It’s a Pattern

First, there were periodic shortages of toilet paper, and a few random foodstuffs. The Officially Smart People (OSPs) blamed the shipping crisis – which was TOTES Trump’s fault, and not, in any way, related to anything that had happened since the Biden administration had taken over.

Especially, it was NOT the New Gay Father (of TWINS) – in charge of the Dept. of Transportation – who had ANY responsibility for it.

Well, OK. Things do, apparently, just happen.

But, then there was a shortages that affected other things – heavy machinery parts, electronics (which hit every part of the economy), more segments of the food industry (including some fires and other incidents at food processing facilities that MAY have been arson).

Speaking of food, SURPRISINGLY, much of the pork processing in America was shut down by “COVID”. The owners had to completely de-contaminate/sterilize the plants, adding to the time involved. AMAZINGLY, the chicken industry also suffered the same problems. So, a lot of food in America came from foreign sources. Apparently, China has little problem keeping their meat processing going, despite having been Ground Zero for the disease.

COVID forms kept mutating. Despite the normal trend of ‘killer’ viruses to become less lethal, COVID, we are told the OSPs, is still going to kill us all, in any form. Pay no attention to the actual causes of death, or the age distribution of those who were hospitalized/died.

We’ve continued to see shortages. When food is plentiful, it’s expensive. The recent formula shortages are making people nervous. I regularly check the shelves when I’m out, on the off chance that I’ll be able to pick up the formula my grandson and his wife use as a supplement for their latest child (fortunately, she has been able to keep breastfeeding, although she fills in with formula).

Now, Jif has recalled a protein-rich food – peanut butter. The recall affected only a few batches initially (reportedly, salmonella was the culprit). But the recall has expanded widely. Please check this linked list, and make sure that you haven’t stocked up on them.

Wheat supplies are down. You would think the OSPs would have been able to realize this earlier, but no. Well, at least families won’t need as much bread, what with the peanut butter shortages. I hope Smuckers is prepared for a drop in one of their OTHER products – jams and jellies.

What’s next?

I’m guessing corn and rice. Probably followed by beans of many types, after which I’d expect the meat industry to be slaughtering their herds, for lack of feed.

Now’s the time to buy a new freezer and stock up as you can (I’d plan on some meat purchases when the price does drop). It’s going to be a long couple of years of scarcity. Read your Bible for what happens then.

On a related note, have you planted your garden yet?

One For The Nerds, The Geeks, And The Dweebs

     If you’ve been wary about the cryptocurrencies, you’re in good company – mine. Crypto, regardless of the “brand,” is a mathematical construct implemented in a rule-based system. And a certainty upon which you, I, and everyone can rely is that it will have a vulnerability in it somewhere. Porretto’s Pessimistic Principle of Engineering applies here:

For Every Engineer,
There Is An Equal But Opposite Engineer.

     Cryptocurrencies and the trading schemes founded on them have been lauded to the world as “unhackable.” In truth, they’re nothing of the sort. You should put no more trust in these digital artifacts than you do in princes. (In other words, the avoidance of crypto is “Porretto-optimal.” 😁) So I was amused if unsurprised when I read this article:

     On Oct. 14, in a house near Leeds, England, Laurence Day was sitting down to a dinner of fish and chips on his couch when his phone buzzed. The text was from a colleague who worked with him on Indexed Finance, a cryptocurrency platform that creates tokens representing baskets of other tokens—like an index fund, but on the blockchain. The colleague had sent over a screenshot showing a recent trade, followed by a question mark. “If you didn’t know what you were looking at, you might say, ‘Nice-looking trade,’ ” Day says. But he knew enough to be alarmed: A user had bought up certain tokens at drastically deflated values, which shouldn’t have been possible. Something was very wrong.

     The subscriber who’d pulled off the fantastic trade was one Andean Medjedovic, a mathematics prodigy in Ontario, Canada. He’d risked about $11,000 and had gained crypto nominally valued at about $16 million. The owners of Indexed Finance treated it as an illegal hack:

     Day had already contacted UmbralUpsilon [Medjedovic’s subscriber alias] to offer a 10% reward for the tokens’ safe return, striking a note of grudging praise—“well played,” he wrote—but hadn’t heard back. So [Indexed Finance co-founder Dillon] Kellar tried a different tactic, messaging Medjedovic and addressing him as “Andean.” This time Medjedovic reacted, taunting Indexed users publicly on Twitter: “You were out-traded. There is nothing you can do about that. … Such is crypto.” When a team member emailed him independently, saying that if he returned the tokens they’d pay him $50,000, Medjedovic responded with a link to an Ethereum address. “Send the money over,” he wrote. They didn’t take the bait from their tormentor—who they’d learned, to their astonishment, was only 18 years old.

     Finally Kellar texted Medjedovic to make one last plea before, he said, they would be forced to bring in lawyers and police. “I implore you to give up now and make this easy on yourself,” he wrote. The teenager responded with “Xdxdxd,” an emoticon that evokes dying of laughter, and added, “Best of luck.”

     Medjedovic’s trade-combination wasn’t a “hack,” by the usual standard. He had spotted a way in which the published rules of the system permitted a complex combination of operations that could be used to make giant gobs of essentially free cryptocurrency. (The article delves deeply into the exploit, but I shan’t quote all that here. Suffice it to say that it would be of interest principally to other mathematically-inclined Gentle Readers. Any who can’t access the article but would like a copy of it can email me for it.)

     Perhaps Medjedovic isn’t a very nice person. (I wasn’t either, at 18 years of age.) But what he did was entirely within the published rules of the Indexed Finance platform. When they sued him, he said exactly that:

     Medjedovic hasn’t officially responded to either suit; he told me [article author Christopher Beam] he doesn’t even have a lawyer in Ontario. But in our email exchanges, he argued that he’d executed a perfectly legal series of trades. Nothing he did “involves getting access to a system I was not allowed access into,” he said. “I did not steal anyone’s private keys. I interacted with the smart contract according to its very own publicly available rules. The people who lost internet tokens in this trade were other people seeking to use the smart contract to their own advantage and taking on risky trading positions that they, apparently, did not fully understand.” Medjedovic added that he’d taken on “substantial risk” in pursuing this strategy. If he’d failed he would have lost “a pretty large chunk of my portfolio.” (The 3 ETH he stood to lose in fees was worth about $11,000 at the time.)

     From my understanding of the platform’s rules, he is entirely correct and within the law. I’d be greatly surprised to learn otherwise.

***

     I know a number of people who see the cryptocurrencies as a viable alternative to (and escape from) government-controlled fiat currencies. I disagree with them, for reasons such as the exploit Medjedovic pulled off. As clever as it was, it merely revealed the fundamental limitation of all unbacked currencies, governmental or private:

A Currency Cannot Store Value.

     A currency may be accepted as a medium of exchange, but that’s the extent of its utility. A digital currency is as insubstantial as any printed piece of paper. Its greater manipulability makes it even more vulnerable than the Federal Reserve Notes you have in your wallet.

Verbum sat sapienti.

Mourn The Death Of The “Sports Hero”

     Time was, we were told they were men:

     Yankees designated hitter Josh Donaldson made a comment to Chicago White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson that Anderson contends was “racist.” The benches cleared, tempers were short, and the controversy is still raging; Major League Baseball officials have begun an investigation.

     Oh my! So words can hurt you! But the story isn’t yet fully told:

     So what happened? Did Donaldson use the dreaded word that shuts down all discourse and rational thought and excludes one from polite society forever after? Of course not. Did he come out to bat wearing blackface? Did he taunt Anderson with old racial stereotypes about blacks? No. All he did was pass by Anderson in the first inning and say, “What’s up, Jackie?”

     Yeah, really, that’s all. Donaldson was needling Anderson over a 2019 Sports Illustrated interview in which Anderson said he felt as if he were “today’s Jackie Robinson” and was “getting to a point where I need to change the game.”

     We must raise a monument to Anderson at once for having survived such a vicious racial attack! And to teammate Yasmin Grandal for defending him:

     White Sox catcher Yasmani Grandal threw fuel on the fire in the fifth inning when he began yelling at Donaldson when he came up bat. “Believe me, you don’t want me to tell you guys what I told him,” Grandal told reporters later. “This game went through a period in time where a lot of those comments were meant, and I think we’re way past that. And it’s just unacceptable. I just thought it was a low blow and I want to make sure I’ve got my team’s back. There’s no way that you’re allowed to say something like that.”

     I’ve never been happier to have “kicked the habit” of watching professional sports. Anderson and Grandal are whining pansies, and they deserve all the ridicule that will be heaped upon them. Curt Schilling, for whom I do have great respect, captures it nicely:


     I’m told rugby is still played by actual men. But is it televised?

Is Anyone Sincerely Surprised?

     Honestly, now:

     The Wuhan Institute of Virology assembled a monkeypox virus genome, allowing the virus to be identified through PCR tests, using a method researchers flagged for potentially creating a “contagious pathogen,” The National Pulse can reveal.

     The study was first published in February 2022, just months before the latest international outbreak of monkeypox cases which appear to have now reached the United States.

     The paper, which was authored by nine Wuhan Institute of Virology researchers and published in the lab’s quarterly scientific journal Virologica Sinica, also follows the wide-scale use of Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests to identify COVID-19-positive individuals….

     The unearthed study follows the Wuhan Institue of Virology conducting similar research into strains of bat coronaviruses that could infect humans while admitting its facilities lacked proper laboratory safety protocols.

     No legitimate explanation for the recent scare-porn about monkeypox can omit an investigation in depth of that lab. There’s been ample reason to do so for two years already.

The Era Of The Illiterate

     Apologies, Gentle Reader. I have no better word than illiterate with which to describe this sort of locution:

     “No I do not,” [New York City Mayor Eric] Adams said when asked at the “Bans Off Our Bodies” demonstration in New York City whether there should be any limitations on abortion.

     “I think women should have the right to choose their bodies,” Adams said when pressed again about abortions up until the day of birth. “Men should not have that right to choose how a woman should treat their body.”

     Time was, we had certain minimum standards for “public men:” i.e., those who hold public office or aspire to doing so. They had to be well groomed. Their closets had to be free of skeletons. And they had to be able to speak the English language without embarrassing themselves.

     Back then, Eric Adams would never have garnered sufficient public support to be elected dogcatcher. What does it say about New York City, at one time the “capital of the world,” that it has elevated this…person to its highest executive seat?

The War Of The Words

     Yes, the title has been used by others. But the motif is critical to political combat in our time.

     Words are weapons. Words are tools. Define or be defined! — Michael Emerling

     I read in this morning’s news sweep that a Republican Congresswoman, Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-AZ), has introduced a “Women’s Rights” bill. The Left and its Congressional stooges are outraged at this. First, the Democrats feel that “women” are one of their proprietary constituencies, so the Republicans are “trespassing.” Second, Lesko’s bill has the unmitigated audacity to give a definition for a woman! While this should be a great help to future Supreme Court Associate Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, who will henceforward have a handy reference point should she ever again be questioned on the matter, the Left and its evangelist-transgenderist cadre are up in arms over it.

     The Left’s misuse of words, and its insistence that their original meanings no longer apply, is one of their more effective weapons against normality. It exploits the reluctance of normal persons to enter into a confrontation with them. In ceding the field to their distortions, we cede the battle as well, for he who defines the terms of the debate can guarantee himself a victory.

     This has been going on for some time, of course. The list is fairly long: “climate change,” “hate speech,” “racist,” “I identify as,” “speech is violence,” and other nonsense phrases have been wrapped around our discourse with a strangling intensity. Putting appropriate meanings to the important ones (and dismissing the rest with prejudice) is vital. The process cannot begin until we resolve to take up rhetorical cudgels in our own defense.

***

     I recently read of an encounter between a conservative and a leftist in which the following concluding exchange occurred:

Leftist: You’re a racist!
Conservative: (smiles broadly) Why, thank you!

     The leftist was apparently completely flummoxed by the reply. I can easily understand why. To him, the insult was mortal. It should have elicited either a cringing defense or a resort to blows. Upon getting an expression of gratitude in reply, he was disarmed. He had no way to proceed from that point.

     There’s a trick buried in there. Whether sincerely or otherwise, the conservative chose to interpret being called racist as praise. Perhaps in his reply he was saying “That means that I understand and accept the differences among the races, and that you’ve acknowledged the fact.” he did what the Left habitually does to us: he redefined the term to suit himself. And in that case at least, it worked beautifully.

     There are probably other pejoratives – “sexist,” “homophobic,” “transphobic,” and so forth – to which the same reply would function equally well.

***

     Note that the Left has completely replaced the old shibboleth, “global warming,” with its new bludgeon “climate change.” This one is insidious, for the climate is always changing. Indeed, it changes from district to district and person to person within each district, for a simple reason that requires only six words to express: “Climate” is just weather we expect.

     A leftist tried to trip Senator Ted Cruz with this one, but Cruz was too smart for him:

Leftist: Senator, do you believe in climate change?
Ted Cruz: The climate’s always changing. What’s your point?

     Once again, the leftist was disarmed. He had to bare the blade concealed within the undefined term “climate:” the suggestion that the changes are catastrophic in nature, in large measure due to human activity, and must be halted if not reversed by altering human activity, probably through coercive means. He did, but he was equally unprepared for Cruz’s reply, and the conversation soon lapsed.

***

     I could go on from here, but the core of the thing is uniform: We must not let the Left get away with changing or twisting the meanings of words. Even if the only response you can make to one engaged in rhetorical distortion is “You’re an idiot,” it should be made. Reclaiming the language, such that what we say to one another can be clearly understood, isn’t just an important political tactic; it’s also a moral obligation. Some years ago, in a column at Townhall.com, Maggie Gallagher captured the reason:

If there is no such thing as objective truth,
Then all our statements are mere instruments of manipulation:
Attempts to use one another, or to avoid being used.

     And of course our only avenue for expressing the truth is language: the words we use, expecting (if not hoping) that they will be understood as we understand them.

RUFKM?

The notification just under the Search bar says it all – this is the WARNING to beat ALL OTHER WARNINGS!

It’s on the website of the National Archives.

Ya’ know, every time I think we’ve hit Peak Stupid, something like this comes along.

Is there no limit to human stupidity? Apparently not.

I’d been having a quiet morning. It rained buckets last evening (The dog went to the door to indicate he had to go. He took one look at the Noah-level deluge, and walked away.)

It’s beautiful this morning – cool and fresh. I’ve been sitting in the sunroom, enjoying the view and just relaxing.

Until I saw this, and was propelled by Weapons-Grade-Outrage to write this post.

Look. Foreign countries can look at our Constitution and think, “Gee, that’s a really dangerous collection of ideas!” Their choice.

But, if you are an American – native-born or naturalized – the one thing you HAVE to agree on is that the ideas, and words about those ideas, contained in the Constitution, are not dangerous. Except to tyrants and their accomplices.

Saturday Smorgasbord

     I feel like the Flying Dutchman: if I stop blogging, either I’ll die or the world will end, whichever would be worse. So here we go again.

***

     According to Jazz Shaw at Hot Air, the smash-and-grab robberies in California are not ending. I hadn’t imagined otherwise. Indeed, my response upon reading the article was Why would anyone think otherwise? Conditions there are so favorable to such crimes that for them to come to an end would be baffling.

     It’s not just the flaccidity of California law enforcement and its justice system. Smash-and-grabs have begun to proliferate, nationwide. The would-be thieves have discovered that there’s a shortage of people who’ll impede their fun. In any district where the cult of victimism has taken root, individuals who see the opportunities are finding a “conscience loophole” that permits them to get in on the gravy. Few are pursued afterward. Fewer still are arrested, indicted, and tried. So the incentives surrounding such criminality are strongly positive.

     Yes, California cities get more of it than any other city not currently experiencing riots. But that’s California, a.k.a. “The Land of Fruits and Nuts.”

***

     My Gentle Readers have probably already read about this monstrous bill, which I believe has passed the House and is headed to the Senate. Add to the mix this equal monstrosity, which seeks to turn the right guaranteed by the Second Amendment into a permission, revocable by the federal government at any time and for any reason or none.

     Whoever it was who said that the Second Amendment is the guarantor of all the others had it right. The right to keep and bear arms is what distinguishes the citizen from the subject. If you think your First Amendment freedom of expression is being curtailed today, just wait for the day when you’re no longer allowed to possess weaponry unless the State thinks you can be “trusted.”

***

     Jeffrey Tucker has written a heartfelt essay on the COVID-19 lockdowns and “the loss of moral clarity.” Tucker sees the connection between the two and pins it as few others have done. In speaking of the empathy fostered by a regime of freedom and free markets, he writes:

     Adam Smith’s masterwork The Theory of Moral Sentiments… is heavy on the analysis of what it means to feel empathy, and not only to feel it, but to rely on it to the point that our own well-being is connected to the belief that others too are experiencing something like a good life.

     What instills this higher sense in our minds? It is the practical experience of depending on others and finding value in their labor, productivity, contribution to community life, and coming to see our own well-being as bound up with the fate of others. This is what the market and socializing encourages: the gradual recognition that others, and indeed all people, are worthy of being treated with dignity and respect.

     The universalization of this sense is never complete, but as civilization and prosperity grow, we make progress toward that end. This is what grants us ever better lives. Without it, we can very quickly descend into barbarism in the way The Lord of the Flies describes. This is particularly true in the volatile years of youth, when the search for meaning is active and the mind is malleable in both good and dangerous ways.

     I could not have put it better.

***

     The educrats are very worried. Frantic, even. The kiddies are steadily leaving the “public” schools! And you know what that means:

     In New York City, the nation’s largest school district has lost some 50,000 students over the past two years. In Michigan, enrollment remains more than 50,000 below prepandemic levels from big cities to the rural Upper Peninsula.

     In the suburbs of Orange County, Calif., where families have moved for generations to be part of the public school system, enrollment slid for the second consecutive year; statewide, more than a quarter-million public school students have dropped from California’s rolls since 2019.

     And since school funding is tied to enrollment, cities that have lost many students — including Denver, Albuquerque and Oakland — are now considering combining classrooms, laying off teachers, or shutting down entire schools.

     I added the emphasis. Every so often, even the reliably statist New York Times will blurt out the real issue. And so it is in the above.

     I read recently that homeschooled children in these United States now number about five million. That’s quite an increase from the roughly one million of thirty years ago, when I first started to watch the rise of homeschooling. The folks who promoted Critical Race Theory and transgenderism, who turned their classrooms into propaganda centers for socialism and catastrophic climate change, and who engineered the “pandemic” have shot the educrats in the foot, if not somewhat higher up. I couldn’t smile any more widely. What about you, Gentle Reader?

***

     Speaking of truth-blurting, here’s a case that shouldn’t be missed:

     Some will find this blatantly totalitarian emission shocking. I don’t. Yes, it’s Kinsleyesque, but it reflects the mindset of the corporate captain of our time: Profit Uber Alles. If we can get the State to force the public to buy our product, we’ll be on Easy Street!

“A corporation has neither a body to be kicked nor a soul to be damned,” said Isabel Paterson The incentives built into the existence and special privileges of the limited liability corporation have brought about exactly the sort of person we see in the above: a CEO of a drug company who cares about selling drugs. Nothing else. If he can get the government to push his drugs, he’ll be happier than a clam at high tide.

     The days of the Thomas Watsons, the Thomas Edisons, and the Andrew Carnegies are far behind us.

***

     I’m not yet ready to sing Blame Canada, but I’m edging toward it:

     Since last year, Canadian law, in all its majesty, has allowed both the rich as well as the poor to kill themselves if they are too poor to continue living with dignity. In fact, the ever-generous Canadian state will even pay for their deaths. What it will not do is spend money to allow them to live instead of killing themselves.

     As with most slippery slopes, it all began with a strongly worded denial that it exists. In 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada reversed 22 years of its own jurisprudence by striking down the country’s ban on assisted suicide as unconstitutional, blithely dismissing fears that the ruling would ‘initiate a descent down a slippery slope into homicide’ against the vulnerable as founded on ‘anecdotal examples’. The next year, Parliament duly enacted legislation allowing euthanasia, but only for those who suffer from a terminal illness whose natural death was ‘reasonably foreseeable’.

     It only took five years for the proverbial slope to come into view, when the Canadian parliament enacted Bill C-7, a sweeping euthanasia law which repealed the ‘reasonably foreseeable’ requirement – and the requirement that the condition should be ‘terminal’. Now, as long as someone is suffering from an illness or disability which ‘cannot be relieved under conditions that you consider acceptable’, they can take advantage of what is now known euphemistically as ‘medical assistance in dying’ (MAID for short) for free.

     Soon enough, Canadians from across the country discovered that although they would otherwise prefer to live, they were too poor to improve their conditions to a degree which was acceptable.

     Not coincidentally, Canada has some of the lowest social care spending of any industrialised country, palliative care is only accessible to a minority, and waiting times in the public healthcare sector can be unbearable, to the point where the same Supreme Court which legalised euthanasia declared those waiting times to be a violation of the right to life back in 2005.

     It seems that in Canada, the waiting times for medical treatments have become so long that they effectively render it unavailable. If he lacks the means to seek treatment abroad, there’s nothing the sufferer can do except suffer. But he can die with State assistance.

     Look ye upon the future of socialized medicine, and despair.

***

     Just this morning, I ran across this JPG:

     At first blush, it sounds like a perfect solution to the problem of ballot fraud. However, we wouldn’t want to use the technology involved in printing currency.

     In 1980, a single Treasury Department Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) currency printer cost about twenty million dollars. I doubt it’s less expensive today. And they are not simple devices. Consider the implications of having to mark every bill printed with a unique number, so that each bill will be unique. The intaglio printing method – ink squirted onto engraved steel plates – is expensive all by itself. This extra requirement raises the cost.

     Now turn to the ballot-making procedure. The United States has over 88,000 governments, the majority of which have elected members. Each of those election contests would require a set of engraved plates that would differ from any other set, even omitting the serialization requirement. Moreover, the plates would have to be changed from election to election. Printing ballots is already quite expensive. Doing it the BEP way would compel school boards to subcontract their ballot production to larger and richer bodies, such as the federal government. If you’re looking for a way to compel the federalization of all elections, look no further.

     It might be possible to avoid that pass by the use of contemporary digital printers that are highly programmable and don’t require the special paper used for currency, but that means involving some highly special specialists in the programming. How many of those are there? Are they trustworthy?

***

     Finally for today, a graphic I found earlier that neatly expresses my struggles of yesterday:

     Yes, indeed. But do have a nice day.

Decline And Fall

     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. – H. L. Mencken

     Among the things I’ve been missing lately are the penetrating and erudite essays of Co-Conspirator Dystopic a.k.a. Thales, both here and at his personal site The Declination. In his emissions, Dystopic presented a deeply thoughtful and knowledgeable case that the United States that we’ve known and loved is on a one-way trip to a destination freedom-loving Americans would never have chosen for themselves. Of course, it wasn’t We the People who chose it, but the strategists and kingmakers of the political Establishment. These don’t rule us directly, of course. Rather, they select and carefully groom puppets to present to us as the only thinkable choices for “our leaders.” Then they run the “leaders.”

     This has never been quite so obvious as in the case of the current occupant of the Oval Office. Joseph Robinette Biden is so demonstrably unfit for the presidency that his selection for the post constitutes the ultimate triumph of black humor. It compels us to question the very evidence before our eyes, for that evidence suggests all but irrefutably that those gray eminences have aimed us at national suicide intentionally and with malice aforethought.

     Why would a group of power-brokers, firmly in command of the richest and most successful nation in the history of Mankind, want to steer the galleon it’s captured onto the rocks?

     Sadly, only one answer fits the data.

***

     Great thinkers have struggled throughout the centuries with the problem of explaining human cruelty. Thus wrote Robert Burns:

Many and sharp the num’rous ills
Inwoven with our frame!
More pointed still we make ourselves,
Regret, remorse, and shame!
And man, whose heav’n-erected face
The smiles of love adorn, –
Man’s inhumanity to man
Makes countless thousands mourn!

     And it is so. Not all of us are perpetually cruel, of course. But most of us have known the lash of cruelty at some point in our lives…and many if not all of us have also known its appeal.

     Cruelty to others is the purest expression of power:

     ’The real power, the power we have to fight for night and day, is not power over things, but over men.’ O’Brien paused, and for a moment assumed again his air of a schoolmaster questioning a promising pupil: ’How does one man assert his power over another, Winston?’
     Winston thought. ’By making him suffer,’ he said.
     ’Exactly. By making him suffer. Obedience is not enough. Unless he is suffering, how can you be sure that he is obeying your will and not his own? Power is in inflicting pain and humiliation. Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing.’

     The above passage is a kind of syllogism. If those over whom you wish to wield power are not suffering at the moment, it becomes possible to doubt your power over them. But in the mind of one who recognizes nothing as immune to his decrees, that which is doubted becomes illusory, even insubstantial. He must swing into action. He must exert his power in a fashion that will produce palpable results…palpable suffering.

     Couple this bit of reasoning with the oft-repeated maxim that we should assume that a man intends the foreseeable consequences of his actions.

***

     To a sane man, a preference for power over all other things must seem incomprehensible. Yet most of us have at least a hint of a longing for authority. Authority means you’re important. You matter more than Joe Schmoe who doesn’t have it. You’re closer than he is to the elite.

     Those strategists and kingmakers who select and groom our “leaders” just have a lot more of a taste for it than you or I. Indeed, to the ones at the pinnacle of our society, it’s the only thing that matters. Great wealth is all very well, but once you have all the comforts, all the pleasures, and all the status symbols, of what use is another billion? It’s more satisfying to flex your money muscles, to deploy what you have to massive effect upon the unwashed and unsuspecting. Then you get to wallow in the results: the proof that you have real power.

     Don’t look to the puppets. Don’t puzzle over their vagaries, their frequent self-contradictions, or their contradictions of one another. They’re a living curtain over the real power-wielders, the men who hold their strings. While those strings sometimes become visible, as for example in the case of the Biden family, it is beyond our power to sever them. That’s a great part of why the puppets were chosen.

     The true Establishment is not the gaggle of office-holders upon whose emissions the mainstream media focuses. That focus is an indispensable part of the charade. It’s the men writing their lines and programming their teleprompters.

***

     In brief, which I seldom am, our ongoing decline:

  1. Was deliberately designed by persons whose names are obscure at best;
  2. Is being carefully managed by them and others of their kind;
  3. To bring about the ultimate demonstration of power.

     There were many components to their strategy. I’ve written about many of them here and elsewhere. Spend a couple of hours in the Baseline Essays section if you’d like to review them. The point of this tirade is their motive: to prove that the power they have amassed over us is absolute and unopposable.

     They are a death force. There’s no telling how much death will satisfy them. Indeed, there might be no upper bound.

***

     In 2016, an Outsider slipped through the gates. For four hope-filled years, he labored to deprive the Establishmentarians of their power. Their outrage was impossible to conceal. It leaked out on numerous occasions and in several ways. We paid it too little attention.

     They could not abide Donald Trump. He had to go. I have no doubt that had their election-theft machinations proved insufficient, they would have contrived his death. Should he threaten their grip a second time, he’ll be in mortal danger from the outset. So will anyone else who dares to defy them.

     Our fall is drawing near.

     For those who marvel at our ability to stagger from crisis to crisis without experiencing a disaster and think we can continue indefinitely to overload our economic and social system with laws of plunder and legislative nonsense, I will remind you that the man who is guillotined is breathing right up to the moment the blade hits his neck. — “John Galt”

     See also this essay.

The Normalization Of Fear

     Are you afraid?

     You’re meant to be. Influential people in many high places have decreed that you shall be. And they’re putting a lot of effort into getting you there.

     One of the most important enduring features of the American milieu – for virtually the whole of our history – has been the absence of wide-spectrum fears. When have Americans feared invasion? When have we feared famine? When have we feared natural catastrophe?

     It’s not that our tale is entirely without tragedy. Ask anyone whose home was swept away by a flood or destroyed by a tornado. And yes, there have been relatively brief periods in which one of our regions was afflicted by food shortages of some kind. But historically, the American temperament has been an optimistic one. Our circumstances have justified it.

     Things are changing. Fear is creeping over the land. They who seek to rule us eternally and without constraint are contriving some excellent reasons for it.

***

     Even during the coldest bits of the Cold War, few Americans sincerely feared a nuclear bombardment. The possibility existed, but few of us made any room for it in our plans or arrangements. The head-under-the-desk drills inflicted upon schoolchildren were taken less than seriously, because we couldn’t credit the threat. Home fallout shelters were few. Civil defense preparations were marginal at best.

     But our political Establishment has excited a general fear of a nuclear exchange. Indeed, the insertion of our noses into the Russia-Ukraine conflict seems designed to do that. Unwise? Of course…unless the Usurpers are convinced that they can use the fear without unwittingly evoking the reality.

     The rapid inflation of the dollar and curtailment of our energy resources have combined to raise the prices of genuine necessities unprecedentedly high. The costs of food, clothing, electricity, gasoline, and heating fuels are rising to displace everything else from our budgets. Working-class families, and some nominally middle-class ones as well, are being pressed to their limits.

     He who fears for his ability to provide for his family will be especially cautious about anything, word or deed, that might cost him his livelihood. The variety of threats to the average wage earner’s wages is greater than ever before. There are people working to make it greater and more fearsome still.

     America has had its share of natural threats too: hurricanes, tornadoes, regional floods or droughts, the occasional California mudslide or earthquake. But historically we haven’t been so badly beleaguered by such things as to orient our lives around them. The Usurpers’ “catastrophic climate change” propaganda is straining to change that, especially in the minds of our children. That campaign is providing some of the rationale for limiting our energy supplies.

     What does a parent do when his child comes home from school quaking with fear that the world is about to end – that we’ll all be fried to a crisp unless we go back to Neanderthal standards of living? He’s bombarded with the propaganda many hours per week. It even finds its way into his entertainment. But Mom and Dad are worn to the bone merely trying to cope with their fears. How much room can they make for his?

     Need I point out the “red thread” that connects all these things, Gentle Reader?

***

     The normal, rational response to fear is to find the cause and remedy it. But how are we to do that with these wholly government-engineered fears? The Usurpers and their allies are even trying to make us fear one another, screaming from their lecterns and media perches about “white supremacy,” “gun violence,” “disinformation,” and “hate speech.” How can we deal with any of this while still attending to our personal and communitarian necessities? Indeed, what can we do when we can’t even be certain that our next election will be acceptably honest?

     As of this morning we have a new fear: the murderous mob, enraged beyond all possibility of constraint by the imminent overturning of Roe v. Wade. Elements of that mob have already harassed and threatened Supreme Court Justices at their homes. Their latest threat is to murder the Justices and destroy the Supreme Court’s building. As the Left has gotten away with such infamies over trivia like the deaths of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and George Floyd, dismissing the possibility of nationwide rioting and destruction, with us of the Right the intended victims, seems unwise.

     Apologies, Gentle Reader. This is upsetting stuff. It certainly upsets me to write about it. But it’s what’s on my mind at present. My reason might be yours as well, if the greater part of your retirement savings is in the equities market.

     Memo to me: There’s no such thing as too much ammo. Unless you’re on fire, of course.

What Must Not Be Said

     A little-known incident in the early years of World War I comes to mind this morning. (Actually, most Americans know absolutely nothing about World War I, so much so that the entire conflagration, which cost nearly twenty million lives, could be called “a little-known incident.” But I digress.)

     Like the deputies in Paris, [French commanding General Joseph] Joffre needed a scapegoat for the failure of the offensive and Ruffey’s conduct decided the selection; he was removed that day from command of the Third Army and replaced by General Sarrail. Invited to lunch next day with Joffre, Ruffey blamed his defeat in the Ardennes on the last-minute removal of the two reserve divisions that Joffre had transferred to the Army of Lorraine. If he had had those 40,000 fresh men and the 7th Cavalry Division, Ruffey said, he could have rolled up the enemy’s left, and “what a success for our arms we might have won!” In one of his terse and mysterious remarks, Joffre replied, “Chut, il ne faut pas le dire.” His tone of voice has been lost, and it will never be known whether he meant, “You are wrong; you must not say that,” or “You are right but we must not admit it.”

     [Barbara Tuchman, The Guns of August]

     Given the way the war had begun for France – that is, not merely badly but disastrously, despite Joffre’s optimism about his offensive approach – the latter interpretation strikes me as the more likely one. Considering that after two and a half years in supreme command, and with the war still raging, Joffre was removed and replaced by Robert Nivelle, a little-known figure with only one major success to his credit, he had good reason not to want to discuss the details of his tenure as France’s Generalissimo.

     An awful lot of people don’t want certain matters discussed in detail, with all the data neatly arranged in time series for the perusal of any interested party. I have several such matters in mind this morning. Perhaps you’ve already guessed which ones, but I’ll blather on anyway; it’s what I do.

***

     First, from the “current events” department:

     Miss Greene’s assessment is unchallengeable. Its forthrightness and clarity are another illustration of why the political Establishment wishes she would dissolve into a vapor and float away. Once again, she has said something they do not wish Us the Great Unwashed to hear or think about.

     The American economy is in shambles. Nothing is working properly. Inflation is rocketing out of control. Supermarket shelves are looking rather bare. You need to take out a mortgage to purchase gasoline. Mothers are unable to find baby formula for their infants. But Ukraine!

     If this isn’t an “ignore that, look over there” tactic of the first water, then I’ve never seen one. It’s the sort of thing the Soviets did repeatedly, to deflect their subjects’ attention from their domestic troubles. And Miss Greene has pinned it to the wall.

     American politicians have become ever more prone to that tactic as government at all levels has swollen past its proper bounds.

***

     Next up, a little something from the U.K.:

     [Katherine Birbalsingh] has been made “social mobility commissioner” by Boris Johnson’s government, because of her demonstrated ability to attain excellent school-leaving certificate (“GCSE,” aged sixteen, and “A-Level,” aged 18) results from poor-background pupils.

     But she’s got into trouble because, being a born-again conservative, she has a naïve belief in old-fashioned things such as “science,” the empirical method, “truth” and “telling the truth.”

     Last month, she told the U.K. parliament’s “science and technology committee inquiry on diversity and inclusion in Stem subjects” that “physics isn’t something that girls tend to fancy. They don’t want to do it, they don’t like it” [Girls shun physics A-level as they dislike ‘hard maths’, says social mobility head, by Hannah Devlin, The Guardian, April 27, 2022].

     She further told the committee that at her own school only 16% of A-level physics students were girls, which was lower than the national average of 23%. When she was asked why so few girls did A-level (which stands for “Advanced Level”) physics, despite outperforming boys at GCSE (which stands for “General Certificate of Secondary Education”), she said:

I just think they don’t like it. There’s a lot of hard maths in there that I think they would rather not do. The research generally…just says that’s a natural thing. I don’t think there’s anything external. [My emphasis].

     As we will see shortly, Birbalsingh is simply telling the truth. But, as we all know, the Left hates the truth, because it contradicts their virtue-signaling equalitarian dogmas. Indeed, to make matters worse for these “All Physicists Should Be Girls” campaigners, Birbalsingh added that she was “certainly not out there campaigning” for more girls to do physics:

     I don’t mind that there’s only 16%. I want them to do what they want to do.

     Cue: Outrage.

     What’s this? A distinct, measurable difference between the intellectual proclivities of the sexes? This cannot be! Or at least this cannot be said where others can hear. Research and empirical data cannot be allowed to contradict The Narrative! Please read the whole article, Gentle Reader; it’s most definitely worth your time.

     The U.K. is at least as deeply mired in the “indistinguishability of the sexes” canard as are we here in the “colonies.” England’s leading lights cannot and will not abide anyone who dares to speak against it. Miss Birbalsingh had better watch her back.

***

     Finally for this morning, we have a report about our mainstream media’s aversion to facts about racial violence:

     In 2020, I [former Thomson Reuters director of data science Zac Kriegman] started to witness the spread of a new ideology inside the company. On our internal collaboration platform, the Hub, people would post about “the self-indulgent tears of white women” and the danger of “White Privilege glasses.” They’d share articles with titles like “Seeing White,” “Habits of Whiteness” and “How to Be a Better White Person.” There was fervent and vocal support for Black Lives Matter at every level of the company. No one challenged the racial essentialism or the groupthink.

     This concerned me. I had been following the academic research on BLM for years (for example, here, here, here and here), and I had come to the conclusion that the claim upon which the whole movement rested—that police more readily shoot black people—was false.

     The data was unequivocal. It showed that, if anything, police were slightly less likely to use lethal force against black suspects than white ones.

     Statistics from the most complete database of police shootings (compiled by The Washington Post) indicate that, over the last five years, police have fatally shot 39 percent more unarmed whites than blacks. Because there are roughly six times as many white Americans as black Americans, that figure should be closer to 600 percent, BLM activists (and their allies in legacy media) insist. The fact that it’s not—that there’s more than a 500-percentage point gap between reality and expectation—is, they say, evidence of the bias of police departments across the United States.

     But it’s more complicated than that. Police are authorized to use lethal force only when they believe a suspect poses a grave danger of harming others. So, when it comes to measuring cops’ racial attitudes, it’s important that we compare apples and apples: Black suspects who pose a grave danger and white suspects who do the same.

     Unfortunately, we don’t have reliable data on the racial makeup of dangerous suspects, but we do have a good proxy: The number of people in each group who murder police officers.

     According to calculations (published by Patrick Frey, Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County) based on FBI data, black Americans account for 37 percent of those who murder police officers, and 34 percent of the unarmed suspects killed by police. Meanwhile, whites make up 42.7 percent of cop killers and 42 percent of the unarmed suspects shot by police—meaning whites are killed by police at a 7 percent higher rate than blacks.

     Yet another clearly observed and recorded fact. But it’s unspeakable! You could undermine the whole Black Lives Matter movement with such data – and you know how our circulation depends upon that! So Thomson Reuters “had to” terminate Kriegman — for wrongthink with a sound factual basis.

     It doesn’t get any balder than that, Gentle Reader.

***

     Marjorie Taylor Greene, Katherine Birbalsingh, and Zac Kriegman are all under fire for daring to say what must not be said. They’ve challenged pieties to the consternation of the priests in the pulpits:

     One cannot challenge the pieties of a society without provoking condemnation or ostracism. To question a piety, even along its margins, is to ask to be thrown out of the church. This is an absolute that applies to all peoples and times….

     Pieties have their dangers. The unquestioned belief, in late 17th Century France, that Catholics were morally superior to Huguenots allowed Louis XIV to revoke the Edict of Nantes, the decree of religious tolerance for the Protestant minority. The resulting mass emigration of Huguenots to Belgium weakened France severely, as the Huguenots were among the most industrious and educated persons of northern France. Indeed, part of the Catholic animosity toward them was that they worked on Sundays, and thus had a competitive edge over Catholics in business and commerce.

     If we are in thrall to a piety contrary to the actual facts of our society, we are in danger too. The question is only of degree.

     But the data are available to anyone who dares to look and to see. The Emperor has no clothes. Must a young child, an indisputable innocent, be the one to say it? Would it have to be a little black girl, to insulate her against shouts of racism and sexism? Or has the time come for all of us, young and old, black and white, male and female, to proclaim from the rooftops that we are being systematically denied some of the most important facts of our day?

     Facts that are not frankly faced have a habit of stabbing us in the back. – Sir Harold Bowden

Christ Is Risen.

“That’s Racist!”

     First, a thematic cartoon:

     Got the idea? Well, then let’s proceed.

     One of the critical conduits for the prescription of attitudes among Americans, and possibly among Westerners generally, is our entertainment stream. This is unlikely to surprise my Gentle Readers, several of whom have complained about it to me – privately, of course. It’s caused me to abjure and forgo conventional television – broadcast and cablecast both – and go looking for something else to watch in the evenings while the C.S.O. and I await the onset of sleep.

     Most recently, we’ve been gorging ourselves on the products of British television, many of which are of appreciably higher quality than American productions. The C.S.O. particularly enjoys British murder mysteries – she’s a pushover for anything with a mysterious death in it – so we’ve mostly been enjoying those in the evenings, via streaming channels Acorn and BritBox.

     But that might not be for much longer.

     In the beginning, there was Midsomer Murders. This series, now in its twenty-third season, is the all-time favorite of bloodless blood-and-gore buffs. Its first fifteen years were guided by the hand and mind of co-creator and producer Brian True-May, who apparently loved it as much as any of its viewers. But True-May was forced out of involvement with the series after someone asked him why there were no blacks or Asians in it:

     The co-creator of Midsomer Murders, Brian True-May, is to step down from his role at the end of the current series after he sparked a race row by suggesting there was no place in the programme for ethnic minorities.

     True-May, the co-creator and producer of Midsomer Murders which began on ITV in 1997, described the show as the “last bastion of Englishness” and said it “wouldn’t work” if ethnic minorities appeared on screen….

     True-May told last week’s edition of Radio Times: “We just don’t have ethnic minorities involved. Because it wouldn’t be the English village with them. It just wouldn’t work. “

     “Suddenly we might be in Slough. Ironically, Causton (one of the main centres of population in the show) is supposed to be Slough. And if you went into Slough you wouldn’t see a white face there.

     “We’re the last bastion of Englishness and I want to keep it that way.”

     Oh, my. Someone who’s fond of the English village as it was and mostly still is! There are very, very few blacks or Asians in the English countryside; they’re almost exclusively urban populations. True-May committed the ultimate offense: he spoke the truth about something that displeases Britain’s racial and ethnic minorities. Clearly, he had to go.

     The series has gone sharply downhill since True-May’s departure. While that also correlates with the replacement of its leading man, the internationally famous and wildly popular John Nettles, by the less popular (and less charismatic) Neil Dudgeon, one cannot escape the feeling that as blacks and Asians have crept into the casting, the series has lost some of its verisimilitude and some of its viewer appeal.

     Still, we must placate the minorities, mustn’t we? They tend to run riot if we don’t. Especially those pesky “Asians,” British journalists’ preferred term for Muslim immigrants from the Middle East, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. The “no go zones” are bad enough already. Mustn’t provoke their further multiplication, enlargement, or intensification.

     That was a case of an entertainment executive speaking his mind without forethought about who might be moved to attack him for it. We know that the racialists and ethnicity-floggers are perpetually on the alert for such things. But now and then there’s no obvious explanation for the sudden insertion of an absurdity into a popular show.

     Let’s turn to our current fare, Grantchester. For its first three seasons, this series, which starred James Norton as Reverend Sidney Chambers of the Church of England and Robson Green as Detective Inspector Geordie Keating of the Cambridgeshire constabulary, featured as a major subplot Chambers’ yearning for Amanda Kendall, whom he’d loved since boyhood. However, Amanda, played by Morven Christie, marries Guy Hopkins, a member of the landed gentry, a match heartily approved by her father. The clash this creates provides a large amount of the show’s propulsion, as Chambers’ steady descent into self-pity and dissolution leads him into one instance of bad judgment after another.

     That thread runs in parallel to another “love that dare not speak its name:” that of curate Leonard Finch, played by Al Weaver, for Daniel Marlowe, played by Oliver Dimsdale. Now, in the years of the series’ setting, the early to mid-Fifties, homosexuality was still illegal in Britain. (It was legalized by the Sexual Offences Act of 1967, after a number of scandals involving the nobility and several members of Parliament.) Thus, such a love was something to be kept out of the public eye…but here we have an ordained curate of the Church of England enmeshed in it, on screen!

     I’d hoped that Leonard Finch’s desire to remain staunch against homosexual temptation would triumph. I was disappointed; late in the third season he succumbs, in blatant violation of his vows as an ordained Anglican priest. Moreover, the series presents this as some sort of triumph for the Right and the Good, even though Finch remains the curate of Grantchester parish.

     But wait: there’s more! While Sidney Chambers does eventually choose his Church and his vows over his love for Amanda, his fidelity to his vows doesn’t last. In the fourth season he becomes instantly infatuated with a young black woman from Georgia, and abandons his parish and his Church to go to America to be with her. In 1954, when the southern states nearly all had laws against miscegenation!

     Implausibility piled upon implausibility, all for the sake of “controversy” – which seems always to mean placating the racialists, the homosexuals, and the ethnic-identity floggers. Yea verily, British entertainment has been colonized and conquered quite as thoroughly as that brewed in America.

     Don’t read too much into this, Gentle Reader. I’m mostly venting. But normal people are coming to recognize the agenda. The implausibilities, the deliberate distortions and cancellations of the normal patterns of association and commitment, have a message: “You cannot escape us. We will follow you wherever you go. Your preferences are irrelevant. We will force you to submit to our ways of thinking and living.” That message becomes more widespread, more insistent, and more brutal with every passing day.

     Thoughts?

Don’t Look to the Past

Focus on the Future.

We know what the Supreme Court Justices have done in the past. But, the past is not always a good way to predict future actions.

Alito, up until this current abortion case, had been a relatively quiet presence on the bench. However, he was the deciding vote in several 5-4 decisions in the past. So, it’s clear that he does not worry about making waves.

The new justice (who, because of her appointment AFTER the case was argued, will not vote), has – at times – voted against the heavy hand of regulation in previous decisions. That is, what might be called, a starting point for moving HER Overton Window.

I think the more conservative justices might want to spend some time with her, and develop some friendly relations. If she could begin to think of them as decent people, and not ideological enemies, there is hope for the Supreme Court.

Similarly, one or more of the male justices needs to begin cultivating Kagan. I suspect that she is eager for a relationship that treats her as a special individual, and gives her a reason to look forward to starting her working day. Like having a ‘Big Brother’ on the court. One with whom she can share hobbies, brag about nieces and nephews, and perhaps occasionally attend a cultural event or ball game.

My guess is that Sotomayor is both self-absorbed, and kind of a Queen Bee. I don’t see her expending energy to make sure that Kagan’s ego is stroked. I would imagine Kagan wants what everyone wants – to feel noticed.

From Blue To Red To Purple To Blue

     M. B. Mathews has posted something of a cri de coeur at American Thinker:

     There has been a huge influx of blue state people to red states in the past three years.

     This is a good thing because the Democrat voters, the blues, see what is happening in their own states and want nothing more to do with it.

     There is only one problem: do blue-staters know why their blue states are failing? They may only be seeing the results of the failures such as high taxes, high crime, authoritarian shutdowns, masking, education pathologies, high gas prices, empty shelves, welfare hounds, and business-unfriendly policies that cause small business closures. But the causes are liberal policies and liberal politicians. Do blue-staters make that connection?

     Moving to a red state is a relief for blue staters, but if they cannot connect their blue state pathologies to voting for Democrats, they are again going to vote for the same party that gave them their blue state blues. It is imperative that blue-staters recognize that escaping to a red state to avoid blue state problems will do them no good if they persist in voting for Democrats, who, at first opportunity, will vote for the same blue policies they left their blue states to avoid. It is imperative that every blue-stater who is not Republican not vote Democrat if they enjoy red state living.

     Well, yes. The logic is unassailable. But “logic is a feeble reed,” Gentle Reader. Even if the blue-to-red-state migrants are aware of the connection, the majority of them will continue to vote Democrat. Your Curmudgeon is here to tell you why.

***

     Political affiliation is seldom the consequence of having thought things through. A huge fraction of the voting populace – possibly the majority thereof – chooses a political affiliation for reasons other than unclouded knowledge of the policies the chosen party has enacted and would enact. There’s an old story about Teddy Roosevelt on the campaign trail in 1912, on the Bull Moose ticket, that’s to the point:

     Teddy was giving one of his campaign speeches when a man in the audience jumped up and shouted, “I’m a Democrat! My father was a Democrat! My grandfather was a Democrat, and his father before him!”

     Roosevelt, a hard man to confound, replied at once, “Well, Mister, if your father was a jackass, your grandfather a jackass, and your great-grandfather a jackass, what would that make you?”

     But the shouter had a reply ready: “A Bull-Mooser, sir! A Bull-Mooser!”

     As in the story above, a great many persons vote for party X because it’s always been their parents’ choice. That transmission of affiliation from parent to child might seem irrational – it is irrational — but it happens and persists through the generations even so. I’ve known several cases of this.

     Then there’s the “feel” of the chosen party. This is a harder thing to grapple with, being largely formless. Sometimes it arises from party propaganda that’s been carefully designed to occlude the party’s positions and the consequences of its policies. In other cases it’s a matter of associations between the party and specific persons. My first wife, a brilliant woman of many high attainments, voted Democrat because “they put the people first.” My father and his sisters all voted Republican out of their contempt for bums, druggies, and welfare seekers. Draw your own conclusions.

     A third motivator is access to particular social and commercial circles. People who share a political affiliation will tend to socialize and do business with one another, while avoiding those of other affiliations. This is an extremely important consideration to the “climber:” the individual who seeks to rise socially or commercially. It often has consequences that go beyond his voting patterns.

     Finally, there’s one’s personal desire for political power. He who prioritizes it will go where it’s most likely to become available to him. Yes, Gentle Reader: there are politicians who choose their party according to how likely it is that that party will get them elected, or will assist them in advancing further. The late Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania is an egregious case for study. Jim Jeffords of Vermont is another. The late John V. Lindsay, once the mayor of New York City, is yet another. It’s the same as carpetbagging, really.

     Combine ingredients in a large mixing bowl, add dollars, “image engineers,” and campaign workers, and whip until smooth.

***

     I’ve known persons whose political affiliations arose from each of the four influences above. It’s not really baffling, considering how averse most of us are to actually thinking things through. Besides, personal considerations will always trump more diffuse attachments, loyalties, and perceived duties; that’s at the heart of Public Choice analysis. So while I agree with M. B. Mathews about what “should” happen to the voting preferences of blue-to-red migrants, I wouldn’t advise him to put a lot of money on it. The motivators above, some of which are almost never addressed in political campaigns, have a power with which far too many analysts are unable to grapple.

No, It Wasn’t A Hoax

     Some just couldn’t believe it. They were sure it’s some kind of put-on. But it’s really happening, Gentle Reader. “They” are doing their damnedest to normalize pedophilia. If you need more evidence, here it is:

     Johns Hopkins University has hired a female-to-male transgender academic who has called for pedophilia to be “destigmatized.” Despite her comments, Walker has been granted a new position at the Johns Hopkins’ Moore Center for Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse.

     I added the emphasis. But wait: There’s more!

     Last November, Walker sparked outrage after suggesting that child predators be referred to as “minor attracted people” or MAP instead of “pedophiles.” Walker argued that such language would “lessen the stigma.”

     Walker also published a book titled “A Long, Dark Shadow: Minor Attracted People and Their Pursuit Of Dignity” which “challenges widespread assumptions” that so-called MAPs are “predators” and “sex offenders.”

     In addition, Walker once said that “people can be attracted to children without acting on that impulse.” The Johns Hopkins professor has long argued that pedophilia occurs naturally and that child predators should not be labeled “immoral.”

     Does anyone in the audience know this…person’s sexual inclinations?

     I’m sitting here on the edge of shock. I’ve encountered a fair amount of ugly and shameful behavior in my seven decades. I’d thought I was aware of the extent of the human tragicomedy. But these past few years have convinced me that I’m still a relative innocent. Possibly a total rube.

     When do the tarrings and featherings start? Who’s got the torches and pitchforks? In the name of God, what are we waiting for?

Do Mine Eyes Deceive Me?

     Three men gang-raped a minor, filmed it, and were sentenced to probation?

     WEST JORDAN — Two men accused of raping a 14-year-old girl who was in and out of consciousness and another man charged with videotaping the sexual encounter were sentenced Wednesday to 48 months of probation.

     Third District Judge Douglas Hogan sentenced each to between one and 15 years in prison but suspended the prison sentences in lieu of probation. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will first address the immigration status of two of the men before they begin serving the probation.

     All three have been incarcerated since September of 2017 when the charges were filed. Richard Djassera, 26, of Murray; Dodjim Leclair, 29, of Murray; and Nasouh Albasis-Albasis, 24, of West Valley City, were each charged initially with two counts of aggravated sexual assault, a first-degree felony. Djassera was also charged with an additional four counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, a second-degree felony.

     Under plea deals, Djassera pleaded guilty to sexual exploitation of a minor, a second-degree felony, after attorneys noted there was no evidence that he engaged in sex with the victim. Leclair and Albasis both pleaded guilty to a reduced count of rape, a second-degree felony.

     According to police, the 14-year-old victim sneaked out of a sleepover to meet with the three men, who took her to multiple parties where she got drunk. Later, two of the men raped her while she was in and out of consciousness in the car, and the third recorded the encounter on video.

     The perpetrators:

     Someone please tell me this didn’t actually happen in an American court!

The Vice President Of These United States In This Year Of Our Lord 2022…

     …should have better sense than ever to speak in public:

     Can you disagree, Gentle Reader?

Determinism And Its Antecedents

     Were you aware that the hottest issue in the physical sciences today is whether there’s really such a thing as causality? Actually, it’s been the hottest issue for several decades already, ever since the codification of measurement uncertainty and quantum level indeterminacy. Physicists struggle to work with quantum systems that defy classical conceptions of causality. Their departures from the cause-and-effect world to which we’re accustomed are terrifying. It’s one of the reasons so many physicists go insane.

     Didn’t know about the plague of insanity among physicists, did you? Not to worry, Gentle Reader; I made it up. But it does make for a good intro to a thorny subject.

     No one is perfectly sure why our macroscopic existence, in which things do appear to obey cause-and-effect rules, could have emerged from the chaotic, acausal realm of fundamental particles. Indeed, no one is perfectly sure that what the Standard Model of Quantum Physics calls “fundamental” particles really are fundamental and indivisible. Our ability to probe such things is limited by our own macroscopic nature. In peering into the quantum world, we must be satisfied with what we can infer from the patterns produced by our high-energy colliders.

     At our level, we know that causality is real. When the cue ball hits the target ball with this speed and at that angle, the two will travel thence in these ways. This voltage against that resistance will produce this current. A rocket of this mass, this fuel fraction, and that maximum thrust will fail to reach orbit. And so forth.

     From the predictability of such events arises the concept of determinism: the doctrine that all events in our phenomenological world, whether great or small, have specific and irresistible causes, whether or not we know them. Determinism was bruited about with special fervor by some of the early Marxist theorists, who held that one’s “class” determines everything of importance about one’s decisions and actions. Quite a number of persons who would not suffer to be called Marxists hold to the thesis as well. It was especially popular among FDR’s “Brain Trust.”

     Now, you might think that a belief in the reliability of cause-and-effect implies determinism, wouldn’t you? Especially in a “science type” like your humble Curmudgeon. But it is not so. Determinism, which in its religious garb goes by the title predestination, is a con job. It has, and has always had, a specific purpose wholly unrelated to any arguments over macrocausality versus quantum chaos.

     The purpose is the erasure of the concept of responsibility.

     Responsibility is premised on the concept of free will. In a deterministic universe where every event is determined by causes that cannot be gainsaid, human actions would be as thoroughly predetermined as the actions of billiard balls. Any “decisions” we might claim we make would be mere illusions, forced upon us by causes we can’t even remember, much less enumerate. And of course, if our actions are as predetermined as all other events, then we cannot justly be held responsible for them. Indeed, the concept of justice itself becomes indefensible.

     Yet our wills, the aspect of our sentience that makes our decisions, are free. External conditions may urge us in one direction or another. Hunger moves us to eat. Poverty impels us to seek income. Pain makes us flinch away from what inflicts it. But we can choose to ignore such motivators. Sometimes we even “lean into them.”

     The determinists counter that “free will” is an illusion, one we cherish because we want to believe ourselves the masters of our fates. (Of course, if they’re correct, it would imply that their arguments are also predetermined.) But the prize in the game is not who wins the argument; it’s in whether we will accept responsibility for our actions.

     The determinist rejects personal responsibility. It’s inherent in his creed. How can a man be responsible for an event predetermined by causes that might chain all the way back to Creation itself? Yes, his hand might have held and aimed the gun. His finger might have pulled the trigger. But all these things and their consequences unto the heat death of the universe were predetermined. Hang a man for what he could not, in the very nature of things, have prevented his hand and finger from doing? Never! It would be unjust!

     Was that a giggle I heard from you, Gentle Reader?

     Yes, it’s a mug’s game. A con job that requires the proclamation that the whole of the universe, from Time Zero to the end of all things, is mere clockwork. But it has an important point: it denies responsibility, in all its applications and manifestations.

     Why demand freedom, when your actions are predetermined? Why demand honesty, or reliability, or decency from others, when their actions are as predetermined as yours? Why demand justice, when justice presupposes personal responsibility? Sit down. Shut up. Obey. Yes, our actions are predetermined too, so don’t hold our tyrannies and perfidies against us. We can’t help them!

     These days, determinism is seldom proclaimed explicitly. No one goes to a “protest” with a sign that says “I Had To Write This And Bring It Here, So Don’t Blame Me!” Yet it lurks behind every attempt to exculpate a man for his actions. Its own axioms safeguard it against disproof. But accepting it would empty us of all that makes us human…and perhaps that is the true goal of those who advance it, explicitly or otherwise.

     Perhaps the ultimate act of choice is to choose to believe that we really, truly choose – that we are responsible for our choices and their consequences. It’s as individual a choice as any other. No one can make it for anyone else. Even making its importance clear to others is a daunting undertaking. But there is no other route to freedom.

     “Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it.” – George Bernard Shaw

Peak WTF

This is from Not the Bee. Which, I trust a LOT more than most of the long-established media outlets.

Right. Because, just what EVERY Normal parent wants their kid to use in imaginative play.

People who are NOT women, pretending to be women. Assuming that those people understand what a woman is, given that they are not biologists.

Guys, this is it.

The Left is at their End-game. They are throwing every depraved and twisted idea they can at us, hoping to be able to force/entice/threaten/mandate our acceptance of it, before they go down in – dare I say it? – FLAMES.

It’s beyond the ability of Normal People to understand. The desire to protect children, helpless people, and society from decadence and crudity is the norm. Engaging in corruption of children, deliberate, public display of depraved sexuality, and other indicators of mental illness/giving one’s soul to evil are so far from our thinking as to constitute an alien culture.

I’ve long said, the fight is NOT political – it is cultural. God Bless those people who have publicly stood up to challenge those that would force their twisted agenda on children. It took guts to insist on making the Left’s actions public.

And, despite the ridicule, court actions, arrests, and silencing, the Resistant continued. For getting their protests out, we have to thank the Alternative Media – YouTube, blogs, indie publishing, and, yes, Twitter, Tik Tok, and all the rest of social media. The Left may have fought us with every roadblock they could manage, but, over time, the Resistant started to make a dent.

One of the most influential books I read about a parent’s effort to keep the filth out of public places accessible to children was Shut Up!: The Bizarre War that One Public Library Waged Against the First Amendment, by Megan Fox (with Kevin DuJuan). It was a LONG and difficult fight, but, over time, she managed to get the public on her side, asking uncomfortable questions of the embedded library staff.

And, that’s essentially it – we don’t want to FORCE adults to forego media of their choice (although I have no problem using persuasion to get adults to stop consuming smut). We just want to set a firm block against putting it in reach of children.

It’s going to take some time. We have a LOT of people – mostly women – who brag about taking their tweens and barely-teens to the local medical facility to put them on chemical treatments to change their hormonal balance, keep them from getting pregnant, and, even, aborting their grandchildren. They are PROUD of it!

Long before they attend school, our kids have to be aware of the many ways the adults around them might try to override their parents’ wishes and influence, and report any such attempts promptly. Of course, a powerful part of that is reinforcing their natural inclination to be repulsed by bizarre appearance (not ugly or deformed people, but those that deliberately mutilate their bodies to reinforce their self-image). Facial tats, multiple piercings, aggressively ugly hairstyles/women shaving their heads, exposure of body parts that really need to be kept under wraps – these are just some of the indicators that children need to be kept away from them.

One of the first advances in culture-killing was cable – the ‘edgier’ shows.

Second was invasion of network TV. Not all shows were visually explicit. Many were on the order of Friends or Will & Grace. Funny enough to draw an audience, but including themes like a main character’s donation of sperm for his ex-wife’s new family (lesbian), or surrogancy by a member of the regular cast. On Will & Grace, the concept of random hookups, alcoholism, adultery, use of a friend as a means of getting a child, all were explored, week after week. But, as the show kept insisting, the Gay Lifestyle was “just like everyone else” (somewhat true, assuming that the ‘everyone else’ that it was being compared to was indulgent, slutty, and overly concerned with self). What fun! You, too, could have your own Upper Class Gay Person for a best friend!

I know the shows of that era weren’t the first, but they are the ones that have influenced the parents of today’s children.

Other shows were an attempt to portray regular Americans as fat, stupid, and willing to engage in any type of behavior, provided that they could be a (temporary) STAR! Toddlers and Tiaras, The ‘Real’ Housewives of ——-, confessional appearances on talk shows, pseudo-psychiatry for public display. The list is endless.

Funnily, some of those attempts to put down the average people were ruined by the stubborn insistence of those regular people on maintaining their values – Duck Dynasty is one such example. The show was a hit, but not because people hated those Dreaded Redneck Losers. The cast showed themselves to be surprisingly faithful to their God, irreverent about Elite culture, and shrewd.

And, that’s just the popular culture. Independently-published books are heavily skewed away from the Woke and Edgy, and supportive of traditional values. The recent 2000 Mules documentary brought in a lot of money, and a huge audience. That’s not unusual. Remember The Passion of the Christ? The Rookie? Juno? The Incredibles? All were successful, and all ran strongly counter to the culture.

They are losing. And it is KILLING them.

Keep pushing back. Vote (yeah, I know, but, don’t forget, it’s not just the national candidates that are important – it’s judges, county commissioners, and water/sewer boards). Work in your community – attend school board meetings, council meetings. Volunteer for wholesome community events. Get to know your neighbors (many are less Leftist than you might think). You can’t stop EVERY assault on the culture, but you can give SOME time to the effort.

And, pray. Definitely pray.

Hard.

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