Friday, January 31, 2014

Political Auto-Da-Fe

Many commentators at many times have noted the Republican Party's penchant for "snatching defeat from the jaws of victory." With the emergence of these "conservative principles" for "immigration reform," it would appear that that penchant is in the GOP's saddle once again.

A country under siege by illegal aliens has an obvious first-priority need: border enforcement. To advance any other idea than that is a disservice to the nation...but what have we here?


One of the great founding principles of our country was that children would not be punished for the mistakes of their parents. It is time to provide an opportunity for legal residence and citizenship for those who were brought to this country as children through no fault of their own, those who know no other place as home. For those who meet certain eligibility standards, and serve honorably in our military or attain a college degree, we will do just that.

Individuals Living Outside the Rule of Law

Our national and economic security depend on requiring people who are living and working here illegally to come forward and get right with the law. There will be no special path to citizenship for individuals who broke our nation’s immigration laws – that would be unfair to those immigrants who have played by the rules and harmful to promoting the rule of law. Rather, these persons could live legally and without fear in the U.S., but only if they were willing to admit their culpability, pass rigorous background checks, pay significant fines and back taxes, develop proficiency in English and American civics, and be able to support themselves and their families (without access to public benefits). Criminal aliens, gang members, and sex offenders and those who do not meet the above requirements will not be eligible for this program. Finally, none of this can happen before specific enforcement triggers have been implemented to fulfill our promise to the American people that from here on, our immigration laws will indeed be enforced.

These "principles," which are nothing of the sort -- and where on Earth did anyone get the idea that "children would not be punished for the mistakes of their parents" was "one of the great founding principles of our country?" -- create two impressions above all else:

  • The GOP leadership deems it important to pander to illegal aliens and the foreign powers that send them here...
  • ...but is willing to pay only lip service to the continuous, strident demands from the great majority of Americans for an end to the flood of illegals.

Any scheme that offers the prospect of legal status within our borders for an illegal alien will create incentives for more illegals to wetback those borders. The special solicitude the document shows to juvenile illegals will increase the incentives for families of illegals to immigrate in a body. This is kindergarten stuff. The infamous 1986 amnesty bill should have established it beyond all dispute. Yet here we have "conservatives" promulgating "conservative" principles that will have exactly that effect.

No politician who backs any such scheme has the best interests of the United States at heart. The kindest thing one could validly say about him is that he might not be in the pay of some pro-illegal-immigration special interest. An official under that sort of cloud should be drummed out of office, if not tarred, feathered, and ridden out of D.C. on a rail.

But wait: there's more! As I understand it, the idea of a political party is to win elections. Given that the public is massively concerned about the flood of illegals and passionately wants to see it stanched, a scheme that openly encourages further illegal entry is a clear demand for electoral defeat. The idea of a party oriented toward losing elections is internally contradictory. But perhaps there are subtleties and involutions to this new emission from Boehner & Co. that my 200-plus IQ renders me inherently incapable of grasping.

There have been suggestions, from intelligent and respectable commentators, that for any pro-freedom movement to have a chance of success, the Republican Party as it stands must be eliminated. Hearken to T. L. Davis on the subject:

We are all immigrants, but the nature of immigration has changed; the purpose of immigration has changed. It doesn't matter where a particular immigrant comes from, because there is no inherent value to any race. We are all humans with all the same failings and blessings. What has changed about immigration is not who immigrates, but why.

Without the supporting values of what made America great, it cannot succeed in the future. It needs humans of all sorts, but with particular ideas of what America is and why it is such. Without that there is no continuity to society, there is no common understanding of values and there is no possibility of survival. It was the ruin of Rome and it will be our ruin as well.

To avert that ruin drastic measures must be taken and the election of 2014 is the time. No, I am not suggesting we "vote our way out" of this, that is an impossibility. 2014 is a time for the first salvo in our rebellion against the revolution that has taken place under the very eyes and ears of our people. It is the first step in the counter-revolution.

The first thing that has to go is the Republican Party. The Republicans have no loyalty to the Constitution, or they would not have allowed Obama to go so far down the dictatorial road he has traveled since his inauguration. They would not tolerate a president threatening them with a pen, or a phone. Somewhere they had to stand up for the Constitution and use its powers to rid this nation of such a tyrant, but they would not take the risk to their political lives and to that end have proved that they do not have the values on which this nation was founded and do not deserve to sit in the halls of power.

The core thesis here requires a bit of elucidation, to wit: To the extent that the GOP's major figures spout lip service to pro-freedom ideals but legitimize a tyrannical ruling party by failing to oppose them with all available forces, they are collaborating with the enemies of freedom. They have betrayed their oaths of office and have no more claim to a seat in the chambers of power than you or I.

In that view, the Republicans are worse than the Democrats, who are at least open about their disdain for freedom, the Constitution, and the good of the nation. They present the nation with the semblance of a principled opposition party while helping to destroy what remains of individuals' rights and the Constitution's constraints and straining to prevent the emergence of any alternative political force that might do some good.

From that perspective, there is little chance that such traitors can be deposed and replaced with good men as long as they have the resources and legal privileges of the Republican Party behind them. At any suggestion of a credible threat to their positions, the Democrats would rally behind them. The appearance of a loyal opposition is indispensable to a tyranny in the saddle. Without such a mirage, the Democrats would be revealed for what they are: the masters of a one-party State.

The above assessment carries some weight with me. I'm not completely convinced, but the ideas are at least plausible and consistent with the behavior of most of the preeminent Republicans in Congress. However, there's an alternative explanation, which deserves some attention.

The typical federal officeholder is massively reluctant to surrender his power and perquisites. In many cases, public office is the only career he knows; he would be unable to support himself if compelled to return to private life. That makes his foremost personal priority the retention of his office. (Most such persons will concede, at least when not "under the influence," that they have no serious prospect of rising any higher than they already are.)

We know from Public Choice theory that concentrated priorities trump diffuse ones -- that personal priorities nearly always have more power over a man's decisions than organizational priorities or abstract ideals. Indeed, that's why we have the concept of a hero, for a hero is distinguished from others by his open, behaviorally confirmed elevation of some other priority above his own interests and concerns.

Heroes are rare. There aren't many in Congress.

An unheroic officeholder will therefore look first and foremost to the retention of his office. All other priorities will bow to that one. He'll become adept at rationalizing his defaults and betrayals of principle:

  • "I can't do anything about our goals if I lose the election."
  • "My primary opponent is too extreme to stand a chance in the general election."
  • "If we don't give the Democrats at least this much, they'll propose something far worse."

...and so forth. He might even be sincere, at some level. But that, of course, doesn't redeem his traductions of the nation he has sworn to serve, and whose Constitution he has pledged to obey and protect.

There is no conclusive way to determine which of the above assessments of our political situation is more correct -- i.e., a better description of the critical dynamic and therefore a better guide to what freedom lovers must do. However, the pusillanimous, self-contradictory behavior of highly placed Republicans in recent years is perfectly in line with one foreseeable outcome: the reduction of their party to enduring, if not permanent, minority status.

There are some Republicans who urgently require removal from office.
There are others who should be supported for as long as their behavior remains consistent with pro-freedom, pro-Constitution goals.
There are a number that need a good solid kick in the ass. Here the problem is most difficult, for our electoral system does not offer a clear way to deliver one.

Whether the Republican Party as an organization can be salvaged depends on how effective American patriots are at delivering on those three desiderata. We haven't done well at far.

Remember: no matter how badly politics and political systems might let us down, there is always at least one alternative.

Food for thought.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Class And Caste In Twenty-First Century America

I chose this, out of the innumerable things currently peppering the national discourse, for two reasons above all others:

  • It's inherently non-political;
  • It's inherently political.

Besides which, some of the spadework has already been done for me. So buckle up!

Let's start with this excellent Ace of Spades column. It's loaded with impact from beginning to end, but for me the standout observation is this one:

[A] Bank of England clerk would be a member of the middle/professional class, despite the fact that what he did all day was hand-write numbers into ledgers and do simple arithmetic and some filing work and the like, whereas, say, a carpenter actually did real thinking, real planning, at his job, with elements of real creativity.

And yet it was the Bank of England clerk who was considered a "mind" worker and the carpenter merely a hand-laborer....

Yet, despite there being no genuine distinction between them to demonstrate that one class was "higher" than the other, the distinction nevertheless took root, and middle class girls would marry middle class boys and working class girls working class boys. Which is the real test of a true, defined class -- do they mix enough to intermarry? If not, they're pretty well defined classes. Which is sort of one of the criteria used to determine whether one animal is merely a different variety than another or a whole different species. Can they mate?

This fascinating use of the biological / taxonomical concept of species to analogize with class is only moderately off-track. The criterion for determining an organism's membership in a species is whether that organism can interbreed with a suitable partner conceded to be a member of that species. What matters, in other words, is whether there will be viable progeny -- and more important still, progeny of the same species that can go on to reproduce that species.

There are some species that can interbreed with one another. The case that comes to mind at once is that of the donkey and the horse, who, when interbred, produce the mule. However, the mule is sterile, which excludes the mule from species classification and constitutes a disproof that donkeys and horses constitute a single species.

A concept more closely analogous to species would be that of caste. The term has its strongest association with traditional Indian society, with its recognized castes. From highest to lowest, those are:

  • Brahmin (priests, scholars and teachers)
  • Kshatriyas (warriors, administrators and law enforcers)
  • Vaishyas (agriculturists, cattle raisers and traders)
  • Shudras (service providers and artisans)
  • Dalits (untouchables)

Caste classifications limit social and economic mobility. One's caste binds one's marital possibilities absolutely; one is forbidden, sometimes de jure but more commonly de facto, to take a spouse from a different caste. (The technical term for this is endogamy.) A cross-caste couple will be excluded from the caste of the "higher" spouse, but oftentimes from the castes of both spouses. Worse yet, their progeny will be excluded from all castes, including the very lowest.

Class distinctions, such as they are in Twenty-First Century America, bear some comparison to racial distinctions after the Civil War, but also to caste restrictions in caste-ridden societies.

Irving Kristol wrote in the early Seventies of the formation of a "New Class" characterized by political affiliations. In Two Cheers For Capitalism he described their orientation with a unique pungency:

Today there is a new class hostile to business in general, and especially to large corporations. As a group, you find them mainly in the very large and growing public sector and in the media. They share a disinterest in personal wealth, a dislike for the free-market economy, and a conviction that society may best be improved through greater governmental participation in the country's economic life. They are the media. They are the educational system. Their dislike for the free-market economy originates in their inability to exercise much influence over it so as to produce change. In its place they would prefer a system in which there is a very large political component. This is because the new class has a great deal of influence in politics. Thus, through politics, they can exercise a direct and immediate influence on the shape of our society and the direction of national affairs.

Admittedly, some of the above is obiter dicta -- few such persons disdain wealth, as long as it's their wealth -- but in the main it remains accurate. More to the point, the New Class has developed rather firm barriers against incursions by persons it deems "unsuitable:"

  • It concentrates geographically in a handful of large cities dominated by elites from politics, journalism, or entertainment.
  • It emphasizes the possession of specific educational credentials.
  • It practices endogamy, albeit with a counter-intuitive twist: one need not share the party alignment of one's spouse, as we can see from the matings of James Carville with Mary Matalin, and of Arnold Schwarzenegger with Maria Shriver.
  • Above all, what matters is membership in that quasi-intellectual stratum concentrated around politics and public policy.

Sarah Palin is not welcome in the New Class. Her parents were outsiders to that caste. She is geographically situated in an unsuitable locale. Her educational credentials don't match those demanded for admission. Her spouse is a professional fisherman. Despite her personal and political accomplishments, she will forever be denied admission to those circles. Her children, no matter how impressive they might prove to be, have no chance of admission, specifically because of their parentage.

Without acceptance by the New Class, one has little hope of rising to national political prominence. Regional elevation, such as that achieved by Sarah Palin, Ron and Rand Paul, and some others, is possible, but above that level the barriers become very firm indeed.

Assortative mating is nothing new. Neither is the formation of distinctions founded on education or occupation. The traditional classes of English society also recognized a distinction between "old money" founded on land and lineage, and "new money" derived from trade. All of these were in some sense natural groupings, and all served to limit the prospects of the persons bound within them. To some extent, such barriers, whether potentially surmountable or utterly impenetrable, are inevitable.

What's neither inevitable nor acceptable is the enclosure of the sphere of politics and public policy by such an elite. It's a violation of American principles. It's the sort of thing the Titles of Nobility clauses of the Constitution (Article I, Sections 9 and 10) were written to forbid.

Ace's column concerns itself with "social" inequality arising from such caste-like divisions. However, the resulting political inequalities, with their foreseeable consequences for an ever more particularist approach to public policy, loom larger in my view.

I might return to this.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Because They Can

If I can trust the reports -- you didn't think I was going to subject myself to that hour-long torture session, did you? -- the president's 2014 State of the Union speech was a tissue of lies and evasions about the consequences of his policies, plus a melange of self-congratulations for developments to which he had no just claim, joined to a series of proposals with no legislative future, with a sprinkling of veiled and not-so-veiled threats. It surprised no one who's paid adequate attention to the events of the past five years.

Barack Hussein Obama’s time in the Oval Office reduces to five years posing before a full-length mirror, one hand thrust between the buttons of his gaudily bemedaled tunic, chanting "I am awesome," occasionally leavened with "why won't they admit it?" Despite his colossal and nearly unbroken record of failure by all objective standards, he announced a "year of action:" unilateral action wielding powers nowhere granted to the executive branch of the federal government. His rhetoric translates to "do as I say or my tantrums will get really bad." If there's a certain ambiguity in his target selection, that's of a piece with the overall strategy his handlers and managers have settled on as most likely to have the desired intimidating effect.

But the most interesting aspect of it all, to these old eyes, is the confidence his minions have expressed, and continue to express, that he'll succeed in pulling off the coup against our Constitutional order inherent in his stated intention to end-run Congress. When other presidents have found themselves as thoroughly buried by developments as has Obama, they've retrenched: they've moderated their claims and aspirations and limited their aims to what seemed achievable. Obama, in contrast, has proclaimed his intention to attack with full force: to set the Constitution aside and rule by decree.

Do he and his lieutenants really think they can get away with it? If so, why?

In analyzing any confrontation, the critical need is an objective and comprehensive assessment of all the forces that bear on it. The Soviets were masters of this art, which they referred to as the correlation of forces. (Don't think that just because they were idiots in the economic sphere, they were therefore inept at everything.)

The forces that assist the Obama Administration's bid for unbounded, unlimited power range well beyond the party alignments in Congress:

  • Our envy-driven social fragmentation;
  • The regime's grip on the Main Stream Media;
  • Its success at creating ever more government dependents;
  • The insignificant will-to-resist of the Republican caucuses on Capitol Hill;
  • The general disinclination among private citizens to oppose the regime with more than words;
  • The effectiveness of the alphabet agencies, particularly the IRS, at suppressing and punishing visible opponents of the regime;
  • The regime's ability to secure the compliance, and in some cases the active cooperation, of the Fortune 5000 companies that employ the preponderance of American workers.

Against all this stand only two centers of resistance: the state governments and the federal courts. However, the courts are a feeble reed, and the states can be bludgeoned by the withholding of federal funds that they've come to expect.

To me, this looks like a favorable alignment for the Obamunists. If their strategists see it the same way, we have the answer to our questions:

Yes, they think they can get away with it. Moreover, now, before the alignment can shift significantly, is the time to strike.

I'm not going to give you a rah-rah / rally-round-the-flag / whoop-it-up talk this morning. The social and economic condition of the nation is dire. Its political condition is worse. If the Obamunists' assessment of the situation parallels mine, there's a significant chance that we'll see the end of all Constitutional constraints upon the federal government, regardless of how the November elections turn out. Indeed, should the elections give the GOP majorities in both houses of Congress, one consequence might be a presidential declaration of a state of emergency and the "suspension" of the 2016 elections, that The Won might remain in the White House "until the crisis has passed."

Such things happen in other nations from time to time. We've been an exception so far, but part of that might be due to good fortune. Imagine that, for whatever reason, the Civil War was not concluded in 1865. Had it not been for his assassination, and had the war dragged on for several years longer, is it unthinkable that Lincoln would have declared exactly such a state of emergency in 1868? Had he done so, do you think the population of the Northern states would have risen against him, while the war with the South was still in progress?

Would Twenty-First Century Americans rise against "their" government?

Should the worse come to the worst, I don't know what could be done about it. I already fear for those who've been forthright about condemning the burgeoning federal tyranny. They've got to have crosshairs on their backs by now. Indeed, as minor a voice as mine is, I've been tempted to cease writing, opinion and fiction both, on the chance that it might minimize my exposure to the regime's wrath. It's been suggested to me as the course of prudence by others, as well.

Even in the worst case, there would be a silver lining. Enforcement power is never infinite. In a country this large, individuals sufficiently canny about their comings, goings, and doings would have latitude even under the boot -- de facto freedom rather than the de jure sort. It would still be possible to live decently, at least for a while, if one doesn't insist on being "the nail that sticks up."

I'd love to believe that it can't happen here, but it could. I don't want to believe it's going to happen, but it might. I'm having ever greater difficulty believing that it won't.

The real State of the Union.

Simon Black of Sovereign Man delivers: here.

In a time of near universal bullshit, certified 100% bullshit free.

H/t: Zero Hedge.

A 28-year regression in four and steady as she goes.

We are forty-two years into our own experiment in funny money. During that time, even according to comically rosy government statistics, the median male full-time income has stagnated. Median household “real” income has fallen seven percent since 2009, and is now back at a level first reached in 1988.
Had Obama’s SOTU speech not been an exercise in self justification and political posturing but instead been a confession that serious problems exist with the government's approach (long-term and short-term) to the economy, who would have criticized him? But we have a lightweight in the White House, at the very best, with no sense of history and, certainly, no sense of urgency about warning lights blazing at every quarter.

Buster Keaton once did a hilarious sketch of trying to walk down the street with gale force winds forcing him to bend low to the ground and struggle to gain even a foot's progress. All with an utterly deadpan expression. At least, Keaton was aware of the headwind, which the current crew of wreckers is not. Or, not to put too fine a point on it, they are acutely aware of the headwinds but rejoice in their policies that create them.

People intend the natural consequences of their acts.

I understand that politics in the best of times is more about log rolling and back scratching than it is about advancing the common good. However, even the most avaricious, short-sighted seat warmer would at some point have to recognize that the earth has begun to tremble and chunks of plaster are falling from the ceiling.

Is there anything that should cause one concern in the following? The dollar of 1913 has lost 95% of its value and the 100-year period in which that happened is exactly the life span of the Federal Reserve system.

Think about that and the fact that the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Federal Open Market Committee were tasked to, among other things, "promote . . . stable prices . . . ." So we see that the Federal Reserve is not just a teeny bit short of its mark but, rather, that it has presided over a monumental degradation of our currency. Yet, today, the financial and political world waits with baited breath for the latest pronouncement from this useless institution, which even now massively increases the money supply, and lately with but timid reductions in quantity. This is a guarantee of Weimar in our future. But is the central bank in any danger? Are "entitlements," for that matter?

The political Establishment's answers to the above question are, respectively, "nope," "nunh uh," and "no way." So we will continue to rely on the Federal Reserve to play an integral role in our Nation's affairs.

Complete failure. Total reliance.

Given the elites' persistence in destructive and ineffective policies in the face of the large quantity of cautionary data flooding in, it is impossible to believe other than that the course of action imposed on us is willfully and consciously designed to create a crisis. Or it represents a horrific level of moral indifference and political negligence. But it's too late in the day to give much credence to the latter, not with the stink of communism on our man and his closest adviser.

The extreme, besotted left can't have it both ways. It can't say that Obama, the Harvard grad and Honolulu guru, our Nation's Gift from the Land of Lincoln, is possessed of a great love of this land and is touched by genius itself yet can't possibly read the warning signs. There isn't any fair reading of the signs that would allow one to say other than that the the union is in great peril.

Paul Fussell described the English summer on the very eve of WWI as idyllic, warm and dry and with splendid sunsets. In short order England would see the loss of hundreds of thousands of its best men and the devastation of its economy. These are those days here. Now.

Yes, it's deceptive. But things can seem normal until, suddenly, they no longer are.

That nothing Obama proposes addresses major problems can only be a deliberate choice on his part. Without question it's an absurd thought . . . but then everything about this man with his forged "birth certificate" and nonexistent paper trail -- and his constitutional disqualification for the office of president -- is absurd.

"When the Earth Stops Revolving Around the Dollar." By Nathan Lewis, The Daily Reckoning, 1/27/14.

Correction (1/29/14): Thanks to a commenter on my own site, I've corrected "The dollar of 1913 has lost 95% of its value and the 100-year period in which that happened is exactly the life span of the Federal Reserve system." to read as above.

Challenged in matters large and small.

The communist Angela Davis on penal reform:
The California prisoners' hunger strike is a courageous call for the California prison system to come out of the shadows and join a world in which the rights and dignity of every person is respected.
The communist professor Davis, professor emeritus of the history of consciousness and feminist studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Teaching our childrens.

"Indefinite solitary confinement violates human rights." By Angela Y. Davis, The Sacramento Bee. 8/12/13.

H/t: Lloyd Billingsley, Frontpage Mag.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


Five years ago at Eternity Road, I wrote:

A colleague of your Curmudgeon's made a piercing observation the other day. Imagine, he said, that a group of policemen have come to your house determined to execute a warrantless, causeless search and seizure. When you cite your Fourth Amendment guarantee of the right to be free of such, the head cop says, "Okay, just give us $100 and we'll let you be."

Has the cop acknowledged your right to be free of arbitrary invasions of your property, or has he merely extorted you? If the latter, how does this differ from the registration and licensure of guns?

If something is yours by acknowledged right, why should you have to meet conditions to get or keep it? Why should you have to pay a fee or meet extrinsic, State-specified requirements? Especially considering that the fee and requirements are set at the State's pleasure, and can be made so high that practically no one can afford to exercise his "right."

An old anecdote, most frequently attributed to Francois-Marie Arouet (Voltaire), has the philosopher ask an aristocratic Parisienne, "Madame, would you sleep with me for a million livres? When the doyenne responds in the affirmative, Voltaire asks, "Would you sleep with me for five livres? Outraged, the woman screams, "What sort of creature do you think I am?" To which the philosopher calmly replies, "We've already established that. Now I'm trying to determine your price."

Aristotle is nodding as we speak. Inclusion in the category of prostitute does not depend upon how much one charges for one's services. The genus of "prostitute" is "a human being;" the differentia is "who sells sexual services for payment." This is how we define: we make absolute distinctions between some things and others that are unlike them in significant ways. Definitional differences are differences in kind.

Similarly, a right is an absolute possession: a property that inheres in its possessor by reason of his nature. It is not and cannot be conditional. (Defenders of the spurious "right to vote" have a great deal of difficulty with this concept.) If you possess a right, you need no one's permission to exercise it.

By that standard, our governments recognize just about no rights, their lip service to the contrary notwithstanding.

Give that a moment's thought.

This morning, by way of Random Nuclear Strikes, we have a new direction to explore in the abridgement of rights:

Two California busybodies David Schel and Sharon Tekolian are trying to get Colorado to put an initiative on the November ballot that would require mandatory pre-wedding education before couples could say “I do.”

The proponents, who have chosen lucky Colorado as their first state on which to inflict their scheme, say the intended purpose of the act is to “better prepare individuals going into marriage to fulfill their new roles as spouse and potentially as parent, to furthermore protect children given that marriage is the foundation of a family unit.”...

The California duo’s amendment would require widows and widowers who are remarrying, as well as divorcees, to take the classes. So, let’s get this straight: Millie, age 78, and Sam, 82, met each other after they lost their spouses of nearly 60 years to death. It seems that they, not some therapist certified by the state, could be teaching a class on enduring marriages.

What's particularly risible about this isn't the requirement laid upon elderly Millie and Sam above; it's the idea that a marriage license has any detectable effect in our time. Unilateral no-fault divorce is available to spouses in every state in the Union; therefore, no marriage contract is enforceable against an unconsenting party. More, there is no de facto way to compel a connubially-inclined couple to apply for a marriage license, as no state enforces a law against fornication any longer. More still, "palimony" precedents and parental rights and responsibilities granted to non-spouses as remote as sperm donors have utterly effaced any legal import pertaining to the married state. So what's the point?

Give that a moment's thought.

Here's a piece from Oleg Atbashian that will have you first:

Comrades! Much evil has been done by the NRA and gun-toting non-persons who seek to undermine the power and authority of The Party. Indeed, reactionary scum have shot up malls and schools, in clear defiance of posted signs and laws prohibiting murder and weapon possession. The solution of course is simple, and will enhance state security.

All persons shopping at a mall must undergo a strict background check, be issued a shopping license, and demonstrate good cause for entering a mall.

Unlicensed persons will be refused entry to a mall, which will reduce crime, as only licensed shoppers will be inside the mall.

Children will be taken out of schools, and placed in high security education camps, where only authorized persons will be permitted entry and access to The Children.

Parents who cannot secure a visitation permit will not be allowed access to their children until after they graduate.

These common-sense safety measures are needed to end all mall and school shootings across America. After all, if it saves just one life, it's worth it.

Funny, yes...until you reflect that the reasoning is identical to the reasoning for the imposition of a licensure regime upon any and every human activity that falls into the State's clutches.

Licensure, when it first appeared, applied to very few things: mainly the practice of medicine and law. The rationale was "the public safety:" the protection of the layman from the quack practitioner of little or no actual skill. That rationale now applies to trades as unthreatening as the braiding of hair.

A case from some years ago, to which I was privy simply as an observer, involved a state official in Massachusetts who entered a unisex hair salon and demanded service. The attendant on duty politely asked if he could wait for the specialist in his sort of hair, who was expected to arrive shortly. When the official saw the attendant give immediate service to a subsequent arrival, he had the state police shut down the salon, invoking the state's licensure laws for his authority.

Yes, the official was a Negro.

Whether it goes by licensure, permittage, or any other name, the imposition of State selectivity upon the exercise of one's rights is merely a back-door method for denying those rights. The denial need not be uniform across all persons; indeed, that's seldom the case. To make a licensure regime palatable, there must be a licensed or "grandfathered" group of practitioners to whom the State can point and say "See! You still have your rights; just do as they do and get a license!" That privileged group acquires an interest in maintaining the regime, especially in those cases where the ability to earn depends upon the possession of a license.

This is not free enterprise as I understand the term. But as bad as that is -- and it's very bad; ask the women who tried to make a living braiding hair and were told they had to acquire expensive cosmetology licenses before they could do so legally -- when the rationale can be applied to non-commercial activities and arrangements, it acquires a new magnitude of ominousness.

Do you think I'm exaggerating the danger? Then consider this: the Dishonorable Charles Schumer, ever eager to shove his face in front of a camera or a microphone, has proposed that the federal government fund the provision of tracking devices for autistic children.

We're already on the way to a licensure regime for parents. Consider the number of cases each year in which "child welfare" workers deprive a parent of his children on the grounds of "the best interests of the child." Consider how difficult and expensive it is to get such an action reversed. Consider how many such abductions have morphed into prosecutions of the parents, as some "expert" succeeded in eliciting "recovered memories" of abuse from those minor children, unshielded against "expert" manipulation by those who love them.

But Schumer has told American parents that they need have no fear: his bill would make the acquisition and use of his trackers entirely voluntary.

Do you have enough to think about for this morning, Gentle Reader?

Monday, January 27, 2014

The Cathedral Versus The Congregation

In any place and time, there will be a dominant set of sociopolitical precepts. Pre-World War I Europe, for example, was largely united under the precepts of patriotic nationalism, Christian ethics, constitutional monarchy, and a nobility inculcated with the constraints and virtues subsumed by noblesse oblige. That the nations of the Old World remained in fierce competition with one another, politically and economically, despite their common precepts arose partly from the precepts themselves, and partly from the nature of Man.

Patriotic nationalism, which implies adamant resistance to ideological and cultural mongrelization, was the critical ingredient in that mix. Consider, for example, Rudyard Kipling's poem "The Stranger," of which the last verse is particularly powerful:

This was my father's belief,
And this is also mine:
Let the corn be all one sheaf--
And the grapes be all one vine,
Ere our children's teeth are set on edge
By bitter bread and wine.

Modern left-liberals view those lines, sneer, and mutter "xenophobia in verse," but then, given what passes for poetry and rational thought about international mobility today, that's all one could expect of a modern left-liberal. Yet during those years after the Congress of Vienna, while the United States was slowly gaining its footing and rising to international significance, Europe was the powerhouse of the world. There were few advances in science, technology, industry, or human thought that originated outside Europe -- and none that Europe failed to adopt and develop further.

Takuan Seiyo's recent essay, which Col. Bunny cites just below, points toward a resurgence of the pre-WWI European attitude toward immigration. The First World nations that have absorbed so many Third Worlders, especially those from Islamic hellholes where preachments of hatred toward Dar al-Harb are impassioned, unceasing, and ubiquitous, have suffered severely thereby. The apostles of Transnational Progressivism are fighting fiercely to tamp down those rising neonationalist sentiments...and losing.

And that is a very good thing.

Though Baron Bodissey's most recent article casts light upon the phenomenon of neonationalism from a different direction, it illuminates the same ideological contest:

I ran into the Dark Enlightenment a while back, and spent some time poking around among the various sites. Its proponents are also known as “Neoreactionaries”, which is an appealing term in itself. Among their characteristics are a distaste for modern politics and culture, skepticism about democracy, and an affinity for venerable and organically-formed traditions.

The culture they oppose is often labeled “The Cathedral”. It is the behemoth of progressive modernity that compels compliance through both incentives and punishments. On occasion I’ve called the same monster “The Empire”, in sardonic reference to the old Jefferson Airplane song “Greasy Man” ["Greasy Heart," from the Crown Of Creation album -- FWP]....

But whatever name it goes by, it is the trans-national engine of Political Correctness and Multiculturalism. It is lavishly funded, relentlessly promoted, and enforced by coercion when necessary. It is pushed by Western governments, the media, the Academy, major corporations, the central banks, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the European Union, the United Nations, and numerous deep-pocketed private foundations. Its primary purpose — sometimes stated clearly but more often covert — is to usher in a New World Order of “global governance”. When that glorious Utopia arrives, only the government and billions of atomized individuals will remain. All other mediating institutions will have been vacuumed up by the omnipotent State.

Meaningful dissent against the Cathedral is not permitted, not even among ostensible “conservatives”. Just ask John Derbyshire. Or Jason Richwine.

The greatest punishments are reserved for any deviation from orthodoxy on race and ethnicity. National Review dutifully excommunicates any race-heretics from its cramped crypt in the cellar of the Cathedral. But other topics are also frowned upon, such as skepticism about global warming. Or home-schooling. Or the gold standard — dissidents on fiat money are laughed out of the nave and down the front steps.

If mockery fails as a deterrent, then more stringent persuasions are brought to bear, running from denial of funding through loss of employment to lawsuits and prosecution. The Cathedral will not be gainsaid.

The Dark Enlightenment fails to heed such strictures, and takes exception to the doctrines of the Cathedral.

Please, please read the whole thing. [Apropos of which, Gates of Vienna has been on my blogroll half of forever for very good reasons. Smart readers will make it part of their daily surf.]

The paradigm of power that prevailed just after the treaties comprising The Peace of Westphalia was often called the alliance of Throne and Altar. That referred to the scheme called cuius regio eius religio, under which the political sovereign was conceded the privilege of establishing a state-preferred religion. The reverse of that coin was that the religious establishment so favored was obliged -- sometimes compelled -- to function as a timber of support for state policy. The terrible power of such an arrangement -- adding fear of damnation to the range of disincentives for resisting or differing with the State -- was obvious enough to America's Founding Fathers that they explicitly forbade such a thing in the newborn United States.

However, the Founders did not anticipate the rise of an equally pernicious power of a nominally secular sort: the "Cathedral" to which Baron Bodissey refers in the cited article. The clergy of Transnational Progressivists and cultural relativists proclaims a secular gospel more stringent than any previous formulation. It seeks to apply ever stronger measures of discouragement and dissuasion to the rising neonationalism of Americans who cleave to traditional American beliefs and virtues.

Consider this attempt by the Dishonorable Charles Schumer (D, NY) to paint the neonationalism that energizes TEA Party opposition to open borders as racism:

"Yes, things have changed. White Anglo-Saxon men are not exclusively running the country anymore," he said Thursday. "President Obama lost the white male vote 35 to 62 percent yet he recaptured the presidency – by 5 million votes and a resounding electoral college margin."

Schumer said the changing demographics also "[explain] why so many on the right vehemently opposed the Senate immigration bill."

"In a pre-tea party world, the Senate immigration bill would have been welcomed by House Republicans," he said. "However, the tea party rank and file know it's a different America. It looks different; it prays different; it works different. This is unsettling and angering to some."

Schumer's claim contains not one substantiable fact. It's merely a set of allegations about the attitudes of those who disagree with him about "immigration reform" (i.e., amnesty for illegal aliens]. However, we can easily infer Schumer's venom toward his opponents -- and his willingness to descend to any depth to smear us. Nor is he the only prominent politician to say such things.

To these old eyes, it appears that the Throne is eager to promote the Cathedral as the new, unquestionable, unopposable established religion of these United States. Whether it has any prospect of doing so, de jure or de facto, remains to be seen.

None of the above is news to anyone who pays adequate attention to national politics. What's significant is not some qualitative change in the national discourse, but the rapid intensification of the Cathedral's efforts to suppress all expressions of dissent from its creed. That the effort is failing points not to weakness in its masters' determination nor to any flaw in their tactics, but rather to their inability to get Americans to ignore the reality around them:

  • Vanishing entry-level jobs and plummeting wages for them.
  • Social fragmentation, especially the proliferation of exclaves.
  • Rising crime rates in regions heavily populated by recent immigrants.
  • Political pandering toward those immigrants, despite their separatism and particularism.
  • Unwillingness of American public institutions to assert American values, norms, or customs.

Reality is the Ace of trumps. Politicians are the only species of creature that denies this. However, they do succeed in roping in those who are easily intimidated by slanders, those without adequate confidence in their own ways, and those who think with their wishes rather than their heads. Apparently, that's a sufficient mass to gain a frightening degree of traction for their mongrelization agenda.

The game is not yet lost. Other aspects might be, especially in formal politics, but on the subject of Americanism among private Americans, the "Dark Enlightenment," which I think of as the Congregation, has a tactic that's all but invincible: passive noncompliance. Our beloved InstaPundit discourses on two related applications of this idea:

So, despite all the federal laws on the books [i.e., the federal criminalization of marijuana], Colorado has de facto nullified them, and started a process that may very well snowball, all without directly attacking the federal laws, or the federal government, at all. Meanwhile, millions of Americans may be in the process of effectively killing Obamacare simply by staying home.

As we struggle, mostly in vain, to rein in the metastasizing power of a federal government that has grown out of control, perhaps Irish Democracy offers a solution. Sometimes it seems like that's the only kind of democracy that's likely to make a difference.

The only thing the Throne can do with the passively noncompliant in sufficient numbers is kill them...and that tends not to work out for the Throne:

    “Get walking and bring us two full plates.”
    “I won’t,” said Matt, firming his jaw and ignoring the gun.
    Gleed thumbed the safety catch which moved with an audible click.
    “It’s touchy now. It’d go off at a sneeze. Start moving.”
    “I won’t,” insisted Matt.
    Gleed disgustedly shoved the weapon back into his pocket. “I was only kidding you. It isn’t energized.”
    “Wouldn’t have made the slightest difference if it had been,” Matt assured. “I serve no Antigands, and that’s that!”
    “Suppose I’d gone haywire and blown you in half?”
    “How could I have served you then?” he inquired. “A dead person is of no use to anyone. Time you Antigands learned a little logic.”

[Eric Frank Russell, "And Then There Were None"]

Food for thought.

The sappy, contemptible West.

The Strength-in-Diversity meme is based on the dispando ad absurdum principle -- expansion onto the absurd. Because a little diversity is good for you, a 58% majority of sub-90 IQ colonizers from 180 Third World countries is good for you too.[1]
Contemptible why? Because no border in any Western country is closed to aliens who choose of their own volition to cross it. The official, in-place, fully operative policy of every Western government (with possible slight deviation by Australia?) is to permit unlimited third-world immigration that will result in the racial and cultural extinguishment of their own peoples. And so hideous Islamic culture and law -- the antithesis of everything that the West tried to become -- are inevitable so long as Westerners act like jellyfish where their own legitimate rights are concerned.

Where are the Muslim Nobel prizes, Muslim symphonies, Muslim medical advances, Muslim novels, Muslim films, and Muslim art? What do gypsies have to offer any Western country? What do Nigerians, Jamaicans, and Mexicans have to offer that is of such value that we shower welfare inducements on them and hand out the gift of our precious citizenship like candy on Halloween? Why do we need drug-resistant TB, bedbugs, animal sacrifice, and

Just our own special way of saying, "@#$% you!"
contemptible superstitions? In the U.S., the A#1, official, approved, gold-plated answer -- tirelessly repeated by maroons and liars stretching to the horizon -- is that "We are a nation of immigrants."

And that is why -- notwithstanding the distortion in that statement -- we are hell bent on throwing that nation on the trash heap. If one immigrant is good, then, 1,000,000 new illegal aliens every year to suck up welfare, compete with American workers, and sustain vicious gangs are a blessing from God Himself. Only a tree-dwelling, grub-eating, flea-bitten, deviant, Tea Bagger, gun nut, fundamentalist spawn of Satan would dare say otherwise.

Now, for a reality check, go to China or Japan and tell the governments there that they have a duty to suffering mankind annually to admit 1,000,000 guizi or gaijin. If 1,000,000 would-be aliens set out from their home countries, that by itself establishes their moral right to go to whatever place in the world in which, in their sole discretion, it suits them to live. To wit, your country. They left. The right exists. Chinese and Japanese duty.

Tell that to the Chinese, say. Whatever else they are – corrupt commie bastards itching to take on the American military, for example -- they are not so dumb as to fall for that line of complete @#$$#%$*. But Westerners lap that up like it's free-range ambrosia.

You, the citizen, know that that idea's absurd but the U.S. government will tell you it makes perfect sense. That we are helpless when illegal aliens end up in our midst and that we have no option -- none! -- but to enact Comprehensive Amnesty Reform. And Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, Chris Christie, John McCain, Jeb Bush, John Boehner, and Bob Goodlatte will positively wet their pants to be the first to tell you to your face.

[1] "The Bee and the Lamb (Part 1)." By Takuan Seiyo, New English Review, 11/11.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

On Privacy

I hadn't intended to write about this, but it seems to have risen to the top of the public agenda.

The activities of the NSA aren't the only things that have privacy-rights advocates' hair standing on end. The recent, extremely disturbing case of the harassment of John Filippidis by Maryland police must concern any Second Amendment aficionado. And Peter Grant notes that there are private firms collecting and aggregating publicly available data on Americans to sell as a marketing tool. All in all, it's a bad time to be a devotee of peace, quiet, and personal privacy.

The problem isn't that these things are illegal, but that they're not. Worse, in the case of the private marketing companies, no imaginable law could correct the problem without utterly destroying what remains of freedom in these United States.

We release information about ourselves into the public domain with every step we take.

Smith, walking on a public street, is broadcasting his whereabouts to anyone who cares to take note. Should he enter a shop for a commercial transaction, anyone who recognizes him can quite legally record what he's purchased, and when, and from whom. (We don't need to discuss Smith's use of a credit card, do we?) If he gets into a vehicle and drives away, the make and model of the vehicle, its license plate, and its direction and speed are all easily determined. Plausible inferences about where he's going and when he'll get there are easy to draw.

Smith's interactions with regulated utilities and "common carriers" are recorded as a matter of course. They must be, both by law and for routine purposes of billing and maintenance. That includes gas companies, electric power companies, telephone companies, Internet service providers, and in many locales a number of other firms. Such companies must comply to retain some critical legal privilege, for example the privilege of stringing wires along public roads that nevertheless remain their property.

Then there are Smith's interactions with governments and governmental bodies. Every time he pays a tax bill, or uses a public library, or communicates with any person who works for a government in any capacity, he cedes information about himself and his activities into the public domain. Very few such interactions are governed by a statute. In some cases, the publication of the resulting information is required by law: for example, the ownership data, lien status, and tax data about a parcel of land.

Unless Smith resolves to remain behind his own locked front door, never communicating nor interacting with anyone else in any way, he can do nothing about this.

I wrote at Eternity Road, nine years ago:

What is privacy? An informal definition would be the privilege of "keeping yourself to yourself": that is, restricting others' access to you, to your property, and to information about those things to only those whom you approved. But access to you and your property is covered by another, better grounded right: the right of a legitimate owner to the control and disposition of his property. It's the informational component of the privacy claim that causes the problems.

If there's something about you that you don't want known, and you have a "right" to control the dissemination of that information, how do you exercise your "right" once someone has learned the critical fact? Murder? Lobotomy? Hypnosis? A voodoo curse? If you elect to have an interaction with some other person, and he refuses to agree to keep silent about it, how would you enforce your "right" to privacy and still have the interaction?

As your Curmudgeon has previously written, rights are those claims that can be simultaneously asserted without generating clashes that can only be resolved by a recourse to force (the "test of arms"). As we can see, privacy claims don't satisfy that criterion.

Those observations and inferences remain as valid as they were in 2004.

It's ridiculous to blather about whether this is good or bad. It simply is. There's nothing to be done about it. The measures individuals can take to limit their exposure are relatively few:

  • Pay cash at all times.
  • Don't buy real estate.
  • Don't have children.
  • Stay out of the hospital.
  • Communicate face-to-face only.
  • Be discreet about your relationships.
  • For the love of God, don't apply for a license for anything!
  • Stay home as much as possible.
  • If you must go out, walk.
  • Cultivate taciturnity.

Those are very severe restrictions, particularly in this age of the Internet. Most Americans could go no more than five minutes without violating one of them.

Don't imagine for a moment that laws could do anything for you beyond what you can do for yourself. Private companies are already subject to the weight of the law, and the law often mandates the very activities privacy-seekers deplore, for reasons that are persuasive if not conclusive. Governments? Please, I've already hurt myself once this week from laughing too hard.

The value of studiously collected information, meticulously organized for aggregation and reference, has simply grown too large for any force to countervail it.

As I've already said, it doesn't matter whether you regard this as good or bad. You can do no more about it than you can about the strong nuclear force...assuming you don't own a really big collider, and that, my friend, would put you on one hell of a lot of lists. These are the times we live in. If they try men's souls, well, men's souls exist to be tried, among other things. In earlier, less technologically ramified eras, the trials were simpler and more visible. We who appreciate electronic communication, automobiles, and indoor plumbing wouldn't much enjoy those times.

Making one's peace with it is, to some extent, the only way forward.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Our debt to Christianity.

Only in the last hundred years have scholars come to realize the true and immense impact of the monastic orders, particularly the Benedictines, upon the development of European civilization. It has been noted by more than one writer that one can scarcely find a single endeavor in the advancement of civilization during Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages in which the monks did not play a central role. It is well-known, of course, that they preserved the literary inheritance of the ancient world (much more completely, in fact, than was previously realized), yet they did much more. According to one scholar, they gave “the whole of Europe … a network of model factories, centers for breeding livestock, centers of scholarship, spiritual fervor, the art of living … readiness for social action – in a word … advanced civilization that emerged from the chaotic waves of surrounding barbarity. Without any doubt, Saint Benedict was the Father of Europe. The Benedictines,
Tintern Abbey
his children, were the Fathers of European civilization.”(Reginald Gregoire, Leo Moulin, and Raymond Oursel, The Monastic Realm, Rizzoli, New York, 1985, p. 277.)

We could fill volumes enumerating the achievements of the Benedictines. . . .

By the end of the tenth century we find that monasteries all over Europe were in possession of enormous libraries stacked with the works of the classical authors, and that knowledge of Greek and even Hebrew was widespread. This is important, because it illustrates the continuity between this period and the world of Late Antiquity, and calls into serious question the entire concept of the Dark Age. It shows too that Christian Europe did not need to depend upon other societies and cultures (such as the Islamic) to reacquaint it with letters. . . .

* * * *

The evidence then, taken together, would seem to show that Christianity had an enormous transformative and revitalizing power. As explain in my new book, The Impact of Islam, the opposite is true of that religious tradition.[1]

However, in true post-modern fashion, some stunted and benighted souls can only get "patriarchy" and "control of our bodies" out of this.

Epic fail that, but it proceeds apace even as we speak. Tip of the spear thinking in our unmajestic time.

[1] "How Christianity Civilized Barbarian Europe in Just One Hundred Years." By Emmet Scott, New English Review, 1/14. See also Paul Austin Murphy on the thinness of Islamic "science" and "philosophy." Some "debt" we owe Muslims.

Scattered Thoughts

Hey, it's been a scattered week. This is just the finishing stroke.

The combined Cuomo / De Blasio / Schumer anti-conservative rants of the past few days have apparently galvanized a backlash against those...persons. Inasmuch as they're a trio of conceited, power-mad assholes, they're unlikely to back away from their statements. That's actually a good thing: now they know that they're being very closely watched. The evidence already available that they "meant it" won't need a lot of augmentation to spur a general revolt.

Got your rope ready and your lamppost picked out?

People have been emailing me for several days now, pleading with me to leave New York "before they get you, Fran." Thank you, my distant friends. I'm more flattered than I can say. Who am I, to be the focus of so many people's worries? But on the larger subject: yes, smart people are either leaving the deep-blue states for more hospitable climes or are making plans to do so as soon as it becomes practical. The political elites in those states are going to reap the whirlwind in short order.

Myself, I'm looking at a particularly attractive district in Panama.

A recent post at NC Renegade warmed the cockles of my spiny little heart:

Def: Anarchy: a state of lawlessness or political disorder due to the absence of governmental authority (1)
Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies…
Rivers and seas boiling …
Forty years of darkness !
Earthquakes, volcanoes …
The dead rising from the grave !
Human sacrifice,
Dogs and cats living together …
Mass hysteria. (2)

That is what many people envision when they hear the word Anarchy; but not all people …

Please read the whole thing, including the citations at the end. Generally, when I'm cited as an authority, it's for my work in real-time software engineering, so this is rather unusual.

Sales of Freedom's Fury have been slow so far. It could use more promotion than the little I'm able to give it. (Hint, hint!) Even so, an old sin has come back to haunt me: the short story "The Last Ambassadors," which I wrote well before I finished Which Art In Hope. Those who've read and enjoyed the latest Spooner Federation novel, which I'd intended to be the conclusion of that story arc, are displeased that I didn't fold in Althea's journey to Earth, which was the original point of her drive to become a starfarer. And so, the demands are mounting for a fourth novel in that series. Trilogies with fourth segments have a certain charm -- Douglas Adams, call your office! -- but other readers are demanding other books as well, most especially a novel founded on "The Warm Lands." Please bear with me; I'm writing as fast as I can.

Apropos of nothing, if you have a taste for fortified wines, I can heartily recommend Sandeman's Tawny Port. I recently encountered the "down-market" edition -- about $18 for a 750 milliliter bottle -- and I find it very much to my liking. However, for those of you with deep pockets, there's also a 20-year-reserve variety. I'm unsure my plebeian palate could tell the difference, but I haven't yet had the opportunity to test it.

Metro New York is once again caught in a "polar vortex," with the accompanying low temperatures and gusty winds. A couple of my neighbors have discovered first-hand, through burst pipes, dead car batteries, and close brushes with frostbite, that those ten or fifteen degrees' difference between our usual winter temperatures and our current ones really do matter. For my part, I've been staying out of the weather as much as possible, but it's intensified my desire to relocate to some warmer part of the world. (See above)

It's a good idea to keep close to those you love during severe weather -- and I don't mean just to share body heat. As I've written about living patterns in continental New York, there are lessons about that sort of winter weather we downstate types could stand to learn:

    January was harsh; February was harsher still. The snow flew continuously, on bitter, piercing winds propelled by the inexhaustible energies of the Great Lakes. Temperatures dropped to record or near-record lows several times. Blocked roads were more common than open ones. Power outages were frequent. Central New Yorkers endured it as they'd done for ages: husbanding their energies, traveling little, planning few ventures, and keeping their loved ones within eyeshot whenever they could.
    It was a way of enduring winter the Cro-Magnons would have recognized, apart from the lack of caves.

[From On Broken Wings]

I have an unusually busy day before me, so I'll close here. I'll be back to the political blather tomorrow...or maybe Monday. Stay warm, stay dry, and stay safe.

All my best,

Heartless Republican scum.

It was 16 years ago when CFTC Chairwoman Brooksley Born warned about the dangers of unregulated, opaque derivatives and fought a brutal and lonely battle against the largest banks. Her goal was to do nothing more than have access to information, to study the depth of the risk exposure . . . . Ms. Born lost this principled battle. Time tested protections of regulated derivatives management that had served the country so well for more than 70 years . . . were dismantled when US President Bill Clinton signed into law the Commodity Modernization Act of 2000.

* * * *

These new “laws” did not establish any new guidance but only served the purpose of unwinding previous laws. A key result was allowing the largest banks to literally operate without restriction or supervision. . . . The groundwork laid in the mid and late 1990s to let the banks write derivative insurance contracts without restriction or oversight [manifested] itself in 2007 and 2008 as the unregulated derivatives collapsed the world economy, which has yet to properly recover.

This would be the "Republican" deregulation of financial markets that leftists love to crow about.

I salute Brooksley Born, someone who showed integrity.

[1] "At Davos: Paul Singer To Warn Of Derivatives Catastrophe." By Mark Melin, ValueWalk, 1/17/14.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Like OJ's quest.

Simply superb commentary:

"Hollywood’s Muslim Lies." By Daniel Greenfield, Frontpage Mag, 1/24/14.

Writing On The Wall Dept.

"If you're not yet paranoid, you haven't been paying attention." -- Originator unknown

No scrying is necessary to discern the pattern in these stories:

Do they make a pattern to you, Gentle Reader?

"The merely an organized band of predators with a veneer of legitimacy derived either from tradition or from a manufactured appearance of the consent of its subjects." -- Which Art In Hope
Power concedes nothing without demand. It never did, and it never will. Find out just what people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue until they have been resisted with either words or blows, or with both. -- Frederic Douglass

The Founding Fathers, as is well known to anyone educated before 1970, distrusted democracy as they understood it: unrestricted majority rule. They saw it as the source of innumerable evils, especially the "tyranny of the majority:" the use of a preponderance in numbers to deprive those in the minority of their rights, especially their rights to their honestly acquired property. The structure they gave the Republic in the Constitution was intended to dilute the power inherent in a majority, that sober reflection and respect for rights might prevail over the passions that can arise from anger and avarice.

Unfortunately, they didn't address a related problem: the tyrannous impulses that can animate a faction which, though it has lost majority support, is still in power and intends to remain there indefinitely.

The United States has apparently had enough of Barack Hussein Obama and his sort. His legislative agenda has frozen solid, and will probably remain so. His foreign-policy stance has been revealed as a fatuous failure, a triumph of wishes over objectivity. His approval / disapproval ratings are at historic lows for a president at this point in an eight-year tenure. The term "lame duck" applies well to him, despite the ten months yet to elapse before the midterm elections.

But Obama doesn't like being balked. There's that "I've got a pen, and I've got a phone" stuff to think about. He's likely to try a lot of rule-by-decree. Republicans on Capitol Hill and nominal conservatives on the Supreme Court appear disinclined to take exception.

To make government-by-ukase work, Obama and his allies, of which there are many at both the federal and the state levels, must suppress dissent and intimidate opponents. The stories linked in the previous section provide examples of the suppressive tactics that have already been put in play. No doubt there are others yet to be deployed.

I see a tyranny of the minority taking shape. No matter how I squint, I find it difficult to see anything else. A tyranny of that sort is unstable. Under the pressure of the dynamic of power-seeking and the swelling resentments of the oppressed, it will devolve into either a self-perpetuating oligarchy or a violent revolution. Sometimes the former outcome is only a precursor to the latter.

How are your civil-disorder and economic-upheaval preparations looking just now?

"When we see a lot of framed timbers, different portions of which we know have been gotten out at different times and places, and by different workmen...and when we see those timbers joined together, and see that they exactly make the frame of a house or a mill, all the tenons and mortises exactly fitting, and all the lengths and proportions of the different pieces exactly adapted to their respective places, and not a piece too many or too such a case we find it impossible not to believe that...all understood one another from the beginning, and all worked upon a common plan or draft, drawn up before the first blow was struck."— Abraham Lincoln, deducing from objective evidence the blueprint of a political plot to save the institution of slavery. [From Garet Garrett's essay "The Revolution Was"]

When the writing on the wall is as bold and unambiguous as it's become in recent weeks, there's little excuse for not bracing oneself against what's likely to come. The minority in power won't give up easily. Adverse action by Congress won't daunt it. Adverse rulings from federal courts won't dissuade it. Massive public demonstrations are more likely than not merely to harden its resolve and intensify its suppressive measures.

Historically, a regime bent upon securing its power in perpetuity would mount an initiative to disarm and disperse its subjects, in the name of "public safety." Confiscation of privately owned firearms on any quasi-plausible pretext. Heavily armed and armored patrols on city streets. Curfews and ordinances against unlicensed public gatherings of more than a handful of persons. You know, the way the Feds guaranteed the safety of Bostonians.

The window of opportunity in which Americans could still defang our vampiric overlords is steadily closing. If we repose our hopes in the midterm elections, it's likely to slam shut on our fingers. Remember how adept the Left is at electoral fraud and voter intimidation.

Read Clark's article at Popehat one more time. Ponder his assessment of our circumstances, and his diagnosis of the "connected / not connected" divide. You don't have to endorse the remedy he advocates. Can anyone sincerely believe, given all that's transpired and all that impends, that "the system" as it stands can be reformed by written criticism, public protests, and elections?

But if not those things, then what? The minoritarians who ride roughshod over us control all the most intimidating mechanisms and instruments of force. Absent a nationwide uprising, forcibly evicting them from their perches seems next to impossible -- and revolution is a dangerous game; it nearly always eventuates in more oppression, not less, albeit at the hands of a different set of masters.

The regime atop the Soviet Union fell because it had lost confidence in itself. Accordingly, the Russians were able to displace that tyranny without a great deal of bloodshed; their former masters were half-relieved at no longer having the responsibility for correcting the debacle the USSR's economy had become. Do we have any comparable prospect?

Please forgive me if I've frightened you, Gentle Reader. Fear is contagious, and this morning I find that I'm rather frightened myself.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Turning point.

An unmistakable rejection of the past two thousand years is visible everywhere.
"An air of revolution ." By Tiberge, GalliaWatch, 1/23/14.

Life, Humanity, Freedom Of Speech, And Other Matters Of Little Or No Importance

Yes, there are still a few differences between the Democrat and the Republican Parties. To the Democrats, abortion is "health care:"

Thousands of pro-life activists donned scarves, gloves and knit hats Wednesday to brave the blowing snow and arctic temperatures on the Mall as the 41st March for Life was punctuated by an unusually blunt exchange between the Republican and Democratic Party leaders that signaled a shifting fight for female voters.

Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz opened the barrage, accusing her GOP counterpart, Reince Priebus, of rallying “against women’s rights” and assailing Republicans for spending “more time fighting to restrict the rights of women to make their own health care choices.”

Moreover, they don't want to hear any backtalk:

The Republican Party candidates are running against the SAFE Act — it was voted for by moderate Republicans who run the Senate! Their problem is not me and the Democrats; their problem is themselves. Who are they? Are they these extreme conservatives who are right-to-life, pro-assault-weapon, anti-gay? Is that who they are? Because if that’s who they are and they’re the extreme conservatives, they have no place in the state of New York, because that’s not who New Yorkers are.


Today, as we reflect on the 41st anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, we recommit ourselves to the decision’s guiding principle: that every woman should be able to make her own choices about her body and her health. We reaffirm our steadfast commitment to protecting a woman’s access to safe, affordable health care and her constitutional right to privacy, including the right to reproductive freedom. And we resolve to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies, support maternal and child health, and continue to build safe and healthy communities for all our children. Because this is a country where everyone deserves the same freedom and opportunities to fulfill their dreams. [ Barack Hussein Obama ]

Abortion is "health care?" Really? "For whom?" I hear you ask. Certainly not for the baby whose life is about to be snuffed out. It's pretty dubious for the unwilling mother-to-be, too; a great many such live with negative consequences, physical, emotional, or both, for the rest of their lives. To a non-Democrat, the matter admits of deeper, more compassionate consideration:

With a message coordinated with the march, Mr. Priebus and his Republican charges shot back at the Democratic efforts to paint the GOP as extreme and unfriendly to women.

“I attended the March for Life to show both my personal and the Republican Party’s respect for life and to celebrate adoption,” Mr. Priebus told The Washington Times. “As a party, we believe life is a gift worth protecting, and the march is an important cause.”

As it happens, the March was well attended despite the snow, the bitter cold, and the disapproval of the Left:

Last year's March was estimated at 500,000 attendees. I haven't yet located an estimate of yesterday's attendance, but it seems certain to have reached six figures, at least.

Did tens of thousands of Americans, many of them young women, brave extreme weather to demonstrate "against women's rights?" Are they really opposed to "health care?" Or is something else in progress that the Democrats and their handmaidens in the Main Stream Media would prefer not to discuss?

A good question.

T. L. Davis has been knocking them out of the park lately. Yesterday's emission was no exception:

The Marxist obsession with death is striking. There is a blood lust to it. When they describe it, it is always as some form of ultimate good. Whether in the form of euthanasia, or abortion, or Obamacare death panels, they are always getting rid of those that don't fit into their humanistic, Godless society.

It is social planning that ultimately puts the figurative gun to the head of millions of citizens. We have all seen the pictures of the holocaust. The Jews were "wrecking" the ability of Germany to economically recover from World War I. The political opponents of Stalin were "wrecking" the benefits of communism by failing to produce enough for the people. Obamacare will eventually find that old people "selfishly" requiring too many services and not contributing to the treasury will be "wrecking" the health care system. Marxism always comes with an enemy, even when those enemies are as inoffensive as unborn children, the mentally handicapped or the elderly.

The underlying sense of it all is that being human is subjective with bureaucrats making the distinction. The most important aspect of Marxism is the bureaucracy for this very reason. There are accounts of the average Russian believing that if "Stalin knew what was going on, he would be furious and put a stop to it." Stalin depended on the bureaucracy to protect his narcissistic image. Sound familiar?

There is no conceptual or ethical space between what Davis refers to as "Marxists" and those aligned with the American Left. To a leftist, all subjects, including the most private and intimate, are political: "The personal is political" is their slogan, after all. That includes mammalian taxonomy: a human life is what they say it is.

It has to be that way for them to carry out their program:

Bone marrow stem cell transplants save the lives of thousands each year and have been performed for more than four decades. The medical therapies developed from stem cell research (SCR) have produced successful results far beyond our expectations.

With all this scientific success and with more than 15,000 patients benefiting from SCR each year, why are some people apoplectic? The answer is both simple and perplexing. The scientific breakthroughs and the medical therapies have all come from adult stem cells and none as yet have come from embryonic stem cells. Rather than welcoming the results and pursuing support for what works, there are paradoxically increasing demands for the recognition and funding of embryonic SCR.

A dangerous combination of political and social ideology is determined to make embryonic SCR succeed. The problem is an apparent obsession with destroying human life to provide medical therapies. Looking from the outside, one might imagine that embryonic SCR supporters are advocating a pagan ritual of human sacrifice to treat disease?


As Lynde Langdon reported in "Miracle cells" (World, February 5, 2005):

The National Institutes of Health has shunned her grant applications three times. In one grant review, a fellow scientist commented that her stem cells come from tissue inside umbilical cords, not days-old embryos. ‘We already have a good source of stem cells,’ the grant reviewer wrote, ‘Why do we need another?'

Ms. Langdon further writes:

The NIH . . . has funded only 30 projects involving stem cells from umbilical cords. In contrast, it has funded 634 projects involving embryonic stem cells.

As I wrote at Eternity Road nine years ago:

The "why" of it is simple enough. It's an item on a checklist:
  • Abortion without restrictions.
  • Assisted suicide.
  • Involuntary euthanasia of those deemed untreatable or having "no quality of life."
  • Compulsory surrender of the organs of the deceased for transplantation.
  • Creation of embryos for research and therapeutic purposes.
  • Government-enforced "triage" to conserve medical and financial resources.
  • Compulsory acceptance of specified therapies.
  • Procreation licenses.
  • Government eugenics programs:
    • At first, as subsidies to couples with favored genetic characteristics;
    • Later, as compulsory donations of gametes for use in government-supervised breeding programs.
  • Conscription for military purposes.
  • Conscription for non-military purposes.

The overarching theme of all these measures, about half of which are already in place in various Western countries, is that human life has no intrinsic value and bears no intrinsic rights. By corollary, the individual's life does not belong to him, but to the State. The deliberate creation of human embryos in government-funded research centers, despite the revulsion it evokes from more than half the population of this country, is directly in line with this campaign. It's apparently the number-one goal of the pro-death forces at this time, despite lack of any indication of scientific or medical utility.

If we are the property of the State, then we have no rights of any kind. Property cannot have rights, for the quintessential characteristic of an item of property is its owner's right to dispose of it however he pleases. That includes the right to destroy it.

Think about it.

Despite the Main Stream Media's determination to suppress the trend, the American people are steadily trending toward the legal restriction of abortion. It would appear that the Left's attempt to conflate abortion with "health care" has run out of gas. Demographic factors might play a significant role: pro-life women out-reproduce pro-choice women by a considerable margin. Also, the country is aging, and people do become more conservative as they age. But there's also a moral awakening in progress: a slow but steady return to what the Left would call "reactionary values," including the valuation of human life as a sacred gift.

There's only one way the Left can counter such trends: they must be shouted down, vilified, and made to seem the attitudes of monsters. Indeed, they must be denied the right to speak at all. Here's the Left's gospel on the subject, from Herbert Marcuse himself:

Liberating tolerance, then, would mean intolerance against movements from the Right and toleration of movements from the Left. As to the scope of this tolerance and intolerance: ... it would extend to the stage of action as well as of discussion and propaganda, of deed as well as of word....

Such extreme suspension of the right of free speech and free assembly is indeed justified only if the whole of society is in extreme danger. I maintain that our society is in such an emergency situation, and that it has become the normal state of affairs. Different opinions and 'philosophies' can no longer compete peacefully for adherence and persuasion on rational grounds: the 'marketplace of ideas' is organized and delimited by those who determine the national and the individual interest. In this society, for which the ideologists have proclaimed the 'end of ideology', the false consciousness has become the general consciousness--from the government down to its last objects. The small and powerless minorities which struggle against the false consciousness and its beneficiaries must be helped: their continued existence is more important than the preservation of abused rights and liberties which grant constitutional powers to those who oppress these minorities....

[1968 Postscript:] As against the virulent denunciations that such a policy would do away with the sacred liberalistic principle of equality for 'the other side', I maintain that there are issues where either there is no 'other side' in any more than a formalistic sense, or where 'the other side' is demonstrably 'regressive' and impedes possible improvement of the human condition.

The above was written in 1965 and 1968. Dismiss it if you please. I cannot.


The leadership in China has managed to create a propaganda bubble of epic proportions: Chinese leaders are supposed to have a long-term view that puts the West to shame.

Alas, the secret view of China's leadership is considerably shorter-term: U.S. dollars in Swiss bank accounts, real estate in Vancouver, San Francisco, New York City, London, Geneva, etc. and whatever other assets can be scooped up with looted billions.

Corruption isn't just abstract: Much of China's building boom will not last a generation, much less a long-term timeline. This toppled tower is an apt metaphor for China's financialized crony-capitalist credit bubble and its shoddy corruption-riddled construction: [photo of tall apartment building that has fallen on its side].

All this, mind you, from communists whose predecessors killed millions telling us everything they did was for the people, the people.

Until recent years, wasn't our own country relatively free of this kind of corruption? Wasn't there something in our basic moral structure that at least kept this sort of skimming down to a dull roar? I dunno. LBJ entered Congress a man of modest means, did he not? Yet he became rich in Washington. Not on his salary, you can be sure. Harry Reid apparently acquired property in Nevada, transferred it to a silent partner, and then got legislation passed that increased the value of that property, at least according to the Rush Limbaugh gag commercial. Hillary made something like $99,000 out of an initial $1,000 trading commodities and magically managed to time some of her trades at within in millimeters of the top or the bottom of the day's trading.

Corruption will always be with us wherever there are government favors to be given out, and the more laws and regulations that restrict business the higher the price that business will pay for special legislative treatment. Still, things seemed more regular here in the U.S. In legal practice, I found the courts to be fair and the judges attentive to the requirements of the law. They were class acts, though one did cause some amusement one day when his toupee threatened to become airborne when the A/C blew across it. Still a good guy, natch. I can't imagine any of them being on the take.

I still think there's something there. Something in the remnant of the culture. The numbers of people living off the taxpayers' dime portends something bad, however. That's a different type of corruption we've seen since the New Deal struck a match to that tinder.

"Two Powder Kegs Ready to Blow: China & India." By Charles Hugh Smith, Of Two Minds, 1/23/14.