Sunday, May 31, 2015

Quickies: From The “Mother Nature Is A Bitch” Files

     Just now, with so much waterborne destruction visiting the Houston / Galveston region, it’s well to remember that this isn’t unprecedented:

     The Hurricane of 1900 made landfall on September 8, 1900, in Galveston, Texas, in the United States.[1] It had estimated winds of 145 miles per hour (233 km/h) at landfall, making it a Category 4 storm on the Saffir–Simpson Hurricane Scale. It was the deadliest hurricane in US history, and the second costliest hurricane in U.S. history based on the dollar's 2005 value (to compare costs with those of Hurricane Katrina and others).

     The hurricane caused great loss of life with the death of between 6,000 and 12,000 people;[2] the number most cited in official reports is 8,000, giving the storm the third-highest number of deaths or injuries of any Atlantic hurricane, after the Great Hurricane of 1780 and 1998's Hurricane Mitch. The Galveston Hurricane of 1900 is the deadliest natural disaster ever to strike the United States. The second-deadliest storm to strike the United States, the 1928 Okeechobee hurricane, caused more than 2,500 deaths, and the deadliest storm of recent times, Hurricane Katrina, claimed the lives of approximately 1,800 people.

     The hurricane occurred before the practice of assigning official code names to tropical storms was instituted, and thus it is commonly referred to under a variety of descriptive names. Typical names for the storm include the Galveston Hurricane of 1900, the Great Galveston Hurricane, and, especially in older documents, the Galveston Flood. It is often referred to by Galveston locals as the Great Storm or the 1900 Storm.

     By comparison to the 1900 Galveston flood, Katrina was a mere pretender. Such storms are beyond our power to prevent, nor can we buttress ourselves invulnerably against them. They should remind us that Man, for all his accomplishments, is still smaller than natural forces...and that those forces will sometimes speak in a voice Man cannot gainsay.

Quickies: “Rights” And “Free”

     Those of us with three functioning brain cells foresaw this the moment the talk about “regulating the Internet” started:

     It didn’t take long for the government thieves to concoct their first plan to steal from the average American to give to the poor, lazy, and illegals, using the finest of Marxist excuses. It’s a need – a right – for those who allegedly can’t pay for it themselves. No one minds giving to the poor but that is not what this is.

     FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, an Obama minion, plans to increase the taxes on Americans.

     Broadband will be subsidized by working class Americans for those who aren’t working. The plan includes sweeping changes and declares broadband as an essential right we must pay for....

     The Internet is now a right. In a socialist nation, everything becomes a right.

     Sigh. If only Americans understood the difference between defensive and assertive rights...or the difference between “freedom from” and “freedom to.” Three generations ago, most Americans still did. But it would seem that our government-run indoctrination centers schools have done their job too thoroughly for the common citizen to waste his time over mere ideas.

The futility of the civil rights experiment.

In 2010, the national NAACP had issued a demand that the Tea Party expel all “racists” from within its ranks.[1]
What such an expulsion might do to the membership of the Congressional Black Caucus is anybody's guess but we'll leave that for a later time.

Be that as it may, it seems to be too much to ask the NAACP to apply the same standard and disassociate itself from the Reverend Curtis Everette Gatewood, for whom the monicker of "buffoon" is too kind.

[After 9/11, President Gatewood] pledged the support of his [Durham, N.C.] NAACP chapter to the African People’s Socialist Party/Uhuru Movement, a black separatist organization that seeks to foment a violent revolution to create an independent black nation on U.S. soil. . . .

* * * *

. . . One of Gatewood and the Uhurus’ invited speakers [at a 2009 D.C. demonstration] was Pam Africa, president of Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal and formerly a member of the MOVE black power cult. At the demonstration, to thundering applause, Africa repeatedly called Obama a “nigger motherfucker” and “head nigger,” inciting the crowd that he has to be “taken down.” Another participant, Larry Hales, dedicated his speech to the Muslim gunman who, only two days earlier, had cold-bloodedly murdered thirteen people at Fort Hood. . . .[2]

Slightly off topic, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. appeared with Gatewood at a May 13 [2015] Rally for Racial and Environmental Justice in Raleigh, N.C.[3] To my way of thinking this raises "questions" about Mr. Kennedy's judgment. Appearing with a black separatist seems not to trouble him or earn him any kind of obloquy from our lickspittle press toads.

However, when Sen. Trent Lott had some kind things to say about Sen. Strom Thurmond a while back every last earthly and imagined sin of Thurmond (primarily the Spanish Inquisition and lynching) was ascribed to Lott instantly, but Kennedy's appearing with this joke of a black rabble rouser appears not to have caused a ripple on any leftist pond.

Back to the main point: It's a puzzle, it is. If anyone can tweeze out of Mr. Cole's article below any evidence that the efforts of whites to work out a modus vivendi with our resident Africans is working, let me know. Personally, I'm not seeing it. No. I am not. As Old Rebel at Rebellion notes about all of this, "in the DC Empire, the NAACP is mainstream." Baltimore and Ferguson are just instances of morons, savages, and Soros rent-a-thugs having a little fun. The NAACP, however, is the Holy Grail of black moral and political thinking.

[1] "The NAACP’s Monster Under the Bed." By David Cole, Taki’s Magazine, 5/26/15.
[2] Id. Is "patriot" adequate to describe the excellence of Larry Hales?
[3] Id.

H/t: Rebellion.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Harbingers Of Things to Come?

     Given Barack Hussein Obama’s propensity for ignoring the Constitution, I’ve occasionally wondered whether we can be certain that he’ll leave office peacefully on January 20, 2017. Inasmuch as it’s now established beyond even the shadow of a doubt that Obama was mentored by Communist pedophile Frank Marshall Davis, we have good reason to believe that he has no attachment of any sort to either the Constitution or other American norms.

     The esteemed CM Blake posted the following at his site just yesterday:

     Now, when such a man, having risen to the pinnacle of executive power while succeeding for several years in concealing his hatred for America and its Constitutional basis, learns that an obscure video has surfaced that “blows his cover,” he might just get...panicky. Especially when there’s a rising sentiment of resistance to his tyrannies:

     There is no need for a leader unless there is an army to lead. On this 9/11/2013 there is no leader, but the army is there – and building. The Two Million Biker ride came about in protest of the Million Muslim march, but make no mistake, it is much more than that. It is one “clan” making it crystal clear, on behalf of we, the people, that we are ready to take on any and all bent on destroying this country.

     Which makes it uncomfortably plausible that the lurid “official” story of the “biker war” in Waco, Texas might be a wee bit off-center:

     It turns out that the ATF claimed they had an anonymous tip that the dreaded Black Widow biker gang—you remember those scoundrels from the Clint Eastwood movie Every Which Way but Loose—was going to arrive looking for trouble. It’s too bad Clyde wasn’t around to throw those guys in the used French fry oil tank. The ATF was there with their Federal guidance to make sure that justice was swift and absolute.

     No shots were fired by anyone inside the restaurant. No shots were fired by anyone at the police. When bikers decided to leave the restaurant and enter the parking lot, the police began shooting full-auto equipped M-16’s into the crowd. Patrons began diving under tables and screaming for their lives. Little waitresses dropped their trays and ran with terror in their eyes behind the chef’s counter. A twice decorated Viet Nam War veteran was shot in the head and neck, although he was a highly respected pacifist, was unarmed and not involved in any of the scuffle inside the Twin Peaks establishment. Eight more US citizens were gunned down in cold blood. More than 500 rounds were fired by police, hitting cars, buildings, and injuring other innocent bystanders who happened to look like bikers. Two shots took seven of the nine people assassinated in the parking lot; one in the neck and one in the head fired by expert police marksmen.

     Within an hour, the police press statement belched lies about “criminal biker gangs,” dealing drugs and other things that never happened; not once in the 18 years bikers have been meeting peacefully at the Waco Twin Peaks restaurant. The police spokesman first mentioned hundreds of weapons confiscated, including chains that connected wallets to belt loops. Then they changed it to dozens. Then, the facts showed there were fewer than ten, and one was still holstered by a licensed concealed carry American, who had undergone an extensive background check and was found to be spotless. His bond was placed at an unreasonable $1 million. Of the 170 bikers arrested for being at the wrong place at the wrong time, less than a third had any criminal record. Three of them had drafted a new piece of legislation about biker safety, and have since been awarded by the City Counsel for safety awareness. Of course, they couldn’t be there to accept the award, because they were in jail.

     To this moment, no waitresses, cooks, or patrons have been interviewed by the press. Witness intimidation is in full force making sure no one says anything about what really happened. All surveillance video has been classified and is currently being edited by law enforcement professionals to make sure no officers are charged with murder. This was clearly a premeditated, Federal assault designed to kill first, and arrest the survivors.

     I have no corroboration for the above. However, the author, Brooks Agnew, posted it under his real name and is apparently willing to stand behind it.

     LadyRaven’s conclusions, while still notional, are chilling:

     Remembering the first Million Bike Ride On DC, the reception nationwide was extremely positive. The message was beautifully clear to the government– don’t be messing with our country!

     The ride is scheduled again for this September 11th. Jade Helm 15 exercises will be full blown by that time.

     Tarnish the biker reputation now. Slap the individual biker with fear of death or million dollar bails and we might be expected to see a very low turnout and a public less trusting of the 9/11 Army....

     The number one fact that sets me on this thinking is that of the nine dead we know how seven of them died. Four had head wounds, another wound in the neck. That is some mighty fancy shooting there. So I am just saying folks, just saying.

     Don’t ask “Am I paranoid for suspecting that this might be so?” Ask rather, “Am I paranoid enough?

     There have been many stories about the steady militarization of local police forces, with reports of consequent police behavior that more resembled an army of occupation than traditional American law enforcement. My Esteemed Co-Conspirator Colonel Bunny feels these incidents have been blown out of proportion – that the overwhelming majority of local police remain trustworthy servants of the public peace. He might well be correct. It’s really not an arguable point, as the evidence for either proposition is lacking. But incidents of mass violence in which law enforcement – local, state, or federal (e.g., ATF, FBI) – is conspicuously involved must be publicized, and the possibility that those incidents were premeditated must always be kept in mind.

     Given that American bikers are visibly willing to stand forward in defense of freedom, and that they’ve succeeded on more than one occasion at massing many thousands in one place for that purpose, they constitute a powerful potential source of resistance to any oppressive force. Consider this example, a blatant, defiant response to Muslim terrorism. Then consider this recent report of a reaction against it, and ask yourself on which side the “authorities” are more likely to range themselves.

     "I Will Stand With the Muslims Should the Political Winds Shift In An Ugly Direction." (source)

     Keep your powder dry, Gentle Readers. It’s looking ever more likely that you’ll need it quite soon.

Stars Fill Night Sky With Fluid Beautiful Milky Way Time Lapse and Music


H/t: Stephen Hsu.

Muslim world reacts to Obama's latest speech.

IPhoneConservative wrote the subtitles. As in created them. I was completely fooled. What a rube.

That's sad. The really sad part, however, is that where Obama was actually saying that nonsense about global warming being a threat to our security, he wasn't kidding.

Friday, May 29, 2015

To Fight For Freedom: Part 3, “Where and When”

     If the “what” and the “who” are established, we come to the critical questions of “where and when.” These questions are often referred to as “picking your spots” and “picking your shots,” phrases that resonate with a core truth about all combat of any sort:

Your personnel and materiel are limited.

     A tactician chooses to fight or not to fight on the basis of:

  • Whether victory is attainable;
  • Whether a gain is probable.

     Note that those conditions are distinct from one another, as King Pyrrhus discovered to his sorrow. However, in practice they must be answered together.

     Of particular importance in addressing “where and when” questions is the sub-classification of persons to the left of political center. Whether nor not to engage such a person depends critically on his true allegiances and motivations. The following crude partition of those on the Left is probably the best we can do without extensive personal acquaintance with the person under consideration:

  1. The generally sincere and well-meaning;
  2. The activist, for whom “the Cause” is what gives meaning to his life;
  3. The leftist strategist or tactician whose true goal is power, any other consideration merely a means.

     If you can assign your potential target to one of those three categories, it becomes possible to decide whether to engage him, and about what, with reasonable accuracy.

     Type 1 is the sincere, well-meaning American who votes for left-liberals out of the belief that those policies are morally justifiable and actually will remedy the conditions at which they’re aimed. He is potentially reachable. However we must avoid the critical mistake of attacking his moral premises. Such a man is almost certainly proud of his moral premises, and at any rate, you cannot argue about premises.

     Type 2 is the activist, the “Cause Person,” whose life without such an attachment would be empty and bleak. He might be as sincere about the Cause as his Type 1 fellow, but his emotional orientation is somewhat different: he needs the Cause to sustain his emotional health. He might be reachable on the specifics of his current attachment, but in all probability that would merely impel him to shift to some other Cause. The personal validation he receives from his commitment matters at least as much to him as the supposed end. Indeed, it might matter much more.

     Type 3 is the politician a outrance. He’s in it for power, not for any end that involves the well-being of others. Whether or not he runs for office himself is irrelevant; if not, he seeks “gray eminence” status as one who steers elected officials and candidates. He is not reachable. The hazards of engaging him are considerable, most important among them the possibility that he might counter-target you for a campaign of destruction. If you can identify him, it’s best to avoid him.

     The “where and when” question thus reduces to:

  • Encountering a Type 1 (well meaning) left-liberal and seeing a prospect of persuading him that the methods of freedom work better than the methods of government for attaining his acceptable and sincerely held aims;
  • Identifying a Type 2 (Cause person) left-liberal, determining that the putative intentions of his Cause are acceptable, and outperforming him at attaining them;
  • Avoiding the Type 3 (power-luster) left-liberal at all costs.

     But that is the beginning, not the end, of the subject.

     The possibility of persuading a Type 1 or outperforming a Type 2 is necessary but not sufficient. We must still satisfy the second criterion for engagement: is there a gain in prospect that would make the effort worthwhile? This is determined almost entirely by the overt aim of your target.

     In the case of a Type 1 engagement, the target is the left-liberal himself. If his aim is wholesome – e.g., the betterment of the race relations or urban poor, rather than something pernicious such as same-sex marriage or abortion on demand – it’s a case for the application of reason and evidence. This is not the place to delve deeply into the proper tactics; suffice it to say that your intention should not be to convince him, but rather to provide him with what he will need to convince himself. A man who reaches his own conclusions will “take ownership” of them. He’ll defend them much more surely and forcefully than if he feels he’s been beaten into them.

     In the case of a Type 2 engagement, there’s little hope you can convert a Cause person left-liberal into a pro-freedom conservative; his Cause serves him the way religious devotion serves the devout. Rather, your hope is to suggest to others that political Cause activism is never constructive and frequently destructive toward a wholesome aim. This tends to be easier with some subjects (e.g., aid to the deserving poor) than with others (e.g., promotion of tolerance toward religious minorities or homosexuals). So the specific Cause will mainly determine whether you have a prospect of gain from the engagement.

     As I said above, you should do your best to avoid a Type 3 leftist. His intentions are not good ones; if he should discover that you’re an adversary, he’s likely to counter-target you...and his tactics will not be nice ones. However, you can make use of the identification of such a person by making his aims known to others – preferably indirectly. Sincere Type 1s and most Type 2s usually react angrily toward those they conclude are using them for venal purposes, which is the essence of the Type 3. Once again, we veer toward the sphere of tactics, which I’ll leave for the “How” essay.

     Those are the avenues I prefer to peer down in the quest for possible sociopolitical gains. There are others, but the probability of the reward justifying the effort is greatest when pursued along those lines.

     Politics is about power, but ultimately all power arises from people, whether they yield it voluntarily over themselves, or assert it willy-nilly over unconsenting others. If we are to have any chance of restoring freedom and properly limited government to the United States, we must not forget that people – their aims, their commitments, their assumptions, and their emotional makeups – are the core of the problem.

     Remember Father Charlie’s joke. There’s a lot more point to it than you might think.

     More anon.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

ISIS And American Complicity

     Senator Rand Paul unnecessarily angered quite a few GOP true-blues with the following:

     (Feel free to pull the ripcord after about 2:00, as the rest of the video is rather discursive, and contains much that pro-freedom conservatives would reject on the merits.)

     Reactions on the Right have been exceedingly negative. Consider this from Sara Noble:

     Hello! Radical Islam and the radical Islamists caused ISIS! Are we incapable of blaming the truly guilty parties who would have warred against the people no matter what? We’re scapegoats.

     [Senator Paul] also criticized Republicans for going along with Obama’s war in Libya but I have to agree with him there and always had agreed with him on that, not because the idea of deposing Gaddafi was all that bad, but because Obama never agreed to fight it adequately.

     However, just as Senator Paul has overstated his case, Sara has cited an indisputable nugget of truth but is inclined to throw out the bathwater without first removing the baby, so there’s much to discuss.

     No, the United States didn’t “create” ISIS or Islamic fanaticism — that was a very poorly chosen word on Senator Paul’s part — but we surely produced conditions favorable to its metastasis, in a place where and at a time when the Islamist tumor was already present and growing.

     Like nature, power abhors a vacuum. The toppling of Saddam Hussein’s Ba’athist regime, followed by the precipitous withdrawal of American power from Iraq at a time when regional tensions were near their peak, created a power vacuum that no one but the Islamists was ready to exploit. The ludicrous government in Iraq and the Assad regime in Syria were both unwilling and incapable of regularizing the situation: the first because it was too busy establishing a Shia-dominant, Iran-friendly corruptocracy intent upon disenfranchising Iraqi Sunnis; the second because of the ongoing Syrian civil war. So the largely ungoverned north of Iraq and the huge piles of armaments U.S. forces left behind were easy pickings for the fanatics. There can be no question that those armaments, which included many heavy weapons and armored units, have been of great value to ISIS.

     Where the senator erred was assigning the responsibility entirely to GOP “hawks.” Our entire political class was complicit — and the responsibility stretches well back into the Bush 41 administration.

     No one on the Right, certainly not I, would claim that America deliberately and willfully created conditions favorable to the rise of ISIS. But a well-intentioned mistake in foreign policy can do a great deal of damage, and the U.S. has made quite a few in recent years.

     The core of the subject is the ever-maddening question: When, where, why, and how should the United States use its military powers? This is not a question that can be answered definitively, for the ages. Military force, like all applications of force, intimidation, or politico-economic influence, always has more than one effect – and at least one of its effects is guaranteed to be undesirable. Ultimately, practical considerations must rule: the decision to intervene militarily must be predicated on a high probability that should we stay our hand, the outcome will be substantially worse.

     The invasion of Iraq in 1990 was justified by Saddam Hussein’s annexation of Kuwait – “Province 19,” as he styled it. Whether that was adequate reason for our action is debatable, as Kuwait was not then (nor is it now) partner to a treaty of mutual defense with the U.S. Moreover, there is reason to believe that behind the representations about defending Kuwait from enslavement was a more urgent motivation: the protection of the ruling regime of Saudi Arabia, also not a treaty partner of the U.S. Given subsequent events, the wisdom of that motivation can also be debated.

     The insertion of American power into the Gulf region created a pair of attitudes there. First, the Gulf states and the Saudis were given reason to believe that they could count on America as the maintainer of the regional status quo. Second and equally important, the insertion provided fuel to the ideological fires of Middle Eastern Islamists, who had already become a significant influence on developments and had acquired Afghanistan, Pakistan, and above all Iran as sponsors and safe havens. It didn’t matter that we withdrew our forces as soon as Saddam’s were expelled from Kuwait; the image of the U.S. as a quasi-colonial master to the Middle East, determined to maintain conditions favorable to a continuing supply of oil, stuck in many minds.

     When George W. Bush resolved to topple Saddam Hussein’s regime in 2002, he had a great deal of intelligence concerning the Ba’athists’ drive for weapons of mass destruction. Some of that intelligence was provably correct: there were indeed foundries for the manufacture of nerve gas and the delivery systems for it. The intel about Saddam’s quest for nuclear weapons has since come into question, but at the time it appeared as solid as anything we thought we knew about the Middle East.

     Would President Bush (43) have refrained from the invasion had the abovementioned intelligence been shown to be dubious? Possibly, but not certainly. He believed that Iraq was “low-hanging fruit” whose liberation and democratization would create favorable ripples throughout the Middle East. If that supposition was incorrect, it can no longer be proved so, for our ineptitude in the period that followed large-scale combat operations cannot be separated from what has followed.

     Middle Eastern societies, one and all, are legacy societies. Their fundamental legacy is the totalitarian creed that calls itself Islam, which is imposed willy-nilly on every infant practically from the day he speaks his first word. Thus, their people haven’t got the cultural foundation for freedom or democracy. The only way to impose those things on them is by the long-term application of irresistible force: an occupation period decades long, enforced by a large contingent of American troops and administrators similar to what we imposed on Japan after World War II.

     All that having been said, there is simply no question that the policies and actions of the Obama Administration have multiply compounded the damage. Indeed, had it not been for Obama’s insane decisions to abandon Iraq, to support the Islamist uprising in Egypt, to involve itself in the upheavals in Syria, and to facilitate the destruction of the Qaddafi regime in Libya, the current condition of the region would be markedly better than it is today — not in the sense of a freer or “more democratic” Middle East, but in the more fundamental sense of less violence and privation for the millions who live there.

     The United States has indeed been complicit in creating the conditions for the rise of ISIS. That we now dither over whether to “go back in” has no bearing on the soundness of the causal chains that led to the chaos of today.

     Decisions are – and should be – based on knowledge and understanding. The former usually reduces to “the best information available at the time.” The latter requires a grasp of the fundamentals of a situation: the causal relations that predominate over it.

     Some seventy percent of the nation favored the invasion of Iraq in 2003. A similar percentage favored it in 1990. At that time, we possessed both inadequate knowledge and inadequate understanding; in Donald Rumsfeld’s words, we were crippled by “things we did not know that we did not know.” The consequences are before us. It hardly matters that our intentions were the best in the world; the universe is utterly indifferent to intentions, good, bad, or neutral.

     Reaction against some of those consequences fastened Barack Hussein Obama upon us in 2008 and 2012. That surely made matters worse than they would otherwise have been. Nevertheless, both sides of the aisle bear responsibility for the debacles that have followed. Indeed, the American people deserve a share of the odium as well, for their excessively dramatic reaction against the Bush Administration and its policies, which were potentially correctable with a sufficient degree of humility and resolve.

     If Senator Paul has overstated his case, there is nevertheless a case to be made that the U.S. acted, if not in haste, at least with excessive confidence in inserting its military might into the Middle East. He is also correct that we followed up in ways that were about as likely to conduce to improvement as half-hearted half-measures usually are. No, no one intended the chaos we face today...but as a way of rectifying maladies brought about by one’s previous errors, protesting that “we didn’t know” has a very poor track record.

     "You cannot free a slave; he has to do it himself. And you cannot enslave a free man; the most you can do is kill him." - Robert A. Heinlein.

Irony alert.

Gay Patriot on "Absolutely Essential Government Spending."

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Quickies: The “Overclass”

     I hadn’t encountered this charming term before this morning. It has a lot more impact than “elite” or “political class,” and should be moved into our customary lexicon with dispatch.

     It appears in an article significant for other reasons, though it’s more than two years old: Rod Dreher’s short piece on “the law of merited impossibility:”

     The Law Of Merited Impossibility is an epistemological construct governing the paradoxical way overclass opinion makers frame the discourse about the clash between religious liberty and gay civil rights. It is best summed up by the phrase, “It’s a complete absurdity to believe that Christians will suffer a single thing from the expansion of gay rights, and boy, do they deserve what they’re going to get.”

     Punchy, eh? “No, that can’t happen, but when it does, you’ll deserve it!” Given the speed with which traditional rights’ protections of individual latitude in speech and association are eroding, the “Law” might soon become merely a footnote of historical interest...but note how often it’s employed in the emissions of Leftist dribblers!

     It calls to mind the fiery exchanges over the Equal Rights Amendment that graced the late Seventies. That atrocity, which would have awarded Congress essentially unbounded power to legislate on matters of sex, failed by a narrow margin and the heroic efforts of Phyllis Schlafly:

     Schlafly focused opposition to the ERA on traditional gender roles, such as only men should do the fighting in wartime. She pointed out that the amendment would eliminate the men-only draft requirement and guarantee the possibility that women would be subject to conscription and be required to have military combat roles in future wars. Defense of traditional gender roles proved to be a useful tactic. In Illinois her activists used traditional symbols of the American housewife. They took homemade bread, jams, and apple pies to the state legislators, with the slogans, "Preserve us from a congressional jam; Vote against the ERA sham" and "I am for Mom and apple pie."

     According to historian Lisa Levenstein, the feminist movement in the late 1970s briefly attempted a program to help older divorced and widowed women. Many widows were ineligible for Social Security benefits, few divorcees actually received any alimony, and after a career as a housewife, few had skills to enter the labor force. The program, however, encountered sharp criticism from young activists who gave priority to poor minority women rather than the middle class. By 1980, NOW downplayed the program as it focused almost exclusively on the ERA. Schlafly moved into the vacuum. She denounced the feminists for abandoning older middle-class widows and divorcees in need, and warned that ERA would equalize the laws for the benefit of man, stripping protections that older women urgently needed. She said the ERA was designed for the benefit of young career women and warned that if men and women had to be treated identically it would threaten the security of middle-aged housewives with no current job skills. The ERA would repeal protections such as alimony and eliminate the tendency for mothers to obtain custody over their children in divorce cases. Her argument that protective laws would be lost resonated with working-class women.

     Back then, the gender-war feminists, who had established significant bastions within the overclass, particularly the main stream media, were practically licking their chops over what they were going to do to the “patriarchy” – nearly all of which would be impossible without the ERA. Yet Schlafly, a woman roundly hated by the overclass and excluded as far as possible from media attention, mobilized sufficient opposition to stop them, merely by compelling us to face the probable consequences posed above.

     It seems the overclass can be defeated if we but make the effort, no?

20 Buzzwords That Feminists Use.

Cleverly explained by James Robinson.

My favorite:

10. Diversity

Fewer white men.[1]

Every explanation right on the money and, como siempre, 'chachos, comments are choice.

[1] "The Real Meanings Of 20 Buzzwords That Feminists Use. How SJWs twist language to further their agenda." By James Robinson, Reaxxion, 5/1/15.

A Muslim's oath of allegiance.

Diana West reports this:
Pew polling from 2013 indicates that 91 percent of Iraqis support making sharia the law of the land (the figure in 99 percent in Afghanistan).[1]
With those kinds of majorities, it is a logical inference then that all Muslims think that shariah law should be the law of the land, including the law of the land to which they have emigrated. Stated differently, where is there any evidence that Muslims in the West, anywhere in the West, believe otherwise, that shariah should not be the law of the Western land in which they reside?

Muslim-majority country

Answer: there is no such evidence. More to the point, shariah does not permit a non-Muslim to rule over a Muslim. Therefore, a Muslim swearing an oath of allegiance to the United States as part of a naturalization proceeding is swearing allegiance to a country that is fundamentally inconsistent with shariah.

The linked article immediately above also reveals that under shariah a Muslim who leaves Islam must be killed immediately. A Muslim may also not receive the death penalty if he kills a non-Muslim. In a host of other ways, that same article shows how fundamentally hostile shariah is to any Western country.

Muslims are not and cannot be loyal citizens of a Western country and they demonstrate at every opportunity their determination to remain separate and apart from infidel culture and laws. Every step that a Muslim takes in a Western country is an implicit three-finger salute to his infidel neighbors.

Muslims cannot swear honestly to be loyal citizens of any Western country. Any oath of allegiance of a non-apostate Muslim is a lie. And if any of this offends the delicate flowers of our society and in the ranks of the Council on American–Islamic Relations, so be it. The ludicrous idea that Muslims in the U.S. intend to integrate into our infidel society and that they are our allies in the war on Islam terror infuriates me even more.

[1] "Something Missing from Iraq War Story (As Usual)." By Diana West, 5/19/15.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

An Indispensable Service

     My Esteemed Co-Conspirator Patrice Stanton asks a piercing question in the piece below:

     “What am I doing to show that I deserve to live in a country so many have sacrificed so much for?”

     It’s a question that would throw many Americans off-stride. After all, the great majority of us haven’t done much “for our country,” in the sense usually connoted by military or other public service. But perhaps we needn’t feel too bad about that. At any rate, it’s worth a few hundred words of exploration.

     The essential nature of a nation-state is murkier than we like to think. The Westphalian conception was fundamentally geographic and authoritarian, and if there’s anything I’d like to keep at a great remove from Americanism, it’s authoritarianism. As for the geographic part, given the way national borders have changed, it seems auxiliary at best to the intellectual-moral-ethical ideal of patriotism that underlies national affiliation.

     However, there’s a certain insufficiency in a wholly abstract conception of nationality. I knew a fellow who liked to say that anyone, anywhere, who endorses the sentiments in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States (Bill of Rights included) is as American as you or I. I’d say that’s a starting point at best, but where ought we to go from there? Shouldn’t there be some more active component involved – some affirmative demonstration that one deserves to be an American?

     Ought we to incorporate the concept of service to the nation as a requirement for American residence – perhaps even for American citizenship?

     Robert A. Heinlein thought so:

     “Citizenship is an attitude, a state of mind, an emotional conviction that the whole is greater than the part...and that the part should be humbly proud to sacrifice itself that the whole may live....Under our system every voter and officeholder is a man who has demonstrated through voluntary and difficult service that he places the welfare of the group ahead of personal advantage.”

     Citizenship, of course, is a stronger condition than mere residence. Heinlein was careful to separate the two in the book cited above. But residence itself confers certain advantages that non-residents don’t share...and the advantages a resident of these United States enjoys have historically (though perhaps not currently) been orders of magnitude above those of other lands. Should these be earned rather than merely bequeathed upon accident of birth or awarded upon the completion of a bureaucratic procedure? If so, how?

     Give that a moment’s thought while I fetch more coffee.

     Among the many vantages from which one can view a nation-state, one tends to be overlooked more than others: as a machine that serves particular functions.

     There have been nations that were principally war machines: devices whose function was territorial growth through military expeditions. There have been nations that were principally privilege machines: devices whose function was enriching a legally privileged class. There have been nations that appeared to have no function except the perpetuation of their ruling classes, though that might be merely a failure of these eyes to grasp some subtle aspect of their operation.

     The United States of America, “conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal,” was created to be a freedom machine: a device that established the conditions required for human freedom and protected them from hostile forces. Perhaps it isn’t such a machine any longer, but that’s how it was conceived and structured.

     The persons resident in such a nation must be:

  1. Fuel consumed by the machine; or:
  2. Exportable outputs of the machine; or:
  3. Functioning components of the machine; or:
  4. Waste products to be expelled or recycled.

     I can think of no other possibilities. That brings us back to Patrice Stanton’s question, in a slightly altered form. Which of these, John Q. Public, are you?

     If we go by the above partition, the soldier is America’s fuel. Make no mistake about it: a portion of the soldier’s life, and in some cases all of it, is consumed to power the larger machine. It was so at Lexington and Concord, and it has never ceased to be so. Yet the soldier volunteers for that role; he accepts the costs and risks attendant to defending the larger machine upon himself. Granted that it hasn’t always been so; it is so today, and so may it forever remain.

     If America has an exportable output other than its inanimate wares, perhaps it would be our international businessmen. They get a lot of bad press today, mainly from persons of evil intention who either hate all business and commerce or who hate freedom itself. Nevertheless, the international expansion of American enterprise has historically been the most effective “outreach” for our ideals, and the influence most likely to turn heads in other lands away from the local tyranny and toward our sort of arrangement. If the powers in Washington find them and their enterprises inimical to their aims, that should cause us to question the powers in Washington, not men who merely hope to sell American products and services to a planet hungry for them.

     The third category is the largest and most important. No nation survives entirely on its military, nor entirely on its international presence. Those who remain at home, work mundane jobs, pay their bills and keep their yards mowed are the freedom machine’s functional components: the elements that keep the machine running. In a sense, they are the machine. It was designed specifically to make them, their lives, and their activities possible. They, in turn, keep it running: by being free, self-reliant men doing what such men do.

     If the fraction of our populace that fits into categories 1, 2, and 3 has diminished in recent years, while category 4, in which I include not only the various ne’er-do-wells and good-for-nothings of “civil society” but also the whole of the political class, has swelled without correction, well, we did need a reason why the freedom machine has been sputtering these last few decades, didn’t we?

     The machine analogy is only slightly fanciful, for a nation, like any other sort of institution, must have a purpose for existing – and if an institution’s purpose is anything but providing services to others, it will eventually be judged unnecessary and will be scrapped.

     In this year of Our Lord 2015, John Q. Public probably never served at arms. He probably doesn’t travel abroad to sell American goods and services, and by implication to proclaim the virtues of the nation that makes them possible. But if he earns his own living, meets his own obligations, participates constructively in his community, and in other ways acts to preserve and increase the vitality of American society, he is a functioning component of the freedom machine. Indeed, his service to the machine is one it cannot do without, even though the machine was constructed specifically to make him possible. He has all the justifications he needs to proudly call himself an American.

Antarctic glacial melting.

In other words, it's one of the most active tectonic areas on Earth.

Antarctica as a whole is home to 25 known active volcanoes, the majority of which are in West Antarctica. With the continent entirely enshrouded in ice, except for brief peeks of coastline bedrock during summer, these volcanoes melt the glaciers from below, creating canals, lakes, and freshwater streams that eventually empty out into the ocean, warming the currents that slowly chip away at the massive ice shelves abutting the coastal regions.
"IPCC author: Antarctica's abrupt glacial melting greatly overestimated.'" By Thomas Richard,, 5/24/15.

H/t: Principia Scientific International.

Monday, May 25, 2015

What my forefathers said...

I don’t ask this of myself often enough, “What am I doing to show that I deserve to live in a country so many have sacrificed so much for?”
How about you?

For Memorial Day

     I can’t write about politics today. It’s too important an occasion.

     They came from cities, towns, villages, and family farms that spanned the continent. They came because they were called – because they heard the call, felt it in the marrow of their bones, and knew that they could not refuse it.

     They arrived at their training sites unready, young men accustomed to the labors of peace. They would be ready when it was time for them to embark. Hard men who knew the trials they would face made sure of it.

     They journeyed to distant lands to do battle against the armies of foreign tyrants. Each meeting sounded a clang that would ring down the centuries. Their foes came from cultures that had glorified war for generations. Yet invariably, they triumphed.

     Such triumphs are bought with blood. Some would never return home. Others would be irreparably changed. Yet they fought, and won, on fields that circled the globe: some of them places Americans had never been before, places whose names they could barely pronounce.

     The casus belli wasn’t always a wise one. Some would be regretted afterward. It didn’t matter to the young men at arms. They went, they fought, and they bled.

     This is their day.

     Remember them.

"Am I dying?"

Never in my life have I experienced or seen anything like this except on TV, and to be in the midst of it, it's shocking and heartbreaking," Mills said. "As we were coming down Fourth Street, we noticed a bunch of lights. As we came on through, (Roberts) told me to turn around because she saw somebody laying on the ground.

So I backed up. That's when we noticed the officer was down. We just saw that one, but in the course of me being on the phone with 9-1-1, I turned and I saw another officer across the street rolling on the ground. (Roberts) ran across the street to check on him. He wasn't all the way alert but he asked her, "Am I dying? I know I'm dying. Just hand me my walkie-talkie."

~ Tamika Mills on encountering the scene where two Hattiesburg, Miss. police officers were gunned down during the course of a traffic stop.[1]

These are the two officers who lost their lives on May 9, 2015:

Benjamin Deen, 34.

Liquori Tate, 25.

Officer Tate posted on Facebook last year: "I graduated the Police Academy today. I am now a Police Officer. I would like to thank God, the Police Academy, the Police Department, my family, friends, and love ones."

Arrested in connection with this crime were (L-R) Marvin Banks, 26, Joanie Calloway, 22, and Curtis Banks, 29.

Another individual, Cornelius Clark, has been arrested in connection with these murders. Two others have also been arrested, Douglas Diquan McPhail, 21, and Anquanette L. Alexander, 19. Both have been charged with obstruction of justice.

Perhaps we could tone down the police-as-vicious-thugs rhetoric. Our police stand between civilization and the law of the jungle. These admirable and eminently human individuals were gunned down for no reason whatsoever. One's heart breaks at their words and the loss of their lives. Our enemy is not the police but barbarism. The people who are out of control in our country are those among us who are intent to hampering enforcement of the law, and enabling and encouraging anarchy. Obama and Attorney General Lynch, neither of whom gives a damn about the Constitution, are part of the problem.

[1] "2 Hattiesburg officers killed; 4 suspects in custody." The Clarion-Ledger, 5/11/15. Contributing to this article were Sam R. Hall, Therese Apel and Sarah Fowler for The Clarion-Ledger; Tim Doherty and Jason Munz for the Hattiesburg American; and the Associated Press.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Two Possibilities

     There are always two possibilities:

  1. Proposition A, whatever it might be;
  2. The contradiction of Proposition A.

     Note that “the contradiction of Proposition A” means its untruth, rather than a reversal. For example, if Proposition A is “All men are mortal,” its contradiction is not “No men are mortal,” but rather “Not all men are mortal.” Beware the Undistributed Middle!

     But rather than discuss ninth-grade logical fallacies, let’s have a concrete proposition before us. Here’s one that gets a lot of air time and column-inches:

     Proposition A: “American women are oppressed.”

     The contradiction is difficult to form from Proposition A as expressed above, because it’s ambiguously formed. The correct formulation would be “All American women are oppressed,” or alternately, “If you are an American woman, then you are oppressed.” That allows the formulation of the contradiction: “Not all American women are oppressed.”

     For the balance of this tirade, let [A] be shorthand for “Proposition A,” and let [~A] be shorthand for its contradiction. My fingers are aging even faster than the rest of me, for reasons that should not require a lot of development.

     Note that if [A] is false, then [~A] must be true. But even [~A] leaves open the possibility that some American women are oppressed. Much depends upon the precise definition of “oppressed” – yet another of the words the Left has struggled to redefine to its own advantage.

     People who vent unpopular opinions onto the Web get hate mail. Great God Almighty, do we get hate mail! This earlier tirade got me a fair amount, as have other things I’ve written about relations between the sexes. Nevertheless, I stand by it, as I stand by everything that I write on any subject.

     The subject of conscience is often on my mind these days, in particular because of its binding to human individuality. The conscience operates on an individual level: one individual, one conscience, whether or not he chooses to heed it. Groups don’t have consciences; neither do crowds, institutions, or “movements.”

     A great part of the Left’s efforts in recent years has gone to the attempt to replace conscience with consensus. This is more visible in some subjects than in others, but it’s particularly blatant in its promotion of fantasies of “oppression,” the “American women are oppressed” canard notable among them. Worse, women are inherently sensitive to group inclusion and group acceptance – much more so than men – which makes them especially vulnerable to the tactic.

     For a woman to be resolutely individual in her thinking and judgment requires more determination than it does from a man. That alone accounts for the distribution of political opinion among women and the contrast with that of men. (It also accounts for the currents of panic that run through the Democrat Party whenever polls indicate a shift toward the GOP, however modest, in women’s allegiances.) Thus, once [A] attains a consensus among women, even among a small but vocal and active subset thereof, the pressure on other women to “get with the program” rises to an intensity that few will possess the strength of conscience to resist.

     The consensus-minded “sisters” are the ones writing my hate mail. I can’t help but wonder if their consciences ever trouble them.

     When Eric Hoffer wrote:

     There is no telling to what extremes of cruelty and ruthlessness a man will go when he is freed from the fears, hesitations doubts, and the vague stirrings of decency that go with individual judgement.’s likely he was thinking of the more “traditional” mass movements, rather than those of our era. Ours, so completely dominated by politically promoted collectivisms, might shock him to silence. If not, he would ask the promoters of [A] exactly what they mean by “oppressed.” Lesser rights at law? Exclusion from the corridors of power? Perhaps markedly unequal treatment in the workplace?

     Those promoters, of course, would castigate Hoffer as a “sexist oppressor” for daring to demand specificity of meaning from them. Specificity would lay them open to refutation, yet another attempt to insert that oppressive patriarchal construct, Socratic logic, into their emotion-fueled campaign. Worst of all, some women might be persuaded to leave the collective security of the “sisterhood!” You can never tell when something like that might snowball...especially as those who dare to do so would obviously be the most independent, strongest-minded representatives of their sex, and therefore most likely of all to start a successful counter-movement.

     You never can tell what will come of those “vague stirrings of decency that go with individual judgement.”

     Two possibilities. Always two possibilities! [A] or [~A.] It’s when [A] is most overblown that the mention of [~A] is most important...and most stridently, viciously railed against by [A’s] promoters. They might be sincere in their convictions; some usually are. But some will be reacting to the threat to their power, prestige, and perquisites that comes from being revealed as deceivers and exploiters. Showing this latter sort for what they are and what they really aim to do is a source of great potential gains for the Right – and one of the best ways to do it is by contrasting them with those who have disdained their gospel and left their flock.

     Keep that in mind as the presidential campaign moves along, Gentle Reader. It can provide a handsome return on investment for wading through the hate mail.

Words Fail Me Dept.

     The Right is almost entirely in accord that Man’s propensity to violence is independent of his possession of any particular weapon. The Left takes the opposite position: that the possession of weapons increases the probability that Man will act violently. So it’s consistent that the Right should view “arms control” and “disarmament” initiatives with a jaundiced eye, while the Left regards them as the sole path to a Utopia of international harmony and unblemished peace.

     Which brings us to this new specimen of Leftist irrationality:

     Assistant US Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation, Thomas Countryman, recently visited Israel and held talks with senior Foreign Ministry officials, about the possibility of making the Middle East nuclear-free.

     Washington seeks to advance the idea after reaching agreement with Russia about the matter.

     The State Department confirmed Countryman's visit and sources in the US Administration said that Israeli agreement to the idea would be a catalyst for bringing additional countries into discussions on the matter.

     You don’t have to be terribly old to remember the attempts by Israel’s neighbors to wipe her out with “conventional” forces: 1956, 1967, 1973. Israel survived those onslaughts largely due to superior martial prowess and her “back to the wall” mentality. But the prospect of having to remain eternally a garrison state is unappealing, for which reason, with the assistance of the Nixon Administration, Israel “went nuclear” in the mid-Seventies and hasn’t looked back since then.

     Needless to say, Israel’s neighbors view that development unfavorably. It greatly increases the potential price for another invasion of the Jewish state. Most especially, it puts the satraps and potentates of the Muslim Middle East on the battlefield with their soldiers. Being the “let’s you and him fight” sorts so commonplace among today’s political elites, that’s a possibility they’d rather avert.

     As I wrote in On Broken Wings:

     "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."

     So Israel’s nuclear deterrent is their number-one target – and Barack Hussein Obama, whom no one believes when he protests his dedication to the well-being of our sole true Middle Eastern ally, would be happy to help them dispose of it.

     The Israelis, of course, are otherwise inclined:

     The Disarmament Conference in New York has come and gone (ended May 22), while Western diplomats claim proposals could torpedo the process and push Israel to walk away!

     For the first time, Israel took part in the NPT meeting as an observer, ending a 20-year absence. The regime has the Middle East’s only nuclear arsenal and is not a signatory to the 1970 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

     That's why failure to reach an agreement on the issue could kill the Mideast nuclear ban initiative. The developing nations say the UN should convene another conference on a regional ban of nuclear weapons. They also demand Israel immediately join the NPT.

     The problem is that Israel has no intention to give up its nukes and any talk of NPT membership is but dirty politics. The regime has conditioned its participation on an agenda being agreed in advance and says it wants to discuss regional security, conventional weapons and the Mideast peace process instead.

     And so it shall remain, for as long as Israel has reason to believe that it’s neighbor states still desire its annihilation – given the rhetoric that routinely issues from imams, mullahs, and Tehran, a belief that will be very hard to extinguish. But you may be sure that the American Left will be solidly behind this new Utopian vision of a Middle Eastern fairyland.

     Every Obama Administration foreign-policy measure or pronouncement aimed at the Middle East has been to Israel’s detriment. Expecting the Israelis to surrender the sole weapon that has even a chance of deterring their neighbors from further genocidal invasions is pure insanity. But that won’t stop Obama or his lieutenants from trying to curry favor with the anti-Semites of the Muslim states. They’re far more his constituency than the Jews of Israel...or of America.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

To Fight For Freedom: Part 2, “What”

     The hardest thing in the world is...well, frankly, I couldn’t say. But I can tell you about something I find massively difficult: assessing someone I like personally as holding pernicious assumptions.

     If you’re a freedom-loving American, you’re going to meet such persons now and then. You’re going to get to know them, find them personally appealing, perhaps even make them regular parts of your discretionary time and activities. You might even be related to one or two. From the moment of recognition, you’ll struggle with the “fight or flight” response that characterizes politics in our day: the counterpoised impulses to distance yourself from that person or to “re-educate” him.

     Neither of those approaches is fruitful. Take it from a graduate of experience.

     The problem is embedded in the mechanisms that support learning. In the main, education as formally understood can only teach us bloodless things. Grammar. The dry facts of history. Algebra. Perhaps a little non-organic chemistry and simple physics. Note that none of those subjects have a moral or ethical component. You cannot teach another person moral or ethical principles.

     Radical, eh? I realize that I’m going against thousands of years of pedagogical received wisdom. So what? They’re wrong. If human experience has taught us anything, it’s the sadder-but-wiser conclusion John Pugsley presented in The Alpha Strategy:

     Man will steal if he perceives it to be the best way to get what he wants. He is primarily interested in satisfying his immediate needs, not in providing for some distant future. He cannot be educated to altruism. In a political democracy that gives a voter the power to confiscate the wealth of his neighbors, human nature guarantees that he will do so. In my estimation, neither politics nor moral preaching offers a rational, workable solution, and it would seem that the historical evidence corroborates this.

     But you have moral and ethical principles. So do I – and I’d bet the mortgage money that they’re identical to yours, or nearly so. Moreover, we adhere to them pretty scrupulously, you and I. It’s what allows me to face myself in the mirror, and part of what makes you one of my Gentle Readers. Where did we get them?

  1. Emulation.
  2. Experience.

     Most people think of themselves as “good guys,” regardless of the truth of the matter. That’s mainly because each of us uses himself as a standard by which to judge others. The standard, of course, is above judgment, so Smith gets an automatic A+ from himself.

     But without the benefit of an attractive model or considerable personal experience, no one can internalize the moral and ethical precepts that make a free and prosperous society possible. Sentience on this ball of rock is a minimum of 25,000 years old, and probably much older. Yet only in the most recent two thousand years have there been societies that were not dominated by systematic predation and the consequent pandemic misery. Why?

     Well, first of all, we needed to accumulate some history. As the saying goes, if you don’t know where you’ve been, you can’t know where you’re going. Written historical records only reach back about six thousand years. More, until quite recently those records were nowhere near widely available nor accessible. Ordinary persons – folks such as you and I, Gentle Reader, who make up society and determine how it will function – had little beside their own personal experiences to steer by.

     Second and at least as important, the moral exemplar was rare and likely to be killed out of hand. Force reigned supreme; he who abstained from the use of force to advance his personal interests was more likely than not to find his skull on the business end of a well-wielded antelope femur. Thus, there weren’t many persons deserving of emulation for the rest of us to observe.

     Only after the emergence of compact, coherent societies that maintained historical records and cultivated knowledge of them could moral exemplars be observed and their excellence comprehended. Even then, their illuminative effect was limited to those who were fortunate enough to be near them, and to pay attention to them. And of course, free will being what it is, “dissidents” ready and willing to prey upon others will forever remain among us...even within the gatherings that proclaim and celebrate the principles the exemplars illustrate.

     In the conclusion to the “who” segment in this series, I deliberately misstated the “enemy” to be “defeated:”

     Pugsley has fingered the correct “who” for our purposes: those “unaware, ineducable masses” who support the State’s plunders with their voices and their votes. They probably include many of your neighbors. They might include some of your relatives. Despite their mundane appearances and seemingly agreeable conduct, they are the enemy we must defeat.

     I sacrificed precision for emphasis, an uncomfortable thing for a scientifically minded person to do. For it is not the “unaware, ineducable masses” themselves who are the enemy, but rather their assumptions about right and wrong and the relations between ends and means.

     There’s no way to argue a man out of his assumptions. They can only be defeated by experience. He who can do that has a shot at being listened to with respect. But it’s a hard road to travel for several reasons. Preeminent among those reasons is this one: no one will listen to you unless you can demonstrate your good intentions – by his standards.

     Psychologist Peter Breggin made an excellent point about this when, during a lecture, he condemned the Schadenfreude – the celebration of catastrophe and, by implication, the smug “they deserved it” attitude toward its victims – that sometimes emerges among liberty-movement types when a massive government failure becomes visible. Dr. Breggin said plainly that to persuade the typical American liberal, you must first convince him that your intentions are good ones – that you want most, if not all, of the outcomes he favors. (This is equally true of the persuasion of the authoritarian-paternalistic conservative, of which there are still a considerable number even at this late date in our decline.)

     However, even the profession of good intentions is insufficient to defeat your neighbor’s faulty assumptions. You must demonstrate that your moral principles produce a superior result – and you must do so by his standards. If you cannot or will not do so, he’ll retreat to the comfort of the familiar.

     Success breeds emulation, and nothing else does.

     There are pitfalls, of course. In particular, there are some, perhaps millions, for whom no demonstration of “a better way” could ever be sufficient. Sometimes it’s merely a form of mental rigidity – an unwillingness to let go of one’s faulty assumptions and logical errors the late Don LaVoie called “sunk intellectual capital.” Sometimes, it’s a demand for Utopia – and Utopia is never among the options. Worse, there are some for whom the end is not and will never be anything but power over others. These are not persuadable, for obvious reasons; time and effort spent on them will be wasted.

     A great deal of the material published about promoting the freedom philosophy focuses on “out-competing” the statist mindset. This is good as far as it goes, but it’s worth a moment’s thought about why it works (when it does). They who desire to equal the ends of the more successful are drawn to emulating their means. This is more obvious when the ends are personal gains than charitable aims, but it’s true in both cases.

     To sum up: it’s the faulty assumptions of those who support the status quo and its pervasive statism that we must defeat. We must show them a better way to the ends they cherish – and we must be humble about it. No one likes a smartass.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Got #Gamergate? Excitement on another 1st Amendment frontier.

I'm not a gamer. Not that that's a bad thing, mind you. I got involved in GamerGate last fall, I guess it was, from the integrity-in-journalism angle. I continue because now it's a full-fledged 1st Amendment issue. 
Links below this video will tell the story of GG's Eron Gjoni's legal battle against the Forces of UnTruth who wish he'd just shut up and go away.

Also: on Memorial Day I have my say on the dis-service today's politicians are doing to the once-victorious U.S. Armed Services.

Quickies: Line Drawings And Those Who Draw Them

     John Sexton reveals some disturbing numbers:

     A new poll shows that a majority of Democrats want to limit free speech with laws that would prohibit so-called “hate speech.”

     The YouGov poll published Wednesday found that 51 percent of Democrats favor imposing legal limits on free speech while just 26 percent of Democrats oppose the idea.

     What disturbs me is the complete omission of the Constitutional barrier against such “legal limits.” It would appear that the overwhelming majority of the respondents either didn’t take the First Amendment into consideration, or regard it as having been “obsoleted by developments.”

     It’s almost as upsetting to see that so many Republicans, nominally the defenders of limited government and the strict interpretation of the Constitution, should have supported such measures. How can it be that one who attaches himself to the Constitution as the Supreme Law of the Land would be so willing to overlook so important a constraint on the State?

     As Eugene Volokh and others have observed, the First Amendment makes no exceptions for “hate speech.” The well-publicized travails of respected Canadian writers and journalists, where there are official bodies that police “hate speech,” should provide more than adequate explanation for why “hate speech” is an invalid legal conception, but then, we already have a legal category for “hate crimes,” don’t we?

     The power to define a sentiment as “hate speech,” punishable by law, is unthinkably dangerous. If you disagree, imagine it in the hands of someone who despises you and all you stand for – and make no assumptions about “reasonable person” standards or similar non-objective bilge.

     To those who would reply "Freedom of expression is very well in theory, but you have to draw the line somewhere," remember Patrice Stanton's visualization of such lines.

     These are dark times – and getting darker by the second.

Quickies: Asymmetrical Abuse

     Time was, we were taught to look at our conflicts with others not merely as matters really stand, but also as if “the shoe were on the other foot.” Exchange the positions, exchange the actions, and reassess. How would you feel about it then? How would he?

     Time was.

     Courtesy of Glenn Reynolds, this morning my eye lit upon this belated recognition of an asymmetry. Please bear down and read it all. When you reach the end, return to the headline:

Woman Realizes That She’s Been Accidentally Abusing Her Husband This Whole Time

     “Accidentally.” ACCIDENTALLY! As innumerable pictorial puzzles for children say at the top, What’s wrong with this picture?

     An “accidental” action is one the actor hadn’t intended to perform. Was any of the behavior the young woman described unintentional? Or was it merely regrettable, deplorable, condemnable?

     This woman’s fundamental problem was either an absence of conscience or the unwillingness to listen to it. Consider: She admits, in hindsight, that she’s abused her husband – that she’s been doing so for some time. Why? Because, she says, it hadn’t occurred to her that her behavior toward him was abusive. How could she not have known? Especially given that, had their roles been reversed, she would have been screaming for relief from his brutality from Day One?

     Sociopolitical feminism – gender-war feminism – has subliminally persuaded millions of American women that in their dealings with men, they have no more need for their consciences than for their vermiform appendices.

     Women’s maltreatment of men – their relatives, husbands, boyfriends, coworkers, and random acquaintances – has reached such dimensions as to qualify for pandemic status. Yet which sex is it that screeches incessantly for protection from the other? Which sex is it that constantly claims to be “oppressed” by “the patriarchy?” And which sex is it that complains about not being able to find spouses, that can’t fathom why the other one has become steadily more averse to it?

     Women, particularly in the United States, enjoy unprecedented latitude, opportunities, and ease – all of which were made possible by the labors and sacrifices of generation after generation of men. Yet great masses of them appear incapable of feeling the least shred of gratitude over it. Indeed, they bludgeon us as if we were engaged in a systematic campaign to enslave them. They even demand to have their accusations of abuse by us treated as conclusive without evidence...and they often get their way.

     Is it any wonder that men have reacted by treating the fairer sex as dangerous? Is it any wonder that so many men should have opted for lifelong bachelorhood, occasionally punctuated by casual, meaningless sex? Is it any wonder that so many men who do marry practice protective subterfuge about their assets, keep large portions of their lives private, and refrain from producing children they could lose through divorce?

     “Accidentally.” Remember that word, brethren of the Y chromosome. Recall it to mind when she abuses you in some fashion that would wring the most piteous wailing and tears from her if your positions and actions were exchanged.

     (Yes, yes, there will be further “To Fight For Freedom” segments. I’m trying to think them through carefully rather than rush them out. Bear with me.)

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Quickies: Time Out For Some Brilliance

     We interrupt this sententious progression of politically-focused tirades by a retired engineer and hack novelist for an example of genuine brilliance from a previously unknown writer. Here’s the pith of it:

     We have become so focused on results that our actions have become a secondary concern. We judge men based on what they have instead of what they do. We signal our ideals instead of embracing them.

     In his short book Do the Work, [Steven] Pressfield relates a New Yorker cartoon that cleverly skewers our preference for thinking about things, rather than doing them:

    “A perplexed person stands before two doors. One door says HEAVEN. The other says BOOKS ABOUT HEAVEN.”

     He’s perplexed. He’s considering the book. It’s funny because it’s absurd… and because we know we’d have the same consideration.

     That’s where we are as a culture. We run desperately to abstraction and avoid action at all costs. Thoreau’s man of “quiet desperation” has never been so prevalent.

     The world is full of men who are “stuck” in life. There has been some mass paralysis. Modern man has forgotten how to take action.

     Author Kyle Eschenroeder goes on to note that action does not guarantee success. Indeed, most action eventuates in failure – but failure is itself a step forward, if embraced and understood. As Louis Nizer wrote in My Life In Court, “Defeat is education. It is a step to something better.”

     Words to live by...especially for a retired engineer and hack novelist. I commend them to you all.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

To Fight For Freedom: Part 1, “Who?”

     Over the years I’ve received innumerable emails asking, in tones that range from suppliant to stentorian, for a practical approach to the restoration of freedom in America. For a long time I’ve resisted such urgings, on the grounds that my gifts don’t lean in that direction. I’m an analyst rather than a political strategist or tactician. Yet those who’ve put themselves forward, in their several ways, as strategists and tacticians have failed to excite much hope or sympathy among those of us averse to bloodshed, especially if the blood shed is likely to be theirs. It’s had a darkening effect on my mood, and a sense that perhaps it’s time to try my hand at the formulation of a practical approach to the re-liberation of the United States.

     Let’s get the dismal part out of the way first. Just yesterday, I wrote:

     The edifice is rotten to the core. It has pitted us against one another, especially those of us who work for government versus those who don’t, in a multitude of ways. It cannot be saved.

     However, it cannot be replaced until it has first been demolished. How that is to be achieved, given the overwhelming preponderance of force in the hands of the State, I cannot say. More, and more ominous, there is no guarantee that the replacement would improve on its predecessor. Moralities and mentalities have changed too greatly since our Founding Era for any prediction to be sanguine –and that’s to say nothing of the hostile and alien sub-populations America has acquired these past few decades.

     That would seem to be a counsel of surrender, even of despair. I didn’t mean it that way, as harsh as it appears. It’s time to say what I really do mean: the “who, what, when, where, and how” of a campaign for the restoration of freedom that has a visible chance of success.

     Let there be no mistake about it:

The great majority of today’s freedom-loving Americans will die under a “soft totalitarianism” utterly unlike the intentions of the Founding Fathers.

     Believe me, Gentle Reader, the notion upsets me quite as much as you – and I’m a cinch to be part of that “great majority.”

     The self-centered approach to such a conviction of personal doom would be to kick back and enjoy what remains of one’s life as best one can, rather than to immerse oneself in the struggle for a future one will never see. Author and lecturer Jeffrey Rogers Hummel called this the “Harry Browne” approach, in reference to Browne’s famous tome How I Found Freedom In An Unfree World. Hummel counterpoised that strategy to the “Patrick Henry” approach of “Give me liberty or give me death,” in which the individual cashiers his own hope for an untroubled existence to enlist in the fight for freedom, regardless of the sacrifice involved.

     The great John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, no stranger to self-sacrifice in a noble cause, endorsed Patrick Henry’s approach:

     ‘As Aragorn has begun, so we must go on. We must push Sauron to his last throw. We must call out his hidden strength, so that he shall empty his land. We must march out to meet him at once. We must make ourselves the bait, though his jaws should close on us. He will take that bait, in hope and in greed, for he will think that in such rashness he sees the pride of the new Ringlord: and he will say: “So! he pushes out his neck too soon and too far. Let him come on, and behold I will have him in a trap from which he cannot escape. There I will crush him, and what he has taken in his insolence shall be mine again for ever.”

     ‘We must walk open-eyed into that trap, with courage, but small hope for ourselves. For, my lords, it may well prove that we ourselves shall perish utterly in a black battle far from the living lands; so that even if Barad-dur be thrown down, we shall not live to see a new age. But this, I deem, is our duty. And better so than to perish nonetheless – as we surely shall, if we sit here – and know as we die that no new age shall be.’

     How many Americans, foreseeing with near-perfect clarity the dreadful end to which the Last Army of the West seemed certain to come, would follow in Aragorn’s train? Not many, if I’m any judge of such things.

     However, there are other ways to fight than by the exchange of bullets and bombs – and those other ways have a greater chance of long-term success than any imaginable violent uprising. Today’s tirade will address the appropriate target for such a campaign – i.e., the “who.”

     To many eyes, the “who” – the enemy to be fought – is a clear and simple thing. They immediately nominate the Left, or the government, or some other gaggle of identifiable miscreants. I must disagree.

     Consider first a brief passage from John Pugsley’s landmark work The Alpha Strategy. His setting is an island community of two: yourself, and a somewhat naughty “economist” named, appropriately, Maynard:

     Pretend for a moment that you have cultivated a cabbage patch on your island, and Maynard has some goats. Every night Maynard opens your gate and lets his goats into your yard, and each night they feast on your cabbages. You decide to approach the problem by appealing to reason. You put together your arguments about how this is ruining your garden, stifling your incentive to grow cabbages, and will hurt the whole neighborhood in the end. You then walk out of your house, march down to your garden, and have a heart-to-heart talk with his goats.

     A ridiculous approach, you say? Of course. While the goats are the ones who eat your cabbages, Maynard is the one who milks the goats. In the end, he is the beneficiary of their theft—he is the culprit who must be dealt with. Even if you find a way to communicate with the goats, it will not help. No matter how many goats you succeed in winning over to your point of view, the moment a goat sees the light and agrees to stop eating your cabbages, Maynard will stop getting milk. Immediately, Maynard will rid himself of that goat and replace it with another one that will eat your cabbages again. So it is with politicians. Even if you convince one to stop plundering you, he will be quickly replaced.

     Pugsley continues from there in a bifurcated fashion:

     Man will steal if he perceives it to be the best way to get what he wants. He is primarily interested in satisfying his immediate needs, not in providing for some distant future. He cannot be educated to altruism. In a political democracy that gives a voter the power to confiscate the wealth of his neighbors, human nature guarantees that he will do so. In my estimation, neither politics nor moral preaching offers a rational, workable solution, and it would seem that the historical evidence corroborates this. If the political process is not the answer, and educating the masses is impossible, is there any solution? If there is, where does it lie?

     Right under our noses. The best solution is the simplest solution, and the simplest solution is the easiest to overlook. Anyone who has studied the evolution of species has observed the solution at work in every form of life. The solution can be understood by observing the way in which all life forms cope with their hostile environments. The theft of our property by others is an attack that is essentially identical to the destruction that any species feels from any hostile force in nature....

     The way to build a free society and to abolish all of the economic and social destruction that has been man's lot all these many centuries is a simple three-step process. First, correctly identify the direction from which the individual is being attacked. Second, make the individual aware of the nature and methods of his enemy. And third, leave it up to the individual to devise methods for self-defense. Just as a person will try to increase his wealth and comfort by the most effective method (plundering, if that is effective, and producing, if hard work is effective), once he owns something, he will vigorously defend it. The answer to change is not an attack on government, but the development of individual techniques for the defense of personal property.

     In short, the solution, according to Pugsley, lies in self-defense, propelled by the self-interest of the aware and educable, while the unaware, ineducable masses continue to plunder one another toward inevitable extinction through their demands on The Omnipotent State. It’s an appealing prospect, except for one little problem: those “unaware, ineducable masses” are unlikely to plunge heedlessly into self-destruction while they can still spot, target, and plunder you. The barons of State power will happily assist them in finding and mulcting long as they get their percentage, of course.

     Nevertheless, Pugsley has fingered the correct “who” for our purposes: those “unaware, ineducable masses” who support the State’s plunders with their voices and their votes. They probably include many of your neighbors. They might include some of your relatives. Despite their mundane appearances and seemingly agreeable conduct, they are the enemy we must defeat.

     There will, of course, be other segments in this series. I’m as yet unsure of the order. All the same, as I’ve said so often in the past:

     More anon.