Monday, April 30, 2018

Quickies: Life, Death, And Matters Of State

     By now, anyone who reads Liberty’s Torch will be aware of the fate of Alfie Evans, whose parents were denied, by the British government, any opportunity to save him from the murderous claws of the British National Health Service (NHS). Indeed, armed men were posted around the hospital in which Alfie was confined, so the NHS could starve Alfie to death without interference.

     This atrocity must be publicized worldwide. It’s already received considerable play on conservative websites and talk radio. But that’s not all that’s required.

     Questions must be asked, and loudly:

  1. When Alfie failed to die “minutes after life support was removed,” as the NHS doctors assured us he would, why did they not revise their opinion of his vitality and prospects for survival?
  2. Had Alfie been the child of parents who are not British citizens, would the NHS doctors have taken a different attitude toward him – or toward his parents’ right to remove him from their “care?”
  3. Had Alfie been the child of Muslim parents, would the NHS have obstructed their quest for treatment that might allow their son to live rather than to die?
  4. Are the doctors who condemned Alfie to a slow, painful death by starvation willing to stand before the television cameras and justify their totalitarian decrees? What about the judge who ruled against Alfie’s parents’ ordinary parental rights over their child – rights that would have been honored without question in a civilized nation?

     I want the answers. I’d say Britons who are parents, or who are contemplating becoming parents, would want them too. Do you, Gentle Reader?

Update on Ankle

I do have a stress fracture showing up on xray - no way to tell whether it is old or new. I have an appt. with orthopedist tomorrow.

I'm splinted, and will be sitting most of today.

Fun, fun.

Starbucks & Restrooms

I'm sitting in a Starbucks located in Rock Hill, SC - the site of one of the first 1960's lunch counter sit-ins. I didn't go there to test out the bathroom amenities (although, I did use them BEFORE ordering). The fact that I wasn't admonished to buy before using may have had more to do with the fact that I used them FIRST, before sitting down for an extended time.

I'm also using a cane today, which gives me the sympathy exemption. I have apparently either injured a tendon in my ankle, or experienced a stress fracture (the less likely explanation). I can't put weight on the foot, lest I drop to the floor screaming in agony. I am here to decide on which doctor to use for this issue.

My usual podiatrist, a great doctor - Alpine Podiatry, Dr. Crabtree - does not take Medicare. So, I'm forced to go elsewhere to have this thing Xray'd and managed. I may have to use Urgent Care, as my own doctor can't handle the x-ray himself. Life was SO much easier when we had Kaiser in Cleveland (although, they have cut back a lot lately, according to others who've use them).

The Starbucks where I'm sitting is all White - staff, customers - at this time.

Whoops. A Black customer - a woman - just walked in.

The demographics here reflect the neighborhood - near a University, somewhat upscale.

Well, I've finished my scone (the dear barista suggested it, and volunteered to bring it to me to reduce the stress on my ankle - Bless her!), so I'm off to Urgent Care.


     [After an interesting discussion with a friend about our many “alliances” and similar relationships, I’ve decided to repost the following, which first appeared at Eternity Road on April 19, 2007. I’ll be back later with additional thoughts. – FWP]

    A recurring social pattern, which repeats in all its essentials over great spans of space and time, is a clue to the alert thinker about the enduring nature of Man. For social patterns don't arise out of the soil, but out of the characteristics of our species that are ineradicable. If we wish to understand ourselves in our fundamentals, we should begin by studying the ways we gather into societies, particularly those that seem never to become obsolete.

     Recorded history recounts many instances of a particular pattern of social organization, which many contemporary commentators would very much like to dismiss as forever behind us. That pattern is depicted most clearly and unambiguously in the social structure of classical Sparta, which was divided into three strata:

  • Citizens: A Spartan citizen was a descendant of a group of privileged families, descended from the original Doric founders of the city, called the Spartiate. He was free in a sharply delimited sense: his interactions with others were not much bounded by law, but he owed an absolute military obligation to the State from age twenty until age sixty. He was a professional soldier; he knew no other occupation.
  • Perioeci: This word, which translates roughly as "suburbanites," describes Sparta's free non-citizens, who conducted its commercial life. A perioecon was forbidden to live within the city proper or own land within it. He owed a lesser obligation of military service to the State, invoked mainly during times of actual war.
  • Helots: A helot was an agricultural laborer without political rights. He was "attached to the land" owned by his citizen-master; unless his master emancipated him, he could not leave it. His labor supported both his own family and that of his master, who took the greater part of his produce.

     This structure arose mostly in consequence of Sparta's conquest of Messenia, a far more populous land whose inhabitants were inclined to resist Spartan rule. Sparta's "helotization" of the Messenians proved an effective way of quelling their impulses to rebellion. The structure proved remarkably stable for several centuries, despite Sparta's many enemies and wars.

     It worked for a number of reasons. First was the Spartiate's intense patriotism and dedication to the idea and ideals of Sparta. Nothing less could have supported a "freedom" rooted in mandatory lifelong soldierhood. Second was the extraordinary level to which the sons of the Spartiate raised their military prowess, which has been justly celebrated ever since. But third, and not to be neglected, was the acceptance of the bargain of protection by the far more numerous helot class: in exchange for their servitude, the helots received the capable and reliable protection of the Spartiate from all foreign enemies.

     The armed nobility / indentured peasantry pattern of social organization has recurred many times in human history. Basically, whenever one class of men within a region succeeded in disarming the rest, the armed would subjugate the disarmed but would guarantee the common defense for that price. From that point forward, until invasion or some other violent convulsion should unhorse the armiger class, the disarmed would live in subjection to the will of their protectors.

     When we speak of "protection money" in our time, it's usually in reference to extortion by threat of violence. But strictly speaking, whenever one pays a tax for the support of mechanisms of violence -- the armed forces; police; court systems with the power to punish -- one is paying for protection. The protection thus purchased is at least as much from those wielders of violence as by them, but the point stands nevertheless.

     Your Curmudgeon has long been fascinated by the social and military dynamics of the NATO Alliance. In outline, NATO was a guarantee of American protection to the states of Western Europe, in exchange for the "price" of permanent American military bases in those nations. (In theory, all NATO signatories are pledged to come to the defense of any of their number that might be attacked, but in practice the guarantee was always by America to Europe. If recent world events haven't made that unpleasantly clear, nothing will.) The basis for the arrangement was America's possession of an undamaged domestic economy and large, capable military at the end of World War II. The states of Europe that hadn't fallen into the Soviet orbit could sense Stalin's eagerness to advance the western borders of his empire, and were happy to accept.

     Thus began the process of transforming Western Europe into the largest and most privileged group of helots in history.

     Unlike their predecessors, our European helots don't pay us a part of their produce for the privilege of our protection. Rather, we pay them, by expending some $150 billion per year on our forces and bases in Europe. During the Cold War years, the states of Western Europe steadily weakened their own militaries, both in relative and absolute terms, while developing ever more intimate relations with the Soviet Union, and stronger dependencies on the Soviets' good will. Military analyst Melvyn Krauss studied this "defense feedback" effect, and concluded that the consequence was to weaken the defenses of the First World by an amount roughly equivalent to sending $150 billion per year directly to the Soviets. It's a measure of our unprecedented economic achievements and military prowess that we felled the Soviets even so.

     Also unlike their predecessors, the Europeans think nothing of undermining us in ways great and small: in their international relations, in their trade policies, and in their ceaseless obstructionism at the United Nations. These helots have grown unappreciative of American protection, and are unabashed about saying so. Their derision has reached no few ears on this side of the Atlantic.

     Were Americans as direct as the classical Spartans, we'd either abrogate the North Atlantic Charter and withdraw all our forces and bases from Europe, or subjugate the entire continent and tax the whey out of it. In tandem, these outcomes will grow steadily more probable unless a dramatic shift in European attitudes and governmental policies should occur. Given Europe's flaccidity before the dangers it faces today, such a shift strikes your Curmudgeon as rather improbable.

     On the domestic scene, the century past has seen many attempts to disarm America's civilian populace. The anti-gun forces have had moderate success, mostly in the major cities along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. Despite its claims of respect for "the rights of hunters and sportsmen," its premise is that private persons cannot be trusted to be responsible about guns; arms should be reserved solely for government enforcers. Whether one accepts this absurd notion or rejects it like the insulting nonsense it is, it leads inevitably to the creation of an armiger class -- soldiers and policemen -- sharply distinguished from the people they nominally protect. If history is a reliable guide, this is a dangerously unstable arrangement, overwhelmingly likely to evolve into a Spartiate / Helots stratification of society.

     Some commentators have proposed reviving military conscription, for this reason among others. While that would somewhat offset the tendency toward a nobility-and-serfs caste system, it would not be a complete answer to the hazards embodied in a State whose employees are the only persons allowed to possess weapons. More, it would come at a terrible price: the de facto revocation of the rights to life and liberty. For if the State can command you to suspend your affairs to take up arms, on pain of punishment, you are not free as Americans understand the term. And of course, if a "superior officer" can order you to put your life at mortal risk, your life is not truly yours by right, but solely by the revocable permission of the State.

     What's most poignant about this danger is the erosion of the American tradition of an armed citizenry, the soil from which our magnificent military grew. The predominantly left-liberal urban corridors of the East and West Coasts produce very few soldiers. This stands to reason. How, after all, should we expect young men and women who've been told since the cradle that weapons are bad, that the military is at best a necessary evil, and that American power is inherently imperialist, to aspire to the profession of arms? How, given that they've been taught to distrust guns as the causative agents of violence, should we expect them to respect those who would wield them in their nation's service?

     America's soldiers, especially our officer corps, come preponderantly from those parts of the country where resistance to gun control is still staunch and personal armament is considered an ordinary requirement of life: the Old South, the Southwest, and the Great Plains. Were the denizens of those regions disarmed as thoroughly as the coastal cities, would their willingness to stand for their country survive?

     Would the country survive?

     A great danger looms.

     To return to your Curmudgeon's initial observation, a pattern such as this, which has recurred many, many times in human history, tells us something about our deep natures, if we're inclined to listen. It tells us of our distaste for bloodshed and the risk thereof. It speaks of our willingness to accept an enduring hazard of subjugation as the price for a reduction in our near-term responsibilities for ourselves. It's a reminder of how easily men have succumbed to the temptations of wishful thinking: the willingness to believe that "this time it will be different," despite all evidence to the contrary.

     But other voices speak down the centuries as well. If we had even a modest knowledge of history, they say, we would know that eschewing the bargain of protection is the principal requirement of freedom. They demand that we explain why in all the history of the world, so tragically few men have ever been free. Perhaps most important of all, they speak of how easily our innate aversion for strife and pain can be turned into the very fetters that will bind us to servitude.

     Freedom is not free, free men are not equal, and equal men are not free! -- Richard Cotten
     Before all else, be armed! -- Niccolo Macchiavelli

Choosing the “basement” option every time.

Why is the defense of a powerful South Korea, with an economy 40 times that of the North, still a U.S. responsibility?[1]
A good question, any reasonable citizen says to himself. Our presence in Korea is just absurd, just as our presence in Europe is absurd and our presence on Russia's border is absurd. The Sorks and the Europeans are wealthy and have plenty of resources to field credible military deterrents (against?) but there we are with massive annual military expenditures in aid of a U.S. military presence . . . and not federal troop one on the U.S. southern border.

I’ve used the image of a movie I saw years ago. A teen boy and girl hear a noise in the basement of a haunted house so, of course, they go into the basement to investigate. Once there, the boy suggests the split up. At both junctures you mentally scream at them, “Don’t go into the basement! Don’t split up!” But it’s useless, of course. They are oblivious to the risks involved and are determined to pursue the most dangerous, the most stupidest course of action.

Just like the U.S. now. Americans scream, “Leave Syria and Afghanistan! Don’t get involved in a wider war in Syria! Don’t buy into Israeli bullshit about Iran and Syria! Don’t jettison the post-WWII peace-keeping mechanisms!” But it’s pointless. Trump heads straight to the basement door.

It’s like clockwork. It just never fails. Trump and just about every last Western politician make a bee line to the absolutely most insane, expensive, suicidal, or repulsive national option.

[1] "America’s Unsustainable Empire." By Patrick J. Buchanan, Taki’s Magazine, 4/25/18.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Day Off

     I’m simply exhausted and need a little down time. Back tomorrow.

Those reports about American and British military "advisers" in E. Ghouta.

If the theater of the absurd in Syria is not to you're liking, you'll appreciate the following as something a little more substantive to chew on:

According to Chinese intelligence analysts, Russian fighter bombers conducted intensive bombing operations over a three-month period in E. Ghouta and about “20,000 militants were killed along with members of their families” and, on March 17, 2018 “alone,” “about 200 servicemen of the US special operations were eliminated.”[1] British military instructors are mentioned as being present with American instructors but no mention is made of British casualties.

The Chinese appear to have concluded that the attack (or supposed attack, one has to consider) on the Skripals in the U.K. had something to do with the “American and British failure” in Syria, namely, failure to strike Russian military targets from E. Ghouta beginning in May 2018.


  1. the poisoning of the Skripals (and their subsequent detention and being held incommunicado),
  2. this supposed American and British casualty toll in E. Ghouta,
  3. the Februay 7, 2018 U.S. attack on Russian “contractors” in the vicinity of Deir ez-Zor causing some 300 casualties, and
  4. Trump’s odd evidence-free decision to attack a plethora of targets in Syria
relate to each other, if at all, remains to be seen.[2]

However, it’s possible to see the dim outlines of some nefarious American (but I repeat myself) plan to attack Russian forces from E. Ghouta through “our” al-Nusraqaida proxy and the Russians having none of it. (The U.S. plan also allegedly involved inserting troops in E. Ghouta.) Which tat follows what tit I cannot say at this point.

This alternative view is a bit more satisfactory than that (1) the Russians just decided to swallow 300 Russian casualties near Deir ez-Zor, (2) two Russians were poisoned in Britain for no reason whatsoever, and (3) Trump is stupid enough to bomb Syria when it’s clear that the “Assad used gas again” story line wasn’t even close to being established or, more accurately, laughed off the stage.

[1] "A real h-o-t war with Russia is underway right now." By Yevgeny Satanovsky, New Silk Strategies, 4/26/18. (This source refers to “a large number of American and British military advisers” as being present in E. Ghouta, as was also true in E. Aleppo. Certain British servicemen were members of the “22nd regiment of the special airborne service.” Also, Russian special operations forces allegedly “managed to block about 200 British military advisers in one of the districts of E. Ghouta” leading to diplomatic exchanges between the Russians and the British.)
[2] The Chinese appear to believe that there was a plan to deter the Russians from attack E. Ghouta by launching “another” “200 Tomahawk missile” strike at known locations of Russian personnel and stores. Was the “punitive” Trumpian strike one that was just looking for an excuse to happen? And was it limited in scope, apparently, because the Russians got wind of hostile U.S. intentions and Gen. Gerasimov warned of Russian intentions to strike at missile launch platforms or sites from which missiles attacking Russian forces might be launched? No denying his was a pretty pointed warning.

Douma residents saw, heard, or smelled nothing.

Pearson Sharp is with One America News. He walked around the neighborhood of the alleged Douma, Syria chemical attack interviewing people and discovered no evidence of the supposed April 4 attack. None.

Absence of evidence isn’t evidence of absence, of course, but local Douma residents of the immediate area allegedly attacked state in the clip below that they were aware of no attack and that “the West” uses manufactured incidents as an excuse to bomb Syria. How can this be?

Break point.

As the political wars of 1968 turned American politics upside down, a cultural war had broken out as well. Moral and social issues—abortion, affirmative action, busing, crime, drugs, feminism, gay rights—would tear apart families, communities and the entire nation. The culture wars had begun.[1]
Patrick J. Buchanan writes an interesting article about the political battles in 1968. Normal people saw through the radical leftists and gave Republicans their support for some time after. Now the sickness represented by the list of culture war perversions in the passage quoted has flowered into a full-blown plague, not least of which is the plague of open borders and the lies and treason intimately associated with mass immigration and “diversity.” Blame the flowering of the destructive 1965 immigration law for that.

In 1968, Nixon was willing to enforce the nation’s laws; now Pres. Trump ignores the Constitution and international law, appears capable only of feeble gestures in the direction of border control, and remains completely passive with regard to crushing AntiFa thuggery which is more pervasive, more vicious, and a far greater threat to public security than anything except for the encouragement of MS-13 gangs to spread out across the country. Can I say “encourage”? Why, yes I can as the borders remain open as they have for decades, apprehension of invading Salvadorians means nothing, and deportation of any illegal is essentially an occasional event and somehow Exhibit A for the violation of every tenet of American life that we all hold dear.

Our present lives are dominated by zealots who worship abortion, affirmative action, forced integration, feminism, gay rights, foreigners, and Muslims and hate Christians, the Constitution, and anything to do with Western culture. Black crime, academic failure, welfare dependency, and social pathology is concealed hysterically behind a wall of accusations of racism, white privilege, structural racism, bigotry, and whiteness. Nixon’s response to the “white racism” finding for the Kerner Commission regarding the Newark and Detroit riots in ’67 is still instructive: He observed that the Commission blamed everyone for the riots but the rioters themselves.[2] Now, the center has crumbled.

Patriotic Americans have been sold a bill of goods. Our national debate is awash in a sea of twisted, vicious leftist thinking whose proponents spit in the faces of normal, decent Americans. It has no vision of normality, regularity, rationality, or durability, only a new political world where their absolute discretion will settle all scores and right all wrongs. Can you say "revolutionary justice"?

What will come after a victory of the ultra-left, Muslims, and inundation by arrogant third-world invaders can, however, only be a dystopian nightmare which point is all the more clear by comparing our times with the times when Americans in the ‘60s were rational people recognized anarchy and sedition for what it was and were willing to fight back.

The lies and destruction of the globalists are another story but their lunatic commitment to economic suicide, domination over Russia and China, and massively expensive, pointless wars is just as much a danger to the well being of the Nation as their leftist allies.

[1] "Patrick J. Buchanan: With Nixon in '68: The Year America Came Apart." By Patrick J. Buchanan,, 4/27/18.
[2] Id.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

UWTWCHCGN Part 2: Facts And Allegiances

     Over the years, many have criticized the Church for promulgating a fantasy: specifically, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. The logic, such as it is, runs approximately thus:

  • The Church says Jesus of Nazareth returned to life after being crucified.
  • But dead people can’t return to life.
  • Therefore the Church is trading in fantasy.

     What stands out about the above is the logical fallacy usually called affirming the consequent. The deployment here is moderately subtle, but the fallacy remains. It’s often found in political arguments as well:

  • The National Rifle Association claims that firearms in private hands save lives.
  • But guns kill people.
  • Therefore the NRA is lying (and probably wants to see people die).

     These arguments are comparable in that they fail to mention any relevant facts. The fact most relevant to the first one is the existence of many corroborations of Christ’s return to life. The fact most relevant to the second one was recently provided by the Center for Disease Control: a study, suppressed until recently, that indicates that more than two million defensive uses of a privately owned firearm occur in a typical year. Those facts seriously weaken the arguments above, though they cannot be conclusively refuted.

     When the evidence points in a direction contrary to one’s beliefs, it seems to me that the rational thing to do would be to open one’s mind to the possibility (at least) that one might be wrong. That doesn’t seem impossible in either of the cases above. That having been said, quite a lot of people, when confronted with the relevant facts, react with fury. They attack the “messenger” rather than allowing that he might merely be informing them. The result is often a hardening of the attitudes and a widening of the divide between them.

     We have here a puzzler of some significance. We know from direct observation that Americans don’t enjoy hard words, anger, or confrontation. Yet there appears to be more of it withe every passing day. Moreover, none of it, in any objective sense, is unavoidable. So why?

     Why, indeed.

     Among our human needs are some of which we remain continually conscious, some which only come to mind on occasion, and some we so greatly dislike to think about that we don’t even admit them to ourselves. Two exceptionally powerful ones belong to that third set. They’re so powerful that they account for most of what we of the First World do.

     Abraham Maslow included one of them in his hierarchy of needs:

  1. Physiological needs.
  2. Safety needs.
  3. Love and belonging.
  4. Self-esteem.
  5. Self-actualization.

     It seems incontestable to me that the Level 3 need (Belonging) couples directly to both Level 2 (Safety) and Level 4 (Self-esteem). No one can be quite as secure alone as he would be in a group that values him. Similarly, no one can feel that his life is worth much entirely in isolation from others; to live simply for the sake of living is essentially sterile. But this is a side issue that deserves its own discussion.

     The need to belong is most powerful in him who feels insecure and uncertain of himself. A group that accepts him voluntarily provides him with evidence that he matters. Few of us can retain a positive outlook without that reinforcement for our value.

     Historically, the great “belongings” have been provided by churches and nations. There are important similarities between the two:

  • Each promulgates a set of mandatory convictions.
  • Each demands a degree of allegiance.
  • Each requires that the allegiance be demonstrated by adherence to an ethic.

     Other, weaker and more transient “belongings” are available – family; friends; trade associations; clubs for various interests and pastimes – but religious affiliation and patriotism have historically held the top spots.

     It follows that the absence of religious belief and patriotic bonding leave a void that takes a lot of filling.

     Two men in the mental health field have produced important books about the second of the great, unspoken needs. The first, M. Scott Peck’s The Road Less Traveled, was extraordinarily popular for decades. The second, Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search For Meaning, has largely been neglected these past few decades. Both point at the seldom-discussed human need for a life that means something.

     It is especially noteworthy that Peck and Frankl hit upon the same insight:

Frankl: The salvation of man is through love and in love.
Peck: Ultimately, love is everything.

     But what is meant by love in these statements? A superficial reading of Frankl would suggest that it means love of other people, or perhaps of one special person. He makes a declaration of terms in an abstract but memorable passage:

     Love goes very far beyond the physical person of the beloved. It finds its deepest meaning in his spiritual being, his inner self. Whether or not he is actually present, whether or not he is still alive at all, ceases somehow to be of importance.

     Peck is more explicit though still somewhat abstract:

     Love is the will to extend oneself for the purpose of nurturing one's own or another's spiritual growth.

     The concentration of both writers on spiritual self-extension has been missed by many who claim to be their followers. It becomes particularly piercing in light of the contemporary trends toward secularization, and toward separating sex from love.

     I’m aware that the foregoing is more indirect even than my usual examinations. As always, I maintain that there’s a method to my madness. I want you, my Gentle Readers, to contemplate the spiritual dimensions of love, belonging, and the need for a meaningful life before I proceed to any conclusions. In particular, I hope to get you to reflect on the commonalities between love of God and love of country. These highly potent sources of belonging and meaning are what bottom-tier allegiants to any of today’s trendy Causes have elected to forgo. Many have also forfeited family love by doing so, as innumerable painful Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners have demonstrated. But with that I veer too close to the ideas in part 3 of this series, and therefore I must withdraw.

Pretty interesting.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Up With The White Cisgendered Heteropatriarchal Conservative Gun Nut!

     Given any particular inane notion, even a blatantly counterfactual one, you could find someone to swear that it’s the Gospel truth. There are people who’ll tell you that water fluoridation is part of a Communist plot, that the banks are plotting to destroy capitalism, and that contemporary toothbrush heads are made tiny to promote the sale of “designer toothpastes.” Indeed, there are people in this world who would insist to their last breath that the sky is tiger-striped, that drinking water causes impotence, and that the moon is made of green cheese.

     I’m not kidding, Gentle Reader. I’ve met some of those folks.

     For any well-confirmed fact, there’s someone out there who’s made it his personal mission to deny it and to belittle those who’ve proclaimed it. You might not be able to find him with Google, or on Facebook, but take my word for it: no matter what fact you might have in mind, he’s out there. In both senses of that phrase.

     When it comes to political, social, and economic disputes, much of the Sturm und Drang is counterfactual and worse.

     Here’s today’s stimulus to the bile gland:

     “Get married before you have children and strive to stay married for their sake. Get the education you need for gainful employment, work hard, and avoid idleness. Go the extra mile for your employer or client. Be a patriot, ready to serve the country. Be neighborly, civic-minded, and charitable. Avoid coarse language in public. Be respectful of authority. Eschew substance abuse and crime.” -- Amy Wax and Larry Alexander

     The quote you just read comes from an excellent Jonah Goldberg column I read recently. It reminds me of Walter Williams’ formula to avoid poverty:

     Avoiding long-term poverty is not rocket science. First, graduate from high school. Second, get married before you have children, and stay married. Third, work at any kind of job, even one that starts out paying the minimum wage. And, finally, avoid engaging in criminal behavior.

     After seeing these quotes, most of the successful, responsible adults reading this are probably thinking, “That’s good advice. A little simple, but it’s the sort of thing parents used to tell their kids and it works.”

     However, Jonah Goldberg noted a quite different response to that essay that contained that initial quote:

     A coalition of students and alumni responded to the essay in predictable fashion. [Amy] Wax and [Larry] Alexander were peddling the “malignant logic of hetero-patriarchal, class-based, white supremacy that plagues our country today. These cultural values and logics are steeped in anti-blackness and white hetero-patriarchal respectability . . .”

     The important part about the furious response cited above is that the Wax / Alexander / Williams formula for “making it” (in the sense of not being trapped in poverty and dependency) has been well confirmed, repeatedly so, over virtually the entire history of this country. Indeed, Charles Murray – is there a social scientist the Left hates more than Dr. Murray? – laid out the same program in his 1980 book for intelligent laymen, Losing Ground. Myron Magnet condensed the recipe and made it even more explicit:

     After all, it is not impossibly hard to rise out of poverty in late twentieth-century America. That’s why the vast majority of people whom the census counts as poor – most of the non-underclass poor – don’t stay poor long. Statistics suggest that the recipe for escaping long-term poverty is straightforward: finish high school, get and keep any full-time, full-year job (even at the minimum wage), get married as an adult and stay married, even if it takes more than one try. “These are demanding, although not superhuman, tasks,” drily remarks the report of the Working Seminar on the Family and American Welfare Policy, a group of scholars and former government officials

     Now, we know from painful repeated experiences that one who endorses such a view will make enemies. Who are they? How many are they, and how influential? Perhaps most important, what’s their angle? Or in somewhat less loaded terms, what do they hope to achieve?

     Ponder those questions for a moment.

     It is normal to admire the hugely successful, and to aspire to equal (or exceed) their attainments. Of course, “success” is something for which every individual has a personal metric. I have no doubt that somewhere in this hallowed land there’s someone who measures “success” according to the number of his illegitimate children. As I said at the outset, any notion, however bizarre, will find a champion somewhere.

     Yet for most of us, the “success” we can reasonably hope for is a matter of two parts:

  1. Attaining material sufficiency and perhaps a little more;
  2. Staying out of serious trouble with the law and the neighbors.

     These are achievable goals for nearly everyone sufficiently hale in body and mind to:

  1. Finish high school;
  2. Get and keep a full-time job;
  3. Get married and stay married.

     That’s not a pipe dream; it’s a well-confirmed fact. The perpetually aggrieved can rail against “the system” all they like, but the fact remains that self-sufficiency and ordinary respectability are attainable through that simple formula.

     So what do the perpetually aggrieved hope to achieve by railing against the formula as “cultural values and logics...steeped in anti-blackness and white hetero-patriarchal respectability” -- ? It must be extraordinarily valuable to them, considering that the price to be paid for heeding their ravings is the continuation of millions of Americans mired in poverty and dependency.

     Insanity – genuine, no-foolin’ certifiable psychosis – is certainly one possible explanation. But insanity on this scale would normally have been detected by concerned relatives and friends, and the sufferers packed off to some pleasant institution where the accommodations have padded walls and the doors lock from the outside. If we omit insanity for the moment, what remains?

     Not all the activists for any blatantly stupid notion are interested in personal power. Not all intend to run for office or hope to be appointed “Commissar for Screw Standards” in some hoped-for communist utopia. Not all are hoping to get laid. But they seek something, and their spittle-flecked denunciations of the proven formula for self-sufficiency and self-respect is their avenue toward it. Ferreting out that something has become an urgent necessity.

     More anon.

Tired of being Europe’s bitch.

The America of 2018 is coming to see NATO as having evolved into an endless U.S. commitment to go to war with Russia on behalf of a rich Europe that resolutely refuses to provide for its own defense.[1]
Notes Well, everybody's bitch really.
[1] "Macron: The Last Multilateralist." By Patrick J. Buchanan, 4/27/18.

Some Good Advice From A Young Person

Stilton's Place is taking a day to enjoy his daughter's birthday, and let her do today's post. It's a list of advice. Quite good, actually.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Neocon belief system.

Patrick Lang gets it about the insufferable arrogance of Americans who rend their garments about the joys of diversity but who want to crush any approach to government elsewhere in the world that doesn't measure up to the way things are done in Vail, Santa Monica, or Martha's Vineyard:
Neocons believe that inside every Iraqi, Filipino or Syrian there is an American waiting to be freed from the bonds of tradition, local culture and general backwardness. For people with this mindset the explanation for the continuance of old ways lies in the oppressive and exploitative nature of rulers who block the “progress” that is needed. The solution for the imperialists and neocons is simple. Local rulers must be removed as the principal obstacle to popular emulation of Western and especially American culture and political forms.[1]
A corrolary of this appears to be “You’re like us inside so what can be the harm in bringing you to our home where you’ll be a placid, cheerful, kind, productive, cooperative, charitable, and, above all, loyal sparkling diamond of an addition to this really great country that everyone knows we have.”

Freeing everyone’s inner American can take place anywhere on the planet. It's inconceivable that foreigners would want to cling to their own ways.

[1] "The Neocons Are Selling Koolaid Again!" By W. Patrick Lang, The Unz Review, 4/19/18.

Dishonest Brokers

     One of the simplest and most easily applied techniques for probing for that elusive quality we call fairness is this: Do both sides of the deal feel they’re better off for having accepted it?

     A deal in which both sides believe they’ll benefit is one that neither side needs to be coerced to accept. It might take some persuasion. One side might not see its self-interest as plainly as the other. But if there would be gains on both sides, eventually the deal – or an even better one – will be struck. No other basis for negotiation can sustain repeated application in plain sight.

     So what are we to make of deals that, in hindsight at least, favored one side but penalized the other? If such a deal is voluntarily accepted, the penalized side must somehow have been deceived. Perhaps it was actively deceived by representatives of the other side. Alternately, it might have contrived to deceive itself; such occurrences are not unknown. There are also “middle cases” in which active deception and self-deception operated cooperatively.

     If two communities repeatedly strive to strike deals, and one side always gets shafted, then unless the shafted folks are complete blithering idiots, eventually they’ll conclude that the other side has been deceiving them. The common term for this tactic is “bad faith.” That is, they conclude that the other side has been seating itself at the negotiating table with no intention to speak the truth. Admittedly, this does leave room for collaborative self-deception, usually under the veil of wishful thinking.

     Yes, I’m thinking of the right to keep and bear arms, but not that exclusively.

     Via the esteemed Nitzakhon, we have this excellent display of what happens when an American community of interest realizes that it’s been screwed.

     When the state of Delaware decided to try to compete with New York and California as the most anti-gun state in the nation, there were bound to be some in the state less than pleased with their lawmakers. A recent town hall, ostensibly to bridge the gap between the two sides of the gun debate, proved that there are a lot more of those who love their Second Amendment rights than their opponents thought–especially after it got derailed.
     It took about 60 seconds to determine which way the crowd leaned.
     It didn’t take much longer to make it clear how strongly it felt.
     Most of the approximately 400 people attending a town hall meeting about gun violence Monday evening came to voice their opposition to several proposed gun control measures now in the General Assembly.
     The event, organized as an attempt to bridge the divide between opponents and supporters of gun restrictions, featured four Delaware politicians: Two Republican senators, one Democratic senator and the Department of Justice’s top prosecutor who is now running for attorney general.

     Tom Knighton goes on to tell us what we should have known long ago:

     I’m sorry, but this was a wasted effort. There is no bridging of the gap. The truth is, anti-gunners are simply doing what they always do. They’re demanding more and more from the pro-Second Amendment crowd while offering nothing in return, then blasting us as unwilling to compromise. Because of that, we’re sick of giving up any ground. That’s why there won’t be any bridging going on. There’s no bridging because the other side isn’t arguing in good faith.

     We all know that they’ll soon be asking for something else and using the same arguments, so no.

     That is exactly the case. Moreover, the gun controllers’ campaign might have been deliberately designed that way.

     Think about it! The rationale for every gun control measure ever proposed has been that it would improve our safety by reducing crimes of violence. That has never, ever been the case; no gun control measure passed in the U.S. has resulted in a reduction of violent crime. Often, such crimes have increased in frequency in the district afflicted by the gun control measure.

     Now think about what follows. The increase in crime leaves the populace feeling less safe. At times of that sort, people tend to turn to the State for “protection.” And what does the State usually do in response? It proposes more restrictive gun control laws.

     Never is any thought given to repealing the previous gun control measure under the reasonable supposition that the status quo ante might be restored thereby. No; it’s always more, more, more. The previous measure is somehow ruled beyond question. To suggest that it was wrong, even without the coupled suggestion that it was meant to fail of its ostensible purpose, is treated as unspeakable.

     And of course, firearms rights are only one case of this dynamic.

     Nearly a year ago, the most excellent Dystopic / Thales / Asterix the Gaul / “Call me Ed or Pay me $5” wrote as follows:

     When a charity asks me to donate money, the question is often “how much?” And not just how much money they want from me, though that is important as well, but how much money is actually spent on the mission of the charity, versus administrative overhead.

     Yet with government spending, the question of how much is only ever answered with more. How much taxpayer funding do you need for welfare? More. How much is needed for paying school teachers? More. How much is needed for social services? More. How much taxpayer money do you need, period? More.

     However much the government is taking today, it always wants more. And furthermore, the political Left is dedicated to guilt shaming you, via Weaponized Empathy, if you should disagree with them. How many Muslim refugees should be accepted by various Western countries around the world? More. Never is it a specific number, fixed and immutable, after which we might account our duty to human rights and dignity properly satisfied. Always it is more....

     I’ve never received a satisfactory answer to that question. What percentage of my income is demanded? More. How much of my assets must I forfeit? More. How much should I give up from my business and my career? More. I even ask Leftists, on occasion, to just give me an ideal average tax rate. How much should American citizens, as a whole, and on average, give up to the government? More. Never have I once received a reply that says “this is the tax rate that we want, then we’ll leave you alone.”

     This is the pattern dedicated statists follow: “We need more.” “What do we get in return?” “Sit down and shut up. We need more, and if you protest we’ll defame you, harass you, and call you everything but white.”

     Most important of all: there’s never a “refund clause.” Should the promised benefits (if any) not materialize, the expropriation is not reversed; rather, still more is demanded.

     No private actor could possibly get away with such blatant bad faith exhibited over dozens of transactions. He’d be lucky if a court were merely to strip him naked in restitution. In the Nineteenth Century West, a “snake-oil salesman” who didn’t have the good sense to move on quickly after a round of sales would be tarred, feathered, and run out of town on a rail. Some who didn’t were lynched. Yet governments, and those who aspire to rule, get away with far worse betrayals repeatedly.

     I submit that they know what they’re doing and are doing it with malice aforethought.

     We who prize the rights guaranteed to us by the Second Amendment have recognized the pattern. What will it take for the rest of America to catch up?

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Book Review: John Ringo’s “Black Tide Rising” Series

     You say you’ve had enough about zombies? The horror no longer horrifies, and the humor has been milked dry? I’d have agreed with you...three days ago. That was when I read Sarah Hoyt’s enthusiastic endorsement of the Black Tide Rising series:

  1. Under a Graveyard Sky
  2. To Sail a Darkling Sea
  3. Islands of Range and Hope
  4. Strands of Sorrow

     Yes, I really did read all four books in the space of two days. I’m tempted to go back to the beginning and read them a second time, and I shall tell you why.

     Welcome to the world of H7D3, a tailored virus with some interesting effects. First, it will give you the flu. It seems to be the flu, anyway. But with this flu, you get a bonus: a second, central nervous system-invading virus, that turns you into what, for concision’s sake, I’ll call a zombie. It’s about 99% effective.

     Mind you, it doesn’t make you the “classical” sort of zombie who’s died and returned to a kind of pseudolife. You don’t need to die first. But in all important regards, you could have stepped right out of any of the Resident Evil video games. It makes you non-rational, very bitey, and beyond all hope of a cure. The only thing to do with (or for) an H7D3 zombie is kill it.

     Nasty, eh? Let’s hope not to get this little bug. And indeed, a vaccine is possible...but to make it, you have to do some rather unpleasant, nominally criminal stuff. Besides, it takes a lot more time to make it than H7D3 takes to propagate. So if I may recur to the vernacular, the world is screwed.

     But some people are prepared for the Zombie Apocalypse. Among them is the family Smith:

  • Steven John Smith, former Australian paratrooper, naturalized American citizen, and high school history teacher, moniker Papa Wolf;
  • Stacey Smith, unsung engineering genius and wife of Steven Smith, moniker Mama Wolf;
  • Sophia Smith, elder daughter of Steven and Stacey, age 15, moniker Seawolf;
  • Faith Smith, younger daughter of Steven and Stacey, age 13, moniker Shewolf.

     These four escape infection by grabbing a sailboat and taking to the Atlantic. But that’s not all they do. Not by a longshot.

     After several weeks at sea, Papa Wolf decides that he and his family are going to take up arms against the zombies. Why not, after all? Papa Wolf’s background has equipped him rather well for paramilitary operations on land or sea. Moreover, he’s trained the other members of his family to a terrifyingly high standard. Emphasis on the terrifyingly, in at least one case.

     There are, of course, other survivors. H7D3 leaves about one percent of the human race unaffected, whether from natural immunity or prior isolation. So the family Smith sets out to find other ships at sea, extract any survivors, and forge a task force out of them. Military survivors are persuaded to join the effort. They must accept Papa Wolf’s informal command, which chaps a few fannies at first. But the Smiths’ bizarre and wholly unexpected level of competence at killing zombies and commanding others to do the same converts most rescued rather swiftly to the cause. More and more boats join Wolf Squadron’s seemingly ultra-Quixotic quest.

     (What’s that you say? Of course it’s called Wolf Squadron! What else would it be called?)

     The more survivors Wolf Squadron locates and extracts, the more it can extract and the wider its operational scope becomes. Yet despite this geometric process, and despite the rescues of some very high military officers, the Smith family remains in command of the effort.

     With that, it’s time to say a few words about the Smith daughters, “Seawolf” Sophia and “Shewolf” Faith.

     Seawolf, despite her youth and relative inexperience, proves to be quite a capable mariner – and in the fullness of time, a capable ship captain and division commander. No one takes her least, not for long. Eventually she decides to acquire an additional skill: piloting a helicopter gunship. And yes, she’s just as good at that.

     Seawolf alone would make for an excellent solo protagonist. She has what it takes to carry her own stories. Perhaps some such stories will eventually be told. But Shewolf...

     Thirteen year old Shewolf is given to describing herself in rather modest terms. Consider this example from an exchange with a freshly rescued Marine drill instructor who unwisely takes her lightly:

     “I am a fucking psychotic bitch so far over the redline I can’t see it with an Abrams’ gunsight. I am a zombie-killing monster. All my Marines swear I have to drink a pint of zombie blood to wake up in the morning.”

     That description is both heartfelt and entirely accurate. As for what Shewolf means by “my Marines,” you’ll need to read the books. But as for what “my Marines” think of her, we have this equally heartfelt testimonial from Marine Gunnery Sergeant Tommy Sands:

     “These men are United States Marines, yes, and they will continue to do their duty. But they are Marines who have lost everything. Family, friends, buddies, country. We are one and all lost and adrift on a darkling sea. You, Miss Smith, have become not their pin-up girl but their heart and soul. They would follow me into hell. Charge any shore, face any fire. That’s what Marines do. I am their Gunny. If you hinted that Satan had a case of ammo you particularly liked, they would charge in without a bucket of water.”

     And every word of that is accurate as well.

     I’ve said enough, and to say more would involve spoilers. These books are much too good for me to spoil. So if you have even a little taste for military-flavored fiction, read them. I honestly cannot praise them highly enough.

Articles I Probably Won’t Be Reading Department.

How Martin Luther Paved the Way for Donald Trump.
The skinny on why (((evangelicals))) support Trump. Coming soon: How Karl Marx Paved the Way for Barack Obama.


Off to the Racists.
All your average leftist fruitcake earnestly wants to know about (((white nationalists))) and their (((sympathizers))) in the 2018 election (which just can’t come soon enough for the colonel).


How Progressives Can Engage Russia.
Defeating oligarchy is what’s for dinner apparently, no doubt involving a rollback of fedgov to constitutional dimensions 1791-like. Who hasn't heard of the leftist hatred of ALL concentration of power integral to any oligarchy worth its salt? Those wacky leftist originalists.

In The Nation, 5/14/18.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

The Masks Are Off

     They who operate “our” government-run indoctrination centers for the young and helpless will have no truck with anyone turning them into adults:

     On Friday, Parkland survivor Kyle Kashuv went to a gun range to learn to fire a gun for the first time, alongside his father. He tweeted this:
     It was great learning about our inalienable right of #2A and how to properly use a gun. This was my first time ever touching a gun and it made me appreciate the #Constitution even more. My instructor was very informative; I learnt a lot. #2A is important and we need 2 preserve 2A

     There’s a bit of a surprise in there already: Kyle, who has been outspoken about the importance of the Second Amendment in absolute contrast to his rabidly anti-Constitutional classmate David Hogg, had never been to a gun range or shot a gun. I certainly wouldn’t have expected that. But Kyle’s father saw to that step in his son’s education on Friday, April 20, as a good American father should. Apparently Kyle found the experience both educational and enjoyable. So far, so good.

     But that’s not the end of the story. Here’s what happened to Kyle just yesterday:

     Near the end of third period, my teacher got a call from the office saying I need to go down and see a Mr. Greenleaf. I didn’t know Mr. Greenleaf, but it turned out that he was an armed school resource officer. I went down and found him, and he escorted me to his office. Then a second security officer walked in and sat behind me. Both began questioning me intensely. First, they began berating my tweet, although neither of them had read it; then they began aggressively asking questions about who I went to the range with, whose gun we used, about my father, etc. They were incredibly condescending and rude.

     Then a third officer from the Broward County Sheriff’s Office walked in, and began asking me the same questions again. At that point, I asked whether I could record the interview. They said no. I asked if I had done anything wrong. Again, they answered no. I asked why I was there. One said, “Don’t get snappy with me, do you not remember what happened here a few months ago?”

     They continued to question me aggressively, though they could cite nothing I had done wrong. They kept calling me “the pro-Second Amendment kid.” I was shocked and honestly, scared. It definitely felt like they were attempting to intimidate me.

     I was treated like a criminal for no reason other than having gone to the gun range and posted on social media about it.

     As no record of this interrogation exists, I cannot confirm what Kyle Kashuv asserts above. Nevertheless, the “interview” occurred; we have documentary evidence of that. And Kyle has no reason to lie. So these Broward County “armed school resource officers” and sheriff’s deputies, who hid behind their cars while Nikolas Cruz murdered 17 people, felt it was their prerogative to berate Kyle Kashuv for...what?

     I think it’s about more than just reclaiming a bit of pride for the Broward County Sheriff’s Department. Don’t you, Gentle Reader?

     The educationist arm of the Left is absolutely determined that your children shall conform to their notions, not yours. Especially when it comes to the right to keep and bear arms and the exercise thereof. We have a previous example of this very thing:

     A New Jersey school district that allegedly suspended two high school students this week over a gun photo taken during a family visit to a private shooting range is facing community backlash and the threat of a lawsuit over district policies.

     The photo of four rifles, magazines and a gun duffel bag was shared by one of the students on the social media app Snapchat with the caption "fun day at the range," according to Lacey Township resident Amanda Buron, a family friend of one of the students.

     A screen capture of the image made the rounds among other students and later brought to the attention of Lacey Township High School officials. Buron said the students received a five-day in-school suspension for violating the school's policy on weapons possession.

     The parents in that New Jersey school district reacted as they should: with immediate outrage and promises of retribution against the school district. The district hastily made amends and changed its “policies,” which ought never to have addressed perfectly legal conduct outside of school time and off school grounds. It was heartwarming, especially as it occurred in New Jersey, which is notoriously anti-gun. But to have anything of the sort occur in Florida is doubly surprising. A few badly blistered fannies in Broward County are obviously aching for a salve for their wounded pride.

     The firearms-rights aspect of this, as important as it is, is secondary. What matters more is the attitude of the educationist establishment.

     A month ago, I wrote:

     So we have a coercively funded institution with national scope that has been fully conquered by the Left and is striving to exercise legislative, police, and judicial powers over American students – and by extension, over their parents. Moreover, I would posit that the reaction by the New Jersey parents cited above is atypical – that the usual response to an event such as the suspension of the Lacey Two is “What’s the use?” or “You can’t fight City Hall.” I’d like to be wrong about that, but I don’t think I am.

     The “public” schools must be destroyed. They must be ripped from the fabric of our communities. Their employees must be fired with prejudice: i.e., they must be excluded from any position in which they could repeat their crimes. Their physical facilities must be sold to private parties. No successor institution that shares their coercive powers can be tolerated.

     You might be asking why I consider that necessary. It’s quite simple: the “public” schools, and their ever-escalating exactions via taxation, are the major reason for the dwindling of private alternatives. Vanishingly few families can afford to pay school taxes, about which they have no choice, and the tuition at a private school as well. Moreover, the “educators’ unions” are aware of this. It’s part of the reason they demand ever more of our money. As for the few brave American families that opt for homeschooling, they’re under increasing legal pressure intended to make their choice effectively impossible, whether by expense or through intrusive monitoring that inherently makes the home school an extension of the “public” school.

     I expected a backlash over that piece, especially as it was referenced in several other places on the Web. I didn’t receive one. But here, too, there’s more than one facet to the evil gem of “public” education:

     Without the consent or knowledge of their parents, two classes of ninth-grade females at Western Albemarle High School (WAHS) in Crozet, Virginia, recently were exposed in a classroom lesson to explicit “how-to” videos on male and female sexual pleasure.

     Suggested to the school by Charlottesville’s Sexual Assault Resource Agency (SARA)—a sex education partner with several Albemarle County schools—the videos ostensibly were shown under the banner of “Family Life” education. One video, focused on “male pleasure,” and the other, on female “orgasm,” shocked and embarrassed many of the students.

     According to a knowledgeable parent, the twenty-eight girls involved, divided into two classes, saw one or the other of the videos but not both.

     The controversial exhibition was not originally included in the WAHS Family Life curriculum; however, a last minute insertion was proposed by SARA and ok’d by WAHS Physical Education Department Chair, Frank Lawson.

     In an April 2 email to Lawson, SARA representative Lexi Huston notified him of planned additions to the previously familiar curriculum, and shortly thereafter, Mr. Lawson expressed his consent:

     “Looks good – looking forward to it!”

     The Videos

     The salacious videos were produced by “sex educator and YouTube personality,” Laci Green, who frequently collaborates with Planned Parenthood. Her productions have been viewed more than 150M times, and they include such titles as:

  • Is Drag OK for Kids??
  • How Many Freakin Genders
  • How Do Lesbians Have The Sex???
  • Intersex
  • Abortion Under Attack
  • Condom Tips for the Ladies
  • BDSM 101
  • Squirting 101
  • 10 Tips for Hookups
  • Transgender Adventure!
  • Let’s Lose “Virginity”
  • Shaving Pubes
  • Laci’s Guide to Butt Sex
  • The Sticky on Semen!
  • Trumpocalypse

     Is there any Gentle Reader who thinks such “education” is properly within the purview of a “public” school? (Jokesters who suggest that we should “just leave out the ‘l’” will be tarred, feathered, and run off the Web on a rail.) More: Is there any Gentle Reader who thinks this was conceived (pardon the term) for the children’s benefit?

     Add that parents, when they learn about such “sex education,” frequently ask that their children be excluded from those classes, only to be told that the classes are mandatory and no child may be excepted.

     Still think the “public” schools can be “reformed?”

     I think the above incidents might have busted my outrage meter. I need no further evidence for myself – and I doubt I’d need any more to persuade any reasonably intelligent American parent of the toxicity of the “public” schools.

     The indoctrination of our kids into Leftist dogmas about things as fundamental as sex and firearms is bad enough. The use of governments’ coercive powers to deny us any alternative makes it even worse. I was tempted to repost this stunning analysis by physicist and fictioneer Hans G. Schantz, but I’ll trust you all to click the link and review it yourselves. For my part, I’ll repeat only this:

The “public” schools’ first and foremost aim is the exercise of police powers over the lives of American children.

     If there’s anyone with a counter-argument, I want to hear it now.

Monday, April 23, 2018

I Could Hide My Own Easter Eggs

It's been a few months since I last used my Raspberry Pi. About 6 or so. I forgot a lot.

Like, the root password.

Today, I needed to install a python package to run Chirp (which will run my new HF radio rig - if I ever get this update working).

Cannot remember my password. Nor, where I wrote down my password. Nor, much of anything.

And, after trying to get this corrected, I corrupted the SD card on which the OS was held.

So - now, I'm trying to download the NOOBS package, then re-install the system, then install the python update, then - and only then - install and run the Chirp app. And, get it to run my radio.

Which, I'm still learning how to use.

The good news/bad news - I made about 6-7 trips up and down the stairs to make the changes on my other computer. Good, because I needed the exercise. Bad, because - it took a lot of time.

Only after that did I realize that I could have just brought the laptop up to the attic.

I woke up feeling smart.

Not now, brother. Not now.

Monday Maunderings

     Yes, Gentle Reader: it’s another of the dreaded assorted columns!

1. Gender Benders.

     Today at The Scratching Post, concerned by the fad for androgyny and “gender fluidity,” the proprietor asks:

     [I]s this the result of the LGBT movement of the last ten years? Is there a certain amount of celebrity to be gained from appearing gender-fluid? Does it spice things up to have people wondering about you? Or is it that being explicitly a man or a woman is inappropriate these days?

     There are several ingredients. Possibly the most important one that’s been overlooked is the intensity among young Americans of the desire to “stand out” somehow. This has a highly ironic feel, like the old 60s & 70s trend of asserting your individuality by dressing and acting just like everyone else in your age group. Nevertheless, since World War II our younger folk have striven to distinguish themselves from their parents’ generation. Also, they seek to shock their parents “just enough” – i.e., enough to make Dad frown and Mom wring her hands, but not enough to put a stop to the remittances.

     It’s become increasingly difficult to outrage the old folks. We’ve already managed to endure homosexuality, bisexuality, cohabitation without marriage, casual drug abuse, and cosmetic alterations to the anatomy all the way from tattooing to the implantation of horns. What’s left?

     I predict that fairly soon some of our young’uns will start claiming to be aliens from the moons of Saturn, if not Ophiuchus 17.

2. Earth Day 2018

     To “celebrate” this annual occasion, on which know-nothings and socialists (pardon the redundancy, please) call for the return of Neanderthal primitivism, Jonathan Last would like to jog our memories about a certain Paul Ehrlich:

     Everyone is talking about the New York Times piece exposing how utterly wrong, willfully blind, and insanely dangerous Paul Ehrlich is, and has been, for the last forty-seven years. There’s video, too.

     This is great, I guess.

     What boggles Last’s mind – mine, too – is that despite Ehrlich having been wrong about absolutely everything he’s ever raved about, the glitterati continue to celebrate him as a contemporary prophet and secular saint of environmentalism:

     But here’s the thing: Even in the face of all of this, the elite caste has showered Ehrlich with awards and honors....

     Paul Ehrlich’s entire career stands as a monument to the ideological imperatives of the world’s elites and the extent to which they exist not just independent from, but in actual opposition to, both science, evidence, reason, and good faith.

     The very fact of Paul Ehrlich is an indictment of the bien pensant progressive order. And the New York Times—which is only half a century late to the party—has nothing to say about that.

     Read the full article for the details about those “awards and honors.” I was stunned. I expect you, Gentle Reader, will be too.

3. Trump’s Real Crime

     The Left, especially its above-ground political arm the Democrat Party, have relentlessly accused President Trump of “obstruction of justice.” the idea, of course, is to provide a plausible basis for Trump’s impeachment and trial. Of course their true beef with Trump is that he’s “not one of us,” and therefore wasn’t entitled to defeat their “anointed one:” Hillary Clinton, the woman virtually no one in America can stand to hear from any longer.

     The celebrated Angelo M. Codevilla lays out Trump’s real “crime” for us:

     America’s Founders, having revolted against a legitimate government that was justly reputed to be perhaps mankind’s most liberal, had to explain to themselves, to their contemporaries, and to posterity why what they were doing was just. All them had read and revered William Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England. But all the procedures described therein, of which the Americans approved, had been based on the idea that the sovereign power of the permanent state flows legitimately from the existence of the kingdom, which the king embodies. The easy part was to argue that King George III had forfeited that power by abusing it, and hence the regime’s legitimacy. The more significant challenge was to show that there is no such thing as a sovereign power that exists independent of the people.

     That was indeed the core American Revolutionary idea. But what aspect of contemporary government flies in the face of that idea?

     The justice that today’s ruling class seeks to impose is the unfettered discretion of the modern administrative state.

     Donald Trump is trying to obstruct these bureaucracies.

     Please read it all. It’s Codevilla, who’s always good, but this time around he’s also brief and laser-focused. Highly recommended.

4. A Little More Codevilla.

     Okay, it’s really a lot more. Codevilla is once again on the subject that brought him to national lay attention: the American political divide.

     Whoever was surprised by the hate-fest against the National Rifle Association and conservative Americans in general that followed the Parkland, Florida school shooting must not have been paying attention. Over the past half-century, a ruling class formed by our uniformly leftist educational system and occupying the commanding heights of corporate life, governmental bureaucracies, the media, etc. accuses its targets of everything from murder and terrorism to culpable psycho-social disorders (racism, sexism, and so forth).

     Leaders, marchers, and rioters speak from identical scripts. They do not try to persuade. They strengthen their own side’s vehemence. They restrict opponents from speaking on their own behalf, and use state and corporate power to push them to society’s margins. While demanding deference to themselves, they mention right-leaning Americans and their causes only to insult and de-legitimize them.

     Republican politicians and Fox News grant the respect denied them. They respond with facts and reason. But the Left’s reasoning is war’s reasoning: helping one’s own by hurting the enemy.

     This one will take my Gentle Readers a little longer to read. However, bear in mind that I disagree with Codevilla’s conclusion. There is no longer any willingness on the Left to “agree to disagree” with us. We cannot act “as if the other side did not exist.” (My reasoning is here.) Read it all anyway.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Free Fiction! (Sticky; Scroll Down For New Posts)

     From today, April 18 through Sunday, April 22, my contemporary erotic fantasy novel Priestesses will be free of charge at Amazon!

     Helen and Martine run "sex shops" in Los Angeles and New York, but they’re not prostitutes. They sell “novelties,” but they aren’t there to make a profit. In fact, they never ask for payment for their wares. They’re priestesses of desire, charged by a Power beyond the mortal realm with a divinely ordained mission: to spread erotic knowledge among those who need it...and really, isn't that all of us?

     For adults only.

Unsatisfactory Lexicon

     Political discourse, insofar as any remains that doesn’t involve epithets, slanders, threats, or actual violence, requires a lexicon: a set of terms whose meaning are agreed upon by all the participants. Without agreement on the meanings of the words we use, discussion of any sort is pointless, for we can convey neither evidence nor reasoning. In these United States in this Year of Our Lord 2018, we lack such an asset. My secret heartthrob Adrienne provides a case study:

     Yesterday at history club a gentleman informed me he was the token liberal in the group. He and his wife had been traveling for the past seven months so it was my first encounter with him.

     After declaring his liberalism he was quick to add that he was anti-abortion and pro 2nd amendment. Um, okay.

     My suspicion is always aroused when someone is so hasty to declare themselves in an almost confrontational manner with not a clue about the person to whom they are speaking and apparently no desire to find out.

     Finally I asked him what he believed that made him define himself as a liberal.

     He sat there for many minutes and if he had a trapdoor in his forehead I could have popped it open and witnessed the wheels of his mind churning at warp speed. It was clear no one had ever asked him that before because he finally answered, "I don't really know."

     The above is not an outlier; it is representative of the actual understanding, if I may use the term somewhat sardonically, of the term liberal at this time in this nation.

     Please read the rest of Adrienne’s post. She goes on to ask whether it remains possible to use the words conservative and liberal in a fashion that conveys usable information. It’s an important inquiry. The lack of an answer tells us quite a lot, if we’re listening.

     You can look up the words liberal and conservative in any dictionary. But you’d learn nothing that would help to explain the positions, preferences, and behavior of those who label themselves as one or the other. The same is true of several even more important words: rights, justice, and freedom. What they retain are only connotations; auras of significance that seldom attach properly to the specific ideas to which those words are currently applied.

     This separation of politically potent words from their actual meanings has been mostly deliberate. The Left wants to appropriate those powerful words to its exclusive use. They have emotional weight; they glow with an inherent merit, a kind of sanctity, that lends power to him who can wield them. But if we probe them for objective meanings according to contemporary usage, we get nothing but contradictions.

     Rights is probably the most important of the three. Ronald Dworkin called rights “political trumps held by individuals.” To claim a right is to argue that the referenced condition outweighs all practical concerns.

     When a Leftist asserts that illegal aliens have a right to remain in the U.S., he’s claiming that no other consideration could possibly matter. Border control laws? Port-of-entry laws? Customs enforcement? Extradition treaties? Sweep them away! There’s a right on the table.

     That is the current position of many who clamor for an “amnesty” for the approximately 12 million illegal aliens in the U.S. at this time. Many; not all. Some argue on practical grounds. But the ones getting the most air time and column-inches are the ones screeching that everyone has a right to be an American.

     Consider in this light the demands of Leftists for guaranteed incomes, for a high minimum wage, for free higher educations for all, for “safe spaces” for innumerable minorities, and so forth. The word rights always enters the picture sooner or later. No other word can “trump” the legal and practical considerations that oppose their demands.

     The word is powerful. But according to current usage it has no objective meaning. The same is true for justice and freedom.

     Conservatives tend to be cautious about the use of rights, justice, and freedom. We generally think we know what we mean by them. However, we’re leery of going beyond the language of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States as amended. Even the most strident conservative advocate wants some scriptural basis in a claim of rights. As for justice, we tend to be only slightly less legalistic.

     Which is part of why when the shouting starts the Left’s screeching tends to drown out our arguments. We argue from tradition, whether legal, scriptural, or Anglo-American; they’re working with pure emotion, the easier to mobilize the troops.

     In this connection, freedom is more often used as a fundamental rationale than a debating point. Conservatives’ understanding of freedom – i.e., the absence of coercion or constraint from all areas of decision making that don’t involve force or fraud – has roots sunk a thousand years deep. Leftists’ conception of freedom is quite different: they see it as the absence of unfulfilled desires. They seek to elevate every desire to a right – except the desires of conservatives to be left alone in peace and privacy, that is – and to charge the federal government with the obligation to fulfill the lot of them.

     Isn’t it plain from the above that arguments between Right and Left are impossible to resolve? We don’t even agree upon the meanings of the words we use. How, then, could we possibly settle any more specific dispute?

     The most recent foofaurauw to claim national headlines and front-page space arose from the mobilization of high school students for various gun-control propositions. The Left has played that drama to the hilt. Most significant for this discussion, they’ve prattled about “a right to be safe.”

     When I first heard that notion put about, I could barely restrain my laughter. Yet it was a bitter thing, for millions of Americans have swallowed the “right” to “be safe” unreflectively. No one who has ever lived has been 100% safe – i.e., absolutely assured that he will come to no harm – regardless of who he was or where or when he existed. Danger inheres in every setting and every undertaking. We do what we can to eliminate as many risks as possible, especially when it comes to our children. We do a better job of it than any previous civilization. But we can’t eliminate them all.

     An example: While school is in session, a fire alarm is pulled. Classes begin evacuation procedures. During the evacuation, a student stumbles and falls. The student behind him trips over him, and the screams trigger a stampede. Several children are hurt; perhaps some are killed. This has happened more than once. No imaginable prior arrangement could reduce the probability of such a tragedy to zero.

     The “right to be safe” is thus both objectively meaningless and physically impossible. But this is the case with virtually every claim of rights that goes beyond “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

     I could go on. Sometimes I do. But the above will serve for the present. It’s my argument for not crossing rhetorical swords with someone on the Left. He could be 100% sincere; it matters not. If we don’t mean the same things by the words we use, we cannot communicate. We will resolve nothing.

     As for engaging the insincere Leftist, whose true aim is for unlimited and unbounded power over all of us...need you ask?

Saturday, April 21, 2018


     Toward the middle of the excellent (though paranoid) 1975 movie Three Days of the Condor, we are treated to a brief exchange between a Deputy Director of the CIA, played by Cliff Robertson, and the Director, played by the late John Houseman. Houseman is reminiscing about his wartime experiences, and Robertson asks him, “You miss that kind of action, sir?” Houseman looks away briefly and replies, “No...I miss that kind of clarity.”

     Clarity in wartime is purchased at a high price. You must believe, absolutely and unconditionally, that yours is the side of right and justice, and that therefore whatever it takes to defeat the enemy is licit, perhaps even required of you. You must be able to shrug off “collateral damage,” one of the inevitable horrors of war, as “just one of those things.” And if you encounter an individual from the other side whom you cannot help but like or admire, you must invoke the Exception defense:

Smith: Xs are bad!
Jones: But you like Davis, and he’s an X.
Smith: Well, he’s an exception.

     The closer our political struggles come to outright warfare, the more prevalent the above mindset, and the rarer the Exception defense, will become.

     A few days ago, in commenting on Kevin Williamson’s brief tenure and sudden firing by The Atlantic, I wrote thus:

     Seriously, could anyone familiar with The Atlantic’s op-ed positions, tone, and readership have reasonably expected anything else? Could Williamson have expected anything else? Attempts by the Right to counter-infiltrate Leftist institutions always work out the same way: the infiltrator is hauled up and hanged with a maximum of fanfare. Kevin Williamson was no exception, nor should he have expected to be one.

     Leftist institutions such as The Atlantic are the ideological supreme commands of the enemy. They respect only power. They formulate and emit the General Orders to which the second and third-tier activists of the Left subsequently conform. When they seduce a conservative into their ranks, it’s with the intention of corrupting him, not debating or learning from him. We’ve known that for a long time. Since before the Journolist scandal, at any rate.

     Purity cannot contaminate filth.

     Today, Kevin Williamson himself provides a few observations:

     On March 22, the Atlantic announced that it had hired me and three others as contributors to its new section “for ideas, opinions and commentary.” In no time, the abortion-rights group Naral was organizing protests against me, demanding that I not be permitted to publish in the Atlantic. Activists claimed, dishonestly, that I wanted to see every fourth woman in the country lynched (it is estimated that 1 in 4 American women will have an abortion by the age of 45). Opinion pieces denouncing me appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the New Republic, Slate, the Huffington Post, Mother Jones, the Guardian and other publications.

     The outrageous statement was a tweet: a deliberate attempt to provoke left-wing pro-abortion advocates. Here’s Williamson’s summary of the event:

     The purported reason for our “parting ways,” as Mr. Goldberg put it in his announcement, had nothing to do with what I’d written in my inaugural piece. The problem was a six-word, four-year-old tweet on abortion and capital punishment and a discussion of that tweet in a subsequent podcast. I had responded to a familiar pro-abortion argument: that pro-lifers should not be taken seriously in our claim that abortion is the willful taking of an innocent human life unless we are ready to punish women who get abortions with long prison sentences. It’s a silly argument, so I responded with these words: “I have hanging more in mind.”

     Now, it’s fairly well known that attempts at sarcasm are easily misunderstood. What’s less well known –less admitted to, at any event – is that an ideological enemy determined to bring you down will deliberately misunderstand anything you’ve said or written if it can serve as a weapon against you. Williamson himself failed to understand that:

     The remarkable fact about all this commentary on my supposedly horrifying views on abortion is that not a single writer from any of those famous publications took the time to ask me about the controversy. (The sole exception was a reporter from Vox.) Did I think I was being portrayed accurately? Why did I make that outrageous statement? Did I really want to set up gallows, despite my long-stated reservations about capital punishment? Those are questions that might have occurred to people in the business of asking questions. (In preparing this account, I have confirmed my recollection of what Mr. Goldberg said with Mr. Goldberg himself.)

     Instead of interviewing the subject of their pieces, they scanned my thousands of articles and found the tidbits that seemed most likely to provoke.

     The stunned tone in the above is the important aspect. Amazing that an intelligent man could be so blind.

     Persons in the Right, though we engage in the same sort of moral, ethical, and intellectual generalizations as anyone on the Left, are willing to use the Exception defense:

Conservative 1: Leftists are stupid!
Conservative 2: I recall you’ve spoken well of Davis’s intelligence, and he’s a leftist.
Conservative 1: Well, he’s an exception.

     Here’s the key insight, the one that Williamson and many, many other conservatives have missed:

Leftists never make Exceptions in a conservative’s favor.

     The Left’s mindset is far closer to the all-out-no-prisoners-war mentality described in the opening segment. Have a few thoughts about that from a former Leftist:

     For the millions raised as leftists, it is not an ideology; it is a culture. Since childhood, they have lived and breathed it every day in the home. They know nothing else. Like any culture, it is a way of speaking, thinking and acting, with its own narratives and rituals. Narratives are held sacred, repeated, reinforced and, over time, added to. That which challenges sacred narratives, even reality itself, is met with confusion and hostility. As with any aggressive, intolerant culture, if you enter it, it enters you.

     Contrary to opinion, leftism isn't just about hate. Leftists are more complex than that. From my time as a red diaper leftist, I can tell you that a whole range of emotions are involved. Hate, anger, fear, bitterness, jealousy, envy, rage, greed, pride, smugness and paranoia (not technically an emotion, but it is widespread among leftists)....

     Leftists combine child-like naïveté and paranoid aggression in all of their narratives. It is a remarkable and very damaging pairing. The child-like naïveté protects the narrative from facts while the paranoid aggression protects the mind from doubt. For red-diaper babies, this thinking competes with their normal emotional and intellectual development, causing an internal struggle that can go either way.

     This is a remarkably candid depiction of a mindset that, were it divorced from any political ideology or agenda, would immediately be categorized as seriously mentally ill. But note its purity. The Right is the enemy, wholly unentitled to any consideration one Leftist would allow another. Therefore all its representatives must be fought a outrance. The only acceptable outcomes are total submission and death.

     It’s been said many times, by many commentators, and now and then by your humble Curmudgeon: There’s a war on, but only one side is fighting.

     We in the Right, who hold to traditional notions about tolerance of dissenting views, have done our best not to hate the Left. We haven’t declared war on them. We have made many Exceptions for sincere and eloquent representatives of the Left’s views. That was William F. Buckley’s attitude: invite them on to the program and talk to them as reasonable people. In Buckley’s day it worked now and then.

     That time is behind us. Today only we in the Right make exceptions. The Left has a different approach, one that makes it plain that they prefer clarity, whatever the price.

Leftist 1: Conservatives are evil and must be destroyed!
Leftist 2: Wait, what about Davis? He’s a perfect gentleman and entirely reasonable.
Leftist 1: Are you going over to the other side? Conservatives are evil!

     Maybe not all of them “think” that way...but it’s the way to bet.