Stop and think,  collected — 2013

Note. Because of all the changes in the archive pages, over time, you will find that many or even most of the links you hit to other "Stop and think" installments actually lead nowhere. I intend to work on that problem bit by bit, but in the meantime if you encounter frustration with a particular link, please feel free to hold my feet to the fire. — Nicholas Strakon

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Reader responses

Another triumph of our tolerant, compassionate, progressive age. Anyone who spent time in junior high school knows that, left unsupervised, girls are much more depraved than boys. Boys get angry, they play dominance games, etc., but they rarely truly hate. Girls hate. They hate, they plot, and they manipulate others.

Even so, it's difficult to imagine something like this happening when I was young. It's a measure of how depraved our society has become. These are midteen white girls who severely beat another white girl and orchestrated her rape by blacks: "Judge blasts 'depraved and sick' Florida teens in videotaped gang rape after 16-year-old girl was 'beaten until her ear bled' in brutal attack recorded on cell phone," The Daily Mail, November 22, 2013.

I note a few things:

1) It happened in Florida, home of the truly weird and crazy (it makes California look like Nebraska).

2) These white girls were associating with low-class black males. And manipulating them. It looks like a real case of twisted synergy here: The girls' depravity was no doubt enhanced with their association with lumpen blacks, and they used their relative (and I do mean relative) intelligence in inveigling the Trayvons into helping them carry out their clever little plan.

3) I love what the girls' mothers say about them. They were good girls. Sure, they were caught stealing a number of times, but they were good girls. Did these women know whom their offspring were associating with? Or were the mothers doing the same thing, associating with low-class blacks?

In any case, we all know how horrible the '50s were, with their cookie-cutter suburbs, their stifling conformity, uptight morals, stupid haircuts, and boring middle-class mentality, not to mention Racism, which was a product of the others. We've gotten rid of all that crap, so we just have to put up with this kind of horror as the price of wonderfulness. [David T. Wright]  (November 2013)

I highly recommend Steve Sniegoski's new article at My Catbird Seat: "Iran as a Twentieth Century Victim: 1900 Through the Aftermath of World War II."

I knew a little about Iran's travails at the hands of the British and Soviet empires during World War II, but I was utterly ignorant of what the Iranian people went through during World War I. No longer, thanks to Dr. Sniegoski. It's a grisly but important story for those who disagree with "Bombs Away" McCain's philosophy that inconvenient history is irrelevant because "that's the past — that's talking about what happened before." [Nicholas Strakon]  (November 2013)

The logic of losing. The day after the election, a local Washington, D.C., conservative radio talk-show host — Chris Plante — was ranting about the results of the Virginia gubernatorial race.

Here are the numbers (according to the Richmond Times for Wednesday, November 6):

• Terry McAuliffe (Democrat): 1,065,185, for 48 percent of the vote.

• Ken Cuccinelli (Republican): 1,010,335, for 45 percent of the vote.

• Robert Sarvis ("Libertarian"): 7 percent. (The quotation marks for his affiliation are mine; see the "issues" drop-down menu at, especially his public-spending recommendations for "health care.")

(Note that the majority did not choose the governor; "the majority rules" is a tenet of democracy that has long disappeared. Pluralities are just fine in modern democracies.)

Plante's complaint, of course, was that those Libertarian votes should have gone to Cuccinelli. Sarvis himself received major financing from a Texas billionaire who is a major Democratic Party benefactor and Obama bundler. (Most of the media seem to be unwilling to name him, but he appears to be Joe Liemandt.) Why Plante — or Liemandt, for that matter — thinks Libertarian votes would have gone to Cuccinelli is a mystery to me. Cuccinelli is a major opponent of abortion and of redefining marriage so that homosexuals can be said to marry one another. Modern libertarians, of course, are in favor of abortion and are in favor of the state's regulating and defining marriage.

Plante is also outraged that there were Republicans who were convinced that Cuccinelli was going to lose anyway, so they didn't vote. "Unacceptable" was his sputtering word.

He fumed at the non-voters and the Libertarians alike: The election of Terry McAuliffe is on their back. And if Virginia goes blue in 2016 and Hillary Clinton becomes president, that is on them also.

I would like to offer a different perspective, every bit as true as Plante's.

All those people who didn't vote and those 1 million Cucinnelli voters kept Sarvis from winning. If they had voted for him instead of the obvious loser Cucinnelli (weren't all the polls showing that he was behind?), Sarvis would have won, not McAuliffe.

Yep, if Virginia becomes a blue state and Hillary Clinton becomes president (I myself will be amazed if she even gets the nomination, but that is another story), it will be because 1 million conservatives wouldn't vote for Sarvis. And others stayed home.

So what could possibly be wrong with my analysis that is not also wrong with Plante's? I continue to be perplexed at people who think that others should accept their conclusions, even if the latter disagree with the former's premises.

In other words, if Plante was supposed to be so opposed to McAuliffe, why did Plante vote for a loser? Why shouldn't people pick their own losers to vote for instead of the loser Plante liked? [Ronn Neff]  (November 2013)

Another angle on the recent outbreak of voting in Virginia:
"The Collective Is Not a Relevant Alternative to the Individual,"
by Don Boudreaux, Cafe Hayek, November 7, 2013

And she still calls it "reform." Now here we have a woman, "a big fan of public education," who goes to Parent Night at school, is subjected to a barrage of impenetrable jargon and babble by the educationists, and concludes that it must be her fault that she can't understand it: "Parents Left Behind: How public school reforms are turning American parents into dummies," by Dahlia Lithwick, at

It's all treated in a lighthearted manner, as if it's just some minor, humorous incident. Apparently Lithwick has no inkling of the horrors experienced by kids who fall into the clutches of such zombies. Nor does she understand that the jargon is an effective part of the zombies' strategy of isolating and disenfranchising the parent, so that they can freely play with her child's mind. She deserves what she's going to get, but her poor child doesn't. [David T. Wright]  (September 2013)

Or maybe they could at least explain the New Arithmetic one more time? The media are all aflutter with the news that Quantitative Easing will continue as long as the Fed suits think the economy is "weak."

That means that they will continue to purchase about $85 billion in bonds every month.

Because news readers are so infuriatingly incurious, I have yet to hear anyone ask the question, Where is the Fed getting $85 billion a month to spend on bonds? [Ronn Neff]  (September 2013)

The Prince of Unicorns dons his fascist cap: "Obama says he wants to 'partner' with American business," by Neil Munro, The Daily Caller, September 18.

Grizzled ruling-class analysts, prepare to smirk: The Big 0 was speaking to none other than the Business Roundtable. Next up, no doubt, the Trilaterals and the Bilderbergers, followed by a little R&R at the Bohemian Grove. [Nicholas Strakon]  (September 2013)

A new New Left? Liberty partisans might want to chew on this recent piece by Peter Beinart at the Daily Beast:

"The Rise of the New New Left"
Editor's intro: "Bill de Blasio's win in New York's Democratic primary isn't a local story. It's part of a vast shift that could upend three decades of American political thinking."

I don't know whether Beinart's analysis is correct overall, and we may object to some of his categories; but in pointing out the leftism of Millennials he does seem to establish some limits for libertarian optimism. We should preserve a wider perspective for our score-keeping as we read excited exclamations that "We're breaking through!" from some of our libertarian friends on Facebook and elsewhere. Beinart writes: "The only economic issue on which Millennials show much libertarian instinct is the privatization of Social Security, which they disproportionately favor. But this may be less significant than it first appears."

The article also contains grist for ruling-class analysts. It is refreshing to find commentary on Democrats-as-fat-cats on a popular liberal website. I can remember when I could extract such analysis only from obscure books by far-leftists such as William Domhoff and anarchists such as Murray Rothbard. (I mean no disrespect for CounterPunch, which occasionally pubishes such commentary; but the Beast is better known and more mainstream.)

To see the contours and structure of the System as a whole, observers must come to terms with some apparently counter-intuitive phenomena, such as the fact that Barney Frank, Eliot Spitzer, and Charles Schumer — prominent Democrat enemies of freedom — have all had ties to Wall Street (ones less disguised than Obama's). And that's just scratching the surface. [Nicholas Strakon]

Related reading: "Liberals take on Wall Street Democrats — and win,"
by Alexander Burns and Maggie Haberman,, September 19.

(September 2013)

Awww, no war on the Syrians now. (Maybe.) But Hope & Changers can still hope that this public-spirited fund-raising campaign will continue, just in case:

"Help Kickstart World War III!" (The Second City Network)
I was trying to get Henry Gallagher Fields to write a piece for us about War Progressives' approach to an attack on Syria, which would involve an environmental-impact statement, Green missiles, and assurance of gender equality in selecting targets. Too late! Too late! [Nicholas Strakon] (September 2013)

Chemistry quiz. We all know that chemical weapons are bad. BAD. BAD. BAD. They should not be used by governments against the people they claim to rule. They should not be used in war by governments against the people other governments claim to rule. Using them is said to be "a threat to international security." And Bashar Assad has to give up his chemical weapons if he wants to preserve his runways and doesn't want to be taught any lessons by the United State. Or at least he has to accept the Russian proposal that he put his chemical weapons under the control of someone else.

Those thoughts suggest two questions to me:

Does the U.S. government possess chemical weapons?


Is not the answer to my first question, Of course it does. And even as one reads this, it is still preparing them and probably trying to develop even more horrible and more "effective" chemical weapons than it already possesses.

And is not the answer to my second question something like, Because its rulers want to retain the option of using them.

And of using them against whom? Against people they claim to rule? or in war against people other governments claim to rule?

Then a more personal question to any reader of those questions suggests itself to me: And are you okay with that?

Maybe next time I will raise the same questions about biological weapons. [Ronn Neff]  (September 2013)

I don't mean to obsess over ancient, irrelevant history, but whatever happened to the big terrorism scare three weeks ago, with all the embassies closing down and everything? Does anyone remember it?

Since the telescreen has not reported a glorious victory on the Malabar front that may well bring the war against Eurasia within measurable distance of its end, I guess our supervisors just gave up and canceled their synthesized hysteria, after it failed to smother the NSA scandal.

I wonder what they'll try next. Let's hope they don't get desperate and actually pull off some false-flag op.

Of course, such a thing would be unprecedented in world history. [Nicholas Strakon]  (August 26, 2013)

It's a most peculiar empire, as I have observed a time or two before.

You must have heard by now that Bradley Manning has declared his sexual identity to be that of a woman. I imagine I'm one of only a few admirers of Manning and the blow he struck against leviathan who are willing to point out the scrumptious irony here. Namely, that this is what the U.S. Empire gets for homosexualizing its military and popping such unstable oddballs into super-sensitive positions. John Derbyshire reports that Manning's ushering into the inner sanctum of hush-hushery actually occurred before sexual deviation officially became à la mode in the legions!

Will the most peculiar empire's own contradictions bring it down before it brings all of us down? We can only hope. [Nicholas Strakon]

"We have always supported the heroic Bradley Mann- ... " (The speaker is handed a note.) "... the heroic Chelsea Manning."

Alas, thoughtcriminal John Derbyshire played the Orwell card before I got around to it, in his installment of Radio Derb for Saturday the 24th. (It's at about the 18:00 mark.)

Derbyshire (not a fan of Manning in any respect, I should note) is struck by the Orwellian rapidity with which the Manning references were changed at Wikipedia to reflect the revelation that Manning is now a "woman." He reports that has followed the same line. I can report that some of my left-libertarian "Friends" on Facebook have fallen in step, too, including the accomplished and otherwise highly estimable Sheldon Richman, as you can see in a recent Future of Freedom piece of his.

TLD editorial policy, as dictated by yours truly, will continue to adhere to old-fashioned reality and refer to Manning as a man, until he disproves that undertaking by becoming pregnant.

The intellectual deformation at work here is yet another symptom of the great cultural demolition that has undermined people's grasp of human identity, including their natural identity as either male or female. It's one thing to say, as we partisans of liberty do say, that anyone should be free to do anything and become anything he can, if he goes about it peacefully. It's quite another to fantasize that anyone in fact can do anything and be anything.

But that's where radical egalitarianism has led too many of us. I wish so many of my fellow liberty partisans wouldn't swallow it. After all, most of its inventors — bubbling with hatred for normal white Westerners — haven't. It's a dish they've cooked up for their enemies.

I recognize Mr. Bradley Manning's brave and heroic acts against the empire — and I recognize him, not as a woman, but as a tortured and tormented man. [NS]  (August 2013)

Strakon mentions the Constitution again. In light of American history as it has continued to, uh, progress, it seems silly and anachronistic even to ask this, but in all the mainstream discussions of whether and how the U.S. Empire might initiate acts of war against Syria, where are all the constitutionalists, reminding their countrymen that such an attack, absent a congressional declaration of war, would be obviously illegal?

As an anarchist, I get sick of having to point out that almost all American movers and shakers — and especially conservatives — moan about how they love and cherish the Constitution, even as they shrug at its daily violations. [Nicholas Strakon]

Shrug — or cheer? [Henry Gallagher Fields]  (August 2013)

Lesson, lesson, burning bright in the desert of the night ... The left-wing site AlterNet featured this article on the 26th: "Police Crackdown at Burning Man Alarms the Community." Basically all you need to know here is that the cops — including Bureau of Land Management cops — are increasing their presence and harassment level at this year's hippie shindig known as Burning Man. BLM cops? Well, it turns out that the flower-kids hold the event on land that the Central Government in far-distant Washington, D.C., claims to own.

There is a wee lesson in this that's dazzlingly obvious to us private-property guys but apparently unlearnable by the lefties and hippies. [Nicholas Strakon]  (August 2013)

A new piece by Steve Sniegoski. There's bad surveillance and then there's good surveillance. Dr. Sniegoski conducts the latter kind — relentlessly — with respect to our friends the neocons, and his latest findings have been posted at My Catbird Seat: "Neocons, Selective Democracy, and the Egyptian Military Coup."

Editor's intro: "Citing influential analyst Jim Lobe, Sniegoski emphasizes that it is not democracy but rather 'protecting Israeli security and preserving its military superiority over any and all possible regional challenges' that is 'a core neoconservative tenet.'"

I highly recommend his analysis to your attention. [Nicholas Strakon]  (August 2013)

They do know what they're doing, after all! Sometimes I'm slow. It's just now dawning on me what brilliant technocrats the Obamunists really are. Anti-leftists criticize Obamunist economic policy and Obamacare for leading to a disproportionate number of part-time jobs compared to full-time jobs. But they're missing an important part of the picture. The Obamunists are also pressing for an increase in the minimum wage. Well, that would no doubt result in the abolition of many of those part-time jobs, at the bottom of the economic ladder. See, it all fits together perfectly! [Nicholas Strakon]  (August 2013)

A parallel: 1945 and 2013. It occurs to me that war defenders' claim that Truman had to nuke Hiroshima and Nagasaki closely parallels the current claim that the regime has to run a massively intrusive surveillance leviathan.

The atrocity-apologists tell us that, without the mass-murdering terror bombings of Japan (and let's not forget the incineration of Tokyo in March 1945), some astronomical number of U.S. casualties — half a million, a million — would have resulted from an invasion of the country. No nukings; then bloody invasion. It's couched in the same physical terms as, Drop a ball; ball falls toward the ground.

But it wasn't a physical inevitability; it was a matter subject to human choice. Our rulers could have chosen instead to declare victory — or peace, at least — and bring the men home. In fact, that was the morally imperative choice, especially in view of all the mass murder they had already committed and the fact that Roosevelt and Truman ran their war mostly with conscripted slaves.

Now come Chris Christie and other Big Brother lovers who tell us that, without all the Thought Police snooping, some shocking number of additional 9/11s would have occurred. Let's take them at their word, in arguendo. Once again, the proponents of leviathan have blinded themselves to the alternative that is morally imperative.

Namely, renounce empire!

Partisans of liberty, justice, and peace should insist that both the nuke defenders and the snoopers cease lying to us about what "had to be done." Ayn Rand's analysis of foreign and war policy was flawed, but one of her injunctions is perfectly apposite here: Check your premises. [Nicholas Strakon]  (August 2013)

Are you an overlearner? If you're a consistent liberty partisan, you've had this experience. You're talking to a man you've always considered personally moral and decent, one who stoutly insists that he believes that acts of aggression are criminal and deserve to be resisted — but who at the same time believes in all manner of criminality so long as it is committed by Americans calling themselves "government." And you end up walking away muttering, "He's either not serious, or he has a giant blind spot."

It's frustrating, and you just can't account for your inability to break through. At the Library of Economics and Liberty, Bryan Caplan now scratches an itch for me that I hadn't quite been able to locate: "Libertarianism as Moral Overlearning."

Don't worry: "overlearning" is a good thing.

A tip of the hat to Robert Higgs for promoting Caplan's piece on Facebook. [Nicholas Strakon]  (August 2013)

Rosa Klebb gets a makeover. Strakon has brought it to my attention that NBC will make a fawning puff movie about the vicious gorgon Hillary Clinton, our recent Minister of Aggression against Small, Helpless Countries, in which Hillary will be played by Diane Lane.

This has to be one of the most egregious examples of a tendency I've noted for years: the way our Gatekeepers of Perception love to cosmetically improve their less, shall we say, attractive idols.

I first tumbled to that with the atrocious movie "Julia," in which hard-left Commie propagandist Lillian Hellman, a truly homely woman, was portrayed by lefty cupcake Jane Fonda. You can just about see the resemblance, can't you? Of course, Hellman was the woman about whom Mary McCarthy said, "Every word she writes is a lie," so perhaps such, well, fudging is appropriate.

The movie itself is an unwatchable mess about Hellman's purported heroic journey into Nazi Germany to visit her heroic, soon to be martyred, friend Julia. There has never been any evidence presented that the trip to Germany actually happened or that Julia herself — played by the lovely Vanessa Redgrave — ever existed.

A more recent example is the movie "Hyde Park on the Hudson," set in the latter part of the regime of the mass-murdering dictator Franklin Roosevelt. I have not seen the flick, but according to the reviews, Saint Franklin, played by Bill Murray, is surrounded by loving women, including his wife Eleanor, who all just love him to death and understand and have no problem whatever with his habit of cheating on Eleanor with various sweeties. Eleanor, no beauty, but long idolized by lefties even more than her shallow, capricious, philandering husband, is played by Olivia Williams.

I mean, come on!

Hillary herself was played earlier by the charming Emma Thompson in "Primary Colors." I must admit, I can't see that much of a likeness.

The latest effort is no doubt part of a charm offensive designed to turn the horrifying Hillary into something resembling a human being in advance of a campaign for Emperor. It remains to be seen, however, whether a majority of voters can stomach flipping the lever for her in a general election.

According to Strakon, some commentator on Fox News proposed Philip Seymour Hoffman for the role in place of the lovely Diane. Hey, playing a woman jump-started Dustin Hoffman's career. Why not? [David T. Wright]  (July 2013)

The blue-steel nudge. Have you heard about Washington's new "nudge" program?

It seems we're going to be getting unsolicited, tendentious advice about how to run our lives from a distant bunch of robbing, murdering, slaving psychopaths of power. Great, just great. Don't we already hear too often from these government scum?

And don't Americans already enjoy the services of a giant — and diverse — advice industry? One suspects that the diversity is actually the problem here. Diversity of opinion is, of course, quite different from The Diversity That Is Our Greatest Strength.

The left-totalitarians are mooning happily over their pioneering advance in "public service." I suspect that the smarter ones among them understand very well that it's one thing when you or I suggest something, but quite another when Michael Corleone "suggests" it. [Nicholas Strakon]  (July 2013)

Editor's note, July 21, 2013. On July 20, I posted some comment about the recent news-conference homily by B.H. Obama about recent events in Sanford, Florida. (See below.) Here is another TLD writer's take on that. — Nicholas Strakon
The courtier media have been universally reverent about this unprecedented outburst by the First Thug. NPR was careful to say that he "didn't challenge the verdict." But in fact, that is exactly what he did. He fed us the usual tripe about Trayvon Martin being an ordinary teenager, when in fact he had been caught with the spoils of a burglary, and he boasted about beating people up. He was a young thug.

Then Obama asked us to weep for the plight of black men, because people are afraid of them. He complained about getting his own feelings hurt, although how often that happened in Hawaii or Indonesia is open to conjecture.

Of course, I could detail how I've gotten my own feelings hurt by the white-hot racist hatred of blacks. But nobody seems to care.

Obama and the Noose Media are bent on delegitimizing the acquittal. But I wonder whether whites are beginning to balk at being told they're evil. Whites know what blacks know: that they are afraid of blacks because blacks are much more violent than they are. The polls say that most whites think the majority of blacks are racist. Why, that's the kind of independent thought that shouldn't be allowed! Will whites start saying openly what everybody knows: that what makes whites afraid of blacks is the rampant criminality among them? And that it's up to the "black community" to do something about it? [David T. Wright] (July 2013)

The perfect totalitarian blames ... minarchism! Melissa Harris-Perry is just transparodistic. Speaking about the implosion of Detroit, she has said — on television — that "this is what it looks like when government is small enough to drown in your bathtub." [Nicholas Strakon]  (July 2013)

When liberty partisans make their pitch for a free society, there's one question that's sure to pop out at them as if automatically triggered by universally implanted software. At Dollar Vigilante, Gary Gibson meets it head on in an outstanding piece that I highly recommend:

"If One More Person Asks Me 'Who Will Build The Roads?' ..."
As an old SF fan who is disappointed about a lot of things now that I'm finally living in "the future," I'm not inclined to snicker at Gibson's speculations about technological advances in a free society. I hope anyone who is inclined to snicker will get over it and show me what is implausible about what Gibson writes. And just how his analysis is defective. [Nicholas Strakon]

Strakon's mention of SF inspires me. In a galaxy far, far away there's a planet where governments have exercised a near-monopoly, over the past century or so, in the design, manufacture, and distribution of a certain necessary element of transportation, thanks to political maneuvering mixed with historical contingency. Naturally, those who want the pols and bureaucrats and their corruptionist cronies to relinquish control are always contending with the baffled question, "But who will make the shoes?" [Modine Herbey]  (July 2013)

Black humor. I've heard a lot of funny and foolish declarations from public figurines since George Zimmerman was acquitted, but I'm provisionally awarding the prize for most guffaw-worthy to the Incredibly Reverend Race Doctor Jesse Jackson, Sr., who on July 14 appeared on Fox News to rule that Ofay Devil Zimmerman didn't enjoy a jury of his peers, in light of the facts that 1) none was male and 2) none was black!

Does Jackson think that George Zimmerman is black? Various mediafolk have reported that the latter had a black great-grandparent, but I really doubt that had anything to do with what this galactic-class moron was saying.

Note that Jackson's idiocy doesn't end there. According to the media, one of the jurors was black! — a "black Hispanic."

I'd like to call Jackson a charlatan, but isn't some degree of cleverness required for that? [Nicholas Strakon]  (July 2013)

Hints from the ruler of mystery. Barack Obama did a surprise walk-on during one of Jay Carney's propaganda sessions on Friday to deliver some opinions about the Martin-Zimmerman case and related matters. Even the non-Obamunist media are giving the emperor half a pass because — most unusually — not everything he said was crazy-ignorant-evil. Some theorize that what he was actually doing was signaling to his fellow race agitators that, alas, there will be no double-jeopardy persecution of George Zimmerman based on purported crimethink.

That in itself is good news, but in the spirit of vigilance I prefer to accentuate the negative. One of the things Obama said was that "Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago." So, the young Obama was a reckless, belligerent, hyper-violent gangsta thug, beat-down artist, and house-breaker or receiver of stolen property? Nice to know. We already know that, like Martin, Obama was in the drug scene. Given more such revelations, we may finally be able to cobble together a substantial biographical sketch of the Manchurian president.

(I know, I know, he was just lying again.)

For his part, Fox's Chris Wallace found Obama's remarks "moving," and agreed with the president's purported idea that the younger generations are "more color-blind" (Wallace's words) than we Oldthinkers — the young-uns consisting as they do of whites who don't see blacks as a threat and blacks who don't see whites as a threat. The new thing here is that, for once, we have two racial liberals, Obama and Wallace, actually mentioning blacks' racial attitudes. To completely fantastic effect, of course.

Young Master Martin himself seems not to have been an adherent of those wondrously utopian new attitudes. Unlike his final and most famous victim, George Zimmerman. [Nicholas Strakon]

I find a provocative postscript to the above in the New York Times's piece on Obama's remarks: "The White House's original plan — for Mr. Obama to address the verdict in brief interviews on Tuesday with four Spanish-language television networks — was foiled when none of them asked about it." Hmmm — Zimmerman being half-Latino and all. But, heck, good for them. Keep that foilage coming, senores. [NS]

Meanwhile, on his "Hardball" program, Chris Matthews apologized for racism, "speaking ... for all white people." No doubt Al Sharpton will be up next, apologizing for anti-white racism while speaking for all black people. To be serious, how do these left-totalitarians come by their vaunting conceit and narcissism? How very odd it must be, to be inside their head. [NS]  (July 2013)

Secret what?! No doubt you've heard that we now have secret "law" in this country. It's not enough that we suffer under fake laws that are unknowable because they are innumerable, arbitrarily enforced, and radically variant from place to place. Now we suffer under fake law that is unknowable because it is actually secret.

First, secret "courts"; so, inevitably, secret "law." If that does not qualify as arbitrary and tyrannical rule, then such a thing has never existed and can never exist.

And conservatives still press for little children to stand and chant their allegiance to this gangsterism — demanding only that the pledge include the blasphemous phrase "under God."

I can only hope that the most recent revelations will rouse some more of our countrymen from their coma. [NS]  Ω

As for government secrets in general, liberty partisans must keep in mind that, as criminal enterprises, the various outfits calling themselves governments cannot actually, rightfully own anything — including secrets. [NS]  (July 2013)

This Paula Deen woman is a criminal on so many levels:

Using the word "nigger"

Using salt and fats in her cooking — especially butter

Using salt and fats in her cooking although she is diabetic (i.e., being a poor role model)

Sexual harassment (accused, which, of course, = proof)

Porn on her computer. (Wonder what that is — photos of one of the Kardashians who was on her show?) (Again, accused, which, again, = proof.)

Being Southern

Even if she had not used the word "nigger," wanting to dress up the little tykes the way she did was just as bad = implicit use of the word "nigger."

I just marvel that guns and anti-government literature haven't been found in her purse. [Ronn Neff]  (June 2013)

The established media have memory-holed a wee fact, if they haven't actually blacked it out, in managing the Paula Deen story. At Taki's magazine, Jim Goad writes:

Amid all the public shirt-rending, the wagging of fingers and shaking of heads, the tut-tutting and tsk-tsking, the eyeball-pluckingly pious denunciations about shamefulness, evil, heinousness, and raw pure unabashed hateful unforgivable Southern wickedness, it mostly escaped notice that Deen (an Obama supporter) said she'd used the word in a discussion with her husband after a black man held a gun to her head while robbing her at the bank where she worked.
Not that that would make any difference to the true Red Guard: A white lady's saying "nigger" is a far greater offense than a black man's threatening to shoot a white lady to death.

Speaking of black men and the trivial offenses a handful of them commit, did you see this story out of New Jersey?

"Terrifying New Jersey home invasion and beating caught on homeowner's nanny cam," by Sasha Goldstein, New York Daily News, June 25, 2013
Subhead: "A woman silently endures a brutal attack and robbery Friday in Millburn while her 3-year-old daughter watches from the couch and her 18-month-old sleeps upstairs."

What I'm wondering is this. Decades from now, will this woman's career be wrecked if it transpires that in the immediate aftermath of the crime she described her attacker using the traditional and, given the circumstances, highly appropriate language? [Nicholas Strakon]

Career wreckage, hell! By then she'll probably be popped into a concentration camp. [Modine Herbey]

A note on all the above, for benefit of shriekers who are unfamiliar with TLD. We don't publish cook books, and we don't have any multimillion-dollar contracts with Random House to lose. Capisce? [NS]  (June 2013)

Meanwhile, Obama is in Africa, at stupendous cost to the taxpayer and, no doubt, considerable inconvenience for ordinary people in his vicinity. Now, I wouldn't mind if the Luo just stayed there, forever, assuming we didn't have to pay for his upkeep. That aside, in the public interest I am moved to trot out, once again, one of my most highly desired constitutional amendments. At least it would be if I were still in the business of tinkering with constitutions:

Upon leaving the territory of the United States, the president or vice president shall be considered to have resigned his office.
That's right, no exception for funerals.

It's not a good idea to have presidents anywhere, at home or abroad, but this presidential globe-trotting is always bad news for the American people. None other than Woodrow Wilson started it, you know. That's if you don't count Lincoln's visit to Richmond, Va., C.S.A., in April 1865. [Nicholas Strakon]  (June 2013)

Those evil, magically animated inanimate objects! Here's what Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.) said recently, "arguing" for a proposed 10 percent Central Government tax on handgun purchases, to finance what the statists are calling gun safety and violence-prevention programs:

It is a known fact that guns are responsible for homicides and death and lots of violence in our society....
How would a liberty partisan even begin to try to communicate with someone so brain-dead?

By the way, how many felonious guns are doing time in the country's jails and prisons? I can't seem to find those numbers anywhere. [Nicholas Strakon]

Ronn Neff says: Well, but that's what we need! Stiffer penalties for guns that commit violent crimes!

Right now, I think they're all out on their own recognizance.

Modine Herbey asks: Do recently manufactured guns go through the juvenile-justice system? Since they're probably, you know, less responsible than adult guns? Can they be tried as an adult if they've killed someone? Someone should ask Congressperson Sanchez these questions. (June 2013)

Talking with dinosaurs. Neocon war partisans oppose the idea of U.S. officials negotiating with the Taliban. The Daily Caller ran a somewhat funny satire the other day, represented as an exchange between John Kerry and some Taliban Mullah, suggesting that the whole idea of negotiating with such savage primitives is inherently absurd. And Fox has been detailing ghastly Taliban atrocities against women and children.

Well, I oppose such negotiations, too. But let me ask this: If it weren't for U.S. imperialism, how many Americans would ever imagine talking with anyone from Afghanistan?

If someone did find it necessary, it would occur neither on our dime nor in our name. [Nicholas Strakon]  (June 2013)

If you're so right, why haven't you won? E.J. Dionne Jr.'s attack on libertarianism in the Washington Post — "Libertarianism's Achilles' heel" (June 9) — was inspired by a question Michael Lind had posed in Salon: "If socialism is discredited by the failure of communist regimes in the real world, why isn't libertarianism discredited by the absence of any libertarian regimes in the real world?"

The Lind/Dionne foray has provoked a fusillade of replies from the liberty sphere. Here's a comment by TLD senior editor Ronn Neff:

People try libertarianism every day in millions of ways and it works just fine. That is, they engage in social activities that are devoid of any recourse to force.

The result is society — peaceful, harmonious on small scales. Everywhere.

I'm tempted to ask: if using force to accomplish your goals is such a good idea, why don't governments let everyone use it whenever they need to? Why is monopolizing force such a good idea? Can anyone show me any society where any state has been successful in stamping out crime? in repelling all invaders?

No? Maybe it's because statists don't let enough people in on the game to, you know, get some practice.

Libertarians are willing for everyone to employ "libertarian" means. Statists are actually afraid of other people who use statist means.

David T. Wright, for his part, has this to say, after quoting Lind in this wise: "If libertarians are correct in claiming that they understand how best to organize a modern society, how is it that not a single country in the world in the early 21st century is organized along libertarian lines?"
Of course, the answer is, we don't claim any such thing. What we're saying, or at least what I'm saying, is that trying to organize modern society is the whole problem, you nincompoop. At least try to get the question right!
Tom Woods has offered a few observations on the matter, too:

"'The Question Libertarians Just Can't Answer,' Part II" (at Tom Woods's Liberty Classroom; includes the text of Part I) and
"Michael Lind Pretends I Don't Exist" (at (Liberty partisans are accustomed to that — their adversaries' pretending that they and their arguments don't exist.)

And finally, at The Freeman, Max Borders collects some trenchant replies from liberty stalwarts: "Why Are There No Libertarian Countries?" Jeff Tucker's comments are the best, I think, and they parallel Mr. Neff's. I think it was Sheldon Richman who pointed out some years ago that people interact socially, not statishly, at least 90 percent of the time.

By the way, I don't buy Borders's subhead: "The question that rattled a movement." It certainly didn't rattle me. C'mon, statists, ask us something hard. If you can. [Nicholas Strakon]  (June 2013)

Another moderate brainstorm! Fellow citizens, I've got yet another proposal for a first, tentative step toward modest, cautious, moderate, centrist, middle-of-the-road, and above all responsible reform that I hope our wise rulers will consider. Now, all our expert consensus philosophers and courageous regime-bodyguards tell us that if the government stopped its domestic spying we'd all be at greater risk from foreign evildoers. Very well. So let the United State completely abolish the domestic spying — I know "completely" sounds radical and irresponsible, but hold on! — and then tail back its militarism, imperialism, and foreign provocations just enough so that the risk from terrorists remains the same as it is now.

Good, hunh? In a mildly moderate way? The technocrats of the regime are past masters at achieving "balances" and "compromises" between state power and our rights and liberties — they're always doing it — so they should have no trouble finding just the right "balance" and "compromise" here. And for once, their "balance" and "compromise" would advance liberty instead of further suppressing it. It would save a lot of money, too.

OK, OK, I realize that referring to liberty in any way is pretty radical. Not centrist or middle-of-the-road at all. Sorry. I'll try to be even more cautious and responsible in the future. [Nicholas Strakon]  (June 2013)

The ministress from N.I.C.E. is "so sorry."

Mail Online (The Daily Mail) reports: "'She's going to be killed by red tape': Distraught mom speaks out after health secretary REFUSES to bend the rules to give girl, 10, with weeks to live a lung transplant" (AP/Daily Mail).

From the story: "Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius described her decision as 'incredibly agonizing' when she told a congressional panel on Tuesday that she won't intervene in a transplant decision to save a dying Pennsylvania girl."

Did you ever notice that whenever a liberal makes a decision that is "incredibly agonizing," something nasty happens? The agony never seems to work itself out in favor of liberty or of life.

As Joe Sobran said, "When a politician wrestles with his conscience, he usually wins." [Ronn Neff]

Joe might well ask, if he were still with us: From what "penumbra" or "emanation" of the Constitution does leviathan pretend to derive authority to intervene in these matters at all? [Henry Gallagher Fields]  (June 2013)

At the Washington Examiner, Tim Carney offers us good analysis of the chances for IRS neutrality with respect to us tax-victims: "Democrat-heavy IRS will always distrust Tea Parties."

Senior editor Ronn Neff observes, "It's always good when it's possible to trace some misery caused by the state to the natural flow of cause and effect, and to the natural direction of man's thought processes."

Neff is right about that "natural direction." In the currently publicized IRS scandal we see undermined yet again the conceits of statist utopianism and disinterested technocracy.

It's a lesson that illuminates much more than just the deviltry of liberal bureaucrats, of course. In our environment of arbitrary, positive, statutory "law," the rule of law is submerged by the law of men. Bad men. [Nicholas Strakon]  (June 2013)

The American Way, for benefit of our foreign friends. I have explained the income-tax system to some European acquaintances of mine thus:

April 15 is the day Americans must sign a confession to the crime of having an income. The form they use is complicated, and most are not able to fill it out by themselves. There are fines for the crime of having an income, and Americans are expected to calculate the fine themselves. The algorithm is too difficult for most people, and there are many companies and professionals that make money helping people calculate the fine. Those companies and professionals, then, must also confess to having an income and must pay a fine for helping others pay their fines.

There are many penalties for failing to send in the fine on time. And those who are tardy must also pay interest on the money they did not send in. [Ronn Neff]

But if you don't like your annual confession, you can always become a foreigner yourself! Kudos to Tom Woods for posting a promo on Facebook for this video: "You Can Always Leave." It runs eleven and a half minutes, and I'm sure you won't regret the time you spend with it.

I pored over Locke when I was on the path from minarchism to anarchism in 1969, investigating the claim of implied consent among other questions; but I'm pretty sure I failed to focus sufficiently on the extent to which the state's claim of sovereignty and rightful authority is a claim of ownership. Understanding that fact more clearly would have quickened my progress. [Nicholas Strakon]  (April 2013)

How much more do you need to know? Listening to the latest edition of John Derbyshire's "Radio Derb" the other day, I learned that the gunowner-control bill pending in Congress, titled the "Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act," is 8,000 pages long. In commenting on the monstrosity's title, Derbyshire had occasion to mention a late countryman of his, a certain Mr. Orwell.

Unless the bill actually repeals state edicts restricting the people's right to self-defense, and advances liberty on net, no decent man could possibly have anything to do with it, just on the basis of its smirkingly contemptuous name. But in fact, a decent man — sitting in Congress for some odd reason — wouldn't have to read the title to oppose the bill. Our notionally decent man could not vote for any piece of legislation that is 8,000 pages long, unless 7,999 of those pages are a list of the unjust edicts being repealed.

A law that is 8,000 pages long, while impenetrable by members of Congress, is a gold mine for lawyers, a feast for bureaucrats, a time bomb of unintended consequences, and a perfect nutrient for a wild explosion of the statist cancer. A so-called law that long is, prima facie, destructive of true law. And you don't have to be an anarchist to see it. [Nicholas Strakon]  (April 2013)

Lawrence Auster, R.I.P. Longtime paleoconservative blogger Lawrence Auster died yesterday, on Good Friday, at age 64, and the day of his passing frames a sad event with a little sweetness for the believers and Christian sympathizers who avidly read his observations at View from the Right. Of Jewish heritage, Auster converted to Christianity some years ago and "was received into the Catholic Church this past Palm Sunday," according to Henry McCulloch, writing of Auster at VDare.

Auster had little use for libertarians or for anyone who criticized Israel, and I often found myself in stern and radical disagreement with him. In fact, despite my own opposition to Ron Paul's electoral activism, Auster's vitriolic denunciations of Dr. Paul and his philosophy often made me see red. But I still tried to visit his site every day, and if you judge from the number of times I quoted him or one of his commenters, you will rightly conclude that I highly valued many of the observations Auster brought us, especially on racial and cultural matters.

He was a well-read man, and his postings alerted me to quite a few books that I should read and reminded me of quite a few others that I should have read long before. While I'm on the subject of books, I can't help noting that the last long book Auster reported reading (re-reading, actually) is none other than Atlas Shrugged. Though no Objectivist (certainly!), he plucked out several passages to endorse their gravamen and commend the skill with which Ayn Rand had crafted them. I doubt Auster would approve this description, but that is the sort of thing that made him, after all, an individualist. [Nicholas Strakon]  (March 30, 2013)

I hates legumes, but I loves them peas and beans. I've noticed that some of the conservatives writing about Homeland Security's massive ammunition orders are warning that the Sacred U.S. Military is now running short of ammo as a result.

The horror, the horror! That's what we need to focus on, indubitably!

It is fascinating, the distinctions some people make. [Nicholas Strakon]  (March 2013)

"We are always at war with Global Wa- ..." (The speaker is handed a note.) "... the Global Warming Hiatus Puzzlement!"

Attend, comrades, to this doubleplusunbreaking news: "Twenty-year hiatus in rising temperatures has climate scientists puzzled," by Graham Lloyd at The Australian, March 30, 2013.

Along the way Lloyd writes: "... [T]he fact that global surface temperatures have not followed the expected global warming pattern is now widely accepted."

My considered responses are,

Twenty years?!



"Widely accepted"?!

What?! [Nicholas Strakon]  (March 2013)

Dept. of the Simultaneously Infuriating and Hilarious. Remember when all Responsible Spokes-entities of the Consensus World said that marijuana was much more dangerous than tobacco? They had to say it in order to justify jailing weed smokers but not tobacco smokers. Well, now that the criminalization of weed is eroding in a lot of places, the line is changing, and in a really zany way. The other day I heard tell of a study warning of a new danger of marijuana: It can be a gateway drug leading to tobacco use!

Here's one story: "Marijuana: the Gateway Drug (to Nicotine)," by Kevin Charles Redmon, at Pacific Standard. Editor's intro: "New research suggests that smoking pot promotes an even more dangerous addiction."

So ... government should keep jailing pot smokers? Is that the solution?

The War on Drugs is so damned complicated!

If I may be serious, and cut through the irony, this whole thing positively reverberates with implicit warnings about the developing Tobacco Prohibition. As usual, liberty for all is not an option. [Nicholas Strakon]  (March 2013)

Shotgun Joe has come out with another classic quote revealing his bottomless, wicked, and unrepentant ignorance:

"Let me say this as clearly as I can: this is just the beginning," [Biden] said on a conference call organized by [Mayors against Illegal Guns], which is co-chaired by New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. "We believe that weapons of war have no place on our streets. That's the message that retired admirals and generals have spoken to us about. The comment one of them used was if you want to learn how to use a semiautomatic weapon, join the United States military. But these are weapons of war." ("Biden: Assault Weapons Ban is 'Just the Beginning,'" by Bert Atkinson Jr., Independent Journal Review, March 29)
"Semiautomatic weapon." So, apparently, everyone who's not a soldier, sailor, or airman is supposed to be content with revolvers or single-shots. And, of course, non-autoloading shotguns, randomly discharged in accordance with the Biden Home-Defense Protocols.

That's as clearly as he can say it.

If our tyrannical rulers knew what the hell they were talking about, would that make them more dangerous or less dangerous?

I have to apologize for slighting the "just the beginning" part of Biden's pronunciamento. It is, of course, the really scary part — if we assume that the repulsive clown knew what he was saying. [Nicholas Strakon]  (March 2013)

Chomsky, self-revised. There Steve Sniegoski was, listening to a podcast interview with Noam Chomsky, when what should he hear but a startling statement by hizzoner, responding to a question posed by the "indefatigable James Morris," as Dr. Sniegoski calls him. Dr. Sniegoski decided he ought to write about it:

"Chomsky Acknowledges the Neocons as the Dominant Force in Pushing for Iraq War" (posted at My Catbird Seat).

[Nicholas Strakon]  (March 2013)

At least now we know where Obama isn't from! As you may have heard, on Friday the General Secretary, in answer to a question, said that he could not perform a Jedi mind-meld with the Republicans.

Senior editor Ronn Neff, who brought the gaffe to my attention, notes that, once again, "The Luo has demonstrated that he is not really an American." Neff had been listening to NPR, and he says the crowd over there picked right up on Obama's stupid formula, without any apparent awareness or irony. Neff thinks it's because they're not really Americans, either.

Some of us still have our doubts about what planet Obama is from. Now, however, we know what one he's not from.


Despite the ears. [Nicholas Strakon]  (March 2013)

Someone's gotten downright frisky at the Wall Street Journal. This bit led Saturday's Politico Playbook mailing:

NOT THE ONION — WSJ lead editorial, "World Doesn't End, Obama Hardest Hit"
For benefit of those who don't recognize it, that's a clever backspin on some anti-leftist's old imaginary headline for the New York Times or Washington Post:
Giant Asteroid Will Destroy Earth / Women, Minorities to Be Hardest Hit
(That wasn't Joe Sobran's, was it? Sounds like him.)

Then a little ways down, Politico quotes an imperial utterance:

I think there are other areas where we can make progress even with the sequester unresolved. I will continue to push for those initiatives. I'm going to keep pushing for [... blah blah the usual socialism blah blah the usual fascism blah blah the usual welfarism...]. And I'm going to keep pushing for sensible [sic] gun reforms [sic] because I still think they deserve a vote. This is the agenda that the American people voted for....
Oh, the Informed Voter in Our Democracy voted for more gunowner-control in November, did he? Did he know he was voting for that? Obama doesn't seem to have said much, or anything, about it during the campaign. Was some form of mass telepathy going on that didn't reach those outside the Obama cult?

Maybe it was one of those "Jedi mind-melds" the Space Emperor has been talking about. [Nicholas Strakon]  (March 2013)

Cheers to Wendy McElroy for another winner: "Only Places Have Rights?," posted at Daily Anarchist yesterday. We're all aware, surely, of the explosion of pettifogging tyranny, but McElroy has come up with a new way to look at it, and it provokes much thought. In light of how she has identified it, it deserves a name of its own, such as totalitarian particularism or maybe archipelagism.

In 1984 Orwell had Winston Smith reflect that nothing was illegal, since there were no longer any laws. And that's the way totalitarianisms work. Oppression is ubiquitous and to a great extent unpredictable because everything is at the discretion of the authorities. The particularism that McElroy writes about has the same effect. As they go about their business, citizens can't be sure what particular complex of odd restrictions and prohibitions they're wandering into. Law that in practical terms is unknowable is the equivalent of no law.

As it worsens, the archipelagistic program will have the effect of discouraging free, easy-minded movement around the country and will encourage people who must venture out to keep their mouth shut and head down — except when they glance up at a glowering Enforcer, silently pleading for some hint that they're not transgressing against the unknowable law. Some America! [Nicholas Strakon]  (March 2013)

P.S. It's ironic that in our dark time, this sort of thing is the most distinctive vestige of the federalism and decentralism that limited-government proponents so like to praise.

P.P.S. And by the way it's becoming ever more infuriating when statists claim that we anarchists are the ones who don't believe in law.

They don't eat hearts anymore, do they? Yet another fine article on the minimum wage appeared this week, by Sheldon Richman at Future of Freedom: "What Support for the Minimum Wage Reveals."

Richman writes: "Raising the minimum wage is always popular with the public....

"What are we to conclude...? It tells me that most people have a premodern, prescientific mentality about society."

That got me thinking. I'm a history-minded chap. Perhaps we should investigate the techniques of the best of the Christian missionaries who brought a glimmer of civilization to savage peoples who liked to eat each other. One hopes that a mere glimmering of understanding about human action in society would suffice to finally root out the wage-control fallacy.

I do realize that many of the missionaries did their work escorted by men wearing conquistador armor and carrying muskets. And that's not how we roll. We have to leave that sort of thing to our homicidally humanitarian adversaries. [Nicholas Strakon]  (February 2013)

Gunowners exposed! Not too long ago I saw another of those articles by a gunowner-rights guy confidently predicting mass civil disobedience in the face of the regime's renewed push to disarm the American people. Well, maybe. In the past I've advertised myself as a pessimist, but I'd really like you to take my cautionary response as nothing more than realism in action — as a sort of tactical reconnaissance.

I list below the possible sanctions against non-cooperating gunowners that I was able to come up with in five minutes. (As you'll see if you hit the link, I didn't actually come up with the first one.) How many gunowners would persist in their resistance if the Authorities:

required them (and their landlord or mortgage holder?) to buy expensive liability insurance;

barred them from taking various customary tax deductions and tax credits;

barred them from federal mortgage subsidies;

barred them from government student loans;

barred them from government small-business loans;

barred them from bidding on government contracts or working for a government contractor;

mobilized the family-regulation authorities to investigate and otherwise harass them, if the gunowner were a parent of minor children;

denied child custody, if the gunowner were a divorced or separated parent;

authorized the IRS and provincial tax authorities to levy fines on them, along the lines of what the Obamacare enactment has already mandated;

authorized the levying of fines in the form of deductions from Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and food stamps, or the complete "sequestration" of benefits under those programs;

posed questions on the application for a drivers license, a business license, or vehicle registration about the extent of their cooperation, exposing non-cooperators to prosecution for fraud if they lied; or

seized their assets or just froze their bank and investment accounts?

Most of the above "incentives" would encounter challenges in the regime's court system and even in the various assemblies of lawfakers. Nevertheless, now is a good time for gunowners in particular to reflect on how grievously they have become — if I may yet again quote the title of Charlotte Twight's great book — dependent on D.C. [Nicholas Strakon]  (February 2013)

Sequestration would send the Earth spinning into the Sun! I'd been planning to post a horselaugh about Obama & Co.'s predictable targeting of what most people consider the traditional, irreducible core of government activities. Now I can put up a link, accompanying it with a simple but hearty endorsement: "WARNING: You are about to be Exposed to 'Washington Monument Syndrome'" (no byline, Economic Policy Journal, February 22).

I will add a little comment, though, about the General Secretary's speech in Washington City on the 19th, where a platoon of uniformed "first responders" were assigned to stand behind him for propaganda effect. I'll offer my own answers to a few of the questions he asked:

Do we want to see

"a bunch of first responders lose their job?" — The Central Government must have nothing to do with local police, fire, and emergency-medical services. That's what a constitutionalist would say. We anarchists would go a great deal further, of course.

"teachers [in government schools] laid off?" — Same answer from constitutionalists: the Central Government must have nothing whatever to do with local school systems. Again, we anarchists would have more to say.

"kids not have access to Head Start?" — Yes! Yes!

"deeper cuts in [government] student loan programs?" — Yes! My God, YES!!

According to John Derbyshire, Obama has also "threatened" that FBI agents will have to be laid off. I share Derbyshire's sentiment regarding that calamity, which boils down to: "Please, Brer Barack, don't throw us in dat briar patch!"

Unfortunately, Obama isn't "threatening" to furlough his chief firearms advisor, "Shotgun" Joe Biden.

I don't mind quoting George Will when he smacks the ball good and hard. A tip of the anarchist chapeau to Paul Jacob for alerting us to it on Facebook:

The sequester has forced liberals to clarify their conviction that whatever the government's size is at any moment, it is the bare minimum necessary to forestall intolerable suffering.

[Nicholas Strakon]  (February 2013)

P.S. The magnificent Will Grigg might have a few things to say about the so-horrible prospect of laying off cops.

Maker's Mark and New Coke — on the rocks. All our life we've been told that evil, grasping, greedy, mustache-twisting, top-hat-wearing, dog-eating Capitalists can fob off any old slop on us, forcing us to swallow it and then tug our forelock in gratitude. But every once in a while a news story comes along reminding us how absurd that is. Look what happened when Maker's Mark, long esteemed by bourbon fanciers, tried to dilute its formula with water by a measly 6.67 percent: "Maker's Mark Leaving Alcohol Content Alone after Social-Media Flogging," by David Gianatasio, Adweek.

In a competitive marketplace, brand loyalty and company reputations are fragile things. The customer is king, and only the state can dethrone him. Even mighty Coca-Cola, leader in the soft-drink market, received a sharp reminder of that fact upside the head, in 1985, when it tried messing about with its flagship product. The change that Maker's Mark attempted was minor compared to Coke's! [Nicholas Strakon]

P.S. And now, of course: "Maker's Mark mistake becomes a hot collectible," by Jason Notte, MSN Money.

The cats that did not pounce to take back the night. (Apologies to Arthur Conan Doyle.) Joe Salazar, the Colorado state lawfaker who belittled the ability of armed women to defend themselves, has now semi-apologized, after "conservatives and gun rights activists pounced," according to TPM. But where are the Wymyn? Shouldn't they have pounced, too, and kept pouncing, and spitting, and clawing, despite any apologies, even ones that were sincere and absolute and tearful?

Well, no doubt they're still exhausted from all the pouncing and spitting and clawing they've been doing since the General Secretary went golfing with the priapic philanderer Tiger Woods.

(Joke.) [Nicholas Strakon]  (February 2013)

The Hollywood Party. I have a little theory about why the Left, including the leftist mainstream media, jumped so hard on Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Israel) over that awkward (mandatory adjective) sip of water he took while on camera delivering the Stupid Party line. Now, leftists never need an excuse to jump on their perceived enemies, but this particular outburst of ridicule and satire has just gone on and on. It's being driven in part, I'm sure, by their acid, lip-curled contempt for Republicans' traditional and seemingly incurable lameness in the Hollywood arts of production values, stage-setting, and direction.

After all, those are the most important things! Illusion is reality. I mean, look at their Lincoln film. (No, I take that back. Don't look at it.) [Nicholas Strakon]  (February 2013)

The intrepid Steve Sniegoski offers an update on the Hagelkampf: "The Hagel Nomination, Israel, and the Neocons" (posted at My Catbird Seat). [Nicholas Strakon]  (February 2013)

Our dear friend Sam Francis died eight years ago yesterday, and we still miss him terribly. At VDare, James Kirkpatrick shows how Sam's legacy has been exploited and bowdlerized: "Fuel for the Furnace — Conservatism Inc. and Sam Francis."

Kirkpatrick writes: "Sam Francis's analysis of elites has been rendered anodyne so it can better fit into conservative talk radio."

You'll find other trenchant commentary here, though I disagree with Kirkpatrick's criticism of Angelo Codevilla and his Ruling Class. In fact, liberty partisans will wince at Kirkpatrick's concessions to statism. (I always tried to wink, not wince, at friend Sam's.) [Nicholas Strakon]  (February 2013)

Kudos, kudos, kudos for Jeff Tucker the puissant and inimitable, who doesn't shy away, here, from making it personal: "The Basement Beneath the Wage Floor" (Laissez Faire Today).

The minimum-wage horror is a prime example of how bad ideology can reduce one's operational IQ by 50 points. Or more. That's if its proponents can possibly be sincere, which is another question entirely. Obama is terribly disabled by his ideology, but — really — isn't he smart enough to understand what he's doing when he tries to raise the minimum wage? I'd wager that he is smart enough, just, and that he is seeking to stroke the government-propped labor unions and, perhaps, some other big fascist players.

Now you might think that posting another link on this really simple question amounts to piling on, but it's not, really. The wage-control idiocy, so apparent to anyone who can comprehend a demand curve, seems as hard to eradicate as red wine on cashmere. So here's the master, from 1988: "Outlawing Jobs: The Minimum Wage," by Murray N. Rothbard, posted at Mises. [Nicholas Strakon]  (February 2013)

Kick Out a Ginger Day. It seems to me that, in these schools, we've now gotten to the point where the cats are just toying with their trapped mice for fun. It's about time to loose some hungry mastiffs on these bad kitties: "Girl Kicked Out of School for Red(ish) Hair," by John J. Walters,, February 15. [Nicholas Strakon]  (February 2013)

The police-state madness is metastasizing, and it's not going to stop, now, 'til something breaks. Something big.

"Tennessee Cops Harass Old Lady after Mistaking Buckeye Bumper Sticker for Pot Leaf Bumper Sticker," by Mike Riggs,, February 15.

[Nicholas Strakon]  (February 2013)

Blind in a world of marvels. I recommend a recent Future of Freedom piece by Steven Horwitz: "The Everyday Marvels of the Market" (February 14).

Horwitz starts out:

Those of us who live in largely market-based economies can too easily take for granted what we might call the everyday marvels of the market. We find ourselves with things that would have amazed and mystified people just a couple of generations ago.
I'm afraid that the cultivated ahistorical attitude of our age, coupled with a related indifference to the basics of human action, have combined to produce a take-it-for-granted mindset — the apparent assumption that "we've always had cellphones, haven't we?" — a blind premise that the creations of humanity now surrounding us "just are." People lose sight of the fact that humans started out surrounded by nothing but rocks, dirt, water (not all of it potable), wild vegetation (some of it poisonous), and wild animals (many of them dangerous).

They lose sight of how frail a thing civilization is, and they lose sight of the fact that our riches are not an inevitable feature of the Universe or conjured up by magicians. (I'm talking about you, illusionists of government.)

If it is permissible to separate out the various habits of mind that drive today's epidemic of statish thinking, the premise that things "just are" is probably as important as any forthright lust for spoilation. [Nicholas Strakon]

Speaking of statish thinking, I pass along a quote picked up by our friend Edward Morrison Morley, who found it in The Economist (February 9). It's from the now-deceased Ed Koch, former mayor of New York and, as Mr. Morley puts it, "apparently one of a long line of egomaniacs there":

Whenever I would fly home, especially if it was at night, there was the city of New York laid out before me and I thought to myself, "This belongs to me. It's extraordinary. Thank you God."
I don't think even He Who Runs the Country has expressed himself so explicitly. In public. (Mail link: Strakon! You're wrong about that!)

A normal person would have exclaimed, "My God! What a spectacle of human achievement! And I built none of it! What can it mean for me to be 'mayor' of such a place?" But in the unlikely event you haven't noticed, these people are not normal. [Nicholas Strakon]  (February 2013)

Will the real obsessives please stand up? (But put on your pants first.) Pegging it on the abdication of Benedict XVI, the Washington Post's Marc Fisher did a story on February 11, "American Catholicism is at crossroads," that along the way quoted "John Gehring, a churchgoing Catholic who works at Faith in Public Life, a liberal advocacy group" in D.C. Gehring said in part: "When being a good Catholic is defined on a narrow range of sexuality issues rather than a more positive, loving vision, it's no wonder people are moving away."

That reminded me of what a now-departed friend wrote in 2002. He offered a somewhat different perspective:

When the Church refuses to change, she is accused of being "obsessed" with sex, when it's really her critics who are obsessed with it. Catholic morality recognizes seven deadly sins, of which lust is only one; but this happens to be the one the modern world can't stop thinking about. Nobody demands that the Church "change its outdated teachings against sloth."
Can't fool you: That was indeed Joe Sobran. The column is "The Catholic Position."

Let me recommend another good one by Joe, from 2003: "Is the Pope Square?"

Here I am, tipping you to all of this, cheerfully and at no charge — and I'm not even Catholic! [Nicholas Strakon]  (February 2013)

We thank John Derbyshire for alerting us, in a recent edition of Radio Derb, to this piece by David Greenfield: "Gun Violence is Not a Republican Problem, It's a Democratic Problem" (, January 18).

Despite the title, no one is letting any anti-gun Republicans off the hook here, such as the old Rudolph Giuliani or the current Michael Bloomberg. Instead, Greenfield is writing about the results in last year's Big Election, and he makes one of those nifty connections that seem obvious only in retrospect.

He writes: "... the higher the death rate [in a given city], the bigger [Obama's] victory."

Senior editor Ronn Neff comments: "The passage you quote makes sense from a liberal point of view. After all, the more of a problem gun violence seems to be, the more likely people are to vote for someone who will 'do something.'" [Nicholas Strakon]  (February 2013)

"Relax — we aren't trying to take your guns away."

But we are trying to erect new hurdles for you when you try to sell or otherwise transfer your guns.

But we are trying to keep you from buying certain presently legal guns that we're announcing, now, that we dislike. (True, you don't have to have a Ph.D. in logic to understand that there could be other guns we dislike, for example, all guns that are not in the hands of government employees. However, if you think that, well, you're just not a very trusting person, are you?)

But we are trying to interfere with your ammunition supply and the autoloading of that ammunition using magazines (which we call "clips") that we dislike. (At least, we dislike them unless they're in the hands of government employees.)

But we are trying to make it harder for you to obtain more guns of any type, by increasing the intrusiveness, scope, and cost of our prying into your life and, in the provincial jurisdictions where we hold absolute power, by imposing more expansive and complicated registration requirements.

But in those jurisdictions completely under our heel, we are trying to render gun ownership more costly and burdensome by imposing crazily intrusive restrictions and regulations on the storage of your guns.

But in those same jurisdictions, we are trying to impose microstamping and other cumbersome and tricky modifications to conventional gun designs, which will raise the cost of gun ownership for everybody. Many of our other exactions and proposed exactions across the country also raise or would raise that cost. Now, when we're raising taxes we claim that increasing the costs of an activity doesn't discourage that activity, but you don't believe we actually believe that, do you? Or are you a hopeless idiot?

But we are continuing to black out or lie about the incidence of successful self-defense by civilians, and to lie also about the usefulness of guns for any purpose other than hunting and target-shooting. We unrepentantly fib, too, about the usefulness for sporting purposes of the guns we're presently saying we dislike. That doesn't matter, though, because we're not trying to "have a conversation" with people who actually know anything about this subject. We're feeding hogwash to ignoramuses. You're not one of those, are you?

But even though you haven't asked us, and we know nothing about you, we're more than willing to inform you that "you don't need that." And that's not only in respect to guns, of course. Yeah, we've got some chutzpah!

But thanks to the control of the government schools by our particular faction of the ruling class, we are able to conduct a campaign of propagandistic hysteria and totalitarian oppression over guns, directed even against little children (especially those inherently repellent male children) who say "Pow!" while pointing their finger or who scissor out a crude silhouette of a gun. You do see what we're up to with the rising generations, right? C'mon, you're not really a hopeless idiot, are you?

And you do understand how we're slicing the salami here, yes? Not exactly paper-thin, so to speak. Or have you really never noticed how government people and their media stenographers and other little friends go about their business? Sorry to be so confrontational, but, again, you're not a hopeless idiot, are you? [Nicholas Strakon]  (February 2013)

What would Lenin say? — right-wing opportunism or leftist deviationism?

According to the Daily Caller, reporting a few days ago, "Author Zac Unger was originally drawn to the arctic circle to write a 'mournful elegy' about how Global Warming was decimating the polar bear populations. He was surprised to find that the polar bears were not in such dire straits after all."

Unger told a radio interviewer, "There are far more polar bears alive today than there were 40 years ago."

The interview was with NPR. Imagine the shock among the poor struggling toilers of the airwaves, spilling their lattes all over the studio!

Comrade Ronn Neff, though, always eager to help straighten out the Red Guard party line, observes: "Bad news for the baby seals!"

Comrade Neff also brings to the attention of the TLD Collective a column by Paul Krugman, dated February 3: "Friends of Fraud" (New York Times). Krugman is writing about Dodd-Frank's Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Doctor K. likes it!

Our senior editor writes:

There are a few things I find interesting about this piece, and they all point to the muddle-headedness of what passes for thinking between the Krugman (and other liberal) ears. They show that the man simply does not listen to himself.

(1) After acknowledging that regulators are in the hands of those to be regulated ("the watchdogs become lapdogs"), he solemnly assures us that this regulatory body will be different. He really gives us no reason to believe that, but he's pretty sure that this time will be different.

(2) After telling us all about banking regulation and its being in the hands of those it regulates, he informs us that the collapse of the housing market occurred as a result of the free market.

(3) Krugman tells us, "I've always been struck in particular by the notion that a congressional Democrat, holding office at a time when Republicans ruled the House with an iron fist, somehow had the mystical power to distort our whole banking system." Then he tells us that the Republican minority in the Senate will prevent the noble majority from doing its good work. Of course, there is the filibuster, but that is not the only legislative tool available to minority parties — including those in the House.

In any case, Barney Frank was chairman of the House Financial Services Committee beginning in January 2007, meaning that he blocked regulation that Krugman probably would have supported before the "runaway bankers brought the world economy to its knees."

Jeez, I guess this particular party line is too twisty for even Mr. Neff to straighten out. [Nicholas Strakon]  (February 2013)

Timely new analysis by Steve Sniegoski. I've urged TLD readers to closely monitor Obama's nomination of Chuck Hagel as war minister, for the tussling over it may hold clues about the relative strength, at present, of the various factions that shape the foreign and war policies of the regime. That tussling is now officially underway in the Senate, though it seems highly likely that the Democrat majority will hold together and confirm Hagel.

After he wins confirmation, what then? What did Obama have in mind in choosing him, anyway?

Dr. Stephen J. Sniegoski presents his analysis — typically incisive, insightful, and frank — in a major new article, "Hagel's Place in Obama's New Strategy," posted at My Catbird Seat (January 30). It's must-reading for us, as we try to track the "footprints of the Yeti." [Nicholas Strakon]  (February 1, 2013)

Note. Hoping to fend off confusion among those searching out Dr. Sniegoski's writings, I note that the article appears at other sites with a different title: "Obama's Purpose for Picking Chuck Hagel." [NS]

Uniformity, always in a uniform direction. At first I was gratified to see this story in the New York Times: "Strict Gun Laws in Chicago Can't Stem Fatal Shots," by Monica Davey (January 29). Well, well, well, thought I, the NYT has tumbled to the massively inconvenient Chicago gun story! (The city, as you may know, enforces Stalinist restrictions on self-defense and, unsurprisingly, enjoys a surplus of shootings by aggressors.) But soon I saw what the statist sources in the story were saying: The problem is that our tyranny isn't uniform and universal!

We've seen this complaint before with respect to smoking bans ("It's unfair that people can smoke in bars over in the next county!") and, indeed, with guns. That was back when Rudolph Giuliani was a gun-grabber instead of the stalwart defender of gunowner rights he now pretends to be. I wrote a column about it at The Last Ditch in 2000: "The new anthem of Giuliani's New York: 'I am woman — see me run!'"

Chicago Boss Rahm Emanuel has turned his reptilian eye on Indiana:

"Our gun strategy is only as strong as it is comprehensive, and it is constantly being undermined by events and occurrences happening outside the city — gun shows in surrounding counties, weak gun laws in neighboring states like Indiana and the inability to track purchasing," Mr. Emanuel said. "This must change."
Yes, my home state of Indiana — which is sucking jobs from its kleptocratic-socialist neighbor — must become more like Illinois! (So far, Indiana is only mildcat-fascist. And it does have fairly liberal gun laws — in the original sense of liberal. Things could be worse.)

As I recall, Giuliani attacked the "weak gun laws" of Virginia in his time as mayor.

Meanwhile, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said yesterday that he's talked with gun-store operators in Vermont, and they agree with him that it's just unfairrr that background checks aren't universal. That's it: incite the existing victims of your tyranny to lobby for everyone to be victimized. It is indeed a tactic of wide application. The demand that everyone be robbed of his "fair share" of taxes is yet another good example of the universal-tyranny argument, one of very long standing.

Not only efficiency of rule but also "fairness" requires that totalitarianism be universal. Ah, "fairness." The gift that just keeps on giving for these creeps. "Fairness" trumps justice every time. The gravity of tyranny is relentless and unfailing. [Nicholas Strakon]  (January 2013)

Note. I posted a version of the above installment to Facebook yesterday. I am finally becoming more than just a lurker on Facebook; I wish now that I had started promoting TLD through that medium from the moment I joined. I invite readers to "friend" me; look for me under my real name, Tom McPherren.

Epigrams by Sheldon Richman, which we are pleased to quote:
"I'll take impersonal market forces over personal government force any day." — Facebook, January 25, 2013

"You can't argue with someone who doesn't know what an argument is." — Facebook, January 31, 2013  (January 2013)

A gift for the empire's enemies: sugar and spice and everything nice! At Taki's, Jared Taylor writes in riveting fashion of what's ahead now that the Obama Bolsheviks have dropped their last sex restrictions in the imperial legions: "Women in Combat: Another Nail in the Coffin."

As I hint above, my opinion of this move differs to some extent from friend Jared's. It is unchanged from the assessment I have expressed in my earlier writings, i.e., Good! We cannot do anything about the cultural devastation that has set the stage for it — that is accomplished — except to press those we care for not to abandon their family and their decent, productive life in order to serve the world's most dangerous criminal organization. So let us hope this mad feminization throws the legions into chaos and paralyzes them, and let us pray that happens before Obama or one of his successors turns them loose on disobedient Americans here at home. [Nicholas Strakon]  (January 2013)

Confusion on the road to femtopia. From the left-wing Guardian comes a blinding flash of insight: "Girl power generation confused about love, says psychotherapist," by Amelia Hill.

Hill starts out:

Twentysomething women are the most liberated and educated women ever. Freed from the economic, social, and biological pressure to marry and reproduce in their 20s, they are achieving more academically and professionally than any previous generation.

But, according to a book by a doctor and self-declared feminist, such women are also more "confused, conflicted, and uncertain" about what they want from sex and relationships than their mothers or grandmothers.

In other words, today's feminist-indoctrinated wymyn don't know how to be women, and, somehow, that leaves a gap in their lives.

I particularly like this line: "When these women hit their 20s, they were encouraged to 'live it up' and not necessarily be serious about relationships, at the same time being told they should be ready to marry and start thinking about having children by the age of 30."

In other words, they're told to engage in casual promiscuity until their fertility is already beginning to wane. By the time they actually get around to trying to have kids, at 35, they're shell-shocked by a series of screwed-up "relationships," not to mention, it's a losing battle attempting to get pregnant. As a result, we have lots of angry, frustrated, aging wymyn spending fortunes on fertility treatments, which, if they're lucky, finally result in spoiled little only-child princes and princesses tended by nannies, who may or may not give each child some of the love his mother doesn't know how to provide.

What a treat it must be, living in such a family. [David T. Wright]  (January 2013)

Ein Reich, ein Volk, ein Führer! Freedom partisans will find much grist for commentary in the Big 0's re-installation 0ration, and I'm hoping other TLD writers will pitch in. For now I'll just point out that the man has once again asserted the classic dichotomy of totalitarianism, loud and clear and unmistakably.

The Daily Caller's Neil Munro begins his account:

President Barack Obama's second inauguration speech promised a sharply ideological second term where "the people" will use government to accomplish the tasks that he declared cannot be accomplished by individuals.

"No single person can train all the math and science teachers we'll need to equip our children for the future, or build the roads and networks and research labs that will bring new jobs and businesses to our shores," he declared....

"Now, more than ever, we must do these things together, as one nation and one people," said Obama....

There we have it. The choice is between helpless, isolated individuals, or almighty government. Apparently we are to imagine Joe Blow out on R.R. 3, Possum Trot, Missitucky, wailing, "I tried to train all the math and science teachers we'll need, all by myself, but it was just too big a job! I didn't do no better'n Cousin Ferd, when he tried to build that big ree-search lab all by hisself!"

For Obama and those who sail in him, society does not exist. And society's marvelous mechanism for coordinating material action among free people — the market — does not exist.

"The people" do not exist, except as represented and manifested by government.

For Obama and his fellow centrist middle-of-the-road moderates, only the State exists, along with a contemptible, aimless, undifferentiated mass of atomized individuals: not people but ... unpersons?

But wait, comrades! Obama also announced: "We cannot mistake absolutism for principle." Whew! He had me going for a while there. So, then, no absolutism during the remainder of this regime, after all? Small-r republicans, for their part, will be delighted by the unexpected return of constitutional government. [Nicholas Strakon]  (January 2013)

Hippity hop and open that door. The e-mailed Playbook news summary from Politico for January 21 contains a ponderable observation from a John Legend, who I assume is a famous, or at least notorious, figure in the pop-music department of Minitrue:

JOHN LEGEND at the HIP-HOP INAUGURAL BALL: "I think hip-hop had a role in making sure we elected a black president in America because we made it so that black people were in people's homes ... through our music and through our culture.... I think it made Barack Obama and more people like him possible, so I'm really thankful for hip-hop and the role it plays in society." [From a story by Mesfin Fekadu, a music writer for the Associated Press.]
I'm sure this Legend fellow is right. But I must say, I should have thought it was bad enough that so many black people enter other people's homes uninvited. [Nicholas Strakon] (January 2013)

The solution is obvious! Our rulers' latest attack on the right of self-defense and on a populace armed against tyranny impresses me as a far more urgent concern than their blunderings, aimless and eternal, through the wilderness of mirrors they've created involving debt and the deficit. But the urgency of it isn't the only reason I'm devoting such a large share of my commentary these days to "the gun thing." The left-statists' extraterrestrial habits of mind are never more nakedly displayed than when they're talking about guns and self-defense.

That's a long-winded way of introducing another fine example of the Andromeda strain of thinking, one that I heard this morning [January 20] on ABC's "This Week." The panel were discussing gunowner-control, and George Will said, "There's been a stunning drop in gun violence and murders — cut it in half, really — in twenty years."

Whereupon Cokie Roberts said: "Except for the suicides, and we had more troops commit suicide in Afghanistan last year than were killed in combat." And then in a somber tone of Listen and Learn: "That happened with guns."

These goofballs would be funny if they weren't so dangerous.

Now, that doesn't mean I think Roberts's observation is useless. Although it's the murders committed by the costumed criminals that bother me, not their suicides, the point she made just might move some people to support my long-standing demand:

Disarm the troops! [Nicholas Strakon]  (January 2013)

Can't we all just get along? Gunowner-rights groups have declared today [January 19] Gun Appreciation Day. In response, a left-statist group declared today Child Appreciation Day. Pursuing TLD's traditional mission of responsible, public-spirited centrist moderation, I hereby propose that both sides come together, in the spirit of compromise and good fellowship, and celebrate Teach Your Child to Shoot Day. [Nicholas Strakon]  (January 2013)

Escape from New York (not a movie but a suggestion). Hearing that the New York legislature had enacted their drastic assault on gunowners and would-be gunowners, I sneered to my correspondents that the cops certainly wouldn't be affected by the rule against magazines capable of containing more than seven rounds. Wrong! According to the Daily Caller, the lawfakers neglected to exempt the fakelaw-enforcers!

However, the reporter writes that "the prohibition is unlikely to be enforced," citing a statement by one of the lawfakers. It stands to reason: Who would enforce it against the enforcers? With that in mind, let all Good Citizens and their Official Teachers continue to bleat mindlessly on and on about the sacred Rule of Law.

The lawfaker also said: "Nobody was really able to look [at] the bill," because it was rammed through on an emergency basis. Where have we heard that before? Sounds to me like yet another triumph of the wise and informed Planning that, as we've been told all our life, only government is capable of carrying out.

Meanwhile, how will the magazine restriction immediately affect private folks? The kind of people (us) whom Will Grigg sardonically calls Mundanes?

Left-statists usually come off as cardiac-provokingly ignorant about guns, but here they've turned around and perpetrated something that looks fiendishly clever. I'm no expert, but I'm pretty sure there's no major-brand autoloading pistol in a serious caliber being sold these days with a seven-round magazine except maybe for Colt's classic 1911 Government Model in .45 ACP. And I believe even it has gone up to eight: I know for sure that the Lightweight Commander — a shortened version of the 1911, basically — carries eight in the mag (and one in the chamber).

Even little .380s, I believe, are usually 8+1. There's a very compact 9mm pocket pistol from S&W that's a hot item at present, the M&P Shield, and it, too, is 8+1.

The effect, therefore, of the new law will be to altogether block the sale of most major autoloading pistols in the state of New York until the manufacturers come up with special mini-magazines for them. The law will also impose additional design, manufacturing, and inventory-management costs on gunmakers.

The Red Guards think like space aliens, and they're oblivious to much having to do with life here on Earth, but — alas — that doesn't make them all idiots. [Nicholas Strakon] (January 2013)

Out of the mouths of dumbheads. This next piece from the Daily Caller is both amusing and horrifying, and it's even enhanced by a goofy photo of the Vice Clown: "Biden to NRA: We 'don't have the time' to prosecute gun buyers who lie on background checks," by Caroline May.

What a straightforward expression of the statist approach, especially the left-statist variety: We can't enforce the laws we've already imposed, and our solution is to impose even more laws!

This story takes me back to my first sustained exposure to Biden, in 1991, when he chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee's hearings on the nomination of Clarence Thomas and had a great deal of difficulty following Thomas's presentation of some pretty fundamental legal and moral concepts. My impression at the time was, "Jeez, this guy is just ... dumb." Now I wish they'd make Slow Joe the chief spokesman for the regime. He'd inadvertently blow away a lot of the mouthfog emitted by his smarter co-conspirators. [Nicholas Strakon]

On second thought, never mind. Have a look at this: "Biden's claim of brush with gun massacre questioned," by Dave Boyer of the Washington Times. I guess I'll switch gears and put Biden up for the Bill Clinton Narcissistic Liar Award (Bozo Division). [NS]  (January 2013)

Platinum voodoo. Remember the proposal for a trillion-dollar platinum coin that was broached a couple weeks ago? I'm a little late getting to it. The idea was for Treasury to mint the thing and deposit it with the Fed to assuage the "debt-limit crisis." It didn't take long for Our Sober, Serious, So-Very-Responsible Leaders to shoot the proposal down, definitely, categorically, and with prejudice.

I think the reason was that minting such a coin would make their magical thinking just too, too obvious. And comical. Much better to keep their counterfeiting behind the iron curtain of complication, mystification, and obscurantism that you probably broke your brain against if you took a money and banking course in college.

On ABC's "This Week" program for January 13, the irrepressible statist gnome Paul Krugman pulled the curtain aside a bit, in effect, to reveal the Great and Terrible Oz sitting there in his underpants scarfing Cheetos. Krugman said that the Treasury wouldn't really have to mint the coin at all but just say it had done so, and perform the actual deed with the usual clicking of computer keys. That kind of rashly honest talk is why Krugman probably won't be offered an official post in one of these left-wing regimes that afflict us. [Nicholas Strakon] (January 2013)

I know this isn't what she meant, but ... A New York Times piece of yesterday on the hostage-taking in Mali quotes a spokesman for the Washington regime, Victoria Nuland, as saying: "We have American hostages." Truer words were never spoken. The most powerful and dangerous organized-crime outfit in the world does indeed have American hostages — by its own most recent count, 313,914,040 of them. [Nicholas Strakon] (January 2013)

It is non-outrageous. We have always considered it non-outrageous. The original memory hole, in Orwell's 1984, was a chute leading to an incinerator, in which photographs and written items that were no longer compatible with the Ministry of Truth's ever-changing official narrative were burned.

Today's memory hole doesn't need an incinerator, or even a conscious operator. It operates automatically, almost as if an "invisible hand" were at work.

Remember how Sarah Palin was savaged and ridiculed in 2009 by all correctly thinking people because she predicted "death panels" if Obamacare were passed? The Democratic Congressional Committee used the resulting uproar to raise funds, calling her prediction "disgusting" and "outrageous."

But on December 31, less than four years later, Matthew Yglesias, a leading writer for that beacon of correct thinking, Slate, published on that site a piece called "The Case for Death Panels, in One Chart" (now rectified). In it, he used the same arguments that Palin and other Neanderthals predicted would be used to justify the death panels.

Yglesias's screed was based on a chart that compares the amounts of money spent by various First World regimes on health care for people of varying ages. The line for the United State shows the level rocketing upward after age 65.

That huge increase in state spending on health care was the hook on which Yglesias hung his call for, in his own words, "death panels."

All those old people aren't going to live very long anyway, he wrote, and medical care for them will bankrupt the system. So better to pull the plug on the old farts and spend the money on the young, who can still enjoy life. The outrageousness of such ideas, so apparent a few short years ago, has now disappeared down the memory hole.

Of course, being a self-righteous "progressive," Yglesias didn't pause for a moment to do some actual research, or consider possible reasons for the huge increase in U.S. guvvamint health-care spending after age 65. It turned out that the cause is, naturally, the fact that Medicare kicks in at that age. Almost all health-care expenses are turned over to the State, resulting in a huge rise in State dependency. That, in turn, triggers all kinds of inefficiencies, fraud, etc., that further inflate costs.

Yglesias was forced to do an Emily Litella-style "never mind." Here is that embarrassment: "That Shocking Age and Health Care Spending Chart is Wrong."

However, he never apologized for calling for death panels; nor did any of his "progressive" peers call him on it. But as Ronn Neff puts it:

Still, I think that whether his chart is accurate is irrelevant to the point the author made at the end, to wit: "But not only is this health-care spending on the elderly the key issue in the federal budget, our disproportionate allocation of health-care dollars to old people surely accounts for the remarkable lack of apparent cost effectiveness of the American health-care system. When the patient is already over 80, the simple fact of the matter is that no amount of treatment is going to work miracles in terms of life expectancy or quality of life."
Make no mistake. If you're old and sick, you're in the crosshairs of these maniacs. As much as I despise Palin, I have to say, she and the other opponents of Obamacare are owed an apology by their tormentors. But it goes without saying that they'll never get it. [David T. Wright]  (January 2013)

Sure enough ... In an observation a few days ago, "Liberal Jackboot Roundup" (see below), I mentioned that columnist Donald Kaul, the opponent of gunowners' rights who has recently made himself notorious, might emerge to assure us that his violent proposals were just a joke. Today, Fox News reported that Kaul has said that in endorsing gross bodily injury and murder he was trying to be satirical. Whom was he trying to satirize, Pol Pot? In any event, thanks a lot, funnyman. Now why don't you take your act to Pyongyang? I'm sure you'd kill. [Nicholas Strakon]  (January 11, 2013)

"You never want a serious crisis to ..." end? Sometimes a principle or an explanation with amazing predictive power stares me right in the face, and I fail to see it until it's time for everything to explode. Said Rahm Emanuel on November 18, 2008, "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before."

That remark probably sent a chill up the spine of many who know very well that the things Emanuel (soon to be the chief of staff in the Big 0's administration) had in mind had nothing to do with the expansion or protection of liberty. It was obvious that Emanuel meant that he was going to put as much of the administration as he could to the job of further oppressing the American people, of further expanding the dictatorship that the American presidency has become.

Alas, that was just the immediate meaning. It occurs to me that as a principle his statement has an even direr application, one that Emanuel may not have been able to make explicit. If you are running a government on the idea that you want to do one good thing after another and that many of them are things you couldn't do before, doesn't it follow that there is no point to doing anything that will end the crisis that makes doing them possible? Does it not follow that the crisis must be kept going for as long as possible?

And is that not in fact what we are seeing? The recession has been kept going for the entire time Emanuel's man has been president, and it looks to be kept going into the next term. And that four-year opportunity has furnished the means for enacting one tax after another and one program after another, nationalizing one economic activity after another. If, as the Red Leg Terrill said in "The Outlaw Josey Wales," "Doin' right ain't got no end," then why would anyone in the business of "doin' right" want to do away with the very condition that makes his "doin' right" possible?

In other words, what incentive has the state to end a crisis, unless it just senses that the rest of us need a breather or we will stop working altogether? [Ronn Neff]  (January 2013)

Liberal Jackboot Roundup. In the old days it was just possible to take some liberals seriously when they talked about what they called "civil" liberties — liberties that, so they thought, had nothing to do with property, or exchange, or free association, or guns. Mostly it was free expression and due process that they seemed to care about, and that was something, after all.

Ah, the good old days, when liberals at least claimed to support free speech, habeas corpus, the presumption of innocence, and so forth, for everyone, not just themselves and their favorite criminals. Nowadays, in their rush to put the finishing touches on leviathan, they don't hesitate to hike up their pleated khakis and reveal the jackboot underneath.

Actually, I should call them "progressives," shouldn't I? Left-statists in this country renamed themselves a few years ago, and good for them, say I. "Progressive" yanks forth realistically lurid images of the Glooorious Workers and Peasants Struggling against the Class Enemy with the Aid of the Glooorious Secret Police in a way their insipid and lying "liberal" label never did. Also, the change somewhat assuages the residual pain of their having stolen the word "liberal" from minarchist libertarians, a hundred and some years ago.

Franklin Roosevelt, Lyndon B. Satan, and the rest at least tried to pretend they didn't wear jackboots to work every day. It seems to me that liberals started really flashing the jackboot about the time they rebranded themselves "progressives." And their authoritarianism became still more explicit when Obama was first installed over us. But we hadn't seen anything yet. Now in the aftermath of Sandy Hook, I almost expect them to break out the armbands and Party uniforms.

Here's a case in point — a recent piece at the Daily Kos, "How to Ban Guns: A step by step, long term process," by "sporks." William L. Anderson, writing at the Rockwell site, alerts us to it and comments:

The Daily Kos does not repeat Democratic "talking points"; it generates political talking points that later are found in mainstream publications and from Democratic politicians themselves. Thus, when the Daily Kos not only calls for prohibition on all privately-owned firearms and lays out the political and legal road map on how to accomplish that political goal, Libertarians and others need to pay attention. These people are serious and are willing to use violent means to accomplish their ends.
The Kos writer does indeed talk of raids, but our adversary's openly violent means are not his most interesting or effective tool against us. Students of Polite Totalitarian technique need to examine the program recommended by "sporks," for whoever the writer is, he seems to understand how to boil an unwary frog. Could be he's spent some time in the kitchen.

But wait — there's worse, and it may actually make you pine for the days when liberals claimed there was no connection between gun ownership and "civil" liberties. Some of them are seeing a definite connection now, and — surprise! — it turns out that Power trumps Liberty. All Liberty. Across the board. Visiting Larry Auster's site today, I was tipped to this column by Donald Kaul at the Des Moines Register: "Nation needs a new agenda on guns / This time, the debate has to be about more than not offending the NRA's sensibilities." Whatever else may be said about this man Kaul, we can't call him a Polite Totalitarian.

Criticized, I suppose he might say that he didn't really mean some of what he wrote. If so, I wish such writers would tell us which of their proposals we should take seriously and which we should just laugh at. On the other hand, we might not be inclined to laugh at proposals to drag people behind trucks and murder them; that is especially so in light of the historical record the Left has established when it has seized total power.

Along with Anderson and the Auster people, another anti-leftist who has noticed the recent surge of "liberal" authoritarianism is Jack Donovan at Alternative Right: "Police State Progressives / Liberalism learns to love the jackboot." American leftists, Donovan writes, "aren't overly concerned about a police state, because after all, it's supposed to be their police state." Exactly.

Trying to lighten the mood, I have to mention a slip 'twixt the "sporks" and the lip, in that Daily Kos piece. It shows that Polite Totalitarian expertise does not necessarily denote literacy — or maybe just that "sporks" was having a bad day. (Despite owning the Zeitgeist, even the comrades sometimes have a bad day.) Toward the end of the essay, "sporks" writes, "We should also segway into an anti-hunting campaign...."

The image is hilarious in a dark way, like something out of a dystopian SF film by Woody Allen: imagine all those busy-bee comrades, gliding about on Segways and trying to confiscate guns!

Seriously, though, I would not advise them to Segway into the Indiana woods in pursuit of hunters.

Hmm. On second thought, maybe I would. (Joke.) [Nicholas Strakon]  (January 3, 2013)



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