A Cabal Of Its Enemies Redux

     It’s always gratifying to stumble over an example of something I’ve had difficulty explaining to others. In this case, it comes courtesy of Will: the autobiography of the late G. Gordon Liddy. The incident in question occurred during the first presidential term of Richard Nixon, when Liddy was Special Assistant to the Secretary of the treasury:

     The Johnson Administration had extracted a promise from Suleyman Demirel, the prime minister of Turkey, to eliminate all opium poppy cultivation in that coutry by the end of 1971. [Assistant Treasury Secretary William] Rossides and I agreed that the United States should use all its economic power to force Demirel to make good on his promise – something Rossides ethnic background and identification with the Greek lobby did not exactly make him reluctant to do. The Department of State, aware of Rossides’ visceral anti-Turkish feelings, cited the shakiness of the Demirel government and said at one of our meetings that instructions to our ambassador to push Demirel harder might destroy the ambassador’s usefulness.
     I argued that if Demirel were going to renege, it didn’t matter whether he fell or not; indeed, a new prime minister might prove more amenable. I had no use for our ambassador because I believed he had fallen victim of the occupational hazard of ambassadors and was representing Demirel more than the United States.

     There’s the phenomenon I had in mind when I wrote this much-cited essay. For a grace note, Liddy continues thus:

     When the State Department representative at the conference asked me, dripping hauteur, “and just what, Mr. Liddy, do you propose we do with our ambassador should what you propose destroy his usefulness?”
     To State and Rossides’ outrage I replied disdainfully, “Have you considered locking him in a room with a Luger to do the graceful thing?”

     It’s hard not to like this guy.

The Wager

     Nothing is certain but uncertainty. – Pliny the Elder

     Here it is, that grand day that cometh but once a year: April Fool’s Day, on which the only certainty is that someone is planning to make you look like a credulous idiot. Wait: can you really be certain of that? Well, maybe not, but as Damon Runyan said in a broadly similar context, that’s the way to bet.

     April Fool’s Day is when we celebrate the leg pull, the 180-degree misdirection, the absurdity that preys on our willingness to believe just about anything if it’s stated prosaically enough. Yes, I’ve been caught by it. More often than I care to remember, actually. I’ve seldom managed to catch anyone else, though; it must be my Irish grin. (“When Irish eyes are smiling, you’ve probably just been screwed.” – James Hogan) But in the usual case, it’s all in fun.

     However, this morning I have a rather more serious subject in mind. Tomorrow being Palm Sunday, Christians worldwide will begin something else that comes but once a year: Holy Week, the period that commemorates Christ’s entry into Jerusalem, His final few days of preaching and miracle-working, and finally His Passion, Crucifixion, and Resurrection. It’s a celebration both somber and joyous, for though Our Lord suffered the cruelest torments of His era, they had a purpose of overwhelming importance: the ultimate confirmation of His divinity and the redemption of the souls of men.

     It’s a story that ought to prompt even a committed atheist to serious thought. The tale itself, regardless of one’s personal convictions, is the most exalting and humbling imaginable: “the greatest story ever told.” On the strength of that narrative alone, billions of people have embraced Christ and His Gospel. No other bit of history comes anywhere close.

     But that’s purely prefatory. What I have uppermost in mind is the decision that flows from the narrative of the Passion and Resurrection: whether a man should bet his life on its veracity.


     “Here’s where the chili meets the cheese, my friend. One of my heroes was C. S. Lewis, a man who began as a skeptic, much like yourself. At the end of his journey, you know what he said? If Christianity is false, it’s of zero importance. But if it’s true, there’s nothing more important in the entire universe.” – from The Case For Christ

     The above is a simplified statement of Pascal’s Wager. Blaise Pascal was one of the finest minds of his place and time. Among his many achievements was an early form of Game Theory: the application of probability theory to strategy and tactics. His Wager is a proposition of the game-theoretic variety.

     Without going too deeply into the specifics, Pascal’s Wager posits that to accept, in practical terms, that God exists and that Christianity is true is the more sensible position because of the available outcomes:

     Pascal argues that a rational person should live as though God exists and seek to believe in God. If God does not actually exist, such a person will have only a finite loss (some pleasures, luxury, etc.), whereas if God does exist, he stands to receive infinite gains (as represented by eternity in Heaven) and avoid infinite losses (eternity in Hell).

     Put that way, Pascal’s proposition has a great deal of force. However, it’s important to note that the dichotomy at the base of the Wager – i.e., the true / false judgment about the Gospel of Christ – is itself a premise. Consider some other possibilities:

  • That God exists, but:
    • That Christ was a first-century snake-oil salesman;
    • That His teachings are only partially correct;
    • That heaven isn’t what it’s cracked up to be;
    • That God is indifferent to Mankind.
  • That God does not exist, and:
    • That an afterlife of another sort than the Christian vision awaits us;
    • That other powers – Cthulhu, perhaps? – await us that really dislike Christians and Christianity.

         Any of those alternate premises would radically alter the bet. Of course, they’re as incalculable as any other set of postulates one would think to ponder about ultimate things. However, we haven’t exhausted the universe of possibilities. There’s the context of this world to consider, as well.


         Consider the story of a relatively recent Catholic martyr: Anacleto Gonzalez Flores, whose feast day is today:

         Anacleto Gonzalez Flores (1888–1927) was the second of twelve children born to a poor family in Jalisco, Mexico. He was baptized the day after his birth. As he grew, a priest recognized his intelligence and recommended that he enter the seminary. Anacleto studied there for a time before discerning that he was not called to the priesthood. Instead he became an attorney, husband, and father, as well as an activist for his Catholic faith. He was a prolific writer and dedicated catechism teacher, and attended daily Mass. He joined the Catholic Association of Young Mexicans (ACJM) in addition to starting another Catholic lay organization committed to resisting the fierce persecution of the Catholic Church under the infamous Mexican dictator, Calles. Initially he participated only in the non-violent resistance against Calles, until four members of the ACJM were murdered in 1926. Their deaths spurred Anacleto to lend support to the armed resistance movement. Anacleto did not take up arms but instead gave speeches to encourage Catholics to support the Cristeros, the Catholic army fighting against Calles. Anacleto was captured during the Cristero War on April 1, 1927, and was brutally tortured before being martyred by firing squad.

         Clearly, Gonzalez paid dearly for his faith. Others throughout history have paid similar or worse prices. The Wager had not yet been formulated when the Apostles walked the earth. The majority of them were martyred. So were many hundreds of other Christians who came after them.

         The strength of one’s commitment to a faith is tested by the context of one’s life. If that faith is unpopular, it might limit the believer socially and professionally. If that faith is at odds with a prevailing faith hostile to it, things could get ugly. Finally, if that faith is openly being persecuted, such that believers are subject to great physical torments, the impoverishment (or worse) of their loved ones, and eventual execution…well, you really have to believe, sincerely and totally.

         These contextual possibilities make the Wager a more complex thing than Pascal might have imagined.


         The Founding Fathers of this nation were a mixed lot. Some of them were Christians. Others were Deists, or of some other inclination. Yet as a body they favored the advance of Christianity among the citizens of their new republic. We have well-verified statements from Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and others to that effect. Whether they were familiar with the Wager is unknown.

         Christianity as a prevailing condition has characterized the most advanced and harmonious societies in recorded history. When Christianity has receded in a previously Christian country, things have gone badly for that country. Consider France in 1789 and the following years as a prime example. Another such is Weimar Germany and what followed there. There are other cases, all to the same effect.

         The evidence suggests rather strongly that Christianity is good for a people – that we’re better off overall when the great majority of us believe it and live according to its teachings. Yet we have among us a growing number of militant atheists determined to drive Christianity and its propositions about good and evil from public view. Whether they’re familiar with what happens to nations that “de-Christianize,” I cannot say. I have little doubt that they’d dismiss the Wager.

         The sociopolitical battle raging among us, regardless of whether the contestants are willing to say so explicitly, is about Christianity and its moral-ethical pronouncements. If the militant anti-Christians should prevail, history suggests that we won’t enjoy what’s to come. We’ve already sacrificed millions of unborn children, a degree of carnage to which no other historical atrocity can compare – and that’s despite the great majority of Americans describing themselves as Christians. What if the greater part of us were to abandon our faith completely? What could we expect then?

         Leave aside the premises of the Wager. As I’ve asked once before, should we not wish, even if only for social, economic, and political reasons, that Christian convictions prevail among us?

         The late Florence King, an atheist, once wrote that the dominance of Christianity in America was what permitted her to live as she pleased: i.e., as “a loose woman.” The sincere Christian may disapprove of such conduct, but he does not condemn it – or persecute it. Christ did not strive to inflict suffering on those who rejected Him. Neither did He allow His Apostles to do so:

         And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people. Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast. And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him. And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took him.
         And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest’s, and smote off his ear.
         Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?

         [Matthew 26:47-54]

         It’s worth more than a passing thought.


         The Wager is posed as an individual matter, a proposition in personal life strategy. But as I’ve suggested above, it applies in practical terms to the whole of a nation. Even if he’s personally an atheist, a man of good will should smile upon the Christian faith and its devotees simply for the well-being of his country. Viewed thus, the militant atheist determined to drive Christianity out of public life is not a man of good will. While we are commanded to let him go and do as he may please, his anti-Crusade must be opposed. We must concede him nothing.

         Only a real April Fool would have it otherwise.

  • The Indictment

         People have been emailing me all day, asking my opinion of the indictment of Donald Trump for…what? The indictment itself is sealed. The charges have not yet been specified. How can anyone allow himself an opinion on something about which he knows nothing?

         So I’ve decided to delegate the task to Paul Joseph Watson:

         I find his take on it accurate, if politically optimistic. Your mileage may vary.

    More On Representation

         Yesterday’s bit of whimsy didn’t get a lot of comment action. Whatever the reason, apparently the Gentle Readers of Liberty’s Torch were disinclined to register their opinions on the subject. No matter; it was meant to stimulate thought on the issue, which is a live one. It will remain significant because the coin has (as usual) two faces:

    Every Over-Representation
    Implies an Under-Representation.

         The laws of arithmetic don’t allow for any other conclusion. If proportional representation is important to some activity, then it matters to every group involved in that activity. Indeed, it might matter even more to groups un-involved in the activity.

         This is something about which little noise has been made. Either “representation,” in the sense being used here, is important or it isn’t. But this dichotomy is rarely argued anywhere.

         Does it matter, in some sense integral to justice, that there are no Buddhists in the New York Philharmonic orchestra? Does it matter that there are no women in the NHL? Does it matter that there are no paraplegics in mixed-martial arts? If the answer to those questions is no, then why would it matter that women are under-represented on corporate boards? Why would it matter that Negroes are under-represented in symphony orchestras? Why would any such statistic occupy our attention?

         The usual reply from the “woke” / SJW screechers is “bigotry.” But bigotry cannot account for rates of application, can it? If “not enough” women are applying for executive positions in large companies, how is that bigotry? If “not enough” Negroes are taking up the violin or the oboe, how is that bigotry?

         Doesn’t sound like it to me.


         America supposedly champions individual merit and individual achievement. Lately those things have been relegated to a dusty backroom shelf in favor of “representation.” The shift in emphasis occurred while we were looking elsewhere.

         Time was, prejudices of certain kinds outweighed ability, at least in certain circles. Women and Negroes were excluded from certain kinds of employment, regardless of what particular talents they could offer. That’s not to be minimized, for an individual’s merits ought to outweigh everything else about him. Justice would not be served otherwise. But it’s not always about the applicant. Sometimes it’s about the “work environment,” or the people already working in it.

         When women pressed for inclusion in the fighting units of America’s armed forces, there was a great deal of debate about the foreseeable consequences. Men’s attitude toward women – our natural protectiveness toward them – was one of the subjects. So were the sexual tensions likely to arise in a unit that includes both sexes. And of course, many asked whether women could meet the standards maintained by the Army for combat soldiers.

         All of that was swept aside by the activists who led the charge. “It’s not fair that women are denied the right to serve their country!” they howled. That there are many ways to serve one’s country that don’t involve the rigors and potential horrors of combat went largely undiscussed. So in the fullness of time, women were permitted into combat positions. And what has followed?

    • Fitness and capability standards have declined sharply;
    • Costly changes to barracks and hygiene facilities have been imposed;
    • The services now face difficulties arising from pregnant women in the ranks;
    • The “it’s not fair” chorus has moved on to under-representation of women at command ranks.

         Would anyone care to argue that our readiness to fight has been well served?


         I can’t end this without a word or two about quotas.

         Once “representation” is made the paramount consideration, all other factors must be demoted to secondary importance. Those more capable of doing the work will have to hope that the “representation” allotted to their particular cohort will allow them to slip through. Some will be turned away to meet the quota for other groups. Those selected to meet the quota for their cohort may be incapable, which penalizes the employer and the ultimate customer. Thus is a multifaceted injustice perpetrated in service to irrelevant statistics.

         To take the baldest case, were the U.S. to get into a war and lose, there would be a lot of post-mortem agony. What did we do wrong? The debates would absorb the whole nation. But would any consideration be given to “representation,” its effect on our combat readiness, and our forces’ performance under fire? Or would the activists that screamed about “representation” demand that those factors be off limits to discussion?

         I think my Gentle Readers know the answer.


         I could go on, but I think the point has been made. We’ve taken a perverse turn in service to a foolish notion. If it’s still possible to turn back, the time is now, before the costs impoverish us. The claims of the activists notwithstanding, there’s really nothing else that matters…and nothing else to say.

    More On “Pride”

         The reaction against the coerced endorsement of this madness has begun to swell:

         This season, several NHL players have opted to remain silent in protest against the league’s LGBTQ+ Pride Night celebrations. Players like Ivan Provorov, James Reimer, Marc Staal, Eric Staal, and Ilya Lyubushkin have refused to wear the Pride Night-themed warmup jerseys, which aim to promote inclusivity and celebrate the LGBTQ+ community.

         While players have the right to individually support or oppose the issue, these protests impact the league’s message of inclusiveness. When players opt-out, attention shifts from inclusivity and support for sexual orientation and gender identity to discrimination and intolerance, particularly towards the transgender community. As a result, the NHL is reportedly considering discontinuing these celebrations.

         NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, a well-respected hockey executive of long experience, weighed in publicly on the matter:

         “This is the first time we’ve experienced that, and I think it’s something that we’re going to have to evaluate in the offseason,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman told CTV News on Monday in Ottawa.

         “This is one issue where players for a variety of reasons may not feel comfortable wearing the uniform as a form of endorsement,” he said.

         “But I think that’s become more of a distraction now because the substance of what our teams and we have been doing and stand for is really being pushed to the side for what is a handful of players basically have made personal decisions, and you have to respect that as well.”

         Yes, he minimized it to “a handful of players,” but that’s to be expected. As it happens, the whole of the New York Rangers team refused to wear the “rainbow” jerseys. So the “dissent” on the “issue” isn’t confined to a few scattered individuals.

         There’s a lot of suppressed embarrassment over the matter. The decision to impose these “Pride Nights” on the league came from the top, which means that Bettman had to have endorsed it at the very least. No doubt other hockey executives are wearing some facial egg over it as well.

         What isn’t being suppressed is the surge of approbation for that “handful of players.” Go to YouTube and search for “Gary Bettman” plus “Pride night” and you’ll see for yourself.

         My take on it? You really need to ask? Oh, all right:

         Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. – Proverbs 16:18-19

         A more recent voice on the matter speaks from the only perspective that matters in the end: that of the free individual:

         I will not mouth your slogans. I will not denounce on command. I am not your tool, and you are not my minder. I reject your social hectoring. I find abhorrent your authoritarian urges. I laugh at your disingenuous outrage. From me you will receive no apologies. I reject your premises entirely, and I hereby reclaim my time. — Jeff Goldstein

         And that is as it must be.

    A Festival Of Representation

         “Representation” – more specifically, statistical under or over-representation in various domains – is one of today’s major bugaboos. We all hear about aspects of this now and then, such as how women are “under-represented” in CEOs’ offices and corporate boardrooms, or blacks are “over-represented” among perpetrators of violent crimes. There’s often a lot of dissension about the causes. Sometimes, even though the causes can be known, the information is suppressed so as not to hurt some interest group’s feelings…or its revenues.

         Well, in this commentator’s opinion, we haven’t delved deeply enough into such things. I’m passionately interested in representation statistics. They make great argument fodder, and there’s nothing an overly opinionated (and superannuated) Web writer likes better than an interminable argument.

         (What’s that you say? The interminably argumentative don’t get invited to the best parties? Well, so what? All pastimes have their little downsides.)

         So here goes: The following table of three columns lines up various identifiable population cohorts with particular involvements. You, Gentle Reader, are invited to fill in the blank middle column with one of these words:

    • Under,
    • Properly,
    • Over,

         …according to your estimate of the cohort’s representation in the indicated activity. For example, if you feel that Sikhs are under-represented among Presbyterian pastors, you would enter “Under” in the middle column. If you feel that Mongolians are over-represented among Gender Studies researchers, you would enter “Over” in the middle column. And so forth.

         Let’s see what kind of Sturm und Drang we can whip up here. Don’t worry about being right or wrong according to the available statistics; the point is to excite a little outrage and have fun doing it.

    This Group Is Represented In This Activity
    Hispanics Cheese makers
    Seventh-Day Adventists Oral surgeons
    Inuit Indians Self-Help writers
    Muslims Converts to Scientology
    Quebecois Fiddle players
    Iranians Pizza chefs
    Filipinos Klezmer clarinetists
    Transwomen Synthesizer virtuosi
    Directors of Marketing Dilbert fans
    Leftists The Gentle Readers of Liberty’s Torch

    At Last Someone Has Said It!

         And right out in front of God and everybody, too:

         According to the sourcelink, the ever-growing number of hockey players who are pushing back against NHL’s “Pride Nights” and refusing to wear LGBTQIA++++++++++++ themed jerseys, is causing the league to “re-evaluate” such events.

         This is a good thing, and good on the players who’ve refused on principle to be forced to show “pride” in something that warrants absolutely no pride whatsoever. If you feel pride over the specific genitals you prefer your genitals coming into contact with, you’re a crazy person. It’s just that simple.

         I added the emphasis.

         How on Earth did this “pride” BS get started? You cannot justly be proud of anything that’s not your personal achievement. You did not “achieve” your race. You did not “achieve” your ethnicity. And unless homosexuals have been lying this whole time, you did not “achieve” your sexual orientation. So what’s the deal?

         I suspect that beneath the “pride” nonsense is something deeper: a profound sense of low worth, owing to a personal irrelevance to others’ lives. If you have nothing to offer others – that they’ll happily accept, that is – then you mean nothing to them. Your existence is “socially optional.” Your role in others’ lives is minimum, possibly confined to your participation in the congestion on our roads.

         But if you have anything to offer that others value – even if it’s just your friendship and emotional support – you have something to be proud of. Take pride in that! Work on increasing and broadening it! And get your BLEEP!ing flags and rainbow jerseys off our hockey rinks!

    The Long Game: How It’s Played

         If you’ve ever been a baseball fan – I was, before the tide of “woke” overtook it – you’ve probably wondered why, given that umpires never, ever reverse a call, managers persist in leaping out of the dugout, racing to confront the ump, and arguing about it, often resulting with their ejection from the game. When I was much younger, my father explained it to me quite succinctly:

    “They’re arguing for the next one.”

         It’s not perfectly lucid until you factor in that umpires know that they’re sometimes wrong. Sometimes they know a call is wrong immediately after they’ve made it. However, their status as irrefutable / no-appeal absolute monarchs requires that they not admit that on the field. That impels them toward a stance that would seem irrational to any less magisterial authority. If the ump knows he was mistaken, he can oh-so-quietly agree to “miss one in the other direction” at a later point in the game.

         To make this work – it doesn’t, really, but that’s a separate subject – managers and players must oh-so-quietly accept that no better outcome can be expected. In recent years that tacit agreement has frayed considerably, owing to the increasing number of bad calls umps have been found to make. Some of those bad calls have cost a team more than just a single game.

         Whatever might come with the passage of time, for the moment that’s the way the game is officiated – and why umpiring calls are argued.

         Which brings us to the curious case of reporter Matt Taibbi and the recent intrusion into his home and privacy by an agent of the Internal Revenue Service.

         Taibbi is one of the journalists in whose probity Elon Musk has trusted to air the Twitter censorship controversy before the public. While his personal opinions are left-of-center, he’s regarded as an honest journalist who will reliably report the facts without prejudice. While many on the Left have claimed otherwise, it appears to this commentator that he’s done so in this highly visible case.

         Those facts make the federal government look pretty bad: averse to open conversations about matters touching its less popular actions and policies, willing to use intimidation to suppress them, and extremely unhappy about having the covers pulled off its machinations for all to see.

         Regardless of how unhappy the Establishmentarians are about it, the damage has been done. The Twitter censorship scandal, and Washington’s role in it, are matters of public record. So the gray eminences of the Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Omnibenevolent federal government have decided to “argue for the next one:” they’ve dispatched the IRS onto the field to discourage Taibbi and anyone who might be similarly minded from ever again doing anything so indecorous. While it’s not what most would call a subtle move, it’s arguably less blatant than a raid at 4:00 AM by armed agents of the FBI while CNN stands by with reporters poised and cameras rolling. That having been said, it does lend further support to the Right’s charges about the “weaponization of government.”

         Here’s what the editors of the Wall Street Journal had to say:

         Typically when the IRS challenges some part of a tax return, it sends a dunning letter. Or it might seek more information from the taxpayer or tax preparer. If the IRS wants to audit a return, it schedules a meeting at the agent’s office. It doesn’t drop by unannounced.
         The curious timing of this visit, on the heels of the FTC demand that Twitter turn over names of journalists, raises questions about potential intimidation, and Mr. Jordan is right to want to see documents and communications relating to the Taibbi visit.

         There’s more to the thing than the novelty of it, of course. Tax year 2018 is more than four years distant. The IRS rarely holds a case open for that long. Atop that, Taibbi hadn’t heard a word about his 2018 return since he first filed it. So this development is exceptional in several ways.

         But they who play the political long game are in something of a lather. Owing to the recapture of the House of Representatives by the GOP, and its – rather surprising – follow-through on its promises to probe the Twitter censorship scandal, much is coming to light that the political Establishment had hoped would never be exposed. “This one,” they must have said to one another, “is already called and lost. Now we have to fight for the next ones. Let’s make it plain that any further unfriendly revelations will have unpleasant consequences for the revealer.”

         This is of a piece with the “lawfare” tactic in which an accuser strives to impoverish and exhaust a target in a court case he cannot win on the merits. “The process is the punishment.” There are several processes available to inflict pain and expense on him who dares to embarrass the Deep State. In particular, its ability to intercept supposedly private communications gives it power well beyond the law. That’s why it’s become a watchword among the acute that one should never say or write anything one would not wish to have presented in court.

         Matt Taibbi has rendered the public a significant service. Let’s hope the Deep State doesn’t manage to extract the pound of flesh nearest his heart in reprisal.

    Deprogramming: The First Step

         Dio of the Workshop reminds us what it must be:

         Saw a few commercials recently, and
         thats all it is these days. boy kids celebrating by dancing down school hallways while sporting a skirt… NOT A KILT- a damnable skirt,,, If he had been wearing a kilt with a set of Doc Martens, moshing with Dropkick Murphy’s in the soundtrack,, I may have been a bit less disturbed,,,,
         and its not just the Toob. Catch a lot of commercials on the Pandora Free version, and the cultural dialect is PROMINENT,,, The only commercials that are represented by someone of a white culture are the Vacation Home ads,,, you know, HIGH DOLLAR stuff that you won’t likely won’t see rented out to the Ghetto-fabulous types.
         And I never hear National ads with an Appalachian twang. Local ads, yes, national, oh hell no,,,
         Or that 9 out of 10 times you see a white male in an ad, he is either portrayed as the Idiot, the submissive to his Wife, or total servile type with no dialogue, or some combination thereof. And the number of mixed racial couples,,, Never a white man/black woman either,,,
         Or the ‘dude’ could light your cigarette from 20′, he is so over the top flamingly queer,,,
         I ditched the toob in 2008 when my Ex and I split ways,,, DO NOT MISS IT!!!

         All right, so he and I differ on a few matters of grammar, spelling, and punctuation. That’s probably the case with nearly everyone these days, as I’m such a reactionary about the English language. But the meat of his plaint is dead on target. The C.S.O. and I “cut the cord” more than two years ago. We’ve missed the sporting events we once enjoyed, but nothing else. Our video consumption these days is almost entirely British murder mysteries and police procedurals from Acorn and BritBox – and while they’ve gone about as far to the Left as American television, they have an advantage for us: we can say “That doesn’t bother us! It’s all the way over there!

         The major media, whether in print, electromagnetic radiation, or pixels, are pure poison to anyone of an American-traditional bent. Insulating oneself from it is essential to the preservation of a benign, positive outlook. The more of us do so, the less effect the purveyors of contemporary garbage will have overall.

         It’s at the personal level – one’s own joie de vivre and one’s relations with family, friends, and colleagues — that the deprogramming matters most. Imagine the following conversation, perhaps at the watercooler or over the back fence:

    Neighbor: Did you see the latest episode of XXX last night?
    FWP: Nope. We cut the cord a long time ago.

    NBR: What? But what do you do in the evenings now?
    FWP: (smiles) Oh, we have ways. We read. We converse. We play with the dogs and cats. Maybe a little cribbage.
    NBR: With the dogs and cats?
    FWP: Well, they can’t hold enough cards for bridge, hearts, or canasta.

    NBR: So you don’t watch TV at all?
    FWP: Oh, not quite. Sometimes we fire up the Box and play a movie from DVD, or stream a British program or two. The American stuff is just too propagandistic for us.

    NBR: What do you mean?
    FWP: Haven’t you noticed? Pick a typical prime-time drama. I can practically guarantee that there’ll be a homosexual couple, an interracial couple, and the tech experts will be black, women, or both. Throw in a couple of unrealistically physical women for the action parts. The sitcoms always feature a smart, capable woman. If there’s a husband around, he’s a doofus. The villains and doofuses will always be white men. How does that line up with your image of reality?

         It can go a lot of directions from there, but the basic idea is straightforward: Open others’ minds to the possibility that they’re being programmed. Most average-or-better people will complete the journey by themselves.

         There aren’t many completely solo strokes we can deliver against the malevolent tide, but this is one of them. Give it some thought.

    The Quietest Insurrection

         From Kenny “Wirecutter” Lane:

         Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed a bill into law that creates a process for the state to buy, sell, and hold gold and silver. This sets a foundation for Tennessee to achieve more financial independence with gold and silver reserves, and could help undermine the Federal Reserve’s monopoly on money.

         The longer story Kenny cites goes a bit further:

         Holding gold and silver will allow the state of Tennessee to shield its assets and hedge against rapidly depreciating Federal Reserve notes.
         As Sound Money Defence League policy director JP Cortez noted while testifying in favor of a similar bill in Wyoming, “Proposals encouraging state gold holdings have come before the legislature since January 2019, but no bills have been passed. During the last four years of inaction on sound money, gold bullion, priced in declining dollars, has risen by 50 percent.”
         Holding gold and silver in reserve will also create a pathway for Tennessee to maintain financial independence should the U.S. dollar collapse, a very real possibility as the world moves away from the greenback as its reserve currency.

         Talk about speaking the unspeakable! This goes to the heart of our entirely political inflation crisis. Moreover, it points the finger directly at the perpetrator, which cannot squirm away when such plain evidence is proffered.

         January 6, 2021 wasn’t an insurrection. This is – and it will have more power to defang Washington than any protest before Capitol Hill.

         It’s unusual, in our time, for a state government to proclaim the existence of a financial reserve. Ordinarily, when a state or local government fails to exhaust its funds, cries immediately arise for a “rebate to the taxpayers.” The impulse is understandable. However, it’s also a bit shortsighted.

         Today the principal despoiler of Americans’ property is the federal government. As much as I enjoy bellowing about my property taxes, it’s Washington that does my family’s finances the most harm. As painful as it’s been to us at the Fortress, the combination of high taxes with the deliberate degradation of the dollar has proved crippling to millions of American families and small businesses. The great economic need of our time is a way to fight back. The precious metals are such a countermeasure.

         Like it or not, many millions of people put more stock in what governments are doing than in the emissions of a .001-caliber commentator like me…or him. For a couple of years now, governments worldwide have gradually reduced their dependence on the U.S. dollar as the world’s “reserve currency.” Perhaps a few private-citizen Americans have noticed and have drawn the moral. But when state governments begin to follow suit, many more will take heed.

         Even socialists have been clear-eyed about this issue. One of the most famous socialists of his time, George Bernard Shaw, put it most memorably:

         You have to choose (as a voter) between trusting to the natural stability of gold and the natural stability of the honesty and intelligence of the members of the government. And, with due respect to these gentlemen, I advise you, as long as the capitalist system lasts, to vote for gold.

         No one has ever said it better. Verbum sat sapienti.

    The Moral “Should” Be “Obvious”

         I receive a daily newsletter called The Pour Over. It bills itself as news from a Christian perspective, and that’s exactly what it is. The stories are interleaved with bits of Scripture and related wisdom. It makes quite a contrast with the offerings of “secular” media, which are effectively value-free these days. I find it refreshing.

         Here’s a little something from the edition I’ve just received:

         Nashville School Shooting

         Three nine-year-old students and three faculty members at a private Christian school in Nashville were killed Monday.
         According to Nashville police, the 28-year-old shooter, who “was assigned female at birth” and used “male pronouns on a social media profile,” is believed to be a former student. The assailant, carrying three legally purchased firearms, entered by shooting through the school’s locked doors.
         While the motive is unknown, it was clearly a targeted and calculated attack. Police say more firearms purchased by the shooter were found along with a map of the school, a detailed attack route, and plans for additional attacks.
         Police have been praised for their swift response, which prevented those additional attacks; 14 minutes after receiving the “active shooter” call, responding officers shot and killed the assailant.

         The above report, summarized from a Reuters report, compresses quite a great deal of vital information, though perhaps not of the sort Reuters was hoping to emphasize:

    • The target was a private Christian school.
    • The killer was a woman who believed herself male.
    • The slaughter she committed was entirely intentional.
    • It took the police 14 minutes to quell the threat.

         Rather than fulminate pointlessly when someone else has already covered the necessary ground, I’ll turn the mike over to Tucker Carlson:

         Mainstream media figures would rather immolate themselves in public than admit to the anti-Christian aspect of the militant-transgender agenda. Yet it is as plain as Tucker has put it. Apparently the “manifesto” the killer left is so vile that no one in the media has dared to expose it.

         There’s also this: Had there been an armed guard at that school, the Nashville police, rather than having to hunt her down and kill her, might well have arrived to find Hale’s corpse already laid out for them. I’ve seen no better dramatization of the cynical old slogan that “When seconds count, the police are only minutes away.”

         And only three shopping days remain before the Trans Day of Vengeance! Coming to a city near you! Excited, Gentle Reader? Got your rainbow buttons on and your Pride flags flying?

         Yes, I know it’s scheduled for April 1st. But given recent events, I’m not ready to dismiss it as just an April Fool’s prank. Stay tuned.

    I Don’t Know What To Call This One

         At first I thought something like “Marauding Madness” would do the job, but it didn’t quite fit. Then maybe “Death Cult Chronicles,” but that seems a bit over-broad. Then maybe “Dark Gods 2023?” No, that doesn’t quite work. So call it what you like. Maybe “Fred.”


         Tuesday mornings are tough for this particular essayist. No one expects much from me on Mondays, which is a good thing considering how hard it can be to shake off the weekend news-doldrums. But when Tuesday arrives, I’m supposed to be fully awake, with all the cylinders firing and the tachometer nudging the redline, as befits a dispenser of righteous fury. Sadly, it’s not always that way.

         What does it say about a man’s mental state when he can hardly stir his glands over stories such as these?

         I didn’t quite yawn at the above, but I did shrug. Minutely. I can’t help but wonder: How many of my Gentle Readers are reacting the same way?

         Are we becoming inured to the lunacies and violence? Has the parade of perversions and predations numbed us to it all? It would be an understandable defensive reaction of a people who’ve decided that there’s no way to stem the tide of madness. If we must simply endure it, why let it command our attention or engage our emotions?

         Has what I recently called “the new abnormal” become so ubiquitous and pervasive that we shall no longer permit it to concern us?

         I feared that was the trend I saw developing. We’ve been gradually accepting the failure of American norms and institutions. We’ve been pulling into ever smaller and harder shells. We’ve been “hunkering down,” preparing to defend ourselves and our loved ones, but not much else. Has the process reached a terminal state?

         It’s hard to shake the impulse to surrender, to throw up my hands and declare the country lost. Perhaps it’s a mistake to regard my mood as representative of many others, no matter how similar our convictions. But I must admit that I can’t see a lot of countervailing evidence.

         Who is still fighting? Who has yet to retire from the field?


         I was taught from an early age to “love my country.” There was no exegesis provided for the phrase. None of my teachers encouraged me to ask what it means. Eventually I did ask, but I received no answer from any of the authorities of my youth. It became clear as I matured that if there is a hard and fast meaning to “love of country,” I would have to find it for myself.

         “How does one hate a country, or love one? Tibe talks about it; I lack the trick of it. I know people, I know towns, farms, hills and rivers and rocks, I know how the sun at sunset in autumn falls on the side of a certain plowland in the hills; but what is the sense of giving a boundary to all that, of giving it a name and ceasing to love where the name ceases to apply? What is love of one’s country; is it hate of one’s uncountry? Then it’s not a good thing. Is it simply self-love? That’s a good thing, but one mustn’t make a virtue of it, or a profession. . . . Insofar as I love life, I love the hills of the Domain of Estre, but that sort of love does not have a boundary-line of hate. And beyond that, I am ignorant, I hope.”

         [Ursula LeGuin, The Left Hand of Darkness]

         In this regard, Therem Harth rem ir Estraven is the wisest of all fictional characters. Earlier in LeGuin’s tale, he was a public servant: the prime minister of the Kingdom of Karhide, exiled and disgraced because of political chicanery wielded against him. In the above he reveals the problem inherent in what we call “love of country:” Few of us know what we mean by it. Few of us approach the question from enough angles, or attack it with enough determination. When Stephen Decatur said: “To my country! May she always be right, but my country, right or wrong,” was he confirming an eternal verity, uttering a foul blasphemy, or something in the middle? What about when E. M. Forster said “If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country” – ?

         If you, Gentle Reader, love your country, what is it, as precisely as you can state it, that you mean by your country?

         What about this perspective? Who has better sense, Gordon Krantz or George Powhatan?

         “They may be wrong. They may even be crazy. But at least Dena and her comrades care about something bigger than themselves, and have the guts to fight for it. Do you, George? Do you?”
         Powhatan had looked down at the floor. Gordon barely heard his reply.
         “Where is it written that one should only care about big things? I fought for big things, long ago… for issues, principles, a country. Where are all of them now?”
         The steely gray eyes were narrow and sad when next he looked up at Gordon. “I found out something, you know. I discovered that the big things don’t love you back. They take and take, and never give in return. They’ll drain your blood, your soul, if you let them, and never let go.
         “I lost my wife, my son, while away battling for big things. They needed me, but I had to go off trying to save the world.” Powhatan snorted at the last phrase. “Today I fight for my people, for my farm-for smaller things…things I can hold.

         Is the question well-formed enough to have an answer?


         “Your country” is an abstraction: a concept attached somewhat elusively to a variety of other things. Some of those other things are themselves concepts. To love an abstraction and know what you mean by it requires more penetration than most people are capable of. If “your country” is willingly going murderously insane, is it right and proper to continue loving it? The question is before us this very moment.

         As you read this, the political class of “your country” is engaged in all the following:

    • Enervating its military;
    • Provoking a world war;
    • Destroying its economy;
    • Impoverishing its citizenry;
    • Reducing its currency to wastepaper;
    • Granting legal privileges to a single race;
    • Admitting multitudes of foreigners to batten on us;
    • Privileging the most aberrant members of its population;
    • Undermining men’s incentives to marry and produce children.
    • Reducing the United States of America, the “indispensable nation,” to a laughingstock.

         All these things are happening right now, under the eager supervision of the men who “run the country.” Do you think they love the same thing you do?

         I’ll leave it there for you to ponder.


         Americans are not being well-served. The phrase “public servant” has become a cruel joke. The typical member of the species is wholly focused on his own personal interests: accumulation of status; advancement in the hierarchy; progress toward retirement. Let them protest to the contrary as much as they please. From the lowest to the highest, their conduct gives them the lie.

         Yet We the Formerly Free are exhorted to love our country – the country that’s being stolen from us as we (and they) speak. We’re subject to ongoing erosions of our rights and escalating eviscerations of our “substance.” (Remember “He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance” — ?) We’re told all manner of things, the greater part of them demonstrably false-to-fact and the rest too ridiculous to bother over. What’s left for us to love?

         I love freedom. I love justice. Were “my country” still the embodiment of those things – what a dear friend had in mind when he said to me that “The United States is the crowning glory of human civilization” – I would love it unreservedly and unabashedly. I’m having a hard time with it this morning.

         Forgive me, Gentle Reader. I’m feeling my years today. Perhaps tomorrow will be better. Have a nice day.

    Undoing The “Not Done”

         I hope John Ross, the author of Unintended Consequences, won’t mind the following lengthy excerpt from his book:

         Joe Columbo was a well-guarded organized crime boss who operated in New York in the ’60s and ’70s. In 1972, a mob rival paid someone to murder Columbo during a New York parade. Knowing that the man might be caught and reveal who had hired him, the employer took additional precautions to silence the killer.
         As planned, the hired assassin rushed Columbo during the parade and shot the mob boss. Columbo did not die, but was permanently paralyzed and soon lost control of his crime syndicate.
         When the gunman tried to make his escape, however, five large Sicilian gentlemen tackled him and covered him with their bodies. When the five men stood up, the man who had shot Columbo lay dead with two bullet holes in him. A revolver wrapped in friction tape lay on his body. The entire incident was captured on film by several television cameras.
         The five Sicilian gentlemen refused to talk to the police. So thorough was their refusal that the police were not sure whether the men spoke English, or any other language, for that matter. Attempted interrogations in various dialects were all fruitless.
         All five men tested positive for nitrates on both hands. None of the five, as near as could be determined, had a Social Security number. All five were released by the police after being held for less than 20 hours. None of the five were charged with any crime.
         Some people might ask why a charge of conspiracy was not brought. The fact was that since no one said one word to the police, there was no starting point from which to build a case. The five men could have been tackling the assassin to disarm him, and the trigger of his gun got squeezed twice in the struggle.
         Without testimony, the prosecution could not prove anything, and the DA knew this. The five men walked away.

         The above is a schematic for getting away with something illegal. The key concept is reasonable doubt. When any of five men may (or may not) have committed the illegal act, none of the five can be convicted. There’s no point even in trying them, individually or severally. This principle of the law was also illustrated in the movie The Onion Field.

         If you think this is coming out of left field, consider the incident captured in this article:

         A complete monster today assaulted a woman with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene outside of the DC Gulag.
         The man stood behind a little woman and blew a whistle as loud as he could in her ears. He would not stop and would not leave. The prison staff refused to take action when they were notified of this criminal activity outside of their facility. Do you think they would have come out if it was Pelosi out there?
         This is criminal behavior. At one point he screamed at someone, “Touch, you die!”

         Mike Hendrix is as incensed about this as I am:

         Actually, in the roiling anarcho-tyranny cauldron that is Amerika v2.0, “rights” are now the exclusive property of those bold enough, ruthless enough, to lay claim to and exercise them as they will. As such, this will assuredly continue NOT until someone in a position of official “authority”—a majority of whose sympathies lie with the vicious Leftard ogre above, ALL of whom will follow the unlawful orders they receive from their superiors—deigns to “escort” him anyplace at all.
         No, this will continue until Our Side finally decides to start taking these fiends up on the “You touch, you die!” challenge and leaves a few of them shattered and bleeding on the fucking street, beaten so severely they’re unable to move so much as a fucking finger while they wait for the EMTs to arrive and scrape their foul carcass off the fucking pavement.
         Wolfpack them the instant they even look like starting some more of their shit; snatch a few up; put ’em in the Hurt Locker in a way they’ll forever wish they could forget, maybe cripple a few for life—then and only then might you legitimately be able to expect a change in their behavior, once the word starts to get around. Not a moment before, though.

         The incident got me thinking, when I first read about it. I proposed the following:

    • Henceforward, each righteous attendee to such an event shall bring with him:
      1. A six-foot length of stout cord or rope;
      2. A pepper-spray dispenser.
    • In the event that a ghoul such as the one at the Taylor-Greene event starts to disrupt it:
      • A person or persons behind the ghoul shall drop his rope over the ghoul’s head;
      • Then shall haul the ghoul down backward onto the ground;
      • The dogpile shall then commence, with immediate unmasking and lots of pepper spray.
    • In the event of a “law-enforcement” intervention, no one shall say a word.

         Failing the deployment of rope, a sharp kick to the back of the knee will bring almost anyone to the ground. However, rope is preferred for both tactical and evidentiary reasons.

         This is a countermeasure to the loss of an important component of social life: the invaluable consciousness, once nearly universal, that some things that are technically legal are simply not done. To reinstate that consciousness will require action from the good and decent who already understand its importance. Otherwise, as Mike has pointed out, the most ruthless among us, confident that our general aversion to confrontation will keep us from responding, will have total sway over what may and what may not be said and done.

         If we want such scurrilities to return to the status of “not done,” we’ll have to muster exactly such righteous anger – in quantity. — Me.

         You can have a decent society only if you’re willing to do what it takes to keep it decent. Sometimes, that involves unpleasant necessities: in a word, punishment. It really is that simple.


         [A short story for you today. As it’s Passion Sunday, on which Catholics read from the Gospel of John about Jesus’s final miracle before He went to Jerusalem, I thought a related tale might be appropriate. – FWP.


         The last of his perceptions dimmed and winked out. He found himself without sensation of any sort, not even that of his own weight. Though his eyes were open, they saw nothing. His ears registered no slightest sound. His senses of smell, taste, and touch were equally idle. It gave him a eerie sense of displacement, as if he were floating in an ocean that had no water. Yet not even the gentle motions of such a body, stirred by sun, wind, and tide, could he feel.
         But he remained aware. The thought stream that had bedeviled him continued unbroken.
         What place is this?
         Am I not to face judgment?
         He could still detect the passage of time. What meaning has time, in the complete absence of sensations, material things, and the events that accompany them? How would one measure it?
         Yet he had not ended. He persisted. The sequence of his thoughts continued, unbroken by death.
         Therefore there is more.
         I will wait. What else I can do, after all?
         A soundless reply, words without volume or timbre, arrived in his consciousness.
         It startled him, jolted him into a new plane of consciousness.
         Is it You, my God?
         Again the reply was undeniable, though it transcended perception.
         I am what I am.
         It stilled him, turned his thoughts back upon themselves.
         To persist is to have significance. I have a destiny to fulfill. Yet afloat in this void, I have no way to seek it out or embark upon it. What, then?
         The reply was the same.
         He did so.
         I cannot act. Yet I persist. Therefore, I am to be acted upon. But how?
         No answer came to him.
         Could this be punishment for my sins? Helplessness as the penalty for squandering my life? But did I truly squander it? I worked. I prayed. I did my best for my loved ones. Surely those were not sins.
         Still nothing.
         Perhaps I do not understand sin.
         He examined the course of his life, straining to remember its details down to the smallest minutiae. He found a few peccadillos, but nothing against the Commandments or what they implied. He slowly became convinced that, in that timeless place where his thoughts continued to flow, he did indeed await a destiny yet to be fulfilled…but that his future lay in the hands of another.
         I am to be used.
         The idea might have brought resentment, but it did not.
         If I can be used, then despite my death I have worth. It will not be my own deeds that fulfill that destiny, but the deeds of another.
         With that thought there came a mighty roaring. Insubstantial forces seized and held him. Power unfathomed by men had massed around him and taken him up for use. His ponderings ceased and were replaced by an ecstatic peace.
         Let all be as it must be.
         He sensed rather than heard the words of his liberation spoken.
         And it was so.


         “Did you sleep, brother?” Martha said.
         He shook his head. “I rested, but I was aware. How long…?”
         Her face spasmed. “Four days.”
         “It did not seem so.”
         “We feared that he might fail,” she said. “That you would be lost to us.”
         He shook his head. “He has never failed, sister.”
         “Did you…expect it?”
         “Not at all. I knew only that…something awaited. That I had an unfulfilled destiny, but that it was not mine to initiate it.” He smiled. “I realized that I would be used for a task of which I was not capable.”
         “And it was so,” Martha said. “Many came to believe today. Many who had been skeptical even knowing of his other deeds.”
         Lazarus nodded. “I among them.” His heart filled afresh with joy and peace. “What an honor, to be used thus!”
         Martha bowed her head.


         Copyright © 2023 Francis W. Porretto. All rights reserved worldwide.


         May God bless and keep you all.

    Money Today And Tomorrow

         Good evening, and welcome to the Money Programme. Tonight on the money programme, we’re going to look at money–lots of it, on film and in the studio. Some of it in nice piles, Others in lovely clanky bits of loose change. Some of it neatly counted into fat little hundreds…delicate fivers stuffed into bulging wallets…nice, crisp, clean checks…pert pieces of copper coinage thrust deep into trouser pockets. Romantic foreign money rolling against the thigh with rough familiarity. Beautiful wayward curlicued bank notes…filigree copper-plating cheek by jowl with tumbling hexagonal-milled edges, rubbing gently against the terse leather of beautifully balanced bank books!
         I’m sorry. But I love money…all money. I’ve always wanted money to handle, to touch. The smell of the rain-washed florin…the lure of the lira…the glitter and the glory of the guinea! The romance of the ruble, the feel of the franc, the heel of the deutschemark, the cold antiseptic sting of the Swiss franc, and the sunburned splendor of the Australian dollar!

         [ Monty Python, of course.]

         All right, so the above is a little excessive even for your Curmudgeon. But yes, today we’re going to talk about money: where it’s been, where it is now, and where it’s going. Perhaps that last clause should be “where it might be going,” for there are several possible futures for money, and not even a Certified Galactic Intellect can say with assurance which one will greet us with the sun.

    1.1 Why money?

         Why, in the abstract, do we have and use money? Is it because going to the mall with two chickens and a bushel of seed corn is just too cumbersome? Is it a lack of confidence in Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) and the digital records maintained by the banking system? Or is it that without it we’d have nothing to make our wallets bulge, as contemporary fashion and the dynamics of the mating dance dictate?

         Yes to all three, as we move through that most elusive and intangible of all assets, time.

    1.2 How money?

         Money came into existence as a superior form of barter. A medium of exchange that was widely accepted made it possible for the farrier to buy shoes for his wife without having to find that one particular cobbler whose horse needed shoeing. To some extent, that motivation remains in force today. Rather than search interminably for a Michael Kors outlet that would accept four hours of her accountancy services in exchange for a pair of python-and-copper high-heeled sandals in size 10, the C.S.O. prefers to carry a debit card that can transfer a fraction of her vast electronic wealth over to the vendor a few miles away in Lake Grove.

         But of course, the medium of exchange in question must be acceptable to both parties in the exchange. So the evolution of money took some time. And by the way – and this deserves large font:

    Governments were not involved.

    1.3 Who money?

         Money was the consequence of what the late Friedrich Hayek called spontaneous order. Ordinary people “invented” money over the course of the centuries. They tried a potential medium of exchange, found not quite right, and put it aside for another. At first what made a particular commodity unsuitable was usually that not enough merchants would accept it, but that was eventually overcome by the general desire for something superior to “raw” barter that would facilitate trade.

    1.4 What money?

         Many commodities have enjoyed a spell as the prevailing medium of exchange in a society:

    1. Big, crudely carved wheels of rock;
    2. Seed corn;
    3. Animal pelts and skins;
    4. Tobacco;
    5. Potable alcohol;
    6. Various metals.

         Each of these things had some characteristic that made it acceptable, for a time, to the society that employed it. Note that all but one of the items above possess a utility unrelated to its use as a medium of exchange. (Don’t ask your Curmudgeon about the big, crudely carved wheels of rock. He wasn’t there, and neither was anyone else he knows.) However, all but one of them lacked some quality that would have made it perfect for the application:

    1. Durability over time;
    2. Durability in trade;
    3. Divisibility without loss of value;
    4. Acceptance over long distances;
    5. Ability to store indefinitely large amounts of value.

         We can see in this the significance of the original definition of money as “a medium of exchange and a store of value.” Though it might make a widely accepted medium of exchange, a commodity that lacks durability over time or in trade would function poorly as a store of value. Thus the “organic” and “alcoholic” moneys, which are prone to steady deterioration even under the best of circumstances, gave way to the metallic moneys and their far greater durability.

    1.5 When and where money?

         The acceptability of a particular money commodity varied with our ability to travel great distances in tolerably brief periods of time. Moreover, as advances in travel technology made it possible for dramatically different societies to trade with one another, differences in local technology and culture loomed large. An industrial society that had adopted gold and silver as its money would have trouble, at first, getting a hunter-gatherer society to accept gold or silver coins in exchange for their local produce or resources. That hunter-gatherer society would have to be persuaded that those coins could thereafter be used to purchase the products of the industrial society.

         Regard in this connection the wary way American Indians approached the coins of the European settlers. In the main, the Amerinds of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries did not use money, and initially preferred direct barter with the European colonists. It took a while for that to change. This was also the case as European traders of those times approached the tribes of Africa. Not only did those tribes not use money; their attitude toward property itself was at odds with European conceptions.


         Money today is an elusive quantity that’s largely been severed from its roots. Earlier moneys were commodities or proxies for them. They were redeemable in a way in which contemporary moneys are not. The holder of a money proxy could demand its equivalent in the prescribed amount of the agreed-upon backing commodity. He could not be refused without severe consequences for the redeeming institution. Contemporary moneys are quite different, which goes to the heart of our current troubles.

         Ludwig von Mises, that incomparable scholar of money and credit, was among the first to call moneys of our current sort fiat moneys. That is, they are “money” because an authoritative institution – a government – says of them that “This is money and you must accept it.” That institution controls the supply of money and has absolute authority over everything about it. This has been the case over the whole of the Western world since the early Twentieth Century.

         Despite this radical redefinition of money, which strips from it all notions about its utility apart from in trade, people continue to use it as a medium of exchange and a store of value. This is essentially an exercise of faith: faith that the dollars we possess today will still be tradable for the goods we need or want tomorrow. But as has been made plain by inflation throughout the three centuries behind us – the inevitable consequence of permitting a government to control the supply of the prevailing money – that faith can be shaken.


         Thus we come to the questions on a great many minds at the moment: What will the money of tomorrow be? Will the transition from today’s money be smooth or convulsive – perhaps even catastrophic? What process will cause its emergence?

         Few writers have dared to delve into these questions, but then, there’s a reason your Curmudgeon has the lectern this morning.

    2.1 Digital moneys.

         Unless you’ve spent the last decade in a coma, you’re surely aware of the phenomenon called Bitcoin and the frenzies it’s experienced. Bitcoin arose as did the original moneys: it was an invention of the private sector. No government had anything to do with it, though several have tried to arrogate authority over it, and no doubt several more will do so presently.

         Bitcoin and its more recent competitors arose because of declining faith in government fiat moneys. The developers have made use of the worldwide acceptance of the Internet and electronic funds transfer to introduce the idea. Note that without the Internet and EFT, Bitcoin would be impossible. By corollary, should the Internet become massively unreliable, Bitcoin will lose its following.

         Note that at this time, unless a merchant says explicitly that he accepts Bitcoin in exchange for his wares, Bitcoin must be converted into the locally prevailing medium of exchange. But then, that’s the case for all other widely accepted moneys today. That having been said: Is digital money the money of tomorrow? The answer is relatively simple: Possibly, if tomorrow is an awful lot like today. Should there be any great upheaval, digital moneys will not gain wide acceptance as the prevailing medium of exchange.

    2.2 Government moneys.

         Current government moneys are in trouble, owing to the accelerating rapacity of governments. The American dollar is the best example. It’s founded on “the full faith and credit” of the federal government of these United States. But that faith has been failing steadily, owing to massive federal borrowing and its consequence: massive inflations of the money supply that have caused the dollar to lose value. In this regard most of the other governments of the world are doing the same thing.

         Thus, a digital government money would not improve on the current scheme. Indeed, it would be worse, for it would enhance the government’s ability to intrude into the privacy of earners, borrowers, lenders, and spenders. No transaction conducted in a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) would be private. Moreover, the government could veto any transaction of which it disapproves. The recent contretemps over credit-card-backing companies’ trial balloon about tracking their cards’ use to purchase firearms are a mild precursor.

    2.3 Original commodity moneys.

         In the event of a less than catastrophic loss of faith in the dollar, a return to the commodity moneys of yesteryear, particularly gold, silver, and copper, would be plausible if not probable. Silver especially would be ripe for a comeback, as it has always been the preferred “hand to hand” money of Americans. Copper would become the small change of the new standard. Gold, while almost universally valued, is too dense a store of value for most transactions. Consider that at the current exchange rate between gold and dollars – approximately $2000 per Troy ounce of gold – fifteen ounces of gold would purchase the majority of new cars.

         Perhaps a currency — that is, a paper promissory note that stands as a proxy for the backing money commodity – would emerge that’s backed by gold or silver. Whatever the backing commodity, the essential qualification of the currency would be redeemability. Whatever institution might issue the new currency would be required to redeem any of its notes upon demand. Without that guarantee, the note would not be accepted widely enough to matter.

    2.4 New commodity moneys.

         Here we come to the consequences of a convulsive collapse of the dollar. In the event of such a collapse, and of the chaos it would wreak upon markets everywhere, trade as we know it would collapse as well. Our current markets, fed with goods and services by supply chains that cross continents and oceans, would vanish. If new markets were to arise, they would be founded on barter. But barter is always easiest if there’s some commodity that most will accept as a store of value.

         Yes, some would accept the money metals. However, other commodities would rise in importance, possibly eclipsing the metals by dint of their greater utility in a chaotic environment. The one that’s most probable (and most often discussed) is ammunition: cartridges for the most commonly owned guns. Others, such as fuel chemicals or toilet paper, might take second place behind ammo, again because nearly everyone would find them desirable and conventional “retail” channels for them would no longer function reliably.

    2.5 A hybrid scenario.

         The possibility of greatest interest at this time is one in which general faith in the dollar continues to decline, but short of a complete collapse. In such a scenario, the federal government would continue to maintain that “the dollar is the sole legal tender,” for its ability to maintain its authority is based in large part on the dollar, its acceptability, and its ability to purchase goods and services in dollars. Some would say that where we stand today is not far from such a situation.

         This scenario is of the sort that gives rise to widespread nationalizations of major industries and corporations. Society tends to fission into “dollars only” and “anything but dollars” camps. Where any particular individual (or institution) finds himself would depend upon the nature and quantity of the customers for his product or service. As a rule, in such situations widely valued skills tend to be more negotiable than anything else, including dollars and precious metals.

         The preparationist community has laid some emphasis on acquiring such skills, refining them to a high degree of quality and reliability, and making them known to persons of like mind. The man who can and will fix your small engines in exchange for an agreed supply of fresh eggs would be much esteemed in a situation of this sort. There might be other sorts of trade in widely valued commodities as well.


         The future of money is an inexhaustible subject. Just as the evolution of money, its seizure by governments, and the consequences for private persons are a valuable study, the possible paths forward are worthy of general speculation. No one can foresee much of the future. Speculations, including the very wildest and most fanciful, are always worth considering. Mackey Chandler’s April series contains a number of such speculations, and will probably address even more possibilities as the space-based societies of Home and Luna extend their reach into the galaxy. How plausible they are, your Curmudgeon cannot say.

         Of one thing we can be sure: governments will not spontaneously mend their ways. They will not bind themselves to a genuine budget they cannot overspend. They will not tolerate superior forms of money that put them at a disadvantage. What they cannot suppress, they will do their best to control. They will not agree to pay their debts in anything but fiat currencies, which they will then inflate as much as necessary to relieve them of the burden thereof. Anyone who reposes unbounded confidence in the “full faith and credit” of the federal government – an institution whose sole instruments are force, fraud, and intimidation – will come home from the confessional poorer and sadder…though hopefully wiser.

         Verbum sat sapienti.

    For Those Needing Proof That Climate Hysteria Is A Religion

    This is a newsworthy item for infamous reasons.

    Faculty of Theology to confer eight honorary doctorates on 9 June 2023
    Greta Thunberg, activist

    I’ve long maintained that climate hysteria is a religion. Once recognized as such, that fact could have been used to prevent the followers of that faith from eliminating all who disagree with them from every department in the United States government.

    Sadly, no legal team has attempted to save a single professional from being pushed out of their government position, or out of any educational system funded by federal tax dollars. There must be a reason that it’s never been attempted since countless suits that are far more harebrained turn up in the news regularly. Could it surprise anyone were it revealed that the first institution the Progs seized control of was the legal profession?

    It is not easy to keep track of the fall of our institutions to Conquest’s Second Law of Politics to the “Progressive” Movement. However, in recent years it seems the takeover of science by climate hysterics has moved at a pace that was faster than all other assaults by the Progs.

    It should never have come to this. Americans need to seriously consider repenting their laxity in keeping the political class from rising to ruling class status, seemingly unanswerable to their votes. You regulars here know where this “sustainability” push is leading even if its lethality is hard for you to imagine.

    It is never too late to regret our foolishness and seek to do better. Simply pray that it is not too late for America.

    (Cross-posted at Crusader Rabbit.)

    The New Abnormal

         One’s views will often depend upon one’s time horizon. If yours is short, you’re likely to have a different conception of normality than your neighbor, whose horizon is many years deep. The continuity of an individual’s experiences is decisive in determining what he regards as normal.

         Consider the lot of the “military brat:” the child whose father is in one of the armed services, and thus whose family is subject to frequent uprooting as Dad’s assignments move him around. There’s nothing a child can do about this; he simply has to cope. Despite the ultra-tender regard shown for children’s feelings in our time, children are about as good at coping with changes of residence as their parents require them to be. But it gives the child a “normality” he doesn’t share with the children of fathers in other occupations.

         One man’s normality can be another’s nightmare of intolerable abnormality. The same is true for locales and generations.

         Time was – and you can take this on faith or you can do your own research – American cities were regarded as safer places to be than America’s rural areas. Older Americans would often retire into the cities, rather than away from them as is the norm today. Many things contributed to that perception of better safety, including better paid, better staffed police forces, more copious medical facilities, and greater resources of all kinds. But things have changed. Indeed, the rise of the suburbs was fueled in part by the declining quality of city life, including the safety factor.

         And now we have this:

         You may have noticed a trend among Democrats, particularly in Washington, suggesting that they really do want to fundamentally change how the world works. (And not for the better.) It boils down to the establishment of a “new normal” and how you are supposed to view the world and set your expectations. We’ve seen that recently when people complaining about rising crime rates and a crisis on the southern border were waved away by liberals assuring them that “it’s always been this way.” Now the Free Beacon has documented yet another instance of this. Out in San Francisco, the tech CEO of Horizon3, Snehal Antani, tweeted about how two of his staffers were distressed when they were robbed on the street of thousands of dollars of computer equipment, presumably by the usual homeless drug addicts that populate the city. In response, John Hamasaki, the Democrat who tried (and failed) to replace Chesa Boudin, told Hamasaki that he had lived in the suburbs for too long and was unable to handle a “basic city life experience.”

         This is just a textbook example of the phenomenon I was describing above. If you live in a Democrat-run blue city and you are one of the more than 50% of residents (at least in San Francisco) who have been impacted by crime, you’re supposed to simply shrug it off. That’s just a basic fact of city life. It’s always been this way.

         To someone of my years, that “it’s always been this way” rings flatly false. Perhaps it can be sold to younger Americans, to whom cities have always appeared more dangerous than what lies outside them. The sale will be easier to close as those of us with longer time horizons die off, or are alienated from their posterity by other means.

         Many things have factored into the deterioration of cities’ safety. I could name several discrete factors that would get my Gentle Readers’ heads nodding. But I think all the individual contributors look back at one giant one that I’ve harped upon at other times:

    Predators Go Where The Prey Is Fattest.

         The great predators of the jungles watch watering holes for the arrival of prey. The great predators of Mankind tend to go toward the cities, especially those cities in which enterprise has resulted in wealth for their denizens. It’s just a generalization of Sutton’s Law:

         In a famous apocryphal story, Sutton was asked by reporter Mitch Ohnstad why he robbed banks. According to Ohnstad, he replied, “Because that’s where the money is.”

         (Yes, Sutton denied ever having said it. The fool! He should have copyrighted it and sold the right to use it for a fat license fee.)

         Mankind is afflicted by several species of predators. The low-level thug who mugs inattentive citizens is at the bottom of the hierarchy. The political predator, who seeks and gains power over a great city with intent to fatten himself on it, is at the top. What might shock the naïve reader is the ease with which the several kinds of predators collaborate with one another. It’s plainly in their mutual interest to do so.

         Viewed from a height, the low-level predators, who target individual citizens or organizations, assist the high-level or political predators in creating a climate of fear. The innocents who must bear that fear all too easily turn to the political predators for relief…which the politicians promise them, in exchange for more money and / or power. The money and power are reliably tendered; the relief of fear never arrives.

         Note that this pattern explains Republican non-performance when in power better than any alternative thesis. Really fighting crime is dangerous. Pandering to large corporations and allied interest groups is relatively safe. And the money flows in more reliably, too.

         There have been some changes to this pattern in recent years, as one gang of political predators has sensed that it need no longer worry about popular opinion. That gang now aids the low-level predators openly by grading down the offenses for which a lawbreaker can be prosecuted, and by refraining ever more often from issuing custodial sentences for those who are prosecuted and convicted. Felonies become misdemeanors. Misdemeanors are waved aside with dismissals such as “We don’t have the resources” or “Why sentence these young folks to life as a known felon?” Convicts are released into the streets despite not having served their sentences, to “reduce crowding in the system.” Meanwhile, political power focuses ever more narrowly on mulcting and subjugating the law-abiding, who typically put up little resistance to such measures.

         That this pattern now prevails in America’s largest cities should surprise no one. What target would aspiring predators of either kind favor over those cities?

         Eventually the cancer will spread. First it will penetrate the suburbs, to which frightened and disgusted city dwellers have the first recourse. But it cannot be contained there, for the predator’s hunger for more never slackens. It will reach out into the rural areas.

         It can only be contained by men who will have no more of it. Men who must decide that it’s time to do something about it, regardless of the cost. Men with homes, loved ones, and peaceful neighborhoods to protect. Men with guns. Men who want only to be left alone.


    We’ve Been Here Before, Haven’t We?

         The Left’s pet media are reading Trump’s obituary again:

         Seems I remember comments of this sort from just a few years ago…

         “Do not count a man dead until you have seen his body. And even then you can make a mistake.” — Frank Herbert

    From The Bearded Spock Universe: Public Servants Who Want It Kept Private

         Cops are public servants, right? That’s what it says on the sides of the cars, anyway: “To Protect and Serve.” Is there any doubt about whom they’re supposed to serve? Isn’t that We the People, a.k.a. the Public? We do pay their salaries, after all.

         However, a lot of cops have become averse to that status. Not only would they prefer to be free to do as they please; they’d also very much prefer not to be recorded while doing it. Such recordings have caused them quite a lot of inconvenience. A few of them have wound up wearing orange jumpsuits, though not always justly.

         So when a story such as this one comes along, it gooses me in a sensitive place:

         The Adams County Sheriff’s Office is suing Afroman for using video footage of their January raid on his home in his music video.

         Several deputies have sued the artist claiming he was profiting from the sale of merchandise that included their images, according to a source with direct knowledge of the matter. The lawsuit, obtained by The Daily Caller, indicates Afroman was not at his residence at the time of the raid, but his wife was inside the home and managed to record the police in action. Residential surveillance footage also recorded the raid as it unfolded. Members of Adams County Sheriff’s Office insist they didn’t provide consent for their images to be used or profited from.

         The pictures and videos make the raid look fearsome: men in military-style camouflage toting what appear to be automatic weapons. Apparently it was performed in search of narcotics. But the cops didn’t find any, so the sanctity of Afroman’s home was breached to no good end. But for Afroman to make use of the recordings to turn a profit? That’s beyond the pale, according to the cops:

         The officers claim the artist proceeded to release music videos, social media posts and physical merchandise products without their approval, and are calling this an invasion of privacy and misappropriation of their likenesses.

         They said Afroman’s actions were “willful, wanton, malicious, and done with conscious or reckless,” according to the legal documents provided to Daily Caller.

         They also claimed to have suffered emotional distress and said they fell victim to ridicule, humiliation and irreparable loss of reputation. The Adams County Sheriff’s Office cites feelings of embarrassment over the matter, according to the legal documents.

         The sheriffs allege they were “subjected to threats, including death threats, by anonymous members of the public” that viewed social media posts” made by Afroman.

         Their case is a non-starter, as far as I can tell. A public servant engaged in an action warranted under the law inherently does so in public. Supreme Court decisions have not only affirmed the right of any citizen to record such an action; it has ruled that the public shall have full and unfettered access to such records without let or hindrance. The cops’ approval of said recordings, or of their use in any form or for any purpose, is not legally required.

         If the Adams County sheriff’s department has the services of a lawyer, he’ll probably disabuse them of any notion that they might prevail in court. But as has been said on many other occasions, “the process is the punishment.” We can expect the department to mount a full-scale campaign of defamation against Afroman, though it might be subtle and / or indirect. Cops who’ve had their feelings hurt are notoriously unforgiving. There will surely be a backblast, albeit without the smell of burnt gunpowder.

         And remember this: Should Afroman counterclaim against the cops for their pointless breach of his Fourth Amendment rights and win a monetary judgment against them, the cops won’t be the ones to pay the bill. That will fall upon the shoulders of Adams County taxpayers, and possibly other California taxpayers as well. Heads they win, tails the public loses. It’s all very neat in these latter days of post-Constitutional America.

    We had women and a mirror ball, we had a DJ
    We used to eat pretty much all came this way
    Ever since the goons came in took apart the place
    I keep a tire iron in the corner just in case

    Gave you a magic bullet on a little chain
    Keep you safe from the chilly winds and the howl of the rain
    We’re gonna might need bullets, should we get stuck
    Any which way, we’re gonna need a little luck

    You can still get gas in heaven and drink in kingdom come…
    In the meantime, I’m cleaning my gun

    — Mark Knopfler —

    Dog Bites Man?

         (The full story on page A38 at bottom right, with pictures!)

         There are items of information to which the human mind is resistant. Take the certainty of death, for example. All but the youngest of us know this, yet very few people go through their day with even a background awareness that I will die someday, and it could be today. It might be impossible; consciousness of our inexorable mortality would amplify every fear we harbor, making the simplest decisions and actions exercises in risk avoidance. That’s among the reasons the Church exhorts us to practice mortification, an exercise that promotes the recognition of our common fate.

         Moving back to secular considerations, it’s a well-documented fact that a strong majority of violent crimes and crimes against property in these United States occur in a small minority of locales. One who is determined not to be a victim of such a crime would naturally be advised to avoid those locales – especially, not to live in one. But when we deal with persons who already reside in such a district, the advice tends to fall upon deaf ears. The tendency is to wave the argument and the supporting evidence aside, perhaps with a flip “It hasn’t happened to me yet” for a grace note.

         And here we come to Daniel Greenfield’s recent piece on the subject:

         A groundbreaking study by John R. Lott of the Crime Prevention Research Center, revealed that “1% of counties have 21% of the population and 42% of the murders” and “2% of counties contain 31% of the population and 56% of the murders.”

         The 1% of bloody red counties include such Democrat strongholds as Philadelphia, New York City, Los Angeles, Baltimore, Dallas, D.C., Miami-Dade, Milwaukee, San Diego, St. Louis, Chicago’s Cook County, L Houston’s Harris County, Detroit’s Wayne County, Memphis’ Shelby County, Phoenix’s Maricopa County, Cleveland’s Cuyahoga County, and many others.

         Biden won Cook County, the bloodiest county in the country, by 66%. He won Los Angeles County, the second bloodiest, by 71%, Harris County by 56%, Philadelphia by 81%, New York City by 76%, Wayne County by 68%, and Shelby County by 64%.

         One could reach various conclusions from the above alone. The first would be that Democrat governance fosters crime. The second would be that anyone who is risk-averse should stay the hell out of those 2% of “bloody red counties.” The third – and I say this without rancor toward anyone – would be that 31% of the population of this country is either blind to the risks it faces or completely BLEEP!ing nuts.

         The population of the U.S. currently hovers near to 330 million persons. 31% of that figure is over 102 million. That’s a whole lot of blindness and / or lunacy. But there we are: approximately one out of every three of our fellow Americans falls into one of those two categories. Finer determinations are left to the individual reader.

         Still, there are other conclusions to be drawn, assuming one has the patience and the informational resources to delve into the demographics of those bloody red counties:

         All the figures above are from the 2010 census.

         Certain conclusions leap out of such figures. I shan’t belabor the point, other than to repeat two favorite bits of advice. The first is from the late and deeply lamented “Ol’ Remus” of The Woodpile Report:

    Stay away from crowds.

         The second is from the badly mistreated John Derbyshire:

         (10) Thus, while always attentive to the particular qualities of individuals, on the many occasions where you have nothing to guide you but knowledge of those mean differences, use statistical common sense:

         (10a) Avoid concentrations of blacks not all known to you personally.
         (10b) Stay out of heavily black neighborhoods.
         (10c) If planning a trip to a beach or amusement park at some date, find out whether it is likely to be swamped with blacks on that date (neglect of that one got me the closest I have ever gotten to death by gunshot).
         (10d) Do not attend events likely to draw a lot of blacks.
         (10e) If you are at some public event at which the number of blacks suddenly swells, leave as quickly as possible.
         (10f) Do not settle in a district or municipality run by black politicians.
         (10g) Before voting for a black politician, scrutinize his/her character much more carefully than you would a white.
         (10h) Do not act the Good Samaritan to blacks in apparent distress, e.g., on the highway.
         (10i) If accosted by a strange black in the street, smile and say something polite but keep moving.

         Keeping these bits of advice firmly in mind could be critical in preserving your life and property. Besides, I love all my Gentle Readers! For any of you to get killed would make me sad. So stay alert! And wherever you live and must travel, do have a nice day.

    Load more