But No More Mean Tweets!

     How’d you like to have the old Union of Soviet Socialist Republics back, along with the Warsaw Pact?

     Russia wants Nato to remove all of its forces from Bulgaria, Romania and other ex-communist states in eastern Europe that joined the alliance after 1997, the foreign ministry said on Friday, underlining Moscow’s hardline position ahead of security talks with the US in Geneva.

     Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, said in a written Q&A on the ministry’s website that Russia’s demands included “withdrawing foreign forces, equipment, and armaments and making other steps to return to the condition as of 1997”, when Nato began admitting former Warsaw Pact countries.

     “That includes Bulgaria and Romania,” Lavrov said, adding that Russia’s demand was “core” and “deliberately worded as clearly as possible so as not to allow any dual interpretations”.

     Russia has called its demands “security concerns.” The eastward expansion of the NATO Alliance has provided Vladimir Putin with a rationale for massive westward aggression.

     Our supposed allies don’t even want the U.S. involved in negotiations:

     The US has mounted a frantic diplomatic effort to de-escalate tensions and warned of “crippling” sanctions in case of any Russian aggression against Ukraine.

     But western unity frayed this week after US president Joe Biden appeared to suggest a western response would depend on the scale of Russia’s intervention and French president Emmanuel Macron proposed separate European-led security talks with Moscow.

     And it’s not just France; Germany wants no part of us either:

     German Chancellor Olaf Scholz turned down an invite at short notice from U.S. President Joe Biden to discuss the Ukraine crisis, German magazine Der Spiegel said on Friday.

     Scholz did not accept the invitation due to a full schedule, including a trip to Madrid, as well as the desire to show that he was present as Germany grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Der Spiegel.

     “Full schedule,” eh? Of course. That’s the only reason anyone would decline to meet with an American President, the leader of the free world: scheduling conflicts! Just ask Stacy Abrams. Better yet, ask the folks who sought to avoid having to meet with Barack Obama.

     The Usurper Administration has emasculated our military – yes, I mean that exactly as I wrote it – and weakened our economy near to the point of collapse. Taken together, those two deteriorations make plain that we would be the underdogs in any military action in Eastern Europe. Not only is our armed strength far below what it was even five years ago; we would be hard pressed to sustain combat economically for more than a couple of weeks. Meanwhile Putin has been adding to Russia’s combat capabilities with additional men-at-arms and new weaponry.

     But no more mean tweets, right? That’s certainly worth losing Europe, isn’t it?

     This is what you get from Democrat dominance of the federal government. They start wars with their diplomatic and strategic ineptitude, then are unwilling – or unable – to win them.

     Right-of-center commentators have been saying for a while that Ukraine isn’t worth the spilling of American blood. I agree…but what about the other former Soviet republics? What about the Eastern European nations Ronald Reagan’s resolve liberated from Soviet dominance? What about what was once called the People’s Republic of Germany? Should they be forcibly reintegrated into a reborn Warsaw Pact, will we regret having stood by while it happened?

     Whatever the answer to that question, I have no doubt that we’ll regret allowing the Wokeists to transform our armed forces, once the acknowledged champions of the world, into a laughingstock good for nothing but marching in high heels. Indeed, given the shameful abandonment of Afghanistan and the scent of imminent surrender of Taiwan to Red China, I rather think most of us regret it already.

Back to the Spoils System?

I just read a news report that a federal judge overturned Biden’s mandate on Federal Employees. He based his ruling on the argument SCOTUS used to overturn his illegal measure for private businesses.

However, the news sparked the tangential question shown in the title above. Biden’s secretaries have been firing or forcing resignations for military and civil service members who fight the violations of their individual rights. Given the Left’s penchant for declaring all that disagree with any of their agenda items being labeled “right wing extremists,” they are presuming that all resistors are not members of their party.  And basing such eliminations on party affiliation is no different than what was common in America until a few years after the Civil War.

Under guise of Wuflu vax demands not only not being being met, but being treated as a treasonous crime, this result is no different than what would happen were all civil service and military protections had been summarily erased. And not by passage of any new law either.

So, deemed not a member of the party, you’re summarily dismissed. That is what the usurper regime has been trying to pull off.

Is that not how the old spoils system worked?

Maybe I’m off based. Please don’t hesitate to correct me.

For now, just let me enjoy the thought that here is simply one more glaring example that everything the Progressives aim to do is regressive. They will do whatever it takes to revert the West back to patricians* and plebeians, nobles and slaves.

 

———-

*With patricians I’m being polite beyond what is really warranted. However I will never agree to use the word elite for these illegitimi.

Something Else To Not-Care About

     My most recent novel, The Discovery Phase, is now available in paperback at Amazon.

On Not Caring

     There are innumerable Causes in circulation these days. You could probably name a dozen off the top of your head, so I feel no need to do so for you. The Cause plague started well before I was born, propelled by early American “progressives” and Communists. The Causes of those early years usually featured the same central motif as do the Causes of today: ersatz “compassion.”

     “Don’t you care?” the Causists screech at their intended victims, always in the most mock-earnest of voices. For ‘tis the heyday of Evangelical Compassion. You’re supposed to care. You’re practically required by law to care. Not caring is bad. It marks you as cold, unfeeling, heartless… a moral monster. And until fairly recently, by exploiting the inchoate but widespread sense of guilt about not caring, the Causists succeeded in browbeating money, petition signatures, and votes out of many who would have preferred to be left alone.

     But in a heartening trend of which I speak in the most cheerful of tones, people not only don’t care, they don’t care who knows it. We might still feel a residual twinge of guilt about it – especially the Christians among us, who’ve been compassion-bombed from the pulpit until it leaks out of our ears – but we’ve made our peace with it, nevertheless.

     And I shall explain why.

***

     I believe it was Adam Smith who said that a man is inclined to prioritize his own hangnail above a famine in China. (This may not apply to any Gentle Readers currently resident in China.) This is normal. Each of us stands at the center of his personal universe. What’s near to us affects us more directly than what’s far away. We have more power to affect what’s near to us than what’s far away, as well.

     However, with the emergence of mass media there arose a global compassion-flogging industry that fattens on tragedy wherever it may lie. It had to happen, you see. Whenever a niche forms that would favor organisms of a particular type, that type will be dominant. And so skilled manipulators and emotional parasites flooded into the nascent industry to feed on our guilt about not really caring but being unwilling to say so.

     Their tools have ramified and refined over the years. It starts with words, of course: verbal depictions of vast fields of suffering among helpless if faceless others. In the early years of “progressivism,” that was all the compassion-floggers had. But today the words are supplemented by pictures and recordings: pictures of suffering, starving children and abandoned or brutalized animals; videos of swathes of poverty and destruction; narrators, often famous in their own right, earnestly entreating you to “help if you can.”

     The producers usually make out very nicely from such productions, as do the unseen legions toiling in the charities’ back offices. But whether any portion of your “help” ever reaches the supposedly intended beneficiaries is dubious. The indications are that for 15% of a charity’s gross revenue to reach its claimed targets, whether as cash or as goods or services, would put it among the leaders in its field.

     For my part, I’d rather be robbed at gunpoint than contribute to such a campaign. I can no longer ignore the dishonesty. And I’d bet the rent money that the majority of my Gentle Readers feel the same.

***

     The following exchange has not happened in all its particulars. It is provided as a pattern to be studied:

Compassion-Flogger: (hawks some Cause in an earnest voice.)
FWP: Go away.

CF: What? Don’t you care that people are suffering?
FWP: Name three.

CF: (flustered, sputters)
FWP: Just as I thought. How much do you care about these people you can’t name?

CF: I’m out here fundraising for them!
FWP: At what salary? What benefits?

Sub-variation 1:

CF: Well, ah…
FWP: Can you name someone you have personally helped? Someone nearby, whose actual status I can verify?

CF: (more confused sputtering)
FWP: I thought not. Go away.

Sub-variation 2:

CF: (indignantly) I’m not getting a penny for this!
FWP: So why are you doing it, when you could be personally helping to feed, clothe, or shelter sone needy neighbor? Don’t you want to help those in need?

CF: I am helping!
FWP: No you’re not. You’re harassing strangers for contributions to an international scam. You could be doing actual charity whose results you could personally verify. Instead you’re donating your precious time and energy to a corporation whose executives wear suits and ties and probably never get their hands dirty. Go away.

     This, of course, would mark me as “hard-hearted.” So very “un-Christian.” But it would be an accurate expression of my convictions regarding impersonal charities and the people who feed from them, who are assuredly not the supposed beneficiaries.

***

     No one admits publicly, and hence public opinion does not admit, that ingratitude is the norm. It is astounding that countless benefactors allow themselves to be persuaded over and over that ingratitude with the resultant hatred is a rare and special case. — Helmut Schoeck

     The sanctification of rapacious ingratitude and envy has reached a terminal point, such that it cannot be deepened further. The more we give, the more we concede, the more we set our own priorities aside to placate the demands of others, the more we are resented. Yet the demands escalate. There is no saturation point, for a specific and enraging reason: The livelihoods of the demanders depend upon it.

     There’s a two-part dynamic behind this: the flogged-out pseudo-compassion itself, and the self-righteousness of those who seek to evoke it. Consider the following statement from the part-owner of an NBA franchise:

     Let’s be honest, nobody cares about what’s happening to the Uyghurs, okay? You bring it up, because you really care, and I think it’s nice that you care. The rest of us don’t care. I’m telling you a very hard, ugly truth, okay? Of all the things that I care about– yes, it is below my line. Of all the things I care about, it is below. My. Line.

     Now view the reaction from a woman who probably thinks very well of herself:

     Umm… Mr. Palihapitiya, with all due respect (which is less than none), go f*ck yourself.

     Like I guess it’s too bad that caring about people being methodically, systematically rounded up, imprisoned, raped, tortured, sterilized, and killed doesn’t make you millions of dollars, but usually when people are that morally bankrupt they try to keep it to themselves.

     So, Miss Hoffman, what are you doing to help those oppressed Uyghurs? You personally? Apart from flogging someone else for being candid about their position in his priorities, that is?

     Your “caring” is shit. You can do nothing for the Uyghurs, and you know it – and however bad it makes you feel about it, your response is to berate another person – a man who owns a business that provides jobs and salaries to an unknown number of others, who use those salaries to support their families and perhaps to do actual charity for others about whom you know nothing! – for not verbally toeing your preferred line!

     Chamath Palihapitiya is your moral superior, Miss Hoffman. He doesn’t castigate others for not sharing his priorities. At some level in your cinder of a soul, you know he’s your better – and you resent him for it.

     And for the record, I couldn’t give a fart in a hurricane about the Golden State Warriors or the NBA.

***

     “Why don’t I shut up and stop stuffing your ears with nonsense when you ought to be stuffing some other organ entirely?” — John Brunner

     It is vital not to give the compassion-floggers a nanometer. Don’t say “Well, yes, I care about them in an abstract way.” Don’t say “Well, if I thought I could do any good.” Your abstract accord that yes, oppression, torture, and starvation are bad no matter who’s being oppressed, tortured, or starved is an opening wedge for them. The floggers want your money and your guilt – possibly, your guilt above all else.

     Not caring about something over which you have no personal control or influence is a pro-social position. It conserves your resources for things that are relevant to you and your community. Being candid – even brutal – about saying so to a compassion-flogger is a pro-social act. It makes them less likely to harass someone else…possibly someone weaker and more tractable than you.

     Give the floggers nothing. Stay on the attack. Make them cringe for their cheek.

     There are innumerable things to not-care about – to leave to the ministrations of others nearer to them. Constructive indifference to them helps us to preserve our own resources of time, money, energy, and emotion for problems we can personally help to ameliorate.

Never give anything to the acolytes of the parasite class.

     Make “Mind your own business and let me tend to mine” your mantra for this Year of Our Lord 2022. Your “widow’s mite,” given freely and out of true charity, will please Him infinitely more than your semi-coerced contribution to the March of Dimes or the United Way.

     I have spoken.

Conversations

     Ours is a “mixed” household:

  • One (1) Catholic husband (me);
  • One (1) agnostic-Jewish wife (Beth, a.k.a. the C. S. O.);
  • Three dogs (Sophie, Precious, and Joy);
  • Four cats (Uriel, Fluffy, Chloe, and Zoe).

     (The cats sacrifice to Bastet. I have no idea whom the dogs worship. Possibly Dick Van Patten.)

     The consequences have included some humorous moments, especially since the onset of the “pandemic.” (If you haven’t yet tumbled to the essential falsity of this farce, check your pulse: you may have died and not noticed.) My parish, St. Louis de Montfort of Sound Beach, panicked as completely as most such. What followed included mask mandates, “social distancing” rules, an awful lot of awkwardness at Mass, and the elimination of holy water from the holy-water fonts, which are now filled with…brace yourself…hand sanitizer.

     This has irritated many members of the parish. A couple of weeks ago, in response to the rising tide of requests, our pastor, Monsignor Christopher Heller, made holy water available in an unprecedented form:

     Not exactly a conventional way of dispensing it, as the Catholics among our Gentle Readers will surely agree. But any port in a storm, as they say, and St. Louis’s parishioners were generally glad that holy water was available again, even in such an unorthodox container.

     Beth caught sight of the little bottle on my desk and asked about it. I told her that I was in search of a more appropriate container into which to decant the holy water, so that embarrassing mistakes might be obviated. She nodded and returned to her previous activity.

     I did acquire a more conventional bottle for holy water:

     …and poured it full from the little plastic bottle provided by the parish. Beth, who was a step behind this development, saw the new bottle and made a long face.

CSO: Aw, that’s pretty.
FWP: Thanks. I thought so myself.

CSO: I guess you won’t be using the bottle I made for you, then?
FWP: Hm? You made a holy water bottle?
CSO: Oh yeah. One second…

     Beth hurried away and returned a couple of minutes later with this:

     Words failed me. Truly, Gentle Reader, words failed me.

Chronicles Of Anarcho-Tyranny, Continued

     I seldom regret canceling the TV service. It helps that Tucker Carlson’s show is usually available on YouTube the next day:

     Carlson calls it “the collapse of civilization – in real-time.” And indeed, there is no better description for it.

     Pace Milton Friedman, economists may not know much, but they know this:

What you penalize, you will get less of.
What you subsidize, you will get more of.

     Our “leaders” are “progressively” destroying normal, middle-class people, families, and communities, while actively subsidizing degeneracy, homelessness, and drug abuse. The completion of this sequence is left as an exercise for the reader.

     I’m thinking of starting a “Bobcat Fund,” to purchase Bobcats for angry city dwellers who would thereafter use them to clear the sidewalks in their neighborhoods. Clear them of what, you ask? Why, whatever might impede foot traffic, of course! Snow, garbage, tent cities…what’s the difference?

     Think it would catch on?

Trial Balloon Warning

     It’s almost a pity people have stopped watching CNN. That makes it far too easy for the network to slip something like this past us:

     London (CNN Business) – People are paying a lot more for food, gas, cars and services, and inflation isn’t over yet as the pandemic continues to distort the economy. So should governments consider setting the price of essential goods?
     It’s been done before, typically during times of crisis, but for most mainstream economists, the answer to this question is a resounding “no.” Limiting how much companies can charge will distort markets, they argue, causing shortages and exacerbating supply chain problems while only temporarily reducing inflation.
     “Price controls can of course control prices — but they’re a terrible idea,” David Autor, a professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, remarked in a survey published earlier this month by the University of Chicago.
     Asked whether price controls similar to those used in the United States during the 1970s could reduce inflation over the next year, less than a quarter of economists surveyed said they agree while nearly 60% said they disagree or strongly disagree.

     Remember how I suggested that you read some Andrew Dickson White? I do hope you took me seriously.

     When a government inflates the currency, as ours has been doing to support its insane spending, and prices start to rise rapidly, the government invariably does two other things:

  • It blames producers for the increases;
  • It toys with price controls.

     I’ll leave the completion of this line of reasoning to my Gentle Readers.

Inflammation Of The Ego

     At one time, I held, albeit inarticulately, that the largest egos in the known universe were possessed by celebrities: entertainers, sports figures, and others who are “famous for being famous.” However, in recent years new evidence has emerged that suggests that it’s really politicians who hold first place:

     With President Joe Biden rounding out his first year in office amid a sinking approval rating and multiple setbacks to his agenda, the White House is planning a new communications strategy, senior administration officials say.

     Biden’s reset plan, senior administration officials said, is to make his conversations with members of Congress less of a public priority and to emphasize spending more time communicating directly with Americans. The officials said that the White House will continue negotiations with Congress over Biden’s legislative priorities but that it would stop releasing details of the talks to the public.

     Words fail me, Gentle Reader – and when you hear a writer say that, mark your calendar.

     The “Biden agenda” can be stated quite succinctly:

Whatever Trump did,
We’ll do the opposite.

     It’s as mindless as an amoeba. There’s no rationality to it at all; it’s driven by hatred and hatred alone. Causes economic dysentery, too.

     Mind you, Biden being as close to mindless as a man can get without being confined to a safe, secure place where the attendants wear white and have been trained never to raise their voices (yes, as with department store “greeters,” that does invite speculation about their home lives) the “agenda” isn’t really his, any more than the 180 IQ he once claimed. That doesn’t really matter, though; the hatred is real and as swollen as the egos behind it. Biden would share it, if he were conscious enough.

     The Land of the Formerly Free is now ruled by people who hate freedom in all its venues and manifestations. Indeed, they hate people, selectively at least. They’re doing their level best to thin us out. What gain would that bring them, you ask? Nothing a rational man could value. It’s just what people consumed by hatred do.

     Even if massive anti-electoral-fraud measures are put in place from coast to coast, November will not save us. That was the point of this piece, in case it whizzed by you. The Constitution of the United States is no longer in force. The political virus – the largely unexamined belief that politics is the cure for all ills, including the ills of politics – is more pandemic than the Kung Flu could ever be.

     The insanity has peaked my meter and the needle is beginning to bend.

     Say, what are the property values like in Oymyakon? It looks like there might be room there for a couple of expatriates and their menagerie. What’s that you say? Barrow has all of Oymyakon’s virtues, and we wouldn’t have to learn to speak Russian? Naah. Too damned close to D.C.

     Don’t mind me. I’ll be back with something more cheerful a bit later. Maybe a story about cannibalism or a crashed airliner. Stay tuned.

Revolutions Without Bloodshed Part 2

     We possess unfortunate inclinations, embedded in our psyches by hundreds of years of habituation, toward leaving the most important of all things to the State:

  • Police services;
  • Community safety;
  • Education of the young.

     It isn’t just Americans who possess such inclinations. They’re uniform across the First World. As “natural” as they may seem, they are the key assets of tyranny.

     Couple those inclinations to another, possibly even more deadly: the desire to believe in political saviors. Politics and our mindless reliance on it is what brought us here. Yet some very smart people can’t get off that track. Here’s an example:

     November is coming and what they have sown they shall reap. They have sown failure. They shall reap a House ruled by Kevin McCarthy and a Senate by the murder Turtle and the pain will begin – at least it better. The base is in no mood for hands across the aisle. Time to deal the pain.

     Also, it will be fun to see Democrats fall in love with the filibuster again.

     The reckoning begins in the House. We must have our vengeance, both to satisfy the reasonable craving for justice on the part of the base and to teach the Democrats that there is a price for crossing us….

     Oh, and the January 6th inquisition must not be eliminated. Instead, it must be filled with new members and then investigate the FBI’s participation in the minor fracas, the unconstitutional treatment of the political prisoners, and the unlawful killing of Ashli Babbitt….

     But understand that even when we Republicans retake the Congress, things will still be awful for a couple of years.

     Kurt Schlichter plainly identifies with the Republican Party. He sees its return to federal majority status as the solution to our ills. But if that were the case, why did that party resist the majority of President Trump’s pro-American initiatives? Why did it compel him to do by executive order what should have been done legislatively? And why did a substantial fraction of Republican officeholders repudiate President Trump and all his works as soon as the Democrats managed to steal the presidency?

     Ten GOP Senators voted to convict President Trump and remove him from office – and for what? For an innocent phone call, entirely within both his authority and his responsibilities as president, to his opposite number in the Ukraine! What did they think they were doing?

     I trust the point is made.

***

     In the Baseline Essays section there are pieces in which I addressed aspects of our political fixation:

     Those “Off the Mishnory Road” essays are steps to understanding the importance of defeating the political mindset – not just the Democrats, but the whole “let the government handle it” mindset that has allowed the worst people in the world to ascend to power over us:

  • The political junkie is generally incapable of mere “fun.”
  • He has little appreciation for the stoic virtues and is dismissive of masculinity.
  • Facts are either weapons with which to advance his Cause, or obstacles to be surmounted.

     If we are to escape the habitual resort to politics as our “solution” to “problems,” the political junkie must become a figure of ridicule: impossible to take seriously. Only when the great majority of Americans laugh raucously at the suggestion that certain responsibilities “belong to” the State, or can only be properly discharged by the State, will we have a chance of depoliticizing the Republic.

     In this regard, our best weapon is the State’s demonstrated inability to meet any of the responsibilities it’s undertaken these two centuries past. Whether the politicizers’ intentions were good is irrelevant. The mechanism has displayed its inadequacy and cannot be trusted.

***

     Perhaps some Gentle Readers are thinking “he’s advocating a revolution in thought.” You’d be right to think so. The pro-politics / “leave it to the government” mindset that’s dominated Americans’ social and economic thinking for so many decades must be blasted out of the way before substantial progress can be made. There are two mutually-supporting reasons for this:

  1. The pro-politics mindset is synonymous with the abdication of personal responsibility;
  2. Until we accept personal responsibility for what we seek, we won’t put our own shoulders to the wheel.

     One who believes that public order and cleanliness are the government’s responsibility would be dazed by the suggestion that he ought to take a personal hand in them. One who believes that the relief of severe need is the government’s responsibility would goggle at the idea that he should practice personal charity toward those who need and deserve such help. One who believes that “only the government” can see to the education of American youth would be staggered by the notion that it is profoundly wrong, an immense and absolute moral default for him to leave his children’s minds to government hirelings to shape.

     In sober truth, when the subject is the fundamental requirements of a free order, there is no alternative to “doing it yourself.” You cannot leave such things to politically elevated “experts.” The politicians and their handmaidens don’t want you thinking such things. They want you to continue to think of governments as reliable, trustworthy problem solvers. Yet in point of fact governments fatten on the authority and responsibility for “problems.” They never do anything that might reduce them.

     Personal responsibility and the acceptance of certain propositions as absolutely true must come first. While “the rest” won’t follow automatically, without those things “the rest” won’t follow at all.

     More anon.

A Little…Afternoon Music?

     I have a great fondness for the folk artists of the Sixties, particularly for the ones who started out with nothing but a guitar and a folder full of song lyrics. Most faded away and were forgotten. A couple of them became famous. A handful failed to reach Dylan’s heights but retained a following. Some are still active today. One of my favorites from those years was Eric Andersen.

     Just now, it being Martin Luther King Day, damned near everyone is probably posting, playing, or humming “Thirsty Boots.” It’s a nice song – I used to play it when I was a semi-pro performer – but it’s also kind of dreary and over-exposed. The following is Andersen’s lively side, which he reached occasionally when he had a few other musicians to play with.

Truth with all its far out schemes
Lets time decide what it should mean;
It’s not the time but just the dreams that die
And sometimes when the room is still
Time with so much truth to kill
Leaves you by the window sill so tired

Without a wing, to take you high
Without a clue to tell you why

Now, I just want to keep my name, not bother anybody’s game
Without ideas of gold or fame or insane heights
I don’t need a lot of money, I don’t want a Playboy Bunny
Just a love to call me honey late at night

In my arms, by my side,
In my arms, late at night

Well, I don’t know, I ain’t been told
Everyone is so alone
Ev’rybody wants a hand to hold
They’re so afraid of being old
So scared of dying, so unknown
And so alone, rollin’ home

There’s nothing big I want to prove
No mountains that I need to move
Or even claim what’s right or true for you
My sights, my songs are slightly charred
You might think they miss their mark
But things are only what they are and nothing new

But for me, I think they’ll do
But for me, I know they’ll do

Now if you care what people think
Like you were some missing link;
They’ll just stand back and watch you sink slow
They’ll never help you to decide
They’ll only take you for a ride
After which they’ll try and hide the fact that they don’t know

What you should do, where you should go
What you should do, where you should go

Well, I don’t know, I ain’t been told
Everyone is so alone
Ev’rybody wants a hand to hold
They’re so afraid of being old
So scared of dying, so unknown
And so alone, rollin’ home

I can’t claim I know my father,
I been lookin’ for my brother,
And I end up just another one.
Fantasies and prophecies fill my head like fallen leaves,
And underneath I don’t believe a one!

Not to do what’s been done,
You can try, try, or you can run.

Well, I can see a king and queen, a beggar falling at my feet;
They all must see the same sad dreams at night;
Futility and senseless war, pit the rich against the poor
While cause is buried long before the fight

For what was wrong, for what was right
It’s just the strong, with a sense of what’s right

Well, I don’t know, I ain’t been told
Everyone is so alone
Ev’rybody wants a hand to hold
They’re so afraid of being old
So scared of dying, so unknown
And so alone, rollin’ home

(Eric Andersen)

Revolutions Without Bloodshed Part 1

     They’re rare.

     The State that finds its hegemony threatened almost always responds with violence. Violence, after all, is the State’s stock in trade. It’s the characteristic method of rulers to use force and violence to work their wills upon us. In the majority of cases, they could get their way in no other way.

     Americans are familiar with the concept of the consent of the governed. The phrase appears in the Declaration of Independence. The concept is (supposedly) reified by the election of our public officials, said officials then being said to “represent” us. But there are several fallacies built into that notion. The most blatant such fallacy lies in the official’s freedom to do as he pleases once he’s been installed in office. The “representation” appears to be confined to the electoral process itself…and given the scandalous state of our elections, none too strongly, at that.

     It has begun to seem “obvious” to me that we must withdraw our consent from American governments of all levels, both in appearance and in fact. The core problem, of course, is averting any negative consequences as far as possible. Few of us are actually eager to shed our blood for the cause of freedom. But there may be an alternative to violent revolution. If so, it would be founded on an attribute that individuals possess but governments usually lack: agility.

***

     All political power, as it is called, rests practically upon this matter of money. Any number of scoundrels, having money enough to start with, can establish themselves as a “government;” because, with money, they can hire soldiers, and with soldiers extort more money; and also compel general obedience to their will. It is with government, as Caesar said it was in war, that money and soldiers mutually supported each other; that with money he could hire soldiers, and with soldiers extort money. So these villains, who call themselves governments, well understand that their power rests primarily upon money. With money they can hire soldiers, and with soldiers extort money. And, when their authority is denied, the first use they always make of money, is to hire soldiers to kill or subdue all who refuse them more money.

     For this reason, whoever desires liberty, should understand these vital facts, viz.: 1. That every man who puts money into the hands of a “government” (so called), puts into its hands a sword which will be used against himself, to extort more money from him, and also to keep him in subjection to its arbitrary will. 2. That those who will take his money, without his consent, in the first place, will use it for his further robbery and enslavement, if he presumes to resist their demands in the future.

     [Lysander Spooner, No Treason]

     Spooner’s famous essay, 152 years old this year, is still the most penetrating treatment of political power that’s ever been written. Murray Rothbard, may he rest in peace, could not have done better. The cited paragraphs are the sword’s point of the essay. I named a trilogy after him in tribute to his acuity. But let’s focus on his assertions above:

Spooner’s Circle of Coercion:

  1. Coercion requires coercers.
  2. Coercers won’t work for free.
  3. Thus, they must be paid – but with what?
  4. The money to pay them must be amassed beforehand.
  5. The money must come from their intended victims: the to-be-coerced.
  6. But without coercers, how can we mulct the to-be-coerced for their own coercion?

     The circularity “should” be “obvious.” How do governments usually force their way into the circle? Take a moment over it. The answer isn’t hard to find, merely shocking and mind-expanding.

Promissory notes.

     In classical times warlords promised those who would go raiding with them a share of the loot. That was one of the earliest methods for assembling an army on credit. When weapons were expensive and therefore scarce, men who owned them could be seduced into service by this method. Moreover, they would already have the assurance that resistance to their pillaging would be infrequent and easily overcome.

     These days, soldiers and other enforcers are paid with currency: “dollars,” most tangibly in the form of Federal Reserve Notes. Now, while it’s unobvious, the Federal Reserve Note is a promissory note. Its “value” is exactly and only what it can be exchanged for. Today, 99.99% of all commerce is exactly such an exchange: Federal Reserve Notes, or their electronic equivalent, for goods and / or services.

     Find the weak link in that sequence and you have the key that would lock the door of Spooner’s Circle against the State’s desire to hire myrmidons.

***

     Just now, I have an image in my mind of a well-dressed, neatly-groomed man – obviously a white-collar type – standing along an expressway entrance or exit ramp, bearing a boldly lettered sign:

WILL WORK FOR GOLD OR SILVER

     No, I haven’t seen anyone like that lately, but then, I seldom leave the house. Still, let that image tickle your imagination. Transform it to signs in shop windows:


DOLLARS NOT ACCEPTED HERE
PAYMENT IN GOLD OR SILVER ONLY

     Granted that it might make banking a wee bit harder…if you feel a need for banks when safes are so cheap these days. It would certainly make things harder for the “tax authorities,” especially considering how dependent they’ve become on electronic banking as a source of information and a channel for confiscation. As for large corporations…who really wants to make things easier for them?

     Just a few early morning thoughts. As you can tell from the title, I’ll be back to this. Meanwhile, read Andrew Dickson White and Eric Frank Russell. They’ll get your blood pumping.

Do You Pray?

     Not a lot of people pray these days. To my sorrow, that includes many self-nominated Christians of every denomination, including mine. I understand some of the reasons. Our lives have never before been as cluttered as they are today. The world around us presents us with a multitude of distractions, some seemingly so imperative that they demand our immediate and absolute attention and force all other considerations from our minds. We reach the end of the typical day weary in body, mind, and spirit.

     The irony here is that prayer is one of the great refreshments to the weary mind and soul. (You’ll still need to catch a good night’s sleep to restore your body.) Prayer relaxes and refocuses the mind. It salves the hurts of the day. It restores hope. What else is there that can do all that at zero cost?

     This year of Our Lord 2022 will be a momentous one for these United States. Enormous events, the consequences of decisions made by millions, will impinge upon us. The nation might go down in flames…or it might rise renewed from its agonies of the two years behind us, and return to the values and principles upon which it was founded. The likelihoods seem about equal.

     Prayer could help. Prayer has power.

     A marvelous scene in Anthony Hopkins’s movie Shadowlands is relevant here. Immediately after the death of his wife Joy, one of C. S. Lewis’s academic colleagues says to him that “Christopher can scoff, Jack, but I know how hard you’ve been praying; and now God is answering your prayers.”

     Lewis, brilliantly portrayed by Hopkins, replies in a truly piercing fashion:

     “That’s not why I pray, Harry. I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I’m helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time, waking and sleeping. It doesn’t change God, it changes me.”

     We need to be changed. We need to be clear of mind, stout of heart, and spiritually braced for the trials that we must undergo if we are to rescue our nation from a terrible fate.

     And prayer can help with all of it.

All my best,
Fran

Every Time You Think They’ve Hit The Bottom…

     …they pull out their shovels and dig like giant moles on meth:

     It’s possible that this isn’t a first – that at some time in the past, unknown even to me, there have been presidents and Supreme Court justices unacquainted with the concept of enumerated powers, unaware of the significance of the Tenth Amendment, and unfamiliar with the notion of federalism. It’s mind-boggling and supremely distressing…but it’s not the most distressing aspect of the federal government today.

     You see, this was foreshadowed. Trust a writer to know about foreshadowing and what it portends.

     Not many people were paying proper attention during the antics that eventuated in the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. ObamaCare. Those of us who were took special note of one particular incident:

     That’s the response of a politician desperate to avoid answering a question. Had Pelosi been fully conscious of the gravity of her response, she would have said nothing more about it. Yet within a day, she claimed that the “necessary and proper” clause of Article I, Section 8 empowers Congress to do anything it pleases.

     Once again, those of us who noticed this outrageous statement can never forget it. Neither can we forget that the Democrat-controlled Congress of the time was fully on board with Pelosi’s assertion. Nor can we forget that for whatever reason, Chief Justice John Roberts allowed them to get away with it. Worse yet, the late John McCain, supposedly a Republican, permitted the PPACA to remain on the federal law books out of sheer malice toward President Donald Trump.

     It’s beyond serious question that the leaders of Congress today believe that Congress has the “right” to do whatever it pleases. We are fortunate that for the moment, there are two semi-sensible Democrats in the Senate who aren’t willing to go along with the gag. Yet take note of the rhetoric emanating from other Democrats, including the demented, lying moron in the Oval Office, about their inability to strong-arm Sinema and Manchin into compliance: because they can’t proceed at full speed with their schemes, therefore their opponents are “destroying democracy!”

     Given politics – and politicians – like this, is it any wonder that the great majority of Americans simply want it all to go away?

***

     Twenty-one years ago, at the old Palace of Reason, I wrote:

     Over the past century, liberty has been flensed away from Americans, slice after thin slice. That’s the way to subordinate a free people. Get them used to bending the knee and tugging the forelock in little things first, things that don’t appear to be relevant to them personally. Get them thinking that only antisocial curmudgeons would raise a fuss over matters as trivial as zoning restrictions, or licensing requirements for hairdressers. Better yet, get them thinking that anyone who would resist these “obviously desirable” new requirements of the law must want to do them harm.

     With each slice of lost liberty has gone a little of the defiance that animates a free people. We’re closing in on the point of no return, the threshold that, once crossed, will become an impenetrable wall that forbids us a backward step.

     In parallel with the loss of personal defiance has gone a slackening of the national will toward foreign enemies. The recent contretemps with the Chinese is an important harbinger of things to come. Few have dared to suggest that, when America puts young men and women into uniforms and weapons into their hands, it’s preparing them to risk their lives for some purpose beyond a trade agreement. Few have dared to suggest that a country whose government dares to take Americans hostage, to stake their lives and freedom as counters in a game, has committed an act of war, an act to which a country with dignity could respond in only one way.

     We have become comfortable with subordination at home and humiliation abroad.

     Where do we stand today, Gentle Reader? Do we retain any smallest sliver of the freedom we once possessed? We, who were locked away from our businesses, neighbors, and loved ones by a bureaucrat’s ukase over a cold virus? We, who have been told that there are products we’re forbidden to buy, and other products we’re commanded to buy? We, whose children have been systematically taught to ignore biological reality, to feel guilt over things they have not done, and to hate their own country and their own race?

     But note this: At any point in our steady devolution toward utter subjection, we could have halted it all. We could have done what a fictional character did:

     “Then I saw what was wrong with the world, I saw what destroyed men and nations, and where the battle for life had to be fought. I saw that the enemy was an inverted morality—and that my sanction was its only power. I saw that evil was impotent—that evil was the irrational, the blind, the anti-real—and that the only weapon of its triumph was the willingness of the good to serve it. Just as the parasites around me were proclaiming their helpless dependence on my mind and were expecting me voluntarily to accept a slavery they had no power to enforce, just as they were counting on my self-immolation to provide them with the means of their plan—so throughout the world and throughout men’s history, in every version and form, from the extortions of loafing relatives to the atrocities of collective countries, it is the good, the able, the men of reason, who act as their own destroyers, who transfuse to evil the blood of their virtue and let evil transmit to them the poison of destruction, thus gaining for evil the power of survival, and for their own values—the impotence of death. I saw that there comes a point, in the defeat of any man of virtue, when his own consent is needed for evil to win—and that no manner of injury done to him by others can succeed if he chooses to withhold his consent. I saw that I could put an end to your outrages by pronouncing a single word in my mind. I pronounced it. The word was ‘No.’”

     That book has many flaws. Yet its moral vision, its grasp of the supreme importance of personal moral agency, which overrides any command from any would-be ruler, is perfect. A later writer would echo the sentiment in a science-fictional setting:

     “A rational anarchist believes that concepts such as ‘state’ and ‘society’ and ‘government’ have no existence save as physically exemplified in the acts of self-responsible individuals. He believes that it is impossible to shift blame, share blame, distribute blame… as blame, guilt, responsibility are matters taking place inside human beings singly and nowhere else. But being rational, he knows that not all individuals hold his evaluations, so he tries to live perfectly in an imperfect world… aware that his effort will be less than perfect yet undismayed by self-knowledge of self-failure.”…

     “I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.”

     I once called this applied practical anarchism. The phrase still fits. If you haven’t read the linked essay, please do so at once. The need has become overwhelming.

***

     People see the word anarchism and think “chaos,” “total disorder,” “rampant violence,” “blood in the gutters.” That is not what the word means. It means the rejection of a “legitimate” State. It means that the phrase “legitimate authority” is semantically null – completely without objective meaning.

     The late Poul Anderson, pace Heinlein’s conception, noted in his novel The People of the Wind that the phrase “legitimate authority” decomposes into two concepts most of us would rather not face. Legitimacy, he noted, derives from tradition; there is no other source for it. Authority, he noted, derives from force: the force required to impose the will of the rulers upon the ruled. Yet in perfect truth, can tradition be deemed permanently above reconsideration? Can tradition legitimately force us to accept as rulers a gang of thugs who stole their offices, who are resolved to suppress dissent, and who believe their power to be unbounded by individuals’ rights? As for force, can any government genuinely impose its will on a nation of 330 million persons, nearly half of whom are armed? And is it not the moral duty of such persons to ignore a group of “rulers” who propose to run roughshod over their traditions and their rights?

     Yes, yes, I know my Emerson: “I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.” Well, here’s what I know:

We have reached the midnight hour.

     There’s no sense remaining in trying to “vote our way out of this.” There’s no temporal savior waiting in the wings for the perfect moment to strike. The task is ours, and ours alone. Either we reclaim our heritage as free men or we will be swallowed by the darkness.

     “You cannot buy the Revolution. You cannot make the Revolution. You can only be the Revolution. It is in your spirit, or it is nowhere.” — Ursula Le Guin

     Have a nice day.

The Most Meaningful Speech I’ve Ever Heard

Here it is.

Why I Can’t Get Too Worked Up About Hiroshima

Because the Japanese Army committed FAR greater atrocities than dropping a bomb – with MULTIPLE warnings.

Even The Greatest Men Are Sometimes Wrong

     Men are fallible. We make mistakes. Some of us are wrong more often than right. And yes, “men” includes women, so no smirking, ladies. Especially since the majority of you react worse to being criticized than to being publicly groped.

     The history of Christianity knows few mortal figures to compare with Saul of Tarsus, better known as Saint Paul the Apostle. He was phenomenally important to the early history of the Church, both as an evangelist and in disseminating the Gospel to the people of the classical world. But Paul had his flaws, as we all do. One of them was his willingness to present his own opinions as Christian doctrine.

     I subscribe to a daily emailing from The Catholic Company called “Your Morning Offering.” It’s a simple little thing that presents Bible passages, commentaries from Catholic polemicists, selected prayers, and a brief bio of the saint of the day for the reader’s contemplation. I’ve often found it a valuable stimulus to thought. Today, however, it presents a passage from Paul’s Epistle to the Romans:

     “For rulers are not a cause of fear to good conduct, but to evil. Do you wish to have no fear of authority? Then do what is good and you will receive approval from it, for it is a servant of God for your good. But if you do evil, be afraid, for it does not bear the sword without purpose; it is the servant of God to inflict wrath on the evildoer. Therefore, it is necessary to be subject not only because of the wrath but also because of conscience.”
     –Romans 12:3-5

     This passage is complete and arrant nonsense. Moreover, it was written at a time when the rulers of the Roman Empire were doing their best to eradicate Christianity, which makes it utterly inexplicable. Needless to say, it has its fans among the political elite and the admirers of governments.

     An objective appreciation of government is that it is like unto a weapon. While there are exceptions – bioengineered diseases, for example – a weapon need not be evil in and of itself. It’s nearly always the wielder who determines whether it will be put to good or evil uses.

     A ruler who does evil, as so many do and have done throughout history, is not “a servant of God for your good.” I could make a good case that the majority of governments extant today are being used for evil. The world’s Christians have absolutely no reason to subject themselves to such regimes. That includes the Usurper Regime currently ascendant in Washington, D.C.

     But Paul of Tarsus, among his flaws, was intolerant of both contradiction and constraint. His peremptory nature wore out the affections of more than one acolyte. The passage above irritated Christians who had lost loves and homes to official persecutions. It also presents a severe problem to Biblical literalists, who insist that the Bible is entirely the word of God and that no part of it is to be questioned or dismissed.

     A man need not be perfect to be, on balance, a force for good. But humility is vital. One of the most important lessons of the Church is that we are all fallible, and all sinners. It was a lesson that Paul of Tarsus failed to internalize. His self-importance is often perceptible in the tone of his writings. The unwisdom of the cited passage from the Epistle to the Romans, which is overall a vitally important document in the development of Christian thought, makes plain the importance of humility.

     Donald Trump is a great man and was an unusually good president. But he was wrong to repose so much trust in the medical bureaucracy generally and Anthony Fauci in particular. It may be a minor blot in comparison to the good he did from the Oval Office, but it’s there nevertheless. We should remember that as a shield against the encroachment of cults of personality.

Yowza! We got us some disinformation here!

I grow weary over reading about asinine — but widespread — claims that this or that is DISINFORMATION. The essence of the charge is that certain statements are

  1. reprehensible, unacceptable, poisonous, vicious, deleterious, horrific, right-wing, and generally bad manners,
  2. so utterly irresistible and beguiling that any hearer must figuratively bind himself to the mast to escape the siren songs of untruth (SSU), and
  3. hideously damaging to whatever the party line is at any one moment.

Yes, the earth will stall on its axis if such a powerful untruth is permitted to be promulgated. If an innocent, unsuspecting citizen has the slightest encounter with this truth the consequences are dire.

(From one of the great movies of all time, “Top Secret.”)

Of course, all that is required is to level the charge of “disinformation.” It is unnecessary to make any kind of a case for the falsity of the statement or to focus on any of the elements of fraud. It’s wrong and that’s all anyone needs to know and the infantile understanding of the citizenry is a given.

Well, what ARE the elements of fraud? In the common law the practice developed over the centuries to require fraud to be proved with particularity as, for one reason, it’s a serious attack on another’s reputation for good character to allege that he or she is a lying sack.

In 1996, the Montana Supreme Court laid out the elements of fraud in great detail.

The elements are: (1) a representation; (2) falsity of the representation; (3) materiality of the representation; (4) speaker’s knowledge of the falsity of the representation or ignorance of its truth; (5) the speaker’s intent it should be relied upon; (6) the hearer’s ignorance of the falsity of the representation; (7) the hearer’s reliance on the representation; (8) the hearer’s right to rely on the representation; and (9) the hearer’s consequent and proximate injury caused by the reliance on the representation.

H/t: Montana “Workers’ Compensation Court.

Other courts say essentially the same thing but this is the most detailed list I’ve run across. I would add after (1) that the representation or statement must be of fact not opinion.

So you can see that making a fraud (or “disinformation”) case stick requires more than proving that a false statement was made. If I’m buying a used car and the seller tells me that the suspension and engine are in top shape I can’t claim I was defrauded if the front tires are obviously worn unevenly and the engine runs but with clouds of blue smoke coming out of the muffler.

But the “disinformation” maroons take it to another level by standing pat on a mere allegation that a certain statement was made. Ergo fraud. But we all know their angst is merely that they don’t care for the statement because it is destructive of their agenda. If they have to break the unsuspecting speaker’s neck in the process then, well, that’s just what the bastard deserved.

This approach at best assumes that words, allegedly false, have merely to touch the ears of any citizen schlub and the damage is done like the bumper strike we saw above. Independent agency or responsibility of the hearer is blithely assumed away and he or she is implicitly treated as a gullible infant without critical skills of any kind.

Bear in mind too that this phenomenon has arisen in that very nation whose citizens devised or at least perfected the term “bullshit.” Can we accept in the public sphere of this particular country the notion that citizens have no concept of that term or of their own responsibility to assess information from others with a critical eye? And what citizen doesn’t every bleeping day exist in a blizzard of commercial hype? Do they just sit there like rubes and assume that their lives are incomplete if their family circle doesn’t include at least three homosexuals, four black Harvard grads, and a Mexican feminist?

So, the next time you hear someone level the charge of “disinformation” ask yourself who it is in that case who is a lying, deceiving, vicious horse’s ass?

More Anarchy, More Tyranny

     I’m in a particularly dark mood this morning. It derives from several causes, most of which my Gentle Readers would deem irrelevant to them. However, there is one that’s worth a mention.

     Though I disapprove of the linguistic hijacking that has conflated anarchy with chaos, I can do little about it. Worse yet, the late Samuel Francis’s term anarcho-tyranny is so powerfully evocative that I cannot do without it. This essay from 1994, while it wasn’t the one in which the term first appeared, provides an excellent argument that the condition to which it refers is the current sociopolitical status of these United States. If you haven’t read it before, please do so. If you have, please refresh your memory of its contents and overall import, so I can refrain from importing huge segments of it into this piece.

     With that, it’s time for a little – a very little – of the odious Jen Psaki:

     So it becomes clear that the Usurper Administration has no intention of backing off on its attempt to use economic coercion to enforce its everybody-must-get-vaxed decree upon Americans. Virtually all of America’s largest companies do a significant amount of business with the federal government. Some even receive subsidies. Those that don’t kneel to the Usurpers will see that business, those subsidies negatively affected. In many – perhaps most – cases, the aggregate impact would leave red ink on their bottom lines. As most such companies are secretly in thrall to their accounting departments, they will refrain from “pointless, profitless resistance.”

     How’s the southern border looking these days, Joe?

***

     I feel no need to detail the total failure of the “vaccines” to immunize those who accept them against the COVID-19 virus. Nor need I discourse on the dangers the “vaccines” pose to the human immune system or any other aspect of bodily integrity. The rash of infections and deaths among the “vaccinated,” and the tsunami of young people dying suddenly, or being diagnosed with bizarre ailments virtually unknown among the young after being “vaccinated,” should already be known to the Gentle Readers of Liberty’s Torch. There’s no need to recap what we already know.

     No, I have something else in mind this fine January morning. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the pandemic or the “vaccines,” except as they illustrate the central theme of this piece. It’s about the nature of Americans’ relationship to government.

     Allow me a useful analogy that I’ve used before:

     [I]n the American Constitutional system, a government is an agent: a hireling charged with specified responsibilities and allowed to engage in certain delimited activities in discharging them. The relationship is exactly parallel to a homeowner who engages a landscaper to trim his hedge. The job is defined by the homeowner, and the landscaper is to do that and nothing else.

     Imagine that the landscaper sees himself as having “interests” that include turning the homeowner’s hedge into a topiary. Would the homeowner be justified in becoming upset? Would he have a good case for refusing the landscaper his fee for that “service?” If the answers strike you as obvious, ask yourself why claims of “compelling government interests” should be treated any differently.

     Our “landscaper” is just such a despicable creature. It mulcts us for oceans of tax money and uses it as it pleases. It then imposes all sorts of anti-Constitutional compulsions and constraints on us – things the Founding Fathers never even contemplated handing over to a government – and enforces its will with humorless ferocity. But as for “trimming the hedge” to our specifications – the job we hired it to do, keeping the peace and a reasonable degree of public order? Forget that; it’s too busy making sure all of us think, speak, and act in its prescribed fashion.

     Anarchy and tyranny combined, in ever-increasing doses.

***

     That arrogant landscaper: what would you do about him? Would you merely reprove him and express your hope that in the future he’d do what you’d hired him to do? Would you excoriate him mercilessly for his presumptions but pay him anyway? Or would you fire him summarily and send him packing without his fee?

     Anyone with three functioning brain cells can see where I’m headed with this, and my Gentle Readers have a lot more functioning brain matter than that. So why sit we here idle?

     Henry Louis Mencken saw the writing on the wall nearly a century ago:

     The typical lawmaker of today is a man devoid of principle – a mere counter in a grotesque and knavish game. If the right pressure could be applied to him, he would cheerfully be in favor of polygamy, astrology or cannibalism….

     The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary….

     Politics, as hopeful men practice it in the world, consists mainly of the delusion that a change in form is a change in substance. The American colonists, when they got rid of the Potsdam tyrant, believed fondly that they were getting rid of oppressive taxes forever and setting up complete liberty. They found almost instantly that taxes were higher than ever, and before many years they were writhing under the Alien and Sedition Acts….

     At each election we vote in a new set of politicians, insanely assuming that they are better than the set turned out. And at each election we are, as they say in Motherland, done in.

     To summarize: There is no voting our way out of this. The elections of November 2020 should have established that beyond all possibility of doubt. Yet the “hopeful men” persist in their delusion.

***

     Very few persons today read the novels of Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Yet they are among the most important fictions of their era. Their importance extends deeply into our understanding of right, wrong, and justice. The one best known, at least by its title, is Crime and Punishment:

     “….Listen, I want to ask you a serious question,” the student said hotly. “I was joking of course, but look here; on one side we have a stupid, senseless, worthless, spiteful, ailing, horrid, old woman, not simply useless but doing actual mischief, who has not an idea what she is living for herself, and who will die in a day or two in any case. You understand? You understand?”
     “Yes, yes, I understand,” answered the officer, watching his excited companion attentively.
     “Well, listen then. On the other side, fresh young lives thrown away for want of help and by thousands, on every side! A hundred thousand good deeds could be done and helped, on that old woman’s money which will be buried in a monastery! Hundreds, thousands perhaps, might be set on the right path; dozens of families saved from destitution, from ruin, from vice, from the Lock hospitals – and all with her money. Kill her, take her money and with the help of it devote oneself to the services of humanity and the good of all. What do you think, would not one tiny crime be wiped out by thousands of good deeds? For one life thousands would be saved from corruption and decay. One death, and hundred lives in exchange – it’s simple arithmetic! Besides, what value has the life of that sickly, stupid, ill-natured old woman in the balance of existence? No more than the life of a louse, of a black-beetle, less in fact because the old woman is doing harm. She is wearing out the lives of others; the other day she bit Lizaveta’s finger out of spite; it almost had to be amputated.”
     “Of course she does not deserve to live,” remarked the officer, “but there it is, it’s nature.”
     “Oh well, brother, but we have to correct and direct nature, and, but for that, we should drown in an ocean of prejudice. But for that, there would never have been a single great man. They talk of duty, conscience – I don’t want to say anything against duty and conscience;- but the point is, what do we mean by them? Stay, I have another question to ask you. Listen!”
     “No, you stay, I’ll ask you a question. Listen!”
     “Well!”
     “You are talking and speechifying away, but tell me, would you kill the old woman yourself?”
     “Of course not! I was only arguing the justice of it… It’s nothing to do with me…”
     “But I think, if you would not do it yourself, there’s no justice about it…let us have another game.”

     The insight here is overwhelming, practically transcendental:


Groups have no more moral authority than individuals.
Neither do governments.

     Many have said it in other contexts. In the main, their audiences have nodded agreeably. Yet we concede not only moral but trans-moral authority to governments. On what basis? The vote? Superior firepower? Or merely our personal preference to see it as “someone else’s problem?”

     But authority and responsibility must be equal. He who holds the one must hold the other. And so, though I intended to resist, I find that I must insert a snippet of Sam Francis’s essay here:

     Yet there are signs that some Americans are not buying into the lie of anarcho-tyranny. At least as far as crime and personal safety are concerned, some are awakening to the ancient lesson of republican government, that in order to govern yourself politically you must first be able to govern yourself personally and morally. And, that lesson means assuming responsibility for your own protection. For months in 1987 in Detroit, citizens complained to the police about teenage prostitutes from a crack house in the neighborhood who solicited old men and adolescents on the street, about drug dealers firing guns in the air for fun, and about a shoot-out between drug gangs while neighborhood children played in the street. Not once did the police respond to any of the repeated calls. Then one day after the shoot-out, two local men named Angelo Parisi and Perry Kent walked up the street, set fire to the crack house, and burned it to the ground, and within minutes police arrived to charge them with two counts of arson and assault with a deadly weapon. With community support, both men were acquitted by a jury of all charges, and there are stories similar to theirs in other American cities.

     Soon after the Los Angeles riots, the New York Times recounted the story of a 20-year-old janitor, David Penso, who enjoyed the less-than-bracing experience of watching a local discount store being looted and burned by rioters as Los Angeles police cars drove past and did absolutely nothing. Mr. Penso—unlike George Bush, Jack Kemp, Bill Clinton, and George Will—learned something. “The cops were there,” he told the Times, “but they didn’t do anything. The only way people can be protected in Los Angeles is if they protect themselves with guns.” Some months before the Los Angeles riots, the Washington Post carried a story about women and guns, reporting that there are now about 12 million of them across the country, and one of them, a woman named Paxton Quigley in Beverly Hills, a former activist for gun control and now owner of a gun store that offers firearms training to women, told the Post, “We cannot depend on anyone to protect us. We must do it ourselves. And, the only way is to acquire the firepower it takes to dissuade violent criminals.”

     Mr. Parisi and Mr. Kent, Miss Quigley and Mr. Penso, have discovered the dirty little secret that can sweep anarcho-tyranny out of office, that anarcho-tyranny flourishes only when citizens surrender their rights and their duties of protecting themselves, assuming responsibility for themselves, and governing themselves, and that when the anarcho-tyrants promise to take over and perform these duties themselves, they are uttering a lie that leads to slavery and the jungle at the same time. When anarcho-tyranny flourishes, it protects no one except the elites who fatten on it, and it encourages only the withering of self-government and responsibility.

     To what extent are We the Formerly Free, having abdicated all responsibility for our personal safety and the safety of our communities, responsible for our own anarcho-tyrannization?

***

     I told you I was in a dark mood. It’s been growing, weighing ever more heavily upon me, for a whole year. I am no longer one of Mencken’s “hopeful men.” I am no longer able to see a better, freer future for my country. That inability is nudging me toward a fatal conclusion.

     Herbert Stein has told us that “If something cannot continue indefinitely, it will stop.” Can the anarcho-tyrannization of the United States of America continue indefinitely? If not, what will put a stop to it? And how long will that be in arriving?

     Have a nice day.

Bold action is called for.

On Tuesday last week (4 January), the markets got spooked by the released minutes of a Federal Reserve Open Market Committee’s meeting held three weeks prior. What was the fuss all about? Well the minutes indicated that the Fed seems to be inclined to envision starting to prepare to begin planning to initiate raising interest rates sooner and more aggressively than previously thought and to “normalize” their balance sheet beginning already toward the end of this year.

Will the Fed walk the hawkish talk?” By Akrainer, ZeroHedge, 1/9/22.

Pearls of expression.

The figure [150,000 female deaths from anorexia] has been quoted by everyone from Ann Landers to college textbooks, because as Carol Iannone remarks about the general atmosphere of women as victims, “It is almost as if feminism had finally discovered a problem that can unite all women across all barriers: the existence
of men.”

The Integration Of Faith and Learning. A Worldview Approach.” By Robert A. Harris, occububble.com, draft of October, 2003.

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