Sunday, July 31, 2016

Three Glories: A Sunday Rumination

     “You don’t see yet, Genry, why we perfected and practice Foretelling?”
     “To exhibit the perfect uselessness of knowing the answer to the wrong question....”
     “The unknown,” said Faxe’s soft voice in the forest, “the unforetold, the unproven, that is what life is based on. Ignorance is the ground of thought. Unproof is the ground of action. If it were proven that there is no God there would be no religion. No Handdara, no Yomesh, no hearthgods, nothing. But also if it were proven that there is a God, there would be no religion....Tell me, Genry, what is known? What is sure, predictable, inevitable—the one certain thing you know concerning your future and mine?”
     “That we shall die.”
     “Yes. There’s really only one question that can be answered, Genry, and we already know the answer....The only thing that makes life possible is permanent, intolerable uncertainty: not knowing what comes next.”

     [Ursula LeGuin, The Left Hand of Darkness]

     There’s a strange, yet simple idea haunting, or perhaps taunting, me today: the idea that the three “theological virtues” – faith, hope, and charity – are independent of adherence to any religious creed. The theological virtues are closely identified with the Christian tradition. Yet when I put them under close examination, it became necessary for me to ask whether that binding is real, or merely assumed.

     Let’s look at faith first.

     To have faith is to believe a proposition without requiring conclusive evidence of its veracity: i.e., without requiring proof. Yet which of the many propositions upon which we stake life and wealth every day is provable? The only truly provable propositions belong to mathematics and formal logic. Science rejects the possibility of proof; all it will allow us is confidence based on experimental repeatability. You cannot prove that any of the things you rely on will persist for even a moment longer. You cannot even prove that the floor beneath you won’t suddenly collapse under your weight. Your confidence in these things demonstrates your capacity to believe without requiring proof: i.e., faith.

     Faith, so long regarded as a word pertinent only to religious propositions, is in reality ever present and ever operating. Without it, we would be paralyzed.

     The total absence of faith leads to solipsism: the inability to accept that anything outside your head is real and definite. Yet in solipsism we find the germ of an important idea. I once allowed a character to put it thus:

     “A very smart man once said that imagination is more important than knowledge.” Redmond guided the truck out of the parking lot and onto NY 231. “It was an overstatement, and context-free to boot. Still, he had an important point in mind. He wasn’t the first to make it, either. What is an outline, Todd?”
     The conversational swerve jarred Todd into a curious state. His thoughts seemed to drift free of mundane reality. He struggled to discipline them.
     “The boundary around an object?”
     “Have you seen any outlines lately?”
     “Huh? I don’”
     “In the world outside our heads.” Redmond piloted the truck smoothly down Kettle Knoll. “Did you see anything you could point to and say ‘there’s an outline,’ at any time recently?”
     “I don’t think so.”
     “And why is that? Every object has a boundary, so it must have an outline, right?”
     Todd was overwhelmed by the sense that he was being introduced to a higher realm of thought, a sphere of concepts and relations whose existence he hadn’t suspected.
     He’s way beyond me.
     He fought down his distaste at the admission.
     If I’m going to learn anything more from him, I have to accept it.
     “Outlines are imaginary, then?”
     Redmond pulled into the Iversons’ driveway, stopped, and set the parking brake. “Not quite. It depends on whether you’d say an image—a picture of the world you have in your brain—is imaginary. When we look at the world, we see...things. Objects we take to be bounded and separate from one another. Most of us view the world that way, most of the time. We have to. It makes organized thought possible. And it’s what moved a great writer to write that ‘wise men see outlines, and therefore draw them.’”
     “Who was that?”
     “William Blake. A poet of the late Enlightenment.” Redmond’s eyes twinkled. “He wrote something a bit different a few years later, though.”
     Todd waited.
     “‘Mad men see outlines, and therefore draw them.’”
     Redmond held up a hand for patience. “It was an important insight, centuries ahead of its time. Modern physics tells us that there are no absolute boundaries between things, that boundaries and outlines are only tools of thought.” The engineer’s smooth, solemn face seemed to acquire the weight of centuries. “They exist, whatever that means, only as long as we insist on them. And there are subjects where we can’t make any progress at all unless we refuse to see them.”

     [From Polymath]

     The most important aspects of existence, from the perspective of human consciousness, are the categories and concepts we apply to the reality around us. We do that to make orderly thought possible – to provide for the operations of deduction and induction from which all our knowledge of reality flows. And all those products of our minds, and the uber-concept upon which they’re founded – i.e., that they’re truly applicable to reality – require acts of faith.

     Hope requires faith. Without faith that, broadly speaking, we know what we’re talking about, that it’s constructive to theorize about it, and that our theories can be tested against external reality, we cannot proceed. All of classical physics was founded on two assumptions:

  • That the universe is lawful;
  • That behind all the more detailed laws stands a law of cause and effect.

     Perhaps the most important contribution of modern physics to human understanding is this: cause and effect, as classically understood and employed, does not rule all of reality. To cope with the very smallest and very largest of natural phenomena, our notions about cause and effect, so useful at the “macro” level at which ordinary human life takes place, must give way to other premises. But the real significance of that shift in understanding lies in this: despite the failure of “macro” cause and effect – what’s sometimes been called the “clockwork universe” of classical physics – our faith in the lawfulness of the universe, even at those extreme phenomena, remain unviolated. In other words, even where classical cause and effect cease to apply, there are governing laws; we can determine those laws by study and experimentation; and having determined them, we can hope to put them to use technologically.

     Of course, there will always be realms beyond human experimentation. Though we can conjecture about things like the ultimate creation of the universe, we cannot test our conjectures by creating a fresh one. Yet the discovery that human thought is applicable to so much allows us to hope that natural law is pervasive – i.e., that all phenomena are orderly in an ultimate sense. We can entertain phenomena that exhibit randomicity while remaining confident that even seemingly random events are governed by laws we might someday grasp. Consider radioactive decay, the foundation of nuclear physics, as an example.

     All our hope of progress – “the improvement of the human condition, morally, with declining input” – depends upon maintaining our faith in our perceptions and the operations of our minds.

     Charity, despite its seeming distance from faith and hope, isn’t about generous actions performed in a conceptual vacuum. It depends upon hope: specifically, the hope that:

  • We can see the troubles of others clearly enough to grasp their genesis;
  • We can distinguish those that should be helped – the “deserving” – from those that shouldn’t;
  • We can then contrive to help the “deserving” without causing them material, emotional, or spiritual harm.

     Now, this is not how most people think of charity today. That’s because of the largely successful campaigns by the apostles of envy to persuade us that anyone who lacks something that he wants but is unable or unwilling to pay for is an appropriate object of charity. That this is not so should be obvious to any thinking person. As I wrote some time ago:

     True charity requires proximity, for at least two reasons. First, the necessary personal connection, the sense that one is helping one's own, fails at any great remove. Second, human fallibility and weakness guarantee that just as some will fail to prosper on their own, others will fail to employ charity properly; indeed, to receive money from others sometimes makes one's troubles worse. When this occurs, the giver must give no further, for other measures -- criticism, instruction, discipline -- are clearly indicated. With any separation between the benefactor and his beneficiary, it becomes impossible to know whether help helps in fact, or only in theory and intention.

     The ultimate aim of true charity is to return its beneficiary to a condition in which he doesn’t need it. Is it not clear that proper charity, that helps those who deserve help without doing them harm, requires knowledge and conviction of uncertain kinds – i.e., knowledge both of how a particular person came to be in need, and the conviction that his need can be remedied nondestructively? Is it not clear that one can never be absolutely confident in such knowledge and such conviction – that one must have faith in one’s ability to know another’s state adequately well, and maintain a firm hope that he can be helped without being harmed?

     The above seems to detach the “theological virtues” from all theology. Indeed, having mulled the matter over for several hours now, I can’t see a necessary connection between any theology and any one of the three. That they should be so firmly associated with the Christian faith must have another lesson for us.

     But the theological virtues are not all the virtues by a long shot. There are four cardinal virtues – prudence, justice, temperance, and fortitude – vital to a stable, peaceful, and prosperous social order, and these too are usually regarded as Christian teachings. So there’s more juice in this orange than I’ve yet managed to squeeze out. Though it’s rather unusual to conclude a “Sunday Rumination” this way, I’ll take my chances and say:

     More anon.

     (And may God bless and keep you all. Can’t leave that out!)

Saturday, July 30, 2016


     Sometimes, when I’m feeling creatively dry, I return to my past writings and spend some time studying them. I try to do so as if they weren’t emissions of mine. It’s difficult but not impossible to do so, and it can sometimes refresh the sense that matters most to a writer: the sense of why I’m doing this.

     I’ve made some interesting discoveries by doing that. In particular, I’ve been reminded – forcibly at times – about what it was that got me started writing for a general audience.

     I shan’t tell you what that was (and is) straight off. Permit me to meander around it for a few hundred words. With luck you’ll get a better feel for the wherefores that way.

     In a piece that appeared at Eternity Road in 2010, I had some fun with the idea of a “silly syllogism:”

     It occurred to your Curmudgeon this morning that many of one's decisions, however great or small, are likely to be founded on theorems that, let us say, could stand closer examination. For those Gentle Readers who cut all their tenth-grade geometry classes: a theorem is a statement of implication, which states that a specific premise implies a specific conclusion. For example: "If Smith is a man, then Smith is mortal." (Alternately, "All men are mortal.") Thus, we have the famous demonstrator:
Theorem: All men are mortal.
Premise: Socrates is a man.
Conclusion: Therefore, Socrates is mortal.

A three-part inference such as the above is called a syllogism. Whether any particular syllogism ends with a trustworthy conclusion depends on the soundness of its theorem. So if the theorem is wrong, the conclusion is likely to be wrong as well:

Theorem: All mortals are men.
Premise: Rufus the Newfus is mortal.
Conclusion: Therefore, Rufus the Newfus is a man.

But there is a special class of "theorems," distinct from all others, in which truth is inherent. These are so obviously correct that they require no proof. They're called tautologies.

A tautology takes the form: If X is true, then X is true.

Well, uh, yes. Indisputable! But how useful is it?

Your Curmudgeon had a demonstration of two such just this morning, in conversation with the C.S.O. She was speaking of her need to go to the gym after work, to which your Curmudgeon replied, "If ya gotta go, ya gotta go."

Theorem: If ya gotta go, ya gotta go.
Premise: The C.S.O. gotta go.
Conclusion: Therefore, the C.S.O. gotta go.

"But," your Curmudgeon continued, "why not come home first and sit for a bit?" The C.S.O. replied, "Once you're home, you're home."

Theorem: Once you're home, you're home.
Premise: The C.S.O. has come home.
Conclusion: Therefore, the C.S.O. is home.

Your Curmudgeon admits to having been temporarily blinded by the brilliance of these insights. But on later reflection, he recalled an even more striking syllogism from a few years back. On that occasion, he asked the C.S.O. whether she wanted to go on some errand immediately, or wait until after lunch. The C.S.O. replied, "Let's go, so we can come back."

Theorem: If we go, we can come back.
Premise: Let's go.
Conclusion: Therefore, we can come back.

The variation in form from that of a "classical" tautology is purely incidental.

Such silly syllogisms are at the base of a great part of human decision-making. Watch for them in your life. And always remember:

A tautology is a tautology.

     Now, I’m not advocating the displacement of conventional reasoning by a scheme built entirely on tautologies. We wouldn’t get much done that way. But occasionally a tautology (or a close relative) will “wander by” that expresses a truth one needs to emphasize to oneself. Here’s one:

You are what you are.

     This isn’t a perfect, “classical” tautology. It’s true, but it doesn’t cover the whole of the matter. Yes, you are what you are – i.e., your organic nature – but you are also who you are: those traits and capabilities you’ve added to your God-given organic nature via individuation.

     However – and this is the crux of the thing – there are limits to individuation:

What you are constrains who you can become.

     Note: Constrains is not synonymous with determines. I had a fictional character put it thus:

     Father Ray rose from his armchair and ran his hands down his trim, muscular frame. “I am a combination of two things: what God has given me, and what I’ve done to develop it. The first of these is immutable. God decreed it. His will in the matter cannot be countervailed. The second is merely the consequence of my decision to make the most of that gift—to develop my body in a direction natural to it with proper exercise and dietary discipline. As that does not in any way cross-cut God’s gift, or whatever element of his plan resides in me, my use of his gift is entirely acceptable.”

     [From “One Small Detail”]

     To try to individuate in a way that contradicts one’s nature is a bad, bad idea. There’s nothing but suffering at the end of such a journey. In other words: Don’t jump off a cliff hoping that you’ll learn how to fly before you hit the ground.

     Quite a long time ago, I wrote an essay that’s become something of an Internet staple. It proceeded from my perception of what a man is, and the role he must fill to be true to his manhood. I sincerely believed it when I first wrote it, and I stand by it today.

     Many years later, I wrote the following:

     Just as the manly virtues define the essence of respectable manhood, there are feminine virtues that define the essence of respectable womanhood:
  • Nurturance of a man;
  • Management of a household;
  • The skills demanded of a mother.

     A woman who lacks those virtues isn’t merely a marginal creature, unlikely to contribute constructively to her society; she’s a disruptive and destructive force. A fair number of such women infest our society today. Worse, they’ve wangled special legal privileges that no one deserves nor should be allowed. In consequence, young men are being taught to fear: especially, to fear women. Young women are being taught to resent: especially, to resent men.

     Again, I stand by what I wrote.

     This is not to say that a woman must not become a wage-earner, a monetary contributor to her household; that would be foolish in this day and age. Rather, a woman’s pursuit of an income should not cause her to disparage the feminine virtues or stint their development and employment, for those virtues are prior and superior to her wage-earning possibilities. Indeed, I’d advise a woman blessed with a husband who provides amply for her and her children to consider eschewing wage labor in favor of “traditional” womanly pursuits.

     This heartening piece at The Federalist elaborates on the reasons for my contentions.

     It’s a matter worthy of considerable attention that masculinism – a return to the manly virtues and what a man needs to practice them – is rising sharply, while feminism, especially militant, misandrist feminism of the sort Stacy McCain often lambastes, is fighting a rearguard action to hold onto its place in Americans’ minds. Metrosexuality is retreating, as are the gender-war attitudes purveyed by the Anita Sarkeesians. In effect, what we humans are is reasserting itself against perverse notions about who we are or could be.

     Of course, there’s no such thing as a unanimous movement among human beings. Men aren’t that biddable; even the soggiest, most easily led milksop will assert an individual preference or two, especially if he doesn’t think he can measure up. Similarly, there will always be women who are utterly averse to traditional femininity, and will fight to their last breath against “being assigned to a role.” Yet those who adopt the traditional masculine and feminine paradigms appear to be prevailing – winning. On the whole they’re happier with themselves, their fellows, and their lots in life. That seems to be the case even among individuals who fought the traditional roles for decades, only to “surrender” to them later on in life.

     Perhaps time will paint a shaded picture. Perhaps among men there are some who must depart from traditional masculinity as the price of survival. Perhaps among women there are some who must forgo traditional femininity for similar reasons. It wouldn’t surprise me. But neither would it surprise me to learn that traditional masculinity and femininity have tremendous value, both to those that accept them and to their societies. Traditions and conventions arise not from the arbitrary decisions of individuals, but for reasons of utility. That utility is well expressed in the history of the United States of America.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Scattered Thoughts

     It’s that sort of morning, I fear.

     Our long national nightmare – i.e., the presidency of Barack Hussein Obama – is almost over...but not quite. Obama’s entire agenda was to “fundamentally transform” the Land of the Free. He has a little less than six months more to do so. With six months, the powers of the presidency, no need to run for a third term, and only a gaggle of Republican milksops to “oppose” him, the prospects for further “transformation” are troubling.

     Among other things, Obama’s vanity will not permit him to allow the Clintons, whom he despises, to exceed his “achievements.” With Bill behind him and the possibility of Hillary to follow him, what sort of deviltry will he concoct to ensure that his name stands above theirs in the annals of political villainy?

     The C.S.O. usually does the grocery shopping. Now and then I fill in, as I’m home during the day and have no objections to a shopping trip if she realizes there’s some item she’s forgotten and will need to prepare the evening’s repast. However, she usually reserves the “bulk” shopping for herself.

     Tuesday was an exception: she asked me to go to CostCo for a few items we prefer to buy in quantity. It was a “learning experience,” to say the least. Here’s the complete shopping list:

  • 2 bales of paper towels;
  • 1 bale of facial tissues;
  • Large paper plates;
  • Small paper plates;
  • Mouthwash;
  • Dishwasher detergent.

     The bill was $110. Granted the quantities involved were considerable, but $110??

     Buy gold and silver, Gentle Readers. Add a few copper rounds to your hoard, as well. Now, before the run commences.

     We had an interesting chat about slavery and its preconditions yester eve. I advanced the proposition that a slave might be more amenable toward his condition if he were allowed to choose his own master – from a constrained set of choices, of course. The C.S.O. was uncertain, but allowed the possibility. (It was a motif I was exploring for use in a novel-in-progress.)

     Just this morning, in thinking about the heavily rigged and preconditioned electoral system we endure, the parallels struck me with special force. The last time a president came from a third party was 1860. Today the likelihood of that is effectively zero, yet national discontent with the major parties is rising swiftly. Might the major parties’ kingmakers be thinking about increasing the seeming probability of a third-party president, that we might be more amenable to our special form of enslavement?

     “A man is no less a slave because he is allowed to choose a new master once in a term of years.” – Lysander Spooner.

     According to a source I trust, there is no significant difference between the rate at which police shoot black criminals and suspects and the rate at which they shoot white criminals and suspects, in proportion to their percentages of the American population. However, there is a very significant statistical difference between the rates of black-perpetrated crimes and white-perpetrated crimes, especially crimes of violence: in the U.S., the perpetrator of a violent crime is eight times as likely to be black than white. Doesn’t that imply that the police are far more reluctant to shoot a black suspect than a white one?

     It’s a question the rabble-rousers of Black Lives Matter would prefer not to face.

     I spent a pleasant hour yesterday enjoying this Youtube video channel. Blaire White has a unique approach to the presentation of her views, something like a cross between Michael Loftus and a generic Valley Girl. I found it curiously refreshing. Recommended!

     A friend has strongly recommended the Kel-Tec Sub 2000 foldable rifle to me. It’s a remarkable design, capable of being folded -- legally -- to a length suitable for storage in a typical backpack (un-fireable in that condition, of course). However, dealers who carry the gun are rare; does anyone know of one in New York who carries it chambered in 9 mm?

     The July sale at Smashwords will soon be over. If you haven’t indulged yourself in any of my tripe, you still have today and the weekend. After that, everything returns to its normal price, so dally not. And remember to write reviews!

     I think that’s all for today, Gentle Readers. I plan to spend the rest of the day on fiction. For me, that’s a bit like weightlifting for the brain: I desperately want what it promises to bring me, but the effort involved has become ever more daunting. However, though it’s the severest of my trials, it’s also the surest way of deflecting my attention from politics and current events...and that’s something I could surely use.

     Wish me well.

The reason for Trump's popularity.

Since Bush I was elected in 1988 (28 years and seven, four-year presidential terms ago), high-paying mfg. jobs have been sent abroad while at the same time, these same American presidents have let tens of millions of illegals stay here without regard for the long-term consequences to the American way of life. The rampant bitterness we see now is the culmination of prior presidents policies topped-off with the devastating effects of Obama, who vandalizes "traditional" America everywhere he can. These last four presidents have collectively, inflicted a colossal burden upon the American people for which there is no penalty to them; but only to the quarter-billion people who are the American middle-class.[1]
All those presidents did that. They let millions of illegals stay as though it were the most normal thing in the world to allow foreigners to flood the United States of America because they felt like grabbing a piece of our pie.

Note, too, that the mantra is "11 million illegals." It's been "11 million" since Al Gore first had to crank up his air conditioner at Chateau Gore. Ann Coulter played with some simple numbers and said at a minimum it's 30 MILLION. At a minimum, my friends.

All perfectly normal and unremarkable by the political class. The perfect expression of globalism and leftist lunacy: inundation of white people in their own countries.

[1] Comment by Felix da Kat on "Will Any Future POTUS Matter (Other Than Launching More Wars)?" By By Charles Hugh Smith, Zero Hedge, 7/28/16.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Celebrity Politicking: A Brief But Pointed Reflection

     For Christians especially, but ultimately for all of us:

     As the great sinners grow fewer, and the majority lose all individuality, the great sinners become far more effective agents for us. Every dictator or even demagogue — almost every film star or crooner — can now draw tens of thousands of the human sheep with him. They give themselves (what there is of them) to him; in him, to us. There may come a time when we shall have no need to bother about individual temptation at all, except for the few. Catch the bellwether, and his whole flock comes after him.

     [C. S. Lewis, Screwtape Proposes A Toast. Hyperlink added by FWP.]

     Teach your children to learn, to distinguish between facts and opinions, and always to do their own thinking. Please.

A Most Effective Advertisement

     I am overwhelmed by admiration:

     It really doesn’t matter whether you think “lesbians are hot.” I mean, imagine the figures in that image replaced by Rosie O’Donnell and Andrea Dworkin! No man in his right mind would consider that “hot.” What really matters here is the use of truth married to humor to make an important point in one’s own favor:

  • All the Islamic states punish homosexual conduct with death.
  • Homosexual conduct is not a crime in the nations of the West.
  • Discrimination against homosexuals is punishable by law in Canada.
  • Thus, in Canada homosexuals are free to be “open,” regardless of anyone’s opinion of their behavior.
  • And Canada has lots of oil to sell! Cheap, too! Get it while it’s, uh, hot!

     Effective advertising often marries truth to humor: truth, because without it you have only empty boasts; humor, because nothing is better at cementing a message into one’s memory.

     Learn it. Live it. Love it. (No, not sodomy. Get your mind out of the gutter!)

Two Parties

     Now that the Democrats have concluded their quadrennial horror show convention, a few words about the two parties within the Democrat Party might be of some value – at least, to those hoping to understand how the Dems can veer drunkenly back and forth as they have since 1980.

     For starters, let’s recall historian Robert Conquest’s Three Laws of Politics:

  1. Everyone is conservative about what he knows best.
  2. Any organization not explicitly right-wing sooner or later becomes left-wing.
  3. The simplest way to explain the behavior of any bureaucratic organization is to assume that it is controlled by a cabal of its enemies.

     Laws #2 and #3 refer to a process, not an instantaneous transition. The Democrats of the late Nineteenth Century were a conservative bunch: rather bluenosed about social matters, generally hands-off toward industry and commerce, and careful with the national treasury. Indeed, both parties would be described today as conservative in orientation; one of the ironies of political history is that their spokesmen both laid claim to being the proper party for the American liberal. It was the emergence of William Jennings Bryan in 1896 that started the Democrats’ leftward turn. The Wilson and FDR Administrations turned the wheel farther leftward.

     After World War II, politics was at first dominated by foreign policy considerations, owing to the rise of the Soviet Union and the division of Europe. The ascendancy of domestic social engineering, most notably under Lyndon Johnson, came as a surprise to many analysts at that time. There are several theories about the reasons for it, but there can be no doubt that, apart from the Vietnam War, nothing loomed larger in Sixties political discourse than “compassionate” government action nominally aimed at “helping the poor and disadvantaged.”

     The Nixon Administration saw national attention diverted from social engineering for a time, in part due to renewed international turmoil, particularly in the Middle East, and in part due to the heavily publicized efforts of glamor diplomat Henry Kissinger. Sadly, the Vietnam War, which Nixon promised to end (and did end, as he’d promised and with the best outcome that could be achieved at that time) and the Watergate scandal deflected attention from Nixon’s singular achievements at restoring a balanced federal budget and curtailing the growth of the federal bureaucracy. In consequence, the Democrats were able to make “peace” – something the century’s Democrat administrations were hardly known for – the prime public issue of the Carter years.

     Carter’s disastrous four years in power saw a huge increase in federal spending and an explosion of inflation. Those two things have always gone together. Taxation sufficient to fund massive social programs has never been politically feasible in the U.S. But what government cannot tax it can always print, and print the Carterites surely did. Currency expansion continued to the point that the prime rate rose to an unprecedented 13% at its peak, guaranteeing that the Democrats would lose the White House.

     The loss of the presidency to Ronald Reagan threw the Democrat Party into an internal frenzy. The contradictions were stunning: there were more than four registered Democrats for every three registered Republicans, and no pre-election poll had shown the candidates more than 3% apart, yet Reagan had buried Carter in a landslide, taking the Senate majority in the process. In the ensuing confusion, two major camps emerged. Though the labels are somewhat anachronistic, we may call them the Kennedy and Clinton camps.

     The Kennedy camp, ideologically social-fascist, pressed for a domestically oriented agenda. Its spokesmen, among whom Senator Edward Kennedy was most prominent, favored downplaying matters of foreign policy and military preparedness in preference for large expansions of virtually every domestic initiative of the Johnson and Carter years. Though the creation of special interests bound to the Democrat Party wasn’t an overt aspect of the Kennedyites’ strategy, it was a logical consequence.

     The Clinton camp, which would be identified with Bill Clinton from 1991 onward, was coldly pragmatic. The Clintonites were interested in power for power’s sake, with all the perquisites and opportunities for graft that accompany it. They spurned specifics of ideology in preference for flexibility of orientation. They emphasized gaining and keeping control of the federal government, from which largesse could be distributed to favored persons and groups. Though less socially divisive than the Kennedyites, the Clintonites were inherently more deceitful, and far more corrupt.

     Walter Mondale was the last of the original Kennedyites to get the Democrats’ presidential nod. Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and John Kerry were all from the Clintonite school. The seeming successes of the Clinton Administration first two years at cementing its grip on power had swayed the bulk of the Democrats into his camp. Clinton’s aura of success was so convincing that the party remained there even after the 1994 “Republican Revolution” and the disastrous candidacy of Gore. It took the 2004 election, the defeat of Kerry, and the meteoric rise of Barack Hussein Obama to get the Kennedyites back into the game.

     The Kennedyites succeeded in elevating Obama to the Oval Office, but found that having “used him up,” the bench is bare. There are no Kennedyites of suitable age and national profile who could plausibly succeed him. Add to that the “devil’s bargain” the Kennedyites had to make with the Clintonites to unify the party behind Obama, and the answer pops out of a slot: a Clintonite Interregnum while promising young leftists in Congress are groomed for higher things. Despite her age, her unattractiveness, and the many seamy incidents in her past, Hillary Clinton has been given the Democrat nod.

     Ironically, the Clintonites face the same problem as the Kennedyites: after Hillary, the bench is bare. Promising figures from years past have vanished into the political mists; if it were otherwise, the Clinton machine and Hillary’s vast appetite for power would not have been sufficient to sway the party to her side. This heralds a protracted period of internal disorder – made even more unruly by the unexpected size of the Sanders for President movement – that Democrat strategists will have a hard time controlling.

     This should not be taken to imply that there’s no disorder among Republicans. Indeed, the processes taking place within the GOP present a strong parallel to those within its adversary. However, it does suggest that should Hillary Clinton lose to Donald Trump in November as has seemed increasingly likely, the Democrats’ ranks will offer politics-watchers a lot of milling-around to study until a new standard-bearer with “all the right boxes checked” should emerge from the teeming Leftist horde.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

More From The Church Of Extreme Tolerance

     I’m beginning to have more sympathy for the “trans” community. Its members get a lot of static from a lot of directions – and the following, from a transwoman on Facebook, illustrates one such aspect of it dramatically:

     Coming out as transgender was easy and I was met with only positivity from family and friends.

     Starting my Youtube channel and "coming out" with center-right beliefs has wreaked havoc on my life. Within the first month, feminists in my town tried to get me evicted from the place I was living at the time, I lost a significant amount of friends, and overall people were super shitty to me. Then BLM tried doxing me and threatening my family.

     I'm not saying this as a "woe is me" post. I'm a big girl and I can handle whatever comes my way. But the point is to say that "coming out" as someone with any set of beliefs that are not perfectly far-left is more dangerous than coming out as transgender these days.

     I think of this as Plantation Syndrome: If you’re a member of a demographic the Left claims as “its own,” you are not permitted to have views other than doctrinaire Leftist views. That persons such as the author of the above dare to find more ideological commonality with us horrible *ists and *phobes of the Right threatens the Left’s ownership of that group.

     (The asterisks in the above paragraph are wild cards. Replace them with whatever word you please. The Left does it all the time.)

     Therefore, by the Gospel of Leftist Tolerance and its Boundaries:

  • Blacks are not permitted to be conservatives; that’s “race treason.”
  • Women are not permitted to be conservatives; that’s “gender treason.”
  • Homosexuals are not permitted to be conservatives; that’s...I don’t know, just icky.

     And now we have the “trans” community discovering, like its Marquee personality of the moment Caitlyn Jenner – I’ve decided to call X whatever X wants to be called, at least until the absurdities become overwhelming...and just what is the proper pronoun to use for someone who “identifies” as a rutabaga, anyway? – that “tolerance,” for the Left, is merely a political shibboleth, and not a genuine commitment.

     UPDATE: Oops! I forgot to mention the relevant Youtube channel. The proprietress is, quite frankly, a scream. Give her a try.

Clunk! Edition

     Some of Sarah Hoyt’s guest posters aren’t quite as careful about their stuff as they should be. For example, in this essay decrying the decline of “literary” science fiction, I found the following:

     [I]f you want to be commercially successful now, you have to be willing to go into growing subgenres where a less literate population with reduced attention spans are buying.

     It pinned my irony meter. What does it do to yours, Gentle Reader? Take your time and read it carefully.


     Hearken to the esteemed Dystopic:

     Contrary to the beliefs of Leftists, being Christian has, historically, meant accepting a great of persecution. The followers of Christ, not unlike the Jews, have suffered under great persecution from other faiths. The Romans killed them (until converting). Then the Muslims came, and did likewise.

     But the day came when Christianity was ascendant and unchallenged in the West. And so it is easy to forget that, as a Christian, persecution is not so far away as we often think it is. We’ve suffered comparatively little in recent years. The worst we’ve had to deal with lately is militant atheists with their smug, Jon Stewart liberal grins and airs of superiority. Easy enough to suffer that.

     The killing of the priest, during Mass, tells us that a new round of persecution may be beginning. I honestly didn’t think I’d see that in my lifetime. But, here it is. In a sense, it is worse than the other terror killings. Not in number of bodies, of course, but in the brazenness of the act, and in the specificity of the target. Where you could theoretically lump other Islamic terror attacks in the West into some kind of general malaise, and excuse it by some sort of twisted Left-wing, secular reasoning, this attack smacks more obviously of religious war.

     It “smacks more obviously of religious war” because that’s what’s in progress. That and nothing else.

     The great difference between Islam and all other religions is that Islam explicitly preaches intolerance of other faiths. Islam is therefore inherently and irremediably at war with every other religion -- including atheism -- practiced by anyone, anywhere on Earth.

     Christianity has had its excesses. The Inquisition was the worst of them. However, our principal sin, over the centuries, has been to snub the followers of other faiths. Over time we did unlearn such contemptible practices. But at their worst, the crimes committed in the name of Christ – none of which can find any justifications in the teaching of the Redeemer – pale in comparison to the immeasurably greater and bloodier rampage of savageries committed by explicit direction of the bloodthirsty, adulterous pseudo-prophet Muhammad.

     Moreover, Islam represents itself as a totalitarian political entity with God-given authority: a State with power over all things great and small. Thus it is at war not “merely” with other religious creeds, but with the political authorities of every non-Islamic nation. The refusal by the “leaders” of the West to acknowledge this has baffled many. It almost seems as if they believe the boogeyman will go away if they pretend that they don’t see him.

     That, to put it as gently as possible, is not on.

     At this time, Europe is under continuous siege. Its already-imported Islamic fraction becomes more troublesome with each day that passes. Its borders are under extraordinary pressure from “refugees,” the great majority of which are military-age Muslim males unaccompanied by women, children, or the aged. Both sets demand accommodation; in response, Europe’s leaders wring their hands for a moment and submit. The portents are anything but good.

     Meanwhile, America’s specialist in pissing on our heads and telling us it’s raining, Barack Hussein Obama, repeatedly tells us it’s our moral obligation to accommodate such “refugees” in or own lands. Nor does he care to listen to any backtalk. Despite loud, fervent rejections of the idea, his myrmidons have settled thousands of such “refugees” in towns whose previous populations were smaller than the Muslim influx. I seem to sense an agenda in there. Do you?

     Obama’s seven and a half years riding roughshod over individuals’ rights, the Constitution, and everything else Americans treasure have crippled our economy, enervated our military, and made our international position a laughingstock. The Republican majorities in Congress have done nothing even to retard his depredations; neither have the supposedly conservative justices on the Supreme Court. Add to this his undisguised attempt to flood our nation with persons as hostile to it and its norms as is he.

     Persecutions are often conducted under color of law.

     America is at great risk. The news media deliberately exclude or downplay any news that would reflect badly on the Obama Administration. They’re particularly determined to conceal the effects of the Islamic infestation. As other pundits have already noticed, “our” chief concerns appear to be catering to homosexual sensitivities and contriving transgender-friendly restrooms. But the apostles of “tolerance” have no time or attention to spare for the intolerance of our invaders. Not while there’s a man in a dress being told he can’t use the women’s lavatory.

     Is it any wonder that resentment of government – all of it; not just the Golfer-In-Chief – is nearing a peak? Should that boil burst, the consequences will be unpleasant – Civil-War-level unpleasant, if not worse – and Muslims who’ve wormed their ways into America will enjoy them least of all.

     My Gentle Readers have probably noticed that recently I’ve been posting a greater fraction of humorous stuff. There’s a reason for that. I’m sure I don’t need to state it explicitly.

     Recently, the esteemed David de Gerolamo proclaimed that he would no longer write about political and governmental matters. He might be more sensible than your humble Curmudgeon Emeritus. I continue in the hope that there’s a chance, however slim, that men of good will can talk the country down off the ledge. I might be wrong, of course. But the ocean of blood that will be spilled if the American people rise up and take matters into their own hands tells me that I must continue.

     Read Dystopic’s essay. Take it seriously. And pray – but don’t stop there:

     Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one. [Luke 22:36]

     Don’t forget to buy plenty of ammo for your “sword.”


     FWP: (peering dourly at the CSO’s deli sandwich) How can you eat that?
     CSO: (shrugs) I like it.

     FWP: It’s all fat!
     CSO: Well, I didn’t ask for “extra lean.”

     FWP: I don’t get it. They take the cheapest, fattiest cut from the cow, soak it in hair dye, slice it up, hang an Italian’s name on it, and you guys have it for lunch.
     CSO: Huh? An Italian?

     FWP: Yeah, Giuseppe Pastrami, 14th century Italian astronomer. You didn’t know?
     CSO: Oh. I thought it was named after that Indian guru, Pah Strami.

     (You might find it hard to believe, but the conversation got sillier from there. However, at this point transcription will cease, to preserve whatever shreds of my reputation remain un-tattered.)

Marxist dystopia.

America, the extraordinary experiment in self government, has evolved into a joke. Consider this from the party that has run it for the last 28 years (and, let it be said, Ronald "Trust but verify" Reagan was fine with open borders):
Tim Kaine, the perfect persona of the non-threatening, white, do-gooding, suburban squish, who speaks Espanol to boot. A non-threatening but “Catholic” face to serve as cover for alpha female/pen_s envy Hil_LIAR-y and the Dem/Marxist platform:
  • abortion on demand for women so “they can have it all”;
  • socially destructive welfare/affirmative action aka Black Skin Privilege for A/As;
  • amnesty/open borders/affirmative action aka Brown Skin Privilege for Hispanics;
  • gender neutral toilets for TGs; and
  • oppressive EPA regulation to appease the “the end is near” global warming alarmists, etc.

It’s the ticket to Marxist—Hil_LIARy, Obama, Sanders--dystopia.

Comment by Mike Ludwig on "The Hillary Watch. Hillary Tells It Like It Ain’t." By George Neumayr, The American Spectator, 7/27/16 (emphasis and bullets added).

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Unguided missiles.

Americans, that is.

At least the nation is not guided by anything resembling rationality. Our political class just can't get enough of "Heal the world," "Transform the world," and "Invade the world."

Yes, we are the indispensable people. The world yearns for our leadership. The key to human happiness is known to us. America is but one nation among many. Global interests must be pursued. American interests are of no consequence in the larger scheme. Our resources know no limits. Let the world contemplate our "exceptionalism."

Outside of the leadership of France, Germany, Sweden, and the E.U., people around the world must think we've lost our minds. Gaddafi's got to go. Assad, too. We know these things. Vladimir Putin is a thug and Russia must be made to back down. From what, it isn't clear. We judge and we judge with unerring accuracy.

Our insufferable arrogance must stimulate white-hot fury, though that of the northern Europeans and the joke known as the E.U. differs but little from our own.

As some wit of something particularly nauseating, "It's enough even to make Rod McKuen throw up." Except the people of Serbia, Iraq, Ukraine, Libya, and Syria, our dead and wounded troops and their the families, and the families of those left to die in Benghazi are the only ones paying the dearest price in wasted and shattered lives for our arrogance.

To internationlists/globalists, Trump's nation-centric program summed up as "America First" is the abyss. It spells "retreat" from global interests and multi-national organizations (more abyss). Their own notions of American interests are collectively, yea, utopianly and even zealously conceived, something a la George W. Bush's. The anti-democratic European Union is their idea of an ally, not the sovereign states attempting to be reborn from it. They seem never to be happier than when some "US-led NATO" action is underway, attempting to create global/U.S.-led utopia, the one that always fails to take root while killing tens of thousands of people along the way. It is this worldview that has in recent years led to thousands of American troops losing their lives and their limbs deep in the Islamic world, but, hey, anything for utopia.[1]
[1] "The PCE, Pt. 25: In the (Russian) Tank for Hillary." By Diana West, 7/25/16.

Weather Map Trouble

     Apparently, the following was a spontaneous reaction to a malfunction by the electronic weather map display on an Arizona news report:

     Now that’s what I’d call “grace under pressure.”

On The Front Lines

     Be certain that you know where they are:

     Francois Hollande says France is at war with ISIS after two Islamist knifemen butchered a French priest and left a nun fighting for her life before they were both shot dead by police in Normandy.

     One of the men who stormed into the church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray near Rouen during mass was a local man, who was being monitored by electronic tag after being jailed for trying to join fanatics in Syria.

     The 84-year-old priest, named as Jacques Hamel, had his throat cut while a nun is critically injured in hospital following the raid which saw five people held hostage by ISIS assailants shouting 'Allahu Akbar'.

     It’s been a public doctrine in Israel for many years that every Israeli, no matter where on Earth he may be, is a front-line soldier. I submit that today the same doctrine applies to:

  • Europeans other than Islamic migrants;
  • Christians everywhere;
  • Jews everywhere;
  • and, of course, Americans.

     To all Europeans who value anything European about Europe: You had better take this to heart, arm yourselves, and get ready to act. Your governments did this to you. You cannot count on them to protect you.

Political Skills

     If you’ve bothered to watch the thirty-six second video below, you already have an inkling about the subject for today’s tirade. If not...well, I don’t charge extra for bullheaded stubbornness.

     “I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain.” – John Adams
     “War is the continuation of diplomacy by other means.” – Karl von Clausewitz
     “War is deceit.” – Muhammad
     “Politics is conceit.” – Me

     There’s nothing more conspicuous about the nature of the politician, whether already in office or merely aspiring to it, than his enormous ego. This follows from the nature of his quest: the pursuit of power over others. To desire such power and pursue it as his foremost priority, he must meet one of two requirements:

  1. He must believe himself fit to rule;
  2. He must be completely amoral.

     And yes, sometimes those two qualities are found in the same person.

     In private life, men of good will exhibit neither trait. Even those who believe themselves to be superior to others in particular ways will have been conditioned to modesty as children or (at the very least) taught to simulate it. Indeed, we who don’t aspire to rule others intensely dislike excessive ego and open least, in other persons.

     This presents the politician with a problem. The very traits that admit him to the political class will be serious detriments if allowed to become visible. From this arises the skill that’s the sine qua non of every politician: the ability to conceal what he truly is from the inspection of others.

     There are occasional exceptions. One such, the presidential nominee of the Republican Party, makes no bones about his belief in his own greatness. In all honesty, he’s earned a certain amount of his self-adulation. What’s singular about him is that his blatant ego has not impeded his political rise. Indeed, it may have been essential to it. But he is, most definitely, an exception.

     He who deems himself fit to rule others will have plans: laws and policies he means to push with the powers of the office he seeks. In the usual case, some of those plans will be unpopular. Therefore, he must prevent them from becoming known. Anyone who tries to unearth and expose them, whether by direct examination or by inference, must be deflected.

     A politician’s record of public statements and alliances will usually provide clues to the plans he’d prefer to keep to himself. When a nonpartisan or hostile journalist seeks to examine him on them, he must talk his way adroitly around what he really intends. This requires skill at circumlocution: to speak of something that edges toward but sounds more palatable than the nub of his plan. Thus federal welfare became “a hand up, not a hand out.” The imposition of licensure for the practice of medicine became “medical quality control.” Social Security payroll taxes became “contributions.” The list could be extended many times over.

     The video below provides an example of a Michael Kinsley-esque “gaffe:” a politician unwittingly telling the truth. What follows from such a gaffe is usually unfortunate for the politician.

     A third skill found in most politicians is generally visible at certain times: specifically, during contests for office. It manifests when the politician is attacked in some fashion where the objective evidence supports the attack.

     No one likes to be criticized. Politicians, possessors of oversized egos, dislike it far more than private persons. Moreover, a sufficient volume of criticism believed by a sufficient number of voters can deny a politician the power he seeks (or wants to keep). However, if the facts are against him, a straightforward defense will be difficult. It might well be impossible. Therefore, the tactic he’ll most often reach for is discrediting the source.

     We’ve already seen this tactic used several times during the current campaign. Maximum effectiveness requires that the wielder know discreditable things about his critics. That’s the motivation for “opposition research,” a phrase that’s become well known since the Democrats’ odious 2008 efforts to disparage Sarah Palin. However, even without such knowledge, it’s always possible to impute discreditable traits or motives to the critic. At least, one can accuse the accuser of being a “paid shill for my opponent.”

     In the usual case, the politician wielding the discrediting tactic will know himself to be no better a man than his critic, and quite possibly worse. But in politics, playing defense is playing to lose; no matter how feeble one’s weapons, it’s always preferable to be on the attack. The skill of greatest importance here is the ability to say the meanest imaginable things about one’s critics with an air of self-righteousness and a perfectly straight face.

     The Gentle Readers of Liberty’s Torch are unlikely to feel great esteem for persons who possess the political skills described in the above. Yet that is the nature of politics in these United States in this year of Our Lord 2016. It might have once been otherwise, but no one alive today has known anything else. Which, as with T. S. Eliot’s “Streets that follow like a tedious argument / Of insidious intent,” leads us to an overwhelming question:

Why support any politician?
Why not ignore the lot of them,
And be about our proper business?

     Just a thought for those of you who, like myself, have grown so thoroughly disgusted with politics that we’d greet news of a nuclear attack on the District of Columbia with wild applause and raucous cheers.

They Don’t Want To Take Your Guns, Of Course Not!

     Thirty-six seconds of truth from a DNC delegate who doesn’t know she’s on a hidden camera:

     Make it go viral!

"Conservatives" unmasked.

One of the great, great side benefits of the rise of Trump is the slipping of the mask of the smug, lilly-livered, lying, sneaky, conniving, useless, posturing, sellout oxygen thieves of the "right" who have cried mighty rivers of tears over the lost greatness of the American republic, limited government, and constitutionalism but done bugger all to reverse our slide into being a nation that is nothing more than a formless, brown, third-world glop.

On one of the most fundamental aspects of our Western tradition, Kevin Williamson had this to say:

As National Review #NeverTrump-er Kevin Williamson has suggested, “"the Democratic party and its undemocratic ‘superdelegate’ system sure is looking smart right about now."[1]
Nothing vexes these latte-drinking grandees than to have the unwashed citizens of fly-over country actually decide to change the political and social course of the country. They're perfectly comfortable with any measure that debases the Constitution so long as it can be squeezed under the heading of "market-based" and "meritocratic." An efficient, meritocratic tyranny is just the ticket. They will bow down before some pale, flaccid abstraction and spit on actual flesh-and-blood fellow citizens and the plain wording of the Constitution.

I think American politicians accrued a lot of trust and credibility in the long struggle with Stalinism and other forms of communist terror even though they were incapable of putting their finger on what exactly it was about communist theory that guaranteed the disasters their governments effected. To this day, communism is no more threatening than Christian Science or Mormonism to the smart set. Nonetheless, the general competence and patriotism visible in most of the major actors of those times was appreciated and we knew the general course of the nation was a correct one.

However, that trust and credibility spilled over into the politics that ensued after the fall of the Soviet Union and the morons and traitors who rose to prominence busily concerned themselves with locating and combating chimeras and will-o'-the-wisps like badness, un-Chinese dictators (brutal), "Islamism," "terror," "radical fundamentalist, Islamic Jihad," and the ghost of Josef Stalin risen from the grave to re-occupy the Kremlin in the person of the most evil man on the planet, Vladimir Putin. Not counting Bashar Assad of Syria. Words cannot describe the evil nature of that man.

If I ask how did we come to be ruled by such dweebs, twinks, and twits, the answer is that we either inherited them or they poured out of the woodwork of trusted institutions like cockroaches in the dark. We thought that today is like yesterday and there must have been some logical laying on of hands.

The full extent of the populist fury that's been fermenting and boiling up is not yet known but you can be sure that a lot of regular Americans are wide awake to the betrayals of the elites and the contempt they have for us.

[1] "If Trump Loses, a “Transformed” GOP Might Not Get a Second Chance." By Jim Jatras, Chronicles, 7/25/16.

Monday, July 25, 2016


     Lately every single day starts with a slew of irritations. Not calamities or crises, mind you; just minor niggling nuisances that obtrude and obstruct my progress.

     For example: I have dogs. Two. One of them is the size of a small horse. The other is...well, for a female German Shepherd Sophie’s pretty large (77 lb), but she's nowhere near Rufus’s size. And they have the unholy habits of:

  1. “Following me from in front;”
  2. Penning me into whatever room I occupy.

     I know their behavior is fueled by affection. I know they’re simply doing what they can to protect me, though from what or whom remains unclear. But that doesn’t make the back spasms any less severe when I have to brake to an instantaneous halt in the bedroom hallway because over two hundred pounds of canine companionship has slammed to a stop directly in front of me. (Catalogs of “hazards in the average home” really should include this.)

     Then there’s the “penning / herding” stuff. This can be particularly trying when I settle myself in front of my main computer. (I have five.) Rufus immediately lays himself down in such a fashion that I can barely get out of my office chair and must perform like a master contortionist to get out of the room. Does he care that I desperately need a coffee refill? Of course not. Neither does Sophie, who immediately gets up from her dog bed to “escort” me the instant I a stir a muscle.

     Yet somehow, despite advancing age and early-morning perceptions and reflexes that are, shall we say, not at their best, I get by. I manage to conduct my morning rituals, eat a dubious kind of breakfast, and write these intolerably sententious essays for your reading displeasure. Eventually, I get to Mass...Rufus permitting.

     Then there’s my wife Beth. Now, I love my wife. She tolerates me, a challenge that’s defeated a number of other women. But...well, let’s just say she has some odd ideas about what constitutes “putting away.” On various occasions I’ve asked her please to put away whatever she’s finished using. Her replies would stagger Socrates:

  • Piles of magazines mounded on the living room coffee table, some of them approaching a year old, and crossword puzzles printed out from various websites and completed long ago, scattered over the sofa-back table, are “put away.”
  • Bags, cans, and dishes of ingredients littering the kitchen counter, the baker’s island, and the kitchen table are “put away.”
  • Huge masses of her work papers that detail miscellaneous deviousnesses among her accounting clients, spread over the dining room table and its six chairs, are “put away.”
  • Six years’ accumulated detritus from her minivan, removed and scattered over the garage floor – “so I could get the car washed” – are “put away.”
  • And lately, she’s been leaving bags of groceries on my basement workbench. When I ask for the wherefore, she shrugs and says, “I thought I put them away. Would you take care of it, Sweetie?”

     (BONUS ROUND: Late yesterday, I noticed that the currently deployed roll of toilet paper in our master bathroom was getting near to exhaustion, so I took a fresh roll out of inventory and left it on the counter next to the Porcelain Throne. This morning on my first...visit, the deployed roll was down to three single-ply squares and the replacement roll was nowhere in sight. So I called out plaintively, “Sweetie, what happened to the fresh roll of toilet paper?” Her reply? “Oh, I noticed that was out and I put it away.”)

     I’ve checked; this is not considered a symptom of ingressive dementia.

     I know, I know: Women are just “like that.” No man will ever understand them. But it would chafe a bit less if she hadn’t started trying to “put away” her adult daughters’ relics in my closet.

     Finally for this morning’s curmudgeonry, there are the books. I have a lot of books: something over 13,000 physical volumes plus God alone knows how many ebooks. I need my books; they’re my tutors, my entertainment, and my boon companions. But when I’m doing research, I need to be able to find particular items swiftly rather than comb through the entire library for the volume of interest, and they’ve started to migrate.

     He who lives alone would have only himself to blame...but I don’t live alone. One wife, two dogs, four cats, and (I think) a doppelganger who rises in the wee hours to rearrange the bookshelves. Despite all my efforts, I can’t keep the reference volumes segregated from the pleasure reading. Just yesterday I went looking for Paul Johnson’s Modern Times – highly recommended, by the way – and despite a clear recollection of having installed it in my office next to my other histories, after a two-hour search I found it in the basement, between John Ross’s Unintended Consequences and my collection of cartoons by the late, great Bernard Kliban!

     You know I didn’t put it there. I don’t drink that much. So who did?

     Clearly, there’s villainy afoot. The scoundrel must be pursued relentlessly, caught, and brought to book. But for a change, most of the indictable miscreants are holed up at the Democrats’ National Convention, and as W. C. Fields once said, “One day I spent a month in Philadelphia.”

     Time was, life was a lot simpler. At least, it seems that way in memory, though the memories of an old man aren’t perfectly trustworthy. Get up, get clean, get dressed, get in the car and go to work, do software and management stuff for nine or ten hours, get in the car and go home, eat something, and collapse into bed. Repeat as needed. Plain instructions and few complications. If we overlook the tendency of the lawn to keep growing despite my express disapproval, that is.

     Maybe this is the dark side of retirement: finally noticing all the little stuff that seemed unimportant when I was bringing home the bacon...most of which Beth and the animals would consume before I could even get to my seat at the table.

     Surely there’s a silver lining to all this. A plot for a novel. Maybe a thriller about a sexagenarian driven by the minor garbage of exurban existence to become a serial killer. Has there yet been a blockbuster about an old fart who strangles passers-by with a garden hose after torturing them with atrocious puns? And for which of those categories of offense would he be more roundly condemned? (Soon to be a minor motion picture!)

     “Man plans and God laughs.” (Old Yiddish proverb. Use it on the old Yids you know.)

We stymied.

The familiar explanation for black failure – repeated endlessly in motion pictures, newspapers, magazines, and by political and educational leaders – is lingering white racism. As Taylor stresses:

"Americans are so accustomed to hearing – and repeating – this view that they scarcely bother to think what it means. It means, essentially, that white people, not blacks, are responsible for black behavior. It implies that blacks are helpless and cannot make progress unless whites transform themselves.

"Do blacks drop out of school? Teachers are insensitive to their needs. Do black women have children out of wedlock? Slavery broke up the black family. Are blacks more likely than whites to commit crimes? Oppression and poverty explain it. Are ghetto blacks unemployed? White businesses are prejudiced against them. Are blacks more likely to be drug addicts? They are frustrated by white society… There is scarcely any form of failure that cannot, in some way, be laid at the feet of racist white people."
"A Powerful Indictment of America’s Failed Racial Policy." Review of Paved with Good Intentions: The Failure of Race Relations in Contemporary America, by Jared Taylor by Charles Stanwood, The Journal of Historical Review, March-April 1993.

Hillary's health.

Does this look normal, staged, or tampered with in any way? Pay attention to the reaction of the woman with pink nail polish:

Don't look for this to be on the MSM anytime soon.

H/t: John (magnum) at mrc Newsbusters.


Great article. I may make my students read this when the semester start next month. Reminds me of the following joke (I live in California):

Q: What’s the difference between California and the Titanic?

A. The passengers on the Titanic didn’t vote to hit the iceberg.

Comment by Macesays on "No Lifeboats." By Robert Gore, The Burning Platform, 7/24/16.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Hallowed Names: A Sunday Rumination

     A story for you this morning.

     Long ago, in the capital city of a kingdom whose name has been lost, a horde of rag-clad beggars daily prowled the central square, pursuing prosperous-looking passers-by and importuning them for alms. As is the case even today, the greater part of those passers-by turned away their faces and hurried on, for they knew that the majority of the beggars were not truly victims of fate dependent upon the kindness of strangers, but could have lived by their own efforts. Thus did the many, who slothfully strove to live without work, pollute the square to the great detriment of the few.

     One of the few, a man named Aaron whom chance had genuinely disfavored, rather than aggressively pursuing every well dressed man who passed, stood stolidly and humbly at the edge of the square. Yet he was not neglected by those moved to give, for he made a practice of thanking his benefactors and praising the name of God for each gift. Near him chanced one of the many, a fellow named Balaun, who was ever alert for advantage. Balaun noted how Aaron’s receipts exceeded his own, though Aaron never strayed from his accustomed place. Balaun asked Aaron about his habit, learned of it, and was impressed. “Brother,” Balaun said, “one can easily see how slender are the proceeds for any mendicant in this place, for there are too many of us. We must go where there are fewer of us and more wealth at hand. Let us, therefore, go to the gates of the palace, for no one has yet dared to approach the king.” He smiled slyly. “Should he not have the opportunity to give alms?”

     Aaron was disturbed by Balaun’s suggestion. He foresaw not munificence but sorrow coming from such boldness. Yet he thought it his part to accompany Balaun, saying to himself, “Perhaps I can gentle the mood of the guards by my example, that they not drag Balaun away by his beard and put him to an ignoble ending.”

     At the right of the gates Aaron knelt and bowed his head, presenting himself in full and abject humility. Balaun stood at the left with his head thrown back and cried in a loud voice, “We petition His Majesty the King for succor.”

     The king, who by chance was strolling his grounds, heard Balaun’s outcry, stopped, and faced the gates. He saw the beggars, one standing and one kneeling, remarked to himself upon the novelty of the sight, and was moved to charity. He beckoned to a servant, who bowed low and asked of the king what he would have done.

     “Go to the kitchens,” the king said, “select two fat loaves, and bring them to the gates. Give one to each of the beggars there, tell them it is their king’s gift, and report to me on their replies.” The servant bowed again and departed to do as he’d been told.

     When Aaron received the loaf given to him, he quietly thanked the king for his gift, and said “Praised be the name of God, in whom all good things have their origins.” The servant recorded this and turned to Balaun.

     Balaun, who had watched Aaron closely, took the loaf from the servant with eager hands and cried out in a loud voice, “Forever praised be the name of our glorious king!” The servant recorded this, and the three went their separate ways.

     When they met the next day at the city square, Balaun persuaded Aaron to repeat the experiment of the day before. Aaron assented, and the two returned to the palace gates. Once again Aaron went to the right and dropped to his knees in a posture of humble supplication. Once again Balaun stood at the left with his head held high and cried out, “We petition His Majesty the King for succor.”

     The king took notice, summoned the servant of the day before, and asked him “What response did these beggars make to yesterday’s gifts?” The servant replied, “Lord, one thanked you and quietly praised God as the origin of all good things. The other shouted praise to you and your glory.”

     “Was it so?” the king said. “Then today let us follow a different path. Select two fat loaves as you did yesterday. Then go to my treasury, slit open one loaf, hollow it out and fill it with gold and silver coins. Then seal the loaf to conceal your tamperings. Give that loaf to the beggar who called out praise of my name. The other shall receive no more than he had yesterday.” The servant bowed and departed to do his king’s will.

     When the servant gave the unmodified loaf to Aaron, he did as he had done the day before: he quietly thanked the king for his gift, and said “Praised be the name of God, the progenitor of all blessings.” Balaun took the modified loaf, once again loudly praised the name of the king, and the three went their separate ways.

     As they hurried back toward the square, Balaun weighed his loaf in his hands and felt doubt. “It is not like yesterday’s loaf. There is a defect in it. Perhaps it was not baked to completion.” So when they reached the edge of the square, when Aaron momentarily set aside his loaf to adjust his garment, Balaun swiftly and cunningly exchanged the two, and hurried off before Aaron could notice and hail him back.

     Aaron took up the loaf, noted its considerable weight, and broke it open to expose the riches within. Overcome with gratitude and joy, he cried out “Blessings unlooked-for and unmerited! Thrice praised be the name of God!” He then roved the square to distribute the wealth, a little to each of the other beggars, so that all would have some share in it. Upon seeing this, a passing vineyard owner, who had need of a steward for his lands, approached Aaron and took him into his employ, and from that day Aaron begged no longer.

     The next day, when Balaun returned to the square, he saw no trace of Aaron, but departed alone to beg at the king’s gates once more. When he cried out for alms, the king was disturbed, summoned his servant, and asked, “Is that the beggar who praised my name yesterday, to whom you gave a loaf filled with riches?” The servant replied, “It is, my lord.” The king then said “To what extent did you enrich him?” The servant replied, “Lord, I chose the fattest loaf in the pantry, hollowed it almost to the crust, and poured in handful after handful of your coin until it was filled.”

     The king was deeply angered. “Avarice cannot be countenanced, especially from one who has already been the object of such beneficence.” So he summoned the captain of his guard, pointed at Balaun, and spoke a single terse command:

     “Behead him.”

     Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name.

     And may God bless and keep you all.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Quickies: “Change”

     To all those crusading for “change,” marching for “change,” collecting bottle caps for “change...”

     What do you mean? What do you want to change, in what direction and by what magnitude? If it’s something you can do personally, then do it and leave the rest of us in peace. If it’s a political quest, such that you think the government “must” take more power over our lives, stay well away from me: I shoot first and deal with the paperwork later.

     Nothing is quite as ignorant as a demand for unspecified “change.” Those who make such demands deserve to be dismissed with prejudice. They get an unfortunate amount of attention and media adulation, as if they were actually capable of doing something that would benefit others. In nearly every case they’re consuming our time and attention to no constructive purpose, and creating an opening for demagogues eager to snatch away still more of our hard-earned money and our rapidly dwindling freedom.

     Insult them. Be crude. Mock them. Be cruel! Make them feel like the morons they resemble (and probably are). Take vengeance for their consumption of your precious time. Nothing else – nothing within the penal law, at least – has the slightest chance of deterring them.

     Yes, I’m in a foul mood. I got up, looked in the mirror, and realized afresh that I’m old – that the hours of my life are trickling away. And the very first thing I confronted thereafter was a moron calling for completely unspecified “change.”

     Attila the Hun brought “change.”
     Genghis Khan brought “change.”
     Timur-i-leng brought “change.”
     Tomas de Torquemada brought “change.”
     John Calvin brought “change.”
     Hitler brought “change.”
     Stalin brought “change.”
     Fidel Castro brought “change.”
     Mao Tse-tung brought “change.”
     Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Mobutu Sese Seko, and Haile Mengistu Mariam brought “change.”
     Ruhollah Khomeini brought “change.”
     Osama bin Laden brought “change.”

     None for me, thanks.

Quickies: On Punching Back

     Remember The Won’s exhortation to his allegiants to “punch back twice as hard” -- ? It’s become something of a mantra on the Right, in part due to the efforts of Glenn Reynolds. As it turns out, the “twice as hard” part might not be necessary.

     I’ve discovered that metaphorically speaking, the Left has what boxing enthusiasts once called “a glass jaw.” They can’t take a punch. Not even an oblique, glancing one.

     Just recently, a Web conversation that I was privy to included a typical sort of Leftist disparagement of Donald Trump. I’m not one of Trump’s bigger fans; about the most positive thing I can say about him is that I think he’d be a better president than Hillary Clinton. But this...person made a direct, undisguised comparison of Trump to Hitler.

     To which I responded:

     “If you’re an American, another county heard from; how nice, but the voters will decide in November. If you’re not, we’ll gladly stay out of your politics if you’ll stay out of ours.”

     The original commenter replied “what are you trying to say in your response to my comment about trump sounding like hitler?” (Note the lack of capital letters; many Leftists never learn to shift for themselves.) He then blocked me from responding. No one else has responded – and I’d bet my bottom dollar that the others privy to it were as far to the left as the original commenter.

     It surprised me a bit. I’d thought I was being fairly mild...for me, at least. But Leftists cannot abide any dissent from their doctrines – and one of those doctrines, as several successive presidential elections have shown us, is that whoever the GOP nominates is “just like Hitler.”

     Now, some will “punch back,” but they can seldom rise above the sort of economic, social, and political ignorance of a Bernie Sanders fan. It’s nearly always sufficient to laugh, call them unintelligent and uneducated, and stroll away. The others reel in shock that someone has dared to call them out – even as mildly as I did above. They retreat to the Leftist cocoon to lick their wounds and garner sympathy from their fellows for having been so cruelly abused.

     Many on the Right have refrained from tactics such as mine out of a desire not to “offend,” or to “avoid unpleasantness.” The asymmetry involved could not be starker. They’ll call you every foul thing in their lexicon – and they do so because they’re confident that you won’t respond.

     If we go by the transactional classifications in Eric Berne’s famous little book Games People Play, the Leftist has descended to Child level in hurling an unsubstantiable insult. It’s the Rightist’s part to respond as a Parent: with the reproof an ignorant, unintelligent child deserves for such a remark. To refrain from doing so is to miss a huge opportunity: not for outreach – there’s no outreach possible to someone such as our hypothetical Leftist; he’s a life member of “a compact and unified church” outside which there is no salvation – but for the humiliation and discouragement of the enemy.

     Think it over. The tactic might be more valuable than it appears at first blush, and we need all the weapons we can get.

The Times delivers the slime.

The execrable New York Times writes of the increasingly important role that Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner plays in Trump's campaign and inserts a greasy insinuation at the end:
A 35-year-old real estate developer, investor and newspaper publisher, Mr. [Jared] Kushner derives his authority in the campaign not from a traditional resume but from a marital vow. He is Mr. Trump's son-in-law. Yet in a gradual but unmistakable fashion, Mr. Kushner has become involved in virtually every facet of the Trump presidential operation, so much so that many inside and out of it increasingly see him as a de facto campaign manager ... Much about the Trump candidacy seems at odds with Mr. Kushner's personality and biography: An Orthodox Jew and grandson of Holocaust survivors, Mr. Kushner is now at the center of a campaign that has been embraced by white nationalists and anti-Semites.[1]
Where is Robert "Have you no sense of decency, Senator" Welch when you need him?

We already went through this over what Trump was supposed to do because David Duke allegedly supported his candidacy. Politicians can't be tagged with the views of any of the millions of people who support them. If the New Black Panther Party and the Nation of Islam support Hillary, I suppose we'll read how her campaign has "been embraced by black nationalists and screwballs who believe there are invisible space ships circling the earth." Don't anyone hold their breath if that happens, however.

Where Trump is concerned, the Times sullied what's left of its reputation by insinuating that the Trump campaign is characterized by white nationalists and anti-Semites.

So, it's beyond fortunate Times didn't get hold of this confidential rough draft of the seating chart for the Republican convention that one of our sources was kind enough to pass on the Intergalactic Source of Truth. Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed and the Convention proceeded to seat merely the state delegates. But you see here a good example of what Republicans mean when we say we're a "big tent" party:

Little did the Times realize how close they came to putting their finger on the true nature of the Republican Party.

[1] "Quiet Fixer in Donald Trump's Campaign: His Son-in-Law, Jared Kushner." By Michael Barbaro and Jonathan Mahler, The New York Times, 7/4/16 (emphasis added). Good job, Michael and Jonathan. Your future at the NYT is assured.

UPDATE 7/23/16:

CNN contributes its own slime:

That black gentleman is awesome.

Friday, July 22, 2016

It’s Over...

     ...the Republican National Convention, that is...and the Democrats’ jamboree will soon follow. The serious Sturm und Drang is on its way.

     Several speakers at the RNC characterized Hillary Clinton as a criminal, and wholly corrupt. I shan’t dispute the point – I can’t, really; no honest man can – but I shall point out that in our time, the fraction of office seekers who aren’t at least somewhat corrupt is vanishingly small. While that doesn’t make Republican disparagement of Mrs. Clinton a case of “the pot calling the kettle black,” let it serve as a reminder: He who points his finger at another is pointing three other fingers back at himself.

     The final stage of the campaign is likely to be as vitriolic as any political contest in American history. Moreover, it’s possible that this will be part of the Democrats’ strategy, as Democrat voters are harder to drive away from the polls with simple nastiness. Unfortunately, the GOP’s nomination of Donald Trump gives them a clear target: Trump’s embrace of insult and vilification as weapons to wield against his Republican opponents opens him wide to such attacks. But then, they also showered such attacks on Mitt Romney and George W. Bush, two of the most gentlemanly men to enter politics in a century.

     Do you get the sense that I’m not looking forward to what’s next, Gentle Reader?

     Everyone has opinions. I’m open about mine, as any Gentle Reader will attest. One of them is that no matter whom the voters choose on November 8, “the government” will remain as it has been since the inception of the New Deal. I’d like to be wrong about that, but Of course I don’t think I am.

     Something else is “over,” something apart from and much larger than any political party’s convention: the presumption of individual rights as the foremost of all legal and political considerations. The Deep State, the militarization of state and local police forces and large parts of the federal bureaucracy, and the rise of a political class that:

  1. Believes itself entitled to power;
  2. Believes itself above all laws, including the Constitution;
  3. Has rigged the game such that it cannot be defeated by any nonviolent means;

...have put an end to that aspect of the American creed.

     Freedom as our grandfathers spoke of it – i.e., as a political attribute – is dead. For practical purposes, every assertion of a right – to speak, to worship, to bear arms, to assemble, to be secure in one’s possessions, to a trial by a jury of one’s peers, and so on – can be nullified by an assertion of “compelling government interest.”

     For any “right to vote” fans in the audience, that’s been reduced to a farce by vote fraud, voter intimidation, and the casting of ballots by millions of illegal aliens. But do go ahead if it makes you happy. Just remember that I’ve said it: We’re not voting our way out of this.

     An alternate approach is required.

     In his novel The Black Cloud, the late Sir Fred Hoyle had his protagonist character opine openly that political authority is a matter of belief:

     ‘Here’s a fine thing,’ he gurgled. ‘I forgot to stop our conversation going out on ten centimetres. They’ve been hearing everything we’ve been saying – Alexis’s reference to the Kremlin, Chris’s remark about cutting their throats. No wonder they’re in a rage! I reckon the fat’s in the fire now, all right.’
     No one seemed quite to know what to do. At length Kingsley walked over to the control board. He flicked a number of switches, and said into a microphone:
     ‘This is Nortonstowe, Christopher Kingsley speaking. If you have any message, get on with it.’
     An angry voice came over the loud-speaker:
     ‘So you’re there, are you, Nortonstowe! We’ve been trying to get through to you for the last three hours.’
     ‘Who is that speaking?’
     ‘Grohmer, U.S. Secretary for Defence. I might tell you that you are talking to a very angry man, Mr Kingsley. I am waiting for an explanation of tonight’s outrageous conduct.’
     ‘Then you will go on waiting, I fear. I will give you another thirty seconds, and if your statements have not assumed some reasonably cogent form by then, I shall switch off again.’
     The voice became quieter, and more threatening:
     ‘Mr Kingsley, I have heard before of your insufferable obstructiveness, but this is the first time I have encountered it myself. For your information, I intend that it shall be the last time. This is not a warning. I am simply telling you here and now that very shortly you will be removed from Nortonstowe. Where you will be removed to, I shall leave to your own imagination.’
     ‘I am anxious that in your plans for me, Mr Grohmer, you have given full consideration to one very important point.’
     ‘And what is that, may I ask?’
     ‘That it is within my power to obliterate the whole continent of America. If you doubt this statement ask your astronomers what happened to the Moon on the evening of 7 August. You might also like to take into account that it would take me substantially less than five minutes to implement this threat.’
     Kingsley clicked off a group of switches and the lights at the control panel went off. Marlowe was white-faced and there were little beads of sweat on his forehead and on his upper lip. ‘Chris, that was not well done, it was not well done,’ he said. Kingsley was genuinely disturbed.
     ‘I’m sorry, Geoff. It never occurred to me while I was speaking that America is your country. I say again that I’m sorry, but by way of excuse you must know that I’d have said the same thing to London, or to Moscow, or to anybody.’
     Marlowe shook his head.
     ‘You’ve got me wrong, Chris. I’m not objecting because America is my country. In any case I know you were only putting up a bluff. What worries me is that the bluff may turn out to be damn dangerous.’
     ‘Nonsense. You’re giving an exaggerated importance to a storm in a tea-cup. You still haven’t got over the idea that politicians are important because the newspapers tell you so. They’ll probably realize that I might be bluffing but while there’s just the possibility that I could make good my threat they’ll lay off the strong arm stuff. You’ll see.’
     But in this matter Marlowe was right and Kingsley wrong, as events soon showed.

     [Sir Fred Hoyle, The Black Cloud]

     As Hoyle illustrates in what follows, political power isn’t about us peones believing that it exists. It consists in the willingness and ability to enforce its will, which arises from weapons and men willing to wield them at the politicians’ behest. In other words, political power is a matter of the allegiance of enforcers.

     It’s been suggested, for example by promoters of the Oath Keepers approach, that one avenue back toward freedom lies in splitting the enforcers off from the politicians and bureaucrats. The allegiance of our military and police forces to the political class isn’t impenetrable. Indeed, many soldiers, sailors, and airmen have expressed disgust with Washington – sotto voce, of course – and have suggested that they might be amenable to a coup. Nevertheless, this is a chancy path to follow; violent revolution always is. The typical revolution is followed by greater tyranny, not greater freedom. At best it’s a roll of a twenty-sided die with all of one’s hopes and prospects staked on getting a twenty.

     Besides, counting on others to liberate you places the ultimate decision out of your hands.

     Freedom, de facto if not de jure, consists in not being interfered with. He who can contrive that precious condition for himself is freer than any obedient citizen of any government, however straitly limited.

     Given the conditions that prevail today, the man determined to be free will find that his best chance of achieving it lies in individual action. Actions taken to reduce one’s visibility, and thus one’s vulnerability, to the State, judiciously supplemented by cooperation with like-minded friends and neighbors, are the most promising way forward. Nor will it matter who prevails at the polls in November. All power seekers want power; that makes them enemies to freedom wherever and whenever it arises.

     There are things “we” can do “together.” The most important of them is the creation, refinement, and dissemination of tactics: methods by which to keep the State unaware of our decisions and actions.

     I’ve suggested this before. However, no significant conversation on the subject has arisen. We’ve spent too much of our precious time and energy listening to politicians scream imprecations at one another. Why, if their posturings will amount to mere noise? Wouldn’t you rather be doing something constructive? Something that will enhance your life, broaden your possibilities, and maybe put a little extra purchasing power in your wallet?

     Wouldn’t you rather be free?