Thursday, March 29, 2018

Queering The Pitch

     History teaches. History reminds. And history is falling into desuetude.

     I think of World War I as “my” war – not because I fought in it (I’m not that old), but because I put more than twenty years’ free time into studying it. Its fascination for me is of several kinds, but above all, this: the generals of all the combatants were absolute idiots.

     Of course, it’s easy to play Monday-morning quarterback about a war that ended a century ago. But other students of World War I have come to approximately the same conclusion, though they tend to state it in gentler terms.

     Thing is, we of the Year of Our Lord 2018 should strive to learn from their mistakes. Some of them have application to contemporary political battles. Take this brief snippet from Barbara Tuchman’s The Guns of August, concerning the early failures of the French forces:

     [General] Ruffey blamed his defeat in the Ardennes on the last-minute removal of the two reserve divisions that [Supreme Commander] Joffre had transferred to the Army of Lorraine. If he had had those 40,000 fresh men and the 7th Cavalry Division, Ruffey said, he could have rolled up the enemy’s left and “what a success for our arms we might have won!” In one of his terse and mysterious remarks, Joffre replied, “Chut, il ne faut pas le dire.” [“Hush, don’t say that.” -- FWP] His tone of voice has been lost, and it will never be known whether he meant “You are wrong, you must not say that,” or “You are right but we must not admit it.”

     It’s the latter interpretation I have in mind this morning. It’s the sort of thing politicians and activists say to one another when one of their number has expressed a wee bit too much truth.

     A Gentle Reader of Liberty’s Torch will likely already have read about retired Supreme Court Associate Justice John Paul Stevens statement that the Second Amendment to the Constitution should be repealed. Stevens, an appointee of President Gerald Ford, was believed to be a conservative at the time of his elevation. It appears that, as has been the case with so many other politicos and office-holders, he’s decided to seek a little more publicity in his dotage (he’s 97). Of course, the easiest way for such a person to get media attention is to say something outrageous. It helps if the statement is radically at odds with some widely shared belief, especially if the speaker could reasonably have been assumed to share that belief.

     Stevens is not the only person saying it, of course. A considerable number of activists have done so before a live camera or microphone. And of course we have this example of cheerful villainy to remind us that the anti-gunners deem themselves so morally superior to us that they need not respect our rights to our lives.

     What’s significant is the chorus of “Chut, il ne faut pas le dire” from other major Leftist mouthpieces in reply to Stevens’s blunt admission of their ultimate aim. How often have we heard such figures say “Of course no one is talking about repealing the Second Amendment,” or alternately, “No one is going to take away your guns” these past few weeks? Just a bit too quick and too earnest, aren’t they? Especially while Stevens’s remarks (and the conformant statements made by others) are still in the news. Anyone who has a passing knowledge of the history of gun prohibition exercises will know it at once.

     Stevens and the other vocal anti-Second Amendment types are doing great damage to the Left’s “salami tactics” assault on the right to keep and bear arms. The strategists and major luminaries of the Left are frantic over it. You can practically read it from their faces.

     Deciding whom to believe isn’t much of a challenge.

     I must now borrow a complete post from the esteemed Brock Townsend:

     Generally speaking, conservative Americans don’t particularly care to hear Europeans weigh in with their opinions on our Second Amendment and gun laws, but an Italian woman recently stated something so simple yet profound that it simply must be shared.

     “Americans, I’m watching the #GunControl protests from Italy,” tweeted a user by the name of Redeemed Goddaughter.

     “Take a European’s advice: Last century our governments disarmed us. Now, in Germany & the UK they arrest you for Twitter & FB posts. Lesson? “If the gov’t takes your 2nd Amendment, one day it’ll take your 1st,” she concluded.

     Stunning: concise, arrow-straight to the point, and absolutely irrefutable. Words and statements being quasi-censored today via “political correctness” and “anti-hate speech” crusades will become baldly illegal, and prosecutable in a court of law.

     Needless to say, the Left would prefer that we pay “Redeemed Goddaughter” no attention.

     Why worry? What the hell, it’s only the last vestiges of Americans’ freedom that are at stake, right? Right?

     Always remember this classic citation from the late Clarence Carson’s The American Tradition:

     [W]e are told that there is no need to fear the concentration of power in government so long as that power is checked by the electoral process. We are urged to believe that so long as we can express our disagreement in words, we have our full rights to disagree. Now both freedom of speech and the electoral process are important to liberty, but alone they are only the desiccated remains of liberty. However vigorously we may argue against foreign aid, our substance is still drained away in never-to-be-repaid loans. Quite often, there is not even a candidate to vote for who holds views remotely like my own. To vent one's spleen against the graduated income tax may be healthy for the psyche, but one must still yield up his freedom of choice as to how his money will be spent when he pays it to the government. The voice of electors in government is not even proportioned to the tax contribution of individuals; thus, those who contribute more lose rather than gain by the "democratic process." A majority of voters may decide that property cannot be used in such and such ways, but the liberty of the individual is diminished just as much as in that regard as if a dictator had decreed it. Those who believe in the redistribution of wealth should be free to redistribute their own, but they are undoubtedly limiting the freedom of others when they vote to redistribute theirs.

     Effective disagreement means not doing what one does not want to do as well as saying what he wants to say. What is from one angle the welfare state is from another the compulsory state. Let me submit a bill of particulars. Children are forced to go to school. Americans are forced to pay taxes to support foreign aid, forced to support the Peace Corps, forced to make loans to the United Nations, forced to contribute to the building of hospitals, forced to serve in the armed forces. Employers are forced to submit to arbitration with labor leaders. Laborers are forced to accept the majority decision. Employers are forced to pay minimum wages, or go out of business. But it is not even certain that they will be permitted by the courts to go out of business. Railroads are forced to charge established rates and to continue services which may have become uneconomical. Many Americans are forced to pay Social Security. Farmers are forced to operate according to the restrictions voted by a majority of those involved. The list could be extended, but surely the point has been made.

     It’s possible that no more scathing indictment of omnipotent government has ever been written. Only one item of consequence need be added:

The Omnipotent State can force a disarmed people to suffer anything it pleases.

     And isn’t it funny, now that the sole remains of our once-majestic freedom are freedom of expression and the “right” to vote, how the Left is determined to destroy those things as well – the former through the canard that “hate speech is not free speech,” and the latter through the steady corruption of the electoral process?

     In closing: Pay your best and fullest attention to those on the Left who openly speak against the right to keep and bear arms. The desire of their “moderate” colleagues to shush them and hustle them offstage is highly significant. Speaking too candidly will queer the pitch. As C. S. Lewis told us in a different context, “the safest road to Hell is the gradual one—the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.”

1 comment:

Col. B. Bunny said...

I amuse myself by asking why did the various nations involved in WWI not examine it after the first year and ask themselves if they were engaging in a useful purpose. The entire British standing army of 1914 had been wiped out and massive casualties were suffered on all sides for pathetically small gains and losses. No doubt the governments considered the sacrifices "worth it" according to their calculations and priorities. The Christmas truces of 1914 break your heart to read about them, so emblematic of the humanity of the troops and the absurdity of the task at hand. But the slaughter continued, consuming the best of the best.

I frequently note that the slaughter of that war is meaningless now. Not one political leader, except Putin, acts in any way that serves to damp down the fires of war that rise up now. Thankfully, conscription is not widely in force so that generous supplies of warm bodies will not be available to pay for political buffoonery. But perhaps supplies of sleek, fast-moving, intelligent projectiles and missiles will strike the "leadership" as adequate to the task.

The inability of Western electorates to have any kind of meaningful input, let alone control over their moronic leaders is the stuff of new tragedy. The hallmark of this time in Western history is not just politicians taking decisions that are arguably unwise but decisions being taken by traitors, morons, liars, or pure power-loving scum. Even "personally depraved" is a descriptor that cannot be ruled out. All landmarks of a minimally rational civilization are gone and we are left with some hideously-colored landscape right out of the Steven King imagination. Any picture of any Syrian city will show such a blasted wasteland. All "worth it" to the fools who run things. And whom we re-elect and re-elect.