Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category

While Boycotting A&E, You Might Consider this Intolerant Yahoo Too

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

It takes a real moron to top the idiocy of Drew Magary’s original GQ piece on the subject of Phil Robertson, but leave it to Yahoo News (a contradiction in terms if ever there’s been one) to dig up a writer who’s even more maniacally stupid than his peer at GQ.  Yahoo News posted a piece by Josh Barro, an editor at Business Insider,  proclaiming: “When you’re defending Phil Robertson, Here’s What You’re Really Defending.”  It takes approximately two minutes to read, but let me cut to the quick: It’s nonsense, like all that’s gone before, and only people detached enough from reality to get their information from Yahoo News are apt to be dumb enough to fall for his foolish premises.

He asserts the following, based on quotes from Mr. Robertson:

  1. Robertson thinks black Americans were treated just fine in the Jim Crow-era South, and that they were happy there. ” I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once. Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I’m with the blacks, because we’re white trash. We’re going across the field…. They’re singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, ‘I tell you what: These doggone white people’—not a word!… Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.”
  2. Robertson thinks the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor because they didn’t believe in Jesus. “A ll you have to do is look at any society where there is no Jesus. I’ll give you four: Nazis, no Jesus. Look at their record. Uh, Shintos? They started this thing in Pearl Harbor. Any Jesus among them? None. Communists? None. Islamists? Zero. That’s eighty years of ideologies that have popped up where no Jesus was allowed among those four groups. Just look at the records as far as murder goes among those four groups.”
  3. Robertson hates gay people. Robertson in 2010: ” Women with women, men with men, they committed indecent acts with one another, and they received in themselves the due penalty for their perversions.  They’re full of murder, envy, strife, hatred. They are insolent, arrogant, God-haters. They are heartless, they are faithless, they are senseless, they are ruthless. They invent ways of doing evil.”

“This last one is key. My inbox is full of “love the sinner, hate the sin” defenses of Robertson’s 2013 remarks. But Robertson doesn’t love gay people. He thinks they’re, well, “full of murder.” His views on gays are hateful , inasmuch as they are full of hate.”

Let us tackle these assertions one by one.  In the first instance, Mr. Robertson’s view of the pre-civil rights era of the South is his own.  He’s clearly speaking from the experiences of his own life.  Perhaps Barro could consider, even momentarily, that in Robertson’s personal experience, maybe it wasn’t quite so bad as is widely believed particularly by people like Barro (or me) who hadn’t been born as yet. For a man born in 1984 (when I was a young private in the Army) to pontificate about the implications of Mr. Robertson’s statements about the South is approximately on par with my commentary on the social benefits of prohibition.  I know only what history records, but my knowledge is hardly exhaustive.  Neither is Barro’s. Nothing about Robertson’s remark on this topic suggest he’s a racist, but that is precisely what this Harvard-grad goof-ball wants you to believe.

His second assertion is that Robertson believes Japan bombed Pearl Harbor because they didn’t believe in Jesus.  That’s not what Robertson said, and while it stretches credulity to think he was saying that, what Barro tries to do here is to state the obvious: Japan wasn’t going to believe in Jesus in 1941, and one couldn’t imagine they would.  I think Robertson’s point was a bit more sophisticated than Barro’s tautology implies.  Robertson was merely showing that the mindset of Christians(believers in Jesus) has been rather non-violent in the last century.  The ethos of communists, Nazis, and so on have been rather less tolerant, and seemingly more inclined to violence.  Hitler’s gangs did all they could to discourage Christianity, as Barro is undoubtedly aware, and communism basically outlawed all religions.  In Islamic countries today, Christians and other non-Muslims are routinely persecuted and murdered.  This is not generally the case in modern-day countries where Christianity dominates.

He claims Robertson “hates gay people.”  He then goes on to list a litany of things Robertson said about unrepentant sinners, but present them in a way that implies he had said these things about homosexuals specifically.  Being as adulterers are in Robertson’s list of sinners, taking Barro’s view, one would suppose Robertson hates himself, having confessed to adultery in his own life.  No, this is a pathetic attempt to do what others have tried over the last several days: When Robertson is asked what are sins by Magary, he went on to list a bunch of sins, a list that looks remarkably familiar to anybody who has read 1 Corintheans.  He did not qualify them.  He listed them.

I realize I am not the most sophisticated fellow, but I am able to grasp the concept of lists.  If you ask me to list fruits, I might say “bananas, raspberries, strawberries, oranges, apples, and grapefruit.”  This doesn’t say the first thing about which I like most or least, or which I consider the worst or the best.  It’s merely a list.  If you ask me to list vegetables, it will be much the same: “Corn, carrots, peas, broccoli, green beans, cauliflower, and radishes.” From this list, you will not be able to discern much about my preference for vegetables. You won’t even know if the one I like most or least actually made the list. All you have is a list that may or may not be exhaustive or exclusive.

As if to underscore his lunacy and lack of context, Barro goes on…and on:

“As a side note, it’s remarkable how often these things come as a package. Robertson’s sincere doctrinal view about the sinfulness of homosexuality comes packaged with animus toward gays and retrograde views about blacks and non-Christians. It’s almost as though social conservatism is primarily fueled by a desire to protect the privileges of what was once a straight, white Christian in-group, rather than by sincere religious convictions.”

In any other political context, it might seem odd how this writer seems to ignore the “sincere doctrinal view” Robertson apparently holds about Communists and Nazis. Perhaps what Barro is really confessing is his personal alignment with those ideologies.  After all, Nazis all but invented the sort of propoganda Barro is spouting here, and no place more than Stalinist Russia exhibited his flair for the desire to silence dissent and create guilt by association.

“You might recall that conservatives are currently trying to figure out what to do about the fact that the Republican Party performs quite poorly with the growing share of voters who are not white, straight Christians. They think some of it has to do with economic issues. But then  they’re scratching their heads, trying to figure out how Mitt Romney lost the Asian American vote 3-to-1 even though, by Republican “maker-vs.-taker” metrics, Asian Americans are disproportionately likely to be “makers.”

I don’t believe actual conservatives have any problem figuring out what to do, although Republicans may. What Barro leaves unstated is that the Democrats have carried the Asian-American vote for generations.  Conservatism doesn’t have a problem with non-white, non-straight voters, so much as they have a problem with statist buffoons of the sort defined by Mr. Barro. He concludes with this bit of nonsense, in case you lost interest:

“Non-whites and non-Christians and gays keep getting the sense that, even setting aside policy, conservatives and Republicans just don’t care for them. The “Duck Dynasty” episode, with Ted Cruz and others rushing out to defend Robertson’s honor, is just another example of why.”

Mr. Barro, isn’t Ted Cruz non-white?  Isn’t Bobby Jindal non-white?  Isn’t Sarah Palin non-male?  Isn’t Tammy Bruce non-straight?  Haven’t all of these defended in some fashion the free speech and free religious thought of one Phil Robertson?  This asinine attack on conservatives because they defend a man for stating his sincere religious beliefs has been extended now into the preposterous scenario of a Harvard-grad, establishment-bound numb-skull professing to us what non-whites, non-males, and non-straights may think, even as they step forward to tell us that Robertson has every right to believe sins are what may be found listed in the Bible.

Any writer who so thoroughly debunks his own argument in the span of two sentences ought to be ignored, and truth be told, so should any “news outlet” that publishes his drivel.  Barro’s article drips with venom and hate, and yet he is able to imagine hatred into the heart of Phil Robertson, who actually expressed the contrary premise that he loves all people, even sinners like himself. Who’s the real hater, Mr. Barro? Apparently, I’m not the only blogger to take a dim view of Barro. That Yahoo News posts such bilge is evidence enough to click away from that site too.

Change: We “Need” – Governed By Necessity

Saturday, August 10th, 2013

Do Needs Trump Rights?

One of the most abused and over-used words in the English language is “need.” In all its forms, including “necessity” and “necessary,” there lurks a cruel despot willing to plunder, murder, and enslave any person at any time for almost any imaginable reason. “Need” in all its forms has been the excuse of tyrants throughout history.  It is used to seize those things that the needy want or wish, but cannot or will not themselves provide.  Once America accepted the cult of “need” as a driving rationale for government, it was inevitable that we would see the demise of our nation.  Now we have a President who has elevated the claim of “need” to supersede the assertion of rights.  Ours has become a nation of needs. Let me be clear to all those who use “need” as a bludgeon against your fellow man: You’re monsters, and your self-serving claims of “necessity” will not be forgotten, or forgiven.  “Need” is not a legitimate claim to anything, and until Americans understand this, there will be no chance to restore ours to a nation of rights.

I “need” a million dollars, or so I might claim. You might ask me for what purpose, but if I can’t tell you, or if the purpose is unsatisfactory in your estimation, it won’t matter at all so long as I can get some body of politicians to agree.  The framers of the constitution left in a number of loopholes through which despotism could slither, gaining direct access to our liberties in order to strangle them, one by one.  Your property?  It’s not yours if the government or some favored concern decides it “needs” your land, your chattel, or your money.  The political process now exists solely to rationalize and legitimize some person’s concept of “need” so that once codified in the laws of the land, it will become an unchallenged, irreversible claim for all times upon all persons residing within the nation.

One might claim a “need to eat.”  Everybody needs to eat, right?  Nevertheless, my “need to eat” doesn’t entitle me to walk next door to my neighbor and threaten him with bodily violence unless he feeds me.  His right to his property trumps my alleged need. It doesn’t matter whether I’m a starving bag of bones or a gargantuan tub of lard.  In any civilized society, where the rights of property are observed, a person making such a claim at gunpoint would be considered a criminal and prosecuted as such.  Why then do we permit a third party that profits from the robbery to carry it out without respect to property rights?  The government takes from your wallet, and places it in the empty wallets of others while taking a cut for its administrative troubles, all based on the generalized claim of need: “Everybody needs to eat.”

One might claim a “need to medical care.”  Here, the robbery goes farther and deeper, because the monetary costs of this “need” are not the only thing being redistributed.  Doctors and nurses have their pay capped under such a paradigm because the government claims the bargaining power of aggregated millions.  It can set the price for medical services at any level it likes, and the only choice those who are professionals in the field may do is to simply refuse to participate.  Worse, because government sits atop the heap in judgment of who is most needy or most “deserving” of the redistributed loot, government becomes the arbiter of who will live or die.  Death panels are not imaginary, but are instead a fact of life in a system that is permitted to pay for necessities while determining what those necessities may be.

Let me be perfectly blunt in explaining my position: Your need for a thing, whether goods or services, is not a legitimate claim upon my wallet.  Redirecting your need through a third party charged with meeting your needs at the expense of my bank account is no less evil.  One can claim anything as a need, but spreading the burden of such needs around doesn’t diminish the moral failure, but as Rand famously wrote, merely “multiplies the number of victims.” Rather than taking your whole monthly grocery bill from a single neighbor, you take some tiny fraction of a penny from millions of neighbors, with government at the enforcement arm of your protection racket.  Every person compelled by law to pay for your meal, your education, your medical care, your housing, your “Obama-phone,” or your utilities is right to view you and every person like you as a collection of mobsters, while seeing  government as the enforcers of a vast organized-crime syndicate made up of thugs.

Naturally, the concept of “need” isn’t restricted to individuals or classes of individuals. In 2008, when George W. Bush began the bail-outs that Barack Obama finished, it was all on the basis of a claim to need by vast corporate entities that had become “too big [to permit] to fail.” When Obama bailed out Chrysler and GM, again the claim was that the “need” had been great, and that we would trump the rights of millions of Americans to their wealth for the sake of a “need” by large corporations and trade unions.  The claim of necessity has ever been the tool of thugs and tyrants, and it has always served their interests first, and foremost.  At each instance, the claim of a critical need has been the driving force behind the actions, but it seems too few are willing to demand in response: “Need? By what right?”

It is easy to claim a need. Every person “needs” something.  The question must be: “By what right does one’s need confer a positive obligation upon others to fulfill it?” Unless and until the American people come to see “needs” as “high priority wishes,” the country will continue the moral cannibalism we now practice until such time as it devolves into the literal form.  This will require Americans to ask themselves some extremely consequential and deeply introspective questions about their own behaviors, and if there’s one thing our nation lacks, it is the will among its citizens to strictly critique themselves.  As Americans, our response to any claim of “need” by any person great or small should be met with a question: “By what right do you impose your needs as a claim upon others?”

Ours can be a nation of needs or rights, but it may not long suffer while attempting to be both.

A Word on the Maddening Ignorance of too many Americans

Sunday, July 7th, 2013

I realize that our educational systems are filled with rot and torment, and I know many parents don’t do very much to help the situation, and I understand there are so many distractions for our young people that it’s amazing they have learned to tie their shoes…well, some of them have.  What I notice is the empty byproduct of a vacuous self-esteem that has taught them to value their opinions when it’s clear from listening to them that they don’t know a blessed thing of merit.  I don’t like to attack people in a general way, but for the love of Pete, can somebody tell these dead-heads to remember the quote variously attributed to Lincoln, Twain, and a few others, since we can predict they won’t have known it:

“It is better to be silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.”

My apologies. These dead-heads aren’t likely to know who Lincoln or Twain had been.

“Lincoln? The car?”

“Twain? Doesn’t that have something to do with scanners?”

Who am I kidding? I’d be surprised if they could manage that much. This is why I oppose early voting.  This is why I oppose motor-voter laws.  I don’t think our nation should be run by people who haven’t the willingness to learn the first damned thing about it.  Am I an “elitist” for suggesting that some people are too ignorant to vote? I don’t think so, but then, I know what I know. If you’re as blissfully, wretchedly ignorant as the people depicted in this video, you shouldn’t be permitted to vote, or even gain entry to a college, in the first instance because you clearly don’t care enough to be a responsible participant in our nation’s decisions, and in the second because there is probably nothing a university can do to help you, other than to alleviate you of the burden arising from those few funds you likely possess.  If you’re a parent paying for college, you’d better find out whether your money is being well-spent, and if you have children in public education, if you love them, get them the Hell out!

What am I going on about?  Was it the video our friend “The Unit” posted? No, it was another video a reader provided in response to the first.  I caution you that there is vulgar language in this one, but honestly, I want you to see what your trillions of dollars in education spending has produced as college students discuss the meaning of the 4th of July(from chicksontheright.com H/T F. Brown):

This isn’t merely “facepalm” material. It’s an indictment of a nation that has grown far too complacent.  I am thankful that we still have enough young people of sufficient character to populate our armed services, but for those who appeared in this video, may whatever god(s) they worship have mercy on their souls.

I’m betting on Dionysus.

 

Is the Country Doomed? (Video)

Sunday, July 7th, 2013

Subscriber and long-time commenter on this site “The Unit” posted a link to the following video in comments yesterday as an example of the kind of problems we conservatives face in trying to rescue this nation.  It’s from Mark Dice, and it’s a man-on-the-street style interview.  Dice doesn’t bother even beginning with fact-based question, and it’s stunning to see what sort of responses he receives. I can only hope that he was rigging this by providing only the very worst answers.  Nevertheless, public education is broken.  It’s sad, and it’s pathetic, and it explains too well why our nation is imperiled.

May we be delivered from stupidity.  I wonder how many taxpayer dollars were spent on education on behalf of these respondents?

 

Freedom: Will We Keep It?

Thursday, July 4th, 2013

Which freedom?

As I logged out of a remote session between my home and my office this morning, having initiated some much-needed maintenance on some critical equipment, I pondered the meaning of the holiday most will be enjoying today.  As I take a short break before heading into work to complete the maintenance on-site, it strikes me as tragic that we could let such a wonderful country slip from our grasp.  Two-hundred-thirty-seven years ago, our founders endeavored to create something that had never been: An independent nation of independent people, each free to pursue their own ends in responsible respect for the rights of every other.  The most pressing task of their day was not really in fighting the British, but in convincing their fellow colonials to join them in the fight.  As we look forward to a country rapidly crumbling under a weight of government our founders could not have imagined, we must again make the case to our countrymen that freedom is worth the fight.

In the sixties, it became fashionable in some circles to claim as a popular song of the time that “freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose.”  That sentiment has become the undercurrent and the back-drop for a cultural decline that now pervades our national spirit, as the concept was injected into the realm of the politics.  Too frequently, men and women born to freedom surrender some facet of that liberty in the name of Janis Joplin’s lament, the implication being that freedom is merely the result of having nothing.  The pragmatist’s sing-song, claiming that freedom is a pointless exercise without material or spiritual values is a detestable lie that has gained something akin to a majority’s acceptance in modern America.  True freedom, they would claim, is the state of having nothing, or of being nothing, such that to have anything, one must yield one’s liberty, or that to be truly free, one must surrender life itself.  As Ayn Rand observed, the collectivists extol the virtues of freedom – but only as obtained in one’s grave.  As our founders had done, I stand opposed to their anthem, and its corrupt concept of freedom.

Freedom is not the absence of material or spiritual values.  Indeed, real freedom is possessed of the ability to obtain material and spiritual values without interference from others, the capacity to establish one’s own course without infringements, and the presumption of sovereignty over one’s life and property.  By setting values against freedom, the statists’ lament is intended to trick you into surrendering both.  Neither do you wish for the “full freedom” of the grave, wherein lies its ultimate expression by their estimates, nor do you wish to be in perpetual servitude as a kept being, left on a causeless, pointless system of life-support in exchange for your lack of self-direction.  Instead, they preach, you should seek to achieve a “balance” between the perfect  freedom of the grave and the tyranny of perfect servitude.  This false dichotomy is the first argument they must convince you to accept, and it was the false thesis our founders were compelled to destroy.

As most of my readers know too well, freedom is not the human escape from life, as statists would contend, but the extension and enhancement of life by the ability to self-govern.  Whether on a national scale, or on an individual basis, self-determination is the real object of the statists’ attack.  You must suborn your wishes to those of your community, that must in turn submit to the will of the state, that must finally concede any nationalistic impulse in the interests of all humanity, according to their prescriptions.  Their ugly secret lies in the fact that all along the way, they have rigged what will come to be considered the interests of the community, the country, and the entire planet.  In short, their interests are simultaneously pro-humanity and anti-human, which means a generally benevolent sentiment toward the whole of humankind through a focused malevolence of policies against all individuals.

The simple truth is that they offer the classic carrot and stick.  On the one hand, the easy enticements of the welfare state and managed compliance, but in the other, the brandished club of the mindless collective.  To accept the former, it is true that one must yield one’s ability to choose one’s course, but the latter requires no acceptance, usually delivering or threatening some form of their view of “perfect freedom.”   In stark contrast, what the founders offered a people was the ability to set one’s own course; to live or die by one’s efforts or their lack; to succeed or fail at one’s own expense; to thrive or languish according to one’s ambitions.  In short, there would be no guarantees, neither of comfort nor of poverty, but merely the freedom to act and choose to pursue one’s own ends without interference.  By the standards of Joplin’s lament, this is not so enticing a choice for those who have grown accustomed to a standard of living they no longer have the willingness to earn.

In this sense, the founders of the United States of America may have had an easier task.  Looking at the sprawling wilderness before them, colonial Americans could envision unparalleled opportunity, whereas in our time, opportunity has been suppressed by governmental decree while the ability to perceive opportunities has been blindfolded in favor of the known, and the reliable.  The children of this age know a world of material plenty, but they have not been taught how it was obtained, and most have not even the knowledge or the desire to maintain it.  Ambition has been replaced by a hopeless wishing, by which too many of our youth spend their time daydreaming of the perfectly unobtainable while bypassing the opportunity to plan for and work toward the imperfectly approachable. Risk-taking was key to the building of America, and to the freedom it has enjoyed, but now we are dominated by a culture of risk-averse automatons who stare with jovial indifference at flashing pixels that describe their foremost entertainment. It’s all fiction.

If we are to succeed as a country, we must first succeed as individuals, but to do that will require stepping away from the left’s adaptation of Joplin’s view of freedom.  What a few more Americans have been realizing lately, as we careen toward implementation of Obama-care and the institution of a National Security State is that there is more than “nothing left to lose” contained in freedom.   Our founders understood this, evidenced by the fact that they were willing to risk their lives and their sacred honor, and all their worldly possessions, in the name of self-determination for a people and for individual persons.  What have we been willing to risk?  Public denunciations?  Scorn and ridicule?  Political engagement?  A few dollars to a favored cause, in the hope that some other might act in our stead?

Even given this, I still have some reason to hope, for while fleeting, a text came in that made my day.  A friend attending a 4th of July parade in a nearby town with his family saw fit to share with me something that had just happened.  In that town, a group of Texans favoring Open-Carry legislation assembled at a location along the parade’s course, and upon seeing his daughter looking across the street at them, he asked her if all of the guns she could see caused her concerns.  She replied simply to her father, and he reported to me her epic response:

“No, people scare me – guns don’t.”

In that sentence lies a naked but essential truth about freedom that our founders had understood too well, so that if it is alive in a teen-aged girl on a blistering sunny day in central Texas, there may yet be some hope for us all.  There is much more to freedom than “nothing left to lose,” and it’s time we begin to make that case again.  “Freedom” conceptually implies a “for whom” and a “from whom,”  because freedom is neither exercised by inanimate objects nor is it stripped from us by amoral conditions of nature.  There is always a “who.”  It has been the tireless trick of collectivists to substitute a laundry list of “what” for the “who.”  Just as the leftists have conveniently forgotten that Bobby McGee had been the real object of Joplin’s lament, they always manage to forget the “who” in their discussions of freedom.  Their litany includes “freedom from poverty,” “freedom from want,” “freedom from unemployment,” and “freedom from oppression” as if those conditions could arise without a “who” on either end.

As most Americans continue to clamor for more goodies from the hands of their would-be masters, it is important to remember what independence means, because a nation of dependents will not maintain it on a national scale, having surrendered it as individuals.  Freedom from the conditions of life are not liberty at all, but instead a form of bondage to whomever is maintaining that illusory and undeserved condition.  Franklin’s warning rings in my ears, because while the founders fought for freedom, and the framers of our constitution had indeed given us a form of government amenable to a great liberty, it is we who will decide if we shall keep it, or trade it in on a vision of freedom popularized by a drug-addicted woman who finally obtained her freedom in precisely the form she had described it.  Of all the concepts we might address, I believe Franklin’s conditional declaration must remain the most pressing question of our time.

Asked by a lady what form of government the constitutional convention had conceived, Benjamin Franklin purportedly responded:

 

“A Republic, Madam, if you can keep it.”

Will we?  As we celebrate our national independence, we ought to consider individual liberty’s uncertain future, and which  concept of freedom we will adopt as our own.  Our founders knew that the most pressing purpose of their declaration was not to inform the British or the whole world of their treasonous intent, but to lay down an unimpeachable argument for independence among their own.  What will we risk for our vision of freedom?  We must be willing at least to make an argument on its behalf, or surrender to the alternative view of freedom as the exclusive province of death.

DC’s Legalized Anarchy

Monday, June 17th, 2013

Lawful Lawlessness

Jeb Bush tells Americans by implication that we’re not fertile enough, either as breeders or as business creators.  Meanwhile, Marco Rubio’s aide argues on behalf of bringing in more immigrants because American workers “just can’t cut it.”  In truth, they likely agree with Barack Obama’s sentiment that we “didn’t build it,” though as a matter of good politics, they couldn’t admit it at the time.  Imagine what it must be like to hang out among this band of brigands, who on the one hand seeks to impose their notions of compassion upon us, permitting millions of otherwise able-bodied Americans to languish as dependents on the welfare-state, who if challenged, might well be found to “cut it” very nicely.  What Bush really means is that those of you who get up and go to work every day aren’t fertile enough, and that since they wish to continue growing the welfare-state, they need more workers who can be slaves to their system.  After all, as Marco Rubio’s aide reminds us, the American worker just “can’t cut it.” These people are building a perfect anarchy, in which Americans struggle simply to make it through another day, and all the while, the elite subsist on the backs of our efforts.

The revelations of such a mindset should be all we need to understand why we’re losing the country, but as if all this is not bad enough, the Supreme Court has now ruled that Arizona can’t require voters to verify eligibility to vote.  These people are stealing our country, right alongside the liberals, in league with them, and all we do is sit around watching it happen.  Maybe they’re right… Maybe we don’t “cut it.” So let us consider this as we consider the fact that not only are we forbidden from verifying the eligibility of somebody who appears on a Federal election ballot, but we must also ignore the eligibility of those who seek to complete one.  There is no effective border, and no effective restraint on anything except the American people, who are told they may not choose their own doctors, their own healthcare plans, or even their own address.  Slowly but surely, and it’s quickening now, the entire American experiment in liberty is crashing down because we’ve had a century of organized, planned, anarchical plotting by those who would lead us.  Our question, and indeed our demand must be: “Lead us where?”  The answer may be as Joe Hakos suggests over at the Dryerreport.

A nation cannot exist without borders. A nation cannot last if its laws are not enforced.  A nation will not stand that verifies neither the eligibility of its candidates nor the eligibility of its voters.  The United States has been a nation built by immigrants, and always will be so long as we remember that immigration without restraint leads to anarchy.  This is the singular aspect the DC establishment class has chosen to ignore, and it is at our great peril that we permit them to do so any longer.  This is still our country, and we have every reason to defend its institutions, its legitimacy, and its ethos as established over the last two centuries.  We cannot permit the insiders whose interests are best served in other ways to prevail upon us to yield our liberties, our standard of living, the rule of law that has acted as a brake on tyranny and violence, or any of the other facets of American life we have come to take for granted.

Of course, this may be the problem:  For too long, too many Americans have take it for granted.  For too long, too many of us thought it was all automatic, and if only we trusted the people in Washington DC, it would all work out for the best.  It hasn’t worked out, at least not for us, and surely not for our children and theirs.  This monstrous, decaying system in which the people who bear all the burdens matter least is the most despicable of all.  Where else in the world can one go that the citizens of a country get the last crumbs on a table of plenty they have set?  I don’t care if you’re a union laborer, or a white-collar, middle-management employee, but if this is permitted to continue, we will all be eating the table scraps at the feet of the anointed.  No country can survive a collapse of law and lawfulness from the top downward, no matter how great and courageous its people may have been or may remain.

Notice that our nation suffers not from a lack of laws, but from the will to enforce them.  Notice that in a country of 320 million souls, the twenty million of them who are here illegally are being served by a class of people who intend to profit from the efforts and exertions of another million-score of suckers.  Even if our economy were booming, and it’s far from that, we shouldn’t permit people to come into this country in order to be exploited any more than we should permit them to be exploited for their votes.  That isn’t what America is about, because done right, immigration can provide a nation with an influx of new ideas, renewed dedication to purpose, and fresh eyes on a whole universe of old problems, but this immigration bill, crafted by and for the lobbyists does nothing but undermine the republic that had made their existence possible.  Let us not delay the matter for another day.  Let us say it now, and with the conviction of the ages:  This immigration bill must not be permitted to become law because it is the death of us all, and all we have labored to build.  It is the diminution of a nation by inflation.  It is the death-knell of a republic.  This “Gang of Eight” bill gives Barack Obama precisely what he wants: Legalized anarchy. This is the death of nations, and ours is not exempt from that inflexible rule.

Friday, Mark Levin captured it well here(H/T Daily Caller):

Fatherhood in America 2013

Sunday, June 16th, 2013

Greatest Job on the Planet

I’ve been a father for nearly a quarter century. That’s just more than half of my life, to date. I’ve laughed and cried and have had the occasion to be very proud of my daughter while watching her grow and learn to make her own way in the world.  I know that in this era, many children haven’t the benefit of a father in their homes, and while there exists a myriad of reasons why this is so, I can’t help but feel badly for them knowing what it is of which life has conspired to deprive them.  Moms always get the credit, and well they should, for after all, they carry us those months in increasing discomfort, before delivering us to a waiting world.  It’s always Mom who gets the wave on TV after the winning touchdown, and while it’s perfectly normal and reasonable, I suppose that being a Dad makes me a bit biased toward the unheralded exertions of “dear old Dad,” not because I think I’ve been a particularly good or able father, but because whatever the vices or virtues I exhibit[ed] as a father, what I cannot claim is to have been without superior example. As the eldest son of an eldest son, I had the good fortune to see what fatherhood is all about, and to learn why its increasing absence in the lives of children is creating such a misery for a nation.  If there are too few good men, it may owe to the fact that there are too few good fathers.  To my good fortune, I could never claim that excuse.

I am one of six children, all boys except for the baby of the group, a sister who was just a toddler when I left home for good.  It’s difficult to overstate how difficult a job it must have been to deal with the lot of us.  Spread out in age over the span of fifteen years, it was a constant three-ring circus.  Trouble at school, or in the neighborhood was never far away, as one of us(and usually more than one) was always into something.  We weren’t hellions by modern standards, but mischief was not uncommon.  Dad’s influence was always there, because while Mom tried to keep a lid on us during the day, Dad leaving for work before we had boarded the bus for school,  and Dad would arrive home well behind us, many times, it was the knowledge that Dad would soon arrive that prevented us from boiling over.  Sometimes, we did anyway.

Growing up, I had the occasion to work with my father on many projects, around the house, in the yard, or in the garage.  My younger siblings didn’t always gain the full benefit of this because they were too small, but I certainly did.  Their respective turns would come later.  What I gained from all of this was confidence: I learned that with a little patience and some practice along with basic hand-tools, there was virtually nothing I could not build, refurbish or repair.  This led directly to the sort of work I did in the military, and indeed ever since.  The amount of money this experience saved me when I was a young father with a young family struggling close to the margins of poverty cannot be understated.  If I had to go back in time and pay somebody else for all the things I did on my own because my father showed me I had been able, it would be a mid-six-figure bill at least.  Added to this is the money I have been able to earn precisely because I had been given the confidence to learn new things, applying that knowledge to earning a living, and what I’ve realized is that my father wasn’t simply raising a young man nearly so much as he had given his children the tools necessary to find a way to succeed in life.

Another thing Dad taught me was that you simply must “show up.”  You can’t win at a game you refuse to play, and you can’t push your fortunes forward by waiting for them to come to you.  I’m not a wealthy man as measured in dollars, but I would be a much poorer man both in dollars and sense if Dad hadn’t given me the example of what it means to stand in and take life’s punches.  I watched him nearly work himself to an early grave because the need for income of a growing family had driven him to working three jobs.  I don’t know when he slept.  Long, unforgiving hours, little or no time at home, and endless fatigue made all of it a true torture chamber.  Did he grumble?  No.  Did he complain?  Not in front of we kids.  The toll it took on him was nearly lethal, but he didn’t quit, he didn’t fold, and he didn’t relent.

In this day and age of easy money and quick answers, Dad simply soldiered-on. Even now, galloping toward his seventy-sixth birthday, he’s still working, and not in a desk job, but instead on a loading/unloading dock at a busy retailer’s distribution center.  I’m not sure I could do his job, except that what Dad taught me still lives in me: There’s nothing I can’t do if I’m willing to put my mind to it.  As he’s aged, time has taken its toll as it must for each of us, but  even so, he’s still standing in and taking life’s punches, demonstrating why it is that examples such as he are so critical to their children.  Where else would I have learned it?  It’s not as though my mother is without a strong work ethic, as a daughter of immigrants who grew up in poverty, but that as boys and young men, our expectations as to what men were supposed to be was gathered by watching Dad.

Dad also taught us there was nothing wrong with men having strong feelings. Some things should engender visible passion in men, and the love of their family is chief among them. Love of one’s country is another. When I was a boy, I didn’t understand why Dad would get misty-eyed as the national anthem played before a ball-game, but having served my young adulthood in the military as he did before me, I now understand, because it happens to me too.  Being a Dad means being responsible for a good many obvious things, but a great number of intangible ones too.  People with whom I work and who know the hours and efforts I put into the job ask me how it is that I can take it. He could take it, so  I know I can too because I know I’ve had it relatively easy compared with better men.  I have a sense of responsibility for everything I touch, and a sense of urgency for the consequences of not having done all I could. That comes from Dad.

I appreciate such talents as those with which I was born, or those to which I was trained by a better man.  No father is “perfect” inasmuch as we are all fallible, each of us with our own particular foibles.  Still, it is hard to imagine raising six children, five of them hard-headed boys, to become anything approximating decent, honorable men without the direct and unrelenting influence of one in their lives.  Left to our own devices, and without the sometimes stern hand of a father redirecting a wayward son, it’s impossible to guess how much trouble we might each have been. Many days, I am certain we were plenty of hardship, but without Dad, the imagination is punished by thinking about how badly things just might have become.

It is the fashion in this age to trivialize the importance of men in the lives of their children, but looking back as I am prone to do as my days before me dwindle, I know that’s all a lie, particularly for sons.  Men learn to be men by watching men, for better or worse, and they learn how to relate to women for good or for ill, and they mostly follow the examples they’ve learned from their own fathers, not as carbon copies, but as re-writes and edited or abbreviated versions.  To this very day, I still believe my father is the smartest man I’ve ever known, and one of the most under-appreciated talents ever to grace this Earth, but in modesty, he would never acknowledge such a thing, or even consider it, because he had always believed in large measure that men are as good as their word, what they do, and what they manage to  accomplish.

That’s a high standard, for all the limitless reasons you all know, and it’s a good deal more exacting a measure than the subject has earned.  Still, when I look at my Dad with his failing health and dwindling years, I know that if when my days are done, I’ll have been half the man he had been, I will have lived a great life with blessings and fortunes that I, like he, will have never felt that I had deserved. It is with this and abundance of love that I have but a simple wish for the day:

Happy Fathers’ Day, Dad!

 

 

 

Where Have You Been?

Friday, June 14th, 2013

Bits in the Wind

Being a less than enthusiastic fan of popular culture, I sometimes get dragged into conversations on subjects about which I know roughly nothing, and they frequently resemble something like this:  “Did you see [TV-Show] last night?”  Me: “No, I’ve never heard of it.”  Questioner: “Where have you been?”  The implication is that I’m some kind of a dolt because I don’t watch much of the pop-culture garbage being spewed out of television networks and movie studios.  It’s true, but only if your standard of reckoning is measured against knowing what had been on television last night.  In light of Edward Snowden’s disclosures, there has been a good deal of shock and a widespread sense of contempt for a government that is able and willing to spy on the intimate details of the daily lives of Americans.  Stories have been cranking out about the degree to which government is able to record all the daily activities of citizens, and the extent to which large corporations have climbed into bed with government to provide information on their own customers.  Perhaps it is because I have a little of the Devil in me, or perhaps it’s because I have this innate compulsion to say “I told you so,” but either way, to all those Americans who are breathlessly gobsmacked over the spying our government does on its own people, I can ask only: “Where have you been?”

Ladies and gentlemen, the truth is that in some form or fashion, this has been going on for years.  I fully expected that government would be in bed with every cellular provider and you should have expected it too.  After all, those companies have broadcasting facilities dotting the countryside, and just as you asked the government to do, these companies are regulated by the Federal Communications Commission.  Is it really so incomprehensible that with a little twisting of licensees’ corporate arms, government would be given access to this data?  Every networking device in the country bears an FCC label, from the Network Interface Card in your computer to the routers and switches through which your Internet traffic passes.  These devices and anything like them are all subject to some form of regulation by the FCC.  Did you think that would never come back to bite you?  You didn’t know?  Where have you been?

From the moment government first put its claws into the regulation of communications, it was inevitable that the government would begin the process of controlling, managing, monitoring, and even shaping communications to its own ends.  It was a temptation too great to avoid, because those who seek power seek it for a reason: Control.  This is the nature of government, but it is the key element in building the sort of command-and-control structures that even now have become too large to be concealed in the shadows.  The sad, sickening reality is that in one form or another, you’ve asked for this, and in many cases, you’ve been driven into demanding it.

If you’re alive in 2013, for the span of your entire life, you have been told (and you have mostly accepted) that the government has a natural interest in regulating everything that goes over the air, or through public spaces.  You’ve accepted the notion that the Federal Communications Commission should have the unlimited authority to exert control on radio and television programming, and aghast at some of the content you’ve seen on the Internet in the past two decades, you’ve even asked the government to intervene in that medium as well.  Seldom does anybody question the primary premise on which all this regulation is based:  The government, acting on behalf of the public, must have effective ownership of all means of transmission through the public spaces with users, whether individual or corporate, are merely licensees in some form or fashion.  It needn’t have been true, and the fact is that this assumption has caused the aggregation of vast wealth into a few hands when it need not have been.  Just as we had “land rushes” sponsored by government to populate our Western landscape, we might just as easily have done something similar with frequencies in well-described locales, conferring ownership of airwaves rather than licensing of them.

Unfortunately, there will be no going back.  Every website you’ve ever visited has been recorded.  Every phone call you’ve placed or text message you’ve sent has been open to monitoring and recording, and it has grown to such an extent that now your electric meter may well record spikes in usage that denote a pattern of when you are home, when you’re awake, when you’re watching the TV, and when you’re microwaving your supper.  In some places, water metering devices can now reliably discern between a quick washing of the hands or a flushing of a toilet, and all of this information being gathered is said to improve the ability to serve customers.  Meanwhile, the US government builds alliances with corporations, mostly coercive in nature despite any carrots offered to sooth the blow, and those enticements to businesses include the sharing of government data that will be helpful in marketing to customers.  It’s very cozy, but it’s nothing new, and it’s been done this way since the advent of mass mobile communications and Internet access, and in truth, for many years before.

The disclosures provided by Edward Snowden should only really shock you if you’ve been doing as I’ve been accused when I can’t identify a movie actor: “Living under a rock.”  For decades now, it has been supposed that anybody who believed all this monitoring is possible was some sort of “conspiracy kook,” but the problem is that those of us in the technology fields have understood that this was a growing reality from which there could be no escape, in part because we have helped to build it. Others imagine that the bulk of information being captured is just so large that it is unmanageable, and that there is no possible way in which any sense can be made of it in a thoroughly threatening way, but if they believe that, I think they’ve significantly underestimated the ability of government to aggregate and correlate data.  Vast government server farms exist that are devoted to nothing but the accumulation and storage of this data, for eventual analysis and correlation.

One young woman recently asked me what good it would do the government to have all of this data on all Americans, and how it would constitute a threat to their privacy, since in her view, she doesn’t do anything unusual or threatening.  Frankly, knowing all I do about how government collects data, and how corporations are the continual source for so much of that information, I could not fathom how she did not see and understand the threats to her privacy.  In order to impress upon her how thoroughly oppressive this could become, I asked her to detail her day, and at each step along her daily course, I explained how that information could be used to build a picture not only of how she lived on a particular day, but would also provide a very good set of red flags that she had an atypical day.  How much information do you think is necessary when collected at the level of granularity now available to build a complete picture of your average day?  Once your “normal” daily routine is established, spotting anything out of the ordinary is not difficult.

What this means to the average citizen of the United States is that there are few ways to escape the “grid.” Do you work? Do you have a bank account? Credit cards? Cell phone?  Smart meter on your electric service?  Ditto for water?  Cable television?  Satellite?  Is your car recording driving data that can and will be used against you if there’s a mishap?  Now, add to this your medical records that will soon come to be under wall-to-wall Federal management, and then consider retailers able to link your purchases to all of these, and the picture that results should be shocking to every person:  There is virtually nothing that you may now do alone, and without company of some spying eye, whether direct governmental watching, or through a third party like your cell-phone company.  You can scarcely go to the bathroom without somebody knowing it.

Ladies and gentlemen, I will not pretend to you that I know much about popular culture, but I am intensely aware of technology and its use in tracking human activity.  There is virtually nothing we do in this modern frame that isn’t being collected as an event, analyzed, and categorized for later recall.  The reason this is possible is because for the most part, when you hear of the details, you shrug and go on, feeling helpless to do anything about it.  The truth is, however, that to a larger degree, it is born of our intellectual sloth.  To the degree we’re unaware, it’s only because we don’t want to know.

It’s 6am, and a light turns on.  It’s 6:05, and a toilet flushes and moments later, there are the connections necessary to check email on some distant server. The email is downloaded and read while a cup of coffee is consumed, the brewing machine having activated at 5:45am sharp in anticipation of your impending alarm, and then the television comes on, and a news channel is selected.  There is the running of more water, consistent with a shower, and then a burst of electric demand, indicating something being heated in a standard microwave.  There is some flipping of channels, and then there’s the first phone call of the day, and the first three text messages too, the first to the office, the other three in a hurried, playful exchange with a lover.  Then there’s another flush, because the spouse has arisen.  Another television pops on and another smart phone comes to life, as the earlier riser rushes out the door.  The central air kicks in because a door has opened and closed, the exchange of the warmer air outside triggering the thermostat, and thus recording the power spike as the compressor motor turns on.

An engine comes to life. Down the road it goes. Triangulation from the cellular towers in the vicinity record the strength of the signal from the driver’s phone, recording distance.  One tower knows only your distance from it.  Two towers with overlapping range fix your position to one of two possible points at the intersections of their coverage, and a third tower now finalizes location, permitting your speed and direction of travel to be recorded.  Overlaid on a map, this information can tell us if you were speeding, since on that stretch of roadway, the speed is set to 60mph, but you were moving much too quickly for that.  More texts come in, again from the lover, to whose home you’re speeding for a quick stop on the way to your job.  The conversation is noted, and the exact location of each device is recorded, and as the monitors watch, one device converges on the other.

The spouse calls to say “Don’t forget, we have a PTA meeting tonight.”  This too is recorded, and so is the sound of the driver saying, “Okay, talk to you later… Love you too… Bye…”  Another text comes in… “How long?”  The response: “5.”  The driver turns off the highway, and down a side-street, pulls into a gas station, using the ATM. Location for the transaction is recorded, along with the face of the banking customer.  No time for gas, have enough until later.  Just a minute away now.  A warm embrace, cellular networks respectively recording the correlation of locations on distinct devices complete with timestamps.  A few painfully short minutes later, back in the car, down the road, now running late for work because the driver tried to steal more minutes from the day than should be possible. The logging device in the car records a near-stop, as the driver artfully rolls a stop-sign.  A watching police officer falls in behind, the lights turns on, and a traffic stop is born. 

“In a hurry?” asks the officer.  “License, insurance, registration, please.” In a dispatch center miles away, the radio traffic between dispatchers and the officer buzzes with information.  License, license plate. Warrants?  Clean? Okay.  The officer compares the picture on his screen to the one on the license to the driver he’s just stopped.  Checks out okay – same person. “I’m letting you go with a warning, but watch those stops, okay?”  In a records management system, the completed event now registers time, date, location, make, model, driver, infraction, and links to the dash-cam video that would be used in defense against a civil suit if you had been unhappy about your treatment by the officer.  As it is, the driver is late, but in the hurry to get to work, a drivers’ license is dropped.

 The officer is understanding.  People are in a hurry in this economy.  When he gets a moment, he sends a terminal message to dispatch to look up the driver again, and see if there’s a listed number.  There is, a home phone number, and three seconds later, that phone rings.  A person answers, and in the background, the dispatcher can hear the sounds of children getting ready for school, and a breathless parent saying: “Dropped the license where?”  Meanwhile, a driver arrives at the office.  The missing license is finally noticed, but it’s too late to turn back.  It’s probably fallen between the seat and the door anyway.  One minute later, after explaining to the boss that except for an unfortunate traffic stop, the driver would have been on time, a cell phone rings.  It’s the spouse.  “Lose something?”  Having dropped the children at school, the spouse’s location is noted by a cellular network, as the car converges with another point on the map: A private investigator’s office.

So it goes. In barely more than two hours, a family is in danger of disintegration, a cheat is revealed, and all of it is recorded somewhere, waiting for somebody to notice the links. If you think this is impossible, think again.  If you think that the government hasn’t the capacity to sort and correlate all such data, you don’t understand the technology.  Any one of these tiny electronic transactions would be meaningless in most contexts, but in the aggregate, they can be used to build a fairly complete picture of a given subject.  Does the government need your cooperation?  How can they twist your arm if they do?  How can the institutions of government control you?  How can they manage you?  How much will you take?  What will cause you to bend? What can be exchanged for your silence or compliance?  This form of unlimited control of a populace has always been a subject of much speculation and fear, but now, we are on the cusp of its birth as a real, ordinary process of daily life.  We empower it.  We permit it.  We feed it, and we give our silent assent to all of it.  Mostly, we’ve permitted them to build it in utter contempt of our wishes to the contrary.  We’ve listened to the promises of safety and security, and we’ve permitted the governing class to use social programs as a facade behind which to build this vast network of command-and-control structure, with nothing so secret as to avoid detection.

After a brief stop at the PI’s office, it’s time to get on to the doctor.  That appointment has been nagging since it was scheduled.  Ten years and three children into the marriage, that same feeling is back, and while it’s not certain, somehow, chemistry being what it is, she knows.  The doctor beams at her. He’s delivered her three children, and the news is now noted that there is a fourth growing inside her, but the tears into which she bursts are not those of joy.  The children at school are going blissfully about their day, but she has a mortal decision to make. She knew her husband was stepping out.  That’s why she hadn’t let him touch her in months.  The cellphone chimes with a text as her best friend asks: “Well?”  She sobs uncontrollably, and rushes from the doctor’s office.  She calls him, his number concealed in her phone under “Pool Service,” he answers, not sure who she is, at first.  How could he?  It was just that once for her, and now she’s faced with what to tell him, whether to tell him anything, or what to do.  The phone signal tapers away.  He asks her “Well, what do you want to do?  I don’t want to be a father…”  A few minutes later, her cellular service records her arrival on the seedier side of town.  There’s a clinic there, and for an hour, she sits there looking at the clinic, but trying to see her future.  She does Internet searches, looking up terms like “abortion, adoption, divorce lawyer, marriage counseling, and Plan B.”

If you think the government can’t learn a great deal about you, even from much less dramatic information, remember that there are only really three things they need to know:  Name, time, location.  Associating those three attributes with any given event, also fixed in location and time, gives them all they need to know to build the most complete picture.  It’s a puzzle made up of multidimensional pixels, where time and location define four, but the color of the pixel reveals one more bit of the overall picture of you.  If you’re not frightened, you’re a fool.  If you think that you live a perfect, upstanding life, and that you are beyond reproach and much beyond the aims of any extortion or coercion, remember that all of this information is recorded, but there is nothing that says it cannot be modified to invent times, places, and events associated with you for which there had been no factual record.  Who would a court or a jury believe?  You, or the machine?  After all, what possible interest could government have in framing you?  What possible interest could any people prone towards freakishly controlling behavior have in managing you in a direction they find more appropriate to their own ends?

This is the searing question raised by Edward Snowden’s disclosures, but I it mystifying that it’s taken this long for the discussion to gain attention in the popular culture.  In our popular culture, it’s always the dark and sinister CEO of some corporation driving these monstrous “conspiracies” that now appear uncomfortably too much like the reality we are coming to know.  The question we never ask is: “If they’re pulling our strings, who is pulling theirs?”  If you’re the head of a multinational corporate entity, why would you cooperate with government?  A quid pro quo?  This for that?  What are these people buying with their cooperation with government?  Silence?  Coordination?  Profit?  Whatever your inclination, you can rest assured it will be all of these and more.  Do you need to eliminate or hamper a competitor?  Do you need to quash a earnings report?  Do you wish to preserve your reputation in front of the world?  What is your price?  How can you help us?

Naturally, such global-scale thinking needn’t be the sole function or motive of such systems as PRISM or those like it.  Sometimes, it’s about a broader, more general compliance among the populace, and if you don’t believe you’re the target of that, I can only repeat my earlier question: “Where have you been?”

 

 

 

 

 

Is the Real Cultural War Against Men?

Saturday, December 1st, 2012

The Surrender of Adam

One story that garnered some media attention this week was a commentary written by Suzanne Venker at FoxNews.  In the article entitled War on Men, Venker contends that the real war in our culture has been waged against men.  Her conclusions are based on the observation that fewer and fewer men seem to have any interest in marriage, while interest among women is on the rise, but there exists a widespread lament about an alleged dearth of good men.  In the end, Venker concluded that women may bear the blame for this situation, but that conclusion garnered outrage and mockery from the typical leftist outlets.  At the same time, Limbaugh discussed the matter at length, but his conclusions were clearly different than those of the shrill left.  What’s the truth?  Is there a “war” on men?  Is it being waged by women who are unknowingly setting themselves up for failure?  I believe Venker is onto something, but I also think her article didn’t fully explore the ramifications, never mind all the conspirators.  If real, this war has had a silent collaborator or two, and I think rather than casting most of the blame on women, she should have identified all of the  culprits.

It is true to say that the character of women has fundamentally changed, and much of that was driven by the so-called “sexual revolution” of the 1960s and 1970s.  Women have entered the workplace in unprecedented numbers, and they are now a majority of employees across the nation.  Women now dominate  numerically the college campus, and in many respects, women have managed to displace men entirely.  According to Venker, much of this owes to anger with men, a feeling engendered and supported by our education establishment, much of which is dominated by women.  Writes Venker:

“In a nutshell, women are angry. They’re also defensive, though often unknowingly. That’s because they’ve been raised to think of men as the enemy. Armed with this new attitude, women pushed men off their pedestal (women had their own pedestal, but feminists convinced them otherwise) and climbed up to take what they were taught to believe was rightfully theirs.”

This may not be entirely true, but there is at least a nugget of truth in it.  There is a clear hostility toward men being engendered by the culture, and I think it is safe to say that any number of men might secretly agree with this sentiment, but while Venker seems to focus on the pedestal from which men were knocked, she spends a good deal less attention on the pedestal being abandoned by women. She finally arrives at a statement that some will find offensive, but nevertheless contains a good bit of information about one of the collaborators in this war:

“It’s all so unfortunate – for women, not men. Feminism serves men very well: they can have sex at hello and even live with their girlfriends with no responsibilities whatsoever.”

Here is where Venker both reveals an effect, but slips and falls on the cause.  Spending a good deal of time researching relationships and the culture, Venker should have realized that there is some truth to that old admonishment that “men are only after one thing.”  In the main, and in the short-run thinking of men, that’s probably more often true than not, so that when women climbed down off their once-lofty pedestal in favor of the lower pedestal men had always occupied, it wasn’t true that they were kicking men off, but that men went willingly, at least initially.  The truth is that men hadn’t been kicked off the pedestal so much as bribed off of it. Of course, this is not all the story, but it provides some insight.  When Venker says “no responsibilities whatsoever,” she is mostly correct when viewed from the short-run perspective of men, however those responsibilities would need to be fulfilled by somebody, and therein we shall find the chief collaborator.

While men were busy stepping down from the lower pedestal to which feminism had enticed women, after spending some time on that lowly perch, women were finding it wasn’t all they were promised it would be.  Venker’s point has merit, but the question is: “Why would women so easily leap from the higher perch?”  The roots of this phenomenon may be fundamental to our nature, and has been understood about the nature of people since the beginning of time.  How close does this parallel what the Judeo-Christian ethos regards as the moment of the original sin?  Genesis 3:6 relates:

“So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.”

This would have made it seem as though Adam had been a bystander, but as 1 Timothy 2:14 records:

“Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.”

 

This line of thinking then begs the question: “Who played the role of the serpent?”  This is the identity of the other collaborator in the “War on men,”, and its name is government. If there is a war on men, there is no institution that has benefited more from the battle.  If it is to be alleged that while Eve was beguiled by the serpent, and thus caused herself to be cast out of the garden, so it is true that men had been complicit inasmuch as they partook also of the fruit, raising no objection, but knowing the fruit would have a bitter aftertaste. Just as the serpent knew to make his case to women, so too have statists. In our modern culture, the aftertaste of this temptation is to be measured in the wreckage of families, both those dissolved and those never fully constituted, and its evidence is seen in the fundamental breakdown of our society that continues at breakneck speed.  It is true that men have shirked responsibility, but the worst of it is not in their roles as fathers, so much as in their role as men altogether.   You see, men didn’t fight for their pedestal because they assumed that if they yielded it, they would partake of the fruit too, and like Adam, foolishly believed they would avoid the consequences.

Now we arrive in a world in which Venker describes women as angry and resentful of men, but I can imagine Eve being resentful of Adam too, as they were cast out of the garden.  “If you had known better, why didn’t you stop me?”  Adam might respond in coy pragmatism: “How was I to stop you?”  His unstated truth had been: “I didn’t want to…”

All of this demonstrates a strong cultural decline that evades description in modern platitudes.  Instead, what drives all of this is a pervasive immorality based on the notion that one can have anything one wants instantly, without consequence or responsibility, and without regard to the costs.  The provider of this temptation has been big government, and those who advance its cause.  Men sought the immediate benefits of the sexual revolution without concerning themselves with some murky consequence in some distant future.  That future has arrived, and if men now find they are bearing the cost, as Venker explains, women are bearing a terrible consequence:

“It’s the women who lose. Not only are they saddled with the consequences of sex, by dismissing male nature they’re forever seeking a balanced life. The fact is, women need men’s linear career goals – they need men to pick up the slack at the office – in order to live the balanced life they seek.

“So if men today are slackers, and if they’re retreating from marriage en masse, women should look in the mirror and ask themselves what role they’ve played to bring about this transformation.”

I disagree with Venker inasmuch as I believe the worst victims of this entire problem are children.  Men are largely absent from the lives of their children, and they’re being raised in a world that diminishes roughly half of them explicitly, but all of them in fact.  We are now more than two generations into this culture of instant gratification, and yet few seem to have been gratified in the long run.

Just as there was a rush by many on the left to screech at Venker, so I expect there will be those who take a similar stance toward me, who will accuse me of some misogyny or other “primitive thinking.”  Apart from the fact that I don’t care who doesn’t like it, the simple fact is that we can measure the tragedy that has arisen in an America transformed by post-modern feminism, and it’s ugly.  I don’t blame women even as much as Venker, because I believe men were tempted by short-run “benefits” just as surely as Adam stood by as Eve was beguiled.  Venker concludes that women can correct all of this, but I disagree:

“Fortunately, there is good news: women have the power to turn everything around. All they have to do is surrender to their nature – their femininity – and let men surrender to theirs.”

“If they do, marriageable men will come out of the woodwork.”

Men cannot permit themselves to be complicit bystanders, who partake of the fruit but point back at women as the blame. Men have let their own standards slide, and until they raise them a good deal, and for longer than the short-run, it’s going to continue because women will have no cause to change.  Imagine a world in which men are the ones who say “no.” Preposterous? Perhaps, but if our society is to survive, never mind return to a past “golden age,” somebody is going to have to say it, and what Venker’s article reveals is that slowly, men have begun to shift in that direction. Today, they’re saying “no” to marriage in unprecedented numbers. Where Venker sees this as a result of a war on men, I see it as a result of their moral capitulation. Far too many men have adopted the shoddy notion encapsulated in that well-worn misogynist retort: “Why buy the cow if the milk is for free?”  The real question laid before men is now:  Is it so free as you once thought?  On that basis, women are right to ask if the contempt so many women now feel for men is so entirely undeserved as Venker’s piece suggests. If, as the Bible explains, men were to be the moral leaders, one might ask where they had been.  After all, it wasn’t Eve alone who fell into temptation. If the war on men began with the serpent’s whispers in the Garden of Eden, we ought to ask why Adam surrendered so easily.

Putting to Rest Some Dire Misconceptions About This Disastrous Election

Sunday, November 11th, 2012

So it is said in politics...

I received an email from a reader who was thoroughly angry with me.  I asked for permission to use the text in a blog post, but I’ve not received further communications, so I will paraphrase the writer’s complaints, since I think there may be more than a few who feel this way.  The complaint boiled down to this:  Contrary to what I asserted in my post on the Reasons Romney Lost, Romney didn’t lose because he didn’t talk about important social issues enough, because said this e-mailer, Romney did indeed talk about these issues important to Christians.  If he did, many of my evangelical Christian friends didn’t hear it.  These issues were largely avoided in the debates, as well as in the stumps speeches late in the race.  The perception among many Christians, at least here in the middle of the Bible Belt, was that Romney was uninterested or evasive on issues important to Christians.  You can argue that he did in fact  talk about all of these topics at some point during the cycle, but the perception among evangelicals in my vicinity was that he avoided talk of religion whenever possible.  Again, it matters not whether he actually discussed it, but instead whether he appeared willing to broach these subjects, and in what frequency.  The problems in the Republican party are much deeper than I once thought.  It’s not only the establishment that doesn’t understand the grass roots, but also that different segments of the base fundamentally misunderstand one another.

To conservatives concerned primarily with freedom issues, they really don’t “get” the evangelical voters.  To many evangelicals who comprise a broad portion of the conservative base, faith isn’t supposed to be something you talk about once a week.  It’s something they believe ought to inform the way a person lives, the decisions one makes, and the way one conducts himself toward others.  Evangelicals will be the first to tell you that they aren’t infallible, but the people who comprise this segment tend to try in earnest to live out their faith in daily life.  They put their faith ahead of family, ahead of friends and community, and certainly ahead of politics.  They’re not generally interested in “going along to get along” because that’s not what their faith dictates.  Therefore, when they see candidates who seem less than fully concerned about faith, at least in their perceptions, they tend to be less than concerned about supporting those candidates.  Period.  You can accuse them of being too rigid in their beliefs if you like, but you see, they take that as a compliment.  They intend to be rigidly faithful to their beliefs.  They are accustomed to the left and to moderates who mock them, most frequently comparing them to some sort of westernized Taliban, and it merely steels their resolve. Contrary to the propaganda against them, however, they’re not looking for a preacher in the presidency.  They simply want a person of deep and abiding faith and understanding who isn’t afraid to take a few jeers and lumps from the left on this basis.  They perceived widely that Romney didn’t fulfill that requirement.

Some will immediately say in response that “well, at least Romney is better than Obama, and worth getting him out of there.”  True enough, but please remember: Evangelical Christians will tend to view politics as a thing of this Earth, but they’re less concerned ultimately with Earth than with their salvation.  Some of them genuinely wonder at the consequences of selling out their souls on issues important to their faith for the sake of transitory political expedience.  Once viewed in this light, it is easy to understand how evangelicals would view elections as less important, and with no candidate appearing to fulfill their requirements for support, many were certain to simply walk away.  You may not like that, and you may not agree with that view, but if you want to understand what has happened, this is a part of the formula you ignore at your own peril.

I will also tell you quite plainly that if you believe Romney’s religion had nothing to do with it, you’re making the mistake of projection.  You’re projecting your sense of religious tolerance onto people who widely view Mormonism as a cult.  Of course, I realize this fully because as my wife points out, in her homeland(Germany,) there are widely thought to be two “legitimate”  religions, being Catholicism and the Lutherans, and the Catholics aren’t entirely convinced about the latter.  As children, they learn about their faith, and in much the same way as evangelicals here in the US view Mormons as part of a cult, German Catholics and Lutherans tend to view any church newer than theirs in much the same light. My point to you is this:  There was always going to be a percentage of evangelical Christians who would never support Mitt Romney, and that was one of the risks implicit in nominating him.  Even though Romney won Texas, it wasn’t by nearly so much as one might expect.  I think if candidates like Ted Cruz hadn’t been on the ballot, Romney might have been in some danger here.

Of course, the misunderstanding isn’t all one-way.  They don’t understand why others in the GOP don’t try to live out their faith as a priority in daily life.  They may admire the wisdom and common sense of free market ideals, economic liberty, and all sorts of issues that are mainstays of the conservative sphere, but they don’t really fully understand why anybody would support a candidate who isn’t strong in his or her faith, and willing to testify to that faith in public.  As I said, the misunderstandings run in all directions, between all factions, but in politics, perceptions become realities, whether or not we think that’s right. I’m not suggesting that conservatives ought to yield to false perceptions, but that instead they should challenge them instead of leaving them without refutation.

You see, it doesn’t matter whether Mitt Romney mentioned the issues of abortion and traditional marriage a few times along the campaign trail.  It matters that he didn’t exhibit his beliefs through his actions when he was pro-choice until a few years ago, or amenable to gay marriage while Governor of Massachusetts.  Those things stick.  You will not know this, but early in the primary season, I had to ban some posters for what I viewed as over-the-top assaults on Romney’s faith.  Some were quite lengthy, but I wasn’t about to permit that sort of bashing.  It was real, however, and in retrospect, I’m afraid that in so doing, I may have done a disservice because it stifled those who feel as they do on these matters.  You didn’t get to see some of these comments, and maybe if you had, you might have understood why getting the full body of the evangelical Christian segment of conservatism to the polls for Mitt Romney was going to be a chore in any case.  That’s the truth of it.  What you do with the information is up to you, but if you’re ever to see the sort of full support from evangelicals any national conservative victory will require, you’re going to need to find candidates who satisfy their minimum requirements.  In too many ways, Mitt Romney didn’t.

Establishment Pundits Miss The Point

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

There is a simple reason Mitt Romney lost:  Free stuff.  Free phones. Free contraceptives.  Free healthcare.  Free food.  Free housing. Rampant illegitimacy.  There exists a broad segment of Republican establishment punditry today arguing approximately: The Republican party failed to attract Hispanic voters, but while there may be some truth in that, only one party has perfected the act of reaching into one citizen’s pocket to deliver goodies into the hands of those who wish to be kept. That’s it.  The GOP establishment is stating that it’s about Hispanics.  It’s not.  They’re suggesting it’s about amnesty and immigration.  It’s not. It’s more about the fact that too many Americans expect to be provided every necessity of life, and so long as you will sign away your liberties, Barack Obama is only too happy to oblige.  How did we get to this point?  How did we arrive in this bastardized America?  What is the leading demographic change that has affected our fundamental make-up to the extent that Barack Obama’s giveaways are effective?  It’s certainly true that the culture has changed in fundamental ways, lending to the viability of the “free stuff” approach of Obama and Democrats, but it’s much less to do with race or ethnicity than some Republicans would have you believe. My wife called it as we watched the election returns:  It has everything to do with sex.

Once upon a time, a man smarter than me alleged that all human conflicts come down to money, power, and sex. I don’t know if that’s absolutely true, but what I do know is that 60% of children in the country are being born out of wedlock.  We don’t talk about this gloomy statistic much any more, as we’ve so thoroughly normalized the behavior that we don’t utilize the term “illegitimacy” any longer because we dare not offend any who might have contributed to the stats.  Looking at the demographic break-down of the election, what I notice is that married women broke for Romney by almost 20%.  Single women, particularly single mothers, broke for Obama in a big way.  Why?  Because, as my wife observed, he’s daddy.  That’s what it is.  That’s all it is.  For all the hype about feminism, what this election reveals is that a large segment of single women want to be taken care of, but they want the illusion of independence provided by an absence of husbands and a boat-load of freebies from government.  As my wife wryly observed as the election returns came in, many are in search of a sugar daddy to whom their faithfulness is signified only with a vote.

If single mothers/women had broken roughly on par with the general populace for Romney, he’d have won.  They were instead so thoroughly lopsided in Obama’s favor that there was no chance for Romney.  Hispanic votes wouldn’t have mattered.  The whole matter of race would have been moot.  Naturally, the GOP establishment leaps to immigration policy and other pandering measures aimed at Hispanics because amnesty is something they believe they can “give away” like free stuff.  Our problem is much more intractable than this, besides which remains the fact that Obama has beaten them to that punch. Until we come to understand how thoroughly our culture has collapsed, we’re not going to win.  Sure, we are going to win elections here and there, but the trend is wiping us out, but this entire meme about bringing in Hispanics is all about JEB and his electoral aspirations in 2016.  Period.

Our culture has changed, in part by demographic measurements, but in larger measure by the moral bearing that drives the statistics.  Young men don’t want families and responsibilities, and young women don’t want them except for transitory purposes.  Yes, that’s painting with a very broad brush, and I am well aware it’s not universally true, but I am talking about the cultural trends.  My notion here is not to blame women, lest you misunderstand.  My point is that women have become the chief source of the difference between the two sides of the electorate, because we have a welfare state that entices them with all of the benefits of marriage with none of its alleged institutional drawbacks.  There is nothing I know that can reverse this trend, and stalling tactics like giving ground on immigration will only buy a little.  The problem is that in order to fix this, it’s going to need to get ugly.  How ugly?  Pre-industrial ugly.

Conservative talk-show host and Breitbart blogging phenomenon Dana Loesch tweeted this morning, and I responded:

We cannot be Santa Claus.  We cannot be a more thorough sugar daddy than Barack Obama.  We cannot give away the country in order to rescue it.  I think the first thing we need to do is to prepare our people for the worst.  I think we need to ready our families and our neighbors for the inevitable collapse.  The Obama-voting electorate is going to discover all too soon that Santa Claus has delivered them only a lump of coal, and prohibited them from burning it for heat besides.  As I tried to explain to Loesch, it’s more than a tough fight.  It’s nearly impossible, because it’s built upon a base of people that continues to grow, while the pool of those who do the provisioning continues to shrink as a group.  It’s a cultural issue, and like most such problems, no policy can fix it.  It’s gone too far.  What will fix it will be when the inevitable collapse occurs, and the well runs dry, and as I covered when Sarah Palin wrote last year over the debt ceiling debacle, the Sugar Daddy has run out of Sugar.

Unfortunately, thanks to the Republicans led by John Boehner, the truth is that the sugar hadn’t run out.  If the Republicans were to stand a chance of defeating Obama in this election, they should have hardened up and cut off the sugar more than a year ago during that debt ceiling debacle.  Instead, they went wobbly, and as you will remember, it was in part at the insistence of Mitt Romney or his campaign staff. They didn’t want any boat-rocking. One more postponement in order to attempt victory one more time, and once again, we found it was too little, too late.  The Republican establishment set will tell us they need one more chance to try to give something away.  It’s won’t work. We can’t out-giveaway the statists.

The problem we face is one of culture.  Until we grasp the fundamentally corrupting influence of our welfare state, and the fact that our alleged compassion leads only to further depravity and destitution, we will not get the country back on track.  It may take a horrible economic collapse for that spigot to run dry, much worse than anything any of us have known in this country.  When that happens, we’ll be going back.  Way back.  The culture will ultimately correct itself, just as one empire gives way to the next when it falls into moral disrepair.  Frightening?  Yes, of course, and thoroughly so.  I don’t know how we will find any other way to convince the people that their moral choices are killing their country, until it happens. Naturally, by then, it will be far too late.  This is why I don’t want to hear from GOP establishment pundits, because they still believe there is some way to buy our way out of that.  There isn’t. We will either lead and teach, or we will be subsumed into the great cesspool of historic collapses, leaving the teaching to history. We must choose our new course, but we must not permit a lack of clarity.  We must, or we’re finished.

Hating “Extremism”

Friday, August 24th, 2012

When Extremism Is No Vice...

One of the terms that has gained favor in popular culture, particularly on the left, but increasingly in the broader political arena in America is the word “extremist.” I find this word to be a shallow, empty word, used as a bludgeon, but carrying no factual, logical impact while delivering an entirely emotionalized blow.  I’ve been called an “extremist” depending on the issue at hand, and after a while, the term loses its meaning precisely because “extremist” merely refers to a person who had been “extreme” in some facet of their actions, character, or pronouncements.  In this context, the word “extremist” tells us precisely nothing about the matter at hand, but since it’s an ugly-sounding word, it is used by leftists for its emotional impact rather than as the basis for any rational discussion.  When I see the term “extreme” or “extremist” hurled around in this fashion, it has generally been a leftist hurling it, but increasingly, I have seen conservatives begin to wield this same weapon, and what this signifies is how intellectually slothful some on the conservative side of the aisle have become in making an argument, or at the very least how thoroughly they disrespect the intellect of their audiences.  When some commentator, pundit, or writer uses the term “extremist” or “extremism,” whether from right or left, we ought to demand a fuller explanation than that which had been provided by such an empty taunt.

Rather than pulling out Merriam Webster’s dictionary in demonstration of the misuse of the term, I’d prefer that we restrain ourselves to contextual examples. Knowing that I’ve been labeled an “extremist” myself on a few occasions, it might be instructive to view the context in which such a charge has been leveled.  After all, in our culture, the term “extremist” has such negative connotations that one is immediately painted with an easel of colors that suggests a wild-eyed maniac, lurching zealously in pursuit of some particular end.  Of course, therein arises the problem, because the term tells us little or nothing about the nature of the “extremism.”  Instead, due to the negative connotations associated with this word, the presumptive impact delivered is negative, and yet there is nothing inherent in the meaning of the word to suggest a deleterious implication.

For instance, I have been told I am an “extremist” because I refuse to abandon the logically consistent position that life begins at conception, and that if men are endowed by the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God with certain unalienable rights, they must begin to arise at that moment, such that any excuse for ending that life must still ignore the rights of that individual, no matter how new and as yet, undeveloped it may be.  The assertion leveled in my direction is that by remaining inflexible to any other contextual concerns, I have become an “extremist.”  The only thing truly “extreme” about my position is that I refuse to concede the argument on the basis of situational ethics, or relativism.  My support of a right to life for all human beings is therefore branded as “extreme,” and the connotation attending that label is foisted upon me in the same manner that Timothy McVeigh was called an “extremist” without reference to what it had been about which he was extreme, or to what extremes he was willing to go in furtherance of his twisted world-view.  That’s the object being pursued in many instances in which the word “extreme” is so frequently misused: The desire to paint one’s political opponents as being raving lunatics.

I have been called a “Second Amendment Extremist,” because I can read the plain language of that amendment, and because I can see in the construction of the sentence that comprises it everything I need to know about the intentions of its authors.  I note that in that amendment, there is a dependent and independent clause, and that if I identify the two, what is plain is exactly opposite of what leftist, statist legal scholars contend.  They suggest that the right of the people to keep and bear arms is dependent on their proximity to a “well-regulated militia,” but knowing the construction and grammar of the English language, I know they are lying.  The full sentence states:

“A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

There are two clauses in this sentence, and you can decide for yourself which is the dependent and the independent.  One definition of the distinction would lead you to test them each as sentences.  “A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State…”  Complete sentence, or fragment?  Now try the other: “…the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”  Clearly, the second clause is independent, while the first clause is dependent on the latter.  You could, in point of fact, place any clause whatever in place of the first, and not change the meaning or impact of the second.  “Ham and cheese on rye being necessary to the fullness of one’s stomach, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” Yes, this seems a preposterous remark, but notice that substituting my dependent clause about ham sandwiches does exactly nothing to the meaning or impact of the independent clause.  What we must therefore learn from this is that the author of this Amendment, and those who subsequently adopted and ratified it intended to say “The right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”  Why put the other clause there? The intention was to demonstrate one cause relative to governance for which the government must sustain that right, but it was not intended to be the exclusive or sole reason for the amendment.  Instead, it was simply to explain one interest the federal government should recognize so that it does not infringe upon that right.

Naturally, the fact that I would rely on the actual words of the amendment, and the rules of English to recognize its essential meaning simply implies (according to leftists) that I am some sort of “extremist.”  Note, however, that I am only an “extremist” about this subject in the eyes of those who at least contemplate depriving the American people of this right. I might just as easily state that those who would consider such a disparagement of our rights as an “extremist,” and I would contend to you that they are, but I will at least offer you the respect of telling you the nature of their “extremism,” rather than relying upon that word to carry the emotional water I wish to convey.

Of course, this can be applied to many things, well away from the realm of politics.  How about human relationships?  I am certain that my wife would prefer that I remain an “extremist” with respect to my observance of my wedding vows.  I am certain that my friends and neighbors would prefer that I remain an “extremist” when it comes to my honesty in my dealings with them.  I am likewise certain that my co-workers would prefer that I maintain my extreme diligence and thoughtfulness with respect to the work I do.  Of course, if you prefer to remain in the political realm, you could take it from Barry Goldwater who famously asserted:

“I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!” (Sen. Barry Goldwater(R-AZ), 1964 RNC Convention)

Here’s the video, for those who weren’t yet around to witness it:

The Republican Party has been running away from that statement with few exceptions since Senator Goldwater uttered it, and yet it reminds us of a central truth about the nature of our political discourse and the infamy of misusing the language in such a way.  What Goldwater said as he accepted the Republican Party’s nomination for the office of President was a thing we ought to recognize, because at the time, the Johnson Campaign was painting him with the awful and generic brush of “extremism.”  Quite obviously, the most controversial thing about Goldwater’s views at the time lied in the fact that they were perceived as controversial at all. The GOP establishment, even in those days, quickly abandoned Goldwater and left him to fight with an underfunded campaign.

My point in bringing up Goldwater, and the notion of “extremism” as a label of infamy cast about by commentators, reporters, journalists, and even ordinary people like me is that we should question its use, or more properly, its overuse.  I have become accustomed, as have most of you, to being smeared with this label of “extremism” in such repetitive fashion by leftists that is very nearly a badge of honor among actual conservatives.  I am proud to be what the press might call an “extreme conservative,” or what Mitt Romney might call “severely conservative,” or what John Boehner would simply characterize as a “knuckle-dragger.” The term “extremist” conveys no actual meaning of its own, and left in isolation, it’s impossible to judge with certainty whether the “extreme” under discussion is a bad thing or a good thing.  It’s a shoddy method by which to launch an attack with no specificity for its basis, and that should get your attention.

What I am astonished to see in this campaign season is when bloggers,  columnists, commentators, journalists, and writers ostensibly on our side resort to this sort of lazy language to attack not only our opponents, but also some of our own. “Extreme” and its derivatives are words we who cover politics should refrain from using without contextualization and definition.  It’s a dastardly attack because of its presumptively negative connotations, but absent any context, it loses its meaning. I might posit the notion that “Voters don’t like extremists,” but what information have I conveyed if I provide no context or meaning to the term?  What sort of extremists do voters not like?  Is there a sort of extremist they might like?   Having permitted the reader to define the term for his or her self, I haven’t said anything substantial, and in that case, perhaps I’m better off had I instead refrained from saying anything at all.

This Country Is Doomed – Video of 6yo Rapper

Monday, July 9th, 2012

Exploited

I really haven’t much to say about this.  It’s sad and depressing, and merely shows what has become of our popular culture.  Anything goes.  This video depicts a six year old rapper, and I won’t post it on this site.   I feel bad for what is being made of this poor child’s life.  I tremble with rage that an adult could turn a child into this sort of sideshow.   That any parent would use their child in this way signifies a complete breakdown of a growing segment of our society for which it’s difficult to imagine any possible repair. You don’t need to watch the whole thing, and in fact, you don’t need to watch any of it.  Knowing that some adult thinks it is a good idea to have one’s 6yo rap: “I can make your booty pop” is enough.  H/T Iowntheworld.com:

I am stunned.  This kid needs to be rescued from the adults around him. We are doomed.

Inverted America

Monday, July 9th, 2012

Home of the Depraved?

Everything is upside-down.  Do you work for a living?  If so, you’re punished.  Are you an entrepreneur?  You’re punished, and you’re going to be punished more severely, too.  Are you a lay-about?  No problem.  You qualify for earned income tax credits, welfare, and food-stamps.  You will be rewarded for your ignorance, your sloth, and your commitment to ride through life on your neighbors’ backs.  Do you follow the rules?  Pay your taxes?  Did you wait until, oh my, marriage before you began having children? Did you and your spouse restrain your reproduction in the name of not falling into poverty?  Too bad!  While you’ve been frugal, others have not, and you’re going to pay for their children too!  Did you serve in the Army?  Earn those college benefits by doing your nation’s bidding?  That’s too bad.  You could have merely gone on the public dole, taken endless student loans and Pell Grants, and gotten the same thing without the slightest chance you might get your ass shot off in some hell-hole halfway around the globe building fake democracies.  No?  You don’t like that?  This is what we have permitted to happen: Doing right is punished, but doing wrong is rewarded.  The whole damned thing is upside-down. Welcome to inverted America.

Politicians lie.  There’s news!  What you may not realize is that the more shamelessly they lie, the more apt they are to succeed, where success is measured by trip after trip back to Washington DC.  If they tell the truth, they won’t be tolerated by a nation of people who enjoy the sweet lies more than the truth.  Politicians who spend the nation into oblivion are rewarded with additional terms, while those who warn of this impending disaster are sent packing because they might dare to vote for measures to stop the bleeding.  We’ve now arrived in a situation in which it is so bad, and so insurmountable that even our somewhat more sober public officials are beginning to pretend it doesn’t matter.  A century ago, the American people were astonished by the reckless spending of some public officials.  Now, some notice, but not enough to matter much, as their fellow citizens join the chant for more.

What has happened in America is that we have abandoned morality, but I do not mean only the morality prescribed by commandments that begin with “Thou Shalt not…”  I mean also the morality made plain by such simple wisdom as “a penny saved is a penny earned.”  I mean such trivial matters as associating one’s material wealth to one’s actual efforts.  One of the biggest frauds I see on a day-to-day basis is the self-delusional proposition of those who live so far beyond their means that they spend the entirety of their life juggling debt payments.  Big house, really fancy car, nice clothes, expensive jewelry, and all the trappings of success, only, what have so many forgotten?  Oh yes, the “success” part.  Too many people have adopted the tired, self-defeating delusion that “if only I can look like a million bucks, I will be worth one million dollars.”

This basic disrespect for the law of causality traditionally pervaded only the left, and the perfectly insane, or those well under twenty-five.  It’s a petulantly childish wish to be able to have things without having earned them, but when one decides one can impose the costs of that wish on others through force of government, an adult becomes a thief and a murderer.  If you examine what our culture has become, and how it has begun its devolution, from the pinnacles of human achievement toward the mires of ancient miseries, you, the rational among us, ought to know the cause.  There can be no reversal of cause and effect, just as one may not put the cart before the horse in expectation of locomotion.  The universe simply does not work that way, despite our most foolish attempts to pretend to ourselves that it may.

Sunday evening, I was baffled, nay, astonished to read that there are people who actually expect to benefit from Obama-care.  I cannot conceive of the fool who might convince himself of such a thing, except that there are many who do.  They expect to benefit precisely because America has adopted an inverted morality, where virtue(s) is punished, and vice is rewarded.  Those who practice any vice are treated as victims.  It calls to mind the case of the Menendez brothers, on trial for the murder of their parents.  Their defense team painted them as poor, tortured souls who were now orphaned, while every sensible person in the country screamed at their televisions: “But THEY MURDERED their parents!”  This tendency among many to let others off the hook for their poor choices must stop.  It simply must. The rest of us are being held to pay for these bad decisions, and sadly, there exists some number of us who are willing to pay on the basis of the unspoken proposition that we might one day permit ourselves to act with equal irresponsibility.

This is not the nation of our founders, and if this is what has become of the United States, perhaps we are better off if it dies.  There are too many who refuse to see that which is before them.  They’re too busy pretending up is down and down is up to notice that the country is sinking.  The only hope this country has is that those remaining who do not accept an inverted morality begin to speak up.  It may not be possible to reverse at this late date, but if it can be, it will only be done by those able to speak the unvarnished, heretofore unspeakable truth of America in the 21st century: Our country is dying of a terminal cancer, and its cure is reason.  Effects follow causes, and we should begin to reaffirm that relationship.

 

 

Seeing Red: You’re Damned Right – I’m Mad

Sunday, July 1st, 2012

Afraid to Know?

I’ve received a few emails asking me if I’m so angry as it seems on the surface.  I’ve politely responded that I’m actually much angrier than the printed word permits me to express.  I’ve made mention of something else on that score, and in so doing, you’d think I’d crossed the Rubicon.  Maybe I should.  I’ve admitted openly that I am not only angry at the Congress, the President and the Court over this Obama-care monstrosity, but that I’m likewise furious at my fellow Americans who aren’t equally furious!  I’ve been asked what I expect the anger to get for me, and the truth is that I don’t know.  I’ve never been quite this angry before, and I’ve never muttered so many oaths under my breath, and within the confines of my own head as I have these last few days.  I’ve asked this question in other forms before, but few have seemed willing to take it up.  One of the reasons the statists continue to do things like this to us is because we’re peaceful, law-abiding people on the whole, but just as in the case of the contraception mandate in Obama-care, I am beginning to conclude that perhaps we are the problem.  They seem to poke at us like a moron prodding a grizzly with a stick, safely from beyond the bars of a cage at the zoo.  We never seem to grab the stick, pull them close, and rip their faces from their thick skulls, and it is this that makes them all the more smug each time they poke at us:  We hold the key to the cage.

I’ve been asked too how it is that we can express this anger.  I suppose we could resort to pitchforks and torches, but I expect that’s precisely what the statists want.  In the mean time, we’ll wait peaceably for them to ban pitchforks and torches.  They’ve already made incandescent light-bulbs illegal.  How long can it be before torches are banned both as a matter of public safety and as a matter of environmental concern?  Pitchforks may require a better excuse, but I’m sure they’ll do something like limiting their length.  No, the way to express our anger comes down to something simpler, but even this, I’m afraid most people are too timid to attempt:  We can simply say “no,” and mean it.  Ayn Rand put forward the solution in Atlas Shrugged, but since few can be bothered to read a book of that epic length any longer, I suppose I had better give a brief summary: Those who work, and earn and build are convinced to simply stop, leaving nothing to the statists from which to subsist.  All the little moochers, and all the crony capitalists find they cannot survive without those who produce, and they quickly move to a post-Apocalyptic society where anarchy reigns for a time, until the looters ultimately reduce themselves to insignificance.

The basic idea is this:  All of this is done by our consent.  The ghastly welfare-state, the crony-capitalism, the corruption, all of it, every piece, because in part, some of us are corrupted by it, and in part because we are too fearful to simply say “no” and thereby undergo the temporary misery of a rapidly collapsing society.   Only our productive endeavors keep this monster alive.  Each time we go to work, invest our money, or shove some of it into a savings account, we’re feeding the beast.  We’re keeping it alive.  It is by behaving as a parasite on our life-blood, our productive enterprises, our labor, and our jobs that this is all kept going.  Without our daily/weekly/monthly/annual ‘contributions’ to their system, their system would quickly starve and die.  The idea of leaving this all behind has come to be termed “going Galt,” a hat-tip to the book’s hero, John Galt.   In Rand’s novel, he was the first to abandon the society to its own devices, determined that he would no longer to provide it any form of support, material, or otherwise.  He then set about the task of convincing others to join him.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am on the cusp of “going Galt.” Being as this site is named “Mark America,” perhaps the act would come to  be known as “going America,” and that would be fitting, indeed.  Our country has fallen into the depths of a sickness from which the only recovery will be when we decide to impose it.  We have the power to treat this disease.  We have the ability to starve it of nourishment.  Do we have the courage?  Somehow, while I would love to credit Americans with the courage of the ages, still, I get the nagging impression that too many among us would be comfortable as slaves so long as the bellies are full, the roofs don’t leak, and the rivers don’t rise.  It’s a depressing state of affairs.

Are there any willing to starve the beast, even at the cost of their own temporary, although probably somewhat protracted discomfort?  None can say.  None dare say.  Meanwhile, let’s be angry.  Without corresponding action, it doesn’t fix much, but it sure feels good.

 

College Loans and Who Should Pay For Them

Saturday, April 28th, 2012

The Choices We Make

If you’re a college student, you may want to pay attention.  With the nationalization of student loans under Obama, you’re going to be slaves to the system if you use their loans.  It’s the ultimate racket.  You pay interest to the government at a higher rate than you would have in the previous system where private banks made loans, and the government guaranteed them, and of course, the government has the IRS to strip your future earnings from you.  I listened to a caller named “Jonathan” on Mark Levin’s show Friday evening, and I was astonished at his sniveling over the interest rates.  He insisted that it is “for the greater good” that he took out a total of $220,000 in student loans.  He’s not upset, he says, about the principal amount, but at an interest rate of more than seven percent, he’s having trouble making ends meet.

Let me save all of you aspiring college students some time and trouble:  Most universities don’t teach you much anyway.  You’ll learn more on your own if you want to do so than any college will ever teach you, and it will be more valuable.  I know, I know… The field into which you’re going requires a college education, maybe an advanced degree, perhaps medicine, or the law.  That’s fine.  Go to a cheap school.  Seriously.  All they’re giving you is a piece of paper.  The rest, you get on your own, and it’s the height of foolishness to go into debt to the tune of more than two-hundred-thousand dollars in order to fatten the higher education establishment.  It’s absurd, and our kids should be steered away from this nonsense.

I went to college.  I was thirty-one years old when I enrolled.  I was thirty-five when I graduated.  My ‘student loan officer’ was a nice gentleman with a crew-cut I met in the recruiting office of the United States Army when I was seventeen.  I loaned the government my backside for seven years, and in exchange, they matched my own contributions to a college fund.  Along the way, they taught me to be a hard-charging ass-kicker, and also some practical skills that I would one day convert to civilian use for the purposes of feeding my family.  It was likely the best deal I ever made.  The truth of the matter is that I learned a good deal more in those seven years than any college could teach you in twenty.   Nevertheless, once I was out of the Army, I used the aforementioned skills to make a living, and before long, only six years later, I was on my way to college.

Now I can almost hear caller Jonathan’s retort to such a proposition: “But, but, but,” he might stammer, “I wanted to go to a top twenty-five law-school.  It’s the only way to get work at some places.”  That sound you may be hearing in the background is the sound of the world’s smallest violin, playing just for Jonathan.   My answer: “Then shut up, and pay the interest you promised to pay when you took out the loan!”  You see, the problem is that Jonathan is finding it hard to make ends meet while paying his obligations, and he’s finding that paying for his debt is causing him to delay some gratification as a young attorney.  Boy-o, that’s what happens when you aren’t “born with a silver spoon in your mouth.”  Get over it.

Honest to goodness, $220,000 is a fantastic sum of money to me even now.  When I was that age, if somebody had lent me that kind of money, I’d either be a billionaire, or be locked away in debtor’s prison by now.  Or not.  The point is that to take out loans totaling $220K and then complain about having to pay the interest is a farce. Sure, it will probably take poor Jonathan a decade or more to pay off those loans, but what of it?  Was he making an investment in his future or not? No, you see, that’s not enough for young Jonathan: “For the greater good,” we should all be investors in his future.  Sorry, but I’m not interested in that sort of ‘investment.’

Don’t get me wrong: I’m sure young Jonathan is a fine man, and he’ll probably make a great slip-and-fall lawyer one day, but in the mean time, he’d better pay up with a big fat smile on his face.  You see, I actually had this very conversation with a young person recently, who was looking at the costs of attending the school from which he hopes one day to receive a degree, and I offered the other options open to him, and even offered my story about my own ‘loan officer.’  He replied in a matter-of-fact tone that “Well, you made your choices, and you took the path you did.”  His intent had been to dismiss my story, and yet as I the grin widened on my face, he looked confused at first, and then it hit him: “Okay, yes, I guess I see your point.”

It was somewhat amusing to hear his laments about how he’s now “over a barrel.” He can either continue his education, accruing more debt along the way, or he can quit, and begin repaying the loans immediately.  As I explained to him, “life has us all over a barrel.”  Of course, I understand how the government is going to financially wreck so many of these youngsters.  Now that the government is the sole source for guaranteed student loans, the government is going to wreck as many youngsters as they can hook into this system.  Naturally, the education establishment is only too happy to continue to increase tuition, because I can guarantee you that the faculty lounge won’t suffer.  This is the inevitable result of letting government intrude where the private sector should exist.  They created the government-guaranteed student loan program in order to entice lenders into loaning money to students for college, since they had been such an historically awful risk.  Once the government guaranteed the loans, it was inevitable that some Marxist would nationalize the program.

I am fairly certain that was the intention from the beginning.  After all, you can’t walk away from federally guaranteed(and now issued) student loans through bankruptcy, much like income tax debt, and everybody beyond the age of thirty understands that socialists love captive markets.  If we did that with healthcare, we wouldn’t have the insurance problems we do, but that also wouldn’t enable government to grow larger and reach into another market, ultimately nationalizing it, as they intend with seemingly everything.  At some point, this country is going to be faced with a choice about whether we wish to fix all of these things permanently, or simply implode and become a full-bore communist state.  I’ve seen the latter up close, and I’m afraid that’s where we’ve been heading, but young Jonathan doesn’t know that, and his professors aren’t likely to have told him.  Instead, they’ve probably filled his head with notions of how “the greater good” is the sole consideration, but what they’ve never told him is who will be determining what constitutes the greater good, or the public interest.  He believes he will have some say in the matter.

At every level now, the Federal government reaches into everything, but the simple truth of the matter is that this can generally happen only because people invite it in.  Too many people suffer under the delusion that the government is able to fix anything and everything, and that since there’s no immediate and obvious cost to them, they are quite happy to have the “help.”  All of this ignores the tendency of government to resemble a mob loan-shark, or a gang of mobsters in general.  Once you accept the help, there’s no ridding yourselves of them.  More, it’s a bit like the drug pusher, who gets people hooked on “free samples” but once addicted, the new junkie would kill his family to obtain another fix.  In other words, it’s about us.  Just as the pusher can gain no ground so long as you tell him “no,” so too is it the case that if we begin to tell the government “no,” it will lose its power.  That means doing something most people are tested to do:  Say no to themselves.  Young attorney and Levin caller Jonathan could have told himself “no.” That would have been difficult, with a degree from a “top 25 law-school” dangled before his ambitious eyes.  Now that it turns out his eyes may have been a little larger than his belly, he’s not happy about it, but I’m sure there was no dissuading him at the time.  Somebody needs to tell him “no.”  Waive the interest?  No.  Delay payments?  No.  Forgive the debt?  Hell no!

“No” is the most effective word on Earth against socialism, but it’s the word too many in this country are now afraid to utter, to their children, their neighbors, fellow citizens, but most particularly, themselves.  Until we learn to say it and mean it, poor kids like Jonathan will never understand its power.  Government bureaucrats will never understand their limits.  Politicians will never cease in their abuses.  We will never be happy.  Learn to say “No” and stand by it.  Refusing your consent is the one thing that cannot be taken from you.  Jonathan could have said “No” to the interest he’ll now pay, simply by refusing the loans.  Having taken them, he has found that he now has no right to refuse.  Do I feel sorry for Jonathan? Do you?

No…

Running on Empty: Petrol Panic in UK

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

Could We Face the Same?

I recommend my readers check out this piece over the UK Telegraphon what is going on with our friends across the pond.  They’re experiencing a fuels shortage to the extent that the government is being urged to begin an emergency program of rationing.  The issue began when a union of truck drivers who deliver fuels threatened to go on strike, and a government official, Francis Maude, a Cabinet Officer advised people to fill up their tanks and store fuel in storage containers.  Quite naturally, the people responded by doing just that, emptying filling stations everywhere.  While telling the people not to panic, the British government incited a panic, and the resultant run on fuels, in a shortage so severe that first responders there are having difficulty finding fuel to run their ambulances.   What we should learn from all of this are at least two important lessons, and I hope my readers will take note:  Governments cause panics by their actions, but more importantly, our fuel supply is more vulnerable than most people think, because of the structure of the supply chain.

If you drive to your favorite filling station, most days there will be no problem.  You’ll simply dispense the fuel, pay and depart, and there’s no fuss about any of it.  What most people don’t realize is that the amount of fuel out at filling stations is based on the expected, ordinary quantity demanded, and while there may be some small amount in surplus, it’s really not much more than a day or two extra under ordinary conditions.  Fuels are dangerous to store in large quantities, and EPA regulations have made the job harder, but most important is the notion of just-in-time inventory management which means retailers don’t keep more on hand than they will immediately sell under normal conditions.

The reason this matters to consumers is that it means that any small fluctuation upward in quantity demanded can quickly lead to a shortage. As we should have learned in the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, anything that causes a shortage at the margins in one locale can quickly spread to others.  If there’s a run on fuels in just a few key locations locally, it can spread like a wildfire as displaced customers shift their demand to other locations, driving those to shortage, and thus pushing the shortage around.  As the shortages spread, panic takes hold, so that people descend on every location for fuel they can find.

This tells us a little bit about the psychology of the market and why such shortages can materialize for no apparent good reason, looking at the matter on a macro scale:  Is there enough fuel for immediate demands? Had people simply gone on with their ordinary purchasing patterns, would there have been a serious market-wide shortage?  No.  The problem lies in the fact that people can be moved by fear and uncertainty regarding the immediate future.  The notion that some days in the future, tanker drivers in the UK might be on strike, and might cause a shortage, was enough to cause a government official to make remarks that started a panic.  Even if the strike never materializes, it will take days or even weeks for the UK to restore things to the normal flow.

What this also should remind us is that on-hand supplies at retail outlets is never nearly what the whole market might demand at once.  At any one time, the capacity of every filling station is just a small fraction of the total capacity of every vehicle’s tank.  When everybody goes to fill up at the same time, the situation is made evident, because the on-hand retail supply can in no way match the condensed time frame of such a move by consumers to tank-up.  In the UK, they’re openly talking about rationing now as a way to restore the normal flow.

The more interesting part about this problem is the human psychology implied: When faced with potential shortages, we tend to horde in response, and this can clearly add to the problems.In the US, where we are much more dependent on fuels to maintain the course of our daily lives, commute and travel distances being so much greater, we’re especially vulnerable to panics generated by short-run, geographically-limited marginal shortages. For this reason, the US can be subject to very small-scale shortages turning into regional or even nationwide problems.  It doesn’t take much.  If a few gas stations over a metropolitan area run short, it can ripple outward and spread like a virus. People begin panic-buying almost as soon as they hear that there is a shortage somewhere nearby.

This is why our current situation is actually so precarious.  It doesn’t take much but a day or two of delayed replenishing in distribution to cause a serious problem.  This is also another reason we should seek to increase not only the amount of oil we produce domestically, but also to increase our refining capacity. The situation underway in the UK  is small compared to the impact such a panic could cause here, primarily because the geographical expanse of our country means that public mass transit isn’t economically viable in most areas.  In short, we need our fuel, and our lives have evolved to depend upon it.  It’s bad enough when governments do idiotic things like start a panic, but what’s worse is when they’re so utterly unprepared when they happen without government prompting.

The American people should be made aware that panic hoarding only worsens the problem and increases the span of time before a situation driven by natural disasters is resolved.  The goal in such a situation should be to delay purchase as long as possible, but that’s so counter to our nature that I don’t expect many people to react in perfectly rational ways.  The other problem we face is political, in that too few Americans understand just how fragile this system has become, and with it, all the dependencies upon which it relies.  If more Americans understood just how reliant they really are on an energy supply to maintain their standard of living, they might bring more pressure on politicians to get out of the way.

Governor Palin on Hannity Discussing Vile Attacks (Video)

Saturday, March 24th, 2012

Governor Palin on Hannity

On Friday evening, former Alaska Governor and 2008 Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin appeared on Hannity on FoxNews to discuss a range of topics, relating to the vile attacks she and her family have endured over the last four years since John McCain chose her to be his running mate.  Hannity prefaced the segment with a number of disturbing video clips of various media personalities saying the most obscene and ridiculously insulting things about Gov. Palin and other members of her family, and given the nature of some of the things that have been said, I remain amazed at her poise and strength of resolve in confronting it all.  Bill Maher, and David Letterman, among others headline this bunch of shameless media vermin, but Governor Palin was most perturbed by the attacks on her children.

Perhaps the most shocking of attacks has been on her young son Trig who was born with Down Syndrome, and has been the focus of disgusting ridicule and ridiculous conspiracy theories.  As a parent, it’s horrible to witness attacks of any kind on your children, but the despicable attack on a child with special needs is particularly abominable. Frankly, I consider the purveyors of this alleged “comedy” aimed at defenseless children the signature of pure evil.  Here’s the video:

Naturally, there have been attacks on all her kids, and some of them stunningly vile.  The question of President Obama’s hypocrisy came up, since one of the SuperPACs supporting him accepted one million dollars from professional pig Bill Maher.  Hannity also highlighted Bristol Palin’s blog in which she asked President Obama directly:  Mr. President, When Should I Expect Your Call?  The hypocrisy is evident, but that’s not particularly bothersome to leftists, who must adopt every manner of contradiction in logic and morality to hold their positions.  The Governor’s eldest daughter did an excellent job of demonstrating the clear hypocrisy through his remarks to the press on the Sandra Fluke story.

The left loves to profess their love and reverence for the rights and dignity of all women, but when it comes right down to it, what’s really important to leftists is ideology.  Women only qualify for their respect if they happen also to be leftists.

The Real Woman-Haters Aren’t Conservatives

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

Lefties Need Not Apply?

Over the last week, we have been regaled with the notions of respect that Democrats have for women, and the love and compassion liberals always show them, while simultaneously being told that those mean old white guys in the GOP simply don’t understand women, their issues, or why misogyny of the sort they allege Rush Limbaugh displayed ought to be considered a generalization about all conservatives.  Of course, while offering all of this, they conveniently ignore a few things that might be relevant to this argument.  For one thing, they ignore all the leftist men who have done much more horrendous things to women in recent memory.  For another, it’s clear that despite all their posturing, the independence of women is not their actual concern.

Do we hear about how Anthony Weiner treated women on Twitter or his own wife?  No.  Do we here about John Edwards and how he treated both his wife and his mistress?  No.  Do they mention Bill Maher’s disgusting remarks about Sarah Palin?  No.  Do they bother to say a word about how Bill Clinton treated a long line of women?  No.  Do they say anything in defense of the women abused by leftist men in ways far worse than anything Rush Limbaugh ever said?  Hell no.  Teddy Kennedy? No way.  Chris Dodd? Not a chance.  Worse, when any of these liberal men came under fire, the general theme was to attack the women and question their credibility, and attack their character, in a bid to portray them as “gold-diggers” or, yes, “sluts.”  Where were the “slut-walks” in protest of all of this, then?

What you quickly realize when evaluating all of this is that while Rush Limbaugh seems genuinely sorry about his remarks, his remorse is frankly unmatched by the others mentioned above.  More, it’s astonishing how few feminist activists went after any of those mentioned above, but who can’t wait to slam Rush Limbaugh.  There is one reason for this disparity in treatment, and the answer is as plain as the nose on your face:  It’s all about politics.  These feminists who drop their professed principles when it is a liberal man involved are simply guilty of renting themselves out for the sake of ideological brothers.  There’s a name for that, but at the moment, it escapes me…

You see, the problem is that these alleged proponents of the rights of women quickly forget all of that when they think the source from which their bread is buttered may be under threat.  At that point, all of their haughty talk about their ideals and their principles most frequently goes out the window.  What you realize is that they’re really all about one thing, and nothing more: Abortion.  Anthony Weiner, and Bill Clinton, as well as Bill Maher, are rabidly pro-abortion.  Rush Limbaugh has two strikes against him, and they are that he is conservative, and he is pro-life.  This makes him a target for them from the outset, and his pro-life views have always made him a target.

Limbaugh has long poked the feminist front, casting out terms like “femi-nazi” to describe the most virulent of the post-modern feminist movement.  He’s right about them, too, and that’s the reason he’s been the object of their scorn since he first took to the airwaves.  They monitor him closely for any indication that they will have a new excuse to renew the vigor of their war against him.  The truth is that Limbaugh has a good deal of fun at the radical feminists’ expense, and truth be told, I think that’s what he set out to do in this case.  Clearly, he didn’t think it through, and said two words that have begotten all of his current troubles.

Now comes the story that Bill Maher has effectively donated one million dollars to an Obama SuperPAC.  This is the same sick man who flung the “t-word” at Sarah Palin.  Shouldn’t Obama urge the SuperPAC to return the funds, not wanting to take cash from a misogynist like Maher?  Of course, this dual standard is evident most of the time.  Occasionally, as in Maher’s case, the National Organization for Women will make some token statement about the leftist, but that’s where it generally ends.  There are no boycotts, and no demands to get the offender off the air, or any of those things, and let’s be honest:  The things Maher has said about some women make anything Limbaugh said seem quite tame by comparison.

The left claims to care about women and their issues, but the truth of the matter is that rather than seek independence for women, what the radical left seeks is to simply change upon whom it is that some women are dependent.  They seek to make government into a sugar-daddy for dependency, as a way to usher more women into the hands of socialism.  This is part of the left’s desire to re-order society in their Utopian vision, where women will be reduced to walking bearers of babies who will then become the next generation of worker-bees in the hive that is their model society.  As they posture in false bravado on behalf of Sandra Fluke, let’s not forget what these people really seek and who it is that they will ultimately harm most deeply if they have their way, and it’s not men.

________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

 

Limbaugh: Establishment Republicans Scared to Death

Monday, February 20th, 2012

Cultural Conservative v. Moderate

Romney is looking weak in Michigan.  Rush Limbaugh opened his show on President’s Day with a monologue on the GOP panic over the rise of Rick Santorum and the diminution of the “inevitable nominee” Mitt Romney.  What Limbaugh has identified is a trend we’ve been watching for some time, whereby the GOP insiders are doing everything they can to put Romney over the top.  It’s true to say that Romney is in trouble, but he’s clawing his way back a bit in Michigan, as the media continues to hammer on Rick Santorum, suggesting that he’s too conservative.  It’s not clear that Rick Santorum is really so conservative as they pretend, and it shows the problem the establishment has with its man Mitt:  While they try to convince us that Romney is conservative, they detest cultural conservatism.

The juxtaposition is laughable.  On the one hand, the GOP establishment tells us Mitt is a conservative, Romney himself saying he was “severely conservative,” but the conservative wing of the Republican electorate knows better, simply by examining his record. Romneycare is merely the most egregious example of Romney’s flat-out liberalism, but it’s far from the only one. Meanwhile, Rick Santorum is too conservative on social issues, although the fact that he is really doesn’t make him a well-rounded conservative because he stood with a number of big-spending plans, like the Medicare prescription drug program implemented by President Bush.  If nothing else, what this should provide to you is a template for which leg of the conservative stool the GOP establishment would like to be sawed-off.

Abortion? They don’t want to talk about it.  Matters of faith or conscience?  They’re simply not interested.  Questions of moral concern?  They won’t touch it with a ten-foot pole.  They run shrieking into the night rather than confront such issues, and the reason is simple:  When it comes to these issues, important to a vast swath of the GOP electorate, they only pay lip-service but never deliver.  These are the people who know they cannot nominate a pro-abortion candidate, so they trot out candidates who will claim they are personally pro-life, while their voting or governing history indicates something different.  I will never forget how at the end of their respective presidencies, the two former Bush first ladies each in their turn came out to speak their minds on abortion, parting company from their respective husbands.

This is significant, because what it should demonstrate to you is how these RINOs are culturally distinct from the conservatives whose votes they know they need.  This is particularly true with respect to Christian conservatives who live out their professed faith as best they can.  The GOP establishment considers them rubes and bumpkins, and pawns in their struggle to maintain power.  This is the deadly secret of the GOP establishment, and it’s the basis of their secret fear: They hope you will not notice that theirs is a philosophy that avoids the discussion of cultural conservatism because they see it as divisive.  They’re right:  These issues are divisive, but what they divide is the establishment from the greater body politic that is conservatism.

This is the meaning of their view of a “big tent.”  They think the big tent should take anybody, and accommodate its rules, traditions, and values to any who wish to join in, but the problem with that is the mush that is made of those things by this procedure.  More, as cultural conservatives begin to realize that their views are no longer respected, they begin to slip away out under the tent flaps, unwilling to be associated with the amoral circus to which they are then witnesses.  As Rush Limbaugh said today, to the establishment Republicans, a guy like Santorum, a devout Catholic, is some kind of “three-eyed monster.” This is undeniably true, and it’s why you shouldn’t be surprised, if you’re a conservative Christian, that they view you in much the same way.

To them, your faith and your adherence to it are evidence that you’re faulty, and that you should be ignored, but they’ll pander to you just enough that you’ll vote for them if it comes to it.  This is what they’re hoping is true with Mitt Romney, and that in the end, they can scare you away from real conservatives.  To them, religious convictions should be abandoned at the exits of your church.  They want Christian votes, but that’s as close to them as they’re willing to stand. Their push for Romney is more evidence of this bias, because Romney’s record on cultural issues has been flaky at best.  If Romney fails to close the deal in Michigan, they may look to somebody altogether new, who has a somewhat more “acceptable” view to Christian conservatives.  If so, it’s likely to be another Bush family friend, if not Jeb Bush himself, as they hope to freeze out cultural conservatives.  Their approach is basically in opposition to mainstream conservatism, the goal of which is and ought to be to get the most conservative nominee possible who can win.  The GOP establishment wishes to get the least conservative nominee they can make to pass muster with Christian and cultural conservatives in the GOP, because they wrongly surmise that this is the path to electoral victory in the general election.  They’re wrong.

 

 

Call Me a Fuddy-Duddy

Sunday, February 19th, 2012

Do We Need A Double-Dose?

Let it never be said that I hadn’t warned you. I have listened to the discussion of Foster Friess’ remarks about “an aspirin between the knees,” and I am not offended, or even vaguely perturbed, and I don’t understand the fuss.  What Mr. Friess was suggesting in terms apparently no longer politically correct is that abstinence is the best form of contraception there has ever been.  You might not like his delivery, but can you argue with his point?  I realize the some believe I suffer from PCS (that’s: Premature Curmudgeon Syndrome,) but I have always acknowledged that I am an old-fashioned sort of guy.  I believe in abstaining until marriage, and I further believe that applies equally to both sexes.  I’m not one of those who views the nature of men as irretrievably primitive, but instead believe that what makes us human is the ability to choose in opposition to our primitive impulses.  In other words, you can call me a fuddy-duddy, and I’m fine with that description.  Apparently, I’m not alone, and there’s a new generation of fuddy-duddies coming along behind me.

Let me state for the record that I loathe shopping, and in fact, it would be correct to say that I never shop.  When I visit a retail outlet, I already know what I want before I arrive, and I carry it to the check-out where I pay and get the hell out of there.  I’m not a big fan of idle gawking, or perusing products just for the sake of burning time, but the other day I was in a retail outlet that had a bargain bin of DVDs and the bin was next to the stand featuring “New Releases.”  I fumbled around in the bin looking to see if I could find something worthwhile to add to my collection, but as usual, most of these are in the bargain bin for good reason.  As I was contemplating whether I wanted to buy a copy of The Longest Day, three young women were at the New Releases display to my right.  They were chit-chatting and as I weighed the benefits of competing war movie classics, I heard an interesting conversation ensue over a movie of which I’d never heard and the conversation turned briefly nasty.

The movie is titled What’s Your Number?  One of the young women was extolling the virtues of the film, while giving the others an overview of the story line.  She described it as the story of a woman looking for the love of her life she missed out on somehow, and that she was going back re-examining her last twenty relationships. At the very moment that in my mind, I was doing a mental face-palm, one of the other two young women let out a sound: “Eeeewwww. Twenty?  Slut…” She had her back to me, but I could see the faces of her two friends, who looked at her with derision and scorn as they fell silent, before one of these two rolled her eyes and mockingly spat: “Well, we can’t all be twenty-two-year-old virgins,” as the other of the two nodded in a sort of grim affirmation.  What came next was funny to me as I began to walk away, when the third young woman asked in response: “Can’t be? Ever hear of the word No?”

As I walked away with a smile in my brain, walking to the checkout with my new set of grilling utensils and a copy of the Don Knotts Reluctant Hero Pack, I pondered the exchange I had inadvertently witnessed.  This is symptomatic of our cultural battle.  Here was one young woman who apparently sees her virtue as, well, a virtue to be preserved.  Her two companions clearly had other views, and I wondered about the culture that had produced such distinctly different, and completely incompatible outlooks. That’s when it became more clear to me than ever that we are no longer a single, homogeneous culture, but at least two distinct ones with altogether different mores and values.  These two cultural views are very much at war, and clearly, the warfare is continuing into another generation, although the popular culture would never admit it, insisting the battle is won.

It’s fine.  I’m satisfied with being called a fuddy-duddy, or a curmudgeon, or whatever else people of that other culture would like to heap upon me as if it were an insult, but I’m not offended, and not the least bit put off by the characterizations of my views as such.  Folks can call me whatever they like, but I know what I believe, and I was gratified to know that there are still those who despite being of a younger, presumptively more promiscuous generation, adhere to values that speak highly of their respect for themselves, and the virtue that saying “no” represents.  Yes, I’m being judgmental again.

Tough.

Palin Derangement Syndrome Part II: The Mania Continues

Saturday, February 18th, 2012

"She must be up to Something!"

I must admit that when I read the theories put forward by the PDS crowd, I always get a chuckle, because they’re like one of those bad parody movies. On the one hand, their hatred of former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is maniacal, but on the other, it is just another expression of their sadly disjointed thinking.  The latest furor arises from her remarks over the last week about the possibility of a brokered convention, and all their attempts to explain it.  Of course, to a certain degree, Palin supporters  wonder about the same things, but theirs is a view with a hopeful leaning.  That’s not true of everybody who is considering the meaning of her remarks on the subject, and watching them flail is actually a bit entertaining until you remember the hatred that drives it. There’s something disturbing about the conflicted, self-contradictory theories they offer to their unsuspecting audiences, but that doesn’t deter them so much as to whip them into a frenzy. I’ll leave it to my readers to judge which is the most frighteningly insane, but the take-away is this: In leftist lunatic land, “she must be up to something.”

The first theory from the blogging space-balls is that Governor Palin is a modern day Sun Tzu, applying his maxim that “All War is deception.” In this theory the woman who they have recently demeaned as “Caribou Barbie” and other smears aimed at describing her as an airhead is instead an evil genius who has conducted a stealth campaign by which she will swoop in at the supposed brokered convention just in time to steal away with the nomination and make  her way to election day without so much as a whimper from any other would-be candidate within the Republican party.  Of course, I know many Palinistas who wish fervently that this would come to pass, but that the same liberal minds with a four-year history of portraying Palin as less than brilliant now find it suits their purposes to propose that she is instead cunning, and has been sand-bagging all along is a remarkable study in self-contradiction.  Of course, these are the same half-wits who still insist on bizarre conspiracy theories that Trig isn’t really Palin’s biological son, so logical consistency isn’t exactly their strong suit.

Yet another theory proposes that this is Governor Palin’s way of becoming relevant again, because if there was a brokered convention, she’d become a power broker in its outcome even if she wasn’t the ultimate nominee.  Of course, this manically blinded theory presupposes something that is undeniably false:  Sarah Palin is now irrelevant in this theory.  The problem with that goofy idea is that she’s not irrelevant, not now, and not recently, as her speech at CPAC demonstrated, plus her clear impact on the South Carolina primary.  We know this much:  She’s more relevant than either Nikki Haley, or Chris Christie, at least to the voters of South Carolina.  Of course, this may explain the leftists’ view of her as irrelevant, because after all, they think the voters of South Carolina are irrelevant too.  The fact that there is a legion of media that still follows in her footsteps wherever she goes offers substantial repudiation of their thesis, but that’s never enough when it comes to Sarah Palin.  No, somehow she is irrelevant against all evidence to the contrary, and she is in a constant struggle to regain it. Again, their inability to see the plain truth is more evidence of their own dubious relevance rather than telling us anything of merit about Governor Palin’s.

The last is, of course, the pièce de résistance in what can best be described as a litany of kookiness.  In this theory, Governor Palin is a stealth establishment power-broker, working to put Jeb Bush or Mitch Daniels or even Paul Ryan on the throne, and she’s in league with them, and maybe even Karl Rove, and this whole push for a brokered convention is simply her way of serving her masters.  Yes, that’s it.  By this theory, not only is Palin seeking to restore her relevancy, but also a closet sell-out and puppet.  In this theory, there’s no need for her to be an evil genius directing the assault from far-away Wasilla, but instead a servant actor who will play her role as directed.  Frankly, I’m just waiting for them to throw in the Koch brothers to complete the narrative.  Taking it further, the Daily Kos actually compares  Palin and Bush to Mafia types, and in typical shrill indifference to fact, goes on a complete [il]literary bender over it.  This is what the depth of the Palin-Derangement Syndrome on the left has wrought, and it’s a frightening cacophony of the most ludicrous theories and the most convoluted psychic contortions one might ever imagine, and if we weren’t talking about the craziest of the crazies, one might expect that that with a little constructive chemistry, they might find relief, if not a cure from the madness that drives them.

This is the state of Palin Derangement Syndrome today.  It’s no less deranged, and in fact may be seeking new heights, but I’ll be damned if I can guess what their small minds will concoct next as they imagine possible motives for everything Palin has done, will do, never did, and would never do.  The truth is that this bunch doesn’t need an excuse to see Sarah Palin as the devil, the dumb-bell, the diva, and the drag-queen.  They believe she is all of these and more.  Given a little time, they will concoct some evidence to support it, too, as they look for new ways to remain relevant themselves.  One would have thought that after her October 5th announcement, they’d have concluded “our work here is done,” but apparently, they will leave no stone unturned in search of evermore deranged reasons to manufacture new anti-Palin smears. PDS is alive and well in lunatic-lefty-land, and they’re not even slightly embarrassed.

Not once, in all of their bizarre speculating do they ever consider that Governor Palin has simply said what she believes.  Instead, their malevolent small minds must imbue her with some ulterior motive, and it must be altogether crazy, evil, and/or stupid.  For me, that speaks to the questionable state of their sanity, but it also offers a clue as to their own character.

Santorum Becomes Media Punching Bag

Saturday, February 18th, 2012

Is He Really a Neanderthal?

Of the remaining GOP candidates, I am inclined toward supporting Newt Gingrich, so I don’t really want to be told I’m in Sen. Rick Santorum’s corner, except that in this case, I am.  The media has been trying to make the Obama administration’s contraception mandate into something other than an attack on religious liberties, and by the middle of the week, they saw an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone.  They portrayed Rick Santorum unfairly as wanting to impose his personal views on contraception on the rest of the nation, but this is a bold-faced lie.  He actually went out of his way to say that he wouldn’t  impose his values through law, but instead that it is proper to raise the issue as a matter for national discussion.  For this, we should throw him under the bus?

That Santorum has reason to believe contraceptive measures each imply risks for women is really not so controversial as the media pretends, and frankly, I’m a bit tired of the licentious view of human sexuality that says “anything goes,” without respect to the consequences that are frequently ignored until they are realized.  That Santorum is willing to speak to this issue is no crime.  There is no need for me to rattle off the litany of solid science that supports Santorum’s view, but then again, in our current culture, some of this may be news to some of you. You are free to site all the opposing science you want, but the truth is that the following are irrefutable:

  • The best and most effective way to avoid pregnancy is to abstain from sexual intercourse.  There.  I said it.
  • The best and most effective way to avoid sexually transmitted diseases is still to abstain from sex.  There.  I said that too!
  • The best way for a child to avoid a life of poverty is to be born into a two-parent household in which the parents are both married and monogamous.  Yes, I said it.  Don’t like it?  Tough.  It’s true, and remains so irrespective of your personal feelings on the matter.

Part of what Santorum suggests is that our culture promotes a sort of narcissistic mindset that ignores all of these facts, and that various forms of contraception, never mind abortion, give too many people a false sense of security that all too frequently leads to one or more of the negative alternatives to the truisms listed above.  You may not like it.  You may not want to be told that, and it is understandable that you wouldn’t necessarily want Rick Santorum imposing his views on this through law, but since he’s specifically said he has no such intentions, and since his voting record in Congress supports that claim, the only reason to hold this against Rick Santorum is that some would rather not hear it.

Why?  It’s simple, isn’t it?  People hate to be told they are wrong, or that they are making bad choices, particularly when they are in the midst of making them, and especially when they have made the same bad choices repeatedly.  In listening to Karl Rove running his mouth on Friday night’s Hannity show on Fox News, he said that social conservatives shouldn’t “appear to be judgmental.”  What?  I suppose that’s the preferred position when you’ve divorced your wife and had Dana Perino handling the press on the occasion, but part of the problem in this country is that all too frequently, we’re not judgmental enough.  We didn’t arrive at a situation where sixty percent of births are to unwed mothers because we were too judgmental.  We didn’t arrive in a situation in which we now honor with lowered flags those who died at their own hands because we are too harsh in our judgments.  We don’t have an all-encompassing welfare state because we were too harsh in our pronouncements about the idle poor, or the causes of their condition.  Our prisons aren’t packed to overcrowding with repeat-offenders because we punished first-time offenders too harshly.

This country isn’t suffering from an surplus of judgment.  While some may part company from me on this point, I actually find it refreshing that a candidate is willing to speak to the moral decay of our country.  I heard the Tea Party Patriots’ Mark Meckler being interviewed by Mark Levin on Friday, and he said that we have a distinct advantage over our founders in that they created the framework upon which our efforts to restore our country can rely.  While I understand his meaning, I couldn’t help but think that if I had to choose the framework of law embodied in our Constitution, or the moral character of our people circa 1790, I would choose the latter because they were able to construct and abide by the former.  I see little evidence for hope that the inverse postulate is true, and that by some magic, people who have neglected their constitution will suddenly re-adopt it and thereby be improved in all measures.  It was the character of the nation and her people that created the US Constitution, and not the reverse.

While the media goes on to tell us why Rick Santorum is too judgmental, I think it’s time we consider what it is that the “bully pulpit” of the presidency is intended to be, and while it certainly isn’t the proper platform from which to ceaselessly castigate the American people for our various moral failings, it is the proper venue in which to gently chide people to return to the better angels of our nature.  Thus far, what I’ve heard from Rick Santorum on these issues doesn’t resemble the former nearly so much as the latter, and I am quite satisfied that he knows the proper boundaries.  Of course, the Romney crowd in establishment media is helping to drive this theme against Santorum, so it’s really not surprising to see theses criticisms rising in volume, but I think it’s fair to point out that much of this criticism is undue.  In a culture in which casual sex has been normalized, out-of-wedlock-births comprises a clear majority, and the welfare state raises more children than do parents, it may be time that we begin to discuss these issues, not as a matter of legislative priority, but as a matter of judgment.  That Rick Santorum seems willing to do so against the tide speaks well of him even if the media won’t.

Flags at Half-Staff for Whitney Houston – What’s Wrong With Chris Christie?

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

Ruler of New Jersey

The fact that a man is elected to high office does not entitle him to re-order the high standards we set for those who we honor and memorialize by displaying the flag at half-mast.  It’s not a privilege of office to discard what has always been the long-standing tradition of honoring those who have served and died by deciding that a celebrity is due the same respect as those whose service to a grateful nation we thereby honor.  This tradition isn’t intended for every person upon whom we wish to heap recognition, and this act by New Jersey governor Chris Christie reveals more about him than it does about his state or its people.  Whitney Houston was a fine singer, maybe the best, when she had been young and at the height of her singing power, but she died not in service to her nation, but in a bathtub, apparently the victim of her own addictions.

Please don’t misunderstand me:  I admired Houston’s singing long ago when she started out, and as I’ve written, I’d prefer to remember her that way.   How she finished her life is another matter, and while it is sad, it is not worthy of remembrance by lowering the symbol of state to half-staff.   To place her on the same pedestal that we reserve for our deceased leaders and for our national days of remembrance reveals a scandalous disregard for what the gesture means.  It’s not intended to show support, attract attention, or curry favor as a political act.  It’s a sign of respect and in mourning, it is intended to highlight the length of the staff above the flag where nothing is now present, indicating the loss for which the mourning is intended.  As a matter of official mourning, it is proper to display the flag at half-staff:

  • Following the death of the President or a former President, the flag should be flown at half-staff for 30 days.
  • Following the death of the Vice President, the Chief Justice, a retired Chief Justice of the United States or the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the flag should be flown at half-staff for 10 days.
  • Following the death of an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, a Secretary of an executive or military department, a former Vice President, or the Governor of a State, territory or possession, the flag should be flown at half-staff from the day of death until interment.
  • Following the death of a Member of Congress, the flag should be flown at half-staff the day of death and the following day.

The President may order the flag flown at half-staff, and so can the Governor order the flag of his own state lowered. Ordinarily, however, other than the list above, it is only flown at half-staff on the following days of remembrance:

  • Memorial Day
  • Patriots’ Day
  • Pearl Harbor Day

That’s it. Now, as for Governor Christie and his decision to lower the flag to half-staff in memory of Whitney Houston, I am unwilling to listen to his buffoonish, irresponsible answers to criticism because he has not bothered to inform himself of any of the foregoing.  It’s not his place to pick and choose which citizens upon whom to bestow such an honor in such a careless fashion.  It’s not his place to decide that he is the arbiter of what is proper.  We already know what is proper, and Whitney Houston, while a great singer, is not a suitable recipient of this honor.  According to USA Today, Christie said the following:

“I am disturbed by people who believe that because her ultimate demise — and we don’t know what is the cause of her death yet — but because of her history of substance abuse that somehow she’s forfeited the good things that she did in her life,” said the governor during a briefing in northern New Jersey. “I just reject that on a human level.”

This jackass of a liberal disguised as a conservative is simply offering bad excuses.  That he rejects it on a “human level,” whatever that means, is irrelevant, because he is not a dictator, and this is not about his person, or his humanity, or any of those things.  Instead, he is the Governor of New Jersey, and his job in this matter is not to act as the official voice of the state.  The State of New Jersey should remain neutral to Whitney Houston’s death as a matter of official conduct.  Christie’s intransigence to this fact is simply stunning, and the fact that he would inflict his personal preferences on this practice is a shocking display of disregard for his office and this tradition.  Last year, he order the same distinguished honor for Clarence Clemons, the saxophonist for Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band.  What it appears that Christie is doing is to use this as a hat-tip to celebrities of note from his state, or something along those lines, but I think it could be something even more cynical.

USA Today also reports the remarks of an Anna Simpson, who was at the New Hope Baptist Church, where Houston’s funeral will be held:

After Houston became famous she continued to make regular trips to the public school she attended in East Orange and to which her family has directed donations be sent in lieu of flowers.

Simpson said she admires Christie for honoring Houston because “if it were Bruce Springsteen or Jon Bon Jovi, nobody would bat an eye.”

“I don’t agree with a lot of things that he does, but I admire him for that,” she said. “Whoever don’t agree, they will get over it.”

What Anna Simpson is implying is that any who complain are motivated by race.  Leave it to USA Today to dig up such an opinion.  The truth is, Governor Christie shouldn’t be doing this for any celebrity, whatever their race, sex, age, or state of addiction.  That’s not the meaning of this tradition.    One New Jersey woman whose son died recently in Afghanistan is offended over this, and for good reason.  It’s not the role of the state to worship at the altar of pop culture, and I don’t care if it is Bruce Springsteen or Jon Bon Jovi(whoever he is,) so perhaps rather than leading his state like a cheer-leading section for celebrities, perhaps he could impart to his own service in office a bit of the dignity expected of our leaders.  We should expect our leaders to remember with solemn reverence the actual meaning of such official gestures by the state, and one would think Christie would have known better.

Then again, perhaps not.