Posts Tagged ‘Culture’

Lesson Christians, Conservatives Can Learn from A&E Network’s Intolerance

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

Dynastic Decline?

I’m not among the millions who regularly watch Duck Dynasty on A&E network, but I am among the many millions who will avoid the network in my future viewing choices.  The network’s #1 smash hit is headed by patriarch Phil Robertson.  Robertson was asked during an interview for GQ magazine about morality.  He cited the Bible, and when asked to explain or expound upon his stance on homosexuality, he explained in graphic, somewhat crude language why he couldn’t understand the desires of homosexuals.  The network then suspended him.  What’s now clear is that A&E has managed to incite a backlash against the network, and it’s obvious that the network is responding to political rather than market-based concerns.  In the free market, a network wouldn’t suspend the star of its top-rated show for simply stating his religious beliefs.  No, this case isn’t about the intolerance of Phil Robertson, but the intractable, unflinching orthodoxy of the rabid left.  The intolerance is all theirs, but there exists a dirty little secret: They’re only willing to shut down conservatives, Christians, and capitalists, while they cringe in fear of Muslims, feminists, leftist groups, and the homosexual lobby.  There’s an important lesson in all of this for conservatives generally, but Christians particularly: They don’t fear you, and you’ve given them no reason to think otherwise.

Consider the lead-in to Drew Magary’s GQ article:

“How in the world did a family of squirrel-eating, Bible-thumping, catchphrase-spouting duck hunters become the biggest TV stars in America? And what will they do now that they have 14 million fervent disciples?”

Could a news outlet or magazine make such a remark about any group if they happened to be other than Christian?  This lead-in typifies the mindset not merely of those in leadership at A&E, but of the entire media establishment.  “Bible-thumping?”  Who does Magary think he is? Bill O’Reilly?  This should set the tone for you quite aptly. With a lead-in like that, you can guess that it won’t be long before the GQ writer seeks to create a controversy.  The term “Bible-Thumper” has become so widely used in the media that Christians are now adopting it to describe themselves as a way of scorning the elites who look down their noses at Christians generally.

Before pointing this out, Magary mocks Robertson this way:

“Even though he’s in the far corner of the room, Phil dominates the house. There are times when he doesn’t look you in the eye while he’s speaking—he looks just off to the side of you, as if Jesus were standing nearby, holding a stack of cue cards. Everyone else in the room just stares at his phone, or at the TV, or holds side conversations as Phil preaches.”

As disgusted as Christians, conservatives, and Duck Dynasty fans may be with A&E’s treatment of Robertson, let’s consider this jewel of mockery by Magary on behalf of GQ magazine. This isn’t merely an attack on Robertson, but on every Christian who is guided by faith.  Magary’s scornful, scowling article shows Robertson in the very light that his magazine’s readers have come to expect.  Later in the article, however, Magary provides the Robertson quote that will rile the left endlessly:

“For the sake of the Gospel, it was worth it,” Phil tells me. “All 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.”

All of this was far too much for the leftists at A&E.  They’re a politically correct outlet, and Robertson’s off-show remarks are far too insensitive in their view, and attacked their general philosophical slant. If only he were a Muslim…

Fans aren’t happy with this suspension either, and the backlash is growing, as a new Facebook page that has already garnered nearly seven-hundred-thousand likes, and there are other pages on the social networking site having similar results.  While there can be no expectation of “free speech” on a network one doesn’t own, this sort of cultural brow-beating is standard fare in leftist circles.  In his contract, there may be language prohibiting him from making such statements publicly, in which case he is bound by the terms of the contract, but here’s the real problem for A&E: While they are free to suspend him if his contract allows it, they are also bound to bear the consequences in the marketplace.  If the market recoils against them, and if they find even more people joining the fray of public discourse against them, it’s all their problem.  If the move gains the network market-share, then it’s all their benefit.

With that said, let’s consider what had been Robertson’s “infraction,” according to A&E.  Robertson dared to state publicly in an interview that he held as sins those things set forth in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. Indeed, he then explained his own orientation. From the Chicago Tribune:

“Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men,” he told reporter Drew Magary. “Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers—they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.”

“It seems like, to me, a vagina—as a man—would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.”

Now that the homosexual lobby is descending upon Robertson, one might wonder why leftist groups and others sympathetic to the homosexual lobby have all the courage in the world to take on Christians at every turn, but never seem to muster the same courage when dealing with Muslims.  If, rather than a show titled “Duck Dynasty,” and being a Christian man named Phil Robertson, this had instead been a show named “Kamel Kingdom,” centered around a Wahhabist family headed by a man named Muhammed Atta on the Arabian peninsula, the whining cowards at the A&E network wouldn’t have dared to suspend the patriarch.  Not a chance.  Christians are easy targets, after all.  They’ve become accustomed to being culturally attacked, and desensitized to being harangued publicly for their views. They do not fight back, generally speaking.  Muslims are another story.  In fact, A&E may have actually blocked the mention of Jesus on Duck Dynasty in order to avoid offending Muslims. Watch this video with Phil Robertson:

There’s a lesson in all of this for those who happen to pay attention: Christians may temporarily blow up your phone lines, but they won’t blow up your building, and executives at the A&E network know that too well.  They can stand to tolerate a few days of melted phone lines, but once the issue fades in prominence, they’ll go on as before.  The leftist media culture is rife with bullies who are willing to pick on faithful Christians, but won’t say the first word in opposition to radical Islam, or even acknowledge its existence, lest they find themselves the target of a fatwa. I’m not suggesting that Christians should strap suicide vests on their bodies and run into the A&E Network’s headquarters, but I think this helps to demonstrate that Christians, who mistakenly turn the other cheek until they’re beaten into submission.  Christians don’t fight back.  They have been taught that only the “meek” shall inherit the Earth, not understanding the real meaning of Matthew 5:5.  It was an admonition to submit to God.  It was not a demand to lay supinely in acceptance of any torment in the offing from all comers.

Christians and conservatives must begin to understand the affliction that they too readily bear. Consisting in part of the radical left’s tireless war against American culture, this is a real campaign being fought daily.  The left,  radical Islam, the associated and cohort groups all bear ill will against traditional Christian values, and American ideals and traditions in general, either to subvert them or erase them from our nation.  A&E’s fault in all of this lies in the fact that they are more afraid of people who do not regularly watch their network than of those who routinely tune to see Phil Robertson and his family.  A&E is more interested in portraying the Robertson clan as backwoods bayou bumpkins than in showing a God-fearing family that accepts the teachings of their Bible.  They don’t want to offend  Muslims, homosexuals, or anyone else in the process, unless they happen to be capitalists, Christians, and/or conservatives, in which case it is not merely acceptable but entirely intentional. Christians and conservatives must begin to make their voices heard in unison, because it’s their culture that is under fire. The time for cheek-turning should have passed, and it’s high time conservative leaders step forward to say as much.

Thankfully, some already have. (Sarah Palin here, Ted Cruz here, and Bobby Jindal here.) Now it’s your turn. As the rabid left seeks to turn the GQ Robertson interview into the 2013 version of Rush Limbaugh’s Sandra Fluke remarks, conveniently taking the focus away from Obama-care, it’s time for conservatives, particularly Christians, to understand all of these things as a coordinated attack against them.  While A&E is a shameless trollop acting on behalf of the general leftist ideology, they are performing a service to Barack Obama that money could scarcely buy. Obama-care’s massive failures are sliding from the headlines, and this changing of the subject over a TV show will permit them to carry on.  The truth for conservatives in general and Christians in particular is that the left doesn’t fear you.  They see you as having been de-fanged by your own ethos, and they use your most generous virtues against you.  It’s time to see them for the monsters they are, speak out at will, and make all of your purchasing decisions accordingly.  It’s time for them to fear your market power if they will fear nothing else.  It’s time for them to fear you at the polls if they will see no other threat from your number.  It’s long past the time for all real Americans to roar and I don’t care if the statist left sneers at that description.  The time for silence on all fronts is over. They need to fear the continuance of their Jihad against us.

Editors Note: The truth about A&E and its show is that it was never intended to capture the audience it now enjoys, but was instead meant as a vehicle by which to mock Christians and conservatives.  Once it backfired and became a wildly successful show, they had to find a way to bury it culturally. For what other possible reason would they place beeps and bleeps in the audio track to cover profanity that never occurred, as per Robertson’s testimony in the video above?  They wanted to reinforce a stereotype.

Update: As of this hour, the boycott A&E page on Facebook now has over 1.1 Million likes.

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.

The Year of Choices

Tuesday, January 1st, 2013

H.L. Mencken

As the new year approaches, it is with both hope and trepidation that I watch its advance. We have lived in the freest and most prosperous country on Earth for more than a century, but as the new year is upon us, all of that seems poised to slip forever beyond our reach. We have a Marxist ideologue in the White House, and he will remain there at least another four torturous years, but given the legion of goons and imbeciles who elected him, it is almost certain that the damage they will bring forth upon our nation will be mortal. I needn’t re-hash the litany here, for my readers are all too well aware of what may lie in store for us in the coming years. Hyperinflation, gun confiscations, and civil unrest in light of both of these, as well as other unforeseen causes that may lay our Republic down for the last time. The forces of a growing darkness seem to be intent on consuming the globe, and it seems that it will be here, in America, where we will make the final call.

There is also hope, for while Americans maintain their vigilance, those who are creating such ill results will not carry out infamy unopposed. It’s certain, although the manner of the opposition may as yet be unknown. For those of us who love our constitutional republic, loyal to its founding principles, and committed to their restoration, we can abide no form of retreat or surrender. This is our nation, as much as anybody’s, and it’s long past the time that we begin to assert that case. In 2013, come what may, I believe the future of America will be decided, not by some ogre with executive power, but by common-sense, everyday Americans who will be compelled by events to decide whether to cower in the shadows or courageously rise up to confront the encroaching gloom and the tyranny that lies concealed in its shadow. 2013 will be a year of choices, millions of them, made by individual Americans, who must soon choose between resolve and surrender.

Mark Levin calls it a choice between “Liberty and Tyranny,” but I do not believe my fellow patriots should be afraid, except that they must be afraid to fail, and afraid to turn aside from the conflict that seems now almost inevitable. You see, if we fail, the world will know darkness for hundreds of years, and if we cower in the face of this looming threat, it will be we who will pay the price for our betrayal of those values we so vigorously defend. This may be the year in which words must be replaced by deeds, and it is the year in which we shall see how much stomach there is for remaining a free people. We will see financial crises, turmoil, and perhaps even famine, particularly if the dollar collapses as seems imminent. The politicians have concocted this entire “fiscal cliff” diversion precisely to keep you from noticing how they have raped and pillaged the America you had taken for granted.

Of all the great social commentators of the 20th century, there had been one who occasionally evokes imagery of biting sarcasm and wit, for which there is no good substitute in such times. H.L. Mencken wryly observed:

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Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit upon his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.”

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This may well be the year in which far too many ordinary men and women will be compelled to do just that. While Mencken undoubtedly intended nothing beyond metaphor, this could be said to be another way of conveying the same meaning as the contemporary phrase: “Going rogue.” This implies a willingness to ignore the rules in the name of decisive action. In 2013, we may all end up looking to hoist our own black flags and commence the slicing and dicing. When governments become too large, too intrusive, and too oppressive, there will always be some number who refuse to live under its yoke. When a culture becomes so corrupt that it begins to cannibalize its best and brightest, its most inventive and ingenious, it is the time in which much throat-slitting will indeed begin.

Ours has become a savage and vicious culture, in which innocence is defiled and destroyed, purity is maligned and mocked, and every form of vile indecency is celebrated. Those who work are now viewed as suckers by those who do not, and those who are to serve now openly demand servitude from the people, some segment cheering them on. I cannot believe that this had been the country in which any of us had imagined growing old, and I doubt but that our founders would be terrified at the prospects. It is now coming time for us to choose what sort of country we will be, but it will not be the politicians who will decide. It must be we who do the choosing.

I don’t know where we will summon all the courage that will be necessary. Some will look to their God, and some will look to their families, and still others will look at the injustices being heaped on their fellow man as the force to compel them to courage. It doesn’t much matter what particular source a person will draw upon, but I suspect this will be the year in which we discover whether we can summon enough to save us. Much as doing the responsible things are always among the most taxing and difficult, we who are so-inclined will do so out of love. No child was ever disciplined and taught by the whip of rage, and no successful revolution launched by a motive of hate and thievery. It has always been the firm hand of love, both in the family, and in the nation, that had guided us to our former state of prosperity.

Love does not mean endless forgiveness, and it is here that we must summon such courage as we are able. Some things are not to be forgiven, or forgotten, and we must not let our desperate hope for peace obstruct from our view the plain facts of an awful war some will wage upon us. America will be different in 2013, in the main because so many of her people have adopted avarice and hatred as their motives. Both the meaning and method of Justice has been forgotten, but one may wonder if we have even the capacity to remember them. What shall we choose? Time will tell. 2013 will show. We shall either be a free people, or we shall not. The choice is yours. I hope you will find as much happiness as this era permits you, but we mustn’t be afraid, in the name of an illusion of happiness to “hoist the black flag…”

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.

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.

 

 

Trayvon Martin and the Politics of Division

Sunday, March 25th, 2012

Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman

I had decided to avoid this case because I could see that it was headed for inflammatory realms in which race would become one of the central talking points, and I don’t wish to be part of such vicious spectacles, or in any way add to the situation, but this has gone too far.  Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old, was shot and killed after some sort of altercation with George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida, on February 26th.  Martin, an African-American, was apparently armed only with Skittles candy and ice tea, and the presumption has been that Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch participant or captain of some sort who has a concealed hand-gun carry license, must have overreacted in the moment and shot Martin.

Initially, it was reported that Zimmerman was white, but it was later amended to reflect the reality that he is Hispanic. The political impact locally was immediate:  There was outrage.  Since that time, various political figures and operatives have stuck their noses into this,  agitating for their own agenda, the list of agitators sadly including the President of the United States.

At the scene, police let Zimmerman go because according to witnesses, it appeared to be the case that during the final moments of the incident, Martin was atop Zimmerman, hammering away at him with punches.  Zimmerman was battered and bloodied, and he had grass stains on his clothing indicating he had been on his back, defensive, when the shooting occurred. Witnesses have confirmed much of this account.  That has not been enough to stem the tide of racially-charged agitating going on in Sanford, Florida, and increasingly, around the country, as the con-artists who use such incidents to try to sew chaos in the black community have continued to work their worst.  It’s abominable, but it’s also sadly telling, because rather than attempting to calm things, President Obama stirred them up further with his own ridiculous remarks before heading to South Korea.

We will likely never know with absolute certainty what transpired, or how this went down in the moments leading up to Trayvon Martin’s death.  We will have the words of the witnesses, the 9-1-1 call, and the testimony of George Zimmerman, along with any physical evidence collected at the scene.  All of this is important in reconstructing those moments, but the suspicion among many is that Zimmerman was an overzealous neighborhood watch participant who went too far, but it is also entirely possible within the framework of the evidence disclosed thus far that Zimmerman is entirely innocent of any wrong-doing. After all, the cops had a dead body, and a smoking gun, and a shooter.  They had everything they needed if they thought Zimmerman had committed a crime to arrest him on the spot.  This is the reason for the outrage, of course, because there are those who are suggesting that there’s no way this could be anything other than criminal malevolence on the part of Zimmerman.

One of the other reasons I haven’t written about this is because I know passions are running high, but information is thin. I am not about to condemn Zimmerman who may have done exactly nothing wrong, nor am I about to cast aspersions on 17-yo Martin, who may well have been the victim in this case, but in any event lost his life in the event.  What I am going to say is what the Mayor, the Governor, and the President should have said, but in various ways failed to do:

We are a nation of laws.  We have the system of justice that permits the investigation, the charging, the arresting, the trial and the punishment of wrong-doers.  We must trust in this system to sort through the physical evidence, the testimony of witnesses, circumstantial evidence, and the whole body of what is known about this case in order that justice be served.  What we do know is that in the hours afterward, the police saw fit to let Zimmerman go.  His story seemed to check out, and after interviewing Martin’s father, they verified that the screams for help heard on the 9-1-1 recordings were not those of Trayvon Martin, at least implying that at some point during the altercation, Zimmerman was on the receiving end of the worst of it.  Then there was a gun-shot, and that all changed.

Could the discharge of the weapon have been accidental?  Was it while prone on the shooters back, being pummeled by the other?  If this is the case, and that seems to be the story the police have accepted, then whatever led to that moment, you have the lanky teen in command of the situation in the moments just before the trigger was pulled.  I’ve read remarks from people who immediately criticize Zimmerman for using a gun on an unarmed assailant, but I would like to caution those who throw about such loose talk because fists can be deadly weapons too, and to assume that because we’re talking about punches is no reason to assume that Zimmerman was in any less danger.  If I had a dollar for every person who has been beaten to death, I’d be able to retire comfortably tomorrow.  In such a situation, it really comes down to whether the person being beaten believes his life is in danger.  Once that belief exists, his actions thereafter may be justified, however he arrived at the situation.

This is one of the real problems with these sorts of scenarios, and it’s really not conducive to the sort of hyper-emotional talk that accompanies such events.  The event must be deconstructed on a time-line, and that’s critical to understanding who is to blame for what, and where the points of demarcation along the chain of events may be. Knowing how the two came to blows will be one way-point, while there may come another at which Martin gained the upper hand, and yet another at which Zimmerman came to believe his life was in danger, and used the gun.  All of this is a complicated thing to put together, and it’s not made easier by the charges of racism, or charges of bias, or all of the rest of it that agitators and media add unnecessarily to the sad story.  I think every person outside direct involvement in this situation who has commented about this to the press is an irresponsible ass.

I except only the family of Martin, understandably stricken with grief and shock, and the local police who must make some statement, but they may be constrained by laws and regulations concerning the disclosure of all evidence and testimony until the case is closed.  The family can say what they want, and they should, but at some point, it’s also up to them to try to gather all the facts.  If Martin had a hand in his own demise, they need to know it.  What annoys me about the press is that they will talk to the family in such a case and do everything they can to build on any controversy.  This creates unnecessary hysteria in the community, and leads to the sorry spectacle with which we are now faced, but it also brings them around-the-clock ratings bonanzas and for the enterprising local journalist, if the story goes national, it may be the chance to move up to food chain.  Don’t kid yourself:  For every sad story in which there is any controversy, there is a legion of parasites trying to figure out how to exploit the situation to their personal advantage.

Now enter the circus of hucksters and hustlers, who have nothing much to lose, but everything to gain from turning a sad situation into a circus.  The New Black Panthers are on the scene, as are Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, and while not there in person, but in spirit and in words, Barack Obama, President of the United States.  I feel badly for the community there, because what should have been a sad story that resulted in an investigation that concluded one way or another is now a politicized three-ring circus with every hanger-on and vulture one can imagine.  It’s despicable.  Four weeks after the fact, this tragic tale has become a spectacle into which people who have no actual interest in the case have inserted themselves for their own nefarious purposes.  I can scarcely imagine that the grieving mother of Trayvon Martin is in any way relieved or heartened by the New Black Panthers issuing a $10,000 bounty for the “capture” of George Zimmerman.  It will not bring back her son, and it certainly won’t serve justice.

Sunday, Director Spike Lee tweeted George Zimmerman’s home address, exhorting followers to spread it.  To what end?  Is Spike Lee now engaged in trying to foment a lynch mob?  If anything befalls George Zimmerman as a result, or his family, or his neighbors, as a result of this ridiculous behavior by Spike Lee, I sincerely hope they sue this ridiculous character half out of existence.  His intent is clearly malevolent, and violent.  What Lee is effectively doing is calling for violence, though he’s careful not to say it directly.  Providing an address in this fashion is simply a form of hooliganism that all should abhor.  If we had a responsible President, he would have said something to put a stop to all of this, but his agenda is not served by stopping it.  He wants the chaos.  He wants the agitating.  This is what he did for a living before he was an elected politician.  This is all very much right up this President’s alley.

Of course, you would think that some responsible person seeking the Presidency would say something to condemn all of this loose talk, and somebody did:  Newt Gingrich pointed out the bad behavior of Barack Obama in the matter.  On the other hand, Jeb Bush, former Florida Governor, actually piled on with the anti-Zimmerman rants.  As the former Governor of that state, you would think that he would have exercised the prudence of keeping his mouth shut until all the facts are known, but he couldn’t stay quiet about it, trying to ingratiate himself with whatever interests he thinks will one day serve him should he seek higher office.

“This law does not apply to this particular circumstance,” Bush said after an education panel discussion at the University of Texas at Arlington. “Stand your ground means stand your ground. It doesn’t mean chase after somebody who’s turned their back.”

The problem with this remark is that Bush isn’t any more aware of the facts of the incident than the rest of us.  He doesn’t have any special insight to offer, but the last part of this remark could be said to be inciting.  We don’t know how those last moments of Martin’s life went down, and Bush really had no business injecting the biased statement about “somebody who’s turned their back.”  This reminds me of the “The Cambridge Police acted Stupidly” remark of Barack Obama.  It assumes and implies what may be all the wrong things about this case, and ignores some of the details that are now widely available. His next remark,  however, should have been his only remark on the case:

“Anytime an innocent life is taken it’s a tragedy,” Bush said. “You’ve got to let the process work.”

If Bush has said this only, and left it there, it would have been fine, and in fact, that’s the sort of thing all our politicians should say when asked about this case, or any like it.  Of course, for his part, Bush was a relatively minor player in the fiasco, because when you consider the outrageously prejudicial remarks of President Obama, it’s easy to see how this circus got out of hand very quickly:

“When I think about this boy, I think about my own kids,” Obama said in the Rose Garden. “I think every parent in America should be able to understand why it is absolutely imperative that we investigate every aspect of this. And that everybody pull together.”

“My main message is to the parents of Trayvon Martin. You know, if I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon,” Obama said. “All of us as Americans are going to take this with the seriousness it deserves.”

“Obviously, this is a tragedy. I can only imagine what these parents are going through,” Obama said. “All of us have to do some soul searching to figure out how something like this has happened.”

This is absurd because it was going to be investigated, and indeed, the investigation was well under way when he opened his mouth on the issue. It’s also true that this case is not really a federal issue.  I don’t understand what the Federal government is doing in this case unless and until the State of Florida and the local jurisdiction put in a call for assistance, or until somebody makes a charge to the Department of Justice claiming that somebody’s rights have been violated under the existing legal system. To then bring his own kids into this, or to make the remark about “if I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon,” is simply a disgusting appeal to race as a motive.  It’s either that, or Obama is so fundamentally narcissistic that he must translate every issue and problem into a personal one in order to understand it.  Either way, Obama’s remarks are an outrage in and of themselves, and Newt Gingrich, commenting on Obama’s behavior, was quick to denounce the remarks, again from Politico:

“It’s not a question of who that young man looked like. Any young American of any ethnic background should be safe, period. We should all be horrified no matter what the ethnic background,” Gingrich said. “Is the President suggesting that if it had been a white who had been shot that would be ok because it didn’t look like him?”

They also reported this on his remarks earlier the same day:

“That’s just nonsense dividing this country up. It is a tragedy this young man was shot,” Gingrich continued on Hannity’s show. “It would have been a tragedy if he had been Puerto Rican or Cuban or if he had been white or if he had been Asian-American of if he’d been a Native American. At some point we ought to talk about being Americans. When things go wrong to an American. It is sad for all Americans. Trying to turn it into a racial issue is fundamentally wrong. I really find it appalling.”

Here, the former House Speaker sounds the right basic theme, but I think it’s important for all of these folks to avoid over-politicizing the issue itself, and urge calm and remind Americans that we have a justice system to handle this, and that prejudging anything here absent all the evidence could lead to a tragic miscarriage of justice, one way or the other.  In the context of commenting on the comments, I see that as proper because this is to focus on the behaviors of those not even remotely connected to the issue who are clearly adding fuel to the fire.  On the other hand, those commenting on the situation directly absent the full results of the investigation, including all circumstantial and physical evidence, along with all available testimony are acting irresponsibly.

There are a number of people who can’t wait to jump in front of a camera or a microphone and do a good deal of indignant harrumphing about this case, but all they are adding to the situation is more emotional invective.  The correct  answer is:  Stop!  This situation cannot possibly improve by the  injection of comments from uninvolved parties.  That we now have the New Black Panthers offering a bounty and effectively calling for Zimmerman’s scalp, while Spike Lee tweets the guy’s address is a recipe for disaster.  The media shouldn’t give any of these jerks face-time, but they’re trying to push the story for the sake of ratings, but maybe also a political agenda.  Either way, the President, Governor, Mayor, Prosecutor, and anybody else connected with the administration of justice in any way with this case ought to restrain their remarks to the very basic: “No comment,” or “We need to let the system of justice work,” or “I cannot comment on an ongoing investigation,” and most importantly, “the system of justice cannot work when we have hooligans trying to incite violence or using violent rhetoric.”

The simple truth of this case may be that race had absolutely nothing to do with any of it.  The attempt by some to turn this into a racial issue is simply disgusting, as Newt Gingrich asserted.  This is an instance in which cool heads should prevail, but with a parade of hucksters, opportunists, and politicians with their own agenda in mind, the media has turned this into something it should never  have been while they overlook real cases in which outrage is warranted irrespective of the issue of race.  In the end, the evidence may show Zimmerman acted improperly, and if so, he will be punished, but if not, then there’s going to be a bad situation here because too many people are trying much too intently to make of this a spectacle for their own purposes.

The media reports in ways that simply boggle the mind, and as late as Sunday, I have seen one Reuters story in which the shooter was described as a “white hispanic.”  If this doesn’t demonstrate the lunacy of the media, and their firm commitment to getting the most controversial angle on every story, I don’t know what does. It is my sincere hope that justice is served for all involved, whatever that turns out to be once all the facts are known and all of the investigations are concluded, but not one moment sooner.  This sort of rush to judgment is dangerous, and it should be rejected by every American irrespective of race, sex, national origin, sexual orientation or political affiliation. If we are to have a civilized society, it begins with the proposition that when something uncivil occurs, we must respond to it in an orderly fashion that permits rational examination of facts without bias.  Many of the agitators in this instance are trying to obtain the opposite result, but we must not permit it. It’s long past time for cooler heads to prevail. I expect our national leaders to reflect that sentiment.

 

 

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.

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.

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.

Fighting Liberal Professors – Time to Go Back to School

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

Should We Fill These Seats?

We all know how useless many of our public schools have become, but have you examined the things that are now delivered as “education” in our publicly-funded universities?  You might believe the worst of had been confined to the elite schools of the Northeast, but in fact, leftists have taken over nearly all the country’s universities and colleges, from the large bustling campuses to the tiny community colleges in middle America.  My adult daughter attends a community college, as she works to finish her degree, but the problem is that even in our small town, the liberals are running the community college.  In a history class this week, she was taught that capitalism is bad, that unions are good, and that socialism is good for workers,  and all of this in the context of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act.  Too many paying adults throw their money too casually to the institutions of “higher learning” in which their children are propagandized in the destruction of their own beliefs.

My daughter prides herself on the fact that she confronts these sorts of things.  A few semesters ago, she got herself into some trouble for contesting another history professor’s malevolently biased portrayal of historical events, and worst of all, doing so in the classroom setting.  The professor, unaccustomed to being challenged by students, was dumbfounded and became angry in typical leftist fashion.  It resulted in a bit of an issue that wound up before the Dean and ultimately led to a withdrawal from the class and a refund of tuition for it.  These thuggish professors continue to shove their left-wing views down our kids’ throats, and almost nobody is there who can or will challenge them.  When somebody does challenge them, they bully, cajole, and mock, and hope to swing the class to their support, essentially hoping to shut down any dissent or questioning that may go on.

There is an answer, and in the name of justice, and all that is good in the world, I for one will pursue it, but I want to suggest to you that you consider the same action.  We of more experience and knowledge should enroll in classes, basic history, government, and economic classes we’ve taken before, and sit in those classes with the specific goal of challenging very leftist talking-point of the professor.  It would help to know in advance which are the leftist professors, but even if you throw darts at a class schedule, you’re likely to land on a leftist, because they constitute the vast bulk of professors.  When the summer term begins, I am going to see about enrolling in such a class, and I have the professors all picked out.  It will cut down on my blogging two nights per week, but it will certainly give me more about which to blog.

Somebody must oppose these people.  They’ve been wrecking the political understanding of our children for generations, and if we are to have any hope of stopping the bleeding, we must do it here.  This is where the propaganda is hammered in, and it’s why we’ve lost control of our culture. It’s been a long while since I’ve sat  in a college classroom, and even then, since I went to college as a well-informed adult, I intimidated professors by virtue of the fact that in my early thirties, I was more than willing as a husband, father, businessman, and employee to challenge whatever a college professor might say if I suspected it was biased or false.  Now, nearing fifty years of age, I am not only willing, able, and informed for the chore, but now I know fully how they have been abusing their tenure, and I look at it as sport.

The college professors who infect our universities with their leftist bilge had better worry if this sport catches on.  Rather than mocking conservatives, the free market, and the rest of American culture, for once, we have every chance to turn tables on them.  I hope you’ll find time to do similar in your own communities, and join me in starting upon our long road back.

U.S. Spells ‘Us’ – Patriotic Song and Video

Monday, January 30th, 2012

I ran across this via Twitter, and I must say it’s well done, and tasteful. I hope you’ll enjoy it, and while you enjoy it, the artist(ColinAmerica) is apparently selling his song on iTunes, so if you’re interested, definitely take a look. All the proceeds go to Veterans of Foreign Wars(VFW.)

That’s a cause I can heartily support!

Bringing the Next Generation Along

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

On the Right Path

I’m a middle-aged man, and so while I’ve not yet seen all the world has to offer, I’ve learned a little.  Back when I was a very young man, raised in a liberal Democrat household(at least by the balloting,) I entered adulthood with some pretty liberal ideas. Service in the Army started me out on my path to philosophical reconstruction, and subsequent marriage and fatherhood helped speed along the process, along with a healthy dose of life’s realities to teach me the hard way.  When I joined the service, I went in thinking that Ronald Reagan was the devil, but by the time I had seen the real world on the border between East and West, and witnessed his speech at Brandenburg Gate, I had changed.  We’ve all heard the saying that “a young conservative has no heart, and an old liberal has no brain,” meant to describe the transition many make as they age from the liberal leanings of youth(if for no other reason than rebellion,) to the wiser thinking of somebody who has learned a few lessons.  In considering this mid-life transformation that so many people go through, one of the things you note is that there are those who never make the transition.  More, there are those who change parties, because life’s realities show the way, but they never fully reconcile the two contradictory positions in their thinking.

As an example, I have one friend who is by all estimates conservative now, but when we talk about the political history of the last two decades, a strange thing happens: The further back along the time-line we go, the more liberal my friend sounds, because she begins to almost slide back into her earlier thinking when she was a rabid liberal.  In her youth, given her politics of the day, Newt Gingrich was the devil. For this reason, she has great difficulty looking at him now, some fifteen years later, and seeing him as anything but the devil her college professors, friends and family had described him as being.  It’s not even that she can say why he was the devil, so much as it is a sense about him, or an image, rather than any concretes.  At one point some months ago, she had made a remark about never being able to support him, and I asked why that was.  She hesitated, and started to make an argument from her politics of old against him, but tapered off as she realized it was no longer what she had once believed.

This presented her with a problem, and she finally said to me: “I may need to re-think Newt, not that I’d necessarily support him, but because my view of him was built…a long time ago.”  To a thirty-five year old, fifteen or twenty years is a long time in their past, indeed.  The important thing to notice, and the thing I tried to point out to her is that when people go through political and philosophical transformations in their twenties and thirties, or any time, really, what they frequently fail to do is to go back and re-evaluate the past in light of their current views.  This makes for a significant break, a sort of philosophical and historical discontinuity that leads to difficulties in one’s judgments.  I find this to be most common among people in their thirties, and I also think this is what begets many of our “independents” and “moderates,” because they never reconciled fully between their younger, liberal views, and their elder conservative realizations.

The fact may be that you probably know some number of people who fit this description, or may in fact be one yourself, although based on comments and emails I receive from readers here, I think most are somewhat more settled into a consistent view of the world.   You may want to keep this in mind when you’re listening to such people, and the way to “help” them through it is to reach back to historical touchstones and ask them what they think about some issue or person or event from the political past. If I’m talking to a thirty-five year old, I know the reference points will be in 1990s, because that would have been when they first started formulating views and making judgments.  Bill Clinton and the Lewinsky scandal, and Newt Gingrich and the Republican takeover of the Congress are two of the touchstone events, together with personalities that shape the thinking of many such people still.  Gently pointing them to reconsider those people and events in light of what they now know often helps make the difference between somebody of the squishy middle and a true conservative.

After all, when we evaluate these persons and political or social events, we do so with the lenses with which we were equipped at the time.  Often, we change lenses along the way, but we seldom go back to re-examine them with our better, well-focused glasses.  This explains in part why a character like Newt Gingrich still has such high negatives in the twenty-five to thirty-five year old group, because their views of Gingrich were formed when they held different views altogether.  If in 1995, you viewed Gingrich as a political demon, you would likely have problems some seventeen years later viewing him as anything else.  The mainstream media knows this too well, which is why they work so hard to demonize conservatives, and champion liberals. It’s not simply a matter of your political choices of today they wish to influence, but those of your distant future as well.

As people who have seen it all and firmed up our thinking, upon reaching middle age, we ought to cast a long glance back at the history we have known, and how it’s viewed by others, if only because sometimes, we need to go back and correct the record.  Nothing is harder for people to do than to point back to a time when they now believe they had been wrong, and this natural resistance to such an admission plays a role in shaping one’s views, but also one’s political choices.  I think it’s important for those of us who have obtained a little more wisdom by virtue of our own lengthy struggles to reach out to our younger brethren and help them realize where they may be stuck.  Of course, that’s always a touchy situation, but there’s nothing wrong with asking questions, and letting people draw their own conclusions.  In fact, that’s a larger part of what this site is all about.

A Century of Unreality: Shall We Begin Another?

Friday, January 20th, 2012

Trouble Ahead?

The last one-hundred years or so have been unlike any other in human history.  From heavier-than-air flight, to widespread personal modes of transportation, to microprocessors that churn through massive calculations at mind-bending speed, our technical sophistication has created a world that none alive two centuries before would have had the audacity to envision.  Even the greatest visionaries of the early nineteenth century could not have foreseen what has been accomplished by all of mankind, but particularly seeded in the West, and most particularly in America on the shoulders of one unalterable truth:  Reality is real.  What is, is, irrespective of what some profoundly pathological liar may say to a grand jury while on the witness stand.  No country in human history had ever paid greater devotion or service to this truth, and yet with the beginning of the progressive era, no country has worked harder to undo the reality on which its existence and its prosperity depends.  The question now confronting us, if we are brave enough to acknowledge it, is whether we have had enough of unreality and wish to return to our previous condition of growth and success, or instead remain fixed on a course of self-destruction in pursuit of an unreality for another century.

If we choose the latter, it will be a short century, for it shall complete our destruction.  One cannot survive by pretending one’s belly is full, any more than one can pretend it will be filled without effort.  Life is not sustained without action on its own behalf, and yet ours is a culture beset by the bankrupt notion that life may be lived without gainful effort.  How much time in any given day is devoted to the effort of doing nothing?  How many idle hours are exhausted in pursuit of relentless indifference to one’s own existence?  The number is now incalculable, and yet we can see its cost all around us.  This years marks the ninety-ninth that our nation has pretended that value can be created out of nothing.  The Federal Reserve system, enacted into law in 1913, promises to use the manipulation of debts in order to add more currency to our circulation, but it also promised that we would gain wealth by this process.  In 1912, sixteen US Dollars would have purchased for you one ounce of gold.  Now, one-hundred years later, you will need more than sixteen-hundred dollars to buy that same ounce of gold.  This is a measurement of the scale of our century-long unreality.

It is not only in our currency that we permit such self-fraud.  We permit it primarily in our government, and in our daily existence, because it is easier to accept a beautiful lie than an ugly truth, and we are so much more comfortable with the former.  How many Americans now do no labor, today, tomorrow, or any time in the future, and at no time in the recent past?  How many Americans create no new wealth, but instead rely upon others to maintain the flow of their daily bread?  This number now measures not in the tens of millions, or even one-hundred million, but more than one-half of all Americans now receive regular disbursements from government for something other than goods, labor, or services rendered.  It happens at all levels of government, and in all levels of society.  From the poorest to the richest, we are a nation now ruled by the majority who constitute the beneficiaries of an all-encompassing welfare state.  I must compare modern American thinking to an iPhone commercial, but rather than “apps,” it seems for every imaginable want, need, or desire, we have a program now dedicated to providing them to any who demand it.

Food?  We have a program for that.  Medicine?  We have a program for that.  Contraceptives?  We have a program for that too.  Even if you want Internet access, or cellular communications, somewhere in America, under the auspices of some governmental hand-out, we have a program somewhere to suit your demands.  If you need a grant to start a “Green energy” project, we have a program for that too.  We can offer you millions if you wish to produce fuel from corn.  Do you need to advertise your products overseas?  We have a program fit to your purposes.  Education? Got it!  Housing? BINGO!  Do you want a tax break for converting your land into a nature preserve?  We have that nestled somewhere in legislation as well.  There is no limit to the imagination of politicians as to what they might at any moment convert into a so-called “public good,” which in economic terms means something that the free market cannot easily provide to all who want or need it at a price they are all able to pay.  The theory goes that government must then intervene to make sure there is equitable distribution in sufficient quantities to meet the demand, or at least subsidize its payment.

Guess who gets the bill?  You may assume you already know the answer, but do you?  I don’t think most people realize the full scope quite yet. It is true that if you pay taxes into this creature, but take none of the loot, you are among those who have a glimpse of its full unreality.  Multiply this by decades, forged of the servitude of your life stretching out before you, unto death, and spread like a virulent rash to your children and then theirs, in each day and in every moment, grabbing a little more of the life that should have been yours to live, and then theirs, and so on.  I noted with dismay that in the tax return of Newt Gingrich, nearly one-million dollars on just more than three-million dollars earnings had been wrested from him, constituting some 32% of his earnings in that year.  I complain about the total bite the federal government exacts from me, and yet it pales in comparison.  I wish to know in the name of justice why it is that people who earn so much have so much taken.

I wonder how many jobs he might have created with the additional million dollars, or the investments he might have made that would have birthed jobs in the enterprise of another. Most of all, I wonder how that money was squandered in payments to people who ought to have done for themselves that which he and those like him are compelled to provide at gunpoint.  Don’t misunderstand me, as I doubt Mr. Gingrich is suffering, but that’s hardly the point as I consider the scale of the problem.  We have millions upon millions for whom reality has been excised from their lives, allegedly as a matter of “compassion” or “humanity,” but I contend to you that those who live in perpetuity by the exertions of others deserve no compassion, because they do not themselves exhibit humanity.  To be human is to think, and to think is to recognize reality and integrate that knowledge into the consideration of all the choices with which one is confronted.  Only a primitive brute goes through life grasping and grabbing and looting, and yet this is the picture of humanity with which we are scolded.

Each is told that his or her needs is a legitimate claim on the lives and labors of others, and this is an unreality of the very worst sort, and it is at the root of the immorality driving our national decline.  There are those who will claim that “we must have safety nets, for those who cannot,” but I tell you that no such obligation exists except by the willful choice of each individual, but never through the coercive, forceful arm of the government in the name of the public.  Friday, giving a campaign speech, Barack Obama insisted he should pay more in taxes.  Let me ask you: What prohibits it?  Can he not send a check as a donation to the US Treasury?  You see, the truth is that he is not satisfied that he should give to the causes he holds dear, but that you must also.  It is not good enough that an action that should be a function reserved to private charity be left to the vagaries of human choice.  No, you must be compelled.  In this way, you cannot decline to support the un-rehabilitated drug  user, and you may not regard each case on its merits, but instead will be compelled to treat them all as being of equal value, and equal need, irrespective of fact.

This unreality, that the statists name “compassion” is merely a substitute for another word, which when viewed through the lens of those who must provide it can only be “slavery.”  We are now a nation of slaves and slavers, and the truly ingenious expression of this has been the development of a growing class who are both.  It is impossible for our nation to persist in this fashion, and the culmination of a century of social unreality that exceeds the scrupulous adherence to physical reality that has permitted our technological advancements.  It is becoming so thorough that soon, our social unreality will overrun our technological respect for nature’s realities that we will begin to regress.  In truth, this is the secret of so-called “progressivism,” inasmuch as it is not progression but regression by any measure.

Only a fool holds that one can live without effort, or exist interminably by the efforts of others, and yet this is precisely the stated object of the so-called “progressives,” and it is the unreality that they must peddle.  We are now coming to it, in a time when unreality will crash into reality.  We will be faced with many choices when this occurs, and the problem is that in crisis, mankind has a terrible history of reacting against reality’s bite with even more egregious unreality. What shall we do?  Is this to be the last generation of Americans, as that term had come to mean barely more than a century ago, or is this the time when Americans will reach for reality, and demand a respect for it among men and governments?  Time will tell, and yet I know it seems to run ever against us, but still I wonder in the end: Mustn’t we yield to reality, one way or the other?  I think so, and I suspect this will be a rude awakening through which the fragile among us may not long endure.

Shaking a Fist at God While Rooting Against Tim Tebow

Saturday, January 14th, 2012

Why Do They Mock Him?

I listen to leftists talk about Tim Tebow as if he is evidence that conservative Christians are mad. It’s not that Tebow himself makes a grand spectacle of his praying, but that others focus on it by bringing it to the attention of the world.  Leftists in particular hate all of this “prayer stuff,” and while they have no problem with Muslims facing Mecca in their regular daily submission before Allah, or a band of Wiccans dancing in the moonlight in their own form of spiritual celebration,  they recoil in horror at the sight of a man, one plain, Christian man, knelt in humble supplication before his God.  I’m not a fan of football, but I hope Tebow prevails, not because one should assume his winning or losing may indicate anything about God’s will, but because I’ve had more than enough of people of faith being mocked for merely being faithful.

Of course, the problem is that some of the Tebow-haters are just sports fans rooting for his opponents, but what I’ve discovered in pop-culture is that more often than not, those who cheer for Tebow’s opponents do so out of a rage against judgment.  It’s their form of shaking a fist at the heavens, and I’ve heard and read their comments enough to know that their jeers aren’t born of much else but a sort of seething rage against any expression of faith, but no such expression brings their rage to the surface like an American Christian who will not hide his or her faith for the comfort of these nagging ne’er-do-wells.

If they don’t share Tebow’s faith, you might well wonder, why must they rage against it?  Every time Tim Tebow takes a knee in prayer, these insecure people take it as an assault on the sincerity of the faith they claim but to which they have no strong attachment, or more often, no willingness to voice in public.  In effect, in their own minds, but not in Tebow’s, his silent prayer is a slap at their unwillingness to do so for whatever reason, be it a lack of humility or sincerity, or faith altogether.

These are the same people who cry out in shrill tone at the first hint of “judgment.”  Let me suggest to you that there is ample reason for their cries, but notice what judgment they fear most: It is the estimation of their own lives and actions that they wish to avoid.  This is a symptom of how insecure they feel about the nature of the lives they lead, and what they wish to avoid most of all is any reminder that all things are to be judged in one way or another, now and in the future.

When they mock Tebow, what they are mocking is not even God, or religion, or faith.  They will mock Tim Tebow, but they do so out of a fear and loathing.  What they angrily demonstrate is their fearful desire for a different form of absolution, through which even their fellow men might not judge them.  They seek an escape not from God’s law, but from the notion that there is any morality at all, and when they see the striking figure of a kneeling Tim Tebow, out in the open upon a field in plain view of the entire world, they are treated to a reminder that their days of avoiding judgment must inevitably end, and that such a judgment begins first in one’s own heart and mind.  At this stark realization, they shake their fists in rebellion, to no avail.

Surrender By Another Name Smells No Sweeter

Sunday, January 1st, 2012

The Art of "Compromise"

I had been enjoying a conversation with friends, and I made a remark about the notion of “false compromise.”  One friend asked me what constitutes a false compromise, and I thought you would be as interested as she in my answer.  We’re told that the “art of compromise” is the necessary glue of politics, and that it is only in compromise that we may resolve our various differences, but I contend that there are issues and situations in which no compromise is possible, because there is no shared basis in principles and values by which to derive anything that may be rightly termed “compromise.”  A false compromise occurs when one is so desperate for a deal that one is willing to surrender the entire meaning of the deal to have it.  This has applications outside of politics, but it is in this field where it is most frequently practiced.  Conservatives are being offered another compromise in their presidential nominee, but it’s become clear that no real compromise is in the offing, and what is desired is really surrender.

If we were to have a dispute over a property boundary, we might arrive at a compromise.  A compromise would offer us each something of value in exchange for what we’ve given up.  This would be the case if the boundary had been known approximately, but there was some minor dispute over the precise definition of the line. Each party might give up a little in favor of getting a little in the bargain.  That would constitute a true compromise, where both parties had something at stake, but both gained, each to his relative satisfaction.

Now imagine there is really no controversy over the boundary in dispute.  Let us assume it is a well-marked and long-established boundary that is well documented in the proper legal venues.  Let us assume that one party confronts the other over the boundary simply because he wants another foot, or another inch added to the breadth of his property.  There is nothing to be gained by the other party in entering into negotiations, and he would be better to let stand the legally established boundary without tampering.  When the aggressive party decides to pursue the matter, the defensive party will clearly need to stand in defense, and this will impose a cost. Often times, the first party, the aggressor, is on a fishing expedition to see what he might net, and sometimes the defensive party will relent just to make the matter go away.  This is not a compromise, even though it is often mislabeled as such. It is a false compromise which is merely a disguised version of something else: “Surrender.”

I say it is disguised because it is presented in various ways as compromise, in part so that the surrendering party can save face, but also in part because it pays a propaganda victory to the aggressor.  Due to this dual-dishonesty, it is worse even than mere surrender, because in that case,  at least nobody is permitted any pretense about what has actually happened.  False compromise is always illusory, and the fruits it is alleged to have borne inevitably evaporate in the grim realization of the truth by the surrendering party.

This is effectively the scenario by which the moderate and progressive Republicans have systematically delivered us to the more rabid statists of the left.  The left wants more property seized from your personal wealth?  The squishy moderates propose that you give them a little, this time.  And the next. And again. And once more.  In fact, they will have you slice off your property an inch at a time until you have no property at all.  In order to disguise their surrender, they call it “compromise,” but there is no actual compromise in it, because never do we get anything of equal or greater value for it.  No, to the contrary, what we receive is another bashing over the heads and a further demand for yet another [false] compromise.

This has been the march of the left, and the “moderate” Republicans for all my life, and then some.  It is therefore small wonder that fewer are inclined to accept such “compromise.”  At the current rate of compromise, within the span of a decade, I will be bound in chains and worked from dawn ’til dusk, and then some, to maintain some others in comfort while I am compelled in the name of “compromise” to live as a beast of burden.

It is for this reason that so many conservatives and Tea Party folk are unwilling to consider compromise in 2012.  They look back over the span of the last century, and all they see are the great surrenders disguised as compromise, and they are sickened by it.  Some in the party’s establishment are insistent on giving us yet another compromised candidate, who will be little better than the guy now accosting us from the Oval Office, but who they promise we will be able to steer and push and prod to the right.  If I accept this, I must however ask who it is that is being steered, and to whose advantage? Is that what I am to accept as the leader of the Republican party?  Somebody I must steer to the right lest he go off and support the false compromises we have seen spreading ruin and misery across the span of the last century?

No. I will not accept a false compromise like this again.  We’ve heard it all before, and it always ends in the same disaster.  We give up more to the aggressors, who never give up a thing, least of all their aggression, and it is on this basis that I reject the squishy moderates as worse than the open leftists.  That’s right, I said it.  They’re worse because they hope to maintain power while giving away the whole shooting match while convincing us it’s the only way to survive.  No.  No, it’s not, and I will accept no more of their surrenders dressed up as compromise.  I’m not moving that fence one more inch, and if somebody is so bold as to further breach that boundary, let them.  I’ll be waiting, but it won’t be to surrender.

 

Rediscovering America With Sarah Palin

Saturday, September 24th, 2011

America's Last Frontier?

The TLC series Sarah Palin’s Alaska gave us a view into a place of wonder most have never seen and experienced.  As one of America’s last wild places, it’s clear that there’s something to be learned by all of us in the beauty of Alaska and the rugged individualism that necessarily prevails among its people.  When Columbus set sail in search of a westward passage to the East Indies, he stumbled upon something wonderful when he found the New World.  What he discovered was a land of nature’s plenty, and a place ripe for the expansion of civilization in which to thrive and develop.  What those who followed him to this this new world realized is that all of nature’s beauty and resources can be harnessed to support our existence and growth.  In October, we mark the time of his arrival in the New World, but many Americans have forgotten its significance.

In our modern era, we’ve become so consumed with the notion of preserving the natural beauty that we’ve hobbled people in their ability to grow.   What Sarah Palin offers are the lessons she had learned as a leader in Alaska.  Because it’s still a largely wild place, vast in every dimension, and largely untouched by human development, she understood the necessity of preserving that natural beauty while recognizing the necessity of developing the resources and carving out a place for people to  produce and prosper.  In this sense, what Palin and her generation of Alaskans have done is to continue the mighty task of taming the frontier, but what she reminds us through her works in Alaska is that the founding, growth, and prosperity of our country had rested upon the idea that we can forge our own destiny.  What Palin’s TLC series offered us was a golden opportunity to learn about Alaska’s growth, but what a Palin presidency offers us is the chance to rediscover America.

This is perhaps America’s greatest challenge:  We have generations of people who have never learned what America had been from its discovery, through its development, and to its eventual founding and growth.  America was the place in which a person could prosper on the basis of individual efforts and ingenuity.  America was a place where their work ethic and their integrity mattered, because merit still mattered.  These traits were critical because reality seemed much more cruel to those who did not exhibit them.  In that sense, Alaska is still such a place.  What Sarah Palin did while Mayor of Wasilla was to begin confronting these issues to the inestimable benefit of the people of that city.  Things most of us in the rest of the country take for granted, such as grocery stores and roads to support the customers who would frequent them had been rudimentary and incapable of sustaining growth, but by the time she left that office, the rational plan of development she had instituted began to pay dividends to every person in Wasilla and the surrounding region, who had previously relied upon a distant Anchorage as the only source of their provisions and the central place to engage in commerce.

As Governor of her state, Sarah Palin continued the trend of development, while working to protect the natural wonders of her state.  A leader must recognize both the beauty and the bounty, and develop a plan to preserve one while fully accessing the other.  That can be a difficult challenge, but in a vast wilderness like Alaska, there are many more difficulties than most of us in the lower forty-eight states know, given the extremes of the climate and all the considerations it imposes.  Few things can be built easily or cheaply in Alaska, yet Palin managed the continuing development of energy resources for which our country now cries out in agony.  What Americans are now discovering is that reality remains as capable of cruelty as it had ever been, but we’re now much less prepared to confront it.  Sarah Palin’s example leads on the path out of our nationally stagnated wilderness.

What Palin may recognize more thoroughly than any other politician is that such development and growth relies upon the commitment, diligence, and industry of those who are to carry it out and ultimately enjoy its benefits.  Few politicians ever really build anything, but the very best among them establish the legal and moral groundwork for those who will.  Sarah Palin knows this, because she learned in her career that spouting politicians promise much, but in the end, it is the people who must deliver.  Nobody can give you lasting wealth.  You must earn it.  Nobody will provide you a life-long prosperity.  You must produce it.  Her recognition of this simple truth calls to mind a memory of an America in its youth.  It reminds one that all we take for granted today had been built by our predecessors, and they had all been individuals trading their labor and their lives for the proposition that their children would live more fruitful lives.  Shamefully, too many have abandoned that idea, out of fear and out of desperation.  It is that philosophical continent which must be conquered anew.

This has been the inheritance of our generation, and yet too many among us seem to think our prosperity appeared one day as if by magic.  Palin knows that none of these things we enjoy popped into existence at the whimsical demand of some politician or bureaucrat in Washington DC, but instead resulted from the efforts of millions, each devoted to their own interests, but trading their labors in exchange for the best efforts of others.   That is the heart of capitalism, and its simplest expression.  Sarah Palin has seen how capitalism cultivates freedom when carefully tended and nurtured, unobstructed by bureaucracy and overbearing government.  She has conquered that ground many times before in her political career, but now the nation needs to see this example and follow her lead.

What Sarah Palin may teach this struggling nation is that our country is still one of plenty, and that we still have our resources, but despite all the wonderful opportunities America still provides, nothing is more important in realizing them than the vast, untapped human potential of its people.  Neither Alaska nor America can be a land of opportunity without people of a mind and spirit to make use of all the gifts they provide.  Many Americans have somehow lost the ability to recognize the opportunities before them, and more have lost the will to pursue them when presented.  One of the key reasons for this depressions lies in the fact that government has now become the main obstacle to opportunity, prosperity, and even the human spirit of discovery and growth.  Palin’s example is that of an entrepreneurial explorer, and if we learn from her no other lesson, this one will have been key to understanding the root of our troubles.  We may always celebrate Columbus’ voyage to the New World, but history may yet record that it had been with Sarah Palin that we finally rediscovered America.

The Reno Disaster

Sunday, September 18th, 2011

Tragic Loss of Pilot and Spectators

I’ve been a fan of racing and aviation all my life.  Since the first time my father took us to see an airshow at Niagara Falls, I have been hooked.  I even dabble in model aviation(remote control) when my scarce time permits.  While the horrendous events of Friday at the races in Reno are fresh in our minds, there are those critics who complain about the obvious dangers associated with this sort of high-speed, high-risk endeavor, and while it is true that there is an inescapable element of danger in any event where man and machine circle a course at high speeds, we shouldn’t react as media would have us do, with calls for bans on the sport.  When a race-car crashes, we do not call for all racing to be banned.  When a space shuttle burns up on re-entry into our atmosphere, we do not call for an end to manned space flight.  Instead, we honor those who have died, and grieve for them and their families, in recognition of the fact that our existence here is temporary, and it is those who push the envelope who pull us along behind them.

The catastrophe in Reno, Nevada was horrific.  All reports speak to a scene of carnage,  but also from those reports there may be gathered something almost as important:  The outcome could have been far, far worse.  By many accounts, it seems the pilot’s last moments were devoted to an attempt to steer his stricken plane away from the crowds.  The violence of the collision with Earth was so great that the airplane completely disintegrated, creating a whirlwind of high-speed debris that sliced through anyone in its path.  Pilot Jimmy Leeward, 74, was killed along with at least eight others, all spectators.  The reports of injuries are gruesome, and it’s no small miracle that the number of dead and seriously injured hasn’t been far worse.  Witnesses who were nearby the crash have told harrowing tales of a wreckage consisting of plane and humanity, propelled through the air as if by a tornado or a bomb blast.

The Air Races at Reno have been a constant feature of Americana since 1964.  These races have always had an element of danger, as airplanes are pushed to the point of breakage, and the skills of those who pilot them are challenged in the extremes of competition.  There is always danger.  When you get in your car to go to work, or place your children on a school-bus, or sit in your office on the eighty-fifth floor of a high-rise building, there is always danger.  It is danger that often brings out the best and worst in us, and it is danger that drives us to improve our lives, but we should never make the common mistake of letting danger prevent us from advancing.  We are told daily of the dangers of a juicy hamburger, the dangers of tobacco, or dangers of a sedentary lifestyle.   We’re beset with warnings about every conceivable danger great and small, extraordinary and commonplace, and yet we go on about our lives not cowering and cringing because of them.

I won’t presume to tell anybody else how they should feel about all this, as it was a terrible event, and I know my readers join me in sending our prayers and condolences for the injured, the dead, and their families while we grieve for all that has been lost.  A short while ago, a friend provided me a link to a thoughtful blog article written some time ago, but I think it reached the wrong conclusion, at least from my point of view.  The author suggested back in 2005 that airshows hurt aviation.  I understand the thinking of the author, and there is some wisdom in it, but I fear he’s missed something as he explains his thesis about how these accidents hurt aviation:  Most airshows go off without a hitch, and most of them entertain large crowds who are made to understand the inherent risks of flying.  Often, for the young people who attend, it serves as an enticement to learn more about aviation.

That’s certainly the effect it had on me, and it’s been a love of mine through all my life.  When I was a child, there was no chance that I would see any form of aviation from inside a flying airplane, and I understood that as a fact of our economic reality.  It was left to me to marvel at them from the stands, or from my yard as the commercial planes approached the nearby airport.  The only form of aviation my family could afford during my youth took the form of folded paper, perhaps some rubber-powered balsa contraptions, and books to study the field.  I built many static plastic models, to be suspended by fishing line from the ceiling in my room, wistfully day-dreaming of being a pilot.  For millions of children like me, who went to their first airshows and many more  without any mishap at all, the awesome performances of the pilots and their planes taught us a deep and abiding respect for a vocation that was out of reach for many.  I took my own daughter.  She learned to fly remote control planes. We still go to airshows together when time permits.

This has been a sad weekend for those who follow aviation, and a tragic weekend for those whose lives have been changed by the events in Reno.  Though I’ve flown many times over the course of my life, it’s never been as a pilot. I still go to airshows, knowing fully the risks, because like most of the people in attendance, there’s still something to be said for the dreams of our youth when the consequences seemed distant and the thrilling roar of the engines was so near at hand.  We weren’t consumed by fear.  That successive generations have been able to pass this along from father to son and on to granddaughter is a hopeful thing.  As we remember the dead and mourn their passing, we would do well to remember that many of them shared these same dreams.  It’s why they were there.  May they rest peacefully now, and let us care for the injured.  In memory of the fallen, I offer this well-known poem, written by a pilot who lost his life after a mid-air collision over England in WWII:

HIGH FLIGHT

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of—wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air….
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark nor even eagle flew—
And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

John Gillespie Magee