Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Home Truths Part 3: Doughnuts And Holes

     Please don’t expect a lot from me this morning. I’m in the grip of something that seems to have drained all the blood out of me. Mind you, at my age I don’t expect to get out of bed feeling like Hercules, but I’m used to having enough clarity and energy to pen one of these screeds before I set to the day’s necessities. I guess we’ll see how this one goes.

     Our third home truth is one you’ve heard innumerable times, just like the others I’ve prattled about. The great wonder of our time is how we could have accumulated so much evidence of its significance and still manage to ignore it at least half the time. But then, we ignore quite a lot of the wisdom our forebears have bequeathed to us...because things are different and we know better now, right? Right?

     Politics is a marvelous framework within which to study the many varieties of human perfidy. At any given time one can find examples of every imaginable species of cowardice, double-dealing, betrayal, and outright villainy simply by peering into the halls of Congress. The Twenty-First Century is proving to be a fertile field for such things, not that that should please anyone other than a commentator looking for something to write about.

     Recently I was charmed to learn that one of the most vociferous opponents of President Trump’s border control agenda, the Dishonorable Chuck Schumer, had expressed sentiments virtually identical to Trump’s campaign promises as far back as 2006. Back then, of course, the president was George W. Bush, a Republican who favored an essentially open border and lax (if any) enforcement of visa and permanent-residence laws. As the Democrats had already made it a tenet of their party strategy to oppose the Republicans on every issue, regardless of the merits, that was the position approved by the party’s planners and kingmakers.

     President Trump being an advocate of a firmly controlled border, Schumer has “flipped” to a position contrary to the one he expressed during the Bush the Younger years. Apparently border control mattered twelve years ago; today, not so much. Which position expresses Schumer’s true sentiments about border control? Either? Neither? Both? Your Curmudgeon reports; you decide.

     Democrats and complete reversals in their positions are a well known phenomenon. Remember John Kerry? Remember how Barack Hussein Obama “evolved” on same-sex marriage, after his ringing presidential campaign endorsement of traditional marriage? More recently, how about Hillary Clinton’s reversal on the credibility of women who accuse men of sexual abuse? How about her transformation of Russia from a partner worthy of twenty percent of America’s uranium supply to the greatest imaginable menace to the soundness of our “democracy?”

     (Yes, there are Republicans who are almost as bad. Happily, there aren’t nearly as many.)

     For anyone with a functioning memory, these reversals should be giveaways. The position expressed by a prominent Democrat is seldom chosen for any but a purely tactical reason. Yet roughly half the country still aligns itself with the Democrats at each election. Political insincerity must be more attractive than one would think. Either that, or the influences I wrote about a few days ago motivate the private citizen just as powerfully as any member of the political class.

     Fatigue and pain are catching up with me, so I’m going to round this off quickly. I have a saying I like to call the Curmudgeon’s Carbohydrate Aphorism:

Keep thine eye fixed upon the doughnut, lest thou pass unaware through the hole.

     There are appearances, and there are underlying realities. In contemporary political interplay, the appearances are unreliable. They’re more likely to mislead than to edify. This is particularly true of the verbal behavior of politicians. What they say is intended to persuade you, not to inform you. In that regard their statements have a lot in common with a stage magician’s sleight of hand: where he wants you to look is not “where the action is.”

     Which brings us to our home truth for today:

Ignore what they say.
Watch what they do.

     Alternately, “Actions speak louder than words.” A man’s true agenda will be most reliably expressed by his deeds, not his words. Haven’t we known the truth of that for centuries? Wouldn’t it be nice if American voters would make use of it when assessing the reliability and sincerity of office-seekers and their cheerleaders? When will they get tired of voting for miscreants who repeatedly promise them a doughnut yet lead them, bewildered and un-nourished, through the hole?

     Of course, I could make another pitch for the perennially condemned yet entirely viable alternative to this madness, but that would be too...something.

Just us chickens and Canadian diversity politics.

A Quote From Our Friends Down Under

The Australian traditionalist and reactionary group Sydney Trads, in its "The Year in Review: 2017, Year of the Hate Hoax, the Heckler’s Veto and the Persecuted ‘Oppressor’", included the following:

2017 was the year of Schrodinger’s ethnicity: Whites apparently exist as an identifiable category if they are being attacked, mocked, ridiculed or blamed for something, but also do not exist as a legitimate category of self-identification when a representative defends their interests as a group.

That is liberalism’s essential self-contradiction on race all summed up in a nutshell. Nicely done.[1]

Mr. Neal's blog, Throne, Altar and Liberty, from which this passage is taken is an erudite defender of monarchy and traditional Canada and always worth reading for insight into better alternatives to the rule of people focused on getting an Obama pho.

I highly recommend the portion of his post that follows the one above -- Justin Trudeau’s Nightmare -- as a penetrating insight into Canadian diversity politics and the Liberal Party scum who indulge in it. Reading about the progress of such politics in Canada and, in particular, the tie-in there to massive immigration makes the goals and policies of the Democrat Party in the U.S. that much clearer. Simple treachery.

Western civilization is being torn apart by race-based politics and a pursuit of short-term political advantage in the name of a failed, murderous socialism regardless of collateral cost. The traitors may hold the view that it’s better to reign in hell than to serve in heaven but there is little regard for the idea that first-world systems require first-world thinking and discipline simply to maintain them. Resurrection from the dead is a skill set in short supply.

National borders were a short hand way of distinguishing between sense and nonsense (or worse) in foreign cultures, countries, and tribes. They allowed the native to be indifferent to foreign ideas and ways if they so chose. They did not have to waste a minute of their time trying to make a fair assessment of, say, Islamic culture, and try to square the circle of how people of completely foreign and reprehensible cultures could be integrated into their own society. Say whu? Who says it's a borderless world and diversity is mankind's destiny?

Why exactly is my brain now polluted with honor killing, female genital mutilation, vigilante murder for apostasy, the idea that the infidel as on a par with blood, excrement, and dead bodies, and the concept that shariah law is superior to the U.S. Constitution? But it is and such things are forced into my consciousness by the entirely poisonous and unnecessary presence of massive numbers of Muslims in my country and other countries formerly bastions of white, Western civilization. The idea of integration with large numbers of people from inferior cultures, is just preposterous but it’s holy writ in just about any Western country you want to name.

So the hell that’s implicit in the (Canadian) Liberal or Democrat or Merkel/Macron vision for the future isn’t really contemplated, such is the desire for political power. The idea may roll around in some heads that things can be put right after power falls into the “right” hands but, on the contrary, it’s a sure thing that Humpty Dumpty just won’t go back together like before.

Too, leftists, in their obvious and undeniable pursuit of total power and the destruction of representative institutions, may think it clever to ally with their Muslim brothers to bring down the hated Western word and then discard those allies when their power grab succeeds. Well, good luck with that, as the Muslims no doubt have plans of their own for how the new dispensation with be run.

Regardless, utter chaos is in the cards, of which our living Constitution, Detroit, Chiraq, Baltimore, “sanctuary cities,” affirmative action, hate speech laws, the unpunished AntiFa monstrosity, and open borders are just a taste. And the Canadian Liberals, American Democrats, and all other Western traitors will reap what they sow, little do they understand the stakes involved. As a NASA IMAX film about the various space shuttle missions observed about the visible smoke from the burning of the rain forests, we don't really understand how or if this will affect the earth's atmosphere but we can say that we are engaged in a giant uncontrolled experiment.

The "destruction of the rain forests" alarums seem to have died down but the idea of an uncontrolled social experiment is a compelling one. What exactly about diversity politics and mass third-world immigration is controlled and how exactly do the arrogant, hostile elites think this exercise in civilizational suicide will end?

[1] "Thoughts on the Times." By Gerry T. Neal, Throne, Alter, Liberty, 1/31/18.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Good Explanation Why the FISA Restrictions Are Important

[UPDATE] Just saw that the quoted parts are hard to see, so I'm changing that.

From Bookworm, a use of general writs without restrictions that was prompted by the King's desire to "get something" on a political opponent:
This abuse came to a head in London (and was, at the time, a cause célèbrethroughout the colonies) when King George III authorized a general warrant against a political opponent, John Wilkes, in the hope that searching Wilkes’ home would produce evidence of something — anything — the Crown could use to pin a crime on Wilkes. ” British agents, having rooted through Wilkes’ private writings, found nothing worse than a truly bawdy poem. They seized the poem and proceeded to create a crime by surreptitiously publishing it as if Wilkes had done so himself – that being a necessary element of the crime of blasphemy in the U.K. of 1760 – and then charging Wilkes with the crime. Wilkes was then expelled from Parliament and fled to France.
When it came to drafting the Bill of Rights, the Founding Fathers remembered well the abuses to which the British government put general warrants and writs of assistance. For over two centuries, the 4th Amendment has protected American citizens from officials seeking to settle scores or obtain power by wrongfully imposing themselves into and onto private property despite having no having probable cause to believe any crime has been committed.
Yes, this is EXACTLY the reason that the FISA warrant is WRONG.

Monday, January 29, 2018

A Book I Think Is Worth Reading

The priest at my church did something really neat - he read a book, and decided to buy a copy for each of of his parishioners.  It's call Kingdom of Happiness, subtitle Living the Beatitudes in Everyday Life.

I've been dipping into it, a little at a time. I'm set to lead the book discussion group next month at our church. So far, I've gotten a lot out of it.

This is also my day to recommend an app that is easy to use, and quite useful. It's Zoho Notebook. There are a few notebooks around - Evernote, OneNote, many others. Zoho is the best, as it's easy to use, cross-platform and accessible on all your devices, and not junked up with cool-sounding features that you won't need, and that suck up a lot of speed.

Trust me. Download it. You won't regret it.

I've been following the situation in Scandanavia, where the dramatic change in those countries directly followed the encouragement of Muslim immigration. One of the most evident results is the Non-integration of those populations into Scandinavian culture. They are like oil and water; just not mixing, but running two parallel societies. Had Enough Therapy has a horrible story. 

Last, I want to suggest that you check out Family Circles, a relatively new social media site that has some potential to reap some of the benefits of the activity, without all the Drama Queen behaviors. I'm crossing my fingers that they manage to keep out the SJWs. If they do, it's an alternative platform for the rest of us, that just want to connect without being forced to become "woke".

I do use Gab, sometimes. Their "Open to Everyone" approach, without censorship, is the extreme response to the PC stuff (see how I'm playing nice? I said stuff instead of cr@p). Over time, I have some concern that the extreme contingent might drive others away. But, for now, it's another choice of Twitter-like posting.

If This Doesn't Scare the Hell Out of You, You're Beyond Hope

This speech by Daniel Greenfield gave me chills. Are we already in the midst of a Civil War?

Day Off

     Sorry, Gentle Reader. I’m exhausted, and the needle on my Deep Thoughts meter refuses to budge from the “Brain Completely Empty” position. A weekend spent adventuring with Lara Croft can leave me that way. I’ll see you tomorrow.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Side Effects

     [Have a quickie story while I finish the essay I’ve been working on -- FWP]

     Smith peered uncertainly at his physician. “Eczema?”
     Dr. Jones smiled and nodded. “Exactly. Rough, itchy patches of skin that sometimes seep, the same as you exhibit today. It indicates a sharp loss of moisture in those areas.”
     “Is that a disease,” Smith said, “and not just a symptom of a disease?”
     Jones drew himself up. “Are you questioning my medical expertise?”
     “Oh, certainly not, Doctor,” Smith said, “but aren’t there many maladies that cause exactly the same condition? I mean, I’ve had itchy breakouts before this, and—”
     “Were they rough and scaly?” Jones interrupted. “Did they seep serous fluid?”
     “Well, uh...” Smith searched his memory. What the hell is serous fluid?“I don’t remember any...seepage.”
     “Then that,” Jones said, his eyes seemingly on a horizon much farther away than the wall of his examination room, “was not eczema.”
     “Okay, okay.” Smith produced what he hoped was an appropriately deferential smile. “Is there a treatment? A lotion of some sort that will re-, uh, re-hydrate the skin?”
     “Oh no, no,” Jones said. “That’s the naive approach to eczema. It alleviates the symptoms temporarily, but it doesn’t address the underlying problem. You see, the human skin is hydrated from the inside. Therefore, eczema indicates a failure – usually partial – of the circulatory systems that feed the afflicted patches. We must treat those internal problems, and not be distracted by the visible symptoms.”
     The physician went to a cabinet and pulled out a large, threatening-looking hypodermic. “Fortunately for you,” he said, “I’ve developed a one-shot cure. Well,” he said, “two shots, really, since you have it on both forearms. But after this, I guarantee you’ll have no further eczema outbreaks there.”
     Smith tensed, but bared his right forearm to the doctor. Jones jabbed him there with the hypo and pumped half of the rather large amount of fluid it contained into Smith’s arm. “The other arm, please.” Smith turned and pulled up his left shirt sleeve. As Jones injected the remainder of the drug into his left arm, he was struck by a thought.
     “Doctor,” he said, “you mentioned that this treatment was your own, uh, invention.”
     “Yes, indeed,” Jones said as he cleaned and sterilized the hypo. “I developed it myself. I expect it to become quite popular.”
     “Well,” Smith said, “what testing have you done on it? You know, to make sure it’s safe.”
     “Testing? Bah!” Jones closed his cabinet door with a little more than the required force. “That’s a bugaboo of the giant pharmaceutical companies. This is an entirely naturopathic treatment. I guarantee you, it’s perfectly safe.”
     Smith’s nerves refused to settle. “Well, how many patients have you used it on so far?”
     “You’re the second,” Jones said, still fiddling with bits of equipment. “The first was a case exactly like yours.”
     “And the first patient was cured?”
     “Oh yes,” Jones said. “Completely. He’s had no eczema on his forearms since I treated him.”
     Smith’s next question forced its way out against his will. “Were there any...side effects?”
     For the first time that morning, the physician looked less than supremely confident and self-assured. His patrician poise failed him as his smile turned sheepish. “Well,” he stammered, “there was one.

More pearls of expression.

The main thing that separates today from the 19th and early 20th century is that there are a whole lot of people today who believe in the perverse ethical construct that a nation full people of European descent is immoral. Even in Europe. And they see immigration as a means to achieve their moral world.
Comment by J1234 on "Ann Jones: Beware the Viking Hordes." By Tom Engelhardt, The Unz Review, 1/28/18.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Home Truths Continued: Race And Realism

     For those who haven’t been listening, or were far away the last 999 times, I’ll say it again, in bold and italicized font: I am a racist. That is: I see statistical differences among the anthropologically recognized races, some of which become significant, even determinative, in specific circumstances. This admission makes me one of the Commentariat’s Untouchables, someone the “good folks” strive to avoid. You know, like John Derbyshire.

     Recently the au courant term for my sort of miscreant is race realist: the assertion that we who dare to speak of what we see are merely being realistic about what we see. It’s a bit redundant – “realist,” a highly inclusive term, would have sufficed – but these days everyone and his halfwit second cousin Delbert seems to be a bit repetitive and redundant.

     In this connection, the cited passage from the Urban Dictionary is illuminating:

     To be realistic & understand that stereotypes within each race exist for a reason and are usually backed by hard data. To understand that although facts surrounding a particular race can sometimes be hard to hear, it's still a fact, therefore it is more valid than how you feel.

Ex 1:
     Timmy: Some guy just robbed that convenience store! What do you think is his ethnicity?
     Alex: Race realism-speaking, probably black. After all, they do commit around 50% of our nation's crimes, despite only making up 13% of the population.

     Let’s make the chain of inferences in the above into a syllogism:

Given: American blacks commit 50% of America’s felony crimes.
Hypothesis: The convenience store on the corner was just robbed.
Inference: The probability that the robber was black is 50%.

     Pretty simple, eh? And not at all controversial...unless you’re a social-justice warrior snowflake who insists that when a black man commits a crime, it’s “society’s fault,” or “the legacy of slavery,” or “white capitalist oppression,” or some other such evasion, and that therefore...

     Therefore what? Can such an a posteriori rationale invalidate the statistic? Is there some method of calculation that could change the numbers? More important yet, would any conceivable exculpation change the inference law-abiding citizens would draw?

     Though I’m confident that there are exceptions, the implication of the statistic is clear: Preponderantly black areas will tend to be higher-crime areas. They will be places where the passer-by is exposed to heightened risks to life and property. They will be places where businesses will suffer increased costs due to pilferage and open robbery. Should racial tensions be inflamed in any way, commercial institutions in a black area will be in extreme danger of being trashed or burned out.

     The police know it. Parents know it. Business owners know it. Insurers know it. And you know it, no matter what race you are. It’s in the data.

     A realist of any sort must respect the data.

     There are inferences possible from the data above that cannot be proved or disproved beyond question. In the usual case, the arguments will be over whether statistical differences among the races arise from environmental conditions – including cultural influences – or from genetics – meaning from race itself.

     What’s generally not addressed in such disputes, in part because it’s an intractable subject, is the influence of environmental factors on genetics through natural selection.

     Man is both an adaptable creature and an adapting creature. Lacking tools, energy, and the required knowledge, he adapts to his environment, though the process might take many generations as environmental conditions select for the characteristics best suited to those conditions. In that case, genetic traits will emerge over time that reflect the environment that produced them. They might not become dominant in the Mendelian sense, but they will come to outnumber the environmentally disfavored characteristics, because they’ll have sufficient longevity to propagate themselves through reproduction.

     However, when and where Man possesses the tools, energy, and knowledge required, he’ll alter the environment to suit what he already is, whether slightly or dramatically. In that case, Man himself will change genetically less quickly and less dramatically, if at all. He’s made it unnecessary to adapt himself by adapting the environment.

     When a people that has adapted over the millennia to set of conditions X migrates to a region where conditions X do not hold, the adaptation process might logically be expected to change. The migrants would begin to adapt to the conditions of their new homes. This, of course, assumes the usual “all other things being equal” proviso. But all other things are seldom equal:

  • The migrants probably possess a different level of energy, tools, and knowledge than their forebears;
  • They must compete with the previous residents of their new environment, who are better adapted to it;
  • The previous residents will almost certainly attempt to co-adapt to their new neighbors.

     The analytical complexity is staggering. The outcome cannot be foreseen. Only one thing is certain: things will change, for both the previous residents and the migrants.

     Political factors are environmental factors. They can accelerate or retard the adaptation of migrants to their new homes. Over the century behind us, they’ve usually retarded the necessary changes, doing immense damage to everyone involved.

     Many who argue that our racial disparities arise entirely from cultural differences are also involved in political activism for policies that retard the necessary adaptation. They defend those policies as “respect for another culture,” which is baldly idiotic. If the differences between the “domestic” culture and the “imported” culture of the migrants are the drivers of crime and interracial animosity, then the “imported” culture must be expunged. Exactly the opposite has occurred: political forces have perpetuated – even celebrated! — the African cultures that migrating blacks brought with them to America. This suggests that the proselytizers of the “it’s all about culture” explanation are either idiots or insincere. Notwithstanding the old axiom that one must never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by stupidity, it’s been going on for too long, and has been championed by persons too obviously intelligent, as demonstrated by their performances in other fields.

     Leftists’ cries for a mindless, nation-destroying “tolerance” have only grown louder as interracial animosity has worsened and voluntary racial segregation has intensified. They persist in blaming the uninvolved – law-abiding American whites – for the criminality, profligacy, and irresponsibility prominent among American blacks. The message has come through loud and clear to both peoples: Whites must not hold blacks accountable for their choices or actions. Both peoples have responded accordingly.

     It can’t all be put down to stupidity. It implies a sinister agenda, especially among the strategists and kingpins of the Left.

     The home truth I’m hammering here is a simple one. Indeed, it’s so simple that were the subject anything but race, it would occasion no dispute whatsoever:

What you penalize will decrease.
What you tolerate will continue.
What you reward will increase.

     If the price of insisting on something so obvious is being called a “racist,” I can handle it. Over my sixty-five years I’ve been called, in the idiom of a friend, “everything but white.” In any event, I’d rather be known as a racist than as a BLEEP!ing idiot.

Pearls of expression.

"'Russia is ready to kill us by the thousands': Defence Secretary warns that Moscow could cause mass casualties by crippling crucial energy supplies."[1]
Comment by khnum:
Never go full retard.
[1] "UK Defense Secretary: 'Russia Is Ready To Kill Us By The Thousands.'" By Tyler Durden, ZeroHedge, 1/26/18.

Friday, January 26, 2018

The DACA Compromise May Be Better Than Expected - Updated

Trump's getting hammered by Immigration hardliners. That might not be fair, because, this might be a better compromise than expected - with ONE exception.

Here's a link to the statement from the White House.
  1. End to chain migration - yes, I know that it temporarily has exceptions for IMMEDIATE family. That could, however, be modified to restrict that exception in the future. What's more important is the end to the automatic allowing Green Card holders bringing in ALL the relatives (whether by blood or not).
  2. The "Dreamers" would get a Green Card - which, if the person doesn't fulfill the requirements of being self-supporting and committing no FURTHER crimes, can be revoked. Any citizenship is earmarked for 10-12 years in the future, IF that person qualifies. The worst of the crowd will not manage to fulfill their restrictions, and will be deportable. The best of them, well, OK, they will get a benefit that they truly don't deserve. Life isn't fair. Get over it.
  3. It establishes money for the wall. It's a start.
  4. No more visa lottery.
  5. I DON'T like the end of E-Verify. That provision, alone is enough to tank it for me. I was working in Charlotte when there was last a crackdown, based on E-Verify (BTW, it was a major pain-in-the-a$$ for me, as I had to run around finding all of these documents before starting work). Our school, and neighborhoods with large number of the foreign-born, were suddenly minus the Spanish-speaking people, for the most part. I mean, like within weeks, they were outa there. They self-deported, in bigly numbers. The economy recovered.

Inclusion Delusions

     Just as there are some subjects about which it’s impossible to say too little, there are some subjects about which it’s impossible to say too much. I return to those latter subjects often, convinced that no matter how exhaustively I think I’ve covered them, there will always be more to do: more evidence to survey, more analysis to perform, and more ranting to provide.

     One of those inexhaustible subjects is how the typical American – perhaps the typical man – arrives at his political opinions and positions.

     Way, way back in 2003, during the Palace of Reason days, a brilliant young writer named Greg Beatty posted an essay titled “Quarter Pound Opinions.” It was among the most insightful pieces of the PoR era. Using Mark Twain’s little-known essay “Corn Pone Opinions” as a launching pad, Greg explored a phenomenon of great significance to public discourse, but one which virtually no one had been willing to address: mass marketing as a tool for creating mass conformity.

     Mass conformity must perforce include conformity in political positions and opinions. Here’s Greg’s peroration:

     Recall, if you will, Twain's corollaries of his slave performer's corn pone text. He said that the average man "cannot afford views that interfere with his bread and butter." In the world of the Quarter Pound opinion, it is become clear that a man, a woman, or a transgendered individual can hold any opinion he, she or s/he wishes, so long as that individual does not interfere with the flow of beef and bread. Oh, s/he can choose. Choose a Whopper, over a Quarter Pounder. Choose a Vegie Burger over a Quarter Pounder. Be daring, and choose a (vegetarian) Boca Burger over a Quarter Pounder! In 1901, a man had to "train with the majority" in order to prosper. In 2002, one can choose from a nearly infinite menu of meals/opinions. You don't have to think like the majority, so long as you shop like the majority. Eat like the majority. Grow fat and apathetic like the majority.

     And relax. It won't be unpleasant. In fact, it'll be fun. You'll never have to choose between conforming like Twain's good neighbors or laughing at subversive wit like Twain with his slave. No matter what you choose, there will be a performer to entice you into the checkout line with greater wit and originality than Twain's old friend. Like a retro feel? McD's offers Ronald McDonald, the classic clown. More fond of cutting edge humor and ethnic backlash? Try the "Yo quiero Taco Bell" dog. Masculine culture and radio drama scripting? The Budweiser lizards. And in each case, the dancing bear/ talking dog / capering clown of the franchise will be as charming as the spectacle-loving Twain could wish, but, rather like the slave Twain converted into a rhetorical prophet of individual freedom, will serve to make us at ease in our servitude.

     In 1901, Twain, that grand and witty prophet of clear thought, ended his essay by reviewing a recent controversy that not one person in a hundred could now identify, the argument over free silver. Twain suggested that not one person in ten on either side had rational backing for his position, and suggested that we all "do no end of feeling, and we mistake it for thinking."

     Greg was certainly correct that personal economic considerations constrain our personal political postures. But that’s not the end of the story.

     I’ve been sitting on this Ace of Spades essay about political versus social persuasion for several days, letting my thoughts orbit it in search of a way to complete its semi-explicit thesis. Here’s the bit that most engaged me:

     While the left wing continues winning arguments by not even having arguments at all, instead simply demonizing those who espouse any contrary position, the #SmartSet (citation required) of the establishment right continues believing, apparently earnestly and definitely ridiculously, that if they just out argue their political competitors, they'll change minds.

     They won't. Or not enough to actually matter. Because most people don't really care enough about these issues to really engage with them on an intellectual level; they just want to know what to claim to believe so that other people won't think they're weird, and deem them unfriendable, undatable, and poor candidates for promotion inside The Corporation.

     Combine this insight with that of Greg Beatty’s essay. Then answer the questions that few political commentators have dared to ask and none have dared to answer:

  • Does the typical American acquire his political opinions on issues through:
    1. Rational consideration?
    2. Utilitarian calculation?
  • If the prevalent answer is #2, what’s Mr. Typical American’s likely aim?
    1. A better America?
    2. Personal gain or protection?

     Don’t answer those questions with your own postures in mind; that’s likely to bias you. Try to gauge the “typical” case from the people you’ve known with whom you’ve swapped opinions. Take your time over it. Meanwhile, I need to fix another pot of coffee.

     Never before in American history have individuals been so much at risk from those around them. I’m not talking about risk of physical assault.

     The ongoing cartelization of the American economy, a project initiated under FDR’s “New Deal,” has resulted in more than half of our workers being employed by a mere 3000 companies: the “Fortune 3000.” There are still many small businesses in America, to be sure, but the era in which the small business was the dominant mode of economic advancement is well behind us. Today, the entrepreneur who hopes to prosper greatly seeks to sell his small business to a larger firm.

     Those 3000 companies don’t exactly have their workers by the balls, but they can put an awful big hurtin’ on them, should they so desire. The more narrowly specialized the worker, the greater his vulnerability to his employer – and ever-narrower specialization is the tenor of our times.

     Where Ace cites “social persuasion,” I’d include economic “persuasion” — the sort that “persuades” by threat: “Conform or find a new job – and good luck finding a new job.”

     Two years ago, I wrote:

     Consider the Left: first operationally, then ideologically. Its demands are unceasing. It never declares itself satisfied; it perennially insists that “rights” are being ignored, that “justice” has not yet been served. When not yet dominant, it adopts every new complaint, however minor or fatuous, as a part of its overarching cause, and every new complainant as part of its coalition. When fully in the saddle, as it was in the unlamented Soviet Union, its principal efforts go to eliminating dissidents.

     What does this tell us about the Left’s true doctrines? What do its unending, infinitely varying demands signify about its core beliefs? Equally to the point, what does its habit of adopting any and every anti-American notion and representative thereof say about its attitude toward American principles and ideals? Is it credible that there’s a rational ideology under all that?

     I claim that the Left in our time has no ideology. The only intention consistent with its behavior as delineated above is a determination to achieve total and irrevocable power over all persons, places, and things. That motive cannot be reconciled with any conception of freedom.

     It was an incomplete statement of the situation. I counted on my readers to infer far too much. I thought the title – “Not On Your Side” — should give the game away...but there’s that word again.

     It’s time to round the thing out.

     One by one, America’s large employers are being infiltrated, colonized, and subverted. The usual ingress route is the “Human Resources” department. HR departments are so greatly feared, including by the ultimate masters of the company, that they get their way nearly 100% of the time. When I wrote, in Love in the Time of Cinema, about this phenomenon:

     “The country was deep in the grip of the ‘diversity and inclusion’ fad. It started before you were born, and was pretty much a bad memory by the time you were old enough to notice. Noisy minorities were at their noisiest—and since a history of oppression was the legal and social coin of the realm, every one of them claimed to be ‘oppressed.’ The one getting the most attention at the time was ‘trans.’”
     I wasn’t sure I’d heard her correctly. “A transportation company?”
     She chuckled. “No, biological men who wanted to be women, or to be treated as women. A very few biological women who wanted to be men, or treated as men. They called themselves ‘transwomen’ or ‘transmen.’”
     I barked a laugh. I couldn’t help it. I caught hold of it quickly, and forced myself back to seriousness.
     She smirked. “You can laugh because you have no idea how bad it was. But there was nothing funny about it. Even though there were only a few thousand of them all together, they were unbelievably successful at bending governments and institutions to their whim. They won privileges that very few people can imagine today.
     “Tim’s employer’s Human Resources department was run by a gaggle of vicious women—real ones, not ‘trans’—who’d already succeeded in enacting weird ‘sexual harassment’ rules and rules about how to treat persons of differing sexual orientations. You could get fired for daring to defy the company naturally the company’s vicious women and vindictive homosexuals used the rules like a club to subjugate or flat get rid of anyone they pleased.
     “Well, these insane HR harpies needed new worlds to conquer, so they decided to make ‘trans tolerance’ their next campaign. But they didn’t mean ‘show tolerance for the deluded.’ They meant to make differing with a delusional person—calling a ‘trans’ person by his birth name, or referring to him as ‘he’ when he claimed to be a ‘she’—a hangin’ offense.
     “They rewrote the personnel policies for the company for the umpteenth time. Corporate management gave in without a fight. The new policies included mandatory ‘sensitivity training’ seminars for the entire company. Until Tim was herded into one, he had no idea what was coming.
     “He sat through about twenty minutes of their harangue before he couldn’t take any more of it. He felt someone had to take a stand against the lunacy. And Tim being...well, Tim, he wasn’t going to wait for someone else to do it. So he stood up.
     “He told them their nonsense had gone far enough. He said the ‘trans’ types are obviously detached from reality. That they need therapy to help them accept themselves as they are, not reinforcement for their delusions. That we should treat the mentally ill with compassion but that it’s wrong to cooperate in their lunacy. And he said he wouldn’t bow to any rule, from HR or anyone else, that compelled him to think or speak or act otherwise. And he walked out.
     “His supervisor fired him immediately after the seminar. He didn’t have anything against Tim. In fact, he agreed with him. He just didn’t want to tangle with HR.”

     ...I was making use of a real event in which a friend of mine had been the victim. Yet even after he’d been fired for expressing his opinion about an entirely non-work-related issue, he could not see past his own mistreatment. He styled himself a liberal. He maintains that stance to this day.

     I should have pointed out to my friend that had he been heard to express himself elsewhere, he would have received exactly the same treatment. It didn’t occur to me. May God forgive me.

     But there’s this to consider: Imagine that rather than firing him immediately, he’d merely been subjected to the corporate version of “re-education:” “sensitivity training,” a signed confession of his sins, and so forth, at the conclusion of which he would pledge himself to toe HR’s line about transgenders henceforward. What would have followed?

     He might have held onto his job...but what would his prospects have been? Would he be sent off with a pat on the head, now a trustworthy, conformant corporate citizen? Or would he have been watched, his every utterance recorded and scrutinized, and his progress at that company placed behind those the Leftists at HR regard as “more reliable?”

     You know the answer.

     Down in the street the wind flapped the torn poster to and fro, and the word INGSOC fitfully appeared and vanished. Ingsoc. The sacred principles of Ingsoc. Newspeak, doublethink, the mutability of the past. He felt as though he were wandering in the forests of the sea bottom, lost in a monstrous world where he himself was the monster. He was alone. The past was dead, the future was unimaginable. What certainty had he that a single human creature now living was on his side? And what way of knowing that the dominion of the Party would not endure for ever? Like an answer, the three slogans on the white face of the Ministry of Truth came back to him:
     He took a twenty-five cent piece out of his pocket. There, too, in tiny clear lettering, the same slogans were inscribed, and on the other face of the coin the head of Big Brother. Even from the coin the eyes pursued you. On coins, on stamps, on the covers of books, on banners, on posters, and on the wrappings of a cigarette Packet — everywhere. Always the eyes watching you and the voice enveloping you. Asleep or awake, working or eating, indoors or out of doors, in the bath or in bed — no escape. Nothing was your own except the few cubic centimetres inside your skull.

     [1984, of course]

     You cannot purchase the Left’s good will. Once you’ve given even the faintest indication that you reserve the right to dissent, that your opinions might vary from whatever BS they’re pushing, you’ve become a marked man, to be monitored forevermore. They will never trust you. They will never allow you any personal latitude. They will never think of you as “one of us.” No, not even should you report a slew of your confreres to be sacrificed on their politically correct altar.

     Winston Smith knew it. The very structure of the Party, whose “Outer” members had to endure the telescreens, the Two Minutes’ Hate, and the constant scrutiny of their co-workers, their neighbors, and their neighbors’ children, implied that one’s inclusion in the trusted “Inner” elite was unattainable. Once unreliable, always unreliable! You might make good fodder for some street demonstration, but you would never be allowed into the reaches from which positions are dictated and tactics are disseminated.

     Greg’s and Ace’s analyses are consistent with this recognition. Yet they too refrained from an explicit statement of the implications. It’s long past time to complete the argument.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Quickies: Something To Cheer About

     The international political scene has been short of “Hip hip, hooray!” moments in recent years. It appears one has just been delivered:

     DAVOS, Switzerland — In unscripted remarks to the press on Thursday, US President Donald Trump said the US would no longer transfer monetary aid to the Palestinians unless they entered peace negotiations with Israel, and excoriated the Palestinian leadership’s reaction to his decision last month to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

     “That money is not going to them unless they sit down and negotiate peace, because I can tell you that Israel does want to make peace, and they’re going to have to want to make peace, too, or we’re going to have nothing to do with it any longer,” he said.

     Thank you, President Trump. (And thank You, God.)

     It’s a commonplace that Arab Muslims respect power and nothing else. We’ve tried to get them to like us – the besetting fault of Americans – by treating them as equal negotiating partners with Israel. For decades we’ve tried to pay them to like us, with generous “foreign aid” payments that have mostly gone to the bank accounts of Yassir Arafat and Mohammed Abbas. But Arab Muslims regard that sort of treatment as a sign of weakness, an indicator that they can press for more and get it.

     At last we have a president who gets it. He’s taken a firm line with them, one they can’t help but take seriously. Moreover, President Trump, who recognizes the moral inequality of the contending forces in that region, is likely to be contemplating harsher measures.

     The Palestinian irredentists were at the zenith of their negotiating power twenty years ago...and they blew it. They’ve lost a great part of their public respect since then. Only anti-Semites and the propagandists of the Islamic world would dare to claim otherwise.

     President Trump knows the score. He’s not likely to allow the Palestinians any latitude for long as he’s operating from his own convictions. Whether the coterie of Deep State globalists, Palestinian sympathizers, Muslim mouthpieces, and State Department careerists he must fend off can drag him away from his eminently sensible position, we must wait and see.

The Offense Gambit

     As any Gentle Reader who’s been following recent developments will know, the scream of “I’m offended!” has become a currency with which to purchase “protection” against disliked opinions, usually in the form of a “safe space” from which such opinions are forcibly excluded. Any number of commentators in the Right have orated on the perniciousness of this trend. The Left’s counter, which has largely gone unanswered, is that various persons have “a right not to be offended.” That claim is usually based on specific characteristics of the persons claiming the right.

     One of the things that made Jordan Peterson’s recent face-off with interviewer Cathy Newman a telling stroke was Dr. Peterson’s immediate riposte of Newman’s claim that transgender persons have “a right not to be offended.” The relevant snippet is below:

     Dr. Peterson clearly understands that a claim such as “a right not to be offended” is by its nature subjective, arbitrary, and unsustainable. He could have attacked Newman as an aspiring dictator, in the exact sense of that word: one who dictates what others must, may, and may not say. He chose not to do so. He elected a wiser course by far: he demonstrated to Newman how he could turn the claim against her should he so choose.

     Leftists haven’t received that sort of treatment nearly often enough.

     A contrasting article from Ben Shapiro about the interview pulls the matter into even brighter light. The relevant snippet:

     There’s heavy irony to the fact that Victorian prudishness of manners suddenly abounds on the same Left that champions wearing pussyhats and shouting its abortions. But it’s that Victorian prudishness that tends to win the day — or at least has, for the past several decades. Perhaps that’s because many on the right tend to value manners; good religious men and women studiously avoid causing offense if they have the capacity to do so. It’s worked, too. The Left has wielded the Right’s preference for manners as a club against the Right, claiming offense in order to cow them into silence.

     Of late, however, the Left has simply gone too far. No longer do they ask whether objectively offensive statements ought to be made; they now take each statement and ask whether it is subjectively offensive to anyone.

     The emphasized phrases exemplify why I have no great regard for Ben Shapiro. What can he possibly mean by “objectively offensive?” What metric would apply? What measuring instruments exist? It’s a fantasy, no more substantiable than the Left’s fantasy of “a right not to be offended.” But wait: there’s more!

     If the Left uses manners as a weapon, the logic goes, let’s just discard manners altogether. But there’s no reason to do that. We all ought to behave with decency and truth.

     Note the words “ought to,” which are the equivalent of my whipping boy “should.” These are words that don’t belong in a conversation about politics or public policy. They’re too slippery, and too loaded. They too easily give rise to “must,” “shall,” and “shall not:” the coercions of legislation.

     But that’s not all that’s wrong with the above. “Decency and truth,” eh? Whose definition of “decency” shall we apply? In what settings and contexts? Are privacy and private property relevant, or is any statement made by anyone at any time to any listeners in any gathering liable to collective disapproval?

     Then there’s “truth.” Freedom of speech must necessarily include the freedom to lie, at least as long as it doesn’t reach the level of actionable slander or libel. (It certainly must include the freedom to be mistaken, the odd notions of federal agents notwithstanding.) But who will stand up for that aspect of freedom of speech? Damned few orthodox conservatives. Certainly not Ben Shapiro.

Margaret More: Father, that man's bad.
Sir Thomas More: There's no law against that.
William Roper: There is: God's law.
Sir Thomas More: Then God can arrest him.
William Roper: While you talk, he's gone!
Sir Thomas More: And go he should, if he were the Devil himself, until he broke the law.
William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!
Sir Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?
William Roper: Yes, I'd cut down every law in England to do that!
Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned 'round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man's laws, not God's! And if you cut them down, and you're just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!

[From A Man For All Seasons]

     The intemperate are forever willing to “cut a great road though the law” to go after someone or something they deem “bad.” It’s not always the intemperate of the Left. Calls for “decency” emanating from the Right have done as much. Consider the early Twentieth Century “reformers’” campaigns for “decency” and “sobriety,” one and all the work of the time’s social conservatives. Their aims were widely approved...or at least, not widely disapproved. Persons who deemed another’s vices to be that other’s proper business – in the old phrase, to be “between him and God” — usually withheld their opinions, lest the “reformers” target them.

     Demagogues know that. A skilled demagogue can turn his target into “the enemy” even if the target is merely insufficiently enthusiastic about the demagogue’s nostrums. The Right has known as many demagogues as the Left, and ought to be reminded of the dangers they pose.

     Just now the demagogues most to be feared are on the Left, but that must not blind us to the possibilities of a “conservative” neo-Victorian fascism. After all, we’re just as easily offended as anyone alive, and just as susceptible to turning our “shoulds” and “should nots” into campaign of intimidation or a legislative agenda. Let’s stay well away from that chasm.

NOT Shutting Down the Investigation

Too often, Americans are asked to "put it behind you, for the good of the country". That was true of the violent 60s radical movement, the Whitewater investigation, the Clinton impeachment/trial, the death of Ron Brown, the Clinton Foundation irregularities, the WMD "snafu", the Tea Party/other conservative attacks by the IRS, the VA deaths, and on, and on, and on.

The scenario is always the same:

  • Deny everything
  • Accuse those who question you of being haters, conspiracy theorists, evil
  • Lawyer up and drag your feet about compliance with court orders
  • Bring in the media to whitewash your actions, and imply saintly forebearance in the face of these unjust attacks by pathetic people
  • Dig up accusations of similar type - sex, drugs, theft - and throw them against Republicans, particularly if that person is in a leadership position
  • Use influence to get a Republican indicted - make sure to have media there for the "perp walk"
  • Repeat, repeat, repeat
  • Last, admit the most innocuous charge, claiming an "honest mistake", and loudly proclaim the need to "move on"
Lather, rinse, repeat. Every time.

Rush Limbaugh has taken some heat from questioning the WMD intel given to Bush. He is now WONDERING whether this was an accident, or something more. For that, he is being labeled a tin-foil nut (BTW, no one uses tin foil - it's aluminum foil, perfectly adequate to protect against BOTH alpha and beta rays. Not, however, gamma - only lead will stop them).

Who’s thinking strategically?

It isn’t we us.
Schiff then says the problem is also unfunded liabilities such as social security and Medicare. He says that China doesn’t have any of those. The Chinese rely on themselves, have disposable income, and save 30% of their income and taxes are almost nothing to keep businesses booming. While Americans pay a lot of taxes, save only 3%, live paycheck to paycheck, and rely on the deeply indebted government. Becoming self-reliant and preparing yourself for this crash will give you a hand up in during the dollar’s collapse.[1]
Beyond that, there’s an extraordinary brittleness to our society founded on an unwillingness to deal with simple facts and a determination to ignore all the lessons of our history:
  • millions of people not working;
  • massive government debt to keep the entitlements flowing;
  • crony capitalism;
  • pointless foreign wars;
  • deliberate policies hostile to fossil fuels and emphasizing fairy-tale “alternative” energy;
  • ruinous globalism including an utterly mad evisceration of the nation’s manufacturing industry;
  • suicidal multiculturalism;
  • slavish adulation of government;
  • fawning over minorities and foreigners;
  • bankrupt pension systems;
  • a confused elite despised by the people and hostile to every fundamental value of the nation and its culture;
  • MSM that are are nothing but propaganda organs of the elite;
  • total blindness regarding the true scourge of the last century and the economic and cultural pitfalls of socialism;
  • an unnatural, expensive relationship with Israel that persistently went to bat for its spy in our ranks, Jonathan Pollard, shopped his product (our SIOP) to the Soviet Union, and deliberately attacked one of our warships;
  • government and MSM mendacity on matters of sexual “identity”;
  • ceaseless Hollywood and media promotion of anti-white themes, miscegenation, homosexuality, and feminism;
  • a mendacious, baseless promotion of the notion of a hostile, aggressive Russia;
  • a bizarre, willful blindness to the realities of plain-vanilla Islam and consequent self-abasement from the use of terms like “Islamism,” “Islamist,” “radical Islamist,” “radical jihadi terror,” “moderate Islam,” and “workplace violence”;
  • unbelievable arrogance about our role in the world and our “indispensable” “leadership”;
  • governments at all levels utterly unable and unwilling to deal with simple street crime and commie AntiFa street violence;
  • elite promotion of punishment for and suppression of “hate speech” and other degradations of First Amendment freedoms;
  • willful blindness as to the failure of the civil rights revolution and existence of black hatred;
  • monetary policy in the hands of anonymous, unaccountable owners of the Federal Reserve;
  • mindless, uncontrolled federal spending;
  • a multifaceted war on the family and promotion of every conceivable public policy to make having children ruinously expensive;
  • domination by an intellectually debased and politically hostile political correctness;
  • viciousness, dishonesty, and stupidity on the issue of global cooling global warming climate change climate disruption;
  • ”one dollar, one vote” electoral politics;
  • official indifference to vote fraud;
  • viciousness, mawkishness, and down-to-the-bone stupidity on immigration; and, above all,
  • a diseased notion of rightful Supreme Court constitutional innovation and the total abandonment of the Constitution by the legal and political classes, thus creating the unaccountable, unreachable federal government that is the threat to liberty, prosperity, and peace that the Founders, Ratifiers, and people of 1791 were determined to avoid.
What, it’s reasonable ask, could go wrong?

[1] "Peter Schiff: 'We're Near The Endgame... And Trump's Gonna Be The Fall Guy.'" By Tyler Durden, ZeroHedge, 1/23/18.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Ultra-Quickies: When Speaking To One Of The “Gentlemen of the Press:”

     ...always record the conversation:

     Jonathan Martin, the national political correspondent of The New York Times, called Donald Trump a “racist” and “fascist” during two campaign conversations with a Republican National Committee staff member, according to people with direct knowledge of the exchanges.

     Martin said that those working for the presidential candidate were “complicit” in his racist campaign, these people said.

     I first reported these heated conversations in my forthcoming book, “Media Madness: Donald Trump, The Press and the War Over the Truth.” Two more sources have now emerged to confirm the account.

     The following comes from Howard Kurtz’s book Media Madness:

     Weeks before the convention, an RNC staff member called Martin one night to challenge one of his stories. The reporter shot back, “You’re a racist and a fascist; Donald Trump is a racist and a fascist, we all know it, and you are complicit. By supporting him you’re all culpable.”

     During the fall campaign, the party staffer called him again, and Martin accused the staffer—and everyone working on Trump’s behalf—of supporting a racist campaign and a racist candidate.

     This time the staffer was distraught and relayed the conversation to the boss, Sean Spicer. Spicer called a top Times editor and unloaded about Martin’s behavior. The editor thanked Spicer for the information.

     Half an hour later, Martin called Spicer and demanded: “How dare you go behind my back? What are you doing calling one of my editors?”

     “Excuse me,” Spicer replied, “you call one of my people and say this and I don’t have a right to complain?”

     These press bastards are destroying all grounds for believing in the possibility of honest journalism. They’re not reporters. They’re not even opinion-mongers. In Glenn Reynolds’ words, they’re “Democrat operatives with bylines.” They need to be taken down really bloody quick.

Compilable Specifications, Characterization, And Propaganda

     Yes, Gentle Reader, you get two pieces today...though I can’t imagine what you’ll think of this one. I just know that I need to write it.

     First, a segment from an old story by Robert A. Heinlein:

     King was reminded again of something that had bothered him from the time Silard had first suggested Lentz’s name. “May I ask a personal question?”
     The merry eyes were undisturbed. “Go ahead.”
     “I can’t help but be surprised that one man should attain eminence in two such widely differing fields as psychology and mathematics. And right now I’m perfectly convinced of your ability to pass yourself off as a physicist. I don’t understand it.”
     The smile was more amused without being in the least patronizing nor offensive. “Same subject,” he answered.
     “Eh? How’s that—”
     “Or rather, both mathematical physics and psychology are branches of the same subject, symbology. You are a specialist; it would not necessarily come to your attention.”
     “I still don’t follow you.”
     “No? Man lives in a world of ideas. Any phenomenon is so complex that he cannot possibly grasp the whole of it. He abstracts certain characteristics of a given phenomenon as an idea, then represents that idea as a symbol, be it a word of a mathematical sign. Human reaction is almost entirely reaction to symbols, and only negligibly to phenomena. As a matter of fact,” he continued, removing the cigarette holder from his mouth, “it can be demonstrated that the human mind can think only in terms of symbols.
“When we think, we let symbols operate on other symbols in certain set fashions—rules of logic, or rules of mathematics. If the symbols have been abstracted so that they are structurally similar to the phenomena they stand for, and if the symbol operations are similar in structure and order to the operations of phenomena in the real world, we think sanely. If our logic-mathematics, or our word-symbols, have been poorly chosen, we think not sanely.
     “In mathematical physics you are concerned with making your symbology fit physical phenomena. In psychiatry I am concerned with precisely the same thing, except that I am more immediately concerned with the man who does the thinking than with the phenomena he is thinking about. But the same subject, always the same subject.”

     [From “Blowups Happen,” in The Past Through Tomorrow]

     Mathematician / psychiatrist Lentz is one of the first of Heinlein’s trademarked omnicompetent man characters: the sort of chap who, having witnessed the total collapse of the civilization he knows, perhaps due to pandemic smartphone addiction, he would analyze the event, determine the critical factors, then roll up his sleeves and set to work personally rebuilding that civilization – minus the smartphones, of course. And he’d get it done on time and within budget.

     Heinlein was passionate about human competence. His protagonists weren’t uniformly of the omnicompetent-man variety, but they did appear in a great part of his fiction. They were responsible for a great part of the love his readers felt for him. To them as to him, omnicompetence was an ideal toward which to work. As an ideal it has much to recommend it. As an achievable reality...well, let’s just say that most of us fall short of the mark.

     But fiction, though it must “make sense,” doesn’t need to mimic reality in all its particulars.

     Ayn Rand is probably more responsible for the rise of realist philosophical thought and the renascence of the liberty movement than any other writer. It’s plain from both her fiction and her nonfiction that she had those ends in mind. Moreover, she shared with Heinlein a vision of the human ideal: the perfectly rational man capable of thinking his way through any problem, of surmounting every obstacle by applying keen observation and hard intelligence unburdened by irrelevant emotions or unrealistic desires. Her protagonists, especially in her magnum opus Atlas Shrugged, depict those qualities to a 200-proof distillation.

     It’s an inspiring vision, quite as uplifting as Heinlein’s omnicompetent man or Girolamo Saccheri’s ideal of a Euclidean geometry that doesn’t require the postulate of the parallels. And just as many persons revere Rand for showing them that vision as do Heinlein.

     One could make a good case that Heinlein’s and Rand’s heroes came along at exactly the time they were most needed. They came to a society that was on the brink of surrendering to the darkest elements of the human psyche: envy, power lust, and appetite unburdened by conscience. If they didn’t “save” our society, whatever that might mean, they created enough of a countercurrent to the madness bidding to swallow it whole to keep it at bay for a generation or two.

     I’m acquainted with other writers who dislike Rand and have little use for Heinlein. In fairness, those writers don’t dismiss Rand or Heinlein; mostly, they disagree with the premises in Rand’s and Heinlein’s most influential works and consider their depictions of human behavior unreasonable. As it’s impossible to argue about premises – especially moral premises, which are critically important to both Rand and Heinlein – there’s no point in discussing who’s “right.”

     And now for something...well, not completely different, but near enough to that as I can get in an essay that “shouldn’t” persuade my Gentle Readers that I’ve flipped my wig.

     One of the Holy Grails of software development is the never-ending quest for a path that descends from:

  1. Requirements,
  2. through Design,
  3. to Implementation,

     ...that eliminates the possibility of error. Some mighty minds have been put to that effort, including the late, great James Martin. Yet we’re no nearer that goal than we were in the Seventies, when the possibility was first seriously discussed in the literature. What it would require, the consensus decided, was a way to produce a compilable specification: i.e., a comprehensive statement of the requirements that an automated process could transform into a matching implementation. Many of the arguments made for this or that method of describing software requirements were basically that “our method makes the compilable specification plausible.” As no one has yet reached that glittering prize, the arguments remain unresolved.

     However, the storytellers of the world pursue it daily. Not all of them have an innocent end in mind.

     Political propaganda is largely about persuading the target to accept a certain set of premises. It has that in common with every sort of fiction. The theory is simple enough: if you can dictate the premises from which a particular issue must be approached, you can dictate the outcome. And indeed, both of the principal political families of our time strive to impose their preferred premises on every issue that arises in American political discourse.

     That’s an open secret, to be sure. The palmed cards are anything but obvious.

     When political propaganda succeeds – in other words, when advocate Smith makes target Jones into a convert on the subject under discussion – we may be reasonably sure that all the following are true:

  1. Jones has accepted, at least temporarily, the premises Smith has laid out.
  2. Jones has followed the argumentative trail that leads from Smith’s premises to his conclusion.
  3. Jones does not see Smith’s conclusion, or any of Smith’s objectives, as unacceptably averse to his own interests.

     By implication, nothing of relevance to Jones has intruded to derail the path from premises to conclusion, nor to knock him off it at the end of the ride. You may rest assured, Gentle Reader, that the professional political propagandists of our time are masters at selecting exactly and only the premises that will lead inexorably to the conclusions they want us to reach. Yet their advocacy fails far more often than it succeeds. Why?

     Because while the Joneses among us might accept Condition #1 at least for the sake of argument, and might be willing to allow that given the suggested premises the conclusion is inexorable, they will not allow that the suggested premises are beyond question. Neither will they allow that Smith’s premises are the only considerations that apply.

     Thomas Sowell’s famous three-point rejoinder to the Left:

  1. “Compared to what?”
  2. “At what cost?”
  3. “What’s your evidence?” a three-strike body blow to the sort of political propaganda routinely emitted by both sides. In ordinary discourse, those three questions would silence ninety-nine out of a hundred political polemicists. Virtually no one arguing for any position – including all the ones I support! — could answer all three sufficiently well for his argument’s premises to hold the field unopposed.

     Which is a complete explanation for why the Left, unwilling to accept dissidence from anyone about anything, has moved to colonize and conquer the communicative trades.

     As should be clear to all but those who read this dive in Braille, I write fiction as well as nonfiction. If you’ve taken an interest in the recent fusillades in the speculative-fiction publishing industry, some of which I’ve written about: already know how I feel about the whole dustup. I can’t imagine that the gunfire will abate any time soon. But it does serve to illustrate a critical aspect of storytelling and why it’s a target for the propagandist:

Buy The Premise, Buy The Tale.

     The Left wants to command the heights of the publishing industry and all its periphera so that the stories it favors will be unopposed by stories that embed divergent premises and enable divergent outcomes. This is especially critical as regards character motivation.

     What motivates a protagonist – i.e., his values and the priority scale into which he fits them – determines how he’ll react to the events of the story. To get any enjoyment out of a story, the reader must empathize with its protagonist(s). He must accept their premises, at least for the duration of the tale. This is easier if the reader isn’t too far personally from those premises, but it remains a requirement of reader enjoyment regardless.

     For example: I greatly enjoy the fiction of Robert A. Heinlein, Larry Niven, Jack Vance, Tom Kratman, and John Ringo. Those writers’ premises about the ways people act in dangerous or otherwise stressful conditions are close to mine; I have no trouble accepting their protagonists’ motivations and decisions. By contrast, I cannot enjoy the fictions of socialist writers Mack Reynolds, Kim Stanley Robinson, or Octavia Butler. Their protagonists’ motivations and decisions strike me as unreasonable – unreal. “People don’t act that way,” I say to myself. Yet another socialist writer, the late John Brunner, has entertained me greatly, even though we’re poles apart politically. Brunner has managed a trick the aforementioned three have not: he got me to buy into his characters’ motivations, at least for the duration of his novels, even if I rejected them (and their political implications) once I’d closed the book.

     Do you see the parallel with the “compilable specification,” Gentle Reader? Do you see how a convincingly drawn protagonist character exemplifies that ideal?

     I lit into this subject upon learning this morning that the great Ursula Leguin had passed away. Let there be no mistake: Leguin is a giant of twentieth-century speculative fiction. Yet in her crowning achievement, The Dispossessed, she presents the reader with Anarres, a wholly unbelievable “ambiguous utopia.” Her protagonist, Shevek, is devoted to the principles upon which Anarresti society is founded:

  1. Anarchism;
  2. Communism.

     The combination of the two is Leguin’s vision of “freedom.” The most superficial acquaintance with the nature of freedom and the nature of Man makes obvious how nonsensical that is:

     “Without private property there can be no private decisions.” [Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson, Illuminatus!]
     Freedom is founded on ownership of property....For the normal human being who is not a creative artist nor a scientist by profession the means of self-expression consist largely or rooms to modify and gardens to tend, trees to plant and offspring to rear. Losing these opportunities for expression, the individual loses individuality, freedom, and hope. [C. Northcote Parkinson, The Law, Complete]

     Which is why Karl Marx, though never to be adequately condemned, was clearer sighted in demanding a dictatorship for his socialist paradise. Yes, he did envision “the withering-away of the state,” but no one who has accepted his premises has ever signed on to that notion.

     It’s the grand project of the Left to marginalize (at least) or eliminate (at horrifying most) all fictional depictions of people behaving as people normally behave. Their objectives cannot withstand that sort of realistic, believable counter-propaganda. You could say that they seek to build their “new progressive man” in part by creating characters that embed their preferred premises. Such characters are “compilable specifications” for their sort of political order. If such fictional premises are the only ones people read about, those fictions will pull the young, the impressionable, and the intellectually unformed to the Left without their targets’ conscious knowledge.

     Which is why the independent writers and artists movement is worth every thinking man’s support.

The Shutdown And The Wall

     The Dishonorable Charles Schumer, perhaps the least sincere person ever to hold federal office, has proclaimed the border wall “off the table:”

     Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he had withdrawn an offer to Trump of $25 billion for new border security measures in exchange for permanent legal protections for some undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children.

     “We’re going to have to start on a new basis, and the wall offer’s off the table,” Schumer told reporters. He said his proposal had applied only to a deal that was never realized.

     News of his decision came as Schumer is facing a backlash from liberals that he had been too accommodating to the president.

     President Trump struck back at once:

     Late Tuesday night, Trump reiterated that “if there is no Wall, there is no DACA.”

     Let’s not omit to mention that Schumer’s “wall offer” was for a portion of the funding required – about 15% — to be included in the budget for fiscal year 2019 with no guarantee of any other funding (or political support) at any later time. In exchange, Schumer demanded increased immigration, the protection of the provisions for chain migration, the maintenance of the “immigration lottery,” and absolute, guaranteed not to expire protection for the “DREAMers” and for all their “chained-in” relatives as well. Crumbs in exchange for a political haymaker that would guarantee that the Democrats would take the Senate in 2018 and defeat Trump’s re-election bid in 2020.

     Border control, which emphatically includes a physical barrier that would cover most if not all of America’s southern border, was President Trump’s signature issue during his presidential campaign. It’s easy to imagine that Trump, who has built his reputation on keeping his promises and delivering exemplary performance, would staunchly defend his position. It’s the issue on which a reversal would hurt him worst. But wait: there’s more!

     We now know that the Left’s political masters regard illegal aliens as future Democrat votes, politically indispensable to their future prospects. Internal memos already multiply reported by the media have made that close to undeniable. California has ripped away what little veil was left over their scheme by enabling illegal aliens to vote in California elections. Thus, the Democrats’ true problem is that, while they’ve pretended that a border wall and the associated intensified controls and patrols are “unnecessary,” and that Republican support for them is founded in “racism,” the public is now aware that they oppose those things for reasons of partisan advantage.

     But then, with the Democrats, everything is ultimately about partisan advantage.

     Some states are worse afflicted by illegal aliens than others. My own state of New York is perhaps second or third worst. Even here on Long Island, a traditionally “high rent” district where one might expect an illegal alien to have a hard time making ends meet, we’re close to overrun by them. How can this be?

     Cheap labor is probably the largest reason. People like bargains, and the bargain an illegal-alien labor force can offer is pretty impressive. After all, the laborers pay no taxes, and their employers pay little to or for them. Also, individual illegals can offer themselves to well to do two-income families as inexpensive domestic help: typically nannies and house cleaners.

     But cheap labor must live somewhere. That’s provided by Long Island’s thousands of “off the books” landlords. These think little of packing basement apartments, some of them mere “studio / efficiency” units, with groups of illegals. On those few occasions when such an arrangement comes to light, the living conditions revealed are squalid or worse. The governments of Long Island’s townships, nominally charged with enforcing zoning laws and the relevant health and safety regulations, have tended to look the other way. Bureaucrats like cheap labor too.

     A network of “facilitators” with “connections” helps to wire illegals into these schemes. If you’ve ever seen a large crowd of swarthy young men congregated along a highway access strip or near a convenience store at an early hour of the day, they’re waiting for transportation to wherever they hope to work that day. No, there won’t be room – or work – enough for all of them, but they’ll take their chances. What else is there?

     The remarkable thing is how quiet the construction and trades unions have been about all of it. Do they somehow benefit from the illegal influx as well? At this point I cannot say.

     In many ways, the illegal tide has brought back Depression-era political and economic conditions. The recent movie Cinderella Man, about the Depression-era struggles of boxing great “Gentleman Jim” Braddock, depicts some of the features of those conditions: too little work for too many workers who must accept paltry wages and endure subsistence-level living conditions, having no (legal) means of escaping them.

     Political elites don’t benefit from such conditions solely by the acquisition of cheap labor. Even if the laborers can’t vote for them – a restriction that’s become dubious – they can exploit the laborers’ plight through the mechanism of weaponized empathy. Few Americans actively want to be seen as “heartless.” Many will respond to the call to “do something” for those whose suffering is “undeserved.”

     The tactic has served the Democrats well for many years. However, success breeds failure. The utility of the tactic has worn thin as middle and working-class Americans, unable to benefit from the illegal torrent yet saddled with the costs in increased crime rates, increased taxation, rapidly collapsing schools and other public systems, and ever less safe neighborhoods, have realized what’s been done to them and have resolved to stand against it. It was largely that which elevated Donald Trump to the presidency.

     As reaction to the “Schumer Shutdown” has indicated, the public is on to the game. The Democrats might not be ready institutionally to admit it yet, but some of their more prominent figures are showing signs of illumination. How they will respond, once the change has become undeniable, remains to be seen. However, we may confidently expect that the longstanding deceptions – i.e., about the wall and greater border control being “unnecessary” and symptoms of “racism” — will fade to nothing, for as Bertrand Russell said, a man can be kept ignorant, but he cannot be made ignorant. Stay tuned.

Pearls of expression.

If there were a magic solution to keep the government in check, one that didn’t involve alert and principled citizens, the drafters would likely have thought of it.
Comment by David on “Destroying Syria. Why does Washington hate Bashar al-Assad?” By Philip Giraldi, The Unz Review, 1/23/18.

The Left’s prime directive.

No person of importance on the right seeks to silence anyone on the left. The Left, on the other hand, is broadly committed to ostracizing, blacklisting, and even criminalizing right-wing speech.

"Of Crudeness and Truth. Thoughts on President Trump’s latest verbal tempest." By Andrew Klavan, City Journal, 1/12/18.


From Vlad Tepes:

AUTHORITARIANS: Trudeau Government May Bring Back Widely-Criticized ‘Hate Speech’ Law As Campaign Against Free Expression Continues.

The endgame for the Trudeau government is obvious: Define any political opposition or alternative viewpoint as ‘hate speech,’ and silence opponents under the guise of ‘human rights.’

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Home Truths And The I-Want Milieu

     I’m feeling pretty good this morning, and it’s got nothing whatsoever to do with political trends, my finances, the collapse of the NFL, or the timely repair of my oven...though I must admit that those are all fairly uplifting in their own right.

     No, it’s about a cleft that runs through American society. It’s not a physical division like the San Andreas Fault, but a conceptual one. It’s the sort of partition that arises when a significant number of putatively responsible American adults start to behave like whiny children socialists. That cleft is becoming ever more visible, and the people on the wrong side thereof purely hate it.

     They should hate it. Its edges are crumbling rapidly, pulling them ever nearer to its maw. Unless they get their heads on straight P.D.Q. it will suck them down into oblivion...and they will have earned it.

     Kurt Schlichter is quickly becoming the go-to guy for penetrating snark:

     Some of you misguided young women (the non-misguided ones can ignore me) will resist the obvious fact that you need the romantic advice of a married, 53-year old retired Army officer who identifies as male. Well, judging from that Aziz Ansari story in, many of you sure need some guidance from someone. And since your fathers apparently went AWOL – or maybe you just didn’t listen – I’ll step in to help. Because I’m a helper. And because since so many of you are so utterly ill-equipped to interact with men, maybe you need a man to mansplain things to you.

     I know what’s coming: You’re condescending and patriarchal!

     Probably, but I’m still right.

     Please read it all. It gets better as it goes, and every word is home truth.

     “Home truth? Whazzat?” I hear you cry. Quite simply, it’s a truth one learns at home; in the old formulation, “at your mother’s knee.” More candidly, it’s a truth one is expected to learn at home. Because if you don’t, the moment you step past the threshold of your Olde Home Stead, that terrible nasty unfeeling thing we physicists call reality will chew you up and spit you out faster than a lump of Bazooka® or Dubble-Bubble®.

     Schlichter’s core home truth is this:

Others will judge you by your behavior.
There’s no way to prevent it.

     Or, as Schlichter says to “Grace,” who is almost certainly not paying attention:

     Let me break this to you gently, misguided Misses. If you want a guy for the long haul who will actually care about your feelings – because guys can do that, you know – you might not want to leave the guy with the impression all those observations lead to. It makes you not girlfriend (much less wife) material. It makes you a notch on a bedpost.

     And it is so.

     Way back in the Early Obscene – or was it the Later Moronic? I forget – I wrote a couple of essays for Eternity Road on the subject of “Sturdy Wisdoms:” my phrase du jour for a home truth. They were little bits of reality encapsulated in a thousand words or so. A fair number of my readers disliked them for their “I told you so” tone, and said so in the comments. I was unsurprised; in the usual case, the advice we least like to hear is the stuff to which we ought to pay proper attention.

     I expressed three such home truths in this essay. I thought I’d seen hate mail before that. How wrong I was!

     People hate to be told that they’ve been stupid – and that’s the message within any evocation of “I told you so.” But these past few decades a lot of people have been told that it’s their God-given right to behave stupidly and suffer no consequences. You’d think they’d aim their fury at those who misled them. You’d be wrong.

     We’re at the edge of another abyss just now. It was created by a federal government that has refused for decades to punish the miscreants within its own ranks. The technical term most commonly applied to that refusal is sovereign immunity.

     The doctrine of sovereign immunity – in the medieval formula, “the King and his agents can do no wrong” — has been used to protect criminal behavior by law enforcers, by bureaucrats, by elected and appointed officials...and by private citizens who were once elected or appointed officials. It’s a clear contradiction to the classical Rule of Law, which holds that a person’s status has no bearing on his culpability under the law. But as it’s the political elite protecting themselves and their confreres, the common citizen has had to watch in helpless frustration when such scum as Lon Horiuchi and Janet Reno commit open murder under color of law and go scot free.

     But our present moment, in which the FBI is blandly denying Congress a large amount of vital evidence of Justice Department corruption under a literally unbelievable rationale, has confronted those elites with a specimen of defiance that might just get them to reconsider:

     Maybe I'm just getting paranoid, but today's limp excuse is so lame that it almost seems as though there must be something more sinister going on here than simply failing to comply with a congressional investigation.

     What the FBI is doing is demonstrating its political power -- baring its fangs, if you will -- by showing in the most obviously unbelievable way that it will do what it please. The FBI wants the people who count to understand that the Bureau cannot and will not be held accountable....

     The FBI didn't come up with a lame excuse because that's all they could come up with. They came up with a lame excuse because they think that's all they need.

     And unless Congress steps up, they'll be right.

     FBI agents committed multiple murders at both Ruby Ridge and Waco...and the agents involved in both atrocities weren’t just protected from the just consequences of their actions, they were promoted. It would have been logical for FBI agents from top to bottom to conclude that if they could do what they did in those incidents and suffer no penalty, they could get away with anything. What will Congress’s response be today?

     I could go on for thousands more words, but I’ll spare you. The final home truth for the day will come from Ralph Waldo Emerson:

     The ingenuity of man has always been dedicated to the solution of one problem,--how to detach the sensual sweet, the sensual strong, the sensual bright, &c., from the moral sweet, the moral deep, the moral fair; that is, again, to contrive to cut clean off this upper surface so thin as to leave it bottomless; to get a one end, without an other end. The soul says, Eat; the body would feast. The soul says, The man and woman shall be one flesh and one soul; the body would join the flesh only. The soul says, Have dominion over all things to the ends of virtue; the body would have the power over things to its own ends....

     You cannot do wrong without suffering wrong....This law writes the laws of cities and nations. It is in vain to build or plot or combine against it. Things refuse to be mismanaged long. Res nolunt diu male administrari. Though no checks to a new evil appear, the checks exist, and will appear. If the government is cruel, the governor's life is not safe. If you tax too high, the revenue will yield nothing. If you make the criminal code sanguinary, juries will not convict. If the law is too mild, private vengeance comes in. [From Emerson’s essay “Compensation”]

     And it is so, and not all the “But I want” whinings of all the ages of Man can gainsay it.