A Prediction That Drips Blood

     If you haven’t yet viewed last night’s Tucker Carlson Tonight, the first fifteen minutes of it, at least, are very much worth your time. Carlson is forthright in predicting the imminent removal of “President” Joseph R. Biden – by his own party. His analysis of the reasons for foreseeing this unprecedented event are simple and clear. They come down to this: Biden is an embarrassment that threatens Democrat Party hegemony over Washington.

     An electoral disaster for the Democrats is looming. Both Houses of Congress are now predicted to fall to Republican control. There’s probably no way to avert it at this stage. All the same, the Party would like to retain some measure of influence on Capitol Hill. So if Tucker is correct, they’re about to try the Praetorian Guard stunt: they’ll remove the “emperor” and slot in a new one.

     Trouble is, while Carlson is correct about the Party’s self-protective priorities, the ambitions of individuals must still be reckoned with. There are a number of Democrats who want the Oval Office for themselves, and they’ll do just about anything to get it.

     For starters, consider the person nominally next in line for the presidency under the established rule of succession: Vice-President Kamala Harris. Would the Democrats’ strategists and kingmakers contemplate even for an instant allowing the universally disliked and ridiculed Harris into the power seat? It seems unthinkable. Yet there she is; what could they do about her? No doubt high-ranking Democrats are pondering that question as we speak.

     Let’s imagine that the Democrats do find a way to dispose of Harris without undue violence. Who comes next? Why, it’s the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi! Is this…person any more suitable as the next figurehead for the hard-Left Establishmentarians in control of the federal government? Probably not; Pelosi is older than Biden and has virtually no power base any longer, even within the House Democrat caucus. More, recently she’s been embarrassing herself in public almost as often as has Biden. So she’s another obstacle to be cleared away.

     After the Speaker of the House comes the President Pro Tempore of the Senate. Right now that’s eighty-two year old Patrick Leahy. Is Leahy any better than Biden or Pelosi as a figurehead for the Administration? Where are the young guns of the Democrat Party? Does it have any, or have age and too tenacious a grip on power by septuagenarians and octogenarians hollowed out its “presentable” cadre?

     The Democrats must decide immediately. The Speaker of the House and President Pro Tem of the Senate would both fall to the Republicans after January 3, 2023. A midterm transition of power in the White House would threaten the Democrats even more seriously than leaving Biden in the Oval Office…and it has become clear that they cannot leave Biden in the Oval Office. The stakes have risen too high and the odds against them are too great.

     It’s not looking good, Gentle Reader – and I mean that both for the Democrats and for the country. For while none of those individuals are fit for the purpose of supplanting the increasingly embarrassing Biden, each of them will fight a outrance for the possibility of sitting at the Resolute desk. There’s going to be a bloodbath – at a time of crisis, widespread discontent, and loss of popular confidence beyond anything the nation has experienced since the attack on Pearl Harbor.

     Pray that the tide won’t drown the rest of the country.

The Power Continuum

     As the status quo is quoing along steadily just now, I thought I might resurrect an earlier Fran and write about one of my earlier areas of inquiry: power as exercised in the anarchic world of the “international order.”

     Commentators on geopolitics often refer to the distinctions between “hard” and “soft” power. Mostly, they mean the same thing by those terms, and mostly, the distinctions they draw are valid. But there’s more to the subject than a dichotomy between “hard” and “soft” can express. Current events in Europe provide us with some illuminating examples.

***

     Before we plunge into those considerations, allow me to quote from the Foreword of my novel Freedom’s Scion:

     Other prominent science fiction writers have delved into the possibilities of a society that’s resolved that there shall be no State. However, none of the ones with which I’m familiar address the sociodynamics of such a society: the forces that would shape its development, with special emphasis on those that would tend to tear it from its founding premise. For me, that’s the really fascinating thing about anarchism. You see, it’s been tried, with varying degrees of longevity and success, many times in the history of Man. Yet there are no anarchic societies left on Earth as I write this foreword.
     Well, except for one: the whole of the human race.
     The States of Earth exist in an anarchic relation to one another. Each has its own regional code of law, which might differ markedly from all the others. Despite several thrusts at the matter over the centuries, there is no “super-State” to enforce a uniform code of law over them all. More, they view one another as competitors in many different areas; their populations and institutions are often in sharp economic competition with one another. Thus, they are often at odds. They resolve important disputes among them through negotiation or warfare.
     Yet individuals manage to move among them with a fair degree of facility and (usually) little risk. Cross-border trade is commonplace, in some places torrential. Though wars are frequent, they seldom result in major alterations to the overall political pattern. The uber-anarchy of Terrestrial society exhibits more stability than one would expect from two hundred well armed, quarrelsome States, each of which perpetually schemes at snatching some advantage at another’s expense.

     The central truth here is that in the absence of a supreme authority with enough practical power to enforce its decrees upon elements subordinate to it, what we have is an anarchic order. The United Nations, regardless of the beliefs of its boosters, cannot and does not qualify for the position. If a “super-State” that exercises hegemony over the whole world should ever emerge, it’s unlikely to resemble the UN. (It’s also unlikely to be well disposed toward freedom.)

     States use coercive power to get what they want. It’s their sole effective method, for they produce nothing anyone would voluntarily purchase. Just as States coerce their subjects, they will attempt to coerce one another, though their abilities and means will vary. And of course when one State attempts to coerce another, there might be a retaliation: something a national government doesn’t expect from the individuals and associations beneath it.

***

     “Hard” power is probably the one upon which there is the widest agreement. The consensus is that it consists of military power: the ability to inflict damage upon a target by direct means. As that’s what militaries are designed to do, to equate a State’s “hard” power with its military capabilities follows naturally.

     However, there is a good argument that other kinds of “hard,” or perhaps “firm,” power exist: that is, putatively non-military means by which an opponent can be threatened with severe damage. We’re seeing an example of such a means now, as Russia’s Vladimir Putin attempts to impose his will upon Germany and other States by threatening to withhold the natural gas upon which Europeans have become dependent.

     Putin hasn’t threatened a military assault upon Germany. There’s no reason to think Russia’s armed forces will move on Germany with intent to “kill people and break things.” But the loss of access to Russian-supplied natural gas could topple Germany’s economy, to say nothing of how many Germans would be impoverished or frozen out of their homes. The specter of that sort of damage weighs almost as heavily on the German government as would the prospect of an armed assault.

     A little way further down the power spectrum, we find Putin’s decree that henceforward, Russia will accept only payment in rubles for its oil and gas. This implies that prospective purchasers of oil or gas must first acquire rubles. There are international currency exchanges for such things. Also, any government or company that sells to Russia can acquire rubles that way as well. But the exchange rates are largely determined by the actions of governments through the manipulations of their own currencies. This thrust at the world’s previously agreed “reserve currency” – the U.S. dollar – presses European would-be purchasers of Russian oil and gas indirectly but significantly. The funds they have available for international trade are nearly all denominated in dollars, and the dollar is weakening rapidly. That elevates the value of the ruble, a considerable advantage to Russian importers.

     Still further down the spectrum are flexible and renegotiable trade and travel agreements between nations. Tariffs, import and export limitations, “most favored nation” status, and imposts and excises can all be used to bias flows of trade. So also can restrictions on who and what may cross certain borders. These tools are often employed in international negotiations, especially when a change to one can significantly affect an important industry in another. It’s a “spongy” sort of power, but its effect is not ignored by the international bourse.

     At the “softest” end of the spectrum come measures designed to influence world opinion: favorable and unfavorable statements by statesmen; media coverage of developments slanted for particular effects; arrangements for conferences, public events, and “visits of state;” and the granting or withholding of visas to the citizens of specific nations. Though these seemingly inflict no harm on their targets, they are sometimes effective in changing the behavior of one State toward another. Consider the media tumult that arose when it was discovered that China, Brazil, India, and South Africa had deliberately tried to evade having Barack Obama meet with them after a Copenhagen conference on “global warming:”

     The Copenhagen conference was a lesson in power and humility. The countries in the BASIC bloc demonstrated that the United States lacks the leverage necessary to convince them to make decisions that work against their national interests. And Mr. Obama is learning the uncomfortable lesson that there are limits to what his personal charisma can achieve.

     Mr. Obama did make history at Copenhagen, but not in the way he expected. It says a great deal about American power and prestige when international leaders go to so much trouble to avoid meeting with the president of the United States. The American Century is over.

     While that snub didn’t directly alter a single dollar of trade flow among any of the nations involved, it certainly affected the attitudes of those who saw America’s president have to force his way in where he wasn’t wanted.

***

     A stroke taken anywhere along the power continuum implies the possibility of escalation, if the active State has power resources beyond what its government has already employed. It’s well for a government to be aware of other States’ possibilities whenever its strategists are planning something that might upset one or more of them. The awareness should include knowing whether and which other States might join the contretemps, for States sometimes have more powerful allies that will act in their stead. That has been one of the most important assets of small and militarily weak States, historically. It continues to be important today. However, as the “great powers” of the century behind us wane – and all of them are doing so – their “client” states will find themselves rethinking their stances on such matters as military budgets and military readiness.

Sums it up perfectly.

Further, the Democrats’ program of crazy nostrums such as Modern Monetary Theory—just print money!—and Green Energy (free wind and solar!) have resulted almost overnight in rampant inflation, severe energy shortages and skyrocketing prices.[1]

The article from which this is taken is interesting, if for no other reason that its author has an interesting take on the removal of Richard Nixon as precedent.

Notes
[1] “There is a Tide in the Affairs of Men.” By Michael Walsh, The Pipeline, 4/4/22.

Exceptions Have Consequences

     These past few years, there’s been a lot of loose talk about “the rule of law.” Quite a lot of that chatter has come from persons who seem not to understand it. Or perhaps they do, and are just using the phrase as a rhetorical bludgeon with which to flail their political opponents. That would be plausible, as more often than not what they’re railing against has nothing to do with the actual meaning of “the rule of law.”

     While this may already be perfectly clear to the Gentle Readers of Liberty’s Torch — indeed, I would hope so – nevertheless I will state it plainly for the 2317th time this year. “The rule of law” means equality of all persons before the law – that it is the law that rules, and not any particular person or group. The rule of law holds that every living person is subject to the requirements of the law, regardless of his identity or status. Be he president or pauper, if he breaks the law, the law must hold him to account.

     These past few decades, governments have been awarding themselves exceptions to the law. They’ve claimed that in certain circumstances, the law should not bind them or their agents – and they’ve proceeded to act on that claim. This is a deliberate violation of the rule of law. Unfortunately, the courts have mostly winked at it. But exceptions have consequences. When the exception is to a law that protects life and property, the consequences can be lethal.

     Consider this news story cited at Captain’s Journal:

     At around 12:30 a.m. on March 18, several people broke down a Houston resident’s door, home security camera footage shared by police showed.

     The intruders, armed with rifles and guns, yelled “HPD” as they entered the home, the video showed.

     The resident of the apartment was sleeping at the time and told police he heard someone attempting to kick down his door.

     He grabbed his handgun and told police he “did not think that they were the police” and fired his gun several times, according to a news release from the Houston Police Department’s Robbery Division. The resident believed the suspects, who he said were men, were there to rob him.

     Clad in black masks and dark clothing, the attempted robbers fired their guns, causing shots to go through the walls and into other apartments, police said in the release.

     Fascinating, isn’t it? The robbers “identified themselves” as Houston police. The homeowner elected to take up arms against them, and an exchange of gunfire followed. Fortunately, the homeowner was not injured. But it’s the situational incentives that matter most.

     In practical terms, it didn’t matter that the intruders were criminals performing a home invasion. Police no-knock raids have already claimed many lives, including the lives of complete innocents. They’ve also destroyed quite a bit of private property. Such destruction is never recompensed regardless of subsequent developments. And of course we have the phenomenon of “SWATting,” which has become a favored, deadly prank in some particularly vicious circles.

     The central point here is the change to the incentives that arises from the exception to the Fourth Amendment the police have awarded themselves, with the courts’ tacit approval. A man who hears his door being broken down knows that his life is in danger. Yes, it could be the cops…but so what? The cops have killed quite a number of innocents on these no-knock raids. Should the homeowner trust that “it will be all right this time?” Or should he act to defend himself in whatever fashion is possible?

     After all, the raid might be robbers pretending to be cops. That’s already happened a few times. Even if it is the cops, it might have nothing to do with any crime. It might be about the market value of his property.

     Herschel comments as follows:

     [P]olice should understand that while they are recklessly invading homes, they aren’t just putting our lives at risk. They’re putting their own lives at risk too.

     They must understand that criminals have caught on to the game. Announce that you’re police, yell obscenities, scream for people to get on the floor, and instinctively some people will do that.

     But understand that we can’t do that. We … cannot … do … that. We don’t know who you are and we have our own lives to protect.

     This is the consequence of the exception to the Fourth Amendment the police have awarded themselves. Their intentions are irrelevant. Whatever statute they seek to enforce is irrelevant, as the Fourth Amendment, being part of the Constitution of the United States, is the supreme law of the land. The protection of one’s own life takes moral and practical precedence over police zealotry in “law enforcement.”

     And thus it shall remain.

***

     It’s well understood that an unenforceable law weakens respect for the law in general. Worse, when the consequences of the attempts to enforce such a law manifest themselves, they cause those who know about them to distance themselves from the law and its enforcers. Instead of being seen as protectors of public order and the rights of the innocent, the cops become one of the enemies thereof. The consequences of that shift of viewpoints should require no great unpacking by your Curmudgeon.

     Perhaps these are “unintended consequences.” That doesn’t matter in the slightest. If they weren’t anticipated – we must pray that they weren’t – they should compel the immediate repeal of the law under whose color they eventuated. If the law remains in force, the legislators and enforcers have only themselves to blame for what will follow.

     “Should” be “obvious,” eh? But politicians and public officials greatly dislike admitting to mistakes. Historically, they prefer to “double down,” regardless of the hopelessness of their positions. Laws that criminalize victimless crimes – “crimes” that involve no one but consenting adults, doing nothing but transacting peacefully – provide the best possible demonstration.

     Which is why “supporting your local police” is becoming more problematic year after year.

What is left of Western moral authority?

It became clear [after the author’s research] that what’s been happening in Syria was not a spontaneous, organic, popular uprising against a tyrant, but a proxy regime-change attempt war in the works since the mid 2000’s against the quite popular Assad. This effort was spearheaded by the US, UK, France, and Israel, using Sunni violent fundamentalists and extremists . . . armed and funded by the West and [the extremists’] regional allies of Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Qatar to start the violence and do the dirty work.

And the result? How about this:

This is the exact, horrifying, predictable result of the policies described above. This is what the West and the Turkish, Qatari and Saudi dirtbags are about. The highest and best expression of important segments of the “civilized” world. And millions displaced and over 400,000 dead. For nothing.

Notes
[1] “Red Alert: What Seeing The War in Syria Taught Me About US/Western Government and Media Propaganda.” By Janice Kortkamp, LewRockwell.com, 4/2/22.

Parental Rights, From the Perspective of a Parent

You’ve likely heard about the Dread “Don’t Say Gay” bill. That’s the name bestowed on the bill by its vehement opponents.

Other than some organizations that are explicitly Christian – and, of a traditional Christian POV – you’ve likely heard little.

That’s because the media is going out of its way to find the most out-there proponents they can manage to locate, putting them – and ONLY them – on camera, and contrasting them with sad-eyed gays, anxious only to live their own lives, without being harassed by those “intolerant haters”.

Right.

That’s not what the bill is about – Francis did a delightful post on that here.

I won’t spend much time re-capping what others have done, in posts, and in their own websites (the link is to a specifically traditional parents rights group). And, if you, like me, want to read the actual bill, here’s a link.

Instead, I ask the question, who speaks for the child?

That would have been a ridiculous question when I was a kid. Of course, the parents, who have the obligations and responsibilities for raising that child, are the proper ones to make those decisions. They MIGHT consult so-called professionals – doctors, teachers, therapists, etc. – but they weren’t required to, and, in the event they did, were free to ignore that advice.

It’s been a long, hard slog for The Left to get to a point where the parents’ right to decide issues in their own family can be so easily ignored. The ‘experts’ have fought parents who took their kids out of taxpayer-supported schools, whether to try other educational venues or home-school. So far, although certain local jurisdictions have pursued legal actions against the parents, that right is – relatively – respected. Some school systems harass parents, by insisting on inspections of the home-school, mandating curriculum and lesson plans, and forbidding the students from participation in local sports or educational opportunities.

COVID-justified closures of many schools ended that – with a bang. In March, 2021, the percentage of home schooled children varied, from a low of 1.7% in Massachuchetts (the home of the original compulsory education laws), to a high of 10.6% in North Carolina.

Those numbers likely UNDER-count the numbers (from a National Home Schooling research group). Their data is of those who actually report that they have officially begun teaching their own children. Many people, during the time schools were not available, simply took the initiative without bothering to notify the school. Others found that their kids were still counted as present (Possibly because of the financial advantage to have more students. Every student home-schooled or in an alternative to government ed is a student whose state attendance-based money is not sent to the school).

The Census Bureau figures are higher – much higher. And the Census data is from March of 2021, also. I think if we add in online schools, the trend is obvious.

Having said that, if the online schools only duplicate the values of the physical schools, that’s not an improvement in parental autonomy.

The thing is, parents have to be actively involved in their child’s education. This could be both an opportunity for families, AND for the many teachers who’ve left the field because of the push to impose the values of The Left. They could work with families to generate a yearly curriculum, and create lessons. Those could then be available to other parents who are not pleased with the direction of the schools. Most of this could be available for download online (or hard copy, if preferred). Add in integrated lessons, available for free (some state governments provide a slew of online resources – South Carolina is exceptional in that), and you have a school-in-the-home that can be modified for individual students.

Can EVERY parent do that?

Probably not. But, local churches and parents groups can help them with the process, and share what works for them.

Now, back to That Florida Bill.

I’ve been reading it, and found that it’s not what has been described (Oy! SUCH a surprise!). For example, in the House bill, there IS an exception for mandatory reporting to parents:

“School district personnel may not discourage or prohibit parental notification of and involvement in critical decisions affecting a student’s mental, emotional, or physical health or well-being. This subparagraph does not prohibit a school district from adopting procedures that permit school personnel to withhold such information from a parent if a reasonably prudent person would believe that disclosure would result in abuse, abandonment, or neglect, as those terms are defined in s. 39.01.”

I’m not completely crazy about the way that one’s worded; a Dedicated Leftist could use that to escape any responsibility for reporting, should they be so inclined.

So, does this bill make teachers “Not Say Gay!”?

Nope.

“Classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.

In terms of health services:

“At the beginning of the school year, each school district shall notify parents of each healthcare service offered at their student’s school and the option to withhold consent or decline any specific service. Parental consent to a health care service does not waive the parent’s right to access his or her student’s educational or health records or to be notified about a change in his or her student’s services or monitoring as provided by this paragraph.

And, as for those intrusive classroom questionnaires?

Before administering a student well-being questionnaire or health screening form to a student in kindergarten through grade 3, the school district must provide the questionnaire or health screening form to the parent and obtain the permission of the parent.

Those are the parts that most concern FL schools, and the people working in them.

K-3 students. So, a teacher cannot bring up gender/sex ‘discussions’ in class. If a kid asks the question, a teacher MAY answer, providing the content of that response is ‘age appropriate’. That teacher may also respond, “That’s a question that your parents might better answer.” In other words, leave it to the families to decide what THEIR child is ready to hear, in the appropriate context.

THAT’S what they hate.

An Uncomfortable If Necessary Reminder

     A few days ago, Michelle Malkin reminded us about a horrific event that should have been prevented, but wasn’t:

     This week marks the 17th anniversary of the court-sanctioned murder of Terri Schindler Schiavo. Under the order of a Florida judge who never bothered to visit her and an adulterous spouse-in-name-only who ranted “When is that b—— gonna die?” to one of Terri’s nurses, American legal and medical authorities supervised the cruel, two-week-long starvation and dehydration of a profoundly disabled woman who was not terminally ill and who had an army of family members ready to care for her for the rest of her natural life.

     Please read it all. You might not remember the events Miss Malkin chronicles in her essay. In either case, we can all use a reminder of what was done to a helpless woman so that her husband could marry the lover he’d taken while she lay helpless.

     The following essay first appeared at Eternity Road:

* * *

The Convergence Is Complete

     Here are the facts, as your Curmudgeon has them:

     In 1990, Teresa Schindler-Schiavo’s heart ceased to beat for several minutes. The resulting hypoxia caused severe brain damage, which left her helpless, unable to care for or feed herself. Doctors recently appointed by Florida courts have called her condition a “persistent vegetative state.”

     However, according to several witnesses, Terri still responds to various stimuli. She can’t speak, and may not recognize specific persons or elements in her surroundings, but her sensorium is not yet wholly disconnected from her brain. Nor does her brain appear to have lost all its non-autonomic functions.

     Michael Schiavo, Terri’s husband, has petitioned to have Terri’s feeding tube removed — in effect, to starve his wife to death — on the representation that she would have wanted it that way. He contends that she clearly expressed that desire to him, though no written records of such a desire exist. That is, there is no “living will” for Terri Schindler-Schiavo.

     After protracted hearings and appellate decisions, the Florida courts have granted Michael Schiavo’s request that Terri’s feeding tube be removed. Unless federal authorities step in to prevent it, this will bring about Terri’s death by starvation, a process that could take up to two weeks.

     Several Congressmen are attempting to use Congress’s subpoena power to delay the inception of this process of execution. Whether the Florida principals and the courts that have backed them will yield to superior federal authority remains to be seen.

     For some years, Michael Schiavo has been living with another woman, who has borne him two children. He and Terri are spouses only in the eyes of the State. Yet he has refused to allow divorce proceedings that would transfer guardianship of Terri to her parents.

     Michael Schiavo also stands to benefit monetarily from Terri’s death. The amount is in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. A philanthropist, sensing that this might be the true reason Michael wants Terri to die, has offered to buy her life for $1 million — that is, to pay Michael Schiavo $1 million if he will only relinquish guardianship of his helpless wife. The offer was refused.

     The Florida courts that granted Michael Schiavo’s petition to starve his wife to death made a finding of fact, based solely on Michael’s representations that Terri would have asked to die in these circumstances. Several persons who knew Terri testified that this was not the case, but to no avail.

     Never before in the history of the United States has a man been sentenced to be slowly tortured to death.

     Let’s be perfectly candid about what Michael Schiavo intends for his helpless wife: he wants her dead. His claim that she would want the same is hopelessly tainted by his pecuniary interest in her demise. He insists on killing her even though the sole legal way to get her into her coffin is to subject her to two weeks of excruciating torment.

     Were a condemned serial killer to be sentenced to the same ordeal, every civil-rights and humanist group in the country would be up in arms. Nay, it would arouse every such group in the world. Such groups cannot abide the death penalty even for men convicted of the most heinous crimes. The United States would be castigated in every organ known to Man for its callousness, its brutality, and its lack of respect for human life.

     Strangely, those groups have been quite silent about the plight of Terri Schindler-Schiavo. A few have even trumpeted the “right to die” mantra, as if they possessed telepathic time-travel powers that allow them to read Terri’s desires retroactively from this point in time.

     Your Curmudgeon will note in passing that the overwhelming majority of those groups also proclaim a “woman’s right to choose” — to choose to kill a helpless, fully developed infant whose head has already entered the birth canal and who is on his way to beginning the adventure of life. Some also condemned Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, preferring to let dictators who had murdered uncounted thousands of helpless persons remain in power rather than allow American soldiers to liberate their subjects by force of arms.

     As the years roll past, your Curmudgeon becomes ever more powerfully struck by the prescient insight of the great Clive Staples Lewis.

     In his novel That Hideous Strength, Lewis paints a nightmare landscape of a fictional Britain that’s fallen wholly to the mercies of the worst men in the world. Men who desire to torture and destroy as ends in themselves, but who have become skilled at representing their atrocities as “experimentation” or “remedial treatment.” Men who lust for power over others as no other men have ever lusted, and who would raise a dead sorcerer from the grave to get it, but who would never admit that their “scientific outlook” could be conjoined with belief in a demon-conjuring wizard. Men whose loyalties have been so completely perverted that they’ve relocated entirely away from the human race, and away from life itself.

     As the novel’s villains struggle to bring the reanimated Merlin into their fold, we are shown that a process centuries long is nearing completion. The process began with the displacement of reverence for innocent life by an ethic that deemed all things, and all lives, to be clay in the hands of human potters, to be shaped according to their untrammeled desires. It took time to evolve, because even those who most strongly advocated it had to shake off the restraints of tradition and upbringing; as Lewis puts it, their inherited morality stood firm against their intellectual rationalizations for the evil they’d sought to legitimize. But once their successors had cast off the fetters of tradition and lingering social disapproval, nothing stood in their way.

     The moment had come for Hell’s final advance against Man. The convergence of two mighty engines of death — the reduction of a life to a mere bag of chemicals judged entirely by instrumental criteria, and the worship of power without regard for its source, its aims, or its uses — could begin.

     Over the millennia, men have killed one another in uncounted millions. It’s not new, or particularly noteworthy, that one man should want to kill another — not even that a husband should want to kill his wife, whom he’s sworn before God and man to protect. What is new is the accelerating approval and support for such a desire among the “intellectual elite,” including judges appointed to do justice, defend the innocent, and protect the helpless.

     Europe is deeply mired in this trend. The Netherlands is the standard-bearer for “assisted suicide,” and for the deliberate execution, with medical concurrence, of inconvenient babies and oldsters. The horror stories are legion — so many, in fact, that the horror of them has begun to create calluses over our emotions. One can only hear about so many such villainies before stopping one’s ears.

     Europe is also the rallying point for the condemnation of the death penalty. The lives of men who’ve maliciously and unjustifiably destroyed the lives of others are therefore valued more highly than the lives of the helpless and utterly innocent.

     America has been a bastion against this sort of viciousness…until now. European thinking — utilitarian valuation of the “quality of life” of helpless persons by third parties — has reached these shores and formed a beachhead. The abortion wars, as serious as they’ve been, were only a preliminary, a shelling of our moral defenses to soften them for a decisive breakthrough.

     The Terri Schindler-Schiavo case will be that breakthrough, if Michael Schiavo gets his way.

     Some have protested that Michael Schiavo must be sincere, since he was willing to turn down a million dollars for his wife’s life. This does not follow. Once he’d made his representation that Terri would have wanted to die, Michael could not possibly back away from it in the face of a monetary inducement; that would have constituted an admission that he wants her dead specifically so that he could grab her money, and that he was ready to yield in the face of a better offer. Similarly, he has to resist all attempts to divorce him from Terri, and the Schindlers’ impassioned pleas for a transfer of guardianship. To concede guardianship to anyone determined to keep Terri alive would implicitly admit that it was no wish of Terri’s that mattered, but rather that he wants her dead for his own convenience. Either admission would indict and convict him of conspiracy to commit murder through a judicial process.

     Terri Schindler-Schiavo’s life matters to her husband-in-name in precisely one way: it’s a barrier to something he wants. His willingness to sacrifice her is a declaration that in service to his ends, even the murder of the helpless woman whose well-being lies in his care is an acceptable means. It’s a pledge of allegiance to the death cults.

     This sickening story has a few scenes yet to run. Whether Terri Schindler-Schiavo will survive it is known only to God. But anyone willing to open his eyes can easily see that elements of opinion and organs of government here in the United States are aligning with the death cults.

     Florida courts have ratified Michael Schiavo’s desire to kill his helpless, innocent wife.

     Groups that claim to hold life as sacred, that protest in droves at every execution, and that condemn the use of American military power regardless of the justifications or the delicacy of its application, are standing aside, content to watch as Terri is tortured to death.

     Low creatures such as Peter Singer, so-called “ethical philosopher,” have argued that creatures such as Terri have no right to life that others are bound to respect.

     And as in Lewis’s That Hideous Strength, the legions of Hell look on in delicious anticipation.

     Pray.

* * *

     The above essay is prominent in my collection The Death Cults, which is available at Amazon. Though the typical reader’s mind recoils at the notion, there most definitely are death cults of size and power that seek anything from the deaths of millions to the complete extinction of the human race. They have a horrifying degree of influence over governments, courts, and public policy, both here and in Europe.

     Be mindful. Without a well-defended right to life, no other rights can exist. Even the most heinous criminal is granted that right, first-degree murderers excepted. Yet we have undermined the right to life in many ways. Today “ethical philosophers” openly question whether we ought to respect it.

     Allow me a Gospel citation:

     Jesus went unto the mount of Olives. And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them.
     And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?
     This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.
     So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
     And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
     When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?
     She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

     [Gospel According to John 8:1-11]

     The Son of God would not countenance the taking of a life, even though the Mosaic Law commanded it. How, then, should we?

     Pray, indeed.

Celebrating Their Achievements Part 2: WTF, Over?

     In a comment upon the earlier essay, my Gentle Reader George asks:

     How is it possible for anybody this inept and inarticulate to get to such a position? I realize she “moved up” on her back however, I cannot honestly believe that ANYBODY (let alone a dim) could think putting her in such a position was a good idea?

     Well, it’s a long story. But the root of it lies in something we benefit from every day…just not in the political sphere. It’s called the division of labor:

     Division of labor combines specialization and the partition of a complex production task into several, or many, sub-tasks. Its importance in economics lies in the fact that a given number of workers can produce far more output using division of labor compared to the same number of workers each working alone. Interestingly, this is true even if those working alone are expert artisans.

     The production of lead pencils is a traditional example. Leonard Read used that subject in an illuminating and instructive essay. Rather than quote from it at great length – valuable though it is – I’ll exhort my Gentle Readers to download it from the Foundation for Economic Education (it’s free) and enjoy it in private. But I will quote one particularly important passage:

     I, Pencil, simple though I appear to be, merit your wonder and awe, a claim I shall attempt to prove. In fact, if you can understand me—no, that’s too much to ask of anyone—if you can become aware of the miraculousness which I symbolize, you can help save the freedom mankind is so unhappily losing. I have a profound lesson to teach. And I can teach this lesson better than can an automobile or an airplane or a mechanical dishwasher because—well, because I am seemingly so simple.
     Simple? Yet, not a single person on the face of this earth knows how to make me.

     And it is so. But the partition of the various tasks involved in making a pencil is why they’re both cheap and under-appreciated. Specialists have analyzed, capitalized, and refined their individual parts of the job to the point that even today, with the dollar weakening to the point of myasthenia gravis, they cost the retail purchaser perhaps ten or fifteen cents apiece.

     That’s the salutary effect of the division of labor. In the marketplace, it works to our benefit. Anyone who’s specialized in a particular field will already understand this, even if inarticulately. But in the realm of politics, it has produced a form of tyranny unique to our nation.

***

Everett Dirksen’s Three Laws of Politics:

  1. Get elected.
  2. Get re-elected.
  3. Don’t get mad; get even.

     The above are the most revealing statements ever made about politics in a republican polity whose officials are chosen by ballot. (I refuse to call the U.S. a “democracy.” It is no such thing, though much effort has been put into persuading you that it is and should be.) The goals of the politician, ultimately, reduce to those three. The first is imperative because the politician wants power; that’s why he’s a politician. The second is imperative because an official’s power increases over his tenure in office. The third, which many have deemed facetious, may be the most imperative of the three, for if practiced consistently it teaches other politicians that you are not to be trifled with. As some philosopher or other said, “Mess with the bull and you get the horns.”

     But if those are the goals of the professional politician, what can we deduce about the skills he needs? Do they go beyond what he needs to get elected repeatedly, and to secure his place in the power hierarchy? I can’t see it. Moreover, we have ample evidence that the great majority of sitting executives and legislators in The Land of the Formerly Free have no other skills of importance.

     But we’re not yet done with political specialization. For there is a further division and refinement of the tasks. Some of the skills essential to the pursuit of high office can be farmed out. The politician himself need not be adept at getting elected if he can secure the services of canny campaign managers and strategists. Those hirelings will study the electorate, figure out what positions are most likely to win voters’ allegiance, and then teach the politician – in this scenario, essentially a figurehead for his campaign specialists – how to present himself as their champion.

     Thus we arrive at the reduction of the politician himself to a front man for skilled operators the public generally does not see. Contemporary image engineers can take an essentially empty vessel like Kamala Harris and make her look like a dusky combination of Solon of Athens, Clarence Darrow, and the young Abraham Lincoln. Moreover, they had to do so, even with the backing of Willie Brown, to get her elected to the United States Senate.

     And it all arrives through specialization and the division of labor.

***

     The balance of power among political specialists might recently have gone through an evil transformation. For a new breed of specialist has appeared on the scene: the expert at vote fraud. An election that cannot be won may nevertheless be stolen. For the scruple-free, that might seem a more attractive route toward power than the crude selection and grooming of candidates. And it does seem that election-theft specialists are available in many parts of the country today. But this is too long and too ugly a subject to occupy us on a sunny afternoon in April.

A Long, Long Time Ago…

     …there was a company called Disney. Its products were aimed at American youth, typically below the age of puberty. The consistent quality and generally uplifting character of those products made it one of the most successful entertainment companies ever formed. Its founding genius, Walt Disney, was the icon of the company for the whole of his life.

     Walt Disney passed on to his reward in 1966. Part of his ethos remains, in bits and pieces, at the company he founded:

     If you roam the halls of the Imagineering department, you’ll encounter Mickey’s 10 Commandments, a distilling of storytelling wisdom that helps us stay on target when developing new projects.

  1. Know your audience—identify the prime audience of your attraction or show before you begin design.
  2. Wear your guests’ shoes—insist that your team members experience your creation just the way the guests do.
  3. Organize the flow of people and ideas—make sure there is a logic and sequence in your stories and in the way guests experience them.
  4. Create a wienie—create visual targets [wienies] that lead visitors clearly and logically through the experience you’ve built.
  5. Communicate with visual literacy—make good use of color, shape, form, texture—all the nonverbal ways of communication.
  6. Avoid overload; create turn-ons—resist the temptation to overload your audience with too much information and too many objects of interest.
  7. Tell one story at a time—stick to the storyline; good stories are clear, logical, and internally consistent.
  8. Avoid contradictions; maintain identity—details in design or content that contradict one another confuse the audience about story and time period.
  9. For every ounce of treatment, provide a ton of treat—you can educate people, but don’t tell them you’re doing it. Make it fun!
  10. Keep it up—everything has to work.

     These Commandments are complemented by Disney’s “Four Keys.” Every new cast member has these four keys drilled into them from day one: Safety, Courtesy, Show, and Efficiency. For over six decades, the Four Keys and Mickey’s 10 Commandments guided storytelling and experience-making in the Disney parks. These guiding principles have been in place, with only minor alterations, for roughly 65 years—nearly as long as the parks themselves have existed. They have helped a talented and dedicated team of Disney cast members tell stories that appeal across demographic, geographic, ethnic, religious, and political lines.

     However, things have changed. The Left, aware of the importance of capturing children’s minds at their most impressionable, made Disney a first-priority target. Appearances suggest that they’ve succeeded beyond their wildest dreams:

     During the month of February, much of the media’s reporting about [Florida’s Parents Rights In Education bill] was heavily negative. Vanity Fair flatly described it as “bigoted,” “dangerously anti-LGBTQ+ and hugely harmful to the young people it’s supposedly trying to protect.” This kind rhetoric continued to appear in the press for weeks, and was rapidly adopted by Democratic politicians, late night comedians, and social media influencers as their cause célèbre. Pressure began to build from activists within the company for Disney to take a public line and denounce the legislation, as a number of other companies had done….

     In less than two weeks’ time, the company had moved from principled neutrality to open advocacy. This new messaging, intended to mollify the company’s internal critics, accelerated Disney’s meltdown instead. “Brave Space Conversations” are now held at regular intervals—an absurd euphemism for struggle sessions designed to allow activists to vent their frustrations while drowning out dissenting voices. All regularly scheduled company meetings are cancelled to make room for these meetings, and park leadership opens the floor to hours-long performative recitations of grievances by hand-picked cast members. They conclude with grandiose statements about inclusion and fairness and understanding pain and listening, but not a single nonconforming viewpoint is heard, either from those who support the bill or those who think Disney has no business getting involved in this dispute in the first place.

     “At Disney,” the company’s website promises, “inclusion is for everyone. We reimagine tomorrow as our way of amplifying underrepresented voices and untold stories as well as championing the importance of accurate representation in media and entertainment.” But, as usual, “inclusion” only protects those who think like DEI activists. “Fairness” only applies to historically oppressed people groups. The only pain worth understanding is that felt by the subsection of LGBT cast members who believe that sex education ought to begin in kindergarten. Listening and seeing is restricted to the approved narratives, and even excludes those LGBT cast members who support the Florida legislation. I know many of them personally, and nearly without exception, they are all parents.

     The import of this is self-explanatory.

***

     This is what the Left does. It targets culturally critical institutions, infiltrates and colonizes them, and works from both within and without to capture and twist them to Leftist ends. It will do so for even the smallest of its coalition members, provided they can be “kept in the fold” politically. If some institution proves excessively resistant to capture, the object turns from colonization to destruction.

     The Left’s highest-value targets have nearly all been communications-related: educational institutions and media corporations, both in journalism and entertainment. Its successes have far outnumbered its failures, which gives impact to Robert Conquest’s Second Law of Politics: Any institution not explicitly right wing will sooner or later become left wing. And it is still on the march.

     The moral “should” be “obvious.” Do you seek to found an association, a company, a social circle, or some other institution? It doesn’t matter what your goals are. It doesn’t matter whether you can imagine that it could be turned to left-wing purposes. From the inception, you must institute a political filter that will apply to everyone that ever walks through your doors. Indeed, it should be posted on the doors:

No One On The Political Left
May Enter These Premises.

     Moreover, you must enforce it as ruthlessly as Tomas de Torquemada or Genghis Khan. Interrogate. Do background checks. Monitor social media! The Left does it; why shouldn’t you? Not only is it perfectly legal; you have no other way of shielding yourself against infiltration.

     Be fearless and resolute. Make no apologies and take no prisoners. For once a leftist gains access to your group, time will no longer be your ally.

     I have spoken.

Celebrate Their Achievements! (UPDATED)

     I’ve come slowly but firmly to the conviction that, while our political class is generally vile, nevertheless its members display certain talents for which they should receive the credit due them. Some of those talents are demonstrably world-class. Consider, for example, the ability of the underappreciated Kamala Harris to speak at length, and entirely in English, without saying anything intelligible. Deb Heine presents a recent example:

     Harris met with the Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness at the White House on Wednesday to commemorate the 60th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the United States and Jamaica….

     In her remarks about the meeting with Holness, Harris offered the sort of absurd word salad she has become known for.

     “We also recognize just as it’s been in the United States, for Jamaica, one of the issues that has been presented as an issue, that is economic in the way of its impact, has been the pandemic,” Harris said. “So to that end, we are announcing today also that we will assist Jamaica in COVID recovery by assisting in terms of the recovery efforts in Jamaica that have been essential to what, I believe, is necessary to strengthen not only the issue of public health but also the economy.”

     C’est incroyable! Sixty-seven words, all of them recognizable English vocabulary, and in aggregate meaning absolutely nothing! She might as well have been speaking some wholly forgotten tongue. Sir Edward Grey is probably applauding vigorously in heaven.

     But that is merely a fresh example of the rhetorical genius of this modern-day Disraeli. Who could ever forget these stirring words:

     In an interview with Craig Melvin on the Today show, Harris was not prepared to say definitively whether we should be wearing N95 or KN95 masks instead of cloth, nor what the correct response might be to people who simply refuse to wear masks or get vaccinated, but she did deliver one illuminating gem about the nature of time. Melvin called attention to recent pleas from high-profile medical professionals urging the Biden administration to take both a longer view of the pandemic, rather than tackling it crisis by crisis, and a firmer stance on vaccine requirements. Is it time to change course? he asked. And, um:

     It is time for us to do what we have been doing, and that time is every day. Every day, it is time for us to agree that there are things and tools that are available to us to slow this thing down.

     What verbal adroitness! What brilliance! Then there was this encounter on CBS:

     “Was it wrong to consider inflation transitory? These price spikes seem like they’re going to be with us for a while,” [Face The Nation’s Margaret] Brennan asked, referring to a previous statement pushed by White House press secretary Jen Psaki that insisted inflation was only “transitory” and should go down within the next year.

     Harris did not provide a clear answer and appeared to stumble on describing the process before pivoting to support for Biden’s Build Back Better plan.

     “We have to address the fact that we have got to deal with the fact that folks are paying for gas, paying for groceries, and are – need solutions to it. So let’s talk about that,” Harris said. “Short-term solution includes what we need to do around the supply chain, right? So, we went to the ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, Savannah, Georgia, and said, ‘Hey, guys, no more five days a week, eight hours a day; 24/7, let’s move the products because people need their product – they need what they need.’ We’re dealing with it in terms of the long term. And that’s about what we need to do to pass Build Back Better. It strengthens our economy.”

     Words fail me, Gentle Reader, though they certainly didn’t fail Kamala Harris. She had plenty for her purpose…whatever that purpose might have been.

     (I just checked, and Google Translate, which covers a multitude of languages, does not yet have the ability to translate Harris’s dialect. I’m sure they’re working on it, but I wouldn’t presume to predict when it will be ready.)

     Rumor has it that Joe Biden’s running mate was chosen to make him look more “presidential.” I disagree. It’s clear that Kamala Harris was picked so there would be someone to clarify the pResident’s sometimes murky statements on policy. After all, who could possibly do it better? Besides, the United States Senate already has quite enough clarity, wouldn’t you say?

     “Ridicule is the unanswerable weapon.” – Saul Alinsky

     UPDATE: Oops! I forgot one:

     The Governor and I and we were all doing a tour of the library here and talking about the significance of the passage of time. Right? The significance of the passage of time. So, when you think about it, there is great significance to the passage of time in terms of what we need to do to lay these wires, what we need to do to create these jobs. And there is such great significance to the passage of time…

     That might be the best of them all.

Life Has Been Eventful

Mostly good, but sometimes stressful.

My dog has recovered. He is elderly, though, and likely won’t live for more than 3-5 years more. He is, however, a wonderful addition to my life. He gives me a reason to get up in the morning (something that I’m not always thrilled with – temps in Lorain, OH can be frigid in the winter). He reminds me to get up from working and walk around for a while.

He reminds me of how important it is to have someone who is completely delighted that I am home. He is always up for a cuddle after dinner.

I’m deep in Tax Territory. Working on getting ready for 2021, and wishing that the damned Flat Tax had been passed. Perhaps some leeway for larger businesses that want to deduct the costs, but – honestly – most businesses would do better with a straight Flat Tax.

Of course, it would put a lot of accountants out of business. You might still need someone to manage your income statements and cash flow accounting. For those businesses on the stock market, other financial statements would be necessary. But, mostly, it would put the emphasis of business on actual BUSINESS.

Now, for the foreign corporations (including those that are reputably American, but mostly assembled in the USA from foreign parts), a simple tax on imports would suffice. They would pay the flat tax in addition. We could structure the business taxes in two tiers – one for larger businesses (particularly the multinationals and interstate ones), and a lesser tax for the smaller businesses.

The Chamber of Commerce and other business organizations, along with the larger corporate companies, would have a shit-fit. (Yes, I think the stronger language is appropriate – they would be ENRAGED!)

I put together a post on Right As Usual – The Next Generation that was a mish-mash of miscellany.

Now, it’s back to work.

From The Hollow-Laugh Files

     Legislators continue to ignore a law they greatly dislike. They dislike it because they can’t think of a way to repeal or modify it. But ignoring it is a short cut to disaster. Among other things, it makes plain the fatuity of their pretensions:

     Democrats’ environmental activism continues to backfire, as evidenced by the massive spike in consumer purchases of plastic bags in California, which banned supermarkets from using carryout plastic bags to package customers’ groceries.

     Researchers at the University of Georgia found that while the plastic-bag ban may have been well-intentioned, it did not stem the use of plastic bags. In fact, it unintentionally fueled enormous sales of commercial trash bags.

     “That’s because while plastic grocery bags are viewed as a single-use item, they often find a second use as liners for small trash cans,” Science Daily reported Wednesday.

     “When these shopping bags are taxed or taken away, people look for alternatives — which means they buy small plastic garbage bags.”

     The increase in sales of trash bags following California’s store plastic-bag ban was staggering.

     Amazing! Recycling and reuse motivated by ordinary household needs and incentives! Legislatively interfered with to ill effect! Who could have imagined?

     But this is the story of all legislative interventions into the preferences and behavior of private citizens. The Law of Unintended Consequences dismisses the legislators’ intentions; it acts directly on the incentives they’ve attempted to modify or thwart. Have a little Herbert Spencer:

     There appears no suspicion that in cases where it seems to fail, natural causation has been traversed by artificial hindrances. And yet in the case to which I now refer—that of the supply of houses for the poor—it needs but to ask what laws have been doing for a long time past, to see that the terrible evils complained of are mostly law-made. A generation ago discussion was taking place concerning the inadequacy and badness of industrial dwellings, and I had occasion to deal with the question. Here is a passage then written:

     An architect and surveyor described it [the Building Act] as having worked after the following manner. In those districts of London consisting of inferior houses built in that unsubstantial fashion which the new Building Act was to mend, there obtains an average rent, sufficiently remunerative to landlords whose houses were run up economically before the New Building Act passed. This existing average rent fixes the rent that must be charged in these districts for new houses of the same accommodation—that is the same number of rooms, for the people they are built for do not appreciate the extra safety of living within walls strengthened with hoop-iron bond. Now it turns out upon trial, that houses built in accordance with the present regulations, and let at this established rate, bring in nothing like a reasonable return. Builders have consequently confined themselves to erecting houses in better districts (where the possibility of a profitable competition with pre-existing houses shows that those pre-existing houses were tolerably substantial), and have ceased to erect dwellings for the masses, except in the suburbs where no pressing sanitary evils exist. Meanwhile, in the inferior districts above described, has resulted an increase of overcrowding—half-a-dozen families in a house, a score lodgers to a room. Nay, more than this has resulted. That state of miserable dilapidation into which these abodes of the poor are allowed to fall, is due to the absence of competition from new houses. Landlords do not find their tenants tempted away by the offer of better accommodation. Repairs, being unnecessary for securing the largest amount of profit, are not made. … In fact for a large percentage of the very horrors which our sanitary agitators are trying to cure by law, we have to thank previous agitators of the same school!—Social Statics, p. 384 (edition of 1851)….

     Writing before the repeal of the brick duty, the Builder says: “It is supposed that one-fourth of the cost of a dwelling which lets for 2s. 6d. or 3s. a week is caused by the expense of the title-deeds and the tax on wood and bricks used in its construction. Of course, the owner of such property must be remunerated, and he therefore charges 71/2d. or 9d. a week to cover these burdens.” Mr. C. Gatliff, secretary to the Society for Improving the Dwellings of the Working Classes, describing the effect of the window-tax, says: “They are now paying upon their institution in St. Pancras the sum of £162 16s. in window-duties, or 1 per cent per annum upon the original outlay. The average rental paid by the Society’s tenants is 5s. 6d. per week, and the window-duty deducts from this 71/4d. per week.”—The Times, 31 January 1850.—Social Statics, p. 385 (edition of 1851).

     See then what legislation has done. By ill-imposed taxes, raising the prices of bricks and timber, it added to the costs of houses; and promoted, for economy’s sake, the use of bad materials in scanty quantities. To check the consequent production of wretched dwellings, it established regulations which, in mediaeval fashion, dictated the quality of the commodity produced: there being no perception that by insisting on a higher quality and therefore higher price, it would limit the demand and eventually diminish the supply. By additional local burdens, legislation has of late still further hindered the building of small houses. Finally, having, by successive measures, produced first bad houses and then a deficiency of better ones, it has at length provided for the artificially-increased overflow of poor people by diminishing the house-capacity which already could not contain them!

     Spencer wrote all that in the Nineteenth Century / Victorian Era in which he lived. It was plain then, just as it is now, that laws that attempt to constrain people’s private choices cannot change anyone’s needs, desires, or priorities. The law can only attempt to penalize them, but to what effect? Yet legislators keep on trying to intervene in such matters, nearly always to disastrous effect.

     I’m sure my Gentle Readers can come up with a million examples of such “well meant” interventions in our own nation and time. I propose that the time has come for us no longer to grant the intervening legislators and regulators the presumption of benevolence.

The Liability In The White House

     Concerning the recent concessions from the Usurper Regime’s media handmaidens about the legitimacy of the Hunter Biden laptop, people of all political leanings are asking “Why now?” After a year and a half of nonstop denials, deflections, and dissimulations, why are they ‘fessing up’ now? The questions and speculations are widespread. For example, consider this Robert Spencer article:

     After stories of Hunter Biden, his laptop from hell, and his massive web of shady dealings were ignored until Old Joe Biden was safely installed as pseudo-president of the United States and long after that as well, suddenly the Hunter Biden stories are everywhere. And so it must be asked: why now? Why has the establishment media, which has long been definitively established as a propaganda arm of the Democrat Party, suddenly decided that Hunter Biden actually exists after all, and is a very, very big problem?

     From the headlines we’re seeing these days, it’s as if Steve Bannon has taken over all the major media outlets. The New York Times started the ball rolling with a March 16 story in which the Gray Lady actually admitted the existence of Hunter’s laptop. That just opened the floodgates: “Inside Hunter Biden’s multimillion-dollar deals with a Chinese energy company,” was an actual Washington Post headline Wednesday. On the same day, Hunter’s dirty dealings made CBS News and, of all places, MSNBC.

     As my Gentle Readers might imagine, I have my own take on it.

“It’s not what you know; it’s who you know.” — Old maxim.
“It’s not who you know, it’s what you’ve got on ‘em.” — mystery writer Lawrence Block.

     Joe Biden, the first openly “installed not elected” president of these United States, was selected for his “electability.” That is, in the eyes of the Democrat Party’s strategists, his political appeal was deemed adequate, and his negatives weren’t openly disqualifying. They could deal effectively enough with his history of plagiarism, deceit, and self-aggrandizement. They could fan-dance around his racism and his less dramatic public missteps. All the other aspirants were deemed too dangerous, or lacking credibility for what the Democrats had planned: the theft of the White House by any means necessary. So they chose him as the front man for the November 2020 electoral coup.

     But Barack Obama warned them in no uncertain terms: “Don’t underestimate Joe’s ability to fuck things up.” So the party’s bigwigs made sure that they would retain a means for getting rid of Biden. They probably tried to impress upon him that his tenure in the Oval Office would depend upon “good behavior.” Plainly, his behavior hasn’t been good enough. So that means — the evidence of Biden family corruption that reaches all the way to the top — has been pulled out, dusted off, and handed to the Democrats’ handmaidens in the media. The laptop is the central element in that array.

     This behavior is characteristic of oligarchical Establishments: No one, however highly placed, is permitted to be immune to control. The Soviets learned that lesson from their experiences with two autocrats who proved to be beyond control: Stalin and Brezhnev. The first experience shook them. The second convinced them that no Party Secretary or Premier must ever again be allowed free rein. All must be subject to some sort of kill switch. (Whether such a mechanism is being held over the head of Vladimir Putin is unclear, but then, the Russian “republic” is a relatively new development – completely new to Russia.)

     Biden was useful; now he’s a liability. And once the Democrats’ strategists figure out how to deal with the looming debacle of Kamala Harris, they will remove him from the White House. The end in view is plain; all that remains undetermined is the means.

     Surely we can expect a flood of exculpations from other major Democrat figures who’ve supported Biden. No one will want to be tarred with the brush of an aborted Democrat presidency. It will all be lies. But then, lying with aplomb is a skill long cultivated and meticulously polished by the Democrats.

Credible Versus Conclusive

     Once in a great while, a mainstream media outlet “’fesses up.” That happened once with the New York Times, whose first “public editor” – a rough equivalent for “ombudsman” – Daniel Okrent admitted in print that the Times was a left-leaning organ. He attributed it to the Times’ Northeastern urban base…but he admitted it. He wasn’t around for long after that.

     It’s not common, but it happens. It’s a bit startling when the editors of a hard-left paper allow it. Which is what makes this piece from Megan McArdle about the Hunter Biden laptop newsworthy:

     Case in point is a story that ran in the New York Post in October 2020. The newspaper claimed to have been given access to a trove of Hunter Biden’s emails, from a laptop somewhat mysteriously abandoned at a Delaware repair shop. Among other things, those emails suggested Hunter Biden had possibly been trying to peddle his father’s influence during Joe Biden’s vice presidency.

     An election was looming, and of course conservative media leaped on the “incriminating” trove. Here on Earth Prime, the information gatekeepers scrambled to keep this story from polluting the mainstream’s pristine infoscape, condemning the story as Russian disinformation, pure distraction, so dubious that even the New York Post’s own reporters were skeptical.

     Twitter blocked the story, citing its policy barring “hacked materials,” then suspended the New York Post’s account for sharing it. Facebook allowed sharing but downranked the story in the news feed algorithms.

     That’s a whole lot of effort to suppress a story that seems to be … true? The New York Times reported March 16 that the emails are part of the evidence in a federal investigation now before a grand jury.

     One week into the “Oops, it was real” news cycle, I have now heard all the excuses as to why this actually is an instance of journalism and tech moderation working like they should. It was unverified, I’ve heard. Too close to an election. And even if the emails were real, they may have been obtained illegally — can’t have that!

     All of which might sound very reasonable if only my profession had displayed the same caution with stories that made conservatives look bad.

     AWWW! Poor Megan! That must have hurt to write. But this is the Washington Post, which means that even the admission of a grotesque journalistic failure has to come with a slap against the Right:

     As social psychologist Jonathan Haidt puts it, the difference in mainstream reporting is the difference between can and must. When it comes to stories that flatter Democrats, we often ask “Can I believe it?” If it’s not obviously false, we do. But if the story flatters the right, we are more likely to ask “Must I believe it?” If we can find any reason to disbelieve, we take it — and keep the story off our pages.

     The obvious retort is that the same thing is happening on the right, only more so. And indeed, some right-wing media have gone much further with crazy election conspiracies than any mainstream outlet ever did with Russophobia. But pointing that out doesn’t do a thing to solve the problem.

     “Crazy election conspiracies,” eh? I wonder how long it will be before Megan finds herself needing to walk that back. From the mountains of evidence already amassed, I’d say she’d better keep her contrition muscles limber.

***

     All that having been said, the “Can I believe it?” / “Must I believe it?” divide noted in the above deserves further thought. It goes to the distinction expressed by the title of this piece. While its epistemological significance is considerable, the import of its use as a justification for censorship is even greater.

     Religions generally stand or fall on their credibility. “Is what this creed asks me to believe within the realm of the possible?” That’s what makes miracles – seeming violations of the laws of nature – a sticking point for the skeptic. But a miracle multiply witnessed, recorded, and confirmed raises the stakes.

     Credibility is the foundation for the excellent recent movie The Case For Christ, which chronicles reporter Lee Strobel’s attempt to disprove the greatest miracle in all of history: the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Strobel, upset by his wife Leslie’s conversion to Christianity, did everything he could think of to establish a case for disbelieving in the Resurrection – possibly even to prove that it had not happened. He couldn’t do it, which led to his own conversion. Yet let it be said explicitly and without hedging: It is not possible to prove, in a rigorous sense, that the Resurrection did happen. The “Must I believe it?” criterion cannot be met by this assertion of historical fact.

     Concerning assertions about current events and the decisions of those who confront them, a third factor enters the room: “Do I want to believe it?” This can be a scale-tipper, as the McArdle column indicates. Many explanations for developments that are dismissed by large majorities at one point are later substantiated well enough to reach the “Must I believe it?” threshold. That’s going on today with the allegations that the 2020 presidential election was stolen through vote fraud. The mainstream media’s handling of the Hunter Biden laptop indicates how heavily on the scale the desire to disbelieve can weigh.

     “We believe easily what we fear or what we desire,” said La Fontaine. And it is so. But belief is an internal matter, more often determined by factors entirely personal to the believer / disbeliever than with credibility or evidence. If I may use a dispreferred word, it should not factor into decisions about whether to discuss a given proposition. It certainly should not be used as a justification for censorship of any sort.

     But until the Second Coming, media organs will do as they have done. Their editors’ preferences will factor significantly into decisions about what to cover, what weight to give the purported evidence, and how to frame their coverage. There’s no help for it except a degree of counter-censorship that no decent American would countenance. In this lies one of the great dilemmas of our time – and an irony of personal significance, as I very much want to disbelieve it myself.

Start here.

Here’s the real story: Russia’s invasion is the end result of 14 years of provocation by the West, including repeated declarations that Ukraine will join NATO and a U.S.-backed coup d’état in 2014 that displaced a pro-Russian president.

Rickards: I’ve Never Heard So Many Lies.” By James Rickards, ZeroHedge, 3/31/22 (emphasis removed).

Too Plain To Permit Being Said

     I’m sure my Gentle Readers are all aware of the New York Times’s rather self-serving front-page motto: All the News That’s Fit to Print. There have been some send-ups of that bit of journalistic pseudo-piety. In these latter days of the legacy media, now that they’ve openly embraced the role of information managers for members of the Establishment, such pretenses have become more ironic than anything else.

     Consider these recent articles and events:

     Each of those stories pulls the covers off something the Establishment would greatly prefer that you not be aware of, much less introduce to active discussion. I’m sure the readership of Liberty’s Torch needs no deep explication of them from me. The point is too clear to need any such thing: These are things we are not supposed to discuss.

     Some of them point to frauds being perpetrated on us. One fraud has lasted for a whole century. All of them imply Establishmentarian agendas and methods for acquiring, retaining, or increasing elite control of American life. What coverage of them has appeared in the “major” media? I haven’t seen any, but then, I strive not to patronize those who seek to program me.

     Meanwhile the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are saddled and ready to ride:

  • War in Eastern Europe, with potential NATO involvement;
  • Food shortages are imminent, owing to fertilizer unavailability;
  • U.S. funded biolabs in Ukraine that possess “dangerous” substances;
  • Prospect of death by freezing as heating oil becomes ever more expensive.

     People have been wondering “Are these the End Times of the Book of Revelation?” for awhile now. I must say that from the above perspective, it’s not looking good.

***

     I’m very tired. I’ve been blogging at one site or another since 1997. Twenty-five years of writing about this crap has left me wondering whether there’s a point to any of it. It’s getting steadily more difficult to soldier on.

     I’d be unsurprised to learn that the majority of my colleagues in this pastime are just as tired. As for those Americans who consume our output: How do you feel about the state of play? Are you beginning to think your time might be better spent packing your basement with canned goods and ammunition?

     Oh, don’t mind me. What am I? Just an old crank, after all. I have no greater power to predict the future than any other man…but some predictions are so short-range that the possibility that they’re wrong seems below the threshold of plausibility:

John Anderton: Why’d you catch that?
Danny Witwer: Because it was going to fall.
John Anderton: You’re certain?
Danny Witwer: Yeah.
John Anderton: But it didn’t fall. You caught it. The fact that you prevented it from happening doesn’t change the fact that it was *going* to happen.

     The predictions:

  • that our currency will continue to be drained of its value;
  • that the Death Cults will continue to campaign against the right to life;
  • that nations – including ours – will continue to develop plague weapons;
  • and that as the price of necessities rises, the poorest among us will die of it;

     …are so short-range, and so well supported by the evidence of history, that to bet against them would be the act of a fool.

     But we’re being systematically deflected from discussing those predictions. The Establishment doesn’t want such things in the public discourse. If you can be silenced, you will be silenced. This too is well supported by the evidence of history. Too many rice bowls could get overturned to respect your “freedom of speech.” It’s a matter of national security!

     With that, I believe it’s time to take my dog Sophie to the vet. Forget all the above. If you can’t, perhaps you should “keep it under your hat.” And do have a nice day.

Ramblin’

     It’s the 29th of March, I’ve just bought a tankful of oil to stave off indoor frostbite, and I’m feeling…scattered. (Yes, a little broke, too.) So this will be a scattered piece.

     Tuesdays are to your Curmudgeon as Thursdays are to Arthur Dent.

***

     First, have a passel of links:

     Enjoy or not, as your preferences incline you.

     (Say, how many are there in a passel?)

***

     Change is constant, or so they say. Not long ago, that was brought home to me in a personally striking way.

     A church, as I’ve written before, is supposed to be a fundamentally conservative institution. It’s supposed to have a base of doctrines that it maintains over time and promulgates to a slowly changing – hopefully enlarging – body of adherents. That requirement to keep its teachings constant despite pressures to change them is one of the things that collectively distinguish churches from other sorts of institutions.

     Today, it’s getting to be hard to tell a Christian church apart from a marketing organization, at least here in America. (My acquaintance with trends on other continents is slender.)

     The Catholic Church has been an exception in many ways. Mind you, for the purposes of this tirade, it doesn’t matter that I differ with my Church on some issues. Catholic teaching has been largely constant for two millennia. For a creed that claims the backing of the highest of all Authorities, that is as it should be.

     But recently, things started to change.

     I was conversing with a priest a little time ago about matters the specifics of which I can no longer remember, when he said something that blew me out of my seat. In an almost offhanded way, he said that the Church’s doctrines about salvation, surely among the most important of its teachings, are moving away from the traditional emphasis on mortal sin, repentance, and absolution. According to this priest, the Church is moving toward a doctrine of salvation that focuses on how well each of us has followed the two Great Commandments:

     But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together. Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
     Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

     [Matthew 22: 34-40]

     That stunned me beyond my ability to express. (Not that I have any problem with the two Great Commandments!) I didn’t argue the matter; I was too shaken. But it’s left me wondering whether that really is what’s being promulgated from the Vatican in this Year of Our Lord 2022. Does any Gentle Reader have something to contribute on this subject?

***

     Now, a few words about indie fiction. The Gospel According To Michael Anderle has taken hold among hundreds, perhaps thousands of aspiring fiction writers. That gentleman has exhorted those who listen to him to emphasize output: i.e., to turn out books as fast as possible, so that they acquire a significant body of work in which those who like their stuff can wallow. “Keep the pipeline filled” is how others have phrased this dictum.

     While it might not be obvious, an emphasis on rapid production conflicts with the goal of a high-quality product. This is the case regardless of the nature of the product; fiction is no exception. He who writes swiftly is likely to generate lots of errors of every sort, including plot burps, poor and inconsistent characterization, and unconvincing dialogue. His reputation won’t be immune to that blemish, regardless of how loyal his fans might be.

     I’ll admit that there are some exceptions to this effect. A writer I’ve been enjoying recently is among them. He makes a fair number of mistakes, but somehow his tales don’t suffer appreciably from them. But the dynamics are opposed to a rapid-output-with-high-quality product.

     Supposedly, the “keep the pipeline filled” approach has salutary effects on revenue. I suppose that if that’s your highest priority, you can’t be criticized for adhering to that approach. But I’ve been sampling and discarding an increasing fraction of the indie novels I encounter, for reasons of quality. And while I’m no better at predicting the future than any other writer, I can’t help but wonder what fraction of the pump-‘em-out community will ultimately be happy with the long-term consequences of the “Output Uber Alles” approach.

***

     Finally, a few words about my own fictional directions.

     After the release of The Discovery Phase, a friend asked me about my recent forays into romance. He wanted to know what had impelled me in that direction. I had no answer for him, other than that I had a few attractive Supporting Cast characters sitting around who seemed to me to deserve some love. He smirked rather dourly and said “How large is that fund of characters?” That made me wince. This gentleman has been pressing me to get to work on a sequel to The Warm Lands, so it was fairly easy to divine his preferences. (And his dispreferences)

     As it happens, I’ve been working on a quasi-time-travel story. If that surprises you, it damn near paralyzed me to realize that that was what I’d set out to write. I hate time-travel tales. There are very few good ones – good by my criteria, which include not only originality but logical / metaphysical consistency. Only two come to mind as I write this: Alfred Bester’s short story “The Men Who Murdered Mohammed” and the great Gregory Benford’s award-winner Timescape.

     But that’s what I’m writing…and no, it doesn’t take place in Onteora County. For this one, I’ve decided to invade Stephen King’s bailiwick and situate the action in the woods of Maine.

     It’s premature to say much more about this story. It looks as if it will bear some resemblance to a “classic” novel (viz: “A book everyone wants to have read, but no one wants to read”) that was once part of my high school American Literature curriculum. That, too, surprised me. But then, the specifics of the core motif seem to militate in that direction.

     I mentioned some of this to the C.S.O. just yesterday. She was other than pleased for two reasons. First, she too wants me to get to work on a sequel to The Warm Lands. Second, I mentioned the “classic” novel I had in mind and she immediately scroaned. (That’s a scream and a groan together, with intense feeling.) She remembered it much as I did: both the effulgent praise our instructors slathered on it and our shared inability to imagine what supposedly made it so great.

     Well, “Of tastes there is nothing written,” as the Talmud says somewhat self-contradictingly.

***

     That’s all for today, Gentle Reader. Enjoy your Tuesday.

Unrealized Income?

     I won’t speak for anyone else, but when I call a development “unrealized,” I know what I mean by it: it hasn’t happened yet. And of course, something that hasn’t happened might never happen. So what shall we say, Gentle Readers, about this resurrected notion of unrealized income?

     Many billionaires can pay far lower tax rates than average Americans because the federal government does not tax the increase in the value of their stock holdings until those assets are sold. Billionaires are able to borrow against their accumulated gains without triggering taxes on capital gains, enabling huge accumulations of wealth to go virtually untaxed by the federal government.

     Plainly, the Washington Post’s Jeff Stein approves of taxing that “unrealized income.” He treats it as a real thing: spendable money already in the hands of its “owner.” So why not clip off a nice chunk for the federal government, eh?

     (Remember when, during the Clinton Administration, it was proposed to tax homeowners on the “unpaid rent” they saved by owning a house? Wasn’t that clever? I wonder why Congress didn’t pass it.)

     Mind you, nowhere in this tax proposal does it say that the federal government would refund that tax bite should the value of those stock holdings subsequently decrease. Governments simply don’t do that. Frankly, it’s a miracle that the IRS still issues tax refunds to those who over-withhold. You’d think that by now they’d have changed the tax code to include a “Sorry! Your mistake!” provision that allows Washington to keep the money.

     These are the fruits of allowing a government to decide what portion of what you have is yours to keep.

***

     Back when the Republic was in its birth pangs, it was understood by the Founders and those closest to them that while the nascent government did need revenue, it must not be able to take whatever it wishes. After all, the Revolution was triggered by the British Parliament’s imposition of taxes on the colonies. And so the Founders made it difficult to impose direct taxes:

     The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States; [Article I, Section 8, first clause; emphasis added]

     The requirement that those things be uniform means that they must apply strictly and equally to all those persons, institutions, or activities they affect. The state governments could object Constitutionally to a tax bill that affected them non-uniformly: i.e., without regard to their populations. That made indirect taxes – taxes solely on transactions the citizen could avoid – the preferred method for raising federal revenue.

     The Sixteenth (Income Tax) Amendment removed the impediment to direct taxation:

     The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several states, and without regard to any census or enumeration.

     That allows Congress to impose non-uniform taxes – and the income tax is decidedly non-uniform. No two persons in these United States face the same tax burden. Thus we entered the magical realm of ability to pay.

     In no other sphere of human conduct is “ability to pay” a consideration for determining the price of a good or service. Only the “goods and services” provided to us by governments are priced that way. Nor is there any objective definition of “ability to pay.” The IRS decides such things, not the taxpayer.

     Imagine if your corner grocer or pharmacist were to price your food or medicines according to your “ability to pay.” Imagine further if that gentleman were to demand that you expose the entirety of your financial affairs to him, so that he could determine what you “owe” him for you carrots or blood pressure drugs. Would you be happy with that, Gentle Reader?

     I shall twist the knife gently by asking: Does any government with the power to tax you provide you with anything that’s worth as much to you as those carrots or those drugs? Think about it

***

     The proposers of the “unrealized income” gambit are saying, de facto: “Of course you have the ability to pay! Just sell your stock!”

     The claim that Smith could sell his million shares of Galactic Hotcake, currently “priced” by the New York Stock Exchange at $100 per share, at will for $100 million is perhaps the most ludicrous of all Congressional fictions. Smith must find a buyer or buyers. What if there aren’t any? What if the sale of the first ten thousand shares causes the price of the stock to decline? That’s typical stock-market behavior: “Smith is dumping his shares! Sell before the run starts!” That’s usually the start of a stock collapse…sometimes a general market collapse.

     Besides, that’s not the endpoint; it’s only the beginning! Let’s imagine that Smith does succeed in selling 200,000 shares at $100, thus raising the $20 million he needs to pay the IRS. That leaves him with 800,000 shares, which will be taxed the following season. That would force him to sell another 160,000 shares to raise the payment, leaving him with 480,000 shares to be taxed the season after that. And so forth, until Smith has been mulcted of most, if not all, of his holdings.

     If you plan to tell me that pResident Biden is a “capitalist,” you’d better keep your hands where I can see them.

***

     Finally for this tirade, we have a hearkening back to 1913, during debate over the Sixteenth Amendment in the United States Senate:

     When the Sixteenth Amendment was being debated on the floor of the Senate, one of its opponents rose to ask the body what it could say to reassure the American public that this tax would not rise to seize some unconscionable fraction of their earnings — perhaps as much as ten percent! A pro-income-tax senator rose and replied that the country need never fear such a development: “The people would never allow it!”

     Another fine example arises from Social Security, which Franklin D. Roosevelt pitched as a “supplement” to the resources of American retirees. At its inception, Social Security promised to take no more than $7.50 per month from a worker’s paycheck. Today the limit is over $550.00 per month, and for many wage earners is the largest single tax they pay. To add insult to injury, the Supreme Court has ruled that no matter how large his payments to the Social Security system, no man has a right to any payments from it.

     Look at any of the political bonds that have been fastened upon us: labor law, environmental law, firearms control laws, laws that infringe upon property rights, what have you. In nearly every case you’ll find that the original collar was gently applied and loosely fastened. It simply didn’t stay that way.

     The term most commonly applied to such a slow, steady tightening of the screws is gradualism. Gradualism uses the power of habituation — the ordinary human tendency to accommodate and adjust to conditions we can’t individually alter — to solidify its gains and prevent retrograde motion. In her landmark book The God Of The Machine, Isabel Paterson referred to it as political power’s “ratchet action.”

     We have habituated ourselves to all manner of fetters. They were applied with such delicacy, and tightened so slowly and smoothly, that many of us cannot imagine life without them. Yet at any instant in the process, it was still possible to rear up against it. Despite appearances, it remains possible today. We simply haven’t done so, nor is it likely that we will.

     Hollow laughs are allowed, Gentle Reader. Indeed, considering what has been fastened upon us since those days of yore, they’re required for one’s mental health. And given that the $100 million “lower bound” of this “unrealized income” tax is legislative and arbitrary, what should we assume about its persistence? Isn’t it highly likely to be moved – downward — as Congress discovers new “needs?”

     That’s the way I’d bet. Moreover, the current proposal does not exempt equity holdings in 401(k) and IRA accounts. You can work out the rest for yourself.

***

     It has been said, mainly if not exclusively on bumper stickers, that “The Founding Fathers would be shooting by now.” Indeed! They’d be stacking bodies like cordwood. That we’ve done absolutely nothing beyond a couple of impotent protests suggests rather strongly that our will to resist governmental depredations has dropped all the way to zero. We are placidly grazing sheep, awaiting our moment to be shorn.

     Let him save himself who can.

Winner! Winner! Chicken Dinner!

     This definitely wins the Internet for today:

     I’m going to go out on a limb and say that global nuclear fallout is slightly worse for the environment than drilling our own oil.

     (A comment to this Daily Wire piece about Biden and the looming importance of the 25th Amendment.)

Sex As Strategy And Tactics

     It goes essentially without saying that sex, owing to our nature, is a principal attractor. However, the reverse of the coin is seldom discussed: it’s also a principal distractor. Clever sorts can use sex or parasexual matters to distract target audiences from what ought to be get their greatest attention, just as a stage magician uses physical flourishes to distract his audience from the setup for his next trick.

     A refinement on that strategy uses blatant sexual behavior to induce a kind of shock in the audience: shock sufficient to paralyze (or numb) them, such that they fail to react to associated developments that, in other contexts, would draw not merely their attention but their outrage. This tactic can thwart the enforcement of public norms, including the norms of justice.

     The Left has employed that method against normal Americans for some time now. This article provides an example.

     I’m not going to quote from that article; you can read it if you like. Here are some observations from Miriam “Mockarena” Weaver, co-founder of Chicks on the Right:

     It’s all about photographer Evan James Benally Atwood, who is a “queer, Indigenous artist.”

     I’ll let you take a moment to peruse the self-portraits of Evan at the sourcelink. Warning: His assular area is hairy and he wants you to know it.

     The Vice column is essentially a gushing puff piece on Evan, whose work is described as the undoing of “certain effects of colonialism – the desecration of stolen land, the imposition of a gender binary.” Evan’s photography, the article says, is a form of “visual sovereignty.”

     Is that what you think when you look at his work? Because what I think is that Evan reeeeeeally wants us all to see his ass.

     The Vice article leads off with Atwood’s sexuality. Why? What possible difference does it make to his subject matter? I can’t see it. But including – nay, emphasizing Atwood’s sexual variation provides the Left with a cudgel: If you find his opinions about “colonialism” to be stupid or vile, the Left will simply condemn you as one who hates fudge-packers.

     Let’s pass in silence over Atwood’s hairy ass…no, wait: we shouldn’t. The depictions thereof, which are even less relevant than his “queerness” to his notions about “colonialism,” are an example of the shock tactic mentioned above. The point is to shock and dismay anyone who might take exception to his aggressive anti-Americanism. It would work on a large fraction of Americans…possibly a majority.

     First the Left shocks us with sex and sexually related behavior. Then it mocks us for being shocked. If we persist in protesting, it labels us “haters” and says we just want to persecute those poor, misunderstood, harmless meat smokers and carpet munchers. The pattern is quite reliable.

     Nearly every normal person understands that sex should be a private matter – that parading sex and parasexual behavior in public is socially destructive. By flaunting it, the Left implicitly proclaims itself socially and legally privileged. By inducing us to accept bizarre public sexual caperings in silence, it performs the most important stage in any campaign to subjugate a people: it humiliates us with our own cowardice.

     Theodore Dalrymple noted that Communist regimes induce submission in their victim populaces by compelling them to repeat lies. No one can retain any respect for himself once he obediently parrots a blatant lie. It’s a quick and effective way to break a man’s self-regard. Indeed, we’ve known it since Orwell published 1984, if not well before that.

     The blatant lie that perverts and pedophiles promulgate by parading their perversions in public – “We’re just like everyone else” — is cover for their political agenda. (“Everyone else” does not proclaim their sexual orientations in their Twitter profiles, or flaunt their naked bodies or their sexual preferences in the streets.) The “sexual Left” is almost entirely on the political Left. Their “haters” gambit is an underhanded way of saying “Tolerate what we do to you, or we’ll make your life hell with accusations and depredations of every imaginable kind.”

     This is very much in the Communist tradition. Indeed, it goes beyond what the Soviets did. They never actually convinced the majority of the USSR’s populace that “the Jews” were conspirators out to enslave them. It was all too clear that the Communists had done that already.

     Imagine public propriety restored: sexual behavior and proclivities removed from public view and returned to the privacy they deserve. Never again to hear whining homosexuals demand to know why they’re unwelcome in a Saint Patrick’s Day parade. Never again to endure a “Gay Pride” parade! (What are they proud of, anyway?) Never again to hear about some “photojournalist’s” preference for sodomy, or small boys, or mackerel! What would you say – or do – to achieve that result? Would it be worth some name-calling, some confrontation, perhaps even some public scuffles?

     Your mileage may vary.

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