’s likely to intensify, as the public reaction to it has been hesitant at best. Why, for example, have so few affected business owners not organized a private militia to guard their establishments? Why has no governor acted to arrest and confine those openly exhorting the “protesters” to violence and vandalism, as is licit under the doctrine of incitement to riot? Why has the president not federalized the National Guard nationwide and sent it to the sites of rioting and looting with orders to shoot to kill?

Given the identity and character of the president, I doubt we need an explanation for that last point.

Would anyone care to dispute John Derbyshire’s “The talk, non-black version” today?

There’s more and probably worse to come. Stay tuned.

(Cross-posted at League of Outlaw Bloggers.)

Monday, November 24, 2014

Black Out The Blackers-Out

Ostrich tactics only work if your enemy is an ostrich – and an ostrich afraid of you, at that. Just now, the major networks, wholly dedicated to the protection of His August Majesty Barack Hussein Obama, first Emperor of these United States, are employing ostrich tactics: they’ve completely embargoed the most devastating revelations of the political cycle: Sharyl Attkisson’s Fast and Furious discoveries, and Jonathan Gruber’s megascandalous admissions that ObamaCare’s passage was made possible only by a systematic campaign of deceit.

To be perfectly fair to the satraps of the networks’ news divisions, the tactic has served them well in the past. Republicans and conservatives have almost never confronted them on it in a significant way. Indeed, we’ve tended to act like ostriches ourselves. We’ve disdained the Big Three as unreliably biased, turned to the alternative media for our news, and let it rest there. We’ve allowed the farce to continue unchallenged.

But that doesn’t loosen the Big Three’s grip on the national consciousness, which remains terrifyingly strong...and malevolent.

Here’s Ricochet’s Stephen Miller recommendation to the Republican National Committee:

ABC and NBC have instituted a three-week blackout — on network broadcasts, websites and social media pages — of the devastating admissions of MIT economist Jonathan Gruber. The ACA architect repeatedly boasted of deceiving the American public about legislation that cost six million people their family doctor. This should be the final straw in any relationship the GOP and RNC leadership has with these networks, period. No more debates, no more appearances on “Meet The Press,” “Morning Joe,” or “This Week” on ABC.

Boycott both NBC and ABC over failing to report on Gruber’s revelations and put CBS on final notice over the revelations that they coordinated with the Obama administration to tank Sharyl Attkisson’s Benghazi reporting. Network news is a dying religion becoming more ideologically rigid, forgoing any attempt to stay relevant in a media landscape that no longer needs them. Leave them behind. We’ve already shown that it works. Marginalize them and label them progressive news outlets and make them live by it. MSNBC came out of the progressive closet fully earlier this year and their ratings and web traffic got worse. Air America is no more and Current TV is now an unloved stepchild Al Gore gave away for oil money.

Indeed. Broadcast news departments are middlemen. They don’t produce the news; they package and resell it. Should one of the two major parties deny them access, appearances by its national figures, and the privilege of covering its conventions and other events, they’d lose a hefty fraction of their wares. Now that that party holds 31 of the 50 governorships, the majority in both houses of Congress and in 67 out of 99 state legislatures, the loss might be enough to send the networks’ news divisions into irremediable collapse.

Alternately, it might evoke a long-needed purge of network news department mandarins whose faces have been wedged so long and so deeply in the Democrats’ posteriors that they’ve become inured to the taste and aroma.

On a tangentially related matter: have you followed the broadcast networks’ coverage of developments in Ferguson, Missouri? Have you felt adequately informed by it? Were you aware that private citizens and businessmen in that city have been buying guns and ammunition faster than local retail stores can stock them? That Barack Obama, Eric Holder, and Al Sharpton have been egging the black mobs on? That the mouthpieces of those mobs have threatened “demonstrations” – mass violence – in 90 cities nationwide unless Officer Darren Wilson, not even the subject of an indictment yet, is convicted of murder?

Feeling safe in your home, Gentle Reader? I did, once long ago. I check my own armory a lot more often these days than I did back then.

(Cross-posted at League of Outlaw Bloggers.)

Systematized, on-going ruination.

According to Obama our immigration system is broken because it doesn’t allow illegal aliens who illegally crossed the border to take American jobs. That’s not a broken system, that’s what the system is supposed to do.

When illegal aliens aren’t allowed to legally take American jobs, that’s how you know the immigration system is working. In the language of progressivism, helping means ruining and fixing means breaking. A system that fulfills any useful purpose must be reformed out of all usefulness.[1]

To conceal their true destructive purpose, progressives must lie. Today, every single area of public life is awash in lies of the worst kind. The lie about the numbers of unwelcome foreigners in our country is one.

Another is the lie about St. Trayvon in Sanford and Michael Brown in Ferguson. Both were thugs and thieves and the insolent Brown took to walking in the middle of the street and clearly – clearly – attacking the police officer who witnessed his "fuck you" behavior and confronted him. The black segment, for I can find no evidence warranting the descriptor "community," including our first anti-American occupant of the White House, have united behind the manufactured fantasy that Brown was a pleasant soul yearning to attend Rocket Science School. Even, the "conservative" Newsmax cable channel just a moment ago showed a picture of Brown wearing a . . . SHMG . . . school graduation cap. The scholar! Another image showed him wearing earphones. An innocent "youth" enjoyin' him some tunes safe at home!

The picture of him stealing from the store clerk was not shown. The lie of omission.

The authorities grovel before liars and thugs in Ferguson -- not a few of them New Black Panther scum and other outside communist agitators -- as though they were upstanding citizens with legitimate grievances. Progressive "truth." And the U.S. Dept. of Justice investigates the officer and his department when he and it enforced the law as they were sworn to do. Something needin' fixin', yo.

Effective law enforcement = broken system. Persecution and personal ruination for the officer = solution of choice.

Progressives are at war with common sense, human nature, basic morality, simple decency, the rule of law, tradition, custom, economics, religion, truth, and even cultural survival. The summum bonum of progressives is the immiseration of the productive middle class; the enslavement of the middle class, the poor and the lumpenproletariat; and the installation of a new Constitution-free alliance of voting parasites, intellectuals, the ultra wealthy, Muslims, other foreigners, and the courts.

[1] "Amnesty for Unamerica." By Daniel Greenfield, the Sultan Knish, 11/22/14.

The lie of 11 million illegals.

Collapsing the System and America’s First World identity has been the objective of Obama’s government all along.

Immigration patriots need to know that it’s not about Amnesty for five million people—it’s about enabling the fifty million that will reduce the U.S.A. to a geographic expression and the historic American nation to a despised minority.[1]

Fred Elbel of the Colorado Alliance for Immigration Reform, cited in source, "now believes the total to be closer to '50 million.'”

[1] "The Myth Of The 11 Million: Wall Street Analyst Estimates 21-25 Million Illegals Now In U.S." By Nicholas Stix,, 11/23/14 (links omitted).

Sunday, November 23, 2014

New Fiction

Well, one of them is new, anyway:

In The Waste: Sequel to The Warm Lands. The trek westward from Anam brings Gregor and Laella to a surprising denizen of the Great Waste: a gigantic, magnificently vital tree whose survival amidst the surrounding desolation Gregor cannot explain. But life requires no explanation. It is its own justification...and life will always call to life.

The Common Good: Sequel to In The Waste. Gregor and Laella’s westward trek has brought them to Luzan, a prosperous and surprisingly stable oasis-community protected from the Wastes by a girdling forest of a sort Gregor’s sorcery instructors at the Scholium Arcanum had told him was no more. However, Luzan’s stability is founded on a grisly secret: a price that proves to be most unsettling.


Bar The Doors And Don Your Bullet-Proof Vest!

Our beloved Ace of Spades has suggested an ingenious rejoinder to Barack Hussein Obama’s imperial presumptions:

Yesterday we saw a number of ideas floated about how to respond....rescission, lawsuits, de-funding and withholding votes on nominees to name a few on the table. There's one idea I'd like to add that is in many ways symbolic but that would focus the nation on the seriousness of this problem, do not invite Obama to address a joint session of Congress to deliver the State of the Union address.

The Constitution simply requires that "He shall from time to time give to the Congress information of the state of the union, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient." Nothing requires that he do so in person. The modern in person State of The Union dates back to Woodrow Wilson but Truman, Eisenhower and Nixon all gave written reports as was the custom from Thomas Jefferson to Wilson.

And Presidents don't simply show up whenever they please to address the Congress, they must be formally invited. That's where Boehner and McConnell can strike a blow for the legislature...simply don't invite him.

Brilliant, especially given Obama’s penchant for making everything into a campaign appearance...but we must ponder the possibilities:

  • Obama hates to be balked.
  • He might, conceivably, try to force his way in, with Secret Service backing.
  • It would therefore behoove Congress to prepare to prevent him from doing so.
  • That would require an augmentation of the Sergeant-At-Arms’s forces on hand.
  • It would also be wise for the members of Congress to wear protective gear: body armor.

Lead might fly. Individuals might be wounded or killed. But the properly prepared would have at least some reason to worry less, having less likelihood of being harmed. Do you think Obama would be among them?

(Apropos of the above, remember this episode? They weren’t ready to prevent him from forcing his way in. Verbum sat sapienti.)

(Cross-posted at League of Outlaw Bloggers.)

The Apolitical King: A Sunday Rumination

“My kingdom is not of this world.” – Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God and Redeemer of Mankind, as reported in the Gospel According to John, 18:36

The last Sunday before Advent is the Feast of Christ the King, which concludes the liturgical year. Kingship – the proper role and conduct of royalty in a society that supports it – is inherently bound to political conceptions: i.e., the proper role of coercive power and whence the authority arises for its use. This makes the conception of Jesus as King of Kings a seemingly paradoxical one, for He claimed no temporal powers. Indeed, as I noted above, He explicitly said that His kingdom is not a temporal realm.

That politics – public policy, public obligations, and the political affiliations of Christians – should color our conceptions of His New Covenant goes beyond absurdity into blasphemy.

Some years ago, I wrote:

We of the Twenty-First Century are largely unaware of the obligations which lay upon the kings of old. They were not, until the waning years of monarchy, sedentary creatures whose lives were a round of indulgences and propitiations. They were expected not merely to judge and pass sentence, but also to lead the armies of the realm when war was upon it. The king was expected to put himself at risk before any of his subjects. Among the reasons was this one: the loss of the king in battle was traditionally grounds for surrender, after which the enemy was forbidden by age-old custom to strike further blows.

The king, in this conception, was both the leader of his legions and a sacrifice for the safety of his subjects, should the need arise. He was expected to embrace the role wholeheartedly, and to lead from the front in full recognition of the worst of the possibilities. Not to do so was an admission that he was unfit for his throne:

     "We have talked," he said, "about all the strategies known to man for dealing with an armed enemy. We have talked about every aspect of deadly conflict. Every moment of every discussion we've had to date has been backlit by the consciousness of objectives and costs: attaining the one and constraining the other. And one of the first things we talked about was the importance of insuring that you don't overpay for what you seek."
     She kept silent and listened.
     "What if you can't, Christine? What if your objective can't be bought at an acceptable price?"
     She pressed her lips together, then said, "You abandon it."
     He smirked. "It's hard even to say it, I know. But reality is sometimes insensitive to a general's desires. On those occasions, you must learn how to walk away. And that, my dear, is an art form of its own."
     He straightened up. "Combat occurs within an envelope of conditions. A general doesn't control all those conditions. If he did, he'd never have to fight. Sometimes, those conditions are so stiff that he's compelled to fight whether he thinks it wise, or not."
     "What conditions can do that to you?"
     His mouth quirked. "Yes, what conditions indeed?"
     Oops. Here we go again. "Weather could do it."
     "By cutting off your lines of retreat in the face of an invasion."
     "Good. Another."
     "Economics. Once the economy of your country's been militarized, it runs at a net loss, so you might be forced to fight from an inferior position because you're running out of resources."
     "Excellent. One more."
     She thought hard. "Superior generalship on the other side?"
     He clucked in disapproval. "Does the opponent ever want you to fight?"
     "No, sorry. Let me think."
     He waited.
     Conditions. Conditions you can't control. Conditions that...control you.
     "Politics. The political leadership won't accept retreat or surrender until you've been so badly mangled that it's obvious even to an idiot."
     The man Louis Redmond had named the greatest warrior in history began to shudder. It took him some time to quell.
     "It's the general's worst nightmare," he whispered. "Kings used to lead their own armies. They used to lead the cavalry's charge. For a king to send an army to war and remain behind to warm his throne was simply not done. Those that tried it lost their thrones, and some lost their heads -- to their own people. It was a useful check on political and military rashness.
     "It hasn't been that way for a long time. Today armies go into the field exclusively at the orders of politicians who remain at home. And politicians are bred to believe that reality is entirely plastic to their wills."

[From On Broken Wings.]

But the King of Kings, intrinsically above all other authorities, would obviously be aware of this obligation. More, His sacrifice of Himself must perforce be for the salvation of the whole of the world -- indeed, the whole of the universe and every sentient creature in it. Nothing less could possibly justify it.

That He surrendered Himself to death by torture ought to have provided our comprehension of His role with all the clarity it requires. Yet there are a fair number of persons who, confronted by some political proposition, will reply that “you can’t be a Christian if you think that.”

The wound to Christianity is more than superficial.

There could hardly be anything more blasphemous than for a priest of Christ to state, from the pulpit, that Christians are under an obligation to support certain political parties or public policies. Yet we hear this sort of thing from far too many pulpits...and from far too many persons whose conception of Christ’s New Covenant is shallow, to say the least.

Consider the current foofaurauw over America’s illegal alien population. The proposition that Americans owe persons who were not legally entitled to enter or remain in this country the right to legal residence, plus perhaps other privileges of citizenship, has many persons in a lather, myself among them. My sentiments are on record, nor have they changed at all since I first penned that essay. But above all other things, the issue is a political one, that touches upon the nature of a polity with a government largely conceded to be legitimate. And politics is always about the use of force.

Christ’s sole use of force while on Earth was to drive the moneychangers and sellers of sacrificial animals from the vestibule of the Temple of Jerusalem: “My house is a house of prayer, but ye have made it a den of thieves.” [Luke 19:46] That episode cannot be used to sanction or condemn the use of political power for any reason. Neither did He ever make a pronouncement on public policy, or on the proper attitude of the Jews toward the Rome-dominated State. His artful evasion of the matter – “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s” [Luke 20:25] – is an all-time classic, and a perfect lesson to pastors tempted to insert their own politics into their Sunday homilies.

It should be clear that Christians, whatever their denominations, are under no religious obligation to vote this way or argue that way about any political subject. If there’s an exception, it would apply to officeholders who presume to advocate policies that would result in slaughter, oppression, or injustice...but even here, there’s a legitimate argument about the relative weight of intentions and the gulf between meaning well and doing well.

If your parish is blighted by a political priest, as is mine, and you find that nothing you say or do can induce him to keep his politics out of his preaching, at the very least you may rest assured that your conscience remains your guide in such matters. You have no political obligations arising from your faith. Your sole responsibility toward others is summed up by the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” [Luke 6:31] Together with Leo Tolstoy’s dictum that we should act with love toward those whom God has placed in our path, it provides all the ethical guidance we need.

The King of Kings has said it. That’s good enough for me.

May God bless and keep you all.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

A Triple From Glenn Reynolds

Our beloved Instapundit remains one of the Blogosphere’s most valuable jewels. Today he hits a three-bagger (or a natural hat trick, if you prefer hockey) with the following citations, all of which concern male-female relations and the “angry ugly girls:” i.e., the gender-war feminists.

1. War On The Male Genitalia.

Here’s the story. Please read it all. A small taste:

They’re not called the family jewels because they are ordinary. They’re not referred to as stones because they’re impervious to injury. No, they are both extraordinary and surprisingly fragile. So, sorry notsorry if we give them some breathing room when we sit, if we don’t smash them betwixt our legs on public transit. But as the horizon of “male privilege” is constantly expanding, giving the old wedding tackle ample space is now a crime against humanity.
The Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) announced on Monday that a new campaign addressing courtesy on public transportation will come into effect by January. One of the targeted behaviors is ‘man-spreading’ — the act of spreading one’s legs so far apart that other passengers are forced to squish their own together.

Or, if you prefer a more nuanced description, one of the most infuriating and outright ridiculous display of male privilege and machismo in existence today. As Mic’s Derrick Clifton succinctly put it, ‘Hey, bro, you’re not that well-endowed.’

What I find most striking about this excellent piece is the following:

...might I direct your attention to Frank T.J. Mackie. Yes, he is an extreme caricature, one meant to mock your enemies.

If you haven’t seen the admittedly weird movie Magnolia, starring Tom Cruise, William H. Macy, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Jason Robards, please do so. Frank Mackie, played by Cruise, is an ultramasculine counterpoint to the gender-war feminists, the leader of a cult who encourages his followers to see women as exploitable bodies only, and purports to be able to teach them how to act on that view. I can’t describe him more compactly than that, so please see the movie.

It’s an open question whom the Mackie character was meant to mock, but entertainment can be like that. What we have before us, however, is a trend in sociology (inter-gender relations subdivision) that will evoke Mackie’s attitude and the consequent behavior in many thousands of men who would, in a more civilized society, have been as deferential and courteous to women as any woman could possibly have wished.

Incentives matter. Eventually, feminists, bless their pointed little heads, will learn that...hopefully before they become extinct, thence to be found only in anthropological textbooks.

2. “Victim-Blaming”

There’s a tremendous amount to be said on this subject, but perhaps one article will suffice for now:

Don’t drink so much. "Stop victim-blaming."
Watch your drink. "Stop victim-blaming."
Walk in well-lit areas at night. "Stop victim-blaming."
If colleges cannot suggest basic common sense measures to protect students — which help guard against crimes that aren’t rape and help men as well — without being accused by the feminist chorus of blaming victims, what can they say?

Indeed. The whole thrust of the “Stop victim-blaming” trend among feminists is to remove the weight of responsibility for their personal behavior from women’s shoulders. This is so plainly idiocy that one must ask, “Are these women stupid as well as ugly and socially graceless?”

The very same advice, given to young men, is utterly ordinary and noncontroversial. But then, we already know what delicate hothouse flowers women the eyes of the very same feminist activists who insist that they’re men’s equals in all things.

(Hey, it’s a special! Two lies for the price of one! Grab ‘em while they’re hot!)

3. “Geeks On Strike”

Dr. Helen Smith, Reynolds’ beloved wife, prompted by an inquiry about “Gamer-Gate” and “ShirtStorm,” cites a relevant passage from her recent book:

The “strike” theory is generally correct, I think. The problem is that games and porn are entertaining, inexpensive, easily accessible, and reliable. Women can be entertaining, but they’re expensive, inaccessible for most men, and from the male perspective, shockingly unreliable. I would say that porn has raised the bar somewhat—it’s bound to be seriously annoying when Little Miss Real Life won’t give head when Jane Pornstar is twice as hot and is cheerfully performing all sorts of acrobatic stunts. And if you think about it, is a real woman who is average and only wants to have missionary-style sex once a week, minus a week for her period, actually any better than a wide variety of gorgeous porn stars catering to every bizarre fetish the Japanese can imagine and available on demand? It’s not quite so clear once you put it in those terms. The biggest communication problem is that most women see “relationship” as a positive thing. Most men see it as an ambiguous thing. So, when the selling point of Little Miss Real Life over Jane Pornstar is “relationship,” you can see where it’s not going to be very appealing. I don’t think there’s much of a “fuck you” element, though. The guys who think that way tend to be the players, particularly the Sigma players. A lot of the guys who opt out aren’t particularly angry at women, they just don’t see much point to pursuing involvement with them.

Every word is gospel truth, but the part I flashed on more or less immediately was:

Women can be entertaining, but they’re expensive, inaccessible for most men, and from the male perspective, shockingly unreliable.

Well, yes, but you could say the same about Lamborghinis, and we certainly don’t stop desiring them for those trifling reasons.

In truth, a lot of wishful thinking takes place in just about any young man’s mind, whether he’s Alpha, Beta, or Omega. As a longtime proponent of the “Shove it up your ass, bitch” school of male-female relations, the hostility of any woman – or women – has never troubled me, which might have something to do with my current choice of mate. But the typical “geek,” a sociological subgroup to which I superficially belong, allows himself to dream of “her:” the attractive, intelligent woman who will value his abilities and assets more than she deplores his lack of first-string-quarterback status...hopefully, far more.

Yes: “she” might exist. But it would be best not to delude oneself about how likely one is to encounter her. Life generally proves simpler for those of us who confine our dreaming to the wee small hours.

(Cross-posted at League of Outlaw Bloggers.)

Friday, November 21, 2014

Hear Ye, Hear Ye! Part The Second!

The League is now a functioning concern. Those who have requested admittance are on the membership roll, and will have Members' posting privileges as soon as you send me the email address in your Blogger profile  (and I finalize the template).

Members: Don't forget to put the sigil of the League on your own blogs' pages!

I look forward to your contributions, both there and here.

On Thrillers

Let’s divert from politics for the length of an essay, and consider one of the forms of entertainment oriented toward men’s tastes: the modern military, paramilitary, or political-intrigue-oriented adventure novel, henceforth to be called the thriller.

As an indie writer, I take an interest in other indies, their achievements, and the degree of success they experience. Many indies craft thrillers by preference. That might be because that’s the genre they most enjoy; indeed, I’d say that’s the overwhelmingly most common reason. But sadly, most of those writers haven’t bothered to master fundamental writing skills – and that includes many who have plotting and storytelling gifts that their lack of writerly chops under-serves.

I’m not talking here about stylistic arabesques of the sort identified with “literary” fiction. Anyone who’s been reading my thoughts on fiction for any length of time will already be aware that I regard gratuitous verbal vermiculations as the writer’s equivalent to masturbation – and in public, at that. No, I’m thinking first of the sort of sins for which grammar-school children were once castigated, and second of some egregious sins against the reader’s patience that a really accomplished storyteller would instinctively avoid.

That first category is, of course, about slovenliness in grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Such slovenliness is often made manifest in the writer’s promotional blurb, which once moved me to publish this mini-tract. For there’s no better guide to a writer’s seriousness than the care he puts into a length-limited bit of promotional prose intended to sell his wares. If that fails the grammar-school-kid test, I pass by his novel without a backward glance.

The second category is at a more advanced level, but not so advanced that its principles should be incomprehensible to a reasonably intelligent writer – say, intelligent enough to format a book manuscript for Amazon’s CreateSpace publishing subsidiary using Microsoft Word. Those principles are quite few in number:

  1. Maintain viewpoint consistency. (In other words, don’t “head-hop.”)
  2. Avoid the expository lump.
  3. Use description to tell your reader what he needs to know and nothing more.
  4. Show character; don’t “tell” it.
  5. Your reader is there for an emotional journey; respect him and it.

It’s possible that many of the indie thriller writers who’ve recently perplexed me have never even heard of those principles; there’s no way to tell from their novels. They certainly violate them often enough. The violations can turn an otherwise engaging adventure story, the sort that many men who read specifically seek and enjoy, into a trial of the reader’s endurance.

Gentle Reader, I could give classes on those rules. Many, many indies desperately need to learn them. Sometimes I think it would make for a good retirement career. Yet the typical indie thriller writer seems to think he’s “got it knocked” already. Many of them dribble on, novel after novel, repeating the same sins.

I assure you, the tragedy is more than superficial.

The reason the late Tom Clancy was an important writer has little to do with the overall quality of his novels. It’s far more about how his fiction drew men back into the fiction reading marketplace, which had largely become a women’s preserve. When The Hunt For Red October was first published, the trends in fiction were all feminine, politically correct, and dreary beyond words. Even my own long-time favorite genres (as a reader), science fiction and fantasy, had grown so tiresome that I’d all but abandoned my search for worthy new works in those fields. Nothing could be more distressing to an addict to the printed word.

Clancy’s first book was virtually an instant success. Despite being the offering of a small, virtually unknown press and the target of an ocean of critical contempt – when the critics deigned to notice it at all – it sold hundreds of thousands of copies in hardcover and millions more in paperback. The predominant buyer was one who had long been absent from the fiction marketplace: the adult American male.

The rush by the major publishing houses to “get in on the gravy train” was almost as swift. Thriller writers and their novels multiplied like toadstools after a rain. Most of them, of course, were nowhere near as gifted (and were received nowhere near as enthusiastically) as Clancy, but the sheer number of them was enough to imply that something important had it had.

It is a testament to the impact of that development that the proliferation of thrillers continues today, with indies pitching in as never before. But that merely sharpens my ultimate point.

I read thrillers. Indeed, these days they seem to constitute the bulk of my fiction reading. However, I don’t write them, which will cause many an indie thriller writer to shrug off this tirade as that of a “non-practitioner” whose opinions are of no value. That is as it may be; I stand by them nonetheless.

The ultimate determinant of success in entertainment is the “bottom line:” how many units one sells. In the indie-fiction world, that can be tough to determine; a single copy of an eBook is often passed around to several readers, yet only counts as one sale. That’s not really a negative thing, despite the near-term impact on the writer’s revenue, for “eyeballs today” engender “revenue tomorrow.” A writer who keeps on writing – hopefully growing more skillful and more confident as he goes – will ultimately benefit from eBook lending, just as writers have always benefited from lending libraries.

Nevertheless, the fundamental skills must be there. Should the thriller market be deluged with eBooks replete with the sins I’ve decried here, the “Clancy trend” will be reversed: male readers will abandon the fiction market once more. The PC crowd and the dreary, too-precious-to-be-borne litterateurs will regain dominance.

This matters more than you might think. What a nation reads with pleasure and enthusiasm is a barometer of its ethics, its convictions, and its overall attitudes...which suggests that this piece is about politics after all.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The New Segregationists: Eye On Ferguson

Back in 2007, I wrote:

The removal of punishment as a deterrent to crime and antisocial public behavior would be bad enough if it were absolutely uniform. But it is not, and the situation is accordingly far worse.

When a society makes special provisions for a particular class of persons, such that those persons have a good expectation of not suffering for illegal or antisocial behavior, it has committed the worst imaginable injustice against the persons in that class who honor their society's laws and norms: it has equalized the legal, social, and moral positions of good citizens and thugs. Thus, if ninety percent of such a class is law-abiding and decorous while ten percent is violent, dishonest, or disruptive, the latter category will come to overshadow the former in the perceptions of persons outside the class -- not because ten percent is a majority, but because that anti-social subgroup is identified with the class's special set of privileges.

A class is defined by its legal and social privileges. The aristocrats of medieval times were not distinguished by their lineages or their deeds, but by the things they were allowed to do, without penalty, that commoners were not. There is reason to believe that the majority of medieval aristocrats were fairly responsible stewards of their lands and of public order within them. That does not justify the creation of a class of men who could wield high, middle, and low justice over others, but who would normally escape all consequences for deeds for which a commoner would be severely punished.

The American response to the failings of traditional aristocracies was the Rule of Law: the fundamental principle that the law must treat all men impartially, regardless of their identities or station in life. The old shorthand for this principle was "blind justice," meaning that the law must not see one's person, only one's deeds. In a society that respects the Rule of Law, a king would stand in the same dock as a trash-hauler, were the two accused of the same offense. All that would matter would be the evidence for their guilt or innocence.

In the absence of a scrupulously observed Rule of Law, classes with differing degrees of privilege will emerge. The flourishing of the members of each class will be influenced, often heavily, by the class's privileges and how effectively they can be exploited. Men being what we are, we will be moved to use those privileges in our own interest, both against competitors within our class and against other classes.

Success breeds emulation. If there are advantages to be had from the ruthless exploitation of a class privilege, over time more and more members of the class will be drawn into doing so. Thus, the coloration given to the class by its privileges will become stronger and more inclusive over time.

This is not an unbounded progression; as in all other things, a tendency toward equilibrium will ultimately assert itself. However, the mechanisms by which equilibrium is restored are always unpleasant. The deterrents that curb full exploitation of a class privilege, if any exist at all, will be applied by other classes, whether through the law, other social institutions, or "informally." "Informally" usually means lynching: the application of extra-judicial, often unmerited punishment to members of one class by members of another. In the usual case, the lynchers come from a more numerous class than the lynchees, though there are occasional exceptions.

Lynching, if it goes unpunished, is itself a class privilege. There are satisfactions in it that are incomprehensible to moral men who live in ordinary times. As with other activities with innate satisfactions, the popularity of the practice will grow over time. A mob that's tasted the blood of one aristocrat is seldom satisfied with just that one sip.

Lynching writ large is genocide.

That was written long before the troubles in Ferguson, Missouri.

Ponder well the following stories:

Now ponder what hangs on the impending grand jury decision over whether to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for the murder of Michael Brown:

I’m not thinking near-term here; I fear a genuine campaign of genocide by American Caucasians against American Negroes. There’s no way to know in advance how much violence and lawlessness would be required to trigger such a reaction. Nevertheless, I maintain that the train of reasoning in the previous section is sound; there is a threshold which, if crossed, will evoke outright genocide. If that should come to pass, who would be more to blame than Leftist luminaries Barack Obama, Eric Holder, and the “unofficial” race-hustlers stoking the fires in Ferguson, Missouri?

The Left is heavily invested in victimism: broadly speaking, the proposition that all of us are either oppressors or oppressed, and that the former owe the latter an unlimited debt. In no case are they more relentlessly strident than in matters of race relations. Thus, it should surprise no one that prominent leftist voices have been egging on the “protestors” in Ferguson, edging asymptotically close to condoning violence and looting, while ceaselessly insisting that the fault for any such occurrences would belong, not to the “protestors,” but to the rest of us for “not doing justice for Michael Brown.”

Exactly two years ago today, I wrote:

The original New Segregationist pieces focused on racial segregation and how the media's suppression of important facts about trends in dissolution, profligacy, and criminality among American Negroes has contributed to it. Yet any collectivity designated for "help" will exhibit a comparable set of trends, more or less dramatically according to context and prior socialization. As always, it's a matter of incentives.

The late Clarence Carson, in his landmark book The American Tradition, made a critical set of points about the "civilizing of groups." Groups, he noted, can overwhelm individual rationality and morality, a point made with equal force by philosopher Eric Hoffer. Therefore, they must be denied legal and political standing; they must never become capable of asserting privileges or immunities that non-members don't possess. This parallels Isabel Paterson's penetrating partition of sociopolitical orders into Societies of Contract, where individuals are the sole recognized actors within the legal and political order, versus Societies of Status, where membership in one or another group dwarfs every other consideration about what an individual can do, or to what he can aspire.

Plainly, Leftist thought and policy departs completely from that insight; the creation of politically privileged and empowered groups is virtually the whole of Leftist politics. But that departure rests upon Leftists' need to see themselves as morally superior to the rest of us, in which effort their politicized "good intentions" are the indispensable element.

Whereas the media merely suppressed news about the sort of incident that might elicit a doubt or two about the unanimous good will of Negroes toward Caucasians and the safety of the latter among the former, the activist Left seeks a multiplication of such incidents, preferably as large and dramatic as possible. More, when such incidents occur, its sympathies and protective efforts are openly with the lawbreakers. Yet according to the Left, we who want only to see the guilty apprehended and punished as prescribed by law – who want nothing but peace with those who’ve remained within the law, regardless of their race – are the villains!

Is it possible to draw any conclusion but one? Given that conclusion, if the tide of violence should reverse and a wholesale slaughter of American Negroes result, who would be properly to blame? Who are the real racists here?

It’s well that the residents of St. Louis are arming themselves. Indeed, I hope the trend is nationwide, and nationally publicized. Consciousness of the potential consequences might be the only effective deterrent of a second Civil War – this one color-coded not by artifice of uniform, but by the flesh of the combatants.

We shall see.

Useful Summaries Dept.

The following is courtesy of new Blogroll entrant (and Outlaw Blogger) Weird and Pissed Off:


On the national disease.

When you just have a slight headache, you don’t imagine that it is the first indication of a much worse ailment. But as with my very sick friend, the symptoms have gotten bad enough that we can no longer ignore them. And now we have the terrible diagnosis: our nation has a late-stage political cancer rotting our republic from the inside out.

* * * *

[Obama's actions] are the symptom, not the disease.

* * * *

. . . [This "belief in executive authority without limits"], like cancer, is an assault on the internal political structures on which our nation’s health rests.

"Political Metastasis." By Ross Kaminsky, The American Spectator, 11/20/14.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Hear Ye, Hear Ye!

Pursuant to this excellent suggestion from Our Imperial Majesty Emperor Misha, I hereby announce the formation of the:

League Of Outlaw Bloggers

...and do therefore solicit applications for membership.


  • You must write decently.
  • You must have been “born with a six-gun in my hand.”
  • You must pledge never, ever, to kowtow to the Left or the shrieks of the perpetually offended.

Members shall display the following logo at their sites:

...and while in good standing shall have Guest Posting privileges here at Liberty’s Torch.

Who’d like to join?

Update: Just in case anyone misunderstood: The Member's Guest Posting privilege is exactly that: a privilege. It's not mandatory that you actually use it!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

What Makes A Word Offensive?

Just yesterday, I had an email exchange with another fellow over whether the word Negro is offensive. Because it’s the technical anthropological term for one of the three major races of Man, I maintained (and maintain) that it isn’t. Here’s his reply:
Don't play dumb with me, Francis. "Negro" is an offensive term today and you know damn well, why: because it is an unusual word to hear today that invokes and reminds of an offensive time. The time when all black people in this country were referred to as negroes was a time when they were legally second class citizens in many states. By insisting on calling them negroes today you are implying by your choice of language (and you can deny it all you want) that you wish America was back to the age in which it was fine for them to be second class citizens.

As it was clear from the above that the exchange had turned acrimonious, I decided to cut it off. However, anyone who claims to be intellectually honest is required to entertain the possibility that he might be wrong. So I’d appreciate it if the Gentle Readers of Liberty’s Torch would ring in on the following two questions:

  • What makes a word offensive or insulting?
  • If a word remains in common use, does any opprobrium apply to it because some persons have deemed it offensive?

I’ll add your replies to the bottom of this post.

Here we go:

1. Rick Barcomb suggests:

George Carlin did an x rated rant on words in the 70s. It was called 7 words you can't say on television. If you can get past the vulgarity there is a good message on words there

2. Dan comments thus:

To determine that anyone that uses a word or phrase necessarily means it offensively (even unintentionally) itself as it implies that the listener knows more of the mind of the speaker than the speaker themselves.

It is the height of arrogance and condescension, a level of rudeness that would have rightly been deemed verboten before our culture was feminized to the point that we all must have our minds searching for deeper meanings in the trivial every minute of every day.

There are certain words that are offensive by nature, because they are insults. Negro isn't, broad/dame/chick aren't, and anyone who insists that a word or phrase is offensive because the receiver may take offense is exactly the type of fascist that has no good intentions behind their tantrums.

3. Ron Olson comments thus:

Words aren't offensive by themselves. It's the intent behind the word that is offensive. Time was you could challenge an intent to duel. A proffered insult hidden in innocent language but dripping with sarcasm would not be allowed to stand.

Now terms of grace can be turned to insult with impunity and done often enough by many, use of the word becomes proof of evil intent. Take "lady" as an example.

4. Hans in North Carolina comments thus:

Been thinking about your question in context of an old assertion that our founders never intended our laws to protected men from thought or speech deemed offensive by some.

Perhaps the question for discussion should be: "at what point does a man have legitimate recourse to legal or violent self-defense against the use of language perceived to be offensive or abusive?"

Tentative answer: at the threshold of offense, no; at the threshold of immanent threat, yes.

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.

5. Conan the Cimmerian, King of Aquilonia comments thus:

Jeff Goldstein at the Protein Wisdom blog has written extensively on this subject (intentionalism).

Words should be judged offensive based upoin the intent of the speaker (or writer) not upon what the observer/audience chooses to create (make up/invent) as an objective of the speaker/writer.

People of color = OK
Colored people = Not OK

Negro/Negroid = not OK
Caucasian/Caucasoid = not OK

Orient/Oriental (based upon a location on a map/cartography/geography) = not OK

East Asian (based upon a location on a map/cartography/geography)= OK.

It is all stupid semantic games.

It should simply be, Does the author/speaker wish to or is trying to insult or not?

6. Keith comments thus:

“But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.” -- George Orwell, 1984

“It's a beautiful thing, the destruction of words.” -- George Orwell, 1984

The Left ceaselessly moves the goalposts when it comes to language, as witness the corruption of many words, e.g., 'gay', 'liberal', 'equality', 'marriage', and, in this example, 'Negro'. Objectively, the word is no more offensive than 'Caucasion' or 'Mongolian'. But the Left seeks to control thought by the process of making certain innocuous words 'politically incorrect', in order to advance their agenda. In my lifetime the words 'Negro', 'colored', 'black', 'people of color', and 'African-American' have all had varying degrees of acceptance. There are probably other words I've missed. It's all about control; one must adhere to the Left's dictates and use whatever term is currently in vogue, or be banished from discourse.

7. Magnus comments thus:

"By insisting on calling them negroes today you are implying by your choice of language (and you can deny it all you want) that you wish America was back to the age in which it was fine for them to be second class citizens."

Simply amazing how he knows your mind better than you do. And you can deny it it all you want! you racist, you.

To answer your questions:

  1. The hearer's insecurity in himself or his group, or the hearers desire to feel or be perceived as morally superior by being offended on behalf of others (whites do this).
  2. No. America has become a nation of whiners and pu**ies, quick to blame their dysfunction on outside influences. My people (white Southerners) are one of the only groups left in America that may be maligned with impunity, but do we hang our heads and whine about not being able to make it in life? No, we were brought up to not play the victim. This constant victim mentality needs to stop. Men don't whine about the word "negro."

8. Walking Horse comments as follows:

Words are just words. Offense is in the complete control of the recipient. There are fighting words, sentences crafted to incite or serve as a precursor to a physical attack. In my book, people are within their rights to respond in kind to fighting words.

9. Adrienne comments as follows:

I think the word offensive is offensive. I was raised with the old saying about sticks and stones.

People need to "man up" and quit all this "I'm offended" crapola.

10. Dystopic comments as follows:

1. There are two answers to this. To the reasonable man, a term which is descriptive is not insulting or offensive. Black, White, Negro, Caucasian are descriptive terms. Insults go beyond the descriptive. Nigger is an insult because it is unnecessary. The unoffensive individual would use a descriptive term, not a shorthand designed to offend.

2. To the unreasonable man, anything that is clear and unambiguous about a protected class is offensive. This is where problems occur. Instead of Black or Negro, they will use African-American. But, eventually, African-America BECOMES unambiguous (i.e. everyone knows what it means). So that term becomes offensive and a new one must be developed. People of Color is the currently favored term. Soon that will be unambiguous and will have to be replaced. The cycle continues.

Clarity of meaning, to unreasonable people, is offensive on its own. Reasonable people, on the other hand, specifically desire clarity of meaning. So conflict is inevitable.

11. Dr. D. Puts it thus:

Count me in with Dan.

The Left is constantly trying to limit our vocabulary, to render us unable to express ourselves. We must resit this; we must fight back.

I insist that any words that were acceptable when I was a child (over 70 years ago) are still acceptable today. I will continue to use any works I would have spoken to my Mother or grandmother, and avoid the rest.

I get called all sorts of names, but that reflects much more on the speaker than it does on me.

12. A fascinating observation from an anonymous commenter:

For whatever light (if any) this sheds on the matter:

The words "Shit", "Piss" and "Fuck" are Germanic Anglo-Saxon words. They were perfectly acceptable for use in the Court of the King. Until that king became William of Normandy, ... from France. Then, the latinate forms "Defecate", "Urinate", and "Fornicate"/"Copulate" were the only polite words for those actions, as they were the words preferred by the Norman nobility. The Germanic-English words were deemed obscene as they were only used by the vulgar Anglo-Saxon lower classes.

The point being that obscenity or offensiveness seems based on two things:

  1. Aversion to or disgust with the actual thing or action that the word refers to, and;
  2. The relative social and political power of those who commonly use the word, versus those who choose to find it offensive or obscene.

In post-Norman-Invasion England, the powerful were the French speaking Norman nobility. In post-America America, the powerful have been in Academia and the Media. Those first shamed into preferring polite "defecate" to vulgar "shit", and into using polite "African-American" as opposed to vulgar "Negro" were, of necessity, those in or aspiring to National Politics, followed by anyone educated by Academia (read everybody who's anybody), and anyone whose opinions were shaped by the media (read everybody).

One thing is different, however. The English language USED TO evolve, with dramatic changes like the Norman Conquest being relatively few and far between. NOW, English no longer evolves. Those in a position to do so breed it, manage it, and forcibly modify it ... for their own purposes.

Those purposes were perfectly explained by Orwell in his novel 1984.

FINALLY: From the comments I've received, the consensus is that a word (or phrase) becomes offensive only if propelled by an intent to insult or wound. That's my own position...but the gentleman with whom I had the exchange I mentioned above -- who deems himself a conservative, by the way -- clearly believes otherwise. Food for thought.