Francis W. Porretto

Mount Sinai, NY USA

Author's posts

Elites And Contempt

     Today’s stimulus for thought comes from this nicely pointed op-ed from William McGurn:      In the last week or so a flurry of articles have appeared arguing for toning down the looking-down. In the New Republic Michael Tomasky writes under the heading “Elitism Is Liberalism’s Biggest Problem.” Over at the New York Times , …

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“Bring Back Our Country!”

     First, a blast from the past: a piece I posted at the old Palace Of Reason about fifteen years ago:      Ever seen Federico Fellini’s movie Amarcord (I Remember)? It’s not the muddled mess so many of his other films were. It’s a memoir of his childhood in a small Italian town, during the …

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The Game Plan

     Is what follows a realistic summary of a major part of the strategy of our political elite, or merely a conspiratorialist’s fantasy?      “The women’s rights movement had three goals. First, it got women into the workplace where their labor could be taxed….So, with more women entering the workforce the supply of labor increases …

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Demographics and the Medicalization of Human Existence

     “When man believed that happiness was dependent upon God, he killed for religious reasons. When he believed that happiness was dependent upon the form of government, he killed for political reasons….After dreams that were too long, true nightmares…we arrived at the present period of history. Man woke up, discovered that which we always knew, …

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Sapir-Whorf In The Saddle

     If you’re unfamiliar with the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis, it’s time to get acquainted with it:      Linguistic relativity, sometimes called the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis or Whorfianism, is a hypothesis in linguistics and cognitive science that holds that the structure of a language affects its speakers’ world view or cognition. The strong version claims that language determines …

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Cause People

     [I’ve received numerous requests to repost this old chestnut, which first appeared at the Palace Of Reason on June 29, 2003 — FWP]      Cause People can be very difficult. Trying. Often hazardous to your health. But they’re getting a progressively larger fraction of the media’s attention, so it’s well to be up on …

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If This Goes On

     An early Robert A. Heinlein novella with the above title described an American theocracy that was eventually brought down in a violent revolution. I have no idea whether the young Heinlein was subject to influences that might have predisposed him to believe that such a future was probable. However, the Afterword to his collection …

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The Most Awful Day

[This piece first appeared at Eternity Road on August 6, 2005. Today being the 101st — yes, the 101st — anniversary of the day I deem “most awful” in post-Industrial Revolution history, and a number of geopolitical trends having bent in the direction of large-scale replays thereof, I felt it appropriate to repost it. — …

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Do The Right Thing

     It’s more than the title of an overhyped Spike Lee movie. It’s a way of life…or it should be.      Many people talk a good game. They proclaim, propound, and promise. They make extravagant statements about what they would do – or will do – if this or that should occur. They pose as …

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“Compelling Government Interest”

     Time was, I wrote more than I do today about the abstract ideals that undergird freedom. These days, my attention is more focused on current events and what they portend. I’m not sure why that should be, except that it’s clear that, as Jubal Harshaw said in Stranger In A Strange Land, wallowing in …

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Off The Mishnory Road: Absolutes

I’ve long held the belief that any man who’s willing to assert the absolute truth of even one statement must eventually accept that every well-formed statement – i.e., a statement that either posits a fact or a causal mechanism — is either absolutely true or absolutely false, men’s contrary opinions notwithstanding. The concept behind that …

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Off The Mishnory Road: Fun And Games

I’ve subjected my Gentle Readers to three “Politically Insoluble” essays. The themes in those essays have kept me going back to the core concept behind them all: “They say here ‘all roads lead to Mishnory.’ To be sure, if you turn your back on Mishnory and walk away from it, you are still on the …

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Off The Mishnory Road: The Stoic Virtues And Masculinity

Before we launch into today’s tirade, please read Dystopic’s latest opus at The Declination. The snippet that inspired me is at the very beginning: There is a certain irony in the fact that Progressives, with their White privilege narrative, are too deeply rooted in European history to notice that other cultures are fundamentally unlike them. …

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It’s On: The Ongoing Saga

From Colin Flaherty: Some stories you have to read 10 times before deciding: ’Yes: What I thought was too crazy is really true.’ This is one of those stories. Here goes, believe it or not: A black Baltimore bus driver organized a mob of 20 black people to assault a white family of three on …

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It’s On: Where Explanation Remains Required

Almost exactly a year ago, I wrote: I’m a child of the Civil Rights Era. I’ve yearned for the day when Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” vision would become the unquestioned reality of our nation. It has not arrived. If anything, it’s receded further from reality with every passing year. Intelligent people who …

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Owners

Brace yourself, Gentle Reader. It’s a day for fundamentals and fundamental questions: Who owns the economy — if you have any idea what that is? Who owns the ground beneath your feet? Who owns your car, or your phone? Who owns the law? Who owns you? Have you been asked those questions anywhere else lately? …

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Language Corruption Continues

From The Analects of Confucius: Zi-lu said, “The ruler of Wei has been waiting for you, in order with you to administer the government. What will you consider the first thing to be done?” The Master replied, “What is necessary to rectify names.” “So! indeed!” said Zi-lu. “You are wide of the mark! Why must …

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Strifings

No, that’s not a misspelling. Two remarkable articles came my way early this morning. They touch upon the same subject from different perspectives. What they reveal is critical to the quality of American life. First, let’s have some plaintive commentary from a sweet woman better known for her beauty and her acting: What has happened …

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The Forbidden Subject

It seems that no matter who you are, how innocent your deeds, or how ethically you treat your fellow man, you are absolutely forbidden to speak on certain subjects, on pain of ostracism, being abandoned to the mercies of the State, or worse. The premier such subject, eclipsing all others, is the correlation between certain …

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Habituations

[The following first appeared at Eternity Road on July 31, 2009. — FWP] In reply to this earlier piece, longtime reader and frequent commenter Goober wrote: It isn’t their fault. The founding fathers knew for a fact that even the kindest and most altruistic of governments would and could overstep their bounds on occasion. That …

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