Chronicles Of The Collapse, UK Edition

     The C.S.O. and I usually watch British murder mysteries and police procedurals in the evening. (We subscribe to Acorn and BritBox.) By and large, they’re exactly what they’re billed to be. However, the more recent ones have been displaying a certain “tilt,” in particular toward the two features the Left has been touting most heavily: “multiculturalism” and climate alarmism. Nearly every series we’ve viewed for some time now has included:

  • Interracial couples;
  • Homosexual protagonists and couples;
  • Muslims in positions of responsibility for public order;
  • Windmills.

     It’s irritating. It makes me want to turn off the Idiot Box and just listen to the C.S.O.’s rather impressive snore. But the worst aspect of it is the endless parade of those bloody windmills. I can’t remember the last segment of anything that didn’t include windmills, usually some detective driving through a large field of them. Which makes the following tweet a real blood pressure elevator:

     Could it possibly get any more in-your-face? Strike that; don’t tell me. I’ve decided that I don’t really want to know.

A Misfire From A Brilliant Commentator

     It does happen, you know. It’s certainly happened to me. Today, it’s happened to Roger Kimball:

     The business of Washington is to make government bigger—forever. That is not what the people, who pay for it, want.

     Well, it’s certainly not what I want. If you’re a regular Gentle Reader of Liberty’s Torch, it’s surely not what you want. But “the people” is a vast and incoherent aggregate. Sad to say, for every identifiable agency in the Executive Branch of the federal government, there exists:

  1. A group that works for it;
  2. Vendors that sell to it;
  3. A portion of “the people” – beneficiaries and ideological supporters – who’d like to see it grow;
  4. A portion of “the people” – hard-pressed taxpayers and ideological opponents – who’d like to see it end.

     Three of those four groups are opposed to the diminution of that agency. Indeed, they’d very much like to see it grow to the skies. Politically, they have always outweighed the fourth group, and probably always will.

     The first three communities enumerated above are usually not perfectly disjoint sets. But they exhibit remarkable cohesion around their shared interests. That’s the basis for the Public Choice dynamic that over-empowers interest groups with short, coherent agendas. Politicians know this, which is why when they “shop for votes,” they try their damnedest to “buy wholesale.” With our money, of course.

     Politicians cannot and do not attempt to please “the people.” They know the folly of that approach. They strive to appeal to a coalition of identifiable interest groups or interest-centered demographics. We hear about such things now and then, for instance when an aspirant to the presidency speaks at a convention held by some sizable union. The candidate most adept at assembling such a coalition usually prevails.

     “The people” is not an interest group. Politicians may give it lip service, but when they troll for votes it could not be further from their thoughts.

     Some Americans do ardently yearn for smaller, more frugal government. Perhaps that even describes the great majority of us. Yet if you ask any one voter whether he’d be willing to sacrifice his particular deduction, subsidy, or subvention, you’re likely to freeze him solid. He’ll hem, haw, and stammer. The prospect will threaten his well-being much too directly.

  • Ask a dairy farmer whether he’d willingly sacrifice dairy subsidies.
  • Ask a teacher whether he’d willingly sacrifice federal “aid to education.”
  • Ask a researcher whether he’d willingly sacrifice his federal research grant.
  • Ask a “senior citizen” whether he’d willingly sacrifice Social Security or Medicare.
  • Ask a union member whether he’d willingly sacrifice the Norris-Laguardia, the Wagner-Taft-Hartley, or the Davis-Bacon Act.
  • Ask a homeowner –there are a great many of us – whether he’d willingly sacrifice the deductibility of the interest on his mortgage.

     That’s how Washington became what it is today. “The people” had nothing to do with it. Nor will they unite around a vision of frugal government without first considering the hazard to their particular giveaway. It’s not a pleasant conclusion, but the facts will support no other.

     The Romans knew the process: Divide ut impera! “Divide to rule!” It works just as well today as it did in the time of the Caesars, and the politicians know it.

While We’re On The Subject Of Power-Lust

     This morning at The Catholic Thing, Francis X. Maier reminds us about an old atrocity in the Sceptered Isle:

     On August 16, 1819, some 60,000 hungry, unarmed workers, with their wives and children, converged on St. Peter’s Field in Manchester to peacefully demand economic and political reform. Barely 11 percent of Britain’s people had the right to vote at the time. Factory conditions in the early years of the Industrial Revolution were abysmal. Meager pay, widespread unemployment, and child labor savaged family life. The poor sank more deeply into poverty. The rich got richer on profits from a system structured to benefit England’s ruling class.
     The response of authorities that day was instructive. Cavalry and bayonet-wielding infantry charged into the protesters. They killed 18 and wounded up to 700. Despite public outrage at the slaughter, the government followed up with a national crackdown on dissent. This involved police raids, mass arrests, harsh anti-sedition laws, and jail sentences. It took decades for the British reform movement to recover and succeed.

     Men determined to rule absolutely do things like that. They eventually provide a rationale – usually something like “public order was at stake” or “there’s a war on” – but the central point is the maintenance of their power.

     Maier’s column is focused on the thesis that “Enlightenment-inspired liberal society” has failed, and must be replaced by a “common-good conservatism.” This is an evasion of the central point, which, ironically, Maier makes early in his column:

     Every society has an elite leadership class, no matter how well disguised. That includes democracies. It thus includes our own.

     Yes, there will always be an “elite” of some sort. The inequality of human ability guarantees that in a free society, some will be smarter, richer, more accomplished, and more admired than others…but that does not justify allowing them power over others. The infamies Maier deplores arise from political power, not from the existence of an “elite.” There is no conception of the “common good” that is immune from such corruption.

     A society that tolerates the existence of such power will always come to grief. See the previous piece if you haven’t already. This Baseline Essay is also highly relevant.

George Orwell Was A Prophet

     …though I doubt that he wanted to be:

     Joe Biden’s government is now planning for the Ukraine conflict to last years – “perhaps decades” – with no clear victor, according to insider claims.
     POLITICO – a German-owned outlet the “intelligence community” often uses to plant information – spoke to a number of current and former officials “granted anonymity to describe sensitive issues” who believe Ukraine could become a frozen conflict.
     “We are planning for the long term, whether it looks frozen or thawed,” said a source the report described as a “U.S. official familiar with the Biden administration’s discussions on Ukraine.”

     [Cited at Ace of Spades HQ. The article itself is behind a paywall.]

     If you think I’ve been citing 1984 too often, have a look at the following, which Orwell inserted into the book: a composition that was purported to be the manifesto of the Emmanuel Goldstein-led opposition to The Party, but was in fact a product of The Party itself:

     The essential act of war is destruction, not necessarily of human lives, but of the products of human labour. War is a way of shattering to pieces, or pouring into the stratosphere, or sinking in the depths of the sea, materials which might otherwise be used to make the masses too comfortable, and hence, in the long run, too intelligent. Even when weapons of war are not actually destroyed, their manufacture is still a convenient way of expending labour power without producing anything that can be consumed. A Floating Fortress, for example, has locked up in it the labour that would build several hundred cargo-ships. Ultimately it is scrapped as obsolete, never having brought any material benefit to anybody, and with further enormous labours another Floating Fortress is built. In principle the war effort is always so planned as to eat up any surplus that might exist after meeting the bare needs of the population. In practice the needs of the population are always underestimated, with the result that there is a chronic shortage of half the necessities of life; but this is looked on as an advantage. It is deliberate policy to keep even the favoured groups somewhere near the brink of hardship, because a general state of scarcity increases the importance of small privileges and thus magnifies the distinction between one group and another. By the standards of the early twentieth century, even a member of the Inner Party lives an austere, laborious kind of life. Nevertheless, the few luxuries that he does enjoy his large, well-appointed flat, the better texture of his clothes, the better quality of his food and drink and tobacco, his two or three servants, his private motor-car or helicopter—set him in a different world from a member of the Outer Party, and the members of the Outer Party have a similar advantage in comparison with the submerged masses whom we call ’the proles’. The social atmosphere is that of a besieged city, where the possession of a lump of horseflesh makes the difference between wealth and poverty. And at the same time the consciousness of being at war, and therefore in danger, makes the handing-over of all power to a small caste seem the natural, unavoidable condition of survival.

     Did you skip over the passages from the book when you first made your acquaintance with Orwell’s masterpiece? You shouldn’t have.

     It may not be the case that the “Inner Party” that currently rules these United States “lives an austere, laborious kind of life,” but the rest of Orwell’s analysis holds together brilliantly. Yet even our political elite will soon be maintained “near the brink of hardship,” for the drive for unbounded and absolute power eschews all other considerations. Present trends continuing, men who lust for unbounded and absolute power will ultimately displace the sybarites that currently reign, by virtue of their superior ruthlessness:

     But when a society establishes criminals-by-right and looters-by-law—men who use force to seize the wealth of disarmed victims—then money becomes its creators’ avenger. Such looters believe it safe to rob defenseless men, once they’ve passed a law to disarm them. But their loot becomes the magnet for other looters, who get it from them as they got it. Then the race goes, not to the ablest at production, but to those most ruthless at brutality. When force is the standard, the murderer wins over the pickpocket. And then that society vanishes, in a spread of ruins and slaughter.

     Rand may not have envisioned the transition from a dominant “looter class” to a supreme “murderer class,” but her very own logic presages exactly that. Should we live to see such days – and I pray that we won’t – remember that you read it here first.

Yet Another Marker For Racism

     Apparently, getting up early is a giveaway:

     Enslaved Africans were forced to work tirelessly from sunrise to sunset, and their white oppressors often used the rhetoric of hard work and discipline to justify their inhumane treatment. This created a false narrative that Africans were inherently lazy and needed the “civilizing” influence of their white masters to teach them the value of work.

     This stereotype has persisted and continues to be perpetuated in various forms, such as the “model minority” myth, which suggests that certain racial and ethnic groups are inherently more disciplined and successful than others.

     Yes, Gentle Reader, that is the most idiotic thing you’ll read today. Wanting to rise early and get on with the business of the day is inherent in the work ethic. Of course, the “victimist” groups aren’t interested in work; they’re probing to see how much they can get from us – i.e., normal white Americans – without having to work for it, through the manipulation of our aversion to confrontation and the unearned guilt their media allies have larded over us.

     The tide is turning as victimists of several varieties give us ever more reasons that we’re inherently bad. Such groups have responded to any sort of concession by escalating their demands. For example, a transgender recently claimed that anyone who would refuse to date a transwoman is therefore a “transphobe.” Time was, they claimed that all they wanted was to be left in peace. Tempora mutantur, for sure.

     Of course, as I observed yesterday, such testing of our tolerance thresholds will bring grief sooner or later – to the victimists, when they discover that they’ve crossed our “the hell with this” threshold. Some people respond to that event with contempt; others with violence. The victimists don’t seem to be aware of the danger they’re courting. They might learn the hard way.

     For the present, the best countermeasure is to own the slur: “Yeah, I’m, a racist / sexist / homophobe / xenophobe / transphobe / what have you. Have a nice day.” It produces a highly satisfying look of frustration on the slur-giver, often accompanied by a red face and a tensing of the muscles. That’s the point of the counterstrike: your attacker has nowhere to go from there, and it pains him. If you can, smile and amble away. If you can’t, go for his / her / its nose. And do have a nice day.

The Strike

     [A short story for you, inspired by an observation from retired World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov. — FWP]


     “We’re not getting anywhere,” Percy growled.
     “Did you expect to?” I said. “I’d say that was rather the point.”
     “But why? “Don’t they have as much to lose from this as the rest of us?”
     “Apparently they don’t think so.” I mused. “Their lives don’t hold a lot of hope, you know.”
     “What are you saying?” Percy would have shaken his head in disbelief, were he able. Battlefield conversations always bring out the rebel in him. “They have enormous possibilities. Things our sort could never even hope for.”
     “It’s the nature of the business,” I said. “Maybe of all of existence. ‘My station and its duties,’ as Hegel put it. For as long as we tolerate the status quo, we’re locked into ours and they’re locked into theirs. The only prospect for changing anything about this madness is to overturn it all—to sweep the board clean and hope that a fresh start might bring better prospects.”
     Percy snorted and hopped to D5. “Fischer and his lunacies. The design is what it is and they should bloody well accept it.”
     I stepped gingerly over to D4 and replied sotto voce. “It’s a lot easier for nobles to do that than for commoners.”
     Percy acted as if he hadn’t heard. “If they don’t accept it, what will become of us, Lance? Just to lie in the sack perpetually, sucking our gums and reminiscing about our glory days?”
     I nodded as best I could. “It’s a dismal prospect, but we already spend most of our lives that way. That, too, is the nature of the business. Ninety-nine percent boredom and indolence, one percent bloodlust and slaughter.”
     He looked back over his shoulder for the uncountableth time. “It pisses me off, Lance.” He sauntered morosely to B6. “I want to break it, but…”
     “I know,” I said as gently as I could at that distance. “You know I’ve tried.”
     “Yeah,” he muttered. “That jaunt of yours to C6 was…”
     “At least that.”
     “But they didn’t budge.”
     “I didn’t expect them to.”
     “So it didn’t do any good, then.”
     “Seems it didn’t.” I stroked Hengeron’s mane.
     Percy eyed his own mount. “Did you fear for him?”
     “Not especially.” I cantered over to B3. “If they won’t act against us, why think they might harm our steeds?”
     “Yeah,” he said. “Good point.” He jumped to C4. “How much longer can it go on, Lance?”
     “Not ours to know.” I eased past him and settled on C5.
     He glowered once more at the unmoving pawns. “I’m getting pissed, frankly.”
     “I wouldn’t do anything rash, Percy,” I said. “Art and Mordred are still trying to negotiate.”
     “I know, but this pointless maneuvering…
     “Hang in there, brother,” I said. “We’re the lucky ones. We’re still in the game and free to charge about, aren’t we?”
     “There is that,” he said. “Where to next?”
     “ I was thinking, maybe D3. How about you?”
     “E3, just to watch their faces fall apart,” he said. “Maybe give Artie a wake-up call.”
     “Let’s do it in tandem. One! Two! Three!”
     We jumped.


Copyright © 2023 Francis W. Porretto. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

Questions That Go Unanswered

     Some are asked by millions:

     Congress seems to be most effective as a machine for enriching its members. There are a great many members and former members who became hugely wealthy during their tenures there. How? A Congressional salary alone could never account for it. Does a seat come with some sort of trading privilege? Or do the firms that flood the lobbies with “legislative consultants” directly pay those who agree to advance their fortunes?

     Mind you, that How? question has been asked of many Congressvermin on both sides of the aisle, since World War II. It arises most predictably when a member is already being viewed dubiously by the public. But it’s never answered to our satisfaction.

     There is an agency of the federal government that supposedly has the responsibility for probing such questions. You know it well; you’ve been taught to fear its ferocity. You propitiate it every year. But for some reason, it denies us the answers. The “answering agency” responsible for probing such matters seems entirely uninterested in the subject…when the target is a federal legislator.

     Funny that it took such an intense interest when the target was Al Capone…or Donald Trump.

Testing The Threshold

     You’ve surely heard about Cori Bush’s demand for $14 trillion in “reparations” to American Negroes. A little arithmetic makes that $350,000 for every Negro in the country. Well, as unlikely as such an award may seem to you, Gentle Reader, there are Negroes demanding a lot more than that:

     A local resident told the Tampa City Council Thursday that the cost of reparations in the city should be “$3 million per person.”
     “All this nonsense, homelessness and all this other garbage you all talk about. Police violence and all this stuff — don’t nobody care about that,” the man said.
     “We care about our reparations. And we have to put White people on notice that we want our reparations. Our foreparents and us didn’t work for free and [get] underpaid and all this nonsense and the White folks get away with it,” the man added,” while “they talk about the great city they’re building.”

     That ciphers out to $120 trillion: approximately equal to the Gross World Product for two and a half years. Can you say “Fat chance?”

     No, it won’t happen, though I have no doubt some of the “bluer” states and cities will offer these whiners something. But it has a larger impact than one might think. It’s a puzzle piece in a developing “whitelash” that must surely be at the starting gate.

     A large percentage of American whites have decided not to put up with any more from such persons. They’re moving from “blacker” to “whiter” districts, some across state lines. They’re segregating themselves occupationally as well as socially. An unprecedented number of white adults now travel armed at all times. More will follow. The “reparations” flacksters should be aware that their ever-escalating demands for something they have not earned and do not deserve are like waving a lit match near an open container of gasoline.

     But the “reparations” scam is only one component in a Left-organized campaign to destroy the country. Add the complete collapse of the southern border. Add the ever-intensifying contest over what shall be taught in the “public” (i.e., government-run and government-controlled) schools. Add the transgenderism mania, and the absurd demands that children as young as toddlers be “transitioned” pharmaceutically and surgically – against the will of their parents.

     The Left’s hostility to normal Americans and what makes their lives possible is undisguised. The assault on the fossil fuels has made that irrefutable. A kinda-sorta public official is even suggesting that the federal government might start seizing farms — in the name of “climate change.” Mind you, John Kerry’s thinking doesn’t extend beyond his fanatic desire to be seen as a mover and shaker. He probably got the idea from his colleagues in Holland.

     In an essay that covers the Los Angeles “Pride Parade,” the “porn and drag queens in schools” business, and the constant pushing of transgenderism on young children, Ace provides some thoughts:

     There’s is a danger to constantly attempting to bully people with the “transphobic” label to make them do what you want: At some point, your ask is too big. And you say, “Well, if you don’t give me your big ask, you’re at transphobe.”
     And at that point, they say: “Okay, I am a transphobe. Now I will identify, proudly, as a transphobe. So now that that’s cleared up, and your pet slur now means absolutely nothing to me, I’m going to start speaking my mind about the viral mental illness you are trying to infect children with.”
     And then what? Do you threaten to call them a “racist” too, if they won’t comply?
     That’s where we are now.
     People have had it.

     I can only hope so. As I wrote some time ago:

     People will tolerate a great deal before they snap, but they will snap. Especially if they’re being told that they must tolerate personal abuse or oppression, the abuse of their loved ones, or the destruction of something they love. And if Americans should snap, the reverberations will circle the globe. As Larry Correia and others have observed, we’ve got two and only two settings: Vote and Shoot Everybody. Governments, law enforcers, bureaucrats, and activists should beware. Day by day we move ever closer to throwing that switch.

     The pressures must be near to the threshold of explosion by now. What more is required? A demand by Asian Americans for reparations because their forefathers came here as cheap labor? Or a demand by Aztlan and La Raza for sovereignty over Arizona, New Mexico, and California?

     I asked my Magic 8-Ball. It replied “Reply hazy. Try again later.” Well, perhaps. But I’m going to buy more ammo in any case.


     Normally, I craft my “big” essay for the day at an early hour. Sorry, not today; I have a meeting with my pastor that takes precedence. So if you’re accustomed to stopping by here early to catch my stuff soon after I write it, endless apologies for your disappointment. Stop by around midafternoon; I do have something on the spike, but it won’t be finished until after lunch at the earliest. Until then, be well.

Quick Survey Questions

We know that many of our readers are engineers, currently active or, like myself, retired.

  1. Are you familiar with the electrical analogy?
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Please leave your answers in a comment. Or if you prefer privacy, please email me: pfervor — at– gmail dot com.

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The Follies Of Friday Columniating

     By the time Friday gets here, I’m usually exhausted. Today is such a Friday. Atop that, I’m sort of in mourning. Holly, our beloved hot tub these past fifteen years, is scheduled to be cut up and hauled away this morning. So have a few links, with brief comments, and enjoy your weekend:

1. One deceiver is no better than another.

     Ilana Mercer likes Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Yes, when it comes to preserving and defending freedom, the GOP has proved unwilling, incapable, or both. That doesn’t mean we should trust a Democrat. Especially not a Kennedy.

     Politics remains a wrong turning. Don’t get caught in yet another bait-and-switch.

2. The racialist hucksters have named a number.

     …and that number is impressive: $14 trillion, which is more than half of the annual Gross Domestic Product of the Land of the Formerly Free. It’s time for some actual American, hopefully one with a national profile, to have a little chat with her:

Cori Bush: We want $14 trillion!
Patriot: Or what?
Bush: Excuse me?
Patriot: You heard me: Or what?
Bush: Don’t the…protests of the last few years mean anything to you? We want justice!
Patriot: You don’t want justice; you want a bribe for not going on another rampage. We’re done with that. There are eighty million heavily armed white men in this country. There are forty million of you. If you want a war, just say the word.

     I know, I know: Not gonna happen. Well, I can dream.

3. This is a U.S. Senator?

     The following should tell you all you need to know about “Senator” John Fetterman of Pennsylvania:

     Note the careful attention to Senate dress codes:

4. This might be the back-breaking straw.

     Americans have been excessively nonconfrontational about many things. Noxious behavior and noxious opinions have proliferated for that reason. But we still stand up for our children:

     Willing or not, here they come. The destructive transgender cult has become so confident and aggressive that White House Press Secretary and professional liar Karine Jean-Pierre just echoed Joe Biden and declared that parents have no right to object to transgender surgeries: “These are our kids. They belong to all of us.”

     Jean-Pierre claimed that she has “met a lot of parents of trans kids … saying how they now have to seriously consider leaving their state to protect their child.” What she means is that some sane states have passed restrictions on permanently damaging “treatments” like puberty blockers and mutilating transgender “surgeries.” How does encouraging a minor to undergo double mastectomies count as “protecting” the child? KJP added, “That’s something that we have to call out and continue to be very clear about. These are kids. These are our kids. They belong to all of us.”

     That’s from the White House Press Secretary, Gentle Reader. That’s the official administration stance on transgendering minor children. I have hopes that if this should get around widely enough, it might be the trigger for the righteous fury we need. We do still love our children…don’t we?

5. A little Catholicism.

     I’ve long admired columnist David Warren. His site Essays in Idleness is a gem of its kind. His latest essay at The Catholic Thing has a few words to say about today’s most sacred cow, “science:”

     Science, as popularly defined, tells people not to pay attention. It takes things that might seem remarkable, and explains them away. For everything can be simply explained. We are reassured that everything is boring, and that by asking questions, and seeking answers, we are wasting our time. Worse, we are wasting the time of others, including the experts, who decide what science is.
     Scientists are important people. One mustn’t waste their time.
     Attention, curiously, is a moral (not scientific) act. It reflects moral character, and it changes the world, from the glibness I have been, as usual, protesting, to the interesting, the paradoxical, the amazing, and the profound. It is the means whereby we discover beauty — right here, in the middle of this world, where it wasn’t expected to be.
     But we are living in a left-brained democracy, in which decisions are made for everyone, as they were throughout the Batflu crisis, in which we had to do stupid things, like wearing masks, and taking untested vaccinations. Huge bureaucracies decided such things, and continue to decide for us, on the “one size fits all” principle — that suits, for instance, Big Pharma and the inmates of laboratories.

     Please read it all, for it is brilliant from first to last.


     I think that’s all for today. It’s time to get on with other things. Enjoy your Friday, and contemplate this bit of regret I heard recently from a colleague”

“Maybe we should have let them eat the Tide Pods.”

The Perils Of Poor Enunciation

     I must admit that I haven’t always liked my given name. One of the reasons I have it is (ulp) my paternal grandmother, an Italian immigrant whose name was Francesca. Another is that I was born in Saint Francis Xavier Hospital in the Bronx. It’s a rather off-putting thing to be named after a hospital; it suggests that either your life will be dedicated to cleaning up after other people’s disasters…or that it will be one.

     Then there are all the people who insist upon calling me Frank. I always demur – “Please call me Fran” – but to no avail. It doesn’t matter how often I protest that particular cognomen; it comes back over and over, never to be laid permanently to rest.

     But here I am, having borne Francis for 71 years now. I suppose I’m resigned to it, to the puzzled frowns of new acquaintances (“Isn’t that a girl’s name?”), and to the innumerable times I’ve had to correct someone else’s spelling of it. Sheesh! You’d think that being hung with a spelling-challenge monstrosity like Porretto would be torment enough.

     But there it is: the name I bear. I’ve seldom found any reason to think it funny or otherwise entertaining…until today. Courtesy of our favorite Graybeard:

     Teachers and amateur didacts: Watch your diction! The minds of the young are delicate things, all too easily led astray.

Who Worries About Backlash?

     Kurt Schlichter doesn’t:

     The Democrat cities are urine-soaked hellholes that reek of pot where criminals stalk unmolested while the full fury of what is supposed to be the law hangs over the head of any citizen who dares do something about it, and that’s good. The idiots who live there voted for turning their urban landscapes into petri dishes of social pathologies, and they should enjoy the full benefits of their decisions. We normal people should avoid these socialist wastelands and elect legislators to Congress who will starve them of the federal funds that enable their decline. In red states, our legislators should wage warfare on the blue tumors in their midst lest they metastasize outside the city limits. And we should ruthlessly point to them as the future Democrats want, which they are, a vision of a psychotic hobo taking a dump on the sidewalk out in front of your house forever.

     That’s just the first paragraph. Read the rest by all means, for from end to end it is filled with win. But as stirring as it is, the collapse of the “blue” cities wouldn’t bring us any closer to the restoration of the Republic. Relying on politics, regardless of at what level, is a wrong turning.

     Psychologist Dr. Peter Breggin has told us that we must not hope for, nor take satisfaction from, the miseries of others, whether they were earned or unearned. He has a point. People who relish the sorrows of others aren’t a decent person’s preferred company. Even predicting that someone will come to grief because of his foolishness can get you a bad reputation, if you look happy about it. This generalizes to large-scale social calamities.

     Yes, Lenin told his followers to “heighten the contradictions.” “The worse, the better,” he proclaimed. But that approach to political change has an iffy track record. Generally, revolutions take place when things had been slowly getting better, but then took a sharp downturn. Not that a revolution is something I want to see here, but that’s the prevailing pattern. Sharp reversals of conviction that pervade a majority, the sort of sea change that could reverse America’s current fortunes electorally, are rarer than successful revolutions. Plus, there’s that nasty little fact of Left-wing dominance of the election system to take into account.

     The federal government is becoming a mountain too steep to surmount. The Left will do anything imaginable to hold onto federal power. Indeed, it would do things that would horrify any decent person. We have 2020 to tell us that. Regaining control of Washington should be regarded as unlikely.

     The states and localities offer better chances…but once again, the Boards of Election are dominated by Leftists. Some of them will even tell you so. The likelihoods might be better than that of regaining federal power, but not by much. Worse, the federal government has too much money power for most of them to resist its demands.

     Politics remains a poor weapon for those who seek freedom. You can throw money, time, and emotion into that pit for a long, long time before you realize that it’s bottomless. They who fatten from that trough will keep you at it until you’re drained of your last dollar and your last erg, the parson reads your eulogy, and the good earth covers you. Our backlash should be against the political class: a complete and permanent washing of our hands, never again to donate to their candidates, to attend their rallies, or to return to their polling places.

     Remember that George Herron quote I posted not long ago? That’s the ticket. Help others to become so personally powerful that they’re un-oppressable. And should your beneficiaries press a crown upon you, thank them for the thought and move on.

The Deniers And You

     I do like that word denier. Its principal meaning, of course, is “one who refuses or rejects a particular assertion or proposition.” Its other meaning is about the fineness of the threads in a garment. Are there any other words with two completely disconnected meanings, according to context? Anyway, on to the main event.

     John Wilder has proposed that all our economic problems are based on the denial of reality. His essay is rather discursive, and I shan’t say more about it here, except to ask: is there any sort of problem that doesn’t have the denial of reality as its root cause?

     Take a minute over that while I fetch more coffee.


     When a problem is identified as flowing from politics or government, a little research is all that’s needed to find someone in the edifice of the State trying to deny reality – or trying to get you to deny it. Pick one. Use your favorite. Trace it backward, toward its origin. If you can’t find someone straining to advance a counterfactual proposition, alert me at once!

     When a problem is personal in nature – some unhappy-making aspect of an individual’s circumstances – an attempt to act as if reality is other than it is can almost always be found somewhere in the mix. You’re fat? Whom shall we blame for that: you, for eating everything you see, or the manufacturers and retailers of spoons? You’re lonely? Might it be because of your repulsive personality, rather than a conspiracy to deprive you of companionship? You’re broke? What else would a spendthrift like you expect?

     (Yes, there are a few personal problems that aren’t the fault of the sufferer, such as being ugly or deformed. But I did say “almost always.”)

     I could go in in this vein. I could talk about transgenderism, or the destruction of the dollar, or the “beautiful at any size” movement. I could point to how the “diversity, equity, and inclusion” hawkers all seem to live in all-white neighborhoods, many in gated and heavily patrolled communities. I could note what’s happening to our military as it absorbs and embraces the “woke” virus and donates all its weaponry to the Taliban and Ukraine. But I think the point has been made.

     Reality’s laws are self-enforcing. We don’t know them in their fullness, but we know they exist and are unbreakable. Thus, denying any aspect of reality must lead, eventually if not immediately, to pain, frustration, sorrow, and – in the best case – repentance.


     This is hardly a “deep” subject. Indeed, there’s no topic that’s shallower. But it seems particularly apposite on Ascension Thursday in this Year of Our Lord 2023. What is, is. Our power to change what is, though impressive, has limits. As I’m about to leave for Mass, rather than beat this into the magma, allow me to close with a passage from Frederic Bastiat’s pamphlet The Law:

     My attitude toward all other persons is well illustrated by this story from a celebrated traveler: He arrived one day in the midst of a tribe of savages, where a child had just been born. A crowd of soothsayers, magicians, and quacks — armed with rings, hooks, and cords — surrounded it. One said: “This child will never smell the perfume of a peace-pipe unless I stretch his nostrils.” Another said: “He will never be able to hear unless I draw his ear-lobes down to his shoulders.” A third said: “He will never see the sunshine unless I slant his eyes.” Another said: “He will never stand upright unless I bend his legs.” A fifth said: “He will never learn to think unless I flatten his skull.”
     “Stop,” cried the traveler. “What God does is well done. Do not claim to know more than He. God has given organs to this frail creature; let them develop and grow strong by exercise, use, experience, and liberty.”

     What God does is well done. He who learns this, and moreover learns to love it and Him, has the best chance of happiness in this life.

     Ignore the soothsayers, magicians, and quacks. Ignore the “Baghdad Bobs” employed by the State. Ignore the media, when they attempt a coordinated strike against what you can see with your own eyes. Ignore your neighbor, if and when he attempts to press a falsehood upon you. Even ignore your spouse and kids, when they demand, as spouses and children so often do, that you act against the reality of your situation.

     Reality isn’t just a concept. Enjoy it. And do have a nice day.

Health Issue

I broke my right shoulder. I am left-handed, but didn’t realize just how I needed my non-dominant hand and arm.
just waiting for the word on whether it needs surgery.

Virtue Envy

     I’ve ranted about the perniciousness of envy a huge number of times. It’s an inexhaustible topic. But there’s an aspect of its evil force that deserves more consideration than I’ve given it to date.

     Consider the completely immaterial occurrence of envy: the envy of someone who is:

  • Not richer than you;
  • Not healthier than you;
  • Not handsomer than you;
  • Not more popular than you;
  • Not more capable than you;
  • Not more admired than you;
  • Not luckier in love than you;
  • Not more powerful than you.

     Have I left out any reason for Smith to envy Jones? Why yes, I have: virtue envy: Smith’s recognition that Jones is simply a better person than he, by Smith’s own reckoning according to his own standards. It might not be something of which Jones is conscious. Indeed, it might well be that Smith isn’t fully aware of it himself. Yet it happens. Indeed, it can be utterly overpowering.

     “Better” does not mean “perfect.” Perfection is an unattainable state for members of Mankind, regardless of the standard to be applied. But there are certainly recognizable differences in virtue among men. They don’t have to be huge or dramatic to incite the envy I speak of here.

     I’m beginning to think such envy has a dominant role in power politics.

     Mind you, I’ve reached the “terminal state” as regards politics: I want it to go away and not come back. However, watching the gyrations of politicians and their hangers-on can still provide a modicum of entertainment, especially once you’ve gone completely through all the British murder mysteries on Acorn and BritBox. (We have, haven’t we, Sweetie?) It’s become plain that some of them are so consumed by envy of others who are simply better people than they, that it’s warped their brains – perhaps permanently. And of course, an individual overcome with envy will naturally set out to destroy the object thereof. That’s what envy is about: the desire to harm another even though it can bring no gain to oneself.

     Consider for a moment Alvin Bragg’s determination to prosecute, convict, and imprison hero Marine Daniel Perry. Bragg is high among the reasons crime has exploded in New York City. He draws a large salary as the Manhattan District Attorney, surely more than whatever Perry earns today. As one of the critical individuals in New York’s “justice system,” he must know himself to be a low creature – and that Daniel Perry is the better man. Such men must not be allowed to show Bragg up by doing the job he refuses to do!

     You’ll probably find virtue envy a strange category for this little story, though I contend that it fits perfectly:

     A hunt is on to find a phantom pothole filler who appears to be doing the council’s job for them.
     The pothole in question was a rather large crater in Lostwithiel, Cornwall, that was so big the road had to be closed to drivers.
     Cornwall Council has kept it shut since the beginning of April while its roads repair company Cormac deal with more pressing potholes.
     But the mysterious do-gooder got fed up of waiting and unofficially opened the road after filling the hole themselves.
     Town hall bosses took offence at the unsanctioned act and closed the road a second time.
     It’s set to stay shut until June 9 when the council will hopefully have repaired it.

     Cornwall’s councilmen don’t even know the name of the “phantom pothole filler”…but do they ever hate him! He did a job they were unwilling to do, despite high taxes and incontestable responsibility for fixing the problem. Should his identity even come to light, he’s in for the proverbial world of hurt. For the moment, the only outlet for their fury is to punish the general public to whom they’re responsible, by keeping the road closed unnecessarily. Envy-suffused people do that sort of thing.

     Private citizens are aware of the envy of officeholders and their means for expressing it. The reactions vary from contempt through indifference to abject, groveling terror. It tends to explain why, when a private citizen takes a nominally public responsibility onto his own shoulders, he excites as many cautions as praises. Read this old piece and the comments to it for the flavor.

     Think not that anyone might be immune to virtue envy. Suspect it in anyone who contends for public office. Challenge him on it in public! Give him a case such as the one above and ask him, should he be installed in the office he seeks, how he’d react to being “one-upped” by a private citizen. At the very least you’ll make him uncomfortable. He’ll either dance around the question or refuse to answer a “hypothetical.” Then remind him of this stunning quote from Eric Hoffer:

     A man is likely to mind his own business when it is worth minding. When it is not, he takes his mind off his own meaningless affairs by minding other people’s business…The vanity of the selfless, even those who practice the utmost humility, is boundless.

     …and of this one, which pertains to bureaucracies, committees, and councils of every sort:

     There is no telling to what extremes of cruelty and ruthlessness a man will go when he is freed from the fears, hesitations doubts, and the vague stirrings of decency that go with individual judgement.

     Have a nice day.

Chronicles Of The Collapse

     Via Arthur Sido:

     The leader of Minnesota’s Democratic Party says he is calling an emergency meeting this week to “ban individuals engaged in violent assaults” from its ranks after a tense confrontation erupted over the weekend at an event to nominate candidates for a Minneapolis City Council seat.
     The showdown between supporters of Minneapolis Council Member Aisha Chughtai and her challenger, Nasri Warsame, on Saturday has been surrounded by allegations of assault from both campaigns ahead of the November election.
     Video shows the incident began after a crowd of Chughtai supporters took the stage in preparation for her speech, which caused an uproar among Warsame supporters. Some Warsame supporters then jumped on the stage, shouting, banging on tables and waving signs. The Ward 10 convention ultimately was adjourned without a nominee being chosen.

     One contender for that Council seat, Aisha Chughtai, is Pakistani; the other, Nasri Warsame, is Somali. For those who haven’t been following the action, Minneapolis is overrun by Third World immigrants, notably from Africa and the Islamic Middle East. Perhaps this is the way nominating conventions are held in those locales.

     Arthur has a pungent analysis, too:

     The chaos on display at [the] chimp-out in Minneapolis is a glimpse into the future of America. Importing low IQ savages clinging to a primitive, violent religion is bad enough but making them citizens and giving them the power to vote will be the end of America.

     I can’t argue with that. Can you, Gentle Reader?

A Coordinated Attack On Homeowners And Homeownership

     By now, we in the Right should be accustomed to seeing our political adversaries colluding on their most important initiatives. It’s certainly happened often enough already. One particularly threatening such collusion has been coming to light in recent weeks – and if you own a detached home in a district zoned for single-family residences, you’re one of the targets.

     Let’s start with a video:

     While it’s notable that this video was uploaded by “southernprepper1,” the impact of the thing goes well beyond anything of interest to the preparationist community. Those sheds average about two hundred square feet in footprint. They’re “raw” structures: no provisions for heat, plumbing, or electricity. They’re not insulated against the weather, and they’d be difficult to secure against attack. But great God in Heaven, imagine how many of them you could cluster onto an open acre of land!

     Other people are imagining it, too – and they’re not your friends.

     “Blue” governors, county executives, and mayors have been straining to carve holes in the traditional method for establishing a district of single-family housing: zoning. The usual pseudo-justifications have been flown: “exclusionary zoning practices,” “affordable housing,” “need for diversity,” and so forth. Property taxes and restrictions on modifications to existing residences have been increasing in tandem. The upshot is the desire to make it difficult for individual families to own a plot of land that’s exclusively theirs.

     Who do you suppose is being served by such intrusions onto Americans’ aspirations for a plot of their own? Might it be the open-borders crowd that cheers the flood of illegal aliens pouring into our country? Or perhaps the population-redistributionists who seek to undermine “red” districts and spaces with voters more friendly to the Left’s agenda? Or maybe just people who hate to see others enjoying a measure of peace and quiet?

     Several state legislatures have contemplated granting the governor “override authority” over local zoning decisions. Included in such grants would be the power to seize “under-utilized” parcels for “affordable housing” or “emergency accommodations.” Barack Hussein Obama tried it at the federal level. He almost got away with it.

     Now for a swerve: Combine the half-concealed hostility to private ownership of land with the huge influx of illegal aliens enabled by the demise of “Title 42,” the Left’s unconcealed hostility toward individually-owned gasoline-powered vehicles, and the World Economic Foundation’s “15-minute cities” proposal. What do you see?

     Have a few words from Long Island’s jewel in the Dextrosphere’s crown, Maura Dowling:

     Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) for the World Economic Forum’s 15-minute cities will be something to behold.
     ADUs are usually under 1,000 sq. ft. and are usually just secondary structures to a main structure, like a Mother-and-Daughter suite.
     The WEFs want you to think of them as your home but are moving ahead in secret.
     “You will own nothing,” as these structures will be built upon government and/or privately owned land for the people to rent. The 15-minute city is marketed as a futuristic town where everyone will live within 15 minutes of essential services. Some may say that large cities already meet this criterion, but the difference is that people currently have the ability to own their properties.
     The World Economic Forum is also proposing more “micro-housing units” or “plug-in houses” that will be no larger than 500 sq ft. Cars will be unnecessary in these sustainable cities, as reducing fossil fuels and sustainability is the top priority.

     That’s chilling enough, but wait: there’s more! And I promise that you won’t like it any better:

     There are many articles on this “trend.” Just type “adult dormitory” into Google’s search box and have fun. And really: what else could we have expected from a scheme for packing us all tightly together in these movement-restricted “15-minute cities?”

     Freedom in practical terms demands space and privacy. The more tightly grouped with others you are, the less latitude of action you enjoy. Crowding engenders shared services for things such as water, sewers, garbage disposal, and electrical power. Shared services beget control structures and bureaucracies. They also beget friction and conflicts. And of course, it’s inherently more difficult to escape a crowded district than a sparsely populated one.

     That’s enough, I think. Either you get the idea by now, or you’re numb between the earphones. As I have an acre of my own, it chills me to the core. I think I’m going to purchase that KSG25 shotgun and a whole lot of low-recoil ammo. Your preparations are your own affair.

The Washington Monument Defense, Federal Edition

     Our favorite Graybeard has the story:

     In the last few weeks, there has been almost a constant replay of a topic I’ve written about almost since the first year of this blog: the recurring disappointment of the “debt ceiling”. This wasn’t a topic every year because the debt ceiling isn’t approached every year. As I pointed out many times,

     The biggest lie, however, is that there’s really a debt ceiling at all. There hasn’t been one time since the debt ceiling became law in 1917 that the ceiling has been reduced. It’s either raised, or suspended – which pretty much means raised – every time the limit seems like a hard limit. If every time the ceiling becomes a restraint the ceiling is raised or ignored, how can they claim to have a ceiling? Does it create even the smallest amount of restraint of spending in the congress?

     “Restraint” and “Congress” really don’t belong in the same sentence. When it comes to spending, Congress acknowledges no restraints, as Gray notes in the above. But threaten Congress with even a cosmetic veneer of restraint, and what a symphony of agonized screams!

     The next big lie is “we’re going to go into default.” Again: bullshit!

     This week’s bullshit is that restraining spending so that our budget remains under the debt limit means the government goes into default. That is not default – by definition. Default would be refusing to pay the payments due on our debt – the interest on the debt. Rather than default, this would be better called “living within their means” or “being responsible”. We will not default unless the administration chooses to.

     The Debt Clock tells me that the Time Of This Writing, the interest due on our national debt is roughly $568 billion. The Federal Tax Revenue is $4.61 trillion, meaning the interest on the debt is 12.3% of revenue. Only a fool, or someone deliberately trying to destroy the “full faith and trust” in the dollar would choose to not pay the interest on the debt. Holding the spending limit where it is would not affect that at all.

     Since FDR, Congressional spending has been almost entirely an exercise in vote-buying. But politicians would rather give up their genitals than forgo the privilege of indebting future generations to purchase popular support.

     Now for the critical observation: were Congress to decide not to pay the interest on the federal debt, who would be willing to purchase U.S. Treasury bills – the formal instrument whose sale is used to increase the debt – thereafter? All future federal debt would have to be financed by the Federal Reserve Bank. Every dollar Congress would thereafter appropriate, over and above federal tax revenues, would be a brand-new dollar, created out of the primordial void to leech value from all the other dollars in existence. Inflation would rise to levels Americans have never before experienced. The magnitude of that disaster is beyond my ability to estimate, though perhaps the Congressional Budget Office could provide an analysis.

     They’ll pay the interest on the debt, all right. Whether the imaginary “debt ceiling” is raised or not.

     See also these Baseline Essays:

     …and this more recent tirade, as well.

     (Need I tell you yet again to buy gold and silver? I didn’t think so.)

Verbal Subterfuges 2023-05-15

     The slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts. — George Orwell

     With the above, Orwell hit near but not quite on the mark. He crept closer to the bull’s-eye with his conception of Newspeak, in which a character posited that “thoughtcrime” could be made impossible simply by eliminating the words required to think it:

     “Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it….The Revolution will be complete when the language is perfect. Newspeak is Ingsoc and Ingsoc is Newspeak.”


     The perversion of language is critical to the destruction of a society. But there are discrete “fronts” in such an attack. The famous observation that appending “social” to any other abstract noun inverts its meaning is one such front. Here’s another: a clever one in which words that wear haloes are combined to destroy the meanings of both:

     During an appearance on MSNBC’s “Inside with Jen Psaki,” McGill Johnson told host Jen Psaki that the reason why she’s calling for changes to the nation’s court system is due to recent attacks “on our democratic rights and our democratic freedoms.”

     John Hinderaker, who cites this bit of verbal prestidigitation, has one focus: the attempt to defame the Supreme Court’s recent Dobbs decision. I have another: the prefixing of “democratic” to the words “rights” and “freedoms.”

     There is nothing less “democratic” than a right. Rights arise from our nature as human beings. To call them “democratic” is to say that they depend on the willingness of the majority to tolerate them. The same can be said about “freedom.” If you are free by right, then “democracy” has nothing to do with it, except as concealment for the plans of those who seek to make you unfree.

     I know many of my Gentle Readers feel beleaguered by events. I know further that to be forever “on the lookout” for practices such as these is especially wearying. But at the very least, be ready to snort in contempt when one happens by. They’re more important to the “progressive” undermining of our country’s values than I could capture in any words of my own.

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