Sunday, January 31, 2016

Of Tastes And The Disputation Thereof

     A few things you know about me already, just to “set the stage:”

  • I’m a cranky old bastard;
  • There’s no governor on my mouth;
  • I’ve been sharply critical of others many times;
  • On occasion, the criticism was occasioned by a matter of taste.

     I apologize for precisely none of the above. In fact, I glory in it. I’ll argue anything with anyone at any time, dress casual, weapons optional (nine millimeter and below, please; my body armor won’t stop anything heavier). But even one as opinionated as I will concede that certain things are beyond anyone’s presumptions of authority. These things are called “tastes.”

     “Chacun a son gout,” say the French. “De gustibus non disputandum est,” chorus the ancient Romans. “Of tastes, there is nothing written,” agrees the Talmud...though that last item does seem to contradict itself a wee bit. If there’s anything more widely agreed upon than the inarguability of tastes, it must be the pointlessness of the Yankees’ keeping Alex Rodriguez on the payroll merely as a platooned designated hitter. (Yes, they’ve done that before: Reggie Jackson. So what? It’s still a silly waste of money and a roster spot.)

     Yet, as the redoubtable Sarah Hoyt writes, we argue over tastes more often than any other subject:

     My first exposure to “people like different things” was over food and dad brought out that old chestnut “tastes can’t be disputed.” Which is of course nonsense because most of what we humans do is argue taste. Taste in the non-culinary sense, mostly.

     If we can’t rationally argue about tastes, why do we do so much of it?

     Well, there are probably a lot of reasons, but the ones that come to mind this fine Sunday morning in the year of Our Lord 2016 are as follows:

  • A strong taste for something can persuade the holder that others must like it – or ought to.
  • Particular tastes, as Sarah notes, are often embedded in and encouraged by the enveloping culture.
  • In social interaction, tastes can serve as surrogates for other choices, such as political positions.
  • Every society will possess sub-societes that exclude others, whether directly or indirectly, and differences in tastes are often used as quasi-justifications for such exclusion.
  • Sometimes, money is involved.

     Now, I happen to despise most hard liquors. For myself only. I’m not a “lips that touch liquor shall never touch mine” type. The C.S.O. consumes enough vodka and bourbon in a typical year to float a carrier battle group. (Say what? Of course that’s part of her strategy for putting up with me. You had to ask?) So, alongside the C.S.O.’s tippling supplies, I keep a modest stock of other liquors that I know to be favorites of the folks who most frequently visit us.

     That’s called being hospitable. It assumes differences in tastes and refuses to place one’s own preferences infinitely above the preferences of others. It’s what genial, convivial people do...or should.

     However, there are sectors of American society and its economy that reject the “no arguing over tastes” dictum for one of the reasons above. When the battle becomes particularly acrimonious, you can bet your last slug of Jack Daniel’s Old Number 7 that money is involved.

     Mind you, money needn’t be the only factor involved. Nor must it be the dominant one. But high levels of slander-slinging are a sure sign that it’s in there somewhere.

     The recent dustup over the Hugo Awards constitutes a good case for study. When I wrote last year that:

     Before the slanderers got their act into gear, a Hugo was a token that could bring a book increased sales. These days, it’s indifferent at best. Sometimes having “Hugo Award winner” on the cover has harmed a book’s sales, precisely because of the awareness of many SF readers that the awards process has been “colonized” by the activist Left. Perhaps the breakthrough success of “Sad Puppies 3” will change that; at any rate, it is to be hoped.

     ...I hadn’t thought the matter all the way through. The sort of hyperpoliticized garbage that’s dominated the awards in recent years sells indifferently at best. Books laden with actual story and interpersonal drama outsell it heavily. However, its authors might fear that without “Hugo Award Winner” or “Hugo Award Nominee” on the cover, it would sell more poorly yet.

     In this connection, consider how vociferously so many SF writers (and no few readers) rail against “romantic” science fiction. The more strident ones such as Vox Day seek to deny it any legitimacy whatsoever. And indeed, there are certainly examples of this crossbreed that aren’t honestly SF in any defensible sense. Yet this matter of taste obscures a consideration of greater objective import: the better examples of these SF / romance hybrids sell like beer at a BLEEP!ing ballgame – an Arizona ballgame – and not merely to the bored menopausal suburban housewife who wants a little something different in her pink-and-purple diet.

     Money, Gentle Reader. Money and the envy thereof. No one determined to be evenhanded could read Linnea Sinclair’s wonderful Down Home Zombie Blues or Hope’s Folly and deny that they’re both involving romances and rousing SF adventures. But the envious writer whose sales are limping along will be tempted to denigrate such books, especially if they don’t fit his tastes. Worse, if he has a chance of doing so, he’ll attempt to marshal exclusionary influences against such works: for example, by denying their authors access to the relevant professional organizations.

     Tastes, it seems, can be – and are – used to justify just about any other sort of prejudicial attitude. It happens more frequently than we might want to admit. It conceals motivations and emotions whose holders would rather remained unexamined, in some cases even by themselves. And while the stakes are usually small potatoes, the effects on egos can be considerable indeed.

Is Anger Sufficient Part 2: “The Law Of The Jungle”

     If there’s one particular, not quite front-page-above-the-fold atrocity of recent decades that deserves much greater attention, it would be the complete evisceration that’s been performed – indeed, is still being performed – upon education in the history of the world generally, and upon American history specifically. In writing my screeds, I tend to assume that my Gentle Readers will know 99% of what I know about history. When I allow myself to dust off that assumption and examine it closely, I usually find nothing wrong with it.

     But the Gentle Readers of Liberty’s Torch are an exceptional bunch. Nearly all of you are the creme de la creme of the politically engaged Web: top 1% of the class in intelligence, overall knowledge, and thoughtfulness. While I do get the occasional ignorant boor, he doesn’t tend to remain here for long. (Comment moderation appears to be the principal reason.)

     So this fine Sunday morning in the year of Our Lord 2016 – and what a year it’s proving to be, eh, sports fans? – I find my thoughts occupied by what you face when you leave here to commune with less bright, less knowledgeable minds. In particular, I find myself wondering how you would converse with someone who, out of mental dimness, ignorance, envy, wishful thinking, or just plain contrariness, is about to make a bad – i.e., bound to be destructive – decision.

     And thus is another tirade born.

     Anger that impels to violence isn’t something only Americans feel:

     Dozens of masked man went on an anti-immigrant rampage in Stockholm in an apparent retaliation for the stabbing death of a young Swedish woman at a refugee center earlier this week, local media reported.

     The crowd of some 40 to 50 people went on a violent spree on Friday night at around 9 p.m. local time in and around the Swedish capital’s main railroad station, according to the Aftonbladet daily. They were beating up anyone who didn’t look like ethnic Swede. The attackers were wearing black balaclavas and armbands, the video obtained by the tabloid showed.

     Clearly, those “40 to 50 people” – if the group wasn’t entirely male, I would be terribly surprised – were angry enough to do something. Was the something constructive? We won’t know for a while. Were the consequences thought through? There’s evidence that they were: the balaclavas, for instance. Also, the group proclaimed its motives and intentions:

     “They were scattering leaflets which had the intention to incite people to carry out crimes,” Stockholm police confirmed in a statement on its website.

     The leaflets accused police of failing to deal with immigrants-related crimes – particularly those committed by gangs of foreign youths – or protect Swedish society....

     “[W]e refuse to accept the destruction of our once to safe society,” it added. “If the Swedish streets are no longer safe for Swedish men and women, it is our duty to take action.”

     That’s solid evidence that the group thought through the consequences of its actions. In effect, they asserted their right and intention to defend their country against invasion, a job from which the Swedish government has abdicated. It also undercuts the implication of the mealy-mouthed “They were beating up anyone who didn’t look like ethnic Swede” statement. I’d bet you any odds that if anyone other than a young Middle Eastern male was roughed up, it was entirely by accident.

     As an example of constructive, properly thought out anger in action, this incident is hard to beat.

     If you’ve ever heard a teacher or comparable authority figure orate about “the law of the jungle,” the odds are about 99 to 1 that he’d applied the phrase to a state of affairs that didn’t remotely deserve it. Perhaps the following fictional example of what I mean will make it clear:

     It was an ordinary July evening in Onteora: hot, damp, the air too still, the black gnats too numerous. Most of the city's residents had retreated behind closed doors and powered up their air conditioners, then turned their television sets up high to mask the compressor noise. On an unlit street in the abandoned part of the city, Joseph Follett and Lafayette Buskey were enjoying a special pleasure, raping a teenage girl who had wandered onto their turf.
     They had cut away her jeans and panties, stuffed the scraps of the panties into her mouth, and bound them there with a double winding of packing tape. Buskey knelt on her arms and held a knife to her throat while Follett violated her at his leisure. They had changed places once already. Perhaps they would do so again before the fun was over. Neither had bothered to conceal or disguise his face.
     They had been at it perhaps ten minutes when a quiet patter of footsteps from the far end of the street alerted the merrymakers that they were not alone. Both looked up to see the onrush of a short, slight figure, bearing down upon them.
     Buskey had turned toward the sound but had not yet risen when the runner braked and planted. His right foot lashed out in a powerful placekicker's arc, catching Buskey squarely beneath the jaw. The snap of Buskey's spine resounded the length of the street. He flipped backwards and lay on the sidewalk, twitching spasmodically.
     Follett had pulled away from the girl, drawing his own knife. The runner turned to face him.
     "Keep back, motherfucker."
     The runner made no reply. He advanced.
     Follett dropped into a knife-fighter's crouch. He kept both hands well out in front of him, daring the man to come within slashing distance. The runner halted and watched him, apparently relaxed.
     "So this is your idea of a high old time, eh, asshole?" The runner's voice was soft. The darkness concealed his face. "Wait till some defenseless girl wanders by, take her down, rape her a few times, then gut her like a deer? Not much to take home from it, though. Not like a Grand Avenue mugging or a good B and E."
     The young tough snarled. "What do you know about B and E?"
     The runner's eyebrows rose. "Isn't that how you make your living?" He gestured at Follett's crotch. "I mean, that thing dangling from your fly isn't big enough for you to make it as a gigolo."
     Upon being reminded that his dick was still hanging out of his jeans, Follett looked down at his crotch.
     The runner whirled and kicked again. His toe caught the elbow of Follett's knife arm. The elbow cracked and bent the wrong way, and the knife flew from the hand that held it. The young thug spun and dropped to the pavement with a piercing shriek, clawing at the rough asphalt.
     The runner stepped forward to stand over his victim. Stray rays from the headlights of a car passing on a connecting street revealed the runner's expression. It was that perfection of rage that resembles perfect calm.
     "Well, so much for the muggings and B and Es. Think you can make a living as a rapist? I mean, you're going to need a new helper and all. Maybe two or three. Big nut to carry."
     The runner straddled Follett's body and lowered himself to a squat, all but sitting on the thug's belly.
     "Who the fuck are you, man? You got no business here!" Follett's voice was an agonized hiss.
     The runner pursed his lips. "Business? No. I was just out for a walk, and it went on a little longer and farther than I intended. I don't get into the city much. It's not my favorite place. But here I am, and here you are, and thereby hangs a tale."
     He paused and sighed. "I knew you were going to kill that girl when you were done with her. If I hadn't been sure of that, maybe I would have handled it another way. Or maybe not. Not that it matters now. May God have mercy on your worthless soul."
     Follett's pain had not displaced all his fear and hatred. He surged in a last attempt to throw his assailant off him as he scrabbled for his knife.
     The runner's right hand arrowed at Follett's face. The heel of that hand crashed into the bridge of Follett's nose, driving the bone into his forebrain with the impact of a well-thrown spear. The rapist's body spasmed once and was still.
     The runner waited for perhaps a minute, peering into the slack face for any indication that the body might still house life. When he was satisfied, he pulled the jeans off Follett's corpse and brought them to the girl, who had remained where she'd been held. She seemed about sixteen, not especially pretty, and frightened beyond all ability to respond. Carefully, he pulled the makeshift gag from her mouth.
     "Where do you live?"
     "Eighty-two Devlin Boulevard," the girl whispered.
     He bent to help her stand, then offered her the jeans. "I'll take you home. Sorry I have nothing else to cover you with."
     She clung to him and began to keen. He coaxed her to step into the jeans, closed the fly and buttoned them at her waist, rolled up the legs so that she could walk, and escorted her down the street, one arm around her shoulders.
     The body of Joe Follett lay still in the middle of the street. On the sidewalk, the body of Lafe Buskey twitched at lengthening intervals as the life finished seeping out of it.

     [From On Broken Wings]

     “The law of the jungle” is on display in the above – but not in the response of “the runner” – the mighty Louis Redmond – to the scene upon which he happened and to which he applied a thorough and irrefutable response. What Louis did was to countervail “the law of the jungle” as it was being acted out before his eyes. So also was the response of the masked young Swedes at the Stockholm train station, albeit less directly.

     Saddam Hussein and his sons also practiced “the law of the jungle.” Think about it.

     “The law of the jungle” is that of the moral vacuum: that state of affairs in which civilized laws and norms – i.e., the laws and norms of the Christian Enlightenment – have no (or inadequate) defenders. The conception separates societies ruled by mere force from those in which “rule,” as such, is rooted in the Enlightenment principle of individuals’ rights as superior to the claims of power and groups, married to the Christian Law of General Benevolence. To dramatize this distinction, you need merely imagine how the above fictional citation would have read if Louis had gone from killing the two rapists to raping the girl himself.

     Yet the aforementioned “authority figures” who so carelessly sling about the phrase “the law of the jungle” would have tossed Louis the vigilante in with the rapists he executed, and the Stockholm vigilantes in with the Muslim rapists and molesters of a few days before. Feel free to ponder the agenda implied by such condemnations of the defense of the innocent.

     Righteous anger, as I wrote elsewhere this morning, is important, even imperative. We need that anger to energize and propel us. But it is not sufficient. We also need a properly thought out, trustworthy conception of what our acts will precipitate. Indeed, without that conception – and it had better be pretty widely agreed upon – our own anger could bring “the law of the jungle” down upon us.

     Time will tell whether the Stockholm vigilantes have accurately foreseen the consequences of their actions. If they succeed in shaming many more Swedish men into taking part in the defense of Sweden against “the law of the jungle” – i.e., the invasion of Muslim “refugees” being facilitated by “their” government – likely all will ultimately be well. But should no such response materialize, conditions will deteriorate further. Thus, developments will tell us whether the vigilantes have judged their countrymen – at one time the most feared fighters in Europe – and their countrymen’s consciences. As for “their” government, all trust in it will soon have been withdrawn...which is exactly as it should be.

     “Art dogs,” he thundered, “or men? Ball-less wonders, castrates all? Hear me! Form ranks!

     [Frank Yerby, An Odor Of Sanctity]

National Review, Trump, and the new elite.

Gerry T. Neal, the erudite and thoughtful Canadian owner of the blog Throne, Altar, Liberty writes of the retreat of National Review from being the cutting edge of American conservatism and its recent decision to cast Donald Trump into the Outer Darkness for being a populist not a conservative.

The "predominate elites" who have done their best to undermine constitutional government, marriage, and the right to life are, he says, the same elites who have energetically exported jobs to the third world and imported workers from the third world.


That conservatives, of all people, should be opposed to policies that are radically changing the character of our countries, is something of which the present editors of National Review are clearly aware. They therefore do not argue for an outright open-borders position but instead complain that Donald Trump’s proposals are unworkable, his position irresponsible, and his rhetoric vulgar.
The question that remains, says Mr. Neal, is what does National Review really believe:
  1. in the old consensus on immigration that a nation has every right to control who enters and to keep the number of immigrants at such levels as they will not permanently transform the nation, in which case the objection to Trump is merely that he's a vulgar populist; or
  2. the new one-world, liberal consensus of open borders, in which case they're dishonest in trying to bring down "the first man in decades who seems capable of shattering the new, liberal, consensus?"

Alternative #1 makes no sense at all. If it's just that Trump's vulgar and a populist, then there would be plenty of evidence that National Review is an energetic champion of sealing the borders and deporting all illegals. If there is such evidence, I'm not aware of it but that doesn't mean much as it's been decades since I subscribed. I can guarantee, however, that most "conservatives" you see in the MSM are, at best, likely to be at most slightly miffed over the sophistry of "comprehensive immigration reform," the sellout inherent in "a path to citizenship," and the border that is at this moment still wide open while tens of thousands of U.S. troops patrol the borders of nations on the other side of the world.

Moreover. it's not that America doesn't lack for people who eat peas with a knife so it makes no sense to devote such energy and brain power to try bring Trump down. They protest too much.

Then, too, there's National Review's banishment of Peter Brimelow. He was and is a fierce and well-informed opponent of open borders and the magazine didn't get rid of him because his tie didn't match his socks.

And don't forget my own running compilation of anti-Trump invective, which invective borders on the scurrilous and to which National Review luminaries have contributed some choice examples. No. Trump has touched a raw nerve running down the leg of the globalist elites and their step-and-fetch-its have leaped to do their bidding.

Neal also has a clever take on the liberals movement out of the traditional consensus on immigration to paying lip service to it to their current position now that the full catastrophe of nation-busting immigration is becoming abundantly clear. He's also instructive on where Enoch Powell and Jean Raspail entered the fray. Q.v. X 2.

Some clever person once observed that the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy, Roman, nor an empire. I can't think of a similar witticism to capture the essence of National Review but it's enough perhaps to say that now the one-time conservative flagship isn't conservative and it isn't a flagship. I suppose it occasionally stumbles over a conservative thought just like the political establishment occasionally seems to consider the interests of the founding (i.e., white) people of this U.S. A feature not a bug.

The failure to consider the interests of the majority population and the interminable fawning over minorities and foreigners who either despise us, wish to live as parasites, or take our jobs has finally registered with what looks like a rather formidable collection of whites (and some minorities) who think, correctly, that they and the country they love are being prepared for a suffocating transformation in something unrecognizable and, shall I say it, distinctly un-American. Populism takes root in such circumstances where the elites become as disconnected with their "own" as they have in the last 50 years.

Trump is the current embodiment of this gathering rage but no one in the ranks of the smug elite should think this rage will abate. If the RNC can connive at Trump's defeat this time around the Trumpinator will "be back" as a new and more powerful version. Maybe with a different face.

This foolishness has gotten very old indeed.

[1] "A Question of Style and Substance." By Gerry T. Neal, Throne, Altar, Liberty, 1/27/16.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Is Anger Sufficient?

     “If you are to rule France, you must learn restraint. Keep cool in battle or in sports. Be angry, but in cold blood.” – Alexandre Dumas pere, The Man In The Iron Mask

     Quite a number of commentators have noted that the rise and persistence of Donald Trump at the front of the crowd of aspirants to the Republican presidential nomination speaks to his willingness to orate on specific things that are making many Americans angry. Before Trump, the theory runs, no one with an adequate platform from which to declaim had, in the words of Faye Dunaway’s character from Network, “articulated the popular rage.”

     There’s some substance there. There are also echoes of Nixonian “silent majority” thinking to it, though the silent majority wasn’t so much angry as displeased with Great Society social policy and desirous of changes.

     Anger is a motivating force. At the low end, where it’s more commonly called irritation, it’s the source of a great many transient frustrations and the reason for no small number of largely avoidable discourtesies. At the high end, where the words fury and rage become applicable, its power can be great enough to take a life...or break a nation.

     Yes, many of us are angry. I’m certainly one such. Moreover, the subjects that elicit truly great ire from us are relatively few: the illegal-immigration mess and its consequences for public safety and order; the explosion of privileged groups claiming special rights as “victims;” and the general sense that “our” government holds us in contempt. As justifications for anger, these are better than most, especially given how deeply the source of our anger, the federal government, mulcts us to pay for our own multi-pronged oppression.

     The United States approaches a threshold whose exact placement cannot be known beforehand: the point at which a sufficient number of us are sufficiently furious to rise against Washington, depose our political class by force, hang the worst offenders, and indulge in a little therapeutic looting, vandalism, and mass murder.

     If you’re not frightened by that prospect, check your pulse. If you can’t detect it, lie down and tell the nearest benevolently inclined person to summon the county coroner.

     Anger is sufficient to accomplish a lot of destruction. It’s not good for much else.

     I recall, many years ago, reading an exchange between some moderately well-known apostle of revolution – moderately well-known then, not now – and an opinion monger for a regional paper. As was commonplace back then, the revolutionary was incensed at “the system.” He decreed its destruction, root and branch. He would countenance no half measures; the entire edifice of American society, he said, was irreclaimably rotten and must be swept away.

     The commentator put a question to him:

     Commentator: And what would replace the system as you see it?
     Revolutionary: I don’t know, but anything would be better than what we have now.

     Ponder that, Gentle Reader. It’s been a common attitude among rage-filled revolutionaries for centuries, though they seldom articulated it quite that clearly. To be fair, many of them did have a post-upheaval vision. However, those visions were nearly all much rosier than what reality imposed upon them. There’s a moral in there, somewhere.

     The electoral impact of anger gave us Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama. In all three cases, the prior administration had done something to elicit wider and stronger disapproval than any milder reproof would have served. We didn’t suffer much from our pique at Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. There have been considerable adverse consequences from the Clinton regime, though most don’t become visible to any particular American until they’re visited upon him personally. As for the Obama regime, though the bills are still being totaled, they’re already high enough to throw into question the survival of America as we know it.

     Commenters here and elsewhere have opined that the Republic has already fallen. In this they may be correct; I tend to think so, myself. However, most such commenters have proceeded thence to say something along the lines of “if we’re to be ruled by a dictatorial son of a bitch, let’s make sure he’s our dictatorial son of a bitch.” That’s anger speaking in its least reflective tone.

     The United States won’t be a happy dictatorship, even should the dictator follow policy directions that please the majority of us. We are both unaccustomed to and unfriendly toward subjugation. Moreover, it’s the immediate impulse of every dictator, once he rises to power, to eliminate all possibility of overthrow or resistance. He reaches for the public’s means thereof – its private firearms and its means of private communication – to ensure that any opposition’s plans will be known to him and any move made toward displacing him will be futile.

     This is the point at which the great majority of today’s angry Americans will say that “that can’t happen here.” That it already is happening – that important components of the program have already been completed – is lost on all too many.

     In Olaf Stapledon’s seminal novel Odd John, one of the true classics of science fiction, a superman character named Langatse declines to join a forming community of other, younger supermen, preferring to take his own life. It’s what he says to John, the novel’s central figure, that’s with me this morning:

     When John had reported this speech to me he said, "Then the old man broke off his communication with me, and also ceased prattling to Harry. Presently he thought to me again. His mind embraced me with grave tenderness, and he said, 'It is time for you to leave me, you very dear and godlike child. I have seen something of the future that lies before you. And though you could bear the foreknowledge without faltering from the way of praise, it is not for me to tell you.' Next day I met him again, but he was uncommunicative. At the end of the trip, when the Robinsons were stepping out of the boat, he took Harry in his arms and set him on the land, saying in the lingo that passed as Arabic with European residents, ''L hwaga swoia, quais ketir!' (the little master, very nice). To me he said in his thoughts, 'To-night, or perhaps to-morrow, I will die. For I have praised the past and the present, and the near future too, with all the insight that Allah has given me. And peering into the farther future, have been able to see nothing but obscure and terrible things which it is not in me to praise. Therefore it is certain that I have fulfilled my task, and may now rest.'"

     So also with your commentator this morning, though I certainly don’t intend my own death, and with God’s favor will persist to pester you all for a few years more.

     The fruit of uncontrolled anger is always bitter. Think about that before you throw your support to a man well supplied with anger and bluster, but no detectable principles and a record of blatant amorality.

     Have a nice day.

Bill Bonner, moron.

Bill Bonner's normally a source of many intelligent insights into economics and politics. Three days ago he chose, however, to characterize Sarah Palin as a "moron" for how she endorsed Donald Trump. She "fits in . . . somewhere" in the phrase "the poor, the despised, and the hopeless halfwits."

Let us determine who is the halfwit.

This is what Mr. Bonner says she says:

“Trump’s candidacy,” announced Ms. Palin, “it has exposed not just that tragic ramifications of that betrayal of the transformation of our country, but too, he has exposed the complicity on both sides of the aisle that has enable it, okay?”

What does that mean?[1]

We'll parse it for him.

First off, Palin's quoted above as saying "Trump's candidacy it has exposed . . . ," but she clearly intended to say "Trumps candidacy has exposed . . . ." However, she stumbled slightly over the word "candidacy" and chose to continue by starting over with "It has exposed." This is known as correcting errors on the fly or finding an alternate way to express one's thought, however slight the modification.

Bonner also quoted Palin inaccurately. Instead of writing that she said "has enable it" he should have quoted her as saying "has enabled it." He also failed to indicate there was a pause after "tragic" to indicate she was reformulating her thought and he failed to insert "the" before "ramifications."

So before he gets to any substantive objection to her words, Bonner fails to record Palin accurately in four ways. But Sarah Palin is the hopeless halfwit.

An accurate version would have been:

“Trump’s candidacy [. . . .]” Ms. Palin began, pausing briefly before continuing, “[I]it has exposed not just that tragic [. . . the] ramifications of that betrayal of the transformation of our country, but too, he has exposed the complicity on both sides of the aisle that has enable[d] it, okay?”
On the substance, Ms. Palin thinks there has been a transformation of the country and it's of a certain type that she thinks amounts to a betrayal on the part of those who effected it. "Betrayal of the transformation" is clearly understandable as "betrayal consisting of the transformation." This is an example of an ellipsis.

She goes on to say that both Republicans and Democrats have been working to effect this transformation. It can be inferred that she perhaps believes they might not have effected this separately but she comes right out and says they have nonetheless worked together on this and that this complicity has enabled the transformation. (Emphasis as she delivered it.)

So what Palin said is that Trump's candidacy (1) has exposed the aforementioned ramifications of the betrayal and that "he" (2) exposed the complicity of those who effected it. So, there we have it. Palin's thought was quite clear and she erred only by using non-parallel structure by saying "he has exposed" rather than "it has exposed."

Bonner, however, is acting like an obtuse jackass in misquoting her then saying he can't make sense out of what she said.

Contrary to Bonner's Snarkschreib, Palin's thoughts are perfectly understandable and logical and, mirabile dictu, 100% correct on the effect of Trump's candidacy, the transformation amounting to a betrayal, and the complicity of both parties therein.

A certain Mr. Sam Leith, a "scholar of rhetoric" helped Bonner "deconstruct" what Palin said by, says Bonner, characterizing it as an “'anacoluthon,' which [Leith] describes as a sentence that 'sets off boldly in one direction and, with a wrench of grammar, jumps the tracks and ends up pointing in another.'” Maybe it's just me but that seems like a fancy way of saying that if one makes a grammatical error you can end up not expressing yourself clearly. Do we really need a 50-cent word for "grammatical error"?

The only "wrench of grammar" in what Palin said is the "he" rather than "it" error and Leith no more understood what Palin said than Bonner did. Leith, the "scholar of rhetoric," either doesn't know the meaning of "anacoluthon" or doesn't know how to recognize one. Maybe he meant "wench of grammar" which makes a certain kind of sense here, if you think about it.

Bonner goes on to say he still doesn't know what she meant to say but that "there's a disease that caused" her to say what she said and the name of that disease is the anacoluthon disease, which term does not describe a disease at all but some kind of extra reprehensible grammatical and/or logical error. Palin made no such error, unbeknownst to them, but they were so caught up in the novelty of their clever new word they never got around to clarifying what disease causes one to commit an anacoluthon.

So Bonner and Leith are the morons who fell in love with the cleverness of their low-rent attack and accidentally forgot to get around to parsing the substance of what Palin actually said. Palin's vibrant personality and unabashed love of America shine through throughout her speech which Bonner and Leith apparently mistook for stupidity. A common elite mistake.

Sarah Palin spoke for over 20 minutes with only occasional references to her notes and was coherent and understandable throughout. However, even she would rearrange some of the commas in the final result, as any person who has ever done any public speaking can do. Even when you talk before Rotary and not on national television you don't always get it just right.

But that doesn't make you a moron.

This cheap attempt at making Palin look foolish (by people who came out looking like asses for their own errors) reminds me of Vice President Quayle. Everybody "knew" what a moron he was, just like all the top people now "know" what a moron Palin is.

Except they're not.

[1] "In Praise of Sarah Palin…" By Bill Bonner, Bonner & Partners, 1/26/16.

Bonner is also mystified by the meaning of "stump for Trump." Really, Bill? These ladies know what it means to "stump for" someone. Bonner also objects to Palin's alleged neologism "squirmish" (and an earlier "refudiate"). See paragraph above on the realities of public speaking. Maybe, even, like Pee-wee Herman, she meant to do that.

H/t: Acting Man.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Quickies: A Tirade About Competence

     Time was, you could reliably assume that people are able to do what they claim they can do – in many cases, what they’d taken money to do. It was an essential premise of American culture – that’s American culture, not some transnational progressive fairy-tale that involves excusing every deficiency, intellectual, physical, or moral under the Sun – that no one would represent himself inaccurately to someone poised to pay him for his performance.

     Time was.

     One of my retirement activities is “flipping” real estate properties: purchasing them, doing whatever work is required to render them marketable at their full assessed value, and reselling them. I’m pretty good at it. But to do it at a profit requires accurate information about the properties involved. Among other things, I need to know what are usually called the “carrying charges” on a property. As I only purchase in cash, that’s mainly the property taxes and average annual utility and maintenance costs.

     I’m becoming incensed at the number of sellers and sellers’ representatives who can’t – or won’t – give me that information. Today I hit seven in a row. Each of them professed ignorance. Each of them wanted to know if he could call back. Each of them wanted to tell me about some other property that might be better suited to my needs: this without knowing the first thing about me, my “needs,” or any other aspect of my inquiry. I wound up turning off my phone and answering machine and contemplating some lower-stress pastime – say, crack dealer.

     Is it possible that that many people are unaware of the necessities involved in selling real estate? Or is this a manifestation of the new “playing coy” style in commercial interaction, in which pretense and artful indirection are regarded as sales tools?

     Sheesh. Some days, it’s just not worth chewing through the leather straps.

Quickies: To Those Who Watched The Debate Last Night I wouldn’t need to do so, a few questions:

  • Was it an unrelieved slander match, or were serious issues and what to do about them seriously discussed?
  • Who, if anyone, addressed:
    • The destruction of the dollar?
    • The emasculation of our strategic deterrent?
    • The subordination of all military priorities to “diversity” and political correctness?
    • Federal courts’ penchant for making their own laws – or rewriting existing ones to produce a particular judicial result?
    • The concept of a business that government must prop up because it’s “too big to fail?”
    • The rightness of a “We Reserve The Right To Refuse Service To Anyone” declaration?
    • The negative correlation between intensity of gun control and public safety?
    • The inappropriateness of federal involvement in education at any level?
    • The absolute nature of every recognized individual right?
    • The limits of the electoral franchise?
  • Whose answers to moderators’ questions were direct and candid?
  • Who behaved in the most gentlemanly fashion?
  • Who exhibited the worst behavior?
  • Who eschewed a tie?
  • Who “won?”

     Let me know in the comments section. Politely, please, and without going off on an interminable tirade – that’s my privilege here – or flacking for your preferred candidate or cause.

Quickies: Does Anyone Have A Spare Bunker-Buster?

     Albany, NY delenda est:

     After years of helping hide Albany corruption, a band of loose-cannon bureaucrats has taken on a new mission: “regulating” the First Amendment.

     The state Joint Commission on Public Ethics just passed an absurd rule ordering anyone paid to talk to editorial boards about public issues to register in Albany as a lobbyist.

     “Any attempt by a consultant to induce a third-party — whether the public or the press — to deliver the client’s lobbying message to a public official would constitute lobbying,” says the new JCOPE rule.

     Specifically, a consultant “who contacts a media outlet in an attempt to get it to advance the client’s message in an editorial would also be delivering a message,” even if indirectly. JCOPE boss Daniel Horwitz calls this “reasonable regulation of speech.”

     They “regulate” our Second Amendment rights down to a nullity and get away with it. How could anyone have thought they wouldn’t eventually try the trick on the First Amendment?

     Forget the bunker-buster. Death by explosive compression or shrapnel bombardment is far too good for these bastards. It’s time to hang a few of them – dangle-and-strangle hangings, not drop hangings. Recorded and televised on YouTube, pour encourager les autres. I’m thinking of seeing to it personally.

Quickies: For My Christian Readers

     At Dystopic’s excellent site, in a discussion of the famous episode wherein Jesus drove the “moneychangers and sellers of doves” from the Temple vestibule, I commented to this effect:

     You’ve cited one of the most misunderstood of all the episodes in the Gospels. Here are the elements the story doesn’t tell explicitly, because they were common knowledge when it was written:
  1. No one was permitted into the Temple without two things:
    • a fee paid in special, Temple coinage;
    • a sacrificial animal.
  2. The Temple was the seat of Jewish religious power and status:
    • power because to the extent that the Jews of Judea were permitted “home rule,” the authority was vested in the Sanhedrin, Judea’s high religious council;
    • status because being known as a faithful attendant at the Temple was the key to social status in Jerusalem, which correlated with the favor of the Sanhedrin and access to the tetrarch.

     Thus, the “moneychangers and sellers of doves” in the vestibule assisted the Sanhedrin in mulcting Jewish worshippers, who had no effective comeback at them or their enablers. When the Sanhedrin’s “secret police” learned of a wealthy or well-to-do Jew who refrained from Temple worship, they’d put the screws to him by threatening him with a charge of heresy or blasphemy. Alternately, they’d threaten to denounce him to his neighbors as irreligious, which could get him ostracized at best, killed at worst.

     Classical Judea, especially under Roman occupation, was not a very nice place.

     But it appears that though I was informed about most of the details of this extortionate practice, there was one I’d never heard about, mentioned by commenter Friar Bob:

     You missed a rather important detail, Fran. Many people brought their own animals and were TURNED AWAY unless they “upgraded” to a “higher quality” animal sold by the local scalper.

     It was — as with many things the Pharisees and Sadducees did — a gross misuse of scripture, in this case Malachi’s condemnation for bringing the sick and the lame. Malachi’s condemnation was still valid, of course, but they took it way too far and used it as an opportunity to fleece the worshipers.

     And while yes people were ostracized for heresy (and/or “heresy”) that’s going to happen in ANY theocracy. Of and by itself, that’s not even a bad idea. Unfortunately when corrupt humans are running said theocracy, that turns what could be a theoretically good idea into a hideous nightmare.

     Truly, Judea in the time of the Redeemer must have been nightmarish. And there’s no hour of the morning too early to learn more about one’s faith. And of course, one should always remember the other lesson from this famous event:

     Words to live by!

Quickies: Say What? Dept.

     Though hard to believe, nevertheless it is the case – really! I’ve seen it close up! – that someone “dressed in a little brief authority” can be both:

  • Exceedingly stupid;
  • And unable to perceive his own stupidity, much less plumb its depth.

     The recent World Economic Form in Davos, a yearly gathering of would-be dictators whose self-awareness has been chemically suppressed if not surgically removed, is a fertile source for the emissions of such persons. These can be priceless – especially when they’re standing before a microphone straining to say something profound. Let the following serve as an example:

     An Internet of Women! What a marvelous idea! A single command-and-control system uniting all women everywhere, such that directives could be sent out, whether to an individual woman or “broadcast” to the female population of the world, swiftly effectuating whatever changes in mood, direction, or behavior the presumably male sender might desire! Do you suppose there’d be a smartphone app for that? I know what I’d do with it.

     I provided the link so you, Gentle Reader, can personally verify the truth of the utterly unbelievable thing I’m about to tell you. Braced? Open-topped containers of digitally-incompatible liquids well away from your keyboard? All right, here it is:

The WEF’s website featured the above as one of the best quotes from this year’s forum – in a session on “The Global Economic Outlook.”

     No doubt Madame Lagarde meant something other than my interpretation above, but she’s far too stupid to grasp what she really said. Then again, the International Monetary Fund has long been a pasture for the stupid-but-politically-connected who can’t be allowed some other, more visible and influential place in society, so perhaps this was to be expected.

You Can't Be Serious Department.

Netherlands Suggests Sending Refugees Arriving in Greece Back to Turkey."
H/t: Gates of Vienna.

"Disrespectful" is hardly the word.

Trevor Phillips, the former chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said it was disrespectful to assume that Muslim communities would change.

He told a meeting at the Policy Exchange think tank in Westminster on Monday that Muslims ‘see the world differently from the rest of us’.

According to The Times, he said: "Continuously pretending that a group is somehow eventually going to become like the rest of us is perhaps the deepest form of disrespect."

"Muslims are 'not like us' and we should just accept they will never integrate, says former racial equalities chief Trevor Phillips." By Mark Duell, Daily Mail, 1/27/16.

H/t: Gates of Vienna.

More anti-Trump hysteria.

Fifth in a series.

Trump strikes terror:

  • He’s a bloviating, egocentric, self-promoting, reality TV parody of himself. – Jim Quinn, The Burning Platform, 9/22/15.
  • Incapable of uttering a coherent idea. – Jim Kunstler, 9/28/15.
  • "[N]ot a person who should be given access to a military" – Charles C.W. Cooke, National, 9/24/15.
  • A preposterous little trust-fund wuss – Charles C.W. Cooke, National, 9/24/15.
  • Not really a “fighter” or an “alpha male” – Charles C.W. Cooke, National, 9/24/15.
  • A thin-skinned performance artist whose peculiar shtick falls to pieces the moment someone useful elects to return a punch – Charles C.W. Cooke, National, 9/24/15.
  • The Republican Al Sharpton. Trump promotes a "culture of irresponsibility." – Col. Ralph Peters, FOXNews, 10/19/15. Thank goodness we've avoided that!
  • "Trump is a clown. An actual buffoon." – Ben Stein, The American Spectator, 10/24/15.
  • "Donald Trump resembles Jesse Ventura in style, substance, and downfall"; "he’d be all bark, no bite"; "background as an entertainer." – Nicole Russell, The Federalist, 11/23/15.
  • He’s the ultimate personification of a variety of vices (greed, intemperance, gluttony, wrath, pride) that we have embraced as a culture . . . ." – Kathleen Parker, Washington Post, 11/27/15. Surely there is lust?
  • Displayed "a level of cruelty and meanness heretofore only suspected." – Kathleen Parker, Washington Post, 11/27/15.
  • Callous; a gargantuan ego; the mad mogul. – Kathleen Parker, Washington Post, 11/27/15.
  • He's "just the richest person with a foul mouth and a mean streak to stalk the podium." – Kathleen Parker, Washington Post, 11/27/15.
  • "[A]n extreme businessman who speaks in extreme language about extreme solutions for an angry world endangered by extremists. – Kathleen Parker, Washington Post, 11/27/15. Extremely insightful.
  • "[H]e is starting to sound a lot like Bonaparte, well aside from a similarly narcissistic convergence of America’s future with his own Napoleonic persona." – Victor Davis Hanson.
  • Wheeler-dealer – Victor Davis Hanson.
  • Incoherent – Victor Davis Hanson.
  • "He is a would-be Napoleon in similarly Napoleonic times that pundits and critics likewise cannot quite figure out . . . ." – Victor Davis Hanson. QED.
  • Pundits and critics "are attracted to him even as they dismiss him as a buffoon." – Victor Davis Hanson.
  • A "millionaire flamboyant reality-TV host." – Victor Davis Hanson.
  • "[R]acist, sexist, narcissist . . . ." – Ruth Marcus, Washington Post.
  • "Donald Trump is the Know-Nothing candidate of the 21st century and cannot be our nominee." – George Pataki, former N.Y. governor.
  • In just six months as a presidential candidate Trump has been called “witless, gross, and unworthy,” “ignorant and bombastic,” a “buffoon” and an “a--hole,” a “clownish demagogue,” and “proto-fascist” whose “ideas range from the absurd … to the monstrous,” and whose policy pronouncements are no better than “barstool eruptions.” And those are just his fellow Republicans’ opinions. – William Voegeli. (links omitted).
  • "But fact-checking Donald Trump is like picking up after a dog with diarrhea; there’s just not much point." – Steven F. Hayes, Weekly Standard, 7/18/15.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Quickies: Presidential Security

     Presidents used to be assassinated, you know. Four were killed in office; three survived close calls. Contrary to what I’d previously believed, I recently learned that though the formation of the Secret Service did occur shortly after the assassination of Lincoln, it was not in response to that event, but rather to address its other, less discussed duty: the suppression of counterfeit currency, which Lincoln’s “greenbacks” had made profitable at long last. All the same, after Lincoln, Garfield, and McKinley bit the big one, the USSS – say, that’s a pretty ominous acronym, isn’t it? – eventually took up responsibility for the protection of high federal officials. The most prominent case is, of course, the Presidential Detail.

     Yet presidential security remains ever on certain minds...most notably, the minds of presidents. So we get developments such as this one.

     But presidents continue to think themselves safer – better liked, at any rate – than they really are. Remember George W. Bush’s wholly unapproved – say, who “approves” the travels of presidents, anyway? – secret jaunt to Iraq to celebrate Thanksgiving with some American troops? The Secret Service had a whole herd of cows over that one. So the thinking goes ever on. Indeed, some of the proposals to ban so-called assault weapons have been founded on the security of the president, as a modern sniper rifle in the hands of an expert can “reach out and touch someone” from two miles away.

     There’s only one solution: to make the target effectively un-targetable. To do that, there’s only one approach that will work – and it isn’t to fortify the White House and keep the president a prisoner therein.

     Therefore the solution must be anonymization.

  • The identity of the man elected to the highest office in the land must be so perfectly obscured that he might be anyone passing on a public street.
  • The president himself must be compelled by statute law – not regulations; they’re too fluid, and too many presidents believe themselves empowered to grant exemptions from them – to wear anonymizing devices and garb at all times. (Yes, even in bed with his wife / husband / little bit on the side / catamite. It might spice up the First Couple’s evening activities.)
  • Accordingly, no one will know where the president is at any given moment.
  • When he speaks, no one will know whether it’s really the president speaking.
  • To make assurance triply sure, the president must never go in public except wearing a tracking anklet, a voice anonymizer he cannot remove, and a fully opaque burq’a.

     Amazing! If you don’t know which of 330 million residents of the Land of the Formerly Free really is the president, how can you take aim at him? But better yet, it would cut executive orders and presidential gasbaggery virtually down to zero. Why listen to anyone who claims to be the president if you can’t know for sure that he’s the real deal?

     Yes, it would make for a large change in the arrangements of the highest office in the land. But security! I mean, could anything be more important? So what if presidential egos would be severely wounded? I did say there’d be spinoff benefits, didn’t I?

     And you’d begun to wonder why you bother to read the self-important posturings of this supposed Certified Galactic Intellect! I shall smile broadly and pat myself enthusiastically upon the back as I await your no-doubt-thunderous accolades.

Quickies: On The State Of The American Left

     In one of his typically penetrating pieces on feminism, Stacy McCain deposeth and sayeth:

     There is no objective reason for the recent upsurge of radical feminism in the United States.

     I’ve been thinking about this since I first read it, and I find that I must disagree – not because I differ with McCain’s reason for thinking so, but because the reason I have in mind is quite different.

     A “movement” that sees that its fortunes are failing and fatally threatened will often exhibit “Battle of the Bulge” behavior: i.e., it will try one last-ditch, all-in and all-out push in a final attempt to reclaim its chances. During such a push, it will often:

  1. Appear much larger and stronger than it really is;
  2. Command wildly disproportionate attention from the media;
  3. Achieve temporary gains of “territory” that it will ultimately surrender.

     Of course, to the casual observer, the reality might not be apparent, and the results will cause many an “I should have known better” smacking of the forehead. (Equally of course, there’ll be pseudo-prognosticators who succeed in concealing their alarm until the results are in, at which point they’ll crow that they “knew it all along.”)

     “Surveys” that attempt to assess the state of popular opinion on controversial subjects – especially those where certain responses are likely to get you publicly vilified or worse – are notoriously unreliable. For the opponent of a totalitarian movement – contemporary feminism, contemporary “environmentalism,” the “social justice” idiocy, or any other – the path of caution is always to fight with maximum concentration and effort. But remember always that the prospects might not be as bleak as they look. Though that should “go without saying,” nevertheless saying it now and then is the rhetorical equivalent of a Jewish mother’s administration of chicken soup to her “feeling poorly” son: it might not help, but it can’t hurt. Besides, it gets one more leftover container out of the refrigerator.

Quickies: "Let Me Tell You About Smaug"

     Someone on The Federalist’s staff is a BLEEP!ing genius:

     I’m the best at talking to Sauron, I really am. Tough guy, tough negotiator but you really just have to have a man-to-man. Not like the people running Gondor, they’re stupid. I mean, how stupid are they? Now, my tower – and let me tell you, it’s the biggest, classiest tower, great views of the whole ring of stone and the forest and the river – I can get him on the line. Doesn’t answer anybody else, but when I want him, here’s there. I’ll be so good at dealing with him, it’ll make your head spin.

     See now Gandalf, that guy is a total failure. Very low in the polls. Can’t win Rohan, can’t win Gondor. Everywhere I go they tell me they are glad to get rid of him. How many towers has he built? He doesn’t even have his own house. Very low energy. His idea of a good hotel, you ever been to the Green Dragon? What a dump. Terrible mattresses. Good beer, you know, I give him that, I don’t drink but they tell me very good beer, but the place attracts a very bad crowd, not classy at all. Awful service. Gandalf is like – dwarves, hobbits, these guys in green smocks and stuff – I mean, I’m very open-minded, the dwarves love me, but this is who you ask to kill a dragon? You bring them in and they fight over gold, we need to make better deals and tell them to go get their own gold. Very bad deals!

     You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll fall down. It will change your life.

Quickies: You Say You Want A Man On Horseback?

     So did these men:

     “Even the iron hand of a national dictator is preferable to a paralytic stroke.” – Alf Landon, governor of Kansas and 1936 candidate for President, in a letter to newly elected president Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1933

     “If this nation ever needed a Mussolini, it needs one now.” – David Reed, United States Senator of Pennsylvania, on the floor of the Senate, 1933

     Both the above men were Republicans.

     Be careful what you wish for, little citizen. You might get it.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

An Unpleasant Obligation

     Now that the contretemps between Donald Trump and Fox News has reached a head, it’s time to lance the boil – but with facts and hard-edged logic.

     First, for those who are unaware, Trump has made it definite: He won’t be at the upcoming Fox Business Network debate:

     In the midst of an exchange like this, so definite a statement is a “put up or shut up,” to the other side – but also one for which the speaker can subsequently be taken to task should he alter his stance. You said you wouldn’t, yet you did? And there remains a good chance that Trump will attend the FBN debate – that negotiations continue privately, with the outcome still to be determined. Dana Loesch noted that this morning:

     Would it cost him any of his current level of support? Unclear, though as a test of the fidelity of his supporters it would be quite revealing. (I mean, it wouldn’t be like he shot someone in public, right? Right?)

     However, for our purposes this morning, the roots of the contretemps are more important than this most recent bud.

     As many who have followed developments will already know, Donald Trump feels he was unfairly targeted during his first FBN appearance, specifically by questions from Fox News’s Megyn Kelly. I didn’t watch that debate. (Nor any of those that followed. What I do here seriously overloads me with political effluvium; I don’t need concentrated, two- and three-hour doses of it to test my endurance.) But from what I’ve read about it, Kelly did aim sharply pointed questions at Trump specifically, whether at her own initiative or by direction from above.

     Apparently, the question that flicked Trump in a most sensitive spot concerned his attitude toward women:

     "You've called women you don't like 'fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals.' You once told a contestant on Celebrity Apprentice it would be a pretty picture to see her on her knees. Does that sound to you like the temperament of a man we should elect as president, and how will you answer the charge from Hillary Clinton, who is likely to be the Democratic nominee, that you are part of the war on women?"

     Another question that made him squirm – this time from Bret Baier – was whether he would support the ultimate GOP nominee if it weren’t Donald Trump. Given Trump’s three marriages, his conduct as a “reality TV” celebrity, and much other past behavior, the first question was well placed. Given the broad field of contenders, only one of whom could get the nomination, the second one was obligatory.

     Trump was affronted by Megyn Kelly’s inquiry and later made a dubious statement specifically about her: “You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes. Blood coming out of her wherever.” The reaction does “go to character,” as a trial lawyer might say, and character, as I might say, is trumps...though perhaps not Trump’s.

     “Great oaks from little acorns grow,” runs the maxim. From the modest beginning recalled above has flowered a feud whose borders entirely enclose the Republican Party...indeed, if not the Republic itself. If character matters in a president, then it matters very much how Trump’s behavior speaks to his character.

     In mulling over this noisy fracas, I’ve kept the following in mind:

  • Donald Trump, not Megyn Kelly, seeks the highest political office in the nation.
  • Donald Trump, not Megyn Kelly, is the source of the questionable behavior that prompted Kelly’s question cited above.
  • Donald Trump, not Megyn Kelly, Bret Baier, nor anyone else at Fox, is the one that wants the support of the Republican Party for his bid.

     Moreover, we’ve been here, or nearby, at least twice before. Though Trump has never actively sought any lower public office, he has twice previously bid for the GOP nod for presidency. His most recent attempt was in 2012, as an alternative to the more conventional Republican candidates. It went nowhere, but it demonstrates that he isn’t a man selflessly putting himself forward for the nation’s sake; he’s a man avid for power of a sort he hasn’t yet wielded.

     Trump’s 2012 and 2016 sallies have been for the GOP’s nomination. Yet throughout his career in the public eye, he’s supported and befriended high-ranking Democrats. He’s also benefited from the machinations of Democrats. At least one of his larger projects required land seized through eminent domain. His argument was the same as that made in the infamous Kelo v. New London case: more tax revenue for the municipality if it would do as he’d asked.

     This is not the behavior of a man of conservative, nor even Republican principles. This is the behavior of a man in love with himself. Who believes he can do no wrong. Who seeks ever higher podia, ever brighter klieg lights, and ever louder and more fulsome accolades. Whose inability to tolerate even the insinuation of criticism rivals that of Barack Hussein Obama, whom he seeks to replace.

     Much of Trump’s appeal undoubtedly derives from the lackluster (or worse) performance of Republican officials in recent decades. Though comparisons to Ronald Reagan can be wearying, they are inevitable and they’re not unfair; standards become standards for a reason. Neither Bush and approximately none of the Republicans who’ve reached Capitol Hill has much to crow about. The nation is in dire straits because the electorate turned from Half-Heartedly Big Government Republicans to the “real thing:” the unabashed social-fascist dictatorial pronouncements of Barack Hussein Obama. That the voters don’t much like what they’ve inflicted upon themselves (and the rest of us) doesn’t require them to go back to the party that, except for eight distinguished years, preached “white” but practiced “black.”

     So a complete outsider has appeal deriving from that alone – and when that outsider also has a record of substantial accomplishment and a flamboyant manner, the combination can get him to a velocity other candidates will be hard pressed to equal. But the question of greatest consequence has gone unanswered:

“What Do You Really Want, Americans?”

     Does character matter to you?
     What about the consistency of a man’s statements and behavior?
     How have your experiments with other unknown, untried aspirants to power worked out?

     For all the reasons stated here, I feel that interviewers and examiners are ethically obligated to be deeply incisive, perhaps even a little accusatory, toward Donald Trump. The obligation might chafe – few persons actually enjoy such duties -- but it remains nevertheless. The electorate needs to know the man who seeks the powers of the presidency. Softball questions tossed to such a candidate disserve the public interest. If that candidate, given power, is likely to misuse or abuse it, or to renege on his campaign pledges and promises for whatever reason, better that the indications come forth before his hands reach the levers.

     Whatever the ultimate outcome, I endorse Fox’s decision to stand its ground.

     UPDATE: To those who sought to comment: I meant to close off comments on this piece, but forgot to do so when I posted it. Sorry, I have not read your comments, and they will not appear. This is a matter of character judgment. It doesn't matter whether you agree or disagree with my assessment.


     Just yesterday, the C.S.O. was party to an agreement to install solar-electrical-generation equipment at a client’s site. The details amused me greatly. She made her clients aware that they would save essentially nothing, that the mandatory twenty-year lock-in with automating rate elevations guaranteed that they’d shortly be paying twice as much per kilowatt-hour as they would for conventional, “grid” electricity. They were undeterred. “It’s for the environment,” they chorused, and that was the end of the discussion. (Hey, Catholic nuns are like that.)

     And so, just a few minutes ago:

     CSO: I hope none of these greenies ever realizes that the Sun isn’t a renewable resource – that a few billion years from now it’ll die.
     FWP: Don’t. Pretty soon we’d have campaigns to conserve the Sun. Or at least to keep it from wasting so much energy on cold, uncaring space.

     CSO: Well, we could turn it off at night.
     FWP: At least turn it down in the afternoon, to keep the glare off the TV during the football games.

     CSO: You know, we could probably start a movement.
     FWP: I smell a grant for a federal study!
     CSO: A big one?
     FWP: We can hope.

     Why yes, we are a couple of silly old farts. How else are silly old farts supposed to entertain themselves?

Fox weasels.

Donald Trump has earned himself many a lick from brickbats wielded by the Treason Class for his decision not to participate in the next debate. Oh. I'm so upset he won't participate in yet another farce organized by our liberal enemies.

Among whom Fox News, Rupert Murdoch, and Roger Ailes. Thanks, boys, for the occasional bone to us conservatives but, as I like to say, if you want to know what's really on the table, look under the table. What isn't being discussed is where, nowadays, you can find the agenda of the big money people or the Treason Class, however you would like to refer to them.

Case in point, here's a brief look at what Fox News isn't talking about:

As any casual viewer of Fox News would observe, one sees scant to any coverage at all on the record-setting, foreign-born population inside the United States; nor coverage of census findings that immigration is about to surpass all historical records; nor stories on the total number of immigrants allowed into the country each year and the strain this number puts on education, the economy, the welfare states and the profound changes to U.S. culture. By not covering these issues in any real depth, it helps clear the way for the enactment of the Murdoch-backed immigration agenda — bringing in the New American Century hoped for by Rupert Murdoch, Marco Rubio, and Barack Obama.[1]
What's fun to watch is the slack jawed showmen on Fox just blind to the fact that no one gives a damn about what Fox or any of the other media whores have to say about our elections. They've long since been busted as players, activists, propagandists, or camp followers of the Establishment Party.

Mr. Trump has figured out that if he shows contempt for the media shock troops for the left and their insane open borders agenda it won't bother his supporters in the least.

On a very much related note, the German government apparently has ordered the destruction of all CCTV video of the coordinated, nationwide sexual assault campaign on German women.[2] One thing you can count on any Western government is the fanatical desire to increase mass immigration and to cover up the deleterious consequences thereof.

[1] "The Anti-Trump Network: Fox News Money Flows into Open Borders Group." By Julia Hahn, Breitbart, 1/26/16.
[2] H/t: Freedom Outpost.

A patriot speaks.

The people who don't like what this gentleman says are the ones like Jeb Bush, Rupert Murdoch and Marco Rubio who can be counted on to keep the borders open and to give amnesty to the 30 million or so illegals who are already here.

Video is here: Freedom Outpost.

Revised to eliminate annoying video autostart made possible by the annoying B. Bunny.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Everywhere == Nowhere

     I got an ironic though dour chuckle out of this article about “sexless Japan:”

     Japan is well known for many things, and its obsession with sex is one of them. It has one of the most robust pornographic and adult-toy industries in the world and airs TV commercials for items as banal as candy that feature sexually suggestive themes.

     It even has an annual fertility festival that parades two nearly two metre tall penis sculptures down a busy street on a Sunday afternoon.

     And yet nearly half of singles in Japan have no interest in dating - a situation that many experts predict will help lead to a population decline of one-third in the next 45 years.

     According to a survey of never-married people by the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research, 27.6 per cent of single men and 22.6 per cent of single women have no interest in engaging in a relationship with the opposite sex. Researchers cite those statistics to argue that a significant portion of Japanese simply has no interest in sex. They might even have an aversion to it....

     That augurs poorly for Japan's birthrate, computed as the number of children the average Japanese woman is expected to have in her lifetime. At 1.4, it's one of the lowest in the world. In 1985, it was 1.8, the same as the United States' rate then; now the U.S. rate has inched up to 1.9.

     The population decline is no longer considered a passing trend, but rather a looming catastrophe that threatens the future of the nation.

     Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has made it a key policy goal to tackle the birthrate problem and prevent the nation from slipping further socially and economically. But there's no clear answer for how he'll accomplish this. He recently set up a special committee to come up with proposals. But the impact of those proposals, likely to include items like more child care for working mothers and tax breaks for couples with children, remains unknown.

     [Via Maetenloch @ AoSHQ.]

     I wish you the best of luck, Prime Minister, but I doubt you’ll have any. People aren’t easily convinced to breed, with all the consequent burdens, costs, and responsibilities, for the sake of a future they don’t expect to reach, and anyway, fish don’t think much about water. But really, this is an illustration of a common effect, noticed in Scandinavia some time ago:

That which is everywhere is banal.

     It’s impossible to maintain one’s interest in something that omnipresently beats one over the head, screaming “Look at me!” from every vertical plane. The mind learns to tune it out for reasons of sheer survival, especially in a crowded, hypercompetitive environment. That this is possible even with the sex drive and the associated reproductive imperative is only slightly more surprising than the well-known indifference of candy-factory workers to candy.

     Another factor might be equally responsible: the “hedonic treadmill.” The Japanese are even more toy-crazy than Americans. Their culture is drowned in all sorts of gadgets, all relatively affordable, each of which occupies some space in a young Japanese’s mind and time. One cannot simultaneously multiply the available diversions and pleasures accessible to him and expect that he will continue to give each of them his previous amount of attention and engagement. Apparently this is as true of sex as of any other “diversion.”

     The whole phenomenon becomes even more ironic in light of developments such as this one:

     Japanese scientists claim to have developed a sex doll that is amazingly lifelike. Advertisements for the dolls in Japan say anybody who buys one will never want a real girlfriend again.

     That's probably an exaggeration, but the thing is, just as robot workers are getting better while human workers stay the same, so robot women are getting better all the time, too. And smarter: Siri's inventors are working on a new artificial intelligence program called Viv that will do "anything you ask." Put that together with the fancy sex dolls, and you've got a true fembot.

     We've already been warned about what comes next by Matt Groening's Futurama series, in which an episode warned of humanity's extinction as illustrated by a boy who was more interested in making out with his "Marilyn Monroebot" than in school, work or dating. The moral was don't date robots, lest society lose its reason for existence: "All civilization was just an effort to impress the opposite sex. And sometimes the same sex." And, of course, sex with robots doesn't produce children, eventually causing the entire species to die out.

     Of course, there’s no need to impress a robot. All that messy human interaction, the exploration of tastes, values, and other potential obstacles to compatibility are washed away. Could the crowding characteristic of Japan’s megalopolises, where the great majority of young Japanese live and work, have something to do with this? It strikes me as likely: a “Lenz’s Law” effect as applied to the supposedly innate desire for human interaction and companionship.

     I first noted and commented on that story two years ago. Again, the relationship could hardly be more obvious – and as observed above, sex robots cannot birth human babies.

     (To the above, the C.S.O. adds two observations of her own:

  • Japan’s longstanding cultural hyperpatriarchalism, which young Japanese women, exposed to Western influences and thinking to a far greater degree than their mothers and grandmothers, may have begun to reject;
  • The pedophilic orientation of the sexually-themed material that surrounds Japanese men.

     These might also be contributors, though we would need to explain why indifference / aversion to sex is more prevalent among young Japanese men than it is among women. That having been said, those influences are unlikely to augment or buttress an interest in sex between adults, at the very least.)

     Mark Steyn was appropriately ominous about the plummeting birthrates in First World countries in his book America Alone. When that tome reached the reading public, the U.S. birthrate hovered at 2.07 live births per couple – a fingernail grip on the Zero-Growth population-replacement rate. According to the cited article, it’s slipped to 1.9, which implies that were it not for immigration – legal and illegal – our population would be declining, albeit not as swiftly as Japan’s appears to be.

     Americans are relatively friendly toward immigrants, perhaps even excessively so. Japan is not. Indeed, it’s quite a feat for one not born there to win permanent-resident status in Japan. The nation’s traditional insistence upon ethnic and cultural uniformity does protect them from many of the problems nations with liberal immigration policies experience...but as matters stand, in a few more years, there won’t be any Japanese around to, ah, enjoy the benefits.

     Apropos of the first cited article, isn’t Japan where the whole “genderless” fad began? Weren’t Japanese youth the first to dress, speak, and behave in a fashion deliberately aimed at concealing their sex? The relationship between the phenomena could hardly be more obvious. Pray that that fad doesn’t take hold here in the West.

Philip Roth learns about to Wikipedia.

Dear Wikipedia,

I am Philip Roth. I had reason recently to read for the first time the Wikipedia entry discussing my novel “The Human Stain.” The entry contains a serious misstatement that I would like to ask to have removed. This item entered Wikipedia not from the world of truthfulness but from the babble of literary gossip—there is no truth in it at all.

Yet when, through an official interlocutor, I recently petitioned Wikipedia to delete this misstatement, along with two others, my interlocutor was told by the “English Wikipedia Administrator”—in a letter dated August 25th and addressed to my interlocutor—that I, Roth, was not a credible source: “I understand your point that the author is the greatest authority on their own work,” writes the Wikipedia Administrator—“but we require secondary sources.”
"An Open Letter to Wikipedia." By Philip Roth, The New Yorker, 9/6/12.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Quickies: The “Campus Sexual Assault Epidemic”

     If you haven’t yet seen it, I exhort you to view this excellent Fox News piece on “campus sexual assault.” It’s very effective, perhaps because it tries hard – perhaps too hard – to present both sides of the issue. However, the preponderance of the evidence, if I may, sides with those who believe that the “campus sexual assault epidemic” is a complete fabrication – that in point of fact, sexual assaults are rarer than in previous years, and that feminist activists (see the piece below this one) are using a double standard:

  1. Women are men’s equals in all ways.
  2. Women must be protected from men – and from themselves. intensify the tension that already exists between the sexes. Indeed, they’re quite willing to lean heavily on a young woman, herself merely convinced that she exercised some poor judgment, to go along with a false accusation against a young man who might feel exactly the same. The consequences have already included a number of ruined lives – male and female – and a sense that men are under siege by activists in a movement committed to their subjugation if not their utter destruction.

     This is an integral component of the mechanism that has given rise to men’s increasing reluctance to court women in any way, to the “marriage strike,” and to female displeasure with their inability to have the sort of social and romantic lives they seek.

     It’s beyond question at this point that college administrators have either eagerly signed on to the demonization of their male students as “potential rapists” or have been intimidated into going along with it by the threat of lawsuits that could cost them their federal funding. Few indeed are the exceptions among the cases that have reached the press. However, there’s a terribly ironic point that’s not covered even in the Fox report and which is all too often overlooked: even if the accuser experiences remorse and decides to recant, her feminist “sisters” will put pressure on her not to do so! The Narrative cannot afford dissent or divergence! Should she revert to honesty, she’ll be branded a “gender traitor,” possibly to her complete social exclusion. Safer by far to “stay with the pack.”

     Please watch it. It’s worth your time. (And yes, you can largely skip the ads.)

The Gender War: An Outcropping Of Significance

     You wouldn’t expect the more arcane scholastic pursuits to be (or become) hotbeds of male-female strife, but then, you wouldn’t have expected Donald Trump to lap the Republican field, either. It happens:

     A months-old blog post written by a respected medieval scholar, Allen J. Frantzen, has gained a second life on social media — and whipped the discipline into a frenzy.

     The post, entitled [sic] "How to Fight Your Way Out of the Feminist Fog" and published on Mr. Frantzen’s personal website, attacks feminism, alluding repeatedly to "anti-male" propaganda, paints men as victims, and offers advice on how they should "clear the fog." Mr. Frantzen retired in 2014, after more than 35 years at Loyola University Chicago.

     The post borrows terminology often associated with men’s-rights activism, including encouragement for men to take the "red pill" of reality, not the "blue pill" of illusion, and to break away from the feminist fog. The fog, Mr. Frantzen explains, represents how feminism hangs over society — in a "sour mix of victimization and privilege" — and intimidates men into accepting its perspective.

     Medieval scholars have widely condemned the post online as misogynistic, under the hashtag #femfog.

     Aha! Heretic against the Politically Correct wisdom sighted! General quarters! Prime the guns! Give no quarter! The Narrative must be defended and advanced at all costs!

     But what is that sacred Narrative? What, exactly, are we all required to believe?

  • That men are inherently oppressors of women;
  • That women desire and deserve “equality” with men in all things;
  • That legal and social measures that award privileges to women, though they infringe on men’s rights, are steps toward “gender equality.”

     Not one word of this is true:

  • It has been the essential, indispensable protectiveness of men toward women that has allowed our race to flourish.
  • Most women do not desire “equality” with men as feminists define it.
  • You cannot equalize what is inherently unequal:
    • Men’s willingness and women’s reluctance to do the dirty, dangerous jobs;
    • The willingness of every advanced society to sacrifice its men for the protection and convenience of its women;
    • Women’s inability to compete as equals with men in the very fields from which they claim to have been most oppressively excluded.

     Professor Frantzen notes how these facts can drive a feminist activist into screaming hysterics:

     Ask the feminist what he or she thinks of the idea of “disposable men.” Does he or she know how many men died building the Panama Canal (75,000), or that by some estimates four times that many died building the Panama Railway? (See Warren Farrell's book [in Reviews, above] for similar data.) About 6700 people have died in the war on terror since 2001; 161 of them were women. That's about 2.5%. Does he or she think that's a fair distribution of the burden of protecting the country? Does he or she see a fair distribution of combat deaths (50/50) a goal for feminism? Why not?

     Remind your friend that men are expected to die for women. Men are expected to give up safe places for women in emergencies, for example. Why? The survival rate for wealthy men on the Titanic (which sank in 1912) was 34%. The survival rate for the poorest women was 46%. Lifeboats left the ship with empty seats because men would not take them. The men who died, as Baumeister says, "were the patriarchs" (p. 163). These were the same kinds of men who would vote to extend voting rights to women (or did you think that women did that for themselves?). Whose lives were worth more, and less, on that ship? For all women, the survival was 74%. For all men, the survival rate was 16%. [ 3 ]

     Your point, all along, is that men have always been expendable and disposable, always expected to give up life and happiness for women. She probably thinks of all men as patriarchs (see essay on patriarchy), but you have already shown here 1) that most men are not patriarchs but workers and 2) that women have benefited with longer lives because men live shorter lives. The chances are good that the feminist will now be ready to end the conversation because he or she can see that you are armed with data and he or she is not.

     Excellently well put. I would add another point that I find critical though rarely cited: The institution of marriage, which has always confined men more straitly than women and today actually endangers the marriage-minded man, arose specifically to protect women and their minor children. Yet it is that institution against which feminists rail most stridently as “patriarchal oppression.”

     Feminist mouthpieces are tireless in instructing women confronted by such facts to reply with vitriol: “Misogynist! Sexist! You want to make women your property!” This is as common as hydrogen and only slightly less common than stupidity. It’s common because it works rather often; it intimidates and raises the implication of unpleasant consequences. But it is a well observed bit of wisdom that no one will resort to name-calling when he has adequate facts and reasoning at his command.

     The facts are in no way hidden from view; today everyone with access to the Internet can get them. That doesn’t mean they’re universally respected, of course. But if you respect them, and stand your ground when challenged by a feminist, you have demonstrated your conversance with the Facts Recognition Act, and need have no fear of the aftermath.

     What’s that you say? “I might have to spend my night on the couch?” I’m reminded of an old joke:

     “Just suppose,” she said, “we women decided to go on strike. What would you do then?”
     A mischievous smile slowly formed on his face. “You go ahead and strike,” he said. “I’ve got a peach of a strikebreaker in mind.”

     It shouldn’t take an essay from a medieval studies scholar to remind us of the above.