Sunday, April 30, 2017

A Future Of Violence: A Kinda-Sorta Rumination

     These past two days I’ve received a number of emails to the same general effect: “Why all the silliness and inanity, Fran?” Rather than answer them individually, I’ve decided to post on the subject here.

     It strikes me as a fit subject for Walpurgisnacht.

     A saying many Catholics will immediately recognize runs thus: “Every saint has a past; every sinner has a future.” It’s a byword of sorts among both clerics and lay communicants. We’re all flawed, all fallible, all susceptible to temptation. Most of us fall short of our ethical commitments at some point. It’s whether we recognize and recover from our missteps that matters most.

     Some don’t. Some reject any standard that would circumscribe their self-indulgences. Some willfully refuse to evaluate their own conduct. Some of those, having been shown the error of their ways by others, refuse to repent and reform. Instead, they “double down.”

     At some point, “doubling down” transforms what might otherwise have been a venial matter into a mortal one: one that imperils others quite as much as oneself.

     What sort of future does such a person face? Is it likely to be one of tranquility and satisfaction with his lot? What sort of persons would willingly gather around him? Would those who gather at his grave – if any – be likely to deem his life “a life well lived?”

     Don’t all answer at once, now.

     When Jesus said:

     Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye. [Matthew 7:1-5]

     ...He was referring to the judgment of others as persons. Deeds may be judged; indeed, we could hardly function, individually or socially, were we unwilling to do so. But judgements of others as persons are not ours to make. They’re reserved to Him.

     The implications of that stricture are far-reaching. They who offend us remain capable of repentance and reform, which is why those they’ve offended are expected to forgive them. Penalties there may be, but unending condemnation – theological condemnation – is forbidden to us. It’s the culmination of the sin of hatred, a capital sin about which we’ve been warned throughout the ages.

     Hatred converts most readily to violence.

     If you haven’t seen Viggo Mortensen’s marvelous star vehicle A History Of Violence, I urge you most imperatively to do so. Along with its immense cinematic impact, it provides two illustrations of the importance of forgiveness: one positive, one negative.

     The negative one arises in the climactic scene. Eddie Cusack, a highly-placed Philadelphia gangster played by the great William Hurt, is unwilling to forgive his younger brother Joey, played by Mortensen, for a deed that impeded Eddie’s rise through the ranks of organized crime. He’s willing to kill Joey for having obstructed his path, though events develop contrarily.

     The positive one is displayed in the final scene, when Joey’s wife, played by Maria Bello, regards him over their dinner table. He’s been good to her their whole lives together; early in the movie she calls him “the best man I’ve ever known,” and means it sincerely. Nor is her evaluation unique; everyone who knows him only as “Tom Stall” would concur. Whether she actually forgives him for the deception the events of the movie have revealed to their family is left unresolved...but this viewer, at least, got the sense that she would find a way to do so, as difficult as it might be.

     Forgiveness and hatred are supremely powerful choices. What follows from them can mend or shatter: individuals, families, and nations. We don’t always make the right choice between them.

     The United States of America in this year of Our Lord 2017 is seething with hatred. That hatred has already animated violence. More, it’s elicited a reciprocal hatred – and a reciprocal violence. If I haven’t conveyed to you, Gentle Reader, a sense for where those influences will lead us,. I’ve failed at my principal life mission and should probably renounce it forever.

     Jesus forgave the men who crucified Him:

     And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots. [Luke 23:33-34]

     If He could forgive His own torturers and executioners, how much more imperative is it that we resolve to forgive those who have offended us?

     I’m not suggesting that anyone should refrain from defending himself, his loved ones, or his rights. I’m not suggesting that anyone should reply meekly to a blow from another. Turning the other cheek is for times of general civility, when such an event arises from misunderstanding that temporarily eclipses the otherwise predominant spirit of good will among men. Perhaps the thing about Jesus’s preachments that most astounded the Jews of Judea was His refusal to lead them in rebellion against the Roman occupiers. Yet those who bothered to ponder the matter learned a great lesson: that the maintenance of a general peace is more important than the identity of whoever currently maintains it.

     We Americans, who have known unbroken domestic peace since 1865, face a future of violence – a future in which all political questions are ultimately decided by the mailed fist – unless we can learn that lesson promptly and wholeheartedly.

     May God bless and keep you all.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Day 100

     Base-10 arithmetic has an undeniable power. Those zeroes! They’re irresistible. So round, so firm.... They suggest a boundless, even transcendent significance without actually saying so...or saying why. And We the Ten-Fingered form all sorts of opinions and conclusions for no better reason.

     But really, Gentle Reader: Apart from all the neuroses over the Millennium Bug database problem – not one of which actually manifested in practice – what was so significant about the arrival of the Third Millennium After Christ? That after eight endless years we would finally get a replacement for the lying philanderer in the White House and his shrieking harpy of a wife?

     (And she sure stuck around long enough, didn’t she?)

     Base-10’s junior partner, of course, is the number 5. Numbers divisible by 5 are almost as appealing as the ones with the zeroes on the end. At any rate, they assume significant roles in a number of places.

     For example, consider the prominence of 5 in age-related matters:

  • At 5, she goes from being a toddler to a little girl...or if she’s been particularly naughty, a “young lady.”
  • At 25, a young man who needs auto insurance is no longer relegated to the Assigned Risk pool.
  • At 35, one has passed out of the “youth” demographic into what we once called “middle age.”
  • At 45, you get your first “preparedness” solicitations from those who sell burial plots.
  • At 55, most state and federal bureaucrats retire.
  • And at 65, you’re old.

     I suppose I should also mention that if the police raid your home for whatever reason and find five or more firearms, the news media will describe you as “heavily armed.” So if you want favorable treatment from the media vultures, keep it to four or fewer.

     As long as we’re playing with numbers, have a few puzzles I’ve always enjoyed. They go like this: You’re given a set of digits. Your goal is that, using any or all of the standard arithmetic and algebraic operators, you must form an arithmetic or algebraic expression with those digits that expresses a prescribed value. You must use all the digits given, and no others.

     Here are a few easy ones to get you started:

  • Express 100 using eight 8s.
  • Express 100 using four 9s.
  • Express 10 using five 1s.
  • Express 20 using two 3s.

     For our more advanced mathematicians:

  • Express 2 using two 4s.
  • Express 1 without using any digits whatsoever (Provide two solutions).
  • Now express -1 without using any digits (Provide two solutions).

     Have fun.

     Answers to questions no one is asking:

  1. Two cords.
  2. July 10, this year and every year.
  3. She retired from all singing and acting in 1949.
  4. Arthur M. Schlesinger.
  5. No one really knows.

     Questions at the end of this column.

     Most Gentle Readers come here expecting to read about politics or public policy, and I’m sure the title of this piece has given some reason to expect a political segment here, so I’ll bow to the expectation and oblige you.

     Trump’s doing just fine, folks. It’s the lily-livered Republicans in Congress who need spinal transplants.

     I watched an impressive movie just yesterday – at YouTube, of all places. Title: I’ll Follow You Down. It stars Rufus Sewell, Gillian Anderson, Victor Garber, and Haley Joel Osment. Here’s the IMDB listing for it.

     Briefly, the plot is about the disappearance of a physicist, a husband and father, after he’s traveled to a physics conference in Princeton in the year 2000. (Those zeroes again!) The disappearance shatters his wife, who becomes irremediably distraught, and moves his father-in-law and his genius son – both also physicists – to investigate the mystery.

     The movie is short, about 93 minutes, which suggests that it was edited for distribution to television. The direction, script, and acting are excellent. Its emotional impact is so high that I can’t figure out why it never made it into general release. The “science,” as in most SF movies, is hokey, but that’s about the only critical thing I can say about it. There are virtually no special effects. I recommend it highly.

     I don’t have a lot else to write about this morning, so here are the questions to the answers no one has been seeking:

  1. How much wood would a woodchuck chuck? (If he could chuck wood, that is.)
  2. What’s the day the Teddy Bears have their picnic?
  3. Whatever became of Deanna Durbin?
  4. What idiot popularized the notion that a president’s first hundred days are especially significant?
  5. Has Hillary Rodham Clinton ever achieved anything other than marrying a future president?

     You’re welcome. See you tomorrow.

Friday, April 28, 2017

I watched "The Handmaid's Tale," so you wouldn't have to



They missed the mark by "this much..."


If an editor had substituted an Islamic "call-to-prayer" for every tolling church-bell, a line from the Muslim-trifecta (Koran/Sunnah/Hadith) for every New Testament quote, and a head-to-fingertip-to-toe all black Islamic woman-shroud for the scarlet red Maids' robes, then I'd say Hulu has a winner with their 10-part cautionary, "The Handmaid's Tale." But as it stands? It's a Hate+Hit piece which slanders all Christians, but particularly Protestants (a cathedral is shown being demolished; a priest is among the regime's most hated, executed-by-hanging, next to an abortion doctor and a homosexual).

I took forteen (smallish-) pages of notes during the currently available three episodes, complete with hour-minute designations, just so I could go back and "perfect" the quotations. Honestly, though, I'm not sure I want to give that much thought to proving how stupid, misguided, and downright inciting-to-hatred-of-Christians this production and its "creatives" are. I think I'd rather put the effort into a more reality-based novella, addressing the problems of the very same sleep-walking Western feminists, who in "T.H.T.," wonder aloud, "How did we let it happen..."

I only shouted at the screen a few times, "Same way you're 'letting' Islamic supremacism happen, right now, you idiots!" They don't see it in the EU, so they sure as heck don't recognize it'll be on our horizon, next.

If only the creatives involved in the series (and the sure-to-be-legions of fans) had an ounce of shame, they could wake up before this nightmare scenario comes true via our Islamic "friends." They won't, because in 2017, as they did back after 1986's novel, and 1990's first screen production, they still actually expect Christians to go on a rampage nationwide, "stretching necks" and gouging out eyes and clitorises(sp?).

Because they refuse to look, they'll never see the caliphate coming.
Therefore, they will become the very characters they wrote or pretended to be.
("Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition")


Reductio Ad Absurdum

     I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: 'O Lord, make my enemies ridiculous.' And God granted it. -- Voltaire

     Every writer – fiction; nonfiction; opinion; whatever – knows that there are days when he must not write. Days when his world is an unbroken landscape of pain. Days when his latest failure is all he can think about. Days when everything irritates him...especially the insistence of those around him that he should “buck up, it isn’t that bad.”

     On such a day, a wise writer stays well away from the keyboard. He does everything but write. He reads. He mows the lawn and weeds the flowerbeds. He shops or does household chores. He plays with the dogs and cats. He picks up that instrument of eternal torment, the phone, and calls a friend – preferably not another writer – to bitch about things worth bitching about. If he’s resolute, then when he’s ready to seek refuge in the arms of Morpheus, he will have added zero words to the aggregate of man-made prose. He can hope for a better day on the morrow.

     This feels like such a day to me. So I figured I’d write about it.

     There are many absurdities in the world. The ones that annoy me most are:

  • Unjust and unsound generalizations;
  • Important, timely generalizations that people fear to make;
  • An unwillingness to note the exceptions to sound generalizations;
  • An unwillingness to accept that those exceptions are exceptional.

     It is not the case that “every rule has exceptions.” That’s a bit of folk unwisdom that’s outlived its time. But the most important generalizations about people – i.e., the ones about our behavior in the face of certain conditions and stimuli – certainly do.

     For example, the “Antifa” clowns around Berkeley, California formed a generalization about persons in the Right: specifically, that “Antifa” could attack us physically with confidence that there would be no counterattack. The most recent confrontation violated their expectation. However, whether that event was an exception or the demonstration of another, superior generalization – i.e., that once one side has rejected the rule of nonviolence in discourse, neither side will honor it – remains unclear. The decision by Berkeley’s chapter of Young America’s Foundation not to risk another violent altercation for the sake of hosting Ann Coulter has left it undecided.

     People really ought to conform to their types. It annoys me greatly when they refuse to do so.

     Not too long ago, I wrote this:

     We elevated a consummate deal-maker to the presidency. He’s out there doing his best to make deals – deals that he believes will serve America’s interests. Was it really imaginable that he would superglue himself to any set of policy prescriptions?

     There’s a generalization in there: A deal-maker will strive to make deals. It’s not without exceptions. Whether Donald Trump, now the president of these United States, will demonstrate any exceptions remains to be seen. However, as famed bridge expert Terence Reese once said, the race may not always be to the swift nor the battle to the strong, but that’s the way to bet.

     It is reasonable – i.e., in conformance with his established pattern – to expect President Trump to view any clash over legislation, executive action, or foreign policy as the start of a negotiation. His practice for many years has been to accept the best outcome available, if it’s at all acceptable. He will walk away from the table if he deems it right or prudent. But that doesn’t mean he has no inflexible stances. The next few weeks could reveal such stances, especially concerning the growing threats from North Korea and Iran.

     Concerning observable patterns in the behavior of the Left, especially its younger adherents, we have this article:

     A group of Yale University graduate students announced Tuesday evening that they would be undertaking a hunger strike to pressure the administration into granting them better union benefits. The strike is taking place in front of University President Peter Salovey’s home.

     "Yale wants to make us wait and wait and wait … until we give up and go away," the eight members of the graduate student union Local 33 announced. "We have committed ourselves to waiting without eating."

     A hunger strike! How Gandhi-ish. How calculated to stir the sympathies of other perennially entitled patsies young idealists! But if we read a little further into the article, it seems things are not quite that stark:

     As it turns out, the hunger strike might not put anyone's health in peril. According to a pamphlet posted on Twitter by a former Yale student, the hunger strike is "symbolic" and protesters can leave and get food when they can no longer go on.

     Yale’s young Leftists dislike the idea of deprivation and discomfort, you see. It really “shouldn’t” be necessary for them to get what they want. But as I’ve observed before in a different context, in the Land of Should:

  • All programs work perfectly on the first try;
  • All programs do everything and take no time to develop;
  • Even the most complex programs take up no memory or disk space, and require no operator familiarization!

     Please read the entire article. The tweet stream alone is more than worth your time.

     One more grump and I’ll close for today. This one concerns a disliked blogging colleague, whom I will not name nor link. It’s about the difference between personal and ideological villainy.

     This colleague, you see, has a friend who was recently swindled by a sharpster who calls himself a libertarian. In consequence, the colleague has condemned libertarians. In fact, the title for the relevant piece suggests that we should all be killed. His basis is the claim that libertarians hold that anything that’s legal therefore can and should be done: a slander of the first water.

     Was he being sarcastic? It’s hard to tell; he’s not a particularly good or clear writer. One thing does come through clearly: he despises us as a group.

     I can easily agree that the sharpster who swindled his friend, though apparently without actually breaking the law, is a villain, the sort that decent persons should ostracize. But to assert that libertarians generally would approve of the sharpster’s actions is baseless and vicious. As I’m a libertarian and know a number of libertarians and sympathizers, I can refute that notion without a qualm.

     Libertariansm, within its domain of application, is wholesome and sound. It’s the only governing philosophy founded on a moral principle: the absolute inviolability of individuals’ natural rights. That the political organization called the Libertarian Party has been taken over by fringy types does not bear on the ideology. Neither is it a condemnation of the ideology that there are some who style themselves libertarians but behave in a tawdry, fraudulent, or villainous manner.

     The same, of course, could be said about Christianity and those who call themselves Christians.

     Having scrubbed all that off the bottom of my brainpan, I believe I am adequately prepared to go a full day without writing. Will my resolve be equal to the test presented by my excessive loquaciousness? Will my fingers stray to the keyboard while my attention is elsewhere? We can only wait and see.

     Later, Gentle Reader.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Quickies: For My Catholic Readers

     I’ve said it before: The pope is not infallible on non-theological subjects. But the Church hierarchy would like us to forget that:

     Because of the statement of Vatican II that “religious submission of mind and will must be shown in a special way to the authentic magisterium of the Roman Pontiff, even when he is not speaking ex cathedra,” and “must be shown in such a way that his supreme magisterium is acknowledged with reverence, the judgments made by him are sincerely adhered to, according to his manifest mind and will,” Catholic leaders and publications tend to think that they must adhere to anything the Pope says about anything.

     Well, what about Jorge Cardinal Bergoglio – excuse me, Pope Francis – and his obeisance toward Islam?

     As the prototypical progressive Jesuit, Pope Francis prides himself on his “ecumenism.” He oozes enthusiasm for every religion except his own. At the top of his list of favorite religions is the Church’s fiercest adversary — Islam.

     He often sounds more like a spokesman for CAIR than a Catholic pope. After jihadists cut off the head of a French priest in July 2016 — yelling “Allahu Akbar” over the priest’s slit throat — Pope Francis rushed to the defense of Islam. “I don’t like to talk about Islamic violence, because every day, when I read the newspaper, I see violence,” he said, before ludicrously blaming the rise of terrorism on the “idolatry” of free-market economics: “As long as the god of money is at the center of the global economy and not the human person, man and woman, this is the first terrorism.

     The pope is a hard-left “progressive:” i.e., a socialist. He’s singlehandedly destroying the greatest of all human institutions from its power seat. Catholics worldwide have no idea how to deal with him. The College of Cardinals is largely useless.


Long March News

     By now I’m sure all my Gentle Readers have learned about the cancellation of Ann Coulter’s appearance at Berkeley, which was scheduled to occur today. In other Left Coast news, Portland, Oregon’s annual Parade of Roses was cancelled for the same reason. I’m certain we have only a few hours before a hue and cry arises over President Trump’s pledge to return K-through-12 education to state and local control. Instapundit readers will already know that graduate-student-union activists have attacked an internationally famous chemist as a “rape apologist.”

     So what else is new? Well, there’s a Liberty Zone tirade about the decline of trust in the news media, and Darin at Crusader Rabbit discusses why Fox News is moving leftward. I must admit, it disturbed me somewhat that in his new tenure over Bill O’Reilly’s vacated slot, Tucker Carlson (“He’s so cute!” – my wife) chose to interview Caitlyn Jenner as his first priority. But if Darin is correct, it’s all of a piece. Money talks, don’t y’know.

     There are the ongoing attempts to erase history. There’s the usual Islamic agitation for special privileges. There’s all the usual bashing of Christians, men, white people, and anyone else with too much pride to form their own special interest group. Keeping track of all this stuff is cutting into the time I need to purge my hate mail.

     A little more of this and we’ll have lost the culture, fellow freedom lovers. Maybe we already have.

     The emergence of citizen journalism, conducted mainly via the Web, seemed promising. The explosion of indie writers and filmmakers heartened me considerably. The homeschooling movement, coupled to the proliferation of school-choice initiatives, promised to bring important change. And of course, there were the talk-radio stations and Fox News. For a while, it looked as if we might break the culture free of the Left’s stranglehold.

     I’m not sure why it hasn’t happened. The Left isn’t good at journalism (it suppresses the most important news), entertainment (there are irritating leftist political messages embedded in everything), or education (our kids are coming out both stupid and deluded). Out-competing them seemed the way to go. If that’s correct, it’s taking far longer than I hoped. Worse, forces I’d have thought would favor freedom have proved by their behavior to be on the other side.

     The digital revolution, of course, was inherently apolitical. The facilities it created are available to all. Yet it’s we in the Right who’ve striven most determinedly to use them. So why aren’t we getting anywhere?

     Though significant and cheering in and of itself, it would be a grave mistake to overvalue the election of Donald Trump. Remember Andrew Breitbart’s adage: “Politics is downstream from culture.” Ultimately, the culture might prove to be the only battleground that matters.

     In contemplating this matter, I find myself wondering about the importance of communities: neighborhoods and voluntary assemblies such as churches, clubs, and charities. I’d guess that most people don’t think of them as cultural elements, yet they plainly are. Churches promulgate conceptions of morals, ethics, and what constitutes a life well lived. Clubs give emphasis to particular interests and pastimes, themselves important signposts of how we spend our free time. Charities, of course, actuate our fellow-feeling sentiments, which are critical to any view of what is best in life.

     (Do you think there were charity organizations among the Mongol hordes? Myself, I’d bet against it.)

     But Americans’ interest in all three of these things have fallen off. Churches have suffered political infiltration and a correlated decline in attendance at services. Clubs, especially men’s clubs, are waning as well, though the reasons aren’t quite as clear. And though Americans remain the most charitable people on Earth, we’ve been “contracting it out” – i.e., eschewing personal involvement in favor of writing a check to some large, supposedly charitable organization – ever more as time has passed.

     Whatever fraction of our culture is embedded in those institutions has weakened gravely. Nor is it clear how they might be resuscitated.

     “The news is all bad, but it’s good for a laugh.” – Tom Paxton

     Street violence is rising. Privacy and cash are under attack. Transgenderism has become a trend. Communists and left-wing identitarians are bidding to become the dominant voices -- indeed, the only voices -- in the national discourse. The Republican caucuses in Congress have preemptively surrendered to the minority Democrats. Even Donald Trump is retreating from the border wall. Perhaps worst of all, a small number of major institutions have secured effective control of the Internet. They’re fighting the repeal of one of the most pernicious developments of the Obamunist Era: net neutrality. Miraculously, none of them are governments...but give them time.

     Of all the pro-freedom initiatives of the past decades, only one – the right to keep and bear arms – seems to have achieved a net advance. We’ll see shortly whether that’s good news.

     Inasmuch as this is trending ever more depressing, while I have fiction to write and numerous chores of other sorts (don’t ask), I suppose I’ll close with a couple of relevant images:

     Have a nice day.

     UPDATE: Yes, so soon. I’ve already received an email about the above column. My correspondent wrote “Come on, give me an example of some really bad news.” Okay, you asked for it: One of my fellow parishioners tells me that her three children have adopted an exciting new game: racing the timer in their electric toothbrush. Truly, we are doomed.

Monkey business at the OPCW.

OPCW refers to Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. FFM refers to Fact Finding Mission.
We are told that the FFM already took some biomedical samples, which were analysed and revealed the presence of sarin. Moreover, they say that the results of this investigation are final and not subject to any doubt. But let me ask you where, how and when were these samples taken? Was the chain of custody, established by the OPCW itself, complied with when safekeeping the evidence? It would be good to receive answers to these questions, especially since the mission, as we know, has never gone to Syria. I’m asking these questions for a reason. In my remarks on April 13, I already said that the Russian military, who collected the materials testifying to the use of chemical weapons in Aleppo, are being forced to bend over backwards trying to explain how they found the fragments of ammunition, to whom they reported and even asking them to present some obscure logbooks. They kept asking us about this during a special video conference, and posed an ever greater number of questions during a meeting on the sidelines of the Executive Council. And this in spite of the fact that our specialists already have a pretty much clear general picture of what actually happened there. Still, four months later, the FFM has not yet come up with any conclusions. I emphasise that they have been analysing this for four months and are still unable to come with any conclusions. Then here, all of a sudden we see such incredible efficiency and conclusions that are not subject to any doubt. So, think for yourselves why we are insisting that the results of a full-fledged comprehensive investigation should inspire confidence not only to a group of Western countries, but to all other states as well.

The fact that the delegations of some countries, primarily from the Western group, are always shying away from accepting the decisions proposed by us and the Iranians suggests that they are, in fact, not interested in establishing the truth.

~ Ambassador Alexander Shulgin, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the OPCW, April 19(?), 2017.[1]

[1] "Russia Responds After US Blocks Inspection of Syrian Air Base. US 'blocked a decision aimed at a prompt initiation of a mission to find out what really happened in Khan Sheikhun', according Russia's OPCW Ambassador Alexander Shulgin." By RI Staff, Russia Insider, 4/23/17.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Good Lord!

     A third post, on a day I’d rather hoped to spend on other things? Well, if I must. The deluge of exceedingly nasty incoming email makes it necessary.

     I am a racist. I’ve made that plain a number of times. However, I am also a scientist, in the exact sense of the word: I respect hypotheses supported by the confirmations of repeatable experiments, and am willing to admit when I’m wrong. What I don’t respect is inane slander, contempt, and assertions made in defiance of the observable facts.

     The piece below embodies my convictions, albeit indirectly. Allow me to make them maximally explicit:

There are statistical differences among the races.
Those differences are manifest in several areas of human achievement.

     Feel free to disagree. My self-regard will be unaffected. But contemptuous, slanderous, , factually incorrect, and otherwise inane comments will do nothing to change my convictions.

     Now for something not so different after all.

     There’s an idea going around that’s drawn some odium. That idea is embodied in a phrase I won’t use just yet. The idea is founded on the belief that the statistical differences between the races make it unlikely that a multiracial society – more specifically, a society that mixes blacks with whites and Asians – can never be adequately stable or peaceful. In consequence of that belief, its holders advocate a political separation of the races, each to nations and / or continents of its own.

     I’m sure you’ve guessed the magic phrase by now. It’s white nationalism.

     Mind you, the proponents of black nationalism have never heard so much as a word of criticism for their representation. Indeed, many whites – frankly, I’d rather not include them among us, but facts are facts – have provided their aspirations with encouragement. But white nationalists are treated as if they were hate-filled, genocidal maniacs.


     It’s fairy simple, really: Nowhere in the world is there a black-run nation that has come anywhere close to the standards of living, public order, and general gentility that the white-run nations of the West – for shorthand, the “First World” – have achieved in their own lands. Blacks believe, probably correctly, that their ascent to white levels of prosperity and peace depend upon their association with whites. History – specifically the history of European colonialism in Africa – provides ample evidence to that effect.

     Therefore, the political separation of the black and white races would be disastrous for the blacks. They cannot be serious about their racial nationalism; it would cost them far too much. When white nationalism rises to challenge them, to compel them to put up or shut up, they feel the threat in their bones.

     I have not the slightest sympathy for them.

     I see no need to beat this into the magma layers. I stand where I stand on the basis of statistical evidence and well-recorded historical facts. You, of course, are free to disagree. Indeed, you’re free to marshal evidence and concoct arguments as to why I’m mistaken. If you can do so, very well: invite my attention to them; mail a link to your argument to my public email address. But the slightest hint of contempt for me or my evidentially well supported, logically arrived at position will cause me to ignore you.

     I have sufficient confidence in my own intelligence to snort such slights aside.

I Thought I Was Done For Today...

     ...but a piece linked at Doug Ross’s site has raised my hackles:

     When I come across some web site or material that starts to get racial – like, say, therightstuff dot biz – I go “Ugh!” and don’t look much further. Because assigning importance to race is dumb, whether it’s from the Left or the Right, I usually don’t want to waste my time on people/sites that do it. [Emphasis added by FWP]

     This contemptuous dismissal of the opinions sincerely held by several very bright persons I know -- including myself -- is pretty much the usual. “Dumb,” says this semi-literate...person. Well, if it’s so “dumb” to attribute some degree of causal power to race, how would he explain the strong and persistent correlations among race, intelligence, aggression, and criminality?

     Note that the very same people endlessly willing to call race realism “dumb” (and to spew venom at those of us who hold to it) will tell you that it’s “natural” that football and basketball are dominated by blacks. Yet they frown at the suggestion that it’s “natural” that hard-science doctorates and symphony orchestras are the almost exclusive province of whites and Asians. We who are willing to contemplate such connections must be “dumb.”

     The unwillingness to allow that it might be “natural” that as a statistical matter whites and Asians are more intelligent and less inclined to aggression and criminality than blacks suggests either a thorough indoctrination in political correctness or a deeply driven cowardice.

     A useful tangential observation: it’s very nearly impossible to domesticate the wilderness-bred wolf. It took many generations of selective breeding and careful conditioning to produce the amiable, comfortable companion we know as the dog. No doubt “Gay Patriot” would react to that by accusing me of wanting to institute a eugenic regime among blacks, to breed their aggression out and some intelligence in. But that, too, is a characteristic smear from those unable or unwilling to read racial cards that have been face up on the table for a century and more.

     This has been a public-service tirade by your race-realist Curmudgeon Emeritus.


     No, that is not a synonym for “I got nothin’.” Not exactly, anyway.

     1. Old Nazis, New Nazis.

     The Sturmabteilung “Brownshirts” that so greatly assisted Hitler and the Nazis to power in 1930s Germany were brawny men. Indeed, Ernst Rohm would have no other kind. He didn’t much care what else they were: criminals, drug addicts, homosexuals, child molesters, and other categories of unsavory deviant were quite welcome in the SA’s ranks as long as they could and would thrash the opposition.

     Today’s Nazis – AntiFa, Black Bloc, and allied organizations – have somewhat less stringent admissions requirements:

     ...which is probably why, after their most recent humiliation, they’re contemplating not disturbing Ann Coulter’s visit to Berkeley tomorrow:

     Applause to Oregon Muse at AoSHQ. The tempora surely do mutantur, don’t they just?

     2. Frontiers In Officialese.

     I’ve long since thrown up my hands over the inability of contemporary Americans to compose a syntactically correct sentence. It’s been obvious in our casual communications for some time, but never before has it been quite this blatant in an official statement:

     CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) – A Lowcountry police department has formally taken a stance on a Senate bill which, if passed, would allow anyone who can legally purchase a gun to carry it in the state openly or concealed.

     The Charleston Police Department tweeted an update on its Twitter account Monday night sharing the department’s opinion on Senate bill S. 449 reading in part:

     “Please understand what this bill creates – the ability for anyone who can legally purchase a firearm, many who have not completed a background check to determine whether or not they are prohibited purchasers due to the location and manner of the transfer or received any type of training, to walk our streets and neighborhoods with a handgun on their hip, in a bag, or under their jacket without any review or training.”

     I’m floored. Did that really come from a departmental opinion? How large is the department? Is its funding adequate? Are its employees paid? Is there no one among those employees, their spouses, their friends and relatives, or their neighbors to whom they could have recurred for help with this travesty?

     Great God in heaven! It’s no wonder every one of my supervisors regularly praised my writing and sent any communication intended for the eyes of higher-ups to me for a prior review. It’s also no wonder so many “police” don’t know the laws they’re supposed to enforce. They can’t read the ones written in good English. As for the others...need I say more?

     By the way, it would be wrong to blame South Carolina’s educational institutions. The problem is just as bad at more northern latitudes.

     3. Handling Time In A Fictional Narrative.

     While we’re on the subject of good writing, here’s a little something for the other indie fiction writers who read Liberty’s Torch: The handling of time in narrative passages is not the same as in dialogue passages. The awkwardnesses produced by mishandling time are seriously disturbing to reader flow. They’re also easily avoided.

     The problem arises because the overwhelmingly most common narrative technique for relating story events is what’s usually called fictional past. The story is told as something that has already happened, not as happening as the reader reads about it. But many an indie writer will fail to treat the narrative consistently. This is especially prevalent in stories told by a first-person narrator. Here’s a typical case (remember, this is narrative, not dialogue):

     I wanted to upgrade the defenses, but I had too much else to do just now.

     “Just now?” When is “now?” Is it the moment at which the story is being told, the moment at which the reader is reading it, or the moment being described within the story itself? The diction is jarring, to say the least. It should have been:

     I wanted to upgrade the defenses, but I had too much else to do just then.

     Alternately, “at the moment” would work. The point should be easy to grasp: In a narrative passage, events and times embedded in the story must employ time-expressions compatible with the ones used to tell the story: present-tense and present-time for dialogue and third-person interior monologue; past-tense and past-time for narration and a first-person narrator’s interior monologue.

     Please, please, fellow indies: As this is an easily avoided fault, please avoid it!

     That’s all for today, Gentle Reader.

Best headline of 2017.

Earth Goes Dark as Thousands of Russian Warplanes Block out the Sun
NATO says unprecedented number of Russian warplanes are terrorizing international airspace.[1]

Close second:

FACT: Eastern Europeans so 'Worried' About Russia That They Spend Next to Nothing on Defense.
Their mouths say one thing, their budgets another.[2]
Money quote:
The likes of Latvia will tell you that Putin is a Soviet revisionist imperialist just dying to gobble up the Baltics, so they're spending 1.41 percent of their GDP on defense.

Not 30 percent, not 20 percent, not 10 percent. Not even 5%.[3]

Let me guess. Uncle Stupid will take care of everything.

[1] By Rudy Panko, Russia Insider, 4/22/17.
[2] By RI Staff, Russia Insider, 4/17/17.
[3] Id.

Pearls of expression.

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has a simple message for the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons: Stop with the bullshit.
"Lavrov Dismantles UK-Led Sarin 'Investigation' in 30 Seconds. Lavrov blows the whistle on the OPCW and its 'investigations' in Syria." By RI Staff, Russia Insider, 4/25/17.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Battle For Freedom Of Expression

     The real freedom of any individual can always be measured by the amount of responsibility which he must assume for his own welfare and security. – Robert Welch

     God grants liberty only to those who love it, and are always ready to guard and defend it. – Daniel Webster

     The Tree of Liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. – Thomas Jefferson

     It would be easy to say “Freedom of expression? Yeah, we’ve got that already.” The First Amendment, don’t y’know. The Left would purely love that. It opens the door to word-mincing of a sort they’ve made their specialty. The legislative-political campaign against freedom of expression is based on reinterpreting the plain language of that amendment to omit protection of “hate speech:” i.e., anything the Left dislikes.

     No, they haven’t gotten very far with that approach in the legislatures or the courts. That’s why we’ve been reading about open street warfare. “Antifa” and “Black Bloc” thugs haven’t been attacking persons of a conservative, libertarian, or otherwise pro-freedom inclination because we’re breaking some law; they’re doing it because we aren’t — and they purely hate it that other Americans are listening to us.

     Up to recently, the thugs have had their way. Those they’ve attacked have scurried meekly away, tails between their legs. Speakers they’ve disliked have been forced to cancel scheduled appearances for fear of their lives and the lives of their supporters. Only in the most recent encounters have the scales begun to tip the other way.

     But they are tipping the other way. It’s not only a heartening, positive development; it’s a reminder of a basic truth about freedom of any sort: It must be exercised as frequently as possible, lest simple neglect cause it to pass into desuetude.

     They who have taken up cudgels against the thugs are not “securing” our freedom of expression. Freedom cannot be secured; it can only be exercised – and the most important exercises of any specific freedom occur when it’s being violently opposed. We are regaining our freedom of expression, reasserting it by exercise, for one overriding reason: the willingness of patriots to do physical battle in the streets against those who would silence us.

     This morning, Kurt Schlicter declaims thus:

     Liberals should be ashamed of themselves, but then they wouldn’t be liberal if they were born with shame genes. So, since we patriots are the only ones who actually support free speech, what do we patriots do to protect it?

     Whatever it takes.

     We fight peacefully in the political arena, in the courts, and in the shrinking marketplace of ideas while we can, but we must also be ready to fight in the streets when those punky puffboys try to shut us up. No quarter, no compromise, no surrender – we fight and win, or they shut us up forever.

     Look, the left has told us what it wants – the power to force us to be silent and submit. That’s not wacky supposition; that’s not fevered imagination. They are open about their agenda, and it’s happening before our eyes. To pretend that our republic is not facing an existential threat from progressives who would use violence to silence their political opponents is to willfully ignore the evidence, just like a climate cultist ignores cold weather. And the violence has already begun: in fact, it is key to their plan for a free speech-free future. Today it’s gangs of masked thugs attacking us. Tomorrow, it’s uniformed men with guns – or at least those few spineless cowards among our security forces will ignore their oaths to defend the Constitution in exchange for a paycheck and a pension – dragging us off to jail for illegal speech. Or worse.

     That’s as plainly as it could possibly be said. Nor is there anything about it to repel the man of unclouded mind. Every freedom comes with an associated responsibility: the responsibility to defend the exercise of that freedom, by any and every available means. If violence should be required, violence must be used.

     The implications for the immediate future are grim. There will be bloodshed. Indeed, blood has already been shed, though as far as I’m aware no one has yet been killed in one of these street encounters. There will be reams of angry rhetoric and numerous calls for governments to “do something.” Families will be divided as they were at the time of Christ (Cf. Matthew 10:34-35). And the clashes will get worse, possibly much worse, before they get better.

     Only two outcomes are possible. Which one you prefer will depend upon how much you value the freedom of expression. Ponder well whether you might have a personal interest in exercising it some day.

     When I wrote that:

     A man is free if, and only if, he has the unchallenged right to do as he damned well pleases with his life, his property, and with any other responsible, consenting adult, provided only that he respects the equal freedom of all other men. That clearly includes the right to buy space for a political ad from any newspaper or broadcast organ willing to sell it to him.

     ...I was thinking only of challenges to freedom of expression from a government or governments. Today’s “privatized” struggle over who may speak and be heard is of a different color, yet the issues are exactly the same. If a preponderance of force is all that will preserve that right, then we who love freedom must choose between mustering such a preponderance or surrendering. That our opponents are “private” thugs makes no essential difference.

     Mobilized, violent minorities have reduced other nations to totalitarian tyrannies. We fought a hot war against one such nation and a cold war against another. Now a violent minority has mobilized to snuff out freedom of expression in our own land. It has financial backing and political protectors. We don’t yet know how far its street troops are willing to go to have their way.

     It’s time to rise to the challenge.

Teaching your kids.

Here's a tweet on an unrelated issue by public school teacher, LoraJane Riedas, in Tampa, Florida, who didn't like "many" of her Christian students wearing a Christian cross ("gang symbols"):
The public school kids were not invited to the White House egg role this year. #microaggressions . . . .

    — LoraJane Riedas (@LoraJane) April 20, 2017[1]

I'd like to believe that auto-correct is this math teacher's enemy but I rather doubt it.

An Englishman, Simon Murray, once wrote a book about his five years in the French Foreign Legion (does anyone else have a Foreign Legion?). An aristocratic friend came to visit him and, while discussing the entertainment preferences of some of the other Legionnaires, the friend remarked that it never ceased to amaze him how some men would put their most precious possession where he would not deign to put the ferrule of his umbrella.

I think of that story when I contemplate citizens who meekly shell out taxes for government schools and then send their most precious possessions to those schools to be indoctrinated by morons like this woman who are hostile to the fundamental moral foundation of this Christian nation and are themselves sad products of the same system.

[1] "Lesbian Teacher BANS All Crucifix Necklaces From Her Classroom…Now She’s In Trouble!" By Just An American, Right Wing New, 4/23/17 (links omitted).

Monday, April 24, 2017


     I had it in mind to write further about learning from the tactics of our opponents in our ongoing ideological war this morning, but another subject has intruded, and quite insistently at that. It’s one of the tactics of the Left that we in the Right should strive not to adopt.

     On the Left, you’re either wholly in accord with the party line or you’re swiftly purged. Various persons with major audiences have been exiled from the Left’s “church outside which there is no salvation” for daring to differ on some item of dogma. The name that comes to mind at once is the late Nat Hentoff: a liberal, and an eloquent one, in every respect but one: his condemnation of abortion. It made him persona non grata among the liberal elite, a fact he often mentioned in his later columns.

     The Left’s absolute unwillingness to entertain debate on any of its doctrines is the ultimate evidence of its abandonment of tolerance as we the hoi polloi understand the term. It doesn’t fit well with a scholium that claims to be “reality-based,” though that claim has become a term of derision. Thou shalt not differ with the priesthood is a commandment more suited to a low-grade religion than to a community of political belief. Though in light of the Left’s unwillingness to allow conservatives or libertarians the opportunity to speak at all, it’s consistent that it should brook no dissent “within the congregation.”

     But the Left’s demand for doctrinal purity isn’t my subject for this fine spring morning. It’s the Right’s pusillanimity about its luminaries’ personal conduct that’s on my mind today.

     With the possible exception of parts of Antares, everyone in the known universe will know by now that Fox TV has expunged talking-head host Bill O’Reilly over an accusation of impropriety toward a female colleague. In the wake of that development, it appears the Left, having tasted blood, will now attempt to get Fox to extend its auto da fe to Sean Hannity, Fox’s most popular talk show host after O’Reilly, with the same sort of assault.

     Sean Hannity is a Catholic, a happily married man these past twenty-four years, and a father of two. His personal conduct has never been called into question. Yet only a few days ago, persons of the feminist Left lodged accusations against him, on the grounds that he invited female colleague Debbie Schlussel to come back to his hotel with him:

     Former Fox News contributor Debbie Schlussel says Fox News host Sean Hannity tried to pressure her into accompanying him to his hotel room for sex, according to a bombshell report from KFAQ radio.

     “Columnist, attorney, and former Fox News contributor Debbie Schlussel appeared on today’s Pat Campbell Show and accused Fox News Prime Time Host Sean Hannity of the same type of behavior that lead to Bill O’Reilly leaving the beleaguered network earlier this week,” said the station’s website.

     Schlussel told radio host Pat Campbell that she and Hannity attended a live taping together in Detroit and after the show, Hannity propositioned her, trying to lure her back to his hotel room.

     “This kind of stuff is all over the place at Fox News and anything that has to do with Sean Hannity,” she said.

     Debbie Schlussel? The Debbie Schlussel? The has-been oversexualized second-stringer who’s strained to insert herself into the major leagues of political commentary for at least two decades? Twenty years ago, I’d have snorted and moved on. Today I’m not so sure – not because the accusations have any substance or merit, but because the Right has become so willing to collaborate with the Left in purging its ranks of anyone touched by the slightest breath of impropriety.

     This sort of cowardice is beneath contempt. But then, considering that Fox purged O’Reilly without giving him a chance to answer the accusations against him, I won’t be surprised if it should treat Hannity in the same fashion.

     The most ludicrously, blatantly unjust thing anyone could do to a public figure is to accept an accusation against him – especially one from a second-rate hanger-on – as proven, without demanding substantiation or corroboration. Yet the Right has done this more than once. The ouster of O’Reilly is only the most recent case.

     It’s especially contemptible when one considers how easily the spokesmen of the Left get away with far worse violations of the proprieties. Bill Clinton didn’t suffer at all for having sodomized Monica Lewinsky in the White House itself. Remember the mantra back then? “It’s just about sex, just about sex, just about sex...

     But it persists. When the accusers have covert allies within the organization being approached for the purge – in this case, Rupert Murdoch’s sons Lachlan and James, who’ve been reported as aiming to move Fox away from its conservative op-ed stance – it can happen too swiftly for any effective riposte.

     Robert Conquest’s Second Law appears applicable here.

     Considering the Left’s infinite forgiveness of the sins and crimes of those favorable to it, that a conservative can be pilloried, and will often be purged by his own people, for having made an innocent remark or having once been seen in the company of a woman other than his wife is among the supreme ironies of our time. It gives special force to Vice President Mike Pence’s policy of never permitting himself to be alone with a woman other than his wife – a self-protective stance the Left has tried to attack as somehow discriminatory against women.

     Once again I must cite my favorite passage from Neal Stephenson’s The Diamond Age:

     "You know, when I was a young man, hypocrisy was deemed the worst of vices," Finkle-McGraw said. "It was all because of moral relativism. You see, in that sort of climate, you are not allowed to criticise others -- after all, if there is no absolute right and wrong, then what grounds is there for criticism?...

     "Now, this led to a good deal of general frustration, for people are naturally censorious and love nothing better than to criticise others' shortcomings. And so it was that they seized on hypocrisy and elevated it from a ubiquitous peccadillo into the monarch of all the vices. For, you see, if there is no right and wrong, you can find grounds to criticise another person by contrasting what he has espoused with what he has actually done. In this case, you are not making any judgment whatsoever as to the correctness of his views or the morality of his behaviour -- you are merely pointing out that he has said one thing and done another. Virtually all the political discourse in the days of my youth was devoted to the ferreting out of hypocrisy.

     "You wouldn't believe the things they said about the original Victorians. Calling someone a Victorian in those days was almost like calling them a fascist or a Nazi....

     "Because they were hypocrites... the Victorians were despised in the late Twentieth Century. Many of the persons who held such opinions were, of course, guilty of the most nefarious conduct themselves, and yet saw no paradox in holding such views because they were not hypocrites themselves -- they took no moral stances and lived by none."

     "So they were morally superior to the Victorians -- " Major Napier said, still a bit snowed under.

     "-- even though -- in fact, because -- they had no morals at all."

     "We take a somewhat different view of hypocrisy," Finkle-McGraw continued. "In the late Twentieth Century Weltanschaaung, a hypocrite was someone who espoused high moral views as part of a planned campaign of deception -- he never held these beliefs sincerely and routinely violated them in privacy. Of course. most hypocrites are not like that. Most of the time it's a spirit-is willing, flesh-is-weak sort of thing."

     "That we occasionally violate our own moral code," Major Napier said, working it through, "does not imply that we are insincere in espousing that code."

     "Of course not," Finkle-McGraw said. "It's perfectly obvious, really. No one ever said it was easy to hew to a strict code of conduct. Really, the difficulties involved -- the missteps we make along the way -- are what make it interesting. The internal, and eternal, struggle between our base impulses and the rigorous demands of our own moral system is quintessentially human. It is how we conduct ourselves in that struggle that determines how we may in time be judged by a higher power."

     If the Right doesn’t learn better and toughen up about such matters, it will be steadily depopulated by those who have “no morals at all.” Really! If they’re willing to spill blood in the streets, as has been demonstrated recently, why would they refrain from politically profitable slanders? Especially since the lily-livered Right has proved so willing to cooperate with its own purging?

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Faith And Doubt: A Sunday Rumination

     [The first Sunday after Easter, liturgically titled Divine Mercy Sunday, is also sometimes called Doubting Thomas Sunday, for it is on this day that the tale of Thomas Didymus, the Apostle who doubted the Resurrection, and his encounter with the risen Christ is told. It’s a good day to reflect on something Pope Benedict XVI told us: Faith is inseparable from doubt. It’s also a good day to reflect on something Dr. Gary Habermas said to investigative reporter and atheist Lee Strobel during his investigation into the Resurrection: How much evidence is enough?

     I first posted the piece below on April 27, 2014. -- FWP]

     On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the disciples had gathered together and locked the doors of the place for fear of the Jewish authorities. Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. Just as the Father has sent me, I also send you.” And after he said this, he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven; if you retain anyone’s sins, they are retained.”

     Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he replied, “Unless I see the wounds from the nails in his hands, and put my finger into the wounds from the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will never believe it!”

     Eight days later the disciples were again together in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and examine my hands. Extend your hand and put it into my side. Do not continue in your unbelief, but believe.” Thomas replied to him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are the people who have not seen and yet have believed.”

     [The Gospel According to John, 20:19-29]

     The story of Doubting Thomas, perhaps the most famous of all the events of the period between the Resurrection and the Ascension, is often – usually? – told as some sort of mild condemnation of doubt of the Resurrection, and therefore of Christ’s divinity. Yet the story itself does not reflect badly on Thomas. He, a skeptic of a sort familiar to many, wanted substantiation of the unprecedented event in which he’d been asked to believe. Moreover, it was substantiation the other disciples had already received. It might be going too far to assert that he had a right to such evidence, but at the very least he could demur on the grounds that the others had witnessed what he had not.

     Pope Benedict XVI himself has told us that faith is inseparable from doubt. Indeed, it could not be any other way. Faith is the acceptance of a proposition for which there is inconclusive evidence at best, and against which no conclusive disproof is possible. He whose faith is utterly undisturbed by those conditions is a rare creature indeed, perhaps to the point of never having existed.

     We have reason to believe that the Apostles alone were granted conclusive proof that Jesus had returned bodily from death. If others who saw Him in the days before the Ascension received the same sort of indisputable proof that it was definitely Jesus of Nazareth who stood before them, the Gospels do not record it. The Apostles also witnessed His Ascension, and at the Pentecost received the Gift of Tongues to facilitate the Great Commission. No one else, not even Paul of Tarsus, is recorded as having been granted those boons.

     All of us who came after must make do with faith.

     Doubt is inseparable from faith because we are aware of our fallibility and the variable trustworthiness of human testimony. Indeed, it’s quite possible that were we incapable of doubt, we would be equally incapable of faith and of all that follows from it. That doesn’t make it a pleasant thing, of course. Christians are expected to struggle with their doubts. We’re expected to cope with them as we cope with any other trial of human life. It’s part of the test of temporal life: one of the quintessential barriers we must surmount to win to eternal bliss.

     There is no “answer” to doubt. It cannot be defeated once and for all, but must be endured stoically. If we have reasons to believe – again, not conclusive reasons but evidence “good enough” when mated to the urgings of our hearts and consciences – then we have reasons to resist doubt. All the same, there’s a question of tactics to be faced.

     Which is why I’ve chosen to reprint the following story from my collection For The Love Of God.

The Vampire And The Caretaker

     Gavin's alarm clock buzzed with its usual peevish insistence. He cracked an eyelid, noted the hour and the pervading darkness, and pulled the covers over his head, hoping against hope that it wasn't really his least favorite morning of the week yet again.

     It was not to be. Within seconds came his father's usual sharp knock.

     "Come on, son." Even at three-thirty in the morning, Evan Conklin always sounded as relaxed and jovial as a man who's just finished a fine meal in the company of his best friends. "We've got work to do."

     Gavin grumbled an obscenity and flung back the bedcovers with a sweep of his arm. The winter chill was upon him at once, singing along his spine loudly enough to make his teeth chatter. He slapped at the alarm clock with one hand while he groped for his robe with the other and hurried off to the bathroom for a shower and shave.

     Gavin couldn't linger over his toilet if he was to set out at the appointed hour. Evan allowed him to sleep half an hour later than he allowed himself. It was hurry, hurry, hurry from the moment his feet touched his bedroom floor to the moment he buckled himself into the passenger seat of their car. The work, his father explained more than once, would not permit it.

     Their destination was only a few miles away, but in the wee-hour blackness of a continental New York winter it seemed like an hour's ride. It was long enough for Gavin to fall back to sleep, but he didn't permit himself. One awakening per morning was more than enough. He forced himself to full alertness, stretching out his lower back, loosening the muscles in his arms, hips, and legs, and working his lungs open by steadily deepening his breathing. His father merely drove and said nothing.

     Our Lady of the Pines was completely dark. Evan pulled a ring of keys from his coat pocket, thrust one into the lock that had only last spring been installed in the tall oaken doors, and shepherded them inside, flipping light switches as he went. The nave of the church blossomed into brightness. Evan headed directly for the mop closet, while Gavin went to fetch the vacuum cleaner.

     Gavin had almost finished vacuuming the little church in preparation for the early Mass when the vampire fell upon him.

* * *

     The creature was tall and evil of aspect. Its grip was cruelly tight. Its breath upon Gavin's neck stank of ordure and rotting flesh. Despite its form, it was hard to believe that something so foul could once have been a man.

     It had him at its mercy, yet it did not strike. Its attention was fastened upon his father, who stared from the altar steps, mop dangling from his hand.

     "Well?" the creature snarled. "Aren't you going to plead for mercy? Aren't you going to offer me your blood in place of your son's? It's customary, you know."

     Evan smiled slightly. "No need."

     "Oh? You'll concede me your son's life if I agree to spare yours, then?"

     Gavin squirmed in terror, but the vampire's grip was inescapable. Evan shook his head. "Not at all. You won't be killing anyone this morning."

     The vampire cackled. "Really? How do you plan to stop me?"

     "I don't." With his eyes, Evan indicated the crucifix suspended above him. It evoked a snort of derision.

     "Yet you see that I am here, in the heart of your imaginary God's house where I'm not even supposed to be able to enter, doing as I will with your boy." Gavin shuddered as the creature's talons ruffled his hair. "He looks a tasty morsel. I expect I will enjoy breaking fast more than usual this morning."

     His father's gaze remained perfectly serene. "Go ahead, then. Feed on him."

     A stillness forged of cold iron descended upon the church. Nothing moved nor stirred.

     "Well?" Evan said. "What are you waiting for?"

     The vampire did not respond.

     "You have your victim," Evan pressed. "He's helpless in your grip. You know I can't stop you. Why haven't you struck him?"

     "What makes you so sure I won't?" the vampire snarled. It crushed Gavin to itself with lung-emptying force, and he gasped in pain.

     "It's perfectly simple," Evan said. "You won't because you can't. You don't really exist."

     "What?" the vampire roared. "I stand here in your holy place, your son my helpless captive, mocking your Savior as the phantasm you take me to be. I hold your boy's life in my arms, and you deny my existence with such ease?"

     "Of course," Evan said. "If God is real, then you are not. A just God would not permit the existence of a creature that could suck the soul out of a man's body and subject him to eternal torment, he having done no wrong of his own free will. And God exists. Therefore, you do not."

     The vampire's grip loosened, and Gavin's fear was tinted with puzzlement.

     "You see me before you," the creature said slowly. "You hear my voice and smell my odor. Your son feels my claws upon his flesh. Yet you refuse to believe in me, preferring your faith in a being you cannot see, hear, smell, taste, or touch. What gives you such confidence in your delusion, in the face of mortal peril?"

     "It's quite simple," Evan said. "The characteristics assigned to your kind contradict all right and reason. Such creatures could not exist without destroying themselves. In a word, you are implausible. No, wait," he said. "Not implausible; impossible. A creature of supernatural strength and speed that feeds on human blood, yet cannot endure the light of day? A creature that converts its prey into competitors, ensuring both a geometrically increasing number of predators and a dwindling supply of fodder? The laws of nature as God wrote them literally forbid you to exist."

     Gavin twisted again, and broke free of the creature's grip. He stumbled back and gazed upon the thing. But he could not reconcile what his eyes saw with the superhuman monster that had held him helpless a moment before. It seemed to have become insubstantial, ghostly, a mere appearance projected on the screen of reality by some unseen mechanism.

     "You truly believe this?" The vampire's voice had fallen to a whisper.

     Evan Conklin said, "I do so believe."

     And the thing faded from sight.

* * *

     Gavin awoke in a tumult of fright. He could not remember every detail of the dream that had catapulted him from slumber, but the overpowering sense of helplessness and terror, of being at the mercy of something merciless that no human strength could oppose, still pulsed within him. He sat up, switched on his bedside lamp, and breathed as slowly and deeply as he could manage, struggling to calm himself.

     His door opened slowly. His father's head poked out from behind it.

     "Everything all right, son?"

     Gavin nodded, unwilling to trust his voice. Evan entered and sat beside him on his bed.

     "Bad dream?"

     Gavin nodded again, and Evan grinned.

     "I know how rugged they can be. I used to have some pretty vivid ones, at your age." He rose and made for the door. "A shower will help. We'll hit the diner after Mass."

     Gavin extracted himself from his bed and plunged into his Sunday morning ritual. When he'd buckled himself into the passenger seat of his father's car, and Evan had backed them out of the driveway and onto Kettle Knoll Way, he said, "Dad? Do you ever...doubt?"

     "Hm? Our faith in God, you mean?" Evan kept his eyes on the dark ribbon of road unwinding before them.

     "Yeah." Gavin braced himself for the answer. What he got was not what he expected.

     "Now and then," his father said. "It's hard not to doubt something you can't see or touch. But faith isn't about certainty. It's about will."

     "So you...will away your doubts?"

     Evan chuckled. "That would be a neat trick, wouldn't it?" He pulled the Mercedes Maybach into the small side parking lot of Our Lady of the Pines, parked and killed the engine. "No, I simply command myself to do as I know I should do. Faith is expressed just as much by our deeds as by our words. As long as I can consistently act from faith, I can keep my grip on it, regardless of my doubts." He nodded toward the unlit church, barely visible in the darkness. "You might say that's why we're here."

     Gavin marveled. "And all this time I thought it was because the parish was too poor to pay for professional cleaning staff."

     That brought a snort and a guffaw. "Get serious. Though the way you vacuum, I don't wonder that Father Ray would rather have our money than your labor. No, it's that hiring your chores done distances you from them. You can't afford to do too much of that if you want to remain connected to life. I pay a cleaning lady to look after our house, but doing this for the parish keeps us involved in parish life, and mindful of...well, of a lot of things." He cuffed his son affectionately. "Let's get moving. We're already behind schedule."

     May God bless and keep you all.

The Beginning Of The End? (UPDATED)

     I swiped the following from Western Rifle Shooters:

     This is hilarious. Violent thugs determined to silence the opposition by force are terrified of being found out! My God, the horror!

     You know the educational system has become a farce when its inmates start whining that it’s unfair that they should be held responsible for felony crimes of violence. Of course there have been other indications that a “college education” has become a vacation from reality, but this is a capper of sorts. However, that’s not what I’m here to talk about.

     Once more I must quote Tom Kratman at one of his pithier moments:

     [I]t has been said more than once that you should choose enemies wisely, because you are going to become just, or at least, much like them. The corollary to this is that your enemies are also going to become very like you....

     If I could speak now to our enemies, I would say: Do you kill innocent civilians for shock value? So will we learn to do, in time. Do you torture and murder prisoners? So will we. Are you composed of religious fanatics? Well, since humanistic secularism seems ill-suited to deal with you, don't be surprised if we turn to our churches and temples for the strength to defeat and destroy you. Do you randomly kill our loved ones to send us a message? Don't be surprised, then, when we begin to target your families, specifically, to send the message that our loved ones are not stationery.

     Conservatives, libertarians, American nationalists, Trump supporters, and others the Left reviles are adopting the Left’s own tactics. And why not? They work. The Left has used them to silence and intimidate its opponents for more than a century. Are they crude? Yes. Are they vicious? Yes. Are they beneath the dignity of a civilized member of a civilized society? Yes, yes, yes.

     But they work. And people will reliably emulate success.

     The Antifa supporter’s whine is a version of an old joke: A little boy comes home bloodied and bruised. His mother alarmed by his condition, asks “What happened?” He replies, “The whole thing started when he hit me back.”

     May we now expect the Antifa / Black Bloc types to appeal to the police for protection from us? I wouldn’t be terribly surprised. Neither would I be surprised were they to start carrying weapons: guns, knives, saps, brass knuckles. But the fly in their ointment is that the Right now recognizes that the gloves are off – that we can rely neither on civility from them nor on a proper response from law enforcement, at least when they initiate violent hostilities on a college campus.

     The implications are grave. At the next occurrence there will be serious injuries, possibly deaths. Despite the spinelessness of the “forces of order,” there might even be arrests and prosecutions.

     And the Left will learn how greatly it’s outnumbered by the real forces of order: Americans determined to protect the freedom of expression who will do whatever that commitment might require.

     The above are not happy observations. They proceed from a dark recognition: that one political community, frustrated by its inability to persuade, has tossed aside the rules of ideological intercourse in favor of violence. It’s happened in other places and times, of course. Several of those have become iconic lessons in what happens when evil starts feeling its oats but good men elect to do nothing.

     However, they do guarantee one thing: The climax of our current political upheavals is on the horizon and approaching at speed. We have entered the concluding phase of America’s political deterioration. Moreover, the odds appear to be “in our favor:” i.e., in favor of the return to a civilized order, albeit not a meticulously Constitutional one.

     The Left has other tactics than crowd violence, of course. Some of them are harder to counter. But its use of street thuggery has been countered most effectively. Will it cease immediately? Probably not. There must be a few more bloodied faces before they get the idea that the most recent response to their tactics wasn’t a “one-off.”

     And we can expect a few more priceless whines such as the one cited above. Pass them around, by all means. The deplorability of schadenfreude notwithstanding, we in the Right can always use a good laugh.

     UPDATE: This Gavin McInnes video should provide some encouragement -- and laughs:

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Unity In Opposition

     There have been many expressions of opinion, both from the Punditocrats of the Legacy Media and from prominent figures in the Internet Commentariat, to the effect that Republicans are more comfortable with being an opposition minority than with being the governing majority. To be sure, ample evidence would seem to support this assessment. However, the evidence militates toward another conclusion even more strongly.

     Everyone is more comfortable in opposition than in ascendancy. A look at the suddenly unified Democrat opposition confirms that.

     Consider the advantages that accrue to the opposition party:

  • It gets the “underdog’s” share of popular sympathy;
  • It’s not expected to originate legislation or policy initiatives;
  • It can represent itself as not responsible for what the governing party does;
  • It can oppose any proposition from the governing party with generalities, never going beyond them.

     The governing party, in contrast, is expected to govern. It’s also expected to redress government’s failures and is held responsible for any delays, difficulties, or side effects in the process, even if they’re the consequences of the other party’s time in power. And of course, the governing party’s proposals require support by reason and evidence. The opposition can treat the majority and its initiatives with slander and contempt, especially if the media are on the opposition’s side.

     If there’s anything at all nebulous about this, it’s the GOP’s longstanding reluctance to fully exploit the opposition’s advantages when in the minority. The Democrats, plainly, feel no such reluctance. But the dynamic that currently prevails in American politics should be quite clear.

     Before November 8, 2016, the Democrats were a party at odds with itself. The Clinton Machine’s dominance of its operations was more apparent than real. The unwillingness of the Obamunists to give the party’s “anointed” presidential candidate uncompromising support was made manifest by Obama’s unwillingness, during the primary period, to endorse Hillary Clinton over her surprisingly potent rival, nominal Independent Bernie Sanders. Add to that the disdain felt for Clinton by the Kennedy / Kerry loyalists, and the fragmentation of the party, which weakened its volunteer-recruitment and voter-turnout efforts, becomes plain.

     Clinton’s strategic choices didn’t help much. She, aware that her pose of “pragmatism” after the fashion of her husband didn’t sit well with the increasingly agitated and demanding left wing of the party, refrained from addressing substantive matters of policy in preference for windy generalities and attacks upon her opponents, virtually from the inauguration of her candidacy to November 8. When our talking heads criticize her campaign as “without a message,” they’re fingering the results.

     It is vital to remember that the elections of 2016 were ones the Democrats fully expected to win, especially after Donald Trump emerged victorious from the Republican primaries. Otherwise there wouldn’t have been as much competition for the nomination or contention over the party platform. Neither would there be so much finger-pointing inside the Democrat Party today over its failures, including its failure to elect the first female president after having elected the first non-white president.

     Once the Democrats had recovered somewhat from the shock of the Republican victories, its several factions could unite on a single overriding purpose: Stop Trump and the GOP. Note that a Democrat doesn’t need to articulate a specific reason to oppose the Trump Administration or the GOP’s initiatives in Congress. They’re the adversary; that is sufficient. The behavior of the increasingly erratic Charles Schumer, than whom no Senate Minority Leader has been more destructive to his party’s long-term interests, testifies to the intensity of the commitment.

     When a Capitol Hill Democrat is asked for a reason for his anti-Republican, anti-Trump vitriol – and given the biases of the Legacy Media, that’s an infrequent occurrence – he can invoke any of the emotional shibboleths of his party: “compassion,” “fairness,” “discrimination,” “racism,” “inequality,” and so forth. He’s unlikely to be pressed for details; the “Democrat operatives with bylines” that cover them know better than to demand detailed, well-analyzed arguments, as they usually can’t stand up under scrutiny.

     Concerning the sluggish, barely chugging economy the years of Democrat hegemony have bequeathed to the GOP, no Democrat will shoulder the least sliver of the responsibility, even though the Democrat-dominated Congress of 2007-08 made a slump inevitable and the economic lunacies of the Obama Interregnum transformed the slump from a temporary setback to a decade-long depression. Neither will any Democrat accept any of the odium for the resurgence of racial and ethnic tensions the Obama regime precipitated with its blatantly racist approach to law enforcement. Nor will they hear any criticism over the damage to America’s international standing and the soundness of its alliances during those years. The Republicans have been in power for ninety-two days; why haven’t they fixed all this stuff yet?

     The Republicans are not blameless in all this. They acquiesced far too willingly to Democrat control of Washington, even after they’d achieved state-level dominance and regained majorities in both houses of Congress. Even today, with the White House in their hands once again, they’re prone to the Go-Along Republicanism of the years from FDR through Carter: “We can do it cheaper.” But in a period characterized by hostility toward the political Establishment and widespread demands to “turn the country around,” this is not a formula for popular support or acclaim.

     Governing is not easy for those who lack the courage to withstand the barbs of the opposition. It gets harder when the demands peak for the reversal of previous policies and the adoption of new directions, and harder still when the satellite powers – the media; the lobbyists; the corporate clients; the big donors – are maneuvering for a continuation of What Has Been Done Before, even if it must be draped in sheep’s clothing.

     But that’s the bargain. It would be easy enough for the GOP to return to an opposition minority, expected to deliver nothing but criticism of the Democrats. Over the next four years, the behavior of their caucuses and party strategists will tell us if that’s the role they really want.