The Low-Trust Society: A Case Study

     I snagged the graphic below from Ace of Spades HQ. The story it tells, though four and a half years old, is an important one. It’s easy merely to allow yourself to be appalled and then pass on to other things. In today’s sociopolitical environment, that’s no longer wise. Anyone could be caught in the toils of something greatly similar.

     Please read the story in its entirety. You may have to download the graphic and magnify it for ease of reading. Then return here and follow along with me as I unpack it, step by step, and invite my Gentle Readers to confront the questions it raises.


     First, the behavior of the would-be baby-snatcher. According to the narrator she was “brimming with nonchalant confidence.” Yet she was about to commit a heinous crime which was once punishable by death and is still regarded as worthy of life imprisonment. That’s a penalty that would deter the overwhelming majority of us.

     Why was she so confident? Was it a veneer and nothing more? Stipulate that it wasn’t; what would have given her such a degree of confidence that there would be no penalty for her theft – indeed, that she would get away with it cleanly?

     Note here that the baby’s immediate guardian was a man and the baby-snatcher was a woman. This will also factor into subsequent developments.


     Second, the father’s stunned incredulity at the baby-snatcher’s brass. If the narrator’s description of his reaction is accurate, he could not accept that the snatch was really happening for a vital few seconds. He sat stunned long enough for her to get baby and carrier some distance away, which might have played into the reaction of the bystanders.

     Why was Dad so utterly stunned? Did he still believe, perhaps subconsciously, in the high-trust / low-crime civilization of seven decades ago? If not, would he have reacted differently or more promptly?

     This goes to the degree of situational awareness prevalent among law-abiding Americans.


     Third, the baby-snatcher’s defensive tactic upon the father’s (eventual) reaction. It was apparently immediate to the point of being reflexive. There are only two possible explanations:

  1. She was completely insane and truly believed the child was hers;
  2. She’d planned it in advance, as with the snatch itself.

     Explanation #1 doesn’t hold water. Her actions throughout were too calm and too calculated to make it plausible. Might she have counted on her sex to give her a tactical edge big enough to get away with the baby?

     If I’m correct, this indicates that the story is unlikely to be unique…or, if it is, to remain unique.


     Fourth, the reactions of the bystanders who intervened in the baby-snatcher’s favor. Given the bare bones of the situation and a typically unobservant crowd in the parking lot, perhaps their conclusion was defensible: i.e., that it was the man, not the woman, who was the criminal. That would be consistent with prevailing attitudes toward men in public places when children are nearby.

     This question isn’t asked nearly often enough: Have Americans become prejudiced against men and fatherhood? The family courts certainly are. Prompt reactions such as the one the father suffered in the story above testify in support.

     Consider the implications with regard to American men’s willingness to marry and become fathers.


     Fifth, the immediate reactions of the police on the scene. Their attitude was defensive of the actions and intentions of the baby-snatcher…who, by that time, had escaped completely, unimpeded by anyone. I find the police’s behavior the least comprehensible thing about the tale. Certainly it’s the least praiseworthy. Perhaps that’s my lingering desire to believe that most police are good people sincerely dedicated to “protecting and serving” the public.

     It’s widely observed today that police are reluctant to intervene in a violent incident, regardless of its nature. Yet in the aftermath, with father and mother both present and testifying, what accounts for their protracted attempt to exonerate the baby-snatcher? Surely by then the facts of the matter were clear. Were they worried about lawsuits? Interrogation by higher-ups? Perhaps an unfriendly inquiry from a political source?

     In any such situation, there’s a possibility that the police on the scene will make a mistake. They’re human, after all. But their fear of the possible consequences “should” not keep them from acting according to the law and the observable circumstances.


     All the above relies, of course, on the narrative in the graphic being an accurate one. If there are any among my Gentle Readers who know differently and can substantiate their claim, please step forward.

     While it is true that father and mother retained their baby, it’s insufficient to say that “all’s well that ends well.” That is not the case…or perhaps I should say that it “shouldn’t” be. But then, we “shouldn’t” have squandered the high-trust society that would once have made all the events above unthinkable from the very first.

     I urge you, Gentle Reader, to pass this one around. If I may once again use that dispreferred word, it “should” be widely known. It would have great impact if it were.

Sociopolitical Impossibilities

     Many years ago, a wise man named Rev. William J. H. Boetcker wrote these lines:

You cannot bring prosperity by discouraging thrift.
You cannot help small men by tearing down big men.
You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
You cannot help the poor man by destroying the rich.
You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income.
You cannot further brotherhood of men by inciting class hatred.
You cannot establish security on borrowed money.
You cannot build character and courage by taking away man’s initiative and independence.
You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.

     I’m sure you’ve seen them before, or at least items selected from them. The good sense they express is so clear – and so irrefutable – that I can’t imagine anyone daring to differ with them. Yet the courses they deplore – i.e., the “cannots” – are in operation throughout this nation as we speak.

     How did this come to pass? Mostly through the operation of envy, greed, and their principal offspring, hatred.

     Hatred is an emotion our nature equips us to feel. Therefore it must have some function; there must be some condition or aspect of existence that is properly addressed by hating it. Yet Christ Himself has told us that other people are not proper targets for hatred:

     Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. [Matthew 5:43-45]

     To hate is to wish harm upon the hated person or thing. It “should” be “obvious” that one man cannot reconcile himself with another if there is hatred between them. If peace exists between them, it’s superficial and cosmetic: the peace of the “demilitarized zone.” Should either side discover that it has achieved a significant advantage over the other, hostilities will commence at once.

     A society riven by hatred cannot achieve an enduring state of peace and social harmony.


     This is on my mind today because of a premonition. The torrent of hatreds that the Left, in its various expressions, has aimed at the Right are having an effect that was predictable from the start: normal, decent Americans have realized that the Left means to do us and our country great harm. Though the hatred comes in several sub-varieties:

  • The deluded hate the sane;
  • The childless hate the parents;
  • The atheists hate the believers;
  • The Negroes hate the Caucasians;
  • The urbanites hate the non-urbanites;
  • Sexual deviants hate the sexually normal;
  • The welfare recipients hate the self-sufficient;
  • Those of non-European heritage hate those of European heritage;

     …it has the same import – and the same impact — in all cases: there’s a wish to harm, even destroy involved. Some of it has been actualized: e.g., the race riots of the previous four years. Some of it simmers just below the threshold of open violence.

     That hatred immovably blocks the possibility of social harmony.

     Is any of the hatred remediable? We can’t know that before it’s been remedied. However, the history of Western man suggests that the best remedy for hatred is the overwhelming defeat of those who hate. Consciousness of this is rising among normal Americans.

     My premonition is that within a year or two, the mushrooming reaction of normal Americans against those who hate us will eventuate in the defeat of the Left. But if it’s a purely political victory – i.e., achieved through the ballot box – it will leave the hatreds in place. Indeed, it might make them more absolute and virulent than ever.

     If that should prove to be the case, there will be no sincere reconciliation, only a cosmetic peace.


     The old “diplomat’s definition” of peace is “A state of tension that falls short of open armed conflict.” It’s the best state achievable between parties that hate one another. While the hatred persists, nothing better is possible. This is a fundamental reality that cannot be wished away.

     But we may expect those on the Left, after their defeat, to call for “healing,” “forgiveness,” and perhaps even “brotherhood.” In other words, “Please forget that we hate you and intend to destroy you as soon as the odds favor us.”

     There have already been some indications that such appeals will arise. Remember this column? That was a straw tossed to the wind. If the totalitarians of the COVID-19 “pandemic” could induce us to let them off the hook for their campaign against individual freedom, then surely anything would be possible. The Left’s calls for “healing,” “forgiveness,” and “brotherhood” could lull us back into placidity and inattention. They could plan further strikes safe from retribution.

     Do not be lulled. Remember their hatreds, for they will still be alive and in effect. Remember their many efforts to cultivate and intensify them. Until they have been expunged – and we cannot know whether it’s even possible – there can be no true peace. Certainly there can be no “brotherhood.”


     Welcome to June, the traditional month for weddings – the heterosexual kind – and devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It’s also a fine month for having the roof ripped off one’s house and replaced by…well, by something I’ve been assured will make a much better roof. And of course, every month is a good month to remind my Gentle Readers that politics is not the answer.

     L. Neil Smith, noted science fiction writer, once exhorted his audience to ask any politician they might corner in public, “How do you stand on Bill of Rights enforcement?” I have no idea how well that worked out. For my part, I avoid politicians; their disease may be contagious. But the notion of concentrating freedom lovers’ forces on a single line of attack is a good one. Ask Anheuser-Busch and Target.


     Yesterday, it was reported that a small group of Republican legislators had publicly opposed the “compromise” debt ceiling / appropriations bill:

     Rep. Carlos Gimenez (R-FL, Miami-Dade), Rep. Nick Langworthy (R-NY), Rep. Anthony D’Esposito (R-NY), Rep. Chuck Edwards (R-NC), Rep. Mike Lawler (R-(NY), Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY), Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), Rep. Warren Davidson (R-OH), Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), Rep. Laurel Lee (R-FL), Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA), Rep. David Valadao (R-CA), Rep. Greg Murphy (R-NC), Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) are just some of the Republican congressmen who have been outspoken in their support of the deal.

     My reaction to learning this was “Oh, so they got permission, did they?”

     The indispensable Sundance comments dourly, but with dead-center-bull’s-eye accuracy:

     If you peel the core of any issue involving conflict with the Republican Party, you will find money at the center of it. Current Democrat politicians focus on advancing an ideological agenda; they swing for the fences in an effort to maximize control and power. Current Republican politicians are focused, to the detriment of all other facets, on their personal wealth.

     When you introduce a newly elected ‘conservative‘ to the DC world of republicanism, it is like sending a new guy/gal into the room to talk policy, only to be met with every face around the table staring back quizzically and dismissively while replying, “We don’t do that here – we are talking about money.”

     Once you reset the Schoolhouse Rocks mindset and accept this is the truth of the thing, then everything else that puzzled you about Republican politics reconciles.

     Ballot harvesting doesn’t generate money, so why do it? We can make just as much money in the minority railing against ‘them’, so why be focused on a majority? Donald Trump is threatening the financial position of our benefactors, so we hate him. These are the simple truths of modern Republicans.

     I could not have put it better. Once a particular course of action has been blessed by the GOP’s Inner Party, that course becomes inexorable. To preserve the fiction that “We’re the party that fights for your rights,” token opposition will be permitted…as long as it doesn’t endanger the flow of dollars into the party’s coffers. Don’t expect anything more.


     A fellow whose name I’ve managed to lose once commented that when criminals are permitted to use violence freely while law-abiding citizens are penalized for defending themselves and their property, the criminals have become an arm of the State. This is the case today. Owing to the jury system, there are occasional exceptions, such as George Zimmerman and Kyle Rittenhouse. But never fear: your rulers are working to remove that obstacle to their plans as we speak.

     In any event, stories such as this one are commonplace today:

     BALTIMORE (WBFF) — Two pro-life supporters were attacked outside a Planned Parenthood clinic in Baltimore on Friday morning, police said.

The attack happened just before 10:30 a.m. at the clinic along North Howard Street, according to police. The two victims are both men, 73 and 80 years old.

     When police arrived, several witnesses told officers that two people had been assaulted, and the more severely injured man was inside a local business….

     Police said they were able to see security camera video of the attack. The video shows the suspect charging Crosby and knocking him into a flower pot, according to police. The second victim rushed in to help Crosby, but was shoved to the ground.

     Officers said the suspect then continued to punch and kick Crosby.

     This has become commonplace. Legal action against the assailants in such cases seldom comes to anything. Interpret according to your preferences.


     Public outrage over the increasingly aggressive tactics of the Perverts Unanimous community has found some new voices – a pair of professional baseball players:

     MLB pitcher Trevor Williams, a devout Catholic, called for a boycott of the Los Angeles Dodgers Tuesday after the organization decided to re-invite a blasphemous group of “drag queens” to its Pride Night event this June.

     “To invite and honor a group that makes a blatant and deeply offensive mockery of my religion, and the religion of over 4 million people in LA county alone, undermines the values of respect and inclusivity that should be upheld by any organization,” said Williams, a starting pitcher for the Washington Nationals, in a statement posted on social media Tuesday.

     Williams argued that Major League Baseball games are a “place where people from all walks of life should feel welcomed” and urged the Dodgers to “reconsider” their association with the anti-Catholic group….

     The Dodgers’ star pitcher Clayton Kershaw has also expressed disappointment in his team’s decision to honor the group of anti-Catholic cross-dressers.

     Williams and Kershaw have exhibited unusual courage in standing forth this way. A Toronto Blue Jays pitcher, Anthony Bass, has been disciplined by his team and forced to apologize publicly for opposing the obscene and blasphemous “Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence” and the Dodgers’ inclusion of them in their “Pride Night” celebration.

     Time was, sports offered a refuge from the madness rampant in the larger world. No longer.


     Here’s something to scare you right out of your socks: a federal proposal to address loneliness:

     U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy recently released an advisory titled “Our Epidemic of Loneliness and Isolation.” It warns that social isolation is a major public health problem. The 81-page document presents six government-directed “pillars” of action to address the health hazards of social isolation.

     On the surface, these six directives may look innocuous, but they present a clear and present danger to the autonomy of our private lives and relationships. The project is potentially so massive in scope that it’s not an overstatement to say it threatens to regulate our freedom of association in ways we never could have imagined.

     Please read it all.

     Government-engineered social inclusion! Gee, how well did that work out for the Cambodians under the Khmer Rouge? What about the Tanzanians under Julius Nyerere?

     TANU believes that everybody who loves his nation has a duty to serve it by co-operating with his fellows in building the country for the benefit of all the people of Tanzania. In order to maintain our independence and our people’s freedom we ought to be self-reliant in every possible way and avoid depending upon other countries for assistance. If every individual is self-reliant ten-house cell will be self-reliant; if all the cells are self-reliant the whole ward will be self-reliant; and if the wards are self-reliant the District will be self-reliant. If the Districts arc self-reliant, then the Region is self-reliant, and if the Regions are self-reliant, then the whole nation is self-reliant and this is our aim.

     TANU recognizes the urgency and importance of good leadership. But we have not yet produced systematic training for our leaders; it is necessary that TANU Headquarters should now prepare a programme of training for all leaders – from the national level to the ten-house cell level – so that every one of them understands our political and economic policies. Leaders must set a good example to the rest of the people in their lives and in all their activities. [source]

     The “ten-house cell” was a mechanism for enforcing absolute compliance in word and deed on all Tanzanians. To do that, you had to bring them together regularly. Anyone found to have deviated from the TANU line was shouted into submission by the rest of the gathering. No excuses for absence were accepted.

     But of course it would be different here, wouldn’t it, Citizen Bacillus? The federal government really cares about us. After all, the proposal is coming from the Surgeon-General, so it must be about our health. Something to do with it, anyway.

     Anyone who can swallow that after the COVID-19 atrocity is beyond my power to help.


     That’s all for the morning, Gentle Reader. Shortly there will be workmen buzzing about this place like a swarm of angry hornets, though I’m not sure hornets would do as much damage. Anyway, have a good First of June – to anyone getting married today, congratulations! – and perhaps you can stand one more reminder:

We don’t need governments.
We don’t need politics.
We need Christ.

Miracles And Faith

     A few days ago, I mentioned two “candidate miracles” that recently occurred on this continent. One was a case of Miraculous Multiplication; the other was the incorrupt body of a deceased nun. As I’m already a Catholic and serious about it, these don’t “prove” anything to me, though they say that God continues to work in wondrous ways when He deems it appropriate.

     This morning, PJ Media’s Lincoln Brown has some thoughts on miracles and their relation to faith. It’s worth reading in its entirety, but the haymaker is this vignette from his seminary years:

     Years ago, a tiny Chicago parish had either a statue or picture of the Virgin Mary. It either moved or shed a tear. I don’t remember which. But the word got out that a miracle had occurred at this church, and people began arriving by the thousands. There were long lines and congested traffic and the church was going broke from hiring around-the-clock security to handle the crowds. As expected, a TV news crew showed up and the reporter asked the priest, “Father, does this qualify as a miracle?” The priest looked at the long line of people outside of the church. He looked back at the reporter and said, “The real miracle is faith.”

     I could not have put it better.


     There are a lot of people mincing about, straining to persuade you that faith is a con job. Any faith; by their lights, you must reject all of them. Oddly, these persons, who tend to deem themselves smarter than us believers, can’t distinguish among faiths. Neither can they accept that their own atheism is itself a faith, for it posits beliefs about the supernatural that can neither be proved not disproved: the distinguishing characteristic of a faith. Their attack is composed largely – in some cases, exclusively – on bad things some persons have done in the name of some faith. Never mind whether the faith in question promotes such things, or would excuse them.

     The late Marshall Fritz, a remarkable and highly effective exponent of libertarian convictions, was also a devout Christian. Among the things he placed at the foundation of his politics was a cleavage question that can be used to separate good beliefs from bad ones:

“Is it based on wholesome principles?”

     That’s a key question about any proposition. “Would accepting this proposition lead me down an evil path?” Another, of course, is “Would accepting this proposition cost me anything? If so, what?”

     It does cost something to accept a Christian faith:

  • We must acknowledge that we are not supreme over ourselves.
  • We must accept that we owe a debt of gratitude to God;
  • We must accept certain limitations on our behavior.

     But Christ Himself made it plain that God asks very little of us:

     Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. [Matthew 11:28-30]

     And also:

     And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?
     And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
     He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. [Matthew 19:16-19]

     Not a lot to ask in return for an eternal life in the bliss of heaven, is it? But more to the point, the commandments He enunciated – Christianity’s principles – are entirely wholesome.

     So much for the militant atheists and their claims that faith leads to evil.


     All the same, there’s the unverifiable / unfalsifiable obstacle to get past. There’s no way to prove Christianity, as if it were a mathematical proposition. There’s evidence, but it’s all of the sort that can be dismissed if you’re sufficiently skeptical and determined. That’s true even of recent Church-accepted miracles. So miracles cannot serve as a trustworthy foundation for faith.

     He who sincerely embraces Christianity must commit to it personally, rather than because he’s been compelled to accept it. Some do so because they find the evidence persuasive, as did Lee Strobel. Others do so because people they admire have done so. Others receive a personal jolt that they cannot bring themselves to dismiss.

     So why miracles?

     We can’t be sure. They do tell us something. Some of them, such as Fatima, are so well attested that efforts to dismiss them are too strained to credit. Those speak of a flexibility in natural laws that mortals cannot exploit. Others have an “iffy” quality: they work unpredictably, as at Lourdes. Perhaps such a miracle tells us that we must walk part of the road to faith on our own. Still others are beyond my power to interpret.

     At the conclusion of a long and laborious life elucidating the teachings of the Church for general comprehension, Saint Thomas Aquinas said something that – to him, at least – seemed to obviate everything else he had said and written: To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.

     Perhaps, as the priest quoted in the first segment said, faith is the miracle: the one that precedes all others, and makes them visible and believable. For we are surrounded by the miraculous, utterly immersed in it. What is more miraculous than human existence – indeed, than Creation itself?

     May God bless and keep you all!

Memorial Day 2023

     For many years, I was reflexively patriotic in the naïve sense. I would immediately jump down the collar of anyone who chose to denigrate these United States or its military involvements. I had my reasons, of course; don’t we all? But many of them don’t look so good to me these days.

     Today is an occasion for a related reflection. Millions of men, and a smaller number of women, have gone to war at the direction of the United States federal government. The overwhelming majority of them believed in the cause for which they fought. A great many of them died while rendering that service.

     Memorial Day, and Veterans’ Day on November 11, are when we formally acknowledge their service and sacrifices. It is entirely appropriate that we do so. But it’s also an appropriate time to reflect on the motivations and decisions of the men who sent them to war.

     What is the purpose of war? One of the best known and best loved pro-military novels ever written set out the general rationale in a single sentence:

     The purpose of war is to support your government’s decisions by force.

     It cannot be made clearer than that. But though the statement is clear and impossible to refute, it compels the honest man to ask other questions. The most troubling of them goes to the motivations of the men who send our servicemen forth to fight, bleed, and die.


     The U.S. has gone to war many times. Despite the relative youth of our nation, we’ve been at war a whole lot. Some of the motivations behind those wars have been whitewashed out of the histories. In a couple of other cases, they’ve come to light more promptly, to the embarrassment of the decision makers. The servicemen dispatched to do battle and the citizenry exhorted to support the war effort have seldom been told candidly about the full range of those motivations.

     The War of 1812 was animated in part by a desire to extend the northern and western boundaries of the U.S. The Mexican-American War was fought for that reason among others. The Civil War was fought in part over slavery, but also over import tariffs that heavily favored the industrialized Northern states at the expense of the agrarian South. There are many conflicting theses over what got us into the Spanish-American War, though it appears that one significant driver was the “yellow journalism” of the Hearst newspapers. We entered World War I over a telegram. We entered World War II for reasons so murky and complex that arguments rage over them even today. As for Korea, Vietnam, and our more recent wars, my Gentle Readers are invited to do their own research.

     But in each case our servicemen were told that they were “defending freedom.”

     I shan’t defend the governments of the nations against whom our forces fought. They were as dubiously motivated as ours. The point is that the decisions made to dispatch armed forces were not wholly animated (if at all) by the defense of freedom, or of the United States, or of the American national interest however conceived. From this vantage point – and it may be no more accurate than that of an Andaman Islands savage – it seems that those considerations were seldom dominant.

     Nevertheless, our servicemen went forth. Many never returned home. It is right and fitting that we honor them, but it would be wrong to believe that the causes for which they were sent to do battle were necessarily what they – and we – have been told.


     Many years ago, I wrote in a novel:

     “We have talked,” he said, “about all the strategies known to man for dealing with an armed enemy. We have talked about every aspect of deadly conflict. Every moment of every discussion we’ve had to date has been backlit by the consciousness of objectives and costs: attaining the one and constraining the other. And one of the first things we talked about was the importance of insuring that you don’t overpay for what you seek.”
     She kept silent and listened.
     “What if you can’t, Christine? What if your objective can’t be bought at an acceptable price?”
     She pressed her lips together, then said, “You abandon it.”
     He smirked. “It’s hard even to say it, I know. But reality is sometimes insensitive to a general’s desires. On those occasions, you must learn how to walk away. And that, my dear, is an art form of its own.”
     He straightened up. “Combat occurs within an envelope of conditions. A general doesn’t control all those conditions. If he did, he’d never have to fight. Sometimes, those conditions are so stiff that he’s compelled to fight whether he thinks it wise, or not.”
     “What conditions can do that to you?”
     His mouth quirked. “Yes, what conditions indeed?”
     Oops. Here we go again. “Weather could do it.”
     “By cutting off your lines of retreat in the face of an invasion.”
     “Good. Another.”
     “Economics. Once the economy of your country’s been militarized, it runs at a net loss, so you might be forced to fight from an inferior position because you’re running out of resources.”
     “Excellent. One more.”
     She thought hard. “Superior generalship on the other side?”
     He clucked in disapproval. “Does the opponent ever want you to fight?”
     “No, sorry. Let me think.”
     He waited.
     Conditions. Conditions you can’t control. Conditions that…control you.
     “Politics. The political leadership won’t accept retreat or surrender until you’ve been so badly mangled that it’s obvious even to an idiot.”
     The man Louis Redmond had named the greatest warrior in history began to shudder. It took him some time to quell.
     “It’s the general’s worst nightmare,” he whispered. “Kings used to lead their own armies. They used to lead the cavalry’s charge. For a king to send an army to war and remain behind to warm his throne was simply not done. Those that tried it lost their thrones, and some lost their heads — to their own people. It was a useful check on political and military rashness.
     “It hasn’t been that way for a long time. Today armies go into the field exclusively at the orders of politicians who remain at home. And politicians are bred to believe that reality is entirely plastic to their wills.”

     Servicemen from the lowliest private to the highest-ranking general are in thrall to the politicians who send them forth. They don’t get to question their orders. They certainly don’t get to say, “Sorry, dude. Not my circus, not my monkeys. I’m staying home.” Those that resist their orders are not well treated nor well remembered.


     My point here is not Smedley Butler’s blanket condemnation “war is a racket.” Some wars must be fought, whether or not they succeed:

     We love peace, but not peace at any price. There is a peace more destructive of the manhood of living man, than war is destructive of his body. Chains are worse than bayonets. – Douglas Jerrold

     And of course, there is no dishonor involved in going forth at your commanders’ decree. You signed up; you trained; you awaited the call. When it comes, you must go. To go is the fulfillment of the oath you took. It’s the only honorable thing to do.

     But that does not sanctify the decisions of the men who send you forth.

     Honor the soldier, but be ever ready to call the politician to account.

Evil Policies Part 2: Underlying Motivations

     The previous piece on this subject evoked some unusually revealing responses. As I remain unwilling to condemn anyone by name, I’ll say only that some of my Gentle Readers aren’t very Gentle after all. They expressed a willingness to countenance deliberate harm to innocents for the sake of a good tactic. That’s not on, here at Liberty’s Torch. I feel neither embarrassment nor reluctance about rebuking persons of such inclinations.

     Neither am I reluctant to suggest to them that they pray over it. For those who disbelieve in the efficacy of prayer, perhaps a candid examination of conscience will serve. For others who disbelieve in the human conscience or its function…what the hell are you doing here?

     Perhaps it’s time to start a second pot of coffee. You too, Gentle Reader.


     Unattractive notions are good indicators of the proper course. — Steven Brust

     A great part of the cultural revolution that took place in the Sixties and Seventies was a subtle but effective campaign to numb the individual conscience. One of the ethical mainstays of Western Civilization, seldom celebrated as such but critical nevertheless, is an old homily: “Let your conscience be your guide.” A man’s conscience is his direct connection to God’s will. If he pays attention to it, it will steer him away from actions that cross-cut the moral order the Creator has built into the universe.

     The antithesis to “Let your conscience be your guide” needs to be explicitly identified. Few have dared to undertake this daunting task, for it involves – as do many necessary things – telling people something they don’t want to hear. As I have no regard for what anyone says to or about me at this time, I’ll take up the cross.

     When a man allows himself to be guided by his conscience, he:

  1. Eschews actions that would get him things he wants;
  2. Embraces actions that will cost him, whether materially or emotionally.

     …specifically for the sake of placating his conscience. The apposite phrases “so I can sleep at night” and “so I can live with myself” are particularly revealing. The key here is the demotion of his personal desires in favor of an untroubling conscience. In the usual case, the courses not taken would involve harming others or betraying an important moral-ethical standard. He to whom all that matters is getting what he wants – or averting what he doesn’t want – would embrace such a course, as long as he believes he can get away with it. If he succeeds in shouting down his conscience, all else will follow.

     His motto is likely to be that the end justifies the means. “The end” is his personal gratification; “the means” is whatever he must do to have it.

     All the other rationales for doing something immoral or unethical are mere dollops of anesthetic for the conscience:

  • “I really need this.”
  • “Where’s the harm?”
  • “No one has to know.”
  • “Everyone else is doing it.”

     And so forth.


     I’d like to spend a few moments on that terribly abused word need. Quite a lot of the abuse of the word stems from the desire to excuse something we know to be wrong. There are very few true needs, even from a purely material view. I contend that our survival needs are so well supplied that there’s essentially no chance that an American will be involuntarily unable to access any of them. Indeed, our abundance has created a situation that greatly alarms compulsive do-gooders and professional cause-floggers: a shortage of genuine needs. I wrote about this, half-humorously, long ago at the late but fondly remembered Palace of Reason:

     A Curmudgeonly acquaintance, who shall henceforth be called Sarah, can be found in the local supermarket every evening between seven and eight o’clock. Yes, she’s married. No, she doesn’t have a huge family that requires an hour’s grocery shopping every evening. She spends her time there because she enjoys it.

     Sarah’s not insane, nor is she unique. A substantial number of Americans shop for pleasure. If the supermarket seems an odd venue for this pastime, well, different strokes and all that.

     But Sarah’s not shopping in the conventional sense. She’s looking for trouble.

     No, no! She’s not looking to start a fight over the price of eggs. She’s looking for trouble so she can help to fix it. Since she’s a gifted shopper, with a remarkable ability to squeeze $10 of purchases out of a $5 bill, she looks for people having shopping trouble: women who can’t fill their larders adequately on their household budgets.

     Sarah’s really good at this, and the folks she helps purely love her. However, at our last conversation, Sarah observed that fewer and fewer people seem to need her assistance. She mused about whether she ought to spend her evenings in a less affluent area.

     Another Curmudgeonly acquaintance, a retired gentleman whom we’ll call Ray, has the charming habit of driving his truck around Long Island’s major roads, looking for motorists with mechanical problems. When he finds one, he stops and offers to fix the misbehaving automobile right then and there, for free. Such is Ray’s prowess with cars that he has yet to fail to deliver.

     But Ray, too, is longing for richer trouble pickings. Long Islanders’ cars don’t break down nearly as often as they once did. Worse, most motorists have cell phones now, and they don’t hesitate to use them. Ray’s been talking about moving upstate, to Sullivan or Delaware County, where the average vehicle is older and more likely to fail.

     This past decade, local churches have reported a strong upswing in volunteers for charity work. Charity kitchens often have more willing workers than they have clients to feed. Our hospitals are blessed with a goodly number of volunteers to keep company with the afflicted: reading to them, talking to them, or performing less savory chores that will not be described further here.

     A lot of Americans are out there looking for trouble — and finding that there’s less of it to go around.

     But perhaps we should stay on the main track.

     When you say to yourself that “I need” this or that, how honest are you being with yourself? Is it truly a matter of your personal survival? Are you ready to wound your conscience – to inflict harm on innocent others or to default on a clear moral obligation – to get it?


     My last observation for today is about the rationale that’s most recently surfaced among people who claim that all they want is just the restoration of the Republic as the Founding Fathers intended it to be. These persons call themselves patriots. They have a good claim to the title. However, their ethics are failing them. Here’s the giveaway: “There’s a war on.”

     Oh? Really? Where’s the front? Who’s your enemy? Are you able to identify enemy forces by established indicators, or is it a matter of an inchoate, uncaptained “resistance” that fires on your troops from tenement windows? How will you know when the war is over? And who will you accept as your enemy’s chief representative, properly authorized to negotiate the peace treaty with you?

     Not even war can justify deliberately bring harm to noncombatants. Yet “there’s a war on” is being employed as a rationale for doing so. Besides, war is a horror inflicted upon Mankind by governments. It’s a collectivist atrocity, not something an individual can justly claim.

     “There’s a war on” is just another way of saying that in your view, “the end justifies the means.” Both formulations are vile.


     My intent in writing for the Web, as I’ve been doing since roughly 1996, is normally to persuade. Often, I seek to introduce new thinking – even new ways of thinking, depending on the subject – into exchanges that seem to go nowhere. That’s not my mission today.

     Today it’s about one of the oldest ideas Mankind has ever entertained.

     There’s what’s right, and there’s what’s wrong. You’re equipped to tell them apart. If you’re contemplating doing something you know to be wrong – something you might well have condemned when someone else did it in another context – what is your conscience telling you?

     Have a particularly disturbing snippet from the novel that’s proving to be the narration of our time:

     ‘You will understand that I must start by asking you certain questions. In general terms, what are you prepared to do?’
     ‘Anything that we are capable of,’ said Winston.
     O’Brien had turned himself a little in his chair so that he was facing Winston. He almost ignored Julia, seeming to take it for granted that Winston could speak for her. For a moment the lids flitted down over his eyes. He began asking his questions in a low, expressionless voice, as though this were a routine, a sort of catechism, most of whose answers were known to him already.
     ‘You are prepared to give your lives?’
     ‘You are prepared to commit murder?’
     ‘To commit acts of sabotage which may cause the death of hundreds of innocent people?’
     ‘To betray your country to foreign powers?’
     ‘You are prepared to cheat, to forge, to blackmail, to corrupt the minds of children, to distribute habit-forming drugs, to encourage prostitution, to disseminate venereal diseases — to do anything which is likely to cause demoralization and weaken the power of the Party?’
     ‘If, for example, it would somehow serve our interests to throw sulphuric acid in a child’s face — are you prepared to do that?’

     That was the exchange, unrecognized as such until much later in his travails, in which Winston gave O’Brien what the Inner Party member needed to break him: the complete cession of all moral limits, in the name of defeating the Party. He who embraces evil, regardless of the merits of his cause, has not advanced that cause; he has only damned himself.

     Have a nice day.


     Not long ago, I encountered the following passage in a secular novel:

     “Things should make sense. If they don’t, there’s no point to anything. It wouldn’t even be worth trying to figure things out any better. Why would our universe make sense with rules that make things like this ship work among other universes that are chaotic and useless?”

     There’s a lot of insight in there. Without the fundamental premise that given enough effort and penetration, “things” will “make sense” to us – i.e., that the phenomena of reality will conform to laws that we can deduce and, in some cases, exploit for our betterment – human enterprise would be pointless. Yet it is a premise – a statement of faith in a property of reality that can never be definitively proved.

     Without that faith, what could we possibly achieve? But without another kind of faith, what point would there be in achieving anything?

     That other kind of faith is faith in God and His benevolence.


     Today is Pentecost Sunday 2023, the date on which we commemorate the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Blessed Virgin and the eleven remaining Apostles. It’s often called the birthday of the Church, for it was only after the Paraclete illuminated the understandings of the Apostles that they became both insightful enough to understand Christ’s teachings and courageous enough to preach them to the multitudes.

     The Church speaks of seven gifts of the Holy Spirit:

  1. Wisdom,
  2. Understanding,
  3. Counsel,
  4. Fortitude,
  5. Knowledge,
  6. Piety,
  7. Fear of the Lord.

     These qualities must interlock with a Christian’s faith to enable him to preach it to others, whether by word or by deed. A Christian allegiance that lacks them will tend to be more cosmetic than real: professed in superficialities rather than lived day by day. Only when the Apostles had been granted them were they ready, willing, and able to undertake their Christ-given mission:

     Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. [Matthew 28:19-20]

     Consider: the resurrected Christ had been with the Apostles, and had appeared to perhaps five hundred others [Cf. First Epistle to the Corinthians 15:6]. Yet the Apostles’ faith that He was what He said He was, and that His preachments embodied God’s will for Man, was still unequal to the task He had set them. They needed the gifts of the Holy Spirit to strengthen their faith, harmonize it with what He had taught them, and to fortify them for the trials ahead. Compared to the impact of those gifts, the “gift of tongues,” which enabled them to speak to diverse crowds each of whose individual members would hear them in his own language, was a mere convenience.


     There’s a “mystery figure” in the Pentecost miracle: Saint Paul, the foremost preacher and traveler of the early Church, whose writings make up a great part of the New Testament. He was not among the original Apostles in the “upper room” on the day of the Pentecost. Yet surely he too received the gifts of the Holy Spirit, probably as part of his “road to Damascus” enlightenment. What else could have assured him of the reality of Christ’s plaintive cry to him (“Saul, Saul! Why dost thou persecute me?”)? What else could have energized and sustained him throughout his travels?

     The gifts of the Holy Spirit are anyone’s for the asking. They require only sincerity and humility enough to ask…and to receive. And they are indispensable to anyone who desires to preach Christ and His Gospels, even if only by honoring them with his own life.

     For the great open secret of the gifts is this: They make our faith make sense. Indeed, without them, what would the point be of anything?

     May God bless and keep you all.

When We Need A Miracle…

     …God, who always knows what we need, will provide one:

     The small rural Missouri town of Gower has become an unexpected pilgrimage destination after a nun’s exhumed body showed no visible signs of decomposition — four years after her burial.

     Hundreds of people have been flocking to the town 40 miles north of Kansas City to marvel at the well-preserved body of Sister Wilhelmina Lancaster, with many calling it a “miracle in Missouri.”

     Lancaster, when she was 70, founded the Benedictine Sisters of Mary, Queen of the Apostles.

     She died in May 2019 at 95, according to the Catholic News Agency.

     Last Thursday, Benedictine nuns dug up their foundress’ coffin to move it to beneath the altar in the convent’s chapel, which is customary.

     “We were told by cemetery personnel to expect just bones in the conditions, as Sister Wilhelmina was buried without embalming and in a simple wood coffin,” one nun told Newsweek….

     When the sisters fully opened the coffin, they were astonished to discover Lancaster’s body with almost no signs of decay.

     He has specially blessed the remains of other saints to remain incorrupt, but not many – and not, to my knowledge, any who served Him in North America.

     This is the second possible miracle reported to have taken place recently on our continent. A possible case of Miraculous Multiplication was reported a few days earlier by a church in Connecticut:

     The Archdiocese of Hartford investigated the claims at St. Thomas Catholic Church in Thomaston and is sending the results to the Holy See in Rome, the Hartford Courant reported last week.

     The reported miracle occurred at a March 5 Mass, when a parishioner assisting with Communion reported that there was a shortage of hosts — wafers used during the ritual to symbolize the body of Jesus Christ — only to then find there were plenty.

     “God has duplicated himself in the ciborium,” said the Rev. Joseph Crowley, who oversees the congregation, referring to the type of container used to hold the hosts. “It’s really, really cool when God does these things, and it’s really, really cool when we realize what he’s done.”

     If there were ever a time when men of good will were desperate for signs that not all hope is lost, this is one such.

     Be not afraid. And pray.

Why Government Should Lose the Power to Make Law Affecting Constitutional Rights

Here – this applies to a STATE law, but ALL levels of government – local, agency, bureau, state AND federal – need to stop this practice.

If you don’t want the Constitution to stop your petty little rules/laws, there is a standard, encoded procedure to change it.

Evil Policies

     I have something to say that a lot of people, possibly including you, Gentle Reader, are not going to like. You could be one of them, so make sure you’re securely seated and your seat belt is fastened.

     The end does not justify the means.

     That’s it, friends. Just seven words. Easy to read, easy to understand…but apparently supremely difficult to adhere to. Notice that I didn’t boldface, italicize, or super-size them. Either you get it or you don’t.

     Yes, we have enemies. Yes, some of them mean us great harm, possibly even terminal harm. Yes, we must defeat them…but that does not sanctify doing harm to noncombatants.

     One of the central advances of the Treaties of Westphalia, the agreements that heralded the modern era, was the codification of the principal law of war. That law, like the moral-ethical principle I summarized in seven little words, is equally simply stated:

     Combat is for combatants, no one else.

     All of what we called (until recently) civilization is expressed in that statement. “Thou shalt not murder” is just another way of putting it. That supposedly civilized nations have cast that stricture aside since 1914 neither refutes it nor nullifies it.

     You might be wondering why this is on my mind this morning. Just yesterday, a Gabber suggested something immoral in the cause of fighting the transgender madness. She suggested going to a Target store, filling a cart with merchandise…and leaving it there for the store help to deal with. It disturbed me, so I reproved her. Her response was that “we’re at war,” implying that deliberately extending the campaign to people who have nothing to do with it is quite all right.

     Is it all right, Gentle Reader? Is it morally acceptable to impose extra labor on people who are just trying to earn a living, for the sake of a cause? People who had nothing to do with Target’s “Pride” policy? People who might have to work longer hours, making them late for other obligations? Possibly for no extra pay?

     I don’t think so. I think it’s the tip of a very dangerous iceberg. That ‘berg could sink our otherwise morally praiseworthy ship.

     For those younger than I, and for contemporaries whose memories of the late Sixties are hazy, the tactic described above was introduced by Leftist organizers during the “Cesar Chavez / United Farm Workers” controversy. Activists – many of them teenagers – would do exactly as that Gabber suggested at supermarkets that had not aligned with UFW positions on “workers’ rights.” They made extra work, often quite a lot of it, for stock boys and check-out clerks at hundreds of supermarkets. It did nothing for the UFW’s cause, but it did burden thousands of innocent supermarket workers and impede thousands of uninvolved shoppers.

     It was wrong then, and it’s wrong now.

     I can’t help but quote Ralph Waldo Emerson once more:

     You cannot do wrong without suffering wrong. Justice is not postponed… Every secret is told, every crime is punished, every virtue rewarded, every wrong redressed, in silence and certainty.

     You don’t want to be on the wrong end of that law of the universe.

     And now, back to our previously scheduled Curmudgeonry.

In Business, Good Causes Are Bad News

     Among the critical open secrets of America’s commercial culture is this: High corporate executives are obsessed with their public images. They don’t just want to “make money,” as if operating profitable organizations that provide oodles of jobs while making things people want were somehow trivially dismissible. They want to Leave Their Footprints In The Sands Of Time. The longer they hold their high positions, the more the ephemerality of commercial achievement weighs on their minds.

     This makes corporate executives easy marks for the species of predatory beast called the Good Cause. Such beasts roam the American landscape. Their diet is executive egos. They lure their prey with the promise of a benevolent image for cooperating…and the dissemination of outright slanders for declining.

     The original rationale for the publicly traded corporation was that it would earn profits using invested capital and distribute those profits as dividends to its stockholders. In other words, it labors for the stockholders’ profit. Why else, really, would anyone buy into a corporate venture? Stock price appreciation is merely an alternate form for corporate profits: the form it takes when profits are reinvested in search of still greater profits.

     This model is utterly contradicted by corporate charity and charitable involvement. The money that goes to such things belongs to the stockholders. No executive has a moral license to give it away, regardless of the Good Cause on which he proposes to lavish it. If he spends it on anything not connected to company productivity, he is stealing it from the stockholders.

     If more irony were needed, today the majority of Good Causes are outrightly bad. Hearken to Ace of Spades co-blogger Buck Throckmorton:

     Not wanting to be seen as bigoted, corporations started becoming very active in supporting organizations involved in “good” causes, especially those that affect women and identity groups. Thus, battling AIDS and breast cancer became workplace priorities. Don’t misunderstand, these are worthwhile causes, but once the barn door was opened, corporate America could not say “No” to any “worthy” cause. And since the far left gets to determine what is worthy and good, we now have major corporations promoting cross-dressing in the office and compelling certain disfavored employee demographics to submit to dehumanizing struggle sessions.

     The left’s march through the institutions involved so much more than this topic of course, but when corporate America forfeited the right to say “No” to good causes, it opened the door to having to say “Yes” to every left wing pathology.

     This is dead on target. Major executives and corporate directors are learning it the hard way. The cause promoters are twisting arms with the threat of major defamation campaigns and boycotts. And what are the CEOs to say? “We don’t do corporate charity” — ? When virtually every Fortune 5000 company has an internal United Way campaign?

     It should never have begun. Putting it to death will take more clarity and more courage than contemporary executives possess. When William E. Simon wrote the following:

     As is so often the case in our society, when the liberals orchestrate a nationwide uproar over good versus evil, all those defined as evil suffer an acute loss of nerve. Businessmen and bankers, who seem to value respectability more than their lives, are incapable of tolerating this moral abuse. Invariably they collapse psychologically. And whatever they may think and say in private, in public they either go mute or stumble frantically over their own feet as they rush to join the moral bandwagon. – William E. Simon, A Time For Truth

     …he was describing the very process used to extort American businessmen and their firms, often not for causes that the great majority would approve and endorse, but for the very worst: the corruptors and destroyers of all that is right and good. And businessmen must be held accountable for permitting it.

     Let Buck Throckmorton have the closing:

     Charity and compassion begin at home. Leave it out of the workplace.


The Pre-Memorial Day Overload Edition

     Commentators have two counterpoised problems:

  1. “There’s nothing to write about!”
  2. “There’s way too much to write about!”

     I’m in the throes of Problem #2 at the moment. So here goes nothing…or everything, depending on your perspective.


     Banks usually don’t have a great deal of cash on hand. A branch VP will try to dissuade you from making a “large” cash withdrawal. Among other things, it renders them less able to service others who want cash. But these days, a new reason is making news:

     This is ominous, to say the least. Why should a depositor have to establish that he has a good reason for wanting his own property back?

     Of course, NatWest frames this policy as “protection” for the depositor. How else could it justify it? Nevertheless, other, less laudable reasons seem more likely, especially given the Usurper Regime’s drive to eliminate cash altogether. Beware.


     The nation is still smarting from the effects of the “Pandemic lockdowns.” It’s been three years since they were first imposed, and quite a lot of information has come to light since then, little of it favorable to the lockdowns. Of course, we were urged to passively accept the decrees of the “experts” because…well, because they’re “experts!” In this regard, Professor of Microbiology and Immunology Steve Templeton has some revelations for us:

     Experts are generally terrible at forecasting, as demonstrated by psychologist and author Philip Tetlock in his 2005 book Expert Political Judgement. In Tetlock’s study, when 284 experts were asked to make 27,451 predictions in areas relevant to their expertise, the results were a total bust. When pitted against “dilettantes, dart-throwing chimps, and assorted extrapolation algorithms,” experts did not consistently perform better than any of them. They were no more accurate at forecasting than the average person. However, there were some people who proved better at forecasting, yet these were not what one would traditionally label as “experts.” Instead, more accurate forecasters tended to be more well-rounded, less ideological, and more willing to challenge their own assumptions. In contrast, experts just assumed they knew everything, and were wrong as much as right.

     These days, “experts” trade largely on their credentials: degrees, published papers, prestigious public positions, and the like. So even they realize that relying on their record as forecasters is unwise. It’s something to keep in mind for when the next round of scare talk begins.


     Robert Spencer first entered the public eye with his work on Islam and jihad. In recent months, he’s spoken on a wider number of subjects, with equal incisiveness. Here’s one of great interest to me personally:

     The Daily Signal reported Sunday that the FBI “appears, at least briefly, to have joined the Southern Poverty Law Center’s attempt to demonize Roman Catholics who follow the church’s teachings on marriage and who celebrate the Latin Mass.” One of those Catholics, Michael J. Matt, editor of a newspaper called The Remnant and producer of Remnant TV, noted that his organization, which is not remotely connected with violence or terrorism, was listed on a “leaked FBI memo,” along with other Catholic groups that he pointed out were “defunct.”

     Matt declared that this was an example the “FBI phoning it in,” as its list of “radical-traditional Catholic hate groups” came from a 2007 list compiled by the SPLC’s Heidi Beirich and Rhonda Brownstein. Matt asked incredulously: “They took Heidi Beirich and Rhonda Brownstein’s word for it, from 2007?!” He added: “There has been an explosion of traditional Catholic groups since Pope Benedict XVI brought back the Latin Mass. None of the new groups who are in positions of real influence are targeted in the memo.” That’s good, but the fact that the FBI is working with the SPLC and targeting law-abiding citizens because it disapproves of their religious beliefs is disquieting enough.

     The Southern Poverty Law Center bears one of the most Orwellian names among American organizations. In fact, it’s been responsible for the promotion of hatred and violence, but has seldom been held to account. The FBI, which has recently displayed an eagerness to deflect attention from genuine public menaces and onto decent Americans, seems not to care.


     The FBI isn’t the only federal agency that dislikes Christians:

     The Biden administration is doling out taxpayer money through an anti-terrorism grant initiative to a university program that has explicitly lumped the Republican Party, as well as Christian and conservative groups, into the same category as Nazis, according to documents shared exclusively with Fox News Digital.

     The Media Research Center, a conservative watchdog group, obtained documents through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests showing a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) program meant to fight terrorism is funding a group whose work has explicitly targeted the American political right. The MRC outlined its findings in a report,arguing what the group found warrants criminal prosecution.

     “This terrorism task force is engaged in an active effort to demonize and eliminate Christian, conservative, and Republican organizations using federal taxpayer dollars,” said Brent Bozell, founder and president of the Media Research Center. “What we have uncovered calls for criminal prosecution.The American people need to know those who are abusing their positions in the federal government will be held accountable for their criminal behavior.”

     I can’t see how this could be innocent on the part of the DHS. It dovetails too well with other reports of Usurper Regime hostility toward Christianity. And of course we’ve had Dementia Sufferer In Chief, Joseph R. Biden, tell us that Republicans are the next best thing to fascists, too, haven’t we?

     Any number of other commentators have said, occasionally in so many words, that “It’s about to get spicy.” But it hasn’t…yet. What will it take?


     One more and I’ll close for the present. You’ve heard me rant and rave about “the usages of Sulva.” I’ve done it both in fiction and in opinion pieces here and elsewhere. But this morning it seems I haven’t made the point strongly enough:

     Growing human babies from scratch in a lab could be possible in just five years thanks to a new breakthrough.

     Researchers in Japan are on the cusp of being able to create human eggs and sperm in the lab from scratch, which would then develop in an artificial womb.

     Professor Katsuhiko Hayashi, a Japanese scientist at Kyushu University who has already figured out the process in mice, believes he is just five years away from replicating the results in humans.

     But there are ethical concerns, as it means women of any age could have babies. Parents may also want to design their offspring to have certain traits using gene editing tools, giving way to the notion of an assumed perfect child.

     That this is happening in Japan, the Western nation with the lowest birthrate of all, was almost to be expected. If regular humans don’t want to reproduce, “science” will do it for them. But what sort of children will “science” produce? Who will raise the babies? What values will be instilled in them?

     I wrote about something parallel to this proposed atrocity in Innocents: human cloning. The following snippet is from that novel:

     “[T]hink about it. Let’s say they were to clone me—produce a baby version of me. That baby would have no parents or other relatives. The people who produced him would have no reason to care for him, or about him, and only they would know he existed. He would be a product for sale. Why would anyone make that product? Why would anyone want that product? Apart from pure altruism?….
     “The only reason to clone someone, other than the motives Fountain’s creators had, would be to replace him,” he said. “Or parts of him. And that means either murder, or enslavement, or cannibalism by surgeon. It’s evil no matter how you slice it.”
     “That’s if clones were granted the status and rights of people born the…regular way,” Juliette said. “What if they weren’t?”
     Sokoloff gestured at Fountain. Six pairs of eyes swung toward her. She remained still and silent.
     “That’s worse, isn’t it?” he said.
     Trish slid over next to Fountain and took her hand.
     “A lot worse,” she said.
     “Yeah,” Juliette said.

     The production of babies in laboratories is just as evil as cloning. The “product,” nominally a human being, would be property. Camouflaging this with the flip assertion that loving parents would await such babies is absolutely deceitful. If that were true, Japanese couples would be producing them in the time-honored fashion!

     The logic above applies to any babies that would come into the world through the machinations of “science,” regardless of any and all considerations.


     I’d say that’s enough for the Friday before Memorial Day weekend. Try not to think about it too much. Enjoy your barbecues. And do please offer a prayer for the souls of those who have fallen in battle in the service of our country. Have a nice day.

In Other News

     …my decision to leave Blogger has been justified. Specifically, the Grundies at Blogger have gotten around to Liberty’s Torch V1.0 and are slapping “Sensitive Content” warnings on a lot of the pieces there. So far:

     …have all been labeled sensitive. As the most recent of them was posted in 2016, I can’t imagine what they’re afraid of.

     I hope that I’ll continue to have access to the old site for the near term, but nothing is guaranteed once the censors get to it. If there are any essays for which you want permanent copies, I’d advise you to download them before they have a chance to be “disappeared.”

The War And The Bastions

     I do like that word bastion. A form of it, Bastian, is also a man’s name, and a most complimentary one at that. A bastion is a stronghold, a difficult-to-assail redoubt that stands athwart the enemy’s campaign. The enemy must be sure to reduce such strongholds completely before continuing on with an invasion, for there is nothing quite as perilous to an invading force as to have one on its flank or in its rear.

     Just as a nation that possesses several well-placed military bastions is thereby insured against a surprise attack, a nation that possesses adequate cultural bastions can be fairly relaxed about the security of its way of life. Forces that seek to corrupt the culture of such a nation must first reduce those strongholds. As “politics is downstream from culture” (Andrew Breitbart), a campaign against the nation must undermine those cultural bastions first.

     Until recently, the United States had several cultural bastions:

  • Its Christian ethics;
  • Its emphasis on family;
  • Its bourgeois commercial culture;
  • Predominantly trustworthy news media;
  • Social norms that emphasize privacy and autonomy.

     Such things don’t spring from the ground like toadstools; they must be built over many decades. Those who plot our downfall set to work on them more than century ago. Only these past few years have the consequences become blatantly visible.

     I’m sure no regular reader of Liberty’s Torch needs an enumeration. The news media, one of the first of the bastions to be subverted, report on the outcroppings daily. Nearly always, their slant is intended to suggest that rampant violence, incivility, perversion, cruelty, and duplicity are in the natural order of things, and should not stir one to outrage. There’s quite a lot of “there oughta be a law” in there, too.

     When a nation’s bastions have been reduced, what does it have left with which to rally its people to its defense?

     We should have taken note of what was being done to us a lot sooner.


     Today, it takes a lot of fortitude to say “I will not give in; I will soldier on.” Not many Americans have that much courage or endurance. We know what we’ve lost. We lament it bitterly, but we can’t find in ourselves the spiritual resources required to fight back. Worse, we find the prospects for further losses near to unstoppable. We seem to be surrounded by evil.

     I’m there too. I write; I talk to acquaintances; I counsel young people who seek a new perspective. Yet I’m ever more at a loss when someone asks me “What can we do?” Many things that I once deemed reliable countermeasures have vanished or have been corrupted in their turn.

     I refuse to say “Give up; they’ve got us by the short’n’curlies.” I’ve tried to fortify my own little family and holdings as best I can, but that’s about the only measure I can recommend to others…and even that is not without cringing. Against an opponent with the resources of the anti-American Left, hunkering down and resolving to wait it out is not a winning strategy. We can’t hope for the restoration of what we’ve lost without mounting an offensive.

     There are some signs that give hope. The Bud Light and Target developments suggest that “woke capitalism” has finally hit the stops. Burgeoning outrage against such things as the promotion of transgenderism to schoolchildren and the teaching of Critical Race Theory is another indicator of massing resistance. And of course, the swelling willingness of Americans to oppose the various “pride movements” is critical. But all of these things must be restored to a foundation in Christian ethics and a family-centered culture, and those are the very rocks the Left has attacked most determinedly.

     If I were plotting a strategy for the reformation of our culture, I’d emphasize the churches and the education of our young. Both have been subverted. Education in particular has been corrupted so completely that nothing can be done with the existing institutions except to shut them down. But the churches are little better. “Tolerance uber alles” now ranks alongside the Gospels. Indeed, I once heard a Catholic priest refer to the Ten Commandments as “interesting suggestions.”

     We need our bastions to be built back to their former strength. We need them if we’re ever to throw back the death cults and the totalitarians they serve. But as I said earlier, those bastions were established and fortified over many decades. We might not have time enough to restore them.

     Well, at least these services aren’t mandatory yet. But stay tuned. And now that I’ve depressed all my Gentle Readers, it’s time for prayer and a spot of breakfast. Have a nice day.

Some Vigilance Committees Are Pretty Small

     Yet they can still be effective:

     A Dollar General store in California could be on the hook for a substantial sum of money after an employee appears to have flouted the state’s monopoly on violence by going after an accused shoplifter on her own – and hitting him with her car.

     Remember your Ralph Waldo Emerson:

     If the law is too mild, private vengeance comes in.

     Let the Myrmidons of the Omnipotent State take note.

Getting Bearable

By now, some 9 days from my fall, I’m generally not in that much actual pain. Easily fatigued, certainly. Sore, absolutely.

But mostly just REALLY uncomfortable. Enough to make it difficult to sleep for more than a couple of hours at a time. Not really able to concentrate on anything worthwhile. Playing online solitaire. Reading the most lightweight books. Complaining. Getting itches in unreachable locations.

My poor daughter is giving up her vacation to help me cope with this. She’s practically a Living Saint (I would have given me a what-for a long time ago). But she is helping out with personal care, laundry, meals, and, yes, patiently listening to my complaints.

I have a follow up appointment tomorrow at 8:15. She will be seeing a doctor that day for her own medical issues. I’m hoping we both get good reports.

Your Daily Outrage

     It’s not just Chicago; the whole state of Illinois has decided to surrender to the savages:

No charges for Chicago teens who killed 70-yr-old with stolen KIA, mayor fires police chief who asked questions

     Police in the village of Robbins, which is southwest of Chicago, announced that no charges have been filed against three teenagers who stole a Kia in February and then crashed it into 70-year-old Donald Carter’s car, killing him.

     Carter’s family has been outraged that no charges have been forthcoming against the teenagers.

     Robbins Mayor Darren Bryant fired Police Chief David Sheppard in April following the incident after the chief repeatedly questioned behavior coming from the mayor’s office, according to The Southland Journal.

     According to the Chicago Tribune, Sheppard said he believed that his questioning of directions he received from Bryant in the handling of Carter’s vehicle factored into his dismissal. Sheppard said the vehicle was taken to a large building where public works vehicles and road salt are stored to keep it enclosed because state police had not yet processed it for evidence in the crash investigation.

     There’s no mention of the race of those three teenage killers, but I think any Gentle Reader of Liberty’s Torch can guess them accurately. It happened in Illinois, not far from Chicago, after all.

A Fear That Protects

     With all due respect to the late Frank Herbert, fear is an innate capability of the human animal. It’s not always purely negative; it’s often protective. In the latter instances, it might be best to respect and heed it. Of course, what it protects is the only valid measure of whether to face it…or fight it.

     Some things do not deserve protection. Illusions are among them. So are the purveyors of illusions, regardless of their motives for doing so.

     Another thing that doesn’t deserve protection is your aversion to disapproval. There are innumerable persons who’ll sneer at you, exclude you, and possibly slander you to others for the heinous crime of disagreeing with them. Many who would qualify as adults by the usual measures quail at such disapproval. They fear it as if it were something that could actually wound them.

     This is on my mind today because of two pieces – one recent, one rather old – that deal with such matters. The first is Will Briggs’s recent piece on the several purveyors of illusions. The merest snippet:

     Journalists are chosen for their gullibility, obsequiousness, lack of all scruples, ability to lie, and the quality of possessing no memory for past misstatements and having no compunction to self-contradict themselves with great regularity while beaming perfect sincerity. They are bad people.

     Never trust anything a Regime journalist says, whether he calls himself progressive, woke, or conservative.

     Please read the whole thing. Briggs cuts through the fog of equivocations, tu quoque defenses, and mistaken attributions of expertise and motives with a white-hot scalpel. I couldn’t improve on his prose if I were to spend the rest of the week at it.

     The second is this old plaint from Scott Aaronson, cited at Slate Star Codex, the nadir of which is only five words long:

     [E]veryone’s free choice demands respect.

     WTF, over? How does anyone’s “choice,” regardless of the subject at issue, “deserve” anything? Yes, we should respect freedom of choice itself. But the actual choices others make deserve nothing, except perhaps tolerance – and in some cases not even that.

     Yet many fear what would happen were they not to approve, openly and explicitly, the choices of others. Indeed, there’s been a huge campaign to elicit and intensify such fears, even when some of the “choices” involve actual crimes against others.

     There’s a gag-trope that’s been making the rounds for quite a while now:

     The questionable grammar aside, it’s a sentiment with which I feel some sympathy. But it doesn’t address the root of the thing, which is our fear of others’ disapproval. Those who are determined to use you will make use of that fear to the greatest possible extent.

  • Friends fear their friends’ disapproval.
  • Husbands fear their wives’ disapproval.
  • Children fear their parents’ disapproval.
  • Employees fear their employers’ disapproval.
  • Homeowners fear their neighbors’ disapproval.
  • And far too many of us fear pollsters’ disapproval.

     Which of those fears do you share, Gentle Reader? Do you think they’re protecting you from anything genuinely fearsome?

     Address each of those common fears and ask yourself: Why shouldn’t they fear my disapproval? Why should I be on the “receiving end?” It’s a mind-opener.

     The most egregious cases pertain to purveyed illusions. There are a lot of them in circulation today. If someone is trying to get you to accept and possibly parrot an illusion, he’s either deluded or evil. There are no other explanations. And never mind that such persons are likely to claim that you’re either stupid or evil; that’s just a reassertion of their disapproval of you in stronger terms.

     Ironically, the best protection against being manipulated by the fear of others’ disapproval is another fear, one that few people ponder these days: the fear of losing your self-respect. For one who is manipulable in that fashion and is aware of it cannot respect himself. And here we encounter yet another irony: to protect ourselves from that awareness, we contrive illusions of our own:

  • “I have to fit in.”
  • “Got to stay on his good side.”
  • “It’s the way things are these days.”
  • “The nail that sticks up gets hammered down.”
  • “I wouldn’t want to create the wrong impression.”

     …et cetera ad nauseam infinitam. But one who respects himself doesn’t make excuses for being bullied – and that is what manipulations through the fear of disapproval really are.

     He made, in his inexperience, the classic mistake: he tried to explain. Life had not yet taught him how futile that approach is, with men and women alike. He did not know that the only respect-compelling attitude toward any accusation, true or false, is “Take me or leave me as I am, and be damned!” – Frank Yerby, An Odor of Sanctity

     Do you really need anyone else’s approval?

Dialogues To Come

     If there are any left-liberal moonbats in your orbit, you’re bound to have a conversation with them, sooner or later, about “diversity.” There’s no way around it. They worship the word though they shudder and shy away from the reality. But even as they put their homes on the trading block in an effort to escape your “diversifying” neighborhood, they’ll do their earnest best to persuade you to embrace it.

     Some years ago, the paramour of a good friend counseled me exactly that way. In an attempt to probe her convictions on the subject a bit more deeply than was customary at that time, I asked her, in roughly these words: So if my neighborhood were “turning black,” I should stay here even so? She replied that it would be morally obligatory for me to do so.

     Which makes it “morally obligatory” that you be prepared for a sally such as this:

Left-Liberal Moonbat: We can all get along if we just try harder!

     To which the rejoinder I favor would be:

FWP: No, we can’t. It’s been established empirically.

     …followed by working the pump on your 12-gauge and ambling away.

     Other leftist claims, such as “Socialism would work if the right people were in charge,” should be met similarly. It’s smart policy to “save your breath.” After all, you have no idea how many more you’ll draw.

     (Concerning “diversity,” see also this Kevin Downey article. Yes, I’m in one of those moods.)

Shoulder Update

No surgery yet. I have an appointment with a shoulder specialist on Thursday. Pain level: worst at night, in the early morning hours. Bearable otherwise.

My wonderful daughter, the sister, gave me assistance with my first shower in a week. That did a lot to improve my wellbeing, and probably make it more bearable to be around me.

Assuming a normal recovery, I should be good to be on my own in another week or so. By that time, my husband should have had time to finish all details with the house sale, and drive back.

Thanks for all the prayers.

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