Tuesday, May 31, 2016

That Vicious Reluctance

     “What reluctance is that?” I hear you ask. Patience, Gentle Reader. We’ll get there. First, have a few links:

  1. When Protests Obstruct Free Speech
  2. Hating hate speech
  3. “The Only True ‘Safe Space’ is Liberty and Freedom”
  4. Arizona Shuts Down College Campus Free Speech Zones in the Name of Free Speech
  5. Bill Kristol Announces That ‘There Will Be An Independent Candidate’ To Sabotage Donald Trump

     Now before you start humming “One of these things is not like the others, one of these things just doesn’t belong,” allow me to assure you that I know what I’m doing. All five of the above stories are about freedom of expression and attempts to shut it down. It only takes a moment’s reflection on story #5 – specifically, on the reasons for Donald Trump’s meteoric political rise and why Kristol and his establishment cronies want him stopped – to see the connection.

     There is legal freedom of expression in these United States. What there isn’t is practical freedom of expression. They who have decided that some things must not be said have selected means other than overt government censorship to deter them from being said, or to prevent them from being heard. Unfortunately, the nominal guardians of our rights have elected to allow them to use those means.

     They who employ those extra-legal, “informal” means of censorship are no better than Hitler’s Brownshirts. Here I shall make the assumption that we’re agreed on what Hitler’s Brownshirts deserved but didn’t get. So I will ask:

  • Why didn’t the Brownshirts get what they deserved?
  • Why don’t their progeny among us get what they deserve?

     Let’s pass over the cases in which the supposed enforcers of the law actually side with our contemporary Brownshirts (e.g., this outrage). In other, nonviolent instances, isn’t it quite clear that only a smashing rebuke, delivered at maximum volume, would suffice?

     So why is such a rebuke so seldom delivered?

     Despite appearances – and the efforts of the Legacy Media to make these thugs appear larger and more menacing than they actually are – the good people are still a substantial majority. We understand true tolerance. We appreciate the importance of permitting “freedom for the thought we hate” (Oliver Wendell Holmes). And we’re very nearly unanimous that the Gestapo tactics of those who endeavor to suppress viewpoints with which they disagree are vile, unacceptable. Yet by our inaction we accept them. Why?

     One segment of popular opinion is that we’re “wimps,” afraid to take a chance on becoming targets ourselves. Then why aren’t the Left’s thugs afraid of being made targets?

     Another segment holds that as long as the laws permit such behavior, whether de jure or de facto, we’re powerless to do anything about it. A hefty majority lacks effective power over law and prevailing customs of public conduct? Hm. That’s a first for these United States.

     The third segment, to which I belong, holds that we’ve allowed the Left to define what constitutes politeness, and we’re reluctant to be “impolite.” Of course, the Left’s concept of politeness is that they can do whatever they please, and we must shut up and take it. Convenient, eh?

     Our reluctance is on the verge of costing us our nation.

     I’ve mentioned the “Public Choice” effect in previous writings: the disproportionate command of influence possible to a small, highly motivated group with a short, coherent agenda. The reason it works that way is the dilution of responsibility felt by persons who oppose such a group. Knowing themselves to be many, no individual among them feels it’s “his job” to take up cudgels with the special interest that seeks to cow, mulct, or chain him.

     But it is every man’s responsibility to defend his own rights – and when another man is deprived of that right, the responsibility to come to his defense should be equally strongly felt. For as Ayn Rand wrote, “When you violate the rights of one man, you violate the rights of all men, and a public of rightless creatures is doomed to destruction.

     Our rights, whether explicitly cited by the Constitution or merely implied by our common human nature, must be defended wherever they’re attacked – and there’s absolutely no hope that “our government” will do the job for us. The task is forever ours, individually and severally.

     Just now, identity-activist movements are in the ascendant. Black activists. Feminist activists. Homosexual activists. Transgender activists. Great God in heaven, illegal alien activists. All of them are straining to suppress or deter the expression of opinions opposed to their own. Some explicitly threaten their opponents with violence. Others rely on campaigns of defamation and hate mail.

     All must be opposed, and it is the duty of every man with a shred of self-regard and even an iota of personal capacity to take part in opposing them.

     Speak out against them.
     When they “protest,” organize counter-protests.
     Rush to the defense of those they threaten and harass.
     Should violence be on their agenda, prepare defensive forces to meet them.
     And under no circumstances let their voices be unopposed, or let their slanders and demands go unanswered.

     This is especially imperative for those who “share the identity:”

     If you’re black and oppose the racialists, extortionists, and thugs, become active in disciplining them.
     If you’re a woman and oppose gender-war feminism, defend men and marriage.
     If you’re homosexual and want only peace, speak against homosexual activism.
     If you’re “transgender,” endeavor to “pass” quietly and inconspicuously.
     If you’re an illegal alien, go back to where you came from.

     But all of those could do as I’ve said and it wouldn’t reduce the responsibilities that weigh upon the rest of us to do our part. That vicious reluctance to speak or act must be shoved aside before we lose our country.

     Have a nice day.

Quickies: You Really Have To Wonder

     ...just what a “black activist” has to do to be expelled from a college campus today:

     Dartmouth’s Assistant Director of Alumni Relations, Meg Ramsden, has been busy communicating to the school’s alumni to inform that the Black Lives Matter activists who, back in November, charged into a campus library chanting and yelling racial epithets won’t be subject to any punishment for their actions.

     “After concluding its investigation with respect to the complaints and studying what was seen in the video in Baker-Berry Library, it was determined there were no specific violations of the Standards of Conduct,” Ramsden writes.

     “In essence, no rules for which there are recorded and communicated sanctions were broken.”

     Here’s the original report:

     Dartmouth College students simply studying in the library on the night of Nov. 12 got the shock of their lives when a profanity-laced mob of Black Lives Matter student protesters stormed the building and dropped F-bombs left and right, as well as pushed and shoved some students, the Dartmouth Review reports.

     “F*** you, you filthy white f***s!” “F*** you and your comfort!” “F*** you, you racist s***!” …

     The flood of demonstrators self-consciously overstepped every boundary, opening the doors of study spaces with students reviewing for exams. Those who tried to close their doors were harassed further. One student abandoned the study room and ran out of the library. The protesters followed her out of the library, shouting obscenities the whole way.

     Students who refused to listen to or join their outbursts were shouted down. “Stand the f*** up!” “You filthy racist white piece of s***!” Men and women alike were pushed and shoved by the group. “If we can’t have it, shut it down!” they cried. Another woman was pinned to a wall by protesters who unleashed their insults, shouting “filthy white b****!” in her face.

     Hmmm. To me the above sounds like massive disturbance of the peace on private property, plus multiple counts of assault and at least a few of battery. What if it had been white activists doing the very same thing? Do you think Mrs. Ramsden’s report would have been the same?

     “Black activists” are turning even the best-intentioned whites into racists. The comeuppance can’t be far off by now. “For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind” – and what a mighty blow it will be!

Quickies: This Should Be Noncontroversial

     Yet it isn’t – and one guess why:

     Famed animal zookeeper, television host and director emeritus of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium defended the decision to put down the 450 pound gorilla named Harambe to protect the life of the 4-year-old boy who fell into the enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo.

     "I’ve seen him take a green coconut, which you can’t bust open with a sledgehammer and squish it like this," Hanna told "Good Morning America" about Harambe, gesturing with his hand the ease with which gorillas can crush fruit. "You’re dealing with either human life or animal life here. So what is the decision? I think it’s very simple to figure that out."

     "I can tell you now, that there's no doubt in my mind the child would not be here today if they hadn't made the decision," Hanna said.

     Yet the animal-rights crowd, which has demonstrated by its actions that it really doesn’t care about the lives of animals, thinks otherwise:

     ANIMAL RIGHTS ACTIVISTS gathered today for a Memorial Day vigil for the gorilla killed at the Cincinnati Zoo after a four-year-old boy slipped into an exhibit and a special zoo response team concluded his life was in danger.

     Anthony Seta of Cincinnati called the 17-year-old western lowland gorilla’s death “a senseless tragedy,” but said the purpose today wasn’t to point fingers but a tribute to the gorilla named Harambe.

     “People can shout at the parents and people can shout at the zoo,” Seta said. “The fact is that a gorilla that just celebrated his birthday has been killed.”

     Would these...persons have held a “vigil” for the four-year-old, had the gorilla killed him, whether deliberately or otherwise? But let’s not stop there. Let’s ask a couple more questions:

  • Suppose the gorilla had already harmed the boy, perhaps by breaking one of his arms?
  • Suppose it hadn’t been a gorilla in that cage, but a lion, or a reticulated python or anaconda?
  • And suppose it hadn’t been a four-year-old boy, but one of these animal-rights idiots?

     Do you think they would still say the same things?

Quickies: Heads Up, Gentle Readers!

     Because if you haven’t yet heard about this, it’s time that you did:

     For months now, Microsoft has done everything in its power to shove Windows 10 down your throat. The free update is mandatory at this point, and we’ve heard from many Windows users who discovered their computers updated to the newest version automatically, without their knowledge or explicit permission. Microsoft kept offering excuses for these annoying occurrences, and even said it will stop pushing upgrades to Windows users who refuse to hop aboard the Windows 10 train.

     Now, the company has come up with its most evil trick yet to get you to update your PC to Windows 10, and it’s based on the same methodology hackers use to trick people into installing malware.

     Pop-ups often appear when you visit malicious websites and when you click the “X” to close them, malware is installed on your computer. Well, Microsoft just tweaked its Windows 10 upgrade alert pop-up so that the update is triggered when clicking the X, PC World explains.

     I’ve used, and mostly approved of, Microsoft products since 1978: thirty-eight years. I’ve also defended the company against some of the specious criticism it’s received. But this is a step too far. Should this “upgrade” be forced on me, and should it prove incompatible with any of the programs I rely on, I intend to wipe Windows from all my computers and install something else – something that doesn’t allow anyone to override my decisions about what I want or don’t want installed on them.

     Had this been an openly announced policy, I would never have done business with Microsoft. As it is, I feel that my trust has been violated. Such behavior must be punished, lest it become commonplace.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Short Memories

     Memorial Day, like Armistice Day in November, is a day part of whose significance is obscure even to those who know its meaning. Yes, we should honor the memories of Americans who fell in battle. Yes, they served honorably. Yes, they paid the highest of prices in performing their service. Certainly these are things to be remembered. But there are other things to remember alongside them. Some of those things aren’t terribly pleasant.

     American soldiers who fought in the Civil War, World Wars I and II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War, were largely conscripts: inducted into the Army under the threat of a prison term. For the most popular of those wars, World War II, the federal government conscripted six million of the eleven million Americans who took up arms. The risks they faced, and that cost the lives of some, were not of their choosing.

     Forced labor – labor performed under threat of punishment – is involuntary servitude: slavery. It’s forbidden by the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution. Yet from the Civil War through the Vietnam War it was the primary source of manpower for the United States Army. Moreover, the Selective Service system that harvested young men from their trades, studies, and families to fight far from home still exists, albeit “on standby.” Young men are required by law to register with the Selective Service System on or shortly after their eighteenth birthdays. It’s possible that soon young women will be as well.

     The Vietnam War was hugely unpopular – at least as unpopular as World War II was popular. The majority of the young men who fought in Vietnam were draftees. The bitterness of those who were sent there only to return home to the scorn and derision of their contemporaries is easy to understand. It wasn’t their choice, whatever they might have thought of the merits of our campaign in Southeast Asia.

     A lot of effort has gone into effacing the terrible sins against justice and decency committed against Vietnam veterans. We don’t like to remember our offenses against others. That doesn’t mean they never happened. But as bad as those sins were, there were others of which many Americans are unaware.

     After World War II, the policy makers who supported the Selective Service system and managed its operation and provisions had more in mind than just filling the ranks of the Army. A second set of aims was incorporated into the system along with the first: a conception of “channeling:”

     Shortly after SDS made its commitment to draft resistance, Peter Henig discovered a Selective Service document that stunned even the most hard-line opponents of the draft and the [Vietnam] war. Called the “channeling memo” and published in the January 1967 issue of New Left Notes, the piece became one of the draft resistance movements best recruiting tools. The Selective Service included the memo in training kits, and activists correctly assumed that it came from the desk of General Hershey; as they read it, most imagined the wizened, half-blind old man – a sinister Gepetto of sorts – sitting at his desk typing out the ominously matter-of-fact phrases: “Delivery of manpower for induction, the process of providing a few thousand men with transportation to a reception center, is not much of an administrative or financial challenge. It is dealing with the other millions of registrants that the System is heavily occupied, developing more effective human beings in the national interest.” The memo went on to describe the pressure, “the threat of loss of deferment,” reinforced through periodic reports to the local draft board,. felt by every registrant. “He is impelled to pursue his skill rather than embark upon some less important enterprise,” it stated, “and is encouraged to apply his skill in an essential activity in the national interest.” Finally, as if boasting of America’s ability to program some of its citizens’ futures under the illusion of democracy, the memo concluded: “The psychology of granting wide choice under pressure to take action is the American or indirect way of achieving what is done by direction in foreign countries where choice is not permitted.” To the surprise of even the most jaded, the document offered evidence that the Selective Service system was not only inducting men into the military but engaging in the kind of social engineering practiced by America’s totalitarian enemies.

     Young men who feared to enter the military were thus pressured into pursuing a college education, and after that an occupation favored for deferment by the policy makers as “in the national interest:” mostly, jobs for defense contractors. Those who couldn’t afford college (or win admission to one), or who disliked the idea of a career in the defense industries, were exposed to the draft.

     More than 58,000 Americans died in Vietnam. Many of them were draftees. Perhaps we should remember, along with our reverence for the sacrifices of our war dead, how callously politicians and generals with notions about what would serve “the national interest” manipulated the lives of young Americans who believed that slavery had been abolished, and that it was each man’s God-given right to be free.

     Concerning wars fought on foreign soil – that is, wars that aren’t in the immediate defense of these United States – there are many views. Whether one regards such expeditions as a violation of the American compact or as a moral obligation America has to the less fortunate nations of the world, the fact remains that since the start of the Civil War, the majority of America’s soldiers have been conscripted: compelled to serve regardless of their preferences. Add to that the fatuous notion that any gaggle of politicians and generals should possess the power to define “the national interest” outside the bounds set by the Constitution. Imagine how grateful the major defense companies – the non-uniformed components of Eisenhower’s “military-industrial complex” – were for the use of the draft to channel talent from America’s youth into their offices.

     Spare a thought for those who knew the terrors of battle in wars in which they wanted no part...whether they fell or returned home. The mass reapings of young men to be fodder for the plans of the old are not that far behind us.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

For Corpus Christi Sunday

     I hadn’t planned to write anything new today. This being Corpus Christi Sunday, the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, I’d intended to recycle an old favorite from some years back. But I just got back from Mass...in a most inappropriate state of mind.

     Father Francis X. Pizzarelli, one of the Mass celebrants my parish – forgive me, Lord – must endure is, in my perhaps insufficiently humble opinion, a subtle enemy of the Christian faith. It’s possible that even he might not know what – or who – directs his actions. Yet he has in several ways operated in a fashion hostile to Christian belief and practice:

  • He routinely modifies the Mass – omitting the Gloria and altering the Nicene Creed – to suit his preferences.
  • He’s called the Ten Commandments “interesting guidelines.”
  • He’s openly proclaimed political positions from the pulpit.
  • He plays pop Christian music during the Communion rite, forcibly intruding upon our time meditating on the miracle of Transubstantiation and its connection to the Last Supper.

     He’s also a rather aggressive self-promoter, introducing himself by his full name and affiliations – “for those of you who might be visiting this weekend” – at every Mass, constantly talking up the charities he runs, reminding us repeatedly about his other involvements, and is often to be heard on secular radio broadcasts when a news station feels it needs a Catholic priest for some purpose.

     I can’t help but think that God would disapprove of the above from one consecrated to His service. Yet this appears to be, if not my sole opinion, at least a minority view.

     Here’s today’s Gospel reading:

     But when the crowds found out, they followed him. He welcomed them, spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and cured those who needed healing. Now the day began to draw to a close; so the twelve came and said to Jesus, “Send the crowd away, so they can go into the surrounding villages and countryside and find lodging and food, because we are in an isolated place.” But he said to them, “You give them something to eat.” They replied, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish—unless we go and buy food for all these people.” (For there were about five thousand men.) Then he said to his disciples, “Have them sit down in groups of about fifty each.” And they did so, and the people all sat down.

     Then he took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven he gave thanks and broke them. He gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. They all ate and were satisfied, and what was left over was picked up—twelve baskets of broken pieces.

     [Luke 9:11-17]

     The elements of this episode appear in all four canonical Gospels:

  • Matthew 14:13-21
  • Mark 6:30-44
  • Luke 9:11-17
  • John 6:1-14

     Traditionally, this is known as the Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes. Down the centuries it has been regarded as one of Christ’s miracles: the transformation by Divine power of a little food into far more than a sufficiency to feed an estimated fifteen thousand people: “They all ate and were satisfied, and what was left over was picked up—twelve baskets of broken pieces.”

     Father P. doesn’t care for that “interpretation.” No, he prefers to think that when Christ’s twelve closest disciples offered their meager stores to the crowd, suddenly it stimulated those in the crowd who had brought food with them to share it with those who had not – and that therefore, this wasn’t a miracle at all, merely an outpouring of generosity stimulated by Christ’s teaching and the Apostles’ donation.

     Is this appropriate sermonizing from a Catholic priest? Indeed, is it Christianity?

     The Church has many problems. The current tenure of Jorge Cardinal Bergoglio, a.k.a. Pope Francis, on the Throne of Saint Peter might be the most visible of them, but it might not be the worst. Indeed, it might be far from the worst, for a pope is a single man, however admired and respected. Parish priests number in the tens of thousands, and those among them who consciously impose their own preferences on the teachings and liturgy of the Church can do immeasurable harm to the souls of their flock. They can spread a skepticism approaching apostasy among believers who must already endure quite a bit of scoffing and derision from the militant atheists so common in our time.

     Yet some of those priests are popular – more popular than those who remain faithful to the Faith. I can’t imagine a more terrible danger for the institution charged by Christ Himself with the conservation and propagation of His teachings.

     Is it the fault of lay Catholics for not rising to challenge such priests? Or is it the fault of an intimidated Church hierarchy, beleaguered by multiple scandals, by infiltration by homosexual evangelists, by demands for anti-canonical changes to longstanding Church teachings and practices, and by a dwindling of vocations here in America and elsewhere in the First World?

     I don’t know...and it’s an ignorance I find ever more difficult to bear.

     Forgive me, please. The above probably isn’t what you came to Liberty’s Torch to read. But I felt it my duty to write it.

     Time to pray.

Pearls of expression.


Look how close they put their country to our missile shield.

"Comment by Mr. Bones on "Putin Vows Retaliation Over US Missile Shield; Warns Poland, Romania Now In The 'Cross Hairs.'" By Tyler Durden, Zero Hedge, 5/28/16.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Quickies: As I’ve Been Saying

Extreme Language Follows!

     It’s absolutely vital that we in the Right break – indeed, shatterevery one of the Left’s linguistic and emotional taboos.

     Today, in reviewing why Donald Trump has vaulted over all the other Republican aspirants to the presidency, the worthy Ace has a terrific tirade on that very subject. Here’s the haymaker:

     There are simply too many people in the commanding positions of conservative leadership who are very concerned about keeping on the Liberal Friend White List.

     Trump won because when a Native American activist (posing as a journalist) declared that "Pocahantas" was "very offensive" as used in regard to Elizabeth Warren -- dishonestly, I might add, as everyone knows the term is used to deny she's an Indian, not to denigrate her as an Indian, and everyone knows this, and only a liar pretends otherwise -- Trump did not begin falling over himself to make apologies and keep the well-wishes of the increasingly unreasonable left-wing hegemony.

     He just began making fun of the stupid silly bitch for being a stupid silly bitch.

     People are fucking tired of walking around on eggshells and being made to apologize for every fucking goddamn thing in the world.

     And what we increasingly want is a political leadership that tells the Grievance Mongers and Offense Farmers to shut the fuck up and get bent rather than explaining to them how a Conservative Version of Political Correctness Can Achieve All the Good Things That Liberal Political Correctness Can Achieve, But Using Market-Based Mechanisms.

     It's time to stop fucking about it.

     I'm tired of it, and I know millions of other people are tired of it too.

     So I don't give a fuck anymore if some dishonest bitch dishonestly feigns offense over the term "Pocahantas."

     It's time to start treating them as what they are -- dishonest liars trying to control you.

     And it's time to start treating them as straight up internal enemies.

     The Liberty’s Torch condensed version:

Use the terms and tropes the Left styles “offensive” freely and defiantly.

     Whenever they classify some as-yet-unabused term as racist, sexist, homophobic, nativist, “cisheteropatriarchal” or any of the rest of their nonsense, add it to your vocabulary and use it at every opportunity.

     You will be performing a pro-social act:

  • You’ll be defending your freedom of expression;
  • You’ll be desensitizing your audience to the terms you use;
  • In matters pertaining to “tolerance” and “inclusion,” you’ll be defending your right not to give a shit;
  • You’ll be undermining the Left’s media-based linguistic and emotional hegemony.

     It’s time to dismantle the “offense / victimism” culture, and the only way to do it is to hit it in the teeth with a brick. If there’s anything that would better exemplify American defiance of control, it isn’t coming to mind at the moment.

     And by the way, fuck the “poor.”

Quickies: The Hatred Of Sex

     Long ago I reached the conclusion that the Left is determined to destroy every last vestige of freedom. However, it’s taken me even longer to reach an even more important conclusion: Despite all its statements seemingly to the contrary, despite all its “liberations,” its “slut walks,” and its embrace of every perversion known to Man (and a few it had to invent to keep us hopping):

The Left Hates Sex.

     I submit this article as the most recent evidence:

     Marvel seems to think it has to have its heroes in heterosexual love affairs in order to maximize audience appeal. But with the franchise slowly making room for women to be more than girlfriends and sidekicks (seriously, Sharon should have been on that tarmac), a love story just for the sake of some kisses and yearning seems out of place in these spirited adventures. Sure, the Sharon and Steve connection served a narrative purpose. It showed that Cap was finally willing to close the door on Peggy. Something he could never do while his Agent Carter was alive. But, honestly, there was more juice in Bucky ogling Steve’s bulging bicep as Cap struggled to ground a helicopter using only gumption and sinew.

     So while Marvel was likely never going to make the homoerotic subtext of Cap and Bucky into text, would it really have hurt to keep their relationship more ambiguous? As if to put the nail in the coffin of speculation, Bucky and Cap paused for a moment in the middle of snowy Siberia to reminisce about their days chasing skirts in pre-War Brooklyn. It’s a sweet, human bonding moment but one that also bristles with heterosexual virility. If Disney isn’t inclined to give audiences a gay superhero, couldn’t they have at least left us the dream of Bucky and Cap?

     I know, I know: Who pays any attention to the nonsense vented in an upmarket Manhattan shopping circular? It’s a good point as regards the article’s probable influence on those who take a serious interest in comic-book heroes and the movies made about them. But I maintain that it reveals something important that normal, emotionally healthy people overlook all too easily – by design.

     Sex – real sex, the sort that adult men have with adult women, that can produce more than infections and hemorrhoids – is absolutely anathema to the Left. They harp on sex because it’s the indispensable foundation stone of erotic union and family bonding. But they don’t do so because they want us thinking about our beloved (heterosexual) spouses. They do so to pervert it, to strip away its essential eroticism, to politicize its occasions, and to render it repulsive to normal persons.

     The Left’s endless nattering about sex isn’t about sex at all; it’s about destroying sexual normality in the name of “political correctness.”

     Ninety-seven percent of the human race is heterosexual. A similar percentage love children and want to see them protected and nurtured. There’s this as well: the overwhelming majority of humans are repelled by the idea of sexual contact with members of a different race. Bear that in mind the next time you see a prime-time TV show incorporate sexual motifs that involve homosexuality, miscegenation, or both.


CINO, meaning conservative in name only. Maybe Donald Trump will liberate us from "conservatism" at long last:
It’s impossible to take the dedication of self-styled “conservatives” like [Bret] Stephens and [Bill] Kristol to conservative principles seriously. After all, they refuse to acknowledge that unless we deal with the problem of importing millions of Third Worlders who both vote for and utilize welfare and “big government,” any kind of “limited government” will be impossible.[1]
Trump represents the undoing of elite consensus on immigration, multiculturalism, and the moral imperative that white Americans become a minority in a country they created.

All of these radically Leftist positions have now been subsumed into “conservative” dogma.

The fact is neocons have never been true conservatives. They adopted conservative positions of convenience in order to appeal to the GOP base. The problem for them now: the base, energized by Trump, is finally ignoring the moral pronouncements coming from on high and voting on the issues that really matter to them, trade, jobs, and immigration.[2]

Mr. MacDonald's last paragraph is particularly insightful. Americans are sick and tired of a "conservatism" that isn't conservative, a "conservatism" that embraces surrender on trade, jobs, and immigration.

For decades we've had a government but it's gradually become clear to us that it's a government that refuses to protect us or look out for our interests. Like a whore presented with a $100 bill, when a foreigner comes along to request or demand something from the U.S. government we finally know beyond a shadow of a doubt someone's going to get screwed and that "someone" is us. As the Cajun comedian Justin Wilson would say, "Ah gar-on-tee you."

What seems to obsess neocons is this and you can be sure constitutional originalism, fiscal sanity, monetary restraint, ethnic coherence, and deregulation aren't remotely in the picture:

  • "Others" (who are attacked, ridiculed, threatened, derided).
  • "Non-whites" (to get tough on, deport, make pay, shut up, or knuckle under).
  • Nativism.
  • Xenophobia.
  • Toxic something.
  • Vengefulness.
  • Intolerance.
  • Blood and soil.
  • Ethnic polarization.
  • Bullying nationalism.
  • Culture-shifting possibilities (always but always shift or undermine the culture).
  • Fascism.
  • "Police to break into American [sic] homes."
  • Round ups.
  • "Undocumented [sic] migrants [sic]."
  • Populist demagoguery.
  • Dangerous something.
  • Lack of qualification (a priori).
  • Erratic actions.
  • Sexism.
  • Racism.
  • Descent into ____.
This is just unrecognizable drivel that is divorced from the reality of our present degraded national life. On probably three points Trump brought the scam out into the light of day and it drives the "conservatives" crazy. They aren't interested in preserving liberty or Western culture but worshiping any and all foreigners who arrive on our shores demanding that we embrace whatever pathologies they bring with them. The Sainted Foreigner.

Color me xenophobic.

[1] "Jewish Fear and Loathing of Donald Trump (4): Neocon Angst About A Fascist America." By Kevin MacDonald, Vdare, 5/20/16.
[2] Id. Emphasis removed.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Peace Amid the Storms: A Coda to “The Fraying”

     Yesterday’s emission drew a fair amount of email. Most of it was concerned – specifically, concerned for me. Sorry, Gentle Readers. I didn’t mean to make anyone think I’m about to explode from excess angst or keel over dead from terminal hangnail. I’ve still got at least one foot out of the grave, possibly more.

     However, those responses, plus some contemplation I did this morning, caused me to realize that I’d partially missed my mark. That can happen to an opinion monger when he lets his sense of mission overcome his sense of obligation and responsibility.

     General George Patton once said that it’s not the keenness of the edge on the bayonet but the glitter in the attackers’ eyes that breaks the defenders’ lines and sets them to flight. Patton was an apostle for the importance of nurturing an army’s fighting spirit: the courage and confidence that comes from the conviction that your side will triumph, come what may. His impressive record as a battle commander suggests that we should take his ideas seriously.

     There’s a huge lesson in there for a commentator such as myself. It’s one I should heed all the time, rather than just now and then.

     When times are bleakest – when the forces arrayed against us look most formidable – is the time when fuel for our fighting spirit is most needed. Certainly it’s important to know the size and disposition of the enemy’s forces; of that there can be no dispute. But that’s not a reason to neglect the maintenance of a positive outlook. What soldier, believing that the battle is already lost, would move forward with the courage and confidence Patton sought to inculcate in his troops? Indeed, what soldier wouldn’t think to run and hide?

     Whatever justification we can find for a spirit of optimism should always be kept close. It’s when a battle against seemingly overwhelming opposition looms that we need it most.

     The second of my thoughts this morning is a kind of restatement of an old military maxim: A strong sense of confidence is always misplaced. That includes confidence in one’s sense of mission.

     A mission is something you feel you’ve been charged to do by a higher authority. The highest imaginable authority is, of course, God, which has given rise to a lot of snide remarks, assorted wisecracks, and one of Bob Dylan’s less meritorious lyrics. A man who believes he has a mission frequently allows himself means and methods he would regard as unacceptable under other circumstances. As is so often the case, C. S. Lewis says it best:

     "I must do what I think right, mustn't I?" she said softly. "I mean—if Mark—if my husband—is on the wrong side, I can't let that make any difference to what I do. Can I?"
     "You are thinking about what is right?" said the Director. Jane started, and flushed. She had not been thinking about that.
     "Of course," said the Director, "things might come to such a point that you would be justified in coming here, even against his will, even secretly. It depends on how close the danger is-to us all, and to you personally."
     "I thought the danger was right on top of us now..."
     "That is the question," said the Director, with a smile. "I am not allowed to be too prudent. I am not allowed to use desperate remedies until desperate diseases are really apparent. It looks as if you will have to go back. You will, no doubt, be seeing your husband again fairly soon. I think you must make at least one effort to detach him from the N.I.C.E."

     The terrible danger inherent in such a course should be sufficient to counsel us to caution about “our mission,” and to counsel anyone who speaks of such a mission to temper his statements with an appropriate residual skepticism – of himself.

     Don't walk so tall
     Before you crawl,
     For every child
     Is thinking of something wild:
     Every Christian lion hearted man will show you.

     [Robin, Barry, and Maurice Gibb, a.k.a. The Bee Gees]

     In summation, though I feel I have a duty to delineate the dangers our society faces and to “rally the troops” for the present battles and the ones certain to follow, in the future I’ll try:

  • To be more optimistic about the outlook for these United States; and:
  • Not to take myself too seriously.

     Which brings to mind a story from Paul Dickson’s The Official Rules:

     A veteran British diplomat had a favorite way to put down a pushy or egotistical junior. The diplomat would call the young man for a heart-to-heart talk and quite often at the end of the talk would say, “Young man, you have broken the Fifth Rule: you have taken yourself too seriously.” That would end the meeting...except that invariably, as the younger man got to the door, he would turn and ask, “What are the other rules?”
     And the diplomat would smile serenely and say, “There are no other rules.”

     [Conveyed to Dickson by Governor Pete du Pont.]

     As my pastor loves to say at the end of Mass, please use and enjoy the graces God bestows upon you this day. For we know with perfect certainty this and nothing else: it will never come again. Chin up. Be well.

The three amigos.

[In Clyde Prestowitz’s 2010 The Betrayal of American Prosperity, he] notes how in 1989 and 1993, financial instruments that later played a central role in the meltdown of 2008–9 were exempted from government oversight. For instance, Greenspan was adamant about getting the government out of the way. “In fact, Greenspan largely halted the Fed’s active oversight of the banking industry.” Joined by Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin and his successor Lawrence Summers, “ the three mounted an aggressive campaign to halt any efforts to regulate trading of new derivative instruments.”

When measures to impose constraints on these risky trades were being considered, Greenspan, Rubin, and Summers pointedly blocked them. Also, when Brooksley Born, Chairwoman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission attempted to do her job, Summers aggressively attacked her actions. Right on cue, Greenspan, Rubin and Arthur Levitt of the Securities and Exchange Commission pressured Congress to straightjacket Born.[1]

Even now, are toxic derivatives just unregulated?

You have to have a strong stomach to delve into the world of high finance. And good luck researching any of this to try to develop something more than a skin-deep understanding of our financial and monetary recklessness.

[1] "The Big Short: Film and Book." By Edmund Connelly, Ph. D., The Occidental Observer, 5/26/16 (emphasis added).

Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Fraying

     This piece will be somewhat out of the ordinary for a Fran Porretto essay here at Liberty’s Torch:

  • It won’t link to any news stories.
  • It won’t embed any illustrative videos.
  • It won’t present a reasoned analysis of contemporary events.
  • It will vibrate with unpleasant emotions, particularly anger and fear.
  • It will probably contain more profanity than my usual helpings of verbiage.
  • And with luck, it will be “out of my system” and not to be repeated...at least not soon.

     You have been warned.

     There’s a great and terrible evolution in progress in the world. You know it; I know it. Yet we do our best, day by day, not to take notice of it. We have to; if we were to allow it to impinge upon our consciousness, it would probably freeze us in place.

     Men are becoming beasts once more.

     No, not literally – and here I will pause to regret, briefly, my opening pledge not to embed a video, as the “Of Mice and Men” Monty Python sketch would be fully appropriate – but in terms of the mental and spiritual characteristics that distinguish us from the lower orders.

     Man’s mental and spiritual advantages can be summarized thus:

  1. He can reason out the causes of things through observation, inference, and judicious experiment.
  2. He can inhibit himself from action on moral and ethical grounds.

     Both faculties are experiencing a decline in employment. Don’t ask me for the examples I have in mind; you can find plenty for yourself. Besides, I’m bloody tired of amassing links to stories about people claiming to be the wrong sex, or puppies, or the possessors of the secret to effortless riches, or holders of a “license to rape.” Such stories are everywhere. The violence and insanity have mushroomed near to the point of being no longer exceptional.

     The blood-dimmed tide has been loosed.

     Beast-men don’t look at one another and see opportunities for collaboration or trade. Beast-men don’t seek like-minded fellows with whom to develop or advance a set of social or political ideas. Beast-men don’t create art of any kind. Beast-men are incapable of maintaining a complex technological civilization, much less advancing it.

     And the numbers of the beast-men are growing more rapidly than the numbers of the sane and civilized.

     Brace yourselves, Gentle Readers. I’m about to do something that will shock you. Something the bien-pensants will say is intolerant and disrespectful – of them, mostly. Something that will probably get me banned in Boston.

     I’m going to define.

     In recent years, sanity has been regarded as whatever state of mind conduces to survival within one’s chosen environment. I dislike that definition; it’s relativistic and therefore not useful to one who looks and sees widely rather than provincially. By my lights, sanity is that state of mind which accords with the reality around one.

     A sane society is one whose laws, norms, customs, and institutions align with reality and are maintained thus by the overwhelming majority of the participants.

     Civilization is a tougher nut to crack. Here’s a typical swing at it, from Princeton University’s WordNet:

     Civilization n: a society in an advanced state of social development (e.g., with complex legal and political and religious organizations.)

     I call bullshit. A civilization is a society whose ruling norm is civility: a state of affairs governed with the irreducible minimum of violence. Complexity is no way to measure civility. Indeed, it’s no way to measure anything but complexity itself.

     Sanity and civility are both retreating from American society. It should provide no salve to our self-regard to observe that we’re still doing better than the rest of the world. We’re losing what our forebears achieved and passed on to us, mostly by refusing to defend it against the lunatics and the thugs.

     While we huddle behind locked doors and distract ourselves with “Survivor” and “American Idol,” the lunatics and the thugs are taking our country from us.

     Part of our devolution can be attributed to the nice-guy trap. Today’s adult is less likely than ever to defend reality, civility, or common decency, in part because “common decency” has been redefined to include never uttering a sound that might offend or disturb someone else, however deranged he might be. Today’s youngsters are ruthlessly conditioned away from asserting themselves in the face of lunacy and thuggery. Against such feeble defenses, even a weak aggressor can score victory after victory.

     But part of it – possibly the larger part – arises from cowardice about one’s own perceptions and convictions: the willingness to concede even an iota of plausibility to those who blatantly contradict the realities around us. That cowardice has been nurtured in us by the Left. Having conquered the educational, journalistic, and media structures of the West, Leftists have exploited them to purvey a relativism that goes all the way to the demand that we deny the evidence of our senses rather than cause the slightest of commotions.

     Never before in human history has such a philosophy gained significant sway among men...but never before has it had the law and all the prevailing customs on its side.

     Feel free to ignore this tirade. I’m venting and I know it. Indeed, I told you right up front that I’d be venting, so no refunds.

     But I take some solace from the small but growing numbers of men who do call a spade a spade...when they’re not so completely exercised by the bullshit that they’re moved to call it “a fucking shovel.” I take some solace from the even smaller numbers of those who, even at risk to themselves, will stand up to the bullies and thugs, beat them back, and (in the cases I find most heartwarming) beat them down.

     I’m an old man, and an unhealthy one. I have little to contribute to the righting of our nation other than words. Hopefully my words are worth something, but I don’t delude myself that words are all it will take. The time for talk is behind us. The time for an uprising of the sane and civilized is at hand. The men remaining among us must gird themselves for battle. Unless they can beat back the beasts, confine the lunatics and definitively expunge the thugs, the already frayed rope of American civilization is guaranteed to snap.

     That’s enough for the present. It’s time for Mass. Have a nice day.

Gavin McInnes – Trudeau apologist.

Deft humor.

"Transfer payments."

Furthermore, [Republican "strategists"] tell us non-whites will be won over to a message of “limited government,” even though polling data tells us non-whites explicitly support and want more “Big Government.” And given how the entire American government is essentially just a giant machine for transferring wealth from Whites to non-whites, they’d be crazy not to want it.
"The True Con(s)." By Gregory Hood, Radix, 5/18/16.

Monumental gall.

H/t: Washington Free Beacon.

Searching for a new paradigm.

Once you abandon the idea that we still have a representative, constitutional republic, there's then the problem of how to acquire some clarity on the real state of affairs. Here's a pretty insightful take on reality:
What in God's name are you talking about? You know exactly [what] "globalist" and "anglo-saxon" empire mean.

"they" refers to the group of people pulling the strings behind the EU, behind TTIP, behind NAFTA, the same group of people that assert mass immigration from the 3rd world is a great idea & we should teach 6 year olds what anal sex is. "They" refers to the NWO/Bildberger/Skull & Bones, whatever name you want to give them I could care less -- "they" refers to the group of people who are attempting to consolidate power of the entire developed world into the hands of a few at the expense of the nation state.

Regrettably, "they" have convinced a bunch of low-information "do-gooders" (I think you would be more responsive to the term "Gutmenschen") that abandoning national sovereignty is a good idea, and the only way to prevent another war is for everyone to give up their identities, and clump together in some unwashed mass of indistinguishable humanity. (nvm the term Civil War, but I digress)

"They" refers to the group of people who blame nationalism for the faults in imperialism, and blame capitalism for the faults in socialism.

"They" refers to the group of people who assert that all people are the same, and the only reason that there is wealth inequality in the world is due to white people's greed & colonialism.

"They" refers to the group of people who control the media, the banks, most westerns national governments & drive and control national dialogue. These "they" people would rather burn Western Civilization to the ground and control the world, than lose control.

These "they" people are the first group of tyrants in history that are willing to slit the throats of their own population, en masse, intentionally destroying their own history, culture & value systems in order to destroy those that have the cultural and genetic intellect to prevent them from attaining control, or taking it away once they have it, in order to maintain their own control.

These "they" people are the exact opposite of the Monarchies in Europe that so many fought to overthrow ... they are worse. At least the Monarchies deployed their militaries to fend off foreign invasions from other parts of the world ... today the exact opposite happens ... militaries are deployed to help these people invade our ancestral homes. Don't forget Ghordo ... white Western Europeans have lived here for tens of thousands of years.

These "they" people are the ones that have destroyed Western European birth rates, while simultaneously building a welfare system which requires exponential population growth, and then attempts to supplement the difference with third worlders as the only way to preserve the defective welfare state they themselves constructed..

These "they" people call evil what is good, and good what is evil. They seek to destroy the beautiful in favor of the ugly. They seek to tell groups of people they are more than they are and others they are less than they are. The demonize those who are proud of who they are and where they are from, and hold out as examples those who are willing to sacrifice their own identities for a new one.

These "they" people seek to abolish the rules of supply & demand, and replace it with coerced egalitarianism.

These "theys" make it impossible for seemingly normal people to act in self-preserving manners. These "theys" have made "equality" their new God at the expense of common sense, reason & logic.

These "theys" seek to undo the Renaissance that gave birth to such things as the idea of private property rights, freedom of speech & freedom of religion.

These "theys" will destroy all of us. They will come after people like me first, and then turn in on the low-information "Gutmenschen" thereafter.

These people, the "theys" are Wolfs. The average idiot is a "sheep" ... people like myself are the "sheep dogs."

You know exactly who I was referring to when I said "they" ... but I just wanted to make sure I was abundantly clear.

If you think those of us who disagree with "they" are going to go quietly into the night ... you are gravely mistaken.[1]

[1] Comment by Haus-Targaryen on "Mad About Rigged Elections? Mainstream Media Says 'You' Are The Problem." By Claire Bernish, Zero Hedge, May 23, 2016. Originally at TheAntiMedia.org.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Book Recommendation

     If you love a good horror story, or a good laugh at the Left’s expense, you simply have to read Hallow Mass:

     Even as I finished this wildly funny yet genuinely horrifying tribute to Lovecraft’s “Cthulhu Mythos” stories, I found myself wondering just what unholy influence had led author JP Mac to taunt the dread Old Ones in such a daring fashion. Their fell ire is not to be courted lightly. Lovecraft himself would tell you...had he not been swept up by Cthulhu’s claws some decades ago. Why, Yog-Sothoth alone, should he return, could decimate North America before lunch! Were the entire realm of R’lyeh to take umbrage at him, our intrepid author would be lucky to escape with his soul.

     Seriously, Gentle Reader, read this book. Just make sure to keep a loaded shotgun (12 gauge preferred), a crucifix (Jesus figure not optional), and a supply of holy water nearby at all times. Familiarity with Pirandello’s Aegis and Phandaal’s Excellent Prismatic Spray would be handy too.

     Highly recommended!

Trivial Pursuits?

     It seems that Nature – if it isn’t my evil twin gleefully hashing things up for me to write about – is determined to provide me examples of virtually every observation I’d like to make. Today’s batch is particularly fertile (that’s fertile, as in manure):

     “When you break the big laws, you do not get liberty, you do not even get anarchy. You get the small laws.” – G. K. Chesterton

     Yes, you saw that here fairly recently. This time around, my focus isn’t on laws, but on offenses against widely held sentiments. Have a list of links for your reading pleasure:

     Mind you, I said “widely held,” not “majority held.” Like it or not, there are people who regard using the “wrong” pronoun as an actionable offense. The folks making noise about the above “controversies” – another word that’s gradually being stripped of its meaning – must regard their respective Causes as among the highest of their priorities. What does that say about their concerns for such matters as defense against violence, prospective survival needs, and acceptance by a congenial group?

     The trivia linked above – and I assure you, you won’t find a Level One through Three concern anywhere among them – don’t even make it to the Maslovian Hierarchy. They constitute pure pettiness: foofaurauws over trivialities. By implication, those who’ve become massively exercised about them have satisfied every other level of the pyramid. That makes them the most fortunate people on Earth.

     To occupy one’s time with the whinings of the uber-fortunate is to waste it. Yet increasing amounts of public attention are directed to such ends. It suggests that our entire sense for what matters and what doesn’t has been thrown for a loop and needs to recover swiftly.

     However, it is worth a few words about why such nonsense gets anyone’s attention in the first place.

     There remains tragedy even in this richest and most blessed of nations. There are victims of true and serious injustices – and lately a hefty fraction of those injustices have been perpetrated by agents of the State: my aggregate term for America’s 88,000-plus governmental bodies. There are persons who lack important things, including the sort many would call survival necessities, and who go unaided despite their troubles being no fault of their own. There are villains in high places...and villains who aspire to high places and who – please God, let it not happen – might yet reach them. And there are those who deserve our respect and remembrance for their service and, sad to say, don’t get either.

     A concern with trivia misallocates human energy that might go toward the amelioration of one of those items. If a reasonably intelligent and well-informed person is visibly consumed by such trivia, what inference can we draw about him?

     Perhaps we’ve overestimated the depth of his intelligence or the breadth of his knowledge. It’s easy enough; maintaining a veneer of intellect and erudition is a learnable skill. Or perhaps we don’t appreciate the true dimensions of the concern upon which he focuses. That, too, is not unknown even among the most civilized and compassionate of men. But it’s quite possible that we’re entirely correct – that he’s giving his attention and emotional energy to nonsense. In that case, we must ask why.

     In some cases, it’s merely virtue signaling: behavior intended to instill in the individual a sense that he’s “on the side of the angels,” or to ingratiate himself with others who hold a particular priority, or both. In today’s exceedingly fractious society, there’s more of that going on than ever before. It suggests that perhaps an element of the Maslovian hierarchy is involved after all: the need for acceptance by a suitable group. If so, one might question the virtue-signaler’s choice of groups, but chacun a son gout and all that.

     In other cases, it’s a bid for stature...and sometimes for power. There are many well known cases of a person of no particular repute rising to high status by hitching his star to a cause that eventually catapults those involved with it to prominence. Need I mention Al Sharpton or Johnnie Cochran in this regard? I thought not. How about Richard Kessel? If you’re not a Long Islander, you might not have heard his name. Still, he’s an example of the syndrome.

     But in a few cases, it’s a sense of personal insignificance that’s tantamount to exclusion: the sense that one is insignificant, “left out:” “If I’m to be heard I’ll have to scream, but I should have something to scream about.” In his magnificent near-future novel Michaelmas, Algis Budrys deemed it the tendency of entirely ordinary people to raise their voices in a simple assertion of their own existences. But when there’s so much screaming going on, it’s highly unlikely that anyone will be heard.

     This appears to be an artifact of our “mass-media culture:” the sense that unless one “makes the six o’clock news” somewhere, one’s life is essentially unimportant. There’s a huge fallacy in there, to say nothing of a complete absence of seemly humility, but a dwindling number of persons appear astute enough to perceive and grapple with it.

     Whatever the reason in some specific case, the appropriate countermeasure is always the same: a snort of dismissive laughter, a wave, and a leisurely stroll in another direction. It’s required if we’re to reestablish appropriate priorities in society generally that we not grant our precious time, attention, or emotional energy to those peddling – at increasingly high prices both in money and human energy – such trivial pursuits.

David Stockman interview on Cavuto today.

  • At least [Trump] recognizes that 19 trillion of debt is more than we can live with, that if we continue down this path it will be 30 billion within a decade.
  • It think he at least has some sense that debt can be dangerous.
  • So, my point is, one way or another, with outright default some day down the road if we keep going this way or inflationary default, we can't live with this debt.
  • Whoever is elected will inherit a recession.
  • We've got a deflationary recession emerging everywhere in the world.
  • Japan is an old age colony sinking into the sea.
  • China is a massive speculative mania that's going to collapse any day.
  • We have been living beyond our means for 30 years.
  • We have more junk bonds than ever before.
  • We're just drifting as we have in the past and sooner or later you hit the wall.

Jeff Kuhner on the mafia state.

I'd never heard of Bill Kuhner who's a talk show host on Boston's WRKO-AM680. A commenter at Zero Hedge indicated he'd weighed in on Trump's raising the issue of the suspicious death of Vince Foster. I checked out the podcast in question and was most interested in all that he had to say. Kuhner bills himself as "Liberalism's Worst Nightmare" and lives up to that.

I'll not go into detail as the Clinton scandals are a bottomless pit. Nonetheless, Kuhner has a lot of common sense and has some interesting details to add to the Foster case of which I was unaware. And I say that as someone who avidly followed the Foster death and all the Clinton scandals at the time.

There's a lot of stuff out there competing for your attention but I recommend his May 24, 2016 show to you. I think it's a distillation of a lot of what gushes over us indicating that all is not well with the Republic. Just catch the first part of the show where he goes into detail on the real reason for Hillary's odiferous "speaking fees" and Canada's strange contributions thereto.

The most important lesson to be drawn from this presidential campaign is the extent to which it has now become clear that the Treason Class has been running the country into the ground with complete and utter indifference to the wishes and interests of We the People. Not for nothing does Kuhner refer to the U.S. as the mafia state and his callers get that.

May 24, show here: "Hillary's Other Scandal: Corporate America Owns her. 5/24/16."

Pearls of expression.


[CNN's] Jake tapper lists 6 different investigations [of the death of Vince Foster] over 4 years and says they all concluded suicide, so Trump is wrong.

Why would anyone need 6 different investigations of a simple suicide?

CNN says found dead in a park, secret service report says "dead in car" - 200 yards away. Make up yur minds....

greenskeeper carl:

It definitely isn't because there is anything actually there. I heard the other day that there is a vast right-wing conspiracy to get the Clinton's that has nothing at all to do with any wrongdoings on their part.

"CNN Lashes Out At Trump Over Vince Foster "Conspiracy", Rushes To Hillary's Defense." By Tyler Durden, Zero Hedge, 5/24/16.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Action == Reaction

     First, thanks to all those who sent “get some rest, you deserve it” notes about yesterday’s “day off.” There was one dissenter, and as I’m married to her, she carried the majority. I wound up laboring on domestic stuff, including a few things I’d been neglecting. So it wasn’t all that restful. But I’m back, nonetheless.

     Physics weenies never completely let go of the mindset. That’s certainly true of me, as the title of this piece implies. As a sometime writer of science fiction with an enduring interest in space travel and the creation of extrasolar habitats for Man, Newton’s Third Law of Mechanics has been one of my betes noires for many years. I’m not alone in that regard; many an SF writer has found it necessary to quietly omit all consideration of the Third Law in telling a tale that includes or implies travel among the stars.

     But the old maxim that “action must equal reaction” has application to more than just the motion of bodies in space. It certainly pops up in political and social currents. Anywhere some group, however motivated, attempts to bring about a departure from the existing order of things, it’s just about guaranteed that a reaction against that divergence will spring up. Whether the “action” or the “reaction” will prevail depends upon whether the “action” group can contrive to dissipate the “reaction’s” force against other items.

     There are several such scenarios before us as we speak.

     Possibly the angriest topic currently in the public eye is this business of public facilities and “transgender rights.” Before I launch the main assault, allow me to say that prefixing any other word to the word rights appears to create an inherent contradiction. It’s a bit like the term “social,” which appears to invert the meaning of any word to which it’s prefixed. (Cf. “social welfare,” “social security,” and “social justice.”) But that’s a subject for a separate screed.

     What’s most remarkable about the “transgender rights” phenomenon is that the Left, which has embraced this as its latest Cause, has provoked a recoil so quick and sharp that for the first time in decades it appears to have seriously wounded itself with its chosen initiative.

     Bill Whittle catches the meat of the thing:

     No one, not even a deaf man, could miss the fury in Whittle’s voice. That fury is well distributed over America. Evidence for a massive backlash against this new Leftist sally is everywhere. Nor is it being expressed in words alone; ask the board of directors of Target.

     Clearly, here we have a reaction that the Left cannot disperse harmlessly. Perhaps it didn’t expect so sharp a recoil. In either case, it’s unwittingly made public restrooms and school locker rooms into an election-year issue – a first for these United States.

     Another, even more interesting case, concerns the Obama Administration’s attempt to “sneak one over the corner” as regards immigration and border control policy:

     On Thursday District Judge Andrew Hanen of Texas found that Obama Administration lawyers committed misconduct that he called “intentional, serious and material.” In 2015 he issued an injunction—now in front of the Supreme Court—blocking Mr. Obama’s 2014 order that rewrote immigration law to award legal status and federal and state benefits to nearly five million aliens.

     When 26 states sued to block the order in December 2014, Justice repeatedly assured Judge Hanen that the Department of Homeland Security would not start processing applications until February 2015 at the earliest. Two weeks after the injunction came down, in March, Justice was forced to admit that DHS had already granted or renewed more than 100,000 permits.

     Justice has also conceded in legal filings that all its lawyers knew all along that the DHS program was underway, despite what they said in briefs and hearings. One DOJ lawyer told Judge Hanen that “I really would not expect anything between now and the date of the hearing.” As the judge notes, “How the government can categorize the granting of over 100,000 applications as not being ‘anything’ is beyond comprehension.”

     Judge Hanen wasn’t about to stop at a mild reproof:

     As a result, Judge Hanen ordered that any Washington-based Justice lawyer who “appears or seeks to appear” in any state or federal court in the 26 states must first attend a remedial ethics seminar on “candor to the court.” He also ordered Attorney General Loretta Lynch to prepare a “comprehensive plan” to prevent such falsification.

     This is unprecedented. It gladdens the hearts of many to whom the “Department of Justice” had begun to seem the first explicitly Orwellian department. It also provides hope that the “Operation Fast and Furious” case and the snowballing investigation of the several felonies of Hillary Clinton might receive the treatment they deserve. And it is entirely a reaction to the steady buildup of presumption on the Left that “as long as we’re in power, we can get away with anything.”

     Finally, an incisive observation about doings in the “oil patch:”

     It isn’t often you see the death of a major worldwide industry. Last week I saw the death of the “Big Oil” economic model. It just died at the hands of Texas oil frackers who have developed a new “disruptive technology” that has made obsolete all the pillars of technology underpinning large, vertically integrated oil companies. More importantly, the same is true of all the petro-states that nationalized Big Oil’s assets in the 1960s to make all the state oil companies around the world today.

     I found this out doing my day job last week as a Defense Department quality auditor visiting a mid-sized oil service company diversifying into federal contracts. The meeting was about issues with the contract they won and touched on others they have bid on. As a side bar at lunch the following points about their main business came up:

  1. Oil field spending has died. Rig count in the USA is the lowest it has been since 1940.
  2. One oil rig controller company these folks worked with saw a year over year drop of 72% in its business.
  3. Another company they supplied had their “Cap-X” budget drop from ~$400 million for 2015-2016 to little over $30 million for 2016-2017.
  4. One drilling company they supplied went from 120(+) new wells last year to _12_ this year.
  5. This supplier sold a lot of copper tubing for “frack-log” drilling. That is the drilling of holes in good oil-bearing rock without fracking rock for oil immediately — and here is the new part — to take advantage of a new long-flow fracking technique.

     J.C. Carlton at The Arts Mechanical adds this:

     The conclusion is that at this point the big oil/petrostate business model is dead. The Saudi’s gamble that they could kill the Frackers with low prices has turned out to be a nightmare, for the Saudis. Not only have they lowered the price beyond anything that the oil states can sustain, but it’s likely that prices will never return to levels that big oil and the petrostates need to be viable.

     Add to that that wildcatters with leases are quietly drilling but capping rather fracking wells means that the frackers can bring production back online as oil prices rise. This fracklog is going to be the petro states nightmare for a long time, more than likely decades.

     The long term pattern, of course, will be marginal increases in crude oil extraction in response to marginal increases in world oil prices: a stabilizing reaction, exploiting technological advances made here in America, to the attempts of the OPEC states to preserve their dominance of the oil market.

     If you’re not cheering and clapping wildly over this, your hands must be occupied and your mouth full.

     That Newton guy was one smart cookie, wasn’t he? Whether or not he perceived the action / reaction couplings in society, they’re there for anyone with eyes to see. Indeed, we can count on them, though we cannot count on the forms they’ll take or the secondary couplings they’ll evoke.

     One that could easily escape notice is the “prepper / off-grid” movement that’s quietly gaining adherents. It’s not uniform. On one end, we have the purists who seek total independence from any political or social institution, such that they could live out their lives without ever interacting involuntarily with anyone else. On the other, we have those who merely want to “make sure of a few things:” these stock adequate provisions with which to withstand short-term dislocations in food, water, fuel, and power supplies. There are many stances between those two. What they share is a determination to prepare for some or all of the possible calamities that could befall a complex society dependent on general good will among men. They’re reacting against Leftist pinpricks such as Occupy, Black Lives Matter, and the perennial riots that occur in whatever city the World Economic Forum or the Group of 20 chooses for its next conference. The level of alarm those pinpricks have generated equals the level of overall preparation among us.

     On that note, imagine that the upcoming Democrat and Republican National Conventions are completely disrupted by riots and mass protests. Imagine that Barack Hussein Obama, to whom the requirements and constraints of the Constitution are nuisances to be waved aside, should make use of the chaos to declare martial law and suspend all elections “for the duration of the emergency.” Obama isn’t very bright; his love of power and position could easily blind him to the magnitude of the reaction that would cause. Even if he should sense the possibility, he could rationalize it away: “Our allies in the media will tell the people that it’s all for the best while the army and the police maintain order and disarm the troublemakers.”

     How do you think you’d react to that, Gentle Reader?

Monday, May 23, 2016

Day Off

     I expect not to post anything substantial today, for several reasons:

  • I’m tired.
  • All the good stuff has been adequately covered by others.
  • I have several items of mundane work to do, and Mondays come “pre-ruined,” so why not?
  • There are unwatched movies and unplayed video games.
  • I’m really tired.

     Yes, all the above will probably still be true come Tuesday morning, but at least there might be some new news. Till then!

When taxes become illegitimate.

On the Panama Papers:
Why can’t tax evasion be a legitimate form of self defense? In some countries and circumstances, it is.

Despite what politicians want us to believe, tax havens exist because some countries have been turned into tax hellholes by officials bent on “social justice” and “income redistribution.” Sometimes, those same politicians top the list of “offshore” account holders trying to evade taxes. [1]

Durden list three principles of taxation identified by Adam Smith, namely that rates ought not to be so high as to stimulate evasion, taxes ought to be for purposes that taxpayers agree on, and politicians should handle tax receipts without corruption. Polities that ignore these principles will generate evasion and rebellion. (He refers to a fourth Smith principle but I missed it if he specified what it is in this article. Stay away from ancient methods of enforcement through murder and torture?)

Of course, the people exposed in the Panama Papers could just as easily have been seeking to conceal the fruits of their corruption. Some people may have been seeking to escape high rates but not all.

[1] "Guess What Occupation Is Most Frequently Cited In The Panama Papers?" By Tyler Durden, Zero Hedge, 5/22/16 (emphasis in original removed).

Why Bernie resonates.

But in the current state of public opinion where people accept and demand – as Walter Lippmann would say– a large government that administers their affairs for them instead of a government that administers justice among men who conduct their own affairs, it is at best an anachronism to invoke the wise old [Adam] Smith [on the question of taxation].
"Guess What Occupation Is Most Frequently Cited In The Panama Papers?" By Tyler Durden, Zero Hedge, 5/22/16.

Everybody's bitch.

Mexican labor, Chinese rebar and cement, Indian engineering, Japanese and Korean heavy equipment, Venezuelan oil.

Rebuilding American infrastructure will be a boon for the economy and jobs....of everybody but Americans.

Comment by NoPension on "Everything Is Plunging" - China Commodity Carnage Continues." By Tyler Durden, Zero Hedge, 5/22/16

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Distractions: A Sunday Rumination

     It has only recently become clear to me how distraction-filled is my life. No matter what I’m doing at any moment, there are always a bushel of other tasks and subjects clamoring for my attention. Their amassed volume can become quite loud. Perhaps I’m not exceptional in this regard. Perhaps every man that lives is continually beset by innumerable, persistent bids for his attention, regardless of his current focus. God knows, the advertising industry plays its part.

     Yet in this age of the Internet, the distractions have multiplied to a threatening, possibly lethal level. I was reflecting on that before I left for this morning’s Mass, and it strikes me as a topic important enough for a few words.

     About three years ago, Mark Butterworth decided to address the most fundamental of all theological or epistemological questions in a fictional setting. The resulting novel, I Like The White World, is a remarkable, important document. It’s not perfect – no creation of mortal hands can be perfect – but nevertheless it’s a step toward a profound wisdom that I’ve never seen anyone else, lay or clerical, approach with determination.

     The question is one that Christians will recognize from the Gospels:

     Then Pilate entered into the judgment hall again, and called Jesus, and said unto him, Art thou the King of the Jews? Jesus answered him, Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me? Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me: what hast thou done? Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice. Pilate said unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and said unto them, I find in him no fault at all. [John 18:33-38]

     What is truth? Not “What is the truth of this matter,” nor “What is truth as an ontological entity distinct from other ontological entities,” but “What is truth” in its indivisible, immutable wholeness?

     The human enterprise reduces to a few very simple quests:

  • The quest for survival.
  • The quest for love and acceptance.
  • The quest for stature among one’s fellows.
  • The quest for knowledge beyond all uncertainty: for Truth.

     If we omit the activities we embrace merely to “pass the time,” everything any man does, has ever done, or will ever do is done in pursuit of one of those quests. Indeed, our actions to secure survival, acceptance, and stature would be pointless were we to do nothing in pursuit of Truth...and among the greatest tragedies of our age is the susceptibility so many have displayed to the preachments of “those who have not joy” (C. S. Lewis) that there is no such thing as Truth.

     The usual avenue of attack is on the limitations of our senses: our ability to observe objective reality. These are real limitations. Even our instruments, as clever as the best of them are, have limits of precision. Our knowledge of the world around us, therefore, will always be approximate: an asymptotic and never-ending quest. Therefore, there will always be some doubt that we “really know” some of what we know about temporal reality.

     I submit that this property of our nature, and of Nature itself, is a gift of two sorts. First, it gives us an inherently unending task to pursue: an important thing for a species with an inquiring nature that must feel itself to be advancing at all times. Second, it causes us to reach beyond perceptible reality for a foundation solid enough to uphold both temporal reality and our intuitions about it. It makes us look beyond the metaphysically given to what can only be grasped through our private, inner senses.

     The distractions to which I alluded nonspecifically in the opening segment are annoying to me because their lures are so attractive. They beckon not with duty but with delight: amusement, entertainment, even sensory pleasure. But to the extent that they divert me from higher priorities, what they offer is illusory.

     Now, I’ll grant without argument that no one can concentrate absolutely on a single “highest priority” until it’s been fully satisfied...at least, not if the goal is at all difficult to achieve. Everyone tires. Those whose goals are especially demanding tire faster than others. To turn from a Quest! to a little light entertainment for refreshment can be an act of self-preservation. But when distractions become the whole warp and weft of life – when one passes one’s time entirely in finding ways to “pass the time” – something is seriously wrong.

     Those badly afflicted with “distractionitis” can fail to recognize what they’ve done to themselves. And I emphasize that this is always done to oneself. No one can distract another person against his will. That’s why we have the word “No.”

     To one straining to hear the inner voice – the one that speaks of eternal and permanent things beyond the reach of our temporal senses – distractions, even those one might value at other times as important respites from a more serious quest, can be a terrible enemy.

     For a conclusion, let’s have a little from The Screwtape Letters:

     Never having been a human (Oh that abominable advantage of the Enemy's!) you don't realise how enslaved they are to the pressure of the ordinary. I once had a patient, a sound atheist, who used to read in the British Museum. One day, as he sat reading, I saw a train of thought in his mind beginning to go the wrong way. The Enemy, of course, was at his elbow in a moment. Before I knew where I was I saw my twenty years' work beginning to totter. If I had lost my head and begun to attempt a defence by argument I should have been undone. But I was not such a fool. I struck instantly at the part of the man which I had best under my control and suggested that it was just about time he had some lunch.

     The Enemy presumably made the counter-suggestion (you know how one can never quite overhear What He says to them?) that this was more important than lunch. At least I think that must have been His line for when I said "Quite. In fact much too important to tackle it the end of a morning", the patient brightened up considerably; and by the time I had added "Much better come back after lunch and go into it with a fresh mind", he was already half way to the door. Once he was in the street the battle was won. I showed him a newsboy shouting the midday paper, and a No. 73 bus going past, and before he reached the bottom of the steps I had got into him an unalterable conviction that, whatever odd ideas might come into a man's head when he was shut up alone with his books, a healthy dose of "real life" (by which he meant the bus and the newsboy) was enough to show him that all "that sort of thing" just couldn't be true. He knew he'd had a narrow escape and in later years was fond of talking about "that inarticulate sense for actuality which is our ultimate safeguard against the aberrations of mere logic". He is now safe in Our Father's house.

     Remember that Screwtape is a demon, and a rather accomplished one. To him “Our Father” means Satan. The above illustration of the use of distractions not to silence the inner voice but to deflect one’s attention from it is among the most valuable bits of this exceptionally valuable book.

     If you’re a Christian, or one honestly undecided about ultimate things and eager to know more, setting aside time for contemplation and walling out distractions as forcefully as necessary is a critical step. Remember, also, that many agencies of distraction have a certain priority of their own: spouses, children, jobs, important or enjoyed home duties, and the like. These are not evils, but lesser goods. As lesser goods, they should not be permitted to arrogate so much of your attention that none is left for your private ponderings. A healthy psyche requires some time – possibly more than we think – spent alone and in silence, thinking about what our eyes cannot see, our ears cannot hear, and our fingers cannot touch.

     “To hear, one must be silent.” – Ursula LeGuin, A Wizard of Earthsea

     May God bless and keep you all.