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Stop and think, collected.

Reader responses

Current installments, continued.

Googling, I found 37 returns for the above sentence, and since we do it all for you here at TLD, I hit all the links. On one page, the quotation didn't appear as advertised, and another page didn't load at all. Surveying the others, I confirmed what I had already suspected, namely, that Case Zero of the purported quote is a recent piece in the Wall Street Journal by Donald L. Luskin, "Remembering the Real Ayn Rand" (April 14, 2011). Editor's intro: "The author of 'Atlas Shrugged' was an individualist, not a conservative, and she knew big business was as much a threat to capitalism as government bureaucrats."

Luskin writes: "During the '60s [Rand] declared, 'I am an enemy of racism,' and advised opponents of school busing, 'If you object to sending your children to school with black children, you'll lose for sure because right is on the other side.'"

Now, Rand was an anti-racist by any definition of the term racism, stretching from irrational race bigotry all the way to what I consider rational race-realism. (I explain my disagreement with her and her orthodox followers, at length, in "Sweeping Rand's barnyard: Racism and individualism" [1996, 2001].) That Rand may once have written or uttered the sentence beginning, "If you object...", I don't deny, though I agree with an ancient Objectivist comrade of mine that it doesn't sound like her. What shocks me to my ancient Objectivist socks is the claim that she wrote or uttered it by way of endorsing the forcible busing of children to attend a government school against their parents' wishes and in pursuit of coercive social engineering.

In passing I note that the forced busing of white children to government schools for purposes of racial amalgamation became a red-hot public issue not in the 1960s but in the 1970s. Some such busing certainly occurred in the '60s, but it was not until 1971 that the Supreme Court's ruling in Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education really unleashed the monster.

I could not find any citation on the Web for the purported Rand quote, and I tried hard. I visited 15 Rand quotation pages with no result, though I realize that proves nothing.

However, along the way I did find this declaration by Ayn Rand: "... I don't think the government should run schools. Education should be private, and children should go wherever their parents decide to send them." Unlike Mr. Luskin, I will provide a citation: Ayn Rand Answers: The Best of Her Q & A, by Ayn Rand (Robert Mayhew, editor), published by NAL Trade, November 1, 2005. Because of the limits of what is searchable at "Google books," I cannot provide a page number.

Elsewhere in the book, according to Google, is Rand's answer to a question about busing itself: "Make your opposition to busing an issue of individual rights, and take it to the Supreme Court if necessary." Again, thanks to the "keyhole" nature of these Google searches, I cannot tell what else Rand may have said in this particular passage.

I had thought that Rand's general position on the racial social engineering of the 1960s was clear to anyone at all familiar with the subject, but given the circumstances I suppose I need to provide a quotation about that, too, with a proper citation. In the course of attacking racism as "the lowest, most crudely primitive form of collectivism," she wrote in 1963:

Instead of fighting against racial discrimination, [liberals and the Negro leaders] are demanding that racial discrimination be legalized and enforced. Instead of fighting against racism, they are demanding the establishment of racial quotas. Instead of fighting for "color-blindness" in social and economic issues, they are proclaiming that "color-blindness" is evil and that "color" should be made a primary consideration. Instead of fighting for equal rights, they are demanding special race privileges. ("Racism," excerpted by Freedomkeys.com from The Objectivist Newsletter, September 1963)
I hope that some reader can provide me with citation information for the purported quotation from Rand in Luskin's article. [Nicholas Strakon]  (April 19, 2011)

Note. A reader informs us that "in her 'Racism' piece in the September, 1963, issue of The Objectivist Newletter, Ayn Rand strongly condemned busing for purposes of racial balance. In my bound volume of The Objectivist Newsletter her comment on busing is on page 38, paragraph four." Thanks! — NS, April 27, 2011

Update — April 30, 2011. I now have in hand a copy of Ayn Rand Answers, and I find the answers to our questions on pages 24-25. According to the book, Miss Rand gave them during the Q&A following her lecture at the Ford Hall Forum in Boston, in 1974. The questions are in bold italics, appearing thus in the original text. The passages in bold red reflect my emphasis.

Do you support busing to integrate the races?

No. The government has no right playing politics with children, or disposing of a child's education against his parents' wishes. It's a terrible infringement of rights. I am an enemy of racism (see "Racism," in The Virtue of Selfishness) and believe people should have quality education. But I don't think the government should run schools. Education should be private, and children should go wherever their parents decide to send them. (p. 24)

[Immediately following:]

What can be done to stop busing?

Use your influence in Washington to repeal those laws — but not through a constitutional amendment, because it's too small an issue to load the Constitution with. Above all, make yourself heard. If you make it an issue of rights, you might succeed. If you make it an issue of race, you'll defeat yourself. If you argue that the government has no right to direct the education of children, you'll have a good chance. If you object to your children going to school with black children, you'll lose for sure, because right will be on the other side — or rather, it will perish between two wrong sides. Make your opposition to busing an issue of individual rights, and take it to the Supreme Court if necessary. (pp. 24-25)

The next question has to do with immigration.

It is now permissible to charge Mr. Luskin with either bad faith or stunning carelessness. [Nicholas Strakon]   Ω


Return home. 

Clichés of leviathan. This year's Great Day of Robbery is looming, here in what used to be America, and as I sat down to prepare my detailed report to our rulers about my personal finances, I was reminded of a cliché about taxes that I grew up hearing from the little friends of leviathan but that I haven't encountered for quite a few years: "Taxes are the price we pay for civilization." I'm not surprised I don't hear it anymore, now that the pillars are crashing down around our ears.

A cliché that fell out of currency more recently has to do with government debt: "Don't worry — we owe it to ourselves." Nowadays your typical American screwee would probably reply that, No, the pols who operate in our name owe it to the Chinese and the Saudis. It's a nicely sharp rejoinder although it's not quite right: after all, we're talking about promises that one criminal gang has made to other criminal gangs. Criminal gangs cannot rightfully own debt or anything else. And as for owing, the main thing the U.S. imperial famiglia owes us is to renounce its deviltry and go out of business, repudiating its debt in the process.

Some clichés are still going strong, and more's the pity. One such tax cliché is, "You've got to pay your fair share." That one, full of screamingly unchecked premises, will survive as long as misery loves company, and as long as people fail to understand that taxes aren't just misery — they're misery-making robbery. Statists love it because it sets the ruled at each other's throat and distracts attention from the jumped-up robbers who are pointing guns at all of us.

It is thus that war in society can be the peace of the state.

Here's one that I'm not hearing quite as often as I did a couple years ago, which is a good thing given the fact that I suffer from hypertension: "The president runs the country." It still pops up in the established media from time to time; and, actually, if you don't immediately stroke out when you hear it, it can generate pleasing results, as I've observed once or twice. That's despite the fact that it would have set even the worst statists of the Second Republic, such as Alexander Hamilton, roaring with incredulous outrage. (Well, OK, maybe not Hamilton, but everyone else, at least.) Hearing it, people who take it seriously but who can still walk and chew baccy at the same time are liable to point out, He's not running it very well! In fact the established media themselves, after popularizing the cliché, relentlessly harassed George W. Bush for not making everything all better after Hurricane Katrina and relentlessly harassed Barack H. Obama for not fixing the BP oil leak.

When leviathan purports to be omnipotent and pretends that everyone's business is its business, folks who aren't completely comatose may actually start holding it to standards of performance it can never hope to satisfy. Now that we've entered, what, the Seventh Republic? with our rulers' vaunting totalitarianism continuing its unstoppable expansion, such embarrassments can only worsen. Or get better, if you're as wholesomely public-spirited as I. (Naturally, the toties always do what they can to blame everyone else for their failures.)

See Sheldon Richman, "No One Can Run the Country / Pundits should stop asking the president to," The Freeman, March 18, 2011.
The most deadly cliché, which reflects the settled premise of almost all Americans — and makes delusions such as "We owe it to ourselves" entertainable by adult minds — is, "We are the government." Both the very bad men such as Hamilton and the not-as-bad ones such as James Madison who founded the Second Republic have to answer for that brainstorm. As do their successors. And, I am afraid, their dupes.

A saving grace of regimes such as Attila's or Genghis Khan's was that none of the peasants crushed under their heel ever imagined that "We are the government." While the crushing practiced by those two gentlemen was often less polite than the kind practiced by our democratic rulers, it's worth noting that it was also much less comprehensive, detailed, and intimate. Moreover, it tended not to drip with saccharine self-righteousness, undrenched as it was with fantasies about democracy.

If we were ever able to convince our countrymen that it's contradictory to believe that we the ruled are somehow simultaneously our own rulers, then we would have won our revolution for Liberty. Not an easy task, as you know. But there is one little subversive question that we should continue to ask the democrats, over and over and over again: How is it that we as the government can morally practice murder, robbery, and enslavement, while we as private people cannot? [Nicholas Strakon]

The Strakonite numbering system. While I'm at it, I may as well record my current estimates for the numbering of the successive U.S. republics. My system is open to debate, of course, and also of course I use the word republic not in the sacred sense favored by American constitutionalists but in the generic sense, as in "Soviet Socialist Republics," "Republic of Sudan," and so on.

• First Republic — 1776–1789
• Second Republic — 1789–1861
• Third Republic — 1861–1913
• Fourth Republic — 1913–1933
• Fifth Republic — 1933–1964
• Sixth Republic — 1964–2001
• Seventh Republic — 2001–present

What do you think? (If we had to have a republic, I'd just as soon we'd stayed with the first one.) [NS]  (April 9, 2011)

At least you can't accuse them of hypocrisy. I saw a piece on the "news" the other day answering the question, What should you do if you can't afford to pay your taxes?

The answers all came from the IRS. They started with the usual — file anyway; get an extension; make monthly payments. None of which actually addresses the question.

But the best suggestion was kept for last. I am not making this up:

Use your credit card.

You know ... like the government. [Ronn Neff]  (April 7, 2011)

Let a thousand  Korans burn! is not what I'm urging, here, and I'd like whoever is monitoring us today from the Organs of State Security to understand that. I'm not urging anything, except a little thought.

In burning just one copy of the Koran, which apparently was his own property, Pastor Terry Jones ripped down the curtain and embarrassed the Oz Empire's entire adventure in Afghanistan — even more than it has already been embarrassed, I mean. And more than that: He helped destabilize it.

As a longtime pessimist when it comes to practical Resistance, I can't help observing: Jeez, that was easy.

At View from the Right, Lawrence Auster notes that we once again see the System's respectables reading from their "script" as they assess the Mohammedan murder riots that followed the Koran-burning. It's the old party line according to which only whites — liberals and non-liberals — are moral actors. Auster translates accurately: "The nonwhite/non-Westerner is not a moral actor, but is simply the passive recipient of the white liberal's goodness or of the white non-liberal's bigotry." [Nicholas Strakon]  (April 7, 2011)

Note. Please do not let anything in the above observation distract you from the monstrously atrocious American murder riot taking place in Afghanistan. [NS]

If there's a "government shutdown," income-tax refund checks will not be sent out while it's going on.

I wonder ...

Will IRS audits be postponed?

Will IRS prosecutions be suspended?

Or is the refund process to be delayed merely as an act of ... what's that adjective the Left likes? Oh, yeah ... mean-spirited revenge?

Maybe it's just civic-minded budgetary prudence.

Anyone making book? [Ronn Neff]  (April 7, 2011)

Gravity itself may fail! Atomic bonding may dissolve! Dismal news has just reached us, courtesy of the Washington Post, that an Evil Republican Shutdown of Government would force cancellation of this year's Cherry Blossom Parade, scheduled for Saturday the 9th. As we all know, ordinary folk in their character as private citizens could never step in and run a parade! Why, for 57 years the annual Fall Festival Parade in my little town of Roanoke, Ind., has required planning, management, and staffing by hordes of Central Government bureaucrats and troops, as well as a fortune in Central Government subsidies for the Roanoke Chamber of Commerce, which sponsors it.

If the "shutdown" does occur, it will be a good thing that the Federal Corps of Throat-Swabbers is made up of "essential" government employees. Otherwise, untold thousands of people in the District of Columbia would drown in their own spit. [Nicholas Strakon]  (April 7, 2011)

SPECIAL ALERT.  I urge all friends of TLD to turn their porch light on from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Saturday [March 26] and, in fact, to set all their lights a-blazing. I'm certainly going to.

Tomorrow, you see, is when the Red-Green nuts of the World Wide Fund for Nature have scheduled their "Earth Hour" — and you're supposed to do your part in making everything go dark. (See "Lights to go out for Earth Hour [on] Saturday," at UPI.) Darkness is doubleplusgood, though I suppose even Progressives in participating cities might want to make sure they're safely home, with all doors locked, during the time of darkness. No doubt they've postponed any Take Back the Night protest marches that might have conflicted.

The System's Respectables are babbling and lurching forward in support, drooling progressively all the way. According to my local CBS affiliate, the University of Notre Dame is going to kill the lights on the Golden Dome and "Touchdown Jesus" not just for 60 minutes but for 60 hours. I guess Holy Mother Gaia takes precedence over the Light of the World, eh, ND?

In any case, that's in line with what the Red-Greens want, according to UPI. The story quotes an Earth Hour honcho: "This year, Earth Hour asks people to commit to the event, big or small, for the coming year, taking Earth Hour beyond the hour." I wish these maniacs would permanently renounce electricity for themselves — in fact, totally eliminate their own "carbon footprint" — and let the rest of us get on with our lives undisturbed, over here in civilization.

UPI writes that "more than 4,000 cities in 131 countries will turn off their lights," but that's not all: "Cities participating in the global initiative will not just switch off their electricity. They'll also plant greenery and install LED street lamps, the WWF said." Let's hope they try to do all of that in the dark!

When I light up my house tomorrow, I'm going to be paying, personally and voluntarily, for every last kilowatt of power I use. That's a concept the Red-Greens just don't grasp. [Nicholas Strakon]

Comment by Ronn Neff. It is completely appropriate that the lefties sit in the dark for one hour. It symbolizes the fact that on most issues they are, indeed, in the dark.

P.S. Here's a hilarious and exquisitely well-timed report on some setbacks the Progs have encountered in their attempt to rob Gaia of her sacred wind: "Painful Lessons for Wind Power," by Brian Sussman at Human Events.  (March 25, 2011)

This dawn is darker than ever. Do you sense that the U.S. Empire has crossed yet another line in the way it conducts its wars of aggression? I do. The last I'd heard, before Saturday, was that debate was continuing within the regime on the question of starting an air war and bombing Libya ("imposing a no-fly zone"). True, the UN had authorized something or other, but I paid little attention to that: the UN is irrelevant until Washington settles on a war policy. Also, the Big Zero was in the midst of yet another foreign vacation cum protracted ceremonial preening — in South America, this time — and I figured that, if only for form's sake, his controllers would hold off doing anything substantive until he got back to what passes for his homeland.

But when I got up and activated the telescreen on Saturday, the air war was already under way, orchestrated and supported by U.S. imperial forces. And it wasn't just the Libyan air force that was the target: the French were already using ground-attack planes to bust up Libyan armored vehicles! I felt like Rip van Winkle.

Before Saturday was over, U.S. warships were launching cruise missiles against Libyan targets, and the imperials had already revealed one of those absurd and Orwellian names for their latest war crime — Operation Odyssey Dawn. On Sunday, I learned that U.S. Navy and Marine warplanes had joined the fray, and that the "on-scene commander of the international coalition for Libya" was an American government employee named Samuel J. Locklear, bearing the imperial title of Admiral.

The whole thing is so strange that even members of the U.S. Congress — traditionally supine when it comes to imperial wars of aggression — are making dissatisfied noises, as if it has only now Odyssey-Dawned on them that, yes, in the eyes of the Palace, they are chopped liver. Some members are actually mentioning the Constitution, whose existence they usually avoid recognizing.

In 1984, George Orwell had Winston Smith observe that in the smothering totalitarianism of Oceania, "there were no laws." But it isn't just the sheer criminality of the Empire's latest warmaking that leads me to believe that we've taken another big lurch down the road to Oceania. What gets me is the suddenness and opacity of it all. (Sorry that I have to keep mentioning Orwell, but it's not as though I have much choice.)

Of course the making of the new war was sudden and opaque only to us ordinary sappish Americans, who will be forced to pay for it and in whose name it is being waged. This particular "Dawn" took a lot of planning under cover of darkness.

What's next? Chances are we won't know until it's too late. But I'm hoping that conscience will bloom in a hundred — a thousand — ten thousand more Bradley Mannings. [Nicholas Strakon]  (March 22, 2011)

We should be left the hell alone. Last week I passed along to Ronn Neff the URL for a good Mises Institute piece — "The Injustice of Social Justice," by Ben O'Neill — to make sure our senior editor wouldn't miss seeing it.

I mentioned to him that I wished I could remember when I'd started hearing the formulation, "People should have the right ..." It's radically different from saying that the natural, equal rights we do have as humans should be observed. The use of "should have" signals that we don't discover rights in the nature of man but instead can invent them at will and by whim.

I was pretty sure that the "should have" formulation wasn't yet solidly established in public discourse by the time I got old enough to start listening for ideological shibboleths. (I'm 61.) But I went on to say, "I think that in this country the entire fake-rights phenomenon owes much, at least operationally, to the so-called right to vote." By "operationally" I meant that people's "right" to vote themselves all manner of government goodies, at each other's expense, laid the practical foundation for the rest of the fake rights.

Mr. Neff replied: "You're probably right about that.

"I have talked to people who despise all rights talk because of the Left's misuse of the term.

"Or maybe that's the point: think of it as rights-inflation. Eventually the token becomes worthless."

Mr. Neff then supplied the zinger: "And what state could ask for anything more?"

It occurs to me that, as a totalitarian regime matures, the inflation of rights proceeds in parallel to the inflation of law until the point is reached where, as in Orwell's Oceania, there are no laws — and no rights, either. [Nicholas Strakon]  (March 22, 2011)

Yet another great quote from the Bozo of Leviathan. On March 9, Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) was orating against cutting the Central Government budget, and he declared that "the National Endowment for the Humanities is the reason we have in northern Nevada every January the Cowboy Poetry Festival. Had that program not been around, the tens of thousands of people who come there every year would not exist."

That goofery evoked some easy ridicule, but it deserves a little more analysis than that. The last part of what Clown Leader Reid said is sloppy language, of course. But in a strange way, it also precisely expresses a main premise of statish thinking. Without the state, those people in northern Nevada wouldn't exist. Cowboys wouldn't exist. Festivals wouldn't exist. Poetry wouldn't exist. Society wouldn't exist. Nothing would exist.

The universe exists only because the state exists.

Thanks for the honesty about what you really believe, Harry, even if it was only inadvertent. [Nicholas Strakon]

David T. Wright, who hails from the American West, notes that it would really be a fine thing if so-called cowboy poetry didn't exist.  (March 2011)

Jesse Junior and the rest of the story. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) has earned a boatload of ridicule himself because of a speech he gave on the floor on March 2.

Rather, he earned the ridicule on the basis of a certain clip from the speech, which aired on all sorts of right-wing talk shows — Limbaugh, Hannity, etc. — giving the hosts good grist for talking about how economically illiterate Jackson is.

American Renaissance posted a transcript of the clip.

However, TLD senior editor Ronn Neff says he could tell that something interesting had been left out, and in particular he started wondering who the "he" was whom Jackson cited, in calling for all those socialist amendments to the Constitution. Watching the entire speech as posted at C-SPAN, Mr. Neff discovered that it was none other than ... Franklin D. Roosevelt, in a speech of January 11, 1944. (That is reflected in the partial transcript at AR.)

As you see, Mr. Neff had to go to some trouble to get the rest of the story, which any non-brain-dead viewer or listener would want to know from the get-go. He notes that "somebody had to take the original video, and extract the 88-second clip, and paste it together. Which means that somebody had to know what to leave out."

Mr. Neff challenges the conservative hosts: "Go ahead, guys, tell us that Roosevelt was economically illiterate. Go ahead."

Of course, if they did, they might not be able to book a certain conservative hero on their shows ever again — a man who, without irony, considers Franklin Roosevelt to have been "the greatest president of the 20th century." Namely, Newt Gingrich.

For that matter, how many of the "extreme right-wing conservative" hosts themselves would even disagree with Gingrich? Seems that it's fair to wonder about that now more than ever.  (March 2011)

We'll see how quickly "all respectable scientists" fall into line on this one. Fox News is running this story today: "It Begins ... The Left Blames Earthquake, Tsunami on Global Warming."

It had never occurred to me that carbon dioxide emissions might affect the tectonic plates.

Let's hope those who are warning us will set an example and start holding their breath. [Ronn Neff]  (March 2011)

Just more false advertising. According to the established media, the much-touted government "shutdown" that the pols have been talking about would not stop the distribution of checks to the tax-eaters or interfere with whatever bloody business Our Boys (and Womyn) are pursuing in exotic foreign lands. Well, heckfire. What kind of shutdown would that be? The government never fails to disappoint. [Henry Gallagher Fields]  (March 2011)

Ideas from beyond the black hole. Rep. Chris van Hollen, a Democrat from Maryland, told Fox News the other day that the $61 billion that the Republicans are trying to cut from the Central Government budget would amount to "taking $61 billion out of the economy."

Right: Out of the economy.

These liberals aren't just from another planet. They're from the Reverse Universe. I mean, how can we ever communicate with these mental freaks if we can't even agree on the plus and minus signs when it comes to simple arithmetic?

But it's not just the liberals. Our old friends at Goldman Sachs have the same, ah, philosophy, if you want to call it that. According to the Los Angeles Times, Goldman has come out with a report warning that "Republicans' $61 billion in cuts would trim U.S. economic growth by half this year."

We see what team these banksters are playing on. Actually, scratch that. We see what team the pols are playing on. After all, the ruling class sets the rules, and the political class plays the game. And by the way, I don't mean to suggest that the Republicans haven't also demonstrated a zest for Wall Street sports in the (recent) past.

The banksters know that their whole System of privilege depends on vast government spending and debt. What the pols know is more uncertain. But the premise of their, uh, thinking is this: Government can magically conjure wealth from nothing just by waving its mailed fist. A corollary: that this method is better than allowing people voluntarily cooperating and competing in society to create wealth.

It actually makes good sense, if you're from the Reverse-iverse beyond the black hole. If you can create wealth effortlessly, by conjuration, well, naturally that's the way to go!

And since you'll be the one to determine how the wealth is spent, instead of all those unpredictable schmoes out in society who are busy committing the crime of ownlife — well, I don't know how to characterize it in Trans-Black-Holian, but Newspeak will serve nicely: It's doubleplusgood! [Nicholas Strakon]  (March 2011)

After seeing the left-wing signs and banners, the hippie costumes and street theatre, the tribal-style drumming, and the Teamsters (!) rolling up in support, and after hearing all the inimitably self-righteous leftist sloganeering from the government teachers, what do you think the children of Wisconsin who are consigned to the government schools are being taught about liberty, property, and the free market? What do you think they're being taught about Western civilization?

But maybe the folks we're seeing on TV aren't representative of Wisconsin's unionized "educators." In that case, the avalanche of indignant repudiations is a bit overdue. [Nicholas Strakon]

Are they even teaching the kids simple English? One sign displayed day after day in the Wisconsin Capitol rotunda read, in all caps, "IT'S NOT ABOUT THE DOE."

At first I thought that was an obscure reference to either the state or federal Department of Education. Or maybe an even more obscure reference to deer-hunting. Then I tumbled. Owe, know! [Modine Herbey]   (March 2011)

Don't ferrget, da guyee ez from Chicaagoh. Today's Washington Post story on the Wisconsin budget struggle and the union mobbery contains this matter-of-fact statement: "The president's political machine worked in close coordination Thursday with state and national union officials to get thousands of protesters to gather in Madison and to plan similar demonstrations in other state capitals."

The Imperial Organizer feels free to practice that kind of thuggish intimidation against the provinces openly, in daylight so to speak. And of course he's doing it shortly after emitting all that sentimental noise about a new Era of Good Feelings. Sounds about right. At least he didn't burble any babytalk about a new Era of Constitutionalism and True Federalism.

In the meantime, the Organizer has reminded us that the unionized government-school employees are our "friends and neighbors." Right. An uncle of mine had a neighbor like that once, a young chap who went about the neighborhood stealing the battery from unsecured vehicles. However, like a lot of non-governmental criminals, he felt constrained to practice his thievery under cover of darkness. [Nicholas Strakon]

P.S. Eliminating government-school unions wouldn't solve the real problem here, of course. To do that, you'd have to eliminate the government schools. Just a little reminder. (February 18, 2011)

Today I hear the news that the House has voted to "block federal funding" of Planned Parenthood and defund implementation of Obamacare. How the Left will squeal! — especially if the defunding is what it seems to be and sticks for more than a few hours. (Much of what Congress does, especially when it appears to move in the direction of liberty and justice, is not what it seems.) The Democratic Senate, of course, will not stand for the defunding even if it does emerge from the House intact.

Yesterday my subscription to AlterNet paid off again when I was tipped to this piece, "Right-Wing Republicans Are on the Verge of Voting to Defund Planned Parenthood." It's a transcribed interview of Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, by Amy Goodman of "Democracy Now!"

Honestly, I couldn't get through the whole conversation between the two Martian ladies, but I did press far enough to reach this utterance by Richards: "... It's way beyond abortion. Now they're basically trying to end family planning and access to birth control in America. The Republican budget that came out basically gets rid of the nation's Family Planning Program."

"Thou sayest," Interplanetary Emissary Richards.

In other words, family planning and access to birth control in America depend on tax robbery and other crimes committed by what Will Grigg calls the "coercive caste." Interesting claim. It's interesting, too, to ponder the other ways in which Central Government social engineers have influenced our family culture and our country's demographics. [Nicholas Strakon]  (February 18, 2011)

Pigs. Once I turned 50, I started having to visit a rather large number of restrooms here in Northern Virginia — in restaurants, churches, public libraries, gas stations, bars, fast-food outlets, bookstores, movie theaters — even vitamin shops.

I have been appalled at how often men leave the toilets unflushed. Sometimes with the seat down and spattered with urine. (Since some of these are "unisex" restrooms, can it be that they are just sticking it to the ladies who may come in afterward?)

It's disgusting. And the worst of it is that I doubt that they're all Third Worlders. In fact, I know they're not. I see who leaves the restrooms as I am going in, and there are few enough fixtures that I can be sure what they have used. And they are white middle-class guys. Not bums, but guys who look as though they might drive Volvos. Usually they are youngish.

And Strakon and I were fussing about men who wear hats in family restaurants!

Well, just another marker for the decline of the West. [Ronn Neff]  (February 2011)

"A serious threat," all of a sudden. I was listening to the Boston NPR outlet WGBH today when I heard an eyebrow-raising appeal from a vice president of the station. He urged listeners to contact their lawmakers about proposed legislation that would strip NPR of all its Central Government funding. He said that it is "a serious threat to public broadcasting."

A friend who listens to WETA, in Washington, reports hearing a similar appeal there, too.

But wait a minute. Wasn't it just last fall, in response to the uproar after Juan Williams was purged for incorrect opinions, that the NPR and PBS flacks were telling us what a tiny, insignificant fraction of their budget came from the taxpayers?

The party line seems to have changed radically, now that there appears to be some small chance (don't hold your breath) of actual defunding.

If tax money plays a part after all, then it follows that tax money is helping pay for NPR's political appeals for tax money! The Left's nose for corruption is awfully selective. [Nicholas Strakon]  (February 2011)

Strakon ends with a good point. Such appeals and such lobbying are commonplace but easy to lose sight of.

Whenever an HHS secretary goes to Congress to ask for money, she's using taxpayer money to lobby for increased spending and taxation for programs that I may find (in fact, certainly do find) abhorrent.

Whenever a Pentagon official goes there to ask for funding for a new fighter, he's using taxpayer money to lobby for something he can be sure that at least one-third of Americans would oppose (since hardly anything enjoys more than a two-thirds favorability rating).

In that connection, I like this quotation from Thomas Jefferson: "To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical." But Jefferson didn't see that the very act of paying men to rule others entails that tyranny. (It's just another of the contradictions of pro-government libertarianism.) [Ronn Neff]  (February 2011)

You can find some good quotes about taxation on this page at The Quote Garden.

Isn't this the way they think? A big thaw has begun in various snow-heaped parts of the country, and there's no time to waste. The government needs to launch an emergency crash program to capture all the water trapped in the snow before it melts away, and store it in a National Water Reserve. Without immediate government intervention, all that water will be lost forever!

And just think of the jobs such a program would create!

I ought to win the Medal of Freedom for this idea. Or maybe even the Nobel Prize for Hydro-economics. [Nicholas Strakon]  (February 2011)

Storm warning. Promoting one of his splendid articles, I once wrote: "When it comes to Sheldon Richman's writing, I'm tempted to say, 'Just read it all,' and not bother alerting you to specific pieces." I'm going to stand by that, but now — I'm unhappy to report — for reasons of a more admonitory nature. Case in point: Richman's recent piece in The American Conservative, "Libertarian Left." Subtitle: "Free-market anti-capitalism, the unknown ideal."

I find much in the essay that is good; but also much that is not. I limit myself here to one example of the latter. In his first paragraph Richman lists "legal same-sex marriage" as one of the "libertarian positions."

What, I have to ask, ever happened to the anti-statist — "libertarian," if you will — demand that the state altogether cease defining, regulating, and recording marriage? I should have thought that the homosexual "marriage" movement would have concentrated anti-statists' minds on their principles, rather than having had the opposite effect.

Most self-described libertarians are minarchists or worse, and one never knows what all they're going to swallow. But I am startled to see Richman, of all people, implicitly endorse statutory (or court-decreed?) homosexual "marriage," as it is my understanding that he is a fellow anarchist. The most generous observation I can make is that if he means to convey the plumb-line anarchist position on marriage, his formulation positively begs to be misunderstood.

When I was in college, during the regimes of Lyndon B. Satan and the Trickman, I myself dabbled in the notion that anarchism — modern market anarchism — is the "true Left." So did some other young libertarians. We were operating at least partly in good faith: we had read some history about laissez-faire types such as Bastiat sitting on the left side of the French National Assembly (which Richman cites in his piece). And we learned, too, that some individualist anarchists such as Benjamin Tucker had considered themselves men of the Left. However, looking back I'm afraid we were also motivated by the hope that the real leftists who ran the demos against war and conscription would consider us good guys when we showed up and maybe even share their weed with us, if by some odd chance we ran out.

Nowadays, though, this "left-libertarian" stuff doesn't strike me as quite so larky, especially if it leads partisans of liberty and justice to attempt alliances with the actual collectivist totalitarian Left, including the anti-Western cultural Bolsheviks. But that is heavy weather for another day. You may take this installment as the first rumble of a gathering storm here at TLD. [Nicholas Strakon]  (February 2011)

Fortress of amnesia. Sad to say, I've started reading a novel by Dan Brown, Digital Fortress, which deals with NSA's consternation at the apparent creation by an outsider of an unbreakable code. In the story (maybe for real?) there is an NSA computer that can crack any encoded message, and it has been "reading" all e-mails sent by everyone to anyone. (The book was copyrighted, by the way, in 1998.)

The assistant director is alarmed. He says of NSA, "This facility provides support for everyone — the FBI, CIA, DEA; they'd all be flying blind. The drug cartels' shipments would become untraceable, major corporations could transfer money with no paper trail and leave the IRS out in the cold, terrorists could chat in total secrecy — it would be chaos."

A few pages later, the brilliant cryptographer he has brought in to deal with the situation is thinking to herself (of course, it would be "herself") that once the algorithm gets out, it will be possible for someone to produce a Digital Fortress encryption chip. ("Digital Fortress" is the name of the algorithm.) And she thinks, "No commercial manufacturer had ever dreamed of creating an encryption chip because normal encryption algorithms eventually become obsolete. But Digital Fortress would [be] a new digital standard. From now until forever. Every code unbreakable. Bankers, brokers, terrorists, spies. One world — one algorithm. Anarchy."

The first thing to notice is the equivalence set up between corporate money transfers and criminal behavior. (I should mention that when I read both those passages, I wanted to get out a pen, and with a carat insert the words "at last" in both of them.)

But the really ridiculous thing about them is this: For centuries people had been able to do just that — communicate in private. Transfer money in private. Yes, even commit crimes and espionage without being detected until after the fact.

The world did not collapse into whatever it is Brown conceives chaos to be. It continued in a mostly orderly fashion.

I suppose I can understand why people would think that the absence of government would be chaos (or, heavens, anarchy!), but how did it happen that anyone could forget that there once was a world in which the government didn't snoop into everything and we all managed just fine? [Ronn Neff]  (February 2011)

Bulletin! Great news! Yesterday, during a media briefing, Obamunist spokesman Robert Gibbs announced a breathtaking and revolutionary reversal of regime philosophy. The Emperor himself said much the same thing during a media moment of his own.

Gibbs said Egyptians should be able to enjoy the right of free association!

True, he didn't say when the Obama regime would move to reverse 47 years of Central Government policy and restore Americans' freedom of association, but I for one am waiting with bated breath. [Nicholas Strakon]  (January 29, 2011)

True crime. There's another big Cosa Nostra sit-down scheduled for tonight, and our investigative reporters here at Mob Watch say that things may look a little different this time. Attempting to establish a new mood of civility and collusion — pardon us! — cooperation, forward-thinking capos are encouraging members of the Gambino and Genovese crime families to sit together.

A Mob source speaking on condition of anonymity points out that "a lot of the fellas in the different families are pals already. Joe Citizen don' get dat." He adds that Mob leaders are "tryin' to remind any of our own paisans who mighta forgot it dat, hey, we're all really workin' for the same t'ings — we're all in the same business, capisce?  And blood is very bad for business."  (January 25, 2011)

The perpetual game of catch-up. As the dust settles from the Moscow airport bombing, I'm wondering: Will the TSA now move its body-search operation to the entrance of airport terminals? [Nicholas Strakon]  (January 2011)

Comment by Edward Morrison Morley: Strakon, would you just shut up? We don't need to give these morons any more ideas.

I haven't actually heard any of the enemies of freedom come out with this as a straightforward proposal — not quite — but after Tucson its odor is certainly hanging in the air. And that is, that it should be easier for the Authorities to involuntarily commit people regarded as oddballs by some of their acquaintances, and subject them to mental treatment.

Given the fact that the Soviet border doesn't even exist any more, it's funny how we're always on the verge of crossing it. [Modine Herbey]  (January 2011)

East is East, and West is ... what? Writer Amy Chua's account of her Draconian "Chinese mother" child-rearing philosophy has prompted media debates about whether American parents ought to imitate her approach in all its unbending severity. If you're not up on this, I recommend that you jump to Chua's entertaining Wall Street Journal piece, "Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior," which is an excerpt from her new book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.

Some commentators have objected that this is all just preciosity for the upper-middle class and that, even if desirable, Chua's approach is impossible for most mothers who work outside the home. Moreover, Chua's daughters apparently express some ambivalence about their labors under the relentless rule of their "Chinese mother." I will shoulder my way past all that to focus on the racial and civilizational aspects that mainstream opiners can only brush up against gingerly, if they can touch them at all.

While admitting that Chua may have gone too far in some respects, many commentators are making guilty admissions about the laxity and indulgence of Western parenting, which produces aimless, know-nothing children — slackers, in short — leading to the conclusion that Western ways of child rearing are generally inferior to Chinese ways.

Something struck me, though, as I read Chua's piece in the Journal. She lists "some things my daughters, Sophia and Louisa, were never allowed to do," and among them are to "play any instrument other than the piano or violin" and "not play the piano or violin." She then proceeds to describe a Stalingrad-style struggle with her daughter Louisa to force her to master a difficult piano piece by Jacques Ibert.

Ibert, eh? The piano, eh?

What I noticed was that Chua's daughter wasn't playing the great sonatas of the Han on the ruan or guqin. Never heard of those instruments? Neither had I; I had to Google for "Chinese instruments." Never heard of the great sonatas of the Han, either? That's understandable. There aren't any.

Also, not to put too fine a point on it, Jacques Ibert was a Frenchman, which suggests that he didn't have a Chinese mother, or father for that matter.

Classical music is Western music, and it was written by white Westerners. And it is played on instruments invented by white Westerners.

The media's embarrassees who are weighing Chinese ways and Western ways, and finding the latter lacking, are comparing apples and (if you will) lychees. (I had to Google to find "lychees," too.) In other words, they're comparing Chinese ways that have retained their integrity with Western ways that have degenerated — that is, the ways of Westerners who have already forgotten a large part of their civilization and are forgetting more of it every day.

What's worse, to judge from how they're framing the Chua controversy, they seem to have forgotten that they've forgotten.

I'm not saying, by any means, that if we were to compare the ways of an intact Chinese civilization with the ways of an intact Western civilization we would find them to be identical. Each civilization grew up conditioned by the particular geography, history, and genetic inheritance of its people. That statement is almost tautological, although the "genetic inheritance" part now operates as a frightening and mysterious third rail for degenerate Westerners. The Chinese seem to have been the first to invent a kind of gunpowder and a kind of printing, and there is much in their cultural attainments that is grand and impressive. But it wasn't Chinese science and technology and culture that exploded outward and dominated the world. It was Western science and technology and culture. And if I may say so without indulging in the most-cartoonish of stereotypes having to do with creativity, when you read Chua's account you may be able to figure out why.

I believe in universalism with respect to justice, freedom, and what I may call moral sympathy, but in matters that are largely separable from all of that, it's ... let me say, ungraceful  to claim that the best of the Chinese ways are not appropriate for Chinese people, especially if we keep in mind the extent to which those ways arose from the genetic inheritance of the Chinese, which inheritance continues. Perhaps the techniques of the "Chinese mother" help Chinese children become the best people they can be.

But then it is equally ungraceful to claim that white Western ways are not suited to white Western people. Our mission is not to imitate Chinese ways but to recognize our own degeneration and rediscover the best of Western ways in all their integrity. [Nicholas Strakon]  (January 2011)

P.S. It has transpired that Chua's children are half-Chinese and half-Jewish. That certainly complicates Chua's story, but it is irrelevant to the gist of what I'm trying to explore.

So what do we of the Party learn from this, comrades? Why, nothing! On January 24, I caught some Fox News coverage of the latest on methamphetamine prohibition that was at once imbecilic, hilarious, and infuriating.

The headline at the bottom of the screen: METH MAKING A COMEBACK AMONG ADULTS AND TEENS IN U.S.

"Comeback"? Well, anchorman Jon Scott explained that "new statistics show that methamphetamine use among adults increased by 60 percent in the past year. Mexican drug cartels [are] said to be the number-one source of the meth sold in the U.S. They have managed to get around strict rules that made it harder to make cold medicines like Sudafed that are used to make methamphetamine."

Criminals getting around Our Strict and Glorious Democratic Rules? But how could that be?

Scott posed the brain-teaser to Colorado Attorney General John Suthers in this wise: "A lot of people thought methamphetamine sort of went away five years ago. The federal government passed a law that made it tougher to buy large quantities of Sudafed and products like that that have the raw ingredients to make methamphetamine. What happened?"

What, indeed? Did Scott mean to imply that when the government brandishes its mailed fist at what it considers a social problem, social and economic reality doesn't immediately change in the advertised direction? I've never heard of such a thing!

General Suthers: "Well, a couple of things have happened. Number one, the manufacturers in the United States have found a way around those behind-the-counter limitations. They hire people to go out by the hundreds and buy quantities from various stores. They use fake IDs — we call it smurfing. And so the lab activity's back in the United States.

"But still, the Mexican cartels and their super-labs are the primary source of methamphetamine in the country."

Scott: "And so there's more of it, and as I understand it, it is more pure now than ever before, and that means more addictive."

General Suthers: "That's correct...."

(Not to worry, though — the Authorities are airing a new PSA campaign aimed at discouraging children from trying meth.)

In light of this latest failed government program, when do we peaceful people get the freedom and privacy back that were stolen from us a few years ago by all the laws — both federal and state — restricting the retail sale of common patent medicines containing pseudoephedrine?

I think we all know the answer to that one, comrades. Even so, it might be interesting to try to squeeze an answer out of conservatives who like to bellow about being "anti-regulation." [NS]  (January 2011)

Recommended: "All Laws Have Teeth," by Jeffrey A. Tucker, Mises Institute, October 12, 2010.

Let's all turn down the volume! That's what the Ruling Respectables are urging after the Tucson massacre. While it's always good for us unruly dissidents to accompany the heat we radiate with as much light as we can, I get cold chills when I assess the motives of our rulers. My suspicion is that they want us to just quiet down, now, as they continue expanding the power, reach, and expense of leviathan — in the same way the Clintonistas expected us to quiet down after the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995.

They have some nerve. After all, they started it. The state engenders social conflict, and the more of society it takes over, or distorts, or suppresses, the more social conflict it causes, as the people who are forced to pay for all of it as taxpayers enter the political and legal realms to do battle, both to maximize their spoils and limit their expropriation and enslavement. The volume of protest in general tends to get turned up, too.

As I think I've pointed out before this, an unusually breathtaking amount of taking over and distorting and suppressing has been going on since 2001.

Consistent anti-statists avoid the official venues of conflict that the state has created — courtrooms, elections, lobbying, bribery. But I hope we're not going to get any less bristly and rebarbative — and loud — than we were before our rulers took delivery of this latest gift from a deranged murderer. [Nicholas Strakon]  (January 2011)

"In Defense of Inflamed Rhetoric," by Jack Shafer, at Slate

Anyone with a nodding acquaintance of American history, certainly including the history of the Founding period, knows that extreme and slanderous political rhetoric is nothing new. I find particularly diverting the rumor circulated by Jeffersonians that John Adams had imported trollops from Britain (or France, in some accounts). And the description of Thomas Jefferson by Federalists as "the son of a half-breed Indian squaw, sired by a Virginia mulatto father." It's not going too far to propose that the newspapers of the day existed largely to publish such valentines.

How about "violent" rhetoric, though? Isn't that the issue of the day? According to The Raw Story, Rep. Bob Brady (D-Pa.) "says he plans to introduce a bill criminalizing the use of certain forms of threatening imagery against lawmakers and judges.

"'You can't threaten the president with a bullseye or a crosshair,' Brady told the New York Times. He explained to CNN that his bill would also ban symbols or language that threaten 'a congressman, senator, or federal judge.'"

Language as well as images. If Brady's bill passes, will the Central Government prosecute Republicans when they talk about "targeting" Obama and Obamunism? We all understand, naturally, that those on the Left conscientiously eschew such verbal violence, but what if some progressive slipped up and recommended "targeting" racists and reactionaries, that is, anyone an inch to his right? Wouldn't that call for prosecution under the Bradyite revision of the First Amendment?

Actually, if you think about it, the use of "violent" language is no more of an innovation in our political and governmental speech than ordinary slander is. I think of the various non-military wars that the Central Government is always declaring — the War on Poverty, the War on Drugs, the War on Illiteracy, and so forth. Last year, Respectables out in Arizona — Arizona! — were seeking to "stamp out hate." Very violent! Did they want to stamp out haters? (Maybe we should consult Mahatma Brady on that point.) For that matter, the dubbing of all those free-floating government officials as "czars" strikes me as a surrender to violent rhetoric. Czars! Shades of Bloody Sunday and the Black Hundreds!

Two can play at this game, comrades. [Henry Gallagher Fields]  (January 2011)

Freedom-rationing and social conflict. Arizona has adopted "emergency legislation" to prevent members of the Westboro Baptist Church from demonstrating against American homosexualism near the funeral of Christina Taylor-Green, the 9-year-old girl murdered in the Tucson massacre. According to Politico, "The law will establish a 300-foot perimeter around a funeral location beginning one hour before a service until one hour after a service."

In the past, the Kansas religious group has appeared at the funeral of military members killed in the empire's foreign wars, brandishing signs that upset the mourners, such as "Thank God for Dead Soldiers" and "Pray for More Dead Soldiers." (The protesters seem to have no problem with imperialism itself, by the way.) There's no question that the Westborons are one ugly bunch of goons — as ugly as the very homosexualism they decry — and both in Ohio and now in Arizona, the outrage over their actions has swamped defenders of the First Amendment. To fend off the Westborons, both states have taken another bite out of our freedom to assemble and protest, in creating these new Unfree-Speech Zones. The Arizona legislature did so unanimously.

What's key here is that the Westborons typically use the "public" (i.e., government-controlled) streets and sidewalks as their venue. That presents government entities with the task of "balancing" the rights of the Westborons with the supposed right of mourners to be protected from an offensive spectacle. Similarly, when antiwar demonstrators — whom we may find more congenial — occupy the streets, governments must "balance" the right of peaceful assembly for redress of grievances against other people's ability to pass freely on the public thoroughfares that they've been forced to pay for as taxpayers. The demonstrators themselves can rightfully point out that they're taxpayers, too.

The claim that rights are conflicting and have to be "balanced" by government freedom-rationers reveals a fatally defective theory of rights, and tips us also to the fact that, once again, the state is doing what it does so well — namely, promoting social conflict. Given the nature of the state and the property that it claims to own, such conflict is in principle unresolvable.

In a free society, with only justly held (i.e., "private") property, the very venues of such unresolvable conflict would not exist. Owners of sidewalks, streets, and roads on the periphery of cemeteries, houses of worship, and funeral homes could indeed sell access to the Westborons if they chose, but how often would they be willing to do so, attentive as they'd have to be to the more-civil majority of their customers? How often do department-store owners, seeking to retain or attract normal customers, let flashers or stumbling drunks or bellowing fanatics hang around on their property?

I may be told that the idea of such privately owned transportation systems is bizarre (as bizarre, I suppose, as the idea of privately owned factories and houses in more-thoroughly socialist countries). All I can say is, bizarre or not, it is what it is. And the state is what it is. And freedom is what it is. [Nicholas Strakon]  (January 2011)

Assange: With friends like these ... At Slate, Jack Shafer has written a cute little piece declaring that the persecution being suffered by Julian Assange for his temerity in revealing the slimy secret doings of the Regime is actually a good thing.

While Shafer claims to be a supporter of Assange, there's precious little evidence of any support. Instead, he damns Assange with gleeful attacks on his arrogance, whiteness, and "trash talking." And what are we to make of the following?

Assange's jailing changes the "conversation" from how-dare-he to how-dare-they almost as efficiently as if a deranged vigilante had put a bullet in his brain. Our culture loves to protect and defend "victims," which is what the legal proceedings are turning him into. Overnight, he's becoming an albino Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., writing his letter from jail. He's a pint-sized Solzhenitsyn, fighting for freedom from the gulag. For the impressionable, he's Henry David Thoreau, Nelson Mandela, and Aung San Suu Kyi all wrapped up into one.
More to the point, I don't think the mass attack on Assange and on Wikileaks bodes well at all. Sure, to thoughtful people this conspicuous persecution makes the persecutees look good. But the fact that our rulers and their cowardly running dogs are ganging up on Assange — the latest news is that MasterCard now refuses to process contributions to Wikileaks — is bad news for people who believe in freedom.

I think it more likely that Assange will be made an example of. Already, people are being discouraged from contributing to Wikileaks or to his defense fund by the fear that they will be penalized by the implacable U.S. Regime and its allies. Better to do and say nothing and keep your head down, for if they'll do this to Assange, what will they do to someone less conspicuous?

With the help of snarky attacks such as Shafer's, Assange is being demonized, and most people, who don't take the time and effort to think for themselves, will go along with what the tame news media tell them to think. I think it quite likely that he will be destroyed, his reputation ruined with lies and half-truths, his metaphorical body hung at the metaphorical crossroads as a warning to any who would dare challenge the majesty of the State. [David T. Wright]  (December 2010)

The lefties change their tune (but it's still cacophony). In the struggle over whether to keep Central Government tax rates from rising on January 1, leftists like to argue — or assert, at least — that higher taxes won't suppress economic activities such as job creation. For example, here's Nancy Pelosi, speaking on the House floor on December 2: "Giving $700 billion to the wealthiest people in America does add $700 billion to the deficit. And the record and history show it does not create jobs."

Where to start? Well, first, Pelosi was trying to be sly. The actual question of the hour is whether raising taxes kills jobs, although the two issues are obviously related. Further, we have to note the profound totalitarianism that's evident here: "Giving $700 billion"! The woman really thinks she and her fellow organized-crime members own whatever money is still in the hands of the non-government people who earned it. It's up to Pelosi and her co-conspirators to decide how much of it they will graciously "give" to its rightful owners, i.e., leave unstolen.

But that's no inconsistency. It's what government people have believed and how they've behaved for a long time. The inconsistency is this: Don't liberals and other Giant Government types hike taxes all the time with the confident expectation of discouraging certain economic activities? Such as commerce in tobacco products? And alcoholic beverages? Don't many statists seek punitive taxes to suppress the sale of carbonated sugar drinks, candy, and other "junk food"? Or to suppress economic activities resulting in pollution or "excessive" energy consumption? The name for this special category of robbery is pretty well known: sin tax.

Moreover, in March, didn't Pelosi's House overwhelmingly approve a 90 percent tax on the bonuses at AIG in the confident expectation of suppressing that kind of economic activity? And don't protectionists seek punitive trade taxes with the confident expectation of suppressing imports?

Now, though, statists such as Pelosi are suddenly claiming that higher taxes don't suppress economic activity at all.


But it just gets worse. In the same speech, Pelosi said that unemployment benefits create jobs. She said the same thing more emphatically on July 1, namely, that the disbursement of unemployment benefits "creates jobs faster than almost any other initiative you can name."

You read that right. Paying people to be unemployed creates jobs, on net. Especially, we suppose, if the government pays them with dollars that it has extorted from productive people in society or has fraudulently created out of thin air (the less-visible way of stealing wealth from society).

So, just to make sure we have this straight: stealing even more from those who create jobs doesn't destroy jobs, but subsidizing joblessness with fake or stolen money does create jobs.

If you'd like to explore this startling economic philosophy in more depth, we invite you to read a recent discussion of government's magical ability to create wealth by waving its hand, courtesy of AP "economic writer" Paul Wiseman: "Cut-off of jobless aid would lower economic growth" (November 30, 2010).

Fair warning, though: Your head may explode. [Nicholas Strakon and Ronn Neff]

Comment by Modine Herbey. Here's a challenge to Pelosi: Get all the congresscritters to resign. Pay them unemployment benefits. And then we'll see whether that creates jobs for them.

(December 2010)

Another liberal genius heard from. Tuning in to one of those "Hollywood Squares" business-and-politics panels on Fox News on December 4, I caught part of a discussion about the salaries of Central Government bureaucrats, and I was in time to hear one of the conservative panel members endorse a wage freeze for the officials. But the panel's de rigueur liberal exhibited puzzlement: Wait! Aren't you a free-marketeer? And don't free-marketeers oppose wage freezes?

Ronn Neff is right. These people don't think like human beings.

The question is how their type of "thinking" became so influential in human society. [Nicholas Strakon]  (December 2010)

I wasn't sure I was hearing correctly when the telescreen broke the news of Willie Nelson's latest marijuana arrest. I thought the newsreader said that the singer had been arrested by the Border Patrol. Bizarre! — but true, at least according to various news stories, including one at ABC News.

The ABC reporter, Kevin Dolak, writes that the arrest ensued after "Nelson's tour bus pulled into a routine checkpoint in Sierra Blanca, Texas," and was boarded for inspection. Got that? A routine checkpoint operated by the Central Government border police — not at the actual border, mind you, but in the interior of our country.

I hope there aren't any soi-disant paleolibertarians out there who are chalking this up as yet another triumph for their favorite government agency. Even if there aren't, those who still support border-police statism in general had better think twice about the nature of the Beast they're toying with. [Nicholas Strakon]  (December 2010)

The consolations of utopianism. According to Fox News on October 27, Wikileaks was preparing yet another big spill of classified documents.

Here we are, almost ten years into a dismaying fortification of the Garrison State, with heavier — or at least porkier — security all over the place. It's horribly invasive and tyrannical, and ruinously expensive, but there is a consolation if you have any kind of taste for massive irony: the thing is leaking like ... like ... NIAGARA FALLS! [Nicholas Strakon]  (October 2010)

More conservatives are rushing to criticize NPR for firing Juan Williams than ever criticized National Review for firing Joe Sobran. [Ronn Neff]  (October 2010)

Slow learner. On his purging by NPR, Juan Williams says: "I used to think the left wing was the home of tolerance, open-mindedness, respect for all viewpoints, but now I've learned the truth the hard way." (Source: Fox News)

No, Juan, that's not the "hard way." Millions of ghosts, if they could speak, would tell you what the "hard way" of learning that lesson really is. It's being sent to an Arctic labor camp for 25 years; or being deliberately starved to death; or being shot in the back of the neck after being tortured.

In light of all the Left's disciplinary techniques, throughout history, you merely got brushed with a wet noodle. [Nicholas Strakon]  (October 2010)

Damned if he is, damned if he isn't. You've probably heard the sensational charges that Democrat Jack Conway has brought against Republican Rand Paul, his opponent in Kentucky's U.S. Senate race. Most hideously in the context of the prevailing popcult, the Left is now describing Paul as a misogynist. But if Paul is actually a Christian, as he insists he is, doesn't that mean that in leftist eyes he's just as much of a misogynist as if he were an Aqua Buddhist (Bondage Rite)? [Nicholas Strakon]  (October 2010)

In his tribute to Joe Sobran, Steve Sniegoski writes of certain obituaries that criticize Joe for speaking at revisionist conferences, and he observes: "Those obituaries ignore the fact that since Sobran was no longer allowed to write or speak in more mainstream conservative venues, conferences such as [historian David] Irving's were among his very few alternatives."

Joe once remarked to me that he didn't understand being pilloried for those appearances, that it seemed to him that you pilloried a man for what he said, not for whom he said it to.

But it is characteristic of the Left (and let us not forget that neoconservatism is a child of the Trotskyite Left) to find one guilty by association, all the while squealing like impaled logicians when it happens to them. [Ronn Neff]  (October 2010)

To paraphrase Kay Corleone, I don't mock you, Harry. I dread you. When state officials and their media mouthpieces say or do what they typically say or do, I often go back and forth trying to figure out what mixture of ignorance, stupidity, and wickedness accounts for it. Here's a recent example that got me puzzling anew. According to Politico's Molly Ball, on October 22, Harry Reid said this to Ed Schultz, one of the regiment of Red Guards on duty at MSNBC: "People have been hurting — I understand that. And it doesn't give them comfort or solace for me to tell them, 'You know, but for me we'd be in a worldwide depression.' They want to know what I have done for them." ("GOP mocks Harry Reid's stimulus claim")

Lots of brain-dead super-statists are making the same claim (if with a less-narcissistic twist) — that Washington's "stimulus" intervention on behalf of fascist plutocrats warded off a worldwide depression, one that they apparently think would have been permanent. I'll have to leave it to Tom Woods and his fellow gunfighters at Mises to expatiate on the actual workings of human society and its material expression, the market. But, briefly, such analysts would try to get the zombies of leviathan to understand how the market establishes itself on a new, sounder basis once it liquidates systemic malinvestments that have been promoted by the statist wreckers who claim to be its savior.

As for me, I'm going to quit trying to sort out the ignorance, stupidity, and wickedness of such people. A better way to understand men such as Reid — I've proposed this before, with respect to the Community Organizer himself — is to remind ourselves that statism is all he knows. To Reid, society and its marketplace are pallid, flimsy, insubstantial, highly hypothetical constructs — dimly heard echoes of vague rumors — compared with the rock-solid, vividly palpable, richly rewarding state that is his psychic cradle, his metaphorical family, and his beloved motherland. If society and the market do really exist, it's only as a sort of epiphenomenon of the state.

It's in that way (if no other) that we can conceive of super-statists being honest and sincere in what they say and do. But their particular brand of sincerity leads in dangerous directions. Miss Ball begins her article asking, "Does a superhero lurk beneath the mild-mannered facade of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid?" I'd go with "statesgod" rather than "superhero." Reid's synthetic reality is the state, with himself as statesgod. And it's in that context that mild-mannered men who did not torture animals and set fires as children behave like psychopaths as adults. They're psychopaths of power, and they pose a dire threat to far more people than independent operators such as Ted Bundy ever could. [Nicholas Strakon]  (October 2010)

Sweet dreams. Tea Partiers have come to understand that there is virtually nothing that their candidates can accomplish even if they take control of both houses of Congress. They will not have 60 seats in the Senate, and they will not be able to override presidential vetoes.

They remember the budget process of 1995 in which Bill Clinton made monkeys of his Republican opposition.

So what can they do?

As one who doesn't vote and who thinks that political action is illegitimate, my suggestion will perhaps enjoy no hearing. But for what it's worth, here is what I would like to see.

I'd like to see Congress tell Obama, "Not one penny will be authorized for spending on anything. Not Social Security, not health care, not UN dues, not the salaries of you or the White House personnel or the FBI or the Secret Service or the Supreme Court — until you resign.

"Resign now, tyrant!" [Ronn Neff]  (October 2010)

The shekel drops, or, In the minority-victim hierarchy, Cubans are not on top. I was in my car this morning listening to NPR and heard that CNN's Rick Sanchez had been fired after calling John Stewart, of "The Daily Show," a bigot.

What? Why would they do that?

Then the newsreader said Sanchez, who is of Cuban extraction, had accused the white liberal establishment of being racist.

Well, okay, but was that enough to fire him? What was going on?

Then NPR said Sanchez had been told, well, maybe Stewart's a minority, too. After all, he's Jewish.

And Sanchez had replied, "I'm telling you that everybody who runs CNN is a lot like Stewart... the people in this country who are Jewish — are an oppressed minority? Yeah."

A–ha! [David T. Wright]  (October 2010)

(Punctuation for the Sanchez quote is as shown in this New York Post story: "CNN host Rick Sanchez fired after Jon Stewart rant.")
Wouldn't you have loved to see Joe Sobran's take on the purging of Sanchez? Fourteen years ago Joe did write this:
Jewish control of the major media in the media age makes the enforced silence [about Jewish success in America] both paradoxical and paralyzing. Survival in public life requires that you know all about it, but never refer to it. A hypocritical etiquette forces us to pretend that the Jews are powerless victims; and if you don't respect their victimhood, they'll destroy you. ("The Buchanan frenzy," Sobran's, March 1996) 

(October 2010)

Yesterday I caught two mind-bending but educational stories out of Commie Massachusetts. I understand that local interests and local culture can trump ideology, but these examples take the cake.

First is a Washington Examiner piece by Ron Arnold, "An Iron Triangle based in NOAA is killing the U.S. fishing industry," according to which New England commercial fishermen are being oppressed by an especially vicious Red Guardess who is head of NOAA. (It was news to me that NOAA — the "Weather Bureau" — had the power to oppress anybody.) And who stepped up to defend the fishermen? Barney Frank!

Barney Frank!

According to the story, Frank "called for Lubchenco [the Guardess in question] to resign or be fired, not only for her treacherous hostility toward the American fishing industry, but also for harboring a culture of corrupt law enforcement agents that treated fishermen as criminals and systematically sped the culling of the fleet."

COMMISSAR BARNEY FRANK! Defending evil capitalist swimming-dog Gaia-raping fishermen!

And then, as if that weren't enough to make me spill my coffee, I heard on Fox News that Massachusetts voters will decide in November whether to retain the sales tax on alcoholic beverages in the commonwealth — imposed for the first time last year.

There certainly are some mazy twists and turns, here in Bizarro World. [Nicholas Strakon]  (October 2010)

Mayberry S.S.R. Fox News has started to air a socialist-propaganda spot featuring an almost unrecognizably ancient Andy Griffith. I assume it's showing up on other old-folks' channels, too. Griffith leads off with, "Nineteen sixty-five ... Lotta good things came out that year, like Medicare." Right: the Washington-empowering Voting Rights Act, the anti-European-immigration bill, a massive escalation of the War in Vietnam ... Lotta good things.

The actor then praises not just Medicare but also ObamaCare: "... With the new health-care law, more good things are comin'."

The spot is sponsored not by some "advocacy" group but by Medicare itself. Nice deal for the Democrats, there, getting the taxpayers to pay for political propaganda as the election campaigns enter the final stretch. [Nicholas Strakon]  (October 2010)

Memo from an Islamophobe. I'm not too exercised by the Ground Zero Mosque in particular, but I do have an answer for the liberals and other establishmentarians who impatiently ask opponents of the project how far away from Ground Zero the thing should be built. My thought is, at least three thousand miles.

That's because as a white Westerner I wish to live in a civilization as little influenced by Mohammedanism as possible.

I'm no theologian, so I won't risk any exegesis of the "Qur'an" — look here, my fellow infidels! I've winkled out some verses that seem to endorse religious freedom, freedom of expression, and even habeas corpus! — but I do know some history. And as its most powerful believers have enforced it throughout history, Mohammedanism has been, inseparably, both a religious system and a political system — tyrannically political.

Now, professed Christians themselves have committed very many bad and tyrannical crimes since the seventh century. But Western Christianity in its historical and cultural impact — on the ground, so to speak — tended during the formative centuries of the West to desacralize the state and set up a moral authority in competition with statist presumptions: an authority, indeed, that insisted it was much superior to that of the state as well as fundamentally distinct from it. Both in theory and in practice, Western Christianity has distinguished sharply between the City of God and the City of Man. When Christians have proposed competing systems — the divine right of kings, caesaropapism, the statist principle of the Reformation that cuius regio, eius religio — those things have amounted to a corruption of Christianity and a repudiation of the liberating force of Christendom's legacy.

As I say, I'm incompetent to treat Islamic theory, but at least in practice, Mohammedanism has not thus distinguished between the sacred and the secular. And I dare say one must look far and wide to find an orthodox Mohammedan who would propose that Islam's synthesis of mosque and state amounts to a corruption of that religion.

Acton wrote: "All liberty consists in radice in the preservation of an inner sphere exempt from State power. That reverence for conscience is the germ of all civil freedom, and the way in which Christianity served it. That is, liberty has grown out of the distinction (separation is a bad word) of Church and State."

I'm not a believer in any religion, but I grew up in a civilization still influenced by Western ways, including the crucial ways of Western Christianity. If I must choose among the civilizations that actually exist or that have actually existed, it is with Christendom that I'll take my stand.

On point: an Acton Institute interview with Leonard Liggio

If the West were still as free as it once was, with the freedom of association largely intact, Westerners could effectively shun and ostracize radically alien cultural influences such as those represented by the Ground Zero Mosque. Westerners could refuse to sell property to Mohammedans and refuse to cooperate with them in any way. If Western cultural morale were still vigorous, Westerners would be far more likely to do exactly that. [Nicholas Strakon]

P.S. Veteran readers of TLD wouldn't be surprised to see me also answer "at least three thousand miles" if anyone were to ask me how far the military of the U.S. Empire should stay away from Mohammedan countries.

For that matter, I'd like to see the legions stay at least three thousand miles away from our own country.

(September 2010)

Too expensive for whom? Once again I've had to don my old red-and-black robe of Revolution and start chanting, "Day of the Rope ... Day of the Rope ..." What's provoked me is hearing the regime's officials say that preserving their current robbery rates — which are due to expire and be replaced by higher ones — would be "too expensive" for them and their criminal operations.

"Too expensive"! The sociopaths don't care whether the robbery rates — even the current ones — are "too expensive" for the people they rule and rob. They shrug and assert with breathtaking effrontery that raising the rates and leaving their prey less money to work with and live on won't make any difference for those victims' economic behavior.

They don't consult the victims of their robbery on that point, of course. But when do brigands and highwaymen and stick-up artists ever display a regard for the opinion of their victims? Or for the reality of their victims' lives as fellow humans?

The root problem with the robbery isn't actually that it's "too expensive," of course, but that it's robbery. And it's robbery whose swag is used to finance other crimes, including criminal wars against foreigners and Americans alike. Until those preyed upon by the wolves in men's clothing who call themselves "government" are able to recognize crimes against their own person and property for what they are, the Day of the Rope will never come.

But I'm still going to keep chanting for it. [Nicholas Strakon]  (September 2010)

The tumbrils will not be registered. Sitting on my desk is a property-tax bill for my automobile. It comes to more than $100. Included in that $100 is a $38 county-imposed charge for a "Vehicle Registration Fee." This fee has nothing to do with the registration I am accustomed to paying for the privilege of owning the vehicle I paid for myself out by my own hard labor. No, it is a new fee, effective July 1, 2010, passed evidently because the county wasn't getting enough money during the recession. (Being unemployed, by the way, will not excuse you from paying this fee.)

What, pray, do I get for my money? I am permitted to own a motor vehicle — to quote the helpful informative slip that accompanied my bill, one that is "regularly garaged, stored, or parked in the county." I don't even get a sticker to put in my windshield to prove to all the world that I have virtuously paid for that privilege. (Maybe the county is just a little embarrassed about having imposed it? Just a little, maybe?)

I can hardly wait for the Commonwealth (or the county) to impose yet another fee for the privilege of paying all other fees or to cover the cost of processing the collection of all other fees.

By the way, I'm so glad Governor Jim Gilmore got rid of the nasty state-levied property tax. My, what would we Virginians be paying if he hadn't? We may derive a hint from a more careful reading of the bill. My actual tax amount is more than $200, but apparently the Gilmore provisions entitle me to some sort of discount (called "relief" on my bill).

I get to keep a portion of the bill "for my records." I like to think of it as evidence to be presented in the kangaroo trials of government officials that will form an integral part of the excesses of the Revolution. [Ronn Neff]  (September 2010)

The Sultan's history lesson. On the occasion of Ramadan, thus spake Barack Hussein Obama (Peace be upon him): "... Here in the United States, Ramadan is a reminder that Islam has always been part of America and that American Muslims have made extraordinary contributions to our country."

Yea, forsooth, my brethren, patriotic tears well in my eyes as I envision the grave ayatollahs of Philadelphia in their turbans, beards, and fearsome eyebrows, instructing the American Founders in the precepts of sharia: Truly did those holy men make corporeal the Djinn of '76!

Who among us can forget the tales we were told as madrasah boys of the hero Paul bin Revere, perched upon his trusty camel, watching for the lantern's signal from the Old North Mosque? Or the Jamestown colonists' faithful work to gather wood and build their first primitive mosque, in the midst of famine and attack by redskinned infidels? Or the devoted labor of settlers in the Caliphate of Utah to erect the great Mosque of Salt Lake City?

Emerging in fond memory now are Washington Irving's depictions of the minarets rising over Old New York and, of course, his chilling tale about the Headless Mamluk of Sleepy Hollow. Inscribed, too, indelibly upon American culture are Ahab's jihad against the white whale as told by the esteemed sufi Melville, the "Hijab of the Red Death" by the ascetic versifier Poe, and the haj of Huck Finn imagined by Twain, instructor of the pious.

All educated Americans know that the public benefactions of Morse, Bell, Edison, and Ford, and the flourishing of invention and productivity in America generally, were founded on the teachings of the Holy Qur'an treating political economy, property, and free inquiry. It is hardly necessary to add that it was the Prophet's ascent and flight to Medina that inspired the devout Brothers Wright.

As the blessed chieftain Barack (PBUH) leads our procession toward the Five Pillars of Wisdom, let no small walad of the dhimmi cry out by the wayside that the Sultan has no burnoose. The scimitar of Islamic justice shall fall upon the neck of the nonbeliever! [Nicholas Strakon]

Is Obama's fantasizing about Islam in America supposed to compensate in some way for his slaughter of Mohammedans in their homelands? His immediate predecessor in mass murder practiced the same hypocrisy. It's not just false; most of what Obama and Bush say on any subject is palpably and foolishly false; but this monstrosity of imperial propaganda adds deadly insult to deadly injury. [Henry Gallagher Fields]  (August 2010)

Omnipotent government springs another leak. I read in The Washington Post that the so-called War on Terror has spread the Coast Guard thin and interfered with its mission of inspecting offshore oil rigs such as BP's. According to reporters Joe Stephens and Mary Pat Flaherty, the post-9/11 changes "had the unintended consequence of lowering the profile of the Coast Guard's vital programs related to oil. 'Priorities changed,' a 2002 Coast Guard budget report said."

The Coast Guard's long-standing role in waging the Drug War hasn't helped: that also taxes the agency's life-saving and inspection abilities.

Statist mainstreamers deride as impractical, impossible, and utopian a social environment recognizing property rights in ocean waters and coastlines, as proposed by libertarians. But under that arrangement, would insurance companies' oil-rig inspection teams be distracted by chasing drug smugglers or looking out for dicey Mohammedans? [Nicholas Strakon]  (August 2010)

A drug-resistant "superbug" has spread to Western countries from India and Pakistan, and "medical tourism" on the part of Westerners is coming in for a large part of the blame. The media seem to be sounding the alarm loudest in the United Kingdom, but according to news accounts, the bacterial infections have also appeared in Canada, the Netherlands, and the United State.

"New 'superbug' found in UK hospitals," by Michelle Roberts, BBC News

"Doctors brace for more cases as Indian superbug hits Canada," by Jill Mahoney, Globe and Mail (of Canada)

The term "medical tourism" should not mislead us. It's not as if Nigel has told Prunella, "I say, old thing, let's go on holiday and pop over to Inja for your procedure! One hears at the club that the woggy sawbones are dashed amusing — and one can't beat the curry in the hospital caff, wot?" These peripatetic Westerners are resorting to treatment in the Subcontinent not for entertainment or edification but because of their calculation of costs and benefits, in terms of time, money, and (before the rise of the superbug) quality. They have detected quirks in the medical systems of India and Pakistan that lead them to seek treatment there instead of in their home countries — advantages that more than compensate for the expense and inconvenience of traveling abroad.

It doesn't matter whether the health industries of India and Pakistan are as state-infected as the industries at home (India, for one, "guarantees" universal care). What matters are those quirks, which specially benefit Western "medical tourists," who even as ordinary middle-class folk tend to be much more affluent than Subcontinental natives. The state-subsidized price of treatment in the developing countries is much lower than the price for off-plan private treatment at home. In other words, the "tourists" can escape the long wait for affordable treatment under the statist medical-insurance scheme of their home country. They can "jump the queue" by jumping countries.

State intervention in social enterprises always breeds consequences that are foreseeably bad, but despite the fantasies of omniscience on the part of statist utopians, it also breeds bad consequences that are unintended and unforeseeable. Freedom is the best medicine. [Nicholas Strakon]  (August 2010)

Dear Nick — The last time I wrote you, I commented on how, just, brilliant Mr. Obama is. And how right you were to support him so strongly back in 2008! (Even though you did call him all those names. That kind of confused me.) Anyway, there's no question about it now. Mr. Obama has to be the most brilliant commander-in-chief — like — ever!

After the latest bombing in Africa, he called al Qaeda racist, and now I bet you're way ahead of me, Nick. It means that all members of al Qaeda will have to show how embarrassed they are, and explain that they are not racists and that their comments (whatever they were) were taken out of context, and admit that they showed poor judgment.

They will apologize and make donations to the Rainbow Coalition (or whatever it is called) and to the Obama Re-election Fund. He will have brought them to their knees (literally!) without firing a shot.

It's true that the actual group that did the bombing, Al-Shabaab, is made up of African Africans from Somalia and maybe Kenya and Uganda, too, but that only means that they are self-hating African Africans. They need help, obviously, and when they apologize and donate, their healing will begin!

I'm still allowed to get on the computer here in the day room — duh! Otherwise you wouldn't have gotten this message! — and I've come across some unhelpful websites where bad people just refer to our President as "the community organizer," as if that's some kind of insult all by itself. Well, they're going to have to put some different smoke in their pipe! Probably because he was a community organizer, plus of course because he's so brilliant, Mr. Obama — alone of all persons in America — has figured out how to defeat al Qaeda and end their terrorism! [Sally Druthers]  (July 2010)

Nicholas Strakon replies. Dear Sally — I hope this doesn't make you blush, but I have a nice compliment for you. You are every bit as brilliant as the genius who has been installed in the Presidential Palace.

The iron fist ... According to the Associated Press, the new "financial overhaul bill" will give the Central Government power "to break up teetering companies whose failure would threaten the economy."

Just one little question, here. If the regime in Washington has the rightful authority to straightforwardly break up companies that it decides "threaten the economy," what rightful authority over our lives does it not have?

No, actually, I'll ask one more question. If the regime does not have that rightful authority, but still exercises the power, what words, what nouns and adjectives, would occur to a reasonable man to accurately describe it? [Nicholas Strakon] 

... in the iron glove. The Obamunists have opened their judicial joust with the state of Arizona over the latter's famous Senate Bill 1070, claiming that Arizona has invaded the Central Government's constitutional power to regulate immigration. Now, this observation won't go over well with either Obamunists or immigration restrictionists, but in fact the Constitution confers no power on the U.S. Government to regulate immigration. Naturalization, yes; immigration, no.

Central Government employees in the judicial branch have declared otherwise, of course, adducing the usual penumbras and implications and emanations; but that's in keeping with the judges' overall historical mission of gutting federalism and strengthening Central power.

Constitutionalists — as well as libertarians such as Tom Woods — make a good point in warning that when the Central regime is permitted to be the sole judge of its own powers, there is no power that lies beyond its reach.

Constitutionalists see much that others do not as they investigate the nature of our totalitarian plight. It is painfully ironic, then, that those perceptive men do not see this: Our very plight reveals the definitive failure of constitutionalism in limiting government. [NS]  (July 2010)

Note. In the original version of the above entry, I described Dr. Woods as a constitutionalist. A reader has kindly corrected me: In some of his writings and talks, Dr. Woods has come out in favor of a non-state society. My apologies for the error. I myself certainly would not care to be described as a non-anarchist! [NS]

It stimulates curiosity, if nothing else. At CNSNews.com, Matt Cover reports: "New federal regulations issued this week stipulate that the electronic health records — that all Americans are supposed to have by 2014 under the terms of the stimulus law that President Barack Obama signed last year — must record not only the traditional measures of height and weight, but also the Body Mass Index: a measure of obesity." ("Obesity Rating for Every American Must Be Included in Stimulus-Mandated Electronic Health Records, Says HHS," July 15)

All enacted or authorized under a provision of the "stimulus law," eh? Don't you wonder what else is in that law that doesn't really have anything to do with economic stimulus? I suppose we'll find out bit by bit in the coming years. [Nicholas Strakon]  (July 2010)

Not nothing. Leviathan's door-to-door snooping under the rubric of "the Census" finally comes to an end tonight. For the next ten years, that is — and it's an open question whether the Central regime will still be in a position to mount such extensive nationwide operations come 2020.

Congratulations to all who refused to cooperate with this particular invasion of society. Obviously our little refusal doesn't begin to hold a candle to the incandescent bravery of Sophie Scholl and her White Rose comrades, Cardinal Mindszenty, or the Tiananmen Square martyrs! But it wasn't nothing, either, especially in light of the fact that the vast majority of our countrymen could not bring themselves to engage even in this safe, minimal modicum of resistance.

We can't stop leviathan's big bad train by lying down on the tracks, and hardly any of us would be inclined to try. But if no one's actually pointing a gun at us, we don't have to climb on board the hellbound thing, either. [Nicholas Strakon]  (July 10, 2010)

That Hideous Deafness. During the past few days, we've been treated to the Ministry of Love's stonewalling over the Black Panther Scandal, the Central regime's lawsuit against Arizona, and the revelation that Mohammedan outreach is NASA's top priority. Now General Secretary Obama has given an unapologetic proponent of redistributionist health socialism, Dr. Donald Berwick, a recess appointment to head Medicare, sparing him even the most cataract-impaired congressional scrutiny. (Berwick is actually quite an appropriate choice, of course, but people don't like to have such smelly pies mashed right into their face.)

Leaving aside the strict anti-statist position on all those questions and looking only at their likely political fallout, I can't help but think that the Obamunist regime is driving itself deep into They Just Can't Help Themselves territory. That's always a danger for the whirling dervishes of the Left, and in countries where they can't routinely pop their bemused constituents into concentration camps, they risk provoking a politically fatal reaction. (Forgive me if that's too optimistic: Hope springs eternal.)

Speaking of territory, the time has come for another little swing through both Transparodia and the Land of Irony Deafness. As he rails against the "darkness of private enterprise," Berwick praises the bureaucracy responsible for planning Britain's health-care rationing. It's called the National Institute for Clinical Health and Excellence.

Its acronym? Not NICHE, but NICE.

Well, that rings a bell. Or tolls one.

Does anyone else remember C.S. Lewis's National Institute of Coordinated Experiments? From That Hideous Strength? [Nicholas Strakon]  (July 2010)

One soldier's road to redemption. According to Leila Fadel of the Washington Post, the Army has charged PFC Bradley Manning, 22, "with the leak of a controversial video and the downloading and transfer of classified State Department cables, in a case that is likely to further deter would-be whistleblowers." Fadel reports:

Manning was detained in May after Wikileaks.org, a Web site that aims to expose government and corporate secrets, released the video it had allegedly obtained from him. The footage, taken by cameras on U.S. Apache helicopters, shows several civilians, including two Reuters news agency employees, being killed in a U.S. strike in Iraq in July 2007. ("Army intelligence analyst charged in Wikileaks case," July 7, 2010)
I'm not surprised to see strong action being taken in this case. The government will naturally do all it can to protect its secrets from its enemies. And we know who its main enemies are, don't we? To turn around the famous formulation by Albert Jay Nock:

"Their enemies, the people." [Nicholas Strakon]  (July 2010)

The real Chairman is not amused. If I thought GOP Chairman Michael Steele had a brain in his head, I might award him TLD's Strange New Respect Award for his comments on the regime's doomed and murderous Afghanistan adventure. His incautious babbling is still entertaining and educational, though. In reaching to insert a needle in Emperor BO, Steele mashed some sensitive neocon toes, and now Neocon Chairman Bill Kristol is calling for him to resign. Neocon TV (Fox News) reports: "Steele Faces Growing Calls to Resign Despite Moves to Quell Uproar."

One valuable thing we learn from this affair, if we didn't already know it, is how little room for maneuver there is now between the war liberals and the neocon adventurists. Even a pugilist a lot more nimble than Steele would have found it hard to tag the former without throwing an elbow into the latter.

Another thing we already knew for sure, but now see demonstrated anew by the "uproar," is that anti-interventionists can't even get on the fight card. [Nicholas Strakon]  (July 2010)

A Neff – Strakon colloquy on Our Boys (and Wymyn).

Ronn Neff: It just occurred to me that anyone who recognizes the illegitimacy of the U.S. government cannot advocate bringing the troops home "now" or any other time. That, too, would be a government program that could be effected only by taxing citizens further. As a tax-based government program, it would be not only immoral but also impossible to accomplish efficiently, because the state has no way of allocating resources efficiently.

So what could we possibly advocate? "Find your own way back"?

Nicholas Strakon: Yes, I think so. In the past I've expressed some doubt about whether we really want the legionaries back unless they repent of their crimes, which they have committed in our name. An important step on the road to repentance would be for them to find honorable, peaceful jobs abroad, and earn their passage home.  (July 2010)

Blackbeard's freedom. On Memorial Day, Minitrue is feeding us a thick stream of goopy propaganda about how the imperial legionaries who have invaded the Muslim Middle East are fighting for the freedom of Americans back home — as well as working hard to advance the Humanitarian Social-Democratic Agenda among the grateful natives of the region. That being so, the Israelis' latest savage atrocity could not have been better timed for any American who is still operating a live brain, though it will come as cold comfort to the loved ones of those who were murdered on the high seas earlier today.

In case the MSM outlets you consult are, shall we say, de-emphasizing the story, Israeli "commandos" — i.e., pirates — stormed a humanitarian-aid convoy in international waters that was bound for Gaza, a Palestinian territory blockaded by the Israeli state-criminals. Here's the account in the Irish Times: "Israeli commando raid on Gaza aid convoy kills 10." I looked for a story in the Washington Post that I might link to — I get the Post's updates by e-mail — but at the time of this writing, the most interesting foreign story it was featuring was a piece on the growing popularity of the potato in China.

The Israeli felon-in-chief, Netanyahu, has now cancelled a visit to Washington that had been scheduled for tomorrow. Politico.com reports that Bill Burton, a spokesman for the Presidential Palace, "said in advance of Netanyahu's decision that the White House was currently [trying] 'to understand the circumstances surrounding this tragedy.'" Over the coming days we should expect to see the word "tragedy" used often to describe the operation, as if it were a killer tornado or fatal car accident. That, and the word "unfortunate" in connection with the murders.

Just before I sat down to write, Fox News was running a screen crawl saying that the Israeli war minister, Barak, was calling the aid convoy a "provocation." Provokatsiya! Now there's the good old Soviet style for you! I've missed it so.

Haaretz.com posted a story on the assault that actually reads like satire. Here's the lead: "Activists on board a flotilla carrying aid to the Gaza Strip tried to lynch the Israel Navy commandos who stormed their Turkish-flagged ship early Monday, Israel Defense Forces sources told Haaretz."

The grisly goofiness continues:

The IDF confirmed that at least seven navy commandos had been wounded, at least two of them seriously, in a fight which apparently broke out after activists tried to seize their weapons. [Imagine the effrontery!]

The commandos, who intercepted the Turkish ferry Mavi Marmara after it ignored orders to turn back, said they encountered violent resistance from activists armed with sticks and knives. According to the commandos, the activists threw one of the soldiers from the upper deck to the lower after they boarded.

An Israeli military spokesman said some of the commandos were equipped with paintball guns, but the non-lethal weapons were not enough against activists who charged in with batons.

"[The commandos] had pistols with live ammunition as back-up, to defend themselves," he said. The IDF said it had confiscated two pistols from the boat.

Paintball guns. Right. And laser-tag gear, too, just in case anyone cared to play? But, yes, I'll just bet they had pistols as "back-up, to defend themselves."

This is like a pirate story coauthored by George Orwell and Bozo the Clown. "Defend themselves"! I swear, it's dazzling what government employees can get away with saying these days, and with a straight face. But we live at a time when the Yankee Union calls its war ministry a "defense department" while using it to perpetrate mass-murdering wars of aggression.

As the American legionaries being honored today by officialdom and the official media rampage across the Middle East, just whose freedom are they defending? Freedom to do what? If we'd somehow forgotten the whole point of the neocon wars, we got a reminder today, good and hard: It's the freedom for Israelis to run up the Jolly Roger and swing aboard cargo ships with a cutlass — excuse me, I meant a paintball gun — in their teeth. Yo ho ho, it's a pirate's life for them!

And don't forget, landlubbers: It's all being done on our doubloon. [Nicholas Strakon]  (May 2010)

Forever FUBAR! or, Patriotic thoughts on Memorial Day weekend. On Saturday the 22nd, I had the telescreen in the front room tuned to one of the news channels as I puttered around in the kitchen, dividing my attention between coffee-making and the latest grim tidings of the world's Great Grinding Badness. It was commencement morning at West Point, and while the reporters impatiently awaited the arrival of Emperor Barack, they filled the time with uplifting progressive-nationalistic chatter. I ignored most of it, but then one of them said something that surprised me a little but also made me happy: viz., that women made up 50 percent of this year's graduating class.

At least, I thought he said it. I knew I'd have to rewind the DVR to make sure I'd heard correctly, but I didn't find it immediately unbelievable, in light of how long it's been now since we were teleported en masse to Bizarro World. As it turned out, what the reporter actually said was that 15 percent of the class was female.

How disappointing.

I'm putting on that smiley face again, though. The Obamunists, prodded by their homosexualist wing, have finally pushed repeal of the "Don't ask, don't tell" rule through the House, although Jim Abrams of the AP writes that "advocates on both sides [are] gear[ing] up for a fight in the Senate."

According to Abrams, "gay rights" groups have made repeal of DADT "their top priority this year." As startling as it is to see homosexuals get all worked up about anything military — apart from, you know, those luscious young brutes in their delightfully scary costumes — I'm wishing them well.

The reason is that I take seriously all those warnings from grumpy old War Conservatives: that the more women and confessed homosexuals the military is saddled with, the less unit cohesion, mission focus, and combat effectiveness it can maintain. Well, excellent! Let's choke the imperial legions with hurt feelings, discrimination complaints, assault investigations, pregnant soldierettes, queer diseases, and romantic melodramas in the midst of battle, say I.

Now, true, if they let in uncloseted homosexuals, the armed forces might finally be able to recruit enough Arabic translators (who typically speak an exotic language of love as well, if you believe Minitrue), and that would please the higher-ups. But if the imperial military collapsed, and the empire with it, those Arabists would have to find honest jobs "on the economy," as military folk put it.

Some may fear that unlimited progressivism in recruitment could lead to a military relying more heavily on "women pushing buttons" — and now "poofters pushing buttons" — raining death from afar on wedding parties and other peaceful civilian gatherings in exotic lands. But even as things are, the imperial military has no shortage of cowardly, amoral young video-gamers — most of them, I suppose, heterosexual males — who just love to push those buttons.

A better objection is that women's joining the military signals and, indeed, advances our profound cultural degradation, especially when they abandon their children to do so. I would certainly struggle to dissuade any young lady I knew from going to work for the totalitarian butchers; but in the wider scheme, our culture and civilization are already lost no matter what any one of us does. We can't have everything; we can't even have much. But if we're lucky, one thing we can have is a weaker military, less able to drown the world in bloody atrocity and less able to hold us normal people hostage to that atrocity.

I must exclaim, and not for the first time: What a peculiar empire is this Yankee Colossus! [Nicholas Strakon]  (May 2010)

Rand Paul on the horns. Until a few days ago, Dr. Rand Paul, son of Dr. Ron Paul, was the freshly minted Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Kentucky. But he's not looking like such a bright penny now. In fact, he's showing numerous scuffs, scrapes, and chips.

It all started May 19, when Paul appeared on MSNBC's "Rachel Maddow Show" — one of the most left-wing forums on American TV — and "repeated his belief in a limited government that should not force private businesses to abide by civil rights law." That's the interpretation of Krissah Thompson and Dan Balz, of the Washington Post, in their May 21 story, "Rand Paul comments about civil rights stir controversy."

The ghastly twisting and turning that's so familiar to observers of the American scene began when Maddow asked, "Do you think that a private business has the right to say we don't serve black people?" The righteous answer, of course, is, "Of course!" But according to the report posted at the Maddow Blog, "Paul sounded uncomfortable expressing his views."

What Paul the politician was struggling to do was to engineer an answer that didn't completely betray his apparent belief in freedom of association but at the same time wouldn't get him read right out of polite society. To mainstreamers, who fiercely oppose freedom of association for white people, any skepticism about the "civil rights" laws of the 1960s is about a hundred times more sinful than anything the state of Arizona has done lately.

The blog report continues, "Maddow predicted on the show that Paul would face questions about this for the rest of his campaign. And indeed, it started overnight."

Indeed, indeed. On May 20, according to the Post story, "Paul issued a statement saying he abhors discrimination, backs the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and would not support its repeal." Thompson and Balz quote him: "Let me be clear: I support the Civil Rights Act because I overwhelmingly agree with the intent of the legislation, which was to stop discrimination in the public sphere and halt the abhorrent practice of segregation and Jim Crow laws."

What lesson do we learn from this, comrades? We learn the lesson that a true libertarian cannot function honestly in the American political environment. Not that Rand Paul ever has been or claimed to be a true libertarian — he's a Tea Partier, which is not the same thing by a long shot. But apparently, thanks perhaps to the influence of his more freedom-friendly father, he did harbor some opinions on "civil rights" that were informed by libertarianism. And now we see what has happened. In order to be permitted to continue breathing the air that the System produces and owns, he is obliged to say that he approves of the tyrannical 1964 law because of its (purported) intent! Thus he lowers himself to the same infernal level as any sociopathic demagogue or sincerely utopian kook-in-office. And in so doing, he reinforces the System's pretense that it occupies the moral high ground.

No profile in courage there, especially in view of Ronn Neff's observation that since the 1960s, the "civil rights" laws have been leviathan's "primary leverage point for regulating private life" in this country.

I have mentioned the elder Dr. Paul, and I should address an apparent contradiction in what I have just written. Ron Paul does seem to function pretty honestly in the political environment, while continuing to be re-elected. I have some respect for Ron Paul, and he is certainly an interesting historical figure, but I have to point out that an employee of the Central Government faces — to put it mildly — a tremendous challenge in being a true libertarian. In serving the Central Government, he who would be a true libertarian publicly endorses its fundamental legitimacy and encourages others to participate in the System that oppresses all of us. Descending to the level of specifics, I unhappily recall that the elder Dr. Paul voted to authorize the Afghan adventure.

If the antiwhite leftists (and mainstreamers, assuming there is any distinction now) have any energy left from their mass hysteria over Arizona, we should not be surprised to see Ron Paul himself sucked into the "civil rights" quicksand stirred up by the Maddow interview. It is remarkable that he has escaped from it for so long. [Nicholas Strakon] 

Also see: "Tea Party Pick Causes Uproar on Civil Rights,"
by Adam Nagourney and Carl Hulse,
New York Times, May 20, 2010

(May 2010)

The one good thing about the BP oil spill. At Politico, Mike Allen quotes CBS's Chip Reid to the effect that reporters at the Palace have become so restless with the Obama regime's handling of the BP oil spill that they've angered Chief Flack Robert Gibbs. The newsies keep asking the same questions over and over! According to the report, after the most recent briefing, Palace officials called some reporters in, one by one, to administer a hiding for their impertinence.

At that last briefing, Reid said, Gibbs "insisted over and over again [that] the federal government is in charge and [that] they're doing everything humanly possible to respond to this disaster."

Everything humanly possible? Well, therein lies, as they say, the rub. Haven't Americans been taught, for at least eight decades now, that government people are superhuman in their powers? That, in fact, government is omnipotent? How sweet it is to see the pols, flacks, and bureaucrats of leviathan held accountable to the myth they themselves so relentlessly promote — the myth that, necessarily, they live by. [Nicholas Strakon]

Henry Gallagher Fields comments. Those with a taste for irony will savor the fact that, over those eight decades, journalists themselves have immeasurably aided the officials of leviathan in propagating the myth of government's omnipotence.  (May 2010)

However widely some of us pro-Westerners may disagree with each other over government's attempts to regulate people's movement, the blizzard of boycotts against Arizona on the part of businesses, political entities, and even sports teams clarifies one thing for all of us. It's immediately obvious, of course, that it's not plumb-line libertarians (all thirteen of us) who are fomenting the boycotts; if libertarians were to mount boycotts on account of all statist impositions that are as bad as Arizona's or worse, we'd have to boycott life, basically. No, the organizations doing this strangely selective boycotting are controlled by cultural Bolsheviks, multi-culti operatives, and their spineless appeasers. The boycott movement vividly illustrates the immense clout wielded by Red Guards right throughout American society. I thought I'd gauged their clout pretty well, but I am taken aback by the rapidly lengthening shadow of That Hideous Strength. [Nicholas Strakon]

Speaking of sports teams, a few days ago Fox News outed the assistant school superintendent in suburban Chicago who forbade a girls basketball team from playing in Arizona — Suzan Hebson — as a full-fledged homosexualist. Three years ago she forced freshmen to attend a homosexualist orientation and made them promise not to tell their parents about it. And in 2008, as principal of Deerfield High School, she made the homosexualist play "Angels in America" required reading for all students.

Another great triumph for government education! I just can't understand why a few misguided, reactionary parents insist on home-schooling their kids, can you?

Here's the story at Fox: "School Official in Basketball Flap Is No Stranger to Controversy," by Jana Winter. [NS]  (May 2010)

Don't worry: The rule of law is safe in the hands of our rulers. According to the Associated Press, the Supreme Court ruled today that "federal officials can indefinitely hold inmates considered 'sexually dangerous' after their prison terms are complete.

"The high court in a 7-2 judgment reversed a lower court decision that said Congress overstepped its authority in allowing indefinite detentions of [prisoners] considered 'sexually dangerous.'"

Elena Kagan, by the way, supports this idea. So I suppose everyone who thinks she's a Red in tissue-thin pink chiffon should relax. She's really a law 'n' order conservative!

I have just a couple of questions. Why not extend this uh, evolution of the uh, rule of law to cover murderers, arsonists, and robbers?

And after that is accomplished, why not extend it also to cover economic and political criminals who some Authorities predict may "offend" again? After all, such fiends do violence to the very fabric of Society.

Indefinite imprisonment for all! It would certainly simplify the sentencing process, saving our busy judges much time and effort.

I cannot be the only one thinking along these lines. [Nicholas Strakon]  (May 2010)

No! Stop it! You're killing me! To someone who's managed to hang on to his sense of humor, these leftists are really a scream. On the "Chris Matthews Show" for Sunday morning May 16, fill-in hostess Norah O'Donnell reported the results of a "Matthews Meter" poll of twelve of the show's regular participants from the MSM. The question was: If confirmed, will Elena Kagan prove to be a "Fighter on the Left," or a "Consensus-Builder" ...

(wait for it)

... like Barack Obama!

The vote was 10-2 in favor of Obamunist "Consensus-Builder." I somehow managed to make a note of that, even though I'd just spilled my coffee and fallen out of my chair. [Nicholas Strakon]  (May 2010) 

Strakon's Guide to Cooperation for the Good Citizen. Determined as always to be helpful and public-spirited, I've delved into Google on behalf of the responsible citizens among our readers who failed to return their Census questionnaire in time — perhaps inadvertently tossing it into their Approved Hazardous (Non-Recyclable) Waste Receptacle — but who still want to do all they can to make a success of the Central Government's utopian technocratic socialism.

Personally, I'm most excited by the Census authorities' promises of a breakthrough on the road-building front. Yes, assuming I've correctly understood the Popular Enlightenment they've been disseminating, our rulers are finally going to turn that commanding height of our economy over to the utopian technocrats, ripping it away from the fascist corruptionists and their indispensable enemies, the enviro-Stalinists, who together have dominated it for so long. The only thing that our dear leaders need to carry out that startling revolution is accurate information from us, their loyal citizens, so they can determine with scientific objectivity where the roads should be built! Well, OK, they'll also need the usual tax money, of course. And seizures of our property under eminent domain.

Anyway, I've retrieved some bits and pieces of information from various Websites, hoping that you can use it to maximize your cooperation and make things as easy as possible for your assigned enumerator, who faces such a tough and challenging task in serving the progressive collectivity — and who is that but us!

Enumerators hit the streets last week, and I discovered that they will continue phoning citizens and knocking on doors until sometime in June. In my tour, I came across some apparent disagreement among Census officials, from locality to locality, about whether an enumerator will make six or only three visits to a given residence before resorting to other measures. Finally I found this explanation from Monica Davis, U.S. Census Media Specialist for the Philadelphia area, paraphrased by a reporter for NJ.com: "The total number of times a numerator [sic] will attempt correspondence [sic] is six. Of the six attempts, three are made by phone and three are made by physical home visits." That probably resolves the apparent contradiction.

According to the Vermont State Data Center, "If you are not home, [enumerators] may ask your neighbors about good times to reach you. Or they may ask you about your neighbors." Just think how difficult that latter part would be for the hard-pressed enumerator — if, you know, you weren't home.

Pressing on: "If they can never get in touch with you, their only source of information may be your neighbors."

However, on an official-looking page titled "Enumerator Job Description," I saw this: "If [the enumerators] are still unsuccessful, they will take the information they have and pass it along to a supervisor who may also make an attempt to follow up with the resident." That would make seven attempts. More important — a supervisor! Certainly none of us would ever want to impose such an inconvenience on a supervisor.

Elsewhere I found a statement that in extremis an enumerator can consult public record information.

In the comments section of the Job Description page, I found many upsetting complaints and worries voiced by newly trained enumerators, including some who — sad to say — have already been discharged from this great project. One enumerator who is hanging in there so far writes that it "annoys me that we have to go out 3 times (this site says 6) to get data!" Unfortunately, even some enumerators seem to be confused about how many personal visits they're expected to make. In any case, responsible citizens will take pains not to annoy their assigned enumerator.

Now I hope that this misguided policy will not encourage any as-yet-unenumerated citizens to be lackadaisical in their participation, but according to the Job Description page, enumerators are forbidden to carry any weapons. In my Googling I also learned that enumerators are not supposed to enter enumeratees' dwellings unless they're invited — just like vampires. I know, I know, that's a very bad joke. Vampires are not public servants!

Enumerators set their own hours, more or less, but are restricted to no more than 40 hours a week, and in some areas the Census authorities are limiting them to fewer hours.

According to the Vermont State Data Center, "Census workers ... try to visit houses when most people are home," and "they may visit weekdays or weekends." That includes Sundays, no doubt, and that's only reasonable. After all, permitting enumeratees to enjoy a day of rest without interacting with their official helpers would amount to an unconstitutional establishment of religion.

The Data Center goes on to report that enumerators "work until the early evening."

Wrapping up, I have to say that I found one revelation by a Census official to be keenly disappointing. Zoi Kalaitzidis, assistant regional census manager in Boston, informed Bill Kirk of the Eagle-Tribune (North Andover, Mass.) that although "it's a federal offense not to fill out the form or to respond to census workers ... the Census Bureau never enforces the $5,000 fine that the law allows it to levy." That's Kirk's paraphrase.

He quotes Kalaitzidis: "We are not a law enforcement agency. Our job is to collect the data."

Letting citizens commit the crime of ownlife with impunity is a recipe for disaster. In order to be fully implemented, utopian technocratic socialism requires harsh penalties for non-cooperation! [Nicholas Strakon]

They're so easily amazed. I was visited by a Census enumerator last week. I opened the door to find a very nice-looking old lady, who explained that she was from the Census.

I said, "Thank you — I'm not interested."

Her mouth fell open. "You're not interested?" she squeaked.

She was clearly staggered by that information. Here she was with the might and majesty of the Empire behind her, and I threw this non-sequitur at her.

I smiled at her and said, "Thank you," and shut the door.

I'm on the list now. It's only a matter of time. [David T. Wright]  (May 2010)

Puerto Rico: ¡Independentista, sí! ¡Estadidad, no! (May 2010)

Not whether but when. Some form of financial "reform" is sure to pass. It will consist of more regulation. Even so, the next time there is a problem in the economy or the stock market tumbles, we will be told that the "market" is insufficiently regulated.

And if even one prepositional phrase in the passed bill is ever repealed, we will be told that the problem is deregulation.

Count on it. In fact, TLD's high-powered attorneys are hard at work now figuring out how we can set up an Internet pool for readers who want to place a bet on the date when this will occur. [Ronn Neff]  (May 2010)

Yet again: Transparodistic, just transparodistic. The first thing you have to understand is that I sometimes talk back to the TV. I'm just an old bachelor; I'm not crazy. Well, in any case, I'm an old bachelor.

This morning on Fox News, anchor Gregg Jarrett, wide-eyed and amazed, reported on a recent study showing that increased anti-drug law enforcement leads to increased violence on the part of people working in the unapproved-drug industry.

"No!" I exclaimed. "How could that be? Certainly no one has ever suspected such a thing before! Why, it's counterintuitive!"

Five seconds later, Jarrett declared that the study's results were — in a word — "counterintuitive."

It has become impossible to satirize this idiocy. After all this time, many decades into the World System's eternal, anti-social, chaos-producing Drug War, an MSM outlet still hasn't tumbled to the fact that anti-drug law enforcement created the violence in the unapproved-drug industry in the first place, and that — obviously — increased enforcement leads to increased violence.

I do hope that taxpayers aren't being forced to pay for these studies. I'd hate to have to pay for the next "counterintuitive" study that's no doubt coming down the pike, showing that the sun rises in the East. [Nicholas Strakon] 

AP story on the study
(April 2010)

Scissors cut paper. The Central Government's pending "too big to fail" legislation offers another good teaching moment to skeptics of statism. Where did the notion of an economic entity's being "too big to fail" come from in the first place? Why, from the Central Government, that's where! It's a government policy.

It's as if a man were to handcuff himself and think, OK, I'm going to hide the key. Only I will know where it is, and I'll make sure never to tell myself.

Crazy as it seems, that's the American way, and it leads me to shift my focus to a more general conceit of Americans. We anti-constitutionalists argue that a constitution is ultimately futile for purposes of restraining the growth and activity of a state. That's because a constitution is not an autonomous entity capable of protecting itself — enforcing its "right" reading and thereby guarding liberty. It's merely a piece of paper, resting in the hands of men. And those men are government employees, the very people whom the document is designed to restrain (or so we are instructed). Government employees write such documents, they enforce such documents, and they interpret such documents — in effect, they amend them through reinterpretation, when they do not literally amend them.

Pieces of paper are no substitute for a libertarian culture informed by libertarian principle. In the era when America enjoyed a somewhat libertarian culture (at some levels), the Constitution was read as a somewhat libertarian document. But now that America suffers under a totalitarian political culture ... things are different. (That actually is the Pollyannish version. In fact, in writing and imposing the U.S. Constitution, the Founders erected the first real Central Government over the polities of English-speaking Americans. And it was a system pregnant with growth. But then what state is not?)

With the "too big to fail" legislation, we see our totalitarian culture in full flower. As the regime attempts to handcuff itself, it simultaneously attempts to affix even heavier shackles on society, its victim. I'm no expert on how the regime operators' minds work, but perhaps they are sufficiently in touch with reality to understand that they can't really restrain themselves and their successors from awarding "too big to fail" subsidies in the future. One "solution," then, is to impose even worse regulation on the economy in an attempt to keep any given institution from becoming "too big." It doesn't occur to them, of course, that government itself played the crucial role in cartelizing important segments of the economy.

Well, utopianism forever! as I find myself exclaiming all the time nowadays. But let's propose, in arguendo, that just this once, regulation will effectively police the Insiders instead of privileging them and protecting them against competition. Even so, statutes are just so much paper. Amending or repealing or reinterpreting a statute to give leviathan more latitude is hardly ever as "politically impossible" as amending or repealing or reinterpreting a statute to restrict leviathan. You may have noticed that. [Nicholas Strakon]

Modine Herbey chimes in. I've got an idea. The Constitution is a meta-law partly intended to keep the ordinary laws in check. So let's implement a Super-Constitution as a meta-meta-law to keep the Constitution in check! Yeah, that oughtta work!

Related column by Ronn Neff:
"'Gun-control' libertarians" (2002)
(April 2010)

What god would they be serving? My sentiments about the Rev. Franklin Graham's disinvitation by the Pentagon are the same as my sentiments about whether a mention of God might be permitted to remain in the Pledge of Allegiance.

My opinion on the latter was that, with or without a mention of the divinity, no self-respecting free American could possibly utter that totalitarian pledge.

The Rev. Graham and every self-respecting free American must stay far away from the unholy Pentagon and its war-deifying "prayer" extravaganzas, and far away from all the other wiles and stratagems of the Great Beast crouching in the Imperial Capital. [Nicholas Strakon]  (April 2010)

Sorry, but someone will have to explain this to me again. Newsweek's latest cover story deals with Hillary Clinton and her work as imperial foreign minster, and in it I found an observation by the writer, Michael Hirsh, that might seem unremarkable but that actually should drive one in a profoundly radical direction. Most of Hirsh's readers, though, will not be so driven. Such observations are a dime a dozen in analytical pieces, and I'm afraid that, for too many readers, familiarity has bred a lack of contempt.

The piece at hand is "Obama's Bad Cop," and it features this editor's promo: "[Hillary] Clinton's played the heavy with Iran, Russia, and even Israel — and her sometimes hawkish views are finding favor with the president."

Here's the observation. Hirsh writes that "the sharp differences between Obama and Clinton over foreign policy on the campaign trail were, as many on both sides now acknowledge, largely political theater. In fact, their views of American power had never been that far apart."

Oh, really? "Political theater"? Stop and think about that.

Many readers of Hirsh's piece will smirk and say, "Sure. That's politics for you. What else is new?"

Which brings me to what I need to have explained, one more time. If that's what democratic politics is, why do so many otherwise intelligent people — including, I'm sure, many of Hirsh's readers — show up at the theater on the first Tuesday after the first Monday to carry spears for actors such as Clinton and Obama? Certainly, some people have the yen to get on an actual stage, even if it's only as a mute extra in the background. But at least those munchkins know the difference between a play and real life, between fact and fiction, between the truth and the lie. Why do voters allow themselves to be deceived by the political class, show after show, theater season after theater season? Why do they ever believe anything these posturing political actors say? I just don't get it. [Nicholas Strakon]  (April 24, 2010)

What do conservatives seek to conserve? The other day I happened to be listening to conservative talk-radio host Mark Levin, who shouts at his callers and calls them morons.

He had been going on at length about the Constitution and how important it is for people to understand it and for the government to follow it. He told us how the Founding Fathers understood so much about the need for separation of powers and limiting government. His very next call was from a guy who urged him to take a position on getting rid of the Federal Reserve.

"And replace it with what? Get out of here, you moron," Levin told the guy. And hung up on him.

Well, how about replacing it with something constitutional, which is to say, Nothing!

Does this soi-disant champion of the Constitution not even know that most of the Framers were opposed to the creation of a national bank? [Ronn Neff]   (April 2010)

Our rulers' doublespeak. "It's typical of the champions of the all-absorbing state that even as they treat the family as something a child must be protected from, they try to clothe the state itself in the warm metaphors of 'family,' 'community,' and 'village.'" — Joe Sobran, "The Government We're Stuck With," 1997/2010.  (April 2010)

You might take a look at the Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation E-Package, a twice-weekly column by various writers e-mailed to subscribers and donors.

When the statists come out to dance. They have lesbian high-school students nowadays, even in Mississippi, and one such lass (and the ACLU) sued her state school when it cancelled this spring's prom rather than permit her to take a fellow lesbian as her "date." The plaintiff also sued for permission to wear a tuxedo at the affair. A Central Government judge has now ruled that the tyro Sapphite's rights were violated, but he has refrained from ordering the prom to be held. Some parents are planning a private prom, though USA Today reports that it's not clear whether homosexuals will be welcome. ("Judge: Lesbian student's rights violated," by Chris Joyner, March 24)

Even if the private prom goes forward, one lesbian will have disrupted the plans of a whole lot of normal folks. But that's just the kind of thing that happens under statism, which inherently creates social conflict. Or to put it more precisely, statism converts social differences into political and legal warfare.

In a society where state and school were separated — and the rest of our freedom of association was restored — some schools might tell the homosexual girl, "Sure! Bring it on, tux and all!" and others might say, "No. Not here." In fact, homosexuals, if they wanted to display their homosexuality, would probably go to homosexual or "diversity" schools, and normal people would go to normal schools. You'd pay your money and you'd take your choice. Such matters would be the business of the schools and their customers, and no one else. Under freedom, the kind of combat that is convulsing Aberdeen, Mississippi, right now would be impossible.

Three cheers for private proms — and private everything else. [Nicholas Strakon]  (March 2010)

This propaganda video neatly combines an appeal to Central Government socialism with disgusting cultural degradation, and if it doesn't make a Census resister out of you, nothing will:

"We can't move forward until you mail it back"
You can find other Census PSA's — many others — at spotsource.census.gov/frontpage, including some in Spanish. The (taxpayer) money the regime is spending to wheedle people to participate illustrates one thing, assuming you were in any doubt. With respect to this particular kind of government snooping, the old slogan of the Borg is reversed: RESISTANCE ... IS ... EASY. [Nicholas Strakon]  (March 2010)

The Holy "I" trumps the Holy "O." Now let's see. Israel is continually building settlements on the West Bank — on property seized from Palestinians — which is illegal by the standards of international law. Israel's new plan to build housing for Jews in occupied East Jerusalem essentially prevents a two-state peace agreement with the Palestinians, who expect to control that territory. The Obama administration largely overlooked those actions until Israel announced the East Jerusalem project at the very time Vice President Biden was visiting. And, after all of that, whom does the Washington Post criticize for belligerency? — Obama! The "American chastising of Israel invariably prompts still harsher rhetoric, and elevated demands, from Palestinian and other Arab leaders," the Post pontificates. ("The U.S. quarrel with Israel," March 16, 2010)

No, we certainly wouldn't want the Palestinians to make "elevated demands" such as the return of land that Israel has taken from them!

The Post is very much disturbed about "Mr. Obama's quickness to bludgeon the Israeli government." Yes, indeed, criticism must be equated with bullying and beating, when Israel is the one being criticized. The Post goes on to claim that Obama "is not the first president to do so." Presumably, in the convoluted imagination of the Washington Post's editorialist, American presidents have been walloping poor little Israel for years. But the Post is not about to cry over allegedly victimized Israel; instead, it points out that "tough tactics don't always work." Yes, a few critical words — when directed at Israel — certainly represent inappropriate "tough tactics"!

One would think, however, that in any real effort to get tough with Israel, the United States would go beyond strong words and actually threaten to reduce its material support for the Jewish state. But that kind of tough tactic presumably transcends the limits of the Post's imagination — or it's just not allowed to be considered. Of course, where Israel's Middle East enemies are concerned, the Post has not been loath to support economic sanctions, bombing, and invasions.

As a result of the president's purportedly belligerent stance last year, the editorialist writes, "Mr. Obama's poll ratings in Israel plunged to the single digits." He continues: "The president is perceived by many Israelis as making unprecedented demands on their government while overlooking the intransigence of Palestinian and Arab leaders." Well, Obama certainly wouldn't want to lose the support of the Israeli people. On the other hand, exactly what country does he represent? And what country does the Washington Post think he should represent? It's interesting that while the Post expresses concern about the Israelis' unhappiness with Obama, it is upset about Washington's actually seeming to appeal to the interests of the Palestinians and Arabs, which might cause them to make "elevated demands."

Let's be clear about the overriding significance of what this editorialist has written. These words did not come from the Christian Right, the neoconservatives, AIPAC, or some other entity that is frank in its bias toward the Jewish state. Rather, they came from one of the two most influential newspapers in the United States (along with the New York Times), which trumpets its objectivity. This is the authoritative voice of the media establishment. This is what people in the know are expected to believe. [Stephen J. Sniegoski]  (March 2010)

In the Catacombs. As you may know by now [February 23], Jared Taylor and American Renaissance managed to hold an abbreviated conference after all, on Saturday afternoon, despite the best efforts of our common enemies. Mr. Taylor has posted a report at the AR site: "2010 AR Conference Held Against All Odds."

The list of speakers was of course shorter than originally planned, but it included Sam Dickson, who according to Mr. Taylor

elaborated a theory of how schizophrenia on race contributes to the rise of white sociopaths to elite positions. He argued that unlike non-whites, who need not strike foolish poses about race — who are free to make healthy demands in the names of their people — prominent whites are so accustomed to lying about the most basic aspects of society that only the most practiced liars ever rise to positions of power.
A correspondent of mine who was there paraphrased Mr. Dickson's formulation in this way: The United States is the first country in history to be ruled at all levels by sociopaths. Veteran TLD readers may recall that I, too, have detected widespread sociopathy among the officials who rule us and among the candidates who seek to rule us. I hope the text of Mr. Dickson's address will be published, as well as Mr. Taylor's own speech, titled "What Is at Stake for Our People."


My correspondent reports a startling exchange that came to light at the conference. After Jeffrey Imm and his communist allies began their assault on the conference, Mr. Taylor challenged Imm to debate him at the National Press Club. Imm countered with an offer to "debate" Mr. Taylor at a protest meeting he had planned! Mr. Taylor declined that gracious invitation, but one conference attender revealed that he himself was curious enough to go to the location specified by Imm, to find a lonely Imm mysteriously unsurrounded by any throng of admirers. Seizing the opportunity, the AR sympathizer asked Imm, "Why'd you call in death threats to the Manassas Four Points Sheraton?" (That was the third hotel to abrogate its contract with AR.) And Imm is said to have replied: "Yeah, we're sorry about that."

Oh, "we" are, are "we"? I will be interested to see whether Imm will repeat that on the witness stand, under oath.


The first hotel to renege on AR was the Dulles Marriott, and it apparently did so without receiving any death threats. Earlier this month, the Marriott chain hosted a different kind of conference at its Warner Center Marriott, in Woodland Hills, Calif. The name of the gathering was the "XBIZ State of the Industry Conference." What industry? The porn industry, that's what. Larry Flynt was one of the speakers. A report on the proceedings posted at The Wrap makes no reference to any controversy or protest directed at the Marriott, or any tortured soul-searching by the management over whether to host the conference.

At one time, Marriott was considered a "Mormon chain." How quaint that sounds now. [Nicholas Strakon]  (February 2010)

Once again, clear as mud. During the time of Clinton, the MSM liked to tell us that a vast fortune in taxpayer money was lost every day during the periodic government shutdowns, and at one point I joked in TLD that under that philosophy of arithmetic it was obvious what we needed to do: Proceed immediately to a full-bore totalitarianism under which the government laid claim to everything, right down to our shoes and wastebaskets. Clearly, government would then be costless!

Now the Imperial City has shut down again, as a result of the Great Obama Blizzards. And this time the MSM were authorized to report a little more fully as they uncritically passed along the System's party line. Or at least one of my local newsreaders was, when he said that "the federal government loses an estimated $100 million of productivity for every day it's closed."

Ah! "Productivity"!

Now I get it. The pols and bureaucrats are still being paid even though they're not going to the office. Finally, that explains ...

Wait — government productivity? [Nicholas Strakon]

As a perfect riposte to the System's definition of productivity, let us recall the old truth that no one's life, liberty, or property is safe while the legislature is in session.

We'd be better off if the banditti just robbed us and then sat at home, watching TV and eating potato chips. Instead they use most of the loot to enslave and harass us, wage criminal wars in our name, propagandize us, ruin our children, pay their own puppet-masters, and wreck our lives and enterprises. [Henry Gallagher Fields]  (February 2010)

The mentality. The Indiana House is about ready to send a bill to the Senate that would ban smoking in "public places," with some exceptions. And of course, fellow sheepizens, such a ban would only be right! Many municipalities have enacted their own smoking ban, and that has created an unfair competitive advantage for bars and restaurants outside the restrictive areas. We must ensure a level playing field, with none of those obstructive freedoms jutting out anywhere to trip up our rulers.

A woman-on-the-street interview aired by the Fort Wayne CBS affiliate, WANE-TV, perfectly captured the modern American mentality. The young lady said she strongly supported a statewide ban. Why? Well, because she is addicted to smoking and hopes to quit someday.

I don't think that's what Bill W. had in mind when he advocated turning one's fate over to a Higher Power.

It's unpleasant to see someone yearn to surrender one's own freedom and become a slave of the state. But there's more going on here, and I'm afraid it accurately represents the modern democratic ideology as it is understood at the grass roots. The tobacco-addicted interviewee is trying to surrender not only her own freedom but that of other people, too, especially the freedom of those who want to permit smoking on what is purported to be their property.

Americans have always had trouble minding their own business, and we're seeing just what that can lead to, now that our libertarian culture is dead, dead, dead. [Nicholas Strakon]  (February 2010)

The revolution wasn't. When Scott Brown, the new senator from Massachusetts, says the election is over, what he means is this: "All you Tea Partyers can go back to your sheeple pens now, while I get down to the serious business of cutting a deal with Obama to expand government's control over health care by 89 percent instead of the 100 percent favored by my predecessor." [Richard Wilkins]  (January 2010)

Building socialism. I guess this shows that I've been around the block a few times, even if that block is situated in fly-over soybean country, six hundred miles from the Imperial City.

An idea for a parable occurred to me the other day, having to do with the progress of the socialist health bill. Let us imagine that a grizzled VP for Construction at a department-store chain is touring a new store at its grand opening, accompanied by an eager and sharp-eyed young management trainee. And the youngster is troubled: "Uh, sir, the plumbing seems insufficient."

VP: "The budget didn't allow for more. But the pipe-ducts are in place. We'll upgrade the plumbing next year."

Trainee: "I see. But, look — that corridor leads nowhere!"

VP: "Relax, my boy. It will when we build the new wing."

Trainee: "Sir, some of these elevator shafts don't have any cars or cables!"

VP: "Next year ... next year."

And so on. The analogy breaks down, of course, because a private company in a competitive marketplace wouldn't open a half-finished store. But Congress passes half-baked legislation all the time. Often that just reflects idiocy, but sometimes it illustrates a very different trait: the cunning of the true political wolf.

Before starting to write my parable, I retrieved a Politico.com update promoting one of their stories with this teaser: "Dems are already hinting at future changes to health care, hoping to calm revolt on the left." This is the story: "Public option tensions linger," by Carrie Budoff Brown and Patrick O'Connor.

And in it I read:

Just hours after a critical Monday morning vote in the Senate, Democrats were already talking about future changes to the health reform effort in hopes of calming a revolt among liberal activists.

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), chairman of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, predicted the government health insurance option long favored by liberals would be part of that second look.

"It will be revisited," Harkin said. "This is just the beginning.... What we're building is a starter home, not a mansion. And guess what? We have room for expansions and additions later on."

Department store, starter home: Tomato, tomahto. The Politico.com writers — youngsters, perhaps — don't seem to take Harkin's construction plans very seriously. But I do.

Senior editor Ronn Neff, for his part, points out that we see here why the leaders are willing to make whatever compromises they have to, in order to get the bill passed.

The political gravity of our time moves us relentlessly toward ever more statism. I am left asking: Over the next few years, how many Republicans will quietly help the Democrats finish building their expanded mansion of socialism? [Nicholas Strakon]

Historical perspective. In her great book Dependent on D.C., Charlotte Twight observes that important and evil parts of HillaryCare were enacted a few years after the package as a whole went down to defeat in Congress. See especially pp. 213-214.

(December 2009)

Yet another futile observation by Strakon. The only reason I'm going to specifically beat up on Democratic Party Flack Donna Brazile here, among the thousands of other polfolk who must have said the same thing, is that I heard her say it, straight out, on George Stephanopoulos's "This Week" panel this past Sunday.

Among the "abuses" she said congressional Democrats are determined to correct, Miss Brazile listed the health-insurance companies' "discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions."

In American Newspeak, you understand, discrimination is always doubleplusungood.

Now it seems to me that anyone operating a live brain, hearing what Miss Brazile said, would have to ask: Is this woman too stupid and ignorant to understand what insurance is? Or is she an evil trickster seeking to manipulate the stupid and ignorant among her listeners?

But if the latter, when did things get so easy for the forked of tongue? Even the stupid and ignorant have auto-insurance policies, have they not? Don't they understand that someone with a history of motor-vehicle disasters is going to be paying higher premiums? And, you know, mutatis mutandis ...? Ah, never mind. I don't know why I bother. [Nicholas Strakon]  (December 2009)

Mr. Thompson rampant. Let me get this straight. In the same period that the regime has rewarded dinosaurian, politically mired, fascist-poisoned financiers and auto manufacturers for their failure, it has hosted a massive antitrust suit against Intel brought by one of that company's less successful competitors. And now, only a few weeks after the settlement of that $1.2 billion mugging, the FTC itself has brought suit, accusing the chipmaker of "trying to snuff out competition in its sector" (CBC News). The European central regime has also been persecuting Intel, seeking to rob it of $1.45 billion, and the Robber General of New York, Andrew Cuomo, is seeking plunder for his predatory gang, too.

Now, I don't mean to idealize Intel — it does some business with leviathan — but let's keep a sense of proportion and try to see things in context. If Intel did actually engage in any "snuffing out" or "conspiring" or "bribing" (of customers), its persecutors stipulate that it did so using only peaceful, voluntary means — whereas they themselves, brandishing their guns and shackles, depend absolutely on coercive, tyrannical means to get their way.

One of the charges being laid by the parasites and looters is that Intel has stifled innovation — in an era when chip-driven electronics is one of the few major industries not crushingly dominated and distorted by government intervention, and thus is one of the few still able to produce both stunning innovation and ever-more-competitive prices.

To the distress and surprise of the System's intelligentsia, sales of Ayn Rand's books have surged this year. But I'm not surprised, and I won't be surprised if, this Christmas, an increased number of people find nestling under the tree — among all those nifty, cheap new electronics — a crisp new copy of Atlas Shrugged. [Nicholas Strakon]  (December 2009)

Have you reread Atlas Shrugged  yet this decade?

We hold this duncery to be self-evident. On November 5, addressing the crowd of anti-PelosiCare protesters, John Boehner, Republican minority leader in the House, whipped out an object he said was his copy of the Constitution. He began bloviating that he stood with the Founders, who wrote in the Preamble of the Constitution, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

We can't attribute this gaffe to a mere misspeaking on his part. After all, he held up a physical object. Did he not know what he was holding? And he explicitly referred to a "preamble."

So I say, Really? Can we really not expect of elected officials, who take an oath to protect the Constitution — an oath Boehner has had to take at least five times — to know the difference between it and the Declaration of Independence? Is it really too much to expect a crowd who say they love the Constitution not to laugh this constitutional illiterate to scorn and run him off the stage?

I have a booklet that contains both the Constitution and the Declaration. Can it be that John Boehner has such a booklet and is unaware that there are two different documents in it? Can it be that he does not know they are not the same document?

Further: Because of his position, this guy probably has the largest staff in the Republican caucus. Does he have no one on his staff — not even one functioning mind — who works on his speeches who is capable of recognizing one of these documents from the other? Just how many historically illiterate people helped prepare his comments?

Worse: How many people listening to him didn't even notice? How many actually know the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and are able to distinguish one text from the other?

If I thought that the Constitution was a good thing, I would cease to despair of the loss of constitutional government in this country: some people just can't keep nice things.

I have sometimes wondered what good a Constitution is if it can be ignored at will. Now I have to wonder what good a Constitution can possibly be — what good reasonable, unasleep people can expect it to be — when neither those elected nor those who vote for them know what is in the miserable thing. [Ronn Neff]  (November 2009)

The ghost of Walter Karp. Appearing on the George Stephanopoulos panel ("This Week," ABC-TV) on November 1, former Clintonista operative Dee Dee Myers said something remarkable — not so much in its actual content as in the fact that she said it at all in such a public forum. Dede Scozzafava, the Republican candidate for the special election in New York's 23rd congressional district, had just dropped out of the race. George Will pointed out that Scozzafava was indistinguishable from a left-wing Democrat, and another panel member noted that the left-wing Website Daily Kos had actually endorsed Scozzafava over the Democrat candidate. (Scozzafava urged her supporters to vote for Democrat Bill Owens, and in Tuesday's election, Owens defeated Conservative Doug Hoffman.)

What Myers said was this: "It was interesting that she was chosen by the county party chairs. Eleven people got in a back room and chose her for some reasons that may have to do with state party politics and not to do with winning."

Now, Stephanopoulos's audience are political junkies and surely more sophisticated than run-of-the-mill viewers of "Two and a Half Men." But such unvarnished, matter-of-fact Karpian analysis had to have shocked and mystified some significant portion of them: "But — but — what can parties and campaigns possibly be about if not trying to win elections?!"

The late Walter Karp remains the most obscure of the great American political analysts (except, perhaps, for some of the greats who were explicit libertarians). Hardly anyone ever cites him, and even most anti-System radicals seem completely unaware that he ever existed. But veteran political operatives such as Myers are intimately familiar with his insights, from their own personal experience. Those insights are supposed to remain terra incognita, however, for the untold millions of foot-shooting voters and System simps. Dee Dee had better watch her mouth. [Nicholas Strakon]  (November 2009)

The "individual mandate" strikes me as the single most invasive and outrageous part of the proposed government health takeover. That's probably because there's no other provision of the proposed fakelaw that would injure me more directly and unmistakably: thanks to the fascism and socialism our rulers have already imposed in the health and insurance industries, over many decades, I cannot begin to afford any health-insurance policy offered by what passes as a private company. Recently I heard on the telescreen that if the mandate does become fakelaw, "congressional conservatives" plan to sue in the Central Government courts, attempting to persuade the government employees on the bench to declare it unconstitutional. But few other people seem to be upset about it at all.

Apologists for the Permanent Regime, for their part, have come up with the ingenious and inventive question, "We require drivers to have insurance, don't we?" I kid, of course — about the ingenuity and inventiveness. It's really just another version of, "We license drivers, don't we?" (Somehow, that's always reminded me of the desperate observation, "They shoot horses, don't they?") Fans of leviathan have long used "obviously necessary" driver-licensing to justify any and all of government's licensing requirements, as well as proposals to extend licensing over hitherto unlicensed areas of endeavor. (As an inconvenient historical aside, I point out that at one time in this country, people weren't required to have a license to drive on the government roads. Several of my older relatives have told me that such was the case here in Indiana as late as the 1930s.)

Both rhetorical questions — the original one involving licensing and the revised one involving insurance — are wonderful demonstrations of how smooth, wide, and open the road to serfdom becomes as soon as you surrender the principle of freedom. Give them an inch, and our adversaries will take you five hundred miles down that road.

But our old anti-statist analysis does not exhaust the outrageousness of requiring people, under penalty of a special tax, to buy health insurance. Almost everyone, even including some fairly hard free-marketeers, concedes the notion that the government owns the roads it purports to own. And after all, the landlord makes the rules, right? (If only that applied to actual property owners!)

To extrapolate from mandating auto insurance for drivers on the government roads to mandating health insurance for people merely living in the country is a revealing leap, even within the prevailing statism. The people who make that leap are asserting that the government owns not just the roads but the whole country; maybe they're even asserting that the government owns our lives.

Of course, accepting taxes as just and moral is the same thing, the same concession. Taxes are the rent we pay for living on our masters' land. But in the case of taxes, familiarity seems to have bred a lack of contempt.

Poking around at the Sobran's site, I rediscovered this writing of Joe Sobran's: "'It's no use telling our rulers to mind their own business,' C.S. Lewis observed. 'Our whole lives are their business.' You can run afoul of the law nowadays by standing still. Doing nothing is illegal." And that's where we're at. [Nicholas Strakon]  (November 2009)

The "pay czar" has decreed that the salaries of certain auto and banking executives will be limited. The chairman of the Federal Reserve is "taking a look" at the pay of other bank employees.

Back in the 1960s, free-market conservatives and libertarians were warning you: with state money comes state control.

We were scoffed at. The state had no intention of controlling aspects of daily life just because it supplied funds by way of assistance. We were paranoid. We were conspiracy nuts.

We were right. [Ronn Neff]

Any number of people who one would expect would be outraged at the tyrannical declaration of the intention to control executive pay are instead saying, in effect, "Good." And they are saying that, because those executives (or at least their companies) received bailout money. If they are going to take the taxpayers' money, it is said, then the taxpayers have the right to limit their pay.

In the first place, it should be noted that the taxpayers are doing no such thing. Unelected czars (just what every free society needs!) are doing it — men who cannot even pretend, in virtue of some election, that they speak or act for "the people."

But more important, let us remember that before the bailouts, before the economic meltdown, we knew that the more power the state exercises, the worse it is for us. The more power the state exercises, the less freedom there is. So what has changed? The state now presumes to exercise more power, and there is less freedom.

No additional exercise of state power is good or just. Think in principles. The state cannot — by extending its reach by handing out money — make its further reach just or fair. Rather, each act enlarges its tyranny. When you say of the new targets of tyranny, "Good! They are getting what they deserve," notice that part of what you have just said is that the newly expanded tyranny is good. [RNN]

Just a matter of time ...

Minimum-wage laws.

Peacetime wage and price controls.

Pay caps, i.e., maximum-wage laws.

As long as one was accepted, it was really just a matter of time before the others were attempted. [RNN]  (October 2009)

The imaginary Reich. Back on September 26, 2007, ex-Minister of Labor Robert Reich gave a speech at Berkeley that's lately garnered a lot of attention on talk radio. I haven't been able to find a transcript, but I have transcribed the version on YouTube. The ellipses indicate breaks in the grammar.

I wish I could hear more of it, because Reich is obviously planning to make something of the imaginary speech. But the fact is, he says that this is what an honest politician would say, which means he must believe that it is, at root, an accurate statement of what government-supplied health care, as imagined by a leftist, would be like:

I will actually give you a speech made up entirely almost on the spur of the moment of what a candidate for president would say if that candidate did not care about becoming president. In other words, this is what the truth is and the candidate will never say, but what candidates should say if we were in a kind of democracy where citizens were honored in terms of their practice of citizenship and they were educated in terms of what the issues were and they could separate myth from reality uh, from ... in terms of what candidates would tell them.

"Thank you so much for coming this afternoon. I'm so glad to see you and, uh, I would like to be president. Let me tell you a few things on health care. Uh, look, we are ... we have the only health-care system in the world that is designed to avoid sick people. And that's true, and what I'm going to do is I am going to try to reorganize it to be, uh, more amenable to treating sick people, but that means you ... particularly you young people ... uh, particularly you young healthy people ... you're going to have to pay more. [Audience laughter and applause.] Thank you.

"Uh, and by the way, uh, we're going to have to — if you're very old — we're not going to give you all that technology and all those drugs for the last couple of years of your life to keep you maybe going for another couple of months. It's too expensive. So we're going to let you die. [More laughter and applause.]

"Uh, also, uh, I'm going to use the bargaining leverage of the federal government, uh, in terms of Medicare, Medicaid ... we already have a lot of bar ... bargaining leverage ... uh, to force drug companies and insurance companies and medical suppliers to reduce their costs, but that means less innovation and that means less new products and less new drugs on the market. Which means you are probably not going to live that much longer than your parents. [More laughter and applause.]"

[Ronn Neff]

When the laughing stops. I would say that I'm waiting with great anticipation for the time when the idiotic "laughter and applause" stop, but for the fact that we'll all be in the same bad fix as the idiots.

And no matter how newly crushing and newly disastrous the new foray into socialism is, Reich and his useful idiots are sure to blame greedy dog-eat-dog laissez-faire free-market capitalism. [Nicholas Strakon]  (October 2009)

Remember, fire is burny-burny hot! As you may have heard, at the end of September the Central Government's Transportation Ministry threw a "summit" on the new national crisis of "distracted driving," focusing on the dangers of texting while driving. And in early October, the Prophet Obama (Praise Be unto Him), "wanting to set an example for the country," issued an executive order forbidding federal employees from texting while driving government vehicles. That's according to an October 15 report by Denise Pellow at Examiner.com.

Pellow writes, "U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood believes police enforcement is not enough. 'You can't legislate behavior,' was his comment at the Distracted Driving Summit." Well, if they can't legislate behavior, then it's off-kilter to say that police enforcement is not enough. Instead, police enforcement is fruitless if not counter-productive.

Actually, they can legislate behavior — otherwise we'd be living in a free society, with no manufactured fake law — but they can't always enforce their busy little edicts. Thank God.

Other regime operators aren't bothering to paste scrambled libertarian-ish slogans over their proposals. Pellow reports that someone has proposed legislation to withhold Central Government highway money "from states that neglect to impose a 'texting and driving ban.'" (That someone turns out to be Chuck Schumer, according to CNN.) Confusingly enough, however, Pellow goes on to write that "18 states have complied to date." Complied with proposed legislation? Constitutionalists who still hold out hope for federalism and its scattered "laboratories of freedom" should note that the states — make that provinces — are now so cowed by Central authority and dependent on Central bribery that they're actually anticipating their master's commands. High-strung dogs sometimes do that.

Speaking of dependence  brings me to my main point. As an anti-statist, I draw the sharpest possible distinction between society and its enemy, the state. I'm on firm ground, there, morally and praxeologically (that is, in terms of the study of human action). But as the state continues remorselessly to extend its power and reach, the distinction starts to blur — out on the ground, so to speak. That's because there is ever less of genuine society and ever more of the state, as it replaces human society in the same way a runaway cancer remorselessly replaces healthy tissue in an organism.

Since society is made up of people, one necessary aspect of that process is the progressive mental disablement and infantilizing of the ruled population. In the book of his that I've been praising lately — Democracy: The God That Failed — Hans-Hermann Hoppe provides an extensive and riveting analysis of the process, which he places in the wider context of decivilization. Hoppe's explanations aside, I'd have to say that anyone who hasn't noticed the accelerating infantilization of American adults and the collapse of American civilization just hasn't been paying attention to what is in front of his nose.

The distracted-driving "summit" is an example in microcosm, carried to the transparodistic extreme. The focus of the confab, texting-while-driving, is such reckless, heedless, imbecilic, even suicidal behavior that, pessimistic as I am, I have difficulty believing anyone really does it who is allowed to leave the house by himself. But I have heard adult (albeit telescreen) journalists admit to doing it. I have to grant that many other people do it, too.

The transparodism doesn't stop there. If a large number of people can no longer grasp this particular aspect of self-preservation, and if they display such contempt for the life and well-being of others, then the Central Government "has to" step in and relieve them, or pretend to relieve them, of the responsibility of teaching and learning that it's crazy to play with hand-held devices while trying to pilot a car. What's next? In a few years, will people be depending on the government to warn them against touching the burny-burny stove? To remind them to breathe?

It may seem as though two dismal but separate trends just happen to be converging, namely, a metastasizing leviathan and a population mutating into clowns, fools, and infants in adult bodies. But it's not an accidental convergence.

It's one big malignancy. [Nicholas Strakon]  (October 2009)

P.C. from hell? An evangelical friend of mine has speculated that Barack Obama is the Anti-Christ.

I hope she is wrong. I have thought of the Anti-Christ as more dynamic — a man of dazzling achievements and suave speech to mislead the world.

I have never imagined him as an affirmative-action hire. [Ronn Neff]

Be grateful for small favors.  At least they didn't give him the Nobel Prize in Economics. [Modine Herbey]

You mustn't miss  Steve Sailer's reimagining of the Emperor's remarks upon receiving the Nobel Peace Prize. Sailer does something similar here to what I did when I twisted the Emperor's school speech into an address by Mr. Bartolomeo Obamio, president of Amerigo Vending and Industrial Laundry, Inc. I suppose strange minds think alike.

Obama's Acceptance Speech (posted at Sailer's blog)

[Nicholas Strakon]  (October 2009)

The MOCK in Duh-MOCK-risy. It's always Election Year somewhere in America, so crummy sociopaths in various states are scrabbling frantically through the final month of their struggle to seize or retain power. Moreover — and it just about makes me retch to think of it — the 2010 campaigns are well under way. Therefore I declare it timely to pass along this sharp-cut gem I found in a footnote of Hans-Hermann Hoppe's Democracy: The God That Failed :

Today, a person is deemed to be politically "represented" no matter what, i.e., regardless of his own will and actions or [those] of his representative. A person is considered represented if he votes, but also if he does not vote. He is considered represented if the candidate he has voted for is elected, but also if another candidate is elected. He is represented, whether or not the candidate he voted or did not vote for does or does not do what he wished him to do. And he is considered politically represented, whether "his" representative will find majority support among all elected representatives or not. (Transaction paperback edition, 2007, pp. 283-4, note 24)
It's remarkable what moronic fictions men rely on in the statish part of their life. We may mark the final extinguishing of civilization — if anyone is left to do the marking — when men come to rely on the same fictions in the rest of their life, i.e., in normal life. Or when the statish part of life envelops what used to be normal life. [Nicholas Strakon]  (October 2009)

I'm an anarchist. How come I  have to point this out? I am reminded more and more often that I'm just an old guy now. The latest reminder came when I heard about the anger and outrage that exploded after the "National Republican Congressional Committee [urged] Gen. Stanley McChrystal to put House Speaker Nancy Pelosi 'in her place' for weighing in on Afghanistan." ("NRCC hits Pelosi for Afghan remarks," by Glenn Thrush, Politico.com, October 7, 2009)

Although I've been an anarchist since 1969, I started my political peregrination on the Right, as a republican constitutionalist. And from my adolescence on throughout my entire adult life, I've heard over and over about how all normal Americans — right, left, and center — revere the Constitution. I know they don't, really, and that they just make up Constitutions as they go along, to suit their purposes, but it's hard to extinguish one's intellectual kneejerk responses.

Before I heard the details, my kneejerk response was to assume that what was angering and outraging the Republicans' critics was the idea that any military officer could rightfully put a civilian constitutional officer in his place. For those who try to take the Constitution seriously, it is an outrageous notion. I doubted that the Democrats were really angered and outraged, and assumed they were just attacking the Republicans in bad faith — but surely they were draping themselves, however ill-fittingly, in constitutional garb, yes?

No. Old-time constitutional assumptions play no part in the flap. Such assumptions aren't really alive in most people's minds any longer, not even for purposes of masquerade. It's not Pelosi's status as a high constitutional officer, per se, that the Democrats are adducing, but her status as a woman who has Made It as a powerful statesgoddess. The Republicans have ignored the mandatory protocols of the modern female-supremacist lingo: that's their deadly crime.

Meanwhile, the militaristic Republicans' open contempt for the old Constitution seems to be going unremarked — except, of course, in this anarchist forum. It all makes my head swim. [Nicholas Strakon]  (October 2009)

Pittsburgh. Once again, anti-capitalists held a big meeting — and, once again, other anti-capitalists showed up to protest it! Strange days ... strange days, indeed. [Nicholas Strakon]  (September 2009)

The charmless and offensive. Driving to work yesterday morning I heard on NRR (National Roosevelt Radio) that the Vice Emperor, Mr. Biden, has been unleashed on a "charm offensive" (I kid you not) to help sell the "health care" initiative. The news reader said that Biden is a "dangerous weapon," no doubt for his habit of making a pluperfect ass of himself.

What struck me is how frustrating it must be for the Mahogany Savior (peace be upon him) to have to depend on such people as Biden. He and Hillary Clinton have been buzzing around stabbing Obama in the back and embarrassing him through their incompetence. Obama had to jettison Green Czar Van Jones when the Limbaugh types publicized what a weirdo he was. His man in Afghanistan, General McChrystal, is a genuine nutball who boasts that he eats one meal a day and sleeps only four hours, and who is busy sabotaging the Emperor's attempts to convince the sheeple he's got everything there under control. And then there's Nancy Pelosi. I mean, what a bunch of gargoyles.

It reminds me of the movie "Bedazzled" — the original version — in which the Devil finds it so difficult to get anything done, because all he has to help him are the embodiments of the various sins: Lust (played by Raquel Welch), Gluttony, Anger, Vanity, etc., all of whom, by their very natures, are incapable of accomplishing anything. I think Biden would make a very good Vanity. Clinton would do well for Avarice. Ted Kennedy would, no doubt, have embraced the role of Gluttony.

It almost makes me feel sorry for Obama. But I don't. [David T. Wright]  (September 2009)

In praise of Larry O'Donnell. This goes back a ways — to May 15, in fact — and I should have written about it at the time, but it's still pertinent, and in fact it's too good to simply toss into File 13. On the morning in question my sometimes-embarrassing addiction to MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program paid rich rewards.

The eponymous host of the show is Republican ex-Congressman Joe Scarborough, a wisecracking, chaotic-minded bully who describes himself, somewhat confusingly, as both a Burkean conservative and a libertarian conservative. I have to say one good thing about him: he lets people appear on the program who disagree with him, and disagree in a variety of directions. As a result, "Morning Joe" is part of the small fraction of MSNBC's news and commentary programming that's not necessarily leftist all the time. Pat Buchanan frequently sits in as a member of the panel, and minarchists such as Tucker Carlson, Peter Schiff, and Dr. Ron Paul occasionally appear as guests. The usual totalitarians and corruptionists of leviathan are interviewed, of course, as well as outright left-wing ideologues; but illuminating sparks fly often enough to keep me interested.

So it was on May 15, when left-wing operative Lawrence O'Donnell, an in-studio guest, failed to play the fancy games of evasion that Reds usually play and bullied Scarborough back. Their stinging exchange came fifteen or twenty minutes after a remote interview of Dr. Paul.

O'Donnell to Scarborough: "All you conservatives are, are more-moderate socialists. Not one of you, not one Republican has ever introduced a bill to repeal Medicare, to repeal Social Security, or to abolish the Department of Education. None of you mean it. All you want to do is tinker with the socialism the way the Democrats do. You just want to spend a little less on it."

O'Donnell was wrong on the facts here, allowing Scarborough to protest that in 1995 he introduced a bill to "get rid of the federal education bureaucracy" that attracted 175 co-sponsors and made its way into the budget resolution.

Now, lacking an item veto, President Clinton of course vetoed the budget when it hit his desk, leading to one of those government "shutdowns" that used to occur every whip-stitch in those days ... Oh. Don't remember that particular one? Of course it didn't happen. What did happen, according to the New York Times, was that Scarborough's bill failed even to make it out of the House, which at the time was controlled by Republicans: "The House majority leader, Dick Armey of Texas, who scorns the department as an example of 'trickle-down incompetence,' acknowledged last week that he could not muster the votes this session to pass either of two bills to abolish the department."

By the way, Scarborough's bill would have preserved and transferred to another ministry one of the worst statist enormities ever invented, one that has lured a large proportion of young Americans into further dependence on leviathan and the System at large: the government student-loan program.

Scarborough's memory may be a little foggy, but I'm easy. I'll award him half a point on Fed Ed. With respect to Social Security and Medicare, though, Scarborough could only tell O'Donnell, "That's part of the social contract at this point."

O'Donnell: "Oh, social contract. Socialism contract. You guys like socialism as much as the Democrats. C'mon!"

That set Scarborough all a-burble about Edmund Burke and the need to preserve "the social order."

O'Donnell was relentless: "When socialism wins, you surrender. Like when socialism wins in the '30s and in the '60s, you surrender and never try to dismantle it."

Scarborough replied that getting rid of Social Security and Medicare would cause "social unrest."

O'Donnell observed that Ron Paul would get rid of them.

Scarborough replied, "He's not a Burkean conservative."

I doubt I've ever seen the bankruptcy of conservatism so vividly and definitively exposed on mainstream TV — even by a libertarian, let alone a leftist!

Remarkably, O'Donnell — whom Scarborough often "genially" zings as "Crazy Larry" — reappeared on the program a few weeks later to make the same extremely non-crazy points about conservatives.

We don't have to insist that Edmund Burke was sincere in his early anarchist work Vindication of Natural Society (1756) to wonder whether he could possibly have favored — at any point in his career — the kind of "social order" that the American leviathan has given us.

Leviathan, as I and many other writers have pointed out, creates not social order or social peace but social disorder and social war. Every time it thrusts its bloody pincers into another area of social life, it heightens social conflict. It is with respect to "public" libraries, including "public" school libraries, that we see ferocious political struggles over what books should be included. It is with respect to "public" schools that we see ferocious political struggles over curricula, student dress, busing, and the medicalization of misbehavior. It is with respect to "public" parks and the "public" square that we see ferocious political struggles over what symbols are to be displayed and what demonstrations of popular discontent are to be allowed. It is with respect to "public" roads that we see ferocious political struggles over helmet-wearing, child-safety cocoons, speed limits, and all the rest. If such matters were left to free society, whose material expression is the free market, such conflicts could never arise. People would be left — what's that's obscure formulation? Oh yes: Free to choose.

Leviathan sets people at each other's throat, inducing them to abandon peaceful coexistence in society and instead struggle to capture the violence of the state to work their will or at least defend themselves, desperately, against the enforced will of others. Leviathan's statization of health care and old-age pensions — the issues at hand here — has set the generations against each other, igniting inter-generational resentment, fear, and conflict. As it worsens, and the white demographic collapse continues, that conflict will come to include a major racial component as well; but we cannot expect Scarborough to recognize that, either, since he believes "we" (i.e., whites) are moving toward a "color-blind" society.

As for Scarborough's notional "social contract," I protest that no one ever asked me to sign such a contract; and I wager the same goes for you. Moreover, I point out that the state does not draw and propose social contracts, or any valid contracts for that matter; the state can only issue statish edicts and intimidations. It is accurate to consider the state a social institution only insofar as it is accurate to consider cancer a bodily tissue.

Lawrence O'Donnell is no partisan of freedom, and in most respects we may fairly regard him as our enemy; but he is a spark-striker, especially in contrast to soggy Big Government conservatives such as Scarborough. O'Donnell inhabits that unusual and narrow category of left-wingers who are worth listening to. [Nicholas Strakon]  (September 2009)

"You lie!" I keep reading that Joe Wilson's calling out, "You lie!" to the president during his address to a joint session of Congress was unprecedented, that it was the first time a president had ever been called a liar in the House of Representatives.

Others have noted that "Pete" Stark had called George W. Bush a liar, but I'm not interested in that sort of reply. What I marvel at is that people do not remember (or are pretending not to remember) that more than 50 percent of the House of Representatives called Bill Clinton a liar when they impeached him for committing perjury in a civil-rights case.

And it has been said that the reason Richard Nixon resigned is that he knew that when the articles of impeachment against him were put to a vote, they would be approved. And those articles of impeachment called him a liar.

Maybe Joe Wilson was just a little ahead of his time. [Ronn Neff]  (September 2009)

Let's not miss the forest for the ACORN. So this is what it takes to tear a screamingly left-wing, anti-white activist group away from the Central Government teat? To put a stop to its fifteen years of sucking up millions of dollars from tax victims? That's assuming ACORN really does end up defunded: as of this writing, Comrade Pelosi's House has yet to act, and of course we don't know what the left-corruptionists will sneak into one of their 1,000-page bills a few months from now, once people are distracted by some other governmental enormity.

I'm afraid I can produce only two cheers. According to the usual estimate, the Central Government has extorted and passed along $53 million in loot for ACORN since 1994. Reflect on that date. Didn't the right-populist "Republican Revolution" come to glory on Election Day 1994? Sending a feisty new cohort of heroic right-populist Republicans to take over Congress in January 1995? And didn't Republicans maintain majorities in both houses (apart from a minor blip in the Senate) for the next 12 years?

Good job with ACORN, there, Republicans.

The other thing keeping my huzzahs relatively muted is the fact that a fortune in money extorted from tax-victims is still flowing to left-wing groups (from state and local governments, too, by the way). Anyone heard of La Raza? How about the National Council of Senior Citizens? Catholic Charities? The Natural Resources Defense Council? Planned Parenthood, for heaven's sake? I could go on.

In fact, I will go on, since I don't wish to limit this to freedom's enemies on the Left. Other giant-government groups and individuals stand urgently in need of defunding, too. So I award a full three cheers to the title of a 2005 article by Cato's John Samples: "Defund Everyone"! [Nicholas Strakon]

Update. On September 17, the House voted to cut off all tax-victim subsidies to ACORN. (Sources: MSNBC and Politico.com) However, it turns out that the Senate cut off only one kind of subsidy, not all. A reconciliation procedure will therefore be necessary.
Even if democracy weren't inherently a joke, this business of government officials' subsidizing political pressure groups with taxpayer money would render it so. It incestuously corrupts the formulation of "public policy" — as if that needed further corruption! — and it calls into question the results of every election held since it began. [Modine Herbey]  (September 2009)

So why was it a bad idea to let one's children sit there and lap up Obama's school speech? According to the established media, including System mouthpieces such as MSNBC's "libertarian" and "Burkean" Joe Scarborough, only hysterical Birthers and other fever-swampers could possibly object to such a heart-warming, character-building public event. Indeed, what could possibly be wrong with having the Man Who Was Democratically Elected to Run Our Lives speak to schoolchildren on a nationwide hookup? Especially if he restricted himself to goody-goody pabulum and wore a good-role-model mask to conceal his shrieking Bolshevism?

All right, that last bit is fairly tendentious, but it gets to my point. I wish more of our countrymen could hear Obama and the rest of the statesgods as we anti-statists hear them. What follows is one possible way of hearing. In it, I depart a little from pure goody-goodyness, partly for comic effect, but you've got to read between the lines when it comes to statesgod utterances, and really I'm just filling in some of that interlineal material. (The transcript of the real speech can be found at www.cqpolitics.com/wmspage.cfm?parm1=5&docID=news-000003197719.)

VENUE: Antonio Meucci Technical High School, Rubblefield, N.J.


MR. BARTOLOMEO OBAMIO, president of Amerigo Vending and Industrial Laundry, Inc.
MR. ARNIE D'UNCANA, president of the school board

OBAMIO: How youse doon? So dis is da first day a high school?


OBAMIO: Hey. I'm tryin' to remember back to my first day a high school. I can't remember dat far back. Lotta water under da bridge since den. An' a lotta other t'ings. But it is great to see all a youse here. I'm really proud a my friend Arnie D'Uncana, who's doon a great job tryin'a create, whatcha call it, a envirament where all a youse can learn what's what. And I know it's a little intimidatin' wit' all my crew an' associates an' what not aroun', and all dis ...

D'UNCANA: Don' pay no attention to dem guys. Dey're all friends a ours.

OBAMIO: ... so just pretend dat dey're not dere.

Here's the main reason I wanted to come by. As Arnie pointed out, when I was growin' up, my faddah wasn't in the house. He was in anuddah house, ya know what I mean? We weren't poor, we weren't rich, hey. My muddah — Madonn', dat woman was a saint! — had to work real hard, so sometimes my grandparents had to fill in. And my wife, Michela, who all a youse have seen — the Bawse Lady, hey — her dad worked in a — as a ... well, I ain't gonna exactly say, but basically in a blue-collar job, kind of a contrac' worker, ya know? But not a big earner. Hey, whacha gonna do? Her mamma worked as a secatary, keepin' track a some money dat came an' went. What we call da vig. And dey lived in a tiny — dey din't even live in a house, dey lived upstairs above her aunt's house. And so neither of us really hadda whole lot when we were comin' up, but the one t'ing dat we had was parents who insisted on gettin' a good education, so we don' grow up to be like some moolie onna corner.

And I want youse all to know dat despite the good home trainin' I was gettin', dat when I was in nint' and tent' grade, I was still kind of a mamaluke, and I din't study as hard as I coulda. I was a lot more concerned about bocce bawll and runnin' my own little borgata. I made some mistakes when I was in high school, wasn't as focused as I shoulda been. But the fack dat my parents — not my faddah so much, but my muddah and my grandparents — had emphasized education allowed me to make up for some a dem mistakes, get probation, and still get into a good collitch. And when I got to collitch, I was able to really bear down and focus on education and learnin' how to calcalate da vig, an' all about the laws and the pezzonovanti in politics, and what not.

Michela, she was a good student the whole time. She was sort of a, what we call a "citizen," capisce?


And she just did good in high school, and then she went to collitch and then she went to da law school, and she just was always really organized and together. Guys like me, we like t'ings organized, hey! Listen, a good fella name a Hagen — not an Italian, OK, but he explained what one lawyer wit' a briefcase could do dat a hunnert men wit' guns couldn't. Dat's one a da main t'ings youse should learn in school.

But the point is, is dat both of us were able to succeed not because of who our parents were, not because we came from the ricci or because we had a lotta connections — yeah, we had some friends, but don' believe everyt'ing ya hear — but it was mainly just because we ended up gettin' into good schools and we worked hard and we did good. And I did some good work when I got out, too, so I got made early, but dis ain't da place for me to get inta all dat.

All a youse are in dat same position. And as I look out at dis class, I say to myself, youse guys remind me of me and Michela. And you're in the same position dat we were. We were no different, even if we did have some special friends. Youse got the same opportunities dat we had. The key is for youse to seize dem opportunities.

And the reason I wanted to come by to talk to students — and then we're goin' to talk to students all across the city — Arnie is workin' really hard wit' some businessmen we know to make sure dat yer schools are well equipped. We're tryin' to get more money in the budget for t'ings like computers. Dem computers make it a lot easier to keep track a da money comin' and goin', and find people who got lost — unnerstand? — and do the complicated beezineess, like wit' da Russians and everyt'ing dey're into. And we wanna make sure dat we're gettin' the very best teachers and dat dey're gettin' all the right kinda trainin', and have the right ideas about some t'ings we're innerested in.

We're doon everyt'ing we can as adults to give youse a good learning situation. But ultimately we can't force youse to learn. Far as force goes — sure, some guy can whack anuddah guy, but ... Hey. I'm just kiddin' here. Not even yer parents can force youse to learn. Fuhgeddaboudit. Ultimately youse gotta want to learn. Youse got to realize dat education is yer ticket into earnin' big so youse don't got to be some babbo runnin' street scams for forty years, and dat education's not gonna happen just because ya show up, although showin' up helps, 'specially when yer skipper says youse gotta come in for a sit-down. So I wanna make sure everybody ...


(UNKNOWN): We're glad you're here.

OBAMIO: We're glad youse are here.

Youse gotta be hungry to want to learn more, whether — whatever the subject is. Learnin' the odds, tools a the trade, what kinda guy youse can count on in a deal, an' even, what's the word, topography? Like which construction sites are good if youse have to find a place for some snitch who's gotta go ... I'm just kiddin'. Hey. And if youse got dat hunger and dat drive and dat passion, yer gonna do good. And if youse don't, y'know, you're just gonna do mezzo mezz', you'll be mediocre, and you'll never be a man a respect, and I don't t'ink dat's what any of youse want for yer lives.

So dat's the main message dat I want to send, is take advantage of the opportunity. If youse are hungry for learning, youse will find teachers dat want to help ya, youse will — y'know, yer parents will be dere for ya, the men a respect in the neighborhood will be dere, you'll be able to finance yer way outta juvie and inta collitch, you'll be able to move up in yer crew, you'll be able to earn good. But youse got to want it. And youse got to get right on certain ideas about what's what, too. And dat's the main message dat we want to send.

So, wit' dat, we got about twenny minutes just to go back and fort'. And I know, like I said, youse might have a little agita wit' all dese guys aroun'. But it's not every day dat youse get a chance to talk to a businessman like me. But, listen, certain subjecks, youse want answers, we gonna have to do a walk-and-talk.


Well, I suppose that was a bit self-indulgent, even though I refrained from carrying it through into the Q&A. But it was fun to write. I assume you took my point early on: Permitting crummy organized-crime figures, who live by initiating force, to pose as moral instructors, career-advisors, and role models (!) for America's kids is bad, bad, bad. In fact it amounts to child abuse. [Nicholas Strakon] (September 9, 2009)

They're all in it together. As I write, the praise party roars on. It erupted the moment Ted Kennedy died, and it ripples and roils right across the political mainstream, among officeholders, appointees, and commentators Democrat, Republican, and in between. It teaches us something important, and the general commotion hammers home our lesson harder than particular cases of Kennedy-truckling, in the past, by Republican swine such as Orrin Hatch, John McCain, and Bob Dole.

If one is a partisan of liberty and justice, and believes that a famous man was, throughout his public career, a malevolent and destructive force in terms of liberty and justice, just what does one say upon that man's death? Now, when it comes to the blessed expiring of public villains I don't adhere to the old "nil nisi bonum" rule; but if one does adhere to it, the most he can do is grit his teeth and extend quiet condolences to the man's family if he happens to be personally acquainted with them. Otherwise, he maintains a dignified silence.

He does not expatiate on how genial or humorous or personally generous the man was. What would be the point of that? No doubt many organized-crime figures have been genial or humorous or personally generous. Some of them, I suppose, have been generous with money stolen from other people, as Kennedy was.

One would more gracefully confine oneself to praising the geniality, humor, and generosity of honest people who refrained from robbing and tyrannizing over their fellow countrymen.

But the System's praise-partyers, many of them, go far beyond merely praising Kennedy's purported personal qualities (including the virtues of sobriety and sexual continence that, we are told, he adopted as an old man). No, the partyers are actually celebrating how marvelously effective Kennedy was in perpetrating his crimes! — even if, in the past, they claimed to oppose some of those crimes. Now we see how serious those "opponents" were in their opposition.

It's as if a fellow claimed to hate crime, while at the same time celebrating how marvelously effective Albert Anastasia was in running the New York docks for La Cosa Nostra. Or celebrating how marvelously effective Luciano and Lansky were in establishing the Commission.

But why should the praise-partyers not work themselves into a frenzy of admiration? They are not partisans of liberty and justice. They are themselves organized-crime figures, or its servants, shills, and dupes. The hard but invaluable lesson for us is that these people are all in it together. Against us. [Nicholas Strakon]

The nightmare will never die. Democrats immediately started using Ted Kennedy's death as a tool in their drive to pass Obamacare — meaning that, like Jason, Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers, and a hundred other slashers from bad horror films, Kennedy will reach out from the grave to terrorize us one more time. [Richard Wilkins]

Douglas Olson's pre-obituary of Kennedy,
"The man who murdered America," October 2008.

(August 2009)

All too human. Earlier this month we heard that the Central Government is concerned about all the war veterans who are coming home with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. I myself think it is a good thing that so many are afflicted. And have bad dreams. And thoughts of suicide. It shows that they are still human — well, at least partly. Men who do what they have done, seen what they have seen should be disturbed by it.

But the government wants to make sure that future soldiers get more training that will help them endure the horrors of war. And this was put out as cheery good news. The state will be taking care of them.

What we were actually being told was that the state is going to make a greater effort to robotize the men and women it sends into battle. Yes, let's make them all less human.

Especially the women.

Apparently the state's concern about its military personnel echoes a Nietzsche title: Human, All Too Human. [Ronn Neff]  (August 2009)

Published 2009-2011 by WTM Enterprises.

Earlier installments.



* Not yet, anyway. In a few years the American Likudniks may well put Bush on the list for failing to achieve the neocons' purported goals of bringing peace, stability, and democracy to the Middle East. Some neocons, including Bill Kristol, have already been dinging Bush. Life can be tough for a shabbas goy, especially if he's being used as a human shield. [Back]