Stop and think, collected 2009
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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.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.
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."
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
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
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
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
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 ...
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.]"
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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) Now that I think of it ...
What is the "carbon footprint" of the Af-Pak war?
Of the war on drugs?
Of the IRS? [Ronn Neff] (June 2009)
The State will breathe for you, Comrade! As the forces of leviathan plot To Serve Man even more relentlessly on the health-care front by forcing an even stiffer dose of statism down our throat, we thought we'd comment on one triumph of theirs, in the struggle to ensure wellness for the oppressed workers and peasants, that you may not have heard about.
A friend of ours is a longtime sufferer from asthma, and she's had some serious episodes. Inhalers for asthmatics must contain a propellant, but the EPA recently decreed the formerly used propellant to be an Enemy of the Ozone or something, and convicted it of aiding and abetting Global Warming. Therefore, inhalers now feature an environmentally friendly propellant. But our friend finds that it is too weak to quite get the medicine as far into the lungs as it needs to go. She has been visiting various Websites and bulletin boards, and reading the complaints of other asthmatics whose experience matches hers. Some of the writers have arrived at a pretty chilling conclusion, expressed starkly by one: "I guess the next time I have a serious attack will be my last."
Of course, the official (FDA, EPA) line is that this is all nonsense. The new propellant is fully as effective as the old one. We are not to believe our own experience of not being able to breathe, but only the reassuring grandfatherly faces of the FDA as though even they, with their "intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic," were free to say otherwise.
Our friend has been driven to look for inhalers with the older propellant for sale in Mexico and India. The ones she ordered from India arrived recently containing, sure enough, the people's glooorious democratic fraternal peaceloving new propellant. She may try Myanmar next.
In monitoring government's poisonous impact on our health, let us not fall victim to tunnel vision, examining only policies and programs explicitly devoted to health-care socialism and fascism. We need to beware other kinds of sickening government intervention, too. [Ronn Neff and Nicholas Strakon]
The DEA's attack on pain relief is one of them. [Modine Herbey] (June 2009)
Our new god is cruel but quick. You may have seen the tape of Emperor Barack swatting a bothersome fly during an interview with CNBC's John Harwood. In response, PETA's president, Ingrid Newkirk, sighed with disappointment and reminded us that "he isn't the Buddha."
Over the past few days I've been contending with a bothersome fly myself, here at TLD Galactic Headquarters. But every time I try to dispatch the loathsome pest my nervous system can barely get my hand moving before my target teleports itself twenty feet away. The Emperor had no such problem. He peered at the fly for a second, struck with superhuman speed and accuracy, and BAM! the wee monster was no more. It was a remarkable feat, performed in the glare of TV's bright lights, and I actually found it somewhat scary.
Not the Buddha? No, Barack certainly isn't the Buddha. He's the Antichrist, and Lord of the Flies.
I'm kidding. More or less.
I suppose I ought to squeeze one serious point out of this comedy, so here it is. The PETAphiles' disenchantment with Super Fly illustrates one thing of some significance, namely, the gap between the transparodistic frontier of Red Guard goofery and Barack's pragmatic Bolshevism. In the eyes of the unwary, that gap keeps the Obamunists looking reasonable and credible. [Nicholas Strakon] (June 2009)
What's good for the gander ... The Emperor's candidate to join the Supreme Legislature, Señora Sotomayor, turns out to have been a member of an all-female club. For purposes of political self-defense she has now resigned from the "Belizean Grove," which was modeled on the old ruling-class outfit, the Bohemian Club.
The female-only aspect of this is the only part that interests the established media even slightly, but the ruling-class aspect is more worthy of investigation. I must say, the mention of the Bohemian Club on the Belizeans' Website tickled my antennae. I recommend to your attention G. William Domhoff's Bohemian Grove and Other Retreats: A Study in Ruling-Class Cohesiveness, the 1975 edition of which is still available from Amazon. Naturally, with the passage of time it has become an historical rather than a contemporary analysis, and especially in view of other changes in the ruling class I don't know how big the Bohemians are nowadays.
I don't know, either, how successful the Belizean Club has been in imitating its male predecessor, but according to its Website it has certainly been trying:
Having observed the power of the Bohemian Grove, a 130-year-old, elite old boys' network of former Presidents, businessmen, military, musicians, academics, and non-profit leaders, and realizing that women didn't have a similar organization, Susan Stautberg and 26 other founding members created the Belizean Grove, a constellation of influential women who are key decision makers in the profit, non-profit and social sectors; who build long term mutually beneficial relationships in order to both take charge of their own destinies and help others to do the same.To me, the thing sounds more leftist and touchy-feely than the Bohemian Club, but that stands to reason. Just as Dark Suitism, especially in its warhawk form, tends to be the ideological "besetting sin" for men, Red Guardism, especially in its "social service" form, tends to be the ideological "besetting sin" for women. (There are plenty of prominent exceptions, of course.)
It's fun to point out the hypocrisy (or outright deceit) of purported egalitarians on the Left who join exclusive-identity organizations while attacking others' freedom of association. It's even more fun pointing it out when those leftists are colored women who beat up on white men. But let's keep our eye on the ruling-class ball, here, and focus on the use of the P-word: "Having observed the power of the Bohemian Grove...." Be they goose or gander, the name of the game for these birds is Power. [Nicholas Strakon] (June 2009)
Ugliness pageant. Carrie Prejean, the beauty queen who got in trouble with the homosexualists when one of them interviewed her at the Miss USA Pageant in April, has now been fired as Miss California USA by the pageant's owner and the man who earlier had defended her during a risqué-photo crisis Donald Trump.
Before now, I've been reluctant to write about the affair, for reasons that ought to be apparent. Culturally orthodox Westerners don't want to see women on these shores wandering about in black chador and veil, but on the other hand, it's a mite risky for us to honor, as a paladinette of the West, a girl who strips down on national TV.
Miss Prejean, though, certainly seems to have the right enemies. Evoking extra sympathy from me is the fact that she wasn't trying to make any enemies when she gave the pageant's homosexualist judge the "wrong" answer about so-called gay marriage. She told Mr. "Perez Hilton" (Mario Lavandeira) that she and her family believed not in "gay marriage" but instead in real marriage which she described, awkwardly, as "opposite" marriage. In return for that honest expression of her personal beliefs, Mr. "Hilton" voted against her in the pageant, which some believe doomed her chances; and within hours he was calling her a "dumb bitch" on his blog.
Well, there's one homosexualist who will never be accused of being a feminist! All joking aside, the silence from the P.C. police upon this unleashing of the "B word" has rivaled that of the tomb, proving again that, for our supervisors, the important thing isn't what is said but who says it.
Of course, many normal people suspect reasonably enough that male homosexuals, whether activists for homosexualism or not, often harbor a hatred and revulsion for normal women. Nevertheless, it seems to have become routine for heterosexual beauty pageants to appoint male homosexuals either as judges or as commentators. I assume that has something to do with the high-fashion segment of the pageants, which must be included to attract some dollop of female viewers; but it's still a massively jarring and discordant development.
In response to Mr. "Hilton's" slurful spite and intolerance, the late-night comedians immediately began ridiculing Miss Prejean! The worst offender to my knowledge is ABC's Jimmy Kimmel, who has derided Miss Prejean several times during his opening monologue. A gifted satirist, Mr. Kimmel is often gleefully disrespectful of the privileged minorities, but he marched right up and toed the System's line in this case, even making fun of Miss Prejean's grandmother, who, believe it or not, had never heard of "Perez Hilton" and assumed he was Hispanic. (Actually, if the Wiki article for "Hilton" is to be trusted, he is Cuban-American, of "Galician" ancestry. Kimmel's writers and researchers must have missed that.)
Now Miss Prejean has been dethroned as Miss California USA, ostensibly for failing to live up to her contractual obligations involving public appearances and what not. She and her spokespeople deny the charges, and she insists she lost her crown because she crossed the homosexualists. CNN's story of
According to CNN, Mr. "Hilton" cheered Miss Prejean's dismissal: "Better late than never."
I'm not going to sink into the swamp of charges and countercharges involving Miss Prejean's contractual performance. Instead I'm simply going to ask:
Will this "Perez Hilton" man ever be invited to be a judge or commentator by another televised beauty pageant? In terms of income, public exposure, or reputation, will he pay any price for what he did? Time will tell, and it will also tell us how far gone we really are. [Nicholas Strakon] (June 2009)
What does Barack Obama want? Now that General Motors has become Government Motors (and UAW Motors), socialists have confected another distracting dodge to keep non-socialists from worrying about socialism. It's a variation on the old "emergency" dodge, used by fans of American government since Lincoln's time (actually, since Washington's) to justify more Power and less Liberty.
The socialists whose love "dare not speak its name" are exclaiming, "Socialism! That's ridiculous! This is an emergency! You don't really believe President Obama wants to run GM, do you?" And their interlocutors are supposed to blink and blush and say, "Oh, well, of course not. Forget I said anything."
Of course not, indeed. B.H. Obama is no more eager to run GM in 2009 than J.V. Stalin was to run Glorious People's Automobile Factory No. 1 in 1935. Stalin turned over such picayune tasks to the Minister for Heavy Industry and his minions. The Great Teacher set his sights far higher.
And so does our own Great Teacher. Anyone who has attended to the declarations of the mainstream media over the past 20 years long before anyone ever heard of Barack Obama knows that the president doesn't focus narrowly on running a single company.
No, no, no. The very idea! What does the modern American president do? Why, he "runs the country." [Nicholas Strakon] (June 2009)
Extraordinary government, 1. Robert Reich, secretary of labor under Bill Clinton, was on today's broadcast of NPR's Diane Rehm Show. He was asked whether the government takeovers of various businesses represented a move toward socialism, and instead of saying yes or no, he replied that these are extraordinary times, and government must step in to take extraordinary measures.
Apparently Mr. Reich believes that liberty is a luxury that people can afford only in prosperous times, but when there's trouble on the horizon, we have to turn to government management. If so, I would be inclined to agree with him that "we" cannot afford liberty if only he would tell us who the "we" is. [Ronn Neff]
Extraordinary government, 2. Mr. Reich also assured listeners that he certainly hopes that the extraordinary measures being taken are temporary. But why should they be? If the free market and liberty are so ruinous that they caused The Mess We Are In (as Diane Rehm herself said on another occasion), why would anyone want to return to them? Why would anyone want to undo the measures we are told are protecting us from the ravages of the free market? [RNN] (May 2009)
Maybe she's a strict destructionist. On the telescreen, the lavishly funded Left is already running campaign spots pushing Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation as a member of the Supreme Legislature. The sponsoring organization? Why, none other than the Coalition for Constitutional Values, at www.constitutionalvalues.org/.
The Left is just shameless, isn't it? But why shouldn't it be? It can get away with almost anything, here in America the Ovine. [Nicholas Strakon]
P.S. Oh! I almost forgot to ask: Have you reread 1984 yet this year?
We the Renting. On the 16th, Michelle Obama gave a commencement address at the University of California-Merced, and in it she alleged: "Service is the rent we pay for living.... It is the true measure, the only measure, of our success." She was quoting "advocate and activist" Marian Wright Edelman, a Negro child-welfarist and a left-wing critic of Bill Clinton's welfare "reform."
I had thought that taxes were the rent we pay for living, but it appears that once again, in the age of Obama, I was thinking too small.
True, calls for "service" are pretty much conventional in commencement speeches, and La Obama seemed to be speaking in a context of voluntarism. But of course the Obamites are not to be trusted in this.
Take, for example, the "national service" law that the Obamites and their congressional operatives imposed in April. If you can ignore the
But look a little more closely, and you'll start to suspect that a hidden form of totalitarianism is at work that is, Polite Totalitarianism as Ronn Neff has defined it.
I decided to spend a little time with Google, looking into this "service" business as it affects young folk. It turns out that, since 1997, Maryland has required what the educrats call "service-learning" of all students who wish to graduate from its government high schools. Yes, it is what you think it is, though I didn't find any actual mention of bedpan-emptying. A minute's further Googling revealed that "service-learning" is also required for graduation from the Chicago government schools and from the government schools in Broward County, Fla. (A Web page on "service-learning" posted by the Chicago Public Schools uses an epigraph from Cesar Chavez that would broil the cockles of any Randian's heart: "Surely the end of all education is service to others.")
Then I hit the site operated by the gracefully named Learn and Serve America's National Service-Learning Clearinghouse, which reports that in 2001 Maryland was still the only mandatory-volunteer state but that "six states (ID, MI, MN, NJ, NM, VT) include service-learning in the state's education standards," whatever that may mean but it doesn't sound good. (For the benefit of those who prefer standard English, those damnable postal codes translate as Idaho, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, and Vermont.) Furthermore, "In Iowa, as of April 2003, local school boards may require service-learning units for a service-learning endorsement on a high school diploma or as a condition for graduation according to legislation passed by the Iowa General Assembly."
There, brothers and sisters, I suspended my research but at this point let's note that an extensive and ongoing research project would indeed be necessary to sort out and keep track of what the states' school authorities and local school boards are getting up to, with this "service-learning" business, from year to year or even from month to month. Part of our project would involve figuring out to what extent the Obama national-service law will influence and encourage such local programs.
I'm sure it will, but how exactly? That's the Polite Totalitarian achievement right there: rendering the overall dimensions of the phenomenon relatively invisible to most people. The Obamites will be able to burble on about the "volunteerism" of "service" as they understand it, as the actual implementation dissolves among an archipelago of local authorities who will make it mandatory. For their part, the local authorities will prate about the "voluntary" nature of their coercion, since, after all, parents can always choose to send their children to private or parochial schools, or home-school them though of course those lucky parents will have to pay to educate someone else's children in the state schools.
And the pincers of leviathan will have thrust out to envelop, and damage, even more of the American tradition of true charity and true voluntarism, which has already been partly enveloped and badly damaged by the Central Government's financing (and direction) of major "private" charities. Meanwhile, even without donning a Young Pioneer costume, young Americans will be even more limited to understanding "service" as the state defines it, and even less able to distinguish between their country and the state that rules it. Service to the state will indeed be the rent we pay for living. [Nicholas Strakon]
Ronn Neff comments on the oration:
Big talk from a woman who lives in a mansion and
doesn't have to worry about her children's safety
doesn't have to worry about her or her children's health or medical care
doesn't have to worry about getting fired or laid off
doesn't have to worry about her husband's getting fired or laid off
doesn't have to worry about her or her husband's retirement
doesn't have to worry about her own future if her husband suddenly dies
doesn't have to worry about the price of groceries
doesn't have to worry about the price of gasoline and
doesn't even have to worry about veterinary bills.
Need I go on? As Joe Sobran has said, when these people talk of their own service, they mean something that pays pretty well. For the rest of us, it means something else entirely.
Of course, when Michelle Obama talks of "service," she is talking about making sacrifices, and as Ayn Rand said, whenever you hear someone talking about making sacrifices, you can be sure there will be someone collecting them.
"Sacrifice" probably has a nice, soothing sound to most Christians because they don't know that the only proper recipient of sacrifice is the deity; and they have forgotten that "to sacrifice" is "to make holy." Like most people, they think that sacrifice is something a devoted mother does for her children. Or that a good chess player does with his pawns. (May 2009)
As an old ink-stained wretch who still occasionally growls about how much better things were "back in the Days of Hot Type," I'm sad to see daily newspapers going, going, gone. The Respectable and Concerned actually ask a good question when they demand to know how distant bloggers on the Web are ever going to keep the zoning board, the city council, and the (government) school board honest in Fort Wayne, Fresno, Wilkes-Barre, and a thousand other home towns once the local presses stop rolling.
The papers cover other kinds of local news, of course sports, traffic accidents, the Annual Purple Martin Festival, nonpolitical crime and we'll miss all that; but there is something we can do to prevent corruptionists running amok once the Daily Bugle folds. Cue Frank Chodorov yet again. It was Chodorov, you'll recall, who gave the classic libertarian response when asked, during the '50s Red Scare, what he'd do about the dreadful danger of Commies in government jobs: "Abolish the jobs!" Hint, hint. [Nicholas Strakon] (May 2009)
Another brain-dead mantra. As I've pointed out, the Obamites are using the Green frenzy as one of the chief devices for muscling up their big Red state. Accordingly, mouthpieces for the regime, both official and unofficial, are giving forth with a certain utterance more and more often: America has only
I question whether the expression "the world's energy" is validly formulated just whose energy is it, again? but what I really want to ask here is:
Well, the Red Greens believe, or pretend to believe, that the state of affairs they report is self-evidently bad. And urgently in need of Change.
More than anything, it's the self-evident part that really gets my goat, and the fact that our supervisors can successfully sell it as self-evident. Once again, a screamingly obvious question languishes unasked, namely, how does America's energy consumption stack up against its production of wealth, vis-à-vis the rest of the world? Zimbabwe no doubt has a much smaller "carbon footprint" than America, but before choosing the Zimbabwean Way (with all its virtues) over the American Way (with all its vices), anyone still operating a live brain would want to know how Zimbabwe scored on the wealth-production front.
One might also want to know whether Zimbabweans have benefited at all, over the years, from American advances in medicine, manufacturing, transportation, communication, and energy production. And if they have not been permitted to benefit, whether that has been mostly the fault of productive Americans or mostly the fault of wealth-destroyers such as Mugabe.
Leftists seem to think that Americans spend all their time consuming and not producing; or, rather, that the only thing we produce is toxic waste. Well, that makes sense. Leftists have never been too swift when it comes to understanding the production of wealth. Wealth destruction, though: they've always been on top of that. [Nicholas Strakon] (May 2009)
"Standing up for the little guy." Notre Dame University's invitation to President Obama to speak at Commencement has sparked a fiery dispute on and off campus because of Obama's stand on abortion; the Rt. Rev. John D'Arcy, bishop of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, will be conspicuous in his absence from the ceremony.
Speaking today with MSNBC left-wing operative Andrea Mitchell, Kevin Tibbles, an NBC News reporter in Chicago, reported on what he considered the remarkable decline of Notre Dame since its radical-chic days when it was led by the "progressive" Father Theodore Hesburgh, cuddled up with Martin L. King and other "progressive" figures, and backed "progressive" causes. Straight-faced, Tibbles said that "the school has a history of human rights, of standing up for the little guy." As opposed to the regressive atmosphere now, you see.
"Little guy." Wherever you stand on abortion rights, you've got to admit that that's funny albeit dark, like so much of the Irony-Deaf Left's unintentional humor. [Nicholas Strakon]
P.S. We ought to remember that Notre Dame hasn't yet revoked its invitation. Moreover, I saw one news account indicating that a majority of students and professors are in favor of the Obama visit. What disturbs the leftist media, it seems, is that there's any controversy at all. (April 2009)
Try thinking outside the matchbox, guys. Walter Isaacson, head of the establishmentarian-reformist Aspen Institute, is proposing uniform nationwide standards for state-school performance. That amounts to a call for extending the nationalization and centralization of America's primary and secondary schools (and, by the way, the nationalization and centralization of thought), whether or not the Central Government would have to directly impose such standards.
Sad to say, Isaacson may win the support of some unwary non-leftists because he stipulates that simply pouring more taxpayer money into the state schools won't work, and also because his plan, if perfectly implemented, would break the stranglehold of the left-wing teachers unions where it now exists.
Isaacson wants to see more "innovative charter schools," charter schools being a corner of their tiny intellectual matchbox that reformists began to explore twenty years ago, with what amounted to dizzy excitement for such dozy mildcats. But charter schools are still state schools, even though some of them are managed by politically favored "private" contractors.
You've got to hand it to these establishmentarians, who are an inexhaustible fount of ideas that manage to be both mind-numbingly boring and screamingly utopian. Interviewed on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program on
Neither did anyone else.
I propose a thought experiment. Imagine that owing to whatever historical contingency you like the various levels of American government had never come to control most of the education industry, or, indeed, any part of it whatsoever. Would American children, on the whole, be more or less skilled at reading? More or less familiar with scientific and mathematical concepts?
Would they be more or less oriented in terms of time and space? that is, more or less knowledgeable about history and geography?
Would they be more or less skilled at thinking? And would they be more or less attached to liberty and justice than they are now?
It's like asking whether the Russians and the Ukrainians and the other peoples under the rule of Moscow would have been able to feed themselves better or worse, ceteris paribus, had the Bolsheviks kept their bloody mitts off agriculture. I understand that counterfactuals can be tricky, but, come on, which way would you bet?
There's one good thing we can say about leviathan when it forces vital functions of society deeper and ever deeper into the black abyss. It makes such questions ever easier to answer.[Nicholas Strakon]
P.S. The matchbox shrinks. Interviewed on the same episode of "Morning Joe," D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty opined that allowing state-school principals to hire and fire at will would amount to a form of "privatization." Another bold and revolutionary thinker heard from! (April 2009)
The AIG bonuses. The American people having swallowed the camel of the stimulus bill and massive spending, sending billions to liberal projects and their executives now strain at the gnat. [Ronn Neff]
That famously efficient socialism. On MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program for
Dr. Dean's assertion went unchallenged. He was not asked to cite his sources. No one remarked how counterintuitive his claim was, on the scale of, "Venus is three times as habitable for humans as Earth." No one asked him to define "costs," or wondered aloud whether he had manufactured some narrow, deceitful context within which his statement could be considered at least technically true. No one wondered, either, how it was that medical socialism came to be so much more efficient than "private" medicine, when in all other areas of endeavor socialist bureaucracy is notorious for driving up costs. No one asked him what he meant by "the private sector," more than forty years into a socialist pandemic that has crippled, stunted, and deformed the health-care industry.
No one even just screamed, "What?!"
It is breathtaking what left-wingers can get away with.
Contrast the meek acceptance of Dr. Dean's pronouncement with what you'd expect to hear if a partisan of freedom, on some mainstream show, should advance an equally succinct claim that Franklin Roosevelt's policies didn't end but instead worsened and extended the Great Depression.
I'd like to ask Dr. Dean what entity it was, enforcing what programs, that rendered the "private" sector so oddly inefficient.
But look on the bright side. It's comforting to learn that Medicare has successfully offloaded so many of its internal costs onto the "private" sector. Efficient, indeed! No doubt the KGB was pretty cost-efficient, too, in house; sad to say, though, it was awfully costly for Soviet society at large. [Nicholas Strakon] (March 2009)
Even a blind pig ... On
For sure, that's not our choice, since "capitalism," if by that we mean the free market, is not chaotic and unforgiving. It's spontaneously ordered and humane, especially when compared with statism and the blood-painted state.
It's breathtaking to see the charlatan-in-chief say something that's literally true, even if he's too dim or deceitful to use words properly. [Nicholas Strakon] (March 2009)
Here's an entry for those who monitor the System's manipulation of our public language. I have reason to believe that those in charge of language and everything else are dropping the old phrase global warming in favor of the less-specific alternative, climate change. It seems that too many ordinary people have been making too many rude jokes during too many hard winters about global warming, and it's starting to get under the skin of the Totaligoreians.
I think I'll continue to say global warming. After all, I still say coed, Third World, Oriental, retarded, and Negro. While I'm on the subject, did you know that the System has even come up with new names for autism and multiple-personality disorder? Anything to keep us off balance. [Nicholas Strakon] (March 2009)
Lincoln again. On March 10, Maximum Leader Obama once again edged into what he believes is the glorious aura of Abraham Lincoln, in the course of "refus[ing] to temper his ambitious reform drive," as the Associated Press tendentiously put it. In other words, he's refusing to concentrate on the banking crisis today's equivalent of Lincoln's War and is trying to impose other kinds of "Chaaaange" while he has the chance. Obama explained that "Lincoln helped lay down the transcontinental railroad, passed the Homestead Act, and created the National Academy of Sciences in the midst of civil war."
Students of political history will indeed see a striking parallel here between Lincoln and the current president. It's no surprise that Lincoln did his best to ram through the entire Hamiltonian-Whig-Republican program during that sweet time for government consolidationists when Southern Democrats were out of Congress. As opponents of leviathan, today's Republicans come off as mountebanks or paralytics compared with 19th-century Democrats, but, still, if the GOP had remained strong in Congress it's reasonable to think that certain distinctively Obamite proposals would be encountering a colder reception.
The proto-fascist transcontinental-railroad project that Obama cited shows what can be done when your opposition is especially weak and demoralized. The route chosen by the Lincolnians ran through northern states and territories; in the years before secession, not-so-laissez-faire Southerners such as Jefferson Davis had promoted a southern route. And more important, Lincoln's congressional ally Thaddeus Stevens, a Pennsylvania ironmonger, inserted into the railroad bill a provision that only U.S.-produced iron could be used in construction of the road. Protection and subsidy of Northern manufacturers were basically what Whiggery and the new Republicanism were all about; and Southern Democrats had done their best to fight those ideologies when they were still in Congress.
Lincoln made the most of other opportunities that were created by the absence of an effective congressional opposition, ramming through two National Bank Acts and the introduction of "greenbacks," a national paper currency. All were represented, at least in part, as measures to finance Lincoln's war of aggression against the southern part of the country. That was convenient, and may put us in mind of the Obamites' insistence that their dirigiste Green-technology fascism is an important part of their war against Economic Badness, despite the fact that, until recently, most people had supposed that the Green madness would worsen general economic distress. (Perhaps Obama should not be as shy as he appears in his
Following on President Buchanan's Morrill Tariff of 1861, which helped precipitate Southern secession, Lincoln successfully pressed twice for even higher tariffs again under the rubric of "war measures." It was just a coincidence that high tariffs were the traditional centerpiece of Whiggery and the bête noire of Southerners; or perhaps I had better say that it was no coincidence that a state-building, high-taxing leader such as Lincoln also turned out to be a war leader. Thomas Paine wrote more boldly about the tendencies of a previous government over America, the one run out of London: "A bystander, not blinded by prejudice nor warped by interest, would declare that taxes were not raised to carry on wars, but that wars were raised to carry on taxes."
Even the Homestead Act, beloved of some conservatives, reflected Lincoln's consolidationism and proto-fascism. (Ex-Confederates were barred from participating, by the way.) It reinforced the bizarre and disastrous notion that the state apparatus in Washington somehow owned and could rightfully dispose of unsettled land (and other natural resources) in the West; and it would furnish the railroads with customers they otherwise would not have had, as if it were not enough that those companies already wallowed in government land grants. The Act distorted the natural pattern of land ownership that would have arisen under true homesteading, tempting many naive pioneers into setting up stakes on land that was too arid for successful, long-term agriculture. (The railroads actually ran ads and distributed booklets in Europe to lure emigrants to the supposed Eden of the Great American Desert.) That, in turn, set the stage for pharaonic government water programs and other agricultural subsidies that have further empowered the Central Government while continuing to distort patterns of settlement in our country.
Obama is right to compare himself to Lincoln. Thaddeus Stevens wasn't as frank as Rahm Emanuel, or he might have been the first to publicly trumpet the great strategy of leviathan: "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste." [Nicholas Strakon] (March 2009)
"Do you hope Obama will fail?" Rush Limbaugh has ignited a peculiar little controversy by expressing the hope that Obama will "fail." It's my understanding that Limbaugh has actually voiced two different hopes. I've heard him voice one of them on TV: that Obama and the other Democrats will fail to impose all of their declared policies on our hapless country. The second version, which for our purposes I'm assuming he also really voiced, is the hope that if the Obamites do succeed in imposing their policies, the policies will fail to produce economic recovery. It's that version that has been seized upon by the Obamites and the mainstream media (if we may distinguish those two groups from each other). And it's the more interesting of the two.
However we classify Limbaugh (and I am not a fan), partisans of freedom and justice naturally hope that the Obamites will fail to impose their fascist and socialist policies. We even hope that the fascist and socialist policies previously imposed will be lifted, although we haven't been holding our breath all our lives waiting for that to happen. But do we hope that fascism and socialism will fail, as already imposed and if imposed more fully?
It's a trick question. If we answer yes, our adversaries will accuse us of irrational pride and "narrow partisanship": the success of our adversary's program would mean that our entire philosophy was wrong. And we are too small, too close-minded to contemplate that. But if we answer no, we undermine ourselves also by implying that we think fascism and socialism have a chance of succeeding in bringing us good things.
The proper answer is, instead, that we know fascism and socialism will fail, in terms of freedom and justice, just as the murder, rape, robbery, and arson carried out by unofficial criminals fail categorically in terms of morality. Our study and contemplation of economy, history, society, logic, morality, and the nature of man have convinced us that fascism and socialism must fail, leaving peaceful, non-parasitic people less free, as well as materially poorer. Being asked whether we hope fascism and socialism will fail is rather like asking us whether we hope that some gangster's attempt to add two and two, and come up with five, will fail. Looked at that way, a trick question collapses into one that is merely silly and stupid.
Undaunted, and somewhat inattentive, our interlocutor may say that freedom and justice are both fine things, on those rare occasions when we can afford such fripperies, but what if Obamism produces "economic recovery"?
We must ask what "recovery" could possibly mean, in Obamite terms. Success in preserving the politically driven malinvestments that have not yet been liquidated? Success in rescuing ruling-class criminals by further robbing American taxpayers? Success in suppressing true economic interest rates through the political means? And encouraging worse malinvestments in other ways, too? Success in "putting people to work" at uneconomic, politically created jobs?
Success, that is, in stopping the junky's withdrawal and putting him back on heroin, or introducing him to methadone?
Or would Obama's fascist and socialist policies remove the obstacles now interfering with the market's stupendously splendid cybernetic mechanism, allow people to trade in honest money, leave property in the hands of those who have earned it, strip away all politically awarded privilege, permit "capitalist acts among consenting adults," and generally get the state the hell out of our way? By definition: No. If the American economy ever accomplishes a genuine recovery, one that does not increase the political crime rate, it will occur despite the criminal efforts of Obama, Pelosi, and their masters.
Forgive me if, as an old Randian, I observe that it's just impractical to separate the moral and the practical. Crime can "succeed," but only for the criminal, not the victim. We can't define crime without understanding equal liberty and rightful conduct, nor can we define the opposite of crime economic behavior. A free people spontaneously cooperating in an environment of justly held property, honest money, and an unfettered price system is the economy. Anything short of that is less than an economy, and more of a crime. [Nicholas Strakon] (March 2009)
May I freshen your paradigm? After the most recent revelations of regulatory dub-flubbing by the FDA and Bernie Madoff's cronies at the SEC we're hearing the standard cries for more and better regulation. I even heard some poor chap on the telescreen calling for better regulation of the regulators!
The FDA's predecessor agency won its first regulatory authority in 1906, and the FDA gelled into its modern form in 1927. The SEC was founded in 1934. And lo, these many years later, both outfits are still notorious for intractable fumblitis, shading into actual corruption in the case of the SEC. Now fans of regulation want to reward the agencies with even more power to do harm. That's utopianism verging on head-banging autism, and I doubt I've ever seen folks who stood in more urgent need of a paradigm shift. But it won't happen no matter how bad things get, as long as the established intelligentsia manages to represent fascism as laissez-faire, and confines true free-market thinking to an intellectual ghetto. [Nicholas Strakon] (February 2009)
Ronn Neff observes: Appearing on C-SPAN on
The role of government ought to be to provide a sound currency, to provide freedom in the marketplace, to make sure people follow through on their contracts, nobody can commit fraud, and nobody can commit violence.If even Ron Paul thinks it is possible for a government to provide a sound currency, what have the Libertarian Party and the various libertarian projects been doing all this time?
Nicholas Strakon observes: Paul appeared on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program on
And what did that concession buy him? Well, it didn't help him at all in the eyes of two panel members, Dylan Ratigan the Wall Street semi-fascist and Mike Barnicle the FDR fascist/socialist, who derided Paul as, essentially, an idiot who wants to "do nothing and let 'em starve."
It was a nice demonstration of what a man earns when he departs from principle in the presence of his enemies. (February 2009)
More bad faith from the Left. A whole raft of statist PSAs are airing on the telescreen at the moment actually, they'll probably be airing from now on, here in the USSA. Most of them push Green totalitarianism, but the one that irritates me the most because it's so profoundly dishonest promotes the Employee Free Choice Act, notorious among pro-market people as "card check."
The spot comes to us courtesy of the American Rights at Work Education Fund, with a Website at www.freechoiceact.org. ("Rights at Work," instead of the old conservative shibboleth "Right to Work," get it?)
The PSA's narrator says: "We voted on Election Day for hope and change. Now it's time for action. The Employee Free Choice Act lets workers choose to join a union to earn better pay, health benefits, and job security." (Emphasis spoken in original.)
Imagine that! American workers actually being allowed to decide whether or not to join a union!
It's as if the Wagner Act (1935) had never been passed, or any of the other Roosevelt labor laws. Haven't all the state schools, state-licensed media, and union shills told Americans for decades that the Roosevelt laws, and the later amendments and reinforcements thereof, were a smashing victory for the oppressed worker and his freedom to organize? But now union leftists themselves are willing to ignore and insult their former demigod Roosevelt in order to extend his program, namely, extinguishing employees' (and of course employers') freedom of association by propping up Big Labor's officially privileged position as a junior partner in the socialist/fascist System.
The point of the "card check" bill is to minimize the number of unionizing elections conducted by secret ballot; the government-dependent unions hope that more employees would approve unionization if they had to declare themselves publicly by either checking a card or declining to check it, in the presence of glowering union thugs. Now, personally, I'd like to see the secret ballot dropped, at least in government elections it worsens the irresponsibility inherent in mass voting but I'm focusing here on this latest breathtaking distortion produced by the Left. The Left's reality-filter makes a funhouse mirror look like the Hubble space telescope.
But the more ignorant the sheeple become, the more the Big Liars can get away with. [Nicholas Strakon] (February 2009)
Innumeracy in power. In his inauguration speech, Obama said, "Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath."
Is it really too much to ask that a president or his speechwriters be able to read a list of names in an almanac?
It may be that it is proper to refer to Grover Cleveland both as the 22nd and as the 24th president. He may be two different presidents, but he is not two different men. He is not two different Americans.
Only 43 Americans have taken the presidential oath. [Ronn Neff]
Modine Herbey comments: Under the Obama Numbering System, 45 Americans have now taken the oath. After all, Obama himself took it twice. (February 2009)
"Divisive." Since Barack Obama's victory in November, the established media have been assuring us that the Culture War is over. In fact much blood-letting remains to be accomplished before our dread adversaries manage to extinguish all the bitter-end resistance in all the "last ditches," but in a strategic sense, Minitrue is correct: it is over. (And it was over long before Obama's election.)
However, I still find myself shaking my head in amazement as I watch Minitrue pursuing and extending its party line with the assurance, serenity, and matter-of-factness of the Soviet media propagating the Stalinist world-view in 1938. On
"Divisive"? Ignorant viewers were afforded no background on the civil war in the Episcopal Church or the damage that that ancient institution has suffered, actually leading to schism, thanks to homosexualists such as Robinson. No: it's normal people who are "divisive" now, in the eyes of our masters and their mouthpieces.
Answering Miss Mitchell's question, Robinson said he was "very disappointed" that Warren would be appearing. Now, Robinson himself gave the invocation at one of the Inaugural Obama-Worship Services, the "We Are One" concert on the Mall, held
However disappointed Robinson may be by the choice of Warren, he expressed confidence that Obama would succeed in advancing homosexualism. As the kids say: Well, duh! [Nicholas Strakon] (January 2009)
"They kept us safe." As the Bush regime finally slinks to its end, that claim seems to be what the remnant of Bush/Cheney/neocon fans are hanging their ragged hats on.
We know that the Bushites failed to keep our liberty and property safe from the grasping mitts of the banditti outside the Executive Branch i.e., Republocrat socialists and fascists, and the criminal masterminds (or masterdoofuses) of the ruling class. Worse, our liberty and property were hardly safe from the grasping mitts of the Bushites themselves. Please excuse the understatement.
But let's limit ourselves to the Bushites' own definition of safety. As Bush himself indicated in his farewell speech, what the Bushites mean by safety is safety from foreign terrorism, especially Islamic terrorism. Well, it smells like bull ... derdash to me. As I've written before, I doubt that the best way to keep from being stung is to detour far out of one's way to poke a stick into a hornets' nest; but I'll be merciful and refrain from droning on about the United State's 60 years of nest-poking in the Middle East. Instead, this is my question for today: Are we really expected to believe that a regime that was stupendously incompetent even within the overall historical context of government incompetence somehow succeeded in being super-competent with respect to domestic security?
I do try to nurture my inner child, but even if I eventually come to believe in unicorns, leprechauns, and the saintliness of Barack Obama, I don't think I have it in me to believe that.
The Bushites adduce a long list of specific terrorist conspiracies that they claim to have foiled, including many conspiracies that we seem never to have heard of before. And they refer to other conspiracies that they can't describe, because of, you know, National Security. A comrade of mine asks a question simple but profound: Why should we believe any of it? Why should we trust them, of all people? If the Bushites were notorious even within the established government context for making off with our liberty and property, they were equally notorious for gang-raping the truth. [Nicholas Strakon]
A different assessment. It occurs to me that the policies of George Bush and the promised policies of Barack Obama are going quite a long way to protect us from terrorist attacks, and that we at The Ditch have been insufficiently grateful to them and for them.
Consider: We have been repeatedly told that the reason the terrorists were targeting the United State was that they hate us for our freedom and our prosperity.
Bush has certainly done quite a lot to diminish both, and Obama promises to continue to diminish them.
It won't be long before the terrorists won't have any reason whatever to hate us. [Ronn Neff] (January 2009)
Pilots. Three cheers for US Airways's hero pilot, Chesley B.
For quite a few years now I've been wondering what the country will be like when the Sullenberger types finally disappear those white men with the "pilot personality" who are irreplaceable in many vocations beyond aviation: scientific and technological research, engineering, sanitation, construction, railroading, power generation, medicine, and so on. Even in some occupations dominated by government, the "pilot" types render the haplessness of bureaucracy less grievous than it otherwise would be: I think immediately of NTSB accident investigators, air-traffic controllers, and firemen and other rescue experts. Not all are chronologically old, to be sure; but the types I'm referring to are all of the old school.
As the nonwhite demographic revolution and the white cultural collapse speed up, the "pilot" population is not sustaining itself at a socially survivable rate. That does not trouble Zeitgeist fans and System defenders in the slightest, as they believe, or claim to believe, that all people are interchangeable and that no cultural-sexual-racial group is irreplaceable or even particularly important. (My own straining hope is that Asian males can pick up some of the slack they do keep some of their own native societies up and running but I recognize that they're just not the same.)
Apart from the times when some instructive event, such as the successful ditching of US Airways flight 1549, smacks them on the forehead, many Americans see the "pilot" only as the butt of jokes and target of satire. You've seen him a million times in the movies and on "Saturday Night Live." He's the humorless white guy wearing the short-sleeve white shirt, narrow black tie, pocket protector, and Brylcreemed crewcut. In the '60s, when his longhair contemporaries were raising hell, he was walking across the M.I.T. campus enveloped in a cloud of cigarette smoke and swinging a slide rule from his belt. He's authoritarian, sexually repressed, workaholic, blindly linear, patriarchal, racist, homophobic, gun-obsessed, carnivorous and, worst of all, just too, too white. He's both fool and knave, really. Down with him! ... except for when oops! we suddenly need him to save our bacon.
Now it's true that the "pilot" typically cultivates some attachments that we partisans of freedom deplore and regret perhaps most notably, to national-statism, imperialism, and militarism. Sullenberger himself is an Air Force veteran, like many commercial airline pilots, and many such men naturally labor under a history of war crimes. But I'm trying to focus here on their socially productive and virtuous contributions; and it's easy to predict that as the "pilot type" vanishes, accidents and interruptions of service will increase, maintenance will deteriorate, and innovation and efficiency will decline. I should say: Will continue to increase, deteriorate, and decline.
And the sheeple will start to suffer many more forehead-smacks of the negative kind: electrical blackouts, hospital disasters, food adulterations, derailments, airplane catastrophes, uncontrollable fires, toxic spillages, water- and sewer-line failures, and on and on. It will be interesting to see whether those smacks are any more educational than the inspiring kind exemplified by Sullenberger's heroism; I expect not. Fellow passengers, brace for impact. [Nicholas Strakon] (January 2009)
Published 2009 by WTM Enterprises.