Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Shooting on Campus

UNCC - the University of North Carolina - Charlotte campus - has had 3 students shot just within the hour. The shooter is in custody. Details are sketchy, and students are being evacuated from the buildings nearby.

I've noticed that these violent incidents tend to happen in clusters. It's as though one shooter inspires another.

Striking At The Root

     First and above all else, my sincerest thanks to those who’ve written, called, and sent smoke signals and carrier pigeons in my time of troubles. It’s good to know someone cares, even if from far away. Things are gradually growing more stable, and I’m coping adequately with my burdens, at least for the moment. “The moment,” and the light and warmth of God’s love, are where I’m struggling to stay. What the future holds, no one can know.

     Anyway, for now it’s back to the regular drivel.

     There’s an old Henry David Thoreau quote that’s been much on my mind:

     There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.

     (Yes, as annoying as it can be at times, a retentive memory is good for some things.)

     The metaphor embedded in that statement is devastatingly accurate. How does one remove an unwanted tree? Not by pruning its branches, though that might be a required preliminary step to reach the trunk. Neither does one kill a man by cutting off his fingers. You must aim at a vital target, not a peripheral one.

To bring down an enemy, you must strike at what sustains his life.

     The same is true when one’s enemy is a system of beliefs.

     Recently I’ve been writing about the Left’s assault on the right to life. It’s an important subject that deserves all the attention we can give it. Indeed, it’s more important than the subject of abortion itself – and if you’re a bit startled to see that coming from a Catholic, I’ve achieved my initial objective.

     Don’t just run your thumb under the words. Think about it. What did I just say and why did I say it? A Gentle Reader of Liberty’s Torch is expected to apply his little gray cells to what he encounters here. Give ‘em a workout.

     There! You’ve got it! The right to life is closer to fundamental than the questions that surround abortion. Before abortion can be addressed morally, we must satisfy ourselves as to whether the developing infant possesses a right to life. The answer to that question would dispose of the abortion question, no matter what it might prove to be.

     My right-to-life Jeremiads are closer to being fundamental investigations than anything else I’ve written lately. And yet, they’re not at “the root.” Not quite, though they’re pointed in the right direction.

     We must go still deeper.

     When Thomas Jefferson, the sole certified genius among the Founding Fathers – I almost wrote “Fondling Fathers,” and wouldn’t that have delighted Joe Biden? – wrote that the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are “self-evident,” he was working from a philosophical plateau upon which all of Western thought had been built. He believed his conceptual footing reliable, which, given one assumption, it was. But the assumption itself was incorrect.

     Can you spot the assumption I have in mind? Give it a moment. Virtually no one has done so in recent years. It’s a tricky little devil that will squirm out from between your fingers if you’re not both quick and very, very firm. Think hard.

     Getting frustrated? All right, here’s the answer: another quote:

     Either rights exist, or they do not exist. If they exist, they involve absolute consequences...Furthermore, if a right exists, it exists at every moment. It is absolute today, yesterday, tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, in summer as in winter, not when it pleases you to declare it in force.

     The author, Louis Thiers, was an opponent of the concept of rights. Yet he understood how a right must operate – how it must differ from a permission. A right is absolute, inherent in its possessor. Its existence requires no one’s assent, any more than the effect of gravity requires that we agree to stay stuck to the Earth. And its consequences, as Louis Thiers said, are absolute, whether it is respected or held in contempt.

     Are we at “the root” yet? Very nearly. If fact, I’d say we’re there…but there’s still a little digging to do. Call it a trench for irrigation and protection.

     Anyone who’s been a Gentle Reader of Liberty’s Torch for very long will already be aware that I’m a fanatic about exactitude in the use of words. Words are our tools of thought; we cannot think without them. Without words, we cannot form and manipulate generalizations – concepts. To reason usefully, therefore, requires that the words we use to do so have stable meanings that are not subject to “reinterpretation” according to fads, fashions, or the needs of propagandists. If that’s not perfectly clear, draw the analogy to mathematics and the symbols used in expressing an equation to be solved.

     Any attack on the stable, traditional meanings of words – and please don’t mistake me; the meanings of words are always established through tradition – is an attack on the tools we use to reason, and the concepts we’ve used them to form.

     The contemporary attack on human reason and individual freedom began with an attack on our language.

     A single word – rights – will suffice as an example for this morning’s discourse. If a right is and must be an absolute property that has absolute consequences, then the word must not be applied to anything that lacks those properties. Yet it has been, limitlessly, to the destruction of the concept of rights itself. That destruction was the Left’s aim from the outset.

     I’ve written about this many times. Yet the concept eludes a great many persons, including many who have no excuse. Consider the “right to vote.” This is so plainly not a right that there’s no way anyone could finesse his way toward it…except by twisting and torturing the meaning of rights to force voting inside it. I suppose if one is determined to have one’s way, a trivial matter like destroying the meaning of the most important word in all of political philosophy seems no great matter.

     But wait: there’s more!

     The attack on the concept of rights has not one but two main prongs. The above – the application of the word rights to desires that are not rights – is one. The second is the equally pernicious notion that the exercise of a right can be licensed.

     As I wrote some time ago:

     A brilliant friend of mine once propounded the following scenario: “Imagine that the police have come to your house. Though they have neither a warrant nor “probable cause,” they intend to perform a search of your home for unspecified items. You protest this invasion of your rights, whereupon the detachment commander says ‘Just give us $100.00 and we’ll let you be.’”

     If the police could do that, would Americans possess a true right to “be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects?” Or would it be something the “authorities” could arbitrarily grant or withhold on payment of a “fee?”

     If you still resist the idea that an attack on the meanings of words, especially fundamental words such as rights, is at the base of our degeneration, ponder that a while.

     We have arrived at “the root.” I can make no better case for where our attention belongs than what you see above. Yet if there’s anything in this spatiotemporal continuum of which I am absolutely certain, it’s this:

Some persons will fail to understand.
Others will refuse to understand.
Still others will call me everything but white for saying so.

     With that, I yield the floor to my Gentle Readers.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Some GOOD News

2 weeks ago, I broke my fibula. I was sent home in a 'boot' and told to stay off it.

Today, at the doctor's, I received permission to put weight on it, and begin walking and (mild) exercise.

Yesterday, I broke of a big piece of a molar. Today, I was able to get a temporary crown put in, and our dental insurance will pay a small piece of that. I'm sore in multiple places, but on the road to healed.

Candor From The Bully Pulpit

     There’s a lot going on just now, what with twenty-plus Democrat munchkins hopelessly seeking the presidency and saying insane stuff, Muslims driving cars onto sidewalks, and scores of left-wing commentators insisting that the Mueller report means that – surprise! – “the walls are closing in” on President Trump, but lately I can only write about one thing at a time, so let’s see…ah, here we go:

     Last night President Trump presided over a huge rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin – the state that Hillary can’t find. His speech was quite something and hit on all the major themes. However, today social media has been having a tantrum because he dared to talk about infanticide and abortion. Something that he is evidently NOT allowed to do.

     Here’s what he said at last night’s rally:

     “[Democrats] are aggressively pushing extreme late-term abortion, allowing children to be ripped from their mother’s womb right up until the moment of birth. And just this week your Democrat governor, and by the way we have Scott Walker here. He’s a great governor, he did a great job, he’s a great governor. He’s got kind of big future, but your Democrat governor here in Wisconsin shockingly stated that he will veto legislation that protects Wisconsin babies born alive.”

     He’s right. Democrat governors and legislatures all over the country are advocating for infanticide and late term abortion. Maine, Vermont, and New York legislature cheering their sickening and heinous bill are just a few of the states where this kind of atrocity is being pushed into the mainstream.

     However, where the leftists are really melting down is with the second part of his statement.

     “The baby is born, the mother meets with the doctor, they take care of the baby, they wrap the baby beautifully, and then the doctor and the mother determine whether or not they will execute the baby. I don’t think so. Incredible, no, It’s incredible. Until this crazy man in Virginia said it, nobody even thought of that right? They didn’t, wouldn’t even think of that. Yeah late term, but this is where the baby is actually born and came out. It’s there, it’s wrapped and that’s it so to protect us in life I called in Congress to immediately pass legislation prohibiting the extreme late-term abortion.” [Emphasis in original]

     To which our favorite anti-American Congress vermin responded thus:

     But it is an execution, just as was Michael Schiavo’s deliberate starvation of his helpless ex-wife. It’s an execution through deliberate denial of sustenance. A newborn infant is unable to fend for himself. Therefore a duty of care rests upon his parents, whether they like it or not. They may not default on that responsibility without incurring the charge of negligent homicide.

     Remember what I said about the Left’s assault on the right to life? Add another data point.

     The Left’s expressions of outrage over a factually correct statement by the president – indeed, one that has been made by many persons, not all of them in the Right – are themselves important data points. Yes, they hate Donald Trump with an unprecedented intensity. Yes, they are furious about the new disinclination in the Right to “compromise” with them, gradually ceding every issue to them slice by thin slice. Yes, they are desperate to regain federal hegemony and hope – possibly mistakenly – that the elections of 2018 might point the way. But it’s when the president speaks plainly that their towers are most dramatically shaken.

     Previous conservative standard-bearers have all punked out before the kill shot. Yea, even Ronald Reagan was more inclined toward “civility” than toward candor. Donald Trump doesn’t do that. He shoots…and he scores…and We the People who elected him love him for it.

     My major question is whether President Trump’s forthrightness will elicit similar conduct from other Republicans and conservative spokesmen. To this point only a few have followed the trail he’s blazing. We need more – many more. Preferably all of them, though the “Conservatism, Inc. / NeverTrumpRump” is probably a hopeless cause. Gotta keep those D.C. cocktail party invitations coming, don’t y’know.

     If we private persons in the Right can encourage our representatives to emulate the president, surely we should do so. I’m not sure how we might go about that, but the desirability is evident. The one thing that occurs to me about it is that if there’s any right to which ordinary Americans are more sensitive than the right to keep and bear arms, it must be the right to life. The attack on the lives of the newborn ought to be stark enough to get a lot of folks exercised. Why hasn’t it happened yet? More to the point, can we make it happen?

     I will add this, from personal experience:

The attack on newborns’ right to life is not new in fact, only in Left-wing political rhetoric.

     A friend of mine – a devout Catholic, mind you – was in attendance at the birth of his third child. That child was freshly out of his mother’s womb when the attending physician asked my friend and his wife “Do you want the baby?” That “physician” suggested, quite calmly, that the boy would be allowed to die by negligence if the answer were “no.” That happened more than twenty years ago, so this has been going on for a while.

     Thoughts, Gentle Readers? Assuming you’re not too horrified to have any.

Pearls of expression.

You've over looked the young Russian girl who tried to get an NRA membership to influence the election. She could have possibly gotten a Costco membership, joined AARP and signed up for Amazon prime. Then it's good bye to our American democratic way of life.
Comment by Promethus on "Did The Russians Really Interfere In US Elections?" By Boyd Cathey, ZeroHedge, 4/28/19.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Round-up of Many Things

Some common sense on immigration - note the name of the author - she will be a force in the future.

On Taking the High Road - and, when it will be a tactic that will doom you and all yours. RedPillJew is one of those blogs that I check into periodically. I dive in to all the content over a period of days, then, don't return for months. Nothing wrong with the blog, that's just the way I tend to encounter it. It's a blog that favors a deep dive.

It's an old post, but one worth remembering. No, not all will attack with the fervor of blood-lust. But, they won't stir themselves to even protest. To even say, "Now, wait a minute. This kid might not be worthy of KILLING. Maybe not even deserve having his life ruined. He actually didn't do anything - not show a hostile face, not say a word, not make a motion."

Nothing. And, yet, there were those doxxing him, and calling on the world to condemn him. For standing in place, with a smile on his face?


In the wake of several blogs that I've been posting/commenting on taking a break/stepping back due to actual life commitments, I've decided to re-activate the old Right As Usual blog. Rather than run it as a solo activity (which I just don't have the time for), I've decided to open it up to some fresh faces. Go here to learn how you might be able to contribute.

This plan came out of a previous post about how to Pass on the Torch. I'm not quitting - no fear about THAT! - but, I'd like to step into the role of guide/mentor to younger bloggers and rabble-rousers. If we keep trying to do everything ourselves, we will eventually drop dead, leaving a horrible void.

Like the Democratic Party - they've been all about hogging the power and glory for themselves for so long, they don't have younger successors - well, except for the Truly Crazy Ones.

I'm doing it, also, for selfish reasons. I want to spend more time on writing, both fiction and non-fiction. It's hard to do while staying solely in charge of the blog. In time, I hope to put some administrative responsibility in the hands of others. That will free up some time for me to write.

An informative article on government finance, foreign trade, and inflation.

There is only one way a government funds the excess of spending over tax revenue without it being inflationary, and that is to borrow money from savers. There is a downside to this. The government bids for existing savings, including those held in pension and insurance funds, diverting them from other borrowers. In the 1980s this was described as “crowding out” other borrowers and had the effect of increasing interest rates to the point where these other borrowers stop borrowing. In the post-war years, this has been the consequence of spendthrift socialism.

The other two sources of finance for high-spending governments are simply inflationary. Bank credit is expanded to finance short-term treasury bills and treasury bonds. Before 2008, a combination of savings and bank credit expansion was used to cover government funding requirements. But since the great financial crisis, money-printing by central banks through quantitative easing has opened a new avenue for government funding. It is this last financing mechanism which future historians are likely to attribute to the beginning of the end for fiat currencies.[1]

My title doesn't do Mr. Macleod's article justice. While I'm a long way from understanding this stuff, I commend his article to you as an exceptionally clear take on government and central bank fiscal, monetary, and debt problems. He does a good job in trying to lay out the various cause and effect relationships in this area. Suffice it to say, the outlook isn't good for fiat currencies and sound economic policy.

At one time, I used to pale at the mention of the words "Federal Reserve Bank," as it just seemed too arcane and technical for me. It still is but I want to do better than I do.

So far, I have profited from the insight that low interest rates harm savers and drive people, who in earlier times could rely on interest on their money to fuel or supplement their retirement, to move their money into equities.

All the more so if deliberate Fed inflationary policies make it exceptionally unwise to leave funds sitting in bank accounts subject to alarming diminution in value. At two per cent inflation, the value of your stash is reduced by 50% in 25 years. More if inflation is higher than the lying United States government figures would lead you to believe. And given how this is indistinguishable from theft, I am rather torqued to know that the Fed publicly admits to trying to achieve a certain level of inflation every year.

Goodbye to any notion that those clever people who run things in our country have any intention of helping individual citizens. We get an elegant middle finger in any area you want to mention. We need to do a lot more than just audit the Fed.

The other insight I find useful is that increases in the interest rate increase government debt servicing costs. This it cannot allow. The government is thus locked into a position of wanting to avoid a return to savings-fueled investment in productive enterprise (because saving is profitable with higher interest rates), thus punishing savers and artificially goosing the market in equities (and real estate and other hard assets). AKA stimulating a bubble economy.

Add in the fact that deficits needing to be funded this way are the result of government investment decisions, and those include funding for Yolanda's eight chirren, stupid regime-change military operations, and innumerable, lunatic bear-poking adventures. You don't need me to detail official American economic profligacy and idiocy.

Anyhoo. Macleod's article is worth your time even if it requires studying it in some detail. Our fiscal and monetary policies affect us more than we know and we all need to know how this is being handled.

PS – I still don't understand bonds.

[1] "The US Government Is Ensnared In A Debt Trap.. And There's No Escape." By Alasdair Macleod, ZeroHedge, 4/26/19.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Please Read This

     It might be the most important thing you’ll ever read:

The Legacy Of The West

     And thank you for bearing with me as I fall back and regroup.

Grace Under Pressure

I saw a sidebar about Laura San Giacomo. She had appeared in Sex, Lies, and Videotapes, was the other prostitute in Pretty Woman, and also had a long career on TV following that movie.

Laura San Giacomo Then
LSG Today

She was a stunner, and a very engaging personality, as well as a good actress. But, I hadn't seen her lately, and wondered why.

Here's the story - it shows that there is a lot more to her than looks.

In a time when too many push their kids to be a reflection of their own ego, it's nice to see that the good moms - those who put their kids FIRST - are still around.

Passing on the Torch

It may be that 1 or more family members will pick up on your political/cultural philosophies. It might be someone non-related.


In some way, we have to prepare for the next generation of revolutionaries. One way to pass the torch is to blog. I've been doing that for some time. It seems to work best when you get a group to share the burden. By yourself, it takes a lot of time to build an audience, come up with fresh ideas, and sustain the energy to keep blogging over time.

Another is to circulate our vast libraries of influential books. I'm looking at organizing a meetup of like-minded people, and working out a community swap of books. I'm in the process of organizing my books on Library Thing, and have set up a local group - Rock Hill Conservatives. What's nice about this site is that you can search the libraries of other group members, and ask to borrow a book. This might make it a little less expensive to borrow those books that are seminal, but not cheap.

I never had the money for the big conventions/meetings. From what I hear, they are less geared towards building the grass roots, and more interested in building THEIR brand name. Over time, if the interest grows, it might be useful to gather for some personal interaction, dividing into interest groups, and seeing what develops.

If Just ONE Thing Happens, I'm Gonna...

I don't know. It's not like me to give up. If I were to go postal, I would have done it years ago, when I was raising kids, or teaching grades 7-9.

Here's the most recent stuff:

Tuesday a week ago, I broke my ankle. The doctor sent me home with strict instructions to stay off it. Well, I've been trying, but...

Last night, I had to use the bathroom - quick! I managed to get my crutches, and was hurrying to the facilities, when I ran my left foot (the good one) into a piece of furniture. Today, I was surveying the damage:

The second to the left toe is badly bruised, and hurts to touch or walk on - which, makes my mobility options even more limited.

It's gonna be a long weekend - I see my doctor Monday morning.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Blogging Hiatus

     Terrible things are happening to me just now. I’ll spare you the specifics, but they’re bad enough that I can’t give anything else a decent amount of attention. Please bear with me for a while as I try to get my own life in order. Hopefully, the affairs of the larger world can wait a few days for me to comment on them.

All my best

Human CO2 production in perspective.

The Rice Video - Carbon Dioxide in perspective by The Galileo Movement.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

For a Canadian, He Gets America

Mark Steyn takes DOWN Oman - HARD.

At First, I Laughed. But Then...

...I became horrified.

Millennials actually believe that they have it WORSE than any previous American generation - INCLUDING those who lived through the Depression.

Clueless is a cute movie. It is NOT a basis for a life.

For those not familiar with the situation vis-a-vis the Baby Boomers, let me tell you. In 1969, the economy was BOOMING - about the same employment as today. Just a few short years later, we had:
  • Price controls - under Nixon
  • Skyrocketing credit rates - after years of lobbying by the credit companies, Carter lifted the limits that had been imposed by usury laws. Rates shot up to 17-18%, for GOOD credit risks.
  • Housing prices, and rates, were low at the start of the 70s. They gradually crept up. The dumbest thing I've ever said in my life, was "Honey, that interest rate is ridiculous (8.5%). My parents have a loan that's HALF that. Let's wait until the rates come down." My husband - blessedly - didn't hold my advice against me, but we were locked out of the market by inability to manage a loan until the late 80s - at which time, the prices had hit their highest level in years.
  • Jobs - hard to get, more vulnerable to layoffs, fewer benefits. Most women had to work - and it wasn't at cushy jobs with high salaries. Non-college grads had it worse. The Rust Belt was just written off - by both parties. If CA and/or Silicon Valley goes belly-up, don't look for sympathy from us (former Ohioan, family still living there). We were BOTH screwed, and sneered at. We DON'T forget.
Grow up, Millennials. If you aren't in severe danger of living on the street or in your car, having to skip meals, or living without cable, Internet, spare change for an occasional coffee, you aren't truly living close to the bone.

Not even.

Our “Albert Nobbs” Moment

     Many years ago I was exposed – pardon the choice of words – to a short story titled “Albert Nobbs,” by Irish writer “George Moore.” Its title character is a woman who, for economic reasons, chooses to live as a man. It causes her a great many problems. One of the worst of these is that she becomes the romantic target of a woman who cannot understand why the attraction isn’t mutual. While her secret is not exposed until her death at a relatively advanced age, she is nevertheless compelled to live in hiding, just to make a living.

     The story, a piquant blend of irony and farce, won considerable praise in its time. Few of its adulators were aware that “George Moore” was a woman. I don’t remember when in “Moore’s” life (or afterward) that tidbit became general knowledge.

     Not that long ago, a brilliant writer penned a novelette titled “Nine Lives” about two extrasolar technicians, in a time of intense labor shortages, who found themselves confined with the sole survivor of a group of clones. The survivor’s nine clone-brethren had been killed off in a mining accident, leaving him alone in the care of two normal humans. It left him barely able to remain alive. Indeed, he wanted to die, having never in his life been apart from his nine clone-brethren. The story first appeared in Playboy in 1969. It won a great deal of critical praise for its eloquence and evocative force.

     The byline above the story read “U. K. Leguin.” That was at the insistence of Playboy’s editors. Leguin’s first name, as is well known to virtually every reader of science fiction, was Ursula.

     Mrs. Leguin might not have had to travel androgynously to get published. Indeed, her early fantasy work A Wizard of Earthsea and her brilliant multiple award-winner The Left Hand of Darkness were both published at that time under her full name, to tremendous applause and critical acclaim. But Playboy, at the time one of the most munificent of the periodical publishers, insisted that her sex be concealed if it was to publish “Nine Lives.”

     People can be funny about this stuff. Just now they’re funnier than ever.

     I’m currently at work upon the third of my “futanari” novels, which will appear under the title The Wise and the Mad. (The first two, Innocents and Experiences, and the “prequel” novelettes The Athene Academy Collection, are available at Amazon as paperbacks and eBooks.) They’re cockeyed explorations of the contemporary phenomenon we call transgenderism: Cockeyed, because a goodly group of the “futanari” in those stories were born that way: women in every regard, two X chromosomes in every cell, but with male genitals. They’re my attempt to examine transgenderism closely: to separate the aspects of it that can and should be tolerated from the parts that cannot and must not.

     One of the principal characters in Experiences, Holly Martinowski, was born Horace Martinowski: a normal male child in every regard. Upon reaching his majority, Horace decides that he would prefer to present and live as a woman. He takes the steps required to do so, and thus becomes internationally successful romance novelist Holly Martins.

     But Horace / Holly is a bit conflicted. He / she was raised Catholic and wants to be a full communicant in that flock. Here’s how she explains herself to the priest who hears her “returning” confession:

     Ray had only just donned his stole and murmured a prayer for God’s guidance when a penitent entered the face-to-face booth and knelt. He donned a formally grave expression, looked up at his visitor, and swallowed an oath.
     “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen,” Holly Martinowski intoned. “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned.” She smiled wanly. “I’m not really sure how long it’s been since my last confession. More than fifteen years, anyway.”
     “Bless you, Holly,” Ray said. “May the Lord be in your heart and help you to confess your sins sincerely and with true contrition. What are your sins, dear?”
     “Father,” she said in a gradually strengthening voice, “I’ve been bitter and resentful. I estranged myself from my parents because they mocked me as I was and could not accept me as I am today. My bitterness has led me to resent them and wish them ill, even though none of them ever did me any injustice that went beyond a few harsh words.
     “And I may have been less than honest. Since I endeavored to transition, I’ve let everyone I met believe that I’m female. I know I have only the appearance and not the essence. I know that no surgery could make me other than cosmetically female. But I’ve chosen to live as a woman, rather than as the pitifully unmanly man I would otherwise have been. And I am happy this way. I don’t regard my masquerade as a sin, though not being candid about my origins might strike you as sinful.”
     She bowed her head over her folded hands.
     “Other than that, I’ve missed a lot of Sunday Masses. But I have not worshipped any other god. I have not blasphemed. I have not made any idols. I haven’t killed or harmed anyone, or committed adultery, or theft or fraud. I haven’t borne false witness against others. I’ve envied naturally born women their state, but only in a wistful way. And I’ve tried most sincerely, Father, to do unto others as I would have them do unto me. I love God and delight in all His works. I strive to love my neighbor as myself. And with that I subject myself to your judgment and to the mercy of God.”
     Ray was momentarily thrown out of his orbit.
     “Have you examined your conscience closely, Holly?”
     “I have, Father.”
     “And you find no other blemishes there?”
     “I have confessed all that I’ve found, Father.”
     “You don’t think it a deception to wear a female guise?”
     “I wear it for its own sake, Father. I don’t use it to deceive or defraud others. I never have.”
     “And you never will, dear?”
     That brought Holly’s head back up.
     “Only God can know the future, Father. But it’s not my intention ever to do so. What could I gain that I couldn’t get some other way?”
     Ray breathed deeply and strove to steady himself.
     “It’s not the gain or loss that matters but the intention, dear. Are you firm in your resolve?”
     “I am, Father.”
     “And truly sorry for your sins?”
     “O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins because of Thy just punishment, but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, who art all good and worthy of all my love. I humbly resolve with the help of Thy Grace to sin no more and to avoid the near occasions of sin. Amen.”
     He grinned despite himself. “You boned up before you came here, didn’t you?”
     She returned the grin. “A little cramming is acceptable before an exam, isn’t it, Father?”
     He chuckled. “Let’s hope so, dear, because it was one of my most regular practices back in seminary. Your penance is five Our Fathers, five Hail Marys, and five Glory Bes interleaved, to be performed in a spirit of contrition immediately upon leaving the confessional. Go to the front of the church and kneel at the old communion rail. Look upon the Presence lamp as you pray, and give thanks for the love and mercy of God.”
     “I shall, Father.”
     He raised his right hand. “God, the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of his Son has reconciled the world to himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins. Through the ministry of the Church, may God give you pardon and peace. I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”
     “Amen,” she whispered.
     “Now go and sin no more.”
     She exited the confessional.

     To my mind, this is what makes Horace / Holly’s choice a tolerable one:

     “I know I have only the appearance and not the essence. I know that no surgery could make me other than cosmetically female....I wear it for its own sake, Father. I don’t use it to deceive or defraud others. I never have.”

     Horace Martinowski presents convincingly as Holly, a woman. She asks nothing of anyone except to be treated according to her presentation.

     Such “transitions” have been going on for several decades. Cosmetics and surgery have made them ever more complete and convincing. What’s changed is the sociopolitical aspect of transgenderism: the crusade by activists to compel others to kowtow to anyone who claims to be a particular sex regardless of appearances, behavior, and underlying reality.

     To be blunt, that is not tolerable and must be condemned. It tramples several important rights: rights that the transgender would miss quite as much as anyone else.

     Granted that even the tolerable aspect of the transgenderism phenomenon complicates matters quite a bit. Were Holly to be courted by a man, she’d have the same problems as “Albert Nobbs.” It would be imperative – her moral responsibility – for her to fend off such attention.

     At their foundation, the “futanari” stories are an exploration of the dividing line between what we ought to tolerate, because it’s harmless, and what we must never, ever tolerate, because it’s inherently disruptive and destructive. Today the ability to find and maintain that dividing line is being bludgeoned out of us by the shrill demands and punitive tactics of activists.

     Transgenderism isn’t the only phenomenon of this sort, of course. Homosexuality is another of similar cast. There are aspects of it that cannot and must not be tolerated: Homosexual evangelism toward the young, for example. But the “quiet” homosexual, who keeps what he does with his genitals to himself and those who choose him for a lover, can and should be tolerated, regardless of anyone else’s convictions or sexual preferences. He demands nothing except to be allowed to live as he pleases. How does that distinguish him from the rest of us?

     The problems created by “noisy,” demanding homosexual activists are well known to anyone who’s left his cave or turned on a television since 1970. Some of those problems fall upon the “quiet” homosexual, just as some of the problems created by “noisy,” demanding transgenderism activists would fall upon a “quiet” transgender such as Holly Martinowski. There’s a great deal of irony here; I trust I needn’t explicate it further.

     The larger point seems clear:

Some things are tolerable.
Others are not.
Good men must distinguish between them.
The distinction is critical.

     As is the awareness of when one’s own prerogatives are being infringed.

     With that, I yield the floor to my Gentle Readers.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Resisting the Pull of the Crowd

Stella Morabito is a terrific writer, as well as a logical thinker. She produced a guide to understanding the circumstances that have brought about the mass delusions that have engulfed the Western World:

  • Women are kept down by The Patriarchy
  • The ONLY reason for Minorities to fail to reach the top is White people - consciously or unconsciously - have built systems and structures that keep them from succeeding
  • That a Man - one who possesses the DNA of a male human - can become a Woman. And, vice versa
  • That Earth is on the verge of overpopulation, environmental death, and global catastrophe - ALL caused by man
  • That speech is violence, but actual physical violence is not
  • That you can spend more money, and somehow become richer - as in the Federal budget
  • That some unknown Rich People will be able to fund every cause touted by Progressives
And, many, many more.

Ethics: Three Tiers

     I believe we’ve had enough about the Mueller Report (and the Democrats’ hysteria over not finding a pony buried in all that manure). As for the Sri Lanka bombings, what is there to say that I haven’t already said many times? That makes this Tuesday in the Year of Our Lord 2019 a fine opportunity to talk a little philosophy.

     While the term morals is often used to subsume ethics, if we go by their etymologies there’s an important difference between the two words. The former term is descended from the Latin mores, which in classical Latin means customs. The Romans used it to describe the restraints they were expected to observe when in public. It is noteworthy that Roman mores applied mainly to the behavior and carriage of persons of the patrician class. The plebeians were not expected to conform to all the mores, for reasons beyond the scope of this tirade. (Slaves were, as usual, considered beneath contempt.)

     By contrast, ethics derives from the Greek term ethos: a code of conduct that specifically regulates one’s treatment of others. Public deportment that affects only oneself would be outside the ethos. Thus, one could flout the customs pertaining to proper dress or speech, for example, while still remaining within the prevailing ethos.

     The evolution of Western thought was more concerned with the refinement of ethical concepts than with moral ones. Moral ideas did receive attention, but ethical ones were the ones emphasized, especially during the flowering we call the Enlightenment.

     A brief digression here: Ponder the Ten Commandments of the Decalogue. Just in case you don’t have a list handy, here they are (Catholic enumeration):

  1. I am the Lord thy God; thou shalt have no other gods before Me.
  2. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
  3. Remember thou the Sabbath day and keep it holy.
  4. Honor thy mother and thy father.
  5. Thou shalt not murder.
  6. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
  7. Thou shalt not steal.
  8. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
  9. Thou shalt not covet they neighbor’s wife.
  10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods.

     The first three Commandments pertain to respect for Divine prerogatives rather than the treatment of another individual. Thus, while they could be called moral precepts, they don’t qualify as ethical ones. Commandments Four through Eight are explicitly ethical:

  • Honor thy mother and thy father: Observance of familial obligations.
  • Thou shalt not murder: The right to life.
  • Thou shalt not commit adultery: Fidelity to promises solemnly made.
  • Thou shalt not steal: Property rights.
  • Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor: The proscription of fraud.

     According to the histories, the great Hebraic thinker Hillel summarized all of Judaic law this way: “What is hateful to you, do not do unto another. The rest is commentary; go and study it.” This, which has an equivalent in Confucian thought, has come to be known as the Brazen Rule.

     Organized ethical thought must begin with Commandments Four through Ten, whether or not one concedes their Divine origin. No other basis holds water.

     Following from the above, an eagle’s-eye view of ethical thought partitions its various scholia into three tiers. While there are many variations among schools of ethical thought, three tiers will suffice to define and distinguish their most significant elements.

     The lowest of the three, which places the fewest restrictions on the individual is usually called the philosophy of power, or “might makes right.” Ethics of this level passes no judgment on anything an individual might do as long as he can get away with it. Thomas Hobbes implicitly predicated his philosophy of rulership, best expressed in Leviathan, on this sort of ethical code: not on its superiority in any sense, but on his conception of the ruler-less “state of nature,” in which he claimed that no rule that restricts individuals’ conduct could or would prevail.

     The middle tier is characterized by a precept generally called the Brazen Rule. According to the histories, the great Hebraic thinker Hillel summarized all of Judaic law this way: “What is hateful to you, do not do unto another. The rest is commentary; go and study it.” This has an equivalent in Confucian thought.

     Thus, middle-tier ethical codes tell us not to harm one another, but they do not command us to do any more than that. While this is more advanced than Hobbesian “dog eat dog” ethics, it has an “every man for himself” character that distinguishes it from subsequent developments in ethics.

     The highest tier of ethical thought compounds the Brazen Rule with a command to contextually qualified beneficence toward others. Jesus of Nazareth proclaimed its overarching command: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” This is the justly famous Golden Rule, by which the Son of God expanded upon Judaic ethical teaching to mandate charity toward others when the circumstances warrant it:

     And when the Son of Man shall come in his majesty, and all the angels with him, then shall he sit upon the seat of his majesty. And all nations shall be gathered together before him, and he shall separate them one from another, as the shepherd separateth the sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left.
     Then shall the king say to them that shall be on his right hand: Come, ye blessed of my Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in: Naked, and you covered me: sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me.
     Then shall the just answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry, and fed thee; thirsty, and gave thee drink? And when did we see thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and covered thee? Or when did we see thee sick or in prison, and came to thee?
     And the king answering, shall say to them: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me.
     Then he shall say to them also that shall be on his left hand: Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry, and you gave me not to eat: I was thirsty, and you gave me not to drink. I was a stranger, and you took me not in: naked, and you covered me not: sick and in prison, and you did not visit me.
     Then they also shall answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister to thee?
     Then he shall answer them, saying: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it not to one of these least, neither did you do it to me.
     And these shall go into everlasting punishment: but the just, into life everlasting. [Matthew 25:31-46]

     I contend that every school of ethics can be placed in one of those categories.

     As an ethical code constitutes a set of fundamental rules, it is in the nature of things that its dictates cannot be proved correct in some abstract fashion. Principles are like that. They are beneath all other elements of thought and conception, and must be regarded as postulates. We cannot prove a proposition that lies at the foundation of all out tools of thought. C. S. Lewis was eloquent on this matter:

     The Chinese also speak of a great thing (the greatest thing) called the Tao. It is the reality beyond all predicates, the abyss that was before the Creator Himself. It is Nature, it is the Way, the Road. It is the Way in which the universe goes on, the Way in which things everlastingly emerge, stilly and tranquilly, into space and time. It is also the Way which every man should tread in imitation of that cosmic and supercosmic progression, conforming all activities to that great exemplar. 'In ritual', say the Analects, 'it is harmony with Nature that is prized.' The ancient Jews likewise praise the Law as being 'true'.

     This conception in all its forms, Platonic, Aristotelian, Stoic, Christian, and Oriental alike, I shall henceforth refer to for brevity simply as 'the Tao'.... It is the doctrine of objective value, the belief that certain attitudes are really true, and others really false, to the kind of thing the universe is and the kind of things we are. Those who know the Tao can hold that to call children delightful or old men venerable is not simply to record a psychological fact about our own parental or filial emotions at the moment, but to recognize a quality which demands a certain response from us whether we make it or not.

     And subsequently:

     From propositions about fact alone no practical conclusion can ever be drawn. This will preserve society cannot lead to do this except by the mediation of society ought to be preserved. This will cost you your life cannot lead directly to do not do this: it can lead to it only through a felt desire or an acknowledged duty of self-preservation. The Innovator is trying to get a conclusion in the imperative mood out of premisses in the indicative mood: and though he continues trying to all eternity he cannot succeed, for the thing is impossible. We must therefore either extend the word Reason to include what our ancestors called Practical Reason and confess that judgements such as society ought to be preserved (though they can support themselves by no reason of the sort that Gaius and Titius demand) are not mere sentiments but are rationality itself; or else we must give up at once, and for ever, the attempt to find a core of 'rational' value behind all the sentiments we have debunked. [From The Abolition of Man]

     Either a particular code of ethics is built into the natural order, and thus is “enforced” (if it is) by natural processes, or it’s nothing but fantasies and word conjuring: “shoulds” for which the only substantiation is someone’s preferences. But while we cannot prove the correctness and completeness of an ethical code, we can observe societies founded on various codes and compare their characteristics. Granted that any evaluation of one society as “better” than others will be a personal matter, there’s a remarkable tendency for men’s preferences to flow toward societies based on the highest-tier codes: those of the Golden Rule.

     Draw your own conclusions.

     Needless to say, a “professional” philosopher would disdain the above as insufficiently detailed at best, naive at worst. (Union members can be like that.) However, as a starting point for the study of ethical concepts and the consideration of the consequences for those societies founded on them, I believe it to be adequate. The core of the thing is simple enough: ethics is about how individuals must, may, and must not treat one another. All else belongs in some other bucket.

     Within every culture known to Man we can find a set of ethical precepts. Correlating the dictates of those precepts with the society’s success or failure (by one’s own standards) is the logical next step. It is also the path toward understanding such trivia as contemporary migration patterns, but that’s a screed for another time.

Pearls of expression.

Only in America are legal citizens labeled "racists" and "Nazis," but illegal aliens are called "Dreamers."
Comment by Son of Loki on "1,600 Migrants Dumped In New Mexico; City Forced To Spend $75K For 'Humanitarian Assistance.'" ZeroHedge, 4/23/19.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Why Marriage?

John Hawkins has a Facebook post asking,

I answered:

For many responders, they identified their spouse as their best friend. But, I think marriage is more.

It's how you can take someone into your tribe, as kin - along with all of their family. You create a connection to people with strange traditions (Thanksgiving, Christmas, weddings), different genetics, and different culture. Over time, you come to blend many aspects of your life into a new tradition, that retains some part of the old ones. People who miss that part of life have missed an important of what makes civilizations.

Can you divorce your family? Yes, but it will remain an aching void in your heart.

"But That Was Yesterday!"

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi,
miserere eis.
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi,
dona eis requiem.)

Do you remember what you said and did a thousand years ago?
Where is yesterday?
Do you remember what you said and did a thousand weeks ago?
Where is yesterday?

Yesterday in crannies or in nooks you will not find…
Yesterday in chronicles or books you will not find…
All you see of yesterday is shadows in your mind…
Shadows on the pavement but no bodies do you find.

Do you believe that snows of winters long ago return again?
Where is yesterday?
A voice you knew a thousand years ago you can't remember when?
Where is yesterday?

Here is only waiting for a day that went before…
Here is only waiting for an answer at the door…
Here is only living without knowing why for sure…
Here is something gone you cannot find it anymore.

[“Where Is Yesterday?” Gordon Marron / Dorothy Moskowitz]

     I am old. As with many old persons, I am much given to thinking of earlier times in the history of our Republic. Some of those times were definitely flawed, at least by contemporary standards. Others were brutally bloody. And all are being effaced from the minds of our youngest compatriots.

     As I prepare to give away large portions of my beloved library, in preparation for other dislocations of my existence of which I shall not speak, those thoughts are with me more powerfully than ever. Books are our memories, in particular of people we never knew and events we did not personally witness. To part with a book has always cost me extraordinary pain…but still more, it costs me the memories associated with it. I’ve always awarded my highest disdain to persons who can casually discard a book.

     How much more disdain – nay, condemnation, verging on actual hatred — should be awarded to those who would erase history? Yours, mine, our nation’s, or that of any other segment of Mankind?

     It’s only a few days back that Library Journal actually declared that libraries are too full of books! Yea, verily…but how could any librarian say such a thing? Simple: by hewing to the dictates of the New Fascism, also known as political correctness. You see, the great majority of books written in English were written by male Caucasians of European descent: in other words, white men. That’s discriminatory! It offends the sensibilities of those who hate whites and men, and therefore all evidence of it must be destroyed.

     This is entirely consistent with the Left’s program to deny all knowledge of history, with all its features, to the awareness of the young.

     You’ve heard the old saying “If you don’t know where you’ve been, how will you know where you’re going,” haven’t you? The Left knows it quite well.

     On most mornings I ramble on enough for any three bloggers. Today I can’t manage it. In part that’s because of a gaggle of recent events, including the blaze at Notre Dame de Paris, yesterday’s atrocities in Sri Lanka, and this story from a year ago, which somehow escaped my notice until this morning. But in equal or greater measure it’s because of a growing conviction that what I say here is being rendered incomprehensible to those who will most regret not understanding it. Its obscurity derives almost entirely from the snuffing out of our national, cultural, religious, and racial memory.

     I need to pray. That’s all for this morning. Have a nice day.

Pearls of expression.

Washington is not attempting to remove the government in Damascus to alleviate the suffering of the Syrian people – it is causing immense suffering among the Syrian people to remove the government in Damascus.

While Washington has lost its war against Syria, it continues its war on peace. It will spoil attempts by Syria to move forward – and by doing so – and more than anything else – illustrating to the world that its own malign interests and agenda wrecked the region – not “ISIS” and not “Iranians” or “Russians.”[1]

The U.S. swinishly refuses to contribute anything to the reconstruction of Syria. Look at the devastation in any Syrian city and think to yourself, “Caused by the illegal and unconstitutional U.S. war on Syria.” The U.S. has an absolute lock on insufferable arrogance and chicken-shit meddling.

[1] "US Defeat in Syria Leaves Only a Campaign of Spite." By Tony Cartalucci, 21st Century Wire, 4/21/19.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

The Last Vigil

    The darkness was absolute. No fire burned within range of his sight. Neither moon nor stars bedecked the sky. Had he not taken his post in daylight, he would not have known where he stood. Only the rough stone wall of the crypt against his back served to remind him of it.
    The swaddling darkness had robbed him of his sense of the passing of time. The lack was halfway between a comfort and a curse. His thoughts had come unmoored, which partly assuaged the pain of his deed, but if he could not think plainly of it, how, then, could he repent of it?
    Several of his men, aware that he'd stood the vigil each of the two nights before, had offered to take the duty from him. He'd thanked them with his usual formality, and declined. This was where he belonged, the only imaginable place where he could finish grieving.
    He'd vowed to himself, silently, that he'd stand the night vigils until the tetrarch rescinded the order that the tomb be guarded...perhaps until God should grant him surcease from his regrets.
    When summoned to bring a condemned to the place of execution, he'd thought little of it. Executions in this rebellious province were common. Given the belligerence of the locals, they demanded a military guard. He and his had been detailed to this rude place as agents of law. The law required that its forms be protected in their observance, if it were ever to gain the allegiance of the barbarians among whom he dwelt.
    Only when he first looked upon the condemned did he realize to what he was to be party.
    Throughout the thing he'd been torn between the need to halt it and the imposed duty to see it carried out as prescribed. His reason knew that for him to interfere in the proceedings would only guarantee his own death for insubordinate treason. Yet the urge was powerful. It never slackened, even unto the moment of death.
    The coup de grace would linger in his memory until he was no more.
    At least the darkness concealed his tears from others' eyes.
    "Dawn is coming."
    The soft words jerked him out of his melancholy reverie. At once he brought his spear to readiness, for in that murk he could not be sure of friend or foe.
    "Be at peace, centurion," said the voice in the darkness. "You have done only what was required of you, though you knew it not. He blessed you even as you pierced his side."
    Confusion buzzed in his head. The voice betrayed nothing of the speaker's identity, and still less of his purpose. "Who speaks?"
    "A witness, and a messenger."
    "Do you seek to defy the law?"
    "No more than he did."
    Though the darkness remained as deep as before, he thought he saw the outline of a human figure, a short distance before him. The figure stood still, arms at its sides.
    "The tetrarch has interdicted this place to all but the men of the legion. Why come you here?"
    "As I have said: to witness. And to deliver a message."
    "What message?"
    "Bide." The figure raised a hand.
    A pinpoint of brilliance ignited between them. It grew steadily to become a sphere of soft light that warmed as it illuminated. By its radiance, the speaker was revealed as a young man of great beauty. His complexion was of smoothest ivory, his eyes and hair the darkest jet. The whiteness of his robe could outshine the noonday sun. He was too perfect to be a creature of mortal flesh.
    The spear fell from the centurion's nerveless hand. He dropped to his knees and made to prostrate himself, but the young man stepped forward, took him by the shoulders and restored him to his feet.
    "In a few moments," the young man said, "a mighty working will occur in this place. Though it must be witnessed in the courts that record all things, it was not meant for mortal eyes. So I have been sent. But my purpose is twofold, for you suffer a guilt that is not yours to bear. I come to relieve it."
    "How?" the centurion breathed.
    "Thus: you have only done what he wanted. And thus: He knew you for one of his own." The young man indicated the glowing sphere with a glance. "But you must not be here when he comes forth. It would unmake your mind and his purpose."
    "Is he not truly dead?"
    The young man chuckled. "Oh, truly. For three days he has toured the depths of Hell, reproving the Mekratrig and his minions for their insolence and reminding them of the mercy of the Almighty. But his time there is done. He has a little while yet to spend among men. But no one may see him rise. No mortal mind could withstand it."
    The centurion remained upright only by the sternest of efforts.
    "Has he forgiven me, then?"
    "There is naught to forgive. He was sent among men to teach, but also to suffer and die. It was you he wanted to attend him in the latter task. So be at peace, Longinus of Etruria, and bear no longer the burden of guilt for a duty ordained for you at birth, which you have well and honorably discharged." His eyes moved to the spear that lay between them. "Guard your weapon well, for it will become an item of legend."
    The young man raised his hand again. "Nunc dimittis."
    The centurion's heart filled with a serene, all-encompassing joy. He saluted the glowing herald, stooped to retrieve his spear, and strode resolutely westward, never looking back. As he walked, the first light from the east touched the hills of Judea. The rays of the rising sun glinted from his armor.
    Dawn was, indeed, coming.

[Copyright (C) Francis W. Porretto, 2010]

The Promise Is Kept

     And in the end of the sabbath, when it began to dawn towards the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalen and the other Mary, to see the sepulchre. And behold there was a great earthquake. For an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and coming, rolled back the stone, and sat upon it. And his countenance was as lightning, and his raiment as snow. And for fear of him, the guards were struck with terror, and became as dead men.
     And the angel answering, said to the women: Fear not you; for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he is risen, as he said. Come, and see the place where the Lord was laid. And going quickly, tell ye his disciples that he is risen: and behold he will go before you into Galilee; there you shall see him. Lo, I have foretold it to you.
     And they went out quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy, running to tell his disciples.
     And behold Jesus met them, saying: All hail. But they came up and took hold of his feet, and adored him. Then Jesus said to them: Fear not. Go, tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, there they shall see me.
     Who when they were departed, behold some of the guards came into the city, and told the chief priests all things that had been done. And they being assembled together with the ancients, taking counsel, gave a great sum of money to the soldiers, Saying: Say you, His disciples came by night, and stole him away when we were asleep. And if the governor shall hear this, we will persuade him, and secure you. So they taking the money, did as they were taught: and this word was spread abroad among the Jews even unto this day.
     And the eleven disciples went into Galilee, unto the mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And seeing them they adored: but some doubted. And Jesus coming, spoke to them, saying: All power is given to me in heaven and in earth. Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.

     [Matthew 28:1-20]

     And see Him they did: approximately five hundred living persons, many of whom testified thus to Paul of Tarsus and the writers of the Gospels.

     He kept the most dramatic of all His promises: that He would rise from His grave on the third day. Why should anyone doubt that He will keep the rest of them?

     Happy Easter, Gentle Readers!

The Proprieties

     With a well-chosen set of citations on the Mueller investigation and the assorted reactions to it, Mike Hendrix strikes the jugular. It’s essentially un-excerptable. Please read it all.

     Yet the NeverTrumpRump continues to bad-mouth the president. Why? Quoth David French:

     Glenn Reynolds takes a chainsaw to this. French, who seems to know very little about the history of the presidency (and thinks far too much of himself, besides), should take note. The best president of the 19th Century, Grover Cleveland, admitted to having fathered an illegitimate child. Several 20th Century presidents have been discovered to be adulterers, drug users, and guilty of other low-life conduct.

     Having said that, yes: Donald Trump has been divorced twice and married thrice. It is likely that he’s had affairs both during and outside his marriages. It’s possible that one of those affairs was with porn star Stephanie “Stormy Daniels” Clifford. Yet we elected him. He suits us. And the reasons are not far to seek.

     Oddly, the central reason nominally conservative NeverTrumpers, including failed presidential candidates Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney, detest Trump is the reason millions of Americans have come to love him: He fights. He doesn't regard himself as bound by specious rules about how "Republicans must observe the proprieties" or "Our public officials must maintain collegiality" when his enemies are trying to destroy him. "The proprieties" and "collegiality" aren't for all-out combat situations; they're for when you're standing alone on the field of battle and your enemies are bleeding out at your feet.

     In this connection, note the glaring lack of conservative accomplishments characteristic of the NeverTrumpers. Romney, of course, is responsible for inflicting a version of ObamaCare on Massachusetts when he was its governor. Jeb Bush’s tenure as Florida’s governor is unmarked by any achievement. As for the NeverTrumpers who merely bellow from the pages of supposedly conservative magazines and websites, nothing more need be said. Were President Trump to challenge any of these to a political measuring contest, they’d be humiliated – and Trump has only been in public office two and a quarter years.

     I was once dubious about Donald Trump as president. I felt he lacked the temperament required by the office. I have never been so happy to be proved wrong. He has the temperament the office has needed for a long, long time. It’s called fighting spirit. He fights!

     Trump in 2020!

Saturday, April 20, 2019

A Book Recommendation

I'm reading The Red Thread, by Diana West, with my Kindle Unlimited account. Signing up for KU might be a good idea - if you like books about politics/culture/education, they are often quite highly priced. KU can make them accessible. If you think them worth having after that, it will cost you the same price (or less, if you wait a few months), allowing you to have a test-drive on whether to purchase it for your library.


I'm stuck in a boot - broken leg - with instructions NOT to put any weight on it.

It's the most boring 4 days I've ever spent. You don't know how much you depend on being able to move around, until you can't.

I really shouldn't complain - after all, I will be able to use my leg and walk - eventually. I can briefly remove the boot to shower.

But, I'm bored and restless. My electronics keep running out of juice, and I have no outlet nearby.

It's not life and death. Just one of those things that irritate us. I'll get used to it in a few days.

Great Oaks From Little Acorns Grow

     I would venture to guess that none of Liberty’s Torch’s Gentle Readers were alive and reading the Austrian local papers in 1889. Not that it matters. There was no mention of the event that occurred in the village of Braunau-am-Inn 130 years ago on this day. The principals, whose names were Alois and Marie, had no idea what they had done. They predeceased their infant boy by quite a few years.

     The little tyke was sickly at first, and his parents feared for his survival. Later on in life it was determined that one of them – the records don’t indicate which one, but it’s usually the mother – passed congenital syphilis to the boy. When his health appeared to stabilize, they were overjoyed, and lavished a great deal of attention on him…possibly too much.

     The young man that child became dabbled in several trades. He painted; he worked in construction; he served as a soldier of the German army during the Great War. During the Twenties he became involved in fringe politics, including an unsuccessful attempt to overthrow the Bavarian government. The attempt landed him in prison, but it also resulted in his making several political contacts, including Erich Ludendorff and Paul von Hindenburg, who would be useful to him in later life.

     The accelerating disorder of the Weimar period proved fertile ground for Germany’s fringe parties, including a “workers’ movement” descended from that Bavarian coup attempt. Our protagonist rose steadily in prominence in that movement, slipstreaming into public consciousness behind figurehead Hindenburg. In 1932, when Hindenburg was elected German President, he appointed our protagonist to the post of chancellor of Germany, in which he functioned as its chief executive officer.

     Anyone who hasn’t yet recognized the person whose early life I’ve narrated above should go back to his Gilligan’s Island reruns.

     Adolf Hitler was not a political innovator. He seized on existing currents of thought and disaffection among the German people and applied two theses to win popular sentiment to his National Socialist German Workers’ Party: Benito Mussolini’s newly minted fascism, a variant on Marxist-Leninist theory that sought to evade socialism’s major failing by leaving nominal title to productive enterprises in private hands; and the suggestion that Germany had only lost the Great War because of treachery, with emphasis on “the Jews.” The festering wounds in Germany’s national psyche, augmented by some highly unwise behavior on the part of France, proved sufficient to place Hitler in unopposed control of the nation. And for a while Germany under the Nazis seemed to be once more in the ascendant.

     For a while.

     Fascism, a mere cosmetic gloss over Marxian socialism, had the same overall effect on Germany’s economy as Soviet socialism had: it caused productivity to dwindle as governmental dictates overrode market forces. The Betriebsfuhrers the Nazis installed to parallel the nominal owners of Germany's industries were the true masters of those firms. To defy them was to risk being sentenced to death for treason. A very few industrialists, intimates of Hitler and the regime, managed to become wealthy, largely by catering to the expansion of Germany’s military. The rest were slowly impoverished, brought to the margins of existence.

     Hitler was canny enough to exploit his government’s control of the currency, which had been toughened after the ruinous Weimar inflation, to commit a kind of international robbery of those nations that exported capital goods to Germany. He successfully challenged the pacific inclinations of the Western powers with the Anschluss of Austria, the seizure of Czechoslovakia, and the reabsorption of the Rhineland. But a government cannot sustain an economy that has been burdened beyond its limit, except by ever-expanding conquest. The expansions of the classical empires and their subsequent downfalls had taught that to the masters of the Old World. The pivot point, after which the rest of Europe could no longer soothe itself with pleasant fantasies about the limits to Hitler’s ambitions, arrived on September 1, 1939.

     I trust that my Gentle Readers know the rest of the story well enough, at least, that I need not recount all of it here.

     There is controversy among historians about how important any individual can be to a political development. Some believe that great men rise to master the social and political currents of their times. Others maintain that the currents are the masters, and merely unearth the “leaders” the currents demand. Ultimately it matters very little. Events are what they are. History being what it is, experimentation to determine the “true” causes of a development such as Nazi Germany and what it unleashed on the world is impossible.

     But parallels are important, and should be noted by those who care about their nations. We have this by way of The Feral Irishman:

     Peer about the American political landscape. Can you spy a rising Hitler? A personality of sufficient cleverness and charisma to galvanize and direct a mass movement as compelling, as voracious, and as brutal as the Nazis of Hitler’s time? I cannot…but then, I doubt I could have done so if I were a German of the Twenties.

     Be watchful, always.

Unspeakable tragedy.

Now we were past the most dangerous part of our journey, leaving the Comanche country and entering the domain of the Ute Indians and other tribes, who were not as brave as the Arapahoes and Comanches. Here our caravan-formation was broken up and each outfit traveled separately at its own risk.

The next day we witnessed a most horrible and distressing sight. Willingly would I surrender several years of my allotted lifetime on earth if I could thereby efface forever the awful impression of this pitiful tragedy from my memory. Alas I that I was fated to behold the shocking sight! For days thereafter we plodded on, a sad-looking, sober, downhearted lot of men, grieved to distraction, and there I left the innocence of boyhood—wiser surely, but not better! We neared the still smoking ruins of what had once been a happy home. As I approached to gratify my curiosity, I met several of my companions, who were returning and who implored me not to go nearer. An old Mexican, ignorant, rough, and callous as he was, begged me, with tears streaming down his face, to retrace my steps. Alas, when would impulsive youth ever listen to wise counsel and take heed! I entered the ruins and saw a dark telltale pool oozing forth from under the door of a cellar. Oh, had I but then overcome my morbid curiosity and fled! But no! I must needs open the door and look in. I saw—I saw a beautiful whiskey barrel, its belly bursted and its head stove in!

Tales of Aztlan, The Romance of a Hero of our Late Spanish-American War, Incidents of Interest from the Life of a western Pioneer and Other Tales." By George Hartmann, 1908.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Just In Case You’ve Forgotten

     On June 13, 2016, David Plouffe, a senior advisor to President Barack Hussein Obama, tweeted thus:

     Remember that. It encapsulates perfectly the attitude of the political Establishment toward our president. And they will not cease their efforts to unseat him and destroy the movement he created, Mueller Report or no Mueller Report.

At Times, We Wonder Whether Blogging Makes a Difference

Sure, there are those rare times when a post is re-shared multiple times, to the extent that it makes that blogger's/blog's reputation. Even in the early days, during Blogging's heyday, that was rare.


A scoop or a many-times-mentioned blog post seldom leaves a lasting impact.

We don't - generally - blog for money or fame. We blog because we enjoy the process of communication, the opportunity to communicate with like-minded people, and the possibility of affecting someone else's opinion/thinking about an issue we feel strongly for or against. For some of us, it's a way of letting off steam without risking losing our long-suffering family.

In the recent run of politics, did blogging make a difference? Probably. It certainly did provide an alternative to the Rabid Mainstream Media (RMM), who actively hunted anything even faintly resembling evidence against anyone even remotely associated with Trump. Without a steady analysis of the specious nature of the "evidence", Trump might well be on the way out.

He is, BTW, not out of the woods yet - we now have the Left spinning the Mueller Report as a "Blueprint for Impeachment". And, given the ferocity with which the Left yearns to exact payback for the Clinton Impeachment - yes, Bill Clinton WAS impeached, but not convicted - this is not over.

However, the very crazed nature of the Left is beginning to make it obvious to Schlitchter's Normals that voting for the Non-Left is a safer choice. Fewer Goodies, but More Sanity.

The Mueller Report: Some Speculations

1. Objective Matters.

     The factual contents of the report should not surprise anyone in the Right. There was never any basis for a claim that the Trump campaign had colluded with the Russian government, or with any “private-sector” Russian organization (insofar as such a designation has objective meaning). The Democrats seized on a jape by candidate Trump to the effect that if one of the Russian intelligence agencies had Hillary Clinton’s mysteriously disappeared 30,000 emails, it would be considerate to let the world see them. They elevated that jest to an accusation of collusion to undermine the November 2016 election which, as the Mueller report admits, is without substance. Thus, the report vindicates the president completely on that charge.

     As a legal matter, one cannot “obstruct justice” without doing something material to impede the investigation of a crime. In the absence of a crime and an investigation into who did it, when, and under what circumstances, an allegation that President Trump “obstructed justice” is baseless. As if more were necessary, note in this connection that no statue defines a crime of colluding with a foreign power to influence an election. For President Trump to express his displeasure at the accusations and the agonizing length of the Mueller probe was entirely innocent, just as it would have been if he were a private citizen rather than a public official. Despite the report’s dog-in-the-manger statement about “not exonerating” Trump, if no underlying crime was found, then a charge of obstruction was impossible to sustain, ludicrous on its face. It’s the prosecutor’s burden to establish that a criminal act took place; it is not required that the target of unsubstantiated accusations prove his innocence of a crime no one can objectively demonstrate.

     That takes care of both the facts of the matter and the Mueller report’s discussion of them.

2. Why The Length Of The “Investigation?”

     Twenty-two months is a long time for a prosecutor to pursue anything. Robert Mueller and his hirelings had no other duties but to look into the question of Russian interference in our elections. Did it really take that long to ascertain that while Russian agents tried to influence the election, no American collaborated with their efforts?

     It might have. Presidential campaigns are roughly two years long. They involve thousands of people and transactions. A number of incidents of dirty dealings – all from the Left – came to light while the campaign was in progress. While those incidents were not part of the Mueller report, consciousness of them might have animated the determination to keep looking, from the conviction that it’s rare for one side of a contest to be underhanded while the other is simon pure.

     However, an alternative explanation deserves to be addressed. Prosecutors who don’t prosecute are swiftly cast into disrepute. Robert Mueller saw himself as a prosecutor. Perhaps he was certain he’d find a crime beneath all the rhetoric if he only looked long enough and hard enough. He might also have been fueled by his Establishmentarian disdain for “upstart” Trump. Of these matters no one can be certain unless Mueller himself should one day admit to them.

3. Why The Length Of The Report?

     An investigator’s report 448 pages long is a long document indeed. The natural expectation from such length is that the investigator has a lot to report. However, in a heavily politicized case such as this one there’s a better explanation: the need to persuade the report’s audience that the investigation was thorough.

     Mueller’s team conducted interviews of and background investigations of dozens of people. There was assuredly enough material to write a 400-plus page report. Indeed, Mueller probably could have doubled its size had he chosen. But the facts of the matter are unaffected by the report’s bulk.

4. The Dog-In-The-Manger Comment.

     Robert Mueller, a long-time federal bureaucrat who was once the director of the FBI, probably shares the Establishment’s disdain for Donald Trump, the very first man to rise to the presidency with neither prior experience in office nor a distinguished military background. Atop that, Mueller was under pressure from the Left throughout the investigation. While his personal allegiances are unknown, he might have felt compelled to throw the anti-Trump forces a bone to improve his life expectancy, or the security of his loved ones.

     Andrew McCarthy has called Mueller’s “neither does it exonerate [Trump]” statement a breach of prosecutorial ethics, and he is certainly correct. Prosecutors either deem a deed criminal and he who stands accused of it prosecutable, or they refrain. To suggest that the president of the United States might be a criminal, albeit without substantiation or a filing for prosecution, is to suggest that Trump should be required to prove his innocence. This, when not only is the burden of proof on the prosecutor to prove the guilt of the accused, but the police and prosecutor’s office are required first to establish objectively that a criminal deed occurred, is more than merely a breach of ethics. Now that the report has been made public, it verges upon actionable libel.

     Nevertheless, Robert Mueller will certainly suffer no consequences for this breach.

5. What Now?

     The Democrats’ leaders and subsidiary voices will cherry-pick from the report in a despairing attempt to invert its plainly stated conclusions. They know that the report’s plain and unembellished findings spell disaster for their prospects of unseating President Trump nineteen months hence. So they must embellish; they must obfuscate; they must invent – and all of it without allowing public discourse to settle on the report’s conclusions.

     It won’t be pleasant. Neither will it cease at any foreseeable time. Fortunately, the Democrats will be waving, gesticulating, arguing irrelevancies, and slinging insults: throwing shadows rather than dealing with established facts. At this point we in the Right have all the real ammunition.

     Trump in 2020.