Stop and think,  collected — 2002 (incomplete)

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A foolish inconsistency is the hobgoblin of evil minds. I just saw it again. This time, it was demonstrated by two newly elected provincial governors who were being interviewed on the telescreen. One represented the Evil and Smart Party and the other the Evil but Stupid Party; and they were discussing the "fiscal crisis" that, according to Minitrue, currently afflicts the various provincial governments of the United State. The Evil but Stupid governor-elect blamed the "crisis" on too much provincial-government spending. The Evil and Smart governor-elect blamed it on too little provincial-government taxation.

The Evil but Stupid man came across as tentative, uncertain, stumbling, and almost apologetic, and as he gazed into the camera I reminded myself to be careful the next time I drove on the highway at dusk. December is ending, but those hoofed and antlered ruminants are still wandering about. By contrast, the Evil and Smart woman was emphatic, certain, sure-footed, and supremely confident: no aimless ruminant there. Instead, think in terms of giant predators who'd eat you and your car if you gave them half a chance.

What I was seeing for the millionth time was the playing out of shared premises. Like the Evil and Smart woman, the Evil but Stupid man believed it's OK to steal money from people, distribute much of the swag to favored clients, keep some of it for your own gang, and push folks around in innumerable other ways. But he wanted to do a little less of it — at least, that was his claim. He was unwilling to allow the underlying premise of his statism to work its way to its logical conclusion.

At first, such men seem to have some cogent arguments for restraining the size and predations of their criminal gang, but soon the arguments start to sound merely technocratic and superficial. Even the rule of "don't kill the goose laying the golden eggs" comes across as superficial in light of their fundamental bad faith.

The real distinction between the two politicians is that the man was Evil but Inconsistent, and the woman was Evil and Consistent. Once ordinary people start accepting evil as the default setting of an inverted morality — so that robbery is good, pushing people around is good, as long as pols and their employees do it — well, who do you think is going to sound more sure of themselves, more in control, more sure-footed on the ground? Certainly the Evil but Inconsistent can still get themselves elected, but to see the overall score all you have to do is take a gander at the growth of leviathan since 1789. Consistency is trumps. [Nicholas Strakon] (December 2002)

Home for Christmas. As the telescreen continually reminds us, this season of the year is a good time to send best wishes to Our Boys and Wimmin in the imperial military. TLD's best wish is for them all to resign, come home, rejoin their families, and seek honorable employment. [Nicholas Strakon] (December 2002)

A Lott of folly. Lovers of Liberty won't let all the Red Guard partying and neocon pontificating provoke them to defend what Trent Lott said. Young Man Strom (ca. 1948) didn't stand for freedom of association as opposed to forced association. He stood for forced dissociation, locally administered (Jim Crow), as opposed to forced association, centrally administered.

It's still true, though, that today's nationwide system of forced association is a more massive crime than old-time Jim Crow: more massive in the same way that bombing London was a more massive crime than bombing Dover. Some of its qualitative aspects are worse, too: the enforcers of Jim Crow didn't depend on Penal Telepathy as the modern race-cops do. Moreover, unjust as Jim Crow was, one thing that it didn't do was jam square pegs into round holes, to the detriment of both pegs and holes, if you know what I mean and I think you do.

Get a load of Bill Kristol, Charles Krauthammer, David Brooks, Jack Kemp, William Bennett and the other "conservative" leaders bleating about the sacredness of forced integration. Whenever you hear those characters praising something, you can almost bet it's been a social and cultural catastrophe. [Nicholas Strakon] (December 2002)

Toying with the genie. As the regime prepares to disseminate the smallpox vaccine for mass vaccinations in the "war against terror," I'm hearing reports that the bugs therein are expected to kill two or three vaccinatees per million and inflict "life-threatening" illness on others. Now, I'm not a doctor, and I don't even play one on the Internet, but a widely disseminated vaccine will have to pass through many more hands than formerly, and it stands to reason that if some of those hands are directed by evil but well-educated minds, it could be used to develop a "better" strain, one with a much higher kill ratio. Instead of releasing this genie from its bottle, couldn't we please just give peace a chance? The simplest, surest, and safest way to avoid a smallpox attack is still this: Renouncing imperialism. [Nicholas Strakon] (December 2002)

Backfire? A couple of years ago I wrote a column in which I listed a slew of TV commercials that featured witless, incompetent, egomaniacal White Males being mercilessly ridiculed by brilliant, savvy, saintly Wimmin and Persons of Color. I assume the advertisers were pursuing a common strategy of trying to lure Wimmin and Pocs as new customers. But such commercials have now disappeared from the telescreen almost entirely! Wouldn't you just love to know the Secret History behind this one? [Nicholas Strakon] (December 2002)

"Independent." G.W. Bush has named Henry Kissinger to head an "independent" commission looking into U.S. intelligence "failures" leading up to the 9/11 attacks. That's right. Henry Kissinger. "Independent."

"Independent" of what?[Nicholas Strakon] (November 2002)

Risky business. It's only to be expected that the War Socialism practiced by the regime when it's in full imperial cry will feature a strong fascist tinge, for that's the way the ruling class wants it. After all, fascism is socialism for the politically rich and politically connected, i.e., Them. That's the System in a nutshell, whether the Empire is making war or enjoying what passes for peace; but it's in wartime that fascist victories seem more easily won. Now, not content with massively subsidizing the airlines in the wake of 9/11, the Huge Government Republocrats and Demlicans have spiked a heavy jolt of uncut fascism into another industry that was already semi-fascized to begin with: insurance. Certain activities, we are informed, have turned out to be uninsurable in the climate of the Terror War, provoking G.W. Bush & Co. to step in and insure the insurance companies to the tune of 200 billion smackers. The official media tell us that this intervention will save "thousands of jobs," but that's just another example of Magic Statish Thinking. Bastiat would warn us that the reinsurance subsidy is only what is immediately seen, and that the regime and its media are ignoring, and hoping we'll ignore, what is not immediately seen.

If the regime does have to step up and pay out billions of dollars in the wake of some terror-disaster, that moolah will not come from some Magic Statish Machine, assuming you don't class as magical the Treasury's printing press or the more-arcane counterfeiting operations of the Fed or the IRS apparatus. The money will be extracted from actual producers of wealth either in the form of taxes or inflation, and also, necessarily, in the form of further distortion of the securities market. And it will be accompanied by further subsidies for the handful of investment banks privileged to handle government securities offerings. Thousands of jobs created by government intervention may well appear, but only at the cost of thousands of jobs that had been created by actual economic activity.

Speaking of distortion, even if the government never distributes those billions to the insurance companies, the standing pledge to do so as "needed" constitutes a subsidy for insurance executives and investors in terms of profits and investment income, at the expense of executives and investors in industries that are not so protected.

More important, the pledge must massively distort the insurers' assessment of risk. It's meant to: if it didn't change insurers' behavior, it would be a pointless exercise. Without government reinsurance, insurers would have to stick with real-world calculations of risk. For example, they might decide to favor companies and projects and industries in the interior of the country instead of those on the more vulnerable and terrorist-favored Bicoasts. It's interesting to note that the executive committee of the ruling class — the super-bankers — is still substantially headquartered on the East Coast, with specially important outposts (in media and entertainment) on the West Coast. If real-world risk assessment were permitted to take place, our supervisors might come under some market pressure to stop their Terror War and the rest of their risky imperial business.

"Thousands of jobs," indeed! What about saving thousands of lives? [Nicholas Strakon] (November 2002)

Go not abroad in search of monsters to create. Remember old Ho Chi Minh, as in "Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Minh, the NLF is gonna win" and Ho Chi Minh City (née Saigon)? Remember also those 58,000 names on the Black Wall that officialdom had the nerve to make so much of on Veterans Day? Leafing through Mark Boatner's Biographical Dictionary of World War II, I came across some informative tidbits in the entry for Uncle Ho. All emphases are mine.

"... Returning to his homeland [from Moscow in 1930] ... [Ho] founded the Indochinese Communist Party. This being fiercely repressed by the French colonial administrators after uprisings in 1930-31, [he] fled to Hong Kong, where the British arrested him for sedition but sent him home secretly to lead another coup.... When this failed, [Ho] returned to China and founded the Viet Minh ... in 1941, as Japan prepared to take on the western allies. Chiang's Nationalists jailed [Ho] as a communist agitator in 1942 but released him the next year, at the request of the American OSS, to organize anti-Japanese intelligence activities throughout Indochina. Drawing U.S. arms at Kunming (terminus of the Burma Road), Ho performed his intended mission initially but soon pulled most of his guerrillas into the highlands to prepare for the postwar period.

"The Viet Minh consequently were the only organized force in the field when the Japanese surrendered." (p. 228) On September 2, 1945 — the same day the surrender ceremony was held aboard the U.S.S. Missouri — Ho was proclaimed president of "democratic" Vietnam.

Are another twenty examples of this sort of thing really necessary?

You've got to wonder what new monsters the Empire is creating this very day to fight Osama bin Laden and Saddam and the other monsters it helped create years ago. But there's one thing you don't have to wonder about: why the Empire's official schools and media work so hard to keep the sheeple ignorant of history.  [Nicholas Strakon] (November 2002)

Logic of empire. Something has been itching in my brain since I heard it, and I've finally worked out what it was.

G.W. Bush said of the Iraqi parliament's rejection of the UN resolution on inspections: "The Iraqi Parliament is nothing but a rubber stamp for Saddam Hussein. This guy's a dictator, so we'll have to wait and see what he says."

Now, if it's just a rubber stamp, doesn't that mean that whatever the parliamentarians say is what Saddam was going to say?

Doesn't the fact that Saddam decided differently imply that the parliament is not a rubber stamp?

In the United State, Congress did just what Bush demanded. In Iraq, the parliament did not do what the dictator demanded.

Is anyone else getting a headache? [Ronn Neff] (November 2002)

Frustration for the Empire's costumiers: Saddam's Hirohito mask keeps slipping. In one important respect, the Empire's exploitation of 9/11 has failed, insofar as a central aim of that exploitation was to justify the conquest of Iraq because of its role as a member of the "Axis of Evil." (Conspiratorialists would put it more boldly, saying that the 9/11 provokatsiya has failed with respect to Iraq.) Instead of being able to sell the conquest of Iraq as a retaliatory strike — the Pearl Harbor model — our rulers are now having to sell it as a preemptive strike. And that's always a harder sell, even when you're selling to sheeple and to the sociopathic corruptionists of the U.S. Congress.

As long ago as May 3, the New York Times was authorized to report — to let the headline convey the gist — that the "U.S. Drops Last Link of Iraq to 9/11." The attacks of September 2001 have certainly succeeded in strengthening the domestic leviathan — which is always Job One for totalitarians — but they've fallen somewhat short in extending America's foreign empire and helping Israel expand and secure her own empire. Given that context, which our supervisors must find galling, I'm still not convinced a ground invasion of Iraq can be orchestrated in the near or medium term. (Whenever they trot out the UN's dog-and-pony show, you know things have gotten a little complicated for the higher circles.)

However, the context may change, and suddenly. The dispersal of al Qaida as a result of Bush's Afghan War holds much potential for imperial monkey business. So far, the imperials seem to be highlighting Pakistan and Indonesia as probable havens for refugee al Qaida fighters. But if those fighters can make it to Indonesia, they can certainly make it to Iraq: or so, at least, most Americans can be led to believe. If the "spectacular" terror attack that the regime has been warning us about does occur, I wouldn't be at all surprised to hear that it was carried out by al Qaida terrorists operating from high-tech camel depots in Iraq, with the connivance and support of Saddam. [Nicholas Strakon] (November 2002)

Immigration socialism. In their November issue, our friends at American Renaissance warn that "the U.S. government plans to resettle the entire 12,000-member Somali Bantu tribe" in American cities. More than 1,000 Somalis have already been dumped into the small city of Lewiston, Maine, and the city council of Holyoke, Mass., has voted overwhelmingly to oppose a current plan that would unload another 300 Somalis onto that town. The Holyoke resettlement is being funded by a $320,000 federal grant to "local church groups," according to AR. ("O Tempora, O Mores!," p. 14)

Judging from the fact that many foes of immigration typically fail to observe crucial distinctions on this subject, I'm afraid they'll decry these current resettlements as yet another result of "unrestricted immigration" or "open borders." If so, they'll be making exactly the same error — and a gross error it is — that socialists make when they criticize corporate socialism as "laissez-faire." The racial catastrophe threatening Lewiston and Holyoke and other American towns results not from "unrestricted immigration" but rather from a government program.

The immigration of indigent, non-Hispanic nonwhites to this country would probably slow to a trickle if the government would just quit subsidizing it, both directly and through payments to crazed church groups staffed by Red Guards and their useful idiots. Among the "private" groups assiduously working to advance the demographic revolution in America, one of the worst offenders is U.S. Catholic Charities, which year after year gets two-thirds of its massive income straight from the welfare ministry, i.e., from the pockets of taxpayers.

Here's a little unsolicited advice for Catholics concerned about mass colored immigration: before inviting our common enemy, the state, to seize even more power than it already has, you may want to look for ways to wean Catholic Charities off the federal teat. [Nicholas Strakon]

P.S. On second thought, I suppose I could have saved my breath. Now that the heroic voters have given the heroic George W. Bush and his heroic Republicans their "historic victory" and "solid mandate," they'll put an end to immigration socialism tout suite. Right? — NS

(November 2002)

Can you say "Schadenfreude"? Just because I oppose party-politicking and voting doesn't mean I can't derive enormous pleasure from the suppression of certain super-obnoxious trolls. That being said ... Mondale ... heh heh ... MONDALE ... hee hee ... MONDALE ... aaaaaa-hahahahahaaaa ...! [Nicholas Strakon] (November 2002)

"The stakes are high" in every election, according to all the talking heads. They may be right. If, for the sake of argument, we grant that the offices being filled confer actual power to move and to shake, it does matter who fills them. But that still doesn't mean that your vote matters. And there's another little problem.

The day after an election it's (usually) easy to tell who won the offices, but it's a lot harder to tell what happened with those high stakes. Now, I'd be willing to give odds that Republicans in power would bring more fascism and assaults on the types of dissent they hated. And that Democrats in power would bring more socialism and assaults on the types of dissent they hated. Indeed it would matter which state of affairs came to pass, but would either be worth rooting for? Not to mention, voting for? (I dismiss the option of voting for micro-parties: as soon as they became big enough to be part of the System ... well, what can I say: they'd be part of the System.) Certainly down in the states and counties and school districts, the prevailing incidence of corruption, incompetence, and petty tyrannizing would be unaffected.

As for warmongering and imperialism, I might not give any odds and I might not wager at all. It's possible the only difference would be which countries around the world got bombed or invaded. (Republicans might be less likely to invade Haiti.) In any case, the United State's "special relationship" with Israel would be safe, no matter which party dominated the U.S. government.

But it gets even harder, trying to calculate those "high stakes." Whether I gave odds or not, I'd still run the risk of losing my money. Remember the old joke from the late '60s? — "In '64 they warned me not to vote for Goldwater or there'd be a war. They were right. I did vote for Goldwater, and there was a war!" In 1968 how many ordinary conservatives foresaw how socialistic Nixon would be? In 1992 how many ordinary liberals foresaw how fascistic Clinton would be? Our ultimate rulers probably had an idea, but — and I'm prepared to repeat this as often as necessary — you'll never find their names on any ballot. [Nicholas Strakon] (November 2002)

The anti-vote. Voting is linked to the support of tyrannical and imperialistic groups across the globe. Voting for politicians is not a victimless crime — it has negative consequences that can touch the lives of people around the world. Parents, teachers, faith organizations, and youth and community groups can answer the national call to fight tyranny and imperialism by avoiding polling-booth use in America. This public-service message has been brought to you by The Last Ditch: The anti-vote. [Nicholas Strakon]

Explanation can be the death of satire, but if anyone's
curious, my inspiration may be found here.NS

(November 2002)

Bill of Rights revisionism? "During the summer and fall [of 1788], Madison and other leaders grew increasingly alarmed about the movement for a second constitutional convention and the pressure for structural amendments that would eviscerate the new government's power....

"... [In 1789, still] realizing the danger, Madison maneuvered the Bill of Rights through the First Congress precisely to head off many of the more dangerous structural amendments that Antifederalists hoped would reverse the Federalist victory in 1788. It worked beautifully; Madison's plot administered the coup de grace to an Antifederalism already dying as an organized political force." (Richard H. Kohn, Eagle and Sword: The Federalists and the Creation of the Military Establishment in America, 1783-1802 [New York: The Free Press, 1975], p. 196)

One interesting aspect of this is that Kohn is not a revisionist writer, and his book is not a revisionist book. It's just that any straightforward and detailed analysis of politics and government seems revisionist when compared to the fairytales we were all taught in school. (November 2002)

The only thing we have to fear, or, How bad ideology can cause mental retardation. National Bolshevik Radio says that, in the course of making his anti-gunowner film "Bowling for Columbine," Commie filmmaker Michael Moore got all bothered and puzzled about why Americans use their guns to commit crimes so much more often than Canadians do. Visiting Toronto, he located some residents of the "inner city" who didn't even bother to lock their front door! What, oh, what could the answer be? Something having to do with the contrasting demographics of Canada and America, mayhap? Nnnno, I guess not.

Moore seems to think the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has more to do with it: since it's a government system, and everything having to do with government is automatically dignified and responsible and good, the CBC eschews the "fear-mongering" that our "free-market" media are forced to wallow in as they pursue those filthy profits. And since Canadians, as a result, don't fear gun crime, they ... uh ... er ... don't commit gun crime? I guess that part of the argument slipped by me.

Anyhow, catch that "free-market." Right. Well, one thing's for sure. When Canada's demographics start to resemble America's a lot more closely, and there's a helluva lot more fear out there to monger, the CBC will still refrain from mongering it even if its own Red Guards would like to cut back on the pabulum. Canada doesn't mess around with Polite Totalitarianism when it comes to suppressing inconvenient questions: the Great White North does it the old-fashioned way by means of a "Human Rights" Tribunal, a body dignified, responsible, quite uninterested in profits, and wholesomely Stalinist.

NPR didn't specify whether Moore, once elevated to U.S. Commissar of Information, would also nationalize the print media and all Internet Websites right away or wait a while, but whatever the answer to that is, I'm hoping that the next time this cat goes to Canada he stays there. [Nicholas Strakon] (November 2002)

The big club mourns its fallen hero. This being a forum devoted to defending Liberty and Civility, I'm going to describe how a truly civil libertarian might have responded to the accidental death of Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone: regret at the loss of the "civilians" on the plane, and otherwise ... silence. I understand that those who actually knew and worked with the man — his congressional colleagues, for example — may have felt called upon to be somewhat more discursive. But the encomia gushing from his political opponents are something else entirely. They provoke me to break my own rule, and my own silence.

Wellstone was one of the most egregious left-wingers ever to sit in the Senate, and that's saying something, given the likes of Claude Pepper, Walter Mondale, Edward Kennedy, Frank Lautenberg, Howard Metzenbaum, Charles Schumer, Jon Corzine, and Hillary Clinton. Here is a sample of his "accomplishments," according to a campaign Website. He "contributed significantly to the Higher Education Act, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and other major education bills" and "fought to expand school funding" — funding, that is, to be extorted from taxpayers on behalf of civilization-murdering state schools. He fought reductions of individual and corporate tax rates. He "contributed significantly to the 2002 Farm Bill" — known in these acres as the disastrous socialist/fascist 2002 Farm Bill. Among other things, the bill provided "an historic 80 percent funding increase in conservation programs and farm-based renewable energy projects utilizing biomass, ethanol, and wind power," proving once again that socialists, like all the other corruptionists, can smell the pork barrel a mile away.

Furthermore, Wellstone "fought tirelessly on behalf of health care consumers," meaning he fought tirelessly to advance the nationalization of medicine and against affordable health care for those who refuse to bow the knee to The System. Wellstone "led the fight to raise the minimum wage [and] worked for fair trade rules that support Minnesota's and the nation's economy." Fair trade, as our domestic Commies like to chant, not free trade. He was a big fan of the Small Business Administration, one of the regime's most important tools for converting middle-class people into little friends of leviathan. And he was "an original co-sponsor of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform bill." To boast about such a thing!

A "fierce advocate of protecting Minnesota's natural resources and improving the quality of our environment" by means of statist tyranny, Wellstone "successfully filibustered the Bush Administration's attempt to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge ... to oil drilling." Constitutionalists who still believe in federalism, and all who oppose double jeopardy, will be interested to learn that he also "helped to ensure passage of the Violence Against Women Act" and, naturally unsatisfied with that, "also introduced legislation to create a permanent Violence Against Women Office at the Department of Justice."

Not everything Wellstone did was bad, if you buy into the whole idea of having a Congress in the first place; but the overwhelming bulk of what he did or tried to do involved the expansion of state power. What are we to make, then, of the tributes flowing from across the aisle that seem intended to portray him as a perfect melding of Pericles, Cato, and George Washington? Well, the first thing to make of them is that most of his Republican "opponents" in the Senate don't object to expanding state power. That's hardly breaking news, of course.

It's a little more interesting to discover that so many don't seem to object to expanding state power in a distinctly left-wing direction. But that's nothing new, either, which is something else we ought to keep in mind. Remember Bob Dole's horrifying farewell speech to the Senate, in which he celebrated all the socialist schemes he had helped usher through the upper house? Including the confirmations of all those Red Judges whom Bill Clinton nominated?

When we remember, too, all the left-wingers who showed up at Nixon's funeral, looking somber and grave, even those of us who have never read Walter Karp must finally begin to tumble to the fact that when we look at leviathan's pols we're looking at the members of one big club. Whatever the differences among them, they have one thing in common that is decisively more important: their membership in that big club.

Before Tuesday's election I'm planning to write a column against voting, but it's a mystery to me why I should have to do so. In view of the big club, and all the frenzied voting in the past that has failed to break up the big club, I can't for the life of me figure out why people keep doing it. [Nicholas Strakon] (October 2002)

Newspeak supremacist. When the Organs of State Security attacked Randy Weaver and his family, murdering Weaver's wife and son, the Organs' adjuncts in the Ministry of Truth lost no time in describing Weaver as a white supremacist, implying that, as such, he and his family didn't qualify for the protections against official murder that the rest of us usually enjoy. In fact, all that Weaver stipulated to was being a white separatist, and, mirabile dictu, Minitrue found itself on the receiving end of enough protest that some of its big talking-heads started using the accurate term in referring to him. "Supremacism" strongly implies the violation of others' equal liberty, but "separatism" can be wholly voluntary, as it was with the Weavers, who sought only to exercise their own freedom of association.

Aaron Sorkin, writer and producer of NBC's "The West Wing," has now gone to work on all that, either consciously or led by his habits of mind "as if by an invisible hand."

Last season on "The West Wing," a band of "separatists," not otherwise labeled, started setting off bombs at college athletic events; their motive, beyond simple terrorism, was left obscure. Eventually State Security cornered the "separatists," killing some and capturing others alive. Then in an episode this season, one staff member advised another to guard her privacy closely, or a "separatist" might put a bomb in her mailbox.

Whatever Sorkin thinks he's trying to do here, the effect of his linguistic pioneering is plain to see, assuming it meets success and wins popularity. "Separatist" will be separated from its actual meaning and become a slogan of demonization, indistinguishable from "supremacist." Never again will Oldspeakers be able to win a tiny victory in correcting "supremacist" to "separatist." Worse, secessionism and all radical decentralism may even become indistinguishable, in the mind of ordinary media victims, from terrorism and — you knew this was coming — HAAAATE.

"The West Wing" reveals much about modern rulership for adult viewers who can listen between the lines. But children should not be allowed to watch it unsupervised, lest they be "educated" all too well. [Nicholas Strakon] (October 2002)

It begs an answer. Two or three years ago many of the talking heads on the telescreen suddenly started misusing the well-established logical term "begs the question" in place of the well-established phrase "raises the question." Now I'm even hearing it in scripts of cop shows. In the old days, ignorami could usually be counted on to stay well away from technical lingo that they didn't understand. Not so these days. I'm afraid the ignorami have just come to have too much self-esteem. All of it unearned.

I don't want to connect any epistemological dots that shouldn't be connected, so I won't strain to explain how the illiterate usage of "begs the question" serves the interests of the media's Red Guard Mind-Meld. However, it does reveal how fast and efficiently the Mind-Meld works, and that's something to think about when it comes to the Guards' weightier errors and crimes.

By the way, can any linguistic sleuth out there identify Case Zero of this exasperating epidemic? [Nicholas Strakon]

P.S.: Stephen's Guide to the Logical Fallacies defines question-begging (or petitio principii) as follows: "The truth of the conclusion is assumed by the premises. Often, the conclusion is simply restated in the premises in a slightly different form. In more difficult cases, the premise is a consequence of the conclusion." Example of begging the question: "Since I'm not lying, it follows that I'm telling the truth." — NS

(October 2002)

Conspiracy? That's just kuh-raaazy! The usually well-informed Aaron Sorkin, producer and writer of NBC's "The West Wing," really blotted his copybook in the episode for October 9. On the show, the presidential election campaign is in full swing, and in addition to an imbecilic Republican nominee, Martin Sheen's socialist emperor Jed Bartlet is being challenged by a so-called third-party candidate — a Democratic senator — who's even more left-wing than Bartlet is. Some Cabinet ministers, White House apparatchiki, and senatorial colleagues have a confab with the third-party man, who has started to behave a little unpredictably, and one of the senators reminds him that the deal was that he'd drop out of the race before the first debate, which is impending.

Wow! It's true that nobody was getting whacked and no criminal imperialistic war was being plotted, but that still amounts to a pretty big conspiracy, doesn't it? Subverting a presidential election and all that? Where did Sorkin get such a wacky idea? Certainly nothing like that could ever actually happen in Our Democracy.

Oh, by the way, the "maverick" does indeed drop out, right on schedule. (October 2002)

Public-service announcement. Hate is a four-letter word. Love is also a four-letter word. Bomb is yet another four-letter word. Parents, teach your children to bomb other people's children in a spirit of love, not hate.

Starve and poison are six-letter words, but you'd better teach your children how to do those things, too.

This announcement has not been brought to you by the Anti-Defamation League, the Ad Council, or that insufferably smug Bradley Whitford guy from "The West Wing." For further information, please contact the Ministry of Peace. (October 2002)

Stealth attack. Red Guards who despise the nuclear family and celebrate its destruction like to claim either that the domestic archetype portrayed on TV's "Ozzie and Harriet" show was never reflected in real life or that its destruction in real life came not a moment too soon. In fact — truth never really being a stumbling block with the Guards — they've been known to make both claims. But now there's a new twist in the party line. National Bolshevik Radio's "All Things Considered" pointed it out October 3 in the course of recognizing the 50th anniversary of the show's TV debut: the Nelsons were distressingly "bland and white-bread," but that enabled son Ricky Nelson to make rock music respectable among millions of actual "bland and white-bread" families everywhere! (October 2002)

Verb. sap.
Iustum et tenacem propositi virum
non civium ardor prava iubentium,
non vultus instantis tyranni
mente quatit solida....

Not the heat of fellow citizens clamoring for what is vicious nor the grimace of a threatening tyrant shakes in his solid soul the man who is just and firm of purpose. — Horace. (September 2002)

It just makes me sick. I've received, as I'm sure many of you have, a pretty desperate-sounding appeal for funds from Justin Raimondo on behalf of This, just as our common Adversaries are massing for their next criminal war!

Believe me when I say that this misery does not love company.

Without serious backers, small heterodox opinion forums usually couldn't make it even in the old days of print; without serious backers, failure seems even more likely now, in the electronic era. Overhead is lower, true, but that advantage is buried by a real killer: the culture of free content that has developed on the Web — for about everything except stock-market tips and porn.

By definition, I suppose, the powerful and the little friends of power will always have greater access to resources than we dissidents will. In comparison with Them, who will always be numerous and rich, We will always be few and poor. But in our semi-free economy it is still possible for even the few and the poor to support some islands of dissent. It is certainly a more practical, as well as more honorable, undertaking than supporting some political campaign. If you help a dissident forum that you favor to survive, you've done something real; but what have you done if you join with thousands of people (many of whom you'd never allow in your living room) to put some confounded pol on the gravy train?

People sometimes take us to task for our pessimism. If and TLD and our other forums of dissent are permitted to go down, I expect pessimism may appear in a whole new light. [Nicholas Strakon]

P.S.: In his appeal, Raimondo says that "last May we raised some $25,000 — the basic minimum necessary to survive for five months." If TLD could raise $25,000 a year, I'd consider starting up the old print version again. [NS]

(September 2002)

Rumors of war. Do not ask why the men who rule us go abroad in search of monsters to destroy, when by doing so they can only birth more monsters. For that is precisely what they seek. Birthing monsters is their skill, their trade, their calling, their salvation. It is the mask of their own monstrosity. (September 2002)

Do what we say, and nobody gets hurt. The municipal socialists in Fort Wayne, Indiana, hellbent on more downtown pyramid-building, have cast their covetous eyes on a block occupied by two fast-food restaurants. They've filed condemnation proceedings against the businesses, but they're assuring everyone that this is not an "aggressive" move, for the condemnation will go ahead only if the socialists and the businessmen can't "agree" on a selling price.

In other words, a gang has announced that it is going to take over some property whether or not the owners wish to sell and that if the owners fail to agree on a price acceptable to the gang the gangsters will pull their guns and simply steal it. Unlike the top dogs of the old Cosa Nostra, these gangsters have been elected by some of their victims. If we could only get our countrymen to pierce the brain-cloud of statish thinking, so that they could see that extortion is extortion no matter how oddly the extortionists gain their power, we might actually have a shot at building a free society. [Nicholas Strakon] (September 2002)

Making everyone happy. On September 19, the Fort Wayne telescreen reported that a Ten Commandments display that had sat on the Elkhart, Ind., courthouse lawn for 44 years has now been moved onto private property, to satisfy outraged civil libertarians. (Whether they had been outraged for the whole 44 years was not clear from the report.) Now, I'm just a plain libertarian — though one who does his best to remain civil — so you know what I think about the state's favoring some taxpayers over others in the promotion of religion. But in the shadow of our rulers' vast crimes and corruption, a tax-supported Ten Commandments display is about the last thing I'm going to get het up about. What did get me a little het up was a comment the smiley-faced progressive newsreader made, i.e., that the display was moved "in order to make everyone happy." Everyone, eh? Sounds as if there are a lot of unpersons in Elkhart County, just as there are everywhere else nowadays. [Nicholas Strakon] (September 2002)

Isn't it curious that neocons, who despise the UN, want to bomb Iraq for defying the UN? You can't win with these guys. [Sheldon Richman] (September 2002)

The payoff. According to the telescreen for the Fort Wayne area, Indiana's lowering of the blood-alcohol threshold for DUI arrests to .08 percent is "really paying off." Hearing the newsreader's happy declaration, I figured the next thing he'd tell me was that alcohol-related road deaths had declined by 10.7 percent or 13.1 percent or whatever. (You know the sort of thing: "Comrades! As a result of Big Brother's latest Four-Year Plan, the incidence of smallpox in Oceania has declined by 9.4 percent!") But no. Minitrue's cog was speaking literally about that payoff: the province of Indiana has received $3 million dollars from a grateful Central Government. I must say, the modern American totalitarian style takes some getting used to. Oh, by the way, the gang in Washington distributed the $3 million in swag under something known as The Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century. [Nicholas Strakon] (September 2002)

"They must keep some ideals around." Justin Raimondo's biography of Murray Rothbard — An Enemy of the State, The Life of Murray N. Rothbard (Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 2000) — includes this passage making use of quotations from a letter from MNR to William F. Buckley Jr. (August 19, 1956; page 101):

The Reds were inevitably sowing the seeds of their own destruction, [MNR] knew, and "we may confidently expect that as time goes on, and the old revolutionary generation dies out, their successors will more and more be simple careerists, and not dedicated Communists at all. The fact that the new opportunists may pay lip-service to Communist ideals then becomes far less important." Communist rhetoric would eventually become nothing but routinized invocations, semantic rituals devoid of real meaning, relics retained only because "they must keep some ideals around, to dupe everyone into believing that they are not simply brigands."

It occurs to me that this perfectly describes the conservative movement with respect to the Constitution at least since the end of World War II, and a good part of it since the McKinley administration. [Ronn Neff] (September 2002)

Tobacco madness. It's always jarring when you find out that yet another confounded state agency has cropped up when you weren't watching. In August, I discovered through a routine AP story, appearing in the Huntington Herald-Press under the head, "State's anti-smoking efforts are praised," that we Hoosiers are now groaning under the added weight of something called the Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Agency. (Ballplayers will understand immediately that it's "Tobacco Prevention" and not "Smoking Prevention" because our supervisors don't want us to have a chaw, either.) Come to find out, this latest ganglet of provincial totalitarians has a budget of $32.5 million, extorted from smokers as well as non-smokers.

Worse, in another famous victory of our famous First Amendment, the anti-smoking desperadoes are using part of their stolen treasure to finance Public Slavery Announcements on the same telescreen where tobacco commercials are banned. (Anti-prohibitionist opinion is pretty thin on the tube, as well, and That Is No Accident, Comrades.)

Not too long after I saw the newspaper article, my father, whilst shopping at a Walgreen's drugstore, decided to do me a kindness and buy me a pack of the cigars I favor. The clerk carded him. She said it's a chain-wide policy. No exceptions. My dad is 84.

This is what comes of Saving the Children. "No child shall be left behind" — and, more importantly, no adult, either.

The only hope we have, as I see it, rests in the palpable idiocy and ridiculousness of these people's mentality. But if those who are ruled are themselves first rendered idiotic and ridiculous, well, Quis ridebit ridiculos? [Nicholas Strakon]
(September 2002)

Words to collapse civilizations by, from a "very experienced devil": "Since we cannot deceive the whole human race all the time, it is most important ... to cut every generation off from all others; for where learning makes a free commerce between the ages there is always the danger that the characteristic errors of one may be corrected by the characteristic truths of another."

— Screwtape (as quoted by C.S. Lewis, ca. 1940)
(September 2002)

Published 2002 by WTM Enterprises.

We have not succeeded in unearthing the "Stop and think" installments predating September 2002, so for now, our archive-reconstruction project ends here. (May 17, 2011)