No Race Has a Monopoly on Suffering

American descendants of African slaves have borne a heavy cross upon their backs in past generations—but a similar burden proved far more deadly for certain European groups that would provide stiff competition in today’s Victim Sweepstakes.  Does this sort of contest profit anyone?

I had put together most of the material for this little essay before hearing that Oprah Winfrey had loudly declared white racism alive and well in Switzerland (because some poor non-Anglophone sales girl hadn’t shown her a $38,000 handbag fast enough).  Well… all the better.  I had indeed already heard that Oprah had loudly equated Trayvon Martin’s being shot while beating someone’s brains out to the brutal gang-murder of Emmitt Till in Mississippi of the Fifties.  That was part of what started me down this path.  Tomorrow, Oprah will probably have blared to the world yet further evidence of bloodthirsty—and now global—white racism.  I just can’t keep pace with her.

Let us begin with the gruesome facts of racially motivated lynchings in U.S. history.  The following figures are probably in the right ballpark.  They correspond so closely to the statistics published on Wikipedia and other sites that one must assume all the writers to be drawing upon the same sources.  Yet the many nuances of tone in the piece below appear to be angling for an outpour of PC sympathy that has little to do with harsh historical realities:

From 1882-1968, 4,743 lynchings occurred in the United States.  Of these people that were lynched 3,446 were black.  The blacks lynched accounted for 72.7% of the people lynched.  These numbers seem large, but it is known that not all of the lynchings were ever recorded.  Out of the 4,743 people lynched only 1,297 white people were lynched.  That is only 27.3%.  Many of the whites lynched were lynched for helping the black or being anti lynching and even for domestic crimes.(1)

“These numbers seem large”?  Compared to what?  I really don’t know what ratio of lynched people per capita per annum in a setting combining frontier elements with the anarchy following military invasion and economic collapse might be considered normal.  I’m afraid, though, that one lynching per day doesn’t shock me, given the circumstances.  “Only 1,297 white people were lynched”?  Is the author, then (who turns out to have been a college student, God bless him), expecting parity in the figures?  Or representation proportional to the number of whites in the general populace?  “Many of the whites were lynched for helping the black”?  Again, what percentage constitutes “many” here?  Was the number of Ox Bow Incidents, then—rustlers and horse thieves strung up from the nearest tree—negligible?  I assume that whites who were fitted with a hemp necktie after a frontier “trial” didn’t qualify as lynchees… but I doubt that many of their “jury of peers” would have passed a sobriety test.

Here’s my point.  The U.S. has a history of appalling racism which, at times, erupted into appalling brutality.  However, 1) the brutality of these times, while highlighted in the lynch mob, was not exclusive to that horrid custom: feuds were often settled by “bushwhacking”, and men often died in jail.  2) Most race-related lynchings were concentrated in certain pockets of time and place, where they indeed created a frightful atmosphere—but the terror was not spread with universal application throughout the South or throughout the post-Appomattox years.

Now please weigh these observations with a couple of others.  1) There are cultural/ethnic groups of “white people” (whatever those two words mean) who were butchered with the same appalling brutality by other Europeans during these years; and 2) the butchery amassed far, far greater numbers of victims than the American plague of lynchings.  To develop these points, I intend to ignore the near-extermination of many Native American tribes, the Jewish Holocaust of the Forties, the travail of the Poles, and other heartrending experiences not involving the history of today’s mainstream “white” Americans.  I will stay Celtic.

The Scots highlanders were the Indians of Britain, one might well say.  Pre-literate and tribal, they resisted the ways of their sophisticated neighbors to the south with a determination that one only finds in a clash of irreconcilable cultures.  After the decisive English military victory at Culloden, hundreds of women and children (there is no accurate tally) were at once put to the sword.  Thousands more starved to death during the ensuing years of the Highland Clearances.  Adjusting what records we have with reasonable estimates, perhaps a quarter of a million families (not individuals—families) were chased out of their huts and off their crofts before our Civil War.  Trying to estimate the number of fatalities involved in this systematic program of ethnic cleansing would be throwing darts blindfolded… but the total probably exceeded 4,743.

The Clearances were distantly related to a more general movement called the Enclosure, whose first seismic rumbles were deplored by authors as early as Thomas More.  Wealthy landowners were finding the medieval system of tenantry increasingly costly and ineffective.  With the growth of cities, they identified their maximum profit as selling their timber and dedicating their fields to grazing of beef cattle rather than leasing to peasant cultivators.  The small farmer merely got in the way: he was to be eradicated as tidily as possible.  In the case of the Highland Clearances, he enjoyed most of the anguish but none of the consideration of being a slave: i.e., an investment that must be managed to show a return.  He had no more political rights, and scarcely more legal rights, than a black slave in the South; and as for being free from having his family auctioned away, this privilege sometimes translated into the practical “advantage” of being able to watch all his children starve.

How often did fatal results actually occur?  Often enough to fill mass graves, during the Irish Potato Famine (which was largely a program of “persuasion” to remove these peasants, too, from the land).  Between 1845 and 1852, about a million Irish men, women, and children died in consequence of malnutrition and its effects.  These figures are once again extremely hard to pinpoint, not only because so many deaths went unrecorded, but also because deaths caused indirectly by the Famine are seldom considered.  The latter tally could run the figure into the vicinity of a million and a half if it includes the immense loss of life due to diseases like cholera as the starving émigrés were crammed onto ships bound for the New World.  Slave ships were relatively comfortable, in comparison.  A slave was worth nothing dead: hence those who had invested in him carefully allotted him enough space in the lower decks to stretch his limbs.  In contrast, the human cargo of Irish had already paid its fare before the ship slipped her moorings (or, to be exact, its fare had been paid: landowners often gave their uprooted tenants the price of a ticket if they would only leave).  There was no incentive to give this human baggage enough room to breathe, and much incentive to cram it in tighter.

These years were by no means a kind of Dust Bowl period in Ireland, by the way.  Harvests were indeed quite bountiful—but the Potato Blight decimated the staple of the poor man’s diet.  Tenants grew potatoes to feed themselves; other produce was dedicated to paying their rent.  Many therefore found themselves in the intolerable position of watching the food they had harvested leave in wagons and barges for cities, where it brought a handsome profit from rising prices.(2)  Lamented one ballad in English (rather hyperbolically, but not much mistaken as to cause), “To glut the rage of English Mammon / We mourn a yearly million slain.”(3)

The ripple effect of the ensuing diaspora was immense—and death spread in the ripples.  The onboard diseases of ships overloaded with malnourished waifs were lethal enough during the Atlantic crossing.  Even a long quarantine after reaching harbor, however, was sometimes insufficient to keep certain contagions from escaping into the mainland population.  One source offers this astonishing sequence of numbers to demonstrate the domino-effect of a single year’s exported misery to a single port.  In 1847, over 9,000 Irishmen perished during the passage to Quebec and in the quarantine that met the survivors.  Once ashore, about 4,000 of the supposedly healthy immigrants and the natives they infected soon died in Montreal, and about another 4,000 in Western Canada later on—this according to official documents, whose figures, here as elsewhere, often grossly under-reported actual deaths.(4)

One might protest that these wretches fell victim to nineteenth-century hygiene rather than to patent racism.  That response would overlook several causative factors, especially in the case of the Highland Scots; but we might also meet it head-on with the observation, “Yes—and many lynchings were an ignorant reflex to dismal economic circumstances whose frustration crystallized around a visibly distinct group.”  Inhumanity never takes a holiday in human history, and revenge upon a scapegoat race or tribe is one of its favorite pretexts.  I alluded last week to the stunning proportion of pacifists who died in British prisons during the First World War.  I had in mind a passage I had just read about the Welsh experience of the war years, specifically.  Read the testimony of one young Conscientious Objector who barely survived his treatment.  Had his reception by the authorities nothing whatever to do with his Welsh ethnicity, or with his working-class background?

I was beaten… for resisting authority on the first day for about ten minutes out of every quarter-hour steadily by two or three officers, and thrown all over the floor until my body was a mass of pains; and after they finished with me, I was put in cuffs for hours and left without a bit of food the whole day.  I got the same treatment the next day, except for their pointing guns at me and pushing me around so as to get me to march; and after they had set me to making sandbags, or to some other labor, or to drilling, despite having shoveled mud and stones in addition to the beatings and kickings, I was put a second time in cuffs and also a straitjacket, as it’s called—and to tell the truth, that, too, was pure pain…(5)

The author of this little history then observes that “of the 1,500 pacifists who were incarcerated, 71 died as a result of the treatment they received in jail.”(6)  Now, there’s a vast difference between a hundred and five thousand; but the figure for lynchings covers a period of eighty-six years, whereas these figures refer to the activity of a few months, once conscription began in 1916.  I don’t see how one reign of terror can be ruled more hellacious than the other.

I began assembling these thoughts as soon as I observed the response among certain vocal black leaders to the Zimmerman case’s verdict.  At about the same time, I was finishing up C. Vann Woodward’s classic, The Strange Career of Jim Crow.  I have the utmost admiration for Professor Woodward… but I actually remember the late-Sixties riots in places like L.A., Newark, and Detroit, and passages such as the following (added to the final edition of his magnum opus) give me pause:

Northern blacks began to ask what their problems had to do with freedom rides, sit-ins, and lunch-counter integrations—or, for that matter, with the ideal of racial integration and assimilation in general.  While they had been stirred by the march on Washington, thrilled by the heroism of Birmingham brothers, and moved by the drama of the Selma March, they could not see how such tactics were adaptable to the scene at Newark, Detroit, Chicago, or Harlem.  Granted the effectiveness of such crusading strategies for limited goals, even granting that they finally toppled the formidable but hollow legal defenses of Jim Crow—what now?  Now on the very eve of those triumphs the triumphs themselves suddenly appeared quaint and anachronistic.(7)

Is this really what brawny young men were thinking as they smashed in casement windows and carted off televisions?  If you had stopped one of these looters and asked him his motives, would he have answered, “Dr. King’s triumphs seem suddenly quaint and anachronistic”?

Human beings are often little more than apes in clothes.  I’m sorry if my ancestors brutalized your ancestors, Oprah; but my further ancestors were brutalized at least as badly as yours—and, if you could delve far enough into your African heritage, you would find a few slave-owners and child-murderers in your own family tree.  We all descend from slaves, and we all descend from vandals and cutthroats.  God sees all, and God will exact the full debt from those who hacked fleeing women or starved out little children or whipped slaves or beat young Ithel Davies without an ounce of remorse, then or later.  You and your fellow race-crusaders are not the wrath of God.

Enough of this.  Enough.


1)  This passage was borrowed from what appears to be an academic website:  A heading reads, „This page was developed by a Berea College student as part of a course on [Charles] Chestnutt.”

2)  Niall Ó Ciosán, “Dia, Bia, agus Sasana: An Mistéalach agus Íomhá an Ghorta” Gnéithe den Ghorta, ed. Cathal Póirtéir (Baile Átha Cliath: Coiscéim, 1995), 159-160.  My translation from the Irish.

3)  Ibid., 162.  My translation.

4)  Pádraig Breandán Ó Laighin, “Samhradh an Bhróin: Grosse-Île, 1847,”  in Gnéithe den Ghorta (op. cit.), 217.  My translation from the Irish.

5)  Ifor ap Glyn, Lleisiau’r Rhyfel Mawr (Conwy: Gwasg Carreg Gwalch, 2008), 77-78.  My Welsh is inferior to my Irish, but I believe I have translated this critical passage with no significant errors.

6)  Ibid., 78.  My translation.

7)  My copy of Strange Career is an e-book.  This citation appears in chapter 6, section 1.


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The Strategy of Capitulation

Giving up on issues and abandoning principles in the hopes that the electorate will come to its senses is suicidal for the Republican Party and the nation as a whole.

Rush Limbaugh said it on July 31, 2013; the strategy of capitulation is incomprehensible.  His comment was directed at the discussion over whether the Republican Party should continue opposition to Obamacare.  According to polls, the majority of Americans oppose its implementation, yet most Republican office holders are ignoring these numbers.  Many seem afraid to express any opposition to the controversial Act, which has been described as an approaching train wreck.  Maybe, Rush suggests, these Republicans are afraid that people will actually like the train wreck when they hit it.  Or maybe they want be elves to the Democrats’ Santa Claus.  These are valid suggestions, if such strategies were able to bring positive results, but they never have in modern times, and in history they are the equivalent of Neville Chamberlain’s “peace in our time” approach to dealing with Nazi Germany.  Playing defense or letting the opposition have its way is never a strategy for success.

There is the possibility that one could use the enemy’s momentum against them as in Judo, but personal combat is not the same as politics.  This is particularly important to recognize when one party is using the (supposedly apolitical) mechanisms of government against their opposition.  Hence the lessons of the IRS denial of tax status letters to Tea Party groups because it served the administration’s political interests.  Obviously, trusting the modern Democrat Party to “follow the rules” is rank foolishness.

Utah Senator Mike Lee responded to Rush’s questions by pointing to the difference between Washington DC and the rest of the nation.  Inside the DC beltway going against Obamacare is controversial.  In the rest of America it isn’t.  The Senator does admit that Republicans may be afraid that some people could be unwilling to give up entitlements when they kick in, which he calls a reason to fight all the harder now.  Lee also noted that Republicans were given a majority in the House to oppose Obamacare.  Thus, if they refuse to fight, they are derelict in their duty.

What is more likely in the case of John McCain and a few others of a similar nature is that they have essentially given up on being in the opposition and are siding with the enemy in order to avoid unpleasant consequences later on.  McCain has demonstrated that he was never all that dedicated to the Conservative cause.  In any event he appears to have decided to cross the line for personal reasons, whatever they may be.

Meanwhile, the political consultant class maintains, consistently, that the Republican party must concentrate on independent voters to win elections.  According to these consultants the independent voters are the approximately twenty percent of the electorate who do not identify with either major party and who vacillate between the two based on factors other than ideology.  The consultant class maintains that they can secure these voters.  Republicans who follow this advice end up chasing a small minority of the electorate and ignore the base.  This drives that base away.  It is a strategy that is totally misdirected, which may have been demonstrated by the fact that a significant number of Republican voters stayed home, rather than vote for Mitt Romney.

What the consultants have ignored, willfully or negligently, is that an increasing number of independent voters are not part of a “mushy middle,” but rather are disaffected conservatives who have given up on the Republican Party because it has refused to take an ideological or principled stand.  In fact, the mushy middle may be more myth than fact because if you define independents as anyone who does not identify with the two major parties, then we can assume the following:

Those independents who identify with the Left; socialists, greens, “peace and freedom party” (if it still exists) and so on, are most likely to vote Democrat, because Democrats are closest to their viewpoint.  If not, it is logical to assume that they will not vote Republican.

The remaining independents more likely to be associated with the “right” and could vote Republican if they believed it would serve their purpose.  Libertarians had no problem voting for Republican Ron Paul because they saw his affiliation as a flag of convenience, rather than an ideological identification.  Others will do the same IF the candidate is sufficiently in line with their particular beliefs.

Therefore, if Republicans want to capture independent voters then they must draw a decisive line between themselves and the Democrats in order to attract the “right independents” and be more likely to win as a result.  If their present strategy isn’t working, then moving away from the Democrats would not be any worse than the present results.

Senator Lee has also indicated that being inside the DC beltway has an effect on people’s ability to think logically and reasonably.  As a result, they ignore the truth and follow the siren’s song of personal power, ignore the rights of the people, and allow the nation’s heritage and way of life to be destroyed.  It also supports the idea the there is no longer any significant “middle” of the supposed political spectrum.

We may finally conclude that a major missing ingredient in the political process is leadership and integrity.  A large number of politicians have abandoned these principles and our national heritage.  The rights of citizens are no longer important in their view.  If this is true, then it is no wonder than Republicans cannot win; they lack the leadership to capture the imagination of the voters and are left with those who vote for them as the only alternative to the opposition.  If Republicans desert their base then it is also no wonder that their base refuses to support them.  What they should consider is that if you die slowly or fast, you are still dead in the end.

Steve Laib

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Duly Noted – Wealth, Poverty and Ignorance.

Favored myths and popular lies.

There are developments that do not fit your anticipations if you are socialized by Western values. Reality and our cultural assumptions can clash. Several postulates that are said to be mankind’s goals only express local cultural preferences. Their summary would be a sentence about “liberty”, the “pursuit of happiness” and “self-evident”.

True, the order that produced these concepts has been sufficiently successful to justify emulation. However, it does not follow that the way of the achievers is predestined to become a guideline for all of mankind. We may add that, the worldwide differences in wealth and rights reflect this. The rejection of the values that advanced societies hold to be universal explains global differences in achievement. The attitude expressed through this rebuff reveals why much of mankind remains unfree, badly governed, and poor.

The inequality that is a result as well as the cause of this condition proves to be resistant. Blaming “unequal distribution” is only a superficial explanation. The well sounding phrase is more a symptom of past and future failures than a revelation of causes. The term “distribution” brings to mind a traditional remedy of the Left. It has healed little but developed a tradition of failure that is enshrined as a sign of moral superiority. That the misled masses that are the victims of the credo fail to see through the slogan does not invalidate the judgment.

Redistribution does not overcome the condition of those that missed modernization. In fact, the underachieving tend to misunderstand the roots of poverty and wealth. Also, they like to believe that success is a reflection of luck or of theft by the powerful. The equation of power and wealth explains why popular movements arise to replace a bad dictatorship with a good one – one that will be generous to its subjects. Being in the dark regarding wealth’s origins causes a misunderstanding. That concerns the implications of receiving aid in response to penury that is supplied involuntarily by those that are said not to need what they contribute. The beneficiaries overlook that the precondition – a shakedown of the better off – demotivates unwilling donors. Ultimately, the results will shrink the cake out of which the handouts come. With the resulting downward trending equality, sapping motivation to produce will diminish what politics can give away.

Neither nature, nor luck creates whatever is rated as “wealth”. Wealth is the product of attitudes and their application to potentialities. We all compete, and we compete with our cultures. This explains why richly endowed countries are poor and why countries that are by nature poor can be rich. Those who, in the service of distorting ideologies hide this do a disservice to mankind. Their approach creates firewood for envy-fed conflicts and prevents accomplishments by dismissing success strategies.

The foes of the successful society have repeatedly relied on theories to draw attention away from the cause of underdevelopment, servitude and poverty. In the West, a rationalization stressed the role of the Jews. Easily done: Inherited Christian prejudices confirm a contemporary economic-social thesis. Even if the early lenders that demanded repayments at the arrival of the money economy were Germans (the Fuggers) or Italians, usury stuck on the Jews. A special intermezzo is that of the Templars. That monastic order made money from the Crusades and the international trade that accompanied travel. Europe’s cash crunched monarchs that were the order’s bankrupt debtors physically liquidated the Templars. Marxism replaced the “Jews” with the “Capitalists” and persecuted “class aliens”. That Idi Amin Dada had transplanted into Africa the tale of the Pakistani bloodsucker tells that the category of the “enemy” is a flexible one. Some present-day elites exploit tales about “the Americans”.

The theme here, the ignorance about the causes of poverty and the strategies to escape it – as have recently hundreds of millions – has a personal aspect. It makes the writer to want to “spit it out” to guide the reader to insights on an additional level.

My grandfather had purchased after WWI some land and a manor in Hungary. He had a doctorate in economics and expert knowledge of agriculture. In a country dominated by large, badly managed latifundia, from his small base he created the income of the landed rich. That he achieved by producing for the market – not by ignoring it as did the absentee owners of the neighboring estates. Irritatingly for these, he even paid his workers above the going rate. Furthermore, he was, as an old worker put it decades later, “his own best hired hand”. The locals could not understand grandfather’s agribusiness and the natural origins of his success. In a typical reaction, the native found a logical, explanation. It was that there is a gold mine under the “Black Castle”.

This specific idiocy establishes a globally valid connection between poverty, ignorance and backwardness. Up until the 1944 German occupation and government by local national socialists, such gibberish did not matter. At the same time, American air fleets began to overfly us at 9:30 a.m. from Bari, Italy, to bomb the Reich. The daily routine and the reason why “they” found their way demanded an explanation. Well, since Eugene Marich already had a goldmine, it was logical that he must be directing the Liberators with a flashlight to their destination. These rumors activated in the Nazis their “national” as well as their “socialist” identities. Raids and searches followed. You might feel relieved that the gold mine was not found. Even so, the story ends in a tragedy. Days before the end, the Gestapo took my grandparents. The officer in charge explained that before he liquidates, he must settle the case created by numerous denunciations. The most pleasing alternative offered was that the file could be closed if my grandfather would commit suicide. He took the offer.

As one ponders the future of the global balance between poverty and wealth, it seems that the real enemy is not the existing penury. Explanations abound why societies remain mired in traditional misery. Ignorance regarding the origin of both conditions is a culprit. This has a logical cause. Superficially, the conspiracy oriented explanation of the origins of misery and well-being is more convincing than is the complex reality. If you do not know much, a “flat earth” sounds more convincing than the story about a rotating ball. Furthermore, poverty has its professional beneficiaries. This element has an interest to miseducate. The resulting false consciousness can be exploited to mobilizing the political support of the grateful victims

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Who Will Compose a Manifesto for American Revival?

The progressive assault on American society is nearing total victory. The assault was in fact a revolution as it sought to overthrow the governing structures of the United States by undermining and abrogating the fundamental principles that gave birth to those structures. The assault, which began at the turn of the twentieth century, met with almost immediate success. In particular, the ratification of the 16th and 17th amendments to the Constitution and the establishment of the Federal Reserve bear testimony to that success. Although many pundits argue that it was not until the advent of Barack Obama that the progressive victory was assured, one can make a very strong case that the cataclysmic upheavals in American society that occurred in the 1960s guaranteed the ultimate success of the progressive revolution. There have been a few partially successful conservative counterattacks: Coolidge in the 1920s, Reagan in the 1980s, Gingrich in the 1990s and the Tea Party a few years ago. But all of these have a “Battle of the Bulge” character – delaying the inevitable, not preventing it.

I have argued on numerous occasions that the fundamental strategy of the progressive assault is encapsulated in the aphorism usually attributed to the early twentieth century Italian philosopher, Antonio Gramsci: capture the culture, the politics will follow. And that is exactly what the progressives did. Through an unremitting assault on the basic cultural institutions of American society, the progressive movement captured virtually all of the society’s opinion-forming organs. Today the media, universities, legal profession, seminaries, federal bureaucracy, journalism schools, educational system, etc. are overwhelmingly dominated by leftists, collectivists and statists. Not surprisingly, the politics have followed – to the extent that a radical statist with absolutely no experience in any qualifying aspect of American life (e.g., business, military, executive) has been elected – and re-elected – president of the US.

Surely, when surveying the scene in 1895, the young progressive must have viewed the revolutionary task ahead of him as gargantuan – perhaps even impossible. But he and his cohort set to work and scarcely more than a century later, his progeny sits atop the mountain. With perseverance, single-minded dedication and adherence to the game plan, they overcame the enormous obstacles in their path and converted American society into the multicultural, government-dependent, environmentally-obsessed, racially divisive, militarily-weakened, redistributionist, self-denigrating, secular, morally decadent, class conscious society that we comprise today.

Thus in 2013, a young conservative, when contemplating a counterrevolution that would return America to its founding principles, faces a daunting landscape as inhospitable as his progressive forbearer confronted 118 years earlier. He will need the same perseverance, tenacity and dedication if he is to repeat the success. And he needs to follow the same game plan – that is, he needs to recapture the culture. In other venues, I have proposed some strategies to do so, but here I would like to suggest the need for a tool.

All revolutions require a guidebook – a manifesto that outlines the fundamental rationale of the revolutionaries and points the way toward the game plan that will drive the revolution. Historical examples are manifold. Perhaps the most famous is the US Declaration of Independence. Others include: the Declaration of the Rights of Man (issued during the French Revolution), the Cartagena Manifesto of Simon Bolivar, the Communist Manifesto and Mein Kampf. Two more recent examples are the Port Huron Statement and the Contract with America. The latter, which inspired Gingrich and to some extent the Tea Party, has had rather limited success. On the other hand, the former (usually attributed to Tom Hayden) has played a significant role in motivating and guiding progressive efforts over the last half century.

One could argue that the manifesto for the conservative counterrevolution has already been written by Mark Levin. His 2009 book Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto is a serious candidate to fill the bill. But I fear that its longevity and influence may be limited. Time will tell. However, it is likely that something shorter and more focused, but equally eloquently and passionately argued, might be necessary. I don’t propose to write that document here. Rather I will describe what I see as the five fundamental components that the document must encompass and address if it is to galvanize and motivate the public and also to serve as the inspiration for the decades-long effort that it must guide. Those five are:

  1. Freedom. The primary thrust of a conservative manifesto must be freedom. The basic tenets of the Declaration of Independence must be re-emphasized. The most fundamental ideal of the American Revolution is that all human beings are born free, that each individual is inherently equal to any other before the law, that we all enjoy certain inalienable rights endowed by God, or Nature’s God – specifically, the rights spelled out in the Bill of Rights, and that governments are instituted almost exclusively to protect those rights. The present system, in which the Federal Government acts as the initiator and enforcer of “new rights” in a manner that is far beyond the scope of the powers enumerated to it in our Constitution, is contrary to the spirit of freedom and constitutes a grave danger to our individual liberty.
  2. Economic Opportunity. Building on and consistent with political freedom is our right to economic freedom. The people have the right to choose their mode and place of work, to enter into monetary or labor contracts freely, to enjoy the fruits of their labor and to buy and sell property as they see fit – all, of course, within the rule of law. The government’s sole role in the economic foundation of our lives is to enforce the rule of law – dispassionately, objectively and without prejudice. In addition, our economic system will embrace free market capitalism – because it is the only system consistent with economic and political freedom, and because it yields far greater overall prosperity than does socialism, Keynesianism or any other economic system.
  3. American Exceptionalism.  We must re-endorse the following ideas: the American experiment in political and economic freedom makes us unique among the nations of the Earth; America should remain a shining example to the world of freedom and hope; America has been and continues to be a force for good in the world; we welcome immigrants to our shores who share our ideals; and we will maintain the strength and will to move the world towards a more humane, free and prosperous future.
  4. Morality. We must re-endorse the notion of our Founders that our system of government and rules for organizing society (i.e., as a democratic, Constitutional Republic) can work only if the people – who enjoy widespread liberty -are moral, decent and virtuous. We live in a time when one man’s morality is another man’s chains. But hopefully, we all can agree that a moral America is one grounded in: faith, charity, humility and strong families and communities.
  5. Rule of Law. We must re-emphasize that ours is a society in which the law, not men, reign supreme. In addition to – indeed as a companion to freedom, we seek justice. The laws are made by the people and our leaders execute them according to the consent of all who are governed by them. Thus we reject political corruption, crony capitalism, the cult of a leader or leaders, and discrimination – reverse or otherwise.

Who will write the manifesto? The conservative cause needs someone with Levin’s depth of understanding, Krauthammer’s perspicacity, Buckley’s eloquence, Limbaugh’s passion, Churchill’s guts, Reagan’s optimism and the wisdom of a Solomon. Will that person please report to the front desk asap!

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America Is Not Immune To EU Calamity

Though relatively few people on Main Street are consumed with anxiety over the unfolding events on Cyprus, a tiny Mediterranean island with a population of barely one million, the chaos there is a grim harbinger of a burgeoning worldwide financial crisis that will ultimately reach U.S. shores. The outlandish nature of Cypriot governmental action is merely a precursor to similar outrages that will inevitably take place here if the congressional spending spree of the past four years is not strenuously curtailed. So far however, Democrats are insisting that no problem exists, and Republicans lack the necessary will to effectively restrain them.

Nevertheless, disturbing rumors of an economic cataclysm in Cyprus warrant legitimate concern, even on this side of the Atlantic. For some time, its government has toyed with the idea of confiscating a percentage of all savings accounts in the country in order to pay its bills and remain solvent. The initial alarm over this possibility had seemingly subsided when the unthinkable happened. On March 25, government officials suddenly seized as much as thirty percent from accounts totaling 100,000 Euros or more.

Although in the wake of this upheaval, life has apparently resumed its normal course throughout the rest of the world, its reverberations are yet to be felt in their entirety. Try to comprehend what has really transpired on Cyprus. Those in power behaved in a manner that is barely distinguishable from a thief who forcibly enters a private residence to clean out the cashbox. Private property was injudiciously appropriated in an exercise of raw governmental power. In essence, the government of Cyprus unilaterally declared the ultimate possession of all property to itself, while the people under its jurisdiction are no longer to be citizens, but subjects.

Throughout this tumultuous affair, little of anything has been done to address the real underlying problem which is the unsustainability of government debt. The Cypriot government, like the rest of the European Union, has been digging itself into a financial hole by spending beyond its means. Of course this worked no better than it ever has throughout history and now the tiny nation faces impending bankruptcy. Sufficiently curtailing expenditures is not considered a feasible option, and in order to secure a “bailout” from the European Union, such drastic action was deemed necessary. The cash was needed, so those in power simply reached for the most available stash of wealth. No considerations of integrity or justice were allowed to interfere with this action. And that should be an end of it.

However, it is only the beginning. Similar measures are being considered in Spain and Italy. Jeroen Dijsselbloem of Holland, the Eurozone Chairman, flippantly advises that such actions could eventually take place across all of Europe. But he and his kind seem completely unable to recognize two crucial facts. First, if a wave of bank account confiscations becomes a credible threat, those with the ability to do so will simply close their accounts. Better to have the nest egg in hand even if it accrues no interest, than to leave it within the grasp of insatiable collectivists. Secondly, the confiscations in Cyprus, drastic though they were, can at best only delay the inevitability of financial collapse unless a complete national change of course is immediately undertaken.

The disastrous events on Cyprus are only a harbinger of an inescapable end game for every government that is allowed to grow so disproportionately. In the beginning, a small number of people are “beneficiaries” of funds collected from a comparatively large taxpayer base. However, if the pattern is not quickly reversed the concept becomes widely accepted by the population. Every attempted socialist panacea will predictably be overwhelmed by expanding numbers of expectant recipients. Hence, from the moment the Cypriot government made the decision to ignore history and pile on unsustainable debt, the radical measures now being undertaken against the accumulated wealth of its people became inevitable.

Americans should be among those most closely watching the unfolding events on Cyprus, as well as the general reaction of the rest of the European Union. For although in the past many of the cultural and social ideologies across the Atlantic differed starkly from those in the American Heartland, the general drift of this country in the same direction portends an exponential increase in our own financial woes. The manner in which annual deficits and the accumulated debt of the United States have ballooned in the past five years alone is great cause for alarm. Borrowed money must eventually be repaid. And just as the liberal governments of the European Union are quickly running out of accounting shell games by which to continue spending beyond their means, America’s economy cannot withstand its multi-trillion dollar annual outlays indefinitely. A grim day of reckoning will dawn, just as surely as it has for the people of Cyprus.

Unfortunately, at a time when competent, principled, and courageous leadership is desperately needed, America finds itself under the authority of Barack Obama, abetted by his Democrat cohorts and enabled by Republican timidity on Capitol Hill. Yet Obama has offhandedly dismissed the looming threat of financial insolvency that will result from the enormous and continuously growing debt. In a March 13 interview with George Stephanopoulos, he flatly declared “We don’t have an immediate crisis in terms of debt” and added “for the next ten years [the debt] is going to be in a sustainable place.”

Since the summer of 2009, America has been incessantly told by liberal politicians and liberal news commentators (as if any delineation exists between the two) that the sunken economy is rebounding. And the rosy stories continue. Nevertheless, the actual condition of the America’s finances remains abysmal, as the nation lingers in the longest economic downturn since the end of World War Two. Amazingly, no effort whatsoever has been made to curtail government expansion, a situation that will worsen considerably during the next few years when the majority of Obamacare’s unfathomable expenses hit. The dire straits in which our nation finds itself are not going to abate on their own. But still no realistic efforts are even being proposed to contend with this looming disaster.

As American productivity continues to falter, revenues to the federal treasury will slow even below their current levels, causing the total debt to spike. It is altogether likely that the “ruling class,” desperate to maintain the status quo, will increasingly look to various sources of amassed money outside of its typical realm. Government seizure of private retirement accounts and even personal savings is not beyond consideration. Our nation no longer possesses the inherent moral resolve to oppose such despicable actions. Consequently, the single biggest firewall that might have protected the people from this nightmarish scenario no longer exists. The unthinkable can happen, even here in America.

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Duly Noted – The Strategy of Lies

Your correspondent has arrived to inconvenient conclusions.

  1. Often, the mainstream media lies. Most troubling is that it does so even when it is unaware that it does so. Ascribe this to the input of trusted “experts” that grind the axe that will decapitate the misled public.
  2. Even non-conforming individuals are influenced by “official” versions even if they realize that the non-PC treatment of censured topics reveals reality. The decision of what is debated is often predetermined by the Left.
  3. This condition reflects a fault of the media and its consumers. They might think that they are “independent” even while they are victims of manipulations that exploit the weakness of an imposed worldview.

Under these conditions, selecting the subject for the column involves painful choices. Outstanding among these is that there is much to say while only a fraction of the story can be told. The other is that there are easy and difficult subjects. The easy ones are those that are close to the personal experience of the geographically limited reader.

In the real world, the pressing topics are likely to be global in their origins and they will be softly transmitted by mandated inattention. Meanwhile, their local impact is, while significant, not immediate and initially indirect. The image is of a dark silhouette sneaking in the shadow with a dagger. The details are undefined. The planned action becomes newsworthy only once the knife is sunk into the back of the unaware.

In this case, the “difficult topic” is one that has been covered here last June. That makes this into a follow up story of one that received a new twist. A curve built into the ball’s flight aims the matter toward your backyard.

The reader might reckon that, due to the locale that produced the case, he is not affected. If, nevertheless, he continues to read, he must be reminded of the curve of the object’s flight. The boomerang might not seem to be directed at you. However, upon impact it causes more damage than the hit of some directly aimed missiles.

A weakness of the internationally spreading conservative movement comes to mind. Conservative progressives fight centralization, such as in more Federal Government in the USA or more “Europe”. By reacting, they can become insular in their views.

The inward looking perspective is understandable. A sinew of conservatism is local resistance to a threat from outside that claims to be “internationalist”. The menace to local self-determination is, however, identical and its originators are interchangeable. Consequently, the general challenge is overlooked because of its venue.  Thereby its chances benefit from the unpreparedness of the victim. Additionally, the centralizers are wise enough to launch their initial attacks in peripheral areas. These can be ignored and distorted by the media. This preface may be an apology to the reader who is asked to follow the writer to a locale he knows little about.  Currently Hungary is being used to create a precedent to score ultimately against others.

To make the case, background factors are needed. The change from Soviet-socialism to “democracy” has been early and smooth in Hungary. That reflects “gulyás communism’s” seemingly benign nature. This enabled “the son’s of the Party” to stay in power and to become rich by privatizing what their elders had managed for the Party. In the process, the communist era’s laws were left standing. Then, in 2010, an election produced a 2/3 conservative majority – its doctrinal home would be in the center of the US’ Republicans. This majority got power because the voter realized that the socialists had maneuvered the country close to bankruptcy. The mandate was to change the system that financed itself from foreign credits that paid for daily consumption. (The association with “Greece/Cyprus” is warranted.)

Under Mr. Orbán, the “Young Democrat” Prime Minister, a general renewal followed. The reception by the EU and the socialists abroad has been negative. This expressed resentment that their ilk lost power. Furthermore, the earlier “liberal opposition” of the Party-state is feeding the Left’s ire. These intellectuals served as the western press’ experts and stood for socialism without tanks. It needs to be added that this “tolerated opposition” lost influence as the old system receded into history.

Here the resulting relentless attacks, and EU’s pressure to heave back into power those that have lost it at the ballot box, must be skipped. This writing is limited to a single missile fired to lame Budapest.

The Orbán government undertook a revision of the 1949 communist-era constitution. Even before it had access to the text, the EU became hostile. One item to irk the leftists in Brussels was a prohibition of the display of “totalitarian symbols”. That meant the national socialist swastika and the arrow cross, as well as the red star and the hammer and sickle. Hungary’s proscription violated a leftist taboo. Its core is resistance to anything that equates National Socialism (renamed “Fascism” although that “ism” differs from NS) and Socialism.

It did not take long and a comrade displayed his CP symbols publicly. In turn, he was fined. He appealed from Hungary to “Europe”.  There the exhibitionist Red was found to be innocent because the hammer and sickle is “esteemed” in Western Europe – where they did not live under real socialist tyranny. Reluctantly, Hungary repealed its law against totalitarian symbols.

Here you might conclude that this is a story that proves a malady. If so, you are right. However, the tale does not end with the absurdity that alleges that the GULAG does not count. Actually, the best part follows.

That “best part” is the nifty reaction of the left-leaning press to the lifting of the prohibition. Remember, the ban of totalitarian symbols including communist ones, was condemned as belated “cold-warriorism”. It was also depicted as the hysterical extremism of authoritarians that had the temerity to win a mandate to clean up a stinking stable. When Budapest caved in to Brussels’ pressure, the complaints did not cease. The ultimate goal of the attacks is to overthrow from abroad a non-PC government for which the internal votes lack. Therefore, the denunciation took a truly genial angle.

“Die Presse” is a good, centrist rated Austrian paper. It has produced a revealing headline to report the repeal. It testifies to not only creative fact making but also to the leftist virus at work in many journalists.  “Hungary: The Constitutional Court Lifts the Swastika Ban”. (Ungarn: Verfassungsgericht hebt Hakenkreuz-Verbot auf.)

In this case, the presented half of the truth amounts to a full lie. To the careful reader the disinformation is obvious. The striking of a law forbidding totalitarian symbols in general because it “limits the free expression of opinion” and for the real reason of pressure from “Brussels”, is hardly covered by the phrasing. However, talking about “the swastika and the red star” would be a red cloth to the EU bulls. Putting it that way would equate, as did the objectionable law, red and brown terror. And that is an ideological no-no. Avoiding that association is even worth a massive lie to serve a good cause. An added benefit is that the phrasing upholds the claim that a non-socialist government in Hungary is evidence of “right-wing extremism” in action.

At the beginning of this essay, you were told, “they lie”. Here you have just been presented with a small example of how it is done.

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The Medicine Man and the Democrat Party’s Base: A Return to the Primal Cave

The primitive tribalism into which American culture-especially its intelligentsia-is tumbling may hold the key to understanding how “leaders” like Barack Obama are thrust to the fore.I have almost finished wading through a stack of World Lit Survey papers as my Spring Break ends.  (Spring comes early down South.)  One of the essay options I created deals with the shaman, a shadowy figure whose prominence in tribal cultures thrusts him into the center of many myths and legends.  The shaman is a liminal (literally, “threshold”) character.  Also known as the witch doctor, the medicine man, and the master of the hunt, he mediates between worlds: the corporal and spiritual worlds, the human and animal worlds, the rational and irrational worlds.  He flits back and forth across the interface between what we can understand and what we cannot.  He communes with departed souls and returns with prophetic knowledge, detects animal spirit-chatter and finds out where the herds have gone, contacts offended deities and placates the wrath that authors plagues and storms.  He often wears hides or antlers to represent how his allegiance is divided between the human and the animal.  He may even, in some cases, be a “she” intermittently.  The Greek seer Teiresias was transformed into a woman for seven years, and the great Achilles was disguised as a maiden when Odysseus craftily enlisted him to join the expedition against Troy.

The shaman’s supernatural powers come at a cost, however.  Often himself a descendant of the gods, he does not recognize and is not held to certain cultural rules-a dispensation which renders his relationship with the rest of the community very uneasy.  For instance, the ancient Sumerian Gilgamesh is apparently violating both the marriage and the parental bond at the beginning of his sketchy epic baked into fragmented clay.  His infractions are so severe that the gods must send along a second shaman-Enkidu-to protect Uruk.  The Irish Cu Chulainn, once seized by the ecstasy of his murderous battle fury, must be pacified through a series of rituals that includes tribal maidens stripping bare before him so as to stir his shame.  He also steals his bride Emer, murdering her father, and later kills his own son in combat (conceived by the daughter of the warrior/witch/prophetess Scathach).  Herakles, the premier Greco-Roman shaman, has a colorful history of slaying or taming monstrous creatures that devastate the domain of culture; but in one of his “restful” moments, he succumbs to sudden dementia and slaughters his wife and children.

All three of these figures journey to the Other World (less obviously the Land of the Dead in Irish myth than in the two Mediterranean traditions).  In fact, a subtle contradiction nestles deeply within shamanic legends.  On the one hand, we see a wild, semi-divine berserker who can protect culture from nature’s predators precisely because he himself is part inhuman monster.  He is a dynamo of fearsome aggression.  On the other hand, we find a spiritual traveler who can reach normally imperceptible dimensions in a trance.  This morph of the shaman plays an essentially passive role of drifting among spirits and receiving messages.  Eventually, I believe, oral tribalism evolves into a more complicated socio-cultural state where the wild man is confined to legends about vanquishing ferocious beasts and overpowering hostile armies, while the Other World Traveler becomes a roving Sinbad the Sailor tossed upon one exotic shore after another.  Homer’s Achilles takes no journey to the Underworld, and Homer’s Odysseus does not slay dozens or hundreds in raging combat.  The distinction between epic and romance is born.

Why these comments in a space dedicated to contemporary American political and cultural life?  Because myths never die.  They are like some Saharan plant whose seeds remain dormant for years, then suddenly germinate after a downpour and launch a wondrous shoot through its whole life-cycle in two weeks.  The seeds of myth lie sleeping within all of us.  Whenever our culture’s sophisticated layers of insulation wear thin, timeless patterns of behavior suddenly blossom-and the flower can be very dark.  This is evident, for example, in combat veterans who try to readjust to civilian life.  The rules of “common decency” may suddenly strike them as absurd.  They have dreams-nightmares-unknown to ordinary people.  In extreme and terribly tragic cases, a few may kill family members before they take their own lives.  Like the ancient shaman, they once protected society against the forces of brutal savagery, but they could only do so by becoming half-savage themselves.  The Heraklean lion’s skin cannot simply be shucked off by signing a few papers.

I will go a step further.  As I have ruminated over the shaman this past week, the notion has settled upon me that our ever less literate, more tribal culture has been trying for several decades to resurrect the medicine man.  Specifically, the base of the Democrat Party has been engaged in this primitive dance whenever it selects presidential candidates.  Here is my evidence.

Some of us have long marveled that the left side of the aisle can be so righteously indignant when a Republican takes a mistress or keeps a secret project off the books, yet the same hard-core Democrats merely shrug, or even celebrate, when a Bill Clinton is caught lifting skirts or a Barack Obama trapped telling whoppers about Benghazi.  How does that work-how is that fair?  It’s fair because Republican candidates have no business even auditioning for the part of “medicine man”.  The more they stress their rationality, their reverence for the rules, their fidelity to traditional marriage bonds, etc., etc., the more they demonstrate that they are not shamanic material.  They are the village elders who always quote proverbs correctly and always sacrifice the right animal in the right season with the right prayer.  That won’t save the tribe: that doesn’t give us a champion possessed of demonic powers.  We need someone (screams the grass-roots Democrat in his or her paroxysm of impatience with reality) who will claim virgins as his due, who will grind the rules under his heels like a whirling dervish, who will rain thunderbolts from the sky without compunction.  Our witch doctor must hear voices that do not speak to ordinary mortals.  We will waive communal restrictions upon hallucinogens in his case because they lift him to places where we could never go.  We will applaud him, in fact, for concealing his past, obscuring our collective future, and veiling the present in childish fabrications; for his ways are not our ways, and if we could understand the prophecies that swell his garlanded head, then they would clearly not contain a mystical roadmap.

Ed Muskie was no shaman, of course; neither was Michael Dukakis.  George McGovern and Jesse Jackson-and Bobby Kennedy (whose end was a little too close for comfort to the ritual human sacrifices we have uncovered in northwestern European peat bogs)-drew much nearer to the margin.  Yet they were, precisely, marginal: marginal to the party’s base, that is, which still contained significant numbers of Catholic factory-workers, Southern farmers, and World War Two vets.  By the time Bill Clinton rose with the cream (or the scum, depending upon your assessment of the brew), the base’s forty-somethings had entirely changed.  They had spent their college days enjoying free sex, smoking dope, relinquishing clothes, protesting final exams, and lobbying for content-free courses.  The archway to their adulthood had been constructed of bricks minted from self-indulgence, contempt for convention, counter-conformity, irrationality, and narcissism.  They were bright in their way, these votaries of the new Dionysus.  Some were extremely so.  They cut their intellectual teeth on crafting sophistical arguments that elevated chaos over order, hedonism over discipline, and lunacy over reason.  You have to be pretty bright to prove that down is up (though convincing yourself as well as the audience of potheads probably justifies an intellectual downgrade).

And Bill was their guy, their High Priest.  Everything about him was “edgy”.  He looked less like his mentor William Fulbright than like Elvis.  He was prettier than his wife, with his blue eyes, his curly golden hair, and his nose and mouth more suggestive of malleable clay than of mature bone and sinew.  His dead-beat dad had abused his mother and hadn’t hung around to rear the kid, who ended up being the most improbable of Rhodes scholars and the most predictable of draft-dodgers.  When the kid played the saxophone, one recalled troubling jests about the instrument’s possessing vaguely phallic qualities; and when the rumors about “eruptions” began to surface, one somehow reflected-in spite of oneself-that dogs can’t be blamed for howling at the moon.

Clinton was not “America’s first black president”: he was her first shaman-president.  White America-or, to be exact, the Flower Children of the Democrat Party now turned into Ben and Jerry-associated the two.  “Negritude”, to them, meant a crazed, inspired, and inspirational kind of spirituality-a connection with “otherness”.  To be black, to them, was to enjoy instant and automatic escape from all the order, reason, system, discipline, self-interest, and self-sacrifice that had straitjacketed their parents’ generation (dubbed The Greatest Generation by a frivolous journalist who, on the eve of the 2008 election, murmured in delighted tingles at Charley Rose’s table, “We don’t really know who Barack Obama is”).  Obama, the half-black man-the man whose black half had no American slave past-the quasi-Hawaiian who might have been born in Indonesia and whose all-Kenyan Muslim father had also deserted the family-would be the ultimate realization of this white-liberal blackness, in all its shamanic glory.  By contrast, American blacks whose roots led straight back into slavery and the Jim Crow ordeal were not black at all if they studied, dressed, behaved, and spoke in the orthodox manner: Condoleeza Rice, Thomas Sowell, Walter Williams, Alan Keyes.  These were all “race traitors” to the white Ben-and-Jerry base.

In the interim-the Interregnum-Al Gore and John Kerry sought to assume the bison robe and the great eagle-feather headdress.  Gore attempted to sell himself as Nature Man, not only by greening up every word that fell from his mouth but by delivering those words with inexplicable, almost maniacal bursts of warpath vocalization.  He also employed academic priestess of the vagina Naomi Wolf (with her fox-tail tresses) to lend a further Bacchic tinge to his campaign.  (Was Al’s name in Lakota, perhaps, Dances-With-Wolf?)  It almost worked: it worked better, at any rate, than Kerry’s weak bid.  Despite his very best efforts, Kerry always appeared too rational in his raving: his battle frenzy was too calculated, its Purple Hearts too tidily arranged.  The sorceress in his life was a Catsup queen, and his mad prophecies either made too much sense or too clearly served his selfish interests in their folly.  Beltway pundits called him an “insider”, unlike Clinton; but the real difference was that Clinton came across as genuinely libidinous, uncivilized, out-of-control, and hence god-like, whereas Kerry was all sarcasm and subterfuge-a malcontented sub-chieftain rather than a bonafide medicine man.

The Party was ready for the real thing, a genuine stark-raving mad “transformative figure”.  It hefted Barack Obama out of his mid-life mediocrity, therefore, wrapped him in the shaggy mantle, and fitted him with antlers.  Nobody knew anything about him?  So much the better: Jason wandered into Corinth fatefully wearing a single sandal.  He might not even have been born an American?  So much the better: Cu Chulainn was born to a mother chased into exile, and Enkidu ran wild among the antelope after his creation.  His true father was known to be a West-hating socialist from a nation recently subjugated by Great Britain?  So much the better: the volatile divinities who sired Gilgamesh, Cu Chulainn, and Herakles all receded back into the gray heavens after filling a mortal woman’s womb.

In fact, every “criticism” of candidate Obama raised by his adversaries-the weed-smoking of his high school days, the hate-speech in his chosen church of twenty years, his friendships with known subversives and criminals, his instruction at the hands of sociopathic chaos-worshipers (half-man, half-beast cave-dwellers like the centaur Cheiron who tutored Achilles)… all of it simply pushed the Mysterious Stranger farther into the margin, where he appeared more and more convincing as The One Who Communes with Spirits.  His very name sounded so like Osama that the late Teddy Kennedy struggled to separate the two.  Odysseus’s name, too-The Hated One-had once exploited its apotropaic qualities to smuggle its owner into and out of deadly spaces.  This man who almost bore the name of America’s most hated enemy was said by his promoters to be the one, the only one, capable of mediating between opposed powers.  He would do it with his strong medicine, with his charms and spells.  He didn’t have a plan, and he didn’t need one.  Plans are rational, and hence forever doomed to failure.  This No Man would blind the Cyclops with heady drink and a fiery thyrsus.

In a way, I pity Barack Obama.  From the beginning, he has been caught up in incredibly dynamic and unruly forces of whose dangers he has no inkling.  The most primitive version of the shaman never finds a happy ending.  While the Other World Traveler returns safe from the Far Side with rare new knowledge, the Berserker is always consumed in the fire of his own meteoric transit.  Obama’s Achilles half has begun, since the last election, to overpower his Odysseus half, especially in his hubristic gun-grab and in his quest to command the planet through drones.  The myths tell us what happens next, and the myths don’t lie.  For thousands of years, they have dictated the same ending.  People who have rejected rule by their basic passions in favor of rule by reason and higher morality may hope to cheat the devil… but the crowd surrounding this puny man-who-would-be-king is not cut of that cloth.

The more pressing question to me concerns the identity of that very crowd.  Who are these people-what, precisely is the Democrat Party’s base these days?  Why do its members, though superficially well educated, behave like chanting, milling, pipe-smoking ritualists in tribal paint?  Has the follow-the-leader indoctrination of sex and drugs to which they were incessantly submitted throughout their college years really sunk such deep roots?  One must conclude that it has.  After all, Charles Manson’s girls were similarly indoctrinated-and we saw to what lengths they were capable of being led.

So the final question, for me (and I hope I am not alone in asking it), is this: who is the Devil behind the indoctrination?  Who is the new Charles Manson?  Who is distributing all these ghost-shirts on our campuses?  Is there an evil genius pulling the strings-a Doomsday clique consisting of people like George Soros, Saul Alinsky, and late initiates like Bill Gates?  Or is chaos simply the raw-natural state of human affairs, self-sustaining whenever weeds run riot through civilization’s garden?  Isn’t sex pleasant enough in itself that young people will surrender their lives to it without much need of manipulation?  Isn’t the self-disgust that follows a wholly carnal lifestyle agonizing enough that it will drive sufferers to escapist drugs without any further trickery?  Are we being hazed into the slaughterhouse, or are we merely slaughtering ourselves?  Is there a Mahdi ordering his people into the conflagration, or is a populace in love with fire arbitrarily selecting a Mahdi to preside over its mass-suicide?

The myths say that Troy burned to the ground, Atlantis sank into the sea, and Croesus was executed upon the gilded ruins of his kingdom.  We may utterly vanish, too.  Soros and Gates will vanish with us-the myths are clear about that, and the image of their crew in one of Dante’s pitchy bolgias holds a little comfort.  As we wait to see, however, into what abyss these mad revelers of the Left will carry us, lofting their clueless Voodoo Prince on their shoulders at every step, let us not entirely forget the true god who redeemed us from the mythic cycle of hubris and tragedy.  Let us call the Old Man by his real name and recognize that the line between right and wrong grows clearer every day.

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Obamacare, Socialism, And Rick Perry’s Assumptions

“The popular media narrative is that this country has shifted away from conservative ideals, as evidenced by the last two presidential elections. That’s what they think. That might be true if Republicans had actually nominated conservative candidates in 2008 and 2012.”

Governor Rick Perry (R-Texas) drew applause with that line, as he spoke at last week’s “Conservative Political Action Conference’ (“CPAC”) in Maryland. And if there’s any sure-fire way to draw applause from a conservative audience in 2013, taking a swipe at both the media and the Republican Party is probably a good strategy.

Yet if there is somehow a false narrative in “the media” about America abandoning conservative ideals, it may also be true that the notion of America adhering to some set of conservative ideals is, perhaps, a bit of a false narrative as well. Implicit in Perry’s message is the assumption that, if only a “truly conservative” presidential candidate had appeared at the top of the ballot in the 2012 presidential election, then the outcome of the election would have been quite different, and our nation’s public policy would therefore look very different. And there is no doubt some grain of truth to his claim – neither fiscal conservatives nor social conservatives had any particular affinity for Mitt Romney, and this was probably part of what led to the lackluster voter turnout.

Yet evidence suggests that, even in heavily Republican regions of the country, very left-leaning, socialistic, Obama-styled public policy ideas are nonetheless thriving. Voters in these regions may give lots of lip service to things like the sanctity of life and traditional marriage, but the ideals of limited government and fiscal conservatism seem to have been abandoned in favor of President Obama’s explosive growth of social welfare programs. This would seem to refute Governor Perry’s assumptions about our country – and it should be alarming to all Americans.

Consider, for example, the predominantly Republican state of Arkansas (a state that Romney won in 2012).  The state’s Governor, Mike Beebe, and U.S. Senator Mark Pryor are both Democrats. But Lieutenant Governor Mark Darr, U.S. Senator John Boozman, all four of the state’s U.S. House members and the majorities in both the state House of Representatives and State Senate, all belong in the Republican category.

Yet despite all the “R’s” that abound in the state, Arkansas has nonetheless gone full-tilt with the implementation of Obamacare.  This is to say that the state has implemented a government-run health insurance exchange (26 states in the country have thus far refused to do this), and they have also voluntarily chosen to lower eligibility standards for Medicaid and, thus, to expand the number of Medicaid recipients.

Jay Bradford, Commissioner of the Arkansas Department of insurance, openly admits that the implementation of the insurance exchange will actually raise the price of insurance that cash-paying consumers have to face, but notes that the federal government is currently offering so much money in subsidies so insurance companies can offer either free or reduced-rate coverage (to those who qualify), that the opportunity was too good to pass-up.  One can imagine that the decision to expand Medicaid in Arkansas was also based on another one of the President’s “too good to pass up” offers, in as much as the Obama Administration is currently offering to pay 100% of a state’s Medicaid expansion costs (the offer expires at the end of this year).

In case that isn’t sufficiently eye-opening, consider Idaho (yet another state that Mr. Romney won last year). Every one of Idaho’s statewide elective offices, including the office of Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Superintendent of Education, Controller, Treasurer, and Secretary of State, is occupied by a Republican.  The state’s two U.S. Senators, and its two U.S. House of Representatives members, are all Republicans. And the Republican Party holds super-majorities in both the state House of Representatives, and the state Senate.

Yet, despite Idaho being an extremely “red” state, a majority of Republicans in the state House and Senate have nonetheless sided with the minority of Democrats in the legislature and have voted to implement an Obamacare insurance exchange in the state (Republican Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter has been pushing his party to do this since last December). Estimates are that, despite the state’s tiny population of less than 1.8 million, insurance companies that operate in the state will take in upwards of $200 – $300 million in federal subsidies, once the insurance exchange is put in place.

Both Arkansas and Idaho have historically qualified as “pro life” states. Socially conservative Protestantism reigns supreme in Arkansas, while both Mormonism and Protestant Evangelicalism are predominate among the Idaho electorate. And three weeks ago Arkansas adopted the toughest statewide abortion restriction in the country.  Yet these two states have both embraced Obamacare, despite the fact that the Obamacare insurance exchanges promise to provide funding for abortion-inducing drugs, and, likely, for the procedure of “mechanical abortion” itself.

The point of all this is obvious:  in regions of the country where voters still profess to be “conservative,” “pro life,” and “Republican,” they are nonetheless empowering state and local leaders who are bringing about very liberal, socialistic public policy and who are expanding government dependency.  Ideas about competitive private enterprise, private sector charity, and personal self-sufficiency are giving way to the promises of government welfare, even as the rhetoric of “traditional marriage” and “the sanctity of life” remains intact.

Rick Perry may be right, and America may once again “choose conservatism” as long as it is presented by the proper candidate.

It may also be true that Barack Obama has more fundamentally altered the fabric of America than anybody cares to admit.

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Three Grotesque Absurdities of Contemporary Living

Homosexuality cannot be primarily genetic, solar energy is only a dynamo when applied to agriculture, and literacy enriches life only when it slows and deepens thought: these three unimpeachable propositions have all become political heresy in our insane culture.

Cogar leat, as they used to say in Ireland: “A whisper with you.”  Let’s not speak too loudly, or the Attorney General may rule that we pose an imminent threat to national security and deploy a drone.  I have three secrets to tell you about our time’s incredible absurdity.

FIRST ABSURDITY: Homosexuality is Genetically Determined

If people are homosexual because they are born so-i.e., because of their genetic material-and since gay individuals cannot breed because they mate with other gays, then why has their kind not vanished from the face of the earth, like Ice Age oxen in climes that grew too warm?  Officially approved answer: the individuals in question did in fact breed heterosexually throughout yesteryear because they feared to reveal their true proclivity.  Assume that the answer makes sense.  (It doesn’t: stigmatizing agents like playground bullies and Victorian matrons didn’t exist on the primal savanna, and the “gay gene” could hardly have popped up just a few hundred years ago.  The “breeding out” should hence have occurred while our ancestors were still eating ticks off of each other.)  No longer does any significant social pressure exist for gays to remain in the closet. They need no more enter into undesired heterosexual marriages and pass their genetic material on to subsequent generations in a manner repugnant to them.  Therefore, the percentage of gays in the general population must steadily dwindle until its reaches virtual zero.  Genetic conditions do not persist when those who possess them cease to reproduce.

We should expect, then, that whatever social or moral problems are posed by homosexuality will work themselves out now in a few decades, inasmuch as homosexuality itself must vanish if nature is left to run its course.  The situation has an elegant beauty: extend full tolerance to the gay rather than load them with opprobrium, and the challenge they represent to traditional virtue will remove itself without any further action.

Of course, you and I both know (I say in a whisper) that no such thing will happen.  For the most part, homosexuality is a behavioral choice rather than a genetic condition.  (A very, very few people are born with anomalous genitalia: this seems more on the order of a birth defect than an alternative arrangement of chromosomes passed through generations.)  The “gay lifestyle” will therefore persist, and probably even proliferate as our ailing society continues its death spiral.  In our last days, we shall at least have the satisfaction of possessing irrefragable proof that homosexuals are in general bred rather than born; for there can be no other possible explanation of their durability in these free and open times.

SECOND ABSURDITY: The Perversion of the Sun’s Power

Solar energy has been effectively harnessed throughout the history of human civilization-but we have lately turned our backs upon its proper use in order to (as it were) yoke the goose to the plow.  The most essential need for all human beings is food: the sun has always been the primary engine that drives food-production.  Does American society consume too much energy?  By any sane standard, it certainly does.  How, then, might we best use the sun to modify our consumption?  By growing food in our back yards.  Less fuel expended by tractors, trains, and trucks; fewer trips to the grocery store; less energy sacrificed to refrigeration; perhaps liberation from fighting traffic twice a day in pursuit of enough money to buy food, at least for one member of the family… these are only the most obvious savings available purely in terms of oil and electricity.

My own very preliminary experiment in backyard farming has already staggered me with its potential.  I never would have believed that we might one day supply most of the food on our table in this manner: now I see the evidence just in the fertility of the two hundred square feet or so I have tilled.  Think of the implications.  No more need of foodstamps.  No more need to endure intolerable working conditions or else pull up stakes and move to a new city.  No “prepper” nightmare about a world where all the shelves suddenly go bare.  And think, too, of the effects upon our intellectually and spiritually drifting children.  Into their education could be infused useful, “hands-on” lessons about how things grow, and at home they would have chores to do that would quickly inspire in them a sense of responsibility and of pride that they have helped the family to survive.  They would at once learn far more than they do now about “earth science” (which, as currently taught, scarcely seems to have any meaning) and about the natural limitations within which all life must find its place.  They would grow both smarter and wiser: their minds and their spirits would develop in tandem.

Instead, we are heavily invested in maximizing the dependency of individuals upon the collective.  We chase the mirage of solar energy as a means of keeping our cars and our toys operating at their present maniacal rates of consumption; and to sustain the charade, we aid and abet the creation of “cancer villages” in China and Third World nations, where the rare-earth metals needed to coat solar panels leave a deadly spill-over.

This is not a fairly innocent, patently stupid absurdity like Number One: this is criminal.  Our handlers clearly couldn’t care less about the planet or its inhabitants, human or animal.  (For more on the Green Elite’s slaughter of animal life, do a little research into the effects of wind turbines on wild fowl.)  With a little encouragement through general education, individual Americans could be rendered far more independent, healthy, proud, responsible, and content by using the sun’s golden blessings the old-fashioned way.  The official objective, though, is precisely to render the American masses more dependent, sickly, shameless, whiney, and crotchety: hence our present “solar energy” initiatives.

THIRD ABSURDITY: The Digital “Enhancement” of Literacy

Both polarities of the political spectrum laud education as the pre-condition to democracy and the gateway to a more productive future.  So they should.  Yet on Right as well as Left, one also hears that technology holds the key to education’s gate.  Luminaries of East Coast conservatism (a distinctly elitist brand) like George Gilder have long argued that the Internet will create a new era of freedom by affording everyone a platform who chooses to speak up.  The amiable Rush Limbaugh naively praises whatever new iDevice he happens to be playing with while on the air-or critiques it sometimes, but leaves us in no doubt that such technical advances are a triumph of free enterprise.  Meanwhile, adversaries on the Left lobby to have grade schools equipped to the hilt with all the latest hardware.  After all, how could a self-advertised progressive ever be opposed to a hand-held library?  Of course, the potential latent in the Internet to “wire” an entire citizenry, and even an entire planet-dispensing “necessary information” to everyone instantly while also subtly monitoring the browses and exchanges of each individual-must also appeal to zealots of centralization.

The Gilder-Limbaugh crowd and the Orwellian mind-control crowd are both correct, as it happens.  The Internet does allow all of us to post practically anything.  It also and thereby creates a permanent record of personal thought, easily accessed and categorized by anyone who might want to profile us.  The various supportive gismos attendant upon Internet culture are indeed a bonanza for resourceful private-sector developers.  They also open intimate, highly intrusive pathways to marketing which could be used by social engineers just as readily as by sellers of Nike shoes or weight-loss drugs.  In this particular case, the two poles of the political spectrum are pulling together against the mainstream of American society-or, I should say, against the inert remnant of Western culture (an infinitely punier opponent); and unfortunately, our talkative movers and shakers are dragging us all straight over a cliff.

For the bedrock issue to me, as an educator, isn’t even whether our Kindles are flashing ads for toothpaste or for gun control (or for movies that subliminally promote big government and free sex): the premier issue, rather, is simply that high-tech literacy comes too easily to impart intellectual and moral gifts.  What could always be said on behalf of reading and writing before the Internet was that both took time.  Handwriting (or typewriting) a letter or a novel was somewhat arduous.  The composer was therefore forced to think before-and as-he scribbled.  Reading, too, was purely a matter of person-in-chair and words-on-page: a rather colorless scene.  The reader had to provide sights and sounds from his or her own imagination.  This, too, required time.  People immersed in this culture were constantly seeking out quiet and private spaces where they could probe their own depths and seek the connections underlying blunt surfaces.

I still write that way, even at my keyboard; and I still read that way, even off the Net.  Probably most patrons of this site do, as well… but we are a dying breed.  The younger “literates” who follow us thumb out gibberish on their “smart phones” with no more thought than they would scratch an itch.  The documents they create for school or work leave trails of computer-enhanced “trend-speak”-clichés du jour (“I’m there for you”), proverbial relics in full meltdown (“for granted” rendered “for granite”), and even benign idiocy from the invisible correcting pen of Professor Bill Gates (“tonsorial” parsed as “to social” by the word processor).  Furthermore, no casual observer can harbor any doubt that the future holds yet more ease of thought.  Students of tomorrow will “read” with icons and pictures constantly popping up in the margins, and they will compose text by speaking into something like my old wristwatch.  Dumbing down, alas, has a long way to go before it finds the cold black sand of a cultural Mariana Trench.  By then, our computers will no longer even want our dead weight hanging about their artificial necks.

It is absurd that we are laboring so mightily to achieve this self-destruction, and I find it especially annoying that the self-styled Right invests no effort in resisting the descent.  Are we really prepared, we conservatives, to relinquish the riches of the thoughtful, independent individual just so that a succession of Gateses and Jobses can send a few more tsunamis of material prosperity through our moribund culture?  Ask a twenty-something if he even knows what “moribund” means.  He could look it up instantly on his smart phone, of course… but why should he, unless you’re offering him cash for the right answer?  Nothing he reads uses words like that.

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Rand Paul Makes Waves

Based on the reactions of John McCain and Lindsay Graham to Rand Paul’s filibuster it is fairly obvious that he is afraid of being upstaged on the national scene and losing his influence in the Party as a result.  He is clearly (to use his own terminology) a wacko-bird.

Rand Paul’s filibuster performance on March 6, 2013 really had nothing to do with politics; it was the principle of the thing.  It was about civil rights and the security of citizens doing their daily business without fear of assassination at the unchecked word of a chief executive who may be motivated more by political considerations than by national defense interests.

What Senator Paul was getting at was a vitally important point.  The U.S. Constitution contains certain protections against government excesses that must be enforced or the document becomes meaningless and all of its protections non-existent.  Constitutional limitations are all that protects our citizens against government excesses and without them a tyranny would be a likely rapid result.  Statists find such protections an impediment to their ambitions, but rarely couch their objections in such terms because it is much easier to sell the idea that they are working for the benefit of the people while they do the exact opposite behind the scenes or away from objective press coverage.

There are a fair number of people who seem to have no concerns about government power or potential abuses thereof.  Many of them are government dependents who perceive nothing beyond their next dole check and benefit payment.  Others are simply trusting fools who cannot recognize anything beyond their faith in the current crop of leadership and ignore the fact that the next generation might not be so deserving.  (That is, assuming that the current crop is deserving; a questionable conclusion.)  Then, there are others who see such issues only in terms of who is in power.  They would criticize the other party, but leave the same practices by their own party members alone.  Senator Paul has the right of it.  Right is right and wrong is wrong.  It doesn’t matter who is in power, and the potential for future abuse is real, making future consequences of current errors a matter of extreme importance.

So, where does Senator McCain fit into the equation?  The answer hides within muddied waters.  There are some who suggest that McCain’s experiences as a prisoner in North Vietnam have effected his ability to fight for what it right.  This is possible, but not that likely, in the opinion of this writer.  Senator Paul, interviewed the day after his approximately 13 hour speech suggested that McCain’s actions were based in a mistaken belief that circumstances require the use of „rules of war” within the nation’s boundaries to combat terrorists.  Senator Paul, in contrast, believes that such rules should only be applied in the case of an actual armed attack or situation, which cannot be handled through the use of more conventional law enforcement techniques.  In any event, a citizen not actively involved in military actions at the time they are confronted, should be entitled to his or her constitutional rights; not drumhead justice at the hands of a chief executive operating above the law.

McCain may actually believe that in the rules of war approach, but it is more likely, that he is playing a „go along to get along” game in which he is attempting to maintain his influential position of “leadership” as a senior member of the Senate.  He sees Senator Paul as a threat to the deference and respect that his seniority has brought him.  McCain is one of those old guard Republicans who doesn’t believe that the landscape of the political game has changed.  He denies that he is now facing an adversary who believes in destroying the opposition so that it can achieve single party, authoritarian rule.  Lindsey Graham, who believes that Senator Paul’s question is not worthy of an answer, is equally wrong and has his head stuck just as far in the sand.

To make matters worse, McCain and Graham are probably also unaware that the opposition is fully willing to make use of drone strikes against Americans, not because they are foreign agents or terrorists, but because they are part of the political opposition.  You can bet that in addition to the official Obama „kill list” there is an unofficial one, not available to individuals outside of the inner circle, with names of people to be eliminated if it becomes possible.  You can bet your bottom dollar that Barack Obama would kill any and all effective political opponents if he believed he could get away with it.  McCain and Graham either won’t see it or don’t care; and their jealousy of Rand Paul is in the way of any rational thought or action.

One has to only look at the extent Eric Holder went to in avoiding the question of whether Americans could be killed on their home soil without trial or due process.  Holder exists as Attorney General for only one purpose; to provide cover for Obama’s excesses.  The fact that Senator Ted Cruz pried an answer out of him is a tribute to Cruz’s tenacity, but Senator Paul had been after the same answer for some six weeks.  It took both of them to get the job done.  Holder was trying not to give a straight answer because the real answer in his mind is that the current administration should be able to kill anyone, anywhere, anytime it wants with impunity.  (This sentiment was more or less echoed by comments of Texas Congressman Ted Poe who said that the administration wants to be able to do anything it wants, domestically, without restraint. He also referred to Holder’s refusal to provide documents on the Fast and Furious scandal, demonstrating his contempt for the Legislature.)  Holder knows that admitting to his true beliefs would not pass muster, even in the lapdog press.  Cruz had to force him to deny his own sentiments on the record.  It was a heroic effort.

So, after the fact McCain and Graham condemn Senator Paul’s equally heroic effort to bring attention to where and how the government is stepping on or intending to step on civil rights.  This is tough to do because today’s Democrat Party is purportedly the party of civil rights.  But it isn’t; today it is the party of authoritarianism and will eliminate all constitutional protections if possible, propaganda to the contrary.  Today’s Democrat Party is a few inches short of the old German National Socialist Party.  The only real difference is that instead of Jews, today’s Democrats are after the wealthy, the independent, the traditional and religious; it is a different sort of class warfare, but it is such, none-the-less.  Actions like those of Senator Paul help to awaken Americans to the facts, and move the nation away from a deadly course.  We need more like him.  Senator McCain doesn’t care what happens to the people, as long as he has his senate seat.  The present administration is content to allow him to remain there for the duration because he is ineffective as an opponent.  He poses no threat.  In fact, he may be more of an ally than anything else.

McCain’s time has passed and his opportunity to make a difference is gone.  He doesn’t know what he is talking about while Senator Paul does.  Graham has proven himself a member of the DC power elite who cares nothing about the public.  Paul is not looking to fire up a few libertarian oriented college students; he is looking toward the long-term future of the nation.  McCain completely blew it in 2008 and is now acting like a spoiled and petulant child.  It is time for him to step aside and let some real leaders take charge.

It is time to Stand With Rand

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