I’ve considered long and hard. I’ve agonized. I’ve cast about for alternatives until all the skin has worn off my fingers. I’ve repeatedly refused to accept the implications of what my senses repeatedly told me. I simply can’t do it any longer. The evidence is overwhelming.
America is currently in a state of civil war, and has been for some time.
It’s not a conventional, easily recognized, flying-lead sort of war. That’s what makes it so deadly. That’s why the Right must win it. Should we lose, the carnage will be unimaginable.
I can practically hear what you’re thinking: “Porretto has finally flipped his wig.” Perhaps I have. That’s always a possibility. As the saying goes, there’s a fine line between genius and madness. But perhaps I’m right…and perhaps you’ve inhabited the same State of Denial in which I hid from reality for so very long.
We shall see.
* * *
I have several citations this morning. They don’t stand alone. Indeed, none of them, in the absence of much other evidence would be significant at all. That’s part of what makes the ongoing hostilities so lethal: it takes a perspective both wide and deep to grasp the pattern.
The first is from the esteemed Mark Alger:
…Police and Fire are the primary fiduciary responsibilities of government. They should be budgeted first and cut last.
An official was quoted as saying that the citizens he’d talked to didn’t want to raise taxes to “pay for the fire department.” How much you wanna bet he never heard any of them say, “… until you quit wasting taxpayer money on massage parlors and sweetheart deals for your brother-in-law.”
Step into my office. I’ve just heard about this bridge…
Here lately, Teh Won has been on the stump (How is it proper for a government official to campaign for particular policies?) trying to persuade us that, if Congress doesn’t raise the debt limit (How does that make sense?), we’re going to lose [insert laundry list of sacred cows]. Bridges, roads, armies — the latter day version of teachers, cops, firemen.
Saying nothing about bank bailouts, green energy boondoggles, union payoffs, CAGW scams, ACORN, and the rest of the treasury-looting going on…
No. What we want to do is bit-flip the selected duties of government which we are going to fund. We’re going to start with your charter, fiduciary responsibilities, like protect the borders, run the courts, maintain the roads, deliver the mail. The rest of that crap can hold a bake sale.
The tactic employed by the unnamed official (and by Barack Hussein Obama) has a long and dishonorable history. It’s called the Washington Monument Defense. It hearkens back to an incident in which, when Congress dared to reduce the rate of increase of the budget for the operation of the District of Columbia, the city’s lower levels of government immediately retaliated by closing down Washington’s most popular tourist attractions — that is, by denying non-residents access to the only features of the city they really enjoy and value. The outcry was so sharp that Congress immediately restored the full amount the bureaucracy had demanded.
Like other items with the WMD acronym, the Washington Monument Defense can bring an opponent to heel with no more than a suggestion. Consider, if you will, this passage from William E. Simon’s A Time For Truth, about the 1975-1976 New York City budget crisis:
When informed that cuts in jobs and in pay were inevitable, the municipal unions ran amok. It is only fair to say that Mayor Beame’s cuts in the summer of 1975, under the supervision of the Municipal Assistance Corporation (MAC), were deliberately inflammatory. They were calculated for the purpose of “proving” that the city needed state and federal aid. Beame dismissed nearly 5000 policemen and more than 2000 firemen (closing twenty-six firehouses) and fired nearly 3000 of the city’s 10,000 sanitation workers. The unions understood that this was an act of political blackmail. In June 1975 the firemen’s and policemen’s unions published a four page leaflet which they distributed to tourists. Titled “Welcome to Fear City,” with a lurid skeleton’s head on the cover, the pamphlet advised visitors to New York to stay indoors after 6 P.M., avoid public transportation, and, “until things change, stay away from New York if you possibly can.” In July the sanitation workers went on strike. They threatened to turn “Fear City” into “Stink City” and shouted from picket lines, “Wait till the rats come!”
Anyone familiar with New York City’s monstrously bloated government — no less so in the Seventies than today — will realize at once that Beame and the aforementioned unions were playing the Washington Monument Defense. It worked, by the way.
* * *
The thrust of the Washington Monument Defense is obvious: Punish the citizenry for not conceding what the government has demanded. The original incident merely angered tourists to Washington, D.C. More recent invocations of the Defense have struck directly at the legitimate and proper functions of a government: defending the citizen against predation and maintaining peace and order in public places. Mark Alger’s piece above describes the dynamics of such incidents beautifully.
The attitude that gives rise to the Defense is one that divides the nation into “us” and “them.” The inside or “us” group is composed of those who regard their positions in government, or as beneficiaries of government, as theirs by right and not to be challenged or questioned. The outside or “them” group, against whom the Defense is wielded, is composed of everyone else — i.e., those of us who are compelled by threat of punishment to pay for the State’s activities. The Defense itself actuates the threat, albeit not in the conventional manner of indictment, trial, and imprisonment or expropriation.
Before I press onward, ask yourself: What makes the Defense possible? That is: what combination of circumstances and cessions produces a state of affairs in which the insiders — government functionaries (elected, appointed, or hired) — can deprive us on the outside — private citizens under a nominal regime of self-sufficiency — of the protections of life and property?
I’ll return to this.
* * *
The Washington Monument Defense isn’t the one and only weapon in the State’s arsenal, but it does outline the mindset of those inside the “us” group:
If you’re not one of us, you’re the enemy. Any promises we might have made to you are not binding upon us. Our aim is to bring you to heel.
Of course, the candor of that implication doesn’t entirely serve the “us” group. Insiders would generally prefer to maintain the facade of “service” — i.e., that they’re merely dedicated public servants straining to do their duties despite the obstinacy of the “them” group about providing what they “need.” Toward that end they’ll lie so baldfacedly as to create new low-watermarks in the annals of public deceit.
But there are lies and lies. Some lies are easier than others to establish and perpetuate. Take as an example the lie that labor laws, by which Washington can descend on a firm for not having hired enough Negroes, or cripples, or brain-damaged welders of Moldovian descent, actually serve the interests of those of us who work for a living. Or the lie that the many “affirmative action” (i.e., preferential treatment by race, sex, and ethnicity) laws truly improve the prospects of minorities and the character of the American workplace.
Let it be said at once that such intrusions into properly private relationships do nothing to help their supposed beneficiaries, but rather do them a great deal of harm. The statistics speak unequivocally on this point. Indeed, the apartheid regime of pre-Mandela South Africa was brought into existence in part by the imposition of minimum-wage laws; high-ranking members of the National Party admitted that they knew what result would come of them, and steered deliberately toward it. But for a member of the “them” group to speak openly about such effects is to court counterfire of the most devastating sort.
Which brings me to my second citation: a thirty-year-old essay by the great Thomas Sowell:
In the movie, Absence of Malice, lives are damaged and even destroyed by irresponsible reporting — and the law offers no real protection. In real life as well, the most damaging, unsupported, and inaccurate statements about an individual can be written and broadcast coast to coast, without the law’s offering any meaningful recourse. Judges have so watered down the laws on slander and libel that only in special cases can you nail those who are being irresponsible, vindictive, or even outright liars.
I know. As one who has taken controversial stands on various issues, I have been the target of a smear campaign for more than a year. Demonstrably false statements have been made about me in the media and positions attributed to me that are the direct opposite of what I have said for years in my own published writings. And yet a lawsuit would probably do nothing but waste months of my time, at the end of which the smear artists could slip out through one of the many loopholes — and proclaim themselves vindicated and their charges substantiated.
[Applause to Mike Hendrix of Cold Fury for digging up this stunning piece.]
The entire essay is invaluable. It should be read and digested by every American with an interest in the consequences of supposedly well-intentioned public policies. Nor is Dr. Sowell, one of the nation’s strongest and clearest voices for limited government, the only target the “us” group has attacked.
(An aside: In For The Defense, the second of F. Lee Bailey’s legal autobiographies, he narrates the legal ordeal of Captain Ernest Medina, one of the officers accused of perpetrating the My Lai butchery. A telling passage in that tale concerns Time magazine’s slanders against Captain Medina as he awaited trial, for which Bailey and Medina sued under the libel statutes. Time escaped the judgment by claiming, successfully, that Medina was a “public figure,” and thus fair game for anything, by virtue of Time’s own efforts to that effect. Enjoy the irony.)
To give the lie to an “us” group’s representations is, in the minds of the “us” group, a declaration of war — and they believe in total war, in which no weapon and no tactic are off limits. Their entire cadre of hangers-on in the communications trades will mobilize at once to destroy the target. The truth or falsity of their chosen shafts is never under consideration. Victory — the silencing of the dangerous “them” voice — is all that matters.
Compare that behavior to what totalitarian regimes have done to dissenters. Americans of the “them” persuasion aren’t yet in fear for our lives, but it needn’t remain so forever.
* * *
Some years ago, back at Eternity Road of late, lamented memory, I posted the following:
Just a few days ago was the first anniversary of the judicially sanctioned torture-murder of Terri Schindler-Schiavo by her soi-disant husband, Michael Schiavo. During that gruesome process, your Curmudgeon penned a cri de coeur that, had he had his druthers, would have been read by every man, woman, and child on the face of the Earth.
To cut to the chase: it wasn’t. At least, it wasn’t taken to heart.
On March 2, 3, and 4 of this year, the Texas Academy of Sciences held its annual conclave, at which it awarded a certain Eric Pianka, a biologist at the University of Texas, with its Distinguished Texas Scientist Award. Whatever Dr. Pianka’s achievements as a researcher or educator might be, they were overshadowed, for the moment at least, by his proposition that 90% of the human race must die:
“Every one of you who gets to survive has to bury nine,” Eric Pianka cautioned students and guests at St. Edward’s University on Friday. Pianka’s words are part of what he calls his “doomsday talk” — a 45-minute presentation outlining humanity’s ecological misdeeds and Pianka’s predictions about how nature, or perhaps humans themselves, will exterminate all but a fraction of civilization.
Though his statements are admittedly bold, he’s not without abundant advocates. But what may set this revered biologist apart from other doomsday soothsayers is this: Humanity’s collapse is a notion he embraces.
Indeed, his words deal, very literally, on a life-and-death scale, yet he smiles and jokes candidly throughout the lecture. Disseminating a message many would call morbid, Pianka’s warnings are centered upon awareness rather than fear.
“This is really an exciting time,” he said Friday amid warnings of apocalypse, destruction and disease. Only minutes earlier he declared, “Death. This is what awaits us all. Death.” Reflecting on the so-called Ancient Chinese Curse, “May you live in interesting times,” he wore, surprisingly, a smile.
So what’s at the heart of Pianka’s claim?
6.5 billion humans is too many.
In his estimation, “We’ve grown fat, apathetic and miserable,” all the while leaving the planet parched.
A 90 percent reduction.
That’s 5.8 billion lives — lives he says are turning the planet into “fat, human biomass.” He points to an 85 percent swell in the population during the last 25 years and insists civilization is on the brink of its downfall — likely at the hand of widespread disease.
“[Disease] will control the scourge of humanity,” Pianka said. “We’re looking forward to a huge collapse.”
Let’s get one thing straight before we proceed: Anyone who agrees with Dr. Pianka had better keep his hands where your Curmudgeon can see them.
An attitude like Pianka’s can only come from an ivory tower. One must be utterly isolated from real life and real people to contemplate their extinction with such cheerful equanimity. Yet according to the linked story, Pianka is well supplied with admirers and acolytes:
Most of Pianka’s former students are bursting with praise. Their in-class evaluations celebrate his ideas with words like “the most incredible class I ever had” and “Pianka is a GOD!”
Mims counters their ovation with the story of a Texas Lutheran University student who attended the Academy of Science lecture. Brenna McConnell, a biology senior, said she and others in the audience “had not thought seriously about overpopulation issues and a feasible solution prior to the meeting.” But though McConnell arrived at the event with little to say on the issue, she returned to Seguin with a whole new outlook.
An entry to her online blog captures her initial response to what’s become a new conviction:
“[Pianka is] a radical thinker, that one!” she wrote. “I mean, he’s basically advocating for the death for all but 10 percent of the current population. And at the risk of sounding just as radical, I think he’s right.”
Today, she maintains the Earth is in dire straits. And though she’s decided Ebola isn’t the answer, she’s still considering other deadly viruses that might take its place in the equation.
“Maybe I just see the virus as inevitable because it’s the easiest answer to this problem of overpopulation,” she said.
Of course, “this problem of overpopulation” is a completely impersonal matter. It has no bearing on the identities or futures of identifiable individuals. Were Miss McConnell asked if she expected to be among the doomed 90% or the fortunate 10%, what do you suppose she would say? Is it not likely that in her unspoken thoughts, she assumes herself to be among the architects of the annihilation, rather than an honoree?
Your Curmudgeon calls this the Commissar Complex. It puts him in mind of an anecdote from the 1848 French Revolution, when a coal-carrier scoffed at a lady of the upper classes: “Yes, madam, everything’s going to be equal now. I’ll go in silks and you’ll carry coal.” They who imagine the remaking of the world after their own preferences are like that.
Never imagine that they aren’t serious. Consider the following:
“The ending of the human epoch on Earth would most likely be greeted with a hearty ‘Good riddance!'” — philosopher Paul Taylor in Respect for Nature: A Theory of Environmental Ethics
“Human happiness [is] not as important as a wild and healthy planet….Until such time as Homo sapiens should decide to rejoin nature, some of us can only hope for the right virus to come along.” — biologist David M. Graber, in review of Bill McKibben’s The End of Nature, in the Los Angeles Times, October 29, 1989.
But in keeping with the “death cults” motif, your Curmudgeon must emphasize the underlying attitude: Superior individuals, disdainful of the common herd and disinclined to rub elbows with them, theorize about the management of the hoi polloi while sipping Cointreau. Such management connotes a shepherd-to-sheep relation. Certainly it would include a willingness to “thin the herd” at need — with need determined solely by the self-nominated master intellects in the closed circle.
“Kill five-billion-plus people because their continued existence offends us? Why not? Haven’t we acceded to the deaths of millions of unborn children in the name of convenience? Haven’t we argued that to let a child be born with a birth defect, or against its mother’s will, is an act of ‘wrongful life?’ Don’t we have such luminaries as Peter Singer to justify infanticide as a form of retroactive abortion? Haven’t we condemned a president and his administration specifically for liberating two nations from monsters who were slaughtering tens of thousands each year? Haven’t we argued in the highest chambers of power that ‘a rat is a pig is a dog is a boy,’ and that rocks and moss and tundra are more precious than the human lives the oil beneath them could sustain? When we argued for those things, did anyone rise to stop us? Who could stop us now?”
Gentle Reader, I wish I had preserved for your edification the batch of hate mail I received after posting that piece. It was an undifferentiated mass of viciousness. You would have thought I’d come out in favor of executing homosexuals, or discriminating against rhythm-challenged Negroes, or the designated hitter rule. But if memory serves, not one of my correspondents dared to address the central thread of Pianka’s lectures — that the death of 90% of the human race would be a good thing — even though Pianka himself has openly said so.
Why would a hate-mailer address that thesis? It’s so clearly anti-human that only someone who actively hates other people and desires their destruction would adopt it. So anyone determined to defend Pianka, but equally resolved to represent himself as a “good guy,” must treat Pianka’s thesis as “off the table.” He must assail the one who dares to express shock and horror that anyone could espouse such an idea as somehow evil.
Doesn’t that suggest that the hate-mailer finds the thesis worthy? Doesn’t it bring to mind the faux-equality of the Parisian coal-carrier — the “Commissar Complex” mindset I alluded to in the above piece?
Which brings me to my third citation: a look at one of Pianka’s more overtly genocidal fellow-travelers:
This is Finnish writer Pentti Linkola — a man who demands that the human population reduce its size to around 500 million and abandon modern technology and the pursuit of economic growth — in his own words.
He likens Earth today to an overflowing lifeboat:
What to do, when a ship carrying a hundred passengers suddenly capsizes and there is only one lifeboat? When the lifeboat is full, those who hate life will try to load it with more people and sink the lot. Those who love and respect life will take the ship’s axe and sever the extra hands that cling to the sides.
He sees America as the root of the problem:
The United States symbolises the worst ideologies in the world: growth and freedom.
He unapologetically advocates bloodthirsty dictatorship:
Any dictatorship would be better than modern democracy. There cannot be so incompetent a dictator that he would show more stupidity than a majority of the people. The best dictatorship would be one where lots of heads would roll and where government would prevent any economical growth.
We will have to learn from the history of revolutionary movements — the national socialists, the Finnish Stalinists, from the many stages of the Russian revolution, from the methods of the Red Brigades — and forget our narcissistic selves.
A fundamental, devastating error is to set up a political system based on desire. Society and life have been organized on the basis of what an individual wants, not on what is good for him or her.
As is often the way with extremist central planners Linkola believes he knows what is best for each and every individual, as well as society as a whole:
Just as only one out of 100,000 has the talent to be an engineer or an acrobat, only a few are those truly capable of managing the matters of a nation or mankind as a whole. In this time and this part of the World we are headlessly hanging on democracy and the parliamentary system, even though these are the most mindless and desperate experiments of mankind. In democratic countries the destruction of nature and sum of ecological disasters has accumulated most. Our only hope lies in strong central government and uncompromising control of the individual citizen.
Linkola’s ground assumption is that the current penetration of environmental alarmism is an adequate popular basis for his recommendations. He’s wrong, of course; most Americans, at least, would not consent to having nine-tenths of their number liquidated and the survivors subjected to rigid totalitarian rule for any reason, much less to “save the planet.” But his aim isn’t truly to bring about mass death and totalitarian rule for the sake of the environment; it’s to use “the environment” as the rationale for mass death and totalitarian rule. Indeed, he hardly bothers to disguise it.
The disturbing things about this vile notion are:
- That there are many, including many in the United States, who would call Linkola’s unsubstantiated assumptions of ecological crisis, like those of the aforementioned Eric Pianka, rational and defensible;
- That the “us” group now promulgates those assumptions as dogmas beyond question;
- That those dogmas are now the overt basis of public policies at all levels of government;
- That anyone who gives these obscenities true coloration — i.e., as expressions of hatred and contempt for Mankind — will come in for the full vituperative, calumnious force of the “us” group, most particularly via their mouthpieces in the media.
Do you disagree? Read this, and tell me if you still do.
* * *
I hope my central point hasn’t been lost among all the atrocities covered in the above. My tiny participation in the incidents I related is insignificant; I’m so far down the list of English-language political commentators that I don’t deserve personal mention. The pattern beneath these incidents is what matters.
We are at war. Not by our decision — that is, the wills of those of us in the “them” group — but by those in the “us” group. The “us” group aims at our complete, unquestioning subjugation, a campaign in which effort no weapon is to be held in reserve, and no tactic deemed beyond the pale.
Bu really, that’s only one of the major points I’d like to make today. The other concerns this snippet from an earlier segment:
Before I press onward, ask yourself: What makes the Defense possible? That is: what combination of circumstances and cessions produces a state of affairs in which the insiders — government functionaries (elected, appointed, or hired) can deprive us on the outside — private citizens under a nominal regime of self-sufficiency — of the protections of life and property?
Like most of the genuinely basic questions about social and political affairs, to ask the question — sincerely, determined to know the answer regardless of what it might tell us about ourselves — is to answer it.
We are no longer self-sufficient.
We have ceded all responsibility for the protection of our lives, our property, and peace in the streets to The State.
The State has taken advantage of that cession to reduce us ever more completely to helplessness before it — in some regions, mainly psychological helplessness, but in others objective helplessness as well.
The State has compounded our subjugation by creating numerous mascot groups, some of which are merely strident, others of which are ready and eager to use violence, in support of the State’s overall agenda.
Our response to these developments has mostly been to shrug.
Please, please, please: Interpret “the State” broadly, not narrowly. Anyone who, for any reason, wields coercive force or the threat thereof to compel obedience to some external dictum is at that time and in that place an agent of the State. Ask Massachusetts ice cream vendor Mark Duffy whether it mattered to his livelihood whether the “armed environmental police” were hirelings of Washington, or Massachusetts, or the town of Carlisle, or claimed to be “private citizens” solely interested in “the public good.” Ask him whether he would have regarded an equal or greater force that dared to stand in his defense against those “armed environmental police” as enemies, or as courageous and infinitely praiseworthy American patriots.
Then ask yourself whether, should you ever be in a position comparable to Duffy’s, such a force is at all likely to appear in your defense.
* * *
Political salvation has become extremely unlikely. Yes, I meant what I said in this essay about the desirability of buying time. We need time for the general recognition of the war between “us” and “them” to burgeon and mature. But I can’t see a reversal of the trend through political mechanisms alone as plausible.
If that’s the case, we can go in only two directions from here:
- Acceptance of de jure subjugation, coupled with as much “underground resistance” as is possible to us;
- Open armed revolt.
We are not ready to revolt. Not only do far too many Americans still believe in “the system;” there aren’t enough of us ready, willing and able to put “our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor” at risk for a chance at a Constitutional restoration. Among the Constitutional movement’s weaknesses is that too many of us are in our “declining years.” Though we recognize the rumble of Juggernaut’s carriage, we’re far more inclined toward “riding it out” than taking up arms against it.
Far more Americans must grasp the enormity of our common plight before an overt uprising would have a significant chance of success.
* * *
One cannot recognize a state of war yet deny that an enemy exists; the latter posture makes the former impossible. My overriding purpose in the above was to make it more difficult to deny the existence of the enemy — to some extent, to give us of the “them” group “a face to hate.”
I wish I could think of a way to end that last sentence with some other phrase. Hatred is always destructive. Indeed, it’s the engine of willed destruction itself: the conscious desire to do harm to someone else. Christians are enjoined against hatred…with one exception:
Then an experience that perhaps no good man can ever have in our world came over (Ransom) – a torrent of perfectly unmixed and lawful hatred came over him. The energy of hating, never before felt without some guilt, without some dim knowledge that he was failing to distinguish the sinner from the sin, rose into his arms and legs till he felt they were pillars of burning blood. What was before him appeared no longer a creature of corrupted will. It was corruption itself to which will was attached only as an instrument. Ages ago it had been a Person: but the ruins of personality now survived in it only at the disposal of a furious self-exiled negation. It is perhaps difficult to understand why this filled Ransom not with horror but with a kind of joy. The joy came from finding at last what hatred was made for. As a boy with an axe rejoices on finding a tree, or a boy with a box of coloured chalks rejoices on finding a pile of perfectly white paper, so he rejoiced in the perfect congruity between his emotion and its object.
Elwin Ransom’s Adversary was already damned. We cannot wish for — certainly not labor for — the damnation of the “us” group; that’s theological hatred, hatred unto eternity, which is the worst of all kinds. But we can ardently desire their downfall and disgrace. We must look upon their faces, not merely as a group but as individuals, dispel the notion that they’re simply “misguided,” acknowledge the enmity between us, and respond to their ill-concealed desire for our subjugation with a confident, justified desire for their ruin. More, until we allow ourselves to do so, we will make no headway at restoring liberty and justice to these United States.