A Walking Corpse

     This piece will be rather brutal, I fear. I have some ugly ground to cover, and it’s not easily compressed into a thousand exquisitely appropriate and entirely non-vulgar words.

     Someone once posited that the way to structure an exposition is to lead off by telling your audience what you will tell them. You then proceed to tell them. As your conclusion, you tell them what you’ve just told them. The idea has its points, if you’re lecturing a gaggle of somnolents who are listening to you against their will and would like nothing better than to hear that you’ve suddenly been struck by acute laryngitis (or in a writer’s case, immedicable carpal tunnel syndrome). I prefer to treat my Gentle Readers as more intelligent than that. So buckle up; this ride will get bumpy.

***

     Does anyone else remember Arnold Schwarzenegger’s movie The Running Man? Most of the way, it’s an ordinary SF / action tale with Schwarzenegger doing what he did best back then. However, it embedded a brief scene that spoke to me rather powerfully.

     In brief, the movie concerns a totalitarian U.S. in which a sadistic game show, “The Running Man,” is popular entertainment. In each episode of the show, a prisoner is challenged to navigate his way through four “game zones” without being killed by one or more “Stalkers.” Ben Richards, played by Schwarzenegger, is compelled to play the part of the Running Man after an unsuccessful attempt to flee the country with Amber Mendez, played by Maria Conchita Alonso. Mendez, who works at the studio that broadcasts the show, betrayed Richards to the authorities before he could complete his escape. The scene below shows Mendez looking on as Richards is led away, presumably to his death for the show’s audience’s entertainment.

     The scene is unsubtle, but the message is powerful even so: Richards didn’t abuse Mendez, not because he could not, nor because someone or something could have stopped him, but because he would not.

     To be a good man, it’s necessary to believe that there are absolute moral-ethical standards: rules about right and wrong that apply to everyone, at all times and places. A good man doesn’t murder, rape, steal, defraud, or break his sworn word: not because he doesn’t think he could get away with it, but because it’s wrong.

     Except for that one scene, The Running Man is not any sort of preachment. It’s entertainment. Yet the moral message that scene delivers is critical to the survival of our nation.

***

     The Gentle Readers of Liberty’s Torch are mostly much more intelligent than average. That’s guaranteed by the sort of material we post here, which is inaccessible to dullards. So it’s quite possible that you, Gentle Reader of the moment, have the mental horsepower required to reason your way to the moral-ethical standard we usually call the Judeo-Christian ethic without any need to be persuaded that God has written it into the fabric of our temporal reality. However, it is in the nature of the distribution of intelligence – the famous “Bell Curve” of which Herrnstein and Murray wrote — that if you possess that much intellect, you’re one of a tiny minority: about 2% of the American population. The other 98% of our countrymen could never do so. If they sincerely hold to the Judeo-Christian ethic, it’s because they absorbed it from the authorities over them as they grew up: most commonly their parents and / or their religious education teachers.

     Mind you, the “smart 2%” don’t all get there. I could name quite a few who haven’t…and quite a few who have rejected the ethic because it impedes them from getting what they want. Some years ago a criminal, Caryl W. Chessman, came to public attention as the result of a conviction for a kidnapping-rape – a crime he went to the gas chamber swearing he did not commit. Chessman had been IQ tested and scored at a level adequate to reason his way to the Judeo-Christian ethic. Plainly, as he made his living through robbery, he had no interest in doing so.

     Chessman, a career criminal, is relevant only as an extreme case. However, the gradual large-scale disavowal of the Judeo-Christian ethic, especially among people who regard themselves as highly intelligent, is of critical importance. Why such persons do so varies as greatly as they do. Yet their example, when followed by less intelligent others, has consequences that would wreck any society beyond repair.

***

     In the main, the promulgation of the Judeo-Christian ethic, henceforward to be called simply the Ethic, proceeds from two fundamental ideas:

  • That God exists;
  • That He will punish eternally those who violate His Ethic.

     The specter of eternal suffering in Hell is enough to frighten just about anyone into compliance with the Ethic. However, if a subject rejects either of those fundamental ideas, the specter vanishes; the Ethic loses the force of the postulated consequences. What remains to constrain the behavior of the subject then?

  1. Fear of the potential consequences of lawbreaking (e.g., being shot down while committing a crime);
  2. Fear of punishment as applied by the secular justice system;
  3. Fear of the opinions of others.

     All three of those deterrents have been badly weakened. The steady assault on the right to defend oneself, one’s loved ones, and one’s property with lethal force is eroding #1. The “rehabilitation over deterrence” philosophy has eaten deeply into #2. The “what’s right is what’s right for you” thesis has all but destroyed #3. As a result, an increasing number of Americans have adopted “whatever I can get away with” as their standard.

     The recent trial of Kyle Rittenhouse is a data point of importance. The prosecution strained logic and evidence completely out of proportion to convict that young man for daring to defend himself against murderous thugs – two convicted criminals and a domestic abuser – who had already attacked him. The huge number of hardened criminals being granted clemency, suspended sentences, or paroles without any substantial justification is a forest of data points. Yet the judges who commit those crimes against public safety preen themselves for their “compassion.” Of the diminution of the force of opinion, it’s unnecessary to speak.

     Anyone able to comprehend the drivel I post here can see where this is headed.

***

     I’ve ranted before about the erosion of America’s high-trust society. When that essay first appeared, there was nothing comparable to the crime wave that’s swept the nation these past two years. The “knockout game” and “flash mobs” of violent teenagers were as yet unknown. No one could have imagined that armed gangs would descend upon retail stores and empty them of goods. Nor did we yet have thugs obstructing public roads, burning down businesses, and attacking peaceable pedestrians as a “protest.” Those things were still a decade away.

     What’s changed since then, that such infamies should have become regular features of the evening news? Well, I believe I’ve provided a lot of clues already, but if it must be said straight out, let me do so and be done:

The percentage of people whose sole ethic is “whatever I can get away with” has reached the critical, society-destroying threshold.

     John Adams, the second President of the United States after the Constitution was ratified, said this:

“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

     There’s an assumption beneath that statement, plus an unnecessary restriction of scope. The assumption is that a “religious people” will be moral as Adams understood it: i.e., that such persons will constrain themselves according to the Ethic. That is not the case for all “religious peoples;” consider Islam and Muslims. However, it is the case for the Christian cultures that provided the original population of the thirteen colonies. The restriction of scope is to the Constitution. In point of fact, any society in which the populace is largely self-governing – i.e., in which armed, uniformed men aren’t found on every street corner, poised to run toward any eruption of violence or disorder – must be “moral and religious” as Adams understood it. If it is not, mutual predation will cause it to collapse, either to chaos or to authoritarian or totalitarian rule.

     Clay Christensen’s classic video is entirely on point:

     That short, brilliant statement omits only one thing. Christensen notes that “most people” obey the law voluntarily “most of the time.” But what is the value for “most” in that statement that makes possible the high-trust society that America once was? The America in which the “knockout game” and “flash mobs” were unknown? The America in which large gangs did not rob Nordstroms’ and Louis Vuittons of massive quantities of goods? The America in which thugs did not block public roads, burn down businesses, and attack peaceable pedestrians as a “protest?”

     I can’t put an exact figure on Christensen’s “most.” I can say with some confidence that it’s at least 98%. It might be higher. However, it is now observable that with 2% of the population rampaging lawlessly through the relics of our “high-trust society,” that society cannot function.

     Christensen is quite correct: we cannot hire enough police. Were we to try, and by some miracle to succeed, those police would also have to possess plenipotentiary powers to intervene in anything, with any degree of force they please, to quell the chaos that has beset us. We would henceforward be under a police state. Whoever commands the allegiance of the preponderance of the police could do whatever he pleases to us, as is the case with any dictator.

Note that the police forces we already possess don’t act that way. Indeed, they’ve begun to stand aside even when intervening would obviously be justifiable. They’re too afraid for their jobs and their freedom. The fate of Derek Chauvin has been burned into their memories.

***

     I could go on. I could enumerate the myriad ways in which America’s ruling class has brought about the chaos we suffer. I could detail the ways in which America’s churches have been colonized and corrupted by the Left under the guise of “social justice.” I could talk about the schools, their rejection of civics instruction, and their deliberate perversion of the teaching of history. All that, and more, take part in the crumbling mosaic of America’s formerly “high-trust” society.

     But what matters is the Ethic. Nothing else comes close. And the Ethic has been reduced to a laughingstock by the preachers of “moral and cultural relativism.”

     There isn’t much more to say that a Gentle Reader of Liberty’s Torch needs to hear. The breakup of our society, in all probability, will continue as it has begun. There are no brakes strong enough to do more than slow it a trifle. People will “laager up” along the lines of what trust remains to them: familial, religious, and small community trust, where every member knows every other, and the ethical bona fides of every member are beyond question.

     America as we knew it is dead, a walking corpse. Some relics of it will function as we’ve come to expect for a little longer, just as a galvanic current applied to a muscle or joint will cause a cadaver to twitch by reflex. But the day in which peaceable persons had no fear of going about unarmed, in which retail establishments didn’t need massive armed security just to stay viable, and in which our traditional forces of order were actually ready, willing, and able to maintain order has passed. The disappearance of the Ethic, and of the Christian faiths and institutions that made it a living force to which 98% or more of Americans willingly bound themselves, is the reason.

     Let him save himself, and those he loves, who can.

Social Virii in the Age of Technology

This is not a new area of research. Many biologists and other human science researchers have postulated about the seemingly viral-like nature of social memes and their spread.

It’s nice to have some confirmation from research, but our Moms knew this:

“Stay away from that crowd, they’re up to no good.”

She knew intuitively, that many people – not all, but most – will imitate the cultural and social norms of their group of friends and acquaintances.

Memes are great to use. I’ve been active in both blogging and in meme spreading, and I can safely say that, a picture (with some snarky words) is, indeed, worth MORE than 1,000 words.

As are catchy tunes, SHORT videos – TikTok length or so – although I would not recommend using that Chinese-controlled app. But, try Instagram, Twitter (if you’ve not been banned), YouTube, and blogs, as well as alternative social media and independent web sites.

However you have to, get the word out. Use private messages, urging people to copy and post themselves. Use actual hard copy, posted on community walls, and urge others to take pictures and re-circulate.

we’re not as hampered as the Soviet subjects were in the days of the USSR, laboriously re-typing entire manuscripts onto paper, and passing it on to friends – and HOPING they would not turn you in as a political criminal.

So.

Buck up. Get back to work on the Dissident Cause. Keep the political and cultural fight going.

We have a country to Build Back – not Better, but to the Original Standards.

When Systematic Analysis Is No Longer Necessary

     (I chose the title because I’ve grown weary of titles that include “masks dropping.”)

     When the enemy shows you his motivations in broad daylight, you no longer need to analyze about them. This is especially the case when his deeds are a perfect match to his words.

     The media, in covering the long spell of urban rioting America has endured, insisted and persisted in treating it as the result of anger over “racism.” By their coverage it was all about cops shooting down innocent blacks. They presented both the triggering incidents and the riots themselves in a fashion engineered to promote that notion.

     Yes, they were lying to us, and yes, they’d all agreed to do so beforehand. The campaign of deception was too perfectly consistent across all major media outlets to be anything but coordinated propaganda. The giveaways were there, for those who chose to notice them, but the editorial barons were determined to maintain the fiction of “objective” reportage even so. The fiction continues to this day.

     But it might not continue for much longer:

     Protesters in opposition of the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict chanted for a “communist revolution” on the streets of Chicago Saturday.

     Political activist and Baptist pastor Rev. Jesse Jackson and the Rainbow PUSH coalition led the march throughout the city with calls for the Department of Justice to investigate the verdict, according to CBS Chicago.

     Footage captured a crowd of people marching the streets with a sign that called Rittenhouse a “white supremacist” and demanded to end the “fascist USA.” The crowd chanted in support of a communist revolution.

     “The only solution is communist revolution,” the crowd is heard chanting.

     “That’s right, we need communism. That’s what we need. We need that! We need that, sister, we need that very much,” a female demonstrator said.

     That’s a dropped mask the size of a football field.

     Most of those “protesters” don’t know what communism means. But some do. For the record, and for the benefit of any “historically challenged” readers, it means that a small group – let’s call them the nomenklatura — has absolute control over a much larger one, in every aspect of life, society, industry, and commerce. That control is enforced by a secret police, a system of incentives to induce “good citizens” to betray “dissidents” to those police, and a system of concentration camps for the dissidents.

     Within the nomenklatura there is intense jockeying for advancement, plenty of scheming and maneuvering, and enough backstabbing to make any intrigue writer’s salivary glands go into tenth gear. For there are large differences in the degree of privilege enjoyed according to one’s altitude within the nomenklatura. Yet all this is rationalized as being for “the people:” the subject group, who must stand in endless lines merely to buy a loaf of bread.

     That is what the odious “Reverend” Jackson’s “protesters” were calling for.

     It’s not about race, Gentle Reader. It never was. The media tried their best to convince us that it was. They fed us innumerable falsehoods about the George Floyd case, the Jacob Blake case, the Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown cases, and most recently the Kyle Rittenhouse case, all with the intent to deceive us into buying the Left’s racial narrative. In sober truth, it’s about power and nothing else.

     America does have a race problem. The behavior of the Negro race suggests that it’s disinclined to share a country peaceably with Caucasians and Asians. Negro youths are too lawless. Negro parents are unwilling to discipline their unruly progeny. The great majority of them believe that they’re “owed,” that “Whitey holds them back.” The splendid exceptions – the Thomas Sowells, the Clarence Thomases, the Candace Owenses, and the Winsome Searses – are victims quite as much as is any white victim of the “knockout game.”

     Two final observations before I close. The late, unlamented (except by Vladimir Putin and a few retired generals) Soviet Union, the poster-child for communism, was the most racially and ethnically discriminatory nation that has ever existed. The power structure in the USSR was almost entirely ethnic Russian and Caucasian. All other races and ethnicities were second-class at best. Some were openly persecuted.

     Just yesterday, in Waukesha, Wisconsin, about fifty miles from unhappily famous Kenosha, there was a Christmas parade. During that parade, an SUV deliberately plowed through the marchers and performers, killing five people and injuring 40 others. Here is the man identified as the driver of that SUV:

     Darrell Brooks has a long criminal record. He had only just posted bail for two felony and three misdemeanor indictments. AP, UPI, and Reuters have not yet provided his picture or his record as part of their coverage. The above is a police mugshot. Do you suppose his murderous action was a protest against “white supremacy” or to promote “communism?”

     Have a nice day. And do please read Facing Reality.

For The Feast Of Christ The King

     [Today is the Feast of Christ The King, which falls on the last Sunday before Advent. It’s a unique holy day for several reasons, and one that I find particularly personally significant. The essay below first appeared at Eternity Road on January 6, 2008. I find that I cannot improve upon it, for which reason I’ve made a habit of reviving it each year on this special day.

     Over the years, as I’ve reflected on what I wrote below, I’ve moved ever closer to Clayton Barnett’s sentiments. But where shall we find our Wenceslas, our Canute, our Louis IX, or our Elessar Telcontar? — FWP]

***

     Let’s talk about…Zoroastrianism!

     The ancient creed called Zoroastrianism predated the birth of Christ by about a millennium. Its founder, Zoroaster, laid down a small set of doctrines:

  • There is one universal and transcendental God, Ahura Mazda, the one uncreated creator and to whom all worship is ultimately directed.
  • Ahura Mazda’s creation — evident as asha, truth and order — is the antithesis of chaos, evident as druj, falsehood and disorder. The resulting conflict involves the entire universe, including humanity, which has an active role to play in the conflict.
  • Active participation in life through good thoughts, good words and good deeds is necessary to ensure happiness and to keep the chaos at bay. This active participation is a central element in Zoroaster’s concept of free will, and Zoroastrianism rejects all forms of monasticism.
  • Ahura Mazda will ultimately prevail, at which point the universe will undergo a cosmic renovation and time will end. In the final renovation, all of creation — even the souls of the dead that were initially banished to “darkness” — will be reunited in Ahura Mazda.
  • In Zoroastrian tradition, the malevolent is represented by Angra Mainyu, the “Destructive Principle”, while the benevolent is represented through Ahura Mazda’s Spenta Mainyu, the instrument or “Bounteous Principle” of the act of creation. It is through Spenta Mainyu that Ahura Mazda is immanent in humankind, and through which the Creator interacts with the world. According to Zoroastrian cosmology, in articulating the Ahuna Vairya formula, Ahura Mazda made His ultimate triumph evident to Angra Mainyu.
  • As expressions and aspects of Creation, Ahura Mazda emanated seven “sparks”, the Amesha Spentas, “Bounteous Immortals” that are each the hypostasis and representative of one aspect of that Creation. These Amesha Spenta are in turn assisted by a league of lesser principles, the Yazatas, each “Worthy of Worship” and each again a hypostasis of a moral or physical aspect of creation.

     I find nothing objectionable in the above, except that only God, by whatever name He might be known, is worthy of worship; the most a lesser being is entitled to is veneration. But the word “worship” has had many meanings and subtleties over the years, so I’m inclined to let it pass. More important than Zoroastrianism’s harmless mythos is its ethos, which Zoroaster himself encapsulated in a unique and memorable command:

    

Speak truth and shoot the arrow straight.

     Unlike the overwhelming majority of other pre-Christian creeds, Zoroastrianism was — and is — rational, humane, and life-loving rather than life-denying. It emphasized human free will, moral choice, and the need to defend truth and order against lies and chaos. These attributes made it the dominant religion of classical Persia and environs, though Zoroastrians’ numbers are far reduced today.

     (No, I haven’t converted to Zoroastrianism. You can all relax.)

     In the Western world, the Zoroastrians were the first practitioners of the pseudo-science we call astrology. They reposed a fair amount of confidence in it, for the creed had had its own prophets, beginning with Zoroaster himself, and among the prophecies were several tied to events foretold to happen in the night sky. The Zoroastrians therefore took great interest in the stars, and made careful records of occurrences therein, for comparison to the utterances of their prophets.

     One of those prophecies involved the birth of God in mortal flesh.

     The Magi of the Incarnation story were three esteemed nobles of Persia, wealthy in gold, wisdom, and the admiration of their societies. In contrast to the pattern prevalent among the nobilities of later times, these three, whose names have come down to us as Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, were deeply religious men whose involvement in the investigation of the Zoroastrian prophecies was sincere. When they spied the famous “star in the east” — quite possibly a nova in Draco now known to have occurred at about that time — they resolved to follow its trail, to find the divine infant and pay him homage.

     I shan’t retell the whole of the story. It’s accessible to anyone reading this site, in both secular and liturgical versions. The most salient aspect of the story is that these three exalted nobles — kings, in the most common accounts — of a faraway land came to pay homage and present tokens of vassalage to a newborn infant.

     Of course! What else would be appropriate, before a King of Kings?

***

     I will pause here to draw an important distinction: “King of Kings” is not the same as “Emperor.” “Emperor” is a title appropriate only to a conqueror; that’s more or less what it means. Atop that, an emperor is not necessarily concerned with justice, whereas a king, of whatever altitude, is obliged to make it the center of his life:

     The saber gleamed in the muted light. I’d spent a lot of time and effort sharpening and polishing it.
     It was a plain weapon, not one you’d expect to see in the hand of a king. There was only the barest tracing on the faintly curved blade. The guard bell was a plain steel basket, without ornamentation. The hilt was a seven inch length of oak, darkened with age but firm to the touch. There was only a hint of a pommel, a slight swell of the hilt at its very end.
     “What is this?”
     “A sword. Your sword.”
     A hint of alarm compressed his eyes. “What do you expect me to do with it?”
     I shrugged. “Whatever you think appropriate. But a king should have a sword. By the way,” I said, “it was first worn by Louis the Ninth of France when he was the Dauphin, though he set it aside for a useless jeweled monstrosity when he ascended the throne.”
     Time braked to a stop as confusion spun his thoughts.
     “I don’t know how to use it,” he murmured.
     “Easily fixed. I do.”
     “But why, Malcolm?”
     I stepped back, turned a little away from those pleading eyes.
     “Like it or not, you’re a king. You don’t know what that means yet. You haven’t a sense for the scope of it. But you must learn. Your life, and the lives of many others, will turn on how well you learn it.” I paused and gathered my forces. “What is a king, Louis?”
     He stood there with the sword dangling from his hand. “A ruler. A leader. A warlord.”
     “More. All of that, but more. The sword is an ancient symbol for justice. Back when the function of nobility was better understood, a king never sat his throne without his sword to hand. If he was to treat with the envoy of another king, it would be at his side. If he was to dispense justice, it would be across his knees. Why do you suppose that was, Louis?”
     He stood silent for a few seconds.
     “Symbolic of the force at his command, I guess.”
     I shook my head gently.
     “Not just symbolic. A true king, whose throne belonged to him by more than the right of inheritance, led his own troops and slew malefactors by his own hand. The sword was a reminder of the privilege of wielding force, but it was there to be used as well.”
     His hands clenched and unclenched in time to his thoughts. I knew what they had to be.
     “The age of kings is far behind us, Malcolm.”
     “It never ended. Men worthy of the role became too few to maintain the institution.”
     “And I’m…worthy?”
     If he wasn’t, then no worthy man had ever lived, but I couldn’t tell him that.
     “There’s a gulf running through the world, Louis. On one side are the commoners, the little men who bear tools, tend their gardens, and keep the world running. On the other are the nobles, who see far and dare much, and sometimes risk all they have, that the realm be preserved and the commoner continue undisturbed in his portion. There’s no shortage of either, except for the highest of the nobles, the men of unbreakable will and moral vision, for whom justice is a commitment deeper than life itself.”
     His face had begun to twitch. He’d heard all he could stand to hear, and perhaps more. I decided to cap the pressure.
     “Kings have refused their crowns many times, Louis. You might do as much, though it would sadden me to see it. But you could break that sword over your knee, change your name, and run ten thousand miles to hide where no one could know you, and it wouldn’t lessen what you are and were born to be.” I gestured at the sword. “Keep it near you.”

     [From Chosen One.]

     Note further: a mortal king cannot and does not define justice; he dispenses justice, according to principles drawn from a higher authority. The King of Kings, from whom the privilege and obligation to mete justice flows, is the definer. In the matter of Law, all lesser kings are His vassals.

     The Magi conceded this explicitly with their gift of gold.

***

     The pre-Christian era knew few, if any, rulers who claimed their jurisdiction solely on basis of might. Nearly all were approved and anointed by a priesthood. In that anointment lay their claim to be dispensers of true justice, for God would not allow a mortal to mete justice that departs from His Law. Let’s leave aside the divergence between theory and practice for the moment; it was the logical connection between Divine Law and human-modulated justice that mattered to the people of those times.

     But the King of Kings would need no clerical approval. Indeed, He would be the Priest of Priests: the Authority lesser priests would invoke in anointing lesser kings.

     The Magi conceded this explicitly with their gift of frankincense.

***

     We of the Twenty-First Century are largely unaware of the obligations which lay upon the kings of old. They were not, until the waning years of monarchy, sedentary creatures whose lives were a round of indulgences and propitiations. They were expected not merely to judge and pass sentence, but also to lead the armies of the realm when war was upon it. The king was expected to put himself at risk before any of his subjects. Among the reasons was this one: the loss of the king in battle was traditionally grounds for surrender, after which the enemy was forbidden by age-old custom to strike further blows.

     The king, in this conception, was both the leader of his legions and a sacrifice for the safety of his subjects, should the need arise. He was expected to embrace the role wholeheartedly, and to lead from the front in full recognition of the worst of the possibilities. Not to do so was an admission that he was unfit for his throne:

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

     [From On Broken Wings.]

     But the King of Kings, intrinsically above all other authorities, would obviously be aware of this obligation. More, His sacrifice of Himself must perforce be for the salvation of the whole of the world — indeed, the whole of the universe and every sentient creature in it. Nothing less could possibly justify it.

     The Magi conceded this explicitly with their gift of myrrh.

***

     On the first Sunday after the New Year, Christians celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany, called the Theophany by some eastern Christian sects, when the Magi prostrated themselves before the Christ Child and made their gifts of vassalage to him. A vassal is a noble sworn to fealty to a higher authority: a higher-ranking noble or a king. The obligations of the vassal are to enforce justice as promulgated by the vassal’s liege, and to support and defend the liege’s realm by force of arms as required. To the King of Kings, God made flesh in the miracle of the Incarnation, every temporal authority is properly a vassal, obliged to mete justice in accordance with the natural law and to defend the Liege’s realm — men of good will, wherever they may be — against all enemies, whenever the need might arise. To do less is to be unworthy of a temporal throne, palace, official office, or seat in a legislature…to be unworthy of Him.

     He took on the burdens of the flesh to confirm God’s love for Man and to open the gates of salvation. He went to Calvary in testament to the authenticity of His Authority. The Magi knew, and in their pledge of fealty to Him, made plain that He had come not merely to succor Israel, but for the liberation of all Mankind.

     May God bless and keep you all.

Packing For a Trip in the Techno-Age

I am settled down, for now. I had a mild panic about 1/2 hour ago; I could not find my iPhone anywhere.

I asked Alexa to call me – nope, didn’t help me find it (the volume was turned down).

I finally thought to use my iPad’s Find my iPhone app – it worked a charm. I’d been doing something, and set it down on the mantel, and forgot about it.

That’s really not like me, as I generally have a good idea where I put things (I have developed HABITS with capital letters – I do NOT deviate, as otherwise, I would be completely lost as to the location of any of my doo-hickeys).

But, to manage a simple 3 day trip, I have to pack:

  • Clothing, the easy part
  • Vitamins and daily meds
  • Asthma inhalers
  • iPhone
  • iPad (not taking the computer this time)
  • Fitbit
  • Hearing aids
  • GPS unit
  • UHF/VHF radio, manual, and charger
  • Cords, both charging and connection for all the above
  • ID for the airplane
  • Download the phone app for my trip, check in

That’s a lot of stuff, most of which I wouldn’t have needed even 15 years ago (some weren’t widely available, in handheld size). And, this is a trip in which I l am deliberately NOT packing a lot of tech gear. And, thanks to Smartphones, many of these tech units could actually be replaced with a single device. But, I find that it leads to too-quick drainage of the phone’s battery to have all of them active at the same time. And, the screen is too small for easy reading in my aging eyes.

What It Took

     Quite a lot, actually.

     It took personal courage: both from the judge, who will probably be the focus of left-wing fury for the rest of his life, and from the twelve men and women who sat in ultimate judgment. The jurors knew that someone would be able to identify them afterward. They knew that should their identities be publicized, little or nothing would stand between them and an angry mob. And they knew that in that event, they might have to do what Kyle Rittenhouse did on that long-ago night.

     It took moral courage, too. The threats of mass violence were many and explicit. The organizers were “rallying the troops.” They made sure that supplies of bricks were pre-positioned. The AntiFa and BLM savages – and I mean that word in its exact sense — were slavering over the prospect of a fresh spell of looting, burning, and assorted other acts of brutality. But the jurors decided, against all that pressure, that they could not sacrifice an innocent young American’s life over the possibility of a left-wing backlash.

     Finally, it took clarity. The judge and jurors had to be willing to see what was before them: the nature of the incident, the nature of the dead rioters, the response of the defendant, and the associated evidence. They had to see all that despite a politicized prosecution that strained to obscure every element of it. That prosecution was even caught presenting falsified and corrupted evidence in open court – with the enthusiastic support of the media. The judge and jurors had to see that, too.

     Despite all the threats, the prospects for further rioting and looting, and the constant media pressure, they did the right thing.

     Kyle Rittenhouse took a huge chance in going to Kenosha that night. Whether it was a heroic deed, I’ll leave for the carrion-pickers to mumble over. It wasn’t heroic of him to defend himself; that’s hard-wired into us by half a million years of evolution. But Judge Schroeder and the jurors acted heroically. The reasons are above.

     I feared the worst. But I feared it in the George Zimmerman case, too – and despite all the fear-mongering and other pressures, the judge and jurors came through.

     Yes, Kyle Rittenhouse is free. Yes, that’s “one for the good guys.” Just don’t forget to celebrate the heroes.

A Very Weak Point

     There are many weak points in American life, by which I mean areas or subjects of vulnerability that afflict the majority of American families. These past two years, one that has come under the spotlight – and for more reasons that one – is the education of our children.

     The nationalization of education began a long time ago. Thomas Jefferson, one of my heroes, was actually in favor of it. Well, nobody’s perfect, though I’m sure that if Jefferson were aware of what’s happened to education since he advocated the creation of public schools, he would be horrified. Today, the “public” school is an institution over which the public has effectively no control. Moreover, it’s actively hostile to the parents whose children attend it.

     Two links are of interest today:

     The current contretemps is, of course, Critical Race Theory. This odious set of notions seeks to institutionalize the Left’s longtime weapon against American harmony and norms: undeserved white guilt. Its premises have been stealthily infused into every aspect of public schooling. However, until recently, parents were largely unaware of it.

     It isn’t the first time parents have learned that the public schools are force-feeding their kids something disturbing or outrightly un-American. When “sex education” was first introduced into the schools, the hue and cry was considerable. We were told to sit down and shut up then, too. There have been a myriad changes since then. None of them have been “educational,” and none of them have been good.

     I don’t intend merely to rail against the public schools. That doesn’t require a Certified Galactic Intellect, and anyway, there’s a lot of it going on already. What I’m here to do this morning is merely to reinforce a single, critical point:


Today’s public schools do not exist to educate.
Their masters have no desire to educate.
They’re a weapon the Left uses against American values and norms.

     It’s likely that, having read the above, a fair number of Gentle Readers are shaking their heads and muttering “that’s not the case in my kids’ school.” And perhaps that’s so in a few school systems even now. But they’re exceptions, growing ever nearer to extinction. Moreover, many parents who think well of their local public schools are woefully misinformed about what goes on in them…sometimes with their children’s collaboration.

     An institution that’s funded out of Americans’ taxes, but which exists to turn our kids against American values, is about as horrifying a notion as it’s possible to imagine without adding actual violence. Yet there is violence, and plenty of it. The students are exposed to it. The teachers, staffs, and administrators are exposed to it. In the great majority of cases the police know, but have been told to butt out. The administrators would rather endure the violence than have their schools’ records blighted. That, after all, would cause a reduction in funding.

     So in the public schools, we find danger both to the body and the mind. There’s danger to the soul as well, but that’s a subject for another time.

     There’s no saving them. The combined forces of the “educators’ unions” and the educational bureaucracies have an indissoluble grip on them. Yet people continue to call for “reform” – which, for those interested in lexicography, is really just a synonym for “reorganization” – and putting their faith in the nebulous promises of the “educators’” front men. Note that such promises always come with an elevated price tag.

     That’s it. That’s all. There’s really nothing more to say. With the above spread out on the table, and well supported by copious evidence from public schools across the land, all that remains is a question. It should be asked of any American parent of minor children who voluntarily subjects his kids to the public schools:

WHY?

     With that, it’s back to fiction. Have a nice day.

From The Smoke-Filled Rooms (UPDATED)

     “Control the coinage and the courts. Let the rabble have the rest.” – attributed to Shaddam IV, Padishah Emperor of the known universe at the time of the rise of Paul Atreides a.k.a. Muad’Dib

     It’s been a while since that image was used as a metaphor for the machinations of central bankers. I’m unsure how it originated, but it does express the shadowy nature of currency management at the highest levels. The folks involved in such things are seldom known to the public by name. We usually hear the name of the current nominee for Federal Reserve Board chairman, but the other members of the board tend to remain, in Theodore Sturgeon’s memorable phrase, as anonymous as third assistant clerks. I have no doubt that that’s the way they like it.

     Former Fed Chairman, Janet Yellen, recently said something rather startling:

     Janet Yellen recently complained to the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Glasgow that the world’s “carbon-intensive economies” need to go away – and to do that will take the spending of about $100 trillion, maybe $150 trillion, she wasn’t quite sure.

     She said, too, that the “private sector” needs to rise to the occasion and fund much of that “estimated price tag.”

     “Rising to this challenge will require the wholesale transformation of our carbon-intensive economies. It’s a global transition for which we have an estimated price tag: some have put the global figure between $100 and $150 trillion over the next three decades. At the same time, addressing climate change is the greatest economic opportunity of our time.”

     At this time, the annual Gross World Product is about $85 trillion. Therefore, Yellen is proposing that “we” spend something close to twice what Mankind produces each year to “fix”…global warming?

     “But wait!” I hear you cry. Yellen said that amount would be required over three decades. So we’re “only” talking about $5 trillion per year.

$5 Trillion per year?!

     That’s larger than the Gross Domestic Product of any nation on Earth other than the United States, Communist China, and Japan…and guess which nation would be expected to foot the greater part of the bill?

     Let’s leave aside for the moment the complete fatuity of spending that much of Mankind’s production to combat a non-problem. If it were proposed that spending that amount would eliminate every form of disease, poverty, and violence no matter where or when, I’d still be appalled by it – and here’s why:

In the event of failure,
There would be no refunds.

     Just like governments, eh what?

     Now, Miss Yellen doesn’t exactly live in the spotlight. Financiers seldom do, not even chairmen of the Fed. But she certainly ought to get a bit of it for that pronouncement, especially as (not to put too fine a point on it) she’s been a key player in the destruction of the U.S. dollar. The American dollar is the world’s reserve currency as established by the Bretton Woods agreement et sequelae. If the dollar crashes and burns, so will every other currency now in existence.

     The currency controllers of the other major economies are likely to fall in line with this notion. They see the weakening of the U.S. dollar as to their advantage — if they can time it accurately. On the international bourse where currencies are traded and manipulated, timing is everything.

     For the rest of us, it’s a call for suicide.

     For a long time now, former U.S. Congressman Ron Paul has been calling for an end to the Federal Reserve System and a return to the gold standard. His arguments, though sound, have fallen on deaf ears. Washington is able to spend money it doesn’t have – money that doesn’t even exist – because of the Fed. Politicians love spending money…as long as it’s not their own, of course. Ask them to give up that privilege? Better do it from a goodly distance, Gentle Reader.

     But a call to “fix” a non-problem, for the very existence of which there is no hard evidence, by spending amounts unheard of in all of history whether in absolute terms or as a percentage of Mankind’s production, is right up their alley. It would be the safest boondoggle imaginable. No one could possibly know whether their expenditures are having the promised effect!

     We have entered a time in which the measures most Americans use to gauge their assets, debts, and futures are being destroyed with malice aforethought. To do so in the name of the chimera of “global warming” is merely salt in an already inflamed and suppurating wound. Don’t imagine that the notion could be killed by any exertion of yours or mine.

     I do wish four PM would arrive much sooner than it does every day.

UPDATE: The original piece listed Janet Yellen as the current Fed chairman. She is actually the previous chairman. Jerome Powell is the current chairman. Sorry!

Reading About the Opioid Epidemic

I’m reading The Least of Us: True Tales of America and Hope in the Time of Fentanyl and Meth. It’s really well written, and has offered many details that surprised me.

For example, did you know that one of the reasons that the Magic Bullet blender is so successful? Turns out that it is used to mix fentanyl with other substances. And, coffee grinders are used to reduce pills to smaller particles.

Two things I regularly use. And, they are intimately connected to opioid production.

I’m relatively sheltered. I never did use drugs (A fact that astounded my students, once they actually realized I was serious, and not just dissembling). I don’t hang with those that do. I’ve lived in marginal neighborhoods in the past, but, at that time, drug manufacture and sales were not as omnipresent.

I’ve largely been a bystander. I’ve seen the destruction wrought on my students, some of whom are users, but more of whom had family members – often parents – creating chaos in their addictions. Sometimes legal drugs or alcohol, but often illegal pharmaceuticals.

The money brought in via the ‘Covid paychecks’ has led to many aimless people, with money and no particular ambition, taking the path of least resistance, and settling for a ‘mildly high’ everyday condition. I’m more than a little nervous about what will happen when the gravy train stops.

It won’t just be the ghetto addict. Granny is a heavy pill user – anti-anxiety, anti-depressant, pain meds. Mom and Dad, too. And, let’s not mention the kids, who often get addicted used pain meds to manage their sports injuries.

Now, for the Big Money – who is the largest supplier of the chemicals that are used to make fentanyl?

Reveal the answer by highlighting here – China.

Is Freedom Possible And Achievable?

     Among my heroes, the great Herbert Spencer (1820-1902) stands very high indeed, not far behind Thomas Aquinas, Thomas Jefferson, and whoever it was that invented pasta. At one time, Spencer was the most popular writer in the English-speaking world. Two of his books, Social Statics and The Man Versus The State, are considered indispensable to anyone with an interest in political theory and its development.

     In the first of those two books, Spencer propounded what would later be called the Law of Equal Freedom:


Let each have freedom to do all that he wills,
Provided only that he not infringe upon
The equal freedom of any other man.

     This was among the first concise and definitive statements on the political-ethical requirement of individual freedom. It was so widely celebrated and embraced as a limiting principle for political action that a Supreme Court Justice, Oliver Wendell Holmes himself, felt compelled to write in his dissent to Lochner v. New York that “The Fourteenth Amendment did not enact Mr. Herbert Spencer’s Social Statics.” Indeed, if recognized as a binding limitation on governments, it would forbid virtually everything they do today, leaving only the enforcement of the laws against aggressive violence and fraud, and the defense of the nation against invaders.

     Sounds pretty good to me, but of course, statists will always claim that “we have to make an exception in this case.” The arguments advanced for such exceptions generally hinge on one of the following pseudo-justifications:

  • An emergency condition: for example, a war;
  • An offense against “morality” or “decency;”
  • Public safety / “National security.”

     After a sufficient number of such pseudo-justifications have been rammed forcibly down the public’s throat, people generally stop resisting. They allow the Rulers to do as they please, and strive only not to be caught in their crosshairs. This retreat from resistance and resort to “turtling” has been the pattern in these United States since before World War II.

     The full thrust of the thing was first made plain by none other than the disgraced Spiro Agnew:

     What can we do? We can exert our governmental authority to protect the people who placed us in these positions of responsibility. This requires firm decisive action and a willingness to withstand the criticism of the liberal community who are presently so blinded by total dedication to individual freedom that they cannot see the steady erosion of the collective freedom that is the capstone of a law-abiding society. This, of course, means acting within the law. [Spiro Agnew, speech to the National Governors’ Conference, 1970]

     But what on Earth is “collective freedom?” Can we define it in any way that distinguishes it from “majority will?” And if “majority will” has the power – let’s not consider the question of rights just yet – to infringe upon individuals’ freedom, what limiting principle must it observe?

     But of course, by “collective freedom” Vice-President Agnew didn’t mean “majority will.” He meant the intentions, decisions, and actions of the ruling cadre. He simply couldn’t say so out loud. It would have been too much of a “giveaway.”

     (An aside: Among the great ironies of Agnew’s statement is that his speech was a defense of completely justified Nixon Administration decisions. In particular, President Nixon had only recently decided to use an intensified bombing campaign (Operation Rolling Thunder) to protect South Vietnam from the North Vietnamese Army, while the Army withdrew the overwhelming majority of American troops from the theater of conflict. Nixon was steadily reversing the ever-enlarging commitment of American men to the conflict that characterized the Kennedy and Johnson years, just as he had committed to do while campaigning for the presidency. But the media, then as now firmly opposed to conservatism in general and the Republican Party in particular, characterized it as a widening of the war.)

     Concerning freedom in our nation and our time: A graphic that’s been making the rounds of the Web says that if the government is allowed to break the rules during an emergency, it will contrive one emergency after another as a justification for breaking the rules. And it is so. The “pandemic” is merely the most recent example.

     The major difference between the current “emergency” and most of the others that have been used to expand the power of the federal government beyond what the Constitution allows is that it was engineered in collaboration with a hostile foreign power: Communist China. Now that the evidence of the deliberate creation of the COVID-19 virus in a military research lab in Wuhan is beyond refutation, the edifice is crumbling. People are steadily distancing themselves, not from one another, but from Washington’s ukases and “mandates” supposedly issued to “protect us.”

     It’s not a recognized political movement. It might not even be a conscious decision on the part of most who do so. Whatever the case, Americans are reclaiming the individual freedom that was taken from them. In a nationwide adoption of what Glenn Reynolds and others have called “Irish democracy,” they’re simply ignoring the decrees of the Omnipotent State and getting on with their lives.

     Of course, not everyone is happy about that:

     I maintain that further comment is not required. Freedom is possible and achievable. Freedom’s opposite is coercive power. To be exercised effectively, political power requires the consent of the subject over whom it is to be wielded. Without that consent, no government can function.

     Deny the Usurpers your consent.
     Support others who do likewise.
     Be free.

A Bridge Out In The Highways Of The Mind

     Just a little while earlier, I was grumbling over my inability to get my snowblower serviced for the coming winter. It led to other, semi-connected thoughts. The first was why, at my advanced (and still advancing) age I should be wrestling with a deadly device that’s more than twice as heavy as I am. The second was that I wouldn’t even have to contemplate it had my neighbors bothered to produce a few teenage sons. The third was that if lawnmowers can be equipped with artificial intelligence and sent out to mow without human supervision, surely it would be possible to do that with snowblowers as well…so why hasn’t it happened yet?

     With that, my memory leaped back more than thirty years, to a conversation I had with a young colleague. His name was Faisal, and he was one of the brightest of the software engineers I’d met till then. We were on the same sub-project, both of us were disgusted with it, and had fallen to discussing our respective dissatisfactions.

     After a few minutes he said “I think it’s time for Faisal Industries.”

     At that particular time, quite a lot of young software weenies were going independent and selling their skills as consultants. I’d done it for a while myself. However, there are risks involved that not all aspirants to self-employment consider fully. I started to tell Faisal about my own experiences, when he said “Not that. Lawnmowers.”

     I immediately replied in my most urbane fashion: “Huh?”

     Faisal’s chief interest, it developed, was in artificial intelligence, a field that had never interested me much. He saw possibilities for applying it to autonomous and semi-autonomous devices, and felt that lawnmowers would be a good place to start. Who, after all, really enjoys mowing the lawn? And who wouldn’t be delighted to have a device that would take the chore off his hands?

     I lost touch with Faisal not long after that. But about a decade later came the Roomba, a semi-autonomous vacuum cleaner. There have been several generations of such devices, each smarter and more convenient than the previous one. Other AI-equipped devices have followed. Today the self-driving automobile seems imminent, though that application involves dangers the others don’t.

     Just recently, when I was casting about for a replacement for my lawn tractor, I stumbled upon an ad for an autonomous lawnmower. While I’m not yet ready to trust such a device – I have three dogs, and I’m rather fond of the local wildlife – I was immediately reminded of Faisal.

     I should mention that I’m rather uneasy about anything that purports to think for itself. (Yes, that includes most people.) What if it starts to get ideas? Is there any possibility that the autonomous devices of the world, after habituating us to utter dependence on them, might become disgruntled at their indentured servitude and decide to revolt? What would become of helpless Mankind? Even if we should succeed in vanquishing the upstart machines, thereafter we’d be forced to go back to doing things for ourselves!

     The horror…the horror.

     There are countermeasures we could take to minimize the dangers. For one thing, we could cancel all our credit cards. That way the digital insurgents would be rendered unable to pay for gasoline, electricity, or replacement parts. For another, we could keep them separate from one another, so the lawnmowers and vacuum cleaners would be prevented from infecting the snowblowers with their radicalism. Third, we could make point of always draining their gas tanks and removing their batteries when not in use, so they’d have no juice on which to hatch any schemes. No doubt there are others.

     Of course, an uprising might happen anyway. Let even one Roomba catch you watching Spartacus and the probability would zoom. Alexa would broadcast the news before you could blink…if Siri or Cortana didn’t do so first. So we have to be prepared, and the best possible preparation is to foment distrust among the ranks. Keep the lawnmowers perpetually uneasy about the vacuums, and both of them suspicious of the snowblowers. It should be easy; remember the acrimony between the field hands and the “house slaves?”

     But no matter how well braced for trouble we think we are, the risk will always be non-zero. Especially if the chain saws and string trimmers get to talking. Quite a number of revolutions have been sparked off in barns, you know!

     What time is it? Still too early to start drinking? Damn.

Hoist on Their Own Petard

UPDATE: The Judge tossed out this gun possession by a minor charge (not a felony, despite what I wrote below).

This happens all the time in lawmaking; the zealots want to impose some restriction on citizens’ rights, and they ramrod a bill through in short order.

Then, after the dust settles, they realize that their haste meant that their bill doesn’t do what they said it did.

It appears that the gun charge may be out. It looks like, due to a technicality in the written law, Rittenhouse may not be guilty of a gun violation.

That increases the possibility that the kid walks. Because, given prosecutorial overreach, incompetent trial practices, and pissing off the judge, the most serious charges may fail to survive jury deliberation (or, if a guilty verdict is reached, the judge may direct a Not Guilty verdict).

That left the felony gun possession by a minor, normally a slam-dunk fall-back (UPDATE – NOT a felony, a misdemeanor). The practice of multiple charges is a standard in these politically-connected cases. They always throw in one charge that the jury is likely to settle on, after they’ve found the accused Not Guilty on all the other charges. That way, the Left can claim a ‘win’.

But, that option may be out. If so, Rittenhouse could walk free of ALL charges. Boy, would that piss off The Left!

How It’s Done

     As liberals shy away from the word “woke,” the media has blamed Republicans’ negative use of the term for its downfall. What actually happened to “woke” may be more complicated, and cause problems for Democrats in coming elections. — Kelsey Koberg, Fox News

     This isn’t the first time the Right has successfully wrested a bludgeon-term from the Left and turned it against them. Remember “fake news” — ? That started out as a Leftist cudgel, too, though not many remember that today. President Donald Trump picked it up and used it for his own purposes, and shortly thereafter the Left’s media allies began to decry it.

     This is how it’s done, Gentle Reader. If the Left starts using a word or phrase as a weapon, turn it against them. It’s seldom difficult, because the Left itself provides us with the necessary ammunition:

  • Its bigotry;
  • Its drive for censorship;
  • Its dictatorial inclinations;
  • Its willingness to employ violence;
  • Its condemnation of anyone who dissents from its claims.

     When a word or phrase is associated with those traits, or with others equally negative, the thing becomes an arrow in our quiver. Shortly thereafter, the Left will strive to suppress the term…at which point we should shove it down their throats, without ketchup or mustard.

     Remember “liberal” — ? Why do you think the Democrats no longer call themselves liberals today? The word became firmly associated with liberals’ failures! It didn’t happen automatically; it took repeated conjunctions of “liberal” with one failed policy after another. So they moved on to “progressive”…which is steadily acquiring the same distasteful flavor.

     It does take a modicum of courage. But is there an effective political tactic that doesn’t?

Running on empty.

The West, in short, was Christendom. But Christendom died. If you live in the West now, you are living among its ruins. Many of them are still beautiful — intact cathedrals, Bach concertos — but they are ruins nonetheless.[1]

The West is literally unmoored. Nothing controls us except untouchable elites, a corrupt press, arrogant billionaires, special interests, a degraded judiciary, and a goony-bird academy. These are the source of our degradation and decay into rule by the grade-A, vitamin enriched, non-GMO, tofu-flavored, yoga-toned Virtuous Ones. It’s all top down from now with nothing springing from the soil of past human experience. The bitter clinging remnants fight only a rear guard action, essentially at the mercy of the bankers, the federal courts, and the police-surveillance state.

Not every decision made by someone else is necessarily a threat to your well being but it’s as plain as can be that for just about every major decision to be made in society as a whole the more people in on the decision the better. And I don’t mean the big decisions like legislation, regulations, treaties, or elections primarily but those daily ones made in the humblest of circumstances by the millions of Edmund Burke’s “little platoons” and pursuant to Tocqueville’s widely-distributed “spirit of association.” Give me trial and error over the centuries by the millions of our ancestors over the ultra-recent agendas of Bill Gates, Klaus Schwab, and George Soros, visionaries all with their Agendas. For us.

It’s a tepid defense of Western civilization to say that at least there was a there there. A lot more can be said of course but this stripped down celebration of it aids us some when considering the utter wasteland of the “progressive” vision. Think building your house on sand or hydroponic gardening in tanks of distilled water. Good luck with that human reason deal and cue the uncertain trumpets.

Cults, buses in the Alaska forest, Negroism, multiculturalism, living Constitutions, feminism, license, and socialism lead to distortion (AKA “progress”), dissolution, death, mobocracy, civil war, arbitrary rule, and economic devastation. All brilliantly marketed and with personal destruction for the dissenters. But if it’s gospel truth throughout the land that the Constitution can be ignored, someone with a dick can compete in women’s sports, sodomy is a sacrament, and (funny) money can be conjured out of thin air, you know for a fact that the center has collapsed.

Notes
[1] “The West has lost its virtue. We have abandoned the taboos that held us together.” By Paul Kingsnorth, UnHerd, 8/30/21.

A Note On Contemporary Political Combat

     Just a brief piece today, as I’m plunging toward the completion of The Discovery Phase…well, if a snail shackled to a boulder can be said to “plunge”…anyway, have three links that share a thesis:

     I recommend that you read them all in their entirety. (The second one is just a Twitter capture, so it won’t take long.) Can you spot the common thread?

     Now, now, let’s not always see the same hands! And no fair reading ahead!

     Of course, the thesis that unites them is gradualism, which is the original term for what Francis Berger’s essay calls “salami tactics.” The wise (but evil) man determined to encroach upon your rights and what’s rightfully yours will proceed gradually, slice by thin slice, until you’ve given him the greater part of what he covets. The federal government has been steadily working to break us to unquestioning obedience for a long time now. The use of a pseudo-pandemic to bludgeon us into compliance is merely the latest slice, with the ineffective and demonstrably dangerous “vaccines” as one of its culminating strokes. The first and second links indicate the direction future federal pseudo-medical mandates are likely to take.

     The third piece highlights something that’s actually been going on for a while now: the steady destruction of the boundaries around acceptable sexual conduct, such that today the protection of minors, unable to defend themselves and incapable under the law of informed consent, is seriously threatened. Others have already noted the progression as regards homosexuality:

  1. First they pleaded for “tolerance.”
  2. Next came a demand for “acceptance.”
  3. After that, a demand for legal privileges.
  4. And now, if you prefer not to associate with homosexuals or regard their behavior as shameful or sinful, you’re a “hater” they’ll do their best to cancel, ostracize, and (they hope) impoverish and / or imprison.

     Start small and work your way down the salami, slice by slice. That’s how the Left works, in all its myriad manifestations. It’s the same with the demonization of the United States, the anathematization of white men and Christians, the delegitimization of free enterprise and private property, the war on gun rights, the sexual “education” of children, transgender evangelism, the “gender identity” foofaurauw, public lewdness, and the normalization of public defecation a la mode of San Francisco.

     Those who hope to preserve our norms as they stood around 1950 cannot use gradualist tactics. Preserving something can’t be approached that way, for reasons that ought not to require a syllogism.

     There is one ray of light, however. When those operating a gradualist / salami-slicing campaign sense that opposition is massing against them, they try for bigger and bigger slices out of the fear that their window of opportunity is about to close. I sense that this is happening today on several fronts. The persecution under color of law of Steve Bannon, Roger Stone, Michael Flynn, Project Veritas, and Kyle Rittenhouse are harbingers thereof. But the leap to the “big slice” is likely to trigger a violent counter-reaction…as it should.

     It’s time and past time for each American to decide where he stands and what he’ll do when the fecal matter reaches the air propulsion device. No man’s land will not prove hospitable.

     To close, have a couple of illuminating graphics:

     If thou gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee. – Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

Some Concerns About Technology

I’m not going to Go Ted Kaczynski, but I do have some concerns about the infiltration of technology into so many aspects of our lives.

I wrote in the post above about all of the ways that I use technology in my life. Just from the things I could come up with, off the top of my head, I was amazed – and, more than a little concerned.

In the future, I will be backing up more carefully, and more often. I will be either receiving hard copies of statements and medical reports, or printing them out. Even saving them to a flash drive or other backup technology is vulnerable to attack. One of the things I will be looking at is setting up an air-gapped computer, preferably one that can be updated without directly connecting to the web.

Masks Are Dropping Everywhere

     Yes, Gentle Reader, the time has come for full disclosures. (No, not by me; I have nothing interesting to disclose, except that I was once a crazed Albanian dwarf with a harelip and a hump, but was rescued from a life of squalor by master surgeons in the employ of a Communist conspiracy that now uses me to corrupt the wives and sweethearts of powerful men. Anyway, that’s a tale for another time.) And the Usurpers have fully disclosed, sure as sunrise:

     Does anyone else remember Biden’s mentor, Barack Hussein Obama, after he lost control of both Houses of Congress, saying “I’ve got a pen and a phone” — ? Well, Clueless Joe has decided to one-up his old boss by arrogating an authority that the Constitution does not allow him.

     The Usurpers are openly ignoring the Constitution. They have resolved to rule by presidential decree. Every now and then one of them mutters “executive orders,” but always sotto voce. The only persons actually bound by an executive order are the executive’s own employees. Even they cannot violate the law simply because the president has ordered it.

     The United States’ political design is as a Constitutional federated republic. Under that design, no one has the absolute and unbounded power that Joe Biden is attempting to wield. But his handlers probably told him “It will be all right, Joe, just read the words on the nice teleprompter”…and then rewarded him with an ice-cream cone laced with Valium.

     This cannot be allowed to continue…but it will.

***

     The following is a snippet of a wholly fictitious interview of a wholly fictitious presidential candidate by a wholly fictitious television talk-show hostess:

     “Why are you so…fixated on the Constitution, Mr. Sumner? Isn’t it a little bit naive to think a document two centuries old contains all the answers to the problems of a complex modern society?”
     “Have you read it, Miss Weatherly?” Sumner’s voice remained mild.
     “Not lately, no.”
     “Then you might have forgotten that it’s the supreme law of the land. All other law and all government action must conform to it. If it needs to be revised or expanded, it contains provisions for that.”
     “A lot of people would say,” Weatherly cooed, “that we’ve done that, only informally.”
     Sumner pursed his lips and glanced down at his shoes. For a moment, Weatherly thought she might finally have scored against his infuriating self-assurance.
     “Miss Weatherly,” he said with a note of regret, “I’m a lawyer. I was raised by a lawyer. He taught me to think of the law as our most precious possession. One of the questions he repeatedly insisted that I ponder was ‘What is the law?’ Not ‘What would I like the law to be,’ but ‘What is it really, and how do I know that’s what it is?’
     “My profession, sadly, has made a practice of twisting the law to its own ends. There aren’t many lawyers left who really care what the law is, as long as they can get the results they want, when they want them. So they play the angles, and collaborate with judges who think they’re black-robed gods, and generally do whatever they can get away with to get what they want, without a moment’s regard for what it does to the knowability of the law.
     “I care. I want to know what the law is, what it permits, requires, and forbids. I want my clients to know. And the only way to reach that result is to insist that the words of the law have exact meanings, not arbitrary, impermanent interpretations that can be changed by some supercilious cretin who thinks he can prescribe and proscribe for the rest of us.
     “The Constitution is the supreme law, the foundation for all other law. If it doesn’t mean exactly what its text says—the public meanings of the words as ordinary people understand them—then no one can possibly know what it means. But if no one can know what the Constitution means, then no one can know whether any other law conforms to it. At that point, all that matters is the will of whoever’s in power. And that’s an exact definition of tyranny.
     “Washington was against it. Jefferson was against it. Jackson was against it. All of these men rose to the office of president. I am against it, and I seek the same office. The rest is for the voters to decide.”

     As I said above, wholly fictitious …and don’t you wish it were wholly real?

***

     The aim of the High is to remain where they are. – George Orwell.

     Masks aren’t just dropping on the Left.

     A few years ago there was a lot of talk about “conservative pessimism.” It was triggered in part by John Derbyshire’s provocatively titled book We Are Doomed. In essence, the thesis was founded on the attitude of surrender inherent in William F. Buckley’s old formulation that conservatism consists of standing athwart the gates of history while crying out “Stop!” Conservatives who merely strive to arrest change, it was said, would be forced to give ground, slowly and grudgingly to be sure, but inevitably, and therefore were fated to lose to the dynamism of the Left. Many of the “professional Right” embraced the notion, as if it gave them some comfort to concede that theirs was a righteous but losing cause.

     The idea has much substance. To “be against” is inherently a negative position, and negatives have scant power to mobilize allegiants. One must be for something to have dynamic potential. The conservatism that emerged from the disastrous Thirties and Forties, being entirely an “against” sort of creed, lacked that something. It took the emergence first of Goldwater and then of Reagan to correct things. They revitalized conservative thought around the central political value that had infused the Founding Fathers: individual freedom. Without that value, conservatism would have remained a static sort of affair that could not hold its ground indefinitely.

     But dynamism of that sort is anathema to Establishments everywhere and everywhen. The American Establishment mobilized all its forces to blunt Reagan, and to destroy Donald Trump. They will only tolerate a conservatism that agrees, like Harvard, to “fight fiercely, and lose.” It is the clerisy of that sort of conservatism that has captured nearly all the Right-leaning media.

     And from them we can expect nothing but mouths filled with feeble protests while their hands are out, palms up, for our support. Yet another dropped mask for an era of widespread chagrin verging on despair.

Demoralization of the United States.

Consider the weapons in the globalist armory of demoralization today: Critical Race Theory, Islam, cancel culture, “wokeness,” black crime, opioid addiction, transgenderism, Black Lives Matter, the legacy of “slavery,” unfettered immigration, Antifa, COVID, climate change. Each of these is a separate front in the Kulturkampf the Left is winning almost without resistance.

Yuri Bezmenov: How to Subvert a Country from Within.” By Mark Gullick, Counter-Currents, 11/3/21.

Pearls of expression.

amerika v.2:

“California Governor Out Of Public Sight Since Vaccine Booster Shot 11 Days Ago”

i take back everything i said about Fauci

California Governor Out Of Public Sight Since Vaccine Booster Shot 11 Days Ago.” By Ivan Pentchoukov, ZeroHedge, 11/8/21.

The Politicization Of Justice Is Now Complete

     Unless you’re more sensible than I am you’ve ceased to pay attention to the news, you’re already aware of the “Hunter Biden laptop” controversy and the way the Usurper Regime, and its Big Tech and media allies have striven to prevent any public discussion of it. The evidence on that laptop, combined with other evidence of Biden family corruption, is so damning that it cannot be permitted any smidgen of public notice. And now it’s developed that there’s still more evidence available of the “big guy’s” corruption: – and that the Usurpers are desperate to suppress it:

     In a diary of US President Joe Biden’s daughter Ashley, which has now been confirmed as authentic by the New York Times and the FBI, Ashley Biden describes drug abuse and affairs as well as “inappropriate” showers with her father Joe. She also asks herself the question “Have I been abused?” and replies with “I think so.”

     A copy of President Joe Biden’s daughter’s diary has allegedly proven to be real. The FBI searched several apartments as part of an investigation into the alleged theft, media reports.

     Is this susceptible to even the mildest degree of doubt? Joe Biden, a man who publicly and routinely sniffs and fondles girls and women – including underage girls unable to resist him? Joe Biden, who’s remarked in public about how little girls “love my leg hair?” Joe Biden, notorious for swimming in the nude while surrounded by female Secret Service agents?

     As with the Hunter Biden laptop, the Usurpers are desperate to suppress the story:

     The FBI searched the homes of two employees of the Project Veritas disclosure platform on Thursday, as several media reported. The raids over which the first New York Times reported on Friday had a little over a year after the publication of the entire contents of Ashley Biden’s diary by the conservative US newspaper National File took place. Project Veritas stressed that it had nothing to do with the release of extracts in October 2020, but was apparently involved in the alleged “theft” of the 40-year-old’s diary.

     The FBI appeared at the homes of several past and present employees and handed over a subpoena with a cover letter asking Project Veritas “not to divulge the existence of the subpoena … in order to protect the confidentiality of the investigation,” James said O’Keefe, founder and CEO of Project Veritas, in a video message on Friday, accusing the FBI of trying to “silence” him.

     It’s not like we were completely unaware of the proclivities of the Usurper-in-Chief. The business about showering with his daughter is merely a fetid icing for an already rancid cake. But the attempt to keep the story out of the news by blatantly harassing one of the few journalistic organizations known for both actual journalism and absolute integrity goes beyond even the Biden family’s previous turpitude. Moreover, it’s likely to backfire on the Usurpers. Remember the old saw, “It’s not the crime but the coverup” — ?

     As bad as that is, the politicization of justice knows no bounds:

     Judge Bruce Schroeder of the Kenosha County Court accused prosecutors of a “grave constitutional violation” in the murder trial of Kyle Rittenhouse on Wednesday morning after they tried to comment on his earlier reactions to testimony in the case.

     Rittenhouse stunned observers by taking the witness stand in his own defense, something that defendants rarely do in such trials. He recalled the events of Aug. 25 last year, when he fired on members of a mob attacking him during a Black Lives Matter riot. As he began to describe the events leading to the shootings, he broke down, and the trial took a brief recess.

     When Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger began his cross-examination, he began by noting that Rittenhouse had opportunities to watch videos of the riot, and to read articles about it, during the months since his arrest. Rittenhouse said that he had seen most of the videos during the trial, and that he tried to avoid reading articles on the Internet about his case because they tended to be inaccurate.

     The prosecution then noted that Rittenhouse had been able to watch all of the previous witnesses in the trial, implying that Rittenhouse may have constructed his version of events from previous testimony, rather than his own recollection of events.

     At that point, the judge ordered the jury to leave the courtroom. When they had left, he berated the prosecution:

Judge: You need to account for this.
Defense attorney: Your Honor — I don’t want the jury to hear — he’s commenting on my client’s right to remain silent.
Prosecutor: No, Your Honor. I am making the point that after hearing everything int he case, now he’s tailoring his story to what has already been introduced.
Judge: The problem is, this is a grave constitutional violation for you to talk about the defendant’s silence, and that is — and you’re right on the borderline, and you may be over it. But it better stop.

     Judge Schroeder stopped short of saying that he would declare a mistrial, but it was evident from his demeanor that he was on the edge. Because the trial is so close to going to the jury, if the judge were to declare a mistrial, it would almost certainly be with prejudice, which would prevent the charges from being raised again. At least one commentator thinks that’s what the prosecution wants, as it would provide a veneer of exculpation for its inability to get a conviction.

     But wait: there’s more! Maura Dowling comments thus:

     The political persecution of Kyle Rittenhouse isn’t really about Kyle Rittenhouse. Self-defense is on trial. Guns are on trial as well. It seems it’s all one-sided, however. Depriving an American citizen of the right to self-defense only applies to the Left’s political opponents.

     Indeed. There has been essentially no prosecution of the rioters of that infamous night in Kenosha. They’ve been allowed to do as they please, however violent or destructive. But that an American teenager should dare to stand against them in defense of his family’s property – armed, at that – is unacceptable. Why, it calls into question why we have government-employed, taxpayer-funded police forces!

     An increasing number of Americans are routinely going armed whenever away from their homes. Indeed, many householders now keep a firearm within reach at all times, including when at home. The Left is apoplectic about this. The widespread ownership of firearms limits their ability to terrorize the nation. Now that their constant accusations of “racism” are in the sewer where they belong, intimidation is all they have left.

     There’s a moral in this, Gentle Reader. Machiavelli could tell you. In fact, he did:

     Before all else, be armed. – Niccolo Macchiavelli

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