Stop and think, collected 2017Note. Because of changes in the archive pages, over time, you may find that some of the links you hit to other "Stop and think" installments actually lead nowhere. If you encounter frustration with a particular link, please feel free to hold my feet to the fire. Nicholas Strakon
2016 2015 2014
2013 2012 2011 2010
2009 2008 2007 2006
2005 2004 2003 2002
Current installment, continued.
... Or was he turned in by a good little citizen informant?
Those same benevolent overseers do seem to be over-interested in such things: the telescreen report linked from the story above includes a shot of a display at the school in question cautioning students to be sure their social-media posts are "kind, helpful, inspiring," etc.
Of course, like most parents of kids caught in such a mess, those of the penalized child are themselves products of the same day-prison system, and so bereft of the reasoning tools that would enable them to comprehend fully what is going on. The father complained, "He never shared, he never commented, never made a threatening post ... [he] just liked it" as if such things might have merited the educationists' draconian punishment.
The mother's reaction is even less encouraging:His mother, Cindy Martin, took to Facebook to express her frustration with the situation. "This sickens me! Not anywhere on the boys Instagram post did it say anything about taking a gun to school. This is a bunch of s*** if I ever seen any....... SMH," she wrote.On the other hand, her post makes about as much sense as the Official Statement of the Head Child Prison Overseer in Charge whose name, by the way, sounds like a bad joke:
"People wake up and teach your children right from wrong and teach them not to blow s*** out of proportion.
"Now 2 innocent harmless boys got in trouble over some pansy cry bag making s*** up!"Russ Fussnecker, the superintendent of Edgewood City Schools, released a statement to WXIX that said: "Concerning the recent social media posting of a gun with the caption 'Ready,' and the liking of this post by another student, the policy at Edgewood City Schools reads as follows:Yes, of course. The all-important "educational process."
"'The Board has a "zero tolerance" of violent, disruptive, harassing, intimidating, bullying, or any other inappropriate behavior by its students.'
"... As the Superintendent of the Edgewood City Schools, I assure you that any social media threat will be taken seriously, including those who 'like' the post when it potentially endangers the health and safety of students or adversely affects the educational process."
That makes it official: the leftist equation of language and other harmless acts with violence has become enshrined as truth among the pinheads running our children's indoctrination in "citizenship." "Zero tolerance," of course, means no discretion or reasonableness in the enforcement of decrees a policy well suited to the rule of pinheads incapable of critical thought.
But the real tragedy is summed up by the following:Cindy shared another post on Facebook after the suspension was lifted and wrote: "Just wanted to let everyone know that the matter we been dealing with over our son 'liking' a picture on Instagram has been resolved.So after Mr. Pencilnecker and the others to whom the parents have entrusted their child have revealed themselves to be brain-dead monsters, Mom and Dad are happy to send said child back to the tender embrace of those very same monsters. God knows what other politically correct horrors will be visited upon him as he is further educationally processed. [David T. Wright] Ω
"Zach is not in any trouble whatsoever, nothing of this matter will be on his school record, it will be like it never ever happened.
"He got to go back to school, he gets to attend his dance and all other school functions.
"I want to say THANK YOU so much to all of our family, friends and all of you who shared our son's story, thank for all of your support, suggestions and kind words, with all of you by our side it made things so much easier to get through!"
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Let us consummate the revolution! [Guest opinion.] I am a nice-looking, youngish high-school teacher (of English, if you must know), and almost every year at least one underage girl will make it clear to me that she would like to have sex with me. Or would like to do whatever this generation says isn't sex, but which my father's generation thought was.
I always turn these sweet offers down. I am not eager to lose my job and never be able to work in any school system again except in Thailand. I am not eager to lose my family. I am not eager to go to prison. I am not eager to spend my golden years with neighbors who are warned that a sex-criminal crouches slavering in their midst. And I am not eager to be questioned every time there's an AMBER Alert.
But I do wonder ... I am forbidden by law to enjoy the company of these girls in ways that would be well, at least not illegal in just a few short years. This strikes me as age-discrimination. And not only that, but I am required by law to engage in age-discrimination.
The girls are encouraged by law to engage in age-discrimination, since they may cavort freely with lads their own age who may be just using them for rough exploratory purposes, whereas I am gentle and experienced. They are deemed wise enough and mature enough to choose young partners, and (unbeknownst to their parents) to obtain medications and devices to support their cavorting, as well as (also unbeknownst to their parents) surgeries should the medications or devices fail or be left forgotten at a girlfriend's home. But the law wishes them to discriminate against me. Solely on the basis of their age, they are deemed not to be wise enough or mature enough to cavort with me.
Surely, this is a situation that cannot long endure in our discrimination-sensitive age. Love equality will surely make its force felt soon. Perhaps someone from the Cato Institute will take the lead. None of us is getting any younger. [Arnold Zeck] (May 2017)
New Steve Sniegoski piece at the Unz site. World
War Iis one of my chief historical interests, and I think everyone should learn about the catastrophe and contemplate its results. Our civilization may already have been doomed by the time politicians around the world set it in motion, but the Great War surely advanced our collapse. American entry made the catastrophe even worse, especially with respect to its results, and inflicted a direct and lasting blow here at home on Americans' liberties and fortunes and, as we have seen, on their very mind.
As it turns out, the neocon Weekly Standard may not be the best source for learning about the war. One forum to turn to instead is the Unz Review, which recently posted this splendid and important new essay by Steve Sniegoski: "American Entry into World War One: The Weekly Standard's Fractured History and the Reality." [Nicholas Strakon] (April 2017)Other recommended reading:
The Illusion of Victory: America in World War I, by Thomas Fleming (2008).
The Politics of War: The Story of Two Wars Which Altered Forever the Political Life of the American Republic, by Walter Karp (1979).
"World War I on the Home Front," by Ralph Raico (2010, 2012).
Expedience. It is important to remember that a payment to an accuser to settle a lawsuit is not evidence that the accused is guilty. It is evidence only that settling is more economical (at least in the short run) than defending an accusation. It is not an admission of guilt, but an admission of expedience. Indeed, expedience is one of the forms by which pragmatism expresses itself in this country. I would offer the frequency of resorting to expedient solutions as evidence of how degraded this country has become. But then, not being in the public eye, I have no personal experience with the need to settle with accusers, and I do not have to face mobs demanding that I not be permitted to earn a living. [Ronn Neff] (April 2017)
"Pétain, c'est la France; la France, c'est Pétain"? You may have seen that the French Front National politician Marine
Le Pengot into Holocaust trouble the other day. CNN writers James Masters and Margaux Deygas reported on April 10:Le Pen suggested France was not responsible for the wartime round-up of Jews who were sent to Nazi death camps. With just 13 days until the first round of voting in France's presidential election, her remarks have been met with widespread condemnation.Le Pen was trying to undermine the idea of collectivist guilt. If "France" was guilty, and if "France" still exists, then it is still guilty, and those intent on destroying France will enjoy the advantage that "the sanction of the victim" gives them. If individuals were guilty and if they are not the people who are alive today, then the people who are alive today are not guilty, and those intent on destroying France would enjoy no such advantage.
Her stance is at odds with former president Jacques Chirac and current premier Francois Hollande, who have both apologized for the role played by French police in the rounding up of 13,000 Jews at the Vel d'Hiv cycling track in Paris, ordered by the Nazis in July 1942.
Since, however, most people are collectivists, most people are unable to grasp her point. Moreover, since Marine
Le Pen'sown views embed a degree of collectivism, she herself is not able to articulate or defend the non-collectivist elements in them satisfactorily. (Not, of course, that even that ability would protect her from being "misunderstood," when people are determined to misunderstand.) It is nevertheless amazing to me that apparently most modern French politicians would rather think that Vichy was the real France, rather than the France of de Gaulle and the veterans who are honored on Liberation Day. [Ronn Neff] (April 2017)
I can't say what happens to others, but when I hear that dead babies are being used (again) as an excuse to bomb someone, alarms go off in my head. [Ronn Neff]
What is seen and what is not seen. How many innocents were killed in the attack on Shayrat Airfield? We "know" that none were targeted, but that does not answer the question. [RNN]
Once again, the United States has attacked a foreign country that had not attacked it, had not threatened to attack it, and could not attack it. Some "Defense" Department. I feel safer already. [RNN] (April 2017)
Woodrow Trump. Donald Trump's attack on Syria occurred on the hundredth anniversary of the United States's entering the Great War in Europe, at the behest of Woodrow Wilson. Appropriate, since the attack is a perfect example of Wilsonianism.
Of course, Congress's act on April 6, 1917, was at least legal under the Constitution. You remember the Constitution, right? The old rag that some state-believers used to work themselves into a lather about, in the waning days of the decrepit republic? How charmingly oldfangled!
I hear that President Assad has five more airfields. What about them? Will Trump blitz them, too, if bad things continue to occur in that faraway land? Will he (or "NATO" or some dummied-up Alliance for World Perfection) impose a no-fly zone? What about the Russian naval forces that appear to be headed for the same waters as the U.S. warships? Not to use an outré word, but what strategy do the American imperial utopians have in mind? Have they ever heard of unintended adverse consequences? Well, we already know that history and I mean the history of their own time rolls off them like water off a duck's back.
I've just used a cliché, though to good effect, I hope. Here's another fine old expression long since turned into a tired cliché thanks to the actions of our interventionist rulers: "[Go] not abroad in search ..." Oh, forget it, what's the use? [Nicholas Strakon] (April 2017)
Will the anti-war movement (overwhelmingly leftist as it is) now re-emerge from its long hibernation under the kindly drone-master and nation-breaker Obama? After all, there's a "Literally Hitler" Republican in the presidential palace now! Maybe it will, in the wake of the assault on Syria, but I wonder whether it might be unmanned by the supposed humanitarian motives of the attack it's for the children ... the children! That's usually a powerful enough narcotic for American utopians of all parties. [Nicholas Strakon] (April 2017)
One way to change a culture is just to make incessant demands loudly and importunately. Like parents with unruly children, the rest of society will usually respond by acceding to the demands if for no other reason than just to get those making the demands to shut up.
I propose a different tack: Let's encourage those who are making demands to change the culture and society to hold their breath until they get their way. [Ronn Neff] (April 2017)
Italy is on the verge of requiring employers to give their female employees paid leave for those days that the ladies are incommoded by their eerie, but somewhat regular, appointment with the moon.
I predict that once this becomes firmly entrenched in American society (by government regulation, of course), it will be only a matter of time a short time at that before workers refer to absent co-workers as having taken "a rag day."
I further predict that it will be only a matter of time a short time at that before said workers will be fired for having said it. [Ronn Neff] (March 2017)
A blessing on both their houses. "Sanctuary" jurisdictions all across the country are nullifying Central Government laws and decrees involving illegal immigrants, and in response Attorney General Jeff Sessions is threatening to withhold law-enforcement grants, i.e., pork-barrel subsidies from Mordor on the Potomac.
Now that's entertainment! So often, I'm left muttering, "A plague on both their houses" when political factions representing somewhat different shades of stygian evil shriek and claw at each other. But this time, I can only extend my encouragement to both sides in their tug-of-war, which is producing some creaks and strains in the gasp! Great American System of Rule.
Usually the Great Contradiction in that Great System works differently. I'm referring to the contradiction crisscrossing contradictions, really between procedure (federalism vs. centralization) and content (Liberty vs. Power). Normally, local jurisdictions are discovered to be practicing various forms of oppressive devilry, or are successfully portrayed as doing so, and the Central Government thunders to the rescue on its Pale Horse of Death Huzzah! Draw your sabers, ye sons of Freedom! We are coming, Father Abraham, three hundred thousand strong! expanding its size, expense, reach, and overall power along the way, to the delirious praise of all courtier propagandists.
The current fracas between the different levels of rule is a refreshing exception. No, I don't expect a useful civil war or uprising or secession. We should resist any such optimistic hopes. For one thing, we must expect the Left-nullificationists to squeal like banshees and attack like demons but more or less legally in order to preserve their loot, stolen from tax-victims all across the country; and the savvy gambler would probably put his money on them. The Left is hard to beat when it comes to courtroom combat and bureaucratic maneuvering. But right now, both the commissars of nullification and the thugs of Miniluv are inadvertently fighting for Liberty something they both revile! Any hairline cracks in the megalith that their struggle creates are all to the good. [Nicholas Strakon] (March 2017)
Tone-deaf Left. Apparently this is not a joke: Mrs. Hillary Clinton now enjoys the honor of a whiskey's having been named after her. It's called Rodham Rye.
"It's a tribute to women in history, and a tribute to women in our everyday lives," says Republic Restoratives co-founder Pia Carusone.
I can't imagine that I am the first to observe that this is a terrible name for a whiskey, but the Left just brings it on themselves: apparently they cannot hear what they are saying. (After all, these are the people who drink a beverage made of "bioengineered algae" called Soylent.)
But you'd think that somewhere in every ad agency there would be a Don Draper who could point out that you can't give a name to a whiskey celebrating women in history that sounds like "Rot 'em Rye."
You just can't. [Ronn Neff] (March 2017)
Ronn Neff's column of May 23 about the Rockville school rape (I recommend that you stop and read it first) has sparked some thought as his writings tend to do and reminded me of one particular evil inherent in government schooling.
The state forces taxpayers to pay for it, whether or not they have children who attend such institutions, and the state's compulsory-education decrees goad most parents into sending their children to them. As Mr. Neff says, parents should exert all efforts to keep their children out of those places. But even when it is possible to evade or minimize the damage of tyrannical state decrees, those decrees are still evil, they produce evil consequences, and those consequences deserve denunciation.
The evil consequence I'm thinking of today inherent in robbing taxpayers to pay for a coercion-ridden school system is denial of the freedom of association. The poor adolescent girl whom Mr. Neff writes of didn't exactly make a free choice to wind up in the same building with criminal savages, and her parents didn't exactly make a free choice resulting in her proximity to them.
If school and state were separated, even parents now dizzy with statish thinking would be less likely to be dizzy when choosing a school for their kids, just as they're less dizzy now when choosing where to shop for groceries, where to see a movie, or where to buy a used car. They'd have a lot more choices, for one thing, and affordable ones; and schools that featured violent savages among their student body would let's just say face some steep marketing challenges in reaching normal people.
I like alluding to used-car lots. I've done so quite a few times, pointing out the radically different quality of thinking that people engage in when shopping for a used car as opposed to the kind that they engage in when voting for politicians. The same dichotomy would reveal itself vividly if freedom reigned in the education industry and, of course, if leviathan and its little friends were somehow prevailed upon to keep their filthy mitts off the culture in general. [Nicholas Strakon] (March 2017)
Lind the Impeacher. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), in his "questioning" of Judge Neil Gorsuch in the latter's confirmation hearings to become a justice of the Supreme Court, warned Donald Trump that if the president used waterboarding, he would be subject to impeachment.
Setting aside all questions about waterboarding (and what it has to do with Judge Gorsuch), it should not take a free-market anarchist to explain to the senator that neither he nor any other senator can initiate impeachment proceedings against the U.S. president. The House brings the charges and votes on impeachment. The Senate then tries the case.
Simple enough. But apparently being a senator has just gone to Mr. Graham's head. As a House member in 1998, not only was he on the Judiciary Committee that formulated the charges brought against Bill Clinton (the only elected president ever to be impeached), but he was one of the managers (i.e., prosecutors) of the case before the Senate.
He apparently has also lost sight of the fact that in the impeachment trial, it is the Chief Justice of the United States, not senators from South Carolina, who sit in judgment of the case. [Ronn Neff] (March 2017)
A new essay by Steve Sniegoski recently appeared at The Unz Review: "The Russian Peace Scare Averted, but What about Iran?"
Dr. Sniegoski says: "In my new essay, I point out how the generals Mattis and McMaster, who have been highly lauded in the mainstream media, are very hawkish on Iran and will reinforce Trump's belligerent position.... I argue against the crazy idea, held especially by Mattis but also by McMaster, that Iran is the cause of instability in the Middle East, and I point out that Iran's intervention outside its borders is fundamentally defensive."
Highly recommended! (By the way, I love Steve's bitterly satirical phrase, "the Russian peace scare.") [Nicholas Strakon] (March 2017)
The Women Who Don't Count. In many locales in the United States, women who have not made an issue of International Women's Day decided to declare a "Day without Women." This was supposed to protest Bill Clinton's actual molesting and raping of real women. Oh, wait, no, it wasn't. It was supposed to protest Donald Trump's talking about molesting women.
In any case, it was a fraud. It was not supposed to be a Day without Women, but rather a Day without Some Women. The women who work at McDonald's showed up for work. The women who work at boutiques and movie theaters showed up for work. The women who take the orders of the "Some Women" at Panera and Starbuck's worked. So did the "Some Women's" nannies no day off for protests for them. Nurses and doctors showed up. Even meter maids and librarians. Prostitutes, too. And a lot of women showed up for two jobs.
Of course, Wednesday's demonstration continued in a vein we're already familiar with. The women who worked on Wednesday were Women Who Don't Count. The women who, if anyone needs the protection of the laws, they do. The women who were never meant to be protected. [Ronn Neff]
For further reading. The Women Who Don't Count were celebrated by Joe Sobran in his cover article for the March 1997 issue of SOBRAN'S. It has been reprinted here. (March 2017)
"For our freedom," again. At the Lew Rockwell site, Laurence M. Vance writes of Trump's telling Congress that commando Ryan Owens died "for our freedom":"Saying What Needs To Be Said about the Military"The lying is bad enough. But when the operators of the blood-drenched leviathan attempt to manipulate us through sentimentality of all things! how can people not just choke on it?
The cutting edge of the sword becomes visible when calls arise for withdrawal and non-intervention. Peace, in other words. Then we're told that it just cannot be done, and that still others must die, lest those who have died "for our freedom" be seen "to have died in vain." [Nicholas Strakon] (March 2017)
The Tarmac Exculpation. Jeff Sessions has been accused of meeting with the Russian ambassador and lying to the Senate about it in his confirmation hearings. Calls for his resignation or impeachment were soon to come.
Surely his defense should be obvious: "We were just talking about our travels and grandchildren." [Ronn Neff] (March 2017)
Sure, Ced, we all knew that's what you meant. You will recall the jawdropper that Rep. Cedric Richmond, a black Democrat from Louisiana, delivered to an audience on Wednesday about that photo of Kellyanne Conway on a couch in the Oval Office, perched on her knees: "[S]he really looked kind of familiar in that position there. But, don't answer, and I don't want you to refer back to the 1990s...."
The '90s ... the '90s ... Now who was president during almost all of the '90s? Oh! Omigod!
However, Richmond now says that the Monica-and-Bill, uh, connection isn't what he was referring to at all. According to The Daily Caller, he explains: "Where I grew up, saying that someone is looking or acting 'familiar' simply means that they are behaving too comfortably."
For her part, Conway calls Richmond's original remark "sexist." It's a shame she can't find language less left-wing, more traditional, and more powerful. But she also thinks there'd be "more media outrage about the comment if she were a liberal woman" (TheDC's words).
Well, duh. And to take it a step further, let's imagine that a conservative white congressman had said any such thing about a liberal black woman in some prominent post (or in any post). Would any promoter of respectable opinion settle for a risible explanation such as Richmond's? (Rhetorical question.) Or would they all be shrieking for him to resign? And for everyone around him to denounce and shun him? (More rhetorical questions.) [Nicholas Strakon]
Meanwhile, here's the kind of trivia that non-Democrats have to apologize for. We learn from the Clinton News Network that Rep. Mike Bost (R-Ill.) "said Thursday he regretted invoking a racially insensitive term and reference to explain why he would not hold in-person town hall events."
Bost had been adverting to the recent mobbing of such events by left-wing screechers and shouters. From the CNN story:"The amount of time that I have at home is minimal, I need to make sure that it's productive," Bost told [The Southern] Illinoisan [newspaper]. "You know the cleansing that the Orientals used to do where you'd put one person out in front and 900 people yell at them? That's not what we need. We need to have meetings with people that are productive."Gasp! And he did duly apologize, though he stopped a little distance short of self-abasement.
Bost had actually meant to refer to the "struggle sessions" conducted by the Chinese Maoists in the good old days of unlimited progressivism over there. His offending word, of course, was "Orientals." If he'd said "Asians," I suppose he'd have been OK. In other words, Bost's mistake was to use a word and concept invented by white Europeans long ago and not meant to demean the Orient instead of the other word and concept invented by white Europeans long ago and not meant to demean Asia.
It's not as if some antediluvian White Devil had used the Western-imperialist word "Bombay" (second gasp!) instead of the commendably native rendering "Mumbai." Or "Ceylon" instead of "Sri Lanka."
"Racially insensitive." We're not at war with Eastasia, comrades; we're at war with the commissars who control our culture, including our language. [NS]
Modine Herbey comments: It's almost enough to get me saying "Peking" again. And I'm not referring to duck. (March 2017)
"We didn't mean nothin'." The Republican Congress sent six bills to Barack Obama repealing the so-called Affordable Care Act. Of course, as they knew he would, he vetoed them.
Now there is a president who campaigned on a promise to repeal the ACA. Congress doesn't need to write a new bill. They have six just sitting around. And yet they do not send even one of them to him.
Why do you suppose that is? Can it be that it was all just political theater? Is Congress saying, "We was just funnin'"? [Ronn Neff] (March 2017)
Our conflict-free future. In objections to Donald Trump's nominees for political appointments, indeed in objections to the Trump presidency itself, we keep hearing the expression of "concerns" (no one dares to use the word "accusation") about conflicts of interest.
As the state reaches ever more deeply into everyone's economic and personal life, it becomes problematic whether anyone will ever be able to enter politics who does not have a potential "conflict of interest." This will leave political office closed to people from business or the work force, and open only to people who have spent their entire lives in, ahem, "public service." Well, them and lawyers.
Lawyers and people in public service almost never have "conflicts of interest." They are those fortunate among us who enjoy, rather, what we may call happy intersections of interests. [Ronn Neff] (February 2017)
A dumb mistake! Campus Reform is reporting that students are being arrested on college campuses for handing out copies of the Constitution without permission. During the Nixon administration, it was popular for young leftists to sport a poster in their college dorm rooms showing the Bill of Rights with "Void Where Prohibited by Law" stamped on it.
At the time, I thought I was to understand that the Left was warning us against the excesses of the Nixon administration. How silly of me. What it was, of course, was a statement of end goals. [Ronn Neff] (February 2017)
Offsite alert new Steve Sniegoski article. Just posted at the Unz Review is a new essay by Dr. Stephen J. Sniegoski: "As a Critic of NATO, Trump Is in Good Company." I recommend it highly.
An excerpt:The media has generally presented Trump as being ignorant and nonsensical in his discussion of American policies, and one example is his negative references to NATO as obsolete. The mainstream media is aghast that any political leader of the U.S. could possibly take a negative view of such an allegedly iconic alliance as NATO....Here, if you will, are some "alternative facts" that the memory-hole media either have conveniently forgotten or are working to obscure. It turns out that the study of history reveals many such facts as veteran readers of Dr. Sniegoski's writing are well aware. [Nicholas Strakon] (February 2017)
... But if we take a brief walk down memory lane, we will discover that Trump is actually in very good company in his criticism of NATO, and those NATO critics include luminaries of the foreign policy establishment whom the Washington Post and the New York Times once readily embraced.
Wages of empire. (I may have used that title before.)
On January 28, Politico Playbook ran something about incoming Iraqis' being detained at Kennedy Airport in response to President Trump's immigration order, and added the comment: "We will see a lot of these stories in coming weeks. People who have fought alongside Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan want to come here, and will not be allowed to."
(But chances are they will.)
You may have heard paleoconservatives sum up the neocon and war-liberal strategy as, "Invade the world; invite the world." As some European countries that used to be imperial powers have found out to their distress and as we Americans have discovered, too, over the past few decades invading the world can amount to the same thing as inviting the world. Or attracting it, at least. Ordinary natives may hate the empire in the lands under its hegemony, but some will have taken the emperor's coin, and in any event the imperial metropole will exert a magnetic force on many people. Especially if it seems to offer the best chance for crawling out from under the rubble produced by imperialism.
How many more America-bound refugees from strange parts will Trump inadvertently recruit if he actually launches his promised crusade against ISIS? U.S. taxpayers might want to gin up some curiosity about that, if they are still capable of any such thing. [Nicholas Strakon] (February 2017)
Superb Owl Sunday. (We got that right, didn't we?)
I literally did not know when the Superb Owl was to be broadcast until this past week when I heard Rush Limbaugh talking about someone named Brady. I don't know who he is, but I guess he's a friend of Trump's, and therefore a bad guy ('cause Trump isn't allowed to have friends it's right there in the Constitution).
Then yesterday I heard someone on the radio named Theismann who used to play sports of some sort somewhere around here but now owns a restaurant, and I learned the names of the teams that will be involved somehow in the Owl.
I have concluded that Americans' obsession with team games has something to do with collectivism. No one ever gets this excited about fencing matches or chess matches anymore, unless there's a "team" competing somewhere and we can all chant "U_S_A. U_S_A."
The only social value I can figure out for team games is the opportunity they present for gamblers to make an honest living. But then, so do presidential and papal elections. [Ronn Neff] (February 2017)
I'm trans-unsurprised. It transpired last week that the Boy Scouts are now going to admit "transgender boys" (i.e., mentally disturbed girls) into their organization. (What could go wrong?) According to the Washington Post, the group started allowing confessed homosexuals to be Scouts in 2013, and started allowing confessed homosexuals to be Scout leaders in 2015.
There's much here that's unsurprising, including the fact that totalitarian authorities determined to grind the freedom of association into dust have been threatening the Scouts to get them to move in a sexually deviant direction. But all the mandarins on the commanding heights of the culture, even those with no official political power, are pushing for the same thing. You may note that the Postwriters, in their story, refer to the newly eligible girls as boys. With no quote marks. No government authority forced them to do that.
So: 2013 ... 2015 ... 2017 ... What fine new frontier of "progress" will 2019 bring for the Scouts?
Of one thing we may be sure. In the words of Ronn Neff, "The Left still follows the lead of Franklin Roosevelt: unconditional surrender." [Nicholas Strakon] (February 2017)
"Anarchists." At one point, thirty or forty years ago, I hoped that we real anarchists that is, market anarchists might make some progress in ditching the old image of the anarchist as a hairy psycho in a long black coat, holding a bomb that looked like a bowling ball with a fizzing fuse. Then, sometime in the '90s, I stumbled across an anarchist magazine at a newsstand and for the first time saw that symbol with the scrawled capital "A" in a circle. Well! That was interesting. But leafing through the mag, I started smelling something bad. It turned out that those young self-described anarchists not only opposed what they took to be capitalism (de rigueur for the old-time economically confused anarchists) but also opposed technology and, uh, civilization itself. Hear me: they explicitly opposed technology and civilization. However, they very much favored rock music. At least a third of the magazine was devoted to rock music and concert reviews. (I've forgotten the periodical's name, but I think it was not Anarchy magazine, which I recall as being somewhat better, though not market-oriented.)
I never knew how influential or well-distributed the "circled A" magazine was though its symbol soon took off but in any case its contents were not auspicious. Godwin, Proudhon, Bakunin, Tolstoy, Kropotkin, and the other vintage anarchists were wrong about many things, but they also wrote much of intellectual depth and interest. I found none of that in this publication. (And I examined several issues of it.)
It seemed that devolution was in progress.
A few years later, I started to see masked vandals calling themselves anarchists show up at confabs of global ruling-class eminentoes and run through the streets breaking windows windows belonging not to the eminentoes but to peaceful shopkeepers. In 2009, after the vandals ran amok in Pittsburgh during one such conclave of the fascist elite, I had a little bitter fun with it all, writing, "Once again, anti-capitalists held a big meeting and, once again, other anti-capitalists showed up to protest it! Strange days ... strange days, indeed."
The days were about to get stranger, from the true-anarchist perspective. And more exasperating. As you may have noticed, the street-thug variety of "anarchist" is becoming more violent. Such "anarchists" may sometimes scuffle with the cops, but that's only on an incidental basis as they attack their main target, which is private people and their property. Notably absent from their "anarchist" target list is the state itself. Well, that last part is understandable: outside of government-university campuses, run by the limpest of noodles, the state is too well-armed and dangerous.
These "anarchists" should watch out, though, lest they encounter some private people who are also well-armed and dangerous. That consideration may be why they tend to initiate their violence in one-party jurisdictions under the commie heel, such as California, where the commissars in power suppress the right of self-defense.
Another reason, no doubt, is that such commie jurisdictions are much more likely to give rise to such tyranny-minded "anarchists" in the first place.
These commie hoodlums who think they're anarchists don't just assault people and destroy their property. Another of their remarkable policies was evident at Berkeley on
February 1: they violently oppose the freedom of association.
As well as freedom of expression, naturally.
Some "anarchists." They're as counterfeit as the Spanish "anarchists" George Orwell wrote about in Homage to Catalonia who ran customs posts on the border and accepted positions as government ministers in the "Republican" faction.
And they are no threat to leviathan. Quite the contrary. [Nicholas Strakon] (February 2017)
Lower than false. The other day I asked a young fellow what he thought of the proposed
20 percenttariff on Mexican goods. "Sounds like discrimination to me," he said. I snorted. I couldn't help myself.
The schools are so soaked in leftist memes and gobbledy-gook that apparently we can no longer depend on our adversaries even to offer trite, mercantilist fallacies. [Ronn Neff] (January 2017)
Off-site alert. Steve Sniegoski has a hard-hitting, protein-rich piece of analysis up at the Unz Review, and I heartily recommend it to your attention: "Liberals Morph from Peaceniks to Warhawks on Government Intelligence Agencies." Steve comments:This is my analysis of theSober scholar that he is, I'm afraid that Steve can't help making an awful lot of people look silly here. [Nicholas Strakon] (January 2017)
January 6intelligence report "Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections" which the mainstream media have presented as clearly showing that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. election to aid Trump. I point out that while mainstream liberals in the latter years of the Cold War were skeptical, and largely critical, of U.S. policy, they now have become warhawks and automatically accept the claims of the "Intelligence Community."
I also deal with some aspects of the intelligence report that have received little attention: e.g., no mention of "fake news" and lack of statistical analysis to demonstrate alleged Russian media bias. Most significantly, the report does not even claim to focus on the 2016 election but is concerned about an alleged broader Russian goal to combat the United States' "liberal democratic order," of which support for Trump was only one part. As a result, the report is filled with information that does not pertain to Russian support for Trump.
Mad. Thomas Merton, in Raids on the Unspeakable, writes that "the wicked little characters in the Lord of the Flies come face to face with the lord of the flies, form a small, tight, ferocious collectivity of painted faces, and arm themselves with spears to hunt down the last member of their group who still remembers with nostalgia the possibilities of rational discourse."
It is an image we should draw on often: the Left has become "a small, tight, ferocious collectivity of painted faces, [who] arm themselves with spears to hunt down the last member of their group who still remembers with nostalgia the possibilities of rational discourse."
Trump's electoral win has pushed the Left far beyond "Red Guard" status. They exhibit Chesterton's definition of madness: "They are speaking nonsense and they cannot stop." Their madness comes "by settling down in some dirty, little, self-repeating circle of ideas." And of course, the one thing madness cannot endure is rational discourse. [Ronn Neff]
And joyless. Many have noted the Left's inability to laugh, except when their jokes are vulgar and filthy. Which brings me to Chesterton again: "In anything that does cover the whole of your life in your philosophy and your religion you must have mirth. If you do not have mirth you will certainly have madness."
That in turn reminds me of Kellyanne Conway's observation that Hillary Clinton was "one of the most joyless presidential candidates in history."
If Chesterton and Conway are right, then Hillary Clinton and her most ardent supporters are close to being outright mad (if they are not yet). Perhaps that is the main problem with socialism: it makes joy ever more difficult. Perhaps the Russian people were sustained by their own gallows humor ("we pretend to work; they pretend to pay us"). What else, humanly speaking, can possibly enable the human spirit to hold up under Stalinism? [RNN] (January 2017)
But sir, we're just trying to serf you better! In the next month or so, Wells-Fargo will start requiring its drive-through account-holders who make cash deposits to supply a photo ID with their deposit slip.
How, pray, does this protect me? or make my money safer?
How does it even protect Wells-Fargo from fraud? Do they check the cash for counterfeits later and plan to get back to the depositor?
It's pretty obvious that this new policy responds to some demand made by the government. (Treasury? Homeland Security? IRS? Who can say?)
Only the government is worried about who is depositing cash. Only the government needs or wants a record of who put cash into my account. And once again, your neighbors employed in banks put their heads down, say "Yes sir," and work as an arm of law enforcement.
But wait! I get it. When my enemies decide to frame me for embezzlement or selling nuclear and copy-editing secrets to Tajikistan, the investigators will see the princely cash deposits to my account and say, "Aha!"
I guess I'm being ungrateful to the bank that is just trying to protect me. But I think I'd prefer to take my chances. Besides, I've arranged to put that money in my Dubai account. [Ronn Neff] (January 2017)
Clever. Voting is silly (at best), because your vote will never change anything, except maybe your own moral status (for the worse). But I have to hand it to a "Friend" on Facebook for the following observation, sharp as a needle. If there could be some point to voting, this might be it:... [T]he main reason to vote Republican if you simply have to vote for candidates from one of the two major parties is that, if a Democrat wins the election, criticism in the mainstream media largely vanishes. This is not so bad when talking about, say, the diameter [of] drain pipes in your neighborhood. But it's disastrous in areas like foreign policy. The United States has a proud tradition of bombing the crap out of Third World countries, killing children at wedding parties, and just generally spreading death and destruction throughout the world. When the Democrats are in office, the anti-war movement shuts down. This is bad. So do your part by voting Republican. Keep the dialogue going.Tip o' the hat to K.A.H. [Nicholas Strakon] (January 2017)Further reading: "Double Standards: Where Were the Liberal Protestors During Obama's Wars?," by Mike Whitney, CounterPunch, January 26, 2017.
Nassssty womyn, female and otherwise. The progressive movement is making more progress disappearing up its own backside.
First, Black Womyn Of Color were offended because there were too many white women involved in last Saturday's Womyn's March. In fact, they seemed offended that any white women were involved at all:ShiShi Rose, a blogger from Brooklyn, spoke for many, writing, "Now is the time for you (white women) to be listening more, talking less ... You should be reading our books and understanding the roots of racism and white supremacy. Listening to our speeches. You should be drowning yourselves in our poetry."Well, okay. There was also the horrifying fact that the majority of white women had voted not for the sainted Hillary, but for the evil Trump monster, which meant that the white women who did vote for Hillary were also guilty ... or something. Anyway, that was easily fixed by installing token Black Womyn Of Color in important leadership positions and by a campaign of self-criticism among the whites that would have done proud a "struggle session" in China during the Cultural Revolution. Sure, the Black Womyn Of Color are still pissed off, but the whites are cowering appropriately, so all's well.
It seems that, besides being too white, the March was too ... well, oriented toward female genitalia. In a more civilized era, a vast clowder of women carrying signs referring to vaginas, and walking around in costumes resembling vulvas, would have offended normal people and marginalized the movement that fostered it. And, in fact, a 25-year-old woman working in my office who went to the March here in Trantor left quickly because she was disgusted by the vulgarity. But in these depraved times, the offended persons who count are in fact men who pretend to be women, because they were not endowed by Nature with vaginas, and therefore feel left out:"The main reason I decided not to go was because of the pussy hats," 28-year-old Jade Lejeck said in an interview Sunday night. "I get that they're a response to the 'grab them by the pussy' thing, but I think some people fixated on it the wrong way."This looks like the kind of conflict that can't be smoothed over, as both sides fight desperately over who gets to claim the coveted mantle of greatest victim. One would think the trannies had it in the bag, but some feminists seem to have allowed their overwhelming hatred of men to cloud their revolutionary consciousness, and embraced the reactionary idea that one's sex is determined by ... one's sex.
Lejeck, a trans woman from Modesto, California, said the hats signaled to her that there would be other trans-exclusionary messages at the women's marches.
She expected her local march to have its fair share of trans-exclusionary radical feminists, known as TERFs. As Lejeck described it, there are two categories of TERFS: One is the accidental TERF "the ones who have signs that equate womanhood with having a vagina," she said. The other category, Lejeck explained, includes feminists who argue trans women are actually men in disguise trying to infiltrate their spaces.
The question, of course, is this: as the progressive movement grows crazier, will such conflicts become more common? For instance, will the inevitable initiative to normalize child molestation run into conflict with those who put the "rights" of children above all, including parents? Will the bestiality advocates run into the same problem with the animal-rights wackos? Or will the conflicts be papered over, just as feminists ignore the problems of Islamic rape culture and the brutal way low-class blacks treat women? And will white feminists who after all have embraced the whole black-victimization theme mainly as a way to hurt the lower-middle- and working-class whites whom they hate above all grow weary of being treated like the help by vicious blacks gleefully brandishing their superior victimhood?
Whatever happens, at least we marginalized, superannuated reactionaries can console ourselves with the hilarious vision of crabbed, hideous feminists and shrieking drama-queen trannies clawing each other's eyes out. It's something, I guess. [David T. Wright] (January 2017)
Man-up to Manning. I have to say I'm glad that Chelsea (né Bradley) Manning's sentence has been commuted. I was glad that Daniel Ellsberg never went to prison. And I hope Edward Snowden stays ... well, as free as a person can be in Russia.
But, then, I'm a free-market anarchist.
I know there are lots of night-watchman limited government libertarians out there who have also been agitating, "Free Chelsea Manning." And I can't for the life of me figure out what argument they would use to urge others to free him. He was charged with espionage, and pleaded guilty.
Let me put it this way to the Randians, Hornbergerians, and other exponents of a free market and limited government:
Should espionage be a crime or not? [Ronn Neff] (January 2017)
The Times proclaims a crisis. Did you see this? "How a Sensational, Unverified Dossier Became a Crisis for Donald Trump," by Scott Shane, Nicholas Confessore, and Matthew Rosenberg, New York Times, January 11, 2017.The Timesmen write, "The consequences of the dossier, put together by a former British spy named Christopher Steele, are incalculable and will play out long past Inauguration Day."
From here in the Outer Hayseed Darkness, it seems pretty obvious that this "dossier" is a crisis for the lefties, pushing Obama's farewell speech out of the news, helping Trump give CNN its comeuppance, and generally blowing up in their face yet it's a "crisis" for Trump. [Edward Morrison Morley] (January 2017)
Oh, there were "traps," eh? Something in today's edition of Politico Playbook caught my eye. The discussion concerns Obamacare, and the particular segment is headed, "But some fear Trump seems to be falling into some traps Obama fell into."Democrats say privately that their desire to pass Obamacare and damn the political consequences was one of their worst mistakes in the last decade. They worked tirelessly nights and weekends to get the Affordable Care Act to Obama's desk, only to be stuck with a flawed and deeply unpopular law that has cost them dearly at the polls. Republicans worry Trump's desire to replace the law on the same day they repeal it will be equally shortsighted. Health care is complicated....Just two things, if I may.
1) "One of the worst mistakes"? "Flawed"? Didn't the Democrats crow publicly, for years, that Obamacare was the greatest thing since Social Security, the TVA, and, I dunno,
World War II?(Except, that is, for those Democrats who tsk'd and said that, instead, "we" need to go to a "single-payer" system i.e., old-time socialism.) Ah, once again I reveal myself to be a childlike naïf, in venturing to point out the deceit or idiocy of politicians. If I were a reasonable adult, I'd keep quiet about all that, and march out and vote at every opportunity.
2) "Health care is complicated." Uh-hunh. Maybe too complicated to entrust to ignorant, brutalitarian government and its privileged clients? Hello! Calling Mises ... or Hayek ... or anyone with a sound conception of human society ... [Nicholas Strakon] (January 2017)
Our senior editor, Ronn Neff, has been accomplishing unheralded but praiseworthy work at his own site, Thornwalker, collecting writings by the late Joe Sobran that were on the verge of being lost to readers thanks to the vagaries of the Net. Mr. Neff recently published what he hopes is the definitive edition of Mr. Sobran's 32,000-word essay from 1985, "Pensées."
It is presently the first menu item on the page. [Nicholas Strakon] (January 2017)
Off-site alert. Steve Sniegoski has an important new piece at The Unz Review: "Russian Interference in the Election: A Media Hoax?" As you'd expect of an article by Steve, it is illuminating, well-argued, and solidly backed up.
Steve himself describes it as follows: "My article ... goes over the mainstream media's Russian election interference narrative, which it has hyped to the nth degree. I try to bring some clarity to the nebulous meaning of Russian interference, which includes a number of alleged Russian misdeeds 'fake news,' computer hacking, and manipulating voting machines. Although separate, these have been jumbled together to show that Russia interfered with the election to the extent that it might have made Trump president." [Nicholas Strakon] (January 2017)
Smudge-out. The latest Negro antiwhite atrocity to come to light burst straight through the established media's filters, probably thanks to a firestorm on social media. Some (including me) suspect that, otherwise, Minitrue's national outlets would have blacked it out entirely, as usual. I refer to this horror, as reported yes! by the Washington Post on January 5: "Hate crime charges filed after 'reprehensible' video shows attack on mentally ill man in Chicago," by Mark Berman and Derek Hawkins.
Berman and Hawkins lead off: "Authorities in Chicago charged four young African American adults with hate crimes Thursday after a video broadcast live on Facebook appeared to show them shouting obscenities about President-elect Donald Trump and white people while abusing a man authorities say has mental health problems." (My emphases.) That reads like an actual news story, from before the clamp-down!
The trouble here is that the huddled flown-over masses (those unexposed to social-media samizdat) get much more of their news from TV than from fancy papers such as the Post, and sure enough it was on TV that a smudge-out occurred. At least it did on the WANE-TV News, at noon the next day, January 6. WANE is the CBS affiliate in Fort Wayne, so this was a story straight from CBS central. After saying that the victim was "bound and gagged in an apartment as the suspects shouted racial slurs," the newsreader went on to report: "Investigators believe the four targeted the victim not because of his race but because of his disability." I heard that with my own ears.
I don't know what "investigators" that CBS story refers to, but in fact, the Chicago cops aren't committing themselves. Here's what Berman and Hawkins wrote the day before: "When asked whether the hate crime charges stemmed from the 18-year-old's mental health or his race both of which are factors listed in the state's hate crime statute [detective commander] Duffin said: 'It's half a dozen of one, six of the other.'"
Kudos to Steve Sniegoski for developing the concept of a media smudge-out. It's what they resort to when they can't completely cover up undesirable news. The nicest thing I can say about CBS's smudge-out is that it was inept, allowing alert viewers to see right through it.
The background of all this, of course, is that our supervisors consider it infinitely more objectionable for someone to be assaulted because he has a disability than it is for him to be assaulted because he is privileged with whiteness. [Nicholas Strakon] (January 2017)
Related reading: "Racial Gang Attacks Why Won't the MSM
Tell Us the Numbers?", by John Derbyshire, VDare, January 7, 2017.
Published in 2017 by WTM Enterprises.