Monday, May 29, 2017

Westphailure: A Memorial Day Reflection

     Over the past two decades there have been a number of articles, whether scholarly or written for a lay audience, to the effect that the end is in sight for the Westphalian nation-state. Some analysts have treated the subject with alarm, others with glee. Some focused upon specific enemies of the nation-state, such as creedal or ethnic particularism or “non-state-actor” terrorism. A few have attempted to predict what forms of political organization (if any) would follow. And occasionally a visionary has speculated upon the possibility that political organization itself might vanish.

     Yet few of those who spent their efforts on the matter could cope with the two questions that loom above all the others:

  1. Why do nation-states exist at all?
  2. Why do some nation-states appear endangered while others do not?

     More grist for a Curmudgeon Emeritus’s mill.


     The emergence of the political entities we recognize today as nation-states was a drawn-out process. The 1648 Treaties of Westphalia, though widely regarded as seminal, was really the start of a gestational process that continued through the 1713 Treaties of Utrecht, the American Revolution, the French Revolution, the politically neglected Napoleonic Wars, and the Congress of Vienna. Each of those things had a role to play in the birth of the nation-state as we’ve come to understand it.

     Whereas the Treaties of Westphalia were largely concerned with established religions, the subsequent events addressed a supremely practical issue: the desire for an enduring conception of sovereignty, including a sovereign’s authority to determine and enforce the law in his domain. During those tumultuous decades the question of who should have the power to make law, and by what mechanisms and upon what terms it should be enforced, was paramount in the minds of many Europeans. Revolutions had toppled regimes in England, France, and America. Innovative concepts such as individual rights, freedom of speech and religion, and the consent of the governed appeared to threaten sovereigns worldwide. Above all, the unbridled war-making power the Treaties of Westphalia had reserved to the sovereign appeared to threaten the basis of human society.

     Power itself needed a new basis. Sovereign absolutism would no longer serve the purposes of the West. But to proceed from that point required that those purposes be enunciated and clarified. Moreover, the royalty of Europe could no longer reserve those purposes to themselves.


     The major desideratum that powered the emergence of the nation-state was stability. The economy of Europe had been ravaged by endless wars and struggles over jurisdiction among monarchs and nobles. The further advancement of civilization, a foretaste of which was visible in Eighteenth Century England, required that the quarreling cease. The accelerating assertiveness of the common man suggested that the old basis of absolute monarchs and nobles sworn to fealty would no longer do the job.

     I don’t mean to suggest that the movers of the development of the modern nation-state were animated by a sense of civic responsibility or anything comparable to it. They merely wanted to enjoy their positions and the pleasures and conveniences made available by an advancing economy. They realized that they couldn’t have those things if Europe were to remain an eternal battlefield. The defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo opened the possibility of putting an end to the strife.

     Consensus emerged, albeit tacitly, that the aggressive Continental imperialism of the two centuries past, most recently represented by Napoleon, must end. Borders must be stabilized; ruling powers must agree to respect them. Diplomatic intercourse must replace warfare in all but the most serious disputes between sovereigns. More – and ultimately far more significant – the possibility of provoking a bottom-up revolution must be kept in mind in all political operations.

     None of these things were explicit parts of the treaties made during those years. Yet they loomed behind most of the maneuverings of Metternich, Talleyrand, Wellington, Tsar Alexander I, and the rest. Though it appeared that the rise of republicanism had been dealt a setback, the hundred years of relative peace that followed allowed the common man to rise to a stature that would ultimately make it impossible for a European ruler ever again to assert overt, absolute, and unbounded authority.

     The nation-state as the principal guarantor of peace, stability, and orderly commerce had emerged.


     Shortly before he died, the great Herbert Spencer, aghast at the return of social invidiousness and national animosities that characterized the currents of the close of the Nineteenth Century, predicted that the Twentieth would be “a century of socialism and war.” Twentieth Century Europe would prove him correct. National governments, both hereditary and elective, turned once again to warfare to “get what’s rightfully ours.”

     In a way, the famous remark of German Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg:

     "The world will be plunged into the most terrible of wars...all for a word -- 'neutrality'...all for a scrap of paper." -- Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg, Chancellor of the German Empire, referring to Britain's decision to go to war over Germany's violation of Belgium's neutrality, which had been guaranteed by Britain, France and Germany in an 1832 treaty.

     ...revealed the cause of the failure of the Hundred Years’ Peace. That peace had been held together by nothing but “scraps of paper:” the treaties and less formal agreements of the Westphalian, Utrechtan, and Viennese periods. The nations hadn’t renounced their arms; indeed, they’d amassed them to a greater height than ever before. What brought about World War I was the dismissal of the peace made possible at Westphalia, Utrecht, and Vienna as supreme above all other considerations.

     Governments, both hereditary and elective, gave notice that peace, stability, and orderly commerce aren’t their major goals after all.

     Once the Great War was over, it became clear that the ascent of the common man to economic potency ultimately made the Viennese system of 1814-15 untenable by the standards of the European political elite. The collapse of the German, Austro-Hungarian, Russian, and Ottoman Empires underscored the danger to ruling elites. A dramatic revision of the political basis of the nation-state became inevitable. Sovereignty must descend to the proletariat at least in appearance, else the commoners would displace the elites once and for all.

     Great Britain and France were already sailing that course. In the wake of the Treaty of Versailles, the other nations of Europe embarked on it in various ways. However, the seeds of popular dissatisfaction with government generally had been planted deep. Watered by the acceleration of the socialist movement and the three great exploiters thereof – Mussolini, Hitler, and Stalin – the shoots would overturn European stability again only twenty years later.


     Over the century since the Great War, it has become appallingly clear to ordinary private citizens that no matter their representations or the formal structures of their governments, the ruling elites of nation-states are in business for themselves. Their interest in the peace, legal stability, and orderly commerce common men so enjoy is secondary to their interest in maintaining their power, stature, and perquisites. They will provide true service to those things only insofar as it serves to support and maintain their positions. At other times, lip service will suffice.

     Scant wonder that the nation-state as an institution is under attack from all sides. The common man, now empowered beyond all the emperors of old taken together, has become dissatisfied with it. Whether his principal allegiance goes to a neighborhood, an ethnicity, a religion, or his own wallet, he’s no longer willing to support the political status quo without reservation. Indeed, he’s actively interested in possible alternatives. Could the best of us, the young men who enlist in their nations’ armed forces knowing that it puts their lives at risk – knowing that their fathers and grandfathers were sent forth to bleed on foreign soil for causes many of which have proved futile at best, evil at worst – be far behind?

     The dynamics of the thing deserve further study. Remember the fallen.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Aspirations: A Sunday Rumination

As the dust settles, see our dreams,
All coming true
It depends on you.
If our times, they are troubled times,
Show us the way,
Tell us what to do.

As our faith, maybe aimless blind,
Hope our ideals and
Our thoughts are yours.
And believing the promises,
Please make your claims
Really so sincere.

Be our guide, our light and our way of life
And let the world see the way we lead our way.
Hopes, dreams, hopes dreaming that all our
Sorrows gone.

In your hands, holding everyone's
Future and fate
It is all in you.
Make us strong build our unity,
All men as one
It is all in you.

[“Aspirations,” Gentle Giant, from The Power and the Glory]

     I chanced to listen to Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds yesterday, and it struck me afresh how great a pessimist was Herbert George Wells. His speculative fiction, most notably The First Men in the Moon, The Time Machine, and The War of the Worlds is unrelievedly dark-toned. Even stories with a relatively upbeat ending, such as The War of the Worlds, offer a vision of human impotence against forces unimaginably larger than Man could ever hope to oppose. Mankind, to Wells, was a pitiable thing, incapable of ascent from its grubby present condition to anything better...unless, that is, we should agree to surrender our freedom and accept the guidance of the higher minds in whom Wells reposed his socialist confidence.

     Wells, be it noted, was not a Christian. Neither was Olaf Stapledon, another socialist, who collaborated in the genesis of modern science fiction with Wells and Jules Verne.

     The moral might not be obvious, but then, there are a lot of words left before this tirade is over.


     The terrible pessimism about Mankind inherent in socialism and communism is a thing upon which too few analysts have commented. The socialist vision insists that without firm guidance from older and wiser heads, Man is doomed by his nature to be driven from pillar to post by economic and sociological forces he cannot successfully oppose. Naturally, socialists who look upon successful capitalist societies, such as the (still largely capitalist) United States, must find fault with them. Moreover, those faults must become the basis for a prediction of inexorable doom...unless, that is, the society in question should repent of capitalism and embrace the socialist model of governance. It follows that writers with a socialist political bent will reflect that conviction in their stories. Wells, Stapledon, and more recently John Brunner and Mack Reynolds all exhibited exactly that orientation.

     It also follows that socialist convictions should be accompanied by the rejection of Christianity.

     Christianity offers the possibility of an ascension to eternal bliss. The conditions upon which one may attain that bliss are relatively easy to satisfy: far easier, indeed, than many a goal men pursue in the temporal realm. The prospect of eternal bliss in God’s nearness gives comfort to all those who labor without reward or suffer without surcease under the veil of Time. No doubt ur-socialist Karl Marx had that in mind when he called religion “the opiate of the masses.” He, like the Russian socialists who came after him, saw that religion, especially Christianity, would be a barrier to the advancement of his notions in political economy.

     Contemporary hawkers of comparable world-saving schemes are aligned with the socialists in decrying Christian allegiance. All such schemes are totalitarian in nature, and no totalitarian scheme can tolerate men’s attachment to an alternate source of authority and guidance.

     But that’s not the end of the story.


     Life’s a bitch. Then you die. – common observation

     To be perfectly candid, human life viewed apart from all possibilities of an afterlife is a fairly dismal prospect. Consider the life of a typical American even in the best of times:

  • You’re born.
  • You spend a decade dependent on others of uncertain means and variable devotion.
  • You spend the next decade straining to become someone with something to offer to others.
  • You spend the next forty to fifty years straining to afford and live a relatively pain-free life.
  • After all that, you’re aged and enfeebled, once again dependent on the efforts of others.
  • Your final few years will probably be unpleasant, ever more so as you age.
  • You die and are gradually forgotten by those who knew you.

     If we lacked the possibility of a better afterlife, who, viewing the above pattern, would want to be born? What cause would we have to regard our Creator as benevolent?

     Indeed, only the prospect of a better afterlife redeems the human project. The very most accomplished and pleasant temporal life is purely vanity, as evanescent as the life of a mayfly, as meaningless as sea foam, and as deserving of pessimism as the socialists and other world-savers would make it. Only Christianity offers a program by which one can attain such an afterlife. Moreover, to one who adheres faithfully to Christianity’s requirements – the two Great Commandments and the Ten that depend on them – a supremely, eternally blissful afterlife is guaranteed.

     Christianity makes Man’s aspirations rational and attainable – and not only in the afterlife. The Christian dicta are also the requirements for a tolerable, peaceful life in this world.

     Scant wonder that socialists and nostrum-mongers hate it.


     We’re approaching the close of the Easter season. Last Thursday we celebrated the Feast of the Ascension; a week from today we celebrate the Pentecost, upon which occasion the Holy Spirit opened the understanding of the Apostles and granted them the gift of tongues they would need to “make converts of all nations.” After that comes the “ordinary time” of the liturgical year...if anything as glorious as the knowledge that by His Passion and Resurrection Christ has opened the gates of heaven to mortal Man could justly be called “ordinary.” And in a little while, the cycle begins anew with the four weeks of Advent.

     The cyclical nature of the liturgical year provides Christians with a constant reminder of our highest and truest aspiration: to “graduate” from this life into the realm of eternal bliss, where our labors will be rewarded infinitely beyond any material gain or popular acclaim. To the mature Christian, it’s a time of joy from one end to the other. The merest recognition thereof fulfills the greatest of human needs, the one the socialists and world-savers can never approach: the need to believe that our lives have an ineradicable, eternal meaning.

     May God bless and keep you all.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

The Establishment Strikes Back

     (Apologies to Star Wars fans.)

     We knew they weren’t going to go down without a fight. We knew that they would use every means, however underhanded, to recapture their former hegemony. We knew that old animosities would be set aside for the duration of the contest.

     Eli Lake has a few words to say about it:

     Heard any good Mike Flynn jokes lately? How about this one from "Morning Joe," this week? "When it comes to legal issues, he's like Charmin. You just keep squeezing." Maybe you've seen Stephen Colbert's segment from February about Trump's former national security adviser: "It's funny 'cause it's treason."

     Don't miss this exchange in the New Yorker last month with former acting attorney general Sally Yates. Reporter Ryan Lizza asked Yates about how she informed the White House counsel that Flynn had lied to his colleagues about his monitored conversations with the Russian ambassador. "You didn't just text, 'Heads-up, your N.S.A. might be a spy'?" Lizza asked. Yates quipped: "Is there an emoji for that?"

     Well it's nice to see our elites are in such good humor about something so grave. If there truly was treason, it's no joking matter. If there was not, then this man's name is being tarnished unfairly. Ha. Ha.

     After all, Flynn has yet to be charged with a crime. If there is evidence that he betrayed his country, it has yet to be presented. None of the many news stories about Flynn's contacts with Russians and Turks has accused him of being disloyal to his country. And yet a decorated general has already been tried and convicted in the press.

     Please read it all. Indeed, they’ve done all that and more, with the “more” forbidden by the Constitution itself:

     Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

     But wait: there’s more! The Establishment isn’t just trying to topple the Trump Administration; far from it. It’s not quite foolish enough for that. It has a “replacement” government waiting for the reins of power to be handed (back) to it:

     The government in exile — the real one, according to the media — has had a busy week at home and abroad. “President Obama” has given up leading from behind and presumes now to lead from overseas. His secretary of state has a new mission, as missionary to the safe places where snowflakes fall.

     Mr. Obama joined German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin to lecture America and the West to quit being so beastly to the strivers of the Third World, and open wider the borders of the West. “We can’t isolate ourselves,” the former president said from a platform at the Brandenburg Gate. “We can’t hide behind a wall.”

     This is the message that resonates with Mrs. Merkel and many of the Europeans, even it strikes a sour note at home and even in Britain, coming just days after the spawn of a Libyan immigrant murdered nearly two dozen Britons, including several children, and then blew himself up at a concert arena in Manchester.

     Timing is everything, as the man said, and the president in exile used his appearance in Berlin as a coming-out party after nearly six months of playing celebrity in borrowed houses across the South Seas and the Caribbean, playing at golf instead of government. But boredom set it and when Frau Merkel agreed to receive him as a fellow head of state, well, why not? She knew she could count on him to deliver platitudes and goo-goo worthy of an American president in exile.

     Another please-read-it-all column. But the ironies of the matter aren’t just that a soundly defeated political party, which presented the electorate with the least appealing presidential candidate since Aaron Burr, is insidiously intriguing for power. The Establishment is Established in more ways than one:

     I’ve lost count of the articles I’ve read about Hulu’s adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel “The Handmaid’s Tale” that used the word “timely.” Timely, that is, in the sense of the presidency of Donald Trump. Here’s just a short list of print and online outlets where the T-word appears in connection with the re-creation of Atwood’s fictional America turned into a grim theocracy called Gilead that treats women like breeding cattle: the Hollywood Reporter, the Washington Post, the Guardian, Mother Jones, Harper’s Bazaar, the Daily Beast, Bustle, NPR, and CNN. The 77-year-old Atwood herself chimed in, telling the Los Angeles Times’ Patt Morrison: “We’re no longer making fiction — we’re making a documentary.”...

     At first I scoffed. There couldn’t be any more unlikely a theocrat than Trump, what with his misquotes from the Bible and speculation that he hasn’t been in a church more than twice since the inauguration. But then I realized that the liberal paranoiacs were right. Except not in the way they think. Instead of seeing Atwood’s fictional Gilead as a near-future militant fundamentalist Christian elite dystopia, we should see it as the mostly secularist elite dystopia we live in right now.

     Take those elite-class Wives. Liberals typically assume the 1% consists of striped-pants tycoons off the Monopoly board who reliably vote Republican and want to cram retrograde religious ideas down people’s throats. In fact, as social scientists (Charles Murray in “Coming Apart”) and political analysts (Michael Barone, writing recently for the Capital Research Center) have observed, it’s the Democratic Party that’s the party of the 1%: the tech and finance billionaires, the media and entertainment moguls who cluster in expensive ZIP Codes around metropolitan Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and Washington.

     Those folks aren’t known for their church-going, and they vote in favor of liberal social and economic causes from abortion and immigration rights to sustainable energy to higher taxes. They contribute heavily to political campaign[s], and with their upper-middle-class epigones they run the culture, deciding who gets banned on Twitter, which kinds of “diversity” are allowed on campuses, and what television programs we’ll be allowed to see. Today’s overclass Wives typically hold Ivy League degrees, “lean in” to high-status careers, and stand with Planned Parenthood.

     A third please-read-it-all column, and this one might be the most important of the bunch.

     Politicians pursue power above all other things, but their allies and acolytes are often more interested in some other goal: riches, or social status, or influence over the beliefs and opinions of others. Look at the array of financial and cultural forces that reliably line up behind the Democrats every two years, and decide its significance for yourself.

     The cries of “You are being manipulated” have grown so common as to numb us to them. That doesn’t mean that the statement is untrue. Indeed, one of the weapons in the Establishment’s arsenal is to conflate such representations with outlandish cries of “Conspiracy!” and thus to imply that they deserve nothing but amused derision. The comments at the foot of Charlotte Allen’s column provide some representative cases.

     The century-long cartelizations of finance, of education, and of entertainment have served the political Establishment well. When the economy is half under the rule of Washington with the other half in the hands of the Fortune 3000...when the entirety of education and journalism is dominated by the Establishment’s cats’-paws...when nearly every piece of entertainment available from “legitimate” sources has as its first priority the reinforcement of the Establishment’s preferred Narratives...just how immune to the message do you really think you are?

     The Leftist violence aimed at suppressing conservative and traditional opinion is mainly a sideshow. The main action is in the heads of Americans: alluring voices whispering from all directions that “You’re doomed to fail. It’s hopeless. And anyway, it’s immoral. Besides, your leader is a clown and your precious country is already damaged beyond repair. Let the professionals handle it. Adjust. Give in. Give up....”

     Even noticing such things is painful. Writing about them is agonizing. It makes me want to “act up.” What does it do to you, Gentle Reader?

     If there’s any bright spot in the picture, it’s that we appear to be safe from rule by Harpy. Of course, the Harpy is undaunted:

     Hillary still believes the vast, right-wing conspiracy is responsible for her political failures. In her first big interview since last year’s loss, Clinton tells New York magazine the right-wing media is a force with no effective opposition:
     “Look, we have an advocacy press on the right that has done a really good job for the last 25 years,” she says. “They have a mission. They use the rights given to them under the First Amendment to advocate a set of policies that are in their interests, their commercial, corporate, religious interests. Because the advocacy media occupies the right, and the center needs to be focused on providing as accurate information as possible. Not both-sides-ism and not false equivalency.”

     Two problems here. First, Clinton says the right has used the “rights given to them under the First Amendment” to advocate for their interests. It’s a bit worrisome that someone who was a senator and who just ran for president seems to think rights are given by the U.S. Constitution. What the First Amendment actually states is that the government cannot infringe on certain basic human rights. Again, people make this mistake all the time but a presidential contender ought to know better.

     Second, in Clinton’s view of the world, there is apparently no such thing as left-wing media. The left doesn’t have writers (take your pick) or blogs (Daily Kos) or massive news sites (HuffPost) or entire TV networks (MSNBC) devoted to advocating for their interests. I’m barely scratching the surface here. There are hundreds of writers, blogs and even news sites which explicitly take a progressive position on issues. The only area of media where progressives have really struggled is in radio.

     The impulse toward false equivalency is only getting worse, in her opinion. “The cable networks seem to me to be folding into a posture of, ‘Oh, we want to try to get some of those people on the right, so maybe we better be more, quote, evenhanded.’ ” When I mention MSNBC’s hiring of conservatives including George Will, and the New York Times’ new climate-change-skeptic opinion columnist, Bret Stephens, her brow furrows. “Why … would … you … do … that?” she says. “Sixty-six million people voted for me, plus, you know, the crazy third-party people. So there’s a lot of people who would actually appreciate stronger arguments on behalf of the most existential challenges facing our country and the world, climate change being one of them! It’s clearly a commercial decision. But I don’t think it will work. I mean, they’re laughing on the right at these puny efforts to try to appease people on the right.”

     Undaunted or not, by the objective evidence, this political mountain climber isn’t going to make it to the summit:

     ...and I have no doubt that that pleases Barack Hussein Obama more than he’d ever admit...at least, on camera.

     Stay tuned.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Two Conversations

     Things change when you start driving a convertible. Especially a Corvette convertible. The first conversation occurred in a shopping center parking lot.

Anonymous Asshole In a Mercedes E350: (sneers silently but with supercilious eloquence at Joy, my 2009 C6 Corvette convertible.)
FWP: (smiles) Nice car.

AAIM: (dourly) Yeah. I like Benz.
FWP: (pushes button to lower the top) So do I. My bad-weather car is an S550.
AAIM: (dumbfounded, watches me drive away.)

     Of course I related this exchange to the C.S.O. And she, of course, had an opinion of her own.

CSO: You had to ruin the poor guy’s day!
FWP: Sweetie! It was obligatory. I have an image to maintain.

CSO: What? Are you telling me you intend to acquire a lifestyle?
FWP: Naah, no need. You adopt a lifestyle to get an image, but if you can get an image without one...!

CSO: I like it! But what do we need for our new image?
FWP: I’ll have to start wearing a snazzy blazer and silk shirts with the collar open.

CSO: Am I going to have to snap my gum and dye my hair blonde?
FWP: No, we’re going higher-toned than that. For you, high heels, tight dresses, and a lot more jewelry.

CSO: Gahh. Sausage casings.
FWP: Hey, you said you were committed to losing weight. Were you joshing?
CSO: No, but—
FWP: (leers) Besides, I like sausage. Don't you?
CSO: (unprintable)

     Life is good.

The “Whew!” Edition

     Glory Be To God! I thought I was retired. Even so, any time I decide to take a day off to “chill” – and yes, actual cold (i.e., multiple ice packs) was involved – the roof falls on me. It’s as if the forces of evil were watching from the wings for just one moment of inattention. It’s been suggested, mainly by my former colleagues in engineering, that this effect is just a corollary to Murphy’s Law. However, we must strive to remember that Murphy’s Law has been superseded by O’Toole’s Law:

Murphy was an optimist.


     1. Ch-ch-ch-changes.

     I must remember to read Intellectual Takeout more often:

     Here are six statistics that drive home just how much things have changed in America in a little more than a half-century:

     Please read it all. For those who need more of a teaser than that, here are the “bullet points:”

  1. MARRIAGE WAS PRACTICALLY UNIVERSAL AND DIVORCE EXTRAORDINARILY RARE.
  2. OUT-OF-WEDLOCK BIRTHS ALMOST NEVER HAPPENED, ESPECIALLY IN WHITE FAMILIES.
  3. ILLEGAL DRUGS WERE RARE AND CONSIDERED EXOTIC.
  4. RELIGIOUS VALUES WERE WIDELY HELD AND SHARED.
  5. IT WAS NOT SOCIALLY ACCEPTABLE FOR MEN TO BE IDLE.
  6. TELEVISION WAS MUCH MORE INFLUENTIAL THAN IT IS TODAY.

     The period the article considers largely overlaps my life. I’ve written about the cause of some of the changes — and the changes the article delineates are a giant part of the reason I keep almost entirely to myself.


     2. A How-To Guide.

     Brock Townsend is among the most valuable of the Web’s “aggregators:”

     It’s a devastatingly effective process, and one in which our “chattering classes” have enthusiastically enlisted themselves. The “New Segregationists” pieces posted here give my thoughts on the matter.

     And before we leave this subject, allow me to say once more, with renewed conviction:

I Am A Racist.

     I strove for decades to “see” the Negro race as different from the others only in skin color. It took more than fifty years of actual exposure to Negroes, both personally and via the news, to persuade me that the races differ in ways that render them essentially immiscible. It wasn’t easy to reject my former beliefs as founded on illusions and propaganda, especially since I was surrounded throughout by well-meaning, “compassionate” persons determined to keep me from viewing the evidence objectively and evaluating it dispassionately.

     But then, “compassion,” the fool’s gold at the foundation of so many of our social pathologies, was all those well-meaning persons had.


     3. Culture Wars.

     We often take too narrow a view of what constitutes our “culture.” It’s more than just the glop in the Petri dishes, Gentle Readers. It should be taken to include our language: specifically the ways in which we use and are encouraged to use important words.

     Any number of Web commentators have noted the proliferation of amphigory in “scholarly” publications. The publications themselves, ever so willing to accept meaningless nonsense as filler, are largely responsible for that, but in even greater part are the “social justice” ticks embedded in our universities:

     Last week, Ulrich Baer, a vice-provost and a professor of English at New York University, made an astonishing case against free speech in the New York Times. Baer framed the debate as one of speakers operating to “invalidate the humanity” of others — thus justifying shutting down the speech of speakers students might not be appreciative towards. But in doing so, he revealed far more about his mindset and that of many scholars who operate in the humanities. After all, who do you think teaches students that speech is dangerous, the ideas that cause the “snowflake” reactions we have become accustomed to viewing, or that anyone who is not a straight white male is experiencing oppression at unprecedented levels?

     Once again, please read it all.

     It should surprise no one that the Times, as conscience-free and left-wing an organ as exists today, published the cited piece. But the true horror is that the blood that fattens the vicious and contemptible Baer is provided by an American university of (formerly) high repute – and is in part funded by your tax dollars.

     If you aren’t yet convinced that sending your bright teenager to an American “institution of higher learning” will in the very best case waste your money and his time, the task is beyond me.


     4. Sensitivity In Communication.

     Many people, including people who’ve known me for decades, have asked why I’m so concerned with clarity in spoken and written expression. It’s because I want to be certain we understand each other, damn it all. It’s because I know, from a great deal of painful experience, what the lack of precision in verbal expression can do to us. And of course, it’s because I’ve invested so much time and effort in the improvement of my own speech and writing...often to reap only derision for “sounding like a stuck-up asshole.”

     So many of those who preach the gospel of “as long as we know what we mean” are hoist by their own petard specifically because they can’t communicate effectively. A lack of sensitivity to the negative possibilities in common social intercourse is a part of this. Some of the social distance that eventuated in the election of President Donald Trump arises from that cause:

     At a high school reunion, [law professor Joan C. Williams’s] husband returned home still using the habits he had picked up in the upper class, and it led to an uncomfortable moment. “What do you do?” he asked an old classmate. When you’re a lawyer or a financier, part of the global professional class, it’s a perfectly innocent question. Elites love to talk about their jobs, indeed define themselves by their professions. Not so the WWC. They see work devotion as an indicator of upper-class narcissism. They do the bulk of the boring, repetitive, unglamorous work, some of it physically demanding, and they don’t define themselves by their labors at all. That classmate of Williams’ husband replied spitefully, “I sell toilets.”

     On the surface, asking someone “What do you do?” seems perfectly innocent. It embeds a seemingly benevolent assumption: most specifically, that you do something rather than camp all day long before the television with the remote control in one hand and a Tribal Ingathering Size bag of Cheetos® in the other. But there are persons who dislike to speak of their trades, because those trades are treated with disdain by others with “better” occupations. Indeed, there are persons, including some in very highly paid positions, who resent the suggestion that their trades are the most important things about them.

     A long time ago I worked as a researcher. After that I worked as an engineer. Today I work for myself and my readers, as a writer. I don’t consider any of those occupations to define me. Neither does the man who works diligently on an assembly line, or with a jackhammer, or deep inside a coal mine, deem his occupation to define him, especially if he comes home to a wife, children, two dogs, four cats, and a home that needs as much maintenance as mine.

     But “What do you do?” sounds so harmless! But were the answer to be “Well, I play with my kids, I make birdhouses and landscapes for model train layouts, I practice with my weapons, I read a lot of fantasy novels, and I spend a damnable fraction of my weekends unclogging the toilet in our master bathroom,” it might be just as true and far more relevant than the citation of one’s work for wages. Yet to ask “What’s most important to you?” of a brand new acquaintance is considered insensitive and intrusive. There’s a moral in there, somewhere.

     On this subject, I’d like to recommend a book: Conversationally Speaking, by Alan Garner. It was recommended to me long ago by a friend with whom I’ve lost touch. I can think of few books that have been nearly as important to me. Give it a look.

Suicide by learned jurist.

Regarding the 10-3 en banc decision of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upholding the U.S. District Court injunction against President Trump’s executive order regarding travel and immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries:
The majority then launches into a litany of quotes from President Trump, his advisers, and his campaign website made during and after the election season of 2016, as proof that the travel ban represents a government “purpose” to favor one religion over another. Relying on Establishment Clause precedent that has never been applied in the immigration context, the court decided that the administration’s proffered purpose of keeping Americans safe from terrorism was a mere pretext for disfavoring the Islamic faith.[1]
God forbid that anyone would be so perverse as to conclude that Islam is rotten to its core and that anyone who calls himself a Muslim is a conscious adherent of a savage death cult that makes murder a sacrament.

And thus has no business in any civilized country.

Notes
[1] "Travel Ban Blocked Again, Possible Supreme Court Showdown." By Ian Mason, Breitbart, 5/25/17.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Day Off

     Much pain of several kinds. Hopefully, back tomorrow.

Just submit.

The [Assad] regime must stop all attacks on civilian and opposition forces.[1]
~ Stuart Jones, acting US assistant secretary for Near Eastern Affairs, 5/15/17.

Notes
[1] Daily Mail quoted in "Uh oh. U.S. sounds hopping mad about de-escalation zones in Syria." By Pundita, 5/16/17 (emphasis added, brackets in the original.)

Post-modern excellence.

The raw data attesting to the excellence of European statecraft are a daily flood.

Thousands of years of experience and the lessons learned from the savagery of modern warfare and totalitarian excess in the last century inform the leadership of France and Britain such that:

  1. The British Army is patrolling the streets of the home country,
  2. France is under a state of emergency,
  3. both countries are awash with hostile and parasitic foreigners whose presence is celebrated and viciously defended by the political elites of those countries, and
  4. the inestimably valuable national cultures of the two countries are disappearing into a fine mist with a faint odor to it like that surrounding a broken sewer line.
No word in yet whether the ruling elite in either of those countries have been able to discern a connection between items 1, 2, 3, and 4 above.

For now, incautious cries of "Oh, dear" are heard at dinner parties from posh people with just a bit too much to drink.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

A Time For Clarity

     The above phrase was uttered by Lou Dobbs in naming Islamism, rather than an undifferentiated “extremism,” as the moving force behind terrorism. At the time it was a virtually unique event: one which other commentators who addressed terrorism lacked the courage to emulate. Indeed, many of Dobbs’s colleagues were unsparing in castigating him for “slandering” Islam.

     To many persons today, Dobbs’s locution seems quaint. It’s an “unspeakable truth,” the sort of statement that must only be muttered under one’s breath. “Yes,” John Q. Public might say, “we all know that, but don’t say it out loud. You might make them angry.”

     The tragedy of the thing is that Dobbs was wrong and J. Q. Public was more right than not. The moving force behind terrorism, wherever and whenever it strikes, isn’t Islamism.

     It’s Islam.


     I’m going to repost two pieces. The first was written in November of 2015, shortly after a group of coordinated Islamic terrorist acts in Paris.

THE PARIS ATROCITIES: FURTHER THOUGHTS

     There’s no need for me to read the news to any Gentle Reader of Liberty’s Torch. If you care, you already know about the overnight death and destruction that has afflicted the City of Light. If you don’t, you probably aren’t reading this at all.

     Many will attribute last night’s savagery to uncontrolled immigration. It’s an easy end run around the identities and affiliations of the terrorists. The U.S. has experienced a comparable uncontrolled influx, but apart from September 11, 2001, we haven’t suffered as the Parisians just did. Our immigrants don’t slaughter wantonly or randomly; they form drug gangs that kill one another over “turf.” The victims might not care about the difference, but from a sociopolitical perspective it’s critical.

     I’ve written voluminously on this subject, so there’s no need to repeat those analyses. The questions of import are two:

  • What can the Western world do about it?
  • Will we do it?

     We begin.


     There is no possibility of “reforming” Islam, or of detoxifying the hatred its allegiants feel for the Western conception of freedom. Similarly, there is no possibility of sifting out the “extremists” who take Islam’s commands to conquer the world seriously, dealing with them, and leaving the rest alone. The typical peaceable Muslim knows that his jihadist co-religionist is the more devout and stricter in observance of their common creed. Moreover, numerous opinion surveys indicate that the majority of “peaceable” Muslims endorse the goal of the jihadists. They’re merely unwilling to pursue it personally. As has been said repeatedly, the “extremist” Muslim wants to kill you; the “moderate” Muslim wants the extremist to kill you.

     Another apostle of revolutionary violence, Mao Tse-tung, discoursed on the aphorism “the people are the sea in which the revolutionary swims:”

     Many people think it impossible for guerrillas to exist for long in the enemy's rear. Such a belief reveals lack of comprehension of the relationship that should exist between the people and the troops. The former may be likened to water the latter to the fish who inhabit it. How may it be said that these two cannot exist together? It is only undisciplined troops who make the people their enemies and who, like the fish out of its native element cannot live. [On Guerilla Warfare]

     If there exists a large, like-minded but superficially peaceable community in which the revolutionary can shelter, the revolutionary is safe from any measure that seeks to spare the “innocent.” This misconception of “innocence” is the Muslim jihadist’s greatest asset.

     Therefore, the solution must be wholesale:

  • Every Muslim currently residing in a Western nation must be expelled.
  • No further immigration from majority-Muslim nations can be permitted.
  • Every vestige of Islam that remains behind must be eliminated:
    • All mosques must be destroyed;
    • All embassies from Islam-dominated nations must be delegitimized;
    • No further “diplomatic” intercourse between the West and Islam can be permitted.

     All of this must be agreed upon by the entire First World, made a matter of law, protected against modification or “interpretation” by custard-headed regimes, and enforced with ruthless vigor. Absolutely no exceptions can be allowed.

     It sounds like a harsh prescription because it is. It’s also the only one that has a chance of working.


     Among the U.S.’s great disadvantages in combatting Islam-powered terrorism has been Washington’s insistence in seeing the conflict in terms of conventional warfare: two sets of armed forces, each identifiable in the field if only by the direction their guns are pointing, directed by sovereign entities with strategic goals. That model makes the use of American military prowess the logical recourse. However, the closest any aspect of the conflict comes to that model is the war against ISIS. The contributions of “non-state actors” make the model effectively unusable, even self-defeating.

     A classic short story, Christopher Anvil’s “Mission of Ignorance,” emphasizes one of the critical differences:

     "Just suppose," said the chairman, "that you were in charge of a great spaceship—perhaps belonging to a great Galactic organization (never mind about it being a benevolent organization) and let's just suppose your job was to subvert Earth and make it obedient to that great Galactic organization—what could be nicer than to get Earth totally dependent on certain technological developments that you could withdraw at will? At a mere snap of your fingers, Earth's whole technological civilization could collapse, to leave, for practical purposes, a planetful of ignorant savages with no relevant skills, whose reproduction rate could be altered at will, and, if you chose, whose main food supply could also be wiped out with a snap of your fingers. Think how cooperative such people would be once they saw what you could do. Suppose that, having delivered the necessaries to bring about this situation and having seen the fools rushing to their own destruction, you then went away to take care of other business and returned when your calculations showed the situation would be ripe.
     "Then," said the chairman, "suppose you summoned to your ship the Earth representative, planning perhaps to give him the same little demonstration we have just given here, and suppose you discovered: first, that a mere second lieutenant had been sent to deal with you; next, that in your absence, instead of dependence on computerized voice typers, a new, completely nontechnological system of rapid writing had been developed; third, that a completely nontechnological uncomputerized system of identification had come into use; fourth, that one-quarter of the Earth's land surface was in the hands of a sect which, for religious motives, rejected the gifts, and in their place was developing Earth's own technology at a fever pitch; fifth, that the sect was armed to the teeth, dug in, stocked for a long fight, seasoned in battle, and so situated that you couldn't count on striking at the nonmembers without hitting the members of the sect, or vice versa, and, sixth, to top it all off, suppose you had no way to judge whether this was all the bad news, or whether this was just the tip of the iceberg showing above the water, with a lot more underneath? If you had been in that situation, would it have jarred you?"

     Leave aside the technological features and contrasts described above. The religious sect, which Anvil styles “the Burdeenites,” is the key. As Larry Niven and Steven Barnes noted in The Descent of Anansi, religious warriors never surrender, and they don’t toddle off to find another war. They win or they die.

     Our war against “Islamic terrorism” is a war against Islam itself. It is a religious war, whether or not atheists and agnostics choose to recognize it as such. There will be no armistice. There will be no surrender, unless the West chooses to do so.

     It will be victory or death.


     The only war policy that has the smallest chance of working in the West’s favor is one that will only accept one of the following two outcomes:

  • Quarantine: The rigid confinement of Islam within a geographical border made as impermeable as our will, skill, and technology can make it; or:
  • Genocide: The extermination of every devotee of Islam on Earth.

     Quarantine is obviously preferable from a humanitarian standpoint, at least in the near term. (Islamic societies cut off from Western knowledge and expertise might revert to seventh-century savagery, but at least that wouldn’t be our fault.) However, quarantine would require more effort from us than genocide: more effort to bring it about, more effort to maintain it, and more effort to restrain ourselves after the inevitable Islamic counterattacks on Western civilian targets should occur. That makes it the less likely of the two approaches to be adopted. However, the genocide approach would require a marshaling of will and anger to a height undreamed of by Twenty-First Century Americans, though perhaps French Parisians could attain it this November morning.

     Neither approach will be adopted until certain fundamental propositions are accepted almost unanimously throughout the West:

  • Islam is not a religion but a militant totalitarian ideology with some theological decorations for camouflage.
  • Muslims cannot and will not assimilate to the Christian-Enlightenment / classical-liberal norms upon which the West is founded.
  • As long as there are Muslim communities in the West, some fraction thereof will be “fundamentalist,” “extremist,” or “jihad-minded,” and a larger fraction will be amenable to concealing them from the authorities and enforcement agencies of the enveloping society.
  • Such exclaves will enforce non-assimilation upon dissidents, and will resist penetration by forces or influences of a contrary nature.

     Until those precepts are shared by nearly everyone in the First World, the atrocities will continue. Indeed, they’re likely to scale up. But should they be accepted widely, the war that will commence will dwarf every other conflict in the history of Mankind.

     Either way, it’s us or them.


     I wrote this second piece in July, 2002. In composing it I strove to be as factual as my knowledge and research capabilities allowed, and as clear as my mastery of the English language permits. Judge its evaluations and prescriptions for yourself.

PRESENT ENEMIES, FUTURE WARS

     1. How It Began: Black Tuesday, September 11, 2001

     It's been said that no one who was alive at the time, however young, will ever forget where he was and what he was doing on November 22, 1963: the day John F. Kennedy was killed. How much more so for Black Tuesday!

     I'll certainly never forget it. I was sitting at my desk, poring over the Help Wanted section of Newsday, our regional daily paper, when I was alerted to the attack on One World Trade Center. My attention was immediate; there was a company at the top of that tower, Cantor Fitzgerald, that I was hoping to work for.

     The commentators and reporters who filled the airwaves from 8:45 to 9:30 AM, the period between the attack on the first tower and the attack on the second, were extraordinarily reluctant to speak of terrorism. I could feel them straining to avoid the word and the subject. Of course, when the second tower was hit, it was no longer possible. It was no longer possible that this unprecedented homicidal outrage could be anything else.

     It wasn't long afterward that unbelievable images reached us from the Middle East. Palestinians on the West Bank of the Jordan River were celebrating the death and destruction in lower Manhattan. Armed thugs were firing AK-47s into the air. Merchants were passing out candy to passers-by. People filled the streets cheering and shouting abuse of America.

     Someone interviewed a young Iranian on the streets of Tehran. He wore a look of satisfaction. "It should have been worse," he said in crisp English.

     I saw and spoke to many people that day. Gripped with shock from the events, many had nothing to offer but tears. Those who could articulate their feelings were nearly unanimous about them:

     "Kill them all."

     It was a sentiment I shared with a degree of passion and a wholeness of heart that I'd once reserved for the people and things I loved.

     2. Allocating The Blame And Responding.

     There was, of course, immediate suspicion of the shadowy edifice Americans called the "Middle Eastern terror network." The name al-Qaeda had yet to become widely known, even though the mastermind and financier of al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, was already notorious. In the days that followed Black Tuesday, as evidence mounted that the bin Laden organization was the moving force behind the atrocity, President Bush and others repeatedly counseled full tolerance toward Muslims within our borders, citizens and visitors alike. We saw major U.S. security organizations lean over backwards to avoid the appearance of "ethnic profiling," even though every hard indicator pointed to a Middle Eastern conspiracy stocked entirely with young Muslim males, predominantly from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

     America was not the only country suffering from terrorist blows. Yasser Arafat's Second Intifada was raging in Israel. Israeli citizens were being slaughtered in ambushes and by suicide bombers at an unprecedented rate. Yet President Bush urged restraint upon Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, and for a long time treated him and Arafat as if they were moral and political equals fit to sit at the same table.

     When American armed forces undertook to root al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden out of Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, they did not act on the "kill them all" passions that burned in our body politic. They advanced under rules of engagement stricter than any ever issued in American history. From the standpoint of the priority given to the preservation of non-combatants' lives and property, and the resulting near-perfect record of American arms at doing so, the Afghani War that destroyed al-Qaeda's bases there and unseated the Taliban was the most careful war ever fought.

     We had been struck a foul and cruel blow, not at our men at arms but at our civil society, yet our retaliatory force struck back with unbelievable restraint and precision, and achieved nearly all their objectives. If ever there was a time to be proud of America's military and its animating ethics, that was it.

     3. What We Have Today.

     What did we buy with our precision strikes, our military restraint, and our tolerance toward the ethnic and spiritual kin of our mortal enemy?

     Recent surveys of the peoples of Muslim states reveal that their antipathy toward the United States is at an all time high. Many of the respondents -- more than half in nearly every Muslim country -- believe that there was not and could not have been any Muslim participation in the Black Tuesday assault on America. A substantial minority outrightly blamed the atrocity on an Israeli conspiracy intended to yoke Washington to Tel Aviv's designs for quelling Palestinian "resistance." Osama bin Laden was spoken of in tones of admiration for his "heroic resistance to American oppression." He proved to be one of the most widely admired figures in the Middle East.

     As the Afghani War ended, the waves of Palestinian violence against Israel surged to all-time record heights, and reached new depths of depravity. Suicide bombers sought out groups of women and children. Assassins invaded Jewish homes and murdered their occupants in their beds, including children five years old. Ariel Sharon finally cast off the shackles of "international opinion," including President Bush's and Secretary of State Colin Powell's opinion, and dispatched the Israeli Defense Force into Ramallah, Jenin, and other hotbeds of Palestinian terrorism. For a time, the attacks on Israeli citizens dwindled near to zero, and President Bush ceased to call for Israeli restraint.

     When Passover drew near, the infamous "blood libel" against Jews -- that Jewish Purim pastries must be made with the blood of a gentile captured and exsanguinated for the purpose -- was trumpeted by the State-controlled news organs of several Muslim states. Most notable was the performance of the State-controlled media of Saudi Arabia, which not only propagated the "blood libel," but also held several fundraising telethons whose proceeds were used to pay the families of Palestinian suicide bombers.

     The old calumny Protocols Of The Elders Of Zion was resurrected and returned to circulation. It and Mein Kampf were the best-selling books in the Islamic world.

     The populace of our Islamic "ally" Pakistan has apparently welcomed the rump of al-Qaeda into its embrace. The government of Pakistan, headed by former General Pervez Musharraf, claims to be unable to act effectively against al-Qaeda elements within Pakistan's borders.

     With regard to the Islamic religion, Americans were astounded to learn that Wahhabi Islam, the dominant strain among anti-American Muslims, is being actively advanced by thousands of Muslim academies in the United States. Nearly all of these schools are heavily subsidized by the government of Saudi Arabia. In Saudi Arabia, the practice or espousal of any religion other than the Islamic creed is illegal, and subject to extraordinary penalties, but the Saudis have no problem with advancing their creed here.

     "International opinion," with the sole exception of the government of the United Kingdom, has remained solidly against American "unilateralism" and Israeli self-defense. The condemnations of our actions in defense of American lives and in retaliation for the lives already taken have come from many quarters of the Old World, and have been echoed by the more scrofulous of our own "glitterati," as if America had no justification for her anger. Their sentiments go beyond all previous effusions of "moral equivalence". They claim that America has a great deal to "answer for" to the peoples of the Third World, that until it stands and delivers what's demanded, events like the Black Tuesday assault are to be expected, and are fully deserved.

     Anti-Semitic acts -- attacks on Jews and the institutions affiliated with them -- by Muslim immigrants to the countries of Europe have raged as if a new Kristallnacht were upon us. In response, the governments of Europe have shown more solicitude toward their troublesome Muslim minorities than toward the targets of Muslim anti-Semitic rage. One government, that of Norway, is actually inching toward an embargo on products made in Israel.

     Meanwhile, Americans endure a security lockdown unprecedented in this nation's history, even while World War II was raging. Though few are paralyzed with the fear of being among the victims of the next terrorist attack, a backdrop of fear pervades every major city, afflicts all mass transportation, and hangs over every building, stadium, or bridge where Americans occasionally gather in significant numbers.

     Yet the radical Wahhabist preachments of the Saudi-funded academies on American soil continue unabated. Though our government-run schools have gone to extraordinary lengths to accommodate Muslim students and their religious practices, Muslim activist organizations claim that American Muslims have been made into second-class citizens. At the extreme pole of their ludicrous demands, a Muslim woman in Florida is suing the state's Department of Motor Vehicles for the privilege of having her driver's license taken with her face entirely concealed, on the grounds that to demand that she expose her face for her photo violates her religions beliefs and would constitute discrimination.

     4. The End Of Otherness.

     The net result of all this has been to extinguish American tolerance for Islam and its followers in a large segment of the populace, possibly a majority.

     Astrophysicist and author David Brin has noted the prevalence of the imperative of "otherness" -- the mandate that one must try to see any dispute from the other party's viewpoint -- among Americans generally, and particularly among Americans who identify themselves as liberals. When he first wrote of it, he said he'd found it to be so strong that it had sunk below the rational level in most of the people he knew, and operated essentially without conscious invocation.

     "Otherness" could be taking a death blow from the ongoing struggles with Islam-fueled terrorism. If national attitudes reflect the opinions to which I've been exposed, few Americans are now willing to trust a Muslim even to the slightest extent. They have essentially no interest in "seeing things from the Muslims' point of view." Part of this is, of course, the fruit of our outrage at Black Tuesday, but still more arises from the persistent Islamic drumbeat, transmitted over every known medium of communication, to the effect that America is an oppressor nation that deserves whatever anyone does to her.

     Though some of our domestic glitterati continue to pander to these opinions, and maintain that Islamic assaults on America and Israel are only to be expected "after all we've done to them," a large fraction of these usually noisy celebrities has fallen silent. They've felt a very cold shoulder for their emissions, and it's caused them to modify their behavior. They, too, sense the approaching end of public tolerance for their reflexive iconoclasm, their perpetual flaunting of their special status, and their assumption of superior wisdom and virtue.

     Perhaps the most visible manifestations of the convulsive change in public attitudes are the crescendo in gun sales, the very short shrift now granted to celebrity criticism of American values and traditions, and the remarkable explosion in books of a pro-American slant. In that last category, one must take special note of the recent book Slander: Liberal Lies About The American Right, by constitutional lawyer and pundit Ann Coulter.

     Miss Coulter is no one's choir angel. Butter certainly would melt in her mouth. Her attack on the American Left's many calumnies against the pro-free-market, pro-American-values camp loosely called "the Right" is angry, sarcastic, and merciless. It's also meticulously researched, tied down with hundreds of footnotes and explicit references to time and place. It's been received with an enthusiasm no political book in memory has ever commanded. Miss Coulter herself is now one of the most popular political guests on talk radio and television. She maintains her relentless, bomb-throwing style at all times. Her listeners love her for it.

     There is no more outspoken opponent of liberal "otherness" than Ann Coulter. She has tapped the American Zeitgeist and become its voice. Those she targets are paralyzed like a deer in a truck's headlights.

     5. Identifying The Malady.

     Once the veil of "otherness" dropped from our eyes, we were able to see clearly, and we did not like what we saw. The closer and more alien to us it was, the less we liked it.

     There's much truth in the old saw that to be anti-immigrant is to be anti-American, for America is a nation of immigrants. We celebrate our origins on other shores, and also our ancestors' good sense in fleeing those places and coming here -- and we never forget that they came here to become Americans, not just Irishmen, Italians, Chinamen, Swedes or Zambians in another land.

     The xenophilia of earlier generations of Americans was founded on the assumption of assimilation, the sooner, the better. The demise of this assumption explains the burgeoning xenophobia of our time. The typical immigrant to this nation in this time is determined not to assimilate to American norms, but to retain his earlier national allegiance and cultural identity, sometimes even to the extent of refusing to learn the English language.

     Among the least assimilable peoples to reach these shores are Muslims, whether from the Middle East or anywhere else. Though the overwhelming majority of them do learn English, their associations, family structures, religious, marital and other practices tend to isolate them in enclaves with impermeable borders. We've spoken of black ghettoes, of Little Italys and Chinatowns, and now and then of Jewish quarters in our cities, but none of these have demonstrated the Muslim communities' near-absolute resistance to diffusion.

     In the face of such separatism, continued American goodwill toward a people who display so much hostility toward American norms and culture is a remarkable thing, for which Americans are to be congratulated. But it might not continue much longer.

     Why would anyone come to this country determined not to partake of its virtues and bounties? Once he'd arrived here, what would hold him back from doing so?

     The answer is Islam.

     Alone among the major religions of the world, Islam:

  • opposes material progress and condemns most Earthly pleasures,
  • erases all boundaries between religion and politics,
  • denies that its adherents have any ethical obligation to non-adherents,
  • prescribes death for blasphemy, heresy, and apostasy,
  • preaches the use of force to impose itself on all the people of the world,
  • promises eternal bliss to those who die fighting to extend its dominion.

     One cannot be a "tolerant" Muslim. The concept is internally contradictory. The infidel is the enemy, to be converted by any means fair or foul. They who resist conversion are to be allowed to live only until Islam has acquired sufficient force to pose them the choice of conversion or execution.

     To the extent that a Muslim internalizes the precepts of Islam, he ceases to be open to Western concepts of freedom, justice, and tolerance for human diversity and variety. He resolutely resists all such notions, for Islam condemns them all explicitly. If you embrace them, he finds fault in you, and the more devout he is, the more serious the fault.

     The Islamic attitude toward other religions and other ways is essentially medieval. It hearkens to the times when "Cuius Regio, Eius Religio" was the rule. The ruler of a realm could impose his own ways and creed upon all his subjects, who had no recourse. Philosophically, Islam, which denies the legitimacy of a secular State, is in accord with the assumptions of that pre-Enlightenment code. The main difference between them is that Islam's ambitions are larger.

     Given that Islamic doctrine and the resultant insularity of Muslims preclude influence by more advanced ways and concepts, Muslims are exceptionally vulnerable to demagoguery by Islamic authority figures. Worse, the impenetrability of Islam's wall against the non-Islamic world makes it possible for a demagogue to demonize the infidel, paint him in colors that would justify any atrocity including extermination, and thus raise the cry of jihad against him.

     Americans are coming to understand this.

     Yet, for a long period after Black Tuesday, we were repeatedly told, and repeated to one another, that the enemy was not Islam, but rather terrorists acting out their depravity under an Islamic rationale. We called these "Islamists," and made a point of distinguishing them from "peaceful" Muslims for whom the use of force as a vehicle for religious proselytization was unthinkable.

     The combination of the gradual comprehension of Islam's actual precepts, accumulating revelations of stealthy Islamic maneuvers here and abroad, and the recognition of the horrors Islam imposes on its subjects, has propelled a major shift in American attitudes. The typical American no longer considers himself safe in the presence of a Muslim.

     He is right not to feel safe.

     6. Futures.

     None of the possible directions for future relations between Islam and the United States are particularly attractive.

     Domestically, current trends suggest that, at the minimum, there will be a long period over which Americans will adjust to having an enemy minority among us: a people whose hostility to our norms cannot be denied, whether or not it manifests itself as aggression against us. Our longstanding traditions of tolerance will be greatly strained, and some number of undeserving persons will suffer thereby.

     Some forms of tolerance are, of course, entirely wrong, even evil. Muslim barbarities such as clitoridectomy and the chattelization of women cannot be accepted. Legal ground has recently been broken in this regard, and more will surely follow. This is all to the good.

     Because of the outrage Americans feel over Black Tuesday and the subsequent displays of antipathy toward America by Middle Eastern Muslims, it is overwhelmingly likely that Muslims in this country who voice such antipathy will receive very short shrift. Some may suffer violence; some may die. Troublemaking young Muslim men who go beyond mere words could face lynch mobs. Courts will come under pressure to make examples of Muslims convicted of offenses against the public peace.

     Due to Israel's unique position in America's international dealings, and due to the affection many Americans feel for it, Muslims who voice hostility to Israel could face ostracism and worse. There have already been court battles over alleged employment discrimination against American Muslims, who claim they were fired because they expressed anti-Israel sentiments. There will be more.

     If Muslims abroad continue their barbarities and their vocal condemnations of Western ways, American anger toward them will grow. The consequences would not be pleasant for the Islamic world, whose economies are totally dependent on Western consumption of their sole exportable resource: oil. There is no reason we have to buy oil from the Middle Eastern states. Not only are there other sources of oil available to us, including untapped domestic ones, but we have hardly scratched the surface of our nuclear power capabilities. A program of nuclear electrical power generation comparable to France's or Japan's would liberate America from any need to import oil.

     Further action against Israel, whether direct or indirect, by Muslim states could bring American military force into the conflict, with the inevitable destruction of not one but several shaky Middle Eastern regimes. At the minimum, Iran, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia would all undergo compulsory "regime change," a process seldom enjoyed by the displaced incumbents. The governments that replaced them would undoubtedly be closely supervised from Washington.

     Even if the states of the Middle East were to moderate their rhetoric and withdraw their overt support for the terror campaign against Israel, it seems inevitable that America will move against the autocracy of Saddam Hussein, a longtime supporter of Islamic terrorist groups operating in Palestine, with military force. Covert American support -- funding, weapons and training -- for insurgents against the Islamic theocracy of Iran appears equally inevitable. Other Islam-dominated states around the world could be brought to heel on a slower schedule, and probably by economic rather than military means.

     7. Other Developments.

     Should an overt war between America and some other nation not break out, we would still see extensive use of our special forces -- Delta Force, the Army Rangers, Marine Force Recon, and the Navy SEALs -- against nodes in the far-flung Islamic terror network. Some of these operations would be publicized, but probably not all, as it's an act of war by international law to send an armed man into another country to do violence.

     In recognition of the realities of "low-intensity" or "asymmetrical" warfare, we would be wise to expand our covert and small-unit capabilities. Mostly this would mean reprioritizing expenditures and personnel allocations, as we already have the world's best technology for stealthy, small-unit and precision-strike warfare. With a few years' expansion, training and refinement, aided by the already high prestige enjoyed by the SEALs and comparable units, American arms could possess the power to go anywhere and kill or capture any designated individual, without meaningful collateral damage.

     This is a more important goal than is immediately apparent, for the terror weapon isn't as asymmetrical as it seems. A "terrorist" who must himself live in continual fear of capture, a humiliating trial, and incarceration or execution is far less effective than one whose continuing freedom of movement can be assumed. That they don't have to fear capture by us is mostly due to our reluctance to use our conventional military power to pursue them, with attendant collateral damage to the societies that shelter them. The reluctance is correct, not only on ethical but on geopolitical grounds. Terrorists gain enormous support from their kindred when the "enemy" commits an "atrocity" while pursuing them.

     Our ties with Israel, and our support to her in the military and intelligence realms, will be strengthened and broadened. This is a double-edged sword. There have been many voices raised to criticize our existing support of Israel, which costs American taxpayers several billion dollars per year. The criticisms have merit; Americans should not have to pay for the maintenance of another people's State. However, if the whole affair were put on a Marshall Plan basis, such that reaching a particular goal would bring the transfers to a halt, it could be made palatable even at a cost substantially elevated above the current one.

     And as all of this proceeds, and Americans learn to accept that we have an implacable enemy that, for religious reasons, will never cease to wish us ill, a facade of tolerance for Islam will be maintained.

     8. Lessons.

     We've always known how important it is to "know your enemy." But the first step in knowing him is recognizing that he is an enemy. Black Tuesday was a wake-up call. The subsequent words and deeds of Muslims worldwide should have overridden our inclination to return to sleep.

     Our recognition of an enemy should be followed not only by a serious study of his capabilities, but by the most complete possible analysis of his reasons for opposing us. From his reasons we can infer his motives and objectives, which are priceless possessions in any conflict. If the foregoing analysis of Muslim opposition to the United States and Western values generally is correct, then we must cease to delude ourselves that there is any possibility of "converting" Islam from an enemy to a friend, or even a tolerable neighbor. That sort of conversion would require the prior abandonment of Islam, with its life-hating medieval strictures and its command to kill or convert the infidel by any means expedient.

     Abraham Lincoln believed that the best way to defeat his enemies was to make them friends. And indeed it is -- when it's possible.


     The above pieces are my notion of clarity about Islam and its global jihad, now fourteen centuries long. I stood by them when I wrote them, and I stand by them today. Your mileage may vary.

     Remember the first World Trade Center bombing.
     Remember Black Tuesday.
     Remember the Spanish train bombing.
     Remember the London bombings.
     Remember Beslan, and Boko Haram, and the “Miss World” atrocities in Niger.
     Remember Nice, and Charlie Hebdo, and the murders that followed the Jyllands-Posten cartoons.
     Remember Paris.
     Remember Manchester.
     Remember Pim Fortuyn and Theo van Gogh.
     Remember the innumerable rape victims throughout Europe.
     Remember all of Islam’s atrocities and victims.
     Have a nice day.

Polish education.

The unspeakable horror:
Polish textbooks are not full of absurd but obligatory profiles of the marginal contributions of various historical figures just because they are from “underrepresented” groups. While American students learn yet again about how the U.S. Constitution was secretly influenced by the Iroquois Confederacy or the many uses for the peanut discovered by George Washington Carver, Polish students are studying advanced mathematics, literature, or mechanics.

Ethnic homogeneity allows Poles to have common heroes, cultural traditions, and a history of their own, passed down to younger generations through public schools. While support for every aspect of the curriculum is by no means unanimous, Poland doesn’t have to juggle the demands of bickering ethnic tribes demanding equal time for their historical narratives. American school districts have to deal with “demographic changes” and an ever-expanding list of dietary laws, dress codes, cultural standards, religious holidays, and demands for various forms of accommodation but Polish schools can focus on teaching the story of the Polish people. The biggest social issue to spill over into education is probably the presence of crucifixes in public schools, and they aren’t going to disappear any time soon.

* * * *

The Polish educational system gets great results because it educates Poles and not Somalis, Guatemalans or Bangladeshis.

"Notes from a White Country, Part III." By Jack Krak, American Renaissance, 5/20/17.

Disappointing cynicism.

Zero Hedge has a story today about three kids being stabbed outside a Manhattan public school by another kid described as wearing a red hat.

Comments ensue:

IndyPat
We need common sense knife laws.

We should make stabbing illegal too.

soyungato
Oh that is nothing compare to the stabbing in the back at our nations capital, daily.
Miss Expectations
Any second now, the Dept of Education will say, "The well being and safety of our students is our TOP priority."
Handful of Dust
Notice how the MSM fails to give a description of the attacker. This always means only one thing.......
ParkAveFlasher
...Amish.
"Three Stabbed In Fight Outside Midtown Manhattan School, Suspect At Large." By Tyler Durden, Zero Hedge, 5/24/17.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

“Your Healthcare”

     As one who is serious about the meanings of words and sensitive to their misuse, I got a particular jolt of adrenaline out of the title of this piece...and not just from the neologism “healthcare.”

     Do you own any “healthcare?” Myself, I’m not sure. What does it look like? Is it something I’d keep in the kitchen, or a desk drawer, or perhaps in a bedroom closet? All I’ve found anywhere I’ve looked to date has been recognizable stuff that belongs where I keep it.

     Maybe the C.S.O. has it. If it’s large, it might explain why she’s been encroaching on my closet space again.

     I’m sure my Gentle Readers get the point. “Healthcare” – properly, medical care — is a service provided by others, usually for a fee. It’s not something to which one can lay a property claim. Medical goods such as pills, vaccines, bandages, crutches, and wheelchairs can be property, but of themselves they don’t constitute medical care. They’re merely aids to recovery from disease or injury, which can be used or misused...and if misused, they can set back your actual health as effectively as a shotgun blast.

     None of the above has any effect on such as Congressional Minority “Leader” Nancy Pelosi:

     Pelosi accused the Republicans of trying to jam a repeal-and-replace bill through Congress not for health-related reasons, but to set the stage for a tax reform proposal providing hundreds of billions of dollars in cuts for the rich.

     “They’re in a hurry … because they need this money to give a tax break to the wealthiest people in our country. This bill will have the biggest transfer of wealth in the history of our country — Robin Hood in reverse,” she said.

     “That is the goal of their tax bill, but they need this money from your healthcare in order to do that.” [Emphasis added by FWP.]

     I’m equally sure my Gentle Readers will get what this...person is attempting to do through her phrasing.


     It sometimes seems that the entire Leftist project relies upon verbal obfuscation. Leftist mouthpieces certainly do a lot of it. This business about “your healthcare” is currently the most important battlefield, but it’s not the only one. Note how they transform the World Bank’s Women Entrepreneurs Fund into a personal project of Ivanka Trump’s:

     This weekend, the Wall Street Journal‘s Carole Lee wrote a perfectly accurate story about Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates pledging to donate $100 million to a World Bank fund for women entrepreneurs. The article noted that the fund was Ivanka Trump’s idea and that she was at the event where the pledge was announced.

     When Wall Street Journal reporter Rebecca Ballhaus tweeted out a link to her colleague’s story, she spun it in such a way as to add inaccuracies. First she reclassified a World Bank fund as a fund belonging to Ivanka Trump.

     Then she claimed that the donation from the two countries were therefore akin to what Trump pilloried Hillary Clinton for.

     Please read the whole thing...and feel your blood pressure rise. Through verbal sleight of hand, a World Bank initiative of which merely approves Ivanka Trump has become her personal fund – even though she has no control over the money, neither where it comes from nor how it will be used. And the Left leaps upon it with a tiger’s ferocity, eager for a new flail with which to flog a popular member of the First Family! This is just one of the more recent examples of Leftist deceit through verbal misdirection.

     Was this donation an attempt by the Saudi royal family to curry favor with President Trump? Probably. Neither the Saudis nor Muslims generally look favorably upon independence among women. But neither Trump, nor his daughter Ivanka, nor anyone else in the First Family will benefit materially. It’s merely a donation to an undertaking Ivanka Trump has mentioned favorably.

     Yet virtually the whole of the Punditocracy, including quite a few Establishment-aligned pseudo-conservatives, constantly deride President Trump for his locutions. It is to laugh.


     I can’t resist reposting the following slice of the Analects of Confucius:

     Zi-lu said, "The ruler of Wei has been waiting for you, in order with you to administer the government. What will you consider the first thing to be done?"

     The Master replied, "What is necessary to rectify names."

     "So! indeed!" said Zi-lu. "You are wide of the mark! Why must there be such rectification?"

     The Master said, "How uncultivated you are, Yu! A superior man, in regard to what he does not know, shows a cautious reserve.

     If names be not correct, language is not in accordance with the truth of things.

     If language be not in accordance with the truth of things, affairs cannot be carried on to success.

     When affairs cannot be carried on to success, proprieties and music do not flourish.

     When proprieties and music do not flourish, punishments will not be properly awarded.

     When punishments are not properly awarded, the people do not know how to move hand or foot.

     Therefore a superior man considers it necessary that the names he uses may be spoken appropriately, and also that what he speaks may be carried out appropriately.

     What the superior man requires is just that in his words there may be nothing incorrect."

     Confucius’s remonstrance to Zi-lu is of contemporary relevance and staggering importance. Alternately, we have this critically important essay by George Orwell:

     In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defence of the indefensible....Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness. Defenceless villages are bombarded from the air, the inhabitants driven out into the countryside, the cattle machine-gunned, the huts set on fire with incendiary bullets: this is called pacification. Millions of peasants are robbed of their farms and sent trudging along the roads with no more than they can carry: this is called transfer of population or rectification of frontiers. People are imprisoned for years without trial, or shot in the back of the neck or sent to die of scurvy in Arctic lumber camps: this is called elimination of unreliable elements. Such phraseology is needed if one wants to name things without calling up mental pictures of them. Consider for instance some comfortable English professor defending Russian totalitarianism. He cannot say outright, ‘I believe in killing off your opponents when you can get good results by doing so’. Probably, therefore, he will say something like this:
     ‘While freely conceding that the Soviet regime exhibits certain features which the humanitarian may be inclined to deplore, we must, I think, agree that a certain curtailment of the right to political opposition is an unavoidable concomitant of transitional periods, and that the rigors which the Russian people have been called upon to undergo have been amply justified in the sphere of concrete achievement.’

     As horrifying as is such verbal legerdemain when it’s used to conceal or defend atrocities, it’s even more threatening when it goes on the attack, as our political elite has lately done. And it’s high time that the American people should rebuff it brutally...if they’re still capable of recognizing it when they read or hear it.