Friday, May 29, 2015

To Fight For Freedom: Part 3, “Where and When”

     If the “what” and the “who” are established, we come to the critical questions of “where and when.” These questions are often referred to as “picking your spots” and “picking your shots,” phrases that resonate with a core truth about all combat of any sort:

Your personnel and materiel are limited.

     A tactician chooses to fight or not to fight on the basis of:

  • Whether victory is attainable;
  • Whether a gain is probable.

     Note that those conditions are distinct from one another, as King Pyrrhus discovered to his sorrow. However, in practice they must be answered together.

     Of particular importance in addressing “where and when” questions is the sub-classification of persons to the left of political center. Whether nor not to engage such a person depends critically on his true allegiances and motivations. The following crude partition of those on the Left is probably the best we can do without extensive personal acquaintance with the person under consideration:

  1. The generally sincere and well-meaning;
  2. The activist, for whom “the Cause” is what gives meaning to his life;
  3. The leftist strategist or tactician whose true goal is power, any other consideration merely a means.

     If you can assign your potential target to one of those three categories, it becomes possible to decide whether to engage him, and about what, with reasonable accuracy.

     Type 1 is the sincere, well-meaning American who votes for left-liberals out of the belief that those policies are morally justifiable and actually will remedy the conditions at which they’re aimed. He is potentially reachable. However we must avoid the critical mistake of attacking his moral premises. Such a man is almost certainly proud of his moral premises, and at any rate, you cannot argue about premises.

     Type 2 is the activist, the “Cause Person,” whose life without such an attachment would be empty and bleak. He might be as sincere about the Cause as his Type 1 fellow, but his emotional orientation is somewhat different: he needs the Cause to sustain his emotional health. He might be reachable on the specifics of his current attachment, but in all probability that would merely impel him to shift to some other Cause. The personal validation he receives from his commitment matters at least as much to him as the supposed end. Indeed, it might matter much more.

     Type 3 is the politician a outrance. He’s in it for power, not for any end that involves the well-being of others. Whether or not he runs for office himself is irrelevant; if not, he seeks “gray eminence” status as one who steers elected officials and candidates. He is not reachable. The hazards of engaging him are considerable, most important among them the possibility that he might counter-target you for a campaign of destruction. If you can identify him, it’s best to avoid him.

     The “where and when” question thus reduces to:

  • Encountering a Type 1 (well meaning) left-liberal and seeing a prospect of persuading him that the methods of freedom work better than the methods of government for attaining his acceptable and sincerely held aims;
  • Identifying a Type 2 (Cause person) left-liberal, determining that the putative intentions of his Cause are acceptable, and outperforming him at attaining them;
  • Avoiding the Type 3 (power-luster) left-liberal at all costs.

     But that is the beginning, not the end, of the subject.

     The possibility of persuading a Type 1 or outperforming a Type 2 is necessary but not sufficient. We must still satisfy the second criterion for engagement: is there a gain in prospect that would make the effort worthwhile? This is determined almost entirely by the overt aim of your target.

     In the case of a Type 1 engagement, the target is the left-liberal himself. If his aim is wholesome – e.g., the betterment of the race relations or urban poor, rather than something pernicious such as same-sex marriage or abortion on demand – it’s a case for the application of reason and evidence. This is not the place to delve deeply into the proper tactics; suffice it to say that your intention should not be to convince him, but rather to provide him with what he will need to convince himself. A man who reaches his own conclusions will “take ownership” of them. He’ll defend them much more surely and forcefully than if he feels he’s been beaten into them.

     In the case of a Type 2 engagement, there’s little hope you can convert a Cause person left-liberal into a pro-freedom conservative; his Cause serves him the way religious devotion serves the devout. Rather, your hope is to suggest to others that political Cause activism is never constructive and frequently destructive toward a wholesome aim. This tends to be easier with some subjects (e.g., aid to the deserving poor) than with others (e.g., promotion of tolerance toward religious minorities or homosexuals). So the specific Cause will mainly determine whether you have a prospect of gain from the engagement.

     As I said above, you should do your best to avoid a Type 3 leftist. His intentions are not good ones; if he should discover that you’re an adversary, he’s likely to counter-target you...and his tactics will not be nice ones. However, you can make use of the identification of such a person by making his aims known to others – preferably indirectly. Sincere Type 1s and most Type 2s usually react angrily toward those they conclude are using them for venal purposes, which is the essence of the Type 3. Once again, we veer toward the sphere of tactics, which I’ll leave for the “How” essay.

     Those are the avenues I prefer to peer down in the quest for possible sociopolitical gains. There are others, but the probability of the reward justifying the effort is greatest when pursued along those lines.

     Politics is about power, but ultimately all power arises from people, whether they yield it voluntarily over themselves, or assert it willy-nilly over unconsenting others. If we are to have any chance of restoring freedom and properly limited government to the United States, we must not forget that people – their aims, their commitments, their assumptions, and their emotional makeups – are the core of the problem.

     Remember Father Charlie’s joke. There’s a lot more point to it than you might think.

     More anon.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

ISIS And American Complicity

     Senator Rand Paul unnecessarily angered quite a few GOP true-blues with the following:

     (Feel free to pull the ripcord after about 2:00, as the rest of the video is rather discursive, and contains much that pro-freedom conservatives would reject on the merits.)

     Reactions on the Right have been exceedingly negative. Consider this from Sara Noble:

     Hello! Radical Islam and the radical Islamists caused ISIS! Are we incapable of blaming the truly guilty parties who would have warred against the people no matter what? We’re scapegoats.

     [Senator Paul] also criticized Republicans for going along with Obama’s war in Libya but I have to agree with him there and always had agreed with him on that, not because the idea of deposing Gaddafi was all that bad, but because Obama never agreed to fight it adequately.

     However, just as Senator Paul has overstated his case, Sara has cited an indisputable nugget of truth but is inclined to throw out the bathwater without first removing the baby, so there’s much to discuss.

     No, the United States didn’t “create” ISIS or Islamic fanaticism — that was a very poorly chosen word on Senator Paul’s part — but we surely produced conditions favorable to its metastasis, in a place where and at a time when the Islamist tumor was already present and growing.

     Like nature, power abhors a vacuum. The toppling of Saddam Hussein’s Ba’athist regime, followed by the precipitous withdrawal of American power from Iraq at a time when regional tensions were near their peak, created a power vacuum that no one but the Islamists was ready to exploit. The ludicrous government in Iraq and the Assad regime in Syria were both unwilling and incapable of regularizing the situation: the first because it was too busy establishing a Shia-dominant, Iran-friendly corruptocracy intent upon disenfranchising Iraqi Sunnis; the second because of the ongoing Syrian civil war. So the largely ungoverned north of Iraq and the huge piles of armaments U.S. forces left behind were easy pickings for the fanatics. There can be no question that those armaments, which included many heavy weapons and armored units, have been of great value to ISIS.

     Where the senator erred was assigning the responsibility entirely to GOP “hawks.” Our entire political class was complicit — and the responsibility stretches well back into the Bush 41 administration.

     No one on the Right, certainly not I, would claim that America deliberately and willfully created conditions favorable to the rise of ISIS. But a well-intentioned mistake in foreign policy can do a great deal of damage, and the U.S. has made quite a few in recent years.

     The core of the subject is the ever-maddening question: When, where, why, and how should the United States use its military powers? This is not a question that can be answered definitively, for the ages. Military force, like all applications of force, intimidation, or politico-economic influence, always has more than one effect – and at least one of its effects is guaranteed to be undesirable. Ultimately, practical considerations must rule: the decision to intervene militarily must be predicated on a high probability that should we stay our hand, the outcome will be substantially worse.

     The invasion of Iraq in 1990 was justified by Saddam Hussein’s annexation of Kuwait – “Province 19,” as he styled it. Whether that was adequate reason for our action is debatable, as Kuwait was not then (nor is it now) partner to a treaty of mutual defense with the U.S. Moreover, there is reason to believe that behind the representations about defending Kuwait from enslavement was a more urgent motivation: the protection of the ruling regime of Saudi Arabia, also not a treaty partner of the U.S. Given subsequent events, the wisdom of that motivation can also be debated.

     The insertion of American power into the Gulf region created a pair of attitudes there. First, the Gulf states and the Saudis were given reason to believe that they could count on America as the maintainer of the regional status quo. Second and equally important, the insertion provided fuel to the ideological fires of Middle Eastern Islamists, who had already become a significant influence on developments and had acquired Afghanistan, Pakistan, and above all Iran as sponsors and safe havens. It didn’t matter that we withdrew our forces as soon as Saddam’s were expelled from Kuwait; the image of the U.S. as a quasi-colonial master to the Middle East, determined to maintain conditions favorable to a continuing supply of oil, stuck in many minds.

     When George W. Bush resolved to topple Saddam Hussein’s regime in 2002, he had a great deal of intelligence concerning the Ba’athists’ drive for weapons of mass destruction. Some of that intelligence was provably correct: there were indeed foundries for the manufacture of nerve gas and the delivery systems for it. The intel about Saddam’s quest for nuclear weapons has since come into question, but at the time it appeared as solid as anything we thought we knew about the Middle East.

     Would President Bush (43) have refrained from the invasion had the abovementioned intelligence been shown to be dubious? Possibly, but not certainly. He believed that Iraq was “low-hanging fruit” whose liberation and democratization would create favorable ripples throughout the Middle East. If that supposition was incorrect, it can no longer be proved so, for our ineptitude in the period that followed large-scale combat operations cannot be separated from what has followed.

     Middle Eastern societies, one and all, are legacy societies. Their fundamental legacy is the totalitarian creed that calls itself Islam, which is imposed willy-nilly on every infant practically from the day he speaks his first word. Thus, their people haven’t got the cultural foundation for freedom or democracy. The only way to impose those things on them is by the long-term application of irresistible force: an occupation period decades long, enforced by a large contingent of American troops and administrators similar to what we imposed on Japan after World War II.

     All that having been said, there is simply no question that the policies and actions of the Obama Administration have multiply compounded the damage. Indeed, had it not been for Obama’s insane decisions to abandon Iraq, to support the Islamist uprising in Egypt, to involve itself in the upheavals in Syria, and to facilitate the destruction of the Qaddafi regime in Libya, the current condition of the region would be markedly better than it is today — not in the sense of a freer or “more democratic” Middle East, but in the more fundamental sense of less violence and privation for the millions who live there.

     The United States has indeed been complicit in creating the conditions for the rise of ISIS. That we now dither over whether to “go back in” has no bearing on the soundness of the causal chains that led to the chaos of today.

     Decisions are – and should be – based on knowledge and understanding. The former usually reduces to “the best information available at the time.” The latter requires a grasp of the fundamentals of a situation: the causal relations that predominate over it.

     Some seventy percent of the nation favored the invasion of Iraq in 2003. A similar percentage favored it in 1990. At that time, we possessed both inadequate knowledge and inadequate understanding; in Donald Rumsfeld’s words, we were crippled by “things we did not know that we did not know.” The consequences are before us. It hardly matters that our intentions were the best in the world; the universe is utterly indifferent to intentions, good, bad, or neutral.

     Reaction against some of those consequences fastened Barack Hussein Obama upon us in 2008 and 2012. That surely made matters worse than they would otherwise have been. Nevertheless, both sides of the aisle bear responsibility for the debacles that have followed. Indeed, the American people deserve a share of the odium as well, for their excessively dramatic reaction against the Bush Administration and its policies, which were potentially correctable with a sufficient degree of humility and resolve.

     If Senator Paul has overstated his case, there is nevertheless a case to be made that the U.S. acted, if not in haste, at least with excessive confidence in inserting its military might into the Middle East. He is also correct that we followed up in ways that were about as likely to conduce to improvement as half-hearted half-measures usually are. No, no one intended the chaos we face today...but as a way of rectifying maladies brought about by one’s previous errors, protesting that “we didn’t know” has a very poor track record.

     "You cannot free a slave; he has to do it himself. And you cannot enslave a free man; the most you can do is kill him." - Robert A. Heinlein.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Pearls of expression.

And yes our so-called “values of tolerance, emancipation, democracy” mean little to outside cultures when they see the rest of our society ruled by nothing more than a bunch of witless ponces who can’t even fight for self-preservation.[1]
That's what a commenter contributed on a post by a German lawyer and normally our "Pearls of expression" posts require nothing more. However, it's worth focusing on what the author of the main post states, namely, that "Not all immigrants are equally capable of integration.” He presenting evidence of that proposition but, inexplicably, he seems compelled by the diversity gods to insert at outset the lunatic idea that:
Essentially, every person ought to have the right to choose his residence on the earth, with no time limit. The idea of cosmopolitanism must be revived.
Unless he's been mistranslated, that's not what cosmopolitanism is and it hasn't been moribund in recent memory. Even if he mean "multiculturalism," that sure as heck is alive and festering as never before.

Whatever his meaning, you'd think that his revelations about "some immigrants" would cause him, at the very least, to say "non-Muslims" ought to have the right to choose their residence, which is bad enough.

Maybe it's just something he thinks is obligatory to throw in as a highly visible German defense attorney to escape leftist lynch mobs. If so, it's further evidence of the powerful tide against which awakened people must swim in the West. It apparently forces him to say that we should not see "integration through rose-colored glasses" though he doubtless means we shouldn't see immigration through those same glasses.

As I often say, in essence, modern Europeans can only advance toward an epiphany by millimeters. A little truth here and a little tiny bit of truth there and pretty soon, after two or three decades, the immigration realities will be right there, like one of those tsunami waves in the movies that are about to sweep New York into the suburbs of Des Moines.

[1] Comment by anon on "Our Values Are of no Interest to Immigrants." By Clemens Neuhold, Gates of Vienna 5/26/15.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

To Fight For Freedom: Part 2, “What”

     The hardest thing in the world is...well, frankly, I couldn’t say. But I can tell you about something I find massively difficult: assessing someone I like personally as holding pernicious assumptions.

     If you’re a freedom-loving American, you’re going to meet such persons now and then. You’re going to get to know them, find them personally appealing, perhaps even make them regular parts of your discretionary time and activities. You might even be related to one or two. From the moment of recognition, you’ll struggle with the “fight or flight” response that characterizes politics in our day: the counterpoised impulses to distance yourself from that person or to “re-educate” him.

     Neither of those approaches is fruitful. Take it from a graduate of experience.

     The problem is embedded in the mechanisms that support learning. In the main, education as formally understood can only teach us bloodless things. Grammar. The dry facts of history. Algebra. Perhaps a little non-organic chemistry and simple physics. Note that none of those subjects have a moral or ethical component. You cannot teach another person moral or ethical principles.

     Radical, eh? I realize that I’m going against thousands of years of pedagogical received wisdom. So what? They’re wrong. If human experience has taught us anything, it’s the sadder-but-wiser conclusion John Pugsley presented in The Alpha Strategy:

     Man will steal if he perceives it to be the best way to get what he wants. He is primarily interested in satisfying his immediate needs, not in providing for some distant future. He cannot be educated to altruism. In a political democracy that gives a voter the power to confiscate the wealth of his neighbors, human nature guarantees that he will do so. In my estimation, neither politics nor moral preaching offers a rational, workable solution, and it would seem that the historical evidence corroborates this.

     But you have moral and ethical principles. So do I – and I’d bet the mortgage money that they’re identical to yours, or nearly so. Moreover, we adhere to them pretty scrupulously, you and I. It’s what allows me to face myself in the mirror, and part of what makes you one of my Gentle Readers. Where did we get them?

  1. Emulation.
  2. Experience.

     Most people think of themselves as “good guys,” regardless of the truth of the matter. That’s mainly because each of us uses himself as a standard by which to judge others. The standard, of course, is above judgment, so Smith gets an automatic A+ from himself.

     But without the benefit of an attractive model or considerable personal experience, no one can internalize the moral and ethical precepts that make a free and prosperous society possible. Sentience on this ball of rock is a minimum of 25,000 years old, and probably much older. Yet only in the most recent two thousand years have there been societies that were not dominated by systematic predation and the consequent pandemic misery. Why?

     Well, first of all, we needed to accumulate some history. As the saying goes, if you don’t know where you’ve been, you can’t know where you’re going. Written historical records only reach back about six thousand years. More, until quite recently those records were nowhere near widely available nor accessible. Ordinary persons – folks such as you and I, Gentle Reader, who make up society and determine how it will function – had little beside their own personal experiences to steer by.

     Second and at least as important, the moral exemplar was rare and likely to be killed out of hand. Force reigned supreme; he who abstained from the use of force to advance his personal interests was more likely than not to find his skull on the business end of a well-wielded antelope femur. Thus, there weren’t many persons deserving of emulation for the rest of us to observe.

     Only after the emergence of compact, coherent societies that maintained historical records and cultivated knowledge of them could moral exemplars be observed and their excellence comprehended. Even then, their illuminative effect was limited to those who were fortunate enough to be near them, and to pay attention to them. And of course, free will being what it is, “dissidents” ready and willing to prey upon others will forever remain among us...even within the gatherings that proclaim and celebrate the principles the exemplars illustrate.

     In the conclusion to the “who” segment in this series, I deliberately misstated the “enemy” to be “defeated:”

     Pugsley has fingered the correct “who” for our purposes: those “unaware, ineducable masses” who support the State’s plunders with their voices and their votes. They probably include many of your neighbors. They might include some of your relatives. Despite their mundane appearances and seemingly agreeable conduct, they are the enemy we must defeat.

     I sacrificed precision for emphasis, an uncomfortable thing for a scientifically minded person to do. For it is not the “unaware, ineducable masses” themselves who are the enemy, but rather their assumptions about right and wrong and the relations between ends and means.

     There’s no way to argue a man out of his assumptions. They can only be defeated by experience. He who can do that has a shot at being listened to with respect. But it’s a hard road to travel for several reasons. Preeminent among those reasons is this one: no one will listen to you unless you can demonstrate your good intentions – by his standards.

     Psychologist Peter Breggin made an excellent point about this when, during a lecture, he condemned the Schadenfreude – the celebration of catastrophe and, by implication, the smug “they deserved it” attitude toward its victims – that sometimes emerges among liberty-movement types when a massive government failure becomes visible. Dr. Breggin said plainly that to persuade the typical American liberal, you must first convince him that your intentions are good ones – that you want most, if not all, of the outcomes he favors. (This is equally true of the persuasion of the authoritarian-paternalistic conservative, of which there are still a considerable number even at this late date in our decline.)

     However, even the profession of good intentions is insufficient to defeat your neighbor’s faulty assumptions. You must demonstrate that your moral principles produce a superior result – and you must do so by his standards. If you cannot or will not do so, he’ll retreat to the comfort of the familiar.

     Success breeds emulation, and nothing else does.

     There are pitfalls, of course. In particular, there are some, perhaps millions, for whom no demonstration of “a better way” could ever be sufficient. Sometimes it’s merely a form of mental rigidity – an unwillingness to let go of one’s faulty assumptions and logical errors the late Don LaVoie called “sunk intellectual capital.” Sometimes, it’s a demand for Utopia – and Utopia is never among the options. Worse, there are some for whom the end is not and will never be anything but power over others. These are not persuadable, for obvious reasons; time and effort spent on them will be wasted.

     A great deal of the material published about promoting the freedom philosophy focuses on “out-competing” the statist mindset. This is good as far as it goes, but it’s worth a moment’s thought about why it works (when it does). They who desire to equal the ends of the more successful are drawn to emulating their means. This is more obvious when the ends are personal gains than charitable aims, but it’s true in both cases.

     To sum up: it’s the faulty assumptions of those who support the status quo and its pervasive statism that we must defeat. We must show them a better way to the ends they cherish – and we must be humble about it. No one likes a smartass.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Possible Situation in Cleveland's West Park Neighborhood

Update:  the verdict is in - not guilty - and the protests were peaceful (possibly because the protestors were heavily outnumbered by the police).  It's not a neighborhood that is likely to become a flashpoint - LOTS of cops live there.

I have MANY friends in that neighborhood - still own a house there (better check the insurance!)

This protest is because there is a verdict expected any day for Belo, the policeman who shot Tamir Rice (the kid who was waving a fake gun in a public park).

[CORRECTION: this was another police shooting unarmed people - I wrote this early, and was careless.  The protests, however, WILL center on the shooting of Rice]

Anything less than a murder verdict, the activists are ready to turn this peaceful community into another Ferguson (if they can).

This does concern me somewhat.  This is a quiet neighborhood, filled with middle-to-upper-class people - of different races and ethnic groups.  Many of them work for the city (including cops and firemen).  So, no, the protests will likely NOT get totally out of control.

But, it might cause some damage to homes/businesses.

One factor that will likely limit the damage is that few people in the neighborhood will be at loose ends to join in on any "street action".  For the most part, they work for a living, and don't have the inclination to just wander around looking for trouble.

However, just a little ways away (a few miles) there are some projects - FILLED with possible "protesters".  There are rumors that some of the protesters are in motels just south of the projects, and that they might sweep up some of the occupants into the protests.

I'll keep on top of this.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

To Fight For Freedom: Part 1, “Who?”

     Over the years I’ve received innumerable emails asking, in tones that range from suppliant to stentorian, for a practical approach to the restoration of freedom in America. For a long time I’ve resisted such urgings, on the grounds that my gifts don’t lean in that direction. I’m an analyst rather than a political strategist or tactician. Yet those who’ve put themselves forward, in their several ways, as strategists and tacticians have failed to excite much hope or sympathy among those of us averse to bloodshed, especially if the blood shed is likely to be theirs. It’s had a darkening effect on my mood, and a sense that perhaps it’s time to try my hand at the formulation of a practical approach to the re-liberation of the United States.

     Let’s get the dismal part out of the way first. Just yesterday, I wrote:

     The edifice is rotten to the core. It has pitted us against one another, especially those of us who work for government versus those who don’t, in a multitude of ways. It cannot be saved.

     However, it cannot be replaced until it has first been demolished. How that is to be achieved, given the overwhelming preponderance of force in the hands of the State, I cannot say. More, and more ominous, there is no guarantee that the replacement would improve on its predecessor. Moralities and mentalities have changed too greatly since our Founding Era for any prediction to be sanguine –and that’s to say nothing of the hostile and alien sub-populations America has acquired these past few decades.

     That would seem to be a counsel of surrender, even of despair. I didn’t mean it that way, as harsh as it appears. It’s time to say what I really do mean: the “who, what, when, where, and how” of a campaign for the restoration of freedom that has a visible chance of success.

     Let there be no mistake about it:

The great majority of today’s freedom-loving Americans will die under a “soft totalitarianism” utterly unlike the intentions of the Founding Fathers.

     Believe me, Gentle Reader, the notion upsets me quite as much as you – and I’m a cinch to be part of that “great majority.”

     The self-centered approach to such a conviction of personal doom would be to kick back and enjoy what remains of one’s life as best one can, rather than to immerse oneself in the struggle for a future one will never see. Author and lecturer Jeffrey Rogers Hummel called this the “Harry Browne” approach, in reference to Browne’s famous tome How I Found Freedom In An Unfree World. Hummel counterpoised that strategy to the “Patrick Henry” approach of “Give me liberty or give me death,” in which the individual cashiers his own hope for an untroubled existence to enlist in the fight for freedom, regardless of the sacrifice involved.

     The great John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, no stranger to self-sacrifice in a noble cause, endorsed Patrick Henry’s approach:

     ‘As Aragorn has begun, so we must go on. We must push Sauron to his last throw. We must call out his hidden strength, so that he shall empty his land. We must march out to meet him at once. We must make ourselves the bait, though his jaws should close on us. He will take that bait, in hope and in greed, for he will think that in such rashness he sees the pride of the new Ringlord: and he will say: “So! he pushes out his neck too soon and too far. Let him come on, and behold I will have him in a trap from which he cannot escape. There I will crush him, and what he has taken in his insolence shall be mine again for ever.”

     ‘We must walk open-eyed into that trap, with courage, but small hope for ourselves. For, my lords, it may well prove that we ourselves shall perish utterly in a black battle far from the living lands; so that even if Barad-dur be thrown down, we shall not live to see a new age. But this, I deem, is our duty. And better so than to perish nonetheless – as we surely shall, if we sit here – and know as we die that no new age shall be.’

     How many Americans, foreseeing with near-perfect clarity the dreadful end to which the Last Army of the West seemed certain to come, would follow in Aragorn’s train? Not many, if I’m any judge of such things.

     However, there are other ways to fight than by the exchange of bullets and bombs – and those other ways have a greater chance of long-term success than any imaginable violent uprising. Today’s tirade will address the appropriate target for such a campaign – i.e., the “who.”

     To many eyes, the “who” – the enemy to be fought – is a clear and simple thing. They immediately nominate the Left, or the government, or some other gaggle of identifiable miscreants. I must disagree.

     Consider first a brief passage from John Pugsley’s landmark work The Alpha Strategy. His setting is an island community of two: yourself, and a somewhat naughty “economist” named, appropriately, Maynard:

     Pretend for a moment that you have cultivated a cabbage patch on your island, and Maynard has some goats. Every night Maynard opens your gate and lets his goats into your yard, and each night they feast on your cabbages. You decide to approach the problem by appealing to reason. You put together your arguments about how this is ruining your garden, stifling your incentive to grow cabbages, and will hurt the whole neighborhood in the end. You then walk out of your house, march down to your garden, and have a heart-to-heart talk with his goats.

     A ridiculous approach, you say? Of course. While the goats are the ones who eat your cabbages, Maynard is the one who milks the goats. In the end, he is the beneficiary of their theft—he is the culprit who must be dealt with. Even if you find a way to communicate with the goats, it will not help. No matter how many goats you succeed in winning over to your point of view, the moment a goat sees the light and agrees to stop eating your cabbages, Maynard will stop getting milk. Immediately, Maynard will rid himself of that goat and replace it with another one that will eat your cabbages again. So it is with politicians. Even if you convince one to stop plundering you, he will be quickly replaced.

     Pugsley continues from there in a bifurcated fashion:

     Man will steal if he perceives it to be the best way to get what he wants. He is primarily interested in satisfying his immediate needs, not in providing for some distant future. He cannot be educated to altruism. In a political democracy that gives a voter the power to confiscate the wealth of his neighbors, human nature guarantees that he will do so. In my estimation, neither politics nor moral preaching offers a rational, workable solution, and it would seem that the historical evidence corroborates this. If the political process is not the answer, and educating the masses is impossible, is there any solution? If there is, where does it lie?

     Right under our noses. The best solution is the simplest solution, and the simplest solution is the easiest to overlook. Anyone who has studied the evolution of species has observed the solution at work in every form of life. The solution can be understood by observing the way in which all life forms cope with their hostile environments. The theft of our property by others is an attack that is essentially identical to the destruction that any species feels from any hostile force in nature....

     The way to build a free society and to abolish all of the economic and social destruction that has been man's lot all these many centuries is a simple three-step process. First, correctly identify the direction from which the individual is being attacked. Second, make the individual aware of the nature and methods of his enemy. And third, leave it up to the individual to devise methods for self-defense. Just as a person will try to increase his wealth and comfort by the most effective method (plundering, if that is effective, and producing, if hard work is effective), once he owns something, he will vigorously defend it. The answer to change is not an attack on government, but the development of individual techniques for the defense of personal property.

     In short, the solution, according to Pugsley, lies in self-defense, propelled by the self-interest of the aware and educable, while the unaware, ineducable masses continue to plunder one another toward inevitable extinction through their demands on The Omnipotent State. It’s an appealing prospect, except for one little problem: those “unaware, ineducable masses” are unlikely to plunge heedlessly into self-destruction while they can still spot, target, and plunder you. The barons of State power will happily assist them in finding and mulcting long as they get their percentage, of course.

     Nevertheless, Pugsley has fingered the correct “who” for our purposes: those “unaware, ineducable masses” who support the State’s plunders with their voices and their votes. They probably include many of your neighbors. They might include some of your relatives. Despite their mundane appearances and seemingly agreeable conduct, they are the enemy we must defeat.

     There will, of course, be other segments in this series. I’m as yet unsure of the order. All the same, as I’ve said so often in the past:

     More anon.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Words Fail Me Dept.

     For how many years, how many decades, have we and our minor children been harangued that “the police are your friends” -- ?

     It was the baby’s fault that he was nearly burned to death in his own crib.

     Bou-Bou Phonesavanh was barely a year and a half old, just learning to walk, and unable to speak, but those limitations didn’t stop him from engaging in “deliberate, criminal conduct” that justified the 2:00 a.m. no-knock SWAT raid in which he was nearly killed.

     The act of sleeping in a room about to be breached by a SWAT team constituted “criminal” conduct on the part of the infant. At the very least, the infant was fully liable for the nearly fatal injuries inflicted on him when Habersham County Sheriff’s Deputy Charles Long blindly heaved a flash-bang grenade – a “destructive device,” as described by the ATF, that when detonated burns at 2,000-3,500 degrees Fahrenheit – into the crib.

     Merely by being in that room, Bou-Bou had assumed the risk of coming under attack by a SWAT team. By impeding the trajectory of that grenade, rather than fleeing from his crib, Bou-Bou failed to “avoid the consequences” of that attack.

     In any case, Bou-Bou, along with his parents and his siblings, are fully and exclusively to blame for the injuries that nearly killed the child and left the family with more than one million dollars in medical bills. The SWAT team that invaded the home in Cornelia, Georgia on the basis of a bogus anonymous tip that a $50 drug transaction had occurred there is legally blameless.

     This is the defense presented by Haberham County Sheriff Joey Terrell and his comrades in their reply to a federal lawsuit filed last February on behalf of Bou-Bou Phonesavanh and his family.

     This sort of self-exculpating fantasy on the part of a gaggle of uniformed, armed civil servants whose nominal charter is to protect the rest of us from predation is the direct and immediate consequence of two things:

  • The War on Drugs;
  • The militarization of the police and the police mentality.

     ...and we let them get away with it.

     The outrages have been multiplying faster than I can report on them. Particularly egregious are the many instances of outright theft by law enforcers, under the guise of “civil asset forfeiture.” Here’s a recent case:

     It happened, [Joseph] Rivers said, to him on April 15 as he was traveling on Amtrak from Dearborn, Mich., near his hometown of Romulus, Mich., to Los Angeles to fulfill his dream of making a music video. Rivers, in an email, said he had saved his money for years, and his mother and other relatives scraped together the rest of the $16,000.

     Rivers said he carried his savings in cash because he has had problems in the past with taking out large sums of money from out-of-state banks.

     A DEA agent boarded the train at the Albuquerque Amtrak station and began asking various passengers, including Rivers, where they were going and why. When Rivers replied that he was headed to LA to make a music video, the agent asked to search his bags. Rivers complied.

     Rivers was the only passenger singled out for a search by DEA agents – and the only black person on his portion of the train, Pancer said.

     In one of the bags, the agent found the cash, still in the Michigan bank envelope.

     “I even allowed him to call my mother, a military veteran and (hospital) coordinator, to corroborate my story,” Rivers said. “Even with all of this, the officers decided to take my money because he stated that he believed that the money was involved in some type of narcotic activity.”

     Rivers was left penniless, his dream deferred.

     “These officers took everything that I had worked so hard to save and even money that was given to me by family that believed in me,” Rivers said in his email. “I told (the DEA agents) I had no money and no means to survive in Los Angeles if they took my money. They informed me that it was my responsibility to figure out how I was going to do that.”

     Apparently, there are municipalities that make a practice of this sort of seizure, using threats of jail and the separation of families to coerce their targets into complying. Combine that sort of “policing” with local police departments’ steady acquisition of military-grade weaponry and the scheduling of exercises such as “Jade Helm,” and perfectly law-abiding, patriotic Americans can’t help but wonder about the real motivations of our “protectors.”

     Given Supreme Court decisions that ruled that the police have “no duty to protect,” and others that have denied the law-abiding citizen the right to resist unlawful police orders and intrusions, I no longer wonder. Indeed, I ceased to wonder quite a while ago.

     The edifice is rotten to the core. It has pitted us against one another, especially those of us who work for government versus those who don’t, in a multitude of ways. It cannot be saved.

     However, it cannot be replaced until it has first been demolished. How that is to be achieved, given the overwhelming preponderance of force in the hands of the State, I cannot say. More, and more ominous, there is no guarantee that the replacement would improve on its predecessor. Moralities and mentalities have changed too greatly since our Founding Era for any prediction to be sanguine –and that’s to say nothing of the hostile and alien sub-populations America has acquired these past few decades.

     Of one thing we may be sure: a man acting “under color of law,” whether he wears a uniform, bears a weapon, both, or neither, is not there to serve you. Don’t talk to him. Don’t allow him into your home or onto your property. Don’t permit any member of your family to do differently. Whatever he might do to you, he must do under visibly coercive conditions, such that the outrage will be plain to every eye. Perhaps a sufficient amount of public furor will protect you, at least a posteriori.

     When you see or hear “protect and serve,” think of the “Internal Revenue Service.” Act accordingly.

Monday, May 18, 2015

GASP! Women Are “Choosing To Be Cloistered!”

     That is, according to Times writer Wednesday Martin:

     Then I met the women I came to call the Glam SAHMs, for glamorous stay-at-home-moms, of my new habitat. My culture shock was immediate and comprehensive. In a country where women now outpace men in college completion, continue to increase their participation in the labor force and make gains toward equal pay, it was a shock to discover that the most elite stratum of all is a glittering, moneyed backwater.

     ....The women I met, mainly at playgrounds, play groups and the nursery schools where I took my sons, were mostly 30-somethings with advanced degrees from prestigious universities and business schools. They were married to rich, powerful men, many of whom ran hedge or private equity funds; they often had three or four children under the age of 10; they lived west of Lexington Avenue, north of 63rd Street and south of 94th Street; and they did not work outside the home.

     Instead they toiled in what the sociologist Sharon Hays calls “intensive mothering,” exhaustively enriching their children’s lives by virtually every measure, then advocating for them anxiously and sometimes ruthlessly in the linked high-stakes games of social jockeying and school admissions.

     Please read it all, if you can stand it. No, you’re not imagining the tone of disapproval. It’s much like Linda Hirshman’s tone:

     Women who want to have sex and children with men as well as good work in interesting jobs where they may occasionally wield real social power need guidance, and they need it early. Step one is simply to begin talking about flourishing. In so doing, feminism will be returning to its early, judgmental roots. This may anger some, but it should sound the alarm before the next generation winds up in the same situation. Next, feminists will have to start offering young women not choices and not utopian dreams but solutions they can enact on their own. Prying women out of their traditional roles is not going to be easy. It will require rules -- rules like those in the widely derided book The Rules, which was never about dating but about behavior modification.

     There are three rules: Prepare yourself to qualify for good work, treat work seriously, and don’t put yourself in a position of unequal resources when you marry.

     There you have it, Gentle Reader: the anti-choice Gospel of Feminism, in glorious living color. Women must not be allowed to choose life paths that diverge from the needs of the “Women’s Movement!” The advance of feminism is what matters; its imperatives trump the desires of the individual woman:

"No woman should be authorized to stay at home and raise her children. Society should be totally different. Women should not have that choice, precisely because if there is such a choice, too many women will make that one." -- Interview with Simone de Beauvoir, "Sex, Society, and the Female Dilemma," Saturday Review, June 14, 1975, p.18

     Disagree and you’re either:

  • A “gender traitor,” or:
  • A man.

     I can’t help but wonder what Martin and Hirshman would say about Catholic nuns.

     The Left has many sub-communities, but they’re all alike in one respect: all of them are totalitarian in attitude. Either you agree with them, in word and deed, or you’re The Enemy, to be ostracized at the very least. In that regard each of them conforms to Eric Hoffer’s description of “a compact and unified church,” outside which there is only the weeping and the gnashing of least, if the congregants have their way.

     No, that’s not news... but this is:

     Just ask National Organization for Women President Terry O'Neill. Right before Obama's trade bill cratered in the Senate last week, Obama complained that its chief Senate critic, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., didn't understand the real world. O'Neill then chalked Obama's attitude up to sexism.

     O'Neill told The Hill she took issue with Obama calling Warren by her first name during an interview with Yahoo News published May 9.

     "Yes, I think it is sexist," O'Neill said. "I think the president was trying to build up his own trustworthiness on this issue by convincing us that Sen. Warren's concerns are not to be taken seriously. But he did it in a sexist way."

     O'Neill said Obama's "clear subtext is that the little lady just doesn't know what she's talking about."

     Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, joined the chorus, also suggesting Obama's remarks were sexist, and then refused to apologize. Now some are tittering over Obama's supposed "seven-year history of sexism." This caused Twitter humorist David Burge to joke: "NAACP president: NOW president's critique of Obama's critique of Elizabeth Warren is racist."

     God bless Glenn “InstaPundit” Reynolds and David “Iowahawk” Burge! The ability to laugh at the Left’s inanities might be our best shield against them, if not our only one. But the larger point is what matters.

     I’ve written on previous occasions that the sort of coalition politics the Left has practiced in pursuit of power is inherently vulnerable to its own success. When the coalition attains majority status, the ability of any component to threaten the coalition’s hegemony causes an internal war, as each component jockeys against the others for power, perquisites, and preeminence. Indeed, the coalition need not yet command a majority; merely a reasonable prospect of getting there in the foreseeable future will cause the first skirmishes to occur and the first shots to be fired.

     As Reynolds writes, “The Democrats' tendency to argue identity politics over policy is more awkward when it's aimed at other Democrats.” Moreover, it provides yet another flank for the Right to attack, rhetorically and electorally. But as long as the Left is committed to “Left Eclecticism” (Frederic Crews) in pursuit of power, there’ll be nothing its strategists can do about it.

     So the racialists will attack the gender-warriors. Both will find themselves at odds with the unions and the poverty pimps, who are already at war with the enviro-Nazis. And all of them and more will struggle to control what constitutes legitimately “free speech,” as opposed to “hate speech” they’ll demand to see outlawed.

     It’s a great time to be alive, I tell least if you’re a curmudgeonly retired engineer who suffers an irresistible compulsion to write and is endlessly fascinated by the follies of the stupid and evil.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

The Armenian Genocide

It’s the 100-year anniversary – a very sad anniversary – of the Armenian genocide.  Even today, the Turks refuse to accept that it was a deliberate attempt to wipe a people off the face of the Earth.  Not unlike Japanese refusal to accept their nation’s responsibility for atrocities committed by Japanese forces during WWII.

Here’s a link to a thoughtful piece about HOW these actions occur – afterwards, too many people have trouble understanding just how a seemingly civilized nation could possibly be complicit – even directing – deliberate murder, rape, and attempted annihilation of their own citizens, based on cultural/religious factors.

The Unrepealable Law Strikes Again

     You cannot do wrong without suffering wrong – Ralph Waldo Emerson

     Activists of many kinds share a common delusion that politics is invincible. In other words, they imagine that all that’s required to get whatever it is they’re striving for is an adequate degree of pressure on the relevant levels and branches of government. The concept of second-order effects – those that arise because of changes to the incentives people face – is anathema to them.

     But second-order effects do exist:

     It's no secret that Congress is dominated by men, but as women work to make inroads in the congressional boys club, some female staffers face a huge impediment to moving up: They're not allowed to spend one-on-one time with their male bosses.

     In an anonymous survey of female staffers conducted by National Journal in order to gather information on the difficulties they face in a male-dominated industry, several female aides reported that they have been barred from staffing their male bosses at evening events, driving alone with their congressman or senator, or even sitting down one-on-one in his office for fear that others would get the wrong impression.

     Follow-up interviews with other Hill aides make clear that these policies, while not prevalent, exist in multiple offices—and they may well run afoul of employment discrimination laws, experts say. Because of the sensitivity of the issue, and the fear of retribution, many of these women and some of their male counterparts spoke with National Journal on the condition of anonymity and declined to publicly name their bosses.

     "Even though my boss is like a second dad to me, our office was always worried about any negative assumptions that might be made. This has made and makes my job significantly harder to do," one female staffer told National Journal.

     Another reported that in twelve years working for her previous boss, he "never took a closed door meeting with me.…This made sensitive and strategic discussions extremely difficult."

     Male staffers said they'd also seen some female aides barred from solo meetings with the boss, and that they benefited in some instances from the exclusion of their female colleagues in high-level meetings, at receptions with major Washington powerbrokers, and just in earning a little more face time with their bosses.

     So far, a straightforward recitation of the facts: in other words, ordinary journalism. But let’s not imagine that Sarah Mimms, the author of the cited article, is any more conscious of what’s transpired than your average Newfoundland puppy:

     For these women, the lack of access has meant an additional hurdle in their attempts to do their jobs, much less further their own careers. And in many instances, it forced them to seek employment in other congressional offices.

     Poor babies!

     One of the downsides of high intelligence is the temptation to look down on those of lesser gifts. I struggle to resist it, though I haven’t always been successful. Yet there are times when nothing but an attitude of amusement at the stupidity of others is possible. Men’s reactions to feminism, as it’s pervaded our laws and social norms, strike me as inevitable, easily predicted by anyone with eyes that see. Thus, watching feminists become ever more stridently angry about the very conditions their activism has brought about only makes me chuckle.

     You asked for it, girls. And as H. L. Mencken would tell you were he here to do so, you got it good and hard.

     The signs are everywhere. The decline in male enrollment at colleges and universities. The increasing aversion college men are displaying toward college women. The “marriage strike.” Pseudo-scandals such as “Sad Puppies” and “Gamer-Gate.” Websites such as Chateau Heartiste, MGTOW, and The Return Of Kings. Even the independent publishing of fiction, with its emphasis on traditionally masculine adventures, bears testimony to the irresistible logic of The Law of Unintended Consequences.

     The Law pays no attention to political clout. Why should it? Politics can either articulate and endorse the natural laws of the universe, or it can attempt to contravene them. In the former case, nothing has really occurred; in the latter, we’ve invited our own comeuppance. God laughs at the vanity Man expresses with his notions about “law,” though perhaps only the saints and angels can hear Him.

     But feminists, who are among the stupidest of all activist communities, won’t hear any of that. They want what they want, and they want it now:

     What we are not supposed to notice is the problematic premises asserted within what I call feminism’s Patriarchal Thesis:
  1. All women are victims of oppression;
  2. All men benefit from women’s oppression; therefore:
  3. Whatever.

     In other words, when your worldview begins with the assumption that normal human life is a system of injustice in which all women (collectively) are victimized by all men (collectively), then it is possible to justify almost anything you do as part of your effort to overthrow this oppressive system. Smash Patriarchy!

     The Patriarchal Thesis absolves feminists of any obligation to meet the ordinary requirements of intelligent discourse. Logic is unnecessary and, as for facts, they are (a) whatever feminists say they are or (b) irrelevant if they do not confirm the Patriarchal Thesis. Believing themselves oppressed, and believing that men universally participate in the oppression of women, feminists thereby justify themselves in telling blatant lies and insulting men. Anyone who dares call notice to the hateful dishonesty of feminism is presumed to be a dimwit with bad motives because, of course, feminists are the moral and intellectual superiors of anyone who disagrees with them.

     Bravo to Robert Stacy McCain. I could not have said it better.

     Only two climaxes are possible to such a development. One concludes with the end of the human race. The other necessitates whipping the snarling, mangy cur of feminism back into its kennel, that normal male-female relations might be restored. Which of these will prevail I cannot say, though if I cock my ear just so and point it toward England, I fancy I can hear a certain Thomas Stearns Eliot whispering to us from the grave:

     This is the way the world ends
     This is the way the world ends
     This is the way the world ends
     Not with a bang but a whimper.

     Got any daughters, Gentle Reader?

     UPDATE: A thousand pardons, Gentle Readers. I meant to include mention of Aaron Clarey’s comments about Mad Max: Fury Road, and of course the feminists’ reactions to those comments, but when the C.S.O. sauntered into my office in her sauciest negligee and speared me with those “bedroom eyes,” they slipped my mind. At any rate, do please enjoy the linked articles.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Making It Plain

     ISIS’s titular leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has done us that service:

     The leader of the Islamic State group Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi on Thursday urged Muslims to emigrate to his self-proclaimed “caliphate,” in the jihadist supremo’s first audio recording in six months.

     “And we call upon every Muslim in every place to perform hijrah (emigration) to the Islamic State or fight in his land wherever that may be,” he said....

     Echoing his previous exhortations, Baghdadi said moving to the caliphate he declared over parts of Iraq and Syria in June 2014 or waging jihad (holy war) at home was an obligation for Muslims.

     “Has the time not come for you to know that there is no might nor honour nor safety nor rights for you except in the shade of the Caliphate?” he said in the speech, transcripts of which were released in five languages.

     “O Muslims, Islam was never for a day the religion of peace. Islam is the religion of war,” he said, calling for mass mobilisation on the battlefield.

     Which lickspittle political posturer or media pretender will be the first to proclaim, ex cathedra from his bellybutton, that al-Baghdadi is not preaching “true Islam?”

     Actually, that service has already been rendered us by Barack Hussein Obama, when he orated that the Islamic State “is not Islamic, and it is not a state.” Perhaps he received an advance transcript of al-Baghdadi’s speech and decide to “get out in front of it.” As Obama is the world’s supreme authority on everything – just ask him – I suppose we can all relax about it.

     Myself, I’m waiting for ISIS allegiants to commit a terrorist act here in the United States. That’s when the really thunderous denunciations will begin...but given the character of our political class and its media annex, they won’t be denunciations of Islam.

     Never go to a religious war without your religion – Tom Kratman

     George W. Bush, 43rd president of these United States, was a good man. He was an indifferent president, good on a few subjects and somewhat aimless about others, but the Oval Office has been occupied by few individuals of better character. Unfortunately, he was hobbled by a failing that afflicts many men of good will: he ardently wanted to see the other guy’s character as a match to his own.

     President Bush’s famous September 20, 2001 speech to the nation, in which he first proclaimed Islam to be “a religion of peace,” was probably the worst misstep of his presidential tenure. The historical record speaks clearly in the opposite direction. Ever since Thomas Jefferson’s presidency, the actions of Muslims and Islam-dominated states have unambiguously shouted Islam-Uber-Alles. Indeed, Islam is the only recognized religion whose highest figures made common cause with the Nazis in the 1930s and 1940s.

     (I’ve long suspected that the wholly unsubstantiated and unjustified odium poured upon Pope Pius XII was an attempt to deflect attention from the alliance between Hitler and Hajj Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, at that time the highest authority in Islam. A great many persons revile the Catholic Church, mainly because it preaches against things they’d like to feel free to do. More, they’ve noticed that Christians don’t go on a rampage when slandered.)

     But there is no truth so starkly obvious that it cannot be denied by one resolutely determined to deny it. There is no fact so plain that it cannot be obscured with a mountain of distractions and irrelevancies. Perhaps most important of all, there are few who will speak openly and plainly against a moving force that:

  1. Is religiously motivated;
  2. Has infiltrated one’s own country;
  3. Has demonstrated lethal intentions and capability;
  4. Is ready, willing, and able to kill those who dare to speak against it.

     The recent attack on Pamela Geller’s Draw Muhammad contest in Garland, Texas should have provided a wake-up call. Yet note how many persons, on either side of the political spectrum, leaped to condemn Geller for her “provocation.” Note how many commentators spoke and acted as if utterly indifferent to the rather simple proposition that cartoons cannot and do not provide a justification for murder. Andres Serrano’s “Piss Christ?” Chris Ofili’s dung-festooned caricature of the Blessed Virgin Mary? These things provoked complaints, even protests, from Christians, but no violence whatsoever. But don’t you dare satirize the intolerance of Islam and Muslims; why, that could get someone killed!

     Such...persons are unlikely to acknowledge al-Baghdadi’s plain words, either.

     “What you are speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

     Among a Left that has enshrined tolerance as the supreme virtue, the irony of their passive acceptance of violently intolerant Islam stands as one of the marvels of our time. It could be cowardice, of course; many persons animated by fear will do anything not to admit to it. It could also be tactical, for what does the Left hate more than Christianity and Christian ethics? In either case, there is no better demonstration of the fatuity of Leftism than its celebration of homosexuality and abortion united to its angry defense of Islam on the grounds of “religious tolerance.”

     The political class, the media, and the educational establishment – the three major bastions of the Left in American society – are setting us up for a terrible calamity. They’re complicit in the continuing importation of adherents to this seventh-century murder cult. If it’s out of ignorance, it’s inexcusable. If it’s willful blindness – an insistence upon seeing in Islam a benevolence that is not there and never has been – its ridiculous. If it’s tactical, it’s vile and wholly to be condemned.

     The best service a President Cruz or President Perry could do for this nation is to reject President Bush’s “religion of peace” error and publicly recognize the facts as they are. Indeed, one of the criteria for selecting a Republican nominee should be the requirement that he announce his hostility to Islam and the immigration of Muslims to these shores, openly and without compromise despite any and all opposition. Americans – people who love this country – would love him for it.

     Let’s close with an old favorite:

Thursday, May 14, 2015

The Urgent Need To Discriminate

     I’ve written about this before. I meant it then, and I mean it now. In light of some recent developments, it’s acquired overwhelming force.

     A couple of weeks ago, Ashe Schow wrote about the current feminist pogrom against college-aged men:

     If a student has been wrongly accused of sexual assault on their college campus, how are they supposed to prove their innocence?...

     After what [Emma] Sulkowicz claimed was a brutal rape in which she was pinned, beaten and choked before being raped, she sent [Paul] Nungesser numerous messages asking to hang out, even telling him she loved him. Nungesser tried to get those messages introduced as evidence during his Columbia University hearing, but was denied. Nungesser, who has since become the victim of a public campaign of defamation by his accuser, was exonerated anyway....

     A similar situation played out at Vassar College when Peter Yu introduced Facebook messages showing his accuser apologizing to him for the evening. She apologized for leading him on and said that she had "a wonderful time" with him. But a year later, when Yu produced these messages for the disciplinary panel, his accuser claimed they "did not correctly reflect her feelings" because she was in a state of "shock and disbelief" about the encounter. The disciplinary committee bought her claim and expelled Yu.

     Clearly, these “disciplinary committees” exercised no discipline over their own procedures. To steal a phrase from Joseph Schumpeter, they had the sentence of death in their pockets, and they were going to pass it regardless of any and all developments. Nor are Nungesser and Yu outliers; when it comes to accusations by womenof sexual assaults by men, the trend on university campuses is exactly as they experienced it.

     Meanwhile, universities are experiencing an accelerating imbalance of young women in their enrollees. Marriage-minded young women complain that eligible young men are avoiding them. Employers are finding new and ingenious ways to avoid hiring young women, regardless of their credentials. And Friday nights find quite a lot of young single women sitting at the bar surrounded entirely by...other young single women.

     In other words, young men are learning to discriminate against young women.

     Discrimination works when it’s tried. Here’s a case where it badly needs to be tried:

     It just got surreal. George Washington University Law School Professor John Banzhaf filed a human rights complaint to the D.C. Office of Human Rights against Catholic University for hindering Muslim students’ free exercise of their faith due to the “excessive” amount of “Catholic imagery” on the campus. It seems that this man – who teaches at a different school across town – thinks that Catholic University’s adherence to the cultural aspects of Catholicism (we have a lot of artwork, Crucifixes, and statues in every nook and cranny) keeps muslim students from praying the required five times a day.

     Banzhaf, who already has a pending lawsuit against the university over ending its policy of allowing mixed-gender dormitories and has a history of filing civil rights suits on such topics as childhood obesity and smoking, filed the complaint alleging that Muslim students are not given their own prayer rooms.

     He alleges that the university, “does not provide space – as other universities do – for the many daily prayers Muslim students must make, forcing them instead to find temporarily empty classrooms where they are often surrounded by Catholic symbols which are incongruous to their religion,” according to the Tower, Catholic University’s student newspaper.

     Let’s leave aside this idiot Banzhaf’s obvious hatred for Catholic institutions and the Catholic faith. What makes allegations of his sort possible at all? That there are Muslim students at Catholic University! And why, pray tell, is that?

     A number of Catholic institutions have succumbed to the lure of increased revenue by admitting non-Catholic students. Some have even hired non-Catholic faculty and staff. As an example of arrant insanity, this would be hard to top – and given current trends in labor law and nondiscrimination law, it will be very hard to undo. But monetary considerations aside, it will require Catholic University and similar institutions to brace themselves for a necessity that will no doubt pain many: the need to say to a non-Catholic applicant for enrollment or employment that “You don’t qualify.” Upon being asked why, the sole adequate answer will be the one all of America has been inhibited against uttering:

“We discriminate in favor of Catholics.”

     And there must be no exceptions granted.

     Riots in Ferguson. Riots in St. Louis. Riots in Baltimore. Massive looting and property destruction. And all the participants, to within the limits of measurement precision, have been black.

     Whites don’t riot. Even the highly disruptive “Occupy” demonstrations were never riots. Whites don’t assault random passers-by on public streets. Neither are whites inclined to rally around a convicted murderer because of his race. (See also this recent case.) In just about every situation where distinctions on the basis of race occurs, those distinctions operate in Negroes’ favor and against Caucasians, regardless of any and all other considerations.

     At this point, even the most diehard, race-is-a-social-construct / I-don’t-see-skin-color leftist is aware that concentrations of Negroes are highly dangerous to non-Negroes. When the black population of a district passes a certain level, crime rates rise, conditions for ordinary commerce deteriorate, and white flight begins. As this happens even in left-liberal-dominated coastal cities – indeed, it’s most pronounced in exactly such cities — the claim that it’s only “racist conservatives” doing the flying is ridiculous on its face.

     What are we to make of this? Yes, there’s a strong argument that left-liberal policies give rise to the sort of cultural accretions that correlate with local deterioration...but so does race. Given that the politicians are elected by the local populace, the only credible responses are to disperse the populace or to confine it behind an impassable fence. Both constitute discrimination -- discrimination in defense of life and property. If this is forbidden, our rights to our lives and our property are shams. But then, the very people doing the forbidding are also working to deprive us of the instruments of self-defense, aren’t they?

     Discrimination has become a moral, social, and political imperative. Sorting among one’s personal associates isn’t yet illegal, thank God. But most other forms of discrimination are either banned outright or have been made torturously difficult. Indeed, with its “diversity” programs the federal government, which now controls approximately one-third of all spending in the United States, has added financial incentives to the maintenance of a “diverse” work force.

     Yet it must be so. There remain ways to do it. Some of those ways are gaining adherents by the day. And they are finding that their lives, their states of mind, and often their fortunes are being improved thereby.

     Discrimination isn’t bigotry; it’s a response to conditions. And it works.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Fine Lines Or Battle Lines?

     It’s gratifying to note how much attention Patrice Stanton’s short piece on “Free Speech & Fine Lines” has received. Truly, the ability to depict a conflict in a visual form has more impact than any number of words. But for some of us, your humble commentator most emphatically included, words are all we have...which might be a good thing:

     I damn sure didn’t go to war for this country twice to come home and be told by a bunch of homely chicks with daddy issues, effete literary fops scandalized by the notion of resistance to Third World pathologies, and nimrod sons of politicians playing at journalism what I can and can’t say. And I don’t think most Americans are ready to have everything they speak, write, or think perused for possible hate criminality by these same goose-stepping creeps.

     We’d rather die than “live” on our knees, begging permission to exercise the right God gave us to say whatever we damn well please, whenever we damn well please, and in the manner we damn well please. And those who want to shut us up better be equally committed if they want to succeed.

     After Garland, they went too far. They showed their hand and their goal, a world where they decide who gets to say what. Imagine the same hysterical social justice drama queens who shriek about microaggressions getting to decide what you can and can’t say. Just understand, you fascist bastards, that if you want to be Nazis, you’ll need to do what the Nazis did and find some armed thugs – yeah, I’m using the word “thugs” whether you like it or not – to come stop us. Tell them to wear Kevlar.

     Please read the entire column. Then multiply it by 100,000,000. That’s roughly the magnitude of the reaction against the sort of vilification that’s been heaped on Pamela Geller...for holding a cartoon-drawing contest.

     The Left’s cat’s-paws in the media may have finally gone too far. But let’s not leave it there, shall we? Let’s take a broader look at the “progressive” campaign against freedom of expression.

     “You got to use all your weapons.” -- Jim Bouton

     The Left understands Bouton’s insight. The Right does least, we don’t often behave as if we do.

     The Left’s attack on freedom of expression is multi-pronged:

  1. Legal: By “lawfare” suits against persons who express views inimical to its aims.
  2. Financial: Through boycotts and threats of boycotts against the representatives of viewpoints it disapproves.
  3. Ostracism: Through thunderous media denunciations of such representatives.
  4. Deceitful: By slandering or libeling those whose statements it disapproves.
  5. Tendentious: By carefully choosing words and phrases that misdirect one’s attention.
  6. Physical: Through actual campaigns of destruction and physical intimidation.
  7. Victim-Blaming: By recasting atrocities as somehow the fault of those attacked (e.g., the attack on Pamela Geller as “her fault” for “baiting” radical Muslims).

     Not every tactic works on every occasion, but the multiplicity of them is sufficient to intimidate, even paralyze, quite a few people with important things to say – things that must be said. If you can be made to feel that all of society’s “big guns” are aimed at you, you can be induced to self-censor, and those must-be-saids might just go unsaid.

     However, if they continue to be said, even by a tiny minority of the un-cowed, anger at the Left’s suppressive tactics will build. So the Left’s agenda depends on achieving total success...and fortunately for these United States, that has proved impossible.

     A few months back, the following sequence of simple drawings was used to dramatize the Left’s attack on our right to keep and bear arms:

     I submit that the Left has sought to apply a similar progression to freedom of expression, albeit not principally by legal means. Yes, their mouthpieces – including the evil bastard in the White House – have railed against the Citizens United decision, but short of a Constitutional amendment effectively repealing the First one, they’ll get nowhere with that. Their campaign against freedom of expression has mainly used “political correctness:” an attempt to get us to self-censor by disapproving of us so stridently that we become convinced that we’re being naughty.

     Mind you, these are the same people who praise “art” such as “Piss Christ” and “plays” such as The Vagina Monologues. These are the same people who celebrated Andrea Dworkin. These are the same people who adore homosexual-activist parades that feature all manner of “transgressive” dress and conduct. These are the same people who lionize Emma Sulkowicz. When the “naughtiness” supports their agenda, they have no problem with it.

     A full-throated, utterly courageous counterattack is the only credible response. Moreover, it, too, must be multi-pronged:

  1. It’s not “reproductive choice;” it’s killing babies in service to irresponsible promiscuity.
  2. It’s not “transgressive sexuality;” it’s perversion on public display.
  3. It’s not “social justice;” it’s demands by good-for-nothings for what they refuse to earn.
  4. It’s not “environmentalism;” it’s a back-door attack on capitalism by closeted socialists.
  5. It’s not “anti-racism;” it’s black hatred for and violence against whites.

     ...and so forth. Take especial note of what Peter Berkowitz said in his recent essay on the subject:

     Nevertheless, most of the elite media—overwhelmingly left liberal—have largely neglected to cover the left's crusade against free speech. Operating out of newsrooms, as Powers observes, in which "there is nobody to push back on their biases," reporters seem unable to detect anything amiss on campuses, in the media, and in the political arena where, after all, the draconian regulation of speech is intended to serve avowedly left-wing causes.

     That deliberate averting of the eyes by the media will only break down if we resolve to break it. Now that there are alternative conduits for the news, the Main Stream Media are losing credibility, specifically because people have noticed that they won’t cover certain subjects, and will only cover certain others in a deceitful fashion. That makes it possible for us to bring them to heel, if only we’re willing to be loud enough, numerous enough, and persistent enough.

     Once the Left has lost its control of the media, all else will follow, for without media protection, its various initiatives cannot be sustained. Decent persons, heartened by the crescendo of sentiment against their schemes, will mass to wipe them out.

     There’s a “potential well” to be dealt with here. Until enough persons find enough courage to speak openly and stridently against Leftist attempts to silence us, there won’t be enough persons to speak openly. That’s part of why I’ve kept on with this drivel for eighteen years now. Someone has to take the early risks. Someone has to expose himself, and at least act as if there’s nothing to fear. Someone must say what must be said.

     The battle lines have already been drawn. Which side are you on?

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Naughty Words Part 2: "But"

     The study of how expressions of any sort give rise to meaning is called semantics. Meaning, of course, arises in the mind of the recipient of a communication when he has received and interpreted it. It might be identical to what the speaker / writer / cartoonist intended to convey, it might vary somewhat, or it might be so far from the originator’s intention as to bear no relation to it. This leads us to a question central to all communication studies:

How Do I Know That’s Exactly What He Meant?

The answer is massively frustrating: You don’t. It’s impossible in the nature of things. All you can do is approach confidence in your interpretation asymptotically. With a handful of important exceptions.

     This essay is about one of the exceptions.

     First, a particularly piercing Bill Whittle video:

     Whittle has nailed one of the iconic obscenities of our time: the expressive pattern that goes as follows:

[Declarative clause], but [clause that contradicts declarative clause].

     In the matter of freedom of expression, the template goes thus:

“I believe in freedom of speech, but [insert exception here].”

     An analogous, structurally parallel version can be observed in discussions of freedom of anything. However, let’s not stop with a statement of revulsion; let’s consider what meaning the speaker really wants us to derive from his words. I can think of the following possible interpretations:

  • “I believe in freedom of speech, except for this one case of it.”
  • “I believe in freedom of speech, except for a range of cases that offend me.”
  • “I believe in freedom of speech, except for a range of cases to be decided by ‘authority.’”
  • “I don’t believe in freedom of speech; I merely want to weasel-word my way around it.”

     Got any others? The point, of course, is that the use of but negates the preceding sentiment.

     To say that one is free in some regard is to say that he has a right to do as he pleases:

  1. With no possibility of being punished by any organ of government;
  2. Should a private party or organization attempt to punish him, the attempt would be a criminal act.

     Very few persons actually grasp this critical concept. At least, nearly everyone I know wants to make exceptions:

  • To freedom of speech;
  • To freedom of assembly;
  • To freedom of association;
  • To the right to keep and bear arms;
  • To property rights;
  • To freedom of commerce;
  • To the right to face one’s accusers in a trial before a jury of one’s peers;
  • Even to the right to feed, medicate, and generally use one’s own body as one pleases.

     It’s a better gauge for America’s political devolution than anything else I can come up with at this hour of the morning.

     Semantics has a hard time coping with “but” expressions. I don’t. When I hear one, I immediately lower my opinion of the speaker by about 50%. I have to strain against a powerful inclination to go on the attack. It’s one of the reasons I tend to keep to myself.

     Government in our time is 99% “buts.” It’s whittled freedom away completely, such that the typical American’s reaction to a proposed course of positive action is to find someone to ask for permission. Yet his great-grandfather would have embraced the idea without a second thought, never imagining that he needs to beg a license from any institution, governmental or otherwise.

     Here’s a pungent example: Is your money really yours? Most persons would immediately reply in the affirmative. But if so, why aren’t you permitted to move it about without being spied upon? Why, if you should arrange your affairs to avert such spying – currently, any transfer below $10,000 is nominally exempt from federal “reporting requirements” – are your funds then subject to arbitrary confiscation, on suspicion of “structuring?” If the test of ownership is whether you’re free to do as you like with your property so long as you refrain from injuring others, why aren’t you free to move your money around as you please?

     Don’t all rush to answer at once, now.

     George Orwell wrote:

     In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible....Consider for instance some comfortable English professor defending Russian totalitarianism. He cannot say outright, "I believe in killing off your opponents when you can get good results by doing so." Probably, therefore, he will say something like this:
     While freely conceding that the Soviet regime exhibits certain features which the humanitarian may be inclined to deplore, we must, I think, agree that a certain curtailment of the right to political opposition is an unavoidable concomitant of transitional periods, and that the rigors which the Russian people have been called upon to undergo have been amply justified in the sphere of concrete achievement.

     ....But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought. A bad usage can spread by tradition and imitation even among people who should and do know better.

     He who makes a statement about freedom / rights is making a political statement. He might not command the many Latinate circumlocutions and periphrases that Orwell condemns in his essay. He might merely say but. That one word is enough to induce the sort of cognitive dissonance in a typical hearer’s mind to make him think he’s heard a reasonable conclusion from a man who’s given the appropriate amount of thought to a weighty matter. That could not be further from the truth. Yet such a statement often becomes gospel among persons disinclined to think through basic propositions about individuals, their rights, and the social order – that is, to think about principles.

     There is no right – no sort of freedom – that admits to exceptions. Either it applies to all persons and at all times, or it is merely a conditional grant of permission from some authority, whether formally or informally constituted. The jihadis who tried to murder Pamela Geller deemed themselves an authority with jurisdiction over her speech and activities. Yet they differ not at all, in principle, from a supposedly “legitimate” government.

But Me No “Buts!”