Saturday, April 25, 2015


     Unless you are a true master of the culinary arts, do not attempt to make a grilled cheese sandwich on matzoh bread. I can tell you from experience that this is definitely a job for an expert!

     (No, you don’t have to be Jewish. But it might help.)

Assorted, Howard Beale Edition

     ...because you’ve got to get mad.

     First, one in the eye for the feminist viragoes: Did you know that while Emma Sulkowicz was parading around Columbia University carrying a mattress and accusing Paul Nungesser of having raped her, Nungesser was forbidden to say anything about the incident?

     Paul Nungesser was found “not responsible” for sexually assaulting another student at Columbia University. The student who accused him, Emma Sulkowicz, has since begun carrying a mattress around the university as part of an art project to protest a finding she claims was unfair.

     Sulkowicz’s activism earned her an invitation to President Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday night from Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y. When Nungesser heard of the invitation, he blasted the senator for rewarding Sulkowicz’s attacks against him.

     “I am shocked to learn that Sen. Gillibrand is actively supporting Ms. Sulkowicz’s defamation campaign against me by providing her with a public forum in which to broadcast her grave allegation,” Nungesser told New York Magazine on Tuesday. “By doing so, Sen. Gillibrand is participating in a harassment campaign against someone, who, for good reason, has been found innocent by all investigating bodies.”

     Hearken to Ace of Spades:

     Sulkowicz was permitted by Columbia to carry around a mattress to further defame Nungesser, and even make her carrying around of that mattress her senior art project -- for college credit.

     Note that Nungesser has been cleared multiple times of the claims Emma Sulkowicz has made against him -- and the charges that Sulkowicz induced two other women to file against him, in a sort of warped solidarity.

     And Sulkowicz also tried to bring charges with the NYPD -- who also refused to prosecute.

     But throughout this, Sulkowicz has spoken to the media -- violating Columbia's confidentiality rules -- and made it easy to determine who she was accusing.

     However, Nungesser himself has not spoken to the media much, until recently.

     He was bound by confidentiality, whereas Sulkowicz paraded around that mattress, claiming he'd raped her.

     Truly, sometimes there are no words of sufficient power. Remember this story the next time some “angry ugly girl” preaches at you about the “rape culture.”

     Now for the homosexuals: Apparently “Gay Pride” is quite all right, but ”Straight Pride” is a step too far:

     Posters promoting a "straight pride" week at a northeast Ohio university were removed this week after student leaders determined that the message went beyond free speech.

     Youngstown State University student government leaders told WKBN-TV they decided to remove the posters after consulting with university officials.

     The posters were hung around campus earlier this week. They included profanity and promoted the event as a time to not highlight sexual orientation or differences among students. They encouraged students to "go about your day without telling everyone about how 'different' you are."

     Campus leaders said that while they believe the posters were meant as satire, the message was inappropriate.

     The posters contained a simple message:

     Join us in celebrating straight pride week at YSU by not annoying the shit out of everyone about your sexual orientation!

     It’s easy to join too! Just come to YSU, then go about your day without telling everyone about how “different” you are.

     “Anti-joiner” Fran could get behind that! But apparently the YSU student government considers the advocacy of decorous silence “discriminatory.”

     Ah, the Muslims, those lovable, open-minded guys:

     The University of Maryland joins the University of Michigan in the ranks of educational institutions with an “American Sniper” controversy.

     Muslim student protests prompted the University of Maryland at College Park to announce the cancellation of the movie about deceased Navy SEAL Chris Kyle.

     “American Sniper only perpetuates the spread of Islamophobia and is offensive to many Muslims around the world for good reason. This movie dehumanizes Muslim individuals, promotes the idea of senseless mass murder, and portrays negative and inaccurate stereotypes,” the university’s Muslim Students Association said in its petition, Fox News reported Thursday.

     The Oscar-winning movie was supposed to be shown on May 6 and 7, but the university’s Student Entertainment Events (SEE) postponed the event on Wednesday.

     “SEE is choosing to explore the proactive measures of working with others during the coming months to possibly create an event where students can engage in constructive and moderated dialogues about the controversial topics proposed in the film,” SEE said in a statement posted on the university’s website, Fox reported.

     Gee, do you suppose these Muslim students might have relatives who rejoiced at the fall of the World Trade Center?

    “Please!” the driver said as he was lifted into the air. “You cannot do this to me!”
    “Did I listen to any of the rest of them?” Mike asked as the driver was lowered over the side. “Do you listen to the pleas of your victims? To the men whose throats you cut? To the little girls that get raped for the sins of their brothers? Do you care for those you’re starving to death in the Sudan? Did you listen to the pleas of the pilots you dragged through the streets of Mogadishu? Did you jump for joy when the Towers fell? Did you, YOU CAMEL-SUCKING FUCK?”

     Oh yes, John Ringo!

     While we’re “in college,” let’s have a look at a “high-tech” way of propagandizing students about “rape culture:”

     All CSUN [California State University at Northridge] students registering for the 2015 Fall Semester are being forced to participate in an online, SIMS-style character game about sexual assault before being allowed to claim a seat for any course.

     The game, titled “Agent of Change” and designed by feminist activists, does not allow students to complete the game until they have given enough “correct” answers as per the designers’ stated philosophical influences, such as “norms challenging,” “feminist theory,” and “social norms theory.” According to the Agent of Change website, the program helps users “see the connections between these power-based violations, how these problems affect their lives, and what they can do to challenge the cultural norms that help sexual violence flourish.”

....Interestingly, Agent of Change also claims that “a team from the Department of Defense reviewing sexual assault prevention programs has evaluated Agent of Change and classified it as highly recommended.” Indeed, several Air Force bases have been utilizing Agent of Change.

     But don’t expect these “agents of change” to listen to a contrasting viewpoint:

     Left-leaning student activists at Oberlin College hung posters at the Christina Hoff Sommers event earlier this week that identified the students involved in bringing the individualist-feminist and AEI scholar to campus.

     Each poster gave the name of a specific student-member of the Oberlin College Republicans and Libertarians and accused that person of perpetuating rape culture.

     Images of the posters were sent to Reason via a source who asked not to be named for fear of retaliation. The last names of the students identified by the posters were blurred before Reason received them.

     Still want your kids to go to college...or enlist in the military?

     Of course, to those on the Left, Christians are Public Enemy Number One:

     If you are a Bible-believing Christian, there is no place for you in Barack Obama’s version of the U.S. military. Christian service members all over the nation are being disciplined for reading their Bibles, talking about their faith publicly and encouraging others to live a moral lifestyle. And just saying the name of “Jesus” at the wrong place or the wrong time while serving in the military is enough to spark a national controversy. We live at a time when political correctness in America is wildly out of control, and thanks to Obama the U.S. military has become one of the most politically correct institutions in our society. Things have gotten so bad that dozens of top officers that did not agree with Obama’s views have been forced out of the military in recent years. The U.S. military is being transformed into an overtly anti-Christian institution, and for those of us that are Christians that is a very chilling development.

     Tens of thousands of men took up arms and went to Europe and the Pacific to defend oppressed and besieged others because they felt it to be their Christian duty. Given the above, what are the odds that that would happen today?

     They don’t call Philly the City of Brotherly Love for nothing:

     A security video showing a mob of students brutally beating two high schoolers in a Philadelphia subway station on Tuesday is being investigated by the city’s transportation officers.

     “It’s an outrageous event. This is so dangerous, it’s not even funny,” Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority Police Chief Thomas J. Nestel III told

     “We have operating trains down there. There are passengers waiting for the train ... it’s horrendous.”

     The video, which was time-stamped around 3:15 p.m., shows about a dozen teenagers either participating in a one-minute assault on two male students, or cheering it on.

     One of the assailants falls onto the subway tracks, pulls himself out and reenters the thrashing. A girl in the crowd tries to film the fight on her phone.

     Several of the teen brutes repeatedly stomp a victim’s head as he’s lying on the ground.

     Go to the article. Watch the embedded video. Look at all those “brothers!” Ain’t love grand?

     To be a conservative politician is practically indictable. But apparently, in the eyes of at least one Wisconsin fire chief, to be a successful conservative governor is to forfeit your rights:

     Since he was elected to the governor, Governor Walker’s Facebook page has been ripe with threats of violence against the governor and his family, but rarely has it been from a fellow public official.

     Amherst Fire Chief Victor Voss became one of those rare exceptions when he posted on a thread that had a photo of Walker at a ground breaking ceremony for new business opening in Grand Chute.

     Instead of being happy for the residents of Grand Chute who need the jobs, Chief Voss decided to make an ass of himself.

     Do you think Chief Voss will endure any discipline for promoting violence against...a Republican?

     That’s it for today, Gentle Reader. I’m all madded out. I can’t do this sort of work for too long without exhausting myself. But I hope I’ve gotten you to rear up and bellow about something. It’s good for catharsis, if nothing else.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Nowhere To Hide

     I normally tune out reports of political scandals with a shrug and a muttered “That’s just what they do,” but I must admit I’m taking considerable pleasure out of the steadily intensifying hurricane at whose center stands She Who Must Be President, Mrs. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

     [Bonus points to whoever spots and reports the social faux pas in the previous paragraph.]

     According to a very recent survey, Mrs. Clinton is not generally deemed honest:

     Currently, 45 percent of voters think Clinton is honest. That’s mostly unchanged from last month, but down 9 points from 54 percent a year ago (April 2014). She lost ground among men (-10 points), women (-9 points) and Democrats (-7 points). Moreover, only 33 percent of independents see Clinton as honest. That’s down 13 points since last year.

     Overall, Clinton’s honesty score is negative six (45 percent “yes, she is” minus 51 percent “no, she isn’t”)

     But the perception of honesty is a complex thing. It partakes of several factors, of which one’s known deceits are only one. Perhaps more important than one’s record of deceit is one’s demonstrated attitude of superiority and entitlement:

     “I’m not going to have some reporters pawing through our papers. We are the president.” -- First Lady Hillary Clinton commenting on the release of subpoenaed documents in 1998

     “I have said that I’m not running and I’m having a great time being pres — being a first-term senator.” -- Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY), commenting on her presidential ambitions when speaking at the National Press Club, July 20, 2001

     “I remember landing under sniper fire. There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base." -- on visiting Bosnia in 1996, contradicting other accounts that said there was no threat of gunfire. Clinton later said she "misspoke:"

     “On a couple of occasions in the last weeks, I just said some things that weren‘t in keeping with what I knew to be the case and what I had written about in my book. And you know, I‘m embarrassed by it. I‘m very sorry I said it. I have said that, you know, it just didn‘t jive with what I had written about and knew to be the truth.” -- after Bill Clinton claimed Hillary apologized for lying about her trip to Bosnia

     “We just can’t trust the American people to make those types of choices … Government has to make those choices for people.” “Government” meaning “Hillary R. Clinton.”

     "We are going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good." – From a speech opposing George W. Bush’s tax cuts, 2004. Note the use of the royal “we.”

     "If I didn't kick his ass every day, he wouldn't be worth anything." -- on Bill Clinton

     But Mrs. Clinton has always known which side of her bread is buttered, and whenever he’s come under an unfavorable lens, she’s protected him with unrelenting ferocity:

     "Who is going to find out? These women are trash. Nobody's going to believe them." --on Bill Clinton's bimbo eruptions

     “From my perspective, this is part of the continuing political campaign against my husband… I mean, look at the very people who are involved in this. They have popped up in other settings. The great story here for anybody willing to find it, write about it and explain it is this vast right-wing conspiracy that has been conspiring against my husband since the day he announced for president.” -- Reacting to truthful reports that her husband, Bill Clinton, had had an affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky; Interview with Matt Lauer on NBC's Today show (27 January 1998)

     "My husband may have his faults, but he has never lied to me." – to political confidant Bob Barnett, shortly before Bill’s admission of his infidelities with Monica Lewinsky, 1998

     Would any of this be deemed acceptable from a Republican candidate for president – say, from Carly Fiorina?

     But we’ve hardly scratched the surface.

     The recent book Clinton Cash has catapulted the Clinton machine into defensive mode. Their spokespeople are laagering up around the candidate with the usual dismissals and deflections:

  • “That’s old news.”
  • “This is normal for an election cycle.”
  • “It’s just the Republican attack machine.”

     ...and so forth. However, those tactics only work if the Main Stream Media are willing to collaborate...and this time around, that’s dubious:

     The headline on the website Pravda trumpeted President Vladimir V. Putin’s latest coup, its nationalistic fervor recalling an era when its precursor served as the official mouthpiece of the Kremlin: “Russian Nuclear Energy Conquers the World.”

     The article, in January 2013, detailed how the Russian atomic energy agency, Rosatom, had taken over a Canadian company with uranium-mining stakes stretching from Central Asia to the American West. The deal made Rosatom one of the world’s largest uranium producers and brought Mr. Putin closer to his goal of controlling much of the global uranium supply chain.

     But the untold story behind that story is one that involves not just the Russian president, but also a former American president and a woman who would like to be the next one.

     At the heart of the tale are several men, leaders of the Canadian mining industry, who have been major donors to the charitable endeavors of former President Bill Clinton and his family. Members of that group built, financed and eventually sold off to the Russians a company that would become known as Uranium One....

     As the Russians gradually assumed control of Uranium One in three separate transactions from 2009 to 2013, Canadian records show, a flow of cash made its way to the Clinton Foundation. Uranium One’s chairman used his family foundation to make four donations totaling $2.35 million. Those contributions were not publicly disclosed by the Clintons, despite an agreement Mrs. Clinton had struck with the Obama White House to publicly identify all donors. Other people with ties to the company made donations as well.

     And shortly after the Russians announced their intention to acquire a majority stake in Uranium One, Mr. Clinton received $500,000 for a Moscow speech from a Russian investment bank with links to the Kremlin that was promoting Uranium One stock....

     Whether the donations played any role in the approval of the uranium deal is unknown. But the episode underscores the special ethical challenges presented by the Clinton Foundation, headed by a former president who relied heavily on foreign cash to accumulate $250 million in assets even as his wife helped steer American foreign policy as secretary of state, presiding over decisions with the potential to benefit the foundation’s donors.

     In a statement, Brian Fallon, a spokesman for Mrs. Clinton’s presidential campaign, said no one “has ever produced a shred of evidence supporting the theory that Hillary Clinton ever took action as secretary of state to support the interests of donors to the Clinton Foundation.” He emphasized that multiple United States agencies, as well as the Canadian government, had signed off on the deal and that, in general, such matters were handled at a level below the secretary. “To suggest the State Department, under then-Secretary Clinton, exerted undue influence in the U.S. government’s review of the sale of Uranium One is utterly baseless,” he added.

     That report was written by Times reporter Jo Becker. Here are Clinton Cash author Schweitzer and reporter Becker in person:

     When the Gray Lady refuses its protection to a Democrat – especially a Democrat deemed the front-runner for her party’s presidential nomination – that Democrat has nowhere to hide.

     In part, the intensity of this scandal can be attributed to the fault lines within the Democratic Party. The Obamas and the Clintons are separated by a considerable gulf. Yes, both are filled with the sense of superiority and entitlement. However, as rivals for the control of the party, they have been at odds since Obama first appeared on the national stage. More, the Obamas are far more committed to the social-fascist ideology than are the Clintons, who will say and do anything that maintains and increases their power and pelf. Note how scrupulously the Obama apparatus has maintained its distance from the mounting storm of criticism.

     Many in the Right have commented that the Uranium One scandal could sink the Clinton candidacy. Perhaps it could...but we have more than a year of campaigning for the nomination to endure, and 18 months before the final ballots are cast. The “old news / Republican attack machine” ploy might yet work for the Clintons.

     Our obligation is to keep all the reports of Clintonian untruths and misdeeds alive and growing – not because whoever the Republicans nominate is guaranteed to do much to restore Constitutional governance, but because when a political kingpin is brought down in a maximally tawdry display, he invariably pulls a great part of the political elite with him. Remember Warren Harding and Albert Fall.

     In politics, the fall, just like the rot, starts at the top.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Quickies: The Feminization Of The Military

     I hope you can endure one more left-liberal atrocity, Gentle Reader, because if I don’t post something about this, my head might just explode.

     Yes, the reduction of America’s armed forces to just one more federal social program has been going on for some time. Barracks and warships now have partitions to separate male from female living quarters. Women are claiming a right to go into combat positions. Fitness standards have been reduced so women can claim to be Marines and apply to become SEALs. But this takes it to a new low:

Army ROTC cadets are complaining on message boards that they were pressured to walk in high heels on Monday for an Arizona State University campus event designed to raise awareness of sexual violence against women.

The Army openly encouraged participating in April’s “Walk A Mile in Her Shoes” events in 2014, but now it appears as though ROTC candidates at ASU were faced with a volunteer event that became mandatory.

“Attendance is mandatory and if we miss it we get a negative counseling and a ‘does not support the battalion sharp/EO mission’ on our CDT OER for getting the branch we want. So I just spent $16 on a pair of high heels that I have to spray paint red later on only to throw them in the trash after about 300 of us embarrass the U.S. Army tomorrow,” one anonymous cadet wrote on the social media sharing website Imgr, IJReview reported Monday.

     What’s next? Mandatory wearing of bras and pantyhose? Mandatory use of cosmetics? Mandatory training in how to flirt? Or perhaps a course in how to talk to the enemy nicely and persuade him to defect, rather than blowing his head off?

     We have a military to defend the country and to protect our extraterritorial citizens and possessions. That means identifying, closing with, and destroying the enemy. There is no place in such an institution for this sort of pointless yet demeaning foolery.

     Sometimes no words will suffice. Just a scream of rage that cannot be suppressed. Gentle Reader, I hope you’re feeling that scream mount inside you as you read this. If you’re not, kindly keep it to yourself.

Quickies: Groupthink Engineering

     Given the pieces below, you might be wondering how on Earth the famously individualistic, free-thinking and free-speaking American citizen was brought to this terrible pass. Justin Katz of Ocean State Current is here to tell us:

When the people in power — backed by the President of the United States — decide the rules don’t apply to them, it must be quite a game for them to watch the reasonable, civilized people attempt to battle them using the rules. Here’s Quin Hillyer checking in on the case of the IRS promising a leftist group that it would spy on churches:
So the IRS, acting with the whole power of government behind it, seems to be saying it can monitor and presumably punish churches for the content of their sermons, but the churches can’t know exactly if, how, and why they are being monitored….

The ADF, on behalf of threatened churches, merely demanded through FOIA that the IRS share that same “evidence” with it, including details about the new “procedures.” Pretty basic stuff. …

And the IRS now has violated even the latest deadline it set for itself, after its first illegal extension, without even bothering to give further notice that it is doing so.

....The activist types (mostly impressionable kids and 1960s throwbacks) have been co-opted to one side by facile news and entertainment media narratives, and most people just want to live their lives. At this point, when visible activism might have an effect, the threat doesn’t seem real enough for the masses to risk jail time and family disruption. (After all, the nature of the affronts that they would protest give them reason to fear that they’ll have the book thrown at them, rather than benefit from leniency based on their law-abiding records.)

Meanwhile, reasonable Democrats and other progressives could have a similar effect simply by speaking up against their allies (particularly if the admonitions came from the news media), but they’re constrained by social pressure not to be associated with conservatives (which could mean exclusion from the in group, as attacks on Fox News have shown for years) or even taking seriously conservatives’ concerns, which are cast as kooky conspiracy theories.

They are until they aren’t, and then it’s too late.

     The Main Stream Media have misdirected, misinformed, and anesthetized the greater part of our nation. With most outrages of this sort, the media either minimize them – say, by reporting them in a bottom-of-the-page box on page A36 – or ignore them completely. When word begins to get around, most persons will say to themselves, “Well, it can’t be all that important or commonplace, or I’d have read about it already.”

     The only counterweights to this are the Internet, talk radio, and Fox News...and Fox has begun to drift leftward, for which I have no explanation.

Remain skeptical.
Accept no one’s claim of authority.
Insist on seeing primary sources.
Check and cross-check.
And keep your powder dry.

“Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it – no matter if I have said it! – except it agree with your own reason and your own common sense.” -- Buddha

Quickies: A Not-Unintended Consequence

     Charles Hill brings some, ah, meat for the grill:

This turned up over at Interested-Participant, along with the note that “it seems to tell a story:”
... And it turns out that the actual purchaser, in fact, was not living large — not very large, anyway — at our expense; he was buying this stuff with EBT and then turning it over for cash, to the tune of 50 cents on the dollar. This isn’t what you’d call the highest use of taxpayer dollars, but anyone who is shocked — shocked! — to see this sort of thing going on probably isn’t paying attention: the system that can’t be gamed very likely can’t even be built, and I figure there’s nothing to be gained by paying some Federal agent to peer into people’s grocery carts.

     Is there anyone among our Gentle Readers who honestly thinks the sort of thing Charles describes above is an unintended consequence?

     The people who designed the existing welfare bonanza are not stupid. They were able to foresee such machinations. to them, it probably constitutes a stroke in the cause of “social justice:” just one more way of transferring income from those eeeeevil working types to the oh-so-virtuous “poor.”

     But don’t you dare speak or write in favor of eliminating government welfare or scaling it back. For that sin, the Left will call you “everything but white.” Remember: You’re not allowed to have your own opinions. Resolving to keep them to yourself is no guarantee they won’t somehow be winkled out of you.

Quickies: The Attack Interview

     Tom Clancy put an excellent depiction of this sort of “interview” in his novel Executive Orders. Broadly, the “interviewer” either conceals or lies about his agenda until the cameras are rolling, at which point he brings out the questions he knows the interviewee does not want to answer...possibly because he said so before the “interview” began. The highly accomplished Robert Downey, Jr. recently experienced such an interview:

     Downey has no desire to talk about his politics. It’s easy to understand: In Hollywood, revealing oneself as anything but a left-liberal entails severe consequences, and Downey had given an earlier interview in which he’d allowed that a left-liberal, he’s not:

“I have a really interesting political point of view, and it’s not always something I say too loud at dinner tables here, but you can’t go from a $2,000-a-night suite at La Mirage to a penitentiary and really understand it and come out a liberal. You can’t. I wouldn’t wish that experience on anyone else, but it was very, very, very educational for me and has informed my proclivities and politics every since.”

     As we saw in this other piece, the prominent who disavow left-liberalism are not allowed any peace. Downey grasps this and wants to avoid discussing his politics or his earlier experiences with drugs. It’s a mark of prudence, even wisdom...but the “interviewer” he faced would not be deterred.

     Downey terminated the interview. What else could he have done? Of course, that alone will raise the ire of the left-liberal thought police. I hope Downey is prepared for what will follow.

Quickies: “Whose Side Are You On, Girls?”

     If there’s a single certainty about American feminist activism, it’s that the activist will not allow a prominent woman to disavow feminism. Here’s the most recent example:

     Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting, best known for her role as Penny on CBS’s hit show The Big Bang Theory, recently fell prey to the same trap set for many Hollywood starlets before her, such as Kirsten Dunst, Shailene Woodley, Katy Perry, and Kelly Clarkson. Along with these women, Cuoco-Sweeting’s name has now been added to the blacklist of “Women Who Don’t Identify as Feminists,” and yes, there are actual lists.

     In a December interview with Redbook magazine, the fateful question, “Are you a feminist?” was asked of the 29-year-old actress. I was pretty impressed with her response:

Is it ok if I say no? . . . It’s not really something I think about. Things are different now, and I know a lot of the work that paved the way for women happened before I was around. . . . I was never that feminist girl defending equality, but maybe that’s because I’ve never really faced inequality. . . . I cook for Ryan [her husband] almost five nights a week: it makes me feel like a housewife. I love that.

     The first thing that self-proclaimed “feminists” manage to spit out as they gasp for breath and clutch their pearls at any semi-successful woman claiming to not be a feminist (or claiming to just not care that much about the term) is, “If it weren’t for all the feminists before you, you wouldn’t be in this position to make such a statement.” Correct. And Cuoco-Sweeting acknowledged that.

     However, despite her perfectly logical comment, “feminists” took aim at the actress, calling her “talentless” and an “idiot.” Her “housewife” comment especially ticked off some Twitter-ers....So, of course, she apologized in an Instagram post, in which she reiterated that she is aware of “the strong women that have paved the way for my success.” But when you piss off the feminists, they’re out for blood.

     Please read it all, if you can stomach it.

     I will say this in large font, so there can be no mistaking it:

Feminism is not about equality.
It’s about power for women over men --
specifically, power without responsibility.

     In other words:

Feminism is a totalitarian creed preached by weaklings for weaklings.

     If you cannot allow others their own opinions without going into a spittle-flecked rage, you are inferior. You are weak. You are a whiner who deserves the social status of a misbehaving two-year-old: i.e., to be sent to your room without dinner.

     I shall entertain no arguments to the above. Those who disagree: Feel free to sit on a railroad spike.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Creeping Totalitarianism Part 2: Present And Future

“Romney didn’t win, did he?” – The Dishonorable Harry Reid

     Yesterday’s emission was one of many that started from the David French article about Wisconsin’s persecution of conservative activists. The DextroSphere is generally up in arms over it; grass-roots conservative activists were the targets, so grass-roots conservatives everywhere sense the dimensions of the threat.

     The big guns are lining up as well. Hearken to Rush Limbaugh on the subject:

     I mean, it's incredible. They could literally set out to destroy you, and the only thing standing in the way of it is the honor system. If you have a corrupt prosecutor (which this story has), and if you have a corrupt judge, (which this story has), and if you have a police department that is also corrupt (this happened in Milwaukee, mostly), then you can pull this off.

     There's even a quote from a couple police officers who were forced to participate these midnight raids on innocent people who had not done a thing other than support Scott Walker. That's all they had done, and cop car after cop car, cop after cop, SWAT teams, you name it, show up with battering rams to break into these people's homes! They're kicked out of their homes at midnight, at one o'clock in the morning. They're not allowed to take anything; they're not told why.

     They're not allowed to explain to anybody that this has happened besides the neighborhood which can see it. Years after the fact, mothers are reporting their young kids that were at home when this happened are still traumatized. People are reporting today that they get scared and traumatized and panicked when they see a uniformed police officer just walking a beat. They hightail it away.

     It is the fear that I think a lot of innocent people experience when law enforcement is pursuing them. I know. I've been there. I know a number of things. Law enforcement's never doubted, other than the civil rights community. The media doesn't doubt them. Law enforcement can leak anything they want about anybody, and the media writes it, and it becomes fact. Even average, ordinary Americans say, "Why would the cops lie? Why?" I mean, they take it on faith.

     However, there has still been no notice taken of this atrocity by the Main Stream Media. Worse, the Democrats have rallied to defend such practices:

     One of Texas’s acute corruption problems is the fact that the Travis County district attorney’s office, which prosecutes corruption cases, is absurdly, comically corrupt—by which I do not mean the “Hey can you get my dopey kid into UT law?” level of corruption that is commonplace in Texas, but Boss Hogg levels of corruption. You wouldn’t know it from the typically witless and servile reporting of the Austin American-Statesman, but the drunk-driving conviction of Travis County district attorney Rosemary Lehmberg is the least of that office’s problems—much more significant is the fact that is she recorded on camera threatening legal retaliation against the police who booked her. She is as explicit as can be about this: “You’re going to be in jail,” she said.

     The same prosecutor is trying to put former governor Rick Perry in jail for having vetoed funding for her office. Why did he veto the funding? Because the corruption prosecutor is grossly corrupt and a convicted criminal to boot. She went to jail, for pity’s sake.

     The Texas state house understandably has passed a bill that will curtail the Travis County district attorney’s special role in prosecuting ethics and corruption cases against elected and appointed officials. Instead, those cases will be investigated by the Texas Rangers. (Old punishment: jail. New punishment: Ranger roundhouse kick! Okay, not really, but that would be kind of awesome.) Naturally, Texas Democrats have sought to block that reform. And a handful of Republicans have, to their discredit, joined them, which is inexplicable.

     Please read the entire article; it’s brief (which Kevin Williamson seldom is) and piercing (which he always is). But don’t stop with being outraged. Do something Democrats and other leftists seldom do: think about second-order effects.

     You cannot have social stability where there is privilege for the rulers and subordination for the ruled. That’s a Society of Status (Isabel Paterson, The God of The Machine), in which the “Emmanuel Goldstein dynamic” will operate until it collapses:

Throughout recorded time, and probably since the end of the Neolithic Age, there have been three kinds of people in the world, the High, the Middle, and the Low. They have been subdivided in many ways, they have borne countless different names, and their relative numbers, as well as their attitude towards one another, have varied from age to age: but the essential structure of society has never altered. Even after enormous upheavals and seemingly irrevocable changes, the same pattern has always reasserted itself, just as a gyroscope will always return to equilibrium, however far it is pushed one way or the other.

The aims of these three groups are entirely irreconcilable. The aim of the High is to remain where they are. The aim of the Middle is to change places with the High. The aim of the Low, when they have an aim -- for it is an abiding characteristic of the Low that they are too much crushed by drudgery to be more than intermittently conscious of anything outside their daily lives -- is to abolish all distinctions and create a society in which all men shall be equal. Thus throughout history a struggle which is the same in its main outlines recurs over and over again. For long periods the High seem to be securely in power, but sooner or later there always comes a moment when they lose either their belief in themselves or their capacity to govern efficiently, or both. They are then overthrown by the Middle, who enlist the Low on their side by pretending to them that they are fighting for liberty and justice. As soon as they have reached their objective, the Middle thrust the Low back into their old position of servitude, and themselves become the High. Presently a new Middle group splits off from one of the other groups, or from both of them, and the struggle begins over again. Of the three groups, only the Low are never even temporarily successful in achieving their aims. It would be an exaggeration to say that throughout history there has been no progress of a material kind. Even today, in a period of decline, the average human being is physically better off than he was a few centuries ago. But no advance in wealth, no softening of manners, no reform or revolution has ever brought human equality a millimetre nearer. From the point of view of the Low, no historic change has ever meant much more than a change in the name of their masters.

[George Orwell, 1984]

     When the High’s brazenness about their special status leads to the outright dismissal of the laws they claim to have passed “for the general good,” while they simultaneously exercise the full weight of their powers to oppress and silence their critics, the conditions for their overthrow have been established. The sequel is likely to be extremely unpleasant:

     [America is] becoming a nation where an elite that is certain of its power and its moral rightness is waging a cultural war on a despised minority. Except it’s not actually a minority – it only seems that way because it is marginalized by the coastal elitist liberals who run the mainstream media.

     Today in America, we have a liberal president refuses to recognize the majority sent to Congress as a reaction to his progressive failures, and who uses extra-Constitutional means like executive orders to stifle the voice of his opponents. We have a liberal establishment on a secular jihad against people who dare place their conscience ahead of progressive dogma. And we have two different sets of laws, one for the little people and one for liberals like Lois Lerner, Al Sharpton and Hillary Clinton, who can blatantly commit federal crimes and walk away scot free and smirking.

     Today in America, a despised minority that is really no minority is the target of an establishment that considers this minority unworthy of respect, unworthy of rights, and unworthy of having a say in the direction of this country. It’s an establishment that has one law for itself, and another for its enemies. It’s an establishment that inflicts an ever-increasing series of petty humiliations on its opponents and considers this all hilarious.

     That’s a recipe for disaster. You cannot expect to change the status quo for yourself and then expect those you victimize not to play by the new rules you have created. You cannot expect to be able to discard the rule of law in favor of the rule of force and have those you target not respond in kind....

     What is the end game, liberals? Do you expect these people you despise to just take it? Do you think they’ll just shrug their shoulders and say, “Well, I guess we better comply?” Do you even know any real Americans? Do you think you’ll somehow be able to force them into obedience – for what is government power but force – after someone finally says “Enough?”

     Kurt Schlichter and I are asking the same question.

     The Party in 1984 strove to cement itself into permanent power by exerting that power to the utmost. The conditions to which the proles (“the Low”) were subjected were so crushing that they couldn’t even conceive of rebelling. The Outer Party (“the Middle”) was kept almost as poor materially as the proles, was regimented to the hilt, and was watched continuously for the merest hint of deviation. The few Outer Party members who dared to deviate were remade psychologically, in a fashion that would break them of the will to resist. The Inner Party (“the High”) was composed entirely of fanatic loyalists willing to do anything whatsoever to retain their hegemony. Thus the Party attempted to solve the age-old problem of political stability.

     1984 is fiction, of course. But at least one element of it has crept into American reality:

     [C]onservatives already do outbreed the left — which is why the left is so determined to maintain its iron hold on education, K-through-12-through-infinity. If they can’t (or won’t) breed more lefties, they know how to make them.

     That’s why homeschooling frightens them so much. That’s why they fight so hard against their own strongest constituents in the effort to prevent school choice and teacher accountability.

     Twelve years of endless harangues about “social justice” and the like will leave a mark on a child that’s near to indelible. It lacks the intensity and focus of O’Brien and Room 101, but it compensates with duration. Many parents find themselves helpless against it.

     Winston Smith wrote that “If there is hope, it lies in the proles.” A few moments later he added, “Until they become conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.” The proles of our place and time are utterly dependent on the State. The State is their father: protector and provider both. they will never even imagine that their protector / provider is really their owner, to be overthrown if they are to advance. There is no hope in them.

     We are the Outer Party. Not in material matters – even a “poor” American lives a life of riches undreamed by emperors of old – but in the view of the political elite. They don’t have the technology to watch us continuously, though with their drones, license plate readers, and the proliferation of “smart” appliances” they’re advancing on it. They haven’t yet disarmed us, though they’re working on that as well.

     The political class, regardless of Democrat or Republican affiliation, is our Inner Party. It uses its tools to subjugate where it can, and to propagandize where it cannot. With the recent, unabashed resort to political prosecutions to destroy its opponents, its consciousness of itself has become complete. Do not doubt that it will go on as it has begun, and to ever greater intensity.

     Somewhere in the future lies a point of no return, at which all prospect of deliberately ejecting the political class will have vanished. Somewhere nearer to the present lies a point at which the possibility of doing so non-violently will have been extinguished. The Spoonerites waited too long, and were forced to flee. Unless there’s a planetoid wandering through that I haven’t heard about, we won’t have that option.

     It’s not enough to complain to one another. It’s not enough to vote. It’s not enough to support this or that promising-looking candidate. We’ve tried all that.

     What, then, must we do?

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Creeping Totalitarianism Report

     This disturbing article from David French demonstrates factual reporting as it was once practiced:

     “They came with a battering ram.”

Cindy Archer, one of the lead architects of Wisconsin’s Act 10 — also called the “Wisconsin Budget Repair Bill,” it limited public-employee benefits and altered collective-bargaining rules for public-employee unions — was jolted awake by yelling, loud pounding at the door, and her dogs’ frantic barking. The entire house — the windows and walls — was shaking.

She looked outside to see up to a dozen police officers, yelling to open the door. They were carrying a battering ram.

She wasn’t dressed, but she started to run toward the door, her body in full view of the police. Some yelled at her to grab some clothes, others yelled for her to open the door.

“I was so afraid,” she says. “I did not know what to do.” She grabbed some clothes, opened the door, and dressed right in front of the police. The dogs were still frantic.

“I begged and begged, ‘Please don’t shoot my dogs, please don’t shoot my dogs, just don’t shoot my dogs.’ I couldn’t get them to stop barking, and I couldn’t get them outside quick enough. I saw a gun and barking dogs. I was scared and knew this was a bad mix.”

She got the dogs safely out of the house, just as multiple armed agents rushed inside. Some even barged into the bathroom, where her partner was in the shower. The officer or agent in charge demanded that Cindy sit on the couch, but she wanted to get up and get a cup of coffee.

“I told him this was my house and I could do what I wanted.” Wrong thing to say. “This made the agent in charge furious. He towered over me with his finger in my face and yelled like a drill sergeant that I either do it his way or he would handcuff me.”

They wouldn’t let her speak to a lawyer. She looked outside and saw a person who appeared to be a reporter. Someone had tipped him off.

The neighbors started to come outside, curious at the commotion, and all the while the police searched her house, making a mess, and — according to Cindy — leaving her “dead mother’s belongings strewn across the basement floor in a most disrespectful way.”

Then they left, carrying with them only a cellphone and a laptop.

     Disturbing? Indeed, terrifying. But why?

     Wisconsin, the cradle of the progressive movement and home of the “Wisconsin idea” — the marriage of state governments and state universities to govern through technocratic reform — was giving birth to a new progressive idea, the use of law enforcement as a political instrument, as a weapon to attempt to undo election results, shame opponents, and ruin lives.

     That’s why.

     To the best of my knowledge, the Gestapo-like raids above, all of which targeted conservative activists in Wisconsin, have not been reported by any major media organ. There’s been no mention of them in the New York Times, the Washington Post, or the Philadelphia Enquirer. Why?

     I’m afraid you already know why.

     The raids above were conceived by Milwaukee district attorney John Chisholm, a highly partisan Democrat whose wife is a shop steward in a Wisconsin teachers’ union. They were judicially approved by Judge Barbara Kluka, another Democrat. And of course, they were carried out by unionized Wisconsin police.

     The motivation could not be clearer. Democrats only believe in free speech for Democrats. They’re particularly disturbed by the ascendancy of conservative Republican governor Scott Walker. That Walker has rationalized the state’s budget, turning a habitual deficit into an annual surplus, and his actions to reduce the bargaining privileges of Wisconsin’s municipal and state unions, have enraged Wisconsin Democrats beyond all description.

     God help the conservative who dares to challenge the power of Wisconsin unions.

     Will district attorney Chisholm face any legal penalties for his utterly unfounded “John Doe” investigations and the terrorization of Wisconsin conservatives by use of police power? Will Judge Kluka face any penalties for facilitating those SWAT-style raids? What about the happily cooperative Wisconsin police? For that matter, now that National Review has publicized the affair, will the Main Stream Media take an interest in this blatant use of political power to suppress the free speech and organizing rights of Americans?

     Don’t bet the rent money on it.

     I’ve written before about the evils attendant to prosecutorial discretion and sovereign immunity.

     The combination of grand jury biddability and prosecutorial discretion has given rise to an assembly-line character in the criminal justice system. Prosecutors tend to be as ambitious for advancement as anyone else in "public service," and in their case the road to higher positions is paved with copious convictions, whether or not those convicted deserve their fates. Inasmuch as the luxuriance of criminal law has created a state of affairs in which every one of us, whether wittingly or not, is "guilty" of something, an aggressive prosecutor can "rack 'em up" by pursuing a simple strategy:
  1. Look around for "suspicious" behavior -- i.e., behavior on the part of a private citizen that can be made to appear suspicious;
  2. Ruthlessly probe every element of the "suspect's" life, using the effectively infinite resources of the State, until enough "suspicious" behavior has been amassed;
  3. Assemble a huge list of charges to place before a grand jury;
  4. Present the case in such a fashion as to promote the more plausible accusations and obscure the less plausible ones, thus securing a grab-bag indictment;
  5. Offer the indicted person a plea bargain that will spare him centuries in prison and complete pauperization at the bargain price of a few years and/or a few thousand dollars.

     There is no brake to this strategy. Excessive law plus complete prosecutorial discretion plus a competent prosecutor's ability to lead a grand jury by the nose combine to put even a simon-pure citizen at the mercy of the criminal justice system. And what a system it is! Had it been consciously designed to put the maximum number of persons in prison regardless of guilt or innocence, it could not have been done better.

     Those evils are on vivid display in David French’s article. Yet it would be foolish to expect any correction to them. The State never willingly surrenders power. It only takes; it does not give. And when persons whose ideology tells them that:

  • Their politics makes them morally superior to those who disagree; and:
  • The ends justify the means; and:
  • They will face no penalties for whatever they do;

     ...have the opportunity to wield State power for their political benefit, no Earthly force is sufficient to restrain them.

     I’ve ranted about this more than once:

     Prosecutorial discretion, when coupled to sovereign immunity -- doctrines absolutely anathema to the Anglo-American legal tradition -- make it possible for statists to conceal evil motives behind a cloak of righteousness. No one can come out against "law enforcement" without exposing himself to pillory as an "anarchist." Worse, when the evil motives are revealed and the pressure is removed from the statists' targets, no remedy is applied and no restitution is offered to the victims.

A long time ago, in commenting on a similar case that occurred in Florida, the legendary Russell Baker wrote that "When the government says it is going to get you, it is going to get you." It appears that nothing has changed since then, except for the identities and political orientations of the prosecutors and their targets.

     Need I say more?

     A number of the bloggers who entered the fray around the time I did have gone silent or near to it. Consider Mike Hendrix and Emperor Misha, two old favorites of the DextroSphere. Several others have gotten by mostly on reposts.

     I miss their regular emissions, but I can understand the trend. We’re tired. We’re getting old. And we’ve been repeating ourselves rather a lot.

     That’s what happens when outrage follows outrage with neither redress nor remorse. We’re still angry, but we’re beginning to feel that there’s little point to continuing on. And we dislike to think we’re huddled in an otherwise empty room, with no one listening to us but one another.

     The American people appear to have been enervated to the point of surrender. The Howard Beale character in Paddy Chayevsky’s screenplay for Network captured my sense of it perfectly:

     I don't have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It's a depression. Everybody's out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel's worth. Banks are going bust. Shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter. Punks are running wild in the street and there's nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do, and there's no end to it. We know the air is unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat, and we sit watching our TVs while some local newscaster tells us that today we had fifteen homicides and sixty-three violent crimes, as if that's the way it's supposed to be.

     We know things are bad — worse than bad. They're crazy. It's like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don't go out anymore. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we are living in is getting smaller, and all we say is: 'Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials and I won't say anything. Just leave us alone.'

     Is it really this way? Are we unwilling to rear up on our hind legs and roar defiance into our oppressors’ faces?

     Do you want your freedom back? Do you want to feel reasonably safe from “your” government? Voting every two or four years ain’t gonna do it, people. It will take actual resistance to the tyrants by persons brave enough to do so – and staunch support of those brave ones, political, legal, financial, and moral, by the rest of us.

     I know, I know: Who bells the cat? It’s the old question, the one we use to paralyze ourselves. It’s more effective than ever. The State in our time can target individuals with frightening accuracy, and can bring overwhelming power to bear against them, as David French has told us. The Redcoats didn’t even have rifled barrels on their muskets.

     Is there a Patrick Henry in the house?

     Never mind. Forget I said anything. I’m just an old man who claims to remember what it was like to be free. We didn’t even have color TVs back then, so how good could it have been, really?

     All rise for Flag salute. Here are your internal passport, your work permit, and your ration card. Now sit down and pay attention to the political officer. He’s here to serve!


CSO: How’d you like the pot roast?
FWP: Terrific. Tender and flavorful.

CSO: God bless our slow cooker.
FWP: You know, whether animals share in the afterlife is a bone of contention in the Church.

CSO: (eyebrows raised) Pope Francis says they do.
FWP: Oh, there’ve been clerics who think so, but it’s never been the doctrinal position.

CSO: Well, if the pope says it...
FWP: Yeah. And as it’s a theological matter, it’s covered by infallibility.

CSO: So that’s settled, then?
FWP: I suppose. But has he said anything about kitchen appliances?
CSO: (coffee streams from nose)

Monday, April 20, 2015

Cage, Convert, or Kill

I am not a smart man.  I’m not just quoting Forrest Gump – I’m not a smart man, but I repeat myself.  Maybe that is why I appreciate simplicity so much.  The legendary artist, Leonardo da Vinci said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.   In fact, “simplicity” is deemed so important that it is one of the US military’s nine “Principles of War.”
The idea of guidelines for effectively conducting war goes back some 500 years before Christ, at least as far as Sun Tzu.   Machiavelli had his "General Rules" in the 16th century.   Carl von Clausewitz wrote his version in the early 19th century which is largely the foundation of what the US military employs today, or should.  

Military doctrine defines these nine principles as the, “the most important nonphysical factors that affect the conduct of operations.”  As you read each of these doctrinal definitions, decide whether or not they comport with President Obama’s employment of forces in our “overseas contingency operations” formerly known as the “global war on terror.”  (Parenthetical comments are mine.)

Objective -- Direct every military operation toward a clearly defined, decisive, and attainable objective.  The principle of objective drives all military activity towards the destruction of the enemy's ability and will to fight.  (Like an effective “Jobs program.”  That ought to keep those “violent extremists” too busy to fight.)

Offensive -- Seize, retain, and exploit the initiative.  The surest way to achieve decisive results is to seize, retain, and exploit the initiative. Seizing the initiative compels an enemy to react.  (See also:  “NOT leading from behind.”)

Economy of Force -- The reciprocal of mass.  Allocate minimum essential combat power to secondary efforts. Never leave any unit without a purpose.  (Doing nothing can be very economical, until the enemy is at your door.)

Maneuver.  Place the enemy in a disadvantageous position through the flexible application of combat power.  Effective maneuver keeps enemy forces off balance by making them confront new problems and new dangers faster than they can counter them.  (Caution – promising “no boots on the ground” can cause the enemy to be injured by laughing at your lack of resolve/timidity.)

Unity of Command -- Necessary to applying a force’s full combat power.  A single commander directs and coordinates the actions of all forces toward a common objective and the most effective way to achieve unity of effort. (Note – can be undermined by embracing enemies, and undermining allies.  There has never been a more propitious time to unite the world; Sunni Arabs, Europe, Africa, and Israel all want to stop the spread of radical Islam and the Islamic State – the only thing lacking is a leader.) 

Security -- Never permit the enemy to acquire an unexpected advantage. Security results from measures a command takes to protect itself from surprise, interference, sabotage, annoyance, and threat surveillance and reconnaissance.  (Antonym – Benghazi)

Surprise -- Strike the enemy at a time or place or in a manner for which he is unprepared.  Factors contributing to surprise include speed, operations security, and asymmetric capabilities.   (e.g. Obama enforcing a “Red Line” would be a surprise.)

Simplicity -- Prepare clear, uncomplicated plans and clear, concise orders to ensure thorough understanding and reduce confusion.  (I can say I’m confused -- the Obama administration is trying to strike a deal on nukes with Iran, but will not require that they renounce terrorism or the destruction of Israel?)

Analyzing the conduct of our ongoing military operations using these nine principles, “the most important nonphysical factors that affect the conduct of operations,” suggests, at least to me, it is a good time to revisit our National Security and Military Strategies. Or at least consider relieving/impeaching the Commander-in-Chief for dereliction of duty.

Here is a trustworthy warning:  anytime you hear Obama say, “let me be clear” or a politician say “comprehensive solution”, just know what’s about to follow is malarkey.  As Thomas Sowell said, “People who pride themselves on their ‘complexity’ and deride others for being ‘simplistic’ should realize that the truth is often not very complicated. What gets complex is evading the truth.”  The problem is not with our doctrine being too complex.

Regarding our ongoing war with radical Islam, which they’ve declared and Obama disavows, it seems to me there are really only three options:  cage them, kill them, or convert them
Truthfully, it’s pretty simple.

The Political Means

     In Franz Oppenheimer’s seminal 1908 work The State, he drew a sharp partition between two means for gaining sustenance and security. The first of these, the use of labor and ingenuity to produce coupled to voluntary trade with others, he called the economic means. The second, the use of force and intimidation to compel others to surrender their wealth, he called the political means. The State, he proposed, is merely the organization of the political means.

     No one since Oppenheimer has improved on his definitions. Nor can anyone argue coherently with the moral cleavage that accompanies his methodological partition. Over the past century, statists of every ideology have attempted to defeat Oppenheimer’s analysis, without success.

     Contemporary statists emphasize “problems,” which they regard as providing moral cover for their desire to coerce the rest of us. Some of those “problems” have embedded themselves in our political lexicon:

  • “the poor”
  • “inequality”
  • “social justice”
  • “the environment”
  • “racism,” “sexism,” “homophobia,” etc.

     ...and so on. The “problem” is inevitably propounded as established beyond all question and a justification for the immediate and sweeping use of government force, regardless of objective conditions. Those who argue against the statists’ formulation are decried as “heartless,” “callous,” or worse – often much worse.

     This – the drive to insert the political means into an ever-widening sphere of human activities and relations – is what powers the discourse of our time. It’s the tide against which American conservatives and libertarians must battle at every turn.

     If you’re a regular reader of Liberty’s Torch, nothing in the previous segment was unfamiliar to you, except perhaps Oppenheimer as the originator of the definitions of the two mutually exclusive means. What’s most significant to me about it how it bears on the tension in our public discourse: activists screaming at ordinary folks about “problems” that demand “solutions,” while the ordinary folks strain to understand why “inequality” or “the environment” should justify yet more laws, regulations, taxes, and general governmental intrusions upon them.

     The activists insist that their “problem” – in reality, only an evaluation of a condition that might have existed for many years – demands immediate action to “solve” it, no matter the cost in blood, treasure, or lost rights. Thomas Sowell has destroyed many such contentions, often by noting the long history of the condition and the steady way in which time and economic advancement have diminished it. But what’s lacking from the general discourse is the appreciation of the moral inversion involved: the activists’ demand for the use of the inherently immoral political means to achieve their ends. The irony becomes unbearable when one notes the activists’ contention that it’s their concern about those “problems” – often characterized as “compassion” – that elevates them morally over the rest of us.

     Let that sink in for just a moment.

     Many Americans are swayed, sometimes against their will, by the moral pretensions and seeming sincerity of left-liberal activists and the mouthpieces of their mascot-groups. This is natural. We all want to feel that we’re morally sound, which is why we try to rationalize our individual departures from basic moral laws as “necessary” or “for a good cause.” More, we tend to associate moral commitment with passion invested in a cause.

     But moral laws are absolutes. They cannot be finessed. Our cleverest rationalizations are always framed against a backdrop of moral unease. We know we’re trying to justify a conclusion already reached. That’s what our consciences are there to tell us.

     The activist attempts to provide some numbing unguent for our consciences by delegating the immoralities he demands to the State. In effect, he’s distributing the immorality over millions of government agents. He’ll go further: he’ll buttress his position by claiming majority support in the form of election returns. He’ll attempt this even when the elected official never mentioned his intentions before assuming office, or when the official claimed to favor the exact opposite position in his campaign platform, as did FDR.

     Yet such activists invariably claim the moral high ground, and we let them do so.

     A bit of a ramble for a Monday morning, eh? You might well be asking yourselves “Where is he going with this? It’s all previous work.” You’d be right about that. It’s on my mind because of a commercial I saw yesterday evening, during one of the C.S.O.’s interminable crime dramas. The commercial was for an organization that calls itself “Earthjustice.” Its Website characterizes it as about “environmental law,” the most nebulously indefensible set of notions south of “hate crimes” legislation.

     Earthjustice makes all sorts of claims for the benevolence and beneficence of its work. Look over the list of causes it promotes. It’s no worse than most such “environmental protection” scams, but neither is it any better. It uses litigation – that aspect of the political means facilitated by our judicial system – to impede or prohibit just about any productive human activity.

     These are people who claim the moral high ground, despite their systematic interference in the lives of others, in their ability to earn a living, and in their efforts to provide jobs to others yet. And they’re shameless about all of it.

     No one dares to call them on the flagrant immorality of their crusades against the energy industry, against the other extractive industries, even against the use of remediative products to counteract oil spills. They’re clever about framing their causes; for example, they claim to be working for “a healthier environment.” But what chance at health has a child who freezes to death in a Minnesota winter? What chance at health has an involuntarily idled worker who can’t get a job because the price of energy has rendered the expansion of business impossible? Who really has the moral high ground here?

     Yet we never call them on it. We allow them, and hundreds of other activist organizations like them, to claim the moral high ground even as their machinations destroy countless current and future lives. They ruthlessly employ the political means – the use of force and intimidation by the State – to pursue their ends. And somehow they persuade large numbers of people that because “it’s the law,” or “it’s for the environment,” or “if it saves one life (never mind how many others must wither and die) it’s worth it,” they’re on the side of the angels.


     Gandhi got it right:

The State represents violence in a concentrated and organized form. The individual has a soul, but as the State is a soulless machine, it can never be weaned from the violence to which it owes its very existence.

     I had that very much in mind when I wrote the following:

     “Christine, I’m a priest. I have to work from certain postulates. According to those postulates, the soul is the seat of conscience, of an individual’s real and unalterable identity. Creatures without souls are also without moral choice. They act strictly from innate drives, motivations built right into their flesh. You can’t have a moral nature, the ability to know right from wrong, unless you have a soul. You can’t love, or be grateful, or understand loyalty or duty or justice.” [From Shadow Of A Sword]

     The political means – the soulless machine being used to consume us – is near to completing its meal. Yet the activists who exploit it claim to be our moral superiors, and will go on claiming it to the very last bite. And we’re letting them get away with it.

     Have a nice day.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Decline Of The Emissionaries

     The “Battle of the Bulge” effect has been prominent in the entertainment media of late, specifically with regard to the promotion of promiscuous, loveless, and dangerous sex. It’s a good sign, for very few such “bulges” result in the victory of the “bulging” side.

     Significant symptoms are detectable by anyone who pays attention to media developments. The deterioration of Hugh Hefner’s “Playboy empire,” the swift ejection of “Sex Box” and “Neighbors with Benefits” from the TV schedules, and the steady demise of “soft-core” magazines such as Cosmopolitan all point to the increasing marginalization of the “sexual emissionaries” and their outlets. In their frantic haste to shore up their positions, many of those who back such productions have been “doubling down.” This gives them the appearance of renewed strength where declining circulation and viewership figures proclaim that there is none.

     Demographics play a part, of course. Ours is an aging society. As we age, our interests turn away from “the things of youth.” The delights of sex are among those things. As little as we like to dwell on anything that compels us to reflect on our physical deterioration, as we age we grow less competent sexually...and less interested in demonstrations thereof.

     There are other factors as well. The one that I find most important is the prevalence of guilt over wasted years and opportunities.

     As I wrote long ago:

     Time is the ultimate gift.

     Time is the medium within which we temporally bound creatures must work. Time is the dimension within which we plan, and execute our plans, and reap the rewards or the lessons they generate. But time is not ours to command....

     This is the forward edge on the sword of time, the somber face of the ticking clock, that two-handed engine which will one day strike, and strike no more. We cannot bottle time. We are forbidden by the laws of the universe to know how much time we'll have. Though memory suggests otherwise, the only instant we can be sure of is now -- and it slips from our grasp before we can even finish pronouncing its name.

     The three most recent generations of Americans have spent more of their youth and vitality pursuing sexual gratification and variety than any previous ones. As we’ve aged and acquired a modicum of perspective – I hesitate to say wisdom – it’s become ever clearer to us that a moment, like a dollar, can be spent only once, and only on one thing. The youth and energy we put to sowing our sexual oats cannot be reclaimed for pursuits we later come to regard as better investments.

     Yes, yes, it’s just a higher-browed way of saying “Ve get too soon old und too late schmart.” That doesn’t mean it isn’t so.

     The emissionaries, however, have founded their business model on a never-ending obsession with sex – and if present trends are a reliable indication, it’s costing them heavily.

     I was drawn to this topic this morning because of this article about Cosmopolitan magazine. It warns frankly about the hazards attendant to promiscuity and sexual deviancy. It’s worth a read, as much for its forthright, unapologetic tone as for its factual assertions. The increase in the frequency of such articles correlates strongly with the current in the attitudes and conduct of young Americans. Yes, some of that current can be attributed to the increasing legal hazards that pertain to casual sex, but perhaps not the greater part. Young people, whatever their diction or educational attainments, are hardly stupid...and they learn from watching their parents and grandparents, an unprecedented percentage of whom are lonely and bitter.

     Few persons can be happy alone. Even fewer hope to spend the second halves of their adult lives that way. But a totally casual “love ain’t nothing but sex misspelled” attitude toward sex and love will get you there more reliably than any other.

     This is not to condemn all premarital sex. (I know, I know; I’m at odds with the Church on this. Don’t tell them, please.) It’s just an observation of the consequences of the all-stops-out / sexual gratification uber alles attitude the past fifty years have inculcated in so many...and which the emissionaries are straining to the limit to reinforce and perpetuate.

     The approach to sex most likely to lead to a lifelong, loving partnership with a member of the opposite sex is more reserved than Cosmopolitan and similar organs would have us believe. (Not totally reserved; as Star said to Scar Gordon in Glory Road, it’s best to sample the wine before you buy the barrel.) Fortunately – and I find myself mildly surprised to be saying this – the increased caution about contact with young women that’s arisen among young men in the wake of recent events on college campuses militates in this direction. But it’s no fault of the emissionaries, who are pushing their “bulge” as hard as they can, for the sake of their business ventures.

     The appropriate countermeasure to that “bulge” can only be applied by parents willing to talk candidly about their own pasts. God knows, most of us from the Boomer and GenX cohorts have plenty to talk about. Just as with drugs, being open about the missteps of one’s own youth can be a great aid to guiding one’s children toward more constructive, less destructive practices.

     It’s not about screeching that “I won’t have that trash in my house!” It’s not about immediately changing the channel when a starlet in a low-cut gown appears on-screen. It’s about honesty and humility among parents. Granted that one can’t be certain to have steered one’s progeny away from foolish behavior; the assumption of invulnerability has been a characteristic of young Americans since our earliest generations. It’s about contrasting the consequences of one’s own youthful decisions with the insouciance of emissionary outlets, highlighting the business model that propels the emissionaries, and suggesting that Junior think about that just a little before he goes out hunting pudenda scalps.

     Of course, if you’re a 26-year-old mother of a 13-year-old daughter, you might need a little help with this, perhaps from a more prudent friend or neighbor.